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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

LBC Beginning Conversations on Diversity

Beginning Thursday evening, May 25, 2017, Lansdowne Baptist Church will be holding a series of conversations exploring diversity in our church and our community to see how better we may bridge the gaps that divide us and our community. All in our church and community are invited to join us. Tonight we will be exploring answering God's call. Consider yourselves called.

For a recent event in Philadelphia that explored this issue courageously, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/05/courageous-conversations-in.html

Courageous Conversations in Philadelphia: Sharing Stories of Race

This event, dealing with racism and sponsored by some pretty influential groups in Philadelphia, attracted 175 people and a fascinating panel. These were courageous folks willing to be uncomfortable together and explore a topic currently attempting to tear humanity apart. Included in the link below is a recorded version of the entire event. I recommend giving it a listen. A powerful early topic of conversation is in believing other people's stories, the stories of people who live lives different from your own. We need to believe the stories of others, especially their challenges and tragedies in the face of racism, and act in ways that help them.

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Children of Light



Sermon based on Ephesians 5:8-14 during Lent on March 26, 2017. The Ephesians had been people of darkness before their introduction to Jesus. They were people living in the darkness of ignorance, prone to folly, lies, loss of God's truth, deaf to God's prophets, prone to impurity, lust, greed, hard-heartedness. They were violent and criminal in their responses, living in misery. No longer. They are reminded they are to be children of light. Find out what that means and how we can live in the light too.

Monday, April 24, 2017

City in Turmoil


Palm Sunday sermon 2017 based on Matthew 21:1-11. The question was who did the people of Jerusalem understand Jesus to be. That question remains for each and every one of us today.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Prayer for Christian Unity Sunday, January 15, 2017


O God, we are one with you.

You have made us one with you.
You have taught us that if we are open to one another,you dwell in us.
Help us to preserve this opennessand to fight for it with all our hearts.
Help us to realize that there can be no understandingwhere there is mutual rejection.
O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely,we accept you, and we thank you, and we adore you,and we love you with our whole being,because our being is in your being,our spirit is rooted in your spirit.
Fill us then with love,and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways,united in this one spirit which makes you present in the world,and makes you witness to the ultimate reality that is love.
Love has overcome.
Love is victorious. 
~ Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

For more prayers and additional material for Christian Unity Sunday, I suggest checking: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/01/resource-index-christian-unity.html


Friday, December 9, 2016

Prepare the Way: Second Sunday of Advent 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 3:1-12, in which John the Baptist points us in the right direction to get ourselves properly prepared for Christmas. This is an important message to approach humbly, with an open mind, and our defenses down. Being in right relationship with God and humanity is the challenge of a lifetime.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandments. No matter the situation (even in a contentious election season), Christians are called to love God and neighbor. Doing so transforms the lives of those who attempt this very tall order and those who are on the receiving end of that love. Give it a try. Jesus challenges you to do so.

One small correction: reference to a "Roman Candle" should be a fountain. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Attention Please



Sermon based on Luke 16:19-31, delivered on September 25, 2016. Dealing with the oblivious rich man who never noticed Lazarus starving to death at his gates. What does this mean for us? How do Rod Serling and "dead walkers" factor into this message? Watch and find out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rejoice For Those Found, Sermon on 9/11/16



Sermon based on Luke 15:1-10, in which Jesus provides parables about how determined God is to find the lost. We should do likewise and rejoice when the lost are found. We should never withdrawal from others based on fear. This sermon reflected, in part, on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Must I Do Jesus



Sermon based on Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the good Samaritan. This sermon also dealt with the deaths of two African Americans at the hands of police officers, the subsequent killings of five officers at the hands of a sniper or snipers, and how Christians respond in light of Jesus' teachings.

