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Saturday, May 11, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Seeking Rest

I've had another one of those weeks which really means, at this point, I've had one of those months.  There's been a lot of pastoral care to do, some of which lead to two different funerals back to back.  I've been doing what I can to stay on top of caring for myself, too, but sometimes, well, you know.  Sometimes this is how it goes.  We have some of those weeks; we even have one of those months, and Sundays just keep coming.  What I want to do today is sleep like my not-so-baby-anymore, but what I have to do is find a way to make space where the Word of God can be heard in our worship tomorrow.  What I want to do is sleep....

How do you do it?  What gets you through when you're tired or your non-pastoring life presses in or you just don't think you have a sermon in you?  How do you do it when you've had one of those months?

One of the ways I do it is by coming here - - sharing the task with sisters and brothers in Christ.  I'm not afraid of the sustainable sermon either.  What do you do when the well feels dry but Sunday is coming around one more time?  I come to the party, and I'm glad to share it today with you all.  Join us in the comments.  We'd love to you have today.

97 comments:

  1. A very good question, and one I'm asking as well. It's been an intense, pastorally demanding week here; the preaching mojo tank feels at least a quart low. I'm putting steel-cut oatmeal in the crock pot for the morning, and praying that the Spirit, she remembers where I live.

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    1. Holding you in in the Spirit. Oatmeal sounds like a great way to start.

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  2. after 4 weeks off preaching, due to meetings and time in lieu - during which time I was also ill - I have a few things in mind for tomorrow, but not sure if I have the energy to 'preach it'.
    so far have written all teh liturgy and part of the sermon, unusual for me, but I look like finishing before dinner on Saturday, because I need to get to bed early, so that I am awake for morning worship.

    so far focused on Acts, mainly the first half of the reading, and thinking about freedom - found a great song on YouTube We who believe in Freedom

    and linking in teh Bangladesh building collapse. I will blog it when it is finished.

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    1. Coming back from a chunk of time not preaching can be hard enough, but coming back when you're not feeling at the top of your game is really hard. I look forward to seeing what the Spirit works through you.

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  3. in answer to the question about how do we write when stress is coming at us. Often I listen to a favourite piece of music, to settle my mind, or sit intentionally still for 10 minutes. even though it feels weird to stop and focus on anything other then the sermon when life is stressful.
    this is one of my favourite pieces to calm and focus my mind and spirit.
    you will know
    blessings for those struggling this week, and month.

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    1. This is an incredible piece. What a glorious way to start a day. Thank you!

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    2. That is a great idea. I think I will try it later tonight. I recognize the need to just sit, but I don't think my usual way of doing it - - getting sucked into old or bad TV - - is helpful. It drags on and on longer than it should, making me more and more tired. Something focused and intentional would be a good idea.

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  4. finished, just need to print, and it is only 8.30 pm. YEAH!!! looks like I will get an early night.
    Freedom from what?

    I won't be around when the party warms up, but hope to say hi befre worship in the morning.

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  5. Good morning - a cloudy day here, but it is warm enough to open the windows to hear the birds. I, too, am lacking preaching mojo this week...am hoping that HS will figure out that I've opened the windows and she can feel free to blow in at any time.

    I've also really been using "Praying in Color" recently. It has helped me to stay still in the presence of God when my natural inclination is to 'do this' and 'do that.'

    Coffee is on!

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    1. Praying in Color - - another tool I can pull back out.

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  6. Very short on sleep here. Long story that involves all three of us traveling in the next 3 days; each to a different place including my son to Taize Community in France. Meanwhile we are trying to deal with a non working car, insurance claim, moving out of the dorm, and finding a place to store stuff for 10 days while in France from different states. Bottom line, the lovely weekend home alone has turned stressful. The easy sermon based on the book Sticky Faith seems, well, more sticky than easy. Energy low, but sleep not happening. I think I will make blueberry muffins and steep some tea. Perhaps some music too. Happy to share in just a bit.

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    1. Prayers for calm amidst the chaos. How exciting for your son1

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    2. What's brown and sticky?

      A stick!

      (That and prayers for traveling mercies and a sermon is all I've got.)

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    3. Ack! End of the school year move out/move in stuff. My least favorite school year ritual as a student. I dread the day we will get there as a mom. Sounds like there is lots to anticipate in all of that, so I pray for your energy to push through to the good stuff!

