Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘church’

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!!

Bah Humbug!


It’s that time of year again. “Bah Humbug!” declared Mr. Scrooge.
Our sermon today started on that same note.
See my poetic notes below.

Rev. Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
12-6-20

“Here We Go…”

“Well, here we go again,”
The woman spoke with regret.
The Christmas season has arrived –
We must prepare lest we forget.

Prepare for peace on earth –
Prepare for goodwill toward men.
But will we feel the peace?
Will there be good will again?

This year seems so very strange.
It’s hard to enter with trust
The coming of the Christ Child.
But trust and hope we must!!

God’s chosen people felt
The same worn-out feeling of despair.
They wee caught in the wilderness,
Feeling God was no longer there.

In this time of pandemic,
We’re tired of this quarantine.
The pain and struggles continue.
What does all this mean?

Are we caving in to hopelessness?
Can’t we remember God is good?
We must live hearing His promise
And believe He’ll save us as He said He would.

If we have ears to hear
And we have eyes to see,
Know God’s message, “Here we go anew,”
Is meant for you and me.

God has the power to get us out
Of this situation we’re in.
Believe! Have faith in God.
Carry His hope. Carry His light within.

Share that light with others.
Walk in His way and then you’ll know
The peace and trust Jesus brings.
“Here we go anew!” Let it glow.

Advent is about preparing room
For something new at our place.
So stay alert and wait with faith.
God is coming in Christ – Clear a space!

Amen

Our friend, Jim Forsberg, sang this beautiful song
today in church, accompanied by his guitar
(sung here by the marvelous Susan Boyle).
The words are so beautiful.
Be sure to click on that link and enjoy.

Prayer of Confession:
“Merciful God, always with us, always coming: We confess that we do not know how to prepare for Your Advent. We have forgotten how to hope in miracles; we have been distracted by the challenges of the past nine months. Forgive us, O God. Grant to us the simple wonder of the shepherds, the intelligent courage of the Magi, and the patient faith of Mary and Joseph that we may rediscover the good news of the child born for us. Amen”

Merry Christmas, my friends.
Happy Advent.
No “Bah Humbug” here!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I pray your Sunday was a lovely one.

Thanks for all your love-filled comments on the
“Dogs in Heaven?” post yesterday.
My friend, Fran appreciates all your prayers.

May your week be blessed indeed.
Bee well!!

Helping Children


Ty with Cosette

This is my son, Ty, with his grandchild, Cosette (my great-granddaughter). Ty sent me this photo yesterday. It warmed my heart so much!

Cosette with The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Isn’t that the most precious photo and the most adorable expression? Someday with the help of her mom and dad, grandparents, her Uncle Sam, and friends who love her enough to read to her, Cosette will know the difference between an up-side-down view and one that is right-side-up. But meantime, this Great-Grandma (call me “GG”) takes enormous joy in seeing the delight in this child’s face – and her interest in books at her young age!

Uncle Sam, Cosette & her daddy, my grandson, Jordan

When children are surrounded by love, they grow into loving adults who know how to love in return. Yesterday, while Cosette was receiving this kind of nurturing, my friend, Kathy and I took the hour and a half’s drive from Ennis to Helena. We visited Intermountain Children’s Home and delivered some backpacks with school supplies for a boy and a girl who are there.

Intermountain ccottages

Intermountain is a school and residential facility for children who did not have the privilege of a loving start. They are between the ages of 4 and 14 and are critically “at risk.”

I first visited Intermountain about 14 years ago- with my Presbyterian Women’s group. We delivered “Wish List items” to the home for the children. This chapel was not there at that time… it was added to the campus about 6 years ago. I have loved visiting every couple years or so and watching Intermountain grow and thrive.

Intermountain was established in about 1908. It’s been around a long time! It was essentially a home for abandoned children initially. Today it is home to 24 children who need intervention for a variety of reasons. (The numbers were double that before COVID forced the space to house less children for social distancing and safety). There are four cottages with 8 children in each… and a staff of trained professionals who work as counselors, teachers, cottage parents, and administrators.

My friends, Kathy from our PW in Ennis
and Tyler Zimmer, who is Intermountain’s fund-raising coordinator
and an excellent tour guide!
Play is an important part of the children’s rehab.

Children who have been abused or neglected need guidance to learn how to play together peacefully, how to get along, how to trust again.

This is the bell tower in the center of the Intermountain campus
This plaque is at the bottom of the bell tower

Harry “Dibbs” Mitchell is just one of thousands of children who have been helped by the Intermountain brand love and care. Many, like “Dibbs” went on to live successful lives and enjoyed being able to “give back” to the place that changed their lives when they needed that intervention the most. They have about an 80% success rate – sending children out into the world with less traumatic symptoms than they came with. Not every child is receptive and able to change yet. We need to keep all our children in prayer. God’s not through with them yet… nor are we!

Intermountain’s website can tell you how to add your financial help if you are looking for a way to help children that has a long history of success: https://www.intermountainresidential.org/

Meanwhile, back to Cosette:
Grandma Monika, Uncle Sam, and daddy Jordan
(and Grandpa Ty, photographer)
took Cosette to the pumpkin patch
You can see how she loved it!
Cosette got to choose one to take home with her. to show mommy Joss.
I hope their ride home
was as pretty as ours
from Helena back to Ennis
I love this chapel tucked back into the aspen!
I wonder if it still is used every Sunday for worship?

I hope you are inspired to think of a way that you can help children in your life. If you’re a mom or dad with family still at home, you have your task facing you daily. Love ’em, read to ’em, and limit their screen time. Give ’em lots of hugs, encouragement, and face-to-face time!

Cell phones and internet games have their place –
but they are not nearly as good a baby-sitter as you are!
Take a child to a pumpkin patch this month!!
Take a child on a picnic NOW before the snow comes!
It’s predicted for Sunday here in Ennis!

God bless you, Ty & Monika, for being good grandparents.
God bless you, Jordan, for being a loving daddy.
God bless you, Sam, for being an adoring uncle.

Here’s a cute little Halloween kitten to bid you farewell for today.

Have a Happy October Friday!
See ya tomorrow.

Love,
JanBeek

World-wide Communion


Last Sunday was World-wide Communion Sunday. As a congregation, we were asked to bring a piece of cloth from another country. I wish I had some of the colorful cloth these darling girls are wearing!

Don’t you love them?

Many folks in our church have traveled to various countries and have returned with cloth that represents their travels. Our communion table was decorated with some of them.


Here is Pastor Steve talking before church
with one of our talented musicians, Jim.
The communion table was
just beginning to see the results
of donors gorgeous pieces of fabric.
Photo by David Eucaristu00eda on Pexels.com

Rather than going up to the communion table, we each picked up a small plastic container on our way into the sanctuary. In it was a wafer (like those pictured above) under a thin cellophane covering. Beneath that, under another enclosure with the grape juice.

Photo by Maria das Dores on Pexels.com

The wafer and grape juice represent the bread and wine which represent the body and blood of Christ broken and shed for our salvation. Christian people all over the world celebrated that tradition last Sunday. It had to be done differently in order to maintain social distancing and safety during this pandemic. But, where there is a will, there is a way. We did it!

How about you? Did you celebrate World Communion Sunday?

And if not, if your tradition of celebration is different, tell me about it. I’m curious.

Thanks for visiting.
I appreciate you.
Have a beautiful day!
Love,
JanBeek

Fondue and Chalets


Fondue and chalets
Speak of Switzerland to me
It’s so beautiful!

My grandson, Mikey,
Is teasing me with this cheese.
He knows I love it!

And my daughter, De,
Is teasing me with Swiss scenes.
USA’s shut out!

Because of COVID,
We can’t even think of going.
I long to visit.

Come travel with me
Via Internet magic.
No place prettier!

That church is close by
De and Andre’s restaurant.
Opening date soon.

I love Swiss chalets!
This is not a chalet. Notice, no windows.
It’s for grain storage and tools.

Notice the big flat rocks under the building at the top of the posts. That’s to keep mice and other rodents from climbing in and stealing the grain!

Do you imagine
Travel restrictions will lift
In a year from now?

Anyone know who this man is on the memorial rock?

Thanks for traveling
Vicariously with me.
Next year: Go for real!!

Have a Restful Thursday night.

See ya tomorrow.
Meantime, enjoy some Swiss music.

The next You.Tube is a young man from Germany who is at an alphorn competition in Nendaz, Switzerland – very near where De and Andre’s home is in Sierre and their restaurant in Vissoie. He is delightful. Do take time to listen to him!

Hugs,
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

Tag Cloud

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: