Calvary Assembly of God

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Jul-28-14

Eye Exam

posted by Craig T. Owens

If you missed the latest installment in our P119 Spiritual Workout series, here is an update from Pastor Craig’s blog

EyechartProbably at one time or another everyone has gone through some sort of eye exam where you read an eyechart to get information about your vision. This simple exam gives your doctor a standard by which to measure the visual acuity of your eyes. After all, without an objective standard for your vision, who’s to say whether your eyesight really is good or bad?

After taking the exam, the doctor can determine whether you have…

  • emmetropia—normal vision where light from your eye’s lens is properly focused on the retina at the back of your eye; or
  • myopia—also called short-sightedness, where the light is focused in front of the retina; or
  • hyperopia—or far-sightedness, where the light is focused behind the retina.

Both myopia and hyperopia can be corrected by lenses. Glasses, contact lenses, or even corrective surgery can correct your focal point, restoring emmetropia again. But notice this:

Lenses don’t change what you see, but how you see it. 

By refocusing the light into the right place, you are now looking at the same object, but the focal point is corrected. You are able to see things that were there all along, but that your out-of-focus vision caused you to miss. For a Christian, the Bible works the same way—

Scripture doesn’t change the events or circumstances in your life, but it does change how you see them. 

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22-23)

Vision problemsWhat’s true for an eye exam is also true for a spiritual exam: If you don’t read the eyechart, it’s hard to tell if your vision is out-of-focus.

Far too many people don’t read the Bible for themselves, so they never have given the Holy Spirit a chance to show them where their attitude or lifestyle is out of focus with God’s design. However, if you are reading the Bible, here are three warning signs that you may have blurry spiritual vision that needs to be corrected:

  1. You try to rationalize what the Holy Spirit is saying to you through the Bible, instead of simply obeying what He says.
  2. You discount the wisdom of other God-fearing people who are saying the same thing God’s Spirit is saying.
  3. You frequently find yourself saying, “I know that’s what the Bible says, but….”

You don’t have to live with blurry spiritual vision. Read the Bible for yourself, and let the Holy Spirit point out how your vision can be corrected.

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Jul-24-14

We ♥ United

posted by Craig T. Owens

For the past four summers we have done something very special on the fourth Sunday of August, and we’ll be doing that again this year: Attending the UNITED service in Morley Park.

UNITED is a time when we put aside any denominational labels, and come together as brothers and sister who are all a part of the same family of God. It’s an amazing time worshipping with 500+ other Christians in Cedar Springs!

We will not have our regular Sunday morning service on August 24, but we will gather at Morely Park for the 11am service. Please bring some lawn chairs to sit on, and also plan to stick around after the service for the free lunch which will be provided. And as an added bonus, Pastor Craig will be sharing the message this year!

You can get more details about UNITED by clicking here to go to their website.

 

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Jul-21-14

The Love & Hate Of God

posted by Craig T. Owens

If you missed the workout plan in Pastor Craig’s P119 Spiritual Workout message yesterday, here is a recap from his blog

SamekhI don’t think there’s anyone reading this that hasn’t—at one time or another, or perhaps even right now—struggled with feeling distant from God’s love. Maybe you felt like you blew it, or gave in to temptation, or things aren’t going as you had hoped, and you thought, “Where are You, God? Do You still care about me?” This message is for you!

“God is closer to us than we are to ourselves and that is why we do not notice Him.” —Thomas Merton

The section of the 119th Psalm called samekh (see verses 113-120) is a helpful passage for reminding ourselves just how near God is to us. Some people get nervous thinking about God being close to them, to the point where they want to run away. But you must have this clear in your mind—

God is near me to help and support me, not to harass and condemn me! 

Samekh means...Samekh is the only Hebrew letter which is completely enclosed. And when you look at it, samekh looks like a shield. Indeed the word means more than God’s omnipresence. Samekh means…

  • God’s never-ending support
  • God’s never-failing love
  • God’s never-stale mercies
  • God’s undiminished faithfulness
  • God’s unfathomable grace
  • God’s unquenchable hate

Wait a minute! God’s unquenchable hate?!? Yes! God loves you so much, that He hates anything that would draw you away from Him. So this section of Psalm 119 is filled with words like lovehoperefugeuphold, and sustain. But it also has words like hateaway from mereject, and discard.

God wants you to know how close He is to you. God is FOR you and He is AGAINST anything that would pull you away. Read the words in Psalm 91 and see how God protects you and then attacks the enemies of your soul. In the NewTestament, feel God’s closeness as we are told that…

Oh, how God love you! He wants you to feel His closeness, so He loves you and He hates the enemies of your soul! Bask in that today.

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Jul-14-14

Rewards For Faithfulness

posted by Craig T. Owens

As we re-started our P119 Spiritual Workout series, Pastor Craig showed us the rewards that come from faithfully following God’s Word. Check out this recap from his blog.

NunI unabashedly tell anyone who asks me what my favorite book is … It’s the Bible. I have yet to find such a collection of writings that work every single time they’re applied.

Two summers ago we began a series of messages on the 119th Psalm. It appears that the psalmist shares my passion for God’s Word, as he writes time and time again the difference Scripture makes in his life.

The other thing that makes this psalm so cool to me is the organization of the 176 verses into twenty-two 8-verse segments, with each verse in a segment beginning with the the same Hebrew letter as its title. In the Hebrew language, the letters in the alphabet had their own meaning. In English an “n” is simply spelled “n.” It has no other definition or meaning. But in Hebrew the letter nun has both a spelling and a meaning. Nun is spelled nun-vav-nun (final), and it means both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness.

Look at the three Hebrew characters that spell nun. Reading right to left it tells a story and gives the meaning of the letter/word—the one who is humbled in faithfulness will be the one who stands in righteousness. The perfect example of this is Jesus, Who humbled Himself when He came to earth and to the Cross, and then was exalted by the Heavenly Father to wear the crown of righteousness (see Philippians 2:5-11 and Revelation 14:14). Paul starts this passage by calling on us to “have the same attitude as that of Jesus” (v. 5), and concludes with the call to stick with it all the way to the end (see vv. 12-13).

RewardsThe psalmist calls us to this same thing in nun (Psalm 119:105-112). The “bookend” verses say, “Your Word is a lamp for me… so my heart is set on keeping Your Word” (vv. 105 and 112). In between the psalmist commits himself to a life of humbly persevering to God’s ways, and reaps the rewards of a changed heart, the joy of the Lord, and a heritage to pass on to others.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day—and not only to me, but also TO ALL who have longed for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).

My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end (Psalm 119:112).

Rewards here (new heart, joy, heritage) AND rewards in Heaven (a crown of righteousness). How awesome is that!!

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, I will be continuing our series through Psalm 119 next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us.

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Jul-3-14

1:one:(12)

posted by Craig T. Owens

Hey, Calvary Assembly of God, how did you do on your 1:one:(12) challenge for June? Hopefully you got your 1 in (or even more)! Whether you did nor not, July is here, so get started on your 1 for this month. There are always lots of great things happening every month—like our current series Pentecost Power—so go get your 1!

For our guests that may not know what 1:one:(12) is all about… just ask us!

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Jun-19-14

An Easy Way To Help Families In Cedar Springs

posted by Craig T. Owens

Alpha bottlesWe were happy to be a part of Alpha Family Center’s Lifewalk and Liferun again this year. If you didn’t hear the good news, nearly 200 people participated in these two events to raise over $11,000 to help Alpha continue to minister to young families in Cedar Springs!

That’s great, but our support for Alpha shouldn’t be limited to just one day each year.

Here’s a real easy way to help. Pick up a baby bottle from the lobby this week, and begin to put your loose change into the bottle. When the bottle is full, bring it back to Calvary and we’ll deliver it to Alpha. Those funds will go towards diapers, baby formula, and other items to help the families that depend on Alpha.

C’mon, you know that loose change is just weighing you down anyhow, so let’s put it to a great use!

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May-22-14

“Tactics”

posted by Craig T. Owens

TacticsFor the summer months our Sunday School class will be studying a book called Tactics by Greg Koukl. We have some extra copies, or you can purchase your own copy by clicking here.

This is a phenomenal book to help us learn strategies for our conversations with others about what we believe. So we’ll be reading the book independently, discussing the content in Sunday School each week, and then engaging in some practice conversations with other class members.

Our Sunday School class meets each Sunday at 9:45am. Come and join us for this great learning experience!

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May-13-14

Baby Dedication

posted by Craig T. Owens

How wonderful to be able to dedication Oliver Jude Tolar and his family to God!

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Apr-27-14

Earth Day 2014

posted by Craig T. Owens

We came, we saw, we cleaned!

photo 1 photo 2

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Jan-16-14

Valuing Life

posted by Craig T. Owens

This Sunday we will be honoring Sanctity of Human Life Month. This post is from our pastor’s blog.

SOHL“As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” —David, in 1 Samuel 26:24

This is as strong of a pro-life statement as any in the Bible!

The Hebrew word for value in this verse means…

  • to grow up
  • to become great or important
  • to do great things

Throughout the Old Testament this word is used to describe people growing from a small, infantile state to a place of maturity and prominence.

David held King Saul’s life in his hand. Since Saul was hell-bent on messing up David’s life (even killing him, if he could), we could say that David had plenty of rationale to justify ending Saul’s life. But David would not touch Saul because he recognized Saul’s God-given human dignity.

David asked God to value his life in the same way that David valued Saul’s life. Even Saul himself affirmed this when he said, “May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph” (v. 25).

What if God only valued your life as much as you valued others’ lives?

What if God only spoke up for you as much as you spoke up for the not-yet-born?

What if God only blessed you as much as you blessed the aged and disabled?

How much would your life be blessed by God?

Something to think about as we celebrate Sanctity of Human Life month. We will be honoring Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this week by bringing our donations for Alpha Family Center of Cedar Springs. We would love for you to join us!

 

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