Here in the northern hemisphere, it has been summer, and hotter than “normal” in lots of places. In our Texas home, well, summer is always hot, but even we have set record temperatures. That’s led to photos like this:

IMG_4916

It’s important, in the heat, to have a steady and abundant supply of water. I find it similarly important to have a steady supply of Scripture and prayer, study and service. At the congregation I serve, we’re embarking on a four week sermon series on prayer, and we’re inviting the community to take part via an outdoor prayer banner/flag/clothesline thingie (no photo; it’s still a nebulous idea in my head). What’s happening at your place? Revised Common Lectionary preachers can refer to our post here for ideas and discussion.

Despite the heat, I have fresh, local peaches, garden tomatoes, and a yellow-meat watermelon to share. Come and share ideas, ask for help, take a refreshing break with your preaching pals.


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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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Thirsty Edition

  1. 9.30 pm Saturday evening and i am part way through writing the sermon. Again this week i started with a theme. This afternoon I finished planning a worship service for three weeks time when I am on study leave – singing the psalms, a mixture of psalms and songs of psalms. in a few days i go on annual leave and fly north to warmer weather, a bit of bush walking, boat trips, and hopefully good food. i am looking forward to the break, though will be working Monday to get some things finalised before i leave.
    and had my very first manicure and pedicure today, i know have pretty mauve toenails.

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  2. Home alone (son just left for scout camp and dh is helping friends move house) so trying to finalise tomorrow’s sermon. Inspired by the general ambient level of sportiness around here to preach on Hebrews 12:1,2 and its running metaphor. (Sort of what I’ve learned about the christian life thanks to running) Its been seriously hot here – too hot to think – and school is out, so I wanted to do something lightish but practical. Am creating a presentation with pictures rather than writing a manuscript in the hope that that will help my delivery be fresher and more dynamic. Am talking about the importance of perseverence, training, rest, learning from our mistakes, being encouraged (and encouraging) those around us, and fixing our eyes on Jesus as both our model and our destination. I have peach crumble to share ! (But no ice-cream as my son ate it…)

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    1. I like “lightish but practical,” especially in the summertime. And thank you for the peach crumble! I’m hoping to pick up some peaches at a farmstand tomorrow, but we usually eat them before they can be turned into anything else!

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    1. I really like this, Pearl! A back-to-basics sermon, but one that we need to hear. I also love that you included the children’s answers, not as a cutesy laugh line, but as real wisdom.

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  3. I ran up to my family’s lake cabin (only 7 hour drive away!) for the 4th. Drove home yesterday. So today is sermon writing day. I’m in Narrative still, with 1 John. At least love is a pertinent reminder for our world today.

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  4. I am using a Mark text (9: 14-29) which is not in the lectionary. This one may be more of a teaching sermon as I am responding to this question from a congregation member: any sermon that would help me not feel like a misfit when a lot of folks around me are thanking Jesus every-which-way, and I’m going “eh, I’m really not there- maybe I need to stop calling myself a Christian.

    I am using the story of Jesus healing the boy with some sort of neurological disease as a loose framework with “I believe…help my unbelief” as the hinge. I am translating that phrase as “I have faith. Help my unfaith!” and hoping James Fowler’s understanding of our spiritual development will be helpful.

    The challenge is to present Fowler’s work in a way that does not sound like a text book. Several years ago I was at a workshop/retreat which used Fowler’s work. An aha moment for me was understanding what the presenter called “the great divide” between levels between 3 and 4 in how the church is able to respond or is not.

    Onward…and I have fresh bing cherries to share.

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    1. That is such a great passage, and I don’t know why the RCL folks left it out. I like the combination with Fowler’s work, too. And I like bing cherries. Thanks!

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    2. I love that you’re talking about Fowler’s stages. I think a lot of folks get to stage 4 and drop out or give up, not understanding that’s it’s an ok place to be. Spiritual adolescence or individuation. Keep on keeping on!

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  5. We are off to a slow and lazy start at our house this morning. I’m outlining, in my head, a short sermon, so that we have time for a prayer response. It will need to get on paper (or screen) and get filled in, but I’m slowly mustering up energy. I also need to cut out some fabric rectangles for our prayer flag banner thingie.

