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Saturday, April 18, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party

Well, while the cats are away partying, relaxing, and retreating in Arizona, the rest of us mice are slaving away on our Sermons, worship , children's sermon, homilies, prayers, and liturgy for Sunday.
In honor of my Texas in-laws coming for a visit; I am providing us with breakfast right out the hill country bed & Breakfast menu. It is spread to feast your eye's and stomach on, and to enjoy. I also have your favorite coffees, teas with water for drinking.

Some of you may be trying to reach out and touch Jesus with our twin Thomas. Some of you may be preaching on the The one of heart and mind community of Acts. Some of you may be going up the mountain to the temple to worship, and thus receiving God's blessing. And some of you may be bold enough to preach on the divided community of First John; or you could focus in God is light, we walk in that light, and John's guide to how we walk in that light and not in sin. Which ever you are preaching, the table is an open table with plenty of room for all. I am posting this early enough so the early birds can get the party started. I'll be waking up a little later and will join in on the discussion. Just help yourself to the coffee, tea and the food. Glad you all are here.


  1. I'm looking at Thomas right now and wondering how much of a previous sermon I can use as I'm now in a different county!

  2. Its already lunchtime here but I've just finished breakfast. Scottish breakfast tea and some lovely seeded bread with ginger preserve. You can probably guess from all this decadence that I'm not preaching tomorrow. Heading off to find somewhere to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Will check back later and bring some fresh provisions. Love the party when the pressure's off - and even when its on.

  3. I'm using Thomas and the Acts passage, both--talking about the incarnational emphasis of the early church. My central metaphor is that of a prism: Thomas, like most of us, has sharp edges, but he becomes a focal point that catches the light of heaven and spreads/scatters the colours of that light throughout our human landscape. I refer to the mosiacs in the churches of Ravenna, Italy, images that seem to glow from within as they display the beauty of paradise in all its earthly embodiments.

    That said, I still need to track down some of my supporting materials, refine a few passages, and come up with my children's message. (I want to do something with a prism, but not sure how I can get a light source to cooperate in our dark old sanctuary.)

  4. Liz, I'll join you for some of that Scottish Breakfast tea--my favourite blend! With a bit of whole milk and some demerara sugar, please.

    I've brought some eggs, fresh from our chickens and still warm to the touch. I'll cook them to order!

  5. I have some coffee brewing and am hoping to get out in this beautiful day and plant a few things in my yard. I'm going with the John passage, but I'm focusing on the verse "and Jesus did many more signs in the presence of his disciples that are not recorded in this book." I'm thinking of how he continues do signs in the presence of his disciples.

  6. I've settled on focussing on faith/belief/doubt.

    Getting them all to make windmills as a symbol of them being moved by the unseen spirit and by that movement they show God at work.

  7. Wow, You all are already at it with some really good and fresh metaphors and ideas. I like them. And Liz thanks for bringing in the Scottish tea and seeded bread with ginger preserve.

    Sarah, I lost my past sermons during moves, and maybe that's a good thing for the lastest congregation.

    MaineCelt hope you are able to make your prism work in the dark church.

    Chilli Fingers, I like the idea that he is still doing signs and wonders.

    Srah Brush, you now have a theme and focus and that always helps.

  8. I stuck myself with Doubting Thomas again. Thinking about our fears and how Christ's peace soothes? eases? releases? something? our fears to allow us to go and proclaim the good news.

    Wow, it sounds better there than it does with what I have written so far.

    We were awoken early by thunderstorms (yay! we need rain!) but now I'm dragging.

    Also, I'm always in need of a children's time. Any good ideas out there?

  9. Yikes!

    I'm dressed and almost off to the second funeral of this week... I still haven't recovered from my Easter Vigil 'hangover,' (lack of sleep).

    My sermon is on the Acts passage, but I'm starting with the illustration of that Newsweek articles entitled: "The End of Christian America?" and adding in the "UnChristian" book about the opinion of young adults toward the church... and hurl toward the example of the very early church where...'all things were held in common..' and 'they were all of one heart and mind..'

    My question is: how did we get here.. from there? How can we reclaim the 'one heart and mind.'

    Difficult questions for Easter 2.

    I'm still struggling with how to bring the joy of the gospel in..
    Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

    I'll be checking in after the burial.


  10. Hi everyone! I'm home this year, not BE-ing, but I have the week off. (Don't hate me because I'm not preaching. First weekend off since right after Christmas.)

    Came to offer my "You go, gals (and pals)!"

    It's supposed to be a lovely day here in the Snow Belt. I think were going to go to a Cessna show at the local airport (Blue Eyes is a private pilot), then power wash the deck.

  11. It's me. It's definitely me, O LORD, standing in the need of prayer.

    After a kind request to the visual arts team that the Easter flower scent in the sanctuary is overpowering "I don't want anyone to be allergic to church!" The response was -- they should just deal with it, that's what allergy meds are for! A gentle answer may turn away wrath but a scathing one would be so much more enjoyable!

    I have to make a call this afternoon to a woman who was diagnosed yesterday with stage 2 lung cancer.

    I invited a couple new families from church over for lunch tomorrow, which means I need to cook and clean.

    The sermon is 1/3 finished. It's decent in my head right now but too teach-y. I need more proclamation!

    This is co-pastors first week of a four month Sabbatical, which means I'm point on all matters liturgy.

    And did I mention that Saturdays are my day off and that it's sunshine-y and 70 degrees here???

    First things first, a big cup of tea and a giant dose of God.

  12. Acts is the passage for me this week and I got a fairly good start yesterday. I visited the Garden of the Gods in Coloradod last summer and I am using that as a metaphor to look at a post-Easter way of life. It ties in nicely to observance of Earth Day (April 22nd) in my denomination.

    I have green grapes and bananas to share. Enjoy.

  13. esparanza, I understand he wasn't doubting, but he was placing conditions his belief.

    Don't have a children's sermon, but if anyone else does, please share it.

    Sage1, that was the direction I was going. That has got to be hard that you haven't recovered yet and have had two funerals to boot. Praying for rest for you.

    I am going out to the kitchen for more coffee. Does anyone need anything else?

  14. The coffee is on... but there are only PB&J sandwiches to eat. I've GOTTA go grocery shopping soon! I guess I'll go when the TP runs out.

    I ended up with a sermon about all 3 of the churches represented in our texts for tomorrow... and how those churches align with the types groups described in "Who Stole My Church" by Gordon MacDonald. I'm asking the congregation to decide who they want to be... a generator church... a habitual church... or a toxic church.

    I posted the sermon here... and as always... comments are welcome.

  15. Wounds and scars and resurrection. That's where I am today.

    How do we utilize or minimize the wounds we carry into the Resurrection life?

  16. No sermon for me tomorrow; I've been on vacation this week! So, what can I get for you all, to help tide you over as you work?

    Esperanza, I don't have a whole children's sermon idea, but what came to mind from your theme is something about hiding in a closet or under a bed...might be safe, but if you find something interesting there, you can only tell people about it by leaving. Alternatively, we miss out on interesting things if we're hiding in the dark. Hmmm...what if you got a kid or two to put a paper bag over his/her head and then held up an interesting/attractive item (cookie, toy, etc.). You and/or the congregation could oooh and aaah over it, and ask the "bagged" kids what they think of it. Nothing, because they are "hiding."

    MaineCelt, I've occasionally used light as a theme in our relatively dark sanctuary; a big plug-in work light or really large flashlight does the job well. Do you have some section of white/light wall you can shine the prism image onto? Or something over which you could drape a white sheet?

  17. I'm not preaching this week, but over at there is a very helpful piece on the John pericope and the multiple reactions to Jesus' resurrection.

  18. Lots of other things to finish today, so the sermon is

    Party on!

  19. I think my sermon from 2004 has good bones, but there are new questions. Reusing sermons is a toss-up for me - I know the initial work is good - but how shall it relate today?

    The locked doors vs. the gift of Peace intrigues me.

    What do you think?

