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.
May 24, 2015 :: Author:
Pentecost Sunday: Evangelism & Sacrifice
Today is Pentecost Sunday! It is the 50th day after Resurrection Sunday. Pentecost Sunday in the life of a Christian is more than speaking in tongues. It’s more about evangelism and sacrifice. After Passover, the early Hebrew 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 we will be reminded of our need to be on fire for the Lord. The work of the Holy Spirit in believers on Pentecost is the same power He employs today in us. Things may not always be so drastic as to see thousands of people saved in one moment, but His conviction in their hearts and His work in us to be bold in speaking the truth is still very real, just as it was for Peter and the eleven. He may not ever urge you to speak in tongues or to preach in front of a massive crowd, but He will empower you to do God’s will in whatever situation you do find yourself in. Let’s strive to be more influential in our homes, communities, and places of employment.
I am always reminiscent this time of year. This time marks my anniversary as a Pastor. It all began on May 24, 1981. I remember it well the fourth Sunday in Lanett, Alabama, where Mrs. Davis and I drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Lanett, Alabama where I first started as Pastor of St. John Baptist Church. This congregation allowed me to serve them with joy and humility. This marks a significant time in my life. It also causes me to pause to reflect how well I am doing as a vessel for God in this work of pastoral ministry. It was the beginning of a GREAT journey and as you know, today I’m still here in this magnificent role as Pastor.
Is May REALLY almost over?? I can hardly believe it…2015 is flying by. Leaders, officers and interested disciples, please don’t forget that you all are invited to be at our Annual Brainstorming session on June 6th. Summer time is on the horizon and we all know what happens during the summer vacation! Please don't allow your vacation to rob you of your need to continue your financial support of this congregation. Please don't allow your vacation to keep you from coming to worship, 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! Let us continue to be “An Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission.”
May 17, 2015 :: Author:
An article was written about 8 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? 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? Today, I want to 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. It’s witnessing time… not about what you’ve heard but what you’ve experienced. It’s believing time… not on the beliefs of others but on what we believe ourselves.
What did Jesus mean when He gave the instruction to go and “make disciples”? To be a Disciple of Christ is to be like Him. 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”? Let us be reminded 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, during these last two weeks of this month let us remember that making disciples is our task. Remember we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 19, 2015 :: Author:
“At the Master’s Feet”!
Today, after the 10:45 a.m. service, we will have our New Disciples Fellowship and Ministry Fair. We invite all of our New Disciples that have united with First Calvary since November 2014 to join us in the Fellowship Hall for this event. This will be a great opportunity for you to find out more about our ministries and how you can become involved. It is also open to any of our members that have never attended this type of event….so come on in! Special thanks to our Hospitality Ministry for their organization of today’s Fellowship.
April is moving right along…and so is Womanhood Month at First Calvary! We are preparing for an awesome move of God over the coming days. The Womanhood Committee has planned exciting events for the ladies. So sisters, come out and be blessed…and bring somebody! This week, we welcome our very own Dr. Arlecia Simmons and Minister Cherry Hymes as the featured ministers at our Annual Hour of Power, at Saturday’s WORDshops and at our Annual Women’s Day next Sunday. Please sistas, sign up and show up because it cost us to do ministry. I want to take this time to once again thank our Womanhood Committee for the work they have done this year. We look forward to all of the Womanhood events…and we hope the “Random Acts of Kindness” are many and far reaching. Also, Spring Revival is on the way…mark your calendars for May 4th
. Our Guest will be Dr. Benjamin Hinton, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Gastonia, NC. Come ready to receive a blessing….as the old song says, we pray that God will “Revive Us Again”!
Finally, I would like to share the following encouragement to the women….men…and youth of our Church Body. We find so many uplifting stories of women in the Bible. I encourage each of us to spend the remainder of this month….when we are not reading Romans for Bible Study J…to take some time and read these stories of faith. From the courage of Queen Esther…to the obedience of Ruth and Naomi…to the strength of Deborah…to the love of sisters Mary and Martha…to the journey of Mary, the Mother of Jesus….there are numerous examples of encouragement that we can apply to our lives…female and male. These stories remind us of the importance of a true relationship with our Lord and Savior….and that we should truly seek to stay “At the Master’s Feet”! First Calvary, let’s keep on “Kingdom Building”…and let’s keep on being AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 12, 2015 :: Author:
Resurrection Sunday was a truly wonderful event this year! It was also a day in which one of the greatest Pastors, Prophets, and Preachers, Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, transitioned to eternal rest. Dr. Taylor worshipped on Resurrection Sunday and died on the same day! My heart goes out to his wife and the multitude of Theologians, Pastors and just ordinary people who were blessed by his ministry work. My two colleagues in ministry, Dr. Reginald High and Dr. Jerome Washington, were two of the young brothers Dr. Taylor personally mentored in the Faith!
Our focus on the Risen Savior continues today as we dig deeper into this thing called the Resurrection. Just last week Dr. Taylor said, “Every Christian should go to church on Resurrection Morning.” For the Christian, this Resurrection season is more than just one day to wear fine clothes…it’s a way of life! We are because He did! We live because He lives! “And life is worth the living, just because He lives!” We truly have “Victory in Jesus”!
It’s April and Womanhood Month at First Calvary is in full swing! Thank you to those who attended the “Pearls and Jeans” event and yesterday’s Pearls of Praise Fellowship. We are preparing for an awesome move of God over the coming days as well. There are exciting events planned. Our ladies are on a mission to be “At the Master’s Feet: Building Kingdom Women”, so sisters, come out and be blessed…and bring somebody! Our very own Dr. Arlecia Simmons, former Associate Minister at First Calvary, will be the guest preacher at the Hour of Power on Friday, April 24th and we will welcome Minister Cherry Hymes as the guest preacher at our Annual Celebration of Womanhood Sunday on the 26th. They will both also share during the WORDshop on Saturday, April 25th. Ladies, please don’t forget those “Random Acts of Kindness”….and men, don’t feel ostracized and think you are excluded from that challenge! Let’s all be in prayer for the success of our Womanhood Month! The women of First Calvary are truly an integral part of the growth of this body which helps us to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 5, 2015 :: Author:
He Is Risen
I decided to share with you a few of the thoughtful messages that I have heard and read this past week. First, as I listened to Pastor Kerry Shook (The Woodlands, Woodland, Texas) and he had this to share about the Resurrection, “Every one of us ought to know this as a First Hand experience. If we do it will affect our lives… just as it did The Disciples, The Women and even the Centurion, who cried, “This Must Be The Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54) Another message comes from, author Max Lucado, who in his book Grace for the Moment, wrote, “The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final pain was for you….”
Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY…and HE ROSE FOR US! It is the time when believers in Jesus observe the sacrifice and victory of the living Savior of The World! The Resurrection of Jesus is without question the most pivotal truth to the Christian Faith. It is my hope that 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. Today we humbly reflect on a great mystery and like those who experience His presence, there’s a difference that is felt, heard, even seen Because He Lives!
Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 15:16-20 that without a belief in the Resurrection we have no faith. The Resurrection of Jesus MATTERS and because of what God did on Calvary and what He is doing after Calvary our lives are changed forever! First Calvary, as we thank God for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ please remember that we have an opportunity through the cause of Christ to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. We should tell others about our First Hand Experience with the Risen Savior! We believe… not for what He will or will not do but because of who He is! He Is Risen! He is Victorious! Jesus Is Truly Alive! So let’s celebrate!
