Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guide to Living With Others in Challenging Times

Romans 12:15-18 offers some great guidance for getting along with each other in highly charged times. Paul wrote, 
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Advice like that just never gets old.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Psalm 30: Expressing Gratitude

I found Eugene H. Peterson's version of this psalm from The Message particularly moving.

I give you all the credit, God--
     you got me out of that mess,
     you didn't let my foes gloat.

God, my God, I yelled for help
     and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
     gave me another chance at life
     when I was down and out.

All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
     Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
     a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
     give way to days of laughter.

When things were going great
     I crowed, "I've got it made.
I'm God's favorite.
     He made me king of the mountain."
Then you looked the other way
     and I fell to pieces.

I called out to you, God;
     I laid my case before you:
"Can you sell me for a profit when I'm dead?
     auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I'm 'dust to dust' my songs
     and stories of you won't sell.
So listen! and be kind!
     Help me out of this!

You did it: you changed wild lament
     into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
     and decked me with wildflowers.

I'm about to burst with song;
     I can't keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
     I can't thank you enough.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

End of School Year Bash Was a Blast!

Lansdowne Baptist Church kicked off our summer season with our annual End of the School Year Bash. We had a great deal of fun with our congregational family, friends, and neighbors (just so you know, when LBC holds an outdoor event on our most wonderful piece of property--the lawn at the corner of Lansdowne and East LaCrosse Avenues, you are invited to join us there). The day started off with a brand new project, our youth raised bed vegetable and flower gardens (it was three beds that day, but due to God's abundance and the powerful movement of His Holy Spirit, we now have four beds). The children and youth planted our vegetables in anticipation of the coming harvest. We plan to share the produce with our kids and the local Interfaith Food Cupboard this fall, God willing. We had lunch using our locally famous lemonade stand. Then the pastor did a little Christian clowning and discovered the fun of involving more of the audience in the performance. This was followed by some terrific games (the flying disc toss trying to ring traffic cones was particularly popular with kids and adults alike). Then came our next new event, a pony ride for the kids. Some children were so in love with this event they rode that pony four or five times in the hour she was with us.

I want to take a moment to say a great big thank you to everyone who made this event so successful and memorable. All of your hard work and preparation and involvement are greatly appreciated. We could not do this without each and every one of you.



It was a blessed day and we look forward to doing it again next year. Who knows what new things we'll have added by that time? Come and find out. You are always welcome.


Pastor Takes Over Lansdowne Baptist Church Facebook Page

Some of us at a recent fellowship event
It takes time to get different aspects of one's ministry all gathered up and running. I just stumbled across a Facebook page I'd established for myself back when I started and had pretty much abandoned when I found very few members were on FB. That appears to be slowly changing so I have gone back, dusted off my FB page, and in the process discovered that Lansdowne Baptist Church has a local page as well, which I will now try to bring up to speed as moderator.

If you are curious and want to see what we're up to, feel free to check out: https://www.facebook.com/LansdowneBaptistChurch/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Marching in the 4th of July Parade in 2016


Lansdowne Baptist Church intends to celebrate the 4th of July by marching in the Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, parade once again. Last year we handed out fliers, pulled a wagon full of information about us, and used a bubble wand to create gigantic bubbles for the amusement of the crowd (and ourselves to be absolutely honest). 


Here's the order of events for the day, straight from the Union Athletic Association of Lansdowne:

Parade & Festivities Schedule & Fireworks Display
2016 Theme: “Lansdowne Celebrates the Arts”
2016 Parade Grand Marshal: Jayne Young

8:15am: FLOATS – Assemble on E. Greenwood Ave., between Lansdowne & Highland Aves.* (See prizes below)

8:30am: BICYCLES & TRICYCLES – Assemble on E. Greenwood Ave.between Lansdowne & Highland Aves.*

