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Saturday, July 12, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: How does your Garden Grow Edition?

It's the middle of summer here in Minnesota, and the appropriate time for the pararables of seeds and roots, weeds and wheat. I don't have much of a garden, but I do have a few herbs growing by the back door, and several unwanted plants as well, so I am thinking, on this day, about that Crazy Gardener who keeps throwing seeds around everywhere! NIMBY!

Seriously, how is the weather where you are today, and how is your sermon coming along? Are you preaching about seeds and yields? About the Word of God that does not return to God empty? Or about the intriguing Rebekah and her sons? Or are you rummaging around in Paul's letter to the Romans, the 8th chapter, taking down that "This Property is Condemned" sign and moving right in?

I have fair trade coffee, as always (toffee caramel is my favorite flavor) and English Muffins, oatmeal for those who need to care about cholesterol (like me). I also have a shelter in the midsummer storms, for those who need it (like me). We have been experiencing severe thunderstorms for the last two days (off and on). High winds, hail, loss of electricity.

Please check in! There is shelter in the storm, and food for all here.


  1. Yay! Early postings...
    I also have coffee to share and a great video for your peace and enjoyment at:
    my place.
    I am working on Gospel text with Gardenign 101.
    Although commentary stuff talks about the seeds being word of good and relating the type of ground it falls...
    I want to stretch it a bit and discuss the need to nourish the word regardless of where the seed might fall. My thougth being that the ground can't necessarily help it's own condition and many individuals cna't help their place in life. It is our job to help nourish those with whom we come in contact (in everyday life, our own congrgations, work, etc)and be mindful of those who might be in a rocky spot a trodden road or an otherwise unhealthy place to grow and find the ways to nourish them as well.
    Perhaps not decidign for ourselves that this person or that just doesn't belong in church or does not need to know of God's word and ultimate love for them.
    Going somewhere...not sure where...
    need to get to bed soon...
    Hoping i don't flounder.
    Anybody got a good children's message for Matthew text?

  2. 14grace - I like that. People can't often help the kind of ground they're given - and we DO have to be nourishers of the word wherever it falls. Thanks for that thought.
    I'm not preaching tomorrow, having a songs of praise for my last sunday here. However I am using the gospel reading - and I'll be emphasising "Those who have ears, let them hear" 7 years of preaching love has fallen on very deaf ears!
    Anyway, I have some morning tea and toast with ginger marmalade - (only 3 points).
    I'll check back later once I've packed a few more boxes to make good my escape from here.

  3. I like your initial stretching thoughts, 1-4 grace. I'm sure we'll have some children's message ideas in the a.m.

    one of my thoughts is not just that people can't help what kind of soil they are, but that we have no idea where and who IS the good soil. We like to really target our efforts where we think they will do the most good, but the crazy garden (God) doesn't do that.

    take care!

  4. Good morning, everyone!

    We have rain right now. Does the midwest need more rain? I am not sure.

    Today I will be at the local street festival assuming it is not all rained out. Tonight I will be at a wedding reception. Friends of mine were married in Hawaii and have returned just this week. It should be a good time.

    The sermon, well, it is still brewing like my presspot of coffee. We have had an unusually busy week at the church...a certain crisis (a word I seldom use) has had me very busy. But this is what we're doing:

    The Gospel According to John Hughes

    Yes, we are off the lectionary for the next few weeks. This week, Pretty in Pink (paired with the Matthew rich young man text). The next in the four part series is Sixteen Candles. Weird Science and The Breakfast Club will round it all out. I'll be certain to let people know how it's going on my blog.

    Blessings to one and all. I have left some buttermilk biscuits for you. I'm off!!

  5. Tripp, that sounds very interesting! please let us know how this creative series goes!

    Also, I think the midwest is ok on rain for a few days.

    Coffee, anyone?

  6. Tripp, that sounds cool!

    I'm up and ready to get cracking on the Psalm. Almost forgot I'd agreed to do the children's sermon as well!

    Better get moving....

  7. 1-4 took my breath away with her video.

    The Isaiah reading has long been one of my favorites. I have had a rough week with those criticizing services that go too long when it is not my sermon that is too long but a music director who is pushing me for a fight. She yelled at me during the liturgy last week--at least council addressed that. But I feel gun shy about a sermon.

    I love to preach--I love to sow the seed and most of the time my crowd loves what I do--but I am not certain that they love God to allow the seed to really take root in them. And sometimes I wonder about me too.

    I need to permit myself to sow the seen today and to trust that the word will not return empty.

    Now that I have identified what is going on with me--how do I make this into a sermon that is not about me?

    I need a good story--but Scripture has already given me good stories. Hmmmmm. Help!

  8. Hey, y'all! First, thanks to Diane for covering today! We are off to a dog club picnic, so imagine me greeting 50 or more Bernese Mountain Dogs! My job is hospitality sign-in, so I get to meet everyone.
    I'm preaching about soil-testing (I must admit that part comes from six years ago) and being aware of our own receptivity and the value of the community for making us more able to receive what is sown. Or something like that.
    For the children's word, I'm reading Reeve Lindbergh's poem (in picture book form) about Johnny Appleseed, then singing the Johnny Appleseed grace.
    I'll see y'all later. There is a bean supper at church tonight, but I've been told I don't have to attend all of them. We'll see how I feel when the time comes. (I'll probably go; saves cooking...)

  9. Here's a link to the basic ideas about soil-testing, in case that might be helpful to anyone: soil-testing.

  10. I like that soil testing tips, Songbird!

    Yay! we didn't lose power last night! so I'm still here!

  11. This morning... I'm offering coffee... cream cheese danish... and fresh cherries. I also have diet pepsi and sweet tea if it's as hot there as it is here.

    I'm going to be preaching about farming... today... so methodical... and the contradiction that we hear in the text. What kinda crazy farmer is that dude anyway? God. God farms... the way God farms... because God can see more than what we see... and thank heaven for that... cause I'm figuring I'm never going to be the top pot potting soil that I need to be. There are places in my heart (soil) that are less welcoming than concrete.

    Don't know what it'll look like... but I'm always open to the spirit during sermon time... and she's not failed me yet!!!! It's another one of those God things.

