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Saturday, August 06, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: In Over Your Head Edition

Good morning, gals and pals!  We are now officially into what some people call the "dog days" of summer (though we won't get into that).  It's hot and humid here, with storms predicted.  And wouldn't you know, there are storms predicted in the gospel reading for this weekend, too.

That's where I'm at, today.  I'm in over my head with Peter, considering this is one of those Bible stories that has followed me around throughout my life,  like the hound of heaven.  But what about you?  There's plenty of possibilities to get in over your head in other ways:  with Elijah on the mountain,  Paul and the preached word, and Joseph (that dreamer) in Genesis.  There's a great discussion of the various lessons, and plenty of food for thought here.

Speaking of food, I have those blueberry pancakes again (we haven't had them in awhile, have we?) and fair trade coffee (toffee caramel today) as well as orange mango juice.  And turkey sausage, if you'd like. 

So pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee.  Let us know how you're doing, share your ideas, your problems, your questions.  We're here for you.


  1. I am feeling pleased with myself--always a dangerous starting point--because I got about 1/3 of my sermon done with pen and paper while I waited for my son in a class on Thursday. I was inspired by some of the Tuesday comments to think about how we clean up the bible, making it easier, more palatable, less weird. I've gotten through a story about my 6th grade Sunday school teacher shutting me up when I got a little too detailed about Joseph and Potiphar's wife, and how that began to teach me young that scripture "ought" to be sanitized.

    I have some delicious heirloom tomatoes from my yard and citrus from a friend's tree; help yourself! Prayers for a good start to the day, whether writing or otherwise, for all of you.

  2. Almost dinner time [7.00pm] and the sermon is started at least. I have been at a training day organised by the Presbytery [the regional grouping of our denomination]. We looked at being a healthy church. The congregation I am in ministry with was asked to tell our story. It was very encouraging to be asked, and has given Church Council something to reflect on.
    Tomorrow I am working with Kings and Matthew, and throwing in Moses for good measure. Thinking about how we respond to God and God’s call in our life. I will put the sermon on my blog later – when it is finished.

  3. Finished at a reasonable hour tonight, only 9.30 pm. This is my first Sunday preaching after annual leave. Not sure I am happy with it, feels like it needs something more, but this is it.

    Happy writing.

  4. black coffee here -- I'm totally out of everything else, but I'll share what I have!

    We had church softball last night, and honestly I hate playing softball more than anything in the whole world. The ball scares me. I'm thinking about using my own experience of fear to talk about what happens when Jesus asks us to follow him. We can stay in the boat, afraid (or in my case, on the bleachers as a bystander). Or we can step follow even if we fail like Peter (those who participated in the game, even if they couldn't hit the ball or catch it, had more fun than I did on the sidelines). At this juncture in our church life when we're talking about following God into places that are frightening, that may require us to change into something that scares us silly, we too can choose to observe on the sidelines, never show up for the game, or have fun following Jesus into the unknown where God will perfect our skills over time.

    Those are my beginning thoughts. I just don't want to miss a bigger message that might be in the story so I need to spend more time with it.

    but first, back to church for more group prayer and discernment . . .

  5. I usually lurk.. but the comment about the dog days of summer pulled me in. My sermon series for August is Wisdom from the Dog Days of Summer, using the rarely used wisdom books. This week I am using Song of Songs 8 for a sermon entitled Puppy Love. Working on the details but using a clip from Lady and Tramp (the Spaghetti scene) to talk about the role fo community in burgeoning love.

  6. Good morning pals,

    I've got swiss chard quiche to share. Pass the coffee over here please.

    I'm in the middle of the pick a sermon series over here and this week I am preaching on what happens after we die. Now how am I going to fill several minutes saying "I don't know"? Thank goodness it's communion Sunday.

  7. wow, welcome everyone! I need that coffee myself. Thanks for the coffee, the ideas, the quiche, everything. Pearl, I'll read your sermon a little later. O Pastor, love your "dog days" idea..... can't wait to find out more. K.T. if all you have is coffee, that's great. I sure need it. Betsy, thanks for the tomatoes and citrus.

    Now, I'm a little more than 1/3 done and I need to get down to it. I'm beginning with learning that my brother plans to go sky-diving later this summer, and the idea that Peter's water-walk was a sort-of X-treme discipleship.

    I have a skate-board for the children's message, but I'm not sure yet how to use it....

    anyone ready for a pancake?

