Up-Coming and Past Sermon Topics
From Rev. Diane R. Ford (and friends)
Audio versions of past sermons are available here.
Sunday Worship: 10:00 AM
January 26, 2020 – “Using All We Got: Civil Dialogue” Rev. Diane r. Ford
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12, 17-23
January 19, 2020 – “John the Baptist” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 40:1-11; John 1:29-40
January 12, 2020 – “Our Faithful God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 27:1:3-6, 10-14; 1 Peter 1:3-7
January 5, 2020 – “No Longer Tossed” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Ephesians 4:11-16
December 29, 2019 – Christmas 2019 – Rev. Diane R. Ford and the LPC Congregation
Scripture: Luke 2:1-40
December 24, 2019 – Christmas Eve – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 2:1-40
December 22, 2019 – “The Long-Awaited Peace: Born to Set People Free” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
A Rain Shower of Scriptures: Psalm 29:11; Psalm 32:7; Psalm 85:8; Isaiah 55:12;
Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27; John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:16;
Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:6-7; Romans 8:6; Colossians 3:15
December 15, 2019 – “The Long-Awaited Peace: Birthing Shalom into a Groaning World” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38; Romans 8:18-27
December 8, 2019 – “The Long-Awaited Peace: Psalms Sing Shalom” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-9; Psalm 46; Psalm 25,89,98,114
December 1, 2019 – “The Long-Awaited Peace: The Shalom of God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 15:4-13
November 24, 2019 – “Random Acts of Gratitude” – Lay Service
Scripture: Psalm 100; Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10
November 17, 2019 – ” Surprising Choices” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 18-19; Matthew 14:13-21
November 10, 2019 – “Snarky with Jesus” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Luke 20:27-38
November 3, 2019 – “Discernment and Centering Prayer” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Ephesians 1:16-23; 1 Samuel 3:1-10
October 27, 2019 – “A Like-Jesus Church” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 1:1-18; Luke 19:1-10
October 20, 2019 – “Wrestling With God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Genesis 32:22-31; Luke 18:1-8
October 13, 2019 – “Thankfulness is Contagious” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 32:9-15; Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; Luke 17:11-19
October 6, 2019 – “Yesterday’s Bread” Rev. Diane R. Ford
Ephesians 2:14-18; Exodus 16:1-16
September 29, 2019 “Christ Wants the Table Filled!” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 32:2-3, 6-15; Luke 14:15-24
September 22, 2019 – “Everyone Matters” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10
September 15, 2019 – “Drawing Our Attention to God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Numbers 21:4b-9; John 3:13-17
September 8, 2019 – “We Will Come and Make Our Home” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 14:19-23
September 1, 2019 – “Etiquette and Party Invitations” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14
August 25, 2019 – “Be Bold” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Luke 13:10-17
August 18, 2019 – “Lessons” – Rev. Liz Congdon
Scripture: Isaiah 1:16-17; Matthew 11:29
August 11, 2019 – “Who Could That be at This Hour?” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8, 11-16; Luke 12:32-40
August 4, 2019 – “Spiritual Dynamics of Stuff” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 12:13-21; Colossians 3:1-11
July 28, 2019 – “The Cross and the Prodigal” – Rev. Lisa Lancaster
Scripture: Luke 15:1-32
July 21, 2019 – “Paths that Lead to Full Life” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scriptures: Genesis 18:1-10a; Luke 10:38-42
July 14, 2019 – “Good Stewards of Our Creativity” – Rev. Diane R. ford
Scripture: Genesis 1:1; Exodus 35:35; Romans 1:20; Genesis 1:27; 2 Corinthians 5:17;
Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; Colossians 3:17
July 7, 2019 – “Your Names Are Written in Heaven” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
June 30, 2019 – “Mama Bear” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 14:12-14; John 3:3-10
June 16, 2019 – “Unbridled Joy” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
June 9, 2019 – “Unity With The Holy Spirit” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 1:4-5, Acts 2:1-8, Acts 2:11-13
June 2, 2019 – “Singing From Within Prison Walls” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 17:20-26; Acts 16:16-34
May 26, 2019 – “Gift of Healing” – Rev. Dale Selover
Scripture: John 5:1-9
May 19, 2019 – “The Heart of the Matter” – Rev. Terry Chapman
Scripture: Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35
May 12, 2019 – “How Do You Believe” – Rev. Terry Chapman
Scripture: Psalm 23; Acts 9:36-43; John 10:22-30
May 5, 2019 – “Creation, A Source of Contemplation and Hope” – Rev. Dale Selover
Scripture: Luke 12:22-32
April 28, 2019 – “From Doubt to Faith” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 20:19-31
April 21, 2019 – “Looking for the Living Among the Dead” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12
April 14, 2019 – “Palm Sunday” – Rev. Diane R. Ford and Congregation
Scripture: Luke 23
April 7, 2019 – “The Vessel of Jesus” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 9:16-17; John 12:1-8
March 31, 2019 – “Anybody have a Bottle of ‘Reconciliation’?” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 9:14-17; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
March 24, 2019 – “The Invitation” – Rev. Terry Chapman
Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-9
Rev. Chapman has served as a pastor of Presbyterian Churches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Edinburgh, Scotland for 30 years. He is a spiritual director, retreat leader and poet. As an adjunct professor at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Terry teaches courses in Christian Spirituality. Terry’s book Sabbath Pause was published in 2012. He leads regular pilgrimages to Uganda where he works with an NGO serving children. He is a father of two young adults near the beginning of their own journeys and married to Jan who is a practicing psychotherapist specializing in trauma.
