White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, September 02, 2018

02Sep

PEOPLE AND PLACES
Genesis 2:4-8,15

Greetings and Joy!

I pray that a sense of special excitement stirs and grows within us as we enter this month into the final months of our celebration of 120 years as a congregation. I say, “special” because we are ordinarily excited by the regular course of activities to the glory of God. In addition to them, however, we have more focused points of attention: people and places in our heritage. May we experience enrichment through our heightened awarenesses. Continue in daily prayer for this 40-50-60-120 in 2018.

This week the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. meets in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Pray for the assembly of delegates that all decisions will be prayerfully and properly made.

Take note of and give support to the special activities here on the 3rd and 4th Saturdays of the month: the “outdoor festival events” on the 15th that have a particular attraction to the community and children, and the luncheon for the “More than Seniors” among us on the 22nd. May the Lord abundantly bless both occasions.

The family of Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, III is planning a recognition of his 100th year this coming Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 in Trenton, NJ. It is my hope to be present on the afternoon of the 8th. I met Dr. Mitchell more than 50 years ago in Oakland, California. He initiated the coming together of 20 plus pastors from various denominational bodies and their formation into “Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows in Black Church Studies.” From 1972 through 1975 they (we) studied and wrote in Nigeria, Ghana, Haiti, Atlanta and Rochester, NY. For this each participant was awarded the Degree of Doctoral Ministry by Colgate Rochester Crozer Dexter Hall Seminary in 1975. Only a few of the fellows are yet alive. I am grateful for the association and fellowship we had/have.

God be praised! “May His grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . .!”

Thank you for your response to the book signing on last Sunday. I will let you know the number of books that were purchased. You may still purchase books by contacting the office and bringing your monies. Each book is $15.

Blessings!


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Verse for Reflection

Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018

28Aug

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11
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Thoughts

Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018

26Aug

If you want to help someone, if you want your living to not be in vain, then you need more than human love. You need to plug into a love that is greater than human love. You have to plug into the love of GOD...we can be blessed by GOD's love flowing through us.
Rev. Steven Lawrence
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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018

26Aug

What a delight it is to have the Reverend Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr. as our guest deliverer of the Word of God today. A bit of his bio is printed in the Church Bulletin. In addition to the spoken word he has also brought a written word in the book he has authored– “Black Voters Mattered: A Philadelphia Story”. I will purchase copies for my son and my granddaughters. As many as you as can, I urge to secure an edition for your own reading and library. We are doubly blessed by his presence.

I call to your attention elsewhere in the Bulletin words by Emmett G. Price, III, Associate Professor of Music in African American Studies at North Eastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He speaks of a musical adaptation of the hymn “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” done by Sister Lark N. Ball. We have been blessed by its singing here and happily commend her for this noted contribution to the Church. Lark, all of us are proud of this recognition extended to you. May God continue to bless you.

Next Sunday we actively enter into the final months of celebrating our 120 years as the congregation called “White Rock.” Our focus will be on the “people” and the “places” of our ministry across the 100 years of Sojourn. Continue to pray for and participate fully in our time of rejoicing.

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

P. S. Make sure that you and all your acquaintances are registered to vote! Make sure that you and all you can influence do VOTE!

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Friday, August 24, 2018

24Aug

The Widow and the Unjust Judge

Lesson and Read: Luke 18.1-8

And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Luke 18.7-8 (NRSV)

The parable we know as “The Widow and the Unjust Judge” is found only in Luke’s gospel but Jesus told a similar parable, “The Visit of the Midnight Friend,” in Luke 11.5-9. Both stories have a character who is moved to action by the importunity, the persistence, of another character. Both parables are about prayer, however, despite what we think, the point of these teachings is God’s grace, not human persistence.

