Pastor's Paragraph

This Sunday (February 14) is not only Valentine’s Day; it is also the first Sunday in Lent. The Lenten Season is a time when Christ’s followers prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the observance of the highest festival of the church year, Easter (March 27th in 2016). The season of Lent extends over a forty-six day period beginning Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016) and ending on the eve of Easter (March 26, 2016). This represents the forty days Christ fasted in the wilderness (fast days) plus the six Sundays in Lent (feast days). Holy Week is the last week in Lent beginning with Palm Sunday (March 20, 2016). Special attention is given to Holy Week because of its significance as a review of the events of the passion of Christ.

In the early church, Lent was a time of intense preparation of baptismal candidates who would then be baptized on Easter. Each church member was expected to approach Lent each year as he or she had done when solemnly preparing for his or her baptism. Lent became, then, a time for each Christian to reflect upon his/her relationship with Christ. This time of inward reflection might include the abstention of certain activities (“giving up” something for Lent) or it might entail devoting more time than usual to religious exercises such as prayer, scripturereading or some type of mission project (“doing something” for Lent).  

As part of my own Lenten preparation, I often read or reread a devotional book such as An Inner Journey to Easter by Anne Killinger. Perhaps there is a devotional book or guide that you have been meaning to read or use. The Lenten season would be a good time to do so. (You might want to visit the web site d365.org.)  Maybe you will join the many other Christians who will “give up” something as part of your spiritual preparation (a negative attitude, a critical spirit, a tendency to gossip, etc.). Perhaps you will resolve to “do something” during Lent such as: offering more words of encouragement to others; reading through one of the four gospels; reading the Passion Narratives (Matt. 26:14 – 27:66; Mark 14:1-15:47; Luke 22:14 – 23:56; John 18:1-19:42); writing letters of appreciation to folks who have blessed your life; visiting a shut-in or homebound person; volunteering in a mission or ministry endeavor (such as at the Mission Lexington Dental or Medical Clinic or at the ROC);  participating in our Winter Mission Blitz day on March 5; or resolving to participate faithfully in Sunday Bible study and worship.

Between now and Easter, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting and working on your relationship with Christ. May the next several weeks be a meaningful time of spiritual growth and reflection for our church family as we prepare to celebrate Easter.

Your Pastor, 

 

 

 

 

 

Minister of Missions Paragraph

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”            Matthew 17:20

As our Calvary team was preparing to board our plane to serve in Haiti 5 years ago I remember Donna Chaffin handing the verse to every Calvary team member.  This verse continues to be a constant theme as we serve in Grand Goave, Haiti.

 Wow, it is hard to believe we have been serving in Grand Goave for 5 years.  We have been to Haiti 13 times during that time span.  There has been 143 Calvary members join us in this mission effort.  We started building homes for those who lost everything in the earthquake of January 2010 and providing medical care.  Through our rebuilding efforts, we found a school, Extole Mixte, that needed a new building.  With the generosity of Calvary Baptist and with much sweat and sore backs we were able to complete the school.  Now we continue to work with the school as we train teachers and work with Pastor Evans (Headmaster of Extole Mixte), as well as Benita King taking medical teamsto provide women's clinics.

 Our Haiti mission trips are more than numbers and projects, it is building relationships andsharing in God's love with this small community.  It is seeing how God can use these relationships to further His Kingdom in Grand Goave.  It is growing in faith to see God at work in our lives and the lives of the Haitians.  It is partnering with families to see the school, church, and children grow and develop.  It is praying for God's leadership and discernment as we continue to serve in Grand Goave.

 I would like to invite you to join us for prayer at 9:30 on Sunday mornings (beginning February 14) in the prayer room behind the Sanctuary.  I would also like for you to pray about joining us as we continue to serve.

 JOY,

Brian

 

 

Pastor's Paragraph

 

 Here are 5 Things you need to know about CBC this week:

1. Rev. Brian Varble has been on our ministerial staff for fifteen years. For the first nine years of his ministry with us, Brian served as our Minister of Youth. For the last six years, Brian has provided (and continues to provide) excellent leadership as our Minister of Missions and Recreation. God has certainly blessed our congregation through Brian’s love for people, his relationship building skills, his passion for missions, and his love for the local church. As an expression of our gratitude to Brian, there will be a reception (including a light lunch and some presentations) in his honor in the Fireside Room immediately following the 11:00 a.m. worship service this coming Sunday (January 31). I look forward to gathering with our church family as we honor Brian and his family (Tammy, Brandon, and Andrew).

2. Rev. Justin Sizemore and his wife Abby will be moving to Lexington this week and will be in our worship services this Sunday. Our church recently called Justin to be our next Minister of Youth, and we are excited about welcoming Justin and Abby into our Calvary family. Justin officially begins his ministry with us on Monday, February 1. Welcome, Justin and Abby.

3. For the past six months, Ryan and Maria Harrington have been serving as our Interim Ministers of Youth. Loved by youth, children, and adults alike, the Harringtons have not only “held our youth program together” during a time of transition, but their leadership has also resulted in youth ministry program growth. So thank you, Ryan and Maria (and Mia and Maggie), for loving our youth and for allowing God to work through your lives to make a positive difference in the life of our church in general and in the life of our young people in particular.

4. The recent winter storm resulted in us having an altered scheduled this past Sunday. Your flexibility and commitment are to be commended. We had approximately 300 folks who made it to our “11:00 a.m.” only worship service. Several other persons listened to our service on our live radio broadcast over WVLK 590 AM radio. Still others “live streamed” our service on their lap top computers, i pads, and i phones. So thank you, Calvary family, for continuing to be faithful as a church even during inclement and challenging weather.

5. In the coming weeks, you will begin to hear information about our spring capital campaign which is to provide the financial resources that will be needed to:  1) pay off the debt on the Mission Lexington Building ($500,000); 2) replace the fifty- five year old heating and air system in the Sanctuary Building ($606,000); and 3) improve and enhance the worship experience - including sound, lighting, audio/visual, hearing assistance, handicap accessibility, and Sanctuary/Fellowship Hall renovations ($889,536).  For now, please begin praying that God will work through this campaign to equip us to be the congregation that He is calling us to be both now and in the future. Pray especially for those who have agreed to serve on the Executive Leadership Team for our campaign: Jimmy and Sally Adams (co-chairs), Mira Ball, David and Sue Shaw, Jay Blanton, Neil and Gloria Reed, Sherry Johnson and Susan Scott.

I continued to be blessed by the privilege that I have to serve as your pastor. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

 

Blessings,

Bob

 

 

 

Pastor's Paragraph

“Hi Dr. Robert!” “Why Hello, Bob Baker!” I don’t know how many times over the years in various locations inside and outside of our church that I have heard those “greetings” emanating from the smiling face and joyful voice of one of the mostcaring and enthusiastic Christians that I have ever known. That smiling, joyful, enthusiastic “constantly- caring-about- others- including- his- pastor” Christian was Louie Stotz.

Louie died unexpectedly at his home last Friday morning (January 8). His sudden death has caused a wave of congregational grief to wash over our church family. We already miss him immensely. Because of his life and his Christian witness, there is so much to miss.

In many and various ways, Louie was constantly sharing the love of Christ with others: 1) while chaperoning our college students on mission trips; 2)while accompanying our youth group to beach camp; 3)while working with and encouraging our children during Children’s Bible Drill; 4) while teaching youth and college Sunday School; 5)whileministering to the homeless each Sunday night through “Room in the Inn”;  5)while singing in the sanctuary choir; 6)while participating in Bible Study Fellowship; 7)whiletaking time for those (young and not-so-young alike) who needed someone to just “listen” to them and to “be there” for them; 8) while conversing with and drinking McDonald’s coffee with his pastor – which provided that pastor (me) with encouragement, support, and a much needed “dose” of laughter and good cheer; and 9) while doing what- according to his wife and children - brought him the most joy and happiness in this life which was to always be ready to help others “at the drop of a hat.”

Robin Prichard, our Minister to College Students, told me that Louie would always try to be available to help out college students whether that help meant teaching a Bible study, setting up for a student worship service, serving as a “grandfather” figure to them as they adjusted to being away from home, or taking them to the airport (even when they had a 6:00 am flight). And often when Robin or someone else in the church asked Louie what he had been doing or what he was planning to do, his response would most always be the same: “ Working for the Kingdom,” he would answer with his contagious smile.

As our church family starts to move through the grief process of continuing the work of the church without the physical presence of Louie Stotz, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Christians at Philippi  - words which serve to express something of how we (both individually and congregationally) feel about our friend Louie Stotz:

We thank our God every time we remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of our prayers for you {and your family} because of your “partnership” in the gospel from the first day (that we met you) until now.

Thanks, Louie, for your “partnership” in the gospel. Thanks for the joyful and enthusiastic way that you served Christ. Thanks for “working in the Kingdom.” THANKS.

 

A grateful pastor,

Bob (aka “Dr.  Robert!)

