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Note from Pastor Jason July Monthly

 

 

Whatever Happened With That Baptism Study?

In the parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) Jesus speaks of God’s Kingdom as something that is growing all around us, though we know not how. Sometimes the slow nature of this growth may even cause us to wonder if anything is happening at all. This analogy of slow, ongoing, intentional growth is one that can carry to many areas of our lives, and church is certainly one of those.

One area in our church life where we have been slow, methodical and intentional is in our study of baptism. Last year our Deacons led our entire church in a study of Baptism with three key questions in mind:

What is the relationship between baptism and Christian faith? (personal and public)
What does Second Baptist Church believe about baptism and why?
What is the relationship between baptism and church membership?

The process of exploring these questions involved surveying the congregation, a special lunch where guest speaker Mark Wingfield introduced our study, a multi-week Bible study of baptism led by New Testament scholar Dr. David May, a multi-week baptism book study led by Pastor Sherry McGlaughlin, the sharing of baptism stories across the congregation by many 2BC members, multiple reflections sessions where church members were invited to ask questions, and a final assessment of the process by the Deacon body. Before this all-church process, the Deacons engaged in a retreat where Mark Wingfield led them in a study of baptism. They followed that retreat with a year of intentional study before bringing it to the congregation. This has been going on for quite some time. The process has been slow, deliberate, methodical, thorough and I bet some of you have wondered what, if anything, was going to come from all of this.

We’re about to find out.

In response to our study, the Deacon Baptism Task Force drafted a summary of their work, their findings, and their recommendations. They presented this report with recommendations to the Deacon body who unanimously voted to adopt them. The Deacons then presented the report with recommendations to the Church Council who unanimously voted to adopt them. Now the Deacons are ready to bring their report and recommendations to all of us. This will happen first by that report being made available to you in July via online and paper mediums. Please review this report. Then the Deacons will bring this report with recommendations to our next Church Conference after our 11:00 service on July 30th.

They have done good, thorough work. They have solicited good, thorough feedback. My hope and prayer is that this work will now result in our congregation continuing to grow in our ability to help people belong, believe and become in Christ.

With love and appreciation,

 

 

Senior Pastor

 

Posted by Jason Edwards at Monday, June 26, 2017 | 0 comments
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SEND Initiative High School Bridger Trip Lazarus and the Lakota Reservation

The students arrived in Bridger Monday at 8:00 p.m. after 14 hours on the road.They agreed to leave at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning to help Hawkwing unload 240 donated new mattresses. What a group! Today they had a morning hike up the ridge. I'm sure their experience is changing their lives and making a memory that will serve them forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years ago, John Howell wrote an Advent devotion about Lazarus and a Lakota grandmother. We thought Dr. Howell's thoughts about Lazarus and the Lakota people were worth sharing again here as you pray for the High School SEND team. Hopefully, we can learn from the trip as well.

Luke 16:19-31

But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25).

The central figure in Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man is Lazarus. He was homeless, crippled, covered with sores and hungry to the point of eating bread thrown under the table when a sumptuous meal was served in the rich man’s house. Tradition declared that bread was used as a napkin during the meal and was thrown under the table after serving its purpose. Lazarus was obviously one of the nobodies in Jesus’ stories of people for whom nobody cares.

Now suppose we turn away from Lazarus to visit an elderly Lakota Indian grandmother in North Dakota. She is facing a typical winter while living in a shack with a leaking roof, walls blackened by soot from a malfunctioning coal stove and no family to protect her. She is one of the nobodies in that northern culture.

Suddenly members of a tribal repair group come to her shack with repair materials, money, and skills to change her living quarters. Now she will be warm, dry, and clean for the winter, even in her one-room shack.

What happens to Lazarus? He and the rich man, who was given the name Dives, will die and go to Sheol, the Jewish place of the dead. But now circumstances are changed. Lazarus has entered the Paradise section of Sheol, while Dives is assigned to the punishment section. Why the difference?

Father Abraham explains, “Son, remember in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.” Throughout the times of Lazarus’ agony, Dives could have obeyed the instructions of the Torah, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), but he ignored his neighbor’s need for care.

The difference between the Lakota grandmother and Lazarus is that someone cared for her while Dives did not care for Lazarus. This is the challenge of Jesus’ story. Dives in Sheol may eventually express some concern for his brothers, but it comes too late to warn them.  Abraham says if they have not obeyed the Torah, “they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” The failure of many today to trust in the risen Christ proves that to be true.

Dr. John C. Howell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at Wednesday, June 21, 2017 | 0 comments
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Is Attending Serving

 

When it comes to church and church ministries, is attending, serving? I don’t think so.

When I go to a restaurant, I attend it as a paying customer. Unless the tea pitcher is close and the wait staff very busy and slow, I don’t get involved in serving. (In a desperate moment, I have been known to get the tea pitcher and serve myself and others.)

In this same thought line, attending worship, attending a Bible study, attending a meeting does not necessarily mean that we are serving. It may lead to service but just attending doesn’t count as service.

James seems to say that if we are paying attention to what we are attending, it will result in serving. Serving is the other side of the two-headed coin of learning and serving. Or in the Message, James uses the word act instead of serving in this passage.

James 1:22-24 (Message) says “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”

Posted by Connie McNeill at Monday, June 19, 2017 | 0 comments
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