Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 14:07:51

Comment

Last week, food was the issue. This week, it's water. In each deliverance scenario, there are people who are sure that they're going to die. Then God comes through. Then the next crisis hits, and suddenly the cyclical nature of these narratives becomes evident. What is the real issue at the Sea, when Pharoah's army is bearing down? What is the real issue when the Israelites are hungry? When they are thirsty? I think each of these stories brings us to the same question: "Can I trust God?" Can I? -Dale in Chattanooga


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 16:50:52

Comment

I think you are right about the trust in God, but also I think in all of this is a message about trying to get it right. God's abundant love does quit on us, when we fail to put our trust in God. Nancy-Wi.

There is a nice story about a penny circulating that might work as an illustration. Tomorrow I will try to find it and post it. Nancy-Wi


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 17:59:40

Comment

To answer you question, Dale, yes, you can trust in God. In every instance that the Isrealites were sure of their deaths, God always came through. They should stop worrying and realize that God will always provide. -E. in Wisconsin


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 09:04:45

Comment

Hey It's fifth Sunday, so preacher get's that day off. I am just browsing this week to nurture me...and reading your points, that God gave you. Pastor Mary in OH


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 09:27:33

Comment

Subject: A Penny! I really like this message. I think I will do the same! > >> > >Subject: GOD'S PENNY >Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the>weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was> nervous >about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the>water-way, and cars costing more than her house. The first day and> evening >went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into>how the>very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a> host,> and>took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have> the>opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying>herself immensely. As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive>restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of>Arlene and>her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a> long,>silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There> was>nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had>dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached and>picked>up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if> he>had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a>single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? >Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could> stand >it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a >coin >collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some valuable.>A>smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the>penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennys before! What was>the point of this? "Look at it." He said. "Read what it says." She> read>the>words "United States of America." > >> > >"No, not that; read further." > >> > >"One cent?" > >> > >"No, keep reading." > >> > >"In God we Trust?" > >> > >"Yes!" > >> > >"And?" >"And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin.> Whenever I>find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single> United>States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message >right > in>front of me telling me to trust Him! Who am I to pass it by? When I> see a>coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I> pick>the>coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him.. For a short> time, at>least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I > >> > >think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me lucky for>me,God>is>patient and pennies are plentiful!" When I was out shopping today, I found>a>penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that>I had>been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I can not change.>I> read>the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the>message.>It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in> the>last>few months, but then, pennies are plentiful...And God is patient...


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 09:28:44

Comment

Sorry previous post should be signed Nancy-Wi


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 12:16:12

Comment

I thought I'd do the Gospel, but I dunno -- it's a tough one to work with. I did the epistle 3 yrs. ago, so may go with Exodus lesson after all this year. I preached on a similar one 3 yrs. ago, except the issue was food (maybe last week's lection?) . . . I was off lectionary last week, preaching in reference to Kairos prison ministry (using John 8:31-36) so the lex didn't enter into my thinking for last Sunday.

Dave K. in Ohio


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 12:37:42

Comment

Yep, I'm gonna go for it -- Exodus text. Got my sermon title ... "Out of the Rock." Nice double entendre, for "the Rock" = the Lord. . . . could get into "Living Water" at some point, too.

dave k. in ohio


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 17:36:45

Comment

An idea I had on how to relate the image of water flowing from a rock in the desert came to me yesterday: A program called workology on CBC Radio on Monday morning had a piece about water coolers.You know those places in offices where you go for a drink and a chat. Watercoolers date back to the late 1800's, it was said, and they fulfill a very important function in an office. All people drink and need water (unlike coffee), and so the water cooler is the best place for conversation with co-workers. It's at the water cooler that people will talk about things that really matter to them, or worry them, or they feel good about. It's a break, in the sense of breaking the routine of a monotenous job at a desk. An opportunity to perhaps complain about that very job, about the supervisor or the company owner. A chance to share problems you're having with software. A chance to complain about the weather, or discuss plans for the weekend. A place also to talk to your colleague about the death of a family member, or problems with friends.... In short, the water coolers of the nation fulfill a very important sociological/workological/pastoral funcion. We all need water. We all need to talk and be listend to. Perhaps we all need to complain at times...We all need someone to share our problems with.... Funny isn't it, because that's what church can and should be. A place to cry out our Kyrie, Lord have mercy; a Sabbath break from the work week. A place to share our problems, our joys and sorrows. A place to find a listening ear, but also a place to listen ourselves. Church is the place and the time where we gather around the one who said: "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink" (Jn. 7:37-38). Church is the place where we enter through water, where the water of Baptism makes you a member of the company and where the font is a constant reminder of God's grace. It's the water cooler where God will listen, and where God will speak. It's where our conversation focusses on what really matters, on life and death, on grief and relief, on praise and lament, on bitterness and forgiveness, on God and us. The Israelites in the desert quarreled and tested the LORD, saying: "Is the LORD among us or not?" In the church we confess: "Yes the LORD is among us. Christ Jesus is here. The Spirit blows in the wilderness." The rock is Christ, as Paul said (1. Cor.10:4). He gives the water that will truly satisfy, gushing up into eternal life (John 4). Notice that in John 4 it is a water well that occasions a deeply personal discussion and pastoral care by Jesus with the Samaritan woman. That's the kind of place the church can be, should be, and is, if it proclaims Christ. A "water cooler". No better yet, a spring of living water in the desert.

Another idea: last week and this week we've heard about the Israelites complaining to Moses, and, as Moses and Aaron argue and God agrees, complaining to God. For a congregation that's open to some creative sermonizing one might use the "customer complaint line" scenario: Have a telephone in the pulpit (a cell phone?) and have it ring. The preacher plays the part of God answering the complaint line. He picks up the phone: "The Lord's complaint line. How may I help you?" or something similar. Moses is on the other end. The congregation would only have to hear God's part, if played well. You'd have to really think yourself into the "mind of God" thus giving God's perspective. The technique would illustrate that God really listens when people cry out for water or anything else. That seems to me an important point of the Ex. story. You could then have the LORD phone the Son and explain to him the mission you are going to send him on: to go down, pour himself out, empty himself in human form to quench the desperate thirst of humanity.(Phil. 2) Be creative...Anyway, just a thought... Markus in Canada.


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 13:16:35

Comment

Thanks Marcus for your insight your words greatly helped me as I am working on this sermon. I will use a few thoughts from your comments.


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 19:54:09

Comment

I really liked the idea you shared Markus, eh! Here's something I just wrote up and may use for the children's moment:

Children’s Moment:

An elder, dressed in a robe as God, sits in a chair next to a red telephone line. A tape recorder plays: “Hello, Creation Complaint Line. Press 1 for listen-only mode. This is a free service. Press 2 for non-answered prayer emergencies. Press 3 for complaints, then enter your creation ID number on the keypad." (Telephone digit sounds clanking out an 8 digit number are heard on tape. Then the phone rings, and God picks up the phone.

A one way conversation is then heard by the congregation… Add pauses appropriately for parts where Moses may talk...

God: Hello, Creation Complaint Line, may I help you? Yes sir, you’ve called the right place. OK, OK, slow down there young fella… let me ask a few questions first. Name? Hmmm… Moses… Moses…. Hmmm…... Hey, have you called here before? Ohhhhh yeaaaa. I remember you! OK, just a minute, let me get some parchment...

OK. (sigh) Where are you in God’s Creation? What was that? Your near the state of SIN???? OH… The wilderness of Sin! Yea, yea, I know that place, it’s kinda near Egypt.

OK, what seems to be the problem? No water? People are complaining? Lost your way? Children & livestock are dying? Well, you're on the wrong road. (very concerned now... slowly...) They’re almost ready to stone you?????

Oh boy, we do have a problem, OK, let’s, ummm, ahhh Would you hold for moment? Uh, huh. Thanks.

(God opens an old book, flips through the pages madly, and stops to study one page.)

OK. I’m back. (anxious) What? The stone hit you where? (God touches his temple and looks down as in a trance…) Oh-oh, quick, Moses, duck, quick!!! OK... OK… here’s what you do…

Remember that stick you used with Pharaoh that turned into a snake? Yea, your staff. The one that you used to turn the Nile river red. Yes. Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Uh huh. Uh huh. No. I will be waiting for you at the rock of Horeb. Horeb. H.O.R.E.B. Yea. Take that staff and hit the rock. Yes. Hit it as hard as you can. No, no, no, no, no… your staff won’t break. OK. Here’s the key: when you hit the rock… water will come flowing out… so back up quickly... OK. Good. Thanks Moses, oh, and remember: (God smiles…) Creation Complain Line. You complain. I’ll listen.

