Listening to and Following the Shepherd

Posted on 18 Mar 2018, Pastor: High School Youth
Jake Vaughan Class of 2018 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” (These words of Psalm 23 remind me that) God has a plan for all of us here today and that all it takes is a little faith and God will guide us the rest of the way. This, however, is
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Listening through Lent: Jesus in the world

Posted on 13 Mar 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Our Old Testament reading that Camie Wiley read, Psalm 107, recounts four occasions of God’s saving work among various populations of people. I commend this psalm to you for a personal devotion this week. The psalm reminds us of the grace of God at work in various human circumstances, of God’s
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Listening Through Lent: Jesus’ Communication

Posted on 06 Mar 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Saturday, a week ago, we held the Memorial Service for Kay Philips. Kay was the wife of former DPC pastor and seminary president, Davison Philips. Davison and Kay were an integral part of this congregation for six decades, and we have recently hung their picture in the foyer just behind the
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Listening Through Lent: Jesus Means Business

Posted on 26 Feb 2018, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
[Read Mark 8:31-38] Our gospel reading this morning is found right in the middle of Mark. Remarkable, I think that this story is in the middle which means we’re halfway through Mark’s gospel and just before the story that we read today we are told that while Jesus and his disciples were
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Listening Through Lent: Jesus Calls for Change

Posted on 18 Feb 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Mark 1:9-15 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I
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Mountaintops, Valleys, and Everywhere in Between

Posted on 12 Feb 2018, Pastor: Rev. Allysen Schaaf
The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels. It opens with, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” then instantly Jesus is baptized, tested and calling his disciples. There’s no birth narrative or family tree, instead in chapter one Jesus begins to journey
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Beyond the Doors – Jesus on the Move

Posted on 06 Feb 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
My name is Samuel. I am a fisherman from the village of Capernaum. I happen to be the younger brother of Simon and Andrew. You may have heard of them, but you have probably not heard of me. There are many us, of course, the siblings and cousins of the first disciples of Jesus. Though our names
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Beyond the Doors – Jesus Teaches with Authority

Posted on 29 Jan 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Almighty God, by the power of your Holy Spirit, remove any obstacles from us that would prevent us from hearing your Word this day, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Before reading our Scripture for today, note that “There are two kinds of authority leaders possess: positional authority and
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Beyond the Doors – Jesus Invites Us to Follow

Posted on 23 Jan 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
I had been at Decatur Presbyterian Church for about 10 days when retired architect and former mayor, Bill Breen, came by my office. Bill gave me a book titled The Architecture of Happiness. “The Achitecture of Happiness is”, as the reviewers say, “a dazzling and generously illustrated journey
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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Posted on 14 Jan 2018, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
Our story today comes to us from the Old Testament. It’s the story of a young boy and an old priest. The young boy would become a great prophet himself, and the old priest’s vision was failing in more than one way. Listen now for the Word of the Lord to us from 1 Samuel chapter 3. [1 Samuel
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Beloved of God

Posted on 08 Jan 2018, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
The gospel reading this week is close to my heart. This is the text that my dear friend Rev. Andy Odom preached for my ordination five years ago. It was a memorable message. Andy is an animated preacher, he doesn’t stay in the pulpit and that day, to the astonishment of my Midwestern buttoned
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Simeon & Anna

Posted on 01 Jan 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Our biblical narrative for this first Sunday after Christmas focuses on two elderly members of the community of faith – Simeon and Anna. You and I know Simeon and Anna… In the text, they are presented as the personification of the faithful, the pious, of Israel in the first century; but they
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Do Not Be Afraid

Posted on 27 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
Do not be afraid, the heavenly messengers said. To Mary. To Joseph. To shepherds. To you. And to me. Do not be afraid they whispered and shouted. Do not be afraid for the light is coming, a glorious impossible has come to be. Mary must have been frightened when she heard the news that she, a
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Let There Be Joy

Posted on 26 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Our this Fourth Sunday of Advent, which also happens to be Christmas Eve, our Scripture reading hails from the first chapter of Luke, verses 39-55. Hear the word of God: In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country where she entered the house of Zechariah
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Let There Be Transformation

Posted on 18 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
As we discussed last week, in the sixth century B.C.E., Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Hardly one stone was left upon another. All the leaders were carried off into captivity in today’s Baghdad. Though times and conditions have changed dramatically, human needs are very much the same. The
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Let There Be Comfort

Posted on 11 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
In the sixth century BCE, during the Babylonian captivity, the people of Judah faced dire circumstances, far worse than anything we can imagine. Jerusalem, the beloved and holy city, had been utterly destroyed, burned and flattened. Not one stone left upon another, as the scripture reports.
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Let There Be a Turning

Posted on 03 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Allysen Schaaf
Prayer of illumination: As fire kindles brushwood, God ignite our spirits this day through the reading of your word. Speak to us in these Advent days- in the waiting and watching, in the sighing and rejoicing- that we might gain a deeper awareness of the Word made flesh coming to dwell among
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The Humble King

Posted on 26 Nov 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
When the most powerful shows concern to least powerful, hope is engendered among all. Did you know that today is the last Sunday of the year? In the liturgical calendar shared by many Christian denominations, today is the last Sunday of the worship year. Today is what we call Christ the King
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The Parable of the Big Bucks

Posted on 25 Nov 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
Our text today is a challenging one. It’s one of the parables we find in the gospel according Matthew and it’s placed between another challenging parable…the one about the bridesmaids…and a section called the judgement of the nations. In chapter 26 the lead up to the crucifixion
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Pray for a Door to Open

Posted on 13 Nov 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Today is Commitment Sunday, and on your 2018 Commitment Card, there is a box that we encourage all members and friends of the church to check. The box says: I commit to pray regularly for Decatur Presbyterian Church. The Apostle Paul never wrote one of his letters without encouraging the duty
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A View Through the Open Door

Posted on 06 Nov 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Today is All Saints’ Sunday, a day on which we remember and give thanks to God for the members of our congregation who have died in the past year. We remember and give thanks today for all those family members and friends who have gone before us, who have run their race and now rest from their
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Jesus is the Door

Posted on 30 Oct 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, a young Catholic monk named Martin Luther tacked 95 theses or disputes or statements or protests about the practices of the Catholic Church to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. This rather small and quiet act of protest started a movement that
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Let My Love Open the Door

Posted on 25 Oct 2017, Pastor: Middle School Youth Group
Scene 1 (Cue music: “Let My Love Open the door” chorus by Pete Townshend chorus plays) (Host walks through the door on stage) Host:   Good morning and welcome to “Be My Guest!” the show where we try to link one lucky contestant with the best possible guests for their upcoming dinner
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Knock and the Door Will Open

Posted on 17 Oct 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
The theme of our Stewardship season is “Wide-Open Doors.” The inspiration for this theme comes from Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth, in which Paul speaks of a “wide open doors to a great work”. The image of the door, or of the gate, which is very similar in Hebrew, appears
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When in Our Music God is Glorified

Posted on 08 Oct 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
For this special day on which we celebrate the importance and the joy of music in worship, and we appreciate those who so ably lead us in worshipful music, we appropriately turn to the psalms. The psalms are not only the “prayer book” of humanity, they are also the “song book” of faith. People
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For God So Loved the World

Posted on 01 Oct 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
On this World Communion Sunday, in a time of great disunity between various factions, we celebrate the unity of the Church across the world. In a time when many have stopped listening to one another, but keep talking past one another, from east and west and north and south, we gather at one
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The Mission at Our Doorstep

Posted on 18 Sep 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Most of you have probably noticed by now that our theme for the 2017-18 program year uses the same language as our Capital Campaign emphasis – Wide Open Doors. We began exploring our Wide Open Doors theme in worship on Rally Day, August 20. In Alex Rogers’s sermon, she spoke of a good
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The Doors are Open for Praise

Posted on 10 Sep 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
In the summer of 1993, I participated in my very first mission trip, the first of what is now somewhere around 25 or so. I journeyed with 50 or 60 youth from Greenville and Spartanburg, SC to Homestead, Florida, just south of Miami. Homestead was recovering from Hurricane Andrew, a category 5
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Stretching With Springs, or Building With Bricks?

Posted on 04 Sep 2017, Pastor: Rev. Allysen Schaaf
Imagine you are a disciple of Jesus, just a few years after the resurrection of Christ. Now imagine a powerful Jew named Saul out breathing threats and murder towards disciples of Christ. What would you do? Would you invite him over for dinner? Better yet, would you go and seek him out, offer
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Christian Hospitality Opens Doors

Posted on 27 Aug 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Last Sunday, Rev. Alex Rogers kicked off Rally Day by introducing our theme for the year, Wide Open Doors. As Alex described in her sermon, opening wide the doors of our hearts to God and to others involves great opportunity, yet also involves some measure of fear and vulnerability. Today, the
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A Good Place to Start

Posted on 21 Aug 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
Here we are at the beginning of a new program year in the life of Decatur Presbyterian Church. School has been in session for a few weeks now. For those of us who do not live by the school calendar, things may seem very much the same. But in the rhythm of our community, today is a new day, the
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Of Sheep & Goats