  12. I've been up long enough to do two loads of laundry - would that I had a clothes line for hanging them out! - and had a nap. As I was reading your thoughts, a bird hit the living room window and fell into the bushes below. The dogs watched for signs of life and so did I. My cat just strolled around to the front of the house, spotted the bird and rushed into the bush. Apparently, the bird was alive and well enough to fly away unharmed. Hmm...don't think I can fit that into tomorrow's sermon.
    I am still going to focus on us as the soil rather than the seed. Mostly on us as the gardeners of our own soilness. We have to work hard to keep out the thorns and rocks. I'm thinking on how easy it is to complain but so much harder to find something good to say. If we don't like someone, we have lots to say about it. If we do like them, somehow that's all we can think to say! Why can't we elaborate on the good as easily as we do the bad? Why is it easier to make thorns?

  13. muthah+, I hear you, and I love the Isaiah passage too. Perhaps if we both remember that we preach, but God sows the seed.... that will help, maybe??

    your music person is being awful! will be praying for you on that.

  14. Neither preaching nor assisting tomorrow...I am munching on an "everything" bagel this morning as FT and I entertain our 9-year-old pal who's staying with us this week. (I cannot tell you how utterly exhausted we both are...and this day's itinerary includes a trout pond AND a minor-league baseball game.) Lots of seeds on an "everything" bagel...good inspiration, maybe.

  15. Greetings all. Thank you for already planting some great seeds.

    For the last few weeks I have wanted to do a narrative and I think this may be the week. It depend on what bubbles up in my mind as I go through the day. Last night was a late one with a minor league baseball game and today is farmer's market and a local church's carnival and HOPEFULLY a nap for all (his longer than mine).

    Good to check in with you all!
    LutheranChick, how badly I want to reach across for an everything bagel - yum!

  16. 1-4 grace, that was the "seed" of the other sermon I thought I might preach this week, but since we are leaving on a mission trip to the inner city tomorrow, and since I got lots of bizarre comments about both last year's trip (to New Orleans) and this year's, I've decided to go with God scattering seeds wildly and recklessly, taking no thought for the type of soil, not first assessing the deservingness of the ground that will receive the seed...and then working with whatever happens. Even seed that falls on the "wrong" ground can be useful.
    I might (not sure yet if this will take me into two-sermon territory) take this last idea to say that all seeds spread themselves/"bear fruit"--they might be eaten by birds, carried away to a new place...they might sprout quickly but still release seeds...and, most importantly, the seed that bears 100-fold scatters its seed far and wide, again with no thought to where that seed might land.

    Which means I could take the metaphor this way: God scatters recklessly and calls us to do the same..
    or this way:
    when we bear fruit of any kind, our seeds scatter away--the question is what kind of seed we scatter.

    I can't decide.
    and, of course, none of this is on paper because I'm still doing laundry/cleaning the house/loving on the kitties/etc. Plus I just woke up after a night of severe thunderstorms. And I still have shopping to do before I can finish packing. And I'm leaving tomorrow so I have basically no food to share, except an excessive number of Luna bars! :-)

  17. Hi,
    I have a almost written sermon except for the last two paragraphs. I am headed to Bham for sometime at the zoo with the kids. Every year the surgeon who does all the cleft lips and palates hosts a day at the zoo for his patients and families. Then we come back to a choir party. Other wise I might not have a written sermon at all.
    1-4, you and I are thinking a like. I borrowed the Homilectics idea of fertilizer and have been developing that with fertilizing our hearts.

    Hope the rest of you don't have such a full day so you can work on your sermon and have some down time. I'll be back later. I have coffee, bananas and oatmeal. Ribs for supper. Put your order in now.

  18. Good morning, all!
    I am still exhausted from 3 weeks of school, and sleeping way more than normal. And of course it's my turn to preach both services (morning 2 and contemporary).
    For the morning, I'm looking at the Romans text and what it means to have life in the Spirit. I think Paul's rhetoric makes the flesh/Spirit dualism a little too simplistic (and reading around in Paul, I think he knew that, too) and that we need to think about what it means to have Spirit in our lives. Will take any good ideas, though. I gave out early last night with only about 1/3 of what I need.

  19. Teri: "God scatters recklessly and calls us to do the same..."

    me likey.

  20. Boy, I'd love some cheese danish. I thought I was going in a particular way with the text, but after a very long phone conversation with a friend last night, I may be off in another direction.

    I'll probably blog more at my place

    For reasons that I can't fix, blogspot doesn't like my html

  21. Good morning ladies!

    EconoMan and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary over here. Well, celebrating is a strong word. We don't do much for these occasions, but still. I won't be around much, but wanted to post a link to my sermon from last week since it was written with this week's gospel lesson. Due to sort of long introductory material and it being a communion Sunday the "meat" is a little shorter than I usually like, but there it is. I think it was in the same vein of abundant grace that I heard lots of folks talking about on Tuesday.

    I'm ahead of you all in the lectionary again this week and working with weeds and wheat. I'm not sure of my total direction, but I think I'll talk about good and bad side by side on a large world/community/society scale, then the existence of weeds and wheat in the church, then bring it down to weeds and wheat existing side by side in each person. I'll pull in Psalm 139, I think with how God knows all there is to us and still searches us out.

    Children's sermon ideas for next week on that Psalm - - I'm going to hide myself in the sanctuary about 15 minutes before the service. I was going to just talk into my lapel mic and instruct the kids to find me, then talk about what it's like when we can't be found (ever play hide and go seek and have TOO good of a spot?), then talk about how God can always find us and never leaves us alone, sees everything we are and still loves us enough to want to be with us. I've decided to have a volunteer help me, to help organize the kids in the finding. Well, I didn't just decide it. Apparently I got messed up and she thought it was her week to do children's time. Instead of bumping her or me, I thought we could just work together!

    OK - Godzilla's living up to his name and destroying the office. Gotta run. I'll check in with the late shift later!

  22. Wow, lots of good ideas here! I "kind of" have a sermon, but it needs fixing, especially in light of some of the things I have read, that have focussed my mind more. But first, I need to go write prayers!

