Category Archives: Worship & Music

Connect with young people

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 60

Take every opportunity to build relationships with young people. Send them messages to remind them that you care. Go walking or cycling together, nurture their love of nature. Encourage an interest in creation through science, art and conservation. Share with them what motivates you. But mostly, just love them!

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From the chapter Tiakina te Taiao, Tiakina te Iwi by Mina Pomare-Peita
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Form a Creation Care Team

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 26

Wouldn’t it be great to have a an active group of eco champions in every church?

Start an enviro team in your church by forming relationships, inviting people to talk, and giving things a try. This is important to sustain momentum and lead the church in practical action.

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From the chapter Connected to the Earth – Diana Johnston
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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PowerPoint images from Breath of the Spirit

PowerPoint images from Breath of the Spirit

Breath of the Spirit is not just a print book and eBook.

We have used the images in the book to create a collection of 57 PowerPoint slides to display in your worship services.

The images are royalty free so long as you display the credit at the foot of the slides.

You can download the set immediately after making payment.

Click here to Order your set of 57 PowerPoint images


Accepting the Challenge

A Thought for Today

“…What extra meaning might we take from this story today?

Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Just two more sleeps as we tell the young children. As children we loved Christmas because we knew we were going to get special presents and eat special food.

And, because we loved the nativity stories about baby Jesus in the manger and the shepherds and the kings and the angels. And maybe we got to be in the Christmas play and learned beautiful carols for the first time.

With this childish wonder and delight we began our faith journey, a life-long journey. We have had good companions along the way to share with and challenge us and support us, as we grow to new and deeper understandings of the good news of God’s love for us.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle Christmas shopping, and end of year parties, and worrying about whether family members who don’t meet during the rest of the year are going to get along this time round… or what have you.

We know another story, of a brave young woman who accepted the challenge of being the bearer of a child who would become the symbol of God’s love for the world.”

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From the sermon – Journey in faith – 23 December 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Controlled by Love

A Thought for Today

“…The group learned to prepare and lead prayers and then other parts of worship services.

Some of us moved on to try preaching. It is both uncomfortable and exhilarating to preach five sermons in a year and have them critiqued by your peers, to qualify as a lay preacher. Thank you to the members of this congregation for putting up with my first attempts and encouraging me since.

Today, I’m very comfortable choosing music and prayers and putting the rest of a service together, but writing the sermon is always a challenge. I start with some initial personal responses to the Bible readings and have an overall structure in mind. But once I start writing I don’t know exactly what will come out. I’m not in total control. I must let go and let my words be directed the spirit, by intuition, by the mystery and love that flows from God…

Life isn’t like a model railway. I can’t control all of it. Sure, I need to take my duties and responsibilities to my family, business partners, customers and suppliers, church, choir and clubs seriously, but at some point, I must let go control. And that is a relief. I don’t have to do it all. I can let other people give a lead. I can leave room for the spirit to guide me in a new direction.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.”

Let’s make room in our lives for the mystery of the love of God as shown through Jesus’ example and enabled through the Holy Spirit.

Let’s re-orient our lives to accept the love of God. We don’t need to be in charge all the time. We can be controlled by love.


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From the sermon – Controlled by Love – 12 August 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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On a Clear Night

A Thought for Today

“How can we make sense of the stories about the resurrection in the gospels? Did Jesus really appear to the two travellers on the road to Emmaus, to the disciples in a closed room or in the dawn next to the Sea of Galilee?

Our minds and senses today are full and cluttered with television, radio, multi-media, noise, music, business. All these sensations blot out the natural and maybe supernatural world.

On a clear night, in the city, we get a good view of the stars, planets, the Milky Way galaxy, but go out into the countryside where there is no artificial light and then look up at the sky. It is stunning. That view makes me feel small and insignificant.

People in first century must have been more aware of and in touch with nature and with the wonders of God’s creation.

I mentioned that I often feel that my Grandad and Mum are present with me. I can’t see them with my eyes or touch them with my hands, but they are here in my heart.

I imagine therefore that in a less cluttered, noisy age, Jesus’ friends and followers would have had an even stronger sense of his presence with them, after his sudden and shocking death. The resurrection appearance stories might reflect this understanding.

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From the sermon – Keeping Jesus Alive in Our Hearts – 11 March 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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How should we spread the Good News?

A Thought for Today

“…Jonah just stood up in the middle of the street and shouted at people.

The way we tell God’s message needs to be adjusted for each situation.

At this point, I imagine Jonah was expecting to be arrested for disturbing the peace and chucked out of the city. At the very least he could expect to be jeered at and heckled. Or maybe worse, just be ignored. He would have been watching for trouble and scared.