Ladies, don’t forget that it’s Womanhood Month! The theme for this year is “At the Master’s Feet: Building Kingdom Women”! It is my prayer that the “SISTAHS” of First Calvary will participate in the activities and mission opportunities scheduled for this month. Let me encourage our young ladies to participate in the events this month as well. Special thanks to our Womanhood Committee for all of your planning. Please plan to participate in all of the Womanhood Month events. I also remind each sister, mature and young, to practice at least ONE Random Act of Kindness this month. How much of an effect for the Kingdom would be made if every woman and young woman encouraged another this month….and then kept it going? You would truly be “Building Kingdom Women”! Special shout out and thanks to our Music Ministry and Staff for a WONDERFULLY BLESSED Music Workshop on last weekend. Lastly, we invite all New Disciples, and those that have never attended, to the New Disciples Fellowship on April 19th…and Mature Adults, aged 60 and up, plan to be at the next Senior Lunch and Learn on April 23rd. Bring your “meds” in a “brown bag”! As usual around here, First Calvary, there is much to do and a lot going on…and we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 29, 2015 :: Author:
God is the Owner of Everything
As we conclude this month’s emphasis on Stewardship, I remind us that God is the Owner of everything. God has allocated His blessings to us as managers of His resources and He is holding us accountable for the way we use them. I pray that our views on Stewardship will keep growing and will continue to be supported throughout the year. Once again in the life of FCBC, God has proven that all things are possible to them who would believe! Thank you, disciples, for trusting God with your sacrificial gifts and your time, talents and treasures during this month. Here is a final thought about stewardship: 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. If you are struggling, know this: you can be assured of your commitment to this local body of Christ, by becoming disciplined students of the Word. Once again, our tithes and stewardship offering is listed each week in the bulletin.
As March marches out…we celebrate Palm Sunday on today. This time in the life of a Christian is very important for it marks the coming of our Lord and Savior and the people crying, “Hosanna”! Don’t forget to come out this afternoon for a Worshipping good time with our Music Workshop Concert at 4:00 p.m. Please join us and support our Music Ministry and others who have sacrificed 2 nights and a Saturday for this opportunity to give glory to God through song. Let me thank our Music Ministry for a wonderful event this year. Those who attended I am sure are going to be transformed in their understanding of Worship and Praise.
April is on the horizon and many exciting things are coming for the spring at First Calvary. We will celebrate the coming season with those events that mark the Resurrection of our Savior! Join us on Thursday for our Maundy Thursday Service…as well as our Spring Festival on Saturday for our children and youth! Then, on next Sunday, we will come together and celebrate the Resurrection, First Calvary style! We look forward to our Sunday School Recitations on this day as well. Mature Adults, your next Senior Lunch and Learn is on April 23rd…be there with your “brown bags”. It will also be Womanhood Month around here! Sisters, mark your calendars, so that you won’t miss a single event. Take note of the insert in today’s bulletin and plan to participate. Let’s see some “Random Acts of Kindness”!! Oh, and invite someone to join us! Let us always remember, First Calvary, that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 22, 2015 :: Author:
Sacrificial Giving Sundays
We have come to the first Sacrificial Offering Sunday of 2015. During each one of our Sacrificial Giving Sundays we ask every adult member to sacrifice financially. One reason why we should give a Sacrificial Offering today 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. As I serve as Chief Financial Officer, Overseer, and Proclaimer of Truth for this Body of Faith, I have to share with you that we need this Sacrificial Offering because we are about $30,000.00 behind Budget, truth be told. No one should say they do not have a dime to give, because we all have SOMETHING to give… even if we go and pawn some items sitting around in our house that we don’t need any more. (Now that’s a unique idea…right??!) I remember a congregation that I was doing Revival for in Mobile, Alabama that collected several items that members had brought to the church to pawn. By the end of the week that church received several hundred dollars.
As your Pastor I must keep you informed that we have not been giving consistently in a manner that will bring favor from God and that will keep us on target. However, I have faith that those of us that are giving well will continue to do what we are doing and even the more shall all of us do. Thank God for those of you who will share as did the Widow with her mite, so that our ministry work will continue at the level that pleases God! That’s why we are asking every adult to sacrifice an amount above their regular tithes and offerings today…$150.00 is suggested. If you are unable do it on this Sunday, then we encourage you to do so before the end of next month. First Calvary, as we move forward in this season of sacrifice known as Lent, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. So that you won’t misunderstand me, let me make it plain, We need you to sacrifice TODAY! Remember the promises of God are true and if He said it He will do it. Let’s get focused and become steadfast and unmovable always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Spring is officially here and there is much going on in the life of First Calvary. Join our Scouts this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. as our young men share in the Oratorical event. Additionally, coming soon is the Annual Music Workshop, March 26th-29th. Singers, in and out of the choir…yes, we want the “pew singers too” J…plan to join us in this Praise and Worship celebration! It is my hope that as we move into this new season, each one of us will become even more involved in the ministry events and other activities for the good of this congregation.
Hey, do you have a new 2015 Commemorative Church Directory yet? If not, purchase one today for $12 or get your FREE one if you took a portrait for the book. They are a wonderful resource for every church member…and I hope all of our leaders have one too! Lastly, I would like to take a moment to say “thank you” to those few faithful folk 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 helping put together our bulletins on a weekly basis to serving in the Church Office on Sundays…and more, your contributions matter and we appreciate you! First Calvary, let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 15, 2015 :: Author:
Ministry Has A Cost
Well here we are again! Coming on next Sunday, March 22nd
, is our Sacrificial Sunday. Yes, it’s time again to contribute, share and give $150.00 above your Tithes & Offerings. 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. Some of you are probably saying, “Pastor, what’s up with all this talk about money? ALL TITHERS SUNDAY on the first Sunday and now SACRIFICIAL SUNDAY. Why all this talk about money and giving?” Well, I’m glad you asked. J It is a fact, especially in our congregation, that IT COSTS TO DO MINISTRY. Are you really aware of why we have to make financial appeals so often (THREE TIMES A YEAR)? It is because we need it. We have Ministry events and efforts that need financial support…we have hard-working Church Staff that need salaries….we have mission efforts that need giving….we have bills that need paying! Again….IT COSTS TO DO MINISTRY…so yes, we need your gifts, First Calvary! 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).
Well, I hope you’ve caught up on your missed hour of sleep because spring is here! It’s time for the 16th Annual George Smith Golf Tournament, sponsored by The Westend Community Foundation, Inc. It’s not too late to volunteer to lend a hand…contact Sister Rebecca Oats to do so. Also on the horizon is our Annual Music Workshop…come one, come all and lift your voice in song. March Madness is in full effect at FCBC….I hope you have Jesus at the top of your “bracket”!
In closing, let me share these thoughts. Stewardship, which is our emphasis this month, is multidimensional. It’s more than just finances. It’s TREASURES, yes, but we must be careful not to neglect the TIME and TALENTS aspect of giving. Don’t forget that we need you in Worship, Sunday School/Bible Study and involved in one of our over 40 church ministries. We all have something to give…we must remember that WE ARE CALLED TO GIVE and that GIVING IS A WAY OF HAVING A PURPOSEFUL LIFE. There is something for EVERYONE….including YOU! As I like to say, it’s not about equal giving…it’s about equal sacrifice! First Calvary let us always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT OUR MISSION!
