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Friday, July 22, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Plenty O' Options Edition

First the food! I picked up some nice fresh nectarines at the grocery store yesterday. (I can't stand the feel of peach fuzz.) There are pancakes at our house that we can share. Or, if you prefer, there's leftover pizza in the fridge. You can have it cold or heat it up. (I think that is one of the "There are two kinds of people in this world..." this is actually true.)

And now on to what has really brought us here today....
It feels like the last few weeks have had no shortage of interesting preach-able options, and this Sunday is no exception. "Plenty" and "options" even describe the content of the texts themselves. Jacob, once he puts in enough work anyway, has two wives (not to mention their maids) to choose from. The gospel text has wheat and weeds - to pick or not to pick. There's also the question of how much to include. Do you stick just to the parable or to do read all the way through the interpretation? From Romans we have one of the best loved and most hope-filled passages (at least in my opinon) in Scripture, a laundry list of things that CAN'T stop God's love.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. What are you thinking about so far? And what do you have going on? We are in the thick of wedding season (at least in the northern hemisphere). Is anyone presiding today? We have had a lot of gals and pals in transitions this summer. Stop in if you get a chance and let us know how those are going. Coffee is on in the morning and let me know what you need the rest of the day. Looking forward to the party today!

(I'll try to spice this up with some pictures in the morning. That's one downfall of doing it from the iPad. I can't figure out a good way to load a picture in a post.)


  1. I'm going with what is the kingdom of God like- all of those parables from Matthew, and probably using pictures.

    I hope to enter into a dialogue with the three smallish congregations I'll be with on Sunday, so we'll see how it goes. Two are used to that approach, the other not so much!

  2. I'm preaching the Romans, because it's beautiful... and because I'm candidating this weekend and something smack dab in the center of the Christian message sounded like a good idea!

    Finishing/tweaking/making sure it sounds ok... I'm pulling it apart, spending time on the worries, the assurance, and the joy that God's love is enough. Still working to see if i can add a stronger image in here, but if not, so it goes

  3. I am conducting my very first wedding today so maybe it wasn't the wisest decision to move away from the lectionary for the next few weeks. I am doing a short series on rest and how we can find rest in the midst of our busy lives. Summer seemed an appropriate time to do that but lots on today so probably no time for rest for me today! Maybe after the service tomorrow.

  4. Good morning.

    I am continuing on the sermons by request tract with this one on hypocrisy. The take I'm leaning towards is the way we act (cowardice, greed, etc...) even though we are beloved children of God.

    I also have a SS lesson to prep for (ie: read the book) and I have to get the family packed for them to leave on vacation tomorrow (I leave Monday).

    Oh yes, softball games in 100 degree heat at 1 and 2 because I. am. an. idiot.

    The coffee's up and hot, fresh juice too and way over there is an omelet bar so the next time you take a break be sure to get something yummy to eat!

  5. Not preaching this weekend. My deacon, who led our mission trip to Honduras, will do that. The lessons tie in nicely with our work in San Pedro Sula.
    I had a call, though, from a friend asking me to remind him what my "great insight" was on this reading three years ago. I haven't a clue! Anyone got a wildly new take?
    I've got a little wild rice and chicken soup left when lunch time rolls around. Otherwise, the cupboards are pretty bare here. The store hasn't been on my list of things to do this week.

  6. Last week I wrote two sermons, not by intent but from indecisiveness. I decided that one of them might work for this week, using the reading from Romans. I have been offering a brief Bible study to place the readings in context but have focused primarily on Matthew and Genesis. So a hat-tip to Jacob and the human family saga, and a hat-tip to Matthew and the parables on the kingdom of God...but otherwise a bref personal story regarding this passage in Romans...

    But first I have some stuff to take care of....sigh

  7. I had hoped to finish up last night but fell asleep. It's going to be unbearably hot today, so hopefully I can get this wrapped up before the apartment becomes unbearable. Taking on the parables again....kingdom of God (by again, I mean, I've preached this text many times.)If I stick with the direction I'm headed, I'm half done. But I do have a tendency to throw everything out and start over, so who knows.....

  8. coffee please. I feel bleary-eyed.
    I am preaching Romans 8 this weekend, and also have a wedding at 3:00. I have a sermon, but I'm not sure it's sufficient. we'll see. I preach at 5:00, shortly after the wedding.

    been at a stewardship conference all week, so that's still on my brain.

    and, I'm thinking about Norway today.

    thanks for hosting, SheRev!

    Kathryn, I would like to know more about your "sermons on request" series. How long are you going? How do you take requests?

  9. Like Sally, I am working with Matthew and all the possible ways we can image the realm of God--precious, hard to find yet everywhere, seemingly insignificant yet able to shelter everyone...

    I have an interment this morning then a fundraising river boat cruise this afternoon--hoping to get the sermon well-started before I head out, and then finish it up when I return.

    I have banana bread, blueberries, sesame bagels and yogurt to offer!

  10. Good morning, y'all.
    It's Saturday, so I must have an event at church, right? Seriously, we are a Saturday-heavy congregation. Today's event is a yard sale. I'm stopping by to make supportive noises, but NOT to buy anything.
    I leave for vacation tomorrow, so to bring the stress down I'm using a sustainable sermon about the mustard seed. I do have another writing project to finish today, a worship drama on the texts for August 7. It will be used in place of a sermon at kathryzj's church, so naturally I want it to be good! And while today may not need to be a drop-deadline for it, I'll have a cleaner conscience about vacation if it's done.
    So I'll be back later in the midst of writing and packing.

  11. Sermons by Request - we wanted a break from the lectionary this summer AND wanted to get a feel for what was on the congregation's mind in the wake of the pcusa's decision to allow gay clergy in a relationship to serve in ordained positions.

    By the way, no one requested a sermon on that, even after I basically dared them to do it.

    In the beginning of May we put an insert in the bulletin that asked for requess of either: sermon topic, Scripture lesson, and/or sermon title. We also asked for contact info and I'll admit that those who didn't include it were put on a lower priority by me.

    We looked at all of the suggestions and outlined the entire summer, with the last two coming in September when they actually match the lectionary lessons.

    The topics have ranged from baseball to 'why do good things happen to bad people'. It's been fun to be out of the routine, and it will also be fun to get back into it. I don't think we'll do it every summer, but it has worked well for this one.

  12. What's really impressive is that Songbird is hand delivering the worship drama - to the beach!

  13. Morning all. We had a water pipe break yesterday at the house so today while I wait for the plumber, we have no water. Ergo no coffee. Will have to rely on Coke for caffein. It is alreay close to 90.

    Songbird, what is this 'ya'll' stuff coming from a Manieiac? Are you heading south for vacation?

    I am preaching at 5 today and I am blank! The little grey cells are not functioning.

    Sally, I think I am going to go your route. I need to talk about what is the kingdom what does it mean to live in the kingdom.

    Anybody got a good resource?

  14. Good morning everyone!

    Sally, I preached this parable with pictures 3 years ago. It was my first summeri in this church, and I really played up the fact that I know NOTHING about growing stuff. I had pictures of things I thought looked pretty, but apparently were weeds, etc.

    Rev L., it is beautiful! Prayers for you as you candidate!

    Tanya, enjoy your first wedding! I love how sometimes the things we decide to preach are really what we need to hear, too. I think it's a great idea to dwell on rest and sabbath for a little while. Good timing!

    kzj - - I'm doing the vacation packing thing today, too, but no WAY would you catch me playing softball in the heat you have. We had it earlier in the week, and I found the a/c a very happy place to be. Also just finished reading the books for the class I'm teaching at Synod School next week. There's no minute like the last!

    Thansk for the company, Margaret!

    Hope your "stuff" goes OK, Terri.

    Don't throw, Susan! I hope you love what you have (or at least like it enough to keep it) and find a way to keep calm and rested the rest of the day.

    Diane - - Here's your coffee. There's more in the pot. I'm thinking lots about Norway, too. I have a good friend and colleague (the only other woman pastor in town, an ELCA associate pastor) who is in Norway visiting her husband's family for 7 weeks. They are pretty far from Oslo, but are shaken by the news just the same.

    Banana bread, please, Rainbow Pastor! Will go lovely with my friend egg! Sounds like you have a busy day. I hope you get what you want accomplished this morning. We'll see you later tonight, too!

    Good morning, Songbird! I know what you mean about leaving with a clear plate. I usually have last details to take care of on my first day or two of vacation, and I HATE that. I've gotten better, and I appreciate it. This week I even cleaned off my desk before I left. Woo hoo!

    So, we're up and moving here. I'm finishing up my month of Genesis with Jacob/Rachel/Leah. i knew this was coming and I was looking forward to the challenge, too, until it finally came. Struggled a lot on Monday and Tuesday trying to figure out what I would do, and I finally found inspiration in a sermon I found on textweek. It's a VERY different way of working with the text than I usually do, but I think folks will appreciate the way it is very "relevant." It's the Craig Barnes one from 2008 Day1 and basically it looks at Leah and Rachel as two sides of the same coin/person in our relationships. He goes to marriage pretty exclusively, but I think it works with parent/child, friends, whatever. You get both the parts you love, and the parts you didn't really bargain for. You have to choose whether you will look at those as "weak" or "lovely" (playing with the translation challenge). Even God gets our best and not-so-best parts, and God chooses to love. I'll dip into Romans a bit here maybe and also refer to our adult baptism that will take place next in the service. I think it will work. I just realized though that I left my document of notes/outline on my church computer. I guess I need to head over there to e-mail it to myself.

    Well, that's all for now! (And that's a lot!) Does anyone need anything else? I'll be back shortly to check on everyone!

  15. Hello Muthah! So sorry about the water! I guess virtual coffee doesn't quite do the trick where there's a real problem! I linked my old Matthew sermon above if it's any help.

  16. You can take the Songbird out of Virginia, but you can't take the Virginia out of the Songbird. She is a southern gal at heart.

