As this blog is prepared for the months of July and August, we are experiencing our warmest and most humid weather of the summer. Temperatures are in the mid-90's with a heat index in the 100 plus range. For those with respiratory issues and concerns, these temperatures and level of humidity made it difficult to be outside for extended period. As one who grew up in a farm house that had no air conditioning and who worked on the farm during summer, I often look back and then in consider all the modern conveniences that we enjoy in 2018 - and especially in such hot, humid weather, we are blessed by air conditioning in our homes, cars, offices, church buildings, and most businesses where we do business. The modern conveniences, that make life more comfortable and bearable, are in many ways wonders of modern technology and the ingenuity of humanity. 

We have made many advances in science and technology that enhance the quality of our daily living. Look around your house and make note of all the devices that you have that provide man conveniences that earlier generations did not have. And then consider all the devices that we have that are strictly for personal entertainment and benefit. In most American homes today, every family member has his, or her, own computer, smart phone, tablet, television, etc. We have become a culture that is seemingly attached to our devices - we even have devices like "Alexa" who can place orders for us. There is discussion of drones delivering Amazon orders to the residence of the customer. We can order most anything now and have it delivered to our house within 24-48 hours. The list of modern conveniences goes on and on.

However, the more change that modernity brings our way, and the more chaos we observe in the world, there remains one thing that is every constant. That is the love of God and His grace as expressed in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The more advances that are made, the more the mystery and sovereignty of God are apparent. The deeper we go in science and medicine, the more complex and amazing life really is. As our concept of space and universe expand, we observe the expanse of the universe and the complexity of the galaxies - with no scientific explanation available to tell us how it all came about. Dr. Frances Collins, the scientist who headed the human genome project, has stated that the more he learned about the genetic structure and framework of the human species, the more evident it became to him that there is a creator and higher power - and that it is God. Praise God!

As a pastor, I see the multiple miracles of God everyday.. There is the miracle of human life, the miracle of creation, the miracle of how lives are changed in Jesus Christ! I have the opportunity to lead a congregation where Jesus is the head of the body, and where He is using a wonderful group of people in ministering to our community and world. I witness the changes in the lives of people as they determine God's good and perfect will. Boys and girls, men and women being saved by Jesus Christ and giving them abundant and eternal life. Beloved, that is the greatest of miracles! And it is a miracle that science and technology will never explain! Amen!

 

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

We have made it through the last burst of winter weather here in southern Kentucky, and spring has finally become apparent. As this blog is prepared, dogwood trees are blooming as have redbuds - two of the true signs of spring. Tulips are blooming as are many other trees and flowers. Leaves are coming forth on the trees, and our lawns are having to be mowed at least once a week - if not more with all the recent rain we've had in our area. Spring has come forth - the beauty of God's creation in this season of recreation and renewal - is daily evident for those of who are of the Christian faith. It's certainly a great time to be alive and to enjoy the blessings of the beauty of God's creation.

During the next few weeks, we will go through another annual ritual and series of events. Students of all ages will be graduating and moving to the next level of their education or moving out into the real work of work, paying taxes, etc. if they're finishing high school and college. On Sunday, May 20, we will be honoring the graduates in our church family with special presentations during our 11:00 a.m. Worship Service immediately followed by a reception in their honor after the morning worship. We are very proud of all of our graduates at all levels of education and wish them the very best in the days ahead and pray that God will guide and protect them. It is truly a blessing to see our children and youth grow up and to become Christian servant leaders. When we see such young people crossing the stage to receive their diploma, we know that this is one more significant step in their lives and a move to more independence. And it is a reminder that the ministry we do in the life of our church and in our homes is hopefully providing them with the spiritual foundation and formation in Jesus Christ that will guide them all their lives.

Then we move into the month of June - vacations begin, young people have summer jobs, our Green River Lake ministry on Sunday mornings is underway (our 22nd-23rd year of coordinating the lake ministry and outreach), we launch our summer mission project (further details forthcoming), and families are often busy with travel and summer outings. Please pray for our summer outreach ministries such as that every Sunday morning at Green River Lake. Beginning on Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend, hundreds of campers will hear the Gospel preached, songs of praise sun, and prayers offered. Seeds will be planted in the name of Jesus. Several churches and Christian groups are helping us this year. On Sunday, June 10, we will move our Sunday School and Worship to the lake - with a picnic gathering and fellowship. The weekly worship service will be held on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time at the amphitheater area at the Green River Lake State Park campgrounds. Pray for all those who will be leading this effort, and for Bro. Jason England, Deacon Mike Forbis, and me as we coordinate this ministry.

All that we do at Saloma Baptist Church should be - and that is always our goal - done in the name of and for the cause of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to minister in His name to our community and world. Even during the spring and early summer months, we must be about His mission and ministry in our church family, our homes, our community, and around the world. Join us anytime at SBC - a warm welcome awaits you - and you are always welcome.

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

We are in a special season of the year when we begin to see the signs of spring, the period of daylight is longer, we have switched to Daylight Savings Time, and we move through the Season of Lent. This is my favorite time of year. The beauty of the spring season reminds us that God is the creator of all things and that He sustains that which He has created. The signs of spring are everywhere - flowers are bursting forth in bloom, trees begin to bud and form leaves, and the grass is growing and reminds of the renewal of life. It is a special season of the year.

We are also in the period that brings our attention to the essence of our Christian faith. The Season of Lent directs our attention to the events of the passion of Christ - His final days of earthly ministry, His denial and abandonment by His own followers, His arrest and trial, and His crucifixion on "The Old Rugged Cross" at Calvary. It is, finally, the season in which we come together on Easter Sunday (which is April 1 this year) to celebrate that the Tomb is empty - that He is alive - that Jesus arose on the third day - that He truly arose!

These historical facts - that Jesus died on the Cross for the redemption for our sins and that He arose from the dead on the third day and that the tomb is empty - should direct our every thought and deed. We are people of the Crucified and Resurrected Lord. There were many others crucified on crosses during the days of the Roman empire - it was the most excruciating form of capital punishment - but there's one major difference in the case of the crucifixion of Jesus - He arose from the dead. And it is His intention that we live as people of the Resurrection - each and every day - not just on Easter Sunday - but every day of our lives.

May we be people of the Resurrection - in word and in deed!

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

We are looking forward to what lies ahead in 2018 as we work together at Saloma Baptist Church in ministering to our community and world in the name of Jesus Christ. Although it seems that each year passes by more quickly - probably a sign of getting older, the new year is a time of renewal in many ways. The new year reminds us that we will have new experiences and opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A new year affords us the chance to begin anew and to correct our mistakes and failures of the past year as we go about serving the Lord. The new year reminds us that with each passing day, the sins of our past are forgiven and forgotten as a result of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we get the message God is sending us as we begin 2018 and move forward in serving Him and in serving others.

The post-modern world (forgive my use of that over-used phrase - no other description of these times come to mind as this blog is written) brings many challenges our way as people of faith. And 2018 will be no exception. There are days when it seems that we are falling further and further behind in terms of impacting the world for Jesus Christ and our beliefs are less acceptable and mainstream than in previous eras of history. Increased secularism and humanistic influences abound, and many of our Christian values and beliefs are scoffed at by "mainstream" culture. What are we to do? Are we to react militantly and defiantly? Do we raise our voices and try to scream louder than those who choose to oppose us? That seems to be the strategy that some in some leadership circles seem to choose. But it is what Jesus would do? What would He have us to do in 2018?

Returning to the more positive tone of my opening paragraph above, it seems to me that Jesus would have us to anticipate opposition, as believers have throughout the 2,000 years of the Christian movement, and react to it with grace and humility. Yes, there are times when we have to take a strong stand and not back down in terms of what we believe and how our beliefs are to be reflected in our actions. But in general, Jesus would have us to react with love, humility, and grace. The words of Paul in Colossians 3:12 remind us: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." James 3:13similarly states: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

In 2018, let's move forward with a positive, loving, compassionate, humble, gentle, patient, and kind spirit and attitude. May we live each day for the Lord - fully, joyfully, hopefully, and humbly. There will be many opportunities to do His work - and there will be multiple challenges along the way. Let's do the work of the Lord in unity and love, taking it one day at a time, and ministering to all people (regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, language, or economic status) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your 2018 be blessed!