March 8, 2015 :: Author:
Celebrate Faithfulness and First Calvary Ministries
After seeing last Sunday’s Tithes and Offering report listed in the bulletin, I can’t help but say, “God Is Faithful!” Yes, as a result of our All Tithers/Prove Me Sunday
, we were able to gain a great harvest. Now we all know that much more can come but only if we trust God! I continue to believe that tithing is the sane and sensible way of financing the work of the Kingdom of God. It continues to prove to me that God does not come short on His Word. Even with the weather requiring us to have one Worship Service we were still able to praise God …and will continue to do so!
Tithing is the kind of giving that the Lord loves…and First Calvary, He LOVES cheerful giving! Rest assured that it’s not too late to give TODAY as a tither and to continue to tithe until the Lord returns. As the folks at Nike would say, “JUST DO IT!” Once again, tithing is only one component of this month’s emphasis, we are asking for people to give of their TREASURES, TIME AND TALENTS. Now is the time for every disciple of Jesus Christ in the life of First Calvary Baptist Church to make a commitment to be an even more effective steward. Let’s make a statement as we celebrate our Sacrificial Sunday
on March 24th
. We are asking every adult member to give an amount that is above and beyond your tithes and offerings ($150.00 is suggested) on this day. Join us in showing some “2015 faithfulness”.
We are celebrating Scouting Sunday today. First Calvary has a LARGE, active Scouting Ministry. Special thanks to the Scout Leadership Team, each leader, and every family that is involved with this ever-growing 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. When you are a part of the Scouting Ministry, your life is poured into for the better. We are also celebrating the Lenten season. This traditional observation leads up to our celebration of the Resurrection, which is just a few weeks away!
Don’t forget the other March Madness Ministry events happening within the coming weeks. C
oming soon is the Annual George Smith Golf Tournament sponsored by The Westend Community Foundation, Inc. (get your team ready, Golfers—it’s not too late to sign up…and everyone else come lend a hand and volunteer), as well as our Annual Music Workshop (calling all singers...in and out of the choir!). We will also celebrate the Service of Ordination of our very own Minister Emily Carroll and close out the last 2 Sundays of March with Sacrificial Sunday
and Palm Sunday
. (We will not have our Annual Business Fair this month…look for a rescheduled date.)
Let no one fool you into thinking that this congregation is anything other than AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 1, 2015 :: 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! As a sign of encouragement today, I ask all tithers to come and bring their tithe as an act of faith! For several years now, we’ve asked this body of believers to TRULY tithe on this day…we have asked all that have never tried GIVING A TENTH of your WEEKLY, MONTHLY OR BI-MONTHLY SALARY TO TRY IT TODAY! 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) 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. Again, March is Stewardship Month at First Calvary so don’t forget to give us some time, talents and treasures like never before. As we celebrate Stewardship Month, we should remember this: “Fear not little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
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 6th, for a special movie viewing hosted by our ACT Ministry. Come get certified in CPR on this coming Saturday, March 7th. We have our Business Fair on March 14th to look forward to this month. Also, we will join with the community in support of The Westend Community Foundation, Inc. at the Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 21st. We can still use some volunteers to lend a hand. Contact Sister Rebecca Oats (919-536-4201) for details. Our first Sacrificial Sunday is on the horizon on March 22nd. 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-29th 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! Oh yeah….the Church Directories are HERE!! Hopefully, if you took a Directory photo you have picked up your commemorative book (aren’t they NICE??) For those that did not take a picture, the Church Directory is still a wonderful resource for you to have in your home. You can purchase a hard-bound book for $12 from the Church Office…do it this week…supplies are limited! Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT OUR MISSION!
February 8, 2015 :: Author:
Today we celebrate Scholarship Sunday. It is a blessing to be a part of a congregation that recognizes the importance of encouraging and financially supporting youth 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 $100.00 contribution (or whatever God leads you to give…just give SOMETHING) for our Scholarship Endowment Fund. God has truly blessed us at First Calvary. We have been able to support so many of our young people in their pursuit of higher education. Your giving makes a difference and we thank you!
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 their surroundings more. Don’t forget that many of our private HBCU’s were started from congregations and people of goodwill. Speaking of HBCU’s, today we are also recognizing out Historically Black Colleges and Universities….look around, we are “sportin’” and “reppin’” our colors today! This past week I heard on Roland Martin’s show on TV One that our HBCU’s are falling behind as a result of our negligence in giving as Alumni. So don’t just wear the colors, support the cause and give back!
I once read in a devotional that we must “TAKE AN INTEREST IN PEOPLE”! I believe we as a people have become too self-centered…too many of us are only concerned about ME, MYSELF AND I and still find something missing at the end of day. So, let’s forget about ourselves and see if there is somebody or anybody that can use our help this week, this month or this year. Our culture and history are FULL of folks that were working to do something that would help someone else. We should emulate the likes of W.E.B Dubois…Mary McCleod Bethune…Shirley Chisolm…and Dr. James E. Shepherd (who are they....what did they do??) Remember the words of the song….. “IF I CAN HELP SOMEBODY….THEN MY LIVING SHALL NOT BE IN VAIN”!
Young Adults, get ready for the Young Adult Conference, starting this week! Plan to be there and invite someone. On next Sunday, we will celebrate Young Adult Sunday. Special thanks to the Scholarship Ministry for their efforts on today. We also thank Sister Betty Borden, our Congregational Nurse, and the Health & Wellness Ministry for what they will do…and are doing…in planning the upcoming Dental Van on February 14th. The Diaconate Ministry did a wonderful job hosting our Elders on yesterday. February is almost half over and ministry is truly going on at First Calvary! Oh, don’t forget that February 22nd is “Go Red Sunday”– Heart Sunday…wear some red for your heart. Remember always we are, “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!”
February 1, 2015 :: Author:
Revamp, Realign and Rearrange
WOW! 2015 is moving right along…seems like only yesterday we were shouting “Happy New Year”, now the shortest month of the year is already here. When I think about this month, known as African American History Month, I am reminded about what differences we as a people have made, and are making, to this society. 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 someone else to respect me I must first respect myself. As a people and we are many, we must revamp, realign and rearrange our priorities as a people of God first and second as a people of Culture. Not much is done these days around African American/Black History in our schools, not even in our churches (to my regret as a Pastor) but we can do something in our homes this month. Talk about the greats of our history…from Andre Crouch…to Dr. Charles Drew…to Barbara Jordan…to Mae Jemison….to Mahalia Jackson…to Madam CJ Walker…to Philip B. Downing…the list goes on and on (Do our children even KNOW who these people are?? Sadly, do our adults??) Along with that….do something, talk about something, and read about something that will inspire you to make a DIFFERENCE in your community and world. We are making history right now…make it good history…and make it HIS STORY!
During this month we will offer various opportunities for you to give of your TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. Next Sunday, we will celebrate Scholarship Sunday. For the past few Sundays we have informed you about the purpose for which we raise these funds. Please consider making a contribution towards these efforts. On February 7th
, we are looking to see all of our Mature Adults, aged 60 and up, at our Annual Honoring Our Elders celebration. The Dental Van will be here on February 14th
…we would LOVE for you to lend a hand and volunteer for that event. February 11th
, our Young Adult Ministry will celebrate their YAM Conference. Inserted in the bulletin is more information concerning this celebration. Again, we look forward to your participation in one or more of these ministry events. Oh, and by the way…we had a great time with the Couples’ Ministry Bowling Social…. I’ll do better next time! J Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 18, 2015 :: Author:
“Let Your Faith Have A Face!”
On Thursday, I reflected on the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On tomorrow, January 19th
, America will pause as a nation to celebrate our annual recognition of his birthday. As a Pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was called to lead a people to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as were his father and maternal grandfather did before him. As a Pastor and leader myself, it is in my Pastoral duty to lead: to influence the people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Discipleship includes the capacity to influence; therefore we must see God using us as influential tools to reveal truths about Himself. Last Sunday’s message entitled,“Let Your Faith Have A Face!”, created quite a discussion…and that’s a good thing! Dr. King’s faith was truly an engaging and empowering one. He was a Prophet and was truly faithful in faithless times.
As I sat in the movie “Selma” on last weekend, I was reminded of the sacrifice of those that came before us and how the King Holiday should be a time for not just rest and relaxation from work, but a time for SERVICE. I encourage each of us, young and not so young, to do something in service sometime this coming weekend…and even better than that, this entire year. In the words of the now late Gospel Great, Brother Andre Crouch, “To God be the Glory for the Things He Has Done” and what He has done should prompt us to DO SOMETHING TOO!!
Our youth will once again participate in our Annual MLK Youth Lock-In where emphasis will be placed on preparing for this engaging and challenging 21st Century. From Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, our Youth Council, in conjunction with DPR, Duke-Durham Partnership and the Westend Community Foundation, Inc., will host almost 150 young people between the ages of 12 – 18. Someone once asked why we do this? Well, we do it because it allows opportunity for our youth to engage in fun activities and gives them a chance to hear about the principles of Dr. King that deal with respect and being responsible. Let me personally thank our Youth Council members and our new Minister to Children/Youth for keeping this dream alive since it began in the basement of our former sanctuary over 23 years ago.
Finally, to all of our leaders and those who are interested in becoming leaders, don’t forget to sign up for our Annual Leadership Retreat this coming Saturday. NO EXCUSES PLEASE! We will be expecting a great time with Bishop Alfred Jackson from Rock Hill, SC as we study what it means to be in Biblical Leadership and what it means to be "One Church - Many Parts…specifically “What is my Role? How to Get My Part Working", Romans 12: 4-8. Be there….plan to get your space in the place! I will be looking for YOU. J Let us always remember that we are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT
Words to ponder from Dr. King:
Faith is taking the whole step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’"
January 11, 2015 :: Author:
Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work
Each year on the second Sunday in January we celebrate and share with those families that have experienced loss in the previous year. These families celebrated their loved ones’ lives here at First Calvary and we use this Memorial Sunday as a time to honor the memory of our dear departed saints. The scriptures clearly state that“Blessed are the Saints who die in the Lord”. It is my prayer that through this time of sharing today these families will know that their church family is only a prayer or phone call away. First Calvary, reach out to them and show your support with a hug or an encouraging word. May the peace of God continue to be with them.
As a church body we are “DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, AND STEWARDSHIP”, so let’s move into a deeper study of God’s Word together. On behalf of Minister Carter and our Christian Education Ministry, I would like to remind you that Sunday School and Bible Study are two opportunities where we can learn and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. We also encourage all that are able to join the Prayer Warriors each week at Wednesday Noon Day Prayer….bring your lunch if you need to…just come and pray! Also, during service for the next few weeks you will hear appeals from our Scholarship Ministry. We encourage you to give to this worthy ministry cause as we support those that are seeking higher education. We are already moving into the second week in January and it’s time for each of us to add becoming active in an FCBC Ministry to your 2015 “to do” list . We must realize that discipleship requires responsibility…and ACCOUNTABILITY. A special reminder to those of you who missed our Annual Church Conference, the budget and other items of importance can be picked up downstairs in the Atrium Area…pick them up today so you will know what’s going on at your church (never let it be said that you weren’t encouraged to be informed or that you “had no idea”what was happening ).
As Pastor and leader of this congregation, I am reminding myself that I should let nothing keep me from my Pastoral focus. Author John Maxwell once raised this question, “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 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.” Leaders…potential leaders….no matter where you lead (home, church, work, school)…YOU are invited and encouraged to attend the Annual Leadership Retreat on January 24th, be there or be square (and youth….be a leader and plan to attend the MLK Youth Lock-In on January 18th and 19th…we need you there!!) Remember always that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 4, 2015 :: Author:
Happy New Year 2015
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Many of you received this salutation on last Thursday morning at 12:05 a.m., but once again I shall say “Happy New Year” to all! The entire Davis family hopes that everyone will have a meaningful and blessed New Year! Let us prepare our hearts to move forward as His Disciples this year. Our 2015 Church theme will continue to be“DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, AND STEWARDSHIP”.
This past week I was reading an old article by Stan Toler which talked about Organizational Integrity. He wrote, “As captain of your organization’s ship, you are responsible to chart the course, recruit the sailors and be ready to man the lifeboats. There’s a lot riding on your shoulders- the integrity of your vessel is at stake! Integrity is a direct reflection of yourself.” I write this first Pastor’s Message of the year with those thoughts in mind. As we have studied the book of Hebrews in Bible Study, I have found that our congregational state is in need…we NEED to revitalize our Spiritual Integrity.
Paul encouraged all New Testament leaders to stay on the same page by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. (Phil 2:2) It is my desire and my challenge for 2015 for the First Calvary church family to abide in this same covering that Paul referenced. I am asking that we sense the urgency of being Disciples of Jesus Christ like never before. You’ve heard it said in the secular realm that “membership has its privileges” but I want to remind us that “discipleship comes with sacrifice”!
As I have previously stated, we must continue in this pursuit, and remember that DISCIPLESHIP comes without excuses. Jeremiah 29:11 and other prophetic readings continue to remind us that our God guides and guards us for our destiny in His Divine Will. Additionally, we must remember who we are and whose we are. It is my hope and prayer that as we move forward in 2015, we will become even more active in ministry within this body of faith. Take a look around, there are numerous people in the pews, but how many of us are ACTIVELY serving in ministry? Don’t just come on Sundays, be here in our study (purchase your Hebrew Study Book) and prayer opportunities and find SOMETHING to do that suits you!! There is something for everyone to do within the Kingdom. As the animated movie song says, (and I’ve been singing it too….), “LET IT GO! LET IT GO!” LET US REMEMBER THAT WE ARE AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 28, 2014 :: Author:
SOMETHING to do in Ministry
The entire Davis family hopes that everyone will have a meaningful and blessed New Year! Let us prepare our hearts to move forward as His Disciples in the coming year. Our 2015 Church theme will continue to be“DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, AND STEWARDSHIP”. As we continue in this pursuit, we must remember that DISCIPLESHIP comes without excuses. Jeremiah 29:11 and other prophetic readings continue to remind us that our God guides and guards us for our destiny in His Divine Will. We must work to develop and distinguish ourselves from others. Additionally, we must remember who we are and whose we are. It is my hope and prayer that as 2015 approaches, we will become even more active in ministry within this body of faith. Take a look around, there are numerous people in the pews, but how many of us are ACTIVELY serving in ministry? Don’t just come on Sundays, be here in our study and prayer opportunities and find SOMETHING to do in Ministry that suits you!! There is something for everyone to do within the Kingdom and within this Body of Faith. As Arsenio Hall used to say, “Let’s get busy!”
