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Friday, December 07, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Advent 2, Divine Providence


The second Sunday of Advent is upon us. The dark night of winter, in this northern hemisphere region, is ripe, preparing to give birth to new life. Elsewhere folks are basking in the warm summer sun, managing the heat....
 
God's divine providence comes into the world anew, over and over. Sometimes providence is gentle, we might miss if we aren't looking. Often providence comes in stages, a little at a time. Occasionally providence knocks us upside the head, like I coulda had a V-8? Perhaps you are preaching on Philippians and considering God's presence? Perhaps you are wondering about God shining through the challenges of life? 

Maybe you are pondering the reading from Luke and the message of John the Baptist crying in the wilderness? A message which can be challenging and abrupt? And, yet, a message of love and transformation?

Or are you working with Malachi or the Psalm or perhaps the Canticle? Are you thinking about God's providence? Or are you working with another theme, perhaps and Advent idea like waiting or anticipation? 

Regardless, this is the preacher party, and we are here to party with you through this day. We will pray and share ideas, talk about food and beverages (and share them virtually). We'll share our worries and concerns and sorrows, too. This party is for every one. Welcome! Pull up a chair, what can I get you? Coffee or tea? Something sweet or substantial? I'm here all day, let's party!

149 comments:

  1. Baruch, Guadalupe and the Hallowing of God. Way out on a limb with this one. Am preaching a little sermon to a smells and bells crowd. Kind of scary. But here it is. Will bring coffee and croissants to the party and maybe even get a chance to bake some muffins. My little homily Looking forward to reading your sermons and to checking in tomorrow. House guests arrive mid day. Need to get the roses and the chocolate for Guadalupe's feast before their plane descends.

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  2. Hey there Gals - trying to be a tuesday sermon writer with mixed success. have a rough draft and will be back tomorrow, but wanted to say have a great day everyone.

    Just heard this sweet quote in a show I saw tonite that I thought might be good for you: "Hope no more defies gravity than a flower does. It just grows, and gravity can't hold it down."

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    1. Great quote - thanks for sharing. And good job on having a rough draft!!

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    2. Jennifer, that is wonderful quote! Thank you for sharing it....and the inspiration of a Tuesday sermon. Alas my Tuesday's are even busier than Sundays....sigh

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    3. JJ, that is such a noble aspiration! And a great quote, thanks.

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  3. almost time for Saturday night dinner, left over fish and chips from last night, and some vegies also need using up.
    Just had a phone call from the husband of the person doing the children's talk tomorrow, and she is ill - so another thing to prepare - any ideas on peace?
    I am looking at Zechariah, and peace. At the moment it looks like it will be a few snippets, rather than a sermon, and somewhere in it, a group will sing " You bring peace but not as the world gives" and people will write on stars - something about peace - and place around the manger.

    at least the Hard to Be Merry service for tomorrow afternoon is ready.

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    1. couple of ideas Pearl,
      If your children are familiar with the "peace be with you' greeting you could explore with them why we want to greet one another in this way. I had some success once sharing with the children the kinds of phrases they might be familiar with such as 'will you leave me in peace!' 'this is a peaceful place' etc and concluding that peace is when we are sufficiently quiet within ourselves to remember that God loves us. Or, with older children you could explore the complexities of shalom, and teach them Salam and Shalom as alternative words for peace. RevR

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    2. I am afraid I don't have ideas for a children's moment, but I would love to hear more about your "Hard to be Merry" service. Is there an order of worship that you would be willing to share?

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    3. Good idea for the Children's Time - thanks for helping Pearl out (and us, too!).

      And, yes, I imagine the Hard to be Merry might be like a "Blue Christmas" or a Longest Night service?

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    4. I, too, am curious about that "Hard to be Merry" service. Sounds like one I'd like to attend.

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    5. pearl, you inspired me to narrow down my wide net of ideas to focus on Zechariah. Thank you!

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    6. Hard to Be Merry is like a Blue Christmas or Longest night service. I am happy to share, if you leave a your email here or at REvGals facebook, I will email it to you. there are bits in it form a variety of places.

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    7. If your emphasis on peace is in the form of blessing, I heard an idea I hope to try one day. A pastor taught the children in her congregation about blessing, and each week when she moves into the congregation to offer the bread and wine to those who cannot navigate their way to the front, the children accompany her and lay their hands on the (usually elderly) person receiving communion. The children feel important as they bless silently, and the recipient loves the connection to the children. It sounds like it could be a powerful mutual ministry across generations. ~Anne

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  4. 2:30a here, and I can't sleep. This is the second time recently where I've had trouble sleeping (that's usually not my issue at all), and both times seemed to be at least partly related to sermon stress. Argh! We have a funeral in the morning so I tried to get the jump on things today. I have a page written, which is great, but I'm feeling very conflicted about this text. I feel like there are so many possible ways to work with it, and every time I think I know which one I'm taking, I feel more compelled by another.

    Anyway. Just drank a cup of Sleepytime Extra tea and am going to try sleep again. Will be up in a very few hours and back at it again. I'll see you all then, and I'll come bearing gingerbread cookies!

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    1. Earthchick, alas, for women of a certain age (30's and 40's) insomnia becomes part of life - it's part of our changing reality. I had it frequently and finally had to resign myself to the fact that it seemed related to stress (and probably was on one level) but other physiological factors were at play, too. sigh. I hope sleep and rest found you.

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    2. Thanks, friends! I was able finally to get back to sleep not too long after writing. And yes, I think you are right about the age thing - I have wondered if hormones are part of what's going on. I had insomnia issues as a teenager, but not since then, and it's always felt like such a gift, to be able to slide into sleep as soon as I turned the light out. So frustrating to be exhausted and not to be able to sleep!

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    3. hormones, indeed. sigh. It does go away, however...eventually. Glad you got some sleep, even though it messed with your schedule by sleeping later than usual...

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    4. Earthchick, I hope you are able to catch a few winks of sleep after the funeral and before you settle into sermon writing. Terri is right--the insomnia passes.

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    5. Thanks, Alli. I'm never able to settle down enough on sermon prep day to actually nap (though I have no problem on any other day doing that!), so I went the opposite route and picked up Starbuck's after the funeral. Full speed ahead!

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  5. Trying to get an early start so that I can spend most of the day with family. Going with Malachi- just not sure where yet!
    House is lovely and quiet so I'll try to get ahead and check back later.

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    1. Hi Liz, I hope you made some progress! I like the Malachi reading,...

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  6. finished. a short sermon again this week. we are also looking at some material from the Christmas Bowl* .
    a comment from a couple who are in the area for the next 12 months, is how many people are involved in leading worship in various ways. Tomorrow I ma rostered for Prayers of Intercession, and as the children's talk person is ill, I am also doing that. so not so much participation out front tomorrow.

    anyway, here is my attempt at peace


    looking forward to lookign at how you are all going tomorrow sometime.

    *The Christmas Bowl is the Christmas Appeal of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
    Act for Peace empowers communities to reduce poverty, protect refugees and prevent further conflict

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    1. Pearl, thank you for sharing your sermon. I love the idea of using cut-out stars and having everyone write on a star how they are a prophet for peace.

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    2. last week we thought about hope [a arrow shaped sticky note], this week peace [cardboard star], next week each person will get a small bell [joy], and Advent 4, a heart shaped sticky note [love]. these are all going in, or on, the timber box that gets used as a manger. [which is a munitions box, about the same size as timber fruit boxes used to be]. the idea is that Christ is born wherever hope, peace Joy and love are lived out.
      and the munitions box becoming a manger for the prince of peace reminds me of the Isaiah passage of swords into ploughshares.

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    3. Thanks Pearl, you've given my one of the missing peaces (punny!) for my sermon!

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    4. I love the imagery and the hands-on idea for pulling Advent themes together through hope, peace, joy and love. Very cool! I'll tuck that thought away for another season. :) ~Anne

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  7. Good way too early morning! Pancake breakfast at church this morning, so I have lots of unhealthy food and way too much company to offer.

    John the Baptist sermon, from his mother's POV, is up. Yesterday I picked up a small silver (not really) bowl and a scrub brush at Target for a Malachi children's sermon, so I hope some kids show up!

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    1. Robin, enjoy the pancake breakfast, and post your sermon when you have a chance and how you are going to develop the children's sermon...

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    2. Ooh, love the idea of JB from his mom's POV!

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    3. I love the idea of looking at this from Elizabeth's POV. keep that in mind for next week when we lookj at John the Baptist readings.

