Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘sermons’

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.

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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.
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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!!

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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.

Amen?

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

 

 

Know Whose You Are


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Sundays are special days.
We go early to church in the morning
because we have the privilege of teaching
the cutest little 3 1/2 to 6 year olds
in the whole wide world!

Here are a couple of the dearhearts…
Aren’t they adorable?
They provide the highlight of our week!!

Then we attend worship service,
and I take sermon notes
to share with my husband on the way home.
(He tunes out and goes out to
the Madison River or Big Sky ski slopes
in his mind…
and says on the way home,
“What was the sermon about?”)
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So, here it is, my friends.
If you didn’t make it to church this morning,
or if you did – and missed the message
as your miind wandered as minds will do –
Here are my notes for you:

Stand Firm: God is With Us” – based on Luke 13:1-9; delivered by Rev. Jean Johnson

I renamed it: Know Whose You Are

I can withstand anything
Except temptation!
No man knows how bad he is
Until he strives to be good.

Yes, we need forgiveness
And repeated second chances.
It’s not the temptation –
It’s our response to it that matters.

Temptation is a common
Human experience.
To wish it away
Is to wish for death.

God promises a way out.
He doesn’t tolerate a
No-win situation.
It’s our task to endure.

Through the grace of God,
God provides a way.
In the story of Joseph,
We see a man of honor.

He was a good man who
Was wrongly accused of sin,
Thrown into prison because he was
Persistent in his resistance.

Joseph remained loyal
His God without turning back.
When we know whose we are,
Then we know who we are.

That’s what makes persistence possible.
Joseph left temptation.
She was left holding his coat.
He knew it was time to leave.

Embarrassed by his refusal,
She managed to get him jailed.
But, in the prison, Joseph
Fulfilled more of God’s plan.

Resistance is rarely rewarded
By those who’ve been resisted.
Our reward often is not on earth,
But sometimes it is. Hold fast!

God is faithful, and
In the end we won’t be
Disappointed, if we’re true
To our God. The Lord is with you!

Stand firm!

 

 

You Said to Do What??


You said for me to do what??
Love my enemies??

Are you crazy? How am I supposed to do that??

Yesterday’s sermon dealt with this scripture:
Luke 6:27-38 – – – telling us not to condemn or hate!

selective focus photography of cowboy holding revolver pistol statue

In the face of needless shootings and bombings,
In the midst of war and suppression,
You said for me to do what???
“Love Your Enemies!”

Oh sure!

Here are my notes from the sermon by Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT
preached yesterday, February 24, 2019:

We excuse and justify our own faults
While magnifying those same faults in others.
By our own human nature,
We condemn our sisters and brothers.

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Oh sure, there are some easier than others
To love and enjoy being around,
But Jesus asks us to actually love
Those who annoy us. Is that advice sound?

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How can we eliminate grudges
And love those who hate us?
How can we look beyond wrongs
And ignore the way they bait us?

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Jesus said we’re never justified
In hating – even those who mistreat us.
Do good to and pray for those who
Ignore us or laugh at those who greet us.

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They not only show us disrespect,
But they insult us to our best friend.
How are we to turn the other cheek
To those who rob and curse us without end?

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Jesus commands we give more than
Expected, and do it without expectation
Of anything in return. Follow the Golden Rule
And in heaven enjoy the celebration.

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The bottom line is to live in love.
Love everyone – – – especially those who hate.
Everybody loves lovers, but we must do more.
Love the loveless… Now, before it’s too late!

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Amen?

The question I asked was, “How?”
How do we love our enemies?
Certainly not on our own.

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It takes divine guidance
and help from above.
Pray, my friends.
Only through
Him who loved us first
Can we love others
Unconditionally.

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Martin Luther King’s Example


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It is Martin Luther King Sunday! We celebrated this momentous day at the Bloom in the Desert Ministries in Palm Springs, California. Rev. Kevin A. Johnson delivered the message. As is my habit, I took notes poetically during the sermon. Here is what I heard Rev. Kev say after the sharing of Bible story of Jesus’ first miracle:

Isaiah held firm and encouraged
The people to speak out.
Do not be silent; be encouraged.
Let your convictions eek out.

Exclusion and hate are taught
In many places in our land,
But pockets of humanity exist –
Some are right here where we stand.

We are called to be up-lifters.
In authentic ministry we speak.
Our call is to the Glory of God.
Love and kindness are what we seek.

In John 2:1-11, Jesus performed
His first miracle; quite a display!
Hundreds of gallons of water into wine!
My, what would we do with such today?

The point isn’t the miracle of wine.
It is the extravagance of Christ’s love.
It is the way Jesus helps in more
Ways than we can imagine – way above!

Jesus was only beginning His miracles.
He was tolerated until He messed
With the money of the church.
Then His ministry was put to the test.

Today is the celebration of MLK Jr.’s life.
We recall the way His life was given
In compassion for the poor and the sad,
For the disenfranchised and the imprisoned.

Martin Luther King lived out his faith
With a call to action in the power of peace.
Like Jesus and MLK Jr., we are called
To make our world more lovely and eliminate grief.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
Only love can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is the unison prayer we read as a congregation. It touched my heart. I hope it impresses upon your heart, too:

“O God, all people are your beloved – across races, nationalities, identities, religions, sexual orientations, and all ways we are distinctive from one another. We are all manifestations of your image. ‘We are bound together in an inescapable network of mutuality and tied to a single garment of destiny.’ You call us to action for your unending work of justice, peace, and love. Reassure us of your presence among us now. Awaken us to delight in our diversity, which glimpses the mosaic of your beauty. Strengthen us in your steadfast love. Transform despair and fatigue into hope and action. In the protection of your wings, carry us to find rest, renewal, strength and hope. We are inspired by the example of your modern prophet and Christian disciple, our brother, Martin. Thank you. Amen.”

How did you celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Did you honor his legacy in a way that recognized his example, his passion for equality, non-violence, and love for all humankind? Tell me about it!

From Fear to Awe


From Fear to Awe – An Epiphany Sunday Sermon

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Politics has a long history
Of striking fear in hearts.
In Matthew, we hear the king asking,
“Where’s the new child in these parts?”

 

The Magi responded and left
With a heavy sigh of relief;
But all of Jerusalem was frightened
As their king behaved as a thief.

 

He seemed to want to steal
The joy of this promised birth.
His fear spread throughout
This part of the Christ-child’s earth.

 

We, too, live in fear of things
Beyond our ability to control.
Fear of God is extraordinary
As we are confused by our role.

 

If we are God-fearing, it is
Not the same as fear of faith.
It’s an invitation to see
Our loving God face-to-face.

 

Fear is a cascading emotion.
Fear begets fear, you see.
A chain reaction occurs –
The fear of Herod passes down to me.

 

What if Herod’s fear had turned
To trust and awe of the Lord?
Trust and awe are emotions
We must know we CAN afford.

 

We cannot afford, in fact,
To live in fear instead of awe.
Read the stars, find the Christ Child.
Trust God and His Word – His Law.

 

Are YOU in awe of the Lord??

 

 Sermon notes by Jan Beekman based on the message:
“See and Be Radiant!” by Pastor Steven Mabry
Plymouth Congregational Church, Paso Robles, CA

Prophets – Bah Humbug!


If you’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen to the sermon in church on Sundays.

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If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following. You help me know with your “likes” and comments that I am not just writing into cyberspace. There are real people out there – my blogging “friends” – who may be touched, encouraged, tickled, or illuminated by my posts. If I help you somehow along this rugged path of life to step a little lighter, see a little brighter, or love each other “righter”, then I have accomplished my purpose.

Here are the notes reflecting the message I gathered from yesterday’s sermon. After the service, I told Rev. Jean Johnson, our pastor at Madison Valley Presbyterian, “Your message spoke to me. I think I’ll blog this one.”

So, here it is:

Prophets – Bah Humbug!

Who needs a prophet?
They are annoying, I think.
At best, they are pests.
At worst, they stink!

Tell ’em to take
Their soapboxes away
To some other place.
They harp doom everyday.

Isn’t it enough to try
To be good to each other?
Isn’t it enough
To love sister and brother?

Here we are this Advent
Being called to goodness and hope.
John the Baptist says we
Need baptism and repentance to cope.

He persists in saying
Mountains must be flat.
Paths must be made straight.
Who needs all that?

We like our high mountains.
We like crooked paths, too.
Who needs these prophets?
Do they annoy you?

Well, to be honest, I must
Tell you these truthtellers
Are important to us.
They’re really not such bad fellers!

They call us to be humble.
They show us the Christ-like way.
They remind us of past errors
And guide us to a better way.

Prophets help us discover
How love is better than hate.
They show us what really matters.
Heed them. Invite them in. It’s a date!

Be the love to the loveless.
Don’t worry and think you’re too small.
Listen to the wisdom of the prophets.
Their message is good for us all.

Let God’s light shine through you.
Be the prophetic face of love.
Go out and BE a prophet.
Share the message from God above.

Amen?

 

Loss, Lament & Loyalty


Loss, Lament, and Loyalty

 

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Sermon Notes by Jan Beekman
from the sermon today
based on the scripture – Mark 12:38-44 –
Preached by Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana

 

Naomi’s son had died.
She was alone and old.
Her future was grim.
What had she been told?

 

“Deal with your losses –
Send your daughters-in-law
Back to their homes.”
But, the plan had a flaw.

 

Ruth did not want to return!
She told Naomi she’d stay.
Orpha decided to go back.
Each woman to her own way.

 

We each have a choice.
We think we’re paralyzed, but we’re not.
We may lack energy and will power;
We may feel in our losses, we’re caught.

 

Ruth knew she couldn’t run
From the pain life threw at her.
She chose to stay and face her life,
And be in a place she could matter.

 

To turn evil into something good,
She was loyal to her mother-in-law.
She broke ties with her past
And looked ahead at what she saw.

 

She saw through eyes of faith.
Naomi had taught her to use God’s eyes –
Do more than just endure;
Keep your faith and be kind and wise.

 

To endure the evil of today’s world,
Cling to one another in love –
And look out for those in need.
Use your discerning power from God above.

 

Amen?

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