Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Would You, Could You



Using 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Ezekiel 37:1-11, and Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, this sermon explored what new things Christians are called to do. It also explored how, at times, we Christians are called to speak out like Ezekiel, Paul, and Sam-I-am, being persistent for what is right in the face of strong opposition. Watch and see if God challenges you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Black Widow: About Sin



With one exception, in June 2018, we are using superheroes and Scripture together to approach broad truths. In this sermon, we combine Acts 26:9-15 (Paul's Damascus Road conversion story) with the comic book story of Black Widow. Through this we learn of sin, forgiveness, and obligation. Come along and discover the vital connection.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Suicide Prevention Update: Help is Waiting



The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a sharp rise in suicide rates in the United States between 1999 and 2016. The recent tragic losses of public figures, including Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, emphasize the point.  

Here are some resources to help anyone struggling with the urge to end their lives. To anyone struggling with the desire to end your life, know that you are loved more than you know, you are a beautiful and unique child of God, and we want you to stay.   

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is: 1-800-273-8255 

If you do not wish to speak with someone directly, but want to text, try: https://www.crisistextline.org/suicide

If you have served, or are serving, in the Armed Forces, call the Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 or get various forms of online help at: https://safehelpline.org/how-to-get-help

You may also speak with someone you trust, a family member, friend, clergy, psychologist, whomever. Delay the urge to end your life. Again, you are a person of value, a beloved child of God. People love you more than you know, especially at this dark and dangerous moment. God bless you. 

Also know that not everyone is willing or able to call a hotline number or text someone. We also need to equip ourselves to help, recognizing signs, and offering assistance. It's what Christ's disciples do.

If you wish to be ready to help save a life in a moment of crisis, join the Be the One to Save a Life movement. Please visit: http://www.bethe1to.com/?_ga=2.89886299.1303601956.1528416589-796904521.1528416589

For more information, see our previous post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/search?q=suicide


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hulking Anger Management



Welcome to June, the beginning of the summer season. Time to relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. So, this month we'll once again be turning to super heroes to see what they have to tell us, along with the Bible of course, about how we may best live our lives. This week we focused on Ephesians 4:25-32 and The Incredible Hulk to study how we might best manage our anger issues. Come along with us and watch. Enjoy your summer and God bless you. If you are in the neighborhood, come and join us on Sunday morning at Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, PA, for our worship service.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Escape from Busy Lives for a Moment and Rest


Come now, little man [and woman],
turn aside for a while
from your daily employment, 
escape for a moment
from the tumult of your thoughts.
Put aside your weighty cares, 
let your burdensome distractions wait,
free yourself awhile for God
and rest awhile in him.
Enter the inner chamber of your soul,
shut out everything except God
and that which can help you in seeking him,
and when you have shut the door, seek him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God,
"I seek your face, Lord,
it is your face I seek." 
~Anselm of Canterbury in Theology for a Troubled Heart
Excerpt found in The President's Devotional by Joshua DuBois



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Foundations



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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fire! A Pentecost Sermon




Pentecost Fire
in Balloons
Sermon for Sunday, May 20, 2018, based on Acts 2:1-8, in which the Holy Spirit comes upon the gathered disciples, giving them power to speak clearly to all the dispersed children of God, no matter what language speaking and where from throughout the Empire. On that fateful day in Jerusalem, the Christian church was born and began the task Jesus set for all disciples, back then, today, and always. Come and witness the good news presented here. May the Holy Spirit of God light a fire in you today!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Esther Class 1



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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Victory that Conquers the World



Sermon based on 1 John 5:1-6, in which the author is trying to quell the very real fears of Christians living through difficult times, where friends are hard to find, and truth seems uncertain, even fluid. Threats appeared everywhere and churches were starting to unravel. Sound familiar? The author takes a very simple, calming approach on how we might all respond ... and where to find the victory that conquers the world. It's uplifting and more than a little surprising. You are invited to watch.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Easy to Scatter



The sermon for Sunday, April 29, 2018, based on John 10:11-18, explores what it means that Jesus is our good shepherd. We see who we are as the flock and what we are intended to do in that capacity. Finally, we find out who the biblical writers considered "wolves" intent on preying upon and scattering the flock. We sheep are easy to scatter, but we don't have to! Come listen in. It's good news.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dominion





Sermon for Earth Day 2018 based on Genesis 1:27-31. An exploration is made into what it means for humanity to have been given dominion in creation. Explore our place in creation while listening and discover what microclimates we may care for in daily life.

Below is the first Earth Rise as seen by Apollo 8 while orbiting the moon, courtesy of NASA.
Earthrise

Moon crosses the face of the Earth, courtesy of NASA/NOAA
moon's far side overlapping the Earth

Friday, April 20, 2018

Easter Bouquets and Earth Day

While looking at the beautiful flowers adorning the sanctuary for Easter, it was easy to remember who created everything and gifted us as stewards of that loving creativity. May you find this Earth Day and every day an opportunity to help the rest of God's creation flourish. Plant trees and flowers, pick up trash, recycle all you can, walk lightly on the face of the earth. God gave us the minds and talents to do just that.

Further, take some time to get out and admire the natural world up close. Marvel in all that God has done. Also, remember that God deems all of creation, including all of us, to be very good indeed.

Join us Sunday, April 22, 2018, for our Earth Day reflection during the Sunday service. You will be most welcome.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

On the Road



Sermon based on Luke 24:13-21, in which two disciples of Jesus walk away from Jerusalem, knocking the dust of the town off their heels following Jesus' crucifixion, and heading out for the town of Emmaus. The meet a stranger on the road and life changes forever. Come and see. It's a powerful story. It also has much to say on how we ought to share our stories. Intrigued yet?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Live Stream Bible Study Coming Soon

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.

Watch this blog for more news soon.

Until then, walk with God.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Late to the Party



Sermon for April 8, 2018, the week after Easter, based on John 20:19-29, the story of Thomas, who arrives late to the party, so to speak, after Jesus has visited the disciples after his resurrection. Thomas has a lot of trouble believing what his friends are trying to tell him and expresses his feelings strongly. Watch and see what this means for all of us today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I Have Seen the Lord



This Easter morning sermon for April 1, 2018, is based on John 20:1-18. This sermon focuses on the powerful experience Mary Magdalene has first thing in the morning, heading out to the tomb to honor Jesus at his grave. The stone sealing the tomb has been removed and human history will never be the same.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Feasting with Friends 2018: Basic Information Provided


At this year’s Feasting with Friends community dinner, I decided it was time to get down to brass tacks—as my grandparents used to say. With a great deal of misinformation swirling around about who we are as American Baptists, why we serve the community we serve, and who we human beings are, I felt it necessary to get back to basics. The information was well received, which warmed my heart. The meal was also fantastic as always, well received, and well staffed by dedicated volunteers from our church family and friends. 

Who Are We?
       We’re at Lansdowne Baptist are part of the American Baptist denomination. As American Baptists, we believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and that the Bible is divinely inspired. That Bible is our reliable guide to Christian life and faith. We believe all Christians are called to approach God directly, free of any human go-between, and that as Christians we all have free will.
       All of us have been given special gifts by God, gifts that are intended to strengthen and improve our community as we share our unique gifts with each other. God does not intend for us to hoard these gifts, keep them “mint in the box,” or set them aside and play with that box.
       American Baptists believe in religious freedom for everyone. It was Baptists pushed out of Massachusetts who created the Rhode Island colony and declared everyone was welcome there.
       We American Baptists also believe in sharing the good news with others, both locally and internationally. We do this both in the words we speak and the actions we take. To share the good news well, we acknowledge that it is the duty of all believers to equip ourselves with knowledge and train with each other on Sunday morning, so we can live out our faith all week long.
       We American Baptists also agree that we are called to cooperate with other churches. We at Lansdowne Baptist work with Lansdowne’s First Presbyterian Church with the Interfaith Food Cupboard. As the pastor, I have also helped with their Sonrise Service early Easter morning and we at LBC have fed our Presbyterian friends breakfast afterwards.
       American Baptists also very strongly believe we are called to be Christian witnesses for justice and wholeness in a broken society, following Jesus’ excellent example. Since the movement to abolish slavery prior to the Civil War, American Baptists have been involved in every justice movement in the United States. Among them have been supporting women’s rights, including the right to vote, adopting women ministers roughly 100 years ago, supporting the civil rights movement, care of our planet and much more.
       We American Baptists also celebrate the fact that we are the most culturally and theologically diverse of all the US denominations. We embrace people from all around the globe.

Why Do We Serve?
       Why do we at Lansdowne Baptist go to all the effort to support Feasting with Friends and the other programs we are involved with to help our community and the world, people we know and those we will never meet? What is in it for us, people might well ask. Let’s turn to our reliable guide, the Bible, for some answers.
       We are called to serve by Mark 10:43-45: “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
        We are instructed to love everyone in Luke 10:27: “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.” The parable of the good Samaritan, which follows this verse, illustrates our neighbor is everyone and we do whatever we can for neighbors in need.
        We are informed by Jesus that we will be held to account for our service to others, or our lack thereof, in Matthew 25:33-40: [Jesus] will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
       Finally, 1 Peter 4:10 calls us all to serve others out of the gifts God has given us: 10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. It is amazing what the use of our gifts can draw out in others. During Feasting with Friends, our efforts draw out gifts from our own church community and from local businesses to make for a wonderful, meaningful day. We are grateful for all the blessings and mercies and free gifts from God and that gratitude makes us generous. We want to share. To quote from A.A. Milne’s character Piglet in Winne-the-Pooh: “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” Or, as Psalm 23:5 puts it: My cup overflows.

Who Are We All?
       Finally, there are many folks who are ready and willing, eager even, to define us negatively. The world, or society if you like, defines us by our jobs, our credit scores, social status, skin color, gender, age, diseases, or addictions. I could go on. Needless to say, today’s world judges humanity harshly.
       But the good news is that is not who we are. We American Baptists, we Christians, work hard to see humanity as God sees us, as Jesus taught us, as the Holy Spirit guides us.
       We see everyone as a beloved child of God, one so loved God sent Jesus to tell and show all just how much they are loved. Jesus came to rescue us all from terrible, harmful ways of living that are against God’s plan and intention for humanity. God’s plan is the way of love and hope, a way filled with generosity, service, and devoid of fear. The ways in which we stray from God’s plan are referred to as sin.
       We are taught that humanity is made in God’s image and has God’s characteristics. Sadly we stray.
       However, from the very beginning God loved us and called us good. We are not the labels society applies to us. We are the beloved children of the Creator of the universe. Please remind one of your neighbors of this fact sometime today. That will be a wonderful way to love God and neighbor alike.
      
Open Invitation
**If this sounds good to you, you don't have a church of your own, and you would like to come by and worship with Lansdowne Baptist Church to see what it is like, you will be most welcome. Consider this an open invitation. God bless you on your journey. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lifted Up and Drawing



Sermon based on John 12:20-33, in which Greeks and "the world" come to visit Jesus. His success, the attention his mission is drawing, is see as dangerous to some in power, a threat that will bring down death and destruction for many from Rome. They propose a solution, "lifting Jesus up." Little do they know what this will accomplish. Listen, watch, and see for yourself. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rich in Mercy



Sermon based on Ephesians 2:1-10, delivered during the season of Lent, 2018. If you want to know what a Buick Skylark and a Ford Pinto have to do with Paul's letter to the Ephesians, you'll have to watch. Good news provided about love, grace, and mercy. Room for reflection on how to react to that as well.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Setting Our Minds



The sermon for February 25, 2018, based on Mark 8:31-38, sets our minds on divine things rather than human. Jesus redefines Messiah for his disciples and discipleship as well, for his original disciples and all disciples who have followed since. These definitions are based on divine understanding rather than human. Jesus gives us a significant challenge to reset our minds this Lenten season and always.