Archive for November, 2018

Preparing for Worship – December 2, 2018

Hymns and Songs We Will Be Singing on Sunday:

Come, Praise and Glorify
Before the Throne of God Above
Not in Me
Joy Has Dawned
May the Peoples Praise You

Sunday’s Sermon:

Matt’s message on Sunday is “The Great Commission: Direction for Disciples of Jesus based on Matthew 28:18-20. Read and meditate on this scripture passage for Sunday as you prepare for corporate worship.

Pray for Our Leaders:

Preaching: Matt
Welcome/Call to Worship: Wes Treadway
Leading in Prayer: Andy Davis, Walter Lee and Wes Treadway
Leading in Praise: Wes Treadway and the Worship Ministry Team
Scripture Reading:
Baptism: Philip McDuffie

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Preparing for Worship – November 25, 2018

Hymns and Songs We Will Be Singing on Sunday:

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Rock of Ages
Christ Is Mine Forevermore
All Glory Be to Christ

Sunday’s Sermon:

Andy Davis’ message on Sunday is “A Life’s Work That Will Survive Judgment Day” based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Read and meditate on this scripture passage for Sunday as you prepare for corporate worship.

Pray for Our Leaders:

Preaching: Andy Davis
Welcome/Call to Worship: Wes Treadway
Leading in Prayer: Andy Davis, Ben Zweigle and Wes Treadway
Leading in Praise: Wes Treadway and the Worship Ministry Team
Scripture Reading: Josh Snyder

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Elder & Deacon Nominees’ Testimonies


Brent Aucoin

I was born in Hammond, Louisiana, but grew up in a suburb of New Orleans.  I was raised in a Catholic family and graduated from a Catholic grade school and high school.  After earning my undergraduate degree from LSU and a master’s degree from Miami University, I went to the University of Arkansas to pursue a Ph.D. in History.  I met my wife, Amanda, in my first class and eventually invited her to attend Catholic Mass with me.  A member of the Texarkana Reformed Baptist Church, which was co-founded by her father, Amanda agreed to accompany me to mass on the condition that I also attend church and Bible studies with her.  Confident that she would soon be a Catholic I cheerfully agreed to the terms.  However, after a few months of sitting under biblically-sound preaching and teaching, discussing and debating theology with Amanda, and reading the Scriptures for myself (for the first time ever), God enabled me to come to a true understanding of the gospel.  Amazed by the fact that salvation is an act of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and not, as I previously believed, accomplished by good works and through the church, I requested to be baptized.  So, in 1994, at the age of 24, I was baptized by Amanda’s father.  In 1995, we were married.

I am thankful to God that when I was a new believer He brought many mature Christians into my life who were committed to faithfully discipling me.  Among other things, these men brought me to what in retrospect seems like a continuous rotation of early morning and late-night Bible studies, and fed me a constant stream of books, most of which seemed to be written by men named John – from Bunyan and Calvin to Piper and MacArthur.  In addition, I benefitted significantly from faithful expositions of God’s Word from the pulpits of various churches, including Covenant Presbyterian (PCA) and University Baptist Church of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  After living in St. Petersburg, Russia for a year, where I taught and occasionally preached at an English-language European Baptist church, I became the chair of the History Department at Williams Baptist College in Arkansas.  As one of the very few inerrantists on the faculty, I soon found myself discipling students who were preparing to go to the foreign mission field or into the ministry.  I also helped to plant a new church and served as one of the elders.  Of course, my wife, Amanda, was involved in all of these things as well – discipling me, helping me, and ministering to others both in Russia and Arkansas.

In 2004 I was hired by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC to teach history in its undergraduate program (the College at Southeastern).  After moving to Wake Forest we visited FBC Durham, primarily because I remembered hearing Dr. Andrew Davis preach years earlier at a conference in Alabama.  We quickly fell in love with the church and joined it in 2005.  We are grateful to God for the many years He has given us at FBC Durham, and are thankful that our four boys, Addison (18), Andrew (15), Aaron (12), and Alex (7), have spent their formative years sitting under the preaching, teaching, and various ministries of FBC-D.  We are especially thankful that through the example of others in the church, and the preaching of Dr. Davis, Amanda and I sensed the call to become licensed foster parents, which among other things, led to us fostering and then eventually adopting our youngest son, Alex.

I have been blessed to serve FBC-Durham in several capacities that include Home Fellowship Host and Leader, BFL teacher, and being a Deacon.  As someone who has both a personal and professional interest in race relations, I am particularly grateful for the many opportunities that FBC-Durham has afforded me over the years to be engaged in urban ministry.

I am also grateful for the fact that writing this testimony has vividly reminded me that although I am a sinner who has never had anything to present to God but my sin, I was miraculously and graciously adopted by God as a son, and made right with Him only by the gift of faith in Jesus Christ and His sinless life and atoning death on the cross.  Just as I contributed nothing to my salvation, I feel that I bring I am bringing little of value to the high calling of serving as an elder at FBC-Durham.  While in many ways I feel unworthy of the position, I desire it because of the opportunity it provides me to serve the church and to further my own sanctification.

Walter Lee – 2nd Term

I grew up in a small town in Illinois whose parents were non-practicing Buddhists. I was superficially exposed to Christianity but really did not think it was something that I needed. Indeed, I believed religion to be archaic and a remnant from a time when people did not know any better. I officially called myself agnostic, but in reality I was anti-Christian. I enjoyed getting into debates with Christians to demonstrate to them how misguided their beliefs were. I considered myself a ‘good person’ since I felt I had a deep sense of what actions were “right” and “wrong”. However, at the core, I was troubled by the relativism that formed the foundation of my personal ethics. I felt a heavy burden from what I now know as my own sin.

This issue led me to seek answers by choosing philosophy as an undergraduate degree, with a concentration in ethics, while attending college in Washington DC. These philosophical studies only led to more questions rather than answers. I met Christ the summer after my freshman year in a series of events that demonstrated God’s existence and sovereignty. Briefly, I was approach by a Christian cult and was pressured to participate in a Bible study. Through reading the Bible for the first time, God not only showed me His Truth in the person of Christ Jesus, but also demonstrated to me how this group was twisting His word for their own agenda. By God’s grace, I was able to leave this misguided church with my faith intact, and help others do the same. I was able to grow in my Christian walk throughout undergraduate and medical school from solid teaching and community. This came from a Bible based church as well as Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

I met my wife Julia after moving to Cleveland for my head and neck surgery residency training and we have been married for 13 years. While there, we were blessed to be members of the Cleveland Chinese Christian Church. I was chosen to serve as an English congregation elder for three years. We moved to Durham in 2008 and became FBC members in 2009. We currently have three boys: Isaac (9), Benjamin (7), and Joel (5). I have been blessed to serve the church in several capacities that include Home Fellowship Leader, BFL teacher, and being a Deacon.

It is a humbling honor to be nominated as an elder candidate for the FBC congregation.

When I reflect on the motivating factors as to why I have agreed to be put forth to the congregation as an elder candidate, several reasons come to mind. To start, my family and I love the church body that is at FBC. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and how we strive to worship the Lord in all that we say and do. I love that we strive to take the church covenant seriously, seeking to support and encourage one another onward on this race that God has laid out for us. I believe with my entire heart that God sacrificed his son Jesus on the cross for me so that I can be forgiven, and now I am considered a child of God. It is awesome to think that he did that for each of us who believes in Christ. It is only through this common love that we have for the Lord that we have a common love among each other, regardless of whether we “know” each other or not.

Another reason is that I have a desire to see our church body grow closer to God, as well closer to each other. This can only happen when we recognize our own sin and brokenness. It is through this recognition that God’s mercy and grace can be manifested in our lives. In contrast, trying to portray having a “perfect Christian life” focuses the praise on what we can do rather than what God can do to redeem us in our brokenness. I commit to building an environment that supports being open and transparent about the struggles, trials, and temptations we all face, while all the time pointing to the redemptive work of our sovereign God.

I also have a desire to help prepare and equip our members, both adults and youth, to give a reason for the faith we have in Christ as our Lord and Savior. I have a heart to train us to be able to stand as a guiding light to Truth as it applies to the issues of the day. Furthermore, I long to see us prepared to respond to worldly consequences that may result from our stand for God’s Truth. Our response should be one in which points people to God’s mercy and grace. As a result of this, I long to have us reach the lost because of our love for God, his Holy Word, and for each other.

Ultimately, the reasons for seeking to be an elder are based on remembering how much God has blessed me with so much in my life and what infinitely more will be revealed in eternal life with Him. From this standpoint, it would be an honor to serve as elder and have the Lord work through me to serve and bless others just as others have done for me.

Finally, I know that serving as elder will mold me, challenge me, and sanctify me in ways that I cannot imagine. I also know that it will influence the spiritual growth of our family in ways that will draw us closer to the Lord. I commit that I will seek the Lord’s wisdom and strength as I serve the congregation alongside the other elders in living out God’s will for us as long as we are together at FBC.

Ben Zweigle – 2nd Term

Jesus calls out, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Around age fourteen I began to feel this weariness and heaviness.  My awareness was stirred through difficulty: repeated moves with my newly retired parents, the murder of my closest brother, an involuntary commitment to a hospital, an assault by a teacher, suspensions from school and finally moving out of my parent’s home due to my angry and rebellious behaviors.  I was wearied by sin, I just hadn’t recognized it yet. Of all of the places I could have gone God lined up my oldest sister’s home who happened to be a born again believer.  During my months of continued rebellion there, as I was dragged along to church and youth group with my sister’s family, His word began to accomplish its purposes in my heart.  God began to soften my heart to the gospel through the kindness of the body of Christ and the ministry of His word.  One evening, aware of and exhausted by sin, with my sister and God as witnesses, I repented of my sins, confessed my need for a Savior and Jesus Christ as my Lord.  Now looking back on those painful weights which brought me that breaking point I can say with David, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

I can remember lots of stress in my early walk with Christ over whether or not I was secure in Christ.  Though my past sins had been cast as far as the east is from the west the allure of sin seemed as strong as ever.  Had I really confessed Christ to be my Savior and Lord?  Now, looking back I can say yes. Yes I was a new creation through eyes of faith and what had begun in me was the process of sin, conviction, repentance and peaceful gratitude that is with me to this day and will be until I reach heaven or Christ returns.  The difference between my assurance then and now is huge.  God has given me many victories over sin as well as an affection for Him, which, when I read the New Testament are sure marks of being in Christ.  So now I rejoice in full assurance that if I were to die today I would join Him and all the saints in glory forever.  That is an amazing thing!

So what am I doing now?  To those of you who know me well I’m about to sound like a broken record, I can’t help it, these two verses keep me so driven from day to day.  The psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  Whoa, what I do now to grow internally matters then when I meet God!  Secondly, listen to this:  “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12:3).  Same principle, what I do now internally matters then, but hear the second part, my internal growth is connected to my external journey of leading others to Christ!  Whoa! So, my goal, as feeble as my attempts are, is to pursue knowing Him and making Him known with what little time I have.

One significant way God has directed my growth in Him has been through participation in the ministries at FBC.  What are the needs?  Do these fit with my gifts?  How can I apply myself toward this?  For me, having something to teach, whether one week away or one month away, has been a huge encouragement for my growth.  I realize that no amount of studying, meditating or prayer over a text will ever allow me to reach its depths or to do it justice during a lesson.  In this way I feel constantly under a good pressure to study His word.  I am confident participation in the ministries at FBC has been a tool in God’s hands helping me to grow wiser, shine brighter and, Lord willing, lead many to righteousness.

