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Saturday, August 07, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Comfort and Challenge Edition

Good morning, gals and pals!  Well, we are in the "dog days" of August officially now, lwhich usually means that it is hot and humid where I am.  (But, why do they call them "dog days" anyway?)  It's vacation season for a lot of us, and yet, Sunday keeps coming around, with  texts that are comforting and challenging.  "It is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!"  "Number the stars!"  "Sell your possessions!"  "Be dressed for action!" (this is just a sample)  Is it either/or?  Both/and?

Well, you get the idea.  An early discussion of the texts and some creative ideas are featured here

I have my famous blueberry pancakes to share, and fair trade coffee, fresh orange juice, and tea for you non-coffee drinkers out there.  Let's start out with a good breakfast, some lively conversation.  What are you preaching on?  Hebrews?  Isaiah?  Are you in need of a children's sermon?

And why DO they call them dog days, anyway?


  1. Hebrews is the text.

    And I have more to say about Dog Days than I do about the Hebrews text at this moment

    "Dog Days" are associated with Sirius, the dog star. That's all I've got which is more than I've got for a sermon.

    But I have *plenty* of time, right?

  2. Hebrews here as well... but I'd written the sermon earlier in the week and now looking at it, hmmm, I'm not happy with it. So, will I have the faith that it'll be okay, or will I have the faith to tear it up and start again?
    Off to have breakfast by the harbour-side and work out which side of the faith coin will be flipped... oh... actually that's a thought.
    Will drop in later folks, let the inspiring thoughts abound for all of us :)

  3. Luke here with a touch of Hebrews and a healthy dollop of tee-ball. I think I'm going to try to get the tee-ball illustration to gel over on my blog. I'm hoping the fact that we taught the kids to get into the 'ready' position will correlate into something genius.

    I do like that this passage seems to be telling us to be prepared to receive God's blessing, rather than curse. Next week's not so much. :(

    Diane, what a beautiful spread - YUM!

  4. Welcome, vicar, Nik, and Kathrynzj! Yes, it's pancakes. glad you like them! Vicar, thanks for the "dog days" info....might corrolate with "number the stars", eh?

    Nik, will be waiting to find out the answer on Hebrews.... tweak or have faith in it?

    Kathryn, I like what you're talking about. I'm working with the idea of "being dressed for action" right now....

  5. I'm doing Hebrews. I regret it already. I got nothing and hope that inspiration strikes soon.

  6. *grins*
    tweaked - wrote a new intro. Realised I'd set the whole thing up poorly... started with an unhelpful question to be deliberately provocative and realised I didn't actually need to do that! It jarred because I realised deep-down that I was just trying to be a smartypants. Lesson learned. :)

    So, it's on the nature of faith, and is thinking about the clash of science and faith, positing that it's an odd argument as we approach the thing from entirely different starting points. Truth is more than just a 'fact'... etc.
    Faith is not about 'fact' otherwise you don't need to have faith.

    Kathryn - tee-ball... in the church? How's the insurance for the windows? ;)

    Coffee anyone?

  7. It's just a verbal illustration, no bats or balls required.

    Morning focus time is done for me. Mom and I are meeting a friend for lunch and I am riding my bike there which means I need to get going! Then The Boy will be dropped off and our day will go from there! Bike paths? Dog park? Who knows!

    I will see some of you later (Vicar...) ;)

  8. Hi, y'all~
    I am on Day 7 of Heap Week, recovering from the busy month of July by doing as little as possible. I am thinking of you today and beginning to ponder my sermon for the 15th. Those texts are not very friendly for a candidating weekend! I am awaiting an email from my new church's VBS person, hoping I can create something that connects to their theme, since the VBS families are invited to the service, too. Not the best day for unpacking the division they experienced during their transition, even if they did come out well in the end. Not much I can do until I get that email, however, so what can I get for you at the Farmer's Market? Corn? Tomatoes? A bouquet of encouraging flowers?

  9. Songbird, I just realized that I'm preaching on the 15th too. and that's about as far as I've gotten.

    Nik, glad you tweaked :). sounds good.

    Susan -- stick around and I hope inspiration strikes!

