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Saturday, January 15, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: What are You Looking For Edition

Good morning, gals and pals!  I'm here to welcome you, feed you, ply you with coffee for the preacher party today.  I'll admit that the way things have shaken out this week, it turned out that I am not preaching, but I retain a fascination for the texts, and I'm looking forward to our conversation today.

So, what are you looking for?  I love this question from the gospel of John.  The two disciples are following Jesus (I wonder how far behind him they were) and he turns around and asks them, "What are you looking for?"

It didn't give me an idea for a sermon, but it gave me an idea for this post:  what are you looking for today?  Are you looking for a direction for your sermon still?  Are you looking for a story, an illustration?  Are you looking for a children's message?  Are you looking for the right words for a particular situation in your congregation or your own life?  What are you looking for?

There a a lot of possible themes in our lessons this weekend.  I loved the discussion on Tuesday, and the reminder of God's claim on our lives, no matter who we are.  And there was lots of food for thought on Monday as well, as we pondered faithful responses in times of tragedy.

The texts for this week are here.

I have blueberry pancakes, fair trade coffee (how about toffee caramel?) and cinnamon tea.

What are you looking for?

135 comments:

  1. Woo hoo! I'm not often first, but I'm up working on my sermon and have been checking back way too often to see if the post was here yet.

    Now it is, and I'm on it! Thanks, Diane! I've got more than I should to do tomorrow, so I think it'll go better if I knock out the sermon tonight even if it means the short sleep I usually get on Saturday night. Hopefully, more inspiration will arrive soon. I've got a general outline with a great deal of help from the Journey with Jesus blog/webzine/whatever you call it, but I have to bring this all to tie in somehow with the 5th anniversary of our new building. I'm not fired up about this "celebration" in general, but I'm trying to both fake it a little and turn it into something I can get behind (a celebration not of the bricks and mortar, but of the renewed spirit and sharing of diverse gifts that has taken place in the last five years). There will be a challenge to get outside of ourselves and our building, to view it not as an end, but on the means to a higher, dare I say eternal, end. Just a couple of hours ago the chair of the old building committee sent me an article he wrote for the church newsletter when they moved into the building that said a lot of this, too. I'll probably quote from him.

    Anyway, I'm working with 1 Cor 1:1-9 and something about the diversity of blessings/gifts and calling. We'll see.

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  2. Well, I didn't knock the whole thing out, but I've got about 1000 words so far, and I think that's a decent start. I think it will go somewhere soon. I'm heading to bed and then off to a regional women's group planning meeting. Trying to get excited about it, but that hasn't happened yet. (Gee, I sound like a Scrooge today, don't I?)

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  3. Diane, thanks for hosting - and for posting early. I thought I'd got a good start on the sermon at the beginning of the week - focussing on John's gospel and JEsus' "come and see" invitation.
    Then tragedy struck our community - a tragedy that has affected lots of our schoolchildren, so I have spent the rest of the week working with the school community. Now I have a dilemma - how much to let that affect the preaching or whether to acknowledge in some other way. Oh and we also celebrate baptism, so don't want to dampen that celebration. After breakfast - english breakfast tea and toasted bacon sandwich, I'm going for a walk to see if anything shakes into place. Wet and windy day so that should help!
    Both Monday's and Tuesdays posts are helping me immensely. I'll be back here later for more sustenance. Blessings revgals.

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  4. Welcome, SheRev and Liz! Glad the early posting helps.

    Just between you and me, posting early also helps me not to forget to post at all.

    For some reason I ended up going to bed early, and now I'm up already. (need coffee?)

    I do have a breakfast Bible study at 8, and will need to shovel before I go, so actually, I'm not up THAT early.

    And SheRev, we will probably be in THAT town sometime this afternoon.

    again, we will probably miss each other.

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  5. This has been a wild week and I am just now catching up with RevGals. I'll go read Tuesday's postings in a minute.
    I'm going to talk about John the Baptist's pointing Jesus out to people, how there continued to be followers of JtB long after Jesus was baptized - some say even into gospeller John's time. Somehow, this is going to lead to how we have had Jesus pointed out to us and yet we still follow others, even other things, rather than the one we know to be Christ.
    But first, there is an ordination to go to. It's been a travelling week. I've had my new car 7 weeks and put 2700 miles on it!

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  6. Up early because I have a spiritual director peer supervision meeting all morning and someone is picking me up soon. It's kind of like CPE supervision -- someone presents a "case" and his/her responses and we all discuss. It's wonderful in that it's creating close bonds among a small group of us who finished our program together 1.5 years ago. Plus we continue to learn a lot about spir. direction.

    Anyway, my sermon is mostly based loosely on Corinthians and a little on John, for the church for which I am supply preaching for the 4th time. Last week, sacrament; this week Word: Word as Scripture, as Jesus, as proclamation. Barthian, in the sense that I vaguely know a little about Barth. I haven't mentioned Tucson, but it comes up implicitly, as the question the sermon raises (I hope) is: How does Word shape us and emerge from us?

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  7. Welcome, Margaret and Robin! need some coffee?

    You both sound like you have good things moving along in sermon directions.

    Margaret, blessings on the ordination! Robin, the same with your Spiritual Direction meeting.

    looking forward to hearing more from you both.

