Pastor's Paragraph 9/20/18

Pastor’s Paragraph— September 20, 2018

“Life in the Meantime.”   That was the title of last Sunday’s sermon based upon Jeremiah 29:1-14. The events described in this passage of scripture took place in approximately 594 BC. Many of the people of Judah (God’s people) found themselves in a dilemma. No longer were they a free people living in their own country. Instead, they were captives of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian government. Forced to leave their homeland – the Promised Land of Canaan – they were exiles, living in Babylon.
 
Now living in Babylonian exile was certainly not equivalent to being in prison. Indeed, the children of Israel were free to mingle with one another, to hold jobs, to get involved in Babylonian society, and even to practice their religious faith.
 
But as exiles, they were not allowed to go back home to Judah. Estranged from their native country, denied access to the Temple of God at Jerusalem, separated from family and friends who had been left in their war-torn Jerusalem homeland – those Babylonian exiles were miserable.
 
They did not want to become involved in Babylonian society. They did not want to even think about adjusting to life without the Jerusalem Temple and their home in the Promised Land. All they could think about was the day when they could leave Babylon and get back home. What they wanted was for life to be “normal” again.
 
This was the context in which the prophet Jeremiah (who had been left in Jerusalem) was inspired by God to write a letter to those exiles. And in essence, this is what that letter in Jeremiah 29:4-11 said:
 
“The day is coming when God will end your exile and lead you back  to Jerusalem. But this is not going to happen for awhile. In the meantime, God wants you to live and minister for him. So even while in exile, you are to “build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce, take wives, have families, and multiply while you serve the Lord.”

“In God’s timing, He will end your exile, lead you back to the Promised Land of Judah, and help you find the “new normal” that He surely has in store for you. But, in the meantime, worship the Lord in the present. Serve the Lord in the meantime. Don’t be just “Someday People” who dream so much about the future (when life gets back to “normal”) that you miss the blessings and waste the opportunities of the present. Be sure – even during this transitional, interim period – that you live life in the meantime.

As members of Calvary Baptist Church, we are certainly not in exile. But we are entering a time of transition and change. I will be retiring as your pastor on February 28, 2019. After that, there will be an interim period (of searching and seeking) before a new pastor comes.
 
But in the meantime, God is calling us to continue to worship and serve Him. The Lord is certainly not calling us to be “Someday People” just waiting around and coasting until a new pastor comes. God is calling us to be His People on mission for Him “in the meantime” of the present.
 
So in the five and one half months that we still have together as pastor and people, let’s rededicate ourselves individually and congregationally to be the best church on mission for the Lord Jesus Christ that we can possibly be.
 
I am committed to giving my best efforts in making this transitional journey with you. May God bless, guide, and strengthen us as we “live life in the meantime.”
 
Blessed and grateful to be your pastor,
Bob
 
P.S.  Be sure to come to the Mission Exposition in the ROC this coming Sunday following 11:00 am worship. There will be food (via food trucks), fellowship, fun, and numerous booths describing some of the various ways that you can serve God through our church in the meantime.

Pastor's Paragraph 9/13/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—September 13, 2018

Dear Calvary Baptist Church Family,

Just over 27 years ago on July 21, 1991, I was called to be your pastor. Little did I know at that time as a then 38 year old minister that God would call me to remain as your pastor until my retirement.

I am writing to share with you that I will retire from the pastorate at the end of February, 2019. My final Sunday as your pastor will be February 24, 2019.

It is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement: sad to say good-bye to a church that I dearly love; grateful for the gracious God-given opportunity that I have had to be the pastor of such an amazingly gifted and Christ-centered congregation; anxious about the prospect of being retired (will I really be 66 years old this coming February?); and yet excited about what God has in store for me during my retirement years.

While I do not know my exact retirement plans, I do hope to do some preaching, some teaching, some writing, a bit more golfing, and to spend quite a bit more time with my family – my wife, my children, my children’s spouses, and my grandchildren (I have told you that I am a grandfather, haven’t I?).

I am announcing the date of my retirement now in the hope of giving our church family ample time to begin making preparations for the upcoming interim period and for the search process through which God will provide a new pastor for our church. At this coming Sunday’s (September 16th) quarterly business meeting, the church Personnel Committee will be making some recommendations/suggestions regarding possible steps that our congregation can begin to take now in order to best utilize the transitional period that is before us.

I pray that we will dedicate the closing six months of our time together to be the best congregation on mission for the Lord Jesus Christ that we have the potential to be. So what can each of us do between now and the end of next February? Let me make these suggestions: 1) Be faithful in worship and Sunday School attendance; 2) Give generously of your time, talents, and resources; 3) Pray for our church daily; and 4) ask God to use your life in His service during this transitional time.

