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Saturday, April 21, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party

Good morning, preachers and friends!

Last Sunday, we celebrated Easter 2 with a snowstorm and extremely sparse church attendance. The positive part of this is that I got to save my sermon on the walk to Emmaus for this week - and thank God for that, because this week has been full of unexpected additions to my schedule. So, I'm not writing today. However, I've just assembled my new gas grill (Christmas present...slightly delayed), and it's supposed to be a beautiful day, so maybe I'll just volunteer to make today's treats to order? This thing is massive, more like an outdoor kitchen than just a grill, and it has a griddle. Pancakes, anyone? Too bad there's no coffee-maker on this baby.

So, moving from food for the body to food for the soul, what texts and themes are you pondering? What's challenging you? Energizing you? Making you want to rip your hair out one strand at a time? Let the partying begin!


  1. I'm not preaching...that said, if I WERE, I'd be taking a hard look at the psalm, and going with the "joy comes in the morning" theme, especially in light of the shootings in Virginia. Maybe tying it back to the gospel in asking what it means to be called to feed ALL of God's lambs in the midst of our own personal grief or guilt.

    As a caveat: since I'm not preaching, I haven't played with the theme enough in my head to get the best sense of how well all of that would preach, but that would be my first instinct at least of where to go with it.

  2. Checking in before bed (still on West Coast time myself...that'll hit hard on Sunday morning). I am drawn to preaching on Acts rather than John, but am really not sure where I'm going at all. Having a week off has made me a tad rusty!

    Will be back after sleeping.

  3. As some of you are just posting to this blog, I will be walking a 5k like a walking fool. So Good morning! And I will let you know how I survived and "came in last" later on today.

    I'm not preaching but wish all you well in your preparation as I will be sitting in the pew tomorrow listening as I do.

    Y'all come on over to Trivia Challenge and cut your teeth on a quiz today that isn't tooooo humbling and see how you do!

    You can find it here.

  4. It's 8:00 a.m. here and I've done the bagel thing--there are a bag full left for anyone to share and these are the good Jewish bakery kind!
    Now it's time to go over resources for a message that ties John and earth day together. Maybe a walk in between reviewing resources and putting pencil to paper will help everything "gel".
    It's so darn beautiful here today! But, I must get cracking-we're going to see the "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" tonight!
    I do hope to lurk back in later
    --peace out

  5. I'm continuing to work with the idea of being uprooted by life's storms and surprises (as the disciples and Saul were). I'll definitely work in the Psalm. Sometimes I read it as part of the Pastoral prayer.
    Meanwhile, I'm working on the church's reformatted newsletter, as well as planning a new member's class and trying to finish reading Diana Butler Bass for Monday, knowing tomorrow (with the class, church, an Association meeting and an evening family event) will not allow for it.
    Today my children will be home, unusual since they generally spend Saturday with their dad, so I expect many interruptions...
    Meanwhile, I'm going to toast some waffles.

  6. I've decided to go off lectionary today, in order to talk about the VT shootings. I'll be jumping ahead two weeks by reading Rev. 21:1-6 (God will wipe away every tear from our eyes) and Romans 12:9-21 (weep with those who are weeping; vengeance is God's not ours). I couldn't find my way to any of the lectionary texts in a manner that felt organic, so I going with "Cry, Cry, Cry."



  7. I'm preachign at the Catholic church tonight as part of the local pulpit exchange. Nothing like having an early deadline to get me going! Plus a Confirmation class mission project at the senior center! It's a busy day here. I'm thinking about the abundance of God that can come out of nothing -- no fish to too many fish kind of thing. But am not sure where it is going and how I tie this week (floods and violence) into it. I have a few ideas and just need to connect the dots. At least it only has to be 5 minutes!

