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Emphasis Preaching Journal

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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

United in the Grace of Christ -- 2 Samuel 19:5-9, 15, 31-33, Ephesians 4:25--5:2, John 6:35, 41-51 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 14 | Ordinary Time 19 - B -- 2021
2 Samuel 19:5-9, 15, 31-33
Relating to God -- 1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43, Ephesians 6:10-20, John 6:56-69 -- David Coffin -- Proper 16 | Ordinary Time 21 - B -- 2021
It is another summer slump time for Sunday worship attendance at old “First Church.” Every year, be
Becoming Children of God -- Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11 -- Sandra Herrmann -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - B -- 2021
In following Jesus, there are many choices that must be made.
Honesty -- Song of Solomon 2:8-13, James 1:17-27, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22 - B -- 2021
Sometimes society asks us to judge with care our words.
Enlightenment Expectations -- 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20), 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51 -- David Coffin -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - B -- 2021
What can we reasonably expect from the church during troubling times such as pandemics, economic dow
The Tragic Agnostic -- 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13, Psalm 48 -- David Kalas -- Proper 9 | Ordinary Time 14 - B -- 2021
Note: This installment was originally published July 9, 2006.
The Poor and Their Maker -- Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23, James 2:1-10 (11-13) 14-17, Mark 7:24-37 -- David Kalas -- Proper 18 | Ordinary Time 23 - B -- 2021
How close are you to poverty? We might answer that question in a variety of ways.
Imperative -- 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20, Jonah 3:1-5, 10 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - B -- 2021
Recently, British researchers discovered that 42 percent of the church-goers in that country fall as
A Secret Out in the Open -- Proverbs 1:20-33, James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24 - B -- 2021
We live in an age where some people believe there are outlandish conspiracies and arcane secrets.
In the Background -- Mark 1:21-28, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Deuteronomy 18:15-20 -- David Kalas -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - B -- 2021
Perhaps you have someone in your family or friend group who is fond of photobombing.
It Takes God To Get Our Relationships Right -- Proverbs 31:10-31, James 3:13--4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25 - B -- 2021
Proverbs 31:10-31
Witnesses -- Acts 3:12-19, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Third Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Note: This installment was originally published for April 22, 2012.
The Personality of a Personal God -- Isaiah 40:21-31, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39 -- Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - B -- 2021
These three scriptures tell us much about how personal God is, and how personal we are to treat each
Christ and His Love Be Glorified -- 2 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Transfiguration Sunday - B -- 2021
2 Kings 2:1-12
Planning for the Future One Day at a Time -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Ash Wednesday - B -- 2021
Have a good Lent.
Sober counsel -- 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58, Psalm 111 -- David Kalas -- Proper 15 | Ordinary Time 20 - B -- 2021
Note: This installment was originally published in 2006.
Living Our Baptism During Lent -- Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:9-15 -- David Coffin -- First Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
The season of Lent is a time to grow in our faith by means of taking our baptism vows seriously (be
Transformation -- Mark 8:31-38, Romans 4:13-25, Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Second Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Pictu
The Ways of God -- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Exodus 20:1-17, John 2:13-22 -- David Kalas -- Third Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
At the beginning of his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, John Milton articulates a part of his t
Rescue or Ruin? -- Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21 -- Frank Ramirez -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
It seems obvious if we had a choice, we would choose rescue over ruin. Right?
With God, You Get More Than What You Asked For -- John 12:20-33, Hebrews 5:5-10, Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Jeremiah 31:31-34
God Will Use Our Changes -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1--15:47 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Passion Sunday - B -- 2021
This is a difficult Sunday for many in our congregations.
Delivery Dinner -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- David Coffin -- Maundy Thursday - B -- 2021
In a particular German ethnic county, spring is the time for confirmation parties, easily identified
Faces at a Funeral -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, John 18:1--19:42, Hebrews 10:16-25 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Good Friday - B -- 2021
Today is Good Friday. Or Death Day. Or the day of tragedy.
A Whole New World -- Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18 -- Frank Ramirez -- Easter Day - B -- 2021
This year’s scripture texts invite us to proclaim not only that Jesus is risen, but that the resurre

