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Saturday, March 10, 2007

One Figgy Preacher Party

I dislike figs, even in Newtons, so please forgive the lack of figgy treats at the table today. You're welcome to contribute your own, of course, if you're in a figgish sort of mood. I'll settle for my usual coffee, and I have plenty of that to share. Maybe I'll even make pancakes.

Does anyone else have the figgiest idea where they're going with this text? I've written over half of a sermon, but still can't tell exactly what I'm trying to say. Not a good sign. May the Gardener drop off a huge load of sermon-nourishing manure...

I'm leaving this up before bed for you early risers, but once I'm up, I'll be here most of the day. Grab some coffee or your beverage of choice, pull up a chair or make yourself comfy on the couch, and let's get to work!


  1. Morning all! It's 9.45am here in the UK and at the moment I have no more than a few random thoughts (but good ones I hope!)! Good to know that I won't be sitting here on my own anyway... well when the rest of you wake up... :D
    Hoping to have it all done by the time I go over to set up and lead our Saturday afternoon Children's Praise service, so I can have a nice relaxing evening... but we'll see!

  2. well I think I'm going to use both the Isaiah and the Luke texts- and focus on the gardeners provision for the fig tree....kind of echoed in the without money/ cost part of come and recieve in Isaiah- I think that's where I'm going- struggling for illustrations and wondering if the link is too fragile...

    10:37am in the UK now!

  3. Greetings! I'll be in and out today; I have a commital at the cemetery at 11:00 a.m., then a surprise birthday party at noon.
    I am using Luke and Isaiah...I am hoping to use the movie "Chocolat" as an illustration--some of us saw it last night. Other than that, about the only thing I've got is the story about Harry Truman and manure...
    Sunday will be the third anniversary of my first worship in this faith community as their pastor. Time does fly--with or without figs!

  4. I'm not preaching tomorrow- I'm in charge of liturgy, but I'm thinking about all of you and wishing you well... May the Holy Spirit arrive early and allow you to enjoy your day---

  5. I wrote my sermon, ah hem, on least I tried, what I thought was going to work is flailing around in a Word.doc helplessly devoid of enough content to stand...and I was gone all day yesterday and will be gone all day today at a Magnetic Church Conference led by Andrew, uhm, I may not have much more than a few grains of cold cereal tomorrow...I'll check back in with you (can a Northerner say y'all???) early this evening. Have a good party! Oh, and I have lots of good coffee, but alas, not much else...

  6. Yet again, I'm not preaching on the Eucharistic Lectionary,- this time because I'm not actually preaching tomorrow, but am working on a sermon for next Sunday eve (when I'll have been on a training w'end) on St Chad.
    Great guy, undoubtedly, but I'm not feeling inspired.
    Have sent boys out for chocolate to share here

  7. I am preaching for the first time in 3 months having been off with depression recently... have posted my sermon :here comments appreciated...

  8. We've been going through a church planning process - there is a lot of emphasis on numbers. So, I'm using the fig tree text and noting that its problem was not so much height or weight as lack of fruit.

    OK, so I need to ask...what do you all use to stifle a nasty cough in a sermon?

  9. To add to our catalogue of concerns and woes, I have had the flu all week, am still feeling pretty punk, and have to entertain the family of my son's girlfriend, coming in from California. On the bright side, my cleaning lady is coming this morning. On the dim side, I haven't felt well enough to write anything this week. I may be leaning heavily on a 3-year-old text tomorrow, and while it feels necessary, it doesn't feel right.

  10. I'm wondering about doing "The Big Fig Newton" dance as a part of my message..Do ya remember Jonathon Winters?! "Here's the tricky part!"
    Blessings to everyone with schedule crunches, other commitmements and those under the weather...
    peace out

  11. Like Kathryn, I'm working today on a sermon for next Sunday. Our lenten theme is Mindfulness, so I'm looking at the story of Mary and Martha, and trying to figure out why Jesus would rather sit around with NOTHING TO EAT all day. :)

    Just kidding. But as a hospitable person, I do feel for Martha.

    I'm at a local coffee shop this morning with a cheese danish, Michael Penn on the Ipod, and a bottomless cup of coffee in hand.

  12. Amy, you're inspiring. I think I might take computer and iPod and head to our cute little coffee shop for the few hours I have before two pre-marital counseling sessions, a rehearsal, and gasp, the first time I have to preach the sermon I haven't written yet. I just have an amorphous bunch of random ideas right now. Gotta shower and get this show on the road.... (I might be using Chocolat too... but it's been a long time since I've seen it. Just preaching on Isaiah here.)

  13. Have a general direction on the Psalm text for my series...but having technical problems with my computer, so this may end up being a longhand outline about preaching without a net!

    I've got some chex mix to offer...not exactly breakfast food, but maybe someone's in the mood...

    I have a pre-wedding appointment this afternoon, but otherwise I'll be here all day (and all night), computer willing!

  14. Sally, I'm toddling off to have a read of yours in a mo...
    I can't actually believe I've got a sermon at this time, though I'm really not sure about it. I've posted it here and would reeeeeally appreciate if anyone could read and comment (I think!).

    (If I didn't do the link right then the one from my name is direct to the blog!)

  15. Mornin' all. My hubby and I take turns preaching and he's up tomorrow, so I won't be able to party with y'all today - must keep up with two two year-olds instead!

    But I did make Butter Pecan Banana Muffins this morning, and they're mighty tasty. Have one!

    Okay, must respond to the calls of "Mommy! Mommy!" now....

    Happy partying, all.

  16. Hi all, I'm still not writing a full sermon, since I'm using a dramatic reading series this Lent. But I am writing a reflection on the drama that I am calling a "testimony". I actually got inspired last night while the house was empty, and started writing it. It's mostly done.

    I've got a house full this morning: Wondergirl has two friends over and my ManChild stopped in last night to do some laundry, so he slept over. The young'ns are having cinnamon rolls, and I made myself a Fat Club approved veggie and Eggbeaters scramble. But the coffee is fresh, organic, fair-trade, and Guatemalan half-caf. And there's plenty of half-n-half in the fridge. (Hey, I'm in Fat Club, not Turkish prison!)

    Come on over!

  17. I read Sally's and now I want to preach hers instead of mine!!

  18. I am not preaching, but offer this:

    It seems all passages are about food....being fed. That can mean growth, renewal, which in turn bring about changes and transformation...right!?!

    Luke is a judgement downer, but God offers...always...a way of being healed, changed, etc.. We each may need our own meeting God to find our way to healing.

    Jesus became the way back from whatever.... to God for us. The food of the love of God brings other things with it...response is needed....even a small one...that is our fruit.

    Something I wrote, last night, before looking here seems to be about this...go figure.

    An explanation is offered in a bit of prose, but mainly in the poetry:
    "Going Under". We need to do this many times in our lives....check it out here.

    It may be helpful, maybe not, but it will add food for thought. (No pun intended.)

    Prayers for all who are unwell right now, especially those who must carry on whether they should, or not.

    Prayers for all who will speak and those who will receive tomorrow!

    Remember the Spirit will do the rest!

  19. not preaching this week---sad, since the text here is Isaiah 55, my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. Of course, it's a little tricky cuz communion was last week-HoS has his hands full talking about abundance in Isaiah 55 without the Table! He's apparently doing something about finding God's abundance in community.

    How can I make a children's time out of that?

  20. Wow, two sermons already posted. Some of you are flying right along. Not me, though; I'm sort of sputtering and limping along. Need more coffee....and do we have any chocolate around here?

  21. Sally .... a wonderful sermon! How we are nourished...makes such a difference in how we respond to life.

    I often offer this prayer: "Thank you God, for what you're going to do." And then let the Spirit fly.

    Glad you're back, you have a good sense of both Scriptures. That's my take on it.

    Blogger doesn't like me today!