  17. Preaching on Matthew's parables. I've been thinking all week about how the mustard seed and the leaven are items that are 'undesireable and unclean' and how surprising it would have been to have the reign of God likened to them. And about how the kingdom shakes you up in ways you never dreamed of, and can consume you.

    Maybe I'll teach about parables and use the surprising nature of these to show how they are meant to stretch our thinking.

    And heart goes out to them. How does what happened there fit into the reign of God like a mustard seed, or pearl of great price. Now if it was the wheat and weeds week, I could work it in easily - a prime example of how evil exsists side by side the reign of God.

    I'm not sure how those events in Norway will affect my congregation - one church is a German-Russian, Norwegian congregation. And we're Lutheran. Will this feel like 'it was one of us' to some of my parishioners?

    Points to ponder as I begin my pre-sermon-writing warm-up.

  18. thanks for the coffee, SheRev. Now i'm sitting here listening to it thunder and knowing I need to 1)pick up dog food at the vet, and 2) get dressed for a wedding, eventually (sigh). but, would like the rain to blow through, first, if that is possible.

    hoping the rain clears out some of the heat and humidity.

    no one hundred degree baseball games for me.

  19. Good morning preachers and party people!
    Thanks for hosting She Rev. Hapy to hear of travel plans for SB and beach time with kzj. Muthah+ no water/ no coffee Yuck! hope that is resolved soon! Busy Saturday for many of you!

    The people of Norway are heavy on my heart. Cure, Holy One, you're people's warring maddness. Grant us wisdom and courage

    The lectionary this weekend feels like "too many" options. Going with Matthew's puzzling parables and Roman's words of hope and promise. Struggling with that balance of how much teaching is helpful for discipling and at what point it gets to be pedantic lecturing...

    It has been Crazy Hot here- tropical/glasses steam up when you walk outside weather ( we are not anywhere near a rain forest but one of my vets says it has felt just like Vietnam... not helpful for folks with ptsd ) I do not do well with humid heat. Last week in the worst of the 100+ weather I offered the church for those without AC who needed relief either as a safe kid play space or a place to rest.

    Our AC went out last Sunday night. After changing fuses and a few visits from Dave the nice repair guy- a new unit is being installed this morning. Not money we planned to spend but not having air is not an option for me if I ever plan to sleep ( I am really cranky with no sleep) Last night I actually slept in my office. Not something I hope to repeat but it was the best rest I have gotten for a week...

    Fun neighborhood party tonight so I want this sermon done and off my brain. Back at it. will check back later.

  20. Oh, Sherev, once again you SAVE ME with your great notes on Jacob. Thank you, so much.

    I'm still just thinking, and I have WAY TO MANY ideas, but hoping that a little walk with the doggies will shake the right thing into place.

    it's lovely out here on the Left Coast, today, btw, so in lieu of breakfast, I'm sending the rest of you 76 degrees and no humidity.

    As usual, I have a little bit of time this morning, and then will have a little more this evening, but hoping to rock as much as possible this morning! Blessings to everyone on all you are doing today - my we are busy people :)

    (PS: Martha - I do everything I can to DIScourage the rummage sale. SUCH a nuisance! And not that great a money maker, at least at our place!)

  21. Slept in this morning... whew that was nice! But I still need some coffee to wake me up, so thanks to all of you who have put that on :-)

    I'm preaching Romans through mid-August and did the (wimpy?) thing where I moved the lectionary around a bit. I'm combining the two weeks on Romans 9 & 11 (dealing with the salvation of the Jews) and then split today's passage up into two weeks: this week we're praying in the Spirit and next week we're experiencing the love of God.

    I am considering ending the sermon with silent prayer time, but I'm not sure if that'll weird the congregations out (I just moved here three weeks ago). I'm also hoping that using a tone chime to start & stop the prayer time will sound like using a bell...

  22. Slept in this morning... whew that was nice! But I still need some coffee to wake me up, so thanks to all of you who have put that on :-)

    I'm preaching Romans through mid-August and did the (wimpy?) thing where I moved the lectionary around a bit. I'm combining the two weeks on Romans 9 & 11 (dealing with the salvation of the Jews) and then split today's passage up into two weeks: this week we're praying in the Spirit and next week we're experiencing the love of God.

    I am considering ending the sermon with silent prayer time, but I'm not sure if that'll weird the congregations out (I just moved here three weeks ago). I'm also hoping that using a tone chime to start & stop the prayer time will sound like using a bell...

  23. Good morning all! I've got a fresh latte (wish I could send one your way Mutah), fresh strawberries with a side of greek yogurt and honey.

    This is my first sermon since I got back from holidays, so I'm chock full of ideas, but have managed to pare it down to something along the lines of "God's Kingdom: hidden in plain view". I'm debating on how a Where's Waldo puzzle would work as an illustration and how to work it in.

    So far I've got a rough outline, so I'm pretty well set to go.

    Peregrinaje, here is a joke you might find helpful (or not). The pastor came into the church one day to find one of her Sunday School children standing in the pews reciting the alphabet. When she asked him what he was doing, he replied; "Well, I'm not sure what to pray for, so I'm giving God the letters, and letting him put them together."

