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Saturday, November 18, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party

(Lest I forget again and leave Songbird to cover my butt, I am posting this before I go to bed.)

Good morning, preachers! The coffee is on, and it's STRONG, because I for one will need it that way. Despite all efforts, I have not even started getting words down for this week's sermon, and today is going to be a whirlwind of activity. I'm hoping that some of you will bring goodies, because I have had zilch time this week to bake.

I'm off lectionary this week so that I can preach something that fits with our annual congregational meeting. What are you all thinking? What brilliance is spewing forth from your minds/the Holy Spirit this week? And can you please send some this way?


  1. I am up and at'em early, headed to a denominational meeting 2 hours south of me...It is a day long meeting, so I'll be headed home after dark.
    My worship plans are to do a reading of "Stone Soup" and then use More Cows than People's idea about having everyone write thank you notes. We will enfold that exercise in our time of open worship and the whole thing will be intergenerational, hopefully. I am having a hard time this week---feeling like my ministry efforts here are pretty futile. We had to cancel a short seminar on eldering becasue of lack of interest, there is no one on our nominating committee that needs to have people in place by Jan.1, and no one wants to have a Christmas Eve service. SIGH...oh well, I'm to off see the wizard :| Go Bucks, beat Michigan!!

  2. QP, I'm sorry things feel so difficult right now. Hope the meeting is inspiring.
    I'm doing something similar. I'll do a reflection on the lilies of the field passage, and that will be followed by sharing our Thanksgivings. It's pledge Sunday for us, and the service wraps up with the dedication of pledges.
    Meanwhile, there are no fewer than 3 church meetings or events to which I must "drop by," as well as walk dogs and write the above-named reflection.
    For the moment, I'm going out in search of strong coffee and thanking God the sun is finally shining here again!

  3. quakerpastor- I know weeks like that. Thank goodness you have a worship plan that doesn't require preaching. Its hard to write sermons on weeks like that. Hopefully seeing all express gratitude and reminding your congregation of abundance and generosity through the story of Stone Soup will light a new fire in your congregation.

    After I get back from the gym I'll be posting my Friday 5/reflection prep on my blog. Not that I've written it yet. I have five folks ready to verbalize thanks and I want to write some of my thanks out too. I think I'll make a mix too to play while folks are writing thank you notes.

    I have a lot to do today- esp. as we leave for vacation on Monday. Off to write a to-do list. Wishing I liked coffee...

  4. more cows, I had this idea of using colored index cards and decorating them with Thanksgiving stickers, but those have been impossible to come by. everyone seems to have skipped straight to Christmas!

  5. Got up early this morning, spouse and I decided to stay in bed a while longer, am now dressed for the gym, and will tackle what is left of sermonizing after I get back. Yes, you read that right--I actually got about 1.5 pages down on Thursday! For me, that is about half.

    Then a friend and I have a shopping/lunch date this afternoon.

    It's a good day, and our first sunny day in over a week.

  6. It's a quiet weekend here with just me and Emily at home. We will be taking Scratch for a post-surgery check-up this morning. This afternoon we will drive to the airport and pick up my good friend Marie who is flying in from Michigan for Thanksgiving week. I am so excited! I will have someone to play with this week! (I know, her father may actually expect her to hang out with him too. Bummer!)

    I am off-lectionary this week with a stewardship sermon to follow our congregational meeting last week. I am putting off my Thanksgiving-themed service until next Sunday - on purpose. My sermon title for next week? Thanksgiving is NOT over! Don't you love it when you have the title but not the sermon?! I do actually have part of it together. My intent this week was to get as much done so I could do a little playing and a lot of thanks-giving without that black cloud of the unfinished sermon overhead.

    I'll check back in later!

    P.S. QP, I have had seasons of ministry like you described. Hang in there. The ground may seem dormant now, but we can hope that seed will sprout any day now.

  7. QP, I am with you on the ministry efforts. Need nominations that are not forthcoming...a pastoral review on Tuesday...although I did hear through the grapevine that one of my members has been very enthusiastic in promoting what we are to doing to other churches.

    That, and I have way too much in my heart on the sermon topic...I can't get it reduced to something I can handle in 15 or 20 minutes. I have about three sermons in me, but I only get to preach one. That and I have paperwork to get done (should have been done yesterday) and laundry to do, plus a dinner party to go to tonight. I'd like to be done enough that I can watch the OSU-UM game this afternoon.

    I didn't get baking done this week either. The best I can do is some salt and vinegar potato chips (at 9 am? ugh) and a couple of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Time for a run to the Italian bakery!

    And QP, I must take exception to your Bucky boosterism...M Go Blue!!!

  8. I'm doing a "mini-sermon" tomorrow it's laity sunday and since I'm still part of the laity they asked me to do the scriptual connection. We have two of members speaking and me doing a short sermon and then the congrgation is taking an out reach survey on what they would like to do in the community. The sermon is mostly wirtten but, I have power point to finish.

    Plus, I'm preaching next week too!

    But I did bring a coffee cake!

  9. Songbird, I saw thanksgiving stickers at my local grocery store in the floral/card and candle section. Too bad I can't get them and send to you through the computer!!!!
    I'm using the Widow's mite story for our Dedication of Time and Talent sheets tomorrow. (Our church doesn't pledge, which is makes it ever more challenging) Then I'm using the Thanksgiving prayer from Seasons of the Spirit - adapted to include prayers of the people - with the kids bringing items to place on the altar:
    1. For the bounty of the harvest:
    basket of Indian corn, gourds and nuts
    2. For family, friends and home:
    photo album, board game, throw
    3. For art, imagination, creativity: art supplies, CD player
    4. For technology and communication:
    Cell phone (can't remember the other- ahhh, middle-aged brain)
    5. For our gifts, talent and treasures:
    our offerings and Time & Talent
    6. For our faith and the love of
    communion bread, chalice
    (our Bible is already on the altar)
    Hoping the visual makes a great display and increases the gratitude for all things in our life.
    All the best to you all.
    More Cows, I like your thank you note idea. Will store it away for next year.
    All I have at home are three turkey cookies to contribute to this 11th Hour Preacher Party!!!1

  10. QP, I think we all go through feeling futile peridodically. I try to remember that "This Too Shall Pass"

    I did decide to play dress-up using the 2 passages from 1st Samuuel - Hannah telling her story and incidentally explaining the laws on first fruits. It's ALL about gratitude and giving our best to God this week. Plus, We will be receiving and consecrating the pledge cards from the stewardship campaign right after the sermon.

    The Husband just came bouncing in saying "Lets go to the Farmers Market." He's usually not so perky this early in the morning. Maybe we'll find some goodies there to share.

  11. Party, Party, Party.
    Not only is it the OU-Mich game, it is the AL-Auburn game. It is the absolute end for some people. It is do or die. I on the other hand are partying with you all, and don't give a heck. However, I might use the metaphor in tomorrow's sermon since I am teaching the Mark passage.

    But I have about 3 or 4 pages of rought draft that need to be tied together.

    QP we had an important meeting Wed night, however only 4 people showed up. Don't you know, it made for an interesting meeting. However, they were really good participants.

    We are off to do Angel Food Ministries, not the gymn, although I could use the gymn. Perhaps we will walk later.

    I like all your creative ideas.

  12. bummer on the thanksgiving stickers songbird... are you just going with index cards? do you have a target nearby?

  13. Hi QP ... prayers for you during a "dry-seeming" time. I know that feeling of futility too. And a day long meeting ...? That means you have to videotape the big game, egad!

    I'm completing my worship preps, think I have a pretty good handle but we'll see. One church we're going to focus on the ministry of the laity, the other church it's the story of Jonathan and David. Thankfully both churches get back on the same track next Sunday, thanksgiving Sunday.

    And yes, I am going to a game day party, for which I spent yesterday baking Party Mix and M&M Cookies --with Michigan color M&Ms! If you all are very, very good, I'll let you sample ...

    Hey Songbird, is there a teacher's specialty store near you? They might have thanksgiving type stickers still ...

  14. Pregnancy, labour, children changing your life.

    Lots of possibilities there. Just not sure how to tie them all togehter. ANd in a little while I head to the church for the fall bazaar...

  15. doing pulpit supply again. I'm focusing on the two I Samuel passages. The title is "simply passing time?"...right now rough thoughts include using Wilson's four pages method (trouble in text, trouble in world, grace in text, grace in world)...looking at the emptiness/barrenness of Hannah and the paradox of her faithfulness/drunken prayers and Eli's cluelessness, and also the fullness of new life/Advent expectation and of course the bounty that we give thanks for next Thursday. I also have the hymn of response "Come and Find the Quiet Center" stuck in my head.

    Prayers for you QP and others who are experiencing a dry season. May God's peace overwhelm you today, as well as Her fullness of life.

    I have no baked goods, but I'm boiling a chicken for chicken soup. That's my excuse to miss the U of M OSU Game. Go Blue!

    ~traveling mercies

  16. QP, thank you so much for mentioning "Stone Soup!" I've had a thought running through my head all week but couldn't quite figure out how to turn it into something vaguely resembling a sermon. I'm using the 1 Corinthians 12 text on spiritual gifts and the body, so this works perfectly.

    I'm going to tell the "Stone Soup" story, talk a bit about stewardship of time and talents, and then have them write on an index card one or two "ingredients" they can contribute to our congregational "soup." Instead of passing the offering plate, we'll bring these gifts (and our monetary offerings) forward. Then we'll get into a circle around the sanctuary, and the congregational prayer will be each of us giving thanks for someone else's contributions to our life together.

    I'm sorry you're feeling like your efforts are futile right now, QP. If it helps, just the time it took for you to write your comment and mention your plans ministered to me! So, thank you again.

  17. Cheesehead, you have SUN? Wah...up here it is still "murky" as my mother says. How odd.

    I couldn't find cards, and I looked for Thanksgiving stickers, Songbird. I, like you, found none.


    One more Dollar Store to check out, and then I dunno what I'll do.

    Stone Soup? Hmmmm...good idea.

  18. Well, I've procrastinated enough to get done all the things I wanted to get done, and now all that's left is paperwork and the the sermon it is!

    My problem, I think is that I'm trying to tie together too many things... stewardship, abundance, and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

    I'm looking at the riches of the community (abundance) as being the gifts of every member, and the courage that it sometimes takes to express those gifts--whether you are a teacher, or trans, or a plumber, or a musician, or all of the above. That none of us need fear being put to shame when we know that we have God's gifts within us and we are using them for the community. Others may try to shame us ("You, a teacher?") but we know what God has done for/in us, and so we are not ashamed to express that sbundance, those riches.

    Am I making sense or have I gone off the deep end? I'll try writing it out a bit and see...

    3.5 hours till the big game...

  19. I read about sermon struggles and I think, "do I really want to DO this??"

    I do not have a sermon. I have analysis of Mark 6 to start because it is due the day after Tgiving. I am feeling victorious, though, because I aced my last analysis! And OF COURSE I must do my homework before 3:30! My inspiration is my Buckeye shirt and socks! ;)

    GO BUCKS! O-H!

  20. Hi All!
    I have jsut recently joined the ranks ofthe 11th hour crowd. Sr. Pastor called away due to death in family and so I am on to preach, although my heart now goes out to family more than anything.
    I ahve been todl to jsut use an old sermon. No way!
    Could not have had a better text though it is 11th hour. I love the Hannah text.
    Lots of possabilities.
    Just have to focus thoughts and I am off to the Bama/ Burn party with youth. I have a huge pot of very mean chilli in the Crock. Better grab some before I take it off to the youth. Growing teens eat a lot!
    Here is a thought shared fro ma collague here: She always imagined Hannah going to see her child each year and taking some type of garment she had made for him (appropriate size).
    Not sure if that helps anyone, but gosh what a beautiful image.
    I also have the thoguth about how Hannah could have returned the taunting some, but instead he fruit, her blessing, her very livlihood, her way of beign restored to society is given back to God. We give back that which was given to us, perhaps that which never was really ours.
    Okay, who wants some chilli?

  21. Perhaps the ones with index cards and no stickers could have crayons, colored stickers, stamps, or markers that people can use to then draw and color if they so wish. I don't know how you would organize that sort of thing.

    Checked to see if FSU and FLA are playing and they are not, so I don't have to get worked up over my team.

    I preaching on birthpangs, and new beginnings, urgency of the times we are in as a church, I don't know what all else my notes say.

    Prayers for all going through a hard time. I decided not to do a thanksgiving sermon, because Sunday night is the Community Thanksgiving service, and we are the hosts.

    Marie, we all have a little crazies in us, especially when writing sermons, and that's why I enjoy this party.

  22. Mmmm, chili! I'd take some, but I'm off to help assemble the Thanksgiving dinner baskets we make for needy members of the community. I'll check in again later, before I go to put in a cameo at a couple of community events.

  23. I brought the chips and salsa for the game this afternoon. Eat up!

    I think I am going to focus on the Mark passage...and to set something up that matches giving thanks with the revelation of God, or as some call it, the end times. LeHaye and other folk like him seem to not get this point...or they have not yet found a way to sell it. I hate bashing folk. And the pulpit is not the place to do that. I do wonder, however, if I can share a pastoral/theological vision of giving thanks as the in-breaking of God. It is our participation, a confession of our recognition of God's full presence in the world.

  24. I also love the image of Hannah taking a garment each year - a gift she would have spent much time on what with spinning the thread from flax, weaving it into cloth and then fashioning a robe from it. Truly a labor of love - an ideal to strive for in our labors for God and the church.

    Sermon is in pretty good shape except I just realized my costume needs to be washed (or Fabrezed!)

    Good thing too. ND/Army game starts in 1.5 hours and when it is over I'm meeting with the family who lost their mother last week. And, No, I didn't plan the appointment around football. :-)

    The Farmers Market was fun - came home with tangerines and flavored honey sticks for tea. Not traditional football food, alas. But I'm happy to share.

  25. I just finished cleaning out my car. I realized that it would be a little embarrassing to pick up my friend at the airport and not have any room for her luggage - especially since my car is actually a minivan! Amazing the things that had taken up residence in there!

    Amazing, too, the things I can find to do to keep from finishing a sermon!

  26. No sermon this week, just wrapping up our Adult Formation series on other faiths.

  27. Busy week here and I am eternally grateful that there is no sermon tomorrow. We are hosting a women's group that will lead the majority of the service. SWEET!

    Of course did I use the week to get a week ahead on my sermon... we can discuss that at next week's preacher party where I am sure I will once again be present.

    I will keep checking in on you folks though and be the food/drink/printer cartridge runner. For now here are some great crackers and yummy warm dips to keep you going.

  28. No sermon for me, but lots of anxiety/stress/anticipation. Last Sunday at home church (home for 10 years), 1st Sunday at new church (9:30 then 11:00 services), charge conference for old church, charge conference for new church. Thanks are going to God that Providence is real -- and that Grace is abundant. And that I don't have to do any of those charge conference papers.....

  29. I *technically* have a sermon written, but I haven't dared open the Word document and see what I wrote (LOL). Dh is in Washington DC, presenting a paper at the AAR this weekend, so I'm single parenting and not getting much done (surprise!)

    My other stress is that I am talking with a Pastor Nominating Committee and am worried that some of the committee might drop in on my service tomorrow to see me in 'action'. It's also one of those crazy Sundays -- pledge dedication & new memebers joining. At least with all the additional activites, I can get away with a shorter sermon!

  30. I'm back from an overnight Confirmation retreat, and now preparing to:
    1. Preach on the Mark passage, probably about how the church is much more than the stones and the building that surrounds us, and possibly on the birthpangs image as well.
    2. Lead our potluck lunch program, which was supposed to be pledging/stewardship but now is not. So it will take some explaining!

    And all I want to do is sleep and chill and pamper myself after this retreat. But...diving in now. Don't really have much beyond what I just posted.

  31. Alex, a short sermon on a busy day will recommend you *highly* to a nominating/search committee!
    I settled for flower stickers that range from pansies to roses to mums. I'm doing a cornucopia arrangement of fruits and vegetables on the worship center: eggplant, various squash, pomegranate, red grapes, apples and of course a rutabaga...
    My scripture reflection is going to be a model for the three notes each person will be asked to write:
    1) Someone I'm thankful for in the church family
    2) Someone I'm thankful for outside the church family
    3) Something for which I am thankful to God
    I was worried about doing the first of those and appearing to show favortism, but I decided to talk about the first elderly couple I visited four years ago, since he has died, and she is not able to attend church anymore.
    I'll have a physical representation of each, I hope! Since the last of those is Molly (standing in for animals, but also specifically as Molly), I expect I will bring her to church.

  32. Checking in as promised. Thanksgiving baskets are assembled...and now I am craving pie. Guess I'll wait until Thursday. I think I have my "sermon"/reading and reflection wrapped up, and that is good, because I am out of time. I'm off to put in my various appearances, and then play and sing at a nearby church's coffeehouse. The way today is going, I'll count myself very organized indeed if I remember my guitar and music.

    How's everyone else coming along? Sounds like there are some great, creative ideas floating around. Blessings!

  33. Ooh, Songbird I think I might borrow that for next weekend. That is if the Year of hte Bible passages from Numbers, Deuteronomy and Acts comply. On second thought...

    How are you all doing? What can I get you for dinner?

  34. Hey, I am coming by with homemade vegetable soup for all you preachers who are still writing your sermons ....

  35. Not preaching, but stopping by for some company and asking for prayers. I have another overnight shift at the hospital tonight and my emotional tank is already low. Thanks in advance to you and to God who will sustain me.

  36. Not preachin' either. I actually stop by here because I miss preaching, and have to stop by just to remind myself that it's not all butterflies and roses.

    Oh, apples! Anyone want some?

  37. So now I'm thinking, would it be less difficult for people to simply make a list of five things for which they are thankful? Then they need only one decorated notecard each.
    The note in the bulletin says only "Sharing our Thanksgivings," so I have a lot of latitude.

  38. Thinking very hard, trying to come up with a Mary Poppins reference for Mark's "Little Apocalypse"---so far the only thing I can come up with is the scenes in which the Admiral next door sets off his cannon on the roof and all the contents of the Banks' living room go flying and the servants have to be in their places, ready to catch them. Possible title, "Stations, Everyone!!"

  39. ANd now the icing on the cake....
    See ya at the Fiesta Bowl!

  40. Quaker Pastor --

    Come visit me! The Fiesta Bowl takes place in my neck of the woods... :)

  41. Not preaching this week either, and I'm just now checking in. I am about to take a pecan pie out of the oven, if anyone wants some. Is it bad that I am relieved to dodge the Mark 13 passage this year?

  42. Congrats to OSU. Who now is there equal? Welcome I-4 grace to the preacher's party.

    Still having laptop problems, but making headway with what I am trying to say. I need some good segues.

    PureChristianthink, what is this with Mary Poppins? Did you see the Broadway play or something? I would have thought we would have been using all those end time movies.

  43. You got it Alex...I have a cousin who works for Frito-Lay and might score me some tickets...;) I tried to post earlier a thanks to every one for all the encouragement and support--my day long meeting gave me a chance for perspective and it was a good meeting with great worship.I am going to sit back and give myself over to the love and grace of God--and put everything else there too!
    I did make it home for the 4th quarter! Peace to all --even my Michigan booster sisters and brothers.

  44. Prayers go out to midlife rookie for all the strength, endurance, and courage she needs this night.
    Game is over, more time to finish up sermon and hopefully get good nights sleep. I am driivng to memorial service after church.
    Oh, and i have incredibly short hair. I ogt it cut and it was a little more than I wished, but what can you say after the cut is maed? Two of my youth told me it looked cute. I love my youth!

  45. After much backing-and-forthing, I did write a reflection on Matthew 6:25-34, and it is finished. Yay!

  46. Well, we did the thank you note writing (three thank you's as in Songbird's post above) at our vespers tonight and it seemed to go very well. Everyone participated. I have a pile of colorful cards to mail out. And not everyone wrote to my husband (the musician) and me- so... and the notes that got written to folks who weren't there seemed very well distributed and targeted.

    I ended up making a gratitude mix to play during the Sunday morning service while folks write their notes- so how do you think Dido, Ashanti, some rockin' gospel music, and a canadian folk group that just passed through town will go over? ... quite a mix.

    Just got back from a chat with a young woman in the community who is NOT a parishioner (praise God) and is facing similar struggles to me. Indulged in mozarella sticks... mmm....

    sending love to those who are struggling tonight and prayers for deep rest and sweet dreams to all.

  47. It's been a beautiful day. My friend is here safely and I look forward to spending time with her this week. Emily and I have had a great one-on-one day today. (Hmmm, sounds like a thanksgiving list in the making!) AND, my sermon is hot off the press. (Now that's something to be thankful for!)

    I'm about to sign off, make up a yummy cup of hot chocolate, turn on the gas logs, and crochet while watching a good movie. Anyone care to join me?

    God be with you all in worship tomorrow!

  48. mmmm, mozarella sticks. Good luck all who continue to plug away. It will be great!

  49. praise the LORD I am not preaching this week but next week. I heard the sermon already at the saturday evening service and...well...better him than me. The mark passage is not an easy one!
    but for the bad news: i have the children's time...which we TRY to tie in to the reading/sermon...and now that I've painted the kitchen, unpacked the last of the boxes, made dinner, cleaned up from dinner, and watched Rachael Ray on Iron Chef America, I don't have much more to use as my procrastinating tool. and all I have to say about that is: "well, crap." and i'm pretty sure that I can't just say THAT for children's time.

  50. You can say it. Just don't say it outloud!
    Hannah text might not be better though. Mama prays for child, mama has child, And then later...mama nurses child, mama give child away.
    Not only htat, guve chid away to go live with old priest guy.
    Yeah, not the best lectionary day for children's sermons.
    Best of luck

  51. Yawn...I think I'm set. For church that is...but then I have THREE more sermons to preach at prison. It could be the same sermon three times, but I get really stale and boring if I do that. I'll be up early with a pot of strong Hazlenut coffee, and I will share. For now, prayers for all, and to all a good night.

  52. Its getting late, do you know where your sermon is?

    Congrats to all who are through. May it go with well with you.

    I am going to do the children's sermon on something to do with Thanksgiving.

    I'd like to hear from you all who are doing the thanksgiving member participation thing as part of your serive. Let us know how it goes. And we hope it goes well.

  53. Wow, it's been twelve hours since I checked in last. I'm ashamed to say that I fell asleep at my computer earlier, then woke up and slogged away until I finished the sermon.

    So, the sermon itself is done, but now I need to put some things together to lead our potluck lunch program. Can't I just quote my stewardship sermon from last week? Why did I not do this part earlier?

    That sleep I had at the computer may end up being all I have tonight. PLEASE, Holy Spirit, now would be an excellent time to make your presence known.

    (Just read this over, and wow, not meaning to whine to this extent. Sorry. Posting now.)

  54. Hey all! I hope the morning found/finds everyone in a good place. For my two cents, I don't you can go wrong if you go around and ask the kids what they are thankful for. For one, they have probably been primed in school so you won't have to push hard for an answer (Jesus?) and for two, folks will love the cute. Do you really see anyone storming out of there because the children's sermon wasn't on Hannah?

    Anyway, a lot of good stuff was written last night - and that is just on the comments!

    Have fun today. And as the Presbyterians apparantly say, "Don't suck."

    Remember no matter what:
    1) Relax! The Holy Spirit has got your back.
    2) IF you've got a dog, walk it proud.

  55. If you want to see how my shopping trip went, just go to my place. I also posted an excerpt from the sermon.

    Blessed day, all. Vacation starts tonight at 8:00 after confirmation class. Yippee!

  56. Well I am finished and all is well that ends well.

    I think the proof is in the pudding. But in the middle of the night both Bob and I woke up sick with the runs. He thinks it is the checken he fixed last night, because just he and I ate it. I am so glad the sermon was not long. I think I stood the whole service. By the time we got home I was ready to crash. But first I have to fee the kids.

  57. Night shift over and not as emotionally difficult as the last one. Tired but a good tired. I love dropping in here and reading all of your thoughts and comments. It's a great cyber community. Thanks to all of you for being who you are and for sharing who you are.

  58. I was happy to have quite a few people, including all the children present, volunteer to share something(s) for which they are thankful. It was very, very moving.


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