  8. We have a day full of household chores planned here at Chez Cheese,things like:
    *going to Home Improvement Store
    *tiling Wondergirl's bathroom
    *mowing the lawn
    *replacing Wondergirls' shower head
    *power-washing the driveway
    *ordering mulch for the planting beds
    *washing the garage floor

    so I am kind of glad to be able to beg off to write. Plus I need to do some work towards Monday's book discussion! (Thanks for the reminder, Songbird)

    Tomorrow is a very full day, with worship, the all-church auction, and then confirmation class.

    I am focusing on the gospel, with Jesus asking Peter three times "Do you love me?" the title is Love In Action

  9. Good morning and pass the coffee!

    I'm starting my first "normal" Saturday in several weeks. The last three Saturdays we have had out-of-town company (staying in my study!) which somewhat challenged my ordinary rhythm. Also, yesterday was my first mostly "normal" day off in several weeks as well, and that really helped get me in the right frame of mind for getting on things this morning.

    I am preaching John and, inspired by Gail O'Day's marvelous writing on this text in the NIB, looking at this as a miracle of abundance and exploring how Jesus' call to Peter was to share that abundance. My start is to talk about the popular self-help book The Secret, which is a repackaged version of the same-old health/wealth/happiness through positive thinking message. I'm going to play with the idea of a "secret" which is supposed to lead to personal gain versus Jesus' abundance which is meant to be spread and shared. My title is "The Opposite of Secret."

    I've got all kind of ideas buzzing in my head. Words written? None.

  10. I'm preaching twice tomorrow, but the sermons may be...interesting.

    I wrenched my back yesterday (long story), and while I've got some ideas, that's all I got. I spent the late afternoon and evening in the ER (and don't get me started on that experience) instead of working on the sermon, I'm now on percocet and flying low--I don't hurt, but I can't focus in this state.

    So...sermon and pain or no sermon and feeling great?

    I'll start with coffee...

    PS Oh, and I'm using the Acts text. The verse that has me thinking is God's line--"Get up and go to Damascus!"

  11. RP, many healing prayers for your back ... and even though you are in an altered state, you may have provided the entree I need for utilizing my DC experience for tomorrow's sermon.

    I am only preaching at the afternoon church --I took Sunday off from morning church and we're going to attend where DH wants to go for a change. ;) Tomorrow we will visit our friends at the UU Church.

  12. It's a beautiful day here, after so many snowy, stormy Saturdays.
    I've finished my work on the newsletter, for now, finished financial aid forms due for various children, and now I'm looking forward to a walk with dogs and the two children at home today.
    How goes it?

  13. My walk is over--it was great!
    Thanks earthchick, for the confirmation that abundance is a key message in John...I'm ready to start, but first a jolt of caffeine!

  14. I hate leaving my sermon till Saturday, but here I am again. I also have no food to share, but if Stacey is playing with her new grill, I'll take some of whatever you're cooking.

    Which works well with my sermon-to-be, on the beach picnic with the risen Jesus and the disciples. As of right now, I'm focusing on them going back to what they knew--fishing, and Jesus meeting them there. Probably tying in the events of the week, too, I'm just not sure how yet.

    Good luck to all. Enjoy nice weather if you've got it. Cheesehead--can your family do all of that in one Saturday? I'm impressed. Just the first item would take us all day!

  15. It is a beautiful day here, and during the nasty weather this week, I worked hard to finish up early in anticipation of a sunny, warm day! I'm going with Acts and "Extreme Makeover" one heart at a time. I can offer Frosted Mini-Wheats and a great cup of coffee.

  16. Good morning all!
    Rainy and stormy up here- the coffe is warm and some extra communion bread (I really didn't need to double the recipe) is a good match for the brew.

    We will be affirming the baptism promises of 7 teens tomorrow, so I have the honor of recognizing aloud the gifts of each student, and encouraging them to find how they will 'tend Jesus' sheep' with those gifts.

    We are trying to focus on the affirmation and commissioning of confirmation rather than the "graduation from church" aspect!

    May the Spirit move in your words-

  17. This is my first 11th Hour Preacher Party post. I'm encouraged to find others still working at this late date! I worked with a pastor in my first internship who always had his sermon completed by Thursday. Now years later I carry guilt each week that my sermon is incomplete by end of day Thursday. Who knew he might be the off schedule one?

