Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thanks to Our Christmas Volunteers

It is well worth the effort to take a few minutes out of our busy days to stop and be grateful for all the help God has sent our way. LBC is graced with many wonderful volunteers. This year, during the Advent season, we had volunteers who acted out dramatic monologues or dialogues in our Voices of Advent performances each week. Additionally, we need to thank all our volunteers who made our Children's Pageant, acting out the story of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in Bethlehem possible. There were talented adults who costumed the children, helped direct them to their locations, listen to the narration, narrate the story dramatically using an "I don't believe it" and "Believe" call and response with the kids and the adults in the congregation (who at one point played the role of the Heavenly Host but were soon demoted to a flock of sheep). It was a wonderful experience, with one parent saying afterwards that she just couldn't stop smiling throughout the whole pageant.

Volunteers transformed our sanctuary for our Christmas Candlelight Service, organized all the volunteers who participated in the service in a number of ways, used their talents during the nine readings in the lessons and carols. Three musicians added to the evening's beauty. We thank all who attended and raised their voices in hymns of praise. We had a strong turnout. We also thank those dedicated volunteers who organized the feast that was provided after the Candlelight Service (and well received).

It is amazing and humbling to see how many hands are needed to make a single event in the church come to fruition. We thank God for bringing this talented, willing congregation together and for inspiring us to work so well together to make these wonderful services happen.

Old Fashioned Invitations

Over the past few months, the pastor has been experimenting with an old-fashioned form of invitation. He has been leaving small fliers on people's door knobs, inviting them to attend our church service. Pastor Snyder takes one street at a time (or part of it) with about 40 flies printed on a thin but sturdy card stock (3 to an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet), punches a hole in each near the upper left corner and affixes a rubber band there to hand the flier from door knobs (one does not leave such invitations in mail boxes as the US Postal Service is not in favor of that). He also does not leave these fliers at any home where "No Soliciting" signs are present. We at LBC respect the feelings of others. While we want to invite as many people as possible to worship with us each Sunday and experience the love of God we feel when we worship together, we don't want to intrude where we are decidedly unwelcome.

For our Christmas Candlelight Service, one side of the flier was dedicated to that service, while the other contained the general invitation. While far from conclusive as yet, our pastor says he likes the process and enjoys getting to know our neighborhoods and neighbors around the church better. Over 300 fliers have been handed out in our immediate vicinity, with many more to come.

If you live anywhere near Lansdowne Baptist Church, have yet to receive an invitation, but are reading this post, consider yourself invited to join us any Sunday morning. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Be Thankful

Based on Colossians 3:12-17, this sermon explores the new ways of interacting with others Paul recommends. Paul calls for us all to strip away the vices Paul calls our "old clothes," replacing them with the "new clothes," the virtues, of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love. It explores why these virtues represent a far more powerful way of interacting with others than we imagine. All of these virtues are bound together and supported by one other ... one not mentioned here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Decorating Sanctuary for Christmas

Preparing for our joyous celebration of Jesus' birth, this Saturday, December 12, at 9:00 a.m., church volunteers will be gathering to decorate the sanctuary. It is a wonderful transformation to see and to help complete. Members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church are more than welcome to come and contribute to this significant and joyful transformation. Come help make the sanctuary shine.

All are invited to our Candlelight Service, where you will see all those beautiful decorations. To learn when and where this takes place, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-candlelight-service.html

Thanks to Our Work Crews

Throughout the year, our volunteers come out for Saturday work parties. Their God-given talents, their efforts, and their time and energies spent are crucial to keeping Lansdowne Baptist Church looking right and well maintained. This fall our crews worked on the yard, the leaves (a sure sign of God's abundance in this world), some sidewalk patching, vital work on the Education Building main doors, and planting beautiful flowers to bring color to the grounds.

Thank you all for what you contribute to our shared community and historic church building.

For more about what was completed on these work days, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2015/11/november-work-days-at-lbc.html

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Making Jesus' Commission Our Own

In the early years of Christianity, believers were called Christians or "Little Christs" as a form of derision. Early believers sought to own the term as Christ followers. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus reads in the synagogue in Nazareth verses from the scroll of Isaiah. The verses read:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
  because he has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives
  and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's
As Christ followers, we would do well to keep this passage before us as our own commissioning to ministry in this life. Seeking to bring good news to the poor (and all those considered outcasts in our society today), working hard to get captives released, seeking to clear the sight of those who are spiritually blind, and to help the oppressed (including those refugees who flee terrible violence in their homelands) to go free. Working toward the original concept of the Jubilee year wouldn't be such a bad idea either.

Have a blessed day.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Candlelight Service

On Sunday, December 20th, 2015, at 7:00 in the evening, you are invited to Lansdowne Baptist Church's annual Christmas Candlelight Service.  This inspiring service includes a service of nine lessons and carols. The lessons span from Genesis, Isaiah, and Micah in the Old Testament to Matthew, Luke, and John in the New Testament. Follow the story of God's love for humanity, a love so strong that nothing we could do would destroy it, from the very beginning through the joyous birth of Jesus, the Messiah, who would show us the way home to God and declare in word and deed how much we are all beloved children of God. Following the lessons and carols is a truly unique message during which the light of Christ is shared throughout the church sanctuary, taking a single point of light at the pulpit out throughout the gathered people, sharing Jesus' love and message until the sanctuary, once dark, is lit by candles. By that soft glow, Silent Night is sung to end a beautiful, inspiring, and memorable evening sure to give you the real Christmas spirit. Come and join in this profound moment of worship and peace.

Wisdom from Proverbs in Angry Times

With so many arguments and counter-arguments arising in light of recent events and campaigns, it is useful from time to time to return to the wisdom of the Proverbs. Here are two verses from Proverbs 17 (verses 27-28) that might provide some useful, wise guidance. 
One who spares words is knowledgeable;
one who is cool in spirit has understanding.
Even fools who keep silent are considered wise;
when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.
Perhaps a little less angry invective back and forth and a little more listening with open minds would not be amiss.