Pastor 3rd Anniversary Letters

Letter from Pastor and Founder Reverend John Melvin Wooten

November 7, 2004


Happy Anniversary to all the saints at Higher Calling Baptist Church! How blessed we are to be still together and stilll striving to do the work of the Lord. How blessed we are to enjoy the favor of God! Yes, this year has been a year of many trials for Higher Calling, but our God is faithful, and He has seen us through every heartache, every misfortune, every obstacle and every disappointment that we have faced. And through it all, God has been teaching us how [to] lean and depend on Him… That He alone is our source. What an awesome God we serve!

It is true that God has shown Himself mighty and faithful in His dealing with us, but I believe that we are at a critical point in our effort for effective ministry. God wants to take us to the next level of ministry and to get there we must live and serve God in accordance to a very important spritual truth. In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me".

Now understand that when Jesus spoke of denying ourselves, He was not thinking of some kind of existence that keep us hidden away from the world, for Jesus Himself did not live His life hidden away from the world. What Jesus is saying to us in this verse is that we must say no to our desires when they conflict with God's will. Jesus made it very clear that He doesn't have a single act in mind here but that He is calling every believer to a lifestyle of denial. Jesus is calling to a lifestyle of sacrifice.

Now if the very thought of this makes you shudder, you are not alone. Many in the Body of Christ need to be set free from their fear of sacrifice. So many believers hide their gifts and their talents, but mostly their finances like the slothful servant of Matthew 25:14-30 and in so doing they never reach the level of freedom or abundant living that Jesus expects of us. But it is the will of God that every believer be set free from their fear of sacrifice and there is a simple truth that will do just that if we grasp it.

In the verses that follow Luke 9:23, Jesus mentions three things that will happen in the lives of those who refuse to "deny themselves and take up his cross daily".

First of all, the people who will not live a life of sacrifice will eventually lose everything they have lived for anyway. There will be nothing of eternal value to show for their lives for it is true that you can't take it with you. Second, those who see scarifice for Christ as a threat to their own security will eventually lose the very thing that they were trying to make secure. Jesus said, "For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it" (Luke 9:24). And last, those who refuse to live a life of self-denial and sacrifice for the Christ will ultimately forfeit their rights of eternal recognition and status. Jesus put it this way, "For whosoever is shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).

Higher Calling, we can accomplish all that God has assigned to us. We can go to the next level. We can realize the vision. But we must act now. We must do it God's way and we must not waiver from our God-appointed assignment. It will take hard work, and much personal sacrifice to go to the next level but be encouraged, the God who brought us this far is well able to lead us on.

I am excited at the opportunities that God is giving us in our ministry but we must not forget that "the vision is for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie" (Hebrews 2:3).

Message from the Youth Pastor — Reverend Tammy Pender

November 7, 2004


I would like to thank all of our parents who have allowed your children to participate in the many different areas that have been created for them over this past year. We started our Youth Bible Study which has been enriching for our youth. Participation has been good, although we're looking for a great increase in 2005. We also kicked off our "Upward Bound" which included many teaching opportunities as well as activities such as skating, bowling, nursing home visitation, a trip to a play in Raleigh and a trip to White Lake Beach.

I would like to thank all of our youth advisors who have worked very diligently with me to make this year a success. Our advisors are Anna Best, Vanessa Fields, Angela Morgan, and Quince Farmer. They all have a great heart for the youth and allow God to use them to be a blessing, both financially and in their works for our youth department.

Belinda McPhail has worked very hard to present us with a great youth choir. They have really blessed us this year with their singing. Sonia Wingate, Quince Farmer and Deacon Terry Farmer have allowed God to use them in our Youth Ministry this year. The children always look forward to the youth encouragement on Sunday mornings.

Pastor Wooten and First Lady Patricia have been very supportive of our Youth Department. They love all the children as if they were their own. In Pastor Wooten's eyes, nothing is too good for our youth here at Higher Calling.

May God bless you Higher Calling. We're looking to go "higher" in 2005. We're expecting our increase, because we are "Upward Bound!"

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