Prayer is the vital empowering source for the church. Unless we pray, we are operating only under our own power, and that can become very tiring. But when we wait on God, He empowers us with His strength!
We invite you to join us for prayer the first Sunday of each month at 5pm. Our next prayer time is Sunday, March 5, at 5pm. We will be meeting at Pastor Craig’s office to pray.
A man named Luke recorded a couple of amazing things about the life of Jesus. As both a doctor and an historian, Luke was an excellent “noticer.”
In first-century biographies, a person’s early life usually wasn’t mentioned. So it’s not uncommon that two of the four Gospel writers don’t pick up Jesus Christ’s life story until He was about 30 years old. Even Matthew, who did record something about the birth of Jesus, didn’t go into much detail.
Luke, however, notices two important things.
First, in covering the first 12 years of Christ’s life Luke says, “The Child grew and became strong…” (Luke 2:40).
The Greek word Luke uses for grew means a continual process of increasing. Sometimes we mistakenly think this means a continual movement on a graph upward and to the right. But I’ll give you one instance where this is not the case—when we record someone’s height, we do so in feet not in years. In other words, we say someone is 6’4” tall, but we don’t say they are 6-years and 4-months fall. We understand there is a limit to that sort of growth.
What Luke is referring to is a different kind of continual increasing. All of us go through four quadrants as we learn:
unconscious incompetence—we’re no good in an area but we don’t even know it
conscious incompetence—we know that we’re no good in an area
conscious competence—we’re good in an area but we still have to think about what we’re doing
unconscious competence—we’ve gotten so good in an area that we no longer need to think about it
When Luke said Jesus grew, he meant not upward and to the right, but a continual cycle of learning what He didn’t know and increasing His competence in that area. When Luke said Jesus grewand became strong, he was saying that Jesus learned how to apply the lessons He was continually learning.
Second, in covering Christ’s next 18 years Luke says, “Jesus grew” (Luke 2:52), but he uses an entirely different word. This Greek word means to be hammered out, as a blacksmith hammers metal into shape. Notice that Jesus is not the One doing the hammering, but He is the One submitting to His Father’s hammering. He is letting God the Father shape Him into what He needs to be.
Luke says that Jesus grew in…
…favor with God—spiritual health
…favor with men—emotional (or social) health
In other words, Jesus was growing in a wholly healthy way. God wants us to be wholly healthy too. He wants us to continually allow Him to point out areas where we are lacking, and then submit to His guidance on how we can improve in those areas.
I’ll be exploring these four areas—mental, physical, spiritual and emotional—over the next few weeks. But in the meantime, why don’t you pray the prayer David prayed and ask God’s Spirit to search out any areas where you are falling short of optimal health. And then submit to God’s work of helping you get wholly healthy in every area of your life.
Have you ever been tiptoeing through your house in the dark and stubbed your pinky toe? When that happens, is it only your pinky toe that hurts? No! It seems like your whole body gets into the action!
This is a simple way to understand that what affects one part of our life affects all parts of our life. We can’t simply quarantine one part that is having difficulty because that one part will eventually spread its pain everywhere else.
Humans were created as beings with several integrated parts. We have a physical body, we have a mind, we have emotions, and we have a God-breathed soul. If one of these parts becomes diseased, eventually all of the other parts will be affected, unless something is done to bring healing.
If we are dis-eased in any area, our health will be compromised in all areas.
Fortunately for us, Doctor Luke noted something about the health of Jesus during His earthly life. What Luke shows is how God intends for all of us to live—wholly healthy.
Modern medical science and psychology show us what the Bible pointed out long ago: We are integrated beings, and every part needs to be functioning optimally so that our whole being can function optimally.
Join us this Sunday as we begin a new series called Wholly Healthy. You will not only learn the importance of being aware of your health in four key areas, but you will also learn some practical thoughts for maintaining your optimal health.
Christians often talk about God in terms of the “Trinity.” That is, the One True God revealed in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is sometimes a difficult concept to grasp, especially since the word Trinity doesn’t specifically appear in the Bible. But make no mistake, just because the word isn’t there doesn’t mean it’s not true. Consider…
God’s Three-in-One nature is first exhibited when man is created (Genesis 1:26).
When the prophesy is given about Jesus being born in human flesh, He is given all the titles of the three Persons of the Godhead (Isaiah 9:6).
At Christ’s baptism we see Jesus in human form, we see the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, and we hear the Father’s voice announcing His approval of His Son (Matthew 3:16-17).
Jesus Himself said He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to the Christians (John 14:16).
And just as Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told His followers to baptize people into all three Persons of the Godhead (Matthew 28:19).