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  8. Good morning RevGals...I am in that what feels like terrible position of having to write a sermon when personal unbloggables have left me feeling broken, barren and used up. I would really appreciate your prayers, especially since I have to preach said sermon three times - once tonight and twice tomorrow. I am focusing on the concept of call, how Isaiah was called, how Paul called the Corinthians saints, and how the first disciples were called by the simple "come and see" - I've got 800 words but need at least twice as many. And all I really want to do is curl up and cry.
    Blessings on all of you as you prepare. I've got some chocolate chip squares to share for later - I baked them this week.

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  9. MP:

    {{{{{{{}}}}}}}

    I refer to almost all of what I do as "preaching ahead of myself." May you find some direction forward to get through the week-end.

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  10. (((((MP))))))
    I've been there. I'll be praying, today.

    And Robin, that phrase, "preaching ahead of myself" -- that speaks volumes.

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  11. Oh MumPastor, I'm so sorry... My you feel God's strength and courage all around you.

    I am checking in and then most likely checking back out and to bed with a ridiculous headache. 'Coaching' the Boy's basketball team at 12:30 (K-1st) and due to walking the leadership of the church through the early parts of a staff transition my sermon is FAR behind where I need it to be.

    All will be well, but I've decided the priority is headache maintenance.

    MumPastor, truly you are in my prayers.

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  12. Kathrynzj, welcome (briefly), and I'll put you on the prayer list today, too. 'kay?

    I think I have enough snow out of the driveway so that I can get out.

    See you after the Bible Study on St. John.

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  13. I'm up and on early. Trying to do a little self care so I'm off to aqua exercise class in a few minutes - as soon as I finish my coffee.

    Hubby is off work today, so I wrote a sermon yesterday. But I don't like it and can't seem to find a good ending. I want to write another sermon -I know what I want to say, but can't find my way into it.

    I'm supply preaching for the second time with this congregation. It was possibly going to be a longer committment, but that fell through. And I have formally re-entered our denom's first call assignment process. After 8 months of seeking a call, I have exhausted the opportunities in the area I was assigned. I'm tired, depressed, frustrated and dissapointed. I feel like I'm in the wilderness and God just told me I have to spend 40 more years there before I can go to the Promised Land.

    So not feeling it....

    Maybe the endorphins from the exercise will get the creative juices flowing - at least enough to rework the existing sermon into presentable form, if not come up with a new one.

    Where's the Holy Spriti with creative spark when you need her?

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  14. Good morning, RevGals!

    I'm preaching John but don't have anything written yet, and don't have a good idea of what I'm doing. I got up extra early this morning, but then I used that time to read for fun - whoops! Let see if I can exercise some discipline and not let myself be lured back into my novel throughout the day. I'm getting ready to buckle down and get serious.

    I cooked steel cut oats in the crockpot last night, with some dried fruit, and woke up to a steaming pot of yummy. There's plenty to go around - have some!

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  15. Good morning friends,

    ((MP)) you are in my prayers

    ((ramona)) oh honey, I've been there and now I'm going back into the wilderness right with you. Searching is so so hard.

    I'm going off lectionary this weekend to preach about the non-violent resistance of Rev. Martin Luther King jr. Given the tragedy that Tucson just suffered and our current political climate, I think we need a refresher course on how we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

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  16. Hi, everyone. I'm at church where there was an astonishingly good turnout for Kitchen Clean-Up Day. At the same time, a crew is putting up new acoustical "clouds" in our Fellowship Hall to help make it easier to hear each other when the room is being used for conversation (at one of the many meals we serve, for instance). Lots of activity!
    I'm using both 1 Corinthians and John tomorrow and tying in the ways we are called to follow to a reflection on growing up in a small city where my early childhood took place in the Virginia version of apartheid. I've got a great opening story told by my friend who some of you know as our ring member, Ruby, at Blue Window, and a vague sense of where I'm going from there. A church member asked, earlier in the week, if we could please sing "We Shall Overcome," and that confirmed my feeling that this was the right general direction for my sermon. Given that the headline in our local paper this morning is a story about our new governor telling the NAACP to kiss his behind, it's more timely than ever. I think by talking about the faraway place and time of my childhood I can touch on the issues that are before us here and now without being directly critical of the governor. I hope.

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  17. SB, that sounds great! I went to an MLK assembly at my kids' school yesterday and it ended with the fifth graders leading the entire assembly in singing We Shall Overcome. It was quite moving to stand in a packed auditorium with everyone holding hands and swaying and singing in the dark.

    Meanwhile, I got nothing over here. Bah!

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  18. welcome, ramona, earthchick, God_Guurrlll and Songbird!

    Thanks for the oatmeal, earthchick.
    Ramona, praying for discernment AND inspiration (Come, Holy Spirit).

    God_Guurrlll and Songbird, I like your directions and look forward to reading your offerings. I suspect our interim sr. will not deal with MLK Day, as he is pretty much totally thinking about our pastoral transition. And, he's of another era.

    That reminds me, I have to write the prayers.

    Coffee refill, anyone?

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  19. I love the "We Shall Overcome" idea. wish we were doing it.

    I think at our ministerium's MLK Dayt worship, we are going to sing "Lift Every Voice and sing."

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  20. Diane, as an Interim, I pretty much left MLK Day alone, too. And this Corinthians text is fantastic for a pastoral transition; really, they all are.

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  21. Songbird, no criticism was implied. I just suspected that's where he's going, which means I will enjoy others' sermons this weekend who will be weighing in on MLK Day.

    The extended emphasis on 1 Corinthians will be good for pastoral transition, I think.

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  22. Good morning - I am out of town until later on this afternoon, so I tried to finish my sermon earlier this week. It's on Psalm 40...I waited and waited and waited. That's the title.

    We have a community MLK service which will actually be next week at another church.

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  23. Chilly Fingers -- I Waited and Waited and Waited.

    I LOVE that sermon title.

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  24. Good morning, RevGals! Diane, many thanks for your hospitality and good thoughts.

    Jesus' "What are you looking for?" question grabbed me as well. After a year (and then some) of pouring out copious amounts of energy (including getting married, moving, new book, traveling), I am trying, at the outset of this year, to be intentional about refilling my creative well. So Jesus' question is a timely one for me, and prompts lots of questions that lie within and beneath that question. Where am I looking? What am I giving my eyes to? Where am I turning my attention, my imagination, my intention? How am I, like those two disciples, asking where Jesus is staying? How am I seeking the sacred--those spaces (often unexpected) where Christ is hanging out? Will I let that seeing and seeking transform me?

    I posted about these things at The Painted
    Prayerbook
    last night, in a reflection titled (guess what?) "What Are You Looking For?" Would love for you to stop by.

    Blessings to all, and an extra measure to MumPastor, Kathrynzj, and Ramona.

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  25. Jan, welcome and thanks for the link!

    Inspired by your question and your answers...

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  26. well, I slept in and then sorted through my zillion newspaper coupon inserts, and now it's 1130 and I haven't even started...and I have to be out of the house by 530 in order to stop at the store and then get to a dinner party by 630. These church sponsored rotating dinner parties seem to come up much more often than 5 times a year, and they always seem to be on my preaching weekends. How does that happen???

    Anyway, I'm working on John. I'm thinking of telling my own story of not growing up in the church but then being invited by a friend to a service that changed everything. And/or asking people to think of a story they would be willing to tell that points to Jesus or to the Body of Christ.
    In other words, I think I'm headed for a sermon on evangelism, but I'm holding out on using the word until the very last minute because I don't want anyone tuning out because we're Presbyterians who don't do that.

    I have veggies and hummus for those needing a lunch or snack.... :-)

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  27. Thank you for your prayers... the headache has subsided (still lurking, but better) and I shall celebrate by hanging out in a gym with screaming children and parents while 'coaching' with my ex-husband - yay me!

    My incredibly basic thoughts about John is that there is a next - meaning it would have been pretty easy to walk away from that baptism all excited about what you had seen and the dove and how COOL was that... and then go get a burger and a coke and move about as we usually do.

    But Jesus gets to work - finds some disciples and engages with ministry! My sermon title is The Next Day and it may tie in with the letter one of our Associates just sent out saying he is leaving.

    Too bad, but both he and we will continue to do ministry the next day.

    Enough rambling. Looking forward to checking back in later and gathering around the lunch offerings and getting to work.

    Thanks all!

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  28. Teri -- welcome. The veggies and hummus sound good right about now.

    And Kathrynzj -- glad to hear that the headache is on the wane. I like your title: "the next day."

    be back a little later!

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  29. I love the Isaiah passage,and I'm hoping to use it with John. I have three themes running through my head: being called/what are you looking for/come and see, and they are all pertinent. My congregation really needs to reclaim their own ministry (which I preached about last week) and to figure out why they are here and where they want to go; I feel like we are at a crossroads where the parish will either be reenergized and grow or keep on the same old same old and whither away, and I'm hoping for the first option. I just need to settle on one theme and then get writing.

    I've been fighting off a cold all week; I was grateful for a snow day on Wednesday so I could just sleep. I thought I was better, but yesterday and today I feel all stuffy and sneezy and headachey again. I really want a nap, but I must write something first.

    Hugs and prayers for all who are feeling stressed, hurt or sick.

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  30. RevDrMom -- welcome. praying for you re: the cold. Yeah. I've been there. and praying for inspiration as well.

    I'll be getting out of the office soon.

    be back in touch from home.

    oh yeah, and I'm stopping at the store.


    need anything?

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  31. http://thefaith-filledwriterinme.blogspot.com/2011/01/come-and-see-sermon-for-1-16-11.html

    Well hello friends! I have never posted on the 11th Hour Preacher Party since I dont preach every week but have played the Friday five etc on my other blog Praying on the Prairie. I posted tomorrow's sermon on my writing blog (link above!)

    Happy Sermon writing everyone!

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  32. Welcome, T!

    thanks for the sermon!

    we'll be over there soon.

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  33. Hi everyone,

    I'm having one of those days where I have too much going on in my mind, first of which is an annoying little office problem that's been taking a lot of time/attention/emotion but that obviously isnt preachable.

    At differnt times this week, I've wanted this sermon to:
    Remember MLK
    Consider our response to tragedy (Haiti, Tucson, Flooding in Australia)
    Reference the book the church is reading for book club right now (A Peoples History of Christianity)
    Deal in an oblique but transformative way with the office politics problem
    And oh, yeah, address the scripture I guess - which could go either in the direction of what do you see or where are you called?

    Finally found my feasting on the word (buried under a pile in the church library), so I guess I'll add that to mix while I'm add it. Although, does anyone else feel chastened reading this on Saturday, since the forward tells us explicitly not to?

    Thanks for your reflection, Jan, and I'm looking forward to T's sermon, too. I think I'm canceling my hair appt for today - I feel a long day of winnowing coming on....

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  34. Ha! Juniper, I am well-acquainted with the sense of wanting to tackle many diverging options in one little sermon. FWIW, I didn't really find the Feasting stuff that helpful this week (at least not on John). I guess I haven't read the foreword, b/c I didn't realize it said not to read it on Sunday. But WHATEVER. Real life as a pastor and preacher has enough obligation and guilt on its own. I think most of us are doing the best we can, and I refuse to feel an ounce of guilt over any prep I end up doing on Saturday.