Where else do I pursue knowing Him and making Him known?  God has placed me in the world as a licensed counselor, I work full time to help people sort out mental health symptoms.  This has been a hard position for me to learn to appreciate in relation to my walk with the Lord over the past ten years.  I entered mental health with the purpose of working within a Christian setting, but God (need I say more?) had other plans.  He has placed me very much in the world and I am learning to trust and appreciate His wisdom in this.  Come to think of it, what better place to find “the many” to lead to righteousness!  In this setting it has seemed so easy to find those who need Christ, so many need Christ so desperately.  But waiting for those opportunities to lead many to righteousness has seemed so hard.  I have encountered sober resistance and serious restrictions at work related to this. Some doors to ministry have been slammed tightly closed.  I truly believe in relation to these doors closing the words of Joseph apply, “what you intended for evil God meant for good” or even one chapter over to Exodus 1, “the more they oppressed them the more they multiplied” (Gen 50:20, Exodus 1).  When I think back over the last couple of years on some of the painful restrictions I have experienced at work I can see how they have led me to new and more effective doors for ministry.  I have learned to schedule times outside of work where I am entirely free to point people clearly toward Christ.  Over the last couple of years I have been so privileged to be a part of other people’s growth in Christ, be it on a walk in downtown, over lunch with a coworker or coffee with friends or teenagers (which believe it or not can actually be one in the same :).

I would have never imagined before I came to Christ that he would have poured as many blessings into my life as He has.  Forgiveness?  Lordship!  Adoption?  Security!  Perseverance?  Fruits of the Spirit!  Were all these not enough, and they are, he has blessed me with a marriage to a beautiful, that is, godly, wise, faithful and joyful wife of ten years.  I have seen God do miracles in our relationship, namely, despite me being me, Sara and I genuinely enjoy our marriage!  With God all things are possible.  He has since entrusted us with three boys to raise and disciple in His ways.  Feel the weight of this responsibility!

First Baptist, you have been a beacon of strength, encouragement and direction as I have sought to take up these weighty responsibilities.  I would like little more than to pour back into FBC a portion of what has been poured into me.  May God bless you with wisdom as you consider my nomination for eldership.


Tim Andrews

I did not grow up in a Christian home. My father claimed to be a Baptist when I was young. My mother came from a Catholic background, went to a Catholic high school, knows about many feast days, and is familiar with many saints. However, no one in my family ever took me to church, read from the Bible, or bothered to teach me anything about Christian living. I was born in Savannah, GA, where I spent the first 25 years of my life. Every year this small city of 140,000 people grows to 300,000 for St Patrick’s Day, when the primary attraction is an abundant source of alcohol. This city is very liberal, and I was a part of it. I had a false impression of how to live a good life, and had a lot of misplaced compassion for various groups of people, and tolerance for different types of sin.

From watching a lot of television as a kid in the 1980’s, I also had a false impression of Christians, based on my observation of some televangelists, such as Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, and Jim Bakker. I thought that since these people stole from desperate viewers and had adulterous affairs, and that I had not, then I must be a lot better than them. This was my thinking throughout my high school and college years, where a lot of classes focused on certain aspects of Christendom, like the Inquisition, and proselytization of Native Americans so that white settlers could take their land.

But college was not all bad. That is where I met my wife, Michelle (aka Ying). After we graduated and got married, we moved to the Bronx, NY, where she went to graduate school. We spent about 12 years in New York State. Both of our sons were born there, and Michelle’s parents came to live with us. I still almost never went to any churches. Sometimes on Christmas or Easter we would even travel to nearby Buddhist monasteries in the Bronx, Queens

and Carmel. Some of these places were physically peaceful, and that added to the deception they provide.

In 2010 Michelle and I had a falling out with her parents, and the pain from that still seemed to have an effect on her years later. She is still estranged from them. At that time one of her coworkers began taking her to a local church, and we eventually found Ridgeway Church in White Plains, NY. It was affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. We were both baptized in October of that year. The teaching was not very deep, but a few of the members did have very sound doctrine. They shepherded us through some difficult times. I thank God that

we were led there. At that time I was very weak spiritually, and would have gone anywhere Michelle went. If someone had happened to take us to a Catholic or Mormon church, we might have been led astray very easily. I realize none of this is our doing, but the Father moving us to the correct place through His plan by the Spirit.

From Ridgeway Church we moved to Red Mills Baptist Church in Mahopac Falls. The pastor there, Jim Harrison, had met Andy Davis at a conference. He heard that we were moving to the Triangle, and recommended we look into attending services at FBC.

