Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

August 28, 2012

McCarter’s never been bored working for God

TAHLEQUAH — Before D.J. McCarter began singing with the gospel quartet Cedar Tree Four, he played his guitar in honky-tonks.

At 14, McCarter learned to play a guitar and started playing in beer joints, with his big brother, Eugene, coming along to keep him out of trouble.

When he met his wife, Frances, he invited her out on a date. Eventually, she invited him to church, and it turned his life around. He said he was saved from alcoholism overnight and enjoys sharing his testimony.

McCarter will celebrate the 40th anniversary of giving his life to the Lord, Sept. 27.

For the past 22 years, D.J. and Frances McCarter have been in ministry at Elm Tree Baptist Church,  after serving at Cherry Tree Baptist Church for almost 12 years. His first pastorate was at Barber Baptist. From 1973-’77, he performed with the Cedar Tree Four.

“As we sang, I couldn’t keep from telling people about God’s salvation in my life,” McCarter said. “I grew up a stomp dancer, and hardly went to church growing up. My folks were in the native religion. [God] put a desire in my heart that I needed to share my testimony of how he delivered me overnight.”

He knew he would become a pastor following that watershed moment.

“I had such a hunger for the word of God, I went to every revival I could find and studied all the time,” he said. “When I surrendered, it took a load off my shoulders and I got a real peace about it. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

McCarter enjoys nothing more than teaching and preaching the word of God.

“The Bible is alive, and every time you read a scripture, the Lord shows you a little something more,” he said. “Just like John 3:16, God shows something to edify and strengthen you. We never stop learning and get to everything fully until we get to heaven.”

McCarter preaches the Bible one book at a time.

“Every person has a different need,” said McCarter. “One of the reasons I go chapter by chapter, verse by verse, is that eventually I’ll get to a place that person struggling with needs and then to another place the next person is struggling with.”

One thing he’s learned over the years is to listen without giving advice. Clayton Bowling and J.R. Stogsdill both have been mentors.

“Clayton and J.R. and I fellowshipped a lot. J.R. was the first to share the gospel with me. He was a missionary for the Cherokee Baptist Association,” McCarter said. “I appreciate his honesty and his character. He was always up front and a loving person, he and Mary [his wife] both.”

He could always go to Clayton or J.R. with questions.

“I could bounce things off Clayton, and he’d tell me how to work them out,” he said. “He’d talk about how a pastor ought to be in a church, how to treat your brother in the Lord or the elderly women.”

Before accepting the offer to pastor at Elm Tree, McCarter told the church board a few things would have to change – including on voting each year whether to keep him.

“If the Lord calls me here, I’ll be here until he calls me somewhere else or I retire or die here,” he said. “[Saturday] we held a benefit singing for the New Tribe missionaries. We wanted to help out with lodging and other expenses like language helpers, who prepare them to go into the jungle to live with the tribal people.”

The New Tribe missionaries come to Elm Tree twice a year to study with the Cherokee-speaking members before going to live with tribes in the jungles of New Guinea, Argentina, Indonesia and other places in the mountains.

“Cherokee is hard to break down so it’s good practice,” he said.

Two mission trips to Venezuela with friends and a group from Oklahoma City, with pastor Gary Haskins, changed his perspective.

“It opened my eyes. People here don’t know how rich we really are, how fortunate,” he said. “We complain about our three-bedroom brick house, and they have an [tiny] room with dirt floors, pasteboard walls and a metal sheet covering a hole. It gave me perspective of how the Lord has blessed us here.”

They’re also blessed with family. The McCarters have two children, Chad and Darla; two grandchildren, Courtney and Michael; and two great-grandchildren, Brook and Dante.

Local community outreach projects include collecting food and other items for the CARE Food Pantry and the Oaks Indian Mission through the Women’s Mission Union at the church . They also send Christmas boxes to the reservations in North and South Dakota and northern Nebraska. They make new blankets and caps for babies at W.W. Hastings Hospital and make pillows for breast cancer patients. And they collect pop tabs to give to Tahlequah City Hospital for the Ronald McDonald House. They also had a community garden for the first time.

“In lieu of flowers, when a congregation member dies, the church gives give Gideon Bibles in that person’s name,” he said.

McCarter has just started serving as chaplain with the Cherokee Nation Hospice. When Mark Friend, chaplain at Hastings Hospital, goes out of town, McCarter is on call.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Features
  • wherearethey.jpg Padilla enjoys reconnecting with childhood

    As a child spending time at her grandparents’ house, with all her aunts, uncles, and cousins around her, Kerrie (Bosley) Padilla spent endless hours outside playing chase, catching fireflies, or writing and acting out plays.
    In 1987, after her dad got out of the Navy, the family moved here from Georgia to be closer to that family: matriarch Dorothy Monzingo, and maternal grandparents Dorothy and Dwight Allen. Her parents, DeAnna and Steve Edwards – as well as a couple of siblings and some aunts, uncles and cousins – still live here.
    Eventually, Padilla graduated from Northeastern State University, and then its College of Optometry.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Dream1.jpg Dream Theatre spotlights songwriters

    Dreams can come true for local aspiring songwriters who seek to gain performance experience.
    For one young musician, Thursday night was an unexpected dream of discovery, as well.
    Two opportunities are available to musicians at the Dream Theatre each month, the new Songwriters’ Showcase which opened Thursday night and Premier Night for musicians who have a few songs or a set, but not a whole show.
    In search of the groove that works for The Dream, Manager Larry Clark is partnering with Blake Turner, Lakes Country operation manager.
    The Songwriters’ Showcase, which will continue the third Thursday of the month in conjunction with Tahlequah Main Street Association’s Third Thursday Art Walk downtown, features seasoned performers who can share some of their personal insights into the how, when and why of their songwriting experiences.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals

    One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.

    April 17, 2014

  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Stocks