April 2020

“Jesus in Jerusalem: 2. Wednesday to Saturday”/Mark 14; 1-11; Mark 14: 12-62, selected verses; Mark 15: 1-46, selected verses/4.5.2020/Rev. Rodger Allen

By |April 18th, 2020|Sermons|

In the last message, we began a day-to-day look at the events of Holy Week, the week that goes from Palm Sunday to Easter – the final week of Jesus’ life. We considered the events of Sunday the Day of Procession, when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, to the shouts of “Hosanna!” from the people; the events of Monday, the Day of Cleansing, when he cleared the Temple of those who were using God’s house for greed and exploitation instead of worship; and the events of Tuesday, the Day of Teaching, when Jesus taught through parable, debate, example, prophecy, and Law. These are events that all the gospel writers made sure to report on, in some detail; they considered them to be important. These are the things that Jesus chose to do with his last few days, knowing his life was about to end; he must have considered them to be very important. […]

March 2020

“Lent: Preparing for Holy Week”/Luke 9: 51-62; Isaiah 58: 3, 6-10/Rev. Rodger Allen/3.8.2020

By |March 10th, 2020|Sermons|

One might think that the best time for me to present an Introduction to the Season of Lent would be on the first Sunday in Lent, which was last Sunday. But last Sunday’s service included both of our sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – only the second time I can remember that happening in my nearly sixteen years here. So I couldn’t resist presenting a discussion of sacraments then, and saving Lent’s introduction for today. […]

“Sacraments”/Matthew 28: 16, 18-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26/Rev. Rodger Allen/3.1.2020

By |March 4th, 2020|Sermons|

{This worship service included the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper}              A popular complaint among teenagers in high school and college goes something like this: “How will studying this stuff help me in my life’s work? Why do I have to memorize this piece of information, or take this dumb class?  What does it have to do with anything?” For example: “Why are they making me take French? I’m going into banking, in the United States. When will I ever need French?” Or: “Why should I learn long division? I plan to have a calculator with me anytime I need to do math, ever.” Or: “Who cares what’s the capital of Venezuela?” […]

February 2020

“And Now the God-Side”/Matthew 17:1-9; II Peter 1:16-19/Rev. Rodger Allen/2.23.2020  

By |February 27th, 2020|Sermons|

Easter, I’m sure most of you know, moves around a bit on the calendar. It’s not the same date every year, like Christmas is December 25th, or the fourth of July is, well, the fourth of July – except in Paris, Illinois where it isn’t any more. Easter is determined by a kind of complicated formula, having to do with the first day of Spring and the first full moon after that. […]

“Do Christians Like Parties?”/I Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:5-9/Matthew 4: 23-25/Rev. Rodger Allen/2-9-2020

By |February 11th, 2020|Sermons|

First Church . . . was a thriving church; a model church; the church that other churches pointed to saying, “they must be doing something right.” For First Church had had a boom in membership the past few years. It was in an area with lots of new homes being built and lots of people moving in; it attracted all the community and corporate leaders, the so-called “winners” of the area; people were all dressed perfectly, looked good, and smiled at each other all the time. It was the place to be on Sunday morning if you wanted to be regarded as classy and conscientious and cool. First Church had programs appealing to every age group and interest; it had talented and entertaining leaders for all its activities. Everyone was happy with First Church. First Church was doing so well, in fact, that it was outgrowing its building: it was hard to get a seat on Sunday morning, even with two services, and parking was a major headache. Finally the inevitable question had to be faced: is it time to build a bigger church building? […]