Pastor's Paragraph

Happy New Year! I hope that each of you had a joyful Christmas and New Year’s celebrations with family and friends. (I finally made it to Salisbury, Maryland, where I got to hold and hug my newest grandchild, Will, who is one month old!) What made Christmas 2015 especially meaningful for Deborah and me were the opportunities that we had to worship, serve, and fellowship with you, our beloved Calvary Church family. Christmas just would not be Christmas for us without the Calvary Christmas Project (where our church was able to share the good news of Christ with 169 families and 507 children), the music led worship service by our Sanctuary (and Children’s) choir, and our Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service (where a “packed downstairs- sanctuary-and-overflow–into- the-balcony” congregation gathered to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ). Christmas time at Calvary is one of the most meaningful times in the lives of the Baker family. Thank you, Calvary Church family, for being such an integral part of our Christmas celebrations!

 Those of us who were present for the 11:00 am worship service this past Sunday received an incredible blessing from the leadership of three talented and gifted young adults. The Rev. Dominique Robinson, who was in Lexington as part of the Academy of Preacher’s National Festival of Young Preachers, challenged our minds and stirred our souls with her New Year’s sermon “Full Steam Ahead.” Our   congregation was literally mesmerized by the singing of Gabby Barker and Jordan Lindsey whose duet “The Prayer” was in and of itself a spiritual experience. How blessed and encouraged I was by that service led by amazingly gifted young people who are using their God-given talents in our Lord’s service.

 This coming Sunday, I will be preaching on the subject “God’s People – Covenant People” as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in both worship services and as we celebrate the ordinance of baptism in the 11:00 am service.

 I want to thank you for your faithfulness during 2015. In so many ways, you – both congregationally and individually – shared the good news of Christ with our community and our world. You served with your time, with your talents, and with your financial resources. We have just learned that our church surpassed our budget giving financial goal for 2015! This accomplishment helped make it possible for us to minister for Christ in 2015 and provides us with a strong financial foundation as we enter into 2016 where among other mission and ministry endeavors we will engage in a major capital campaign designed to enhance our worship space, to “pay off” the loan on the Mission Lexington building, and to prepare our church for serving our Lord in the future.

 I am blessed by the opportunity to be your pastor. I look forward to serving Christ with you in the New Year ahead.

 Blessings,

Bob

 

 

Pastor's Paragraph

Psalm 100:4 declares: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name”. This coming Sunday, November 22nd, is Thanksgiving Sunday at Calvary. In the spirit of Psalm 100:4, every Calvary member is asked to demonstrate his/her thanksgiving to God in the following ways:

 1)     By being present. Our presence at Bible study and worship (“our entering into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise”) is a tangible way to demonstrate that the Lord God is certainly worthy of our worship. So plan to be present for Sunday School and worship this coming Sunday (and invite a friend to come with you). Those members who cannot attend are encouraged to listen to our morning worship service as it is broadcast over the radio (WVLK/590) or to watch/live stream our service by going to our website (www.calvarybaptistchurch.com) and accessing the link on the opening page.

2)     By bringing a generous offering to support the Lord’s work through our church in 2015.  Giving to the current 2015 church budget/ministry action plan provides the financial support that is needed if CBC is to carry out the day-to-day ministries that the Lord has led us to undertake. I am grateful to our church family as a whole for our congregation’s strong financial giving thus far in 2015. As you bring an offering this Sunday as an expression of your thanksgiving to God (and as you give throughout the remaining days of 2015), dare to ask yourself: Am I really pleased with my giving record? Is God?

3)     By making a confidential commitment to the 2016 church budget.  A commitment card for 2016  has been mailed to our church family. Commitment cards will also be available in the sanctuary and the fellowship hall as well as in the church office. There will be a designated time during the morning worship services this Sunday November 22nd  when the commitment cards will be received. If you cannot be present this Sunday, please mail or bring your commitment card to the church office prior to that day. I want to encourage every CBC member to make a commitment to and to be supportive of our 2016 church budget/ministry plan   - a $2,149,500  ministry plan/budget that was unanimously adopted at our church business meeting last Sunday. The 2016 budget /ministry plan is only a 1.98 % increase (only a $809 per week) increase over the 2015 church budget which we are in “good shape” to meet.

4)     By coming to our Family Thanksgiving Feast on Sunday evening November 22nd.  Our annual FTF is one of the highlights of our church year. Tickets may be purchased by calling or coming by the church office or after the worship services next Sunday morning.

During this Thanksgiving season, may our church truly give to God the type of worship and honor that our Lord deserves. May we – in the best biblical sense of the word – “enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” I look forward to seeing you for worship and thanksgiving this Sunday, November 22nd.

 Blessings from your pastor,

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph

Here are Five Things You Need To Know About CBC THIS WEEK:

1.    Please remember in prayer the members of our CBC Haiti Mission Team who will be leaving this Saturday October 31 to do mission work in Grand Goave, Haiti. This Mission Team, which will return home on Saturday, November 7, will be providing medical care and working with Extol Mixte (our CBC adopted Haitian school).  The members of our Haiti Mission Team are: Roxie Allison, Donna Chafin, Neal Chafin, Ryan Chafin, Elizabeth Coleman (medical), Tatum Dale, Kristy Hayes (medical), Molly Gadd (medical), Benita King (medical), and Christine Romani (medical).

2.    There will be a called church business immediately after the 11:00 am worship service on Sunday November 8 to receive and take action on a unanimous recommendation from our Minister of Youth Search Committee that Justin Sizemore be called as our church’s Minister of Youth. Justin is currently serving as the Associate to Minister of Families at the Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He is a native of Somerset, Kentucky, a graduate of Georgetown College (religion major and double minor in psychology and philosophy), and is currently finishing his Master of Divinity degree at the McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. Justin and his wife Abby (also a Georgetown College graduate) will be with our church family (to be introduced to our youth, youth parents, staff, and church family) on the weekend of November 6-8. You can find more detailed information about Justin on our church web site at www.calvarybaptistchurch.com.

3.    This coming Sunday (November 1) is All Saints Day. During the morning worship services we will remember deceased CBC church members, especially those whose deaths occurred from January 1, 2014 to the present. We will give thanks to God for these departed brothers and sisters in Christwho blessed our church through their lives and whose legacy of faith continues to enrich and inspire our congregation.  We will also focus on the biblical mandate that all of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are “called to be saints” (I Cor. 1:2).

4.    Tickets for our annual Family Thanksgiving Feast will be available for purchase beginning this coming Sunday. This year’s FTF (which will feature a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal, Thanksgiving hymns and songs, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper around the tables) will be held on Sunday evening November 22 beginning at 6:00 pm in the Church Fellowship Hall.

5.    This coming Sunday is TIME CHANGE SUNDAY. Remember to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday evening. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep and rest!

 In addition to these 5 Things You Need to Know This Week, also know (above all) that God loves you and that our Lord calls each of us to share His Love.

Blessings,

 

Bob

 

Pastor's Paragraph

The electronic edition of the newspaper USA Today  has a daily featurethat appears underthe headingFive Things You Need to Know _____.  If it’s Monday, then the heading is 5 Things You Need to Know Monday. If it’s Tuesday, then the heading is 5 Things You Need to Know Tuesday.  This continues throughout the week. And while there are certainly more than 5 news items or stories that appear each day in USA TODAY, the editors select 5 items every day about which they believe their readers should at least be somewhat aware.

 So here are Five Things You Need to Know (about CBC) This Week:

1. We are continuing our sermon series on the “(Be) Attitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). We have challenged each other to learn the 8 Beatitudes by heart (and even more importantly to incorporate them into our lives). This coming Sunday’s beatitude is “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

2. Our Minister of Youth Search Committee continues to meet regularly as we prayerfully seek God’s guidance in calling a new Minister of Youth. We have conducted “SKYPE” interviews with 4 candidates and have “brought in” 3 candidates for face to face interviews with our committee. We have been extremely impressed with the talented and committed candidates that we have met through our search process. Continue to pray for our Search Committee as we continue with this important search. And continue to pray for Ryan and Maria Herrington who are doing tremendous work and ministry as our interim Ministers of Youth!

3. Remember our 16 newly installed/ordained deacons who are beginning a three year term of deacon service. The 10 recently ordained deacons are: Mona Carpenter, Jeanne Carr, Hunter Ledbetter, Joanna Lile, Barbara Martin, Rebecca Miller, Dorie Raybuck, Kathy Ritter, Jeanne Robinson, and Brad Scroggin. The recently nstalled deacons (who have previously served CBC as deacons) are: Buck Brennan, Phyllis Combs, Clark Hale, Tom Kelly, H.K. Kingkade, and Joye Smith.

4. These 16 servant leaders join 32 others who are continuing deacon service. Our deacon officers for the coming church year are Jerome Browne (Chair);  Fran Rohlfing (Vice-Chair);  and Dianne Crouch (Secretary).

