White Rock Baptist Church Blog

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, December 31, 2018

31Dec

Love and Serve God

Lesson: Joshua 24.1-3a, 13-15, 21-24

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods . . . Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Joshua 24.16, 18b (NRSV)

In the Book of Joshua, Chapter 24, there is a Covenant Renewal Ceremony. It comes as the culmination of the conquest of the Promised Land and the division of the territories amongst every tribe, clan and family. The ceremony was an opportunity for the people of Israel to remember their history and reaffirm their purpose.

Joshua began the ceremony by reminding the Israelites that their ancestors did not start out worshiping the LORD. Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor-- lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods (Joshua 24.2). The LORD took Abraham from that land to Canaan but later, during a famine, Jacob and his children left Canaan and went to Egypt. Unfortunately, they became enslaved there and were exposed to the gods of Egypt. But the LORD brought them out with a mighty hand. God brought them through the wilderness to Canaan. God defeated their enemies and provided cities to live in and groves they did not plant. Now, As they prepared to settle in Canaan, Joshua challenged the Israelites. Make a choice. The gods of Haran, of Egypt or even the gods of Canaan. But, said Joshua, as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD (v. 15). The people responded, we also will serve the LORD (v. 18). Joshua warned the people that the Lord was a jealous God and would not permit them to serve other gods. Joshua knew the people were accustomed to including the LORD in the list of the many gods they would worship. Joshua, however, was calling for total devotion. ”You shall have other gods before me” (Exodus 20.3).

Joshua’s challenge is ever present. He does not ask us to serve the Lord because of our grandparents or out of tradition. He simply asks that we look over our lives and identify the One who found us, walking in darkness, and brought us out. Find the One who has never forsaken us even when we have been untrue. It is none other than the LORD. Let us love and serve God.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, December 30, 2018

30Dec

Stored Memories
Luke 2:18-51

Beloved in the Lord, by God’s grace and by your strivings to be faithful to His charge “Through the Years. . .”, we have come to the final Lord’s day in the year 2018. I thank God for the holy endeavors of each of you and I’m grateful to you for the extent of your yieldings to Him. So many of you have been inspirations to me and to others in the work of our Lord.

My appreciation is more than I can express to you for your remembrances of me and my family on so many occasions throughout the year past. Individual cards and calls, gifts and continued intercessions for us have been sources of strength. May God’s grace and peace be greatly multiplied to you in every way.

As we look forward to the year 2019, I invite you to examine and emulate the response made by Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the calling/charge given to her in the work of redemption which belongs to Jesus. Though, she did not fully fathom the assignment by God, she accepted the fact that she was a highly favored woman because of His choice. Throughout her days she tried to weigh/assess the significance of it all. She discovered that hers was more than the task of giving birth; it was also hers “to mother Him” to maturity through all of His years. She learned early that her favoring by God involved suffering for and because of His choice. Through it all she remembered and was strengthened in those stored memories of the sanctity of God’s choice and the marvel of Jesus’ ministry. She was faithful to the end. May it be so with each of you.

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

{tag_author}

Thoughts

Posted Sunday, December 30, 2018

30Dec

A Thought For Today: God never said that the journey would be easy. He did say that the journey would be worthwhile.

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

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Thursday, December 27, 2018

27Dec

Love and Obey

Lesson and Read: Deuteronomy 6.1-9

Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6.4-5 (NRSV

We often hear that the Old Testament is based on the Law and the New Testament on grace. However, Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5.17). This lesson shows us the overlooked presence grace right in the midst of the Law.

The Book of Deuteronomy is often called Moses’ “last will and testament.” First he reviews the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land (chapters 1-4). Then he charges the People of God to remember that history and their covenant with the Lord as they go forward. In Chapter 5, we find a second reading of the Ten Commandments (that’s why we call this book deutero (second) nomus (law) or Deuteronomy. In chapter 6, just before Moses makes his final appeal to the people, we have the passage known as the “Shema.” Shema means “hear.” Moses is saying, “Listen! Pay attention to this!” He is reminding and affirming the truth that is the foundation for all that follows.” The Lord is Israel’s God”—Israel worships and is claimed by the Lord, the God who is over all. And “the Lord is one”—the Lord is God alone or the Lord is the One God. Other nations have a plethora of gods for wind, rain and fire, but Israel’s God is God alone; Israel’s God hold all power. “God and God alone is fit to take the universe’s throne. Let everything that lives reserve its truest praise for God, and God alone” (Phil McHugh).

