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Saturday, July 08, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party

Welcome back! It's Saturday morning, and Thomas Wolfe would like you to know "You Can't Go Home Again." Jesus reflects on just that thought in this week's gospel passage, Mark 6:1-13. How many of us would be able to go to the places we started and be accepted in our pastoral roles? As someone who came from a denomination that will not ordain women, I know I could not. But the important thrust of this week's lectionary passages is commissioning. Jesus sends forth the disciples, David is acknowledged as king by the elders of Israel, and Ezekiel tells of being sent by God.

How about you? Do you have a sense of where you're being sent tomorrow? What message will you tuck into your belt as you pick up your staff and head into worship? And are you ready to shake the dust off if no one can hear it?

Let us know what you're preaching about, and how it's going today, in the comments below!

And, seriously? Don't try it in these.


  1. I just began page two (I usually go about 3.5 pages). I'm telling the story of how I first began to tell friends about my Call to ministry, and how they responded with a big "Whoop Tee Doo! Big deal!"

  2. Well, poo! That wasn't very nice of them.

  3. I must admit I have a guest preacher tomorrow, so I don't have to write a sermon. Please don't hate me.

  4. What a crappy response, cheesehead! But hey, as long as it makes for a good sermon illustration... ;)

    Songbird, I definitely don't hate you. Envy? Of course. Hate? No way.

    I'm about halfway through sermon #1 - yes, that's right, I have two for tomorrow, and it's going pretty well. I'm talking about whether we would know Jesus if he was walking around today. After all, the people who thought they knew him best - his family and friends, the people who knew him for years - didn't really know him at all. Similarly, the people who thought they knew God best - the religious authorities, Pharisees, etc. - most resisted God among them.

    I'm working on moving that into something connected with the disciples, like courage to follow Jesus even when it isn't anything like you expect, and even when you can't take anything with you but Jesus' message...but, that transition is feeling a bit forced right now, so we'll see.

    Sermon #2, also about half done from earlier this week, is the first in a series on David. Seemed like a good idea when I planned it, but I'm currently unclear on what I thought the point was...Never a good sign.

    What are you other procrastinators out there thinking about for this week?

  5. Wow, that was one long comment...should perhaps be channeling that effort into sermons...

  6. Glad the Saturday Party has begun. Actually Songbird, your prompt about what if we went home has helped me grasp onto an illustration. I remember a sweet, 80 year old woman laughing in my face when I told her I was a minister now... she STILL doesn't believe it.

    Maybe I'm not considering I have nothing on paper yet except some research I did earlier in the week.

    One of the things I hate is when I get put into a corner by the sermon title I had to pick earlier in the week. This week's title: The Loser.

    Guess I'd better bring a mirror into the pulpit.

  7. I don't worry too much about the title I chose anymore. What I think on Tuesday, when I have to have a title in the bulletin and newspaper, is seldom what I'm thinking on Sunday, so I just announce before I read the Scripture (occasionally not even the Scripture listed in the bulletin) the new, more appropriate title. Actually, I'm not sure why I even come up with a title before Sunday, except that people seem to want one.

  8. will smama, when I don't like the title anymore, I just change it. At least once I said so from the pulpit. I'm not sure how much attention is being paid to the title anyway. I absolve you from the need to stick with the title.
    Stacey, two sermons? Ugh.
    How about the need to figure out who *we* are if we're going to survive out there on the road? It's hard to follow Jesus' commission to shake the dust off when we're tripping over our history, expectations, training, etc. If will smama let that old lady's laughter define her, she would be in trouble.

  9. I'm in the process of talking about how the sending out of the disciples is sandwiched between rejection and a beheading... not sure entirely where I'm going, but think that I'll talk about the need for community and the importance of being partnered with others as we are church -- partnered with other congregations and a sense of the wider church, so that we might be faithful in our witness and that we might be strengthened in our journey.

  10. I am continuing to preach from the Epistles (God alone knows why I decided to do that--I am not big on Paul, and besides narratives are so much easier to preach). THis week we are looking at authority. Unfortunately I don't seem to be much farther along than I was on Monday when I wrote these thoughts.

    But still the idea of authority and leadership is intriguing. And who knows, maybe I can tie in David and Jesus as well--all 3 passages in one sermon!!! (I never even try to do that, they so often are not even close to being related)

  11. I too absolve your from the sermon title. I treat it like a teaser, okay what is she going to preach about this week?

