Our minds turn to several special dates and observances during the month of February. It is the month during which we honor and celebrate Black History, observe Presidents Day, celebrate Valentine’s Day, and most years celebrate Fat Tuesday, observe Ash Wednesday and begin a Lenten Journey.
This Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m., we will enjoy a Mardi Gras-themed Jazz Vespers in Drennen Hall. Jazz Vespers is always an enjoyable event with good music, food and fellowship. Make plans to be present and bring a friend for this special event this Sunday evening.
This Wednesday evening, we have a wonderful guest speaker with us for the next session in the Christian Biography series. Dr. Carol Ann Vaughan Cross will share with us some of her work researching Martha Foster Crawford. Through this series, I have been reminded that while some of these individuals may be well known and perhaps achieved great notoriety in their own right, each one lived their life and made their own spiritual journey just as you and I do; one step at a time, day by day, with a mixture of success and short comings. Hopefully, the challenges and the common experiences we share will strengthen our faith and be an encouragement for faithful living. This session will immediately follow the weekly fellowship supper and prayer time.
I look forward to our time together on Wednesday.
Due to the extremely low temperatures and the inability to heat the building adequately, Wednesday evening activities are canceled for this evening, January 17.
January weather continues to keep us guessing about the next weather event. Last Sunday, we again gathered in Drennen Hall since the temperature there was more conducive to a positive worship experience than the Sanctuary. The weather forecast for this week shows some bitterly cold weather mid-week, but by Sunday it will feel like a heat wave by comparison as temperatures climb into the sixties allowing us to return to the Sanctuary for worship. As I’ve mentioned in previous emails, the problem we are facing related to heating the building is the failure of the natural gas steam boiler, the main component of the building heating system. This repair/replacement is costly, approximately $75,000, and because it is built with the specific needs and requirements of our building, the lead time is six to eight weeks. Portable heating units are now in use providing heat to some portions of the building; however, these units are not sufficient during extremely low temperatures. Updates will be shared as available regarding progress on the boiler replacement. Some of you have already made additional gifts to help with the costs of major repair. Everyone able to participate by making a special offering to this cause is encouraged to do so. (Simply click here and designate the Building Restoration fund). Until this repair is made, we will continue to be flexible and worship in the Sanctuary when temperatures permit.
Thank you all for the wonderful spirit with which this problem has been faced and for those who have helped make the transition and set-up in Drennen Hall go smoothly.
I enjoy our journey together,
Those in attendance for worship last Sunday are well aware that cold temperatures were felt both outside and inside the church building. A major failure in the building heating system necessitated moving the worship service to Drennen Hall last Sunday. Although in a different location than a typical Sunday service, the same warm and loving spirit was evident and experienced by those present for Sunday worship. Many in attendance commented on how meaningful the worship experience was to them. The main heating system will be out of service for several weeks; however, auxiliary heating units will be in place for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday services allowing those gatherings to take place in the usual locations. More information concerning the heating system will be forthcoming in the next week. Since there is little we can do at this point to hasten the repair, hopefully, we can put it out of our minds and focus on the real reasons we gather at our various times each week. Our hope is to always be the presence of Christ in this community and beyond in and through our worship, study, ministry, missions and fellowship. May we be faithful in our efforts to be the people God has called us to be.
Happy New Year! We begin 2018 with great hopes for good things ahead. Questions come to mind, though, of what will transpire and what major events will shape our individual lives, the lives of those around us, and our culture as a whole. What will we face? How will we respond? What will occur on the national or global stage? The truth is that we do not know what lies ahead, but we can have this resolve: although we cannot control events or decisions others make or how others respond to or treat us, we can control how we respond to whatever comes our way. Hopefully, our responses and the mindsets that determine so many of our actions will be rooted in the truths lived and taught by the One we follow who is Truth—the very One for which the Magi journeyed to behold and to worship, Jesus the Christ.
I encourage you to celebrate Epiphany with your church family in worship this Sunday.
This week is a period of “in-between” time. Advent 2017 is behind and we anticipate the New Year 2018. All sorts of thoughts flood my mind as I think of the new year and reflect on 2017 as it draws to a close. Thoughts come to mind of the many good things experienced, the accomplishments achieved, and in all candor, the missed opportunities and even the failures.
Yes, something within us prompts a mental review of the previous twelve months to evaluate what we have done with the time, talents and resources with which God continues to richly bless us. Each year brings new challenges, and 2017 was no exception. Much was achieved, yet there is much more to be done still.
God has entrusted each of us followers of Christ to use our gifts faithfully and wisely. Please give consideration to your commitment of support (whether that be contributing of your hours or expertise or finances) to glorify God and His church in 2018. As such, we all must acknowledge that the wise use of financial means is only a part of living faithfully and responsibly.
I am sending this hoping you will take the opportunity to renew your commitment to faithfully use your time, talents and resources in the new year. Additionally, since this is the last week of the calendar year 2017, you may want to review your financial support of Southside Baptist Church, and make an additional gift for this tax year. This is extremely important this year since the tax reform bill recently signed into law may significantly impact the charitable giving received by Southside Baptist Church in the years to come. Your gift, whether great or small, is needed for Southside Baptist Church to continue on and to increase our efforts to be the “Presence of Christ” we are called to be.
It is my prayer that you will most certainly feel the joy and the fullness of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as the closing of the 2017 year approaches and that you will know the hope and the grace of our Lord in the dawning of the new 2018.
The experiences of worship this Advent season continue to be wonderful! The Advent and Christmas decorations carefully arranged add to the beauty of the sanctuary and enhance the already worshipful atmosphere. Excitement and anticipation of this season lift our spirits as we hear the timeless promises of God found in scripture, beautiful music, homilies and prayers. Corporate worship is always important, but it is especially so in times when we open ourselves more to God’s activity in our lives and in the world around us. Someone told me recently that the circumstances in her life this Christmas prompted her to focus on individuals close at hand that needed to experience the love of God and the presence of Jesus in their lives. This led her to look for ways to be an instrument of God’s love to people within her sphere of influence rather than looking at what was lacking in her own life this Christmas. This adjustment in perspective produced unexpected joy, and for this individual, a reclamation of the true meaning of Christmas. We all know the season of Advent and Christmas is really about much more than all the superficial activities we engage in, many of which leave us feeling empty and even a bit depressed. This season embodies the hope, peace, joy and love that we have because God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus. Jesus, God in flesh, who sacrificed himself that we may receive and experience His unfailing love today and for eternity. Celebrate this season and experience the greatest joy through loving acts toward others as the Spirit of Christ guides you.