March 17, 2019 – “What’s in Your Vessel?” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 9:16-17; 2 Timothy 2:20-21; 2 Corinthians 4:7
March 10, 2019 – “New Wine into New Wine Skins” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 9:16-17
March 3, 2019 – “Temporal Dust to Eternal Glory” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Genesis 45:3-11,15; Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-44, 50; Luke 6:32-35
February 17, 2019 – “Manifesto of Non-Violence” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Luke 6:17-26
February 10, 2019 – “Love and Power” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
February 3, 2019 – “How Narrow is Narrow?” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 7:7-14
January 27, 2019 – “Letter of the Law, and Spirit of the Law” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 17:1-8; Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3:12,16-18
January 20, 2019 – “Celebration and Illumination” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 62:1-5; John 2:1-11
January 13, 2019 – “Revealed at the Jordan & Beyond” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17; Acts 10:34-43
January 6, 2019 – “By Another Route” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 2:7-18
December 30, 2018 – “Caroling Service”
December 24, 2018 – “Merry Little Christmas” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-5
December 23, 2018 – “This Life” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: I John 1:1-4
Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 16, 2018 – “Yearning for Christ’s Return” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:25-35
Third Sunday in Advent
December 9, 2018 – “Waiting in Christ’s Safety” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 1:67-79
Second Sunday of Advent
December 2, 2018 – “The Mighty Are Brought Down” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
First Sunday of Advent
November 25, 2018 – “Going Deep: All Are Invited” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 14:7-24, 16:19-31
November 18, 2018 – “The Captives Are Set Free” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 13:10-17, 14:1-6
November 11, 2018 – “Going Deep: Enemies Become Neighbors” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
November 4, 2018 – “Share Earthly & Spiritual Resources” – Rev. Diane R.; Ford
Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:17-18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
October 28, 2018 – “Role of Scripture” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 8:26-40
October 21, 2018 – “Cultivative Witnessing” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 8:1-25
October 14, 2018 – “Fishers of Men: The Role of the Holy Spirit” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 3:1-10
October 7, 2018 – “Fishers of Men” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 1:1-8
September 30, 2018 – “Captives are Released” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 8:22-39
September 23, 2018 – “Debts are Forgiven” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 7:36 – 8:3
September 16, 2018 – “The Poor Hear Good News” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 7:1-23
September 9, 2018 – “God’s Reversals” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 4:16-30
September 2, 2018 – “Hunger for Spiritual Connection” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Kings 8:1,6,10-11, 22-30, 41-43; Ephesians 6:10-18
August 26, 2018 – “Engagement as a Matthew 25 Church” – Sue Smith
Scripture: Isaiah 11:6-9; Romans 8:19-22; John 18:37-38
Sue Smith is an elder and a member of First Presbyterian Church Rumson. She works for God’s creation in both religious and secular organizations: from working to certify Rumson as an Earth Care Congregation, to representing GreenFaith on the Coalition for Healthy Ports, to board membership with Clean Water Action’s NJ chapter, to serving as Vice Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care. Sue holds a BA from Cornell University, an MBA from NYU and is an M.Div. graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary and a candidate in the PCUSA call process. She currently serves as Stated Clerk of Monmouth Presbytery.
August 19, 2018 – “Solomon’s Prayer at Gibeon” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Ephesians 5:15-20
August 12, 2018 – “Family Rivalry, Guilt and Grief” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 34:1-8; 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
August 5, 2018 – “Satisfaction” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 6:24-35
July 29, 2018 – “When We Are Godless” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14:1-6; John 6:5-12
July 22, 2018 – “Gratitude Leads to Love” – Rev. Rosemarie Newberry
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
July 15, 2018 – “Inspiration Doubled” – Rev. Simon Rhee
Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-11
July 8, 2018 – “Human Expectations – Divine Power” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Mark 6:1-13
July 1, 2018 – “The KINdom of God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 17:20-21
June 24, 2018 – “Interrupting Ministry” – Rev. Barbara Kalehoff Hicks
Scripture: Psalm 130:1-6; Mark 5:21-43
June 17, 2018 – “Finding Calm in the Storm”
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41
June 10, 2018 – Dobby and DACA – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Samuel 8:4-11 … 16-20; Mark 3:20-35
June 3, 2018 – Mental Health Awareness Sunday at LPC
with Jay Yudof from the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Scripture: Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 4:24
May 27, 2018 – “A Gentle Pentecost” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: I Kings 10:11-18; Isaiah 6:1-8; John 3:1-21; Genesis 16:6-14; Genesis 32:22-32
May 20, 2018 – “Pentecost” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2; Exodus 13:21; Acts 1 and 2
May 13, 2018 – “Final Words” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 20:11-22, John 21:1-19
May 6, 2018 – “Jesus Prays for Us” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 17:6-20
April 29, 2018 – “Living Waters” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 8:26-40; John 15:1-8
April 22, 2018 – “Sacred Water” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 8
April 15, 2018 – “Easter Hope Today” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Acts 4:32-35; John 20:19-23; 1 John 1:1-5
There is a grand, over-reaching stroke of relief that was broadcast into the world when Jesus was resurrected. God was giving the sign, loud and clear, that earthly powers of greed and cruelty cannot stand up to the God. This was difficult for people in the first century to trust, as it seemed, according to their version of CNN or Fox, that the world was nothing but cruel. But for the ones that became children of God, they trusted God’s victory and dominion over all. When it gets right down to it, who or what has dominion over your life? Your bills, children, health or threatening people? Do your thoughts and feelings have dominion over you? We have the power to declare with our lips that Christ alone has dominion over our lives — over all life. To speak and live like this is transforming. And this is why Jesus sends his disciples, ancient and modern, to spread this message. The message, as the author of 1 John puts it, is that “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”
April 8, 2018 – “Love, Broken, Love, At-One-Ment” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 4:7-21
April 1, 2018 – “Foolishness is Exposed, Alleluia” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Mark 28:1-10; John 20:1, 11-16
March 25, 2018 – “The Foolishness of the Cross, ‘What Did You Expect?’ ” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scriptures: Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12
March 18, 2018 – “The Wit of Jesus” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 22:15-22, 22:30-33, 22:34-40
March 11, 2018 – “Foolishness of the Cross: Dive into Scripture with Wild Abandon” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 5:39-40, 14:15-24, 15:1, 4-11
March 4, 2018 – “To Dream the Impossible Dream” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Proverbs 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:13-21
One humble man of conviction looked like a fool in his quest. He is called Don Quixote. We continue to look at the quest Christ leads us on, acknowledging that it may seem foolish to many. But be encouraged! There is a great crowd of Fools from whom we descend.
February 25, 2018 – “The Foolishness of the Cross: ‘Fool for Christ’s Sake’” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: John 21:4-9,13
This Sunday we gather in a “jazz café” environment in our sanctuary. Seems a bit odd – is it unreverent, or silly? Jesus seemed to eat and drink all through the Gospels. And what better setting to consider Jesus and the other foolishness he taught.
The Greeks schooled in the philosophy and rhetoric of Aristotle did not warm up to the message of the Apostle Paul. Paul seemed like a fool with his narrative of a crucified lord. With some sarcasm Paul called his preaching “foolishness.” Some of the Jews found Paul’s message more than foolish – the idea that the expected Messiah would be crucified was offensive. A third indictment against the Gospel is the seemingly foolish teachings of Jesus: love your enemies; if someone wants your coat, give them your shirt too; take up your cross and follow me. This Sunday we look at what a “Fool for Christ” is. A bit like a court jester, the fool gets away with strange actions because he actually reveals truth through his foolishness.
February 18, 2018 – “The Foolishness of the Cross: ‘Living Questionable Lives’ ” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: I Corinthians 1:17-25; Colossians 4:2-6
Check out this challenge: Christians are called to be extraordinary people. We are called, gifted and equipped by God for this. What does it take to be notable, to raise curiosity, so that people question us, “why are you doing this?” It is then, that they will see the difference Christ makes in and through us. What else would draw them to Christ? It’s not our buildings, it’s not our programs, it’s not “nice” people. It is Christ.
February 11, 2018 – “Jonah in Nineveh” – Rev. Robin Bacon Hoffman
Scripture: Mark 9:2-9; Jonah 3:1-5,10
February 4, 2018 – “The Gift of Evangelizing” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 147:1-11,20; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
One of the reasons Jesus’ leadership was extraordinary is that he didn’t “lord it over” people. Jesus taught and demonstrated, and ultimately died due to his understanding of what real power in a man is: his ability to serve. We know this applies to women also, but in his time, this was mostly a critique of men in power. In the gospels Jesus has strong words about the hypocrisy of religious leaders, the vanity of rich leaders and a sideways comment of the governor, “that snake, Pilate” These are fierce moments of truth-telling, and it took courage in the Roman Empire speak like that. Today’s Scripture is about Jesus at the sick-bed of Simon’s mother-in-law. There is an inherent tenderness as we imagine this scene. The boldness of Jesus comes from his tenderness and love for us. Real power comes from love, not from fear or greed.
January 28, 2018 – “Mindful, Intentional Disciples of Jesus” – Rev, Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 111; Mark 1:21-28, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Can you recall a painful experience of looking like the odd one out, and making choices to somehow get into the good graces of the crowd again? It was 7th grade for me: new school, new kids, and the new routine of walking all over campus to get from class to class. The first horrible moment was when I walked into the wrong math class on the first day of school; the teacher asked each person to state their name and something about themselves. The kids seemed like they already knew each other, and there were boys with facial hair! When it was my turn to introduce myself, I said I thought I was in the wrong class – and it felt like the whole class laughed at me. Oh, the humiliation of it all. There was nothing I could do to fit in – I was simply not an 8th grade algebra student. Apostle Paul addresses an early Christian community as they respond to socially awkward situations – he speaks of peer pressure, role modeling, and the importance of building up new or struggling believers.
January 21, 2018 – “Decisive, Intentional Disciples of Jesus” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 62:5-12; Mark 1:14-20
When Jesus asked disciples to follow him, some of them dropped everything, including the work they did to make a living. We know that people literally walked with Jesus, village to village, coming to know not only him and his way of being in this world — they came to know one another. A new way of relating to others grew amidst the brutal culture of the Roman Empire. It is these earliest of Christian communities that changed the course of human history. Today more than ever we need Christian communities to proclaim and demonstrate the realm of God.
January 14, 2018 – “Obstacles to Meeting Jesus” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-14; John 1:43-51
When Nathaniel heard Jesus’ hometown was Nazareth, he scoffed. See, most people had a negative feeling about this back-water town of Nazareth. Where are the back-water places in your life — those people and situations from which you expect nothing good? Turns out, if you are open to the possibility, you can find goodness and even transformation there.
January 7, 2018 – “New Year, Old Resolutions” – Rev. Robin Bacon Hoffman
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 and Matthew 25:31-46
December 31, 2017 – “Peace Amidst Unrest: Simeon and Anna” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 2:22-39
Who are the wisest people in your life? Who has peace that seems to maintain its depth, even during challenging or painful times? Where does that kind of strength come from? In the book of Luke we find elderly Simeon and Anna who point us to the source of such wisdom, peace and strength.
December 24, 2017 – “Peace Amidst Unrest” – Rev. Diane R.; Ford
Scripture: John 1:1-5, 14, 16-18
The meaning of Christmas becomes especially poignant in times of unrest. The message God has revealed through the Christ is this:
- God will go to whatever length it takes to reach us.
Humanity is Sacred to God.
In the darkest times, the Light and Love of God is always present.
As unlikely as it may seem, we are conduits of God’s power in the world.
The message of Christmas is our seed of Comfort, Hope and Peace. That seed bursts into life by the power of faith.
December 17, 2017 – “Peace Amidst Unrest: Human Worth” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 2:8-20
If you ever doubted your worth in the world, tune into the deep meaning of the birth of Jesus. It is the astonishing message that God had come to be with us, in “flesh.” It’s not only that God came by way of a baby named Jesus – it is that God came into human life at all – even beyond that, that God comes to be with and in creation. For the Creator so loved the Creation that he gave himself to us. To you. Do you feel unworthy of this? Tune in more closely: you are forever “worthy” because God calls you worthy. Jesus preached it, demonstrated it, died for it, and Christ will come again – because God has made and chosen us and all creation. This is where our peace amidst unrest comes from: like those shepherds out in the field (Luke 2:8-20) we have been shown our worth. Go ahead -revel in it!
December 10, 2017 – “Peace Amidst Unrest: Immigrants and Refugees” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 2, selected (escape to Egypt)
Mary, Joseph and Jesus were refugees fleeing for their lives to Egypt. How did they keep the peace of God in their hearts in Herod’s violent world? How do we keep Christ’s peace when we are facing dangerous choices in a violent world, or when we are facing deportation, or when we are strangers in a new community?
December 3, 2017 – “A Peaceful Place Amidst Unrest” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
With all the unrest in our country and beyond, Sunday mornings in December will focus on peace that is only found in God. It will take this kind of peace to sustain our relationships, communities and healing in the world. Come drink from the deep well of peace – it is found in unlikely places such as the chilly, dusty manger.
November 26, 2017 – “Do Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with Your God” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
A service of Readings and Song, Culminating our Autumn Focus: “Justice and Jesus”
November19, 2017 – Stewardship – Be The Blessing” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8-10; Mark 12:41-44
November 12, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus, Part 8: When Christians Disagree about Justice”
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:2-4, Ps. 94:20, Micah 3:9-12, Luke 3:11, Isaiah 58:7, Romans 12:13, Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 25:35-40 and 5:7,
1 Corinthians 12:26, Romans 12:15-16, Proverbs 22:9, Acts 4:32-35,, Proverbs 19:17, 1 John 3:17, Philippians 2:3-4, Proverbs 14:31
Whether Christian or not, compassionate, fair-minded people disagree with what social justice looks like. This is a hot topic in families and faith communities, especially regarding how our politics and sense of social justice come together.
