White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Thursday, May 31, 2018

31May

Giving from a Generous Heart

Read: Exodus 25.1-7; 35.4-29; Leviticus 27.30-33; Second Corinthians 9.6-8

So the people of Israel-- every man and woman who wanted to help in the work the LORD had given them through Moses-- brought their offerings to the LORD.

Exodus 35.29 (New Living Translation)

This lesson provides us with a variety of passages that teach about giving—who should give, how, what and why.

In Exodus chapters 25-31, Moses described the design for the tent of meeting and all its furniture, including the Ark of the Covenant. He gave the details for making priestly vestments and the oils that would accompany the sacrifices. Then in Chapter 35, Moses gave the command to all the people: Bring the offering to the LORD. The people looked to the spoils they brought out of Egypt (Exodus 12.35-36) and gave to Moses gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen; goats' hair, tanned rams' skins, and fine leather; acacia wood, oil, spices, onyx stones and gems (Exodus 35.5-9). In addition to these material offerings, the people also offered their skills—carpentry, metal work, tent making, spinners of yarn and workers with linens (vv. 23-28). Everything was offered with a willing spirit and a generous heart (vv. 5, 29). What a remarkable contrast this obedient assembly was to the wild assembly that gave their gold to Aaron to build the golden calf (32.8). Their generous gifts were a response to God’s mercy and the privilege of doing God’s will (i.e., building the place where God would dwell—the tabernacle). In Second Corinthians, Paul was collecting an offering from the wealthy Gentile churches for the afflicted church in Jerusalem. This offering was to be a willing, generous gift of support that would bind the two communities. Paul promised that God would respond to their cheerful gift with abundant blessings, not for them to hoard, but so they could continue to generously share in other good works (Second Corinthians 9.7-8).

Everyone who has experienced God’s love, grace and mercy should give their best to the LORD, freely, generously and joyfully.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Thoughts

Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2018

29May

Worshiping GOD requires giving. If you can't give you can't worship.

Sermon: Preparing to Receive GOD's Promise - Pastor William J. Shaw

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, May 27, 2018

27May

THEY GAVE THEIR ALL
Acts 3:1-10

A week later we rejoice still at the manifestations of God’s presence on last Sunday in our celebration of Women’s Day and the Advent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We joined in prayer and songs of praise, were enriched by three marvelous testimonies from three “Daughters of Zelophehad” and, led by the Holy Spirit, fourteen women and men were added to the Deacon and Trustee Boards. Thanks be to God for all who shared in giving. In the strength of the Spirit we joyfully move on in our journey of faith and celebration of God’s grace.

On this Sunday we are but one week away from another special event of celebration which will occur on Communion Sunday: FORTY YEARS that Reverend Steven Lawrence has been a part of our ministry—serving as Administrative to the Pastor. He came to us right out of seminary. How he has matured and deepened in the faith. He’s truly an extraordinary person. I am looking to see a particularly large number of persons at both times of worship (10am service and the reception which will follow) as we thank God for Steve and the arenas in which God uses him. Let all of us bring to him monetary gifts which should befit our gratitude. Let us bless him and his wife till their cups of joy overflow.

For the next several Sunday’s I want to highlight some of the ways that the Spirit of God was evident in the early church as reported in Chapters 3-5 of Acts. They are simple yet profound. May our eyes, ears and hearts be open to the Spirit’s leading.

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

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Sunday, May 27, 2018

27May

Blessing, Glory, Honor Forever

Lesson and Read: Revelation 5.6-14

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Revelation 5.13 (NRSV)

In this lesson, we continue to “see” the vision John described in the fifth Chapter of Revelation. God is preparing to reveal the Divine will for all creation. How will the hosts of heaven respond?

In the heavenly throne room, John described a scene filled with tension. The one seated on the throne has a scroll in his hand. The scroll contains the contents of God’s future plans but the scroll is sealed with seven seals. The tension arises when it seems that there is no one in heaven, on earth or beneath the earth, worthy to break the seals and reveal the message on the scroll (5.2-4). But, there is someone worthy. He is both the Lion of Judah (v. 5) and the Lamb who was slaughtered (v. 6). These are symbols for Jesus, the Son of David/Judah who was crucified. Indeed, his death on the cross is the reason he is worthy to open the scroll. By his blood, Jesus ransomed for God, saints from every tribe and language and people and nation (v. 9). Because the Lamb is worthy, millions of voices now sing out, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (v. 12). There are three songs in the throne room (vv. 9, 11, 12) and they give the reader insight into the early church. Consider that the first songs sung by believers were no doubt from the Book of Psalms. As the Church grew, new songs (v. 9) were written; songs that specifically spoke about Jesus—his life, death and destiny.

One cannot escape noticing how prominent the number “7” in in this passage—seals in 5.1; horns, eyes and spirits in v. 6. Seven is a symbol of perfection, completeness, fullness. Note how in one of the new songs, the Lamb is praised with seven attributes: power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing. We, who are unworthy, offer full and perfect praise to the one who is worthy. And he is worthy forever.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, May 26, 2018

26May

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3
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Thoughts

Posted Thursday, May 24, 2018

24May

Prepare for the future by following GOD's commands, and watch GOD make that future more than you ever imagined
Sermon: Preparing To Receive GOD's Promise - Pastor William J. Shaw


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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2018

22May

The Lord God Almighty

Read: Revelation 4.1-11

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come” . . . “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4.8, 11 (NRSV)

The Revelation to John on the Isle of Patmos begins like an epistle addressed to seven churches. However, by Chapter 4 John has been transported to a heavenly throne room where worship is taking place. Before any heavenly message is unveiled, John’s vision identifies the source of that message.

In John’s vision, there is one seated on the throne who is not identified by name. Rather, the light and sparkle of precious gems convey the Lord’s appearance (Revelation 4.3). There are twenty-four other thrones in the room, upon which are seated twenty-four elders. These elder may represent the human element in the heavenly worship service. Twenty-four combines the tribes of Israel and the Apostles of Jesus, i.e., all the people of God from both Testaments. There are four living creatures in the throne room. They are covered with eyes (all seeing, attentive to human and divine needs). The creatures have six wings, and cry out “Holy, holy, holy,” like the seraphim in Isaiah 6.2-3. Isaiah said with two wings they covered their faces and their feet and with two wings they flew. Covering the face was a sign of reverence. Even those close at hand to attend God did not presume to look upon the Lord God. Covering the feet was a sign of humility. In the ancient world the feet were considered the least comely part of the body, so hiding them from sight meant the person was not proud. The third pair of wings may symbolize obedience—they flew, ever ready, ever moving, to do whatever God commanded. In John’s vision, these creatures follow a ritual. They cry out “Holy” three times, the superlative: most holy, most unique, most unlike any other. Each time they call out, the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves and throw their crowns before the throne and sing. They give praise to the Lord God who lives forever and who created all things (Revelation 4.11). All the events that follow are the will of the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, May 20, 2018

20May

Greetings in the love and joy of our Christ.

This is a day of EXCITED JOY in the Lord: this Lord’s Day is Women’s Day. All the women of the Church, past and present, are celebrated for their contributions to the life and work of Christ in this congregation. Doing this, we have a special focus on “The Daughters of Zelophehad”—five women noted in the biblical book of Numbers, chapter 27, who claim for themselves and for their posterity the privilege of women to be receivers, preservers and channels of God’s blessing for their total families. Were it not for them their family would have no designated place in the allotments of the “Promise Land”. Their story is little told and their names are largely unknown. But they made a lasting impact in the life of the people of God. These “daughters” have held and do now hold a prominent place in the records of White Rock. In some ways each woman is a “daughter”.

This is a day of excited joy in the Lord because it is also Pentecost Sunday: the Sunday when the Lord’s Promised Comforter to the lives of Jesus’ disciples was manifest in spiritual power. With the Holy Spirit’s coming the Church was born and the mission/ministry of the Church was launched. The Church lives and works by His power. We rejoice because of His spirit at work in us.

This day is a day of excited joy in the Lord because today we announce and present to the Church 14 women and men to be added to the Deacons and Trustees Ministries. We spoke of them in our Annual Church Meeting. For a year they have been at study and in exposure to the people of these units and the work which is entrusted to them. Prayerfully they have accepted the privilege and challenges of these Boards. Receive them and pray for them.

All of these aspects of today’s worship are a part of our prayerful expectations/anticipations of marvelous growth in grace which God will effect upon and through us.

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

Joy!

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Sunday, May 20, 2018

20May

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:23-24


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Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, May 12, 2018

12May

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
Luke 19:10