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Saturday, July 22, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party

Oh, my sisters and brothers. The past two weeks I have confidently invited you in, telling you I had a guest preacher or had already written my sermon. But today I meet you Word file in hand, with nothing but a list of fifteen thoughts and a day that includes picking a child up at camp, meeting a college friend who has only two hours today to visit with me during her trip to this part of the country, receiving a second child coming home from camp and doing her laundry to get her ready for another camp tomorrow, and attending a potluck supper at church. (Needless to say I'll have nothing to bring to the latter.)

So, come on in and see if you can find something to drink. If you need me while I'm out, I'll leave my cellphone number. There's not much to eat. Half a bag of corn chips, a box of Pop-Tarts, a whole lot of Gatorade on top of the fridge, a leftover half-sandwich from Thursday...but I will make a fresh pot of Starbucks coffee, using the St. Casserole Ceremonial Coffee Bean Grinder, and there is enough half-and-half to drown a cat if that's your preference, and if you prefer a Mocha, there's a can of Ghirardelli's cocoa in the cupboard.

My list of 15 things to talk about comes from reflection on 2 Samuel and Mark--I began with the idea of talking about our need to get outside the box and find a source for re-creation, but this week my reflection on wide open spaces has come to include memories of the coastline in Mississippi after Katrina, the towns being shelled in Southern Lebanon, and the belongings someone left behind in the little shelter at the dog park after a rainy night. God is in those places, too.

Stop by for encouragement, inspiration and, seriously, if you like the red Gatorade? Just take it home with you. I'll stop in along the way.


  1. Hmm...No else here yet.

    Well, I'll pour myself a cup of that Mocha Java, put the butter tarts I brought on plates and settle in to make some notes.

    I have three observations on the text (God in a box, like Songbird), Albert Schweitzer's comment that Jesus always ends up looking a lot a like his biographer--or words to that effect, and that sometimes we cannot/should not do a thing, even if it is good and positive). I have no place I have to be until close to dinner time, and DP is still snoozing. I should be able to whack this out in no time, right?

    I have no idea what to do with this that I didn't do last week.

    Here goes...

  2. Oh my songbird, you will be at the 11th hour with the rest of us. What a day. I have nothing to complain about, although my kids are arguing, and fighting over sitting in their dad's lap as I write.

    I like what you are writing about God in the open spaces, and your illustrations.

    I am writing from Ephesians. The thing that strikes me is that this day and age as the commentators say will not appreciate the divide and the transformation that occured between the jew and gentile. But we have our own barriers don't we and that is what I am going to speak to. Then verse 14 strikes me that Jesus is our peace, and in him all barriers are struck down.

    At least that's where I am starting from, and hopefully the Holy Spirit will guide me putting it together.

  3. Hi, I am working on my second cup of coffee. The kids are watching Narnia, while eating chocolate muffins. MMM. I haven't eaten anything yet. But I love to read The, especially for the discussion of the lectionary texts. This is one I read for the Ephesians text: Friends, forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but Robert Frost's poem "Mending Walls" works terrifically with this text. Here it is:

    Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down. Something has knocked the stones off the wall. There is something that wants the wall down. This is the first force. But there is another attitude which opposes it. The poem continues with one farmer addressing the other. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."

    Obviously, Rebecca in MD USA

  4. just lurking here.I like pink lemondade. Any of that around? Looking hopefully in the fridge

    I've decided come September (when I'm back from seminary) I'll start sweating with you and working on a sermon each week (I'll post it in open pulpit) because I've missed the discipline of working out a sermon and allowing God to speak to me personally that way.

    Now wont that be fun.

    But tomorrow we go to a confirmation (Finnish Lutheran) so I won't be in our church or hear the word in English - good Finnish practice - though I don't like conf. services much - too many photographers and tradition - I have to remind myself that God is still there.

  5. Whoo-hoo! THe Spirit moves, indeed.

    An hour later and I have the sermon 2/3rds done!

    I'm going with the "We can't put God in a box" theme; God is not a tame lion. God cares about human needs and desires, but God has God's own purposes, and will incorporate those human needs (i.e., David's desire for a dynasty to follow him) into the divine purpose if possible.

    I also talked about the presence of God, and how God doesn't need a temple or ark at all (or church or cross) to be present. The Israelites discovered that when they were in exile, and it is what allowed them to survive the centures of wandering and being sent (literally) from pillar to post.

    Now I'm trying to figure out how to tie the two together (if possible) or if I should drop one and focus on the other.
    Beacuse we're looking for a building, the presence of God one is pulling me a bit more than the tame lion.

    But I have a good story for the introduction for the tame lion.

    I guess what I need is a good story or illustration or metaphor for the presence of God angle. Hmmm.

    I shall contemplate this as I much a butter tart (have some, there's plenty!).

  6. I'm at the office already, waiting for the wedding couple who are driving all the way from Nearby Flat State for not only this meeting, but their wedding in September (don't ask).

    I got up super early at home and got started on next week's sermon--cause I'm leaving tomorrow morning to go to Synod School (church camp for grown ups).

    Already found out today that one member's father died and another member's spouse has the double whammy of liver/lung cancer.

    Yeah, it's not a good time to leave. Or write sermons for that matter.

    I'm going with Ephesians: a love letter. (Pseudo-Pauline at that.)

    Did somebody say "butter tarts"?

