Tag Archives: worship tips

Kindle a Flame

A Thought for Today

Kindle a flame

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your light shine through
let your light shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your justice shine through
let your justice shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your hope shine through
let your hope shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your love shine through
let your love shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your peace shine through
let your peace shine through.

About this Song

Kindle a Flame was written as a reflective song for worship and I have used it many times when leading services.

It also works well as part of the devotions for a small group, and as an individual, private meditation (change “our hearts” to “my heart”).

The words are simple and repetitive.

There is a melody line setting and several suggestions for how to use this liturgy/song in our PDF eBook Kindle a Flame.

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Click to sign up and get your free PDF: http://eepurl.com/cSKIF5

Engaging and inspiring the listener

A Thought for Today

“The earthquake was oddly localised. The jail was badly shaken, but not the jailer’s home nearby. If the jail, one of the most strongly built structures in town was seriously damaged, we could expect a home built of unreinforced mud brick to collapse completely.

This is typical of the writer of Luke and Acts. He is telling a good story to make a point. The facts, whatever they really were in this case, have been moulded into a coherent narrative, designed to engage and inspire the listener.

When I was doing some introductory New Testament study as part of my lay preacher training, I did an exercise of trying to match up the accounts of Paul’s voyages in Acts – written sometime after Paul’s death – with the various letters that Paul wrote. I was frustrated that I couldn’t make the sequence and dates for the journeys line up. The writer of Acts had taken the basic facts and harmonised them into a logical order… which is fine.

The purpose of many gospel accounts is to convey meaning, rather than a set of historical facts.

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From the sermon – What must I do? – 12 May 2013
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

Click to order eBooks: https://payhip.com/b/FJSL

Celebration – Struggle – Transformation

A Thought for Today

“Somewhere in this week Jesus went through a process from celebration to struggle to transformation, from prophet and social revolutionary to victim, then to victor. From a human plane to a divine plane. From giving his supporters hope, to despair, to hope again.

I hope that you didn’t find the exercise of making flax crosses too difficult.

I’m sure you can guess why I worked through this with you. We have gone from waving flax leaves to celebrate, to struggling with crafting them, to transformation of the flax into our most important symbol as Christians.

I enjoyed practising making the crosses at home. They are a real kiwi icon. I like the way the flax comes from the land, the whenua that we sang about in our Māori introit. A flax plant is grounded in the way that our faith can be grounded. Change takes effort. We sometimes need the help of our friends to move forward to get the job done, just like we need friends on our journey of faith. And while the completed flax crosses might seem like an end point, the cross as a symbol has no end, just as God’s love for us has no end.

And just as the flax is strong, so God’s love for us, symbolised by the life, death and rising of Jesus is strong. I can’t break this flax leaf [demonstrate]. Nothing you or I can do, can defeat God’s love.”

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From the sermon – Celebration – Struggle – Transformation – 24 March 2013
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

Click to order eBooks: https://payhip.com/b/FJSL


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


Ten Plays gets great review in Touchstone Nov. 2014

Review by John Meredith in Touchstone – November 2014

“The pattern of Sunday worship is generally fairly predictable, but congregations appreciate something different at family services and especially at Advent and Christmas.

This is scarcely surprising, since the birth of Jesus and the events leading to it shattered the expectations even of those who had long been watching and waiting for the appearance of the Messiah. We have become accustomed to nativity plays featuring grumpy innkeepers and shepherd boys on hillsides, but these 10 plays take us to quite a different realm.

After making suggestions about an Advent wreath and candles, Rosalie offers five meditations that may be used during the four Sundays in Advent, two meditations being read on one of these Sundays. The meditations titled ‘Christmas women’, are the voices of Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin), Anne (Mary’s mother), a woman traveller (one of many women on her way to Bethlehem for the census), the inn-keeper’s wife, and Anna (the prophetess).

These meditations are complemented with an Advent prayer for two voices. There are no bland words here, for the challenge is to think about what the coming of Jesus means for us in our world and what we need to do about it.

These Advent meditations are followed by a play titled ‘No Room,’ designed to promote the work of Christian World Service at a time when the annual CWS Christmas Appeal will be presented to many congregations. The play features two modern day families who learn that making room for Jesus includes making room for asylum seekers and that giving to CWS can help make lives better for people living in dreadful conditions.

There is also a play using 13 characters from the Christmas story with an activity of creating stick-puppets.

For Easter, the other major festival of the Christian Year, there is a play reading based on five women named in the Easter story.

Those looking for something different for Bible Sunday, Waitangi Day, Anzac Day or Wesley Day will also find it here.

One of the appealing features of this collection is the prominence of women throughout. The drama ‘Mahlah and Sisters’ draws attention to five little-known young women in the biblical narrative. Their stand for justice translates effectively to women’s rights and equal opportunities in today’s society.

In another play, voices of women from biblical times and early New Zealand history who used their initiative to build peace and harmony are heard in monologue.

As is stated on the cover, these are short easy dramas. Few props, staging or costumes are required.

Most of the plays work best with a combination of adults and children and lend themselves to reading without the need to learn scripts. All are readily adaptable for different physical settings and availability of characters.

They are highly commended as a resource for any church or group seeking imaginative ways of presenting gospel ideas and aspects of faith in action. Ten Plays is also available as an ebook.”

Buy now Print or eBooks


Two Worship Tips and a Song

Two Worship Tips and a Song

1. Rehearse

How does it feel to hear the worship leader stumble over a prayer or miss their place in the sermon? As a member of the congregation this is distracting and disrupts the flow of the service. As the leader you get a sinking feeling, knowing you could have presented that part of the worship better. Here’s how to avoid this.

Early in the week of the service, read the whole liturgy aloud, i.e. from the Welcome and Gathering through all the prayers and responses to the final Benediction. If you are going to ask the congregation to share the peace or move out of their seats and take part in an activity, write down the instructions in your edition of the order of service and practise giving these instructions. If, like me, you are not good at praying “off the cuff,” write out all the prayers in full.

Often reading aloud reveals words and phrases that need to be edited or replaced altogether. Maybe you will decide to keep the wording, but highlight a comma or underline a phrase to help you best convey the sense of the text to the congregation. Practise reading the liturgy two or three times mid-week until you are comfortable with it.

At our church worship leaders get the order of service to the office by Thursday in time for it to be printed and for the words of the hymns to be added to the slideshow on Friday. So another tip, is to be prepared well ahead. Start writing up the order of service the previous Sunday night if you can.

Having finalised the liturgy, then finish the sermon, (which you might have been working on for two weeks.) On Friday night read it aloud a couple of times. Mark in pauses, e.g. in your text type [pause]. Also write [Speak slowly] in two or three places to remind you not to rush. Add sub-headings for your own reference, even if you don’t read them when you preach. Make any edits to the text that you need. Move paragraphs around. Even adding a comma or two will help you break up long sentences and make your final presentation more understandable to the congregation.

Read aloud through your sermon once on Saturday to keep it fresh in your my mind.

Being well prepared and rehearsed, will give you the confidence to lead the worship well on Sunday.

2. Use physical objects to engage the congregation

The second tip is to use physical objects to engage the congregation. Words, singing and pictures are great. Holding something in your hand adds another dimension to the experience of worship for those taking part.

On Palm/Passion Sunday this year I asked the small congregation of older people I was leading worship with to make flax crosses. You can see a short video of how to make a flax cross here on YouTube:

We used these readings: Luke 19: 28-40, John 12: 12-16, and the flax, to explore the theme for the service of – Celebration – Struggle – Transformation.

As people entered the church they were each handed a flax leaf about 3 feet long. For the opening hymn we sang: Give Me Joy in My heart, which has the refrain “Sing Hosanna to the King of kings!” While singing this we all waved our flax leaves like the crowds welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem.

Before the sermon my wife and I showed people how to make the crosses using their flax leaves. The video was projected on the screen, on repeat mode, while we did this.

Some people picked up the technique quickly and made several crosses, others battled through to make one with assistance. We then sang John Stainer’s hymn Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow.

Everyone produced at least one cross to take home with them for Holy Week. It was a delight to see people engage in the worship this way. They have probably forgotten the sermon, but will remember the physical experience of waving the flax and making the crosses.

So, worship leaders, use your imagination and take a chance on doing something different in your services.

3. A Song

Kindle a Flame can be sung unaccompanied or with guitar. 

Download a PDF copy of the music here:


You can sing it through as a whole song. It is also effective as a sung response to intercessory prayers – either just use verse 1 as the response each time or insert a prayer between each of the 5 verses.

Choirs and churches are welcome to copy and perform the song freely. If you are going to record or publish it commercially, please seek permission from Philip Garside first by emailing books@pgpl.co.nz

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As always, your feedback on this blogpost is welcome.

Cheers, Philip Garside