Posts with the category “pastor-don”
Thanks for Asking
by Lindsey Paulsen on July 7th, 2020
It's time to regather! After four months of streaming only, we are ready now to come back together on King Street as First Baptist Church of Alexandria. Circle Sunday, July 26, on your calendar and plan to be with us at either 9 or 11 AM.Here are some questions I have received since the announcement was made on Friday---Q. Why wait until the 26th? Let's start now.A. Well, I like your enthusiasm. B...
Man Proposes, God Disposes
by Lindsey Paulsen on May 5th, 2020
That's the title of a famous 1864 painting by Edwin Landseer. It depicts an ill-fated exploration of the Northwest Passage, led by Sir John Franklin in the 1850s.The actual expression has roots in pre-Christian mythology, though, and may be linked to a verse in the Old Testament:"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” -- Proverbs 19:21The meaning is ob...
Stop, In the Name of Love
by Lindsey Paulsen on April 28th, 2020
Sunday's are the strangest for me now. It has always been the first day and the central day of my week, certainly these last 47 years that I have been pastoring. Patterns, rhythms and rituals followed without much variation. Studying and preparing the message all week--then the climax emotionally as I have stood to deliver it on the LORD's Day. But since we now record the sermon at my house on Wed...
by Lindsey Paulsen on April 21st, 2020
We are living in a virtual world these days. I spend a part of every week in Zoom committee and staff meetings, and catching up on FaceTime with friends in New York and Europe, and family in Texas. On Saturday I attended a Men's Breakfast online. On Sundays, Audrey and I go to Bible Fellowship together (something we never get to do!). Our teacher is in Arizona and class members are scattered from ...
Lessons in a Time of Pandemic
by Communications Director on April 14th, 2020
Even though life for most of us is resembling the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, this Covid-19 pandemic is still teaching me some important lessons. Here are some of the things I'm learning, in no particular order--1. A shared crisis can bring out the worst in people (like price gouging, large parties and public worship services in defiance of government mandates) -- but also the very best, too....
When There Are Few Words--Try These
by Communications Director on April 7th, 2020
On a night in the spring of 1971, soul-singer Bill Withers was in a music studio, recording a new song, Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CICIOJqEb5c). It would go on to be one of the greatest hit this singer would ever have, and a favorite of mine from then until now.The most memorable part of the song, of course, comes in the middle--the long repetition of just o...
ramblin...with don davidson
by Communications Director on March 31st, 2020
Lots of time on my hands these days gives me plenty of time to think. Even late into the night various thoughts spew out onto the page of my journal, in no particular order--My annual A Year in the Life column will be much briefer in late December 2020. No traveling, and every day very similar to the last-- or the next--all clumping together. Picking a favorite movie will be tougher, though....Pre...
I Preach, Therefore I Am
by Communications Director on March 24th, 2020
There are people who derive a lot of their self-worth from the work that they do. They are their profession. And so each day they drive or Metro in to the office and get it done, feeling, at the end of that day, that they have contributed something to make life better for their family and their community.Staying home for days on end, and not doing what they are called and paid to do, leaves them f...
From a Distance
by Communications Director on March 18th, 2020
I stopped by Barnes & Noble on Saturday to pick up a good book to read this coming week. My selection: Every Drop of Blood, an account of the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, by Edward Achorn. Not just the famous address-- the finest ever delivered by a US President-- but the entire event and what swirled around it, only a few weeks before the assassination. I'm just a few pages in by now b...
The Sound of Silence
by Communications Director on March 10th, 2020
Pastor Don’s Journal3/10/2020"The Sound of Silence"It may well be true that God sometimes speaks with a "still small voice"--but that simply will not do for the preacher. I have to have a voice strong and loud enough to be heard. With so much confusion and noise in today's world, it seems that the louder and clearer the better.And that's been my problem this week. A cold led to laryngitis and over...
ramblin’...with don davidson
by Erin Rexroth on March 3rd, 2020
3/3/2020ramblin’...with Don DavidsonJust some of the thoughts coursing through my brain this morning—It’s Super Tuesday, and for many it is a chance for us to respond to the hype and hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign advertising (and that’s just from Michael Bloomberg!). To let our voices be heard. I love to vote!...A mother told me that her little girl asked her on Sunday: “Does Pastor ...
Up from the Ashes
by Firm Foundations on February 25th, 2020
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday," has been going on since early January, but actually culminates today. This is the last day to indulge in fatty foods and excessive celebration before the austerity of Lent begins--tomorrow.I have been to New Orleans many, many times over the years (while serving on the board of trustees for our seminary there), but never during this raucous festival. My lifestyle is m...
Every Game Is Game Seven
by Firm Foundations on February 18th, 2020
The Washington Nationals are back together in West Palm Beach, FL for their spring training. I've been watching my favorite sportscaster, Lindsay Czarniak, on NBC-4 this week with her live reports from the field. The big question on everyone's mind, of course, is: "Can they do it again?”Manager Dave Martinez has issued a mantra for the team about that: "Not repeat—compete.” In other words, they ar...
"It's a Small World, After All"
by Erin Rexroth on February 11th, 2020
He's as old as I am now, but thirty-five years ago Wayne was a teenager in my church in Orlando. On Sunday he was in the area and visited us at First Baptist. Afterwards we went to lunch at Zoe's. Time and distance melted away as we reminisced about those days at Dover Shores--eight great years for Audrey and me. And, apparently, for this man, too.It all set my mind to thinking....Sometimes Orland...
The Long and Winding Road
by Communications Director on January 28th, 2020
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference."- Robert Frost I was thinking last night about all of the big decisions I have made in my life, and how each one joined with the others to make me who I am today. Some major decisions were made without any agony of the soul. They were the right things to do at the time and, there have been n...
In the Trenches
by Communications Director on January 21st, 2020
As a student of history, I have always known about the trench warfare of World War One, a hundred years ago. In Orlando in the 1980's I pastored (and eventually buried) a fine old gentleman who had served in that war. During frequent visits I would sit and be regaled by and amazed with the fascinating stories that Clive would tell me.But I could never quite picture what the trenches were like. Two...
ramblin'...with don davidson
by Communications Director on January 14th, 2020
Just jotting down scattered thoughts this morning. A little stream of consciousness.GREAT NEWS! At our quarterly business meeting Sunday night it was reported that we actually exceeded our 2019 church budget goal! Just barely--but a surge in giving this December put us over the top. That, and we are also likely to exceed our goal for the Lottie Moon offering for International missions ($200,000). ...
by Communications Director on January 7th, 2020
Much like life, you don't complete a puzzle by throwing away the pieces.-- Craig D. Lounsbrough Audrey loves to put jigsaw puzzles together-- the 500 to 1000 piece kind. When we're half-watching a television program at night, I may have my nose in a book but she will be hunkered over a tabletop, examining the edges of small colored pieces and comparing them to the box placed nearby, off to the sid...
A Decade in the Life (The 2010s in Review)
by Communications Director on December 31st, 2019
What beastly incidents our memories insist on cherishing! The ugly and disgusting. The beautiful things we have to keep diaries to remember! -- Eugene O' Neill MONOLOGUEThe past decade has been a wonderful set of years for me, and my diaries have documented every day of it. Audrey and I spent these years in Alexandria, Virginia, and at First Baptist ...
A Year in the Life (2019 in Review)
by Communications Director on December 30th, 2019
"For the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things.” Wm. Shakespeare PROSEThis year was quieter than many recent ones, but still unusually blessed, it seems to me. I didn't do any international traveling, but Audrey had several overseas trips. We did vacation in Daytona Beach and Austin, TX (where John Mark and Daniela live now). Mostly I concentrated on my ministry here at Firs...
"Still, Still, Still..."
by Communications Director on December 24th, 2019
Christmas Eve is my favorite time at First Baptist, a holy night for sure. Gathering with hundreds of others to sing, light candles, recite again the story, and share the LORD's Supper. All in an hour. Families together, in one place-- something rare for some of them now that the children have grown up. But it still happens, if ever it happens, at Christmas.The church I grew up in was a wonderful ...
With Heart and Soul and Voice
by Communications Director on December 17th, 2019
Christmas at First Baptist is such a rich experience! Especially because of the music.Every Sunday of Advent (and, really, all year) we have a feast of it--with all ages participating and bringing their preparation as a gift to God and to us. We are a multi-generational church, with choirs for all ages, and everyone has an opportunity to join in the celebration of Jesus' birth. "A First Family Chr...
Passing the Peace
by Communications Director on December 10th, 2019
"The peace of Christ be with you.” Response: "And also with you."We do not normally call it that, but it is what we are doing when Roger asks us to greet each other early in our church service on Sundays. I also use the several minutes before the service begins to roam the aisles and do the same thing.A lot of it is simply chit chat, of course. "Glad to see you this morning," "Hey, thanks for comi...
ramblin'...with don davidson
by Communications Director on December 3rd, 2019
Type your new text here. Coming off of a long and pleasant Thanksgiving week, I'm just letting my thoughts scribble themselves onto the page today---300 adults and children attended our Thanksgiving celebration at FBCA last Tuesday night. The food was delicious and the program was excellent. Our speaker, Erin Mullen, really gripped our hearts with her story of faith and courage... Winston Churchil...
On Turning a Blind Eye
by Communications Director on November 26th, 2019
In London's Trafalgar Square, atop a 160-ft column, is a statue of England's most famous hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). He is considered the "Father of the Royal Navy," and his feats of bravery saved his country from a challenge even more serious than a possible Nazi invasion during World War II. In one battle he lost his right arm, while in another he lost his right eye. In a fierce se...
Where Do Those Golden Rainbows End
by Communications Director on November 19th, 2019
"The child is the father of the man."-William Wordsworth, 1802 They say that a person's true nature does not change very much with time or age. The adults we are today are the products of the habits and manners that were instilled during childhood. Christian conversion does indeed change a person's approach to life--and eternal destiny, for sure--but basic temperament and personality remain fairly...
Trip to the Star City
by Communications Director on November 12th, 2019
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is meeting this week in Roanoke, and several of us from First Baptist are in attendance. Audrey and I made the 4 hour trip down on Sunday afternoon, taking Sunday's guest, Dr. Alia Abboud with us. She is one of the speakers for the meeting, and I was scheduled to speak a couple of times, too. First, for the Pastor's Conference yesterday afternoon,...
by Communications Director on November 5th, 2019
I have been writing and posting this Pastor's Journal ever since arriving at First Baptist, fourteen years ago. I have written weekly reflections like this, in one form or another, for the past forty-five years.It has occurred to me that maybe I should explain why and how I do it, so you will not misunderstand my motives.I write about my life like this, not because I think that I lead such an impo...
by Communications Director on October 29th, 2019
A good case of "baseball fever" has gotten me this season with the National's unexpected success. I was able to be at the game on October 15 when they clinched the championship from St Louis, and I have watched on television every inning of every other game in that series. Now in the World Series, too. And I haven't given up hope, either-- even though these last three games haven't ended well. I'l...
Homecoming In Danville
by Communications Director on October 22nd, 2019
"You Can't Go Home Again" That's what Thomas Wolfe once wrote. He was wrong, though. You can go home. And every now and then you must.To return to places and moments that have been significant in your life. To remember and be strengthened for the days yet ahead. To retrace your steps and go back to where you met your spouse, for example—or where you made your commitment to Christ. Occasionally I g...
Man in the Mirror
by Communications Director on October 15th, 2019
"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies go himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him, and so loses respect for himself."- Fyodor Dostoevsky Truth seems to be in ever-diminishing supply these days. It's hard to know what to believe when accounts of the same event or conversation vary two or three ways. We want to b...
ramblin' ...with don davidson
by Communications Director on October 8th, 2019
This is the title of a column I regularly wrote for my high school newspaper. I revive it occasionally now to map some "stream of conscious" thoughts---October may be my favorite month (or at least I think so today): the crispness beginning to show up in the air, leaves, the Fall Festival, Halloween, my birthday. The only drawback is that I often struggle with allergies during these days... It's a...
A Man Alone
by Communications Director on October 1st, 2019
"Don't Worry 'Bout me, I'll Get Along" That's the Sinatra lyric (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHAIZqYHPpA) that I always sing or say to Audrey when she is heading out the door and leaving on a trip. And that's been a lot lately. Israel earlier in the year. Bulgaria on a mission trip. Another journey with a dear friend. And Hillsville, Virginia, for the big "flea market" over Labor Day weekend.T...
A Few Words about Saying a Few Words
by Communications Director on September 24th, 2019
A young friend told me that she is taking a public speaking class at the university. I felt compelled to share with her some of my own thoughts on that subject. Recently I was seated beside someone who actually teaches communication skills to corporate leaders, and I did the same. What nerve!Besides a preaching class at seminary many years ago, I don't recall taking any other public speaking class...
Frankly, My Dear...
by Jaye Webb on September 17th, 2019
Profanity and obscenity regularly lace public discourse these days. We hear it in music, television, and film, and have come a long way from Rhett Butler's last line in GWTW. It shows up in the pool hall and on the street corner. The boardroom, too. And, increasingly, from the mouths of politicians and elected officials. Nixon had lots of "expletives deleted" in the transcripts of his private Oval...
It Was Another 9/11
by Jaye Webb on September 10th, 2019
Fourteen years ago this week I was called to be the pastor of First Baptist Church of Alexandria.We had been talking with the search committee (Sam Moneyhun, Laura Redding, Billy Pessaud, Chris Elliff, Martha Jo Meserole, Don Lytal, and Kris Meyers) for several months. Together we had made the decision for me to be presented to the congregation. It had not been an easy decision for us, even though...
UBER / Over
by Jaye Webb on September 3rd, 2019
The ride-for-hire service has been in the news a lot lately, and the press hasn't been good. I use it from time to time, though, and haven't had but one or two bad experiences along the way. On our recent vacation in Florida we took a few trips--8/20--After several delays, our flight from Charlotte to Daytona Beach was finally cancelled altogether. "Mechanical problems" is all the text message sai...
The Elevator Speech
by Jaye Webb on August 27th, 2019
It is a brief, clear, and concise statement of who you are and what your life is about. One person calls it a "commercial" for your brand or your organization. If you are a salesman, it describes your product and what it can do for the other person.Effective elevator speeches contain eighty to ninety words and last thirty seconds. About the length of a tweet.They can be given to anybody, at any ti...
What a Joy Divine!
by Jaye Webb on August 20th, 2019
I could still hear the buzzing as I came down the stairs and back to the worship center on Sunday. I had left to go to my office for a few minutes and assumed that everyone would be gone home or out to lunch. But when I walked in, I saw clumps of people here and there-- talking, laughing, and catching up-- refusing to leave, even as Pedro was beginning to break the room down.Part of it, of course,...
A Weekend in the Life
by Jaye Webb on August 13th, 2019
My days are often unpredictable, as maybe they are in your job as well. But there are the usual, typical things that I routinely do in my ministry at First Baptist. This past weekend, though, seemed busier than most--especially for late summer.There were hospital visits at INOVA Fairfax. Praying with and encouraging two individuals about to go into serious surgeries. Final tweaks to my sermon, of ...