Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Candlelight Service

On Sunday, December 21st, Lansdowne Baptist Church's congregation, extended families, and friends celebrated Jesus' birth with a beautiful candlelight service. We heard lessons from Old and New Testament Scripture related to the birth of Jesus. We celebrated with familiar carols. We reveled in the talents of a young singer and two trumpet players who added to the service. The highlight of the evening was when the sanctuary descended into darkness except for the light of a single candle. From this, in a beautiful traditional ceremony the light of Jesus Christ's message was spread through the whole assembled body of believers and together we sang Silent Night.

This wonderful, deeply meaningful service took the efforts of roughly twenty dedicated individuals, some of whom went on to serve a terrific, festive meal afterwards. Their efforts in making the night a truly worshipful experience are deeply appreciated.

Consider yourself invited to next year's Candlelight Service.

Through these red doors (red is symbolic of joy)
you are always welcome!

May you and your family enjoy the blessings of Christmas. 

Good News of Great Joy

For Christmas this year, wishing you all the joy of the shepherds when the angels told them of the coming of the long awaited Messiah. To the lowest on the social scale the angels came, making the shepherds who most looked down upon the messengers of good news of great joy for all people.  Here's how Luke tells the story in Chapter 2, verses 8 through 20. 
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rejoice Always

The apostle Paul calls you to rejoice this Christmas season, and throughout the year. It's a matter of trust and a defiance of fear. It's also a healthy way to live. Wishing you a blessed Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good News

There is surprisingly, wonderfully good news for you coming from a long ago prophet who appeared long after the age of prophets was thought to be done. He brought news of the coming of one who the people of Israel had longed for over many generations. We live in a different world because of this news.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Fair TODAY! 10 am to 2 pm December 6

This is the day. The Christmas Fair is on at Lansdowne Baptist Church in the education wing. Room upon room of those gifts you are looking for at prices ... well, words don't express it properly.

There will be a silent auction that includes refurbished computers, beautiful ceramics, glass, and art books among other wonderful things. 

Then there are the baked goods. If you have not had Baptist baked goods, you have no truly lived. Come out and be blessed. 

All funds raised help this church help its community, so it is all for a good cause. We look forward to seeing you there.

So what if there is a little rain? God, in infinite wisdom, made us waterproof for just such events. We will welcome you warmly and give you a good and dry shopping environment. 

Finally, everyone working today's event is doing so by choice. Nobody has been pulled away from family and friends during a holiday to work this event. In fact, everybody here is working WITH family and friends. Come and see. YOU are most welcome.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reflections on the Christmas Season

“Hark the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the new-born king’. Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” ~Charles Wesley 

        Welcome to another Christmas season. Welcome to our celebration of the moment when the world changed forever. Luke 2:1-20, especially 8-20, is my favorite rendition of the Christmas story. For me, I cannot hear or read the shepherd’s experience with the angels in the field without thinking of my childhood and A Charlie Brown Christmas, in which Linus, the crew’s pint-sized theologian explains the meaning of Christmas to a distraught Charlie Brown using this passage.

        There are the shepherds, out watching their flock in the field at night, social outcasts based on the “earthy” way they make a living. Yet, outside of Jesus' family-to-be, these are the first people among the nation of Israel to hear the “good news of great joy for all the people.” Assured not to be afraid of the angel’s visitation (a good thing considering the angelic choir that will soon appear), they are told of the birth of a Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Such powerful titles these are, the titles for a king. And yet, this king will be found wrapped in bands of cloth in a manger. Peace among those whom God favors refers to the nation of Israel, a people set apart, for whom this message was first delivered. Luckily for us all, while Jesus began by fulfilling Jewish prophecy, in time the reach of Jesus’ good news would extend much farther, and that joy and peace right along with it.

        Immediately after hearing this message and choir, those shepherds headed off to find Jesus. Their world had changed and they wanted to find the source of that change. They never questioned that a Savior, Messiah, and Lord would also be one who was submissive and humble too. What a wonderful leap of faith, given how loaded those three words were with expectations across many centuries for the nation of Israel. When the shepherds arrived and told their tale, no doubt with great enthusiasm, the people were amazed. I wonder if they were more amazed by the tale or the messengers? But Mary treasured and pondered those words, as we all should. Finally, the shepherds returned to their world, their night on the hillside with the sheep, to a world that would never be the same because of the birth of Jesus: Savior, Messiah, and Lord.

        Wishing everyone peace, joy, and wonder this Christmas season as we celebrate Jesus’ birth once again. 

~Pastor Jeff Snyder

What Is Advent?

Welcome to the season of Advent, the beginning of the new church year. Advent, comprised of the four weeks prior to Christmas, is a season when we remember all God has done for us. We look back to the newness God brought into the world with the First Advent, the birth of Jesus. How Jesus’ entry into our world changed everything! It is the season when we look ahead to Jesus’ return and the reign of peace and justice that will come in that much anticipated Second Advent.

Over these four weeks, we light the candles of the Advent wreath. The evergreen wreath reminds us of God’s eternal love for us all. The four candles around the wreath represent hope, love, joy, and peace. The central candle, the last to be lit, represents Jesus Christ, who was sent by God to bring us hope, love, joy, and peace. It is a beautiful reminder of all Jesus has done for us and all that will yet be done. God bless you in this wonderful, meaningful season of Advent.

Loving Boldly

Presented for your consideration, a challenge to love the outcast and the downtrodden. This challenge comes from one of the most potentially unnerving passages in the New Testament. Give it a listen and "hear" for yourself. God bless you.