Category Archives: This Week with Pastor Jon

June 25, 2017

O Lord, open my lips,
that my mouth may declare Your praise.

~ Psalm 51:15 ~

Welcome to Dayton Avenue this morning.  Do you need a spiritual jumpstart today?  Sometimes we just can’t wait to sing out in praise to the Lord, but sometimes, we need a little help to get started.  Even the psalmist David apparently had those times: “Lord… please open my lips to get me going!” My prayer today is that God does just that – works in us to will and to do His good pleasure.
An old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  I like that proverb, and I also like the updated version: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance!”

Each of us is on a journey which requires action and it carries a cost.  Take a moment this morning to consider your own journey.  Am I on the right road – to heaven?  Have I stepped out in faith on this journey?  Did I break down on the way because I hadn’t considered the cost?  Am I following a detour?  Am I as far on this journey as I should be?  Have I learned to surrender to God’s leading as He takes me around the unfamiliar bends in the road?  We are here to help you in that journey – don’t hesitate to call on us, your pastors.


Pastor Robert Walker
officially begins serving as our Pastor to Children and Their Families today.  Be sure to welcome him and Abigail this morning!  This evening after our Bible Study (@6:30), we’ll have a Town Hall Meeting at which I’ll share a brief update on the security breach incident last month.

I have to mention that Sarah and I became first-time grandparents this week with the birth of Evelyn Arlene Slone on Monday afternoon.  She is beautiful and amazing (!!) and her parents Roger and Hilary are pretty special, too.  Thank you for praying for us as we anticipated her arrival – God has answered our prayers far above what we could have imagined.  May God bless you this week as you live for Him.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

June 18, 2017

 “The measure of a life, after all, is
not its duration but its donation.”

~ Corrie ten Boom ~

Welcome home at Dayton Avenue this morning!  It is really wonderful to worship the Lord together with family.


Happy Father’s Day
to all our dads!  Fathers love it when their little children give them a picture they have drawn.  They will point to the dog (scribble #1) under the chair (scribble #2) upon which they have drawn a picture of daddy (scribble #3). To some, these pictures look like a bunch of crayon scribbles, but that’s because they don’t know the artists.  Those imperfect pictures tell a story about the love and joy and abilities that make each child unique.

God our Father loves the painting we paint with our lives for Him.  He could have painted His own masterpieces, perfect in every detail, but He wants our work of love and takes great joy in all of our expressions of worship to Him.  Today is art class!  Let’s take time to look upon Him, and to paint with all the bright colors of worship we can find.

The Lives at Steak summer outreach training session videos will be posted on our website soon! Click on the scrolling banner on the homepage.   We are praying that God gives each of us someone to reach out to this summer.  If you give using the eGive online giving system, please login and update your account (or create a new one).  The system implemented a major upgrade last month.
Pastor Robert and Abigail Walker are scheduled to arrive sometime tomorrow with their moving van!  If you can help them unpack (toward evening), please call in to the church office for details about how to help.  Next Sunday Evening after our Bible Study (@6:30), we’ll have another Town Hall Meeting at which I’ll share an update on the security breach incident last month.  We do not have an evening service tonight: relax and enjoy family time together and give honor to whom honor is due – our fathers and grandfathers. God bless you.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

June 4, 2017

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
yes, I will help you, I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

~ Isaiah 41:10 ~Capture

Welcome to Dayton Avenue this morning: grace and peace to you in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus.

A special welcome today to Robert (and Abigail) Walker our candidate in view of a call for Pastor to Children and Their Families.  There are several ways for you to meet them and ask them questions this morning, including:

  • Question & Answer time (primarily for parents of children) @9:30am in the café side of the Youth Room
  • Avenue Kids Ministry @11:10am in room 406 ~ Robert will be teaching/leading, and parents are invited to observe
  • Question & Answer time open to all after the worship service in the Fellowship Hall @12:15pm

Then this evening at 6:00 will be a Special Business Meeting at which we will vote on calling Robert to this pastoral position.  I also hope to give you some more information about the security breach incident that I shared with you last Sunday morning.

Our Lives at Steak summer outreach emphasis has begun and I hope you’ll take advantage of the training sessions (at 9:30 this morning and next Sunday in the sanctuary).  God brings people into all of our lives so that we can reflect His love to them and be His witnesses.  We are praying that God gives each of us someone to reach this summer.  We also found out this week that the eGive online giving system has been upgraded.  If you give this way, please log in and make sure you update your account (or create a new one).  It appears the old system was phased out (along with any giving!) two weeks ago.

We love you and are here for you.  Please don’t hesitate to call on any of our pastors or deacons this week.  God bless you and keep you.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

May 28, 2017

No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived what God has prepared
for those who love Him.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9 ~Capture

Welcome to worship at Dayton Avenue today.  Though God is not limited by time or space, He inhabits the worship of His people gathered together in His name.  We will experience His smile upon us in this place today – through praising Him, meditating on His Word, and sharing at His Table in Communion this morning (the elements are gluten-free).

I want to thank each of you who have served in our country’s Armed Forces for your loyalty and sacrifice, especially those of you who have fought on foreign soil.  The blessings and freedoms we enjoy today have been preserved at great cost, and we are grateful.  Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to give honor to you.
Keep praying for Robert (and Abigail) Walker who will be coming as candidate in view of a call for Pastor to Children and Their Families this weekend.  There are several venues for you to interact with them, including:

  • Carry-in Dinner for the Children’s Ministry workers Saturday @5:30pm (RSVP required)
  • Question & Answer time with parents Sunday @9:30am in the café’ side of the Youth Room
  • Question & Answer time open to all after the worship service in the Fellowship Hall

Our Lives at Steak summer outreach emphasis begins this week with training sessions on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.  God brings people into all of our lives so that we can reflect His love to them and be His witnesses.  We are praying that God gives each of us someone to reach this summer.   I thank God for you and am praying for His highest blessing on your life as you live for Him.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

May 21, 2017

“Age is a matter of the mind.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”

~ Mark Twain~Capture

Welcome to worship at Dayton Avenue.  Today is Senior Adult Sunday.  We have the greatest group of seniors anywhere… I look up to them and hope that I can be as grace-filled and sweet when I get to be their age.  The quote above really does describe our seniors – age doesn’t hold them back from ministry.  We thank the Lord for our seniors, and will recognize one in particular – the Senior Adult of the Year – for faithful and exceptional service to our church.

 
Thank you for faithfully praying during our search for a candidate for our Children’s Ministry position.  Last week I announced that Robert (and Abigail) Walker will come as candidates in view of a call on Sunday, June 4th.  There will be a Special Town Hall meeting this evening at 6:00 during which I will be sharing more information about this and answering any questions you may have.

Today is the first week of our summer Single Worship Service Schedule for Sunday mornings – we hope that it has not caused too much confusion.  If you have not found your place in a LifeGroup yet, let me encourage you to take time this summer to do some shopping – it will be a great help in your Christian walk.  Our Lives at Steak summer outreach emphasis begins soon (training session details are inside this bulletin).

 
Welcome to our new church family members who joined last week: Todd and Debbie Lee.  If you didn’t get a chance to personally welcome them last week, look for them and welcome them today.  Please don’t hesitate to call on us this week.  We love you and thank the Lord for the privilege of serving Him together with you here in Xenia.  We are praying for you.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

May 14, 2017

 But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold
.

~Job 23:10 ~mom

Good morning and welcome to Dayton Avenue.  A special welcome to all Mothers today.  We thank the Lord for each one of you.  Many of you have plans to spend time with family and friends today, which is why we do not have an evening service tonight.  We want you to relax and enjoy your time together so that we can give honor to whom honor is due – to our mothers and grandmothers.  Today it is also our great joy as a church family to stand with parents who are publicly dedicating themselves and their children to the Lord (at the beginning of the 2nd service).
Thank you for faithfully praying during our search for a candidate for our Children’s Ministry position.  I am pleased to announce that we will be presenting Robert (and Abigail) Walker as candidates in view of a call on Sunday, June 4th.  There will be a Special Town Hall meeting next Sunday evening at 6:00 during which I will be sharing more information about this and answering any questions you may have.

Next Sunday morning is also Senior Adult Sunday when we will honor our Senior Adult of the Year recipient.  Please note that we begin our Summer Single Worship Service Schedule next week, so all LifeGroups will meet at 9:30am and our Worship Service will be at 11:00am.  Information is available this morning about where your LGs will meet.
Welcome to our new church family members who joined last week: Linda Cave and Bob Longo.  If you didn’t get a chance to personally welcome them last week, look for them and welcome them today.  To be forgiven and to know Jesus personally is the greatest gift we can possess… and share.  He has been so good to us, and we can corporately praise Him today with our voices and this coming week with our lives.  God bless you as you continue to grow strong in your faith day by day.  I love you and am praying for you this week

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

May 7, 2017

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it
with an attitude of thanksgiving.

~Colossians 4:2~ hands

Welcome to Dayton Avenue this morning.  We come together in the name of Jesus our Savior, joining with millions of other people around the world to worship the One who has paid the ransom so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life.
We’ve had some great answers to prayer recently, and the verse above encourages us to not forget and to be thankful for them.  So, we thank the Lord for enabling us to give an extra $6,364 for missions through our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering!  The Lord greatly blessed the first year of the AWANA ministry for children, and He answered prayer with a great turnout at Declare Xenia last Sunday evening for a great time of praising our Savior in a public way.  We have much to keep praying about, too.  God is faithful!

The Miami Valley Women’s Center Walk 4 Life happens this coming Saturday, May 13th.  Stop at the table set up in the café area to sign up to be involved.  Mothers’ Day is next Sunday along with our Baby Dedication service.  If you are parents of a little one that you would like to dedicate to the Lord, please call into the church office so that we can include you.  Senior Adult Sunday is May 21st, which is also the day we’ll begin our Summer Single Worship Service Schedule.  Finally, we’ll be sharing more today about how we can all be involved reaching our friends and neighbors with the good news of Jesus this summer.
Remember the Pick the LONGEST Line challenge?  We instinctively look for the shortest checkout line because we don’t want to get stuck waiting, and then we wonder why we never seem to get opportunities to share Jesus’ love with others!  Pick the longest checkout line, say a quick prayer, and then speak to the people you’re “stuck” in line with and spread some joy.  We love you.  Have a great week.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

Sermon Text Questions and Answers

Sermon text Questions from 4/30/17

What if Ruth never shows up in my field? How should I live? Should I move to another field or wait for God to bring about the circumstance?

I answered this one at the end of the service, which should be uploaded with the sermon itself onto the church website.  But another texter sent in the following after my response:

The person who is wondering about Ruth showing up in his field, needs to do what Rebekah was doing in Genesis 24… and keep watering your camels. Be faithful to do what God has called you to do. Don’t put God in a box. 1 Cor. 2:9… “eye has not seen or ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” Live expectantly!

What if Boaz doesn’t notice me in his field?

There are several possible ways to think through this question.  From the passage, Boaz *did* notice her (see 2:5), but he didn’t let her know he noticed her.  From 3:10, it seems that Boaz assumed she would be interested in a younger man and therefore kept silent.  So, the first way to think through the question is that the “Boaz” you have in mind considers you out of his league somehow.  Another possibility that the “Boaz” you have in sight hasn’t noticed you is because he is stuck on level 1 thinking and is therefore not looking for a marriage covenant situation at all.  That is not the right kind of man to marry anyway.  Yet another possibility is that he *is* looking for a marriage covenant situation but hasn’t seen the evidence of that in your life.  That may seem harsh, and I don’t mean it to sound like a black and white answer, so let me explain a little more what I intend.

Boaz’s mother was Rahab, the prostitute from Jericho who truly trusted the LORD and committed her life to Him.  So, Boaz’s ideal of a virtuous woman (Prov. 31) was likely based on what his mother was like – both in personality, looks, and priorities.  It makes sense that Boaz would notice all the right things in Ruth because she aligned with his model wife.  Not every eligible bachelor in Israel would have considered Ruth as a potential wife because she was a foreigner and their particular ideal for a wife include being Jewish.  In other words, the “Boaz” you have in mind might have a really different ideal in his mind for a wife than who God has made you to be, and therefore he won’t notice you. 

This, of course, works both ways.  You’re looking at a particular man as a Boaz because he aligns with your ideal of a husband.  So, you see, we all must start with the correct foundation – following the LORD wholeheartedly, and allowing Him to shape us and our thinking so that we can “see” each other the way He intends for us instead of creating idols that we inadvertently expect to fulfil something that only God can fill.

Would the story of Ruth be symbolic of Jesus’ future redemptive work of salvation in the new covenant for all people and not just for the Jews?

Yes, which is the primary reason it is part of God’s inspired Word.  The examples and instruction we receive in other areas of life from the book of Ruth are all in light of God’s ultimate purpose to reveal truth about Himself and bring glory to His name.

What would you say to rebuke brothers and sisters in Christ who would say ‘don’t you need to sin or sin more to understand sin (or the weight of sin) to be relatable to the world and reach the world?’

This kind of thinking is really saying – I need to disobey and dishonor God in order to obey and honor Him – which is self-evidently illogical.  1 Cor. 6:19-20 hit this head-on: our body belongs to the Lord because He bought us (with His precious blood); therefore we must glorify Him in our bodies.

Is marriage the covenant solution to singleness and temptation?

Yes, with one exception.  There are those with the “gift” of singleness (1 Cor. 7:7).  In general, though, God’s plan for marriage was designed right into the very way He created our bodies even before He brought Adam and Eve together.  God’s Word always speaks against sexual immorality and always honors biblical marriage.  So, apart from those with the gift of singleness, biblical marriage is His solution.

Ruth definitely wasn’t unattractive… was she?

Her beauty was, without a doubt, a beauty that came from inside.  I kind of doubt that she was physically attractive.  Her first husband (either Mahlon or Chilion 1:5) was a foreigner in Moab.  Mahlon means “wasting away” and Chilion means “puny.”  It seems neither of Naomi’s sons were tall, dark, or handsome!  So, Ruth wasn’t married to a Moabite man with prospects which may mean that she didn’t possess the attractiveness that might have positioned her for a more successful (Level 1) marriage.  In Ruth 3, Naomi’s advice to get all cleaned up may indicate that Ruth wasn’t too concerned with looking her best usually.  I won’t be too opinionated on this, but it seems that the text doesn’t mention her physical attractiveness at all, so it would not be the reason Boaz thought so highly of her as an excellent woman (3:11).

How do you avoid wanting a relationship just to fulfill the need of having a relationship– one other than with God?

Prov. 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.”  God is pro-marriage, just anti-idolatry!  If we allow anyone or anything to occupy the primary place in our hearts, we will reap the wrong kind of fruit.  But God wants our relationship with Him to be growing, and in the context of that happening in a healthy way, is all for us also wanting a marriage relationship.  It’s not an either-or, it should be a both-and. 

But you asked how to avoid the either-or problem.  The answer is, make sure you are actively pursuing a healthy, growing walk of faith.  The way you do that varies from person to person, but always involves spiritual disciplines.  So let me say just a quick word about spiritual disciplines.  They are activities (like Bible reading, worship, prayer, journaling) that *create space* in our lives for God to do the work of conforming us to the image of Christ, which is work only He can do.  Spiritual disciplines are not buttons we push to make God act.  If I pray 30 minutes today, it doesn’t obligate God to bless me somehow.  Spiritual disciplines give God access to our whole so that He can shape us (intellect, emotion, and will) and guide us. 

Should we, in Boaz’s situation, get up from the floor and leave or just stay in the presence of temptation?

In general, we must flee temptation (2 Tim 2:22).  In this particular case, though, I think Boaz recognized her excellence (3:11) and realized she wasn’t trying to trap him in immorality.  He needed to communicate that to her and encourage her; fleeing the threshing floor would have crushed Ruth and done the opposite.

How should we respond if a sibling marries a woman that is not walking with the Lord? This happened last week and I’m trying to sort through it.

I answered this one at the end of the service, which should be uploaded with the sermon itself onto the church website.  If that isn’t true for some reason, then I’ll write out the answer here later.

I’ve been told many times that Christian men need to be the ones pursuing the girl and taking leadership in the relationship. In light of that, how can we justify Ruth’s bold pursuit of Boaz on the threshing floor? Shouldn’t she have trusted the Lord and His timing and waited for Boaz to come to her?

I answered this one at the end of the service, which should be uploaded with the sermon itself onto the church website.  If that isn’t true for some reason, then I’ll write out the answer here later.

Why didn’t Boaz ask Ruth to leave?

I answered this one at the end of the service, which should be uploaded with the sermon itself onto the church website.  If that isn’t true for some reason, then I’ll write out the answer here later.

April 30, 2017

For thus says the One Who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

~Isaiah 57:15~ gfh

Good morning and welcome to worship at Dayton Avenue Baptist Church.  Take a moment to read (or reread) the encouraging verse above.  Our God, Who inhabits eternity (!), reaches down into our time and lifts us up.  He revives us when we are lowly here and now, and, as we will study this morning, He revives us to inhabit eternity with Him through the resurrection of Jesus.  Awesome Theology to live by today!
This morning may be the last Sunday we worship together with our college seniors.  We thank the Lord for you and for the many ways you have encouraged and ministered to our church family.  I will be recognizing you at the beginning of both services, and we have a special gift for each of you to remember your time here at Dayton Avenue.  May God greatly bless you as you go on and live for Him!
Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to serve in VBS this July: 118 (!!!!!) adults and youth have volunteered.  That was so encouraging to me that I had to share it with all of you.  You are in our hearts and in our prayers.  God bless you this week.
Declare Xenia
is this evening from 6-8pm at Shawnee Park in downtown Xenia.  See any of us pastors this morning for free ice-cream coupons you can use to help you bring friends to the event.  The Miami Valley Women’s Center Walk 4 Life Event happens May 13th – Stop at the table set up in the café area to sign up as a walker. Finally, Mothers’ Day is coming May 14th along with our Baby Dedication service.  If you are parents of a little one that you would like to dedicate to the Lord, please call into the church office so that we can include you.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin

April 23, 2017

But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts
and always be ready to give an answer to anyone
who asks about the hope you possess
.

~1 Peter 3:15~road

Welcome!”  That is the word we often use to greet new friends, and it is a word that has a special meaning in this place.  We welcome one another because of the love that God has showered on us through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the “welcomes” we extend and receive reflect Him today.

Thank you for giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Missions Offering – with today’s offering, we should reach our goal!  Wednesday evening is AWANA Awards night, finishing off a great first year of this ministry!  Thank you to all our faithful AWANA workers and leaders, especially our co-commanders Keith, Nancy, and Eric Svendsen.

Declare Xenia is coming on Sunday evening, April 30th and we have ice-cream coupons available in the church office for you to pick up and use to bring fiends to the event (check out the video announcement on our church’s Facebook page).  The Miami Valley Women’s Center Walk 4 Life happens May 13th – and our church coordinators have a table set up in the café area to help you be involved.  Finally, Mothers’ Day is coming May 14th along with our Baby Dedication service.  If you are parents of a little one that you would like to dedicate to the Lord, please call into the church office so that you can be included.
Next Sunday morning will be the last worship service many of our college seniors will attend.  We are so thankful for our students and the joy and vitality they bring to our worship together.  If you are a graduating college student (with any degree), we want to recognize you with a special gift next Sunday morning.

Thank you all for the many ways you worship the Lord through serving our church family and our community.  I hear stories of how God is using you, and it greatly encourages me.  Keep it up… God promises you will reap in joy!  We love you and are here for you.

CLICK HERE to see inside this week’s bulletin