Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

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"The WOW Factor"

Matthew 9:27-31

Psalm 19:1-4

 

      The city has never been more abuzz.  Hotels and motor inns for miles around are booked solid.

Restaurants and retailers have doubled inventories for these three days of doubled tourist population.

Banners hang across city thoroughfares and flyers fill mail boxes announcing that for which the city

braces itself like a host site for the Olympics; waiting breathlessly for the front publicists and production

coordinators. 

"Dressing for the Occasion"

Matthew 22: 1-14

Ephesians 4: 17-24

      Years ago, I was part of a home Bible study group which was reading the Gospel of Matthew. 

When we got to the passage we’re considering this morning, the leader of our group asked the

question:  “What do you think is the main point of this parable of Jesus?”  After a few moments of
silence and eyes cast to the floor, an elder member of the group blurted out:  “It means you’d better dress

right when you go to church?”  That observation got a few laughs, and nods of agreement, especially from

other elder members who fondly remembered the day when women wore hats and gloves, and men wore suits

and ties to church.  But in all due respect to that elder’s interpretation, that is not the main point of this parable of Jesus.  So what is?

"Feet Under the Table"

John 13: 1-12

Psalm 40: 1-5

It was Passover.  And it was the first Christian Holy Communion.  “Jesus, knowing that the

Father had given all things into his hands….got up from the table.”  “….all things into his hands.” 

How many of us remember a beloved spiritual from our childhood:  “He’s got the wind and the

rain in His hands….. He’s got the tiny little baby in His hands….He’s got you and me brother in His

hands….. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  Yes indeed.  From galaxies to grains of sand;

from the blazing sun to the glowing lightning bug; from the majestic mountain to the lowly anthill..

…… Jesus emptied His hands of every glory of the universe.  And He took into His hands, of all

things, our feet.  Why?  That He might wash them.  But why?  Why is this Jesus’ job?  He is Lord. 

He is Messiah. He is King.  Peter cries out, “You will never wash my feet.”  Jesus said He must,

afterward reassuring Peter and the rest of the disciples:  “…….but later you will understand.” 

"Just Tenting"

Psalm 20:1-9

2 Corinthians 4:7  5:5

"Where Must We Worship"

John 4:19b-24

Psalm 29

I recently came across an article which listed some of the newer words which have become a

part of our lexicon, along with older words which have changed meaning.  An example of the lat-

ter is the word “guy.”  I remember when guy meant, well, guy; a person of the male gender.  The

New Oxford Dictionary of the English Language has now revised that to mean any person, male or

female.  So our waitress – oops, I mean server – asks my wife and I, “What can I get you guys?” 

Tablet, once upon a time, was defined as a bunch of lined pages of blank paper bound at the top

that people would write on, then tear off.  Now, tablet is more often defined as a hand-held device

one can use for reading, viewing, and researching; a mini-computer of sorts.  Remember when the

word bad used to mean, well, bad?  When Michael Jackson sang “I’m bad, I’m bad,” it meant and

now means “good,” or “hip,” or “cool.”  For that matter, cool used to mean “chilly.”  Now it means

“bad,” or is that “good?”  I’m confused.

"The Latter Shall Be Greater Than the Former"

Haggai 2: 1-9

Psalm 84: 1-4, 10-12

      This morning, we’re going to delve into a short book by one whom we call a “minor prophet.”

His name is Haggai.  Unlike some other prophetic books of the Bible -- wherein the authorship

and time of composition are matters of scholarly debate -- there is no question about the whom

and when of this book.  Haggai was clearly the source, although it appears he had a scribe or editor

do the actual writing for him.  While we don’t know anything about Haggai’s personal background,

we do know that he was called by God to help lead the Jewish people in the restoration of the

temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.  The entirety of Haggai’s

prophecy was written in the year 520 B.C. during the reign of King Darius of Persia, under the

regional governorship of Zerubbabel, and at the time of the priesthood of Joshua, son of Jehozadak. 

At the point of Haggai’s prophecy, there was no progress evident in the restoration of the temple. 

Yet within five years, by 515 B.C, the new temple had been completed.  In some ways,

this morning’s passage parallels our own situation here at Central as we await the restoration of

this sanctuary; of this temple of God.  As of today, there is no physical progress in our restoration. 

Yet within a few months, we trust that restoration will have been completed.  Let’s now turn to

the prophecy of Haggai.

John 14:8-17, 25-26

Matthew 28:16-20

2 Corinthians 13:11-14

      This morning, we observe on our liturgical calendar what is called “Trinity Sunday.”  As church

folk, we often hear and sometimes use that word trinity, and consider it one of the foundational

and essential doctrines of our Christian faith.  But what does it mean?  Semantically, the word is

a contraction of the prefix tri, referring to three, and the word unity which means togetherness.

Hence, triunity or trinity, suggesting a togetherness of three.

"The Other Pentecost Story"

John 20: 19-23

Acts 2: 1-13

 

        Today, we mark the beginning of the liturgical season we call “Pentecost.”  This morning, we

remember specifically the Pentecost episode recorded in Acts chapter 2; that fiftieth day after Passover when

the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples with great power, and sent them into the

streets of Jerusalem to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in a language which everyone

could understand.  But did you know that there is another Pentecost story; another narrative of the

disciples receiving the Holy Spirit?  It’s tucked in the 20th chapter of John’s Gospel, and is often

overlooked.  John’s Pentecost story doesn’t shout out to us the way the Acts story does.  In John,

there are no rushing winds; no tongues of fire; no speaking in other languages.  Instead, the other

Pentecost story softly and gently beckons us onward - to watch, and listen, and wait with the first

disciples.  Let’s read it now.

          (Read John 20:19-23)

"A Story of Two Real Mothers"

Exodus 1:22,  2:10

Psalm 139:13-18

      Before we read this morning’s primary text, I need to provide some background.  The Book of

Exodus opens with the introduction of a new Egyptian king – Seti --commonly called “Pharaoh.” 

Unlike the previous king, this one was not sympathetic to the Hebrews living In Egypt since the time

of Joseph..  In fact, under this new regime, Exodus tells us that “The Egyptians became ruthless in

imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick

and in every kind of field labor.”  In spite of these oppressive conditions, the Hebrews continued to

increase in number.  Threatened by this trend, the king issued a decree that all male children born

to the Hebrews should be killed.  We begin the story there. 

"You Are What You Eat"

John 6: 51-59

Psalm 34: 4-10

      Back in the 19th century, there was a German philosopher by the name of Ludwig Feuerbach

who coined a phrase most of us have heard before:  “We are what we eat.”  Now there’s a scary

image.  In my youth growing up in an Italian household, we had pasta three days a week. As I

grew into adulthood, I still craved my spaghetti, and continued to eat a diet very high in carbs –

bread, pasta, potatoes….. you know, all the good stuff.  Decades later, a blood test revealed that

my triglycerides were very elevated.  Guess what my doctor wanted me to cut out of my diet?

Bread, pasta, potatoes….. you know, all the good stuff.  And I remember like it was yesterday

Doc Lutzke saying to me, “You are what you eat you know.”

Central Presbyterian Church

47 Second Street NE
Massillon, Ohio 44646

Telephone: 330-832-7455
Fax: 330-832-7102