17 East LaCrosse Avenue,
Lansdowne, PA 19050, Office Phone-610-626-0637,
Member of American Baptist Churches, USA (one of the most diverse denominations in the US), and the Philadelphia Baptist Association
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General
I am writing to you today on
behalf of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the American
Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). As General Secretary, I serve as the national
pastor of the denomination. ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service
in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United
The American Baptist family
would like to communicate our deep concern over the unjust immigration policies
of the United States government, and in particular, the unconscionable
separation of children from their parents on our southern border. As a
fellowship of Christ-followers who recall the trials of the child Jesus and his
parents, who fled from persecution in their homeland to another country
(Matthew 2:13-18), we adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives.
A just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security
without resorting to such unwise and harmful practices; instead, we urge that
compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to
the plight of families on our borders. We note that destructive practices such
as the separation of children from parents place a serious burden on our law
enforcement agents and officials, who in carrying out such policies find their
own consciences ethically compromised and troubled.
Furthermore, we strongly
disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular,
Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions. No responsible
Christian theologian would assert that Romans 13, or any other passage in the
Bible, supports the horrific separation of children from parents that we are
witnessing at the present time. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments call
those who believe in God to welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms and
friendship, with loving care and concern, and with the willingness to assist
others in enjoying the prospects of a future based on hope and opportunity.
Baptists wish to express our sincere hope that the separation of children and parents
will immediately cease. We urge Congress and the President to approve and
implement without delay more compassionate and just immigration policies and
procedures. As the leading law enforcement official of our government, it is
your privilege and responsibility to lead such an effort. Thank you for
considering our position.
Sermon based on Luke 6:46-49 answering the question, how do you know you have a firm foundation? Having one allows us to be confident in the face of the storms of life. Having one allows us to live life as confident individuals who are able to fulfill the great commandments, loving God and neighbors. Living life from that firm foundation requires trying, falling flat on our faces, getting up and trying again. Are you in? Come along and learn how it is done.
Two weeks ago when we first live streamed we had a literal dark and stormy night. Last week I failed to broadcast because my encoder gave up the ghost. I have a new encoder now. If all works as it is supposed to work, we'll continue our study of the book of Esther, diving into the chapters and verses and seeing what Esther has to tell us about living life today.
I apologize for the lost week last week. It is especially frustrating after the testing we did to make sure everything would work. So, here's hoping we continue class next week. Until then, God be with you. If you are just stopping by, please subscribe and support this fledgling effort. If you like what you see here and want to attend the weekly Bible study, go on over to J.S. Brooks on YouTube and hit the big red subscribe button.
Tonight we begin our study of the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. Tonight we also begin the entire Beyond Loaves and Fishes series of live stream Bible studies. This is learning experience for us all. Polish will come later, with experience. The material to be covered in this first half hour will be background material setting up our study of Esther. There are certain things that must be clear before we get into the details. Thanks to the early adventurers who signed on for this first night. There was a little excitement at the beginning as the power went off briefly as a storm was passing through. The internet connection was reestablished about 30 seconds before I went live. Thanks for coming. Hope to see you all again soon. If you are seeing this here on the blog for the first time and would like to participate live, follow this link and subscribe at the J.S. Brooks YouTube platform: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html
We are called by God to try new things, to follow where God (our great and glorious change agent) leads us. I am heading in one such direction where God is leading.
At this point, I have all the technology and programming to offer up an evening live stream Bible study, filled with applications for modern life, with Bible verses read in the biblical storytelling fashion. Lansdowne Baptist Church members, friends, and all seekers anywhere interested in participating will be invited to join in.
There are a couple of experiments needed to work out the finer details and then we will jump in with both feet. At that point, we will announce when the first meeting will take place (day and time), along with the YouTube channel through which you will be able to join in. If it is set up as I envision, chatting will be possible. There will be a few Bible-based rules for those conversations, but that will come later.
As one very astute individual who is jumping in early remarked, "We won't go for perfection at first, but we will walk toward it over time." Too true. Join us early and watch the changes happen.
Through it all we'll learn together what our loving God through the Bible, that amazing library of 66 books, has to tell us about living modern life well. We will equip ourselves with that knowledge. Then we will encourage each other to act on what we've learned to help others and grow in our faith.
Sermon for the first Sunday of Lent 2018, based on Mark 2:1-12. How to have the hospitality of Jesus and the determination of the paralytics four friends who were willing to go through the roof to get their suffering friend to Jesus, especially in these challenging times. Listen in and decide if you are up to the challenge, during Lent and all year long.
This sermon from January 21, 2018, covers Jonah 3:1-5, 10, technically. In actuality, the sermon covers the entire book of Jonah, one of the most readable books of the Bible. Yes, it is done in roughly 20 minutes. You may be surprised who the plain talker actually is in this book full of surprises. This is an uplifting message for anyone.
Sermon from October 29, 2017, based on 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Paul guides the Corinthian church and us in how to live generous, joyful lives, creating fair balance and having a positive impact. Following Paul's advice for living is character changing. To succeed, however, requires a lot of trust.
Sermon based on Philippians 2:1-13, given on October 1, 2017, and relating how Paul guided the struggling Christian church in Philippi to survive in the face of rising opposition. Paul's guidance works today as we face opposition as well, especially in an age when many online sources are now dedicated to the dissemination of false information designed to pull people, institutions, and societies apart. Paul's recommendations to his brothers and sisters in the Christian church in Philippi are just as useful to us today in our distress, as you will soon hear. God bless you all.
Sermon for September 24, 2017, based on Matthew 20:1-16, the challenging parable from Jesus of the landowner and the day laborers working in his vineyard. Discover some of the complexities behind this often vexing passage (intentionally vexing) and the good news to be found there. Also know that it was 90 degrees outside that day, the church has no air conditioning in the sanctuary and one of my congregation who wears Hawaiian shirts challenged me to do the same. I was glad I did, all things considered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to Lansdowne Baptist Church about how we may assist individuals who have been incarcerated and their families. It is an important and powerful message. He also has something to say to those who would dismiss prisoners as "bad people" who should be ignored. Please watch.
At the end of the sermon, Rev. Dr. Trulear invited individuals with family members in prison to come forward for a prayer. This was a powerful moment for everyone as ten people came forward. One person was in tears, feeling until that moment that she was suffering alone. That prayer is not recorded here as those people were not asked in advance if they cared to be filmed.
Today's Scripture reading is Acts 17:22-31. In the sermon we will explore what we can learn about communicating with others from Paul's short sermon to the philosophers of Athens. There's a lot of ground to cover there, especially in a divisive age. Acts 17:22-31: Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Intrigued? Join us at 11 this morning to discover the secrets in plain sight here.
Sermon based on Ephesians 5:8-14 during Lent on March 26, 2017. The Ephesians had been people of darkness before their introduction to Jesus. They were people living in the darkness of ignorance, prone to folly, lies, loss of God's truth, deaf to God's prophets, prone to impurity, lust, greed, hard-heartedness. They were violent and criminal in their responses, living in misery. No longer. They are reminded they are to be children of light. Find out what that means and how we can live in the light too.