Blog: Pastor's Desk
God has a purpose for First Calvary Baptist Church and I am sure that His purpose for our ministry here involves the edification of people and the glorification of God. For years our Church Motto has been that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION! Since 1996 our Mission has been: First Calvary Baptist Church is a local Body of Christ which seeks to empower the spiritual lives of the people of Durham and its vicinity.
July 20, 2014 :: Author:
Celebration of Manhood
Men…young men…boys…all males of all ages…don’t let Men’s Month pass you by. Don’t let grass cutting, car washing, and of course, golfing or fishing keep you from being blessed! With that being said, PLEASE DON’T FORGET OUR ANNUAL MEN’S SONGFEST TODAY AT 4:00 P.M. You don’t want to miss this fabulous event! On Saturday, we will have our Lifebuilders Conference and Men’s Breakfast. Men, plan to come out and bring someone. (Ladies, you are invited to come help serve the men breakfast at this event…we could use your help!) I am appreciative of the activities and events our Male Summit Ministry is providing during this month. These activities are meant to encourage both the active and the non-active men of our congregation to develop greater brotherly relationships within the body of Christ. As African American people, we are relational by nature. If we are to strengthen the life of this congregation, our male population must do a better job in relating to one another. That’s why we need your presence at these activities. We purposefully invite all men and boys to our Men’s Month events and to become active in our Male Summit Ministry. I would like for every male in the life of this congregation to make a commitment to show up and let’s show the enemy that we believe that “every man” is a “Kingdom Man”.
Our Man from the Bible this week is Matthew. Of the 12 disciples Jesus called to “follow him,” perhaps none had as much to lose, in a worldly sense, as Matthew. As a tax collector, he was among the wealthier citizens of his day. But the call of Jesus was unconditional. Matthew had to leave everything behind—all of his acquired possessions, a lucrative profession, and a position of influence in the political and social arenas. These very achievements are what many of us work hard throughout our lives to obtain. Yet Matthew made the difficult decision to leave it all and follow Jesus. When Matthew opened his life to Christ, he said good-bye to a plush past. However, he must have been concerned about his buddies, because he immediately threw a big bash for them and “many other notorious sinners” so they could meet Jesus and his disciples. Matthew initiated group evangelism by throwing a party for his “homies”…how easy was that? Matthew’s example serves as inspiration for what can be gained by letting go of earthly pursuits and in turn storing our treasure in heaven.
As a final note, don’t forget that on next Sunday, we will have our Celebration of Manhood & 2nd Sacrificial Offering Sunday. We encourage each adult member to give an amount above their Tithes and Offering on that day… $150.00 is the suggested amount. Calling all men, we challenge YOU to lead us in this financial effort. We will also celebrate the Acknowledgement of Call Service of Brother Fred Jones, Jr. on the 27th at 4:00 p.m. Remember First Calvary, that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
July 13, 2014 :: Author:
Kingdom Man: Every Man
It’s Men’s Month at First Calvary! July is packed with activities, events, and fellowship opportunities for our men. Our theme for the month is “Kingdom Man: Every Man”. Brothers, let this month serve as a call to arms for us. Remember our “Challenge To Our Men Sermon”: Focus On God, Focus On Family/Church and Focus on Satanic Schemes. We are needed in our families, in our communities and in our church! I am hoping to see all of our men (and their friends) at each of the Men’s Month activities, including the cookout, Men’s Songfest, Life Builders Conference, and the Celebration of Manhood Sunday. Let us also not forget the Acknowledgement of Call Service of Brother Fred Jones, Jr. Men, let’s show up and watch God show out! Sisters, you can show your support in various ways as well. Also each year during our Celebration of Manhood Month we select a MAN from the congregation who’s exhibiting the Godly characteristics within their stewardship and discipleship. We are also looking for one who is active in ministry beyond worship. So, please take the time to prayerfully consider a man from this congregation today for the honor of Man of the Year. Voting ends July 20th! Please vote ONLY ONCE….this on the Honor System, y’all…and your vote cannot be for Pastor Davis J!
Our man from the Bible this week is Noah! Noah’s story in the Bible can teach us, both male and female, so much! We learn from Noah that it is possible to remain faithful and pleasing to God even in the midst of a corrupt and sinful generation. Surely it wasn't easy for Noah, but he found favor in God's eyes because of his remarkable obedience. God blessed and saved Noah, just as he will faithfully bless and protect those of us who follow and obey him today. Our call to obedience is not a short-term, one-time call. Like Noah, our obedience must be lived out over a lifetime of faithful commitment. Those who persevere will finish the race. As far as weaknesses, which we all have too…the story of Noah's drunken transgression reminds us that even the most godly people have weaknesses and can fall prey to temptation and sin. Our sins not only affect us, but they have a negative influence on those around us, especially our family members. You can read more about Noah in Genesis 5-10.
Don’t forget that on July 27th
we will have our Sacrificial Offering Sunday. We encourage each adult member to give an amount that is above their Tithes and Offering on that day, $150.00 is suggested. Let us remember it is about equal sacrifice and not equal giving. Therefore, we encourage you to please give something.
Finally, allow me to thank everyone for their prayers and support in celebration of my birthday. Your outpouring of love is always a blessing to the Davis family. As always, remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
July 6, 2014 :: Author:
Celebration of Manhood Month
Congratulations go to the Youth Council on the close of another Youth Month! Keep up the great work as you do more to remind our youth that they have a mission to serve God. Young folk, we need your participation and excitement to continue to grow, remember, the “I am Change” movement continues…
Now we are in our annual Celebration of Manhood Month. Many of the month’s activities are centered on getting the Male population of our congregation active in Kingdom work. Our theme for this year is: “Kingdom Man: Every Man”. How appropriate as we celebrate the Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During those times, our ancestors were fighting to be recognized as men. Now, we are looking for our men to “Man Up” and be heard for the Cause of Christ! The goal for this month of celebration and in our Male Summit meetings is to get our men motivated and become a major force in the Kingdom work at First Calvary. I hope that all of the men in our congregation and our worshiping male friends will get involved and feel free to participate. Men, let’s work together to no longer be the “silent minority” in the church… get excited and get involved!
As we move forward in Men’s Month, I will once again highlight a man from the Bible for these next few Sundays. Today, we will study Peter. Peter had a strong enthusiasm and passion for Jesus Christ. However, he was also the one who denied Jesus on the day he should have shown his unwavering support. Peter was definitely human. We can identify with his intentions. Through his example, we see how we can redeem our weaknesses for God’s use and glory. What can cause a man to jump to conclusions and make promises he can’t keep? What hidden strengths lie beyond our weaknesses? What are some ways we’ve seen our weakness turned into a strength? Read more about Peter in Acts 3-4…and let us continue to be that Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission!
June 29, 2014 :: Author:
Stir up the Gifts
Youth Month 2014 is coming to a close, but what a time…what a time! We put a spotlight on our youth and celebrated what God has done and continues to do in and through them. We believe that God has placed a myriad of gifts and talents inside of First Calvary’s young people. He wants them to use those gifts for His glory. I Timothy 4:12 encourages all of us: "Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." We believe that God has called each and every one of youth in this congregation to be these examples.
Let me thank all of our Children/Youth Ministry volunteers for this wonderful month of activities. We are going to continue our best efforts to offer meaningful and exciting opportunities for all of our families in First Calvary. I want to ask all of us to continue praying for our efforts in seeking a Children’s/Youth Minister for this church family by August. Pray and something will happen!
Young people, our goal is to stir up the gifts inside of you so that you will be propelled towards living a holy life and becoming faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. To this end, our mission will be to Enhance your personal stewardship, Educate you through scripture and worship, Empower you through prayer and fellowship, Engage you in meaningful relationships with God, parents, peers, and the community, and teach you to Evangelize through creative mission projects. All of our Youth ministry events should reflect this mission. This all sounds great but we can't do it without you, young and old!!! We need your help, participation, support and voices in achieving these goals. Please join us as we work to shape, transform, and build First Calvary’s Youth into disciples! Now, men and young men…get ready…your month is next! Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready! (Speaking of getting ready…we are getting ready for our new Church Directory….will YOU be in it?? Say “Yes, Pastor”…and make sure that you have taken your Directory picture…or plan to do so!) First Calvary, never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION (and excited about its youth J)!
