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Saturday, October 18, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Render Unto Caesar Edition

Good morning, gals and pals! I'll be posting this automatically when I go to bed tonight for all of you across the seas (and some who can't sleep.) This weekend some of us are continuing through Exodus; others are starting out in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians; and still others of us are with Jesus as he deftly deals with questions from the Pharisees and the Herodians. You can check out this week's texts here.

But all of us (well, almost all of us) are getting closer to Election Day, listening to debates, negative ads, news about the world economy, and fears about security. The exchange from Matthew sounds somehow eerily familiar. (Who's going to lower your taxes? Who's going to tax you more?) And does anyone here have plans to call upon "Joe the Plumber?"

This morning, I'll have blueberry pancakes for a change, with orange juice, as well as the familiar fair trade coffee and Good Earth Tea. If you are hunger, have a set. If you have something to share, you are also welcome. If you need to unload, complain, beat your head against a wall -- well, you can do that too. All are welcome. No matter which way you vote. Really.


  1. Really? I'm first? That NEVER happens--even in past weeks when I was up with awake baby very early. I have an idea and not nearly enough time or motivation to flesh it out. I'm going with Matthew--it's commitment weekend for our Stewardship emphasis so our giving to the congregation is a piece, but I want it to be 'bigger'--about our whole lives.

  2. I pretty much hit the "give to God what is God's" last week with the idea of wearing our wedding garments 24/7.
    I'm toying with talking about Exodus. The idea that Moses wanted to see God appeals to me. I will likely continue with the older decalogue that follows and talk about how the people who put these books together wanted us to have more than a single view of God; hence, we have more than one telling of the same events/stories.

    Thanks to whoever posted the story about Week of Compassion on Tuesday. It played well in a stewardship talk I gave Wed. night. I might use it at the stewardship dinner tomorrow night for my own parish, too.

  3. I'll be back to finish writing later, but can I bring anyone anything form the store while I am out?

    There's banana bread that I made yesterday. Enjoy!

  4. I made a wonderful, hearty farmhouse breakfast early this morning -- Grandma P's "tortured potatoes (raw diced seasoned potatoes and onion slowly sauteed until the taters are brown on the outside, tender on the inside), locally smoked bacon, sunnyside-up eggs straight from the farm. Because we are going to a Local Growers Farm Day next county over to schmooze with our fellow crunchy foodies and buy some freezer meat to tide us over the winter. And because a slow breakfast provided me with another opportunity to procrastinate writing my sermon. (GAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!) And -- did I mention that, in my pastor's absence, I'm facilitating our Romans Bible study as well tomorrow morning? (GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!)

    But if I'm going to be unprepared, I can at least be well fed.;-)

  5. Barbara Crafton offers this on What belongs to God and The presence of God.
    Not preaching this week - but interested in how you all approach the Gospel - seems a hard one to me.

  6. hi everyone. I overslept this morning. The things you are bringing sound yummy.

    I'm about 2/3s way done with a sermon "Jesus for President." Taking some risks with this one. What are our commitments to Caesar/God and how do they interrelate?

    we'll see....

  7. Due to a challenging meeting on Thursday night and the concern that I might not be in the mood to write a sermon after, I got started earlier than usual this week. But I still have some work to do. I'll be back this afternoon after a pre-wedding counseling session and a romp for the dogs. (And the meeting ended up being okay, thank goodness.)

  8. I was going to recycle, but the sermon needs more work anyway. (Had a colonscopy this week; have to be at a street fair today; I think one parishioner is dying so I've been going to the hospital every other day). We are made in God's image and belong to God. I like margaret's connection with wedding garment (which I connected with baptismal robe). I may try to work with that connection.

    Oatmeal with yummy strawberries (trying to cut cholesterol). I ran this morning, so I'm going to get in the whirlpool soon and then off to the running store for their sale.

  9. The WonderGirl is working today, so spouse and I are taking advantage of a lazy morning to have brekkie together. Later we'll go on the northern section of a Geographic Feature Scenic Drive, maybe stop for a picnic.

    I think this may be one of my first Saturday Evening writing sessions.