  20. so how are all those sermons coming? We are making lunch for you all. Put in your order. Our guests left earlier and so we have lots to serve?

    Purple, I love the Garden of the Gods.

    Ooh Beach that's a good one.

    Gord, I'll be interested in what you write in your sermon.

    You girls on vacation we do so appreicate you stopping in as well to cheer everybody on.

    prisca, I thought about some of that too. That even though they were behind locked doors, Jesus still came to them. And that he gave them his peace and the Holy Spirit.

  21. We spent the morning in West Branch, MI scavanging through a stained-glass business that's closing its retail store (Fellow Traveler is wanting to pursue this as an avocation)...I'm on my way out the door to do some gardening on this gorgeous today. When I get tired I'll come in and write my sermon. LOL (FT, reading Preacher Party, says, "I can't believe how all of you procrastinate!")

    I am focusing on the risen Christ gifting his disciples with the Holy Spirit and commissioning them: "As I've been sent, so I'm sending you." I have a great personal story to go with this, about my encounter with a very improbable "sender," and hopefully it will all knit together.

    Meanwhile...I have a huge steelhead filet thawing, for charcoal grilling on the patio tonight...deli potato salad and our friend's home-canned green beans for sides. There's Heineken Light, Oberon Ale and Mountain Dew (this last a concession to our occasionally visiting pastor) in the fridge, and a box of Uncle Kracker cheddar crax on the counter -- help yourself, then come sit on the patio and watch me get down and dirty in the herb bed.

  22. I am off to a graveside service. The twin sister of a church member died after having been in hospice care for a few months.
    Once i return it is back to coming up with a really, really good sermon for tomorrow.
    There is wonderful stuff on Gospel text in Xian Century.
    Oh, and if anyone is interested, I have pimento cheese for sandwiches and chips with dip.

  23. Here's what I have for tomorrow. Just got notified this morning that one of our homebound members died early today. I'm waiting for the family to finish up with the funeral home. So, I'm glad to have tomorrow's sermon finished.

  24. Thomas and creation/new creation here. At least that way I'll find a way to also include the Forum topic (Creation in Science and in the Bible ; co-taught with my science professor husband).

    I'm still pretty nervous. After all I am only a seminarian who happens to preach every Sunday not an ordained pastor - yet.

    Wish me luck...

  25. I guess I'll be writing tonight as usual. I was home yesterday on my dya off and thought I'd write, but I didn't. I did make some mean hamballs for dinner, though. I've got leftovers to share today.

    So, I'm too sleep to get anything done during naptime. I'll work on it tonight.

    Borrowing heavily from some of the ideas tossed around on Brainwave, my early thoughts from the week are here. I'll be back much later. I assume for "Low Sunday" the party will be on the quiet side!

  26. BTW, does anyone else wonder what is happening down in the Arizona desert whilst we work on our sermons?

  27. Thought of this song as well.

    They didn't believe me.I definitely have too much time on my hands today. I still don't have a children's sermon, but I'm considering making a blanket fort for the 'hiding behind locked doors' impact. Not very practical, I'm afraid.

  28. Prisca, do you have a little pop up tent? Or do you know someone with small kids who might have one (if you were nearby, I'd lend your our Buzz Lightyear one)?

  29. Back from funeral and grocery store run for milk, butter, and juice.
    Watching Heritage Tornament on CBS.
    Oh, and I have just spent an inoridnate amount of time looking up how to purcahse a fishing lisecne on line. Trying to deicde to get slat water now or jsut fresh.
    Thinking i will go with fresh water for a year and then add slat if needed later.
    I am itching to fish really bad!

  30. Oh, and I am thinking on sermon stuff

  31. Just back from a two-day meeting and trying to settle down and write without falling asleep (didn't get enough sleep last night)...

    I am having a really tough time deciding between John and Acts. I have never preached on these texts or on Easter 2, not even as an intern, so that makes me want to preach on it all!

  32. Just getting by to say hi! I have the text on paper, and, well, that's about it. i decided I was sick of Thomas and so I (in a not-so-smart move) and preaching the 1 John text. But it will get written. I am soaking in the glorious weather before it gets yucky again tomorrow.

