Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Living in Christ’s Family’ Category

Feed and Follow


Sermon Notes from
5/5/19
Rev. Jean Johnson’s message
inspired by John 21:1-19

“Feed and Follow”

We are needy people
Who need daily encouragement.
We need assurance;
We need to know what Jesus meant
When He said, “Feed my sheep.”

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We call out for forgiveness.
We are hungry for God’s grace.
How shall we feed on grace?
How shall we receive forgiveness?
Obey Christ’s command, “Feed My sheep!”

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We hunger for His grace.
We yearn for His mercy.
We are healed by forgiveness.
We are to care for and feed those
Christ meant with, “Feed My sheep.”

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Christ converted Shakey Simon
Into the Solid Rock Peter.
Through Christ, God provides us
With the Solid Word to feed others.
We can, in fact, follow “Feed My Sheep.”

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In His command is God ‘s promise
Of provision for His followers.
The church will feed on the Gospel.
The church will nourish others
With Good News – “We feed God’s Sheep!”

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We are here as needy people
To receive the encouragement
To feed on His assurance,
And then to go out and indeed
Do as He commands: “Feed My sheep!”

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On this Cinco de Mayo,
I have decided that when we
go out into the world and
Feed His Sheep,
we bring color into their lives.

colored sheep
Don’t you agree?
The Good News certainly colors MY world!!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, my friends.
See you tomorrow.

Let Me Wash Your Feet!


Foot Washing

“You wanna do WHAT?”

“I’m going to wash your feet!”

“No way! You’re my Boss. I can’t have you washing my feet. I should be washing YOURS!”

“No, you need to let me wash your feet. If you don’t, then you’re fired! You will no longer belong in my company!”

“OK, Lordy me!! If that’s the case, don’t just wash my feet; wash all of me – my head to my toes, and polish my toes, too!”

toes-polished.jpg

“Well, since you have taken a bath, you are clean – except for your feet. You and your friends (except for one) are all clean. I just need to wash your feet!”

“Well, my Lord, if that’s the case, alright then, go ahead.”

After he had washed my feet, He said, “You don’t understand what I have just done, do you? You call me your Boss, your Teacher, and your Lord. It is right that you do so, because that is what I am. But, what I have just done for you, I mandate that you do for others.”

“You want me to wash my friends’ feet?!”

“That’s right. I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you… Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice.”

“I’d be happy to do just that, my Lord! With love, I want to find some feet to wash.

Does it matter what age they are?”

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. Have you heard that term? Do you know the origin of the word Maundy? I didn’t, so I looked it up on the dictionary app on my iPhone. Here’s what I discovered:

maundy =

  1. the cermony of washing the feet of the poor, especially commemorating Jesus’ wahing of the disciples’ feet.
  2. also called maundy money (I read that and wondered if it was the origin of the term “money laundering” – but I read on) money distributed as alms in conjunction with the ceremony of maundy (foot washing) – as in Maundy Thursday
  3. origin: 1250 – 1300; Middle English maude <Old French mande>, Latin mandatum – command – Jesus’ words to the disciples after He washed their feet  (John 13:14-17)
  4. mandate

Happy Maundy Thursday, my friends.

It’s the day Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
It’s the evening of the Last Supper.
It’s the night Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
It’s the night Jesus was arrested.

What’s happy about it?

You wanna do WHAT?

Let me wash your feet!

I’m gonna wash that kiss right offa them!

Hah!

baby foot with red kiss mark

Meaning

What does Jesus mean when He mandates us to wash one another’s feet?
Is it symbolic of some other kind of cleansing?
Or does He really mean for us to wash feet?

The kiss is the symbolism for Judas’ betrayal …

lovingHEARTSflying

. . . Why do you think Judas
(who was one of Christ’s followers – an Apostle, for cryin’ out loud)
betrayed Jesus with a kiss?

Celebrate Palm Sunday


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Celebrate Palm Sunday with branches

Like the ones His disciples laid

Across His path in Jerusalem –

A path on which our sinful debts were paid.

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Let each branch represent

A deed you’d like to see undone.

Give all regrets to Jesus, and

Lay those sins upon God’s Son.

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He knew as He was riding in

Upon a humble donkey’s back

That He was headed to fulfill

His earthly purpose – that’s a fact.

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With that triumphant entrance,

He willingly trudged Golgotha’s Hill.

Today Holy Week is beginning.

Receive its message. Heed and listen.
… Heart, be still.

