Showing posts with label recommended readings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recommended readings. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2018

Be the Hope You Seek

We have been through tough times, including a brutal election season. People could really use some hope out there in the midst of a deeply divided culture. We can be that hope, using five basic steps. That requires us to be bold, to stand up, and to keep our heads up as Jesus calls us to do in Luke 21:28. It's not that hard once we start. You will find those five basic steps in an article in the American Baptist magazine Christian Citizen. The article is by Richard C. Harwood. Take a look through this link: https://christiancitizen.us/post-nasty-midterms-5-steps-to-engendering-real-hope/

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Making a Difference in 2018 and Beyond

It feels as if it is impossible to make a difference today in a world so full of violence, hate, and division. Often we feel like we want to keep our heads down, our mouths shut, and pray we live another day, each of us and those we love. That is a hard way to live. There is an alternative. How do we make a difference? What actually represents a difference to be made in a world where so much is washed away so quickly? Take a look at the article from Christian Citizen by Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson and be inspired: https://christiancitizen.us/making-lasting-footprints/

And remember what Jesus said in Luke 21:28: ... stand up and raise your heads ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Matthew Week 15




Beyond Loaves and Fishes is back with our fifteenth week studying the book of Matthew. We are getting into the later chapters now, and tension is building between the leadership of the Temple and Jesus. The parables are getting thornier and the final confrontation ... and victory ... is approaching rapidly. Join us every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on the J.S. Brooks YouTube channel for the next live stream and be part of the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there. Peace, Rev. Jeff Snyder

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What Do Christians Do Following an Election?

Author Curtis Ramsey-Lucas has some wonderful ideas for Christians who wish to remain energized and active following the just completed campaign season. Loyal opposition, the author declares, is our work. Holding our leaders to the higher standards of God's incoming kingdom, in civil discourse, is the work of a lifetime. Take a look at this article and decide for yourself if this is the work for you now that the campaign season is done: https://christiancitizen.us/the-election-is-over-now-what/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=The%20Christian%20Citizen&utm_content=The%20election%20is%20over.%20Now%20what%3F


Friday, November 2, 2018

Better Together When We Boldly Go

There is a strength in diversity that we just don't get if we are suspicious of others and stick to tight little communities of other people just like us. Paul told the church of Corinth that. Paul let the Romans know that Jewish and Gentile Christians working together were far stronger than if they splintered apart along Jewish and Gentile lines. And, of course, from 1966 onward, Star Trek has reinforced that ideal. Better to boldly go together than to huddle in little enclaves separated by race, by religion, or by whatever else we choose to divide ourselves by. 

For more on this topic, see the article in Patheos by Erin Wathen titled "Boldly Go: The Gospel of Star Trek." I think you'll be glad you did: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/irreverin/2018/09/boldly-go-the-gospel-of-star-trek/

Then join us Sunday morning at Lansdowne Baptist Church. We are an American Baptist church, member of one of the most diverse denominations there is. We are pretty diverse ourselves, as you'll soon see, and ready to welcome you so we can all boldly go together. See you in the sanctuary!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dealing with Evil: Article: The Tree of Life

In wake of the mass murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is hard to know how to handle a world that seems to be steeped in evil. Here are some words of encouragement and a direction to look in the Christian Citizen article "The Tree of Life" by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas. See: https://christiancitizen.us/the-tree-of-life/

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Beyond Loaves & Fishes: Matthew Week 3 Tonight, Tuesday, July 3, 2018

We have been through the first two chapters. Joseph has been told by an angelic messenger that he will accept Mary as his wife, Mary remains faithful, the baby is of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is born, visited by wise Gentiles from the East, surprising the paranoid King Herod, surprising his religious experts. Herod seeks to kill Jesus as potential rival for this throne (Herod's bad habit). An angelic messenger tells Joseph to pack his family off to Egypt and stay until Herod's death, placing the new family in the plight of many refugees fleeing violence at home. What's next? Come ans see.

To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event tonight, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

If you like what you see here and you're anywhere near Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, stop on by Sunday morning and worship with us. You'll be most welcome. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Escape from Busy Lives for a Moment and Rest


Come now, little man [and woman],
turn aside for a while
from your daily employment, 
escape for a moment
from the tumult of your thoughts.
Put aside your weighty cares, 
let your burdensome distractions wait,
free yourself awhile for God
and rest awhile in him.
Enter the inner chamber of your soul,
shut out everything except God
and that which can help you in seeking him,
and when you have shut the door, seek him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God,
"I seek your face, Lord,
it is your face I seek." 
~Anselm of Canterbury in Theology for a Troubled Heart
Excerpt found in The President's Devotional by Joshua DuBois



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Technical Glitch 5-22-18



What we had here was a failure of equipment to communicate! We did not have the opportunity to have our Bible study, the second week of the book of Esther last night, Tuesday, May 22, due to a failure of the encoder and YouTube to communicate with each other. It took an hour and twenty minutes to track down the problem, but I believe it is solved now and we'll be able to move forward again next Tuesday, May 29, at 8 p.m. I hope to see you all there. In the video here is an explanation of the issue and an answer to some general questions that came up in our first week.

Any new venture has challenging moments and this one was mine. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it was a real learning opportunity. As the prophet Jeremiah said in chapter 8, verse 4: When people fall, do they not get back up again? He calls his people not to be involved in perpetual backsliding but to get up again. So we will in this case. Proverbs 24:16 gives us a reality check, reminding us this will not be the only time I stumble in the production of this live stream. As the text says, for though the righteous fall seven times, they will rise again. I have fallen once. I hope not to fall again soon, but who knows? I hope you will stay with me for the adventure. Things will get better as we move along, learning together how this all works. We will also learn many valuable life lessons from the Bible as we study together.

Have a blessed day. I hope to meet with you next Tuesday evening from our respective homes. Once again, I apologize for this delay.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Esther Class 1



Tonight we begin our study of the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. Tonight we also begin the entire Beyond Loaves and Fishes series of live stream Bible studies. This is learning experience for us all. Polish will come later, with experience. The material to be covered in this first half hour will be background material setting up our study of Esther. There are certain things that must be clear before we get into the details. Thanks to the early adventurers who signed on for this first night. There was a little excitement at the beginning as the power went off briefly as a storm was passing through. The internet connection was reestablished about 30 seconds before I went live. Thanks for coming. Hope to see you all again soon.

If you are seeing this here on the blog for the first time and would like to participate live, follow this link and subscribe at the J.S. Brooks YouTube platform: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Thursday, January 18, 2018

LBC Blog Recognized


Recently our blog was listed on Feedspot as among the “Top 50 Baptist Blogs and Websites.” It is nice to be noticed as we serve our community. It is also humbling to be included among some pretty august company. Thanks to the judges. To see the listings and discover some more useful sources of information, go to: https://blog.feedspot.com/baptist_blogs/

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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Siblings



Sermon based on Genesis 37:1-4, 18-38, showing us the dysfunctional, grudge poisoned, hateful relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We explore how to equip ourselves against dysfunction and hate in our own day and age, like the hate so prominently on display at the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017. Being so equipped, we must work all our lives against letting hatred consume us.

If you doubt your small efforts or talents can be any use in fighting against human hatred, intolerance, racism, etc., take a look at the following sermon and rethink: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/against-all-expectations.html

For specific reactions from our denomination to the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which I heartily agree with and endorse, see the following posts: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/american-baptist-home-mission-societies.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

American Baptist Home Mission Societies Speaks Out Against Racism and Violence

Following the awful demonstration of hate and terrorist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, the American Baptist Home Mission Society released the following statement that we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church fully support and endorse. American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse denominations in the United States and that diversity is our strength! ~Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder


American Baptist Home Mission Societies denounces and condemns—in the strongest manner possible—the violent and deadly demonstration led by a host of white supremacist organizations and individuals in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
The human toll of three lives lost senselessly and more than two dozen individuals injured stains our American stature on the world stage. The racial and religious hatred expressed by the Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations in opposition to the city’s decision to remove a monument memorializing the American Civil War’s Confederacy and its standard bearers is an affront to democracy and our social order.
We join with people of goodwill across our country who seek to make America’s public squares, government grounds and city streets safe for all citizens.
Furthermore, we commend and pray for all the valiant clergy, students, justice workers and others who gathered in Charlottesville to say “no” to violence, threats and intimidation from the white supremacist demonstrators.
In the wake of yet another terrifying episode of violence in America’s public square, we pray for the families and loved ones of Heather Heyer, whose life was tragically taken during the vehicular assault on dozens of peace workers. We pray, too, for the families and loved ones of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—the Virginia state police troopers who died in a helicopter crash related to the situation in Charlottesville—along with those who were victims of assaults and trauma, both physical and emotional, resulting from the violence.
“We call upon people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray and work on behalf of freedom, justice and peace in the United States of America and throughout the world,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “Never were these prayers and this work needed more.”

