REPORT OF THE PRESBYTERY – Stuart Carroll
‘I’ll be honest—after seeing the roster of the candidates for Deacon I began wondering if I should wait a few years—or a few decades. ‘One of these things is not like the other!’ As some of you may or may not know, I’m Marcus Day. Though you may be more familiar with my father’s name, CC Day. Sadly, I couldn’t use two letters like him. MM might get me in trouble with the candy company or a certain rap artist. MD might work, but then I might confuse people I’m a doctor. Which I clearly am not. At least I hope that’s clear. What I do what to make clear though is that I am a Christian and serve the Lord our God. I was blessed with a good Christian home and friends who are Christ followers. That foundation changed and impacted the way I viewed the world. Awana, WWJD, and Christian summer camps taught me to be kind and loving to others. I took it a step further and would give grace to even animals and bugs….except spiders.
‘Ants. No problem. Caterpillars. No problem. Slugs. No problems. Spiders…errr…we’ve got problems.’ Later I became a Christian and my understanding of God and who and what I should be as a person grew more and more. When we moved to a new neighborhood I got new friends, new church, new school. And with it the secular world view and the impact that had. I discovered for the first time that not everyone believed in a one true God, and I had to learn to cope with that. I never stopped serving the Lord—BUT I became almost two people. Separating church ‘me’ and school ‘me.’ Church me would go on mission trips like World Changers and join Youth Group on Wednesdays. School me would go on Field Trips and After School activities. But God wasn’t at the center. I was more of just a good kid. The “goody-two-shoes” “goody-goody,”—you get the idea, but I never outwardly expressed that I went to church or did these God-Centered activities on my own accord. I also discovered that not all Christians behaved like Christians. It became more of a title than a way of living for some. And so naturally I began to wonder, have doubts, and question what I was doing. Then I had an epiphany—wondering why I was a “good person.” Some may think I was good because I had a Judge for a dad. And that is true, and my father is a great Judge, but there’s a Judge that even he answers to, and it’s the same One I answer to as well. Don’t get me wrong though. The threat of being punished by my dad was all too real. As you very well know he has a very deep and commanding tone of voice that you don’t want to hear upset. But what was also real was his love and obedience to God. He set the example for me. Now, I don’t want to embarrass him further by putting him in the spotlight, but I can’t say I am who I am today without mentioning him or my mother—who also taught me what compassion and mercy was about. I learned that there is a difference between ‘being’ a Christian and ‘being’ a Christian. Now I am actively involved in Kairos Prison Ministry, 1st Grade Sunday School; I serve as the ROC Attendant, and am a part of the A/V Team. But my most important job as a Christian is to love others. I’m reminded of a powerful monologue from a Christian band known as King and Country. The singer uses a passage from the Bible (1st Corinthians 13:1-7), but the words he used moved me: ‘If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump,’ and it jumps—but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. For no other commandment is greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
And this is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.”
‘Good Morning. First, I’d like to express my gratitude on being nominated for a deacon position. My prayer is that I will faithfully serve our entire church family and grow spiritually over the next several years. I am very blessed to come from a Christian home where Christ was at the center. I was raised in the United Methodist tradition and accepted Christ as my Savior after a week of backyard Vacation Bible School when I was 10 years old. I made my public profession of faith during my confirmation when I was 12 years old. After Andy and I were married and finished with college we felt it was important for us to attend and be members of the same church family. In November of 1998 I underwent believers’ baptism by submersion and continued my faith journey. When I was growing up there were so many things about Sunday mornings that I looked forward to. My father would wake up early and make waffles for us kids while my mom took the opportunity to sleep in. Going to church was at the top of the list, but the number two spot belonged to the Sunday morning funny pages? You remember, in the days where we received a paper newspaper, hand delivered to your doorstep by the neighborhood kid down the street. I’m sure most of you have your favorite comic strip. Some of the more popular ones when I was growing up were: Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, of course The Peanuts was a classic.
But the comic strip that I identified most with was ‘Family Circus.’ Remember is this one of those one frame strips about the day-to-day life of a family with four kids: Billy, Dolly, Jeffery, & PJ. Much like my own family, 3 boys and 1 girl, me being the second child. Periodically the kids in the comic would find themselves in trouble for breaking a lamp or spilling a glass of milk—-and their response when questioned by one of their parents as to what happened would be ‘I Don’t Know’ or ‘Not Me.’ In the background of the picture the reader would see two ghost like figures with the works ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Not Me’ across their chests. I too had one of these imaginary figures following me around. However, mine was ‘Why Me?’
