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Posts tagged ‘church’

Embrace Living Bread


Happy Sunday, my friends.
I hope you had a great day.
As usual, Bob & I attended church
and I took notes as I listened to the sermon.

The message was delivered by Pastor Mary Grace Reynolds.
The sermon was inspired by
John 6:51-63.

I was amazed at how cleverly MGR
took the scripture and applied it
to today’s world.

Bread & wine

John 6:51-63 NIV

51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

The Living Bread

We come to church to seek comfort,
But is that the point of our faith?
Aren’t we called to be moved by Jesus?
He appeared a bit delusional to His disciples.

Jesus suggested what was prohibited.
People didn’t eat human flesh!
That teaching came across blasphemous.
Associating with Jesus caused them alienation.

Jesus’ message was meant to teach
His followers that He was the food
That would bring them into relationship
With God … and not laws or codes.

God saves – Rituals don’t.
God sent manna and now Jesus.
First physical, then spiritual saving.
Jesus told them, “I am the Bread.”

Trust Jesus to provide
the catalyzing calories
in our lives.
Feed on Him daily!

Jesus is the Living Bread…
Drink in the Wisdom of the Word

God Bless You
for visiting JanBeek today.
I appreciate you.

What did you do today?

I pray your Sunday
was filled with life and love.

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Embrace Old Churches


Photo by gifted photograher, Gerry Mooney

This old church in McAllister, Montana is a treasure! The bell in the dome still rings, though the organ in the church no longer plays and the roof and foundation of it are compromised. It needs a lot of TLC.

Its history goes back to 1885 – when the land was gifted to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1887 the structure was completed. It was transferred to the Presbyterian Church (where Bob & I are members) in 1952.

We (as a congregation) love this old church, and many of our members, their friends, and their grandparents or parents or children or grandchildren have been married or baptized there.

Preserving precious old churches such as this one is an ongoing responsibility. It is costly and time-consuming. Respect for what it was and how it served its community in decades past keep us loving those old buildings.

Here are a few others that are treasures in their communities. If only they could talk!

Dilapidated
Sadly abandoned old church
Is God still in there?

Matthew 16:6.
In many ways Matthew chapter 16
is a chapter about the church.
Jesus was the first to mention the church.
He only mentions the church twice,
and both times are here in the book of Matthew.


In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said,
“And I say unto you,
That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”


This is the first time that Jesus used the word church.
He used the word church only twice,
so it is good to know exactly what Jesus taught about the church.
It may be that the things that Jesus taught about church
are the things that are the most important to know about it.

Church is a place to trust in God’s promised presence
( Matthew 18:20)
as we worship Him together,
out of a sense of love and obedience
( Colossians 3:16 ).

When the church is functioning biblically,
it’s more active and alive when the seats are empty,
and the community is filled with those
seeking to activate the gospel in love for each other.

Many of these old churches were also home
to the cemeteries that bear the tombstones
of its deceased members.

What a shame to allow them to
deteriorate and collapse.
But, who has the money
for restoration and maintenance?

Weekly church attendance is down in our society today.
It sometimes downplayed into a legalistic ritual.
According to Pewforum.org, 61% of churchgoers
attend to feel closer to God,
while a sizable majority of non-churchgoers
state they practice their faith in other ways.

Which is the right way?
Modern society may beg us
to believe the choice is ours,
but biblical truth is clear
about going to church.

Jesus Christ seeks in earnest
to meet us on a day set aside
to commemorate His defeat of death,
to equip us to sustain our faith until He returns.

I am so grateful for my friends
who sit in the pews with me every Sunday.
Indeed, they help me sustain my faith.

Old churches remind us of the
value placed on weekly worship
in communities gone by.

Let’s all work to keep our churches
vibrant, healthy, and inviting.
Don’t let it become a place of ruin!

Oh the church in the valley
Is a place I know so well…
Listen to Jim & Jesse
sing to you about it:

Do you have a little old white church in your history?

Embrace the Light


Today was a very important, memorable day at our church.
It was Father’s Day, yes…
and we honored our fathers and our Father in Heaven.
But the real LIGHT of the day
was the opportunity to be in church
on this special Sunday when
Mary Grace Reynolds,
was presenting her first sermon as
our official new pastor.
MGR is fresh out of seminary,
but she conducted the service
as if she had ten years of experience!
We are so blessed to have her
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
here in Ennis, MT.
If you ever are in our area on a Sunday,
you MUST come and experience
the Holy Spirit alive and well in this little community!!

Her sermon title was, “There’s a Light On.”

If you have followed my blog for a week or more, you know that most Sundays as I listen to the sermon, I take notes – and most of the time I take them in some form of poetry. Today was no exception. Here is what I heard through my JanBeek filter:

I feel the Holy Spirit
Perched on my shoulder.
How we understand where we’ve been
Matters a lot as we grow older.

Even though this is a new beginning,
We sit on the blessings and woes of the past.
We incorporate these into who we are
As we step into the future – at last.

Genesis One spoke to me this week.
Looking at effortless, timeless majesty,
We are reminded of God’s control
As the mountains loom with no hesitancy.

God holds all the cards; we don’t!
The utility of history – truth and facts –
Reminds us to adapt historical records
As we articulate how God in creation acts.

God’s power was articulated in Genesis
By stories and memories told with persistence.
The Israelites were reminded of their God
Who breathed the world into existence.

The creation story reminded them of hope –
The hope and identity they have in God.
Our stories tell who and where we’ve been.
They reveal our cracks, our cobwebs, our sin.

We can look back at the God
Who turned the light on within us,
And we notice God’s sovereignty –
Grateful for how His Son freed sin from us.

The Israelites remember the pain
They had in exile for so many years.
We too remember the pain and grief
Of life – and thank God for drying our tears.

As we move as a church body
Into newness, remember the past.
Recall how He kept the light on –
And move joyfully into the future – at last.

God is in this place with us
Sure as the sun continues to rise.
We’re challenged to move forward now
Knowing we’re guided by the Light of God’s eyes.

There’s a Light On!
Embrace the Light!
Amen.

Toward the end of the service,
Mary Grace presented a beautiful Pastoral Prayer.
I took notes as I prayed this prayer with her:

Holy God, be with us.
Most High God, comfort and heal the afflicted.
Lord, grant Your presence.
Bring them out of their suffering.
Lord, we know You can – and You do.
Almighty God, whom we sometimes call Father,
pour out Your spirit on all fathers
who are working today
to provide food for their families,
and to keep them sheltered.
Eternal God, whom we still call Father,
You are so much more than earthly fathers.
Make whole what has been broken.
Most Loving God,
we give thanks for all those we call
father.
Thanks for all those
who sacrifice for their children.
God, whom we call Father,
we stand in praise and awe of Your Power.
Remind us
You are in the boat
and
You have the Light on!
Amen

Photo by William Mattey on Pexels.com

Hear our prayer, O Lord.
Hear our prayer, O Lord.
Incline Thine ear to us,
And grant us Thy peace.

Amen

Have a beautiful, blessed Sunday, my friends,
And a very Happy Father’s Day.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace New Beginnings


Mama Antelope with her babies in our front yard

Time for beginnings
Is now – this very morning
Baby animals

This “Puggle” says “Hello World!”

Baby platypus
Greets the world with a big wave
It makes me smile

Baby robins on our porch

Whether antelope
Or platypus or robins
Embrace beginnings

Mark 10:27

“Without God it is utterly impossible.
But with God everything is possible.”

Mary Grace Reynolds

Excitement revealed
These Eminent Beginnings
Readily perceived

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’ve worked diligently for the 10 months with our Pastor Nominating Committee. We investigated more than 50 candidates, looking at their PIFs (Pastor Information Forms), texting, e-mailing, calling, ZOOMing, checking references, etc.

Our pastor of more than 30 years passed away over a year ago … and we have had the privilege of a wonderful interim pastor who stepped out of retirement to help us keep our church alive during this year of COVID-19. Not an easy feat!

We feel (as a Pastor Nominating Committee) that God spoke through the Holy Spirit to the young lady you see above. She is our chosen candidate – and we all love her! She will preach to our congregation this Sunday. The members will have a chance after meeting/hearing her to vote yay or nay on accepting her … and whether to accept the terms of employment that we and the church leaders (the Session) have put together for her.

This is definitely a time of “New Beginnings” for her – and for our church. Would you add your prayers to ours during this crucial weekend? I’d really appreciate it! I know God hears … and we just want His Will to be done!

The excitement is palpable!

Mary Grace – in front of the manse
(the church parsonage where she would live)

Bob (my hubby) has been working long and hard
(as the Elder in charge of Buildings and Grounds)
to get the manse ready inside and out for a new pastor.
He’s there now working on the stairs –
getting the old padding out
so the installers can come Monday
to put in new carpet.


It takes a village to accomplish all we’ve done.
Thank God for the church leaders
and our Nominating Committee
for their arduous work over the past year.