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  7. good morning and prayers for you all. I am not preaching this weekend (on staff) after two weeks and a funeral, and I will have another one probably soon. But it is spring here finally.

    so I'm taking the afternoon off for spiritual play and rest and just going somewhere else with my husband may visit the nursing home before we go.

    how do I write when stress is coming at me? it's not pretty. I am not above looking through old sermons for an idea or two. sometimes I go to bed praying that when I awake there will be a glimmer of an idea in there. (sometimes it happens, even).

    getting together with friends, either in person or online, like this group, helps....

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    1. I'm glad for your "plans" for spiritual play. Enjoy your day!!

      I'm not at all afraid of the re-preach/sustainable sermon or at least just the inspiration from earlier sermons. HECK NO, I'm not afraid! :)

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  8. Good morning! I am presently repeating the benefits of having written two reflections on Ascension for Abingdon, and trying to weave them together, because I have never, ever preached it before, and I am starting a new ministry (a four month sabbatical coverage) and want to do well on this first Sunday.
    Well, every Sunday.
    kathrynzj and I are both writing, which is fun, but it's easy for me to say that because I had some ideas already, including one she gave me when I was desperately trying to write Reflection #2 (see above) on Ascension.
    We have to break for a Little League game later, but then I'll be back.
    Meanwhile, remember, every Saturday is Preacher's Day. Go look at the RevGals' swag and cheer yourselves along! Here's a link to our Cafe Press store.

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    1. Really? You've never done Ascension? I can't wait to read what you end up writing!

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    2. I don't mean that in an icky way. Sorry. I truly mean that I look forward to seeing what you do with the imagery and the story.

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  9. Good morning, everyone. And thanks, Stephanie, for offering us a place of rest and encouragement.

    I'm back in the pulpit after a two-week "vacation" which was mostly a trip to PA to pack up and move my stuff. Everything went amazingly well, and there is much to be grateful for. Still, I'm feeling a little out of whack being back.

    One thing I do when I'm having a day like this is to do some pre-writing -- a.k.a., "dumping" or, more poetically, "morning pages" -- and just write out all the stuff I'm feeling that I have no business saying aloud, sermon or otherwise. That, plus some upbeat music, often gets me in a better place.

    Of interest to us UCC preachers, this week's gospel is the UCC reason for being -- "that they may all be one" -- and I plan to emphasize that for this congregation where I'm serving as interim.

    Coffee is essential preaching prep fuel, always, and I'm filling up my cup right now!

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    1. Thanks for coming, Sharon. Glad your trip went well, and I hope you feel a little settled, at least for the day ahead, soon.

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  10. Acts for me and trying to balance not wanting to exploit the women who were found in Cleveland or the woman who was found alive after 16 days in Bangladesh, but also not quite able to ignore the timing of it all.

    Other people writing sermons in this household are typing more than me... this makes me nervous.

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    1. You have hit exactly why it just boggles my mind to imagine being married to another preacher. :) Blessings on you both!!

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  11. Good morning preachers.

    How I'm doing it this week is with a sustainable sermon on Ascension- that starts with "Beam me up, Scotty!" It definitely needs some work, but it's what I've got.

    It has been a brutal week here. I've mentioned the on-going conflict I've been dealing with and this week we had a consultant in to work with the vestry on facing up to it. The consultant was awesome, and I know the vestry has my back, but it was really really hard listening to people say how much this person dislikes me, and how much *&^% is being said out in the community, and how if I were a man she wouldn't treat me this way (duh!) I am also stunned by how much crap is brought up that I had NOTHING to do with, and yet it is pinned on me. I am grateful that the vestry seems to "get" how inappropriate all this is, and I think the consultant helped them see that they really have to say something, and empowered them to do so. We'll see.

    Meanwhile I had a phone interview with another church in another diocese...I think it went well, but it is early in the process and I am trying not to get my hopes up. too much after having my heart broken in the last search I was in.

    Sorry to hijack the preaching thread, but this is the only place I feel safe mentioning this stuff...I know the FB group is supposed to be safe, but I still worry ...

    As for the Ascension here is a link to a YouTube by Fr. Matthew using Mary Poppins to talk about Jesus' ascension..sounds silly, but there is actually some theological meat there.

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    1. you aren't hijacking - you are doing what is necessary in order to do what is necessary... it's what we do
      blessings on you with all of the needless stuff you are having to hold.... and blessings on that future glimmer - remember - She has your back - and we are all bombarding her with prayers. Seems to me that many of us are under extra pressure and strain just now - praise God we have each other x

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    2. Not hijacking at all. This space is whatever you need it to be. Holding you in prayer for sure.

