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.
April 20, 2014 :: Author:
Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY! It is the time in Christianity when we observe the sacrifice of the living Savior of The World! The Resurrection of Jesus is without question the most pivotal truth in the Christian Faith. As we study the teachings of Paul, you find he makes it clear in I Corinthians 15:16-20 that without a belief in the Resurrection we have no faith. I have mentioned this point before and it is still a question that comes before us each year: Does the resurrection of Jesus really matter? Yes, it matters because of what God did on Calvary! Today, we are not on the“Threshold of Hope”; instead, this day represents our “Hope Fulfilled”! Today we celebrate a great mystery and we praise God for the gift and sacrifice of His Son!
As many of us conclude our time of fasting and praying on many things, I hope we remember that the excitement of Jesus' Resurrection is an historical event that changed everything. During this time, all over America and even the world, people of faith celebrate that which only God could do…HE can heal, HE can deliver, HE can provide, HE can save. Today gives us all a fighting chance. As Brother Liston Gore, Jr. said to me weeks before his death, “Pastor, I’m going down fighting!” Wow! Paul wrote, “Death where is your sting, and grave where is your Victory!” (I Cor. 15: 55) Because of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior,….we truly have the VICTORY…and I hope we are all feeling victorious today! Even now, our Lord is making a difference in people everywhere and the question is, "HAS HE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?" Let's keep believing, not for what He will or will not do, but let's believe in who He is! He Is Risen! Jesus Is Alive!
Don’t forget the Womanhood events that are coming next weekend. Ladies, we hope to see you there! Additionally, thank you to those who donated for our “Lily Project”….our Sanctuary is even more beautiful than usual on this Holy Day. We encourage each family to go online and schedule your Directory Picture. We need you in the book! An early reminder, May is up next and our Spring Revival is May 5th
…more details to come!
Finally, I pray that on this Resurrection Sunday, we will realize that we have an opportunity EVERY DAY to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. I am sustained by that great promise of Christ, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It is my hope that on this day we will be reminded of the benefits and blessings of living for Jesus. Happy Resurrection Sunday! Let us all remember that we celebrate our RISEN SAVIOR….and let us continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 13, 2014 :: Author:
Today is Palm Sunday. We see our Sanctuary full of palms and we encourage you to read the insert in the bulletin about the significance of this day. As we follow Jesus to the cross and experience his agonizing death, we will notice something. The crowd shouted,“HOSANNA! HOSANNA!” and then they shouted even more, “CRUCIFY HIM!, CRUCIFY HIM!” Let us not be as the crowd in their religious schizophrenic attitude about Jesus. He is either Jesus, The Lord of All or He is not Lord at all. The Prophet declared that he would be wounded…(Isaiah 53:5) but His wounds would be for our good and God’s Glory! As we receive palms today let us remember, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53: 4- 6) Speaking of palms and plants….PLEASE don’t forget to give to our “Lily Project”….and wait ‘til you see the beautiful lilies in the Sanctuary on next Sunday!
Starting today, if you desire to really feel the impact of this last week of Jesus’ life of sacrifice, pray that God will lead you into a wonderful experience of Fasting. I invite those who would like to experience Jesus’ sacrifice to join me from today (April 13th
) until Resurrection Morning (April 20th
) with a complete fast (liquid only: Water/Tea-limited Honey) for the next seven days, sunrise to sundown with limited foods after sunset or, through much prayer, a complete Fast. If you are not already, I encourage you to fast from SOMETHING that is a staple in your life…The TV? TEXTING? The computer? A specific food item? Facebook or Tweeting (unless it’s about Jesus J) ….it’s a small sacrifice compared to what our Lord and Savior sacrificed for each of us.
We invite everyone to join us for our celebration of Holy Week. On Thursday, April 17th, we will celebrate our Annual Maundy Thursday Worship Service at 7:00 p.m. Our Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway is on this Saturday, April 19th; at 7:00 a.m. at “Ma Bessie’s House”. Also, our Christian Education Ministry will host the Annual Spring Festival on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Then, on next Sunday, we will celebrate the Resurrection!! Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION, not because of who we are but because of who THE LORD IS!
April 6, 2014 :: Author:
Womanhood Month: Kingdom Women
Let me began by saying to all of you who will notice my absence today that it is not an intentional absence, but a part of my last three month of obligations to the Durham Public School Board! Yes, this is my last term of serving concluding on June 31, 2014. Thanks to all of those who worked on our campaign many years ago. Please note that there are individuals in this congregation who are seeking to serve as I have done. Our prayers are with them as they campaign throughout their districts. What is important is that you go vote on May 6th
and “Vote with Hope”!
We are officially into our Womanhood Month Celebration, “KINGDOM WOMEN: WOMEN OF HOPE”. “Kingdom women give the devil as much reason to fear as kingdom men. They live confidently in the knowledge that Christ died and rose for them so that they can experience the significance of the destiny to which they has been called” (be there at the Pearls of Praise Book Study on April 12th for more J). Under the leadership of Sister Jill Potter, Sister Judith Davis, Minister Micara Sessoms and the hard-working women on our Womanhood Month Committee, we are excited about what is to come as this month progresses. It is my prayer that the “KINGDOM WOMEN” of First Calvary will engage themselves in the activities and mission opportunities scheduled for this month. Also, let me encourage our young ladies to participate in the events this month as well. There is a list of the remaining events in today’s bulletin. Ladies, plan to be there….and invite someone!
It is my hope that as we “spring” into this new season outside, more of us will “spring” into action and become even more involved in the ministry events and other activities for the good of this congregation. This Saturday, our Youth Council will have another “MatureTech” Session for those of us that are “electronically challenged”. Our first New Disciples Fellowship of the year will be on next Sunday, April 13th, after 10:45 a.m. service. Additionally, we are coming up on the Resurrection Celebration (a reminder, please give to our “Lily Project”!). Mark your calendars for our Annual Maundy Thursday Service on April 17th and the Community Good Friday Concert at Union Baptist Church on April 18th. Parents and guardians, bring your children and youth out for the Spring Festival on Saturday, April 19th, at 9:00 a.m. sponsored by our Christian Education Ministry. The Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway is at Ma Bessie’s House at 7:00 a.m. on April 19th as well. Once again, we encourage women of all ages to join in the Womanhood Month celebration. Last, but not least, our Music Workshop was very challenging, comforting and correcting. Thanks to Minister Dotson and our Music Staff for doing what they do best. (We are still recovering from the week in the Church Office…which explains today’s abbreviated bulletin….pray for our copiers…and for those who use them!) It’s all for the Kingdom, y’all!! Please do your best to attend Bible Study, Sunday School and Worship each week. Let us remember that we need each other to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 30, 2014 :: Author:
As we conclude this month’s emphasis on Stewardship, it is imperative that we remember a few things about this topic. As a review: God is the Owner of everything. God has allocated his blessings to us as managers of His resources and God is holding us accountable for the way we use those resources. Our final thought about stewardship is this: we should always remember that it’s mostly about TRUST. If you can’t trust God then you can’t trust yourself to be an effective steward. Thank you, disciples, for trusting God with your sacrificial gifts and your time, talents and treasures during this month of stewardship. Once again, our tithes and stewardship information is listed each week in the bulletin.
Let me thank our Music Ministry for a wonderful music workshop. I hope those who attended have been transformed in their understanding of Worship and Praise and “Music in Ministry”. Today at 4:00 p.m., we will have the culmination of our Workshop with our Music Concert featuring our Guest Clinician, Pastor Oliver Wells. Please join us and support our Music Ministry and others who have sacrificed for 2 nights and a Saturday morning this past week for this opportunity to give glory to God through song. We are grateful to Pastor Wells for sharing with us over the past few days. Also, today during our Sunday School Hour is SUPER SUNDAY SCHOOL! Join us in Sunday School and grow in your relationship with Christ! Speaking of relationships, we are celebrating Couples’ Sunday today and recognizing our Black Marriages!
April is right around the corner and many exciting things are coming this spring at First Calvary. It will be Womanhood Month! Womanhood Month activities will begin this coming Saturday. Sisters, mark your calendars, so that you will not miss a single event. Take note of the insert in today’s bulletin and plan to participate…and invite someone! We additionally encourage everyone to donate those gently used clothing items to the Smith House for our upcoming Clothing Giveaway. Also in April, we will celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, with our Maundy Thursday, Spring Festival, and Resurrection Sunday events and services (and please donate to the “Resurrection Lily Project”). Okay, in all things let us all remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 23, 2014 :: Author:
Stewardship is HEART Work
We have come to the first Sacrificial Offering Sunday for the year of 2014. This is special because during each one of our Sacrificial Giving Sundays we ask every adult member to financially sacrifice. This leads me to consider why we should give a Sacrificial Offering today. Well specifically, it’s no longer about meeting the Budget, neither is it about our needing it. Well then, why give? One reason is because Jesus was the ultimate Sacrifice! He died and rose again because He loved us enough to take on that monumental task at Calvary….and ain’t that Good News??!! As we do on all of our Sacrificial Sundays, we are asking each adult member to prayerfully & sacrificially give an amount above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings on today ($150.00 is suggested). If you are unable to do it today, we encourage you to do so before the end of the month. First Calvary, as we celebrate in this season of sacrifice called Lent, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. Through these financial offerings, we can make a difference as we carry out our call to be Empowering Disciples Through Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship and Stewardship. So that you won’t misunderstand me, let me make it plain, we need you to sacrifice TODAY
! If there was ever a time we need what you will give on Sacrificial Sunday, it’s TODAY!
Spring is officially finally here (at least we hope! J) and there is much going on in the life of First Calvary. I would like to take a moment to say “thank you” to those few faithful persons that volunteer throughout the week in the church office (you know who you are! J). The way you help and support our hard working office staff is such a blessing. From working in our Food Pantry to serving in the church office on Sundays to helping put together our bulletins each week, your contributions matter and we appreciate you! It’s also a form of Stewardship by giving of your TIME! Don’t forget to bring your gently used clothing items and donate them to our Clothing Closet at the Bessie Smith House….we are preparing for our Spring Clothing Giveaway (take them DIRECTLY to the Smith on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-to 12:00 p.m., not the Church Office!) Now we can’t forget to thank our still growing Entrepreneur Ministry for doing such a wonderful job on Saturday with the Business Fair. Finally, it is my hope that all of our membership will have a space in the place at our Music Workshop this week, with our Guest Clinician, Pastor Oliver Wells, from down my way….Florida, that is J! Plan to participate…become knowledgeable about “Music in Ministry”and get your praise on! Also, you are invited and welcome to join us this afternoon as we celebrate the 5th Pastoral Anniversary of Pastor Derric Gregory, a son of this church, in Hillsborough, NC (details are in the bulletin). Let us all remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 16, 2014 :: Author:
Giving to a Giving God
Scouting Sunday last week was a wonderful celebration and we thank all of those that participated in service. Our prayers are continuously with all of our Youth Ministry work and we hope that many more of you will volunteer right now. Well, I hope you’ve caught up on your missed hour of sleep because spring is here! Don’t forget that we are still in the midst of Stewardship Month. Thank you to those who volunteered for the Calvary Ministries Annual George Smith Golf Tournament. We also say an early Thank You to those who will volunteer to be a partner in our annual Entrepreneur Fair this coming Saturday (come out and support and see our Business Owners!)
As we continue to be an effective financial managing congregation, next Sunday, March 23rd
, is Sacrificial Sunday. Yes, it’s time again to contribute an amount above your Tithes & Offerings ($150.00 is suggested). We are looking forward to God’s blessings on next Sunday as we worship and give as a united Body of Faith. Stewardship, our emphasis this month, is multidimensional. We must therefore remember the key principles that WE MUST GIVE and that GIVING IS A WAY OF HAVING A PURPOSEFUL LIFE.
Some years ago, Pastor J. Alfred Smith, of Oakland, CA wrote these words which are still true today, “Giving to the giving God is not a feeling of obligation or the fulfillment of duty. It is not an effort to impress God or to bribe or to court God’s favor. None of this is necessary. God is love. Our giving is our tangible act of love and adoration to God. It is our way of saying yes to God’s love and to say, Thanks!”
(Giving to a Giving God
, PNBC Press, 1992). Let us reflect on these words and the words of Jesus as recorded by Luke, “Give and it shall be given unto you in good measure, pressed down, and running over….” (Luke 6:38). Not going to be here next Sunday? You can certainly give your sacrificial offering today… or give online…or via “snail” mail… or bring it by the church office when you can.
Allow me to share why we need to be accountable about our GIVING of time, talents and treasure. First, it is being true to who you are as a believer. All believers should be CHEERFUL GIVERS. Second, all believers should be CONSISTENT GIVERS. Finally, all believers are to be CHANNELING GIVERS. By this I mean that your giving should be a vehicle by which God gives back to you….read Luke 6:38. Every disciple of Jesus Christ at First Calvary Baptist Church is able to give of your TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES according to God’s Word.
As we move forward as “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship” (Acts 2: 42), we need you to be a Cheerful, Consistent, and Channeling Giver! God has been too good not to be obedient! Don’t forget Bible Study, Sunday School and of course other Discipleship Study areas that we offer here at First Calvary. There is something for EVERYONE….including YOU! We can do all we do because we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 9, 2014 :: Author:
“WHY NOT YOU?”
Did you know that trust is at the core of stewardship? After seeing last Sunday’s Tithes and Offering report listed below, I believe some of us know just that! Yes, our “All Tithers/Prove Me” Sunday was blessed and it continues to prove to me that God does not come short on His Word. Tithing is a spiritual act that is truly the kind of giving that the Lord loves…. and that, First Calvary, is cheerful giving. On last Sunday, those of us that believe God were willing to give a faithful tithe, and the result was blessed and favorable. Tithing is a venture of faith, whether the gift is large or small based on your income.
It’s never too late to become a tither and see the mighty works of the Lord. As the folks at Nike would say, “JUST DO IT!” This is the time for every disciple of Jesus Christ in the life of First Calvary Baptist Church to make a commitment to be an effective steward, not just with your “treasures”, but with your “time and talents” as well. Thanks to those of you who have given of your time and talents in this Kingdom Work at First Calvary. In the words of the Seahawks Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Russell Wilson’s father, “WHY NOT YOU?” It is my prayer that “U” will not be missing in Ch rch!
