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Saturday, July 09, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Seed Flinging Edition

Good morning, preachers! Are you ready to sow some seed? Be sure to fling it far and wide!

Just like last week, I have fresh strawberries and fair trade coffee to offer. 

Sorry for this late start, but please chime in and let us know what you're preaching and share your ideas for a children's message, too.

124 comments:

  1. I will miss the party today. I'm flying out to Nashville for the Disciples' General Assembly. Have never attended one of these, so I'm looking forward to meeting some new people and learning some new things. But, party on, sisters!

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  2. Since I continue with my relatively short summer homilies, preached without using my written text, I have been thinking through the homily all week.

    I'm going to begin by talking about the community garden hosted by the church and residing on church land. But my point will be the community aspect, the various people who have planted, the beauty of watching crops grow, the peaceful discipline of weeding, and then connect that to the Gospel- God sows the seed, the Word of God, the love of God, Jesus, into our ears and hearts. At various times we are receptive to God or not....thorny, rocky, weedy...we can be so unreceptive...

    Then, because I am also talking about Genesis as an ancient book that tells the story of the human condition and our relationship with God, I will do a simple quick tie-in from the Gospel to Esau and Jacon.

    I know, too much, so I'll write it down and see what unfolds and what I get rid of.

    In the meantime, thank you Songbird for jumping in to host today! I have a frige full of armers market produce, cheese, and bread! Oh, and some farmers market pear-vanilla preserves! What can I get you?

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  3. Good morning! Sermons by request here and tomorrow is the Book of Revelation. Yikes.

    I have children's sermon too, but will probably just put our mission trip commissioning in that slot.

    I've got coffee and fresh fruit - who wants some?

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  4. I'm working with Matthew and Isaiah. I have a title and feelings of both guilt and sadness after reading Lillian Daniel's chapter on "The Preacher" in "This Odd and Wondrous Calling." Daniel says she feels she owes it to God to start working on the sermon the first day and accuses preachers who write on Saturday of shortchanging the family and friends who they have ignored all week. I came away feeling that even though I did lectionary study on the first day of my work week, that wasn't enough, and also feeling sad because the reason I write on Saturdays is that I have no family around and all my friends are also preachers. Wah! Maybe I should go back and re-read that chapter when I'm not running a fever, as I was yesterday.
    I'm still getting over a little virus, and trying to figure out whether I'll be up to attending a Lobster Bake tonight. 16yo and I were invited by church members, and it's a great chance to be with members of our church's wider community. So I hope I can go.

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  5. This is one of my favorite Gospel texts. Being a gardener I can relate wholeheartedly to the imagery.

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  6. G_G, I love it, too, but as a non-gardening city girl preaching to folks who either grew up in my church's farming town or moved there purposely to get closer to the land, I'm at a major disadvantage. The sermons I've preached on this text in the past would be laughable in this context. I have to find a new approach. I'm hoping to get there with Isaiah, particularly 55:13, in which the unexpected trees come up in place of the thorn and the brier.

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  7. I'll be in and out today, but missed y'all as I was at our Annual Conference last week. Pulling together a "taste" for the congregation tomorrow. But a Deacons' workshop on Anointing 1st at noon. That is ready to deliver, but the sermon is still a mass of bubbles on my Mind-mapping "total recall" app. (sigh) TBTG for the Preacher Party.

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  8. Songbird, some harsh words by Daniels, who works for big churches with multiple clergy staff? Well, any way. I suspect the fact that I have been thinking about mine all week, and running it through in my head, that would not count as working on it. Sigh.

    Hope you feel well enough to go tonight...

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  9. SB, I have come to the place where I refuse to be guilted by others for writing on Saturday. Like you, I usually have no one else around, but even if I did, I write best under some last minute pressure; it works for me to write on Saturday. And we all have to figure out what works best for us and our particular contexts. (What's more who is she to say that we've *ignored* family and friends all week!?)

    That said, I'm preaching on Matthew ... I've thrown Paul into the mix the last two weeks but I don't think I'm going there this week.

    I have fresh blueberries to add to the mix--one of my favorite things about summer.

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  10. Au contraire, I believe reading on Monday does constitute working on the sermon. The fact that most of us continue to read, pray and think all week gives Monday's seeds time to sprout.
    I used to have my sermons done by Thursday at the very latest. More than once, I discovered on Sunday that what I thought I needed to say on Tuesday didn't work any more. How many times has something happened at the end of the week that is so relevant to the text?
    I'm doing Matthew and the seeds/soil/sower. Terri, I envy you the garden. Ours didn't get off the ground this year. I think I am going to talk about my dad's teaching career to start and end with the mission trip some of us leave for on Monday morning. I did like Day 1's sermon about the Presbyterian minister who grew a church to amazing size only to admit to a new minister that the secret was that he had no control over it at all.
    And not to run errands and pack.

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  11. I am slowly getting back into a new-old life--one that I loved but left for (I thought) good reasons--and am now recovering. Part of that is the Saturday sermon writing. Like you, Dr. Mom, it's what works for me--a big chunk of uninterrupted time.
    Having said that, I have to confess I have done almost nothing on the sermon! This has been a moving-in week, and I have been trying (with little success) to get my place into a semblance of order so I can work here...
    I have laid in supplies, however, and have bagels (sesame seed), yogurt, and blueberries on offer--oh and oatmeal if anyone would like some (seems a bit warm here in North America, but perhaps an Antipodian RGBP would find it perfect?).

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  12. I'm with you, Terri. Different strokes for different situations. I write on Sat because it is the best day for me. It allows the word to sift through my mind along with all the week's happenings.

    I have been assigned Gen. and MT. Didn't have any choice and Songbird the Isaiah reading is one of my all time favorites. Have fun with it.

    I am having a hard time getting started with these readings. The vicar and I at bible study did little studying and a whole lot of moaning so the passages don't mean much. I REALLY don't want to do the birthright thing. I am really tired of patriarchs behaving badly. Got too many of those in my life.