- Theologue in California


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 20:01:34

Comment

It seems the question "Is the Lord among us, or not?" is a similar question to the one in the gospel lesson: "By what authority do you do this?" (That is, is God behind what you do, or are you doing this on your own power and authority?)

This can be a genuine question - how do we know whether something is of God? The Israelites in the desert and the Pharisees asked it with a skeptical tone. But whether or not we are skeptical, it is an important question.

This is where I will probably start. Not sure where it will end yet. (God knows...)

DGinNYC


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 20:55:33

Comment

In the present issue of TIME, the one about Abraham, There is a comment about circumcision: "Cut my covenant into your faith. Circumcision was meant as much as a reminder to the Lord as to the Israelites, a kind of Post It Note to exterpate these people."

The water came forth and they named the place Massah and Meribah: more Post-it Notes. Think of all the Stone-Age Post-It Notes. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!

I will give Post - It Notes to the children for a children's sermon, and ask members of the congregation to put Post - It Notes where they see God at work: kitchen window, bird house, the doors on the children's rooms, love notes to the children [no grumbling or testing allowed], cupboard.

Test http://www.ardmoreite.com/stories/041900/liv_ rankin.shtml In this article, Dianne Rankin ranks the invention of the Post-It Note up there with world peace! Yes, World Peace. Where does she get the authority to make such a claim?

Greetings from the Oklahoma Irishman


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 20:57:43

Comment

Sorry. That's "Cut my Covenant into your FLESH."

OK Irishman


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 21:04:07

Comment

Here is that web site again:

http://www.ardmoreite.com/stories/041900/liv_rankin .shtml

OK I


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 19:00:45

Comment

Theologian in Cal. I think I might use your chidren's message as an intro to the Hebrew scripture... Thanks, I have a cell phone so that part will be easy... Nancy-Wi


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 19:47:40

Comment

Thank you for the children's sermon ideas, OK I plus. DGinNYC


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 18:37:08

Comment

THanks for the Penny Story Nancy!

It reminds me of a story my friend tells...

I was invited to help with a baptism for a little baby girl back in a former parish on Sunday, Sept. 15. The baby belongs to two young parents. The new parents wanted to profess that their daughter really belongs to God.

I recalled 10 years ago when I was pastor in Clear Lake. The phone rang in the middle of the night. Rick's mom was calling me. Rick's 7-week-old nephew ? Nathaniel ? had been taken to the emergency room. Something was terribly wrong. Rick's sister and her husband ? Tammy and Burdell ? had rushed their son to the hospital. He wasn't breathing. They left the hospital that night without their son. Nathaniel had died.

It's difficult to know how to cope with such a loss. How do you respond? What can you say? What can you do?

Rick wanted to do something. He was a pitcher for the local baseball team. In the midst of his overwhelming grief he decided to play ball that week. In fact, he decided to dedicate that next game to Nathaniel. He was going to play the game on behalf of his nephew who would never get to play. He was going to win the game for Nathaniel.

It's a dangerous thing to predict a victory in any sport. It's a risky venture to proclaim ? to promise ? a win. Everyone will watch and keep score. But, Rick made his decision known. He promised that the ball team would come home with a win ? for Nathaniel.

I will never forget that night. I was at Tammy and Burdell's house visiting. The front door opened without a knock. Rick rushed in wearing his dirty baseball uniform. I don't remember if there were tears in his eyes at the time. There were tears in my eyes. Rick slammed his clenched fist down on the coffee table. His hand left behind a baseball. He had pitched an unbelievable game. He kept his promise.

That baseball is a symbol of great love. It was won with single-minded dedication. That baseball is a reminder of a promise kept.

Rick and Carrie made promises at their daughter's baptism. The whole church made promises. We vowed to raise Brooklyn as a Christian. It's a risky venture to proclaim ? to promise ? that outcome. Everyone will watch. Some will keep score. It will take single-minded dedication. It will take great love. I pray that any time we see water it will remind us of God's great love and our promises to live faithfully.

My friend Kip Roozen shares that story... in his newsletter this month...

pulpitt in ND


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 18:44:27

Comment

Markus in Canada, thanks for your "THOUGHT"... pretty much wrote MY sermon! THanks! I called mine "The Shape of Water"... a preacher friend shared on Tuesday in our text study that no matter what you put water in it fills any space... completely... somewhat like God's love!

Thanks for the OT contributions...

pulpitt in ND