Have you ever served in one of those capacities
– selecting a new pastor –
or being in charge of buildings and grounds?
If so, you can relate
to what we’ve been through
– – – and are facing.

Prayers are really appreciated
for this exciting time in our church life.



See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
– and lending your support!

Embrace New Beginnings, indeed!!
There I was in 1965
with new beginnings
for our son, Ty!!

Embrace Enthusiasm


Enthusiasm:
Expressions of elation –
Show your excitement!!

Photo by Gilbert Anthony on Pexels.com

Like this flower child,
I’m over the top gleeful.
Timing perfection!

I’ve shared confusion
And dismay for the slowness
Of resolutions.

But if I let go –
And put it all in God’s hands,
His timing’s perfect!

I can’t tell you more
Than to say I see the light
At the tunnel’s end.

Yesterday I worked
All day to finalize the
Membership notice

Our Number One pick
Has accepted our first call –
Returning to preach.

The congregation
Will hear her message.
It’s all in God’s hands.

The Lord says, “Relax!
Know I have got you covered.
It’ll be alright.”


Embrace excitement!
Continue to be in prayer.
Let God surprise you.

You know I have been knee-deep
in the process of trying to find the pastor candidate
God has in mind for our Presbyterian Church
here in Ennis, MT.

It’s been nearly a year of searching.
By the end of this month,
I should be able to show you her face…
and tell you about her.
Meantime, she will return in a couple of weeks
and preach to our congregation
and they will be given the chance to vote.
If they approve,
then the Presbytery gets to vote.

The Lord says, “Paaay-shuns!!”

It will all happen in His perfect timing.
I believe that.
But, I can’t contain my excitement
at the prospects of what the future holds!

Pray with me that it all
happens as God intends-
In His perfect timing.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”


Esther 4:14

Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.



Wait expectantly!
Open your eyes to the
fulfillment of your deepest prayers!

Photo by Eternal Happiness on Pexels.com

Embrace Enthusiasm!
Are you excited about something in your future?
What is it?

Embrace Help


Have you ever listened to someone for a minute and thought
“Their cornbread isn’t done in the middle” ??

My beef stew this noon needed cornbread to accompany it.

And the cornbread WAS cooked all the way through.
What does this have to do with Palm Sunday?
Sometimes I stew over the way the disciples
led Jesus to his demise in Jerusalem.

It’s rather corny to suggest that they
were half baked. But they were!
They didn’t have a clue about what
Jesus was about!

Even though he told them
He was going to die
and rise again in three days,
they were as clueless
as those peppers in my stew!

“Hosanna!” they shouted.
“Hosanna in the highest!”

Do you know what Hosanna means?
I thought it was an expression of celebration.
Nope, it means, “Help me!”
And that’s just what He did.
But, like half-baked cornbread,
they had no idea how He was helping them.

Today’s sermon notes from the message
by Rev. Steve Hundley at the
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana
was titled,
“Going Through the Motions”

Imagine a small church in a small town.
Imagine how the congregation is feeling down.
Their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered.
They’ve forgotten what Jesus did for their sons and daughters.

Imagine the preacher having just received Mark,
The book that recalls Jesus’ light in the dark.
The description of the first Palm Sunday
Leaves out important things that happened that one day.

Mark doesn’t talk about the presence of crowds.
He does write that some shouted aloud
“Hosanna!” but he made the folks sound mundane,
And he paints the disciples as being quite lame!

Abraham was asked what he thought of the telling.
He said he thought it was just what they were yelling.
“Hosanna” means HELP US and that is what
Jesus did as He told them He’d empty His cup
on the cross that day. Listen up!

He said He would rise again, but they didn’t understand.
We’re like that – just marching along with the band.
Help us this Holy Week to do more than go through
The motions to recognize what You had to do.

Lord, You’ve known the clamor of over 2,000 Sundays
When people wave palm branches as if it’s fun days.
Allow us to stop just going through the motions,
And instead prayerfully express our devotions.

You gave Your life on the cross, O Lord,
So that we might understand where we’re headed toward.
It’s not a deep dark hole for eternity without You.
It is Heaven with You – fully baked – clear through!

Help us, O Lord, to live this Holy Week
Fully alive – remembering You – the One we seek.
You are the bread of life – who died and rose again.
You’re the yeast in life who will come again. Amen!

EMBRACE the HELP
that only God can give.
Hosanna!

He came.
He lived.
He died.
He rose.
He will come again.

Don’t just go through the motions this Easter
EMBRACE the HELP that Jesus offers us
By His life, His teaching, His example,
And let your example be “baked clear through!”
Amen

Have a blessed week.
Love ya,
JanBeek

Embrace Adversity – 8 Ways


How do you define adversity?
It is symbolized by tough times.
It is exhibited by disagreements.
It represents challenges.

How do we deal with adversity?
Why should we embrace it?
Misfortune means misery, right?
Calamity and distress are its partners.

But the Bible says, “The Lord is
A stronghold in times of trouble.”
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”
(Psalm 34:10b)

So let us embrace adversity
By understanding it is a vehicle
That strengthens us just as fire
Tempers steel and hardens it.

We are called to share each other’s burdens.
That is one of the purposes of church:
Congregations are called to care for,
Encourage, empathize, and strengthen one another.

“The church is a network of shoulders
Supporting the collective weight
Of everyone’s troubles, lifting burdens,
Helping others find rest for their weary hearts.”

(Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries)

God often uses hard times to get our attention.
When things are going great,
we are not so quick to turn to Him.
But trials drive us to our knees for answers and comfort.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield,
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

The adversity that I faced recently was the death of my “favorite student,” Ty Stiles. The picture above could easily have been him. His early death was “misfortune” to the highest degree! I have told you about him in several recent blogs. Yesterday was his Memorial Service at Monte Vista Chapel, his home church in Turlock, CA. I was blessed to be able to attend it virtually because the church recorded it on a YouTube broadcast.

How do we face the “misfortune” of such a loss? Only by our faith! Only by knowing God keeps His promises and Ty has gone to Heaven. We will go there some day, too. We will all be reunited. In the meantime, adversity turns to adventure. We are invited to live our lives with thankfulness for the privilege of knowing one another. We are asked to change our perspective from “I can’t handle this,” to “”I can’t handle this on my own, but I can with Jesus’ help.”

Let the adventure of today’s challenges bring strength when we feel weak, safety when we feel danger, comfort when we feel distress. Let us be the ones who stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” Be ever ready to leap for joy and with your song, ever praise the Lord who is our strength.

Pray for his comfort and strength, rather than praying that he’d simply remove difficulties. Embrace Adversity. Be the shoulder others lean on. God will bless you!

Thanks for visiting
JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Prayer


In today’s Daily Guideposts 2021, the writer, Amy Eddings, wrote about a time when she prayed relentlessly for guidance and courage – and felt her prayers were going unanswered. Have you ever felt that you were praying relentlessly for something and your request(s) seemed to be falling on deaf ears?

I remember last year when Australia was on fire and so many animals were dying and losing their habitats. I prayed along with the rest of our world for rain… but the fires raged on.

I have recently been praying incessantly for our Pastor Nominating Committee at our church. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you have read my sermon notes on Sunday from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church. You know our pastor of 32 years died a year ago and we have a wonderful temporary pulpit fill who came out of retirement to help us. Rev. Hundley needs to be able to re-retire. So, we are searching for a solo pastor and I am praying hard. I believe in the power of prayer – and I believe in God’s perfect timing. Don’t you?

So, will you add my prayer request to your prayer list?
“Lord, help the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Pastor Nominating Committee
find the person God already has in mind for us.
Help them find the right new pastor
to lead the congregation into renewed spiritual growth in 2021.”

My husband, Bob, has been praying incessantly, too.
He is on our church’s leadership board
and as such is the “elder” in charge of Buildings and Grounds.
Our church owns an old church that is about 10 miles out of Ennis
in a tiny little village called McAllister.
The church was built in the 1880’s.
MVPC uses it once a year to maintain its
tax-free status as a “place of worship.”
It is in a serene country setting on a little over an acre of land.
It has electricity, but no water or septic system.
The church is for sale. We’re praying for the right buyer.

McAllister Church

Please add this to your prayer list, too, will you?
“Lord, send the right buyer to Rikki at Berkshire-Hathaway in Ennis, MT
– a person who will treasure this historic building
and use it for wholesome purposes.”

Gerry Mooney Photography
McAllister Church

When we EMBRACE PRAYER
and pray with a right spirit,
God hears, God cares, God answers.

Philippians 4:6,7: Pray about everything

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your request to God.”

1 John 5:14: God always hears

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

EMBRACE PRAYER

GOD BLESS YOU
and keep you safe and healthy.
That’s my prayer for you today.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
Have a blessed Monday.
See ya tomorrow.

This is my favorite prayer… and I pray it fervently.
It spells out my purpose in life … to be an instrument of God’s peace…
TO SPREAD LOVE, FORGIVENESS, FAITH, HOPE, LIGHT AND JOY…

Sing along … and be blessed!