    Terri, I used to stand on one foot for the seed catalogs when I lived in upstate NY. There was so much hope for a snowy day. But here in TX in the midst of a drought and my tomatoes are almost 'sundried' before picking, it is hard to do the seedy thing either.

    Pray for some inspiration, please. Meanwhile I am going to make some coffee.

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  13. Me too. Been thinking about it all week, have tried to sit down and write it several evenings (my only time to write), but can't get motivated. Tonight will have to be the night.

    Esau and Jacob...I keep reading the passage, thinking I'm missing something. I have a few words of introduction that are not very good.

    Supply congregation has been *begging* me to bring my children (ages 3 and 1) with me. They have no nursery, but assure me they will help. I'm still pretty reluctant but will make a decision in the morning.

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  14. I start with the texts on Monday, usually do reading on Thursday and hope to have a draft before Saturday. Today all I have is a bunch of jotted ideas that need structure. Yay for Preacher party and saturday sermon writers!

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  15. Martha, it bums me out when preachers make other preachers feel guilty about what works for us. I am sick and damn tired of people acting like it's some sort of shirking of duty to write on Saturdays. That's the rhythm that works for me and I refuse to take any crap from anybody about it. If my sermons came out crappy because I write them on Saturdays, I would feel bad about it. But they don't and neither do yours. (Or, I should say, when my sermons do come out crappy it's not because of writing on Saturday. I also wish that Daniels and others understood that just because we write on Saturday doesn't mean we haven't been working on them all week - or longer).

    Um. I am in a mood this morning, y'all.

    Anyway.

    I'm preaching the Psalm passage, title is "Lit Up," and I haven't yet written the first word. But it's coming!

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  16. If you working from Pail's Letter to the Romans you should check out Margaret Rose's reflection here

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  17. All revised and now going for a walk to clear my head. Like you, SB, I am no gardener, and am preaching in an outlying community where I'm guessing everyone else it -- at least I'm planning to joke about it. I wish I were at my home church where we we have an amazing garden, or at the neighboring church where I'll be in a couple of weeks, where their garden has become a community enterprise. As for this church in the country - should've thought to ask!

    Oh well. After I was finished writing, I looked at a few other sermons and I see that there's not an original idea in my head. But at least I've thought it through!

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  18. One of my preaching mentors gets up at 4:30 on Sunday morning, sits in the hot tub, and puts all his thoughts/readings/ponderings into a sermon. Each of us has to find our own rhythm and practice...and it will flourish.

    I looked through Eugene's Lowery's "Preaching a Parable" before writing and tried to glean some of his wisdom.

    The Wisdom to Fail..

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  19. I agree - I spend a couple of hours each day M-T-W reading and studying for my sermon. I NEED the time for the ideas to percoloate and connect with what's going on in my congregation and the world at large. Besides, Saturdays are not family days in my household - my husband's (usually weekdays) days off are. Seems that someone is trying to guilt preachers into a cookie-cutter mold.

    Having said that, I did write most of my sermon yesterday. It's Dairy/Ag Days and I wanted to be able to partake in the festivities.

    It's the first Sunday in my first call - a rural (VERY) two-point parish - and the parable of the sower is a gift! I want to talk about our ministry together and what better way than to talk about God sowing the Word (Matthew) that does not return void (Isaiah). Of course, I have too much right now and I think maybe 2 different sermons going. But I have a nursing home service tomorrow afternoons, so I may pull the smaller sermon-tidbit out for a meditation for them.

    I'm off to Dairy/Ag Days festivities - another gift to move into the community and have a local festival right away! What a great way to meet folks. And mabye Dear Son will meet some of the few teens in the town and make some friends - and quit moping around the house!

    I'll be back later this afternoon to sort out my sermon(s)!

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  20. My illiteracy is making gains on me once again. I am working on revelation and the angle is of St. John as poet.

    I need a short, exquisite poem - one that speaks of one thing but really means the other - and the only ones that I can think of are not necessarily Sanctuary-filled-with-kids appropriate.

    Heading to softball games so I might not respond for awhile. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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  21. Earthchick, I'm with you: Saturday writing is not to be blamed if the sermon is lousy! I look at the readings early in the week, and then--like a loaf of yeast bread left to rise--I let them sit and grow without a lot of attention during the week. My husband and sons had to come to terms with this years ago; I'm just not ready to write until Saturday.

    I've been on vacation and had two Sundays off, so I have to get back in the swing of things.

    I'm doing Jacob and Esau at the family service; it's a wonderfully human story of sibling rivalry, cheating, and generally less-than-admirable behavior, which I think helps make the Bible more approachable for those who think it's just a book of people who are holier than they are; it's also a great reminder that God uses everyone! If you want to tell the story, this is a good version as a starting point: http://www.essex1.com/people/paul/bible24.html

    I have some fabulous fudge-filled chocolate chip cookies in the fridge (thank you, TJ's!); help yourself :-)

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  22. I love the way we have each other's backs.
    Thank you for the encouraging words.
    My dog is licking my arm, so I think we need to take a walk. I'll be back in a little while.

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  23. I used to have a first draft of my sermon by Tuesday evening. Those sermons are not as good as the ones I write where I've allowed the word to percolate in me in prayerful discernment. I am so effected by the events of the week that a Tuesday sermon wouldn't show. Anyways it is a Holy Spirit thing. Whenever she comes to inspire is different for everyone who preaches. To some she comes early in the week, to other she comes later and still to others she comes in the middle of the night on Saturday night (shout out to the late night RGBP partiers).

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  25. Kathrynzj, when I tried something like this with kids present I went with riddles instead of poems and had the kids join me upfront for some riddle sharing and solving, that became my into into the text and worked really well. I did have a couple of kid friendly riddles to share, too.

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  26. KZJ, once you said "not appropriate" then the only thing I could think of were the song of songs. lol. can you give a little more context? I know lots of poetry, but I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for...

