Making a commitment at Mount Carmel


The Mount Carmel Mass Choir performs during the 117th anniversary celebration at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in northeast Gainesville.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.

A visiting minister from the Atlanta area preached about the importance of tithing and following the leadership of their pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church during a service to celebrate the 117th anniversary of the church and end the First Fruits Lifestyles, Stewardship and Capital Campaign.

Facts

MOUNT CARMEL BAPTIST CHURCH

Pastor: The Rev. Dr. N. Lamonte Newsome.
Location: 2505 NE 8th Ave.
Services: Sunday school is 9 a.m., followed by morning worship at 10 a.m. Bible expo is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and noonday prayer is noon Thursday.
Phone: 352-378-7322.

The Rev. Dr. Robert C. Moore, senior pastor at Triumphant Community Church in Austell, Ga., just west of Atlanta, who delivered the sermon Sunday morning at the church, began by telling parishioners he didn't care if he didn't hear any "Amens" while he preached.

"A crooked stick won't know it is crooked unless it sees a straight stick," said Moore, early in his sermon, before also saying he preaches only from God's word printed in the Holy Bible.

Church member Sandra Cummings presided over the service, which began with the Rev. Dr. N. Lamonte Newsome, senior pastor at Mount Carmel, leading a processional that included his wife, First Lady Laura Newsome, Moore and his wife, Raquel Moore, and the Mount Carmel Mass Choir. Led by choir member LaVern Porter-Mitchell, the processional sang "Bless the Lord With Me" while entering the sanctuary.

"This is the day the Lord has made," said Newsome, before the processional began. "Let us be glad and rejoice in it. We are here to celebrate 117 years."

Newsome also spoke briefly about the first fruits campaign that ended Sunday with congregation members making a special financial offering.

He said the funds raised will go toward retiring the mortgage on the church's T.A. Wright Family Life Center. First fruit ceremonies are normally associated with giving something back to God for the blessings he has provided. Newsome said once the debt is paid, the church will be able to bless the community physically and spiritually with more outreach programs.

The service also included a skit by three male church members and a performance by the Mount Carmel Baptist Church Praise Dancers.

During the skit, one man talked about a new car he had bought, while the other talked about a new home he had bought. The third man, who portrayed their pastor, congratulated them on their recent purchases and reminded them about bringing their financial gifts to church Sunday to participate in a first fruits ceremony.

The skit ended with the men saying they had other obligations that superseded giving any money to the church.

"I got to get my girlfriend's nails and hair done," said one actor, as the skit ended.

Moore preached from the subject, "The Church, Not a Location, But a People." His text came from Acts 2:42-47. He also referenced Hebrews 13:17, which instructs Christians to obey their pastors.

"Dr. Newsome is your pastor," Moore told the Mount Carmel congregation. He told the congregation their "girlfriends" and "homies" are not their pastors, even though they might go along with their church mess.

"God don't bless mess," Moore said.

Later in his sermon, Moore talked about Christians who always want to get something from the church, but never want to give anything to the church.

"You know what I call them?" Moore asked. "Leeches! They want all of the benefits without doing any of the work."

He said there are going to be problems in any relationship that involves only one person "getting and never giving anything back." He said churches today need to have seven traits the early church had in the New Testament. He said those traits are that the early church was miraculous, unified, generous and sharing, constantly rejoicing, attractive, constantly growing and always exalting God.

He ended his sermon by asking the congregation how many of them wanted to feel God's hand on them. He then instructed them to line up in the middle aisle as he asked the Newsomes to stand next to him.

"I want all of you to walk down here and shake their hands, and tell them, ‘I'm committed," Moore said.

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