  24. Our Lady Father,

    Thanks for the illustration! I had read a similar one where a rabbi instructs his students to recite the Hebrew alphabet and God will make it into a prayer. I like the joke that you suggested though because it's about a cute Christian boy...

    One of the things I've picked up on the congregants is that they're very intolerant of other religions and have a narrow view of salvation. I come from a completely different perspective, which is part of why I decided to combine the Jewish/Christian questions later in the summer (with the theme: we don't know what happens to every person after death but we have to trust the faithfulness of God). I am already getting nervous about it, although the Bible studies I've sat in on have reserved most of their vitriole towards Muslims and not Jews...

  25. Hello,

    Joining the party late. Here's some pizza to share. The hot weather is breaking in my neck of the woods. I did my studying outside until the sun came out to heat things up again. :(

    Inspired by KJZ I am doing a sermon by request series for the rest of the summer. This week I'm doing a compare and contrast between the three faiths - Judiaism, Christianity and Islam. This morning I've read world religion books, books on Islam and even the Koran. My head is ready to explode. I think a couple of games of Angry Birds might bring me back to earth.

  26. I'm busy feeling sorry for myself this morning. Helped with VBS all week at hubby's church, so I am worn out and quite tired of pandas. And, both of our toddlers have the chicken pox, despite having received the vaccinations. Thankfully, grandma is staying on an extra day to provide Sunday morning childcare.

    Seems like a perfect day to come up with a sermon on Romans. I've got some stuff but it needs some help, and a point.

    It's hot here too, but we're used to it, and we just stay inside in the a/c. Those of you without, stay cool and drink plenty of water.

  27. Had a lovely visit from the local Welcome Wagon - yes there are places that still do such things! Unfortunately, all my assembled sermon thoughts went right out the window during the visit.

    So I am starting over again. Back to my notes....and why does the parable of the leaven remind me of Amish Friendship Bread?

    Isn't it lunch time yet?

    How else can I procrastinate?

  28. It's not the weeds and wheat week? My lectionary app must have a different gospel. Oops! Sorry for my wrong reference everywhere!

    Ramona, I know we're getting that "one of us" feeling around my little town with a big Norwegian population in the big ELCA church - - especially because their young female assoc pastor (my friend I mentioned) spent a year in Norway, married a Norwegian, and is there now. I'll keep it in the prayers in my congregation, though.

    Celeste -- I know what you mean about "too many" options. I was trying to put a positive spin on it. :) Why is it that some weeks seem to have nothing that speaks and others have too much to choose from?

    You're welcome, Juniper! And I'll make sure I say it again here, I got the big idea from Craig Barnes' 2008 Day1 sermon. I have no problem at all giving that credit where credit is due. I have to say I like that he didn't try to squeeze God into the story where the story didn't mention God. I found that when I stopped trying to do that my ideas were working much better. I was trying to make these over-arching theological claims about how God works or what God likes or blah blah blah, but really the text didn't lead me to any of that. That's why nothing fit, I think! Anyway, I let the human beings stand as human beings and will look at supporting texts for God's wisdom for the situation.

    peregrinaje - I like the idea of ending with silent prayer time since it's the focus of the sermon. If you're nervous about doing it "stand alone" at the sermon another option might be to begin or end another prayer in the service (probably after the sermon would make the most sense so you have a way to set it up) with a time of silent prayer in the Spirit.

    Love the "joke", Lady Father. It's a wonderful illustration!

    G_G - - Angry Birds does it for me every time! Good luck with your challenge!

    (((esperanze))) Ugh.

    So, my house is now empty. 6 year old still at the farm 2 states away with the grandparents, 4 year old at a movie with a friend (would love to be a fly on the wall in THAT theater), 1 year old and husband out running errands so that I can fold laundry and pack without her pulling it all apart while I work on it. Now I just need to pull myself off this couch and actually do it. Motivation is not high.

    It's almost lunch time. Anyone have anything exciting to share. I'm sorry to stay I do not, except Nutella! Anyone want in?

  29. Good morning, gang, you're welcome to sourdough pancakes and back bacon (aka Canajun Bacon) and coffee at this house -- Muthah+, if I could I would send you some choc covered coffee beans for these emergencies (but I don't think they allow us to send food-gifts across the Longest Undefended Border In The World - hah! - any longer).
    You know what? It would be one of the most beautiful sermons ever if one could just run the comments on the Preacher's Party past the congregation. Surely there must be some fiendish combo of Internet and Powerpoint that would make that possible?
    It's like I used to say -- that the discussions of the Stewardship Committee would make the most effective Stewardship sermon EVER.
    Also, dear RGBP, you ROCK! (can't say 'y'all' up here so will say, 'All of yez').

  30. Thanks for the prayers, ya'll. The water still isn't on and so I have to wash in the cold water we drew last night and get ready to go to church. The sermon finally developed around parables. I've posted it at

    Writing in the presence of all of your wisdom really helps, Revgals.

    Prayers go to the folks in Norway.

