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Merely Christian

Posted on Dec 12, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “Merely Christian” 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-24 12/10/17   Religious books are big business. In the United States, sales revenue has recently been around 500 million per year. About 50 million religious books are sold each year, both fiction and non-fiction, classic and contemporary. Maybe you’ll be getting one for Christmas in a couple of weeks. But with so many books to choose from, how do you know which ones have value? Which ones are good and which ones are great? Aside from the Bible, what would you say is the best Christian book of all time? Intervarsity Christian Fellowship tried to answer that question a few years ago. Their Emerging Scholars Network held a “Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament”, a single elimination tournament with brackets, sort of like the NCAA basketball tournament. The Final...

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The Holiness of Waiting

Posted on Dec 6, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “The Holiness of Waiting” 2nd Peter 3: 8-15a 12/03/17   So you need to call customer service. You clear your schedule for an hour. You get comfortable in your favorite chair, put the TV on mute and gather all your account numbers and passwords. And you tap in the number. A voice answers, “All our operators are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order that it was received.” And you wait… Then the voice comes back on, “Thank you for waiting. Your call is very important to us…” and on and on. And then you wait some more. As Tom Petty once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I don’t know anyone who likes to wait. Whether it’s on the phone, or in line...

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The Standard

Posted on Nov 27, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “The Standard” Matthew 25: 31-46 11/26/17   What comes to your mind when you think about standards? Perhaps you think about ethical standards, or maybe your dating standards. Maybe its educational standards. Or it could standards of measurement. Some standards of measurement we take for granted – an inch is an inch; a foot is a foot. But it actually took quite a long time to arrive at an agreed upon standard for even these common measurements. For instance, an inch was described as the width of a man’s thumb – but of course, everyone’s thumb is a little bit different. So in the 14th century, King Edward the II of England ruled that an inch equals three grains of barley placed end to end lengthwise. And that’s how we got an inch. A foot was...

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More Than We Can Stand

Posted on Nov 20, 2017 in Sermons

A sermon preached by Rev. Jay Rowland on Sunday November 19, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, Rochester MN. More Than We Can Stand   Text: Psalm 123   Back in 1976, the Academy Award-winning film Network created a cultural catchphrase that became part of the national vocabulary at the time.  There’s a scene in which a veteran TV network-news anchor played by actor Peter Finch abruptly goes off-script during a live newscast and delivers a searing rant.  The anchor man, enraged by all the terrible news urges everyone to open their windows and shout: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”   As I watched this scene again on YouTube his rant sounded like he was reacting to life in 2017 not 1976! Oh there’s nothing like a well-scripted rant to affirm outrage and ease...

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Leaning into God

Posted on Nov 13, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “Leaning into God” Psalm 78: 1-7 11/12/17   The most famous leaning tower in the world is, of course, the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. However, it’s not the only such leaning tower in the world. The Albert Memorial clock stands in Queen’s Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Built in 1869, it is several feet off perpendicular because it was built on marshy land. And then there’s the famous Big Ben in London – it is a leaning tower as well. It stands 1 ½ feet off perpendicular. We even have a couple of leaning towers in the United States. The closest one to us is the leaning tower of Niles, Illinois – a replica of the leaning tower of Pisa. But there is also the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, which tilts 2 inches...

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Posted on Oct 30, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “Only” Romans 3: 19-28 10/29/17, Reformation/Memorial Sunday   Bible translator John Wycliffe was condemned to death for translating the Bible into English, but he died before the authorities could catch up with him. So strongly did church officials feel about the necessity of enforcing this sentence that they dug up and burned Wycliffe’s body anyway. Author Benson Bobrick describes the full extent of this unusual in abstentia punishment: “This last decree was finally, and relunctantly, carried out in the spring 0f 1428 by Richard Flemyng, then Bishop of Lincoln, who acted on peremptory orders from the Pope. With the new Primate of England looking on, Wycliffe’s remains were disinterred and burned on a little arched bridge that spanned the river Swift (a tributary of the Avon river), and his ashes were cast into the stream. From...

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