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Saturday, January 14, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Fearfully and Wonderfully Edition

Hello, Preachers!

Are you ready to write?

What's your text for tomorrow? We have an array of options, all of which find God all up in our business, waking Samuel in the night, declaring things that astound Nathanael and just generally knowing every darn thing there is to know about every single one of us.

(And about that other passage, well, if you're preaching about, ahem, members, I'd like to hear about it in the comments.)

Wherever you're headed, we're all in this together. Join us and have some coffee; I promise to keep it coming. Share something good from your house, too. This table is big enough for all!


  1. I keep waiting to see what other people are going to write in their comments! It's Saturday afternoon here, 4:30pm, and I've got the middle of a sermon but its not very good and so I'm at that listless stage, lacking energy and enthusiasm but knowing that there's more work to be done if it's going to hang together in the morning.

    I think I'm going to talk about religious experience - how a high percentage of the population have religious experiences but a low percentage ever talk about them and the importance of Eli figures, who help us pay attention to those experiences so that we can discern the voice of God. Which I'm also attempting to connect to the Gospel and Philip and Nathaniel.

    There are really good stuffed bell peppers at our place (rice and pine nuts and lemon zest etc) leftover from a dinner party last night - it's probably a little early in the day for most of you to be wanting dinner however!

  2. Hello friends,

    Thank you for your support last week. I wanted to let you know the vote last week was a resounding YES!

    I have accepted the call and I start my new settled pastorate in the beginning of March. TBTG.

    I look forward to becoming a regular again at the preacher party.

  3. Awesome news God_Guurrlll! Rejoicing with you and the congregation that will experience your ministry

  4. Awesome news God_Guurrlll! Rejoicing with you and the congregation that will experience your ministry

  5. G_G, blessings to you and to the congregation!!! And best wishes in the moving process, I hope it all goes smoothly.
    I'm here, and oatmeal is cooking, and I had one direction for my sermon yesterday, but I may go in another direction today. Or try a little of both and see which one has more life. We have a couple of extras in the service tomorrow, one of which is unpredictable in length (and after the sermon), so I want to be mindful and not go on indefinitely. Of course, we finished early last week at our intergenerational service, so maybe I'll get credit for that. :-)
    Coffee, Emergen-C, Mucinex, Robitussion are all on the table, too, because I'm battling a little throat situation. Wish I could just be silent today, but I'm having coffee with potential new members at 9.

  6. Good morning all!

    I am working with Psalm 139 - all of it - as last Sunday was ordination/installation of Deacons and Elders and therefore Samuel and Nathanael.

    I am a good part of the way on it, but that is mainly because I have other responsibilities that I need to work on today as well.

    The Boy's bball game is at 11 that gives me three hours from now to finish this thing.

    I have these delightful lightly glazed croissants to add to the mix - no nutritional value whatsoever, but your mouth will be thankful!

  7. Good Morning. It is cold here in SE Michigan. I'm sitting in the recliner, a fire in the fireplace, light snow falling outside. I have a lot of writing to do today: sermon, blessing and dismimssal for the Interfaith MLK service tomorrow, end of the year reports on the areas of my oversight, and a newsletter article - ALL due tomorrow. I have given each of them a lot of thought this week - so hopefully writing them will not be too difficult.

    For the sermon - I have just finished reading book one of the Hunger Games...and wondering if Katniss response to replace her sister as the Tribute in the game - the "Here I am,take me" might be a way into Samuel, connecting it to MLK, and the call God issues all of us to work for justice. I saw something on Facebook this week that said "Justice is God's Love" (or something like that...)

  8. Hi all! I am working with 1 Samuel, encouraging my congregation to say "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening," and really believe that God is calling us. They are discouraged, seeing scarcity instead of abundance. It's a time of transition in my congregation (and for me as well) and since Samuel also was called in a time of transition, it seemed like a good choice in a week where there are many good choices...

    also, cleaning the kitchen and getting ready for post-Christmas visit of my stepson and his girlfriend. which means I'll be cooking as well. (I'm going to make Tortellini soup.)

    and preaching at 5:00.

