January 21, 2014

The Annual Meetings of the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church and the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Foundation will be held this Sunday, January 26, immediately following worship. In the church meeting the main items of business are consideration of the recommendation of the Church Council to seek membership in the Evergreen Baptist Association and consideration of the proposed budget for 2014.

In worship, our central Scripture will be Matthew 4: 18-25. In this text, having been baptized, tempted, and ministered to by angels, Jesus begins his public ministry. He preaches, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He calls his first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, to follow him. They follow immediately, leaving their profession (fishing), their nets, their boats and their former lives to do so. They join Jesus in serving the sick and needy from lands both Jewish and Gentile, territory that includes Jerusalem, Beirut and Damascus.

As life itself is change, faith is change and response to change. Matthew makes this very clear as he tells the story of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Repentance, change, is what Jesus expects of people as the realign their lives with the purposes of God. Change is what his first disciples do as they let go all that made them feel secure in order to follow the Messiah. Change is what Jesus and his followers bring to the lives of many as they preach, teach and heal.

Clearly, Matthew is telling us that to truly follow Jesus we will need to change. There are, and will be, things we need to let go of. There are, and will be, things we need to take hold of. Herein is the hard work pf discernment. What to do we need to let go of to move into our hope? What do we need to take hold of to align our lives with the purposes of God? 

In general terms, author Marianne Williamson, describes the needed changes very well. “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn her. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.” Let us so change.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Julie and Dave Milcoff and family on the death of Julie’s dad, The Reverend Ivan J. Hodge
  • Shirley Jones on the death of her sister in law, Audrey Jones
  • Charlene Wolf for her mom, Emma Heidinger, who is currently in a SNF near her home in North Dakota
  • Declan and Sheila Brown for their neighbor David Leinbach on the death of his partner David Tonelli
  • Fannye Leary, Piedmont Gardens SNF
  • Irene Jennings, Piedmont Gardens SNF
  • The Hopkins family for friend Davone Bess
  • Lari Musatti as she care for her granddaughter, Jazmyne
  • The residents of Grand Lake Gardens as they welcome an Interim Director
  • Katrina Lau and family as they care for her grandmother
  • Mary Karne for her daughter Maryla
  • Marie Johnson for Don and all who serve in Afghanistan
  • Gloria and Phil Meads and Cindy Nelson for Carlos Elias and Max Powers
  • Jewelle Gibbs, surgery on her hand today
  • Kay Baxter for Jamie and Stacey
  • All who are dealing with the flu
  • Thanksgiving that Sybil Alexander is home from the hospital
  • Thanksgiving with Cecil White the his brother Sam is doing well
  • Zondra Martin for her family
  • Anne Fields for her brother Ezra
  • Dale and Alice Edmonson as they remember their friend David Rees
  • Dave Robinson for his mom who has been ill
  • Joan Thatcher for her physical health

In response to a news report that in Oakland’s Montclair District a swastika was found painted on a campaign poster for City Council Member Libby Schaaf, who is Jewish, I sent this note to the Council Member.

Dear Libby,

I am just learning of the despicable, hateful attack directed at you. I am sorry that such venom still flows in the human soul and still surfaces in our community. I stand ready to stand with you and our community against such evil.

Prayers and respect,
Jim Hopkins