    I'm about 2/3s done and need to get back to it right after breakfast. very tired from being the only one around all summer. I had hoped we would have an interim by now (in fact, I was assured that this would be the case.)

    will need a children's message too.

  10. Hebrews for me too...although since I began the sermon last week BEFORE I drove across country (again) I have to now review it and see if "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”... is still what I want to reflect on...

  11. Let's start with what's important - a little turkey sausage to go with your pancakes - really good if you put syrup on the sausage too. I'm preaching Hebrews and Luke. The first line of the hymn "Trust and Obey" keeps running through my head.

    I'm with Nik, preaching a sermon on faith requires a certain amount of faith! Honestly this is a sermon that I had to preach to myself before I could write it. Anxiety has been my constant companion since before I started my new appointment on July 1. Not being afraid, depending on God, and expecting God's great work in the future have not come naturally to me of late, so I had to ask myself some hard questions before I can stand up and preach this.

    Unless I throw out everything that poured out between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m. this morning, I'm simply going to walk through the steps I went through to examine my own life and the life of our church in light of these texts. Since I didn't get the bulletin done yet, my title can be flexible. I'm using the exhortation to get dressed down to lace up shoes as an illustration so I might use "Put Your Shoes On" for my title, or I may go with "Trust, Obey, AND Expect!" As for children's time, I'm thinking of taking a lucky rabbit's foot, birthday candles, and crossing my fingers, and talking about the fun of those and about praying "Thy will be done" = "Do what's best for me and the world, God."

    My this was long. Sorry. Thanks for letting me let it all out!

  12. Supply preaching this weekend in a nearby town that has come to know me very well in the last few years. Many friends in the congregation. I'm going to be video taping the sermon for search committees.

    I'm preaching on the Hebrews text and am a little overwhelmed about the many different directions I can go with this, but I think I am going to start with a story I heard last night on PBS Newshour about those who have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks and how they are losing faith that they will ever find a job, transition to the story of Abram/Abraham and then finish with what it means to have faith/hope/doubt/uncertainty....

    We'll see how it goes.

  13. BTW Kathrynzj, your comment on ask the matriarchs about not sacrificing your family on the altar of a really good sermon spoke to me. Gave me permission to decide a sermon is good enough. Thanks.

  14. Anyone preaching Luke? Tomorrow we have one of the church leaders preaching a short meditation from Hebrews and I'm doing the "2nd meditation" from Luke. I came up with a crazy(?) meditation while sitting at a coffee shop yesterday. It starts with "What do you do when someone gives you too many tomatoes?"

    I need to see if its too crazy to preach. But first, a walk b/c its too nice not to enjoy this day. I start vacation after this Sunday! But the H&H "dog days" come back so today would be the day to be off and play golf. But there's this sermon and worship...

    I want to use This little light for children's message but not sure how, ideas?

  15. welcome to all again! I thought I posted something here, but I guess I didn't. oh well, maybe it was for the best.

    I'm preaching on "being dressed for action" vs. "it is God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom.... and dressed for action is ready to be God's person in every aspect of our lives.

    at least, that's what I think I'm doing.

    still waiting for an interim sr. here, too.

  16. Good morning pals,

    Preaching on Hebrews as well. I'm going to have special musical guests tommorrow so my sermon will be on the short side. I think it's harder to write a 10 minute sermon than it is to write a 20 minute. Have to get to the point quickly and concisely and yet have an illustration that can touch the hearts of the congregation.

    Pretty tall order.

  17. Nancy -- I'm doing Luke, been preaching from the gospel all summer. I think I have a sermon, but I'm not done.

    I am intrigued by your idea and hope you post it!

    I'm here to pour a little coffee this am.

    Jeff -- also, as you prepare, you're in our prayers. I like your beginning, if that helps at all...

  18. Hi Guys!
    I'm preaching for the first time in a month--between vacation and some guest preachers, I've been out of the pulpit for many weeks. It's slow going!
    Just finished a wedding sermon (for a 4:30 wedding) and am hoping to get some mojo for tomorrow's sermon.