I am truly blessed to have wonderful, Godly friends here, and I want to serve in any way that I can. I have been volunteering with the international ministries. Through serving I want to grow more. I want to set an example for my sons to serve as well. I also want to serve where there is a need. Michelle sometimes interprets for Mandarin-language classes. I have a desire to be a Christ-like example for everyone around me, and this is a great opportunity to do that.

Kellie Avery – 2nd Term

I grew up a “good girl” in the Catholic faith. I had a heart for God as a young child and into my teenage years. In high school and college I was very active within our parish and spent many hours volunteering in different ministries within the church.

Although I was known for being “religious” I was private about my faith. I received great comfort in knowing there was a God. I knew that He had the best in mind for me, but the concept of the Trinity was confusing. I preferred not to talk about Jesus because He felt too controversial. The Holy Spirit was frightening to me, so I chose not to dwell on Him. In many ways, that was how I played out my faith in those early years, picking and choosing my belief based on what I could understand or feel — or worse, how I would be perceived. I felt fairly certain that being a “good girl” had worked for me.  I felt if could continue to do good, be good, and hang out with good people, then God would know I was good.

However, I was shaky about how good would be good enough to be in God’s favor. I assumed that this was where “faith” played out.

I met my husband, Damien, during a very difficult time in my life. My family and I were sitting in the fall-out of crises. Through a series of events in my freshman year of college, I had been forced by Child Protective Services to expose over a decade of sexual abuse under the hand of my paternal grandfather. In this process, the large extended family, chose to support my grandfather, cutting off my parents, siblings, and me.  I felt alone like I never had before.

Suddenly, at nineteen years of age I was no longer the favored “good girl.” I was the whistle blower on family issues that hadn’t begun with me, but had long been swept under the rug.

At this time, through God’s common grace, I never lost sight that God was with me. And He gave me the faith to believe that somehow He could take all this pain and make it right–though I certainly didn’t know how.

I met Damien when I was 20, He was already a follower of Jesus and he patiently fed me the Good News of Christ, over and over again. During that first year of friendship, and later dating, he told me that the only way to know God was to know His Son, Jesus. He explained that God could not look upon me because of my sin. I could never be or do enough good, but there was hope. Christ gave up His own life to pay for my sin. I could admit my sin and receive his salvation, and know a true and right relationship with God. He explained that the Holy Spirit wasn’t something to ignore out of fear, but that God’s work through the Holy Spirit would allow me to grow in life and love and truth.

I knew Damien served a very different God than the one I had been serving, but it took me a long time to fully understand and make a decision. One evening in December of 1993, while Damien and I were praying, I realized that God’s Word was true, and His sacrifice was personal and real.  I decided to trust Jesus as my Savior – to follow Him alone.

Since this decision, my spiritual life continues to be a process as I daily set aside pride and my desire to earn salvation, and to focus my trust in Jesus. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) that I am more than the things I’ve done or will do; much more than the people I know… I have learned that my significance is based on who Christ says I am.

I no longer desire to keep my spiritual life private because Jesus heals me, every day. He heals me from the profound effects of my own sin, and the sin of others. His love has carried me through dark times; has lavishly repaid “the years the locusts have eaten-” (Joel 2:25) and has given me joy that can only come from walking through life with Him.