5.   Mark Sunday September 27 on your calendar. The 11:00 o’clock worship service that day will be a “Service of Psalms, Songs, and Spiritual Songs” and will feature music from our Sanctuary Choir as well as our Children’s Choirs.  Sunday October 4th is WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY. We will have one combined worship service that day at 11:00 o’clock in the sanctuary as we observe the Lord’s Supper.

Well, there you have it: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week. Above all, know that God loves you and that our Lord calls each of us to share His Love.

 

Blessings,

Bob

 

Pastor's Paragraph

As I write this column, I am wrapping up my Sabbatical/Study leave which you - my church family - have so graciously made possible. THANK YOU so much for this "time away" for a period of rest, renewal, and reflection. Deb and I have spent extended time with our family, especially our two grandsons Baxter and Oliver (whose mom, our daughter Katy, has been ill but who is now much better). The days that we spent at the beach on Hilton Head Island (a week with Katy, Iain, Baxter and Oliver; a week by ourselves) were especially enjoyable. 

While on sabbatical, I have been "working my way" through two intriguing, insightful, and very helpful books by Dr. Harvey Cox, the well-known professor (with Baptist roots) at Harvard Divinity School. These books, which have been beneficial to me (and to Deb who has been reading them also) are: "How to Read the Bible" and "The Future of Faith."  I plan to use both of these  works (especially "How to Read the Bible") for a Wednesday night Bible study this fall.

I will be back in the CBC pulpit this Sunday and will be starting a sermon series on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). The series is entitled: " (Be)Attitudes for Being Blessed." This Sunday's message is "Poor in Spirit: Humbly Depending on God." Other sermons in this series will be:

"Good Mourning: Receiving God's Comfort"

"Meek as a _____ ?: Being God-Controlled"

"Bon Appetite: Being Hungry (and Thirsty) for God"

"Lord, Have Mercy! : Receiving and Giving Forgiveness"

"Cardiac Health: Loving God with all Your Heart"

"Peacemakers: Following the Prince of Peace"

"Hassled and Hounded: Championing Justice; Suffering for Christ's Sake"

I have missed my church family and look forward to seeing you this Sunday. Again, many thanks for the sabbatical. 

Blessings,

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph


Dear Calvary Church Family:
Every third year, our church grants me a sabbatical. Thank you so much for this "time away" from my day to day responsibilities as your pastor  - a time for rest, renewal, reflection, and study. I always come back from sabbaticals not only rested and renewed but also better equipped to carry out God's calling for me - to be the pastor of our church.

I will be on sabbatical during the month of July. During my sabbatical, our excellent and dedicated church staff led by our associate pastor Hank Ellington will continue to provide leadership in the ongoing ministries of the church. I have asked the following ministers to preach at Calvary during the four July Sundays that I will be away:
        July 5     Rev. Hank Ellington
        July 12   Dr. Greg Earwood, President of the Baptist Seminary                             of  Kentucky
        July 19    Rev. Hank Ellington
        July 26    Dr. Dwight Moody, President of the Academy                                            of Preachers

I will return to the Calvary pulpit on August 2. Thank you again for the  sabbatical. And thank you in advance for continuing to support Christ's work through our church during my absence.

At a called church business meeting this past Sunday (June 28), our church voted to embark on a Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to address the following issues:

1. Pay off Debt on Mission Lexington Building                    $500,000
2.Replace 55 year old Heating and Air System                     $606,000
    in the Sanctuary
3.Improve Sound and Lighting in Sanctuary                        $409,000
   (Includes flooring & Audio Visual)
4.Improve Handicap Accessibility in Sanctuary                   $  22,600
5.Improve Sound/Lighting and Audio Visual                       $128,000
   in Fellowship Hall
6. Design/Overhead and Contingencies                                  $329,936

TOTAL ML Debt & Construction Costs                                  $1,995.536

*Any Funds received above this will be used to pay off existing
   debt on ROC Building and to add to our maintenance reserve.

More specifics about our Capital Campaign will be shared with the church in the near future. For now, join me in praying that this church wide campaign will be used by God to enable our congregation to be the church that God is calling us to be both now and in the years to come.

As I go on sabbatical, please know how grateful I am to be your pastor. What a privilege it is for me to be part of our wonderful Calvary family!

Blessings,

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph

Dear Calvary Family:

Let me encourage you to be present this coming Sunday (June 28) for a called church business meeting. This meeting, which has been previously announced in accordance with our church constitution and by-laws, will take place in the church fellowship hall immediately after the 11:00 a.m. worship service. Lunch as well as child care will be provided.  