    I'm preaching Luke. Just back from a conference on stewardship and generosity. I imagine that will factor in. But for now it's coffee and staring at a blank computer screen, waiting for that strike of inspiration.

  19. I am liturgist tomorrow. Am brewing up some coffee - plenty to share: Mackinaw Island Fudge flavored.

    In my readings this morning, I found this quote by St. Basil on the Lukan passage:

    "What is the mark of a Christian? It is to watch daily and hourly and to stand prepared in that state of total responsiveness pleasing to God, knowing that the Lord will come at an hour that he (or she) does not expect."

    I think that works with t-ball and any number of other illustrations. What does it mean to be marked by watchfulness?

  20. Mid-Life, thanks. My friend in seminary said it to me and it has kept my priorities in check on more than on Saturday afternoon.

    Bike ride complete with limited sermon work done in my head (too many hills, too out of breath) - next is hanging out with The Boy.

    BUT... I am confident that this thing will come together.
    No really... I am.

    Here's a Niebuhr quote if it will help anyone... probably won't help with a children's sermon:
    Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.--Reinhold Niebuhr

  21. Supply preaching here in our town. For the first time in 13 years of marriage and 11 years of ministry, hubby and I will be preaching in the same town!

    As this was a late-notice occasion, I'm ditching the lectionary and re-working an old sermon on Psalm 139.

    Here is my question: can I say "nose-picker" in this situation? I'm moderately familiar with the congregation and I *think* it would be ok...I'd appreciate your thoughts.

    And Rev Nancy Fitz: is it even possible for someone to give you too many tomatoes? Yum.

  22. oo, Ill take a pancake. and also a sausage. but no syrup as I'm trying to cut down on sugar. yikes.

    wow, lots of stuff going on. good luck to all pondering sermons in a new or different setting.

    kj - good quote! thanks!

    esper - I for one would love to hear a sermon abotu psalm 139 that included the word nosepicker.

    we are all higgletypigglety lectionary-wise in my congregation this summer so I am actually preaching on LAST week's Luke passage. Theme = gratitude for the abundance of the present, with examples from the headline about Richest Families Donating Most of their Wealth, and something about that show Cash Cab.

    That's all I got so far, and I have 2 parties today and a pedicure date with my 8 year old god-daughter, (we found a place with one of those little kid chairs! fun!) so not sure how it's all gonna come together, but I've got about an hour now to write and will check in later.

  23. Maybe not too many tomatoes, but you can definitely get too many zucchinis. even though I love zucchini.

    Welcome Esperanza, Rev Irrev, and Sarah! More coffee?

    I love the quotes!

    I'm still not done with my sermon (heavy sigh). procrastinating. need it by 5 this p.m.!

    just found out I have a funeral next week, prob Tuesday or Wednesday.

  24. I reworked an old sermon. This was a wild week and I don't even know why or how! Anyway, I would love comments from wiser, perhaps clearer heads. I concentrate on Hebrews with a dash of Luke.

    I don't suppose there is anyone who doesn't have enough tomatoes? My vines are running over!

  25. welcome Margaret! I'll try to be over when I'm done, in a little while!

  26. kathrynjz, I love the Niebuhr quote. Now I have to figure out where to work it into my sermon!

  27. My title is clutterd spaces, hearts minds and spirits. Sounded good when I first thought about it, but now... ok maybe it will work. Hope everyone is having a great day

  28. Esperanza, I plan to preach on Ps 139 in 2 weeks, let's hear the nosepicker lines...
    What DO you do with too many tomatoes? Cook a big meal? Can them? Give them away? dunno if this is going to fly, but now that unplanned trip to grocery store is done, I've got to put it down and see.
    will advise, and I have a BIG watermelon that I need more people to help eat!

  29. Just for the record, I would like to point out that the LEctionary readings this August are horrible readings to preach in a new setting where you don't know the people and vice versa.

    That out of the way. I am doing Isaiah this week and asking if/when God hates our worship. Next week is Jesus' Family Values.

    It is my belief that worship itself isn't the problem. It is when we make worship, or some part of it, into an idol. It is when we mistake ritual for action, going to church with being the church. In the end it all comes down to idolatry doesn't it, idolatry and priorities.

