oPlF26iPreaching partners, it is nearly the end of summer! (With apologies to our colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, and any other southern hemisphere locations.) In my neighborhood, I go for walks with a Tupperware container to pick all the wild blackberries that are ripe and delicious, but then I have to chase away the swarms of mosquitoes that attack me for disrupting their shade. I love the sunshine and fresh produce, but heaven help me if the air conditioning or bug spray stops working!

And yet, in these dog days of summer, we preachers do not get a summer vacation, and are compelled to pull ourselves away from the muggy weather and figure out a way to proclaim the Gospel to our congregations, once again. These months after Pentecost can develop a rhythm and pattern, but sometimes they can also be draining and feel like a chore. Where are you in your motivation this week? How are the ideas flowing?

If you’re following the Revised Common Lectionary, you can choose between Isaiah and Genesis, Psalm 33 and Psalm 50, Hebrews or Luke. Some discussion on these options happened here earlier this week. Which passage are you using for inspiration?

Narrative Lectionary preachers have several options at this time of the year. Many churches are following topical series or even following guest preachers at this time of year, while the settled pastor takes some much-deserved time off!

Please share your ideas and struggles below. Pull up a chair and help yourselves to the snacks – I can offer a plethora of fresh green beans from the garden, in addition to the blackberries from my neighborhood! Happy writing, and blessings in your preaching.

 

========

canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and has recently given her blog a facelift at Provocative Proclamation. Katya enjoys knitting, Star Wars, board games, time with her family, and of course, canoeing.

******

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

******

43 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party – Dog Days edition

  1. wild blackberries – yum! though here they are treated as a noxious weed as they can rapidly take over bush land.
    been on retreat at beginning of the week, and been unwell with a cold and sore throat the last two days. Trying to write a little earlier than most weeks – only 4pm on Saturday here 🙂 so i can get some extra sleep. With communion and a limited voice i think a short sermon will have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this! Hoping that all goes well in worship.

      Yes, blackberries can be uncontrollable, which is why I haven’t planted any in my garden… but if there are some growing in the neighborhood and the birds don’t want them, I’m glad to go bring the berries home!

      Like

  2. Hello, preachers. I’m grinding through another Saturday that I expect to spend doing nothing but writing a sermon. The nature of juggling multiple part-time jobs is this is the only day I have fairly open to think sermonic thoughts. I’m in the RCL and have Hebrews and Luke on the agenda. This morning (it’s 8 am here) I’m going to start with a look at Working Preacher, although maybe just reading the texts again would help…hmmm….

    Like

  3. Last week was my first time preaching since early July. We had good conversations in other church spaces, but given all that happened in the US and in the world in July, that was a hard month not to preach.

    Now my senior pastor is on leave for a couple months, so I’m going from a preaching desert to drowning in preaching! This month I’m doing an off-lectionary mini sermon series called Outside the Comfort Zone–how Jesus calls us to be in turbulent times. Last week we talked about ISIS and Jesus’ command to love/pray for our enemies; this week we’re talking about the Good Samaritan, race, and Black Lives Matter. I’m finding the RevGal archives from the past month to be very helpful–so thank you all!

    I really liked this idea to have discussion groups about race at local gathering spaces–in my small town, there’s no Starbucks but there’s a local coffee shop and the morning coffee klatch at McDonald’s! I was hoping to include in the sermon an invitation to join me in these conversation spaces, but none of the local coffee places seem to want to host it. I guess I should have asked forgiveness rather than permission…
    http://ehflaw.typepad.com/blog/2015/03/race-together-at-starbucks.html?utm_content=bufferad705&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Like

    1. This sounds like a very timely and meaningful sermon series. I hope that it goes well and initiates some meaningful conversations, even if they don’t happen in quite the way you envisioned.

      Like

  4. I’m beginning my sermon this morning (Saturday) which is unusual for me, but I just was called this week to preach for a pastor whose great-aunt died. It was well timed as this week my husband got IV fluids for a nasty bug, and my sweet kitty got bit by a copperhead. Everyone is doing okay now, more or less, but WOW what a week. Wondering how to fold some of this in with the text, without getting my junk all over everyone!

    I’m starting with Karoline Lewis’ working preacher words that the Luke text has three points: Do not be afraid, know where your treasure is, and be prepared. I think these are all connected too.

    Hopes and prayers that the spirit inspires all of us this morning, and tomorrow!

    Like

    1. Prayers of inspiration to you too! Hoping that things have settled down on the home front enough for you to focus on the sermon today.

      Like

  5. I’m filling in for a colleague who has had a family tragedy this week. I have a sustainable sermon on the Hebrews passage, which will need some tweaking to speak to the situation, at least obliquely. We’re also doing the clergy couple with kids shuffle this week, which we haven’t settled into yet, since my husband started at a new church in July.

    Like

  6. Praise God for sustainable sermons! And prayers for the colleague who needed you to step in. Hoping that the kid shuffle will work itself out.