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    3. It's hard to be in that situation. It does hurt, and it amazes me how people think we're not vulnerable to that kind of stuff. Prayers.,.

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  12. although we are reeading Acts, to acknowledge Ascension, it is also the first infant baptism since I arrived here some 27 months ago - and my first since baptising our beloved Aila in hopsital just weeks before she died (nervous? moi?!)
    So I am preaching on the theme of one church one baptism/ and how we each are fearfully and wonderfully made - each unique (borrowing from the wondrous message posted on the FB page earlier this week)
    the sermon is done - but doesn't feel right
    so I am sucking mint humbugs and pondering
    and fighting an energy sapping slump of spirits

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    1. It sounds like you've gone in a beautiful direction. Don't let that slump get to you. Let it sit. Go do something else. Come back to it later if you need, too, but I imagine it is your nerves. Peace to you. Peace be on you.

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  13. I'm not any further on the sermon--which is to say, I have several paragraphs on Acts which I now think I am going to dump in favor of starting anew with Revelation and thirst--but I feel better being in the company of others who are in the same spot! Here's one new to me: my 18 y.o. graduating son preached last Sunday and he did such a fabulous job (really! Not just proud mom talking...) that he's hard to follow :-o

    I am interested in the idea of the Acts story from the perspective of the jailer, how he was set free too, but my mind keeps wandering back to being thirsty, what kinds of thirst we experience and how we quench that thirst, both positively and not so much. I know that I simply should go with where my mind is pulling me or I will pay for it later...

    I have delicious, healthy pineapple carrot bran muffins to offer, made fresh last night :-)

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    1. I love that he's hard to follow!!!! I always end up on the drought side of thirst instead of the excited, hungry, growing kind of thirst. I wish I would preach on that aspect someday.

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  14. After a week with 4 funerals (requiring early starts every day this week) I gave myself permission to sleep late this morning and didn't start doing much prep until well after lunch. That is certainly one of the ways I try to cope with an overload - not always practical but much appreciated when I can do it.
    But tomorrow is a Family Service - so no Sermon! Yay!
    I am trying to combine Christian Aid week with Ascension and bringing together some ideas I had earlier in the week while travelling in the hearse. No time is wasted!
    I will be making a nutella cheesecake and "forgetting" to have any Nutella - then talking about Christian Aid helping to provide cocoa plants to help those in need.
    followed by a game of "earlier/Later" based loosely on the old gameshow Play your cards right (I think that was what it was called) and the congregation will guide the children to get the events in Jesus life in order.
    followed by bubbles from the bubble machine linked loosely to things disappearing from view and used as part of the prayers.

    Now that the outline is roughly there, off to buy all my ingredients for Nutella Cheesecake and make one tonight so I know how it works. Anyone want anything while I am out?

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    1. I thought my two with one lingering was rough. Holy cow, four? It was definitely a sleep late day for you. Have fun with your Family Service. Do you do those monthly?

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    2. I only do about 6 a year but would love to do them more often. This is a new thing for this congregation so gradually making them more often as they get used to them.

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  15. In addition to everything else, tomorrow is fraught with the possibility for unpleasantness. The women's group which is headed by the two women who are creating the conflict, is hosting coffee hour--which should be totally non-controversial, right? Only not so much--it is their way of saying they don't approve of the way we've been doing coffee AND my not choosing to make mother's day the focus of worship. Ugh.

    Why does this have to be so hard? I mean, hard is one thing, but hard over silly crap is another.

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    1. It is so hard to be one's best self when conflict-creators are spreading their...well, issues...even to coffee hour and the like. Prayers for you, that you may have a smile, a Teflon coating, and peace that passes understanding (or reason).

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    2. I hate hard over silly crap. It's stupid and a spirit-suck.

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  16. In the good news, the Little League game is cancelled, giving preachers more time to write. In the bad news, we are out of coffee!!!! So a trip out is now required.

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  17. Month for mission here, so I am preaching VERY briefly on John -- Jesus was sent, we are sent, love love love -- and then turning it over to a member who has put together something on mission in Japan (we have a Japanese member) and in general.

    And then there's the whole Mothers' Day thing which, too, shall pass.

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  18. When I am where you have described I need to spend time in prayer and quiet, even though it feels like there is no time for it. Prayer and silence (even just 15-30 min.) can make a huge difference for me and refill me like nothing else can. I also ask for prayers from others. I have said a prayer for you.
    Blessings,
    Lee

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    1. You are wonderful, Lee. Thanks for the reminder of quiet. I tend not to worry about not feeling like there's no time for it, but that it isn't really DOING anything. You're right though. That doesn't matter; in fact, that's the point. Quiet. I need it.

