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

Friday, March 27, 2020

Spring Has a Story to Tell Us

John 1:1-5: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

The world all around us, even in the midst of crisis, awakens and speaks to us these truths. 





Sunday, March 22, 2020

Don't Live in Fear

Romans 8:15-16 reads: 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God...

I want to add an observation to this from scholar Eileen R. Campbell-Reed from an article she wrote in Christian Century. "The Gospel of John tells us Jesus inspired a crowd of 5,000 to pull bread and fish from their cloaks and baskets and share food with everyone. People called it a miracle." God provides us with a sacred abundance that will see us through even this pandemic. What do you suppose we as individuals and as a congregation have up our collective sleeves? Remember too, when God provided manna to the his children in the wilderness, it would only last a day (it also came every day) and anyone panicky enough to hoard manna found it rotting the next morning. If we don't succumb to panic and don't hoard, there will be enough for everyone. 

Thanks for Prof. Campbell-Reed for the good thought! Thanks to Paul for the ever relevant letters! 

Have a blessed day.
God has placed sources of joy all around us

Please share this message with your friends!
~Rev. Jeff Snyder

Rest Assured: God Has Plans for Us

Jeremiah 29 reminds us God has big plans for us: 11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14I will let you find me, says the Lord ...


God has not abandoned us. God is not smiting us. this isn't caused by some tv preacher's hot button issue of the day that god's heated up about. god didn't send us jesus out of anger, but out of love for all humanity. spend some time in prayer today, walk with god, and be assured. i'm praying for you too. 

~Rev. jeff snyder 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Annual Community Dinner Postponed

For everyone's safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, our annual free community dinner has been postponed until further notice. We hate to do it, but we love our community and want you all to stay safe. Once the pandemic has passed, we'll brush ourselves off, thank God we're here, and prepare to celebrate together, breaking bread in joy. See you then. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sometimes You Need a New Plan

Sometimes you just need a new plan. I am building an N Scale model railroad on a door at home. It helps me decompress after a stressful week. I was looking to make my own trees. I selected a tree plan from a YouTube instructional video (they cover just about everything on YouTube), had most of what it took to and decided I could make a few reasonable substitutions. Well, the result is what I call my zombie tree (in the foreground) ... even from a distance you can tell something's just wrong about it. 
Meet my "zombie tree." A different plan was required.

It was discouraging. But, I sat back, thought it over, admitted I didn't have all I needed to successfully complete that plan. I went back to YouTube, found another plan, and this time made no substitutions. At the same stage of development, this tree looked a lot more like a tree. 

Looks more like a tree to me.

The finished tree I liked well enough to make another ... with a third on the way ... and try two different leaf application plans. I enjoyed the results of both. 
Two finished trees with another on the way.

But why am I telling you all this? Because, life right now seems to be strongly suggesting we try another plan. The one we are familiar with just isn't going to work during this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. We need a new plan for church worship. The PBA developed one in league with the CDC's recommendations and American Baptist plans from around the nation. Here it is and we have the resources to implement it and that's what we will do to keep everyone safe. We can worship together now as we will gather in numbers below the unsafe threshold and we have plenty of room for social distancing. It will seem unfamiliar at first, perhaps a little unsettling, but the safety of our beloved church community is the priority. Here's what the PBA offers as a new plan. 

I have compiled and listed below recommendations for congregations to follow as we live through the challenges that we face given the outbreak of coronavirus.

First:
The PBA Ministers Council gathered this week and discussed the challenges and shared helpful recommendations for congregations as we face in this public health emergency. Please click on the link to review their recommendations and share your thoughts by filling out the survey https://form.jotform.com/200715356940150

Further, the Ministers Council plans to develop webinars and an online community that helps us to coordinate our efforts in serving and protecting church members.

Second:
I have gathered and compiled some of the recommendations from Regions across ABCUA. The PBA does recommend our churches consider the suggestions below:

WORSHIP
Churches face decisions now and in the future about cancelling worship services.  We have been advised to avoid gatherings over 250 people (now the number is down to 50); our larger churches will have a more difficult decision.  In your sanctuary, spread out!  Create some distance between persons
If possible foregoing print bulletins, and replacing them with electronic or projected versions, is advisable. If this is not feasible, make sure greeters are wearing gloves as they pass out bulletins, and have worshippers sanitize their hands as they enter the sanctuary.
Consider live streaming or podcasting your services for those who elect not to attend, and to prepare for the possible cancellation of live worship in the future. 


MUSIC
It is not known at present how long COVID-19 is able to remain viable on surfaces. Projecting lyrics is a good way to prevent the spread of the virus. Remember to disinfect the keyboards, remotes/mouse and desks. If this is not feasible a printed song sheet may be a better option, and if this will not work then encouraging hand washing and sanitizing after worship is recommended (which should be a standard practice).

OFFERING
Plates or baskets should be placed in a location where the people may leave their offering. Plates should be handled by gloved ushers and not passed by the congregation. While there are costs, encouraging online giving would also help protect those who handle the offering after it is taken.