    I want to say Congratulations!!! to G_G on her new call! so happy for you.

  9. Congratulations G_G!

    A few in the congregation have heard bits and pieces of my call story so tomorrow I am sharing that as a significant portion of the sermon. We have these bar-type stools, which the singers do not use, and I think I'll play around to see if moving out of the pulpit would be a possibility.

    The invitation at the end of the service is a litany which includes MLK, Rosa Parks, etc.

    At our scripture reflections on Wednesday we read the entire 139th psalm and the direction of conversation lilted toward violence in the OT.

    Anybody have some good references/resources on how help people wrestle with violence in the OT. Brueggemann helps but hoping for a more overall approach and not a specific text/book of the bible approach.

  10. Purple,
    I hold my breath any time we do a read through the Bible activity because I had someone leave the church after reading bloodshed scene after bloodshed scene in the OT.

    Since then I have tried to lift up that we should always be wary of histories of war written by the victors. It is a tough place to try to push people out of their literalism (Even those who think they don't take the Bible literally).

    As for the stool idea, that worked really well here the couple of times I have used it and we are a very traditional, preach-from-the-pulpit kind of church.

    My sermon is preachable, but needs another read through and polish (at LEAST one more).

    Anyone ready for more coffee or fruit or coffee cake? (Songbird is at a church event this morning)

  11. Good morning, preachers!

    Congratulations, G_G!! and best wishes with the move!

    I LOVE psalm 139--it's one of my favorites, but I think I'm going with some version of being called. Like Diane, my congregation struggles with feelings of scarcity (even when there is none) and even more with lack of vision. We'll see where the Spirit calls me ...

    Cereal, kefir and blueberries here for yourselves!

    It's cold here, and I'm thinking of a fire in the fireplace, too.

  12. Sitting in my presbytery meeting, but my cruise ship is still rolling. My husband and I went on a cruise last week which prevents me from coming on the BE trip, but it was good for us. We disembarked Thursday morning, but I'm still rolling!

    I completed my bulletin about 2 weeks ago and will be preaching on John, but I had no temptation to work on any of it while I was gone. Good for me, but sort of bad for me. I've got a general idea of where I will head, but nothing specific. My Lutheran colleague with whom I shared Christmas season worship services used the phrase "God is on the loose" a few times in his leadership. I'm using that as my guiding theme for all of Epiphany. God is on the loose and doing great things is where I am going this week. I'll deal with the calling of disciples with Mark's version tomorrow. Not sure exactly where I will go specifically, but something about keeping our eyes open for all the ways God is doing great things in our own lives and our life together, and maybe something about what kind of attitude we need to assume to recognize those great things. Not sure. It's going to be a late writing night for SURE.

    Congratulations, G_G!!!! Prayers for you!

  13. Thanks kzj. Your second paragraph sums it up well. I reminded them of context, context, context...but some are still quite enamored with a narrow reading of the text.

    I'll let you know how the bar-stool thing goes.

  14. She/Rev, I too have walked off of a cruise ship and practically rolled my luggage into a Presbytery meeting. It is disconcerting for many, many reasons.

    I also have issues with post-cruise ship rolling.

    I'm walking away from this sermon for awhile. I have an elementary school gym basketball chaos/game to attend. Not sure if I think will go to the office to work on something else or come back home with The Boy.

    We shall see.

    Good luck all!

  15. Congratulations, G_G! Best wishes for your new call.

    My sermon has evolved to a gentle warning against believing that nothing good can come from ... Nazareth, the black southern church, Islam, professional sports, a failed judge, our tiny church, national politics, etc.

  16. GG, many blessings on you and the congregation as you move into your new ministry!

    I am doing service sermon; I have a bunch of scattered tiny dots of ideas, and not a one of them is calling out "pick me!" or in any other way stimulating my interest. We will use the gospel and part of the psalm, but I can do Samuel if I want to, and that seems like a no-brainier when half the congregation is young children. OTOH, we have stained glass windows for both Rosa Parks and MLK, so I could do something with those. Or... Ideas welcome!