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  8. Just to get the emailed comments -

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  9. I am finishing up a sermon this morning and then heading to the church. Our "church ladies" are doing a fundraiser tour of tables tonight. Some of them were there yesterday pulling out their fine china and being very creative. We'll have a nice, sit-down dinner tonight and a dessert auction - meanwhile, I said I would make the dessert for the meal...not knowing I'd have a funeral this week...so after sermonizing, I must be a baking fool!

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    1. Goodness, Chilly! That does sound like a lovely evening....and I hope you are able to make a dessert in mass quantity - like some kind of bar you can cut into small pieces?

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  10. I'm up and at 'em this morning. I do not have to write a sermon, I have a lay person offering a reflection tomorrow and I will be with the children in CHildren's Worship for part of the morning. I have a rehearsal latter this morning, but otherwise I am around all day.

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  11. Okay, I slept a bit later than I should've, but felt I needed a little extra after being up until the small hours. But now I'm up and drinking coffee and ready to spend the day with John the Baptist! Well, first getting ready for a funeral. Will be back to party with y'all later today.

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    1. Well, I am glad you got some sleep. I hope the day goes well!

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  12. 8 AM...and the party is under full swing. Preaching the annunciation on Sunday (yeah...I messed with the lectionary!!). The sermon is between Mary and Elizabeth, but each are in in their respective geographical locations. I've asked another woman to help me co-preach this. We are practicing this afternoon. Sermon is here

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    1. Purple, I love shared sermons - great idea. I'll be over soon to read it. I hope you have "fun."

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    2. Purple, this is a wonderful sermon. I love the echoing. I found myself echoing along with Mary and Elizabeth. Thank you.

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    3. Thanks RevAlli...that is the effect I was hoping would be evoked.

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    4. Heading over to read- I started this morning... and realized if I had to get of teh internets or I would never finish packing my office. Done! Now I can go read sermons.

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    5. Purple- I love this! Simple language, powerful images, love the echoing so that others will hear perhaps for the first time.

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  13. I'm here much earlier than usual with my real name and newer blog! Due to my stroke in Sept we are off lectionary because we had to reschedule the Stewardship stuff. Commitment Sunday is tomorrow. The sermon is finished except for the technology piece. I'm trying to rip a clip from a DVD of Big Bang Theory that goes in the sermon. My youth guy could have it done in minutes but I haven't been able to get in touch with him and I can't remember the name of the program he told me to download. I should have done it immediately when he told me! Hopefully, I'll figure that out today. We can play the DVD but the computer is so slow that it freezes on playback so converted clips are much better. Meanwhile, I'm the narrator for the cantata and have that rehearsal this morning. There's a chance the other tech guy will be there and could help me solve my "rip the clip" problem, too. Sarah from Sarah's Space (aka Gen216 my Geocaching name that wordpress won't let me change.)

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    1. Sarah, is the program Handbrake? I know next to nothing about ripping clips but I think several people have mentioned this program to me as having that purpose. FWIW.

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    2. Earthchick I don't think that's what he mentioned. But I'm going to try it because if it does what I need I'm a happy pastor! THANK YOU! I'll let you know later ... Sarah

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    3. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of using a clip from the Big Bang theory....I have no way of showing a clip since we remain old school - no screen...but it is a great idea! I hope Earthchicks suggestion helps!

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    4. After many hours of trying to do it free I finally realized that the disc is copy protected and I needed to have a paid program. When I shelled out the money it took less than 10 minutes. And now I have the program for every other DVD I ever want to use with a really easy to use "trim" feature ... or at least that's what I'm telling myself

      Sarah

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  14. Very weird to not be preaching tomorrow - but I do need a break now and then. So far today I have exercised - using 22 minute YouTube videos by Denise Austin for a mini biitcamp workout. It was good enough! Now I have to get ready to go to the church for a rehearsal for Lessons and Carols next week. Alas it is a concert not a worship service, but it is lovely.

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  15. For some reason "rip a clip/ripping a clip" made me giggle this morning.

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    1. happy to provide humor any chance I get :) Sarah

      btw Genesis 21:6 (the source of my blog URL and geocaching name) "And Sarah said, 'God has given me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me'"

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  16. Good morning preachers....checking in as I eat my cereal and berries, then heading over to church to make an appearance at the "Holiday Boutique" put on by the church women. Not looking forward to it; the person in charge of it is the woman who yelled at me in the parish hall last week. She skipped church on Sunday and has avoided being close enough to me to have to speak as she's been working on things this week, but at some point I need to talk with her. Ugh. And the boutique has not brought out the best behavior in any of these ladies....sigh. Dare I say this place is toxic in some ways?

