Riverdale Baptist Church

Pastor's Welcome

To read past sermons from Riverdale Baptist Church, click here.

  • A Constant Ache for the Sacred March 26 2018

    In her recent New York Times piece, writer Margaret Renkl, uses this phrase to describe why she will be at Church on Easter Sunday even though she has been absent over this last year as her protest to the political cultural upheaval in the United States.

    There are many reasons people populate the pews on a Sunday morning, but this is the most substantial one.  Saint Augustine’s famous line from his Confessions articulates it:“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”  If you find your way to Riverdale Baptist on a Sunday morning, please know that many are here due to the ‘constant ache.’  It is our desire to know God in the person Jesus Christ and to love and serve God in the mission of Jesus. 

    You and your loved ones are warmly welcomed to join with us in this life journey whereby the living God is at the center of things.

    Pastor Greg 

  • Christ Gave Gifts September 05 2017


    In the Christian Scriptures (the Bible), there is a promise that when Jesus ascended to heaven (where he remains until the time of universal restoration – Acts 3:21) he would give gifts to his people.  Among those gifts are “pastors and teachers.”  I am not sure how many people desire the gift of a pastor, but it is certainly worth considering.  What do pastors do?  Primarily, after having received extensive training in practice and education, they assist people to understand and apply the Scriptures to their lives.  Christians believe the Scriptures are inspired by God and useful for life.

    Pastors also pray with and for people.  Jesus taught that God, our Heavenly Father, desires our prayers and delights to answer them.  As anyone who has practiced prayer can tell you; it is harder than at first imagined to understand what to pray for and to discern the answers of God.  Pastors help people with prayer.

    There is more.  Followers of Jesus have their characters formed over a lifetime in the image of Christ.  Discerning one’s own character formation is a difficult business.  Pastors are specialists in Christian formation.  A central metaphor for pastors in the Bible is a shepherd.  Shepherds lead sheep to good pasture and water; protect them from the dangers of the wilds and watch over their well-being. 

    I could go on but you get the idea.  It is, in fact, a good thing to have a pastor.  Here at RBC Pastor Michelle and I are dedicated to serving Christ in the pastoring of people.  If you desire Christ to be formed in you Pastor Michelle and I would count it a privilege to serve you in this way.

    In the love of Jesus

    Pastor Greg 

  • Forget Not May 24 2017

    The final thing said by Jesus to his followers was to witness in word and deed to him.  At RBC we help people to remember and do this.  James, Jesus’ brother, once said something interesting about this: Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

    We are all in need of memory aids.  Just think about it.  How many apps on our social media devices remind us of important matters?  I have been in hundreds of homes where the kitchen fridge does not just keep things cold but serves to remind family members of important family business.  For married people, the wedding ring is a permanent reminder of holy vows to be refreshed every day.  We could go on and on.

    A local Christian congregation serves as a memory aid.  When we make an intentional commitment to participation we receive a gift from God that enables Christian witness.  I hope you will come and visit with us.  You are welcome and we would be privileged to have you join us.

    In the peace of Christ

    Pastor Greg

  • Jesus said, ‘Come follow me’ January 11 2017

    There came a time in his travels when Jesus encountered a rich man who professed a great desire to be good and to be rewarded for his goodness when he died and went to heaven.  The man believed Jesus, who was obviously a good person, could teach him how to be good.  The man’s belief was true.  However, what Jesus had to teach about heaven and eternal life went against what is perhaps the foremost value in life, the value of wealth as insurance against calamity and poverty.  Instead, Jesus called for a radical dependence wherein he would provide everything and more than what the deep value of wealth could. 

    At RBC we do not subscribe to a vow of poverty or to the pursuit of prosperity.  Rather, as a host of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences we are working at what it means to follow Jesus in 2017.  We do believe the true following of Jesus means radical dependence upon him.  You are welcome to come join us and help us in this following of Jesus.

  • Reign of Christ November 19 2016

    As I write we Christians are on the eve of a new year in the Christian Calendar.  This Sunday is known as the ‘Reign of Christ’.  Following will be Advent and Christmas.  If you join us for worship at the beginning of this new year I certainly pray you find us to be a group of believers who faithfully live out allegiance to Jesus Christ.

    Sometimes we ask ourselves: why go to church?  Alternatives are on offer: social media connects us to inputs for spiritual life; television provides quality worship, preaching and teaching venues to watch; and small or friendship groups can go a long way to encouragement in the Christian way.  Why even going for a walk in the great outdoors can be inspiring!

    But there is nothing quite like a group of diverse people who are followers of Jesus and with whom I can actually process the daily business of life within the greater context of a church that is in mission, worship, discipleship, care and stewardship.

    There is a contemporary worship song where the chorus lyrics are: Lord reign in me, Reign in your power, Over all my dreams, In my darkest hour, You are the Lord of all I am, So won’t you reign in me again.  These words are fine and inspiring as we personally engage Christian life.  But in fact, the ‘Reign of Christ’ is a kingdom, a living and organized community with a purpose to thrive.  It is when we begin to experience the reigning in ‘us’ that the full joy and power of Christ’s kingdom is glimpsed. 

    So I encourage you, if you are looking for a church home, to come and join us.  Help us to experience the reigning of Christ in us.

    For the sake of Christ

    Pastor Greg  

  • Church Shopping September 06 2016

    I recently greeted a visitor following Sunday worship service and after exchanging a welcome I inquired as to their circumstances.  I was told they were ‘church shopping’!  This is not an unusual experience, especially at this time of year, and while I am not always ready on the spur of the moment to respond with good information that might help them decide about attending RBC, it is certainly an occasion that calls for reflection.  What are some of the main values at RBC a new person may eventually understand and ‘buy’ into?

    On every Sunday, the first day of the week, we value worship that honors God, exalts our Lord Jesus and is sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  We hold to a fundamental value that our worship should strive to reflect the Christian experience of everyone gathered.  Everyone means potential representatives from all segments of our surrounding community – age, ethnicity, gender, vocation and so on.  So, for example, on that particular Sunday the worship music reflected the experience of our older members.  The worship music on the following Sunday will be at the other end of the spectrum as a group of mainly teenage Filipino youth lead.

    Another central value revolves around continued engagement in our understanding of the ongoing mission of Jesus Christ in our world.  The Gospel’s portray Jesus sharing good news regarding his vision and plan for a new society and also his intervention in the lives of suffering men, women and children.  We understand the continued presence of Jesus in the gift of the Holy Spirit leads us to do likewise.  So, for example, we are currently in a sponsorship project for two Syrian refugee families.  These people are experiencing some of the worst news possible – loss of loved ones, loss of home and vocation, loss of country and culture – and we believe we are called to bring good news into the place of bad news.

    The way any local church governs its social life together is central to everything else they do.  At RBC we value congregational decision making and mature leadership that reflects the congregation’s demographic.  The principle here is our conviction the Holy Spirit resides with each congregational member and structures that allow for all voices best assist the congregation to respond to the leadership of Jesus.

    Well, that is enough for now.  If you come along and visit with us on a Sunday morning you will be warmly welcomed and if you are ‘church shopping’ I encourage you to research our values.  Please introduce yourself to me and perhaps we can have an opportunity to visit.  May God bless you

    Pastor Greg 

  • Discovering One Voice May 25 2016

    May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)

    We have just passed through Pentecost in the Christian Calendar.  On the first Pentecost representatives from at least 15 nations/people groups were present when the Holy Spirit baptized the disciples of Christ.  This was the beginning of what is told in the last book of the Bible in regard to the composition of the people of God.  They are from ‘every tribe and language and people and nation’.    

    At RBC we understand that part of what it means to be Christian is to intentionally and actively welcome others who are different from oneself.  This arises from God in Christ welcoming us.  So if you are going to come along and worship together with us at RBC it is my hope you will not only be welcomed but will discover the joy of welcoming others and in doing so both better know our Lord Jesus and enrich our worship of God.

    With love

    Pastor Greg

  • The Power of a Good Welcome February 08 2016

    I recently read the story of a young woman in Bolivia who had previously not been a part of a church.  She found herself attending a church service and here is what she said, ‘. . . one of the church members there really made me feel welcome.  I decided that this would be my church family and started attending regularly.’ 

    That sounds pretty simple.  But I think all of us can connect with memories where we were a stranger and some kind person made us feel welcomed.  It is a powerful experience.  In fact, so powerful that a good welcome is one of the main criteria in what makes us human.

    Here is what Jesus says about true humanity: ‘ . . . I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and your welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

    I truly hope that at RBC you will be welcomed.  On a Sunday, of course, it is a busy place and it is easy to be missed.  But part of being welcomed is making yourself known to others and introducing yourself as new.  In a crowded room, others would not necessarily know that automatically.  May we all benefit from the counsel of Scripture: ‘Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

    Be blessed,

    Pastor Greg