Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Sermon based on Matthew 21:33-46, which reminds us what Jesus expects from us if we choose to be fruitful rather than wicked tenants. It is a message well worth reflection.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.
Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”
I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.
Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Sermon based on Genesis 37:1-4, 18-38, showing us the dysfunctional, grudge poisoned, hateful relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We explore how to equip ourselves against dysfunction and hate in our own day and age, like the hate so prominently on display at the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017. Being so equipped, we must work all our lives against letting hatred consume us.
If you doubt your small efforts or talents can be any use in fighting against human hatred, intolerance, racism, etc., take a look at the following sermon and rethink: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/against-all-expectations.html
For specific reactions from our denomination to the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which I heartily agree with and endorse, see the following posts: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/american-baptist-home-mission-societies.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Sermon based on Genesis 18:1-15, focusing on hospitality, Abraham, Sarah, and God. Exploring closely how God's insistence on hospitality impacts upon all of us today during incredibly tense, inhospitable times. Includes current crises playing out in our community. Please watch, share, pray, and act.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Sermon based on Matthew 28:16-20, where Jesus bestows the great commission upon his disciples and all Christian disciples of all ages. The question arises, how in the world to we fill this tall order? Well, we can turn as a congregation to a surprising source for modeling cooperative efforts. What source this that? Watch and see. I hope you'll have some fun with this one.
Special thanks to my wife, who films these sermons, for going above and beyond the call of duty by holding the camera in hand when the tripod failed. That's fantastic dedication. I can't thank her enough.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Here are some Bible verses that show how it has always been God's intent to reach out to all people everywhere. Check out: Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:23-34; Psalm 96:1-3; Isaiah 56:6-7; Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 4:16-19; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8; and Revelation 7:9. I recommend reading these passages all together to get the sweep and breadth of God's vision. It will not take long. Ask yourself after reading these passages, how does reaching out to others different from yourself fit into the big picture of what God wants us to be doing?
Here is the link to both several written stories and the recording of the event to listen to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/education/item/104158-courageous-conversations-sharing-stories-about-race-and-pledging-to-practice-more
Friday, September 9, 2016
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perfectionism as follows:
1. a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person's highest good; b : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth
2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable (see: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfectionism)
As Dr. Davidson stated, we need to stop placing heavy, unrealistic expectations on ourselves and instead of attempting to manage everything ourselves, turning control over to God instead. If we do not, we come to dislike ourselves when we don't meet those expectations. As a result, we will project that negative attitude upon others, making our dissatisfaction with our own imperfections about them rather than dealing with the issues honestly ourselves.
Humility is the antidote to the myth of perfectionism that eats away at the heart of our spiritual lives, drowning that life in depression, sinking us into despair. If we feel we need to be perfect, we will certainly fail at the things we try, whether they be physical, intellectual, or spiritual matters.
For me, the key observation was and remains "Perfectionism kills the ability to move forward. We won't try if we can't be perfect." That's what happens when we accept the corrosive myth of perfectionism.
Author Joshua DuBois, referencing the parable of the shepherd searching for the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7, remarks in The President's Devotional, "[Our God] is not a God who loves the righteous--because none are righteous, none. He's not a God who values those who have it all together, because who among us really does?" None of us manages to get through life without stumbling. None of us is perfect.
Finally, author Kirk Byron Jones in his book, Rest in the Storm, warns that we cannot expect each other to be able to address (perfectly or otherwise) all of the problems we face in our sojourn through life. Jones quotes Dr. E.V. Hill's consideration of this matter. While this is a warning for pastors, once again it is good advice for everyone, "Now we need to be careful. Sometimes the expectation that we meet all these demands convinces us that we can. This can give us a messianic complex that is destructive to the preacher and the preacher's family. This messianic complex can work on us so that we can feel bad about not being able to solve all the problems that are brought to us. This is a horrible addiction. There is glamour and glee in thinking that you have the answer to many problems and feeling that others think so. It is very seductive, and we can become addicted to it. And it is subtle; we want to endear people to us, but this can lead to people expecting too much from us, and us expecting too much from ourselves."
Let's all be humble. Let's all admit we are not perfect beings. Let's lower the expectations a bit, Let's get away from the idea that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. We'll all be healthier for that.
Wishing everyone peace ... and a healthy does of humility ... so we can all move forward together.