Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

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. 

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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Through the Roof



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.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Feasting with Friends 2018


Lansdowne Baptist Church, 17 East Lacrosse Ave., Lansdowne, PA, is preparing to hold its annual Feasting with Friends event.  It will take place on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the church.  This annual event has always been a success and we are hoping and praying that it will be even better this year. We ask that you come and join us as we feast with friends. You may contact the church at 610-626-0637 and let us know who you are and how many people are coming in your group. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing God's blessings with you, with the meal and an inspirational message. Join us, friend. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

God Provides



Sermon for January 28, 2018, based on Deuteronomy 18:15-20. The sermon explores God's provision of prophets for his people. It takes a hard, honest look at how one tells the difference between a true and false prophet. You might be surprised how useful this information is today.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

LBC Blog Recognized


Recently our blog was listed on Feedspot as among the “Top 50 Baptist Blogs and Websites.” It is nice to be noticed as we serve our community. It is also humbling to be included among some pretty august company. Thanks to the judges. To see the listings and discover some more useful sources of information, go to: https://blog.feedspot.com/baptist_blogs/

Thursday, December 14, 2017

One Day Like 1000 Years



Sermon based on 2 Peter 3:8-15 given during the Advent season in 2017. The focus of the sermon is dealing with anxiety that comes upon us all as we wait.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Strong Foundation



Sermon for November 19, 2017, on the 130th anniversary of Lansdowne Baptist Church's 1887 founding. The sermon is based on Luke 6:47-49, Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish architects. One builds on a strong foundation and weathers all storms. Jesus' teachings and example and salvation are that strong foundation. Worthwhile consideration for all churches today.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lansdowne Baptist Church Celebrates 130th Anniversary: November 19, 2017


Back in 1886, a dedicated group of believers determined that their community was in need of their presence as a Baptist church intent on tending to the community’s moral and spiritual good, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom through saving souls, and to the education of children through Sunday School. Committed to these goals, Lansdowne Baptist Church was established in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, in 1887. We have been serving this community ever since.

Now, we invite the community to celebrate with us the 130th anniversary of this church on Sunday, November 19th, 2017, at 11 a.m. The sermon and music will focus on the firm foundation we have in Jesus Christ, where we have been, and where we intend to go walking with Jesus. We hope to see you here.

One hundred and thirty years of ministry in Lansdowne is well worth celebrating. Please join us on Sunday, November 19th, and share in our joy. Lansdowne Baptist Church is located at 17 East LaCrosse Avenue in Lansdowne. For any questions or information, please contact the church office at 610-626-0637.

For information contact:
The Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder
Pastor

610-626-0637

Thursday, October 19, 2017

LBC, October 28, 2017, Healing Communities Training Opportuntity

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 1 to 5 p.m., Rev. Jeff Snyder and Bishop Karen Dixson are coordinating with Healing Communities (Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to us about them) to offer a workshop in Westphal Hall of Lansdowne Baptist Church, Lansdowne, PA (second floor in wing closest to Lansdowne Avenue) on how we can become a Healing Community for families and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. All are welcome. No fee charged but a donation will be taken. Light refreshments served at the program’s beginning. 

For an explanation of what Healing Communities do, here is information from their website: 

Healing Communities is a framework for a distinct form of ministry for men and women returning from or at risk of incarceration, their families and the larger community. Healing Communities challenges congregations to become Stations of Hope for those persons affected by the criminal justice system.

We train communities of faith to:

· walk with the returning citizens (connect returning citizens to resources that will help set attainable goals)
· help them connect with their faith (provide spiritual support)
· open their hearts to them (foster positive relationships)
· embrace them (extend open and affirming fellowship)
· provide understanding (collaboration with family and friends to rebuild relationships)
· advocate for political change on a local, state, and federal level
We provide support and technical assistance to faith communities by:
· offering seminars in restorative justice, family reintegration and family support
· identifying resources and building networks for capacity building, service delivery and advocacy
· offering opportunities for peer learning from other congregations and expert learning at local, regional and national conferences
· customized programming for local congregations

To hear Rev. Dr. Trulear speak out about helping the prisoners and their families, see the sermon he delivered at Lansdowne Baptist Church in May of 2017: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/05/living-between-expectation-experience.html 

If you wish to learn more about the Healing Communities organization, see: http://www.healingcommunitiesusa.com/

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Make My Joy Complete



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.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LBC's Third Walking Prayer

A small group of members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church returned to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, PA, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, to practice the spiritual discipline of the walking prayer. We turned all our attention, all our senses, to the natural world--God's creation. In doing so, we walk in the company of God and are refreshed.

For me, the patterns among the trees first draw me in ...
Bridge spanning the wetlands.
For me, the patterns found in the trees are what draw me in to the natural world around me, opening my senses and calming my mind. The view from the bridge out in the wetlands is a valuable lesson in what happens when we really stop and pay attention to the world around us. At first, we see only the most obvious things: trees, water plants, water, and clouds. That's about it. But, as the mind stills, attention is first drawn to the larger water birds like the snowy egrets and great egrets. Then the smaller water birds, like ducks, are noticed among the water lilies. In time, the fish and the dragon flies and the bees capture our attention. Then we find ourselves standing beside God and taking it all in. For those who have the temperament for it, the walking prayer can be deeply moving.


Amazing what we see when we stop and look. Many egrets out on the water that day.
Consider yourself invited to join us next time ... and there will always be a next time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Armor of Light



In the sermon of September 10, 2017, we explored what Paul meant when he wrote to the Christians in Rome that they should put on the armor of light. Paul called them, and all Christians, to stand against the darkness, using one powerful, inexhaustible resource. Listen and find out what that resource is and how it is being used today.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Christian Diversity Sunday School Class Offered for Adults, Fall 2017

Beginning September 10, 2017, the pastor is going to be offering up an adult Sunday school class studying and looking to implement Christian diversity among us. We begin with seven weeks of engaging exercises covering 1. Answering God’s Call; 2. Prejudices, Perceptions, and Assumptions; 3. Comfort Zones and Going Beyond Them; 4. Leadership in a Time or Place of Transition; 5. Open Heart, Open Hand, Let Go; 6. Walk Like Jesus Walked; and 7. To Be a Good Neighbor. From there, we will plunge into a study of a terrific book, Welcoming Community: Diversity that Works. This is a start to a journey of understanding of all the diverse people God has gifted us with, within our church walls, out in our community, and throughout our American Baptist denomination.

This is a study I hope everyone will take advantage of and add their unique experience and perspective to in the months ahead as this impacts everyone, without exception. Rev. Doug Avilesbernal compares and contrasts society’s understanding of diversity with our understanding of Christian diversity. This is useful in clearing up confusion. As Rev. Avilesbernal observes, our culture understands diversity as being merely tolerant of others, and today that is exactly where most diversity training programs will leave you. This approach allows people of different backgrounds (ethnic, national, regional, however one chooses to divide humanity) to move toward one another without actively disliking each other, but only to the point of tolerating each other. While tolerance is a good thing, as far as it goes, it only allows us to stay out of each other’s way. That’s not what Christ had in mind for us, and certainly not how he approached other people.


Christian diversity, by contrast, is more complicated. Christian diversity welcomes different people because it is instead rooted in Jesus’ command that we love one another as ourselves. This is an approach that allows our church community to welcome and integrate differences into our community and enjoy the riches that such inclusion bring, riches that are blessings flowing from God and through others. It is a wonderful thing to strive for and a challenging thing to achieve. Churches that make the attempt and succeed are far stronger, far more joyful, and far greater blessed. 

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

ABCUSA General Secretary Speaks to Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12-13, 2017

Our denomination takes a dim view of racist violence and white supremacist terror. The General Secretary reminds us all of our denominational stance. In part, he states:

Second, the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-white-nationalists-rally/index.html), cannot be ignored. Let us encourage our pastors to remind our membership that ABCUSA stands for the full equality of all Americans and rejects every version of racial prejudice and specifically, the contemporary ugly resurgence of so-called “white nationalism.” I especially appreciated IM missionary Daniel Buttry’s Facebook reposting of an American Baptist Resolution which is still valid today:

To see the entire letter, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/08/13/general-secretarys-update-august-12-13-2017/

This includes the American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. The end of the resolution includes the following instructions to leaders:

We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.

Wonder Woman and Mission

 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.