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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still the Future is Largely Unknown: the 11th Hour Preaching Party


We live in a fractured, fractious, and rapidly changing world. Now, as in ages past, the future is largely unknown. We yearn for this to be otherwise. We want certainty, time tables, and exact details.

Life does not work that way...(sigh)...

Still, we do not need to be victims of our fear. We can deflate the potency of chance and "fate" by looking carefully at our suffering and the suffering of the world. When we examine suffering we will find, in a history of people living though it, courage and creativity. Living through our suffering takes endurance and faith.

As we near the end of the Gospel of Luke we find these "apocalyptic predictions" of Jesus warning the disciples that they will suffer. We are coming once again to the days before the crucifixion. We are near the completion of the liturgical cycle, just a few short weeks before we start again at the beginning. Advent beckons us. But first...

In these revelations Jesus says to the followers, in essence, "they will suffer." In a violent dark night of the soul their way of thinking and acting will die. Then, by the grace of God, a new way will burn through in the morning light. In the meantime the followers are are invited into the transcendent love of God, which holds them. (Influenced by John Shea, "The Relentless Widow: The Spiritual Wisdom of the Gospels for Christian Preachers and Teachers.")

As you ponder the scripture for this Sunday are you feeling like the future is largely unknown? Are you praying about what to say and how to unpack Luke 21:5-19? Or are you considering Isaiah 65:17-25. Or perhaps Malachi 4:102a? Maybe you hear something in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 that speaks to your congregation? Or perhaps you are going with Psalm 98, "Sing to the Lord a new song?" How are the readings speaking to you about change and hope for new life? About fear and the possibility of something new? About being held in the love of God? About spiritual grounding in turbulent times. What else do you hear in these readings, or the other readings you are preaching on?

We stand ready to pray, think, ponder, cry, scream (if necessary) and laugh together. It's a party! I have fresh, Fair Trade coffee, a pot of water for tea, and all kinds of goodies. Welcome to the preacher party. What may I get you?


  1. Wow, am I really the first?

    Well, I'm not preaching this Sunday, although I'm going to put something together just in case our guest speaker has to cancel at the last minute.

    We're observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and our Member of Parliament is speaking.

    THe Scripture is from Isaiah 56: Let not the stranger who has joined to God say, "God will surely separate me from God’s people." It's one of my favourite passages in one of my favourite books of the Bible...inclusion and God's love and blessing.

    So I'm putting together a mini-meditation in case the MP is called away.

    In the meantime, I have fresh banana bread to offer (without nuts)!

  2. Blessings, RBP, on your day tomorrow. I hope the MP makes it...but good to be prepared in any event! and, sure, I'll have a slice of banana bread, esp. the no nut variety...Let me get some fresh coffee....

  3. Okay, I'm here. Now I admit every month I show up here stressed about my last-minute sermon prep. It's what I do. I'm a procrastinator. I can write ahead of time, but it usually needs to be tossed when I do.
    But this weekend the procrastinator's process has bit me in the backside: Thursday as I was writing, I was asked to do a funeral on Saturday for someone with no church. Fine--I can do that. Then on Friday (as I was leaving my visit with the bereaved family), I get a call that a church member had passed away. Funeral Sunday...during annual planning retreat. Good thing there's two of us, and the senior pastor's usually the one who "takes it for the team", but I am a little more stressed than usual.
    I'm 3 pages in to a sermon on John 6:25-35 (THanksgiving) with "Unending Need, Inexhaustible Gift" as the title. I'll be checking in frequently, between funeral meditations and visits and funeral #1.
    I've got LOTS of dark chocolate to share, as well as more fair trade coffee, a fabulous old-fashioned vanilla poundcake, and homemade beef stew. Come on by!

  4. Morning everybody, I have muffins to offer to eat. I need some really majorly fully loaded coffee to wake up. I got a rough draft, thank God. I got a full day of Angel Food Ministries, and some hospital visits.

    So how is everybody else doing.

    rainbow pastor, what a smart idea to be prepared. Hope it is a good day for you.

    revanne, I think you got me beat as far as all the things to do. I may take some of that chocolate for later.

  5. revanne, prayers for you this day...this weekend.

    Abi, here, a cup of good strong coffee. Sit a bit and give yourself a moment to wake up.

    I'm deep into the trenches with my sermon, but I'm afraid it's rambling all over the place...

  6. I'm not preaching this week... but I just made a big frying pan of biscuits... hot and buttery. I have syrup... honey... jam... and sharp cheddar to top them off.

    May the Holy Spirit inspire you in your sermon writing today. Peace.

  7. well I'm sitting here with vitamin C and lemsip ( cold cure), and being surprised at the direction my sermon has taken, I started by picking up Philippians 4 thinking on Thanks giving, but God it seems had other ideas....Moving beyond division, seeing God's picture I'd be interested in constructive critisism ...please!

  8. prayers for the day rainbow pastor- it sounds amazing.

  9. sticking it out with Luke 21 "endurance" as "faithful reliance on God" not just in a few places or few compartments of our lives but in all of our lives... and i'm using a monopoly board game (2 of them actually) to illustrate the point. i love a sermon with props...

    so happy writing to you - i will be cleaning the fridge out and tackling the pile of dishes and then dusting, vacuuming, and polishing woodwork! argggh...

    (PS i have no food only coffee)

  10. Good morning all. You are off to busy starts to your days as usual. I have dark roast and great scones to offer. It's another "Kate plans God laughs" weekend. I found out late Wednesday I am supplying (for the first time ever) at a church about 40 miles from here. It's "special permission" from our Bp that we locally ordained folks get to do this, so it feels like a blessing and gift. But also have some butterflies about the unknown. Luke and all that reassurance just leapt off the page at me at first read but I am starting from scratch here and now, so looking forward to company today from the the party.

  11. I cannot believe your heading for this post, mompriest.
    I'm not preaching tomorrow,but am writing an 8 minute presentation to give during Big Scary Interview for a possible call on Wednesday (which I can't blog as congregation have been known to visit my place)
    8 minutes on "Back to Church" - the ways I have developed to connect people with the gospel.
    To my amazement I've more to say than I'll have time to say it in...but it feels very real and vulnerable to be committing it all to paper now.
    think I'm too jittery to eat, but Hugger Steward has just made some more chocolate fudge , so I'll put a bowl on the table to share. It's very yummy.

  12. pk - ohhh, warm biscuits, I'd like one with jam, please.

    Sally, good job!

    HC - yeah, I'm with you on the endurance piece...

    Kate - we're here for you. Preaching and presiding at a new, known place, sounds very challenging...

  13. I've written one sermon for the weekend. I have a second to complete. Two completely different sermons, mind you.

    You see, I am finally leaving my ministry here. So, I needed to preach a good-bye sermon. Oy. But what great scriptures to do so!

    For the other church I am thinking about endurance. It's our Walk of Faith Sunday, pledge Sunday really. So, I will preach on how long a Walk of Faith really is and how it takes a certain kind of strength. Growth and transition take time...a lot of time. Lasting change is seldom immediate. And in the scriptures, the last change is in God's hands...and in our vision.

    Well, that's where I am this morning. More coffee, anyone?

  14. AH, katherine, prayers for you...may the jitters ease enough that you can be at peace...but be present enough to keep you sharp. I always think a few jitters are a good thing...tells us that something important is at stake...

  15. Tripp, wow. Big changes. Love the website for the Community Church. Prayers for your day tomorrow and the road ahead.

  16. I'm not preaching the next 3 Sundays, but I wanted to stop in and offer a blessing to all who preach and all who will listen. And remember, HS has your back.

  17. Good morning, everyone. What a feast has been provided! Biscuits here, please--one with cheese and one with jam.

    Thanks so much to everyone who prayed and commented during my writer's block this week; finally was able to get back to the revision late last night, get it mostly done, and a decent night's sleep. San Diego is two hours drive (I'll give myself four) and luckily the paper isn't till 4. So I have a few hours to finish it up, pack, and do some research at the website of Dream Job for the interview Sunday. Busy but doable.

    Prayers for RevDrKate supplying, Tripp farewelling, Sally sniffling, and everyone writing today and proclaiming tomorrow.