  31. Funny you should suggest that, Crimson Rambler. The last Sunday of the month, we do a Dinner and Church thing in the evening. We all get together and fix dinner, visit and eat. Then we read the lessons for the day and talk about them. I think I'll bring RBG comments with me next week and toss out a few should the conversation need a nudge. We end with an informal Eucharist around the dinner tables.
    Thanks for the suggestion!

  32. I am taking Songbird's (?...I think that's who it was) suggestion from earlier in the week and using The Carrot for the family service. I have scanned it into the computer and will project it, so that it can be seen very well. I'll start with an introduction about little, improbable things getting bigger--like little acts of love, justice, and peace!--and then finish with the story.

    Good to have something easy, because today is filled with helping 16 y.o. son pack for a month in Australia; he leaves tomorrow. I will miss him terribly, but I know he is ready and will have a great time.

    May cooling breezes come to you who are sweltering, and the Spirit of peace and consolation surround the people of Norway.

  33. Ramona, that sounds like a sermon. In fact, I may have preached it...

    Muthah+, I'm North Carolina-conceived and Virginia-bred, and y'all is an important word in my vocabulary. Just be sure to use it properly: it's plural.

    We've finished the shopping for our trip, including mother and daughter sunglasses. A windfall arrived in the mail, so I'm very glad I let my daughter choose the $19.99 frames sized for a petite head instead of talking her down to something for $6.99. And I found some great ones that fit right around my regular glasses. So I will not be blinded by the light or blurred by the lack of progressive lenses.

    None of this goes anywhere toward getting me writing done, but I'm going to work on it now and go back to packing a little later and do the one last errand (post office to return bad bathing suit).

  34. Happy Saturday afternoon, everyone! I'm late to the party after a morning of pastoral care for urgent situations.

    Thank you again for all of the RevGal prayers for me as I led worship last Sunday, the first one after my resignation. I was also divinely sustained through my next-to-last Consistory meeting there. I am peaceful.

    I am going with a sustainable sermon on the Matthew parables. As a gift to the sweltering congregants, I will try to trim it down as much as possible.

    I have nothing for children. Was there a suggestion upstairs that I missed?

    Offering y'all some blueberry yogurt and iced tea with lemon and mint. Help yourselves to a cool snack!

  35. Sharon, I've used (and will use again) the children's book, The Carrot Seed, which is about a little boy whose carrot seed grows into a wheelbarrow-sized carrot despite the negative thoughts communicated by everyone else. And how is the Kingdom of God like that? Or as someone framed it at Tuesday Lectionary Leanings, how is God's Love like that?

  36. SheRev, the lectionary app DID have the wrong gospel listed for this week!

    I spent the morning training new acolytes, and actually was VERY impressed with the attentiveness of a group of 2nd graders, mostly boys! Then I did a little work at the home of the parishioner who died last week...we've been trying to get it cleaned up and sorted out a bit before the lawyer brings someone in to do an estate sale. Now I need to write!

    I'm working from a sustainable sermon on Matthew...substituting "God's love is like" for "the kingdom of heaven is like..." I need a new beginning and end though.

    Next week we are having church on the lawn (and praying for good weather) so I'm going to try to do something informal for the sermon....not sure what just yet though. Then I have three weeks of vacation!

    It's hot here, but not as hot as yesterday! I don't use the a/c most of the time but it"s on now. Hope everyone is able to stay cool.

  37. Making v e r y s l o w progress here. It's naptime, which is lovely and quiet, which just makes me want to go to sleep. And it will soon be over, so I have to get busy.

  38. Making some progress, but I know I have at least 2 different sermons working again - and I like each one of them.

    And I just had yet another idea - so, I guess it's time to start sermon #3.

    Esperanza, I'm with you on the nap. Maybe it would help my clarify my thoughts!

    Rev Dr Mom, I can't imagine training 2nd grade acotlyes! Many of my 6th graders could barely reach the candles. We'd have to get a box for 2nd graders to stand on. On the other hand, I bet 2nd graders are appropriately reverent of fire to not attempt to see how long it takes to scorch the ceiling tiles in the vestry without catching them on fire!

  39. My sermon is done. Now to get some water with lemon to hydrate in this heat wave.

    Please stop by and have a look. Feedback would be appreciated, I want to make sure what I am saying is theologically sound and respectful of Islam and Judaism. You can find it here.

  40. Greetings everyone! I have been surfing around for all sorts of things that are on my mind, but I really should try to settle down and get the sermon started. As well as my newsletter article.

    I am pondering hard what the kingdom of God is like and having a hard time deciding where to land. Kind of want to finish up strong on the agricultural themes since I made a big deal about them a few weeks ago. But feeling very aimless right now. Trying to avoid last Saturday's debacle of an all-nighter, because the final (and I mean final!) stage of my move is happening on Monday and Tuesday and I really need sleep tonight!