    I like the spreading seeds wrecklessly idea, too, that's why my sermon title is "That Crazy Gardener". I might take a page from Miss Rumphius, but also a conversation I heard a few years ago at the state legislature, about legislation. He said some of those inner city kids "weren't worth spending the money on." I think we're all a little that way on one thing or another -- making our own judgments about which soil is "worthy" and measuring out where we will invest our time and money.

  23. Teri (!), WS, and all,
    loving the "God scatters seeds recklessly and requires us to do the same."
    Totally using it...any seeds out there for sermon idea?

  24. I have written my sermon out and was getting ready to post it and now it has disappeared. Does anybody know how to find a lost document?

  25. I'm working off of Genesis, the Jacob and Esau story and also Matt. Exploring the idea of struggle and what can come from that. Using Joan Chittister, "Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope" and the reflection on Faith and Process to move me through. I connect to the choices Jacob made, Esau made, and we make (whether we are on thorny spiritual terrain, or rocky lives, or feeling busy and "trod" upon, we have choices)....God comes to us in all the places we are and decisions we make. Perhaps it is less about making the one "right" choice and realizing that we have lots of choices, but wherever we go, God comes along. In othewords, Esau turns out ok, Jacob turns out OK - after a lot of struggle - and we can too. Our faith becomes a lens through which we can understand our struggle as a means to lead us to new or re-newed hope...(OK, ok, I know, it's my story and connects deeply with where I've been these last three years - through deep darkness and now hope)...

    Anyway. Bad rain here all day yesterdy. and humid. Off to walk dogs, make breakfast, and work on sermon....blessings all!

  26. This is my first Sunday back in the pulpit after two weeks. The end of June we did a Lectio divina in the park, and last week, I was out of town, and by all reports, the lay people I tapped did a marvelous job!

    My title is "sowing seeds" and sort of goes together with next week's "Pulling weeds" (It helps to read ahead!) I've been thinking about not only those times when we are the soil, but also when we are the sowers, or even the seeds. It almost seems like too many directions for one sermon. We'll see. For children's time, I picked up vegetable and herb seeds at the hardware store for four cents a package. I plan to talk about my attempts at gardening and how it always frustrates me that the seed package says to "Thin to xx spacing." Why can't we let grow what grows? Still working on it.

    It's raining here now, and one couple my congregation has a a birthday party this afternoon. He's 90 and she's 89. About half the church is related to them in some way.

    Husband and kids are going on a midnight bike ride tonight. I had to opt out since I'm preaching tomorrow. At least I don't have to fix them breakfast. They have a pancake feed after the ride.

    I'm about to make some tea - odd to feel chilled in the middle of July, but the rain is really cooling things off. Anybody want tea?

  27. I'm at the chicken BBQ, which is the big Wang Doo around here. I'll blog more about it later, but suffice it to say that I'll be a late-nighter tonight.

  28. 1-4 G, I really like your thouoghts. We have a guest speaker tomorrow, so no sermon for me. I do have some really wonderful and sweet peaches and plums to share, and I'll be praying for you all as you prepare. If I can avoid being eaten alive by the voracious new crop of mosquitos that hatched after last night's thunderstorm, I'm going to try to do some weed pulling.

  29. I forgot to mention that tomorrow is my small town's big whang-do. (LOL at CH) and we are entering a float in the annual parade. It continues our OASIS theme and it looks like it is going to be a really terriffic entry! I'll be riding on it dressed in HOT biblical garb. If all goes well I will post pictures on my blog on Monday. In spite of many setbacks and sorrows, we do seem to be pulling together and acting like the church. Even while sad and confused, I sure can rejoice in THAT, huh?

  30. oh muthah+, that happened to me once and I had to do the whole sermon over! I couldn't find it! Is there someone here who knows about this???

    I hope you find your sermon.

  31. I don't know anything about lost document recovery...sorry! I also apparently don't know anything about organization, since I can't find some stuff I KNOW I have and really need to pack. I do, however, know lots about vacuuming (I think I just vacuumed up 3 cats worth of fur...I only have two cats!), laundry, and procrastination of sermon writing. Anyone need help on those? ;-)

  32. Oh, muthah, I hope maybe you've been able to get it back by now! Have you tried hitting "undo"? - it's under "edit" at the top of the screen. You can undo the last thing you did, and then the next thing, and so on. So if you hit something to erase all, this could undo that (short cut is ctrl-Z).

  33. mutha, this happened to me last sunday. I never did get it back and had to start over. I hope that does not happen to you!

  34. Muthah, if you are using Word, it comes with an automatic save feature, saves about every five minutes to a temp file which will be located in your Office folder. I think it's labeled Temp Files or some such.
    Alas, the lesson is that we need to save our documents as soon as we start them, like before typing a word. I used to be very good at that but after a while we seem to get complacent and figure the big bad computer won't eat our documents.
    Hope you get it back. I, too, have had to completely rewrite.

    On another topic, I noticed last week that many of you commented that it was communion so sermons seemed to be shorter. Because I come from a denomination that does Eucharist every Sunday - well, pretty much any time we open the doors - I'm curious how that affects your sermons. Does your preaching include something about communion or do you have to cut back so there's time for communion without running over the sacred 60 minutes? Somehow, I just sort of thought not many of us were preaching much more than 15 minutes these days. Do please enlighten me. I know that I would fall into lecture mode if I had to go longer than that. :-)

  35. Hey Margaret, I'm one of the ones who mentioned a shorter sermon for communion. We only have communion once a month (regrettably - but actually this is considered frequent by many in my denomination). On a non-communion service, my sermons typically run 16-22 minutes. On a communion Sunday, they are more like 12-16, in order to accommodate for the amount of time communion takes without have the service go significantly longer than usual. 15 minutes is considered extremely short in my tradition - but people don't usually complain about it! :)

  36. Okay, back from farmer's market and Other Church's Carnival and most importantly back from 'Keeping-Grumpy-Awake-Until-Closer-to-Official-Nap-Time'.

    The Boy is sleeping.
    I am showering and hopefully then putting down in either outline or essay my thoughts for tomorrow.

    Fresh peaches here, anyone?

  37. Okay, I've got Ranch Oyster Craker Mix for anyone who wants some, fresh blubberies and the pineapple pistachio pound cake is for tomorrow, but if we cut off the "backside" of it, might not show!
    Any thoguths on childrens sermons..I foudn soemthign on textweek called "Listen." We have a small congrgation and not to many kids there tomorrow (three families ( 2 kids each) are on vacation!).
    Any thougths for a different kids' message?

