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Saturday, December 12, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Oh No, Not the Apocalypse, edition

photo from the personal collection of mompriest, taken by her daughter

Here we are again wrestling with the end times as portrayed by that wild man John the Baptist. Insults, vipers, a winnowing fork, thrashing and gnashing, chaff and unquenchable fire, and a question that echoes through out - "What then shall we do?" It's enough to make any preacher hide her head and pretend it's Monday instead of Saturday....

But then, as always, there's hope, the fruits of repentance! Don't take more than you need, share with others. Rejoice, for the God is near. Somehow, all will be well.

Yes, somehow all will be well. And we will be in it together this day, helping one another. Ideas? Suggestions? Frustrations? Drafts you'd like feedback on? Not preaching but keeping us company today? All are invited! So, pull up a chair, I have coffee, tea, juice, yogurt, toast, or yourself and join the party.


  1. Goodnight all, time to finish for the night. I hope your preparations go well.

    Tomorrow I am focussing on John the Baptist and repentance and responding to God's invitation being about salvation and justice.
    With the children I am talking about cleaning up, as in cleaning up for visitors, what might we want to clean out of our lives as we anticipate Jesus coming. Maybe it will make more sense to the adults than the children. I usually am on roster occasionally with children's talk, but 3 weeks in a row so I can do this series about preparing - making space/ cleaning/ getting ready. But the children who were here last week won't be here tomorrow, and I know one family is coming tomorrow, but they were away last week. so I think some recapping will be needed.

    God bless you as you pray and prepare,

  2. Unusually for me, I've got a draft already, but it's pretty disjointed. I've marked up a copy and will get back to it later today. But first there is an Advent workshop at church, and the holiday concert for my daughter's choral group this afternoon. And tonight I have to bake cookies/bars for both her concert tomorrow and a caroling party at church. Did I mention my colleague is taking a vacation week to run a marathon? This morning, I feel his pain as I continue to run 26 mental miles with not quite enough space to breathe.
    I'm on my third go-round through the lectionary, but this is the first time I've preached the Luke text. Somehow in my settled call I managed to schedule a pageant on that Sunday...

  3. *spits our coffee*

    Songbird: Your colleague is taking a week vacation? Less than two weeks before Christmas? For any reason whatsoever short of singlehandedly solving a major international crisis?

    Ahem. Time for a Carol sing, I say.

  4. Of course, I was trying to say, "spits out coffee," not OUR coffee.

    I'm not preaching tomorrow: the kids are, via the Christmas pageant. (I play Rev. Patty, a clueless kind of gal who can't make time for Jesus at Christmas. Cuts just a little close to home.)

    I have my favorite breakfast: Greek yogurt, granola and fresh pineapple melange.

    As for Songbird's colleague: word verification says it all:


    As for

  5. I posted a chunk of what will be my sermon on my blog (none of my parishioners read it). I'm focusing on the extremes God goes to in getting our attention.

  6. Pageant Sunday tomorrow, and sice I am feeling what may be the beginning of a throat thing I am just as happy to not be preaching.

    Then again, the church is hosting a community Christmas Party today so I wil spend all day working on that. And it is only -21C out there....

  7. Strong (hopefully) draft done yesterday. I missed having the party to encourage me. I've got a "painting party" at the home we moved out of today. (Now in the church's parsonage.) We've got to get it ready for renters.
    I haven't been liking my sermons lately, altho last week's recycled was probably ok. So I don't know whether to hope this one is better or just hope to get thru it.
    Trusting the RGBP saying "The Holy Spirit has your back." blessings to all, I'll check in tonight if my muscles still work.

  8. We're on Mary and angels this week due to next week's nativity play. So Johnny B was covered last Sunday at ours - I found Jan's stuff at the advent door a brilliant place for chewing on re. thinking on John. Check out the bit entitled 'wonders and terrors'

    It's gone past lunchtime in the frozen wastes of the north, I bring jacket potatoes with tuna and crusty bread... and some diet coke. Simple student fare, but do help yerselves :p

  9. Like many here, I'm bringing up the rear of the Christmas pageant. So I'm keeping it short. Talking about the Magnificat and how almost every little girl wants to be Mary --

    Here is a quote from Nancy Duff that I'll be using but I think it'll "preach" here first. I know it's been convicting me:

    “God does not encounter Mary, or any of us as ideals, nor does God transform us into ideals. We are like Mary, real human beings of flesh and spirit, body and soul, in need of the power of God as we seek to give glory to the One who saves and sustains us in Grace. Mary, like all of us, was called not into perfection but into discipleship.” -- Nancy Duff

    (I'm off to Christmas shop middle of the day but I anticipate I'll be catching up with 2nd/3rd shift later!)

  10. I've always wanted to be Mary in the Christmas Pageants at my Catholic school however the role always went to the best behaved girl, which unfortunately was not me. sigh.

    Anyways, starting the morning by running some errands. I'm going to focus my sermon on "Joy" and the text in Isaiah. John the baptist just isn't doing it for me unfortunately. Especially the brood of vipers thing and all.

    BTW, stop by my blog, I have some joyful news there. BTW, word verification is marvol. Quite fitting for how I'm feeling today.

  11. not preaching, but fighting a middle range cold and glad about not preaching, then. tho it's my 5th time thro the lectinary and I think I've preached this one a couple of times.

    Christmas pageant at 10. will take most of the worship service.

    am making pancakes this a.m.

    don't have too much today, but a meeting with other area pastors, a hospital calll, and, oh a lessons and carols concerts at my husband's church. (he's playing.)

  12. Good morning everyone! Living in this western time zone I tend to pop in later than I'd like. So, again welcome all!

    I am dusting off the brain and oiling the joints of my sermon writing because I do get to preach tomorrow, first time since the end of Oct. and feeling a little out of practice. But, as my 10th anniversary of ordination is coming up in a few weeks, I have been through this a few times.

    I have a draft...not sure I like it...anyway,

    coffee anyone?

  13. Good morning. Grits anyone? They're really good. I had mine with spinach, broiled tomatoes and boca sausage. Delicious.

    A benefactor has provided me with beautiful rose vestments to wear tomorrow, so I feel compelled to touch on the theme of joy at some point, since that is what the rose vestments represent. But I am also drawn by John. I found the entries in "Feasting on the Word" and "Working Preacher" really helpful this week, and I'm focusing on what John said when asked "what should we do?"

    Hoping to write this morning and not have late nights as I did the last two weeks!

  14. I am working on Zephaniah...and I have nothing but the vaguest of ideas about joy being more than happiness, and that joy coming from God being in our midst, and that true joy is when even God bursts into song over the beauty of the community. Or something. sigh.

    I do have tea and McVitie's Digestive Biscuits (thank you!)....

  15. Welcome RevDrMom and Teri. I too am wearing a rose colored vestment, given by a parishioner...and am focusing on the question, What shall we do? But haven't yet figured out how to get to joy...sigh...and the draft is already at 1300 words...much work left to do...where is that oil can?

  16. Good morning ladies! I have a cat helping me type this morning...and I'm more than happy to share him as he's needy today and I don't have time to play.

    I'm trying to finish/start/flesh out this sermon by noon so I can go buy a Christmas Tree and decorate it tonight with the family. I'm preaching J the B today, both preparing text and brood of vipers text. and I've got nothing right now. I wrote 3 pages of ranting yesterday, and think that's out of my system but don't have anything replacing it. *sigh* I'd much rather prepare for the Lord by decorating a tree than writing a sermon today.

    my verification is Buffie, and I wonder if she could slay this sermon writer's block demon for me?

  17. Nutella, welcome! I think Buffy might be able to help a few of us who are struggling with the texts this morning!

  18. i have coffee to share... and no food since really, i hate cooking. the freezer is loaded with lean cuisines to get me thru from now 'til the holiday... then i shall cook!

    JtheB and joy connect... i'm preaching about the wheat & the chaff, and how if there's too much inconsequential stuff inside us (ie, chaff) then we will not have room for joy to enter in.

    so there it is if it helps. meeting with couple tonight who wants to get married at midnight on new year's eve... seriously? yah. bwaaa haaaa haaaa

  19. It's already dark here (4.15pm). I need two sermons for tomorrow. For the family service I'm skipping ahead to Isaiah 9. We are talking about names for God and will have a go at writing some Advent cries together. In the evening at another village we have 9 lessons and carols. I'm dithering here. Will probably talk about all the travelling tht happens in the Christmas story.
    For now, here is a good Advent cry for tomorrow.
    O Baptiser,
    just and bright and full of glory:
    Come bring us to repentance
    and turn us round to face You;
    plunge us deep into justice and truth.
    (from Hear my cry:Ruth Burgess)

  20. hot cup, i did a funeral a few months ago for a woman who was married in my church at midnight on new year's eve many many years ago (so many that only one person even remembered her being part of the church!). when the family told me that story I thought both "aww, how sweet!" and "OMG, what pastor agreed to do THAT?????" lol.

    I still have no sermon, but I do have an idea for a mini-sabbatical I plan to pitch to my session for next summer--after the year we've had, I think I need some time away. hopefully we'll have a new Head of Staff by then, too, and this would give him (it will definitely be a him, sigh) a chance to settle in without me being around, too, so we could negotiate our roles more clearly. yay! but if we don't have a new HoS by then, I'll have a harder time selling the idea. Please, HS, send us a pastor. pronto. thanks.

    okay, now i really am going to write a sermon. no more procrastinating. Jesus' Birthday Party looms at 5pm and I still have some shopping/prepping to do before then!

  21. Hey, HC, welcome to the party! Really, midnight on New Year's Eve?...wheat and chaff and joy - sounds like a direction for a sermon...

  22. Teri, a sabatical sounds like an excellent way to allow a new HoS to enter in while you take a good long break/rest. Hope you can negotiate it for whenever that person comes.

  23. MP, me too. I've only been here 3 years (almost 4 by the time of this mini-sabbatical i'm planning to ask for), but being here through the interim has made me feel like I've been here forever and I really need a break. I can feel burn-out creeping in at the edges and I don't want it! 4-6 weeks away would give me a chance to renew and come back even better, I think. Or at least, I hope! we'll see what they say....


    It would also give me something to look forward to! and maybe some JOY! which I will now write a sermon about, i swear. no, really. see? see the joy pouring out on the page? ;-)

  24. too, joy, pouring out all over! :-)

    now, where was I? Oh, yeah, repentance...(wanders back to sermon)...

  25. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or maybe it was a dark and stormy night. Whatever it was, this week did not even produce sermon prep time. I have discovered that TheraFlu Severe Cold is my friend. I have reluctantly agreed to chair the transition committee for our election of a new bishop. I wrote a Christmas letter to everyone in the congregation and have those cards ready to be stamped and sealed.

    Then my son called with very bad news and I am madly trying to bake the cookies he wants for Christmas so I can take them with me when I bolt out of here Monday for an exceedingly short visit. Pray for Matt, especially that he can open his heart and find God once again.

    I really want to preach about rejoicing in the Lord. Maybe cookies will remind me how.

    I have echinacea tea to share but no one gets my TheraFlu!

  26. I am writing this from a computer at my local shopping mall's Staples store. I HATE XMAS SHOPPING. Especially when really I'm shopping for a retirement present. Teh peoples are driving me crazy.

    You may go back to your regularly scheduled sermonating.

  27. Sounds like a lot of pageantry is happening tomorrow! Excellent!

    We're having our White Gift service, minus a children's pageant this year (no one to organize it - can't do it myself - also a little short on children to make it work this year. Sigh).

    I'm working off lectionary for the entire Advent season, using an outline found in "Gathering" that refers weekly to both the movie "The Nativity Story" and the book "The First Christmas" by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

    This week's highlighted theme: Luke's emphasis on women, the marginalized and the poor, as well as the persistence of the Holy Spirit throughout Luke's telling of the birth story.

    I wanted to use the title "The Holy Spirit Had Their Backs Too" but no one except me would know what that meant, so I skipped it. The bits of sermonizing I have done remain title-free.

  28. Good morning! In the yummies department today: I have a bag of astounding chocolate truffles that my spiritual director brought back from France. (Best spiritual director EVER!) Great with a cup of jasmine tea, so come on by... I wouldn't offer them to just anyone, but I think you all deserve such a heavenly treat.

    Over at The Advent Door I chewed on the Luke passage earlier this week (thanks, Nik, for visiting!), and last night I posted art & a reflection on the lovely Zephaniah-Isaiah-Philippians trio of readings. As I thought about rejoicing, and how it's an act of intention that doesn't necessarily depend on what mood we're in, I got to thinking about Marge Piercy's wondrous poem "For Strong Women", where she writes, "Strength is not in her but she/enacts it as wind fills a sail." I find joy is sometimes like this: not something we can stir up on our own, but something that God beckons us to open ourselves to--to unfurl our souls to receive it.

    Amidst the intensities of Advent, may these be days of much rejoicing for you. Blessings to everyone!

  29. Prayers for your Matt, Margaret, and your recovery....And congrats to GodGuurrlll on the new family member.

    Lots of grading today--20 final papers down yesterday and about 80 to go. Probably won't finish but I'd like to make a good dent. And I would really like to start adapting this term's Intro to Religion course for next term, which will come way too early in January. Going from a pure Christian/Catholic focus to adding in Judaism and Islam, which means deciding what to cut as well.

  30. Welcome Margaret..chairing that committee will be quite a job - remind us to pray for you, often!

    Sue, welcome, Jan and Godgurl (shopping on a Sat. before Christmas, you crazy????)too.

    Jan, I like that quote, as I struggle to find some joy in my sermon maybe this will help...

    Sue,sounds like lots going on!

  31. Hey y'all, dropping by for a minute now, I'll be back later. I may "go green" (recycle) since I'm only preaching the early service which may have as many as 5 because the late service is completely music.

  32. Welcome Jan! I found your musings at The Advent Door exceedingly helpful today. Thank you for your ministry to us.

    I have a draft, it's short, which should work since they're also doing pastor evals at the beginning of worship, I have an elder to ordain, another elder to recognize for his years of service (somehow, can't figure out how to do that creatively), so it will be a busy sunday.

    Anyone have ideas for inexpensive gifts for a newly ordained elder and an elder rotating off session?

  33. I'm in today, but haven't started yet. We watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special that was taped last night, and it gave me everything I needed to move forward, so I'm pretty pumped. I'm on joy week this week with Zeph being my main text. To continue my pattern from the last two weeks I'll contrast what we want for Christmas (momentary happiness that helps us forget our fears) with what God really gives at Christmas (lasting joy that comes from God's presence among us). The opening dialogue between Charlie Brown and Linus is PERFECT for an intro for me. He talks about he just isn't HAPPY at Christmas. I'll say because happiness isn't what Christmas is about. Later when Linus does the part where he recites from Luke what Christmas really is all about, we get the "good tidings of great joy" - the explanation of the real gift we get.

    Now I'm trying to figure out the technology to get these clips included. They are on YouTube, but I can't figure out how to use those in our sanctuary easily. I found the DVD at Wal-Mart and bought it, so my husband's going to work on that for me this afternoon. We have some video softward that should be able to rip those clips from the DVD and put them in a format that can work in the Power Point that we already use throughout worship. Hoping for the best!!!

    Anyway, all that is coming later. This morning was a family photo session, only our second ever, and the second in over 2 years. We're not good at documenting ourselves as a family - - even just taking pictures of all of us with our own cameras. It's usually just the kids or MAYBE the kids and one parent. We never remember to have people take pictures of all 4 of us together.

    OK. Pancakes and bacon for lunch, the kids requested and our answer, "Why the heck not?!?!?!" Will make extra to share if anyone wants some!

    I'll be back later. I can't decide if I want to nap during naptime or get moving on this sermon. I will probably vote for nap since I want to see if the movie clips are going to work before I work too hard. Whether I get to use them or just describe them will determine how much time I have for my own words. I'm a stinky editor, so it's best to know going into it what I'm aiming for.

  34. I am preaching on Joy. A definition Will post the sermon tomorrow. I bring in the need "to do" acts of joy or righteousness, mitzvot.

  35. Rev Dr Mom...rose vestments?? Lucky you! May you feel yourself enveloped in the love and care of both God and the giver as you wear them tomorrow. Mompriest, I hope you enjoy yours as well. We have Sarum blue silk ones for Advent, light and lovely as a feather; I wish the season lasted much longer just for that reason.

    What is it with so many of us with colds? Right now I have no voice. I am trusting it will come back by tomorrow; wonderful rector filled in for me a few weeks ago when I had to make an emergency visit to my dad, so I don't want to have to ask again. She will do all the officiating, however. Pageant with combined services, so I only need to do the earliest one.

    Margaret, prayers for your son, and for you--healing, and wisdom with the transition committee.

    Nutella, for the gifts: UNICEF has really lovely and unique taper candles. They come in sets of 3, but you could give one to each with a simple candleholder (World Market? Target?) and a note about the light of Christ.

    She Rev, I love your Charlie Brown idea; I am going to check out those clips. I have preached way, way too many years of JtB, and Zephaniah has really grabbed me, so that's the direction I'm going. Pondering what it is to fear disaster no more (this in a community that had fire breathing down its neck this fall and is now worrying about mudslides), to have God rejoicing over us in gladness, and to be renewed in God's love. I wish I could get away with simply reading those verses very slowly several times, with silence between them, to let that relief--and true joy!--sink in. Will probably do a bit of that, but need to add a bit more.

  36. BTW, can't recall who posted the quote on Tuesday, but I am also playing with joy being peace in action and peace being joy at rest. That has stuck with me all week!

  37. preaching mary this week as our children's christmas pageant is next week. and i decided i didn't want to miss out on mary every year.

    thinking about how we announce the good news, the birth of Christ. introing with elizabeth and mary's songs, as well as mentioning the songs of Zech and the angels.

    hoping it all comes together ... and soon.

    anyone got any children's sermon ideas related to Mary?

  38. draft, albeit it rusty is posted here. Title, Bearing Worthy Fruit...comments welcome, feedback appreciated.

  39. Welcome all the new folks who have come, and those who I have not yet welcomed! Pancakes and bacon sound great! So many good ideas floating around here. I love the idea of using Charlie Brown in powerpoint for part of the sermon!

    My sermon, in draft form is posted. I'm going to take a walk and do some yoga and let it perculate. Comments and feedback are welcome, as I am a bit rusty...but ever so grateful to be preaching!

    Back later to read what you all have posted.

  40. Wonderful, Mompriest; I really like the way you have woven together the gospel and the Just Coffee story (and beyond that to Fair Trade). I hope you'll still be selling the coffee tomorrow, as I imagine quite a few people will be moved to reconsider their Folgers.

    Obviously, I am getting nowhere on my own sermon. I have done laundry, put away clothes, filed papers, done some pick up in the boys' room, etc. etc. Couldn't figure out what had me so motivated to do all that...oh, yeah, it's called sermon procrastination!

  41. I have a draft done, and contrary to my usual practices,it's posted here --not my usual blog.

    Comments welcomed!

  42. Checking in for the afternoon here! I'm preaching John the Baptist (although after reading all the comments so far, Zephaniah is intriguing) and if I can get this done by evening, I get rewarded by going out to dinner.

    I think I'm going once again with the specific directions John gives to each group of people when they ask "what then shall we do?" I actually have a comparison in my mind to Christmas ordinary task is transformed by the season, the family recipe, the ethnic heritage expressed in so much Christmas baking...and as John says, our ordinary lives and tasks and livelihoods are transformed by the coming of Christ.

