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Saturday, March 12, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Tempting Edition

Good morning, gals and pals!  I was tempted to post a picture of some donuts here this morning, or perhaps sweet rolls, or a piece of cake, but instead I decided to include a piece of art by the Japanese Artist Sadao Watanabe.  This one is Christ and the Devil.  I found it here.  I have been thinking a lot about Japan lately (I spent three years there many years ago), and those thoughts are seeping into my thoughts about Jesus and his temptation in the wilderness.  

What about you?  What thoughts are seeping into your worship preparation today and as we enter the season of Lent?  Where is your preaching leading you?  What are your temptations?  Feel free to ask for ideas on a children's message, and weigh in on other Lenten issues as well.  Also, if you need inspiration, please don't hesitate to check the conversation here

I am making blueberry pancakes (again).  I am a creature of habit, after all.  I hope you enjoy them.  Please come for breakfast, stay for lunch and take many breaks with us to inspiration, sustenance, bread in the wilderness.


  1. I have very little idea what I'm preaching yet--but I couldn't resist the temptation to be first since I am (foolishly) still up!

  2. Tomorrow the Baptism of two year old twin boys, which is setting the boundaries? of worship. Expecting more than twice our average attendance between the Baptism and a family celebration of a couple in the church.
    yesterday at 'rehearsal' one boy took ages to settle [he was grizzly when he arrived], later both were running around the church, checking everything out, then splashing water from the font. Tomorrow will be interesting one way or another.

    Going with the Matthew reading, I was thinking of Identity theft, in that at his Baptism Jesus was affirmed in his role, and here the tempter is trying to have him forget who he is. what tries to take our identity in Christ away from us?

    Because of the Baptism, the main part of the 'sermon' will be a book called 'A Hat for Ivan' by Max Lucado, then a paragraph to tie it all together.

    For Lent we usually have a candle extinguishing liturgy, but after an idea from Jennifer at For the Someday Book about fasting is making way for God, I am taking a small bowl with 7 stones in it tomorrow. Each week one stone will be taken out of the bowl and placed around the table cross. This week we give up busyness to give us time to remember.

    Hopefully another hour or so, and it will all be done!

    Sorry this ended up so long.

  3. Good morning all! I've been tossing and turning for an hour or so, awakened with thoughts of a picture (literally) I could draw at next week's Consistory meeting to help them understand their role and place in the church as fiduciary agents. See: Church geek, definition of.

    I came up with a Lenten sermon series called "Surprising Words of Life" and the first is "Temptation" of course. So far, I've been considering that we are tempted to do good things (get food, ensure security) rather than trust God things. I hope it won't come out quite that tritely. I'm going to try to work in the name of a new (to me) country song I heard this week: "God is Great, Beer is Good, People are Crazy"!

    I have Newman's Own (Fair Trade) French Roast coffee to share with all the early birds!

  4. welcome, Rev Dr. Mom, pearl and Sharon! Rev, it's good to be first! pearl, I want to hear how this baptism turns out. Sharon, I like the idea, "surprising words of life." can't wait to hear more.

    I am not as far on my sermon as I need to be. however, just before i went to bed lat night, I got an idea, so we'll see how it goes.

  5. 11.00pm, the printing is almost finished. the 'sermon' is 150 words, but the story book is longer than I usually preach.
    time for chamomile tea and fruit cake, plenty to share.

    I'll check in tomorrow.

    happy preparing.

  6. There is always a tune in my head when I wake up. This morning's is the Eagles "Peaceful, easy feeling." Somehow, I don't think that is going to help with the sermon and is about other things.

    So! I am thinking about how we don't see ha satan so that makes it easier to go wrong. Especially if we can rationalize it as doing good. I may use a story about the temptation to foster a city child when I was much younger. It would have been nice for us but oh so bad for him. Kind of like getting rid of a despot before there is any other form of government in place. Or like flocking to a disaster to help with no idea of what needs to be done.

    Since I have really just been thinking out loud here, I guess I am being led to preach on evil masquerading as good! I'll let that percolate awhile and get ready to make lunch at the Salvation Army.

    Y'all have a good morning and I'll be back later with leftover snickerdoodles. (Oh! the word verification is "trite"! Hope that isn't an omen)

  7. @Pearl, speaking of boundaries. Gee.
    Hopefully, they will be a little more settled tomorrow. I have found that sometimes with all the people there, kids will settle a bit more.
    Or maybe you could pop a benadryl in their juice.
    Margaret, fascinating that always you have a tune in your head as you awaken and hopefully a good omen for you.

  8. Struggling here, and very lightly toying with our drive for knowledge over obedience/trust. It's a tough dance, because you could easily preach it the other way too.

    Communion meditation which you would think would make it easier, but it feels very constricting. I don't think anyone could find the Good News in chaos that has been coming across the news wire in 5 minutes or less.

  9. I, too, love the "Surprising Words of Life" series idea. I've never preached a sermon series, but I think I might enjoy it...something to ponder.

    I'm preaching temptation tomorrow - the devil in disguise...lent is an exercise in learning to recognize the little evils that chip away at our own faith.

  10. Good morning,Margaret, 1-4 Grace, Kathrynzj and Chilly Fingers! we're off to a good start this morning.

    pearl, I'm looking forward to your update after worship. hope they do settle down.

    Margaret, now you've got me going on the Eagles. Before that, I had an old Japanese folk song, "furusato" in my head.

    Kathrynzj, I'm perversely a little relieved that someone else is struggling. I'm hoping my last minute inspiration bears fruit.

    my basic idea, is that under all the other temptations, the greatest temptation is to doubt our identity as children of God..."if you are...."

    So, I'm watching the news about Japan this morning, too. how about you?

