One Sunday when we came home from church, this tortoise was wandering in the middle of our street. It turns out that he belongs to our neighbor across the street, and he had “run” away. He is an African spurred tortoise, and it was fascinating to watch him. He didn’t get in a hurry, but he had managed to escape the backyard and head to the great world beyond.

Photo by Monica Smith, 2017

Now, I don’t want to pressure you (or me), but you (or I) might need to move a little faster than this guy in order to get that sermon ready! Fortunately, there are resources to spur (ha-ha, spurred tortoise, get it?) your thinking. Tuesday’s lectionary posts for the RCL and the Narrative Lectionary are available for your consideration. (Helpful hint: if you’re an RCL preacher working with Amos today, the Narrative Lectionary post is also about Amos 5 and has some good insights).

What else is on your schedule for today? I’m hanging out with an out-of-state friend for a few hours, and then I’m getting to work on this sermon. And for the snack table, we have leftover Texas sheet cake to share.

Monica Thompson Smith is a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, serving as stated supply pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Luling, TX. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.

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39 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Slow and Steady Edition

  1. i am working with Amos this Sunday [NL]. likely a short sermon, as i am showing the Amos video from Bible project, and that goes for 7 minutes. it covers all of the book of Amos, and will be a good introduction.
    Annual congregation meeting after the second service, time to elect Chairperson etc, but here that also means people who prepare rosters, make announcements etc. so my guess is mainly the same people as for the past few years.
    about to cook hamburgers for dinner,


  2. finished though it looks like a series of quotes strung together. the sermon is a little shorter than usual, but there is a 7 minute video overview on Amos earlier in the service, and i am also mentioning Remembrance Day, including a Statement of Faith: Silence is Not Enough, from Roddy Hamilton.
    blessings on your day


  3. Memorial service this morning for a member’s nephew who died in his mid-50s after a short bout with lung cancer. The aunt has done all the planning — mother and brothers are not connected to a church and I will meet them for the first time just before the service. My sermon for tomorrow is half done and I ran out of steam a couple of days ago — it’s the big stewardship sermon, and I am just tired of trying to persuade folks that stewardship is about more than pledge and budget. So I am hoping for some Spirit energy to make itself available.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s wearying when you’re trying to change a people’s way of thinking about something. If only it were as easy as saying it one time! Prayers for some encouragement of the Spirit to come your way.


  4. Matthew 25 here with a dose from Wisdom. Anna Carter Florence’s take on this parable asks the question “What happens to me when the oil runs out?” It seems an apt text for the congregation I serve as I sense they are getting a bit tired after going full steam ahead for 2 plus years. Time to save. Time to renew. Time to restore. I titled the sermon “The Wisdom of Oil”. Sermon is about half done…prayer breakfast this morning…then to sermon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read over an old sermon of mine on the parable, and I compared the wise bridesmaids to people who bring along an extra battery for their cell phones. (1) how times change–today I’d say a charger; and (2) I like your direction, on how we renew, recharge, restore, re-energize. Thanks for coming to the party!


  5. I’ve been at an excellent conference hosted by the Covenant Network in Baltimore. I’m on a plane now, writing my Amos sermon to be preached (eek!) tonight at our monthly Saturday service.
    I’ve got drinks in first class to share with you. Prayers that my connection works and I make it to Boise. If something goes awry in Denver, I will email the sermon to a friend (it’s almost done) and beg her to read it for me. Wish me luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Went to Remembrance Day ceremonies this morning, then grocery shopping. Now I can no longer put off the work of sermon writing. I’m focussing on the Amos 5:18-24 (“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. …”) and relating it to current day’s objections to “Thoughts & Prayers” that seems to take the place of action.


  7. This may veer toward eisegesis, but I’m looking at what might have happened if the oil was shared so all could await the bridegroom. After all, they all showed up. Some planned better than others. Did all of the lamps need to be lighted at the same time? It seems that so many of our present conflicts have devolved into dualisms and lines drawn in the sand. Gun violence is certainly one of those. Anyway, that’s where I’m headed. Am in the city today and have a 3 hour drive back. It’s a music weekend–opera last night, symphony tonight. Hopefully, the sermon will simmer on the long drive.


    1. If I were preaching the parable, that’s where I would go. Decided on a different topic, but spent a lot of time thinking… why didn’t they just have one lamp lit at a time? Then when that lamp was half-empty, light the next one, and so on. Seems like this could have been an opportunity to care for your neighbor, as Jesus will teach at the end of Mt 25. Hope that it comes together for you – I’d be interested in reading the finished product!


  8. I am working on Thessalonians for a Remembrance Day sermon. I would probably preach on the gospel and depend on the recognition of remembrance at the end of the service to carry that freight but this is the year that the Legion parades in our church. I find this Sunday so difficult to preach. I am considering how to remember the need for peace and to remember those whose injuries are PTSD and aren’t easily seen. I am trying to find a way to include the poem that my grandson wrote last year – I think it is amazingly insightful for a kid who is not steeped in the military lore. Just a little Amma bragging here.

    A Winner

    Think about it.
    It’s always the man
    With the last shot
    Who wins.

    A winner
    Returns to his family.

    A winner
    Is honoured by his country.

    But a winner
    Carries the burden home.

    Losing and winning
    Are the same thing
    In War.

    By Carver Marion (grade eight)
    College Louis-Riel
    Winnipeg, MB
    Copyright 2017 The Pilot
    A new collection of poetry
    Written by young Canadians (students in /grades six through eight)
    Ed. Rachelle McCallum
    Polar Expressions Publishing Maple Ridge, BC

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wondering why I chose Joshua from the RCL??? Seemed like a good idea at the time, now, not so much 🙂 Spent some time today getting the house ready for winter (cleaning out the garage so we can get the car in, putting away the patio furniture, filling up the bird feeders and other associated tasks) and now struggling to find the ah ha moment in Joshua’s farewell speech. Tasked by God to do the seemingly impossible, his story often resonates with mine! Coffee, cinnamon buns, cheese and gluten free crackers to share, hope you enjoy them.


  10. OK, I am depleted. Yesterday, my conversation with my college students was about how we respond when our experience or beliefs don’t align with official church positions. I love those young people, but these discussions take a lot out of me. The kids are so genuine and so eager, and I have to work so hard to listen and guide rather than to pronounce. This morning, the first anniversary of my father’s death, I had that memorial service, and I had written something special for the mother, since I, too, have lost an adult son (which she has no way of knowing). She got pretty teary, but she hung in there, and it seemed to be a good thing. I drove home remembering my own son’s service, which I actually barely remember, and wondered how much shock she is in, and then I made a salad for a dinner out tonight, and then I finished what may well be the Most Disjointed Stewardship Sermon Ever. I am so done.


    1. Love to you Robin. I suspect the sermon is better than you think. I have this fantasy, which tickles me, of the church sign declaring that the sermon title is “The Most Disjointed Stewardship Sermon Ever.” Preach it sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m still exhausted from my brother’s funerals (yes, plural – one in Kansas, one in Texas) and the year-end reporting work that has to be finished by our charge conference a week away. So I was grateful that I had a fairly decent sermon on Matthew 25 in the file. It didn’t need much sprucing, mostly just trimming. Focus is on the question, “What are you waiting for?” and the recognition that we not only wait for Jesus, Jesus is waiting for us. The next couple of weeks will be pretty intense – funeral for a young woman whose cause of death has not been determined, charge conference (annual meeting), and officiating my son’s wedding. What am I waiting for? A good long soak in a hot tub would be a decent start….


  12. I actually finished my sermon Wednesday (how in the heck?) but then put it down and didn’t look at it again until late last night and then now. I have recruited two dear friends – a retired pastor whose preaching I love, and a PK who is a professional editor – to read and comment each week for me. It is such a gift to have someone else take a look, and their comments are always insightful and helpful. So, I am feeling pretty good about my sermon on Joshua and Matthew and the choices we make and how they influence our lives. It’s supposed to be a stewardship sermon, but I don’t do that well, so it’s just a sermon.
    But – does anyone have any good children’s moment ideas? I really am not good at these, and managed to avoid them until this year, when I am finally solo pastoring.
    Thanks! I have some rosemary asiago bread and chicken-len-chili soup if anyone would like! Blessings to all.v


    1. I’m going to have the kids play “get ready “ Charades, acting out how they get ready for things like bed, school, vacation, camping trips, etc. each kind of getting ready has its own set of tasks. How can we get our hearts ready for Jesus?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dang. Children’s time. I gotta think of one for tomorrow. My go-to resource is I rarely use anything wholesale, but it’s always good for sparking my thinking.


  13. Well, preaching friends, I’ve ended up with a sermon on Amos that scares me, so I suppose it’s likely what I’m supposed to say. Our town is only about 50 miles from Sutherland Springs, so I’m touching on that as well as Veteran’s Day. Surely that’s enough controversial topics for one sermon!

    I hope if you are still working, you’ll be able to finish up at a reasonable hour. Rest deeply. Open yourself to the Spirit. And bring the word to the people. Peace be with you all.

    Liked by 1 person

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