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.
November 29, 2015 :: Author:
Count Your Blessings
“Count your blessings, name them one by one… Count your many blessings, see what God has done”! First Calvary, we have so much to be thankful for, and I hope we are reminded of those blessings each and every day, but especially during this season. Even though Thanksgiving is over, let us remember that every day is a day of Thanksgiving. Each and every day should to be a time when we think of God’s goodness, greatness and graciousness towards us! And because we celebrate a Giving God, let’s examine our Giving To God! A writer once wrote, “The most important aspect of tithing and stewardship is not the raising of money for the church, but the development of devoted Christians.” (Fred M. Wood) I want to share seven ways that giving provides benefits: 1) Giving makes us more like God. 2) Giving draws us closer to God. 3) Giving breaks the grip of materialism. 4) Giving strengthens our faith. 5) Giving is an investment for eternity. 6) Giving blesses us in return. 7) Giving makes us happy.
As we move closer to the end of the year, let’s keep in mind the events over the coming weeks in the life of First Calvary. December starts in two days….but the year is not over yet and we still have a lot to look forward to! Our children & youth will soon go caroling and our Christian Education and Music Ministries will hold the Annual Christmas Presentation (parents, make sure your children LEARN their parts and recitations). We will hold our Annual Angel Tree Fellowship on December 9th and Volunteer Recognition Event on December 16th as well. As usual, we will celebrate the coming of 2016 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!
It’s the first Sunday of Advent! The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin term “adventus” or “coming” (Okay…that’s my Minister Carter moment J). Advent is the first season of the Christian liturgical year. It traditionally includes 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. 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 represents HOPE. During this week of Advent, Christians reflect on the sovereignty of God and his work throughout human history. As we continue to do what we do and prepare for celebrating His birth, let us remember why we celebrate and those who are in need and suffering. Speaking of which, it is always a good time 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 are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 22, 2015 :: Author:
Great is Thy Faithfulness!
We are moving full swing into the holiday season and I encourage each of you to do a few things. Don’t forget your church obligations. Don’t forget your tithes and offerings. Don’t forget to attend Bible Study and Sunday School….AND Sunday Worship. Don’t forget to enjoy every minute of the holiday. Spend time with your family and eat some good, home cooked food! J Don’t forget the true reason that we as Christians celebrate the upcoming holidays…Don’t forget to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing! Don’t forget to continue to PRAY for this Body of Faith.
Even as the year is coming to a close… (can you believe it?) there is still much to do in Ministry at First Calvary. Please see the bulletin insert to get an idea of what is still to come from our church family over the coming weeks and last month of 2015. From our Clothing Giveaway….to Ministry holiday fellowships….to our Annual Christmas Presentation….to the Annual Watchnight Service….ministry is always “hopping” at First Calvary. Mark your calendars and plan to support all you can.
As I reflect during this season, I am reminded to be thankful for what God has done for me. 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 the familiar hymn says, “Great is Thy Faithfulness, Oh God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not, Thy compassions, 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!! Remember always that we remain “AN EXCITING (AND GRATEFUL) CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!”
November 15, 2015 :: Author:
God Has Truly Blessed Us
I am delightfully proud to be the Pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church. Let me thank Our God for orchestrating such a marriage between the People and the Pastor. I must take a moment to share my gratitude and say “thank you, thank you, and thank you”! Your gifts, prayers and support for your Pastor and the Davis family mean so much. Yes, I understand people don’t have to be nice and when they are, I must acknowledge those who are! So if you gave me a dime, dollar, gift card, golf card a, smile or a hug, thank you!
Thank you, Ministry Leaders for setting the tone of giving. Thank you First Calvary, for loving us for the past 24 years. It is my prayer that your support of our leadership/vision, will not just be on this ceremonial day but each and every day in which we do the work of ministry. To God be the Glory for the things He has done. Again, THANK YOU! God’s Word tells us to Give Thanks To Him, so I do because “IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR HIM….I WOULD NOT BE HERE!”
It’s the final month and half of 2015 and there is much ministry going on at First Calvary! Special thanks to our hard-working Congregational Nurse, Sister Betty Borden, for another wonderful Senior Lunch & Learn! Don’t forget that the Onesiphorus Prison Ministry will host the R.E.A.L. Resource Fair on this coming Saturday. Also, we are on the heels of the Thanksgiving celebration. How will you celebrate? It’s not just about good food and football…it’s always about the Creator God who has given to us a chance to have a relationship with Him. The Word of God 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? I would like to share with you this Help Me Thanksgiving Prayer:
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.
God has truly blessed us. We have much to be thankful for! Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
November 8, 2015 :: Author:
Bearing the Fruit-24 Years of Service
“Bearing the Fruit-24 Years of Service”…..TO GOD BE THE GLORY! I have been Pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church for 24 years! I am grateful for my Pastoral experience here at First Calvary Baptist Church since August 1991… WOW! I am glad to be the Pastor of AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION! How grateful I am to serve as your under-shepherd. I would like to THANK the entire congregation and our leaders and officers for their supportive role in this church's ministry. THANK YOU also to our committed church staff for helping me stay sensitive, sane and stable through these many years and for helping me stay spiritually fit and on my toes as a supervisor. I might not say it loudly but I am grateful for your hard work and support of the ministry here at First Calvary. I also thank my loving wife and my awesome sons, daughters- and mother-in-love, and even my little grandson for their continued support and love as I continue to be a Pastor after God's own heart.
As we have been studying the Book of Galatians, I have been thinking on what the Fruit of the Spirit should mean to the Pastor? Am I reflecting the Fruit….producing the Fruit….growing the Fruit…? I can’t just talk about it… I have to be about it too (there’s a tip….if you can only “talk the talk” but not “walk the walk”….then stop talking J). Over these past 24 years, I have had to cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit. I have had to show love…keep His joy…work for peace… remain patient…demonstrate kindness…act as an agent of goodness…seek God and grow in faithfulness…be a leader that is full of gentleness…and exhibit some serious self-control. I am still on this journey of faith and His Holy Spirit is continuing to bless and keep me. Continue to keep this Pastor in your prayers for the next twelve months as some awesome decisions are made. As always, I ask that you keep the entire Davis family in your prayers also. Again, thanks to all of you for all we do together as we co-labor for Christ! Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH (AND I AM AN EXCITING PASTOR J) EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION
November 1, 2015 :: Author:
Examine Your Commitment to Christ
Our 131st Church Anniversary Celebration was a true blessing and all praise belongs to God! We were certainly “Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving”. Thank you to those of you who attended and celebrated with us. We also thank those who served and helped plan the occasion. As a matter of fact, special thanks to everyone who gave of their time, talent and treasure during the month of October. Our Wholistic Family Life Conference was a success! We look forward to many more to come.
As we “fall back” into standard time on the clock, let’s “fall back” into being excited about being involved in the ministries of this congregation. Why, you may ask? Because we are called by Christ to serve and serving is what takes place in our ministries. 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. Wherever your giftedness lies, there is a place for you to serve at First Calvary. There are no ministries that are exclusive except those that are gender oriented.
Let’s break it down this way: Are you a health professional or involved in the area of health and wellness? (i.e. a nurse, doctor, fitness guru, physical therapist, dentist, dental hygienist, health teacher, or even concerned about good health) Then, I implore you to check out Health and Wellness….we need your voice. Are you attached to you video camera or phone, always recording family events to remember? Then the Audio/Visual Ministry may be just the fit for you. Men? Women? Join our Male Summit and Pearls of Praise. Like to work with youth? Then check out the Christian Education Ministry, Scouting Ministry, or Youth Advisory Council. The possibilities for service are endless! There is a list of our church ministries and their meeting times in the bulletin each week. Find one and get busy….and if you need a gentle nudge in the right direction, let me know J. Only 2 months left in 2015. As we move into the busy holiday season, I would remind us that we have much to be thankful for. Think about this previously shared sentiment: “If everyone at First Calvary were just like me, then what kind of church would First Calvary be?” I am often reminded of what Paul spoke to the church at Colossea, "WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD..." (Colossians 3:23). So what, exactly, are YOU doing?
Next Sunday will be our 24th Pastoral Anniversary. 24 years…and counting (25 maybe J…) as the Under-Shepherd of this Congregation! God has continued to bless the Davis Family as He sees fit within this Body of Faith. What a good God we serve…and to Him be all the Glory. Thank you, First Calvary, for your continued prayers and support as we do what thus saith the Lord and continue to move forward in “Bearing the Fruit”. Let us remember always that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 25, 2015 :: Author:
Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving
This church continues to reflect the historical importance of being in the community since 1884. Today, we are here to celebrate another milestone in the life of First Calvary Baptist Church: 131 years of serving and worshiping in the WEST END COMMUNITY! We have been a congregation serving the West End Community for 131 years as a living organism, as a church, and as a family! We are “Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving”! 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. Thank you to our ministries for your exciting participation in the “31 Flavors Food Pantry Ministry Challenge”. Quite a few ministries reached the goal of 31 food items—THANK YOU…and for those that didn’t….I’ma tell God…that’s all I can say! This is an easy way for your ministry and members to serve within the church and make a difference in the community. Bringing in some food…easy peasy! Oh, it’s not too late….bring those items in! Our Food Pantry needs the support.
Our Church Mission states: “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 on the biblical application of the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ.” Now, as we continue to live out this mission in today’s world, it is a must that we move forward within our purpose. First Calvary Baptist Church must continue to be that bold and courageous congregation empowering and enlightening our community. Here is what I really want to say… Discipleship comes with some Principles and Practices! We cannot function as an Exciting Church if we continue to have non-committed congregants with just names on our church roll. So, on this 131st Church Anniversary, if you have a family member or friend that’s continuing to claim affiliation with First Calvary Baptist Church, then for the next two months they will need to SHOW UP in Worship and Study.
As a stewardship reminder, I often say that GOD LOVES TO STRETCH HIS PEOPLE. This reminds me of a rubber band and their amazing quality of elasticity, which allows them to retain their shape after being stretched. Today we are going to stretch just a little by asking each disciple of First Calvary to contribute an amount that is above their Tithes and Offerings…and $150.00 is suggested. As we give, not only finances, but also time, there are so many more things that can be done throughout this ministry. Oh, one more thing, welcome back to the Calvary Chronicle! We encourage you to view and download a copy from our website. For our elderly and those few that may not be as “tech savvy” we have a FEW old fashioned hard copies…but just a few, so go to the website and get access to this publication. Let us remember always that since 1884 we have been and still are: AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
October 18, 2015 :: Author:
Today is “Pink Sunday”, and we are looking good in our pink…showing our support for Breast Cancer Awareness
. We support the cause…we support the survivors…we support the caregivers…and we remember the fighters.
A favorite childhood song of mine is “We Are One in the Spirit!” Well as we prepare for our ONE WORSHIP SERVICE on Sunday, October 25th
, let us remember that we come to celebrate by Faith as ONE Body of Faith! We are on the heels of our 131st
Church Anniversary, “Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving”. We will gather here on NEXT SUNDAY to celebrate God’s goodness…so come one, come all and meet new people or see some not so new people. Our Church Anniversary Worship will start at 9:30 a.m
. promptly. As you read the letter in the bulletin today, it’s a reminder of what we must do to continue doing what we are doing for the Glory of God! Don’t forget that our Sacrificial Gifts above our tithes and offerings are due as well. We will need your cooperation and patience as we get everyone parked and in for service. Get here early! Parking will also be available down at the Community Family Life and Recreation Center. Ministries, I sincerely hope you are being serious and intentional about bringing in your “31 Flavors
” of food pantry items! There is a specific need for these items in our pantry…. and I am looking to see what Ministries will meet…or surpass… the challenge (and YES, I WILL be looking!).
Please don’t forget that we will have another night of the Wholistic Family Life Conference on THIS WEDNESDAY. Plan to come and fellowship as a Church Family. Special thanks to our Visionary Ministry and Minister John Carter for their hard work in pulling this yearly event together. Then….remember that on October 28th
the Youth Council in conjunction with the Visionary and Christian Education Ministries will host the Annual Harvest Festival. Bring in your goodies for our children and youth and lend a hand to help! The Harvest Festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. Remember, this is not a Halloween Celebration but a Harvest Festival.
Despite some of the temperatures, it’s fall y’all… and I would like to take a moment to encourage each member of First Calvary to be intentional about “FALL”ing into service. We need your hearts and hands to make ministry work! Where do you fit in? There is something in ministry for everyone to do…so please get to it and get involved! As I traveled with and experienced the Million Man March on last Saturday, I was reminded of what a committed community and culture can do when all hands and hearts come together for a common goal. Well, our common goal is the Cause of Christ! Let’s get busy….and let’s continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 11, 2015 :: Author:
131st Church Anniversary
This month, we are celebrating our 131st Church Anniversary. Wow! 131 years is most certainly a long time to have been a staple in the Westend Community. We have much to be thankful for! We will come together and have one worship service on Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m. (Intercessory Prayer at 8:00 a.m.) Join us….we will be “Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving”. Don’t forget that we are asking each adult member to give a Sacrificial Offering amount that is above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings ($150.00 is suggested…and yes, needed, but let the Spirit lead you in your giving). Please, please, please prayerfully give! Oh, by the way…does your family have a FCBC Church Directory? If not, plan to get one for $10 on Church Anniversary Sunday. They are going fast….and you do realize that they will not be updated until at least 2020….so get one of these great church resources and commemorative books while you can.
Speaking of giving….have you donated your Food Pantry items in support of the “31 Flavors Food Pantry Ministry Challenge”? Which of our wonderful FCBC Ministries will rise to this challenge and donate all 31 of their items? I sincerely hope it will be ALL OF THEM!! What a phenomenal amount of food that will help our Food Pantry feed families that are hungry! Also, as we continue in October, we have our Wholistic Family Life Conference and our Annual Harvest Festival to look forward to. Be here on the 28th young people….and adults do what you can to support this event. Don’t forget that next Sunday, the 18th, is “Pink Sunday”….let’s “pink it out” in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Finally, I would like to reiterate a sentiment that I shared with you before. I truly believe that a healthy church is a growing church, a learning church, a loving church and a giving church. So, First Calvary, let’s give, let’s love, let’s learn, let’s grow, and LET’S GO! 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 October and November, all ministry elections should be held and a list of those leaders emailed to email@example.com. Please be mindful that the Leaders and Officers we select in ministry should be ready and willing to do what the position requires. If you are going to take on the role of a leader…then LEAD…and work within that ministry for the upbuild of the Kingdom at First Calvary! Do what you have been called to do. 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 4, 2015 :: Author:
Moving Beyond the Basics
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 the DVDs or CDs. 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. From Dr. Mark Croston, who shared on how to be led by the Holy Spirit in Ministry Work….to Dr. Victor Davis, who gave us some benefits to having a Spirit Led Life….we were encouraged to be on one accord “Moving Beyond the Basics”. 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. You may pick up a copy of the handouts from the Biblical Institute in the Church Office.
It’s October 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 131 years in this community! Speaking of our giving, our Church Anniversary theme this year is "Embracing and Celebrating the Spirit of Giving". As an early reminder, on October 25th we will have ONE Worship service at 9:30 a.m. HERE AT FIRST CALVARY. 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 $150.00 Sacrificial Offering above your tithes and offerings on this day. We encourage each ministry to participate in the “31 Flavors Food Pantry Ministry Challenge”. We are asking each PERSON, young and old, to bring the item that corresponds to your ministry throughout the month. The goal is to FILL our Pantry to the brim!! Additionally, each Wednesday this month has a special event going on. This week (Oct. 7th), we will be “The Church in Fellowship” and serve at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Then, on October 14th and 21st, our Visionary Ministry will host the Annual Wholistic Family Life Conference. We will close out the Wednesdays of the month on October 28th at our Annual Harvest Festival. (Also, on Tuesday, October 13th, we will once again emphasize fellowship by serving at Community Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m.) I also invite and encourage everyone to participate in “Pink Sunday” on the 3rd Sunday, October 18th. We started this campaign on last year to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness, survivors, and those in the fight. Men, let’s see some pink ties (‘cause real men CAN wear pink)…and ladies, let’s see some pink accessories. Mark your calendars for all of these events and projects…and plan to be there and participate. Remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 20, 2015 :: Author:
Christian Education Promotes Growth
I am honored as Pastor to have such meaningful activities in the life of this church. 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 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.” We emphasize this idea during our Christian Education Month. This weekend, we will celebrate with our Christian Education events. On September 26th, the Christian Education Ministry will host the Annual Christian Education Workshop. Christian Education Promotion Sunday will be held on the 27th. Then, we will cap things off with our Annual Biblical Institute, September 28th-30th. All ministers, Sunday School teachers, Bible Study teachers, assistant teachers, youth volunteers, and those interested in developing their teaching ministry skills need to be at both events. Let me say it out loud… “We are a teaching church, a learning church and growing church but we also need to be a giving church.” 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.
Okay, the seasons are changing! September is over half gone. Soon the holidays will be upon us. As we move forward into the fall, I wanted to share something that was shared with me. We must remember to take time to Drink, Steal, Promise, & Lie: (1) "Drink" from the "Everlasting cup" every day, (2) "Steal" a moment to help someone that needs it, (3) "Promise" that you will be a better person today than yesterday, and last, but not least, (4) when you "lie" down at night thank God you're alive and praise God for His Amazing Grace! First Calvary, never forget that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
September 13, 2015 :: Author:
This time of year always marks a special moment in my life. I preached my initial sermon on the second Sunday in September in 1977…September 11th
to be exact. That sermon was entitled “NOT DISOBEYING THE HEAVENLY VISION”. Yes, it was quite some time ago, and I have learned a lot and grown much within this ministry that God has given me over the years. I did some reflection as I attended the National Baptist Convention, USA. It was an amazing experience for me as I shared with thousands of National Baptist delegates in Memphis, Tennessee. This year we have a new President, Dr. Jerry Young, a beloved brother and Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, MS. The theme was “Envisioning the Future Exceptionally”. I was reminded that God’s vision for me…and for this Body of Faith....is real and viable. Our obedience gives God the capacity to bless us….so let’s put our hand to the spiritual plow and watch Him grow the harvest!
As I attended the NBC, USA, Inc. Convention, I came across individuals I hadn’t seen since I was a youth participating in the Florida Baptist Convention. One person I reconnected with was a friend that I sang with in the Atlanta Gospel Movement Choir (Brother William Green), who is now my colleague in ministry from the Antioch Baptist Church, North Atlanta, Georgia and a traveling keyboard artist with the BB King Touring Group.
This is also a special day because Ise a Grandfather! Wow! How life has changed. Grandparents are the ones who are responsible for passing on wisdom, values, and principles, from generation to generation, to help the youngsters lead a better and more fulfilling life. Oh, and playing…lots and lots of playing J! So, Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the biological and adopted Grandparents, from GDaddy, as I am called, and Mrs. Davis, GrandD!
Later this month, prepare to join our Christian Education Ministry at the Annual Christian Education WORDshop (September 27th
and the Annual Biblical Institute (September 28th-30th). I read once that “Listening to a sermon in the corporate worship service is not enough to facilitate true growth. Discipleship also needs to happen 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.” This supports our idea that it’s not enough to be in church on Sunday. There is nothing to harvest, without sowing…so let’s do our part. I pray that our Bible Study lessons and sermons this month especially will help us all understand that “It’s all about that Grace”! Let’s continue to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 30, 2015 :: Author:
What is our Mission?
AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION! That’s how I end this Desk Message each week. This has been our Church Motto for years. As we end Missions Month, I thought it appropriate to speak to our being this exciting church on the hill, excited about the mission that God has placed before us. The word mission is defined as “an assigned task: a special task given to a person or group to carry out or calling: an objective or task that somebody believes it is his or her duty to carry out or to which he or she attaches special importance and devotes special care”. Other ways you can say it include: assignment, job, work, undertaking, charge, duty, operation, or quest. So First Calvary, what is our mission? What is it that we are undertaking as a ministry? Are we seeking to save the lost? Are we making a difference in the community? If not, what are we here for? Not only should we have a mission as a church, but each of us should have a personal mission. I once again encourage each disciple of Christ in the life of this congregation to find something or someone to carry out a Missionary cause for. WHAT CAN GOD USE YOU FOR?
Today is Singles’ Sunday. Welcome to Minister Lori Morton from my home church in Ft. Lauderdale. We thank our Singles in Love with Christ Ministry for their diligent efforts with the events of this past week. September starts on Tuesday…can you believe it? The month comes in with the final holiday of the summer, Labor Day. We often use this as a travel day or time to grill out…and chill out. But let’s look at “labor” from a ministry perspective. How are we laboring in the Body of Christ? Are we doing so cheerfully? Do we work together with Christ-like love and respect? HOW are we giving the time, talents, and treasures that God has so graciously gifted us with? WHY are we serving? WHAT’S our motivation? I have said this before…let’s keep the main thing the MAIN thing….and the MAIN thing should be Christ!
Did you let this month go by and not bring in the specific non- perishable donation items for our Food Pantry? You mean to tell me that you didn’t participate in the “Food Pantry Family Challenge”?? Well guess what? It’s not too late…bring it in September (we will still be feeding the community then too! J) Soooo….when you shop for your family, put an extra jar of jelly, a box of cereal, a bag of rice, a box of pasta, or some canned goods in your basket for the less fortunate…and bring it here to the church for our Food Pantry Ministry. Ok, here it goes…let us always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 23, 2015 :: Author:
What a Mighty God we Serve
August is moving right along. We give special thanks this week to our Senior Missionaries and the Daughters of Calvary for their work and efforts on Missions Sunday! Also, we send a shout out and thank you for the work of the Christian Education Ministry, the Youth Council, The Westend Community Foundation, Inc., Morehead Avenue Baptist Church, and Palmer Memorial Baptist Church for a successful Westend Goes Back to School Event! Additionally, another Bi-Annual Health Fair is in the books…congratulations to Sister Betty Borden and the Health and Wellness Ministry. Thanks to all who volunteered during these events. You are all encouraged and invited to be in attendance this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. for the Johnson C. Smith Alumni Gospel Expo. Our own Mass Choir will sing during this event.
I always find myself doing some reflecting around this time. On August 25, 1991, I preached for the first time as Pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church. Back then there were only about 150 active members. Only 10 to 15 folks attended Bible Study and that was only adults. The small amount of youth were having activities on Fridays and Saturdays. According to the official church books at the time, the church was not in a financial state left much to be desired. WOW! What a mighty God we serve. To God be the glory! I am honored that God has allowed me to serve as Pastor of First Calvary for twenty four years. I am happy to announce that on this momentous weekend, I am serving Pastor Derrick Hammond in Tennessee, as we share in his Installation as Pastor of Oak Valley Baptist Church. He is a son of this congregation and a former Church Business Administrator. Speaking of former Church Staff, we sincerely thank Brother Floyd Borden for his almost 2 years of serving as our Church Finance Officer. His last day in this role will be August 28th, and he is now handing the reins over to Brother Lonnie Forte. Please continue to keep the entire First Calvary Office Staff in prayer as we continue to work to do the business required in the upkeep of God’s Kingdom.
Okay….so it’s not too late to get on the “Food Pantry Family Challenge” bandwagon. Our First Calvary families and individuals have done a great job in bringing jelly, cereal, and rice for the pantry. This week, it’s the “Return of the Mac”…bring in that mac-n-cheese or pasta!! 100 boxes is the weekly goal…help us reach it! This project sponsored by our Church Staff has seen much success and we appreciate those of you that have pitched in and brought in! We have done a great job, but we can still do some more! You can still bring your donations in….even through September! Thank you for your continued support of this missionary effort. Next Sunday….it’s “You CAN make a Difference”! Show your support and join the effort in collecting 100 canned goods for the Food Pantry….again, that’s NEXT SUNDAY …don’t forget… ’cause “You CAN Make a Difference!” Listen real carefully and find out during today’s service. It’s still August (at least for a few more days) and it’s still Missions Month…and we are still AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 16, 2015 :: Author:
Remember Jesus said, “Go!”
First of all let me start like I end and say that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION! As a local congregation, we are a giving body to those at home and abroad, sharing resources that continue to empower, enhance and evangelize our communities. “If I can help somebody .....then my living shall not be in vain.....” That song of the Christian church has been sung throughout the years as a testimony of one who has worked in assisting humanity. Today, my brothers and sisters, we celebrate Missions Sunday! Our Senior Missionary Ministry and Daughters of Calvary are leading us in worship today. I would like to thank our servants for their untiring work in the advancement of the kingdom here on earth. I would also like to thank Minister Patricia Mason, and Sisters Jackie Richardson and Patrilla Carson, for being our representatives at the Lott Carey Global Mission Conference, this past week in Greensboro, NC. On this Mission Sunday, I encourage each of us to remember that we are truly blessed to be a blessing! Let us also remember that only what you do for Christ will last! Let’s do what we can to take that idea outside of these walls and affect someone’s life for the better! Let me also challenge us to get off the PEWS and do something within the various ministries of this church. Remember Jesus said, “Go!” not “Sit” or “Shout” or “Sing” or “Stare” but “Go”!
"Thanks to those who participated in and donated towards our Clothing Giveaway on yesterday. Please don’t forget that our Food Pantry Family Challenge is still going on. We collected 100 boxes of cereal last week…. now it’s “How Rice of You”…we need 100 bags of rice please!! Just think of how stocked our pantry is going to be, allowing us to serve even more within the community. We need YOU to help make this a reality! Bring in your donations for the rest of the month! Help us reach our weekly goal of 100 items. We appreciate those who have contributed thus far. Don’t forget and don’t stop….and if you have already donated…well it’s okay to donate some more! Even when August is over, this is how easy it is: just $6 could buy some Oodles of Noodles (usually 4 to 6 for a dollar), some peanut butter & jelly (we seem to always forget the jelly), and some Jell-o…with some change back (and again, we need IN-spired food…not EX-spired food!!). 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, September, and October (preferably Food Lion). See? Making a donation to our Food Pantry is easy as PIE!
This Wednesday, we will host “The Westend Community Goes Back to School” Event at 5:30 p.m. Parents of school aged children, make plans to be there with your youth! This year, this annual event is an outreach of our Christian Education and Youth Council Ministries in partnership with The Westend Community Foundation, Incorporated, Morehead Avenue Baptist Church and Palmer Memorial Baptist Church. It’s not too late to donate a normal sized, quality bookbag for this event….try and have them here by Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Last but certainly not least, I hope each member and friend of First Calvary will come out and support the Bi-Annual Health Fair on this coming Saturday, from 10:00 a.m.to 1:00 p.m. Though this event is typically sponsored by our Health and Wellness Ministry, I have to give a special… SPECIAL… shout out to Sister Betty Borden, our wonderful Congregational Nurse, who worked tirelessly (and always does) to ensure the success of this event (when you see her, tell her thank you!) Y’all come on out to the Health Fair now, ya’ hear? Remember always that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
August 9, 2015 :: Author:
Mission Month is in Full Swing
Each day we live and have our being, God does something awesome! Mission Month is in full swing at First Calvary and it’s full of excitement and enthusiasm! The Clothing Giveaway is this coming Saturday at Ma Bessie’s House, thank you for your donations. Please don’t forget to bring in your items for the Food Pantry Family Challenge….it’s Cereal Week….we are a “Cereal Nation”! Let’s see those boxes of cereal come in! Thank you for your jelly donations! We collected OVER 100 jars…that is a wonderful effort and a fantastic blessing for our Food Pantry. The food drives that we have within the life of this church are critical for our ongoing Emergency Food Pantry. Please help us in this Macedonia effort. Remember, Jesus said, “When you do it unto the least of these you have done it unto me”….So, let’s treat Jesus real nice.
Now as we engage ourselves in this month designated as Mission Month, it is imperative that we find our place. One of the key factors in determining where you best fit is knowing where your passions lie. Once you know your gifts and passion, you should be able to find the perfect place to do ministry. If you are not engaged in the life of this congregation, NOW Is the Time. Please take the time to share and to care for those less fortunate. Who makes the church grow? We all do. The church is never “they” or “them”. It is always “US”.
There are many ministry activities coming soon at First Calvary! Next Sunday is Mission Sunday …. then we have the West End Goes Back to School Event (August 19th), the Singles Conference and Singles’ Sunday (August 26th-30th), and the Johnson C. Smith Alumni Gospel Concert (August 23rd) to look forward to. Calling all single persons… that includes never married…widowed…and divorced…it is my prayer that each of you in the life of this church will participate in all of the activities that have been planned for your spiritual growth during the Singles’ Conference. Don’t forget to donate normal sized book bags for the Back to School event. You see, First Calvary, our life as a congregation is busy but we still have time to give Him the glory, because we are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION”!
August 2, 2015 :: Author:
It's All About Missions
It’s Mission Month at First Calvary, so, let’s check our Mission efforts, both collectively and individually. The questions are, “What Can God Use You For?” and “What Have You Done Lately?” I hope that throughout this month each disciple of Jesus Christ in the life of this congregation will find something or someone to carry out a Missionary cause for. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should be willing and ready to give of our resources in time, talents, and treasures. I hope that every household will take an active and big part in our “Food Pantry Family Challenge” and bring in the non-perishable items requested each week….it’s “Jelly’s Jam” this week…bring in some jelly and jam (not just grape J). Your donations mean a lot and help us feed many! This ministry does a great work in the community and we want these efforts to continue. We thank our Food Pantry Coordinators and Volunteers for their tireless efforts each week. Our Food Pantry is typically open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., however, when we don’t have food we can’t serve those in need….so please give! Additionally, we encourage each family to give toiletry and cleaning items for the ACT Ministry Mission Project. It is my prayer that we will never forget that we are held accountable by the Spirit of God to care for the least, left out and the lost. During Mission Month First Calvary will give towards the well-being of those organizations that help the disenfranchised, unemployed and those in despair.
Additionally this month, we will have our Annual “Westend Community Goes Back to School” event on August 19th. All Parents and Students need to be in attendance. We need normal sized bookbags for this event….please consider donating one to be given to students during the rally. I know that several of our college freshmen will be leaving to start school soon. It is your Pastor’s prayer that you stay engaged in His presence and power and that you keep the main thing the main thing!
As always, we need your support in our Study Ministries, so please go to Sunday School and come each Wednesday night for Bible Study. Also, calling all the single folk….our Singles in Love with Christ Ministry will have their annual conference later this month….please plan to be there! Let us always remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
July 19, 2015 :: Author:
Let's Get to It!
Let’s get to it! Today’s man from the Bible is Joseph. His story is found in the Old Testament. Genesis, to be exact! Joseph’s story is rich in themes and lessons for each of us. He was a son, a brother, a leader, a father, a husband, and most importantly, a man of God. Joseph LISTENED to God. He was obedient even when it seemed like the odds were stacked against him. He had to decide to forgive and he had “family drama” to contend with. He was a servant of the people and he trusted God and God blessed his faithfulness. It is within the pages of Joseph’s story that we find the familiar and often paraphrased verse, “What the Devil meant for bad, God used for good”, a testimony that I am sure many of us can attest to. Joseph stayed the course and it is meant for us to do the same.
It’s really hard to believe that we are entering the last couple of weeks of July…the year is flying by! PLEASE DON’T FORGET OUR ANNUAL MEN’S SONGFEST TODAY AT 4:00 P.M. You don’t want to miss this fabulous musical worship event! Come and celebrate with our Male Chorus and others as we sing to the Glory of God. Also men, we invite you to the Male Summit meeting on Tuesday and we encourage you to not let this coming weekend pass you by. The Lifebuilders’ Conference is on Saturday, July 25th, and remember our Annual Celebration of Manhood Sunday/ Sacrificial Sunday on the 26th. Don’t let grass cutting, car washing, TV watching and of course, golfing or fishing keep you from being blessed! Young men and boys, 12 and up, we are looking for you this afternoon and next weekend too, by the way. We are all working to have our “Manhood Restored”. We are not extinct and we are not men in crisis but men in Christ! (Remember to vote for the Man of the Year. Today is the last day to do so!) Remember, WE ARE AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
July 12, 2015 :: Author:
I am grateful for our Male Summit Ministry and all of the events that are provided during this month. We purposefully invite all men and boys to the activities that are coming up during Manhood Month. No, you don’t have to be a member to join us at these events, however, I would like for every male in the life of this congregation to make a commitment to show up and allow God to show out! Additionally, each year during Manhood Month we ask the congregation to honor a MAN who’s exhibiting strong character within the areas of 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 Man of the Year. Voting ends July 19th! Don’t forget to vote on the Honor System, please…that’s one vote per person. (and no, you cannot vote for Pastor Davis )
Don’t forget that on July 26th we will also have our 2nd Sacrificial Offering Sunday in conjunction with our Celebration of Manhood Sunday. Our men are encouraged to lead in the giving. That means we need each man above the age of 18 and each adult member to give an amount above their Tithes and Offering on that day…and $150.00 is suggested. Let us remember it is not about equal giving but about equal sacrifice. Therefore, we encourage everyone to please give something!
Our man from the Bible this week is Peter. Peter was the leader of the Disciples…the one Jesus relied on to keep the others together. Peter was strong, full of energy, ready to lead the charge, come what may. Yes, he had a bit of a temper…but Jesus saw Peter's worth. He saw all the faults as well, and accepted Peter as he was, knowing his heart was good. Peter made some serious mistakes….and too often they are what’s remembered within his story. But, Peter’s story should actually remind us that “failure doesn’t mean finish when you fight for Jesus!” Read about the Disciple Peter in the New Testament, of course.
Finally, allow me to thank everyone for your support in celebration of my birthday. Your outpouring of love is always a blessing to the Davis family. Once again, thanks to everyone for sharing gifts, well wishes, and your prayers. Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
July 5, 2015 :: Author:
Man Up and Get Moving!
As I am reading The Choice, a book by Dr. Frank A. Thomas, and as I move closer to the age of 60 (coming in 2016), I’m discovering that I need to start living the passion that lies within me. I am asking for the next week that each of you pray for my strength in the Lord! That’s a wonderful Birthday Gift …but if there’s something else you want to do as well, feel free.
Well, Youth Month has come and gone! Thanks to Minister Emily Carroll and the leadership of our Youth Council, the volunteers, our Music Ministry and our Worship through Movement Ministry for the outstanding work that went into all of the month’s activities. I encourage our youth…and adults…to remember that Deliverance is possible in a life with Christ! Oh, and if you are looking for a place to serve within this Body of Faith, our youth and children need you!
We are now in Manhood Month. We hope to emphasize getting the male population of our congregation active in Kingdom work. Our Manhood Month theme for this year is: “Manhood Restored”. Our goal this month is to have the often called “silent minority” become a major force in ministry 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 in the events that are scheduled this month. On July 11th, we will have our Annual Men’s Cookout at Forest Hills Park (11a.m.-2p.m.)…our Men’s Songfest will be held on July 19th (4p.m.),…the Male Summit Meeting is on July 21st (7p.m.)….the Lifebuilders’ Conference is on July 25th (8:30a.m.-12:30p.m.)…and Celebration of Manhood Sunday is on July 26th. This is also our 2nd Sacrificial Sunday of the year. Each adult member is asked to prayerfully give an amount that is above your tithes and offerings on this day ($150.00 is suggested)….and we want the men of the church to lead this charge. Calling all men….Man Up and Get Moving! We are looking for you!
Lastly, as we have done the past 2 years during Manhood Month, I will be highlighting a man from the Bible. In the past, we have studied Abraham, Joshua, Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father), Peter, Noah, Matthew, and Daniel. So, today’s Biblical figure is Gideon! Gideon, the trumpet-blower, the watchguard; he became a mighty, though unlikely, warrior for God and a protector of His people. The Angel comes to Gideon and in his moment of doubt, tells him "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!" (Judges 6:12). Gideon, however, sees himself as the opposite of a mighty warrior. Gideon asked for a sign from God, more than one, and God obliged each time. This is a personal story of faith, faith in God and faith in you. How many times have we asked God for a sign? Doubted the reality of His gifts in us? Read Gideon’s story in Judges 6 - 8. Gideon’s story teaches about learning to trust God, especially when you feel weak and inadequate…about taking unpopular, but necessary stands…about finding guidance from God to make difficult decisions about your future…about experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit to empower you…about obeying even when you don’t understand God’s plan…about keeping focused on the mission when distractions come, and…about leaving a spiritual legacy for those who follow you. It’s a Biblical passage that men, women, and young people can learn from. Gideon’s story reminds us that we can’t hesitate…we have to activate…and continue to be An Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission!
June 21, 2015 :: Author:
Happy Father’s Day to each and every Father, Grandfather, and God-father in the house today! May God grant us 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 men folk (like the elders use to say J), let’s do our best and God will do the rest! I would like to take a moment to honor the memory of my Father, Deacon John Henry Davis. My Father will always have a special place in my heart. I will always honor him on this day because he taught me so much about succeeding even if you have to struggle against systems. As I dedicate Fredrick Amos Davis III, my own Father’s words are still an unending source of encouragement and empowerment in my life. I would hope that would be the testimony of all the fathers in the building…what is our legacy? Are we leaving the right “footsteps” for our families and communities to walk in? Is it all about service…not self or celebrity. Brothers of all ages, we have to “man up” and be about OUR FATHER’S business!!
A very special thank you goes out to the VBS Staff! Vacation Bible School was a HUGE success! It was an awesome time; with awesome teaching, awesome meals, and awesome worship. We spent the week reminding ourselves that “Jesus is the True Superhero” … and learning “How to Communicate and Pray to God”. Even as we come off of a wonderful VBS experience, our hearts are heavy as we ponder the tragedy in Charleston, SC. As we put our “How to Pray to God” learning into practice, please join me in prayer this week for those that are affected by the devastating calamity…and for churches all over.
We thank our Church Celebrations Ministry for such a wonderful Family Fun Day. It was a great day of fellowship, food and fun. Thank you to everyone that volunteered to lend a helping hand during this Annual Church Wide Event. We couldn’t have done it without you. I am already anticipating a great time in 2016!
Young folks, the time is upon us! This coming weekend will mark our Annual Youth Weekend. We need our youth to come out and be counted for. Young people, please join us and bring some of your friends to the WORDshop on Saturday. Parents…. don’t let our Youth (age 12 to High School Graduate) stay home and miss the wonderful presentations that are planned for them. Additionally, on next Sunday, we will celebrate Youth Sunday at both services and showcase our Voices of Calvary, Tots of Praise, our Worship through Movement Retreat participants and youth talent at the Gospel Explosion 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 14, 2015 :: Author:
To God Be The Glory!
As I write this message, I am grateful for the many graduates God has allowed to be a part of this church family. We have a long list this year, perhaps the longest to come out of First Calvary thus far. (Yes, even some that we are just being told about today J!) TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR ALL HE HAS DONE! Congratulations to all of you and your families at all levels of academia. THE BEST IS YET TO COME! There will be a special reception after the 10:45 a.m. service today for all of our honorees. Please join us in the fellowship hall. Special thanks to our Scholarship Ministry for all of their hard work in preparing for today. Our special Graduation and Recognition Booklet will be distributed on Youth Sunday (June 28th)…so that is something for each family to look forward to.
Vacation Bible School will take place this week, 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Don’t go home, come eat dinner with us and study with us about the REAL SUPERHERO…adults and young adults, don’t forget your Bibles and journals for notes….we will study How To Communicate & Pray To God. Those books are available today in Minister Carter’s office for $10. Yes, dinner does cost but where will you be able to get a $8.00 meal for a simple LOVE DONATION J. That’s at least $3.00 or $4.00 per person. Our purpose is to emphasize family time and fellowship. Please come before 6:15 p.m. if you expect to have dinner because the fellowship hall will become a classroom at 6:30 p.m. 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 night we will showcase what our VBS students have learned with a presentation.
We will close out this busy week at First Calvary, on Saturday, June 20th, at our Annual Family Fun Day at New Hope Camp and Conference Center in Chapel Hill. We hope YOU will join us there! There are directions in today’s bulletin. We will be there 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 (and don’t forget the $5.00 guest fee). This will help us in preparing enough food for everyone that will be in attendance. We always have a great time at this church wide event…so join us for bingo, line dancing, swimming, kick ball and some GOOD EATS! Let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
June 7, 2015 :: Author:
Celebrating Our Youth
Our Brainstorming Session on yesterday was a blessed one! Thank you to the Visionary Ministry for your hard work and planning. We greatly appreciate those who were in the number to share and participated in the discussion about the ministry work of this church. We studied our Spiritual Gifts…. where can you use YOURS in this branch of God’s Kingdom? After having such a great Brainstorming Session on yesterday, I‘m wondering if the people who are declaring membership/discipleship in this fold really take it seriously. Find someplace in Ministry to work and share your gifts….God gave them to you to give away! What’s missing in this word….. CH—CH? U R…So now that you know it, put yourself back in the church.
Mark your calendars for all of the upcoming First Calvary ministry events! Vacation Bible School will take place on Monday thru Friday, June 15th- 19th, with a special presentation during our closing session on Friday. Plan to join us each night for Family Fellowship and Dinner at 5:00 p.m. (no “Dining and Dashing”…eat and attend!!) And don’t forget that we ask for a family donation for the week as well….ministry…and meals…cost. :-)
Then on Saturday, June 20th from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. we will have our Annual Family Fun Day. This is for every disciple of First Calvary Baptist Church. Feel free to bring a guest for a cost of $5.00. This year we will once again fellowship at New Hope Camp and Conference Center in Hillsborough, NC. We are going to have lots of games, presentations and food. WE NEED YOU TO PLEASE SIGN UP (sign up on the sheets behind the pews) and make sure that you are accounted for. We need an accurate number of attendees…so there will be an accurate amount of food! :-)
June is here….summer is about to be officially here….and 2015 is half over! This month is Youth Month so let’s support our Youth. Young people…we are looking for you to be in the number! Our children are “Connecting” in our kick-off of Children’s Church on today. Next Sunday, June 14th, is our Annual Graduation and Recognition Sunday. Congratulations to all of our graduating High School Seniors, those attaining College and Post Graduate Degrees, and to all of those that have accomplished great things throughout this school year. As a special reminder, our Achievement Booklets will be available on the 4th Sunday. The “Proceed with Caution: Deliverance Taking Place” Youth WORDshop will be held on June 27th. Youth Sunday is the fourth Sunday of this month and also on that day, we will celebrate our youth and their gifts at the Youth Gospel Explosion! Parents, please allow your youth and children to 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. Yes, First Calvary, this joint is certainly jumping… we are certainly “Jumping in June”…and we are certainly AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
May 31, 2015 :: Author:
Let's GO and Let's GROW!!
As May comes to a close, let me emphasize once again how important Evangelism is to the Kingdom of God. Evangelism, according to Dictionary.com, is “the preaching or proclamation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist
, missionary zeal, purpose, or activity.” The popular website Wikipedia states thatEvangelism
is “the preaching of the gospel
or the practice of giving information about a particular doctrine
or set of beliefs
to others with the intention ofconverting
others to the Christian faith
.” Now, how is this relevant to each of us? Well, we are called by Christ to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20) As we further understand this mandate from our Lord and Savior, the better we accept our task to spread the word about Him to others….to be the EVANGELISTS that he is calling for. This is not just a Pastor, or Minister mandate…it is a CHRISTIAN mandate! So, First Calvary, let’s GO and let’s GROW!!
Leaders, officers and interested disciples, please don’t forget that you all are invited to attend our Annual Brainstorming session on Saturday, June 6th.This Brainstorming Session is very important for all of our FCBC leaders, ministers, and officers. We need you there! Never forget that we are “AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION.”
May 24, 2015 :: Author:
Pentecost Sunday: Evangelism & Sacrifice
Today is Pentecost Sunday! It is the 50th day after Resurrection Sunday. Pentecost Sunday in the life of a Christian is more than speaking in tongues. It’s more about evangelism and sacrifice. After Passover, the early Hebrew believers gave honor to God for His delivering power. Many of those believers were gathered in Jerusalem on that day called Pentecost to be revived, restored and replenished with a fresh flowing Spirit. They asked the question, “What does this mean and what must we do?” It is my prayer that we will be reminded of our need to be on fire for the Lord. The work of the Holy Spirit in believers on Pentecost is the same power He employs today in us. Things may not always be so drastic as to see thousands of people saved in one moment, but His conviction in their hearts and His work in us to be bold in speaking the truth is still very real, just as it was for Peter and the eleven. He may not ever urge you to speak in tongues or to preach in front of a massive crowd, but He will empower you to do God’s will in whatever situation you do find yourself in. Let’s strive to be more influential in our homes, communities, and places of employment.
I am always reminiscent this time of year. This time marks my anniversary as a Pastor. It all began on May 24, 1981. I remember it well the fourth Sunday in Lanett, Alabama, where Mrs. Davis and I drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Lanett, Alabama where I first started as Pastor of St. John Baptist Church. This congregation allowed me to serve them with joy and humility. This marks a significant time in my life. It also causes me to pause to reflect how well I am doing as a vessel for God in this work of pastoral ministry. It was the beginning of a GREAT journey and as you know, today I’m still here in this magnificent role as Pastor.
Is May REALLY almost over?? I can hardly believe it…2015 is flying by. Leaders, officers and interested disciples, please don’t forget that you all are invited to be at our Annual Brainstorming session on June 6th. Summer time is on the horizon and we all know what happens during the summer vacation! Please don't allow your vacation to rob you of your need to continue your financial support of this congregation. Please don't allow your vacation to keep you from coming to worship, Sunday School and Bible Study. Please don't allow this season to hinder your spiritual development. First Calvary will not take a vacation, so please don't stop being effective stewards during the summer months. Remember God loves TO STRETCH HIS PEOPLE and God loves CHEERFUL GIVERS! Let us continue to be “An Exciting Church Excited About Its Mission.”
May 17, 2015 :: Author:
An article was written about 8 years ago entitled “Embracing Evangelism”. The question in that article is applicable to us today. What does it take for ‘First Calvary Baptist Church’ to be a redeeming and welcoming congregation? Do we welcome those who are on the edge of morality or do we prohibit them from ever getting close to our personal Savior? Jesus Christ commanded us to go but can our uttermost parts of the earth be closer than we think? Today, I want to challenge each disciple in First Calvary to witness to at least one person about How Salvation came into their heart. If we embrace this idea that would mean at least 900 adults and children will receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s fishing time, not for fish but for men. It’s witnessing time… not about what you’ve heard but what you’ve experienced. It’s believing time… not on the beliefs of others but on what we believe ourselves.
What did Jesus mean when He gave the instruction to go and “make disciples”? To be a Disciple of Christ is to be like Him. I would suggest to you that in our efforts of embracing evangelism, we must pause to see whether or not it is our design or God’s design of a disciple that we are trying to create. The Bible teaches that the people of God are unique. Peter called us “a spiritual house for a holy priesthood” and “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (I Peter 2: 5,9) That makes us different and set apart. We are also created for “good works” (Ephesians 2:10) that impact the world around us. First Calvary, how committed are we to doing the “WORK OF THE MINISTRY” (Ephesians 4)? What are we willing to do to get the word out about the cause of Christ! We are called to be ambassadors for Him. The question is “do we accept the call”? Let us be reminded that the best model of evangelism is Lifestyle Evangelism. Jesus stated it best by saying that we are “The Light of The World and The Salt of The Earth….” (Matthew 5:13 – 16) With that in mind, during these last two weeks of this month let us remember that making disciples is our task. Remember we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 19, 2015 :: Author:
“At the Master’s Feet”!
Today, after the 10:45 a.m. service, we will have our New Disciples Fellowship and Ministry Fair. We invite all of our New Disciples that have united with First Calvary since November 2014 to join us in the Fellowship Hall for this event. This will be a great opportunity for you to find out more about our ministries and how you can become involved. It is also open to any of our members that have never attended this type of event….so come on in! Special thanks to our Hospitality Ministry for their organization of today’s Fellowship.
April is moving right along…and so is Womanhood Month at First Calvary! We are preparing for an awesome move of God over the coming days. The Womanhood Committee has planned exciting events for the ladies. So sisters, come out and be blessed…and bring somebody! This week, we welcome our very own Dr. Arlecia Simmons and Minister Cherry Hymes as the featured ministers at our Annual Hour of Power, at Saturday’s WORDshops and at our Annual Women’s Day next Sunday. Please sistas, sign up and show up because it cost us to do ministry. I want to take this time to once again thank our Womanhood Committee for the work they have done this year. We look forward to all of the Womanhood events…and we hope the “Random Acts of Kindness” are many and far reaching. Also, Spring Revival is on the way…mark your calendars for May 4th
. Our Guest will be Dr. Benjamin Hinton, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Gastonia, NC. Come ready to receive a blessing….as the old song says, we pray that God will “Revive Us Again”!
Finally, I would like to share the following encouragement to the women….men…and youth of our Church Body. We find so many uplifting stories of women in the Bible. I encourage each of us to spend the remainder of this month….when we are not reading Romans for Bible Study J…to take some time and read these stories of faith. From the courage of Queen Esther…to the obedience of Ruth and Naomi…to the strength of Deborah…to the love of sisters Mary and Martha…to the journey of Mary, the Mother of Jesus….there are numerous examples of encouragement that we can apply to our lives…female and male. These stories remind us of the importance of a true relationship with our Lord and Savior….and that we should truly seek to stay “At the Master’s Feet”! First Calvary, let’s keep on “Kingdom Building”…and let’s keep on being AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 12, 2015 :: Author:
Resurrection Sunday was a truly wonderful event this year! It was also a day in which one of the greatest Pastors, Prophets, and Preachers, Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, transitioned to eternal rest. Dr. Taylor worshipped on Resurrection Sunday and died on the same day! My heart goes out to his wife and the multitude of Theologians, Pastors and just ordinary people who were blessed by his ministry work. My two colleagues in ministry, Dr. Reginald High and Dr. Jerome Washington, were two of the young brothers Dr. Taylor personally mentored in the Faith!
Our focus on the Risen Savior continues today as we dig deeper into this thing called the Resurrection. Just last week Dr. Taylor said, “Every Christian should go to church on Resurrection Morning.” For the Christian, this Resurrection season is more than just one day to wear fine clothes…it’s a way of life! We are because He did! We live because He lives! “And life is worth the living, just because He lives!” We truly have “Victory in Jesus”!
It’s April and Womanhood Month at First Calvary is in full swing! Thank you to those who attended the “Pearls and Jeans” event and yesterday’s Pearls of Praise Fellowship. We are preparing for an awesome move of God over the coming days as well. There are exciting events planned. Our ladies are on a mission to be “At the Master’s Feet: Building Kingdom Women”, so sisters, come out and be blessed…and bring somebody! Our very own Dr. Arlecia Simmons, former Associate Minister at First Calvary, will be the guest preacher at the Hour of Power on Friday, April 24th and we will welcome Minister Cherry Hymes as the guest preacher at our Annual Celebration of Womanhood Sunday on the 26th. They will both also share during the WORDshop on Saturday, April 25th. Ladies, please don’t forget those “Random Acts of Kindness”….and men, don’t feel ostracized and think you are excluded from that challenge! Let’s all be in prayer for the success of our Womanhood Month! The women of First Calvary are truly an integral part of the growth of this body which helps us to be AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
April 5, 2015 :: Author:
He Is Risen
I decided to share with you a few of the thoughtful messages that I have heard and read this past week. First, as I listened to Pastor Kerry Shook (The Woodlands, Woodland, Texas) and he had this to share about the Resurrection, “Every one of us ought to know this as a First Hand experience. If we do it will affect our lives… just as it did The Disciples, The Women and even the Centurion, who cried, “This Must Be The Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54) Another message comes from, author Max Lucado, who in his book Grace for the Moment, wrote, “The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final pain was for you….”
Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY…and HE ROSE FOR US! It is the time when believers in Jesus observe the sacrifice and victory of the living Savior of The World! The Resurrection of Jesus is without question the most pivotal truth to the Christian Faith. It is my hope that we remember that the excitement of Jesus' Resurrection is an historical event that changed everything. During this time all over America and even the world, people of faith celebrate that which only God could do. Today we humbly reflect on a great mystery and like those who experience His presence, there’s a difference that is felt, heard, even seen Because He Lives!
Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 15:16-20 that without a belief in the Resurrection we have no faith. The Resurrection of Jesus MATTERS and because of what God did on Calvary and what He is doing after Calvary our lives are changed forever! First Calvary, as we thank God for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ please remember that we have an opportunity through the cause of Christ to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. We should tell others about our First Hand Experience with the Risen Savior! We believe… not for what He will or will not do but because of who He is! He Is Risen! He is Victorious! Jesus Is Truly Alive! So let’s celebrate!
Ladies, don’t forget that it’s Womanhood Month! The theme for this year is “At the Master’s Feet: Building Kingdom Women”! It is my prayer that the “SISTAHS” of First Calvary will participate in the activities and mission opportunities scheduled for this month. Let me encourage our young ladies to participate in the events this month as well. Special thanks to our Womanhood Committee for all of your planning. Please plan to participate in all of the Womanhood Month events. I also remind each sister, mature and young, to practice at least ONE Random Act of Kindness this month. How much of an effect for the Kingdom would be made if every woman and young woman encouraged another this month….and then kept it going? You would truly be “Building Kingdom Women”! Special shout out and thanks to our Music Ministry and Staff for a WONDERFULLY BLESSED Music Workshop on last weekend. Lastly, we invite all New Disciples, and those that have never attended, to the New Disciples Fellowship on April 19th…and Mature Adults, aged 60 and up, plan to be at the next Senior Lunch and Learn on April 23rd. Bring your “meds” in a “brown bag”! As usual around here, First Calvary, there is much to do and a lot going on…and we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 29, 2015 :: Author:
God is the Owner of Everything
As we conclude this month’s emphasis on Stewardship, I remind us that God is the Owner of everything. God has allocated His blessings to us as managers of His resources and He is holding us accountable for the way we use them. I pray that our views on Stewardship will keep growing and will continue to be supported throughout the year. Once again in the life of FCBC, God has proven that all things are possible to them who would believe! Thank you, disciples, for trusting God with your sacrificial gifts and your time, talents and treasures during this month. Here is a final thought about stewardship: we should always remember that it’s mostly about TRUST. If you can’t trust God then you can’t trust yourself to be an effective steward. If you are struggling, know this: you can be assured of your commitment to this local body of Christ, by becoming disciplined students of the Word. Once again, our tithes and stewardship offering is listed each week in the bulletin.
As March marches out…we celebrate Palm Sunday on today. This time in the life of a Christian is very important for it marks the coming of our Lord and Savior and the people crying, “Hosanna”! Don’t forget to come out this afternoon for a Worshipping good time with our Music Workshop Concert at 4:00 p.m. Please join us and support our Music Ministry and others who have sacrificed 2 nights and a Saturday for this opportunity to give glory to God through song. Let me thank our Music Ministry for a wonderful event this year. Those who attended I am sure are going to be transformed in their understanding of Worship and Praise.
April is on the horizon and many exciting things are coming for the spring at First Calvary. We will celebrate the coming season with those events that mark the Resurrection of our Savior! Join us on Thursday for our Maundy Thursday Service…as well as our Spring Festival on Saturday for our children and youth! Then, on next Sunday, we will come together and celebrate the Resurrection, First Calvary style! We look forward to our Sunday School Recitations on this day as well. Mature Adults, your next Senior Lunch and Learn is on April 23rd…be there with your “brown bags”. It will also be Womanhood Month around here! Sisters, mark your calendars, so that you won’t miss a single event. Take note of the insert in today’s bulletin and plan to participate. Let’s see some “Random Acts of Kindness”!! Oh, and invite someone to join us! Let us always remember, First Calvary, that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
March 22, 2015 :: Author:
Sacrificial Giving Sundays
We have come to the first Sacrificial Offering Sunday of 2015. During each one of our Sacrificial Giving Sundays we ask every adult member to sacrifice financially. One reason why we should give a Sacrificial Offering today is because Jesus was the ultimate Sacrifice! He died and rose again because He loved us enough to take on that monumental task at Calvary. As I serve as Chief Financial Officer, Overseer, and Proclaimer of Truth for this Body of Faith, I have to share with you that we need this Sacrificial Offering because we are about $30,000.00 behind Budget, truth be told. No one should say they do not have a dime to give, because we all have SOMETHING to give… even if we go and pawn some items sitting around in our house that we don’t need any more. (Now that’s a unique idea…right??!) I remember a congregation that I was doing Revival for in Mobile, Alabama that collected several items that members had brought to the church to pawn. By the end of the week that church received several hundred dollars.
As your Pastor I must keep you informed that we have not been giving consistently in a manner that will bring favor from God and that will keep us on target. However, I have faith that those of us that are giving well will continue to do what we are doing and even the more shall all of us do. Thank God for those of you who will share as did the Widow with her mite, so that our ministry work will continue at the level that pleases God! That’s why we are asking every adult to sacrifice an amount above their regular tithes and offerings today…$150.00 is suggested. If you are unable do it on this Sunday, then we encourage you to do so before the end of next month. First Calvary, as we move forward in this season of sacrifice known as Lent, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of this congregation and community. So that you won’t misunderstand me, let me make it plain, We need you to sacrifice TODAY! Remember the promises of God are true and if He said it He will do it. Let’s get focused and become steadfast and unmovable always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Spring is officially here and there is much going on in the life of First Calvary. Join our Scouts this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. as our young men share in the Oratorical event. Additionally, coming soon is the Annual Music Workshop, March 26th-29th. Singers, in and out of the choir…yes, we want the “pew singers too” J…plan to join us in this Praise and Worship celebration! It is my hope that as we move into this new season, each one of us will become even more involved in the ministry events and other activities for the good of this congregation.
Hey, do you have a new 2015 Commemorative Church Directory yet? If not, purchase one today for $12 or get your FREE one if you took a portrait for the book. They are a wonderful resource for every church member…and I hope all of our leaders have one too! Lastly, I would like to take a moment to say “thank you” to those few faithful folk that volunteer throughout the week in the church office (you know who you are! J). The way you help and support our hard working office staff is such a blessing. From working in our Food Pantry to helping put together our bulletins on a weekly basis to serving in the Church Office on Sundays…and more, your contributions matter and we appreciate you! First Calvary, let us remember that we are AN EXCITING CHURCH EXCITED ABOUT ITS MISSION!
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