Calvary Assembly of God

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Jul-30-15

United Prayer

posted by Craig T. Owens

This was posted on the UNITED website. We hope everyone can join us onS unday, August 23.

Over 100 years ago, South African pastor Andrew Murray penned these words which still ring true today—

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

UNITED prayer is a great privilege, and its power waits to be experienced. … if friends believed how effective two or three praying in concert could be; if in every prayer meeting faith in His presence and expectation of an answer were foremost; if in every church united prayer was regarded as one of the chief purposes for which Christians come together—the highest exercise of their power as a church; if in the church universal the coming of the kingdom, and the King himself, first in the mighty outpouring of His Holy Spirit, and then in His own glorious person, were matters of ceaseless pleading with God, who could predict what blessing might come through those who agree to prove God’s promises?

In Cedar Springs, we want to see the blessings that God will pour out on our community when “the church universal” unites in prayer.

Please join us for UNITED 2015 on Sunday, August 23, at 11am.

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Jul-27-15

Live Blessed And Peaceful

posted by Craig T. Owens

Another great learning experience in our Psalm 119 series! Here is the recap from Pastor Craig’s blog, and there is a link below to watch the whole sermon on video.

SpockI think most people are familiar with Spock’s famous Vulcan hand signal that means “Live long and prosper.” But long before Star Trek, the origins of this idea were displayed in the pages of Scripture.

The Hebrew word for grace or favor is first used in relation to Noah: “BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). The conjunction BUT at the beginning of this verse tells us that the favor Noah experienced is being contrasted to something exactly the opposite. Here’s what we read two verses earlier, “The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain” (v. 6).

Noah had to make a choice: would he fear God, or would he fear man. It’s a choice we all have to make today. We have to weigh and decide:

  • Fear of God vs. fear of man
  • Pleasing God vs. pleasing myself or someone “important” to me
  • Humble reliance on God vs. self-reliance
  • Objective obedience to God vs. subjective agreement when it feels okay

In the section of Psalm 119 called shin (vv. 161-168), the psalmist wrestled with this as well. He decided that he wasn’t going to be afraid of government officials that could persecute him, BUT “my heart trembles at Your Word.” He decided that he wouldn’t look for worldly treasures, BUT he would “rejoice in Your promise” (v. 162). That he wouldn’t praise temporary things, BUT “I praise You for Your righteous laws” (v. 164). That he wouldn’t try to find satisfaction in the temporary, BUT he would bask in the “great peace [for them] who love Your law” (v. 165). On and on it goes…

  • …I wait for YOUR salvation
  • …I follow YOUR commands
  • …I obey YOUR statutes
  • …I obey YOUR precepts (vv. 166-168)

People that live this way experience the same favor and grace that Noah experienced.

The Lord BLESS you and keep you; the Lord make His face SHINE upon you and be GRACIOUS to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you PEACE. (Numbers 6:24-26)

You can live blessed and peaceful by choosing God above all else!

Next Sunday we wrap up our series on the 119th Psalm, and we would love it if you can join us!

Here is the video from yesterday’s message—

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Jul-20-15

Tears And Humility

posted by Craig T. Owens

As Pastor Craig led us through the next section in Psalm 119, we learned about our attitude as rescuers. Here’s a recap of yesterday’s message that he posted on his blog

History of ReshJust has God sent His holy Son “below the line” to rescue us, so we who are in Jesus have been sent below the line to those who are staggering to death. If we are going to be effective rescuers, what must our attitude be?

George Whitefield, when he saw a convicted criminal on his way to the gallows said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” He also said to those who questioned his deep emotional response when preaching, “You blame me for weeping, but how can I help it when you will not weep for yourselves, though your immortal souls are on the verge of destruction?”

Isn’t a humble, empathetic rescuer going to be more effective in reaching those staggering to their eternal demise than one who stands aloof, saying, “You got yourself into this mess”?

Resh (Psalm 119:153-160) shows us our posture: It signifies a head bowed; it means we are confidently humble. Confident that God delivers us, defends us, redeems us, preserves us, and saves us (vv. 153-154); but humble enough to know that we could never have earned this!

We have to have this confidently humble posture in order to be effective as His holy rescuers. We grieve for those who are without God because of what they face—

  • “Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked because they’ve never looked it up in Your dictionary. (v. 155, MSG)
  • They don’t know His compassion is great (v. 156), nor how great is Your tender mercy and loving-kindness (AMP).
  • They become the foes who persecute Christians (v. 157). How they will grieve on Judgment Day, if they don’t repent!
  • Their actions are loathed (not them as a person!). What God said of the Israelites who went into captivity will be true for those who don’t accept Jesus before they die—Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember Me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices(Ezekiel 6:9, emphasis added)

Tears and humility will keep us in the proper position to reclaim these lost treasures for our King! 

We will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 in our P119 Spiritual Workout next Sunday. Hope you can join us!

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Jul-13-15

Holy Rescuers

posted by Craig T. Owens

Continuing our series on Psalm 119, we looked at verses 145-152 yesterday. Here is a recap Pastor Craig posted on his blog

QophThe Hebrew Aleph-Bet is nothing like the English alphabet. First of all, in English, letters are just letters; they don’t really mean anything. In Hebrew, every letter has its own definition and imagery. Second, in the English alphabet, the order of the letters doesn’t have any significance; but the order in Hebrew is of vital importance.

It is significant that qoph (vv. 145-152) comes after tsadhe (vv. 137-144) in Psalm 119. Tsadhe tells us about God’s righteousness, and how the Word gives us a reliable way to approach All-Righteous God as a humble, obedient servant. This must come before qoph, which encourages us to stay in the presence of Holy God for a specific reason.

Qoph is the second of two Hebrew letters that has two pen strokes that don’t touch. This is a reminder for us to stay close to God. But qoph is the only Hebrew letter that goes below the line. This is a reminder that God came down to rescue us!

Qoph is the first letter in the Hebrew word for holy. When Isaiah saw God, and heard the angels shouting, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty,” he saw himself unworthy to come into God’s presence, until his sin had been atoned for. After that, he was ready to be sent out as God’s messenger. (see Isaiah 6:1-8).

In the last book of the Bible, the picture in Heaven is similar, with angels still crying, “Holy!” (Revelation 4:8). As Christians, Jesus Christ has become our Atonement, so we can approach holy God’s throne with humble confidence.

Not only that, but Jesus sent us out as holy witnesses. He sent us “below the line.” Just like He came down to rescue us, He has commissioned us as holy rescuers (Proverbs 24:11-12Jude 21-25).

As you stay close to God’s holiness, you become a more effective witness for Christ, a holy rescuer! What a privilege to be used by God in this way.

(Next Sunday we will be continuing our series on Psalm 119. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please come join us!)

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Jul-9-15

United To Change The World

posted by Craig T. Owens

We are always excited to be a part of the annual UNITED worship service. Here is a post from the United website about something special happening this year. 

TreasureYour change can literally change the world!

This year at our UNITED 2015 service, we are partnering with Word Mission to help deliver the Treasure audio Bible to people who have never read or hear Scripture before.

The Treasure is a small, handheld device that contains the New Testament in specific languages. Many of these languages are not in the written form, and even if they were, most of the people who speak them are illiterate. For generations they have passed along information through storytelling, but many of them have never heard the greatest story ever told of God’s love for them!

Church members across Cedar Springs are filling “change your world” boxes with their loose change. Then at our August 23 UNITED service, when we come together united in worship, we will come with our change to give to World Mission.

If you would like to learn more about World Mission and the Treasure, please click here. If you would like work on filling your own change box, please click here and send an email to our coordinator.

This summer we are UNITED to change the world!

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Jul-6-15

Humility Misunderstood

posted by Craig T. Owens

As we continue our series on Psalm 119, Pastor Craig showed us the amazing message in verses 137-144. Here is the recap he posted on his blog.

Tsadhe [close up]Humility has gotten a bad reputation. Many people think of a humble person as someone who never speaks up for himself, someone that can be taken advantage of, someone who becomes a doormat for everyone else. But the picture of a humble person in the Bible couldn’t be more different!

We all have to bow to someone or something. A godly humble person has chosen to bow to God and to follow God’s righteous standards.

One name for God is Jehovah Tsidkenu which means God is Righteous (see Psalm 119:137). The Hebrew word tsadhe is a part of God’s Righteous title, and it’s how we are called to live. Tsadhe means the humble, faithful servant.

In the section of Psalm 119 called tsadhe, the psalmist points out:

  • Your laws are right … they are fully trustworthy (vv. 137138).
  • Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them (v. 140).
  • Your commands are my delight (v. 143).
  • The way You tell me to live is always right (v. 144).

Jesus lists a whole series of rewards for those who are humbly, faithfully dependent on God for help in Matthew 5:3-12. But I especially love how tsadhe looks when we zoom in on it—the Hebrew scribes wrote it with the faithful, humble, kneeling servant depicted with a crown! Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12).

Far from being pushed down, the humble person is the one God delights to exalt! God set the standard for righteousness, and then Jesus became our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:61 Corinthians 1:30), so that we could receive the rewards of humble obedience to the Heavenly Father.

What a way to live!

(If you are near Cedar Springs this Sunday, please join us as we continue our series on the 119th Psalm.)

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Jun-29-15

10 Blessings From Obeying God’s Word

posted by Craig T. Owens

As we got back into our P119 Spiritual Workout series, Pastor Craig led us through the next section in Psalm 119. Here is the recap he posted on his blog

Wonderful WordThe entire 119th Psalm is a love song to God for His amazing Word. Quite simply it is “far exceeding anything conceived by man” (v. 129, AMP) and “a miracle Word” (v. 129, MSG).

In the 8-verse section called Pe, the psalmist says, “I can’t think of any better response to Your Word than to obey it!” In Pe, here are ten blessings that come with that obedience—

  1. Light … this is the discernment that allows for the “Aha!” revelations of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Understanding … the blessing of comprehending what God is saying to us.
  3. Longings fulfilled … nothing but God’s Word will ever satisfy like God’s Word!
  4. More clearly seeing God’s face as He shines upon us.
  5. God’s mercy and favor.
  6. greater understanding of God’s love.
  7. Secure paths that keep us from sin’s snares.
  8. Freedom from satan’s extortions … this is literally what the phrase redeem me from the oppression means in verse 134.
  9. Greater obedience.
  10. Learning God’s Word so that I can teach it to others.

The psalmist also gives us good insight into how to respond to those who reject God’s Word: Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey Your instructions” (v. 136). With all the blessings that come from obeying God’s wonderful law, why would you ever want to try to live any other way?!

We will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 this Sunday. If you are in the area, we would love to have you join us!

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Jun-25-15

A Healthy P119 Workout

posted by Craig T. Owens

Here is how Pastor Craig describes our ongoing summer series…

P119Three summers ago I began a series of messages on Psalm 119. Since this psalm provides a pretty strenuous spiritual workout, I entitled the series The P119 Workout. I have had so many positive comments on this series, that we are continuing our workout again this summer.

The 119th Psalm is unique is several ways: it is the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses) divided into 22 eight-verse segments. Each one of these segments starts with the same Hebrew letter of that section. And this chapter is totally devoted to the life-changing power of God’s Word.

Each week we’ll look at a new 8-verse segments to learn how to apply the principles to our daily lives. I will also share some on-your-own spiritual stretches you can do following each lesson.

I am really excited to continue this series! Please join me this coming Sunday and throughout the rest of the summer at 10:30am to get spiritually fit. (And if you want to get a little head start for this week, read Psalm 119:129-136.)

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Jun-22-15

Around, Awake, Aware

posted by Craig T. Owens

On Fathers Day, Pastor Craig had a challenging message for all the men in the church. Here is a recap which Pastor Craig posted on his blog.

Fathers DayThe statistics on fatherless homes are quite alarming:

  • 63 percent of teen suicides are from fatherless homes;
  • 90 percent of homeless children and runaways are from fatherless homes; and
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

Since the latest numbers tell us that 40% of babies are now born to unwed mothers, we could have a potential societal collapse looming! But there is good news: It’s not too late to do something about this. We—the men in the Church—can make a difference. A father has life-changing power. Not simply someone who is a biological father, but someone who will step into a fatherly role to invest in a person’s life.

God chose David His servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72)

God is looking for men who are His servants; men who don’t want to plan their own course, but who say, “I am Your servant; use me however You see best.”

David was given a ragtag bunch of men, which the Bible describes as “in distress, in debt or discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2). With integrity and skill David poured into their lives, so that by the end of his life this ragtag group became heroes (see 2 Samuel 23:8-39).

Throughout Scripture God calls men to step into the lives of the fatherless. These distressed, indebted, discontented children of today need a father who is:

  • Around physically—Ephesians 6:2 (it’s hard to honor an absentee father)
  • Awake emotionally—Ephesians 6:4a (one who won’t exasperate them)
  • Aware spiritually—Ephesians 6:4b (one who will bring them up in…the Lord)

We can be a part of reversing the downward slide of our culture.

Hear me, God-fearing men: countless distressed, fatherless kids could become our generation’s mighty warriors because of your investment!

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Mar-18-15

En Gedi Youth Center Auction

posted by Craig T. Owens
(l-r) Carley, Bailey and Heather would love your support at this year's auction

(l-r) Carley, Bailey and Heather would love your support at this year’s auction

We are HUGE fans of the En Gedi Youth Center. This outstanding, Christ-centered program is providing invaluable mentoring opportunities to the youth in Cedar Springs.

Instead of making constant appeals for finances, En Gedi only asks for donations once each year, at their annual fundraising auction. This year’s auction will be held this Friday, March 20, at 6pm in the Cedar Springs High School cafeteria. 

Admission is only $10. There will be desserts, beverages, silent auctions, and a live auction, as well as plenty of opportunities to learn more about En Gedi. Please come support this very worthwhile ministry!

UPDATE #2: CS Manufacturing increased the level of their matching sponsorship, so the total funds raised at this auction now stands at $45.000! We are so grateful!

UPDATE: The generous folks of Cedar Springs (including the matching sponsorship of CS Manufacturing) gave nearly $35,000 to support this ministry!!

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