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Sermon Illustrations for Advent 4 (2015)

Illustration
Micah 5:2-5a
Many years ago I attended a congregational renewal workshop led by one of the most prominent church consultants of the era. During a coffee break I noticed the consultant standing in line behind me. I asked him, “What is the most important thing in church renewal?” Without hesitation he answered with one word: “Leadership.” I did not have the opportunity to ask my follow-up question: “And what does a good leader do?”
UPCOMING WEEKS
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Proper 5 | OT 10 | Pent. 2
20 – Sermons
90+ – Illustrations / Stories
26 – Children's Sermons / Resources
20 – Worship Resources
20 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Proper 6 | OT 11 | Pent. 3
26 – Sermons
120+ – Illustrations / Stories
28 – Children's Sermons / Resources
23 – Worship Resources
24 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Proper 6 | OT 11 | Pent. 3
24 – Sermons
120+ – Illustrations / Stories
32 – Children's Sermons / Resources
26 – Worship Resources
24 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Thomas Willadsen
George Reed
Dean Feldmeyer
Katy Stenta
Elena Delhagen
For June 11, 2023:

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Bill Thomas
Bonnie Bates
Mark Ellingsen
Frank Ramirez
Genesis 12:1-9
I think one of the biggest problems that people will ultimately have with regards to self-driving cars is that even when all the bugs are worked out we don’t like giving up control to others. We like being in charge.
Frank Ramirez
In these passages, God calls on individuals to give up control of their lives and follow a whole new way of living. Abram and Sarai leave the comfort and familiarity of family and home to set forth on a journey with no clear destination. They heard, obeyed, and changed the world. Paul expands on this singular event in Abram’s life and how that changes our world. And Jesus reaches out to someone on the margins, someone well enough off to believe they don’t need direction and calls on that person to follow him.

StoryShare

Frank Ramirez
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax-collection station…. (v. 9)

When the first fired cuneiform mudtablets were discovered in Sumer there was a great deal of curiosity about what they contained. What ancient insights would they reveal? And while it is true that such ancient classics as the Epic of Gilgamesh and his failed search for immortality still touches us today, as well as the hymns by the high priestess of the moon, Princess Enheduanna, for the most part the writing revealed royal tax records.

CSSPlus

John Jamison
Object: A pair of plastic gloves for each child. It is best to avoid latex gloves in case anyone has an allergy to that material.

* * *

Hello, everyone! (Let them respond.) This morning I want to talk about gloves. Sometimes we wear gloves to help keep our hands warm, don’t we? (Let them respond.) And sometimes we wear gloves to protect our hands from things that are too hot or cold, don’t we? (Let them respond.)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
James Jacobs hated the story of Matthew the tax collector. James was convinced that story was responsible for at least half the problems he experienced today. Whenever people asked him what his work was, James would mutter "I work for the government," and try to look mysterious so that folk would think he was in Intelligence and bound by the Official Secrets Act.

SermonStudio

Stan Purdum
Psalm 33 praises the God in whom the righteous trust. It was perhaps sung on the occasion of some national deliverance. Verses 1-3 are a call to praise and verses 4-5 provide the basis for the praise. The rest of the psalm details reasons for praising God and expresses confidence and trust in God.

The psalm contains the same number of poetic lines as there are letters in the Hebrew alphabet (22) probably signifying comprehensiveness of praise.

In preaching from this psalm, individual verses could be selected:
Stan Purdum
One of the better programs on television from 2003 to 2005 was a series on CBS called Joan of Arcadia. Like many thoughtful shows, this one did not score high enough to stay on the air for long, but it did last two seasons.

The title alludes to Joan of Arc, the fifteenth-century teenager who believed she heard the voice of God urging her to save France from England during the Hundred Years War. That Joan led an army into battle, successfully forcing the British to retreat from Orleans. Later, captured by the British, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.
Mark Ellingsen
Jesus spent a lot of his time hanging around undesirable folks, not with "good" people like us. I mean here in today's gospel lesson we have the story of his calling Matthew, the tax collector (Matthew 9:9). Of course, most of us have our hang-ups with taxes. But in the eastern part of the Roman Empire in Jesus' day tax collectors were notorious for overcharging the taxed, often with harassment, and keeping the difference between what was actually owed and what was collected, for themselves. In short, they were regarded by many who lived in the Roman Empire as robbers, as crooks.
William G. Carter
I have good news for you this morning. None of you are good enough to be here.

Sorry about that. I thought I saw a few of you flinch. Maybe I need to be a bit more sensitive in how I begin. Let me try again.

I have good news for you this morning: God is not impressed with a person in this room.

By the look on some of your faces, I'm not sure that was any better way to start a sermon. Give me one more opportunity to get this sermon started. Here it goes.
Amy C. Schifrin
Martha Shonkwiler
Confession And Absolution
P: Gracious God, you call us to follow you into places that we would rather not go. You call us to follow you where healing is needed. You call us to follow you so that we might be made well.
C: We confess our sins to you, trusting that your mercy was intended for us.

Silence for self-examination

P: In the name of God: Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit,
your faith has made you well.
Rise up and live.
C: Amen.

Prayer Of The Day

Special Occasion

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