Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘church’

In the Same Boat


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SERMON NOTES

Bible Reference

Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon topic today at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT was “We’re All in the Same Boat.” It was inspired by the story in Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and sail out to sea while He went off to be alone for awhile. Then – in the darkness of a stormy night – He walked on the water to go out to them. Seeing Jesus walking on water toward them, Peter asked to be able to do likewise. The Lord told him to come ahead – and he did. All went well until he looked down at the growing waves, became fearful, and started to sink. “Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him as he helped Peter back onto the boat.

Ah, courage and faith – that’s what it takes.
But only God can walk on water.

Sermon notes taken while Steve shared his message:

We’re All in the Same Boat

Jesus is the Loving Shepherd
But He is also our Commander.
He is gentle and kind, we know,
But we realize He’s a Great Demander.

Why did Jesus order His disciples
To go and get in the boat?
It was midnight, afterall!
Was that a good time to go for a float?

The earliest idea of the church
Was the image of a boat’s belly.
We’re all in this boat together.
It’s dark, stormy, and chilly.

We’re rowing as hard as we can –
And don’t seem to make any headway.
We’re busy trying to make it on our own,
Too busy to hear what God has to say.

But God comes walking on the water,
And He says, “Fear not, it is I.”
We look and doubt and test Him saying,
If it is You, save me!” Oh my!

Only God/Jesus can walk on water.
Sometimes our job is just to cling
To the boat and don’t presume
We can go it alone. Just trust and sing!

Following the sermon, we sang this song,
“We All Are One in Mission.”
See the song’s words below the sermon notes.

First we gotta get in the boat.
Then we gotta stay in it.
We gotta trust God is here with us.
We gotta gather and pray in it!

Help me, Lord, to remember
You will draw near to me – no fuss-
If we stay and pray and know
You’re here in the boat with us.

“We All Are One in Mission”

“We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.
A single great commission compels us from above
to plan and work together that all may know Christ’s love.

We all are called for service, to witness in God’s name.
Our ministries are different; our purpose is the same:
To touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace,
so every folk and nation may feel God’s warm embrace.

Now let us be united, and let our song be heard.
Now let us be a vessel for God’s redeeming Word.
We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.”

Words: Rusty Edwards (Matthew 28:19-20; i Cor. 12:4-6
Music: Finnish folk melody

I am with you.
I’m praying you have a blessed Sunday.
..
and a week filled with God’s grace.

See ya later

Power!


Today’s Sermon Notes
Happy Sunday, my friends!

The power of the breath of God
was a focus of today’s sermon

Photo by Jakob on Pexels.com

by Rev. Steve Hundley (guest minister while our Rev. Jean,
who has served this church for the past 25 years
is away, recuperating from serious surgery).

Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, MT – a congregation in a state of transition

The Holy Spirit’s Power

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A pile of dry bones
Littered the field.
Can these bones live?
Can they once again yield
Life with vitality?

Only You, Lord,
Only You can cause it.
The bones are dry;
Only God can pause it
And bring life to reality.

Our church may be
Those dry bones now.
But God can breathe
Life in us somehow.
Dry is not finality.

God can cause these
Dry bones to revive.
He can breathe on us
And help us come alive.
Life with vitality!

We have God’s Spirit
Deep within our heart.
Can these bones live?
Yes, God can help us start.
Make Your Power, Lord, a reality…

… in us.

Amen?

Help us see Opportunities
through Your Power in us!

Do you have an area of “Dry Bones” in your life?
Seek His Power for new life in you.
Ask God’s Holy Spirit to breathe vitality into
those areas of concern.
God Bless You!
See you tomorrow.

How Do We Stay Together?


Happy 19th Anniversary to Ed & Maria!

Ed & Maria Platt

Happy 55th Anniversary to Bruce & Ann

Bruce & Ann Beekman

Happy 57th Anniversary, Bonnie & Stan

Bonnie (Beekman) & Stan Hunt

Happy 60th Anniversary, Marge & Bill !!

Bill & Marge Beekman

And Happy 57th Anniversary (58 in February) to Bob & me
– as we enjoy this 80th year of our lives
– and celebrate our togetherness
– and thank God for our health

Jan & Bob – How’d ya do it?