  22. Songbird-
    prayer for your speedy recovery- and that the Spirit will take those words and give them new life as you speak them ...
    prayers for blessings

  23. stacey- Chelly and I are in the UK- we got a six hour jump on everyone- and will be in bed while you're still typing- but then you'll be in bed when we're preaching- wierd isn't it!!! but so cool...

  24. Aha! That makes me feel better, Sally. I'm coming along pretty well right now, though, and should be done relatively soon. I hope. How are the rest of you doing?

    You know, as I look at my to-do list, I'm realizing that the only thing scarier than preaching a sermon on the fig giving a children's sermon on the fig tree. Any ideas out there?

  25. errr. and ummm....something about growing stuff and it needing just the right ammount of water and sunshine I'm no help...

  26. Ooh, actually that is helpful, Sally, because it reminded me of the poor pathetic plant in my kitchen, and what a terrible "gardener" I am. The plant survives, just barely, but it never puts out flowers. I can use that as a jumping off point to talk about how God always knows exactly what we need to grow and thrive.

    Sometimes we just need a little spark of something, I guess. So, thanks!

  27. Wow. Everyone is doing great.

    This morning I learned the lesson that a crappy admin is better than no admin at all as I have been doing admin tasks.

    The good news? The Boy will be spending the late afternoon and overnight at my parents' house so there is a bit more time available to clamor for the Word of God.

    Please pass lunch.

  28. excellent S6tacey- the Spirit is working.... how cool!

  29. Just got in from taking the Children's Praise service... and now the sermon is glaring at me again! I want an evening off but am feeling quite unsure and a bit useless at the moment. I really appreciate the comments from those of you who managed to have a read... I think I need to change the first paragraph at least... does anyone else ever feel this useless? I really don't want to miss the mark or bore a whole load of congregations to death through my ministering years!! Gaaaaahh... why didn't I go for the office/shop/library job instead???? :D

  30. Alright, I think my sermon is done, at least in a draft sort of form. You can read it here if you are so inclined, and comments are welcome. I'm feeling sort of lackluster about it, but maybe if I let it sit for a while, I'll come up with something, or I'll like it better, or whatever.

    There are definitely weeks when I feel useless, Chelley. In fact, this may be one of them; I'm not sure whether I'm giving them anything substantial or interesting. I guess we'll see...those are often the weeks when someone comes up to me after the service to tell me how much they were moved by the sermon. Go, Spirit!

  31. Do you still need chocolate Stacey? I have some chocolate-chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday. They are very chocolate-y, and you're welcome to them.

    The not chocolate-y. I "finished" it on Thursday night, but it's pretty fluffy. On the Isaiah text....God's thoughts and ways (ie, grace) are not ours. Yeah. Lots of fluffy parsley on that plate and not much meat. Back to work, I guess.

  32. My goodness, even taking into account time differences, I'm shamed by how quickly people are posting manuscripts! I should really get down to it.

    I've been taking care of a few little things that need to be done for tomorrow, but avoiding the Big Sermon until now. Wrote up a parament dedication, wrote some crucial e-mails, stuff like that. I now need to decide what will come out of the Basket of Abundance on Sunday and go out and buy it. (Figs are the logical choice...but what else? Water? Manure?) All the ideas I have so far were stolen shamelessly from the Tuesday Lectionary Leanings this week.

    I'll check in later...congrats those with sermons already!...

  33. Esperanza - pass the cookies! I always need chocolate :)

  34. I'll trade ya chocolate cookies for a children's sermon.

  35. You're welcome to use mine, if the description "ignorant and neglectful gardener" can also be applied to you. I don't write out my children's sermons, but I'm going to start by showing them my pathetic plant, and talking about the fact that it doesn't bloom because I don't give it everything in needs. Then we'll talk about what plants need, I'll tell them a bit of the fig tree story, and end with talking about how God cares and provides for us. Of course, this is likely to be altered by whatever they happen to feel like talking about tomorrow.

  36. ignorant, unskilled, neglectful gardener certainly applies to me...but not necessarily to the Isaiah passage. I may use it anyway. I have plenty of specimens around here!

  37. You could still use it without the fig tree reference, to talk about how the plant needs water, sunlight, and food to thrive, and we also need nourishment, which is what God offers us in the Isaiah passage.

  38. Y'all are doing great! Hang in there, I wish I could hear some of the wonderful things that will be preached tomorrow-

  39. Done with the sermon--after two and a half hours at the coffee shop, it's all done! Now I'm sitting in the backyard with the littlest one.

    That said, I don't preach much, so I've had PLENTY of time to ruminate.

    Blessings to all of you who continue to write....

  40. If there is any more chocolate going I'll have some- it has been quite a day here and I am drained...

  41. Chilly Fingers. Keep water handy and get some Smith Brothers cough drops. They taste nasty, but really do work.
    Slly, blesings as you preach again. I understand how hard that is. I battle the dang stuff too. It can be a nightmare, esp, when you have to be "on."
    Healing to you SB and all others with crudy like conditions.
    I have jsut returend from Tornado cleanup in nearby town.
    Totally puts things in perspecitve, especially in comparison with the Luke text. Several precious young lives lost, and of course, it had nothing to do with them or God's wrath or being "worse siners", it jsut happened.
    Much work left to be doen, but tons of volunteers were around.
    Childrens sermon idea on text It has to do with Edison and the lightbulb. I dont know it is a true story or not, but sweet sentiment about 2nd chances.
    i ma talking a lot on how God gives us 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc chances, but also the need we have to give one another a second cahnce and to provide the nurture, care and help in order for others to grow. Fruit will indeed come.
    Blessins to all,
    Time for me to get a shower and write a sermon.
    SP is out of town, so i fly solo tomorrow,well. The HOly Spirit will be doing hte flying!

  42. what's the deal with the long word verifications today?

  43. Sally, there's plenty of chocolate, sending some your way, along with a hug. Trust me, you're doing me a favor by eating some!

  44. I'm off to dinner with some friends. Be back in a while. How's everyone coming? Shall I bring more chocolate supplies?

  45. hey all, I'm just checking back in with Chinese leftovers if you haven't stuffed yourselves with too much chocolate (something my Mom would say is an impossibility).

    Good work getting done it looks like. Nice job!

  46. My meager chocolate stash was not enough to hold up to my early!

    Got to the "bunch of interesting things but not yet a real sermon" stage to buy some Fig Newtons and hopefully some real figs (and maybe some manure? ooh, I could put my shovel in there) to have in the Basket of Abundance.

    I bring cheese curds to the table for those who need a dash of protein and salt, and I would love some of that leftover Chinese. Thanks WS.

    Think I'm going to be preaching about how God's true abundance to us is not just a numerical, quantitative abundance of production--it is an abundance of second chances, and an abundance of nourishment.

    Hang in there, or congrats, whichever fits your situation!

  47. Oh! I don't ever title my sermons, but I have a great idea for this one:

    "Gettin' Figgy With It".

  48. has anyone ever noticed how the internet supply of Isaiah 55 children's sermons is...well...not nearly as plentiful as the text?

    ACK! I have nothing to say to the children, and there will be loads at the first service because one of the children's choirs is singing. I have no prayers of the people. I have no grasp of the announcements (look at the bulletin ahead of time? Why do that when there's a confirmation retreat to plan??). I have no idea what I'm supposed to say at the moment for mission, which I was informed about this afternoon. Good times.

    Isaiah children's sermon ideas? Anyone?

    Don't forget to change your clocks, too...

  49. I'm back after a loooong day at conference, The Magnetic Church by Andrew Weeks, pretty good stuff....but Friday night 6:30-10 and Sat. 8:30-4, oh now I've straightened the house, made and eaten dinner, and can once again look at my sermon...which as I said earlier, I tried to write it on Thurs but it ran out of steam...and, now I will try again

  50. Isaiah children's sermon idea---
    talk about what it's like to feel really thirsty, particularly in a desert climate, perhaps describing that people sometimes see mirages, suggesting there is water on the horizon. No matter how dry things are in our lives, God is there to give us water that is never a mirage, even though we can't see it with our physical eyes.
    How's that?
    It's the fever talking...

