– Chris Fisher, Missions & Ministry Committee
– Chris Fisher, Missions & Ministry Committee
Several of our Sunday School classes complete a four-week study this Sunday on the use of time, talents and resources. The series, using Paul’s letters to Christians in Corinth and in Rome as the text, looks at the motivation and commitment of using all that God has provided for the benefit of God’s Kingdom and others. How do you look at all with which you have been blessed? Do you see your time, talents and resources as solely your own, or do you see them all as really belonging to God? As Believers, we are called to follow Christ and allow the Spirit of Christ to teach and guide us in using all that we have and all that we are to demonstrate and communicate to others the love, mercy and grace of God. All of this we know, but the daily living of our lives can skew our perception of who has really provided all that we have and enjoy. Through these lessons we are challenged to ask the hard questions of our commitment to using our time, talents, and resources. The financial gifts most make on a regular basis are important but there are other ways to give by using our time and talents. Here are some ways that we can join together in helping others and in celebrating God’s blessings this week:
In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we read, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Please pray for discernment, understanding and guidance as you decide what you will give.
A heightened awareness and understanding of what is truly important has been the dominant focus of thoughts for many in recent days. When faced with the threat of a natural disaster, or in surveying the aftermath of the two massive storms that took the lives of 107 individuals and brought destruction and great loss of property, it is only natural to think about what is most valuable; to put it another way, what brings real meaning to our life.
Crises and critical needs jolt us back from the routine of life that dulls our senses and spirits to the really important aspects of life. The layers covering the innate goodness created by God in our hearts are peeled away in a single moment and we catch a glimpse of what life can be as we respond to the needs of those facing life changing events. The world would be very different if we all demonstrated concern and compassion for others everyday, even in the absence of a natural disaster, and lived a life that reflected the generous heart and character of the God who gave us life and who sustains life.
Generosity is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) made evident in one’s life as the Spirit of Christ guides and teaches us to see the world and all that is in it as Jesus sees it. Generosity is seeing human pain and suffering and taking action to help and bring comfort and healing. Developing a spirit of generosity and using the time, talents and resources that God has blessed us with brings us closer to God and to one another. Thus we develop an even greater understanding of Jesus’ words “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Please prayerfully consider how the Spirit of Christ is guiding you to use the time, talents and resources that God has entrusted to you for your spiritual journey of growing more into a likeness of Jesus the Christ.
I enjoy our journey together,
Ways to help:
Our toiletries pantry has been depleted and we’re in desperate need of more items. We know some of you have had grand travels over these summer months and we’re hoping you’ll share some of your bounty.
We’ll have boxes placed around the church in the lobbies and other obvious places so be on the lookout!
Next month, we’ll have a few events to package these items in handy little baggies for our Food Bank and Clothes Closet clients and others who come to us in need.
Stay tuned for more information on how you can be a part of SSBC’s ministry outreach efforts. Have some ideas or want to organize something? Email the church or call us at 205.933.8381.
Sunday was a wonderful day at Southside Baptist Church! The baptism of Shawny Tucker gave opportunity for us to celebrate with the newest member of the Southside Baptist family of faith. It also allowed us time to recall and reflect upon our own decisions to follow Christ and enter the baptismal waters. The music from the prelude through the postlude, the heartfelt words both spoken and sung and the visible steps taken in discipleship lifted our spirits and were reminders of the wonder of God’s love, mercy and grace.
This Sunday, August 27, another wonderful opportunity of worship is planned as former Pastor, Rev. Steve Jones, and Rabbi Jonathan Miller, recently retired from Temple Emanu-El after 27 years of leadership, speak during worship. Rev. Jones and Rabbi Miller, along with their congregations, forged a very special relationship during their tenures of service and leadership. Southside Baptist opening its doors to Temple Emanu-El while their building was under renovation was a gesture that also opened doors to interfaith dialogue and spiritual growth for both congregations. Rev. Jones and Rabbi Miller will share some personal thoughts and experiences of this wonderful interfaith relationship that blossomed and continues to be cherished by Southside Baptist Church and Temple Emanu-El.
Following worship, a covered-dish luncheon will be held in the Fellowship Hall to which everyone is invited. The church is providing the meat, bread and beverages, so members are asked to provide a salad, vegetable or dessert.
Make plans to be present and celebrate this time of fellowship around the table with friends old and new.
Another 5-Pts Neighborhood Association “Clean and Clear 5-Pts” clean up day is in the books! This month, we cleared out the walking trails at Valley View Park at the top of 19th St. South. It was a sweltering day but we enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and get our hands dirty … very dirty.
This go-round, we produced:
26 – Volunteers (5 member tree crew)
91 – Volunteer Hours
792 – Feet of trails cleaned & cleared
1232 – Pounds of trash and debris
There will be another Clean and Clear 5-Pts event in the upcoming month so stay tuned for more details. With more college students back in town and new businesses opening, we’ll want to make an extra effort to get out and meet our neighbors!
For more information on ways to get involved with the 5-Pts Neighborhood Association, you can email Stephen Foster (email@example.com) or contact the church office.
I was taking in the many various details in the community around our church building as I drove through the neighborhood, first up one street then down another. My curiosity was peaked by comments and conversations at several meetings where residents, business owners and church leaders were asked to express their opinions about several contributing factors to their overall level of satisfaction with the 5-Points Neighborhood. The meetings were in conjunction with efforts to produce a Master Plan for 5-Points which included gathering information from stakeholders. These comments prompted my excursion of intentional observation in the neighborhood. I was curious to see how much of what I heard was consistent with careful, deliberate observations on my part.
Admittedly, many of the comments I heard in the meetings affirmed what I already thought and felt about this neighborhood. It is rich in history with buildings of individualized and beautifully-detailed architecture, especially those designed for worship. There is great diversity in the people who live, work, study, worship, dine, and find entertainment in the community and there is an ebb and flow of people in and out of the community on any given day. Most of what I heard in the meetings was positive but there were many legitimate issues raised. Some of the issues, though, appeared to be coming from a perspective that seemed to be short-sighted of even self-serving of the person raising the issue.
Naturally, I was processing the information gleaned from the meetings as it related to our church family while trying to check myself in giving consideration to the bigger picture of the whole neighborhood. This exercise reinforced in my mind something that I mention often: that a church in a community should reflect or show a strong similarity in its membership to the neighborhood in which it ministers. Diversity in race, gender, socio-economic station, sexual orientation and age are all apparent in the 5-Pts Neighborhood and that diversity is evident in our church family as well. Diversity is an important characteristic of who Southside is but it is not the defining one. That which makes us who we are is our belief, commitment and dedication to following the risen Christ, who by and through His love, mercy and grace redeems and makes us one. Yes, we are all different to some degree, but the tie of God’s love binds us together as brothers and sisters concerned and caring for one another. Therein one sees the beauty in diversity.
Thanks be to God.