November 5, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus, Part 7: Covenants with the God of Life” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Genesis 2:8-17, Genesis 9:8-13, Genesis 12-17, Luke 4:14-21
After attending a screening of “Climate Refugees,” my preparation for this Sunday’s sermon has become focused on the human history of migrating. Migrating is a basic plot of the Scriptures: Adam and Eve were expelled from their garden; Noah fled danger in a ship; Abraham was called by God to leave his city for a far-off new home; Moses and the Hebrew people escaped slavery in Egypt to enter a new land; to escape Herod, the young Jesus and his parents found sanctuary in Egypt. All of these people left their home for a strange and foreign place, where they had to start over.
As we mature in our faith, the depth of Jesus’ love, intentions and prayers becomes clearer to us: love one another; love one another; at all costs, love one another. Those escaping floods, fires, governments and wars: there is no other path but to protect and befriend them. And when it is WE who are escaping, we will be protected and befriended by God’s agents in the world. God remains the God of all, the Lover, Defender and Redeemer of all. Thanks be to God.
October 29, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus: Part 6: Job Description of a Good King” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 22:24-30
There is a lot of public discussion about what makes a good leader — particularly in discussions of the ethics in the political sector. The ethics of rulers (whom we now call “public servants”) is an ancient conversation, and the oldest documents that remain on the topic are found in the Hebrew Scriptures — the Old Testament. Jesus was very clear about what a “good leader” is, and this not only serves nations well, it serves families and relationships well. Come learn about the treasure of the Old Testament and reflect on the heart of Jesus’ teachings.
October 22, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus: Part 5 – The Sins of Our Neighbors and Ancestors” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Leviticus 26:38-42 and Matthew 23:29-31
As people who value our independence and personal space (and rights), today’s topic may be a head-scratcher. There is a strong message that is repeated in Scriptures that we are responsible for more than our own actions, but the actions of our community, nation and world. It is called “corporate sin,” and is a key element when working for social justice. There is life-denying (“sinful”) work done in our institutions, social and economic systems, governments, even the gender we belong to – these are all arenas that we as Christians are called to address. It becomes interesting when we consider how to take responsibility for the sins of our ancestors.
October 15, 2017 – “Justice & Jesus: Part 4 – Tablets of the Heart” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:26, Matthew 25:31-46
There is a misconception held by many Christians that the Old Testament is about a mean and angry God and the New Testament is about a loving and forgiving God. This Sunday we will hear a stark reversal of this idea, only to demonstrate how misguided it is. A wise look at restorative justice quickly makes one see that if we do not have hearts of compassion, like the compassionate heart of God, justice is not possible.
October 8, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus Part 3: Comfort Zones” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 16:19-21; Amos 2:24
One of the most satisfying books to read in the Bible about social justice is the book of Amos. This is the book that contains the quote Martin Luther King, Jr. used: “Let justice roll down like waters!” (2:24) Amos points out that those who sit “on their lavish couches,” while others suffer bring on themselves the wrath of God. Jesus was clear about the sin of ignoring the needs of others (all others, in fact). How can we as comfortable Americans unlock that which keeps us from caring for others?
October 1, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus: A Worthy Bride” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13, Hosea 1:2, Hosea 4:12, Hosea 6:6, Hosea 8:13, Hosea 2:14-20
Justice and Jesus Part 2: A Worthy Bride
(Come in clothing from your ancestors’ home countries.)
October 1 is World Communion Sunday. In the social and political climate of our world today, the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Communion, is understood more clearly for its poignant and transformational power. The table prepared before us is not owned by any government, not purchased by any billionaire, not restricted to those with certain abilities, credentials or citizenship. At Christ’s Table everyone eats. Communion is not a set of words and actions done at church; it is the power of God in us, and in the world. It threatens those whose god is their power and status. Using the metaphor of Marriage, the prophet Hosea has clear words to us regarding serving such gods. Jesus refers to the same metaphor in his parable in Matthew 25, “The Ten Virgins” – Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
September 24, 2017 – “Justice and Jesus: An Introduction” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Micah 6:8
Pastor Diane begins a sermon series looking at main themes found in the writings referred to as the Prophets, and explores how Jesus’ teachings and life reflected and deepened our understanding of God’s will and work in the world.
This is “Walk the Talk” Sunday at LPC! Meaning, our worship will be about 45 minutes long, and then we will all prepare the church for the homeless families who will be our guests this week. Others will be writing cards to volunteer chaplains and work crews who are working in Texas and Florida. Come to church in your LPC t-shirts or other casual wear!
September 17, 2017 – “Be the Rainbow After the Flood” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
This Sunday is the beginning of our new program year. The theme, “Be the Rainbow After the Flood,” will inspire us to be signs of hope for all those who are suffering. Put your lawn chairs in the car, because weather permitting, we will worship, at 10:00 AM, on our glorious front lawn.
September 10, 2017 – “On Being w/ Krista Tippett interview: The Inner Landscape of Beauty” Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Philippians 4:8
See On Being website –
John O’Donohue. the Irish poet, theologian and philosopher, insisted on beauty as a human calling. He had a very Celtic, lifelong fascination with the inner human landscape and what he called “the invisible world,” constantly intertwining with what we can know and see. This beauty is about a more rounded, substantial becoming, about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.
