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The Forgiving Father

Happy Sunday, my friends. Did you attend church today?

We did – and I took my usual sermon notes in poetry.
And we sang a great version of the scripture lesson.
I share it with you below.

classic close up draw expensive

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The scripture the sermon was based on was Luke 15:1-32.

It is a familiar passage for most Christians.
It includes the parables of three things LOST: a Sheep, a Coin, and a Son.

The song we sang  after the sermon was a beautiful poetic summary of the scripture.
The words, written in 1999 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette are so “right on!”
I HAVE to share them with you.
As you read these lyrics, try singing them to the tune of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It’s magical! It’s gorgeous!!

God’s Great Love is So Amazing


Verse 1

God’s great love is so amazing!
See a shepherd with his flocks!
Ninety-nine are safely grazing;
One is lost among the rocks.

That good shepherd goes and searches
Till he finds the one astray.
So God says to fill our churches
With the ones who’ve lost their way.

Verse 2

God in love is always seeking!
See a woman with her broom!
For a single coin she’s sweeping
Every corner of the room.

When it’s found she calls each neighbor,
Telling friends from all around.
So God says to search and labor
Till God’s precious ones are found.

Verse 3

God keeps waiting, searching, yearning!
See a father’s heartfelt joy!
Thankful for the son’s returning.
He runs out to greet his boy.

To the angry older brother,
Hear the father’s patient call.
So God says to love each other,
For in Christ, God loves us all.

man holding boy


My sermon notes are not as professional as the poem above.
They lack the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme.
Mine is based on an a-b-c-b scheme.
You probably can’t sing them to a chosen tune.
But they capture the message I heard being preached.
See if you can relate to how our pastor took this scripture
and spun it into a lesson for us all.

The Forgiving Father

Sermon notes 3/31/19
Jan Beekman’s “take-away” on
Rev. Jean Johnson’s message
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana


Leave ninety-nine vulnerable
For the sake of finding one?
The Lost Sheep story tells us
That’s exactly what Jesus woulda done.


Leave a pocketful of change
For the one coin lost?
Yes, that’s what Jesus said.
Look carefully at the cost!


The cost of losing valued
Possessions can be very high.
We leave behind the flock
And fly off to pie in the sky!


Open your eyes to the One
Who is right in your midst.
The Shepherd among us
Seeks the lost. He insists.


The least among us are
Lost until they’re found.
We’re to be the seekers
Who search, listening for the sound.


Listen for the lost sheep’s plea,
And know, in fact, we are they.
We all need to be rescued
From the flighty life we live today.


Jesus really spoke not of
Coins and sheep, but us.
We are the ones who need
To be found. We must!


We must seek and be found
By Christ who loved us first.
Let’s join His rescued sheep
And rejoice as He quenches our thirst.


Christ shows us God’s real joy
With the parable of father and son.
The wayward boy returned home.
He was lost, now found. Victory won!

Welcome Home!
Come join the party.


Tell me about the message at your church or temple or synagogue today.
What was your take-away?



No Expiration Date


Feeling lost? Need to be found? Need help finding your way? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then Sunday’s sermon was for you! As for me, I always need help finding my way through the maze of life’s choices!

The sermon was titled, “How Far Will the Love of God Go?” Based on Luke 15:1-10, preached by Rev. Jean Johnson, with poetic notes taking the usual liberties, I titled the poem, “No Expiration Date.” 

Jesus was not very selective
In the company He chose to keep.
He sought the lost and sinful
The way a shepherd searched for lost sheep.

Like Our God who searches for us,
Jesus looked for the lost day and night.
He didn’t give up when others might;
He kept looking until the lost were in sight.

He went to the ends of the earth.
He even descended into Hell!
He was there with the Good News,
With the story of salvation to tell.

Hell is separation from God –
So Jesus went to an estranged abyss.
Even after His crucifixion,
He lowered Himself to such as this.

He entered solidarity with those
Who had lost their way in darkness.
He brought the light of God to show
The Hope of Salvation in all that starkness.

No matter what you do to try
And remove yourself from God’s reach,
There is no place you can go –
Not even Hell – that God cannot breach.

God will go to limitless lengths
To find you and bring you home.
There is no time limit, no expiration –
The Shepherd seeks until He finds His own.



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