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Showing posts from September, 2013

Making a Living

Making a Living 1 Timothy 6: 6-19 September 29, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;for we brought nothing into the world, so thatwe can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good fou…

The Lost and Found Box

Our scripture reading today is from Luke 15:1-10. I want to set the scene a little bit, so when you hear it you can really listen. Jesus has been walking around and talking to people, teaching them, and healing them. But he isn’t hanging around with the rich people, or the important people, or the leaders, or the most religious goody-goody people.
In fact, Jesus is hanging around with a bad crowd! These are not nice people. They do bad things. They steal. They cheat. They don’t follow God’s word.
The rich people and the nice people and the religious people are upset about this. They don’t think Jesus should be hanging around with those awful people. They think that if Jesus were a really nice person, he would be spending his time with other nice people – namely, them.
You would think, wouldn't you, that the really good people would be glad that Jesus was helping the really bad people to change their ways. But instead, they are grumbling and muttering about him. Jesus doesn'…

The Great Commission: Go. Make Disciples. Teach. Baptize.

Rather than the text of the sermon, this week I'm posting the entire order of worship. Sources are cited wherever we could. The opening song is sung to the tune of "Morning Has Broken," and the words were adapted from the Presbyterian Hymnal song, "Baptized in Water." The James Howell story came from an article he wrote in Christian Century magazine in 2007. Some of the liturgy was adapted from a baptismal article on the website of Reformed Worship magazine.
The acolyte enters and lights the candles.
Musicians sing: Baptized in water, called as disciples; we are the lights of Christ our King; flames of the Spirit light up our pathway Following Jesus, we joyfully sing.
Person one comes up as the musicians sing, sets the candle on the communion table and lights it, and after the singing is finished, announces, “The light of discipleship.” They stay at the table.
Musicians sing: Baptized in water, nurtured in scripture, teaching the world of Christ our King; we have his p…

Unbound and Set Free

Luke 13: 10-17 September 1, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
It has been said that where you stand depends on where you sit. That’s not a controversial saying – most of us can agree that our position on a given matter depends a great deal on our own personal situation. This is a story about standing up straight, about being unbound and set free. It is always a temptation, when we hear a scripture story like this, to identify most strongly with the character whom Jesus seems to like best. We tend to see ourselves most often in the person who is healed or forgiven, to hear ourselves in the voice of the one who says the right thing. We want to maybe be, not the hero, but at least the one who is doing what Jesus would do. I want to invite you as you hear this story to put yourself in the place of the omniscient observer – the one who is above the fray.
Pull back from the story and try to see these individuals and their interactions without putting yourself in any…