Bill Oakley

To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish to convey my deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve you and our savior together as a deacon of First Baptist Church.  I feel so blessed to be a part of this congregation.  All my life I have been the beneficiary of God’s blessings. My parents always showed me it was our purpose in life to help and serve others in need regardless if they were family or stranger. Growing up in the church at the age of 19 I felt the call of the Holy Spirit to turn my life to Jesus and I began to serve others.  It was also that same year that I began my work in the funeral profession.  I felt a strong desire to do this so that I might be a comfort to others in their time of need.  This was not only a job for me but a ministry as well.  During this time I witnessed the hurt and pain of strangers during their loss and suffering I wanted to be encouraging in any way I could.  During this time of working I did become sedentary in my walk with God.  Being in the world I lived of the world and grew apart from the fellowship of the church, with the trials of life falling on me I became a patient of several life threatening health issues.  Starting with a massive heart attack and later being told I had malignant cancer.  During my many days of chemotherapy treatments I had thoughts and questions of why had this malady fallen on me and what was to happen to me.  It was at this time I knew that I needed to reconcile my life and turn everything over to God and let His will be done in me.  It was also then I knew that whatever happened to me I was going to be just fine in any direction God had chosen for me to go.  When I finished my treatments I was told my cancer was in remission and from the beginning the doctors said they had given me about a year to live.  Knowing God brings strength and endurance from suffering it was then I knew God had a plan for me with His grace, love and healing upon me, a rededication of my life to Him brought me back into full fellowship of His church.  It came on my heart during this new season of my life to make the rest of my time on earth one of love and service to others as we are told to do in Romans 12th chapter.  I felt the urge to do anything I could in the church I was attending by serving in many ways to help that congregation and my pastor.  As a worker, deacon and former chairman of deacons I learned that there is always a need for more workers willing to serve.  For more than seven years I have a been a member of the Pastoral Care Staff at Duke  Medical  Center  serving as a hospital chaplain, and have been enrolled as a student of Clinical Pastoral Education at Duke. Along with this I also serve as a volunteer chaplain with Durham Emergency Chaplains which serve the first responders of the Durham Police Dept., Durham Co. Sheriff’s Office and Durham Co. EMS Workers not to mention the countless families in crisis that they are serving. I have previously served two terms as a deacon with FBC serving with the Encouragement Team. I have been most blessed in the past to serve the members of this church in this capacity and in other areas of need within the church, and look forward to whatever path God choses to send me down in the future in service to his people and for his Kingdom. Remembering 1 Corinthians 7:17 “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him”

Josh Snyder – 2nd Term

I was raised in a culturally Christian home. We prayed before dinner, went to Church intermittently, and always celebrated major Christian Holidays. I went to a Christian College that had mandatory chapel attendance and Christian worldview and theology classes. Throughout all of this time, I considered myself a Christian. I knew the right answers in Bible studies, I could describe a Christian worldview, and could even fit in with some of outward appearances of being a Christian. During these years I was blessed with many academic and athletic gifts. I had become the quintessential fulfillment of the American dream. If only I were to work harder and study harder than everyone else, I would be successful. I flourished under the pressure and the enjoyment of competing against my peers and classmates intellectually and physically. In short, I had built a foundation of self-reliance and pride, and had no need for God in my life. I was after all physically and mentally strong. At least so I thought.

It was after graduating from college, entering graduate school, and marrying my high-school sweetheart Kristen, that my man made foundation began to crumble. I was newly married and under pressure to lead and provide for my new bride. Suddenly, I was in a situation where my intelligence wasn’t enough anymore. I couldn’t simply work harder. The pressures of outsmarting those around me were starting to chip away at my pride, arrogance, and self-reliance. Worry, dread, and fear started to build in my everyday life. It was July 9, 2006, at a dinner for my one year wedding anniversary when I thought I was having a heart attack. My wife rushed me to the hospital. We spent our first anniversary in an emergency room and I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. From there the battle waged and became scarier with each passing day. Countless dinner parties and nights out were abandoned because of panic attacks or the threat of having one. Then my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and we were moved almost 600 miles from home. My anxiety was worsening by the day. The almost daily panic attacks and the exhausting worry had been taking a toll on me and my wife. My Godly wife stood by me throughout the entire process and cared for me in an incredible and sacrificial way. However, I could tell she was just as exhausted as I and that something had to change.

Looking back it was clear that God was leading me to Him, in every panic attack He was slowly, painfully, and systematically crumbling the foundation of my old self. Like a master architect and carpenter
He was preparing to rebuild me through a new solid and unshakeable foundation in Christ. It was at this time that my Dad gave me a Daily Bible. I began reading it daily and I took it with me everywhere. Suddenly scripture for the first time seemed to come alive. I remember reading one night 2 Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I struggled and prayed through this verse for over a year. What did it mean to be weak? Why would Paul be content in these weaknesses? Finally, one night as I lay in bed, I realized my intellectual and cultural Christianity had to die. I repented of my pride, my arrogance, and my self-saving worldview. I asked God for forgiveness and for His salvation. I became weak so that the power of Christ and His resurrection would save me. It was here, that true healing began.