    I am pondering the John text. The disciples not recognizing Jesus on the beach at first. I am particularly drawn to this passage as I just visited the Sea of Galilee in March. I still see the water and the banks of the sea where the passage supposedly took place. It is very picturesque in my mind and in my photos . . . however, getting words on the page is more an issue at this point than reminiscing about the seashore.

    BTW, I went out for pancakes and sausage at the local greasy spoon. Some of my best sermon pondering takes place there!

  18. “We are put on earth for a little space that we may learn to bear the beams of love.” - William Blake

    This is what I am using to pull the two roads together tomorrow. We have an infant dedication scheduled, and it just seems to work.

    And I suggest that you get an old camp kettle so you can brew some jo on that fancy grill of yours!

  19. Hello lovelies
    I've just got back from a Continuing Min. Educ. quiet day - (which sadly just didn't work for me) and I've not even started to work on the sermon...and it's nearly 5.00 pm here
    So I guess I might be said to be panicking just a touch.
    But I do have a whole untouched Easter egg to share...

  20. RP - healing prayers here for your back pain.

    Backwoods Rev. -- there is a good confirmation/affirmation of faith reflection here that was prepared by our Moderator. Perhaps some of his words may be helpful to you...

    I'm working with the John passage this week - specifically looking at the changing nature of mission in our denomination.

  21. Well, having spent the week in a strep throat induced feverish state I am now emerging with little written down and few coherent thoughts.

    I do think I am going to continue last week's theme which was 'Every Morning is Easter Morning'. We are 5 hours away from VT and half of our congregation personally knows one of the professors who was killed. Last week I spoke specifically about the contrast of the Good News in the face of our 'Good Friday' world. Somehow I think this week it bears repeating and offering some ways for all of us to help each other see The Light through the darkness.

    Usually I stick with year of the bible texts from the previous week but saw none that were particularly appropriate so the Psalm and maybe the Gospel lesson from lectionary may do.

    I am treading fearfully as I don't want to isogete (is that a word)?

    I do like the analogy of the weather - not one I would usually go with but even my most hardy farmers were getting down from the unforgiving cold and gray days and today we are finally being warmed by the spring sun.

    Forgive my ramblings, just trying to put it all together in my head so I can at least get a title and Scripture passages down for the bulletin which hasn't been run yet.

    Kathryn, you'll get 'er done, I know it.

  22. ws, are you using Psalm 30? Seems like that would work for you.

  23. Yes, sb - definitely Psalm 30 and definitely the John passage. We are called to feed others and one another as we walk through these trials/pains together with the confidence of those who live in the light of the Good News of Easter.

    or something like that.

  24. Hi all,

    I'm inching my way closer to a vacation -- two and half more weeks -- and I'm really wishing the time was here now. I'm in my second of four Sundays on Revelation, and while I'm connecting in VT with what it means for us to look to the slaughtered lamb, I'm miles away from getting to the sing and rejoice part. I feel like I'm dancing between proclaiming Jesus' death as the true conquering force and detesting a bloody theology that brings peace through violence.

    I woke up this morning with bad neck pain (the price for a good nights sleep?), and our music director may have bronchitis. I feel like we may be limping toward good news tomorrow.

    In the mean time, it is good to hear all of your thoughts. Revdari, as a Saturday sermon writer, you are in good company here.

  25. Hey peacepastor, sorry about your neck - AND the back of Rainbow Pastor. I too meant to welcome revdari and just say that I am sure none of us would have writing on Saturday as our top priority but life happens.

    So we can either flog ourselves our band together and eat cyber bbq and drink cyber beverages. Where IS Scott with the Killian's Red. Wasn't he offering that last week?

