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.
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!
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!
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!
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