October Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Habits”

Is it really possible to get “A New You in Eight Weeks?” I started that series a few weeks ago, and so far we have attempted to implement three weekly habits. First, pray three times a day, on your knees if possible. Scripture records believers praying in the morning, at noon, in the evening, a great while before the sun rises, and even at midnight. Whatever times you choose, just do it! We next looked at eating one meal a day with someone else. The Bible records much about both food and fellowship. In Genesis 2 God commanded Adam to eat from the trees in the garden. Two verses later He said it wasn’t good that man was alone. We combined these two thoughts and asked everyone to have at least one meal a day with someone else. The last Sunday of September we introduced the habit of “Bible First.” We are tempted to begin the day with everything but God. Our phones demand our attention. ESPN Sports Center has highlights from the recent game. Morning news shows remind us of important events. Yet the best use of our time is to dive into God’s Word and prepare for the coming day. I am basing this series on a book I purchased recently entitled “The Common Rule.” Written by a Christian lawyer, the book chronicles his life of intense work that began pulling him from God. He realized that his Christian life was in great danger if he didn’t take the necessary steps to stay close to the Lord. After devising eight small habits (and I am altering the habits slightly) and implementing them into his busy life, he noticed a remarkable change. He emailed his journey to many of his friends who in turn passed them along to others. It made such a difference in the lives of so many that he wrote the book. In the first few weeks of this series I have had many tell me that the habits are already making a difference! Strive to make your fellowship with God and others a priority. ******************** I am ready for Fall! Last month was the warmest and driest September on record for DFW. No need to fear, for September, 2018, was the wettest on record with over 12 inches of rain. As I looked at the official rain chart I saw some interesting statistics. The two wettest years on record were 2015 and 2018. The two driest were 1921 and 1910. The greatest difference from one year to the next was 21.32 inches in 2014 and 62.61 inches in 2015 (over 41 inches). These numbers remind me of our spiritual lives. Sometimes the “showers of blessing” (Ezek 34:26) fall unhindered but other times we are in a “dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). If all is well right now, continue to ask for God’s blessings and share those blessings with others. If you are in a dark place and life seems to be fighting you, remember that we all have seasons of ups and downs. We may have 21 inches of rain one year, but God is preparing us for 62 inches next year. Eventually we will all arrive where “the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). ******************** October is Revival Month! I hope you will be present at EVERY Sunday evening service as we hear great messages from God’s chosen servants! ******************** This year we will participate on Cleburne’s Fall Festival, “Autumn on the Square.” We will have a photo booth. Help us be a blessing to the community. ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



Student Tracks



September Newsletter

Pastor Ponderings 

“Fall is Here”

Fall is my favorite season. Among the reasons for this are: 1) The weather finally starts cooling down. Though we have not had a scorching summer this year, it was still very hot at times. 2) My favorite sport, football, resumes. I am not the fan I was years ago, but I still love watching a game or two when I have time. 3) School begins and routines are established. We get the kids up, (though I am an empty-nester) have breakfast, get them to school, then get to work. 4) Vacations are over and church attendance picks up. I am grateful for a good summer. We had our second-best attended service, behind only Easter, in July. Continue to pray for Calvary. Our Wednesday youth services have begun. We have renamed our student ministries to “On Track.” Our children are “The Express” and our teens are “The Crossing.” I am thankful for so many adults who are so willing to help this vital ministry. This month we begin a new ministry for our widows and widowers. We also want to include any of our saints who are single. We launch with a luncheon at 11:30am on Saturday, September 14. Our goal is to bless these church members by providing help around the house with repairs, light cleaning, mowing a lawn, changing light bulbs, and other practical help we can provide. We will work in conjunction with our men’s & ladies’ ministries as we pair those with a need to those who can meet that need. We have sign-up sheets in the auditorium if you want to list an area where you can help. ******************** A Christian website recently asked pastors about any strange and funny things they were asked to do. Here are some of the best ones. “A church member asked me to put his mother’s funeral on my calendar. She wasn’t dead.” “A church member asked me to do an imitation of a character from The Princess Bride during the wedding ceremony.” “I officiated a funeral where the family did the wave and hit beach balls during the service.” “A church member called, telling me her neighbors sheep were out in the road. Of course, I was supposed to help since I was her shepherd.” “I was asked to baptize a body at a funeral.” “A lady brought a chirping bird into a worship service and asked me to ignore it.” “I was visiting a member of our church in the hospital. He insisted I hold his kidney stone. I was young, so I did.” ******************** Sunday, September 8, we begin a series: “A New You in 8 Weeks.” We will look at eight vital habits we need to establish to be the best Christians we can be. Don’t miss it! ******************** This year the City of Cleburne will sponsor “Autumn on the Square”, a fall festival with local non-profits providing the activities. Calvary will have a photo booth. The city allows us to place any church information (tracts, etc.) on our table for the community to take. The date is October 19 from 10am to 3pm. We will have a sign-up sheet out soon for those willing to participate. Because of the Cleburne festival, we will scale back on Calvary’s Fall Festival this year. We will still have it, but it will be a little different than in past years. ******************** I want to wish a late happy birthday to my wife. I first met her about 40 years ago. She has been such a blessing to me, and I will always be grateful she said, “I do!” ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



Meals & Theme Nights

Meals Schedule

Week 9 Meal (Oct 23rd)

Tacos

Week 10 Meal (Nov 6th)

Baked Sandwiches

Week 11 Meal (Nov 13th)

Baked Ziti

Week 12 Meal (Nov 20th)

Thanksgiving Meal

Week 13 Meal (Dec 4th)

Mac & Cheese 

Theme Nights

Super Hero Night (Nov 13th) 



Memory Verses

Memory Verses for Crossing

“Week 9” (Oct 23rd) 

Psalm 119: 9, 11 – Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Thy word have I had in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

“Week 10” (Nov 6th)

Psalm 1:2 – But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

“Week 11” (Nov 13th)

Psalm 19:9-10 – The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb

“Week 12” (Nov 20th)

Review Week  

 


August Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Every Member and Every Day”

“Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25). “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly” (Hebrews 13:18). As I read these verses, a thought came to me. What if we all took these passages seriously and sincerely prayed for the pastor and leaders of Calvary every day? “[Paul] never outgrew the need for prayer, and neither do we” (William MacDonald). As you read this, determine to be a part of the prayers lifted to God. You can remember this with a simple slogan: “Every Member, Every Day.” Join with your brothers and sisters in Christ and take me and your fellow believers into the throne room of God. ******************** Thom Rainer wrote a short online article entitled, “Why I Attend Church.” Here are the final two reasons.

  1. I attend church because the Bible tells me to do so. Two-thirds of the New Testament is about churches, specifically gathered churches. The words of the writer of Hebrews in 10:24-25 are powerful: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
  2. I attend church because I love my church. I love my church. I love my pastor. I love the members of my church. I love the community my church serves. If I love someone, I will be there for them. I truly love my church.

******************** We just completed a sermon series entitled “The Walk.” It was a blessing to prepare these messages and they truly touched my heart. I pray that our walk will match our talk. We learned to “Walk in Love,” Walk in Truth,” “Walk Circumspectly,” “Walk Not as the Lost,” “Walk Humbly,” “Walk by Faith,” “Walk Worthy,” “Walk in Wisdom,” “Power Walk,” and we concluded last Sunday with “Walk in Light.” I pray we were all challenged to truly live out our faith! ******************** I am grateful and thankful for all who have joined the choir the past few weeks. We practice every Sunday from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. We are already practicing Christmas music (I know, that seems way too early), and I truly appreciate the attitude of the singers. If the Lord lays this ministry on your heart (provided you can at least sing a little bit), we would love to see you in the choir loft! ******************** August will be a great month. We open the first Sunday by baptizing in the evening service. We had around 21 teens and children saved at camp and Vacation Bible School. As we follow up on these young people (special thanks to Bro. Eddy Carrell for contacting many of these) we also pray that the parents will get involved with Calvary. Our On Track leader training will occur August 11 after the morning service. We will have lunch prepared then meet until about 3:00pm preparing for the new year of Express (children) and The Crossing (teens). Registration for this program is Wednesday, August 21, from 6:30pm-8:00pm and we begin on August 28 at 6:30pm. We have a great year ahead and look forward to what God will do through us! Thanks to all the volunteers! ******************** September brings some exciting blessings. On Saturday, September 14, we launch a widow/widower ministry with a free luncheon. Calvary has an abundance of members whose spouses have passed into glory. Join us for this special meal as we try to be a blessing to our folks who have endured difficult life circumstances. We also begin a new series on September 8 titled “A New You in Eight Weeks.” For these sermons we will look at eight vital habits we need to establish to be more effective for the Lord. The habits are very simple, yet Satan distracts us from what is important. Establish these eight simple routines, and God will bless us individually and as a church body! ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



July Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Series Finale”

Series Finale! We see those words and we know the end is near. When a television show concludes, the network will hype the final episode, and usually that chapter will have a large audience, sometimes the largest viewership of any installment. On February 28, 1983, the final show of M*A*S*H aired and set records that may never be broken. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was watched by 77% of the television viewing audience (by comparison, the Super Bowl is watched by about 50%). It portrayed all of the characters departing after the end of the Korean War. We have a series finale at Calvary Baptist Church. Both the Wallace and Rose families are moving on to new ministries. Please take time to read their articles. It was Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet” who penned the line, “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” This is a time of sweet sorrow. Calvary has grown to love these two families and has been greatly blessed by them. Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” We don’t enjoy times like this, but they are inevitable. What can we do now? Let me give you three recommendations. 1) Pray. Pray for the Wallace and Rose families as they get involved in new ministries. Pray for Calvary. As Paul was encouraging the Ephesian church to pray for certain people he added, “And for me!” Please keep me and my family in your prayers as I seek God’s guidance. 2) Participate. We have many holes that need to be filled. I am grateful for the huge majority who have stepped up and said, “What do you need me to do?” Sunday night, July 7, I will expound on the areas where help is needed, but so many of these jobs have already been filled by willing and able individuals. 3) Be Present. Make every service possible. Our new AM schedule begins July 7. Sunday school is at 9:30 and worship service for everyone is at 10:30. Come back on Sunday evenings! Make  Wednesday service a regular meeting time for you. Now is not the time to go wobbly. As we keep Jesus Christ in His rightful place, God will bless, and we will see many more victories here at Calvary Baptist Church. ******************** In my ongoing series, I present two more reasons Thom Rainer gives for “Why I Attend Church.”

  1. I attend church with frequency, not on occasion. It is my prayer to be in my church every Sunday. When I am out of town, I can find another church to attend. I pray I will never say, “I need a break from church.” I certainly don’t want God to take a break from me.
  2. I attend church to set an example for my family. Couples have healthier marriages when they attend church. Children grow up with countless benefits because their parents took them to church. I need to show the importance and priority of church attendance to those I love.

******************** I’ve mentioned it already, but keep in mind the new church service times. Sunday school is now at 9:30 and the morning worship for all is at 10:30. I am especially grateful to the early service crowd. They will be affected the most by this, but all have said they will be there. One sweet lady (who shall remain anonymous) said with a mischievous grin, “I not sure I like this, but I’ll be there.” We are also adding an 8:45 prayer meeting beginning this Sunday morning. We will gather in the College & Career room and be finished promptly at 9:00. ******************** What would July be without Vacation Bible School. We have special times planned for prep work on July 7. VBS is July 15-18, and we hope to see you and your children there! This month, of course, we also celebrate the birth of our nation. What a blessing it is to live in the USA and enjoy freedoms that so many do not have! ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



June Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Summer”

Texas Summer. Those two words strike fear into almost everyone. I lived through the 1980 summer with 42 straight days of 100° temperatures. That summer also had the hottest two days in the history of DFW, 113°, on June 26 and 27, 1980. Many churches talk of a “summer slump.” It’s vacation time and many head out for a week or two. Others become “disinterested” in church because the Wednesday program is not occuring. Some find other, more “important” things to do. Let’s be in every service this summer! I heard recently of a church’s motto: “Three to thrive!” Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night are the three times Calvary assembles together as a body of believers. Let’s thrive this summer! ******************** In my ongoing series, I present two more reasons Thom Rainer gives for “Why I Attend Church.”

