Pulpit Notes: Draw Me Close, O Lord

Draw me close to You this day, O Lord. Let Your Holy Spirit wash over me, and pour out Your mercy upon me. Renew and regenerate my faith; and compel me not by force, but by love which knows no bounds. Lead me into the world You came to save, O Lord, and let Your power, strength, and mercy flow unbounded into the sea of human need.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pulpit Notes: A Prayer for Perpetual Light

Merciful and loving God, may Your perpetual light shine upon us this day. In darkness, enlighten us; in hunger, sustain us; in temptation, rescue us; and from sin, death, and evil, save us. Free us from all that holds us back, and bind us to Your eternal Word. May Christ be seen in us, may Christ’s name be upon our lips, and may Christ be made known in all we seek to accomplish, to Your eternal Glory.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pulpit Notes: Easter, the Most Important Event in History

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

One of the most common beliefs of the Christian faith is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrated on Easter Sunday. We believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. This is, in my opinion, the most important doctrine of the Christian faith because everything else that we believe as Christians depends upon it. Paul spoke to this when he wrote to the church in Corinth:

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  (1 Corinthians 15:14).

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. For Christians, the Resurrection is the one and only event in all of history that can give meaning and purpose to all the rest. We have hope for life abundant and eternal. Even though you may have made your profession of faith years ago, consider reaffirming it today. Christ lives, and because He does, we can, too!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pittsburgh Marathon 2018: “A Home Run”

Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 6, 2018

More than twenty-five members and friends of Shadyside Presbyterian Church are preparing for “A Home Run” in the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 6. The entire church is invited to run alongside them in a number of exciting ways:

Show Your Support

This year, we are again honored to be running with our local mission partner, Open Hand Ministries (OHM). Shadyside runners are running with a purpose to support OHM’s urban-renewal work in the Garfield and East Liberty communities. To support our runners financially, visit their pages at www.crowdrise.com/openhandministriespitt2018.

Eat Dinner

Join the runners and meet our mission partner at a carbo-loading pasta dinner and pep rally on Friday, May 4, at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Please RSVP by contacting the church office or signing up in the Sharp Atrium no later than Sunday, April 29. If you are interested in helping with the dinner, please contact Rev. John Magnuson.

Slice Oranges

Volunteers are needed the day before the race, Saturday, May 5, at 1:00 p.m. to slice nearly 200 pounds of oranges in the church kitchen. Oranges will be given to runners during the race as they ascend Fifth Avenue, one of the most challenging portions of the 26.2-mile course. To help, please contact the church office or sign up in the Sharp Atrium.

Be a Fan

Shadyside’s cheer station will once again be located near the church at the corner of Amberson and Fifth Avenues. Not only will we pass out orange slices and fruit chews, we will be the words of encouragement as the athletes run their race with perseverance and strength. Rain or shine, be prepared to cheer with enthusiasm from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 6.

Worship

Marathon weekend concludes with worship in the Sanctuary at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. Due to the church’s location within the marathon route, our service of worship moves from the morning to the afternoon. The Reverend Todd E. Leach will preach, and Communion will be served by intinction. Nursery care will be available during the service. As a fitting conclusion to Marathon Weekend, this will serve as a reminder that acts of running, giving, and encouraging are all done in worship. Following the service in the Sanctuary, all are invited to join us for fellowship in the fresh outdoors as we are joined by Garfield Community Farm’s Mobile Market and Franktuary’s food truck. Learn more.

Pulpit Notes: A Prayer for Maundy Thursday

Lord, so often I feel as though I am in the Upper Room.

I hear those piercing words, “One of you will betray Me,” and I know not what to do, but put my hand into the bowl. Jesus, my greatest need is Your forgiveness; my greatest task, to forgive. God, forgiveness is Your power to break the chains of human sin and strife, the power by which Christ has conquered the grave. Lord Jesus, extend Your mercy to me this day, that, withdrawing my hand and heart from sin, I might be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving of others, as You have forgiven me. Grant me courage not to run from the table, but to partake of the bread broken and the cup poured; reconciled to You and redeemed for Your ministry of reconciliation.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pulpit Notes: Experience the Entirety of Holy Week

“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and He sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’ ”
Matthew 21:6-11

Where will we be this coming week? Will we be singing our “Hosannas”? Will we be praising God? And where will we be as the week continues? Will we participate in the entire story of the Passion leading to Easter?

To fully appreciate all that is the amazing glory of Easter, we must experience the entirety of Holy Week: the triumphal entry into Jerusalem; the intimate community and symbolism in the Last Supper; the Passion; the sorrow; the pain; the emptiness; and then the unimaginable joy of the Resurrection.

Let us experience Holy Week in its entirety.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pulpit Notes: Question and Answer

Lord, in a world that seems full of pain and sorrow, we ask, “Why?” In a world where hunger and poverty is abundant, we ask, “Please?” In a world full of injustice and hate, we plead, “Intervene?” But rarely do we ask, “How?” How are You at work in the world, in history, in us?

All shall pass, so what does it all mean? You are the why; you are the please; you are the intervene; and we are the how!

Help us to not have answers, but to be present. Help us to respond to our brothers and sisters before they must beg for food, for shelter, for mercy. Help us to give injustice, pain, and misery meaning — not with answers, but with compassion that is present and the face of Christ in the world.

All shall pass, but Him! Jesus Christ is eternal. May the fleeting reality of human pain, confusion, and fear find meaning in Christ and our compassion toward others find purpose in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

 

Pulpit Notes: Spiritual Hunger

Jesus Multiplies the Loaves and Fishes, art glass window in the south rear corner of the nave of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.The depths are Yours, O God, and the mountains speak of Your majesty. Human hearts, however, remain hungry for what we cannot obtain but by Your grace. Grant us Your Word, grant us Your mercy, grant us faith to worship and bow down this day.

O Lord, may my every thought and word this day be an act of spiritual worship, and every gesture and act become a sacrament of thanksgiving and praise.

A hunger exists in this world for far more than food, O Lord. I pray, then, that as You multiplied the loaves and fishes, You might also increase the fruit of the Spirit in my life that spiritual hunger all around me might be satiated. May the table of my life become a cornucopia of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control for all who hunger and search for truth. To You, O God, be all glory this day. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Photograph: An art glass window in the north rear corner of the nave of Shadyside Presbyterian Church depicts Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes. Photography by Nick Conti, Imagebox Productions.

Pulpit Notes: The Clarity of Quiet, the Joy of Stillness

O God, let me seek this day the clarity of quiet and the joy of stillness. May the hush of my will reveal the clear call of Yours.

So often I have set off down a path, certain early of Your plans, only to be dismayed because I was late to listen. Make the day slow, Lord, that I may hear the pulse of Your Word beating in my soul — a clarion call in a world of sound, a thunderous whisper in a raging storm, a peace beyond measure in the midst of secular confusion, and a point on the horizon which beckons. And if that point be a freshly planted cross, grant me courage.

Come, Jesus, invade not only this moment, but also the will of all who seek to follow You. O Lord, grant hearing, grant wisdom, grant courage. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Pulpit Notes: Lord, Open Our Eyes

A widow, an orphan, a homeless person with a bedroll in tow — Lord, open our eyes.

Jesus sat down in the Temple and watched, and then called His disciples. Call us, Lord. Help us to train our eyes and hearts to observe those we so easily overlook, that we may be drawn by Your Spirit to faith, to love, to a community that truly demonstrates the compassion of Christ, for it is in His name we pray.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor