White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 28, 2018

28Oct

We gather today in a service of celebration which is well justified and incentivized by our history over 120 years. God's grace is the only factor that can explain our beginning as a congregation, our journey over mountain tops of growth and joy, and our preservation in and through valleys of trauma and testing. Amazing grace! Grace has surely brought us, saliently so. We sing as our celebration theme song "Through the Years I Keep on Toiling. . .Until!" God causes us to arrive at the points of His own planning and promising. Our cups of rejoicing overflow.

What a witness is incased in our years past. I am favored by God to have been a part of that testimony for better than one half of the years span. I marvel at what God has done. That witness, however, is not a finished one. God has preserved us to evidence His continuing presence and purpose in THE FLESH in the world now at a crucial point of its needs. We look with openness to His Spirit's leading us as we move beyond our 120 years into the future. Let us pray for each other that we will truly be one in Him and with each other.

Welcomed to our worship is the Reverend C.L. Bachus, a close friend of mine and the White Rock Family. We bless the Lord for His presence. Our hearts are open to the voice of God in/through his preaching.

Thank you, White Rock, for your response to our financial goal and to the summons to deepened spirituality in the faith.

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

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Friday, October 26, 2018

26Oct

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5: 14,16
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018

24Oct

God Creates Lights and Life

Lesson and Read: Genesis 1.14-25

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years”. . . And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”

Genesis 1.14, 20 (NRSV)

On the first three days of Creation, God made an environment for everything that would be in the creation. In this lesson we will learn what the sky and sea will contain.

The Hebrews believed the firmament or sky was a dome above the earth. It held back the waters that were once on the earth (Genesis 1.6). The sky was blue because there was water behind it. Later, when God opens the “windows” of the dome, water falls to earth (Genesis 7.11). The Hebrews saw the dome as a solid structure and on the fourth day, on that dome, God placed the greater light (which ruled and separated the day) and lesser light (which ruled and separated the night) and the stars. Though we call these luminaries “Sun” and “Moon,” the Genesis story refrained from naming them, knowing that other cultures named and worshiped them as deities. For Israel, those lights were God’s creations to set seasons, days and years; they brought the measurement of time to heaven and earth. On the fifth day, God commanded the waters to bring forth “breathing things” (nephesh) to swarm the seas and fill the air. Fish and sea creatures and fowl of every variety were further commanded to multiply and fill the waters and earth. And it was so, and it was good.

Days four and five provide the hearers and readers with more awesome pictures of God creating a world and then filling it with living things. Once more, the “who” of creation is unmistakable—God speaks and it is so! The “how” of creations is even more mysterious and thus open to inquiry from science and religion. The “Light” of Day One is other than the “lights” of Day Four. God’s role in the creation is at once logical and ineffable. God will not share the glory or even the “credit” for was has been done. The Lord God has done it all and owns it all. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalm 24.1-2).

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Thoughts

Posted Monday, October 22, 2018

22Oct

If we see that what God says and is doing, is directed to us, then the next question is “What should we do?
Sermon: Asking the Right Questions - Pastor William J. Shaw
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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018

21Oct

I'M SMART ENOUGH!?
Hebrew 6:1-3

Beloved, may God's grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . .

Thanks to all who prayed for and participated in our Bible reading the past week. Let the "happening" be an event of real listening to and submitting with sincerity to the Word/Will of God. The sermon today highlights how essential that attitude of receptive openness to our God really is.

Next Sunday is our 120th Anniversary day of climatic rejoicing and should be claiming us with a magnet power that is irresistible. May we remind ourselves and each other to gather to worship at 10 am. Let each of us do our best to bring an extra offering to meet our financial goal. Join in asking God for a powerful outpouring of the Lord's Spirit. DON'T FORGET THAT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS NEXT SATURDAY NIGHT.

Two weeks from tomorrow (Tuesday, November 6) is ELECTION DAY. I urge each of us to become an active committee of one-urging every eligible voter to cast his/her ballot and cast it early. Your vote is one sure step in breaking the power of racial animosity, visible and hidden, within the nation's soul.
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Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, October 20, 2018

20Oct

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:18-19
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Thursday, October 18, 2018

18Oct

God Creates the Heavens and Earth

Lesson and Read: Genesis 1.1-13

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Genesis 1.1-3 (NRSV)

Though it is often at the center of many conversations (and arguments) about the origin of the universe, the Book of Genesis was never intended to be a scientific book. The stories of creation in its opening chapters were offered for theological reasons. Genesis declares “who” created all things but does not give the details of “how” that creation was accomplished. And God’s motive for creation, the “why,” will not be clearly stated until we hear the stories of God’s covenant with humanity.