  18. revanne--prayers for you. PK--those biscuits sound awesome! Kathryn--blessings to you on the whole search and call process. I am off lectionary this week because it is the final week of our Stewardship Drive. I am preaching on the feeding of the 5,000 from John. Talking about the importance of the little boy's willingness to share his lunch--in that small act of sharing, life changes. Will be washing clothes and packing for our Thanksgiving trip to TX. But first--a latte and blueberry scone. YUM =)

  19. Laura, continued prayers for you!

    Maria, enjoy this time off from preaching. The last time I had three weeks off I found myself looking forward to getting back into the pulpit...

    rochelle, hope all goes well, preparing to preach and preparing to leave town...

  20. Excuse the following but I need to vent:

    TOmorrow we are having a "favourite hymsn" service. Earlier this week I gave the organist/choir director a bulletin copy with all the hymns/service music highlighted, as is my practice. Now we ahve a new hymn book supplement and 4 pieces from it were on the list--all new and unknown to the majority of the congregation. SO i put 3 of them in a block labelled New FAvourites--Played on CD and did not highlight that section on the copy I gave the organist. WEdnesday after the funeral she says "About those new pieces, I don't think the congregation will pick them up that quickly" so I tell her what was already written--that I was just going to play them off the CD, not to have them sung (really, why would I try to learn 3 new pieces in one service?). "Oh good thing I asked, I was going to go home and spend hours learning them"

    But it was written in the bulletin!!! THere to be read!!!!

    A few minutes ago she phones to ask about the call to worship, another piece from the new book, listed to be sung a capella, and not highlighted on her copy. "The choir doesn't seem to know that [although some of them have sung it before, I know that becasue I was with them] and I don't think the congregation will. I explain that some have sung it before and that PAtty and I were going to lead it.

    Now why do I bother highlighting things if that isn't going to be read/used as a guide???????????????

  21. Oh, Gord. Glad you came to vent... really have to wonder sometimes...just not paying attention? Or passive aggressive? Well, frustrating regardless. I hope all goes well tomorrow despite it all...

  22. Vent #2: (sorry, but my blog is hardly anonymous...)

    LAst Sunday we had a baptism. ANd so there were a large number of family there--none of whom are regular attenders--including a number of children. THe young ones tended to be active, more active than people are used to--climbing the chancel steps and moving around--nothing that bothered me as worship leader in the least. ANd teh family are not used to church "protocol" so, in the words of one person "they don't know how to act properly".

    LAter in the week someone suggested to me that the new policy should be that anyone wanting baptism should have to attend, with their family, for a full year "so they know how to act properly".

    ANd this is a congregation that on and on describes itself as welcoming.

  23. Thank you all for your inspiring thoughts. My day is shaping up better than I thought... I have the rest of the day, pretty much, to finish the sermon. (Phew!) Tomorrow is our BIG ANNUAL MEETING... and I am having the District Superintendent over for lunch. I am trying to focus on today and not stress about tomorrow!

    Thanks for the biscuts. I have some apples and cheese to share.

  24. Mmm...apples and cheese please. Any one got peanut butter to go with that? I need the protein...
    Visits done...all but one. Working on funeral #1, sermon for tomorrow is half done and has potential (I think a roll is coming this evening), 1 visit done and 1 cancelled (not by me) so that's good...
    Gord, Sr. Pastor and I have discovered that there are only 2 sermons we preach (with many many variations). First, God loves you (and everyone else) and second, it's not about us. The second one is a much harder point to get across. Vent freely!
    Kate, prayers.
    HotCup, I'll put you up at the coast if you'll come clean mine, too.
    Sally, I like it, a lot, but haven't had time to read it carefully. So only praise, no criticism.
    Grace and peace, everyone. See you after funeral #1. And thanks!

  25. Gord, I wish those stories didn't sound all too familiar!!!

    1. Organists with secret control issues, and
    2 Congregations who are willing to go this far and no farther...

    God have mercy...

    Peace be with you.

    ( we could always spend tomorrow playing scrabulous!!!)

  26. Gord... (sigh)... Why do things that are supposed to be so easy end up being so difficult?? My prayers are with you.

    And revanne, I think I found some "Skippy" in the cupboard. You are welcome to it!