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  6. Good morning, all!

    After a very challenging meeting last week, I am spending the rest of the summer focused on abundance and gratitude, using Diana Butler Bass and, starting next week, Ephesians. For tomorrow I’m going back to last week’s 2 Corinthians text to talk about gratitude leading to giving leading to relationship (good old connectionalism) and then in a circle back to gratitude. I don’t think it’s my most inspired effort, but it was pointed out to me that folks don’t know what I mean when I talk about attitudes of abundance vs. scarcity, so we’re going to work on that. I could use some work on it myself!

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    1. I almost used the 1 Corinthians passage last week, so it makes me feel strangely good that you’re going back to pick it up. Scarcity is so incredibly powerful as a motivator, and abundance is so counter-cultural that it’s hard to hang on to it. Good work!

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  7. In our small town this is the weekend for the summer community theater to do their big production, so my sermon is “God at the Theater” using themes from Nice Work If You Can Get It, the Gershwin musical. My text is James 2, and I’m talking about partiality and tribalism. My mind is swirling with bits of song from the show, quotes from Shakespeare (“All the world’s a stage”) and Calvin (“The whole world is a theatre for the display of the divine goodness”), and studies about partiality and tribalism. Now I just need to figure out how to get it all written into a sermon. “My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?” (James 2:1) No breakfast yet, just coffee and lots of it.

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    1. That’s quite the collection! I hadn’t heard that Calvin quote (or hadn’t remembered it, equally likely), and I like it! I like the theme you’re rolling with.

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  8. I started with Psalm 48 (which is, I guess, the alternate Psalm, and not anywhere in my various regular commentaries, but is the text the Illustrated Children’s Ministry folks chose for the week, so it caught me early), and wondering what it is we want to “tell future generations”. I’m pairing that with the second half of the Gospel. The Psalms invite us to think about what to tell future generations. Jesus sends the disciples out to speak about what’s right now. So now I am trying to figure out how much to talk about my first impulse: how we figure out what we want to say and then how we “go and tell” (we have a longstanding anxiety about evangelism in this congregation), or the thing that has come up in conversation this week since then: What is True and Right and Always there to tell the future generations and what looks different at different times (Jesus sends his disciples out with specific instructions for a specific time). So, I think I need to decide which thing I actually want to say (or am being called to say). It feels messy right now.
    Meanwhile, the boy woke up and at 8:45 a.m. it’s already 93º F. The boy wants to do some baking today (on the hottest weekend of the year), so there may be goodies later.
    –Wendy

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    1. Deuteronomy 6 comes to mind–where it says teach these things to your children and your children’s children, just before the Shema, I think. (As if you needed something else to add into your mix!). Good luck with the baking!

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  9. Preaching Mark 6, and I’m running with a suggestion in Feasting on the Gospels that compared Jesus’ sending the disciples to the advice given by a CPE supervisor (“Show up. Listen. Speak the truth. Don’t take responsibility for the outcome.”) and what the text teaches us about discipleship.

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  10. It’s 8:18pm. My family is out at an Indian restaurant and I am at home trying to get a sermon done before they get home. (Ha)
    I haven’t had time to think about it this week, as I’ve been off, taking them around their first trip to Scotland. But I’m preaching Ephesians 2 paired with the sheep/goats Matthew 25 business. Still on people’s favourite hymns, and this set of hymns seemed to lend itself to a sort of no-divisions, one-human-family kind of theme. But I have no actual ideas to start with so that always makes writing really super slow for me. When I have an opening, it often just flows…but without one, I stare at a blank screen for a long time. I’m hoping something comes to me soon, because once they come through the door, that’s the end of the writing line….

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    1. I have the same issue with the opening, which is why I’m still here, staring at this blank document. I hope something came to you in a timely manner.

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      1. I have had an opening idea!
        Unfortunately, not long after I got it all typed, they got home. Which means that now the flow is lost again. I have about half a sermon and I think I might go to bed and get up and finish in the morning. Not my favourite thing to do, but maybe more productive….I can think while I sleep, right?

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