    In the meantime, I think I will get up and make some muffins with the overripe bananas on the kitchen counter. Come get one in 45 minutes,!

  17. congratulations, G_G, and every blessing!

    Is anybody taking the line, with 1st Samuel, (I hear you talkin', Suzy) that the call came to Samuel, and was facilitated and supported, for Samuel, right smack in the middle of a place/institution of worship that was corrupt, dysfunctional, wicked, pointless (need more adjectives, here), and where NEVERTHELESS the truth was spoken AND received? I'm not preaching tomorrow, I have some room to play around with the text in my mind this morning!

  18. Feeling reassured by the wondrous variety of ideas, thoughts and rambles.
    I have had A Week!!
    Two funeral- at either end of the spectrum- first a darling lady in her 100th year; and at the end of the week an 18 year old boy who died in a car crash. That has taken my energy, my resources and my inspirations!
    However, never forgetting God is Good, I have just finished a contemplation on what may have been going on in Nathanael's mind... it will work well for my early family service.
    Now I need to get inspired for the later, formal service....
    Knowing our name is known...
    Listening - and actually hearing
    holding on and living life - for it is so fragile!
    be blessed sisters!

  19. So sorry to have been absent all morning! We had a great discussion about why you might want to join a church (especially when in ours you can do anything other than be a Deacon or Trustee, or vote in a congregational meeting, without becoming an official member). I landed here: Do you feel called to affirm your baptism and to live it out in the company of this expression of the body of Christ? If so, please join. But that needs to preach next week, not this one.
    So I'm looking now at my various threads of thought around Samuel and Psalm 139 and hoping one will leap out and say, "preach me!"
    I also brought home Maple Oat Scones from our famous breakfast place in North Yarmouth. It must be time for ''levensies, yes?

  20. hi, the soup's on and I'm back, briefly. still in my pjs, but getting ready to head out to the hospital soon. husband will have to time the soup.

    I do have a preachable sermon, although I feel plagued by the lack of reference to MLK. I was really concentrating on helping the congregation to see that God is still active, speaking to them, etc. in the transition.

    I don't know if I have time to try to figure out how to add reference to MLK, although I think it would flow naturally out of the sermon.

    I'm also cogitating on a children's message which involves having a voice from heaven call to one of the children... it's all set up, but it might be too much like the adult sermon.


    ok, I'm thinking about too many things.

    I will probably have enough tortellini soup for others later in the day. It makes a big batch.

    let me know if you want some.

  21. Diane, for me the challenge with MLK Day is that some years I just don't feel called to talk about it. I'm not avoiding it. It's just not where the Spirit is leading. I feel sure he would understand that.

  22. All this discussion is interesting and helping with my procrastination.

    Out here in the Last Frontier, we're playing in the Narrative Lectionary, so we have quite a bit from Mark 4 to cover. In addition to the parables of seeds and soil, we also have the lamp on a hill and the mustard seed, as well as the OH-SO-PLEASANT phrases from Jesus: 1) "they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven" and 2) "For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away."

    Within the NL, there's a lot more on the whys than the whats. So I think I needs to talk about WHY Jesus uses parables... except that there are so many reasons. And I can't seem to escape the idea that this will be a very boring sermon unless I just say that Jesus uses parables because "We Can't Handle The Truth".

    So, basically, I've got nothing.

    With regard to OT violence, I treat it with the same respect that I treat NT household codes. It's not just about context, but about what people gained through the re-telling of the story/rules. Does their inclusion in our written word tell us more about people or about God. If it is the former, how does that speak ever more clearly to our need for God, grace, and mercy?

    I do realize, of course, that not everyone's congregations are in the same place, so conversations around this begin from many and varied locations.

    I never mention holidays, so I completely forgot about MLK. How would that relate to parables? Hmmm...

    I think I'm making spaghetti sauce later with mushrooms, green peppers, and moose or bison (depending on what's already ground in the freezer). I always make lots and we have a variety of pastas.

  23. Sermon is still peculating, but hoping to have it fully brewed before I leave for work at "my other job."
    It has been cold here and the cats and I are in snuggle mode today.

  24. I've spent my entire week with my energy and thoughts consumed by an unbloggable situation, one I'm not convinced is over yet. Thoughts about the sermon were much fewer and farther between than I wanted them to be, and so I'm left with only the vague idea I had when I picked this text 2 months ago...about how God spoke to Samuel before Samuel knew God, and he had to learn how to listen for God...there's something in there about our own spiritual lives, I think--God speaks, but have we learned to listen? or something.

    I apparently was so distracted earlier in the week that I never came up with a sermon title, so that's no help. I'm hoping something will come to me, and soon!

  25. Like 1-4 Grace, I've reached a point where my sermon can percolate for a bit. I think I'll exercise and mediatate, and come back to it in awhile.

    The snow has stopped but it is still very cold...

  26. I would rather be watching Glee and packing ... Now back to my regularly scheduled Saturday sermon writing

  27. Hi Everyone - cold here in the PNW, and we might actually get some of the snow you all have already...

    Loving this conversation about OT/violence/context, so thanks!

    I seem to be off lectionary a week - so today I am working with baptism, sermon title Whose Baptism? reflecting on the diff between being baptized by John and by Jesus. It seems a little stuffy/academic at the moment, so praying the holy spirit will blow some freshness into this idea.

    In the meantime, off to Remember a 90-something year old man. It will be good.

    If you are doing Psalm 139, I have a reading of that I put together a while back, blending the KjV, NRSV and Juniper Version that was pretty well received. MIght be too late now, but let me know if you want to see it.

    Have a great day, everyone! Be back in a couple hours,


  28. G_G -congrats and blessing on your new call!

    I just got back from running the boy to play practice - one of the disadvantes of my parish is that the school is 35 miles away, so extra activites are often an interuption. But I got some overdue thank yous written, so it wasn't a total waste.

    Both councils decided that in order to boost attendence at the annual meetings, we would shorten worship and have the meetings right after. I'm not even going to dimiss worship - just go right into the meeting. Hopefully, this move will help frame our 'business meeting' as part of what we do to participate in God's call in our lives. So I'm looking at the Samuel passage as the meeting devotion.

    I'm preaching John. Fortunately I have a sustainable sermon that I can cut down in length and it still works. Of course, that makes me wonder if my sermons are typically too verbose.

    So, I just need to tinker with the sermon a bit and write the devotion and pastor's report for the meeting. And finish up those pesky thank you notes!

  29. Ramona, I think that's a question we all have to ask ourselves sometimes. ;-)

    I gave myself a rest period, but I have got to get the thoughts narrowed down and something written.

  30. Hey ya'll, Not preaching. Probably won't even go to church. I have a nasty sinus/sore throat. But I did finally get my hotel reservations for BE.

    Samuel is always a good story--how God speaks and we dont' know who is calling. It is always a good story for children. And most of all, we are in Epipiphany. I even heard a Baptist preach on Epiphany last week on the radio. God is doing a mighty thing when southern Baptists preach from the lectionary!

    Follow your star!

  31. I decided to post the original version of Come and See. I'll be preaching a drastically shortened version of this sermon tomorrow.

    Incidentially, the first time around, I preached this sermon the day before MLK day and 2 days before Obama's inaugration. I got a comment after the sermon that "I should leave my politics out of the pulpit." My intern supervisor and I puzzled over that comment. Re-reading this sermon, I still don't see anything political or partisan. Could anyone tell me how this sermon is 'political'?

    Needless to say, I will not be referencing MLK and Obama in my SD (decidedly 'red' state) pulpit - at least not until have been here longer!

