Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Christian living’

Be the Salt & the Light


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was inspired
by Matthew 5:13-20

Photo by Lorena Martínez on Pexels.com

If you have been a JanBeek follower, you know I usually post on Sunday afternoon the notes I take while listening to the morning’s sermon. Most of the time, I take the notes poetically – because that’s how my brain hears the message. Here is today’s:

Be the Salt and the Light

When did you first feel old?
Was it when your kids were teens?
Their language came from another world –
It was hard to figure what it means.

Teens aren’t the only ones with strange language.
Jesus had some pretty weird expressions, too.
“You are the salt of the earth,” He said.
What does that mean to you?

Salt is used to purify, to season, and to seal.
It was the seal of the covenant and it put out fires.
What did Jesus intend when He called us salt?
Did He intend us to be a spice? My soul inquires.

He said we are to be the “Light of the World.”
What does that mean? I want to know.
This is supposed to be “The Christian Century,”
But where is our light, friends? Where does it glow?

Jesus told stories about the insignificant.
He told of lost coins and mustard seeds.
He spoke of the lost and the powerless.
He commanded us to take care of their needs.

The things we do as Christians can have
A lasting affect on others’ action and thought.
They watch us, question us, sometimes imitate us –
When we’re quietly going about doing what we ought.

We ARE the salt of the earth and the world’s light.
We need to play the part and let our faith shine from above.
We can’t forget who we are – nor get cluttered with junk –
Or we’ll lose our effectiveness to spread God’s love.


So, what “junk” clutters your life, blocks your light, and dilutes your salt?

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

What’s Junk?

It doesn’t needs to be literal “junk” like that in this junk yard.

It might be over-emphasis in an area that takes you away from what you would like to be doing instead.

It might be worry over something that may or may not happen.

It might be possessions that we need to clear out… cuz most of us have too much “stuff.” (I know I am leaving way more “junk” than I should in my house for my kids to sort through and throw away someday.)

What is your “junk” that clutters your actions and your thinking?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Salt is Spice – – Spice Up Your Life

In my sermon notes, I wrote, “The things we do as Christians can have
A lasting affect on others’ action and thought…”

By spicing up our life, I mean our actions and thoughts might include:

  • the sweetness of sugar as we reach out to help others
  • the enhancement of salt as we perform random acts of kindness
  • the zestiness of pepper as we sprinkle joy and laughter to those around us
  • the longevity of curry as we continue to connect with long-lasting friends and family with love
  • the healing power of tumeric as we exhibit compassion
Photo by Tucu0103 Bianca on Pexels.com

Be the Light

Being the “Light of the World” is a matter of shining love in the darkness. Before the regular sermon, Pastor Steve gave a special message directed to the children today. He sat on the chancel steps, invited the kids to come sit with him, and he handed them a candle. He lit his own candle and said, I would like to light your candle, too, but I’m afraid if I did, then I wouldn’t have a light on mine.”

The kids looked at him quizzically. “Don’t you agree?” he asked them.

They shook their heads, “No.”

“Really? If I light your candle with mine, then I will still have light?”

“Yes,” they nodded as they held out their candles.

Sure enough, he lit their candles with his, and there was not less light… but more!

The message here is clear…
BE THE LIGHT.
SHARE THE LIGHT.
SPREAD THE LIGHT.
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!

I’LL DO MY PART.
Will you join me?
See ya tomorrow.

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.”

 

DSC02037HalleProjectPhoto.jpg

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!

First Sunday in Advent


advent-coming

Only God knows when
The Son of Man will come.
When we least expect Him,
He will overwhelm some.

But, as Christians, we
Won’t be surprised at all.
God already is with us,
So we live expecting His call.

We can’t solve our mortality.
We can’t achieve eternal life.
We know our days are limited
As we live in both joy and strife.

Our lives are vulnerable;
We find security in routine.
But with God, no day is mundane.
We are at risk. Know what I mean?

When God is revealed in you,
You live expecting the end,
And you understand intrusion
With continuation around the bend.

God will come, so be prepared.
He’ll come to you and lift you
To life in His Kingdom.
In anticipation, know He’ll shift you.

Divine Advent; Be ready!
God will break in like a thief in the night.
He will just show up!
So, better live in His Light.

Amen?
Amen!

Beautiful Listening


My devotional time this morning focused on Psalm 16:8 “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him on my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It was an appropriate scripture for the day after I kept my eyes closed for what was actually only a little more than a half an hour, but in some ways seemed like triple that time. I was squished inside an MRI machine. Have you ever had to go inside one of those tubes and bear the clings and clangs and knocks and noises of whistles and whines? No fun! Some MRI machines come with a musical experience… headphones and your favorite CD or radio station. This one didn’t, so I provided my own! With my eyes closed (who needs to see the inside of a claustrophobic tube?), I kept my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I was not shaken. I sang my favorite hymns, cowboy songs, old R & B favorites. I hummed and smiled, and the tiny space I occupied didn’t seem confining at all.

Where do you focus your attention when you are in a difficult situation? When you’re in a tight spot, do you pay attention to the walls that are closing in on you, or can you tune in to your inner music and allow what is important in your life to be your focus? Widen the walls of worry and woe. Call on the Lord and be a beautiful listener. Be attentive to God at your right hand, and (as the Psalmist reminds us) you will not be shaken.

Practice that same kind of focused, attentive listening when you are in the company of friends and loved ones, too. Instead of listening to your inner music, and tuning them out, take your clue from the One at your right hand, and tune in fully to the conversation with your companion. That’s what Jesus did. He looked directly into the eyes, into the soul of His companions. He heard with His heart. God does that when we pray to Him. As if you were in an MRI tube, with no visual images to distract you, focus on what is before you. Let your mind center on the moment. Be attentive! Be a beautiful listener.

Beautiful listening is
Empathetic listening. It’s an
Acquired skill – It
Takes practice;  It
Takes caring; it
Especially takes knowing that
Nothing is more important
Than the one speaking
In this moment. Listen
Vividly. Be fully present.
Enjoy the moment.

As Ashley Kappel prayed in this morning’s Daily Guidepost 2013, let us pray also, “Lord, remind me today who is important in my life and allow me to focus wholly on them, if only for a moment.”

Love One Another. Amen?

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