Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘sermons’

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?

Poetic Sermon Notes


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Well, my friends, it is Sunday. As such,  you know I attended church this morning. Listening carefully to the message from Rev. Jean Johnson, I did my usual: I took my notes poetically. The sermon was based on Mark’s account of the disciples’ conversation with Jesus shortly before His death. In Mark chapter 10, verses 34-45, Jesus delivers His famous message of “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” The story unfolded this way:

Downward Mobility

Jesus told the disciples
His destiny: the cross.
He warned of His death.
They couldn’t accept the loss.

He told them of the cruelty
That would precede His rise.
So why did all that followed
Come as such a surprise?

James and John asked Him
If they could sit left and right
Of Him in His glory
(Requests that proved them not so bright!).

They didn’t see the meaning
Of the future Jesus faced.
They didn’t see the torture
And know how the pain would taste.

Jesus tried to redirect
The thoughts of James and John.
He tried to reexplain
The path the Christ was on.

The other disciples were jealous
That the two made their pleas first.
They thought James and John
Would be first to end their thirst.

But Jesus rebuked the ones
Who jockeyed to be at His side.
He told them their requests
Showed unsightly, unhealthy pride.

“He who would be first,” He said,
“Must be willing to be last.”
The disciples puzzled at this
Until long after the first Easter had passed.

The way of Jesus is a path
Of downward mobility for all
Who come to serve and give
Their lives in answer to Christ’s call.

 

Don’t try to read the notes on the bulletin cover below… they are what I typed above. I just am posting them here to show you the form in which they first appear from Jean’s sermon to my ears through my fingertips to the bulletin cover. Yes, I listen and write simultaneously. I am often asked, “How do you do that?”

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My only answer is, “It’s a gift.” I hope you appreciated my sharing it with you today. It was a sermon that spoke to my heart because indeed, I have come to serve and to give and to answer Christ’s call to share my talents.

Happy Sunday!

Accept His Love


 Here are my sermon notes from today’s message

by Rev. Jean Johnson

at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church

in Ennis, Montana…

based on Mark 10:17-31

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“Come Follow Me”

 

The rich young ruler

Appears in Gospels, three.

He must be very important.

Who is he to me?

.

Well, he was told to sell

Everything he owned

And follow after Jesus –

Leaving riches he had sown.

.

Jesus looked at the man

And loved him through and through.

He offered him eternal life.

Has He offered that to you?

.

Yes, Jesus tells us

To come and follow Him.

He loves us even though

His request seems mighty grim.

.

He wants us to relinquish

All the things we have and love.

He asks that we give all

In response to God above.

.

”All” may not be the same

For you as it is for me,

Because it’s all we love so much

That it’s taking away what’s free.

.

Depending on possessions

For comfort and for peace

Takes away the chance for gifts

And blessings that never cease.

.

The rich young ruler

Wouldn’t give up a thing,

And so he lost the chance

To eternally hear the angels sing.

.

Don’t make the ruler’s error.

Don’t miss God’s gifts for thee.

Give up the things that bind

And accept His love for free.

 

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Share Your Saltiness!


Share Your Saltiness!

.

(If you’ve followed my blog

for awhile, you know it’s my habit

to take poetic notes while listening

to Rev. Jean Johnson’s sermons

in our Ennis, Montana Presbyterian Church.

If you’re new to JanBeek, now you know!

Here are my notes from today’s message

based on the scripture in Mark 9:38-50)

.

I take salt for granted.

I simply know it’s good.

I understand it preserves

and flavors food – as it should.

.

Salt is a part of life.

It’s here among us all.

So, why did Jesus talk

About lack of salt this fall?

.

Where’s the Good News

In Jesus’ message of salt?

If salt loses its taste,

Am I, dear Lord, at fault?

.

We, as the church, are called

To be the Salt of the Earth.

If we lose our saltiness,

We forget our Christian birth.

.

Born into the faith, we’re given

The spices of zest and grace.

We’re called to season every need,

To help each hurting face.

.

Our salt is meant to sprinkle

Both saint and sinner – the same.

Remember, we all are sinners, too,

So share your saltiness in Jesus’ name.

.

Amen?

(And this Sunday afternoon I’m wondering,

Do you s’posed Jesus might have had this

salty sharing in mind? Come on over!)

Oh goodness! Is that sacrilegious? Or just some of my saltiness spilling out?

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