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Showing posts from July, 2013

Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul Matthew 22:36-40 July 28, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
Matthew 22: 35-40 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Maybe it is because I spent this last week at Vacation Bible School, with preschoolers – eighteen three and four year olds – actually, it seemed like there were about 738 of them Maybe it was singing the same songs every night, and going home exhausted…anyway, whatever it was, I had this idea that today, we might work together a little bit on this sermon. We are going to sta…

Joy in the Mourning

Joy in the Mourning Psalm 30 July 21, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.  Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.  O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.  Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.  For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.  As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved."  By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.  To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:  "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be m…

Journey From the Font

Journey From the Font Psalm 121 July 14, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
A pilgrimage song. 1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. 3 God won't let your foot slip. Your protector won't fall asleep on the job. 4 No! Israel's protector never sleeps or rests! 5 The LORD is your protector; the LORD is your shade right beside you. 6 The sun won't strike you during the day; neither will the moon at night. 7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life. 8 The LORD will protect you on your journeys— whether going or coming— from now until forever from now.

As I mentioned at the time we read and sang the scripture reading, this is a Psalm that was most likely used when people were setting out on a journey. The worship planning team selected Psalm 121 some weeks back, not knowing that this would be the Sunday that we baptize…

Praying Twice

This sermon was in our series on the Psalms, on the Sunday when we emphasized music as a form of prayer and worship.

Praying Twice Psalm 150 July 7, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
Psalm 150 CEB 1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise God in his fortress, the sky!  2 Praise God in his mighty acts! Praise God as suits his incredible greatness!  3 Praise God with the blast of the ram's horn! Praise God with lute and lyre!  4 Praise God with drum and dance! Praise God with strings and pipe!  5 Praise God with loud cymbals! Praise God with clashing cymbals!  6 Let every living thing praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! I just got home last night from a kind of mini-vacation. I drove up to beautiful Cresco, Iowa, and met Bob at the luxurious Super 8 motel. The first day there, we rode our bikes on the Trout Run Trail. It was a day of just-right weather, sunny but not too hot, a pleasant breeze blowing. The new trail is about ten miles, through tall grass, …