Calvary Assembly of God

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Apr-28-16

Blessing Others

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Craig wrote:

“I am so proud of my Calvary Assembly of God family! Everyone pitched in to donate supplies, pack everything up, and then take these vital supplies to the needy in the inner city of Grand Rapids. One of the best compliments I heard was from a gentleman who stopped by for some items, when he said, ‘Thank you for treating us like human beings!’”

Our team was there to show the love of Jesus in the most tangible way they could.

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Apr-25-16

How To Make New Communications Habits

posted by Craig T. Owens

As we continue learning new skills for getting along with other people, here is a recap of Sunday’s message that Pastor Craig posted on his blog.

Making new habitsPreviously I wrote about NOT trying to change our bad behaviors. That’s because our behavior is a nature outcome of several other factors (read more about that by clicking here). The important progression goes like this: Thoughts → Values → Attitudes → Behaviors.

The two areas we can address are our thoughts and attitudes. When it comes to interacting with other people, notice carefully the words Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

Jesus says that our thoughts about ourselves can limit our thoughts about others. If your thoughts are limited, your value on people and healthy relationships will slide. If those values drop, your attitude about others will begin to sour. And with those thoughts, values and attitude dropping, isn’t natural to expect that you will struggle getting along with others?

So you must get this clear—

  • God had a plan for you from before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10)
  • God knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-18)
  • God put just the right gifts and talents in you to change the world (Romans 12:3-61 Corinthians 12:4-7).
  • God made you unique (you-nique!).
  • You are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

Because you are you-nique, you hear and see the world uniquely, and you respond uniquely. You and I respond mostly by habit.

Habits are good when they are healthy. But unhealthy habits create assumptions and blind spots that can hinder our relationships.

To make new relationship habits requires three things:

  1. Knowledge (what do I need to do)
  2. Skill (how do I need to do it)
  3. Desire (I really want to make this change)

If you want to make some new communication habits, get knowledge from people who love you and from reading the Bible. Then read some books or attend some seminars that will give you new skills. Then combine those with your sincere desire to want to improve your relationship habits, and watch for great things to happen!

Pastor Craig is leading our church through a training on our communication styles. Please join us on Sunday as we learn how to better get along with others. We’d love for you to join us either in person or on our Periscope broadcast.

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Apr-21-16

Shop To Support Calvary

posted by Craig T. Owens

Amazonsmile

Do you shop on Amazon.com? Here’s a great way to shop and support the ministries of Calvary Assembly of God at the same time: Shop with a “smile.”

Amazon.com has launched a program that gives 0.5% of your purchase to the charity you choose to support. Simply go to smile.amazon.com, add your purchases to your chart, and check-out. That’s it! Then Amazon will send a donation to the church each quarter.

Thanks for helping support the ministries of our church!

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Apr-18-16

Don’t Try To Change Your Bad Behavior

posted by Craig T. Owens

In week 2 of our new series on how to get along with others, we learned a new important skill. Pastor Craig shared this recap of Sunday’s message on his blog

Thoughts to beahviorsAs I wrote previously, I believe Christians should be the best at getting along with others. First of all, Christians have been empowered by the Holy Spirit with the skills necessary to live at peace with everyoneIF we will only allow the Spirit to do the necessary work in us. And second, the way Christians treat others goes a long way toward either attracting or repelling others from a relationship with Jesus.

But here’s an important thing: If you don’t get along well with others now, don’t try to change your behavior!

Stephen Covey wrote, “To try to change outward behaviors does very little good in the long run if I fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow.”

You see, behavior is the fruit. If we want to change the fruit, we need to back up a few steps.

The Apostle Paul used the life of Jesus as an example for Christians on how we can get along with others. But notice this: most of what Paul discusses is the “inside stuff.”

The progression goes like this (see Philippians 2:1-13)—

Thoughts → Values → Attitudes → Behaviors

(1) Thoughts—These need to be humble thoughts about God’s love toward us (v. 1).

(2) Values—Paul tells us to be “one in spirit and purpose” with others (v. 2). The definition of the Greek words here mean valuing the well-being of everyone. Paul then explains how our humility can lead to these win-win relationships (vv. 3, 4).

(3) Attitudes—“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus” (v. 5). Jesus showed us what it was to have an attitude related toward obedience to God’s will.

(4) Behavior—If our thoughts, values and attitudes are rightly aligned to God, then our behavior will naturally be Christ-like as well. We see the example of Jesus in verses 6-8, and God’s reward for that behavior in verses 9-11. Then Paul calls on Christians to follow that pattern in our own lives (vv. 12, 13).

Most decent, reasonably-thinking human beings share the same values. Harry Truman said, “When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint—understand what he is trying to do—nine times out of ten he is trying to do right.”

The problem is this: When the other person behaves differently from me, my natural tendency is to assume he doesn’t value what I value. In other words, I’m judging his value system on the way I normally behave.

The break-down is in my attitude. That’s the area I need to address. That’s the attribute of Jesus that Paul told us to copy.

So if I want to get along better with others, I shouldn’t try to change my behavior, but my attitudeMy prayer should be: “I want this same attitude to be in me which was also in Christ Jesus. He served God and others, so I too want to follow His example of obedience, and I want to demonstrate my appreciation for all that Jesus has done for me by working hard to better get along with others. Help me change my attitude!”

Check out this video of the full message…

We hope you can join us next Sunday as we continue learning how to get along with others. Please join us in person or on Periscope.

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Apr-11-16

You Are An Empowered Peacemaker

posted by Craig T. Owens

My new attitude“The whole world—with one minor exception—is made up of others,” says John Maxwell. The ‘one minor exception’ is that person who’s looking back at you from the mirror every morning, so if you want to be successful in life, you better learn to get along with ‘the others.’

I believe this is especially important for those who call themselves Christians. Here are three reasons why—

  1. Our interaction with other Christians is a testimony to outsiders—John 13:34-35.
  2. Our positive interaction with outsiders can draw others to Christ—Colossians 4:5.
  3. Our negative interaction with outsiders can repel others from Christ—1 Peter 2:12.

So although it can be very (sometimes very, very!) challenging, we are called to find ways to get along with others. The Apostle Paul said:

Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-18, emphasis added).

When you see the phrase “if it is possible” you may think that Paul has given us an “out.” We could say, “I tried really hard to get along with that guy, but it just hasn’t worked, so I’m off the hook!”

But consider how another translation of the Bible states this phrase: Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Jesus was asked to do something that had never been done before: heal two men born blind. Jesus asked these men, “Do you believe I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). The men answered an emphatic, “Yes!” On another occasion a father asked Jesus to heal his son by saying, “If You can, please help us.” Jesus said, “‘If I can? All things are possible to those who believe.” The father immediately replied, “I do believe; please help my unbelief” (Mark 9:22-24).

If you are Christian, the Spirit of Jesus lives in you. So the question Jesus asks us about our difficult relationships is, “Do you believe I am able to help you?” Or perhaps more accurately He asks us, “Will you let Me help you?”

So the part of the verse which says, “if it is possible, as far at it depends on you” is really saying, “If you really believe Jesus is stronger than this strained relationship, will you let Him do something in you to bring about peace?”

We aren’t asking Jesus to change the other person; we’re asking Him to change us. We aren’t asking someone else to get on our page, or to see the world from our perspective; we’re asking the Holy Spirit to help us get on their page, to help us see the world they way they see it.

We need to have a new attitude. And I believe that attitude comes from a prayer like this—

I have been empowered by the Spirit of Christ in me. 
It is now possible for me to live at peace with everyone. 
I can let the Holy Spirit use to me make a beautiful harmony. 
I will keep on living like this every day.

Next Sunday we will be looking at some practical techniques and more biblical insights to help us excel in getting along with all ‘the others’ that make up the world. Please join us in person or on Periscope.

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Apr-7-16

How To Get Along With Others

posted by Craig T. Owens

How To Get Along With OthersJohn Maxwell famously said, “The entire world—with one minor exception—is made up of other people.” That “one minor exception”? It’s the person staring at you in the mirror every morning! Obviously learning how to get along with all the “others” in the world is hugely important.

It’s even more important for those who call themselves Christians.

The Bible makes it quite clear that people watch how Christians treat one another to see if the message they preach is one worth living. And Jesus told one of His most well-known stories to make the point that all of the Bible is fulfilled in just two things: (1) Loving God and (2) Loving others.

To live above with the God that we love,
Oh, wouldn’t that be glory!
But to live below with the saints that we know,
Well, that’s a different story!

The Bible says a lot about “one another.” In fact, that phrase is used nearly 60 times in the New Testament! Not only is there much that the Scripture has to say to us about getting along with one another, but most of what was written has been confirmed by modern psychology.

Join us this Sunday as we begin a new series called How To Get Along With Others. We’ll be learning some practical training along with biblical insights to help us excel at this vitally important life skill.

You can find directions to our church here, and if you can’t join us in person, be sure to tune in to our Periscope broadcast (follow Pastor Craig Owens @craigtowens to be notified when the broadcast starts).

