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Emphasis Preaching Journal

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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

All the Signs -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42, Psalm 22 -- David Kalas -- Good Friday - C -- 2019
From time to time, I’ll hear someone ask a speculative question that begins, “If a space alien showe
The Magnificence Of God’s Activating, Future-oriented, Forgiving Love -- John 20:19-31, Revelation 1:4b-8, Acts 5:27-32 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Second Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
This Sunday’s lessons proclaim that God and his resurrection have their way with us.
Making Choices -- Jeremiah 2:4-13, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22 - C -- 2019
As God's people we have a choice to make about what sort of covenant we want to live with.
Give Yourself Away -- John 21:1-19, Revelation 5:11-14, Acts 9:1-6 (7-20) -- Sandra Herrmann -- Third Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
After the Resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples in many places and situations.
How Devotion to God Changes Things -- Jeremiah 18:1-11, Philemon 1:1-21, Luke 14:25-33 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 18 | Ordinary Time 23 - C -- 2019
The key to this Sunday’s lessons is how they aim to get us to appreciate how devotion to God changes
Lord of New Life -- Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 -- David Coffin -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
In this season of new life, we are always reminded that Jesus as Lord found in the Christian scriptu
Discomforting Words -- Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24 - C -- 2019
Note: This installment was originally published in 2013.
Changed by Love -- John 13:31-35, Acts 11:1-8, Revelation 21:1-6 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
The bride-to-be was obviously nervous.
What Do You Value? -- Jeremiah 8:18--9:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13 -- David Coffin -- Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25 - C -- 2019
A pastor has been called to a certain congregation with one major mandate in mind: “Revitalize our y
Coming and Going -- Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5, John 14:23-29 -- David Kalas -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Perhaps on this holiday weekend, which culturally marks the beginning of summer, it is right for us
Purchasing Wisely -- Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15, 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 16:19-31 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26 - C -- 2019
Remember the story of Robin Hood?
Let The Reign Begin -- Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53 -- Frank Ramirez -- Ascension of the Lord - C -- 2019
The Reign of Christ has begun, even though it may not be immediately apparent to the world at large.
High Calling in an Upside-Down World -- Luke 17:5-10, 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Lamentations 1:1-6 -- David Kalas -- Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27 - C -- 2019
A colleague and I were talking some years ago about how we do premarital counseling with the couples
Like and Yet Unlike -- Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Luke 17:11-19 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28 - C -- 2019
We are to live among our neighbors, like and unlike.
Plans Beyond Our Own Little Boxes -- Acts 16:16-34, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21, John 17:20-26 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
The lessons for the last Sunday of Easter witness to how we might live by the awesome vision of God
Changing the Basics of the Covenant -- Jeremiah 31:27-34, 2 Timothy 3:14--4:5, Luke 18:1-8 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 24 | Ordinary Time 29 - C -- 2019
God’s persistence results in changing the basics of the covenant — sour grapes and written on the he
If We Can Learn To Listen To That Voice -- Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17 (25-27) -- Sandra Herrmann -- Day of Pentecost - C -- 2019
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.
Freedom! -- Jeremiah 31:31-34, Romans 3:19-28, John 8:31-36 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Reformation Sunday - C -- 2019
The theme for this celebration of the Reformation is, appropriately enough, Freedom!
Trinity in Practice -- Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, John 16:12-15, Romans 5:1-5 -- David Coffin -- Trinity Sunday | 1st Sunday after Pentecost - C -- 2019
Who is the God of our congregation? How is this God made known in the community?
Safely Home -- Joel 2:23-32, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18, Luke 18:9-14 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Proper 25 | Ordinary Time 30 - C -- 2019
I have a notecard in my collection that has a powerful painting on the front.
Power Play -- 1 Kings 19:1-4, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 7 | Ordinary Time 12 - C -- 2019
Raw power is stunning, but rarely is it warm and personal in the way we think of strength.
What Makes a Saint? -- Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18, Ephesians 1:11-23, Luke 6:20-31 -- David Coffin -- All Saints Day - C -- 2019
This is the day that the early church commemorated the great leaders and heroes of the church, espec
Preparing to Go -- 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62 -- David Kalas -- Proper 8 | Ordinary Time 13 - C -- 2019
I have just recently returned from an out-of-town trip, and as I read our selected passages for this
Glimpsing Glory -- Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, Luke 19:1-10 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 26 | Ordinary Time 31 - C -- 2019
William Beebe, the naturalist, used to visit fellow nature-lover Theodore Roosevelt.
Blessed Are The Receivers -- 2 Kings 5:1-14, Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 9 | Ordinary Time 14 - C -- 2019
The church folks I have known are always ready to give.

Communicating God's Love

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Loving God -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2011
" 'You should love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all yo
Defusing a time bomb -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2010
(Information for this article is drawn with permission from the ToolBox of the Presbytery Pastora
What are you standing for? -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2008
Here's a definition I found a few days ago: "Courage means taking a stand that can get
Your presence shows God's presence -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
June 6, 1960, a week after I finished seminary, my father and my thirty-year-old brother,
Jesus wasn't like the big bad wolf -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
Do you remember the story of "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf"?
Church hospitality communicates God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City is directly across the street from the
God's Frisbee® dog -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
Fresh out of college and bound for seminary, Chris Symes preached in his home church a
It takes tough love to communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
The Reverend Danny Cavett -- director of chaplain services at the University of
Safe sanctuaries communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon
Let's imagine you are pastor of a church with an average worship attendance of 150.

Guest column

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The preacher as gracious antagonist -- Terry L. Morgan -- 2008
As a young pastor fresh from seminary in my first call, I preached carefully exegeted, well thought

Illustration

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Sermon Illustrations for New Year's Day (2019) -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46 -- Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- New Year's Day - C -- 2019
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany of the Lord (2019) -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Epiphany of the Lord - C -- 2019
Isaiah 60:1-6a
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2019) -- Isaiah 43:1-7, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 43:1-7
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 2 | OT 2 (2019) -- Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 62:1-5
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 3 (OT 3) Cycle C (2019) -- Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - C -- 2019
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 4 (OT 4) Cycle C (2019) -- Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - C -- 2019
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 5 (OT 5) Cycle C (2019) -- Luke 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13) -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 6 (OT 6) Cycle C (2019) -- Jeremiah 17:5-10, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - C -- 2019
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 7 (OT 7) Cycle C (2019) -- Genesis 45:3-11, 15, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50, Luke 6:27-38 -- Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 7 | Ordinary Time 7 - C -- 2019
Genesis 45: 3-11, 15
Sermon illustrations for Transfiguration Sunday, Cycle C (2019) -- Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) -- Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - C -- 2019
Exodus 34:29-35
Sermon Illustrations for Ash Wednesday (2019) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 -- Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, R. Robert Cueni, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen -- Ash Wednesday - C -- 2019
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 1 (2019) -- Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Romans 10:8b-13, Luke 4:1-13 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- First Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 2 (2019) -- Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17--4:1, Luke 13:31-35 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love -- Second Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 3 (2019) -- Isaiah 55:1-9, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Ron Love, Frank Rarmirez, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates -- Third Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Isaiah 55:1-9
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 4 (2019) -- Joshua 5:9-12, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Joshua 5:9-12
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 5 (2019) -- Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Isaiah 43:16-21
Sermon Illustrations for Palm/Passion Sunday (2019) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14--23:56 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love -- Passion Sunday - C -- 2019
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Sermon Illustrations for Maundy Thursday (2019) -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Maundy Thursday - C -- 2019
Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
Sermon Illustrations for Good Friday (2019) -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42 -- Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bill Thomas -- Good Friday - C -- 2019
Isaiah 52:13--53:12
Sermon Illustrations for Easter Day (2019) -- Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove -- Easter Day - C -- 2019
Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18
Sermon illustrations for Easter 2 (2019) -- Acts 5:27-32, Revelation 1:4b-8, John 20:19-31 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen -- Second Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Acts 5:27-32
Sermon illustrations for Easter 3 (2019) -- Acts 9:1-6 (7-20), Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove -- Third Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Acts 9:1-6, 7-20
Sermon illustrations for Easter 4 (2019) -- Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bob Ove, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Acts 9:36-43
Sermon illustrations for Easter 5 (2019) -- Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Acts 11:1-18
Sermon Illustrations for Easter 6 (2019) -- Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5, John 14:23-29 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Acts 16:9-15

Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

One Out of Two Americans Has Low-Income Status: Why Is There So Much Silence and What to Do About It -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2012
The title is the subject for this column, a topic that the lectionary texts for March, April, and Ma
Moderate Islam needs to take a stand -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2011
When the news broke concerning Juan Williams being fired for his comment on the O'Reiley Factor
What American Christians might do to enhance Muslim life -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The months of March, April, and May are months of repentance and celebration for Christians.
More on financial responsibility in America -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The assigned lectionary texts for the fall invite our further attention to our economy, the federal
Are we still fighting wars? How come? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
These months (especially at Christmas) are the season of peace. Yes, we sing and pray for peace.
Getting real about ecology -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
The lessons for the spring are rich in socio-political opportunities for preaching.
Getting maladjusted to business as usual -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of Jesus and Christians as "maladjusted" to certain social dynamics.
Is less government really good for America? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
These months will likely be dominated politically by the upcoming elections and their aftermath.
Expanding political horizons in the local congregation -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2009
Wes has offered important reflections on implementing what we write about in these columns in your p
The market needs some managing -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
When it comes to economics, things haven't changed much for our nation or for the
The curse of special interests -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
I agree with my friend and boss, Wes, that a key issue for the new president, a factor that
Beyond a political diatribe: the age of bling -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Preparing sermons for Lent is a sacred challenge for every preacher that steps before their
We still need affirmative action (as long as there's sin) -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
A significant number of the assigned biblical texts for these summer months are about
The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Because we have to submit this column months ahead of the actual publication date, we
Gas prices and the war -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Although only the "political junkies" in your congregation will be interested in it, in
Somebody's child is still fighting -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
November and December are supposed to be months for giving thanks and extolling
Favoring the rich -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Most of us know that Jesus and the biblical witnesses were concerned about the plight of
The naked truth about politics and Social Security -- Chester Harris
The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him