    I too seriously need a children's sermon!

  33. Low Sunday, the junior associate minister's dream...and bane. After not preaching for a while, I'm a bit out of practice. Anyway, I'm preaching about Jesus' wounds. They were still there after the resurrection, and they were how he was recognized. There is hope in that for those of us who live new life but still bear scars.

    I'm with those of you who need a children's sermon. I also need to whip up a wedding sermon for the afternoon. Good times.

  34. Hi everyone,
    I'm going with Acts - after 30 years of preaching, I'm a little tired of Thomas!
    I've been working in the office at "church-the-farther" (20 miles farther) because my computer which is in my home/other church office has decided it needs a vacation - mid-bulletin and mid-sermon, of course!
    The children's sermon I'm using may not relate, but sounds good. It's by Mike Butler on
    Unless my computer experiences a miracle, I probably won't be checking back in today.

  35. I wrote quite a bit this morning on the Acts passage before heading over to the senior's center for a 50th wedding anniversary party. Then went to the church--bulletins are all ready to go and the tables are set for lunch after worship tomorrow.

    Now I'm sleepy and not too thrilled with the mornings ramblings...sigh.

    I'm looking at their "Spirit-induced" witness and generosity and will bring in my version of the Ananias/Sapphira story. My finance committee thinks the sky is falling so I thought it might help to talk about our motivations for giving.

    For the children's message, I want to talk about the sharing that went on within the early church. I'm trying to think of ingredients I can give to some of them that are good all by themselves but when you put them together you get something different and you have plenty to share with those who didn't have anything to add. Maybe make some trail mix? Or am I stretching this a wee bit too far for youngsters???

  36. Okay, everything else is cleared off my plate and I'm mentally, emotionally, spiritually in good space. Now to the writing. . .

  37. RevSis -it reminds me of Stone Soup. Each brought what they had which was OK on it's own, but combined was enough to make a yummy soup. Each person brings what they have to the church and individually it is good, but only together can you get soup. Or something...

  38. Two naps later and I'm settling in to work. Baby is down for the night. Husband is practicing his sermon in the other room.

    Thanks for the children's ideas. Hubby also had one with a drivers' license and/or passport--Jesus had to prove his identity to Thomas.

    We have some leftover tacos to share, as well as some chocolate chip cookie dough. Mmmm.

  39. I'm back, but I've decided to watch the end of Harper's Island from Thursday before I start writing. I'm feeling pretty good about this sermon, and think if anything I'll have too much for it. I like that problem better than the not enough problem I'll start writing in a while and then just let if flow!

    (At least I hope that's how it goes since I'm making the risking choice of watching TV first!)

  40. Hello fellow preachers! I posted a comment over at the BE post by mistake...I DO wish I were there, but after a really great day today, not so much. My 10 year old daughter learned how to ride a two wheeler today! She has been afraid to ride for YEARS and today, she just figured it out! Her sister (age 7) already knew and has known how since she was 5.

    Anyway, that has taken up much of my brain space today. I did already preach at our Saturday night service, focusing on community and the Disciples and Acts. I LOVE the "all things in common" idea and how we have used that idiom "having nothing in common" in such different ways. It was a fun thing to play with in the sermon. Right in the middle of the sermon, though, a man whose funeral was the first I ever did, (a year and a half ago), walked in with his daughter! In our small congregation, they caused quite a stir, and certainly de-railed me. I welcomed them warmly and then kept on preaching. I hope I did the right thing.

    Blessings to everyone. preaching or not! Sorry my husband is gone, so no good food in the house, as he is our cook. Sandwiches for dinner.

  41. okay, friends, I am home from a week of vacation (and the weather is a rude shock--from 73 and sunny to 50 and cloudy/misty/rainy!), and I am now in BIG TROUBLE.

    It turns out I was supposed to get youth to do the moment for mission this Sunday, but I thought I had another week to work on that! whoops! And I planned to do an off-lectionary guided meditation on the Emmaus Road story. It's not started. All I know about it is that the song "open the eyes of my heart lord" will be interspersed and that afterward there is a 4 minute interpretive dance. I also have NO children's time and no prayers written. And to top it all off, I got home to email and voicemail informing me that a long time older member died yesterday and I need to do the service on Thursday. Oh yes, it's a good day to come home from vacation.....

    Okay, I'm getting down to work. I have no food to distract me (or you!), sadly, so it's work work work until it's done! Well, or until I check back in here again....

  42. OOPS, I mean "Whose WIFE'S funeral" - it would certainly have been a shocker if it were HIS funeral I did...sorry folks!

  43. Mum Pastor, I was trying to figure that one out! As you originally posted, it would've been the talk of a lot more than just your congregation :-D

  44. tee hee! Clearly I need to go to bed! At least I caught it before you did, Betsy!

    Teri, so sorry for everything that is on your plate. Praying for words to come swiftly.

    And now, good night!

  45. Oh, MumPastor, I'm glad you cleared that up! I was mighty impressed that you not only kept preaching but didn't fall to the ground!

    KnittinPreacher -- I hadn't remembered Stone Soup but you're right, it is the same idea. Further proof that there is no such thing as an original idea LOL.

    So, I reworked the morning ramblings, printed, and just did a run's 30 MINUTES LONG! Now, I'm off to cut and trim and cut and cut...

    Hubby made chicken salad, so please join us!

  46. 1-4 Grace, I have 6/3 of a your people will appreciate you more than mine will appreciate me!

  47. I'm focusing on the gift of peace, and what it means for our understanding of community and how we can share the Good News. I can offer string cheese to the party, and some really good chai tea. God's blessings and inspiration on all you preachers!

  48. MumPastor - - trying to come up with something witty to say, but At this point I'm just thankful to have removed my jaw from the floor where it dropped moments ago. However, I was looking forward to a very interesting follow-up post and feel I've been denied that! :)

  49. Does anybody have a Children's sermon/
    moment/talk for tomorrow that is not lame?
    Everything online is pretty bad.

  50. 1-4 Grace: I have a children's sermon that I like:

    Compare rolling down a hill or spinning in circles until you are dizzy to the spins and tricks done by dancers, skaters, gymnasts, or divers.
    Athletes learn to focus on a single point, around which their movements revolve.
    Dancers focus their eyes on one spot, to which they keep returning as they spin.
    Divers and gymnasts find a balanced position, to which their bodies return after each trick.
    These focus points make their movements possible. Without them, the athletes would become dizzy and fall.

    I plan to have the children do some spinning to get a little dizzy then have my pianist who used to teach dance show how to do a dancer turn, then talk about how on Easter, God gave us a focal point – the knowledge that we are loved and forgiven by God.
    No matter where we go or what we do, if we keep reminding ourselves of that fact, we will keep our balance.
    That balance is the peace that Jesus promised.

  51. Just saw Eileen's post from earlier and Kim's is cool too.,
    And one of my kid's mothers happened to have been a dancer.

  52. I hate it when I forget about my need for clean clothes until NOW. Ugh. At least I discovered last weekend (by accident) that my favorite "dry clean" only pants really aren't dry clean only. The washer has started! I plan to get my outline completed by the time I need to go move some of those things to the dryer. That gives me a deadline.

  53. And my washer or clothes is less than an hour behind you, SheRev.
    Trouble is I am literally out of clean undies.
    I have looked for the discount ones on Victorias Secret.
    I am now semi-famous for my stripeys at Festival of Homies! So, I need to place that order soon.

  54. I guess it's probably a good thing for me that SNL is a rerun of sorts. A bad thing that it's a "best of." That means all the skits should be great!

  55. I may have cut it down to about 20-22 minutes...ah, well, so be it.

    Granted most of you are asleep by now but, just in case, I posted here .

  56. I'm still up, but heading to bed shortly. I just remembered I hadn't put the music slides the guests from our camp are bringing to lead tomorrow into the PowerPoint. Ugh. I'm going to work on that now and then head to bed for a couple of hours. My 1/2 outline and blog post total slightly less than 50% of the words I need so fleshed out all should be just fine.

    It's been a quiet, but lovely party folks! See ya later!

  57. Goodnight all. I need a closer in about 300 words or less.
    But, I am tired, really tired and I need to look refreshed come morning and a PNC.
    Clothes drying and I am heading to dreamland.
    Hope all goes well for everyone tomorrow. The HS has your backs!

  58. hey all. I'm really really late getting on here tonight. Mostly because I have allergies that are blocking any formed thoughts from making it past the mass of my brain to my fingers. Which means I'm in trouble.

    I worked on all the pieces this afternoon then slept for a while. I might have a good hour of work before I'll need to sleep again. Bleh.

    I'm actually preaching on soil conservation tomorrow! I "auctioned" off a sermon for our youth fundraiser and this is the topic the person who won chose. I was greatly relieved that he gave me a whole packed of information from the National Association of Conservation Districts ( which includes worship materials!

    There is also reference in the packet to a favorite book of mine "Deeply Woven Roots" by Gary Gunderson about congregational care, and I'm looking forward to putting the pieces together... if I can just get there before I have to be at the church in 7.5 hours.

  59. it's 1.42 am and I have a problem. I appear to be a combination of jet-lagged (it's 12.42 where I was last night!) and suffering from i-took-a-nap-at-6pm-on-the-way-home syndrome. crap.

    I posted a sort of guided meditation (not my best, but it will have to do). I still need a children's time and some prayers of the people.

    Good thing I'm not sleepy but have to wake up in just over 4 hours. (sigh)

  60. I have fallen asleep in several chunks tonight, but I can't do that anymore--I need to actually write! Finally settled on John and pulling from some great stuff from BBT and Buechner. I just need to NOT fall asleep again...argh...

    Teri, that jet lag sounds like the Holy Spirit in disguise.

  61. It's 5:04 am, and I have just over 400 words! Finally!

    You know, I stayed up half the night last night having a really treasured conversation with my SO, one I will remember forever, but right now I kind of wish I'd slept instead...

  62. Hey semfem! You're farther along than me in finished words, so you've got that going for you. I'm back and ready to get this one written!

    I'll check in again shortly. First I need to go find an inhaler....

  63. Welcome back to the party, She Rev!

    I'm at 1104 words now, so I could start looking for an ending. There's so much more to say though! Ugh.

  64. 934 unpolished words and incomplete sentences. I wish I were brave enough to try to go without a manuscript. All the thoughts are there. I just need to fill in the words.

    Someday a forgetten alarm clock will force me to try. (Just kidding, God!)

  65. Ugh. 1660 words. Too many! But a great story at the end.

    I hear you, She Rev. Sometimes I feel the pull towards preaching without a manuscript, but I think it may well be an emergency situation that pushes me over the line there. I'm not likely to try it of my own volition, at least not right now.

  66. Okay, I pared it down to 1540 words and I'm printing this sucker, just in time for a shower and beginning the day. Whew! (already looking forward to The Holy Nap.)

    May the Spirit be with you She Rev, and anybody else still working.

    Blessings be with all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  67. An hour left to finish writing. It should be enough time. I had to fiddle more with PowerPoint as I inserted screen shot pictures of the FB quiz "Which of Jesus' disciples are you?"

  68. 1209 - - 2/3 done and no more than 40 minutes really left. No problem!

  69. ack! I didn't get to sleep until about 3...and now it's 7, I am in desperate need of a starbucks or caribou run, and I still need a children's time. would it be weird to talk about 3D glasses? (no, I don't know any more than that, and no, I don't have any 3D glasses or anything to look at with them...but something about seeing Jesus in other people when we look through God's eyes...) no? okay, another time....

    I'm off to find some coffee and some prayers and maybe a children's time...may the force (ummm...spirit!) be with you all, and may there be naps afterward!

  70. Finished with about 300 words too many, but my opening story/illustration about a FB quiz can be shortened on the spot. That'll do!

    Off to shower and eat with the fam!



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