The purpose of this called meeting will be to hear a presentation from the Capital Projects Steering Committee to consider a recommendation from our Deacons and our Finance Committee that our church embark on a capital campaign to raise adequate funds to address the following issues:

1. Paying off the debt on the Mission Lex-  ington Building ($500,000);

2. Replacing the fifty- five year old heating and air system in the Sanctuary Building ($606,000);

3. Improving and enhancing the worship experience - including sound, lighting, audio/visual, hearing assistance, handicap accessibility, and Sanctuary renovations ($889,536). 

Our church currently finds herself in one of the strongest financial positions that we have had in recent years. We certainly have the potential (and the responsibility) to carry out this proposed $1,995,536 capital campaign which will enable us to make much needed and long overdue improvements to our sanctuary and fellowship hall and to eliminate the $500,000 debt on the Mission Lexington Building (where Christ-oriented medical and dental services are given to the poor and marginalized in our community).  Not only will this proposed capital campaign enable us to become a more effective church now, but it will also position us to be an even more effective servant church on mission for Christ for years to come.

So come and join your church family at the called business meeting this Sunday as we consider and discuss this opportunity to be the church that Christ is calling us to be!

Your pastor,

Bob

 

 

 

Pastor's Paragraph

Dr. J. Dan Cooper, the pastor of our Calvary Baptist Church family from 1980-1990, died this past Thursday evening (June 4). As many of you know, the last several years of  Dr. Cooper’s life were quite challenging for him and his family as he lived with ongoing health issues related to a stroke which he suffered in March of 1988. As many of you also know, Dr. Cooper provided our Calvary family with dedicated, visionary, and Christ-like leadership during his tenure as Calvary’s pastor.

 

I am personally indebted to and grateful for Dan Cooper. When I was a very young pastor at the Lexington Avenue Baptist Church in Danville, Kentucky, I called Dr. Cooper (whom I had never met at that time) and asked him if he would meet with me and share with me some advice about carrying out the responsibilities of  being a pastor.   Dan not only graciously agreed to meet with me, but he bought me lunch and told me that he would be more than glad to meet with me again. In short, Dan became a mentor to me. And while I was the pastor of the LABC in Danville, Dan was the guest preacher for a spring revival that we held at the church. Little did I know at that time, that one day I would be called to be the pastor of Calvary following Dan’s pastorate (which was cut much too short because of his stroke). But what I did already know at that time was that Dan Cooper was the type of Christian leader and pastor who would encourage and mentor young pastors. To this day, I am grateful to God for Dan Cooper’s ministry to me.

 

In coming days, there will be a memorial service for Dr. Cooper at Calvary – a service at which we will celebrate Dan’s life and give thanks to our gracious God for the gift of Dan’s life. For now, I know that you will join me in keeping Dan’s family – his wife Marilyn, his son John and his family, and his daughter Dana and her family – in your thoughts and prayers.

 

May God bless the Coopers and our Calvary family as we grieve the loss of a beloved pastor and friend.

 

Blessings,

Bob

 

Pastor's Paragraph

We are now just past the midpoint of our church wide Transformed campaign. This past Sunday we focused on being transformed in our emotional health. I am grateful to Dr. Rick Landon, director of our Interfaith Counseling Center, for “tag team” preaching the sermon with me. Rick provided us with insightful answers to several “interview” – type questions such as:

1)    When should people get counseling?

2)    Why should people get counseling?

3)    Why do people hesitate (or even refuse) to get counseling?

4)    What can we do (as a church as well as individuals) to encourage people to seek counseling?

Dr. Landon also shared some of the resources that are available to our church and community through the ministry and counseling services of the Interfaith Counseling Center. You can find more information about Interfaith Counseling Center by going to the center’s website (www.interfaithcounselingcenter.org). Last Sunday’s “tag team” sermon can be accessed by going to our church website (www.calvarybaptistchurch.com).

We will continue our Transformed campaign this Sunday when we will examine what it means to be transformed in our relational health. Let me encourage you to be present for both Sunday School and worship as we consider biblical principles which will enable us to have healthy relationships (with God and with others).  Let me also encourage you to read the daily devotions in our Transformed Workbook/Journals which I have found to be extremely helpful.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Blessings,

Bob

 

Pastor's Paragraph-Minister of Youth

This Sunday is Youth Sunday.  A special worship service, led by our youth, will take place at 11:00 am in the Sanctuary. Just about everything in this service, from prayers and special music to leading congregation hymns and preaching, will be led by youth of our congregation. I am confident that this will be a wonderful and meaningful time of worship, just as it has been in years past.

But I've been asked on more than one occasion, "But Jason, why don't you preach on Youth Sunday?" Though I have been known to preach before, I prefer to give time and space for our own youth, children who have been nourished in the faith of our congregation, to respond to God's leading in their hearts to preach, pray, or perform a sacred piece of music. At Calvary, we worship a God who calls out men and women to serve, minister, and preach in a wide variety of situations and places. And this same God, who called Deborah as a judge over the ancient Israelites, also called the prophet Samuel as a young boy. This same God, who gave the Holy Spirit to Peter at Pentecost, called out Mary, a young woman, to birth our Savior Jesus. God uses men and women, boys and girls, the young and the old in God's own purposes. And how can we allow our youth to boldly respond to God's calling unto them without giving them the opportunity to respond? 

Youth-led worship services also provide the opportunity for our youth to stretch themselves, to do something outside of their comfort zone, and to equip them to participate in a life of faith throughout their lives. Whether leading a call to worship, playing the trumpet, or collecting the offering, every youth has the opportunity to serve and lead in this service. It is important to me that Calvary be a church where youth are stretched and asked to do this. Services where youth prepare and lead worship provide a context and foundation for our youth, who will grow into adults, to participate and contribute in a significant way in the worship of God as adults. Hopefully, when our youth are grown and in churches with their own families, they will remember their experiences of leading worship and answer "Yes" when they are asked to pray, serve, or lead future worship services.

So come this Sunday. Let us be together as a church family. Be led by our youth, who will be our future church leaders, deacons, and maybe even a preacher or two, and let us worship the God who calls every child to repentance and faith. 

Jason Matlack, Minister to Youth

 

 

Pastor's Paragraph Jan. 9

Several people have asked me for a copy of the "Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year" that I quoted in last Sunday's sermon. These questions, which appeared in a recent article by author and professor Don Whitney, are as follows:

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year? 
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it? 
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, Don Whitney encourages us to ask some additional "evaluation" questions including:

-What's the most important decision you need to make this year?
-Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?
-What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
-If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it? 

I hope that you will join me in taking some time to evaluate your life, especially as you reflect on the past year of 2013. With God's guidance and direction, may we be resolved to live more fully and faithfully in the time that God gives us in 2014. I look forward to seeing you Sunday when we will focus on the metaphor, "You are the light of the world," (Matthew 5:14-16). 

Pastor's Paragraph Dec. 5th

As I write this week's column, I have just read the daily devotional and prayer guide for December 3. This devotional and prayer guide is a project and ministry of our Calvary Prayer Team. Each day during the month of December, a different member of our Calvary Church family has written a devotional thought and prayer for that particular day. Today the devotional thought was written by Mark Dill, one of our youth who is a senior at Henry Clay High School. Mark's thoughtful devotional recounts how he learned the important lesson of sharing as a result of an Advent calendar that he and his sister Meredith have enjoyed during each Christmas season. Yesterday, I was inspired by Francis Marcum's story of a loving act which she and her family received during the Christmas of 1965. 

I look forward to reading these devotionals each day. Not only do they enable me to learn something new about members of my wonderful Calvary church family; these devotionals are also reminding me--during this busy, often hectic Christmas season--to keep my focus on God's gift of His Son Jesus Christ. 

Let me encourage  you to join many other people in our church family who are reading these meaningful devotionals and prayers each day of this Advent Season. These devotionals are being e-mailed to our church members each day. They can also be downloaded by going to the home page of our church web site www.calvarybaptistchurch.com. There are also some "hard copies" available in the church office, Welcome Desks, Sanctuary, and in the Senior Adult area in EB2, third floor. 

Take note of the various worship services and church activities that are scheduled throughout the month of December. Invite a friend and/or family member to come to one or more of these worship services and/or activities with you. Researchers tell us that many of the unchurched people in our country would come to a church service or activity during the Christmas season if  a friend or family member would just ask them. Who is a person that God might be directing you to invite to church this Advent season? 

Blessings, 

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph Nov. 21st

"Who's #1?" This was the title of last Sunday's sermon. It was not a sports question. (Incidentally, the UK Wildcats are #4 in this week's polls.) For our purposes last Sunday, "Who's #1?" was a personal question: "Who's #1--who has first place, top priority--in your life?" Affirming the biblical mandate that God is to have top priority--to have #1 ranking--in our lives, we examined a three-fold formula designed to help us demonstrate that God really is our Lord, that we really do regard our Lord Jesus Christ as #1. Here is the formula: 1) First Day; 2) First Fruits; and 3) First Thoughts.

1) First Day--Worship the Lord at church on the first day (Sunday) each week. Setting aside one special day to worship God is a visible demonstration and testimony of our belief that all of our days belong to God. 