    Reckon I'm feeling feisty today. ;)

    I have to say that Jan's marvelous art and reflections over at the Painted Prayerbook really kicked things loose for me and got me finally started. Am feeling pretty good about where things are headed, for now.

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  35. Back from the gym, showered and had lunch - ready to start sermonating? Not so much!

    But the time is at hand and Hubby and Son have helpfully started an Xbox football battle to stay out of my way. So I have no excuse but to get to it.

    I'd rather have a nap!

    I do have some inspriation. On the way to and from the gym the "What are you looking for question kept popping up. I think I'll use it to start off my sermon.

    I will have a treat for later in the day - elderberry and apple cobbler. I was trying to decide between that and blueberry buckle, but my verification word is "apsel". So apples it is!

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  36. (((MP)))

    (((ramona))))

    Prayers ascending for both of you.

    Sermon done. It's not my best, but I've really been off my game for about three months now. I'm hoping and praying that this is just a phase. I'm coming up on 14 years in ministry, so maybe I've just been fortunate not to hit a dry spell before now.

    Anyway, I'm working with John, focusing on how Jesus didn't scold or give the disciples a hard time when they answered his question with a completely unrelated question.

    Instead, he lovingly extended an invitation to dig deeper into their faith and follow him. In other words, the invitation to "come and see" is more than "come and fulfil your curiosity" - it's about perfect acceptance. It's a bit like Jesus is saying "I don't expect you to be perfect, and I don't expect you to know all the answers. I only expect your faithfulness."

    That's where I'm at so far. I still need a children's story. Any ideas out there?

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  37. Ramona -- I want to take a nap, too.

    But instead, we're going to have a little couple time this p.m., which is necessary in part because I didn't have a day off last week because of a funeral, and I won't have a day off this Monday because of a MLK day joint worship service.

    and something else, which is unbloggable, at least at this time.

    so, I'll see you later. talk amongst yourselves for the afternoon.

    I'll be back in the evening to read sermons and be a part of the conversation again.

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  38. Thanks to all for your prayers, they really helped a lot. It is 1:30 here and I just hit the "print" button on the sermon and all the marked up bulletins with my written prayers included. Done. I have been sitting in this comfy chair pretty much nonstop since 8 a.m., and I am exhausted - time for a quick jaunt around the block with the dog before heading out. My three girls have been an endless source of joy and fun today, which was an amazing help in uncurling me from that fetal position. Thanks be to God. Blessings to all.

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  39. I have yet to start sermonizing today--and have to go shovel about 10-12 inches of snow (and it is still falling). Oh and our van decided to act up yesterday--and while it is already at the dealership they don't expect to look at it until Monday. SInce we can't fit 4 kids in the car this is a bit of a scheduling issue....

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  40. Ack! This time we really missed each other, Diane. I just got home from there!

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  41. The Holy Spirit lives in my car today - the inspiration I got travelling home from the gym did the trick. And thanks for all the prayers and hugs - I really needed them today.

    My totally revised sermon can be read here.

    Now to spend some quality time with the family and make that cobbler. I'll check in later when it's done.

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  42. Oh - I still need a children's sermon.

    Thanks for the reminder, Sue!

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  43. I wrote a sermon. It's mostly my story, but I think it connects to where I was hoping to go so I went with it. Feedback welcome!

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  44. With a hat tip to the blogger at The Hardest Question, I'm using the finger pointing illustration in a "not this, but this" sermon... since I have to preach it for the first time in 2 1/2 hours, it would be good if I could get it to gel a bit more clearly... Come HS, please!
    I'll end with "What is our witness?"

    Prayers ascending for those hurting today...

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  45. Teri - Great sermon! I love your story and the way you tell it.

    Sue - for a children's sermon, there was a thing at textweek about show and tell. It requires getting a few children to bring in show and tell items (advance contact). Since I can't really do that I think I might use the concept of the lesson with a thought I had earlier in the week: how we have no trouble telling people about good things we see and experience (a great movie we saw for example) but we don't talk about Jesus like that.

    We'll see how it turns out. There may not even be any children tomorrow morning, so prep for a children's sermon might just be in vain!

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  46. Kathrynjz, you get my vote for sainthood - immersing yourself in a gym of noise with a headache and coaching with your ex are above and beyond any call!
    So, the ordination was great this morning. Lots of HS in the room. And the sermon was a tag team event! Two incredible young priests wrestled with the reading from Luke for MLK Jr. Day. Wow! They brought in all kinds of stuff in that part about loving your enemies, working up from the guy who cut you off on the highway to the guy who killed six people and wounded 20 others pretty much at ramdom. It was unbelievable powerful...
    and I caught myself thinking things like, "I wish I could preach like that" and "I wonder if my deacon and I could do sermons together, albeit not so dramatically." And that's when I realized I just might be following preaching rather than following Jesus.
    So that's the start of my sermon tomorrow. Where the HS takes it after that remains to be seen.

    And after the service, all the people I needed to see about diocesan business were there so lots of things got done/discussed. Which is a good thing as far as miles to be driven but took the edge off an otherwise great morning. Sigh.

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  47. I've spoken to some of the mums of kids affected by the school tragedy today - and they are all expecting that it will be part of worship tomorrow. Dealing with the after effects as a community. That's reassuring, because I've been talking to the kids about community since it happened. And, it seems to me, Jesus invited folk into community. "Come and see" is an invite to not just spectate but be involved. Also seeing the baptism we're celebrating as a useful balance to save things getting too heavy - a reminder that, in community, we celebrate our joys and support each other in sorrow together. Just hoping I can handle my own emotional fragility - feel wrung out by giving all week. Not sure if folk ever appreciate the effect on us as pastors - or make allowances for it.
    Better get on with writing and see if it works out on paper!

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  48. I'm back... so is The Boy.
    Looking forward to hanging out with the Vicar and Semfem this evening I guess!

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  49. oh yeah, I was totally going to use that whole "we talk about books and movies but not church/Jesus" thing...I forgot. I'll have to see if I can work that in later tonight, post-dinner party. Or if it will have to wait for next time...

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  50. Juniper, I'm having the same problem--too much and too many directions to go in.
    MLK
    Our response to tragedy
    Particular context of the congregation
    Book for Outreach book club...
    and our own personal unpreachable stuff (all goodness but definitely unpreachable!)

    And I'm left with a litany of calling gleaned from this week's lectionary:

    calling: I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
    calling: called to be saints
    calling: take away the sin of the world.
    calling: to testify
    calling: to come and see

    So, basically I think I'm going to scare the bejeebers out of everyone by telling them that they have to behave like Jesus in the world and treat everyone like Jesus. Tall order that :)

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  51. Oooooo......ramona, the show and tell will work really well. I can even email a few parents tonight so that a few of the children will actually have show and tell items! Thanks!

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  52. Hi there,

    I'm back after cleaning out the garage (one dead mouse, 2 live spiders and lots of dust) and still trying to decide where to head.

    anyone thinking of talking about the golden voice guy in the "not perfect" category. I'm thinking of something about how John sees something in Jesus no one else sees, and then Jesus sees something in Simon no one else sees.

    I have an hour, then I have to get a shower and head over to church for tonites potluck and variety show. Then, back much later. So, I'll be a late nighter with you all, whoever you are...

    I'm also thinking about a Dr Who episode I saw yesterday ( been DVRing it and it's so GREAT!) about a planet at war - but it might be too much sci fi weirdness to try and actually explain.

    Ok, must stop thinking and start writing now!

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  53. Juniper, I will be here.
    Any thoughts I had are disappearing into a whispy mist.

    The only good news (beside the Good News)? It's a Communion meditation.

    tbtG

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  54. Home from a nice visit with my parents...now to finish up prayers for tomorrow and reread the sermon for tweaking!

    So, who brings dinner to this party?

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  55. Ugh. Despite a nap on the couch, I am feeling worse than ever, and I've what I've written so far is blah. I suspect I may go the "sustainable sermon" route at this point and see if I can rework what I wrote three years ago, since it was for a different congregation.

    And I'm hoping I'll feel better tomorrow. I've never had to lead services while sick, but I have no one to call on for supply at this late date, so I'm hoping for the best.

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  56. Oh, Rev Dr Mom, I'm sorry you're feeling unwell. I hope you feel better for tomorrow - and the sustainable sermon route seems like a good one! I borrowed a bit from my former self (6 year-old sermon). I seem to have a draft, but I'm a bit iffy about it. Going to let it sit for a bit before looking at it again.

    I am trying to remind myself that it's okay that John's narrative takes more of center stage in my sermon than any story from me. I don't really major illustrative material here - one little Rilke quote but no real stories. But I find this story so powerful and compelling, I think it stands strongly enough on its own. I feel my own commentary is diminished in its light. If that makes any sense.

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  57. Even though I got a start last night, I'm sure I'll be around for the late night edition, too. I do not like my intro, and I didn't like it last night, but I had to get something down on virtual paper to get it started. Maybe if i get it finished in decent time I'll be able to go back and stick a better beginning on it. Anyway, first I need to finish it and that won't happen til after everyone goes to bed anyway.

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  58. Just checking back before doing a little sermon revision and writing prayers.

    Dr Rev Mom - prayers are going up for your health. I'd hate to lead worship sick.

    There is much rejoicing in our household this evening, for the lost has been found. My son's afghan and snuggie has been located after the box it was in was misplaced with all my office books. Now I have one happy and very warm son!

    I have warm elderberry-apple crips to share. No ice cream to go with it though. No worries - it's plenty good on it's own.

    Blessing to you who are just getting started sermonating. May the Spirit blow strongly through you!

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  59. revdrmom -- sorry to hear you are poorly.

    earthchick - thanks for your defense of the saturday sermon writer. :)

    Ok, I think i have a direction ( what's in a name?) but just have to get a little more down on paper. I am looking at this quote from MLKjr Letter in Bham Jail and wondering what you think of me saying it this way? Does it diminish the power of it too much? My change is in ( ).

    ...when your first name becomes (a hateful word I will not say in the this sacred space) your middle name becomes "boy" -however old you are- and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."

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  60. 4.5 hours later I am now back inside (mind you one hour in that time was not spent sheovelling but delivering a washer/dryer set to the local ReStore) with an aching back and a case of the chills. But at least 75% of the snow is moved--and up to 8inches is coming over the next 36 hours.

    For Children's Time I think I am going to talk about MLK. It will tie in nicely to the sermon which is how the SErvant SOngs in Isa 42 and 49 are a description of how we are meant to live.

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  61. I think I am done. I'm not so keen on the ending, but I am ready to relax after my drive...plus, my dog is in need of some serious ear scratching...in fact, he just borrowed my title. Come on, Rev. Chilly, "I Waited and waited and waited!"

