Thank you, Vitu Santos for this wonderful photo. It speaks volumes to me… and it exhibits to me the message of today’s sermon…
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.
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.
God bless you with the JOY of Life Given Away because you WANT to!
Have a Happy Labor Day weekend. See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
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.
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!
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
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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?
Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley was titled, “It’s a Miracle” BUT, he started his message by telling us how upset his congregation was (when he was a young boy) by a sermon debunking the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
Here are the notes I took while hearing the sermon this morning. The scripture inspiring it was Matthew 14: 13-26.
It makes me nervous To remember this text Because my memory goes back Fifty-four years. What’s next?
I was eleven when I heard This story of five-thousand men Being fed with five loaves and Three fish. What happened then?
The disciples passed their meager rations Out to the multitude of folk, And all those who packed a lunch Were inspired to share as Jesus spoke.
The quantity of sharing was such That twelve baskets were left behind. Was it in fact a miracle, or Generosity of an immense kind?
My eleven-year-old congregation Was disturbed by “Miracle Debunked!” It wasn’t Jesus multiplying food, But multiplying compassion. Who woulda thunk?
Jesus’ resource of compassion wa such That, like the Energizer Bunny, He kept Giving and sharing and healing. His love further demonstrated as Jesus wept.
Jesus’ compassion was apparent When He told His disciples to give The five-thousand something to eat – And so doing, He showed us how to live.
Live with the generosity and love Jesus was about. Live what He taught. He said, “You go and feed them.” Share what you have, as you ought.
Jesus could have multiplied the bread And the fishes by Himself – But He knew that mass of folks could Overcome hunger and share their shelf.
Open the door to the shelf of your heart, And give from your meager things. Watch how the Lord gives you a sense of plenty- And share your gifts as Jesus sings:
Thank YOU… and AMEN!
You are the disciple who gives From your shelf to those who need. Thank you for being the miracle Who obeys Christ’s command: Go and Feed!
See ya tomorrow. Have a beautiful Sunday evening. Love, JanBeek
Thank you for all the sweet responses and inspiring messages that helped make my 81st birthday so memorable. I love my WordPress community!
It’s Sunday, so of course, Bob & I went to church this morning. Our worship service was outside. It’s a beautiful day here in Ennis, Montana. Thank you, God, for the sunshine and mild temperatures in the 70s. Everyone wore masks and socially distanced. The sermon topic was based on two New Testament scriptures: Romans 8:26-30 (A Wonderful Future for God’s People) and Matthew 13: 31-33 (The mustard seed and the yeast).
Hope in Difficult Times (as usual I took my notes in poetry as I listened. Here they are:)
Bombarded daily with bad news, It’s hard to keep our spirits up. But reading the Bible is a fresh breath Of positivity and love that fills our cup.
The parables of the mustard seed and The yeast that magically rises the dough Are examples of Jesus’ storytelling. They are hard to easily explain, though.
Trying to explain the parables is like Describing photosynthesis to a four-year-old. You can say all you want to explain them, But we need simplicity in what we’re told!
See the mystery of God’s world. Don’t try to explain it away. Look at the wonders of creation And let the mystery come into play!
It’s okay to read and not understand How God makes the world work. It’s okay to wonder and say “I don’t know,” We can’t see it all – Some’s in the dirt!
Some of the greatest miracles Of Jesus are buried from our minds. We can’t see the way His mysteries Play out – but we see the love that binds!
Look at how the mountains skip, And the trees clap their hands, And know that these exaggerations Are part of the Power where God stands.
Read the Bible not with a microscope, But with a telescope so that you Can see the bigness of His Word. He’s bigger than our understanding – That’s so true!
The music that accompanied our worship service today was so appropriate to this world we currently are trying to navigate. Sing along … the words are here for you on this You.Tube:
Lord, show me the Way, one day at a time! Help me believe in what I could be – and all that I am. Just give me the strength to do every day what You want me to do. So for my sake, teach me to take – One Day at a Time. Show me the Way!
The other song that we had printed on song sheets so we could sing along was “Mansion Over the Hilltop.” I had not heard it before. Have you?
In our call to confession, we read in unison these words from our bulletins:
“Let us trust in the words of the Psalmist who said, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’ as we lay our burdens before our God.”
The biggest burden on my heart today is this big guy pictured on the left in the photo below. My cousin, Cliff, is shown here with three of his rowing buddies from the University of Washington. Cliff is losing his battle with cancer.
I lay my burdened heart before God as I asked for prayers for my cousin, Cliff Hurn. He is in his last days of trying to fight off cancer. He has fought the good fight and he is tired. Hospice has been called in and his family has gathered around. Please pray for his wife, Janine, his family, and all of us who love him so much.
It’s Sunday. It’s a day we set aside to worship God and listen to His Word. As I listened to Rev. Steve Hundley deliver his sermon today, I did my usual. I recorded on my bulletin what my ears took in poetically.
Here are my notes:
People flocked to Jesus. He began to preach from a boat. He had to distance from the crowd So he drifted out a bit to float.
Distanced from the multitudes, Jesus told the Parable of the Seed. The Seed is the Word of God, Spoken to the people in need.
Jesus warned that the Word Often falls on deaf ear. He explained that not all seeds Grow in all who hear.
But those who allow the seed to grow, Spend time to allow the seed to sink in, Let it bury itself in their hearts, Can bear fruit and juice they drink in.
The seed of the Word is like A Smoothie blended into thought and deed. Let the Word transform you And grow to the Faith we all need.
But we may carry a ball & chain of doubt That keeps us from letting go Of the seeds that need to be planted In Good Soil so they can grow,
Don’t hoard the Seeds of plenty That God has blessed in you. Sow them, grow them, harvest And blend them to a Smoothie. Do!
