Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Faithful Witness: 150 Years

photograph of the former church front

Salem First Baptist Church in Oregon's capital city is celebrating its 150th year of incorporation. This season it will be celebrating its "sesquicentennial." The upcoming weekend, November 20 - 22nd there will be three days of exciting events.

The celebration kicks off on Friday evening, 6 pm. Former members from around the country are planning to arrive. U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield, once a bible teacher at Salem First, has been invited as well as our state Governor and other elected officials. CBA churches from the Willamette Valley have been sent an invitation as well.

The history of the church in the Pacific Northwest begins with the story of a delegation of Nez Perces Native Americans who traveled to St. Louis to find Captain William Clark, some twenty-five years after his famous expedition to the Pacific. They requested of him to follow through with his assurances that men would follow after Clark to teach them about God. The news of this encounter excited many evangelical Christian churches in New England. They quickly sent out a call, "who will go?"

Jason Lee was the first Christian missionary to the Oregon Territory, and he held Methodist services in the Willamette Valley (Salem) in 1834. That same year (1843) in which Jason Lee was recalled to missionary headquarters in New York, the first Baptists arrived in Oregon Territory. Baptist exploration to establish a permanent place of worship in Salem began as early as November 1850. On December 29th, 1859, Salem First Baptist's beginnings were recorded.

The weekend of celebration kicks off on Friday, November 20th at 6 pm. Beth Lambright will be sharing a Spiritual History of Oregon, and the church's cornerstone will be removed and presented via video. Reception to follow.

On Saturday, Nov. 21st a barbershop quartet and a dance group will perform, and the church's historic stained glass windows and the bell will be on display. Various historical exhibits will be open between 10 am - 7 pm. Oral history sessions, sword drills, vintage games, and a butter churning demonstration will be held.

On Sunday, Nov. 22nd former members and staff will be recognized in the identical morning services. A reunion choir will sing. Old fashioned cinnamon rolls and fruit will be concurrently served in the Community Life Center during both services and the historical exhibits will be open for viewing. RESCUE will be in concert at 6 pm.

On December 2, 1984, during SFB's 125th anniversary, Senator Hatfield spoke, "First Baptist still stands on the corner of Liberty and Marion in downtown Salem. It still proclaims the same gospel message that I heard as a boy of ten. In a world that has changed so much in my lifetime, it is a great comfort to know that."

For more information, please visit:

Also you may wish to visit two websites I've created related to this event:

Friday, November 06, 2009

a little truth with grace

It was neat (after the sweating) to read free grace brothers and sisters noticing that I am "too gracious." What did that mean? I actually discovered this same message was being said to me elsewhere IRL (in "real" life). Grace, is good. But truth -- I could use a little more truth. I get it now! :) Truth is a "help" for God's purposes, just like grace is a "help" for God's purposes.

Evangelicals realize that preaching the truth is purifying to the saved and unsaved. But what they frequently overlook is that demonstrating grace is also equally purifying. Am I wrong or right? Grace is not license for sin. Understanding this point is a core teaching of the gospel Paul preached and defended as he was appointed by the LORD.

Here Paul commands the church to attain holiness through manifesting His variegated grace:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Col. 3:12-17

I recently enjoyed reading through Proverbs. I wanted to find a proverb for every virtuous quality of grace.

Firstly, grace is virtuous:
He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend. Prov 22:11

And now, Colossians' various manifestations of God's grace....

Mercy over foolishness, is purifying.

He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.

Forgiveness between believers, is purifying.

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.
Prov. 19:11

Kindness toward inadequacy, is purifying.

He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
Prov. 22:9

Humility is purifying.

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.
Prov. 22:4

Forbearance is purifying.

By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
Prov. 25:15

Love toward believers is purifying.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
Prov. 10:12

What I learned from the comments left by believer-friends, is that truth is equally worthy and I should be using it more often. I don't have to lean so hard into grace to see God's will be done.

Lastly, I must add a little more truth with grace.

Truth, of course, is purifying:

He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.
Prov. 29:23

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.
Prov. 29:18

Now, if I could just come to know how to wisely use both grace and truth? I don't know. It can be done, says the Word:

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.
Prov. 12:18

blog archive

Phrase Search / Concordance
Words/Phrase To Search For
(e.g. Jesus faith love, or God of my salvation, or believ* ever*)