How Can I Keep From Singing

Darrell Adams' recording of "How Can I Keep From Singing" by Robert Lowry. Recorded in the Crescent Hill Baptist Church Sanctuary. Recorded March 7, 2016.

Ash Wednesday

Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent, and believe the Good News.

Ash Wednesday service, 6:15 at Crescent Hill Baptist Church and if you are in the Crescent Hill area, you can receive ashes at the Comfy Cow on Frankfort Ave.

Empower West Louisville


Empower West Louisville is asking all citizens to read the book, The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward Baptist during Black History Month. On Monday, February 29th public reflection and conversation.

Spaces are limited. To make a reservation go to


Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation’s original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America’s later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy.

As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.

Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery’s end—and created a culture that sustains America’s deepest dreams of freedom.

--Book description taken from

Tribute Concert for Mike Tunnell

The tribute concert for Mike Tunnell will be Feb. 21st 3:00 pm at Crescent Hill Baptist Church 2800 Frankfort Ave. Louisville Ky. The bands that will perform will be President Lincoln’s Own Band (PLOB), Derby City Brass Band, and Kentucky Baroque Trumpets (KBT). No admission!! KBT and PLOB will accept donations towards Friedemann Immer 's plane fare and towards the cost of their two CDs. We will have CDs and videos at the concert. We do accept checks. This will be a very moving concert!!

Divorce Recovery Workshop

If you are considering divorce, going through it now, or rebuilding your life afterward, the group invites you to its 35th annual Divorce Recovery Workshop on February 14, 21, 28, and March 6, 2016, from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. All four programs will be free and open to the public.

For more information and to register, go to

Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbors on Wednesday, January 6th

Jesus said, "love your neighbor as yourself." Loving a neighbor requires knowing a neighbor. Given the current climate of our world, getting to know Muslim neighbors so that we might love and care for one another is crucial. 

Therefore, on Wednesday evening at 6PM Dr. Muhammad Babar and Iman Mohammed Wasif Iqbal will be with us to share basic information regarding Islam and to answer questions. A meal will be served from 5:15PM until 6PM. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Please RSVP if you wish to join us for the meal by calling 502.896.4425 by 3PM on Tuesday, January 5. Childcare will be provided beginning at 6PM.

Dr. Babar, a physician and Pakistani native, has helped organize numerous interfaith public service projects and has been a voice for the local Muslim community in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Since moving to Louisville in 1995, Dr. Babar has worked with the local Rotary Club and has formed a close relationship with the mayor of Louisville to coordinate meetings between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders—which included hosting an interfaith open house at his mosque.

Imam Iqbal grew up in Baltimore, MD and started studying Quran at a young age. He memorized the entire Quran by the age of 13. He continued to study at Daurl Uloom Al Madania in Buffalo, NY for eight years where he received Ijaazaa in several Islamic Sciences. He graduated in 2008 with a Masters in Islamic Studies and has been serving as Imam at the Louisville Islamic Center since. Imam Wasif lives in the greater Louisville area with his wife, daughter and son.

Highlights of 2015

God worked through the people of the Crescent Hill Baptist Church in 2015 bringing forth love and mercy to those of us who call CHBC home and to our community. What follows are some 2015 CHBC ministry highlights:

January – We Heard from Paula Dempsey, Director of Partnership Development for The Alliance of Baptists – Rev. Dempsey’s visit helped us strengthen our ties to the Alliance of Baptists, one of several national and international Baptist bodies we partner with to share the good news of the gospel at home and abroad.

February – We Imposed Ashes at Comfy Cow on Frankfort Avenue - In an effort to communicate that God sees our hurt and that God offers a hope that transcends our feelings of hopelessness to those who may not be interested in or are unable to darken the doors of a church, we imposed ashes at the Comfy Cow on Frankfort Avenue on Ash Wednesday.

March - We Began Our "Youngish Adults" Sunday Lunches -  One Sunday each month following worship, those primarily in their 30s and 40s and their children, have gathered for lunch, conversation, and prayer offering everyone participating encouragement and support.

April - We Threw Our Annual "Eggstravaganza" Easter Party for Our Community -  As we do annually, prior to the Frankfort Avenue Easter Parade, we held our Eggstravaganza celebration. We handed out coffee and popcorn, offered face-painting and egg-dying, and organized games and crafts.      

May - We Gathered for A Church-Wide Picnic at Iroquois Park - Dozens gathered at Iroquois Park to enjoy good food, good fun, and good company.

 June - We Sent 40 Youth And Seven Adult Chaperons to Passport Camp in North Carolina  - Our youth spent a week engaging in bible study, worshiping, serving others, and having fun.

July - We Prepared Two-Dozen Elementary Students for The Upcoming School Year through Our Academic Academy  - Our six-week Summer Elementary Academic Academy enables students for whom English is not their native language to be better prepared for the next school year.

August - We Helped Grieving People - CHBC member Peggy Schmidt offered a support group at the church to help people understand their grief.

September - We Empowered Residents of West Louisville - Through our participation in the EmpowerWest Summit at St. Stephen Baptist Church we began economically and educationally empowering the residents of West Louisville.  

October - We Provided Opportunities for Spiritual Growth through the Women's Retreat and Youth Retreat - Both our annual Women's Retreat and Youth Retreat took place on different weekends in October. At both retreats participants experienced spiritual renewal and growth.

November – We Promoted Peace Following the Paris Terrorist Attacks – Before the attacks occurred, we agreed to help organize an Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service and Meal. That gathering took place a little more than a week after the attacks. Members of the Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and other faith traditions participated. In the wake of those attacks, the event clearly communicated to our community that all of our faith traditions promote peace. 

December - We Helped Ensure That 23 Children Would Have A Brighter Christmas - CHBC members or groups sponsored 23 children participating in United Crescent Hill Ministries Christmas Connection. Christmas Connection provides toys, clothes, and food to children in need in the Crescent Hill/Clifton neighborhood at Christmas.

Help us finish 2015 and begin 2016 on a high note by making a final contribution to Crescent Hill Baptist Church in 2015. You can do so online by clicking here:

If you wish to mail a year end contribution, bear in mind that it must be postmarked (not meter-dated) no later than December 31, 2015.

Or, you can drop off an offering at the church tomorrow. The office will be open from 9AM until 12PM.

God blessed us with a full, meaningful, and good past year. Your support helped make these expressions of ministry possible. Thank you!

Don't Miss the First Wednesday in January!

January 6Dr. Muhammad Babar and Iman Mohammed Wasif Iqbal will be with us to share basic information regarding Islam and to answer questions.

Dr. Babar, a physician and Pakistani native, has helped organize numerous interfaith public service projects and has been a voice for the local Muslim community in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Since moving to Louisville in 1995, Dr. Babar has worked with the local Rotary Club and has formed a close relationship with the mayor of Louisville to coordinate meetings between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders—which included hosting an interfaith open house at his mosque.

Imam Iqbal grew up in Baltimore, MD and started studying Quran at a young age. He memorized the entire Quran by the age of 13. He continued to study at Daurl Uloom Al Madania in Buffalo, NY for eight years where he received Ijaazaa in several Islamic Sciences. He graduated in 2008 with a Masters in Islamic Studies and has been serving as Imam at the Louisville Islamic Center since. Imam Wasif lives in the greater Louisville area with his wife, daughter and son.

Wednesday Evening Schedule: Fellowship Supper 5:15pm, $7.00, please call church office to RSVP; Program begins at 6:00pm; Children and Youth activities at 6:00pm.

Advent Devotion 20

Surprised by Joy

Sharleen Johnson Birkimer


The angel Gabriel announced to Mary:  “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”. 

Luke 1:30


I had heard about the Kentucky Derby as I grew up as a child and adult, but I did not realize how important it was to Kentucky residents. To me, before I moved to Louisville in 1977, the Derby was just a minute on a TV newscast and then easily forgotten.   Even though I had lived in seven states and one foreign country before I moved here, to a new resident the expressways were scary to me. The morning after my first Derby I decided to get up early and go on a drive to learn the area.


The Watterson was almost empty that morning and I was afraid that I would get lost and there would not be someone to help me find my way home.  Suddenly, I came up behind four State Trooper cars and a strange looking trailer. Two cars were ahead of the trailer and two were behind it; there was a gun sticking out of one of the car windows. I considered getting off at an exit to avoid a possible crime situation. I later mentioned it at church and discovered I had seen the Derby winning horse being moved to Lexington. Then, I felt joy about that experience.


 I think Mary felt fear, and then joy, when Gabriel told her she was to be the mother of the Messiah.  I remember this experience when I am afraid and before joy comes from feeling the relief of God’s presence.


God, thanks for your presence of joy after the scary experiences of our lives.  Amen.

Advent Devotion 19

Advent Gifts

Dixon Martin


Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60:1-3 (NRSV)


When my nephews and niece were young, I made advent banners for them. Each 4-foot felt banner had 25 ribbons sewn to it. I used the ribbons to randomly affix 25 small, wrapped, numbered packages to each banner. On the outside of each package was a small card with a Bible verse. Inside each package was a small gift. It might be a piece of candy, a small toy, a dollar, or something as mundane as a toothbrush or a comb.


My nephews and niece, now adults, still remember their advent banners. They reminisce about the pleasure of anticipation. They recall knowing that as the days on the banner dwindled, the “big day” approached. They remember that whatever gift the day brought, there was joy in the mystery.


Our lives are something like those advent banners. Each day is a gift as we remember the first advent of Jesus the Christ and look forward to the second one. Sometimes, the blessings are obvious and the pleasures clear. Other times, we may not immediately understand the purpose of the gift. Whatever each day brings, we know that “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28 NRSV). The days, both dark and bright, are preparing us for the joyous coming of the Lord.


God, I know you are my loving parent and teacher. Help me to learn, grow, and experience the joy of mystery. I know that all of it is to prepare me for the brilliant day when your glory is fully revealed. Amen.

Advent Devotion 18


Gail Tucker


So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2: 16-20 (NRSV)


At two, our oldest son Todd would stand on a chair to reach a plastic nativity set on top of a music case. He would move the figures around for what seemed like hours.  Through the years we probably added more than 50 sets from around the world to our collection.   Our first special set was from Costa Rica and carved out of coffee tree wood.  


While I don't have one favorite nativity, I do like the tin Mexican figures who "sleep" in a tin box until the next Christmas.   The set from Argentina has a bell in each figure and the Toba Indian set has the three figures dressed in Andean garments.  A colorful set from Ecuador has all the figures nestled inside an armadillo- shaped gourd.


It is interesting how each country portrays Jesus in their own nationality and dress--so we have the ponchos and dark faces on many.  We all seem to want a Jesus who "looks like us" and therefore can understand our joys and tears.


One merchant in Spain wanted to give me a "special deal" on a set that was missing the baby Jesus. I tried to explain that the baby was the point of the whole set. I guess that foretold the following Christmases back in the US that missed the "point" of it all.


When we lived in Argentina as missionaries, our friends and neighbors were surprised that we had so many nativities. Only Catholics displayed such, while Protestants displayed only Christmas trees. Although I never think of nativities as "little idols," I do like having them as a visual reminder of the birth of Christ and its significance to us in our belief.  It has been a joy to unpack the sets while listening to the music of Christmas.


Dear Lord, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, help us to remember the hope, joy, love and peace that were all wrapped up in a tiny baby in the manger. Amen.

Advent Devotion 17

What’s in a Name?

Quinn Chipley


And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Ruler God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of God’s servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.

God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation.

God has shown strength with God’s arm;

God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

God has helped God’s servant Israel, in remembrance of God’s mercy, according to the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Luke 1:46-55



Mary rejoices, and her joy shocks the socks off of me.  She knows that Jesus, literally, is “God my Savior.” Yet I always found it a name to protect. I grew up first with not-a-second-thought about calling any kid Joshua, but… the name, Jesus?  It was reserved for the long-haired, strawberry-blond man in the pastel prints. I later matured to laugh at the exaggerated way unsophisticated preachers elongated the name -- gargling it in crocodile tears – as “JEE-EZUHS .”  I was still protecting that name, but not realizing that I was really protecting myself from that name.  Now how I hear it makes all the difference.


Christmas in July

 Up on the housetop, the sweating Mayan man

ducks in the shade of the chimney stack, slips

the blade of his shingle-shovel under the curling

asphalt edges bent in the Kentucky sun like grins

in December on children’s faces.


He flakes them off and snows them down

to gathering drifts at the foundation’s ground,

then grabs the new ones from his broken bundle

to slap upon the deck.  Now give him a hammer

and lots of tacks, and let all mortal flesh keep silence


about Jesús, born to save us from such tasks.


My God, I am rich and proud and seated on my throne.  The rest is clear.  Help me accept in Joy your advent in a new accent, for by such intrusion you save me from myself.  Amen.


Advent Devotion 16

Gift Giving

Dale Tucker


When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:9-11


Those Magi from the east set a high bar, bringing the Christ child gold, incense and myrrh!  Ever since, gift giving has been part of the Christmas story.  Of course there is the third century Nicholas who sold his inheritance to assist the needy and dedicated his life to serving God.  He even threw three bags of gold through a poor family's window to provide a dowry for three poor girls, thus he was known as a gift giver.  Seems we have strayed a bit from this example and now Christmas is a consumers' frenzy.  Our children write letters to St. Nick underscoring how good they have been and how they NEED more new toys.


As a teen I watched a Christmas segment of The Rifleman in which Mark, the son of Lucas (aka The Rifleman), had been saving his money for a new rifle.  But then he encountered a family that had nothing and decided to use his money to buy presents for the children in that family.  He put the presents by their door, knocked and then hid behind a tree to watch the wonder and happiness of those children.  It was a very satisfying (and joyful) Christmas for Mark. 


We also had a family like that in my town so my younger brother and I took Mark's lead and pooled our money and bought the two children toys and goodies for Christmas.  We also put their gifts on the porch, knocked and hid and watched those kids have a good Christmas after all.   I still remember my feelings of satisfaction and happiness as we watched this unfold.  That brought home to me the true meaning of giving gifts at Christmas--much more significant than trying to find "just the right gift" for someone who already has too much.


Our Father, source of all good things, help us to experience the joy of using our blessed abundance to bring happiness to others.  May we gain perspective between what are "wants" and "needs" and live our lives and spend our money as disciples of the King who was born in a manger and who even now teaches us to open our hearts and our wallets.  Amen.

Advent Devotion 15

The Joy of Going Through Home Again

L. Lee Whitlock


I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Philemon 1:7


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” (T.S. Eliot) I understood Eliot when I returned to CHBC after an absence of almost four decades. I joined CHBC in 1968 while a student at the SBTS. SBTS was deeply influential in my intellectual and theological journey, but it was CHBC that taught to put those elements into practical use.


My detour from CHBC and SBTS in 1974 took me to three pastorates in North Carolina, a stint as a middle school teacher, and a business career that allowed me to travel to 43 states and 35 countries. That period also led me into a period of struggling with a family disease, alcoholism. Father, mother, brother, sister, and I sought through “spirit” alcohol to feel the “Spirit” that was lacking in our pilgrimage. Dr. Carl Jung wrote to Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, “You see, ‘alcohol’ in Latin is ‘spiritus’ and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.” One way or another, Jung said in essence, “We will get spirit into our system.” My return to CHBC was part of that search for a deeper, joyful, spiritual experience.


In February 2012, I took a seat in what has become “my pew” at CHBC. I joined the full fellowship four months later. In November 2012, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and this fellowship showed me the spirit and joy of Christ acted out and the joy of fellowship in full bloom. The result of all my exploration had led me to know this fellowship for the first time.


Dear Lord and Parent of all, forgive our foolish wanderings and accept our gratitude for the fellowship you have created through your Son, Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus allows joy to bloom and service to one another to take wing. Make us an example of our faith acted out. Amen.