The A/V Ministry by Mark Prater

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Mark Prater has been attending Calvary Baptist Church for over forty years and resides in Irving, TX with his wife Angell.  Nearly every Sunday you'll find Mark working with the audio/visual crew to record, render, and publish each week's sermon via YouTube. In his spare time, Mark enjoys estate sales with his family and heading to the shooting range.

Being a ham radio operator I have always had an interest in audio/video. I always felt I could serve in some capacity just wasn't sure what. I started doing the sound/video for the Calvary Baptist School and got acquainted with Shane Thornton. I let him know I was interested in working in the audio/video department.  Working in the audio/video department is a ministry. Posting the sermons/worship service on the internet reaches souls we could not reach from where we are. I believe what we do helps to reach the community.

It has taught me to be more aware, listen carefully (more so than a person attending the service.) There is never a dull moment; we see/hear things different than what the congregation sees/hears.
We get busy and sometimes we don't get to hear all of the service due to making sure the service is presented in the best possible way. You would not believe how many times I hear something from Brian and it about slaps me in the face and sticks with me forever. The one most powerful sentence that I use and tell everyone that needs it is: "God Is In Control". That was such a powerful sentence that helps me daily. I have learned how to let God take control, that was hard for me because I always thought I had to be in control of my life.

We have a great group of people in the department, very dedicated. We welcome anyone to come visit and see what we do and get involved.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

The Scarlet Thread Pt. 1 - In The Beginning

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Did you know that the Gospel is painted beautifully throughout all of Scripture; not just the four books we call the Gospels?

For centuries many Christians have thought of the Bible as a simple collection of stories about morality. Like each story is meant to teach us some new life principle. But it seems in every century there are some Christians who see the bigger picture. They see that there is a Grand Story behind all of these stories. Some of these Christians started calling it the Scarlet Thread through the Bible, and this Scarlet Thread is the story of the Gospel.

See, the Gospel is not a set of facts. The Gospel is a story. I want to reframe our understanding of the Gospel, as told in the Bible, because, truth be told, all of the Bible is the Gospel. From Genesis 1:1 to the final “Amen” in Revelation.

I wish I could go through each chapter with you to find the scarlet thread of the Gospel. I wish we had the time, energy, and focus to see how each book of the Bible is really part of the Gospel story. But for the time we have, I’m going to spend the next few articles looking at some very familiar stories through the lens of the Gospel.

We’re going to look at Adam and Eve, Joseph, Moses in the Exodus, and a couple others. We’re going to see how each of these characters cast a shadow of the Christ.

I said it begins in Genesis 1:1 and that’s where we’re going to begin with this article. I don’t even really want to talk about Adam and Eve just yet. I simply want to talk about the beginning.

I’m sure you remember the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And that’s how the Gospel begins. God created. He’s a creative God. But He didn’t just make planets and stars. The pinnacle of His creation is humankind. Furthermore, Colossian 1:15-17 tells us that “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Jesus Christ was present at the Creation of this perfect planet. But not only was everything created by Him, all things were created through Him and for Him. It’s funny how sometimes our feeble little brains can lose our eternal perspective. Sometimes we just get so caught up in life that we forget this world doesn’t revolve around us.

It’s amazing how this one verse can bring about a new perspective for that is so powerful that it can crash my pity party. I’ll admit I can get really mopey at times. But when I’m confronted with the reality that this world was created by, through, and for Him, and not me, it allows me to see my life and circumstances in a way that frees me from my sense of entitlement.

So chapter one of the Gospel is simply this: God rules. He created this universe, which means He owns it. We’re the crown of His creation, but that still means He owns us. I suppose if you don’t like the rules of the Universe then you can go create your own. But this is God’s universe. Created by Him, through Him, and for Him. He owns it, which means He makes the rules. And the best part of it is this: His rules are what’s best for us. His rules are not cruel and overly demanding. His rules are meant to bring us to the one thing that can give us the most joy. Himself.

6 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Bible by Jon Nielson

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My one year old daughter loves to read. What I mean by “read" is more just flip through pages, look at all the colors and animals, and mumble through her favorite words. Every night we try to read a book before she goes to bed, and often times we read through a Children’s Bible that does a great job depicting the biblical stories and relating them to the gospel. It has caused me to think of how I will continue to teach my children the Bible. I know this can often be a struggle for parents. A lot of words can be difficult to understand, the chapters and can be long, and the parent’s may not have a full understanding of what a passage means in order to articulate it in a clear way. This article by Jon Neilson gives some very helpful and practical ways we can do this. Enjoy!

In Christ, 
Brandon H.

6 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Bible

The Gospel Coalition · by Jon Nielson · July 26, 2017

I’m a father of three young kids. I can’t think of many things more important for them than regular exposure to the living Word of God. If you’re a Christian parent of young children, I assume you share the same conviction: Your kids need to hear from God, and you long for them to listen carefully to his good Word.

But it’s hard. Life is busy, kids are lively, and reading the Bible often struggles to compete with the Disney channel, Legos, and the newest phone app.

Here are six tips my wife and I have found helpful in our rhythm of Bible reading with our young kids (currently 6, 5, and 3).

1. Pick a regular time and place for Bible reading.

In general, children tend to love a routine—a regular, anticipated time with Mom and/or Dad associated with a particular activity. Sporadic and random Bible reading may not engage your children in the same way a regular, planned, prioritized “special” time will.

In our home, we’ve chosen the chunk of time before bed for Bible reading. Our two older children know that, in the 15 to 20 minutes before bed, we’re going to gather in their room to read a Bible story, discuss it together, and pray. They’ve come to look forward to it, and it’s become as regular and natural a process as brushing their teeth. It may even help them sleep better, as many bedtime routines seem to.

2. Read short chunks.

Some of us will have to guard against being overly ambitious in the beginning. Since we believe in the power of God’s Word, we want our children exposed to as much of it as possible. So we read two full chapters from Genesis each night. Needless to say, a 5-year-old’s eyes will probably start to glaze over.

I encourage you to pick manageable passages, chosen based on thoughtful criteria. You may decide to begin in Genesis, and move through the Bible sequentially. The key is to not rush it, and to think ahead of time about the right “chunks” for each day.

3. Stop to explain and gauge comprehension.

Even if the passage for the day is only one chapter, that can be a lot for a young child to absorb if read all at once. It’s incredibly important to stop often along the way, explain things, ask questions to gauge comprehension, and ensure your kids are following along and grasping what the passage is saying.

4. Think of age-appropriate questions for discussion.

This aspect has become my children’s favorite part of our nightly time together in God’s Word. I’ve begun thinking of a few basic questions for each of them that will help them do three things with the passage we’ve read: (1) solidify their comprehension of the passage, (2) connect it to the Bible’s overall story, and (3) apply it to their lives.

When you ask simple questions, you’re doing much more than “quizzing” them to ensure they were paying attention. You are actually leading them, interactively, in a time of interpreting and applying God’s Word. And you are preparing them to engage the Scriptures directly on their own in the years to come.

5. Connect each passage to Jesus.

Jesus makes an amazing—even shocking—statement to the Pharisees in John 5: “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life. But it is they that bear witness about me.” He is saying, in no uncertain terms, that the Scriptures are centered around him—his incarnation, his life, his teaching, his death, his resurrection, his return.

What does this mean for daily Bible reading with our kids? It means if we’re trying to help them understand any part of the biblical storyline, we must give them a sense of how that part connects to the major character—and great climax—of that big story.

6. Let Bible reading lead to prayer.

Listening to kids who are learning to pray can be humorous. If yours are anything like mine, their prayers can be hilarious in their simplicity and self-focus. God has heard prayers in our home for dogs, movies, imaginary people, and, of course, coveted toys.

If we’re honest, though, our children’s prayers often are really just “kid versions” of our own. We can easily resort to praying only for our needs and wants, rather than spending time praising and adoring God, and asking for his Spirit’s work in the lives of others. One way to grow in our prayer lives, then, is to intentionally tether our prayers to our reading. We can help our kids “talk back” to God daily, based on the ways he’s speaking to them through the Scriptures.

Parents, press on. Daily, prayer-fueled exposure to the Word of God is the best gift we can ever give our kids.

Reprinted from The Gospel Coalition, Inc.. Copyright 2017 Find the original article here at

Before The War Series by Brian Loveless

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Everybody will go to war this week with something.  There is going to be some obstacle for you and it's going to be a fight just coming face to face with it again.
- Brian Loveless

"The Fights Too Big For You" Brian Loveless Sermon on June 25, 2017 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas. Part 1 of the series "Before The War"

** Part 2 "Standing On Your Knees" was not recorded due to technical difficulties.

"The Armor Of Identity" Brian Loveless Sermon on July 9, 2017 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas. Part 3 of the series "Before The War".

"The Armor Of Surrender" Brian Loveless Sermon on July 16, 2017 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas. Part 4 of the series "Before The War".

"The Armor Of Intercession" Brian Loveless Sermon on July 23, 2017 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas. Part 5 of the series "Before The War".