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Mar-31-16

Encampment Of Blessings

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Craig wrote…

I am so proud of our Sunday School class! They don’t just talk about being disciples of Jesus Christ, they live it out daily.

33-Scott & HungarianOn New Year’s Day, they braved the frigid temperatures to minister to needy people in the inner city of Grand Rapids. They are going back again on Saturday, April 23.

You can help in several ways:

  1. Go with them on April 23. They will be leaving 1:00pm.
  2. Donate some items that they will be passing out. You can find a complete list here → Encampment of Blessings
  3. Make a financial donation. If you cannot purchase these items, you may make a financial donation via PayPal on the church’s website. Please write “Encampment” on the memo line.
  4. Help with the organization of all the donated items on Sunday, April 17, right after church.
  5. Pray that God will use this outreach to open doors for these folks to hear and see the love of Jesus.

Jesus said, “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. Then the righteous will answer, ‘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.’” (Matthew 25:35-40)

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Feb-18-16

I Wish My Pastor Knew…

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Craig shared on his blog some information Pastor Josh learned from the students in the Impact Youth Group. This emphasizes the reason why we need to support this ministry in every way possible!

I wish my pastor knewOur youth pastor passed out cards to the youth group, and told them they could anonymously finish this sentence: “I wish my pastor knew…

  • … that I regret a lot of my past
  • … I don’t know if I believe in my religion fully
  • … I need to talk to God more
  • … I am nervous about school
  • … even though I act happy I’m the total opposite
  • … I’m really scared to go back to school. I’m scared that I’m going to get really depressed again. I am already struggling with self-harm and being so emotionally tired. I’m scared it’s going to get worse. I just want to be okay. I want to be better.
  • … I have a hard time trying not to hate myself
  • … sometimes I’m very selfish and not Christ-like … a lot of the time actually
  • … that I’m troubled with life
  • … I was losing my mind, feel like I’m not where I need to be, I don’t know where I belong
  • … that I have very little faith, and I am trying to get closer to God. And that I live a sin
  • … about the situation with my brother and how we haven’t spoken in six years

Wow!

Here’s what I learned—

  1. I need to pray more for our youth pastors a lot more than I have been!
  2. Lots of people are hurting. Not just youth, but adults too.
  3. Jesus loves hurting people.
  4. What a privilege—and responsibility—I have as a pastor to show the love of Jesus!
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Feb-8-16

Asyougo

posted by Craig T. Owens

During our annual celebration meeting, Pastor Craig challenged to live a lifestyle that Jesus called us to. Here’s the recap he published on his blog

AsyougoA little habit started for me as a kid. I’d put things on the bottom steps of the stairway, so I’d be sure to see them and grab them as I went upstairs to my bedroom. After awhile, everyone in our family had his or her own “step.” I called these asyougos: as you go upstairs, please take these with you. The principle was pretty simple, as I would naturally see these things going about my regular route.

Jesus had a similar idea for His followers: Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation (Mark 16:15). The verb tense and definition of the word go literally means that Jesus said, “Asyougo into all the world, preach the Good News.

In fact this is exactly how Jesus lived His life. As He went about His normal life, His life intersected with people who needed Good News (check out Mark 10:1746Luke 8:44217:11; and John 9:1 as examples).

Peter summed up all of Christ’s life like this: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

Jesus lived an asyougo lifestyle, He called us to do the same, and He empowered us to live our asyougo lifestyle with the same power He had (Matthew 28:18-19Acts 1:8).

Here’s the big idea—We don’t need to go anywhere special to find people who need Good News…

  • asyougo to school, you will attend class with them
  • asyougo to work, you will work alongside them
  • asyougo to the grocery store, you will interact with them
  • asyougo to do yard work, you will talk over the backyard fence with them
  • asyougo out to eat, you will sit next to them

People who need the life-changing, disease-healing, sin-forgiving power of Jesus are all around you. ASYOUGO share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them!

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Jan-21-16

21 days of prayer for life

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Craig called for us to join in prayer during Sanctity Of Human Life month.

Prayer for lifeJanuary is Sanctity Of Human Life Month. I hope you are thinking about how you can support life-affirming causes this month. There are several great things you can do: financially support a pregnancy resource center (PRC), volunteer your time at a PRC, be aware of how your elected officials are voting.

And pray!

Prayer is the most powerful life-affirming activity we have at our disposal, because we pray to our Life-sustaining God! The Colson Center has put together a 21-day prayer for life guide. I encourage you to download this guide and then pray for life.

Download your free 21-day prayer for life guide here → 21 days of prayer for life

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