  32. I just had to say no to Girl Scout cookies...sad, sad, day but I cannot stop at just one and I am still not at my desired weight.

    Sermon: Confusion and Assurance

    Ramona, our annual meeting is next week and I am seriously thinking about weaving it and the worship service together. We'll see.

  33. Celeste, seriously.
    Purple, you are braver than I on the cookie front. The pressure to order will be high.

  34. I've been absent for a while, revgals, and I apologize for that. Advent and these first few weeks of January have been ridiculous.

    But, I am back, and after a ridiculous week where I hit 54 hours by Thursday with no stab at a sermon yet to be taken, I feel like I am desperately in need of this community to get me through this sermon writing (and finishing annual report collating) here this afternoon.

    I have no sermon ideas yet to add, but I'm thinking vaguely along the lines of calling, as it's annual report sunday and the day where we elect officers at one church and ordain them at the other.

  35. Welcome, Leanne!
    CR, I'm just now reading your comment again about God speaking to Samuel *despite* the questionable surroundings. That's helpful, thank you.

  36. Purple:
    I have that book somewhere...
    I'll go dig and see what I come up with...

  37. All Psalm 139 for me. Which leaves me with a conundrum. When preaching on a narrative bit of scripture and having few good Children's Time ideas I can always fall back on simply telling the story.

    Anyone got a good CT idea to go with the Psalm this week? I'm trying to think of something around not being alone...

  38. Ok, back from funeral and best funeral lunch EVER. Oh yes, and service was good, too.

    Ok, now thinking about baptism for the next hour. Then I have a visit and a date with a swimming pool. Go, me!

    (BTW, Already ordered by girl scout cookies. I try to get all chocolate, which I'm allergic to, then I'm not even a little bit tempted. But somehow a box of those pesky trefoils DID find their way onto the order sheet.)

  39. Hey Gord - how are you?
    RE psalm 139 CT - What if you did something about God being always with you? Depending on the age of the kids/layout of your space, you could send them running to diff parts of the sanctuary. "Is god with little Johnny way back there? How about little suzy over there"?

  40. I've got a book brought in by one of the kids about why we say "God Bless You" when people sneeze. It's not exactly Psalm 139, but I've been waiting a while to use it, and it certainly speaks to God's attention to us. In a nice way, actually.

  41. Reflecting on John and First Samuel with the idea that we areHungry for God

    anyway, it's working draft...

    I have some wonderful mint tea and dark chocolate, and it's started snowing again.

  42. Catching up on some of the comments: Teri, prayers for your unbloggable...

    Pastor Julia, thank you for your thoughts on OT/NT, well said, I think!

  43. SB: it was not a young girl I knew...they were canvassing the neighborhood.

  44. Ah, that helps. In my case it's adorable twins in my congregation.

  45. Oh, for someone to ask me to buy Girl Scout cookies! Alas, no scouts in my area (I know - hard to believe, but 4H is big here and they don't sell cookies!). But that does put temtation out of the way.

    I just finished my brief devotional opening for our annual meeting tomorrow. I posted A Prayer for the Annual Meeting - thanks everyone for the conversation this moring on Samuel and the Psalm. It really helped me figure out what I wanted to say!

  46. Ack! Help!
    What does one say in the pastor's report at an annual meeting? How is it different from the letter and listing of pastoral acts printed in the annual report? Can someone give me some advice for my first-as-the-pastor annual meeting?

    Does that fact that I can't remember what pastors have done at other annual meetings I have attended mean that it's not all that important and I don't need to sweat it?

  47. Congrats to you GG!! How exciting!

    I'm preaching mostly on Mark and Samuel tomorrow. In this season of "call" messages, I'm starting early to remind our congregation that we believe in and live within the ministry of the whole people of God. I have an upcoming four month sabbatical (right after Easter) and I'm trying to dispel some hovering anxiety re: my absence, by reminding our people that they are also called, invited and welcomed into God's ministry.

    Tomorrow is just a starting point. I'll be working with this theme for awhile. Puzzling really, this anxiety. Of all the congregations I've been involved with, this one is perhaps the most capable of carrying on their ministry without paid-accountable ministry personnel. If only they could see it!

    Blessings to all!

  48. Ramona, I take a little different approach to my pastor's letter in the annual report. I do a bit of lifting up the gifts and graces (without repeating what others have reported) and then a significant section of looking forward. It ends with some sort of invitation for people to consider embracing.

  49. I think the content of Annual Reports varies depending on both congregational and denominational expectations. I resist the pressure to make mine about numbers of any kind and try to keep it on themes and hopes. (Well, unless there's a number I like particularly...)
    I have a draft, but I'm going to let it sit through the dinner hour and come back to it a little later. We're having macaroni and cheese of the high class variety. What's on your table?

  50. Martha - high class mac and cheese sounds great! Send some my way! Otherwise it's leftovers for us tonight.

    Thanks for the feedback on the annual meeting.

  51. One of the best things we have done at our annual meeting the past few years is to show pictures from the past year. In our case, this shows on a loop while people are getting their food, so it is sort of a background kind of thing. They aren't organized in any particular way, so it is pretty easy to put together. But it sets the stage for people to be feeling positive about our community and ministries, which is always a good starting point.

    I have so wanted to avoid thinking about my sermon that I spent several hours working on many months worth of Quicken entries. That is serious procrastination!

  52. I have continued to obsess today, along a tangential track from the week's issue (but clearly related). Which means that, of course, I have nothing written. I need a way in and I suspect the rest of whatever the Spirit wants to say will come on out. But until then....mmmm, mac and cheese. unless your high class Maine mac-n-cheese involves lobster (which is apparently delicious, for those who eat it). I'm seriously considering ordering Thai food even though I can't really afford to do that. I don't know that I can afford the time to find something in my pantry and turn it into dinner--I seem to have eaten all the convenience foods and run out of the staples (no milk, no butter, no vegetables, etc). Perhaps I can be fed by the word of God, if a sermon would just come!

  53. No lobster, Teri. By high class I mean I didn't make it (there's a caterer who works out of my church kitchen, and he cooked it), and it's a cheesy bechamel sauce, and there's more than one shape of pasta in it. Delish.

  54. RE annual report--I write mine as a list of highs and lows, reminiscent of youth group sharing. I always make sure the highs outnumber the lows about 4 to 1. that way I can hit some things that happened during the year, things people may not have known about like "watching the high school girls create a ritual dance to tell the story of Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal" or "spending time praying with a team that studies and prays about our church becoming an intentionally intergenerational community." The lows always include the loss of those who die or move away.

    I suspect no one reads it, but that format at least makes it fun to compile, and I don't have to look up numbers or anything, just think about stuff that stood out during the year.

  55. oh, Martha, that sounds delicious!!

  56. Teri, prayers for you, for energy and focus in the moment and wisdom in dealing with the issues of the week.

  57. Three hours in and I have the annual reports compiled, a great idea for a children's message, and no sermon.

    But, Hey, I actually have a children's message made *before* the sermon...that's a first! ;-)

    I'm taking magic candles (the ones that won't blow out), and am going to talk about how once God lights a fire in you for service, it can't be extinguished until you allow it to complete it's work.

  58. Sermon's done; a big chunk lifted from 3 years ago with beginning and ending changed to suit my current parish context; all about God calling each of us ordinary folks.

    Our meeting is in two weeks; we're going to meet in the context of the Eucharist--begin the service through the liturgy of the word; at the point of the sermon have the business meeting and then conclude with Eucharist. My remarks will be whatever sermon there is. We've done it this way at diocesan convention and I like the way it provides the context for what we are doing. I'm hoping that context might cut down on "misbehavior" on the part of a few but we'll see. Followed by brunch. If we feed them first, some of them will just leave after they eat--learned that my first year here.

    I ordered some GS cookies from a very cute little PK :) but they are going into my freeze to be given to my kids when I see them. At least that's the plan ...

  59. Don't hate me but, since I'm not preaching tomorrow I've been sorting out hotels and excursions for BE5. The next two weeks before i leave are just jam packed and I'm feeling slightly panicky but know that will soon dissolve on the flight across the pond and I'm so jazzed about meeting up with some familiar faces - this second time around is not nearly as terrifying as the last!
    But, back to tomorrow, we're focussing on Jesus' summons to "Come and see",
    With the children, I've got some images to project - details of church furniture that they see every week, close up - a different perspective - and hoping to talk about how a fresh look can make all the difference. Hope the sermon fairy is working overtime right about now. Can offer some Lentil soup and sausage and bacon pizza for supper.

  60. After consulting with my committee, I've decided the sermon is preachable, so it's also bloggable: "Speak!"
    I'll be around to look at your sermons soon!

  61. I have something sermon-esque! yay! I might need a committee to read these things before I put them on the internet or subject a congregation to them...lucky Martha! reward myself with Thai food? Or to work out?

  62. Admittedly, that committee consists of me, myself and (this week) kathrynzj.
    Gals and Pals, your sickly hostess is going to put herself to bed. Blessings to those still working; may sleep come eventually to all.

  63. Thanks for the advice and the great ideas for the annual report. Leanne, I have to admit I am envious - only 3 hours to get the report compiled. Thanks to a totally inadequate church copier, it took me closer to 5 hours per congregation!

    Dr Rev Mom - I love the idea of the annual meeting taking the place of the sermon. Maybe we'll do that next year.

    I wish I could run a loop of pics, but we are so primitive out here - no projector, no screen of any sort and apparently no one takes pics of church events. Maybe that's where I'll start my wish list!

    The 'highs and lows' are a good idea though - I'll have to think about what those would be.

  64. need to be envious. The bulk was done earlier in the week by our fab office administrator...I just added the financials and clipped them together.

  65. I've been reading along all day, but I haven't done a thing to my non-existent sermon. I hate the first on back from vacation, but on top of tht this is (other than Christmas Eve) the first since the second Sunday in Advent, which was my ONLY since before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I'm not really in the groove, nor do I really care to be.

    A Twitter convo got me thinking about the possibility of sharing from a large chunk of MLK's I have a dream. Margaret Aymer's sermon at the presbytery meeting has me thinking about quoting more from the Birmingham jail letter. I think the dream will work better.

    I think football will distract me enough for the next couple of hours, though, that I don't need to decide quite yet. This will certainly be one of my less prepared sermons, but that's th way it goes. I have a direction and theme, so I think something will come when I'm ready to get to it.

  66. Oddly, over the last few weeks I seem to have turned into a non-transcript preacher. After a few hours back at it, all I have is an outline, but a way of speaking it aloud...
    Weird. But I'll roll with it.
    About to head into the sanctuary to practice, and then I'll check in again to let you know how it seems to have gone.

  67. Late to the party this week. Preaching on 1 Samuel 3. Sermon title: Disruptive words. Looking at how God's word disrupts Eli/Samuel, Israel, the US in light of MLK Jr. day, and the PCUSA in light of The Fellowship/splits...Ending on a note of hope, the fact that God is still speaking and we continue to hear the call as we baptize and live into those vows, as we study, and as we serve/strive for justice and seek to hear the call to what is NEXT...

    Holding all of you in prayer as you write, polish, and preach!

  68. I can second the observations about "showing pictures" during the Annual Meeting -- I had to deal with a number of parishioners who appeared ONLY at the Annual Meeting (I mean, not even Christmas and Easter), and who came with the very evident intention of disrupting proceedings and insulting as many people as possible. Sadly, they tended to set the tone. But when there was a loop of parish snapshots circulating gently, most of the attendees were so enchanted watching for their own pictures to come up, we got through the meeting in record time.
    Cynical, much?

  69. My teenage son gave me the idea that I think I will use to get into my sermon:-) I told him that I would like to make use of our Rosa Parks stained glass window, even more than the MLK one, but I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to approach the story. He suggested talking about the experience of having someone take--or try to take--something that is yours, whether it is an object, a place, or an the dignity of every human being (how convenient that I can pull that out to echo last week's baptisms). I can weave in the Rosa Parks story, point out the window, etc. and I can work in the aspect of call in the gospel by talking about those who felt called to speak out about these injustices, and where we might be called to speak up today. I can reach both little ones and adults with this, I hope!

    Now I can concentrate on figuring out what to serve the friends I invited over for dinner tomorrow night...

  70. So, has anyone ever told that son he might have a call to proclaiming the Word? Just saying.

    Guess now that the football game is over (OK it's been over for a long while) I have no excuse not to work. Giving myself an hour to get something organized, then going to bed before the late, late party.

  71. Betsy - ditto what Sherev said - very wise, that one!

    Ok, between nursing a sick kid (WHY does my son ONLY puke on Saturday nights or when my mother is visiting? Why, why, why??) and tidying and reading a part of a book I got for Christmas but haven't looked at yet.....I haven't done too much sermonizing. But these comments are helping me with the MLK part of the sermon, so thanks!

    And I have Fancy Drinks (maybe to go with Songbirds fancy pasta?) made of ginger ale and pineapple juice. It's just a crazy party over here....

    Is it wrong to pray for a snow day?

  72. Ginger ale and pineapple juice Fancy Drinks sound fabulous; I would stop by for one except that I don't want to catch what the puking kid has. There is no good timing on that, but some times are worse than others...

    There's are still a few of my banana blueberry muffins left, low fat no less, and made with oatmeal, so grab one without guilt!

  73. Juniper,
    having spent last Friday emptying my entire GI system I can appreciate. But at least it was Friday and I got spend Saturday sleeping so I could preach on Sunday. OTOH, my partner was also up doing the same thing on Friday (thank goodness we are no longer in a house with only one bathroom) so we were very happy to see the end of last weekend

  74. Sermon almost done, but this cold has the best of me. Hoping I have a little more mojo going before 11AM tomorrow. Well actually I hope I have it at 10:30 when I have to moderate a called session meeting. It is like a mini meeting with only two things to cover, but still got to do it.

  75. ooo, betsy, I'll have one of those muffins (the tummy trouble seems to have passed me by...). Will it still be low fat if I put some butter on it, I wonder?

    Gord, sorry to hear you had it too - do you also only get sick on the weekend in YOUR house?

    Ok, I'm calling it a night. Just gonna check the weather one more time - still vainly hoping for a snow day...

  76. Does anyone have a good ending to her/his John sermon??
    Mine is okay, but I need a final "Ah-ha." Or is it a "Whheeee?"
    I forget those five parts that we are to have, but it is a loop

  77. Back to turn what I have into a sermon. It's been a long time since I've played this late night/early morning game. Not pretty on this couch this morning.

  78. Lowry Loop...That's it.
    So sorry you are doing the late and early show together, Sherev.
    There is not enough concealer to cover my dark circles and I still have this yucky, stuffy nose.
    Why don't they make commercials for products with female clergy in them?
    That's all for now

  79. Prayers for all who are tired or stuffy-nosed. I am hoarse-voiced and hoping to get through worship without a coughing spasm, will be handing things off to other people where possible.
    There is Starbucks "Blond" coffee in the pot here, our new favorite. Come grab a cup on your way to church!

  80. Even I think I might grab a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I will just have to be that virtual kind since we don't even own a coffee maker in this house. Ginger tea will hopefully do something for me, though, at the very least keep the rolling ship out of my body today. It worked last night, and so far today seems to be OK, but I think I'll drink a cup to prevent the congregation from tossing and turning before my very eyes.

    I'm not where I should be at this hour, but I think the rest of my sermon is about ready to flow straight onto the screen. 20 minutes. It's what I've got, and, I think, all I need.


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