  7. Good morning, preaching sisters (and brothers, although I don't see any at the moment). I'm working on part 3 of the David saga. The hard part about narrative preaching, for me, is making sure that
    a) there is a natural story arc, so it doesn't get to be "and then...and then...and then..."
    and b) there is some main point that is not so subtle as to be missed.

    Then again, that whole having a point thing may be just a holdover from my puritan plainstyle homiletic roots. At any rate, David's big screw-up is coming along nicely in my brain, but is not so much being translated into type. *sigh*

    Please pass the coffee! Butter tarts sound good too...although I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have anything that contains the word or the substance of butter when I haven't gone running yet today, and am unlikely to do so.

  8. I've got sour cream coffee cake! Good for brunch, good for snacking on all day! And how about a little iced chai to go with that? There's "does this pulpit make my butt look big" mugs for everyone!

    I'm a monthly preacher and therefore not going to stay long--just wanted to provide a little refreshment for those of you fighting the good fight this week. You're in my thoughts this week.

  9. I generally finish my sermon on Friday, but yesterday came with some other more urgent needs, so here I am.

    My early thoughts:

    1. I've always tended to think poorly of the crowds closing in on Jesus' much-needed retreat time. I have tended to wish that they would leave him be for a while longer. But today I'm thinking of highlighting their needs, not only as legitimate, but urgent. They would dearly love to NOT clamour after Jesus, but their crisis demands action, so they go looking for healing.

    2. The other angle I was looking at was that while we tend to think of the crowd as a bother, perhaps we should be more like them - clamouring after Jesus.

    I would love a butter tart or some of that yummy sour cream coffee cake, but alas, I'm still eating gluten-free. I will enjoy it all vicariously through all of you and sip my Starbucks....

  10. Sue, I like your idea of the crowds clamouring after Jesus -- I, too, have been loathe to like them as I tend to think of the people who disrupt my own days off... which is a good reminder (blushing) that I'm not God and *should* identify more with the crowds... God is always there for us, regardless of our needs, and responds generously.
    I'm working on a narrative sermon from a person-in-the-crowd perspective and it is slow going with the morning office interruptions.
    Oh, if only I had some good strong coffee and sour cream coffee cake. I forgot my scone at home. Drat!!

  11. OK, I'm totally side-tracked by the concept of butter tarts, chocolate muffins and sour-cream coffeecake.

    Recipes? Please?

  12. I had a coffeecake muffin in the car on the way to camp and made notes into the memo on my cellphone. By the time we got home and I replied to a phone message it was, well, now, and I have to leave to meet my sweet college friend. The good news is I decided how to begin the sermon and picked up a great story on NPR about two upper class girls from Damascus volunteering to help Lebanese refugees and having to re-work their sole vision of Lebanon: Beirut as shopping mall.
    Back later!

  13. I'm working on a couple of meditations based around songs from Curious George for a double baptism tomorrow morning (yes odd I know) the little boy Cameron who is 6 has requested them... also it is a team preach with our young and highly intelligent minister Matt who can run rings around my tired brain... it is hot and thundery- so even Red gatorade will do ... we can even get that in the UK now!
    No BlueBell Ice Cream tho

  14. Two things stick out to me in the Mark passage:

    He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
    I remember writing yesterday to someone that I didn't even have time to pee. This is a lesson that we learn over and over again -- self care. (OK, a lesson that *I* learn over and over again....)
    Jesus told his disciples to take care of themselves. Now that will preach.

    and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd;
    NOT, 'he got really mad with them because' or 'his irritation level reached a new high because' but he had great compassion.
    And at times, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. We need to have compassion and teach by example perhaps?

  15. You people are making me hungry!

    The sermon is about half done, and I need to figure out where I'm going with the conclusion. So, I'm going to take a break to pop by a congregant's picnic. I suspect this will also take care of the hunger issue.

    I love these ideas about the clamoring crowd, btw - if I was going with the lectionary, I'd happily steal them!

  16. I'm definitely in deep doo-doo this week. Last week went so smoothly I think I am getting my comeuppance this week.

    I'm heading in the shepherd direction as our OT lesson is the one from Jeremiah and our Psalm is Psalm 23. But nothing is flowing, I overslept, and I have a lunch soon with the leaders of the Latino congregation that shares our space.

    I have a feeling I'll be back later. MUCH later. Sigh.

  17. Ok, sermon is done (as done as it will be...): first-person narrative with verses of the 23rd Psalm running through it.

  18. Well, I'm deciding to go with some stories from my days in the family planning biz.

    Too many times the kids I saw were accepting a poor imitation for love and a pale substitute for self-esteem when they made their choices regarding sexuality. (At way too young an age, if you ask me.)

    What if we all started out with the assumption, right from the very get-go that we are loved, cherished, valuable? Isn't that what "rooted and grounded in love" really means? How can we purpetuate that assumption?

    I'll probably also use the song "How Could Anyone?" as a text for this as well.

    Now, to figure out how to do all this without using the word S-E-X.

  19. Cheesehead, how about tying in the sexuality piece with the understanding of one's identity? It seems that for a lot of young people, their identity is almost entirely determined by what others think of them. Their self-esteem is based on how much they are liked by their peers, even if it's for all the wrong reasons.

    If they were strong in their understanding of being "rooted and grounded in love" they wouldn't need this external approval. Their self-esteem would be internally grounded already.

  20. All right, changed direction entirely!

    I had already decided to go with the presence of God not needing a house built by human beings, and was sitting here thinking about how to start the sermon. I'd tinkered with the rest of the sermon as much as I could--it's time for teh beginning and the ending.

    ANd it hit me--homes. Houses. All the lost homes recently, with the earthquakes, and wildfires and tsunamis, not to mention the homes lost in Israel and Lebanon. Ironic, BTW, that the cedars that David's house is made of came from Lebanon and are in fact on the modern Lebanese flag...

    Back to work!

    (Lest anyone think I am more virtuous than I really am, I had lunch, played with the dog, watered the garden, and caught up on email snce I last posted)

  21. Back from the picnic. It's raining in torrents here. Great. After all the flooding, that's just what we need. Also, the picnic-goers seemed to feel that they should hide their beer when I was introduced as the pastor. As if I hadn't seen it before then, and as if I wouldn't have had one myself if I wasn't in the midst of sermon-writing. *sigh* Then again, last time I had a beer at this particular house, the husband proposed a random tryst, so maybe it's best that I just let them hide their alcohol and think I'm all righteous and ministerial.

    Anyway. It sounds like there are some good thoughts happening around here. I'm now about 3/4 done, and still am not sure how I'm going to wrap this baby up.

  22. Great minds think alike, Sue! That's exactly the way I'm headed. (I've been tinkering at it since I last posted.)

    Stacey: rats! "Wrapping that baby up" is the part that just kills me, every week. I've now got eight days to wrap this one up, but I'm sure I'll be back here next week, moping about how I just can't tie it all together.

  23. erm cheesehead ... why can't you mention S-E-X??? don't you have that over in your denomination (cheesy smile!)

    My mum just called to say she'd been reading the OT devotional and that it was better than the preaching in her local church.

    Three cheers to RevGals and Pals ...

    (she did say there was some word she kept bumping into - that she didn't quite undertand though ... you've guessed it - it was blog ... it's hard to sound like the loving daughter that I am -when laughing so much inside I was shaking ... what was the word. compassion. I needed compassion.)

    anyway apparently there are good (short) sermons in OT book - so if we're really stuck how about reading those to the congregation :)

    and I'm with whoeversaid it - recipes please for all those lovely homebaked goodies ...baking would delay the sermon writing still further now wouldn't it? (bigger grin than usual)

    be blessed

  24. Well, Lorna, I *can* used the word SEX, but then the congegation is left with thinking about how the preacher just said SEX in the pulpit. Sometimes it is just too darn distracting. (Even if I say it in 10-point font voice they will hear it in all caps.)

    I'll save it for another time.

  25. Cheesehead: It's the wrapping up that gets me too, every freakin' week. But, since I'm preaching on David, I started looking at the Psalms for inspiration, and found it in Ps. 32, which certainly seems like it could go hand in hand with his repentence after the Bathsheba debacle. So, I'm concluding with David finding a "clean slate" in God's forgiveness, and reading the psalm.

    Yes, folks, that means I'm DONE!!!

    I actually have two rounds tomorrow, but I'm going to do David Part 1 for the early service instead of writing something new.

    And speaking of S-E-X, it's sure going to be fun doing the children's message tomorrow without talking about, ahem, the nature of David's relationship with Bathsheba.

  26. Stacey don't you just love that "hide the beer" thing.

    Cheesehead, I agree about mentioning the S-E-X word, people just cannot get past the preacher saying that word.

    It looks like I am the only one doing the Ephesians thing or am I.

    I did do a cool thing for myself, went and got my hair cut and highlighted. Boy do I feel lighter. You know when you move to a new city it is hard to find someone you can trust with your hair. Well this one woman's name, or rather the description of her kept coming up. Bit the the bullet and I am pleased with what she did, how she dealt with me, and my hair. I will be rocking and rolling in the pulpit tomorrow instead of looking like an old hag.

    I have been thinking about the present day walls of Israel, and the muslim world. We and now the muslim world. Our walls we personally put up. Walls we put up in the church. Barriers to visitors, new people, seekers, youth, etc. Any other thoughts from the 11th hour party hearty group.

    And I am personally jealous of those who have finished their sermons already. It just ain't fair.

  27. Calling for the wisdom of the RevGals and Pals!

    Glad you've all got on so well with sermons today! I'm not preaching tomorrow, but next Sunday I have the all-age preach again for our Family Communion service. So I was wondering (if this is an ok place to wonder?) where are you all/your churches at with all-age sermons etc... simplified/visual aids/powerpoint/stories??? We're trying to get to grips with this kind of service which often can seem to satisfy no-one. Though to completely contradict myself - sometimes adults comment that they can understand/enjoy a children's/all-age talk better than a 'normal' sermon, but I think they're hard to do well So, what do you do and how do you feel about this?

  28. Abi: Woo hoo on the cut/highlights. Doesn't that just sometimes make all the difference? I got mine cut Thursday and I feel like a new woman.

    Chelley: I just assume that my sermons are all-age. I don't have a terribly academic congregation, so I just aim for the average in terms of depth. But apparently compared to who they had before it's still a big leap from where they were then.

  29. Does that include the children being in with you too Cheesehead? We have children's groups most weeks and all get back together to receive communion (so the adults hear the sermon and the children do age related stuff in their groups) but once a month we have a service where everyone's in together for the whole thing. It's expected that the message will be suitable for the children as well as for everyone else, which is what is sometimes challenging. Perhaps some churches just don't attempt the all-age thing? If we're all in then our families with younger children expect it to be inclusive of them too, and often some of the older folk stay away on those Sundays!

  30. RevAbi ... love this thought "I have been thinking about the present day walls of Israel, and the muslim world. We and now the muslim world. Our walls we personally put up. Walls we put up in the church. Barriers to visitors, new people, seekers, youth, etc." and will be interested to hear how it works out.

    I was told of a picture someone had seen - of a church - with the -River of God flowing into and through it. Instead of letting it flow naturally - and bring living water to the nearby peopel - the church build a containing wall. Made me think a lot then. Still does.

    Chelley - if you have a teen address - use that. Adults usually like that and remember it better than the sermon. But if there are little kids - well I hate family worship sundays (we have two a year) because as you say when ALL ages are there - no one really gets much and I feel (and can be wrong) a lot degenerates into performing or something.

    Let us know how it goes :)

  31. RevAbi - Hoorah for the hair! I had mine cut on Thursday and immediately felt 150% better. I'm still dreaming of highlights, but that is SO not in the budget right now. So, you can envy my finished sermon, and I shall envy your fabulous hair, and we'll be even :)

    Chelley - I've thought a lot about these multi-age sermons, because we often don't have enough kids in church to have a "children's sermon," but we never will have kids in church if the service is not accessible for them. Also, I hate, I despise the idea of separate sermons for adults and kids...even though it's much easier to do it that way. I've found a real connection point in narrative preaching, which might also just be called storytelling. If you can do it well, there are layers in story that make it both simple and rich, and kids and adults alike respond to that. I'm pretty sure I'm not at the point of doing it particularly well yet, but my current David series is really stretching me in that direction.

  32. Thanks for your comments :)
    s-tf, yes there are younger children there too (and we have these services once a month, and twice when there's a fifth Sunday)!

    stacey, that's just the thing I've pondered for a while too - if there are not many children you don't want a 'children's talk', but if it's not considered accessible then the families with children won't come! I like the idea of going with a narrative and focusing on story-telling. When I'm speaking just to children I think I'm ok at this - it's just making it more universal... hmm things to ponder!

  33. Chelley, that sounds like the right direction.
    cheesehead, Snowman (formerly known as #2 Son) just returned from the camp with curriculum based on the Libby Roderick song, and he said the worst part was the sex talk!!! So embarassing.
    Friends, I'm on my way out to the church supper, then back to get serious about the writing. The outline has taken its final shape, but that's all I've managed thus far.
    Think of will smama who is riding for MS and told me her sermon would be done ahead of time!

  34. Woo-hoo, I;m done!

    I went with "God doesn't need a house." I pulled in the experience of the Babylonian exile, when the people thought God had stayed in Jerusalem in the temple (but the temple was detroyed! where was God going to live?), and their realization that God doesn't live in a place, but is always with God's people. God is everywhere, and with all people. I challenged the congregation to think about when they think that a certain group (and I name some) doesn't have the presence of God, or when they want to think that God doesn't live with certain people.

    I wasn't sure how it was going to come together, but it has.

    And next week, it's a special service, so I'm off-lectionary, and I'm so nusy that I had better not be sitting here at this time next week writing it!

    And the week after I'm at the anniversary service of a sister church nearby, so I'm not preaching.

    Now I can enjoy the party tonight with a clear consciece!

  35. Whoa, sorry for all the typos--I really haven't started imbibing early, honestly!

  36. I do a "children's sermon" even if there is only one child there. I'm committed to making the children feel welcome,even if there is only one.

    Now, somttimes if it is only one, that child won't come up front, but even then, if it is something taht I have worked hard on and that the whole church family should hear,I just go ahead and talk about it anyway.

    Songbird, poor Snowman! LOL There will be no "sex talk" at St. Stoic next week, for just that very reason--kids in church, sitting next to parents!

  37. Songbird? I didn't eat anything although I eyeballed the red drink on top of the fridge. I'm on the sofa in your living room taking a nap. Molly licked me!

    About the sermon tomorrow? I'm preaching on the Mark passage with the central thought of people running to Jesus with their sick as soon as they recognized him.

  38. I'm busy going no-where la, la, la la la la....
    Childrens talks are often the thing the adults remember... always worth doing ......still la la la la...

  39. Sally said: "I'm busy going no-where la, la, la la la la....
    Childrens talks are often the thing the adults remember... always worth doing ......still la la la la..."

    Sally I am right there with you. Have not written one word. Have been seriously thinking of breaking the preaching law and steal a sermon. My hubby came in and ask me did I want to go to Supper. Yes Yes and Yes. And he said my hair looks lovely. OOOH he may get some kisses tonight. Meanwhile lalala, I might sing the song Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls come tumbling down. Who knows what evil lurks in this mind after having hair beautified.

  40. Well, I just got back from a mission trip with eight middle schoolers, so I have enough to say tomorrow about abundance and using our gifts, just still awfully tired and sore to write!

    Chelley - we have monthly family worship too. My boss does sermons that he calls "object lessons"... he has some focus item and asks the kids questions about it and then makes his point. They are some of his absolute best sermons... Last All Saints Day - also a Baptism Sunday - he brought a couple Care Bears and talked about how the symbols on their stomachs show what their mission/job is, and then talked about making the sign of the cross on the heads of the babies being baptized, and how we are all marked for mission. It was a "childrens sermon" I suppose, but it really worked for all ages.

  41. If I can find a good image on Google to help explain it, my Children's Time tomorrow will be a story about my dad as a teenage soda jerk, on the receiving end of a prank phone call about Prince Albert in the Can. Believe me, that's what *everyone* will remember.

  42. Let's see. How are the refreshments holding up? Should I go out for Pepsi? Because, seriously, even though I haven't written one word of my sermon, I have a really good outline, so I would be happy to go out and get whatever anyone needs.
    You say it's pouring outside? No worries. I'll still go. How 'bout some ice cream?
    St. C, do we need some Diet Coke?

  43. Hi Friends,
    I'm going with the God Doesnt Need A House theme, too, RP and talking about how God has ALWAYS been knocking down walls in order to get people of faith together and then I'm quoting shamelessly from Songbird's anniversary addition post yesterday and outing myself as a RevGal tomorrow as a way of talking about the chruch without walls...

    And then I think (This part NOT EXACLY DONE YET)
    -talking about the struggles of a local methodist church taht is trying to sell its building so it can concentrate its resources on mission instead of mainttancnce and the years and dollars wasted while they were sued by a couple of preserveration socitiesAND
    -urging us to prayerfully consider what a wall-less church might mean for us as a METAPHOR (since we're not literalists at our place)

    In SEattle it's too darn hot for anyone to be in church anyway, so I'm thinking it'll be a small crowd (if I had my choice, I'd be sitting under sprinkler,isntead of in a pew that's for sure...)

  44. RevAbi, I want a picture of your hot new hairdo!

    I just got back from another visit to the neighbors' picnic. This time I had a beer and sang some karaoke.

    Provided we have children in church tomorrow, my children's sermon will be about taking what is not ours - and seeking forgiveness afterward (David and Bathsheba, minus the S-E-X). During the summer, we have had one very shy child in our late worship service (the early service is designed to be all-ages-friendly), so I've avoided calling her forward alone. This was VBS week, so I'm hoping for a few more families than usual.

  45. Oh, and Songbird,
    Iced tea for me, too.
    Maybe this is the Sunday you preach from notes instead of a manuscript.

    (Maybe "MAnuscript, Notes, or Whatever Comes to Mind: A Sermon Preparation Debate" is a topic for another time)

  46. And since Songbird is offering, I could seriously use some ice cream, preferably of a variety including chocolate...

  47. Stonyfield Farms organic Cookies 'n Dream, perhaps?

  48. Oh, Juniper. How many times have I said that? It's never, ever happened. I now have page one and paragraph one of page two. That's a beginning, but I need two parts of a middle and a very clever or moving (preferably both) end bit. Sigh. Telling myself that vacation begins tomorrow after church is, sadly, not helping me to focus.

  49. Okay Stacey, I'll get a picture of this hot look. Now if I could get the bod to have a hot look.

    I just got back from supper with the family. I sat between two demanding attention kids. I am worn out, should have had glass of wine but then I knew I was coming back to the sermon. Stacey what did you sing, and did you drink one for me.

    Martha, some icecream would be good. We will need some for the late night, and some diet coke.

    I did get some more of the sermon wrote before I left. So a little further down the road, than I was.

  50. Stonyfield Farms....yum. That'll work.

    I sang "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." Not the most ministerial choice, but one of the few songs I knew amidst a whole lot of country. I'll have one for you now, Abi - but you know, someday we're going to have to get together again and even things out, as I seem to be having a lot of your drinks lately!

  51. Hi gals and pals,

    I got to page two. I'll take (and probably ignore) my laptop to Church Camp for Grownups tomorrow. Somehow Laptop minus teh internets equals paper weight.

    I went out to dinner with hubby, and had the worst lemon drop cocktail ever. And it cost $7.50. Ridiculous! Shoulda gone with the wine.

    I'm ironing and packing, but I'll think homiletical thoughts for y'all whilst I finish.

  52. So I'm on my bike today doing 55+ miles and I am amazed to find out that just as if I was in my office my mind quickly wanders from attempting to do sermon work to doing blog posts.

    I will take some ice cream, I am working on Ephesians boundaries and borders, and please keep the Advil coming.

  53. Shoot, all I did was drive my car 155 miles, and I'm in the same boat, minus the need for Advil.
    Here's the ice cream. Is Motrin okay?

  54. Cheesehead, they must have teh Internets. They must!

  55. Iced tea- yes please... it is 2:20am here I am wide awake...

    Finished my team preach bit for the morning- now thinking about the evening Celebration on lOVE- GOING TO TELL THE STORY OF A CHURCH IN Northern Ireland and how they overcame violence and acted in love and forgiveness

  56. sorry finger shouting- how rude

  57. Motrin... is that like sprinkles for adults?

  58. Some days it definitely is, will smama.
    Sally, you are forgiven. It happens to the best of us.

  59. Do you think Stacey's singing karaoke again?

  60. I have a six-year-old sermon on Ephesians. After my experiences in Hispanic ministry these past few months I also have some great ideas for renovating it into something fresh and improved, only I wonder if I have time to get it done before the 'funder gets any closer. My little ones HATE thunder which means that I will be banished to the daybed in their bedroom should it get close enough to wake them. (Did I say 'banished'? Surely I meant 'invited'!)

    I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but while I keep an ear tuned to the approaching storm I might indulge in a bit of ice cream. Hope to drop back in with a progress report later.

    Hey Will smama, how did the 55 miles go? Do I dare ask?

  61. Shhh...I am NOT here. I promised my spouse I would go nowhere NEAR teh internets while I am working on cursed exegesis paper. So, I am not here saying Hi to the rest of you and checking in. I am not...Now I am not going to go check my email. Blessings to the sermon writers/preachers!!

