Friday, September 22, 2017

Standing with All Who Wait for News

We here at Lansdowne Baptist Church stand beside all those who anxiously await news of loved ones, family and friends alike, on Puerto Rico and the other islands hit by Hurricane Maria. Our hearts ache with yours. We too wait to hear from loved ones. We pray with you. You are not alone. 

We hope the verses of this Psalm will provide some solace.

Psalm 27:13-14: I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

We do the same for those who have loved ones in Mexico following the terrible earthquakes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We American Baptists Keep Praying and Working for Disaster Survivors

We pray for strength and determination to act. We pray for all those who have been impacted by disasters, natural and human-made. As a denomination, we are acting, using One Great Hour of Sharing donations from our ABC USA churches to support the hurricane victims from Harvey and Irma. I'm sure we'll be working to gather funds for the survivors of Hurricane Maria as well. Here's what's being done and how you can help, as reported by ABC USA:


VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/19/17)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) continues to provide support to the survivors of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Both recently brought strong winds and flooding that resulted in structural damage, power outages, injuries and fatalities—Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, and Irma in Puerto Rico and Florida.
Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
On behalf of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), ABHMS released a $10,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. Wheeler is serving as a hurricane donation and distribution center, providing Houston residents with personal-care items, baby items, household items and cleaning supplies.
ABHMS released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant, on behalf of ABCUSA, to
American Baptist Men USA (ABMen). Funds will be used to aid ABMen’s cleanup and rebuilding efforts at St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church’s and National Baptist Convention of America International Inc.’s sites in Lake Charles, La., and Port Arthur, Texas.
Hurricane Irma relief efforts
In response to Hurricane Irma, Mount Olive Development Corp. (MODCO) of New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., created a feeding ministry that prepared and served more than 2,550 meals Sept. 12-17. MODCO is feeding the poorest of the poor, many of whom are seniors, single-parent families and individuals with HIV. While MODCO estimates that an additional 1,000 food-insecure individuals could benefit from the ministry, the organization’s resources have become limited. ABHMS, on behalf of ABCUSA, released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to MODCO.
First Baptist Institutional Church, St. Petersburg, Fla., began a feeding ministry to provide meals to St. Petersburg residents affected by the hurricane. On behalf of ABCUSA, ABHMS released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to assist with the ministry.
In addition, ABHMS released, on behalf of ABCUSA, a $10,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to American Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico. Funds will be used to deliver food to families of greatest need. In addition, 200 families will be provided with certificates to grocery stores.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.
How you can continue to help
Survivors continue to need your prayers. In addition, donations designated to “OGHS – Hurricane Harvey” or “OGHS – Hurricane Irma” can be made through your church; by visiting http://www.abc-usa.org/ and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS – Hurricane Harvey” or “OGHS – Hurricane Irma.” Or, mail to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851.One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.
For those who wish to donate items, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church’s distribution center requests the following: toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, mouthwash, lotion, disposable razors, incontinence products and new undergarments, in all sizes from children’s to male and female plus sizes; all sizes of diapers, formula, baby wipes, new bottles, new pacifiers, crib sheets, baby blankets, and new or gently used highchairs, car seats and infant swings; new or gently used bed linens, blankets, pillows and bath towels in all sizes; bleach, bleach wipes, sponges, spray bottles, mops, brooms, dish soap, scrub brushes, sanitizer, laundry detergent; pots, dishes, silverware, paper products, plastic cutlery, wet/dry vacuums and dish towels. Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church is at 3810 Ruth St., Houston, Texas, 77004, and can be reached at 713-579-2792.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

For a powerful message from our ABC USA General Secretary, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/09/20/in-between-hurricanes/

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LBC's Third Walking Prayer

A small group of members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church returned to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, PA, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, to practice the spiritual discipline of the walking prayer. We turned all our attention, all our senses, to the natural world--God's creation. In doing so, we walk in the company of God and are refreshed.

