Friday, July 17, 2015

The Apocalyptic Discourse — 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 11]

Deuteronomy 31:23–29 or Micah 7:1–7 or Daniel (11:40–45) 12:1–13
Psalm 54
Matthew 10:17–22a; 24:9–14 or Mark 13:9–13
1 Corinthians 9:1–15

OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O Lord our protector, we live in troubled times, when many run to and fro in pursuit of vain things, and lawlessness increases. Nevertheless, in Jesus Christ you deliver your people from death to life, everyone who is found written in your book of life. Speak to us once more of eternal things: of life and love, of your holy splendor and your complete joy, that we may gain wisdom and shine with your glory like the brightness of the sky, like the stars forever and ever. This we ask in the name of your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness.

For homiletical commentary on these texts, follow the link.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Apocalyptic Discourse - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 10]

Jeremiah 7:1–15 or Daniel 2:1–49
Psalm 17:8–14 (15) or 83
Matthew 24:1–8 (or Mark 13:1–8)
1 Corinthians 7:1–40

OPENING PRAYER [see Daniel 2:20–23, 47] [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Blessed be your name, O God, from age to age, for wisdom and power are yours! Truly, you are God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries! You change times and seasons, depose and establish rulers, give wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to the understanding. You reveal deep and hidden things; you know what is in the darkness, and light dwells with you. To you, O God of our ancestors, we give thanks and praise, for you give your faithful ones wisdom and power, and reveal yourself to those who seek you. Draw near to us now, we pray, as we gather in your presence to magnify your holy name.

NB: Here is some related homiletical commentary on these texts.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A freedom better than independence

Now that the Independence Day celebrations are behind us for another year, why not read about and celebrate the far greater, eternal freedom promised by the gospel of Jesus Christ?


Monday, June 29, 2015

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 9]


2Kings 6:8-23
Psalm 57 OR 3
Matthew 12:38-50 OR Luke 11:24-36
1Corinthians 5:1-5 (6-8) 9-13; 6:1-11


OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O LORD our refuge, you have spoken through your prophets and your teachers of wisdom, yet you are among us as one greater still! You have expanded our understanding of family, saying, whoever does the will of our heavenly Father is a brother or sister of Jesus Christ the Son. Yet one far greater than the church is here! Yes, you are here, for so you have promised to be present in the Spirit where your followers are gathered in your name, you who were three days in the heart of the earth and are now seated at the right hand of power. Therefore, awaken us to the nearness of your presence, speak to us with the power of our risen Lord Jesus, and give us courage and determination to obey, for we are eager to receive the blessing you promised when you said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

Monday, June 22, 2015

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 8]



2Kings 20:1-21 or Amos 4:1-3 or Malachi 3:6-18 (4:1-6)
Psalm 56
Matthew 9:27-34 or John 5:31-47
1Corinthians 3:12-15 (3:16-4:5) 4:6-21 or 2John


      

 

CALL TO WORSHIP [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
May grace, mercy, and peace be with us from God the Father
and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
         Let our service to God and our faith in Christ Jesus
         be a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 
If we are fools for the sake of Christ, let others become wise in him.
If we are weak, may they become are strong.
         When reviled, we shall bless; when persecuted, we shall endure;
         when slandered, we shall speak kindly.
For even if we are like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things,
We know that the Lord himself has received as much from the world.
         Therefore, in God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
         I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?
My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
         For you have delivered my soul from death,and my feet from falling,
         so that I may walk before you in the light of life.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 7]

Isaiah 29:1-24 OR Isaiah 59:1-21
Psalm 55
Matthew 15:1-20 OR Mark 7:1-20 
1Timothy 4

   