  10. Here is another good 'un on Rendering.

  11. well, here I am again. Only with MUCH less motivation than usual. I am preaching at the first service (average attendance: 40) and the second and third I'm leading worship but not preaching as we have a Colombian pastor coming to preach instead of me. So, much though I love those 830 people, it's hard to want to write a sermon for 40 when normally 200 hear it on an average Sunday. (sigh)

    okay, trying to end my pity party and get on with it...

    I have a wedding this afternoon for two delightful 70+ year olds, and I promised I'd go to the dinner afterward. Which means I need a sermon written before 3. I also had plans to make applesauce today before my apples get icky, but I left the corer-quarterer (not the peeler-corer-slicer) at church, which means doing it all by hand...hmmm...

    I'm supposedly working on the "we belong to God" idea. We'll see how it goes...

  12. oh! I forgot: I went to the store yesterday so in addition to apples I have lots and lots of yummies: different kinds of cereal, bagels and cream cheese, and lots of options for lunch! Name your (vegetarian) hunger, I've probably got it.... :-)

  13. I am recycling for the first time, praise Jesus. Actually, off topic, I'm doing a lot of praising Jesus today. We received an offer, counter-offered, received a counter-counter offer, and agreed with a buyer on our house that has been for sale since I accepted this call almost a year ago. In fact, our closing date is Nov. 12, and the house went on the market last year on Nov. 13. Praise Jesus it is almost over!!!!

    Anyway, this weekend we're honoring Children's Sabbath, sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund. The only other time I've participated in it, providentially was 3 years ago, and the lectionary lined up. Insert prior sermon here. Whew!

    I'm working with Matthew, and I'll tweak some stuff for contextuality during the kids' nap time, but that should be pretty easy. Funny thing is that the sermon talks quite a bit about political campaigns with a story about a then-recent episode of West Wing as my way in, when Leo McGeary was the VP candidate.

    I talk about how Ainsley told him, "Don't accept the premise of the question" when the press asked him things he didn't want to answer about his past. Cracks me up how relevant that insight seems in this campaign season. I certainly don't plan to pick on any of the candidates, but I might have to change that way in a little to make sure it doesn't look like I am.

    My premise about the narrative is that the Pharisees and Herodians, usually folks on "opposite sides of the aisle" joined together to gain up on the "third party candidate," Jesus. Jesus didn't accept the premise of the question, though. Either simple answer he could have given would have had him in trouble with one or the other. Instead he gave an answer that had something in it that both needed to hear.

    Then I go on with the idea of the coin having the image of Caesar and people bearing the image of God. Caesar can ask for whatever he wants to be done with things that bear his image, and likewise with God. God asks for the creatures that bear God's image to be treated certain ways - - - then I go into the care of God's children in our church, community, and around the world.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! I'll check in later. I have jalapeno jelly, cream cheese, and crackers to share. Potato chips and onion dip. My husband's two best friends are visiting us from out of state so I have lots of good football-watching food for the Huskers game in a few hours. I doubt there will be wings left, so I won't offer those yet! :)

  14. She REv -- I like what you are saying. Wish I had one to recycle!

    At one of the services, we're doing "children's sabbath" for the first time... although I forgot to have the bulletin inserts copied (heavy sigh).

  15. Good morning preacher ladies (and men)!
    Our congregation is doing the congregational life survey tomorrow, which means I can get away with a shorter sermon. still have to write one, though. My previous congregation celebrated children's sabbath, and I loved it. This congregation, up until a month ago, had on average 5 children in worship, excluding a few babies. Now with two families moving away, we have only the 2 babies. I've quit doing children's sermons because we don't have kids to come forward. Not sure how to celebrate children when they are decidedly, and sadly, absent from our midst.

    I'm working on our being made in God's image and belonging to God. No idea what to say about it though. I woke up yesterday with a brainstorm, got up, wrote it down, and today it looks like mush, like most dreams come out when you write them down. Teri, I'm truly not motivated, though not from a numbers perspective, but from a "no idea where this congregation is heading as we die a slow slow death" perspective.

    I have gingerbread waffles to share! and I'm about to put on the 2nd pot of coffee.

  16. Baby and I were up early (5:30), then she went back to sleep! And so did I! I was thinking, I'll just get up in a few minutes and work on this sermon. Ha! At 9:30, we woke up again. She is bright eyed, and here I am with the computer in my lap.

