Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts

Friday, October 6, 2017

Words of Encouragement in Difficult Times

In these turbulent times, it is worth taking a step back and reminding ourselves of who are the blessed by kingdom standards. Jesus said this to the crowds as recorded in Matthew 5:1-12.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Take heart, all of you who are poor of spirit or mourn. Enjoy your inheritance, you meek people. I hope we may all be filled, receive mercy, be called children of God and see God. Have courage all who are persecuted for Jesus' sake. You stand in good company.

God bless you in your journeys, all who pause a moment here. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Standing With, Praying For Victims of Las Vegas Massacre, and More

We here at Lansdowne Baptist Church are grieving right along with the rest of you following the horrific massacre in Las Vegas Sunday night. With 58 dead (as of this writing) and 528 wounded, we are stunned at how much harm one person willingly inflicts on an innocent crowd today. We pray for all those who fell to the gunman, their families, their friends, all who know or knew them. We stand by you in your grief. 

But prayer is a first step. It should always motivate us to action. Jesus called us to go out into all the world and that we must do. We are made for good work by the God who loves and saves us by grace alone. We will endeavor to do what we can to encourage others to work for the ways of love and mutual aid rather than hatred and mutual destruction. We work with our association, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and our denomination, American Baptist Churches USA, to be peacemakers, as referred to in the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:1-12: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Please join us in every way you can to work for peace in our divided, hurting society.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Standing with Those Who Suffer & Mourn in Orlando

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

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

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Will Be With You





Sermon based on Isaiah 43:1-7, in which the prophet assures the people
of Israel that, despite their exile among the fearsome Babylonians, God
remains with them and will lead them forward. The same applies to the
church today. God is calling us forward into new fields of ministry. To
survive, we must move forward, following God's call, assured that God
loves us and goes with us.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Blessing for Your Day

Go forth in peace, but not in complacency; be strong, but not arrogant; have conviction, but be understanding of the beliefs of others; be eager to love, but not meddlesome; be proud enough not to have contempt for yourselves, but sufficiently humble not to be jealous of your neighbors. Go forth in peace. 

From A Manual of Worship. John E. Skoglund & Nancy E. Hall

Monday, June 29, 2015

Go In Peace



Based on Mark 5:21-43 in which Jesus responds well to a day of interruptions ... and what we can take from that. Hint: it has a lot to do with faith and love.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Inspiration for the Journey


Recently, there have been those to whom we bid a fond but reluctant farewell. In my readings, I discovered this passage by Kristine Malins found in the Medical Missionary Magazine. She sums the feelings we have brilliantly. 
Our is the pain of constantly pitching our tent and folding it up again, of befriending strangers and bidding them goodbye, of loving the world but never truly being satisfied with it, of pouring our heart and soul into a project others have begun and still others will finish. If we would not be torn in two by the tensions of this truth, we must learn to live provisionally--to measure the road well. We need to make the most of the occasions when we gather by the roadside to break bread together and compare directions. Joy must be discovered in the going as we never really arrive, not even in a lifetime.
Wishing you many happy occasions to gather along the roadside, break bread, and compare directions and much joy in the going. 

God bless you all.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Prayerfully Standing with Our Mourning Brothers and Sisters in South Carolina

"You, O God, have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." Psalm 90:1-2

We stand in sympathy and pray for our mourning brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina, who lost loved ones and peace during the murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church at the hands of a gunman during their evening prayer meeting. We have no words for this horror and depend on the Holy Spirit to convey our grief. We call on God to bring comfort and strength to all who lost loved ones and must go on.

May this young gunman, twisted and maddened by hate, be caught before he can kill again.

May Isaiah 41:10 give all who mourn strength: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious hands."

May we take hope for the fallen from John 11:25-26: "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."

Finally, may we look to the promise of Revelation 21:3-4, "The home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them and they will be God's peoples. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

Again, we of Lansdowne Baptist Church stand with you in this terrible time and pray for you.

For prayers from the Minister's Council of American Baptist Churches, USA, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2015/06/18/the-ministers-council-abcusa-offers-hopes-and-prayers-following-emanuel-ame-church-killings/

For a sermon dealing with these awful events and challenging us to decide what kind of world we will live in together, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2015/06/why-are-you-afraid.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Prayers and Thanks Following the Fire of June 11, 2015

Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

On Thursday, June 11, rescuers from the local fire departments of several towns, police officers, and members of the Red Cross converged on the fire at the Stratford Court apartments in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, around 7 p.m. When the pastors of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches arrived on the scene, everything was under control. The fire was out, the area was secured, and the residents of the apartment complex had been removed to shelter for the night. It was all handled in a professional manner and everyone this pastor encountered was courteous and professional. 

In the days that followed, the Red Cross made sure all of the residents of the apartment complex, working in cooperation with the apartment complex managers, had a safe place to shelter in the weeks to come while the apartment complex is being restored. 

God bless the dedicated men and women who worked so hard to contain the fire and provide shelter for the residents. Thanks to all of them for their air of calm professionalism, which helped keep everyone safe. 

We pray for all those displaced residents. May you all have peace in the midst of what was a dangerous situation. May God restore calm to your lives. We stand by you in this difficult time. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wind Fire and Spirit





For Pentecost Sunday, we explore how the Holy Spirit can make a mess of our tidy, neatly ordered worlds. That unfettered Spirit of God can also empower us to do far more than we ever thought possible. Based on Acts 2:1-21.



We're experimenting here with showing the PowerPoint presentation while the sermon plays. Maybe this will work. We'll see.



Have a blessed and Spirit filled day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Beginnings





Genesis 1: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

It is amazing the theological depths contained within these five verses and those that follow in Genesis 1-2:4. The sermon begins with a reminder of what is possible when faithful people work together to support those in need in our community. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Help During a Code Blue Alert in Philadelphia

When the weather outside is truly frightful (twenty degrees or below with combined temperature, wind chill, and precipitation), the city of Philadelphia initiates a Code Blue Alert. The homeless are encouraged to leave the streets on nights when such weather conditions occur. Emergency shelters are obtained (some within police stations), hours are extended, and every effort is made to see the homeless have a warm, safe place to weather the storm. 

For more on the Code Blue system, see: http://www.phila.gov/codeBlue.html

If you see someone you believe needs help, you can call the Project HOME hotline number: 215-232-1984

For more on Project HOME, see: https://projecthome.org/


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Help for Those in Need

The holidays are difficult times for those in need. Here are a few of the organizations in Philadelphia helping to make a difference for Thanksgiving day, 2014.

Check them out and see how you can help ... or be helped. If you are struggling this year, our prayers are with you. With God, you are also never alone.

Here are those organizations links for you to check out:

http://www.mannapa.org/manna-blog/
http://www.uac.org/thanksgiving-basket-program
http://www.mowaa.org/
http://unitedforimpact.org/uploads/ways-to-engage/documents/Holiday-Network-Opportunities.pdf
http://www.philabundance.org/?gclid=CPPp4omx-ooCFQqgYgodxmiPqA

Places you can help:

http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?r=msa&categories=39&l=Philadelphia%2C+PA%2C+USA

Organizations that help out all year 'round:

http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Philadelphia&state=PA

Working with one of these organizations to help alleviate hunger may well be a better use of our time than heading to stores on Thanksgiving day.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34


Friday, November 21, 2014

Wishing You Joy


With the holidays rapidly approaching, we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church wish you joy. As Henri Nouwen wrote in his devotional book, Bread for the Journey

Strange as it may seem, we choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it. What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.
Choose joy.  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13
 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remembering Our Veterans and Their Families


Lansdowne Baptist Church is privileged to have a number of veterans and their families worship with us. We remember the sacrifices they have made in their service and in support of their service men and women. We pray for all those who have served and their families, for those who have gone on before us, and those who are with us today. We recognize their struggles and pray for their resolution. 

We offer up Psalm 33:20-22 in their honor: 

Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield. 
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, 
even as we hope in you. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interfaith Food Cupboard of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, Needs Help

This information arrived on October 30, 2014, concerning the needs addressed just for the month of October: 


  • We provided emergency food for: 180 adults
  •                                                  162 children
  •                              for a total of: 342 people
  • We gave each a nine meal supply of food (three days), so we provided 3078 meals!!
Now here is the local need in the William Penn school district served by the Interfaith Food Cupboard: 
  • You can see that our number of requests have DOUBLED, while the food and money donations have dwindled   
  • WE NEED lots more food—so if you can help, we would be grateful!!
Here is a description of their efforts and their contact information: 

  • We service families in the William Penn School District (Aldan, Darby Borough, Colwyn, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne and Yeadon). We are here to help with emergency food needs! Call us at 610-622-0800, option 4 for more information. We are located at the First Presbyterian Church in Lansdowne, PA and are open on Monday and Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00p.m. This is not a walk in service so please call ahead to register as a client. Please bring proof of residency to register. You will need to provide your own transportation. Unfortunately, we cannot deliver to you.
You may also check their Facebook page for additional information: https://www.facebook.com/interfaithfoodcupboard/info

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Encouragement for Workers Everywhere

"Why We Work"

The same God who knit us together in our mother's womb, who formed our emotions and character and innate worth, who orchestrated our lives up until this point--that God placed us where we are today. In our jobs, in our families, in this place.* 

There are some moments when the light of that purpose burns clear and bright but others when we can barely discern it through the fog. Regardless, we must work "as working for the Lord." Serving a heavenly Christ, even through our earthly tasks. 

~Joshua DuBois

*While this is generally true, if you should find yourself in an evil place among those who would harm you, that is not God's doing. God is never the author of evil and you should strive for freedom from that harm.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Suicide Prevention

Following the awful news of comedian and actor Robin Williams's suicide, there were some truly wonderful remembrances. There was some horrid disinformation and a profound ignorance on the nature of suicide and its victims on display. Awful judgments were passed that were painful to not only Mr. Williams’ family and friends, but to everyone who has ever lost a loved one or friend to suicide. Here is some information you can use instead.

If you are contemplating suicide yourself, please stop. You are a much loved child of God and this is not the solution you are looking for. Seek help. Reach out to others and allow them to help you. Here is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). As they state on the Lifeline website: “You aren’t alone. No matter who you are or what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn’t the answer. We want to help you find hope.”

All of us Christians are called to follow Jesus. Jesus came for everyone, had compassion for all, and healed the sick, including those suffering from mental illness. Here are signs someone is considering suicide.

  1. Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself.
  2. Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a weapon.
  3. Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  4. Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  5. Talking about being a burden to others.
  6. Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  8. Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  9. Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  10. Displaying extreme mood swings.
Not everyone caught up in these crises of the mind are able to seek help for themselves. We, as members of the priesthood of all believers, need to be willing to step up and get someone help if the signs are strong. We need to risk looking foolish with stakes this high.

Wishing you all God's peace.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Joy Is Happiness in God


In his wonderful book, which I recommend to you, author James Martin has the following to say about joy, referencing the work of Donald Saliers. I hope you find it inspirational:

Joy is a fundamental disposition toward God. What characterizes Christian joy in contrast to happiness ... lies in its ability to exist even in the midst of suffering, because joy has less to do with emotion and more to do with belief. It does not ignore pain in the world, in another's life, or in one's own life. Rather, it goes deeper, seeing confidence in God--and for Christians, in Jesus Christ--as the reason for joy and a constant source of joy.

 Unlike ephemeral happiness, you can cling to joy even in the rough times. Joy is happiness in God and you can carry that with you always.

I hope you find joy today.

For another post on joy, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/06/sharing-joy-found-in-our-faith.html