Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

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 1, 2017

LBC Visioning Meeting

Members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church, join us Wednesday night, November 1, 2017, in Westphal Hall for a potluck dinner and visioning for our future together. This will be an exciting meeting discerning where God is leading us now. Come and give us your vision for our future together. 

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, 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 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent



Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer plays into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice



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, July 25, 2017

Son of Man and Son of Krypton



Sermon based on John 1:1-13 during my Summer Blockbuster Sermon Series dealing with comic superheroes and various aspects of the Christian faith. In this sermon, we check out key characteristics of Superman and how we can use them to speak clearly and engagingly about Jesus. Take a look and see for yourself.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Behold the Lilies

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry and why: 

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


Monday, June 19, 2017

How Do We Go



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, June 8, 2017

Benefit of Being Righteous

A brief meditation on being a righteous person, which is a person who is in right relationship with God and with humanity (a pretty tall order when you think it through). 
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. ~Isaiah 32:16-17

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Living Between Expectation & Experience



Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to Lansdowne Baptist Church about how we may assist individuals who have been incarcerated and their families. It is an important and powerful message. He also has something to say to those who would dismiss prisoners as "bad people" who should be ignored. Please watch.

At the end of the sermon, Rev. Dr. Trulear invited individuals with family members in prison to come forward for a prayer. This was a powerful moment for everyone as ten people came forward. One person was in tears, feeling until that moment that she was suffering alone. That prayer is not recorded here as those people were not asked in advance if they cared to be filmed.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sea Salt & Bushel Baskets



Sermon based on Matthew 5:13-20, encouraging Jesus' disciples and us to not hide our faith away, but share it, being salt and light, savor and illumination, willing to mix into the culture in positive ways. Sermon delivered February 5, 2017.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fishers of People



Sermon based on Matthew 4:12-23, in which Jesus moves to Capernaum, gathers his first disciples, and we explore what discipleship means. Further, the sermon includes the discipline of non-violent communication as one way to be modern-day fishers of people. Are you in? How will you respond when Jesus asks you to "Follow me" and states, "I will make you fishers of people."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ah Ha Moment



Sermon based on John 1:29-42, in which John the Baptist has a particular Ah Ha moment that has reverberated down through the centuries. What will be yours?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Faith Described

A moment for inspiration from the book of Hebrews, a sermon written to a troubled people somewhere between 60 and 100 A.D. Times and technology may change, but some issues are eternal. The following is a beautiful short description of faith:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understood that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

End of School Year Bash Was a Blast!

Lansdowne Baptist Church kicked off our summer season with our annual End of the School Year Bash. We had a great deal of fun with our congregational family, friends, and neighbors (just so you know, when LBC holds an outdoor event on our most wonderful piece of property--the lawn at the corner of Lansdowne and East LaCrosse Avenues, you are invited to join us there). The day started off with a brand new project, our youth raised bed vegetable and flower gardens (it was three beds that day, but due to God's abundance and the powerful movement of His Holy Spirit, we now have four beds). The children and youth planted our vegetables in anticipation of the coming harvest. We plan to share the produce with our kids and the local Interfaith Food Cupboard this fall, God willing. We had lunch using our locally famous lemonade stand. Then the pastor did a little Christian clowning and discovered the fun of involving more of the audience in the performance. This was followed by some terrific games (the flying disc toss trying to ring traffic cones was particularly popular with kids and adults alike). Then came our next new event, a pony ride for the kids. Some children were so in love with this event they rode that pony four or five times in the hour she was with us.

I want to take a moment to say a great big thank you to everyone who made this event so successful and memorable. All of your hard work and preparation and involvement are greatly appreciated. We could not do this without each and every one of you.



It was a blessed day and we look forward to doing it again next year. Who knows what new things we'll have added by that time? Come and find out. You are always welcome.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Powerful Statement from Our Denomination Following the Shootings in Orlando

American Baptist Churches USA is the most diverse denomination in the United States. Our churches have a great deal of autonomy, we are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, and we have varying interpretations of particular passages that have been the focus of recent cultural and religious debated.

Yet, in the midst of turmoil, our leadership provided the following powerful message of love. Please follow this link and read: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Penmanship Epiphany

Years ago, my grade school teacher told me to loosen my grip on my pen if I wanted better penmanship. It has taken me all these years to realize she was asking me to following the often repeated biblical admonition, "Do not be afraid." If I'd just loosen up a bit, trust in the guidance given and tools received, life (and penmanship) would improve markedly. Sure enough, a looser hold on a pen and life brings greater results. However, white knuckling it through writing and life are hard habits to break!

Wishing you all the blessings of a life far freer of fear. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Working for Reconciliation in Volatile Times

People are unhappy, on edge, concerned, worried about the present and the future, doubtful, feeling left behind in many cases, and it makes us short-tempered. Henry J.M. Nouwen, in his daily devotional Bread for the Journey, explores a different way of living, a more biblical and peaceful way, even in these volatile, uncertain times. Following Nouwen's ideas and his biblical approach, we may reconcile ourselves to each other, creating hope and peace where anger and suspicion have taken up residence. He wrote:
Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our minds about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we only create more division. Jesus says it clearly, "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, ... do not condemn, ... forgive" (Luke 6:36-37).
Give it a shot and see if it doesn't give you an attitude adjustment. If you are anywhere near Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, on a Sunday morning, stop by the church and let me know how you did. You'll be most welcome ... and you won't be judged, condemned, evaluated, classified or labeled. I promise.
~Rev. Jeff Snyder 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Who Was I?



Sermon based on Acts 11:1-18 in which Peter, minding his own business in Joppa has an extraordinary vision, challenging his understanding of what is clean and proper. After that shocking moment, he is called by three Gentile men (Gentile grossly defined as "not us") representing the Roman centurion Cornelius. Peter and his crew are called to Caesarea to confer and eat with Cornelius and his family. Back home in Jerusalem, a faction of Christians are angry with Peter and insist he explain himself. A powerful moment comes when Peter sums up with the powerful question "who was I that I could hinder God?"

An exploration of the power of the Holy Spirit and consideration of where the Spirit might be leading us today. Listen, pray, and consider making Peter's question your own.