Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Faith: What Is It?

Here are a few quotes on faith from great thinkers who will help us define faith for ourselves ... and perhaps desire it all the more. Growing faith is the process of a lifetime.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a [person] stakes life on it a thousand times.

~Martin Luther

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
~Hebrews 11:1

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
~John 20:29

Faith is a matter of trust ... 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
~Proverbs 3:5-6

Now, finally, faith can be a little difficult to explain to others ...

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
~Thomas Aquinas

For a sermon that ties this all together, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2015/01/life-interrupted.html

What to Leave Behind to Follow Jesus

In Mark 1:14-20, Jesus calls four fishermen from the Sea of Galilee to follow him and come fish for people. These four disciples left their livelihood behind, their families, their daily routine for the unknown when called by Jesus. We are not called to quite so much. In fact, God can make great use of us at home and work. However, as mentioned in The Interpreter's Bible commentary, there are a few things we need to discard when following Jesus. Answering Jesus' call to come follow, we should discard like an old, worn out, ruined fishing net our old prejudices--the ones so familiar and easy to get along with out of long use; our "recumbent inertia" (such a wonderful turn of phrase); our aversion to the pain of new ideas; and our self-determination, which makes us so reluctant to follow where Jesus would have us go. Add to that all of our "what if" fears of what might happen if we follow Jesus. Replace those with active faith and follow. It will be a great adventure, with many surprising twists and turns along the way. 

Life Interrupted

The story of Jesus inviting four fishermen to interrupt their day-to-day lives and follow him instead is instructive for us all. We too are called to interrupt our routines and do things differently. How will we respond?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What Good?

When Philip tells Nathanael the Messiah has been found and he comes from Nazareth, Nathanael's quip is "What good ever came from Nazareth?" Philip and Jesus' response to this skeptical response is invaluable to us today as we live in a skeptical age. Come and see ...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day of Service

If you live in the greater Philadelphia area and are hoping to take part in a public service project for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Monday, January 19, see the following link for opportunities available throughout the region: http://www.mlkdayofservice.org/ 

May you find great blessings in helping others on the Day of Service, and throughout the year.

New Beginnings

Genesis 1: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

It is amazing the theological depths contained within these five verses and those that follow in Genesis 1-2:4. The sermon begins with a reminder of what is possible when faithful people work together to support those in need in our community. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Annual Meeting Approaches

Lansdowne Baptist Church members and friends: please mark your calendars for our rapidly approaching Annual Meeting. This very important meeting for our church will be held after worship on January 25th. Please plan to attend and help us determine our course for the upcoming year. 

Leap of Faith

Here is a suggestion on how to face all the uncertainties of the new year, following Mary's example during the wedding at Cana. Wishing you all a blessed year.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Help During a Code Blue Alert in Philadelphia

When the weather outside is truly frightful (twenty degrees or below with combined temperature, wind chill, and precipitation), the city of Philadelphia initiates a Code Blue Alert. The homeless are encouraged to leave the streets on nights when such weather conditions occur. Emergency shelters are obtained (some within police stations), hours are extended, and every effort is made to see the homeless have a warm, safe place to weather the storm. 

For more on the Code Blue system, see: http://www.phila.gov/codeBlue.html

If you see someone you believe needs help, you can call the Project HOME hotline number: 215-232-1984

For more on Project HOME, see: https://projecthome.org/

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Lord Is With You

A Christmas message of hope, strength, and belief in the miraculous ... in other words, a message we need all year 'round. Wishing you all peace, hope, and the strong belief of Mary, Jesus' Mom, now and always.