    Preaching for 40 at my place, too, though that is our normal crowd (on a good Sunday).

    Working on the Matthew passage...along the lines of--it would be easy if we actually could separate our life into Caesar's and God's, but it actually all belongs to God, which requires a lot of responsibility (and stewardship, of course, it being that time of year) on our part. Or something like that.

  17. I am really scrambling this morning...trying to get a million things done before I head downstairs to the conference room for the Diocesan Convention Eucharist and business meeting.

    When the convention is over, (I've been here since Thurs night), when it ends this afternoon I have to drive three hours home, with a visiting bishop, take him to dinner, get him checked into his hotel and finally arrive home myself around 9 or 10pm

    That said, my sermon is written, albeit a bit rough around the edges. BUT you can read (and comment, if you

    I may get a break to stop by later...wishing you all well this day...

  18. Floundering here...I've had a rather manic morning with a fundraiser in the valley and a wedding up the hill, and this evening there is a Deanery Healing service (today being St Luke's Day, after all) which FabBishop is presiding and preaching
    Tho it's not at one of my churches, I've been involved in planning and have lots of jobs to remember...
    Then later Hattie Gandhi is coming home for one night only...which is wonderful BUT I still have a sermon to write and neither time nor enthusiasm. I do, though, have some wonderful sponge cake from teh coffee morning - which I'm sure will improve all of our preparations no end. I also have a nicely trimmed back lawn, as I rebelled at lunchtime and got out the mower instead of switching on the computer. But I can't offer the lawn to the congregation tomorrow, alas :-(

  19. these 40 people, though only a small percentage of our congregation, are still children of God who deserve to hear the Word proclaimed. at least, that's what I keep telling myself. I'm worried that there'll be even fewer than usual because people will come later to hear the Colombian pastor. But wherever 2 or 3 are gathered....

    I'm going to suck it up and write something now. I swear. Right after I read mompriest's and pray for an idea.

  20. This has been one of those bad weeks. First, my mom was in the hospital for a couple days (thankfully she's home now, recovering well and in good spirits). For a couple of days I was thinking I was going have to go there and help-out. My brother lost his job with a car dealership (fall-out from the economic crisis). I delivered a talk to a community ecumenical group, for which I put in more preparation time than a sermon. A phone call from a member whom I'm close to, regarding another member who "is having a hard time coming to church because so many of the people she knows don't come anymore (a few have died, a few have left because they are mad at me or Session or someone else in the church. And I'm not supposed to "say anything" to Person B, just flood her with attention - what am I supposed to do with that?) Plus Session, which thankfully usually goes well.

    So consequently, I've had much on my mind and been in a place where I've had to focus on the things that are right in front of me at that moment. That means on this Saturday it is now the sermon in front of me, and I've not done much reflection on it. I'm preaching through Acts, and tomorrow is 4:5-31. I'm not terribly inspired, so much as I hate it, it will likely be a "here are three things we can take from this passage" sermon - 1, tell our faith story; 2, pray boldly; 3, the rhythm of worship, going out into the world, and then worship again. Or something. Plus some explanation of the conflict between the Temple authorities and the new converts because there will be alot of that coming up, and I think I need to lay the ground work for what that's all about.

    Sorry for the whine fest. And the really long comment! I'm counting down the hours until I get home tomorrow and can crash for a day and a half.

  21. Oh...Teri...40 is twice my main service congregation at church on the hill...It's all relative I know but tomorrow at 8.00 I will be preaching (if I manage to finish a sermon, that is!) to at most 10 people. I find that quite tricky too...I know it's not about numbers but all the same...

  22. I had a 8 am meeting this morning and two hospital visits this afternoon.
    We start a three week pre-election (the national event, not the doctrine) series tomorrow. I have a recycled sermon on Psalm 146 that is actually quite like the Rending passage. There are two kingdoms and we speak prophetically from the one into the other. So vote how you will but don't forget your prophetic role because no candidate is perfect (although, goshdarnit, if some aren't closer than others ;-) It still needs the tweaking.
    It's gonna be a long day following on the heels of a long week without time off. This makes two months in ministry for me and I am already running on fumes. Pray for me, dear RevPals!

  23. kathryn, I am super impressed with those of you who manage to serve people so faithfully in such small contexts. I know I sound like a whiner (and I am) and that it's a privilege to serve the size congregation I do (365 ish on the roll once we clear it next week). It just makes it hard to be motivated to preach one service rather than all 3. Funny considering I used to think that preaching three services in a row on Sunday morning would be a total nightmare! (it still is hard, but not nightmarish.) It feels weird to know that people will hear two different sermons, and the majority of the congregation will not hear mine. It's hard to explain the feeling, but it's just odd is all. probably something for my therapist...she'll ask something like "and why do you feel like it's wasted effort?" which I won't even have said but she'll have picked up and I'll have to admit that I've grown used to being here alone (since my SP left, and even though I'm desperate for the interim to arrive and take some of the burden!) and used to the privilege of large numbers and that it's good for me to remember that numbers don't make the Word any more or less worthwhile. Then she'll ask some other insightful question and on and on it will go...

    So I guess I should start writing!

  24. I get to go to a marching band contest today but the only way I can follow the comments from my phone is to post something so I can read via email the follow-up comments.

    I'm preaching Matt, too. I really love the implicit argument here. If we're created in the image of God (and, of course, we are), then we should "render unto" God our entire being.

  25. (((rev kim)))
    Sounds a little rough.

    Ok, now I have to finish this middle part of my sermon.

    We're having a craft sale here at the church, and my parents came to it.

  26. I have some white chcolate froggies to offer...trying something out for Halloween/ Trunk or Treat.
    I am attempting to decorate my car as a frog...uh, yes, I am crazy!
    Anyway, try one!
    and loving thoughts to all who preach (40, 00,or 4000).
    I had a hard time to look out last week and see such a small cong. but you ahve to remember they are there to hear a word from God.
    Working on exodus, watchign a ballgame and thinkinbg about a snack...what are the offerings? :)

  27. 1-4, post pictures of the frog car! That sounds really fun. We are out of brownies here (oops, ate them yesterday). We have yogurt or carrot sticks or peanut butter...the usual.

    Naptime for baby, I think I've got a draft done for the sermon, working on the rest of the service, guessed it, a children's sermon. Any ideas?

  28. Whew, Rev Kim! I am impressed you are still standing. Well done you.

    Mid-afternoon here and The Boy is napping so I am hoping to hit this research and outline I already have pretty hard... after a grab a smackeral of something... and run across the parking lot to get a couple of books.

  29. I posted a draft--comments coveted! I'm not sure whether there's actually good news in there or not. But now it's time to eat lunch (i wimped out on cooking and am going to eat a lipton rice side as a main dish and call it good) and to peel/slice/core some apples before the wedding!

  30. teri, your link went awry. I don't know if it was you or me. Be that as it may, it seems to be a slow day.

    I'm trying to fight with one particular paragraph right now.

    and there is no heat in my office, so it's cold!

    whine whine whine

  31. Teri--I hear good news in your sermon. Thanks for sharing it.

    Esperanza--I haven't gotten my children's sermon fully fleshed out, but am going to something along these lines (based on another person's devotion that I heard recently)...

    When we put coins in our hands and close our fists and hold so tightly to those things we think are ours, we aren't able to open our hands to be helpful/friendly/caring for others without letting go of the coins. That is--God gives us gifts, but we are called to use them to care for others, not to hold so tightly to them and hoard them for ourselves.

    Like I said--still needs some exact planning, but that's the basic thought behind it.

  32. silent - that is BRILLIANT! Consider it stolen!

  33. Talking about choices here as we celebrate our 55th anniversary.

    The sermon still needs a few things--like content, words. But I have done up some special prayers for the service

  34. So, I was wondering how to go about illustrating my children's message, called "An Encouraging Word." The kids are doing the epistle lesson, so I want to support the teaching effort. And what do you think I got in the mail today? A package from The Vicar of Hogsmeade that contained a present and a note that holds AN ENCOURAGING WORD!!! Thank you, Vicar!! I love you!!!

  35. I have chocolate chip ice cream... peanut M&M's, and in a little while supper will be done (pork roast and gravy, rice, green beans and sliced tomatoes). Enjoy.

    My sermon offering for this week is posted here. This sermon was inspired by the stories in Rev. Richard Fairchild's sermon "Giving to God."

  36. It's 3:00 here and I have no words written, but had a really fun morning/early afternoon out looking at local colors with my sweetie.

    Now it is nose to the grindstone time!

  37. hmm, DIane...I'll try the link again: my sermon is here and I'm off to the wedding...I hope it's smooth sailing both at the wedding and here at the party! See you all post-reception...when I come back to edit edit edit and to write prayers and possibly make up a children's sermon (just in case the person who's supposed to do it tomorrow doesn't show). I have apples to share...still. :-) I'll try to come back with cake.

  38. I'm preaching the Exodus passage tomorrow though I'm not focusing on Moses seeing God as much as I ma focusing on the renewal of the covenant that the passage represents.

    I just popped some popcorn. I was on-call at the hospital yesterday and did manage to find time to work on the sermon a little. And then there were no trauma calls after 10 PM--so I got to sleep for 7 hours!! That's more than I get to sleep when I am at home.

  39. boy is up and we made brownies and are now drawing... sermon completion after bedtime!

    Keep up the good work out there!

  40. I am now through with my offering for tomorrow, and I am hoping to have a restful evening.

  41. Thanks for the hugs and support!

    Sermon is plodding along. It's nice when summarizing the passage and saying a bit about what was behind the opposition from the Temple authorities takes up a couple of pages. But it is time to fish or cut bait, so back to it. Hoping to be done by dinner.

  42. Well, I have a sermon, and I'm posting it and settling in for bean burritos with guacamole and an evening of Anime with Light Princess!
    Stop by and join us if you're not busy!!

  43. Teri, you have, in conjunction with Dylan and a friend from another preaching list, just about saved my life.
    Healing service done and dusted very happily...even though I discovered at the 11th hour that I was acting as Bishop's Chaplain, which gave me lots more to fuss about...
    Hattie Gandhi safe home for one night, and a lovely family meal consumed, it suddenly seemed to be 10.00 pm and I had a shape but no substance...Till I followed assorted links. I now have a sermon that owes more to everyone else than to the woman who will preach it - but maybe when its theme is above all that everything we have and are is God's gift, that's not such a bad state of affairs.
    Certainly I am full of gratitude - but weary and ready to sleep (it now being 11 pm)
    Write well and preach wonders tomorrow...and sleep well in between xx

  44. I'm at a rest stop on the NY thruway, on my way back after a two-day synod council meeting. Preaching on next week's Deuteronomy reading, and writing my sermon in the backseat since I'm not driving.

    Will catch up more later!

  45. kathryn, I'm glad I could help a little! I honestly don't know how I pulled that sermon out in the time frame I had, so it sounds like the Holy Spirit is looking out for both of us! I hope you get some rest.

    The wedding was very adorable (both bride and groom in their mid-70s, music from "their era" such as the flower girl entering to "Put On A Happy Face" and other old standards) and also blessedly short. It all went smoothly and in 20 minutes we were done! No one tripped, fainted, or screamed (flower girl was 2 years old). So that left us with over an hour until the reception! So I'm back here pinning the hems of my trousers (too long, as usual, but I thought I might be able to get away with it...nope) and checking teh internets until it's time to meet my carpool ride (church musician) to the reception. This time, though, I promise to bring back cake. :-)

    blessings to you who are working--see you in a while!

  46. I'm around 1,000 and a BIG ballgame is on in 30 minutes...anybody want some tea, a beer, or a coke?
    Oh skinny cows in freezer along with WW sherbret bars!

  47. I had some problems with my internet connection at church. Sorry about not checking in! literally couldn't!

    so, I preached it once. Parts of it... excellent, I think, but not the whole thing.

    My husband made supper BLTs (I know, not cholesterol friendly), so I'll be back after Antiques Roadshow, and then I'll read your sermon, Teri!

  48. ((Rev Kim))

    I'm off lectionary this week, preaching on Matthew's parable about the 10 bridesmaids a la Anna Carter Florence. The question to the congregation is (as she so eloquently preached it) "how much oil are we carrying with us?"

    This fits well with our present discussions re: amalgamation vs. living in palliative/survival mode. What can we realistically plan for the next 5, 10, 20 years?

    Spiritually, emotionally, physically, much energy do we carry with us into an uncertain future...that's kind of where I'm going...

    I spent the day packing for the move this week and honestly, the sermon is the last thing I'm getting to in a very stressful, busy week. I usually prefer to work ahead a bit, but this week that just wasn't going to happen.

  49. just getting back to finish up after a long day. The cold I have been fighting since last sunday won't go away and wiped me out for most of the day. then to the hospital for a pre-op prayer and back to finish writing. I have a frame and know what I want to say, but can't make it come out. I think it will either be a long night or an early morning.

    There is white bean chicken chili in the fridge for anyone who is interested and lots of herbal tea. Come help yourselves!

  50. Wow, can I just say that I'm reading and hearing a lot of very tired, very faithful women out there working a TON on our supposed day off? It really has me wondering where some of us have time for Caesar's stuff after we're trying to do God's stuff?

    I had a day, and really no sermon to speak of at 8pm. I worked faithfully this morning and thought I had something, then got called to a death (I'm on call today and tonight for hospice) that lasted all afternoon, came home, had dinner, tried to print off 150 frickin pages for p-tery meeting b/c they don't mail out packets and my elder doesn't have internet, only to discover I don't have ink. So I have no sermon, no p-tery packet for my elder, and I'm dead tired. I'd love to have something left over for Caesar, but frankly, God got it all, and it wasn't a very cheerful giving either. And my maybe 30 people tomorrow are expecting a sermon and a SS lesson, that also isn't started. Sorry to vent, but thanks for being here...days like today make all my worst fears confirmed: spending all my time and emotional energy writing something that either no one will remember, care about, or be there to hear at all. *sigh*

    ok, pity party over. Must get something done tonihgt so as not to abandon husband entirely today. too late for that.

  51. I'm done for the night, and it is here


    Off to find drugs and some sleep.

    Shall I turn off the lights?

  52. Who says this is a day off? Not at my church.

    How is everyone doing? Are people really ready to turn in? how about some PIE? Or more coffee?

    Seems like a few people already "hitting the Hay."

    Is anybody out there still working?

  53. Um, yes... I am still working with hay hitting far off in the horizon.

  54. I am stuck with all of the things this passage is not... and a succint phrase for what it is.

    But they want me to preach more than a succint phrase.

  55. Boys are asleep. Dh is at work until midnight. I'm supposed to be working on this sermon, but I want to facebook instead.


  56. I'm stopping in - - don't want to abandon my late night friends, although it's far from late night for most of us.

    I'm ready to tweak up my re-preach from three years ago, but that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. I've put together powerpoints for some special prayers/music we're doing tomorrow, so this is all that's left.

    Too bad my husband's two best friends are in town. It figures that I'm done early on a night when he's unavailable. Oh well. Maybe I'll get to start my new book for the church book club that meets next Sunday night.

  57. I am in midst of halftime...yay, my guys are up by a touchdown...
    And I am thinking, am i brave enough to mention the fact that we all too often "look" for glory in the form of a new quarterback, a political candidate's poll ranks, a football coach,or new improved method, etc rather than looking for glory to come from (and be given back to God)?
    Am I brave enough to say it?
    Also, when we stand "behind" God's glory ( we can't take it all) do we give credit, where it is due and fully name how we got there/here?
    Standign behind God's glory is tough and it menas we must be able to recognize it

  58. It occurs to me I ought to be praying for a quick victory for the Red Sox (or even an early defeat), because a game that runs late may impact my attendance tomorrow.
    Render unto the Sox?

  59. And since the third quarter JUST began after 10PM!!!!

  60. I'm still up even though it's preached once. I don't know what it is with my lately.... after doing this so many years, you wouldn't think I would be going through these occasional -- ahem -- melancholy/dry spells. Anyhow, I'm going to be up a little longer pondering what to do differently tomorrow a.m., in the light of Songbird's sermon. not a lot, just a couple of facets held up to the light in a different way....

    also I had a disconcering conversation with our part-time organist this eve. She's an older woman and she told me that she has never been more afraid than she is this year. I asked why, and it's because she is afraid Obama might win! She is so afraid of HIM! Because his father was Muslim, "He may not have even been born in the U.S.," she says, and etc etc. I knew that these attitudes were out there, of course, but not in MY church.

    By the way, it's not her vote that bothers me, but her fear, and everything else it implies....

    Really got me down, right before the service...

  61. Well, I got the sermon done in about three hours, which must be some kind of record for me!

    I then spent a couple of hours with the WG watching silly tv then came back in to work on the prayers o'the peeps, and on a "CE round table" discussion we are having tomorrow after church.

    I think some people are expecting to come to a gathering where they can complain about how few kids we have, or lament the passing of the "good old days" when the stay-at-home moms did everything at church without a complaint.

    But I'm switching it up for them. First of all I advertised it far and wide as a "guided discussion" and guess who is doing the guiding: ME! This way I can decide exactly what questions get asked and can redirect what is needless complaining in favor of constructive feedback. And I'm splitting them up into groups and making them talk to each other!

    Wish me luck!

  62. good luck, cheesehead!

    I brought cake back from the wedding (no, really, I did)--there's vanilla and chocolate. the bride and groom decided they didn't want to save any cake so they made us eat or take it away! the frosting is really good. :-)

    Anyone still up and need tea? I have tea and cake! yay! And apples, of course. (sigh--still) help yourselves--tea's on the counter, ditto the cake...and the apples. It's a full counter. I think I'm off to bed to sleep on whether I like the sermon enough to preach or not. editing will be for the morning....

  63. I'm just up for a little while longer. I've got chamomile tea, and some encouraging words. i'll check in once more before retiring....

  64. I'm still up. And cake and apples and tea sound delicious!

    I have a lot of material and notes that I typed up while riding in the now it's time to actually make them a cohesive whole. But I'm tired and a bit boggled by the fact that it's Saturday night. Nothing about this week has been normal at all.

    Those of you who are done, please send the HS my way, as well as the way of will smama and a.lin!

  65. SB, render unto the Rays and then you have yourself a deal.

    I am still up and taking a mini-break before reading through and hopefully concluding...

    Palin is on SNL tonight in about 10 minutes. I am hoping Fey is there too and the goal is to see who can tell the two of them apart.

  66. Ah, trying to lure me to turn on the tv and watch SNL. I shall not do it. I can watch the clips on YouTube tomorrow.

    I'm working away. Maybe half done. Application shouldn't be this difficult, but it is grace I am discussing.

    Anyway, this week has been too short. I should have had this sermon done before my on-call yesterday (if my son had not gotten sick with a stomach virus). I can't decide why my stomach is hurting: virus or just anxiety over finishing this sermon. Hmmmm....

  67. I'm still up because I just got back from another call to a death...THIS is why I try very hard not to be on call on saturdays. Still no sermon. and no NBC to watch SNL thanks to time warner and our NBC station. so, must find something to say. I'm rendering to God a whole lot today. I'd appreciate God rendering to me a little something in return...say, a sermon.

  68. wandered in to offer some grapes and orange slices. I have a paper 90% done... and head to modular week tomorrow after church, clean up, laundry, packing, and more.

    Praying for you preachers...

  69. Nighty-night ladies! This should have been done even earlier, but I farted around, playing games. Too bad I wasn't watching the clock and I missed the SNL open. Stupid me!!!

  70. well, I'd love to hang out with all of you, but I have three church services tomorrow....

    (please feel sorry for me...)

    have fun, all of you whose first service is at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

    is there anybody really like that?

  71. I just got back from spending the last three days at an immigration conference in Chicago... very informative and inspiring!!! And now I'm sitting down with a few pages written of my sermon and I'm feeling really really tired.

    I've been longing for a more interactive, conversational sermon, so I'm kind of thinking about using the background pieces that I have done already, and then to spend the rest of the message time with some more free flowing questions and discussion.

    My basic premise: we are in the midst of a political season that is brutal. And we get so wrapped up in the fighting that we can't see one another as human beings anymore and we can't even see where God is in the midst of it. Like the herodians and the pharisees who are arguing about whether or not it was okay to pay taxes.

    Jesus brings us back into focus. There are some things that have to be done in government - and we have to participate to some extent. we need to get out there and vote. we need to make our voices heard.

    but at the end of the day - caesar doesn't own everything. he doesn't own our hearts or our minds or our souls. And we have to stop giving up pieces of ourselves in this brutal election. we have to take the long view and really focus on what God wants us to do. and we have to recognize that we belong to God. above all else.

  72. Diane, my first service is at 10:30 but if it makes you feel any better I have a meeting at 8:30.

    Nutella, hang in there. I hope you get some time to just 'be' in the coming month.

    IMHO: The SNL opening was too much Palin, not enough Fey... but I missed the very beginning.


  73. It was kinda hard to tell fey from Palin...quite funny, but mroe Fey needed.
    Josh B. is hyestrical as W..need to see movie.
    Okay,I am going to bed, my drugs kicked in, uh my team lsot in last 4 minutes! Ugh....
    I have a "okay" sermon, not my very best ,but it was a tough one to handle.
    My dear grandmother told story of telling me to do my best (as we were being dropped off at school).
    My answer? We don't have to do our best. We jsut have to qualify!
    So, lets walk our dogs tomorrow, do our best, hope to qualify!
    Say, G'nite, Gracie!

  74. I'm still up, but tired so probably go sleep soon and up early. I have many thoughts & notes. trying to narrow focus so I don't ramble all over. The events of last week caught up with me at the end of this week (so I felt pretty wiped out the last couple mornings) and I also just spent 2 days at our diocesan convention, so this all cut into my sermon prep & ponderings this week.

  75. I'm finally home from marching band contest. Should've taken the laptop but I didn't even think about that. I'm hoping sermon completion happens soon 'cause I'm exhausted.

  76. Songbird, you are quite welcome. btw, your "encouraging word" need reminded me of a joke.

    A herd of buffalo was grazing on the range where the deer and the antelope play. Suddenly, a cowboy came riding up, jumped off his horse, got right up in the face of a buffalo and said, "You are the sorriest excuse for a buffalo I ever saw. Your eyes are bloodshot, your fur is dirty and matted, and you stink." with that he jumped back on his horse and rode away. The buffalo turned to his neighbor and said, "You know, I think I just heard a discouraging word."

  77. I sat here and prayed for the HS to guide me, and then I thought of a couple of illustrations to add. I think this sermon is about finished (even as I hear the baby starting to cry).

    Good night.

  78. I'm going to bed with a half-baked sermon but a completely worn out person. many prayers for those of you still working this night. I'll be up early after my nap.

  79. I just put my head down on the table and got a few hours of now it's back to writing...or rather, starting to do the actual writing.

    This is going to be interesting...

  80. I have finally finished. Sleep well y'all and have a blessed Sunday

  81. Any early risers here? I'm still working, almost done, trying to figure out a good conclusion...

  82. Done, finally, with 1266 words! And now off to shower and get ready for the day.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching and proclamation this day.

  83. I'm here for a little while, trying to change a few words before I get going....

    Will smama, have a good meeting at 8:35.

  84. Vicar, you made me laugh out loud!!! I wonder if I can work that in, too...

    Well, I have plenty of time, since I have one service, and it doesn't start until 10 a.m. ;-)

    (((preachers))) <-- Group Hug

    Whether you are preaching once or thrice, to hundreds or dozens, may the Holy Spirit be among you this day, my friends. Remember you are rendering unto God what is God's, and the numbers game is certainly Caesar's territory.

  85. morning ladies (and gents)! I just watched the sun come up while I ate breakfast--a sure sign that winter is upon us. This is the first day it's still been DARK when I got out of the shower. (sigh)

    I think I've figured out what feels weird about my number problem: not the numbers, but the fact that it's such a small portion of my congregation. I hope for sermons to spark conversation and thought, and it's hard to do that if 80% of the congregation hears something else. I think that's the root of the motivation problem. But now it's nearly worship time so I'm off to try to be around when we encounter the HS together! :-)

    For breakfast (or lunch for those of you across the pond who are done already!) I have (surprise, surprise) apple stuff! apple cake, apple slices and caramel dip, and apple sauce. :-) enjoy!

  86. Here we go Preachers, here we go (clap,clap)!
    Here we go Preachers, hee we go (clap, clap)!
    Go, Preach, Pray!
    Go, Preach, Pray!
    H-O-L-Y S-P-I-R-I-T! Goooooooo Spirit!
    After a full day of ballgames, band contests, on-call deaths,colds, weddings, and bake sales,
    I figured you could all use some pickup cheers!
    Alright Preachers, lets get out there and do this thing!


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