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Emphasis Preaching Journal

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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Mirror, Mirror, On The Shelf -- Matthew 21:23-32, Philippians 2:1-13, Exodus 17:1-7 -- David Kalas -- Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26 - A -- 2020
The mirror on the wall gets a lot of looks.
Calling New Disciples -- Matthew 4:1-11, Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19 -- Sandra Herrmann -- First Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
The scriptures for today bind together the beginning of sin in the world, our salvation from sin, an
Not As Entitled As You Think -- Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27 - A -- 2020
“Me and the man upstairs have an understanding.”
Worthwhile Journey -- Genesis 12:1-4a, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, Matthew 17:1-9 -- David Coffin -- Second Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
It is the second Sunday in Lent!
A God Who Defies Our Expectations -- Matthew 22:1-14, Philippians 4:1-9, Exodus 32:1-14 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28 - A -- 2020
Celebrations with an awesome God, focusing on a God who defies our expectations.
Overcoming Objections -- Exodus 17:1-7, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Third Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
The Black Angel. That’s what Michael Christopher calls Herman Engel in his famous play.
If We Ask, God Will Lead Us -- Exodus 33:12-23, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Proper 24 | Ordinary Time 29 - A -- 2020
E.
Vision Test -- 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41 -- David Kalas -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Samuel was clearly impressed by what he saw.  But the question is, what could he actually see?
Living the Book -- Deuteronomy 34:1-12, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46 -- David Coffin -- Proper 25 | Ordinary Time 30 - A -- 2020
In the 2010 dystopian movie entitled Book of Eli (starring Denzel Washington), the main cha
Rise and Shine -- Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45 -- Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Eternal life. Real life.
Witnesses -- Joshua 3:7-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, Matthew 23:1-12 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 26 | Ordinary Time 31 - A -- 2020
Abraham Kuyper served two terms as prime minister of the Netherlands in the early 20th century.
God’s Love Shines Through the Cross and Changes Us -- Matthew 26:14--27:66, Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 27:11-54 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Passion Sunday - A -- 2020
God’s love shines through the cross and changes us.
Us and Them -- Matthew 5:1-12, Revelation 7:9-17, 1 John 3:1-3 -- David Kalas -- All Saints Day - A -- 2020
You have no doubt seen, as I have, the lingering effect of the songs that are sung at a loved one’s
Just Love One Another -- John 13:1-17, 31b-35, Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Maundy Thursday - A -- 2020
If your congregation(s) are typical for these United States, you’re possibly combining the Last Supp
Ready or Not! -- Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32 - A -- 2020
Okay, perhaps Ferris Bueller is not a biblical prophet, yet the longevity of the 1986 film Ferri
Purposeful Passion -- John 18:1--19:42, Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9, Psalm 22 -- David Coffin -- Good Friday - A -- 2020
In the 2002 movie Gran Torino Clint Eastwood plays the recently widowed and disgruntled ret
Sometimes God Defies the World’s Expectations -- Matthew 25:14-30, Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 28 | Ordinary Time 33 - A -- 2020
Serving God his way, noting how God sometimes defies the world’s expectations.
Transformation -- John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:1-10, Acts 10:34-43, Jeremiah 31:1-6, Colossians 3:1-4 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Easter Day - A -- 2020
Second chances are important to us.
How to Arrive -- Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Christ The King (Proper 29) - A -- 2020
Welcome to the end of the Christian year.
What Now? -- John 20:19-31, Acts 2:14a, 22-32, 1 Peter 1:3-9 -- David Kalas -- Second Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Last week felt very much like a climax.
Remembering our Testing -- Deuteronomy 8:7-18, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Luke 17:11-19 -- David Coffin -- Thanksgiving Day - A -- 2020
Three generations of family are gathering for their traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.
What Does It Take? -- Luke 24:13-35, Acts 2:14a, 36-41, 1 Peter 1:17-23 -- Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
What does it take to become the church? Where is Jesus to be found in our midst?
Advent Calendars -- Mark 13:24-37, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Isaiah 64:1-9 -- David Kalas -- First Sunday of Advent - B -- 2020
For all the years that I have been a parent, I have taken pleasure in buying Advent calendars for ou
We Need God In Charge of Our Lives -- John 10:1-10, 1 Peter 2:19-25, Acts 2:42-47 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
God takes charge!
Rites, Rituals, and a Royal Procession -- Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8, 2 Peter 3:8-15a -- Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday of Advent - B -- 2020
Back in the 80’s, when I pastored a multiracial church in Chicago, there was one African American fa

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 Christmas 2 (2020) -- Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:(1-9) 10-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Second Sunday after Christmas - A -- 2020
Jeremiah 31:7-14
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2020) -- Isaiah 42:1-9, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-17 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 42:1-9
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 (2020) -- Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 49:1-7
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 3 (2020) -- Isaiah 9:1-4, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 9:1-4
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 4 | OT 4 (2020) -- Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - A -- 2020
Micah 6:1-8
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 5 (2020) -- Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12), 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16), Matthew 5:13-20 -- Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 (2020) -- Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Matthew 5:21-37 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - A -- 2020
Sirach 15:15-20
Sermon Illustrations For Transfiguration Sunday (2020) -- Exodus 24:12-18, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9 -- Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Transfiguration Sunday - A -- 2020
Exodus 24:12-18
Sermon Illustrations For Ash Wednesday (2020) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Isaiah 58:1-12 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Ash Wednesday - A -- 2020
Joel 2:1-2,12-17 
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 1 (2020) -- Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11 -- Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas -- First Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 32
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 2 (2020) -- Genesis 12:1-4a, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17, Psalm 121 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 121
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 3 (2020) -- Exodus 17:1-7, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42, Psalm 95 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 95
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 4 (2020) -- 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41, Psalm 23 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, M Adryael Tong, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 23
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 5 (2020) -- Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45, Psalm 130 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 130
Sermon Illustrations For Passion Sunday (2020) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26:14--27:66, Psalm 31:9-16, Matthew 27:11-54 -- Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Passion Sunday - A -- 2020
Psalm 31:9-16
Sermon Illustrations For Maundy Thursday (2020) -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, M Adryael Tong -- Maundy Thursday - A -- 2020
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Sermon Illustrations For Good Friday (2020) -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42, Psalm 22 -- Bonnie Bates, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, M Adryael Tong -- Good Friday - A -- 2020
Psalm 22
Sermon Illustrations For Easter Sunday (2020) -- Acts 10:34-43, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, M Adryael Tong -- Easter Day - A -- 2020
Acts 10:34-43
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 2 (2020) -- Acts 2:14a, 22-32, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Second Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Acts 2:14a, 22-32:
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 3 (2020) -- Acts 2:14a, 36-41, 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, M Adryael Tong -- Third Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 4 (2020) -- Acts 2:42-47, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10, Psalm 23 -- Bonnie Bates, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, M Adryael Tong, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Psalm 23
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 5 (2020) -- Acts 7:55-60, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, M Adryael Tong, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Acts 7:55-60
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 6 (2020) -- Acts 17:22-31, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21 -- Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, M Adryael Tong -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Act 17:22-31
Sermon Illustrations for Ascension of the Lord (2020) -- Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, M Adryael Tong, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Ascension of the Lord - A -- 2020
Acts 1:1-11
Sermon Illustrations For Easter 7 (2020) -- Acts 1:6-14, 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11, John 17:1-11 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - A -- 2020
Acts 1:6-14

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

Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Dean Feldmeyer
Thomas Willadsen
George Reed
For December 6, 2020:
  • Hype Man for Disruption by Mary Austin — John the Baptist kicks off Mark’s gospel as the hype man for Jesus, drawing the crowds out to the Jordan River, and proclaiming that something new is coming.
  • Second Thoughts: We Need A Little Comfort by Chris Keating — Isaiah declares the promised tenderness of a God who has heard the cries of suffering and whose comfort is beyond measure.

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Frank Ramirez
Back in the 80’s, when I pastored a multiracial church in Chicago, there was one African American family with Cajun roots who had the tradition of preparing a huge pot of filé gumbo every Christmas Eve. Gumbo includes just about everything imaginable, and all the flavors slosh around to create something even greater than all the great stuff that goes into it.
Bonnie Bates
Bill Thomas
Ron Love
Mark Ellingsen
Frank Ramirez
Isaiah 40:1-11
Wilfred Brimley died on August 1, 2020, at the age of 85. The actor was gruff and burly, yet very lovable. His best-known movie role was in Cocoon. Others may remember him for his Quaker Oats commercials with his famous tagline, “It’s the right thing to do.” He was also in the movies The Natural, The China Syndrome, and played Shannen Doherty’s grandfather on NBC’s Our House. Once when he was asked how he prepares for a role, Brimley replied, “I get up in the morning and I get dressed.”

StoryShare

Keith Hewitt
C. David Mckirachan
Contents
“The Estranged” by Keith Hewitt
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” by C. David McKirachan


The Estranged
by Keith Hewitt
Isaiah 40:1-11

CSSPlus

John Jamison
Note: This sermon is the second in a series you can continue through Advent. This is a great opportunity to have some fun with the children as you lead up to Christmas. The series is designed to end on Christmas Eve, but you can end it on the 4th Sunday of Advent if you do not have a children’s cermon on Christmas Eve. The most important part of this series is that the more fun you have with it, the more fun everyone else will have too!

Objects: You will need three objects:

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Sam was the envy of all his friends. His dad was a farmer, so he drove a tractor. On rare occasions Sam was allowed to sit in the tractor cab and even help drive.

Sam's dad was entering a ploughing competition, so he was spending quite a lot of time in the tractor practising ploughing in straight lines.

SermonStudio

Wesley T. Runk
(Appropriate for Advent)

Elizabeth Achtemeier
To understand this rich passage, the preacher must first understand its setting. Historically, this is the message addressed to the Judean exiles in Babylonia, between 550 and 538 B.C., and it takes the place of the call of the prophet known as Second Isaiah, who is himself among the exiles. That prophet's preaching is found in Isaiah 40-55.
Robert J. Elder
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.
-- Mark 1:1a

The four gospels each have very different ways of introducing the story about Jesus. Matthew begins his gospel with a long genealogy, tracing Jesus' lineage -- "son of David, son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1-16) from the time of Abraham through fourteen generations, through the line of Mary's husband, Joseph, all the way to Jesus.

Special Occasion