  26. Greetings all this lovely Saturday morning. Revdari, I remember the shock I experienced when a speaker in one of my seminary classes said she always committed her sermons to paper at 6 am Sunday. 5 years later, I typically commit mine to paper around 5 am Sunday, and know many others who do the same. :-)
    Spending Saturdays here with so many creative minds enlivens what can often be a frustrating day of trying to put everything I've gained from study and prayer during the week into a coherent piece.

    Might I add that coherence has not yet appeared. Working with Acts and a bit of John toward an Earth Stewardship sermon, but the interconnectedness of all things keeps leading me back to that disconnectd young man in Viriginia.

  27. Well, it's 2pm on Saturday. I'm not supposed to preach tomorrow, but the other pastor who has the sermon also has a wife that is having a baby any minute now? So I may very well end up with the task of preaching the Gospel tomorrow, to a Northern VA community who has been rocked by the Tech tragedy this week... Oh, and the nice lady I roomed with at our Bishop's Convocation this past week gave me her chest cold. So I think tonight might just be NyQuil and frantic sermonizing... *cough, sniffle*

  28. Revdari--welcome! I'm always a Saturday-type person myself. At least today I can throw open my office curtains and windows and get a little crisp, beautiful spring air while I sermonize.

    peacepastor--Whoa! I loved your phrase "limping toward good news." That's sort of what we are doing all the time. (I have a lot of illness in my churches now though as well, so it seems especially appropriate.)

    I just reconnected with an old friend from seminary who is coming to visit next week, and asked about HER sermon for tomorrow...she is doing great stuff around Jesus' affirmation of the ordinary, counteracting our own "hero" culture, and talking about Jesus coming down to our level and accepting what we can give. The Greek words used for love also seem to point this way--the first two times Jesus uses "agape" and Peter uses "phileo"; the third time Jesus also uses "phileo".

    I'm not really doing it justice, but this is what's swirling around in my head now. Think I'm heading towards John rather than Acts. Hmm!

  29. Oh, and since it's still Easter, I've got some hot cross buns out of the freezer and warmed them up all nice and toasty, with a pot of good tea to share.

    Saving the leftover Easter candy until tonight, when things may get really desperate.

  30. I am currently eating jelly beans from last year. And let me tell you that even thought the bag was sealed all this time, they are a bit stale.

  31. *sigh* The sun is shining, a gentle breeze is blowing, and everyone else in my neighborhood seems to be outside working in their yards or taking walks. I want to go outside and play!! (*stamps foot*)

    I've been off-and-on reading a book called The Now Habit, which is for people who procrastinate (can I get a witness?). He talks about one problem procrastinators have being that they look at things as such burdens, and with such dread, that part of them just wants to rebel. Sort of like a parent/child split going on inside [parent self: You have to get to work on this sermon or else! child self: I don't wanna! You can't make me!]. And he talks about trying to reframe things in a more adult way, so that everything we do, we are choosing to do as opposed to doing so under compulsion or sense of burden.

    It's a stretch for me. I always feel like there are so many other things I'd rather be doing than whatever I must do. Today I am trying to remind myself that it is a privilege and a joy to sit in my sunny study, watching the neighborhood go by, and trying to hammer out good news that I get to share tomorrow.

    revdari, welcome! I guess in my ideal world I'd be done by Thursday so that I could maybe more freely enjoy Friday and Saturday, but it's just not my rhythm and I think I've come to terms with that. I'm sorry you have carried guilt about not being done earlier in the week - and I'm glad you found us!

    Well, I'm exactly 1000 words in and I have just now sort of turned the corner into the meat of my sermon. I have lots of thoughts swirling in my head but don't know how I'll get them all out onto paper...

  32. I actually love writing on Saturday. Usually my house is quiet (though not today), and there are no calls as on a weekday. Knowing I have a commitment to write on Saturday has also made me better able to observe Friday as Sabbath. I really let go of church stuff and do my best to relax.
    All that said, I have about 2/3's of a sermon, all the anecdotal and illustrative parts, none of the Bible-y parts. Sigh. That moment will come, but for now I'm thinking short nap.

  33. Songbird, I'll send you my Bible-y stuff if you'll send me a good story or two. Actually, at this point, they don't even have to be good. I hate sermons that turn into lectures. Back to work.

  34. I keep tripping over the line from intense yet helpful to melodramatic and cheesy.

    Pass me a stale jellybean please.

  35. Beautiful weather here. DH picked up sticks and scalped the lawn. I tended my blisters, went grocery shopping and worked on worship preparation.

    I went off lectionary and I'm preaching Isaiah 58:1-10 and Matthew 5:13-20. It's a justice theme, of course.

    Because I envy Stacey her new grill, tonight I am grilling chicken and tempeh fajitas ... with fresh homemade pico de gallo, refried beans and spanish rice. Yum.

  36. Well, friends, I got about 900 words in, then decided to take a little field trip to Lowe's to look at tile for Wondergirl's bathroom.

    Bought tile, then ate lunch, then bought some more tiling stuff. Oh, yeah, and also got a new dishwasher!!! (I'm very excited about this one. It's the first one I ever got to pick out for myself. It's stainless steel and beautiful.) Now we just have three more appliances to replace in our kitchen. Woo hoo.

    Now it is nose back to the grindstone...

  37. Gosh, earthchick...Given 100 words a minute delivery time, 1000 words is pretty nearly my whole sermon slot...the congregation get edgy if the preacher takes longer than 12 to 15 minutes, top whack! Trouble is I currently have about...ooh...3 minutes perhaps! Grrrr

  38. I'm taking a break from the melodrama to go run off the bulletin. Usually the Holy Spirit works best when i am on 'walkabout'.

    Deep breathes Kathryn, what you have looks good to me.

  39. Hmm, interesting, Kathryn. I've never parsed out how many words per minute I do. I just know by page (roughly 2 minutes per page, with pages typed in 16 point font with 1.5 line spacing). I usually aim for somewhere around 9 pages. My problem today? I'm on page 6 (at 1232 words) but still haven't said much. It seems to be taking me awhile to ramp up to what I really want to say (and am now questioning if I really know what I really want to say!).

  40. I'm a word count preacher. If I haven't gotten to 1500, I'm not quite finished. If I've gone much over 1500, I've probably said more than I needed to say. It just seems to work out that way. When I go back and read sermons in the 1800-2000 word range, I can always see exactly what I ought to have cut. It takes practice, doesn't it?

  41. Oof, Songbird, by that count I've already gone over.

    I keep feeling like this sermon is a bit like a fish that keeps slipping out of my grasp and then I catch it again and then I lose my hold again. Here's hoping I'll be able to haul it in by tomorrow morning at 10:00!

  42. I'm not a word counter- but I can appreciate the discipline of that! lso I am not preaching this week, having had a whole day of teaching today- but I love the Emmaus road account- hrist revealed for those who would see...
    eace and blessings be with all who are preaching :-)

  43. It's pages for me. 4 at 12 point font, single spaced with 1" margins is about right for me. I preach from bigger font and 1.5 spaced but can't count those pages because I often space the phrases the way I want to preach them.

    Wow. There was 2 minutes out of your life you'll never get back.

  44. tee hee! I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one still hanging out here. Y'all, I'm struggling! 10 pages, (2170 words!) with a pseudo-ending but I don't feel I've said what needs to be said in the way it needs to be said. But I have to stop for now to make dinner and eat with my family. I had hoped to be done by now. Oh well, maybe things will somehow come together in a new way while I cook....

  45. You know, it's not really disciplined. It just seems to work out that way. I never plan the length of a worship service, either, but I'm known for coming in at an hour, pretty much on the button. Can't explain it.

  46. I word count. I keep it between 1500 and 1800 most weeks. Today? 1818. I print it out at 12 pt. double-spaced. It usually it comes out at about six pages. Maybe seven.


    Killed another minute for you.

