Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

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"Wouldn't That Be Wonderful"

1 Corinthians 1: 10-17

Psalm 133

      Early in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he makes an appeal to that congregation “…that

all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in

the same mind and the same purpose.”  Wouldn’t that be wonderful, that all Christians would

come together and land on the same page; maybe the page that says in Jesus’ own words:  “I

give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also

should love one another.”  Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

"Finally Got a Piece of the Rock"

Isaiah 51:1-3

Matthew 16:13-20

This morning’s sermon title is “Finally Got a Piece of the Rock.”  What image comes to your

mind when you hear those words?.... No, it shouldn’t be the theme song from a sitcom called

“The Jeffersons.”  That was: “Movin’ on up to the East Side; we finally got a piece of the pie.”

Some of us may not be old enough to remember those TV commercials for Prudential Insurance

which featured an image of the Rock of Gibralter dubbed over with a deep masculine voice

stating:  “See your Prudential agent for all your insurance needs, and get a piece of the rock.”

Today’s message has nothing to do with your insurance needs, but has everything to do with a

piece of the rock.

"A Church Taboo"

Philippians 4: 10-14

Psalm 145: 10-21

There are some things we tend to be reluctant to talk about in church.  One of those things is

giving money to the church.  That’s a private matter; a personal matter; a matter fundamentally between

us and the Lord.  My parents never told me how much they gave to Mt. Calvary.  I do

remember that mysterious box of envelopes always sitting in the same spot on the desk where my

mom used to pay bills.  And I remember my mother faithfully taking one of those envelopes to

church each and every Sunday.  What I also recall are those occasions when we’d get home after

church, sit down for lunch, and my dad grousing, “Rev. so and so, asking for money, again.”  Money

is one of those somewhat taboo issues which we know is of vital importance in the Christian life,

and to the work of the Christian church.  But when it’s time to talk about money in church, the facial

expressions of finance committee members can grow grim.  Preachers tend to become apologetic. 

Church treasurers begin to sweat.  Church members may become tense and restless.

“DON’T BE A TESTA DURO”

Text:  Luke 5:27-32

         Psalm 103:1-5

      This morning, we join Jesus early in His ministry as He’s in the process of calling those who would

become His inner-circle of disciples.  The first days of Jesus’ ministry were marked by growing, if not

explosive popularity, with the exception of the incident at the synagogue in His hometown of Naza-

reth, when they were ready to throw Him off a cliff when he dared suggest He was fulfilling Jewish

prophecy.  By and large, His early reception was akin to the initial months of a new pastorate in a new

town.  Everyone says, “You should meet our new pastor.  She’s awesome!  What a sermon she

preached a few weeks ago on the second coming.  And the baptism she did last week.  She had half the

congregation in tears.”  So it was with Jesus. 

"Eden Among US"

Genesis 2: 4-23

Revelation 22: 1-6

"Connected"

Text: John 15:1-11

        Psalm 133

      It occurs to me that what we consider one of the greatest advancements of human civilization

may, in time, be regarded as one of human civilization’s greatest ironies, and greatest pitfalls.  We

live in an era in which the technology of internet, cyberspace, social media have made communi-

cation and exchange of information lightning fast; widespread, bridging every nation on earth; as

if we’re in one another’s living rooms.  What comes forth from my mouth (or from my fingers) can

be in the ear (or on the screen) of anyone on earth within seconds.  That quickly, I can spread a

good word, or a word that’s not so good.  This is a technology which was only a dream in the

minds of NASA scientists a few generations ago.  Now it’s a reality in the hands of just about

every man, woman and child on this globe. 

"Instantitis"

Mark 4: 26-29

2 Peter 3: 8-9, 14-15a

      There is a widespread malady which is afflicting a large percentage of people in today’s society.

The range of symptoms are broad and varied, but pretty predictable.  It’s an affliction, the signs of

which are first observed at a very young age, and only worsen over time.  This disease would be

classified as congenital, chronic and progressive.  It’s most dangerous, not only in its own right, but

also because of its many complications; associated with everything from migraine headaches, to

elevated blood pressure, to heart attacks, to digestive disorders.  This malady, in indirect ways,

probably sends many to an early grave.  There is no argument that this disease robs life of much of its

joy.  And it is likely that seven out of ten of us sitting here this morning are in its grip.

"A Sacred Deposit"

Acts 20:25-28, 32 (NLT)

2nd Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV)

"Still In The Storm"

Text:  Mark 4:35-41

1 Kings 19:9-15a

This morning, we begin with the question which is asked at the end of the story:  “Who then is

this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  At first blush, the story seems to center on a

power which is so great that it controls even the very forces of nature.  And the climax of the story

rises upon the swell of Jesus’ command to the turbulent sea: “Peace!  Be still!” This is a common

translation of the Greek words piopa pephimoso which literally mean: “Stop speaking, and be

muzzled!”  In the Greek language of the day, this term was often used in exorcism when evil

spirits were bound by the healer’s word of authority.  Here, Jesus wields the same verbal auth-

ority over the wind that He rebukes and the sea that He calms.  How Jesus pulled this off, we do

not know.  What we do know is that the power Jesus possesses is beyond any and all explanation. 

“HOLDING FAST TO THE IMAGE OF ZION”    

 Hebrews 12:18-24

 Exodus 19:16-22

 

        When I was in 7th grade, I had a woodshop teacher by the name of Mr. Klim.  [Anyone

remember when classes like woodshop, mechanical drawing, and home economics were a part

of every junior high curriculum?]  Mr. Klim was the biggest, scariest beast of a man I’d ever   

seen.  To my twelve year-old eyes, he seemed to be about seven foot tall; must have weighed

at least three hundred pounds; his shoulders every bit of four feet across.  Even his muscles had

muscles.  To top it off, Mr. Klim had a marine drill sergeant-styled crew cut.  When he got saw-

dust in that crew cut, he would just run a wire brush over his head.  Then he would do the same

to the thick fur which covered his forearms.  Rumor among the seventh graders was that he

once stopped a table-mounted circular saw with his teeth.  Now I don’t know about that, but

no one in Coraopolis Junior High School would deny that Mr. Klim was one tough, scary dude!

Central Presbyterian Church

47 Second Street NE
Massillon, Ohio 44646

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