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Showing posts from May, 2013

Many Gifts, One Spirit

Many thanks to Nan Pashon for leading worship and preaching this morning!  I am sure that she added much to this manuscript.

Many Gifts, One Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:4-13 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL May 26, 2013
“I didn't need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.”                                                        ― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
1 Corinthians 12:4-13 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to a…

Spirit of the Living God

Spirit of the Living God Acts 2: 1- 21 May 19, 2013, Pentecost First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
Acts 2: 1- 21 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phry…

Freedom's Just Another Word...

Acts 16:16-35 (36-40) May 12, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
The scripture for today is the last in our series on the book of Acts, and next week we will celebrate the day of Pentecost. We’ve been tracking the apostles Peter and Paul in their early journeys as they go out from Jerusalem to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve been witnesses to the power of God at work in the world to redeem and redirect and release people from sin, captivity, illness and ignorance, literally raising one person from the dead, and figuratively setting all of them free for new life. So we come to this story now, in Philippi, where we traveled last week with Paul. Paul has been staying with Lydia, a new convert, as he and Silas work in town to share the good news of Jesus with people. But every day, on the way to work, there’s this crazy shouting after them by this woman who tells fortunes for money.
Acts 16:16-35 One day, when we were on the way to the place for prayer, …

On the Road Again…With a Detour

Acts 16: 9-15 May 5, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
We've been traveling with Peter and Paul these last few weeks and experiencing with them the power of the Holy Spirit, the comforter and presence of God that came to the church on Pentecost, which we celebrate in just two more weeks. I mention this because for most modern churches, Pentecost, coming at the end of the Easter season and the start of summer, marks for us more of an ending than a beginning.
After Pentecost, we say, we won’t be so busy. After Pentecost comes Memorial Day weekend, and vacations, and VBS. No more Sunday Christian Education classes, after Pentecost. So the day that represents the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit, the great and glorious celebration of the beginning of the faith, the very birthday of the church, has become for us a sign that it is time to relax!
Those first disciples were always getting signs, always seeing visions that told them where to go, and what they we…