September 3, 2017 – “On Being w/ Krista Tippet interview: Belonging Creates and Undoes Us Both” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Leviticus 19:18, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 15:18, Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 28:25, Proverbs 29:2, Matthew 5:9, Matthew 5:24, Matthew 18:16, Romans 12:17-21, Philipians. 2:4, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:29-5:4, James 1:2-4
See On Being website –
Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and extraordinary healer who leads the Corrymeela community of Northern Ireland, a place that has offered refuge since the violent division that defined that country until the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Pádraig and Corrymeela extend a quiet, generative force far beyond their northern coast to the entire world. They’ve learned what they know the hard way, yet they carry it with an infectious, calming joy.
August 27, 2017 – ” On Being w/ Krista Tippet interview: CLOUD CULT: MUSIC IS MEDICINE” – Rev. diane R. Ford
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalm 135:3, Psalm 98:1-7, Colossians 3:16
See On Being website –
The band Cloud Cult has been called an “orchestral indie rock collective.” Cloud Cult’s trajectory was altered the day its co-founder and singer-songwriter, Craig Minowa, and his wife woke up to find that their two-year-old son had mysteriously died in his sleep. This interview explores the art that has emerged ever since.
From the rawest grief to the fiercest hope, the profound and life-giving force of music is our companion. Drumming and singing were the earliest forms. The Scriptures include 150 songs in the Book of Psalms. The lute, harp, trumpet, cymbals and singers are present at the most holy moments of worship.
August 20, 2017 – ““The Persistence of Grace” – Rev. Barbara Hicks
What if you met Jesus and asked him to help you and he ignored you? What if you asked again and he gave you a rude, insulting answer? That is the dilemma facing the woman we will meet this Sunday in the sermon. Guest Preacher Rev. Barbara Hicks will preach on the unusual story in Matthew 15.
Scripture: Isaiah 56:1, Isaiah 56: 6-8, Matthew 15:21-28
August 13, 2017 – “Humor as a Tool for Survival” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Proverbs 17:22, Genesis 21:6, Psalm 126:2-3, Ecclesiastes 3:4, Luke 6:21, Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 14:13
See On Being website – Sam Sanders, Terry McMillan, Lindy West, et al: Humor as a Tool for Survival – Interview by Lily Percy
As a tool for survival, humor is elemental. In this interview, they explore this idea with a rabbi who started out in drag, comedians, an NPR host, writers of sci-fi / fantasy, social commentary, and the TV show Veep.
August 6, 2017 – “Anil Dash: Tech’s Moral Reckoning” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Genesis 18:19, Proverbs 22:6, Isaiah 54:13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 2 Timothy 3:14-15, 2 Timothy 1:5, Galatians 6 (selected verses)
See On Being website – Interview with Anil Dash by Krista Tippett
A wildly popular blogger, tech entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley influencer, Anil Dash has been an early activist for moral imagination in the digital sphere. In this interview Anil Dash and Krista Tippett explore the unprecedented power, the learning curves ahead, and how we can all contribute to the humane potential of technology in this moment.
July 30, 2017 – ” Isabel Wilkerson: The Heart is the Last Frontier” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Galatians 3:28, Acts 10:34-35, Romans 2:9-11, Colossians 3:11, John 13:34, Genesis 1:27, Revelation 5:9-10, 1 Cor. 10:4, 1 Peter 2:9
See On Being website – Interview with Isabel Wilkerson by Krista Tippett
Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2016. Her book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. In this book she has immersed herself in the stories of the Great Migration, the diaspora of six million African Americans to the north of the U.S. in the 20th century. It’s a carrier of untold histories and truths that help make sense of human and social challenges newly visible at the heart of our life together.
July 23, 2017 – “Richard Rohr: Living In Deep Time” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Mathew 6:5-9, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Psalm 66:17, Psalm 95:2, 1 Corinthians 14:15, James 1:6, Psalm 118:25, Romans 15:30, 2 Corinthians 1:11, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, James 5:13-14
See On Being website – Interview with Fr. Richard Rohr by Krista Tippett
Men of all ages say Richard Rohr has given them a new way into spiritual depth and religious thought — through his writing and retreats. This conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher delves into the expansive scope of his ideas, including how to set about taking the first half of life — the drive to “successful survival” — all the way to meaning.
July 16, 2017 – “Running as Spiritual Practice” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, 3 John 1:2, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Proverbs 17:22, 1 Cor. 10:31, Proverbs 3:7-8
See On Being website – Interview with runners by Krista Tippett
Running – not just as exercise, or as a merely physical pursuit, but running as an interplay between competition and contemplation
July 9, 2017 – “Spirituality of Imagination” Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture Exodus 1:8-20 and Exodus 3:3-10
See On Being website – Interview with Martin Sheen by Krista Tippett
Martin Sheen, born and still legally named Ramón Estévez, has had another lesser-known life as a spiritual seeker and activist. “Piety is something you do alone,” he says. “True freedom, spirituality, can only be achieved in community.”
