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.
The news reports of the horrific incident in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning that left 49 young adults from the LBGT community dead evoked a broad range of responses from people across the country and around the world. Many of us with friends and family that are part of this community felt an immediate visceral response as we grasped for answers to questions of: Who would do this? Why? How? The hours following the first reports provided only partial answers at best which, when coupled with the steady stream of stories of good information mixed with misinformation, added layers of frustration to the heaviness and sorrow we were already experiencing. We want answers to those questions that are continuously cycling through our minds, hoping answers will come; however, there are some things we already know. We know there are families and friends grieving the loss of loved ones, others sitting bedside in hospital rooms with family members clinging to life as they hope and pray that the physical and emotional wounds will heal. Intensified fears in the minds of many people have increased levels of anxiety in families and communities. How do we, as people of faith, respond to acts of terror and the aftermath left in its wake? Hopefully, our first response has been to pray for the families of those who lost loved ones and for healing of those injured. As followers of Jesus, we are taught to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us even though this is a difficult, sometimes impossible, task. We should pray for ourselves and for those who do not yet know the experience of God the Creator of all life and the source of peace that passes all human understanding. May it be so.
This evening Dr. Roxburgh begins a study of the “Missional Church” especially as it is depicted in the Book of Acts. You will want to be present and participate in this study and discussion. Our Fellowship Supper starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by Prayer Time at 6:00 p.m. The time of study begins at 6:15 p.m.
This Sunday, Dr. Roxburgh begins a sermon series entitled “Then Sings My Soul.” The three remaining Sundays in June will each feature a homily crafted around this theme and some of the truly great hymns inspired by faith, love and hope. The titles and texts for each Sunday are as follows:
June 12: Hymn of Faith – My Faith looks up to Thee: Scripture – Galatians 2:15-20
June 19: Hymn of Love – Love Divine: Scripture – 1 John 4:7-21
June 26: Hymn of Hope – My hope is built on nothing less…. – Romans 5:1-11
Each Wednesday evening, Dr. Roxburgh will lead a Bible study and discussion on the “missional church.” The text for the study is passages from the book of Acts. Studying Luke’s historical account of the acts of the apostles is important to better understand the formation and growth of of the church as Christianity spread. We will discuss what the apostles understood the mission of this early movement to be and what we understand it to be 2000 years later. These are wonderful opportunities to worship, study and grow as a community of faith.
Alistair McGrath describes the Holy Spirit as the ‘Cinderella of the Trinity’. He says that ‘the other two sisters may have gone to the theological ball but the Holy Spirit got left behind’. Certainly many Christians would confess that their notions of the Holy Spirit are decidedly hazy and Pentecost is that major festival in the Church’s year which attracts the least attention.
Neglect of the person and work of the Holy Spirit can lead to distortions in our understanding of God, the doctrine of Scripture, the nature of the Church, and the liberty of Christian experience. When the Spirit is forgotten or suppressed, the church is seen as an organisation rather than a living organism.
The scene of the Spirit’s work of grace is amid the most inward dimensions of human consciousness. There is nothing too sinful for the Spirit to cleanse, or
too weary for the Spirit to refresh, or too dead for the Spirit to breathe life into again.
The Christian festival of Pentecost will, be celebrated on May 15. As well as reflecting on the ministry of the Spirit in the homily for that day, on two Wednesday evenings, before and following the day of Penteocst, we will focus our studies on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Join us on all three occasions to discover the gift of God’s love which has been poured into our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
Worship this past Sunday was especially uplifting. The moving words from Jeff Prince, newly ordained deacon, evoked many thoughts and feelings expressed to Jeff by individuals in the laying on of hands. We were again reminded that we are all called to be servants, for we, like the early apostles, have been redeemed and called to follow and emulate the one that came to serve, not to be served. It is always a joy to see individuals grow in faith and to respond to the call of Christ by stepping into leadership roles when asked by their church family. It was a wonderful day in the life of Southside Baptist Church.
This Wednesday, Dr. Roxburgh will lead a study entitled, “What is an Evangelical?” This series of studies has been informative and has prompted some very good questions and discussion each week. Thursday evening, you can join us for a time of reflection and meditation when we gather for the Contemplative service in Memorial Chapel. The quiet, meditative atmosphere provides a great opportunity to clear one’s mind and focus on that which is really important. This half hour has become a very important time of worship for many of our members. Please join your church family for these opportunities to grow in your faith and in relationship with one another.
People in the Scottish highlands imagine that the way in which to measure the height of a mountain is to the plumb the depth of the loch which lies at the foot of the mountain because the two measurements are thought to be identical. In a similar way, the dimensions of Christ’s love for us are to be discovered by plumbing the depths of the love which he showed for us on the cross, when he loved us and gave himself for us. It is only as we contemplate the final events of our Lord’s life on this earth that we discern the length and the breadth, the height and depth of the love of Christ.
Holy Week helps us to trace the dimensions of our Lord’s love for us. I want to encourage you to fully participate in our journey together, following Jesus through our Holy Week services. The services are not stand alone events but part of an experience that fully engages us in the story that shapes and defines our lives.
On Palm Sunday we will reflect on the ‘Servant King’ who enters into the city, not riding in a triumphant procession but on a donkey.
During our Good Friday service, we will explore one of the final expressions of our Lord’s love for his family and his followers as he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son’ and then he said to the disciple, ‘here is your mother.”
On Easter Sunday we rejoice in the presence of the Risen Christ as we reflect on the message of the angels, “He is not here! He is risen!”
Let’s join together as a community of faith to explore the meaning of Holy Week.