Friday, October 19, 2018

How Do We Value and Express Generosity?

Here is a thought provoking article from American Baptist Churches USA asking us how we value and express generosity in the world  today. It is an article by Marcia Shetler well worth our time and consideration today. You will find this article at: http://www.abc-usa.org/2018/09/17/how-much-do-you-value-generosity/

It is well worth all of our prayerful consideration. This could transform our lives if we follow through. 

Powerful Message to Leaders ... and Those Who Elect Them

The American Baptist publication, Christian Citizen, has a wonderful article every elected leader and everyone who elects them should consider. It references Psalm 146 as a guide. Here is that psalm for our reference and consideration in light of the story, "'Shine a Light in the Corner'--A Sermon for Faithful Citizens Based on Psalm 146." 
Psalm 146:
1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. 
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. 
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. 
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 
6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 
7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous 
9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 
10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!
Thanks to Deborah L. Hughes for the article found here:
https://christiancitizen.us/shine-a-light-in-the-corner-a-sermon-for-a-faithful-citizen/

To understand why every Christian should vote, please read: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/10/christians-should-always-vote-every.html

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Christians Should Always Vote, Every Election

At our last meeting of the Ministerium of Eastern Delaware County, a gathering of the pastors of local churches in and around Lansdowne of various denominations working together, a representative of the non-partisan VotesPa.com organization met with us. She is intent on supporting and promoting democracy through voter participation. She supports neither party, but wants each and every voter to exercise their civic duty and right to vote, unimpeded and in every election.

She gave us material with compelling, and completely non-partisan, reasons why Christians should vote; she knew how to reach a bunch of pastors. I want to pass that information along for your prayerful consideration.

In any democracy, Christians have a responsibility to God to vote in each and every election, whether voting for a President, for Congress, or for local offices. There are no small or boring votes. The two greatest commandments, as Jesus says, are to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40; Luke 10:25-37). Jesus also clearly states that we must pay our taxes to government authorities (Matthew 22:21), no matter how we feel about that personally. Back in Jesus' day, most people had little influence on how those taxes collected would be spent. In today's democracy, we have more power to influence how our money collected will be used ... if we choose to vote wisely. Will it be used for godly purposes--such as helping the poor, the outcast, the sick, widows, orphans, prisoners, the strangers among us, proper stewardship of our planet and all living things--or not. Do we care? If we intend to be Christ-followers, we must.

When we are in need, we hope to receive assistance from the government tasked with doing the things we cannot do ourselves, because our money supports that government. If a hurricane strikes, we hope for FEMA relief. We expect all people in need to be cared for, as is commanded in Scripture, and as Jesus demonstrated so well for us all. Examples of these commands in both the Old and New Testaments may be found in Leviticus 25:25, 35, 39; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28-29; 15:11; 24:14; Psalm 82:3-4; Matthew 25:35; Luke 14:13; Galatians 2:10; James 2:2-6; and 1 John 3:17-18.

Voting to have governmental monies--our money originally--be used to help vulnerable people is one way of fulfilling the Bible's commandments to help our needy and less fortunate brothers and sisters, neighbors all, much as we would hope to be cared for ourselves in times of crisis. If we want the governement to help us when we are in dire need, then we must vote to have government officials who care enough for others, even the "least of these," to help in times of need.

Voting is also good stewardship. We are called to be good stewards of this beautiful, precious, and so far singular world and all life upon it. We need to vote for officials who will honor that call to good stewardship as well.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls all of us to be "salt" and "light" to the world (Matthew 5:14-14), improving the world in all the ways we can. We can do this in a variety of ways, including voting in our democracy for government officials who will do the same. We are called not to be "of" this world, yet definitely to be "in" it--in it to make it a safer, better, healthier, freer place for all. If we do not vote, we are reducing our positive impact on the world. We are giving up our country to the wicked: "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2). We fail to offer love to our neighbors at the ballot box when we choose not to vote, and the people groan.

Why am I, the pastor of Lansdowne Baptist Church, providing this material for your consideration? Because the congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church loves our community, we love humanity, we love creation, and we seek as best we can to follow the two greatest of all commandments as we humbly seek to follow Jesus. Happy voting, in this election, and every election. It's good discipleship.

~Rev. Jeff Snyder
Pastor, Lansdowne Baptist Church

For more, please read: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/10/powerful-message-to-leaders-and-those.html


Praying for Others ... Even Enemies ... Even Spiders

Not Rev. Sparks
Reverend Susan Sparks has a wonderful reflection on how to pray for others, even for our enemies. She unfolds her thoughts on praying for others with a story of an encounter with one of God's creatures that she fears the most, a spider ... or an "avocado with legs" as she describes it.

Follow this like to her article in The Christian Citizen, an American Baptist publication: https://christiancitizen.us/pray-for-the-spiders/

Oh yeah, and make sure you read to the very end. Trust me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Matthew Week 12



On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, we continue our exploration of Matthew, beginning with a continuation of Matthew 14:34-36: when Jesus and the disciples encounter the people Gennesaret, who are much more inclined to accept Jesus' help than were the people of his own hometown. The Pharisees will increase their resistance yet again, and much more, all with applications for life in today's complicated world. More to come. Subscribe and join us.

In my opening remarks, there's one thing I'd like to clarify. You are going to pick and choose among some of the interpretations presented. Christians don't get the choice of picking and choosing among scriptures they like and don't. Those they have to grapple with in their entirety and in context. It is a challenge. Peace, Pastor Jeff Snyder


Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Throne of Grace



Sermon for Sunday, October 14, 2018, based on Hebrew 4:12-16. Life is scary, and always has been. The first half of today's scripture reading is scary, and always has been. However, the second half of the reading tells us where to turn to leave fear behind. To whom can we turn to be courageous? Who is in our corner, ready to help us, and to be at our side when our judgment finally comes? Listen and find out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Matthew Week 11




On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, we continued our exploration of Matthew, beginning with a continuation of Matthew 13;44-50: parables about what the kingdom of heaven is like: hidden treasure, a pearl of great value, and fish caught in a net. We have covered the pearl & treasure, and are getting into the great haul of fish. How is heaven like that??? More to come. Subscribe and join us on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. on the J.S. Brooks YouTube Channel. If you like what you see here, share it with your friends. We could use the publicity.  Peace, Pastor Jeff Snyder

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Test of Faith



Sermon for Sunday, October 7, 2018, based on Job 1:1, 2:1-10. This challenging text grappled with the thorny question of why do bad things happen to good people. It also offers up a way to deal with those bad things when they arise in our lives. Come and listen. Join us Sunday morning at Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, PA. We will welcome you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Matthew Week 10



On Tuesday, October 2, 2018 (October already?) we plunged into Chapters 13-22 of Matthew, including some compelling parables ... stories that have a great deal of life advice packed into very small packages. Come join us on this journey together, recorded here or live on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. . See what there is to learn and enjoy some time with this new community. Peace, Pastor Jeff Snyder

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Our Lunch with the PBA Diversity Group

On Sunday, September 30, 2018, Lansdowne Baptist Church hosted the head of the Philadelphia Baptist Association's Diversity Group, Rev. Julia Bruton-Sheppard. Members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist shouldered the jobs of setting up and providing favorite foods from their lives. Accompanying the food were stories associated with those foods and meals held in the past. The idea was that food brings us all together. As Reverend Julia observed, food is a powerful unifying force when God's Holy Spirit is involved.


Honestly, I should have taken pictures during the story
telling, but I was too wrapped up then in listening
and enjoying to do anything else. 
With my background in archaeology, I observed that throughout human history breaking bread together has been directly associated with hospitality.

We had dishes from all over the country and from Africa to try. By the time everyone was fed (and we could have fed a great many more), and each story was told, we were a much closer group. All the ways society tries to separate us seemed to dissolve in the face of favorite foods and stories everyone could relate to. I highly recommend this exercise for every church, every group, everybody. It was a blessed afternoon. We were fed physically and spiritually.