I listened to the sermon in church this morning,
and as usual, I took notes in poetry.
Here is what I “took away”
from Rev. Jean Johnson’s message:

 

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

“Commitment”
– reflections on Luke 22-23

Pageantry and wildly waving palm branches
Are not the acts that really matter.
Palm Sunday is about the difference
Between Christ’s commitment and our chatter.

People were involved as Christ entered
The city of Jerusalem to die;
But their focus soon returned home.
They forgot Jesus, abandoned Him without a cry.

Commitment is a hard road to tred.
It requires we stay when we’re through.
Stay beyond the time we think we’re done.
Tenacity’s hard for me and you.

Sometimes when we feel abandoned,
The emptiness of our heart makes room
For the One who never left us.
He is there through our joy and in our gloom.

Christ gave His all on Golgotha Hill.
He died for us, for our salvation.
We need to walk that path with Him;
Live the pain, know the cost, delay elation.

Our faith voyage leads through Jerusalem.
We must walk the way of the cross.
Walk in commitment to Calgary,
Suffer the insults, and know the loss.

Amen?

Are You Leader or Follower?


Leader or Follower?

Some days I’m the leader;
Other days I like to follow.
But sometimes following
Is more than I can swallow.

animal beast big carnivore

Sometimes the folks who lead
Don’t seem to care the least
About the folks they’re leading;
They’re like this ugly beast.

The beast who tells us lies,
Who says “Do as I say,
But not as I do,” you know?
He tries to force his way.

We are not stupid sheep;
We know which way is right.
So stand your ground, my friends.
Don’t let him push his might.

The one who makes the rules,
Usually wins the game, they say.
But, some rules should be constant –
Don’t let him lead you astray.

My Inspiration

This poem was inspired by a Time Magazine article titled, “Whose standards will Democrats embrace?” by the eloquent former editor of Time Magazine, Nancy Gibbs.
This topic of leaders and followers is heavy on my heart. It’s not the simple kind of following that I wrote about years ago when I was looking at healthy parent-child relationships:

Follow Me

Days Gone By

When I was a youngster, one of the popular TV programs was “Father Knows Best.” I related to that … and so did a lot of my peers. Mom and Dad talked things over. They  presented a righteous front of solidarity. Sometimes Mom (in fact usually Mom) laid down the laws. Together, they enforced them. We were the “Leave it to Beaver” generation whose nuclear family lived by the universal rules spelled out in the Ten Commandments. “Do not lie” was paramount among them. “Love One Another,” was another. “Be kind to your neighbor,” right?

Appreciate one another’s differences. Know that we all are part of one body – and the head needs the hand; the leg needs the foot. We need to live in harmony.

What has happened to our Rules to Live By??

Who is My Neighbor?


Book Review

Who is My Neighbor?

I just received a new book to share with our darling Sunday School class tomorrow. We have read the Bible story of the Good Samaritan – and acted it out. Now it’s time to give it a new, colorful twist!

Who Is My Neighbor? is a creative story that’s sure to prompt rich conversations, encouraging new ways of seeing our neighbors and ourselves. It’s ideal for our 3-to7-year-olds.

Blues and Yellows don’t mix, and that’s how it’s always been. No one remembers why. But then comes the day Midnight Blue takes a tumble along the road. His friends Navy Blue and Powder Blue don’t even stop to help. It’s only when Yellow comes along that everything changes – forever.

We will share the book with our kiddoes tomorrow and do a little art project mixing blue and yellow to see the result of our “Green Growth.”

The Foreword of the book reads,

“Love your neighbor as yourself,

and love the stranger,

because you know what it was like

to be a stranger.”

Available from http://www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com  –  or call 800-554-4694

31 Daily Take-Aways


Happy 31st of March to you!

How do you start your day?
I read “A Spirit-lifting Devotional” each morning called “Daily Guideposts.”

Each morning as I meditate on the day’s message, I summarize the “Take-Away” for that day in one to seven words- and write it on the blanks provided on two pages at the end of each month.

I also use that page to pray about what God wants me to do that day. I plan the day out at the top of the page. Sometimes it happens just like that. Other days, God intervenes and unexpected things happen. Here is today’s plan:

I write the chosen words on the page provided and review the messages for the month. These are the 31 “Take-Aways” for this month of March:

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Prayer for Today:

Today I am praying to keep a humble spirit.
I ask God to help me see the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

I remember that Jesus hears and answers us every time we pray.
He may not always say YES, but if we pray with a humble heart,
and ask Him to put a right spirit in us, and we pray in His Will,
we are more likely to get a positive response.

What is your prayer for today?

beads cross prayer rosary

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Have a blessed Sunday, my friends!

Keepers of the Aquarium


Are you a Fisher of Men
or
A Keeper of the Aquarium?

person in blue long sleeve shirt and black pants using fishing rod

Photo by Kong Ruksiam on Pexels.com

“Too many churches have stopped being fishers of men, and have become keepers of the aquarium,” said Pastor Ray at Bayside Church in Sacramento, CA in his Refuel devotional today.  http://baysideonline/devotionals/refuel-2018

(Go to today’s refuel: 3/28/19)

Check it out.

Pastor Ray suggested that as “Keepers of the Aquarium” we miss the chance to reach out beyond our own to help others. He suggested ways we might be effective “Fishers of Men.”

Our Aquariums

The imagery of us church-goers just swimmin’ in our own little tanks and feeding off of one another and keeping to ourselves tickled and troubled me. Tickled, when I realized we, like these jellyfish, all look about the same – very little diversity – and we’re swimming around in our own little circles, taking care of each other. Troubled, when I see that even in our own little space, our feelers are not quite touching most of the time!

jellyfish inside an aquarium

Photo by Nguyen Tran on Pexels.com

 

Be Inspired

The devotional (I hope you clicked on the link and heard the message) inspired me to look again at my servant/service role.

Oh sure, Bob & I are teaching a Sunday School – – – three darling little 3 to 6 year olds – – –  they feed our souls! But, how are we being Fishers of People? How are we reaching outside our aquarium to spread the Good News to others in the world?

Blog

One way is by the messages we post on our blogs. JanBeek is all about “Loving One Another.” Not just those in our aquarium, but in the lakes and rivers and big blue sea, too. I love my growing list of followers. I love that you represent countries outside the USA and states outside Montana! I hope you find inspiration here. I aspire to inspire and increase your belief in the grace of God, your faith in our fellow human beings, and the desire to reach out in love.

How Do We Show Our Love?

Yesterday I heard on FaceBook a fantastic message by the founder of https://www.charitywater.org/  I joined (with a small monthly pledge) the “Spring” to help provide clean water to more people in the world. Hopefully, the message of the Deliverer of Living Water will accompany the new wells provided by the teams who go to care for and share with these needy folks. Look at their website and see the teams of young people who are traveling to impoverished areas and bringing new hope. It’ll warm your heart!

So far, the statistics for CharityWater reports these successes:

35,281

Water projects
funded

 

9,562,163

People will get
clean water

 

37

Local partners

 

27

Countries

All donations (100%) go to the clean water projects. Salaries and administrative expenses are paid by companies, partners, philanthropists who contribute for that purpose. My little amount each month goes directly to the intended purpose: to fund clean water projects and delivery to those in need. Yay! That’s one way to swim outside your aquarium!

 

Find a Need Beyond Your Aquarium

Maybe you’ll look at ways you can improve your service to others, too. Reach out to your neighbors, your local Food Bank, Medical Center, Senior Living facility, Library, etc. There countless “fish” out there in your local sea of troubled waters who need what you have to give.

Reach Beyond Your Borders

Look for world-wide worthwhile projects that touch your heart. I am a follower and advocate of Bob Goff’s Love Does project. Another of my small monthly pledges helps this international project that touches my heart.

Bob Goff says, “We have been fighting for human rights and providing education to children in conflict zones for over 15 years.”

You’ll see him on his website – smiling his goofy smile and inviting you to get involved.

 

Bob Goff

Bob is a New York Times best selling author (Get his book titled, Love Does, if you have not already read it). He was a recognized lawyer for over 25 years. In 2001 he saw a need in India and founded what is now known as Love Does.

 

100%

Bob promises, “We understand it can be daunting to know where to give your time and financial resources. We promise that 100% of every dollar you give will go directly to fund our international programs.”

 

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Transparent

I promote LoveDoes.org because I have confidence in the work it is doing to improve the lives of countless people in need. Especially his work providing educational opportunities for children is near and dear to my heart. I receive regular updates.

Bob Goff says, ” At Love Does we strive to be transparent.  We have years of a proven track record and we want to invite you in to be curious. Ask questions! We want you to feel comfortable with where you are investing.”

Search Your Heart

Find the places, the people, the needs that touch your heart. Act today to reach out. Don’t get stuck in your aquarium!

starfish on brown stone

Photo by Guillaume Meurice on Pexels.com

 

Be a Fisher of People – not just the Keeper of Your Aquarium!

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