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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

This Changes Everything -- Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-18 -- Frank Ramirez -- Easter Day - C -- 2019
It can not only be hard, but in some cases not possible to say much at all on Easter morning, what w
Darkness and Light Wrestle Again -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Maundy Thursday - C -- 2019
In the blackness, in the bleakness, we need to sense God’s presence.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Life Goes On -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46 -- David Coffin -- New Year's Day - C -- 2019
A man in his early sixties sits in front of his television set on New Year’s Eve, while drinking his
Turn the Lights On! -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Epiphany of the Lord - C -- 2019
Apocalyptic visioning is nothing new.
Neglected Holiday -- Isaiah 43:1-7, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 -- David Kalas -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - C -- 2019
Perhaps your congregation is well-acquainted with the liturgical calendar.
We Are All Connected -- Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11 -- Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - C -- 2019
We are all intimately connected as one body in Jesus.
Having the Tools to Finish the Job -- Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - C -- 2019
The word epiphany is from the Greek and refers to the experience of a sudden and amazing realization
At the Heart of God's Plan Is Love -- Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30 -- Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - C -- 2019
Jeremiah is appointed to pluck up and call out nations. Serious change. Not popular.
We Cannot Help But Follow Him -- Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13), 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - C -- 2019
All the lessons testify to how when confronted by God’s word, we cannot help but follow him, a theme
Leaning into God's Future -- Jeremiah 17:5-10, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26, Psalm 1 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - C -- 2019
There is a powerful scene in Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons.
The Definition of Sanity -- Genesis 45:3-11, 15, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50, Luke 6:27-38 -- Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 7 | Ordinary Time 7 - C -- 2019
Since Albert Einstein is considered the genius above all geniuses, he is often credited quotes he ne
Who is This? -- Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) -- Sandra Herrmann -- Transfiguration Sunday - C -- 2019
Poet Marriane Williamson has written a poem that has been widely reprinted:
Getting the Right Guest List -- Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, Romans 10:8b-13 -- Wayne Brouwer -- First Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Jim Carlson was a young pastor at a Lutheran church in Minnesota.
God of the ages -- Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17--4:1, Psalm 27 -- David Kalas -- Second Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Note: This installment by David Kalas is from 2004.
When Will They Ever Learn? -- Isaiah 55:1-9, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9 -- Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Are you paying attention?
Occasions for Rejoicing -- Joshua 5:9-12, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sund
Moving Forward in God's Love -- John 12:1-8, Philippians 3:4b-14, Isaiah 43:16-21 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2019
We are moving rapidly toward the end of Jesus’ earthly life.
Passion for Life -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14--23:56 -- David Coffin -- Passion Sunday - C -- 2019
In this season of spiritual growth, one difficult test of faith is when a cherished matriarch of an
The Love God Creates Makes Life Better -- Job 1:1; 2:1-10, Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16, Psalm 26 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27 - B -- 2018
All the lessons for this Sunday will lead to reflections on the love of God – in creation, human nat

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

Dean Feldmeyer
Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Ron Love
Thomas Willadsen
George Reed
Bethany Peerbolte
For May 26, 2019:
  • Everybody Into The Pool! by Dean Feldmeyer — There are all kinds of paralyses, some of which effect the body.
  • Paul’s Frequent Flyer Miles by Mary Austin — Like today’s diplomats, Paul travels many miles in pursuit of a greater cause. He has good news to offer, which we hope our diplomats can offer, too.

StoryShare

Keith Wagner
Contents
“The Nurturing Trait of Faith” by Keith Wagner
“Destinations Unknown” by Keith Wagner


The Nurturing Trait of Faith
by Keith Wagner
Psalm 67

When Paul met up with Lydia and some other women who were praying and worshipping in Philippi, they were inspired by his words. Lydia was baptized and insisted that Paul be a guest in her home, signifying her passion for the faith.

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Kalas
Perhaps on this holiday weekend, which culturally marks the beginning of summer, it is right for us to think of the image of coming and going. People traditionally do a lot of coming and going during the summer.  The change in season combines with the relief from school schedules to make it rather common for folks to do much of their traveling and vacationing during the summer months. You and I as pastors will no doubt have to endure a lot of coming and going that may reflect itself in a dip in attendance.
Bonnie Bates
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Bob Ove
Mark Ellingsen
Ron Love

Acts 16:9-15

CSSPlus

Arley K. Fadness
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (v. 26)

Hello children,

I am so glad to see you this morning. Know why? It's a time for worship. And more than that, I get to tell you good news. The good news from John's gospel today, is about a very special friend who is here with us today.

But first, how many of you have friends? (children respond)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Jenny was having fun. Her friend Martha had brought a graphical calculator into school. Martha had borrowed the calculator from her older brother, who used it for his advanced maths. He'd been off school for a week, so Martha had figured he wouldn't need his calculator for a while. She and Jenny had soon discovered a great bowling game hidden in the depths of the calculator, and Jenny, to her excitement had just reached level three.

SermonStudio

Richard E. Zajac
... do not let your hearts be troubled...

Unfortunately, Maalox moments seem to outnumber peaceful moments. I offer a few reasons why.

__________

Special Occasion