Thank you for the privilege of being your pastor. Ministering to and with you these past 27 years has been the highlight of my ministerial career. Thank you for praying for me (especially during those “rough patches” in 2008 when I had open heart surgery and in 2009 when I was hospitalized for clinical depression). Thank you for loving my wife and my family. And thank you for being the church that you are – a “Christ-centered caring church family in the center of our community” committed to loving the Lord our God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

As I announce my retirement, I want to acknowledge how much I value the ministers on our church staff. More than fellow ministers, they are my friends who in so many ways are like family. How fortunate I have been not only to minister with them but to be ministered to by them! How blessed Calvary Baptist Church is to have such talented and dedicated church staff ministers!

Before closing this letter, I want to express my special appreciation for my wife. Deborah has been and continues to be an incredibly gifted reading specialist and literacy coach, a fabulous mother and grandmother, an always well prepared Sunday School teacher, a faithful sanctuary choir member, and an “always there” ministry partner. God blesses me, encourages me, and inspires me through her. A better wife and ministry partner I could not have! Thanks, Deb!

And now – in the words of Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church will abound in hope.”

Your blessed and grateful pastor,

Robert G. Baker

 

Pastor's Paragraph 8/30/18

Pastor's Paragraph—August 30, 2018

At a called business meeting following the 11:00 a.m. worship service this past Sunday, our church unanimously called Niki Hays from Deer Park, Texas, to become our Minister of College Students and Young Adults. Niki will be coming to us from the Monument Baptist Church (in Deer Park, Texas), where she currently serves as Minister of Education and Students.

Niki and her husband Ryan (a native of Versailles, Ky. and a graduate of U.K.) have two children: Ryder, a seven year-old second grader, and Karis (KK) who is a three year old preschooler. Please see below for some additional information about Niki. And please be in prayer for the Hays family as they begin to make the transition from Texas to Kentucky.

On behalf of our church, I want to express appreciation to the following people who served on the Minister of College Students and Young Adult Search Committee: Mike Taylor (chair), Terry Freeman, Amanda Hale, Rebecca Miller, Lee Jinright,  Jami Foster, Josh Johnson, Sara Honchul, Lindsey Booth, H.K. Kingkade, Sue Shaw, and Hank Ellington. I will keep the church informed regarding the date that Niki will officially begin her ministry with us. In the meantime, our Personnel Committee has asked Jami Foster to serve as our part-time interim college minister and Abby Sizemore to provide leadership for our Young Adult ministry.

If you would like to drop Niki a note of greeting, her email is kamikazistudents@aol.com.

I look forward to welcoming Niki and her family to Calvary!

Blessings,
Bob

P.S. Last Sunday night’s church picnic at Donamire Farm was a most enjoyable time for our church with about 300 people in attendance. Special thanks to Orislava Skoroplyas and all the members of the food service team for delicious food and wonderful service. And extra special thanks to Mira Ball and the Ball family for hosting our picnic at the stunningly beautiful Donamire Farm.

 Niki Hays

Niki Hays

 

Niki Hays

Education:
1999
Deer Park High School, Deer Park, TX, Cum Laude

1999-2003
Houston Baptist University, Bachelor of Arts,
Majors: Christianity &Speech Communications, Magna Cum Laude

2003-2006    
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX,
Master of Arts in Christian Education

Job Experience:
1999--Present
 
Minister of Education and Students,
Monument Baptist Church, Deer Park, TX

 

Pastor's Paragraph 8/23/18

Pastor's Paragraph—August 23, 2018

I am delighted to share with you that our Minister of College Students and Young Adults Search Committee feels led to recommend that Niki Hays be called by our church to become our Minister of College Students and Young Adults. This recommendation will be made to our congregation at the special called church business meeting which will take place in our church sanctuary immediately following this coming Sunday’s (August 26) 11:00 a.m. worship service.
 
A native of Texas, Niki presently serves as the Minister of Education and Students at the Monument Baptist Church in Deer Park, Texas. She and her husband Ryan (a Kentucky native who grew up in Versailles, Kentucky) have two children: Ryder age 7, who is beginning the second grade this fall; and Karis or KK as her parents call her, who is two years old.  The entire Hays family will worship with us this coming Sunday, and Niki will share her personal testimony during the combined morning service. Niki and her family have also been invited to attend our annual church picnic Sunday afternoon from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Donamire Farm.
 
Niki will meet with our college students and young adults this Saturday from 4 – 6 p.m. She will also be available in the Fireside Room this coming Sunday morning from 9:15 – 9:45 to meet any church members who would like to drop by before Sunday School. Please take note of some additional information about Niki which is included below. Be in prayer for Niki, her family, and our church as we gather this Sunday to act on our search committee’s recommendation that she be called as our Minister of College Students and Young Adults.
 