  27. RP, I love Isaiah, and that scripture!

    Gord, I share your pain. I sometimes do not know why we bother with annoucements or bulletins.

    This is the first weekend of hunting in Wisconsin. Thus, 90% of the men and about 25% of the women of the congregation are out banging guns in the woods and fields.


    Thus, church will be very very sparsely attended. I'm doing something casual, not really a sermon, kind of a devotinal on thankfulness. And I have a very nice short video with music and quotes about giving thanks to God. It will be a short service, and then we will drink coffee or cider and eat muffins or kringle (a Wisconsin staple).

    As for now, I have a few homemade cinnamon rolls. PLEASE, eat them! (I wish you really could.)

  28. :-)Thanks for the encouragement revanne

  29. I'm not on deck for anything tomorrow...but I'll contribute some Star Thistle Honey Cream from Sleeping Bear Farms, "Up North, Michigan." As the label notes, it's like sunshine in a jar.

  30. Wedding in 36 minutes. Sermon still a figment of my imagination... children's sermon too.

    I need a nap.

  31. kristabeth, good luck with the annual meeting and the lunch that follows...

    Gord...sigh...this far and no farther...I experience it often, even as we say "welcome one and all..."

    SingingOwl, oh. I've lived in Wisconsin. Kinda freaky to hear the gun shots...your approach to worship sounds lovely though...

    lutheranchick, thanks for the honey cream, might go well with the biscuits...

    revanne, holding you in prayer...

  32. WS, I hope you get a nap sometime today. Occasionally I write my sermons in my sleep...I mean I fall asleep trying to write it, but then, gratefully when I awake I usually am able to write it...

  33. Is aynone else wrestling with the Luke passage? I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere, but I do know I need coffee! I'm headed down to the local coffee shop... Can I pick up something for you? Regular? Decaf? Scone? Biscotti?

  34. Gord - after cleaning my fridge i found some limp celery i could slap some people with for you.

  35. singing owl- a cinnamon roll, don't mind if I do....

    Right now I am contemplating what to do for supper ( it is 7:31pm) and rearranging my service plan having just been told there will be no Junior Church!

    So no children's address, no children's hymn/ song- oh what the heck they might just as well hear them!!!

  36. yes. this passage in Luke is not really speaking to me. But, well, the sermon is almost finished, so I'm going with it anyway. sigh.

    I'll take a biscotti please.

    And HC - your comment made me laugh out loud...

  37. WOw, sounds like a crazy day all the way around!
    We had a work day this morning at the church to clean the grounds. I spent the morning up to my elbows bleaching toys from the nursey. Seems a bad case of pink eye has hit the carpet crawlers!
    This evening we have a fish fry and the a football game. Time for sermon writting! Now, If I only had any idea what the Luke text is saying!

  38. I am trying REALLY HARD to not whine in this space, because I don't think it's fair to y'all, but I kind of got myself into a pickle. Suffice to say that I have packed too much into tomorrow, and preparing for it today is not going so well.

    At least I have beginning thoughts on John 6 (we are doing Thanksgiving instead of Luke 21 end-of-the-world) and Psalm 111 (meditation for the community Thanksgiving service tomorrow night).

    John 6--pondering different kinds of food, why we eat what we eat, what kinds of needs are met by food, and moving from there to the things that feed one's spirit.

    Psalm 111--I got the "food" verses here too, so hey! Maybe I'll do some borrowing between the two.

    Got some pumpkin bread to share!

  39. Just back from a lovely mind-clearing walk in the state park with a friend. It's snowing and so quiet there you can hear it falling. So now Iv'e caught up with everyone here since I left...oh Gord, I hear your frustration 1 and 2! I'm with HC, bring on the celery!

    Thanks all for the encouragement and prayers and those cinnamon rolls...that fresh air you know. So no more stalling...time to get to it here....will check back later.

  40. I have to apologize, my friends. I got to the coffee shop two minutes late and they were closed. No coffee, no scones, no biscotti. Following that disappointment I came back to brew a pot of coffee, only to find that I have not milk... So I do have black coffee if you would like some. Does anyone have any milk you might be willing to share?

    I have several paragraphs written, but they don't fit together very well. Maybe the caffine will help me focus on my transitions!

  41. We've been to see "Stardust" en famille, which was a lovely break from analysing my presentation again and again...Now there are some fajitas on the table, and a jug of local apple juice.
    Lots of love and blessings to over committed souls in all corners...I'm signing off for tonight, I think xx

  42. Sorry I haven't popped in before now. I had a migraine-aura-without- headache episode this morning, which left me unable to see properly to do anything for a while. Now it is resolved, and I have an excerpt--most of the sermon but not all of it--up here.

  43. I have rehearsed a youth who will provide dramatic reading of both Deuteronomy and John readings. ( yes, we're doing t-giving) I arm preparing a brief homily on "fresh bread" --reminding us to see and recieve Jesus the Christ as the bread of life during our thanksgiving.
    I then watched THE Ohio State Buckeyes beat Michigan--YEAH! Here we come Rose Bowl!
    Next up preparing for the lunch that follows our worship, before the holiday parade--ready or NOT (that would be me.) Christmas comes in our town tomorrow. YUCK!

  44. goodness you all sound so busy- all I have done all day is sneezed and grumped.... now my wonderful hubby is cooking supper.... good ole British eggg and chips ( that is fried eggs with chunky fries!!!!) nice and carb filled to chase the cold away!!!

  45. I have a draft up here if anyone cares to read it. I got some help from text week and I'm not sure if it flows, but I'm getting tired and we leave for the fish fry soon.
    Blessings y'all!

  46. HC Lutheran,
    THat is a good one, I'll join you wiht some cold spaghetti.

    Well I am in good shape for tomorrow since I need just a short meditation on why we sing what we sing. SO I can work ahead.

    TIme to look at Advent {sigh}

  47. Me, I 'm later to the party than usual. Can't stay long.

    While I don't know what the future will bring tomorrow, I know what it is bringing tonight: a later Saturday night than usual.

    Red wine, anyone? Bought some in order to make beef stroganoff for dinner and had to sample a bit, just to make sure the wine hadn't gone to vinegar. Y'know.

  48. Glad to finally be home and with you all. Wow, lots of big Sundays and big transitions going on here. I can relate.

    A couple of months ago, it seemed fine to schedule for the same day:
    a)the celebration of the birthday of a church pillar who passed away this year, with a special offering for the food pantry and reinstituting the ringing of the church bells;
    b) the dedication of boxes we're sending to Operation Christmas Child; and,
    c) similar dedication of the Thanksgiving baskets we give to local families every year.

    Now I have a big and difficult announcement to make to my congregation on top of all these things. I have no idea how I'm going to fit all these things together, and it's been such an insane week that I'm exhausted. Blah. Okay, must stop griping and get writing.

  49. Stacey, if you are really looking for 2 cents:

    Blessings and journeys. All of those things you listed are blessings and part of our journey as Christians.

    You have been blessed by that church and by all that you have learned, the support you have felt, and the way they have equipped you to respond to this next step in your journey that God has called you to.

    If you put it in a positive, thankful light they can do nothing but embrace you for all you have done and embrace their role in getting you to this point in your ministry.

  50. As for me, done with wedding and reception now I am headed home to change, get the dog and FINISH THE SERMON (which would mean starting the sermon by the way).

  51. welcome, cheese, I was wondering about you...sorry about the migraine. Both my kids get them, and sometimes just that aura...glad you are feeling better!

    CPCM - I'll be by in a bit to read your draft.

    mine is posted too, draft

    have a go at it, leave comments, contructive ones appreciated...

  52. stacey, what WS said...that and some rest...

  53. Hello all. I've been struggling most of the week sinus migraines. I am preaching the Thanksgiving readings: Deut. 26:1-11 and John 6:25-35. I hope to have it done in a couple of hours because I still need to go to the grocery store.

    I have some devil's food cake. Oh the irony. ;)

  54. I'm late to the party for two reasons: lunch with my sisters and a blistering headache. Seems this is a headache day for several RGBPs - my sincere sympathies.

    Came home after lunch hoping to dive into sermon draft which I started yesterday. NOT. Pain was up to 8 out of 10 with wicked nausea. So I took two painkillers, two ice paks and went to bed. I woke up 15 minutes ago. Headache down to 7, but I'm shaking from head to toe. This has been happening after the worst of my headaches lately - not sure what it means, but it makes it hard to type.

    Anyway, I'm working on the Isaiah reading and the invitation to work with God to create the peaceable kingdom now. There is something sort of "immediate" about the beginning of the passage where it says, "I am about to create a new heaven and a new earth."

    There is an urgency there that subverts our need to form a committee to study the possibilities, then another committee for get the idea.

    All the yummy treats sound good, but I'll pass thanks. I am leaning toward jello for supper.

    Rainbow Pastor - your service for TDOR sounds wonderful. I'll be thinking of you.

  55. Just made a giant dutch oven of gumbo... and pan of yeast rolls. Grab a bowl and a spoon. Bring some sweet tea... or a cold beer... cuz it's kinda spicy.

  56. Meditation mostly done (OK, I jotted a few memory points on index cards).

    Brownies done for the potluck tonight, banana bread for coffee hour tomorrow, and I actually got to read for fun today (30 minutes or so)!

    I'm off to the potluck--the gumbo sounds great though, I'll grab a small bowl on my way out. I've left the second pan of brownies on the counter for all to enjoy!

    (and Gord, thanks for the reminder that I have GOT to work on Advent next week...:P)

  57. More headaches... So sorry Shawna and Sue...what a day! I hope you feel better soon...

    I'm about to make a pork roast with apples, and raisins, and rubbed with a cinnamon and allspice seasoning, baked acorn squash, and rice....yeah, it's fall here. Raining too.

    I have tea and dark chocolate for those who need a late afternoon pick me up...

    now, where did I leave that sermon???

  58. Oh, and hey, semfem, welcome!!!

    You know, we can take a little don't hold back....but mostly I hope it all comes together for you and the rest who are on overload...

    Oh, and if I missed welcoming anyone else, ((sorry)) and, don't take it's probably just the upholstry cleaner I've been using all afternoon - gotta clean the furniture for Thanksgiving (cats...)...

  59. Stacey, I don't know where you are, but in the South I have found the following technique handy (comes from centuries of indoctrination by grandmothers, aunts, and other formidable women): tell 'em how to feel. Do it with some subtlety, but tell them that while the change means that you will be leaving them (I'm interpreting, pardon me if I'm incorrect), you have come a long way together, and they have the excitement of looking to their own "next thing". If possible, get a respected leader in the church to stand with you as you make the announcement, and to propose that as the service ends, that the congregation offer you their blessing in ministry, as they'll always be a part of you. I wish you well!
    Okay. I'm halfway through the sermon. Funeral #1 is over...I don't do it for money, which is good, 'cause no one could've paid me enough for that one. Back to being thankful...
    Shawna, I'll post mine if you'll post yours.
    Prayers for healing for the headaches, Cheese, Sue, Shawna, and all...

  60. Okay. I've done something foolish. At the Campus Ministry Thanksigivng dinner on Thursday I told the table that if they came to church on Sunday I would put a word of their choice in the sermon.

    The word?



  61. Listing Straight--what's your text?!

  62. What a party!
    I've been off leading a retreat today, my first time doing such a thing for a church I'm not serving. It went well, but was draining, and I am VERY glad I wrote my sermon yesterday. I just posted it over at my place. As you may have guessed from the Friday Five, I went with Philippians.
    We have a pretty busy service tomorrow, and right after that I leave to pick up my boarding school son at the airport in Boston!! Hurray!

  63. I've just come back from an afternoon with my husband, (who is now gone, working overtime) and a birthday party for a parishoner where the old pastor (just moved in July) showed was mildly uncomfortable...

    Luckily most of my sermon is in my head (i don't really preach from notes or anything...) I'm using the John text from the Thanksgiving Lectionary. My sermon title is "White or Wheat" and I'm talking about the choices we make in that is nourishing and tastes really good sticks to your bones kind of bread, or one that is bland and just fills in where we need it. I'm using a story about my sister who LOVES (read obsessed with) Brown and Serve rolls. We have them every year at thanksgiving. Last year, my family had moved to a new state and my sister went shopping for 2 hours looking for these rolls (and never found them...) I'm going to say something about how she got a taste of the real thing and then nothing else would subsitute...she was changed forever. Just like Jesus. Will that preach?