    Anyway, I'm loosely following David Lose's outline for a series on the Hope of Advent...using Malachi and Luke and maybe the canticle and hoping it will all come together when I sit down to write.

    back later...

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    1. Breathe! I am so sorry. Those on-going things are so toxic to the soul. Have experienced a few myself.

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    2. Oh, so sorry for the ick! I hope the event is okay, all things considered.

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    3. So sorry- I found there were generations of resentment and toxic behavior attached to long standing church craft/bake sales. The stories told to me later often made me want to laugh or weep.

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  17. Rev Dr. Mom, ugh, I hate confrontations even tho I know how very necessary they are. Via con dios!

    Tea drinkers..What's a good tea for indigestion? I have a full cup of coffee left but think I'd better change. It's probably this chair I've confined myself to this morning in the hopes of turning my loose draft into a tight sermon. ha!

    I'm probably combining too many things, basically going with a theme from Dr. Richard Carlson's Advent Preaching Perspectives, Prepare: Santa's not coming to town...(John is!) Didn't print it in bulletin that way, for children's sake I guess.

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    1. Peppermint is good for digestion. Ginger too. Yogi teas and few other brands make teas for digestion....I hope you feel better.

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  18. Good morning! I'm technically taking a mini-vacation, BUT...this was the only weekend that we could hold our Advent Open House. So yesterday was spent in a cleaning marathon, followed by a baking session. Even as we speak, I'm finishing up the baking. So there's cookies if anyone needs a sugary start - chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies and molasses cookies warm from the oven. More goodies to come later.

    Anyway, we're frantically finishing preparations. The pre-lit)tree has half a strand that went out this morning and won't light and we can't figure out why. It's a warranty replacement for the tree that did the same thing last year - we got the replacement after Christmas, so this is the first time it's even been up.

    Plus, we're under a blizzard warning, so we may have a partially lit tree, a clean house, and a bunch of food and no guests.

    Oh! I realized Thursday at midnight, I hadn't printed the bulletins or written my sermon before the mini-vacation. So, I'll be joining the evening writing bunch. Tomorrow's theme is peace, and I'm pondering being called to be prophets of peace.

    Maybe there will be enough snow that we'll cancel early and I won't have to write...is it bad to think like that?

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    1. Ramona, oh my word...so much stress. We'll be here, keeping the peace with you. And, yes, maybe you can cancel, it is NOT bad to think like that....

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    2. Ramona, we're doing the Open House for hubby's church tomorrow, too. He cleaned, I cooked. Mostly candy. BUT I'm not preaching. Blessings to you.

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  19. Hello! I've been out to church for a coffee with new members, featuring my favorite treat, and I come to you with the leftovers: hazelnut creme glazed and dark chocolate with vanilla glaze.
    Thanks to pearl's comment above, I began to narrow my focus for tomorrow, which will use the story of Zechariah's enforced silence to introduce the ways we talk to each other, particularly in church settings. Do we "talk peace" or do we need "peace talks?" As I prepare to depart, I want to lift up the things the church does well and also name the challenges in all human organizations, giving them encouragement for the coming transition. We're reading Luke 1:68-79 responsively as the Call to Worship, and the listed readings are Malachi and Philippians, but I may drop Philippians depending on where the sermon moves as I'm writing it.
    So, next on my list is start writing, but I'm sure I'll find some task of the procrastinating sort to do first. :-)

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    1. Leaving sermons are so important! Naming the challenges is a gift to them as well.

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  20. chocolate chip cookies to share. they are only pre-made from the tollhouse tub, but that's the only safe way for me to make cookies, trust me. have some..

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    1. I'm in...of course I will also take some directly from the tub as well. (not scared a little raw cookie dough)

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  21. I'm using the suggested Advent series titles from "Sundays and Seasons" - "Prepare the Royal Highway" - with construction themes each week. I have a road sign near the pulpit and in the Gathering Space. (Compliments of the city!) Week one was 'Highway Under Construction'. Tomorrow is 'G.P.S.' - God's Positioning System: Through the coming of Christ, God repositions and reorients our lives. Are we ready to follow God's new direction. Haven't started actually writing yet... it's been one of those weeks where I've been pulled in too many directions. But the ideas are simmering. Think I'll leave the "Under Construction" sign by the pulpit. Next week I have a 'detour' sign... I have fruit and nut trail mix with craisins, dark chocolate, yogart drops, lots of nuts and other dried berries. Easy to eat way too much alone, so please help yourself!

