White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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Thoughts

Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2018

31Oct

Abide in God’s love. Love is not a visitation thing. We have to stay in God’s love – nurtured by his love. Jesus’s love is stronger than someone else’s hatred.
Sermon: Challenge? You Can Make It - Pastor William J. Shaw
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, October 29, 2018

29Oct

God Creates People

Read: Genesis 1.26—2.7

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them . . . then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

Genesis 1.27; 2.7 (NRSV)

There are two creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. In the first, we watch from a distance as God creates with the spoken word. In the second, we watch up-close as God shapes the creation by hand. The God of Creation is both above and beyond his works and below and among them.

In the first account (Genesis 1.1—2.3), the sixth day description is an announcement that reinforces the “Who” of creation: God is the sole creator who makes man, male and female, in the image of God (1.27). The word “man” in Genesis 1.26-27 is the Hebrew word “adam.” Here it is a generic term that is better translated as “mankind” or, to be more inclusive, “humankind.” Note that it takes both genders to reflect God’s image. Note also that it is people who look like God, not that God looks like people. We often describe God with human characteristics (God’s heart, eyes, hands) but those anthropomorphic approximations are for our benefit; God is more than human beings enlarged. In ancient times, the “image” referred to a stamp or seal that indicated ownership. Humans carry God’s image in the creation. They are commanded to “be fruitful and fill the earth” and to have dominion, i.e., to rule in God’s name. Humanity is not to waste or abuse the earth but to be stewards of it.

In the second Creation account (Genesis 2.4-25), we get a little “how” added to our ‘Who.” In this up-close, personal look at creation, God alone forms (or fashions or crafts) the man from the ground and then breathes God’s own breath (spirit) into him and Adam comes to life. Note that “adam” here is both the personal name for the man, “Adam,” and the word for the ground/clay/dirt out of which he is made (adamah, (2.7). Adam comes from adamah. Humans are not above the creation, we are an inexorable part of it. We were created to live in harmony, not discord, with everything that God made.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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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