Please follow this sermon up with the powerful statement from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/end-police-killings-innocent-black-lives/

Friday, July 8, 2016

Praying for All the Victims: Call From the American Baptist Home Mission Societies

We the pastor and congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church stand by and pray for all who are grieving following the horrible events of the past few days. We are brokenhearted. It is hard to speak out in the face of such violence, such hate, but we must. We Christians do not believe that hate gets to win. We have faith in what we have been taught by Jesus and we work for the triumph of love over hatred, bringing peace and joy in its wake. We work for justice for all people. 

In response to all the death and violence in the past few days, from the deaths of Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, St. Paul, Minnesota, in police hands to the deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven others protecting peaceful protesters in Dallas, Texas, at the hand of a sniper or snipers, we are called to prayer. Prayer involves active communication with God, the transformation of ourselves as a result, and then taking direct, positive, peaceful actions following those prayers. We pray for an end to all the mindless hatred swirling through the country, poisoning people's minds, hearts, and spirits. We pray for an end to racism, fear, and the us vs. them mindset that caused so much death and destruction. 

As the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:9: "Do not do evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called--that you might inherit a blessing." We need to temper our responses, remembering what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

Finally, let us follow the example Jesus called us to follow in the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37

25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “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.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 

American Baptist Home Mission Societies calls for a season of prayer. We at LBC support this wholeheartedly. See their post: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/07/08/a-call-to-prayer/?utm_content=buffera01ba&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One In Christ

Father's Day Sermon based on Galatians 3:23-29, dealing with the human barrier shattering that being a follower of Christ involves. In part, this sermon speaks out against the hatred and violence inflicted on various minorities, including the horrendous mass murder suffered by the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida's, Pulse nightclub.

For a statement from our denomination, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/powerful-statement-from-our.html

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

Give Judging Others a Rest

In this highly charged political season, let's follow some sound advice from Jesus and from theologian Henri Nouwen. Henri Nouwen writes in his devotional, Bread for the Journey,
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)
If you have to evaluate, classify, and label, I hope you are in one of the sciences. Otherwise, along with judging and condemning, don't do it, please! Be friendly, be open, be hopeful, and offer a helping hand instead. And forgive others who have not yet learned this lesson and walk a darker, more difficult path. Pray that they will find this better way to live, and soon!  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rubbish to Righteousness



Sermon based on Philippians 3:4-14, in which Paul relates what he gave up and gained to follow Jesus. The question is, what will we be willing to set aside to follow? What will we gain? Listen and find out.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Choices

A sermon based on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, the most familiar story in the entire Bible, the so-called Story of the Prodigal Son. In an age rife with mistrust and division, Jesus offers us an alternative to consider during Lent ... and for the rest of our lives. Watch, and decide.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Get Away From Here



Sermon based on Luke 13:31-35, exploring Jesus' love for humanity, a love that would not be thwarted by opposing forces, that reached out to the forgotten and discarded people, even in the face of death by opposing powers. Jesus calls to us, offering that powerful love to us. We need to consider this Lenten season and always whether we will accept that offered love or tell Jesus to "get away from here."

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wilderness Test

This sermon is based on Luke 4:1-13, Jesus' wilderness testing at the beginning of his ministry. As we reflect in the season of Lent on our lives over the past year, preparing to turn around and change, we can ask ourselves how we have responded to temptation. Can we follow Jesus' example in this regard?

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Will Be With You





Sermon based on Isaiah 43:1-7, in which the prophet assures the people
of Israel that, despite their exile among the fearsome Babylonians, God
remains with them and will lead them forward. The same applies to the
church today. God is calling us forward into new fields of ministry. To
survive, we must move forward, following God's call, assured that God
loves us and goes with us.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Be Thankful



Based on Colossians 3:12-17, this sermon explores the new ways of interacting with others Paul recommends. Paul calls for us all to strip away the vices Paul calls our "old clothes," replacing them with the "new clothes," the virtues, of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love. It explores why these virtues represent a far more powerful way of interacting with others than we imagine. All of these virtues are bound together and supported by one other ... one not mentioned here.