  11. Hi all,

    Got an all day workshop so I'll see you all in the late afternoon evening.

    Thoughts so far, Jesus going into the desert on a retreat, a vision quest. How it is hard for us to go into the desert for our own retreat because when all the distractions, noise are gone, we only have ourselves and then our demons so to speak can come and make us doubt ourselves. Jesus' demon came and he was able to stand up to its temptations with the promises of God.

    Well that's my initial thoughts. We'll see how it comes out on paper.

  12. Hi, everyone~
    I'm trying to figure out whether the idea I had earlier in the week can still work given the Japan situation, which continues to be distressing. And I wonder if it isn't important to talk, in this moment, about how Jesus turns down the opportunity to use his God power, and how much we might wish that power could *be* used to prevent disasters like the one we're watching on TV. Who *wouldn't* want some mighty figure to step in and literally control the movement of the earth?
    Which is actually not where I was going at all.
    So maybe it's a good chance to talk about that fully human, fully divine thing, to explore the reasons why he chose to be more one than the other during his time among humans.
    Really, this is all very high and heavy before a full cup of coffee. I'll get back to you on this.

  13. By the way, I really wish I could show that little film "40" that has been floating around the ring and on Facebook this week. It perfectly portrays the tempter as a mirror of Jesus, and that's the key to the story for me.

  14. Martha, thank you - THAT is helpful. I think this is one of those sermons where I just need to write without boundaries and see if from that I can piece together a sermon meditation.

    And selfishly I ask, how come these major national (Tucson) and global (Japan) events can't happen on a Monday? One was Saturday, one began on Friday... sheesh!

    Thank you for allowing that ridiculous rant when so many are facing the horror of severe, massive loss.

  15. God_Guurrlll and Songbird, welcome! and God_Guurrlll, I guess we'll see you later, then.

    Songbird, I've been pondering these things too. Don't know exactly how it's going to come out, except that I do want to stick with the temptation to doubt our basic identity... and our calling...but your questions are surely out there this weekend. My husband just said, "Isn't it about time for some televangelist to come on TV and say how this is punishment for Japan for Pearl Harbor or something?"

    I also wish I could use that video during my sermon. We just don't have that capacity where I am...

  16. Good morning fellow preachers! 1-4 I've been waiting for your new blog to appear and I am glad it is up! And glad to see you are preaching again. @pearl, hope all goes well - hopefully folks can laugh about the kids, and they will add a lot of life to be sure!

    The people of Japan are on my mind this morning. Seems like Hawaii made it ok, according to friends who are there. But although the disaster is not in my sermon, it will figure in the pastoral prayer. The pastors were told last week by one of our administrators during staff meeting that pastoral prayers are too long. So now I am working on that. Sermon for tonight is done, trying to finish all else to go sledding in a few hours. Horrible title chosen midweek, hopefully sermon leaning heavily on ideas from David Lose @workingpreacher will be ok.

    Not much food here. The cook (otherwise known as the husband) is supposed to arrive back from 11 days in Argentina tomorrow.

    Blessings to all in your preparations. Word verification spinesse, sounds like what I am supposed to do!

  17. Anyone have good denominational resources to share for tomorrow? The UCC has a pastoral prayer (but I'm not bowled over by it). Please link here, if you don't mind. Thanks.

  18. Mumpastor, Welcome! glad you are here! would you like a cup of coffee?

    I too am relying a little on David Lose. going to start writing again in a few moments and hope it comes out ok.

    I have a fresh pot brewing if anyone needs some...

  19. Good idea, Songbird. I have ELCA Disaster Relief resources, but haven't seen worship resources yet. will post if they appear.

  20. Diane, that sad attitude is out there, definitely. It didn't need a high-profile person to get started.

  21. Thanks for the company and inspiration to get me going this morning. I got a rough outline done yesterday and plan to talk about how "there are limits." I suppose it goes along with accepting our humanity. Though we have to be careful which limits we accept and which we challenge.

    My sermon on this text from a few years ago is here. I'm posting it because it seems to fit the direction Diane is going--may have a helpful example or something.

    Happy writing everyone. I just put a movie on for the kids, so this is my window.

  22. thanks, spacious! it's been a chaotic week, for sure, and I can use all the help I can get.

    love your screen name, by the way.

  23. Morning everyone! I'm ahead of schedule a bit - I have a fairly complete sermon outline/rough draft - 803 words already and my target is 2000!

    I wanted to be ahead of the game because I'm preaching an hour and a half drive north of here and there's been some significant flooding in the area. I'll have to check with the local sherrifs today to see to see if my route is affected (most of the trip is non-interstate). I might have to drive up tonight, which I don't want to do.

    And now I realized that tonight is daylight savings time so if I don't drive up tonight, I'll have to get up at what is really 5:00 in order to be there to preach at 8:15 - the clock will say 6 and 9:15, but my body will not be fooled! BTW - did I say that I am NOT a morning person! Arrrgh!

    I'm preaching on sin - contrasting the garden with the wilderness and hopefully incorporating some of the Romans. the point is going to be: while sin is real, and the subtle sin (the temptation of the beneficial) is dangerous, but sin doesn't trap or paralyze us because Jesus has conquered it. Or something like that. I do get to use my favorite quote from Luther, "Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death and the world."

    And I am still waiting to hear from the synod person about what my new synod has in store for me in way of call. The bishop said she would call by yesterday. I am so tired of waiting and just want a call!

    So there's a lot on my mind this morning Hopefully the sermonating will go quickly!

  24. good morning, Ramona! thanks for the Luther quote reminder!

    praying for a call for you...