  30. Hi gals and pals! Jules popping in here (formerly known by another blog name)just to say hi to all the preachers.

    I'm not preaching, although I had an invitation to supply that, for complicated reasons, I had to turn down. We are spending the day in some unexpected ways, since we thought we were having guests today, and sadly we are not.

    We are tackling some difficult projects that are unbloggable but stem from my most complicated relationship right now--that with my 23 year old.

    I miss you all every Saturday. Blessings on the Word you will bring.


  31. OK, it's really a nosepicker story. Sixth grade, square dancing unit in PE, who gets assigned to be my partner? Brandon the notorious nosepicker, infamous for picking his boogers and then eating them (I am leaving this part out b/c I can't say it without cracking up) since at least second grade. Brandon thereby decided that I was his (horror of horrors) friend and was there every time I turned around. Just like God in Psalm 139.

    I'll say it a little better than that, but that's it in a nutshell. The last time I used this story, I couldn't quite keep from giggling, maybe I can keep a straight face this time.

    And who thought 6th graders wanted to learn how to square dance, of all things?

  32. Oooh also love the Niebuhr quote Kathryn... I may save it for another time tho' as about to print off the service and sermon and then cook dinner.
    Bread and butter pudding for dessert: do help youselves...

    Jules - glad you dropped in... miss you 'round these here parts.

  33. Esperanza, I LOVE that story... and Jules, we miss you, too. really.

    And Nancy -- I'm really really hungry, so I'd love some of that watermelon (it's about 90% humidity here, after some rain, so watermelon sounds heavenly!)

    sermon's done, except last couple of sentences may need to be tweaked.

    children's message, kinda.

    funeral service set: Wednesday at 11:00.

    will be back a little later to check in and to practice. for my "early edition" sermon.

  34. hi jules! ok, back from hosp visit - off to pick up some lunch and then maybe I'll see you back here. i'll either be back in an hour or so, or much later.

  35. detoured for lunch (Schlotzky's), new anti-viral software (mine expires today), and looking at iPhones (have to give up my phone through conference office by end of August.) Next, install said software, then type sermon outline adding as I go.

  36. I'm late to the party and getting a really late start too! I wanted to get my sermon done yesterday, but someone in a red SUV decided not to stop when I stopped (and then KEPT ON accelerating, pushed my car out of the way and KEPT GOING!!!). Fortunately, after 4 hours in ER, the only human damage was a case of whiplash.

    Anyway, I am boldly going where I've never been before, supplying at a congregation near the camp where my son is spending the next week. A bit of fortunate scheduling that will save us some gas money!

    I thought I might talk about how our posessions own us - a subject I've been pondering since having to move last week. But this morning I was thinking about the opening in the Luke reading, Bon Jovi's 'Living on a Prayer' popped in my head (thanks Holy Spirit!!!). So, I'm using the chorus as structure as I talk about our culture's emphasis on taking care of self first vs. Jesus' teaching that God had our backs and now we are free to give stuff away, take risks, and love. Instead of living on a prayer, we Christians are living the Lord's Prayer.

    Well that's the general idea. We'll just have to see how it goes. I may even sing the chorus in the pulpit. After all, what fun is supply preaching if you can't take a few risks with a congregation that will probably never see you again!

    I'm internet limited, so this is my only check-in today. Blessings and may the Spirit blow inspiration you way as you continue sermonating!

  37. hi! I'm back to practice for 5:00 p.m., make calls re: Wednesday's funeral.

    Also, I'm at your service. Anyone need anything?

  38. Very rough draft here. I've been having a fun week going through my old things. I used a bit of a verbetim from CPE (shudders) to write this sermon. Please take a look here and leave comments.

    Now I'm off to a BBQ.

  39. Very rough draft here. I've been having a fun week going through my old things. I used a bit of a verbetim from CPE (shudders) to write this sermon. Please take a look here and leave comments.

    Now I'm off to a BBQ.

  40. Just checking in for the first time...I wrote a draft based on the Luke passage on Thursday afternoon, and have avoided returning to it. Puppy School, errands,(new shoes!!!), lunch out and a big fat nap have consumed my day.
    sigh. Gotta get with it!