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    1. Faith Lutheran Youth (FLY!) is a blog I started last summer for our youth trip. I hope to start a new blog soon with reflections as the pastor. My daughter promised to help me get it set up when she is home for Christmas. She is a professional blog-writer, so she can do it in a fraction of the time it would take me! ~Anne

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    2. Love the sign post idea - really clever!

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    3. I love trail mix, that will give me some energy to get through this morning's service.
      Where do you get the Sundays and Seasons material.

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    4. Sundays and Seasons is an annual publication through the Lutheran Church (ELCA). Published by Augsburg Fortress. It follows the revised common lectionary. There is also an online edition.

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  22. I'm back from a tour that my church did for some visiting UCC conference ministers. We toured some sites where UCC money has gone to rebuild places in New Orleans after Katrina. We also drove by the homes that Brad Pitt financed in the Lower Ninth Ward! I also got to see (drive by) Fats Domino's house (where he still lives). I'm still such a tourist here!

    For the sermon, I'm going with John the Baptist -- "Pave the Way!" -- but I wish that I had used the title "There's No Such Thing as a Humble Bulldozer"! Paving the way -- as this congregation probably knows from all that reconstruction -- is messy, strong, loud work! At least that's what I'm thinking . . .

    I'm also thinking I need a nap after the red beans and rice lunch our church served, and the ice cream!

    Thanks for hosting today, Terri!

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    1. "There is no such thing as a humble bulldozer!" Hope you are using that line. It's great--and important, come to think of it.

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    2. Dang, I need to save that idea "No such thing as a humbe bulldozer!"

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    3. Love the alternate title! Hope you are getting your nap.

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  23. I'm back. So my time at the holiday boutique went ok--I even had a pleasant exchange with the person from last week...but that doesn't remove the need to talk about what happened last week. In fact, she is a bully and that is not okay.

    A few errands in between (of course) took longer than expected, along with some conversations with my daughter about Christmas gifts...and now I need to write!! I miss the Saturdays when I used to get up and just write without having to go out of the house. Seems like a long time since I've had one!

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    1. I've been thinking the same thing - longing to just stay in the house and write....it has been ages! But I am glad that the boutique went okay and no attitude, today at least.

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  24. I am making good progress (I *think*), and have realized that the many pieces that have been floating around in my head might actually fit together after all. Or at least most of them. I think I'm about halfway done and am going to take a little break to go on a run before it gets dark (oh, these early sunsets just make me sad! they make me yearn for the light!).

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    1. I actually like the short days this time of year...seems fitting somehow...but I despair of finding time to run!

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    2. I like the short days of this time of year, too!...and, not being a runner, there are no consquences...(and I'm a morning exerciser, anyway)....hope you both got your exercise in today!

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    3. My problem is that I'm an early morning exerciser, too, but I don't like to run in the dark (have almost been hit by cars twice in broad daylight, so hate to take my chances in the dark!), so in the winter I have to move my runs to the late afternoon/early evening, which means there is less of a chance of them actually happening, since I can't count on not having other things on my schedule then.

      OTOH, short days and cold nights provide perfect atmosphere for knitting!

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    4. Cold and rainy yesterday and today, so no running for me :( I think I may have to join a gym as much as I hate the thought.

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  25. RDM, I hear you. Of all the churches I've served, this one has required the most Saturday "face time." I have trouble coming back from a full morning and buckling down. Thus far I've typed in the bullet points of my thoughts, but haven't done any actual writing. Middle child called from college with an existential and practical crisis ($$$), and now younger child is home in between singing at two Nutcracker performances, so I really need to turn my attention to dinner. I think it's also possible that I'm having trouble finishing things because, well, I'm almost finished at this call. That good "goodbye" isn't easy.

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    1. Oh yes... thinking of you Martha as your finals weeks count down.

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    2. Good-byes are always hard and leaving well is a challenge...so much on your plate Martha, thinking of you in this time of transition.