    Like

  7. Hi everyone.

    No Blackberries [brambles] ripe here yet but I have a great big bowl of little sweet strawberries – end of the season so being sold as jam berries but are much to sweet and gorgeous not to just enjoy as God intended. Help yourself!

    It is 4.15pm and I have been wrestling with this sermon most of this week and trying to write it since 8.30am. Anyway…by about 12noon I had a pretty good ‘word’ on Luke that fitted with last week’s message about what STUFF are we storing and why, and feeds nicely into next week’s theme when we have Icecream Sundae Sunday and we serve bowls of icecream during worship [I am using Max Lucado’s ‘Your Special Gift’ as the story in place of sermon – so using your gifts now to help others fits nicely]. However, it was clunky and didn’t flow or speak to us as a church.

    It is now after 4pm and I have moved it around, re jigged, re ordered, added a WHOLE big bit about St Francis and different models for church – and why poverty and sharing what we have now rather than focussing on storing up for the future might not be as awful as it might first seem [says the minister of a church with a dilapidated sanctuary and a £1million building plan and no money…yuk].
    Still not at ease with it and the flow but it is getting there. I am reading some more, praying some more, whilst printing out free children’s activity sheets on the olympics for the kids corner [we are looking at the Refugee team at Rio and what they would consider as ‘riches’ cf the monetary wealth of some sportsmen and women.] and hopefully the Holy Spirit will turn up, do her thang, and my jumbled mess of thoughts and concepts will become God’s message for God’s people.

    In the meantime – please help yourself to berries or I will likely eat the whole lot!

    Like

    1. Cleary you’ve put a lot of thought in to this service and how it flows with the current needs of your church. If you consider the Sermon on the Mount, it seems that Jesus wasn’t particularly concerned about the “flow” of a message, just getting the words out there 🙂 Blessings to you as you finish up!

      Like

  8. I’m focusing on just verse 32 of the Luke passage: Stop being afraid …. your Father’s good pleasure (how often do we get to talk about that!?) … give you the Kingdom. We are receiving new members and celebrating our monthly communion, so it can be short. Since it’s Communion Sunday, I won’t have a children’s message, but this is the one I used three years ago:
    Children’s Sermon:
    Do you like riddles? Here’s one for you. The more you have of it, the more you give it away. The more you give it away, the more you have of it. What is it?
    Give up? There’s a little song from a long time ago that has the answer. Maybe you already know it. If you don’t, let me teach it to you. (Magic Penny)
    So what is the answer to the riddle? Love. Have you ever thought about the way love doesn’t get used up? The more you give, the more you have. God loves each of you so very, very much, and the more you share that love with others, the more you will have, too. Let’s pray.
    Lord God, Thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to teach us how to live, and to die for our sins. Help us stop being afraid of losing your love, and show us how to share it with other people, so that we can be more and more like Jesus. Amen.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the children’s sermon idea! Those are always tough to get just right. Blessings in finishing up your short and sweet sermon!

      Like

  9. I used my morning very efficiently … to do other important work that is not my sermon. Eating a sandwich, and then back to it. I think what I’ll do is gather a few stories about things we wish for not turning out to be the things we get, but still being okay and even better than okay. There must be an Olympics story I can use, right? The church is just starting to look for a new pastor, finally, by which I mean the search committee has received its first candidate profile. It’s my job now to get them ready not just for some broad sense of the eventual, but for a coming reality over which only a small group of them has, at the moment, all the control – under the charge of God’s influence, that is.

    Like

    1. Yes to the efficient procrastinating! So easy to do. Sounds like your theme will be quite timely for this congregation in transition. I’m reminded of the first episode of The Vicar of Dibley, where the congregation totally didn’t expect a female priest, but she ended up being the perfect fit.

      Like

  10. For the past few months, we’ve been doing some great visioning with our church council… and I think I’m going to spend some time bringing that to the whole congregation during the sermon. We’ll start with Isaiah’s command “cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Then I’ll pull out some easels with flipchart paper and ask the congregation how they think that we can do these things! What are some tangible ideas? Here’s hoping it works… I’ve never done something like this with them before.

    Totally stuck on the children’s sermon, even after checking the usual resources. I’ve heard some good ideas (thanks, pastorsings!) but nothing that quite fits the theme of the sermon. Any suggestions?

    Like

  11. Wow. Lots of great ideas here, and the berries sound great. I had strawberries, although frozen not fresh, in my oatmeal this morning. Sweet way to start the day. I’m juggling job searching, financial fretting, sermon writing and sibling separating this afternoon. (My tiny Yorkie has decided she is NOT going to be friends with the big cat “Bubba” that we inherited. Oh kid, even fur kids, can be such a challenge.) But the sermon is inching along. Working on Hebrews – what the heroes of the scripture can teach us about faith, and who might be more modern heroes of that faith we can look to as well. Thinking that can link in to a children’s message connected the Olympics. Lot’s to do yet. Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I have a spice cake just about to come out of the oven – so I’m happy to offer you all a warm slice.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the spice cake! Heroes of faith connected to heroes in our lives, related to the Olympics – sounds like you’ve got a great direction! Happy writing.