  8. It's been a long week including my first funeral without other clergy and a mystery ailment. I've been thinking about this sermon for several weeks and have lots of thoughts but nothing in any kind of order. We will be getting out of the boat at my church tomorrow as we are about to launch our new mission and vision for the church. I'll have to work on it this afternoon, because we've set aside this morning to do last bit of odds and ends dorm needs shopping with my son. Only one more Saturday left after today before we take him to school.
    I don't have anything to offer except orange juice and frozen waffles.
    Hope you all have an inspired day.

  9. I just found a big beehive above my balcony. Gives me the heeby jeebies. Thank goodness I can call someone else to take care of it.

  10. mid-life: blessings on your preparation with your son. I remember those days. Also, prayers regarding the 'mystery ailment.' This is one of those texts for me, that I have a million things to say about. It was the gospel reading the day before I left for Japan. It was the gospel reading the August before I entered seminary.

    so, I hear you about having a lot of thoughts and ideas. will be anxious to find out where you end up....

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  12. Welcome, Vicar! glad you are with us. Bless your nap and your preparation!

  13. I just realized that I'm not preaching that passage this week after all. I'm clearly up too early

  14. Vicar -- I know how you feel....

  15. Getting a late start after a late night last night.

    I'm about half-way done. I'm off-lectionary as it is LGBT Pride weekend here in River City, so I'm going with Jesus in the Temple and Isaiah 56--with the focus on God's house as a place of prayer for all nations. My hope at Pride is, always, to spread the message that God does not reject or condemn, no matter what humans/organizations may say--and that, in fact, those rejected by human organizations may have the greatest gifts God offers.

    I have banana-blueberry smoothies to offer--and later, it will be bratwursts for dinner...

  16. Hi Rainbow Pastor -- can I take an order for those brats? they sound yummy!

  17. Serving up some fair trade coffee over here! My "liberal elite" self (so named by my lovely bf who has had to help me process all of my continuing culture shock) has introduced my missions chairperson to the concept of fair trade, so we are having our first "fair trade coffee hour" tomorrow before church. Here's hoping it goes well!!

    O Pastor, your series sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

    God_Guuurll, I am basically preaching the same thing: "I have no idea what happens after we die [and, specifically, who is saved] but we do know that God is faithful." It's a mish-mash of Scriptures from Romans 9 & 11. (I'm going slightly off lectionary this week... we'll cover Romans 10 next week and then we'll be back on track!). I'm nervous about it because my congregations have a very narrow view of who is saved, and I am not sure if it's too early to start expanding that notion... (or at least introducing some questions into the certainty...)

  18. peregrinaje -- welcome! fascinating sermon stuff for tomorrow. hope you will post so we can read it.

    I think God is faithful is a great way to start a sermon where we confess we don't know everything...

    and here's to your fair trade coffee hour!

  19. Writing here - have two sermons and have not yet decided which to use. I have not preached since May so I'm feeling odd about he prep stuff. I've got to focus on one or the other soon - first service is at 5 tonight. Shall I continue the Patriarchs behaving badly that has been an unofficial theme of the summer? OR choose to look at Peter - the only one brave enough to get out of the boat? hhhhmmmm

  20. brave or impetuous, ElistiGirl? That is the question. Or is bravery at least one part being impetuous?

    I'm on Peter. Now you have got an image in my mind of twelve people walking on the water toward Jesus. hmmmm.

    Let me know how it goes.

  21. Dinner time here in Scotland. Not sure what we're having yet - not shopped properly since getting back from holiday - may have to be take away.
    The sermon is probably 3/4 done. Going in quite a different direction from that envisaged on Tuesday - trying not to focus on Peter and, instead, on what encountering God does to us.
    Need to find an ending, though.
    Perhaps over dinner, there will be inspiration.
    Here's hoping. I have a lot of prep to do for VBS which starts Monday so want to wrap this up and get to it.

  22. Good (late) morning all! Pretty slim pickin's here too. Cream of Wheat cereal with fresh berries and toast and Cranberry Marmalade Jam, and of course, lots and lots of coffee. I'm writing with a minister friend from a small town close to here and we've been playing around with the idea of "near and far" from Romans. How sometimes when we think God is far away, he is the closest and the times when we think we are "oh so holy", we've moved the farthest away. Time to get writing, I've got a wedding to attend this afternoon. I'll check in later.

  23. GG any quiche left? I often spend my sermon time elaborating on "IDK"
    Love the Dog Days idea, O Pastor.

    I've enjoyed the morning but have nothing to show for it but a few bubbles on my Mind Mapping app. Now to turn it into a sermon. Just realized that Feasting has the Kings text and it has added some inspiration to my rambling. Daughter and SIL are moving out to their own apartment this weekend so its chaos, celebration, and enjoying the last night of a full table. (for which I have no plans...)

