Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘church’

Fairytale Wedding


Have you missed me? We’ve had a whirlwind four days here in Switzerland. Each day from eye opening early mornings to collapsing in bed at night has been phenomenal. If you’ve been following me, you know it was the weekend of my oldest grandson’s wedding.

Let me take you to the church and two fairytale receptions. Sit back and enjoy!

The wedding was full of music, fun, smiles, tears, promises, family & friends. A choir sang, our daughter, De, and Chrissy (our youngest grandson) sang a duet with Nick ( the middle brother) accompanying on guitar. I even had a role by reading a message ( in English, thank God) that they prepared for me – a message if forever love and devotion. Then we all headed to the outdoor reception nearby where wine, hors d’oeuvres and music flowed. Mike played in his alpenhorn group.

Look carefully! I’m holding Mike’s hand. The group just played “Amazing Grace” and dedicated it to me!!!!

The second reception was a sit-down dinner after more wine, beer, and socializing in this gorgeous outdoor setting:

We woke this morning back in Vissoie. Ready to go on another adventure. See ya later! Thanks for sharing and visiting with me.

Love , JanBeek

The Joy of Being (in Switzerland)


The joy of just being

Is certainly joy enough

But the joy of being in Switzerland

Is a joy that’s hard to beat – it’d be tough.

While friends and family back home

In California and Montana are roasting

We were enjoying comfy mid-seventies

And lovely meals and yummy wine toasting

Then the weather changed!

.

We were having ham with salad & sausage

At De & Andrés wonderful chalet

I came back to our room to post

And left Bob to finish dessert, but hey…

.

There were two girls outside

Hunkered under umbrellas in the rain

So I pointed to our inside table

And sent them to Bob – let me explain

He was having sorbet; I was done

My place at the table was free

He will love getting acquainted

And they will love his company!

This morning we cooled it in our room

Bob read and I enjoyed reading posts

The day started off rather quiet

More alone time than Swiss’s most

We went for a walk in Vissoie

And enjoyed every sight and each sound

We visited the local church and had

Time for prayer, finding God all around

“Daily Word” gave us the scripture

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice”

Let nothing keep your joy from you-

Respond with a song; raise your voice!

Like a well that can never run dry

My joy is a wellspring from the Lord

I deal with whatever life brings me

With a smile – and I never am bored!

Keep your sense of humor alive

Find the joy in whatever you see

That poor bunny hit the door with a bang

Oh come on, have a good laugh with me!

There he is on the other side!!

.

The joy of being in Switzerland

Is part of the happiness of being alive

Well enough to travel and adapt

Thanking God each day we survive!

Thank you for traveling vicariously with us!

We love sharing with you. Take joy!

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11

See ya tomorrow (God willing) –

Love, JanBeek

Donkey Sunday


I met this donkey in England
while visiting Jackie & Derrick Knight!

Sermon Notes

Our message at church today was an interesting one.
Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds shared a story about a
clerical friend of hers who renamed Palm Sunday
“Donkey Sunday” because the palm leaves show up
in only some of the Gospels, but the donkey is in all four!

Power in Love

Royalty who rode donkeys
were considered a disgrace.
But the throng didn’t mind
How Jesus entered the place.

Power is a social contract.
It’s a constructed idea for us.
However it is not a given –
Except in the case of Jesus.

Christ Power is a given.
In the beginning was Light,
And the Light was God who
Came from darkness into sight.

Jesus Christ came from Light.
Through God all things were created.
Jesus was not just made…
He always was. And I’m elated!

Because He came, I know
That He will come again.
He has the power to save us all.
His power can save us from our sin.

Think about the presence
Of power in our lives.
When do you exercise it?
Control it, friends, ’til Christ arrives!

He entered Jerusalem on a donkey

The donkey is a symbol of humility.
The King of Kings came not to reign
Over the rulers of this earthly kingdom.
He came in love to display His own domain.

His kingdom is not on earth.
Instead, it is in eternity…
The place He has reserved
For believers like you and me.

Today might be called “Donkey Sunday.”
It is the day Christ rode to town
On the back of this lowly animal.
Praise God, His Son came down!


Power was His –
But He exchanged it
For humility and love
And expressed it with compassion.

Happy Donkey Week, my friends.
May the Power of the Holy Spirit
Be expressed in you
Through Love and Humility.

Our pastor,
Mary Grace Reynolds,
with me.

Thanks for your message, Rev. Reynolds.
I pray my sermon notes did it justice.

Have blessed Holy Week, my friends.
Love,
JanBeek

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Sunday Inspiration


Going to church on Sunday
Always gives me inspiration:
A theme to carry with me
Through the week with contemplation.

Yesterday was no exception –
The message was one of love,
With 1 Cor. 13: 1-13 guiding
My connection with Above.

Our pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds,
Delivered a sermon with finesse,
Alluding to the “Tragic Gap”
That has our world in a mess.

Once upon a time she was
A chaplain in a trauma center.
A man was all alone there
Where she was told to enter.

Her presence felt quite futile –
Comatose and unhooked from life-support;
But she gathered her wits and recited
The Lord’s Prayer, knowing his life was short.

He may not have heard her petition,
But then again, who knew?
Maybe that prayer guided him
To the Lord – and Life anew.

Stealing herself against dismay,
Mary Grace spoke with assurance.
“You’re a beloved Child of God,
And He has issued us insurance.

The pain and hurt of life
Can be a place of great despair,
But you can ask and receive
God’s Grace… it’s always there.”

Mary Grace assured us, too,
That God’s strength is ours to claim
As soon as we believe and
Ask for it in Jesus’ name.

Never doubt that humanity
Can be changed forever more
For the better – in an instant.
Just knock at Jesus’ door!

Don’t accept the “Tragic Gap”
As a place we have to be.
The cavernous space between love
And a world of hate – is not for me!

Lead each other away from
That place of despair and hopelessness.
Be assured, there is a better reality.
Lead on to the road of wholesomeness!

Amen?

In addition to the message of the sermon, I am inspired (sometimes to the point of tears) by the music. Yesterday the hymn that choked me up was this one – Pay attention to those words – they are powerful!

The verse that caught in my throat
was the one that made me think
of the #Bloganuary prompt
from a few days ago:
“How Are You Changing the World?”

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound in you, and you in me?

May your presence in this world
Be a source of peace and inspiration
To the people you encounter every day.
Close the “Tragic Gap” with your imagination!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I’ll see you tomorrow (God willing)

Our flight home was
long – but safe.


We are happy to be home –
and delighted to have the floors almost finished.
Also delighted to know there is a medication
out there to help Bob with his heart issues.


Again, thank you for your prayers!
(We await the insurance approval of the med.)
God bless you!

Hugs,
2Beeks

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

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