Through the centuries, the Hebrew story of creation has been mixed with our own thoughts and theories. If we read Genesis chapter 1 carefully and thoughtfully, we may encounter a fresh understanding of why this story is told in this way. The story of creation begins with the words, “In the beginning, God . . .” The first theological lesson of the Hebrew creation story is that God is present before anything—God is the creator and there is no other. The Hebrew word “create” (bara’) is a verb that is exclusively used with God as its subject. Human beings can “make” things but only God can create. The creation account in Chapter one is organized and poetic, making it easy to remember. Genesis 1.2 says the earth was a formless void covered by water and darkness. God commanded light to shine (vs. 3) and, in the following verses (4-13), God transformed the chaos into an ordered environment. Genesis 1 gives us a view of creation from God’s perspective. We watch God form a dome that separates the waters. The water above is called sky or firmament, the water below is further separated into earth and sea (vv. 6, 10). The dry land produces grass and vegetation. All these actions create the space and support for later creations (see the following lessons).

Each day is set apart by a poetic, perhaps even musical refrain, “and the evening and the morning were the first . . . second . . . third day.” God is the sole and sovereign creator who speaks and all things respond. All is as God desires it to be: “Good, very good.”

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2018

16Oct

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Philippians 2:1-2
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Sunday, October 14, 2018

14Oct

Practicing Justice

Read: Ephesians 4.25—5.2; Colossians 3.1-17

In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3.11 (NRSV)

Colossae was a town in Asia Minor, not far from Ephesus. Paul was not the founder of the Colossian church; it was probably his associate Epaphras (Colossians 1.7; 4.12). Paul wrote to this church to counter a false teaching, which he did not name but only characterized. It had a strict asceticism often found in some Greek philosophies (2.20-21); and it taught a strict observance of ritual like that found in Jewish traditions (2.16). The central theme of Paul’s letter was unity in the Christ: If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (3.1).

In the practical section of this epistle, Paul sought to teach the Colossians how to steer clear of the false teachings they were exposed to. He contrasted human philosophies and traditions to the teachings of Christ. Since Christ is seated at God’s right hand, Paul urged them to seek the things that are above, not the things limited to the earth. “Put to death” or “render impotent” the evil desires, passions and impurities of the earth because they result in such things as anger, slander and malice (Colossians 3.5, 8). Paul suggested that they take off the practices of the “old man” like a garment and put on the clothes of the “new man”: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . and above all, . . . love (3.12-14). In Christ, all believers are renewed in the image of the creator and in that renewal, there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3.5-17 is similar to Galatians 5.19-23. In each of these sections of the epistles, Paul provided two behavioral lists back to back—a list of vices (things to avoid) and a list of virtues (things to do). In all these lists the Apostle is not just describing ideals or feelings, he is noting behaviors and actions. As the title of this lesson states, justice is not just an idea or a hope, it must be a practice. And it must be extended to all of God’s created peoples, without distinction and without prejudice.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 14, 2018

14Oct

Once more, greetings beloved.

I call on us to read again these verses from Hebrews as we draw near to the climax of our celebration of God’s grace and mercy “Through The Years. . .Until” NOW. These years total 120. But the now is not the end of God’s purpose for us. The now, in light of our history, challenges us to move on into the unfolding future in a joyful resolve to follow our Lord’s leading to the fulfillment of all His promises.

The focus of today’s message is the admonitions of Hebrews 10:21-25. Let us prayerfully share.

Hebrews 3:1; 6:1-12, 10:21-25 (THE VOICE TRANSLATION)

3 So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess;

6 So let’s push on toward a more perfect understanding and move beyond just the basic teachings of the Anointed One. There’s no reason to rehash the fundamentals: repenting from what you loved in your old dead lives, believing in God as our Creator and Redeemer, 2 teaching about baptism,[a] setting aside those called to service through the ritual laying on of hands, the coming resurrection of those who have died, and God’s final judgment of all people for all time. 3 No, we will move on toward perfection, if God wills it. 4-6 It is impossible to restore the changed heart of the one who has fallen from faith—who has already been enlightened, has tasted the gift of new life from God, has shared in the power of the Holy Spirit, and has known the goodness of God’s revelation and the powers of the coming age. If such a person falls away, it’s as though that one were crucifying the Son of God all over again and holding Him up to ridicule. 7 You see, God blesses the ground that drinks of the rain and then produces a bountiful crop for those who cultivate it. 8 But land that produces nothing but thorns and brambles? That land is worthless and in danger of being cursed, burned to the bare earth. 9 But listen, my friends—we don’t mean to discourage you completely with such talk. We are convinced that you are made for better things, the things of salvation, 10 because God is not unjust or unfair. He won’t overlook the work you have done or the love you have carried to each other in His name while doing His work, as you are still doing. 11 We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope 12 and not grow lazy. We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God.

10:21-25 Since we have a great High Priest who presides over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. 24 Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, 25 not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.