EMBRACE PRAYER

How’s Your Soul?


I have told my WP friends this story before, but it was a while back… and since then, many of you are new to JanBeek, so it bears repeating:

My friend, Bob Jorgenson, born with Cerebral Palsy, was bright as a tack. His parents brought him every Sunday to church in his wheel chair. They sat mid-way up in the sanctuary with him. They stayed after church for fellowship. They helped people understand what Bob had to say – because Bob’s speech was compromised – but he had so much to say!

Homer and Ruth knew their son would not live a long life, but they packed ten life-times into Bob’s 35 years. They took him to Europe, to Disneyland, to Asia, to the Holy Land. They built a train track and a miniature train in a circle around their wooded property, and fixed up the engine so that Bob could run the train and give train rides to various groups of kids who came to experience the wonder of it.

When Bob was on his last breaths, lying helpless and speechless in his hospital bed, Homer sat with him. He had Bob’s favorite hymnal. As he turned the pages, Homer asked Bob to blink when he came to a song Bob wanted to hear.

Homer was singing “It is Well With My Soul” to his son when Bob breathed his last.

I never hear this song without welling up inside. My heart smiles.

I hope your soul smiles as you hear it, too.

Merry Christmas!

Love, JanBeek

Swept Up in the Current


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Ennis, Montana’s Presbyterian Church
was titled, “Swept Up in the Current of God’s Love.”

In my typical fashion, I listened
and took notes in poetry to capture the message
as I was received it.

I like this image for today’s bulletin cover
because the message as I pondered it was:
“Listen for the angels’ announcement.
Listen with your heart, and
Be swept up into the
realms of JOY!”

Based on and reflections from
Luke 1:39-55

Mary rushed to tell Elizabeth
The anticipation of Jesus’ birth.
But Elizabeth already knew it…
Elizabeth knew it? How on earth??

Mary felt a song swell up
And bubble over inside her.
She sang acceptance and praises.
Elizabeth beamed beside her.

We don’t think of God exploding
Into our lives this season.
Our upside-down world seems to forget
The JOY, the Message, the Reason.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth
Reminds us of the glories of the event.
To make Christmas more meaningful,
We need to focus on the love sent.

Mary and Elizabeth didn’t make the joy.
They WERE the joy – growing in them.
God’s presence exhibited the miracle.
The peace and JOY of God began then.

We’re not the master of all this.
The grace and love are gifts.
We’re the grateful recipients.
With Jesus’ birth, the world shifts.

The angels announced the Savior.
The vulnerable baby was born.
His life changed our destiny.
No longer are we lost or forlorn.

Mary’s Magnificat is a message
To all of us to be steady –
Steady for Christ’s coming.
Listen with your heart – be ready!

Be prepared to be swept away
By the current of God’s love.
Be prepared for that Bethlehem baby
Who came to save us from above.

Thanks to Elaina for our Nativity gift
which arrived at our doorstep today!

Yes, the angels announced that heavenly Baby
Who came down from God to us.
Now we’re awaiting the angel
Who’ll announce an end to all this fuss.

No, Reverend Steve didn’t add that last stanza to his sermon…
but I just couldn’t help myself!
Don’t you love that COVID angel?
No?

Ah, come on… let’s add the need for
a freedom announcement.

Freedom from the pain of this pandemic.
Freedom from the need to wear masks,
socially distance,
stay at home,
and
isolate.

Can you read the mask’s label?
“Coughy filter”
Hah!
Get it??
Bob & I are wearing our masks
whenever we go out.
Are you?

Don’t let this Coronavirus get to you…

Don’t take to the bottle to try and drown the pain!!

Make wise decisions!

Keep your eyes and your ears tuned to the Holy Spirit
and be ready to be “swept up in the current of God’s love.”
Jesus’ birth is the reason for the season –
And the grace and hope He brings
will keep you swimming
in love and joy.
Believe!

JOY comes in the morning!
My friend, Lisa Glines,
sent me this sunrise picture this morning.

The following poem
came from Lisa
yesterday as I was waiting
for Bob’s angiogram results.

“Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Jaime and Kathy played the piano and keyboard as Jim played the saw for some special music this morning.

I always imagine that saw being the only instrument some old cowboy had on hand in some distant days gone by… and learning to eerily try to play a tune on it must have been quite an interesting pastime!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.

I hope you enjoyed these tidbits of my Sunday.
Bee safe!
See ya tomorrow.
Bee well!!

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