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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland


              Pastor Ray Scott


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          Mother's day is here again as the years roll by seemingly back-to-back. This is the forty-first sermon I have written and delivered in 42 years of pastoral care and preaching. My mom went home to Glory and the Rest from her labors in 2012, having reached the age of 92. She left us while she was in her sleep. The Lord gave her His Divine Summons and she silently slipped away. It was a "good death."
          I have deep respect for my mother, profound love, immense gratitude and will always remember her with fondness. . .remembering her struggles my first 14 years raising six and later nine children, giving birth to five of them. With the exception of my father, her sixth child who never grew up, she was successful in her motherhood with all of us. Even her step-children join us as we ". . .rise up and call her blessed."  Prov. 31:28.
          Today, I am blessed to be married to a Christian mother and wife. She has loved, nurtured and cared for myself and our kids. As a successful pastor's wife, she has run our household well and saw to it our kids were in church and raised Christian. Next month, we will celebrate out 57th year of marriage. She is a strong, amazing woman.  I am so fortunate to have her in my life. She is the Proverbs 31:10, "Virtuous wife."
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. (NKJV)
          Lois is the only woman I know who was hand-picked by her mother-in-law. When I still lived at home in Manhattan Beach, California, one Thursday Mom gave me the telephone number of a "Nice Christian Girl" who lived only 10 miles away in Hawthorne, California.
          At first I ignored the telephone number, but as the weekend was approaching one Thursday, I called her up. Our first "Long Distance Call" was over 45 minutes and cost me a fortune.  We agreed to meet and get acquainted and the rest is history. Eight months later I gave her a ring and asked her to be my wife. The results have been spectacular.
Pastor Phil  <><<

May 13, 2018 - Mother's Day
Sheepfold Ministries - Pastor Phil  <><<

PROVERBS 31:10-31

"It is incredibly important to speak words of deep respect, honor and blessing to all mothers who laborer tirelessly, sometimes thanklessly at their daily tasks.”    Pastor Phil

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”    Proverbs 31:10
“Nobel Character” – “Excellent” – Virtuous”-  Gr. “dunamis” 
          Heb. "kHah-yil" - "Woman of Great Power"         

12 For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; On her sides shall you be carried, And be dandled on her knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem."     Isaiah 66:12-13

13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.
          A. ProCreators - Join with the Creator in the creation of life
                    1. The Hand of Creation is present
                    2. God has formed all our amazing bodies
          B. Mystery of Conception in the Womb - Ecclesiastes 11:5
                    5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow
              in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of
              God who makes everything.
                    1. The very breath of God has formed us
                    2. God breathed on Adam and he became a living soul

          A. Babies are born absolutely helpless
                    1. Infant knows instinctively if left alone it will die
                    2. Terrified of Abandonment
          B. Most mothers know instinctively when a child is hungry
                    1. She presses the child to her breast
                    2. Even the smell of the mother and the child demands nurture

. 13 As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem."     Isaiah 66:12-13

          A. God equips Mothers with higher pitched, comforting voices
                    1. An infant's ears are tuned for a woman's voice
                    2. Child hear their mother's voice during 9 months gestation

          B. Mothers know instinctively how to comfort a child
                    1. A Child's cry is irresistible to a mom
                    2. Eg. A whimper and she is "Up on all fours. . ."
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
          A. There is a Way of a Child
                    1. Heb. = דֶּרֶךְ‎ = Deh-rek = "Way, Beaten Path, Familiar Road"                      2. A child is born genetically with "a way" poured into them
                    3. The Mother's task is to discover the way and cultivate it
          B. Some mothers are Geniuses at it (Often Dads are good at it, too!) 
                    1. Each of our three kids had a Way
                              a. Barb, the artist became a Computer Graphics Techie
                              b. Lisa, the actress whose career led to college / beyond
                              c. Larry, the Math guy became a Mechanical Engineer
                    2. Children are like Sculptor's wet, pliable clay - Deut. 11:19
                                        19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you
                          sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
                          and when you rise up.
                              Eg. Read, The Sculptor

21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
          A. The Pain and Joy of child Conception, Gestation and Birth
                    1. The Mother becomes the greatest Caregiver
                    2. She has the greatest investment
          B. Historically, Roles were assigned to Mothers and Fathers
                    1. Men were the Hunter Gatherers
                    2. Women were the Nurturers
                              a. Cared for children: Feeding, Cleaning, Teaching
                              b. Ran the households and created family and home
          C. Roles began to shift and change in the 1950's
                    1. Rosie the Riveter in WW2 became a 50's breadwinner
                    2. Latch Key kids w/no supervision
                    3. In the '60's gave way to Welfare, Single-Parent households
                    4. Father's just made babies and skipped out
                    5. Women/Mothers took on "Wonder Woman" roles

15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I


have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
          A. Mothers never forget, always carry their children in their heart
          B. Mothers have the ability of reminding us of God's Protective Hand
                    Eg. The Keeper of the Spring, Peter Marshall




13 As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you. . .
Isaiah 66:13a






Proverbs 31:10-31 (NKJV)
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.



10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Proverbs 31:10-12 (NIV)




“Keeper of the Springs of Life”
          There was a little village that grew up at the foot of a mountain range—a peaceful place with fresh breezes, an ample radiance of flowers, and (most important) fresh water which tumbled down the mountain streams, splashed over waterfalls, and sparkled into the sunlight of the valley where all the streams finally joined forces and bubbled joyously into the town.
          The people love this beautiful stream that flowed through their town, with its pure water that one could see right through the smooth stones that formed the riverbed and the fish that fought their way upstream.  Children played with their toy sailboats by its banks, millwheels were turned by its force, in the heat of the summer the people drank long and deep from its pure water, never having to fear a thing, and by its farmers’ fields were irrigated.
          High up in the mountain, there was an employee of the village, a happy hermit who lived in the forest and earned his living as the “KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS”.  It was his job to tend the pools and the springs that formed the source of this sparkling little stream.  This KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS would patrol the hills and wherever he found a spring or a pool, he would clean the silt from its surface, scrape away the fallen leaves, sift out all foreign matter that might decompose in the water, so the spring would tumble down the mountainside cold and pure.  He took his job seriously, for each day as he set about his task he would think of the townsfolk down below….the children, the babies, the mothers and fathers, the animals who depended upon that clear, pure water for their well-being.
          But the City Council was a group of hard-boiled pragmatists who one year scanned the civic budget and questioned the need for this KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS.  “Why should we pay for this freeloader to watch our water?  We never see him.  Surely he is not necessary to our town’s life.”  So the City Council voted to dispense with this “unnecessary cost” and the man was forced to look elsewhere for his livelihood.

          Well, soon the silt began to pile up around the mountain springs.  Decaying branches and leaves fell into the pools and decomposed, filling the pure spring waters with cloudy debris.  The streams didn’t seem to sparkle as much as they tumbled down the mountainside; the fish were now seen dimly through a cloud of foreign matter.  And finally, the City Council admitted its mistake, re-convened, and sent out a search for that KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS to come back and restore their polluted stream to its prior glory.
They have given us life, reared us and by their instruction instilled in us their enduring values. Today we pay tribute to our Keepers of the Spring - strong ladies - who labored behind the scenes without accolade or glory. We are grateful!

Pastor Phil  <><<





The Sculptor

I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it, one day.
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It moved and yielded to my will.

I came again, when days were passed,
That bit of clay, was hard at last,
The form I gave it, still it bore,
And I could change that form no more.

Then I took a piece of Living clay
And gently formed it, day by day.
And molded with my power and art,
A young child's soft and yielding heart.

I came again when years were gone,
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early imprint bore,
And I could change it, nevermore.                         
(Author Unknown)


11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12 (NIV)

One of Mom's Verses she taught me was Proverbs 3:5,6
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Mary was Jesus Comfort
Luke 2:17-19 - Mary a Ponder-er
Luke 2:17-19 (NKJV)
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:33-35 - Simeon's Blessing
Luke 2:33-35 (NKJV)
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Luke 2:38 - Anna the prophetess
Luke 2:38 (NKJV)
38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:41-51 - Boy Jesus in the Temple
John 19:26-27 - Jesus commissions John to care for His mother
John 19:26-27 (NKJV)
26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.


               Three sons leave home, go out on their own and prosper. Going home to see Mom, they got their heads together and decided she had been such a wonderful Mother and they should share some of their wealth with the elderly lady they loved so much.
The first says, I will build a big home for Mom. She can be so comfortable the rest of her years.
The second says, I will buy her a Mercedes with a driver to go anywhere she wants.
The third says, You remember how Mom enjoys reading the Bible. She can't see too well now, so I saw this remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders of the Church 12 years to teach him;  He's one of a kind. Mama will just have to name the chapter and verse and the parrot recites it.
All three set out and made good their promises.  Soon hereafter, Mom sends each a letter.  Milton she says. The house you built is too huge. I live only in one room, but I have to clean the whole house, and I get so tired.
Gerald she says, I am too old to travel, I stay at home most of the time so I rarely use that Mercedes and that driver is so rude!  He's a pain!
My dearest Donald, she says. That chicken was just delicious!




Every Mother’s Day sermon I’ve run across starts with an explanation —— this one’s no exception. As ministers, we’re reminded not to get too sentimental about motherhood because:
(a) for some, motherhood is an accident, and not always a welcome one;
(b) for some, biological motherhood isn’t possible;
(c) for some, mothers weren’t all that nice;
(d) for some, motherhood under the very best of circumstances is still less than abed of roses and a primrose path.
If I can take some liberties with poet Wilhelm Busch’s words, I’d have to say: “(Mutter) werden ist nitch schwer; (Mutter) sein dagegen sehr.” (To become a (mother) is not so difficult; on the other hand, be-ing a (mother) is very much so!)
So, with all those qualifications, why bother with Mothers’ Day at all? I’ll tell you why —— because for all its stumbling blocks, pitfalls and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, soiled wallpaper and spoiled plans, we’re talking about a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God’s creative plan to bring love and caring to light. Motherhood is a constant demand for the gift of love and caring.
No one deserves a special day all to herself more than today's Mom. A cartoon showed a psychologist talking to his patient: "Let's see," he said, "You spend 50 percent of your energy on your job, 50 percent on your husband and 50 percent on your children. I think I see your problem."
Source Unknown.

What NOT to Buy Your Wife: Although the only person a man usually shops for is his wife, the whole experience is a stressful one. Many a man has felt extreme frigid temperatures for a long period based on a poor present decision. As a veteran of these wars, I'm still not sure what to buy my wife, but I'll pass on what not to buy her:
1. Don't buy anything that plugs in. Anything that requires electricity is seen as utilitarian.
2. Don't buy clothing that involves sizes. The chances are one in seven thousand that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended the other 6999 times. "Do I look like a size 16?" she'll say. Too small a size doesn't cut it either: "I haven't worn a size 8 in 20 years!"
3. Avoid all things useful. The new silver polish advertised to save hundreds of hours is not going to win you any brownie points.
4. Don't buy anything that involves weight loss or self-improvement. She'll perceive a six-month membership to a diet center as a suggestion that's she's overweight.
5. Don't buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you can't afford. And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn't want.
6. And, guys, do not fall into the traditional trap of buying her frilly underwear. Your idea of the kind your wife should wear and what she actually wears are light years apart.
7. Finally, don't spend too much. "How do you think we're going to afford that?" she'll ask. But don't spend too little. She won't say anything, but she'll think, "Is that all I'm worth?"
Herb Forst in Cross River, NY, Patent Trader, in Reader's Digest, p. 69.


A Mother’s Sacrifice

A young mother was trapped with her infant as her building was going up in flames. The mother called 911, coughing through the smoke.
When fire fighters arrived, the mother had died of smoke inhalation, and the baby could not be found. However, as they cleared the area outside the apartment, they found the baby, alive and well.
The mother had had the presence of mind to strap him into his car seat, and throw him through the window, clear of the flames. Rather than saving herself, the mother had given her life for her child.2
A mother’s child comes before any other concern in her life.

Honoring Your Mother
“Honor your father and your mother” is a command which is repeated eight times in the Bible.3  A person can honor their mother in great or humble ways, but any way we honor our mother, we honor God.
At a grocery store, a mother was considering cans of vegetables while her son was riding the cart.
The boy snuck a can of asparagus off the shelf and held it up to his mother. “Mommy! Let’s get this!”
“Ooo, Pumpkin, I love asparagus, it’s my favorite! But it’s just too expensive.”
At Christmas, the six-year-old grabbed a poorly wrapped gift and said, “Open this one, Mommy!”
The mother unwrapped it, and in her hand, she held a can of asparagus.
The boy beamed, “I saved my allowance for the whole year to get you that!”4



Audrey Hepburn wrote this when asked to share her 'beauty tips. It was read at her funeral years later:
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder

A successful beauty product company asked the people in a large city to send pictures along with brief letters about the most beautiful women they knew.

Within a few weeks thousands of letters were delivered to the company.

One letter in particular caught the attention of the employees and soon it was handed to the company president. The letter was written by a young boy who was obviously from a broken home, living in a run-down neighborhood. With spelling corrections, an excerpt from his letter read: ''A beautiful woman lives down the street from me. I visit her everyday. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. We play checkers and she listens to my problems. She understands me and when I leave she yells out th


PSALM 139:1-6;17
1 Cor.13
3.  At third reflection:  All of us, young and old, wherever we are in our journey through life….we are called to be “Keepers of the Springs of Life”.  This happens to be the title of the late Peter Marshall’s little story I want to share with you now.[1]


          Today is Mother’s Day.  Our first task is to give thanks to God for these KEEPERS OF THE SPRINGS – for these women who gave us life, who reared us, who by example or by instruction instilled within us their enduring values and parental wisdom that has helped us live in this complicated world.  Yes, we pay tribute to those KEEPERS OF THE SPRINGS, our mothers – strong ladies — who labor without glory behind the scenes, with little praise or acclamation they sorely deserve.  
A key question for all of us – women and men alike:  “Of what Springs am I a Keeper?”   What young, impressionable persons are in our charge?  When children are baptized, what commitment do we all make to nurture children in faith in Jesus Christ?  What responsibility has God placed on each of us to care for the children in this community — in passing on the ‘legacy of faith’ that us brought us to this time and place in this church and community?
Grandparents and Great Grandparents ask:  Am I going to help nurture growth of young minds through the sharing of some of my wealth of knowledge and insight?  What a great time, the senior years, to share stories, pictures, insights to help new generations grow in faith?   I know it’s asking a lot, but if some of our seniors would volunteer to assist our ChurchSchool teachers on Sunday mornings….this would be an enriching experience for ALL!
Young Adults ask:  Will I listen to the “Keeper of the Springs”? It is so easy to succumb to peer pressure when it comes to things we get involved with that are less that wholesome or healthy.  It is so easy to escaping into a world of VIDEO GAMES or TEXTING instead of nurturing face-to-face communications with parents and grandparents….friends and neighbors.  So many young people don’t feel they need the “community of the church” or that they can get “religion” off the INTERNET!   So much is lost when young people miss the opportunity to be, socially-connected, members of the living Body of Christ….in community, together, face-to-face!  (To be honest, a lot of older people are missing what it means to be part of Christ’s community as well! 
IN THE CONTEXT OF CHURCH, ARE WE NOT ALL, YOUNG AND OLD, KEEPERS OF THE SPRINGS OF LIFE?  IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY, ARE WE NOT OUR NEIGHBOR’S KEEPER?  Or will we live in an “I/ME” world where all I have to worry about is MY next pay check or pension check; a full pantry;  a nice home;  a new car; descent insurance….that’s all “I/WE” need or want.  Am I going to live my life taking from the world what I can get letting others have what is left over?  In the context of today’s scripture, are we going to consider what it means to be KEEPERS OF THE WEALTH OF BLESSNGS GOD HAS ENTRUSTED OUR CARE? 
So what does God want us to carry away this morning from this message?   I would suggest we look at the SPRINGS/THE VALUES/THE FAITH WE NURTURE AND KEEP AND IMPART TO THOSE AROUND US….daughters and sons and nieces and nephews and grandchildren and great-grandchildren…and neighbors and co-workers and co-students – and accept God’s challenge to expand our circle of friends and neighbors….to the hungry, the homeless, the orphans, the poor, the helpless, the mentally ill, he imprisoned, the lonely —  the forgotten children of God who desperately need what we can give them, collectively, as KEEPERS OF THE SPRINGS OF LIFE?  
I now want to read to you a portion of a letter written by a young mother, Micaela Solano, who is working in partnership with Saginaw Habitat for Humanity in acquiring a new home for her family….bit of background from this rather long letter….[3] 
April 30:  To say Macaela has had a rough life is an understatement.  She grew up in a single parent home coming from a family of 14 – surrounded by violence, drugs and abuse – living in abandoned houses, hotels, parks….all the money her mother had went to buy alcohol and gambling.   
At the age of five she was influenced by a pastor, a “Keeper of the Springs”, Ulysses Garcia, telling her for the first time about God.  At the age of 14 she became pregnant had her first son.  Moving to California she became part the California’s Foster Care System…learning some positive things about how to be a good parent……moving back to Michigan….this is where I pick up with Macaela’s own words:
There was a point in the last few years that I knew I needed something better for myself and the future of my children.  ….I was looking for something more.  I didn’t want to live off the system the rest of my life.  I moved to Linton Street….during my time there my house got burglarized, my vehicle got stolen and my dog murdered.  But I knew things were going to get better….”
Things got better for Macaela with full-time work as a Certified Nursing Assistant and now volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to construct her own home. She says and I quote:
I found my purpose.  I don’t regret anything that my children and I have been through.  I know who I am and I know what I want to do now……I am my family’s greatest cheer leader and tell myself every day:  I can do it.  I will do it.  I did do it.
She is now working to “engrave God on the hearts of her children”.  She is a “Keeper of the Springs” of life entrusted her care.