Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Christ’

A Honey of a Sermon


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Proverbs 16:24
“Gracious speech is like clover honey –
Good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.”

Many of you know about my habit
of taking notes during the sermon each Sunday.
I hear better if I record on paper
what I process through the ears
to the brain through the fingertips.
Often the preacher wouldn’t recognize
the message as I interpret it.
But that’s okay – when my mind wanders
It’s generally related to something
she just uttered – and eventually
I get back to the voice in front of me.
Your mind doesn’t ever wander during
speeches or sermons, does it?
Here’s what I heard/processed
from Rev. Jean Johnson’s sermon today.
By the way, the scripture was not
the Proverb listed above!
The scripture that inspired the sermon
was actually John 12:20-30.
But, nevertheless, what I heard was:

A Honey of a Sermon

From the cardiac care room
Patients looked out to see a cross
Lighted and perched atop the church
On the street across.

The patients were looking
For new life – a new heart.
Waiting for a new spirit after
Their chest was torn apart.

What would you do
With a heart and spirit anew?
Would you take advantage
Of the fresh start given to you?

As we live our lives aware
Of the sin that we repeat,
Do we work to try and get
A clean heart with loving beat?

Working to receive a clean spirit
Is not the way to receive it.
All we need to do is accept
The forgiveness Jesus gave; just believe it!

Jesus gave each of us a chance
To have a clean start each day.
His death on the cross gave us
A chance to walk straight in His Way.

The crucial function of His relationship
To give us new life and a new heart
Was demonstrated by His resurrection.
Relate to Him in acceptance today for your fresh start!

Amen?
Amen!

Jan Beekman
3/18/18

Taste


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TASTE

It’s a matter of observant living
To determine your preferred taste.
Experience, family, childhood
All form the world we’ve faced.

Some choose spices like ginger.
Some put honey in their tea.
Some wear clothes of pinks and blues.
Reds and greens are right for me.

Is religion a matter of taste?
Do we make God what we like?
Do we choose our Scriptures
As we’d select a trail to hike?

Do we choose to interpret
What we think the words should mean?
Is ours a God of condemnation,
Or does He wipe our sin slates clean?

Is your God one who loves us all
Or does He only favor those
Who are righteous through and through –
From their heads down to their toes?

The “Chosen People” are the ones
Who are called to show what it is
To be totally, wholly, unconditionally
Loved by God, to be forever His.

We are called to love as freely
As God loved us as sinners.
He didn’t reserve His affection
For only the faultless winners.

If that had been the message,
We’d all be lost for sure
Since none of us is spotless, perfect.
None of us is sinless, pure.

God sent His Son, Jesus,
To help us get a taste of living His Way.
Love extravagantly as Christ did.
Determine to taste and spread His love today.

Amen?

Outsiders


Jesus on the Cross

Jesus – simple, yet complex

Outsiders

A prophet is known
by the company he keeps.
If Jesus were a true prophet,
the right people would be His sheep.

But baaaaad people hung out
with Jesus – sinners of the worst sort.
Jesus scandalously kept company
with tax collectors, folks report.

His circle included prostitutes.
He dined with people of ill repute.
How did He respond to complainers?
Did He have a good word of refute?

No, He told the story of the lost –
Lost coins, lost sheep, lost kids.
Find the coin, search for lambs,
Be relentless finding others, Jesus bids.

But, though we’re concerned,
We have our limits, right?
Do we seek unending until we find?
No, it’s not about us and our plight.

It’s about God who searches.
It’s about our Lord who actively calls.
He needs us all …  you and me.
Invite the outsiders. Break down walls.

Amen?

Where is God?


Tragedy is a common denominator;
We all face it from time to time.
It saddens and isolates us.
It covers our hearts with grime.

The suffering we all endure
Is not foreign to our friends.
It is not foreign to our Lord.
God is in the darkness around each painful bend.

God sent His Son to the cross for us.
There is not a place He will not go.
He walks beside us in our desolation.
His presence is a comfort; don’t you know?

But God is not the cause of our sorrow.
Death – an early earthly departure –
is not the will of God; His heart breaks, too.
He gives us free will. Misuse of it breaks His heart – sure!

When we are in pain, we cry out to God
The way Jesus cried out from the cross.
“Why hast Thou forsaken me? Where are you?”
He answers, “I am here! I cry with you for your loss.”

Christ on Cross Illustration

Increase Our Faith


Increase Our Faith

Sermon Notes
–  from a message by Rev. Jean M Johnson based on Luke 17:5-10

If the disciples of Christ felt clueless,
How can I know anything for sure?
If they lived with the King of Peace,
Why weren’t their thoughts clear and pure?

They lived and rubbed elbows with
Our Lord, the Christ, Savior on earth.
They were with Him, hearing His parables,
Watching His miracles; some knew Him from birth.

Yet, they asked Christ to increase their faith.
Maybe it wasn’t a request to increase their hearts.
Maybe they were asking Him to increase their hands –
Give them the will to work and do their parts.

Because they had faith, the disciples needed
The humility for doing the mundane, daily grind.
Obeying and following Jesus means quietly doing
The duties of loving and serving with no thanks in mind.

Don’t ask for a great faith to do great things.
Be content with faith the size of a mustard seed
To do the work of serving God humbly,
Listening for the Holy Spirit to reveal every need.

Amen?

Hmmm… My prayer for today is one of gratitude for my God and for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for my faith. Yes, it is small as a mustard seed! But, is it sufficient to do God’s Will today? Oh Lord, increase my humility. Increase my ability to hear and see the needs around me. Increase the capacity of my hands and feet to be the hands and feet God uses for His small tasks here on earth. You have given me ears to hear, dear God, and eyes to see the needs around me. Increase my willingness to respond to Your nudges and help me do so with no expectation of recognition. Thank You for the fruits of the spirit alive and well in me: love, joy, and peace. I know faithfulness is a gift from You, also. Help me share those fruits and radiate the gifts freely today.

In Jesus Name –
Amen!

Help for Troubled Children


Sermon Notes
Guest Speaker – Michael Kalous

“Intermountain Thoughts”

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He lived in one hundred one places –
Cars, tents, parking lots, too,
Foster homes and back roads.
A hard life for years – quite a few.

The boy had a loving mother,
But his dad was a troubled guy.
God sent the boy Christ-like people
Who helped dry the tears he’d cry.

Then God sent him to InterMountain
Where his dorm parents were saints.
They gave him unconditional love –
Listened compassionately to his complaints.

With people behind him like his Grandma Grace,
And people with him who showed Christ’s love,
He found our Lord and Savior
And got to know our God above.

With God’s help and these beautiful people,
The damage of his young life faded.
God is able to use him now
And bless others whose bodies and souls were invaded.

With the common bond of a wounded soul,
He can tell his story and feel others’ pain.
He can reach out to a hurting world.
His road of suffering leads to God’s gain.

About seven years ago, when I first learned about Intermountain in Helena, Montana, I was a new member of Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT. A boy named Chip came to speak to us that summer about how he and his four siblings had been saved by an adoptive parent and a program at Intermountain that provided Christian counseling to struggling children and families. Kids like Michael who were physically, mentally, and/or sexually abused and young boys like Chip who were abandoned and/or neglected found the loving, professional help they needed. In addition to a school for pre-school through 8th grade children, there are four cottages on the site. Each one is “home” for up to eight children – and a set of highly trained, loving “dorm parents” live with them. The professional staff at Intermountain also goes into homes and public schools to provide support for parents and teachers. Most of the children aided by Intermountain have what is known as “attachment disorder” because of the way the adults who should have loved and protected them the most let them down in one miserable way or another. It is hard for them to trust any adult.

So, when people like Michael “make it good,” survive in spite of the odds, and go on to finish high school and college, become counselors, and return to the facility to “give back,” they have a greater opportunity for success. They create a “common bond with a wounded soul.” Their background makes them believable. It serves as a springboard to convince the troubled, mistrusting youngster that someone else CAN understand their plight. God uses their sad history to save another soul from a lifetime of continued abuse, neglect or abandonment. The cycle can be broken.

My gratitude goes out to Michael and to all the counselors at Intermountain and at children’s shelters across the world. May your rocky path serve as a lighthouse – a beacon to help others find their way toward a healthy and secure future. With God’s help, you can help heal the wounds and allow God’s children to love and trust again.

With gratitude for what you do and an understanding of the financial needs to carry on your programs, my husband and I donate a small amount monthly to Intermountain. I invite my readers to consider doing likewise. If each of us helped a little, it would add up to a lot – and more needs could be met. God bless you! And God bless the givers who help to make your work possible.

To learn more about Intermountain, log on to: http://www.intermountain.org/   Help meet the needs of a troubled child who is learning to trust again!

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What is Faith?


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When you enter the foyer of my home, you see a circle staircase that will take you up to my sanctuary. To the right of it is the word art my son and daughter-in-law gave to me for Mother’s Day. It says, “The Greatest of These is Love.” Bob and I appreciate so much the fact that our children see in us the LOVE which is a gift from God, who first loved us. That love is born of FAITH – another Gift from God.

A recent sermon at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana was a follow-up to the previous Sunday’s Trinity message. Rev. Jean Johnson explained that understanding the concept of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was a matter of Faith… only obtained from God. Not something we could work to obtain by ourselves.

Like LOVE, we receive faith from our Heavenly Father, and as Christians we learn how to LIVE it by studying the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. When we need a “refill,” we go to the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher and Guide here on earth. Today’s sermon contrasted FAITH based on such a gift with faith borne out of reasoning and pragmatic expectations. Here is what the sermon said to me. I took these “notes” while listening intently:

WHAT is FAITH?

Faith is not the product of reasoning.
Faith is a gift from God, our Father.
The skeptics question our beliefs –
And so do some sisters and brothers in Christ.

What does Faith give to me?
What do I get out of it?
Some Christian leaders teach that it is “utilitarian.”
Faith is good because it’s useful.

Pragmatism is a dominating force in the U.S.A.
It is the basis of our consumer society.
Pragmatists go beyond “What IS it?”
They go to “What is it good FOR?”

Some feel FAITH is magic words like “I Believe”
or “Eternal Life is mine.”
When pragmatists hit a crisis,
They give up on Faith; it failed them!

What IS the value of Faith?
Is it what it produces for us?
Most of us believe God is more than
A helpful idea that makes us feel better.

He is more than the Great Granter of wishes.
God is Good… All the time!
Even when our needs are not being fulfilled.
Is Jesus of value for what He can do for you?

Is Faith about getting what you need to make life worth living?
Or is FAITH about a relationship with God?
Prayer is not just a self-help therapy.
Prayer is about listening and praising.

It’s not just about talking and asking!
Do not surrender to pragmatism.
Receive the gift of faith from God.
Pray to listen for God’s desires – and SERVE.

What can I do for God?
What can God do IN me?
God’s tenacious desire to talk to me and love me…
That’s FAITH!

Amen?

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