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Saturday, February 07, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Waiting on the Lord Edition

I thought of many ways to title the post for today: "healing and serving edition", "eagle's wings edition", "Jesus lifted me" edition -- but on this preacher party date, "waiting on the Lord" seemed about right to me. I've been thinking about the texts all week: there's a great conversation here. But I have been waiting on the Lord instead of writing the sermon. And now, here we are. It's Saturday, I'm preaching at 5:00. (sigh)
What about you? Have you been waiting on the Lord this week? And if so, what are you waiting for? (a children's message?) Where are you headed in your preaching? Are you sick in bed with Peter's mother-in-law? Or hunting for him with the disciples? Are you renewing your strength? Or striving to be all things to all people? Or are you headed in a different direction entirely? And, if those are not enough questions, how is your Lenten planning going? (We just had our pre-Lent hymn-pick on Friday).

For the cholesterol conscious, I have oatmeal with blueberries this morning. Also, I have fair trade coffee (toffee caramel this week) and Good Earth tea. I have a whole bunch of clementines, too. Would you like one?

Come and have a seat! Share whatever you have! As they say in the small-town papers, "Diane served."


  1. Good morning. Its a fresh morning in South Ayrshire - laundry blowing in the breeze. Feasting on left over birthday cake for breakfast - why not? Plenty to share. Since I'm not preaching the next two weeks, I've started to plan for Lent. Posted a reflection here

    I love this week's texts, though and look forward to seeing what you all make of them.

  2. Great to see you Liz! thanks for sharing your Lenten beginnings, and your cake.

  3. I knew this was going to be a busy week so I started it by looking at the last sermon I did on these lessons. It's okay but not what I want to say. Christian Century had a good sermon on the gospel, focusing on Simon's MIL. He has stretched the text but within reason.
    And you all have reminded me to check out the Isaiah passage. I'll do that as soon as I finish teaching 1,000 years of church history in four hours this morning.

    Not much to offer as I need to go to the store. It's back on South Beach at the suggestion of my dr. so it will be low cholesterol and carbohydrate free. I'm' debating the question, "which is easier to give up, bread or wine?" and not having much luck with an answer.

  4. My thoughts on Corinthians and Mark are here. Some thinking on the question of what it means to be all things to all people and some on Peter's MIL and our call to move out of a you and me Jesus sort of faith.

  5. I am off to a meeting that should get me home around 5:30 or 6 (a 1.75 hr drive each way and a different time zone doesn't help). On the drive I will be musing about authority, power and example as I am using last week's lectionary readings tomorrow.

  6. I thought I was on a roll, but seem to be having services cancelled all around me. At the moment I still have the main Communion at Church in the Valley, but nothing at all at Church on the Hill...and I need to speak to the couple who are renewing their marriage vows tomorrow and see whether they think their guests will get through, or if they'd prefer a postponement.

  7. I have a funeral this morning and not much yet on a sermon with a title for the bulletin called "Practicing What He Preached." I want to talk about Simon's MIL's example of service and about Jesus'examples of preaching, healing and taking tiem to pray.
    I have more clementines to offer, Diane, if you run low...

  8. welcome, everyone! I'm back from my walk with the dog this morning. I have a couple of paragraphs; one is a short monologue by Peter's mil. We have a group of women here who go around the community giving a playlet on the women of the bible. So I thought I'd use their thought to start.

    Kathryn, it sounds like weather is happening all around you? How are you holding up?

    Jennifer, praying for your funeral words. And Gord, safe travels and musings while you travel.

  9. oh and Margaret -- 1,000 years of church history in four hours? sounds intriguing.

  10. it seems like Simon's MIL will be making a hit tomorrow. i'm excited to talk about her and her "service" as well. i have stuff percolating but no sermon as of yet.

    it's going to be a busy day. we have basketball games this morning and a graveside service this afternoon that i am praying i can get through.

    peace and blessings everyone!

  11. Welcome, Revcrystalk! good to have you for the party today! We'll pray that you get through all the activities as well.

    Now, I'm off to Bible Study Breakfast. I was gone last Saturday. So I'm not sure which chapter of John we are on now.

  12. we are "enacting" the scripture (sort of) using the Seasons of the Spirit visual telling of the gospel text. That and a children's sermon (as yet unrevealed) are my parts in worship this week...(sigh)

    I'll be anxiously checking in to see what children's sermon ideas come up!

    Also, where do y'all buy Good Earth tea? I can't seem to find it at any of my usual stores...though I've not checked Trader Joe's yet...

  13. We've been waiting on the Lord and a lot of other things at my house this week, and it's stressful! I have a title and a notion, "System Restore"--will use my recent bad computer experience to explore the idea that sometimes we need a fresh start or a time of rebuilding and this is both what Jesus offers to others and what he makes time to take for himself. How do we find restoration? The church building could use some, too, but I may stay off that and keep it metaphorical.
    Meanwhile, my high school senior got "no" letters/emails from his top two schools and is in Austin trying to find the music building for his audition at UT this morning. Please pray for his directional sense! He is with two friends from Interlochen and at last report they had at least found the campus.