  1. I attend church to participate in worship. There is something special and Spirit-filled about worshipping together with other Christians. It is both an opportunity and gift I do not take lightly.
  2. I attend church even if it doesn’t meet all my needs. If I say, “I am not getting fed spiritually,” it likely means I am not hungry spiritually. If my church does some things a bit differently than my preferences, I realize I am there, not as a consumer, but as a giver and one who has been called to put others’ needs before my own. No church is perfect. No worship style is perfect. No pastor is perfect. And neither am I.

******************** Wednesday nights we are preaching through Hebrews 11. While most of the stories are very familiar, it is still striking what incredible faith the Old Testament saints had. Their faith was marked by action. Scripture repeats the phrase: “By faith.” By faith Abel offered. By faith Noah prepared an ark. By faith Abraham obeyed. By faith Abraham offered up Isaac. By faith Isaac blessed. By faith Jacob gave commandment. By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. By faith Israel passed through the Red Sea. While this is not the entire list of heroes, it demonstrates that faith caused these men and women to perform great deeds for God. Any faith that does not become action is not true faith. I want to challenge your faith. Is it only in your heart and mind or is it shown by your actions? This is the thought in James 2 when he says that “faith without works is dead.” ******************** This year marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The average age of the American G.I. in that battle was 21. They had to be moved across the English Channel as secretly as possible. Fake radio broadcasts were made to divert German attention. Double agents were fed false information. The allies even built a “fake” invasion company out of wood that was visible from the skies. They needed clear skies, but high winds and rain caused a delay from June 5 to June 6. Amazingly, only about 5,000 allied soldiers were killed. A foothold was gained in continental Europe, and within a year Germany surrendered. I have mentioned before that my grandfather fought in World War 1, my uncle fought in World War 2, and my father fought in the Korean War. As a nation we are all in debt to our military, past and present. ******************** Sunday morning we are moving through a series entitled “The Walk.” Each week we look at a different Bible verse that has the word “walk” in it. We have seen the need to “walk in love.” The greatest of all is love! It is the way that people know we are Jesus’ disciples. We also saw the need to “walk in truth.” Some say truth is relative. Others say we make our own truth by the way we live. But Scripture is absolute truth that “will make you free.” We also know to “walk circumspectly.” We must be watchful because our adversary wants to devour us. Join us Sunday mornings at 8:30 and 11:00 for “The Walk.” ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



May Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Thanks”

Thank you to all who made our Easter services so special. The music was fabulous with the choir singing the first twenty minutes of the morning services. We had a great crowd and two indicated they got saved. Two more joined with us. The evening service was special as we had a hymn sing and testimony time. Again, thanks to all who made the day so special.

********************

By the time you read this, the Student Auction will be finished. I again want to thank all who worked so hard to make it happen. Many companies donated items, and I encourage you to support those businesses. We are praying for another successful year that will enable young people to go to camp who would not have been able to go. These fund also help the Student Ministries with year-round expenses, and we are truly grateful for you kind giving.

********************

Last month I mentioned an article by Thom Rainer, “Why I Attend Church”. He gave ten reasons, and this month we look at numbers 3 and 4.

  1. I attend church to encourage my pastor. I doubt many of us know how much our pastors serve us and love us seven days a week. The least I can do for my pastor is to be there in person when we gather as a church. I know it encourages my pastor, and I want our pastors to have that gift of encouragement every week.
  2. I attend church to state my priorities. If I am able to go to work, to go to school, to go on vacation, or to watch or be involved in a sport, I can attend church. I desire to have a “no excuse” clause in my life for attending church.