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 (2021) -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46 -- Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- New Year's Day - B -- 2021
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Sermon Illustrations for Christmas 2 (2021) -- Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:(1-9) 10-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Second Sunday after Christmas - B -- 2021
Jeremiah 31:7-14
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany of Our Lord (2016) -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany of the Lord - B -- 2021
Isaiah 60:1-6
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2021) -- Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - B -- 2021
Genesis 1:1-5
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 2 (2021) -- 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - B -- 2021
1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 3 (2021) -- Jonah 3:1-5, 10, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - B -- 2021
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 4 (2021) -- Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28 -- Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - B -- 2021
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 5 (2021) -- Isaiah 40:21-31, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - B -- 2021
Isaiah 40:21-31
Sermon Illustrations for The Transfiguration (2021) -- 2 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9 -- Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - B -- 2021
2 Kings 2:1-12
Sermon Illustrations for Ash Wednesday (2021) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Isaiah 58:1-12 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Ash Wednesday - B -- 2021
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 1 (2021) -- Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:9-15 -- Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates -- First Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Genesis 9:8-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 2 (2021) -- Mark 8:31-38, Romans 4:13-25, Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 3 (2021) -- John 2:13-22, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Exodus 20:1-17 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Exodus 20:1-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 4 (2021) -- John 3:14-21, Ephesians 2:1-10, Numbers 21:4-9 -- Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Numbers 21:4-9
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 5 (2021) -- John 12:20-33, Hebrews 5:5-10, Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2021
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Sermon Illustrations for Passion Sunday (2021) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1--15:47 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates -- Passion Sunday - B -- 2021
Isaiah 50:4-9
Sermon Illustrations for Maundy Thursday (2021) -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates -- Maundy Thursday - B -- 2021
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
Sermon Illustrations for Good Friday (2021) -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42 -- Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen -- Good Friday - B -- 2021
Isaiah 52:13--53:12
Sermon Illustrations for Easter Day (2021) -- Isaiah 25:6-9, Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Easter Day - B -- 2021
Acts 10:34-43
Sermon Illustrations for Second Sunday of Easter (2021) -- Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 1:1--2:2, John 20:19-31 -- Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Acts 4:32-35
Sermon Illustrations for the Third Sunday of Easter (2021) -- Acts 3:12-19, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Acts 3:12-19
Sermon Illustrations for Easter 4 (2021) -- Acts 4:5-12, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Acts 4:5-12
Sermon Illustrations for the Fifth Sunday after Easter (2021) -- John 15:1-8, 1 John 4:7-21, Acts 8:26-40 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Acts 8:26-40
Sermon Illustrations for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (2021) -- Acts 10:44-48, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2021
Acts 10:44-48
Sermon Illustrations for Ascension of the Lord (2021) -- Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Ascension of the Lord - B -- 2021
Acts 1:1-11

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

Thomas Willadsen
Dean Feldmeyer
Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Katy Stenta
George Reed
Quantisha Mason-Doll
For September 26, 2021:
  • The Price of Admission by Tom Willadsen — Is the price of admission into the kingdom of God an arm and a leg? Or rather, a foot, hand and eye?
  • Second Thoughts: Why Pray? by Dean Feldmeyer — God answers prayer in God’s way, which, sometimes coincides with our desires — and sometimes doesn't.

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Bonnie Bates
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Mark Ellingsen
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Timothy B. Cargal
Note: Originally published in 2003.

StoryShare

John E. Sumwalt
Frank Ramirez
Contents
“Speaking Tender” by John Sumwalt
“The Tables are Turned” by Frank Ramirez


Speaking Tender
by John Sumwalt
Mark 9:38-50, James 5:13-20

If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck, and you were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

CSSPlus

John Jamison
Object: A saltshaker, a stone, glue, salt, and a knife to scrape the stone. For the salt stone, I used a stone about the size of an apple, but you can use any size large enough to show. Many of the original ones would have been bigger. To make our salt stone, cover the stone with glue and then roll it in a pan of salt. Repeat that a few times until there is a visible coating of salt over at least part of the stone, and let it dry.

* * *

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Praxis, the pixie who changed colour according to his feelings, was a bright and healthy pink. He looked so good and so happy with himself that everyone who saw him couldn't help smiling. The fact was, he'd been chosen for a very important job.

SermonStudio

William W. Helland
Mark 9:38-50

Sue Anne Steffey Morrow
On a cold and dark March night during my first year at Princeton as assistant dean of the chapel, I left our little home on the edge of the campus to go back to my office. I had a lot of things to accomplish and imagined that the quiet and solitude of the office would be the best place to work. As I approached our office building, Murray-Dodge Hall, I was surprised to see that it was all lit up and I began to hear the sounds of a ruckus. I came through the door and into a lobby to the middle of an astonishing party, a celebration of some sort or another.
James R. Wilson
Call To Worship
Leader: Let all who would proclaim God's word gather now for worship!
People: For we live in a hostile world with many who would silence the Gospel.
Leader: And thus it has always been, as Satan would keep us from God's love.
People: But the Lord will not be defeated, and God's word will be heard.
Leader: Then let us commit our lives to proclaiming God's mercy and love.
All: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Collect

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