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Showing posts from July, 2014

Community Matters

July 27, 2014

Community Vacation Bible School Worship

We gathered for worship with five other churches to celebrate our third community Vacation Bible School. Our VBS program this year was "Workshop of Wonders from Cokesbury.

The top attendance day, we had 94 children!
The week was wonderful, entertaining and exhausting!

Worship was exciting, inspiring, and fun!
Sauk Valley Gazette picture:

The children led us in singing, we celebrated communion together, and enjoyed the fellowship. The scripture presentation was the story of Esther, led by Nannette Pashon, Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church. I followed up with these brief comments:

Did you like that story?
Me too. It is a favorite of many.
It has all the elements of a good melodrama – a beautiful and smart woman, a good-hearted and wise man, a powerful king, and a totally despicable bad guy. That makes the story fun to hear, fun to read. Something interesting about the book of Esther is that nowhere in…

Something Greater

Matthew 12:1-13 July 20, 2014 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
For the last couple of weeks in Bible study we’ve been contemplating the gift of the Sabbath –a time of rest, renewal, refreshment –a time for prayer and worship, for family and relaxation. If you read the July newsletter you’ll remember that in August, we are taking a month of Sabbath, beginning after worship on August 3.We want to encourage each person in the congregation to find time for prayer and blessing, recreation, reflection, rest, and limits to work. For some of us, this will be easy; for others, like me, it will be a challenge. This scripture we are about to read demonstrates that challenge.

Jesus has promised that those who follow him will find rest, and will take on a yoke that is easy, a burden that is light. But his opponents challenge him, argue with almost everything he says and does, because he is a threat – he is upsetting the status quo. To them, this story is just one more example…

The Yoke of Freedom

Matthew 11:25-30 July 6, 2014 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
We continue this week in the gospel of Matthew, with some of the most winsome and grace-filled words of Jesus. Countless people have found assurance and peace in these words. But before we begin to read in Matthew, let’s first go back to the book of Exodus, the 32nd and 33rd chapters. You probably remember that the book of Exodus is about exactly that – the exodus of the Israelite people out of Egypt and into the promised land, out of slavery and into freedom. On the journey, God gives the people the law, including the ten commandments, the fourth of which is “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” However, there was a bit of time between their exodus from Egypt and their entry into Canaan – forty years, to be exact. During that time, the people are in the wilderness, led by Moses.

Moses meets with God, who appears as a pillar of cloud in “the tent of meeting,” where, Exodus 33 says, “The Lord use…