Sermons

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September 2019

“God, Why Do You Let Bad Things Happen?”/Habakkuk. 1:1-3, 13; 2:1-4; 3:17-19 II Timothy 3:13-4:2/Rev. Rodger Allen/9-8-19

By |September 11th, 2019|Sermons|

Assyria was the Darth Vader of the Middle East.           In the 7th century BC, which is the 600’s, Assyria stomped all over the Middle East, including Israel, breathing heavily, dressed in black, committing acts of cruelty and violence. Its theory of government was that one rules by fear, by terrorizing the people, by threatening cruel punishment if you are caught doing wrong; and maybe even if you aren’t, just to keep you humble and frightened. Assyria was one of the cruelest empires the world had seen to that point – a strong efficient war machine, and a crushing tyrant of a ruler. […]

August 2019

“Oh, NO! Another ‘Difficult Teaching'”/Luke 12:49-56; Jeremiah 20:7-13/Rev. Rodger Allen/8-25-19

By |August 27th, 2019|Sermons|

Some of you may remember a Sunday morning when we considered the subject of hard-to understand things that Jesus sometimes said. The setting then was this: Jesus had just said to a crowd: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” The disciples, in a masterful piece of understatement, responded, “this teaching . . . is difficult.” But they also went on to say, as Jesus asked if it was so difficult that it would make them turn away, “But where else would we go? YOU are the Holy One of God.” The disciples, we went on to see, had a choice between staying with Jesus and trying to understand the teachings which seemed so difficult, or giving up on Jesus, preferring simplicity, someone else’s easy answers, to the Messiah. They had to decide which they were most dedicated to: simplicity, or Jesus Christ. And they chose Christ; they voted to stay and wrestle with the difficult teachings rather than insist that everything be easy. After all, no one ever promised, to them or us, that all the teachings of the Bible were going to be easy to understand. Sometimes we have to struggle a bit. […]

“Ezekiel: The Case of the Disappearing Grapes”/Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:1-4, 7; 18: 1-9, 20, 25-29/Rev. Rodger Allen/8-11-19

By |August 13th, 2019|Sermons|

Seminaries, the graduate schools which train people for ministry, have a different look to them these days than they used to. The majority of the students today are not 22- or 23-year-olds who have come straight from college, but instead fall into the category called “second-career” – they have left some other occupation in their mid-20’s, mid-30’s, or mid-40’s, and enrolled  in a 3 or 4 year program to train for a new career in ministry. They are people like me, and Laurie. Phil was one of those second-career seminarians. Phil had been a banker; he had gone to business school and then worked his way up through the ranks to a middle-management position in a respected bank. But Phil had gradually recognized that he was being called by God out of the banking industry and into the ministry, and he quit his job, sold his house, and moved to a small efficiency apartment on the seminary campus to begin three years of classes – three years of hard work with little or no income; three years which, at best, would result in his starting his career over again at the ground floor; three years, though, which would leave him doing what God had called him to do. […]

July 2019

“Hosea: God Finds a Way”/Hosea 1:2-3; 4: 1-3; 6: 4-6/I Tim. 1:12-14; Luke 15: 1-10/Rev. Rodger Allen7-28-19

By |July 31st, 2019|Sermons|

Laurie has two sisters.  One of them, Beth, lives in Pittsburgh, and we see her when we do our twice-a-year “Pennsylvania loops” to visit both of our families. The other, Debbi, lives in Massachusetts with her family. We have often visited them at Thanksgiving – a New England Thanksgiving. When we visit Debbi, we often spend one day in Boston, joining many tourists who visit many tourist attractions there. And one of the still-popular tourist attractions, even though the TV show has only been available in reruns for many years now, is the bar that’s shown on the opening of “Cheers.” Yes, there is a bar called “Cheers” in Boston, just off Beacon Hill – but tourists need to be warned of something before they go there: while the outside of the bar is exactly the same as you see on the opening credits of the TV show, the interior, I’m afraid, was something just created for the show. The real Cheers looks nothing like that inside. The real Cheers, in fact, is more of a restaurant than a bar, with lots of booths and little rooms. I think it even has ferns in it, and regular fans of the show know that Norm and Cliff just hate ferns in a bar. […]

“Surprised by Joy”/II Kings 4:8-17; Luke 11:1-13/Rev. Rodger Allen/7-21-19

By |July 23rd, 2019|Sermons|

We believe, as Christians, in God’s wonderful gift of grace:  that God offers us, as a gift, out of love for us, the chance to know God and God’s will in this life, through this life, and the opportunity to be with God forever, in eternal life, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God had done this, for us. And we also believe that, in grateful response to what God has done for us, we Christians should try to live our lives the way God wants us to; it is our way of saying “thank you” for God’s wonderful gift. We do, in gratitude, particular things that are pleasing to God, and that help us become the kind of people God wants us to be. Like: […]