White Rock Baptist Church Blog

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Friday, November 15, 2019

15Nov

Faithful in Consequences

Lesson: Numbers 14.10b-20 Read: Numbers 14.10b-23

The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Exodus 34.6-7 (NRSV)

This lesson concludes the story of the twelve spies and the fate of Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

After rejecting the report of Caleb and Joshua, the whole congregation prepared to stone them. But the glory of the Lord appeared before the tabernacle (Numbers 14.10). The Lord asked Moses, “How long will this people refuse to believe in me?” Then the Lord made an outrageous statement to Moses: “I will disinherit them and make of you a nation greater than them” (Numbers 14.11-12). This was the second time that the Lord threatened to abandon the Israelites. When Moses came down from the mountain (carrying the Ten Commandments) and saw the people worshiping the golden calf, the Lord wanted to give the people up (Exodus 32.10). On both these occasions, Moses became an intercessor for the people. Moses made two arguments. First, if the Lord left the people in the desert, word would get back to Egypt and everyone would accuse the Lord of failing to deliver the people to Canaan as promised (Numbers 14.13-14). And so, for God’s own name’s sake, the people must reach the Promised Land. Second, Moses appealed to God’s own character. In Exodus 34.6-7, God described the divine character as “merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Now, take note of God’s resolution. God rendered a judgment and showed mercy. The judgment was that those who did not want to conquer Canaan would die in the wilderness. The mercy was that the children, whom those unbelievers sought to protect, would enter and take the Promised Land, enabled by the power of the Lord. The Lord would be faithful to a new generation despite the unfaithful actions and consequences of the first generation.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Thoughts

Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019

13Nov

A people is the purpose of our relationship to GOD, not a person. Some Christians would have a religion where He (GOD) will bless me personally in the context of all that is wrong, but not challenge me to address and change what is wrong. We want GOD to bless us individually while others are not blessed.

Sermon: What Do You See? - Pastor William J. Shaw

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, November 11, 2019

11Nov

Faithful Despite Unfaithfulness

Lesson: Numbers 13.1, 2, 17, 18, 25-28
Read: Numbers 13.1—14.10a

And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.”
Numbers 13.27-28 (NRSV)

In Numbers, Chapter 10, the people of Israel departed from Mount Sinai. By Chapter 13 they were close enough to the Promised Land to send out spies. Twelve leaders, one from each tribe, covered the land with specific instructions to evaluate the towns, the land and the people (Numbers 13.17-20) and even to bring back samples of the produce. They came back with a cluster of grapes it required two men to carry! But, the inhabitants of Canaan were formidable. There were two reports. Joshua and Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” The other ten leaders said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13.30-31). Before the whole camp could hear both sides, those ten brought their unfavorable report to the people (v. 32). The congregation wept and cried out against Moses and Aaron, even suggesting they elect a new leader to take them back to Egypt (14.1-3). If not for the intercession of Moses, the Lord would have destroyed his people in the desert and made a new people from Moses (v. 12). Instead, only Joshua, Caleb and all those under the age of twenty would be preserved (v. 29). And since the spies sought out the land for forty days, the unfaithful Israelites would wander for forty years (v. 33-34). The “little ones” they sought to protect from the dangers of Canaan would be the very ones God would deliver into the land (v. 31).

The unfaithful Israelites feared Canaan. They did not believe they could overcome its perils. They were right. Caleb tried to remind them that, with God, they could possess the land. When they doubted that fact, they doubted God’s power and God’s promise to bring them into the Promised Land. God does not quit us when we quit. God is faithful despite unfaithfulness.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, November 09, 2019

09Nov

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Ephesians 1:18
{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 27, 2019

27Oct

Beloved people of White Rock:

I am both grateful to our Lord for and sobered/humbled by the fact that He has linked our lives together in Him for over fifty percent of your 121 years and over seventy-six percent of my 85-year life span. We have grown together in Him and been recipients of His marvelous grace and calling. We have sought to learn and live into the fullness of His covenant challenge/relationship with us. It is a missional bonding! Ours has been a Journey in Joy!

I listened to the story of His Covenant ties with us as we have read the Bible—the Covenant Books—over the last several weeks. We have sometimes read easily and sometimes haltingly (even hesitantly) as we attempted to listen in openness to Him. Perhaps our reading has been a reflection of the challenge of His Covenant calling to us and the unevenness of our responses to Him. Such has been the record of the call and response relationship from the beginning of human lifetime. He has made us for a fulfilling relationship in obedience to Himself and in fellowship with Him and each other. We have both enjoyed that relationship and then rebelled against His will. He has consistently shown us blessings and judgment. He still missionally calls us in Jesus Christ to witness to the reality of His grace and judgement in this sordid time.

Thanks be to Him: in His loving mercy He has not abandoned us to our rejections. So, we joyfully celebrate His grace today and penitently commit our lives anew to Him in His Covenant Mission. To Him be the Glory!.

I know that you join with me in welcoming the Reverend Dr. Wendell Griffen as the prophet /preacher for this festive occasion. May God speak through him and open our ears to His word.

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

Joy! We are one in the Lord.

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, October 07, 2019

07Oct

Faithful During Distress

Read: Genesis 18.16—19.29

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered;

Genesis 19:15-16 (NRSV)

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is well known but we should take note that Lot and his family were spared not by their faith, but because of God’s faithfulness.

The Lord told Abraham about the intended destruction of Sodom and immediately Abraham began to intercede for his nephew, Lot. The conversation in Genesis 18.22-33 could be read as an intercessory prayer; Abraham “negotiated” mercy for the cities if ten righteous persons could be found there. When God’s angel messengers arrived, they were soon met by Lot, who offered them the hospitality of his home (just as Abraham had hosted them, 18.1-8). However, the city of Sodom was hostile, not hospitable. The citizens surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that he send his guests out that they might rape them. Lot had been so long in Sodom that he thought offering his two daughters to the mob was a lesser atrocity (19.8). Sodom was totally corrupt. Indeed, the prophet Ezekiel will later say: This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it (Ezekiel 16:49-50). The angels rescued Lot and announced God’s intent to destroy the city. But Lot lingered (v. 16). It was not until daybreak that the angels literally dragged Lot and his family out of the city. His wife, instead of fleeing, turned back and was “petrified” (v. 26). Lot begged to go to a nearby city (Zoar, vv. 20) instead of fleeing to the hills. As a result, God spared Zoar (v. 21) So, God actually saved more than the ten people Abraham prayed for!

God is pleased when we are faithful. But we must acknowledge, honestly, that God is faithful to his people even when they are unfaithful to God. Lot malingered and God still delivered him. We are sometimes stubborn, foolish, willful even, wicked and, thankfully, God is faithful during our distress.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 06, 2019

06Oct

Greetings and Joy!

I am grateful to God and to all of you who joined in reading the Bible here in the Sanctuary or shared via technology at home—over the past two Wednesdays. I thank God also for all who shared in Intercessory Prayer that the reading will be a time of actual listening to the Lord’s voice. Continue in prayer with me that the Lord will increase the numbers among us who read and pray—to the end that all of us will be open to receiving His word and obeying His will. So, our celebration of 121 years as a People will be for us a time of spiritual growth and great blessings.

The Intercessory Prayer period will again be at 7am, 12 noon and 7 pm this Tuesday, October 8. The call-in number remains the same 605-745-4089 and the participant code is 257349#.

Bible Reading hours continue on Wednesday, October 9 from 7 am until 6:30 pm, you can follow the reading via livestreaming on www.facebook.com – White Rock Baptist Church.

God’s grace and peace be multiplied unto you.

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Wednesday, October 02, 2019

02Oct

A Covenant of Love

Ephesians 5.21—6.4

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5.21 (NRSV)

Ephesians 5.21—6.4 is the portion of scripture that has been (mis)used to subjugate women, endorse slavery and position the church on the wrong side of issues like domestic abuse. Let’s attempt a fresh look at these often quoted verses.

In the 4th Century B.C.E., Aristotle developed what is called the “Household List.” It contained a description of behaviors and relationships in the Greek domicile. In the time of the Apostle Paul, the Roman Empire had adopted the household list with the Husband/Father as the dominant figure. The Pater Familias (Father of the Family) had absolute authority over children and slaves (who in a sense were seen as property) and much power over his wife, the mother of his children. When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he was concerned that Christians not be accused of disrupting Roman families. Paul did not create the Household List. Instead he sought to provide a Christian commentary for it. Paul offered instructions for any believer who found him or herself in a household governed by the list. Listen closely to Paul’s instructions. First, he counsels all believers to be subject to one another (Ephesians 5.21). All believers are saved by the same Christ and are equal in God’s sight. So, all are to obey God and be submissive to one another; to put the other ahead of self; to practice Christian love (agape). A submissive wife was not an unexpected role but for a husband “to love his wife as Christ loved the church,” this was innovative. It was expected for adult children to take care of their elderly parents, but for fathers to not “provoke their children,” this was new. Slaves were expected to obey their masters but for masters to deal with slaves without threating them, this was revolutionary.

When Paul wrote he was commenting on the status quo of his day. He may not have imagined a world where these household rules did not apply. However, he also gave Christians instruction on how to behave under these rules: “treat everyone fairly,” show love to everyone regardless of status,” “consider all believers your brothers and sisters.” These Christian behaviors slowly, but certainly, helped to unravel the brutal systems of dominance and slavery.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

{tag_author}

The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, September 09, 2019

09Sep

THE GIST OF THE CHURCH SCHOOL LESSON

Spiritual Discernment

Read: Matthew 7.1-29

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.

Matthew 7.24-25 (NRSV)

This lesson concludes our look at Matthew Chapters 5—7, the Sermon on the Mount. These three chapters have a variety of sayings and teachings. Jesus ends this section with a parable that shows the result of following his commands.

Jesus’ command to “judge not” is often misunderstood. The Greek word krino literally means “to pick out by separating.” When used in a legal sense it means “to come to a judgment.” In the ancient world, krino was not an evaluation; more often, it was a condemnation. “I am right so others must be wrong.” Jesus said final judgment is not in our hands. In fact, a way to avoid judgments is to observe the “golden rule.” In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. (Matthew 7.12). A Greek philosopher said that rule 500 years before Jesus (Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing) but note that Jesus made a positive expression; he described what to do rather than what to avoid doing. Jesus further stated that true and false teachers will be known by their fruit (vv. 16-20), not by their appearance. Jesus warned that it will take more than just calling him “Lord, Lord,” to enter heaven. The Father will recognize those who do His will.

The teachings of Jesus were like maxims; statements that were obviously true to any reasonable person. His sayings were like the proverbs of the Old Testament wisdom sayings. So it was appropriate for this Sermon to conclude with a parable. “All those who hear the words of Jesus and put them into practice will be like a wise person who builds his home by first digging down to the bedrock. Then, on that sure foundation, the home is raised up. Anyone who hears but does not act on Jesus’ words is like the foolish person who build a house on what appeared to by sturdy but was only sand. When the storms came the first house stood up to the wind but the second house was totally lost.”

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence


{tag_author}

Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, September 08, 2019

08Sep

THE WORD FROM THE PASTOR - SEPTEMBER 8, 2019

I think that the highlight of the meeting of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. in New Orleans this past week was the election of the Reverend Jerry Young to serve his term as President. His re-election was not a surprise—there were no other contending candidates for the office. I ask you now to join me in prayer for him and the Convention as he presides over the next five years. These years are critical.

Looking at our own life here at White Rock, our annual efforts of recommitment to Christ have begun. I ask us to prayerfully prepare to pack out the drama of our submission to God by beginning our preparations for Bible Reading. This year the Bible Reading takes a different schedule and have the added emphasis. Let us begin our reading on Wednesday, September 25, continuing reading for four consecutive Wednesdays and concluding those Wednesdays with our reading on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 2, 9, 14, 15 and 16. I call up our Sheepfolds and Auxiliaries to choose/recruit and to volunteer for public readings now. I encourage all to read along selected passages as we read through the entire Bible. We will conclude each day of reading with prayer and discussions. May God strengthen us in and by His word. Both written and in the flesh.

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

Joy! We are one in the Lord.