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Posted on Sep 6, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “The Practice of Self-Denial” Matt. 16: 21-28 9/03/17   Paul Harvey once told the thrilling story of a man named Ray Blankenship. It seems that one summer morning as Blankenship was preparing his breakfast, he gazed out the window and saw something that made his heart stop. A small girl had fallen into a rain-flooded ditch beside his home and was rapidly being swept downstream. Blankenship knew that not far away the drainage ditch disappeared beneath the road and then emptied into the main culvert. If he didn’t reach her in time, she could be lost to the churning water. He dashed out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to get ahead of the child who was floundering in the water. Then he hurled himself into the rapidly moving stream, grabbed the child’s arm...

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Who is this Guy?

Posted on Aug 29, 2017 in Sermons

Thomas J Parlette “Who is this guy?” Matthew 16: 13-20 8/27/17   Every once in awhile a story pops up on the news about someone who claims to be the Messiah. It happened in Knoxville, Tennessee not too long ago. A man claiming to be Jesus Christ was arrested after he assaulted his wife. The arrest report stated that he assaulted his wife, shoved her into a chair and threatened her if she left them. He also ripped a telephone off the wall and smashed a car windshield. The report went on to say that the arresting officer heard the man repeatedly yelling, “You can’t arrest me. I’m Jesus.” At the Knox County Jail, when an officer questioned him about his religion, the man stuck to his story – “I’m Jesus.” He also told jail officials that he wanted...

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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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