How do couple stay together so long?

That’s a question Bill & Marge were asked at our granddaughter, Faith’s wedding when the 4 Beekman couples were the last ones left on the dance floor after the disk jockey (DJ) said, “All couples married less than 55 years sit down.”

Wow! Here we were… eight old farts still standing, still dancing, still together.

Marge Beekman’s answer was, “Never go to bed mad at each other.”

Bill Beekman was asked for his answer. He said, “I agree with Marge.

The DJ said, “Did you see that? Did you hear that? He let her answer first and then he just agreed with her. There’s the secret to a long married life!”

Are There Other Secrets?

Well, if he had asked me, “How have you stayed together for 57 years?” I would have answered with not just one, but TEN ideas! (He would have had to cut me off!)

These ideas have worked for us in our long marriage – and have contributed to my ability to tell you, “We’re not just still together, but I love him more today than I did the day we married.”

What Are the Tips for Longevity in Relationships?

  1. Pray together – make the Lord central in your relationship – ask Him to guide your days and help you with every decision. Listen for His Holy Spirit to speak to you and help you as you walk daily in His Will to the best of your abilities.
  2. Give each other space – you are a couple, but you are also people with your own ideas, your own needs, and your own agendas. Allow each other the right to make individual decisions and keep your own identities bright and alive. We even have separate checking accounts. As long as the household needs are met, I don’t have to account to him for every penny of my retirement money that I spend… and likewise, his retirement play money is his to play with as he chooses. Give each other individual freedoms!!
  3. Listen to one another – really hear! Care about what the other thinks and find out why he/she really believes that. Never stop learning from one another.
  4. Go to church together – find a worship community and cultivate their friendships. We are Christians – and we want you to be able to see that in our love for one another and our love for YOU. “They will know we are Christians by our love ❤ ” is not just a song we love to sing, but a life we strive to live. Our Christian friends are our support system, our help in time of need, our prayer partners. There is no friend like the long-term friends you make under the cross of Jesus!
  5. Play together – you may each have your own idea of what “fun” is (He fishes, I don’t. I love movies & popcorn, he doesn’t. He skis, I don’t. I go to Writer’s Group each Friday, he doesn’t. He loves yard work … or at least does it masterfully, I don’t. I love to volunteer at the Sr. Center, the Medical Center, help seniors in need, he doesn’t.) You get the idea. But we love to go riding on the Montana mountain trails with friends in our ATV – and we love entertaining friends in our home, hosting over-nighters for a week or a month or even a year in our home. We love going out to Dave’s Sushi or enjoying a BBQed dinner with fine wine at home. The idea is, find your areas of commonality and play happily together!
  6. Treasure and Appreciate One Another – Bob’s nickname for me (he has many, but my favorite ) is “Precious.” I appreciate his expressions of love and affection and his readiness to show appreciation. He often comments on things like, “My, you look pretty today!” or “I like the way you added that spice to the ______ (fill in the blank) for dinner tonight.” In return I try not to take for granted his beautiful yard work or the delicious waffles he makes for breakfast or his warm and plentiful hugs. Thank you is such an important word in any relationship!
  7. Love One Another even when you don’t Like each other! None of us is perfect. We often do things to “piss each other off!” It could be something as simple as leaving the toilet seat up or not putting the lid back on the toothpaste. Or it could be a major thing like staying out late without saying you were going to do so – and not calling to say where you are. Showing LOVE for one another is treating your partner the way you want to be treated and expressing yourself clearly without anger (if possible) when your expectations are not met. Loving is compromising and not always expecting things to go your way. Love is forgiving and trying NOT to be the annoying one in the relationship!
  8. Be Kind and Compassionate – Yes, we all make mistakes. We do stupid things. We say things we wish we could take back. When we are at our worst, that’s when we need kindness most. It’s when our partner is at his/her worst that we find it most difficult to be kind in return. But harshness begets hatred and ugliness begets violence. Our response is crucial. Of course, there are caustic relationships that are unhealthy and are not meant to be sustained. No one is called to be a doormat. My heart goes out to those who are in relationships with those who inflict mental or physical abuse. Especially when help is offered, but refused. Sometimes leaving is the most loving option. Kindness/Compassion is a two-way street!
  9. Trust! – Without mutual trust, the relationship is doomed! My husband, Bob’s ski buddy is Nancy. She is a 50-something dynamo who is a ball of energy and fun. She’s a fantastic skier and loves to do those double diamond runs – just like Bob does. If I didn’t trust Bob, I could be jealous of the time they spend together on the slopes and I could conjure up all sorts of images of what I think might or might not be happening. But, Bob & I always have lived with mutual trust – and so instead of worrying, I treasure Nancy’s friendship, too. I love getting together whenever we can with her and her fun-loving husband, Dan. In fact, she’s the one I told you about a few days ago when I said I wanted to adopt a Daughter #4. You gotta trust – and in that confidence enjoy a multitude of friendships and a plethora of opportunities you might miss otherwise!
  10. Respect! – It’s the bottom line. Without mutual respect, you may as well call it a day NOW. I have been around couples where one of them is so disrespectful to his/her partner that it smells up the room. The air is so caustic, you don’t want to be within ten miles of ’em. You want to shake ’em and wake ’em up to what they are doing to one another – or what one is doing to the other. But, rarely does intervention help. You sigh, shake your head, and vow not to ever do that to YOUR loved one. That’s a vow worth keeping if your relationship is worth having! ALWAYS show respect to your partner… and while you’re at it, respect yourself. God don’t make no junk … you’re a treasure!

God Bless You

I love you

See ya tomorrow

Faith Amidst Suffering


You know I take sermon notes each week
as I listen to the Sunday message
at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church,
Ennis, Montana.

img_2035.jpg
No, this isn’t our church, but I thought it would be fun to show you the church in
Chippis, Switzerland where we attended with our daughter and family.
Ah, but I digress…

Today our pastor, Rev. Jean Johnson, was ill, so one of our church leaders, Lucy Ennis, read the message Rev. Jean had prepared.Jean was among today’s “suffering.” The sermon was based on John 12:1-8.

As usual, I listened with intent to take away the message I needed… a message to help guide my actions this day and into the coming week.

The bottom line of today’s message was quite clear,
“Surrounded by suffering,
go reach out to others.
Ready?
Start!”

Jesus faced Jerusalem
Knowing what’s ahead.
His disciples were warned
He soon would be dead.

Jesus returned to the home
Of Martha and Mary:
Friends who’d always be there,
His sorrows to carry.

He knew they would respond;
They’d give him a dinner.
They’d throw a party
For their Savior, their Winner.

Mary went out of her way
To show Jesus her devotion.
She bought expensive perfume
And poured it on Him in loving motion.

Judas was horrified, and cried,
“Why waste this? You should sell it!”
Jesus told Judas to be silent.
Mary knew His end was coming; she’d tell it.

The last reminder of what’s good
In this troubled, earthly life
Was a gesture of love by Mary,
She poured sweet fragrance on His strife.

Such gestures of love and assistance
Help get us through life with courage.
Reach out to others as Mary did.
Don’t let your troubles discourage.

Whatever you do, my friends,
Do it out of a pure and loving heart.
Surrounded by suffering, go –
Reach out to others. Ready? Start!

shrimp soup in white ceramic bowl with chili on brown wooden surface

Photo by Lovefood Art on Pexels.com

So, I did as my heart directed. Following church, I practiced with our little church choir. We are going to sing at the town’s Easter Sunrise service. Then, I went downstairs and helped serve at fellowship. (I had made and brought two pots of soup to share.)

No, that picture is not my soup. I’m afraid our little Sunday School kids and some of my church friends would not have appreciated all those hot peppers and garlic! But, doesn’t it look good? Mine was a more mundane potato soup.

What did you do to reach out to others and show your love today?

The Forgiving Father


Happy Sunday, my friends. Did you attend church today?

We did – and I took my usual sermon notes in poetry.
And we sang a great version of the scripture lesson.
I share it with you below.

classic close up draw expensive

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The scripture the sermon was based on was Luke 15:1-32.

It is a familiar passage for most Christians.
It includes the parables of three things LOST: a Sheep, a Coin, and a Son.

The song we sang  after the sermon was a beautiful poetic summary of the scripture.
The words, written in 1999 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette are so “right on!”
I HAVE to share them with you.
.
As you read these lyrics, try singing them to the tune of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It’s magical! It’s gorgeous!!

.
God’s Great Love is So Amazing

 

Verse 1

God’s great love is so amazing!
See a shepherd with his flocks!
Ninety-nine are safely grazing;
One is lost among the rocks.

That good shepherd goes and searches
Till he finds the one astray.
So God says to fill our churches
With the ones who’ve lost their way.

Verse 2

God in love is always seeking!
See a woman with her broom!
For a single coin she’s sweeping
Every corner of the room.

When it’s found she calls each neighbor,
Telling friends from all around.
So God says to search and labor
Till God’s precious ones are found.

Verse 3

God keeps waiting, searching, yearning!
See a father’s heartfelt joy!
Thankful for the son’s returning.
He runs out to greet his boy.

To the angry older brother,
Hear the father’s patient call.
So God says to love each other,
For in Christ, God loves us all.

man holding boy

 

My sermon notes are not as professional as the poem above.
They lack the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme.
Mine is based on an a-b-c-b scheme.
You probably can’t sing them to a chosen tune.
But they capture the message I heard being preached.
See if you can relate to how our pastor took this scripture
and spun it into a lesson for us all.

The Forgiving Father

Sermon notes 3/31/19
Jan Beekman’s “take-away” on
Rev. Jean Johnson’s message
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana

 

Leave ninety-nine vulnerable
For the sake of finding one?
The Lost Sheep story tells us
That’s exactly what Jesus woulda done.

 

Leave a pocketful of change
For the one coin lost?
Yes, that’s what Jesus said.
Look carefully at the cost!

 

The cost of losing valued
Possessions can be very high.
We leave behind the flock
And fly off to pie in the sky!

 

Open your eyes to the One
Who is right in your midst.
The Shepherd among us
Seeks the lost. He insists.

 

The least among us are
Lost until they’re found.
We’re to be the seekers
Who search, listening for the sound.

 

Listen for the lost sheep’s plea,
And know, in fact, we are they.
We all need to be rescued
From the flighty life we live today.

 

Jesus really spoke not of
Coins and sheep, but us.
We are the ones who need
To be found. We must!

 

We must seek and be found
By Christ who loved us first.
Let’s join His rescued sheep
And rejoice as He quenches our thirst.

 

Christ shows us God’s real joy
With the parable of father and son.
The wayward boy returned home.
He was lost, now found. Victory won!

Welcome Home!
Come join the party.

Amen?

Tell me about the message at your church or temple or synagogue today.
What was your take-away?

 

 

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!

Acrostic Sermon Notes


Happy Sunday, my friends.

Did you go to church (or synagogue or temple or mosque) this morning?

Did you take time to worship God and hang out with your friends?

We did!

round stained glass

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And, as usual,
I took my sermon notes in poetry as I listened to
Rev. Jean Johnson deliver her sermon
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.

The bulletin was so full of the picture on the front and print on the inside that there was little room for note-taking. So, I used the margins and wrote the main ideas vertically. Then I used those letters/words to create acrostics. Here are the words:

Reconciling The World

Love, Learn and Live Faithfully

Share, Restore and Believe

Now, as I listened, those words fleshed out the message for today:

R ejoice
E veryone!
C hrist
O versees the
N ations!
C hrist
I s
L iving
I n us
N ow; our
G od
T eaches us
H is Love.
E veryone in the
W orld
O wes their
R ejoicing to the
L ord who
D elivers us.

L ive
O nly in
V ictory,
E veryone!

L ive in
E nlightenment
A nd
R eceive
N ewness.

L earn with
I ntent to
V enture out
E verywhere.

F ill
A ll
I njuries with
T he
H ealing
F reedom of God
U ntil there is
L imitless
L ove in
Y ou.

S hare
H is
A wesome
R epairs
E arnestly.

R ealize
E veryone’s
S piritual Life
T hrough
O ur
R ecognized
E ternal gifts.

B ecause we can’t
E arn Eternal
L ife; accept His
I ntervention.
E njoy renewed
V itality –
E specially now.

Amen!

-If you attended a worship service today
what was the message you came away with ?

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