  62. My sermon topic in the "Bible Stories we should all know" series selected months ago is: Joshua & Jericho. War in the Middle East anyone? Sound like fun? How do you tactfully point out that we can't be critical of other nations bombing civilians because...

    Do we know our Bible TOO well in 2006 or is war and genocide just a part of human nature.

    Of course, there are issues deep and complex and I don't want to oversimplify or expose my limited understanding. How bold will I feel tomorrow... And how I wish I had moral clarity on these murky issues.

    And Miami Vice is on TV. Wow. A sign of impending apocalypse for sure.

    I am GOOD at procrastination.

  63. Preacher Mom, thanks for asking. I'll try to post about it tomorrow but suffice to say that the legs are burning and the face is still hot but I finished

    APS - sounds like a hymn sing to me!

  64. Wow, aps, that is timely! (I hate when that happens.)
    I'm going there, too, but can't quite figure out how to end on an uplifting note for this my last sermon until after vacation. I really hate to leave on a downer. Of course, we're singing Pass It On as our closing hymn, and we have a guitarist, so maybe everyone will forget about it anyway.

  65. I am not singing karaoke, although I can still hear the neighbors going strong. I am watching "Match Point" and having Abi's drink.

    I'd say "hi" to Marie, if she was actually here.

  66. Yep, it's too bad Marie's not around. She was so much fun at the last party!

  67. WEll thanks folks. Here I had a truly nice plan to talk about breaking down walls and learning to agree to disagree within our own denomination (and introduce the General Council meeting happening next month and then I read this. Now I am thinking about the Middle East...

    Nah, I want a short one tomorrow so I can leave for my 4 hour drive to camp (1.75 to the camp, then another 1.25 -each way- to the kennel and back). Unfortunately war in the Middle East is like the poor -- they will always be with us.

  68. Gord, I hear you. Tonight I opened up a concert the church is having on the front lawn with prayer and focused on weather, the gift of song and fellowship. After the 'amen' I wondered if I shouldn't be saying something about the Middle East but hard to know how to pray and not get in trouble with one group or another.

    Maybe tomorrow AM we will just do a prayer where I name the concern and folks pray for it silently.

    IMHO I think you should stick with the denominational issues. Most of us are struggling right now with not ending our sermons like this:

    The Middle East - WTF?

  69. Will Smama! Perfect! Now I have my ending.

    Thank you.

  70. will smama: Yeah for finishing!

    "The Middle East-WTF?"
    No kidding.

    Sigh...I sure miss Marie. Wish she was here.

  71. "The Middle East - WTF?" I like it, but it would never fly here. "Did the pastor just say the f-word???" "No, she just said 'f.' That's ok." "But she implied the f-word!!!"

    I'd definitely stick with denominational issues...but then I'd have to end with "The RCA - WTF?" All those acronymns get confusing.

  72. I'm not here either - I really have made no progress since I posted 3 hours ago since I went and used my mother's day gift certificate for a pedicure and I had a little left over so I got my eyebrows waxed - never done that before! And Peacbang is right - it doesnt actually hurt all THAT much....
    Now I'm in a coffee shop I"m not hip enuf for trying to stay away from Bedtime At Junipers and actually do a sermon. Sadly, nothing emerged during the pedicure itself excecpt that I wish mothers day woudl come more often than once a year....
    Nah, that doesnt preach at all.
    Will Smama - as usual you are making me laugh my ass off. Great job on the bik ride!!

  73. Am I good at procrastinating or what?! Thought I'd better jump in the tub real quick before the storm got here. Well, the storm never came, so 'real quick' turned into a long soak. Ahhhh.

    Then a quick look in here . . .

    The rain is falling on the metal awning over the porch by my bedroom door, the sweet siren call to bed and to sleep.

    NO! Gotta work!

    Oops - there's the thunder. Waiting for the summons from across the hall . . .

  74. Hi stacy! We must have some kind of cosmic connection - that's the second time we've posted at the same moment....
    (insert twiilight zone theme here)

  75. Oooh, juniper, we are synched! I'm nearly as envious of your pedicure as of Abi's highlights, by the way.

    Reverend Mommy - I have located the lindt bittersweet chocolate. So much good and so much evil in one little piece of %70 cocoa.

    On a random note, Match Point is a bizarre movie.

  76. Ah, if only I could end every sermon with a big "WTF???"!

    I've just broken out the Diet Pepsi with Lime and am about to dig into the second half. I finally have something about shepherds and sheep and rest and renewal and a bunch of stuff about compassion to add in.

    It's kind of a jumble, but at least it's something at this point.

    I'm also pointing them ahead to the "bread of life/heaven" series of Gospel lessons we get for the next *five* weeks. Good lord. It's a nice theme, but FIVE weeks?

    Keep at it, everyone who isn't done yet! Solidarity!

  77. Wheeeeee, apparently Abi's drink put me over the edge. The percentage sign goes AFTER the number, I do believe.

    Time for more karaoke?

  78. Shhh! Can't you all be QUIET?! She just got home and she's sitting on the couch, mere FEET away. So clearly I am not on the teh internets. I am trying to figure out what goes in "literary placement" and what goes in "literary structure" and thinking to myself that this stuff will NEVER preach. Blech!

    Will Smama nearly gave me away with the loud guffaw. How to pass that off as exegesis on the Great Shema...

    Blessings, preacher gals! (And guys...)

  79. I dunno, Stacey, what are you singing? ;)

  80. Okay, I'm done, I think, and I am resisting the urge to end with WTF! When in doubt, go back to the gospel and suggest we follow Jesus.
    How's the 'funder, PM?

  81. Someday, semfem, you will be scheduling your vacation based on the Lectionary...

  82. Also, I love Great Shema as a rhyme for loud guffaw. That is gifted.

  83. Hopefully you will all think of me tomorrow morning when you make sure you speak what you wrote rather than the 'real' endings of your sermon.

    My sermon is creeping along but I am still having thoughts of walking the baby around that I am baptizing tomorrow for a good 20 minutes. Think folks will notice?

    My m-i-l is coming tomorrow. ANyone want to take bets on how soon into coffee fellowship she will say something insinuating babies shouldn't be baptized.

  84. Marie! I didn't know you were here!

    I'm considering pulling out the R-E-S-P-E-C-T...which surely means I should N-O-T go across the street.

    Hoorah for Songbird being done! How's everyone else coming along?

  85. will smama, could you offer to baptize her? Only more like christen? With a bottle?
    Obviously I mean one of those theatrical breakaway bottles...

  86. Songbird--yes! How soon after starting a call can one take their vacation?

    I'm nearly three months in, if that matters. I do have CE scheduled for next month already, thank goodness.

    Stacey--your karaoke play-by-play is making me look forward to the end of that August CE...because it will end in Boston with a karaoke date! Little side trip for me after CE is finished.

    Sock it to me, sock it to me...*hums*

  87. Well, I just arrived home from an all-day, wonderful but exhausting outreach in Milwaukee. I'll post about it tomorrow. But since I knew I'd not be home, my sermon was done Thursday, except for a bit of tweaking. Woo Hoo!

    But I did bring along a tray of iced coffee (try'll like it!) and some chocolate cate to go along.

    It is called better-than-sex chocolate cake. It's not, but it is really good.

    Cheesehead started it.

  88. Awesome Singing Owl, thank you and congrats on the Thursday advance.

    The woman who donated the Memorial Day plastic flowers makes a better then sex pie made of... cool whip, pineapple and something else put into a graham cracker crust.

    It took all I had to not say, "Uh D----. have you not had sex?"

  89. songbird you are like a genius with that follow jesus business! I am going to preach on that too, now! [wipes brow with relief and also because of hotness]

    are you posting right now stacey?

    will, maybe you could just do some leg lifts behidn the pulpit during your sermon. in fact, that could proably be good exercise time for all of us who need to squeeze our exercise into little increments.....

  90. Hmm...Boston is not very far from here... *me starts to warm up her Gloria Gaynor*

    Mmmm...chocolate cake...

  91. Uh Juniper, I don't think pulpit leg lifts are on option for someone who is seriously considering sleeping on the living room couch because climbing the stairs is just too daunting a project.

  92. Juniper, I just missed you, but I believe we were in fact typing simultaneously!

  93. and here I am again stacey :)

    hey will, how about some gentle stretching or yoga instead? you know, kind of like liturgical dance. It IS David this month, after all....

  94. Stacey--I think we are in the same state, just I am on the complete opposite side from you. I have CE in North Carolina, then flying to Boston, then flying home. The appointed weekend is the last one in August if you want to join me there. :)

  95. Gotta go to bed... the eyes won't stay open, sex cake or not.

    Good luck all. I will check on you in the morning.

  96. See, this is why we need a frappr map. I had no idea that semfem and I were in the same state.

    Good night and happy sleep, will smama.

  97. Ooh! Stacey, you wouldn't happen to be participating in the First Parish Project, would you? (Or anyone else out there?)

    I just read your profile and thought, hey, FPP might be right up your alley.
    There's more info here.

    *lights a lavender candle for will smama*

  98. I am not, but I've been pondering getting involved with FPP. I'm a bit concerned about the time requirements, but we'll see.

  99. ok, i gotta go now too. I'm almost done except for the 6 am finetune I always do on Sunday morning and now the kids in the too-cool-for-me coffee shop started to smoke what I'm pretty sure is actual marijuana and the band (yikes, the band) is getting set up,

    night all

  100. *tones down her squee-y-ness a bit*
    Sorry, the hour, the stress, and the caffeine are getting to me. Now playing it cooool...

  101. Good night, preachers! I am going upstairs after a doze on the couch. Last one out, please don't worry if Molly gets on the furniture. She's allowed. And could you save me a piece of cake for tomorrow's post-church vacation celebration?

  102. juniper and Songbird--g'night!

    Stacey--FPP is why I'm going to North Carolina next month. If you like, I'll be happy to share my impressions with you, if that will help you decide if the time commitment is worth it.

    It is quite a bit of time. Fortunately my congregation agreed to give me an extra week of CE to cover it.

  103. I'm praying for all you sermonizers as I work on my early service PowerPoint presentation (don't EVEN ask) and put the final touches on the last-minute "Oh, you'll do VBS music, won't you" opening night plans.

    And I thought it was rough getting the sermon ready last week. Just a good warm-up for getting VBS music ready. But at least a good reminder WHY we do VBS. Or so it seemed a few hours ago. Now I'm not so sure.

    Peace to all who preach,

  104. Go psalmist! You'll be fine.

    I am at my conclusion!
    *breaks out the chocolate-covered coffee beans*
    I am valiantly resisting the urge to end it with: "Compassion: WTF???"

  105. I'm done. Finally. "Funder" has been rumbling about, but the little ones are zonked out. I'm on my way to join them. God be with you all tomorrow . . . oops, I mean today!

  106. Sleep: WTF?

    Oh, I mean, I'm going to bed now. I'd love to hear about FPP sometime, semfem, and if I'm going to get to Boston, I'll let you know!

  107. DONE! Woohoo! Now, to come down from the heights of caffeine...

    sleep well, Preacher Mom and Stacey. :)

    I think I may be the last one here? If so, let me turn the light off. Molly's already been on the couch for a while, Songbird :)

    If I'm not...sorry, just flip that light back on and may the mojo be with you!

  108. Well done semfem, Stacey, Preacher Mom, Psalmist and... uh Juniper? Have you been smoking something?

    Good morning and good job.

    I am up to put an ending on this thing since after sleeping on it I don't think last night's suggestion will work and to report that the legs feel good - there shall be no bike riding, running or jumping today - but they feel pretty good.

  109. The Boy is rousing and the sermon is just about to print. Have a great Sunday everyone. I hope that during the hustle and bustle you will be able to worship God.

    PREACH IT pals and gals and of course remember:
    1) Let it go... the Holy Spirit has got your back.

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

  110. Wow! Someone cleaned up!
    Blessings to all as you preach this day. I'll be on vacation as soon as I finish writing items for the church newsletter...

  111. Songbird, I cleaned up since I missed most the party last night, and Stacey drank a beer for me. thanks Stacey. My husband had the computer with the internet last night and wouldn't let me on it. He knew it meant more messing around and no sermon written. Its written, but I don't like it. And it is just to late to change it. Oh well, it won't be the first or last ime I preach something I don't like. I pray God can use it, that the HOly spirit is at work this morning, and that people's eyes are on Jesus. Sorry I missed everyone's partying. Will Smama take a hot soak today, it will help along with alternating IBprophine with Tylenol.
    Stacye wehn we meet again, I am sure going to owe you alot of drinks.

    Prayers for everyone preaching today.

    Prayers for Psalmist doing powerpoint and VBS singing. That can be a form of torture.

    We are gone this week to Destin, Fla. Something about Bob getting CME's. I am there to support him. Kids there too. But if we get a chance we will be hitting the pool and the beach. I hope, I hope. But I will be preaching when I come back. The next Sunday is homecoming and the DS preaches. Can't have 2 Sundays where the preacher misses can we.

    Pedicure, manicure, waxing, and highlighting. Man if I had been thinking I would have had all of it done. Stacey I will still get a picture, maybe Bob can take it today.

    Pulpit excercises. LOL.

  112. I just wanted to say thanks for the comments and observations about 'family service' preaching... It's great to be a part of this community! :)

  113. One of my preaching profs (one of the best preachers I ever heard) used to say, "When in doubt, preach the Gospel. If you can't figure out to start a sermon, when you don't know what to say, when you can't get a conclusion--preach the Gospel." Works for me!

    So, I'm off to preach it--

    THe Middle East--WTF?

    Martha (another one)

  114. What if you didn't realize you had a dog until the middle of the sermon... do you still walk it proud.

    I actually thought in the middle of it:


  115. will smama, LOLOL!!!
    RP, that's where I ended up. I knew something of what I wanted to speak about, but I couldn't get to a conclusion until I went back to the gospel. Then I had something.

  116. And thanks for cleaning up, Abi!

  117. wtf the middle east

    I started there but did n't stay

    got to talking about the walls we put up

    and that it is in jesus we take down the walls

    your welcome Martha.

    I'll be napping now, and then getting ready for tonight. (yawn, eyes slowly closing.)

  118. OK, I preached the Mark text but to be quite honest, I can't remember a word I said. Really.

    Motrin are sprinkles for adults. I like this. I want some sprinkles.

    And Lindt Chocolate should be a sacrament.

    And what is FPP and CE? And RCA is a kind of electronics, right? Like TVs and stereos?

  119. You are too funny reverend mommy.

    Yes, I do believe chocolate is a sacrament, esp. when shared with others.

    Speaking of chocolate I want the better than sex cake recipe, Please. And Martha, I am not saying I haven't had sex, but I haven't this week after Bob's biopsy, it'll be a while (you can read about that on my blog)

    Isn't funny all our little initials we have for everything, and if you are a visitor you don't know what they are.

    By the way one of my older female members just called and said she wanted me to know how much she enjoyed my sermon today. That's pretty good, a phone call.

  120. Woo-hooo...I'm nearly done with tonight's presentation! Got the early service presented, and only 5 more VBS presentations to each night through Thursday, then a "best hits" compilation for next Sunday. But that first night is always the hardest, because they're all new ones. Mostly repeats the next nights & all repeat for Sunday.

    Just have to burn that puppy, then I'm READY, with 25 minutes to spare before my co-leader and I have our final rehearsal.

    Oops...burning the puppy sounds a bit too much like walking a dog. Yikes!

    Can anybody tell I am *punchy* from no sleep last night? And I have over four more hours before this party's over. Thank GOD I'm off tomorrow!

    Hey, Abi...thanks muchly for the prayers. They're working nicely! Have a good nap, dearie!

  121. love you all.

    Remind me .. where's the party next Saturday? Songbirds on VACATION! (yes, yes yes)

  122. in response to reverend mommy:

    FPP = First Parish Project (more info at the link in my comment above)
    CE = continuing education
    RCA = Reformed Church in America (but that's Stacey's domain)

    Sorry--I hope that helps!

  123. It's not fair, 11th hour for you means about 3 hours for me here in Australia.

    I had a rough one this week, but pulled through, you can read about my "near death experience" here.

    I'm glad I stumbled here... for next time.


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