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

Friday, September 25, 2020

Countering Hate



Where does hate come from and how can we counter it? Let's explore together.

Please excuse the ringing phone that started right in the middle of this. Such is the nature of the live streamed message.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

No Grudges Sermon 9 13 2020



This is the sermon from September 13, 2020, based on Genesis 45:3-11, 15. It is the story of Joseph as the second most powerful official in Egypt encountering his brothers, who had sold him into slavery as a child, who had come to him hat in hand seeking food for their families during a famine. They don't know who Joseph is but Joseph recognizes them. Will Joseph hold a grudge? Will he seek revenge? What does that matter to us? Come, watch, and find out. All are welcome.



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wake from Sleep 09 06 2020



Paul is speaking to a divided people when writing to the church in Rome. Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians are divided for many reasons. Paul advises them how best to bridge that divide, and his recommendations still work for us today. Paul also warns the time to act is now. Procrastination will not help. Come and watch. All are welcome.

Strategies to Help Children Feel Safe During the Pandemic 2020



Some useful information on helping children deal with the stress and uncertainty associated with the current pandemic sweeping the nation. These techniques will work with anxious adults as well. This information came from the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/humanitarian-disaster-institute/

Sunday, August 30, 2020

What Do We Do Now Sermon 08 30 2020

The sermon for Sunday, August 30, 2020, is based on Romans 12:9-21. Learn to love, rejoice, and overcome in an age of division. Paul lets us all in on the secret. Let that secret change your life. Come and watch. All are welcome.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Love Sermon 8 2 2020



Sermon from August 2, 2020, based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. We will explore love and our need for it from Paul's perspective and, as this is part of our summer superhero sermon series, from the perspective of the Star Sapphires. There's plenty worth learning here. Come and watch. All are invited.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Micah Week 2






After last week's introduction to the Old Testament prophets and how
their jobs changed over 1000+ years, we now turn to the prophet Micah
and what he had to say about Israel, power, corruption, downfall, and
hope. It will be a wild ride. You are invited.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Message from the National Council of Churches Concerning this Pandemic


Now is a Time to Imagine a Bold New Future 

A statement by the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

-Psalm 46:10-11 NRSV

The Governing Board of the National Council of Churches, meeting during the Easter season 2020, sends greetings to all with the eternal message, “Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!”

These joyful words are a balm, especially, during these difficult days when the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping over the country, and indeed the entire world, causing illness, death, and the disruption of lives and livelihoods. At the time of our meeting, April 28, 3,090,844 people worldwide have tested positive for the virus, and 213,273 have died.

In the United States alone, there are 1,003,844 cases, and 57,962 deaths have been reported. Fortunately, some areas in the country and around the world are experiencing a decrease in the daily numbers of confirmed, new cases of infection. It remains uncertain whether these positive trends will continue or if a new wave of the virus will emerge. Thus we acknowledge that uncertainty and fear remain. In the midst of such tribulation, we claim that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NRSV).

This pandemic shines a light on our ability as a nation and as a people to rally together in a time of crisis. We rejoice and express thanks for all those who are providing aid and comfort to the ill and suffering. This includes first responders, medical personnel, chaplains, and others providing humanitarian assistance. Our prayers are with the scientists and researchers and other experts who are working on improved testing, new vaccines, and guidelines that will enable a return to normal life.

We are grateful to the countless individuals who have come to the aid of their neighbors out of moral conviction, religious faith, or love. We also give thanks for educators, civic officials, and religious leaders, who are learning new, creative ways to teach, lead, and minister to their communities.

This pandemic also shines a light on the hierarchy of human life as we live it. Many essential workers considered essential are treated as expendable. Grocery clerks, orderlies, custodians, restaurant workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and countless others — are at the bottom of the economic ladder. They are required to show up at work and maintain the comfort of others without having necessary resources to protect themselves or their families. We support measures to safeguard their well-being and elevate their economic and social status.

We urge everyone to continue to adapt to those guidelines which will limit the spread of the virus. Now is not the time to ignore measures intended to limit illness and loss of life.

As we are mindful of all the good happening around us, we must also name the injustices and challenges that we confront. This crisis reveals dangerous biases. In particular, we condemn the hate-speech and hate-crimes directed against the Asian-American community, as well as attacks on our siblings of other ethnic and religious backgrounds who are experiencing hatred and xenophobia during this time.

The pandemic has uncovered the systemic racism and classism that is intrinsically part of our national DNA and has shined a light on the vast disparities in our healthcare system. Large cities are reporting over 70% of reported deaths are of African Americans.

A grossly disproportionate number of persons of color are suffering and dying from COVID-19 because of the systemic poverty and racism that plagues our society. We reiterate our determination as a Council to work to end racism.

Further, the economic collapse that is underway shines a light on the weakness of our social safety net, including economic and healthcare inequities, and the tenuous nature of our purported prosperity now that tens of millions have quickly been thrown out of work. As some corporate interests rightly seek government funding to support their workers, others inappropriately seek vast sums from our government to enrich themselves; meanwhile, those of more humble means have received inadequate assistance. We pledge to continue to advocate for our nation’s resources to be utilized to help the most vulnerable among us, including immigrants and refugees.

Finally, this is a time of grief and sadness for millions of people. The loss of life and the numbers who are suffering is staggering. The anguish is compounded by our inability to be near our loved ones as they pass away and to gather in community to celebrate their lives and participate in rites of committal. Although many have died alone, they are not expendable and their loss to us is irreplaceable. We pray that their memory be eternal, and that their loved ones be comforted.

As people and communities of faith, we know that God is with us, and that we are all in this beautiful creation together. A central message of the ecumenical movement has been the resolve to stay together despite our differences. When we do so as a society, we are able to coordinate and extend our response to the pandemic and, in seeking to remedy the weaknesses and faults in our society that this pandemic has exposed, insist that those who are suffering be placed at the center of our concern.

Now is a time to imagine a bold new future, and a way forward that considers the best interests of all of God’s people. The pandemic is a crisis and all crises provide opportunities for change and renewal. People seek and need connection with one another and they desire to collaborate to build a new future that integrates justice and peace with health and well-being. We celebrate that and we are committed to participating as full partners in working for the beloved community.

Read the statement online here.
###
Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.

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.