White Rock Baptist Church Blog


The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Jesus Teaches about Justice

Read: Matthew 15.1-9; Mark 7.1-13

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.

Matthew 15.8-9 (NRSV)

The gospels tell the story of Jesus. Those who study the gospels have identified different types of data. There are teachings and saying (Matthew 5—7); healing, exorcism and other miracles (Luke 8.22-56); and pronouncements about the future (Mark 13). This lesson centers on Matthew 15.1-20 and the commentators call this a “conflict narrative.” It begins with Jesus confronting the Pharisees and scribes (vv. 1-9) and ends with Jesus teaching his disciples (vv. 12-20). The conflict concerns a practice that seems right (it is what the people have always done) but may not be true (is the practice just?).

The Pharisees and scribes attacked Jesus for allowing his disciples to eat without washing their hands. They were breaking the tradition of the elders. Washing was a ritual to ensure purity. Jesus responded on two levels. First, he questioned their honesty. They claimed to be defending the law but Jesus suggested that they manipulated the law when it suited them (they denied financial support for their parents by dedicating the money to the temple). They talked about obedience to the tradition but they acted out of self-interest. Second, Jesus challenged the truth of their tradition. They cared about ritual purity so they were focused on external washing. But, purity is internal. It comes from the intent of the heart. Jesus was not saying that hand washing was unnecessary; he was saying what people eat did not defile them. Food goes into the stomach and then out of the body. The things that make people unclean—murder, adultery, theft, slander, etc.—come from inside of them (Matthew 15.11, 19).

In the middle verses (Matthew 15.10-11) Jesus addressed the crowd. They were not opponents or followers; they were listening to both sides but undecided. As we read this passage, we must confess where we stand. Is our faith only on our lips or is it also in our hearts and hands? Are we talking about what is right or doing what is just?

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence


Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, July 29, 2018


Greetings and Joy!

This weekend I am participating in two celebrative events away from White Rock. The first is/was in the State of Michigan where on Friday night I spoke to the Wolverine Baptist State Convention as they recognized their Centennial Year. Today I’m scheduled to preach the sermon of dedication for the newly constructed worship facility of the New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. That service is at 3:00 pm. The Reverend Dr. Jerry Young is the Pastor. He is also the President of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. I need and thank you for the prayers of all of you at every preaching moment.

I pray for you as we observe Sheepfold Sunday here at White Rock. On each 5th Sunday of the month we accent the vital place that the sheepfolds hold in our fellowship and mission. Our unity, as affirmed in our commitment to one another and to God as we share in His work, is given fresh focus. May our breaking bread together be more than a ritual of the calendar. Rather, may it be for us a renewing of the Reality which binds us.

This week we enter into the final two weeks of our Summer Enrichment Program. We give thanks to God for the tireless labors of the ministry workers and for the young lives and families we have been blessed to touch. We continue to pray that the seeds of the love of God which we have been privileged to sow will yield fruits of God’s grace in their lives for many days and years to come.

I remind all Church and unit leader to meet with me this Saturday, August 4, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The 12:00 to 1:00 hour will be a time of refreshment together. The first two hours I want us to look at the challenges of our final period of celebrating 120 years in 2018. May we all work wholeheartedly together to and for the glory of our God.

Meanwhile, I look to being with you in the love or our Lord through the days ahead of us. “May God’s grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . .” I rejoice that we are one in the Lord.

Let us give to Him nothing less than our best!



Posted Sunday, July 29, 2018


“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together;”
Isaiah 11:6a The coming of Jesus deals with reconciliation. More than accommodating each other, the leopard and goat will be at rest/ease together. The bottom and top of society will be together.

Sermon: Pastor William J. Shaw



Posted Friday, July 27, 2018


When you think about discipleship [following Jesus], suffering is part of the package. It’s not the only part, but it is a part. The cross is what allows us to survive. 
Sermon: The Wrong Cross - Rev. Steven Lawrence

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, July 22, 2018


Hebrews 3:1; 6:1-12, 10:21-25, 37-39

The struggle in the US soul today to live “UP TO” the view of who she is as defined by the framers of her founding documents and to accept that vision as valid for persons who were and now are of a different color than they is anguishing. America’s future is at stake! What would cause a people to seek with “strong” (recognize the word?) emotions and faulty logic to seek to deny, restrict the document’s message/meaning/applicability/TRUTH?

This struggle is at its core a spiritual contest between the good and the evil for the assent of the American people. Does she, do they, yield to the call of the highest or does she, do they follow the deviant and corrupt path of the lowest road to destruction? Are we mere observers or are we active participants in this fateful struggle.

At a given level of my soul I see the celebration of our 120–year history as an acute challenge to consider, recognize the call of our past to acknowledge the sacred nature of our being, existence and to commit to the joyful living out of God’s purpose/love for us. We have marked certain (not all) high marks within these years – 40, 50, 60! We turn now to the totality of our years: celebrating 120 in 2018. We have twelve weeks to view 120–years. In the next two preaching moments for me here, today and August 5, I am prayerful to address the significance of 120 for us and the response I trust we will resolve to make evident in the future. Join me in prayer and be present at both worship settings. On Saturday, August 4, 10am to 1pm I would like to meet with our church leadership for an overview/discussion of the twelve weeks and beyond ahead of us.

I thank all who have led and all who have shared in our special events thus far. I look forward with serious excitement to the rest of the year.

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


Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, July 15, 2018


I was received into the membership of White Rock in January, 1954 when it was located at 52nd and Arch Streets. The then Pastor of 20 years, Dr. W.C. Williamson graciously accepted me and gave to me the privilege to assist in the pulpit and to teach a young adult class in the Church School. White Rock was a strong and attractive fellowship in days of glory.

Fifteen months later, however, I saw unfolding even brighter glory shining in the midst of a tragedy and its aftermath. From the disastrous fire of April 1, 1955 until the third Sunday in July, 1958 when we entered into this facility, I witnessed a congregation go through a transition of pastoral leadership and a thirty-nine and one-half months period of worshipping, praying and working in seven different locations. Her commitment to God was tested and her Christian character was burnished. Never perfect, she toiled and grew from strength to strength.

Today, 60 YEARS later, we celebrate what God was doing with us and yield to what He will do in and through us in the future that is at hand. We thank God for all who have been a part of this journey in this ministry from this place—past and present.

We welcome the Reverend James Edlow, Sr. as the preacher for today’s time of joy. Our hearts are stirred by the presence of all others who visit with us.

Deepening our spirit of rejoicing is also the fact that today is Men’s Day at White Rock. We recognize the vital work of all the men who have, from the beginning of our history, been so steadfast in their love for and loyalty to God and this visible sign of His presence in the world, the White Rock Church people.

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

Joy! We are one in the Lord. Let us give unto Him nothing less than our best.


Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, July 08, 2018


Mark 10:13-16

Greetings beloved,

On July 3, I was reading the Philadelphia Inquirer when my interest was grabbed, and my eyes lit up—I saw a picture of a talented young lady of White Rock, Amajae Hardy Jones. I called her to congratulate her upon the article and asked for the background of the same. It is featured here. This paragraph is her response.

On Monday, July 2nd, Amajae Hardy-Jones participated in an event at the Wawa Welcome to America Broadway Music Festival with The Kimmel Center Showstoppers Program. This is an after-school program for high school students in grades 9th-12th. The program maximizes skills in theater, voice, and dance while preparing for Showcase performances at the Kimmel Center of Performing Arts. This Year at the 2018 Wawa Welcome to America Broadway Music Festival, a selected number of students including Amajae Hardy-Jones, had a special invitation to perform live at Independence Hall, performing various musical excerpts from New York City’s Broadway musicals. While performing at the Wawa Welcome to America Music Festival, 6 students including Amajae, auditioned and competed in a musical sing-off competition, singing one of their personal favorite Broadway musical songs. The Showstoppers students concluded the festival with a musical selection and had the opportunity to be broadcasted on NBC and ABC news.

Full of joy I share it with you. All of us are surely delighted to see her and the other young people grow.

Let us be mindful of all of our youth and encourage them to stir up the gifts which God has placed within them. God bless all of the parents and caregivers. We look to the future with great expectations of our youth and with deep gratitude to our God.

The DATE was JULY 14, 1957 and the DAY was the second Sunday. It was then that my wife and I were united in marriage at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church at 4:00 pm. The weather was hot and humid, but the Church was packed. We are grateful that the Good Shepherd Circle has prepared the reception following the worship today to commemorate that event and a 61year journey together since then. We bless God for your prayers and your support across the decades. I praise God for my wife’s steadfast love and the richness which she has brought to my life. We look to greeting you after today’s worship.

NEXT SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2018 we celebrate 60 YEARS of serving and worshipping God in and from this site. WE ALSO PAY TRIBUTE TO THE MEN OF WHITE ROCK—past, present and future. Reverend James R. Edlow, Sr. of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church will be the preacher for the glorious worship gathering. Reach out to your friends and acquaintances—male and female—of all age groupings and invite them to share with us. Ask God for a double manifestation of His anointing. Worship begins at 10:00 am.

ALL are urged to begin the day by attending Church School at 8:30 am. Every man and boy is invited to a SPECIAL MEN’S BIBLE CLASS discussion led by the Pastor. The focus will be on “discipleship challenges—especially to men”. Read Mark 9:33-10:52 as background scriptures.

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

Joy! We are one in the Lord. Let us give to Him nothing less than our best!


Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, July 01, 2018


Within the last week I have experienced both a high moment of joy and a low point of sorrow. On last Sunday we shared in the celebration marked by the number 50: for 50 years the Women’s Mission Union has existed as a fellowship united in trying to make the mission of Christ live in our church consciousness. Their spirit and activities greatly enriched our worship. Shortly after Sunday I was informed of the death of one of our trustees—Brother Walter Tate—a very faithful, kind and loving person. He was committed to the work of Christ and was encouraging to me and my family. I feel the force of these two realities tugging at my heart. Memory of Brother Tate’s spirit touches my sadness, however, so that gratitude gives strength to respond to my inner void. We pray for his family.

The month of July summons us to continue our celebration of God’s goodness evident “Though the Years. . .” On the third Sunday, July 15, we mark an exciting point in our history connected with the number 60. For 60 years we have worshipped God and served Him in and from this site. We must never take for granted what this place means. Come, recall and rejoice together. That day is also Men’s Day. Let every male of White Rock and every man who’s a friend to a member of White Rock join together in praise to God.

In worship today, we offer to God for His blessing a ministry of the congregation to the children and youth of the community and of the church. Our Summer Enrichment ministry begins tomorrow and continues through August 9. We thank God for those who have worked so hard to give visibility to this calling and pray with confidence for the Holy Spirit’s enabling of them. May the lives of the youth and the families touched by this ministry be marvelously blessed.

The Second Sunday in July is a memorable Sunday and blessing to me. On that Sunday, July 14, 1957 my wife and I were united in marriage. That’s 61 years ago. I thank God for her, for the addition to our family of a son and above all I thank God for His providence in joining us together.

God’s grace and peace be multiplied unto you.

Joy! We are one in the Lord.