Oct Dec 2013 Light series 1: Jesus shows God s love

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1 Oct Dec 2013 Light series 1: Jesus shows God s love Life-giving water Aims: to see how Jesus brings life because God is compassionate; to ask for the life-giving water Reading: John 7: (and the whole chapter) Getting started The Gospel of John is quite different to Matthew, Mark and Luke. They often describe what happened, while John explores the meaning. The purpose of John is formally stated in John 20: 30, 31: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. That life is illustrated in the Light readings for this series John 2:1 11; John 6:1 15, 22 40; John 10:1 15; John 11:1 44. They show how Jesus turned water into wine, fed the 5000, raised Lazarus from the dead and is the Bread of Life and the Good Shepherd. A key text is John 10:10, I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. This is beautifully illustrated in the main verse for our all-age service which looks at another example of the compassion of God, when Jesus offers life-giving water. Today, Jesus offers us life-giving water. In this service we shall explore some of the ways to see, hear, share and appreciate that life afresh. You will need The PowerPoint Life-giving water download. Some water in different containers to suggest what it is used for eg kettle for making tea, bowl for washing feet. A bowl of cold water, towel and flannel, with a volunteer who doesn t mind getting wet! 11 cards, each one with a different word to make up the text, If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Prayer stations for the prayer activity, each with a prayer card as suggested in the text. Beginning the service With: the PowerPoint download Life-giving water. This will visually introduce the theme. The PowerPoint does not have music, so can be running in the background as a music group plays. Alternatively play Beautiful rain by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. As an introduction to the service ask what was in all of the pictures water! Explain that we shall be thinking about Jesus, and how he used water, and how he himself is Life-giving water. We have come to worship Jesus, and can receive the life that he gives afresh. As a song to start you could use He turned water into wine which you will find on the web resources. It is short enough to sing as a solo and then as a congregation.

2 Follow the song with a question, Were there other ways in which Jesus used water? Possible answers could be sea for sailing on ; washing the disciples feet, having a drink etc. Relate the experience of Jesus and his everyday use of water to our experience and/or an item of news that involves water, eg flood disaster. Use the following opening response: God created water to give us life on earth. Thank you Lord for the water of life! Jesus used water to bring the fullness of life. Thank you Lord for the water of life! The Spirit gives us streams of living water. Thank you Lord for the water of life! Bible reading The Bible reading can be interactive in one of two ways, with or without a projector. A PowerPoint and Word version of John 7: are available as downloads. With a projector, everyone can read John 7:37 44 from the PowerPoint slide. The leader points to four areas of the church as groups 1,2,3 and 4 these are the people. Two volunteers read from the front as the narrator and Jesus. They may need a printed copy of the PowerPoint slide. Without a projector, six volunteers can read at the front of church a narrator, Jesus, and one person for each group. John 7:37-44 New International Version (NIV) Narrator: On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice: Jesus: Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. Narrator: By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. On hearing his words, some of the people said, Group 1: Surely this man is the Prophet. Narrator: Others said, Group 2: He is the Messiah. Narrator: Still others asked, Group 3: How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Group 4: Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived? Narrator: Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

3 Bible talk With: the PowerPoint download Life-giving water ; a collection of objects which illustrate water use; a bowl of water and flannel/towel; 11 cards with the Bible text invite. Start by reviewing the pictures seen at the beginning of the service and the list of different ways we see water. If you didn t show the PowerPoint Life-giving water in Beginning the service show it now, or have a question and answer time to list ways in which we use water. A challenge could be to list ten eg having a wash, cleaning the car, making a drink etc, stretching to less obvious uses such as scientific experiments or getting about by boat. Make the point that there was water at the very beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2). Water is one of the key elements that are needed for life. To illustrate this ask some questions: What covers two-thirds of the world s surface? Water! What can be as much as 75% of our body weight? Water! What do we need to keep us alive as well as air and food? Water! Without water there is no life. All creatures need water in one form or another. Of course lots of creatures live in it, while others live on it, but every living thing needs to drink it. Water is a building block that gives us life, and a key resource to sustain our lives. We cannot do without it. God gave it to us, and it is up to us to treat it carefully. Have a collection of objects that are associated with water and discuss their use: cup, bucket, hosepipe etc, and make the point that water is used for a wide variety of things. Talk about how Jesus was used to water in his everyday life too, and list the things which he may have experienced. At this point, ask for a volunteer who doesn t mind getting wet. Introduce the bowl and flannel and ask them to wash their hands and face. Make the point that it may have been an experience Jesus knew well. Make reference to Jesus washing the disciples feet, but suggest we are not going that far! Jesus knew all about water. He knew that it was used for washing. He knew that it could be used for drinking and even knew it could be used for celebrating by turning water into wine! He knew that water could be used to travel on, and safely crossed Lake Galilee by boat. He knew the fish in the water, and told the fishermen, Peter James and John, where to get a great catch. Jesus also knew the power of water when the wind whipped it into a storm. Jesus could sleep through it when the disciples were afraid, and with a simple command made the wind and the waves still. So Jesus washed with water, drank water, sailed on water he even walked on water, and in our reading today he offered living-water to those who were thirsty. Which day of the festival was it? The last. Was it the best bit of the festival? Yes the greatest. What might greatest mean? Busiest, with the most people. When Jesus spoke, was it a whisper? No, a loud voice. What did he say? The 11 cards will remind us. Ask for volunteers and hand out the cards in random order. Each have one word from the text, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Let the volunteers put the words in the right order, and hold them high for

4 all to see and read. Remind everyone that Jesus said these words out loud, and invite everyone to do the same. What happened to the people when Jesus first spoke these words? They discussed what he meant, in four groups. They were divided and some wanted to seize Jesus and have him arrested. We might respond to the words of Jesus in different ways. Note that his words were an invitation. What might we do with an invitation? Refuse, ignore or accept. How do we accept Jesus invitation? Have a volunteer read verse 38 for the answer: Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. And how will this happen? The Spirit God s Holy Spirit will fill our hearts and we will be refreshed. At this point you could sing Holy Spirit rain down (SOF 1285). An alternative would be for someone to give a testimony of a time of refreshing they have experienced. Prayer activity With: prayer stations for people to go to Invite everyone to move slowly and queue at each station in an attitude of prayer, perhaps while some music is playing. Here are some suggestions for prayer stations you could set up: A place to have a drink of water, where the person is invited to read a prayer card: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the life-giving water. I am thirsty and want to believe and receive your Spirit. Refresh me now as I drink from this cup. A place where someone has a bowl, jug of water and a towel, to wash the hands of those who come. The prayer card could read: Lord Jesus, who washed the disciples feet, wash me clean now, that I may know your love, forgiveness and new life. A place for intercession about water and the world. Pictures of thirsty people, flood victims, dam construction, a well, a boat could surround a prayer card: Lord Jesus, who knew all about water, we pray for people who need water, who travel on water, and who look after our water, so we all have enough to share. An additional prayer station could be a place to donate and pray for a water project that might link in with some overseas project the church has a connection with. A particular project is Water Aid. As people return to their seat, you could sing as a confession, Wash me clean (SOF 1074). This works well if sung in parts by a music group, especially without instruments. Complete the time of prayer with the Lord s Prayer.

5 Ending the service Conclude with a final prayer together: God of creation Jesus who taught us Spirit who refreshes us Go out in to a world which needs refreshing with the words of Jesus and the power of the Spirit, so that you bring life-giving water to all that you meet. Amen Helpful extras Music and song ideas Purify my heart SOF 475 Holy Spirit rain down SOF 1285 All who are thirsty SOF 1164 Send us the rain Lord SOF 997 Waterfall Humgous Doug Horley Songbook 89 CD On Eagles Wings Like the river needs the rain Doug Horley songbook 56 Why Oh why do I have to have a bath? Doug Horley songbook 114 He turned water into wine web resource. Notes and comments This all age worship would fit well before the start of an Alpha course where adults were invited to think about the Christian faith, which includes the Holy Spirit day or weekend that many Christians have found to be a time of particular refreshing when the life-giving water is received. If appropriate to your church setting, you could include an opportunity for prayer after the service for individuals to ask for the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit. You could also make reference to the water themes of Bubbles and Splash if these groups are run in your church.

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