    My dilemna now is coming up with something to preach on Tuesday at our community thanksgiving service (the town's three churches get together for it...) I'd debated not using the thanksgiving texts tomorrow and using them tuesday, but we're hosting a free thanksgiving dinner tomorrow after church for our seniors and the local shelters, so I really felt like it needed to be addressed...

    Sorry I have no suggestions for the word plunger. I supposse just telling the story about eating dinner with the kids wouldn't count would it? :-)

  64. OMG, listing straight, thanks for reminding me...the youth group's word for me this week is Hee Haw.

  65. sorry for the super long post....

  66. I'm with Luke this week-
    You will be hated.

  67. Hey Listing:
    "The tough times/end times is kinda like looking at a toilet about to overflow without a plunger"?!

  68. Listing, do you have a good story about an apocalyptic toilet crisis?

  69. Apocalyptic toilet crisis... That makes me laugh...

    But I'm hoping to avoid a toilet reference.

    Unclogging a sink?
    Plunger for french press coffee?

  70. Plunger...hmmmm

    1. Toilet, plumbing references
    2. French Press coffee maker
    3. "click" pens
    4. hypodermic needles/syringes
    5. Dynamite (cartoon version at least)
    6. swimmer/diver (ok this one is a bit of a stretch)

    hope that helps LS

    ANyone out there sing to the congregation at times? Does it matter if your singing ability is, well, limited?

  71. or the end times is when God comes in with his plunger to get rid of all the, uh, stuff, we've filled the world with.

    Or maybe not.

    Back to exegesis papers. (sadly, the ideas in the papers aren't any better than the joke)

  72. Hey Listing... here is a plunger story for you. At my seminary, the president of the alumn organization preaches a service at the end of the school year, and seniors are welcomed into the alumni association, etc. My second year, the pres gave everyone in the senior class plungers, and preached a whole sermon about ministry being about getting down and doing the work that is necessary for the good of the community... in his case, that meant spending lots of time in the basement that week with a plunger because their preschool had broken all the toilets....

    Sorry, I guess that didn't avoid toilets after all.

  73. It is 9pm and I am just home from Diocesan Convention. I am pooped. We have the apocolyptic lessons and stewardship tomorrow. YUCK.

    Pray for us sinners....

  74. Geez....I leave the party for a few hours to fold laundry and have dinner with my husband and the whole party goes down the....

    hee hee...ok.

    Pluger, eh. oh my.

    Welcome SB, and LS and Muthah, Susie, and's a party!

    Well, now I have to go back to my pathetic sermon and see if there is way to pull it out of the....or maybe I just use that plunger...and start again...

  75. I've sung before. My college chaplain did that from time to time, and it was completely amazing and spirit-filled.

    Sadly, I don't have her voice, but I think it can be Very profound.

    And, I think I am going to abandon plunger and go with plunging.

    "Like a class plunging their eyes to the floor when asked a difficult question..."

  76. I have ice cream with chocolate covered nuts and bits of chopped up ice cream cone in it --want some?

    Listing straight, good luck with "plunger." Could a plunger be one who dives into something head first ...?

  77. Singing - I have a weak voice and I have done it. It works as long as you don't try to be something you're not.

    For the first time incorporating a random word into your sermon, you are indeed allowed to change the tense. This does however keep you at Rookie Status.

  78. RDQ! Welcome. I was just thinking that it's time for dessert...

    and I like your idea, a plunger; something dives in head first...sure!

    Ok. So I have a wide variety of herbal teas (or black tea if you are trying to stay awake)...and cookies and more ice cream...

    help your self.

  79. Listing: a plung-er is that which plunges; there might also be a plung-ee...seems like there's room for some bad puns here if that's your style. It's not mine, but my sr. pastor could pull it off with ease, if not dignity.
    Ice cream would be great...and the virtual kind's about all I eat. I'll make homemade hot fudge for the other chocoholics out there.
    I'm almost done...will post "Unending Need, Inexhaustible Gift at my place shortly.

  80. Crap. Bad link above. My place is
    Telling Stories and Learning Faith.
    This was waaay harder than it should have been.

  81. Thanks for the 2 cents from a few of you - it's good to be affirmed that I'm on the right track. Writing this is no fun, but once it's done, we can move forward, and I can begin actually being excited about the new things that are coming. In the meantime, I decided to leave the house and write my sermon in the presence of a friend, over a couple of beers - hence the late return. Hope the rest of you are coming along well...

  82. Good job working "Hee Haw" into that sermon, revanne! I might borrow a few points of yours into my sermon if you don't mind.

    "Plunger" though...I'm at a bit of a loss there, LS. Could you talk about...emergencies perhaps, where you have to just grab the plunger and go for broke?

    I've got the evening reflection done, although it sucketh mightily, and now it's on to the sermon for the morning. (I did go play hooky by going to an all-state band concert and going out to dinner afterward. So I really should not be complaining.)

    The main thrust of the sermon so far: Food keeps you alive, but it won't give you life. (scribbled down on a napkin at the restaurant.) Spoken like someone who just finished off the last bit of Halloween candy.

  83. Ok, the Sunday Prayer is up, which means it's time to bring this party to a close....

    It's been a good day, all. Thank you for coming by, offering support, sharing some humor, bringing gifts of food...I've enjoyed hosting our party.

    I pray our words will be filled with and by the Holy Spirit, may she have our backs.

    Last one up, (semfem???) get the lights....

  84. You got it, mompriest. That is, if the early birds aren't already getting up by the time I'm heading to bed...

    ...but let's think positively here!

  85. I've got a sinus headache. Geeze it must be catching. I've spent a very long and frustrating downloading something I need for tomorrow. But it is done, as is short sermon. In the morning I just have to cut kringle, make a fruit plate (many apple slices, strawberries, kiwi fruit and banans) and find nice bowls for the sutff, add caramal dip for apples and cream cheese/citrus dip for the other fruit...arrange it all on the table, find candles...and then be early to practice with the worship team. I hope I manage it. Sweet dreams tonight and powerful sermons tomorrow wished for all.

    And Stacey, I am praying for you. I know how difficult this can be. Sad and happ all at once...

  86. Thanks semfem...take anything you can use.
    Stacey, will keep you in my prayers tomorrow.
    Sue, sorry about the headache. Hope it goes away.
    Thanks, all...this business of one manuscript per month (evening service is twice, but use an outline) is tough. I'm a bit out of practice. Your support means more than you know.

  87. Any other late night people out there still? Or is everybody finished except me?

    I'm trucking along, 731 words and apparently still coming up with things to say.

  88. Semfem, I'm still here. I think my sermon is done, but I keep going over it. I foresee a night of not much sleep.

  89. I am finally finished. I didn't think it would take me this long. Oh well. My sermon is posted here if anyone wants to take a look.

    Come on over and relax with some pinot noir and dark chocolate.

  90. Stacey! After seeing what's on your plate for tomorrow, I don't blame you at all for being a bit restless.

    Just 24 hours it will be over...right? (Although in some sense it will have only begun, I suppose.)

  91. Oh man, Shawna's sermon is SO MUCH better than mine (and says a lot of what I want to say) that I just want to chuck mine out the window and preach hers tomorrow.

  92. Shawna, that is a really great sermon.

    Yes, in 24 hours, it will be over, and just beginning. But at least I'll be free to be open about it and make plans. For now, I choose cabernet and online conversation :)

  93. Okay, I'm at least going to TRY to get some sleep before that lovely 8am service. Good night and blessings, all!

  94. I'm just over two pages and quickly descending into total rambling. Maybe this will be a short sermon. A very short sermon.

    Going to try to get sort of finished up, take a shower, and look at it again with fresh eyes.

  95. Okay. It's short (1377 words) but it's finished, I think. I'll get the lights now.

    Blessings on all preaching, proclamation, and pondering tomorrow (and any more preparation that will happen).

  96. Ok I'm up early. Looks like we had some late night party people. I hope everyone had enough sleep and rest.

    Blessings on this day.

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