Category Archives: Cross

Washed Clean Magic – Magic Cross Trick

This is BRILLIANT – I’ve used it in both All Age Services and School Easter Assemblies/Services.

I eventually worked it out with Iodine, spray starch and Sodium Thiosulphate. I used some of the links and information below to work this out.

Another version:

You will need a large clear jar with a lid that can be sealed, a second container of some type, some Chlorine bleach, some Iodine, and two light colored sponges. Cut one sponge in the shape of a heart. Cut the other in the shape of the cross. Both need to be of a size that will fit in the jar with a lid.

Fill the jar with a lid about half full of water, and the other container with a very strong solution of bleach and water (half and half will do). Set the cross in the bleach solution as you begin your lesson (not too long before, it could disolve the sponge).

For the lesson, show the children the heart shaped sponge. Talk about sin and put some drops of iodine on the sponge to represent those sins. You can talk about how impossible it is to remove those stains by yourself. Even dip the heart shaped sponge in the jar of water and show it is still dirty. Then, put the heart shaped sponge in the jar of water and leave it. Now take the cross out of the bleach solution, keeping as much of the solution in the sponge as possible. Tell the children about the power of the cross to cleanse the heart from sin. Put the cross in the jar with water and the stained heart, seal it with the lid, and shake it up a bit as you talk some more about the cross. Then, open the lid and take the heart out. It will be clean.

You should experiment with this lesson once before you actually give it to be sure you have a strong enough bleach solution to clear the iodine from the heart shaped sponge. Be sure to rinse the heart shaped sponge very clean with clear water so the iodine stains will remain when you do the real lesson.

Here is a YouTube video of this process being used in the context of an alternative worship event:

2 Clear Glass Bowls
1 small bottle of Iodine
1 bottle of Film Fixer
1 Purificator or Handkerchief

Fill the two bowls with approximately 1 litre of water, in one bowl have approximately 150-200mls of fixer in the bottom [adding the water could be part of the story]

Words From The Crowd

This collection of reflections by JOHN L. BELL focuses on these seven words; a different character responding each time, in their own way, to what they’ve heard.

Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.

…. on the contrary;
you do not know what you have done.

The stage of history
was erected, trod and tested
long before your brief sortie
from the wings.

The drama of salvation
– you are religious,
you will understand –
has been played, continuous,
in repertory
and found, in the main,
to please….
and that without a saviour
except God and the system.

But you, upstart from outside,
decided to change the script,
to subvert the plot,
to personalise the absolute,
and, ad libbing with the audience,
to infer that the new travesty
is true.
Who are you?

You do not know what you have done.

But it is not irreparable.
Two days, three perhaps,
and your face will be forgotten
as the actor is
who plays the clown at night
and, unmasked,
feels a fool in the morning.

Your listeners will stop speaking of you;
your followers will stop following;
religion will return to normal –
we’ve had such sects before –
and your theatre in the round
will close its invisible doors
when the hero dies and
exeunt omnes.

– A travelling player

Today you shall be with me in paradise.

In paradise
a boy with lice
is showered clean with kisses;
a girl with spots
gets lots and lots
of cuddles that she misses.

Eachie peachie, eachie peachie
where’s the evil eye gone?
Where’s the bogey, where’s the polis,
where’s the ones they spy on?
Eachie peachie, eachie peachie,
children who were naughty,
always got their trousers torn
or always missed the potty
now can sit on Jesus’ knee
and now can feel him tickle.
What a shame that adults get
the Saviour in a pickle.
Eachie peachie, eachie peachie
where’s the evil eye gone?
Where’s the bogey, where’s the polis,
where’s the ones they spy one?

In paradise
the doctors find
that surgeons all are men born blind;
the clergy find
that those who teach
were all beyond their preaching’s reach.

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief
find that heaven’s like a coral reef,
a coral reef that sinks a ship
and all the differences on which we trip.
We trip on past, we trip on present,
we loathe the prince and we mock the peasant.
But paradise is where we find
that good and bad are of a stranger kind.

In Paradise
you sometimes stare
at who’s arrived and at who’s not there;
and bigger yet
is the surprise
that you are there in Paradise .

– A child

Mother, there is your son… there is your mother.

Knit two, purl two, knit two,
drop a stitch…

Knit four, purl four, drop two,
knit one…

Jamesie, cum here.
Who’se thir mammie’s boy?
Jamesie, gie back that toy
tae the wee lassie.
It’s hur teddie.
Jamesie, when yoo’re ready!!

Don’t greet hen.
Ye’ll get him back agen.
But here’s anither wan tae haud
till that wee bugger brings back yir wain.