For more, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

Sunday, August 13, 2017

ABCUSA General Secretary Speaks to Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12-13, 2017

Our denomination takes a dim view of racist violence and white supremacist terror. The General Secretary reminds us all of our denominational stance. In part, he states:

Second, the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-white-nationalists-rally/index.html), cannot be ignored. Let us encourage our pastors to remind our membership that ABCUSA stands for the full equality of all Americans and rejects every version of racial prejudice and specifically, the contemporary ugly resurgence of so-called “white nationalism.” I especially appreciated IM missionary Daniel Buttry’s Facebook reposting of an American Baptist Resolution which is still valid today:

To see the entire letter, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/08/13/general-secretarys-update-august-12-13-2017/

This includes the American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. The end of the resolution includes the following instructions to leaders:

We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pastoral Letter from ABC USA's General Secretary Following the Recent Violence

Please take the time to follow the link and read this important message from Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer addressing the tumultuous week just past. Here you will find carefully delineated the stance of American Baptist Churches USA concerning individual liberty and equality.

God bless you all. http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/06/16/a-pastoral-letter-from-abcusa-general-secretary-rev-dr-lee-b-spitzer/ 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Problems of Perfectionism

During the 2016 ABC USA Minister's Conference, where we explored options for maintaining healthy, balanced lives in the face of our challenging callings, the keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Davidson warned us not to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Her warning is applicable to all of us, not just ministers.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perfectionism as follows:

1. a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person's highest good; b : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth

2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable (see: 
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfectionism)

As Dr. Davidson stated, we need to stop placing heavy, unrealistic expectations on ourselves and instead of attempting to manage everything ourselves, turning control over to God instead. If we do not, we come to dislike ourselves when we don't meet those expectations. As a result, we will project that negative attitude upon others, making our dissatisfaction with our own imperfections about them rather than dealing with the issues honestly ourselves. 

Humility is the antidote to the myth of perfectionism that eats away at the heart of our spiritual lives, drowning that life in depression, sinking us into despair. If we feel we need to be perfect, we will certainly fail at the things we try, whether they be physical, intellectual, or spiritual matters. 

For me, the key observation was and remains "Perfectionism kills the ability to move forward. We won't try if we can't be perfect." That's what happens when we accept the corrosive myth of perfectionism. 

Author Joshua DuBois, referencing the parable of the shepherd searching for the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7, remarks in The President's Devotional, "[Our God] is not a God who loves the righteous--because none are righteous, none. He's not a God who values those who have it all together, because who among us really does?" None of us manages to get through life without stumbling. None of us is perfect. 

Finally, author Kirk Byron Jones in his book, Rest in the Storm, warns that we cannot expect each other to be able to address (perfectly or otherwise) all of the problems we face in our sojourn through life. Jones quotes Dr. E.V. Hill's consideration of this matter. While this is a warning for pastors, once again it is good advice for everyone, "Now we need to be careful. Sometimes the expectation that we meet all these demands convinces us that we can. This can give us a messianic complex that is destructive to the preacher and the preacher's family. This messianic complex can work on us so that we can feel bad about not being able to solve all the problems that are brought to us. This is a horrible addiction. There is glamour and glee in thinking that you have the answer to many problems and feeling that others think so. It is very seductive, and we can become addicted to it. And it is subtle; we want to endear people to us, but this can lead to people expecting too much from us, and us expecting too much from ourselves." 

Let's all be humble. Let's all admit we are not perfect beings. Let's lower the expectations a bit, Let's get away from the idea that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. We'll all be healthier for that.

Wishing everyone peace ... and a healthy does of humility ... so we can all move forward together.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Disaster Aid: West Virginia, Indiana

Here is what American Baptist Home Mission Societies has done to aid West Virginia and Indiana following recent severe weather events: 

Severe storms in Indiana and West Virginia June 23-24 have caused significant damage in two American Baptist regions now in need of prayer and relief/recovery efforts.
In Indiana, the storm’s force destroyed buildings, disrupted utilities and closed roadways in and around Brookston, designated in a state of emergency. Federated Church of Brookston, an American Baptist congregation, is serving as a hub for relief activities, including American Red Cross efforts.
Heavy rain that crossed West Virginia particularly impacted the state’s central and southern regions. The number of American Baptist churches damaged by the flooding is still to be determined, but several have confirmed major damage.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Disaster Relief office has released $10,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing funds to the West Virginia Baptist Convention and $2,500 to American Baptist Churches of Indiana/Kentucky for coordination of community recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pastor Takes Over Lansdowne Baptist Church Facebook Page

Some of us at a recent fellowship event
It takes time to get different aspects of one's ministry all gathered up and running. I just stumbled across a Facebook page I'd established for myself back when I started and had pretty much abandoned when I found very few members were on FB. That appears to be slowly changing so I have gone back, dusted off my FB page, and in the process discovered that Lansdowne Baptist Church has a local page as well, which I will now try to bring up to speed as moderator.

If you are curious and want to see what we're up to, feel free to check out: https://www.facebook.com/LansdowneBaptistChurch/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

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.”