Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘sermon notes’ Category

Is God’s Grace Exasperating?


Today’s sermon at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
was titled, “The Amazing and Exasperating Grace of God.”
I’ve certainly heard God’s grace described as
AMAZING before. That’s typical.
But, exasperating?
When?
How?

Do you know the story of the “Workers in the Vineyard”? It’s found in Matthew 20: 1-16.
Essentially it tells of a landowner who needed extra workers in his vineyard. He agreed to pay the ones who started picking grapes that morning a silver coin for their day’s labor.

Later, with just an hour left in the work day, he realized the workers needed help to finish the job before sundown, so he hired a bunch more workers to help finish the job. This last bunch were the “left-overs” who had not been hired earlier. We can only imagine why they may have been left behind.

At the end of the day, the ones who came last (and had only worked an hour) were paid first. Each received a silver coin.

The ones who had worked all day saw that – and figured they would get more. They probably expected ten times more, since they had worked a ten hour day. When all they received was the same pay as the ones who worked only the last hour, they complained bitterly.

On that story, Rev. Steve Hundley based his sermon, and I took notes (as I do each Sunday) in poetry as I listened. Here they are:

The Amazing and Exasperating Grace of God

Reading the Word of God daily
Helps you discover joy in life;
But some difficult passages
Cause misunderstanding and strife.

Like the story of the workers
Who were paid equal wages
Whether they worked one hour
Or ten… Imagine the rages!

It’s hard to understand
How such treatment is fair.
Jesus explained the boss could
Pay the wages anyway he cared.

Likewise, those who come lately
To the Kingdom of God on earth
Will receive the same blessings as
Those who served the Lord since birth.

Does this seem a fair idea?
Are deathbed conversions real?
Maybe some of them are fake,
But it’s not up to me or how I feel.

This parable isn’t about the workers.
It’s about the generous vineyard boss
Who is a symbol of our Gracious God.
He focuses on the workers, not the cost.

Our God calls out the left-overs
And tells them, “I have room for you.”
God’s amazing grace and love are real,
And they’re available to all – not just a few.

Load me up, Lord.
Haul me to your vineyard.
I’m ready to work!
Amen.


Have you ever found God’s Amazing Grace to be Exasperating?

Or is there a Bible story that you find difficult to understand?
Tell me about it.

Have a Super Sunday.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

Is Your Cross Too Heavy?


Photo by Vitu00f3ria Santos on Pexels.com

Thank you, Vitu Santos for this wonderful photo.
It speaks volumes to me…
and it exhibits to me
the message of today’s sermon…

Today’s sermon notes

At the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT today,
Rev. Steve Hundley delivered his sermon titled, “Is Your Cross Too Heavy?”
The Lord prompted me to take my sermon notes in the shape of a cross.
The photo of the cross sermon above is the result of that effort.

Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 on Pexels.com

To illustrate his point – that we need to give Jesus our burdens,
lighten our load, and live in joy, Rev. Steve used this story:

“It’s hard for an egg to become a bird,
but it would be harder for a bird
to fly while still in the egg.”

Let go the egg…
and FLY!
Give Jesus your burdens
and follow Him
with JOY,
not because you HAVE to,
but because you
WANT to.

Photo by Joshua Abner on Pexels.com

God bless you
with the JOY
of
Life Given Away
because you WANT to!

Thank you, Ty, for this beautiful image.

Have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

The Moment of Truth


Today’s sermon preached by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was titled
“The Moment of Truth.”
It was based on the scripture passages:
Matthew 16:13-20

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

The Moment of Truth

What are you afraid of?
Is it something quiet and small?
Is your fear founded and grounded?
Do you understand it at all?

The greatest fear most folks say
Is speaking in public – sweating starts!
The stakes seem highest when asked
To speak from the depths of our hearts.

Stating facts – what somebody else has said –
Is not as hard as speaking your own
Thoughts and feelings out loud
(Unless it’s on social media or the phone).

There was a time when Jesus asked Peter,
“Who do YOU say that I am? Be true!”
Simon Peter readily proclaimed to Him,
“You are the Messiah, Son of the Living God, that’s You!”

Peter had no fear of speaking his heart.
His faith he readily proclaimed.
In a harsh world, draw your breath in pain.
Tell what you believe. God’s asking YOU. You’re named!

There’s a feeling some people have
That God is in the sunset and the trees.
They say they don’t need church –
And they don’t need to worship on their knees.

But Jesus told us it’s not enough
To see God in the river and the dawn.
We need to see God in Jesus Christ.
He’s the One we rest our salvation on.

How can we know who God is
In Christ, the Messiah and teach
Our children about the Savior
If we’ve never had His Word within reach?

We need to talk to Jesus in prayer.
We need to imitate Him, too.
We need to take hold of God’s love
Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit in you.

How can we see the world today,
Watch the brutality of teens with guns
And still believe in God and His goodness?
It’s faith. It’s knowing what God has done.

What are you afraid of?
Is it speaking in public from the heart?
Is it expressing your faith?
This is the Moment of Truth – time to start!

I believe in Christ – Son of the Living God.
I believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
Step out and boldly speak from your soul.
God will reward your brave behavior.

“On you, this rock I will build my church,
And the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.”
Speak up with firm conviction…
You’ll be so relieved once you’ve done it!

Amen?
Amen!

Photo by Pressmaster on Pexels.com

For special music today, we had Jaime Roberts on keyboard, Jim Forsberg singing and playing the saw, and George Ennis (with his amazing bass voice) singing. It started with Jaime’s lovely solo. I woke up to thinking I should record this for you when Jim started playing. Have you ever heard a musical saw? Tune in! God bless our musicians! As you can see, we are worshiping outside these days. We had about 40 people in attendance (behind me).

Hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday.
Mine was.
See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting,
Love ya,
JanBeek

The Resilience of Children


When families break down,
Children are so resilient.
But, sometimes they need help!

Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana, we had two guest speakers.
They were from Intermountain, a program/place for children in need.

.

As you know, if you have been with me a week or more,
I take sermon notes in poetry every Sunday
as I listen to the message.
Here are the notes I took
as I listened to Tyler, Zimmer,
one of the Intermountain representatives
who spoke to our congregation today.

Prior to the message scripture
I was happy to be the scripture reader
sharing these two passage:

Deuteronomy 6:5-7
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments I give to you today
are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home,
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down
and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands,
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses
and on your gates.”

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus
to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them,
“Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the Kingdom of God
belongs to such as these.
I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive
the Kingdom of God like a little child
will never enter it.”
And He took the children in His arms,
put hands on them,
and blessed them.

Photo by June on Pexels.com

“The Resilience of Children”

We need to commend children’s good,
And scold them when they are bad.
When children come to Intermountain,
They are victims of the life they’ve had.

Abused children are engineers of their demise
When they act out of their hurt and pain.
The Bible explains in Deuteronomy
The impression of love for children’s gain.

A girl from Haiti came to Intermountain
Who had been abused horribly as a child.
She was a master of her demise
As she rejected compliments and acted wild.

One little guy came as a selective mute.
He was a master at keeping quiet.
But when he beat me 4x in Battle Mountain,
He told me how bad I am! What a riot!!

These children who’ve been so abused
Are not throw-away kids. They are LOVE.
They can, with help, overcome challenges.
Let’s all pray for them for help from God above.

Amen!

It is not only God who helps them as we pray for their souls and their ability to trust and to bond, but it is the staff of Intermountain, and the people who donate to keep the program alive and effective. Intermountain provides housing, education, clinical counseling, recreation, love and support for the children. AND, it provides folllow-up when the children return to family settings. Intermountain continues their counseling and support in the school setting as well.

To learn more about Intermountain,
go to their website
at https://www.intermountain.org/contact-us/

Hope you had a love-filled Sunday.
See ya tomorrow.
Love ya,
JanBeek

Was Jesus Rude?


Matthew 15:10-28

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

How in the world do you take that scripture and make sense of it in a sermon?

Well, Rev. Steve Hundley at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana tackled it today. Preceding the sermon, Elaine, Steve’s wife, read the scripture using The Message, Eugene Petersen’s version of the Bible. In part, it said,

“It is not what you swallow that defiles a person, but what you vomit up!”

The Canaanite woman who came to Jesus, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” was indeed vomiting up a whole lot of agony. Why did Jesus suggest that helping her would be like feeding bread to the dogs? Listen to what I heard Steve saying about this is his sermon today:

Jesus called a desperate woman a dog!
She was a Canaanite who child’s life was grim.
Why would Jesus insult her like that?
She threw His words right back at Him.

We can relate to her and her dark side.
We all have a little bit of the devil in us.
But, not Jesus … No! He was perfect!
So why did He call her a dog?

Was He rejecting her because she wasn’t Jewish?
No, it can’t be true. He must have been saying,
“I have a special spot in my heart for the Jews.”
Maybe He used this to show the disciples their playing.

Playing with the idea of parroting back to them
Their rejection of others – their callous attitude.
Jesus seemed to be sending the mother away.
Gladly, we can see Jesus help her and sense her gratitude.

We are living in strange times – a nation divided.
There are desperate voices shouting out. You have a choice.
Whose voices will you hear? How will you respond?
Are your words and attitudes matching Jesus’ voice?

When you hear the desperate mother cry,
Do you hear her pain and heed her pleas?
She boldly calls with faith for her child’s healing.
May we also listen, hear, and respond with help to such as these.

Amen.

Lord, speak to our hearts that we might know Your heart more clearly.

“Open my mouth and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere.
Open my heart and let me prepare love with Thy children thus to share.”

I am off this evening to say good-bye to our favorite Sunday School kids.
Love with Thy children thus to share…
This adorable pair is moving from Ennis to go with their parents
to Jordan, MT where their dad will take over the family farm.
I can’t tell you how much we will miss them.
But of course, we will pray for them
and hope their transition to their new home is a smooth one.

God bless Cord and Ruby!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek and reading the sermon notes.
Please add Cord and Ruby
and their parents, Suzanne & Casey,
to your prayer list.
And ask God to send some new little kids to our church, okay?

Thank you.
See you tomorrow.
Love,

Cheers!

JanBeek

It’s Not Fair!


Sermon Notes
August 9, 2020
Rev. Steve Hundley
Jan’s poetic notes taken while listening
to Steve’s message based on John 21:15-23

“A Side-Long Glance”

Jesus was with His disciples on shore.
Peter thought Jesus didn’t believe him.
Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.
The answer failed to relieve him.

Have you ever felt misunderstood?
Ever had your sincerity questioned bare?
Peter told Jesus, “You know I love You.”
Jesus had asked him three times there.

Was Jesus expecting too much of Peter?
Does He expect too much of us?
A tithe is a tenth of what you make.
The visible return’s not much to see – why fuss?

Well, Jesus expected even more than a tenth.
“What about him?” Peter asked.
Like Peter, we question others’ faith.
We want Jesus to take ’em to task.

There has to be a difference between
Faith and foolishness – so it’s not fair
Those rich folks don’t seem to give –
They don’t seem to do their share.

We cast a side-long glance across the aisle,
And we ask, as Peter did, “What about them?”
And Jesus answers us as He did Peter,
“What is it to you?” From where does fairness stem?

Jesus says, “Feed My sheep -just love!”
Your side-long glance has no place here.
You do your fair share and don’t worry about
What others do. Give, love, and have no fear.

No side-long glances allowed.
Look ahead at the One who stands
Before a hurting world and says,
“Feed My sheep in all My lands.”

Just follow Jesus –
And what will happen today?
To tell the truth, I don’t know!
Just do it anyway!!

Amen!

After church today we had a barbecue. It was the kick-off of the fiscal year’s drive for finances to fund the Pastor Search Committee and to consider our pledges for the 2020-21 church budget. Jesus said, “Feed My sheep!” and these sheep were fed in grand style out on the church lawn.

Plenty of space to socially distance
Bob with Kathy & Lucy
Here’s Pastor Steve with his wife, Elaine
The darling Nelson family: Murray, Nick, Nellie & Megan
Don’t you love that green bow?
Children like Murray are our church’s future!
Roy (on the left) was today’s scripture reader.
Charlie and his wife, Judy, were our greeters.
Ray and Barbara enjoyed the food and fellowship.

After the church BBQ, we went to my friend, Sue’s. Her birthday is tomorrow. We needed to sing “Happy Birthday!” while we socially distanced. She and her husband are being really careful around this COVID-19 … especially with Montana’s case numbers rising. They are being kept really busy at their beautiful home. Just look at their gardens!

Happy Birthday, Sue!!
Quite the flower bed!!
Impressive garden!
Represents a lot of work!!
This back of their house faces out toward the gorgeous Madison Range.

Sue and Jerry joined the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church on the same Sunday Bob & I did nearly 15 years ago. We have been fast friends ever since. The two of them built this gorgeous house themselves! Just this summer they added that deck outside their bedroom window on the right.

Here is the front of the house:

It’s so beautiful!!
Behind the house to the south side is this cabin.
They lived in it for a couple of years while they built their house.
We had more than a couple cozy dinners there.
It is such a darling, little place. Wanna rent it for a week or so?
Tell me in the comments section below.
Beautiful “Bee Plant” on the south – outside their sun room.
The road (Trail Creek) headed back home from Sue & Jerry’s.

Yes, we are blessed. We live in the gorgeous Madison Valley. We have a terrific church, a wonderful pastor who gives great sermons, beautiful friends, and a picture-perfect setting with glorious August sunshine and enormous “BigSky” drama. Ah, my friends, life is good!

No need for side-long glances. Keep your eyes on your own blessings, your own giving, and your own business. No need focusing on what’s “not fair!” Remember while you’re counting your blessings to share your love with others with your whole heart!

Do have a fantastic week ahead.

Thanks for visiting
and for sharing with me the sermon
and our visit with Sue.

Happy Birthday, Sue!!

This was a couple years ago at our house.
Love you, Sue!!


Virtual Hugs,
JanBeek

Was It a Miracle?


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley was titled, “It’s a Miracle” BUT, he started his message by telling us how upset his congregation was (when he was a young boy) by a sermon debunking the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

Here are the notes I took while hearing the sermon this morning. The scripture inspiring it was Matthew 14: 13-26.

It makes me nervous
To remember this text
Because my memory goes back
Fifty-four years. What’s next?

I was eleven when I heard
This story of five-thousand men
Being fed with five loaves and
Three fish. What happened then?

The disciples passed their meager rations
Out to the multitude of folk,
And all those who packed a lunch
Were inspired to share as Jesus spoke.

The quantity of sharing was such
That twelve baskets were left behind.
Was it in fact a miracle, or
Generosity of an immense kind?

My eleven-year-old congregation
Was disturbed by “Miracle Debunked!”
It wasn’t Jesus multiplying food,
But multiplying compassion. Who woulda thunk?

Jesus’ resource of compassion wa such
That, like the Energizer Bunny, He kept
Giving and sharing and healing.
His love further demonstrated as Jesus wept.

Jesus’ compassion was apparent
When He told His disciples to give
The five-thousand something to eat –
And so doing, He showed us how to live.

Live with the generosity and love
Jesus was about. Live what He taught.
He said, “You go and feed them.”
Share what you have, as you ought.

Jesus could have multiplied the bread
And the fishes by Himself –
But He knew that mass of folks could
Overcome hunger and share their shelf.

Open the door to the shelf of your heart,
And give from your meager things.
Watch how the Lord gives you a sense of plenty-
And share your gifts as Jesus sings:

Thank YOU…
and
AMEN!

You are the disciple who gives
From your shelf to those who need.
Thank you for being the miracle
Who obeys Christ’s command: Go and Feed!

God bless You!

See ya tomorrow.
Have a beautiful Sunday evening.
Love,
JanBeek

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