Today as a community we celebrate the third principle of Kwanzaa…Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility). Ujima means “to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.” Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world. These values are called the“Nguzo Saba”, which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Karenga, the Nguzo Saba stands at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for these values are not only the building blocks for community but they also serve to reinforce and enhance them. It is imperative that we move into 2015 with a “Collective Work and Responsibility”perspective.
Don’t forget our annual Watch Night worship service on this Wednesday at 10:00 p.m.and Annual Church Conference on Wednesday, January 7th 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. Therefore, our next Bible Study family hour will be held on January 14th. Also, don’t forget that the Emancipation Proclamation service will be at Peace Missionary Baptist Church on New Year’s Day at 11:00 a.m. and the Annual City-Wide Revival will be held at Union Baptist Church on January 5th-9th. Last, but certainly not least, as we worship on the last Sunday of this year, let me thank all the disciples of Jesus Christ in this body for doing the work of ministry in an excellent and exciting way. Have a great New Year! For more than 130 years and as always we have been and are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 21, 2014 :: Author:
Jesus Is the Reason for This Season!
Today at 5:00 p.m., our Christian Education and Music Ministries will share the Annual Christmas Presentation. Please come out with your family and join us! During this service, we will be blessed to hear our Music Ministry lifting the name of Jesus in song. Additionally, our Christian Education students will give their annual recitations. It is important that we take this Sunday afternoon to remove ourselves from the television to come out for this exciting event to give God the Glory! Also, don’t forget to join us as we welcome 2015 at our Annual Watch Night Service on Wednesday, December 31st, at 10:00 p.m.
Also, on this Sunday and the 4th Sunday, we will distribute our proposed 2015 Church Budget. We also anticipate within the next 10 days, that each household will be able to pick up their 2015 Church Calendar. Only one of each per household will be given. Oh yeah, and the Church Directories are coming by the end of January…thank you for your patience on that HUGE project!
As we recognize the 4th
Sunday of the Advent Season (the Candle of Love), let us remember, “Jesus Is the Reason for This Season!” Let us stop for a moment and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas. Christ is, was and always will be the essence of Christmas. But in the words of Pastor John McArthur, there’s a “dark side of Christmas” as well. He is called Jesus and He shall save His people from their sin!
Well, in 4 days it will be Christmas! By now the Christmas shopping is almost done (except for those procrastinators that wait‘til Christmas Eve ). The gift giving and gift getting is in full swing. We all want to have a good time during the Christmas season. We should enjoy ourselves since Christmas comes only once a year. However, John 3:16 reminds us that “God so loved the world that God gave His only begotten Son…..” Jesus was God’s gift to people. When we understand who Jesus is and respond in faith to God’s Word, we then realize the significance, importance and uniqueness of God’s gift. Have you received God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ? Have you presented this gift of God and His Son to anyone lately? It is absolutely unbelievable how we have lost our sense of purpose concerning the Birth of Jesus Christ. As I often say, don’t forget to keep the Main Thing the MAIN THING! Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas Day! Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 30, 2014 :: Author:
Giving to a Giving God
I was reflecting over the Thursday Daily Bread message which referenced Psalm 150. It read, “Psalm 150 is not only a beautiful expression of praise; it’s also a lesson in praising the Lord. It tells us where to praise, why we’re to praise, how we’re to praise, and who should offer praise.” Well, now that Thanksgiving is over, let us not forget that every day is a day of Thanksgiving. Each and every day ought to be a time when we think of God’s goodness, greatness and graciousness towards us!
As we move towards the close of this year, let’s keep in mind the events over the coming weeks in the life of First Calvary. December starts tomorrow….but the year is not over yet and we still have a lot to get done and look forward to! Our children & youth will soon go caroling and our Christian Education and Music Ministries will have the Annual Christmas Presentation (parents, make sure your children LEARN their parts and recitations). We will hold our Annual Angel Tree Fellowship and Volunteer Night sponsored by the church. As usual, we will celebrate the coming of 2015 with our Annual Watch Night Service (hope to see YOU there!) So you see, First Calvary, there is still much work to do, even as the year comes to a close. (Oh, and one more thing: parents, make sure your youth, ages 12-18, sign up for the 2015 MLK Lock In! Don’t delay…do it TODAY!
In the immortal words of the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown, “Please! Please! Please! Please!” We must not forget our weekly obligations in giving of our TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. 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). It is my hope and prayer that each of us will be mindful of those things that matter most in this season of thankfulness. As we often sing, “Great is Thy Faithfulness, Oh God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not, Thou compassion, they fail not, As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy Faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” He is GREAT and He is FAITHFUL. He gives us what we need and showers us with grace, mercy and blessings. Our God is truly an AWESOME God!!
In this season of Advent, let us not forget the real meaning of this season. 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 30th and 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. It is my prayer that, like Sister Erica Campbell sings, we get “a little more Jesus”! As we continue to do what we do, let us remember why we celebrate and those who are in need and suffering. 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. Never forget, First Calvary, that we remain “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 9, 2014 :: Author:
23rd Pastoral Anniversary!
Thank you First Calvary for the ministry work you have allowed me to experience here at First Calvary Baptist Church. Twenty-three years of serving the people of God at First Calvary Baptist Church has been a tedious, trying and yet awesome experience. However, I can still say that I am glad to be the Pastor of AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION! Now for some “Thank Yous”…Thank You to all of our Officers and Leaders of this congregation…. Thank you to the 150 original people who were active when I arrived…Thank You to those elders who thought enough of me as a Christian Minister to elect and select me to be the Pastor of this congregation…Thank You to this congregation for your continued support and prayers… Thank You to my loving wife, my wonderful sons and my new daughters-in-love for their continued sacrifices as I continue to be a Pastor after God's own heart…THANK YOU also to our committed church staff for helping me stay strong through these many years. I might not say it loudly but proudly I am grateful of your support and hard work in ministry here at First Calvary. We are Servants, and Not Celebrities!
I have been Pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church for 23 years. Wow! What a blessing! It is my prayer that we will continue to be the Pastor and people that God is looking for. As I reflect over the last 23 years, there have been many ups and downs, but to God be the glory for it all! It is my hope and prayer that I have been and will remain a Pastor that is: Passionate and Patient, Admired and Anointed, Set-apart and Spiritual, a Teacher and Totally dedicated to God’s plan, Open-minded and On God’s time, Respected, Radical (when I need to be J) and Ready! I am honored to fulfill His purpose for this ministry. I truly believe that God has placed me here. Continue to keep the entire Davis family in your prayers. Again, thanks to all of you for all we do together as we co-labor for Christ! Remember always that we are an EXCITING CHURCH (AND I AM AN EXCITED PASTOR J) EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 2, 2014 :: Author:
What can He use you for?
Church Anniversary Celebration was a blessing and all praise belongs to God! We are “The Church in Prayer” and we are certainly “Renewing from Within”! Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff and Sister Karen Alston shared with us and we were truly blessed by both of their ministries. Thank you to those of you that attended and celebrated with us. We also thank those who gave of their time, talent and treasure during the month of October. Additionally, our Wholistic Family Life Conference was truly a success! We are on the move, First Calvary! Let us rise up together and move forward!
I am reminded of an email I received some time ago. A Pastor in South Carolina once shared something regarding the ideology of his church family. It is a powerful thought about passion in ministry. Those who are involved in any congregation should be passionate about three things: JESUS, EVANGELISM AND EACH OTHER. My question today is where are we with our passion for Jesus, Evangelism and each other? After we shout and sing, where are we regarding our passion to serve? Today is a day to examine your commitment to Christ. What can He use you for? What I am looking for more than anything from our church family is not just being consistent, cheerful and committed givers, but passionate servers in the Kingdom of God.
Now for some exciting news! We welcome Minister Emily Carroll as our new Minister to Youth. She will join our wonderful, dedicated church staff and lead our Youth Advisory Council as they continue to serve the youth of First Calvary. Don’t forget that Tuesday is ELECTION DAY! Hopefully, you have been on top of the issues and are aware of those things that are pertinent to making an educated decision. Let us remember always that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH (AND I AM AN EXCITING PASTOR J) EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 26, 2014 :: Author:
130th Church Anniversary
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS of worship and service in the WEST END COMMUNITY…what a great blessing! We have been a congregation serving this area for 130 years as a living organism…as a church…and as a family! As we celebrate, let us not forget those who gave of their TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES to the ongoing development of this congregation’s mission. Today is about history…this church’s history…and our history as a vibrant, thriving, and growing Family of Faith. It is my hope that our history continues to be HIS STORY…let us continue to be a Christ-Centered Church and do what we do in Ministry for the Cause of Christ! Speaking of the Cause of Christ at First Calvary…. I would like to say a special thanks to the Staff of this church. Thank you for your tireless efforts and hard work at First Calvary. Thank you also to the Leadership of this church for your dedication to God’s Vision within this house of faith.
Our Church Anniversary theme of “The Church in Prayer: Renewing from Within”reminds us that the prayers of so many have brought us here. As our own Minister John Carter stated, "Prayer doesn't change God's mind, because we can't change the ultimate will of God. Prayer puts us in line with God's will." It was within God’s will that the prayers and work of many built this church…it is His will that the prayers and work of many keep it going….and as we work to stay within His will, the prayers and work of many will help First Calvary to see 130 more years and beyond. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! God has blessed this ministry and each and every family here so much. It is clear to see from our special bulletin this week that First Calvary has come a LOOONG way, y’all…and “We’ve Come This Far by Faith”! Hopefully, our history will remind us that we have to be an ever learning church in order to be an ever growing church…and we have to be an ever loving church in order to be an ever discipling church.
Today is special not only because of our 130th Church Anniversary, but also because of who has joined us for service. We welcome Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff, Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. Dr. Ratliff is the Grandson of Pastor AL Thompson, one of the Former Pastors of First Calvary! Talk about history!! We also welcome Guest Psalmist Sister Karen Alston to our Anniversary Worship today. “Welcome Home” also to those that are returning to First Calvary today….it’s good to see each of you. We are looking forward to God’s great blessings on today. We hope each of you will plan to stay and join us for dinner after service as well….and special thanks to our Church Celebrations Committee, Culinary Arts Ministry, Music Ministry, and all of the participants and behind the scene folk that helped make today a memorable occasion. Oh yeah…one more thing…there is a special little gift for all of our church family, age 13 and above, to commemorate this joyous occasion… enjoy it… HAPPY 130TH ANNIVERSARY ….and 1 per person please :) !!
Many of you will remember my saying that GOD LOVES TO STRETCH HIS PEOPLE with regards to stewardship. This reminds me of a rubber band. Rubber bands have the amazing quality of elasticity, which allows them to retain their shape after being stretched. Today we are going to be stretched by asking each adult disciple of First Calvary to contribute an amount above their Tithes and Offerings ($150.00 is suggested). We must continue to move towards our financial goals, so that many more things can be done throughout this ministry. First Calvary Baptist Church must continue to be that bold and courageous congregation that empowers and enlightens our community. We must continue to be that congregation that reaches out to the isolated generation that needs to accept Jesus. Let us remember always that since 1884 we have been... and still are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 19, 2014 :: Author:
What Can I Do for My Church Today?
Thanks to our Visionary Ministry for their ongoing efforts in coordinating our Annual Whole Family Conference. Throughout this month we are joining together and learning about “The Church in Prayer: Renewing from Within”. Too often to some, the church is merely a building where we meet and greet each week, hear some good songs and some Bible stories, and get dressed up to come to. Biblically, however, the church is a place of refuge and more! The church is to be a living organism that ministers to families. It functions as a family, models family life, and cares for the family members within it. This is what our Wholistic Family Life Conference is all about. Mark your calendars, First Calvary, and plan to attend the remaining sessions.
his month (next Sunday to be exact), we are celebrating our 130th
Church Anniversary. Wow! 130 years is most certainly a long time and we have been here on the hill, serving in the Westend Community the entire time. We have much to be thankful for! Please, please, please plan to attend our Church Anniversary Service at 9:30 a.m. on October 26th
. Also, adult members are encouraged and asked to prayerfully give an amount above your tithes and offerings ($150 is suggested). Our Guest Minister is Dr. Joe Ratliff, whose Grandfather was a Former Pastor of this church. Oh and don’t forget your canned goods…. “Yes, We Canned!”…we are going to collect at least 300 cans of vegetables on next Sunday…bring in yours! Also in October, we will have our Annual Harvest Festival sponsored by our Youth Council in conjunction with the last Wholistic Family Life Conference session. Be here on the 29th
young people….and adults do what you can to support.
The type of spiritual growth that we need to experience is more than just showing up for Sunday Worship and/or Bible Study on Wednesday. It is my hope that even more within our congregation will seek out ways in which they may become actively involved in ministry at First Calvary. I am hoping that we begin to seek out ways that we may discover God’s purpose for our lives. We have so many ministries in this church that need YOU to join their ranks to make a Godly difference in this church and this community. The spiritual growth desired is when people ask the question,“What Can I Do for My Church Today?” and then do it! That’s what we need in this congregation: “Nike Folks”, JUST DO IT! Find out today what you can do for your church and not what your church can do for you! Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION.
October 12, 2014 :: Author:
The Church in Prayer: Renewing from Within
Thanks to our Visionary Ministry for their ongoing efforts in sponsoring our Annual Wholistic Family Life Conference. On every Wednesday, this month we join together as “The Church in Prayer: Renewing from Within”. There are three more Wednesdays of exciting events to come. Don’t forget that on the 29th
the WFLC will be held in conjunction with the Annual Harvest Festival…bring your snacks to donate…and donate some volunteer time too! Mark your calendars, First Calvary, and plan to attend each session. It is a time of enlightening family discussion and there is something for both the young and “not as young” J.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and today we celebrate “Pink Sunday”. Our entire church family… men, women, and youth…are decked out in our pink today to show our support for those who are in the fight…those who have won the fight…and those who are caregivers in the fight…against Breast Cancer. We also lovingly remember those who have gone on as a result of the battle. Look around the Sanctuary…the pink is pretty…and handsome (cause real men CAN wear pink J!) All month…we encourage each of us to “Think Pink”! Thanks to ministries like Pearls of Praise and Health and Wellness for helping us to remember to be aware…and speaking of aware, ladies…get those mammograms…your health is worth it!
Our 130th Church Anniversary is coming! Plan to be here for our 9:30 a.m. Worship Service on Sunday, October 26th…and invite someone…and don’t forget your canned veggies! Church Anniversary time (or Homecoming as some say) is about remembering where we have come from. Last Sunday we were honored and reminded that we have certainly come this far by faith with a special visit from Sister Fannie Reed, who turned 100 years young this past week. Sister Fannie, and countless others, sowed time, talent, and treasures into this church and here we are….130 years later! This is also our last Sacrificial Sunday for the year. All adult members are asked to prayerfully give an amount above and beyond their tithes and offerings on this day ($150.00 is suggested…and yes, needed, but let the Spirit lead you in your giving). I truly believe that a healthy church is a giving church, a growing church, a learning church, and a loving church. So, First Calvary, let’s give, let’s grow, let’s learn, let’s love, and LET’S GO! Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 5, 2014 :: Author:
Things that Matter Most
What a great Annual Biblical Institute we experienced this year! Thanks to all of you who attended EVERY night and I pray that those who were not able to come will get a tape and a booklet. It has been more than 35 years since I have been in Dr. Goodwin’s presence and he and his wife did a wonderful job sharing with us about “Things that Matter Most”. Special thanks also to our Christian Education Ministry, led by Minister Carter, for once again emphasizing how important Christian Education is to the Body of Christ. Oh yes, that’s who we are… THE BODY OF CHRIST, in worship and fellowship at First Calvary Baptist Church. We need for all of our teachers, volunteers, ministers, and those who are life-long learners (that should be EVERYONE…) to be excited about Christian Education and discipleship at First Calvary. Speaking of that, I want to share with you these thoughts concerning Discipleship:
1. A disciple is a learner-open and teachable.
2. A disciple puts Christ first in all areas of his/her life.
3. A disciple is committed to a life of purity and is taking steps to separate from sin.
4. A disciple demonstrates faithfulness and a desire to learn and apply
the Word of God through hearing it preached and taught.
October is here and FALL is upon us. So let me ask you to “fall” into a better focus and commitment towards Christ. Let me ask you to “fall” back into Sunday School, Bible Study and of course, Worship. Also, let’s “FALL” back into giving. Giving must be from the heart, so remember “where your treasure is there will your heart be also…..” So, now that FALL is here let’s shed some things that are holding us back and gather our minds toward one common cause and that is Jesus Christ!
It’s Church Anniversary Month! On the horizon is the celebration of 130 years in this community! Ain’t that something?! As an early reminder, on October 26th we will have ONE Worship service at 9:30 a.m. HERE AT FIRST CALVARY. Dr. Joseph Ratliff, Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, will be our guest minister. We are going to have another “Yes, We Canned” project….church wide. We are asking each PERSON, young and old, to bring 1 canned vegetable on Church Anniversary Sunday. The goal is a BIG one….we are GOING to collect 300 cans for our Food Pantry…yes, we are…and YES, WE CANNED (I am speaking those 300 cans into existence)!! Don’t forget that this will also be our last Sacrificial Sunday of the year. We are asking each adult member to prayerfully give a Sacrificial Offering above your tithes and offerings on this day… and yes… make no mistake about it… we need the $150.00. Additionally, each Wednesday this month we will have our Wholistic Family Life Conference on prayer…plan to be there. Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 21, 2014 :: Author:
It’s Singles Sunday! Thank you to all the Singles for your support this past week. Today, we welcome back our former Staff member and Minister to Youth, Dr. Patrick Thompson! As he imparts words of wisdom, may all of our twenty-something, thirty-something, forty-something, fifty-something and sixty-something singles, gain a blessing from what he has to share. Please don’t let this week of activities be the end of your involvement. The Singles in Love with Christ Ministry needs you!
On Saturday, September 27th, our Christian Education Ministry will host the Annual Christian Education workshop. All ministers, teachers, assistant teachers, Deacons, Deaconesses, ministry leaders and those interested in developing their teaching ministry skills are invited and encouraged to attend. Please plan to be there. Of all of the factors that can determine a congregation’s growth, having an effective Christian Education Ministry is critical. A well-organized, well-run and well-conceived program of Christian Education will promote church growth. As we develop disciples, each person must make a commitment to one or both aspects of our Study Ministry. Bishop Donald Hillard has shared this thought in his book entitled, Church Growth From an African American Perspective, “Next to preaching the gospel for the purpose of bringing lost people to Christ, nothing the church does is more important than educating believers to become mature, confident, and committed disciples of Christ who are equipped and motivated to change their world and claim their families, friends, workplaces, and communities for God.” It is my prayer that First Calvary will continue to have effective study ministries and that our desire to learn more about Christ will never cease. Let us always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 14, 2014 :: Author:
Happy Grandparents’ Day
Happy Grandparents’ Day to all of the grandmothers and grandfathers! Whether you are biological grandparents, adopted grandparents, or spiritual grandparents… your wisdom and care is valued more than words can say. Be sure to contact your grandparent today if you can, and give a hug to the elders among us! You are truly a blessing!
This past week has been a special time in my life. I am always reminded that today, the second Sunday in September marks my anniversary as a Christian Minister. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Additionally, a friend of my wife from Huntsville, Alabama asked me to officiate her daughter’s wedding (It’s hard to believe that it has been 23 years since we left Huntsville). This young lady is like a daughter to us and how grateful I am to have been asked to perform her marriage ceremony. Marriage is a sacred adventure and a Gift from God, so if you are interested in our eight month study, BEFORE I SAY I DO, please sign up today by calling the church office or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Beginning October 5th
at 3:00 p.m. we will meet for eight months every First Sunday afternoon through June 2015.
Don’t forget the events of the month. This week, we will celebrate with our Singles at the Singles’ Conference (September 17th
). Singles, come on out and be blessed! Then, as the end of the month comes, prepare to join our Christian Education Ministry at the Annual Christian Education WORDshop (September 27th
) and the Annual Biblical Institute (September 28th
, and October 1st
). Please take a moment to RSVP for the Christian Education WORDshop at email@example.com
. We are expecting our teachers, ministers, education and youth volunteers, deacons, deaconesses, and the general membership to be in attendance!
Finally, I would like to share with you this information regarding Christian Education as we look forward to BOTH the Singles and Christian Education events. A Christian Education website speaks to the levels at which Christian Education can take place: “Listening to a sermon in the corporate worship service is not enough to facilitate true growth. Discipleship also needs to be happening on the personal level, one-on-one with fellow believers, in small groups, and in midsize groups. Each of these levels offers a different dynamic to the growth process.” So, you see, this supports our idea that it’s not enough to be in church on Sunday. You’ve got to GO to GROW! Again…Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the “MaMa’s” and “PopPop’s”…and let’s continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 7, 2014 :: Author:
Christian Education Month
Special thanks to everyone that didn’t forget about our food pantry last month! Your giving made a HUGE difference. We appreciate all of the faithful who have contributed thus far. Don't stop!