Every seed carries in its bosom the future. Trust God to make the seeds grow. Be the sower who trusts the Maker To find Good Soil wherever you go.
The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Have a Super Sunday, Dear WordPress friends, Bee well Bee safe See ya tomorrow Love, JanBeek
We had a wonderful outdoor church service today. God blessed us with the most perfect weather imaginable!
Rev. Steve Hundley delivered a great sermon titled “”Peter Pride and Dana Defeated.” He assured us the names were not gender specific! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I take sermon notes in poetry as I listen.
I changed the title to “The story of Our Freedom.”
The story of our freedom Is written on the Statue of Liberty. We believe in that freedom, but It can make captives of you and me.
We can be captivated by Our need to be totally free. Our need to be gregarious Causes us to share with you our glee.
We strive (like Peter Pride) to be At the top – – – the Number One. But sometimes Peter Pride’s goals Get in the way of following God’s Son.
We resist the role of Dana Defeated, Who is a critic of her own. She usually feels unworthy And tries so hard she’s tired to the bone.
Jesus says to give Him your burdens. He’ll put His yoke upon you And help you carry your troubles. Let Him take a pound or two.
Peter Pride sees life through self-effort. He keeps religion in its place. He knows Jesus has a point, But you gotta work to stay in the race.
Peter doesn’t believe burdens are light. He sees Dana Defeated as sad. She walks humbly and asks for help, But seldom looks contented or glad.
Peter found the glory of being on top Often is overshadowed by loss. Way up there, it’s sometimes lonely; No one to help carry our cross.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, I’ll give you rest.” He’s talking to Dana and Peter, both. Life should not be a journey to death. Instead, accept Jesus’ helpful yokes.
Jesus will provide the yoke for us. He’ll join with us and help us carry Our burdens of pride or defeat. Let Him lift you – and be merry!
Have a Wonderful Sunday, my friends. See ya tomorrow. Love ya, JanBeek
“When a foreigner (stranger – xenox) resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself…”
Following the reading of that scripture this past Sunday in church, our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, spoke to us about the issue of strangers…. people who are different from us… folks we don’t know yet.
As usual, I took my sermon notes in poetry. This is what I heard him say through my poetic filter:
There’s been a barrage of news This week about how we can’t get along. Our Utopian society idea of equality Is a myth; we can’t seem to join in song.
Xenophobia – the fear of the stranger – Is rampant in our society today. But the Bible tells us clearly To love the stranger in every way.
Provide the stranger with food and care. Treat the stranger with hospitality. Yes, the stranger is different from us, But she or he is more like you and me.
When we fail to notice someone, When we treat them like they’re not, Remember this lesson from Leviticus: Love all people as you’ve been taught.
God can turn the world around One heart, heart-by-heart, at a time. God can take away our fear of strangers. “Different” is not a crime.
We may harbor an innate need to feel Superior to those around us, But Jesus taught, “No, you’re not better Than all the strangers who surround us.”
We all are strangers somewhere. We all are different and have need. But God says, “Love the stranger!” Love or hate? Which do you feed?
Feed the stranger with love! ❤
Mmmm… I had a hamburger for my lunch today. First hamburger I have had in ages. It was so delicious, oozing with cheese and yummy sauce. I would love to have shared it with you!
#hugs4happiness – and I’d love to share a hug with you, too. We’re not strangers! We’re fellow humans, traveling this earth together. And we’re doing the best we can to love one another. God says we gotta step up the pace, though. Show that love more fully.
Our love may be small and superficial compared to The wonderful, magnificent, perfect love of God. But, in our own small, imperfect way, we gotta keep trying. Love the stranger. In the process you know, you may be…
… entertaining angels!
The Bible tells us so!
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;…”
Beware! That stranger just might be God’s angel sent to guard you!
Do you live in trust? Are you feeling terrified? We all have a choice.
Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church, in Ennis, Montana, our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, began his sermon by telling us he had scrapped the sermon he originally planned. “It just didn’t seem to fit,” he explained to the sparsely attended congregation.
With this Coronavirus Pandemic spreading like wildfire around the world, and the first four cases being tested positive in Montana just yesterday, Pastor Steve felt God nudging him to speak to that topic.
So, here are my sermon notes from today’s message:
Terror or Trust?
We must always trust in God In the face of everyday life. We must turn to Him when We’re faced with terrifying strife.
We must trust the Mighty Fortress In the midst of Pandemic Fear. We must trust He is with us. We’re not abandoned; He is here.
Even when we learn that things Will get worse before they’re better, We still must trust the Lord. We must read His Word; believe every letter.
In Psalm 46, the Bible says The Lord All Powerful is right here. Especially in the midst of disasters, He tells us, “Do not fear!”
To really know God and believe In His love and care every single day, Takes a lifetime of faithful living With consistent prayer and walking His Way.
There will be days when we doubt Because God seems so far away. It’s days like that when we gather Together, listening to what God has to say.
We hear His Word and are reminded Of God’s faithful love and care. We believe in God’s good character And see His goodness everywhere.
We must know that God expects us To be His character witnesses today. Witness to the love of Christ, And spread it with what you do and say.
In our state of dread and insecurities, We are invited to live in the HOPE That only God can give to us. Will I become frozen in fear? NOPE!
Not only did Steve’s sermon encourage us to live in Trust (not terror), but his Prayer of Confession (printed in our bulletin) further inspired us to look deep within and examine whether or not we are:
more apathetic than active
more isolated than involved
more callous than compassionate
more obstinate than obedient
more legalistic than loving
Our Prayer of Confession continued, “Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit. Amen“
God Is Our Fortress God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear … “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
God Bless You! Bee safe – Bee well – Bee a Blessing TRUST and KNOW: God is with you.
What is one small act you can do to change Terror to Trust in someone’s heart today?