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Saturday, February 23, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Snow, Snow Everywhere

Here is the view from my front door. Only four inches of that snow is new; the rest is what remains after rain on snow last week and a little melting this week.

It's hard to picture the desert from this vantage point, but I'm on that task this morning, along with shoveling.

But first, coffee. I'm drinking from my RevGalBlogPals mug and thinking of all of you.

How does your day look? What lies ahead? Any treats to share at the party today?

Let us know how we can help if you need a sounding board or a children's message or whatever else might arise. Leave a comment and let's get the party started!


  1. Hmmm. No one's preaching tomorrow except me?
    Guess I'll keep all the muffins to myself.

  2. Me me me - I'm preaching *and* I'll take a muffin!

    Earlier in the week, I felt so enthused about my text - the Exodus one (title: Dried Up), but now I'm feeling, well, enthused would not be the word. Neither would inspired....

  3. I'm not preaching, but I'll take a muffin. I do have a funeral this afternoon. And a first communion class this morning. And a bible study. Is that enough?

    It's finally above zero here! If it weren't for the ice, it would be pleasant dog-walking weather!

  4. oh, and actually I COULD use a children's message.

  5. Good morning all.

    I'm preaching tomorrow, but using last week's materials since we had to cancel last Sunday due to icing.

    But today I get to map out worship for the rest of Lent and figure out when exactly to get back on the lectionary track.

    Since the thermometer will hit 30 today and it will be bright and sunny [yea!!!!], I will need to salt, then de-slush, the driveway.

    I'll take a muffin --thanks Songbird. Want a banana? They really need to be eaten ... otherwise I would have to bake banana nut bread.

  6. "Since I have given up sweets for Lent, I will pass on the muffin," she says virtuously and virtually.I will offer bagels--fresh from the bagels story this morning for those who are virtuously inclined.

    Meanwhile, I will work on the woman at the well. I picked up a bit of info on Samaria--there were 5 different groups of people who were introduced into Samaria after the Babylonian exile--that may be the number for the husbands of the woman. At least it is something new to bring to the exegesis. The story is so symbolic anyway--one more thing to unpack makes for a good way to deal with the story. Longest story in the book of John---hmmm must mean something!

    Will catch up with ya'll later.

  7. I'm preaching.
    Muffins sound good.
    I'm finishing up a sermon on being seen by Jesus.
    This afternoon= a workshop on recovering sacramental practices with Chip Andrus, a fine musician and preacher. Can't wait!

  8. Good morning, good morning!! I won't be around much today. We have some friends who are visiting from my previous call to help celebrate my installation at my new call tomorrow. Fun!!! Anyway, of course I don't have my sermon done for the morning service. That would make too much sense. I have a pretty solid outline to work from later today, maybe during naptime, maybe after dinner. I don't have to preach the evening service or anything, so that's no stress.

    Just wanted to pop in and say happy writing to you all. I'll probably be in the late night crew tonight. Hopefully it won't take me much time when it comes to writing.

    I'm working with Ps. 95 and a little of Exodus since it so directly references it. I was struggling a lot with the change of mood mid-Psalm, but I'm seeing now the "purpose of praise" can be to avoid pride. If we rehearse and offer praise to God for all that God is (in this psalm creator or earth and Israel) we are reminding ourselves that God is God and we are not. God's plans should not be replaced with our plans like the grumbling Israelites were wanting to do (complaining about wishing they had just stayed back in Egypt).

    I don't want to disregard legitimate lamenting, so I'm not sure if I'll make a detour in that direction mid-sermon, or just hope I don't explicitly disregard that form of prayer and take it up in a different sermon some day. It might depend on how I'm doing lengthwise and if I can fit it in without being TOO distracting.

    So, have a good day! No fun food here to share. I ate ALL the leftover pecan pie bars I made for a clergy cluster lunch (be careful how you say that one!!!). THAT was an AWESOME new recipe. I'll share if anyone cares!


  9. I've just returned from a few days all the way across country - a little R & R. I had worked on my sermon last week, so I'll be pulling it out to figure out what I said! I do have some coffee...and will head over to the church once my luggage is delivered ot my house!

  10. Morning... I'm offering up a pot of strong... hi-test coffee and pop-tarts (brown sugar cinnamon). Not much to offer... especially since I went to the grocery store yesterday.

    In Tuesday's LL... lori, deb, & p.a. all wrote about the woman leaving her water jar behind. That's what I've been pondering this week... that water jar. Was it empty... or full?

    I can imagine that the water jar was one of the household's most valuable possessions. I'm just saying... you gotta have water... and the jar is how you get it home. Seems to me... when we hear... really hear the good news... we become willing to leave what we consider important... behind. I wonder... how many things in our lives... in the life of the church... we could leave behind... and never miss. I think leaving these things behind... opens the door for us to begin a new venture... a new way of life... a new calling... a new mission.

    The bottom line... if I was going to move into a new house... I wouldn't want to take the old plumbing with me... and so it should be in the church.

    I'm taking my grandmomma's old water jar to worship... as a visual image.

  11. I'm preaching, and due to a really busy week I posted a draft of my sermon earlier in the week here, I've tried to take a different tack on this one... I'd value some feedback :-)

  12. pk, those are good thoughts. The last time I preached the woman at the well, I also focused on the left-behind jar. I think I might've used the line from the Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, about measuring out our lives in coffeespoons, and then talked about the woman living by the bucketful - just living on whatever she could get from life each day (as symbolized by the daily need to go to the well). To me, leaving behind the jar was a sign that the life she was now offered at that well by Jesus was bigger than any jar could hold.

    Sort of wish I was reusing and revamping that sermon for tomorrow, instead of writing something entirely new, for which I have nothing but a title.

    Dorothy Parker once said, "Writing is the art of applying the a** to the chair." Clearly, she did not have the internet to distract her once she was in that chair!

  13. absolutely right eathchick my a** is sat frimly in my chair...but the internet....

  14. Good morning.

    I'm up after a fitfully sleep-deprived night. I've got some really strong fair-trade shade grown coffee working, and some pumpkin bread to share--no nuts,for those of you who hate them.

    I was all excited about my sermon ideas earlier, but like earthchick, am feeling rather "meh" now.

  15. This is week two in my four week supply gig for a colleague who had prostate surgery and once he's recovered is getting his tonsils out. Oy! I am stuck and need a good children's idea as well.

    Nothing food wise to offer but I making lattes with my fancy coffee machine.

  16. Morning all, Sounds like the Saturday morning "mehs" are going around. I just stopped to pick up coffee and was told mine was free as there is a whole chain of pay it forwards going on over there. So of course......Nice way to start sermon writing! I'm excited by the woman at the well, but also Romans...seems like there might be too much to say here....and I have to preach short as we have a program after! On Tuesday it all seemed so clear to me, sigh.....please pass the muffins, Songbird?

  17. ooh latte? did i hear someone say latte?!!

    on the jar thing: the woman went to fill that vessel - but the twist is that of course she was the vessel that needed filling right?

    i'm preaching about dehyrdation tomorrow and asking folks if we've been trying to satisfy our thirst (in the wilderness times of life/lent)with all the wrong things?

    it's written. now the massive top to bottom house cleaning commences... you put your brains to work! i'll put my elbow grease into action! deal?

  18. Here come the muffins!
    By the way, Muthah+, all the virtual treat at the Preacher Party are sin-and-calorie-free!
    I spent an hour shoveling, then went to Weight Watchers (Yay! It was a good week!) and now must take the dogs for a walk.
    Some Saturdays, it's just hard to get started...

  19. Good morning, friends! It's a cloudy day in Seattle. I have a wonderful from-scratch chocolate cake that the pastor's wife brought over--if you are okay with cake for breakfast.

    Thank you so much for your sweet wishes and prayers. They touched my heart yesterday. I've been pretty much emotionally disconnected for three days, but all that seems to have worn off. This morning I am weepy. The family dynamics of some of the folks arriving today are volatile and my poor brother in law is walking on eggshells already. Makes me angry that such should be the case.

    I have something to read, memories mostly, but now I'm thinking I should never have thought I'd be able to do it.

    Yikes...well, I'm stopping now to pray for you as you prepare for Sunday.

    Rev Gals and Pals RULE!

  20. I've been looking for sparks for this sermon and found a piece by Barbara Brown Taylor.

    Good basic stuff. And of course, fabulously written.

  21. I am more concerned about getting through a wholeness and healing service this evening than tomorrow's stuff. Annual report and meeting mixed in with worship, so not a lot of room to give the woman at the well her full due.

    For children's sermon I was thinking of having the congregation do that ol' trick where folks rub their hands together first and then snap and then clap and then stomp their feet and then you go back in the other direction so it sounds like a rain storm.

    Then talk about the difference living, active water makes from stagnant water... or something like that.

    I think I can tie in active and living water/active and living congregation with the whole annual report celebration, don't you?

  22. WS - Hope tonight goes well and as for tomorrow- sounds like you've got a plan!

  23. I took a quick break away from the computer when my spouse yelled down the stairs,

    "Hey, cheeshead! I think you want to come see this!"

    A handsome, blonde, clean shaven, well-groomed young man wearing nice trousers, a well-pressed shirt and a tie that altogether set off his baby blue eyes was standing in my kitchen. I nearly swooned.

    Get your minds out of the gutter; it was my son who stopped by to pick up some mail on his way to church. On. his. way. to. church. Girlfriend's nephew is getting baptized this morning. The mass will be in Greek, so he won't understand it, but he will be in church.

    I'm glad somebody could drag his butt to the barber, the clothing store, and to church.

    What's next? Flying pigs?

  24. Hello all
    It's 5.00 pm, and I have not a word written nor a thought in my head. I'm presiding AND preaching tomorrow...not quite sure why.
    I had a First Communion class this morn, and have spent the afternoon sorting out an alt worship event (which we're offering both to the youth group AND to the very straight Evensong congregation tomorrow, as the choir is off singing at the most of the regulars will be at that)I had hoped that producing prayer stations around the theme of water might inspire, but not so's you'd notice I fear... and now I'm sitting here reading what I wrote 3 years ago and thinking NOOOOOOO I can't use that.
    But I've no idea what else I do want to say...I have alot of liquorice allsorts available (used for the 1st Comm group...we're all sorts, all different, all special, God loves us as we are)and, as it happens, some blueberry muffins.
    But no sermon. Not a hint of one.
    Love and encouragement to all of you...WS - tomorrow sounds really hard work. Have another muffin...

  25. I'm with Diane and looking for childrens time ideas. I'm liking WS's - are there others?

    Woke up early from my church nightmare. I'm talking and talking and talking and no one is listening. This time, it was easter and I'd forgotten my sermon. Sigh. HOpefully tomorrow wont really go like that.

  26. With the children, I'm going to talk about how we all need water and tie it in to One Great Hour of Sharing, since we'll be taking that offering next Sunday. One of the things OGHS supplies during disaster relief operations is drinkable water. So it's not enough to have water, it needs to be drinkable! Etc. That helps us UCC types, Juniper.
    I think I'm going to have a pitcher of water on the worship center and use it to pour drinks for the children. Still pondering that.

  27. I found this idea and am thinking about tweaking it and tying it into the baptism we will have later in the service.

  28. Oops--my link worked, but I forgot to say that'll you need to scroll down to the place it appears in the service.

  29. I'm thinking about doing something with "talking water" .... Lac Qui Parle means "water that talks" and "Minnehaha" is laughing waters. "Living water" is flowing water. Having children pour water into the font at the end and hear it "speak."

    It's not quite there yet. But I think I have a start.

  30. I too was intrigued by the idea of the water jar left behind. Then I started to think about this in concert with Nicodemus. What is the Israelite/Samaritan connection? Jacob's well- a symbol from before the Samaritans themselves. And I had a sort of aha moment when I realized that Jesus' answer to the woman's question of who is right in worship- neither- is illustrated by both the Pharisee and the Samaritan needing instructions. (Or maybe I'm just way off...)

    Now to make this a reasonable message is another matter entirely!

  31. It came up in my in-person lectionary group that the woman's leaving behind of the jar was not unlike the disciples dropping of their nets to follow Jesus. One of many thoughts flitting through my mind this afternoon...
    I have chilled cans of Diet Coke in the fridge, anybody need one?

  32. Hello everyone! Checking in from the only coffeeshop in town that has internet access.

    So far today I've purchased tomorrow's lunch for the Confirmation kids and a birthday present for a 94-year-old parishioner's party today, but have produced no sermon yet. Thought I'd get some work in before the party begins in 45 minutes.

    I'm pondering something with giving water to the congregations as well. (They are few enough that this would not break the bank.) First I thought of bottled water...but ugh, all that I'm thinking I might pass out Dixie cups and pour it for them...and note how quickly they drink it all.

    Loving all the thoughts bubbling up here...earthchick, something you said really made a good connection for me, so I hope this is a good omen. I still have to plan our final (!!) Confirmation retreat for tomorrow after church, so it'd be good to finish up the sermon early.

  33. Sorry I am late. I have been here but could not post! Dang Blogger.
    Anyhow, great thougths everybody.
    PK- Love those brown sugar potarts. B-fast of champions. They now come in multi-grain.
    I have soem Brazilian coffee and also some pull apart cinnamon bread.

    Check my thouths here:

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Opps!...Nope!
    Go about halfway down and I get aroudn to talking aobut the Woman at the Well.
    Mel is in my lap purring away and would welcome some virtual chin scratches.

  36. Hello Rev Gals and Pals-
    For some interesting thoughts on water and the Word, check out the work of Masaru Emoto. If you Google "water crystals emotion" links will come up.
    Thanks for all you do to help keep those of us who are rather isolated preachers connected.

  37. I'm at the church, and I think I'm ready for tomorrow. Getting ready to head to the grocery story - may I pick anything up for anyone? If not and you need some reading to do, here's my offering for tomorrow.

  38. I have some nice orange/banana muffins here, friends, left from our early-morning Book Study -- we're reading "God's Advocates" and this morning we looked at Hauerwas (Stanley)and Wells (Samuel)...we're an ecumenical group and I'm the only female but it was all less edgy and territorial this month than last. (YES, I made the muffins. "I am the Great Earth Mother...")
    I wish I had a rock'em sock'em children's focus for tomorrow...

  39. I just don't have a water jug-ish pitcher in my collection. Back in the day (like, up until a month ago), I would have headed to Pier One to look for something, but the one near us has closed. I'm bummed.
    Maybe I can use a glass pitcher, so the water is visible?

  40. Songbird- go with the glass. The kids will never know you would have, could have brought it in something else.

    These are the details we kill ourselves with. I am half done and it is way too didactic. The congregation I am subbing with is struggling with attendance issues. They really need an evangelism sermon but I don't want to be too pushy. Can you be evangelistic and too pushy at the same time?

  41. I probably should have said that I have been reading this blog for quite some time, but am really clueless about the whole blogging thing. You have all, in fact, kept me company, inspired, comforted, reassured and amused me many a Saturday as I attempt to "sermonize". So, today I thought I would go out on a limb and leave a comment. I don't know if I will actually end up using the water crystals stuff in my sermon on the John text, but I found it very fascinating and thought-provoking.

  42. Grace Eagle- welcome to the party!

  43. You all make me wish I had kids to do children's sermons for! Maybe someday in our little place. But for now it's just the one for the big people. Which somehow got done in the midst of phone calls and a wonderful walk at the state park...cuz it's 42 degrees...yee-ha and we had to celebrate THAT! I think it was the muffins and poptarts that inspired me in the writing...and knowing you all were out here working along too! I'm posting it here and heading off to get ready for our church's "dinner bunch" tonight which is Rennainsance themed complete with brass-rubbings. Blessings on your writing and preaching.

  44. grace eagle, so glad you joined us!

    As hostess, I have been distracted. Is it time for dinner? Appetizers? We are going on a sushi run, if anyone is interested!

  45. MMM SUSHI!!

    I just ate a bag of microwave popcorn in an attempt to stave off hunger till a later hour. I'd be very grateful for some unagi and salmon sushi. Thanks Songbird!

    Home now, and preparing to turn my bunch of notes into the beginning of a sermon. Something about how we are all thirsty for something but don't really know it.

    Welcome grace eagle!

    And do they really make multi-grain Pop Tarts?!

  46. mmm sushi sounds good right now- I have brain freeze.

  47. Sushi sound wonderful but we're going to have meatloaf instead. Good meatloaf, but meatloaf none the less. However, if you wait around a while, I have some beef and lentil soup simmering for tomorrow as well.

  48. Well maybe a church pool party (indoor) will further inspire my water-themed Sunday morning... or something like that.

    Check in later!

  49. Sushi would be perfect...thanks so much, Songbird.
    I've ended up writing a first person monologue , which I don't think I've ever done at St M's. I'm not sure it illuminates hugely, but it does have the merit of NOT being the same limp sermon I preached 3 years ago...and was very easy to write (which makes me wonder if it actually says anything). I know time is marching on, but if anyone has a spare few minutes, I'd really welcome reactions.
    Meanwhile, would a glass of white wine go nicely with Songbird's guess is that virtual alcohol is no more damaging that vitual calories.

  50. Orange Banana muffins sound delicious. Is a Revgal Cookbook in the making?
    Songbird, you can come to my Pier One anytime you like. Also, I am so into auctions these days. You can always find stuff there!
    And yes, they actually make Multi-grain Pop-tarts!
    I am procrastinating again!
    This is only a five minute homily before communion service! I need to get real!

  51. I've been to the hospital, the grocery store, and the gas station (so I could get to the hospital). I've washed the dishes, cleared up all last week's paperwork, written an ad for the local paper, and cleaned out the refrigerator. Unless I can come up with some other oh-so-necessary chore I guess I really have to start writing now.

    Our congregation has decided to move forward with evangelizing in the GLBTQ community and the recovering community. (And yes, we do have folks who are part of those communities and excited about going to go out to do the work). A monthly Recovery Worship will begin in April.

    Like way too many of those folks, the Samaritan woman is one of the rejected, broken people who most needed to hear what Jesus had to say. So this will be an evangelism sermon. All I have to do is get it on paper.

    Total words right now? 0 Unless the ones above count. :-)

  52. I'm procrastinating too! But I just had some very productive time on Ravelry.

    (she says, hoping that counts somehow)

    Okay. Really going to buckle down now and get at least an intro and hopefully one page done before I make my real-life dinner to follow the virtual sushi.

  53. It's just gone 11 here so I'm going to call it a day and have another look at it first thing tomorrow..At least this time I'm not presiding at 8.00 first.
    Night night, friends...Hope the words flow for all of you xxx

  54. Hi everyone, I seem to have missed the preacher parties for some reason lately - probably because I turned back to notepad and pen for a while (then just typed it out when almost complete) - I think it was because I was finding it a bit depressing sitting in front of a screen all the time for sermon writing!
    Still nice to be here - I have chocolate orange if anyone's still eating chocolate. Am going to post my sermon on my blog in a mo and then read back through for your wonderful children's message ideas. (At this point I'm thinking I'm going with telling them they're totally known and loved by God - we might read the first verses of Psalm 139. The woman at the well was also known and accepted by God even though she was far from perfect. Then we're going to sing a children's song about being known!)

  55. Pass those brown-sugar cinnamon poptarts! For some reason, we can get every other flavour up here, but not that one. I usually pick some up when we travel to the little Minnesota town just south of here, but we haven't traveled there for awhile.

    I'm off lectionary tomorrow, preaching for our winter meeting of Presbytery. My text is 1 Kings 19 about Elijah's desperation in the desert.

    The theme for the weekend has been mental health, so I'm preaching about the spiritual impact of mental illness. I like what I've got so far. I just need to tweak it a bit.

  56. *sigh*

    Things are not going well here. I took a long break this afternoon for a yoga class (a postural assessment, not an actual practice) and I came back hungry and depleted, on top of being behind on my sermon. I still can't seem to be on my game. I'm probably a little less than halfway done, and I am not happy with what I've written. At. All.


  57. So I googled the poptarts. They are new and are whole grain, Songbird. Two flavors- cinnamon and strawberry.

    Sermon is done. Don't know if it's any good, but my mother says that a lot of times, "Done is better than good." I'm hoping the Holy Spirit will hover over the laptop while I'm sleeping.

    Have a good night all!

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Trying again!
    Mine's here
    comments very welcome.

  60. Ok, I give up!
    If there's anyone willing to read it then the longwinded process of profile to blog should do it... I'm getting another cup of tea!

  61. So, at my house we have these little bags of candies that are 1 point each (it's actually marked on the bag), and I have had six at various times today. Wouldn't you think that would fuel a sermon? Seriously?
    Yet I am only about 900 words in, darn it!
    Please, someone come on over and share some of these candies.

  62. It's OK Songbird. I'm at 325 words.

    Healthy Pop tarts? What'll they think of next?

    I need coffee and the pot is empty. Durn. Guess I'll settle for Ruby Red grapefruit juice. Anyone else want a glass? The Husband is pouring.

  63. It must be a breakfast of champions kind of day at my house. I still have one pop tart... a big stack of pancakes... and some yummy sausages. Melted butter and warm syrup are on the table. (This meal can be offset calorie-wise by drinking diet pepsi... I promise!)

    Some great sermons out there this week.

    Blessing to all of the preacher types out there who are crafting sermons to help people see our Triune God.

  64. But rev maria, how many hours behind me are you?;-)
    I think part of the problem is knowing the church has chosen a candidate and I am feeling a little disconnected as I anticipate leaving them. I really need to whip myself into shape, that's for sure.

  65. Dear hearts, I'm going to pack it in for today and do some domestic errands. But I've posted what I hope to say tomorrow here.

  66. Too true, Songbird. I am 3 hours behind.

    And what an opportunity you have to preach whatever HS says needs to be preached without worrying about getting fired! Preparing them, as it were, for an unknown adventure with a new shepherd to lead them.

  67. I'm at 645 words...and I'm in Songbird's time zone...heh!

    Just had dinner (toasted roast beef, provolone and red pepper sandwich) and now bucking up for the second half of the sermon. Encouraging thoughts to all who are flagging at this hour!

    I've got sponge candy and mint MnMs to share (for those not breakfastly-inclined right now). But I'm definitely putting whole-grain cinnamon Pop-Tarts on the grocery list!

  68. Thanks, semfem, for the encouraging thoughts, for I am definitely flagging. 1243 words, but no end in sight.

    Is anyone else working on Exodus?

  69. I'm done for now, a draft is up at my lectionary blog.

  70. By the way, I'm still here, just not going to try to work any more.
    If you need something, let me know. I can offer tea, Diet Coke, popcorn, cocoa meringues, bananas, crackers, and other things, too. Holler if you want me!

  71. 645 words. They liked last Sunday's sermon, maybe I'll just do a re-run. :-)

    The Husband is cooking burgers. Hope one is for me. I clearly need some protein to get the brain moving again.

  72. SemFem, how'd we get the exact same word count?

  73. Spooky, the word-count thing.

    I am at 1640, so, theoretically, nearing the end. But right now this is what I feel like I'm writing:

    SB, I will take one of everything you are offering, plus the following: dark chocolate truffles, kettle corn, french fries, and a milkshake. Thanks!

  74. How's the party? I actually have a word count that is too high. The children are singing so the sermon needs to be cut. hopefullly, that won't take very long 'cause I'm not planning to be one of the last preacher's here tonight!

  75. Whoa. Maybe we're writing the same sermon, Rev Maria? Well, except that I'm at 924 right now.

    earthchick, you cracked me up. It's like what the dog hears: "blahblahblahblahFIDOblahblahblahFIDO."

    I'm working with John, and about to get sucked into the quagmire of extra information and trying desperately to keep focused on my point. Whatever it happens to be at this particular moment.

  76. Oh, btw Songbird, when I first looked at RGBP today for the preacher party, I had to do a double-take because the photo you posted of your house looks a LOT like my parsonage...complete with snow. :)

  77. Oh Goody. SemFem, you're a couple hundred ahead of me now. Of course I had to stop to eat the gi-normous hamburger The Husband cooked.

    I had a friend in seminary who used M&Ms in a children's time and all the kids suddenly perked up. He said it was blahblahblahblahblahblahM&MS.

  78. There are priorities in life...and a ginormous hamburger is definitely up there at the top!

    (1257, and I think I'm approaching my final big exciting finish!)

  79. If anyone is looking for a water story, I just posted one by James Moore that ends "I only gave a drink of water to a thirsty soul." It's here

  80. Dear semfem,

    Please send a final big exciting finish my way. Thank you.


  81. Perhaps all my moaning and groaning means an end is actually within reach, since it seems I usually post more the closer I get to the end (why? I don't know!). 1806 words now and I *should* be able to wrap it up in about 2 paragraphs IF I can stumble my way onto some sort of big exciting ending. Or even just an ending that fits. Or really, just any ending will do. Oh heck, maybe I should just stop in the middle of the sentence I'm in now and call it done. It worked for the Gospel of Mark, maybe I could work it too.

    I will not check in again until I finish. And not in mid-sentence either. Here goes....

  82. I'm back from the pool party and semfem, you scared me. I thought it was a LOT later than it actually is when I saw how high your word count is :)

    I am actually seriously considering preaching from outline tomorrow, not because I don't feel like writing it out. Really. I just think it will be more 'fluid' that way.


  83. I'm laughing my butt off because it's oh so true--this is WAY early for me to be nearing the end! There is more to do tonight though, just not sermon-related.

    earthchick...I kind of borrowed from one of your early posts today to create my big exciting finish. So, um, thanks! (I'll post it if you really want to read it.)

  84. Oh, I almost forgot to say, I'm at 1517 words, which is a bit long. So I must tighten up that exciting finish a bit. But I have typed the final "Amen" and it is technically done.

    Isn't this some kind of record for me?

  85. Well hey, glad I could be of service!

    I don't need a big exciting finish because - ta da! - I'm finally done.

  86. Oh, and I have to say that this is a week when the Tuesday Lectionary Leanings REALLY helped prime the well (so to speak) of my own thoughts for the sermon. HUGE thanks to listing straight for a great thought-provoking post this week. [And the link she provided to an article about water being an issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict actually ended up in my sermon. So thanks!]

  87. hey, is anyone still working out there, or am I the hold out?
    Had presbytery today, four hours from home, which means I left the house at 4 this morning and got back home at 8 tonight.
    After taking an hour to pop popcorn and play guitar hero, and unwind maybe a teensy bit, I'm now down in my dungeon office attempting to write a sermon...
    so far, it's an incarnation of earth chick's blahblahblahblahWATERblahblah.
    maybe I should go make some

  88. It sure is a record SemFem. It's still Saturday even in your time zone. :-)

    Word counting is fun, but I really count pages. I'm at the bottom of page 4 double spaced 14 pt and usually end at 6 pages. Which is probably around 1600 words.

    And I usually let HS speak to me in my sleep for that big finish, which I write around 4 am Sunday.

    Of course, then I leave the manuscript behind and preach from some notes hidden in my bible as I wander up and down the center aisle, but hey. If I didn't write it out I'd have nothing to put on the church website. :-)

  89. WOOHOO earthchick!

    (About my big exciting finish...I didn't exactly quote or paraphrase you, but your idea about living by the bucketful definitely shaped the last few paragraphs. If you'd like to see them and tell me if you're okay with how I used the idea, and if you want me to attribute it to you, let me know. Seriously.)

  90. sad! It looks like I missed a great party. I was 30 Hour Famine-ing with my high school youth. Now I am exhausted and I have no children's sermon for tomorrow (SP is preaching on Exodus). I might be able to steal the OGHS idea as we take that offering on Palm Sunday--and we are using this publication from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to show the kids in SS what the money they put in their fish boxes can do. There is a pic of girls getting water from a new well in their village. It might work.

    My head hurts, my body is tired, and I have no idea how I'm going to move from my couch to my bed. So naturally we have a spaghetti luncheon tomorrow to raise money for the youth mission trip and to raise awareness about the 30 Hour Famine. Of course.

    If there are other children's sermon ideas that require basically no work, put them out there! :-) Otherwise, happy sleeping. :-)

  91. I so do not need to approve of how you used the idea, or for you to give me any kind of attribution. I'm glad some little thing I said sparked some thoughts in you! I love the cross-fertilization we have going on around here.

    and thanks for your sweet comment on my blog! (if you seriously want to hear it, it will be on podcast on our site in a few days:

    Cheers to all, and best wishes for happy preaching. My tired body needs to get in bed now. Okay, after I knit a few rounds. ;)

  92. Leanne,

    If you make that coffee, will you save some for me? I always get a late start, which is usually fine, but today I'm having a hard time getting going.

  93. mrs. m,

    the coffee is all yours. it's a nice sumatra (dark and earthy), i'll be brewing it all night. :)

  94. My husband just made brownies-- I bet they'll go well with that all-night coffee.

  95. Hi,
    I'm back. 8pm here and just getting things picked back up. I'll be at it another couple of hours I'm sure, Leanne....
    Songbird! OGHS! Geez, better get on that! Oh, I hate being in my first of year of minsitry - everything sneaks UP on one so.....

  96. The party certianly isn't over! I'm just joining in for the long haul. Well, hopefully, it won't be too long of a haul. I got a pretty good outline written last night, so hopefully I can get this one done by midnight (only 2 hours away here). That would be my best time in weeks.

    Semfem, I feel so deserted by you! ;)

    Anyway, I'll chime in when I need a little break, but I hope to stay on track and wrap this one up on the quick side. It's been a struggle for me, and I feel some pressure to be "great". Some members from my former church will be in worship in the morning (having driven 8 hours just to see us and hear me) looking for a good sermon since they are less than thrilled with the pastor I worked with (I was an associate) before. It is taking all the spiritual discipline I have attempted to muster up to try not to get my pride caught up in that little mess, but it's hard. So glad I am no longer there!