    Fairtrade chocolate with espresso to share and I'll be making some iced green tea shortly if you'd like some. Great to be back here after a couple weeks away.

  24. yes, Welcome Back, Rev. Nancy! we're glad to have you.

    I now have a sermon, tho not ready to link yet.

    Still trying to figure out how to use the skate board in my children's sermon.....

  25. checking in with rapidly multiplying to-do lists for our vacation. We're leaving tomorrow after church, which was not my original preference. Oh well.

    Second and final week at a teensy congregation who recently lost their pastor. Trying to do some "you'll be ok" work with the gospel from last week. And connecting it with communion.

    This is my last Sunday of preaching eight supply gigs in a row this summer. I will be glad for a break, and glad when things pick up again. Such is the life.

    Diane...thinking about your skateboard...for Jesus, walking on the water was apparently no biggie. For Peter, it was something hard. Skateboarding for some people is no biggie, for me, it is nearly impossible. Then...uh...still working on a point to draw from that.

  26. checking in to further my worship prep procratination...( Hi Liz! welcome home! ) so much odd and unsettling weather and the political/economic stuff is beyond frustrating. Dreaming of swapping out the too wet for the too dry places and magic wand our Congress while I am at it... a revgal can dream can't she...? on the preacher party front going with the gospel and I have way too many potential sermon threads running through my brain. Yuck- need to pick one and stick with it! I am missing "tea and sympathy Saturday" with RevDrKate... maybe a grocery store run would help...
    bye for now

  27. Teh sermon is done. Please stop by and comment. Life after death is a tricky topic and I want to make sure not to offend.

  28. TBTG for freezers. Found some Hawaian Chicken hiding in there so just had to boil some rice. Loads to share - and its calorie friendly, made with Lilt Zero!
    No further with sermon, so going to do some VBS prep and come back to it. Loved holiday but missed hanging out with you guys!

  29. esperanza, thanks for the help! and good luck on your sermon AND godspeed on your vacation.

    I think I want to have the children get on the skateboard. though all of them may be better at it than I am.

    maybe something about doing hard things.

    and believing God will be there for us.

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  31. Just having fun messing up the link! But sermon is finished at a reasonable time this week, though I'm not sure how happy I am with it so comments would be gratefully received!
    Refreshment and getting out of the boat!

    Now to read the rest of the conversation here!

  32. h/t to Diane for "impetuous" - the sermon is now up on my place - can never remember how to link it.
    Liz - I would love that recipe - we're about to have leftover tacos for lunch here.
    GG - I always look forward to reading yours.
    Will be back later to read others as well - it's how I am preached to, dontcha know?
    mlr - prayers for you all as I stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes tight and sing "lalalala" - we'll be there soon enough and I cannot imagine...

  33. hey thanks ElastiGirl!

    I will post mine soon, and will also be around to read all of yours.

    but I need to practice and get ready for the early edition now.

  34. seems like kind of a small crowd today so far, but I'm glad that all of you showed up!

    would you like a tall glass of lemonade? (ir'a kind of hot here.)

  35. I was thinking that (small crowd) but just assumed it's because I'm in the UK and am usually here much later (and very late considering the time difference too!) so there are always loads of comments by the time I roll up :-)

  36. I think what impresses me the most about Peter is how absolutely absurd he was. It's the middle of the storm. The other disciples are afraid while still "in" the boat, and Peter dares Jesus to ask him to walk on the water. It's one thing to imagine him walking on the water on a clear day when sinking means you can quickly swim back to the surface. But he steps out of the boat in the middle of a scary storm. And why oh why would he dare the ghost-like figure to tell him to even step out?

  37. Very good questions Rev K.T. - I don't think my sermon about Peter and the boat answers any of them lol!

  38. I'd say, Diane, that how to use the skateboard is "carefully!" :-D I always remember that my orthopedist in my teen years couldn't figure out what was so appealing about skateboards that so many kids would risk repeat injuries, so he decided to try one for himself to see. Broke his ankle first time out!

    Liz, I like your idea about what the encounter with God does to us.

    As is typical for me, I have tackled yard work that's been ignored for months and scrubbed grout in the shower, all in an attempt to procrastinate. Goodness knows how I'd ever get any housework done if it weren't for sermon avoidance!

  39. I feel the sermon is unfinished where it is, but maybe that's just my need to spell everything out and connect all the dots. Perhaps I can allow the congregation to connect the dots of the sermon to their own life dots?

