Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘sermon notes’

Keeping Awake


Here is
Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon
as recorded through the
poetic listening ears
of Jan Beekman
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Based on this scripture:
Mark 13:24-37

Steve Hundley and Jim Forsberg provided the music today, too.

Keeping Awake

Advent season begins today.
It was 2020 years ago
When the star shone bright
And shed its light on the baby below.

We must always be ready
For His return; don’t know when
He will come to take us
Home with Him. ‘Til then…

We can’t expect to be alert
Every second of every day.
God does expect us to rest.
“Keep awake 24-7” He did not say!

But in several scripture passages,
It does warn us, “Keep Awake!”
Be ready for the Master’s return.
We pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” for Heaven’s sake.

We can’t stay on tiptoe forever
Without the muscles starting to ache.
We can’t keep our eyes always open;
Expecting to do so is a mistake.

God’s not telling us to forego
The rest He knows we need.
He’s just telling us to always care
About His return – Show it with each deed.
❤ ❤ ❤
“Bee” ready for His coming!

Don’t say goodbye to Thanksgiving too soon!
Keep that Attitude of Gratitude in your heart every day!
Thanks for visiting
JanBeek

See ya tomorrow.

God is Great! God is Good!


Thank you for checking in with JanBeek today.
If you are one of the newbies here, welcome!!

You may not know that I take sermon notes in poetry most Sundays,
and then I share them here.
I do…
and I enjoy helping you hear
what I heard through my poetic filters.
Comments always appreciated.

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

Sermon by
Reverend Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Notes by Jan Beekman

God is Great, God is Good!

Thanksgiving celebrations
Have a history with friends.
This year with COVID,
Most will find unwelcomed ends.

Reunited old relationships
Were important to reflame.
Old traditions are important.
What’ll we do to reclaim?

What can we do to overcome
This year of so many deaths?
How can we truly be thankful
When so many breathed last breaths?

Remember to give thanks
For life – no matter how short.
Help the family say good-bye,
And trust God. Give no retort!

There is no way we can
Make whining acceptable.
Suck it up and give thanks
For life! … Be respectable.

Praise and give thanks to God
For the daily gifts He gives.
Blessed be the Lord of all.
Blessed be our God. He lives!

Psalm 100 gives praise
No matter the troubles and strife.
Remember the password to God:
“Thank You!” God, thank you for life!

Rev. Steve told a story about a family Thanksgiving a few years ago where his mom ALWAYS asked him to be the one to provide the blessing. But on this particular Thanksgiving, his four-year-old second cousin interrupted and said HE wanted to say the blessing this year. Steve’s mom told him he could, assuming Steve would follow up with the REAL blessing.

The four-year-old cleared his throat and declared, “God is Great – God is Good – Amen!”
Steve’s mom asked, “That’s it?”
And the boy responded emphatically, “Yes! That’s it!”
Then she turned to Steve, expecting him to expound further.
Steve simply said, “Amen!”

Yes, that’s it … that’s all we need to know: “God is Great! God is Good! Amen!”


Steve’s opening prayer this morning: “Father in heaven, we give You thanks for life and for all of the experiences that life brings us.  We give You thanks for joy, hope, peace, and answered prayers, but we also give You thanks for our trials, sorrows, and pain.  We give You thanks for our land, for the beauty of the landscape, for the riches it provides for our living, for the people and cultures among us.  Above all things, we give You thanks for our hope in Christ, for the life and freedom that will ultimately be ours.  Teach us to cherish all Your gifts.  Teach us also to use all these resources for the good of society and for glory to You.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

*AN AFFIRMATION OF THANKSGIVING

I believe in the God of fruit time and harvest, who makes the land to bear gifts in its time and fills our tables with the bounty of His hand.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was the first fruit of those who slept, and brings us to spiritual tables where our cups overflows.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, who causes us to remember all things for which we are grateful and teaches us to see a relationship between our gifts and the Giver.

I believe in the world as the arena of my spiritual life, where I am to share my table with the poor and my hospitality with the stranger; for in so doing, I shall fulfill the desires of my great and good God who has given me everything, and of His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for joining me for our Sunday service.
If you find yourself in Ennis, Montana on a Sunday morning,
do come and join us at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.
308 W Hugel St, Ennis, MT 59729
(406) 682-4355


May the Lord Bless and Keep You safe
now and always.

