This week's guest preaching blogger is
2008-06-01 by CJ Teets

The Reverend Dr. Kate Crawford who ministers with the people of Gower Street United Church in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.  Having grown up in Toronto, she relishes her new home on an island in the North Atlantic ocean, truly living on the edge of North America.  Kate publishes worship material regularly in Gathering, a United Church journal and examples of her sermons can be found at  This is her first time as a guest blogger in the Homiletical Hot Tub and she's ready to dive in!

Sermon on Mt. 7: Joel O and the Rock
2008-05-31 by David von Schlichten

Go to the Sermon Feedback Cafe to read and respond to Rick Brand's solid sermon on Matthew 7 for June 1.

Below is my sermon.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator


Sermon on Matthew 7:21-29

Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A,

for Sunday, June 1, 2008

Joel O and the Rock

(word count: 696)

Once upon a time, a man named Joel O set out to build his house. He found a sparkling, warm surface for his foundation, right by the ocean. Joel said, “This foundation must be Christ,” and Joel poured, measured, sawed, hammered, and hung drywall. Finally, he had his house, a mansion with crystal walls, a fire place as big as a jumbotron, and a seventeen-car garage. Joel named his house “Prosperity.”

Joel said to anyone who would listen, “God wants you to be wealthy and successful. Put your trust in him, have a positive attitude, and the Lord will grant you all kinds of favors.” Joel wrote books about his beliefs, and they became bestsellers. He told people, “The Bible is the ultimate self-help book. With a positive attitude, do what the Bible says, and you will be healthy, wealthy, and happy.”

Joel practiced what he preached. He had a positive attitude all the time. He told himself, “Because I am God's child, I am entitled to have a big house and a parking space close to the mall.” No matter how he was feeling on the inside, he always smiled. Joel believed that if he just had a positive attitude and trusted in God, he would be prosperous.

Indeed, by worldly standards he was prosperous. He had rooms full of money. He had millions of followers. The problem was, the foundation that he had built his house of prosperity on was not the rock, Jesus Christ. Joel's foundation was Positive Attitude, which is not a rock at all. Positive Attitude sparkles and is warm and soft because it is sand. A positive attitude is valuable, but it is not the rock. Joel's house of prosperity was not built upon Christ. The house was not built upon the Sermon on the Mount: on blessed are the meek, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. The house was not built upon enduring persecution and taking up the cross, loving one another as Christ has loved us. The house was not built upon denying yourself for the sake of others.

Most important of all, Joel's house of prosperity was not built upon the unassailable Good News that, because of Christ alone, we have salvation. Having a positive attitude is powerful, but it does not earn us salvation. Through his suffering, Christ has won salvation for us. On Christ, the solid rock, we stand, not on the sand called Positive Attitude.

One day, God knocked on Joel's front door. Joel answered. “Lord, Lord,” he said, smiling, “take a look at all the prosperity I have built in your name.” God said, “Joel, we need to talk. I want you to have a positive attitude, but Positive Attitude is not to be the foundation. Christ is.” Then God let out a huge, sad sigh. The House of Prosperity shuddered and collapsed.

After the dust had settled, God said, “Joel, it is necessary that I show you something.” God and Joel went for a walk. As they did so, God said, “You have good intentions, but you are misguided. I want you to go back to the Bible so the Holy Spirit can set you straight.” God handed him a tattered Bible. God said, “Start with the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 through 7. That sermon does not stress material prosperity based on a positive attitude. It stresses meekness, humility, self-sacrifice, gentleness. That sermon challenges us to be prosperous, but not by this world's standards. Read the Sermon on the Mount.”

After two miles of walking, God and Joel arrived at a shocking sight. Looming in front of them was Jesus hanging on the cross, poor, stripped, beaten, forgiving us, his executioners. God said to Joel, “Read the Bible, while kneeling here, at the cross. Here is where to build. This foundation is not about getting rich and famous. A positive attitude has its place, but this foundation is not primarily about a positive attitude. This foundation is about love, sacrifice, service. This is the cross. This will be your foundation and your scaffolding. This will keep you standing.”

Rick Brand sermon and preaching without notes...
2008-05-30 by CJ Teets

Check out Rick Brand's sermon on Matthew 7:21-29 in Sermon Feedback Cafe. David von Schlichten usually blesses us with his weekly sermon as well.

Also, Pastor Thomas needs your help in Parish Solution Forum. He wants to preach without notes but.... 

Carmen; "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-05-30 by David von Schlichten

Carmen Nanko-Fernandez primed us for a refreshing stream of blog entries on Genesis 6. I am grateful for the flow of ideas. Please scroll down to drink these entries.

If you go to Share It! you can click on the free samples heading to read David F. Watson's exegetical article for this week's gospel, Matthew 7:21-29. Among many other points, Watson teaches that the term “evildoers,” those whom Jesus rejects even though they say “Lord, Lord” and perform miracles, is a translation of the Greek word “anomia,” which literally means “lawlessness.”

At our Tuesday pericope group, my fellow pastors wondered why Jesus would reject these people who, not only say “Lord, “Lord,” but even do miracles in his name. One pastor said, “In another place, Jesus tells the disciples not to stop people who cast out demons in his name, because those who are not against us, are for us. So then, why does Jesus here reject people who cast out demons in his name?”

Watson's note that anomia means “lawlessness” gives us the answer: Jesus rejects these people because they do not keep the Law.

Watson says much more in his article, so don't miss it.

Theological Themes”

Douglas M. Koskela puts in boldface the intended audience of the text's warnings. They are not for those who have openly and blatantly rejected Jesus but for people claiming to be within the community. Invoking God's name, even if not in vain, and doing wondrous deeds are not enough for the citizens of heaven's kingdom.

Preaching the Lesson”

Among several hydrating points is Anna Carter Florence's proclamation that, even when the deluge sweeps away our house, we still have Christ as our rock to cling to. Even if I err in architecture, I still have the rock. Yes.

A Sermon”

Larry Lange gives us an edifyingly entertaining sermon, “Red Hot Realty Has a House for You,” in which Realtor Martin Lucifer tries to sell us a house stuffed with products of the worst that our society promotes, from video games that make entertainment out of killing our enemies to ubiquitous plasma TVs and rich, extravagant food. The sermon concludes with the better offering of the house on rock.

My sermon for this Sunday is vaguely similar to Lange's, but there are also jutting differences. I focus on the idea that the passage is a warning about people who appear to be or claim to be citizens of the kingdom but are not truly. I'll post the sermon soon, eager for a river of feedback, or even just a drop, ever

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

2008-05-29 by David von Schlichten

I am 98% sure that, in the Utnapishtim version of the Flood Story, the gods literally sob regarding the destruction. Many scholars think that that version was a basis for the Genesis account.

It is invigorating to have such fine blog entries. Thank you to our guest blogger Carmen Nanko- Fernandez and all contributors for watering the garden.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

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