Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. 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

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.

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

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, 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

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 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.

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 6, 2018

The Whole City Gathered



Sermon from February 4, 2018, based on Mark 1:29-39. In it we review Jesus' healing of Simon/Andrew's mother-in-law and Jesus' desire to leave the safe and known town of Capernaum and its friendly crowd. Jesus calls us to leave the cozy equivalent of Capernaum and head out to be about Jesus' mission. Listen and discover the details. Have a blessed and adventurous day!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Higher Way: American Baptists and Our Neighbors

Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, the American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary, has authored a powerful letter of American Baptist belief in the face of our divisive times. 

Here's one paragraph from the heart of the letter: "In brief, our culture suffers from a form of spiritual amnesia. Having forgotten or ignored the Baptist and biblical core conviction of the infinite worth of every human being because we are all made in God’s image, many movements and individuals no longer act as if loving one’s neighbor is a fundamental and necessary manifestation of a just and healthy society. We are so quick to judge, denigrate, criticize, attack, and assume to be superior to those with whom we differ. There is precious little grace, courtesy and mutual respect remaining in American discourse and life. We must recapture these virtues which can resupply society with much needed social capital. This failing applies to both the President and Congress, to political and social conservatives and liberals alike, to Republicans and to Democrats, as well as to those of us who are part of religious communities."

To read his letter, please see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2018/02/01/a-higher-way-american-baptists-and-our-neighbors/

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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Plain Talk



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.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Science and Religion: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we approach Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s day of remembrance and service, let's take a minute to review his perspective on science and religion, so often seen as polar opposites today, like so many other subjects and people's in this combative and divisive environment today. He said: "Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary."

What and who else might be complementary if looked at properly?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Adopted Children



Sermon for the first Sunday of January 2018 based on Galatians 4:4-7. Paul warns the Galatians about backsliding, placing works of the law and other worldly distractions above faith in Jesus. Instead they, and we, should accept and embrace the most wonderful gift ever offered. Listen and discover the gift offered. Wishing you all a blessed 2018.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nothing Impossible: Christmas Eve 2017 Sermon



Sermon delivered on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2017, based on Luke 1:26-38. The angel Gabriel assures Mary, when delivering the message that she will be Jesus' mother, that "For nothing will be impossible with God." Discover what that means for us today.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love As God Loves



Sermon for Sunday, November 12, 2017, based on 1 John 4:7-21. The sermon addresses how Christian churches and individuals respond in an age of fear and the senseless violence of terrorism. Please listen and consider.