PRAYER TIME
If your church passes a microphone around at prayer time, have the person holding the microphone in the front listen to each request and then repeat it for the congregation.

HANDSHAKING
Following CDC guidelines, handshaking should be avoided. As we greet one another or Pass the Peace, we should do so without physical touch of any kind. A gentle bow or a nod can be substituted. 
People could be taught to sign “I love you” or place their right hand over their heart and then turn it outward to their neighbors—the latter is considered by many to be a sign of peace. A friendly nod and smile is also a good alternative.

COMMUNION
Passing plates and cups is inadvisable at this time, as too many hands end up touching the elements and the potential for spreading the virus is increased. Churches may want to consider inviting congregants up front for communion, keeping a least three feet between members, and have gloved servers hand worshippers the elements. You may also consider using pre-filled communion sets.


OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:

Who should forego worship gatheringsPersons who feel, or within the past two weeks, have felt unwell or run a fever should be discouraged from attending church services or events, both for their own protection and the protection of others. If anyone in a household is unwell, everyone in the household should remain at home.

In particular, the following persons who are at particular risk from COVID -19 should take extra precautions: persons age 60 or over, anyone with a respiratory condition such as asthma or emphysema, anyone with an autoimmune disorder, anyone who is undergoing or has recently received chemotherapy, and smokers.


Cleaning:  Make sure to wipe every surface that is often touched with disinfectant: doorknobs, handrails, the tops of pews.

Food service:  Food served at coffee hour, feeding programs or other gatherings should be in individual servings. If food is not in individual servings, a person wearing a new pair of food service gloves should be assigned to pre-plate and serve the food. Serving utensils should be handled only by the person preparing and serving the food.

Virtual meetings are encouraged where possible. Church or program staff may be encouraged to work from home, provided their physical presence is not required.  Some free or low-cost online meeting platforms include: Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex Meetings, and Microsoft Teams.

Pastoral Care:  Please be aware that pastors may need to reduce or eliminate their physical presence in hospitals and nursing homes.  Many facilities are already limiting such visits.  We have had our first case of a US pastor contracting this illness.  Pastors do not want to become unintentional carriers by entering high-risk areas; in addition, many pastors have family members in high-risk groups, or are themselves at high risk.  Prayer by phone or video can indeed be Spirit-filled.


The Rev. Dr. James E. McJunkin
Regional Executive Pastor

In the end, the new plan that succeeds (and it may take a couple tries to get it right) creates something beautiful ... and perhaps a little different from what was expected! 


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Do Not Worry



Sermon for February 16, 2020, based on Matthew 6:25-27. Jesus teaches his followers not to worry. Here we explore what kind of worry Jesus' is talking about and how we might actually be able to pull ourselves away from the most destructive forms of anxiety we face. These words of Jesus' put the keys to freeing ourselves from the cage worry forms in our minds directly into our hands. The question is, will we use that key? Come and watch. All are welcome.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

No One Knows



Here is the sermon for Sunday, December 1, 2019, the first Sunday of Advent. Based on Matthew 24:36-44, we take a look forward to Jesus' Second Advent, Jesus' return to this world. When should we expect this? How should we prepare? What should we do? So many questions. Come and watch. See what Jesus has to tell us in answer to our questions.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

God's Generosity



This sermon, given on November 17, 2019, is based on Isaiah 65:17-25. Here we consider God's great generosity to humanity and our response toward God's church, our community, and creation. This is a stewardship sermon dealing with the establishment of a new Jerusalem in people's hearts, where it spreads from person to person, and generosity along with it, right around the globe. Come and watch. If you find yourself near Lansdowne Baptist Church on a Sunday morning, drop in at 11 a.m. to worship with us (10 a.m. in the summer).

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Two Christmas Events Coming in December 2019


Lansdowne Baptist Church will be offering two special Christmas services in our sanctuary this December.  The first, the annual Christmas Candlelight Service, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, December 22nd.  The second is our annual Christmas Eve Service, held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24th.  Both services provide favorite scriptures and carols. All are invited and welcome to share our joy in this season.



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Climb Down



Sermon for Sunday, November 3, 2019, based on Luke 19:1-10, the compelling tale of Jericho's despised chief tax collector and his encounter with Jesus, via a sycamore tree. It is a story filled with good news and life application lessons for each and every one of us today. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, come and worship with us at Lansdowne Baptist Church any Sunday. We will welcome you!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Faith and Power



Sermon for Sunday, October 6, 2019, based on Luke 17:5-10. Both the disciples and we tend to believe we do not have enough faith to get the job done. We believe Jesus calls us to things far mightier than our puny human faith is capable of. Come and watch and discover the truth of the matter. You might be surprised.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Prayer: Sermon for September 22, 2019



Sermon based on 1 Timothy 2:1-7, in which Paul advises Timothy and us who to pray for and why. Everything he has to say is equally challenging for us as the Christian community today. There is a special challenge and invitation here for members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church. All are invited to watch, however, as there is plenty here to challenge everyone. Stop by and worship with us on Sunday morning if you find yourself near Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. The invitation and the door are open.