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  19. It's Mothers' Day here, always problematic when they expect me to focus on mothers and I won't do it because I know how painful it is for some. So I'm going to preach on God as Mother, which will blow their minds as I'm certain most of them have never thought of it before. It's always "Father God" which irritates me immensely. Will let you know if I survive! I mentioned my theme to a pastor from another denomination and he got this glazed look of total incomprehension in his eyes! The liturgy focuses on the compassionate, nurturing side of God.

    Sorry how difficult some of you are finding things. Especially you, Rev Dr Mom. It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably unpleasant some church people are. I have a good friend going through a similar experience and my heart bleeds for you too.

    What do I do when inspiration departs? Take a bit of time out, pray like mad and scramble something together. What shatters me on those occasions is how often people go on and on about how the sermon spoke to them. Perhaps when we feel uninspired we give the Holy Spirit space to work on her own without our realising it.

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    1. I love the notion of God as mother, but just using the phrase in my current parish raised a lot of eyebrows.

      I am choosing not to even mention Mother's Day tomorrow; I assured one member who normall avoids mother's day because it is so painful for her that it would be "safe" to come to church and she could just skip coffee hour. My omission will mightily annoy some, I'm sure.

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    2. I call God "mother" in worship sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes, actually probably more than I use "father" outside of the Lord's Prayer at least. It still just doesn't even roll off my tongue, neither reference does. I force myself to write it into our liturgy occasionally because I think it is good to do, but it doesn't come naturally to me - - neither "parental" term is how I relate to God personally most of the time. I've never gotten any comments when I've done it, but I'm sure there are folks who bristle. I'm glad they are either tolerant enough or understanding that it's not all about them or too timid to say anything. :)

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    3. I am using a phrase about God being like a mother hen in my prayer, and making sure to note the Lucan reference, as otherwise all my "Father God" people will be wondering how I came up with THAT one.

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    4. When I do it, it's always in reference to particular texts that reference, and I think that's a big part of why people don't say anything. It's in there! They I always get frustrated internally that it feels like I have to justify the feminine language in a way no one would ever expect me to justify masculine language. Even though I don't use it naturally myself, I feel like it should be equally available to use without explanation or justification.

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    5. I love it! I try to use mother language on occasion, but it doesn't roll off my tongue either. I try to use a variety of images/language for and about God, but if I'm not careful, I get in a rut.

      I did a sermon once on how the word for Spirit in Hebrew is feminine and what that might say to us. The most interesting comment came from a man who noted that I use "too much" inclusive language, including human references. He didn't like that I said "women and men" in my prayers!

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    6. one mothers day I started using a different blessing, which I picked up from a colleague.I figured if I had complaints, I could say ti was for mother's day, no-one commented for 6 months,and it has never been raised with me as a problem.

      The blessing of God almighty
      father, son and holy Spirit,
      One God and mother of us all,
      Be with you now and always.

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  20. I have a draft, a revision of my sustainable sermon. Next time I preach Ascension, if I am in a different parish, I will use the Mary Poppins analogy. I just don't have the energy for it this year.

    This is the earliest I have been done in weeks and weeks and weeks. Now for some lunch and then, who knows?

    Back later.

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    1. I'm so glad you have something and can give yourself a rest!

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  21. Some late in the game pondering of Mothers Day. This story was sent to me, doesn't fit what I'm preaching, but maybe it will help you.
    Wrestling with Mothers Day

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  22. I am off lectionary all of May...heck...all summer as well. This week is "The Spiritual Practice of Attention...Prayer". I wrote yesterday and then closed the document. I'm getting ready to open it and see if what I said yesterday makes any sense. I asked lots of questions...and leaving quite a bit of room for the Spirit. At least I hope I did.

    I got out of the fishbowl this weekend and will travel back this evening.

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  23. We hosted three little 7-8 year olds for our oldest daughter's sleepover birthday party last night. They got here 30 minutes after my funeral ended yesterday and left 30 minutes before my new officer training started this morning. Seriously.

    I haven't thought of my sermon yet on Galatians 3, but I just can't until tonight. I know that staying up late AGAIN is not going to be any help to me at all, but I just can't do another minute of "work" after the go-go-go few weeks I've had. My mom and dad come in town next weekend. I'm taking Friday and Monday off as "comp time" but I really need another day. I'd take the day after tomorrow, too, but that would set me so far back before next Sunday that it's not worth it.