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  62. The extent to which I am nowhere is pretty horrifying for 7 p.m. Eastern time. Help!

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  63. Juniper, the change does diminish the power of the words a bit, but in my opinion it would be a necessary change, and I think the way you changed it is good. I know we have that discussion around here every once in a while, but that word is beyond what I think needs to be said in an intergenerational worship environment. I say keep the change.

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  64. Songbird, right there yelling with you.
    Juniper, imho good change.

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  65. Rough draft done. I hope it does justice to the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I think he has a lot to say to our current political rhetoric.

    You can read it here

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  66. Ravens/Steelers tied with just over 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
    I think it's break time!

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  67. Helloooo everyone...glad to see some of the sermons being finished up. Holding all who need it in prayer, too.

    I have a bunch of sermon ideas swirling around in my mind, including one about a frog who swallowed a Christmas light...but first I need to write one of my two annual reports. Maybe this is the key...procrastinate on one by being productive on the other!

    Today has not been the most productive day, although I did design a cover for the report (ooh pretty) and trained an assisting minister. It's been a long, exhausting week.

    I will be here late, but hopefully not TOO late...just getting over a cold, and really need the sleep. Does someone have the tea kettle boiling? If not, I'll put it on!

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  68. Just imagine me doing one of those resounding Charlie Brown "Aaaarrrggghhh!!!" things.

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  69. Okay, I do have some good news. After my computer crashed approximately 18 times, I hunted up the Dell my older son had in college and found it had a perfectly cromulent power cord. So I am perhaps now back in business. It's just that it's almost 8. And that worries me. A lot.

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  70. Hi everyone I'm back, and i'll commence reading sermons shortly.

    SheRev -- arg! you were just there? we were at DarnKnitAnyway, Chester Creek Books, Midtown Antiques, and went out to eat at Dock Cafe (where we had a gift card).

    I'm very nervous about one of the songs at contemporary service tomorrow. (Breathe deeply, I can't control everything).

    I'm here, though not sermonizing. I'll be reading your sermons if you wish, knitting, and reading a little.

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  71. Steelers fans in the congregation will be happy. Hoping the one who was at the game and is supposed to sing at 8:15 service didn't blow a vocal chord.

    Also hoping by the time he gets home, I'm done... why is this in such a bad place? It might as well be Transfiguration for as much as I'm struggling.

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  72. My son is watching Winter Wipeout. It feels like my week. Anyone else?

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  73. Oh! whoever asks: who brings dinner? It's supposed to be me!

    I'm sorry. Are you hungry? Anyone want vegetarian chili? I got a good recipe.

    And if it's too late for that for some of you, I have popcorn for a snack.

    I'm making some cornbread to go with the chili, if you'd like.

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  74. I hear you Songbird.
    It is 1:30am here but I have something
    There's not a lot left in me, so it will have to do.
    hope no one is up too late.
    blessings

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  75. Seriously, kzj, where IS that guy?

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  76. LOL KJ-Z, I just got an image of puss-in-boots from Shrek 4 (you know the pampered one) running towards you out of breath with sermon in hand.

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  77. Don't make that fat Puss run too far!!!

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  78. G_G -- what a picture!

    ha!

    If Antonio is on the way, I guess no one needs cornbread.

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  79. Go SB GO KZJ! If I see Antonio, I will send him your way. You can do it! Praying also for Ramona.

    Worship totally lifted my spirits tonight. Two folks came on their birthdays no less. Out of 20, that's pretty good. Songs were great, and the Spirit was present.

    Hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

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  80. Oh, MumPastor, I'm so glad!!!
    I've got something going now, but I also have a serious headache. Time for acetaminophen.
    (I cannot believe I spelled that right.)

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  81. A late check in for me. Church retreat was this weekend but I managed to finish sermon before I left, I just don't have the energy to review it until tomorrow morning. Baby dedication tomorrow too, but that is pure joy.
    prayers continue for MP and REVDr.Mom and others who are pulling together here. Looks like we might make 100.
    I may post my sermon tomorrow on my Pastors Post. For now, there's football yelling in the next room and I gotta go.

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  82. Have a very happy Steeler hubby. Semfem, I would love to hear about a frog who swallowed a Christmas light.

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  83. Wrote 2 pages and my reward is a cinnamon bun. Who wants one?

    And a frog that swallowed a Christmas light. Yes please, semfem.

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  84. Did mine once after the inspiration but it was rusty and out of order - putting it to rights now. JtB and MLK as finger pointers/witnesses - Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world - then, now and tomorrow - but doesn't negate us as fellow finger pointers and witnesses.
    Prayers for those still going at it.
    KZJ - I picture Zorro leaving the sermon pierced through on your door

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  85. I have 1000 words and am eating ice cream straight out of the carton.
    In other news, it's Stonyfield Farms and it's organic and it's Cookies'n Cream.
    Also, I swear, it was not a full carton when I opened it.

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  86. Kzj I totally want a cinnamon bun.

    The kids are mostly asleep. The one still attached to my body is almost in dreamland, but not quite. I'm very nervous about going back to the 1200 words I got done last night. I hope the aren't as horrible as I'm remembering so that I don't have to start all over again. I still have adult Ed to look at, too. At least that's just a DVD curriculum. Just have to preview and look over the questions.

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  87. I have over 1,000 words but I think 1,000 of that is Scripture and the prayer.

    That's bad, isn't it.

