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Showing posts from 2010

The Visited Planet

A sermon for December 24, 2010Listen, I want to tell you a story.I don’t think it is factual, but it might be true. It begins as all good stories do: “once upon a time…” Back in the olden days, good stories began with “it came to pass in those days…” That’s the old fashioned way of saying “once upon a time.” Anyway, I have a story to tell you, about angels and stars and a baby. It is the same story you hear every time this year, with all the same characters and the same plot. But first I want to tell it from a very different point of view, so come with me as we zoom out from the manger, out farther, and farther from the stable, over the city of Bethlehem, high into the dark night sky, and beyond, beyond time and space and geography into a dimension that we call heaven.Now, listen. I want to tell you a story:Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown round the splendours and glories of the universes by a senior and experienced angel. To tell the truth, the little angel was beg…

Love, Death and Resurrection

Today, on a wintry Saturday, we buried Helen Snow, who died just before her 94th birthday. By all accounts she was the kindest and most loving woman you could ever hope to meet. I've been reading Tom Long's book Accompany Them With Singing, and thinking a lot about the Christian funeral. It seems to me that at a funeral, we need to try to accomplish an awful lot in a very short time: we want to remember, to mourn, to give thanks. And as pastors, we want to somehow capture a handful of hope and pass it gently into the laps of those weeping people on the front row. We try to do that with our words as well as our deeds.1st Corinthians 13: 4-8a, 134 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. 13 And now faith,…

Christmas Peace

When our astonishingly talented and creative worship planning team sits down to think about Advent, we like to consider the season as a whole. We ask ourselves a lot of questions. What do we hope will happen? What do we hope people will experience in worship? What are the particular needs of our congregation this year?This year, although we never discussed it explicitly, we were all feeling a sense of the general hurry, rush and anxiety that pervades this season. People are busy; they feel overcommitted; there is not enough time to do everything. Sometimes, during this season of increased demands, the church can be one of the main culprits! In our desire to fulfill every dream and rehearse every tradition, to keep up every custom, we end up placing greater burdens on ourselves. We increase our anxiety and decrease our peace, in order to prepare for the Prince of Peace!I’m intentionally scaling back my own activities this year, in order to focus on those which are most important to me,…
This year for our Thanksgiving service, we shared our "glads" and heard these two meditations on gratitude. May you be blessed with gratitude, not only this week, but in every moment of your life.
Psalm 118: 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.In the classic children’s story by Eleanor Porter, eleven-year-old Pollyanna is a little girl who has grown up out West with her penniless minister father. Her mother has died, and Pollyanna and her father get by on his meager salary, supplemented by the kindness of his congregation, and the donations which arrive in the mission barrel. But then, her father dies, and she is sent to live with her stern, rich aunt. The aunt does not care for children. She puts Pollyanna in a dusty attic room, and punishes her by sending her to the kitchen to eat with the servants, and giving her only bread and milk for supper. Still, Pollyanna is cheerful and happy. Nancy, the servant girl, wonders why. Pollyanna ex…


Welcome to First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, Illinois!

We're glad you found our home on the web, and we hope that if you are in Sterling you'll find us in God's house. We're "First on Second" - our building is at 410 Second Avenue, right at the corner of Second Avenue and Fifth Street.

We meet for worship every Sunday at 9:30 AM. Our worship service is unique - we use an order of worship, but we are not formal; we use new songs and old hymns; we share and laugh, but we take our faith seriously. On a given Sunday you may hear guitar and drums, violin, pipe organ, bells, keyboard and piano -- our music is inspiring, beautiful, and energizing!

Coffee fellowship is immediately following worship, and Christian Education for all ages begins at 11:00 AM. Our office is open Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; usually we are away during the noon hour.

On days other than Sunday, you'll find First Presbyterian Church all over Sterling -- working at various mini…