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The month of December is a busy time for most all people and especially for those of us who are believers in Christ and participants in the life of a local church. Here at Saloma Baptist Church, we have a very busy schedule of special services, cantata practices, outreach ministries, and special emphasis on the central message of Christmas – which is the Advent of Jesus Christ into the world. He is the Incarnation – the God in the flesh; Emmanuel – God with us; the Lord of Lords and King of Kings; the Son of Man and the Son of God; and our Savior and Lord.

We invite you to join us in our 2017 celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and as we seek to share the Good News of His birth and its profound meaning for us more than 2,000 years later! We have several ministry, mission, and outreach opportunities which have at their core, the goal of sharing the Christ of Christ with our community and world and ministering to others in the name of the Babe of Bethlehem. We will be glad to share more information on these opportunities – just contact us at salomabaptistchurch@windstream.net or call us at 270-789-0082. And you are encouraged to attend our special services that are listed on our website home page and in the website’s monthly calendar.

We also encourage you and your family to take time, during this season of the year, to observe your own Christmas celebration in such a manner to help you to better understand the true meaning and the spirit of the season. We lose sight of the true message of Christmas with our hurried schedules and excessive commercialization of the season. As has been said, and allow me the freedom to paraphrase: “We buy too many gifts with money we really don’t have for people who don’t always appreciate what we give them and who don’t need what they receive…” Take time to read the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus with your family. Spend time as a family in basic family activities centered on the Christmas season.

You are encouraged to join a growing number of individuals who are choosing to minimize such gift giving and taking that amount of money and giving to a “good cause that serves other…” As believers in the Christ of Christmas, the Babe of Bethlehem, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to take those funds and direct them to Christian nonprofit organizations who are serving others in the name of Jesus Christ. There are any number of outstanding organizations, in our community and globally, that are in need of more resources and who provide different ways of sharing meaningful information of where your donations will go. One practice that our family has adopted is the giving of a monetary gift to such a mission or ministry organization in the name of each family member – and then including in a card a description of where the funds are going. For example with the Baptist Global Response group that we support in our church mission budget, you can donate a certain amount of money to provide animals, or other items, for families in other countries – to help sustain those individuals and families who receive the gift. Let us know if you are interested in further details on BGR or other such gifting opportunities.

Finally, please support our Christmas mission projects at Saloma Baptist Church – Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for global missions, Toys for Kids, Prison Fellowship Angel Tree that provides gifts of toys and clothes to local children whose parents are incarcerated, fruit baskets for shutins, etc. And reach out to those in your own family and neighborhoods who are alone and in need. And do it in the name of Jesus! Let’s give to others this Christmas season in the name of Jesus just as God gave us the greatest gift of history as expressed in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The months of October and November are an important time for us at Saloma Baptist Church. During October, our Brotherhood coordinates our annual Global Hunger Fund Focus beginning with Global Hunger Sunday which is Sunday October 8. 

The recent series of natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and 500-1,000 year floods in our own country and nearby countries, as well as other disasters around the world, remind us how truly vulnerable many people are relative to food issues and hunger. In some areas, food shortages are a way of life and in other areas, the people are simply one drought or sudden natural disaster away from starvation. 

Undernourishment is particularly acute in many areas of the world including our own country. Around the globe in the course of a year, millions of children and others of our most vulnerable people, die as a result of hunger - malnutrition and outright starvation. 

The Baptist Global Hunger Fund is one way that we can be part of solutions. Every penny donated goes directly to hunger relief ministries. In our case, we forward our donations to our friends at Baptist Global Response (BGR). BGR then directs funds to various ministry and mission points around the world where food relief is provided for the neediest and most vulnerable of people. The Good News of Jesus Christ is also shared with the recipients, and we receive reports annually of several thousand people who come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord as a result of Baptist-sponsored Global Hunger Mission’s Work. 

We will provide Global Hunger Fund offering envelopes. Many of our members collect change during the year and bring in donations during October and November. Donations of all amounts are encouraged and appreciated. 

As Jesus taught in Matthew 25, one of the tests of our faith is how we treat “the least of these...” As we attend to the needs of the least of these, so do we minister to and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. 

This period culminates with the annual observance of Thanksgiving on November 23 as we gather with family and friends. Most of us will enjoy bountiful meals and fellowship with family and friends. We need to make it a time of truly giving thanks to God for all He has done for us. An important expression of Thanksgiving is by our sharing with those who are less fortunate - donations to Global Hunger Fund, donations to our local Food Pantry (which our church supports through quarterly missions find donations as well as periodic collection of canned food), support of disaster relief efforts as we have done recently for the Hurricane impact areas, sharing with those in our own community who are less fortunate and hungry, etc. 

Reach out and touch others in the name of Jesus during this season of the year! You will be blessed and you are fulfilling the teaching of Jesus. 

 

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The months of August and September are an interesting and time of transition for most people. We generally witness the end of summer vacation with our children and young people returning to regular school schedules. Our weather patterns, over the course of the two months, will run from likely hot, humid weather during the "dog days of August" with cooler temperatures in September more associated with the fall season. Most families will have already taken their vacations and will be settling into more regular schedules and routines.

During this season, we will enjoy the early days of marching band seasons - for those of who have family members involved in marching band. The baseball season is still in full play, and those league rankings are beginning to take shape heading into the league playoffs and ultimately the World Series in October. And high school and college football begin in late August and pick up support and interest into September. How many of us have spent cool September evenings watching our favorite high school football team play?

What does all of this have to do with the church? It means that our families will, as usual, be very busy with school, sports, and such activities. But it also presents an opportunity for the church to be more responsive and more involved in the lives of our children, youth, and families. It's a time in which we can take an interest in the activities of our families outside the "four walls" of the church, to better understand the many activities in which families in 2017 are involved, and to prayerfully search for ways to make our ministry and mission more relevant and more engaged in the lives of our church family and the larger community.

Sometimes, those of us involved in the leadership of the church fail to do what we encourage our members to do - that is to avoid compartmentalizing our Christian walk and to have a line of separation between the Christian and spiritual elements of our lives and the more secular and material areas. But perhaps part of this is due to the fact that those of us in leadership in the church don't show enough interest in the lives outside the church of our people of all ages and that we don't display ourselves how to integrate our faith into all areas of life - beyond the "four walls" and into the highways and bi-ways of life. We seem to only consider as important those things going on inside the walls and programs of the church.

During the next two months, let's take our Christian faith into the community and beyond. Let's show up where other people are; let's ask our children and youth about their school and activities; and let's show our Christian values and concerns are applicable and meaningful to life in general and in the lives of our people specifically.

We are challenged to live our faith daily and to live it beyond the four walls of the church building and the confines of our home. Jesus went into the community - I speculate that if he were around today, he would probably attend the football games and marching band competitions of His people and that of those people who are not a part of His church. Let's get out in the community and beyond and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and in deed!

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The summer of 2017 is in full swing with area schools closed until early August. Many families are going on vacation during the summer months and will spend a good bit of time with the children and youth playing baseball, softball, and other summer activities. Warmer temperatures are likely during June and July, and many young people will enjoy spending time at the local swimming pools or at Green River Lake. Summer is always a special time for the children and youth as well as the entire family.

One constant remains in play during the summer months. The church remains open and involved in a lot of different missions and ministries. Vacation Bible Schools are a traditional and important ministry of many churches - our Vacation Bible School 2017 is scheduled for July 7-9, and we certainly invite children in the community to attend and participate. VBS remains a primary summer ministry for churches like Saloma Baptist Church, and during 35 years or so of pastoral ministry, it has been a joy to see children to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord during VBS. We have witnessed unchurched families to come into the church during VBS. So, we take our VBS mission and ministry very seriously at Saloma Baptist Church.

There are increased number of activities and "opportunities" competing for the attention of the families of all churches. Many of these are very positive activities, but they sometimes compete with the church for the attention and dedication of otherwise dedicated church members.

Vacations are great - trips to the lake and pool are fun - sports teams and athletic competition are important - but do we place more emphasis on these and other things than we do on our relationship with Jesus? That's something to ponder during the summer 2017.

Yes, God doesn't take a vacation. He's available 24/7/365. 

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning