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Saturday, June 28, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: "Lalalala, I can't hear you" Edition

Hey, everybody! How goes it this Saturday? Whatcha preachin' on?

Which one?

I don't think I caught that.

No, don't repeat it.

Lalalala, I can't hear you!!!!

::takes fingers out of ears::

Still here?


Well, I guess we have to preach it, whether it's the mopiest of psalms or the wages of sin or the cool cup of water or that charming family story of a dad and his much-wanted son out for a hike on a lovely afternoon. And if you're sneaking around with that alt-prophet, you can tell us, we won't mind.

We are here to help each other! The coffee is strong, sisters and brothers. The tea is not far behind. The Diet Cokes are chilling for later. The strawberries? Fresh-picked. And the company will be, I promise you, beyond compare.

So let's do this one. Tell us where you're headed, how many weddings you have this weekend, what you're doing for the children's time and, heck, how you're going to weave George Carlin's thoughts on religion into your sermon.

(Wait, that's me. Details in the comments.)

I'm letting Blogger auto-post this one for our overseas preachers, and I'll be back in the morning to catch up with you. Meanwhile, have a strawberry.


  1. mmm..those strawberries look so good. And thanks for considering the overseas preachers. At the moment, I'm still going with that lovely family story. Its not quite there yet and I have a young mens ministry, a table top sale and a wedding to get through before I can get back to it but it seems to be shaping up. My last preach here. I'm offering some good Scots porridge oats for breakfast - with blueberries.

  2. I made 4 jars of strawberry jam yesterday, enjoy breakfast! Writing a talk for wedding this afternoon. The couple have chosen a passage from Captain Corelli's mandolin unbeknown to them it fits well with Pauls prayer in Ephesians. Have to be out in an hour for open gardens in one village and flower festival in another. Missing a friends ordination service so will be with her in spirit. Will be back this evening to get some ideas from you all for tomorrow.

  3. Well, I have a wedding, but I am not the officiant - I am the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE!!!!

    Not meaning to hijack the comments, but I do know how you like to procrastinate - so I have a bridesmaid dress dilemma which worked out beautifully. Go see what happened and how we solved it.

    It's here .

  4. I'm up with the Central Time early birds, but I'll likely head back to bed. I've been wrestling with the father-and-son story all week. Brother-in-law and his family are due in this afternoon for the holiday week (does that seem like a long visit to anyone else, or is it just me?). I should therefore really try to get thinking about next week's sermon too, because this week is likely to hold precious little sermonizing time. Eek.

    Of course I don't have a children's sermon, it's over 24 hours till I need it. I'm way open for ideas.

  5. Songbird, have I told you recently how much I appreciate you?
    Lovely to find this up and ready when I faced the fact that yes, I am preaching tomorrow and no, I have not a thought in my head - except for deep relief that we keep Ss Peter & Paul, which makes life slightly less hideous.
    Off to the ordination of priests in our Cathedral this pm, and want some mother and daughter time this morning so I'd better do some serious thinking asap.

  6. Good morning!
    I woke up to discover we are in the throes of a COFFEE EMERGENCY!!!!
    I am going to get some beans, be right back!
    Meanwhile, continue talking amongst your own fine selves.
    And I will babble mindlessly until I can once again whiff the reassuring aroma of java.

  7. You know, the lectionary generally shys away from difficult passages, so why this Sunday? Every text is difficult. I'm kinda bored with hospitality (a cup of water). I have a half written sermon on a cup of water, but I think I'm gonna recycle the Romans sermon. I have only five years experience preaching, but I looked back at what I did three years ago: OT, Romans (Romans!) but little Matthew. I sat down and read Matthew through a few weeks ago. Difficult, difficult gospel IMHO.

    I'm going for a walk (that's really hard for me right now; 35 minutes is really tiring; chemo stinks) and then finish Julia Fleming-Spencer's newest (downloaded it to my Sony eReader yesterda afternoon--thanks Songbird for letting me know it was published). Then I'll decide what I'm doing tomorrow--maybe.

  8. I'm back with a bag of Pike Place Roast, which at least in theory is fairly traded, etc.
    Hey there, Joan Calvin. I'm sorry you're feeling crummy but glad a walk is possible for you.
    It's a pretty stinky array of texts. I'm going with the idea that one of the things standing in the way of sharing the good news in this day and place is the nature of these stories. I am indeed making reference both to George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television (sermon title: "Seven Things You Can't Say in Church") and his routine about religion being BS, though I'll have to find a gentler way to express that part. If you happened to drop into church this week, and the story you hear is about a boy saying to his father, "where is the lamb, daddy?" while you know the boy IS the sacrificial lamb, is this a religion you want to explore? Or will you think you dropped in on a Stephen King story?
    I'm going to new church development school later in the summer, so it's particularly on my mind how these big stories are so far from the minds of people who are not churched and how unconsciously we longtime church folks pack them away, because they are too unpleasant to view.

  9. Hey! thanks for the strawberries! it's too early for the local ones here, still.

    Not preaching, and after reading the intro here, boy am I glad! We have that prophet instead of Genesis, but have No idea what Sr. Pastor is preaching on. We have a baptism (my next-door neighbor's baby).

    But I'll be on the next TWO sundays.

  10. I have a college buddy coming in a few hours, so I decided to recycle the sermon from three years ago. That was my ordination day, and yes, I tackled Abe and the boy. It's actually a pretty decent sermon. I talk about the tension between our obedience and God's provision. I need to touch it up a bit, but I think it'll work. Blessings to you all as you prepare. Oh, and I could use a children's message. Anyone? Anyone?

  11. Been prolwing the assorted Farmers' and craft markets of Funky Former Mill Town with my lovely Hattie Gandhi...Bought an accidental skirt from a stall supporting street children in Africa...Ate Thai fishcakes in the sun...Now have an hour before I should leave for the ordinations. Peter and Paul, here we come.
    But I did bring back some lovely baby tomatoes and some olives - hope it's not too early in the morning for those to allure some of you

  12. I'm going with the cool cup of water and have a question -- I realized yesterday I've never officially preached a "this is my first time here" sermon.

    How do you preach a first sermon in a new church? How personal do you make it?

  13. A question O wise ones....
    Those of you that have a children's talk and sermon in your services (as I do now - the first church in UK I've been in that does this) - how long do you usually give to the children's talk and to the sermon? I'm sure there'll be variety but it'd help to get a sense of how you work them.

    Getting on with both now - Peter and Paul (as Kathryn said). Children's talk will be a telling of Peter's miraculous escape from prison - with the children wearing signs labelling who they are. Once the story's told, thinking about what the church was doing while all that was going on - praying earnestly for Peter and saying 'God wants you to be a pray-er too'.