For me, the patterns among the trees first draw me in ...
Bridge spanning the wetlands.
For me, the patterns found in the trees are what draw me in to the natural world around me, opening my senses and calming my mind. The view from the bridge out in the wetlands is a valuable lesson in what happens when we really stop and pay attention to the world around us. At first, we see only the most obvious things: trees, water plants, water, and clouds. That's about it. But, as the mind stills, attention is first drawn to the larger water birds like the snowy egrets and great egrets. Then the smaller water birds, like ducks, are noticed among the water lilies. In time, the fish and the dragon flies and the bees capture our attention. Then we find ourselves standing beside God and taking it all in. For those who have the temperament for it, the walking prayer can be deeply moving.


Amazing what we see when we stop and look. Many egrets out on the water that day.
Consider yourself invited to join us next time ... and there will always be a next time.

When the Lord Drove



Sermon based on Exodus 14:19-31, where God and Moses bring the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and into freedom, crossing the Red Sea. There are several powerful points for us all in this scripture. Watch and see for yourselves.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Armor of Light



In the sermon of September 10, 2017, we explored what Paul meant when he wrote to the Christians in Rome that they should put on the armor of light. Paul called them, and all Christians, to stand against the darkness, using one powerful, inexhaustible resource. Listen and find out what that resource is and how it is being used today.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sign of the Time

It's fall again from a church worship schedule perspective. It is time to return, on Sunday September 10, 2017, to return to fall hours, with Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m.

Come, learn, and worship with us. Consider yourself invited and welcome.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent



Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer play into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

Friday, September 1, 2017

Returning to Our Fall Schedule at LBC

It's alarming how fast summer slipped by!
Please noteSunday, September 10th begins Sunday school @ 9:45 a.m. Christian Diversity will be taught by Pastor Snyder. Also, morning worship will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice



A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.

Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”

I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Persistence Is Key

We are living in challenging times. We are called to be faithful followers of Jesus by being persistent in the face of extraordinary challenges. Persistence is defined as: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus gives us the parable of a very persistent woman seeking justice from a corrupt judge. She called upon him every day until he gave in, fearful that she'd give him a black eye if he didn't give her justice. Jesus calls upon us to pray to God, who is keenly interested in justice for all, and act in faith as we are strengthened by prayer.

On our vacation to Indiana, my wife and I encountered "The Wedge" at Turkey Run State Park, a small area of the state left in a primitive and natural state as the land is far too rocky to cultivate. The Wedge was once part of a cliff face that sheered away and split into three large pieces on impact. In a small crack in one part of The Wedge, the small seed of a tree fell. The seed persisted in this unlikely and unwelcoming location. As it grew, its roots dug into obstinate rock, creating soil, and the tree grew tall and strong in this unlikely location. This tree is a great illustration of the persistent woman's determination. Be like the woman and this tree and persist. Be like the woman and work tirelessly for justice. 

~Rev. Jeff Snyder

The Wedge, in three pieces
Persistent tree growing out of the top of the right hand
section of The Wedge.

Christian Diversity Sunday School Class Offered for Adults, Fall 2017

Beginning September 10, 2017, the pastor is going to be offering up an adult Sunday school class studying and looking to implement Christian diversity among us. We begin with seven weeks of engaging exercises covering 1. Answering God’s Call; 2. Prejudices, Perceptions, and Assumptions; 3. Comfort Zones and Going Beyond Them; 4. Leadership in a Time or Place of Transition; 5. Open Heart, Open Hand, Let Go; 6. Walk Like Jesus Walked; and 7. To Be a Good Neighbor. From there, we will plunge into a study of a terrific book, Welcoming Community: Diversity that Works. This is a start to a journey of understanding of all the diverse people God has gifted us with, within our church walls, out in our community, and throughout our American Baptist denomination.

This is a study I hope everyone will take advantage of and add their unique experience and perspective to in the months ahead as this impacts everyone, without exception. Rev. Doug Avilesbernal compares and contrasts society’s understanding of diversity with our understanding of Christian diversity. This is useful in clearing up confusion. As Rev. Avilesbernal observes, our culture understands diversity as being merely tolerant of others, and today that is exactly where most diversity training programs will leave you. This approach allows people of different backgrounds (ethnic, national, regional, however one chooses to divide humanity) to move toward one another without actively disliking each other, but only to the point of tolerating each other. While tolerance is a good thing, as far as it goes, it only allows us to stay out of each other’s way. That’s not what Christ had in mind for us, and certainly not how he approached other people.


Christian diversity, by contrast, is more complicated. Christian diversity welcomes different people because it is instead rooted in Jesus’ command that we love one another as ourselves. This is an approach that allows our church community to welcome and integrate differences into our community and enjoy the riches that such inclusion bring, riches that are blessings flowing from God and through others. It is a wonderful thing to strive for and a challenging thing to achieve. Churches that make the attempt and succeed are far stronger, far more joyful, and far greater blessed. 

Lansdowne Baptist Stands With, Prays For, and Works for Hurricane Harvey Victims

Here is the news from our denomination, American Baptist Churches USA. We are praying for all the hurricane victims and their rescuers, standing by them all in their hours of need, and working to generate relief funds. Here is how to help: 

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/28/17)—American Baptists are urged to lift up those affected in both Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that made landfall Friday on the Texas coast. Bringing 130 mph winds and an unprecedented amount of torrential rainfall in some areas, the hurricane has resulted in flooding, power outages, downed trees and signs, major property damage, displaced residents, injuries and fatalities.
“American Baptist Home Mission Societies [ABHMS] grieves with the rest of the nation at the relentless weather pounding the Houston region right now,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “Our disaster-recovery office has been in communication with American Baptist Churches of the South since Friday, before the weather hit.
“As soon as we receive damage assessments, we will consider how we can best assist on the long road to rebuilding homes, churches and lives, and then begin distributing relief grants,” Haggray continues. “In the meantime, let us all seek comfort in the words of the age-old hymn penned by Martin Luther: ‘A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.’”
American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer invites all congregations to donate generously to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.
“American Baptists across the country are a generous people, and our hearts are grieved by the human suffering we have seen since the storm made landfall,” Spitzer says. “I ask that every church dedicate time this week to pray for the safety and well-being of all affected by the storm, and to express our love for them by giving sacrificially to One Great Hour of Sharing.”
Donations can be made via your church; online through ABHMS’ website at abhms.org > Give Now; or designated to “OGHS-Hurricane Harvey” and mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.

For all who struggle, a hymn of assurance: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/03/be-still-my-soul.html

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Siblings



Sermon based on Genesis 37:1-4, 18-38, showing us the dysfunctional, grudge poisoned, hateful relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We explore how to equip ourselves against dysfunction and hate in our own day and age, like the hate so prominently on display at the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017. Being so equipped, we must work all our lives against letting hatred consume us.

If you doubt your small efforts or talents can be any use in fighting against human hatred, intolerance, racism, etc., take a look at the following sermon and rethink: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/against-all-expectations.html

For specific reactions from our denomination to the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which I heartily agree with and endorse, see the following posts: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/american-baptist-home-mission-societies.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan

The fight against the sin of race hatred is ongoing. We stand against the darkness as a denomination and as a church within that denomination. My great grandfather, the Rev. Martin Luther Hall, refused the demands of the Ku Klux Klan when they rode up to his church after Sunday service and demanded he join their hateful forces. He let them and his entire congregation know in no uncertain terms how strongly he refused the hatred this organization stood for. We continue to work against the deep sin of mindless hatred in all its forms today. At the hate demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12, 2017, protesters carried a sign reading "Diversity = White Genocide." We contest that belief strongly. As one of the most diverse denominations in the US, we see that diversity as one of our greatest strengths and an affirmation of many bible verses, including Revelation 7:9: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. That is a vision we heartily endorse and work toward every day. ~Rev. Jeffrey B. Snyder

Below is the resolution adopted unanimously by ABCUSA:

