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December 2, 2017, 8:40 PM

The Good News in December ~ A Message from the Pastor

Can life move any faster? Christmas started in October this year I think. We are all connected online in any way we want to be connected, and the marketers realize that and fill our inboxes with a multitude of offers.
When will we find time to read Luke 2 in a quiet place? When will we sit early one morning with a cup of coffee silently thinking about the true meaning of Christmas? Speaking of silent, when will we have time to sing Silent Night?
I have those answers. You have those answers. When each of us decides it’s time to stop the busyness of our lives, God himself will come and sit with us. Really, God sits with us often, mostly waiting for us to get quiet enough to sense his overwhelming love. Can I? Will I? Can you? Will you? WHEN?
This year it will be incredibly important to find those quiet times. It is our last Christmas at 7521 Comanche Drive. Each of us needs time to process what that means to us. Processing works best in silence.
I have been immensely impressed with how we have handled our journey since January. We have been intentional in listening for God to guide us. We have been purposeful at making sure everyone who wants to be informed, was informed. We have never moved faster than the group could move. We have been open and caring in our words during this whole time. I saw God at work in all of our lives. We have done church well during the unknown journey this year.
And soon we will move.
May we move with the continuing sense of God’s presence, so that those people outside of Southampton, and outside of Woodland Heights, sense God’s love and are moved by God to establish a deep and purposeful relationship with Him. If that happens, can you image what next Christmas will be like? Father, please let that kind of Christmas start as soon as possible!
The Good News
Southampton Baptist Church
December, 2017

October 31, 2017, 8:49 AM

The Good News in November, 2017 ~ A Message from the Pastor

In the 8th chapter of 1 Kings, there is a grand ceremony full of pomp and celebration for the dedication of the new temple built by Solomon. Up until this point, there was no human who was able to hear God say that he wanted a place of residence. In fact, most heard the great I AM decline all such offers by man. And yet, Solomon was allowed to build the temple. However, we hear Solomon himself say, “The Lord has said that we would dwell in thick darkness.”
One of my questions in yesterday’s sermon was, “How can man build a structure that would house an unlimited God?” Even Isaiah said only the hem of God’s robe would fill the temple, so there is no way to make room for the rest of His being. And yet, mankind, throughout the ages, has tried to find a place to “put” God. How can man worship a God which he can “put” anywhere? Isn’t God larger and more mysterious than that? Especially the great I AM, which by the name declares that He is in all places.
God will even be in the place we move into to begin worshipping him beginning in 2018. That journey will include grief and anxiety, especially since we do not know where we will be going. But please find the knowledge and comfort that comes out of the same verse.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our search.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our grief.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our anxiety.
For God is everywhere, never to be limited by one location. I have to believe He is preparing all hearts for what is to come next. We all believe God will never leave, nor forsake us. It may not be easy to move, but we go with a God who is everywhere, especially in our hearts.

September 25, 2017, 4:14 PM

The Good News in October, 2017 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Ecclesiastes 3 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
What time is it now?  Tell me, please, Lord, what time is it now?  Nations attempt to bully other nations.  One political party degrades the other political party.  Black Lives Matter.  Blue Lives Matter.  All Lives Matter.  Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.   Then, in the direst of circumstances, we see scene after scene of one human reaching out to help, or rescue, another human.  At that point, no one is concerned with another’s nationality, age, gender, race, or religion; the only concern is safety for that other person EVEN if the rescuer must risk his/her own safety to help the other.  The selfishness of labels is quickly forgotten. 

Hear Jesus say, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13.  

What times is it? 1 Thess 5:16-22 says it is time to:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 

So maybe, instead of asking “What time is it?” should we be asking, “What is it time for us to do?”  Who around us is hoping to be rescued?

August 26, 2017, 2:08 PM

The Good News in September, 2017 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Have you enjoyed the new time for worship in the summer? You know, in some ways, it has helped to remind me just how important worship is to me, and to us. We have all had to be more intentional to be there at a different time, which changed our Sunday morning routines. But if you read the Bible enough, God will change people’s routines on occasions. The change in the order of worship also caused me to think about how we “do” worship. I had to think hard about what was removed, and what was changed, regarding my theology. I am sure each of you did the same thing in your own way. I must admit, I was anxious about the changes. Would God still recognize me if I worshipped different? And then, would God still recognize me in different clothes – no coat and no tie? It sure felt funny, and at times, scary. It took me a long time to get ready for the first communion Sunday. I have always served communion in a black suit and white shirt. Could I be acceptable without being in those clothes? We changed our time, our order, and our attire. That caused thought, introspection, challenged us theologically, and at times, even caused anxiety.          But as I look back, God was still God, and He was there in worship EVERY time. The great I AM remained the great I AM. What a wonderful realization for each one of us! God loves us no matter what time we show up for worship, even if we are not “dressed up” like we “normally” dress, and with minor changes in the order we worship Him. Hallelujah! Did those slight changes cause you to think more about God? Be honest with yourself. What else could you change in your life that causes you to think more about God? I would be interested in hearing how it changed you.

June 20, 2017, 2:46 PM

The Good News in July ~ A Message from the Pastor

Happy Anniversary!! Four magnificent years together within God’s good grace. Our relationship is like we have been together for much longer, and that is said with an extremely positive emotion. Thank you for your more than generous gifts recognizing our time together. As I have said before, your love for me is shown in a myriad of ways, and remember, myriad, in the Bible, means a number higher than can be counted.
I also want to thank you for the flowers of the one year anniversary of Brian’s death. They were unexpected, but massively appreciated. You remembered! Remembering comes out of love. Have I told you I love you, too, lately?
Linda and I were in Williamsburg recently, and by chance, we were seated at a table with complete strangers. We had never met before we sat at the table, but as began talking, we felt like old friends. We found out they were visiting the area celebrating their wedding anniversary.
As conversations flow, we moved from topic to topic, and yes, we talked about religion (we also talked about politics if you really want to know). When they found out I was a pastor, the tough questions really came out. I found out they were unchurched. They are unchurched because the church hurt her.
Her church turned their back on her, and her daughters, when she and her first husband divorced. I told her how sorry I was to hear that. I told them how important they were/are to God. I encouraged them to find a body of believers that loved them, and to get back into regular fellowship. I told them to find a body of believers who show God’s love by remembering anniversaries of arrivals and remembering anniversaries of losses. I told them I knew a church with people who love and remember . . . often . . . and greatly.
Thank you! I love you!
The Good News
Southampton Baptist Church
July, 2017

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