See ya tomorrow.

Where Will You Spend Eternity?


Today’s sermon message by our guest pastor, Rev. Phil Taylen at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana, focused on the theological basis for our assurance of Eternity in Heaven.

It was timely, especially given the fact that this is the week my only sibling, my sister Sally, went to her eternal home.

If you die today, do you know where you’re going from here?

Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

Is it Hell or a Black Hole?

My guess is that the choice is pretty clear. I was looking for a picture of a black hole… because some people believe this is it! We’re here and then we’re nowhere. A black hole… that’s where they think they’re going. They don’t believe there is a place called Hell where they will burn in the fires of an afterlife separated from God.

Or is it Heaven?

Rev. Phil Taylen’s sermon was titled, “Soaring with Eagles.” He began with that question, “Where Will You Spend Eternity?” His answer was part of a movement he called “The Evangelism Explosion.” Even though he grew up in the Presbyterian Church, he was ordained by an Evangelical Ministry – and his sermon lecture today definitely got down to the basics!

The Bible

B asic
I nstructions
B efore
L eaving
E arth

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Heaven by Grace

G od’s
R iches
A t
C hrist’s
E xpense

Grace is God’s Unmerited Favor poured out on us.
Grace can’t be earned or deserved.
Heaven is a free gift.

He cited Ephesians 2: 8-9 as further proof of the point he was teaching and preaching:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works,
lest any man should boast.”

Not By Man

Good works are important, but they will not save us.

I am a sinner.
I can’t save myself.

He cited John 8:24 to prove his message that man cannot save himself:

“Unless you believe that
I am who I claim to be,
you will die in your sins.”

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Only God

God gave us basic instructions to live by before leaving earth.

God is Love.
God is just and righteous.

In the Bible, our instruction book, God told us:

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God. …

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Heaven Through Christ

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Jesus Christ is God.

Faith is Belief

Faith is the Connector.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I don’t see the whole staircase. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son, but I do not believe God will send all the Jews or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists to Hell because they do not share my belief in Jesus as a part of the Trinity.

I believe God is bigger than religion. I believe God is omnipotent. I believe God knows all people – and He sees them through His eyes, not mine. That may make me a non-believer in some evangelical eyes. But I believe God is more inclusive than we can fathom.

I find enormous comfort in my faith – my belief in our Lord Jesus Christ – and I want to share that comfort and love with all I meet. I believe 2 Cor. 1:3-5 as quoted below:

Do you believe in Christ?

Thanks for visiting today.
Have a Blessed Sunday.
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

What a Friend!


Today I received in my “Messages” a picture of a dear friend who is fighting cancer. She is in a hospital bed at home. Her family is gathered around and her BFF (best friend forever) is on her way to be at her bedside. My heart goes out to the BFF and to my friend’s husband and children. Seeing a friend preparing to leave this earth is soooo hard!

But, my dear friend is a devoted Christian, and she knows where she is headed. She does not fear death, because she has a friend in Jesus – and she believes in God and His promises. It’s comforting to know where you will spend eternity. It’s just hard on those left behind.

Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church was the perfect topic for this day when my heart is aching because my dear friend and her family are suffering.

Today we had a guest minister, Phil Taylen. Here are my

Sermon Notes on: “Friendship Sharing”

Friendship is a special thing.
In it we all are connected.
In the New Testament, we see how
In God’s friendship, we all are protected.

The best part of friendship is
Sharing with each other the Good News,
Asking one another and telling them
Of how Jesus opens new views.

God cares about our friendship.
He opens His arms to you.
Through Christ, He came to show us
How to love as He loves: True.

As believers, we need YES faces;
Our countenance should show Trust.
God’s light should shine through us.
Radiate His love; We MUST!

To communicate God’s love
We must be trustworthy and fair.
We must share our eternal vision,
And tell our friends we’ll all be there!*

(*there is our eternal home
with Christ and one another)

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Share the simplicity of scripture,
Be sure the promise of God is heard.
He gave His only begotten Son
To save our souls. Believe His Word!

What a Friend We Have in Jesus!

Lean on Him and His promises.
Know that when your Christian friends
Leave this earth, they are going
To heaven … where eternal life never ends.

See you “there,” my friends!

See ya tomorrow.

Pray for my friend, Gloria, will you?
And I pray for you…
that you have faith in His promises, too.
Love ya,
JanBeek

Why Forgive?


It’s easy for someone to tell you to forgive
Easy for them to say
But they weren’t the one who was wronged
Advice is cheap today

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels.com

It’s easy for someone to tell you to forgive
Blood’s not on their hands
The ones who performed murderous acts
There: Forgiveness demands

In today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana, our pastor, Steve Hundley, preached on the scripture found in Matthew 21:33-46. He acknowledged that it is a hard lesson to make sense of. The vineyard owner sent workers to harvest the grapes, and the tenants of the vineyard killed the workers.

The owner sent more workers and the tenants killed them, too.

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

So the vineyard owner sent his son. Surely the tenants would respect the owner’s son! But, no… they killed him, too!

What are we to make of this story?

Photo by Ian Panelo on Pexels.com

In the midst of such horrendous acts, the bottom line is love. Love the murderers? Love the tenants who killed the people who came to harvest? Love the tenants who killed the owner’s son?

Realize that this parable is about God, the owner of all we have. It’s about the fact that we live in a world under the shadow of the “American Dream; Ownership.”

Maybe the message is “Nobody likes an absent landlord!” The tenants are the ones who worked hard to maintain that vineyard. Then, at harvest time, the owner expects to send others to reap the benefit of their hard work? No, the tenants hated the idea of others coming to reap the harvest!

When the son was sent… the parable is asking us to see that this was the Son, Jesus. He, too was killed. Killed by those who feared this Messiah was going to take what they thought they owned… the kingship, the ownership of the land and its people.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God did not create us to take ownership of God’s resources. We are the stewards, the caretakers. God’s vineyard is not for sale. We were not even given a lease with an option to buy!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The parable doesn’t tell us what the owner did to the tenants. It doesn’t say He finally left his mansion and went down and got even with the tenants somehow… what might the retribution look like?

It doesn’t tell us He forgave them for their murderous acts. We are left to finish the story ourselves. How would you finish it?

What is your idea of ownership? What is your understanding of our Owner’s Love? Pastor Steve reminded us that Our Owner longs for a connection with us. “God desires a relationship with us… He asks that we take care of this earth – His gifts to us – and one another… and that we give a portion back.” He asks that we love one another. He asks us to forgive one another – and to love our enemies. Wow! That’s a tall order!!

Pastor Steve concluded his sermon today by reminding us:
“Our gifts are not our own.
They are God’s,
and we are given them
to use for God’s Kingdom.
We are the caretakers.
God’s love
always trumps
God’s justice.

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

I love you, dear WordPress friends.
Thank you for visiting today.
I hope you’ve had a Love-filled Sunday.
Hugs,
JanBeek

Are You Trustworthy?


Today’s sermon was based on the story of two sons, asked to help their dad. One said yes and didn’t do it, the other said no, but did it anyway. Do you know that story? Imagine those were your sons.

Which of the two sons would you consider trustworthy? How would you react to their replies and subsequent behavior?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT spoke on that topic today, inspired by the story in Matthew 21: 28-31.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

As usual, I listened to the sermon and took my notes in poetry. He started out by telling us about his grandmother’s advice to him when he announced (after graduating from college) that he had decided to go to seminary:

“When you stand up to preach,
Don’t scold those who don’t come.
They aren’t there to hear it,”
My grandmother advised (she wasn’t dumb!).

“When you preach – remember
To stomp on your own feet first.
When you do that,” my grandma said,
“You’ll serve living water to those who thirst.”

In today’s scripture, we heard
Of two sons and their replies.
One said yes and didn’t do it.
The other, “No!” but did it. Which one cries?

The one who failed to follow through
Was the one who’ll live with regret.
Unlike him, we need to be obedient.
Don’t say yes – and then forget!

Paul Tillick said, “In every human heart
Is a faint recollection of our Maker.”
If that’s true, we can see God
Even in the disobedient faker.

The second son may have said “Yes, but…”
In his response of a silent “No,”
Other things may have taken precedence,
But he didn’t want his “No” to show.