Incredibly, my anxiety resided (not immediately) but a few short months thereafter. It was clear to me that God had used this struggle to bring me back to Him. I am now healed of the constant worry and overwhelming anxiety that I was once enslaved to. Thanks be to God that I am now a bondservant of Christ. My wife and two daughters have been through a lot together the past few years, and have seen God’s grace and remarkable power work in unimaginable ways. I am truly humbled and blessed to serve FBC and will pray for the strength of the Saints at FBC to know the Love of Christ.

Topher Thomas

I grew up under two hard-working, church-going, godly parents, and at the age of 4 they told me that I made a profession of faith. I had no memory of it which troubled me greatly. Over the years, I “asked Jesus into my heart” about 30 times, hoping that I would feel something, but always felt nothing. From age 14 to 18, I stopped asking. I told myself one of those times must have landed with God and I went about living “the Christian life” as best I could. Therein was my mistake, I was trying to do the best that I could, using the Bible as my personal self-help book.

At 18, broken and beaten by the weight of my guilt, my sin, and my inability to overcome, I heard a familiar message from Romans 5 on our helplessness, and God’s sovereignty, and how I could do nothing before almighty God to make Him like me more. He loved me, and loves me simply because He chose to love. He demonstrated that love in sending Christ to die while I was in my sin, and by His Spirit opened my eyes of faith and allowed me to see the power and beauty of God in the gospel. At that point, everything changed. I no longer wanted to live the Christian life to try to feel like what I thought salvation should feel like. I wanted to obey God and His Word, I wanted to know His Word, I wanted to love Him, because of how much He graciously loved us.

I came to NC for seminary hoping to better know this God that was so familiar, yet so very unfamiliar. I didn’t know if I wanted to pastor, or lead a youth group, or be a missionary, or anything ministry related, but I knew that I wanted to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.

It’s by God’s grace alone, and His workmanship by His Spirit that I am being considered for the position of deacon here at FBC, and I would be thrilled to serve Christ and the church in this role.

God led me to a career in teaching, and it has been one of my greatest joys at FBC to co-teach the high school boys BFL. It is inexpressibly awesome to share the joy and treasures of the gospel with people, and God daily fills me with the desire to proclaim Christ in both word and deed. As a deacon, I would simply want to be a usable vessel being shaped by Jesus a worker with no need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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Preparing for Worship – November 18, 2018

Hymns and Songs We Will Be Singing on Sunday:

I Will Glory in My Redeemer
Jesus Is Better
Wonderful, Merciful Savior
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
For the Cause

Sunday’s Sermon:

Andy Davis’ message on Sunday is “God’s Servants Humbled, Then Used and Rewarded” based on 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Read and meditate on this scripture passage for Sunday as you prepare for corporate worship.

Pray for Our Leaders:

Preaching: Andy Davis
Welcome and Call to Worship: Matt West
Leading in Prayer: Andy Davis, Luke Tucker and Matt West
Leading in Praise: Matt West and the Worship Ministry Team
Scripture Reading: Bill Oakley
Baptism:  Philip McDuffie

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Preparing for Worship – November 11, 2018

Hymns and Songs We Will Be Singing on Sunday:

How Great Is Your Faithfulness
We Lift You Up
He Will Hold Me Fast
Oh, Praise the Only One
O Great God

Sunday’s Sermon:

Andy Davis’ message on Sunday is “Christians, Yet Acting Carnally” based on 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. Read and meditate on this scripture passage for Sunday as you prepare for corporate worship.

Pray for Our Leaders:

Preaching: Andy Davis
Welcome and Call to Worship: Wes Treadway
Leading in Prayer: Andy Davis, Blake Woodlief and Wes Treadway
Leading in Praise: Children’s Choirs, Wes Treadway and the Worship Ministry Team
Scripture Reading: Jim Eaker

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