Advent begins this Sunday, December 3, and it is also the beginning of the Christian Year. Advent is a time of celebrating and waiting, of remembering and anticipating. It is a time of great tension in experiencing the “already” and anticipating the “not yet” that is promised. It is a time for spiritual renewal and of growing deeper and stronger in our faith. Each Sunday is an opportunity to experience the presence of Christ as we worship together and each weekday an opportunity to experience the presence of Christ in our neighborhood, community, work or play.
On Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m., we gather in Memorial Chapel for a time of prayer and meditation, followed by Holy Communion. During Advent, the meditation and prayer focus each week will use the text for the upcoming Sunday. Hopefully this will further enhance our experience of Advent.
This Wednesday, we resume the weekly mid-week schedule for Fellowship Supper, Prayer and Bible Study. Dr. Roxburgh will continue the study on Peter as he presents a study entitled, “Failure and Forgiveness.” I hope to see you there for a great time of fellowship and study.
The Apostle Peter is often sidelined in our understanding of the New Testament. Despite the fact that he was one of the inside threesome who were especially close to Jesus: Peter, James and John, he is often overlooked and attention is focused on Paul. Yet Martin Luther once commented that his writings were among ‘the true kernel and marrow’ of the New Testament.
In our Wednesday evening Bible Studies in October and November, we have been exploring the life of Peter. There is something winsome and welcoming about the character of Peter. He is impetuous and impulsive, failing the Lord in so many different directions, and yet the honesty with which the Bible records his life gives us hope that God is willing to commit the work of his kingdom into the hands of folks, just like ourselves, who will seek to follow him in the life of discipleship.
The pathway of our own pilgrimage is lived out in the company of the one whom Julian of Norwich called ‘our courteous Lord’. He knows all about our unreliability and capacity for stupidity, meanness of spirit and failure, and yet he knows, as well, our ability, strengthened by his grace, to scale heights of courage and depths of devotion, that our lives might be filled with love for him and for others.
Dr. Ken Roxburgh
Pastor for Preaching and Teaching
During October and November, the theme of our homilies will be “Discipleship in Mark’s Gospel.” Many writers on Mark think of this gospel as a masterpiece, a story that might have been read or told in one sitting. It’s a story that is colorful, especially lively, and Mark is an immensely creative and powerful storyteller. It was probably the first of the four gospels to be written, during a period of persecution, around 65 C.E., when the idea “taking up your cross” and following Jesus was a very real possibility. It explores the theme of discipleship. Each week, we will work our way through the book, taking an incident from various chapters to listen to the voice of Jesus calling us to believe the good news of the gospel and follow him in the life of discipleship.
Dr. Ken Roxburgh
Pastor for Preaching and Teaching
Leaving on July 1st, several Southside members, family and friends will travel for 8 days around Scotland. They will be led by our very own Dr. Ken Roxburgh. Keep these travelers in your prayers as they fellowship together abroad. We look forward to seeing some great photos and hearing some great stories!
Here are a few things taking place at Southside Baptist this week. Dr. Roxburgh completes a four session study on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi this evening at the midweek service. This has been a great study of a text that reminds us and encourages us to consider that no matter what is going on in the world, or even in our individual lives, there is cause to give thanks and rejoice for the wondrous works of God. This last session will focus on chapter four of Philippians in which Paul exhorts and gives thanks to those in Philippi who have prayed for him and supported him in his current circumstances. This study will follow the weekly Fellowship Supper and Prayer Time which begins at 5:30 p.m.
If you need a few quiet moments to pull away from the hectic pace of a work week, then join us Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. for our Contemplative Service. It is a special time for many to pray, listen, reflect and celebrate together in the presence and fellowship of one another and the spirit of Christ.
Friday evening, we have the privilege of hosting a special concert in the Sanctuary. Southside Centre for Arts and Humanities is coordinating this event which will include the UAB and Southside Baptist Choirs, Orchestra of the Highlands, and will feature two Martinson Scholar soloists.
Plan to attend these events if your schedule permits, and enjoy great times of worship, growth and fellowship.
Students, teachers and administrators return to school this week to begin a new academic year, and similarly, we, too, begin anew with opportunities for education, worship, missions, service and fellowship at Southside Baptist Church. Thinking of the opportunities to nurture relationships, deepen our understanding of our faith and how that faith intersects with all parts of our individual lives creates an excitement and enthusiasm that lifts our spirit. It is especially evident when we begin anew after a respite or vacation. There are a number of new opportunities that you will hear about in the coming weeks, but in the mean time, we resume our Wednesday schedule of the weekly fellowship meal, prayer and Bible study. This week, Dr. Roxburgh will lead a Bible study and discussion on The Missional Church using the book of Acts as the text. Following the Bible study, the Sanctuary Choir will rehearse in the Martinson Choir room. Sarah Heaslett and Dr. Banks are making an appeal to all of those singers in our congregation to join them for this time of preparation for Sunday Worship.
The Contemplative Worship Service is conducted each Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. This service is structured around the reading of Scripture and prayer. It is a wonderful way to spend a half hour near the end of the work week affording the opportunity to put all of the demands of our life out of mind, while we focus on the truly important matters.
Join us Wednesday as we begin anew, refreshed and renewed, eager to engage again.