      Like

  12. I’m grateful to read Martha’s comments, as I did some very efficient procrastinating this morning as well. Now I’m at it for real. Have just finished mining the texts and I really like the Hebrews one. (#thingsineverthoughtidsay). I’m also struck by themes around hoping for, trusting, desiring, and seeking. And this idea that if the faithful wanderers had wanted to go home, they could have, but they chose not to. It calls up for me my favorite lament of the Israelites: “Were there no graves in Egypt?” Clearly there’s a lot buzzing around here, and nothing has yet made a landing. Pray for me, my siblings!

    Like

    1. Hope, trust, seek – following God even when it’s not much fun – sounds like a great direction, once the pieces start connecting for you 🙂 Blessings as you write this afternoon/evening!

      Like

    1. Thanks for the link to this, Martha. It resonates so much with the sifting and sorting of lives and places in my own life over the last nine months. I can offer an example of what this has looked like for me while extending the invitation to others to consider their treasures not as burdens, but as opportunities to look at what the kingdom looks like to them. It can be the start of a conversation among us and between us, and lead to great spiritual riches that reflect the kingdom of God.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Just now back from vacation, so I’m behind. Am working with Hebrews (for the first time ever!). Kathryn Huey’s words on the UCC site and David Lose are helpful, I think. And I will start with a beach conversation with a young mom who is SBNR to try to explore what faith is NOT. Not intellectual assent or memorized precepts or doctrines. And its foundations as promise and God’s good pleasure. “Functional atheism” may find its way in, too. Don’t know yet.

    Nothing to add to the table. The house I am renting has been sold, and my landlady cleaned out my fridge while I was gone!

    Like

  14. Thank you, Martha Spong, for the reminder about Karoline Lewis’ post. It was just what I needed to close out the sermon! We have a potluck tomorrow after worship, and it’s also my birthday, so we will attend a harp concert in the afternoon (we take our culture as it comes in rural Minnesota). I think that, since I afflicted the comfortable last week, it’s time to comfort the afflicted this week. However, I’m not sure there’s much meat here. Here’s the sermon as it stands now, but something could change by morning, of course. https://pastorsings.com/2016/08/06/have-no-fear-sermon-on-luke-1232-40/

    Like

  15. I can’t seem to overcome the “out of sync” feeling, so the next best thing is to preach the sermon I need to hear myself. You know, the one where Jesus kicks you in the butt. Underway…

    Like

  16. This week was a road trip to Las Vegas for one of my husband’s trade shows with stops in Albuquerque NM for fabulous Persian food, Winslow AZ ( standing on the corner ), Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Rock shops along Route 66 and Flagstaff and more. 6 adults in a van for a week and we still like each other. We got back today around noon. Plan was to get back by 5 yesterday. I am preaching tomorrow. Pulpit coverage in the summer in my part of the world is scarce so I am grateful for Spill the Beans and an outline simple enough to pull it together on limited brain cells.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you got your kicks on Route 66 😉 Good luck with the last-minute prep! We’ll be up partying all night so feel free to check in again later!

      Like

  17. Nearly 9:30pm here… I have successfully done a few loads of laundry, come up with a mediocre children’s sermon, played with my 2-year-old nephew, helped my 8-month-old niece “play the piano,” watched the first 45 min of last night’s Olympic opening ceremonies, caught a half dozen Pokemon, celebrated my mom’s birthday, and written about half of a sermon. Almost ready for the morning! Hoping to be done writing within the hour, now that all those other distractions have been managed 🙂 Peace and inspiration to any of you who are still writing!

    Like

  18. 11:15 pm local time…and I have an intro yay! (Good ol procrastination). I am doing pulpit supply in a church I’ve now preached for almost once a month since May, and it is hard to feel somewhat familiar with the context and yet not familiar enough to know what exact issues are needed to be addressed. I’m trying to go with a combination of Luke and Isaiah….Luke tells us to be prepared and Isaiah helps us to know how to be prepared. After reading the Feasting on the Word series I’m worried I will add to the fear instead of giving hope. Not much sleep for tonight, but I know it will come together….they always do somehow. Thank goodness for the Spirit!

    Like

    1. Sounds like you’re walking a fine line between guest and familiar preacher, which influences how your preaching will be received. Prayers that you’ll find just the right balance between comfort and affliction to inspire the congregation! Blessings in your late-night prep.

      Like

  19. Sunday afternoon, 2 services done,- went well, my voice was stronger than i expected and even some interaction from the congregation – YEAH!!!. lunch with a group from church, now to pack and go away for 2 nights to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

We hope you'll join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.