Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer Nights: Starting with the sky


At our first Summer Night for middle school  youth, we explored creation Starting with the sky.  We remembered the Bible story of creation and how God proclaimed, at each step, that creation was Good!  We took time to become still and sense creation around us.  We learned the science of our atmosphere.saw how birds, the sky’s inhabitants, created unique nests.   We designed and made our own.   Then food, games, videos and kite flying.


Our next Summer Night is Friday July 8 from 6-9.  We will explore Water, water everywhere.  Come prepared to get a little wet!!!  Please contact Susan Sampson to register.


We can freely choose to gather on Sunday morning to worship the living Christ because others have gone before us, with a vision of God’s Kingdom, with singularity of purpose, with a clear message to share, and unafraid that some would protest against them.

Their successes are worthy of celebration.

Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you,
but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. — Luke 10:20

Jesus appointed 70 people and sent them out in pairs ahead of his travels. The number of people might also represent the number of nations the ancients perceived existed in their time, thus representing that Jesus sent sufficient numbers of people to reach the entire world. For Presbyterians, the idea of reaching the entire world resonates with our connectional system of government, through which we send people, mission co-workers throughout the world to work with those already working in those countries.

The number 70 is significant for Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church as this would mean sending nearly everyone present on a typical Sunday out to share that the Kingdom of God has come near. And in fact we are sent as messengers for everyone we meet judges our congregation and the entire Church of Jesus Christ based on how well each person demonstrates the Kingdom of Heaven.

Sparkler and US FlagLikewise we communicate the gift of freedom to the whole world on how we use it; whether we use it for the common good of the whole world or only for ourselves.

I will have more to say about Luke 10:1-20 on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor


Which demons haunt you?

doll-1264034_960_720For many people mere mention of the word demons conjures images of faith healers, shamans, witch doctors, voodoo dolls, and devils all of which can prey on fictions and superstitions.

Demons can also be understood as personifications of forces and ideas outside an individual’s control or even the control of a community. Peer pressure can be understood as a demon. In this sense demons can be good or malicious.

The Gospel according to Luke tells of Jesus healing a man plagued by a legion of demons. He greets Jesus naked, having broken chains and shackles and escaped guards, and choosing to live among the tombs. Even today we restrain those whose actions we do not understand to protect them and those near them and to facilitate their care. But by confining such persons do we not also give power to those demons, so that we need not change.

I am fascinated by the reaction of this man’s neighbors after Jesus allows his demons to instead enter a heard of swine. They are not pleased and excited for this man’s healing, that he could now sit quietly at Jesus’ feet, instead they are seized with fear and tell Jesus to leave. There was an economic cost (a heard of swine) and a social cost (new relationships) for this man’s healing. Did they fear that if Jesus stayed among them that others might be healed with additional costs? Did they fear that Jesus might rid their demons, might expel behaviors that they had learned to accommodate and had used to hold power over one another?

Which brings us back to our own demons. What keeps us from connecting with people outside our comfort zone? How do we stigmatize perhaps demonize strangers and foreigners in our midst, people with different cultural norms?

I will have more to say about Luke 8:26-39 on Sunday, June 19th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor


When we make a mistake, our experiences tell us to expect consequences, punishment, or even retribution. Thus when we see someone else make a mistake we hope, if there is any justice in the world, that they too will experience commensurate consequences.

John_Calvin_11Perhaps this is why preaching should be a humbling experience. Even twenty years after seminary I still remember the location where I preached my senior sermon. The stained glass windows behind the pulpit contained images of prophets and apostles receiving the word of God: Moses receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai; Seraphs placing a burning coal on the lips of Isaiah; Paul being blinded by the light of Christ … And on the distant wall the faces of great preachers stared back at me: John Calvin, Martin Luther, Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr, … In the front row sat my peers and Ruling Elders from this the largest congregation in the city, a congregation with a long history of calling great preachers and having started the seminary I had attended. Even without those visual reminders, daring to expound on and the Word of God places those words squarely between my eyes. As one of my seminary professors had said about his preaching:

Those times when my sermons were best received,
when parishioners came up and said: “I felt you were preaching directly to me,”
were those times when I was preaching to myself.

Yet, through Christ, we receive and get offer forgiveness of sins those who have not earned such, and might never earn such. Not only those who have sinned against us, but also us.

Jesus said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
— Luke 7:50

Forgiveness is not humanly possible. If we “get it” at all, it will be by God’s very nature being in us. And the secret to real forgiveness: It is divine.

 The other guests began to say among themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
— Luke 7:49

I will have more to say about Luke 7:36-50 on Sunday, June 12th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

Summer Nights: Explore Creation

Explore Creation: Movies, food, challenges, sharing, science, service, and fun. 6 - 9 pm Fridays.
Movies, food, challenges, sharing, science, service, and fun.

Fridays 6-9

June 24th: Starting with the sky

July 8:  Water water everywhere

July 22: Down and dirty, looking at land

August 5:  Features creatures, animals and people share the earth

For 5th through 8th graders.

Please register with Susan Sampson.