Sermon notes from today’s service in Ennis. Montana – Rev. Steve Hundley Taken in poetry as I listened – written through JanBeek’s filters.
Church: A Miracle of God
I can’t scold you today – Not because we are in this place, Not because I’m in a good mood, But because of the love in this space.
Because of the words of Paul (the ones our Paul read so well today), I am encouraged to join in With what Gentle Jesus had to say.
He wrote to the Thessalonians While he was out traveling, making a tent, “We were gentle among you,” He said. “We spoke soft words – whispered encouragement.”
Paul’s words to other churches Were not so gentle and kind. But to the Thessalonians, He set aside Sternness – and praised the ties that bind.
The Gospel is a powerful book. It can and does transform lives. We are astonished at how God’s Word Teaches, changes folks, lives, and survives.
The church, like the one in Thessalonica, Is a place where people love and give. They pray for you, they stay with you, They make life better and help you live.
Our old church in McAllister, Montana was built in the early 1900s. It has no running water, so when we use it for church services once a year, we have to rent a porta-potty, chase the mice away, and clean the mouse droppings from the chairs and alter.
But, it is a place that reminds of how simple God’s church can be. It doesn’t have to be a large, elaborate cathedral to be worshipful.
It is not the building that makes a church. In the early days, many of the “church services” were held in people’s homes. Some people in today’s world still hold their worship services in living rooms, tents, or on an open hillside. The Miracle of God that is His Church is not the place, but the people.
Wherever we gather, with the focus on worship of our God, He is with us. That’s what Paul was telling the church of Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 was what our scripture volunteer, Paul Carlson, read to us today:
“Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous, and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
As Christians, members of His Church, that is our goal: to hear His Word, and respond to it by encouraging, comforting, and urging fellow Christians to live lives that demonstrate He is indeed at work in us. That is what makes our church “God’s Miracle.” Not the building, but we, the people.
Whether we are in our old McAllister treasure, or our salmon-colored church in downtown Ennis, our job is to love one another, support one another, and spread the Word to those who may not know the Peace of Christ that “passeth all understanding.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God Bless You, my friends. I hope you have the joy of a supportive church family. And I pray that you are one of those who is God’s hand at work in this world. Have a lovely Sunday night.
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