    Very rough draft is here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm going to let it jel a bit - my battery's almost dead anyway. I'm away from home waiting for my son to finish a hunting safety course, and doing sermonating in a local cofffee shop. So I'll be back when I have power.

  40. Praise God. Struggling with ending sermon and youth leader has just called to ask if he can update congregation on mission trip to Romania that our youth have just been involved in. (He's a last minute sort of guy - but, this week, I don't mind!) So, if he talks about that early in service, I can wind up sermon by talking about events that change us if we are open to them - like an encounter with God. Now to get this onto kindle.

  41. hi! I'm getting ready to preach the "early edition" in a few minutes. I'll post and read yours when I get back.

    In the meantime, where I am it's about time for dinner too.

    Didn't someone say something abouat brats?

    Chelley -- it is true that we get a surge sometimes in the evening, but it seems quieter than usual for during the day.

    May be a lot of the "regulars" are on vacation ??

    Anyway, it's a quality crowd :)

  42. Leftover homemade pizza here, if you'd like to help yourself. Vacation means we're cleaning out the fridge.

    Knocking out the to-do list except for the sermon. Hopefully after the little ones are in bed, I can get to it. Afraid I have way more than one sermon in there.

  43. Nice to have quite a number of hits on the blog - though I'm never quite sure if no comment is a good sign or a bad sign haha!

  44. I think I'm done for the night. Sermon is here
    I think I might extemporise with prayers - keeps me on my toes - and gives the Spirit more scope - and I may just get to bed before midnight!
    Blessings on those who have sermons and on those still working. Look forward to reading tomorrow.

  45. I've started googling for recipes to use up several cans of garbanzo beans in my pantry; I must really not want to be working on this sermon! But cleaning out the cupboard is a good thing, right? I can see the hammock my husband just put up for me out the window, and that too beckons.

    I have gotten the idea to engage the congregation a bit, asking them what odd/suprising details (beyond the big picture of the story) they notice when they look more closely at the gospel. However, this may simply be an idea that has arisen out of my desire not to have to write quite as much, so I need to examine it carefully. I'm more than halfway done and have some sense of where I'm going, so there's that at least!

    Looking forward to reading some of the already posted sermons; this is one of the wonderful ways I am fed each week :-)

  46. I've got a draft, but it's not up yet, I'll let you know when I post it. Meanwhile, my delay (caused by morning procrastination) meant a late supper so my hubby went and got Chinese! Bless that man, I shouldn't even try to do supper on Saturdays.

    best to all writers.

  47. I have no sermon mojo at all. I'm doing a decent job of reading A Storm of Swords and napping though ...

    I have a feeling I'll be a RevNightOwl tonight

  48. Diane I borrowed your image of sinking Peter. LOVED IT.
    here's the <a href=">sermon</a>. I hope it flies tomorrow. Back to my chinese food!

  49. Hi all. back after the evening edition. had a pretty good service tonight, went okay. Now we're going to have tuna sandwiches and corn on the cob.

    I'll be back to post and try to keep you guys who are still writing company....

    Kind of wish I had figured out how to use the skateboard in my sermon. there was a family who thought I might skateboard down the aisle tonight, having seen a comment from me on facebook.

  50. Vicar- when I get done with this aggrevating sermon I can get back to reading Game of Thrones! You got me started. Now I figure it will take me the rest of the year to finish the series. I do not do well as a RevNightOwl... Time to hit print and go home- after I pick up communion supplies for tomorrow.

    I love the skateboard image Diane!

  51. ok, here it is

    such as it is.

    I'll be reading yours now.

  52. Hi, y'all. I'm at kathrynzj's house, and in the morning I'll be part of a worship drama I wrote, based on this week's lectionary, for her church. No pressure!!!!! At least I'm not still writing. Right?

  53. hi Songbird! nice to hear from you! that worship drama sounds FUN!

    say 'hi' to Kathrynzj as well.

    are you one of the performers as well as the writer?

  54. Sounds fun, Songbird. Will you be willing to post it after it's done?

    I'm starting to think that a staycation sounds much better. All the packing that can be done is done. The rest will have to wait till tomorrow.

    Now, this sermon. Hopefully a little editing will fix things, then I write the prayer, and I'll be ready for tomorrow.

  55. hey! any of you writers out there need anything? Coffee? Piece of pie?

    I'm still here.