  47. I just killed about fifteen looking for a vacation spot on Lake Champlain. Anybody have a suggestion?

  48. Midnight, and it's finished. In the end, I just went with the baptismal image of turning to Christ and considered U turns for Saul, Ananias and Peter...Not too thrilled with the result, but too tired to do anything more. Pray for a little extra sprinkle of grace in the air at St M's tomorrow....and for all of you as you finish and preach. xx

  49. So Kathryn, in the end you turned to Christ? Sounds like a good plan to me.

    When you find a place SB, let me know and I'll do some advance scouting for you.

    earthchick, sometimes the best things for my sermons is to just walk away and come back with a fresh look. Eat some dinner, air that bad boy out - it will coem together for you when you get back.

    Now. I have spent maybe a bit too much time away and should really get back to it before we get to the hour where my belly starts to tie in knots.

  50. By the way, should someone check outside to see if our hostess got stuck in her grill?

  51. Is it a bad kind of lie if you say in your sermon, after describing something in your week, "I thought of Saul on the road to Damascus," when in fact you thought of no such person at the time, but are thinking about the two in relationship now?

  52. Hey, I thought of the best sermon title to the sermon I haven't written yet:

    "Comfort Food."

    Too bad I don't title my sermons, huh? But that's totally where I'm going with this. I'm going with Jesus meeting us in the familiar (an approach a few other RGBPers are taking, I believe) and weaving in the community aspect of following Jesus for the ending.

    I made a long list of interesting stuff, separated out the one sermon I wanted to preach (out of the five intertwined on the page), promptly fell asleep with head on desk, woke up and spewed out a fully formed outline.

    Now to go eat some dinner (preferably some comfort food) and spew out a fully formed sermon, I hope!

  53. It depends on how you phrase it, Songbird. "this incident brought to mind Saul on the road to Damascus" without saying When that happened isn't a lie. .

  54. rev maria, too nice.

    I have made up stories that NEVER happened. You can say that you thought of Saul on the road to Damascus.

  55. Well Songbird, you still thought of Paul on the road to Damascus, didn't you? Just a little bit later than the actual incident happened. Good enough for me.

  56. I count pages - usually 6 pages 14 pt double spaced. If there is something else major happening during worship - a baptism or installation of officers or baby dedication - I cut the page count down. And of course, I rarely actually use the manuscript so I can cut or add bits as necessary while preaching. Today I have about 2 pages of notes actually written and not happy with most of it.

  57. Friends, I have a sermon. I'd like to think it's not a dog, not that's there's anything wrong with dogs whatsoever.
    Anyone want ice cream? We have strawberry or cookies & cream. Also brownies...but they've been around since Monday...

  58. If you put the ice cream on the brownies it will soften them up - COUNT ME IN!

    rev maria I am impressed that you can preach w/o the manuscript even with it right in front of you. I have to either have it - and use it - or not have it at all. Or else I end up looking down at it, get flustered because I can't readily see my place and lose my train of thought.

    My sermon is getting longer without getting better... NOT a good sign.

  59. I will take leftover brownies anytime.

    I go for 1500 words at a minimum, try not to go for more than 2200 or so. And then (this is only exciting for those of you who are procrastinating), I flip it so it is landscape, put it in two columns, double space, 14 point whatever font seems good at the time. Then, i cut them in half so I usually have about 13 little pages (numbered, of course). Then when I lose my place, there are only a few places to find it. Fascinating, huh?

    I'm done, I think. Brain is unable to hold a thought for more than half a second, so I might as well stop. Blessings to all who are still working.

  60. You RevGals crack me up!
    My guilt is absolved about writing sermons on Saturday. I think it is simply my rhythm. Now that I've found this group I may never write before Saturday again! It seems there just is some other work crisis when I finish early and I end up working anyway. . .

    I would love a brownie. I just snacked on a Slimfast bar. The brownie sounds better!

    I'm working on John's passage complete with a lot of story about my grandfather and father who enjoyed fishing a great deal. More stories I am only remotely involved with . . . like thinking of Saul on the Road to Damascus. Not everything can happen to us or with us, we must improvise in hopes of keeping the congregation awake!

    As for sermon length. A friend told me early on 4 pages single spaced 12 point font was the key to a 20 minute sermon. These days I'm sown to almost 3 pages in this manner because my congregation gets too antsy. They want to be the first ones at the local diner for lunch. No joke. One woman told me she thought she was going to have to shoot me to shut me up one Sunday. She went on to say it was a good sermon!

    I'm at the office printing out a copy of the sermon as my printer at home is on the blink. Hoping the written copy sounds as good as it did in my head! Sometimes it doesn't . May have some tweaks to do as I settle down to dinner with my dog. (classic SWF here!)

    Happy writing!

  61. revdari, I must talk too fast because that same amount of paperwork is about a 12 minute sermon for me.

    And I hope you had a camoflogue robe to preach in!

  62. I love you gals! You make me smile. :)

    Well, I'm Saturday done - we'll see what edits I come up with in them morning after I've slept on it. I have mixed feelings about this one, am not sure it hangs together well enough, etc., etc., but my husband tells me I say the same things about my sermon every time. So. We'll see.

  63. Oh, and I forgot to say, now I'm off to make yummy Magic Bars (you know, the ones with graham cracker crust, then condensed milk, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut on top). I'd offer to share, but unfortunately they're for our church potluck tomorrow.

  64. I think I have a sermon. It covers a few too many points, I fear, and the ending fizzles a bit when I try to wrap things up too neatly. I do have a quotation from Nikki Giovanni's comments during the memorial service that feel pretty powerful, and hopefully it will carry the ending. Well, I trust God will carry the whole thing, but you know what I mean. :)

    I also decided that althought the weight of VT makes this an important sermon to handle carefullly, textually, if any sermon is to be a dog, this is it. After all, the passage does say that every creature was singing. Dogs should be represented there too, right?

    For the record, my sermons are generally 4 pages, 12 point, Roman Times, give or take a paragraph or two. If I do a dramatic sermon (monologue or character), I never use a manuscript when I preach it. Otherwise, I'm pretty much tied to the words in front of me. It's too late to go into what that means about me.

    My neck's feeling a little better. I did some stretching at the gym, and now would love to have some of that ice cream with brownies. If we run out, I also have some brownies with crushed leftover Robin's eggs (the malted milk variety, not the bird!) and a chocolate frosting I'd be glad to donate.

    Good health and blessings to all today/tomorrow.

  65. Okay, I either have one of the most brilliant and riveting sermons I have ever written... or a confusing attempt to make a point that never really connects all of the dots.

    Pass the ice cream!

  66. I should have let my deacon do this one...he offered and I said no, because I knew he had a day trip planned for today.

    I've been so woozy and out of it, sleepy and dozing all day, due to the pain meds, that I have...sort of an outline.


    And just when I'm preaching to Landlord Church...

    Why couldn't this have happened next week when I have a guest speaker?!

    I may be giving them toast and cold tea tomorrow.

    Definitely preaching from an outline, since it looks like that's all I'll have.

    OK, pity party over--back to work!

  67. Wow, the party's still going full force! Here's my favorite line from my sermon for tomorrow:

    "It’s pretty easy to Love Jesus with our mouths full of fish he helped us catch."

  68. Here was my prize for finishing relatively early: listening to Norm MacDonald impersonate a dog in Dr. Doolittle.
    Now my head hurts...
    Hey, Peacepastor, are you singing "All Creatures of our God and King?"
    (So tempting to write Dog tempting...)

  69. I've not been partying with all of you today, but I have peeped in through the window a few times to see what was going on. I've been tending to a sick child and generally walking in my sleep all day. I just finished my sermon and pray that it has merit. My dad will be in the congregation tomorrow and I'd like to do my best. (I know. It shouldn't matter who is in the congregation, but you know where I'm coming from!) I'd stick around for the ice cream, but am afraid I'd fall asleep in my bowl. Off for a quick bath and then to bed. Blessing on you wherever you meet God tomomrrow!