INDIVIDUAL MARCHERS – Assemble on E. Greenwood, between Highland &
Wycombe Aves*

MARCHING GROUPS – Assemble on E. Greenwood, between Highland & Wycombe Aves*
8:40am: SMALL WAGONS – Assemble on E. Greenwood Ave.between Lansdowne & Highland Aves.*
9:00 AM: PARADE BEGINS at E. Greenwood & N. Wycombe Avenues. From Wycombe, it turns onto Stewart Avenue, then turns right onto Lansdowne Avenue. The parade turns right again onto Essex Avenue and concludes at Penn Wood High School football field. At the field, music, introduction of our Parade Marshal, a few short speeches, foot races, and prizes await; also, free water ice for the kids.
10:30am: Presentation of parade prizes and foot race awards.
12:00 Noon: Lansdowne Boys & Girls Clubs All-Star baseball games begin. Girls play at the high school field, Boys at Ardmore Avenue field.
7:45 PM: Musical entertainment begins. Our Disk Jockey spins favorite tunes for everybody. Dancing is encouraged. Hotdogs, water ice, soda, cotton candy and pretzels are on sale at the concession stand. Attendees should plan to arrive early to find a place on the field or a seat in the bleachers.
9:00 PM: Fireworks Begin! The Union Athletic Association of Lansdowne proudly presents an awesome fireworks extravaganza. Many small towns have had to discontinue this expensive part of the day, but Lansdowne has managed to keep the tradition for more than one hundred years!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One In Christ

Father's Day Sermon based on Galatians 3:23-29, dealing with the human barrier shattering that being a follower of Christ involves. In part, this sermon speaks out against the hatred and violence inflicted on various minorities, including the horrendous mass murder suffered by the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida's, Pulse nightclub.

For a statement from our denomination, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/powerful-statement-from-our.html

Monday, June 20, 2016

Powerful Statement from Our Denomination Following the Shootings in Orlando

American Baptist Churches USA is the most diverse denomination in the United States. Our churches have a great deal of autonomy, we are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, and we have varying interpretations of particular passages that have been the focus of recent cultural and religious debated.

Yet, in the midst of turmoil, our leadership provided the following powerful message of love. Please follow this link and read: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

Two Powerful Statements From American Baptist Home Mission Societies After Orlando

The American Baptist Home Mission  Society describes itself as follows
As part of American Baptist Churches USA, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) answers God’s call to live out Christian faith through ministry that strengthens congregations and connects with communities beyond church walls—ministry that encourages and nurtures disciple-makers who shout the Good News of Jesus Christ and impact our world with God’s love.
In the wake of the terrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a previously safe haven for members of the LGBT community, ABHMS released the following: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/american-baptist-home-mission-societies-stands-lgbtq-community-wake-orlando-massacre/

Further, the ABHMS makes this statement about gun violence: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/abhms-urges-american-baptists-advocate-gun-violence-prevention/

Please read and prayerfully consider.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Standing with Those Who Suffer & Mourn in Orlando

The congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church stands with and prays for the victims, their families, and friends in the LGBT community in the wake of Sunday's horrid attack in Orlando, Florida. May God provide each and every one of you with strength, comfort, and healing. Human as we are, we have trouble speaking clearly through our grief, our outrage at this terrible injustice and atrocity, and our sorrow. So, in troubled times, Jesus' Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) offer a powerful message for us when we cannot speak clearly ourselves:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Let me leave you with a hymn for anguished spirits: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/03/be-still-my-soul.html

Please read the statements from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies as well: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/two-powerful-statements-from-american.html

Friday, June 10, 2016

Penmanship Epiphany

Years ago, my grade school teacher told me to loosen my grip on my pen if I wanted better penmanship. It has taken me all these years to realize she was asking me to following the often repeated biblical admonition, "Do not be afraid." If I'd just loosen up a bit, trust in the guidance given and tools received, life (and penmanship) would improve markedly. Sure enough, a looser hold on a pen and life brings greater results. However, white knuckling it through writing and life are hard habits to break!

Wishing you all the blessings of a life far freer of fear. 

Give Judging Others a Rest

In this highly charged political season, let's follow some sound advice from Jesus and from theologian Henri Nouwen. Henri Nouwen writes in his devotional, Bread for the Journey,
Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our minds about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we only create more division. Jesus says it clearly, "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive." (Luke 6:36-37)
If you have to evaluate, classify, and label, I hope you are in one of the sciences. Otherwise, along with judging and condemning, don't do it, please! Be friendly, be open, be hopeful, and offer a helping hand instead. And forgive others who have not yet learned this lesson and walk a darker, more difficult path. Pray that they will find this better way to live, and soon!