White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018

29Nov

The Call of Abram

Read: Genesis 9.1—12.20

Then the LORD told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you.”

Genesis 12.1 (NRSV)

Genesis 12.1-3 has been called the fulcrum of Genesis, if not the entire Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). From this point onward there is a change in content and style. We go from short, focused stories explaining why thing are the way they are (Why does everyone speak a different language?—11.1-11), to long narratives chronicling the story of one family, Abram and Sarai, and their descendants.

Genesis 11.31 says that when God called Abram, he was living on Haran with his wife, Sarai (who was barren), his brother, Nahor, and his family, and his nephew, Lot. However, Genesis 15.7 reveals that God was calling when Abram’s family was in the city of Ur. It was Abram’s father, Terah, who set out for Canaan. God was calling before Abram was aware. And consider: did Abram know who was calling him? It could have been any of the many gods of Mesopotamia. Consider further: this god’s request was unusual and unreasonable. Terah journeyed with his family. Abram was being asked to leave his country, relatives and his father’s house. They left Ur, a center of culture and high technology in its day, and now Abram was to separate himself from the best support and security of the ancient world—his family. The Lord spoke many promises to Abram: a land, a great name, many descendants, blessings for his family, and, to be a blessing for all nations (vv. 2-3). All Abram had to do was go.

There is no other way to explain Abram’s response except to recognize it as faith. It is not yet the faith that will enable him to consent to sacrifice his only son, Isaac (Genesis 22), but it is faith. In the years to come, Abraham and Sarah both will grow their faith walking with God, trying to be faithful, trying to hear and obey. Consider finally: How many of God’s promises did Abram and Sarah see? The greater part of God’s blessings were for their children. What an indictment it is for believers to tie faith to some immediate, material reward. Though he did not live to see it, the world benefited from Abram faith.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018

27Nov

The Righteousness of Noah

Read: Genesis 6.1-22; 8.19

So the LORD said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created-- people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD.

Genesis 6.7-8 (NRSV)

Genesis 6.6 tells us that God saw the wickedness of humankind and responded not with anger but with grief and regret. Instead of destroying everything, God chose to preserve a remnant and start again. The head of that last and first family was a blameless man named Noah.

We can see the evidence of Noah’s faithfulness because he dutifully carried out all God’s plans: he constructed the ark, filled it with the required animals and collected food for the animals and his family to eat (Genesis 6.15-22). Obviously nothing on the ark could be allowed to eat anything else on the ark! )Take note that Genesis 6.19-20 mentions the two pairs of each animal and Genesis 7.2-3 mentions seven pairs of clean animals. This is not a contradiction but a clarification; clean animals were taken for the purpose of sacrifice.) Noah was obedient and faithful but he was not perfect. His righteousness did not mean he was flawless. He was like other human beings (his drunken episode is evidence of that 9.20-23). Noah and his family were not without sin. God admitted that the inclination of the human heart is toward evil continually (6.5; 8.21). The flood punished evil but it did not remove it.

Look closely at the account of the flood in Genesis 6.5—9.16. There is a brief summary (not a detailed description) of the carnage and death it brought (7.21.23). In contrast, there are many verses describing God’s gracious actions. The Lord intended to destroy but God also carefully planned an escape. The Lord was grieved that corruption had overtaken the world but the rain did not come until the ark was finished and fully boarded. It rained for 40 days and nights but for another 150 days God remembered every living creature on that boat. This story is not just about God’s judgment; it is also about his salvation.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, November 26, 2018

26Nov

The Birth of the Promised Son

Lesson and Read: Genesis 18.9-15; 21.1-7

“Is anything too wonderful for the LORD? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son” . . . Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him.

Genesis 18.14; 21.2-3 (NRSV)

The birth of Isaac is a high point in the Abraham narrative. Yet the verse that describes it is simple and straightforward-- Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son (Genesis 21.2). For a moment, let us think back and reflect on the twists and turns this covenant couple experienced before their day of joy.

Twenty-five years passed between Abram’s call (Genesis 12.1-3) and Isaac’s birth (Genesis 21.2). Sarai has been in jeopardy in Pharaoh’s harem (12.10-20); Abram’s life was at risk when he fought the five kings to rescue Lot (14.1-16); and the birth of Ishmael complicated the Lord’s promise of an heir. Throughout the ups and downs of their journey, God continually renewed the promise of a son. Both Abraham (17.17) and Sarah (18.12) laughed at that impossible prospect, first, because Sarah had been barren throughout their marriage (11.30) and later, simply because they were both too old (Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 at the birth of Isaac). Before Isaac’s birth, Abraham had not yet seen any of God’s promises come true. No Land, no fame and no descendants. Isaac birth was the culmination of a test of faith because Isaac’s birth was the result Abraham and Sarah’s ongoing, intimate relations and the Lord’s miraculous power. Sarah’s pregnancy is like Elizabeth’s, not like Mary’s (Luke 1.13, 35). God fulfilled his promise and all Abraham and Sarah had to do was keep loving each other.

The Lord’s covenant promises describe our future but require our present participation. We may stumble or even fail along the way but God’s power will always find a way through to God’s promise.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, November 24, 2018

24Nov

This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Isaiah 48:17
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Thoughts

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018

20Nov

The God of Creation is both above and beyond his works and below and among them.
The Gist of the Church School Lesson - Rev. Steven Lawrence
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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018

18Nov

Thursday of this week we celebrate a day observed by both the sacred and secular communities in America—Thanksgiving Day.

Three questions have been confronting my mind as this day of Thanksgiving draws near. The first is “for what do we give thanks?” The second is “for whom do we give thanks?” The third is “to whom have we been a blessing?” Answering these questions requires us to consider the context of time which informs our response—what is the frame of time, the extent of days and years, at which we look when we formulate our answers.

Our answers to these three questions will determine several conclusions: (1) to whom ought we to give thanks? (2) how will we give thanks? (3) when will we give thanks?
These questions and conclusions lead to a fundamental recognition that as believers we are called upon not just to receive blessings with gratitude but to be blessings with Thanksgiving.

I trust to see and meet with you on Thursday at 11:00 here at White Rock when we share in Thanksgiving worship with Monumental Baptist Church.

“May God’s grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . .”

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

P.S. Let us give liberally to the Alzheimer’s offering.

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Thoughts

Posted Thursday, November 15, 2018

15Nov

The purpose of the church is to be the people and place where GOD's likeness is visible, his witness to the world
Sermon: People and Places - Pastor William J. Shaw
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Verse for Reflection

Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2018

13Nov

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14
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Thoughts

Posted Sunday, November 11, 2018

11Nov

"The Kingdom of GOD is at hand" - here on the earth where people live. Who wins if GOD gives up on this world? Jesus was focused on this world. Jesus talked about the perfection of GOD's intention for this world.
Sermon: People and Places
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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, November 11, 2018

11Nov

NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT
Philippians 1:12-26

On yesterday I met with a core group of the Church leadership to help lead our entire church fellowship into a clearer focus on our guiding light in 2019. Strengthened by the celebrations of our 120 years throughout 2018, we ought enter now into 2019 with greater clarity about God’s love for us and His calling to us. Please join with them as they move among you and seek your sharings. On the 5th Sunday of December, following our 10:00 worship hour, let us prayerfully and enthusiastically gather for a table fellowship and a Congregational Business Meeting to commit the full year ahead as our offering unto God. May it be an acceptable presentation in His sight.

In the meantime, be reminded of our Joint Thanksgiving Day worship with Monumental Baptist Church here at White Rock on Thanksgiving Day at 11:00 am. What a testimony of gratitude would be reflected in a house filled by God’s people united in joyful praise. You can help make it happen.

Recall also our worship on December 9 at the regular 10:00 am service and the very special 3:30 pm coming together—both focusing on the “global” presence of our faith. The December celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ who’s coming was to all people is a fitting setting to take this worldwide look and to surrender ourselves anew to our worldwide mission.

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

“May God’s grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . .”