Subversive Christianity by Brian J. Walsh is one of those books I find myself returning to every now and then. I find it challenging and his thoughts cause me to stop and reflect on how I am seeking to live out my faith on a daily basis. Walsh writes from the perspective, and I agree, that as Christians we are called to “live out of a worldview or a vision of life that is different from the worldview that dominates western culture as a whole.” He points to the reality that much of western culture is in direct conflict with the ideas, values and goals of the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked so much about. When Jesus spoke and taught about the Kingdom of God it caused people to stop and think…it challenged their ideas of what was acceptable and what was right. My sense is that if Jesus were to move amongst us today he would do much the same thing as he spoke into our western culture, especially our religious institutions.
I had one of those days yesterday. The kind that just take your breath away and you are not sure if you have the strength to carry on. One of those days where by 9:30 you just want to go back to bed and pull the covers up over your head until the next day. The morning started out like any ordinary day and then things picked up speed and just never slowed down. I felt myself pulled in multiple directions at the same time. Nothing was getting my best, I felt I was simply “putting out fires.” Appointments that were supposed to last “a few minutes” suddenly took hours and caused what had been a very ordered day to feel very rushed and chaotic. There was some unexpected bad news which demanded I shift my focus away from my plans and agenda. As the day turned into evening I was finally able to slip away and return my focus to what had been on my agenda early in the morning. As I came toward my office I heard it…running water. Not the kind that you hear when a sink fawcet is left on…the kind that results from a bathroom being turned into a baptismal! So much for the plan to salvage a few moments of quiet from a chaotic day.
Have you ever had a day like this? One where nothing went the way you imagined it should and everywhere you turned there was chaos, disorder and disruption? When the evening turned to night and I was finally able to put an end to this day where chaos reigned I found myself to be glad that tomorrow would start anew and fresh. I was also glad that I had not gone through the day alone. I was glad that God had walked with me each and every step, that He had given me strength when I needed strength. Thankful that God had helped me hold my tongue when I may have wanted to share more of my thoughts than was necessary. Glad that even in the most tiresome moments of the day there were things to celebrate and bring joy if one had eyes to see. Humbled that as I did the “woe is me” thing while mopping up a bathroom floor I was reminded of my Savior who knelt to wash his disciples dirty feet while on his way to the cross. Surely if Jesus could endure the cross for me I could (with joy) mop up a flooded bathroom. As the chaos of the day slipped into the quiet of night I decided the day had not been that bad and that God had met me in the midst of it.
May God grant us the ability to see clearly how He is at work in our lives each day…the days that go as we plan and the days that have a mind of their own.
It was a little windy and the cotton candy machine got a little out of control…but besides that it was a fantastic day! The Christian Education Board of First Baptist Church put together a Trunk or Treat event that took place right after the Kennett Square Halloween parade. People finished watching the parade and came right on up to join in the fun with trunks filled with treats. We saw lots of families we recognized from church, daycare, and vacation bible school…but we saw many more new faces.
We had a lot of fun and I enjoyed spending time with Captain America…even though she kept eating “extra” cotton candy.
Can’t wait until next year…
On Sat., December 6, from 9:00 am until 1:30 pm we will meet here at church to prepare our hearts for the season of Advent. This event will give each woman a time to enjoy breakfast and lunch with friends as we listen to the Christmas story brought to life with music, art, poetry, devotions and reflection.
Nancy Nicewonger will speak about the joy and trials of the ministry of Mary, the mother of Christ. You will be amazed at the details of this story you may have missed over the years. Space is limited, so please register soon.
Tickets will be available on Sunday mornings for $5, or send an email to Nancy Nicewonger. Scholarship help is available as needed.
Feel free to invite others as we share this wonderful chance to take a break from the hectic holiday pace
and spend time thinking about how we each have a special place in God’s plan.
There are a lot of times a pastor has the opportunity to hear words of thank you that really should be spoken to the entire congregation. Today was one of those days. I was making my way across the welcome center when one of the many people who attends the Midday Miracles AA group stopped me, “Are you the pastor here?” It was an honest question…I was traveling incognito wearing my blue jeans and polo shirt. “Yes, I am the pastor.” “Hello, I just want to say thank you for letting us meet in this space, it is a beautiful picture of Christianity at work.”
“A beautiful picture of Christianity at work.” I started to think about that for the rest of the afternoon. What does Christianity at work look like? In the mind of the young woman I was talking with it has something to do with gracious hospitality. Opening your doors to people who are seeking to improve their lives, working to overcome addiction and who are supporting each other as they take it one day at a time. There is something very Christ like in the way our church is continually open to multiple AA groups, providing them space to do the work they need to do as they pursue sobriety and peace in their lives. Thank you for being a people who share the space God has blessed us with, you bear witness to graciousness of God with your hospitality.
My mind started to wander to several other conversations I have had over the past few weeks. As we have pursued a deeper understanding of the Mission, Vision, Values of FBC several people have shared these thoughts…
“Pastor, this is not easy”
“Pastor, I believe I may have been selfish with my gift”
“Pastor, You are not making it easy for me”
I want to assure you that as I prepare these messages each week I am wrestling with what the scriptures are calling us to. I agree with many of the thoughts shared in response to the messages each week. Living as a “Mature Follower of Jesus” is not easy. It takes work. It is a journey. Praise God we do not have to accomplish it relying upon our own strength…we have the Holy Spirit alive and well at work inside us helping us mature and grow each and every day. Praise God we do not have to accomplish it alone. We have the privilege of journeying together as a community of faith: learning, encouraging, supporting and speaking honestly with each other as we journey towards spiritual maturity. Praise God we have the promise shared by the Apostle Paul, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
My prayer is that as we continue to grow in our ability to live out our Mission, Vision and Values we will hear more and more people stop us and say, “This is a beautiful picture of Christianity at work.” At this point we will give God all the praise, honor & glory and thank Him for allowing us to have some small part in being an answer to the prayer we are so familiar with, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.”
Part of our vision is that FBC would be a community that empowers people, young and old, to continue their spiritual journey and grow into mature followers of Jesus. Companions in Christ is a spiritual formation group that helps people focus on questions such as:
- How is God working in my life?
- How am I being formed in the likeness of Christ?
- What practices will open me to God’s leading?
Our first Companions in Christ group, “Embracing the Journey” will meet for six weeks starting in late October.
We will meet at First Baptist Church, Kennett Square, 7pm – 9pm
October 28, November 4, 11, 18, December 2, 9
Each participant will get a guidebook that will direct our conversations. ($8.00)
If you are interested in participating you may sign up in the Welcome Center, talk with Pastor Dan, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Space is limited, so if you are interested please be sure you can attend most meetings and sign up soon.
Yesterday First Baptist Church of Kennett Square held an installation service which marked the end of their search for a settled pastor and the official start of my ministry in this community we are quickly growing to love. It was a great time of celebration as we looked back at the way God guided both the church and our family to the place where we were united for this season of ministry together. Pastor Jim Olsen, the intentional interim who served before me joined us and challenged us to speak the truth with love and continue to purse what it means to be the true church in this day and age. After the service was over we celebrated with a time of fellowship in the social hall and had a huge cake to mark the occasion. Cassandra captured this moment as Nancy and I cut into the cake before everyone had an opportunity to share a piece. We are looking forward to see how God is going to work in and through us in the days and months ahead.
You can see more pictures of the service below.