  70. With one-inch margins and 11-point Palatino single-spaced (but with empty lines between paragraphs), I usually aim for about three pages for the first draft. A bit more is okay, but not a lot.

    Then to do a read-through and edit, I raise the font size to 14 and add line returns so that no paragraph is longer than five lines. This makes it easier to keep my place.

    When all is said and done, 5-6 pages in this format is standard for me. Less than that and it's a short one (lucky congregation!). More than six and I've got some cutting to do. I used to be a 10-12 minute preacher and now I've become more of a 13-15 minute one.

    Riveting, I know. I've got about two pages for that first draft, so about a page to go, and plenty to say, so wish me luck. Congrats all who are done! Courage to those who are not.

    I still need to make beds and plan a Confirmation retreat for tomorrow too...ack!

  71. Plan a confirmation retreat?
    Now semfem could REALLY use some ice cream.

  72. Well, I have an outline that ill preach if it has to. I think I need sleep more than anything else right now, so I'm off to bed--although I might grab a bowl of ice cream on th way--I have some After-Eight ice cream, if anyone would like some...

    Blessings to those still working...

    PS Has anyone seen Stacy recently? Did we accidentally lock her on the back porch with the new grill?

  73. I did eat a bunch of Easter candy, but I wouldn't turn down ice cream either!

    What I will really need, at about 7:30 pm tomorrow, is a good stiff drink to celebrate being done with a year of Confirmation.

  74. yeah, I don't know if it is appropriate to be worried about Stacey but I know that the host of preacher party does check in throughout the day. Maybe they lost teh internet?

  75. Okay, I'm officially the worst host ever. I had internet problems this morning, and then commitments all day that I wasn't thinking about last night when I left the initial post - none of them involving the new grill, by the way. I just got home, and I'm exhausted. I'm glad to see that you've all proceeded nicely without me. I'm wrapping up a couple of loose ends for tomorrow, and then I'll check back to say good night.

  76. Seriously, just glad you're okay... and not covered in burns from hugging that thing while it was too hot.

    Goin' to bed but will check in at the AM with a rallying cry.

  77. I tried to hug the grill, but it was just so huge, and metallic, that I gave up. I'll have to find the love I seek elsewhere.

    Seriously, thanks for thinking of me. I'm sorry that I wasn't around with you all more today!

  78. I'm typing my sermon on a motel computer. I will be home early in the morning, and I'll be preaching. Last week I spoke about Jesus and women, and this week it is Jesus and the guys--looking at how the Lord responded to their "screw ups." It is with grace and mercy. It has been a horrible week, and I'm in need of both. Blessings to all who preach and all who listen tomorrow.

  79. I have a sermon now, too! Maybe a little too sentimental at the end, but oh well. I think it'll preach. Whew.

    Off to shower, make beds, do the final readthrough, and get a grip on this silly retreat for tomorrow afternoon.

    Blessings on everyone's proclamation tomorrow, whether from the pulpit or the pew. (Glad you are still out there, Stacey!)

  80. Wow, you preachers turned in fairly early last night! Or did the party move elsewhere?
    Blessings to all who preach today (or who are preaching already--Hi, Kathryn!).

  81. Blessings to all this morning and a congrats (and a phew!) to a job well done.

    I am starting to wonder if maybe all of my tv time this week has me more emotionally involved in the VT tragedy than my congregation members are and maybe they don't 'need' the sermon I am preaching.

    BUT I am going to trust that the Holy Spirit has my back as I know it does yours and whether it be a dog or a diamond - I shall walk it proud. Come walk with me.

  82. Happy Sunday, all! And happy preaching!

  83. After much frustration yesterday I woke up knowing how to go forward this Earth Stewardship Sunday. Gotta love that Spirit! 5 hours till church, and I now have hopes of feeding the flock.

    Blessings on all who preach and listen this Sunday morning.


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