Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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

Happy Father's Day 2018

Happy Father's Day to all the good dads out there: the dads of the many sleepless nights, the dads loving and worrying about children and spouses and working hard to teach all the good and godly lessons of life to the best of their abilities. 

As Psalm 103 remarks: 13As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

Fear reads awe here. 

Here's to all who have played the role of father for others in need, especially those with no relation to the person so guided. 

Wishing you all God's blessings for the day. 

If you're in the area, come worship with us at Lansdowne Baptist this Father's Day or any Sunday. 

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

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


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.

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!


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 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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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

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.

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, 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 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.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Black History Month: Coretta Scott King on Hate


Hate is too great a burden to bear. 

It injures the hater more than it injures the hated. 

~Coretta Scott King

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!

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.

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.