  25. Good morning everyone! Banana nut bread here to share.

    My preaching these days is extemp/conversation starting so no sermon to write...But I do have the exciting/scary task of proofreading my latest inclusive/expansive language prayer book and writing the back cover/website blurb. *Sophia's Psalter* (all 150 psalms with feminine/neutral God-language will join *Sophia's Rosary* (for Anglican or Catholic rosaries) and *Sophia's Book of Hours* (morning, noon, evening, and night prayer). You can email me at lauraATgrimesDOTws for sample pages and/or learn more and purchase via Paypal, if interested here.

    PS: word verification is rockerat--rock that preaching, women!

  26. Still churning here... what about the idea that we are the tempter asking Jesus to show his power? If you are the Son of God, fix Japan!

    Such hodge-podge in my brain right now.

  27. I did some work I really needed to do, but it was not my sermon.
    More coffee?

  28. Ramona, I've heard that quote of Luther's before. Can you parse it a little for those of us who have not been steeped in that tradition? Just what does Luther mean by "sin boldly"?

    Preaching on the Garden of Eden, and the first man and woman-- who don't yet have their names. Working title: "The First Ones." Word count: goose eggs!

  29. ok, someone other than me can flesh this out, but I think that Luther was offering counsel to someone who was so afraid of making a misstep. I think there's a line before this that says, "Christ does not forgive fictitious sinners." And the quoted line begins, "Be a sinner and sin boldly...."

  30. Good morning from here. I've got a nice hot latte, no goodies yet, but will probably take a break later on and find something to keep me going.

    For those of you thinking about boundaries, I ran across a quote (can't remember the source right now) that said that boundaries are visible expressions of love.

    I've been struggling with this sermon for a couple of days now, I've written several drafts, trashed them and started over, only to start to rewirte again. This morning will be my fourth attempt and I've got a deadline. I've got to attend a commissioning service at 2 and then get back home for a family "omnibirthday". We tend to have our birthdays in bunches in the family and so twice a year we all get together to celebrate. Today it is my daughter, 2 grandchildren, my father, and 2 son-in-laws. The house will be full of joy and laughter today.

  31. Good morning, preachers. After being up very late last night (for no good reason) I slept until 10 am, which is unheard of for me! I am not looking forward to DST, but I need to get myself back on a normal sleeping schedule so maybe because I seem already to have "sprung" myself ahead (up til the wee hours every night lately) I can readjust okay.

    I'm preaching Matthew, but intrigued by the commentary on Genesis at working preachers...hmmm.

    For the first Sunday in Lent we will begin the service with the Great Litany which is a wonderful ancient prayer of penitence and supplication, and I will be adding the people of Japan to that--as well as people in our area suffering from flooding. After a week of relatively warm (40s) rainy weather it is possible to look outside and see no snow most places, but the rivers are overflowing their banks as a result. In an area that was once devastated by a big flood (in 1955, so some still remember it) that puts people on edge.

  32. KZJ, that idea works for me...and that's not how God works, as hard as it is for us to grasp.

    I will neve forget after Katrina when a guest speaker at our women's gathering stood up and said that if we didn't believe that God was punishing New Orleans for her sins, then we weren't reading the bible right. Oy.

  33. Good afternoon from a snowy Scotland. Thought we were done with that but know that lots of you have a much longer and more severe snowy season.
    We're following old testament lectionary readings through lent and tomorrow is all age. I was wondering how to bring in Japan and Songbird, you have helped me in that. If God would intervene, things would be so much better. But that's not the nature of the God we worship. So we have awful things happen and are joined in our grieving by a grieving God. Looking at perfection of Eden and all that mars life in all it's fulness.
    That"'s as far as I've got so far.
    Grocery shopping and then I'll be back.

  34. I am using Ps 32 and the Mt text...going in the direction of dipping our toe into "our" wildernesses...and sometimes we continue to explore that wilderness and sometimes we do not.

    Yesterday was spent in district court with a parishioner...parishioner wants to come to worship on Sunday...after spending 2 weeks in about a wilderness.

  35. oh the wilderness... where life does not make sense. i'm using portions of an essay folks referenced earlier in the week... from abbey of the arts on lament.

    lamenting comes before celebrating... this story (Mtw) invites us to enter the silent space and offer up our cries. or something like that.

  36. Time ticking towards The Boy's arrival home, but I have an outline and a focus/function.

    How much can I type in 30 minutes and... GO!

  37. Hi everyone, I am not preaching tomorrow....but there is a possibility that I will have a new call very soon and be back, full time, on the preaching circuit. I'm tentatively excited...I appreciate your prayers, as you are able. Also, I wrote prayers for the disaster in Japan, if you are interested...they are posted here.

    Blessings for all of you as you wrestle with the text and the deep sorrow of the disaster in Japan.

  38. thanks for the prayer resources, Terri!!!

  39. Here is a prayer from the United Church of Canada. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the prayer link.
    It's okay, but I'll be touching it up a bit.

  40. Hello everyone! I'm going more creative today--a dramatic monologue as the devil, drawing both from Genesis and Matthew. I know it sounds slightly hokey, but I'm excited to get working on it. Definitely working in the idea KZJ just mentioned that if we are in the Matthew text at all, it's more likely as the tempters, not the tempted (thank you Sermon Brainwave).

    On another note:
    Here's what our synod just sent out for prayer resources for Japan.

    I love the "sin boldly" quote of Luther as well. I know he was writing to Melanchthon when he penned it...apparently about the proper way to handle different questions of sin in the parish...and I always think of it as meaning, "If you really believe and trust in the grace of God to forgive, then live as though it were real."

  41. Thanks for the prayer resources. I finished a draft of my sermon and am hoping my biblical analysis won't get me into too much trouble. That's what I get for reading Gen 2-3 in the context of news out of Libya and Wisconsin. "God" in this Genesis story seems more like Gaddafi and Governor Walker than the God of the poor and oppressed revealed in Jesus.

    Pretty open-minded congregation; I think I'll still have a job come Monday.

  42. Thanks Teri. I'll be printing these in our bulletin for people to take home with them.

  43. Woot!!! Done, I ended up focusing on the theme of "Boundaries are a visible expression of love" and explored it from both sides, God's side and our side. Amazing what focusing on One Thing can do. Now on to the bulletin.

  44. Pearl. I like that identity theft idea!

    Ramona, prayers for you as you wait for news.

    RevDrMom, I forgot about the Great Litany being tomorrow, which means I don't have the Prayers of the People to include Japan. I'd be interested in knowing how you include that concern in the GL. It is also Episcopal Relief and Development Sunday...I think an appeal for that fine organization's work will meet with a strong response under the circumstances.

    I'm going with "whose I am" having priority over "who I am." I've started with a list of the various names I'm called (the nice ones!); at the end of the sermon I'll bring it around to all of us being called God's son or daughter, beloved, as the statement of whose we are. The devil keeps trying to get Jesus to take a role--who he is--of ruler or miracle worker or whatever, and Jesus keeps responding with whose he is.

    Part of my thinking is shaped by a specific circumstance. My dad, who has lymphoma, has just been dx'd with bladder cancer; he is not strong enough to withstand any treatment. His death is not imminent, but it will be sooner rather than later. So as I think about one of the answers to who I am--daughter--I am painfully struck by the transitory nature of that in this world, though I know I will still be a daughter even after he dies. Hanging onto the stability of whose I am gives me some courage. This won't go into the sermon, as it's too fresh for me, but it helps to say it here.

    Younger son leaves on a 6 day school trip tomorrow at 5 AM...bad day for the time change! He's all packed so no stress there, but I'd like to spend time with him. There's some bacon in the fridge and I'm about to go cook it up; come grab a slice!

  45. Betsy, prayers ascending for your Dad, you and family.

  46. The Boy has another 2 hours to be with his Dad and I've bought more time to work on this and then have my full attention on him upon his return.

    I can tell I've been doing a lot of computer work today, because the sea legs feeling has returned. Whee..............

  47. Okay, I've done some pretty high-quality procrastinating, by which I mean all the things I've done needed doing, but weren't necessarily a higher priority than the sermon: RevGals emails (way backed up! sorry!), laundry, exercise, dog-walking, lunch. There are no more good excuses; so I'm going to start writing and see where I get.

  48. ok, so I have a sermon, but I'm not totallly happy with it, so it may be different tomorrow. but, I need something for 5 this afternoon.

    I have heard something about radiation from Japan, does anyone know if this is a real story?

    I like the identity theft idea, too..

  49. Good day! I love the identity theft idea, Pearl.
    Songbird, I think you've got something there, I'm interested in how you pursue it. It surely have merit after everyone watches TV today.

    My best to all as I catch up on comments.

  50. beginning my run through the 10 commandments for Lent. Doing covet and steal this week. Using some ideas from Craig Barnes' book Yearning -- we aren't intended to have it all, even in the garden there was, right in the center, the tree from which we were forbidden to eat. And SOOOOO much of our trouble stems from wanting what we do not/cannot have. When I hit the part about priorities and obsessions I'll mention a quote I heard on the news about the disaster reminding us that the things of the world are not the real priorities!

    Plenty of Earl Grey tea here to shar, and some GF brownies!

  51. (((Betsy)))

    I like your sermon idea. Like is not a strong enough word.

    take care.

  52. @Purple,
    I totally love it. Jealous I am not preaching tomorrow, of course it would be a little late to start with that. Putting it in the old file drawer for sure. Prayers for the tough situation.
    Terri, so excited for you.
    Semfem, you devil, you! Love it!!
    (((Betsy))) So sorry. Prayers
    Girls Scout cookies are on the table and sodas are in the fridge.
    I am off to an auction and will do some knitting while there.
    Not looking forward to the session meeting at 830AM, which means it will be 730 according to my body clock! Lord, help us all!

  53. Most of the unpacking of the Luther quote has already happened, but I want to add: Luther believed that because we are in bondage to sin, we could never do good on our own power. The only godd we do is accomplished through God's work in our lives. So one of the questions that plagued him was "Am I doing things for the right reason - to glorify God and to allow God to act through me?" And he could never be sure he was. The beauty our Romans passage today is that through Jesus, we are righteous. So Luther could advise people to carefully consider thier actions, and then do what Jesus would have them do, and not worry if they were inadvertly sinning - God's grace was sufficient. Kinda of a 'live life boldly, love boldly, and know and rejoice that Jesus has handled the details.'

  54. Songbird, thanks for the help on the 40 video. Somehow, I missed the mirror image. That really helps my thoughts for tomorrow.

    This morning, ase we cooked and served, a parishioner talked about a SI article about college football players getting into trouble with the law. One coach admitted to knowing his players were "not nice people" but he had to have them to win and winning assures his salary/position.

    We also talked about political parties not wanting to do anything that would reflect badly on anyone other than the opposite party thus effectively bringing this country to its knees.

    Will I dare to say any of that tomorrow? I think I just might. I would imagine the temptation to land troops in a country like Libya and "clean the place up" is huge for a president. But who will it really help and how will we be viewed by the rest of the world?

    Still, I am going to end with the video and mirror image. Thanks guys!

  55. Ramona! Yeah! re: the Luther quote. I couldn't have said it better myself.

  56. OK, folks, I could use some help...every week we have "Prayers of the People" where the pastor (that's me) stands in the midst of the congregation and prays a prayer of thanksgiving and intercession. When it is done well, it is poetic, incorporates the scriptures, the sermon or the hymns, uses the theme of the day and the season of the year, etc. etc. I have heard recently that mine are too long...I do write them out. So here is the question - how do I "do" a good pastoral prayer? You great prayers out there, please help! Do you do them off the cuff or write them down? How do you be sure to incorporate everything from new babies to sick congregants to world issues? Ack! I have my knickers in a knot over this every week. You can respond here or email me at mumpastor @gmail dot com Thanks!

  57. @Betsy, there is a petition in the traditional form "That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation" and I will add "especially......" Similar petition in the contemporary form which I don't have in front of me but is printed in our bulletin.

    I try to fold in all the specifics we pray for in the Prayers of the People that way.

    Have not made very much progress on the sermon yet...sigh...and I have lots of little things to get done in addition, including going to buy lots of pretzels for coffee hour tomorrow, since pretzels are "Lenten bread."

    word verification is biblenal a new synonym for biblical? Hmm....

  58. Well two more hours got more on paper, but it will need some polish. The Boy arrives home for real any moment now and so it is time to enjoy him.

    Blessings upon you all as you continue to struggle and write and discern and stuff.

    See you in a bit.

  59. mumpastor -- If I didn't write my prayers out, they would be too long.

    we have formats for prayers in our worship books, and then we can tweak them based on our circumstances. I usually have a certain number of petitions in mind. less than 5: too few. more than oh, 7: too many.

    I like to have them written out, basically, so I don't forget anything/anyone. but I have gone with notes on occasion, though usually at a smaller service.

  60. Last week when I heard that children's church was re-starting this week, I felt moved to email an offer of assistance to the CE director. Of course it was accepted with alacrity!

    I am not sure just how it will go, but I am looking forward to helping offer that time to the young ones.

  61. Hello, all! I'm usually a lurker here ... but, as it's Lent, why not break out of the rut, right?

    I'm working with both Genesis and Matthew this week. The congregation I serve is starting a Lenten series on Food Ethics on Wednesday, so I'm exploring the idea of "Holy Hunger" in my sermon: if our hunger is a gift and it draws us closer to God and God's gifts for us, what happens when we gorge ourselves with things that are neither good for us nor satisfying?

    Speaking of hunger ... it's time for lunch. Turkey sandwich anyone?

  62. Thanks for all of this encouraging conversation. Preaching in a new place tomorrow that isn't terribly keen on women's ordination. Nothing new on this side of the pond, but never dull. Am trying to tie the temptations into Japan using Henri Nouwen's description of the temptations: to be relevant, to be spectacular, to be powerful (and ultimately to be God). Am thinking about how when faced with suffering and death we give into these same temptations all too easily and thus risk emptying the cross of its power. Still a work in progress (ie needs to be written!).

  63. I've got a working sermon. This is really early for me! It's not from my original rough draft. I just started writing and this totally different sermon came out.

    I could use some feedback, though. So if you have a sec, I'd appreciate if you could read "That Something Missing."

    Also, I refer to some quotes in the sermon, which I am including in a powerpoint. So how do I best reference those quotes for the blog? I'm thinking footnotes, but if there is a way to attach the powerpoint, or some of the slides to the blog, that would be great. Anyone with ideas and/or technical advice on that?

  64. Oh, Betsy, I'm sorry to hear this. Prayers.

  65. @mumpastor - We have a worship resource called "Sundays and Seasons" that I used for the prayers. I edit them to include what's happening or happened during the week, if necessary. But I try to keep to their format -it's usually pretty concise.

    I agree with Diane - somewhere between 5 and 7 petitions is about right. If I add petitions and go over 7, I usually drop one of the pre-written ones.

    Any chance you could use this as a teaching opportunity - either to talk about the essential nature of intercessory prayer, or to teach some congregation members to write petitions themselves that could be used in worship? Maybe ownership would quiet the complainers!

    It sounds like you aren't always the one praying - do the others get the same complaint. If not, can you massage what they do to fit your style?

    If it's anything like it is here in my area, complaining about the length of prayers is most likely a time issue. Someone thinks the service is too long, and shorter prayers would get them out of there faster!

    Hope this helps!

  66. Thanks to Rev Dr Mom, headed over to the working preacher site - first time! - and read the commentary on Genesis. Favorite bit: "This is no Caribbean vacation in paradise!" Ah, but you know what is? :)

    semfem - rock on! An excellent way to get rid of all those silly nonbiblical misconceptions about HaSatan!

    I, being the fool that I am, am preaching on Genesis and Romans... which has somehow become a sermon on the atonement. And by "become" I clearly mean "in my brain" as nothing has been written. Gah! Why, oh why, do I hate myself? Sure, I'm a presby who buys into the T of TULIP but still! I also by into the TG - total grace - and shouldn't be doing this to myself.

    Okay, rant over. Sermonize, begin!

  67. Argh....I've got about four false starts on paper, and no clear sense of directions. I hate weeks like this.

  68. Ramona, I left a comment over at your place; there's nothing at all missing from your sermon! It's one of those ones I read and wish I were preaching it myself :-)

    Thanks for the prayers; it's the first days of living into a shifted reality and my head and heart are swirling.

    My sermon is coming along, for which I am grateful, though I've just hit a speed bump and would far rather stop and quit the trip than keep writing.

  69. Those of you looking at how temptations can be rationalised as doing good, STages on the Way, an Iona resource, has a script on page 29 A Very Reasonable Man. we did this a few years ago and it went well. only needs four people.
    time to go to church.

  70. Good afternoon, good women. We have a guest lecture tomorrow afternoon (Dr. Margaret Mitchell, NT Prof and Dean of Univ of Chicago Div School), and she will also preach in the morning. I still need to prep for the prayers of the people (thanks for all the links to resources), and prep for youth Sunday School plus tomorrow night's youth group. And in between worship, Sunday School, the lecture, and youth group, I'm also trying to make it to a ballet performance of two of our youth (did I mention that I've picked up the youth ministry while we are in an interim period? our youth minister had to move away when her husband took a job out of state, and we have just begun a search for a new one; I am loving working with the youth but the additional workload is quite a lot). Am really wishing this busy day didn't happen on top of the time change!

    I'm leaving shortly for a dinner with Margaret Mitchell, but I hope to drop by later the party again later tonight when I'm preparing my prayer.

  71. I wonder....
    what would it be like to read Genesis without 1600 years of Augustinian interpretation layered on? (remembrering that both Luther and Calvin largely followed Augustine when it came to doctrine of humanity)

    But then again, I would have supported Pelagius, still do for that matter.

  72. Hi All,
    I don't preach very often but try to stop in when I do... I'm working on Adam and Eve, expanded through God's search for them in the garden.

    I thought I was so slick with an opening and closing about how we hide from life and God and that God searches us out... but apparently that is about a half-length sermon... here's hoping the middle fits in nicely ;-)

  73. good conversation here today and many good sermons in progress. I'm done, for now at least. I really haven't had much but a vague idea this week as I recovered from another cold. (Can germs keep re-infecting the same family members?)

    Anyway, I haven't posted it yet, but probably will for tomorrow. Re: prayer=length, I sometimes am guilty so I vary from week to week. I try to pray for everyone on our prayer list every month or so, at other times, I only name those who were named THAT Sunday in sharing concerns. This week, I'm noting that god knows our needs and I'm using Terri's prayer for the victims of the disaster. (THANK YOU TERRI & best wishes on upcoming call.)
    so that is all, for now. thanks for all the ideas. BTW, my title is Dilemmas (which this whole sermon was!)

  74. Gord, I always say I never met a heresy I didn't like.

  75. a pearl downunder - love that resource - just pulled it out to see if it would have any sparks for me!

    Speaking of sparks, looking on the UCC website and while this little bit doesn't apply to my sermon, maybe it would be useful to someone else. Plus, Calvin and Hobbes rock.

    Bill Watterson, 21st century
    Calvin: Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man? Hobbes: I'm not sure that man needs the help.

  76. I wrote my sermon last night, and please remind me later of how good of an idea that was! It's not awesome, but it's a solid B, perhaps B+.

    And now, the children's sermon and prayers of the people loom.

    I am one of those that is not good at the prayers of the people thing. I am especially poor at thinking on my feet (incorporating spoken requests at a pulpit supply church where you know none of th people or backstory). I'm getting better, but still.....

    Anyone have a decent children's idea?

    I'm preaching MT, and ended up focusing on how we are not in control. I don't know. it made sense last night.

  77. Really late to the laptop today 10pm here - but forunately wrote 1500 word of sermon on a train earlier in the week. I'm focussing on the way that the temptations are core to our own temptations now (Like the Nouwen reference above!) and saying that they may sound bizarre but in fact are about our desires for consumption, our desire to be certain about God not trust to faith and our desire for recognition.

    Might have enough already but need to look over it.

  78. And in continuing my procrastination, a little gem from Shirley Guthrie (Christian Doctrine)

    “No one forces us to be Adam. But on the other hand, we can’t help it.”

  79. @Betsy - thanks. I looked for your comments at my site, but they weren't there. Could you repost?

    General discussion - I've got a powerpoint to go with the sermon. I can't decide if I want to use it or not. It has some animations - empyt heart with God shaped hole, heart with cross, that sort of thing. It's all color graphic, not photos, so it's a bit onthe cartoon side. I can't decide if I was to keep it or not. What say you?

    Hey - my verification word is 'calie' which is exactly how we spell our cat's name. Think I'll go pet her!

  80. ok, I practiced and this sermon is definitely going to have to be re-wroted after worship tonight.

    the Japan stuff in the sermon just seems forced right now, so I'm leaving it out and am going to try again after supper. too bad i have one hour less to do it in.

  81. Betsy, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. Hugs and prayers to you.

    I finished a draft a little while ago, then went out with the dog. My 15yo is due home soonish. I'm thinking Thai food for dinner. Sound good?

  82. Songbird, I'll have an order of pad thai - veggie and American mild, please.

  83. Thanks to all for unpacking that wonderful Luther quote for me... into the sermon it goes!

  84. Okay, I think I'll keep this one! Sorely Tempted

    Heading out to get the Pad Thai!

  85. Back from visiting the gravely ill for most of the day. Then I had to -- had to, I tell you -- do a little Netflix therapy. Watched "The Verdict" with the late great Paul Newman. There's some big-time evil and temptation in that movie!

    Time to get serious with actually writing the sermon that I have been playing with in my head during all that driving.

    (((HUGS))) for all who are anxious in any circumstance at the moment.

  86. Glad to see many are finishing or on the verge of finishing. Even though I've been excited about this sermon all week long, starting it is proving NOT to be very exciting. Ugh. All I have is my opening prayer. I've been procrastinating in various ways most of the day.

    Betsy, you have my prayers.

    Songbird, pad thai sounds scrumptious!

  87. I have returned and a re-read shows that I have the beginning of one sermon and the almost ending of another... yikes.

    Back to work...

  88. I should really be in bed by now - but I've had a day full of naps! Going to take a tour of the blogs before I call it a day. Hope the writing progresses well for those still at it. And prayers for all who need them more than usual - Betsy for your family and Terri for your call. Diane, thanks for the party!

  89. Carrot pineapple bran muffins fresh from the oven...grab one for some quick sustenance!

    Can you spell "procrastination"?

  90. Re-posted comments, Ramona. Maybe I was so caught up in appreciation for your words that I forgot to hit "publish"

  91. Finally started! 517 words of a one-woman script written. Maybe I can finish a draft before I need to eat dinner.

    Ramona, I loved your sermon too. Great stuff. Wish you were coming to my synod :)

  92. preached once. changed the ending. needs tweaking. heh.

    pad thai. yes!

    May I say that I LOVE some of the titles I'm seeing here? Songbird, Sorely tempted! I like that.

  93. Wow, okay, now I have a finished draft of this monologue, 1251 words. Whew!

    Maybe some dinner now, then returning and re-reading. It's a salad in reality, but at the party I'm eating virtual pad thai.

  94. We have spring rolls, too, with mint! Delicious!

  95. Back from a break to re-read, edit a bit and decide what to do with that powerpoint. And then I'm done for the night.

    A quick call this afternoon to check road conditions reassured me that I will not be braving flooded roads in the morning. So it's just making sure I get up in time - I HATE, hate, hate hate daylight savings (at least in the spring!).

    Sounds like progress is being made all around. I'll check back in to read some sermons later!

    My hubby made the most tasty meatloaf and salad. He really takes care of me when I am sermonating! There are virtual leftovers if anyone wants some supper. Unfortunately, the two teenage boys in the house made sure there were no real left overs.

  96. I'm just now arriving at the party after wrestling a migraine into submission and then providing taxi service for the younger child.

    When I saw 95 comments!, I decided to comment and get the email check box going before reading everything.

  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. I've been reading along today when I could and now I'm about ready to really join the party. I've got one kid left awake, so I'm waiting for the baby to fall asleep so I can get to it. I able to and will be showing the "40" video tomorrow. Earlier I had in my head what I thought would be a fairly simple, but hopefully decent sermon about the temptation piece that would flow out of that. I don't remember what that was, though. On top of that I'm "tempted" by other great directions people are going with here. I haven't read any full sermons yet, because that never seems to be a good thing when I have so little of my own sermon thought through. I think I will need to do this one as others did earlier - - just start writing and see where it takes me.

    I really liked the identity stuff earlier in the week. I hadn't planned to focus too much on the tempter being the mirror image of Jesus in the vidoe, but that's intriguing. I think, though, the reminder that maybe we ought not put ourself in the place of Jesus, but in the role of the tempter has made the biggest impact on me. Huge insight I completely missed, but am profoundly effected by. Huge. I think it works with Genesis, too, actually, our desire to direct God's creation the way we think it should be.

    Anyway, we know I'll be back later, hopefully with the Holy Spirit so that she and I can knock this one out without losing too much sleep!

  99. Come on, 100. We're almost there! Vicar, want to put us over the top?

  100. Oops. Sorry Vicar! I just saw the number and couldn't resist.

    Back to do refining and polishing of what I have.

  101. oops, too late to be 100. better luck next time.

  102. Wow, 100 and it's only 9:15.

    I'm almost there....working on wrapping it up. Not entirely happy with it, but it is what it is.

  103. That's an impressively early 100! even if your clocks are already changed

  104. Is this #100? The sermon works in my head...but need to let it test just a bit...and then re-read.

  105. This comment has been removed by the author.

  106. Maybe I'll be number 100.

    back from church and the baptism of twins went well. the child who was grizzly on Friday was fine today, the other one even quieter than usual. Some of the family and friends even stayed for morning tea.
    and not having Sunday School worked well, there was colouring and books in the church, which kept little fingers occupied. One of the twins was wanting to explore the front of the church, which was fine.

    the story "A Hat for Ivan" was popular with the adults anyway.

    A family who had spoken to me a few weeks ago about baptising their baby was at church today and we had a chat, and one of the people at church recognised one of them, always a good start.

    the next 24 hours are for me and my husband!

    God bless you all,

  107. over 100! wow! good work, people!

    thanks for the pad thai, songbird.

    anybody need anything? I can get anything but that extra hour.

  108. I'm preaching on identity and who we put our faith in - the words of others, our own desires, or in God.

    My sermon is much shorter than usual, but that's okay because the Great Litany adds time to the service. Plus, who ever complained about a short sermon?

  109. Hi all,

    One heck of a day. Glad it is almost over with. Teh sermon iz finished. Enjoy

  110. And all most of us want *is* that extra hour, I'm thinking...

  111. After fighting with my printer, which stubbornly refused to print out page one in full, I have finally got a readable copy of the sermon for tomorrow.

    I'm off to bed to read a bit and try to get to sleep. I probably won't - I'll be too worried about not oversleeping. Maybe I can catch a nap tomorrow before I travel again in a different direction for a board meeting.

    Blessings on everyone still partying. I've been inspired by the sermon I've read so far and I'm looking forward to reading the others tomorrow after church!

    verification word is 'blessos'. O Spirit of God blessos as we finish our sermons!

  112. I am almost there! It sounds too preachy. That may be the best I can do. Maybe some chocolate milk will help. I'll set out some extra for any fans of the cocoa-cow-juice!

  113. Food for thought

    When God discovered that someone had eaten of the forbidden fruit, He asked Adam: "Who did this?" Adam pointed to Eve and said: "The woman gave me the fruit and I ate, not knowing what it was." God looked towards Eve with a raised eyebrow, waiting for an explanation. Eve quavered and pointed at the serpent: "It was the snake who said I should eat therof." The baleful glare of the Almighty fell upon the snake, but the poor reptile stayed silent – for he didn't have a leg to stand on.

  114. Inching ever closer to preachable. The stuff I have cut today equals a sermon!

  115. WOOOO!! Y'all have been PARTYING HARDY over here tonight!! Just back from my dinner and still need a shower before I can settle down to write my prayer. Just wanted to say howdy!

  116. For children't time tomorrow I was all set to use a story I have told dozens of times over the last 22 years. IT is the story of the Cree chief after whom the camp I worked at was named, and is the story of a vision helping a young man understandd what his mission in the world was to be. I thought i'd introduce it by asking what they want to be when they grow up and why.

    Then Japan was moved (quite a distance apparently).

    I think I will keep my original plan, but then pause and talk a bitr about Japan before leading them in prayer...

    Too much? Too different???

    The original title is already in the bulletin and I do love to tell the story (I could move the story to the sermon but it works so well with children)

  117. 119 comments! really! do you need anything?

    party on, Garth!

  118. It really feels an hour later. I'm going to bed. Good night pals, may the Holy Spirit have our backs and lead us not into tempation.

  119. Wow. Look at all our comments. Lots of folks posting and preaching the 1st Sunday of Lent.
    Well,do y'all need anything?
    Did your basketball team win today?
    How's the sermon going?
    I am hitting the hay early, as when I wake up it will be later.

  120. I think I'm calling it a night...although I have no idea if I'm going to be able to sleep. That whole "sleeping in until 11 am thing" may not have been such a great idea today.

    Anyway, off to shower and hopefully get to sleep at a decent hour. Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day and tomorrow. (and it feels WEIRD to be calling it a day this early!)

  121. I am naming it 'preachable' and moving towards pulling some stuff together for Confirmation Class. The goal is to be headed to bed by 11 (12:00 with the time change, grrr...)

    Thank you all for your support on the journey. Party on!

  122. This one just was hard coming together. But it is done.

    Now try to convince my eyes and body it is really one hour later...already! Oy!!!!

  123. I'm trying to keep myself kind of quiet tonight so that I can get done what needs to be done without losing too much (more) sleep (than usual). My plan is to shut myself down at 10:30 p.m. no matter what, which will be 11:30 p.m. in the new time. This is also a good idea since I only have 10% of my battery left on my iPad. I won't be able to type too much past that anyway.

    I'm still feeling rather conflicted about going with my original identity stuff (with the AWESOME image of identity theft that goes so well with the pictures/movie) or with the idea of us tempting Jesus.

    Right now as I'm just typing to try to get the ideas out and see which sticks I have a sermon that says something like - - now I could preach on it this way (explanation, explanation, explanation), but I'm going to preach it this way (real sermon, real sermon, real sermon). Not so great. Hopefully in writing it this way, though, I'll find which one is more faithful and go with that one.

    I can be short for me since that video is 4 minutes long. I need to factor that into my sermon length.

  124. I have so much to say and so little to say at the same time. :;sigh::

  125. Duh - - I think I may have found my connection between sermon 1 and sermon 2 back in the video all over again. Duh duh duh. It's the image of Satan looking just like Jesus (only red). We can be at the same time the tempted and the temptor. We are tempted as much if not more by own our desire to give over our identity to something else, to forget, ignore, or deny that we are children of God.

    OK, my time is about up and more importantly my battery is. I'm off to sleep for a few hours, then I'll come back and tie this all together. I THINK it makes sense. I've got almost 500 words of somewhat scattered thoughts, that will be pulled into this sermon that needs only about 1400 because of the video. I think I can do this pretty quickly tomorrow!

  126. Vicar, that's a groaner!

    Mine was done before 6 PM, which is close to a record. I'll be up at 4 AM for a quick shower before taking younger son to school at 5 for week-long field trip. Out to Denny's with older son and dh, then back to church for 3 services, then a 5 hour drive to my dad's for two days, fortunately with older son to keep me awake! I am worn out before I even start.

    Whatever our sermon tomorrow, may we all remember that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, Christ's own forever, beloved children of God...and whose we are is what really matters.

  127. I finally have a sermon!

    Now for the prayer and to print it all

  128. Changing the clocks and heading to bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  129. I'm back to write after a (Saturday night) normal amount of sleep. The baby's a little restless at this hour for some reason, so this could be interesting.

  130. Wow. Is this a record for comments?
    Good Morning to all and a Happy Daylight Savings to you as well.
    Bet Hallmark does not have a card for that one.
    Blessings on your day. Not sure how it happened, but we have our session meeting at 8:30/ the old 7:30. Ugh
    Insert IV coffee drip here>>>>

  131. So, this is heading in a very different direction than I thought it would head, but I'm pretty sure it's still faithful to the text at least for this time and place - - what's that German phrase we learned in seminary? Sitz in lieben? Place in life. I wouldn't have otherwise taken the temptation in this "Why do bad things happen to good people" direction, but that idea of tempting Jesus ourselves, asking him to do the things that fit our idea of his identity even if it may not fit his idea or God's idea, seems to be leading me this direction. Not totally sure where it's going to end up except maybe in that boundaries discussion I saw someone else toss out.

    Well, this is sort of exciting sermon writing. It's 6:30 a.m. and I'm still not sure where I'm going to end up!

  132. wow! just stopping in after not enough sleep last night to remind you all that the Holy Spirit has got your back!

    And, the coffee's on.

    SheRev, I admire you. no way could I get up and write early in the morning....

  133. So much for 1400 words! HA! So, since there's no choir anthem today I'll just think of the video as the replacement for that and I should still have enough time for a "full" sermon. Hope so! I'm doing it!

    Grace and peace!


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