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Listening to God

Posted on Aug 7, 2017 in Sermons

A sermon preached by Rev. Jay Rowland on Sunday August 6, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, Rochester MN.  All credit is given and belongs to scholars Walter Brueggemann and Stephen Riley for their expert analyses and exegesis which appears in this sermon. Listening to God Text: Isaiah 55:1-5 (6-10)   Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love...

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Of Parables and Promises

Posted on Aug 2, 2017 in Sermons

A sermon preached by Rev. Jay Rowland on Sunday July 30, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, Rochester MN.  All credit is given and belongs to Jill Duffield, editor, Presbyterian Outlook: from “Looking into the lectionary for July 30, What is the kingdom of heaven like?” accessed/published online/email, via   Text: Matthew 13:24-39 Of Parables and Promises I don’t know if this applies to any of you–probably not.  But I feel like there are times during these summer months when my brain-power goes on a bit of a summer hiatus.  Especially after I return from vacation which is what this past week was for me–back in the office after being away the previous week.  All of which leads me to declare, “what was I thinking”?! when I decided weeks ago to preach on this pack of parables from Jesus!...

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What a Pain

Posted on Jul 24, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “What a Pain” Romans 8: 12-25 7/23/17   Nobody really likes to be in pain. Nobody really enjoys suffering. We would much rather live in a pain free state, enjoying the opposite of pain – which I suppose might be pleasure. But to be accurate, the opposite of pain and suffering is actually comfort. And that is how we would like to live – in comfort, pain-free. Julius Caesar was right when he observed, “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”(1) Yet, pain does have its positives. Sometimes pain is good. For instance, pain serves as an alarm that something is wrong. Some years ago, the late Paul Brand, a doctor who specialized in treating victims of Hansen’s disease –...

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Making a To-Don’t List

Posted on Jul 11, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “Making a To-Don’t List” Romans 7: 15-25a 7/9/17 Most of you have probably never heard of the Great Tuna Run of 1998 – and No, it is not a charity 10K sponsored by StarKist. The Great Tuna Run of 1998 occurred in the late summer and early fall of that year off the coast of Cape Cod. Fish were plentiful, and they were biting. What was even more exciting was that there had not been a run like that in 47 years. It was fisherman’s dream. All you needed was a sharp hook and some bait and you were in business. You could even make some pretty good money. Rumors around town had it that Japanese buyers would pay up to 50,000 dollars for a nice blue fin tuna. But here’s the catch: Atlantic blue fin...

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You Are Welcome

Posted on Jul 5, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “You Are Welcome” Matthew 10: 40-42 7/2/17 The Irish liturgical theologian Siobhain (Chavon) Garrigan, tells an interesting story from her travels around Ireland while researching her book The Real Peace Process. Arriving at a Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, Chavon was pleased to be greeting at the door by two women, church members, who seemed to invite her into conversation. Chavon realized that these women were ushers  of some sort, whose job it was to stand at the door of the church and interview new comers as they arrived. They quietly asked her name and the first names of any other approaching strangers who wished to join in the morning worship. Then Chavon figured out what was really happening. Hearing those names, the ushers would draw conclusions about the cultural and religious identities of each of...

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Posted on Jun 27, 2017 in Sermons

Text: Matthew 10:24-39 Rev. Jay Rowland.  Sunday June 25, 2017.  First Presbyterian Church, Rochester MN.   Discipleship Matters   “The trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn’t like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them. It is so, so cumbersome to believe anything. And it isn’t cool.”             — Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. I have to admit I wrestled with the inclination to edit the number of verses from this gospel reading.  There’s just so much there.  But something (thank you Holy Spirit) convinced me to defer to a far more reliable Source—thank you Holy Spirit—who will help you retain whatever is...

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