Now the story turns. The Bible says, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.”

They stopped doing evil, repented and turned their lives around.

Jonah’s mission was a total success. He didn’t expect it.

How does Jonah react? If you go on to read Chapter 4 at home, you will see that Jonah sulks. It’s as if he wanted the people of Nineveh to be destroyed by God.

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We need to be sure of our motivation when we tell the Good News.

God used an ordinary, grumpy, ungrateful chap like Jonah to talk to the people of Nineveh.

What then is there to stop us sharing the Good News with the people we meet?…”

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From the sermon – How should we spread the Good News? – 22 January 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Responding to the Wilderness

Thought for the day:

How might we here today respond to the wilderness – the wild, isolated parts of God’s Creation. It isn’t realistic for us to spend 40 days going bush. So, are there other ways we can experience something of the spirituality of nature?

When I met Heather more than 30 years ago, she was a keen sailor. We have recently brought her Zephyr sailing dinghy up from Christchurch and repaired and restored it. She has joined Worser Bay sailing club.

As an observer, it seems to me that harnessing the wind to cut through the waves is an example of being in harmony with nature, of being in balance with the wilderness. Heather named her boat Spirit Wind.

[Show video. See link on the Sermons Resources page on our website]

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Perhaps we non-sailors could make time soon to just sit quietly outdoors somewhere for an hour with no other distractions. Walk along the beach or sit in the car and just look at the sea. Spend time sitting in your garden, or just looking out your window at the view. Turn off the radio or TV for an hour. Put down the paper or your book.

Take time out.

You will probably find that the usual concerns and busyness of daily life crowd your thoughts at first. That’s OK. Acknowledge them and put them mentally to one side. Remember today’s Bible readings, the music from Messiah, the images you have seen. Allow the view and the sounds of nature to seep through.

Remember we are all part of the goodness of God’s Kingdom
and beautiful Creation here on earth.


From the sermon – Responding to the Wilderness – 18 September 2011
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Living with Real Hope

Thought for the day:

“…What is the nature of hope?

Let’s contrast it with hopelessness. If we have no hope, what do we do? Nothing. We give up. We take no action. Ah, what’s the point?

So, to take the opposite hopeful position, means that we are compelled to act, to help in whatever way is realistic and meaningful for us. John Wesley lived a frenetic life, helping and getting involved wherever he felt he could do good.

Perhaps, we of more mature years, are past the stage of youthful protest and activism, and can be more effective in other ways.

Within the Methodist Church, the Public Questions Network is being revived. One of the topics it is focusing on is sustainability. Can we become involved with and support its consciousness raising work on social issues and justice?

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What else can we do…?

The world is a challenging place and the future appears uncertain.

We have a choice about how we respond – with despair or with hope. Not a fool’s hope, not a trivial hope – “I hope the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup.”

No, a real hope, underpinned by the grace of a loving God who welcomes us,
and invites us to be part of the work of the kingdom here on earth.


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From the sermon – Living with Real Hope – 17 July 2011,
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Whatever’s Written in Your Heart

Thought for the day

“I like the last part of the reading from Matthew, where we are told to simplify our speech, say “Yes” if you mean Yes or “No” if you mean No. Don’t prevaricate, hum and har or pad out your response.

I warm to this advice. It means you need to know your own heart and your own mind and then you can make a clear decision. “Yes, I will,” “No I won’t.” “Yes, I agree,” “No I disagree.”
In the same way I find it helpful to simplify and summarise in my own mind the commandments and laws that God gave, and that Jesus proclaimed.

For me they become:
Love God, love your neighbour, as you love yourself.

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There is a God. We worship that God. A God who is at the same time magnificent, awe inspiring and unimaginably powerful; yet also intimately present in all the small ordinary things in our lives. A God of love, whose love for us knows no limit, and no end. Hallelujah!

Who is my neighbour that I should love and care for? This is a radical, uncomfortable part of Jesus’ message. Our neighbours are our friends and our families whom we like, but also our enemies, those who are different from us and those we just don’t get along with.
Tough, they are all worthy of God’s love. Jesus knew this. John Wesley knew this. We need to be reminded too.

The last part is important. It is not that I should put myself above others or that I am better than others, but rather that as part of being in God’s realm we as individuals should also take good care of ourselves. Sometimes this will mean saying “No.” Other times it will be pausing to do something that you enjoy just for the sake of the enjoyment.

Taking these three rules to heart will help us make a heartfelt response to the need around us.”

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From the sermon – Whatever’s Written in Your Heart – 13 February 2011, in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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