Calvary Assembly of God

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Dec-15-14

O Come, All Ye Faithful

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Tom continued our series on the Carols of Christmas yesterday. This is a recap Pastor Craig posted on his blog

Who is GodPastor Tom Kaastra continued our series The Carols Of Christmas by looking at the well-known Christmas hymn O Come, All Ye Faithful. The line he especially highlighted comes from the third stanza—Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

It is so vital that we keep both of those aspects of Jesus Christ in mind: He is both the Word of the Father and the Word become flesh. As Tom pointed out, this fact helps us answer the two most vital questions that humans have:

  • Who is God?
  • Who am I?

I can learn more about who I am when I know more clearly Who God is. And when I know this, I can more fully—as the song says—come and adore Christ the Lord.

Jesus is fully God:

Jesus revealed to us the Father’s love; after all, God is love (1 John 4:16). Jesus came to show us the love of God.

Jesus is fully Man:

  • He got tired and hungry (John 4:6)
  • He limited Himself to do only what the Father told Him to do (John 5:19-20)
  • He limited Himself to say only what the Father told Him to say (John 12:49)
  • He felt anguish and pain (Luke 22:44)

As C.S. Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” And as sons of God, we have access to the Heavenly Father—

Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Abba! My Father! (Romans 8:14-15)

Word of the Father now in flesh appearing is cause for adoration because Jesus has made it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God!

O come let us adore Him!!

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Dec-11-14

Candlelight Christmas Eve

posted by Craig T. Owens

Candlelight Christmas EveIt is one of our favorite gatherings of the whole year!

Please join us on December 24 at 6pm for our annual Candlelight Christmas Eve service. A quiet, reflective evening of hot chocolate, Christmas carols, special music, a fun Christmas story, and a reminder of why this time of year is so special.

Need directions? Just click here.

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Dec-8-14

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

posted by Craig T. Owens

We kicked off our new Christmas series on Sunday. Here is a recap from our pastor’s blog

AdventWe began our series on The Carols Of Christmas by looking at the poem written by Charles Wesley in 1744: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. As far as I can find, Wesley never shared where he got his inspiration for this prose, but I have a hunch that it might be from a song in the Bible called The Benedictus.

Zechariah had been unable to speak for nearly a year because of his doubt over the message God sent him through the angel (see Luke 1:5-20). When his son was born and Zechariah named him John, his tongue was loosed and he “was filled with the Holy Spirit” and burst into song (Luke 1:67-79). The first word of his song in Latin is benedictus, from which the name is derived.

Here’s what I love about both Zechariah’s and Wesley’s songs—they both look forward to Chris’t first Advent and His second Advent. Mary was still pregnant with Jesus when Zechariah sang his song, but his lyrics reflect the Redemption story that Jesus would fulfill as Emmanuel, God with us. Charles Wesley picks up this same theme, rejoicing over Christ’s birth and His imminent return.

In fact, that’s exactly the point! We aren’t celebrating Christmas as much as we are celebrating Advent. Jesus was born “when the time had fully come” for His first Advent (Galatians 4:4-5), and “this same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven” (Acts 1:11). That’s the message that should encourage us (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Check out the remarkable parallels between the Benedictus and Wesley’s hymn—

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus & Benedictus

 

If you’d like to download a PDF of this side-by-side comparison, here it is → Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus & Benedictus ←

We are continuing our series on the rich, meaningful messages in the familiar Christmas carols next Sunday, and we’d love to have you join us!

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Dec-4-14

The Carols Of Christmas

posted by Craig T. Owens
Carols Of ChristmasI heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

 

How many “old familiar carols” have you heard Christmas after Christmas, until the words have almost lost their meaning? If we’re not careful, any song repeated too often can lose the richness of its original intent.

There are some amazing messages in many of our old familiar Christmas carols, because many of those messages are saturated with the old familiar story of Redemption that the Bible tells over and over again.

Please join us this Sunday as we take a new look at the old familiar messages in our Christmas carols. These messages will bring a new appreciation of God’s love that was sung at Christ’s Advent, and reawaken the sweetness of meaning for this Christmas Day.

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Dec-1-14

Setting The Example For Us

posted by Craig T. Owens

FundraiserThis is from our Pastor’s blog

When Paul was writing to his young protege Timothy he said, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). I was so proud of a couple of young people who did this for us at Calvary Assembly of God yesterday!

Savannah has been raising money for childhood cancer research. She shared with us how this is the least-funded form of cancer research, and that every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. “That is unacceptable,” Savannah said. So in an amazing example-setting move for all of us, Savannah and two of her coworkers worked to bring in over $3000 in donations for childhood cancer research, and they shaved their heads as a sign of solidarity with the children undergoing cancer treatments. By the way, you can still donate to this noble cause by clicking here.

Then Josh brought us a challenging message entitled Are You Growing? Taking his text from 1 Corinthians 3:6, Josh reminded us that God makes things grow, but we can put ourselves in a place for Him to do that. Just as with a plant, our spiritual growth requires:

  • Sunshine—basking in God’s presence.
  • Water—soaking up God’s Word.
  • Nutrients—surrounding ourselves with the people and things that encourage growth.
  • Time—the dedication and investment in God’s process.

I am so proud of Josh and Savannah for setting an example for us to follow!

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Nov-28-14

Are You Growing?

posted by Craig T. Owens

Are You GrowingAre you growing?

Well technically, yes. There are parts of your body that never stop growing, like your fingernails, nose, and ears. Plus you’re constantly growing new skin cells. In fact, every 27 days you shed and re-grow a whole new outer skin! Gross, right?

But this week we will be talking about growing in our walk with God. We all want to be constantly growing with Him, so we’ll discover ways to put ourselves in the best position for God to grow us.

Join us this Sunday at 10:30am and Pastor Josh shares this important message.

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Nov-20-14

We ♥ Babies!

posted by Craig T. Owens

What a blessing to dedicate Lucas & Faith Santos to God, along with their parents Alex & Angie!

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender-2

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Oct-16-14

Putting Your Money Where Your Hair Is

posted by Craig T. Owens

SavannahEveryone is probably familiar with the phrase, “Putting your money where your mouth is.” Quite simply we mean, “I believe what I’m saying strongly enough that I would back it up with my money.”

Savannah Tolar is taking this one step further. She’s not only putting her money on the line to back up what she says, but she’s putting her hair on the line too!

Savannah, like many people, has been impacted by cancer in her immediate family. As a mother of a beautiful baby boy, she has also been troubled by the lack of funding for childhood cancer research. Savannah wants this lack of funding changed so that a cure for this dreaded disease can be found as soon as possible.

In fact, she believes this so strongly that she is willing to put her beautiful hair on the line. As you probably know, many children undergoing intensive cancer treatments end up losing their hair as a side effect of their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Savannah is standing in solidarity with those brave kids by allowing her head to be shaved.

Although Savannah has set a goal to raise $3000 for childhood cancer research, we all believe we can help her go way beyond this. Please click here to go to Savannah’s page, read her story, and then make a generous donation. On November 26, Savannah will be shaving her head as she stands with those kids who are fighting back against cancer.

Let’s all get behind this!

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Sep-8-14

Mobile, Messy & Meaningful

posted by Craig T. Owens

If you missed Pastor Craig’s message yesterday about the role of the church, please read this synopsis he published on his blog

21st-century Americans in Christ's timeI think we have made the Church and Christianity something different than what the New Testament shows us. We’ve created far too many “things” which simply aren’t in the Bible. That’s not to say these thingst are wrong, but they may become stumbling blocks to us if we make secondary things the primary thing.

So what is the primary thing about church?

It might surprise you to know that the word church is only used twice by Jesus (Matthew 16:18, 18:17). He used a Greek word ekklesia, which meant a gathering of people called out from their homes into some public place. This word originally had more of a “town hall” meaning to it, but Jesus used this as a starting point to show us true church.

In Christ’s time the church for Him was…

Mobile—wherever He was, church was. Look at the extensive traveling He did. He held as many “church services” in people’s dining rooms as He did in the synagogues.

Messy—often as Jesus was speaking…

  • People constantly coming and going
  • Pharisees yapping and interrupting
  • Kids playing
  • Women sitting at His feet, anointing Him, crying over Him
  • Food and drink were usually involved
  • Foot washing was taking place
  • When He was outdoors: wind, waves, farmers, passers-by…
  • When He was indoors: food being served and eaten, roofs being ripped off…
  • People constantly interrupted His sermons: “Blessed is Your mother…”; “Tell my brother to give me my inheritance…”; “My daughter is dying!…”

Meaningful

  • “I must go through Samaria.”
  • “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
  • “Zaccheus, today I’m eating dinner at your house.”
  • “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach good news to the poor, freedom to the captive, sight to the blind, favor to the oppressed.”

Jesus asked His disciples Who they thought He was (see Matthew 16:13-18). The correct answer was Peter’s declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus said, “You’re right, and on that declaration I will build My church.”

Our job is to make Jesus known as the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16).

Christ’s job is to build His Church (v. 18).

He didn’t tell us to build a building and invite people to come on Sundays.

He didn’t tell us to start a Sunday School or a feeding program or a youth group.

There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they are not the main thing. 

The main thing is Jesus being seen as the Son of the living God. Where we are gathered together in that confession and purpose—even just two or three of us—that’s where His church is (see Matthew 18:20).

We must be mobile, taking a meaningful message into people’s messy lives. That is true church.

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Apr-27-14

Earth Day 2014

posted by Craig T. Owens

We came, we saw, we cleaned!

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