At various points in my life I really got hung up on ‘Why Me?’ Examples include things like:
- ‘How come I’m the one who has to clean the kitchen?’
- The most traumatic of the teenage years was ‘Why do I have to ride the bus to school when my other friends get to drive?’
But there where others:
- ‘Why don’t have a serious long term boyfriend’
- ‘Why do I have to work harder at my schoolwork than others?’
And on and on. All this time I had my imaginary figure hanging out on my shoulder whispering in my ear ‘Why me, why me?’ Let me tell you, me and my little friend had quite a few pity parties. As I’ve grown older and learned to quite myself and take the time to work on my relationship with the Lord, I’ve come to realize that the answer to ‘Why me?’ is—‘because that’s the way I made you.’ When I began to push away what I thought were priorities, I could see more clearly where it was that God needed me for His priorities. I feel very blessed that I can use my gift of teaching and passion of working with at-risk children daily. I know that God is using me to touch the lives of some very special children right here in Gaithersburg. Several years ago, I had a student come up to me and say, ‘Mrs. Johnson did you know that you’re the only adult I know that smiles and laughs every day? I love coming to your class because I know you’re never going to hate me.’ Instead of constantly focusing on ‘Why me,’ my approach to life is now with a ‘Why not me?’ attitude. ‘Why not use me, Lord?’ Help me to be the best Christian I can be. To constantly strive to follow Christ’s example in everything I do, to be a witness to the world as to power of God’s love and grace. By following Christ’s example, we will better serve each other and all of God’s children. I’d like to close with my favorite scripture verse, Matthew 8:5; ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the One Who sent Me.’ Thank you’
Hello. I’d like to share with you how I became a Christian and my desire to serve Redland as a deacon.
While I was a teen, my family attended the First Methodist Church in La Mesa, California. I was an usher and regular attendee of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. I knew from memory the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, and the 66 books of the Bible. But I was not saved. At 15 in the summer going into my junior year of High School I attended a Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade at Balboa Stadium, the former home of the San Diego Chargers. I heard the message, prayed the sinner’s prayer, and received a little booklet containing among other things John 3:16, and my eyes were opened. Afterwards, I noticed that I was more interested in world events including Bible prophecy.
In college, I studied constantly, and couldn’t make time for church. Two weeks before the end of my sophomore year, I broke my arm in a body building course! I turned to the Lord in distress. It’s only by His grace that I got my best grades that semester. The opportunity to work my first summer job was out. However, while my arm healed, I took a course to teach illiterates how to read. Years later that course helped me to enter the Peace Corps, learn Spanish and live in Bolivia for three years.
After the Peace Corps I came to Washington DC where I encountered new relationships, challenges, and temptations. But the Lord knew what I needed and leed me to a Spanish Bible Study. It was at that Bible Study where I met and married my beautiful wife, Ruby. In the years that have followed, I have learned to yield what I knew of myself to what I knew of Christ. In the process Ruby and I have been blessed with children, with vocations, and with this church. Praise the Lord. Where God guides He also provides!
As a deacon, my vision for Redland is that we would all “act like deacon[s] in encouraging church harmony and helping others serve Christ more effectively.” I believe this vision of a body of dynamic Christians is announced each Sunday in our bulletin which proclaims Redland as “a grace-driven church for a grace-needing world,” where members are encouraged to live out the following five goals:
- Grow in the love of Christ
- Reach in the name of Christ
- Affirm in the body of Christ
- Care in the nature of Christ
- Exalt in the glory of Christ
As a deacon, I view these goals in terms of John 6:63 where Jesus stated: “The flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
For 30 years I have served at the Army’s Data Management office, where I have been exploring what qualities make data more useful. It turns out that data is best when it’s visible, accessible, understandable, trusted, and interoperable or able to be shared with others. Like these five qualities of useful data, I believe God desires His Word, which is full of Spirit and life, to be visible, accessible understandable, trusted and interoperable in the lives of others.
I believe that God desires that His Word, like data, which is infinitely reproducible, to::
- be visible by growing us in the love of Christ;
- be accessible by reaching us in the name of Christ;
- be understandable by affirming us in the body of Christ;
- be trusted by caring for us in the nature of Christ; and
- be interoperable by exalting, worshiping and praising Him in the glory of Christ
Finally, as a deacon, I desire, as Paul did for the Philippians, to pray for you this fivefold prayer:
- that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight
- so that you will be able to discern what is best
- and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ
- filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ
- to the glory and praise of God.
May God bless you all.
