Gracious and Good Gifts

Gracious and Good Gifts                                             Genesis 1:20-31

Reverend Mike Johnston
November 12, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Continue reading

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Humble and Kind

Humble and Kind                                                              Matthew 23:1-12

Reverend Mike Johnston
November 5, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Continue reading

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First Name Basis

First Name Basis                                                                      Isaiah 45:1-7

Reverend Mike Johnston
October 22, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him— and the gates shall not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name; I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.
Prayer – Listening and speaking God – there are times in our lives when we feel as if we are orphans, with no divine connection, no sacred lineage that gives us a sense of connection. Continue reading

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Care of Creation

The Care of Creation as Moral, and Ethical Imperative

Scott Finley
September 24, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN
 
Sermon:
Before we start with the sermon
, you need to know why this service is different. As an “Official Earth Care Congregation,” we have certain obligations we had to meet to continue to be an “Official Earth Care Congregation,”. The first year’s list was fairly long. We met those requirement with ease. For the most part we have been an Earth Care Congregation for years and years. We use plates instead of paper plates, we drink from Rob’s mugs instead of Styrofoam cups. We have a garden that supplies food to the community, a labyrinth, an outside stage, guest speakers on the environment. We separate our garbage so that plastic, aluminum, and paper is recycled. The list goes on and on.

We have to renew each year. In so doing, we have to let the committee know what we propose. One of the things that I proposed is that we have two sermons on the environment – this is the first one. Gloria also has completed an energy audit and we are getting a more efficient HVAC. We also have to maintain our good standards.

We are honoring the RIVER this Sunday. You should have a river rock in your hand. I hope you will hold it through the service, except for Hymns of course. Continue reading

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Two Sides of the Same Coin

Two Sides of the Same Coin                                      Matthew 14:22-33

Reverend Mike Johnston
September 10, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Continue reading

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Paying Attention

Paying Attention                                                         Exodus 3:1-15

Reverend Mike Johnston
September 3, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Continue reading

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Believing In or Living Out

Believing In or Living Out                                   Matthew 16:13-20

Reverend Mike Johnston
August 27, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Continue reading

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A Line In the Sand

A Line in the Sand                                                       Matthew 15:21-28

Reverend Mike Johnston
August 20, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Continue reading

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Walking On Water

Walking On Water                                                    Matthew 14: 22-33

Reverend Laura Collins
Sunday – August 13, 2017
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH, PRESBYTERIAN

Sermon
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Continue reading

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Non-Sense

Non-Sense                                                        Mathew 14:13-21

Reverend Mike Johnston
August 6, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Continue reading

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Good Enough

Good Enough                                                                       Romans 8:26-39

Reverend Mike Johnston
July 30, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Continue reading

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Presence and Promise

Presence and Promise                                Genesis 28:10-19a

Reverend Mike Johnston
July 23, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.

Prayer – O God, we ask that you would give us the courage to open our eyes, to open our hearts to receive your grace filled presence no matter where we are or what we are doing.  Help us to receive what only you can give us, the blessing of being chosen and beloved – Amen.

          If there is any one person in all of scripture who is a schemer, liar, deeply flawed and self-absorbed more than Donald Trump it is Jacob of Beer-sheba. Continue reading

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Holy Abandon

Holy Abandon                                            Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

Reverend Mike Johnston
July 16, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 

Sermon:
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!” 10. 18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Prayer – Holy God, in an ever-changing world that seems reluctant to accept the gift of grace you throw our way with holy abandon each day, grant us hope enough to trust that you will continue to be extravagant as you toss us seeds of grace every day. May we wise enough to not only let those seeds fertilize our souls, but the take deep root in our lives and journeys – amen. Continue reading

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Testing Who?

Testing Who?                                       Genesis 22:1-14

Reverend Mike Johnston
July 2, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son please, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, Continue reading

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Outside the Box

Outside the Box                               Matthew 9:35-10:8

Reverend Mike Johnston
June 18, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 
Sermon:
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. Continue reading

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All Tied Together 2

All Tied Together 2                                                      Corinthians 13:11-13

Reverend Mike Johnston
June 11, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN 

Sermon:
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Prayer
God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.
You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us and even me.
Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing— As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

It is hard for me to believe that it has been ten years since the book, The Shack, was published. William Paul Young’s book which asks the deep theological and existential question of “where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” became a sensation in the literary world while leaving many people of Christian faith wrestling with questions many assumed were answered. Religious people either loved the book or thought it was heretical. If you were able to read it with an attitude of seeking, then it could be a life-enhancing work of fiction. Continue reading

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Panentheism

Panentheism                                             Acts 17:22-31

Reverend Mike Johnston
May 14, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN

Sermon
So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with. “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Continue reading

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The Way???

The Way???                                                                     John 14:1-14

Reverend Mike Johnston
May 7, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN

Sermon
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Continue reading

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Showing Up

Showing Up                                                                        Luke 24:13-35

Reverend Mike Johnston
April 30, 2017 – 10:15 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN

Sermon
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them,“Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other,“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

Continue reading

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Rocking Our World – The Myth of Redemptive Violence

Rocking Our World – The Myth of Redemptive Violence           Matthew 28:1-10

Reverend Mike Johnston
Easter Sunday Sunrise Service (Not really Sunrise!)– April 16, 2017 – 8:30 A.M.
NORTH ANDERSON COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN

Sermon
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Continue reading

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