How are God’s people to respond to the almighty God? With fear? No. With anxiety? No. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (6.5). Love is the fulfillment of the Law. When we honestly consider who our God is and all that the Lord has done for us, are not our hearts filled with gratitude, with appreciation, with love? And if we truly love God, it is not a burden to obey. In fact, it brings joy to lend heart and mind and soul and strength to serve him.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Verse for Reflection

Posted Sunday, December 23, 2018

23Dec

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to GOD in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2: 8-13
{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, December 23, 2018

23Dec

Luke 2:1-20

“News of Great Joy!”

Today is the final Sunday of the season of Advent. For us this period is not a time of unknowing; it is a call to reflection upon the reality which we already know that Jesus is Born! What is the life altering results of His coming? What is the dimension of greatness in His having come? What is/ought be the empowering impact of these reflections upon our lives as members of the church (this congregation, White Rock)? Are we incentivized by what we know?

I pray that the joy of Christ’s coming will be stirringly sensitized within us. I pray that this Great Joy will be marvelously manifest within and through us in the days ahead granted unto us by God’s grace.

Be reminded of our Church celebration at 10am on this Tuesday. Let us gather for worship on the final Sunday of 2018 (10am); let us break bread together on this last Sheepfold Sunday following the worship hour and then hold our Annual Business session after the meal.

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

Joy! —“Be Well”!

{tag_author}

Verse for Reflection

Posted Friday, December 21, 2018

21Dec

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Luke 1:29-33

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2018

19Dec

God’s Blessing

Read: Genesis 30.1-43

[Laban said] “I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you; name your wages, and I will give it.” [Jacob said] “Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.”

Genesis 30.27,28, 32 (NRSV)

This lesson is about God’s blessings to Jacob—a family and wealth—and Jacob as a blessing to Laban.

Jacob left Bethel (the site of his dream, Genesis 28.12) and arrived in Paddan-aram. Immediately he met Rachel (the daughter of his mother’s brother, Laban). He was no doubt overcome with emotion. He had found his tribal people after a long journey. He moved a large stone, kissed his cousin and wept aloud (29.10-11). Laban also received Jacob warmly and put him to work. The cordiality of these opening scenes proved to be a pleasant covering for many deceptions to follow. Jacob agreed to work for his uncle for seven years in exchange for Rachel as his bride. After seven years, Laban tricked Jacob into marrying the older sister, Leah, and then contracted to give him Rachel for another seven years labor. It is hard to believe that both Leah and Rachel were not aware of this marriage custom (v. 26); it seems that Rebekah, Laban, Leah, and Rachel were as clever as Jacob!

Jacob favored Rachel so God favored Leah with the first children. The rivalry between the sisters resulted in 12 children. Jacob had been blessed with a family. For twenty years, Jacob’s talent with animal husbandry had made Laban rich. He did not want to let Jacob return home because he discerned that the Lord was blessing him through Jacob. Jacob and his family escaped through one final, masterful deception. Jacob let Laban choose the type of sheep and goats he would take for his wages, and then influenced their environment during their mating, so that Jacob received the strongest. Whichever Laban chose, Jacob manipulated the results. Soon Jacob, who came to Haran with nothing, had wives, children, servants and livestock. God’s blessings.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Thoughts

Posted Monday, December 17, 2018

17Dec

I encourage you not to just lean on your faith, but to lean into your faith. I encourage you to imagine the plan GOD has to bless others through you.
Youth Day Speaker: Soleil Taliaferro Dancy
{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Monday, December 17, 2018

17Dec

Luke 1: 1-50

“GOD HAS NOTICED YOU!”

I bless the name of the Lord for the challenges of last Sunday’s Advent worship gatherings. We continue today on this third Sunday of Advent with our ears and eyes open to some of the sobering dimensions of the marvelous event of God’s coming to us in the person of His Son and our Savior, Jesus the Christ. The sermon focus is on the responses of the Adults used by God to tell the story of Jesus’ birth—Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, Mary and her fiancé Joseph. In them we can see reflected our own possible likenesses in the continuing drama of human reactions to God’s calling to make Christ real in our time. The pictures are plain and simple.

Next Sunday, is the last Sunday in Advent. Let us gather in glad anticipation of Christ’s actual coming—accenting the kinds of receptions He received. Let ours be a joyful welcoming one.

Rejoice: we are one in the Lord!

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