For those of you who don’t know me I’m Billy Tidwell, I was born again on Oct. 30th, 1976. That year Halloween was celebrated on the 30th instead of the 31st because the 31st was on Sunday. After church that night my friends were walking around the neighborhood watching the kids and were egged by some guys in a car. So, I was egged on the night I was saved. Over the years of my Christian life the Lord has made me aware that we’re save to be obedient children of God, to be obedient servants—instead of just setting around and enjoying the fruits of our salvation. My wife Donna put my name in to be considered as a Deacon. After prayer I felt it would be a excellent way to serve here at Redland Baptist Church and the community. Thanks for the opportunity.
‘Hi! My name is Coco Tshisuaka Kanda, son of Samuel and Rebecca. I am the youngest of 13 children. I am married to beautiful and soul mate Lydie Kanda. The Lord has blessed us with three wonderful children Sam , Rebecca and Jaden. My father was a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church for most of his life and he was a very trusted and respected member of our church. As a child and a young man, I knew that the Lord exists, but I was not yet a true Christian. I was saved through my father’s faith in God because he believed in the Lord and what the Bible says:
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
In my young life, every time I was down or had any kind of situation, I would go to my father and asked him for prayer. He would call to his God, and amazingly, the Lord would answer his prayer. I did not know that I needed to find the Lord and experience the Christian life myself. When my father became sick and in his hospital bed, he needed someone to pray for him. I did not know where to start. However, I remembered the teachings and the prayers that my father had taught me. I tried to repeat them, but they did not sound right, and I did not have faith that God would hear my prayers. Later on, my father passed and went to be with the Lord. I found myself without anyone to pray for me when I needed it. So, I decided to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so that I can have the relationship that Christians have with the Lord. This is how I came to know the Lord. I don’t want our kids to make the same mistake that I did, we want them to know the Lord in the youngest ages.’
CHARGE TO THE CANDIDATES
1 – Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
2 – then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
4 – not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 – Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;
7 – rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 – and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Before I charge our new deacons I feel led to begin my comments by saying how VERY GRATEFUL I am for our church staff. I mean, we get along so very well—in fact most of our staff meetings go way long—simply because we enjoy being together. There is no behind-the-scenes competition—we are a family—a team. One of the things that makes us such good team is the fact that whereas each of our staff are incredibly talented—they are each so humble. There is no selfishness or vain conceit.
Here’s something else I love about them. In spite of their busy schedule they don’t take short cuts. They are very dedicated to going the extra mile and a several miles beyond that in everything they do.
This week I thanked God once again for Peggy Peek. She did a phenomenal job in setting up our viewing of the film, THE CASE FOR CHRIST. On the heels of that she planned and led a very successful Easter Egg hunt. And on the heels of that she set up our Easter Sunday—post Sunrise-service food.
Bill Archer—Bill has made us USED to excellent music in all our services. I have to constantly remind myself never to take for granted the things he does—ALL THE TIME—like how we had a full-orchestra to play at our Sunrise Service. And his selection was so perfect—so obviously-Spirit-led. Those of you who attended know what I mean. As we gathered to praise God for raising His SON to life—God raised the SUN to life while our orchestra played, “When Morning Guilds the Skies—my heart awakening cries, may Jesus Christ be Praised!” On top of always providing excellence in music—Bill makes sure our administrative staff works together to keep our calendar straight—and to make sure the rest of our staff has what they need to do their jobs.
Christy Horton is so very faithful to use her gifts to keep our office running smoothly—making sure the bulletin and newsletter get done—keeping the website up-to-date—welcoming people to the office with her smile and friendly nature that is perfect for first impressions.
Jane is there twice a week adding her infectious laugh to the office while skillfully accomplishing all her duties.
Craig Floyd silently works behind the scenes keeping our facility ship shape—doing everything with excellence. I’ve often seen him—working hard in and about our facility—whether its vacuuming or supervising vendors or contractors who come to do maintenance on our facility.
We are so blessed to have someone of his caliber.
Oscar—who has cleaned our facility for nearly 30 years—will retire for the second time in a couple months and I love the way Oscar quietly serves—exuding the grace and love of Jesus whenever I say hi.
And Marilyn—we have the best accompanist on the planet playing every week and leading our Gospel Choir. Thank you God for Marilyn!
And—Sandy Forrer. Sandy serves as our financial secretary and I confess—I forgot to mention her at the first service. Thankfully, She and John are on vacation! My greatest fear in doing this was to leave someone out—and I wondered “How could I forget Sandy!” I mean, Sandy is such a blessing in the way she keeps our finances straight—paying our bills—PLUS SHE WRITES MY PAY CHECK! How could I forget Sandy—and the answer is, Sandy is so quiet—we hardly know she is there. But that’s one of the reasons we thank God for her—one of the reasons we admire her. She is a behind the scenes kind of servant. We are so blessed to have her.
I could go on but just love our staff! They are all so very dedicated to serving this church. I couldn’t have better co-workers. And—I saved our associate pastor for last intentionally. Besides—Kevin would like being at the end of the line—or not being mentioned at all. He is so humble—in spite of his talents and wisdom. I mean, Kevin is just the best Associate Pastor in charge of discipleship and family that there is. I love his skill—seen in everything he does—be it leading a men’s ministry meeting—taking our youth to World Changers—or filling the pulpit.
I saved him for last because I came across something the other day that reminded me of Kevin—because He worked for Chic-fil-a for a number of years. In fact, he went to their leadership school. We should write a letter to Dan Cathy—the current President and CEO of Chick-fil-A because of the things they taught Kevin. That training is part of what makes him such a good staff person. Anyway, I heard a story about Dan Cathy—who I believe is the son of Truett Cathy—the founder. Cathy was in southern California checking on some new Chick-fil-A restaurants that their company was building near Saddleback Church, where Rick Warren is the founding pastor. In fact, Warren and Cathy spent the day together and in the morning they stopped at a construction site of a new Chick-fil-A. Warren reports:
“We were looking at the building. While we were there we were hungry so we went next door to, I think it was a Taco Bell. It may have not been a Taco Bell—I don’t remember but it was some other fast food in competition with Chick-fil-A. We’d been out all day, our hands were all sweaty and dirty, and we went in the restroom and washed our hands before eating. Then as I was about to leave the restroom I watched Dan take out extra paper towels—remember this is the CEO of a chain of restaurants. I watched him pull them out and I watched him hand clean the sinks of the Taco Bell bathroom we were just in. He didn’t stop until they were sparkling. I looked at him and said, ‘Thank you for doing that Dan.’ He said, ‘Rick, we teach our staff to always leave any place they are at better than it was when they found it, whether it’s our place or not.’ Nobody at Taco Bell and nobody at Taco Bell Corporate knew that the CEO of their competition just cleaned their bathroom—for free.”
I’ve never seen Kevin clean a bathroom—but I wouldn’t be surprise to hear he did. And—I am thankful for the spirit of servanthood that is obvious not only in Kevin—but in all our staff. That’s another reason we work together so well. We know what we do is never about us. Plus, we understand that YOU don’t serve us—it’s the other way around. We all embrace the concept of SERVANT LEADERSHIP. And Marcus, Lora, Bruce, Coco, and Billy—that’s the kind of leadership you are being commissioned to this morning as new deacons. You are not joining an authoritative deacon BOARD—no—you are joining us—your church staff—in following Jesus’ example—by humbling yourselves as you become servants of this church. You are being ordained as a servant-leader. I would remind you that not only is Jesus your example—He is your enabler. Our Lord will empower you to serve others.
One more thing. Marcus, Lora, Bruce, Coco, and Billy, I am sure you know that serving as a Deacon here at Redland is a high privilege because Redland is a very special church family. God has blessed us with some of the most amazing people in the world. It is an honor to serve their needs—not a burden. And I want you to look at it that way. It is a great privilege to be a SERVANT LEADER to these people. So—every time we say the fourth part of our church’s purpose statement together, I want you to remind yourselves of this fact…that you are called to set an example for us all and serve “in the nature of Christ.”
Marcus, Lora, Billy, Coco, and Bruce I charge you to LEAD by SERVING the wonderful people of this church. If you accept this responsibility would you take the responsive reading that is printed on the insert in your bulletin and stand and read as indicated. And would the rest of you also take your inserts and read as indicated.
DECLARATION OF INDUCTION
Marcus, Lora, Bruce, Billy, and Coco—in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority committed to me as Pastor of this congregation, I now declare you to be set apart and commissioned for the work of a Deacon, and duly called and installed to that ministry in this church. You may be seated.
ORDINATION PRAYER – Don Mayberry
We close now with a song of commitment…to encourage us all to follow Jesus’ example and commit to a life of servanthood. Let this be a time when each of us pledges to do all we can to mature spiritually and preserve the unity of our wonderful congregation. But if you have a special commitment to make….we invite you to make it public at this time. Perhaps you need to respond by giving your life to Jesus….professing publicly that you have asked Him to forgive you and take control of your heart and life. Or….you may feel led to publicly commit to become a part of this church….moving your membership here to this place. Whatever decision you have to make I invite you to walk this aisle and share it with me now as we stand and sing.