DareToDreamBig2018

DreamBig2018

Psalm119MidweekBibleStudySeries

Psalm119  a study in the greatness of God’s Word is the theme of Psalm 119 

Woven throughout this longest chapter of the Bible are beautiful character qualities of Scripture, reminding us that God’s Word is sufficient, truthful, pure, authoritative, and unchanging.

Even the most mature believers face dark nights of the soul. During those times, God feels distant, His Word dry, and the vibrant intimacy we knew before seems absent leaving us wondering, “Where is the Lord in this?”  Psalm 119 demonstrates the power of God’s Word in the lives of believers and its ability to provide a warm blanket for the soul.

JOIN US for this amazing journey through the Book of Psalm!

“Dare to Dream Big Dreams”

Download your PARTICIPANT GUIDE/HANDOUT here.

Black History Month

BLackHistoryMonthCalendar

February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month. Each year Americans set aside a few weeks to focus their historical hindsight on the particular contributions that people of African descent have made to this country. While not everyone agrees Black History Month is a good thing, here are several reasons why it’s appropriate to celebrate and remember.

The History of Black History Month

First, let’s briefly recount the advent of Black History Month. Also called African-American History Month, this event originally began as Negro History Week in 1926. It took place during the second week of February because it coincided with the birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson is credited with the creation of Negro History Week.

In 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, President Gerald R. Ford expanded the week into a full month. He said the country needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Objections to Black History Month.  Black History Month has been the subject of criticism from both Blacks and people of other races. Some argue it is unfair to devote an entire month to a single people group. Others contend that we should celebrate Black history throughout the entire year. Setting aside only one month, they say, gives people license to neglect this past for the other eleven months.

Remembering a people who have made priceless deposits into the account of our nation’s history is critical. Here are five reasons why we celebrate Black History Month.

1. Celebrating Black History Month Honors the Historic Leaders of the Black Community

Heroes deserve to be honored for the sacrifice and suffering they endured for the sake of racial equality. Celebrating Black History Month allows us to pause and remember their stories, so we can commemorate their achievements.

2. Celebrating Black History Month Helps Us to Be Better Stewards of the Privileges We’ve Gained 

If we don’t tell the old, old stories, then the next generation, and we ourselves, will forget them.  It should pain us to know children and teens who don’t know the  significance of the Harlem Renaissance and the Tuskegee Airmen because they never learned of such events, and the men and women who took part in them.

To what would surely be the lament of many historic African American leaders,  students and so many others take for granted the rights that many people before them sweated, bled, and died to secure. Apart from an awareness of the past, we can never appreciate the blessings we enjoy in the present.

3. Celebrating Black History Month Provides an Opportunity to Highlight the Best of Black History & Culture 

All too often, only the most negative aspects of African American culture and communities get highlighted. We hear about the poverty rates, incarceration rates, and high school drop out rates. We are inundated with images of unruly athletes and raunchy reality TV stars as paradigms of success for Black people. And we are daily subject to unfair stereotypes and assumptions from a culture that is, in some aspects, still learning to accept us.

Black History Month provides the chance to focus on different aspects of our narrative as African Americans. We can applaud Madam C.J. Walker as the first self-made female millionaire in the U.S. We can let our eyes flit across the verses of poetry Phyllis Wheatley, the first African American poet and woman to publish a book. And we can groove to soulful jazz and somber blues music composed by the likes of Kirk Whalum, Miles Davis, and Robert Johnson. Black History Month spurs us to seek out and lift up the best in African American accomplishments.

4. Celebrating Black History Month Creates Awareness for All People

Consider an 8th grade history textbook where little more than a page was devoted to the Civil Rights Movement.  Many students have been shocked to learn about the formation of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church because no one had ever mentioned it.

Unfortunately it seems that, apart from an intentional effort otherwise, Black history is often lost in the mists of time. When we observe Black History Month, we give citizens of all races the opportunity to learn about a past and a people of which they may have little awareness.

5. Celebrating Black History Month Reminds Us All that Black History Is OUR History 

It pains us to see people overlooking Black History Month because Black history (just like Hispanic, Asian, European, and Native history) belongs to all of us — black and white, men and women, young and old. The impact African Americans have made on this country is part of our collective consciousness. Contemplating Black history draws people of every race into the grand and diverse story of this nation.

Why Christians Should Celebrate Black History Month

As a believers, we must understand that racial and ethnic diversity as an expression of God’s manifold beauty. No single race or its culture can comprehensively display the infinite glory of God’s image, so He gave us our differences to help us appreciate His splendor from various perspectives.

God’s common and special grace even work themselves out in the providential movement of a particular race’s culture and history. We can look back on the brightest and darkest moments of our past and see God at work. He’s weaving an intricate tapestry of events that climaxes in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And one day Christ will return. And on that day, we will all look back at the history — not just of a single race but of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue — and see that our Creator had a plan all along. He is writing a story that points to His glory, and in the new creation, His people won’t have a month set aside to remember His greatness. We’ll have all eternity.

adapted from an article by Jemar Tisby.

Lent – Fasting 2018

Lent & Fasting 2018WHAT IS LENT?

Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday.  Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and his temptation in the desert, while Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.  Lent is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Resurrection.

Lent as we know it today did not exist in the early years of the church, and it only came to be due to growing acceptance of Christianity toward the end of the Roman Empire.   It is commonly observed by many Christian denominations—Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and others—although not every Christian church or denomination does so.  Because Lent is not officially instituted in Scripture, observing it is not in any way a “requirement” of Christianity.  However, Christians from many different theological persuasions choose to observe it as a way of focusing their thoughts on Jesus Christ leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

FASTING

Fasting is a spiritual discipline where the practitioner desires to hear from God.   The practice of fasting is mentioned numerous times in the Bible as a reaction to various circumstances.  We see from the biblical examples that fasting should be used as a means to humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness, comfort, help, guidance, strength and His will. Fasting allows us to draw closer to God.

The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us (Matthew 6:16-17). Instead we should not “appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place” (verse 18). Isaiah also contrasts selfish fasting with godly fasting marked by care and concern for others (Isaiah 58:3-10).  Fasting was an act of repentance, as when the king of Nineveh ordered a fast after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:5-9).  Fasting was also a reaction to intense grief, as when the bones of Saul and his sons were buried (1 Samuel 31:13). We also find people fasting when God’s deliverance was needed, as when Jehoshaphat was approached by a large invading army (2 Chronicles 20:3).

“Fasting” as it’s practiced by Christians during Lent implies abstention from certain foods, actions, or activities (technology, sporting events, etc).  The Lenten fast entails a general spirit of repentance and piety that might distinguish it from other periods of the year.

You are encouraged to join us in a SACRIFICIAL FAST beginning February 14 (Ash Wednesday).  Choose your personal area of spiritual sacrifice.  Your personal sacrifice may include adhering to the Daniel Fast, minimizing the use of technology/television/media, participation in social outings, eliminating non-essential spending, and etc.

PRAYER

During Lent, Christians are encouraged to pray more regularly, meditate, recite devotionals, and read Scripture.

You are encouraged to join us DAILY (Sunday through Saturday) for our 6:00AM morning prayer call.  To access the call dial 530-881-1212, then enter 291359153# when prompted.

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The choice to observe Lent is a personal one—the whole point is to focus your heart and mind on the sacrifice made by Jesus.  There is no requirement to observe LENT but if you do be prepared for a level of intimacy with God you have never known!

Click HERE for our FASTING & PRAYER GUIDE Part 1

Click HERE for our FASTING & PRAYER GUIDE Part 2 (will be available soon)

Click here for Daniel Fast Guide

2018DiscipleshipRegistration

2018DiscipleshipRegistration

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Discipleship Registration

Now is the time to register for the men, women and married couples discipleship/bible study. We believe God will use your group to encourage and strengthen you as you grow in your relationship with Him. You may register on-line or pick up a form in the foyer.

For more information contact Ramona Smith-Johnson at rjohnson@sjbcfamily.com

COME – Join a Discipleship Group!

CONNECT – Share and grow with others!

COMMIT – Belong to a community that’s committed to growing in God’s Word!

Register Today

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