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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

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
Scandalous behavior! -- Exodus 20:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, John 2:13-22 -- Robert A. Beringer -- Third Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
Note: This piece was originally published in 1994.
An Upside-Down World -- Job 23:1-9, 16-17, Hebrews 4:12-16, Mark 10:17-31, Psalm 22:1-15 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28 - B -- 2018
Søren Kierkegaard once wrote of a strange break‑in at a large store in his native Denmark where the
The Crisis That Changed Everything -- Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
One of the German army prison camps during World War II was divided into two sections.
Hearing God's Voice -- Job 38:1-7 (34-41), Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45 -- David Coffin -- Proper 24 | Ordinary Time 29 - B -- 2018
It is a dark, damp, raining Wednesday night in a certain pastor’s church study.
Can We Forgive God? -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1--15:47, Mark 15:1-39 (40-47) -- Sandra Herrmann -- Passion Sunday - B -- 2018
Welcome to Holy Week!
Turn Away From A False View -- Job 42:1-6, 10-17, Hebrews 7:23-28, Mark 10:46-52 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 25 | Ordinary Time 30 - B -- 2018
Most translations have it wrong. Job doesn’t repent in dust and ashes.
How God gets us to love him -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Maundy Thursday - B -- 2018
The theme common to these texts for Maundy Thursday is to consider what God does to get us to love h
Christ conquers death -- Isaiah 25:6-9, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44 -- Mark J. Molldrem, Elizabeth Achtemeier -- All Saints Day - B -- 2018
Note: Because of a scheduling error, we are highlighting this commentary from 2000 by Mark J.
The tomb was sealed and the men went home -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Good Friday - B -- 2018
As we come to Good Friday, I am reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Values clarification -- Ruth 1:1-18, Hebrews 9:11-14, Mark 12:28-34, Psalm 146 -- David Kalas -- Proper 26 | Ordinary Time 31 - B -- 2018
Note: Because of a scheduling error, we are highlighting this commentary from 2006 by David Kala
'Tis Pleasant to Repeat -- Isaiah 25:6-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18 -- David Kalas -- Easter Day - B -- 2018
Paul’s starting place in 1 Corinthians 15 is our starting place on Easter Sunday.
Turn of Fortune -- Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32 - B -- 2018
In 1954, Marcelle Maurtette wrote a play called Anastasia.
The Goodness of God -- Acts 3:12-19, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Third Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Historically the Third Sunday of Easter has been a Sunday to celebrate the Goodness of God.
God's Entrance -- 1 Samuel 1:4-20, Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25, Mark 13:1-8 -- David Coffin -- Proper 28 | Ordinary Time 33 - B -- 2018
Another cold, autumn Wednesday evening as the sun sets early and the church council gathers into the
God's love pursues us relentlessly -- Acts 4:5-12, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
The after-Easter scriptures are wonderful to preach.
Three Impossible Things Before Breakfast -- Joel 2:21-27, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Matthew 6:25-33, Psalm 126 -- Frank Ramirez -- Thanksgiving Day - B -- 2018
In the book “Through the Looking Glass,” by Lewis Carroll, the chess pieces come to life, including
Do You Understand? -- Acts 8:26-40, 1 John 4:7-21, John 15:1-8 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
“If you don’t know where you are going,” says an ancient source, “any road will get you there.”
Living on purpose -- John 20:19-31, 1 John 1:1-2:2, Acts 4:32-35 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Second Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Note: This installment is from the Emphasis archives.

Christ and His Love are In Charge -- 2 Samuel 23:1-7, Revelation 1:4b-8, John 18:33-37, Psalm 132:1-12 (13-18) -- Mark Ellingsen -- Christ The King (Proper 29) - B -- 2018
The theme for the final Sunday of the church year is a reminder that Christ already reigns!
All in the family -- Acts 10:44-48, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17 -- Frank Ramirez -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
The three scriptures are tied together by the idea that through Jesus Christ we create new bonds of
Beginnings -- Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11 -- Wayne Brouwer -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - B -- 2018
In 1954, Marcelle Maurtette wrote a play called Anastasia.
Advent Values -- Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36 -- David Coffin -- First Sunday of Advent - C -- 2018
It is the end of the year meeting for a ladies church group, who faithfully congregates in the churc
God does not abandon us -- Acts 1:15-17, 21-26, 1 John 5:9-13, John 17:6-19 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Transpiring in the week when the Festival of Jesus’ Ascension is commemorated, it is not surprising
God is with us everywhere -- 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - B -- 2018
In accord with the Epiphany season, all the lessons deal with the issue of where God is to be found,

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 Baptism of Our Lord (2018) -- Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11 -- Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - B -- 2018
Genesis 1:1-5
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 2 (2018) -- 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - B -- 2018
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 3 (2018) -- Jonah 3:1-5, 10, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - B -- 2018
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 4 (2018) -- Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28 -- Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - B -- 2018
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 5 (2018) -- Isaiah 40:21-31, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - B -- 2018
Isaiah 40:21-31
Sermon Illustrations for The Transfiguration (2018) -- 2 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9 -- Bonnie Bates, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - B -- 2018
2 Kings 2:1-12
Sermon Illustrations for Ash Wednesday (2018) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Isaiah 58:1-12 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Ash Wednesday - B -- 2018
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 1 (2018) -- Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:9-15 -- Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates -- First Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
Genesis 9:8-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 2 (2018) -- Mark 8:31-38, Romans 4:13-25, Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Derl G. Keefer -- Second Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018

Genesis 17:1-7 15-16
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 3 (2018) -- John 2:13-22, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Exodus 20:1-17 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
Exodus 20:1-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 4 (2018) -- John 3:14-21, Ephesians 2:1-10, Numbers 21:4-9 -- Bob Ove, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
Numbers 21:4-9
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 5 (2018) -- John 12:20-33, Hebrews 5:5-10, Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2018
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Sermon Illustrations for Passion/Palm Sunday (2018) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1--15:47 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Ron Love -- Passion Sunday - B -- 2018
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Sermon Illustrations for Maundy Thursday (2018) -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates -- Maundy Thursday - B -- 2018
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
Sermon Illustrations for Good Friday (2018) -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42 -- Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen -- Good Friday - B -- 2018
Isaiah 52:13-55:12
Sermon Illustrations for Easter Day (2018) -- Isaiah 25:6-9, Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18 -- Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Easter Day - B -- 2018
Acts 10:34-43
Sermon Illustrations for Second Sunday of Easter (2018) -- Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 1:1--2:2, John 20:19-31 -- Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love -- Second Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 4:32-35
Sermon Illustrations for the Third Sunday of Easter (2018) -- Acts 3:12-19, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love -- Third Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 3:12-19
Sermon Illustrations for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (2018) -- Acts 4:5-12, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Ron Love -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 4:5-12
Sermon Illustrations for the Fifth Sunday after Easter (2018) -- John 15:1-8, 1 John 4:7-21, Acts 8:26-40 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 8:26-40
Sermon Illustrations for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (2018) -- Acts 10:44-48, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 10:44-48
Sermon Illustrations for the Seventh Sunday of Easter (2018) -- Acts 1:15-17, 21-26, 1 John 5:9-13, John 17:6-19 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - B -- 2018
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Sermon Illustrations for Pentecost (2018) -- Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:22-27, John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Day of Pentecost - B -- 2018
Acts 2:1-21
Sermon Illustrations for Trinity Sunday (2018) -- Isaiah 6:1-8, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Ron Love -- Trinity Sunday | 1st Sunday after Pentecost - B -- 2018
Psalm 29
Illustrations for Proper 4 | Ordinary Time 9 (2018) -- Mark 2:23--3:6, 2 Corinthians 4:5-12, 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Ron Love -- Proper 4 | Ordinary Time 9 - B -- 2018
1 Samuel 3:1-10

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
Our call for freedom -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
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

New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Thomas Willadsen
Christopher Keating
Dean Feldmeyer
Mary Austin
Ron Love
George Reed
Bethany Peerbolte
For December 16, 2018:
  • Joice Again! by Tom Willadsen -- Rejoice! I can’t hear you, rejoice!! Joice again. “Joice” isn’t a verb in English, but “rejoice” is. Oh, and rejoicing is commanded. Just take a look at the Philippians reading.

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Bill Thomas
Bob Ove
Mark Ellingsen
Bonnie Bates
Frank Ramirez
Ron Love
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Wow, how can things get any better. God has not only taken our punishment, he has turned back our enemy. What more can we ask. We shouldn’t have to fear anything. God says this to Jerusalem. Can this apply to America also?

Isn’t it love that takes away our worry? When we were little kids we didn’t worry about anything as long as our parents were near us. God is bigger and more powerful.

David Kalas
My wife, who thrives on organization, has a motto: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” It’s an expression of her passion for keeping a room, a house, or a garage orderly. But I think the principle extends still further. It goes beyond just physical spaces. For what is true of cupboards and closets is even more profoundly true of a human life.

StoryShare

David O. Bales
Contents
“A Rainy Road To The Jordan” by David O. Bales
“A Freshman Experience” by David O. Bales


A Rainy Road To The Jordan
by David O. Bales
Luke 3:7-18

CSSPlus

Arley K. Fadness
“...but one who is more powerful than I is coming..” (V. 16a)

Good morning girls, good morning boys!

My, it’s so fun to see you today.  Happy Advent! Know why I (say, sing, shout, chant) Happy Advent? (children may respond)

Advent means “a coming.” Something or somebody is coming. Just around the corner. Know what it is? (children respond)

Yep. It’s Christmas, and John the Baptist is here to help. (show sketch)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
I've had many reports of the Remembrance Sunday service held at Dickleburgh (in Norfolk, England) this year, mostly about the preacher. Since Dickleburgh has a historic connection with the Americans from the time of Second World War, they always invite the American Air Base at Mildenhall in Suffolk to join them for the service, and always invite the current American air force chaplain to preach.

SermonStudio

Robert S. Crilley
On the Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving, when I was in seventh grade, it began to snow. It started slowly and undramatically -- much like any number of other snows I had experienced growing up in Detroit. The sky turned the shade of dirty wool and the flakes danced through the wind as in one of those glass balls that you invert. Little by little the sidewalks whitened, and soon the neighborhood was alive with the rasping sound of shovels. Before long the roads were filled and you could no longer see the curb.

Special Occasion