Posted on 14 Aug 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Matthew 25:31-46 – presented by the Children’s Ministries Skit Team: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd
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Bridesmaids, Ready or Not

Posted on 07 Aug 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Holy God, by the power of your Spirit, illuminate your Word to us this day, so that we may hear again the promise of your coming kingdom and ready ourselves to meet you face-to-face, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Before reading today’s parable, we should note its context in the gospel of
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Grateful & Ungrateful Guests

Posted on 30 Jul 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Chapter 21 of Matthew’s gospel begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the whole city in turmoil as the Passover approached, not unlike the turmoil in Jerusalem this past week. Jesus immediately goes to the Temple Mount and drives out all those buying and selling in the temple
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Greed & Grace

Posted on 24 Jul 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
I read somewhere this week that Martin Luther once said sometimes you have to squeeze the biblical passage until it leaks the gospel. Well, I’ve been squeezing this passage and I believe God’s grace just might leak out of it. The stories we find in Scripture can be really hard even when they’re
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The Great Reversal

Posted on 17 Jul 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
We’ve heard over these summer Sundays that the parables are meant to challenge us, to surprise us, to make us uncomfortable, and I’m going to add that I think the parables are meant to change us. That’s my hope, at least. They are meant to cause us to think differently about what it means to
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Lost & Found Sheep

Posted on 10 Jul 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
In the Gospel of Luke, three similar parables are deliberately grouped together – the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. These three parables beautifully describe the nature of God – the one who seeks and saves the lost. The setting for these parables in the gospel of Luke is Jesus is
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Fields of Wheat & Weeds

Posted on 06 Jul 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Just following parable of the sower, or as we called it last week, the parable of the soils, comes another parable of seeds sown in a field. In this parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus tells the truth about the human condition and refers to judgment at the end of time that belongs solely
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Rich & Rocky Soil

Posted on 25 Jun 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Matthew reports that Jesus went to the lakeshore to teach, and the crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a fishing boat, where he sat down to sow the seeds of the kingdom of God. The location of this teaching was most likely the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, not
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New and Old Garments

Posted on 19 Jun 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
If you were to write a parable, how do you think you would start? Would you write about the nature of God or the in-breaking of God’s kingdom or about what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Perhaps it’s not a fair question on the second week of our summer series on the parables of Jesus
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Wise and Foolish Builders

Posted on 13 Jun 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
We begin this morning a summer series on the parables of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew. Parables have been called “earthly stories with heavenly meanings.” Parables are memorable, easy to recall. Once a person hears the parable of the prodigal son, they will likely be able to
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Unexpected Winds

Posted on 08 Jun 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
The Sunday morning gathering of the people for the proclamation of the Word of God, for the breaking of bread and prayers, is the primal function of the church. Strip everything else away – the buildings and bulletins, the pews and the paraments, the committees and the councils, the choirs and
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Humble Resistance

Posted on 28 May 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Over the past three weekends, Melanie and I have attended three graduation ceremonies. Remarkably, all three were outdoors and all three enjoyed wonderful weather. Each ceremony was inspiring in its own way. We heard college presidents offer words of wisdom. We heard bright young scholars
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Accounting for the Hope

Posted on 22 May 2017, Pastor: Rev. Alex Rodgers
Friday night I attended the Baccalaureate service for Columbia Theological Seminary here in our sanctuary. It was a beautiful service and I hope an encouraging one for the students who graduated yesterday. We sang a hymn during the service that I had not heard before though it is in our hymnal.
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But Now You Are God’s People

Posted on 16 May 2017, Pastor: Rev. Allysen Schaaf
“Come gather around people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone And if your breath to you is worth saving Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changing”
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Live Freely

Posted on 08 May 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Hear the word of God from I Peter 2, 11-25. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and
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Love One Another Deeply

Posted on 02 May 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
I Peter 1:17-25 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,
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Seeking Holiness

Posted on 25 Apr 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Today is the second Sunday of Easter, and we continue our Easter celebration by turning to the Apostle Peter’s letter to the early church and also to an ancient text of Israel. Peter wrote to first and second generation believers in Asia Minor, today’s Turkey. These churches were among the
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Running Afraid (Easter 2017)

Posted on 21 Apr 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
Hear the good news of the gospel. Matthew 28:1-10: 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
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Walking Together

Posted on 11 Apr 2017, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
I love to travel. Traveling is wonderful, but, as you probably know, travelling can be stressful. Have you ever tried to get to the Atlanta airport during the Friday traffic rush? Have you ever tried to negotiate which restaurant your vacation group will attend for the evening – you know,
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