    I agree two sermons. I do two sermons where I am now and definetly don't like it.

    Whoop ti do Yea you are a minister! Too bad they acted that way toward you.

    I too left a denomination that I would not be welcome in at all, and frankly don't want to go back to.

    I started writing yesterday, but ran out of energy. This week I have felt tired, out of sorts, weak, listless. Told Bob who said I don't know whats your problem is. I couldn't even hold my arms up on Thursday to type. Friday I felt the same only worse. Tried to read a children's book to my girls and stumbled all over the place. When I finished, I just said I quit and went to bed. From 3pm until 7:30 this morning I slept. Do I feel better? Yes, my body does. My head says it wants more sleep. I have a sermon to write, help brain wake up.

    I thought I would say something about the rejection of Jesus that he then turned and sent his disciples out. Multiplying his efforts, not quitting, and no longer just him doing it. But I got to get my brain together to preach this.

  12. Oh, one more thought. I note that Paul's arguemnet about why he is credible includes a lot of talk about his weakness. How many people do you know include their greatest weaknesses and struggles in a job application?

  13. Oh, and Songbird... you know I love those pink strappy sandals. :)

  14. Gord, in the UCC we're supposed to include that kind of thing in the Self-Appraisal portion of our Ministerial Profiles. You know: "Inclined to work too hard!" Hmmph. I'm not sure we want to describe our real weaknesses, either.

  15. I'm inclined to change my sermon titles, too! I figure at least this way people know that I'm flexible, and that hopefully they realize that I can at least try a fresh idea if the one that I came up with three weeks ago (and published in the newsletter) isn't working for me. I change about half of the time. One month I just didn't publish titles.

    And as for my unreceptive friends all those year ago, I do realize that they just weren't ready for what was happening to me. Eventually they became my supporters, so it's all good--plus, I think the story of it all will work tomorrow.

  16. Here is why I *heart* RevGals:

    So, in the ECUSA lectionary, we don't get the second part of the passage about sending out the disciples. So I'm preaching about finding God in the familiar and the ordinary everyday... and I wanted to use the Teresa de Avila prayer. So I did a Google search to get the wording... and what came up? A two-year-old post of Songbirds!! How cool is that?

  17. Sermon #1 down, the rest of sermon #2 to go. I'm hoping to be done before I have to go to a graduation party, so I don't have to worry about getting home to finish...ha ha ha ha.

  18. Love those shoes - though I wouldn't be able to stand - let alone walk - in them.

    The preachers' party is fun. I'm so glad you started this (grin)

    I'm not preaching and - shock, horror, won't even go to church tomorrow so reading your thoughts on what you MIGHT preach is wonderful.

    Songbird wrote "How about the need to figure out who *we* are if we're going to survive out there on the road? It's hard to follow Jesus' commission to shake the dust off when we're tripping over our history, expectations, training, etc. " that gave a big OUCH in me. But by now you'll all have worked that out anyway (grin).

    "If will smama let that old lady's laughter define her, she would be in trouble." delete name and age/gender laughing and it fits all of us. WE're called by HIM and there will always be scepticism, ridicule and also positively good feedback too- we cannot afford to let that outweigh what we believe God is calling us to.

    Be blessed. I've been having a great Sabbath today - and it will spill out into tomorrow too (grin!)

  19. I *heart* this new Saturday format!

    I'm really intrigued by this low self-esteem issue in Nazareth and how it is contagious--they have to cut down Jesus because he might actually succeed and make them look bad. The small town I'm ministering in has some major baggage that is similar and I'd love to connect it.

    But I am still figuring out what to say about it that actually MEANS something to people! I have been preaching too much "interesting Bible trivia" lately and would like to become more message-oriented.

    Oh, plus I have a new membership insert to complete, plus filling out baptismal certificates, and a fellow new pastor just phoned to say he'll be in town and would like to get together for dinner. So...back to work!

  20. Done!

    For now at least. I might edit later, but I usually don't tweak too much.

  21. Blogs come in handy! I am using this story tomorrow. A great way to talk about where authority comes from.
    --Gord (writing from the church)

  22. Done here too! Both sermons will be posted on my blog shortly. I'll do a bit more editing later, but for now I'm off to the grad party.