July 2, 2017 – “On Being w/Krista Tippett – Entering Into What Is There” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 94 The Message
Thoughts on the interview with Eugene Peterson from On Being with Krista Tippett
“Prayers are tools not for doing or getting, but for being and becoming.” These are words of the legendary biblical interpreter, teacher, and pastor Eugene Peterson, who served as a pastor for 29 years. He is the author of over 30 books, including Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, The Pastor: A Memoir, and The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.
June 25, 2017 – “On Being w/Krista Tippett – The Power of Words to Save Us” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Psalm 23, John 1:1-4, Job 28:1-14, 20, 23-28
Thoughts on the interview with Marie Howe from On Being with Krista Tippett
The moral life, Marie Howe says, is lived out in what we say as much as what we do.
Marie Howe is the former Poet Laureate of New York and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She’s published four collections of poetry: What the Living Do, The Good Thief, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, and Magdalene.
June 18, 2017 – “She Laughed” – The Reverend Dr. Merideth Mueller
Scripture: Galatians 4:22-28; Genesis 18:1-5
The Reverend Dr. Merideth Mueller is a teaching elder residing in Pennington, NJ, trying to live into her call as a “Servant of Christ and Steward of God’s Mysteries” in the model of 1 Corinthians 4:1. Merideth served as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tuckerton from 2005 to 2014 and as Monmouth Presbytery’s Director of Advocacy for Long Term Recovery from 2014 thru May 2016. She is presently the Vice Moderator of Monmouth Presbytery, chairs the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and serves on Bills and Overtures, having attended General Assembly in June 2016. She serves on the boards of Camp Johnsonburg, Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group and New Jersey Audubon.
June 11, 2017 – Sermon – “Holy Spirit For Who?” – Rev. Lisa Lancaster
Scripture: Numbers 11:24-30, John 7:37-39
Rev Lisa Lancaster was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1987. After pastoring, she then became the first chaplain at CentraState Medical Center, where she served for 22 years. She is now a spiritual director, with a ministry called Beggars Helping Beggars (see Facebook page). She and her husband Richard, a climate scientist, have two four-legged children.
June 4, 2017 – “Holy Spirit 101 (Part 3)” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
The act of breathing reminds us of the Spirit’s indwelling and sustaining presence. The Spirit of God resides within people rather than in the ancient temple of Solomon. This is something we take for granted, and yet we may not realize the significance of it. The significance is we are more “able” than we usually trust or understand. How might this inspire what LPC’s next year will look like?
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Genesis 1:1-2, Mark 1:9-11, Acts 2:1-7, 11b-13
May 28, 2017 – “Holy Spirit 101 (Part 2)” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: I Cor. 6:19; I Cor. 12:27; John 14:7-17 selected; Gen. 1:1-2; Mark 1:9-11
May 21, 2017 – Sermon – “Holy Spirit 101 (Part 1)” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
May 14, 2017 – Sermon – “Overbooked” – Rev. Fred Whitehurst
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:20-10; John 14:1-14
May 7, 2017 – “Inclusiveness” – Rev. Rosemarie Newberry
— Inclusiveness for all
Scripture: Galatians 3:28; 1 Samuel 16:7
April 30, 2017 – Sermon – “Nearer Than We Realize” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
— The road to Emmaus.
Scripture: Luke 24:13-35
April 23, 2017 – “The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
There is no conflict between science and the reformed faith. In fact, the more scientists learn about the earth and cosmos, the more awe and wonder I feel about the Triune God. This weekend we celebrate Earth Day by cleaning the beach, watching a film with a climate scientist, and on Sunday morning, giving thanks for God’s creation. We commit ourselves anew to respect and tend to our home, Earth. Bring a house plant to church to add to the “green” sanctuary!
Scripture Genesis 1; Romans 8:16-27
April 16, 2017 – “Companionship Has Been The Path All Along” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12
April 9, 2017 – Palm Sunday – “A Path Through the Wilderness 6” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
What comes more naturally for you – to serve, or to be served? What is your experience of serving when someone refuses your service? What is your experience of being served when the server is someone you know? or someone you don’t know? There is an interesting dynamic that we experience when servanthood is the “norm” of the community. It transforms our understanding of power, as does Holy Week which begins Sunday. The biblical character Zacchaeus visits us Sunday as we greet and walk with Jesus to Jerusalem. Remember the last supper and Jesus’ moving display of servanthood as he washed his disciples’ feet and hurried Judas along on his errand.
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11 (Jesus washes feet at last supper.)
April 2, 2017 – “A Path Through the Wilderness 5” – Rev. Robin Bacon Hoffman
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
Scripture: John 11
March 26, 2017 – “A Path Through the Wilderness 4” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
A man born blind receives his sight.
Scripture: John 9
March 19, 2017 – “A Path Through the Wilderness 3” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
We are on the third Sunday during the season of Lent. Walking the path of life (the “wilderness”) occurs for each of us in a different way. Yes, we appreciate some order to things, and some of us like a healthy amount of disorder. But Christian path is more about “re-ordering.” In the powerful story of “the woman at the well,” Jesus once again gets beyond the ordinary, pop-culture view of life. In a fun ritual with water before the sermon, we will be “sipping” from the extraordinary Living Waters of God.
Scripture: John 4:5-42 (Samaritan Woman at the Well with Jesus)
March 12, 2017 – “A Path Through the Wilderness 2” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Stressed at work or school? Trying to meet expectations of family and co-workers? Feeling sad, mad or weary of the news cycle? Break yourself away from all of these powerful parts of your life, and spend time with the God who loves you. Bring your questions; prepare to be surprised and perplexed by a new word God has for you. Nicodemus came to Jesus and walked away scratching his head. The wilderness is a place to process God’s word to us.
Scripture: John 3:1-17 (Jesus and Nicodemus at Night)
March 5, 2017 – “A Path Through the Wilderness” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
First Sunday of Lent
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
February 26, 2017 – “How Great Is Our God?” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
The “transfiguration” is one moment, among many, when Jesus’ disciples recognized him as more than a “good teacher.” The spiritual dimension of what God was doing in Jesus was witnessed and experienced in healings, exorcisms, demonstrations of radical love and inclusion, turning power structures up-side-down, and in his obedience to God’s will, even though it led to his arrest and death. But just in case someone might still believe he was nothing more than a good rabbi and gifted healer, Jesus’ transfiguration, like his resurrection, reminds us that this down-to-earth teacher and lover of God was the human vessel of the eternal Christ. And how does faith in this Christ help you sleep at night? Let’s look at the question: how great is our God?
Scripture: Exodus 24:12-18; Matthew 17:1-9
February 19, 2017 – “Love Your Enemies” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
I know – most fun-loving, well-intentioned people do not have “enemies.” Unless you are speaking of war-time enemies of our country, we may not refer to anyone as an enemy. So, what might this teaching of Jesus be about? Who is hard to love? Who is difficult to listen to? Who would you rather avoid? Who have you not forgiven? Who has hurt you or someone you care about? Who do you disagree with? As you make a list of these names … consider that Jesus is instructing us to LOVE such people. Perhaps we need to define “love.” Jesus described and demonstrated love. In times of uncertainty and divisiveness, how are you and I bringing love to the table?
Scripture: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 ; Matthew 5:38-48
February 12, 2017 “Reconciliation Nation” – Rev. Alonzo Johnson
PCUSA Coordinator of the Self Development of People
Community Anti-Racism Workshop – this weekend at LPC
Scripture: Ps. 145:13-21, 2 Corinthians 5:10-14
February 5, 2017 – “There Is No One Uninvited” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Scripture: Isaiah 58:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20
January 29, 2017 – “Shine Like Stars”
Sometimes we find ourselves where the news that we read and hear seems bleak and dreary. It may seem at times that our world is dark and that we are helpless to influence change or to share hope. Paul writes to the church in Philippi from prison offering a word of encouragement to the church. He reminds the church that even when the challenges seem so daunting, that Christ is at work in the church and in each of us. The gift of the church is to encourage us to support each other and to find joy even in times of discouragement. Paul tells us to shine like stars to the world of darkness. Together the church can be the light and guide people to the love of God. The closer we get to God in our own hearts, the more the light will shine for others to see God at work through us. We keep the faith, we carry on, and we lift of the light for others to see. The introduction of the Gospel of John says that the light will shine in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it. We shine like stars for one another and for the world.
Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16; Pauline Letter: Philippians 2:1-15
January 22, 2017 – “Walking Humbly and Stand for Hope and Act” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Learn all you can and, Trust the hope God provides, and ACT. Eight centuries before Jesus the Hebrew Scriptures spoke: “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” Jesus embodied and died for that message, and twenty one centuries later, we are still preaching his message: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. LPC invites you to take action at a community anti-racism workshop Feb. 10-12, and a benefit Jazz evening for the homeless in our community on Feb.16. Learn all you can, trust the hope God provides, and Act.
Scripture: Micah 6:6-8 and Matthew 5:1-12
January 15, 2017 – “Shielded By God and Messengers of Hope” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
When challenged to deal with something or take action, know that you are shielded by God. This may require you to have a constant reminder – perhaps a string tied around your finger? Or an alert on your smart phone that says, “God is here!” Whatever calls you to connect consciously with God, go for it. That is step one.
Scripture: Ps. 27:1,4,13-14 and I Peter 1:3-7
January 8, 2017 – Generosity and Hope – Rev. Diane R. Ford
A tradition of Puerto Rico to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany breathes fresh life into our understanding of how Christ is working in the world. Embrace hope by taking generous action in our world – now is a good time to practice this for our relationships, our communities and nation.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Jaunary 1, 2017 – “Rogue 2017: I am one with the Christ, the Christ is With Me” – Rev. Diane R. Ford
Taking themes from the current Star Wars movie, Rogue One, Pastor Diane will weave the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus escaping the terror of their home to become refugees in Egypt.
Scripture: Matthew 2:13-23
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