    As for sermon (Matthew 'who do you say that I am?') that's just a bunch of notes that stretches from a bit of Nehemiah that struck me in the week 'And God put on his heart...' - has God put something on your heart? To following on with the prayer theme and thinking about the fact that sometimes we see amazing answers (Peter's escape) but sometimes (presuming the church was also praying for James) we don't. To Peter's journey to get to the place of being able to say who Jesus was and if we start to see the same things then what does it mean for our lives? Go on a journey of discovery as Peter did!

    What a jumble!

  14. Seven Things You Can't Say In Church is brilliant!

    I am still muddling around ideas in my head, but I have been reading "They Like Jesus But Not the Church", and this is certainly a good week to not like church, isn't it?

    Fair Trade Coffee, left over rhubarb/strawberry crisp, and Fiber One bars offered.

  15. morning friends! Those strawberries look amazing--will someone please enjoy one for me? I still can't chew anything and am basically eating a cup of ice cream and a cup of mashed potatoes each day and calling it "enough." oy. I am going to try to drink some cooled-off tea in a minute and see how that goes....

    anyway, thankfully SP is preaching tomorrow, on Matthew. I am reading the Quiltmaker's Gift for the children's time (a lovely story about how a king finds happiness when he gives away his ridiculously many things and sees how they make people smile, and how the quiltmaker finds happiness when she gives her beautiful quilts to people who really need them). I'm cutting out the middle part of the story where the king is mean to the quiltmaker, as it doesn't seem necessary to the story tomorrow and also the book is a little long.

    speaking of long--Chelley, I usually spend about 4-5 minutes with the kiddos. SP spends about 2-3.

    okay, off to drink some cooled tea and to pop in on a building-expansion-team presentation to the congregation. This is the only one (they are giving 4) that I can go to so I need to show up and be supportive, even if I have seen the presentation before. Good times. If anyone makes strawberry ice cream out of those berries, please save some for me! ;-)

  16. Reverend Mommy, it's up to you how much you make of it being your first sermon but my own opinion is that you leave that out altogether. It took me awhile to realize that I could tell a story from my life without turning the sermon into something all about me; however, if you inject the fact that this is your first, then isn't the sermon really all about you and your ability to preach rather than about the lessons and - I'm sure it's in there even this week - the good news?
    Chelley, when I do a children's sermon, I don't do an adult one. From my own pew experience, everyone listens to the kids' and blows off the adult sermon. Of course, that requires changing your liturgy and some folks take exception to that. ;-)
    I've got my mom with me this weekend so we will be playing some serious Scrabble and I'll cook lots more than usual, which is close to not at all. Had company last night so we're doing the lazy morning bit.
    I love the Carlin idea. I'll have to check that out and see if it helps me. I've got the sermon from 2005 but try not to recycle even though this is a new congregation. Alas, several folks followed me to the new church. How weird is that!
    Off to the farmer's market as I'm out of honey. The strawberries are past but the beans and blueberries are in season and the first tomatoes are arriving as well.

  17. Morning everyone! I love Chelley's idea of "What has God put on your heart?" I can live with that.

    Otherwise it is VBS Sunday and I think the lamb story is very inappropriate for that. Little kids singing, picnic after church and human sacrifice? Um , no thanks.

    I have about 5 boxes of cereal you are welcome to sample from.

    Oh, and children's sermons...Ours are never more than 5 minutes and usually about 3 minutes. A quick demonstration or story and a prayer usually.

  18. Hi, yall. I am working on P &P thanks be to God. The strawberries look wonderful. I have virtual bran muffins out of the oven.

    I may spend some time talking about the witness of saints and what they mean in the Church.

  19. Hip2B, you crack me up.

    I'm still processing that dang Abraham and Isaac story. Reading your thoughts and sermons as they appear is very helpful; George Carlin, perhaps the most helpful of all.

    I wrote about it here.

  20. Hey, 3:30 here and I'm done. posted here That's a miracle. I can now go off to wedding reception with hubby and enjoy!
    Chelley, my childrens talks are usualy 4-5 mins and adult sermons are 14-18mins.
    Songbird I was afraid to say earlier on that I laughed out loud and woke the kids up while watching that George Carling link you put up. I must weave that in to my new church - I bet they'd appreciate it there.
    I'll check back later and see wazzup.

  21. I'm going to give a different perspective, reverend mommy. The best piece of advice I got at my student church was in the form of a comment from a longtime church member, who told me that earlier that year, during a sabbatical, they had a covering pastor who NEVER told anything about her own life until her LAST Sunday with them. That felt upside down to her. Just as we put the gospel in some context, the people of the church were looking for some context for the person opening the text.
    I've done it a number of different ways, but I always try to inject an autobiographical element on the first Sunday, not a recitation of my life, but a scene from my life that gives us a starting point together.
    My 2 cents worth.

  22. P.S. I am also thinking of those two small congregations, rm, and how much more significant the personal is in a smaller church.

  23. Morning, everyone! Long time no preacher party for me....

    Thanks for the lovely breakfast buffet, SB--the virtual treats will help supplement the slightly smushy bowl of cheerios I'm eating at present.

    Cathy, have a fantastic and joyful wedding--wish I could see you all gorgeous in your mother of the bride dress.

    It's fascinating to see what everyone is working on. I am finishing my reflection for the Feminist Theology blog on the cup of cold water. I had to make a quick change when I realized that the previous week's poster had used my planned "not peace but a sword" from the pericope immediately before.

    It's coming together but in between I need to try out a yoga class, buy a bunkbed mattress for Katie and a little sofabed for my study in our new new apartment, and move over some clothes and books from our old new apartment.

    And through it all I am adjusting to some anxiety medication, which chills me out nicely but also leaves me slightly woozy--so luckily my BFF forever is on board to help us with the whole process. It also leaves me with dry mouth if I'm not careful, which is a great tie-in to the precious gift of a cup of cold water. And heaven knows it's a world better than chemo--hang in there, JC.

    See y'all later, and let's pray for each other.

  24. Morning preachers! Congrats Cathy on your daughter's wedding! What a great day.
    I'm tackling Sacrificing Isaac and really have no form, focus, or function to the sermon. I do have some donuts in my tummy...hubby and I are drowning our sorrow discovering we can't afford the house we wanted to buy in donuts and coffee this morning...oh, and Jacob Two-Two, our favorite cartoon.

    So I have donuts, coffee, and no sermon. anyone have a children's sermon?