Blessings,
Bob


 Niki Hays

Niki Hays

 

Niki Hays

Education:
1999
Deer Park High School, Deer Park, TX, Cum Laude

1999-2003           
Houston Baptist University, Bachelor of Arts
Majors: Christianity & Speech Communications, Magna Cum Laude

2003-2006
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX
Master of Arts in Christian Education

Job Experience:
1999-Present
Minister of Education and Students
Monument Baptist Church, Deer Park, TX

Summary:  I have the responsibility of overseeing all education in the church, birth to senior citizens.  Additionally I lead a student ministry team focused on ministering to, teaching, and discipling students in 7th to 12th grade.  I lead our student choir, develop our student ministry curriculum, lead our church-wide Sunday School Leadership Team, and maintain our church’s social media.  I organize, plan and lead our annual Vacation Bible School, with more than 350 children and 100 volunteers in attendance.  I have the privilege of leading our recruitment and hiring efforts for both staff and volunteer positions.  I spearhead our training efforts for nursery, preschool, children’s ministry, student ministry, and adult ministry.  I prepare for and teach, multiple Bible study groups weekly, adults as well as students.  As a licensed minister, I also officiate wedding ceremonies and participate in pastoral care responsibilities. 

 

Pastor's Paragraph 8/16/18

Pastor's Paragraph--August 16, 2018

This past weekend my Lexington sister (Sheri) and I traveled together to Tampa, Florida to attend the wedding of our Florida sister’s (Nancy’s) oldest son, Ryan. We celebrated with Ryan and Sierra as they were married. The wedding weekend also gave my two sisters and me the opportunity to spend some fun time together. We talked, laughed, shared stories from our growing up together days, and “caught up” on what was happening in each other’s lives. What a wonderful weekend Sheri and I had with Nancy and her family! How blessed I am to be the brother of two incredibly kind and loving sisters!
 
I want to thank our Calvary ministerial staff for their planning and participation in last Sunday’s service. Special thanks to Brian Varble for his excellent sermon. I have heard so many positive comments about the entire service (including the report of my mother who listened to the service on the radio and told me how meaningful it was to her).
 
This Sunday we will continue our sermon series on “Remaining C.A.L.M. in a Chaotic World” which is based on Philippians 4:4-8. We are utilizing the acronym developed by Max Lucado:
 
     C – Celebrating God’s Goodness (Philippians 4:4)
     A – Asking God for Help (Philippians 4:6)
     L – Leaving our concerns with God
            (Philippians 4:6)
     M – Meditating on good things (Philippians 4:8)
 
Our focus this Sunday will be on “Asking God for Help” (Prayer). Remember that we are challenging each other to memorize the entire Philippians 4:4-8 passage.
 
 I do hope all of our Sunday School teachers and leaders will attend the “VELCRO Church” Sunday School Conference which Carrie Beth Tonks and Hank Ellington will be leading this coming Saturday (August 18) from 8:30 to 12 Noon in our church fellowship hall. I also encourage our church family to be present for our Deacon Ordination and Installation Service which will begin at 6:00 p.m. this Sunday (August 19) in the sanctuary.
 
Please remember that there will be a called church business meeting immediately following the 11:00 worship service on August 26. The purpose of this business session will be to consider a recommendation from our Minister of College Students and Young Adults Search Committee. This recommendation will be to call a candidate to become Calvary’s next Minister of College Students and Young Adults. The candidate will share a personal testimony during the morning worship service (which will be a combined worship service that day). At the called Business Meeting, the search committee will share additional information. We will not release the candidate’s name at this time because of his/her current ministry position in another church. However, the candidate’s name and pertinent background information will be shared with our church family in next week’s Connections newsletter prior to August 26. Please be in prayer for the candidate, the candidate’s family, our search committee, and our church as we take this step in calling a new College and Young Adult Minister to our church.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. Stay “C.A.L.M.”
 
Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 8/9/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—August 9, 2018

As summer vacation draws to a close and a new school/church year begins, here are some things about our church that we all need to know:

1. First, we are encouraging each other to memorize Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near (at hand). Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 Finally, brethren (everyone), whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think (meditate) on these things.

This passage is the basis of our current sermon series “Staying C.A.L.M. in a Chaotic World.” We are using the C.A.L.M. acronym which is the idea of Max Lucado:

C – Celebrating God’s Goodness (Philippians  4:4)

A – Asking God for Help (Philippians 4:6)

L – Leaving our concerns with God (Philippians 4:6)

M – Meditating on good things (Philippians 4:8)

In the midst of what will undoubtedly be crowded, busy fall schedules, may we with God’s help and the encouragement of each other do our best to stay “C.A.L.M.”

2.   We often refer to Sunday School as the “glue” or the “backbone” which helps to hold our church (with various worship services) together and which helps CBC to be effective and strong. Periodically, we need to review and to be reminded of Sunday School’s purpose and importance.  Such a review/reminder will take place on SATURDAY, August 18 from 8:30 (breakfast included) to noon in the church fellowship hall. Carrie Beth Tonks and Hank Ellington have prepared a training event that is designed to assist and encourage our Sunday School teachers and class officers in the areas of outreach, in-reach, and teaching. Let me encourage ALL of our Sunday School teachers and class officers/leaders to make this event a priority. Other members of Sunday School classes are invited to come as well. The teaching, caring, and outreaching which occur in effective Sunday School classes are essential ingredients to the effectiveness of our congregation. I look forward to seeing many of you on August 18.