Jesus’ parable on prayer has two characters: a judge and a widow who live in the same city. Though appointed to render justice, this judge had no motivation to do so. He did not fear divine retribution and did not care what people said or did. The widow was not unlike any widow of that day. She had no family to support her and was at the mercy of an adversary who was taking advantage of her weakness. Her persistent plea to the judge was for justice (Luke 18.3). The prophets preached against harming a widow. Defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Isaiah 1.17); Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow (Jeremiah 22.3). By refusing to hear her case, it was the judge who was oppressing the widow, instead of defending her as his oath and the prophets required. Eventually, and only because the widow was “wearing him out” (the Greek word hupopaizo means “pummeling him like a boxer”), the judge gave her justice.

This parable is not teaching that God will answer prayer if we pester, annoy or pummel. God is not an unjust judge. God will grant justice quickly. God hears and answers prayer. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance (Second Peter 3.9). God is faithful, but how faithful are we? When the Lord fulfills His word, will God find us still praying, loving, forgiving, serving, and caring? Or will we have lost faith? If we are persistent, it is not to bend God to our will. It is rather that we consistently practice our faith to show the world that we believe in Him.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2018

22Aug

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21
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Verse for Reflection

Posted Monday, August 20, 2018

20Aug

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6
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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, August 19, 2018

19Aug

Greetings, Beloved!

Last Sunday afternoon I attended a worship/funeral service for a member of my wife's family in Great Falls, South Carolina. Laudatory comments were made about the deceased. The eulogy was challenging and well delivered by the church's Pastor. But the part of the worship that most claimed me was the worship in song-the singing by the congregation. In particular, they sang what we here call the Meditation Chant-"Spirit of the Living God, Fall Fresh on Me." It was in a tone with which I was not familiar and was, sung in multiple voice harmony and the words were repeated with an increasing fervor of petition until the full congregation was caught up in the prayer.

Following the service, I asked the musician if he had a copy or taping. To my disappointment he said, "no" but was appreciative of my inquiry and comments. I shall inquire further. For me, each time I hear this song/prayer it is an asking deeply felt and needed. Sing it today with renewed sincerity and urgency.

"God's grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . ."

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

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Thoughts

Posted Saturday, August 18, 2018

18Aug

We ought not say we love the Lord and then say I can’t. The power of his resurrection says we can do in the face of all obstacles.
Sermon: The Power of His Resurrection - Pastor William J. Shaw
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Thursday, August 16, 2018

16Aug

Jesus Criticizes Unjust Leaders

Read: Matthew 23.1-39

[Jesus said] “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.”

Matthew 23.2-3 (NRSV)

Matthew Chapter 23 contains the most scathing rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees found in the gospels. For thirty-six verses, Jesus issued both a word of woe to the Jewish leaders and a warning for all who would be led by them.

When Jesus spoke directly to the scribes and Pharisees, seven times he began his indictment with the word “woe.” “Woe” is not just an expression of sadness; it is a groaning from the gut, a deep release of grief. It carries the thought of judgment but also has a tone of pity. Even as Jesus expressed these truths about the scribes and Pharisees, he was sorry the wrath headed their way. Jesus expressed that sorrow in Matthew 23.36-39; he wanted to gather God’s disobedient people under his wing, but they would not let him. Six times Jesus called these officials “hypocrites.” This was the word for a Greek actor. The performers on the Greek stage wore masks to hide their true faces and project the character they were portraying. This allowed actors to play several parts at once. The job of an actor was to be a pretender, to hide his real self behind a mask. Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees of teaching one thing but personally practicing another. They were pretenders, teaching the law but looking for loopholes for their own behaviors. They were more concerned with properly measuring spices that dispensing justice (v. 23). They dressed well, ate well and insisted on the seats of honor at banquets but their actions were all designed to gain favor and praise (vv. 5-7). They were clean on the outside but rotten at the core (vv. 25, 27). Jesus admonished the crowd not to follow the example of these “blind guides” (v. 16).

We may think Jesus’ words to his adversaries are not directed toward us but his caveat is intended for anyone who says one thing and does another. Perhaps our faith needs “a little less conversation and a little more action.” Saint Francis of Assisi, a thirteenth century monk and mystic, is reputed to have said, “Do all you can to preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.”

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence