White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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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.

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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

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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.

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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