  38. Margaret - Ditto Earthchick on sermon lengths. I have a hard time keeping it to under 15, unless I'm doing like 5-8 minutes. Anything between 8-15 is hard for me. I really didn't need to worry about it last week (although I did) because we didn't have a choir, so we were short one musical offering and I could have had a full-length sermon. Instead they got out "early".

  39. I am now obsessively saving my document every sentence or two. Muthah, I hope you got your sermon back!

    I am 1/3 done. I have 36 minutes before I need to leave to do some last-minute shopping and get to the dinner party. What are the chances I can pull that off?

  40. and now I am distracted by my kitties, who want me to love on them. They know something's up--two suitcases partly packed, house all cleaned up...

    25 minutes, nearly 2/3 of sermon left to write. I don't think I'm going to make it. looks like a late night is approaching....

  41. I lost my first sermon just as I was about to post it. The laptop hiccoughed and I lost it. Now, I have a redone version posted.

  42. I'm back from dog class and getting ready to get to our 5:00 service. Dog did TERRIBLE today. She ran around and did not pay attention during agility. Terribly embarrassing.

    I have a sermon. The good news: I think it's ok. the bad news: it's a manuscript, and I had wanted notes.

    I still have more opportunities to practice this different sermon preparation style, but I'm unhappy with myself right now.

    I am going to try to "know" two sections of it, so that I'm not using my script. It's a start, anyway.

  43. Crap. Next week is weeds? I may not want to do too much about that, then. Thanks for the heads up!

  44. Thanks, sistahs for the techie stuff. I will now save obsessively.

    Re. sermon length. I come from a denomination (Epis) that does Euch every sunday. I serve in a Lutheran parish that alternates HC with what I call Antecommunion or Service of the Word. I find this difficult because sermons generally work themselves to be 5-6 pages 14pt with 1.5 spacing. But I always remember the old time sermon strategy:
    A sermon has 3 points, a homily has 1 point and a homilette has no point whatsoever!

    My crowd gets rutchy if I preach a full blown sermon with 3 points and 20 mins of air time no matter if it is HC or Service of the Word.

    I like to allow God to choose how long the sermon is, but my folks don't see it that way.

  45. All I can say this week is "Thank God for house church!" That's when I do a discussion instead of a sermon. And why so glad?

    Strong Heart has her ordination interview this week. But because she can't drive herself nor fly (due to surgery she had last month), she had lined up a driver (and back-ups). All have cancelled on her, the last this afternoon.

    So guess who is driving to a Large Northern City Fond of Herring two states away, returning 18 hours before she has to preach the most important sermon of the year?

    That would be me...

    Seriously, though, I'm glad in a way to be going with her--it's going to be a stressful time, and this way I can be there for her.

    On the other hand, this is the worst week in the year to be gone.

    Hence my relief at house church tomorrow. I also have the Most Important Sermon 2/3rds written, which is a Good Thing.

    I'm working with Isaiah tomorrow. Anyone else in there with me?

    I have all kinds of road munchies to share--chocolate-covered raisins, cheese, crackers, licorice, fig newtons?

  46. Back after a day of packing boxes for the big move, with a wedding squeezed in the middle. I've enjoyed reading your comments and can feel your sermon preparations feeding me. As I wind up 7 years here, i wonder what has been achieved. Its good to be reminded that that's not down to us. Praying that God's word will return and that seeds sown will be cultivated and nurtured. Praying hard in all my doubting! Thanks everyone.

  47. I'm checking in. so far my sermon procrastination has included installation of a hard drive in a "hand-me-down" computer that is WAY better than any I have; installation of memory in my desktop; installation of memory and continued trouble shooting of that installation for the girls' computer; and, a surprise birthday party at church for an 80 year old.

    Everything I have accomplished for the sermon occurred on Tuesday and has not been thought about, considered, recalled, pondered, or otherwise mentally touched since.

    I'm preaching Matthew and really appreciate the warning that there are weeds next week. At least I know where not to go

  48. Liz, truly you never know... my two most irritating youth from my days in youth ministry are in church work - one ordained, the other certified Christian Educator.


    Also, my SS teachers and Youth Director may have written a similar sentence about me. Trouble is, I am trying to keep illustrations about myself/my family to a minimum and I just used one from my college days last week.

    Blessings on your move and transition.

  49. Finally checking in here. Hospital visit this morning, then a few errands. The baby and I are off on a road trip tomorrow after church (I am apparently certifiably bonkers). And hubby is off on a mission trip tomorrow. Our house is topsy turvy.

    So my mind is far from my sermon. It was "finished" earlier in the week, but I'm sure it needs revisiting and revising. I went with my idea of imagining ourselves in three places in the parable: as the seed, as the soils, as the sower. Could have been three sermons, I'm pretty sure.

    Will Smama, I will definitely take some peaches. Thanks.

    Oh, if yall want to talk about weeds this week, Jacob's Ladder is the OT for next week. That was my strategy. (Which makes me sound WAY more organized than I actually am, don't worry).

  50. i have a few ideas--nothing written down yet, eek!

    i've got an idea for the children's sermon regarding the birds eating the seeds. (i thought poop was more "appropriate" for kids than the regular sermon.

    i've been thinking about how plants "migrate" by the "passing" of the seeds.

    i love thinking about how we never quite know where the supposedly wasted seeds will go and then grow.

    i love teri's "God scatters recklessly". my title is "the foolish farmer" with a similiar thoughts but teri nailed the words! thanks!

    the kids and hubby have been gone all week and now i'm wishing i would have used my time better and gotten the sermon done rather than trying to write with their arguing now! eek! (it is really good to have them home though)

    oh yeah--the jacob and esau story fits in my thoughts too--jacob the grabber, the desire to be good soil so that we can grab the seed and let it take root in us. just thoughts. i should go write!

    as you can tell, i'm pretty scattered myself right now.

    blessings everyone!

  51. hi everyone, I'm back checking in. in less than 1/2 hour, I'll be on the "first run" of the sermon. It's a nice evening, after our terribly terribly warm and stormy weather, so I'm praying it goes well and I don't have to do any major re-writes.