To the Lansdowne Baptist Church family, listen to this sermon and be ready to respond at our Congregational Meeting on Wednesday evening, October 23rd, 2019.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saving Sinners



Sermon for Sunday, September 15, 2019, based on 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Paul encourages us to be grateful to Jesus for our salvation, humble in giving credit, and honest about ourselves and our dealings. Paul reminds us of his past as Saul and states if he, as an outrageous sinner, can be saved, so can we. Come and watch and see where this takes us. If you're near Lansdowne, PA, on Sunday morning, join us as well.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Potter's Hands



Sermon based on Jeremiah 18:1-10, given on Sunday, September 8, 2019. Here we discover what the prophet Jeremiah learned watching a potter at work with soft clay, forming a pot. These observations and a message from God tells us all much about our relationship with God and our own challenge to change. Come and see.

We Have Awesome Power!

Each and every one of us in each and every moment has been gifted with the power to be a blessing or a curse in the lives of the people we meet today. Use your awesome power wisely! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Mutual Love



This is the sermon for Sunday, September 1, 2019, based on Hebrews 13:1-7, in which Christian congregations are called to have mutual brotherly & sisterly love continue to grow between members. That love is intended to overflow the congregation and extend out into the community, attracting others. Mutual love is expressed through hospitality. An adversary of love and hospitality is arrogance. There is a lot to learn here. Come and watch. Join us Sundays at Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, PA. You will be welcomed with hospitality!


I have no idea why the last 5 minutes of the sermon are cut off, but am working to correct this problem.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Being Mindful of What We Say: Fat Shaming Wounds Others and Defiles Us

In Matthew 15:11-20, Jesus instructs: "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

To love God and neighbor, fulfilling the two great commandments, we need to be mindful what we say to others. In society today, people are feeling far freer to say what is on their minds, regardless of how their words will impact those who receive them. Fat shaming is all the rage and society encourages this harmful behavior in a lot of different ways. To understand what fat shaming is and how it impacts others, take a look at the following article through this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-shaming-makes-things-worse

Even with the best of intentions, telling someone something they already know full well will not encourage them to diet and live a healthier life. We need to ask ourselves why we feel compelled to tell someone they are fat in the hopes they will take a better life path. There's an assumption behind that "you're fat" shaming. That assumption, whether conscious or not, is that the person is lazy and if they just had a little more gumption, they'd lose weight. That's a dangerous assumption and an insulting one. None of us knows a stranger's story. We don't know the circumstances of their lives. We have no idea whether they are trying or have tried many times to lose weight. In following through with that impulse, we defile ourselves and harm the other person. Once the message has been delivered, the deliverer goes on with their day and probably forgets the encounter. The recipient of the message has been harmed, burdened with more unwanted emotional baggage, and perhaps heading down the road to depression or worse. It's more infuriating when that message is delivered by a skinny person who has never once in their lives struggled with weight issues. That person simply has no clue what the overweight person is struggling with. 

Much better to reign in our tongues, mind our words, and instead try to truly help our neighbors, taking the real time and effort to help those who truly need help and to be kind to everyone, making kindess a habit that improves lives (the other person's and our own), a habit that will never defile us. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Be Merciful Today

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 read: 


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; 
and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 
2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven.4“Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, 
for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those 
who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, 
for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the 
pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed 
are the peacemakers, for they will be called 
children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are 
persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when 
people revile you and persecute you and utter all 
kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 
12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great 
in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted 
the prophets who were before you.

Be merciful with others and with yourselves today. 
Be peacemakers and be meek, walking humbly with 
God and with each other. Life in this world can be 
very hard. Human life can be frighteningly fragile. 
We are all struggling behind the confident & calm 
masks we wear. So often when asked how we're 
doing, the cheery "Fine" we deliver is a lie. So be 
helpful to each other in small ways. Be alert for 
the moment when you can deliver a kind word, 
hold a door for someone, calm a troubled soul 
with an act of grace. God does this for us and 
asks us to do this for others. I'll be right out there 
with you, doing just the same. In helping others, 
we will discover we also help ourselves. 
See you in the world. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Charlotte Marie Yinger's Memorial Service

Charlotte Marie Yinger died peacefully on March 29, 2019. Charlotte and her sister Eleanor have been long standing and beloved members of Lansdowne Baptist Church. Charlotte was the loving and much-loved daughter of the late Robert & Catherine Crosson Yinger, sister of Eleanor Yinger--who visited her faithfully at Elwyn--and neice of Joseph Yinger. Charlotte will be missed by her family and friends, including her church friends at LBC. Charlotte was a loving person with an enthusiasm for life. 

A memorial service will be held at Lansdowne Baptist Church on Saturday, August 31, 2019, at 11 a.m. Lansdowne Baptist is located at 17 E. Lacrosse Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Lansdowne Baptist Church or to Elwyn Wechsler Hall, 111 Elwyn Road, Media, PA 19063. 

We stand with and pray for Charlotte's family and friends in their time of grief.