PRAYER OF CONFESSION [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Our Holy and Gracious God, we confess we have often seen things upside down. We have made a habit of following blind guides rather than fully trusting in your Word, and have risked fall into the Pit. We confess we have been afraid to see what you would show us, to hear what you would say to us; thus, we find ourselves in a stupor, in a spirit of deep sleep. We have forgotten ourselves and foolishly regarded you, the potter, as though you were the clay; we have rashly questioned why you have made us this way. Forgive us, LORD! Give ear to our prayer, and do not hide yourself from our supplications. For we are besieged us and hemmed in by sin. Redeem us unharmed from the battles that we wage, for many forces and foes are arrayed against us. Nevertheless, we will trust in you to hear us as we call upon you, to save us from the wages of sin, and train us up in godliness. This we ask in Jesus’ name.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Get a jump on Christmas with A Phenomenal Llama



Looking for a fresh angle on the Christmas story or new Christmas pageant ideas? Here is a sweet, delightful, imaginative story that is fun to read aloud

Ideas:

1. Check out the good reviews, and order copies early for your Sunday school teachers, educators, pageant planners. Here, under "From the Author," is a bit of background.

2. Order two readers' copies to break it into voices for a dramatic reading at Christmas.

3. Design costumes for one pastor (narrator), a lead llama (Gregory), St. Francis, Noah, a camel, reindeer, a donkey, cows, sheep, any number of other animals (lions, peacocks, monkeys), ... and of course, plenty of extra llamas.

4. Make sure to get a copy of the e-book so you can project the lovely illustrations for the congregation.

5. Schedule a fireside reading at home with the family or for a fellowship night.

6. Consider sending a copy to your families with children, or letting a copy serve as your Christmas card to the congregation. 

7. Visit A Phenomenal Llama on FB, give it a Like, and most importantly: "Share."

8. Post a review on Amazon or your favorite online bookstore or book review site.

9. Spread the word to neighboring churches, pastors, parents, and friends.

10. Ask for your local bookstore to carry it.

Get an early start on Christmas this summer. I hope you enjoy A Phenomenal Llama.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 6]


Isaiah 6:8-13 OR Ezekiel 17:22-24 OR 31:1-18 OR Daniel 4:1-37 
Psalm 7
Matthew 13:10-17 (18-33) 34-35 OR Mark 4:1-25 OR Luke 8:4-25; 13:18-21
Ephesians 4:17-25 (4:26-5:1-2) 5:3-7 OR 2Peter 2:1-22

   

PRAYER OF CONFESSION [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O God our Father, you sent your Son, your holy seed, into the world, speaking parables and proclaiming what had been hidden from the foundation of the world. Yet, we confess, though we have heard much, we have listened little; though we have seen much, we have perceived little. Our hearts have grown dull, and our ears are hard of hearing; we have often shut our eyes, and in doing so, closed ourselves off from the healing that you would give us, if we were simply to turn to you. So now we turn to you, in earnest, asking your forgiveness. May we never again shy away from the narrow gate, or be like the newly-washed sow that soon trots off to wallow in the mud. Let not your word be snatched from our hearts, neither let it be rootless or choked by the cares, the riches, and the pleasures of the world. Help us to endure in times of testing, and to pay attention to how we listen to and receive you, for we have had enough more than enough of our dullness, deafness, and sin, and we would have your kingdom come among us; we would have your Son, Jesus Christ, reign over us, no longer concealed in parables, but manifest and glorified, for every eye to see.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Hear the good news! The LORD knows how to rescue the godly from trial. In Christ Jesus, the holy seed, God has spoken, and he will accomplish his redeeming purpose for those who trust in him. What is more, he has revealed to you the secrets of the kingdom of heaven! Blessed are you who have heard the truth and received it! For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. Therefore, live as those on whom the good seed has fallen, as those who, having heard the word, now hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bear fruit with patient endurance. Let your light shine, so that others may see it. Let no greed or impurity of any kind even be mentioned among you, as is proper among the saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving! For though no impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), will have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, you who belong to Christ stand to share in his inheritance with him and with all the saints who have been forgiven, recreated, and redeemed. Praise the LORD!