Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

“Gazing Into the Clouds”

Text: Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 13:1-6

             The Book of Acts, from which we’ll be reading in just a moment, is actually a continuation of the narrative of Luke’s Gospel; Luke part 2 if you will. It’s been said that the Gospel of Luke is the story of the words and works of Christ, while the Book of Acts is the story of the words and works of the first generation church. Just to help us establish a connection between Luke and Acts, I’d like to read the opening four verses of Luke’s Gospel. From there, we’ll move into this morning’s primary lesson beginning with the first verse of Acts.

            (Read Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-11)   

“You Are That Man”

Text: 2 Samuel 11:112:7a (T.E.V.)

Matthew 18:2134 (T.E.V.)

             Your pastor thinks it’s time for a little test of basic Old Testament Bible knowledge for this morning’s gathered congregation. Don’t’ freak out. This won’t be that hard. If I was to ask you which king of Israel is most well known for his excellent wisdom, even having attributed to him a 31 chapter book of Proverbs, who would you say?........ Solomon, of course. You did so well on that one, I’m confident you can tell me who the very first king of Israel was, a guy best remembered for his struggles with mental illness in his later years of rule?........ That would be Saul. Now, who would you say was the most beloved king of Israel, one who defeated a giant with a slingshot, and from whose throne it is said that Christ is descended?……. David. Very good.  


Text:  John 20:24-29
Isaiah 53:3-6, 11-12


I loved the opening scene of the film Forrest Gump. The “Life is like a box of chocolates” philosophy articulated by Forrest is a classic. But also tucked into that initial setting at a bus stop are Forrest’s reflections about shoes. After noticing the nurses’ shoes worn by the woman sitting next to him on the bench, he comments: “Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.” Might I suggest that it’s the same with hands as well. You can tell a lot about a person by their hands – where they’ve been, what they’ve done, and to some extent, where they’re going. 

"What If God was One of Us"
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 11:1-1

How many of consider ourselves saints?  I suspect if I asked for a show of hands, I wouldn’t see many raised.I certainly wouldn’t dare to raise my own.Are not saints, after all, those who have been martyred for their faith, or been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as ultimate examples of piety and holiness, or at least achieved some status of righteousness to which ordinary folk cannot or do not rise? There was a St. Lawrence who was a deacon in the Catholic Church during the third century.Tradition has it that he was executed by the Emperor of Rome, roasted to death face down on a red-hot gridiron.His legacy is preserved in a few chapels in Europe, and in the name of a seaway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.But really, who of us would dare label ourselves saints?