Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio


Acts 20:7-12

 Matthew 25:31-40

    Every so often, we come upon a passage or story in the Bible which causes us to ask: What in

the world is this all about?  Why is this here?  I’ve asked these very questions for years with regard

to the text I’m about to read for you.  The historical context is the apostle Paul’s farewell sermon

before he leaves the coastal Mediterranean city of “Troas,” where he’d been for a week after

escaping a plot against his life by the Jews.  Here’s how Luke describes the events of that evening.

          (Acts 20:7-12)


John 6:51

Psalm 104:24-31

One of what are called the “prime principles” of biological science is that all life derives from life.

Another way to put it is that all living things draw their life from other living things. This is a principle

we learn pretty early in life.  While I was too young to remember the details, somewhere along the

line of my first three and a half years before my sister Lore was born, I was convinced by someone,

or maybe some cartoon, that babies were delivered by the proverbial stork.  So my mother would

tell the story of that day when she returned home from the hospital with my sister, and my crying

and asking why the stork couldn’t bring me a baby brother instead.  Only some years later did my

teenage cousin Joanie explain to me in graphic terms where babies really come from.  That I do

remember.  And I remember liking the stork idea a whole lot better.   

"Worshiping Anywhere in Spirit and Truth"

1 Kings 8:26-30

John 4:20-21, 23-24

      I’m going to do something this morning I have rarely done over thirty plus years of preaching.

I’m going to double back and return to a passage I just preached on: the story of Jesus and the

Samaritan woman by the well we talked about last Sunday.  This week, however, I want to specifi-

cally lift four verses from that lengthy passage and focus on those as we prepare to reopen our

sanctuary next Sunday for public worship. 

      (Read John 4:20-21, 23-24)

"A Most Unlikely Evangelist"

John 4: 1-30, 39-42

Psalm 36: 7-9

Some years ago, Mercedes Benz aired a commercial which featured one of their cars running

into a concrete wall during a safety test with minimal impact to the crash dummy inside.  A voice

over asked a Mercedes engineer why their company didn’t enforce their patent rights on their

car’s cutting-edge, energy-absorbing body.  In fact, this aspect of Mercedes’ design has since

been copied by almost every other auto manufacturer in the world in spite of their exclusive

patent.  In a German accent the engineer replied: “Because in life, some things are just too important not to share.”



   Luke 18:1-8

  1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

     A girl by the name of Carly decided, at the age of eight, that what she needed more than any-

thing else in the world was her very own lap top computer.  Now she wasn’t interested in some

entry level, modestly-priced computer from Wal-Mart.  Like her friend Nicole, she wanted a super

nice, top-of-the-line laptop; the kind they bring on a truck.  Well, Carly’s single mother couldn’t

afford a laptop right then. Moreover, she thought that at eight, Carly was still a little young to

have her own computer anyway.  Plus, she had a set of files with games and the like on her mom’s

computer.  But Carly was a very persistent and determined little girl.  She decided that in addition

to nagging her mother, she needed to call in some reinforcement.  She would also nag God.

"Let Justice Roll Down"

Amos 5: 18-24;  9:13-15

Psalm 99: 1-5

On this Independence Day weekend, we celebrate our liberties as Americans, and remember the

battles fought to achieve and preserve those liberties we all hold dear.  We honor and give thanks

for the vision of our forebears who codified a form of government; a part of its role being to protect

our rights and allow us to live as free people in a free and sovereign nation.  And not to live only as

free people, but to live as equal people; pursuit of happiness and opportunity, fairness and justice

applied equally to all; whatever their skin color; whatever their ethnicity; whatever their religious  

faith, or not; whatever their gender or sexual identity; whatever their age or worldly condition. 

These we have believed and held dear for 244 years are not simply governing principles, but God-

inspired principles, their character no less than sacred and eternal.

"Freedom to Be Good"

Psalm 24

Romans 7: 15-25a

"Children of Light"

Ephesians 5: 1-2, 8-14



1 Samuel 13:5-15a

Psalm 27:1-4, 13-14

         This morning, we read a story about King Saul of Israel and his armies at a place called

“Gilgal.”  That’s an area between the city of Jericho and the Jordan River to its east.  Saul was

waiting for the arrival of the priest Samuel who was going to sacrifice a burnt offering before the

Lord.  In Old Testament times, it was a common practice to make such an offering as a way of

invoking the support of God in military campaigns.  Saul and his troops were about to engage yet

again the army of the Philistines, which outnumbered Israeli forces at least ten to one.  This is

where we pick up the action as recorded in the 13th chapter of 1 Samuel.  (Read 1 Samuel 13:5-15a)

"The Language of Food"

Psalm 104: 14-15, 27-28; 107: 8-9

John 6: 41-51

      How many remember this little commercial jingle from the past:  “Nothing says loving like

something from the oven?”  That jingle was the basis for a massive advertising campaign by the

Pillsbury Company;  a campaign which also introduced us to the soft and pudgy Pillsbury Dough

Boy.  The words of that memorable jingle were not only catchy, but very true.  A well-prepared

meal is a way of saying, “I love you, and I care.”  Similarly, night after night of take-out pizza or

McDonald’s fast food sends a message of its own.  The point is, food is a language of sorts, a

way of expressing ourselves.  Think about it.