    (If this idea sounds lame, please tell me now before I start writing!)

    I am also remembering a year or two ago when the preacher party was calling John J-Bap. Ahhh, good times. Have to ponder if I can get away with that now.

  43. Nutella, I am so impressed that you have your congregation evaluate you....Happens to me as a college prof in every class, every term, and I am often frustrated by the lack of similar accountability and voice-giving for folks in ministry once people are out of seminary/field ed.

    I am always drawn to things that foster people's spiritual formation, like good books or perhaps small icons, as gifts in such contexts.

  44. okay, I put up a's still a little choppy, but sherev saved the day with the charlie brown note. thanks!

    i have to get ready for jesus' birthday party--pizza, stories, crafts, games, singing, and of course cake with "Happy Birthday dear JEEEEEZUS...." Fun for preschool and elementary school kids! Here's hoping it'll be fun, anyway. Whoever put me in charge of crafts and games hasn't seen my spiritual gifts inventory lately. sigh. send me FUN vibes, I need them!

    let me know what you think of the "sermon" (such as it is). I'll be back after the birthday party to edit and to read all of your fabulous offerings! I'll try to bring back some birthday cake too. mmm, cake...

  45. I don't really know how long ago this was shared on the email list PRCL by Eric Folkerth (pastor of Northaven UMC, Dallas) but it might be helpful for Luke 3. I found it in an old sermon from 2003. Sorry the formatting is wonky.

    Danny was a member of Eric's church several years
    ago. He worked for a large communications company, and would always
    talk about his ruthless, uncaring boss. She was a real workaholic.
    She worked too much herself, and she demanded it of her underlings
    too. She had no outside interests besides work, and no family in town
    to speak of. She hardly ever gave out praise. She was hardly ever
    'pleased' by anything anyone in the office did.

    "One Christmas, Danny's boss made no bones about dropping hints
    around the office about the things she wanted. But Danny listened to
    none of her suggestions. Instead, his gift to her was a small card.
    And when she opened that card at the staff Christmas party, what was
    written inside was this: 'For your present this year, a donation has
    been made in your name to 'Trinity Ministries to the Poor."'

    "As Danny told the story, there was a slight pause as she read the
    card. And then, his boss did something he had never seen her do
    before or since. She cried."

  46. I have a cold(sore throat, cough, runny nose, etc) and skipped our anuual gift making today. The kids come and make gifts, have pizza and a general fun time.
    I could not make it, so I called in sick.
    Anyhow, i am preaching on Mary's text tomorrow and then I get next week off due to cantata.
    Not sure what I am saying yet, but I do love the Advent4 text and find it a challenge(but a welcomed one) to preach.
    Lots to ponder about how a young teen would come up with such "grown up" words, yet she has had a task placed upon her which most grownups would not want to have.
    Magd- I thought you were spitting in our coffee. thanks for clarifying!
    Great quote Meg! Thanks
    Teri- Love the idea of getting married at midnight on NYE! Not sure I would want to do it, but then maybe just that one time.
    As I scan over comments, I am so glad I am not the only one preaching on Mary!

  47. Does anyone else know the song that includes the lines "Let no one else's work evade your eyes. Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, so don't shade your eyes, plagiarize...only be sure always to call it please research!"

    It is not yet noon, but--like Charlie Brown--I'm just not feeling it. I am sure my cold and the associated pharmaeuticals have something to do with that. But if I continue on this track, I sure would like to do some "research" here, if no one minds. Teri, Rev Dr Mom, Mompriest, you have all said so well what I want to say but can't seem to find the words for!

    Appropriately, my confirmation word right now is "mangl" which is pretty much what I feel like I am doing to the words I do write...

  48. Anybody else doing Santa Lucia stuff tomorrow? Just wondering...

    I have the candlelighting reflection on to the sermon...

  49. My husband is upstairs working on the Charlie Brown clips. I hope it's working. I'm afraid to go up there and bug him, so instead I'm down here playing dominoes and watch the Kardashians. Don't hate me for my addiction to crappy TV. I'm so pregnant I'm crying at the faux wedding. What a dork. I should at least be starting to work on this sermon so he's not the only one doing my work right now.

    Ahhh! No! I have some craft stuff I need to do to get the ornaments ready for the children's time. Thank God! I have an excuse for not typing yet. I will, however, be upset when I don't have that excuse later tonight while the Heisman ceremony is on TV. Oh well. I'll figure something else out for then!

    There's lots of good "drafts" up around here. Shoot, people! Just hit "save" and call them sermons!

  50. I have just found this site, and am feeling almost as grateful as I was a few minutes ago when my heat started working again!

    It's mid-afternoon where I am, and I've managed to run three errands, caulk a couple of windows, and not write one word of my sermon. Sigh.

    I am preaching on JtheB, and trying to figure out how to blend the messages of "bearing fruit" where we are right now (instead of trying to be Mother Theresa, for instance, or nothing at all), and the message that we know what we SHOULD be doing, but what WILL we actually do?

    It is unfortunately still very much disjointed thoughts. Might be a later night that I'd hoped!

  51. Betsy - the song yer wanting is the great Tom Lehrer song: Lobachevsky...
    here's the youtube ref, I hope!

  52. Welcome Beth! Glad you found us. And Nik, thanks for that link - hope it helps...

    I'm back from dog walk and yoga...wishing I felt more grounded, relaxed, and peaceful as a result...but it appears that is not to be...sigh

    now for some lunch and a quick run to the store - can I pick up anything for anyone? How about mocha latte's all around with whip cream?

  53. I have some homemade chicken rice soup for anyone in need.
    I also have a wild assortment of cookies and goodies. Help yourself.

  54. MMM, a mocha with whipped cream AND some chicken rice soup sound delicious!

    Unfortunately it's not looking like I will get to go out to dinner tonight. I am still just about to start the intro after getting all my ducks in a row. And I CANNOT be up late tonight because of a Very Important Meeting tomorrow at St. Extra-Large.

    [waits for the other late-night crew to stop laughing]

  55. Haven't stopped yet, semfem!

    No really - - good luck and I hope for your sake (definitely not mine) that I don't see you tonight!

  56. 676 words typed so far, She Rev, so it might just happen! I'm never that far along before we hit the hours of double digits...

    ...but now I'm hungry. Which means only one thing: distractions ahead! Whee!

  57. Good Evening, revgals. Coming late to the party this week because I've been playing all day. Fortunately my associate is preaching tomorrow, but I couldn't resist posting a brief reflection here
    I've grown to love JBap but I'm not brave enough to spoil the season for many folk by really letting him join the party.
    As a penance for my cowardice, I bring some Cranberry Stollen and Christmas coffee to share. Off to read some of your drafts now.

  58. I'm just about to move out of my intro and into the "meat" of the sermon. I'm a little worried that I think it's going to be a sermon that could be preached at any time--no special relevance to Advent. It's so focused on John, I'm not even sure Jesus/Christ is going to be in it!

  59. Beth, on behalf of our host and the RGBP, hello and welcome to the party!

    JBap only really shows up in Advent, so that relates to the season right there...and as long as you preach the gospel, you'll preach Christ. :)

    Okay, my word verf is "fistypo." Is that what happens when you get frustrated and slam your fist on the keyboard?

    Only one way to find out.

  60. Nik, I love the YouTube of the song! As a child, I ran across my mom's Tom Lehrer records; bits and pieces have stuck with me ever since :-)

    I am only about 30 words further than quite some time ago--although more of the Christmas decorations are up, a Powerpoint presentation for school chapel on Thursday (and, I hope, the family service on 12/27...sort of an illustrated Christmas hymn singalong) is well underway, and another load of laundry is done--so I am not doing well. I just realized that when I go to the optometrist in 30 minutes, she'll want to dilate my eyes, and that will probably slow me down when I come home. Looks like I'll be joining the late night crew!

  61. I am in need of an idea for a children's sermon tomorrow -- either on Zephaniah 3:14-20, or just a general advent one. My brain is fried, and I'm out of ideas. Can anyone help?

    I brought homemade cheddar beer bread and potato chowder as a blatant bribe!

  62. Hey everyone...I just found out that my daughter's dog, the one pictured on this post, is having sudden onset bladder/kidney issues...she spent hours at the vet, and a lot of money too...hoping, praying he will be OK..

  63. knittinpreacher, try the children's message idea at I saw it the other day and thought it was really good!

  64. Praying for all of your preparation, and for Margaret and Matt. I have pretzel turtles on offer. :)

  65. semfem, you saved the day! Thanks!!

  66. I only have 600 words so far. I figured I might go a little short tomorrow since I am coughing up a lung. But at the same time I really do like the text and have so much more I wish to say.Almost
    Heisman trophy time. Here we go

  67. I only have 600 words so far. I figured I might go a little short tomorrow since I am coughing up a lung. But at the same time I really do like the text and have so much more I wish to say.Almost
    Heisman trophy time. Here we go.
    Any favorites out there?

  68. You're welcome, knittinpreacher!

    1218 words, and I think I might actually be done, but I'm not really happy with it. It sort of falls apart at the end (right after I lost momentum and stopped for supper). But at least it is something, and at least I should get a decent night's sleep tonight.

    Off to do something else for a while, then come back and take another whack at shaping up that ending.

  69. OK. After a few edits, I hit "print", making homemade meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, and steamed brussel sprouts for dinner. Hungry anyone?

  70. Well, I believe I have handled the snakes, and I have posted a draft. I hope I'll still like it in the morning.
    Now, to make brownies. I'd offer to share, but they have to be sold at my daughter's concert tomorrow.

  71. bearing worthy fruit! what a great title!

    I'm back briefly from the lessons and carols festival at my husband's church. I'm all sneezy and cold-y (yuck), wish I could stay home tomorrow!

    but, we're going back out for a bit. I'll check in later.

  72. Just catching up on the other comments. Mompriest, I hope the doggie is okay!

  73. Oh Mompriest - so sorry about doggie. I hope everything is resolved well and soon.

    We are still adjusting to our newly diabetic kitteh. He's doing fine. I'm struggling with giving him the needle, but I know it's good for him. He doesn't mind it at all and he LOVES his new diabetic (read: expensive) food. He already knows after only a few days that the needle means the good food.

    As for the sermon - meh. Not my best, but I can live with it. I'm preaching mostly about Mary and Elizabeth and their strength. Mostly I'm going with how forward the writer of Luke was in depicting such strong women in the birth narrative and offering up our own opportunities to mirror their courage.

  74. I'm back from Christmas shopping (almost done. . .) and a very important conversation with a significant other. Now it is on to final edits and then it is on to crunching numbers. Putting an offer on a house next week. I often find myself amazed to discover that I do, indeed, have a life.

    Glad to see so many of you are finished. Blessings and prayers on your worship tomorrow!

  75. This is the only place I knew to post this and hopefully some will pass along the message. I went to Cheesehead's blog today and found it was gone. I hope she knows she will be missed and is my prayers.

  76. Someone mind picking me up some molasses while you're out? I went to bake cookies and promptly ran out. Frustrating, since I just went to the grocery store last night.

    Back to take one final whack at this we go...

  77. 1,121 words and I am in need of a stellar closing. Just dont have it in me.
    I wish I could end a sermon like Fred Craddock that leave you hanging in the air. But, he has been at this a bit longer than me and he is Fred Craddock afterall.

  78. Ugh. Just finished. About, oh, three hours later than I wanted to. Not my best, but it's done. The last time I preached I wore a crown and used props and made jokes, so this one had no chance of living up to that anyway!

    Still have some parsnip, potato & celeriac soup with rosemary & olive oil bread if anyone's hungry...

  79. Some late night additions to the party, welcome!

    Semfem - here's your mocha latte, sorry I didn't catch the need for molasses earlier...

    I too am praying for cheese - and sorry she took down her blog...but I really do understand the impulse to do so...

    1-4 Grace - I've often thought that we need to create a blog that just holds stella endings for sermons...that is always the place my sermons fail...and of course the one place they ought not...hope you get your ending!

    tea and chocolate chip cookies anyone (homemade)...?

  80. 1_4 - - talk about hacking up a lung. That was me last week. I had a sort of nagging cough all week, but didn't think anything of it Sunday morning when I woke up feeling just fine. By the middle of page 2 of my 10 page sermon (2 double-spaced, 16 pt font, don't everyone have a heart attack) I knew I had to cough. It never ended. In the middle of page 3 I begged someone to get me water. I coughed about every 3 sentences after that and preached with my eyes full of water and the thought in my head - - "Someone just shoot me. Someone just shoot me." It was horrible. My advice: take water with you tomorrow and if a hard candy or cough drop or whatever will help in the back of your mouth do it, too. I will tomorrow even though I'm pretty sure I'm all better. No messing around anymore.

    semfem - - Holy cow! You did it! Congrats. I'm pretty excited to just be here at the computer at 9:15 with no TV on. Praise God college football season is practically over. That was ROUGH for my sermon writing and sleep!

    So, now I'm here to write. My husband's clip making worked perfectly so far. I'll remain a little nervous until we try it on the system at church, but I think all systems are go for "The Gospel According to Peanuts" (Hmmmmm...too bad someone already stole that one). Now I just need to write a sermon to go around these 2 1/2 minutes of Charlie Brown (total in 2 clips that is).

  81. She Rev, you can handle that sermon, no problem. Especially since you already know what you are going to say, just weaving it in and out of the clips. And because your idea inspired Teri, so you can read her sermon to get some reverse inspiration. :)

    Mompriest, thanks for the mocha, and no worries about the molasses. I had enough for making cookies tonight, I just need more because there are more cookies to make.

    I just rewrote my ending and tweaked things throughout the's at 1305 words, and I think that sounds just fine. Need to write a few prayers for tomorrow and then I can shower and sleep. YAY!

  82. Funny, semfem. I was just thinking that about Teri's. I provide the inspiration; she provides the sermon. It's teamwork.

  83. SheRev, would you post the link to that second clip (Linus and the great joy part)? I'm not using the actual multi-media approach, though I sure envy you doing so, but I'd like to at least watch it before I quote it. A lot of Charlie Brown around tomorrow, thanks to you!

  84. Sure, Betsy. I meant to do it in the original post, but I realized after that I only linked the first one. Here it is. It's really just the scripture, but Charlie Brown has his little tirade "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" at the beginning.

  85. well friends, the party has been delightful! Many blessings on all the preaching tomorrow...and, last one up, get the lights? night...