    I'm working on a guided meditation (rather than a regular "message") on the sower. And by "working on" I mean "procrastinating on"--I don't even have a document opened yet, lol. But I did go to the farmer's market and come home with all kinds of amazing goodies--cherries, raspberries...eggplant, kale, and potatoes (which will become a curry later tonight)...tomatoes!!! so exciting. and I'll probably take a nap. And read one of my library books since 8 became available all at the same time yesterday. and hopefully get a meditation written. I'm thinking of doing something lectio-like, rather than forcing images on people. The meditation is for the earlier service (the alternative service, with a band). at the late service we're doing Taize, so I don't need to plan anything....

    When even the prayers are written, and there's no children's time to worry about, I have a hard time reminding myself that I still have work to do. LOL. Now...last time I did this text, we were the sower. We've been the soil more times than I can count. So I'm thinking about a perspective in which we are the seeds, tossed all over the world...and hopefully we will bear fruit. or something....

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  27. Mine finally came together and it is before noon!!!! Thank you, Jesus and Revgals. Now posted.
    wwwstoneofwitness.blogspot.com

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  28. When I was newly ordained and preaching on a regular basis for the first time I worried a lot about my writing" "process. " I read a book by women preachers each describing her own method of "birthing a sermon" (which I believe was the title of the book) and at first it made me anxious because I knew that much of what they described was either impractical given my own schedule or didn't fit well with how I know myself to work. But at the end of the book what I realized was that HOW (and when) we wrestle with scripture and prepare to preach is not the point--DOING it is the point, and doing it in a way that is faithful to ourselves and those we serve.

    This Preacher Party is witness to that...and witness to the creativity and faithfulness than can be born on a Saturday!

    Thanks be to God!

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  29. kj, it sounds like you're seeking an accessible metaphor. Maybe a children' poem would be safer? I'll give it some thought. (Anything rather than write my own sermon, apparently.)

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  30. I have a book from my childhood called One Thousand Poems for Children...here are a couple:

    Twelve little figures around me,
    One little face to guard,
    Two hands crossed on my small chest
    Can you guess me? I'm not hard.
    (a clock) of course most clocks now are digital...

    I'm up and down and round about,
    Yet all the world can't find me out.
    Though hundreds have employed their leisure,
    They never yet could take my measure.
    I'm found in almost ever garden,
    Nay, in the compass of a farthing:
    There's not a chariot, coach, nor mill,
    Can move an inch except I will.
    (a circle)

    First they dress in green,
    Then they change to brown;
    And some will even wear
    A red or golden gown.
    (leaves)

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  31. Why is it that you can have a virus that upsets your stomach and still want the ice cream in the freezer?
    In other news, I started writing.

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  32. Back in MN in the land of flat fields of corn and beans and procrastinating... It was wonderful to get away for a week to a place where people smile and are actually positive most of the time...

    Songbird- in my first call the HOS finished his sermon by noon on Monday and "encouraged" me to do the same. Every time I tried to finish before the end of the week what I came up with was trite, shallow and unpreachable. For me, I have come to peace with doing what works.

    Last week I was in the UP of Michigan climbing shore rocks and taking pictures of flowers rising up from the most inhospitable rocks and soil as well as fields of glorious forest wildflowers. The economics of the UP are much worse than where I live now and yet the emotional and community climate there is far superior.

    Going with the idea of God as Sower and that we don't always get to choose our soil but that does not stop us from working with God and blooming where we are planted. or something like that...
    My area also experienced a terrible wind storm while I was gone. No lives lost - TBTG - but extensive damage to building and trees. Need to acknowedge that as well.
    back at it!

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  33. Celeste, my gosh! That sounds scary.

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  34. Songbird, hope your tummy is feeling better (though I don't really think the ice cream would be a very good idea. But you knew that).

    Celeste, that HOS pushes all my buttons and I don't even know him! Your vacation sounds wonderful.

    Glory of glories, my hubby came home and I have escaped to work on the sermon before Saturday night. Will it work? We'll see how often I comment!

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  35. Go, esperanza! And I've been thinking about that insistent invitation to bring your children. You might want to try it, if only so they can see what it's really like to have two little ones and no nursery. :-)

    (Also, yes, I'm clear about the ice cream. I'm not eating it.)

    I've got a draft, which is a relief. I really didn't want to have to come back to it after the lobster bake.

    Who wants some iced coffee? (Also probably not great for my tummy, but I can't help it.)

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  36. Oh, man, SB, iced coffee sounds perfect. I'd love a cup!

    I am finding myself very distracted today. Not by anything in particular, just so unfocused. I have written an intro, and I have a sense of where I'm going, but I can't seem to make myself get it all down on paper. Maybe it's time for me to start working with the timer, to see if I can focus for small bursts of time.

    I have some brownies to share. Please, take them from me!

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  37. Hello preachers and pals!
    My second Sunday in my new parish and I am missing the rhythm of weekly sermon writing - and I used to preach on Saturday night, so I guess according to Daniels I ignored my family for five years. I add my own support to you SB and to everyone else, we all have our own patterns! And I have yet to read a bad sermon here.
    For tomorrow I have to give the pastoral prayer at one service and read the gospel the next.
    So of course I am obsessing over what makes a good pastoral prayer and whether I should write it out ahead of time or not. Suggestions appreciated - I am not a good pray-er.
    So far today: played soccer, watched softball, went swimming, watched more softball, moved a bookcase to my new office, and in an hour will be back at the church for a summer festival that goes until 9 p.m. That extemporaneous prayer is looking better and better.
    blessings to all in your preparations!

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  38. I've done laundry, chatted with the neighbor, picked up after the dog on the back lawn, cleaned up the kitchen, and weeded extensively; now I am researching carbon monoxide detectors, which just became mandatory in CA homes. Obviously, I am not interested in thinking about my sermon!

    Celeste, I agree that the HOS sounds a lot less than helpful on the sermon prep front; glad you found your own rhythm.

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  39. Yes, iced coffee please!

    I have been procrastinating like mad--although in a good cause: working on my move-in chores. Although the accomplished task was setting up cable/TV/VCR/DVD, so perhaps not so helpful on a sermon-writing day!