How many times do we say yes
And then fail to follow through?
Better to say No and then do it.
I want to be trustworthy; how about you?

What jobs are you being asked to do?
Are they tasks you look forward to?
Or are you dragging your feet?

Photo by Rodolfo Quiru00f3s on Pexels.com
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Schedule it for tomorrow
After a relaxing Sunday afternoon/evening.
And then…
Just Do It!

Hugs,
JanBeek

Bye for now!
As your trustworthy blogger,
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Is God’s Grace Exasperating?


Today’s sermon at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
was titled, “The Amazing and Exasperating Grace of God.”
I’ve certainly heard God’s grace described as
AMAZING before. That’s typical.
But, exasperating?
When?
How?

Do you know the story of the “Workers in the Vineyard”? It’s found in Matthew 20: 1-16.
Essentially it tells of a landowner who needed extra workers in his vineyard. He agreed to pay the ones who started picking grapes that morning a silver coin for their day’s labor.

Later, with just an hour left in the work day, he realized the workers needed help to finish the job before sundown, so he hired a bunch more workers to help finish the job. This last bunch were the “left-overs” who had not been hired earlier. We can only imagine why they may have been left behind.

At the end of the day, the ones who came last (and had only worked an hour) were paid first. Each received a silver coin.

The ones who had worked all day saw that – and figured they would get more. They probably expected ten times more, since they had worked a ten hour day. When all they received was the same pay as the ones who worked only the last hour, they complained bitterly.

On that story, Rev. Steve Hundley based his sermon, and I took notes (as I do each Sunday) in poetry as I listened. Here they are:

The Amazing and Exasperating Grace of God

Reading the Word of God daily
Helps you discover joy in life;
But some difficult passages
Cause misunderstanding and strife.

Like the story of the workers
Who were paid equal wages
Whether they worked one hour
Or ten… Imagine the rages!

It’s hard to understand
How such treatment is fair.
Jesus explained the boss could
Pay the wages anyway he cared.

Likewise, those who come lately
To the Kingdom of God on earth
Will receive the same blessings as
Those who served the Lord since birth.

Does this seem a fair idea?
Are deathbed conversions real?
Maybe some of them are fake,
But it’s not up to me or how I feel.

This parable isn’t about the workers.
It’s about the generous vineyard boss
Who is a symbol of our Gracious God.
He focuses on the workers, not the cost.

Our God calls out the left-overs
And tells them, “I have room for you.”
God’s amazing grace and love are real,
And they’re available to all – not just a few.

Load me up, Lord.
Haul me to your vineyard.
I’m ready to work!
Amen.


Have you ever found God’s Amazing Grace to be Exasperating?

Or is there a Bible story that you find difficult to understand?
Tell me about it.

Have a Super Sunday.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

Is Your Cross Too Heavy?


Photo by Vitu00f3ria Santos on Pexels.com

Thank you, Vitu Santos for this wonderful photo.
It speaks volumes to me…
and it exhibits to me
the message of today’s sermon…

Today’s sermon notes

At the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT today,
Rev. Steve Hundley delivered his sermon titled, “Is Your Cross Too Heavy?”
The Lord prompted me to take my sermon notes in the shape of a cross.
The photo of the cross sermon above is the result of that effort.

Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 on Pexels.com

To illustrate his point – that we need to give Jesus our burdens,
lighten our load, and live in joy, Rev. Steve used this story:

“It’s hard for an egg to become a bird,
but it would be harder for a bird
to fly while still in the egg.”

Let go the egg…
and FLY!
Give Jesus your burdens
and follow Him
with JOY,
not because you HAVE to,
but because you
WANT to.

Photo by Joshua Abner on Pexels.com

God bless you
with the JOY
of
Life Given Away
because you WANT to!

Thank you, Ty, for this beautiful image.

Have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

The Moment of Truth


Today’s sermon preached by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was titled
“The Moment of Truth.”
It was based on the scripture passages:
Matthew 16:13-20

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

The Moment of Truth

What are you afraid of?
Is it something quiet and small?
Is your fear founded and grounded?
Do you understand it at all?

The greatest fear most folks say
Is speaking in public – sweating starts!
The stakes seem highest when asked
To speak from the depths of our hearts.

