For Thanksgiving & Advent 1
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Sermon for Thanksgiving
Life Injections II:  Further Connections Of Scripture To The Human ExperienceSalvation Serving
Sermon by Richard E. Zajac based on Luke 17:11-19 excerpted from Life Injections II: Further Connections Of Scripture To The Human Experience (SermonStudio)
Dr. Ernest Campbell, one of the great preachers of our day, called Thanksgiving the most difficult feast on which to preach because, once you've stated the obvious, there's little left to say. Here's an effort to provide a "little left to say."
     Rudyard Kipling was one of those authors who was very successful in his lifetime. A British newspaper criticized him and ridiculed him and called him a here for the full sermon

Sermon for Advent 1
Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series III, Cycle BHow To Know What To Know
Sermon by Robert J. Elder based on Mark 13:24-37 excerpted from Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series III, Cycle B (SermonStudio)
The television interviewer, having taken a full ninety seconds to plumb the depths of some complicated issue like abortion or the Supreme Court nominating process with two people representing opposing viewpoints, turns to one and says, "We're just about out of time. George, in the fifteen seconds we have left, just what is the future of Western civilization as you see it?" here for the full sermon

Free Children's Sermon for Advent 1

Learning From the Lizard: Bible Animal Object LessonsPusska -- Who Wasn't Ready
Children's story and liturgy by Janice Scott based on Mark 13:24-37 from The Village Shepherd (SermonStudio).
The dark and gloomy Advent readings, so designed in order to highlight the contrast with the coming of the Saviour at Christmas, make difficult reading for adults as well as children.
      This story concentrates on the "be ready" aspect of the reading. ...
click here for the rest of the children's story and liturgy

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The Immediate Word
Leah Lonsbury

Ready, Set...

Mark 13:24-37; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

In this week’s gospel text, Jesus issues a sternly worded warning about being ready. We have to be ready at all times, he says, for we never know when or how the master of the house (the Messiah) will return. Throughout Advent, most of our lectionary texts hold a heightened sense of anticipation akin to this one, and that expectation is only ratcheted up by our more secular surroundings. The Walgreens around the corner from my house has been steadily building its Christmas stock since what had been the Halloween aisle became a Christmas extravaganza on November 1st. Much of the waiting and anticipation in our modern-day human experience is anxiety-ridden and -driven -- not so much waiting for the birth of Love in a humble stable as for the other shoe to drop. This isn’t surprising in a world where struggle, disappointment, and tragedy are woven into the human condition, and where the 24-hour news cycle constantly reminds us of that with reports on the latest horrors and all their grisly details (such as the gruesome attack on a synagogue in Israel or the most recent ISIS beheading). As a result, much of our anticipation is based in fear. This can be clearly seen in Ferguson, Missouri -- where gun sales are soaring and police are stocking up on tactical gear.
      In this kind of atmosphere, it’s easy to shut down and give up hope, but that is exactly the opposite of what Jesus is calling us to in our gospel text from Mark. This week we’ll take a look at the type of readiness and anticipatory living Jesus is describing, and see if we’re up for that kind of risky engagement in a world swirling with anxiety and fear. It’s clear in our passage from Corinthians that Paul believes we are -- because, as he writes, we already have and know and are exactly what the troubled world is aching for, despite our qualms and potentially incapacitating doubt....
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What Can We Believe about the Reign of Christ?

Have you ever denied something that, deep down, you know to be true? Have you ever turned from a situation or circumstance in order to avoid the uncomfortable process of dealing with it? Or maybe you have had the experience of keeping a stiff upper lip and pretending that something is not ... well, what it is.
      The term we use for this, of course, is denial. We all practice it to some extent or other. Some of us deny the fact that we're a few pounds overweight. Others of us deny the fact that the cars we drive contribute to the growing danger of global warming. Still others deny brokenness and wounds that occur in our most important relationships, leaving the untended hurts to fester and grow worse.
      Most of us deny some things, it's true, but have you ever known anyone who has lived their life in denial? Most commonly, we hear of denial in terms of addiction. Addicted people must construct elaborate scenarios of denial in order to continue their behavior and feed their addiction. In these contexts, there are also people who surround the addicted person who deny the addiction as well. "Oh, that's just Uncle Jeff. That's the way he is. It's okay." Deep down, however, we know that it's not okay.
      Lives of denial are horribly destructive. Ignoring the true circumstances that surround one's life can have unbelievable consequences. From alcohol addiction to drugs and back again, these unaware lives cast nets of pain and hurt in ever broader circles. Denial takes many shapes. Some people deny the anger that consumes their spirits. Others deny a paralyzing fear that holds them captive. And some people deny crippling patterns of violence that have been handed down through the generations; an unrequested legacy of hurt. It is a long list indeed....
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Wayne Brouwer


A well-rounded biblical "Screw your courage to the sticking-place," says Lady Macbeth to her doomed husband in Shakespeare's tragedy, "and we'll not fail." But fail they do and no amount of courage in the world can save them or turn them into heroes.
      Courage is a funny thing. It's a bit like happiness: the more you seek it, the more you demand it, the more you try to call it up, the less it shows its face....
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Keith Wagner

Hope for Anxious People

Mark 13:24-37

Every year on the first Sunday in Advent the lectionary includes the one of the "end times" texts. Like all scripture, this passage takes place in a time when the disciples were living in a very uncertain moment. They were oppressed by a powerful Roman government. They found themselves in opposition to the religious establishment and they didn't have an abundance of resources. Thus they were anxious and consequently they lacked hope....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Is this the end?

Today is Advent Sunday, the first day of the New Year. No, not quite the usual New Year, but the Church's year. From today, we begin to read and study Mark's gospel for a whole year, interspersed around Christmas and Easter with readings from John's gospel.
      Mark's gospel is thought to be the first one to have been written. Both Matthew's gospel and Luke's gospel are thought to be based on Mark's gospel, although there is always dispute among biblical scholars about these things....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Cynthia Cowen

Be Prepared!

The Point: As we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25, our preparation for his return is even more important.

The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. I am thankful that you chose to come up front with me and that we can share this time together.
      This is a season of preparation. We are preparing to celebrate a truly special day for all humankind. What day am I talking about?...
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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