    Thanks for all the goodies everyone--especially since my cupboards are pretty bare :)

  41. well, here it is, 5:00, and I haven't started writing. I have been with my parents in the upper midwest the past two weeks sorting their home of 40 years into keep, sell, give-away, and trash piles so they can move to a one story home in August.

    today is my first day back with my beloved and fur famiy, and I have just enjoyed being with them...and had to drag myself to the computer to write the sermon that is sort of in my head but has no point about the parables....and the kicker is that my first mentors right out of college in my first church job as a youth minister HAPPEN to be on their way to Maine for a couple of weeks, and are in Boston for the night...
    so they are coming to worship with my congregation. I haven't seen them for over 14 years....
    ...and I am happy they are coming, but it puts a little more pressure.

    that carrot book---is there a name?

    I have cold craft beer for later when you all finish your sermons--perfect for a hot hot night!

    sigh. wishing for a sustainable sermon, which I am sure I have somewhere but can't find it.

    also...heart is with Norway....and I just heard about Amy Winehouse. So sad....
    Addiction sucks. (excuse my language.)

  42. It has been a busy week with lots of pastoral care...the kinds which takes time and patience.

    Just finished writing and posted, All I Ever Needed to Know.

    I scanned the comments...prayers, blessings, and celebrations, and all of you.

  43. between errands and three year old birthday party. sticking my head in to say hi - got an outline and wil get more done later.

    Songbird, I hope the swimming suit was thoroughly scolded before mailing "bad bathing suit! bad, bad bathing suit!"

  44. OK, gals and pals. How are things going around here? I have finished the last load of laundry, although it is not yet folded. Suitcases are packed. There are even a few things in the car. I am all ready to get going on my sermon after the kids go to bed. I worry that since the baby has just finished a 3 hour nap and the boy is still asleep that might be much later than I planned.

    It's just about supper time here and other places. Do we need anything? Anything else we can find anyone for sermons or other pieces of worship?

    Sharon, I'm glad to hear of your peace. Blessings!

    Rev Dr Mom, do you have that app, too? Guess you can tell I didn't even look at the gospel!

    Nice finish, G_G. I'll stop by tonight and read. Sounds like both kids are up now, so I'm out of circulation for a little while again.

    Since when did all night = "debacle" semfem? :) Prayers that you avoid it tonight.

    revkjarla - - Prayers are with you that you will find your point and write it soon so you can enjoy your family and visitors! It's so fun to see people you haven't seen in so long

    I hope you get to rest after worship, purple. sons like you need it.

  45. Plenty o'options - plenty o'sermons. I've got two preachable ones that are meh! and one half finished one in the same category.

    I think it's time for a break. Maybe when I come back later, one will speak to me, or I'll have the inspiration to finish the other.

    Praying inspiration for everyone other there sermon writing. Praying rest and refreshement for eveyone - especially those of you battling the heat! (North Central South Dakota is fairly pleasant today!)

  46. Oh my. Busy day. I have a draft posted, but as I listen to the news about Norway, I may have to adapt it a bit...I make a brief reference to it, as is...
    Prayer Primordial

    Be back after supper and a shower to write the Sunday prayers and read your offerings.

  47. Yikes, It's 5:30 here. Just got back from vacation and the grocery store. Need to watch the news. NEED to craft a sermon. Romans for sure. Playing with all that could separate folks from the love of God. Hope something comes together soon.

    Strange weather when the southwest is cooler than much of the country.

  48. Back at it here, just needing something to make it click. I'm preaching on the Romans passage, my sermon title is "Nothing," and I"m thinking that a little something about the number zero might make a good intro or illustration. The Wikipedia article is confusing me more than it's helping.

  49. I've missed most of the party today - have been working on a retreat that I am leading this week (which means I am also working on next Sunday's sermon because I'll be gone for a good portion of the week). Anyway, here is what I have for tomorrow...will be reading some of yours now!

  50. I figured out I have more time to return the bathing suit, so we went to Coldstone instead. :-)

    I'm still doing a weird melange of packing and writing. Trying to keep my mind off tomorrow and on the things that will allow tomorrow to unfold as I want. It's still pretty hot here, and I anticipate a late night sitting in the a/c-ed dining room.

  51. I have a page written (437 words) and it's decent if not great. Just need to keep at it and not lose momentum. (In other words, I need to not give in to the temptation to daydream about my home office once it's painted, moved, and put together.)

    Stephanie, I suppose you're right, it could have been far, far worse!

    Those of us still writing--come Holy Spirit come!

  52. hi guys. I had a wedding and then preached the early edition.

    the sermon was ok, but not as good as I thought. I think I just didn't know it as well as I wanted to.

    so, at the wedding, the best man fainted during the sermon, seemed to recover, but went out during the song before the vows. and did not return. after the service I went in back and found out that he was lying in the hallway and the paramedics were there.

    he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

    maybe that had an effect on how I felt about the sermon...

    I hope he's ok.

    praying for you. guys. for the holy spirit to come.

    I was watching Antiques Roadshow and how happy people were to find out about their "treasures" and thought there was a great parable in there somewhere.

    Everybody wants to think they have some hidden "treasure" in their house someplace.... hmmm.

    Songbird, I have GOT to get the Carrot seed book.

  53. Hello, friends. After 2 games of softball in upper 90's heat and packing the car for vacation, I NEED a party to keep me awake.