Knit two, purl two, knit two,
drop a stitch…

Knit four, purl four, drop two,
knit one….

– A woman with child

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Him too?…
like every other Jew
or, if not all,
like me.

Through God created,
to God related,
by God mistaken,
by God forsaken.

His groan,
like every heavenward moan,
or, if not all,
is mine.

Through God extracted,
to God attracted,
by God conceived,
by God deceived.

He asks
what every fear unmasks,
or, if not all,
mine do.

Through God undaunted,
to God unwanted,
by God impressed,
by God depressed.

He’ll cry
and like all flesh he’ll die
or, if not all…

This Jewish Jesus must be listened to,
though many hear, only a few
or less might dare to see
that either society’s scarecrow
is hanging on the tree
or God, if He’s his father,
is like this broken creature
looking through much pain at me.

– An agnostic

I thirst

I thoat he wis a day oot!

Right enuf, it’s awfa waarm.
The swet’s rinnin oot ma oxter
like creesh oot a mutton pie…
Oh laam of God…

nae offence, missus.

Whit’s he daen there onyway?
The last time I saw him
I wis as pisht as a fart in a trance.
An I asked him fur a shullin.

An then he dauneret intae big Susie’s hoose
an made fur me tae jine him.
Hur settee’ a fold-doon bed, but.

Bad memries…
know whit I mean?…
Brewer’s droop an….

nae offence, missus.

So noo he’s thursty
an no a pub in sight
an too early fur a cairy oot…
no that I could stretch ma airm that faur
tae gae him a sook et ma boattle if I hud waan.
But I’d gie it a try,
even though I’d maist likely boak up
if ma haun went near that bloody mess…

nae offence, missus.
So, whit dis that say, lady?
Thon thing abuv his heid.
That’s no his name!
That’s no whit I’ve heard him caa’d.
it’s his title.

Oh well,
I must go hame an tell the wife
that the day’s the day
the Saivyir of the World
waantit a drink!

I’ve a fair drooth on me, masel.

– A drunk man

Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit

It will not end,
not now.
Not with what he said.

In life,
we often give till it pleases,
seldom till it hurts,

never when pain sears, soars
and roars for death to come
and life to die.

It will not end,
not now.
Not with what he said.

This wrecked, wracked pastime of a body,
this taught, untreated plaything of a man
takes much,
but even in the throes of death
he shows his strength
and gives more.

Cling firmly to your spirit
and nothing you’ll receive.
But let it go and God
the human race’s running sore,
its civil sin with private core
will conquer and relieve.

You will not end,
not now
with what you said.

For on the cross you came
you finish,
All will return
and rise with you,

– A watching woman

It is finished
Move along, my lovely ladies,
sure, you’ve seen it all before:
nasty sight for nasty people,
nothing works like blood and gore.
But for ladies sore with crying,
sunken eyes in sunken cheeks,
there are better sights to stare at
than three decimated freaks.

Move along, my boozie cronie,
lift the foot you think is stuck.
Had you come an hour early
you might just have chanced your luck
Playing pitch and toss with soldiers
who were gambling for the clothes

his, now mine, are these and those.

Move along, my little children,
time for school or time for bed.
Fill your minds with dreams or wisdom
which will last. Don’t lift your head
any higher than my elbow.
Him above’s about to die.
Then we’ll clear this messy business
which obscures the sun and sky.

Move along you sundry people,
suited to your Sunday best,
rooted gazing at a failure
destined for eternal rest
unless God, in his own humour,
has in mind another goal,
topping heaven’s celestial goblets,
shovelling hell’s unwanted coal.

Move along. Bert, did you hear him?
Sounded like he thinks it’s done,
though his voice almost suggested
that perhaps he’d just begun
to expect some other ending.
What a queer fish. I don’t know.
Still, for now, the show is over.
Move along please,
move along please.
Bert, wake up
it’s nearly time to go.

– A soldier

Quoted from:

Did Jesus Die On The Cross?

I read about a person who wrote the following to a local newspaper advice columnist: Dear Uticus, Our preacher said on Easter that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that His disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.

The columnist replied, Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat of nine tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross, hang him in the sun for six hours, run a spear through his heart, embalm him, put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours, and see what happens. Sincerely, Uticus.

Leonid Brezhnev

As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
Gary Thomas, in Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26

Louis Slotin

It was May 21, 1946. The place was Los Alamos. A young and daring scientist was carrying out a necessary experiment in preparation for the atomic test to be conducted in the waters of the South Pacific atoll at Bikini.