    Anyway... All the kids are sleeping for naptime. I'm about to let myself drift off for a little bit, too. I'm going to set up some quiet in this room, do some breathing, and see what calm comes next.

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    1. Comp time would be great if that meant no sermon needed for the following Sunday.

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    2. That's really the problem with comp time, isn't it? You get a day off, but the work still has to be done, just in less time...

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    3. Stephanie, I'm still not started yet either; just finished the bulletin as a matter of fact. I;m doing the same text (NL). We can keep each other company later!

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    4. Awesome, Tracy! Just now getting to the computer and watching a little West Wing before I jump into it. I need to keep things short since last week I was very long-winded on a communion day. I got no complaints at all, but I'll be more conscious this week, I hope. We're ordaining and installing officers, and I'm using a longer liturgy than I usually do, so hopefully I'll keep this more meditation like than full sermon. Hopefully. That rarely works. :)

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  24. Way to go, Purple.

    The Queen of Sermon Avoidance here. I took a drive. Got (more) coffee. Drove some more. I even filled up my gas tank before it hit 1/4 tank, which is really not like me. Drove home. It was good time to think.

    About Mother Jesus -- a phrase I may decide to use -- the John text sounds mother-ish to me. When "the parent" goes away, s/he wants "the kids" to get along, for them to follow the example that has been set and be true to their heritage.

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  25. Back to Acts...or more to the point, I got a different idea for how to begin (oh, how I hate throwing out already written words, though) and am giving that a shot. I am pretty sure I will still be bringing the quenching of our thirst in for a cameo appearance :-) Right now, I am looking at the ping pong nature of events in Acts--good, bad, good, bad, good, bad, and so on--and how it is in being willing to share that same experience from our own lives is the best witness, rather than what some people think about Christians, that everything is supposed to be fine and dandy once you have Jesus (like we can really "have" him anyway...it is more like he has us). Or something like that; I just got further typing this here than I had in my thinking while actually trying to write the sermon. Let's hear it for the Preacher Party!

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    1. That happens to me all the time - - writing my sermon in preacher party comments. In fact, I have written such long comments that I have actually copied them and pasted them right into my sermon document!

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  26. Just getting here and in a major crunch. This weekend has been full to the brim with family and a final project for a class. I have about half an hour in which I need to find something to preach on, and get a decent start on the sermon before I go to a worship service commemorating the tenth anniversary of My Love's grandmother's death. (Something that's important for his family, and then drive home late late at night). God have mercy. Lifting up prayers for those of you who need it.

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  27. Not preaching tomorrow, so I cooked supper! (Yes, this is worthy of a special announcement, particularly on a Saturday night). We have meatloaf, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy to share. Help yourselves.

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  28. Not preaching tomorrow (choir Sunday - they are a doing a special day on settings of Psalm 139) but was thinking of you all so came over to say hi. Many blessings on a not-always-easy day.

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  29. Well, color me surprised: it is 5:00 p.m. And I have a sermon that lacks only the last sentence or two, and on the very topic I said earlier today I was going to abandon! I did dump most of what I'd written earlier and came at it from a new angle, and I guess that was what the Spirit must have had in mind for me because it came more smoothly than usual. Now I can go pick up one son from a party, get ready to go to a birthday dinner for a church member, and enjoy myself rather than stressing. Sending prayers that the same Spirit blows fresh through all of you who are feeling discouraged, exhausted, or bored right now...

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  30. Coming late to the party after a busy day. It started with an early call from the funeral home to schedule a funeral, and then a council meeting. Can I just say in this safe space - I hate, hate, hate hate, HATE Saturday council meetings. But we have council members who work out of town, so Saturday it is.

    The afternoon was devoted to more pleasant tasks. My honey turned 50 today and our son suggested throwing him a surprise party. I had no idea how much plotting and machinations are necessary for a surprise party! We just got home and we have party food for the preacher party - pulled pork, cole slaw, pasta salad and cake. Help yourself.

    The sermon is done. I've been doing something new the past few weeks - either preaching from an outline or from memory (thanks to not including my sermon in my order of worship on my tablet! Oops!) It's been going pretty well, so I think I'll do it again in the morning. The outline is done and I talked through the sermon on the way to the council meeting this morning, so I think I'm good to go. I have to admit, it takes less time than writing a manuscript, so I feel like I'm cheating some how (re-reading Pastor Deb's "you are not a failure as a pastor..." as I type this.) I do miss having a manuscript to post. And I'll need to have someone time the sermon - I tend to ramble without a script.