  86. I'll get 'em, Mompriest. I promise.

  87. Sherev, I learned from last year. I always have water and cough drops and tissues.
    There is also a roll of duck tape on the little pulpit shelf thingy. I am nto sure what it is for, it was there when I came.
    I have not coughed much lately, but I never know when that tickle will hit. Plus, the throat is scratchy as heck. I feel like I swallowed a handfull of cotton.
    Anyhow, sermon is done, not a great ending, but it worked into my theme.
    I am almost done with my physical therapy for today. i have two exercises left to do, but have to be at the kitchen table.
    Watching the news first and then the last two table exer. and then to bed, I hope

  88. Okay, I wrote my prayers, now to watch the news, print things, shower, and sleep. I'll sign off for tonight. Hang in there She Rev--at least we both personally know the Holy Spirit is alive and well into the wee hours. :)

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation tomorrow.

  89. For any who are still awake - - I just posted a picture of one of my daughter's nativity set arrangements from today. Cracked me up.

  90. Oh my goodness. A friend just posted this HYSTERICAL parody of Rob Bell's Nooma videos. Had to share.

  91. The sermon is done except for printing. Still need to do the prayers. Saw "Invictus" - great show! Found 4 geocaches ( tonight since the sermon was done way earlier than normal.

  92. Notice, that even with geocaching, I'm still here earlier than normal, too. Maybe I'll sleep longer than usual for a Saturday night

  93. I understand Cheese removing blog too ... do hope she'll let us know if/when she starts a new one ... and meantime, like Kristen, hope you'll give her the message that she's missed already!

  94. She Rev, I love the line up! Thanks for posting a late night laugh for those of us who are still struggling.

    Thanks, too, for the other link. I probably have most of a sermon; I simply need to commit to wrapping it up. It is short, which is good, and not great, which is not; however, at this point my greater concern is whether my voice will have returned by tomorrow morning. At the moment, I have no more than a throaty whisper. Perfect if I wanted to make some prank phone calls, but not for preaching!

    My verification word is "selling" which seems appropriate.

  95. Not that anyone's counting or anything ... but we're near 100 comments

  96. Oh I'm counting. I'm also counting the words in my sermon and after sitting here for over 2 hours it seems beyond ridiculous that I have less than our post count.

  97. I'm totally counting. I'm staying up too late (it's 1130 here) just to see if we get to 100 (and to help a little!). I made a few brief edits, got the powerpoint person to do the Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas video (but not without a fight that involved facebook defriending), and am contemplating also using the clip from the beginning of the charlie brown christmas--rather than just talking about it. We'll see how it goes.

    Jesus' birthday party was a huge success--22 kids, many games played, crafts made, songs sung, stories told, cake eaten....good times. Am a little concerned about how much shouting over the shouting I had to do tonight and hope against hope to still have a voice tomorrow. Three services, one meeting, two youth groups, and confirmation class to go tomorrow. sigh. I can't wait for monday. (you'll never hear those words come out of anyone else's mouth than a preacher's!)

  98. This is my last contribution of the night. Blessings on your Sunday

  99. in half an hour we only got to 99? LOL.

    happy sleeping, friends. May there be joy in your advent preaching!

  100. woo, long night. This is the latest I have ever stayed up. And guess what I'm comment 100.

    Blessings to all.

    BTW, my word verification is glinomi. yes I feel very glinomi tonight.

  101. Finally done here, too. Simply stopped.

    Blessings on those up later than I!

    I'll sign off with the word (?) "bluilli" which is how I feel...

  102. just stopping with a case of insomnia....sigh...but looks like I'm here by myself hoping sleep hits and I get some rest before I have to be up in 4 hours...sigh

  103. Oops. Found this post unsent when I just arrived back at the computer.

    OK. I guess I'll sign off, too. Turning those lights off, but I'll leave the hall one on for anyone who may still need to sneak around. I've got about half of it typed up (in sentences this time) and know where the second half goes, so I'm heading to bed for a pretty good long (for me on a Saturday night) sleep. I'll be back around 4:45 my time!

    Blessings on all who are heading to bed and those who are already there!

  104. Who needs coffee? I have a fresh pot!
    (No I'm not really as lively as that exclamation point suggests.)

  105. Hey, Y'all! Blessings to each of you as you preach this morning!

  106. Thanks SB!!
    Hi St. Cass!
    And as usual the late night crew is cracking me up! I finished with a 1262 and still hacking away. I;l drink tons of water before I go "on."
    Just saw a pal's post on Spacehook. He has early worship. Ugh... Tyhanks be to god for service that begins at 11. As he is about to go "on." I am still in my p.j.'s and eating oatmeal. I'll be at church by 9:15. I finally learned arriving at 830 did nothing for me. We are tiny and nobody shows up until 9:50 or so.
    Word verf is "stergeo" nice name for a kitty or maybe a froggy!

  107. Oh cool!!!! "Stergeo" is one of the four Greek words for love.
    This one is translated as "natural affection." Seeing as I have a natural affection for froggies, I like it. Plus in spite of gender of the word in Greek, it works as a boy or girl name for a froggy.
    So, my new frog shall be called, Stergeo. :)


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