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
My post today, “Do Good” focused on children … and their abuse (as I shared Pastor Kurt’s devo from Bayside). This post “Seeing God” that I hope I have forwarded to you here is a delightful look at why Jesus pointed to the children as examples of true followers. (Click on the title above to get to it)
Friar Musings described children so poignantly. He wrote, “kids are feisty, clever, quick, fierce, generous, selfish, naughty, obedient, curious, bored, quiet, loud, challenging, funny, surprising, solemn, and exhausting.”
I had an ah-hah moment this morning as I was doing my Bible Study and reading the devotionals. In Touch magazine’s topic yesterday was “God’s Perspective on War.”
Charles Stanley wrote, “War is a very controversial subject in both the world and the church…” and then he asked the question, “What does the Lord think about war?”
He continued by trying to answer his own question, using Romans 13:1-4 as a springboard.
Here is Romans 13: 1-2a – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those who exist have been instructed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorites resists what God has appointed…”
He said wars are waged to protect citizens against evil.
But, is every ruler appointed and instructed by God? I would question that. If they are, in fact, instructed by God, are they listening? Are they following God’s instruction?
Do wars over land rights have anything to do with protecting citizens’ lives? The governments send its citizens into battle knowing many will be killed!
God bless our veterans! I guess it was July 4th and its festivities – honoring our war veterans that got me thinking on this subject.
IMMIGRATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from US custody
A drawing by children recently released depicting their time spent in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. Photograph: Handout ./Reuters
Is God instructing Donald Trump to take chidren from their parents, lock them in cages, give them aluminum blankets, make them sleep on a cold floor, and provide inadequate medical care for them? It’s heart-breaking!!!
Yes, I know – this is a controversial, multi-faceted problem. But, it just can’t be right!
Governments were established as a means of promoting good and restraining (stopping, if possible) evil. I am convinced that God’s goal is the destruction of wickedness, NOT THE DESTRUCION OF PEOPLE.
Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?
When governments condone immorality, fuel the rich, and oppress the poor, then God allows war for the sake of the innocent.
In Luke 6:27-31, the Bible teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. BUT, as Charles Stanley pointed out in today’s devotional in In Touch magazine, “Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars.” He continued by reminding us we need to “distinquish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals.”
God allows governments to wage wars for the protection of those being harmed. The job of the government is to protect people.
What would have happened if no government had stepped in to stop Hitler?
Where in our world today do we see people being harmed by the government? Caged? Scorned? Marginalized? We don’t have to look very far!
When I put the word “abuse” in the free photo library search, look what I got:
Is this what the immigration policy has boiled down to? A wall?
Is this how we step forward to protect people in the world who are forced out of their homes and risking their lives to seek asylum in a safer place?
No, we can’t take in thousands of people who need protection from other countries. We need to limit immigration/ asylum seekers and enforce our limits. But, what is the root cause? What are the conditions that are forcing these families out of their native lands?
How can we look for ways to protect our own people and treat others with love?
There is no easy solution to the abuse and marginalization, the hunger and the threats to life in this world. JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER sounds like pie in the sky – Pollyanna thinking.
But LOVE is the answer! Right and Truth must ultimately prevail.
We must stand up/ speak up/work for/pray for/hope for/ and believe in PEACE.
It is not ours individually to take our own revenge. We will never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us. Our job is to forgive, to love, and to work together to make our own government more responsive to the needs of its citizens and the right to a peaceful life for us all.
I do dream of a world with no more war. Don’t you?
Today’s sermon topic was “Headed Toward Jerusalem.” It was based on the story in Luke 9:51-62 in which Jesus, headed toward Jerusalem, sent His disciples ahead to Samaria to prepare a place for Him to stay the night. Knowing Jesus’ destination was Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused to welcome Him into their city.
Offended by the rejection, the disciples, James and John, asked Jesus if He would like to send fire down on the Samaritans and destroy their city. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their hard-heartedness and attitude of retribution. He and His disciples simply moved on to Jerusalem.
Here are my sermon notes that I took as I listened carefully to what Rev. Jean Johnson at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana had to say about this scripture.
Where Are You Headed?
We’re all headed somewhere.
Where is your face headed?
What values guide and direct you
– and what destination is dreaded?
What life is truly worth living?
How do you live with purpose in love?
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for
The place that fits you like a glove.
It’s a metaphor for traveling
To where you’re meant to be.
It’s being who you were meant to be
And facing the direction of Eternity.
We are pulled in different directions.
Our tendency is much like James and John
Who wanted to call fire on those
Who rejected Jesus: We want enemies gone!
But Jesus rebuked the disciples.
He rejected their hardness of heart.
Keep your eyes on your destination.
Don’t let detractors pull us apart.
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for peace.
What do we do about violent actions?
“Jerusalem” is about the Truth of God.
What do we do about divided factions?
We need to wrestle with these questions
And struggle for clarification.
There are no easy answers.
Today’s world creates chaos and confusion.
What does it mean to head
Toward “Jerusalem” and let go
Of security and face change?
Transformation is a place we must know.
“Jerusalem” is about the love of Christ.
It’s letting go of the things that bind us
To this world of hate and divisions.
It’s turning our faces toward Christian kindness.
Join me, OKAY?
Let’s head toward or own “Jerusalem.”
What are the things that bind you to the place you are, and keep you from heading toward YOUR “Jerusalem”??
Some Sundays, the sermon message is unbearable! But, I go, I listen, and I try to discern what God is trying t tell me. I let the minister speak to my heart and I ask God to help me be discerning.
Today was one of those days when I longed for a pastor who could divert her attention from the lectionary cycle and get with the stuff that is more “cultural.” After all, it’s Father’s Day! I don’t want to hear about the unbearable!
But, based on John 16: 12-15, somehow Rev. Jean Johnson at our Madison Valley Presbyterian church came us with this unlkely message for today:
Jesus did not tell His disciples
All that He had to say.
He said some things were unbearable.
They’d hear them another day.
Preparing for vacation, a family
Was told to come right away.
There had been an accident –
Too unbearable to hear any day!
Their son had not survived.
They were devastated, of course.
How can we respond or help?
We can’t fathom their remorse.
Think of a time when indeed,
Delight and splendor were spilled overboard.
Ever had so much happiness
You could only say, “Thank You, Lord”?
The touch of your spouse’s love
Can be beautifully unbearable
When you know forgiveness
Was given for the unshareable.
Things can be unbearably wonderful,
Or they can be unbearably awful.
Unbearable opens our hearts to love.
The opposite, unfeeling, should be unlawful!
When you bear the unbearable,
God is with you, alive and well.
In tears of joy or cries of agony,
God’s more present than we can tell.
When life is too big, too real,
Too much – too much to bear,
That’s when we know God for sure,
When the Spirit declares, “I Am There.”
Nothing is withheld from God.
We may feel a flutter like a dove…
It’s God, who is lifting us up.
When in the unbearable, we feel His love.
Thank You, God!
You never fail me!
I pray you had an UNBEARABLY joyful
Father’s Day today!