June 15, 2014 :: Author:
Happy Father's Day
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
“People may not like you or love you, but you determine how they respect you.” ~ John Henry Davis
“In every Community you’re either a Tree Shaker or a Jelly Maker” ~Johnny Stiggers, Sr.
I have often used these quotes by my Father, Deacon John Henry Davis, one of my former neighbors in Lanett, Alabama, Mr. Johnny Stiggers, Sr., and our great Civil Rights Pioneer, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I will always honor my father on this day because he taught me so much about succeeding even if you have to struggle against systems. Thanks Daddy, for your unending words of encouragement and empowerment in my life. I appreciate the words of Mr. Stiggers and Dr. King, for they influenced me as a father and father figure to many in this congregation and community. Happy Father’s Day to all Father’s in the house! May God grant you peace, wisdom and understanding! Enjoy your day. It is my prayer that as we celebrate fatherhood, we recognize the awesome responsibility that God has created us for. Men, (yes, all men), let’s make sure that we live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight. Our families need us, so fathers, god-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers…let’s represent for our Savior and “Man up”!
A very special thank you goes out to the VBS Staff! Vacation Bible School was a HUGE success! We spent the week reminding ourselves that we are covered by “Jesus’ Wireless Connection”! It was an awesome time; with awesome teaching, awesome meals, and awesome worship. The Food Pantry was filled up with your generous donations. Likewise, we thank our Church Celebrations Ministry for such a wonderful Family Fun Day. There was fun for everyone…and we were eating…line dancing…bingo playing…participating in the kick ball game…and even enjoying the pool! It was a great day of fellowship, food and fun.
Young folks, this coming weekend will mark our Annual Youth Weekend. Parents we need your support starting Wednesday night…please have your children and youth present. Don’t forget our Youth Workshops on Saturday. Come out and bring some of your friends. We will also celebrate Youth Sunday at both services on next Sunday. Then, next Sunday afternoon, join us as we showcase our Voices of Calvary, Tots of Praise, Worship through Movement and other guests at our Youth Worship Extravaganza at 4:00 p.m. Adults, plan to be there to support our youth. They need us! As always, thanks, First Calvary, for being AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
June 8, 2014 :: Author:
Today is Pentecost Sunday! It is also Graduate Recognition Sunday. What is so similar about the two is that they both speak to going to the next level. Pentecost Sunday in the life of a Christian is about more than speaking in tongues. It’s also about evangelism and sacrificing. After Passover, the early Hebraic believers gave honor to God for His delivering power. Many of those believers were gathered in Jerusalem on that day called Pentecost to be revived, restored and replenished with a fresh flowing Spirit. They asked the question, “What does this mean and what must we do?” It is my prayer that Pentecost Sunday will remind us of our need to be on fire for the Lord…that’s our next level!
The beginning of summer marks the end of the school year! Special shout out to the teachers and school staff in our church family that served our children this year! I will have the privilege of attending the High School Graduations this week…and I have already attended a few as I write this message. I am always excited and honored to see our First Calvary youth walk across the stage! As those who graduate from Kindergarten, High School and College (undergrad and grad), we offer our congratulations to each graduate and their families at all levels of academia. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU…and are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for each of you! Thanks to our Scholarship Ministry for all of their hard work in pulling the details for today’s recognitions together. Please remember that there will be a special reception after the 10:45 a.m. service today for all of our honorees in the fellowship hall. Our special Graduation and Recognition Booklet will be distributed on Youth Sunday (June 22nd)…so that is something for each family to look forward to.
It’s Youth Month, First Calvary! Parents, I beg of you to make sure your youth are present for the upcoming Youth events planned by our Youth Council. I know that over 100 youth between the ages of 12-18 are members of this congregation, not to mention the under 12 population. Let’s help our youth be excited about their cause for Christ! We are still in need of participates for the Worship Extravaganza, so youth, prepare to share your gifts! Sign up by contacting Minister Dotson or the Youth Council.
Vacation Bible School will begin on tomorrow and will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Don’t go home, get the young folk from school and come and eat dinner and study with us! Our overall theme is “The Jesus Connection: What a Friend”! Adults, don’t forget your Bible and notepad or journal. Yes, dinner does cost, but where will you be able to get an $8.00 meal simply for a LOVE DONATION ? That is at least $3.00- $4.00 per person. Our purpose is to restore family time and fellowship. Please come before 6:15 p.m. if you desire to have dinner. If you come to eat then also be prepared to stay to study. We are not allowing anyone to come “get a to-go plate” and go home and not study with us…First Calvary is not a drive through! The only exceptions are members of our hard-working church staff that will work tirelessly to help this week be a complete success! Oh…and we are looking for friendly faces and attitudes in each and every volunteer….from the kitchen to the classrooms!! On Friday, students will showcase at the annual VBS presentation.
Finally, please plan to join us on Saturday, June 14th, for our Annual Family Fun Day at New Hope Camp and Conference Center in Chapel Hill, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You will have fun, but you must register your family and friends AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (don’t forget the $5.00 guest fee). Please sign up using the cream card in the bulletin. This will help us in preparing enough food for everyone that will be in attendance. We look forward to your sharing with us. Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
June 1, 2014 :: Author:
Well, this is the beginning of summer and as this month begins we stand in solidarity with our Youth! The month of June is typically a busy month in the life of our congregation. 2014 is no exception. This month is full of ministry events. It’s Youth Month, First Calvary…and the year is half over! June 7th is a date that every leader and every member of First Calvary might want to mark on their personal calendar. We want you to be here at the church for this once in a life time event. We are looking to see all of our leaders and ministry representatives at our Annual Brainstorming Session on this coming Saturday. Our focus will be on the commitment that we must have moving forward towards Actions of Ministry Work. Let me see you in the place… No More Excuses!
Next Sunday is Graduation and Recognition Sunday. Vacation Bible School will take place on Monday thru Friday, June 9th – 13th, with a special presentation during our closing session on Friday. On Saturday, June 14th from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. we will have our Annual Family Fun Day. This event is open to every disciple of First Calvary Baptist Church. Feel free to bring a guest for a cost of $5.00. We are going to have lots of games, good fellowship, line dancing, and food. So sign up on the cream colored card in today’s bulletin and make sure that you are counted for. No sign up, no eats!
Our Youth Advisory Council is hard at work for Youth Month. Mark your calendars now young people! Our Youth WORDshops will be held on June 21st. Youth Sunday is the fourth Sunday of this month, June 22nd, and we will celebrate our youth and their gifts on that day at our Youth Worship Extravaganza, beginning at 4:00 p.m.! We will also put our young people’s brains on display with the Math Olympics on the 28th. Parents, please give us your youth and children this month and let them participate in every event that is planned for them. Of course, we need your parental support as well. Don’t let them decide…remember you are the parent. Lastly, this month we will take family and individual pictures for our upcoming 2014 Church Pictorial Directory. Have you signed up for a time yet? If not, please do so after service today….I will be looking for you in the pages of the Directory! Remember always, First Calvary, that we are an Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission!
May 25, 2014 :: Author:
Ready? Set? GROW!!!
I am always reminiscent this time of year, because it marks my anniversary as a Pastor. It all began on May 24, 1981 in Lanett, Alabama, where I first started as Pastor of St. John Baptist Church. This marks a significant time in my life. It also causes me to reflect on how well am I doing as a vessel for God in this work of Pastoral Ministry. I am thankful for this time of reflection and I give God all the glory for all of His Marvelous Ways. I am also grateful for a loving wife (Judith) and for my grown up men (Fredrick II, Jordan Emmanuel and John Daniel) for their gracious support in this Faith Journey.
We also pause this weekend to remember those who gave their lives and those who are currently enlisted in the Armed Services…Happy Memorial Day to all of our Veterans and current service men and women. THANK YOU for your service, your sacrifice and your leadership. Speaking of leadership, leaders, officers and interested disciples, please don’t forget that you all are invited and encouraged to attend the upcoming Annual Brainstorming session on June 7th
. We hope YOU will join us….’cause we need your input!! Please register today! (Oh, & another thing…since we are talking about registering…have YOU registered to take your Directory Picture yet? DO IT TODAY…We need all of our leaders, officers and members in the directory!)
Summer time is upon us, but please don't allow your vacation to hinder your financial support of this congregation. Please don't allow your vacation to keep you from coming to worship, and attending Sunday School and Bible Study. Please don't allow this season to hinder your spiritual development. First Calvary will not take a vacation, so please don't stop being effective stewards during the summer months. Remember God loves TO STRETCH HIS PEOPLE and God loves CHEERFUL GIVERS!
As we move towards the close of Evangelism Month (is May really almost over???), let us review a few things. Evangelism can be defined as “the spreading of the Good News, the Gospel, especially through the activities of evangelists; great enthusiasm, fervor, or zeal for a particular cause”. Evangelism is not just for those who are called “Evangelist”, but every believer is to take up the mantel of evangelism. Let us also remember that the best model of evangelism is Lifestyle Evangelism. Jesus stated it best by saying that we are “The Light of the World and The Salt of the Earth….” (Matthew 5: 13 – 16). With that in mind, let us remember that making disciples is our task. Plan to step out of your comfort zones and do what thus said the Lord. According to Matthew’s account, Jesus said to his Disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24-25). When I think about what Jesus requires, I realize that we have the great task of making disciples based upon who we say we are as a church body. Making disciples cannot happen in any of our churches without those who disciple. Not those who shout or sing, not those who praise or proclaim, but those who disciple. So First Calvary…Ready? Set? GROW!!! Let us continue to be “An Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission.”
May 18, 2014 :: Author:
WORK OF THE MINISTRY
TODAY IS VISITORS' SUNDAY AT FIRST CALVARY! A very special welcome to the visitors and new worshippers that are with us today....and a special thanks to those of you that invited someone! An article was written over 12 years ago entitled "Embracing Evangelism". The question in that article is applicable to us today. What does it take for 'First Calvary Baptist Church' to be a redeeming and welcoming congregation? How do we get our congregation to move from "maintenance" to "ministry"? How do we show ourselves friendly? Do we welcome those who are on the edge of morality or do we prohibit them from ever getting close to our personal Savior? Jesus Christ commanded us to go but can our uttermost parts of the earth be closer than we think? From the Merriam Dictionary and other online sources, the
word disciple means "a follower of a specific person or idea: somebody who believes in and follows the teachings of a leader, a philosophy, or a religion; a diligent, true student; someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person". As Disciples of Christ, we emphasize the Great Commission as a vital part of our spiritual existence. Jesus has commissioned us to go and make disciples. The question is, "Will we obey?" As Minister Carter preached some time ago, "Witnessing is Not an Option" and he just recently reminded us that we have, "An Invitation from the Master". First Calvary, we seek to be an inviting church, evangelizing church, a
witnessing church, and a discipling church. However, in order to show and tell, you must have been taught and caught up in the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.
It is clear to me that God is watching us in our roles as Disciples. I would suggest to you that in our efforts of embracing evangelism, we must pause to see whether or not it is our design or God's design of a disciple that we are trying to create. The Bible teaches that the people of God are unique. Peter called us "a spiritual house for a holy priesthood" and "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession" (I Peter 2: 5,9) That makes us different and set apart. We are also created for "good works" (Ephesians 2: 10) that impact the world around us. First Calvary, how committed are we to doing the "WORK OF THE MINISTRY" (Ephesians 4)? What are we willing to do to get the word out about the cause of Christ! We are called to be ambassadors for Him. The question is "do we accept the call"? I challenge each disciple in First Calvary to witness to at least one person about how salvation came into their heart. If we embrace this idea that would mean at least 900 adults and children will receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's fishing time, not for fish but for men. Our nets need to be thrown forward on the right side as our multitude is waiting to be received. (Another tool we can use to reach out
within our Church Family is the Pictorial Directory....PLEASE SIGN UP TO
HAVE YOUR FAMILY PHOTO TAKEN!!) Remember we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
May 11, 2014 :: Author:
Happy Mother's Day
WOW! What an awesome three night revival we experienced last week! Dr. Knight truly had a Word from the Lord to share with this body of faith. Her preaching was both piercing and prophetic. I am thankful for her being here. To God Be the Glory! Each night God revealed messages that were appropriate in advancing our Kingdom Work here at First Calvary. If you missed any of those days (May 5th
) I encourage you to quickly order a CD or DVD of the services. Just a reminder, by the way, the notebook to order tapes is kept at the ministry mailboxes. You can order a CD ($5) or a DVD ($10) of recorded services whenever you are at the church, whether for choir rehearsal, ministry meetings, Bible Study or Worship Services. When your order is ready, someone from the Audio/Visual Ministry will call and let you know. A special thank you goes to our wonderful Audio/Visual Ministry volunteers who work tirelessly to insure that our services are captured on media to be enjoyed later. Please be patient with our volunteers as they give of their time and talents within this ministry. Thanks to all of you who came out each night to Worship and to be Revived!
It’s almost June…I must remind those of us that have not done so, PLEASE…PLEASE….PLEASE….sign up to have your family portrait taken for our upcoming Church Pictorial Directory! Please sign up today. You may do so after both services. Additionally, visit the church website Monday-Friday and sign up online. We need every family represented in this historical documentation. Every family that takes a picture will receive a new directory when they are complete….along with a free 8x10 photo! Don’t have us looking for you in the Directory…and you are not there! J We greatly appreciate our church ministries that have taken pictures as well.
Today as we gather on this second Sunday in May, let me say that we are blessed to celebrate this day set aside to honor mothers. To the Mothers, Grandmothers, God-Mothers and Mother figures… we wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! May the guidance of the Divine lead you daily. Mothers are truly precious. Psalm 26:3 states: "For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you". Although this passage speaks of God's steadfast love being in front of us and how it causes us to walk in faithfulness to the Lord, I see a parallel to motherhood. Whenever a child looks into the eyes of a mother, that child should be able to see an unconditional, steadfast love that anchors their life and draws them towards our Christ. The eyes of a Mother can draw you to a nurturing love that is like that of God's unwavering faithfulness. I also extend a special encouragement to those of us who have lost their mothers: may their memories be your strength each day. May we all spend this day honoring God and giving Him the Glory! Let’s remember that we are an EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION…and excited about our Mothers!
May 4, 2014 :: Author:
The Difference Maker
Here it is…the First Sunday in May…and I am not in service at First Calvary! You know it had to be something important! Well, it is! The third and final Davis son, John Daniel, is graduating from my Alma Mater, Johnson C. Smith University. First Calvary, this is your child! He is included in the number of several of your church young adults who will be graduating from Universities and Colleges throughout the country these coming weeks. Look at God! On behalf of myself, Mrs. Davis, and our entire family (Fredrick II, Josephine, Jordan Emmanuel, Madison, Mother-in-Love, and John Daniel himself) THANK YOU First Calvary….thank you for your continued support. We are grateful to God for your prayers….your encouragement….and your understanding as we have moved forward in family! Congratulations to all the graduates and their families! God did it!!!!
Speaking of “thanks”… thank you, thank you, thank you to our Womanhood Month organizers and volunteers. Ladies, it was a great month and we were blessed… “SURELY”! Also, we hope all of you will join us in our Annual Spring Revival on Monday through Wednesday. Our guest preacher will be Dr. Carolyn Knight….we hope you will come out and hear an anointed Word and experience some awesome Praise and Worship! (Oh and one more thing…don’t forget to cast your vote on Tuesday J).
Time is certainly marching on…(weren’t we just saying “Happy New Year”??)…it’s May already! The fifth month of our church calendar year is known as “Revival/ Evangelism Month”. We hope to see our evangelistic efforts enhanced…and increased…this month. Our Evangelism Ministry has planned many events this month that are geared towards spreading the Word for the cause of Christ. We hope to see YOU at each one because we need even more individuals committed to our Evangelism Ministry. Our evangelistic outreach needs your support. Always remember that personal evangelism is the best way to lead people to Christ. John Maxwell writes in his book entitled, The Difference Maker
, that “Your Attitude Makes a Difference in Your Approach to Life, Your Attitude Makes a Difference in Your Relationship with People, Your Attitude Makes a Difference in How You Face Challenges and Your Attitude Is the Difference Maker.”
My prayer this month is that each member of this congregation will do their very best to be in Revival each night. Additionally, I challenge each of you to attempt not to miss more than one Sunday a month, starting in May. As we engage ourselves in Evangelism, not just this month but always, let us do it with the right attitude. Evangelism is as much about attitude as it is about actions. So, what will you do to evangelize this month? Let’s get moving and let’s remember always, First Calvary, that we are "AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION."
April 20, 2014 :: Author:
Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY! It is the time in Christianity when we observe the sacrifice of the living Savior of The World! The Resurrection of Jesus is without question the most pivotal truth in the Christian Faith. As we study the teachings of Paul, you find he makes it clear in I Corinthians 15:16-20 that without a belief in the Resurrection we have no faith. I have mentioned this point before and it is still a question that comes before us each year: Does the resurrection of Jesus really matter? Yes, it matters because of what God did on Calvary! Today, we are not on the“Threshold of Hope”; instead, this day represents our “Hope Fulfilled”! Today we celebrate a great mystery and we praise God for the gift and sacrifice of His Son!
As many of us conclude our time of fasting and praying on many things, I hope we remember that the excitement of Jesus' Resurrection is an historical event that changed everything. During this time, all over America and even the world, people of faith celebrate that which only God could do…HE can heal, HE can deliver, HE can provide, HE can save. Today gives us all a fighting chance. As Brother Liston Gore, Jr. said to me weeks before his death, “Pastor, I’m going down fighting!” Wow! Paul wrote, “Death where is your sting, and grave where is your Victory!” (I Cor. 15: 55) Because of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior,….we truly have the VICTORY…and I hope we are all feeling victorious today! Even now, our Lord is making a difference in people everywhere and the question is, "HAS HE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?" Let's keep believing, not for what He will or will not do, but let's believe in who He is! He Is Risen! Jesus Is Alive!
Don’t forget the Womanhood events that are coming next weekend. Ladies, we hope to see you there! Additionally, thank you to those who donated for our “Lily Project”….our Sanctuary is even more beautiful than usual on this Holy Day. We encourage each family to go online and schedule your Directory Picture. We need you in the book! An early reminder, May is up next and our Spring Revival is May 5th
…more details to come!
Finally, I pray that on this Resurrection Sunday, we will realize that we have an opportunity EVERY DAY to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. I am sustained by that great promise of Christ, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It is my hope that on this day we will be reminded of the benefits and blessings of living for Jesus. Happy Resurrection Sunday! Let us all remember that we celebrate our RISEN SAVIOR….and let us continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 13, 2014 :: Author:
Today is Palm Sunday. We see our Sanctuary full of palms and we encourage you to read the insert in the bulletin about the significance of this day. As we follow Jesus to the cross and experience his agonizing death, we will notice something. The crowd shouted,“HOSANNA! HOSANNA!” and then they shouted even more, “CRUCIFY HIM!, CRUCIFY HIM!” Let us not be as the crowd in their religious schizophrenic attitude about Jesus. He is either Jesus, The Lord of All or He is not Lord at all. The Prophet declared that he would be wounded…(Isaiah 53:5) but His wounds would be for our good and God’s Glory! As we receive palms today let us remember, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53: 4- 6) Speaking of palms and plants….PLEASE don’t forget to give to our “Lily Project”….and wait ‘til you see the beautiful lilies in the Sanctuary on next Sunday!
Starting today, if you desire to really feel the impact of this last week of Jesus’ life of sacrifice, pray that God will lead you into a wonderful experience of Fasting. I invite those who would like to experience Jesus’ sacrifice to join me from today (April 13th
) until Resurrection Morning (April 20th
) with a complete fast (liquid only: Water/Tea-limited Honey) for the next seven days, sunrise to sundown with limited foods after sunset or, through much prayer, a complete Fast. If you are not already, I encourage you to fast from SOMETHING that is a staple in your life…The TV? TEXTING? The computer? A specific food item? Facebook or Tweeting (unless it’s about Jesus J) ….it’s a small sacrifice compared to what our Lord and Savior sacrificed for each of us.
We invite everyone to join us for our celebration of Holy Week. On Thursday, April 17th, we will celebrate our Annual Maundy Thursday Worship Service at 7:00 p.m. Our Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway is on this Saturday, April 19th; at 7:00 a.m. at “Ma Bessie’s House”. Also, our Christian Education Ministry will host the Annual Spring Festival on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Then, on next Sunday, we will celebrate the Resurrection!! Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION, not because of who we are but because of who THE LORD IS!
April 6, 2014 :: Author:
Womanhood Month: Kingdom Women
Let me began by saying to all of you who will notice my absence today that it is not an intentional absence, but a part of my last three month of obligations to the Durham Public School Board! Yes, this is my last term of serving concluding on June 31, 2014. Thanks to all of those who worked on our campaign many years ago. Please note that there are individuals in this congregation who are seeking to serve as I have done. Our prayers are with them as they campaign throughout their districts. What is important is that you go vote on May 6th
and “Vote with Hope”!
We are officially into our Womanhood Month Celebration, “KINGDOM WOMEN: WOMEN OF HOPE”. “Kingdom women give the devil as much reason to fear as kingdom men. They live confidently in the knowledge that Christ died and rose for them so that they can experience the significance of the destiny to which they has been called” (be there at the Pearls of Praise Book Study on April 12th for more J). Under the leadership of Sister Jill Potter, Sister Judith Davis, Minister Micara Sessoms and the hard-working women on our Womanhood Month Committee, we are excited about what is to come as this month progresses. It is my prayer that the “KINGDOM WOMEN” of First Calvary will engage themselves in the activities and mission opportunities scheduled for this month. Also, let me encourage our young ladies to participate in the events this month as well. There is a list of the remaining events in today’s bulletin. Ladies, plan to be there….and invite someone!
It is my hope that as we “spring” into this new season outside, more of us will “spring” into action and become even more involved in the ministry events and other activities for the good of this congregation. This Saturday, our Youth Council will have another “MatureTech” Session for those of us that are “electronically challenged”. Our first New Disciples Fellowship of the year will be on next Sunday, April 13th, after 10:45 a.m. service. Additionally, we are coming up on the Resurrection Celebration (a reminder, please give to our “Lily Project”!). Mark your calendars for our Annual Maundy Thursday Service on April 17th and the Community Good Friday Concert at Union Baptist Church on April 18th. Parents and guardians, bring your children and youth out for the Spring Festival on Saturday, April 19th, at 9:00 a.m. sponsored by our Christian Education Ministry. The Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway is at Ma Bessie’s House at 7:00 a.m. on April 19th as well. Once again, we encourage women of all ages to join in the Womanhood Month celebration. Last, but not least, our Music Workshop was very challenging, comforting and correcting. Thanks to Minister Dotson and our Music Staff for doing what they do best. (We are still recovering from the week in the Church Office…which explains today’s abbreviated bulletin….pray for our copiers…and for those who use them!) It’s all for the Kingdom, y’all!! Please do your best to attend Bible Study, Sunday School and Worship each week. Let us remember that we need each other to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 30, 2014 :: Author:
As we conclude this month’s emphasis on Stewardship, it is imperative that we remember a few things about this topic. As a review: God is the Owner of everything. God has allocated his blessings to us as managers of His resources and God is holding us accountable for the way we use those resources. Our final thought about stewardship is this: we should always remember that it’s mostly about TRUST. If you can’t trust God then you can’t trust yourself to be an effective steward. Thank you, disciples, for trusting God with your sacrificial gifts and your time, talents and treasures during this month of stewardship. Once again, our tithes and stewardship information is listed each week in the bulletin.
Let me thank our Music Ministry for a wonderful music workshop. I hope those who attended have been transformed in their understanding of Worship and Praise and “Music in Ministry”. Today at 4:00 p.m., we will have the culmination of our Workshop with our Music Concert featuring our Guest Clinician, Pastor Oliver Wells. Please join us and support our Music Ministry and others who have sacrificed for 2 nights and a Saturday morning this past week for this opportunity to give glory to God through song. We are grateful to Pastor Wells for sharing with us over the past few days. Also, today during our Sunday School Hour is SUPER SUNDAY SCHOOL! Join us in Sunday School and grow in your relationship with Christ! Speaking of relationships, we are celebrating Couples’ Sunday today and recognizing our Black Marriages!
April is right around the corner and many exciting things are coming this spring at First Calvary. It will be Womanhood Month! Womanhood Month activities will begin this coming Saturday. Sisters, mark your calendars, so that you will not miss a single event. Take note of the insert in today’s bulletin and plan to participate…and invite someone! We additionally encourage everyone to donate those gently used clothing items to the Smith House for our upcoming Clothing Giveaway. Also in April, we will celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, with our Maundy Thursday, Spring Festival, and Resurrection Sunday events and services (and please donate to the “Resurrection Lily Project”). Okay, in all things let us all remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 23, 2014 :: Author:
Stewardship is HEART Work
We have come to the first Sacrificial Offering Sunday for the year of 2014. This is special because during each one of our Sacrificial Giving Sundays we ask every adult member to financially sacrifice. This leads me to consider why we should give a Sacrificial Offering today. Well specifically, it’s no longer about meeting the Budget, neither is it about our needing it. Well then, why give? One reason is because Jesus was the ultimate Sacrifice! He died and rose again because He loved us enough to take on that monumental task at Calvary….and ain’t that Good News??!! As we do on all of our Sacrificial Sundays, we are asking each adult member to prayerfully & sacrificially give an amount above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings on today ($150.00 is suggested). If you are unable to do it today, we encourage you to do so before the end of the month. First Calvary, as we celebrate in this season of sacrifice called Lent, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. Through these financial offerings, we can make a difference as we carry out our call to be Empowering Disciples Through Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship and Stewardship. So that you won’t misunderstand me, let me make it plain, we need you to sacrifice TODAY
! If there was ever a time we need what you will give on Sacrificial Sunday, it’s TODAY!
Spring is officially finally here (at least we hope! J) and there is much going on in the life of First Calvary. I would like to take a moment to say “thank you” to those few faithful persons that volunteer throughout the week in the church office (you know who you are! J). The way you help and support our hard working office staff is such a blessing. From working in our Food Pantry to serving in the church office on Sundays to helping put together our bulletins each week, your contributions matter and we appreciate you! It’s also a form of Stewardship by giving of your TIME! Don’t forget to bring your gently used clothing items and donate them to our Clothing Closet at the Bessie Smith House….we are preparing for our Spring Clothing Giveaway (take them DIRECTLY to the Smith on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-to 12:00 p.m., not the Church Office!) Now we can’t forget to thank our still growing Entrepreneur Ministry for doing such a wonderful job on Saturday with the Business Fair. Finally, it is my hope that all of our membership will have a space in the place at our Music Workshop this week, with our Guest Clinician, Pastor Oliver Wells, from down my way….Florida, that is J! Plan to participate…become knowledgeable about “Music in Ministry”and get your praise on! Also, you are invited and welcome to join us this afternoon as we celebrate the 5th Pastoral Anniversary of Pastor Derric Gregory, a son of this church, in Hillsborough, NC (details are in the bulletin). Let us all remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 16, 2014 :: Author:
Giving to a Giving God
Scouting Sunday last week was a wonderful celebration and we thank all of those that participated in service. Our prayers are continuously with all of our Youth Ministry work and we hope that many more of you will volunteer right now. Well, I hope you’ve caught up on your missed hour of sleep because spring is here! Don’t forget that we are still in the midst of Stewardship Month. Thank you to those who volunteered for the Calvary Ministries Annual George Smith Golf Tournament. We also say an early Thank You to those who will volunteer to be a partner in our annual Entrepreneur Fair this coming Saturday (come out and support and see our Business Owners!)
As we continue to be an effective financial managing congregation, next Sunday, March 23rd
, is Sacrificial Sunday. Yes, it’s time again to contribute an amount above your Tithes & Offerings ($150.00 is suggested). We are looking forward to God’s blessings on next Sunday as we worship and give as a united Body of Faith. Stewardship, our emphasis this month, is multidimensional. We must therefore remember the key principles that WE MUST GIVE and that GIVING IS A WAY OF HAVING A PURPOSEFUL LIFE.
Some years ago, Pastor J. Alfred Smith, of Oakland, CA wrote these words which are still true today, “Giving to the giving God is not a feeling of obligation or the fulfillment of duty. It is not an effort to impress God or to bribe or to court God’s favor. None of this is necessary. God is love. Our giving is our tangible act of love and adoration to God. It is our way of saying yes to God’s love and to say, Thanks!”
(Giving to a Giving God
, PNBC Press, 1992). Let us reflect on these words and the words of Jesus as recorded by Luke, “Give and it shall be given unto you in good measure, pressed down, and running over….” (Luke 6:38). Not going to be here next Sunday? You can certainly give your sacrificial offering today… or give online…or via “snail” mail… or bring it by the church office when you can.
Allow me to share why we need to be accountable about our GIVING of time, talents and treasure. First, it is being true to who you are as a believer. All believers should be CHEERFUL GIVERS. Second, all believers should be CONSISTENT GIVERS. Finally, all believers are to be CHANNELING GIVERS. By this I mean that your giving should be a vehicle by which God gives back to you….read Luke 6:38. Every disciple of Jesus Christ at First Calvary Baptist Church is able to give of your TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES according to God’s Word.
As we move forward as “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship” (Acts 2: 42), we need you to be a Cheerful, Consistent, and Channeling Giver! God has been too good not to be obedient! Don’t forget Bible Study, Sunday School and of course other Discipleship Study areas that we offer here at First Calvary. There is something for EVERYONE….including YOU! We can do all we do because we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 9, 2014 :: Author:
“WHY NOT YOU?”
Did you know that trust is at the core of stewardship? After seeing last Sunday’s Tithes and Offering report listed below, I believe some of us know just that! Yes, our “All Tithers/Prove Me” Sunday was blessed and it continues to prove to me that God does not come short on His Word. Tithing is a spiritual act that is truly the kind of giving that the Lord loves…. and that, First Calvary, is cheerful giving. On last Sunday, those of us that believe God were willing to give a faithful tithe, and the result was blessed and favorable. Tithing is a venture of faith, whether the gift is large or small based on your income.
It’s never too late to become a tither and see the mighty works of the Lord. As the folks at Nike would say, “JUST DO IT!” This is the time for every disciple of Jesus Christ in the life of First Calvary Baptist Church to make a commitment to be an effective steward, not just with your “treasures”, but with your “time and talents” as well. Thanks to those of you who have given of your time and talents in this Kingdom Work at First Calvary. In the words of the Seahawks Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Russell Wilson’s father, “WHY NOT YOU?” It is my prayer that “U” will not be missing in Ch rch!
Today we celebrate Scouting Sunday. Special thanks to the Scout Leadership Team, each leader, and every family that is involved with this ever-growing, LARGE ministry. Please remember that our Scouting Ministry is just that…..MINISTRY! It is not a nursery, it is not after-school care, it is not a baby-sitting service. The goal of Boy/Cub Scouts “is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.” Additionally, Girl Scouts “aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship
through activities including camping
, community service
, learning first aid
, and earning badges by acquiring other practical skills.” (source-wikipedia) When you are a part of the Scouting Ministry, your life is affected for the better!
(In my best James Brown voice….PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!) Don’t forget the Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc. Golf Tournament this coming Saturday, 8:30 A.M. SHOT-GUN START at Hillandale Golf Course. We still need players and sponsors… and of course volunteers to assist with the event. If you are available, contact Sister Rebecca Oats at (919)536-4201 no later than this Wednesday, March 12th, at 4:00 p.m. to lend a hand. Ready? Set? Golf!
Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 2, 2014 :: Author:
March is STEWARDSHIP MONTH at First Calvary and today is ALL TITHERS SUNDAY! It is an opportunity for believers to really stretch out in faith and TITHE! For several years now, we’ve asked this body of believers to let’s all Tithe, just to see what will happen when this is done. We have asked all that have never tried GIVING A TENTH of your WEEKLY, MONTHLY OR BI-MONTHLY SALARY TO TRY IT TODAY! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain when we trust God with all of our BORROWED TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do for us financially on this annual day.
Year after year we’ve asked those who are not regular tithers to try it and watch God prove Himself. The truth is that the 90% God allows us to keep will always go farther than the 100%. Many can testify to that and in my own life I can certainly say that God keeps His promises! When you are faithful to God, He supplies every need you have. (Phil. 4:19)
I want to make a plea that I believe is necessary for us to continue to Empower, Enhance and Evangelize the community in which we exist. This is for everyone that is not involved in a ministry at First Calvary….and unfortunately that is A LOT of us….but we are looking to change that starting TODAY! Please fill out the blue card that is in today’s bulletin regarding what Ministry Work you would like to be involved in at First Calvary and we can point you in the right direction IMMEDIATELY! This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, also known as the beginning of Lent (see the insert in the bulletin). What a wonderful time to commit to Ministry! Again, March is Stewardship Month at First Calvary so don’t forget to give us some time, talents and treasures like never before. On top of the blue cards, a list of our 2014 Ministry Leaders is in the bulletin as well….CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY and join a ministry today! Your presence is needed…we are serious about this, y’all…so come on and get on the bus! (Ministry Leaders, get ready for some new folk…contact them as soon as possible and get them engaged in your ministry!)
Don’t forget throughout our community this week we are celebrating The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS. Come out on Friday, March 7th, for a special movie viewing hosted by our ACT Ministry. Our Youth Council has some exciting, new activities planned for March 8th. Also, we will join with the community in support of Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc. at the Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 15th, shot-gun start at 8:30 a.m. We still need volunteers to lend a hand. Contact Sister Rebecca Oats (919-536-4201) for details. We also have our Business Fair on March 22nd to look forward to this month. Our first Sacrificial Sunday is on the horizon on March 23rd. Remember that on this day, we encourage adult members to give an amount above your tithes and offerings. For some it will be $150.00 and for others it might be more or less. On March 26th-30th our Music Ministry will hold the Annual Music Workshop, under the direction of Minister Michael Dotson, our Director of Music Ministries. What a busy month…come join in ministry with us! Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT OUR MISSION!
February 23, 2014 :: Author:
Put Your Best Foot Forward
I will start off this week by thanking the Young Adult Ministry and the YAM leaders for an enriching and invigorating Young Adult Conference. We have one more event to celebrate….plan to join in the Worship and Praise at the “YAM Friday Night Live” Concert on this Friday at 7:00 p.m. The “iPray Conference” is just one example of the hard work in Ministry that is taking place at First Calvary. Our ministries are truly doing exciting things! It is such a blessing when we do things for the GLORY OF GOD! March is marching toward us and there will be much going on in the life of this church as spring springs up! Let’s not forget that next Sunday is “All Tithers/ Prove Me Sunday”.
Stewardship Month in March starts our journey through preaching and teaching about the concept of Stewardship. Remember, our theme this year is “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship!” So as African American History Month ends, let us remember that our foreparents did not have much but with the little they had they recognized that “All Things Came from the Lord”. They gave from the heart, for the promise was set to be returned back into their favor. Our journey will take us through several scriptural references in the Book of Corinthians and Matthew as we discover some empowering messages of Jesus and Paul. We are going to start with Tithing! We invite those that are not tithers to try it and watch God work in your lives. It gets even more exciting when we give of our time, talents, and treasures for the GLORY OF GOD!
As we come to this last week of our nation’s celebration of African American History Month, let us remember where we’ve come from. Originally, Dr. Carter G. Woodson intended that we would engage in this celebration and recognition for one week. Now it has become a month of celebration, but who says it can’t be celebrated everyday? With that in mind, we should pause daily to recognize ourselves as a Great People…an African Spiritual People… and of course a Faithful People. Let me challenge us to do something this week that will make someone feel happy instead of sad, feel empowered instead of embarrassed, feel affirmed instead of alienated and feel blessed instead of burdened. Our communities are in dire need of people reaching people, regardless of race, creed or color. So as grandma would say, “PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD”, and walk with dignity and pride. Let us always remember that we are AN EXCITNG CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
February 9, 2014 :: Author:
Today we celebrate Scholarship Sunday. When we started our Scholarship fund the purpose was to support Higher Education and students who were furthering their studies. It is a blessing to be a part of a congregation that recognizes the importance of encouraging and financially supporting students who have made a conscious decision to better themselves. Our young people must recognize the value in attaining a good education. Education has the ability to open the doors to many opportunities and new experiences. If you haven’t done so, please set aside a special extra contribution for our Scholarship Endowment Fund. It will certainly be put to good use. As the Chairman of the Board for Morehouse School of Religion and as a Durham Public School Board member, I am often reminded on a daily basis of the importance of supporting educational efforts…not to mention, y’all KNOW how important education is to Mrs. Davis! J I implore each of you to make a contribution today toward this worthwhile cause as we continue to encourage the youth of our congregation to pursue academic excellence.
Parents, it is our duty and responsibility to train our children in spiritual, social and educational affairs. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train a child in the way he/she should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.”
The truth of the matter is the best thing a parent can give to their child/children is Jesus and secondly a good education. Designer clothes, expensive tennis shoes and cell phones are great gifts but they don’t build character. We must encourage our children to watch television less and read more. We must encourage our children to play video games less and explore the world more.
Thanks go out to our Couples’ Ministry, YAM, and our Diaconate Ministry for wonderfully planned events these past 2 days. First Calvary is full of Ministry activity….that’s what we do (speaking of what we do…thanks to Sister Betty Borden, our Congregational Nurse, and her volunteers for another successful Dental Van)! Coming up this week, I encourage all of our Young Adults to plan to participate in the other events planned during the YAM “iPray” Conference! Plan to be there and invite someone. On next Sunday, we will celebrate Young Adult Sunday. February is almost half over, and ministry is truly going on at First Calvary! Remember always that we are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!”
February 2, 2014 :: Author:
African American History Month
Thanks to all our leaders who attended the Leadership Retreat. Special thanks to our Administrative Assistant, Sister Dennise Lindsay and Chair of Visionary Ministry, Sister Angela Sanders for a wonderful format and presentations. Sister Catherine Williamson-Hardy and Deacon Kevin Montgomery were very inspiring and of course, what can be said about Dr. Sidney Locks? Look for him again real soon.
The shortest month of the year is already here and now there are only 11 more months left in 2014. I spent time listening to the words of President Barack Obama on Tuesday while we all closed down for the snow storm…Oh by the way, did it even snow? A question I have for you today is, WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS THIS YEAR MEANT TO YOU? Or better yet, WHAT HAVE YOU INVOLVED YOURSELF IN THAT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE? When I think about African American History Month and I think about from the shores of Africa to Jamestown, Virginia all the way down to St. Helena Island, Georgia, I am reminded of what differences we have made as a people to this society. As we look over our past as a people there have been so many things that we have created, invented, developed, and institutions we have sustained. It causes me to wonder WHAT DIFFERENCE HAVE WE MADE SINCE THOSE TIMES?
My father would often say to me, “people may not like you or love you but you determine how they respect you!” Of course for this to occur I must first of all respect myself and hold to the position that I will not disrespect anyone because I don’t want anyone to disrespect me. I will not hate anyone because I don’t want anyone to hate me. As a people (and we are many with all of our issues J) we must revamp, realign and rearrange our priorities, first to the Kingdom of God and second as a people of Culture. Not much is done these days around African American/Black History in our schools, well hopefully we will in our church (to my desire as Pastor) but we can do something in our homes this month. So I encourage each of you…do something, talk about something, and read about something that will inspire you to make a DIFFERENCE in your community and world.
During this month we will celebrate many occasions where you will be able to give of your TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. Next Sunday, we will celebrate Scholarship Sunday. In January we informed you that we raise these funds to be dispersed in our Scholarship efforts. Please consider making a contribution towards this ministry. Married Couples, we hope to see you at “Date Night” 7:30 p.m. on February 7th . I am looking to see ALL of our Mature Adults, aged 55 and up, at the Diaconate Ministry “Honoring Our Elders” Luncheon. On February 8th, 12th-15th, 21st, and 28th our Young Adult Ministry will celebrate the “iPray” YAM Conference. Inserted in the bulletin is more information concerning all these events, and if you stop by the Vestibule and Ministry Table after service today, you can register for quite a few of them. Please plan to join us! Again, we are encouraging our membership to make a commitment to come to Wednesday Night Bible Study. Our current study of Philippians is one you don’t want to miss! So you see, there is a lot going on in Ministry at 1311! Never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 26, 2014 :: Author:
Today we celebrate in worship our annual installation of church leaders. We are grateful to God for those whom He has chosen among us to be full of His Holy Spirit. I am also grateful to God for allowing Dr. Sydney Locks to share with us. We have experienced such edifying sessions during our Annual Leadership Retreat and we thank the Visionary Ministry for such a well organized event. Colossians 3:17 in The Message states: “Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
Thank you, Church Leaders, for your sacrifice and your service.
Have you heard? Our Wednesday Night Bible Study is very interesting! So join us on Wednesdays as we continue our study of Philippians. Young folk, join our children and youth classes as well. Remember, our 2014 Church theme is: “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship!” Make a commitment today to become a part of our Study Ministries on Sundays and Wednesdays (and don’t forget Noon Day Prayer).
In 2005, Pastor Rick Warren wrote that, "If you don't ask people for commitment, you won't get it..... One of the most helpful things a church can do for people is to help them clarify what commitments they should make and what commitments they should decline. The reason we have so many weak Christians today is because they are half-committed to two dozen causes rather than being totally committed to the things that really matter." As we sanction these who come forth as leaders, please don't let their “celebrity” mock the servant hood of God. Remember, there is something happening here at First Calvary, we are moving towards a greater discipleship. As we sanction these who come forth as leaders, we pray that they will move forward in “service”…not “celebrity”! I am steadfast in my position that “countability” and “accountability” are characteristics that are crucial for organizational strength. Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 19, 2014 :: Author:
I Have A Dream
WOW! What a time we are experiencing in Bible Study as we study the Book of Philippians. As we learned last week, Paul’s admonishment while in prison was to “ENHANCE, EMPOWER AND EVANGELIZE!” Our Mission/ Vision this year at First Calvary is that we strive to enhance, empower and evangelize in our congregation and community. Join us again Wednesday as we study more from of the book of Philippians.
On Friday and Saturday, join us for our Annual Leadership Retreat. Yes, it’s Friday and Saturday, sacrifice with us as we embark on this spiritual journey. Here is a working definition for the word “leadership”: "Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose." In his book entitled, THE SPIRIT OF LEADERSHIP, Myles Munroe writes, “leadership is not a pursuit but a result. It is not a label you can give yourself. ‘Leader’ is what people whom you inspire call you because they are stirred to participate in the positive vision that you are presenting them -whether it is the vision for a country, a company, or a cause." What makes a difference in the lives of truly effective Christian leaders is when there is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! Leaders of First Calvary, let us show our commitment to the cause of Christ by making sure we are in attendance for the 2014 Leadership Retreat. Please plan to attend both Friday night and Saturday morning. NO EXCUSES PLEASE!
As we pause as a nation to celebrate the annual recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, I am reminded that Dr. King was a man that had a dream, and that dream included “evangelizing” the message of Christ, “enhancing” the quality of life of those around him, and helping others to be “empowered” within their spiritual walk. Our youth will participate in our Annual MLK Youth Lock-In where emphasis will be placed on preparing them to meet challenges in the 21st Century. From Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. until approximately 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, our Youth Council, in conjunction with DPR and Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc., will host almost 200 young people between the ages of 12 – 18. Never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
QUOTES BY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. TO PONDER:
If you can’t fly, then run,-If you can’t run, then walk,
If you can’t walk, then crawl,-But whatever you do,
You have to keep moving forward.
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.
January 12, 2014 :: Author:
Today, we take time to remember our loved ones who have journeyed to everlasting rest and peace. Our Memorial Sunday is a time to honor the life of our dear departed saints. Our hearts are joined with the families who are here with us today and to say we have not forgotten you and we will continue to remember you in our prayers. To the families who are with us, remember “You Never Lose That Which You Love…..”! We continue to pray for all those who grieve. I say to you as Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “Grieve, but not as those who have no hope!” It is my prayer that as we share with these families today they will know that in their grieving hour, their church family is only a prayer and a phone call away. Keep the faith and know that your loved one is in a far better place. They are rejoicing in worship forever. First Calvary, reach out to them with a hug or an encouraging word.
any of you have expressed concerns about being involved in Ministry, well today is your starting date, so find a place to be used by God. We need volunteers! As we’ve said in Church Conference, a ministry cannot function effectively without YOU to support it!“What’s missing in the CH CH! U R”….So give us You!
We are already in the second week in January but it’s not too late to add joining our study ministries to your 2014 “to do” list J. For the next four weeks we will study Philippians in Adult Bible Study. Also, it’s Leadership Month at First Calvary. We expect to see all leaders/chairpersons, officers, and ministers at our Annual Leadership Retreat on January 24th and 25th. Author John C Maxwell has previously shared the following in his devotional writing, “What does it take to have the focus required to be a truly effective leader? The keys are priority and concentration. A leader who knows his/her priorities but lacks concentration knows what to do, but never gets it done. If he has concentration but no priorities he has excellence without progress. But when he harnesses both, he has the potential to achieve great things.” As we celebrate Leadership Month, I truly believe that we are a people full of the potential to achieve great things. Never forget, First Calvary, that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 5, 2014 :: Author:
Happy New Year Disciples
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s make it a wonderful year. As we move forward in 2014, our new church theme is “DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP AND STEWARDSHIP!”
(Acts 2: 42). It is our goal and desire that we continue our emphasis on DISCIPLESHIP
. Discipleship stands out and demands attention. Discipleship reaches out and engages people. Discipleship is about our attitude as well as our actions.
As we continue to move towards stronger discipleship let us do it with an attitude that reflects excitement and excellence in all we do. This goes for both our youth and adults…and speaking of adults, we NEED you to lend a hand and volunteer for the MLK Youth Lock-In on January 19th
(contact information is listed in the bulletin…Oh, and young folk, sign up and bring your friends!). We also invite and encourage all leaders and disciples to attend our Annual Leadership Retreat on January 24th
. Please register today and plan to be there! First Calvary’s Music Ministry and Ushers will serve at the City Wide Revival on this Tuesday, January 7th
. We hope you will join us (Music personnel should be at Peace no later than 6:45 p.m.). Let’s make sure that all Leaders, Elected Officers and members who desire are present and counted for at our Annual Church Conference on Wednesday, January 8th
. Thanks for the exciting ministry partnership we demonstrated in 2013…let’s do more of the same this year! Additionally, we will celebrate Memorial Sunday on next Sunday, January 12th
We can accomplish so many things in 2014 if we allow our actions to be driven by a passion for God and a compassion for people. Doing God's business and working together as a team is how we see success in this Kingdom Work. In 2014, if we want to see the manifestation of God’s power, we must be transformed into Kingdom-minded, mature believers in Christ Jesus and work together as one in the ministry. Why? ‘Cause we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 29, 2013 :: Author:
Have a Great New Year!
The entire Davis family hopes that everyone will have a meaningful and blessed New Year! Let us prepare our hearts to continue our move in Excellence in the coming year. Our 2014 Church theme is ““DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP AND STEWARDSHIP!” Acts 2: 42. As we continue this pursuit of dedicated discipleship, we must remember that being a disciple comes without excuses. We must develop and distinguish ourselves from others. Additionally, we must remember who we are and whose we are. Jeremiah 29:11 and other prophetic scriptural readings continue to remind us that our God guides and guards as we move toward our destiny in His divine will.
On this Fourth Day of Kwanzaa, called UJAMAA, “cooperative economics” calls on us to do as much as we can in any way we can to make our community better. May we allow God to continue to raise our consciousness to an ever increasing way towards excellence and stronger discipleship. (Oh yeah, enjoy our “abbreviated bulletin” today…we will be back to business as usual next week! J)
Don’t forget our annual Watch Night worship service on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. and Church Conference on Wednesday, January 8th at 7:00 p.m. I look forward to seeing you at this conference if you are a church officer, ministry leader or concerned member. Our Bible Study will gather at the City-Wide Revival at Peace Missionary Baptist Church on January 7th. Therefore, our next Bible Study family hour will be held on January 15th. Have a Great New Year! Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHRUCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 22, 2013 :: Author:
Today in your bulletin is a Thank You Card from the Davis’, including those two wonderful daughters in-love (Madison and Josephine), who join us (Pastor, Mrs. Davis, Fredrick II, Jordan, and John) in sending holiday wishes to everyone. The card also shares the gratitude that Judith and I have for the many gifts shared during this Christmas Season and our Pastoral Appreciation. I hope that each family will receive a card during worship today.
The countdown is on…. It’s almost Christmas…let’s worship our Lord and Savior! I pray everyone will have a wonderful “Christ Day”; celebrating the birth of the Christ! This season, like every day for the Christian, we praise God for His unspeakable Gift, JESUS! That’s what it’s all about! Our God cared for us, a world full of dying, decaying, and detached souls so much that He saw fit to give what only He could give.....that’s worth a celebration!! As we recognize the last Sunday of Advent, the fourth candle represents PEACE, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).
I hope that we go throughout today and the remaining days of this year celebrating and praising God for His unspeakable Gift…JESUS—and communing in that special peace! Speaking of celebrating, thank you to our Christian Education Ministry, Music Ministry, and Drama Ministry for the Christmas Presentation on last Sunday!
As 2013 comes to an end, let me thank all the disciples of Jesus Christ in this body for doing the work of ministry in an excellent and exciting way. We hope you had a wonderfully blessed time at our Volunteer Fellowship this past Wednesday. Thank you for all you do! Now as 2013 draws to an end, I pray that each of you will approach 2014 with an open hand, obedient heart and optimistic mind. I encourage each of us to please plan to be here as we celebrate the passing of this year and welcome in 2014 at our Annual Watchnight Service on Tuesday, December 31st
at 10:00 p.m. Thanks also to our Visionary Ministry for supplying each First Calvary with a 2014 FCBC Calendar…they will be available for pickup beginning NEXT Sunday…get yours….and get ready for a power-packed year in ministry.
It is important that we remember why this season is so important. Were it not for the sacrifice of our Savior, our existence would be for naught. Christ is the ultimate example…service….that’s what it’s all about. Even as we celebrate with family and friends, there is still room for service. What can you do to serve during this holiday? I encourage each of you to serve inside and outside of the church walls. Enjoy the days off, the gift-giving, the food, the music…but don’t forget the TRUE meaning of “CHRIST-mas” for the believer. Know that we serve a Mighty God…and He calls us to serve others. Ready…? Set…? Let’s Serve…! Again, Merry “CHRIST”-mas….and never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 8, 2013 :: Author:
Reason for the Season
We are closing out 2013, and as many of you know we need your financial support. Today at 6:30 p.m. during our Official Leadership Team meeting our attention will be on our anticipated 2014 Budget. Additionally, we will discuss and decide what ministry work will need to be cut or tightened up as a part of the overall budget. After two years and eight months, today we also acknowledge the work in this ministry of our current Church Business Administrator, Minister Kevin Calhoun, who is leaving First Calvary after almost 3 years of dedicated service.
Keep in mind the events over the coming weeks in the life of First Calvary. This Wednesday night during our regular Bible Study time, join us for our Annual “Bring a Pot” Fellowship. When you“bring your pot”, try to have it here by 6:15 p.m. Also during this time we will share in prayer and praise with our Angel Tree families. I am really amazed at the support many of you have given to this ministry work each year. We should all consider it a blessing to help those who are in need.
Our additional events that will take place this month are also important to the life of this ministry. The Daughters of Calvary will hold a Clothing Give-Away at the Smith House on December 14th. Also on that day, our youth will go caroling. Our Annual Christmas Presentation will take place on December 15th. Our volunteers are cordially invited to be our guests at the Annual Volunteer Recognition Event on December 18th, hosted by Pastor and Mrs. Davis. There will be Christmas fellowships held by many of our ministries, including the Ushers/First Aide Ministry. On Sunday, December 29th, we will celebrate Christkwanzaa Sunday…so wear your African Attire! As usual, we will celebrate the coming of 2014 with our Annual Watch Night Service on December 31st…we hope to see YOU there! You see, First Calvary, there is still much work to do, even as the year comes to a close. Speaking of which, it is never too late to make a donation to our food pantry. What a great way to serve our community during this season.
In closing, let us remember on this 2ndSunday of Advent, that the real reason for this season is to celebrate the coming of the Savior. The 2nd candle lighted on the Advent Wreath this week is the candle of LOVE. The Second Candle represents the love of God that He has shared with us in the person of his Son, and which Jesus Christ showed us through His sacrifice and death. This love, the pure love of Christ, we are called to share with each other. This candle also represents God’s covenant with Abraham, promising him an eternal glory and the father of many as numerous as the sands of the sea. The Lord further promised Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed, a promise that received its ultimate fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ through Abraham’s line. (source: byu.edu) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16–17) I encourage each of us to not forget the ultimate Reason for the Season. I know it’s cliché but it’s very important that we remember what we shouldn’t forget….it’s all about Christ! It is also important that First Calvary Baptist Church continue to be “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION”!
December 1, 2013 :: Author:
Here we are in the month of December. Look around, First Calvary! Thank you to the faithful few that helped with the Christmas decorations around the church. As we see the signs of the holiday and get involved in the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings, let us not forget the true reason for the season. We also recognize that today is World Aids Day. We thank our ACT Ministry for their hard work in supporting those that deal with this disease and those that care for them.
Mark your calendars for the Bible Study schedule for the remainder of the year: December 4th- regular Bible Study, December 11th- our Annual “Bring a Pot” and Angel Tree Fellowship, December 14th- the Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway at the Smith House and our Annual Youth Caroling, December 15th-the Annual Christmas Presentation, December 18th- the Annual Volunteer Recognition event, and of course, December 25th -MERRY CHRISTMAS…NO BIBLE STUDY! We will close out the year with our Annual Watchnight Service on Thursday, December 31st at 10:00 p.m. Also, as a reminder: there are several ministries that will be celebrating the season with their holiday events, either here at the church or offsite. It’s Family Month at First Calvary and there is so much going on!
This is the first Sunday in the Christian celebration of Advent. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin term“adventus” (or “coming”). Advent is the first season of the Christian liturgical year. Traditionally, it includes a period covering four Sundays, beginning with the Sunday closest to November 30thand ending at sundown on Christmas Eve. As the word and the time period suggest, Advent focuses on anticipating and preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ. (Thoughts from Dr. Aaron L. Parker, Guest Lectionary Commentator, Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Atl., GA and Assoc. Prof, Morehouse College, Atl., GA-African American Pulpit Journal) Often churches and families celebrate Advent with an Advent Wreath, lighting a candle each week for the principles of the season (3 purple candles, one pink candle, and often one white candle). During the first Sunday of Advent, the candle of prophecy is lit. It represents HOPE, all of the prophecies of the Old Testament that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, fulfilled. The Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies that predict the birth, life and death of the Christ. During this week of Advent, Christians reflect on the sovereignty of God and his work throughout human history. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7: 14) (Source eHow.com)
Are you excited about “Christ”-mas coming? Not because of the “stuff” but because for the Christian it symbolizes the coming of our Savior!! Let us make sure that the real reason for this season is being celebrated in our community, in our homes, and in our hearts. It is important that as believers we make it known that in spite of the commercialization of this time that JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THIS SEASON! It is also important that First Calvary Baptist Church continues to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
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