  14. Morning all! Prayers for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct each of you through your sermonizing, additional activities, and stressors.

    I'm drawn to the four disciples hunting for Jesus and expecting him to come back to the house and keep doing that really cool healing gig he did the night before. I'm hoping to parallel our tendency to expect Christ's call on our life to be what we want versus what Christ demonstrated in his life and ministry. I'll try to get something posted this afternoon.

    Scouts will be here for recognition (we're celebrating Scout Sunday) so I'll talk some about the expectations placed upon them when they enter scouting.

    For now, though, I must get ready and be off for a UMW appreciation luncheon. Blessings upon each of you!

  15. Good morning all.

    Tomorrow is my 2nd to last service at this church with the pressure already mounting for next week where invitations were sent out! (There is a sermon in there for a later date.)

    Meanwhile tomorrow the confirmation class joins, one of them will be baptized and we are having Communion so a meditation will do. Right now it is heavily based on Isaiah with a touch of the Corinthians passage and opens with:
    Dear Confirmation Class - past, present and future,
    I figure that is a broad enough opening that eventually I can pack some punch into it.

    In the meantime it is into town to the Farmer's Market, visit my Dad, hit the post office and hang out with my Boy and my last fundraiser here - slippery pot pie from 3:30-6:30.

    It will all get done, I know but in the meantime.... sheesh!

    Hope everyone has a blessed day!

    (ps - random if any internet connection at home hence the sporadic checking in!)

  16. Prayers for your son Songbird and for his audition- sorry for the disappointments in his young life. We had a teen cellis from Lander at Interlachen last summer.

  17. Morning to all. I'd love a clementine ... yum yum!

    Waiting on the Lord was the perfect title to describe my pastor life, Diane. Saint of the church is under hospice care and her family was told on Wednesday that she had hours left. Fast forward to Saturday morning and everyone is still waiting on the Lord's timing.

    With the possibility of a funeral at the end of the week, I wrote the sermon on Wednesday. However, I'm still searching for an idea for a children's sermon. Any ideas for Isaiah for kids?

  18. I was home alone yesterday from 4pm until after walking the dogs I got a good start on my sermon for tomorrow and an ok homily for the funeral I have in a few hours. I have done so many funerals in this last year that I have a core sermon I always use which speaks about the Christian hope for life and the life that comes after death. THen I just flush it out with references to the scripture reading(s) and personalize with the person, assuming I know anything about that person - which in this case I do not....

    Tomorrow I am speaking about the ways we are broken and our need for is a pre-Lenten sermon since we will offer a healing service every Sunday in Lent..

  19. Good morning, all. It is a balmy 47 degrees at 9:00-ish, which is the most hopeful weather report here in months. I've half a mind to crack open the windows!

    I have a story about a healing service I attended as a child where a healing that a family desperately wanted (a reversal of a chromosomal abnormality)did not happen. I wrote the story out on Thursday, but it is too long, (1500 words) and does not stand alone, I fear.

    We are also ordaining/installing officers, so I can go short and be okay. 1300 well-chosen words should do it, I think.

    KJ, I'm sure that "slippery pot pie" is delicious, but I've got to tell you, it sounds weird!

  20. Hello, I'm back from the Bible study and just found out that I can't get more prescription dog food today, because our Vets are out of town for continuing Ed! Argh!

    Will our dog go hungry? Stay tuned....

    in the meantime, I need to call two people, write this **** sermon, and visit two people in hospice care.

    I really felt that I had next to nothing, for some reason, so I woke up musing about it, and I do think that now I have more to go on.

    Songbird, prayers for your son. And prayers for everyone's funerals that are coming up, as well.

    And Kathryn, prayers for your ending call and your new call....

  21. Oh, Songbird, sorry about the "no" letters. That is so hard.

    I'm not preaching this week--I sort of wish I were b/c I love that Isaiah reading. But unusual for me, I've begun working on next week's sermon because for complicated reasons I need to have it done early--next weekend promised to be a bit stressful for unbloggable reasons.

    Anyway, I love everyone's ideas for this week...

  22. oh, and by the way, I get good earth tea from the grocery store here, but it's named after a restaurant, so it may not be available everywhere. Sorry. It's a kind of cinnamon spicy, orangy flavor.

  23. Diane, thank you for the welcome. Can I just come tuck up in your kitchen and let my sermon percolate?

    I won't have sufficient time until later in the day to focus on these lessons, but here at home our finite limits are being tested, and I feel that I need to preach to my husband. Although "it isn't about us" I know our circumstances are like that of many others.

    In the meantime I am reminded of a quip by a mentor about the MIL portion of the gospel: "After Jesus healed Peter's MIL no wonder he denied Jesus three times!" Guy humor, what can I say.

    You all have offered good thoughts and I look forward to following up later in the day. Wish I could offer more of a nugget than that I really need to be lifted up by the breath of God!


  24. the sermon is half-baked right now... grrr. thematicallly centered upon simon's mil and her story-telling... and the fact that if you think worship is "boring" well it is b/c we have not been doing a good job of sharing and telling our stories... which engages us in the prsence of the living God...

    er something like that. augh. i hate writing on my day off! such was the week... vacay is coming.

    fresh pot of chocolate truffle coffee is on - help yourself.

  25. Songbird, I come from a family of musicians and I know the anxiety over auditions and the worries over rejections - prayers are with you and your son.

    I'm going with the Mark passage. It seems to be ending up in a very different direction than where I started. I've struggled with inspiration this I'm very much looking forward to a couple of days out of town next week!

  26. Thanks, all!
    He found the music building and when last heard from was warming up; I could hear the metronome when he answered his phone.
    I'm back from a Weight Watchers meeting, but headed out again to wrap up the 24 hour Food and Fuel drive at church with a prayer at noon. Two church members and a staff person from the town Community Services slept outside last night in a tent to raise awareness and money. They are braver than I!

  27. Praying for a great audition, SB.

    WG is off at Mock Trial this morning. Did you know that you can get a varsity letter in Mock Trial and in Forensics? Me neither.

  28. Well, here it is Saturday morning, so that must mean esperanza is looking for a children's time. The grown-up sermon is on Isaiah, keying in on God being everlasting. And somehow I tied in a high ropes course experience, but I'm not sure it worked very well. I'll go back and check on it later. Baby has yet another cold, and my husband is at a church meeting, so it'll have to wait for naptime.

    And kjz, I'm hoping slippery pot pie tastes better than it sounds. What is it, exactly?

  29. I've rejigged an earlier address so that I have something ready for the Marriage Thanksgiving service if it happens - am waiting to hear from the couple, whose phone has been engaged all afternoon. Now trying to tie loose thoughts about resting, time out, our snow bound week and waiting on the Lord into something that might preach - and it's a bit of a struggle.
    Maybe I'll go and light another candle for a certain clarinettist I know

  30. I have poptarts(s-berry) and fair trade hazelnut. Bananas, oranges, and mangoes for those who are watchgn weight.
    And, (drumroll) I ahve a new kitteh who needs cuddles. She is a year old (about), white w/ grey mrkng and very sweet. Her name is Madelyn (or Maddy for short). Please drop by and welcoem her to the revgal/pet pal clan.
    I am writign on a wing and a prayer for the Eagles Wings passage today!

  31. Cheesehead, as one who earned a varsity letter in forensics in high school, I ask - how else is a fabulous nerdy girl going to earn the letter jacket when she doesn't play sports ?!

    And yes, my parents did buy me a jacket and it did in fact have on the back "Varsity Forensics."

  32. Hi all,
    I hope and pray that the audition goes well Songbird.

    Gord - drive safely and have a good meeting.

    Cheese - no, I did not know you could letter in Mock Trial and Forensics. See? I've learned something already.

    Good ideas all around folks. I'm pretty much done with my sermon. Now I just need a children's story.

    I'm going with the Isaiah reading. So many people in our tiny church are living in the valley of grief, illness, job loss etc... it feels pastorally right to preach about God's capacity to lift up even the most broken of spirits.

    At points it sounds a bit like a funeral sermon, but last Monday's service for the baby was private, so in a way, this is the faith community's time to grieve with the family in a way that they could not on Monday. I'm not going to mention anyone or any situation by name, but so many are "waiting on the Lord" right now that it seemed the right text to use.

    Now, children's time....

  33. Good morning preachers! I brought banana nut bread -- extra healthy made with King Arthur white whole wheat flour. And for those that want something a little less healthy I think there's some Entenmann's raspberry coffee cake left.

    Mompriest I am so glad to hear you're preaching on healing and offering the service during Lent....Coincidentally the monthly meeting of our prayer team is this morning, then I'm getting my hair trimmed. When I went (to the meeting, not the hairdresser) for the first time last month the leader sighed about the fact that whenever there are healing stories in the Gospel our clergy seem to preach on something else.

    No sermon to write today but I got a lot of great revision done on my feminist psalm prayer manuscript Thursday and hope to get back to that today after the errands. Yesterday was swallowed up in FiestaBoy crisis. Speaking of which, thanks very much to everyone who prayed for us. As I suspected, the psych said the antidepressant, which had been helping a lot, was also starting to make him manic. So she said to cut it down to every other day and, of course, get him into therapy--and I had some good phone conversations toward that end too. And this morning he's been very plesant for the first time in days. Praise God!

    Songbird, hope your son finds the music building and knocks those Longhorns' socks off!

  34. Songbird - I'm praying for that audiion, having had both girls go through that stuff I know what it feels like!

    I am preaching twice tomorrow, concentration on "Waiting" in the morning and then a reflective Taize style service with a reflection in the evening.

    Right now I am trying to fish my brain away from Yorkshire ant this summers move and concentrat on the day to day reality of ministry in Norfolk!!!

  35. welcome to the new kitteh! praying for the sick baby! let med know how "preaching to your husband" turned out, Anne.

    I'm clipping along ok on the sermon now, not sure if I'll get stuck at the end or not.

    it seems to me now that it's a small text, but that it can expand to fit a LOT of stuff.

  36. 1-4 Grace, welcome to Maddy the cat! Sounds like she is already making herself at home.

    Lots of leftovers in the fridge, so you are welcome to poke around and take what you'd like. The baked ziti is especially good!

    Prayers for all of you ministering to the dying and the families of those who have died.

    I mentioned last week preaching on this gospel 15 years ago, the day after my MIL died of cancer. Why had Jesus cured Simon's but not mine?? And thus to the difference between healing and curing... Not by design, but I have never again preached on this gospel; I think maybe God still has me working on that first theme.

    I have the family service tomorrow (usually 3 out of 4 weeks) and I'm another one looking for inspiration. I'm using the last verses of Isaiah, and I want to go with the idea of gaining new strength when we feel tired and weak (picturing in my mind the way children protest "But I'm not tired!" even as their eyelids are sagging), because I think that is such good and tangible news in the mind of a child. Obviously, I need a lot more stepping stones to get from that tiny pebble to my destination!

  37. It's good to hear that others are in waiting, mode, too...

    I've been socked badly by a cold that I SWEAR has congested by brain this week, and even though I'm not the regular preacher in a church with 4 pastors, somehow I've also been socked with the worship service (our annual healing and wholeness service), a Sunday School family "open house", a particularly intensive confirmation class in the afternoon, and a joint worship service of our high schoolers and another church's (on a weekend when one of their classmates unexpectedly died)...making for a perfect storm 13 hour day.

    Since I'm preaching on next week's text (Naaman--as to why, long story...) I'd forgotten about the eagle's wings, and that is oh so helpful right now. My "wings" at this point is that I go on vacation starting on Thursday, a vacation I didn't intend to take, but the divine intervention of my spouse a colleague a few weeks ago when both noted that I looked tired pushed me to do it.

    As for Naaman, I want to be kind of narrative with's such a great story, and people just don't know it, so I hope to just tell it.

    And, as for food, I'm holed up at the library, so all I have is gum.

    Always good to know there are so many of us in the same place on Saturdays!

  38. 1-4 grace, welcome to Maddy!! She's a fortunate kitteh to have found a home with you.

  39. Sermon and prayers done and printed. Still working on a children's story, but now my brain is numb so I'm taking a break.

    This is a deja vu sermon, definitely. You know, one of those that you're sure you've preached before with slightly different words and context....perhaps it's the "funeral" theme of hope and being held and lifted up by God's presence. I'm not sure, but it's going to have to stand as it is. A good theme is worth repeating anyway, right?

  40. Sermon now done, an old theme with a fresh twist - I hope...

    I really need to sleep now- very tired and struggling with a cold... yuck!

  41. kudos to you who are done! I'm "kind of" done, at least for 5:00 today. probably it will change (tho I hope only slightly) for tomorrow.

    I am off to get some lunch and visit two people in hospice, then back for the 5:00 service.

    I'll check back again before that, though.

    Have a clementine.

  42. or how about some chips? I'm hungry!

  43. Sue, I believe it is our calling to repeat a good theme, now and forever.

  44. Hello all. Some may remember that I resigned my church last year, and then un-resigned before it became effective. It was all very unusual, but I knew my time was going to be short. Many things have happened to make it clear that the time is NOW. For those who read my "jumping off a cliff post" --this is what that was about. So tomorrow during our annual business mtg. I will be resigning. Things are happening that will likely be very good for the church, so I am feeling very hopeful about that. The hard part is that I have no ministry I am heading into, nor even any job. This is, as you all know, NOT a good time to be unemployed. Ah, well, tomorrow I take the leap...and we will see where I eventually land. The AG theoretically allows women to serve anywhere a man can serve, but the reality is much different--way too much Dobson influence in the AG for my comfort. Ah, I won't go in to all that. Anyway, the sermon is done, and I am looking forward to tomorrow being done as well....gonna be a tough day. Praying for you, Songbird, whatever is happening at your place. Waiting on the Lord is no easy thing, eh?

  45. Just sitting down to finish up worship and review the sermon for edit and continuity. I'm reading all texts but using Mark's urgent theme to put Jesus' urgency to proclaim against our urgency to do the same.

    Clergy Journal had a children's story suggestion about using a flashlight w/o batteries and asking kids why it won't light? Then talking about recharging while you put in new batteries and tieing it to either the recharge of Jesus' time away or maybe even being upheld like eagles. (a longer stretch). good luck to all, I have a few Godiva dark chocolate almonds left from the purchase with a gift card. they're going fast.

  46. Thanks Songbird. You're right.

  47. Singing Owl you are in my thoughts and prayers I pray God will guide you towards the right direction for you.
    Songbird I am praying for your son
    As for me hubby worked all night and the 4 year old constantly wants to help mommy "write" her sermon. Not good. Right now she is watching one of her Dora dvds for like the 3rd time today. But I am not going to feel guilty. Well at least I tell myself that
    I am preaching On Issiah. Relating an experience I had when I witnessed an eagle soaring in the air. Wings so straight Soaring with confidence grace and glory God's arms are always outstretched for us. Even when we don't see it I don't kn ow I think I am stuck. Any comments

  48. SO, I have heard that in eagle families, the mother shoves the chicks out of the nest when she thinks they are ready to fly. Then, if they are falling rather than flying, she swoops down and catches them, carrying them to the nest for another try. (In the words of my OT professor, if that's not true, it should be!). And while the eaglets are growing and learning, the adults may not be right next to them all the time, but they are never far away, even if unseen. May you feel that same watchful presence and protection tomorrow and in the days to come!