Stating facts – what somebody else has said –
Is not as hard as speaking your own
Thoughts and feelings out loud
(Unless it’s on social media or the phone).

There was a time when Jesus asked Peter,
“Who do YOU say that I am? Be true!”
Simon Peter readily proclaimed to Him,
“You are the Messiah, Son of the Living God, that’s You!”

Peter had no fear of speaking his heart.
His faith he readily proclaimed.
In a harsh world, draw your breath in pain.
Tell what you believe. God’s asking YOU. You’re named!

There’s a feeling some people have
That God is in the sunset and the trees.
They say they don’t need church –
And they don’t need to worship on their knees.

But Jesus told us it’s not enough
To see God in the river and the dawn.
We need to see God in Jesus Christ.
He’s the One we rest our salvation on.

How can we know who God is
In Christ, the Messiah and teach
Our children about the Savior
If we’ve never had His Word within reach?

We need to talk to Jesus in prayer.
We need to imitate Him, too.
We need to take hold of God’s love
Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit in you.

How can we see the world today,
Watch the brutality of teens with guns
And still believe in God and His goodness?
It’s faith. It’s knowing what God has done.

What are you afraid of?
Is it speaking in public from the heart?
Is it expressing your faith?
This is the Moment of Truth – time to start!

I believe in Christ – Son of the Living God.
I believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
Step out and boldly speak from your soul.
God will reward your brave behavior.

“On you, this rock I will build my church,
And the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.”
Speak up with firm conviction…
You’ll be so relieved once you’ve done it!

Amen?
Amen!

Photo by Pressmaster on Pexels.com

For special music today, we had Jaime Roberts on keyboard, Jim Forsberg singing and playing the saw, and George Ennis (with his amazing bass voice) singing. It started with Jaime’s lovely solo. I woke up to thinking I should record this for you when Jim started playing. Have you ever heard a musical saw? Tune in! God bless our musicians! As you can see, we are worshiping outside these days. We had about 40 people in attendance (behind me).

Hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday.
Mine was.
See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting,
Love ya,
JanBeek

The Resilience of Children


When families break down,
Children are so resilient.
But, sometimes they need help!

Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana, we had two guest speakers.
They were from Intermountain, a program/place for children in need.

.

As you know, if you have been with me a week or more,
I take sermon notes in poetry every Sunday
as I listen to the message.
Here are the notes I took
as I listened to Tyler, Zimmer,
one of the Intermountain representatives
who spoke to our congregation today.

Prior to the message scripture
I was happy to be the scripture reader
sharing these two passage:

Deuteronomy 6:5-7
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments I give to you today
are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home,
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down
and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands,
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses
and on your gates.”

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus
to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them,
“Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the Kingdom of God
belongs to such as these.
I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive
the Kingdom of God like a little child
will never enter it.”
And He took the children in His arms,
put hands on them,
and blessed them.

Photo by June on Pexels.com

“The Resilience of Children”

We need to commend children’s good,
And scold them when they are bad.
When children come to Intermountain,
They are victims of the life they’ve had.

Abused children are engineers of their demise
When they act out of their hurt and pain.
The Bible explains in Deuteronomy
The impression of love for children’s gain.

A girl from Haiti came to Intermountain
Who had been abused horribly as a child.
She was a master of her demise
As she rejected compliments and acted wild.

One little guy came as a selective mute.
He was a master at keeping quiet.
But when he beat me 4x in Battle Mountain,
He told me how bad I am! What a riot!!

These children who’ve been so abused
Are not throw-away kids. They are LOVE.
They can, with help, overcome challenges.
Let’s all pray for them for help from God above.

Amen!

It is not only God who helps them as we pray for their souls and their ability to trust and to bond, but it is the staff of Intermountain, and the people who donate to keep the program alive and effective. Intermountain provides housing, education, clinical counseling, recreation, love and support for the children. AND, it provides folllow-up when the children return to family settings. Intermountain continues their counseling and support in the school setting as well.

To learn more about Intermountain,
go to their website
at https://www.intermountain.org/contact-us/

Hope you had a love-filled Sunday.
See ya tomorrow.
Love ya,
JanBeek

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