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The Immediate Word
Mary Austin

Secrets and Lies

When Republican senators planned their version of a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, a small group of senators met in secret to draft the bill.  Members of both political parties expressed concern about the lack of information as the bill was drafted.  Theoretically, any of the 52 Republican senators could have a voice in drafting the bill, but most found themselves all but invisible as the bill was written.
     No one likes to be on the outside of a big secret. The hidden deliberations were a strategy chosen by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but perhaps one that backfired.  “McConnell's decision to keep the details tightly under wraps until Thursday was intentional and aimed at winning over his colleagues out of the public spotlight, but the secretive process has infuriated Democrats -- and aggravated plenty of Republicans, too.”
     The Senate’s secret bill eventually became public, and senators had varying reactions to the substance of the bill -- and to the sting of being left out of the process.  Similarly, the family connections between Jacob, Leah, Rachel and Laban are also layered with secrecy and deception.  Some people in the story are hidden, and almost invisible, while other are at the forefront.  The stories Jesus tells also revolve around hidden objects that, when found, reveal something about the realm of God. See more...
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SermonStudio

Praying: Even When You Can't

The year I turned forty, I spent my birthday at a three-day women's retreat. The retreat was held at a Catholic boarding school. None of us knew each other, so it was a bit awkward that first night, especially when it came time for bed -- six women, all ages, sleeping in the narrow cots of a dorm room.
     By the second night, after a day of study groups, worship and prayer, silly skits and games, and eating three meals together, we were old friends. It was more like the slumber parties I remembered from high school -- lots of giggling and whispering long after "lights out." After a while the voices faded away one by one, until the room was quiet except for the sound of soft snoring.
     I lay awake a long time, thinking about the events of the day -- the sight of eighty women, all ages, shapes, and sizes, trying to hold balloons between their knees as they raced, or more accurately stumbled, to the finish line; the words of every old camp song I'd ever learned sung by eighty adult female voices of every description; the flicker of a hundred candles in a darkened chapel, the light gleaming on the bowed heads around me.
     In those three days, we prayed a lot in groups, the prayer moving from one to another around the circle. The retreat leaders prayed for us, sometimes with tears on their faces....
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Frank Ramirez

Turning the tables

Turning the tables is an effective storytelling device in both comedy and tragedy. Jacob, a champion table-turner, suddenly gets a taste of his own medicine. In Paul’s letter to the Romans the tables are turned when those who seem to have no influence, who have nothing in the eyes of the powerful, suddenly come to know that we do have friends in high places -- the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!...
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StoryShare

Keith Wagner

Almost Heaven

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Most people I know believe that heaven is some far, distant place. When folks describe heaven they generally speak of some favorite place, like Myrtle Beach, Hawaii, the Smoky Mountains or a cabin in Canada. Our images of heaven tend to be some form of paradise where everything is beautiful and wonderful. There is a tendency in our culture to link heaven with success, wealth or power....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Come-uppance!

For all the moans and groans voiced by disgruntled motorists over the many speed cameras now apparent in the UK, there is a certain satisfaction when habitual speeders are caught and fined. There's even more satisfaction when these speeders who seem to think they are beyond the law....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Arley K. Fadness

The Kingdom of Surprises

Object: Eye dropper, liquid food coloring, or liquid dye, glass or jar of water
I have a couple of surprises for you this morning. But first, have you ever been surprised? (children answer) Have you been surprised lately? Tell about it. (kids share)....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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