But I think the best expression of the Trinity is revealed in three simple words. John talks about how all three Persons of the Trinity are involved in the life of a Christian. And then he sums it all up in three words—
“GOD IS LOVE”
Each Person of the Godhead is encouraging and illuminating and pointing to the other Persons in the Trinity. Love is perpetually being received and given. We humans are created in God’s image … we are created to receive and to give God’s love. That’s why John tells us that we know and rely on the love God has for us (that’s the receiving part), and that whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him (that’s the giving part).
When Adam and Eve sinned, they were dis-membered from God. As a result, every human in their natural state longs for connection with God and others, but feels separated, isolated, unloved, and even unlovable.
Jesus came to be broken and crushed and to feel the pain of separation from God. It was out of this brokenness that He could do the work of re-membering us to the fullness of the Trinity.
When Jesus shared His last supper with His disciples, He took bread (which is made from broken wheat kernels) and wine (which is made from crushed grapes). He told us as often as we eat the bread and drink the wine we are to remember how He was broken and crushed for us.
Remembering Christ’s work on the Cross re-members us to the fullness of the Trinity.
Sin and satan want to keep us feeling separated, unloved, and unloveable. But when we were the least worthy of His love, God—Who IS love—was broken and crushed to re-member us to Him.
If you feel lonely, separated, isolated, unloved or unloveable, I urge you to remember what Jesus did for you. He loved you enough to be broken and crushed for your re-membering to all of God’s love.
Check out this video where I explain this amazing thought in more detail…
Pastor Craig announces an ongoing series for all of 2017…
Any architect will tell you: You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation.
This is just as true in the spiritual realm, which is why John Calvin warned, “Those who are strong only in fervor and sharpness, but are not fortified with solid doctrine, weary themselves in their vigorous efforts, make a great noise… [and] make no headway because they build without foundation.”
We have had on the Calvary website since Day 1 a link to “What we believe,” but just recently it occurred to me that we haven’t really talked about these foundational beliefs.
The first Sunday of each month throughout the year, we will be exploring our strong doctrinal foundation. I promise you that this won’t be “dry” theology or doctrine, but it will be an exciting journey of discovery at the foundation upon which we stand.
Please join us this Sunday as we look at our second Foundation Stone.
January is Sanctity Of Human Life month, and we want to especially circle this month in prayer. There is a helpful 21-day prayer for life guide that you can download for free by clicking here. If you have a smartphone or tablet, be sure to download the 21-day prayer guide app. You can access that by clicking here and then choosing either Android or Apple.
If we are truly grace-full people, then we should be thank-full people as well. As we approach Thanksgiving Day, people are naturally thinking about things for which they can give thanks during this past year. But Christians should be the most full-of-thanks people on the planet, because we have been showered with so much grace!
I’d like us to think about a word that I believe will increase our level of thankfulness: Appreciation. Appreciation goes beyond merely being thankful for blessings, as it sees the high value in those blessings, and then continually looks for ways to express even more gratitude for them. In other words, appreciation can begin a cycle of gratitude that grows and grows and GROWS!
Check out three parts to the definition of appreciation—
 Gratitude; thankful recognition. Did you know that being grateful is actually good for you? Research has shown that increasing your gratitude levels increases your:
Physical health. “A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart’s rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It’s actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time” —Jon Gordon
Emotional health. Dr. Robert Emmons says gratitude decreases envy, resentment, and feelings of retaliation; and increases empathy, emotional resilience, and self-esteem.
Spiritual health. Notice how ingratitude is included in the list of a whole lot of ugliness (2 Timothy 3:1-4), but spiritual health is restored simply by being thankful (Ephesians 5:3-4).
 Estimating qualities and giving them their proper value. In order to determine value, we must have a standard of comparison. What’s your standard? Is it what your neighbor has? Is it what you don’t have? Or is it thankfulness for what God has given you?
Max Lucado said, “To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse His accomplishments is to discover His heart. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread.”
 Assessing the true worth of our blessings. Assessing leads to appreciation, and appreciation begins to give us a return on investment. I like how Jeff Anderson says it: “If you want to grow your faith, grow your gratitude. To grow your gratitude, take time to count your blessings.”
Remember: gratitude isn’t gratitude if it isn’t expressed. David made his gratitude known, and other afflicted people around him began to join with him in thanking God for His blessings (see Psalm 34:1-3). In other words, David’s thanksgiving went viral!
Here’s how we can make our gratitude go viral: #MOWT. Let’s count our blessings every day, and let’s appreciate what God has done for us. Then let’s share our gratitude not only with God, but with others as well. Post it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram with #MOWT: my one word thanks. Maybe include a photo and “family” #MOWT, or “protection” #MOWT, or even “paycheck” #MOWT.
Let’s give God so much glory for His grace gifts, that we tell the world about our appreciation!