    I'm preaching on Jesus praying for us and borrowing liberally from David Lose. We're going to write one thing to pray for, which I will include in the prayers of the day. We might also pair up and pray the Lord's prayer for each other. Both are a stretch for my congregations, hopefully it will go well.

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    1. Saturday council meetings? Ugh. I would hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE that, too.

      How fun to pull off a surprise party!

      I do the opposite when I preach without a manuscript - - go way shorter than usual. I write with a lot of parallelism and repetition that I just don't quite speak with when I don't have my manuscript. It cuts everything down to the basics. I wonder if that would change if I practiced my non-manuscripts more outline instead of mostly in my head, sitting down.

      Go ahead and stretch your congregation. I think those sound like very accessible stretches. It's not like you are asking them to pray extemporaneously for each other. That would be hard to pull off if it were completely foreign to them. I was pleasantly surprised in my recent review to see comments like "It isn't always easy for us to try new things in worship, but Stephanie pushes us sometimes and it's good to be pushed." Do it!!

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  31. My mission is to make sure we waste nothing from our farm share and also use up things that have been in the freezer forever. I've had a great day in that area, using both categories at lunch *and* dinner.
    Somewhere in there, I also went to Starbucks, and I wrote a sermon. And here it is: Long-Distance Relationship.

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    1. Nice work with your food goals AND your sermon!

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  32. And now I know why God called me to be a preacher and not a plumber. Supper was a great success. The clean up--a garbage disposal disaster.

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    1. Thanks. One side of the sink is usable. Not sure what's going to happen when the dishwasher runs. I just didn't have it in me to wash all of them. Bucket is at the ready.

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    2. Wish I were nearby...I have just about mastered all the ways to take the underneath parts of our sink, disposal included, apart! Amazingly, it goes back together and works again each time. Uncomfortable, yucky work though...and if I had one side of the sink still working, there's no way I would be at it on a Saturday either.

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    3. I would love your expertise, Betsy! It's a parsonage, and the pipes underneath were being held together with string. I am not kidding. Time for the real plumber.

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  33. ...and, because I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat to hear what happens next at the esperanza household...
    a baby SNAKE. In my pantry.
    May he/she rest in peace.

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    1. Stop it. Are you kidding me? Go right now and make sure your dryer is not on fire.

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    2. Ha! I wish. Dryer seems to be fine, but thanks for checking. Dishwasher only caused a few small drips. I think I'll go to bed soon and hopefully avoid further disasters.

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    3. Goodness gracious. It definitely time for bed.

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  34. I did it! after being kicked out of choir in primary school, for not only singing off key, but so enthusiastically it put everyone else off; and then being told by college [seminary] classmates how badly I sing; I sang solo in the sermon today - and it wasn't terrible. only a few lines, but a smile and thumbs up from one of our good singers.

    the rest of teh service went fine, main comments were about how lovely it is to see me back, after 4 Sundays away.

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    1. Blessings and congrats on your sermon-singing! That takes "finding your voice as a preacher" to a whole new level! So glad to know you pushed past all the naysayers in your personal history to do this. Brava!

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  35. I enjoyed a WONDERFUL sleep this afternoon into the early evening, then the whole family went out to get some spring/summer sport equipment and dinner. It was a great evening!!

    I need to get my thoughts together soon, but I'm not quite there yet. Feeling a LOT better!

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  36. Blech. I can't REMEMBER a night I was still up at 3:30 a.m. writing anything down. This sermon JUST. WOULDN'T. COME. I got to the point where I was about to write a sermon about why I just couldn't write a sermon this week. Yikes.

    It didn't quite come to that. I finally got something going a little bit ago, and I have about 800-something words so far. I don't know if I like it all, but right now it's something on the page, so we're going with it. I shouldn't say that. I do think I like the idea of it, but not sure how I am doing at writing it or if there's a way to offer grace in it as well as some conviction. It's the kind of message I really want to deliver just to the members and not members and visitors, but I can't really tell them to stick their fingers in their ears and ignore it. I name some of our corporate short-comings, and that's a little scary to do when other people might be listening and deciding if they want to be a part of the family. Maybe the honesty in naming what's normal just about anywhere will be refreshing, though. :) Maybe?

    OK. I'm going to go grab quick two hour nap, and come back to wrap this up. Gosh, I hope it makes sense when I get back here!!!

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