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  88. Okay here we go...

    Frog who swallowed a Christmas light
    The picture is the one fourth from the right in the stream.

    On an online forum elsewhere, the photographer posted this:
    "This is a Cuban tree frog on a tree in my backyard in southern Florida. How and why he ate this light is a mystery. It should be noted that at the time I was taking this photo, I thought this frog was dead having cooked himself from the inside. I’m happy to say I was wrong. After a few shots he adjusted his position. So after I was finished shooting him, I pulled the light out of his mouth and he was fine. Actually, I might be crazy but I don’t think he was very happy when I took his light away."

    Pretty cool illustration of bearing the light of Christ to others...just wish I'd remembered to put the photo on the front of the bulletins!

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  89. whoa. that is some picture.

    Songbird, the first time I read you comment, I thought it was 100 words. yikes.

    then I read it again.

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  90. semfem - that's amazing - thanks for sharing! maybe it was warm...

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  91. To clarify - that declaration of 'awesome' was for the frog with the light.

    Maybe that's what ET did?

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  92. See my dilemma? Describing it just doesn't do it justice. I don't often wish we had a screen and projector, but tonight I do. Or I wish I'd had half a clue when I did the bulletins.

    Maybe I'll just photocopy it and insert it in the bulletins...

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  93. Holy cow. It's early and we're almost to 100. How high will we go?

    I'm about ready to start now that everyone is sleeping. Opening the document with fear and trembling.

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  94. Seriously, She Rev. I'm usually long gone by the time we near 100.

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  95. I will say again that your picture, semfem, is incredible.

    and I do see your dilemma. do not have a solution.

    yes, there is a time and a place fo screens and pictures in worship, I guess.

    ok, I think my usefulness here is at an end.

    shout out to SheRev! hey! when is this meeting going to happen???

    will check in a.m. with coffee, prayers, and etc.

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  96. 100 - or close to it now!! hanging out and waiting for boys to be done with Lil Abner rehearsal...

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  97. It's late and I don't have much ... the readings really haven't stirred much this week, and the one thing I would like to do (a series on 1Cor) isn't really an option because of scheduling constraints.

    I've also been feeling incredibly discouraged this week. I probably can't (shouldn't) blog the reasons, but suffice to say I am feeling rather discouraged. To add insult to discouragement (literally!), I was (verbally) humiliated by a superior today and that really took the wind out of my sails. The straw that broke... etc.

    Whiiiine. But no time for self-pity: I gots to pull together a sermon. Call and discipleship, eh? Quite the personal context, I suppose.

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  98. Oh parodie, so sorry. hang in there.
    Seems to be a lot of malaise going on, and all over the spectrum.

    sigh...

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  99. Hi, Friends! I'm checking in on the night crew, to send prayers and offer up a cup of pretty much anything you'd like. I didn't know I'd get as a bonus the photo of the lit-up frog!

    I hope the words that still need to come do so quickly and fluently, and the spirits that have been laid low are lifted by the one Spirit.

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  100. hey there - back from church potluck with some yummy bread pudding thing with pineapple in it (and also lotsa butter I'm guessing!)

    fun variety show - everyone seemed to think my 8 year olds version of Taylor Swifts Speak Now was fun and cute, not offensive, tbtg. I had a little energy up about it...

    Ok, but there's this sermon thing.

    Is Songbird still up so I can find out what the word Cromulent means??

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  101. oh, and with you all in the malaise department... In a way I am relieved to hear that there are others in teh same boat. I was thinking I was gonna need to go get some serious medication. (I've been prepping for the "Seriously Doc, how many of these antidepressants per day am I allowed??" conversation.) Now I just think it might be an occupational hazard and this too will pass.

    But, feeling relieved does not get the sermon written. I've been at my call 3.5 years, cant remember if I've told this one thing or not, think I probably have and am trying to get around it with a hearty "you've probably heard me mention my friend who..."

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  102. Isn't Cromulent a word made up in a Simpsons episode? OR was that corpulent?

    I wasw tempted to play an exerpt from "I HAve A Dream" for Children's TIme but am now leaning away from it. However, can I do Dr. King justice better than his own words?

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  103. shoot, I DID tell that story about my friend, but it was way back in summer 2008. will anyone really remember it still?

    also, Gord I think corpulent is big and greedy. not sure that's a way to describe a computer cord, but I guess you never know.

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  104. Ms. Krabappel: “Embiggens”? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.
    Ms. Hoover: I don’t know why. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.
    -The Simpsons, “Lisa the Iconoclast”

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  105. cromulent = legitimate

    As in, "This sermon is nowhere near cromulent."

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  106. Furthermore, I have a sermon! I am moving back to Blogger, gradually, and you may find it here.

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  107. nice - I'm going to try and work that in somehow. there must be a way, right?

    also, just went over and read your sermon it is so very lovely, thanks Songbird!

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  108. You think so, Juniper? I hope it's really a sermon and not just a meander.

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  109. Thanks folks. It's rather comforting to know there are others out there.

    Cromulent is indeed from the Simpsons: I found "cromulent" defined in wiktionary (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cromulent) as "Fine, acceptable or normal; excellent, realistic, legitimate or authentic. "

    And I have apple crisp to offer, warm and fresh out of the oven...

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  110. Also Juniper, they won't remember it and if you frame it the way you mentioned you'll be fine.

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  111. kzj, I'm sure it's a perfectly cromulent sermon.

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  112. Songbird, I dont think a meander. You begin and end in the same place, but transformed, and you take a beautiful route to get there. That's a perfectly cromulent sermon, that.

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  113. semfem - that frog is amazing

    juniper - If they remember say, "Isn't it a great story? I just couldn't help telling it again!"

    Well over 100 already! Cromulent Party!

    I'm not preaching tomorrow. I just missed y'all and had to drop by.

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  114. All this talk about cromulents has made me hungry... (wha?)

    Going to bed instead, if the Spirit hates it she'll wake me up. See you all in a few hours and if I don't remember the Holy Spirit has your back and if you've got a dog, walk it proud!

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  115. hello vic!

    gnight kj! sleep tight - may the Spirit let you rest...

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  116. kzj - Last week, I had to quit struggling and go to bed with an unfinished sermon. The Holy Spirit managed just fine while I went along for the ride. The Holy Spirit has got your back, too

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  117. Ack! That doesn't leave many of us here. So, I started us off almost 24 hours ago when I had about 1200 words written and thought I was ahead of the game. They were 1200 crappy words. I promise. They were. Now I'm here again trying to make less crap out of crap. It's sort of coming together. Maybe.

    Part of the problem is trying to keep this whole 5 year anniversary of the building in mind, but also being a bit plagued by some icky feedback I received this week about sermons. 99.9% of what I hear is beyond supportive. It's the kind of feedback we all want, not because it strokes our egos (although we do want that too don't we even though we shouldn't), but it's specific and thoughtful. I love the way people articulate feedback this way.

    Well, I'm OK with less positive feedback. Or at least I thought I was until I got some poorly delivered. I'm going to cling to the idea that it was the delivery that has bothered me not the negativity. I get that I can't possibly be pleasing everyone all the time. The person involved with my Personnel review, however, included only one block quotation from a member and it is a SCATHING review/commentary on my preaching that covers everything from the amount of time I spend preparing (Uh, how do you know?), to the lack of depth, to the inclusion of too many participatory pieces (done twice in the last 5 months, but not even for the whole sermon, just for gathering "real life" illustrations in the moment) to the absence of any challenge to their spiritual life. Why was that necessary in that way?

    So anyway, that's on my mind at the same time that there's a group expecting this, well, fluffy sermon and worship time to celebrate a building. I'm trying to cover all the extremes in one sermon which can't be done, but I'm having a hard time figuring out where or how to land.

    I know the real answer is, "Shut up. Stop trying to do something other than preach the Word in a sermon. Just write with the leading of the Spirit," but that's a whole lot easier said than done.

    Oh well. Back to it. Enough procrastinating. I think I've got enough in random notes all over my page to make a sermon. I just need to write it and pray for the best.

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  118. She Rev - I hear ya! I'm struggling to find the Spirit's leading rather than the leaden words that seem have found their way onto my screen. We can do it.

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  119. SheRev - I hate that kind of complaint! It makes me wonder where their responsibility for spiritual growth is.

    I've now listened to enough of NFL GameDay final to think I should probably get the prayers done before I forget them.

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  120. Of course I seem to find a groove and the baby who has slept through the night for weeks decides NOW is a time to wake up crying. Be back at it in 10-15 minutes!

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  121. dude, I run off for the dinner party and come back to a zillion comments! and, being a strong E and 7, I just can't not read them....so I did. Every last one.

    but now I'm going to bed. I love you all. air kisses and hugs and prayers for all still preparing or worrying or feeling down. Holding you in the light....or at the least, in my very warm heated-mattress-pad bed. :-)

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  122. Prayers are done.

    One more thing to do before I go to bed but I'm finished with the computer for the night.

    Blessings on your Sunday

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  123. Glad you were here, Vicar!

    She Rev, that kind of feedback is irresponsible and anxious. But I would be stressing about it too. Prayers for the HS to cut through crap like that for you.

    I sort of fell asleep and just woke up...which is not good. All I have is that frog picture, some random notes with no point, and my opening prayer. And my brain feels fuzzy as I try to find the words just for this comment.

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  124. Ouch, SheRev :-o When someone has that many complaints, it's usually coming from a hole inside that person, not your [fill in the blank]. But you know that already, and it doesn't make a darn bit of difference because it is so hard to put out of one's mind. Give it a shot at voting him/her off your island for the moment, though!

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  125. I hope the silence from She Rev means she is typing with a baby sleeping...not trying to get a fussy baby to sleep...

    I finally started and 1023 words sort of poured out of me. Now to find a conclusion in all of it.

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  126. P.S. Betsy, it really is sweet of you to be here and keep the late night shift company!

    1144 words and counting

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  127. 1287 words and I'm done! And fortunately the frog photo printed out all right, so that will work as a handout. Better than nothing, and better than trying to describe it.

    Now off for a few more hours of sleep. She Rev, I hope you made it...or will soon make it...Betsy, good night...anyone else lurking or still working, may the Holy Spirit visit you soon.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

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  128. She Rev, hope you're in a better place this morning. Thinking about you and everyone else who feels like they got blood from a turnip.

    May we all take part in Holy Naps that are beyond blessed!

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  129. good morning! I have coffee for everyone, and remember:

    the Holy Spirit DOES have our backs.

    Amazing.

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  130. The Holy Spirit totally had my back this weekend. I felt so bad Saturday afternoon; I finally pulled up my sermon from three years ago and modified it to fit the theme I wanted to go with but I was not at all sure it worked.

    But this morning when I preached I realized to my happy surprise that I really did write an almost all new--and coherent--sermon! TBTG! And I'm feeling much better today. Hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday.

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