  51. ooh, that's good. Then I can talk about how sometimes we feel lonely, but we always have God and God's community. (supposedly the HoS is going to make it into a sermon about God's abundance being found in community, since we had both baptism and communion last week--how's that for planning?)

    thanks SB!

  52. I'm sure all the comments today ar erudite, but as I am STILL having technical problems, I am going with a written outline. I hav ost of it on a floppy disk--I;ll go to the church first thing in the morning (well, not quite first thing) and print it there.

    Monday th laptop is going to the shop.

  53. How's it going mompriest? Any one else still out there?

  54. Well, it'll preach.

    Blessings to those of you still working.

  55. Whoo, look at us, whipping out the children's sermons today. I'm back from dinner, but headed to bed, since we're going to lose an hour. As if I wasn't already lacking hours. Good night, blessings on whomever is still writing, and may the Spirit move in all of our words.

  56. I've made some minor effort...spent most of the night on the phone with a good, I will be up early finishing the sermon...and praying in my dreams for the Holy Spirit to fill me with words...and yes, I know if I do have a dog, I'll walk it proud (except I have two BIG dogs and they tend to just pull me, so it's really hard to look "proud" while being dragged...)

    so, sleep well and may all your words be inspired!

  57. Whew! I just finished. I'm passing out Fig Newtons, possibly figs as well if people are feeling adventurous. I went with my contrasting abundance themes with help from Dylan's lectionary blog. I'm also working in the "manure occurs" aspect of the text thanks to a RL colleague of mine.

    Anybody out there still working? If not, I'll get the lights as usual.

    Blessings on everyone's proclamation tomorrow. Now, to sleep, perchance to dream.

  58. I am still at it. Trying to figure out a way "into" the sermon.
    I don't knwo any manure, fig or fruitless tree jokes,...
    So how to creatvily get in a sermon with a hard message t ohear and preach!
    I will get the lights. I still have Girl Scout Cookies and plenty of 2% milk.
    Set your clocks up it is technically already after midngith in Central Daylight time.

  59. It's morning, *yawn* and I'm up with a cup of coffee in my hand, a cat on the sofa next to me and a dog at my off to have another crack at that fruitless semon of mine...

  60. God is patient and merciful, dear friends. Cut yourselves some slack, as this is a hard text many of us seem to be preaching.
    Just as I tucked myself in last night I had a "brilliant" (read: inspired by super=sonic cough syrup) idea about something to add to my sermon, but this morning I just can't see where to put it.
    It gives me courage knowing we're all in this together.

  61. Ok, sermon done...or at least written with a semblance of order and off for a quick shower and over to church...blessings on each of you as you open the Word of God this day...

  62. Girl, wake-up time sure did get here quickly this morning!

    You know, every week I type about walking the dog proud and the Holy Spirit having our backs but last week I really lived it. Truly, we are instruments for the Word of God and the Holy Spirit most certainly has our backs.

    I hope today's worship experience is truly a time of being with God including the Holy Spirit having our backs. And if you've gotta dog, walk it proud.

  63. I post my sermons weekly and, let's be honest, I covet feedback. This week's title is "Dangerous Confessions"!

  64. Ok, sermon was OK...Sheesh, it sure was hard getting there's posted here

    I hope all went well with the rest of you...

  65. I thought I had cold cereal with maybe a banana sliced over the top to offer my people today.

    I think I ended up with omelettes and cinnamon rolls and good coffee for them! Woohoo!

    (Note to self: Giving out sugar at the beginning of the sermon seems to help keep people awake.)

    (Second note to self: Throwing figs at the congregation? Not such a good idea.)

    I had them totally faked out though...they were sure I was going to pull a handful of manure out of the Basket of Abundance...hee!


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