Calvary Church

Calvary Church

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Devotion Factor [2]

The Devotion Factor [2]
We must Become a Church that is an Agency of Compassion

If you go back to Acts 2 you get a glimpse of what the church should be and can be.
Acts 2:42-47 “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

 Let me break this down:
They were:
Spirit Filled
Community Orientated

This practical application of what the church was can be our biggest factor of success as we love God as a church. My desire for you and our church is that we are successful. That God blesses us and that doesn’t happen magically. It requires each of us and this church “{to Embrace a lifestyle of Devotion to God}” 

That means we are so devoted to God we don’t have to advertise. People will see how we follow and love Christ and just want to be a part of it. We have no reason to believe that Jesus or the early church was involved in compassion to try and draw a crowd. Instead this compassionate response to the culture sprung from a deep well of genuine love for people.

When Jesus was preaching one day he saw the crowd had grown large and it was about time to eat. He had love and compassion on them and asked the disciples what kind of food supplies they have? The disciples said not enough send them home. They disciples had no interest at this point in helping people from Christ's perspective. Jesus looked at them and said let me teach you something valuable. He said give me the food you have, 2 fish and five loaves, he blessed it, and over 4000 people were fed.

What was the lesson?

If you go back to Mat 25:37-40 Jesus is sharing this parable and he says, "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” 
More Tomorrow...
You are Loved!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Devotion Factor [1]

Good Morning,
This week we are going to look at my message from Sunday on what Worship is, "The Devotion Factor." The key to Worship is understanding that compassionate devotion is the key to loving God.
There questions we all must ask ourselves occasionally; are we in devotion mode to God in every area of our life? As we learned last week, hope floats and hope expands if we trust Him in every area of our lives. He’s always there restoring when Life gets difficult; and we know we have the advantage. We can do this together. It’s not always an easy task walking in faith and love.
Thank goodness we have each other and this amazing church to help us through those times we struggle. We need each other for a reason: God created us to be a part of this amazing thing called the church; to love and be loved.

 Did you know “Love is a Verb?” 1lovenoun \ˈləv\  “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” Well it’s a noun unless you attach an object to it, an action; then it becomes a verb. My heart is to share our vision for making love a verb.

Love as God desires us to love comes with action. Friday’s mobile food bank was love in action. When I ask you to give someone a hug it takes an action on your part to get up hug them so they know you love them. When I challenge you to ask someone how can I make your day better…it takes action. I loved the phone call from Joe the other night. He says hi pastor this is Joe, how can I make your day better. You just made my day better.

 All of us must take ownership of not only the physical church, but the spiritual as well. If you aren’t I believe God is going to show you that you must. You have a job that God created just for you here at Calvary. Whatever that is you have a part. This church was started 34 years ago to help you walk this journey of faith in the Holy Spirit’s strength and power. It was created as a place for you to grow spiritually and then share that with those who are in need. To make an impact in people! However that may look.

Our Mission @CFW is to: Love God & Love People [this is our purpose for being as a church]

Mission must have Vision.

Love sets in motion [love is an action] these core values in our lives:

1.    Worship – we {Worship by Embracing a lifestyle of Devotion to God} by being culturally relevant yet never compromising God’s word.

2.    Prayer:

3.    Service:

4.    Outreach:

5.    Nurture:

We embrace these core values so we can grow spiritually. Love sets in motion Worship – we {Worship by Embracing a lifestyle of Devotion to God} by being culturally relevant yet never compromising God’s word.

There are three things we see love does in worship: Lifestyle devotion, being culturally relevant, and never compromising Gods word. Next week Pastor Charley will share on how we can be culturally relevant in worship without compromising God’s word.

What you think a life devoted to God looks like?
How do you love in action? Every day we are challenged with the fact that we must love as Jesus commanded us to love.

In Matthew 25 Jesus indicates to us that he gauges our love for him by the way we treat people around us.

Jesus challenged us in Matthew 25:35-36

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

He’s clearly painting a picture on the way to love. It’s easy to sit in church during a worship service and get all charged up and have the love of Christ bubbling up inside you. That is important. But wouldn’t it be a more accurate indicator of our love for him when we love our spouses, kids, and neighbors when they are unlovely to us.

In John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The bible further defines that love isn’t feeling, but a conduct. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” That means love is not something we feel or say, love is something we do. When we say we love God there is an action behind it. When we say we love others we are not to feel sorry for them but to actually love and help them.
More Tomorrow.
Remember you are Loved!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Simply Serving (2)

'Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.' Mark 10:43 NKJV

Being a servant is one of the hardest things to become as a believer. Take Pontius Pilate for example: he an opportunity to acquit Jesus of any wrongdoing, but instead he called for a basin and washed his hands of the entire matter. His attitude was, 'I'm not getting involved.' A lot of people have that same attitude.

But not Jesus. The night before His death He called for a basin of water and washed His disciple's feet. He taught them: 'Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.' (Mark 10:42-43 NKJV) Peter objected because foot-washing was a duty designated to the lowest servant in Middle Eastern households, and he considered it beneath Christ's dignity.

Look what Catherine Marshall writes: 'We, the disciples, are to be the servants, I want to insist along with Peter. But Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." (John 13:8 NKJV) This is a stunning and stupendous thought. Unless I can believe in this much love for me, unless I can and will accept Him by faith as my servant as well as my God, unless I can truly know that it's my good He seeks... then I cannot have His companionship.'

This is so contrary to the world's philosophy where everybody wants to lead and nobody wants to serve. But to be like Jesus is to be a servant, for that's what He called Himself. Never have goals so lofty that they blind you to the needs of those around you. Without a servant's heart, you'll be tempted to use your gift for personal gain, or to exempt yourself from areas you consider beneath you. The truth is, the only way to serve God is by serving those He loves.
You are loved!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Simply Serving (1)

'Through love serve one another.' Galatians 5:13 NKJV
You may not know Bill Wilson or ever heard of him but he builds Sunday schools in some of New York City’s worst areas. He has understood his call and has paid the price. He has been stabbed and shot, and had team members killed. But that does not stop him.

He tells a story of a Puerto Rican lady who could barely speak English who said to him one day, ‘I want to do something for God, please.’ Bill said, ‘Okay, ride a different Sunday school bus every week and just love the kids.’ So she rode a different bus—Bill has dozens of them—and loved the children. After several months she became attached to one little boy. ‘I don’t want to change buses any more. I want to stay on this one,’ she told Bill. The boy came to Sunday school every week with his sister and sat on the lady’s lap, but never made a sound. She would repeatedly tell him, ‘I love you, and Jesus loves you.’ One day to her amazement, he turned around and stammered, ‘I… love you too.’ Then he gave her a big hug. That was at two–thirty on a Sunday afternoon. At six–thirty that night the boy was found dead in a dumpster under a fire escape. His mother had beaten him to death and thrown his body in the trash. ‘I love you, and Jesus loves you.’ Those were some of the last words that little boy heard in his short life—from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could barely speak English. Bill says, ‘Who among us is qualified to minister? Who among us even knows what to do? Not you; not me. But I ran to an altar once and got some fire and just went. So did this woman who couldn’t speak English. And so can you.’

Remember this Friday is our Mobile Food bank Outreach. Serving starts at 8:30am with setup, 10am start time. I hope you will make this a priority as we serve our community...

You are loved!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Psalms 95:1-6

Psalms 95:1-6 "Come, let's sing joyfully to the LORD. Let's shout happily to the rock of our salvation. Let's come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving. Let's shout happily to him with psalms. The LORD is a great God and a great king above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth, and the mountain peaks are his. The sea is his. He made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let's worship and bow down. Let's kneel in front of the LORD, our maker, because he is our God and we are the people in his care, the flock that he leads. If only you would listen to him today!

I love this Psalm as David challenges us in verse 6 to "come, bow down and worship the Lord." Why would David make such a bold claim; because HE is the only one who is worthy of our adoration!

In the book of Esther in chapter 3 there was a man named Mordecai who was disobeying the orders of the king by not bowing down to a man named Haman. As a devoted Jew Mordecai was reserving his worship and adoration for the One who truly deserved it. That was God.

Physically kneeling in worship isn't common in society these days, but we often worship other replacements for God without realizing it. One way to tell is by looking at how you spend your time and money – are they distracting you from keeping your focus on God? If so, do something because your spiritual life depends on it.

You are Loved!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Change Your Response!

'The... Lord is my strength... He enables me to [go on].' Habakkuk 3:19 NIV

I have had plenty of opportunity in the last year or so to say; "man, can things get any worse?" Personal finances, church finances, health is failing, the people you trusted have let you down. Nobody enjoys such times, but if you live long enough you'll go through them. They have a way of making you re-examine your responses and seek another path.

When the things the prophet Habakkuk counted on started to crumble, he was forced to discern between what's truly important and what's merely temporal. It's a re-evaluation we all have to make at some point. Here's what Habakkuk said: 'Though the fig tree does not bud... there are no grapes on the vines... the olive crop fails... the fields produce no food... there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord... The Sovereign Lord is my strength... He enables me to [go on].' (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV)

Habakkuk realised he had no control over certain things. So he chose to control his response by rejoicing in the Lord regardless of what happened, and drawing from God the strength to 'go on'. I'm glad that God has given me His word to help me through all this. As I read this scripture I asked Him to help me learn something valuable. Let me ask you, "what can you learn from this man?"

My biggest take on this is you have a choice! That you can decide to praise God regardless of the hand life deals you. God doesn't promise to take you out of your situation; He promises to bring you through it. So change your response and begin to praise God for His faithfulness, for your salvation, for your health, for your friends and family, and all the other blessings He's given you. If you look for reasons to rejoice, you'll find them!

You are Loved!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just Listen

'Be...[a ready listener].' James 1:19 AMP

One of the many things I've had to learn in life is that talking instead of listening will get you into trouble. I love the analogy of 'Two geese preparing to fly south when a frog asked if he could go along. They questioned how he could do it. 'Easy,' he said. 'You guys hold a stick between your beaks and I'll hang on with my mouth.' Off they went as people looked up, admiring their teamwork. The trio was making great progress until somebody below shouted, 'Great idea! Whose was it?' That's when the frog opened his mouth and yelled, 'Miiiiiiiine!'

Every time you open your mouth there are consequences! So learn to listen. A great thought is this, 'The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not how to be silent is that they hear nothing.' Listening without having to air your knowledge or interject your opinion is a quality of character that proves you're mature.

Television host Larry King once said, 'I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening.' Jesus was a great listener, and as a result He attracted people like a magnet. Doubtless there were times He was tired and didn't feel like it - but He listened anyway. When the disciples fussed among themselves, and the Pharisees grumbled and caused trouble, Jesus focused on the important things. He listened, He spoke, and people followed. Listening is often more effective than talking. In fact, there's a point in every conversation where you need to say less and listen more. In those moments you not only hear what others are saying, but what God is saying to you!

You are Loved!