    Anyone need coffee? Diet soda? popsicles? (they have been a minor obsession with me lately.

  52. Okay, I am holed up in the church office and smell strongly of chicken. Folks know that I am writing, and wander by every once in a while to see what that looks like--funny!

    I am borrowing heavily--heavily--from BBT tomorrow. But of course, I'll credit her. Every word.

  53. RBP - I hope the drive goes well and safe and that the interview/meeting goes well too....and the sermon - prayers for rest and good preaching!

    Liz, I just left a congregation after 7 seems some of what we worked on has taken root and is growing in least that's what I gather from the little info I hear now and then...may it be so for where you are! And may your move go well, too!

  54. After a day of monsoon rains, housecleaning, a quick dog walk and sermonw writing...the sermon is posted...comments welcome!

  55. ok, the first run is finished now, and I'm going home, bringing the sermon.

    It went ok. When I got away from the pulpit and came back, I lost my place, so I need to know it a little better tomorrow.

    And one story, I don't think they got.

    But other than that, ok. Good review.

    How is everyone?

  56. I'm struggling to get to an ending - bleh. Figured I'd come over here for one last round of procrastination and then see if I can push it through. I'm surprised at how little is out there (online) on my text (the Psalm) - I need one last little glimmer of inspiration to get me on home, and I can't seem to find it yet!

  57. Thanks, those of you who shared the time crunch/shorter sermon issue for communion Sundays.
    I guess I should tell you part of my background. In seminary, we had more than one opportunity to preach in chapel. The rule was that sermons could not be more than five minutes!! Well, I got really good at five mintues. It took me at least a year to work my way up to seven. Then I managed ten every once in a while. But it wasn't until I stopped using a manuscript that I started preaching 12-15 minutes consistently, giving rise to the notion that rabbit trails and sidebars are not all that bad as long as you don't lose sight of the original goal. Now, I'm pretty sure 13-16 is standard and there's an occasional 19 minute one. But as I said, more than that and I am sure I would be in lecture mode.
    Keep on hitting the save button! I have to write next week's sermon by 1:00 Monday so I can take off on Thursday for a memorial service. My first rector - who baptised and married me (20 yrs. apart) and my younger sisters so he stayed a really long time - died and my older sister and I head for Wareham MA to visit with his kids and go to the service. Ted wasn't the greatest preacher but I swear he set me on the road I now walk in more ways than one.

    So I was going with the wheat/tares because I've preached it before but now you all have me thinking about Jacob's ladder. I'll post whatever I come up with on my blog - very excited about finally having one of those.
    And now off to watch a movie with my mother who just crushed me at Scrabble.

  58. I am so confused as to what week I'm on because I'm leaving for vacation the last full week of the month and switching around the final two weeks of july's readings. For a minute there, I thought I'd be preaching on one great pearl and selling all you have to buy it this week... I am desperate for my time away!!!

    I don't have nearly as much done as I want, but I am determined to finish it by 9pm tonight (2 hours to go) so I can get a decent's night sleep. I've been having neck pain due to sitting at the computer too much and my doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant - which let me sleep until 11:30 this morning!!! (and that was only b/c my hubb woke me up!)

    happy sermon writing everyone!!! I'm hoping for a chance to read through more comments in a bit and share some holy spirit inspiration...

  59. I have 2/3 of a sermon. It's coming in fits and starts, as usual. I guess I am the only one preaching on Romans. :)
    Grace and peace to all. Off to feed my husband and try to calm his nerves--youth Sunday at his church tomorrow and today's rehearsal was miserable. I keep telling him that it will be better tomorrow and they're just kids anyway, but his church can be a little toxic when it comes to the youth.

  60. Y'all, I've played around with my sermon and feel ready to call it a "draft" and post it. I mentioned weeds, because they are part of the parable, but i have plenty of thoughts left for next week, too.
    Now who wants a latte bar?

  61. well, I've been shopping, to the dinner party, and finished the laundry. I only need to choose shoes for Scotland, put the final touches on packing in the morning...and write just over half the sermon.


    The dinner party (picnic style) was good, though! I brought you all some lemon bars (I took all the last ones for you!). :-)

    okay, I'm writing. I swear. I just need a transition from the first part to the second part--from the sower in the story being reckless to God being reckless to us being reckless (with the sowing, that is...)--and I might need a twist from the "word" to "grace" or "love" or something like that, I'm not sure yet. hmmm....

  62. ME! ME! ME! I want one! I miss posting sermons since I'm supposed to be going from notes. the reality is, I still have "almost" a manuscript, with a couple of exceptions.


    Maybe I'M chicken.

  63. I don't believe that, Diane.
    Remember, it's a process.
    (Says the Chicken Bird.)
    Have a latte bar.

  64. 9est and The Boy is in bed for the night and I am hoping the thoughts I have percolating in my head come together in a decent and orderly fashion in order to avoid a late night and/or and early morning.

    In the 'Just in Case it Helps Someone' File: I was in our garden earlier and realized one of the bean plants was growing really well where The Boy dropped some of the seeds outside of the garden. Well, the plant WAS growing really well, outside of the usual boundaries... until it got mowed (under the machine of 'we've never planted things out there before/ don't grow that way/out here').

  65. Okay, I was thinking a latte bar was like an espresso bar. You know, a place where I could sidle up and you would make me a latte (my favorite coffee drink).

    So anyway, I've got a draft of my sermon up. I've really struggled on this one and feel like it's not yet where I want it to be, but I really need to take a break and let it simmer.

    My children's sermon is going to go along with it. I'm bringing in a print of a Rafael painting of Mary with Jesus and John the Baptist as young children (like 2 years old). My boys have always thought that was a picture of them and me (they still think that - I haven't disabused them of the notion). I"m going to talk about how the Bible is not just a book of stories about people from a long time ago. That when we open it up and really start reading, we find out that these stories are about us, too. These are our stories. I'm going to have some pictures of different kids from our church stuck into my Bible and I'm going to open it up and show them their picture on different pages. Am still trying to figure out how to use the simplest language possible so that this isn't too abstract a concept.

  66. I just used the word "willy-nilly." heehee!

    (yes, I'm twelve. I'm sort of banking on people in the congregation being slightly more mature than I am.)

    ((also heehee--my word verification is "spewg". ha!))

  67. It seems to me there are many professional athletes who are recognized as significantly more adept at their sport than most of the spectators who watch them. And, those spectators may have a great affinity for one particular sport over another. However, even with those strong preferences, I do not think it would be right for a soccer player to call a basketball player a "chicken" for not dribbling using feet instead of hands. And, so, maybe it is that you are a gifted manuscript preacher instead of a gifted outline preacher (or gifted teleprompter reader) but regardless of the means of delivery, no real preacher is truly chicken.

    (I just wish some of that passion would apply to soil ...)

  68. revanne--tell your hubby that the worse a youth Sunday rehearsal goes, the better the youth Sunday will be. Ditto for Christmas pageants, though that's a long time off. They are always horrible, and the youth always seem to amaze.

    Well, for better or worse, the sermon is as good as it's going to get tonight. Hopefully the Spirit will work in the speaking and in the listening tomorrow and grow up something enlightening.

    Blessings to all who are still working...

  69. Why is it that even when it's all in my head, it doesn't want to go onto the paper in any semblance of order? I can't type fast enough to transcribe the thoughts when it does.

    Right now, the house is flurry of activity as hubby and kids prepare to go to their midnight ride. They have to leave in an hour (9:30). Maybe I can get something written after they leave and the house is quiet, and I won't have to stay up late or get up early since they won't be around most of the night to distract me.

    Anybody want some cornbread? I have some left from supper, and I think I'll go have some in a glass of milk...ultimate comfort food.

  70. okay, I think I'm done.

    I'm a little nervous now, actually, as I think I got a little hard-hitting. Check it out at my place and let me know if you think I can actually say that.

    In the meantime, I'm going to make the bed, clean the microwave, and try to finish up the packing....

  71. I'm talking in my sermon about how we become good soil and thereby "do good" in the world...

    and I came upon this article which may prove helpful! building great soil

  72. Everyone is in bed and the smell of strawberry rhubarb crisp is wafting into the office. I just pulled it out of the oven. I'm letting it cool a tad before I dip into it. Anyone else up for some? The rhubarb's from the backyard, but the strawberries are from the grocery store. We work with what we have.

    Speaking of what we have - - I have nothing in the sermon arena. It has been a GORGEOUS, almost chilly day here, so I sort of worked on idea while the kiddos slept, but when they woke up (one at a time) I made them come outside. We were NOT wasting this day inside. I grew up in Florida and there was no such thing as a pleasant summer afternoon. No. Such. Thing.

    So, I went to experience the weeds. I figured it counted as sermon prep since I'm preaching on weeds and wheat. Some thoughts from my afternoon of weeding:
    1. Not being a gardener, I have a hard time telling the difference between some weeds and real plants.
    2. Sometimes when you pull up a weed you really do pull up the real plant.
    3. Now that I think my daugher might be "the enemy." I bet the lady next door with the EXTENSIVE garden just hates how LadyPrincess loves blowing dandelions.
    4. Even if it makes the garden look better, pulling weeds isn't so fun - - ESPECIALLY not the little tiny ones. It's easier to grab them when they're bigger and there's something to old on to.
    5. If I weeded every time a new weed sprung up I'd have no time to tend to and enjoy the real plants.

    I think #5 might just be my sermon. Don't know yet, but I think.

    I'm going to go take a shower, enjoy a little dessert and see if I can knock most of this out before my usual bedtime. I should probably spend at least a LITTLE time with my husband since it's our 5th anniversary.

  73. wow - i gave myself a deadline and it is now 8:59 an my sermon is complete!

    Like i said last week, I'm doing a series on Wesley's three simple rules, and this week focusing on "doing good". My draft is posted here

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  76. OK it's freaking obvious that I can't do a post... typing or html. One more time... and if it doesn't work... I'm going to bed. You know where to find me.

    This sermon's images are sorta personal/specific to me. I grew up on a farm... and the sermon talks a lot about my daddy. That might be good... and it might be bad. We will see tomorrow.

    I posted it anyway... because it might spark an idea for someone. Don't know if it's good or bad... it just is what it is.

    I posted it here.

    May your worship tomorrow glorify God... and may you find peace and comfort there as well.

  77. ok, it's time for bed now, for me at least. sermon preached: once. Twice more tomorrow, once on the lawn. Baptism at 10:00.

    at least ONE section is without the notes, maybe two (we'll see).

    I'll check in once more. Does anyone need anything? (coffee, tea, ice cream?) Is anybody still working? Is Juniper out there?

    I'm going to be off for the next two weeks, but then will be attempting the manuscriptless again. will need help.

    oh by the way, we're going to PARIS next week.

    I've never been there.

  78. have a great time, Diane! We'll miss you--eat a croissant for each of us! :-)

  79. pk - in my experience, my congregation loves when I use personal stories... I LOVED the way you tied in your father farmer of the year with the recklessness that God plants. Loved it loved it loved it!

  80. 11pm, est... still here. Not even close.

    Next week will be different.... next week.

  81. I think the personal stories can work well too.

    yours sounds just right!

  82. Will Smama -- we're here for you... praying for your inspiration. take care!

  83. Of course I'm still here, too Will Smama. "Still" I haven't REALLY gotten started yet. Just finally broke my addiction to a game on facebook. Hoping I can resist the Solitaire temptation enough to get to writing.

    I'm feeling like going with a very different style than usual, but I don't know if I can pull it off. I'm going to start writing with a little less of an outline than usual and see if it's working. If I'm not good with it by 11:00 p.m., I'll go back to my usual outline, work 'til midnight, and get up early! Hoping for the best!

  84. Hi -- here I am. Thanks for asking, Diane :) - It was nice to see my name back there.

    I just read every post from today, and it sounds like everyone was having parties, which is what I was doing, too. Had a potluck picnic for church at our home and 50 (!!!!) people came! Thank you Jesus that the weather was good, so we could be outside - we just live in a little place ya'll, so it was packed at times but fun.

    I got lots of awesome leftovers - a good bit of ham, some refried beans that are not too bad, and mmmmmm, mexican wedding cakes with pecans.

    Also, 3 heads of lettuce. Everyone's harvesting right now, I guess.

    Help yourself.

    WEll, anyway, as cleaned up as I'm going to get and ready to get back to sermon outline I left last Tuesday, aka A Thousand Years Ago. I'm in genesis, and jumping lectionary a little, so I'm doing Jacob and the ladder.

    Vicar, I love your thing about none of us being chicken - right on!

    It's only 8:30 here. If I work hard, I'm hoping I can get to bed by 11. I can, right?

  85. Willsmama,
    I hear, feel, and share your pain.
    Next week....
    OK, RGBP...
    Let's pretend someone has a church lunch after worship tomorrow and lets also pretend that it is late, teh person went to a wedding, and came in late with a sermon to finish...and lets pretend someone was finishing up the pasta, grape and green bean salad at the same time the NASCAR race was finisihing up with a favorite driverr winning and then, just for the heck of it...
    Let's pretend tht you looked into kitchen and the kitten was helping himself to soem of the salad..
    Do you think it is still okay to serve the salad as long as nobody knows that the kitten had already eaten some?
    Lord, I am so tired!

  86. 1-4
    Go to bed now. serve the salad tomorrow (that sounds great, btw), and i will pray that you wont find any interesting cat vomit tomorrow. (or step in any tonight....)

  87. You all will never eat at my hypothetical house if I give you my answer to your hypothetical question, 1-4 grace.



    (Or am I?)

    Good to see you juniper.

    EconoMan just popped upstairs to tell me he's going to bed. Guess I've got no need to hurry now, do I? We're so romantic. (Snort)

  88. 1-4 absolutely serve the salad! Thanks for hte laughs. My sermon is a leftover retread...can I say that? I have liturgy based on the gospel, sermon on Jacob and esau, and no frickin earthly idea about a children's sermon. This week is, shall we say, less than inspired. Last week was also less than inspired, but I had communion to hide behind...not this week. Since I'm tired, I think I'll go to bed and try to edit sermon and invent a children's message tomorrow. I envy all you travelers...Teri...

  89. A discussion for another time might be why I (we?) struggle so with those passages that should be no brainers (transfigutation anyone?).

    Also, for another time WHY IN THE HECK did I offer to do intergenerational sunday school for the summer. grrrr at myself - GRRRRRR!

  90. Hey Nutella, I did childrens time on that text last week, and I talked about how when jesus says "love your enemy" and "love your neighbor" he's often talking about teh same person. Got the idea from a UCC devotional that I get weekly. Anyway, it went ok. at teh end, I gave them each 2 hearts, and asked them to give one to a friend and one a stranger in teh congregation on their way out - as a reminder of, um, something. Cant quite rmember the point now. But they liked doing that :)

    Well, anyway, they LOVE talkinga bout fighting with their sibs, so you cant go wrong with that.....

  91. ws - maybe its trying not be cliche-ed? when, you know, the reason things become cliche is cause they are so TRUE people say them over and maybe we dont have fight that one so hard :)

  92. I'm going to bed due to lack of inspiration... not because I'm done.

    See you in a few.


  93. I quit. Or I'm finished. Either way, it's just about long enough, and I'm about out of things to say.
    What make me think the Romans text was a good idea, anyway?
    1-4 Grace, if I could eat pasta and grapes, I'd eat the salad. I've come to recognize critter hair as a dietary supplement. Fiber.
    Anyway, here's my take at Romans 8.

  94. Okay... I am trying to be disciplined. Is this legit or Saturday night crap:

    There was a bean seed named Ben. Ben the Bean Seed always felt that he had a lot to offer. He may have been little, but he was mighty. Finally, he had his chance and he burrowed his way into the soil. Sure enough, Ben the Bean Seed took root and began to stretch his way to the sun.

    Suddenly he heard the BIGGEST and LOUDEST noise he had ever heard and a HUGE SOMETHING-OR-OTHER was headed his direction!
    “I’m Manny the Mower,” it whirred. “What are you doing growing out here? You’re supposed to be in the garden.”

    Well, Ben the Bean Seed looked around frankly not really knowing what a garden was and finally he responded, “But I’ve taken root. I’m strong. I’m growing towards the sun. What could be wrong with that?”

    Manny the Mower just shook his tank and said, “We don’t do it that way. You don’t belong here.”

    And he mowed him over.

  95. I forgot to mention, my congregation smokes pot so this should
    a) go over no problem or

    b) they won't remember it.

    Lord, forgive me...

  96. WS--I am still tweaking and freaking (as in, freaking out, ball-o-stress, woohoo!). I changed a little bit that I thought was too in-your-face about how we view ourselves and others (though some of my people probably need to hear it as starkly put as I did) but I'm still a little nervous. On the bright side, I'll be gone for three weeks starting tomorrow after worship...

  97. ws, in that case, the seed should be named Mary

  98. anyone remember the story about 3 boys (including Tony Campolo) being baptized at age nine and the church they were baptized in closing a short time later?

  99. I've got a general idea of where I'm going now, and about half of a sermon written, so I think I'll go to be. I'm not doing a full outline this time. We'll see if I regret it. It's more story telling and casual in nature, and I like that. I don't think it's any less the gospel and I think it will fit very well our more laid back summer services.

  100. There are 98 comments. Will I be number 99 or will someone post just ahead and make me 100?

    I have 1371 words, and haven't nearly said all I want to say yet. Must be time to take a break, maybe sleep on it a bit and get up when the family gets home and finish in the morning while they sleep.

  101. Well, 'it's in "Good Enough" territory which means both that I can sleep a couple more hours and just about guarantees members from another church will be there on a surprise visit.


    Any chance no one shows up for ss tomorrow?

    Rock on, all those still working... rock on.

  102. SheRev got in ahead of me and I was number 100. WhooHoo! It's the little things...Must be time for bed. Catch the early birds in the morning.

  103. Vicar - dont remember that story.

    WS - the seed thing is great. I always like to end a story with "And then he died. The end." Ha!

    She Rev - happy anniversary. (I"m trying not to make an Inappropriate comment here about people who go to bed early on their anniverary night, and I think I"m going to succeed).

    Teri - in my experience, the ones I think are really hard hitting are the ones that get the BLANDEST comments - and the ones who really need to hear it dont show up on the Sunday when it's for them anyway, I find.

    JUniper - what about getting to work on your OWN sermon.

    Um, ok....

  104. OK - I didn't go then, but now I am. I also couldn't let it go without an outline. I'm such a dork. I talk big talk sometimes, but my habit is my habit and my style is my style! I like where I'm going, so I think I'll go there in a few hours.

    Nigh-nigh, as Godzilla says!

  105. Vic - I'm glad you found your story. Are you still up? If not, I'm going to turn out the lights I think....

  106. go ahead and turn off the lights, I was just checking one last time before going to bed

  107. Lights back on! I'm back! Here I go!

  108. I'm here for ya, She Rev. The family, who I didn't expect to return until 4 or 5, rolled in at 2:15 all noisy and pumped up about the bike ride they'd been on. I'd been asleep about two hours at that point. Arrrggghhh!

    Anyway...back to it...

  109. I'm still boggled by the whole midnight ride thing.

    Grace and peace to you, kim.

  110. Good morning. I'm here, too.
    I agree, bike ride baffles me, but hey, at least they had a good time.
    I'm headed to the office in a few minutes for printing and coffee.
    Have a great day (and a great sermon), y'all!

  111. Hmmm...I got myself into this weedy mess, and now I need to find my way out. I know where I want to end up, but I'm having a small bit of a struggle getting there. It should work itself out shortly! I have faith!

  112. hey everyone, I'm up and out to walk the dog. then practice the sermon.

    (no they're not the same thing.)

    I'm bleary-eyed but coming to.

    hope everyone is doing well.

  113. I think it's done. At least as done as it's going to be. Still working on where the page turns occur, and a couple of prayers, but I still have time to go back to bed for a while. May the Holy Spirit have all of our backs today. Preach well, friends.

  114. Up, printed and pitiful...

    Holy Spirit, here is my back!

  115. Seeds to plant and fertilize, which means I need at least one load of worries, plenty of that in my sermon! And away we go....

  116. I bought a brand new leash and collar for Molly at the Bernese picnic yesterday, but they're still in the wrappers if anyone wants a Swiss motif for walking the dog...

    not that we often have dogs around here, right?

    But when we do, we walk them proud!

  117. I'm back ladies and have coffee brewing. Thanks for the children's idea Juniper! I think I'll go with that.

    I did midnight bike rambles in Houston as a kid...they were awesome fun. They always fell on the saturday closest to the full moon in see, it's still warm then in Houston but not sweltering like it is now...nice summer day, She Rev? I don't know what that means.

    oh that's right, I got up to finish a crappy sermon.

    WS-I did an in-your-face sermon once and got a nice butt-kicking from a member who was actually kind enough to come in and talk to me about it. no idea what everyone else was thinking. but running ben over with a lawnmower can be humorous in a cartoon sort of way, so everyone will think it applies to someone else at worse.

    sermon. jacob. esau. God

  118. LOL 1-4. And praying for you, too.

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  120. I hear ya, nutella. I didn't know they existed until I moved here. I'll take -20-something in the winter for mostly gorgeous summers!!!

    (Had a bit of a breakthrough tweaking up the list of things learned while weeding yesterday. Spirit already has my back - - the kids are still sleeping, and they are usually up an hour before now!)

  121. I love that Sunday morning has become a bigger part of the party. Used to be we offered up coffee and nobody stopped by!

  122. Oh, no, Songbird...I'm counting on that coffee. If anyone's got an extra couple of hours to share, that would be great too.

  123. I think I have tweaked it enough that I at least won't make the parents of the kids I'm taking on a mission trip this afternoon angry. So I'm calling it fine and pushing print. yay!

    I'm completely exhausted, of course, which is how we all want the leader to start the mission trip....

  124. I'd like to give a plug to earthchick's sermon, on Psalm 119. Go and read it if you're looking for nourishment today. I am grateful she posts her sermons. There's a link in the comments up above.

  125. Oh, SB, I was just coming by for that latte bar (you know, where I pull up a chair and someone makes me a triple latte), and saw this sweet comment from you. Thank you so much! That was the shot of encouragement I needed this morning. :)

  126. Heehee, I loved reading your comment from last night about the latte bar.
    We're talking about a 1 point Weight Watchers frozen bar, but I like your notion, too.

  127. Oh geez, sometimes I worry when I don't connect all the dots. I like that kind of preaching, and I think it suits the parables particularly well since Jesus didn't always connect all the dots either. I just wonder if I have left enough dots for them to connect or at least FIND.

    I guess that's part of the job of the Holy Spirit, right?

    YEA! Holy Spirit!

  128. (It's 7:05 and everyone is STILL asleep!!! Is this the twilight zone? And more importantly - - WHY can't this happen on a Saturday morning when I want to sleep in?)

  129. Good morning everyone!!!!

    I am amazed, stunned really that I got my sermon done last night. Normally I'm here at 5:05 cst ready and raring to go, desperately clawing my way through a sermon.

    So to help any of the rest of you out - a beautiful pot of irish breakfast tea and some scones. =) enjoy!!!

    by the way - I haven't been struck with inspiration for a children's sermon yet - but then remembered the psalm reading. I have a beautiful oil lamp in my office and I think I'll use it to talk about God's word lighting our path. Of course, our sanctuary isn't dark enough for it to have a real good impact, but I've found the kids love it when I do anything with fire (ie: birthday candles on Pentecost)

    actually, I'm suddenly concerned that I did this during epiphany... eek! think anyone will remember if I do it again?

  130. earthchick - I think your sermon is beautiful too - and I think it helped me find another direction to go with the lamp and my children's sermon! Thanks!!!

  131. The first service is over and I managed to weave the first two lessons into the gospel! Amazing and we'll see if it happens again at 10:30. That's the only drawback of preaching without notes. You never get them both the same. As long as the point doesn't change - and I'm a one point preacher - I suppose that's all that matters.
    And now for a cappucino from McD's.
    Happy preaching y'all!

  132. sherev - I'm jealous. mine was up an hour early today, and that was an hour I really needed! Now I'm trying to type around a game of "throw the matchbox cars" ::she ducks:: and trying not to say "shhhhhh" for the gazillionth time. good thing I'm preaching on grace, eh? I sure need it.


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