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Location: 464 E. Walnut St. Pasadena CA
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November 13, 2017 02:21 PM PST

Scripture Reading: Various Psalms

In the midst of pain, despair, heartache, and sorrow, whether on a personal, communal, local, or global level, we are encouraged to seek and find hope. In various psalms, the writers pour out their worries, fears, sorrows, and anguish to God, their raw emotions serving as a catalyst for pouring out our own feelings, as a form of therapy for releasing all that weighs us down and burdens us, and as a tool for healing after we have expended ourselves, raging at God, and eventually reorienting ourselves to seek and find the calm, peace, and hope we need. For example, in Psalm 130, the psalmist wails, "From the bottom of a deep black pit, God, I scream at you! The walls rise above my head, shutting out the sun. Can you hear me, God? I can't get out by own efforts. I've tried and tried. I climb part way out, and then I slide back again to the bottom. Without your help, I'm sunk forever. ... I shall lie down here in the depths of the pit and wait. You are my only hope. I shall wait for you ... I put my hope in you, God." It can take a long time to go from yelling at God to putting our hope in God. When our hearts and minds are swirling with strong emotions, it is easy to forget God, and to forget hope. As we prepare for Sunday's worship service and message on hope in hopeless times, I invite you to ponder on the words in Psalm 130 and also on the words in the following quotes I culled from an internet search: "Hope is not pretending that troubles don't exist. It is the hope that they won't last forever. That hurts will be healed and difficulties overcome. That we will be led out of the darkness and into the sunshine" (www.livelifehappy.com); "A single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing" (www.thedailyquotes.com). Incidentally, if you're curious about the paraphrase of Psalm 130, you can find it in Everyday Psalms by James Taylor [Winfield, BC, Canada: Wood Lake Books, Inc., 1994]. I took some liberties with his paraphrase, but the essential message is the same. I hope to see you on Sunday to discuss more in depth the theme of hope!

--- Rev. Stacy L. Thomas

November 08, 2017 05:16 PM PST

Psalm 1

This coming Sunday, we will take time to remember those who have died this past year in observance of All Saints Day. This remembrance is a chance to bring sadness, grief, and gratitude as we reflect on the legacies and lives that have nurtured and blessed our own. We will also read and consider Psalm 1, an ancient poem that juxtaposes the ways of the righteous and the wicked, as we humans have liked to do since the beginning of time. In the midst of remembering those who have gone before us, we are going to use this poem to ask questions about how we view concepts like sin and judgment, as well as what kind of story we want our lives to be telling. Join us this Sunday!

Sermon Text: Psalm 1 (NRSV)
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

-Chaplain Randy VanDeventer

November 08, 2017 10:54 AM PST

Joshua 3:7-17 and Matthew 23:1-10

In the Joshua text we hear the story of the ancient Israelites crossing the Jordan River. Under the leadership of Joshua the people had to cross a river that was often swollen by the spring floods. They had with them the Ark of the Covenant - a representation of God in their midst. The passage was a challenge but this passage confirms that God travels with them. The story speaks of the leaders and priests who stand in the water bearing the ark as the people pass on to dry ground. These and other stories of our spiritual forebears speak of a time of great uncertainty and wandering in the wilderness; people in community on the move, dependent on one another and dependent on God. It required great faith from them. We too are people on the move in a different time with different challenges in front of us. Like the ancient ones, we are called to band together and bear up the sacred and trust that God will provide and lead us! Feel free to read both passages of scripture in preparation for worship on Sunday. Don't forget to turn your clocks BACK one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday night - we will have coffee ready for those who inadvertently come early!!! See you Sunday!

-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy

October 31, 2017 02:55 PM PDT

Psalm 1

This coming Sunday, we will take time to remember those who have died this past year in observance of All Saints Day. This remembrance is a chance to bring sadness, grief, and gratitude as we reflect on the legacies and lives that have nurtured and blessed our own. We will also read and consider Psalm 1, an ancient poem that juxtaposes the ways of the righteous and the wicked, as we humans have liked to do since the beginning of time. In the midst of remembering those who have gone before us, we are going to use this poem to ask questions about how we view concepts like sin and judgment, as well as what kind of story we want our lives to be telling. Join us this Sunday!

Sermon Text: Psalm 1 (NRSV)
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

-Chaplain Randy VanDeventer

October 23, 2017 03:45 PM PDT

Exodus 33:12-23

Our text in worship this week is the story of Moses pleading with God for support and affirmation in guiding the people of Israel- for company on the wilderness journey that will prove to other tribes and all comers that Israel is a chosen people, the people of God. God offers compassion but also remains as our God, declaring that the people of Israel will be companioned by God - but neither Israel nor Moses will see the face of God! In a sermon entitled "Nurturing Humility," we will consider together what it means to recognize God but not control God, to be known but not to know our God in the sense of understanding or predicting Her Will or ways! To be faithful in any age, in any situation calls for us to submit ourselves to the work and direction of God, as best we know how, without knowing all the steps or understanding each of the "wherefores."

Come join us for worship at 10AM in the Chapel - we invite you to wear a family-friendly costume and join us after worship for our Halloween Festival.

Rev. John H. Pomeroy

October 12, 2017 11:52 AM PDT

Matthew 21: 23-32

How do we know what we know? How are we so sure of our own values, and our faith? "Who gave YOU this authority?!?" is the sermon title and it comes from the words of the Temple Authorities who are challenging Jesus for his teachings at the Temple in Jerusalem in our text from Matthew 21. And in typical Jesus-fashion, rather than respond to their question with an answer, he responds with another question, about what they all believe about the authority of John the Baptist. They refuse to answer, and so he stumps them with another lesson about sinners-turned-saved. The conversation between Jesus and the Temple leaders is instructional for us today, as we seek to make sense of a confusing time in our nation's deep political and theological differences.

Please join us in worship on Sunday as we explore the question of how we define truth and identify God's authority on earth. Also, sadly (at least for me!) this will be my last sermon at FCC, as I am moving on. My final Sunday will be next Sunday October 8th. See the article below for more info.

- Rev. Andy Schwiebert

October 12, 2017 11:43 AM PDT

Matthew 21:33-46

On October 8th our text in worship is a parable about "wicked" tenants who betray their landlord's trust by trying to keep the land and its produce for themselves instead of returning the correct portion to the landowner. In a sermon entitled "The Meaning of Church" we will consider how much of church life and ministry is for us - and how much is the purpose for our gathering to care for those outside the church? We all come to worship and meetings with needs and concerns - and we all have benefitted from the care and compassion we find at church. Thank God for listening ears, caring hearts, and others of faith who are willing to share of their time and resources! Yet it seems at every turn in Scripture there is a story about sharing and serving - offering our "harvest" to those in need and using our own time and money to provide something that another person in our family or community may desperately need. Come and join us as we work out the "math" of what it means to be a person of faith with a God who treasures compassion!

-Rev. John H Pomeroy

September 18, 2017 04:41 PM PDT

Matthew 18: 21-35

This Sunday we celebrate Just Peace Sunday in our denomination, an intentional focus on why our faith calls us to care about and act on issues of justice and peace in our communities. Our story from the Gospel shows two slaveholders - one who forgives a debt and another who ruthlessly pursues a debt - and compares God to the harsh slaveholder unless we ourselves find a way to forgive others. In a sermon entitled "Is Someone In Your Way?" we will consider how our faith calls us to look at both our friends and strangers as the person of Jesus - members of the Body of Christ. How often we consider others obstacles to what we need or want - whether we are in line for our food at the grocery store, waiting for an organ donation, waiting to hear about a job or arguing with an insurance company to cover a life changing medication. Instead, this text asks us to look at others as part and parcel of our own salvation! It is a sometimes challenging and overwhelming thought - that each person in our lives - from partner or spouse to store clerk - is a part of showing to us what God is like and our treatment of that person shows our commitment to having a relationship with God! Come join us at 10AM this Sunday in the Chapel for worship!

-Rev. John H. Pomeroy

September 18, 2017 04:34 PM PDT

Matthew 18:15-20

What do you do when someone in the community or workplace does or says something that is offensive or hurtful to you? If we are honest with ourselves, the natural tendency is to complain about it to your spouse, or a close friend, or maybe a mutual friend of the person in question, either as a way to "gather allies" or just lash out at the person.

In Matthew 18 we read about Jesus teaching a counter-cultural way which does not involve lashing out as a first step. In other parables and lessons, Jesus calls us to some wildly difficult tasks-- love your enemies?! sell all your possessions and give to the poor?! forgive seven times seventy times?!? But in Matthew 18, he actually offers a VERY practical path to interpersonal conflict resolution. AND YET, it's still a challenge to follow this path! This Sunday we'll reflect on this text as a road map for conflict resolution.

Rev. Andy Schwiebert

September 18, 2017 04:27 PM PDT

Exodus 3: 1-15

Our text in worship this Sunday is the story of Moses learning about how he is to confront the Pharaoh and lead the Israelites after God captures his attention with a burning bush! Moses is surprised, confused, and daunted by what God asks him to say to the Pharaoh and to the Israelites - he clearly feels ill equipped to work with God in this famous story of call and liberation! Often we are stressed and worried about those things that are "on fire" in our lives, those urgent, annoying but compelling needs that draw us to try changes that we are afraid and reluctant to try. In a reflection entitled "Buckle Up" we will consider how we might be enriched and nurtured by such a challenge in our lives and in our faith, despite the unfamiliarity, the potential risk and the ongoing fear and worry! Come join us to reflect on this text in our air-conditioned Chapel at 10AM this Sunday!

-- Rev. John H Pomeroy

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