  41. Ramona: OMG! I'm glad you are okay...hope you're able to deal with the car easily too.
    I think your sermon idea sounds great!

  42. hey, G_G, I'll take a look as soon as I'm done with worship tonight.

    how is everyone doing?

    Is it going to be a late night?

  43. Ramona, I'm going to write down one of your sentences, the "God had our backs" one... inspired!

    So glad you are okay! are you sure that SUV wasn't a Toyota? scary.

  44. Sermon, check. and posted at my place.
    Worship complete, thanks to inspiration on the prayers from Life Prayers, (Roberts and Amidon)
    Now for dinner and cracking open that Watermelon I've been promising y'all.

    Hang in there preachers.

  45. wow Ramona, glad you are ok. how very scary.

  46. Ramona - phew!

    We're back from a busy day and dinner is on the way. The Boy appears to be headed to an early bedtime so hopefully I can follow suit... probably not, but we'll see.

    Off to plug away a bit while waiting for dinner.

  47. this sermon is just not coming along. Yikes! In the meantime, anyone have children's message ideas for the Hebrews text?

  48. Ok. This has been, is, a totally crazy, wacked out day....whoa...but I have a draft of a sermon which I have posted so I can look at it from another persepctive. You can read Things Unknown and, really comments appreciated!

  49. hi, I'm back from the early edition service and ready to host the evening edition of the preacher party?

    What do you need?

    Pizza? Burgers? Inspiration?

    My children's message is going to be continuing on prayer, which I have done off and on all summer.

    Thanks to an idea from someone here several weeks ago.

    let me know what you need!

  50. Pizza please. It's been a calorie burning day - which is good - but I am HUNGRY! :)

  51. "dog days cover the hottest period of summer, from july 3 to august 11 when the weather is sultry and the air dates back to the roman times when it was believed that Sirius, the dog star, added its heat to that of the sun during this period, creating the exceptionally high temperatures..."
    - from "dogwatching" by desmond morris

    probably not useful in a sermon... but who knows. could be a good intro, and then you could transition to the question, "so what's adding heat in your life these days?" and then tie it into no m atter how heated it gets... luke asks us to remain faithful... er something like that.

  52. okay, pizza it is! and also a summer salad with blueberries and strawberries as well.

    HotCup, I like your, um, creativity.

    I'm calling re: the funeral Wednesday and working on the children's message.

    so, I'll be around for awhile.

    anyone for brownies?

  53. i'll take pizza and salad with blueberries, thanks! yummm

    just back and reading an old (1960s era) yet decent book on parables i found in the church library.

  54. Pizza sounds really good. I have leftover meatloaf, gravy, local green beans, and mashed potatoes to share.

    I just am not getting into this sermon. It feels old and boring, even with the nose picker. Wishing I had just written a new one...

  55. Good grief, I am just hating my call to ministry tonight - seems that my world has narrowed to writing sermons and putting out fires. Drawing strength and courage from all of you.

  56. My afternoon was hijacked by a migraine that I am still fighting. But I've got to get a sermon together. I did find an old one that can be tweeked but looking at the screen is kinda tough. This might be a long night.

  57. Diane, I meant to say, I love that picture of Scout!
    Sam is snoring away on the rug. I'm reading a book on my Kindle. My daughter is out at a contra dance and my goal is to stay awake until she gets home, though there is a low likelihood of success.
    Anonymous, I'm praying for you, and for all of you who are preaching this weekend.

  58. Hey I'll take a slice of pizza. Would anyone like any rootbeer?

    Going to bed now, I have to be at church super early to help the band set up. I never learned in seminary how to be a groupie. God bless my church's sound system.


    I'm starting over again. For the third time. I will never, ever wait this long again.

    Praying for a sermon and a children's sermon by midnight!

  60. oh, sko. hugs and hershey's kisses and sharp pencils coming your way.

    fyi, I am doing this, for my childrens time on greed:
    at last! a use for one of the 5947 vases hanging around the church! I keep throwing them away, but they keep multiplying. anyone else have this problem?

  61. Songbird, thanks! it's my new favorite picture of Scout. she looks so ... eager to please, maybe?

    anonymous, I'm praying for you. I know we are. I know you're not alone. We've all had moments like this.

    And all who are writing and all who are struggling, we're still hear with love and brownies.

    me, I'm coloring. Yes, it's the children's sermon.

  62. Anonymous, peace be with you. Truly.

    Still marching along, about to cave in and turn the a/c back on.

  63. Well no further developments on sermon since this a.m. but if you are looking for a place to get away for your 30th anniversary or other reasons, you can book here where they offer significant clergy discounts. Or, if you are looking for an easy to use antivirus program you can buy
    this on sale for half off.
    If you need your home office straightened up, or your bulletins typed you'll have to do that yourself because now after all of that, I have to finish my sermon. Blessings to all of you.

  64. P.S. Anybody want muffins? All I have in the house to bake is muffin mix. Blueberry or Orange Cranberry.

  65. ooo, midlife rookie, that looks NICE! I hope you have a lovely anniversary celebration.

    how's everyone doing?

  66. mid-life, 'that' was funny.

    Now if you will excuse me I need to go hang my head over the duct where the sweet a/c is coming through. Seriously, why was I channeling my Dad when it came to turning it back on?

  67. Prayers for anonymous.

    I'm signing out for the evening. Recycled sermon is printed and ready to go. I guess. Hopefully I won't goof up anything too badly in the morning. How is it that every church I go to does the offering different, anyway? The trials and tribulations of the supply preacher.

    Good luck to the party-ers.

  68. blueberry muffins.

    that's all I'm going to say.

    need to wind things up for the evening.

    but, I'll be back.

  69. Ummmm, just realized I'm about a page shorter than I thought I was. Huh.

    Might be relying on the ol' no one complained about a short sermon vibe for tomorrow.

  70. no soul saved after 20 minutes, that's what I always say. the folk love a short sermon, esp in the summer.

  71. evidently, I am never going to get above 1000 words tongiht, just to illustrate my point about the short sermon, btw.

  72. This is crazy, but I'm going to bed. The morning will hopefully shed some light and some depth.

    Peace friends and remember if you've got a dog, walk it proud.

  73. Kathryn -- you took the words right out of my mouth!

    I have a couple more hands to "color" and then I'm going to bed.

    I'll leave the light on, though.

    And remember, the Holy Spirit has your back...

  74. goodnight everyone - still light out here and i'm still pecking away - finally have a head of if you are still up out there in sermonland, you have a companion in me.

  75. I'm still fighting the migraine but I'm no longer fighting the sermon.

    As soon as I finish up with prayers and printing, I'm taking "knock out" meds and going to bed.

    To the night owls yet to appear: see you in a couple of weeks. Sorry I can't hang in with you tonight. I know you can make it.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  76. This night owl is checking in to say hello and good night. I didn't even start writing until way too late...bad habit, even though I've been thinking about the sermon all week.
    But, there's Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream over here for a quick snack before bed.
    Prayers for all.

  77. Going to bed. Sermon partially typed, will finish early in the morning or in the wee hours if I wake up as I often do. HS has each of our backs. Short or long, someone will hear what they need to hear and be grateful, someone will hear what they need to hear and not recognize the need, someone will hear something they'll need later and the seed will be planted, and someone will hear something and pass it on to someone else. I'm preaching to myself tomorrow and letting the congregation listen in. Sometimes those are the best sermons.

  78. I was never the night-owl crowd (as CH), but now this out-of-work preacher can come cheer all y'all on who bring on the late shift!

    "Go preachers! Go preachers!"

  79. Do you think the big time Head of Staff I had growing up, worried about the quality of his sermon upon returning from vacation.

    Oh wait... he didn't go on vacation.

    Blessings upon you all this morning.

  80. just up to encourage everyone -- I'm relying on the Holy Spirit today -- how about you?


  81. I didn't check in last night --- SKO if you still need a children's message; I'm talking about the hall of fame -- big induction weekend and all. That's about all I've got, the rest will be determined by the kids (and whether I have the 2&3 YOs and/ or the 9&10 YOs)


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