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  26. Earthchick, I am pondering your discipline to get out for a run. I just presented the idea of a fitness challenge for our entire staff; with the "church side" in a friendly competition to the 'day care side'. There is a readiness for it. We're pacing a walking track within the building, and starting a zumba class.

    I just returned from a holiday open house at a member's home. Time to buckle down to sermonating. I'm just brewing another pot of coffee. Fresh grounds and I added cinnamon. Anyone?

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    1. Love the fitness challenge! Very cool. And I'll take some coffee!

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  27. Faith Lutheran Youth, too late in the day for me for coffee - but oh, yes, I do want a cup. yum.

    I totally understand all the struggles here today with sermon writing after a full day of work. I am tired...but also really grateful that I don't have to write a sermon for tomorrow. A rare occasion for me.....

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  28. Feels more than a bit weird to not be working on a sermon today... This week was lots of pastoral care (walking a couple through planning for a divorce announcement, preaching for the community hospice holiday event, lots of drops ins to say good by and 2 days at Shriners Hospital out of town with a 10 year old and her family) and clearing out my office packing out my office. I hit the wall of Friday - so exhausted I could not think. Wonderful husband and another friend came in today to help me pack and move heavy stuff. Now that this part is finally done, I hope that I will finally be able to get some sleep. Praying for all my preaching pals. Blessed Advent

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    1. ((Celeste)) - I hear you! Prayers for you.

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    2. Sounds like a very full week, Celeste. I hope you can get some much-needed rest now.

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  29. I think I'm almost there. Relying heavily on Working Preacher. Not much in the way of illustration but then the readings have so much imagery, don't they? Looks as if I might even get finished up by midnight this week- and it's been a long time since that happened.

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    1. Yes, Liz the readings are ripe with imagery! And, I do so hope you are finished before midnight!

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  30. finally printed something that I think is ok. Will look at it in the morning. I am talking about peace and referring to the troubles in the Holy Land. Might be too political and perhaps not personal enough. Hopefully I will be able to tell better with fresh eyes in the morning.
    Good night

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    1. Blessings Tanya on your rest. I am sure the sermon will be just your people need to hear.

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  31. Hello everyone, sounds like sermons are starting to come together here and there around the world.

    I ended up doing The Visit That Ate My Saturday and am just now settling down to write. I have a couple of sad congregational things to address in the sermon--and trying to balance that with John the Baptist and the good news that nothing we throw in God's way can keep God from finding us. Or something about how maybe our job is to prepare the way (and not to fix everything). Maybe putting Zechariah and his song in conversation with John somehow. Or something about being called into the wilderness like John.

    Yikes. As you can see, I have too many sermons in my head and not enough clarity to just pick one and start writing.

    Well--I have turkey and stars soup simmering on the stove (enough for all!) and a cranberry bliss bar to snack on until it's ready. Time to dive in.

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    1. Oh Semfem, I hope you are able to rest and that the words you need come easily. I certainly sounds like you have a wilderness experience going on. If I remember correctly RevAlli had some things to say about wilderness, even though she is focusing on Guatelupe....

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  32. Despite taking time to facetime with my granddaughters (so glad their dad finally got an iPhone!) I have a draft which I shall let sit while I have some dinner. I was taken by David Lose's commentary on the way Luke's narrative highlights the insignificant nature of John and Jesus in the grand sweep of history but their ministry remains long after we've forgotten Tiberius et al...and God continues to work through the insignificant. So that's where I went. Hope it still makes sense when I reread it.

    I hear fireworks going off outside...have no idea why.

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    1. RDM - I didn't read Lose's take on the readings this week, but it sounds like he has an engaging take on the reading. I trust that the sermon will make sense and be fabulous. Fireworks? interesting....a wedding?

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  33. David Lose spoke to me too this week. here is what I have. Hope it still looks OK in the morning. Thanks, Terri for hosting today. Tomorrow, we have a community carol service with the Salvation Army as well as morning service so I still have a meditation to prepare for that. I think I' ll look at Christmas ads that influence us. But, enough for tonight. Blessings RevGals and thanks for community.

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    1. Goodness, liz...you have a lot going on. I hope you rest well and are refreshed for tomorrow.

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  34. Garrison Keillor is talking about Pastor Liz's visits with the shut-ins. If you haven't heard the News from Lake Wobegon lately, he has amazing insight into clergy life and even clergywoman life.
    (Which is to say, I'm not writing at the moment.)

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  35. Also, I'm making coffee, at this hour, which has to be a very bad sign. I think I have to write my remaining sermons (four more after tomorrow, because there are two very different services on Christmas Eve) in advance. I was in just this kind of uncomfortable stall last Saturday. It came together in the end, but I had a terrible time making myself *start.*

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    1. Coffee, oh that is serious, Martha! I would not sleep if I had coffee this time of night. But, it really sounds tempting! I too have a write my sermons ahead of time, but for a different reason - my kids will be here BEFORE CHristmas, during my busiest time, and then leaving Christmas Eve. So I have to be ready so I can chill and enjoy them. sigh...I hope your's all come together easily. (And, mine, too..)

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    2. Oh, Martha, I'm with Terri - coffee at this hour does indicate seriousness! Oof.

      I'll be thinking of both of you as you write ahead - that's so hard to do!

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    3. Martha, Isn't that how it is? The longer you stare at that blasted blinking cursor the more it blinks at you. Kind of like the kid at the end of the diving board who has already jumped but has to gather courage again. Sometimes the closer I get to Sunday morning the harder it is to start typing.

      Terri, I have a very similar schedule! School doesn't let out until the Friday before Christmas. And the girls leave for Christmas with their dad on Christmas morning (their flight leaves at 8:30 am). So there's no time for me to travel with them to my sister's like usual. So everyone is coming here! I started working on 12/23 and 12/24 as soon as I heard that because there's no way I would have any motivation to do anything with my niece (9 yo) and nephew (5 yo) here if I don't have to. My sister & mom are going to her house the morning of 12/24 so Mom will be with them for Christmas morning. Sarah

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  36. Well, in an unexpected turn-of-events, I find that I'm actually done-ish. Still have church work to do, of course, but at least I can let the sermon piece go for now.

    The hubs got me some chocolate dipped macaroons and I'm happy to share!

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    1. chocolate dipped macaroons....I'll be right over!

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    2. Oh, and yay for the sermon.... :-)

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    3. I don't know which is making me happier tonight - early finish on sermon or coconut macaroons! :)

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  37. Open House is over and cleaned up - there's lot's of buffalo chicken dip and chips and other munchies left to share. And I indulged myself and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with my sweetie. It's as much fun to watch him laugh at the pratfalls as it is to watch the movie!

    But that means I still have no sermon. Time to get started, especially since at this point the blizzard we were warned about all day appears to be a bit anemic.

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    1. Seriously, no blizzard? goodness...I hope your sermon pours out of you! easy-peasy.

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  38. This is totally random, but I think it every time I come to our page - I LOVE our new logo. It's so happy-making. I know that it's feet, but my eyes always read it first as a starfish. I love it both as feet and starfish. Kudos all over again to those responsible for creating it.

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    1. I thought it was an ocotpus!! thank you for clarifying it is feet...and indeed it is!
      Kind of like our faith, sometimes our eyes need adjusting to see Jesus, because they just can't see that he is really there.

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  39. Earthchick, for a while I thought it was a starfish, before I finally realised it was feet.

    morning service is over, and I leave in an hour to get the church ready for the afternoon Hard to Be Merry service [like Blue Christmas, can't call it longest night, because here the nights are shorter]
    I am preaching the Luke 3 passage from this week and next week, next Sunday, so I will be checking this out again next week for ideas. :)

    for those still working on sermons, hope they come together quickly for you.

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    1. Morning, Pearl! I'm about to go to bed....lol...hoping your day goes well.

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  40. I had not realized the logo was feet until you pointed it out! Silly me.
    My sermon is done. Glad to hear others' proclamations are coming together as well. I just drank several cups of coffee, thinking my sermon would be a few hours yet in the making. It came together remarkably fast - which is rare. And wonderful. Best wishes to you, Martha! I hope you are surprised with delight as well. Think I'll have a glass of wine now. ~Anne

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    1. I'm sure it was the coffee that pulled the sermon together...lol! Anyway, glad it is done.

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  41. Oh my gosh! It IS feet. I also thought it was a starfish, or at least a really cool star motiff! I do love the logo!

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  42. Faith Lutheran Youth, can I join you in that glass of wine if my sermon is not done yet?

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  43. Absolutely! Maybe it'll grease the skids. Merlot or Chardonnay? I can pour really fast because I've had to much coffee! :)

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    1. You made me laugh, pouring really fast because of so much coffee...funny.

      And, yes! Every once in awhile a glass of wine be a muse...other times it just makes me sleepy (only then I can't sleep, because I never sleep on Saturday night).

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    2. Merlot please! Maybe it will help - think anyone will notice I have a beginning and and ending, but no middle?

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  44. I totally did not know it was feet. And now it's so obvious!

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  45. Bringing open house goodies for an early taste! Peanut brittle, pecan chocolate toffee, gingerbread cookies, fudge. If you insist, we'll also have veggies, cheese/crackers, and nuts. We always have lots of leftovers, so I'm happy to share them with y'all tonight.

    Thankfully, I'm not preaching tomorrow. I will be skipping Sunday School to prepare a bit more, while my "helpers" are occupied.

    Blessings to those still writing, and fretting.

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  46. Well....it is coming up on my bed time...even past time for a Saturday night...so, night friends! Sleep well. I will hold you in my prayers tonight as you continue to prepare and try to rest....and tomorrow as you break open the word!

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  47. By the way, my sermon on John the Baptist became, "John the Bulldozer"... clearing the way, making the path straight... Too bad I'm not doing a children's sermon tomorrow. That'd be a no-brainer.

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    1. I totally love "John the Bulldozer"!

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  48. Hi! I'm here! I'm bright! And shining! Because that's what 9 p.m. coffee will do to you!!!
    In other news, I have a solid draft. I looked back to six years ago and over-wrote a sermon with big additions (quite similar to what I did last week with another old sermon, actually). I used to use a lot more words to say things. :-)
    Anyway, thanks to the virtual hand-holding of kathrynzj, it's preachable. I'm going to blog it, because seeing it in a different box often helps me refine it. (Refine, get it? Huh? Huh?)

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  49. Y'all are cracking me up over the logo

    I have everything that has to be done for tomorrow completed except for the lesson I'm supposed to teach for Sunday School. Of course, it's at church and I forgot to look at it or bring it home all 3 times I was there today. I'm not going back now. I'll just have to deal with it in the morning. Night y'all.

    Sarah

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    1. Yes, they are feet, a nod to some of our early gatherings where people who blogged with pseudonyms did not want to be identifiable, so we took pictures of our feet!

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  50. Wow, did everyone go to bed? Here's my offering for tomorrow: Peace Talks. Blessings to all, waking or sleeping.

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  51. I'm still here, full of turkey soup and sleepy, even though I have been drinking coffee all evening. Ugh. I think I finally decided which sermon to write, but I'm having trouble getting the ball rolling.

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  52. I'm just showing up, but for once I'm showing up with everything done. Before you get too excited, I'm done because I'm not really preaching. With a team I've done a big re-design of worship and our worship space just for one service. Instead of preaching I've got a little small group Bible study planned which I had to have ready earlier in the week to give to the leaders of each small group.

    Everything is done now, so I'm trying to make myself go to bed. We'll see how well I sleep. Typically not well is the answer when I have everything done already. It's ridiculous.

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  53. I'm still up - wide awake from too much coffee too late in the day and nothing preachable yet. I do have 3 stories and about 1000, but nothing that connects.

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  54. Our children are bringing the Word through the Children's Program tomorrow so I am not preaching. Thinking of you all, even so. Have a blessed Second Sunday in Advent.

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  55. Hi - just sticking my head around the corner to say hi. Who's still up? I have some un-connected ideas, 500 words and an hour left to work before I have to get some sleep.

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    1. I guess calling it a rough draft as I did earlier in this thread was a bit...ambitious...

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  56. I think maybe I better call it quits for the night. I'm not getting anywhere. Maybe a few hours of sleep will clear my mind - if I can sleep knowing my sermon is unfinished.

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  57. Okay. Just woke up. Got to get this together.

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  58. It's not great, but it's 1320 words and it's DONE. Whew.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day. (and lots of coffee to those of us who need it!)

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  59. Good Morning preacher friends! Ramona, I hope your sermon comes to you. I find that it always helps to just preach on the theme of the season and connect that to your stories with a just a hat tip to the readings -

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    1. Or do a teaching sermon on one of the texts....but regardless of where you to with this sermon I hope it comes together for you - and every one else!

      I also find it is really challenging to do too much on Saturday and then switch gears to write a sermon...my head just gets too full.

      Holding each of you in my prayers to day.

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