2) First Fruits--God's people of Old Testament days gave the first portion of their harvest (the crops, their "income") as an offering to God. This reminded them that God was the Source of all of their blessings--that the Lord was the Ultimate Owner of all possessions and "income" with which they had been entrusted and given. Following this pattern, we give God the first portion of the income we receive--the "first fruits" of our income. This is an ongoing reminder that all of our income and possessions really belong to God. Giving a "first fruits" offering (which for me and many Christians is the first 10%, a tithe, of our income) enables us to honor God with the "first" portion of our income, rather than giving God the "leftovers." 

3) First Thoughts--Developing the discipline of thinking of God (and of thanking God) first thing in the morning is an excellent way of dedicating your entire day to the Lord, of striving to be a good representative of God's love in all of your thoughts and actions. Many people find it helpful to think of a scripture verse as the day begins. Psalm 118:24 is one such "first thoughts" verse. "This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." 

The Thanksgiving Season is a most appropriate time to evaluate our commitment to making God #1 in our lives. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for Sunday School, morning worship, and our Family Thanksgiving Feast. This Sunday (Commitment Sunday) will provide all of us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that God is #1 as we practice the disciplines of First Day, First Fruits, and First Thoughts. 

In Christ, 

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph October 24, 2013

As I reflect back on what was an incredibly active week in the life of our church family, I want to express thanks to you--my Calvary Church family--for your participation in the work of our congregation. Specifically, I want to express my appreciation to:

1. Rev. Carrie Beth Tonks for her leadership leading up to and during Children's Sabbath. Thanks to all of the children, all of the children's choir workers and leaders, and all of the parents who helped to make the Children's Sabbath worship experience so meaningful for our entire congregation. Carrie Beth, your sermon was thoughtfully prepared and inspirationally delivered. Preach on!  

2. Everyone in the CBC family who came and worked on one or more of several mission projects on Mission Blitz Day. Special thanks to Rev. Brian Varble for his leadership in this very worthwhile endeavor.  

3. The many Calvary members who went to First Baptist Bracktown as we helped our sister congregation celebrate her 133rd anniversary as a church. Many thanks to my friend Rev. C.B. Akins, and to the entire FBC Bracktown congregation for providing such wonderful Christian fellowship and hospitality. Thanks to our choir for leading out combined congregations in the worship of God through inspirational music. Thanks to Rev. Seth Hix, Dr. Kevin Raybuck, and Dr. Rebecca Miller for your musical leadership. And thank you, CBC family, for your presence and participation. 

In the spirit of Philippians 1:3-5, thank you, my Calvary family, for being the church! 

A grateful pastor,  

Bob

Pastor's Paragraph September 12, 2013

What a celebration we had in the Fellowship Hall this past Sunday evening as we recognized our Minister of Childhood Education, Rev. Carrie Beth Tonks, and our Associate Pastor, Rev. Hank Ellington, for 20 years of faithful and exceptional service to our church! Although both of these honored "guests" became a bit "warm" at times (after all, the program included a "roast"), the spirit of joy and laughter and heartfelt appreciation that permeated the Fellowship Hall conveyed how grateful our CBC family is for these two talented and dedicated ministers. 

All kidding and "roasting" aside, THANK YOU Carrie Beth and Hank: 
-Thank you both for 20 years of faithful service to Calvary Church.
-Thank you for viewing your respective ministry positions as a calling and not just as a job.
-Thank you for your work ethic and for your commitment to excellence.
-Thank you for teaching us--not only through Children's sermons and pulpit preaching and Bible studies, things you have spoken and said; But also thank you for teaching us through your lifestyles and actions, things you have modeled and lived out.
-Thank you for challenging us to give God our very best through the sharing of our time, talents, and resources.
-And thank you for blessing us through the sharing of your own resources, talents, and time.
-Thank you for "being there" for us when we have needed a counselor, a prayer, an empathetic ear, a minister, a friend.
-Thank you for the many times that you have laughed with us, worked with us, fellowshipped with us, and even on occasion, cried with us.
-Thank you for being our ministers.
-Thank you for being--in the best "Philippians 1:5" sense of the word--"our partners in the gospel."
-Thank you for being our sister and brother in Christ.
-From the depths of our congregational (and my pastoral) heart--THANKS!

Your grateful pastor, 

Bob

P.S.S. (Pastor's Postscript): Remember that this coming Sunday (September 15th) is National Back to Church Sunday. Plan to be present and invite a friend (or friends) to come with you. See you Sunday!