Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

"The Most Benevolent King"

Revelation 1: 4-8

Jeremiah 23: 3-6

Although this tiny place has been around for a long time – its earliest recorded mention in

the year 1095 in the “Book of Geography” by a certain Abu Abdullah al-Bakari – Dubai has come

to international prominence over the past three decades.  Dubai is one of the kingdoms, or

more accurately sheikhdoms, of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf region of the Middle-East. 

With two and a half million citizens, Dubai is one of the wealthiest places on earth; a place we not long ago called “third world.”

Contrary to popular belief, the sole source of Dubian wealth today is not oil.  In reality, revenues from petroleum and natural

gas presently account for only about 5% of Dubai’s gross domestic product.  Real estate, construction, tourism and retail

comprise over half of the United Arab Emirates GDP of around 140 billion dollars.

"Giving into the Lord's Hands"

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

John 6:1-15

     A group of elementary Sunday School students were asked to each share their favorite Bible

story.  As the teacher expected, among the stated favorites were Noah and the Ark, David and

Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, Jonah and the big fish – all Old Testament stories.  Then she

asked, “Does anyone have a favorite story from the New Testament?”  One of the boys in the

class jumped up from his seat: “I know!  I know! The one about the crowd that loafs and fishes.”

Allow me to read for you now that very story from John’s Gospel.

"Don't Run Off Tackle Left"

Psalm 81

Jeremiah 2: 4-13

      The 81st Psalm we’re about to read is called a “festival song.”  It was written with the intent that

it be chanted or sung at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, when the grapes were in the presses, and

when the worshipers hearts were brimming over with thanksgiving for the gathered harvest.

      Yet you’ll notice that there is an abrupt change halfway through verse 5 of this festival song. 

While the first five verses comprise a hymn-like call to worship, the remainder of the Psalm shifts to

a divine oracle; more prophetic than priestly.  God inspires the words of the author – words of

remembrance; words of warning; words of lament, and finally, words of promise.

      (Read Psalm 81)

"A Common Meal for a Common People"

Matthew 9:9-13

1 Corinthians 11:17-26

Once upon a time, there was a conversation at a Deacon’s meeting as the board was making

plans for their annual Thanksgiving dinner for the needy of their community.  Deacon Katherine

began:  “Every year, we stand behind the table serving food to the poor folk who have already

sacrificed their dignity by coming here for a free meal.  Then we go off by ourselves to eat our din-

ner.  It almost feels condescending, like we’re superior and they’re inferior.  I think it’s time to

change the way we do this.  Couldn’t we make it a truly community celebration rather than a pious

act of generosity from the high-and-mighty to the down-and-out?”  Katherine was met by several

sets of hairy eyeballs from the other deacons.  She continued:  “Why don’t we have the rich and

poor alike serving side-by-side?  Maybe we could then have everyone sit down together at table for

our meal, kind of like we do at home.  That way, at least for a little while, we’re not calling atten-

tion to our differences, but respecting our commonality.  After all, we’re ALL children of God.” 

"God Is On Our Side"

Romans 8: 28-39

Psalm 44: 17-26

      Let me introduce you to a woman by the name of Myrna.  Myrna is one of those persons you

meet who you just can’t help but to like.  She is outgoing, friendly, sincere, kind, and helpful.  When

work of any kind needs done around her church, Myrna is the “go to.”  And everything she does,

she puts her whole self into.  In terms of faith, Myrna might be described as a devout woman.  She

has a rich devotional and prayer life.  She’s a leader in her women’s mid-week Bible study group.

Myrna is recognized by everyone as a spiritual pillar in the life of her small congregation. Myrna has

the ability to light up a room with her presence.  She is of Latin descent, her deep complexion, full

features, broad smile and mildly-accented voice make everyone feel comfortable in her presence. 

"Consider the Ravens"     Rev. Tricia Petraven

Psalm 139:1-12

Luke 12:22-34

"Contradictions of the Heart"

James 3: 1-12

Romans 7: 14-25a

      “And the tongue is a fire,” James observes.  “The tongue is placed among our members as a

world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire

by hell.”  Wow!  That’s pretty strong and vivid language.  Yet every one of us can nod shamefully,

almost laughingly through our embarrassment, because we know that what James says is spot on.

Who of us have not said things we’ve regretted the instant we said them?  I know I have.  We all

would like to delete from our hard drives the vicious words we may have hurled in rage; at loved

ones, friends, work associates, acquaintances, people we don’t know. Just over the past week, we

may remember having said some things in anger, malice, or simply carelessness we’d like to take

back; or some things we’ve texted or tweeted…… 



  Ephesians 2:11-22

  John 17:20-26


This morning, the theme of our worship service is built upon two important and interrelated

principles.  The first principle is communion.  Communion is defined as the sharing and exchange

of intimacy on a spiritual level.  For the church of course, communion is enacted by our coming

together at the Lord’s Table to partake of the elements of bread and juice, representing the

broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ. 

"Being the GODLY PEOPLE"

Psalm 25: 1-9; Philippians 2: 1-13

Matthew 21: 23-32

"Will God Provide Our Deepest Needs?"

Exodus 16: 2-15

Philippians 1: 21-30

Matthew 20: 1-16