AMERICAN BAPTIST RESOLUTION ON THE RESURGENCE OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
The mood of America is characterized by growing economic unrest, unemployment, rapid social change and a sense of impotency and futility. That mood is contributing to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, or to a “new Klan,” and to other white-supremist movements in the United States.
Public opinion has encouraged the growth of the Klan and racism in general when it has sympathized with it or indirectly supported it by endorsing the attitude that America’s minorities have “come too far, too fast.” Public tolerance has been demonstrated by voter acceptance of Klan political candidates, widespread distribution of printed material which accepts KKK actions, and by the failure of the criminal justice system to investigate effectively and end Klan-related violence.
THEREFORE: In accordance with the American Baptist Policy Statement on Human Rights which supports the right of all persons to be protected against discrimination and in light of its concern over the current manifestations of racism as evidenced in the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the General Board of the American Baptist Churches urges local congregations and individuals to:
1. Indicate publicly their opposition to the Klan by statement and action wherever the Klan appears;
2. Encourage politicians and governmental bodies to take active positions against the racism, terrorism and acts of violence fostered by the Klan;
3. Educate members, especially children, about the nature of the Klan and about the myths which it seeks to foster related to racial superiority;
4. Design and implement programs to educate people, especially children, about the biblical imperatives for racial justice;
5. Take every opportunity afforded by the media to affirm our support of racial justice; and
6. Become actively involved in local and national efforts to achieve and assure racial justice.
We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.
Adopted by the General Board of the American Baptist Churches – December 1980 130 For, 0 Against, 0 Abstentions

American Baptist Home Mission Societies Speaks Out Against Racism and Violence

Following the awful demonstration of hate and terrorist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, the American Baptist Home Mission Society released the following statement that we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church fully support and endorse. American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse denominations in the United States and that diversity is our strength! ~Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder


American Baptist Home Mission Societies denounces and condemns—in the strongest manner possible—the violent and deadly demonstration led by a host of white supremacist organizations and individuals in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
The human toll of three lives lost senselessly and more than two dozen individuals injured stains our American stature on the world stage. The racial and religious hatred expressed by the Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations in opposition to the city’s decision to remove a monument memorializing the American Civil War’s Confederacy and its standard bearers is an affront to democracy and our social order.
We join with people of goodwill across our country who seek to make America’s public squares, government grounds and city streets safe for all citizens.
Furthermore, we commend and pray for all the valiant clergy, students, justice workers and others who gathered in Charlottesville to say “no” to violence, threats and intimidation from the white supremacist demonstrators.
In the wake of yet another terrifying episode of violence in America’s public square, we pray for the families and loved ones of Heather Heyer, whose life was tragically taken during the vehicular assault on dozens of peace workers. We pray, too, for the families and loved ones of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—the Virginia state police troopers who died in a helicopter crash related to the situation in Charlottesville—along with those who were victims of assaults and trauma, both physical and emotional, resulting from the violence.
“We call upon people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray and work on behalf of freedom, justice and peace in the United States of America and throughout the world,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “Never were these prayers and this work needed more.”

For more, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

Against All Expectations



Sermon based on Matthew 14:13-21, in which we discover just how completely Jesus will defy our limited expectations where we are willing to work with him. There is a challenge here for us all.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

ABCUSA General Secretary Speaks to Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12-13, 2017

Our denomination takes a dim view of racist violence and white supremacist terror. The General Secretary reminds us all of our denominational stance. In part, he states:

Second, the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-white-nationalists-rally/index.html), cannot be ignored. Let us encourage our pastors to remind our membership that ABCUSA stands for the full equality of all Americans and rejects every version of racial prejudice and specifically, the contemporary ugly resurgence of so-called “white nationalism.” I especially appreciated IM missionary Daniel Buttry’s Facebook reposting of an American Baptist Resolution which is still valid today:

To see the entire letter, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/08/13/general-secretarys-update-august-12-13-2017/

This includes the American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. The end of the resolution includes the following instructions to leaders:

We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.

Wonder Woman and Mission

 Sermon based on 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, the last of the July 2017 Summer Blockbuster series relating what superheroes can inform us about various aspects of Christianity. In today's sermon, Wonder Woman, ambassador of the Amazons to the US and the UN gives us insights on being faith ambassadors for Christ.

Facing a Troubled Nation

In the wake of the violence and hatred erupting out of Charlottesville, Virginia, it is useful to remember these wise words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?Expediency ask the question, is it politic?Vanity asks the question, is it popular?But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

God calls us to love, love God, and love neighbors, all our neighbors. Actually, God commands. We are challenged to fulfill that call to the best of our ability. We stand with all those hate groups single out for harm, for terror, and worse. We call all those who have fallen away from God into the darkness hate creates to repent (turn their lives around and change) and to return to life and light and love and forgiveness. Nothing is impossible with God.
None of it is easy. Not one single writer in the Bible ever promised it would be. Jesus Christ showed us the ways of love and servant leadership come at a great price.
Pray for our divided nation. Work for justice. Labor for peace. Speak for truth. Do it to fulfill those two great commandments. Remember, blessed are the peacemakers. Be courageous.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

National Night Out 2017, LBC Was There

Shortly after 5 p.m., the LBC spot was set up on Tuesday, August 1, for the National Night Out. We had church volunteers to help, church members who stopped by to chat, and interested community members who came by, learned a little about us as we learned a little about them, and took away both information and coloring books. Thanks to everyone who helped and all who showed up. You were a blessing from God to us.



A little pictorial history of LBC's recent events

God gifted us with a beautiful, if mighty warm, evening. The crowd was friendly. The food was terrific. And our Presbyterian neighbors were wonderful, as always. An enjoyable evening was had by all. We also were introduced to the police departments newest recruit, the K-9 unit member, a young and very eager German shepherd. Sorry for the lack of people pictures. My phone failed right after these photos were taken!

Look forward to seeing you at next year's event.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Communicating with Love

We have all heard that for a church to live as a blessed community, we have to live differently from the society around us. We have heard this so often, it feels cliché and therefore worthy of being totally ignored. However, in the toxic climate in our society today, where violent communication is rampant, it is also quite true. Today we citizens of the United States have little trust in our institutions, whether the church, the government, our medical or legal system, or our employers. But it does not stop there. It has gotten so bad that only a third of all Americans trust each other. Why, it has gotten so bad most people won’t even trust others enough to bowl with them! All this mistrust leads to many arguments. Often people have gotten into the bind of thinking that anyone who argues against a favorite position (no matter what the topic) must be an enemy. Violence can and often does follow quickly in this sad scenario. Loving neighbors and enemies alike, as we Christians are called to do, is hard in times like these.
                But, there are things we can do to counter this problem. We can start by thinking of each other differently. We have to work hard, and what better time to practice than the long summer days, to believe that everyone is basically compassionate by nature. We have to believe that all violent strategies, whether verbal or physical, are learned behaviors that are supported by the culture we live in and by whatever culture we were raised in. We are called not to approach every disagreement with our guard up and a deep desire to win, defeating our opponent at any cost. Instead we can enter into all conversations (including disagreements) with the idea that we just might learn something new, and maybe even have our mind changed, from our worthy discussion partner. When we make this peaceful approach, we also allow ourselves to remember that the person facing us is a whole person, with fears, hopes, and anxieties. We remind ourselves that this person just might be communicating out of those fears and anxieties. Instead of responding with fears and anxieties of our own (leading to heated arguments, hurt feelings, resentments, and grudges), we are sympathetic and compassionate to this person, especially if we see they are hurting. We do not view this person as an enemy.
                Henri Nouwen reminds us that when we hold tight to complaints and resentments, we block God from entering our hearts and setting us free. Hang onto negative emotions, as so often happens in society today, and we trade faith, hope, and charity with fear, doubt, and rivalry. That’s certainly no way to live together.
                To communicate well and build solid community, we can make sure that we are clear, that we are not intending to create a winner/loser situation in our conversation, and that we avoid blaming and accusing. We take personal responsibility for our own actions and leave the past in the past, never dredging up past mistakes or hurts. Even better, we spend more time listening to the other person than speaking. Listening well involves setting aside our personal feelings, positions, and preconceived notions so we can clearly hear what the other person says. Effective listening avoids assuming, accusing, and sabotaging the conversation.
                Great aids to effective communication and community building include regularly complimenting people for the positive things they say and do. Doing that well means overlooking faults and weaknesses in other people, since we all have them.
                We all get swept up in the ways of the world from time to time. We all have bad days and sometimes we communicate violently, whether intending to or not. However, as Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear reminded us, God uses a DVD, not a Polaroid, to record our lives and the lives of our beloved community, the whole thing, not just some moment in time when we stumble or grumble. We can always repent, turn around and do things differently, following a better and more loving way. Communicating with love is one of those ways.
Enjoy the summer and may we all bless others every day by communicating with love.

~Rev. J.B. Snyder

Walking Prayer to be Resumed This Fall, 2017

The pastor will be holding two walking prayers after the church service on Sundays September 17 and October 22 at 2 in the afternoon. This spiritual discipline will take place at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge (roughly 15 minutes away from the church in Tinicum, Pennsylvania: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19153, 215-365-3118 office). Anyone interested can meet in the church parking lot at 1:30 p.m. to car pool over to the refuge together. 

The walking prayer is an old spiritual discipline in which you slowly walk through the natural landscape and open all of your senses to creation. It is a way to move closer to God, walking with God and reveling in God's handiwork. This is one of my favorite disciplines. I have to warn you though. Practice the walking prayer a few times and you may find yourself much more observant of nature, of the play of light and form across the landscape, than you have ever been before. That is what has happened to me, and I am grateful to God for that. Join us.

We hope on our walk to catch various migratory birds in their travels through our area, which will be an added blessing to the walks. 

Alternate days will be chosen if the weather will not cooperate on the planned dates. The paths through the park are largely level and the main paths have a number of benches regularly located for those who need to pause and rest.



LBC Participating in National Night Out 2017

Lansdowne Baptist Church will be represented again at the Lansdowne, PA, National Night Out on Tuesday evening, August 1, 2017. Come and meet us, get to know who we are, and let us get to know you too. For any congregants interested in participating, the pastor and his wife will be setting up at 5 p.m. in the Highland Avenue parking lot. If you want to join us representing the church, please bring a chair and water. We will have a portable shelter as we have in the past. We'll bring information, invitations, some coloring pages to give away, and a good, old fashioned American Baptist Christian welcome! This year, the police department will be providing a "Critter Connection," allowing the community to meet Officer McGowan and his K-9 partner Chapek. There will be a K-9 demonstration at 7 p.m. As always there will be a community cookout and The Taste of Lansdowne. It is a good time and a great opportunity to meeting more of our community and share our joy in Jesus.
Whenever we gather together as a congregation as ambassadors for Jesus,
we have a good time.

LBC Marched Again on July 4, 2017


Some of us assembled
Parade assembles ...
We had a wonderful morning at the parade in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, on July 4th. We gathered at the church parking lot at 8 a.m., gathered at our starting point at 8:30 a.m., and were on the move at 9:00 a.m. We paraded with a bunch of our neighbors and for many more neighbors. Members of our church handed out nearly 200 invitations to come and worship with us. We blew giant bubbles again this years (always a crowd pleaser). We met a great many of the members of our community, had more congregants march than in previous years, and had a wonderful day. God blessed us in many ways.
On the move ...

Our veterans represented
Classic bus for veterans to parade in
Yep, still making the giant bubbles while we march!
To see photos from previous parades LBC has been involved in, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/06/lbc-pastor-congregants-marching-in-2017.html

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Son of Man and Son of Krypton



Sermon based on John 1:1-13 during my Summer Blockbuster Sermon Series dealing with comic superheroes and various aspects of the Christian faith. In this sermon, we check out key characteristics of Superman and how we can use them to speak clearly and engagingly about Jesus. Take a look and see for yourself.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Behold the Lilies

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry and why: 

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Go and Learn



Sermon based on Matthew 9:9-13, asks us all to follow Jesus' instruction to go and learn. Will we be sticklers for rules in ways that ruin the game Mousetrap? Or are there alternatives?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LBC Pastor & Congregants Marching in the 2017 4th of July Parade



Beginning at 9:00 a.m., members of Lansdowne Baptist Church will once again be marching in the annual Lansdowne, PA, 4th of July parade. Pastor and congregants are looking forward to marching together. If you are a church member or friend looking to march with us, we are meeting in the LBC parking lot at 8:00 a.m. and heading over to E. Greenwood Ave. by 8:20 a.m. to take our place in the parade by 8:30 a.m. That half hour when everyone is forming is a great time to meet and swap stories with fellow marchers. Last year we got to speak with a man who has been riding penny-farthing bikes for the past 30 years. He had some terrific stories to tell.

At 9:00 a.m. we start the parade. We will be waving at those who watch, handing out personal invitations to join us Sunday mornings, and creating the big bubbles once again. We look forward to seeing you there.

Happy 4th of July. By the grace of God may it be a safe and joyful day for everyone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nothing Too Wonderful for God


Sermon based on Genesis 18:1-15, focusing on hospitality, Abraham, Sarah, and God. Exploring closely how God's insistence on hospitality impacts upon all of us today during incredibly tense, inhospitable times. Includes current crises playing out in our community. Please watch, share, pray, and act.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How Do We Go



Sermon based on Matthew 28:16-20, where Jesus bestows the great commission upon his disciples and all Christian disciples of all ages. The question arises, how in the world to we fill this tall order? Well, we can turn as a congregation to a surprising source for modeling cooperative efforts. What source this that? Watch and see. I hope you'll have some fun with this one.

Special thanks to my wife, who films these sermons, for going above and beyond the call of duty by holding the camera in hand when the tripod failed. That's fantastic dedication. I can't thank her enough. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catching Fire


Sermon based on Acts 2:1-13, telling the story of Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit. Be careful watching this one: the Holy Spirit goes where the Spirit wills, and powerfully!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pastoral Letter from ABC USA's General Secretary Following the Recent Violence

Please take the time to follow the link and read this important message from Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer addressing the tumultuous week just past. Here you will find carefully delineated the stance of American Baptist Churches USA concerning individual liberty and equality.

God bless you all. http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/06/16/a-pastoral-letter-from-abcusa-general-secretary-rev-dr-lee-b-spitzer/ 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

LBC Summer Hours Shift on Father's Day 2017

Here's a quick reminder that on Sunday, June 18th, Father's Day, we will begin worship at 10 a.m. Sunday school will be taking the summer off. I look forward to seeing everyone at 10 a.m. on Father's Day to worship together. And happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

~Pastor Jeff Snyder

Benefit of Being Righteous

A brief meditation on being a righteous person, which is a person who is in right relationship with God and with humanity (a pretty tall order when you think it through). 
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. ~Isaiah 32:16-17

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Religious In Every Way

Sermon delivered on May 21, 2017, based on Acts 17:22-31, explores Paul's interaction with the philosophers of Athen. Learning how Paul bridge the cultural and religious divide between himself and these philosophers teaches us much how to bridge the gaping divides between ourselves and the peoples of the world all around us. Watch and see.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Troubled Hearts



As recorded in John 14:1-14, in the face of all Jesus told his disciples about his imminent betrayal and death, he cautions his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled. How were they ... and how are we ... to manage that feat? Listen and discover the answer. This sermon was given on Mother's Day, 2017.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

LBC Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast 2017

Flags lined the path, honoring
those who gave their all in
service of their country.
On Monday, May 29, 2017, Lansdowne Baptist Church served our community in two ways. 1. Those who ran in the 5k race and attended the parade alike (and any other hungry person looking for great pancakes who showed up) were served a wonderful, tasty pancake breakfast meal. 2. We raised money through this fund-raiser breakfast for our Aaron Royal Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship money for graduating local high school seniors heading for college. We are blessed with very capable volunteers who give of their time and talents to make this meal happen every year, weather permitting. It is wonderful to have this opportunity both to serve and break bread with our neighbors, strengthening our community and sense of connection, both of which God encourages. 



A friendly greeting at arrival and hearty blessing on the way out.
A rare quiet moment in the kitchen before the action began.
Two cooks are seen in the foreground.
The man on the left has a special talent.
When cracking eggs, he can toss an egg into the air, fist bump it,
catch it, and crack it one-handed into the bowl. 
Serving


Remembering and honoring all those who served in the armed forces
and gave their lives in action. As John 15:13 states: "No one has greater love than
this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." 
It was a personal treat to spend time in conversation with Mayor Anthony Campuzano and his wife. Being a contractor himself and me a former contract archaeologist, we were able to swap some really interesting stories. 

Included are some photos of the event and the parade associated with it. It was a terrific day. 

Marching band
Civil War Reenactors