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

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.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

Two Powerful Statements From American Baptist Home Mission Societies After Orlando

The American Baptist Home Mission  Society describes itself as follows
As part of American Baptist Churches USA, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) answers God’s call to live out Christian faith through ministry that strengthens congregations and connects with communities beyond church walls—ministry that encourages and nurtures disciple-makers who shout the Good News of Jesus Christ and impact our world with God’s love.
In the wake of the terrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a previously safe haven for members of the LGBT community, ABHMS released the following: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/american-baptist-home-mission-societies-stands-lgbtq-community-wake-orlando-massacre/

Further, the ABHMS makes this statement about gun violence: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/abhms-urges-american-baptists-advocate-gun-violence-prevention/

Please read and prayerfully consider.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Inspiration for the Journey


Recently, there have been those to whom we bid a fond but reluctant farewell. In my readings, I discovered this passage by Kristine Malins found in the Medical Missionary Magazine. She sums the feelings we have brilliantly. 
Our is the pain of constantly pitching our tent and folding it up again, of befriending strangers and bidding them goodbye, of loving the world but never truly being satisfied with it, of pouring our heart and soul into a project others have begun and still others will finish. If we would not be torn in two by the tensions of this truth, we must learn to live provisionally--to measure the road well. We need to make the most of the occasions when we gather by the roadside to break bread together and compare directions. Joy must be discovered in the going as we never really arrive, not even in a lifetime.
Wishing you many happy occasions to gather along the roadside, break bread, and compare directions and much joy in the going. 

God bless you all.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Argument for Positive Activity

Dr's Henry Cloud and John Townsend have some wonderful advice in their book Boundaries. Included is this material on attempting to accomplish things, even if we fail. It is well worth taking to heart when considering what new direction God might wish you to go and whether or not to make the effort.
Human beings are responders and initiators ... God will match our effort, but he will never do our work for us. ... He wants us to be assertive and active, seeking and knocking on the door of life. ... The sin God rebukes is not trying and failing, but failing to try. Trying, failing, and trying again is called learning. Failing to try will have no good result; evil will triumph.
God bless you in your efforts. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lenten Devotions Available Online

The season of Lent is fast approaching once again. It all begins this year on February 18, Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of self-examination, spiritual reflection, repentance, sacrifice, and focused prayer. Lent is a time to examine our hearts and lives, to acknowledge our sins, to look for the ways we are not choosing the gospel or welcoming those whom Jesus calls us to embrace. In the process, we turn away from the sins (all those behaviors, habits, etc. that draw us away from God's purposes) and self-centeredness and toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this way, we prepare to meet Christ in his resurrected glory on Easter (April 5 this year). We pray for a change of heart toward greater love of God and neighbor, and all that accompanies that growing love.

To help us on our way, the Rev. Dr. Richard E. Rusbuldt has prepared a Lenten Devotions 2015 e-book with Scripture readings, reflections, and questions. These will help us on our journey of discovery and the deepening of our faith.

To obtain a free copy of this devotional guide for Lent, see: http://www.abcopad.com/Downloadable_Forms/2015_Lenten_Devotions_by_Dr_Richard_Rusbuldt_sm.pdf

Friday, November 21, 2014

Recommended Reading for Clarity


There is a lot of confusion out there today about Christianity and the Bible, where the Bible came from, how it is interpreted, what it has to say about specific topics, and more. Here are a few books that will provide some clarity for the truly curious.

For an introduction to the faith, try:

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Life of the Beloved. Spiritual Living in a Secular World. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992.

To come to grips with the powerful love of God for humanity, read:

Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

To approach the Bible with insight and clarity, the following are suggested:

Brash, Donald J. The Indispensable Guide to God's Word. Cleveland, Ohio: The Pilgrim Press, 2010.
Davis, Ellen F. & Richard B. Hays, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003.

To better understand where the sixty-six book library of the Bible came from and what a great stretch of time is covered in those books, see:

Lightfoot, Neil R. How We Got the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1963, 1988, 2003.

Tackling some of the most challenging passages from the apostle Paul is:

Brauch, Manfred T. Hard Sayings of Paul. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1989.

To understand the complex imagery used in the Bible, and to understand slavery in biblical terms, read:

Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: An Encyclopedic Exploration of the Images, Symbols, Motifs, Metaphors, Figures of Speech, and Literary Patterns of the Bible. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press USA, 1998.

To grapple with the relationship of slaves with Christianity in the Antebellum South, read;

Raboteau, Albert J. Slave Religion: The "Invisible Institution" in the Antebellum South. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978, 2004.

Please see the bibliographies of all of the above sources for additional reference material.

For the history of the American Baptist Churches USA denomination, including our fight against the vile historical institution of slavery in the U.S., read:

http://www.abc-usa.org/what_we_believe/our-history/

To understand how American Baptist Churches USA fights modern day human trafficking (slavery) today, read:

http://www.abc-usa.org/2013/12/12/abhms-endorses-iccrs-statement-against-human-trafficking/

Finally, if you wish to use study Bibles to dig deeper, see:

Coogan, Michael D., ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New Revised Standard Version. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Since there are a number of sermons available on this site, if you would like some understanding on what is involved in creating a weekly sermon, read:

Allen, Ronald J. Patterns of Preaching: A Sermon Sampler. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 1998.

and

Tizon, Al. Missional Preaching: Engage, Embrace, Transform. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Judson Press, 2012.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Let's Dialogue, Not Debate

We are living in a highly charged, vastly divided, increasingly angry society that appears to be bound and determined to debate ... everything! Sadly, such debate rarely gets us anywhere, except for further divided. Here are three readings that offer up a different solution, actually talking to each other and listening to what others have to say, respectfully. We recently used these to establish guidelines for civility in our Bag Lunch Bible Study class (to which you are invited) on Wednesdays, which is working beautifully if I do say so myself.

“Debate is about humiliating your opponent. Dialogue is about inviting your friend into conversation. Jesus was a master dialogist. He didn’t use power to overcome; he used kindness to overwhelm. To dialogue successfully, listening trumps talk and reflection trumps reactivity.”

~ Jim Henderson

Jesus, the master dialogist, said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”

~ John 14:12

“Never spend time arguing with a fool—because from a distance people can’t tell who’s who.”

~ Author Joshua DuBois’s Grandmother

All three make compelling points and offer up a more loving alternative to the modern trend. If we all gave it a try, who knows what might come of it???

Any Sunday you find yourself in or near Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, you have an open invitation to visit us. We'll be very glad to see you ... and to listen with great interest to what you have to say.

Resources
In case you are curious, these quotes came from the following sources: 
Jim & Casper Go to Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV).
The President's Devotional by Joshua DuBois.