Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Esther Week 5, Matthew Week 1



I spend a few minutes prior to the beginning of the live stream describing what we are all about here at Beyond Loaves and Fishes. I'm inviting everyone to subscribe on the J.S. Brooks channel to participate in the live stream directly and hoping people will share this small but growing community with their friends. 


We will now conclude the book of Esther. There are a few final questions we need to consider. Then we will move on to our next book to study, the Gospel According to Matthew. That book will take considerably longer than this one. I look forward to seeing you there.

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.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Important Letter from ABC USA General Secretary 2018


AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA
___________________________________



June 15, 2018

Mr. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

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 States.

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.

Accordingly, American 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.

Sincerely,

 Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary
 American Baptist Churches USA

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

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Esther Week 3



We are picking up where we left off ... with a cliff hanger. The king, without seeking advice, has decided to take Haman up on his offer to commit genocide against the diaspora Jews in Persia. See what Queen Esther and Mordecai do to respond to this threat to their people, and themselves. Tune in!

If you like what you see here in the recorded copy after the event, consider heading over to the YouTube J.S. Brooks site and subscribing to join in live. We'd love to have you with us as it happens.

If you want to learn how to subscribe, see this post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Next Beyond Loaves and Fishes Live Stream: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Our next episode of Beyond Loaves and Fishes Bible study will live stream on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 8 p.m. If you'd like to join us in our continued exploration of the book of Esther (we left on a real cliffhanger this past Tuesday), hit the Subscribe button at the J.S. Brooks YouTube site.

To learn how to join us on YouTube, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

If you want to watch the first two class sessions on the Old Testament book of Esther, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-esther-class-1.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-esther-week-2.html

It's all a new experience right now, a little rough around the edges and evolving over time with experience. Come and join us. Subscribe today. It's all free and open to everyone.

God bless you in your journey.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Reclaiming the Name of Jesus Movement

Given recent events, there is a movement among clergy across the nation to reclaim the name of Jesus. If you want to know more, refer to this video: https://sojo.net/media/reclaiming-jesus-time-crisis

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Our live stream Bible study was a success on its first Tuesday evening, although a thunderstorm threatened to knock out my internet connection at the last minute. The second Tuesday evening we had a problem with the encoder, which I believe is now solved. So, we're going to dive back in Tuesday, May 29, 2018, continuing our study of the book of Esther for another half an hour. Stop on by and join us.

For details of how to do that, see the follow post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

If you wish to sample the first class, or catch up, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-esther-class-1.html

If you're curious what went wrong on the second night, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-technical.html

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Technical Glitch 5-22-18



What we had here was a failure of equipment to communicate! We did not have the opportunity to have our Bible study, the second week of the book of Esther last night, Tuesday, May 22, due to a failure of the encoder and YouTube to communicate with each other. It took an hour and twenty minutes to track down the problem, but I believe it is solved now and we'll be able to move forward again next Tuesday, May 29, at 8 p.m. I hope to see you all there. In the video here is an explanation of the issue and an answer to some general questions that came up in our first week.

Any new venture has challenging moments and this one was mine. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it was a real learning opportunity. As the prophet Jeremiah said in chapter 8, verse 4: When people fall, do they not get back up again? He calls his people not to be involved in perpetual backsliding but to get up again. So we will in this case. Proverbs 24:16 gives us a reality check, reminding us this will not be the only time I stumble in the production of this live stream. As the text says, for though the righteous fall seven times, they will rise again. I have fallen once. I hope not to fall again soon, but who knows? I hope you will stay with me for the adventure. Things will get better as we move along, learning together how this all works. We will also learn many valuable life lessons from the Bible as we study together.

Have a blessed day. I hope to meet with you next Tuesday evening from our respective homes. Once again, I apologize for this delay.

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!


Beyond Loaves & Fishes: Esther Week 2: Rescheduled, May 29, 2018

Our live stream Bible study was a success on its first Tuesday evening, although a thunderstorm threatened to knock out my internet connection at the last minute. The second Tuesday evening we had a problem with the encoder, which I believe is not solved. So, we're going to dive back in Tuesday, May 29, 2018, continuing our study of the book of Esther for another half an hour. Stop on by and join us.

For details of how to do that, see the follow post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

If you wish to sample the first class, or catch up, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-esther-class-1.html

If you're curious what went wrong on the second night, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-and-fishes-technical.html


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 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?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Film Screening: Because of the War

On April 15, 2018, at 4 p.m., Lansdowne's First Presbyterian Church (140 N. Lansdowne Ave, Lansdowne, PA) is showing the Philadelphia Folklore Project film, Because of the War. It shares the story of four brilliant singers--mothers, refugees, immigrants, survivors of Liberia's civil wars--who use their music to address violence and injustice at home and in exile.

Suggested donation per person: $10 each. Reception following film. This is an open invitation from the Ministerium of Eastern Delaware County, whose member churches which agreed to contribute toward this film's screening.


A Justice That Heals - 2000



Here is a powerful story of reconciliation and forgiveness that heals. This is key to creating healing communities and church stations of hope: working together to help families of those who have been incarcerated and those in prison themselves. It is well worth watching and wrestling with by all who seek to help or who have someone in the prison system.

God bless you all.

For more on the organization Healing Communities that works to create church Stations of Hope across the country, see: www.healingcommunitiesusa.com

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.