Rhyming Sermon Notes: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 & 1 Peter 3:18-22

This month I tried taking notes during sermons, Sunday School, etc. as rhymes. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I found it to be a wonderful way to push me to pay close attention and process the text, as well as a fun review with my family. With requiring full attention and thought for the entire message, it did get a bit tiring, but it was also very fulfilling and fun.

So far I have posted each message as a separate post. Today, I am posting both Sunday School and the main sermon as one post. In the future, my plan is to post all of the messages at the end of the month as one post, instead of sending a flood of notifications each time I post. :o)

While I pray these will be a blessing, I am happy to do them for my own study and growth and as a review for my family, even if no one is reading.

To God be the glory!!!


Grace Church of North Olmsted – Sunday, 2022-07-31
Sunday School – Kevin Williamson
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Series: Prayers of Paul)

The Thessalonians thought the rapture they missed,
with trials and persecutions they were now living stressed.

Paul writes to encourage, to strengthen, remind
that this tribulation was promised. They’re not left behind.

For Christians to suffer, to struggle, to bleed
is normal in life, to be expected, received.

In the struggles of life, we’re to live for the Lord.
Lives to point to the Savior, whom we trust and adore.

Now may the God of peace, sanctify, preserve and not blame
He will crush Satan and keep you from shame.

This “peace” is not worldly, not based on the times.
It’s based on the knowledge of His peace in our lives.

To be at peace with God, that relationship there
helps to comfort, relieve and remind He does care.

God Himself is the actor, only He can.
His power is shared with no spirit or man.

Justification by faith, before Christ to be right.
Sanctified, Holy, then Glorified by His might.

Jesus lived, Jesus died, Jesus prayed in the night,
That we’ll be sanctified by God’s power and might.

Set apart for his purpose, for his Glory to live.
Instant and Progressive, both are his gifts to give.

To live without blame, sexually pure,
being like Christ, in the world we endure.

Our likeness, desires, and fellowship should not be
based in the world, we need to come out, holy and free.

Justification is instant in Christ,
not on our works or our good lives.

Sanctification, by which we do grow,
this is progressive, as our Savior we know.

Our spirit, soul, body, preserved, complete,
As he is the head, we the hands and the feet.

Part of our sanctification is to be preserved.
This sure salvation, all from him, not deserved.

In the world we face dangers, deceived and attacked.
Jesus prays for preservation that nothing would be lacked.

Eternal salvation, God completes what he starts.
God quickens our spirit, forms and quickens our hearts.

The saints perseverance, perseverance in Him.
God keeps us in him, even when we do sin.

This is not an excuse or a reason to fall.
It just lets us know his power over all.

The Church should be holy, presented without blame
when Jesus returns! Praise his holy name!

If his people keep sinning, then what does this mean?
“Perfected sanctification” for those he redeemed.

In Jude we’re reminded that through him we can stand
in the presence of his glory, with great joy raise our hands.

God’s faithfulness, lasting, it will not pass away.
His purposes standing, we can trust him each day.

If possible to lose our salvation we would.
Praise God he is Peace, He is faithful and good.


Grace Church of North Olmsted – Sunday, 2022-07-31
Pastor Dean Good
1 Peter 3:18-22 (focus on vs. 22)

The proud be brought low, exalted the humble,
Jesus death on the cross, over this do not stumble.

We as his children, called to suffer as he,
And then receive glory, when his face we see!

Jesus at the right hand of the Father above
exalted in power, glory, and love.

Jesus’ exaltation, how did it come to be?
Step one, the honorable burial, shown in Isaiah 53.

“Assigned a grave with wicked men he will be.”
“Yet buried in a rich man’s tomb, decay did not see.”

Step two, the resurrection, Christ’s work all fulfilled
Fulfilled the prophecy, completed all God willed.

Step three, when all authority on heaven and on earth
was given to the Savior, of inestimable worth.

We can rest in God’s power, his will is always done.
as the world turns deep to sin, the victory is won.

Step four is Christ’s ascension, to heaven he did go.
In this same, glorious way he will come, this we know.

Seated at the right hand of God, is where he is today,
and to this glorious God, we know we can boldly pray.

The significance of Christ’s Exaltation, what could this mystery be?
He now lives in God’s presence, praying for you and me.

Christ in the Holy of Holies, as a man overcame sin and death.
He overcame the devil, and by this we’ve been blessed.

Freed of the slavery of the fear of death,
Christ overcame, sat down, and gave us new life and breath.

He’s raised us up with him, sitting at God’s right hand
the place of power, joy and victory, this place does command.

His exaltation is our victory, he the victory won.
Gave his life, suffered and died, now exalted, God’s own Son.

The ministry of Jesus, is now to intercede.
He does call us brothers, we do call him Lord,
only in his death and life can we be truly freed.

He is the mediator, standing between God and man,
unique as Melchizedek, eternal he does stand.

Christ is now our advocate, mediator and high priest.
He stands for our cleansing, removing sin, for us, the least.

He pleads on our behalf, with the power of his blood.
it’s not that we are holy, or that we’re bad or good.

He is the only advocate, our hope in him alone.
Only by his holiness, his sacrifice did us atone.

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light
we fellowship with each other, and by his blood are then made right.

If we say we have no sin, truly we are blind
but if we humbly confess our sins, from sin he does unbind.

(Pastor Dean then read large sections of the following hymn, by Charles Wesley (1742), before continuing the sermon.)

1 Arise, my soul, arise, shake off your guilty fears;
the bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears.
Before the throne my Surety stands, before the throne my Surety stands;
my name is written on his hands, my name is written on his hands.

2 He ever lives above, for me to intercede,
his all-redeeming love, his precious blood to plead.
His blood atoned for ev’ry race, his blood atoned for ev’ry race,
and sprinkles now the throne of grace, and sprinkles now the throne of grace.

3 Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary;
they pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry, “forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“nor let that ransomed sinner die, nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

4 My God is reconciled; his pard’ning voice I hear.
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear.
with confidence I now draw nigh, with confidence I now draw nigh,
and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry, and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

Daily on our knees, draw near with a pure heart,
we come by the blood of Christ, our power and our start.

Good things we should do, to him be glorified,
but these things do not save us, only in his blood we hide.

“What then shall we say? If God is for us, who against?”
Christ Jesus is the one who died, his intercession is immense.

Every trial, every blessing, in all that comes we can trust,
That God is always for us, and his blessings are the best.

What do you need to live for him? His blessings do provide.
Provision for and freely given, as we are by his side.

Purchased at the cross, and now at God’s right hand
he intercedes for our provision, he leads us through dark land.

As Christ is our shepherd, in his presence we will be
Glory, glory! Hallelujah! His glorious face we’ll see!

Prayer is the means by which the benefit received.
The evidence of Christ’s intercession is that we intercede.

Christ teaches us how to pray, that we may pray, confess.
It is in our prayers, to be like him, in this we are blessed.

The Spirit helps our weakness, we do not know how to pray.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and teaches what to say.

This is how we do receive, all that he has to give.
Not just the words, but a change of heart, that shows in Him we live.

Rock of ages, I hide in thee, in the tempests of life
I flee to my refuge, when dealing with all strife.

Where do you go when dealing with the pains of life?
That is your idol, if anything but Christ.

Teach us day by day that Christ our Rock and Refuge be,
that now and at the end of life, our precious Lord we’ll see!

Rhyming Sermon Notes: Philippians 1:9-11

In a previous post, I introduced that I am going to try to take sermon notes as a rhyme. Here are my Sunday School notes from my first week. Actually, these are my first rhyming notes, since Sunday School is before the main service, even though I posted my notes for main service first.

Grace Church of North Olmsted – 2022-07-24
Sunday School: Jonathan Underhill (Deacon)
Philippians 1:9-11 (Series: Prayers of Paul)

With the Philippians Paul wants to be, though the Lord’s face he longs to see. 
Encouraging them to walk in love, with impossible love come from above. 
God’s love has no end, that this poured out love we too may send. 

Truth and right we need to know to discern which way we need to go. 
This discernment comes when filled with love, God’s true love come from above.

As difficult times come and go, joy should be the hope we know. 
This joy and hope they come through prayer, of each other’s needs to be aware.

Knowing the fullness of God’s Word, not acting as if we haven’t heard.
Knowing, Loving, to the end, wherever he may go or send.
Approving what is good and right, that we may stand up in the fight.

When we fall down, and turn away, through God’s forgiveness we have a way. 
The Messiah’s come, but do we see, living in love in all we do and be. 

Pure and holy with him we walk , time with him to live and talk. 
Not feeling the need from him to hide, but with him and others to freely abide. 
Living in love, and by God’s grace, longing now to see his face. 

Reflecting love to all around, that life in Christ may now be found.

Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (13)


10. Cultural blessing (a)


But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

What is culture

I am so excited today I get to start my final section of this blessing counting journey which I started last October in 2015. If I had to choose one area I am most passionate about, this is it! Cambridge English Dictionary defines “Culture” as “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. In other words, it is practising what we believe in our daily living. This “particular group of people” and “time” vary in our lifetime. My life has been enriched tremendously as we often adjust from one culture to the other. However, without some overachieving life principles, I often experienced anxiety, distress, fear or other negative feelings when the initial excitement from the new culture fades. That was when the 3rd Culture Living mindset occurred to us.


When cultures clash, by default we tend to resort to where our flesh feels most comfortable and natural. We redefine our terms of “culture” as life unfolds, as different cultures come our way through different groups of people. Our beliefs are questioned or shaken during those clashes. A lot of times, we choose to walk away from those differences to avoid conflicts. People naturally connect with others who are like them. Then a “culture” forms. This explains why even in an immigrant country like America, we can easily locate areas for different ethnic groups, China town, Ukrainian village, German street, Little Italy, etc.. This also explains why, as inclusive or open as social media claims to be, people still flock into their own particular groups. We are made to have connections with each other.  Life is to be shared. Sharing is good!

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Snapshot in China: People gathered around to watch the man practicing calligraphy.

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Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (12)

  1. Parental blessing (b)

Let the Little Children Come! (Matthew 19:14)

Okay, back to the times of house repair. I am grateful God has allowed me to see more of His preparations from years ago for the heart work for His eternal glory. The trip to China confirmed His unchanging love and perfect timing in everything and every season in our life. Since I didn’t have a set time or place to study God’s Word during the house construction, I did my Bible study whenever I could, in front of the kids. It was not my favorite way of studying the Bible. But the Lord not only knows my season in life but orchestrates it. He always provided what I needed to hear and met me where I was. It could be just one verse, one hymn or a radio program, which was sufficient for my day.

My four year old then could see my genuine need to spend time with the Lord. Not only did he learn to have some quiet time together with me, but he also wanted to read his own children’s Bible and took notes like I did. Whenever I think about this, my heart is warmed by God’s grace. Our kids don’t need us to put them first but they do need to see Who (the Ultimate higher authority) we are under and worshipping. God used my children to challenge me to worship Him at all times and see life as an adventure with my Lord.

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It takes creativity and open mind to grow life in the midst of house repair. 🙂

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Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (11)

  1. Parental blessing (a)

    For the Lord is good;    
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5 

Thank you, Father!

In October, 2015, I started this blessing counting journal around the one year house-owning anniversary. The Lord put ten specific areas of blessings on my heart to record. By the time I am meditating on #9, the “parental blessing”, we are already back from our one-month trip to China over the Christmas break! Once again, I am grateful for the beautiful timing. I am reminded that no matter how much our hearts are stirred due to our current circumstances (good or bad), it all shall pass. It seems like ages ago when we were rebuilding the house, now that life has much more settled down. However, the heart lessons are still as fresh as yesterday. Interestingly, time in China in many ways resembled our time with all the construction going on around the house: lots of new things everyday, no set schedule, no set place for everything, great need for flexibility and wisdom in parenting, more time with our parents (or grandparents for the boys).


When we are pushed out of our comfort zone in parenting, we are more likely to fall back to our flesh, and idolize circumstances we used to live in. We need to be more reliant on our Heavenly Father in choice-making, attitude-setting, and following His teaching from His Word and leading in the Spirit. As a mom of two active boys, I fail so many times and feel inadequate, but I am even more blessed to grow along with them by the grace of my Father above.

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Yeah, we had the floor done before the baby started crawling!

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Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (10)

  1. Marital blessing (b)

if you seek it like silver

   and search for it as for hidden treasures,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord

   and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:4-5

Marital blessing counting continued (Read previous post here)– Here are some more highlights from the digging :


With our totally different backgrounds and upbringings, we actually do speak different heart languages along with its own set of non-verbal communication cues, which many times actually carries more weight than the spoken ones. I am still working on the nuances of facial expressions, gestures, idioms, tones, etc.. of the English language and making it another heart language of mine. However, it takes constant effort and intentionality. We think in our own cultural mindsets naturally. Mix in the differences between manhood and womanhood, we still have a ton to learn.


The intensity of the work on the house revealed many pitfalls in our communication patterns. How I responded to the differences brought more heart issues into my attention. For example, some of the house-related decisions needed to be made quickly. Not all of our discussions ended up with a happy ending, but that’s okay. Our God is merciful and we had many opportunities to practice forgiveness and reconciliation. It took spiritual discipline to carry the glorious cross daily through our daily communication. God is always faithful in bringing us back on track, as we commit ourselves first to Him and His will by the power of the Spirit.

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Upstairs bathroom floor. Look down and you will see the kitchen. 🙂

God is love! God is beautiful! Praise God for working through my heart attitudes in embracing differences and hence celebrating God’s purpose for our marriage. This blog came to birth as we came together in our “holely” kitchen (yeah, we literally could see through the upstairs bathroom from our kitchen then), in seeking the “oneness” according to God’s blueprint (Read “why this site” here). We started the countdown to our ten-year anniversary on this site. We threw ideas back and forth for a name that could catch both of our hearts, which was a big step in forming our family mission statement. We came to know not only with our heads but with our hearts that: it is His plan, before the creation of the world, to put us two totally different individuals together as a couple, now as  parents as well, for His glorious purposes. Continue reading

Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (9)

8. Marital blessing (a)

and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Mark 10:8


Married or single, it is all for the glory of God! He sanctifies in singleness and in marriage. I am so thankful God has protected my heart for the one I am happily married to now. It was a totally unexpected gift for me to marry my best friend from across the ocean (read our story here). Each year the Lord has brought us closer as a couple, as one! The process can be challenging but it is always so rewarding for His eternal purposes and for our good.  


When people heard about bits and pieces of our love story, they always wanted to know more. We love each other and I absolutely adore my husband. Six years of friendship before our marriage laid a good foundation for our married life. He is my hero, my rock and my joy in this life. I wish I could say we lived happily ever after the wedding day back in 2006. However, no matter how much we tried to be ready before marriage, when two VERY different and sinful people live together for an extended period of time, clashes are doomed to happen. In fear of conflict and/or my lack of language abilities, we hardly fought or argued early in our marriage. Everything seemed perfect from the outside.

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A little glimpse of the kind of city life I knew


I didn’t grow up from a Christian family and had no clue about how a Christian wife should live in real life. I was overwhelmed at times when I felt like marrying my best friend could also be the most lonely journey. I set my hopes and expectations high. I felt the  pressure to witness for Christ as many new believers and non-believers were watching how a cross-cultural marriage would turn out. I expected my mate to experience the joys and sorrows the same way or even the same time as I did. My heart was growing tender to my beloved. My desires were intimate. My needs were not openly expressed. For all the reasons above and many more I can’t think of now, I started to notice myself telling our love story with less passion but more rote. I knew something was going wrong in terms of my ideally passionate relationship with my husband, even with my Lord! I let life just happen instead of earnestly seeking and investing into that oneness with God and with my husband. No one, but Jesus, can bring me true joy and contentment. The moment I set my happiness on a human being, I was setting myself up for heartaches and disappointment. Ultimately, marriage is a powerful God-ordained sanctification tool. Continue reading

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (8)

7.  Practical blessing

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

My four-year old son was not the only one with many questions throughout various house-fixing jobs. He actually learned house-building related vocabulary faster than I did. I was struck when he corrected me by saying, “mama, it is ‘caulking’ not ‘painting’”.  I was surprised how much a little boy can learn from real life. It was a wake up call for me in viewing homeschooling as a lifestyle for the whole family. The best part was that we were all learning together through real life. It was a shared experience which we will refer to for years to come.

To give you a little background: I grew up in an apartment as a city girl in China. House projects, due to cheaper labor, were almost always hired out where I grew up. Before we came to the States, we spent four years of our married life in an one-bedroom student dorm. We didn’t have a yard, a car, American sized washer/dryer/refrigerator/oven or pretty much anything an average American home has. Now God has blessed us with all those possessions, He is also equipping us with skills and responsibilities to manage them.  We (namely, my husband. I get the blessing of being one with him!) not only had fun learning many house repair/building/maintenance skills, but also other building skills in general as we found creative ways to save money.

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Upstairs bathroom (before)

I am so proud of my husband, when he made our DIY home-decor idea into reality, when he figured out ways to fix our second-hand refrigerator, when he installed wires or switches, or many items I don’t even know the names. I am so grateful God blessed my husband with useful skills, a curious mind, adventurous spirit, and lots of friends and family to help as we needed. It was a slow but rewarding process. We don’t know how long we are to stay at this house, but now that we are blessed to own it, we are making full use of it, including all the learning and serving opportunities.


Five years ago when we first came to the States, we never thought we would own a house here. God had a different plan for us for this season of life in calling us to being willing to stay, to raise a family rooted in His Truth, to serve within the Body of Christ from our local church and community. What a blessing to gain wisdom in the Lord in a time like this when so many different voices have saturated the media! On top of all the skills and knowledge we have gained in the house-building process, we are eternally more grateful for a deeper understanding of Who God is and what our eternal Home is like through His Word.   Continue reading

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (7)

  1. Social blessing
    “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:39


With no flooring but lots of sawdust around, it was hard to have guests over for a comfortable gathering, not to mention entertainment. We were blessed to have wonderful in-laws,. and friends, who were more like angels in our eyes, simply show up to offer helping hands. At some points, I felt like we were more like guests rather than the owners, as we received so much needed help. It was a special season for our 9-year married life to not be able to outreach through our home. We knew that season to build would not last very long. This realization helped me cherish the time to seek God’s definition of a Home as we were building our earthly home.


Growing up in China, I had no concept about what a Christian home would be like. However, entertaining guests was part of my life during childhood. It was warm and fun family time but without much deeper purposes. God graciously tailored this time for me to develop a mindset of practicing hospitality for His name, His people and lost souls. Even nowadays, the Lord uses those days as a reminder for me to entertain with joy and intentionality, especially when I feel stressed or self-conscious before we receive guests at our home

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Waterproofing the basement

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Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (6)

5. Financial blessing
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth,…” Deuteronomy 8:18

As much hard work as it has been, it is such a joy to know that God blessed us with a house debt free. He has enabled us to honor the no-debt rule for our family. I know this is not true for every family but we are grateful God has provided and protected us from debt as we have desired and obeyed His direction for our family only by the power of the Spirit and His Perfect provision. All credit goes to the Lord!

When we looked at our finances and how we would like our future home to be used for His Kingdom, it seemed impossible to make it a reality as we were doing house hunting. Everything was either out of our range of affordability or not the type of house we would like to own. We were so amazed (still are amazed) by the timing of God’s provision of this “cash buyer only” house. God used the house seeking period to prepare us to make a quick decision when needed. We greatly appreciate our home, though it needed a “complete rehab” (learn more about the house here).

In case you are in doubt: Yes, it is possible to buy a house with cash! I share this to give hope. We are by no standard rich in this world. I am a full-time mom and my husband works at a community college part time. We desire to work together as a family team for God’s Kingdom full time. We see every work God led us to, not just as means of financial support for the family needs, but also tools to expand His Kingdom. We are grateful God led us to homeschool, to various ministries, to teach ESL, to a home-based business,etc.. Our life is simple yet rich with much chaos in between. God has different plans and assignments for His children. The point is to use what we have to spread Good News  (Read more about Biblical Tentmaking).

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DIY Home decor (Inspired by Kevin Leman’s “Home Court Advantage“)

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