********************

May might be the busiest month of the year in the life of our church. The teens attend a youth conference on the 4th, and the Ladies’ Bible Study will be Tuesday, May 7.

Out student ministries will have award night on May 8, and everyone will be in the auditorium. The following night our Young Adults play volleyball, and Friday the 10th our Golden Agers will take a train trip to Grapevine.

Mother’s Day falls on the 12th, and all the ladies will meet in the Family Life Center for brunch at 9:45am. During the 11:00 we will have Baby Dedication (though no one has signed up as of April 24).

Outreach is May 14, and all Teen and Children workers will have an appreciation meal on the 15th at 6:30. The teens will have Video Game Night on the 17th, and this is always a big draw for visitors! Graduation Sunday is May 19. We will honor all graduates in the morning service and have special displays for our high school graduates in the Family Life Center after the evening service. The Young Adults will fellowship again on the 23rd, the Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study is the 25th, and the last Sunday is Memorial Day Weekend. As I post all these events, I pray we understand that being busy is not always spiritual. While we have a lot of events, if our focus is not on Jesus Christ, we lose. With all these fellowships, let’s make sure and set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. ******************** Beginning April 28, I will preach a new series entitled The Walk: Measuring Our Maturity. I am basing it on all of the New Testament verses that speak of our “walk.” A few of these verses include: Ephesians 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, Ephesians 4:17  This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) Colossians 2:6-7 6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. We hope to see you at church for this series! ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



April Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings

“The Music of Easter”

Easter. Resurrection. Christ Arose. Because He Lives. He Lives. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. Rejoice, the Lord Is King. I love Easter music. Our choir will present special music at both morning services on Resurrection Sunday. That night we will have an Easter hymn sing. Join us both morning and evening services as we lift our voices in praise to our risen Savior! ******************** He talked about it for some time. We weren’t sure if he was serious. He was. My son moved back to Jacksonville, FL a few days ago. I will miss him deeply. He planned it well and already had a job and a place to stay, and a church home before he left Texas. As much as we hate to see our children go, we recognize the need for them to “spread their wings.” When he first mentioned the possibility of moving, I could not figure why he wanted to do so. After all, Texas was home! Then it hit me that he grew up in Florida, and it was more home to him than Texas (I know that sounds like blasphemy to some reading this). We, too, have a home, an eternal home! We will be on this sinful earth for a time, but we look “for a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Our hearts long for that place and the mansions that awaits us. We will be gathered to our people. We will see our Lord and Savior. What a day that will be! ******************** One of my new favorite authors is Thom Rainer. He has written several books, and almost all of them deal with church growth. He also sends regular emails, and he had one recently entitled, “Why I Attend Church.” Over the next several months I am going to give you his ten reasons for attending church. The first two are:

  1. I attend church to serve others. There is so much greater joy in serving than seeking to be served. I have many opportunities to serve when the church is gathered. Those opportunities are my gifts from God.
  2. I attend church to encourage others. We live in a world of incredible digital communication. But there is still something irreplaceable about gathering together. When I encounter someone in person at church, I have an opportunity to encourage him or her in person as well.

******************** The Faith Promise Mission cards are available on the back table. Please be in prayer for what you can give to missions in the coming year. There is also a place on the cards to participate in the 60-day Tithe Challenge. If you are not already tithing (giving 10% of your income) consider taking this test. We ask that everyone in the church tithe in the months of April and May. I am convinced that most people do not give 10% out of fear. They look at their budget and think that it would be impossible to do this. But we must remember what Scripture says! In Malachi 3:8-10, God speaks to ancient Israel and says: “8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Even our Savior said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As you determine what you will give to missions, don’t forget the opportunity to tithe to the Lord. ******************** As we approach Easter, please invite friends and family to join us that day! We have cards you can hand out, and our prayer is that many will respond to these invitations. Over 80% of non-church going people said they will go to church if invited by a friend. Easter is the biggest day of the year for Christians. We believe our Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead! Let’s take this greatest news possible and let others know about our Savior and our church! ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision  



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