Showing posts with label American Baptist Churches USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Baptist Churches USA. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Problems of Perfectionism

During the 2016 ABC USA Minister's Conference, where we explored options for maintaining healthy, balanced lives in the face of our challenging callings, the keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Davidson warned us not to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Her warning is applicable to all of us, not just ministers.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perfectionism as follows:

1. a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person's highest good; b : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth

2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable (see: 
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfectionism)

As Dr. Davidson stated, we need to stop placing heavy, unrealistic expectations on ourselves and instead of attempting to manage everything ourselves, turning control over to God instead. If we do not, we come to dislike ourselves when we don't meet those expectations. As a result, we will project that negative attitude upon others, making our dissatisfaction with our own imperfections about them rather than dealing with the issues honestly ourselves. 

Humility is the antidote to the myth of perfectionism that eats away at the heart of our spiritual lives, drowning that life in depression, sinking us into despair. If we feel we need to be perfect, we will certainly fail at the things we try, whether they be physical, intellectual, or spiritual matters. 

For me, the key observation was and remains "Perfectionism kills the ability to move forward. We won't try if we can't be perfect." That's what happens when we accept the corrosive myth of perfectionism. 

Author Joshua DuBois, referencing the parable of the shepherd searching for the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7, remarks in The President's Devotional, "[Our God] is not a God who loves the righteous--because none are righteous, none. He's not a God who values those who have it all together, because who among us really does?" None of us manages to get through life without stumbling. None of us is perfect. 

Finally, author Kirk Byron Jones in his book, Rest in the Storm, warns that we cannot expect each other to be able to address (perfectly or otherwise) all of the problems we face in our sojourn through life. Jones quotes Dr. E.V. Hill's consideration of this matter. While this is a warning for pastors, once again it is good advice for everyone, "Now we need to be careful. Sometimes the expectation that we meet all these demands convinces us that we can. This can give us a messianic complex that is destructive to the preacher and the preacher's family. This messianic complex can work on us so that we can feel bad about not being able to solve all the problems that are brought to us. This is a horrible addiction. There is glamour and glee in thinking that you have the answer to many problems and feeling that others think so. It is very seductive, and we can become addicted to it. And it is subtle; we want to endear people to us, but this can lead to people expecting too much from us, and us expecting too much from ourselves." 

Let's all be humble. Let's all admit we are not perfect beings. Let's lower the expectations a bit, Let's get away from the idea that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. We'll all be healthier for that.

Wishing everyone peace ... and a healthy does of humility ... so we can all move forward together.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Disaster Aid: West Virginia, Indiana

Here is what American Baptist Home Mission Societies has done to aid West Virginia and Indiana following recent severe weather events: 

Severe storms in Indiana and West Virginia June 23-24 have caused significant damage in two American Baptist regions now in need of prayer and relief/recovery efforts.
In Indiana, the storm’s force destroyed buildings, disrupted utilities and closed roadways in and around Brookston, designated in a state of emergency. Federated Church of Brookston, an American Baptist congregation, is serving as a hub for relief activities, including American Red Cross efforts.
Heavy rain that crossed West Virginia particularly impacted the state’s central and southern regions. The number of American Baptist churches damaged by the flooding is still to be determined, but several have confirmed major damage.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Disaster Relief office has released $10,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing funds to the West Virginia Baptist Convention and $2,500 to American Baptist Churches of Indiana/Kentucky for coordination of community recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Praying for All the Victims: Call From the American Baptist Home Mission Societies

We the pastor and congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church stand by and pray for all who are grieving following the horrible events of the past few days. We are brokenhearted. It is hard to speak out in the face of such violence, such hate, but we must. We Christians do not believe that hate gets to win. We have faith in what we have been taught by Jesus and we work for the triumph of love over hatred, bringing peace and joy in its wake. We work for justice for all people. 

In response to all the death and violence in the past few days, from the deaths of Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, St. Paul, Minnesota, in police hands to the deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven others protecting peaceful protesters in Dallas, Texas, at the hand of a sniper or snipers, we are called to prayer. Prayer involves active communication with God, the transformation of ourselves as a result, and then taking direct, positive, peaceful actions following those prayers. We pray for an end to all the mindless hatred swirling through the country, poisoning people's minds, hearts, and spirits. We pray for an end to racism, fear, and the us vs. them mindset that caused so much death and destruction. 

As the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:9: "Do not do evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called--that you might inherit a blessing." We need to temper our responses, remembering what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

Finally, let us follow the example Jesus called us to follow in the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37

25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 

American Baptist Home Mission Societies calls for a season of prayer. We at LBC support this wholeheartedly. See their post: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/07/08/a-call-to-prayer/?utm_content=buffera01ba&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friends Praying and Acting



For Baptist Heritage Sunday, this sermon explores the many ways Baptists have served in the world, and how we go about our business there. We Baptists have long grappled with major social issues, seeking God’s will through the Holy Spirit’s guidance on decisions like the end of slavery in the United States, the integration of freed slaves into society, women’s rights, and civil rights. Today we continue to seek God’s guidance in the challenges facing us. Like Barsabbas and Matthias, the vast majority of us do our work quietly behind the scenes.

Based on Acts 1:15-17, 21-26.

Friday, May 15, 2015

After Recent Violence, ABC USA Calls for Peace

After the recent violence in our cities involving police and African American men, American Baptist Churches USA released the following article: http://www.abc-usa.org/2015/05/12/american-baptists-call-for-peace-following-recent-police-killings/

This is recommended reading for anyone. Here is the challenge the denomination gives to American Baptists everywhere: 

Therefore, as a sign of our prophetic calling, we call upon all American Baptists,
American Baptist churches, and American Baptist organizations to do the following:
1. To be peacemakers, builders of God’s shalom;
2. To work for the prevention of violence, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and just reconciliation;
3. To advocate for a more responsible media;
4. To challenge ideologies, structures, politics and policies that lead to violence.

Wishing you all peace ... and the desire to work for peace. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Decisions to Make



Baptists have a long history of taking up Jesus' challenge to change our ways and work for positive change in our society. We are challenged to continue that tradition today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

American Baptist Home Mission Societies - Documentary



American Baptists, touching many lives in many ways, bringing the good news and living lives that heal. Come and see what we are all about.

Peace!

Friday, February 27, 2015

American Baptist Identity - Don Ng





Who we are and where we are going as American Baptists. A message from the President of ABC USA. We are currently conducting an experiment ...




African American Baptists





We are a diverse people and a diverse congregation. Come and see. You are most welcome.

Short History of American Baptists





A very brief history of the American Baptists. We have a strong history of reaching out to others and supporting justice issues. Come and meet us this Sunday.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Recommended Reading for Clarity


There is a lot of confusion out there today about Christianity and the Bible, where the Bible came from, how it is interpreted, what it has to say about specific topics, and more. Here are a few books that will provide some clarity for the truly curious.

For an introduction to the faith, try:

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Life of the Beloved. Spiritual Living in a Secular World. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992.

To come to grips with the powerful love of God for humanity, read:

Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

To approach the Bible with insight and clarity, the following are suggested:

Brash, Donald J. The Indispensable Guide to God's Word. Cleveland, Ohio: The Pilgrim Press, 2010.
Davis, Ellen F. & Richard B. Hays, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003.

To better understand where the sixty-six book library of the Bible came from and what a great stretch of time is covered in those books, see:

Lightfoot, Neil R. How We Got the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1963, 1988, 2003.

Tackling some of the most challenging passages from the apostle Paul is:

Brauch, Manfred T. Hard Sayings of Paul. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1989.

To understand the complex imagery used in the Bible, and to understand slavery in biblical terms, read:

Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: An Encyclopedic Exploration of the Images, Symbols, Motifs, Metaphors, Figures of Speech, and Literary Patterns of the Bible. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press USA, 1998.

To grapple with the relationship of slaves with Christianity in the Antebellum South, read;

Raboteau, Albert J. Slave Religion: The "Invisible Institution" in the Antebellum South. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978, 2004.

Please see the bibliographies of all of the above sources for additional reference material.

For the history of the American Baptist Churches USA denomination, including our fight against the vile historical institution of slavery in the U.S., read:

http://www.abc-usa.org/what_we_believe/our-history/

To understand how American Baptist Churches USA fights modern day human trafficking (slavery) today, read:

http://www.abc-usa.org/2013/12/12/abhms-endorses-iccrs-statement-against-human-trafficking/

Finally, if you wish to use study Bibles to dig deeper, see:

Coogan, Michael D., ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New Revised Standard Version. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Since there are a number of sermons available on this site, if you would like some understanding on what is involved in creating a weekly sermon, read:

Allen, Ronald J. Patterns of Preaching: A Sermon Sampler. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 1998.

and

Tizon, Al. Missional Preaching: Engage, Embrace, Transform. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Judson Press, 2012.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Missionary Jeni Pedzinski Speaks at LBC

We were pleased to hear from Jeni Pedzinski, missionary to Thailand, on Sunday, November 16, 2014. Jeni is currently preparing to serve as the senior administrator of the New Life Center Foundation in Thailand. The center, established in 1987, serves young ethnic minority (tribal) women who are at risk of being, or have been victims of, human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual abuse. Jeni will provide support to the NLCF staff in administration, Christian discipleship, and financial literacy.

She is very well suited for the task at hand. Her presentation was moving. The story of how she was called to service by God through the stories of another missionary whom she met and spoke with when 11 was inspirational. It is amazing to see how God nourishes the seeds of faith planted in our lives by other faithful followers.

To learn more about Jeni Pedzinski's mission work, see: http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/529-pedzinski

There you can also find ways to support her vital work if God moves you to do so. For more on mission support, see: http://www.internationalministries.org/missionary_support_information

Jeni also lists a number of ways you may be involved in her ministry:

  • Join her Ministry Partnership Network (MPN)
  • Share information about her ministry with others
  • Go on a mission work team to her country
  • Give to her ministry individually or through your church
  • Send emails and birthday and Christmas cards
  • Pray for her ministry
We at LBC wish her all the best in her important work and will be praying for her continued success. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

LBC Attends PBA Annual Banquet Celebrating Mission


Lansdowne Baptist Church members attended the annual Philadelphia Baptist Association mission banquet this October. The emphasis was hospitality and outreach to the community, including the immigrant community. One of our own received recognition for her years of diligent service to a local interfaith food cupboard.

ABC-USA President Don Ng (taken stretching an iPad's camera
to its limits)
The president of American Baptist Churches USA, Don Ng, was the keynote speaker. He told the moving story of his father coming to the United States, fighting in World War II and receiving citizenship based on that sacrifice. Don Ng told of the struggles to bring his father's wife and son over from China to join him. The First Baptist Church of Boston assisted Mr. Ng in his efforts and helped his family after their arrival in the US. This church helped them navigate the rough waters faced by all immigrants to this country. Mr. Ng spoke movingly of the trouble he faced as a child growing up in America, a first generation child of immigrant parents who was not treated well or taken seriously by the school system he was raised in, even as a native-born son of the US. He called all churches to assist immigrants in their struggles and make a positive impact on their lives.


Thirty of the PBA's 129 churches were represented in that banquet hall at the Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia, providing over 600 members to celebrate in fellowship together. The youngest recipient of an award for community action was eleven and her efforts were well recognized. I wonder what we will accomplish together for next year? 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 World Mission Offering

During September and October, American Baptist Churches USA receives the World Mission Offering, an essential source of support for the entire work of International Ministries, including support for current global personnel and  the recruitment of new missionaries. Your gifts to the offering can be directed for the support of particular missionaries, like Sue Hegarty, who are doing Christ-like ministry and changing lives in more than 70 countries around the world. We invite you to participate in the offering this year and to give generously.

You can give here at Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. We will be glad to have you join us and support these missionaries. You can also follow the link here and give to the ABC-USA missionary of your choice: http://www.internationalministries.org/give 

To read about the work of missionary Sue Hegarty, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/09/missionary-sue-hegarty-reflects-on.html

Friday, August 15, 2014

Actively Working to End Violence

With all the horrific examples in the news today of violence in our society and around our globe, we are all called to work for the end of violence. We are called to take responsibility for the violence we enable and perpetrate in what we say and do, often without much thought, and change our ways. In 2013, American Baptist Churches USA held a Mission Summit and came up with a plan of action for churches and individuals to follow. Working together we can accomplish much. See: http://www.abc-usa.org/violence/ for the details.

May the peace of Christ be with you ... and may you pass that peace on to everyone you meet.

Come and join us at Lansdowne Baptist Church and let's strive to end violence together!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stance on Mental Health


In the twenty-first century, there remains far too much disinformation about and fear of mental illness. Please take some time to prayerfully consider the resolution of the American Baptist Churches USA concerning mental illness and our role in helping others be healthy and ensuring we all have a healthy understanding of the issues involved.

See: http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/mentill.pdf

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Prayer Requests for Peace in Gaza & the American Baptist Churches USA Position on Peace

Our denomination, American Baptist Churches USA, reports that Baptist Pastor Hanna Massad of Gaza is calling for prayers for peace from peoples around the world. This pastor states that the situation is worse now than at any time in the past. Many people in Gaza are running out of food and the pastor is trying to pull together relief efforts. Here are the prayer requests: 


1) Pray for the war to end! 
2) Pray for the family of Mrs Jalila Ayyad who has been killed. 
3) Pray for the family who have moved into my house in Gaza. 
4) Pray for the Churches who have opened their doors to Muslims in need of refuge. 
5) Pray for those who have been traumatized by the incessant bombing. 
6) Pray that Christians will be strong in faith and seen as beacons of hope and love. 
7) Pray for the organisation of the Food Relief Program with the Bible Society. 
8) Pray that, in the midst of war, the believers will know the peace that only Christ can bring.  

For the rest of Pastor Hanna Massad's message, please see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2014/07/29/prayer-requests-for-peace/

To explore the American Baptist Churches USA denominational position on peace, I recommend this document "American Baptist Policy Statement on Peace," first written in 1985 and last revised in 2007. It may be read in its entirety at: http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/peace.pdf  If your time is short, see pages 7 and 8 for a final summation. 

For more on American Baptist Churches USA, see the brief video in the following post: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/04/american-baptist-churches-usa-serving.html