Even a $10 donation of food goes a long, long to feeding those in need. If you missed it, it’s certainly not too late to help us continue our “Mission Mindedness”, you can bring non-perishable food items for the pantry ANYTIME….as a matter of fact, how about making it a family project once a month? Or even a ministry service project? The questions for the month are: “Are You Laboring in the Harvest?” and “What Can God Use You For?” There are so many opportunities for deliberate service within the life of this church.
September is here and it’s Christian Education Month at First Calvary! Under the leadership of Minister John Carter, our Christian Education Ministry works to help us grow as disciples. Whether it’s Bible Study, Sunday School, or both, this month let’s make a commitment to our study sessions and fellowship. This month several surveys will be iniated, please take the time to give us your feedback. As we celebrate this month, examine your discipleship status, your prayer life and your commitment to studying the Word of God. Yes, I am asking you to attend Bible Study and/or Sunday School. We have classes for all ages.
Last week was Labor Day, so let us remember the words of Jesus, “The Harvest is truly plentiful but the LABORERS are few!” I encourage each of you, that have not done so, to find some place in the life of this congregation in which to work and serve. Paul’s message is clear to me and I would hope that it is clear to you as well. We are called to be Co-Laborers for God. So let’s put our hand to the plow and get moving for the cause of Christ! I encourage each of us within this body of faith to make an even greater commitment (or one at all J) to our study sessions and fellowship. Our learning is important, for our spiritual and mental growth. Make Bible Study and Sunday School a priority…and don’t forget that on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., our Tutorial Ministry, Project FINE, takes place at the Community Family Life and Recreation Center at Lyon Park. Come one, come all and have your child strengthened and empowered in all areas of academia. There is no cost, just show up and bring your school work.
CALLING ALL TEACHERS, SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS, “WANNA-BE TEACHERS”, OFFICERS, MINISTERS, DEACONS AND DEACONESSES…AND MEMBERS (that should have covered everyone in the building!)…PLEASE plan to attend our Annual Christian Education Workshop, Saturday, September 27th. Our Annual Christian Education Promotion Sunday will take place on September 28th. Also, prepare yourself for our Annual Biblical Institute, September 29th- October 1st, each night at 7:00 p.m. Also in September, we will celebrate with our Singles Ministry as they hold the 11th Annual Singles’ Conference on the 17th-21st. With all these events and more within other ministries, no wonder we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 10, 2014 :: Author:
It’s almost the middle of August….MISSIONS Month is rolling right along! Thank you to those who are giving food for the Food Pantry Challenge. We reached (AND WENT BEYOND) our set goal last week—collected MORE than 100 boxes….ain’t that good news?? Even Pastor Davis was bringing in boxes of cereal! We have 4 more sets of items to go for the month and I am confident we will continue to reach our goal of 100 items each week! This week, we hope you can “Name that TUNA”…bring in your cans of tuna…to the tune of 100!!! We can do it, I KNOW we can! This is an annual food drive within the life of this church that is critical for our ongoing Food Pantry supply.
Don’t forget the other MISSION opportunities available to us this month as well…bring a bookbag (we need 300!)…bring your plastic bags (you KNOW you have a bunch at home and can spare some)…bring a donation for the Blevins House (they need household items)…there is so much that you can lend a hand to.
Remember, Jesus said, “when you do it unto the least of these you have done it unto me”….So, let’s treat Jesus really nice J.
Next weekend we will highlight our MISSION ministries. On Saturday, we will have our Clothing Giveaway at Ma Bessie’s House! This event is sponsored by the Daughters of Calvary. On next Sunday, the Senior Missionaries and Daughters of Calvary will celebrate MISSION Sunday. Both of these MISSION ministries are dedicated to serving the least of us. I am appreciative of their sacrifice of time, talents and treasures.
Parents of school aged children don’t forget that we are having THE WESTEND COMMUNITY GOES BACK TO SCHOOL RALLY on August 20th, beginning at 5:30 p.m. We are hoping for several Special Guests to join us for this event. We are also partnering with local Sister Congregations and our very own West End Community Foundation, Inc. (better known as Calvary Ministries, Inc.). Please come out and share in this wonderful experience. All parents, students and educators need to be in attendance. I know that our college freshmen and returning college students will be leaving to start school soon. It is your Pastor’s prayer that you stay engaged in HIS presence and power and keep the Main Thing the Main Thing (#Jesus)! Never forget Whose you are.
As always, we need your support in our Study Ministries, so please come to Sunday School and come each Wednesday night for Bible Study (don’t forget Noon Day Prayer on Wednesdays as well). We need and value your presence. I remind you that a learning congregation is a growing congregation! Ready, Set…..GROW! Let’s move forward in excellence and excitement because we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 3, 2014 :: Author:
July has come and gone, but the month will be remembered by the power-packed activities during Men’s Month. We hope it gets bigger and better as the years go on. I will say again, our Men’s Ministry, known as the Male Summit, has done a marvelous and magnificent job this year. Thanks to the Male Summit Leadership for all you have done throughout this year. Men….we need you to get active now, don’t wait til next year to become viable participants in this ministry!
Now, it’s MISSIONS MONTH! As we move into August, I encourage us to look within ourselves to see if we are really ready to do mission. During MISSIONS Month…and every month, all disciples of Jesus Christ should be willing and ready to give of their resources. I hope that throughout this month each of us will find some means of carrying out a missionary cause for. One thing you can do that is very easy is to join the FCBC Church Staff as we sponsor the “Food Pantry Family Challenge”. Bring the items of the week and help us reach our weekly goal! You can bring items to the collection box ANYTIME you come to the church during the week. Our Food Pantry makes a difference in the community! Here are some startling food statistics (source: ncfoodbanks.org): Between 2010-13 North Carolina ranked among the top five states with the highest percentage of citizens experiencing food shortages.
- Approximately 170,200 different people in NC receive emergency food assistance in any given week. This is equivalent to the entire current undergraduate enrollment of all 16 colleges and universities that make up the overall University of North Carolina system.
North Carolina ranks in the ten worst states
in the percentage of children under 18 who are lacking food on a regular basis
- 80% of NC households
with children and receiving food assistance don’t know where their next meal is coming from
of food pantries in NC have had to turn people away for lack of food
- 42% of families served by food banks
have had to choose between buying food and heating their homes.
- 35% of families served by food banks have been forced to choose between paying for food or for their rent/mortgage.
As you can see….we have a CONSTANT, ON-GOING NEED….FOR FOOD IN THE PANTRY! Again, supporting the Food Pantry is a great, simple way of doing MISSION work all year. So….remember, “It’s All So ‘Cereal’”….bring those cereal boxes in this week!! By the way, there are 2 other ways that you can easily participate in some MISSION efforts: bring a bookbag or 2 for our Back to School Rally (we need 300!) or donate all those plastic grocery bags you have around the house for the Mobile Market! It is my prayer that we will never forget we are held accountable by God to care for the least, the left out and the lost. Every effort counts…and can make a difference!
I would also like to remind you that during MISSION month we hope to contribute to organizations that serve those in despair. Therefore, we need your contributions as we continue to give to causes that support the cause of Christ. Speaking of giving, a special thank you to all who gave above and beyond your tithes & offerings on last Sunday. If you didn’t have it then, it’s never too late. Please give and remember it’s not about EQUAL GIVING BUT EQUAL SACIRFICE! They say if you do something for 21 days straight, it will become a habit. Let’s make being active in MISSION participation and giving of our time, talents and treasures both habits….and let’s remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
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!
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