Sermon

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Why God has no grandchildren -- John 8:31-36 -- Stan Purdum -- Reformation Sunday - B -- 2006
Children of pastors have their share of strange experiences. As a teenager, I went one day

The Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Click here
Our call for freedom -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
Click here
The health-care crisis: -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the
Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health. We are dismayed to
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the summer of 200
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health.
Conspicuous consumption and its politics -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Tax time and the season of Lent. There are a lot of crosses for the faithful and the
Justice in a polite church society -- Chester Harris -- 2007
C. S. Lewis' character of pen and ink, Screwtape, the imaginary mentor-uncle, offers the
Beware of virtues -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Of course, Christians should be good citizens! That is just common sense, most
What Christians can do to help our schools -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
In the first weeks of September and October many members in your congregation will
Public education, an oxymoron -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Public education has become an oxymoron. Strange statement, but as I observe what it
Bread and butter issue -- Chester Harris -- 2006
I have heard the pronouncement that citizens of the United States of America must begin
Time for truth and moving beyond conspiracies -- Chester Harris -- 2006
The Political Pulpit is intended to tackle various societal issues from opposite points of
Assaults on the elderly: what politics have to do with it -- Mark Ellingsen
Time magazine predicts that a hot-button issue for the upcoming midterm
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Christopher Keating
Thomas Willadsen
Ron Love
Mary Austin
George Reed
Dean Feldmeyer
For November 17, 2019:

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Frank Ramirez
These scriptures remind us that a life worth living must be worthwhile. Meaning and purpose is found in what we do. Part of the new world envisioned in these scriptures includes the ways what we do gives us a sense of self-worth and value. This is true for us as Christians and as the church. We are saved by our faith in Jesus, not by our works, but our work in Christ is its own reward.


Isaiah 65:17-25
Mark Ellingsen
Bob Ove
Ron Love
Bonnie Bates
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Isaiah 65:17-25
This lesson promises that children will no longer be born for calamity, that there will be no more premature deaths in the city (vv.vv.21,23). As of late April, there had been 711 murders in 2019 in Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Brookings Institute found in 2013 that a child’s income level is closely related to the income his/her parents made. The lesson assures us that better days lie ahead, but not because of what we do. Martin Luther well expressed this point:

StoryShare

Peter Andrew Smith
Frank Ramirez
Contents
“The Days Will Come” by Peter Andrew Smith
“Divine Will Brought About by God’s Design” by Frank Ramirez

The Days Will Come
by Peter Andrew Smith
Luke 21:5-19

“Repent for the end is near!” the wild looking man thrust a pamphlet into Vera’s hands. He then moved back to the edge of the sidewalk. “Stop wasting your time!”

CSSPlus

Arley K. Fadness
“Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am He!’” (v. 8a)

Hello children,

It is fun and exciting to see you today. I hope you are happy to be here. I have a special message to share with you from the Bible and particularly Jesus’ words.

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Trevor was in trouble again. He had never been in trouble in year six, but now he was in year seven, everything had changed.

It seemed to start with the new school. Trevor had arrived on the first day proud and smart in his new school uniform, but one of the teachers had shouted at him for having his blazer unbuttoned. Trevor had stared in amazement, his mouth open. He couldn't believe anyone could be so stupid as to care whether or not he wore his blazer undone.

"Do your blazer up boy, don't stand there looking like a half-wit," the teacher had snarled.

SermonStudio

Elizabeth Achtemeier
This text forms the last portion of the long judgment-salvation oracle that is contained in Isaiah 65. It comes from Israel's post-exilic period, when for the first time in the Old Testament, the Lord divides his covenant people into two groups, those who will be judged and those who will be saved. The difference between them is that one group has depended on the Lord for its life, while the other has not and has deliberately turned away from its Lord (cf. 65:1, 11-12). Trust, faith marks the way by which God's saving acts will be received.

Special Occasion