Today we celebrate Scouting Sunday. Special thanks to the Scout Leadership Team, each leader, and every family that is involved with this ever-growing, LARGE ministry. Please remember that our Scouting Ministry is just that…..MINISTRY! It is not a nursery, it is not after-school care, it is not a baby-sitting service. The goal of Boy/Cub Scouts “is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.” Additionally, Girl Scouts “aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship
through activities including camping
, community service
, learning first aid
, and earning badges by acquiring other practical skills.” (source-wikipedia) When you are a part of the Scouting Ministry, your life is affected for the better!
(In my best James Brown voice….PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!) Don’t forget the Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc. Golf Tournament this coming Saturday, 8:30 A.M. SHOT-GUN START at Hillandale Golf Course. We still need players and sponsors… and of course volunteers to assist with the event. If you are available, contact Sister Rebecca Oats at (919)536-4201 no later than this Wednesday, March 12th, at 4:00 p.m. to lend a hand. Ready? Set? Golf!
Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 2, 2014 :: Author:
March is STEWARDSHIP MONTH at First Calvary and today is ALL TITHERS SUNDAY! It is an opportunity for believers to really stretch out in faith and TITHE! For several years now, we’ve asked this body of believers to let’s all Tithe, just to see what will happen when this is done. We have asked all that have never tried GIVING A TENTH of your WEEKLY, MONTHLY OR BI-MONTHLY SALARY TO TRY IT TODAY! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain when we trust God with all of our BORROWED TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do for us financially on this annual day.
Year after year we’ve asked those who are not regular tithers to try it and watch God prove Himself. The truth is that the 90% God allows us to keep will always go farther than the 100%. Many can testify to that and in my own life I can certainly say that God keeps His promises! When you are faithful to God, He supplies every need you have. (Phil. 4:19)
I want to make a plea that I believe is necessary for us to continue to Empower, Enhance and Evangelize the community in which we exist. This is for everyone that is not involved in a ministry at First Calvary….and unfortunately that is A LOT of us….but we are looking to change that starting TODAY! Please fill out the blue card that is in today’s bulletin regarding what Ministry Work you would like to be involved in at First Calvary and we can point you in the right direction IMMEDIATELY! This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, also known as the beginning of Lent (see the insert in the bulletin). What a wonderful time to commit to Ministry! Again, March is Stewardship Month at First Calvary so don’t forget to give us some time, talents and treasures like never before. On top of the blue cards, a list of our 2014 Ministry Leaders is in the bulletin as well….CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY and join a ministry today! Your presence is needed…we are serious about this, y’all…so come on and get on the bus! (Ministry Leaders, get ready for some new folk…contact them as soon as possible and get them engaged in your ministry!)
Don’t forget throughout our community this week we are celebrating The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS. Come out on Friday, March 7th, for a special movie viewing hosted by our ACT Ministry. Our Youth Council has some exciting, new activities planned for March 8th. Also, we will join with the community in support of Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc. at the Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 15th, shot-gun start at 8:30 a.m. We still need volunteers to lend a hand. Contact Sister Rebecca Oats (919-536-4201) for details. We also have our Business Fair on March 22nd to look forward to this month. Our first Sacrificial Sunday is on the horizon on March 23rd. Remember that on this day, we encourage adult members to give an amount above your tithes and offerings. For some it will be $150.00 and for others it might be more or less. On March 26th-30th our Music Ministry will hold the Annual Music Workshop, under the direction of Minister Michael Dotson, our Director of Music Ministries. What a busy month…come join in ministry with us! Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT OUR MISSION!
February 23, 2014 :: Author:
Put Your Best Foot Forward
I will start off this week by thanking the Young Adult Ministry and the YAM leaders for an enriching and invigorating Young Adult Conference. We have one more event to celebrate….plan to join in the Worship and Praise at the “YAM Friday Night Live” Concert on this Friday at 7:00 p.m. The “iPray Conference” is just one example of the hard work in Ministry that is taking place at First Calvary. Our ministries are truly doing exciting things! It is such a blessing when we do things for the GLORY OF GOD! March is marching toward us and there will be much going on in the life of this church as spring springs up! Let’s not forget that next Sunday is “All Tithers/ Prove Me Sunday”.
Stewardship Month in March starts our journey through preaching and teaching about the concept of Stewardship. Remember, our theme this year is “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship!” So as African American History Month ends, let us remember that our foreparents did not have much but with the little they had they recognized that “All Things Came from the Lord”. They gave from the heart, for the promise was set to be returned back into their favor. Our journey will take us through several scriptural references in the Book of Corinthians and Matthew as we discover some empowering messages of Jesus and Paul. We are going to start with Tithing! We invite those that are not tithers to try it and watch God work in your lives. It gets even more exciting when we give of our time, talents, and treasures for the GLORY OF GOD!
As we come to this last week of our nation’s celebration of African American History Month, let us remember where we’ve come from. Originally, Dr. Carter G. Woodson intended that we would engage in this celebration and recognition for one week. Now it has become a month of celebration, but who says it can’t be celebrated everyday? With that in mind, we should pause daily to recognize ourselves as a Great People…an African Spiritual People… and of course a Faithful People. Let me challenge us to do something this week that will make someone feel happy instead of sad, feel empowered instead of embarrassed, feel affirmed instead of alienated and feel blessed instead of burdened. Our communities are in dire need of people reaching people, regardless of race, creed or color. So as grandma would say, “PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD”, and walk with dignity and pride. Let us always remember that we are AN EXCITNG CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
February 9, 2014 :: Author:
Today we celebrate Scholarship Sunday. When we started our Scholarship fund the purpose was to support Higher Education and students who were furthering their studies. It is a blessing to be a part of a congregation that recognizes the importance of encouraging and financially supporting students who have made a conscious decision to better themselves. Our young people must recognize the value in attaining a good education. Education has the ability to open the doors to many opportunities and new experiences. If you haven’t done so, please set aside a special extra contribution for our Scholarship Endowment Fund. It will certainly be put to good use. As the Chairman of the Board for Morehouse School of Religion and as a Durham Public School Board member, I am often reminded on a daily basis of the importance of supporting educational efforts…not to mention, y’all KNOW how important education is to Mrs. Davis! J I implore each of you to make a contribution today toward this worthwhile cause as we continue to encourage the youth of our congregation to pursue academic excellence.
Parents, it is our duty and responsibility to train our children in spiritual, social and educational affairs. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train a child in the way he/she should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.”
The truth of the matter is the best thing a parent can give to their child/children is Jesus and secondly a good education. Designer clothes, expensive tennis shoes and cell phones are great gifts but they don’t build character. We must encourage our children to watch television less and read more. We must encourage our children to play video games less and explore the world more.
Thanks go out to our Couples’ Ministry, YAM, and our Diaconate Ministry for wonderfully planned events these past 2 days. First Calvary is full of Ministry activity….that’s what we do (speaking of what we do…thanks to Sister Betty Borden, our Congregational Nurse, and her volunteers for another successful Dental Van)! Coming up this week, I encourage all of our Young Adults to plan to participate in the other events planned during the YAM “iPray” Conference! Plan to be there and invite someone. On next Sunday, we will celebrate Young Adult Sunday. February is almost half over, and ministry is truly going on at First Calvary! Remember always that we are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!”
February 2, 2014 :: Author:
African American History Month
Thanks to all our leaders who attended the Leadership Retreat. Special thanks to our Administrative Assistant, Sister Dennise Lindsay and Chair of Visionary Ministry, Sister Angela Sanders for a wonderful format and presentations. Sister Catherine Williamson-Hardy and Deacon Kevin Montgomery were very inspiring and of course, what can be said about Dr. Sidney Locks? Look for him again real soon.
The shortest month of the year is already here and now there are only 11 more months left in 2014. I spent time listening to the words of President Barack Obama on Tuesday while we all closed down for the snow storm…Oh by the way, did it even snow? A question I have for you today is, WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS THIS YEAR MEANT TO YOU? Or better yet, WHAT HAVE YOU INVOLVED YOURSELF IN THAT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE? When I think about African American History Month and I think about from the shores of Africa to Jamestown, Virginia all the way down to St. Helena Island, Georgia, I am reminded of what differences we have made as a people to this society. As we look over our past as a people there have been so many things that we have created, invented, developed, and institutions we have sustained. It causes me to wonder WHAT DIFFERENCE HAVE WE MADE SINCE THOSE TIMES?
My father would often say to me, “people may not like you or love you but you determine how they respect you!” Of course for this to occur I must first of all respect myself and hold to the position that I will not disrespect anyone because I don’t want anyone to disrespect me. I will not hate anyone because I don’t want anyone to hate me. As a people (and we are many with all of our issues J) we must revamp, realign and rearrange our priorities, first to the Kingdom of God and second as a people of Culture. Not much is done these days around African American/Black History in our schools, well hopefully we will in our church (to my desire as Pastor) but we can do something in our homes this month. So I encourage each of you…do something, talk about something, and read about something that will inspire you to make a DIFFERENCE in your community and world.
During this month we will celebrate many occasions where you will be able to give of your TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES. Next Sunday, we will celebrate Scholarship Sunday. In January we informed you that we raise these funds to be dispersed in our Scholarship efforts. Please consider making a contribution towards this ministry. Married Couples, we hope to see you at “Date Night” 7:30 p.m. on February 7th . I am looking to see ALL of our Mature Adults, aged 55 and up, at the Diaconate Ministry “Honoring Our Elders” Luncheon. On February 8th, 12th-15th, 21st, and 28th our Young Adult Ministry will celebrate the “iPray” YAM Conference. Inserted in the bulletin is more information concerning all these events, and if you stop by the Vestibule and Ministry Table after service today, you can register for quite a few of them. Please plan to join us! Again, we are encouraging our membership to make a commitment to come to Wednesday Night Bible Study. Our current study of Philippians is one you don’t want to miss! So you see, there is a lot going on in Ministry at 1311! Never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 26, 2014 :: Author:
Today we celebrate in worship our annual installation of church leaders. We are grateful to God for those whom He has chosen among us to be full of His Holy Spirit. I am also grateful to God for allowing Dr. Sydney Locks to share with us. We have experienced such edifying sessions during our Annual Leadership Retreat and we thank the Visionary Ministry for such a well organized event. Colossians 3:17 in The Message states: “Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
Thank you, Church Leaders, for your sacrifice and your service.
Have you heard? Our Wednesday Night Bible Study is very interesting! So join us on Wednesdays as we continue our study of Philippians. Young folk, join our children and youth classes as well. Remember, our 2014 Church theme is: “Disciples Empowered in Kingdom Work: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship and Stewardship!” Make a commitment today to become a part of our Study Ministries on Sundays and Wednesdays (and don’t forget Noon Day Prayer).
In 2005, Pastor Rick Warren wrote that, "If you don't ask people for commitment, you won't get it..... One of the most helpful things a church can do for people is to help them clarify what commitments they should make and what commitments they should decline. The reason we have so many weak Christians today is because they are half-committed to two dozen causes rather than being totally committed to the things that really matter." As we sanction these who come forth as leaders, please don't let their “celebrity” mock the servant hood of God. Remember, there is something happening here at First Calvary, we are moving towards a greater discipleship. As we sanction these who come forth as leaders, we pray that they will move forward in “service”…not “celebrity”! I am steadfast in my position that “countability” and “accountability” are characteristics that are crucial for organizational strength. Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 19, 2014 :: Author:
I Have A Dream
WOW! What a time we are experiencing in Bible Study as we study the Book of Philippians. As we learned last week, Paul’s admonishment while in prison was to “ENHANCE, EMPOWER AND EVANGELIZE!” Our Mission/ Vision this year at First Calvary is that we strive to enhance, empower and evangelize in our congregation and community. Join us again Wednesday as we study more from of the book of Philippians.
On Friday and Saturday, join us for our Annual Leadership Retreat. Yes, it’s Friday and Saturday, sacrifice with us as we embark on this spiritual journey. Here is a working definition for the word “leadership”: "Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose." In his book entitled, THE SPIRIT OF LEADERSHIP, Myles Munroe writes, “leadership is not a pursuit but a result. It is not a label you can give yourself. ‘Leader’ is what people whom you inspire call you because they are stirred to participate in the positive vision that you are presenting them -whether it is the vision for a country, a company, or a cause." What makes a difference in the lives of truly effective Christian leaders is when there is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! Leaders of First Calvary, let us show our commitment to the cause of Christ by making sure we are in attendance for the 2014 Leadership Retreat. Please plan to attend both Friday night and Saturday morning. NO EXCUSES PLEASE!
As we pause as a nation to celebrate the annual recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, I am reminded that Dr. King was a man that had a dream, and that dream included “evangelizing” the message of Christ, “enhancing” the quality of life of those around him, and helping others to be “empowered” within their spiritual walk. Our youth will participate in our Annual MLK Youth Lock-In where emphasis will be placed on preparing them to meet challenges in the 21st Century. From Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. until approximately 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, our Youth Council, in conjunction with DPR and Calvary Ministries of the Westend Community, Inc., will host almost 200 young people between the ages of 12 – 18. Never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
QUOTES BY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. TO PONDER:
If you can’t fly, then run,-If you can’t run, then walk,
If you can’t walk, then crawl,-But whatever you do,
You have to keep moving forward.
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.
January 12, 2014 :: Author:
Today, we take time to remember our loved ones who have journeyed to everlasting rest and peace. Our Memorial Sunday is a time to honor the life of our dear departed saints. Our hearts are joined with the families who are here with us today and to say we have not forgotten you and we will continue to remember you in our prayers. To the families who are with us, remember “You Never Lose That Which You Love…..”! We continue to pray for all those who grieve. I say to you as Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “Grieve, but not as those who have no hope!” It is my prayer that as we share with these families today they will know that in their grieving hour, their church family is only a prayer and a phone call away. Keep the faith and know that your loved one is in a far better place. They are rejoicing in worship forever. First Calvary, reach out to them with a hug or an encouraging word.
any of you have expressed concerns about being involved in Ministry, well today is your starting date, so find a place to be used by God. We need volunteers! As we’ve said in Church Conference, a ministry cannot function effectively without YOU to support it!“What’s missing in the CH CH! U R”….So give us You!
We are already in the second week in January but it’s not too late to add joining our study ministries to your 2014 “to do” list J. For the next four weeks we will study Philippians in Adult Bible Study. Also, it’s Leadership Month at First Calvary. We expect to see all leaders/chairpersons, officers, and ministers at our Annual Leadership Retreat on January 24th and 25th. Author John C Maxwell has previously shared the following in his devotional writing, “What does it take to have the focus required to be a truly effective leader? The keys are priority and concentration. A leader who knows his/her priorities but lacks concentration knows what to do, but never gets it done. If he has concentration but no priorities he has excellence without progress. But when he harnesses both, he has the potential to achieve great things.” As we celebrate Leadership Month, I truly believe that we are a people full of the potential to achieve great things. Never forget, First Calvary, that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
January 5, 2014 :: Author:
Happy New Year Disciples
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s make it a wonderful year. As we move forward in 2014, our new church theme is “DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP AND STEWARDSHIP!”
(Acts 2: 42). It is our goal and desire that we continue our emphasis on DISCIPLESHIP
. Discipleship stands out and demands attention. Discipleship reaches out and engages people. Discipleship is about our attitude as well as our actions.
As we continue to move towards stronger discipleship let us do it with an attitude that reflects excitement and excellence in all we do. This goes for both our youth and adults…and speaking of adults, we NEED you to lend a hand and volunteer for the MLK Youth Lock-In on January 19th
(contact information is listed in the bulletin…Oh, and young folk, sign up and bring your friends!). We also invite and encourage all leaders and disciples to attend our Annual Leadership Retreat on January 24th
. Please register today and plan to be there! First Calvary’s Music Ministry and Ushers will serve at the City Wide Revival on this Tuesday, January 7th
. We hope you will join us (Music personnel should be at Peace no later than 6:45 p.m.). Let’s make sure that all Leaders, Elected Officers and members who desire are present and counted for at our Annual Church Conference on Wednesday, January 8th
. Thanks for the exciting ministry partnership we demonstrated in 2013…let’s do more of the same this year! Additionally, we will celebrate Memorial Sunday on next Sunday, January 12th
We can accomplish so many things in 2014 if we allow our actions to be driven by a passion for God and a compassion for people. Doing God's business and working together as a team is how we see success in this Kingdom Work. In 2014, if we want to see the manifestation of God’s power, we must be transformed into Kingdom-minded, mature believers in Christ Jesus and work together as one in the ministry. Why? ‘Cause we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 29, 2013 :: Author:
Have a Great New Year!
The entire Davis family hopes that everyone will have a meaningful and blessed New Year! Let us prepare our hearts to continue our move in Excellence in the coming year. Our 2014 Church theme is ““DISCIPLES EMPOWERED IN KINGDOM WORK: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP AND STEWARDSHIP!” Acts 2: 42. As we continue this pursuit of dedicated discipleship, we must remember that being a disciple comes without excuses. We must develop and distinguish ourselves from others. Additionally, we must remember who we are and whose we are. Jeremiah 29:11 and other prophetic scriptural readings continue to remind us that our God guides and guards as we move toward our destiny in His divine will.
On this Fourth Day of Kwanzaa, called UJAMAA, “cooperative economics” calls on us to do as much as we can in any way we can to make our community better. May we allow God to continue to raise our consciousness to an ever increasing way towards excellence and stronger discipleship. (Oh yeah, enjoy our “abbreviated bulletin” today…we will be back to business as usual next week! J)
Don’t forget our annual Watch Night worship service on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. and Church Conference on Wednesday, January 8th at 7:00 p.m. I look forward to seeing you at this conference if you are a church officer, ministry leader or concerned member. Our Bible Study will gather at the City-Wide Revival at Peace Missionary Baptist Church on January 7th. Therefore, our next Bible Study family hour will be held on January 15th. Have a Great New Year! Always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHRUCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 22, 2013 :: Author:
Today in your bulletin is a Thank You Card from the Davis’, including those two wonderful daughters in-love (Madison and Josephine), who join us (Pastor, Mrs. Davis, Fredrick II, Jordan, and John) in sending holiday wishes to everyone. The card also shares the gratitude that Judith and I have for the many gifts shared during this Christmas Season and our Pastoral Appreciation. I hope that each family will receive a card during worship today.
The countdown is on…. It’s almost Christmas…let’s worship our Lord and Savior! I pray everyone will have a wonderful “Christ Day”; celebrating the birth of the Christ! This season, like every day for the Christian, we praise God for His unspeakable Gift, JESUS! That’s what it’s all about! Our God cared for us, a world full of dying, decaying, and detached souls so much that He saw fit to give what only He could give.....that’s worth a celebration!! As we recognize the last Sunday of Advent, the fourth candle represents PEACE, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).
I hope that we go throughout today and the remaining days of this year celebrating and praising God for His unspeakable Gift…JESUS—and communing in that special peace! Speaking of celebrating, thank you to our Christian Education Ministry, Music Ministry, and Drama Ministry for the Christmas Presentation on last Sunday!
As 2013 comes to an end, let me thank all the disciples of Jesus Christ in this body for doing the work of ministry in an excellent and exciting way. We hope you had a wonderfully blessed time at our Volunteer Fellowship this past Wednesday. Thank you for all you do! Now as 2013 draws to an end, I pray that each of you will approach 2014 with an open hand, obedient heart and optimistic mind. I encourage each of us to please plan to be here as we celebrate the passing of this year and welcome in 2014 at our Annual Watchnight Service on Tuesday, December 31st
at 10:00 p.m. Thanks also to our Visionary Ministry for supplying each First Calvary with a 2014 FCBC Calendar…they will be available for pickup beginning NEXT Sunday…get yours….and get ready for a power-packed year in ministry.
It is important that we remember why this season is so important. Were it not for the sacrifice of our Savior, our existence would be for naught. Christ is the ultimate example…service….that’s what it’s all about. Even as we celebrate with family and friends, there is still room for service. What can you do to serve during this holiday? I encourage each of you to serve inside and outside of the church walls. Enjoy the days off, the gift-giving, the food, the music…but don’t forget the TRUE meaning of “CHRIST-mas” for the believer. Know that we serve a Mighty God…and He calls us to serve others. Ready…? Set…? Let’s Serve…! Again, Merry “CHRIST”-mas….and never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
December 8, 2013 :: Author:
Reason for the Season
We are closing out 2013, and as many of you know we need your financial support. Today at 6:30 p.m. during our Official Leadership Team meeting our attention will be on our anticipated 2014 Budget. Additionally, we will discuss and decide what ministry work will need to be cut or tightened up as a part of the overall budget. After two years and eight months, today we also acknowledge the work in this ministry of our current Church Business Administrator, Minister Kevin Calhoun, who is leaving First Calvary after almost 3 years of dedicated service.
Keep in mind the events over the coming weeks in the life of First Calvary. This Wednesday night during our regular Bible Study time, join us for our Annual “Bring a Pot” Fellowship. When you“bring your pot”, try to have it here by 6:15 p.m. Also during this time we will share in prayer and praise with our Angel Tree families. I am really amazed at the support many of you have given to this ministry work each year. We should all consider it a blessing to help those who are in need.
Our additional events that will take place this month are also important to the life of this ministry. The Daughters of Calvary will hold a Clothing Give-Away at the Smith House on December 14th. Also on that day, our youth will go caroling. Our Annual Christmas Presentation will take place on December 15th. Our volunteers are cordially invited to be our guests at the Annual Volunteer Recognition Event on December 18th, hosted by Pastor and Mrs. Davis. There will be Christmas fellowships held by many of our ministries, including the Ushers/First Aide Ministry. On Sunday, December 29th, we will celebrate Christkwanzaa Sunday…so wear your African Attire! As usual, we will celebrate the coming of 2014 with our Annual Watch Night Service on December 31st…we hope to see YOU there! You see, First Calvary, there is still much work to do, even as the year comes to a close. Speaking of which, it is never too late to make a donation to our food pantry. What a great way to serve our community during this season.
In closing, let us remember on this 2ndSunday of Advent, that the real reason for this season is to celebrate the coming of the Savior. The 2nd candle lighted on the Advent Wreath this week is the candle of LOVE. The Second Candle represents the love of God that He has shared with us in the person of his Son, and which Jesus Christ showed us through His sacrifice and death. This love, the pure love of Christ, we are called to share with each other. This candle also represents God’s covenant with Abraham, promising him an eternal glory and the father of many as numerous as the sands of the sea. The Lord further promised Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed, a promise that received its ultimate fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ through Abraham’s line. (source: byu.edu) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16–17) I encourage each of us to not forget the ultimate Reason for the Season. I know it’s cliché but it’s very important that we remember what we shouldn’t forget….it’s all about Christ! It is also important that First Calvary Baptist Church continue to be “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION”!
December 1, 2013 :: Author:
Here we are in the month of December. Look around, First Calvary! Thank you to the faithful few that helped with the Christmas decorations around the church. As we see the signs of the holiday and get involved in the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings, let us not forget the true reason for the season. We also recognize that today is World Aids Day. We thank our ACT Ministry for their hard work in supporting those that deal with this disease and those that care for them.
Mark your calendars for the Bible Study schedule for the remainder of the year: December 4th- regular Bible Study, December 11th- our Annual “Bring a Pot” and Angel Tree Fellowship, December 14th- the Daughters of Calvary Clothing Giveaway at the Smith House and our Annual Youth Caroling, December 15th-the Annual Christmas Presentation, December 18th- the Annual Volunteer Recognition event, and of course, December 25th -MERRY CHRISTMAS…NO BIBLE STUDY! We will close out the year with our Annual Watchnight Service on Thursday, December 31st at 10:00 p.m. Also, as a reminder: there are several ministries that will be celebrating the season with their holiday events, either here at the church or offsite. It’s Family Month at First Calvary and there is so much going on!
This is the first Sunday in the Christian celebration of Advent. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin term“adventus” (or “coming”). Advent is the first season of the Christian liturgical year. Traditionally, it includes a period covering four Sundays, beginning with the Sunday closest to November 30thand ending at sundown on Christmas Eve. As the word and the time period suggest, Advent focuses on anticipating and preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ. (Thoughts from Dr. Aaron L. Parker, Guest Lectionary Commentator, Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Atl., GA and Assoc. Prof, Morehouse College, Atl., GA-African American Pulpit Journal) Often churches and families celebrate Advent with an Advent Wreath, lighting a candle each week for the principles of the season (3 purple candles, one pink candle, and often one white candle). During the first Sunday of Advent, the candle of prophecy is lit. It represents HOPE, all of the prophecies of the Old Testament that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, fulfilled. The Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies that predict the birth, life and death of the Christ. During this week of Advent, Christians reflect on the sovereignty of God and his work throughout human history. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7: 14) (Source eHow.com)
Are you excited about “Christ”-mas coming? Not because of the “stuff” but because for the Christian it symbolizes the coming of our Savior!! Let us make sure that the real reason for this season is being celebrated in our community, in our homes, and in our hearts. It is important that as believers we make it known that in spite of the commercialization of this time that JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THIS SEASON! It is also important that First Calvary Baptist Church continues to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 24, 2013 :: Author:
Give thanks to the Lord!
Even in November there is much ministry going on at First Calvary! Special thanks to our Congregational Nurse, Sister Betty Borden for another wonderful Senior Lunch & Learn! The presentation on memory loss was extremely appropriate and very important. It is a message that we either all deal with at some point or another, or we know someone who does. Speaking of which…..here are a few reminders for your memory. Don’t forget
to PRAY for this ministry as we move into the final weeks of 2013. Don’t forget
to enjoy every minute of the holiday. Spend time with your family and eat some good, home cooked food! J Lastly, please don’t forget
that we will not have Noon Day Prayer or Bible Study on this Wednesday. Enjoy “Thanksgiving Eve” with your family!
God's Word tells us "It is good to give thanks to the LORD!" (Psalm 92:1). As we come into this Thanksgiving season, what are some of the blessings that you are thankful for? How will you celebrate the holiday? It’s not just about good food and football…it’s always about our Lord and Savior who has given to us a chance to have a relationship with Him. As we come into this Thanksgiving season, what are some of the blessings that you are thankful for? As we gather with our families we can remember that we are purposed for greatness. As children with a divine inheritance, we can move forward with assurance and adoration knowing that "All Things" are working together for our good because we love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Remember, not some-but “All Things”. God has truly blessed us and we have much to be thankful for! Don’t forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 10, 2013 :: Author:
Twenty-two years of service!!!
Twenty-two years of service and counting! Today, I celebrate with the people of First Calvary Baptist Church as Pastor of this loving congregation. During these TWENTY-TWO years, I have worked to keep my commitment and remain obedient to the call of God on my life with regards to shepherding His people at First Calvary. This reminds me that GOD IS STILL IN CHARGE! As I have said before, I am blessed and proud to be the Pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church. How grateful I am to have the opportunity to serve as your under-shepherd. I ask that you keep the entire Davis family in your prayers.
As I reflect over the past 22 years, I am so grateful for the 150 original people who were active when I arrived and for those elders who thought of enough of me as a Christian Minister to elect and select me to be the Pastor of First Calvary. To that end, I would like to thank the entire congregation and church officers for their support. Also, I would like to thank my church staff for your continued hard work and dedication to the ministry of First Calvary. Of course, I am able to do what I do because of my loving wife and my awesome sons! I am blessed by God with their continual sacrifice as I strive to be a Pastor after God's own heart.
Since our Church Anniversary, I’ve been pondering several things which I have since given to the Lord! I do, however, want to share something about the slack in the commitment towards our ministry work here at First Calvary. So many people are asking “why can’t we do this” and “why don’t we have that” going on in the life of this church. Well, I’ve got your answer: it’s because we are not doing things for our own self-glory, instead we do what we do for the Lord… and that’s where our commitment waivers. Read this carefully…‘U’ are what is missing in “Ch rch”,and until ‘U’ get in place we will always be challenged to effectively carry out our ministry work here at First Calvary. I want to remind all of us of the words Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Please be mindful of the coming events in ministry this month. On this coming Saturday, the Prison Ministry will host the Durham Community Prison Summit. This event is a wonderful opportunity for persons to learn more about how we can help those who are re-entering society from incarceration. Youth, this is a good event for you to attend as well. Unfortunately, this topic touches more families and communities than we would like, but events like this one give us hope. Also in November, we invite those Mature Adults, age 60 and above, to attend the next Senior Lunch and Learn on the 22nd. These events are a wonderful time for our mature members and friends to fellowship and learn about pertinent topics….oh, and have a great lunch! Please plan to be there…who knows what surprises may be in store at this one!! I am certainly glad to be the Pastor of AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 27, 2013 :: Author:
129th Church Anniversary
One hundred and twenty-nine years of serving and worshiping in the WEST END COMMUNITY…what a great blessing! We have been a congregation serving this area for 129 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. Our theme of“Doing Something Different…Ole’ Time Religion” reminds us from where we have come. God has blessed this ministry and each and every family here so much. It is clear to see from our bulletin cover that First Calvary has come a LOOONG way, y’all! 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 discipled church.
Many of you will remember my saying that GOD LOVES TO STRETCH HIS PEOPLE as a focus for 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 20, 2013 :: Author:
“What Can I Do for My Church Today?”
Fall is here! So, let’s “FALL”! (Don’t forget that time changes on Sunday, November 3rd
…just an early reminder so you will be on time for service that day J) Let’s “FALL” into place with discipline and determination to let our light shine. Let’s continue to be a light and to be influential in every aspect of this community. I am praying that we“grow to show” and as we “show” others will“know” that we are His Disciples.
We are on the heels of our 129th
Church Anniversary. We will gather here on NEXT SUNDAY to celebrate God’s goodness…so come one, come all and meet new people or see old people J. Our Church Anniversary and Sacrificial Sunday Worship will start at 9:00 a.m. promptly. Don’t forget our financial gifts above our tithes and offerings on that day as well ($150.00 is the suggested amount). Parking will be extended and we will need your cooperation and patience as we get everyone parked and in for service. Get here early! We are looking for a great time in the Lord as we celebrate “Doing Something Different…Ole’ Time Religion”. Wear your overalls, bonnets, straw hats, and bring a handkerchief to wave!
Lastly, I hope you have all enjoyed our Fall Family Harvest thus far. Each Wednesday this month, we will gather to learn and fellowship with one another within special presentations. I am looking for all of us to be present on Wednesdays at 6:45 pm., for Praise and Worship and the learning sessions. 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. 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 13, 2013 :: Author:
Let Your Light Shine
Thanks to our Visionary Ministry for their ongoing efforts in sponsoring our Fall Family Harvest. On every Wednesday this month, we join together and study from the overall theme of “Let Your Light Shine”. The church is to be a family that ministers to families It functions as a family, models family life, and cares for the family members within it. This is what our Fall Family Harvest, formerly the Whole Family Conference, is all about. Let’s make sure that on Wednesdays in October, we come out and support these events. There are three more weeks of exciting presentations to come. Don’t miss your blessings! Mark your calendars, First Calvary, and plan to attend each informative session. It is a time of enjoyable fellowship and enlightening family discussion. The Harvest Festival will close out the month on the 31st (please bring in your healthy candy and healthy snack donations and come lend a hand and volunteer!)
Additionally during this month, we will also celebrate our 129th
Church Anniversary. 129 years is most certainly a long time and we have been a staple in the West End Community from the very beginning. We have so much to be thankful for! Please plan to worship with us in one service at 9:00 a.m. on October 27th
. We will celebrate with some “Ole Time Religion”! Don’t forget that we are asking each adult member to give a Monetary Sacrificial Offering of any amount ($150.00 is suggested) above your tithes on this special day. If I might be transparent for a moment, all of us are facing some financial difficulties but please don’t allow your difficulties to derail you from getting the blessings of God by sharing and sowing into the ministry work of First Calvary Baptist Church.
Finally, in their book entitled, THE FIVE STAR CHURCH, Stan Toler and Alan Nelson, write, “Building an effective team depends on putting the right people in the right place.” During this month October and November, all ministry elections should be held. I need all leaders to be prayerful because accountability is a must! Let’s get the right people in the right place so that we can continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 6, 2013 :: Author:
E3- “Empower, Enhance, Evangelize
I write this Desk Message as I process the knowledge that the Pastor Emeritus of my home church, Dr. Mack King Carter, has entered into that Eternal Rest. I will remember him forever for his Pastoral wisdom and love for Judi and I. I look forward to sharing with Mrs. Carter and the New Mount Olive Baptist Church family in the homegoing celebration. Thanks to all that have shared with condolences with me throughout this week.
It has been declared that we write the vision. Well, here it is: “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. It serves as a community-based congregation serving people of all socioeconomic standards, enhancing their quality of life by ministering to the whole person. We are committed to an evangelistic thrust which is centered around the biblical application of the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ.” NOW…we took that Mission Statement and made it“compact size”…like a Ford Fusion J…so EVERYONE can remember it and know what our focus for overall ministry should be. E3
-“Empower spiritual lives, Enhance quality of life, Evangelize the lost”! You can remember that, can’t you? Let us commit the task to memory!
I believe that God has given us this vision and that it is bigger than any of us could possibly have for ourselves. To accomplish the vision, God desires for us to grow spiritually, numerically and financially as a church. I think a Healthy Church is one where fellowship exists, discipleship is demonstrated and effective stewardship is established. I must remind us that a healthy church is also a growing church, a learning church, a loving church and a giving church.
Speaking of giving, don’t forget that we are asking each adult member to give a Sacrificial Offering of $150.00 above your tithes at our Annual Church Anniversary on October 27th
. Plan to join us at 9:00 a.m. on that day as we worship together in one service and take a trip down memory lane with some “Ole’ Time Religion”.
Let us come together each Wednesday this month as we celebrate the Fall Family Harvest. Each week, our Visionary Ministry, along with the cooperative efforts of various other ministries will engage us in some exciting topics for discussion and growth. Don’t forget that Prayer & Praise will begin at 6:45 p.m. and the sessions will kick off at 7:00 p.m. Come join us and help us continue to show this community, city, state and country that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 29, 2013 :: Author:
Ambassador for Christ
Today is Singles’ Sunday! Thanks to our Singles in Love with Christ Ministry for a power-packed few days of learning and fellowship. Today we welcome Minister Kadia Edwards! We know that she will share a Word from the Lord that is not only relevant to the singles, but to EVERYONE else as well!
Special thanks to Minister Carter and the Christian Education Ministry for a great Christian Education Month. We appreciate your efforts in making a well planned and informative Christian Education Workshop and Promotion Sunday event. 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 several characteristics of disciples and Ambassadors for Christ:
- A disciple and an Ambassador for Christ is a learner-open and teachable
- A disciple and an Ambassador for Christ puts Christ first in all areas of his/her life.
- A disciple and an Ambassador for Christ is committed to a life in Christ and is taking steps to separate from sin.
- A disciple and an Ambassador for Christ demonstrates faithfulness and a desire to learn & apply the Word of God through hearing it preached & taught.
We also “rolled out” our abbreviated Mission Statement…. commit it to memory….E3
… Empower spiritual lives, Enhance quality of life, & Evangelize the lost….that’s it in a nutshell!
Did you miss the Biblical Institute this year? Shame on you if you did...Oh my Lord, what a time! Dr. David Forbes certainly did a wonderful job reminding us that we are “Ambassadors for Christ”. I look forward to next year being just as blessed. Speaking of “looking forward” October is upon us….it will be Church Anniversary Month at First Calvary! Please mark your calendars and plan to attend our “Fall Family Harvest”(the Whole Family Conference) each Wednesday in October. We also look forward to seeing you at the New Disciples’ Fellowship and we need your support at the “Harvest Festival”. It’s gonna be a power-packed month of activity! (Oh, one more thing….PLEASE donate canned goods to our Food Pantry…we need your support there too!)
Fall is in the air! You can already feel the “nip” in the air in the mornings and that is a reminder that summer is on its way out and cooler days are ahead. Today, I ask the believers of Christ in this congregation to join me as we fall back into a Spirit of Discipleship! We need everyone’s TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES; beginning with your presence in our Study Ministries…that’s Sunday School and Bible Study…and don’t forget Noon Day Prayer on Wednesdays. We also need you to continue being cheerful givers of your finances as we move into the final quarter of the year. Let’s fall into place as we continue to be led by the Holy Spirit. Remember always we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 15, 2013 :: Author:
Special thanks this week to our Congregational Nurse, Sister Betty Borden, and the Health and Wellness Ministry for a wonderful Health Fair! Let’s do what we can to continue “Guarding Our Temple”! We are concerned with both the spiritual and physical man. Thank you to those that came out and the vendors and guests as well. See you in 2015!
As we develop disciples, each person must make a commitment to attend one or both aspects of our Study Ministry. If we are to grow faithfully, physically and spiritually, we must love learning about God. Bishop Donald Hilliard shares 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.
On Saturday, September 21st, our Christian Education Ministry will host the Annual Christian Education workshop. All ministers, teachers, assistant teachers, leaders and those interested in developing their teaching ministry skills are invited to attend. 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. Christian Education Promotion Sunday will be held on September 22nd. Then, we will cap things off with our Annual Biblical Institute, September 23rd- 25th. God has blessed us to have as a guest minister Dr. David Forbes, Sr., retired Pastor from Raleigh, NC. Mark your calendar now and plan to be here each night at 7:00 p.m. In the words of the Late Dr. Jonathan Jackson, former ITC Professor, let us remember that “Christian Education is that ministry that under girds all other ministries of the church”. After our Christian Education events, we will move forward and get “Back to Basics” with the Singles’ Conference on September 26th-29th. There is a lot of ministry going on as we “fall into Fall”! Let us always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 8, 2013 :: Author:
What do you preach after 36yrs?
What do you preach after 36 years? Jesus! His being Crucified, Dead and Buried….but then one must speak about the Resurrection Power He gives to all who love Him! This time of year always marks a special moment in my life. I am once again remembering that 11 a.m. Sunday service, back in September 1977 when I preached my first sermon. Under the tutelage of the late Dr. George E. Weaver, I preached my initial sermon entitled, “NOT DISOBEYING THE HEAVENLY VISION”. I thought about that sermon as I attended the National Baptist Convention, USA and listened to many who shared about their ups and downs in ministry. One preacher even titled a sermon, “How to Handle the Messiness of an Oxen Stable”. It was an amazing experience for me as I shared with the thousands of National Baptist delegates in Charlotte, NC.
September is full of events at First Calvary. Please join our Christian Education Ministry at the Annual Christian Education Workshop (September 21st) and at the Annual Biblical Institute (September 23rd-25th). Please RSVP for the Workshop at email@example.com. At the end of the month, we will celebrate with our Singles at the Singles’Conference (September 26th-29th). Also mark your calendars for two other special events…on September 9th there will be a Town Hall Meeting with State Representative Larry Hall at 7:00 p.m. and on September 18th we will have a special Bible Study on the Affordable Health Care Plan. Lastly, a special thank you goes out to Nurse Betty Borden, with the support of our Health and Wellness Ministry, for another WONDERFUL FCBC Health Fair!
I would like to share with you this information regarding Christian Education as we look forward to BOTH the Christian Education and Singles events. One Christian Education website has this to say about Christian Education: Christian Education Ministry involves the administration and coordination of programs or strategies to facilitate the spiritual growth or discipleship of believers into Christ-likeness. Christian education happens when people (1) Learn the Bible, (2) Accept God’s Grace, (3) Grow in Christian Faith, (4) Become an ACTIVE Part of a Christian Community, and (5) Answer God’s Call to Christian Living. Christian education does not happen quickly. Christian education is not something we do once as children—then when we get older, we’ve simply got it. No, Christian education is a lifelong process of learning, believing, growing, and serving. Christian education is a never-ending process that helps Christians grow as they study, worship, fellowship, and serve together. 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! Let’s continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 1, 2013 :: Author:
LABORERS are few!
August 18, 2013 :: Author:
It’s Mission Sunday! Our Senior Missionaries and the Daughters of Calvary are leading us in worship. I would like to thank our servants for their untiring work for the advancement of the kingdom here on earth. However, let’s be honest, every follower of Jesus is to be involved in mission! Let’s ask ourselves this question: WHAT HAVE I DONE FOR HIM LATELY? Service… that’s what it all about! We encourage each of you to get and stay involved in service to others. We are truly blessed to be a blessing! Let’s do what we can to take that idea outside of these walls and affect someone’s life for the better! There are plenty of opportunities for deliberate service within the life of this church and within this community. Our tutorial ministry, PROJECT FINE, will need tutors this year. Our Food Pantry and Clothing Closet will need volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ONCE WE OFFICIALLY OPEN THE BESSIE SMITH HOUSE. Once a month on the 3rd Saturday is an opportunity to serve in the Mobile Market program. Mission should be an on-going life project…for both young and old. Remember, “ONLY WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST WILL LAST…..”
We appreciate all of the faithful who have contributed to our Food Pantry thus far. DON’T STOP! We NEED a food donation from each family of this church. Just think of how stocked our pantry will be, allowing us to serve even more within the community. Don’t have time to “pick out” groceries? Well, the next time you are at the grocery store, “pick up” a gift card and get it directly to Sister Lindsay in the church office…we will do the shopping for you—but ONLY for the months of August and September (preferably Food Lion). See? Making a donation to our Food Pantry is easy as PIE! Also, we encourage each family to search their closets and make a clothing donation to our clothing closet (donation times listed in the bulletin announcements). We need YOU to help make our mission efforts in the community even stronger!
This Wednesday, we will hold our annual Back to School night. Parents of school aged children, make plans to be there with your youth! This annual event is an outreach of our Christian Education Ministry and Project FINE. Please donate much needed school supply items for this cause…we need the items TODAY, BUT BY TUESDAY AT THE LATEST. Plan to join us for dinner, Praise and Worship and a special program geared towards ensuring academic success. Be there, PLEASE PARENTS AND YOUTH! Remember always that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
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