“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”
Augustine of Hippo
It’s with great excitement and of course with “Great Expectations” that today we begin a new preaching series entitled “People on the Grow!!!” I am anticipating an awesome display of God’s power in the lives of everyone of First Baptist Church and the Mt. Pleasant community. I believe one of my primary responsibilities as a Pastor is to cultivate an environment, an atmosphere that’s conducive for our growth and development as followers of our Lord and Liberator Jesus Christ. Stagnation, mediocrity, and the status quo are antithetical to a people of “Great Expectations.” (We aint about that life!) So as we enter into the season of harvest, the concept of becoming “People On The Grow” should resonate. This series will focus on how we can grow in our vision, in our giving, in our spiritual empowerment, in our community engagement, and in our African-American heritage. Our first installment will center on growing in our faith. It is my prayer that this series will inspire us, empower us, motivate us, and challenge us to be “People On The Grow” in every phase of our lives.
With Great Expectations,
“Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”- Albert Camus
A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place. ~ African Proverb
It’s a great joy to celebrate Family and Friend’s Day with you on this great day that the Lord has blessed us with. One thing I learned in my short tenure at First Baptist in Wayne is that family and friends are essential to the life of our church. This motif goes back to our ancestral African roots when they would proclaim and live out creeds such as “It takes a village to raise a child” and “The Power of We.” Communal connectivity is crucial to the growth and development of the Village of Mt.Pleasant and the village of First Baptist.
As brothers and sisters in the family of God, reflected as the Body of Christ, our love, care, concern, and compassion for each other is something we need to be sharing in our daily living. But on this momentous occasion, this Homecoming of sorts, we place the entire thematic thrust and Worship experience around Family and Friends Day. Let us enjoy the Presence of God, fellowship, empowerment, and of course some food.
With Great Expectations,
Pastor Rashad D. Grove
“I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings.”
- William Sloane Coffin Jr
On this Lord’s Day, we will continue with our Sermonic Series “Great Expectations” as we study the Book of Nehemiah. The ethos of Nehemiah is extremely interesting to me. He is so committed to the task at hand that opposition and danger can not derail him from his purpose. There is something so remarkable, so inspiring, when a person is determined to live out the Divine destiny that God has designed for them no matter what the odds are. “Great Expectations” has literally consumed Nehemiah. He has “Great Expectations” for his people and their community even when they don’t yet have them for themselves. Attitudes are contagious. The question remains, “Is ours worth catching?”
The narrative of Nehemiah has a deep connectivity with African Diaspora. As a people of African descent, we have had to have “Great Expectations” in tremendously difficult existential realities. Through God’s power, our ancestors rebuilt the walls of lives, the ruins of their communities, and in the spirit of Nehemiah. This great history empowers our future. We have indeed come this far by faith.
From Nehemiah’s perspective, “Great Expectations” must have an impact on every facet of our lives. Nehemiah’s passion didn’t compartmentalize his life but connected his life in a real sense. The “Great Expectations” of Nehemiah made an impact on public policy, economics, education, and religious observation of his people. It is my prayer for the First Baptist Church of Wayne, PA., that we would be a people who put our faith in action. In closing, I leave you with the words of Rabbi Hillel, the first century teacher who once said, “The world is equally balanced between good and evil…your next act will tip the scale.”
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.”
- Benjamin Elijah Mays
Today marks the first of many Sunday’s that we will share as Pastor and Congregation. Brandi, Camille, and I are extremely excited about what the future holds for us and for the parishioners of the First Baptist Church of Wayne, PA. It is by providential arrangement that God has sovereignly connected us as church and community. It is a privilege and honor to serve as pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Wayne, PA. This is momentous occasion in the life of our church and in my own pastoral sojourn. It is with utmost gratitude that I say, Thank You.
The sermonic series that launches on the Lord’s Day is entitled “Great Expectations”. The Book of Nehemiah will be the homiletical focus in which the preaching event will center on. The narrative of Nehemiah is one of the most profound stories throughout Holy Writ. Nehemiah is an average man but he is endowed with a particular and peculiar characteristic. He has “Great Expectations”! His faith in God empowers him to engage in the religious, economic, political, and cultural aspects of society. He was committed to the rebuilding his community and of his people.
It is my prayer for the First Baptist Church of Wayne, PA that we would embrace and cultivate the spirit of Nehemiah where we become a church of “Great Expectations” that is committed to Spiritual Empowerment and Social Transformation that is founded upon our Lord and Liberator Jesus.
Rev. Rashad D. Grove