  49. Oh, Singing Owl, prayers ascending.

    I seem to be done with the sermon, and it is a mite longer than I wanted but can't find the piece to cut yet. I'm going to set it aside and take a bath.

  50. Singing Owl, blessings as you make this big step. These are uncertain times for sure, but sometimes we have to make a move to see the way.
    I'm basically nowhere on my sermon and think a nap might help. Please say a nap might help.

  51. Unbelievably, I'm done ...and it's nowhere NEAR midnight, even here in the UK. I suspect that having to concentrate on a Tuesday may bear dividends for my Saturday nights.
    Singing Owl, I'll be praying for you tomorrow and in the days ahead...
    Welcome, Maddy - you are clearly a magnifi-cat in the making and bring great joy to your mum.
    So now I'm departing my desk to eat a pseudo Chinese supper and cuddle the puppy. Lots of love and prayers for those writing ...Would you like some spring rolls heated up?

  52. I'm done. Now, I'm getting ready exercise before I cook dinner for a couple of friends- the husband just got laid off this week.

  53. so many people done! good work! I'm not going to post mine, but I'll read after I preach tonight. It feels a little too "oral" to write it right now.

    we'll see.

    Singing Owl, praying for your tomorrow in church and beyond.

    will check back in later. (again).

  54. Songbird, I nap will help ... and I'm going to take one too just to verify that fact. Don't naps count as "waiting on the Lord?"

  55. Oh gosh....SO, and SB...and others...prayers.

    Back from the funeral. Now on to tomorrow's sermon...I have to tweak it, shorten it, and finish it....but will post it....eventually.

  56. oh Songbird, I've been there. I really hope the nap helped.

    check in and tell us how you are doing.

  57. Many prayers for SO. So sorry, for the time of job loss, but glad that you realize the time is indeed NOW. All too often, i have watched as pastors stay when it is not the time to stay. My lead pastor in previous church is still there and should have left years ago. So sad.'
    Anyhow, hats off to you, but also many, many prayers for this tough journey. So, so sorry you are in Dobson country. Dang!

  58. Greetings all! Feeling fairly well this week, yay!

    I'm not preaching tomorrow. exactly--it;s house church which means an interactive discussion rather than a sermon. It's probably a good thing, because I would probably focus too personally on the "cure vs heal" thing, not to mention "waiting on the Lord," which is also what I'm doing right now.

    So as a discussion, we can surely talk about "cure" vs "heal" and I won't focus on me.

    I have brownies for those with a sweet tooth; thinking of a blueberry smoothie for myself--anyone else want some?

  59. Hi everyone! I'm late to the party but come with diet coke, and some ww approved snacks. I really really want chocolate cake. With frosting.

    Thoughts are flowing for the sermon - -I am motivated by my knitting project that I am itching to get back to. Cheesehead said Antonio and George may be here?

    When you get ready for supper, I have a great deep dish pizza I made thursday -you get a big slice for 6 points. Teh main ingredient is grape tomatoes.

  60. Hey there! A super busy week has left me sort of drained for tomorrow. I'm deep in the polity and discipline duties of the denomination through regular and special committee work. I spent one evening home this week. Ugh.

    Not feeling too inspired yet for my sermon, so I know it will be one written late tonight, but I can live with that.

    A meeting on Presby GA amendments followed by a visit to a dying saint took place today.

    I'm home in time to be with the kids after naps so I'll check in after bedtime tonight.

    Chat with you later!

  61. Pics are over at my place and the cats' blog. No sermon here. No Clooney here. No Antonio here. No sermon fairy here. I went over three mintues last week, so what if I get done three mintues early this time?

  62. well, tell me to break a leg everybody! I'm going in!

  63. Break a leg, Diane!
    I've got an outline and some portions written. I'm tempted to be more informal tomorrow (okay, we've all heard this before Songbird), if not to invite some give and take then at least to be less engaged with my own fascination with word play. But I don't know how good the chances of having it end up that way actually are.

  64. So sorry Singing Owl - please know that you are in my prayers.

    No Antonio here, but I had a Clooney-ish dream last night that I blogged about. So if you're looking for Distraction From Sermon-Writing #468, feel free to come on over.

    Cute kittehs 1-4 grace!!! I tried to convince my house-mates that we need more cattitude here and was given the resounding NO from hubby and both cats. Seems I've been out-voted.

  65. I had my first vestry retreat with the parish last night and today, seemed to go okay. I'm exhausted from putting in a lot of hours this week & trip to the vet yesterday with (& worry over) my cat (who is feeling better but not quite 100% yet, yay for cat meds). Thinking of taking a nap before writing the sermon - so I could be one of the late-nighters.

    Because I've been busy & let it affect time for prayer, the gospel about Jesus going off to pray stood out. Making time in the midst of ministry & work for our prayer life. After praying Jesus is off to continue his ministry.

    I also thought of the disciples looking for him, a potential interruption & distraction. Are there people, circumstances, other things that may interfere with our prayer life or distract us or try to pull us away from our time in prayer?

    Based on something that occurred this week I can also see some possibility in Paul's message about kind of meeting people where they are. But I think I touched on that recently.

    Also since we have demons again, I think blog posts & commentaries last week had some interesting thoughts on that.

    About to read what you all are saying :)

  66. 1-4, what a darling cat! I am cat-less for the first time in 20+ years (though still well-occupied with a lively Lab), so I crave even looking at pictures of other people's sweet kitties :-)

    Just opened the box of TJ's frozen choc chip cookie dough; skipped the cooking and went straight to the eating. Care for a dough ball, anyone?

    I'm liking the dead batteries idea for the family service, maybe with a flashlight or maybe with a cell phone; I think I can make that work nicely with Isaiah. Thanks for the idea, Rev Nancy!

  67. songbird, I tried being more informal tonight. It was "mixed."

    what's for supper?

    I'm going to take a break before I peak at what I have written again.

    It's not going to win the PUlitzer prize, that's for sure.

  68. I've posted my draft. I think I'll eat supper. Anyone want to bring it over?

  69. My sermon on "Which One" is here.

    Now I'm going to do some yoga and then have a cup of tea....I'll stop by later to see how you all are doing...

  70. I love the flashlight idea, but since I am preaching on Isiah. I am going to take a statue my husband has of an eagle. Talk to the kids about the qualities of an eagle. How God is like the wings of the Lord. And maybe tell a story about how I heard about a place where lots of eagles were spotted and I went and waited and waited to see them. When I decided to go, something made me wait 1o minutes late I got to see the eagles. Homemade beans with tomatoes and maybe cornbread if I get off my tush! All are welcome Prayers and thoughts to all who are struggling and prayers of thanksgiving for all who are not struggling this day.

  71. SB, I would love to bring supper over...I wish that were possible. I just ate some yummy lime-tequila marinated chicken and some veggies, and I am about to get into my pajamas. Wow, Cheesehead, wasn't the warmth today fabulous? I am wondering what in the world I am going to preach on for the next month as a "lame duck" pastor, and since it is only 6:30 here and I'm in the company of so many preachers, I may start tackling that a bit. Your comments actually did make me cry--I guess my emotions are a bit close to the top. ;-) That eagle story is correct...and thanks for the reminder. I know that I have to let go to grasp something new...I keep thinking of the scripture, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." Happy sermonizing tomorrow, all. I may leave a note in the afternoon to let you know how the business mtg. went. ((((((REV GALS))))))))

  72. Prayers for you, Singing Owl!

    I've been checking in but not posting periodically today--was in a meeting last night and this morning and now am home to hammer out this sermon. I am pretty sure of where I am going, but not sure how I will get there.

    I'm going with something about perspective, how Jesus had to move ON in order to fully realize his ministry and the part it would play, and the same is true for us--just doing the same old same old is not enough to fully realize what we have been called to do.

    I have some dark chocolate peanut MnMs if anyone is ready for munching...I need to think about dinner before long here.

  73. Wow, semfem, sounds like I should be listening to your sermon tomorrow.

  74. Singing Owl, I'll have what you're having.

    Semfem, that sounds truly inspired. Much better than what I wrote. (sigh).

    can you tell I'm in a mood?

    Songbird, you always pull it off!

  75. Sermon is printed. Prayers are printed. Thoughts are organized. What's left? Children's sermon. The flashlight thing would work, except I used a very similar idea not too long ago. They will remember. The sermon's on Isaiah...I'm all ears for any suggestions.

    Prayers for all of you who are undergoing transitions of all sorts.

  76. I've got an idea similar to the flashlight, but I was thinking more along the lines of asking the kids about resetting in a video game. Though I'm liking the flashlight more and more.

  77. Diane, you are too hard on yourself. Your writing is beautiful. I hope your mood improves! Can we pass you a piece of chocolate? :-)

  78. arrrrrrrgggggghhhhh.

    Now that that is out of my system, I will go back to trying to put words on page. This seems really hard this week.

  79. Songbird, I'll take a piece of chocolate. thank you.

    although it won't help the fact that I just bought a pair of pants one size bigger than I usually wear (sigh).

    oh wait, it's virtual chocolate, right?

    I think I need to write something else (not my sermon) for a little while.

    How's everybody doing?

    i am in the mood for apple crisp. This one store near me sells the BEST apple crisp, home made.

    what do you think? Vanilla ice cream? In honor of it going up to 40 degrees here today and yesterday?

  80. Well the meeting was good....not necessarily the best use of my Saturday but not a total write off. Silly me, I thought a 1-year moratorium on these meetings would mean no meetings.

    Now I am thinking about authority versus power and how example fits in (Paul and meat, JEsus amazing the crowds not because of his power but because he "taught as one with authority", Moses and "a prophet like me will come"). HOw do we give/get authority in our worlds? How do we make role models? How do we use power?

    Mind you my real preference is to go to sleep.

  81. SO, any chance you might be willinng to share a recipe for the tequilla lime chicken? I used to lvoe that at Applebees.
    Ok, so sermon for kids is up and going. Still nto doen with the Eagle sermon. I think my eagle must have landed soemwhere else. If you see him or her, please direct it to my local.
    Oh, did do a quick run to grocery store and now have Sierra Mist and chee-toes. Any takers?

  82. It's totally point-free cyber-chocolate, Diane, guaranteed to elevate your mood but not your pant size!

  83. Thought about taking a nap, but had to get kitty to have his medicine, then got a phone call I needed to take and was not a brief conversation. Then it was later so maybe I'd just try to come up with something & go to bed early, but before could decide a friend (also clergy) called and I wanted to take that call. It's 10pm... still tired, still no nap, still vague ideas for a sermon.

    hmmm... maybe I should follow Jesus' example and, oh... I don't know... pray? :D

  84. Thanks Songbird. It did help. And the sermon is up for you to read.

  85. 1-4, as a former Applebee's hostess and waitress, I hate to tell you there is no tequila in the tequila lime chicken.

    Night ya'll!

  86. Finally checking in and thinking about writing. I don't really have much going on yet, but something will come. It's been a crazy busy week and frankly I'd love to just throw something together and get through this one. I'm also not fired up about the sermon I'm planning on. I think it's one I'm called to preach, but, well, it's not how I like to work with text so I'm not too excited about it. Not an unfaithful way to use it, just not my "usual."

    I need to stop whining and get to it. I could use some sleep.

  87. hmmmm. things appears to have slowed down a little.

    does anyone need anything? I'm going to do a little re-typing then check in again before bed.

    I'm deciding that they don't all have to be A+ ones.

    I had a pretty good experience at the bible study I did last tuesday. We were talking about Daniel in the lion's den, and how these stories were inspiring to people in exile, far from home. They had to learn to make a home far from home.

    And this one woman said, "It's just like your sermon last december, "How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

    (I had them repeat that verse.)

    I think it's cool whenever they remember something.

  88. Diane: COOL! Thank you for hosting the party.

    She-Rev: Welcome back. I'm still partying, realizing that I should have written notes and an outline before I started actually writing the sermon. Ugh.

    I have 572 words. If I go to Walmart and print out some photos to use as visual aids, will the words multiply in the meantime?

  89. Hello, late night US folks -

    I am keeping the oil lamps burning tonight. I had hoped to get a few hours of sleep before being back at the computer, but no dice.

    I have some things down on paper and would really love to have something preachable in the next hour or so. Or at least enough of a jumping off point that I can find a conclusion in the morning.

    Apparently I need to go through my own exile feelings in order to get in touch with Isaiah's eagle wings. Just wish it wasn't on a Saturday night!

    Makes me feel better to read there are others out there with similar pastoral struggles of time, energy, and performance.

    May the Spirit get us all where we need to be when we need to be there!

  90. Late night crew, I am here, still plugging away. I was excited about the potential of this one, but now what?
    In need to make a Valentine card for teh Childrens Sermon. Thsi could become a lengthy distraction. :)
    But, the- sermon-must-get-written!
    Oh, and watch opening of SNL!

  91. Uh oh. I think I forgot how the photo printing happens at Walmart. Can anybody confirm?--you can't just go and print photos on your own, right? There needs to be staff people there to run the machines and give you your prints (i.e. staff who will not be there at 11:15 pm on a Saturday)?

    I may have forgotten this small detail when writing my sermon, which relies on photos at the beginning. UGH.

  92. Hmmmm...Not sure about the photo printing options at Wal-mart. The only one I use is when you send them the pictures from your computer to print. I do know that at Walgreens (CVS, too, I think) you can stand at the machines and print for yourself. I don't know if that helps you, though.

  93. hey. I don't know anything about Walmart. We are loyal to the Store with the REd Circles here, as my brother works there, and my dad worked for their Parent Company. Sorry. Are they still open where you are?

  94. Diane...warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream? I am so there! If you are going to bed, just leave the light on and I'll help myself ;-) And I hope you'll sleep with a smile on your face, knowing that your words stayed with someone.

    One time I had someone tell me that a particular thing I'd said had been so meaningful to her, just what she needed to hear. Great, except that I absolutely knew I hadn't said that. That day was the start of my learning to try to trust that the Spirit would help people hear what they needed to hear something I now repeat like a mantra before every sermon! You all have written wise words and good news; nothing hits everyone, but I am sure each of you will have some people who hear that A+ tomorrow.

    Coincidentally, I just got home from dinner at Applebees where I had...the whatever lime chicken! It was yummy!

  95. we're almost to 100!

    walmart pictures -- don't remember but I've made the phone call to ask due to a kid's school project

    I have a perfectly good sermon that I don't really like for tomorrow so I'm writing another one.

    I really hate it when that happens

  96. Walmart is open 24 hrs here...but oh, how I wish we had a Store of the Red Circles here! (closest one is almost an hour away.) We do have Walgreens and CVS, but I'm sure they're closed by now.

    Hmm. Maybe I will just work on figuring out a way to show the photos on my laptop. That would be larger anyway, and hopefully more visible.

  97. too bad you don't have 24 hr cvs or walgreens. handy places

  98. OK. I'm finishing this one game of Yahoo dominoes and THEN I'm starting my sermon! Really!

  99. OMG - - Anyone watching SNL? Of course you're not. You're writing sermons.

    Just in case: I'm on a boat!

  100. 1-4 Grace, here you are.

    4 split boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (or thighs if you like dark meat)
    1 T fresh minced garlic
    1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
    1 t salt
    1 /2 cup gold tequila
    1 t fresh ground black pepper
    1 1/2 t chili powder
    1 T oil

    Combine the chicken with everything and marinade for a half hour at room temp. Grill the chicken for about 5-6 minutes (for a 1 inch thick breast) with lid off- on one side- until nicely brown. Less cooking time for thinner breasts. The juice and tequila have sugars that will blacken the chicken when grilling - so move them to a lower heat if that gets out of control. Turn the chicken and grill for another 5-6 minutes- depending on the thickness of the chicken, until cooked through and nicely browned. It should feel firm and the juices should run clear in the thickest part. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

    Serve hot or room temp with a wedge of lime.

    I cooked them in a skillet tonight--not as good as grilling but still good.

    And now I am off to bed. Blessings on the late-night gang.

  101. Give me two hours and I will be SNL'ing!

  102. I am turning in now. There's apple crisp in the refrig, and ice cream in the freezer if you want some.

    also, I can leave the tea kettle on, as well.

    I'll check back in the morning.

    Praying for all of you still working.

    I have all three services tomorrow, everything. so I'm tired.

  103. She Rev, I had SNL on for the opening scene, then I turned it off hoping to focus on a conclusion.

    I think I may have it. I typed the final "Amen." Not sure how I feel about it though.

    I think I'll make some apple coffee cake for tomorrow and then glance at it again. And figure out the photo situation.

    Sleep is calling...

  104. I finally have a sermon I'm willing to print and I'm going to bed.

    I hope the predicted rain waits on the Lord and comes in the afternoon instead of morning

  105. Thanks SO! I beleive I will make that for my folks this week. I love having them close enough to come for supper. :)
    Anybody else still here

  106. Still here, but I don't think for long.

    I barely have a paragraph, but I have an idea of where I want to go. I've wasted 3 1/2 hours farting around on the internet, so at this point, I think I will just go to sleep, wake up at 3 (2 hour 40 minutes from now), and pound this one out when it matters.

    If I can get an outline of how I'm getting where I'm going in the next 10 minutes, I'll go ahead and sleep 'til 4!

  107. Coffee cake is in the oven (I forgot an ingredient...hope it is not crucial) and I'm back to do the final edits and prepare the photos.

    Hopefully headed to bed soon after that...

  108. I've got enough of an outline to type from a little later. I'm heading to bed for a couple hours sleep. Be back at o-dark-early!

  109. Sherev, LOL at the notion of fartign around.
    Semfem, hopefully the coffee cake will be fine. As logn as you did not leave out soemthign like baking powder, salt, or other crucial type ingredient.
    ANyway, soudnsl ovely for hte morning. :)

  110. I forgot the eggs.

    They sound crucial, but it's part of a topping that goes over cut-up pre-made biscuits.

    Photos are set. Sermon needs a once-over.

  111. Okay. Off to print this puppy and get some sleep. Thanks for all co-partiers.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching and proclamation today.

  112. I'm back, right on time. Fortunately or unfortunately (I'm not sure which myself) I had no brilliant flashes of inspiration that kept me up when I went to bed, so I'm back at it where I left off. Here goes!

  113. I posted some thoughts on the texts on Wednesday. But on Saturday, when I intended and resolved to write my Sunday sermon, I wrote four different sermons, none of which I liked.

    Part of the problem was that there are so many different directions one can go with these texts.

    But I realized that another one was that while I had studied and considered, I hadn't prayed.

    Yesterday, after repenting for not waiting on the Lord and prayerfully seeking God's will, I started to write. As I did, I found the sermon going in a different direction from the one I'd anticipated. It seems that God had different notions about what the congregation needed to hear today.

    It's humbling after twenty-nine years of preaching to have Jesus once more teach me, "Apart from me, you can do nothing."

    God's blessings to all for a good Sunday.

    Mark Daniels

  114. good morning! How are all the preachers! I'm up early because I have so much to prepare for the church services today.

    Also, I'm praying humbly that God will use my imperfect words.

    Take care, all.

  115. I'm about to head out the door for church, still children's-sermon-less. uh-oh. (sigh)

    May the Spirit descend on all of us, that we might faithfully open the door to encounter the living Word in our midst this morning!

  116. I am at church, handling the usual stuff...furnace on 'this side ' of church not working.
    One bathroom due to renovations, more people for Valentine singing and dinner next week (we are pushing 50!).
    I am in need of nap!

  117. I meant to leave a note right after I got home, but I went right to bed! The meeting went well. Church was SO good--and I was focused and not distracted--and the mtg. went very well. Lots of love and hope expressed. Glory to God. I did fine till the end when I had to get out of their fast because I was about to totally lose it. Thank you, dear friends, for thoughts and prayers.


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