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Showing posts from September, 2016

Seeing Jesus

Luke 16: 19-31
September 25, 2016
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

Jesus has been debating with the Pharisees. He is telling parables in an effort to get through to them. He has told them about a shrewd manager, about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and then about a lost son who left home and came back to a father’s welcome.

Jesus has been telling these stories hoping that the Pharisees and the scribes will have a change of perspective – hoping that they will begin to see the world in a new way. Jesus has urged them to repent, to return to God, and they have not yet seen him for who he is. So now he tells this story of the rich man and Lazarus.

Let’s listen for God’s word to us in Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sor…

The Lost and Found Box

Luke 15:1-10
September 18, 2016
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

Before our reading from Luke 15, let’s take a moment with Luke 14. Jesus has been going from place to place, talking and eating. He’s been going to dinner with Pharisees and with the riffraff, and he keeps saying these troubling things – telling the rich to give up all they have and follow him, scolding those who mistreat the poor, talking about a great banquet that God is giving, and how all kinds of people will be invited to the table.

And he’s not going around calling these scruffy, disreputable people to come and follow him, or asking them to eat with him. They are crowding around him, and inviting him to dinner. They want to hear what he has to say. In other words, they’re looking for him, not the other way around.

Let’s listen to some stories about being lost and found in Luke 15:1-10:
1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes we…

School of Prayer

I got behind on posting - so I'm catching up with several sermons today!

1 Timothy 2:1-7
September 11, 2016
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

Our reading for today comes from the first letter to Timothy, a part of one of the letters called “The Pastoral Epistles.” We in the modern church have a kind of love/hate relationship with these letters, once attributed to the Apostle Paul but now believed to have come much later and by another author. We love them because they establish order and organization to the church – something Presbyterians everywhere adore! We do not like some of the blunting of Paul’s radical gospel, nor some of the injunctions which attempt to impose a hierarchical order on Christian families. Taken in context, the effort to impose hierarchy is natural. It was a reflection of the first century world in which these documents were written. So it is almost paradoxical that our text today begins with an urging of prayer; every kind of prayer, for…