    Unmotivated is the word, but if I got down by 11 I could sleep until 7 - that's doable.

    Okay, I am going to push on, thanking God that this is a Communion mediation and it is the summer!

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. I've finally settled on a sermon and it's printing. I just didn't think the Amish Friendship bread would work with this congregation. Maybe next time.

    "God's love is..." can be read here.

    Now to read some of your sermons and then relax a bit this evening!

  56. The sermon is outlined, and ready to go! Thanks for the encouragement with the silence at the end... I have now chosen a very nice chime to ring and think that I can set it up in a way that invites all to participate in the prayer.

    Holy Spirit, intercede for us!

    (SemFem and Diane, special prayers for you...)

  57. Ok, 7:15 here, dont have any more than I had at 10 this morning.

    Just spent an hour reading about Norway tragedy, and feeling pretty queasy and furious. Wondering how much of those both is going to make it into my sermon - not feeling the good news very much right now.

    Thinking of you all who are heading out the door and half wishing I was gong somewhere and half glad I'm not, you know?

    How are you all doing?

  58. I am thisclose to finished. Thisclose. But the voices in the drama are not tying themselves into a tidy ending. I'm going to give it ten more minutes, then go back to packing.

  59. Joining the party late as we had a sudden death of one of our oldest parishioners last evening and as a result pastoral care with the family today. Going with the Matthew parables...the kingdom of God is hidden and unexpected...Wrote the sermon yesterday and don't really have the energy to tweak more today. Praying for all of you as you preach tomorrow!

  60. Time to hit the hay. Good night all. Happy preaching tomorrow!

  61. I'm at that stage of writing where I'm cutting paragraphs left and right. Usually a good idea, but not always. sigh. I have too much to fit into the sermon!

  62. ok, finally have an idea and a direction! it's 8 - do you think I can do it? hope so!

  63. semfem, send me a paragraph or so if you're preaching Romans. Bonus if it's a conclusion!

    I'm pretty much calling it done till morning. The youngest is sleeping in our office because we have company, so the printing will have to wait till then.

  64. Okay, I scanned quickly and did not see anyone preaching on Solomon's dream in Kings text. Is that correct or did I miss it?
    I am really scraping bottom here....Dreams? Wisdom? Not enough? What would you wish for? I would wish for some more hours in the day, but I probably would waste those away too.
    Had to go to an estate auction today and got some cool buys. Then had to unload furniture, rest, eat late lunch early supper, and buy a bday gift for the s-i-l. I will not be at her party b/c I have a funeral to do. Hazards of having clergy in the family! AND oh, yes a sermon.
    KINGS> Anyone? Anyone?

  65. 'night everyone! I was bad and I didn't practice.

    might take one more look before I go to bed.

    first service is at 8:00 a.m. which seems early every single week.

  66. You can do it, Juniper!

    I have printed out a draft of the drama! Go me!!! I am delighted that other than a polishing, it won't need major work while I'm on vacation!

    To all who are still writing, Godspeed. To all who will be preaching, blessings as you proclaim the Good News. Good night!

  67. Juniper - - The Romans text is all about not feeling good news, but hearing Good News at the same time. Right?

    Prayers for you and the family, suz.

    And you also, Diane!

    1-4, I think you're the first today going with Solomon. I haven't even read it since I planned for Genesis all along. I can't offer wisdom, but I can offer prayers!

    I intended to come back much earlier, but late in the day 3 hour naps did my kiddos in. Just got them down at about 10 pm. So, now it's time to put my idea from Monday/Tuesday onto (virtual) paper. It needs to come fast because I would really like to get good sleep before I drive 5-ish hours on my own with the two little kiddos to Synod School after worship. Here's hoping!

    I haven't read around like I planned to, but I will. Not in time to offer anything productive for most folks, but I know I like it when someone reads anyway!

  68. Thanks for the encouraging words, friends. I guess I heard them, because things are flowing a lot better now.

    Decided I will make Norwegian tragedy the center of my prayer, and then I will use the sermon for other things, which helped. It's horrible, but horrible is not all there is in this world, I remembered in time.

    Sort of still asking "where's the god in this?" in my sermon, but I think I'm writing my wy there.

    Sorry 1-4, btw, about Kings. I was planning to do that TOO, but it just didnt work out that way. But, I'm sure you can do it! The HS, bless Her, just LOVES those bottom-of-the-barrel scrapes.

  69. Sorry esperanza, it's not Romans, it's Matthew. Five parables = too much material. And sorry, 1-4, we are reading I Kings but I barely looked at it at all.

    I think I cut the sermon down enough now...1430 words, which is a bit long for me, but not out of the question. Cut a lot of the preachiness, added more of the illustrations/stories. At least that was the goal! And now it's finished.

    Now to quickly cover some of the other pieces I need to do tomorrow...prayers, children's sermon, etc.

  70. Ramona, probably too late for you now, but the book is The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss.

    Son mostly packed for Australia trip, and well under his 50 lb per bag limit, even with all sorts of goodies for his host family included. Yummy, easy dinner that he planned; if any of you night owls want to stop by for a raspberry-lemon popsicle for dessert, we still have some of those!

  71. Those popsicles sound delicious, Betsy! Especially because the AC timed out here at church and it just seems wrong to have to turn the AC back on at almost midnight. Thanks for the offer!

    Just finished the prayers, sketching out the children's sermon, then printing everything and going HOME.

    Any other night owls here?

  72. So, I finally opened my notes and started typing. Whoop! Whoop! It's not much, but it's a start. I think it's time to do that promised reading around.

    Popsicle - - great idea. Mine aren't nearly as yummy as yours, in a pinch they'll do!

  73. Dear God, thank you for not letting those weather siren wake my children up. But now could you please stop freaking me out with the blinking lights. Amen.

    (Feverishly pressing save after ever sentence.)

  74. Dear God, thank you for not letting those weather siren wake my children up. But now could you please stop freaking me out with the blinking lights. Amen.

    (Feverishly pressing save after ever sentence.)

  75. Go SheRev, go SheRev, go go go SheRev! (and everyone else still working away!)

    Off to buy a prop for the kids' message and then off to sleep.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation.

  76. Oh Geez, She REv. So sorry. That sucks, big time. And thanks SemFem. Plugging away and copying an awful lot of a commentary article I found on text week. Perhaps I need to add in "Author A states..." talk, some, jibber-jabber...
    And then say,"Author A goes on to say"
    And furthermore, A states that."

  77. And thanks for the prayers.
    I am taking the genie in the bottle approach and throwing in some commentary stuff, and then ending up by talking about what we really need to be wise about wishing/asking for from God.
    Do we really want to know it all? Do we really want that power?
    Thinking of making a ref to Bruce Almihgty,

  78. OK. Lights stayed on. It's 5 minutes to my required bedtime. I have no more words than I did almost an hour ago. Yes, my middle name is procrastination.

    Off I go to bed. Good, bad, or indifferent, it's time to turn in. I'll be back in about 4.5 hours to turn the rest of this into a sermon. The good news (other than the obvious) is that likely my first ever adult baptism will overshadow any words I end up saying. I'm definitely OK with that.

  79. Yup. I went to bed.
    Of course.

    Glad to log in and see the good news, SB!

    I just jotted down what I think will help link everything together, but I'm going back to bed for a few more hours.

    Wish I could go downstairs for water without waking up the dogs.


  80. 1-4, when I was in seminary one of my good friends used to say, "If this is the best even God can do, imagine what a mess we'd make of it!" Probably a very good thing that our wishes are not God's commands...though it's tough to believe that with the ones that come from the deepest, most genuine and loving places of our hearts and selves.

    Blessings on all who are still up and those who will be up again all too soon.

  81. I'm one who is up again too soon, especially for a night when it was hard to fall asleep and a day when I have to drive 5 hours with two little ones alone. The good news is that my big girl is at the other end of that drive. Not to mention that when that final benediction is said at approximately 10:30 a.m. I am officially done for 2 weeks.

    But first, a sermon...

  82. She/Rev you and I have some things in common although, it is SB who is doing the driving today and I'm getting us to the beach tomorrow (and the dogs to the kennel, but that's a different story).

    Up at 5 to finally get this sermon done and we are at preachable. I just have the tying in of Communion to go.

    But when worship/Sunday School is done - I am also done for 2 weeks. Thanks be to God!!!!!!

    And drive carefully!

  83. good morning! been up since 5....feeding animals, watering flowers and garden (that got scorched while I was gone--my beloved is not exactly attentive in that department, although she did her best. not sure anything is save-able, but I am trying....)

    now to write a few prayers, announcements, and polish my sermon....

    got get to to church early to open up windows and let the sanctuary air conditioning...and HOT!

    Blessings to those preaching, and extra vacation blessings to those getting the next two weeks off!

  84. good morning, and am praying that the Holy Spirit has my back... and yours too. really feel like sleeping.

    but, here I go.

  85. Good morning everyone. I'm not the only one up early in my house anymore. I think the boy is too excited about our trip to sleep. He didn't fall asleep last night until after 10:00 p.m., and now he has been up since 5:15 a.m.. Not too helpful. He's staying in his own space for the most part, but I fear his activity will wake his sister. Not at all good. (I hear the sounds of a morning light saber battle. This cannot go well for me.)

    Praying for others who are awake and waking. Indeed, Diane, I trust the Holy Spirit has your back and all of our backs. Hopefully sleep can come again later this afternoon for you and others in the form of The Sacrament of the Holy Nap.

    OK -- must get back to it. I went from 250 words to just shy of 1000 in the last 40 minutes, so another 20-30 minutes should have me finished if I stay on track. It's hitting me that I really do get to do my first adult baptism today, and I'm getting very excited!

  86. I have coffee to share and prayers for each of you. Many blessings be yours this day!

  87. Good morning. Blessings to you this morning.

  88. Well, I have finished up and am ready to get going with my morning. Blessings on all of us as we preach, preside, and proclaim in all our different ways and places!

  89. God Morning all. A thanks for the quote, Betsy


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