Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘sermons’

God’s Miracle: Church


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.

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

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.”

Photo by Nitin Arya on Pexels.com

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.

See ya tomorrow.

What is Heaven Like?


Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

If you’ve followed my blog for a week or more,
You know that I attend the Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana each Sunday, and I take sermon notes.
I take them in poetry – that’s just the way my brain
filters the message as I hear it.
It helps me listen, and remember,
and share with Bob when we get home.

Today’s sermon by our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, was
titled, “What is Heaven Like?”
Here’s my take-away on it:

If Heaven is as it should be,
Then I’m gonna sit on the bank
Of a beautiful river with my rod
And thank God for every yank.

But I know Heaven is beyond
My wildest imagination.
I know it’ll be flowing with life,
With no death, tears or stagnation.

I’m gonna ask God for help to
Understand what Heaven is like;
And since I have a Harley here,
I’m gonna ask if I’ll have my bike.

I’m gonna ask God for help to
Understand how I’ll recognize
The loved ones who went before me.
Will I know ’em when I look in their eyes?

Our Bible assures us that we
Will experience joy beyond bounds,
So I’m sure I’ll know the angels
Who’ll welcome me with glorious sounds.

I know I’ll be healed and whole
In Eternity with those I love.
So, Heaven will be as it should be
When I join my Lord in Heaven above.

When I get to Heaven, I’m gonna
Run and leap like a frisky deer.
So, when I leave this earth, friends,
Don’t weep, don’t cry; Take joy and cheer!

Bikers will find their Harley, and …
I’ll meet my Bostons there!
And Jesus will meet me at the Pearly Gates!

It’ll be Thanksgiving
with all our loved ones gathered ’round,
and it’ll feel like a Homecoming!

What do you think?
Will you be flying solo?

Hah!
See ya tomorrow.

Be Ready!


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT
was based on the story of Zacchaeus.
Do you know the story?

If not (or even if you do),
here it is in a nutshell:
https://youtu.be/Fe7dTNID6h8

(When you click on that link
and hear the story creatively told
in delightful, child-like cartoon format,
be sure to click the back arrow and return here!)

Find Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10

Pretend you are short (I don’t have to pretend).
Pretend your name is Zacchaeus and you are hated.
You are hated because you are a lying, cheating tax collector.
You are lonely.

Then you learn that Jesus is coming to your town.
You’ve heard about Him – and you want to see Him.
But, to do so, to see above the crowd, you have to climb a tree.
Pretend you are up in that tree … looking down at Jesus.

Get in the mood for today’s message!

Be Ready!

There is a growing epidemic
Of loneliness in society today.
Surprisingly, the loneliest are young adults.
Next are empty-nesters, they say.

A third group are the elderly
Who are often seen sitting alone.
Checking an empty mailbox,
They nurse their ailments and groan.

People out there in our world are lonely.
Often it’s for a reason they can’t control.
Other times, it seems to be choices they make –
Like Zacchaeus, who chose his greedy, tax-collecting role.

Loneliness affects all kinds of folks, good and bad.
We cannot overcome loneliness by ourselves.
It takes the love and compassion of someone else
Who notices our empty emotional shelves.

If you are struggling with loneliness,
And you have come to church to heal it,
Look around and know the love of Christ
Is in the hearts of those around you. Can you feel it?

Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus.
This lonely, short, little man wanted a view
Of the man he had heard so much about.
Would you climb a tree to see Christ? In faith, will you?

Be ready – if you are lonely and you look
For God and love by goin’ somewhere strange.
Be ready – because God will find you there.
He’ll find you where you are; and you will change!

Be ready!

I’m lookin’ up to find you!
Reach out to the lonely.
Reach out in prayer, in hugs,
in compassion.

Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Look up!!
See ya tomorrow.

Are You a Natural?


Are You a Natural?

A Natural WHAT?
You want to be NATURAL…
But, NATURAL WHAT?

In today’s sermon, Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church used this as his sermon topic: “The Natural.”

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know I have a habit of taking notes in poetry while listening to the sermon. It helps me listen better, and recall the message later on. I like to share my notes with you. Here are today’s:

The advertisement asked for
A new pastor for a tired church,
Worn down and worn out.
They were left in the lurch.

The Hebrew Church felt
The way this ad describes.
Weak knees and weak hands was
How they were depicted by scribes.

Jesus, the High Priest, is superior,
The scribes reminded them.
Pay attention to what He said and did.
They were given a long list from Him.

Be kind to strangers, remembering
You may be entertaining angels.
Be kind to one another, because
You, too, will someday be strangers.

Be kind and compassionate
Until that behavior is natural.
When people call you Christ-like,
Be sure that remark is factual.

Remember those who are suffering
As if you’re suffering, too.
Pay attention to those around –
They surely need love from you,

Behavior becomes a habit
If you practice it enough.
So, practice loving behavior
Until sharing it ain’t so tough!

Become a NATURAL Christian,
One who loves without a second thought.
Help us, Lord, to use our lessons daily –
Being as Christ-like as we’ve been taught.

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

If I have the courage to “be myself” while realizing “I am a wonderful person,” then I need to be analytical. WHAT is it that I have been TAUGHT? And are all those lessons the ones I need in order to be a “Natural” at being a “Christian”? What does being a “Natural Christian” mean?

I need to ask myself, “Have you practiced loving behavior enough to be a natural at it? What’s your first response in the face of strangers?”

What do you think, friends, what are you a Natural at?

See ya later

Using Our Gifts?


Are we Using our Gifts?

Today’s sermon notes from the message delivered at
The Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
by Rev. Steve Hundley
inspired by the message Paul wrote to
the church in Corinth: 1Cor.1:1-9

It’s really not OK to live in your own little world, keep your gifts to yourself, and fail to step out with courage and faith to share the spiritual gifts God has given you. Today’s message focused on the problem we have when we hoard our gifts, keep the to ourselves, fail to use our talents to glorify God and benefit others. Steve Hundley called his sermon “The Gifted Church.”

I listened and noted the message through my own filters writing:

Paul wrote four letters
To the Corinth people.
The church there had problems;
They struggled ‘neath their steeple.
But it wasn’t a typical
Place with steeple on a peak.
Instead, they met in a house
Large enough to fit those who who seek
To worship God through Christ.
It was an urban setting.
The church was being attacked
By the townfolk who were vetting
Their frustration at Christians.
There was a gap between rich and poor.
It was a hindrance to worship
When the poor were scorned by those with more.

Corinth was a diverse city.
The church was diverse as well;
But their real problem was their gifts
With which they were gifted. (Do tell!)
We are weakest at the point
Of our greatest gift, when it
Is a crutch, not shared, not used
To glorify God, help others, and send it
Out to make the world better.

But when we use our gifts
To be part of something bigger –
And we thank God who lifts
Us up, then our gifts are used
To make our talents worthwhile.
Like the people of Corinth,
We must not let our gifts go into a pile
Where they are lost and wasted.

Talents not shared are wasted gifts.
There are talents everywhere,
But until we use them for others,
who will know? Who will care?
This is a church full of talented people
Whose gifts are very apparent.
You use them here and in the community.
You spread your joy; your love is transparent.

If Paul were alive today,
He would write a letter to praise you.
Keep on sharing, caring, using your gifts –
And let His loving spirit raise you
To His blessings.

Amen

What talent are you willing to share this week? Make your gifts count!

.

See ya tomorrow

How Can I Keep From Singing?


 

Sermon Notes from the message
inspired by Colossians 3:12-17
“How Can I Keep from Singing?”
Delivered by Rev. Steve Hundley
today in McAllister, Montana
at our
Little White Church in the Meadow

McAllister Church

Why did God create this world?
We’ve given Him nothing but trouble.
It was enough that He created Adam,
Then the trouble seemed to double!

But Adam alone could not sing
In God’s perfect harmony.
He needed Eve and crickets, too.
Needed birds and waterfalls, and me!

Nature is awash with lovely sound –
Whipporwill and tree frogs sing.
I hear coyotes howling in the dark.
God made lovely sounds in everything.

God must have needed all those notes
From all Creation as they raise
Their voices in glory to Him.
He created us all to give Him praise.

If we don’t sing, we’re as good as dead!
Throughout history songs are recorded.
“Hallelujah” sang the angels on high.
We can read the songs the Psalms reported.

However, when we destroy the habitat
Of animals who sing and swing in trees,
Or the homes of God’s loving people,
We silence songs such as these.

grayscale photo of people raising hands

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

How can we keep from singing?
How can we assure the continued song?
We must keep God’s creation alive
And praise our Lord as we sing along.

 

Join the birds, crickets, Joey and Rory
In beautiful songs of praise and love.
Join hands and hearts and keep alive
The melodies from God above.

Amen!

Our service in that little white church
was filled today with music and merriment.
Sing along with us as we have a great time
with “Daddy Sang Bass” (… Mama Sang Tenor).
Betcha can’t keep from singing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA9jf-bm2As

Have a blessed rest of your Sunday…

woman playing ukulele

Keep on singin’ –
-ya hear?

See ya tomorrow.

Disaster Assistance


Photo by Marcos Rios on Pexels.com

The young man who introduced the “PresbyCats” to us today was wearing a t-shirt that had “Presbyterian Church Disaster Assistance” written on it. He and two of his colleagues presented a three part sermon about their experiences recently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Here are my sermon notes – my “take away” of the messages they shared:

“We went to Baton Rouge
To help the people there.
They had experienced a flood
With little help anywhere.

We repaired some of the damage,
And we did it in Jesus’ name.
Jesus demonstrated love with action
And asked us to do the same.

Preparing for natural disasters
Is a job that needs our love.
Rebuilding the damaged houses
Requires love from God above.

Looking out at this world
It’s often disheartening to see
The lack of true compassion
(I don’t want that to be true of me).

Sometimes I cringe at fluff,
The touchy-feely kind of stuff,
But I know it’s not enough
To just DO – with a heart that’s tough.

Doing for others in God’s name
Requires a softened heart of caring.
Action mixed with love requires
A spirit of love and true sharing.”

My granddaughter, Faith, works for the state of Nevada. Her job involves the assessment of disaster preparedness in various places around Nevada. She would have enjoyed meeting these “PresbyCats” who are students at Montana State University in Bozeman. They would have had lots in common. Here’s a picture of Faith as a baby, just a month or so after she was adopted into our Beekman family. What a gift from Heaven she is!!

Faith worked for the American Red Cross, among other organizations, in apprenticeships before getting her diploma and a full-time job. There is a great need for people like her and these students I met today… young people with a heart for others – ready and willing to reach out and help in time of need.

Reach out with others to help!

Do you have such experience? Or do you know someone who also serves in this way? If so, reach out to thank them today. The world is a better place because young people like this are in it. God bless them!

See you later!

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