  56. Back again. Great morning with hubby and son. Some stalling this afternoon and finally some writing. Some words of wisdom from Feasting on the Word helped me move from psychological self help to Christian understanding. The final outcome of the walk on water was the recognition (at least to some degree)of Jesus as divine by the disciples - They worshiped him... In our new steps forward, we will be following advice I recently read - applying the "so that" test to whatever ministry... we undertake. We will _____ so that ______. The literal bottom line of this passage is the "so that" for this story and for any "getting out of the boat" we will do as a congregation. Typing now - well about to when I finish posting. There's spaghetti with meat sauce that Rik made for anyone who wants.

    P.S. Mystery ailment seems to be responding to antibiotic which narrows the mystery down quite a bit. Much less pain in my side:-)

  57. With one of two girls in bed, I can return to Puppy Love. Other sermons in the series will be Raising the Litter (children)with Proverbs, Dog Gone it (Am I the Parent or the Child? sandwich generation) wtih Job, and Dog Tired (old age)with Ecclesiates. Looking at the life cycle with wisdom. May the Spirit contiue to inspire.

  58. I also share as well. This is for my chidlren's message:)

  59. OK - I redid most of it and included a really cheesy pastor joke. I'm happier with the sermon now and while I'm going to let it sit a bit longer before I print, I think it will preach.

    For the new and improved version (and to read the cheesy joke!) click here.

    Now off to read your sermons. May I fortify anyone's evening sermon writing with some delicious 'kuchen' - a German Russian treat that I am quickly becoming addicted too (unfortunately for my waistline)!

  60. Say - is anyone else having trouble with the dialog box when trying to view links from the comments? for some reason, all of a sudden, I can't enlarge the comment box and the links come up really small - too small to read the blogs! Is this a blogger problem, or maybe my browser (still using Internet Explorer which did have a recent update.)

    Any ideas? I love reading everyone's sermons - I don't love the gymnastics I now have to go through to do so!

  61. Me too, Ramona. Hold CTRL while you click and it will open a new window, which you can enlarge.

    Were all my troubles fixed so easily...

    I think it's preachable. I'd love to have the energy to sit and think about how to connect it to communion. Would like to do something creative with the invitation. I may have to rely on the Spirit to make connections for me tomorrow...probably a better plan anyhow.

    I think I'm calling it quits. Good luck to the RevNightOwls. Love ya, but thankful I'm not joining you tonight!

  62. Fell asleep, awake again and now there are more sermons to read - excellent. Great to read of everyone's insights and reflections. (And thankyou for the comment Diane) :-)

  63. Earlier the comment box was giving me fits when it was a "pop-up" box.

    The sermon is going to be okay and is not taking forever.

    Prayers would be printed other than the fact that the ink ran out.

  64. Thanks esperanza - that did the trick!

  65. Hello-- if anyone's still up and writing, I have a lovely polenta strata for you, decorated with slices of our first heirloom tomatoes of the year.

    I'm preaching at SongBird's church tomorrow--no pressure there! I just finished my children's message and am headed to bed soon myself. (Hello, Kathrynzj, and break a leg, SongBird!)

    All the comments about dog-themed sermons are funny, considering that next week's lectionary passage is, well, the "mother" of all biblical dog stories.

  66. Stick a fork in me, I'm done! Typed and printed along with bulletin originals. Love the dog days of summer series. Will be tucking that info away in sermons to be notebook. Prayers for all who are still working and for all of us standing before God and congregations tomorrow.

  67. Strata, kuchen, pie...may I have some of each? Virtually no calories ;-)

    I love the dog days theme!

    I need one or two more sentences to round it off; why are those always some of the hardest?

    Ramona, off to read your cheesy pastor joke and a sermon I'm sure will be excellent.

  68. everyone, I am going to bed. MaineCelt, thanks for the polenta strata. You are all in good hands.

    thanks for joining me today.

  69. and oh yes, thanks for the tip on pressing control for the link. this will certainly assist me in my sermon reading...

  70. ....and will get us past 70 comments.

    sweet dreams!

  71. Hope everyone is doing okay. I am waiting on the communion bread to be done (10 minutes) and then I am off to bed. Do not preach tomorrow due to having had VBS. I am exhausted and in spite of a 2 hour nap today, I am ready to sleep again.
    I have KK doughnuts that I bought from one of my youth for band fundraiser.
    It would be nice if they were all gone by morning (hint, hint). Blessings to all who preach, teach, and in all ways proclaim The Word tomorrow(in a few hours!).

  72. I'll grab one of those donuts (any one have some milk to go with them?) and then it's off to bed for me, too. Earlier than usual, which is nice. Blessings on all who labor late or early, and on the Word we all proclaim.

  73. good morning. just wanted to put on the coffee and send God's blessings on your words today.

    remember, the Holy Spirit has your back!


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