  97. Don't worry, I'm still lurking around, She-Rev!

    Need to do the final readthrough of the sermon and print it...and then finish planning this Confirmation retreat. So it will be a while before I can actually sleep.

  98. Wow! When you fall asleep on the couch for a few hours, the party takes on a life of its own!
    earthchick, my process is so similar to yours; much groaning and finally--there it is!
    Friends, I'm going to bed. The dogs tell me it's time and I am in their way on the couch. Help yourselves to whatever is left (as long as you're not plagiarizing, wink, wink, nudge, nudge!), and someone get the lights later. Don't worry, we can sleep through anything.
    Good night!

  99. I'm really glad Disciples split Week of Compassion (aka One Great Hour of Sharing) over 2 Sundays! Add that to having a staff person from CWS in the congregation pretty much guarantees I don't have to worry about making sure we pay attention. :-) I'm going to use the Church World Service DVD music video of children from all over the world singing as a pre-prelude.

  100. 100?

    she-rev, I hear you about the pressure to be extra-super-cool-preacher for people who are not satisfied with the bread they are getting's always nice to be the one everyone likes. :)

  101. oops, just spent half an hour reading old blog posts - probably I was "looking for something" Well, I didnt find it, but I did kill some time. Back to work now.

  102. ooof. 19 hours awake. sermon still coming...but at least it's flowing, right?

  103. OK. I didn't get it done in the 2 hours I had hoped, but it's very very close. I think I can go to bed and finish up in an hour or so when I wake up. I'm really tired tonight for some reason.

    The Sunday School class/book discussion on Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos is just going to have to be a "wing it" type thing. It doesn't hurt that this is the third such discussion I have been a part of and I got to go to a VERY intimate meet-the-author tea on Friday. It won't be too hard to wing it after that.

    Good luck ladies, or as a Presbyterian I guess I should say, "Happy Providence!"

    I'll check in when I wake up to finish!

  104. ugh. 20 hours awake, and i need sleep. I'm going to get some sleep and get up in 6 hours to finish.
    good luck to all...last one up turn out the lights, would ya?

  105. Okay, does that mean I'm the only one still around even though I finished early?

    Oh, the irony!

  106. SemFem-
    I am here one last time!
    I've been wondering where you were, Terri! And, I just guessed you might be doing the Children's Sermon. Gosh! What a story to have to do with little peeps! "She had five husbands!" Uh, no, maybe not a good approach!
    Okay,so I ahve never doen a word countage before, but just hit the tools bar to see.
    I am only at 788,, but I only get 5 minutes tomorrow, so not so bad.
    I can't measure mine by word count. I just know my general page number count. It is 7, double spaced with a normal font.
    I think the Kellogs folks owe me some funds since i ahve gotten so many of you buying the Whole Grain ones.
    Don;t know about sponge candy! Hmmmm...
    Many prayers for all of you as you preach the Word. Esp. going up for Songbird.Will be thinking of you in the transition time.
    Blessings to all who preach, walk dogs, and give childrens messages and lead the flocks.
    I ^ y'all!

  107. Hi semfem, I'm still up. Just call me sleepless in Seattle...groan. The day was wonderful, and the family was well behaved and the service was long but uplifting.

    And now I'm off to bed, but stopped in to see how the party went. So many good sermons in the making!

    This place is a mess! I'll clean up a little, but I'll leave the lights on.

  108. Singing Owl--glad to hear the service went well.

  109. Okay, the retreat is finally planned and I'm headed to bed. Night all! I'll get the lights for now.

    Blessings on all preaching, proclamation, and pondering!

  110. I'm back with not as much sleep as I had hoped to get. The baby was up about 20 minutes after I went down, and my husband, my dear loving (clueless sometimes) husband brought the little guy to bed instead of getting him back to sleep in his own room in his own crib. He woke me up and passed the crying baby to me. Little nursed while we both snoozed a few hours then got up and couldn't be settled down again when I only had one more hour of my 4 1/2 to sleep. After 30 minutes of struggling with him I passed him back to dear husband. He took him upstairs popped him back in the crib and the little guy went right back to sleep. Why didn't he try that 3 hours ago? Ugh. I couldn't have been more annoyed.

    Anyway, here I am trying to tie this one up. The pieces are all here in my outline. I just need to fill it in with sentences. If I can do it quickly, and write my prayers of the people, I can go back to bed for a little!!!

    I'm hoping, but not holding my breath!

  111. I'm with you 1-4 grace. I never did a word count before I got sucked into it a few weeks ago here. I type in 10 point with single spacing, but I preach from 16 point double spaced. I am for about 10 pages under those conditions, but range anywhere from 8 (my husband's favorite, my usual goal when it's a full service) to 12. I enlarge the sermon to preaching form through the writing process to see how I'm doing. The word count thing scares me because I think I have a lot more words than I see folks here aiming for. But then I've never been told a sermon is too short!

    I thought that might change now that I'm preaching weekly. I thought maybe it was because when I only preached monthly or so I was trying to squeeze a lot more into my periodic tries at it. So far that theory has not held water (hee hee, couldn't resist, even thought I'm NOT preaching John and Exodus).

  112. She Rev, what I'm hoping to avoid is drifting into longer sermons just because I enjoy listening to myself talk. I fear many of the preachers I listened to over the years were guilty of that tendency, and I can't count the number of times I silently prayed, "Wrap it up now, we understand!"
    Weekly preaching does not seem to make me want to say less, and as I drift from 1500 to 1600 to 1700 I can see how it happens.
    Since I've changed (due to middle-aged eyes) the way I print out my sermons, the word count is the most reliable guide I have to my preaching practices. All I know is if I haven't gotten to 1500, it doesn't feel done, and if I get much past 1600, it's a good idea to see what I can take out.
    What I don't understand is how you can manage on no hours of sleep before preaching. Any chance it could be a rule that Saturday nights are Daddy Duty? God bless you this morning.

  113. You're singing my song, Songbird, on all accounts. I know the sermon that should have ended several points ago. I, too, having sat through more than I have enjoyed, am trying to avoid those. I think looking at a word count is a new tool for me to be aware of that. I just never have used it before. I went purely on my page count. It all gets to the same result, just different ways to do it, I guess. I know I'm on the longer side usually, but I try to be intentional about making every word count to the actual message or to the style of delivery. Sometimes that means repetition, of course, but look at the psalms. They repeat all over themselves. I try to stay very focused in my aim of each sermon, so I'm not trying to get too many things across. I think that helps.

    As to the little or no sleep - - so far I think my youth is still on my side. Having just passed 30, though, I know this will not always be the case. My first couple of weeks of fulltime preaching went very well with getting sermons done the night before, but in the last 5 or 6 I have slipped back into my old habits. I wanted to change my "preaching life" when I started this call, but I still haven't learned how to carve that time out during my week to make this desire a reality. I am easily distracted by other things and haven't found a good sermon prep discipline to fix my process. Maybe I'm working on a question for the matriarchs here. I want to change my process before it becomes even more "hardened in my heart". I need to do that now before it's too late.

    My husband also wants my process changed. It makes him nervous for me even though I'm not nervous at all about it. I think the baby thing last night was his own little way of showing me why this is not a good idea. A little passive aggressive, but he has learned it from the master - - ME. We'll work it out without issue. It is supposed to be Daddy Duty night on Saturday, but he is always careful (at my request) to try not to use the pumped milk unless necessary, so I guess he figures since I fall asleep nursing anyway it must not be an issue.

    Oh the many directions in which we are pulled! I have a hard time really committing to change my process since so far it has worked very well for me. I just know at some point it's going to start taking its toll on me when the late nights and little sleep are harder to recover from. I would like to be prepared before then, but it's hard to be motivated to change when it's not a problem yet.

  114. Outline sermon - good idea last night, panic attack this morning!

    Have fun today, remember the Holy Spirit has our backs!

  115. will smama, calming thoughts being sent your way!

  116. whew. done. 6 hours of sleep never felt so good! :-)

  117. blessings to all who are preaching and proclaiming this morning...may the holy spirit guide us all!

  118. Peace to you, will smama!

    Re: word count. I also never considered word count until hanging with you guys. I've always relied on page count. I type in the same font I preach in - 16 pt, 1.5 space. I usually have 8-11 pages and preach slightly faster than 2 minutes a page, so 16-22 minutes (with 22 minutes being highly unusual for me). In my tradition, I am actually on the rather short side. I also preach shorter than my husband and co-pastor who tends towards 22-24 as his usual. The word count has been a new way to look at things for me, and I'm still learning how to gauge how things are going by it. For today I have ended up at 1868 (one paragraph into the 9th page) and this is right at ideal for me.

    She Rev, I totally hear you on the difficulty of changing a process that has worked well for you. I don't particularly enjoy having the sermon hanging over my head all week, but it seems to be how my creative process works, and for now I am embracing that. Any chance you are an ENFP?

    Blessings on all who preach and lead today!

  119. I am preaching! Who knew? You can find the sermon here.And this is what got me thinking this week...

    There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there, too. But often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then God must be dug out again.

    – Etty Hillesum

  120. On the other thread...

    The sermon is 1,714 words long. That's actually little long for me. And for a Baptist, I'm quite brief. It's an exercise, however, for me to keep it to three pages 12pt single spaced. I tend to bring in too many threads, so keeping it short for the time being helps me to focus. Less space to wander, you know (prone to wander, Lord I feel it...).

    Relatedly, I am taking a Shakespeare monologue class, First Folio helps the actor read into the various spellings, use of capital letters, verse/prose play etc to discover Shakespeare's own direction. It's a way to explore the text very deeply. And that's what I am after. How do I as a preacher structure my own manuscript? How do I engage text and craft a "performative" moment for myself. A sermon is not a monologue. But the exercise has proven most interesting.


  121. Earthchick - It must be the NF part. I'm INFJ, but you described my struggle and my tendency perfectly.

    Our sermon lengths also seem similar. I was beginning to worry that I was on the long side around here! This one ended up at 1747 on paper, but I bet I add a little in one of my stories since I grudgingly cut some of it out to get to a shorter page count! (9 at 16 point, full double spaced)

  122. This isn't my sermon but it is a meditation on the John reading.


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