3. There will be a called church business meeting immediately following the 11:00 worship service on August 26. The purpose of this business session will be to consider a recommendation from our Minister of College Students and Young Adults Search Committee. This recommendation will be to call a candidate to become Calvary’s next Minister of College Students and Young Adults. The candidate will share a personal testimony during the morning worship service (which will be a combined worship service that day). At the called Business Meeting, the search committee will share additional information. We will not release the candidate’s name at this time because of his/her current ministry position in another church. However, the candidate’s name and resume will be shared with our church family during the week prior to August 26. Please be in prayer for the candidate, the candidate’s family, our search committee, and our church as we take this step in calling a new College and Young Adult minister to our church.

During this busy and exciting “back-to-school” and “new church year” season, may the wisdom imparted in Philippians 4:4-8 enable us to remain C.A.L.M.

Blessings,

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 8/1/18

Pastor's Paragraph--August 1, 2018

This past Sunday, we completed a four part sermon series on the identity of Baptists. At Calvary, we often refer to ourselves as baptist Christians (little “b” and capital “C”). First and foremost, we always seek to be “Christian.” Our church (as noted in our mission statement) should always strive to be a “Christ – centered caring church family in the center of our community.” While recognizing, appreciating and often partnering with Christian churches from various denominations and faith traditions, our congregation identifies with historic Baptist principles.

To remind ourselves of what these cherished principles are, we referred in our recent sermon series to what Dr. Walter Shurden delineates as “Four Fragile Freedoms.” These “four freedoms” which characterize a true Baptist congregation are:

  1. Bible Freedom  - “the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, must be central in the life of the individual and the church and that Christians (with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry) are both free and obligated to study and obey the Scripture.” We also affirm that the “ultimate criterion” by which we should interpret the Bible is Jesus Christ.
  2. Soul Freedom – “the historic Baptist affirmation of the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God (directly) without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government.” We often refer to this identifying Baptist principle as the “Priesthood of the Believer.”
  3. Church Freedom – “the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free (under the Lordship of Christ) to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry (male or female), and to participate in the larger Body of Christ, of whose unity and mission Baptists are proudly a part.” This identifying Baptist principle is known as “the autonomy of the local church.”
  4. Religious Freedom – “the historic Baptist affirmation of freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar (the government) is not Christ and Christ is not Caesar.” We know this identifying Baptist principle as “the separation of church and state.”

I would encourage you to read The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms written by Dr. Walter B. Shurden. It is one of the very best treatments of “Who Baptists Are?” You can also view all four sermons that I have preached in this series by going to our church web site and clicking on “sermon archive.”

Thank you, Calvary Baptist Church family, for being a true Baptist church in the best sense of the word. This Sunday I will begin a sermon series on “dealing with anxiety.” The series is based on Philippians 4: 4-7. The title of this Sunday’s message: “Remaining 'C.A.L.M.' in a Chaotic World.”

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!

Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 6/28/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—June 28, 2018

In my sermon last Sunday, I referred to a book by Dr. Walter Shurden (one of my most influential seminary professors) which has become something of a classic in the area of Baptist thought and identity.  The book is entitled the The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms.  In this book, Dr. Shurden delineates and explains four basic principles (or freedoms) which help the reader understand what it means to be a Baptist.

These four principles/fragile freedoms (along with Dr. Shurden’s descriptive explanations) are as follows: 

1.       Bible Freedom                                                                                                         
 “...the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible under the Lordship of Christ, must be central in the life of the individual and church and that Christians, with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry, are both free and obligated to study and obey the scripture.”

2.       Soul Freedom                                                                                                          
“...the historic Baptist affirmation of the  inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government.”

3.       Church Freedom                                                                                                         
 “...the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom the perceive as gifted for ministry, male or female, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ, of whose unity and mission Baptists are proudly a part.”

4.       Religious Freedom                                                                                                 
 “...the historic Baptist affirmation of freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar is not Christ and Christ is not Caesar.”

Last week, the sermon focused on Bible Freedom as we gave thanks for the Bible and explored how the Bible is the inspired written word (little “w”) which points us to the Ultimate Word (capital “W”) who is Christ, the WORD which became Flesh and dwelt among us.
 
This Sunday as we near the Fourth of July/Independence Day when we celebrate our    freedoms as a nation, we will explore Religious Freedom which is one of the principles that we—as Baptist citizens in our country—hold dear.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for   Bible study and worship.
 
Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 6/21/18

Pastor's Paragraph—June 21, 2018

Here are 5 things you should know about your church this third week of June:

1. We had a wonderful and well-attended Vacation Bible School the week of June 4- 8. Carrie Beth Tonks and her VBS staff (volunteers including youth group members as well as our ministerial staff) were able to teach 242 boys and girls about the love of Jesus. Thanks Carrie Beth for your Christ-like love for children. Thanks for reminding all of us to keep our “GAME ON!”

2. A total of 36 persons (30 youth plus six adult chaperones) are at Passport Camp in Danville, Virginia this week. Thanks Justin Sizemore for your love for and ministry to our youth!

3. 42 Calvary members will be part of the church-wide mission trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee next week. Pray that our team will be effective and faithful in sharing Christ’s love through various mission projects and activities. Thanks, Brian Varble, for keeping our church focused on missions.

4. Our Minister of College Students/Young Adults Search Committee continues to work diligently. We are prayerfully evaluating resumes, conducting skype interviews, and talking to various candidates for this pivotal ministerial staff position. Continue to pray for our search team which includes: Mike Taylor (chair), Lindsey Booth, Bob Baker, Hank Ellington, Jami Foster, Terry Freeman, Amanda Hale, Sarah Honchul, Lee Jinright, Josh Johnson, H.K. Kingkade, Becky Miller, and Sue Shaw.

5. Remember that the work and ministry of the church continues during the summer, Thank you for your faithfulness in being the church that God is calling our church to be.

See you this Sunday as the end of June draws near,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 6/7/18

One of the most influential teachers that I ever had is Mrs. Margaret Greynolds, my speech /communications professor when I was a student at Georgetown College. Margaret taught me (and all her students) how to become a more effective speaker and communicator. She encouraged me to be an active member of the college’s Forensic Team which not only provided me with the opportunity to travel to and participate in a multitude of various regional and national speech tournaments, but which also provided me with the opportunity to become acquainted with and to become friends with people from an array of different backgrounds.

Both inside and outside the classroom, Margaret taught me – not only to be a better speaker, but to be a better person. For me (and so many of her students) she was professor, coach, counselor, “second mother,” and friend. To say the least, Margaret Greynolds has been (and continues to be) a blessing to me from God.

This coming Sunday, Margaret is gathering a number of her former students at the Georgetown Baptist Church for worship and for a reunion lunch. She has asked her pastor, Dr. Alan Redditt, if I might be the guest preacher of the day. Alan, whom I know well and whose ministry I appreciate, agreed. So this coming Sunday (June 10), Deborah and  I will be at Georgetown Baptist. In my absence from Calvary’s pulpit, I have asked Dr. Redditt to come and preach at our morning worship services. So Alan and I are actually participating in a “pulpit exchange” this Sunday.

Let me encourage you to make a special effort to hear Alan Redditt. He is a gifted young preacher and minister. Justin Sizemore, who is a friend of Alan’s, will introduce him. Be in prayer for both Alan and for me (and for my friend and professor Margaret Greynolds) during this Sunday’s worship at Calvary Baptist and at Georgetown Baptist Church.
 
I will be back in Calvary’s pulpit on June 17th (Father’s Day). Thank you for your commitment to Christ through our loving Calvary Church family.
 
Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 5/31/18

Pastor's Paragraph—May 31, 2018

Acts 2:42 provides us with a summary of life in the early church. Notice how this verse describes the elements which comprised early church life:
 
“They (the Christians in the early church) spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers.” (Good News translation)
 
This summary passage makes it abundantly clear that “fellowship” (koinonia) was an integral part of the first century church. “Koinonia” is used 20 times in the Bible where its primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The members of the early church as described in numerous scripture passages devoted themselves to koinonia/fellowship.
 
This coming Sunday (June 3) is FELLOWSHIP SUNDAY at Calvary. Following Sunday School at 9:45, there will be one combined worship service at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. This means that all three of our worshiping congregations (early worship at 8:30, college, Summit service at 10:45, and the traditional worship service at 11:00) will be worshipping together. We will celebrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We will focus on the “tie” that binds us together as Christians. We will worship God Who created us with the need for communion/fellowship built right in!
 
Dress for the service will be CASUAL. Immediately following the service, there will be five food trucks outside the Rodes Avenue door. Tables and chairs will be set up on the green space so that we can have a fellowship meal. The Rodes Avenue Ramblers will provide music for the event.
 
So let me encourage you to invite a friend and/or family member, to dress casually, and to come to Sunday School at 9:45 and combined worship at 11:00 this coming Sunday, June 3.
This Sunday promises to be a great FELLOWSHIP SUNDAY at our church. I hope to see you there!
 
Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 5/24/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—May 24, 2018

Summer vacation is upon us! School will soon be out! Camps, family outings, long weekends, and extended vacations are being (and in most cases have already been) planned.

I hope that each of you get to have some “time away” this summer with your family and friends. Deborah and I have already “calendared in” some “time away” vacation plans ourselves. Rest, relaxation, re-creation, fun times with family and friends are certainly ways that God enables us to have some “Sabbath time” in our lives.  Summer time offers us a change of pace from the rush and stress of everyday lives – a change of pace which enables us not only to be a bit more relaxed but also to be a bit more reflective and purposeful, a bit more time to intentionally  “be still and know” that God is God.
 
There is always a caution about summer planning and activities, however. And the caution is this: if we are not careful, we can get so caught up in the “School is out and summer is here” syndrome that we forget or neglect to remember that our mission as a church continues.

So as you prepare (and soon begin) to enjoy the summer, remember God’s “summertime” work and ministry through our church. Be present for Sunday worship and Sunday school when you are “home and not away.” Pray for our ministers and lay leaders. Pray for our church family. Be faithful in the giving of tithes and offerings. Volunteer for a mission project or activity (Bible School, the church wide mission trip to Chattanooga, God’s pantry, a visit to a shut in, a card sent to a church member who is having a tough time, etc.).
 
Let me also encourage you this summer to invite a neighbor or friend (or both) to church. SUNDAY, JUNE 3rd, would be a good time to start. This will be Fellowship Sunday at Calvary. We will have Sunday school at 9:45. There will be a combined worship service at 11:00 which will include baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Following the morning service, we will have a Food Truck Fellowship on the green space between the Sanctuary and the ROC. Five different food trucks will ensure that we will have good food. There will be music by the Rodes Avenue Ramblers. Plan to be present, invite a family member and/or friend, and help us get summer off to a good start. Dress for the entire day is casual. I hope to see you then and there (and even before).
 
Blessings,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 5/3/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—May 3, 2018

This past Tuesday May 1, 2018, marked Hank Ellington’s 25th anniversary as a minister of our church. First as our Minister of Education and for many years now as our Associate Pastor, Hank has blessed (and continues to bless) our congregation with his servant leadership. God works through Hank’s teaching, preaching, sense of humor, love of Christ, commitment to Calvary Church, writing and editing skills, and willingness to work far beyond what is expected (and even perhaps his enduring commitment to U.K.’s football program) to make our church a more Christ-centered  caring church. Along with all of the members of CBC’s ministerial team, I count it a privilege to minister with (and to be ministered to) by Hank. In Hank, God has blessed me with a wonderful ministerial colleague and friend.  All of us love Hank and Linda (his “current” wife) and their family. Our CBC family certainly gives thanks to God for the Ellingtons!
 
Later this year, we will have another minister on our church staff reach the “25 Years at Calvary” mark. Carrie Beth Tonks, our minister of Childhood Education, began her ministry with us in the fall of 1993. It is not often that a church has the opportunity to celebrate the “5th Anniversary” ministries of two church ministers in the same year; yet, that is the case this year at Calvary. How blessed we are by both Carrie Beth and Hank! So we plan to celebrate their 25th anniversaries as Calvary’s ministers at a joint church wide appreciation event later this year. We will keep our church family apprised of the details. In the meantime, I know that you will want to join me in thanking both Hank and Carrie Beth (and their families) for their service to Christ through our church.
 
As we prepare to celebrate the ministries of Hank and Carrie Beth, I am reminded of the ministries of all the members of our church staff. Each of our ministers and administrative assistants bless our church congregationally and me personally through their Christ-like service, faithfulness, and love. How fortunate I am to be part of the ministerial team at CBC.
 
Gratefully,
 
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 4/12/18

Pastor’s Paragraph—April 12, 2018

What a wonderful and glorious Easter worship service we experienced at Calvary! Through the various movements of the service - the processional hymn, the congregational singing, the children’s sermon, the reading and proclamation of scripture, the orchestral and organ accompaniment, and the Sanctuary Choir’s presentation of Worthy Is the Lamb and Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah - our congregation gave thanks for and celebrated the good news message of the resurrection of Christ. Easter Sunday 2018 was indeed a memorable moment in the life of our church!
 
Easter, however, is much more than just a one day celebration. Rather, within the liturgical church calendar, Easter (or Eastertide) is a fifty-day festival of celebration that extends from Easter Sunday to Pentecost (May 20 this year). The Easter event is too big to be confined to a single day or a single service of worship. The good news of Christ’s Resurrection is to be celebrated throughout our lives, and the fifty days of Eastertide celebrated within the liturgical church calendar helps to remind us of this fact.
 
Easter Sunday 2018 is over; however, Easter and Eastertide continue. So how are you doing in terms of keeping Easter going? Has the celebration already gone out of your Easter? Do you find yourself having a case of the post-Easter blahs?
 
Let me encourage you to be faithful and intentional in living out the good news message of Easter. Be present for worship. Find time each day to have a “quiet time” when you reflect on scripture, listen to God, and pray. Volunteer to participate in one of our church’s many ongoing ministry/mission projects. Give a generous offering. Invite a friend or neighbor to come to a church service or activity with you.
 
Don’t wait until next Easter to celebrate Easter again. Learn from the fifty day Eastertide celebration that is part of the liturgical church calendar. Ask God to help you find and implement various ways to keep Easter going throughout the year.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we gather to worship God and to keep the Easter spirit going. May God bless our church as we serve the risen Christ!
 
Blessings,
 
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph 3/22/18

Pastor's Paragraph--March 22, 2018
During the sermon this past Sunday, I shared the advice which a wise counselor gave to a married couple (Marion Bond West and her husband Gene) who had come to him for counseling. The couple’s marriage – which for more than 30 years had been quite healthy – had over the course of several months become strained. They had begun to snap at each other. At other times the couple had simply quit conversing – becoming grimly silent.  But both the husband and the wife did not want their marriage to disintegrate. So they decided to go to a marriage counselor. After listening to the couple, the wise counselor gave them the following assignment: make a list of ten things each of you do that makes the other feel loved.
 
They took the assignment seriously. And over the course of just a few weeks, their relationship improved. They began laughing together again. And listening and talking to one another again. They renewed their love and commitment to each other.
 
The advice of that wise counselor is not just good marital advice. It can help improve many types of relationships such as friend to friend, parent to child, child to parent, church member to church member, etc. Such wise counsel could also be an intentional way for Christians to improve our relationship to Christ. So over the next couple of days – between now and Easter – why not make a list of ten things you do that show Christ Jesus how much you love Him? Then – having made your list – do your best to act upon it.
 
Your “things-to-do-to-show-Christ–Jesus-how-much–you-love-Him” list might very well include some of the Holy Week services and activities that will be held at our church. These activities/services are listed in this newsletter. May your participation in them be one of the ways that you demonstrate your love for Christ as Easter approaches.
 
Blessings,
Bob

 

Pastor's Paragraph

Pastor's Paragraph -- March 1, 2018

Several years ago, our ministerial staff engaged in a project called "Praying Through the Church Roll."  The purpose of this ministry project was to pray specifically for every Calvary member (and household).  We prayed for approximately twenty households each week until we had prayed through the entire church roll.

During the season of Lent as we approach Holy Week and Easter Sunday, our ministerial staff feels led to pray through our church roll once again.  Our format will be slightly different this time.  Instead of praying through the church roll alphabetically, we will be praying for the members of a particular Sunday School class each week.  We will also systematically pray for all church members who are not currently enrolled in a Sunday School class.

You will be notified by email several days before the Tuesday staff meeting during which our ministerial staff will be praying for you.  Prior to the staff meeting, you will be contacted by one of our ministers to see if you have any particular prayer requests.  These requests (which will be held confidentially) will assist us as we pray for you (and/or your family) specifically.  In addition, you may email any prayer requests you have to bob@calvarybaptistchurch.com.

At our staff meeting on Tuesday, March 13, we will begin this prayer project as we pray for members of the Ecton and the Keystone Sunday School classes.  The members of these classes will be contacted prior to March 13 to learn of any particular prayer requests that they might have.

While we will be praying through the church roll approximately twenty households per week, please know that anytime you have a prayer request (whether it is the week that we are praying for your class/group or not), you can email that request to me or call me at the church office. 

James 5:16 declares that we are "to pray for one another."  May we follow this scriptural practice as we seek to be a praying church.

Blessings from your pastor,
Bob

Pastor's Paragraph

 

“School’s out! But church is not!” I trust that you will keep this slogan in mind throughout the summer. Enjoy your summer break. Get some much needed rest and relaxation. Take a vacation or trip with your family if you can. Celebrate God’s good gift of summer.

Do remember, however, that the work of the church continues during the summer months. So let me encourage you to remain faithful to the ministry of the church in several ways:

1. Participate in Sunday School and Sunday worship each week (at Calvary when you are not traveling).

2. Support the work of the church through the giving of your tithes and offerings (even when you are away on vacation).

3. Pray regularly for our church, for our ministerial staff, and for our ongoing ministries.

4. Volunteer your time in a worthwhile mission/ministry project such as: Vacation Bible School; the church wide mission trip to Hanover, New Hampshire; the daily ministry of the Recreation Outreach Center; chaperoning one of our many youth activities, etc.

5. Have a time of personal devotions each day – spend some intentional time with God!

6. Invite a friend, neighbor, or family member to participate in a church worship service or activity with you!

 May we enjoy the good gift of summer as we continue to celebrate the good gift of church. “School’s out! But church is still very much in session!”

In Christ,  Bob

P.S. I continue to be amazed at the commitment of our church to our “Above&Beyond” capital campaign. As of this writing, total commitments to the “A&B” campaign are $2,021,149.43.  Total contributions to the “A&B” campaign already total $414,825.15!We have designated June 5 as “First Fruits” Sunday when we are encouraging everyone to give something (even if it as small amount) to the “A&B” campaign as an official way to kick off the “giving phase” of “A&B.” Special “A&B” envelopes are available in the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and church office. An “A&B” offering envelope will be included in the packet of giving envelopes that you receive each month. Again, Calvary Family, thank you for your generous support of the Lord’s work through our church. 

 

Pastor's Paragraph

This coming Sunday, May 1st, is the day our congregation will gather in worship for the Commitment Sunday of our Above & Beyond capital campaign.  There will be one combined worship service this Sunday beginning at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Please make every effort to be in attendance as our church family gathers to worship our generous God through our presence and participation.

 You should have received in the mail this week your Above & Beyond” commitment card and privacy envelope. Please bring this with you this coming Sunday (May 1st). There will be a time during this very special worship service when your “Above & Beyond”  commitment cards will be received. For those of you who have already turned in your commitments and made early commitments, please feel free to use a commitment card and mark it “already pledged” so that you can participate in the corporate act of worship this Sunday with the rest of the congregation.

 I am grateful and so excited to share with you that as the result of early commitments whichseveral church leaders have made to “Above and Beyond,” our church has already received more than $1.1 Million in gifts and commitments toward our over-all $2 MILLION campaign goal. May the generous lead gifts of these servant leaders in our church encourage and inspire all of us to make prayerful, generous, and sacrificial commitments so that our $2 MILLION “Above & Beyond” capital campaign goal can be reached and surpassed!

 Over the past several weeks, you have heard much about this important moment in the life of our church through sermons, Bible Study lessons, testimonies, brochures which were mailed to the church family, and through our prayerful preparation. Our hope and vision in this campaign is to engage everyone in our church family in a prayerful, faith-filled, heart-enlarging journey before God, and to respond as our Lord leads each of us.  At this “defining moment” time in the life of our congregation, we are encouraging each other to share generously and sacrificially the abundance God has entrusted to each of us, so that part of those resources might be channeled through this Above & Beyond campaign to provide for future ministry, reaching and growing disciples not yet part of our church, perhaps not yet born.

 So during these final days of spiritual preparation, let me encourage you to spend some extended time in prayer as you consider what God is leading you to commit to our “Above & Beyond” campaign. Then, having prayerfully discerned what God is calling you to do, come and worship with your Calvary church family this Sunday when we – as an expression of our worship of God – will offer to God our confidential “Above & Beyond” commitments.

 This coming Sunday’s 11:00 a.m. worship service promises to be a pivotal, “defining moment” in the life of our congregation. May it be a service which not only pleases God in the present but which also honors God through gifts and commitments that will enable us to serve Christ even more effectively in the future!

 I look forward to seeing you for 9:45 a.m. Sunday School and for combined worship at 11:00 a.m. this Sunday. Blessings on you, church family, for continuing to seek God’s guidance in being an “Above & Beyond” church! I really do “thank God for your partnership in the gospel” (Phillipians 1:3-5)

 Your pastor,

Bob

P.S. If for some reason you cannot attend this coming Sunday’s Commitment Day service, you are encouraged to bring or mail your“Above & Beyond” Commitment Cards to the church office.

 

Pastor's Paragraph

Our Calvary Baptist Church family has prayerfully decided to engage in a Capital Campaign for the purpose of providing the financial resources that will be needed for our congregation to continue to be the church that God is calling us to be.  The theme for this campaign is “Above and Beyond” which is taken from Ephesians 3:20 : “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” 

 As we “look above” for God’s guidance, we believe that we are being challenged to “move beyond” our regular giving in order to provide a strong financial foundation which will not only enable us to continue effective present ministries but which will also make it possible for Calvary to carry out future ministry and mission endeavors that God has in store for our church.

 Specifically, through our “Above and Beyond” campaign, we aim to raise $2 million “above and beyond” our regular “tithes and offerings” in order to:

· Pay off the remaining debt on the Mission Lexington Building so that medical, dental, and social work missions can continue to grow and thrive;

· Replace the nearly 60 year old heating and cooling system in our sanctuary building including our Youth Ministry area;

· Improve the worship experience in the sanctuary through a new sound system, new lighting, new audio/visual capabilities (including hearing assistance), improved handicap accessibility, and new flooring;

· Enhance the worship in the fellowship hall through upgrades to the sound, lights, and audio-visual equipment;

· Utilize any additional funds to pay of the remaining debt on the Recreational Outreach Center.

 Between now and May 1st (which is Commitment Sunday), everyone in our Calvary Church family will be encouraged to prayerfully consider what type of confidential commitment God is leading us to make toward the “Above and Beyond” campaign. Over the new four Sundays, our Sunday School lessons and worship services will encourage and challenge us to be good stewards of the resources that the Lord has entrusted to us. Our newsletters and other mailings will focus on “Above and Beyond.” There will be a time during the May 1st worship service when confidential commitments to our “Above and Beyond” campaign will be received.

 For now, let me encourage you to plan to be present for Sunday School and worship over the next four Sundays. Reflect upon the ways that our church has blessed your life and the lives of others. Consider the opportunities that Calvary has to share the love of Christ with our community and our world. Ask God to provide you with His guidance as you give prayerful thought to your participation in our “Above and Beyond” campaign.

 I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we begin to be an “Above and Beyond” church.

 Blessings,

Bob