    One of the links on textweek mentioned the idea of us being the sowers, not God--and I like that idea. Here in River City, we're looking at ways to evangelize (but of course we don't use that word--too many negative connotations in this congregation). I think I want to explore how we can not only spread/plant the seeds, but be the seeds.

    And Earthchick, I hear you on motivation...I really would like to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and a couple of movies I had forgotten I even owned but would like to see again. I'm using it as a reward--finish a draft, watch a movie; rewrite, watch a TV show...

    Feeling wornout from moving, I think.

    Iced coffee, here I come!

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  40. Well, what do you know? When you sit down with no distractions and set the timer, you can get a lot done in a few minutes (go for it, earthchick!). Still miles to go.

    Songbird, here's my thinking on the kids: good for the church, bad for me. Will it be good for the girls? That's the tipping point, and I haven't figured that part out yet. May depend on the kind of night we have (they've been dismal lately, and Saturday nights are often horrid at our house--too much stress running around, I guesss) and how the early morning goes.

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  42. I know, esperanza. It's probably not nice of me to suggest using your kids to teach something to the church!
    RP, I'm excited to hear you're up to something new!
    And MumPastor, there's nothing wrong with off-the-cuff prayer.

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  43. Did someone say Iced Coffe? Oh yes, please.

    After a strong hour of writing I got seriously side tracked by grown children who live 300 miles away...one who went to the wrong train station and needed help navigating, and one who had to rush a horse to the clinic because it is dying. I do not know details, but my daughter is very stressed from this....so if can offer up prayers for Jessica, that horse and it's owner (my daughter is a trainer), that would be appreciated.

    Now, can I get my writing mojo back?

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  44. Oh, I wasn't intending that to be a criticism of your suggestion, Songbird. Just thinking to myself. I really am considering taking them, but I don't want it to be a total disaster.

    Heading toward a point for the sermon, somewhere. I guess I could use the kids to distract from the point-less sermon?

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  45. I keep meaning to say that I love where you Matthew preachers are going. I did a youth event keynote one time (with the Mark version, I think) where we worked from all three different viewpoints: us as seed, sower, and soil. That was three days' worth, so likely too much for one sermon, but it went well.

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  46. No, no! I didn't take it that you took it that way. It's too easy for me to forget the difference between my old children (the youngest was 7 when I went to my first call) and your little ones.
    My sermon is way more personal than anything this congregation has ever heard. I hope I'm not going to regret it.

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  47. So the horse is "coliciking" a stomach condition that happens to horses. He belongs to one of her young students. The horse is in surgery right now with only a 20% chance of surviving. It's the worst case of colic my daughter has ever seen, very painful for the horse, it's like their stomachs are twisted...sigh. So sad...she said it will take a miracle...bit appreciates our prayers.

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  48. Well, my timer writing worked, and I've more than doubled the words on the page, hurrah! I will admit that I am relying on an old sermon for a great bit of help. Yay, sustainability!

    Terri, wow! Prayers for your Jessica indeed. And I hope you get your writing mojo back!

    I am taking a wee break (I'll try to make myself set the timer for it!) and then I'm going to see how much more I can knock out.

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  49. Well, I have a draft. It feels kind of "meh" to me at this point, but it is what it is.

    Part of the problem I think (which is also part of what I talk about in the sermon) is the familiarity of this story--we've heard it SO many times. Not sure I brought anything fresh to it, hard as I tried.

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  50. Earthchick, i use the timer method to get going too.

    Back from the softball games - we won both! And back to the sermon. Thanks for the poem help. I'm going to re-read what I have and see if I can be more specific about what I need. Unfortunately my Robert Frost is in my office.

    The Boy is home, but has begged to play on my iPod so I am not feeling guilty about this Saturday work at all.

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  51. I am home from a wonderful pastoral visit - a young man beginning his career in the theater! We had lunch and indulged in DQ for dessert and talked for almost three hours. What a wonderful time it was.

    And the plus is that he misses our church. A good example of seed well planted and also growth even when we just might have been a little rocky - conservative congregation, gay young man. Somehow, I don't think this will make it into the sermon. ;-) But maybe it should.

    Okay, I need to come up with a commissioning for the mission team that is leaving Monday morning. I also need to pack my bags for that trip. Which to do first?

    Sermon still rumbling....

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  52. So...I am just checking in for the first time today.
    Terri--colicking is dreadful--poor horse, poor student, and poor daughter.....prayers, prayers, prayers.....

    EC--a timer? hmmmm, haven't tried that....

    GG--I am a wanna be gardener that tries every year....it seems that this year, my raised bed on legs is working, and I have some beautiful swiss chard, herbs, and the tomatoes *look* like they will bear fruit. However, the cucumber blooms are hanging outside of the box, three feet from the ground. Not sure that is a good thing....

    Blessings on all of you wonderful Saturday writers of sermons....I agree with all things said about each of us has a process. I may not write much until Friday or Saturday, but I have done a lot of thinking, reading, in the context of thinking and ministering with my congregation. So. nuff said.

    Oh, and I am using Matthew but preaching about early missionary movements--specifically about the first Christian missionaries (congregational) to Hawaii (happen to be my spouse's great, great grandparents) ...and what we might learn (good and bad) from how they scattered seeds......

    Ironically, I have to go to the garden store and to the church later this evening to plant some planters that a church member generously set up on Wednesday for me because I mentioned I thought I might do this on my own. Only flowers, though--I can't mess that up, right?

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  53. Well. I have written a good enough draft that I think I can leave this homily to take root while I go exercise and meditate. I'll be back in awhile. Blessings, all!

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  54. kathrynzj, you can google Robert frost and lots of his poems will pop up!

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  55. I am treating myself to the sermon party as a reward for several hours sans-computer work on the text for tomorrow :-) And mushy bananas are on the stove, getting a bit mushier and a bit sweeter with some brown sugar on top... if that sounds like an appealing afternoon snack to any of you, I'm happy to share... it's even better on ice cream but I ran out of that! (And if it sounds gross, don't knock it til you try it!)

    Unfortunately, I still don't have a point to my sermon... no words on paper... just a ton of exegetical notes and a new-found love of the book of Romans. I would love to NOT be writing on Saturday (mostly because I haven't gotten any other day off this week), but I am grateful to hear you all affirm that a good sermon can still come regardless of when it was written.

    It's my second Sunday in the parish, so I identify with all of you who are starting this week! Go with God!

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  56. Earlier this week I had a great idea for children's time that incolved 3 pails, one with hard packed sand, one with good potting soil, and one with dirt covered with rocks.

    However it has now poured rain for 2 days (and currently raining) and the dirt/sand outside is soaking wet.

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  57. Well, I'm going to go with what I have written, and here it is: Seed Changes, one of those previously chosen clever titles that is not really what the sermon is about so much. Oh, well. Your feedback appreciated, very much.

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  58. I'm back from the Deacon workshop and things went well. altho I do need to slow down and when adding in time for a ritual, allow time to let it sink in.. sigh.. the rush to finish things on a Saturday.
    I've been using a mind-mapping program for my draft and right now, my "sermon" is just a bunch of thought bubbles floating around on the page. I may as well hit the "in-motion" button and see if they come out better than the order I have currently. another sigh...
    but I have boneless spicy chicken "wings" and popcorn cakes and lite beer if anyone else thinks that will help their sermon writing...?
    Gord, like the children's idea. will have to save it for another day and see if I have anyone but the 9 month old and 4 year old.

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  59. okay, I took a nap and the thing that kept popping into my dreams was "listen"...not sure where that's going to take me, other than that I'm going to assume it's permission from the Holy Spirit for this guided meditation to have a lot more silence than it might otherwise. :-) If that's not what she meant, she'd better pop down here with something better. LOL.

    mid-afternoon cherries, anyone? they are SO DELICIOUS.

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  60. Addiction...thy name is Angry Birds. Now back to sermon writing.

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  61. My daughter just came home and we are off to the Lobster Bake. I still feel marginal, but better than earlier today. Let's hope that lasts. I'll catch up with y'all later!

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  62. LOL, G_G!

    Songbird, I couldn't comment on your sermon (put me in a google account endless loop for some reason), but I love it! I don't think it's overly personal at all, if that's what you were concerned about.

    As for me, I have a draft, have spent an hour in the second story, unairconditioned building at hubby's church prepping for VBS (it's probably 95 at least outside). Now back to the a/c of his office to read through what I've got.

    Turns out my point was: God can use screw-ups like Jacob and Esau and us.

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  63. Well, I have most of a first draft...think I will write that paragraph and then take a short dinner break (start a movie, maybe?) before coming back to do a final polish.

    Can I just say "Amen and thank you" to all those who affirmed for me today that we all have a process for sermon writing (and other stuff) that works for us and no one (especially someone who doesn't do it) can tell us what we "should" be doing, especially when they add "if you were a good pastor." Yeah, OK, there's a little bitterness there--but such a thing was actually said to me. Still stings a bit, as you can tell.

    So thank you all so much for letting me know I am not the only one and I am not crazy!

    Chili chicken for dinner, I think...

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  64. Checking in here for the first time today. I appreciate the discussion about Saturday writing. I was beating myself up about this, but my husband reminded me it's how I'm wired...

    Preaching on Romans 8. The title is Freedom From & Freedom For. Playing with Paul's dichotomy of way of the flesh (I'm interpreting it as a way of life independent from God...booh on gnostic body/spirit dualism) and the way of the Spirit (dependence on God). So, we're free from sin and it's grip and free for a life in grace. Using David Lose's letter on workingpreacher.org, anne lamott, and a little Mary Oliver to close it out with the question "what will you do with your one wild and precious life?" and my addition: now that you're free.

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  65. PS. I'm an AP flying solo for this month...this sermon is the first of 4 in a row. Pray for strength and clarity of mind as I head through the next month.

    I'll be here often!

    I so appreciate reading what you'all are working on...love all the great Matthew ideas!

    I've got sweet tea to share :)

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  66. Was blessed by a poem written by a friend that will fit right in. Taking a dinner break.

    I also need to pull together my SS class. I'm not sure where I lost a day this past week, but it happened. I KNOW it.

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  67. Blech, Songbird. Daniel's indictment sounds like the "Mommy Wars" work inside the home vs. work outside the home, bottle vs. breast, etc, etc. Why can't all of us (moms, preachers, whatever) just accept that we all do things differently?! Whew. Maybe I should read before I critique, though. :)

    Thanks for this group for having our backs. ;)

    The week has been compressed (because of the holiday of course) and a little discombobulated. I had a funeral to attend but not lead - - the mother of a church member. The deceased has actually worshiped weekly at our church for longer than I have been there, but kept her membership at her home Missionary Alliance congregation, so the funeral was there. Sweet, sweet lady and a saint for sure.

    Took the kids to swim at my secretary's house this afternoon. Love that friendship. Her son is in the Navy so she keeps his boys on his weekends (parents are not married or together). They're about the same ages as my kids so there was lots of summer pool fun. Nice to have the kind of friends where were can stop by without calling, swim, then eat lunch with the pineapple and cucumber we brought and whatever else she has in her house.

    I'm going with Genesis, but will write later tonight after everyone goes to bed (Does that still count in Lillian Daniel's eyes?). I have changed my plans from earlier in the week, but will work with the dysfunction in the family and how God's grace makes it possible for good to come even from this. I will try to deliver hope to those who feel dysfunction in their own families, but also draw the parallel to the church - - the dysfunction even in the church family, but how God's grace makes it possible that even WE can be used for good.

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  68. Well. Sadly, the horse died. Was a very difficult day for my daughter....although the vet that did the surgery and tried ti save the horse told my daughter she had done an excellent job of tending to the horse and getting him as comfortable as could be considering his internal organs had punctured his diaphragm. Those of you who held them in prayer, thank you.

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  69. Prayers for you, suz! I hope you find your 4 weeks to be a blessing! When I started in my first call as an AP the other pastor had not taken much vacation in 2 years during the search. I started June 1; he left town for a month July 1. I was nervous, but at the same time LOVED the chance to do it myself for a little while. The downside definitely was that I ended up with two jobs to do, not just one. I pray for endurance for you (and very few funerals!).

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  70. Finished my sermon inspite of the angry little birdies calling my name.

    You can read it here. It's just meh but hopefully it will take root in someone's metaphorical garden plot.

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  71. Terri, I'm sorry about the horse, and am thinking of your daughter.

    I have a draft done and am going to let it percolate, while I tend to motherly duties. I'll try to pop back in later when I'm polishing it up.

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  72. Ooooohhh - -Purple, I think I need to add a hot tub to my Sunday morning routine. More and more that's really when I do my actual writing. I hit the hay by midnight most of the time now, but wake up at 4:30 to put my outline and jagged stuff into the actual sermon. I get about the first quarter to third written before bed, but do the end before everyone is up by 7:00 a.m.

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  73. kzj - - Not necessarily for the kids, right? I'm not too literate in that way either, but my mind did immediately jump to Emily Dickinson from high school English class. How 'bout the poem Hope. Or is that comparison too direct and not really what you're looking for?

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  74. here's a draft...weeding for life

    back later to read what y'all have posted.

    Thanks, earthchick....

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  75. Hi ladies, I'm peeking in here! I have the nursing home worship service tomorrow afternoon, for which I have pieced together a Sustainable Worship Service, right down to the meditation.

    This coming week I will be working on a worship service and sermon that will be preached at the end of this month. I can't tell the whole story here, but that service and sermon at the end of the month are very important in that they might turn into something else. If you catch my drift.

    It's not a 'traditional' search, whatever that means after tomorrow in my denomination! But it could be an opportunity. I have to have things ready to go before I leave next Saturday for South America.

    So...its an important week for me coming up, not only with trip prep but with getting this service put together and writing the sermon. Your prayers appreciated!

    Happy preaching!
    Jules

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  76. Oh so many people who need prayer, rejoicing prayer or sad prayer! All of you have those prayers as I read your comments.

    I am here, in fact I've been here for a few hours now, but I've been struggling to stay awake. The combination of getting lower-quality sleep on an air mattress, working hard to clean up a dingy apartment and move out (the latest in the moving saga), and then eating a big meal led to a really strong desire for a nap. I gave myself until now; now the Diet Coke is in the mix and will hopefully keep me awake.

    I just found my sermon from three years ago and it is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself (which is rare, usually I look at old sermons and think "I preached THAT???"). Unfortunately it uses the Jacob and Esau story quite a lot, and this year we are going with Isaiah. But either way, Matthew is the order of the day: seeds, seeds, and more seeds. Like Songbird, I'm a city girl preaching in a farming town.

    Will be around for a while, I'm sure...hopefully not too late, so I can be functional for ALL of tomorrow. Don't have much for the table, but I'll bring the rest of my Diet Coke!

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  77. ok, I wrote a sort of guided meditation based on listening and wondering how we seeds can grow in our various life situations. Or something. It's mediocre, but I'm hoping the amount of silence I plan to leave (this is not a service known for its silence, I say with all the understatement I can muster) will help me sell it in the moment. It's a sort of meditative day (what with Taize later in the morning) and I want the alternative service peeps to have a meditative and quiet experience as well. After all (as I mention in the meditation), seeds grow in the quiet nurturing dark place before they reach for the sun...

    Jules--awesome!! Terri--prayers for your daughter and for the girl who owns the horse. Is she still working at the same place, or a new place?
    praying for all of you in your joys, sorrows, struggles, and ponderings...

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  78. Jules...will hold you in prayer for all good things to come and for your preparation in the mean time.

    kjz, glad you found the poem you were hoping for...

    semfem - ack! more moving stuff... hope you are settled soon.

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  79. Jules, prayers for the week to come.

    Terri, I'm sorry about your daughter and the horse; I hope she takes some professional comfort in the vet telling her what a good job she did under the circumstances.

    Rev Nancy, I am laughing at the thought of the sermon that would come from letting those thought bubbles order themselves...and knowing that sometimes the results might be better than what I develop!

    More distractions attended to. I got a great deal on a few Lands End items at Sears, so it was a good thing, right?

    Ribs, fruit salad, garlic bread, and veggie lasagna will be on the table here soon, if you are looking for dinner.

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  80. I've been lurking here a little and lounging around a lot today. I have enjoyed the conversation. I've been flirting with a cold or allergies that is manifesting in almost-laryngitis.

    We have a worship service outside tomorrow in our picnic pavilion. We also have a baptism and Communion and the desire by everyone to "keep the worship services short" this summer. (sigh)

    So, for the "sermon" I'm going to invite them to be the real live audience of Jesus. We'll assume that Jesus is talking in this parable directly to us-- right here, right now -- and then we'll have a little interactive time about what we hear Jesus telling us for this specific time and this specific place. It could get interesting! At least I won't have to do all the talking!

    Holding you all in prayer . . .

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  81. Big day here!

    I've been keeping up via phone as I run errands. Terri, I'm so sorry about your daughter and the horse.

    SB, I love your ending. I was trying to go that way, but my sermon got too long and I gave up trying to make it cover 2 readings.

    I have some positive stuff going on on the call front. Trying very hard not to get my hopes up, having had them totally demolished 2 weeks ago. What a process.

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  82. Sermon done! Yay!
    Now I am turning my efforts to Summer Sunday School class #1 (out of 5). It is on Henri Nouwen's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son'.

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  83. We're back from the lobster bake, which was great. My 16yo had never come face to face with a whole lobster before, and she did a great job handling the whole operation. She ate steamers, too!
    Thanks to all who offered feedback on my sermon. I'm appreciative. And I'm going to leave it as it is. :-)
    Now, who wants ice cream? We have Cookies and Cream from Whole Foods!!!

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  84. Ok. After some serious editing and tweaking my sermon is done, put into PDF format and loaded into the iBooks on. Y iPad, simian change pages easily, if I use the text.

    It's still on my blog, now in the revised format.....

    Now I have to write the Sunday Prayers and schedule thm to post, fold a bunch of laundry, and then I can relax before crawling into bed.

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  85. Terri, just finished catching up on all the comments, I am so sorry about the horse! Church members lost a beloved horse to colic just a few months ago, and it was traumatic for all of them. My heart goes out to everyone involved.

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  86. Teri, keeping you in prayer as you mourn the loss of a beloved animal friend.

    Sharron, praying for peace and patience as you wait on the call front.

    Semfem, may you get good rest in the midst of the move!

    I've just printed out what I'm calling the final draft. Just had Texas brisket with the hubby and trying to stay cool in this Texas heat.

    Blessings to those still ruminating and writing!

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  87. Prayers for your daughter and horse Terri. Those four legged friends big and small sure have a way of rooting in our hearts.

    Yays and prayers for you Jules. You go girl!

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  88. The big kids were asleep almost an hour earlier than usual. No naps and an afternoon in a pool and sun will do that. Baby has been exhausted, but just can't fall asleep. Both my husband and I have tried and now she's crying on and off in her crib. I just can't settle in to get to work until she settles down. I wonder if her red little arms (Oops! Left the sunscreen at home) are bothering her. Hope she settles down soon so that I can take advantage of this relatively early night soon. At least it's giving me time to read up on all the comments from earlier today!

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  89. Thanks everyone for the prayers...my Internet shuts off every time the A/C kicks on...since I have everything posted or scheduled to post, I am quitting while I'm ahead.

    Tea and some ice cream, anyone? Or raspberry sorbet?

    And, blessings on your day tomorrow...may you sleep tonight!

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  90. She Rev, I totally understand the "can't work till the baby stops crying" phenomenon. Even if someone else is comforting said baby. Short circuits the brain, or something.

    So if my two children are the only children there, do I have to do a children's time? "Don't steal your sister's food" seems a little harsh. Hmph.

    I'm going to call it a night. It's not even 9 o'clock, but I'm done in. Blessings on the late nighters.

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  91. Just got up from a much to late in the afternoon nap. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the time change and the fact that it doesn't even get dark till after 10pm here. Plus I think the heat and the festival food had a bad effect on me.

    This puts me with an almost finished sermon at a time when I am usually printing the final draft - yuck. Very disappointing considering this sermon was mostly written in my head by Wednesday morning. Too bad that hospital call on Wed didn't give me time to get any of it down then.

    Oh well, it is what it is. Back to work.

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  92. Raspberry sorbet, ice cream...I'm up for any and all of it. I have brownies to go with it, and some fresh pineapple and plums for those who want a lighter dessert.

    Still waiting on dinner here; older son has 3 friends over (a double date, and I am trying hard not to peer out the blinds into the backyard too often) and is doing the cooking.

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  93. Sorry so late to the party - I've had meetings today.

    I am a last minute writer/thinker (hardly ever write anything down anymore) but internal prep is week-long. During the last 18 months I've had an 1.5 hour morning drive as an extra bonus. Some texts I know take more, so I do it when I need to. But I'm tired of the guilting- about prep, about manuscript vs. not, about resources etc.

    Esperanza, my boys are a bit older than yours, but on teh occasions I have taken them with me to my 2 small supply churches w/o hubby, they have been WONDERFUL - either helping keep them quiet in worship or taking them out for other "worship." Try it and see how it goes. I don't take them as often as I should because that drive is my only "me" time during the week! :)

    Prayers ascending for all.... am still in the search, waiting for committees (and God)to work. And tomorrow a presbytery meeting to appoint an administrative commission to deal with the declaration of two churches intending to leave the denomination. Not requesting to leave, announcing intentions. Sad, mad, frustrated, a bit relieved.........

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  94. they, meaning the church folk (not my boys) have been wonderfull !! ;)

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  95. esperanza - - The chance to tell my own kids to keep their hands to themselves is exactly why I signed up for children's time this week. OK, not really, but it's definitely tempting.

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  96. Y'all, it's time for bed here on the East Coast. I hope everyone gets some sleep eventually. I'll have the coffee on again early tomorrow.

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  97. I'm popping in for a minute to say, I'll be back later. I have to run to church to print the bulletins. Somehow my calendar didn't actually end up matching the actual events of the end of the week. hmmm

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  98. 563 words and stalling out...ugh...

    Tea and ice cream would be lovely, thank you Terri and Songbird!

    Wondering about the wisdom of admitting that most of my agricultural "knowledge" comes from the Little House on the Prairie books.

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  99. Just in with a cooler full of Moxie, our local and peculiar old-fashioned soda, for everyone to try. (It's the weekend of the Moxie festival in the nearby town where it was invented, so I thought I'd bring share some around!)

    I'm not preaching this week, but writing my ordination paper. I've been working with images of seed-sowing and "the redemptive power of compost," so it was an absolute delight to check in here and discover the various ways in which y'all are flinging your sermon seeds!

    Blessings to all sorrowers and sufferers, singers and storytellers and seed-sowers, this night.

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  100. 100, ah, finished at last. I don't mind writing on Satuday (see this a.m.'s discussion) but this late hour is why I try to get my sermon "bubbles" (thanks Betsy, I agree, let them float) in a proper row earlier in the day.
    AND, how do you folks who put up hymns do it every week? Do you have someone do all the typing projection etc? Gee, it took a lot of time to get it right. If everyone starts laughing I'll know how my typing came out.
    g'nite all, blessings as you experience the Holy Spirit at your/our backs tomorrow.

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  101. Did sweet baby Jesus when he was one year old keep his mama up all night when she really needed to be writing a sermon?

    The universe has no need to worry - - I am NOT sacrificing my time with my family in order to write this one.

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  102. RevNancy,
    we only do projection Sept-June (when we have volunteers available to run the projector. PReparing the slides each week is in the position description of the office administrator.

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  103. OK. She's stayed asleep. I guess it's time to get to writing. Oy vey. At least I got a rough outline down on Thursday. I can flesh it out enough to hit my midnight bedtime.

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  104. Okay, this means I can set myself a goal of finishing and heading home before She Rev has to go to bed!

    Seriously, I have a pretty complete draft, but it has no ending. Blah. Just went and looked at other stuff for a while to try and get some fresh eyes to look at it again.

    Hope it's going well out there for everyone...

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  105. So I managed to get back home in time to begin working at "normal" time.

    I'm amazed at the assumptions some folks make about others. I'm pretty sure that it's more important to the rhythm to my family life for me to be available to pick up my kids when school is out instead of stay in the office to have time to write a sermon. The trade-off is a time shift. It's not like someone who completes a sermon before Saturday actually has more hours. The hours are just allocated differently. Too bad that's not the topic for the sermon, I think I could get to 15 minutes pretty easily.

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  106. RevNancy--we have a volunteer team for the powerpoint ministry. They receive the hymn/song/liturgy words from the church administrator in a word document, along with the order of worship, and they create the powerpoint, and then they come and click through it during the service on Sunday morning. Occasionally we have a volunteer who only clicks but doesn't create, in which case the office administrator creates the powerpoint document and loads it on the church laptop for other clicking....

    I've decided to let the meditation be as it is, trusting that the amount of silence I want to incorporate will make up for any deficiencies in the language. I am not willing to sacrifice my evening looking for the perfect words this week. Instead I have exercised, and will now shower and read myself to sleep. I'm in the midst of one of those novels where the story is surprisingly engrossing....

    I'll leave the cherries out in case anyone needs a snack!

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  107. I hope I have the story of Jacob and Esau in my head in a creative way; too late if I don't!

    My older son, 16, is going to Australia for a month on a sister city exchange in 2 weeks, and I finally got from him the e-mail address of the mom in the host family. I've been having a great time exchanging e-mails with her this evening, and though I wasn't really nervous before, now I feel completely comfortable :-) Yet another excellent distraction from my work...

    Late night gals, you here?

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  108. Betsy, I'm here, but I'm on my way out now! Finally done, 1245 words, and I think it'll do. Time to head home and get some sleep. May the Holy Spirit be with everyone who needs her!

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation.

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  109. I'm here. Working on Jacob and Esau, too. Sort of. I could be doing a little more working and a little less of everything else on my computer -- including lining up a babysitter so that I can go to an ever so romantic presbytery meeting next Tuesday on my anniversary. Without my husband. Yeah, we know how to celebrate.

    I've got my start down sort of, and I know where I'm going. That's my goal for about this hour. I'm a little nervous not going much further before sleeping since the baby is having a weirdo night, but I think I'm going to risk it. Don't think I'll pop back in here before heading to bed in 10 or so minutes, so good night to everyone else. I'll be back at 0' dark early!

    (I swear, it's like she can read my typing tonight. Guess who just started fussing in the crib?)

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  110. I'm still working away. The good news is there are seeds being sown ... so to speak.

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  111. That previous comment should have posted about 30 minutes earlier. oh well.

    I'm now finished! First a quick shower & then to bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

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  112. I'm back to write. The "night" was rough. Baby was very restless for the first hour (at least) of it. Must finish now, semi-quickly in cast she is up early, with less rest than I intended. I can do it. (Also need to solidify children's time, but I was kind of serious earlier about using it to tell my kids to get along.)

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  113. Weather sirens? Really God? At 5:36 a.m.? Not so funny. (Severe storms, not tornadoes so the biggest problems will be the kids who are being woken up.)

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  114. Oh, Stephanie, too much!
    I've got a hot pot of coffee, will that help?
    The headache that has been part of this virus off and on since Thursday is back; I'm glad that my day will be over by noon and there's a Holy Nap on the schedule.
    Blessings to all as you proclaim the Good News!

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  115. So only by the grace of God did all the children apparently sleep through the sirens less than 100 yards from their bedroom windows. Now of course I'm having one of those "Mr. Holland's Opus" are-they-really-deaf moments. :)

    Halfway done and I know where I'm going. 'Bout 30 minutes is all I need if I stay on track.

    (Looking for that track....)

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  116. Putting this comment feed into my e-mail was the best decision I've made in my sermon prep! Thanks, all! And now for the tweaking and printing of the sermon...

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  117. Oh, She Rev, I hate nights like that. And they are always on Saturdays somehow!

    Songbird, hope you feel better pronto.

    OK, decision made. I'm taking them with me. They are both cheerful at this particular moment, let's hope it last. Snacks and toys and willing helpers should seal the deal. I'll report back this afternoon. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats.

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  118. Well, it wasn't awful, but it was pretty hard for me. Don't need to do that again for a while! Thanks for your support, everyone.

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  119. Ah, I wondered! Thanks so much for checking back in with us. At least now they can picture the little ones, right?

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  120. Im de-lurking too late, in case the following is useful for the projection thread. We've sucessfully been using some software called OpenSong (easy to find on google) which as its name implies is free and has a good db of songs. Its fairly easy to use if someone a little tech-savvy sets it up, and has a decent database of hymns and songs. It also has the facility to add and keep something - so you only ever need to type something in once.

    My 15 year old daughter is currently the main "driver" but last Sunday, dh set it up and then our 9 year old "drove it" during the service - so its pretty easy. You can also add things like bible texts and images.

    I'm in no way affiliated with anyone/anything, just a happy user. (Lay preacher and worship leader).

    OH yeah, we get the worship leader and/or preacher to mail the hymns in advance, but daughter has taken to going down 15 minutes early to set it up and can also now add things "on the fly" if someone decides to be spontaneous.

    (All that said, I still use powerpoint for sermon illustrations and she runs them for me. A remote control slide changer would be even better.)

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