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Prayer Praises / Work day
« Last post by dgardner on June 09, 2012, 11:09:37 PM »
I thank the Lord for the great turnout today for the CommUNITY Church work day. Many overdue or overlooked tasks were completed, we enjoyed a great grilled lunch, and we had some time for fellowship.
Testimonies / Re: My Story
« Last post by dgardner on June 07, 2012, 10:40:16 PM »
Thank you Pastor Tom for sharing your video testimony!

(Visitors - it is SAFE to click the link)
General Topics / Tiptoe through the TULIP - More about Calvanism than you want to know...
« Last post by dgardner on June 07, 2012, 11:33:05 AM »
Calvinists adhere to the Five Points of Calvinism, as taught by John Calvin, a French reformer in the 16th century. These tenets are summed up in the acronym, TULIP.

T - Total Depravity
U - Unconditional Election
L - Limited Atonement
I - Irresistable Grace
P - Perseverance of the Saints

Reformed Baptist and Presbyterian churches follow Calvinist theology. CommUNITY Church does not.

Forgive me for addressing these out of order, but a discussion in Bible Study last night began, revolving around the "Unconditional Election" belief of Calvinists, but there wasn't time to fully explore the topic.

This stemmed from Isaiah 53:11-12 stating many instead of all, as below:

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

Calvinists believe that only some people are selected by God to enter heaven, while others are not. This 'election' is not based on merit, works, faith or acceptance of the gift of salvation. Simply put, God picks those to save at random, while others are doomed to an eternity in hell.

They base this belief on parts of scripture, that when taken out of context, seem to suggest some not all, such as Ephesians 1:4-8 and Romans 9:11, 15, and 21, as below:

From Ephesians 1

4...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before tHim. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight...

This is an excert from Paul's letter to the church of Ephesus, praising them for their continued faith, not speaking of who God chooses for salvation.

From Romans 9

Quote that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls


21: Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

This is speaking of God's mercy towards Rebekah's son Jacob over Esau, not of salvation to the elect...

(They skip over Romans 10, where Paul fully explains who will be saved and who will not.)

Testimonies / My Story
« Last post by Pastortom on June 06, 2012, 04:36:42 PM »
Testimonies / Re: Son of Reason, Child of Faith...
« Last post by Pastortom on June 06, 2012, 04:34:05 PM »

You are real, genuine and a true man of integrity.  I thank our Lord for you, your family and the service you give to your Lord, through His church.  May your story and your life guide others to the cross that they may experience the change in your life that you praise God for.  As for future direction...I join you in prayer.
Testimonies / Son of Reason, Child of Faith...
« Last post by dgardner on June 06, 2012, 01:13:16 PM »
I grew up in a non-churched home. My family had been church-goers before I was born, but things had changed in their lives. When I was only a few years old my parents divorced. My earliest memories are of an abusive father, a broken home, constant relocation, bullying and trouble. My childhood was filled with uncertainty, lack of self-esteem and mistrust of others. This led to truancy, drug use and eventually, dropping out of high school. I had faith in no one, including God.

Just as I reached the abyss of my life, I met Teresa. She gave me hope, love, purpose and guidance. She cared for my mother during the last couple months of her life and was there to help me cope with my loss. Teresa and I were married a year later, bought our first home and raised a family. We were young and battling against statistics and everyone elseís opinions, but our relationship was strong. A few years later, we decided it was time us and our kids to find a church. We tried a couple local churches, but after just a few visits we all but gave up. The hypocrisy and Ďcold shouldersí ran us away. Our lives went on Ė better jobs, better home, kids in high school and college. Still, we felt that we needed to be part of the Lordís family. In the spring of 2010, we visited CommUNITY Church. We immediately felt at home. We already knew Pastor Dan, being a friend of Teresaís parents for several years. We were excited to have found a church and began watching all of the churchís archived sermons. They made us laugh, humbled us and made us feel like the Lord was speaking to us through the Pastors. We regularly attended Sunday worship and Wednesday bible study. Three months later, I accepted the Lordís gift of salvation, got Baptized and joined CommUNITY Church as a member.

I now realize the grace of Godís hand during all the difficult times in my life, and the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that He has provided. I am truly blessed to be a child of faith. Now that I have Jesus, my life has changed. I am less concerned with myself, and more concerned with the well-being and salvation of others. I am compelled to give of myself instead of to myself. Last year, I was ordained as a Deacon at CommUNITY Church. This month Iím following the path that God has laid on my heart, and have returned to Liberty University to pursue my Bachelor of Science degree in Religion. Iím not sure where the Lord is leading me, but I will continue to pray for guidance and the wisdom to recognize doors when they are opened and paths when they are laid before me.

I pray that you realize God also has a plan for you, and that it doesn't include being separated from his grace. If you haven't accepted the gift of salvation, PLEASE read the following scripture: John 3:16, Romans 3:23, John 14:6 and Romans 10:9-13

Testimonies / Re: My Testimony... by Dan Carawan
« Last post by dgardner on June 05, 2012, 12:07:00 AM »
Thank you for sharing your inspirational testimony. The Lord humbles us and brings out our best, but truly in His own time.

Maybe with enough courage (and editing) I will post my testimony as well.

Love you brother!
Testimonies / My Testimony... by Dan Carawan
« Last post by dancarawan on June 04, 2012, 05:11:53 PM »
My Testimony
Jack Daniels Carawan Jr.


Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Pastor, Student, Saved by Grace

   Iíve written and told my testimony so many times that itís hard to know where to start. Itís hard to know how much to share and how much to withhold depending on the audience. I suppose in a case like this, the obvious is to share the whole enchilada. I will try to divide this up into the pertinent time intervals as they relate to the story. Here goes!


When I was very young, I used to open up the family Bible which sat on the coffee table and look at the magnificent pictures inside. There were black and white master pieces of famous art. I can remember Samson pushing apart the pillars in the Philistine temple. Of course I didnít know back then what the pictures were all about and no one in my family did either. There was a picture of an angel that fascinated me. One time I asked my mother or my sister to "read a story to me out of this book" but they were busy.

I can remember lying in bed at night at the age of 13, crying because I was lonely in my heart. I knew that there must be more to life than what I was seeing and learning about. I had this unquenched desire for someone or something that would validate my life. I didnít understand it and I couldnít explain it. You see I did not know anything about God or church or the Bible. I had never been to church and my parents (although they were good and righteous people) did not talk about God. I was not abused or ill treated. I was lonely for something or someone.

I went to a Christian summer camp and I was totally out of place and confused. One night early in the week, they gathered all of the boys around a campfire. I remember that the leaders were really excited about a book that they were giving us. It was titled "Good News For Modern Man". They asked all of the boys to turn to John 3:16. Since I had never been taught anything about a Bible I raised my hand innocently (and somewhat distraught) and said; "I didnít get that book, I only got this one", raising up the paper back New Testament. Some of the boys snickered and one of the counselors found the place for me and handed the Bible back. I never heard a word they said that night due to my embarrassment. I kept that Bible in the top drawer of my dresser for a couple of years until I was encouraged to read it by my 9th Grade English teacher. Her tenderness and awareness of my searching led me to ask Christ into my heart. I was on the phone one night to her (Janice Mims) and told her that I was ready to ask Jesus into my heart. She reminded me of what to say and asked if I had any questions (she had already answered them after class, at her own peril). My mother called out to me to get in the shower and get ready for school the next day. I said good-bye and climbed into the shower. I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my heart. It was a very emotional experience for me. I know that it is not like that for everyone but God must have known that I needed that. I cried and washed as God washed away my sins. That was 10pm on Oct. 10th 1972.

Babe in Christ

I followed Jesus with the zeal of every new believer. I was a Jesus Freak! I went to Jesus Fest 73 in Penn. I was mentored by Chuck Harrison (now a Pastor in Va.) and I was involved in B.A.S.I.C. (Brothers and Sisters in Christ). I read my Bible, joined 1st Baptist Church of Norfolk where my English teachers husband, Rev. Paul Mims was Pastor. I received my calling to be a Pastor in the 1st year of my salvation. I met Alicia Biggs there and later married her.

Prodigal Son

But High School can take its toll on a young Christian and I was no exception. I got involved in drugs and alcohol, like many do. I was very active sexually. My neighborhood friends rode Harleys and my closest buds drove custom vans. The scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", where the main characters spill out of the side of a van along with excessive amounts of marijuana smoke was like a page out of my life. I married Alicia and we had a beautiful son "Christopher Ryan Carawan". The problems that we faced in our marriage were the typical ones that most couples face, money, commitment, time, jobs, immaturityÖ Our marriage didnít survive and we later divorced. We never made Christ the "Center" of our marriage. We both knew Him but we were not sold out for Him. After the nightmare of divorce and all that it does to a person, I was bitter, drugged out and, anxious to take it out on every woman I could. I bought my first Harley and began selling Pot. I later began to sell Coke for a little while and made deliveries from my Harley. I carried a Glock in my vest, a .25 in my boot, a boot knife in the other, a switchblade in my pocket and a butterfly knife in my back pocket. I was armed and dangerous (mostly to myself!). I worked for several companies and did a descent job but I was never satisfied. This miserable state of affairs went on for some time. I lived in an apartment a block off the beach in Ocean View (Norfolk, Va.). There I met some great people, mostly Navy wives as the husbands were on extended overseas duty. Later I lived with a woman for a while there in O.V., that didnít work either. I was searching for my heart and not finding it. That was about the time I went to work for Boddie-Noell, more commonly recognized as "Hardeeís" restaurants. I was a "Fast Track" manager and met Ellen Hardy there. Ellen was one of the corporate trainers. We fell in love and began a long distance relationship because at that time she lived in Rocky Mount NC. After about a year, we got married and were living in Roanoke, Va. Moving away from all of the influences on my life in Norfolk was a great move. I began to clean up my act for the sake of our marriage as God gently worked on my heart. Little did I know that God was working on Ellenís heart too! She was a born-again Christian who was not walking with the Lord either. The thing is neither of us had talked to one another about Jesus!

God Gets My Attention

Ellen and I were talking about having a baby. She felt as if something were missing in her life and thought that it was a baby. I said that if we had a baby, it would change everything. It would be a good change, but it would change. My son Chris was living with his mom and so this was a difficult venture for me. I missed him and loved him and now we were looking at having a child of our own. This is where Ellen and I look back and see Godís hand in our lives, moving us closer to Him and to each other. We got pregnant and then had a miscarriage. This was of course a heart breaking matter, each of us secretly wondering if God were punishing us for our lifestyles. Ellen became pregnant again and once again miscarried. The third miscarriage resulted in a mishap in the operating room during the DNC. The doctor had punctured her uterine wall and of necessity had to call in a specialist. Mean while, I was unaware of what was going on but I was panicked over the extreme length of time this was all taking. I was praying and promising hard to God. The concern was a possibility of punctured bowl. They in essence, removed and examined all of her bowel and then replaced it and sowed her up. Due to this operation, Ellen was laid up recovering for 8 weeks. Many months later, Ellen shared with me that God had revealed to her that it was not a baby missing in her life, it was Him.

Separately, we both prayed to God that if He would grant us this child, we would raise that child in a Christian home. We were committed to being committed to God. So we now have a beautiful daughter by the name of Kayla. She has the most incredible copper/red hair and hazel eyes. She is eight years old now and she loves God. It is true that God wants to grant us the desires of our hearts. If we seek Him earnestly, we will find Him. If we donít want anything to do with Him, He will grant that to us also.

Sold Out Jesus Freak

In seeking God with our whole hearts we have found peace, joy, satisfaction and completeness. God has used us in the church and He has used us in the community as His witnesses. We are sold out, on fire, committed, dedicated, died in the wool, born again, evangelical, conservative, fundamental, Southern Baptists.

Vocation And Education

When we made the decision to commit our lives to Christ completely I also gave into the calling to serve Him vocationally full time. But God has a wonderful sense of timing and humor. I had made Him wait for years and so now it was His turn! I begged and pleaded, I petitioned and asked others to petition on my behalf for Him to free me from secular employment and enter into a seminary. He closed the door on every institute of higher education that I sought until I tried Liberty University. God made everything fall into place, from books, to car, to mileage, to job. Jesus has been so very good to us. He meets our needs in every way and we love Him. I am the Associate Pastor of CommUNITY Church in Salem VA.

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to spend eternity with Him in heaven. We have the freedom to accept this precious gift of eternal life which is only available through the shed blood of Jesus, or we can reject Him. Rejecting Jesus is the only unpardonable sin. What will you do with Jesus?
General Topics / Scrapbooking!
« Last post by Forum Administrator on June 01, 2012, 03:43:35 PM »
Join us for great fellowship and scrap booking.

Contact Pat Edwards or Retha Parker.

Meeting in Charlie McCormick's classroom on the second Saturday of every month from 9:30am-3:00pm.
News and Events / Sunday Worship Service
« Last post by Forum Administrator on June 01, 2012, 12:29:39 PM »
Please join CommUNITY Church as we worship and praise our Lord.

Our Sunday morning services include:
  • Prayer
  • News and Upcoming Events
  • Traditional Music and Hymns
  • Great Fellowship
  • Special Live Music
  • An Engaging, Thought-provoking Sermon
  • A Time of Invitation

We offer free nursery service and a separate (optional) Children's Church service during our time of worship.

Please join us at CommUNITY Church - 901 Russell Drive in Salem VA, or online at
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