He had successfully performed such an experiment many times before. In his effort to determine the amount of U-235 necessary for a chain reaction scientists call it the critical mass he would push two hemispheres of uranium together. Then, just as the mass became critical, he would push them apart with his screwdriver, thus instantly stopping the chain reaction.

But that day, just as the material became critical, the screwdriver slipped! The hemispheres of uranium came too close together. Instantly the room was filled with a dazzling bluish haze. Young Louis Slotin, instead of ducking and thereby possibly saving himself, tore the two hemispheres apart with his hands and thus interrupted the chain reaction.

By this instant, self-forgetful daring, he saved the lives of the seven other persons in the room. As he waited for the car that was to take them to the hospital, he said quietly to his companion, ‘You’ll come through all right, but I haven’t the faintest chance myself.’ It was only too true. Nine days later he died in agony.

Get the point across – Graham Twelftree p 36

The Railroad Drawbridge

One summer day in 1937 John Griffith, controller of a railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi, took Greg, his eight-year-old son with him to work. About noon, John raised the bridge to let some ships pass while he and Greg ate their lunch on the observation deck. At 1.07 p.m. John heard the distant whistle of the Memphis Express. He had just reached for the master lever to lower the bridge for the train, when he looked around for his son Greg. What he saw made his heart freeze. Greg had left the observation tower, slipped and fallen into the massive gears that operated the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears.
With the Memphis Express steaming closer, fear and anxiety gripped John as his mind searched for options, but there were only two. He must either sacrifice his son and spare the passengers on the Memphis Express, or sacrifice them to spare his son.
Burying his face in his left arm, John, with an anguished cry, pulled the master switch with his right hand to lower the bridge into place.
Lord knows what anguish John Griffith had to go through, whichever decision he made. But I know this: God values us enough to sacrifice his Son that we too might live.
‘For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

(Taken from a sermon by Pastor Ian Sweeny which won The Times Preacher of the Year Award 1998.)

i-Share Evangelism Video

The evangelism tool for our media generation. i-Share – The Gospel visualized on your screen or on your iPod and in multiple languages. i-Share is a new evangelism tool meant to help individuals, youth groups, mission trip participants and beyond share their faith in a new and relevant way. The i-Share video can be used in a public setting in your favorite presentation software or personally in your own video iPod or similar device. The i-Share also comes in more than one language!! By using the i-Share video mission trip participants are able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter the language barrier.

The Long Silence

At the end of time, billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God’s throne. Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them. But some groups near the front talked heatedly – not with cringing shame, but with belligerence.

“Can God judge us? How can he know about suffering?” Snapped a pert young brunetter. He ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi Concentration Camp. “We endured terror … beatings … torture … death!”

In another group a Negro boy lowered his collar. “What about this?” he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. “Lynched for no crime but being black!”

In another crowd, a pregant schoolgirl with sullen eyes. “Why should I suffer?” She murmured. “It wasn’t my fault.”

Far out across the plain were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint about against God for the evil and suffering he had permitted in the world. How lucky God was to live in heaven where all was sweetness and light, where there was no weeping or fear, no hunger or hatred. What did God know of all that men had been forced to endure in this world? For God leads a pretty sheltered life, they said.

So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because they had suffered the most. A Jew, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed arthritic, thalidomide child.

In the centre of the plain they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather clever. Before God could be qualified to be their judge, he must endure what they had endured. Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth – as a man!

Let him be born a Jew. Let the legitimacy of the birth be doubted.

Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think him our of this mind when he tries to do it.

Let him be betrayed by his closest friends.

Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge

Let him be tortured.

At the last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone.

Then let him die so that there can be no doubt that he died.

Let there be a great host of witnesses to verify it.

As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the throng of people assembled. When the last had finished pronoucing sentence, there was a long silence. Nobody uttered another word. No one moved.
For suddenly all knew that God had already served his sentence.

The Empty Bird Cage

There once was a man named George Thomas, a pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning, he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Several eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak. “I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, ” What you got there son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply. “What are you gonna do with them?” I asked.

“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh? Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing and they ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again.

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10.” The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten-dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty birdcage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

“One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you get done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you!! You don’t want those people!!

“How much?” He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your tears, and all your blood.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage, he opened the door, and he walked from the pulpit.

From the Sermon Fodder Email List

Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

That’s My King

The first video is from Ignite Media

The second is another version of the same audio with different images. Higher quality copies of this one are available here:

Great to use during a Sunday service or within a small group.

The late S.M. Lockridge once presented an incredible message, describing our God and who He is. Though God can’t be described with just words, this is as close as you can get this side of Heaven.