  23. I don't ask you to believe this, peoples, but I FINISHED at quarter past six this evening....Me....Procrastinator Extrordinaire in Person....
    Something is very wrong in the world.
    I'm linking the 2 Corinthians words my grace is sufficient for you with the instruction to the twelve to take no extra supplies, and thinking about how we're never ready to go it alone. Do I post it? Never quite sure...
    But THANK GOD there is no expectation of titles in my church...I never know till after I've finished what direction I might take.

  24. Ah man, all these people done, and I am not. Pretty much got the first part done. But the 2nd part is not coming, and why? I don't know.

    I did take a walk with the dogs and kids before I sat down to write, maybe that's why the first part came. Maybe I need another walk. More caffiene. More sugar.

    And Stacey have fun at the party.

  25. Huh. Not done. Outlined... but not written.

    And going to a house warming as soon as The Boy gets up from nap.

    Oh yes, you will be 'seeing' me later.

    - The Loser

  26. HEY! Gord glad I could help...

  27. Working away here...I think it will be done before too long. At least the first draft. I hope.

    Just had a sudden insight to share...what if, in the second part, Jesus ordered the disciples to take nothing so that they couldn't buy the acceptance of the people they would stay with? Only take the things you can't do without on the road...nothing that people will have to either accept or reject you as you are, period.

    Don't know if I'll use it, but it sure got me excited for a minute. :)

  28. I am getting precicely nowhere- it does not help that my first service tomorrow is with the most critical church in the circuit...
    I'v e looked at the gospel then at the epistle, then back at the gospel... you get the

  29. p/s/ to explain I work in a circuit of ten churches as part of a staff team of 4 people

  30. Sally, could you talk about your call and the way people responded to you? You just wrote something so good about it recently for your blog. I would mine that material if I were you. There is always someone or more than someone sitting and thinking they are not the ones called to do anything--not worthy or able or gifted--it's good to hear others share their stories of how they heard and responded to God, especially in light of the gospel story for this week.

  31. Sally - don't focus on the congregation, preach from the heart. Could you tell them what being a disciple is all about- share your vision and your passion. if needs be close your eyes! (grin)

    Be blessed

  32. I'm keeping the two Mark stories together because I think they were linked for Mark's audience. My Governing Theological Theme that I am working with for Mark 6:1-13 is in the midst of rejection, persecution, and failure, we are called as Jesus' followers to minister to the lost.

    I have an illustration of rowdy kids (see my blog for part of that story). And a boy in my congregation was diagnosed with cancer last week, and I am using that to describe how the disciples probably felt helpless (in the midst of Jesus' rejection among his home crowd) before Jesus gave them a task to do. Overall charge is that each of us are called to minister even though we may experience a less than ideal response.

    I still need another illustration. I have half of this sermon written out and the other half is in my head. I just hope my two little boys decide not to stay up too late tonight.

    On another note, this is the first sermon I will ever preach where I am not a member of the church. I was asked to fill in for a pastor on vacation. Pray for me about that!

  33. A.Lin, you have my prayers. I remember spending a summer during seminary filling in anywhere I could and writing the sermons out by hand, as I was pre-computer at that point. It sounds like you are well on your way. Is there something in your own life that might suit for the additional illustration? I found when filling in that people enjoyed hearing a little piece of my story, getting a sense they knew who I was.

  34. almost there now- thanks to a chat with Lorna- thank you friend... revgals rocks!!!

  35. I'm just preaching from the second section of the Mark passage- the Disciples going out. The emphasis is how we think we need a lot of "stuff" to do mission, but Jesus seems to think we just need each other and a dependable pair of shoes... it doesn't have a lot of depth, but it's my first sermon after 2 wks of vacation, so I'm giving it my best shot.

  36. A. Lin praying all goes well for you, be blessed. trust God

  37. I'm preaching the Corinthians text, which happens to be one of my favorite Scripture passages. So I hate that Sunday is quickly approaching and I can't finalize what I want to say about the text.

    I'm attempting to be creative and write a letter of response to Paul and just say what I see in the text. But I'm feeling unsure about it all.

  38. 8:15pm est - the perfect time to begin blogging... err, I mean writing.

    BTW - don't you hate it when you show up for a non-church event and the only thing people can talk to you about is church. I was not there for 5 SECONDS before somebody said they were sorry to hear one of my elders (member of the governing board) was resigning. The worst part - I hadn't gotten the mail yet today so I was totally blindsided.


    Anyone else pulling the late shift with me or am I on my own?

  39. WTF indeed!

    Normally I'd be right there with you on the late shift, so I empathize. Blessings on the pressure-writing period.

  40. Hey,
    I am with you. Just got the kids to bed. Took a break and went for supper. Then we went to the park, played and walked. I could have stayed. But it was approaching the bewitching hour for all children including me. I wrote somewhat of a rough draft, but I don't feel too good about it. I guess I'll reread it and go from there. I thought I could go one way, but it doesn't seem to sound right. good luck to the rest of us late nighters.

    And yes I hate it when you are approached about church at a non church function. But what I really hate is being blindsided, it makes you feel vulnerable and dumb.

  41. You know, I think one of my problems right now is I am not feeling pressured or concerned. I could us some of that adrenaline.

  42. All I can tell you, will smama, is that Antonio Banderas once again made a Saturday night appearance at my house. I can only wish the same for you.

  43. eh... we're going to have to do better than Antonio... and all the really hot guys went weird on me (Brad, Tom, Hugh)

  44. This whole Saturday night worship really throws my adrenaline off ... as in it's hard to feel much pressure before lunch... maybe that's why my sermons have been crumm recently. Hmmm. Anyway... Here's to sermon writing and whatever gets 'em done.

  45. I am going to make it... I am working on the last section of the outline.

    How are you rev abi?

  46. Glad to hear things are coming together for everyone out there...and those for whom it is not, hang in there!

    I know I said earlier I was almost done, but now I really mean it. I'm more or less done but my ending really sucks.

    For some reason my brain just won't let me be a Saturday-afternoon-type person...oh no, it's got to be late late late for things to get done. Great.

    Maybe I will scrap the sermon and just focus on the FIRST baptism! Whee!

  47. Done... well, done enough for now.

    And by the way I consider Sue's posting of her prayer the equivalent of hanging out talking so late in the college dorms that all of the sudden you realize the thumping you hear is the newspaper guy bringing around the morning edition.

    I know for a fact some of you are still laboring so God bless to you and good luck!

  48. Good party this week. I hope everyone had/has a great Sunday. Remember...

    1) Let it go... the Holy Spirit has got your back.

    2) If you got a dog, walk it proud.

  49. Friends, I crashed about 10:30 last night. How did the last preparations go? I'll be listening to our guest this morning and probably thinking about what I would have preached instead. It's the preacher's disease, isn't it?
    Hugs to all who are preaching this morning!

  50. Songbird, I KNOW you used this week off to get your sermons a week ahead right.... right?!?

  51. Well, actually...I do have next week's sermon almost done. But that's because I'm using one of my Ordinary Time reflections as the basis for it. If it makes you feel any better, most of the reflections I wrote fall during my vacation and will not be useful for sermon-building. Clearly, I did not think ahead.

  52. Will smama, I am sorry I did not answer your post last night. I was working on my laptop in the dining room. We still don't have wireless up yet. But I am finished as finished as it can be. And as you said it and I are in the hands of the holy spirit now, as is the whole worship service. We have communion this morning and so I shortened the sermon. Thanks for the communal party and spirit as we sought God's word for His people in so many different place. I don't feel so alone, like I used to feel in Wadley late at night on Saturday. Now I have you all. And I so appreciate the prayer for today. Now I have to run finish getting dressed and kids dressed and ready by 8:30cst.

  53. I am playing around with evangelism and the separation of church and state.


  54. Oy is right. How's that going for you, Tripp?

  55. SOngbird,
    I carefully chose days for the devotional that did not invole Paul (as I say I don't really like the guy). Then I decided to preach on him all summer and into the fall. NOt well planned at all. BUt I might be able to use the Reign Of Christ devotional on Pilate, Jesus, and truth...

  56. S'bird,

    You know, it went well. As I understand it, we misuse the state, the church and by abstraction evangelism, when we think of them as loci for power.

    Somehow power is wrapped up in our misconsceptions and ideas about how we are to be the state and the church. That misunderstanding is revealed in how and why we evangelize. There is a conflation that occurs for me.

    I think its all about power...who has it, who wants it and why.

    I posted the sermon here.

  57. #58 I'm late! I forgot we were all getting together here! Rats! Dang!

    Worship went well. The Lord's Supper was celebrated. I think the bread was a cut-up hot dog bun. I really do.
    And, a sugar ant walked across the grape juice holder. I smushed him with my finger and continued.

    Are we high church here or what?

  58. I'm posting just to get to comment number 60. No other reason.


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