  25. Love the intro today!

    I'm not preaching per se tomorrow. We're having a combined communion service at the county lake park and it is supposed to be a beautiful day! It is the 120th anniversary of one of the churches and 140th of the other. I will tell their stories for children's time. We will sing songs that people know without hymnals or bulletins or accompaniment. For the sermon time, we are going to do a pseudo-Lectio Divina, reading the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-49) from three different translations (NRSV, NLT, Message) using my most expressive readers from each congregation, 2-4 verses at a time. Communion (bread from one church, juice from the other) and then potluck picnic. I'm looking forward to it.

    Errands this morning and preparations for tomorrow. Dinner at the smaller church this evening. Out of town next week, so feels like two Sundays in a row off!

    Not much food in the larder (now that's and interesting word) but I've heard the blackberries are starting to ripen. I'll pick some for you.

  26. I must admit I haven't done any sermon work this morning, took a nap instead!
    Now I've decided fixing lunch is a good idea. I have boil-in-the-bag brown rice, which I have never cooked before, and an accidentally opened can of Vegetarian refried beans that needs to be used, so I am thinking Mexican. Anyone hungry?

  27. Thanks for all the comments re: the Children's talk bit. I wasn't too sure about the idea when I arrived but went with it anyway and now I think it's a good thing (if a lot more work!) in our setting. Our children only go out for 1/2 hour or so (during gospel reading, sermon and prayers) and we effectively have one woman, with all ages, who runs it week in week out (except the Sunday per month I've introduced as all-age throughout) with a couple of helpers, so it seems good to me to get some teaching in for them before they leave!

    Children's bit done anyway (I might post it on my blog) now to deal with the sermon! Thanks for the response hip2b - I'm actually going to start off with Nehemiah even though it's not one of the readings.

  28. Hello Preachers!

    I've got my sermon out there. Now, I'm cleaning house...well, not really. I'm doing everything that I can possibly think of to NOT clean house! But, I must do it before company arrives tomorrow!

  29. Children's talk is here. Sermon is gradually emerging!

  30. It's afternoon here now, so can I have a Strawberry Margarita?
    I don't drink and write sermons, like drinking and driving, ya know?
    But, tomorrow is my first OFFICAL day and so I am jittery and excited and a drink would be nice...I keep worrying about the sermon being their first impression of me.
    Hoever considering i have already visited with 4 of our shutins and gone to a fuenral...I think maybe the impression is already there for some.
    So I am working on Matthew and Jeremiah text together. Trying to think of a way to think of modern day prophets in our midst and how we treat them...view them, etc.

  31. Chelley - I keep my children's moment to 3-5 minutes, and my sermons are around 15-18.

  32. Rev mommy - - I didn't do a big "I'm here" sermon for my first. I figured I'd just preach the gospel, and we would have plenty of time to get to know each other. I didn't do any more personal stuff than I'd do in a regular one. It's slipped in little by little these last 6 months as I've needed to tell stuff to describe my context or experience when it's relevant.

  33. Reverend Mommy:
    I wrestled with that question 2 months ago when I came to my new parish. I thought it would be odd not to say something about it being my first Sunday as we began a new ministry together, but I didn't want it to be all about me either. So think at the beginning I started off by making reference to being with them. Then tried to preach the gospel, but my style often includes story-telling so I think I threw in a story from my life to use as an example of a point I was making, that way they could start to get to know me too.

  34. I loved the post for the preacher party and I enjoyed the George Carlin piece. I always really liked him and was bummed to hear of his death. I don't know if I will work him in at all, but I think that he asks the questions that a lot of us have, and if we aren't asking, maybe we should be.

    Today is crazy. I have to juggle, sermon, newsletter article, dishes, packing, and a 3-hour round-trip drive to pick up my nephew from the airport, because we leave for Europe in 24 hours!

    I also find myself wrestling with this sermon in a different way. I'm not going to force my nephew to come to church, but he may choose to come and he is an 18-year-old who falls somewhere between atheist and agnostic. If he's there, how I treat these difficult texts could potentially give him food for thought.

  35. RM: My first Sunday at St Stoic was also my ordination/installation day,(later in the afternoon) and there was lots of family in the house who had never heard me preach. I did tell a very personalized story and it was Trinity Sunday, of all days.

    The people seemed to appreciate it and I know my family did. Over the past fours years I have continued to share with them where the gospel and my life intersect. I think that of all the things they will remember about me years from now, this might be one of the ones they will look back at most fondly.

    There is a certain vulnerability to that practice, and it is not for everybody, but it does help my people see sometimes where the gospel intersects in their lives as well. At least that's what they tell me.

    Blessings on RM and on Frog as you launch new ministries tomorrow! How exciting!

  36. Who out there is ready for a Diet Coke? I have cool ones in the fridge, crushed ice through the door and pink party cups left over from my daughter's birthday party!
    I find I am resisting the writing today. Maybe I need to make an outline. Which I always resist, I prefer to simply write a somewhat stream-of-consciousness draft, then rearrange if needed. Most of what I've written is in the comment I made earlier!!!
    And all this is why I thought up the Preacher Party in the first place, friends...for those times when Antonio Banderas is not on the doorstep to deliver a fully-written sermon.
    And if you would rather it be someone else, she said procrastinatingly, then who? Please discuss.

  37. I am preaching Abraham and Isaac but still have a ways to go. Reading from a seminary textbook I came across the reminder of how this text opens with the statement: this is a test. We, the readers, know it is a test but the "actors" do not. And the idea of a fire drill came to mind. I have first-grade twins that one day experienced a fire alarm that nobody knew anything about... fire drills are okay when you know they are drills - but the unexpected fire alarm really sent them into an anxious place.
    Still trying to connect some dots and thoughts...

  38. This is a test - not the real thing. God knows there will be an intervention - Abraham seems to be confident on the journey up the mountain that God will provide... and indeed, God does provide!! Maybe the whole point is for Abraham to be able to shout from the top of Mt. Moriah "GOD DOES PROVIDE!!" Especially after the weeks preaching Genesis and all the faith and doubt stories of Abraham - now his faith is sealed!! God does provide!

  39. Forgot to offer our cherry tomatoes! My kids picked a whopping 65 cherry tomoatoes this morning and they are YUMMY! With no threat of salmonella either!

    I'll shut up now. :)

  40. Sermon done! Posted here comments would be much appreciated.

    (This bumps the children's talk down the page a bit then as didn't link specifically to it, in case someone follows that link and thinks this is the children's one!!)

  41. templeamma, preach it! But pass the tomatoes first, okay?
    Chelley, you go, girl!
    ::mumbling to self, ram in thicket, God will provide, ram in thicket, God will provide::

  42. The place where I am preaching tomorrow is not doing the ram in the thicket. Sigh... I could really preach that one.

    I have a pack of "Sunny Seed Drops" aka the sunflower seed's answer to peanut M&Ms. What I don't have to share is any good sermon ideas. So I'd better get cracking!

  43. Songbird, are you sure Antonio isn't coming by later with a sermon? It would be SO considerate.

  44. This week, I may need to up the ante to Iron Man. Surely he could get the job done?

  45. Re: Abraham and Isaac


    When seen from the perspective of a time when human rights are high on the list of priorities for civilized countries, this story is an example of horrific child abuse. Imagine this story as a newspaper account:

    Associated Press: N.Y. June 27, 1999

    A man was arrested today after police received an anonymous tip about a bizarre religious practice that was to take place. The man's son was freed by police as the father was in the act of taking the boy's life with a butcher knife. Police said the man told them he had heard the voice of God command him to sacrifice the boy.

    Names have been withheld to protect the juvenile boy's identity and the father is in custody pending examination by state psychiatrists.

  46. At Strong Heart's this weekend, as she is preaching at her former church this weekend and still not able to drive herself...

    Have gone to wedding rehearsal, had lunch, done errands, and now back home to write sermon...

    I'm looking at the Matthew passage, but thinking of us as the visitors, not the hosts. Also that once we have met the host, that person is no longer a stranger--we can't label them or fear them--we can't pretend we are better than them in some way (smarter, richer, better educated, whatever). And then I want to make the congregation think even harder about this--that hospitality should be a way of life and reciprocal, and not a way of growing the congregation or appeasing the guilt of the congregation.

    I have Coke and BLTs to offer...

  47. I got to sleep in this morning. It did nothing for my preaching, but did wonders for my attitude with my family. I was beyond up to my eyeballs in morning routine, breakfast, getting dressed crap with the kids since I'm the only one who does that at least 5, but usually 6.5 days a week. I told EconoMan a week ago that this morning would be his. I reminded him as we went to sleep last night that as soon as we heard noise on the monitor in the morning I was turning it off and he was on duty. God bless him, he was up at 6:15 a.m. and I didn't see anyone until 8:50 a.m. Hallelujah!

    So now EconoMan and LadyPrincess are at a movie (only her 3rd in a theater) while Godzilla and I are chilling at home - - quite literally. I just put on some pants on both of us (as opposed to short, not nakedness) so we can go for a walk before his afternoon nap.

    I guess then I will have to pretty much start my sermon writing from scratch. I have a general idea about where I want to go, but not a clue as to how I will get there. As this is the last in my 4 week discipleship series I THINK I can get away with spending much of my time doing a recap of weeks 1-3. So many of our folks are in and out over the summer that tying it all together would make sense without being too repetitious for all.

    I'm going with Matthew, by the way, but not doing hospitality as most of the rest of the crew. I get that that is a core of this passage, but I'm focusing more on how the disciples are received (and sent) not because of what they say, but because of what God says through them. They are carrying and embodying God's good news, and the task of discipleship is just that. This itself is good news to some of us over achievers because it means we aren't responsible for coming up with the message or causing the salvation or any of that. God does it, we carry it. Amen!

    Hopefully I'll get going on that during nap time!

  48. Re; first sermon--Once I used the children's time to tell a new congregation about myself, with props (my diploma, a shelf-sitter of a former church, a figurine of a Corgi to bring in Mr. M., etc.).

    Just a thought.

  49. Hi friends, I'm popping to say that I'm about 900 words into a sermon about Abraham and Isaac and God and that ram.

    George Carin has really come in handy for building up the tension between us and theodicy. I'm not sure that late, great, George is going to help me find a conclusion, though.

  50. Okay, that's scary. Except for the word count, I could have left the same comment.
    cheese, just listen to Templeamma: "God will provide!" That's gonna work, I swear!!

  51. Oh, forgot to mention--I also have to bring in Stonewall Sunday (GLBT Pride; the riots of 1969 at the Stonewall Bar in NYC) and probably should mention Canada Day...

    Suddenly things look much dimmer, and it has nothing to do with the storms threatening us here in the Land of God's Right Hand, as QP says...

  52. The lesson for today is, when you're stuck on page four of your sermon, don['t wait for Antonio to knock at the door. Ask your teenager to help you.

    So here's the middle of page four.

    It sounds like Jesus is promising a payoff for being a good disciple. Do the job and you’ll win the favor of the king. But that’s not the way that it works.
    I’m pretty positive that our salvation is not dependent upon doing good things. We don’t practice if/then theology. If you do this, then you’ll get that.

    Feeling stuck in my sermon writing, I decided to turn to my 15 year old daughter Katie for a reality check. “Katie, why do we help people who are in trouble? Why do we volunteer at the homeless shelter? Why do we tell other people about Jesus?”
    And good Lutheran that she is, Katie said, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

    “Is it so we get a big pay off?” This got the kid’s eyes to roll. “No, that’s not why we do it. We do it because it’s what we’re supposed to do.”

    In other words, we do it because we’re disciples of Jesus and that’s what he calls us to do.

    I think maybe she needs to do regular pericope study with me.

  53. Hey HRod, what does Katie have for Genesis?

    Cause I got nothin'.

  54. Cheese- she says she doesn't ever remember hearing this story. I gave her the short version and she says even when God sounds crazy you need to listen to him.

    Not sure how helpful THAT is! ;-)

  55. You know, when #1 Son was 16 and this story came up, he said something pretty similar about doing what God commands. Maybe it's our parental status getting in our way? Because I am just not going there.

  56. I think Katie's on to something...

    Thank her for me!

  57. I'm getting there, finally, but i am torn about my decision to include the gospel. Feels like I'm tacking on something. Although I suppose since both reaching out and welcoming in are the core of our Christian faith, it's a better end note than "the Abraham story is BS!"

  58. Sherev, I am now insanely jealous of your sleep-in morning. Sigh. One might ask--esperanza, why are you still at the preacher party if you are done? Well, you might get the answer that (1) I'm still not happy with the sermon; something is niggling at me and I can't figure out what's wrong nor how to fix it and/or (2) I'm avoiding BIL and family. Yikes. They're here for the whole week.

  59. Is it a good sign or a bad sign if there've been a good few hits but no comments at all? Not that I always leave comments when I read other posted sermons, usually because I'm not quite sure what to say but I always think they're good..! ;)

    Oh well, I've still got to sort out the PowerPoint stuff for the morning yet so I'll do that and try not to get paranoid haha!

    Paranoid Preachers party - there's an alternative name!

  60. Not that by that I meant I thought mine was good.... though I hope it's of some ok-ness... hehe I'll stop digging a hole now!

  61. Thanks y'all for the advice -- Since my appointment was made late in the season and I didn't get a full covenant meeting with the PPRC, I may use a little more personal testimony than usual. I am going to have to do introductions and say who I am and my family, but I am not going to dwell too long.

    I have at least a year here and then I am probably out, unless circumstances change tremendously, so I am not going to have opportunity to get to know these people at leisure.

    If you have every sparred at Karate or played volleyball, you will know the feeling when you hear the coach yell "OK, Rotate!" Sometimes I feel that's what happens every July...

    OK, y'all -- Rotate!

  62. what happens after a year then reverend mommy? is that all the church has been given to turn around or something... quite a job for you... or is it something totally different and it's none of my business to ask anyway!!

    (Yes, the powerpoint still beckons - someone drag me away from this computer!)

  63. look what happens when you take your dog to agility class! when you get back, there are mega-comments!

    Great discussion here! Almost makes me wish I was preaching. but, I could use the diet cokes, having done some gardening, too.

    or, maybe a popsicle.

  64. I understand the paranoia, chelley. I haven't been one of the hits since I try not to read until I'm done or REALLY stuck. I can't call myself stuck yet if I haven't even started. Anyway, I don't have a way to see hits and that's probably good. I can still convince myself no one is even reading my stuff instead of stressing that they're reading it and it stinks!!!

    I'm also not a good comment leaver, so I don't know why I worry. Oh well. When I'm feeling good about where I am in my process and writing, I'll come on over, take a look, and leave you a note! :)

    I'm sure it's wonderful!

  65. lol, thanks she rev :D

    Right, I've at least switched the other computer on now...!

  66. Chelley, I never read other people's sermons until I have a draft complete. Just a habit.
    Since I've just posted mine, I'll be over and take a look!
    Meanwhile, Diane, have a DC!! Thanks for stopping in!

  67. reverend mommy, my first sermons have sometimes followed lectionary and sometimes been an old sermon that I knew was good and when I came here I told my call story. So, it depends.

    One pastor's advice was if you have "old" sermons to draw from preach the best of them for the first 3 or 4 months. In a church that was particularly hard, that advice served me well because when they started attacking I didn't question my preaching like I might have if they were "new" sermons.

    When I preached my call story, several appreciated knowing the answer to "how'd you get here" but I was following a deep inner pull that told me to do that instead of my well laid plans.

  68. Chelly my love....Can I come to your paranoid party? I always get anxious when there are no comments on any post, but specially so when it's a sermon...Then I get anxious all over again at the church door (where there are NEVER comments at the moment...I'm hoping this is something that will change as time passes)
    I'm at that point of desperation on a Saturday night when I'm only reading sermons that directly go where I am hoping to amble...Promise I will go back and read in a calm and collected way tomorrow, but at the moment, if someone's not going with "Who do you say I am" then I can't cope ;-)
    But I'm sure it IS good ,anyway - it has the surpassing merit of existing, for one thing, which is a sight more than mine does! xx

  69. Songbird - you're a wonderful hostess. i've also just taken a look at your sermon and, though you put things much more succintly than me - and with more humour than I can muster right now, there are very similar themes emerging - so thanks for sharing. I just love this preachers party - even when we do feed each other's paranoia. Its such a comfort to know we all struggle together.

  70. Liz, you are too kind. I just left you a comment. I love that piece of sculpture you shared.

  71. Sermon is done! Well, rough draft anyway. I'm going to let it stew while I put dinner in to cook and finish writing the grant report that is due Tuesday (except that's a holiday here, so I think I really have until Tuesday).

    I'm continuing with my theme of "let's work together," saying that when we welcome each other, and all voices are heard, we are stronger. At Stonewall, there were gay men and lesbians and drag queens, and on and on...and they were stronger for it. When we take care of each other, welcome each other, we come to know one another and we don't fear each other any more.

    Or something like that.

    Anyone up for pork chop casserole?

  72. Okay. "1550 words that don't make me want to jump off a bridge" thanks to Katie!

  73. Oh, and I'll bring some homemade blackberry cobbler to the party this evening. Blackberry season is at peak here and we found some wonderful ones at the farmer's market this morning.

  74. Cheesehead- the kid sends her regards. I love when she helps me figure stuff out!

  75. Grey Sheep, thank you! Sounds delicious!

  76. ok, this is really weird and late, but we were watching a Kirk Douglas movie, and I got curious and googled him, and this curious interview came up where he mentions his thoughts on the Binding of Isaac story Climbing the Mountain

    If it helps anybody, that's great.

  77. Is it too late? Is there diet coke left? I have spent most of the day waiting for my headache to go away, have accepted it is here to stay and now have to put rambling swirling things into coherent thought. Which is where I usually am on Saturday evening. I did knit 1/2 a sock though.

    I did get the new blog up though - -the old one will be coming down soon.

    I am so ready to go back to the lectionary and have some other people preaching the same texts I am!

  78. Kathryn, how are you doing now? This church of mine is a 'no-commenter' as well!
    I'm afraid I only managed a couple of paragraphs on 'who do you say I am?'

    Right, it's going to be a very late night - just went out for last minute bits for TeenSon who's off to Scotland tomorrow (4.45am!) for his geography field trip and now I'm packing the huge pile of stuff he needs! And then I still need to sort the PowerPoint stuff... and it's 11.20pm. And I'm getting up again at 4!

  79. Diane,
    what a fascinating find - and what a testimony from kirk douglas. I'm done for the night but loved reading that. 11:30 here so I'm headed off to sleep - there was no nap time today. blessings on all those still working - and those who are finished or who don't have to preach - go and do something fun! Its the 18th commandment for a saturday night.

  80. Hey all,
    Just checking in late in the day to say hey to all.

    KP - I have a headache too...

    Frog and RM - woohoo! have a great time tomorrow! My advice - dont try to impress them, just let them know you love them. :) What an exciting sunday for our revgals.

    We're just back from a couple of days at family camp (some parts hard, most parts great), so I got lots of stories to tell and I'm weaving together those, a camp song, cups of water and Eugene Peterson on Romans. So it's be a bit of a mess, but hopefully a joyful one :)

    We are being casual this summer, so I'm not working from a manuscript, but a few notes instead. Which is good because I dont have time to write one, since after I get a few loads of laundry in, we are going on an. actual. date. I know, you could knock me over with a feather, too. But I know it's really happening, because a babysitter will arrive at 5:00.

    (Yes, I am avoiding the boy, the dad and the ram, but after reading Songbird, I'm wishing I would have tackled it. Well, there's always 3 years from now - by then I might actaully know what to say!)

  81. I'm doing the Matthew passage, but I'm taking it in a little different direction. I'm going to focus on how Jesus doesn't start us out doing the big things, although we might end up there. He starts us by sending us to meet whatever need we see in front of us, no matter how small. It may be just a cup of cold water, but it is from consistently doing the small things that the world is changed on a big scale.
    Whaddya think?
    Oh, and has anyone else noticed the odd spin on this passage in the Message? Petersen couches it as both giving and receiving that are blessed, not just the giving. Hmm.

  82. Juniper, I think a date sounds like a great idea! Better than a sermon, for sure. We kind of take alone time for granted with older children, but I remember well how good it felt to leave little people with a babysitter (even the oldest child) and take off!
    kp, let's try it this way: Knit One, Purl One, Preach One.

  83. OK...Darling daughter having now henna'd both our hairs, everyone else has retreated to bed, and I'm rather tempted to follow. I'll leave the bowl of apricots out on the table, to encourage those still labouring...and, taking a very deep breath, I'll put the sermon up on the blog I suppose. Heavily indebted for the good bits to my friend Fr Simon...the tosh and twaddle is, of course, my own!

  84. Kathryn, you had me at "tosh."

  85. I like your spin a lot Grey Sheep, a lot. Preach it!

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  87. Chelley...Is the 4.00 am to do with the Geog field trip, or a function of priestly punctilliousness in the face of an early Eucharist. If the latter, I think I might be going to cry!
    I'm on at 8.00, but don't plan on setting the alarm any earlier than 7.00. I now have the sermon printed..the more I look at it, the less I like definitely bedtime. If God wants me to rework it, I'm sure he'll wake me up to tell me so.
    Night night, partying preachers xx

  88. Back at the computer, finally--lots accomplished on other fronts but it's later than I hoped so I am slightly nervous. (Since I don't preach that often I usually have the luxury of being done long before Saturday afternoon, and my confidence wavers when I don't).

    Congrats to those who are done and good luck to everyone else till toiling away....

  89. Tosh! I knew there was a good technical term for that stuff that comes out of my computer!

    Kathryn- I love listening to you!

  90. Friends, I'm tucked up on the couch with my 13-year-old, watching Season Three of Lost. I'm grateful that the sermon came all in one piece this week, allowing us to spend the evening together.
    I'll be checking in here, though, so don't hesitate to ask if you need more Diet Coke, and there are at least four kinds of Ben and Jerry's and four more kinds of Weight Watchers ice cream treats in the freezer. Please help yourselves!

  91. Yes, the 4am is for the geog field trip... they've got to be at college at 4.45am sharp!

  92. songbird, i want to live at your house where there are 8 ice cream options!

    I just have the breyers french vanilla and some soy dream fudgesicles. which I can't eat because they require opening my mouth too far.

    If anyone's looking for distractions, I'm hanging out with my backlog of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me podcasts! And I have all kinds of foods I can't eat, so please come enjoy them--from fresh broccoli to chocolate bars to popcorn to yummy things with rice or polenta (I can't believe I can't even eat rice...).

    (end whine...back to podcasts...)

  93. Teri, come stay with us anytime! We'll get Pastor Peters to come over and eat ice cream, too!

  94. so I totally can't type (more Advil please?). Songbird was kind enough to point out that I added an extra letter to the new blog address. try this one:

    there may even be a sermon there before church tomorrow.

  95. 8 kinds of ice cream. Songbird this only confirms all the wonderful things I believe about you!

  96. 8 kinds of ice cream! I'll be there in time for dessert.

    Teri - -I would love your polenta recipe. I tried some today and it was rather bland. Hoping your mouth feels better soon!

  97. Chelly,
    First, as a Methodist, I know that I get one year at a time. Our congregations are (mostly) used to the rotating ministers.

    But in addition, this circuit is a part-time position usually carried by a Local Pastor who has certificate to preach. Because of life-stuff (settling multiple estates) I would rather do a part-time position this year than a full time so it's an OK fit. Because I hope to be full time next year, then I will NOT be a good fit for this charge at that time.

    I am the fifth minister in 6 years for this circuit and so they need someone who can practice the "non-anxious" presence for a while.

    Hopefully, the District Superintendent will be able to find a retired pastor, a local pastor or a student who will be able to take it next year and stay for a while.

    Still writing -- the most moving story I have ever heard about the cold glass of water occurred in Atlanta around 1995. A dying UMC church in downtown (directly across from another, un-named church) had decided to do what Jesus told them to do -- offer hospitality. There were only a handful of Little Old Ladies left (average age about 75) but one year, during a Gay Pride parade they decided to just handout cups of water. The un-named church across the street put up barricades and hired police to guard their property -- even mounted policemen, so that those "undesirables" could not put a foot on their property.

    That year the LOLs handed out hundreds of cold clear water -- in the name of Jesus. They were indescrimanent. They gave water to everyone -- the participants in the parade, the protesters, the press and even the police guarding the other property. Everyone got a taste of the Living Water that day. That one event turned that church around and now it is one of the largest in our conference.

    And it all started with cups of cool, clear water.

  98. Just stopped by to see if anyone else was being more brilliant about their children's sermons than I am. The senior pastor is preaching on the binding of Isaac, so that's my text too...woohoo. I've got nothing. Pass the diet coke, please.

  99. My sermon is finished. I am finished. I love the Abraham stories.

    I ate ice cream for dessert tonight. I am a better person for it. Just sayin.

  100. To go with my sermon (Seven Things you can't say in church), I'm calling the children's message "Bad Words." I'm going to ask the kids if there are any words they aren't supposed to say at their houses besides really bad words and tell a story about the ban on saying "stupid" in my house when I was growing up.
    Because that is how close I am willing to go to the binding of Isaac with the children...

  101. What about using the Psalm with the kids, in a roundabout way? Could you do something with the idea of feeling God is far away and making up a prayer about it with them? I guess that depends on the size of the crowd. But that psalm is highly ritualized: God is absent, I am miserable, but wait I am faithful, God is present, I'm glad I trusted in God!
    Something like that, even three parts would work. You could write them on a piece of newsprint or poster board (if you have the supplies handy) and hold them up for all to pray, or alternatively jot them down and have the kids repeat the lines with you.
    I just don't see how you use Isaac with children in worship, an awful prospect.

  102. Well here it is 7:30 and I have roughly an opening phrase "sometimes the disciples must have wonder what the heck Jesus was talking about".

    ANd I sppent the whole day working on camp stuff, and tansferring files to the new office computer. Oh that and the wedding that ate up most of the afternoon. Just back from the supper and not in the least feeling like sermonizing.

    I think tomorrow will be a shortie...

  103. Hey, I'm back! Who wants ice cream?

  104. Phew. It isn't hard to tell when there are tough texts up is it? We're past 100 and it's not even 10:00 pm Eastern. Will it be a 200 night?

    I don't know where I'm going really, so I'm sure it'll be an icky late night/early morning. I'm hoping for some serious inspiration any minutes now!!!

  105. Teri - - Wait wait - - You crack me up. Or actually what cracks me up is my big plan to do the same tomorrow afternoon. I've got a BUNCH saved up!!!

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. I'll take some ice cream! 2 bites of each flavor please. and a diet coke.

    The irony is I may have had an easier time with Isaac than "I am the vine and you are the branches" this week. Anyone want to trade?

  108. gord (do you know how many times I've accidently typed "god" for your name? I can't be the only one)- Is this the week you were going to be off one week on the lectionary? I remember you were going back to a week of Matthew a week late. If so, I actually posted mine last week. I don't do it often.

    Here's last week's offering.

  109. she rev, that helps a lot. I may quote you at a few places if I may...

  110. I'm not preaching (our intern is) so I am enjoying an 'off' night since my worship pieces are done. (not good, but done) I did reflect on the Abraham text the other day, for what it's worth now that you all have your sermons together. what Binding I'm really interested in the children's stories that are coming together.

  111. Finally done, hallelujah, and in time to join my family briefly for a beach bonfire. "A Cup of Cold Water" is posted here.

    Good night, all.

  112. Go for it, gord. As a last minute writer it's rare that I get to help others!!!

  113. I know it's early for those still working, but I am headed to bed now. Last one up, get the lights?
    Thanks for coming to the party, and look for me if you need coffee early tomorrow!

  114. I'm calling it quits too. I'll check in later, in the middle of the night sometime. The Spirit's going to have to work with what I've got.

  115. All done! if you want to read about John chapter 15 my offering is here

    I even found the HTML code!

  116. Well, after reading a comment at my blog, I am now in a panic about the end of mine, so I guess I'm back to work.

  117. I am trying to figure out how soy and dremasicle g et in the same phrase, Teri!
    I love real milk products and I am so happy to be back in a place that has the brand with the lovely cow on the carton. Costs more, but it is worth it.
    I have two kinds of ice cream (real vanilia) and a Walgreens version of Banana Split.
    Teri, wish i could make you a slushie.
    Oh, votign time...
    I have an ice cream social later on in summer. Everyone brings a church... so should i make my famous Banana split or the ever popular (sinus clearing) pepermint? I am guessing we will have the usual vanilia, strawberry, peach and chocolate there.
    Any ideas?
    Let's try for 150 comment posts by midnight (EDT)!

  118. Yum! My husband is making my FAVORITE jello "salad" - - the one with a pretzel crust, cream cheese and Cool Whip middle layer, and strawberry jello with strawberries on top - - for the church potluck tomorrow. I love this section of the country where that is called a salad (and is therefore good for you which means you can have multiple large servings) and not a dessert, as my mom taught me!

  119. I'd go for banana split. Peppermint ice cream makes me think of Christmas.

  120. If I were making my own - - coffee with caramel, almonds, and chocolate chunks. It's a milkshake I invented at Cold Stone. Well, without the almonds. They don't fit through a straw well.

  121. Popping in late here. I hope there is still some ice cream left for me! Whew, what a long day. Meeting and then a practice with the worship team, another meeting about our float, planned for a parade in two weeks, a counseling appt. and a class for prospective new members...finally home and a rushed supper and now to fluff out my outline. Gonna be a late night and then an early morning.

  122. I personally would vote for peppermint--it's my favorite ice cream! :-)

    soy fudgesicles are not as bad as they sound. a little better for you than the usual kind--they have soy protein. but they don't taste quite the same. I'm not vegan--I eat the regular stuff for sure! But I like to try soy delicious stuff. :-)

  123. I'll probably be here with you Singing Owl. I think I'm attempting something on too much of a tangent in the Scripture. I think it's a real aspect of the passage, but the more I work on this, the less it seems to work. Hmmmm. If the Spirit would just drop something else in my lap (she says, looking heavenward), I'd be happy to run with it instead!!!

  124. All this ice cream talk has me clicking over to enter my Weight Watchers points for the evening. Oi. Wonder how I'm supposed to count that large pretzel stick covered in caramel, rolled in peanuts, then dipped in chocolate?

  125. Maybe you need to give yourself some Activity Points for writing your sermon?
    I'm wrestling mine to the ground. Looking at the final two paragraphs led to reorganizing the whole darn thing. Sigh.
    Now I want toast.

  126. Also, did I really think it was a good idea to say "Holy Crap!" in a sermon? Even as the punch line of a list?

  127. Done, Done, Done. Nothing like the last minute. If you're interested, you can find my sermon here:

    Looking at my blog, I realize that I haven't been able the get the RevGal button on my site. Something to work on when it's not Saturday night.

  128. Good idea - - I'll wiggle my toes while I write and type lots. That should count for something.

    (I did go on TWO walks today. That wasn't bad! It does explain why I am where I am with my sermon.)

  129. Finally focused in on my real focus and function. Things should flow pretty well from here. I've also got half an outline.

    SO tempted to turn on SNL in the background. They're replaying the original first episode since George Carlin was the host. I know I won't be able to focus if it's on though. Keep it off! Keep it off! (The DVR is taping it; it shouldn't be that hard!)

  130. Grey Sheep, I'll be in touch about that. I am Tech Support!
    Still wrangling, but it keeps getting longer, and that worries me.

  131. I still ahve SNL on for background noise. What a group that was! So funny!
    Okay, Teri, I might try the soy popsikcle, I was convinced to try the WW kind and they aren't bad at all.
    I still have this image from The Santa Clause, with him spitting out the soy milk the little girl left him.
    Okay, back to work..
    Funny note, Mugsy was accidentaly locked in guest bedroom closet, he kept crying out and I kept callign him.Finally found him.
    The manse is way big for me, two cats and a frog!

  132. oh dear Songbird, I feel your pain. I was up late last weekend redoing mine. It ended up being worth it, but oh, so tired... I had all the right parts, but the cement between the bricks, that needed tweaking.
    Take care everyone. I was in bed, but realized I had forgotten to take my cholesterol medicine, so got up, and checked in here.

    I wish I had posted my seminary paper on Genesis 22. Maybe I still will, but it will be too late for this go-round.

  133. Thanks, Diane. I'm finished (again), but now I'm wide awake!

  134. Come on over here, Songbird. Join the late night party with my two nightstalkers.They sleep all day and prowl around at night.
    I am finishing up and also keep playing out ideas for having the ministry team leaders over. I invited them for a dessert and coffee roudn table discusison (but my dining room table is rectangle!) Anyhow, they will be coming over and so I am menu planning.
    Oh and already dreaming of the eggplant casserole for lunch tomorrow.
    So, as I finsih up on the voices of prophets, pull up a chair.
    Or go get soem of the lavendar balm and rub on your temples to sleep.

  135. I had the toast, the cats went outside, so I'm going to try bed. But thank you for the invitation! Hope you can sleep soon, too.

  136. Back from getting ready for bed. Thought I'd get my jammies on so when I'm ready to crash I just have to get in bed and be done. I think I'll do that in the 15-30 minutes, and then get up again at 4:00 to knock the rest of this thing out. I actually have words on paper now and an outline to guide me the rest of the way. Now it's just a matter of staying on track to get it written.

    I did check my laundry status when I was up, and was thrilled I don't have to preach naked tomorrow. Although at this point it's a toss up as to whether that would hurt or help the sermon.

    Oh well. A typing I will go!

  137. She Rev, too funny!
    Okay, I'm really going to bed now.

  138. Oh, could soembody please go and figure out what I should wear to church tomorrow?
    It needs to look decent, match my toenails and be cool in the june/july heat of the south.
    Hey, Sherev...ya still there?

  139. Hello? Looks like you've all gone to get a little sleep. Songbird, my sympathies...I hate rewrites, even when it ends up better. Hope everyone is resting peacefully and restoratively.

  140. I wanted us to at least hit 140 and so now I am off to bed with the shall be storng in the AM!

  141. I'm back. I hit the hay 15-20 minutes after my plan, and have been back at it for 20 minutes or so now. I have to be careful not to blink too slowly or I lose a few minutes here or there. Just. Gotta. Get. This. On. Paper. Hmmmm...I wonder what it's like to preach from notes. KIDDING! I want to try it, but NOT like this!

    Anyway, as always I am hopeful that some sermon-writing fairy will help me get it done in amazingly little time so that I can catch a little more sleep. I'm aiming for just 1 more hour.

    Grace - you got some light pants? Like maybe a stone color? Then any nice top will work, and I think the light pants help make any cute toes pop!

    Ha! Me attempting to give fashion advice. This is a JOKE!!!!

  142. Popping back in...blessings to everyone as you proclaim the Word in so many ways this morning/afternoon/evening.

  143. I'm up here on Sunday morning again... I've let it become a habit - a nasty habit that I need to break.

    I'm going with the idea I got from some lectionary blog somewhere (I think process and faith) that used Bob Dylan's song "Gotta Serve Somebody." I'm going to talk about how we all have something that we are a slave to - either our jobs, our own personal ambitions, our children... We all have something in our lives that controls and determines all of our actions. Paul asks - Why can't that be God?

    The hard part is, that if we put God first - before everything else - if we becomes slaves to God's will... life won't be easy. Look at what happened with Abraham. Perhaps that story is as much about how our various loves can get confused as anything else. God was testing Abraham... put ME first. above all else. even above this child that you love so much.

    The thing is, Abraham was able to do it, because he did love his son. But he also loved and trusted God. So when his son asked him that dreaded question (the where is the lamb question) - Abraham didn't panic. He didn't doubt. He trusted that God would provide. That whatever end God had in mind was the best. That by serving God, he was serving rightouesness itself. That doesn't make it easy - it's kind of crap actually. But no one can ever question who Abraham chose to serve.

  144. Katie Z., there's more than one way to skin the proverbial cat; I hope it preaches.
    The trouble is that the sort of obedience that turns out beautifully for Abraham doesn't always lead to a happy ending for the average person and in fact when things don't sort out, people may be left feeling they did not do enough and blaming themselves. That's not part of my sermon in this case, but it's one of my issues with the story.
    Anyway, coffee is on, it's hot, it's dark. I'm a little out of it. I hope the rest of you are snappier, cheerier, brighter and more brilliant.

  145. Katie, I preaches for me. I've been working with Matthew 10 for 4 weeks and it's right there with you -- obedience, discipleship ain't always easy. In fact, it might rarely be easy. The world and your family might hate your for it, but God has called you, and the reward is in the task, being a part of God's mission to the world.

    I'm done, and it's here. Time to go be a mom!

  146. Stayed up all night printing docs I needed for trip and packing. Should leave for the airport in less than 6 hours. At least I should sleep on the plane and wake up ready to see Paris.

    I don't have the sermon all worked out yet. I need to leave in an hour. But I'm basically going to talk about what we do with difficult texts, that we shouldn't shy away from the questions they raise, and the need for study.

  147. Well, I did the Sunday morning edits and the thing is done! Hope everyone has a blessed day!

  148. Preach well everyone, sleep well this afternoon.
    I am looking forward to a post sermon beer.
    i am off to my first offial day on the job as a solo pastor.

  149. all done and feeling very very good about this morning. I felt kind of crummy about the way I preached the text last week, and I kind of feel like this is in some ways an extension of it. I feel like God is giving me a do-over and it feels great.

    Songbird- i agree with what you are saying... and the way you said it helped me work in a few "caveats" for accepting this story... 1) we follow Christ in community precisely because people claim all the time God told them to do awful thigns... the community helps us to know if it is really the voice of God, or if it is we who are crazy. 2)Abraham's story worked out in the end... but we have to remember that people all over really are in dangerous and life-threatning places because of their faith in God and their decision to obey a calling (to serve as a missionary, to become a preacher in an unfriendly place, etc.) We have to know that following God and doing God's will doesn't mean sunshine and roses.

  150. Blessings on you, 1-4 grace! I'll admit I'm not good at always following who is who here, so I didn't realize this Sunday was a big one. Blessings on you! I made that move 6 months ago this week, and in a strange way it has been the most freeing thing in the world to be tied to preaching every week!

    (And look we passed 150!)

  151. Katie Z, that's it exactly. There is so much "prosperity" gospel out there in the common culture, and I feel charged to combat its wholesale swallowing. Faith is complicated; life is complicated. Not to acknowledge that does a disservice to people and their real lives.
    We had thunder during the service, and it propelled me right out of the pulpit!

  152. I finally sacked out at 11:30, was up again at six. Yawn...a visiting dad of one of our teenagers told his son, "I like your pastor. She is interesting to listen to." Whoopeee! The son has been asking us to pray for his dad and stepmom for over a year, and it was good to see them in church, and even better that they liked it. :-) I am TIRED! To bed for me.


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