Calvary Assembly of God

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Aug-31-15

Making Hearts Burn

posted by Craig T. Owens

We kicked off a brand new series in our brand new location yesterday, and it was great! Here is a recap Pastor Craig posted on his blog

Living WordThere is an interesting line the angels speak to the ladies who came to anoint Christ’s dead body in the tomb: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

That phrase sums up much of our culture. People are looking for life, but they are looking for it among dead things. Wise King Solomon wrote that God has placed a God-shaped void in the heart of every human being (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But Solomon went on to say that anything “under the sun” that we try to use to fill that God-void will be utterly meaningless.

Peter wrote to aliens and strangers about living such good lives that will point people to God. This means Christians need to help people who are looking for the living among the dead see that real life is in Christ. To do this, we need to be immersed in the Living Word of God.

In the conversations after Christ’s resurrection, look at the references to God’s Living Word:

  • Remember how He told you … Then they remembered His words (Luke 24:6-8)
  • what was said in all the Scripture concerning Himself… (Luke 24:27)
  • …written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms … so they could understand the Scriptures ( Luke 24:44-45)

There is life in God’s Word! When the two disciples of Jesus remembered His Living Word, they said their hearts burned inside them (Luke 24:32).

If you want to help those searching for life to find it, let them hear God’s Living Word coming from your lips. This will make their hearts burn, and lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We will be continuing our series on Aliens And Strangers this Sunday, and we’d love to have you join us either in-person or on Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

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Aug-27-15

Aliens and Strangers

posted by Craig T. Owens

Aliens and StrangersChristians are not citizens of Planet Earth. Our citizenship is in a place called Heaven, and yet we are traveling on Earth during our present lifetime. So the question is: How is a citizen of Heaven supposed to act while visiting Earth?

The Apostle Peter was one of the most active disciples of Jesus. During Christ’s first visit to Earth, Peter is recorded as speaking more than all of the other disciples combined. And not surprisingly, Jesus speaks more words directly to Peter than He does to all of the other 11 disciples combinedPeter got a lot of training!

With that background, Peter gives us invaluable instructions in his first letter to the church. He calls Christians things like: strangers in the worldchosen peoplepeculiar people, and aliens and strangers in the world. He tells us travelers not only how to behave while traveling on Earth, but why we should travel in a God-honoring way.

We will be working our way through these fascinating themes of Peter’s instructions for aliens and strangers beginning this Sunday. If you don’t have a home church in the Cedar Springs area, we would love to have you join us in our new location. If you cannot join us in person, we will be broadcasting each message live on Periscope at 10:30am Sunday (search for @craigtowens), and then we will make the video available later in the week.

We are excited to take this journey of discovery together!

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Aug-24-15

Freeing up finances for front-line ministries

posted by Craig T. Owens

The Cedar Springs Post shared the story of our church’s move. The full article is reprinted below, with a couple of important parts highlighted by us.

N-Calvary-property-web-300x183Craig T. Owens, Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God (CAG), announced this week that the church will sell its building and accompanying six acres, located at 810 17 Mile Road, in Solon Township, to 2nd Chance School. The school is a nonprofit for at-risk youth that will combine biblical lessons and traditional subjects, with the care and training of horses.

The church will rent space at Red Hawk Elementary, part of Cedar Springs Public Schools, for its Sunday and Wednesday services. Owens said that moving to Cedar Springs is a hand-in-glove fit for the focus of its extensive outreach.

“We are already so involved in activities in Cedar Springs, including Earth Day cleanups, the En Gedi Youth Center, Chamber of Commerce, and the list goes on,” Owens said. “It seemed like we could be an even bigger blessing to our city if we were closer.”

Owens said there are both practical and faith-based reasons the building was sold to 2nd Chance School.

“We have a hard time justifying paying for the full-time maintenance on a building in Solon Township that is only used a couple of days each week,” Owens said. “By only paying for the space we are using, it will free up finances to go to front-line ministries.”

Owens said these front-line ministries could include temporary housing for at-risk, transitional families, greater financial support of local charities, as well as support for international missions work.

“We would be interested in owning another building at some time, only if it could be something like an around-the-clock ministry center,” Owens said. “Until that opportunity presents itself, we will rent from CSPS.”

Owens said their first service at Red Hawk Elementary will be Sunday, August 30. They will meet in the media center. People can enter the building through door #10.

You can get a map to Red Hawk Elementary by clicking here.

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Aug-20-15

On The Move!

posted by Craig T. Owens

I heart my churchJust about a year ago, Pastor Craig Owens shared a message called “The Church On The Move” (you can read a recap of that message on Pastor Craig’s blog here).

In this message he challenged us that we needed to resemble the ministry of Jesus. Christ’s ministry was (1) mobile, (2) messy, and (3) meaningful. Pastor Craig shared that in order for us to fulfill this, we couldn’t be tied to one piece of property that was six miles outside of town.

As the church prayed and sought God’s direction for this, He brought along a perfect buyer for our property on 17 Mile Road—2nd Chance School. It was a true win-win for both us and the school, and we praise God for bringing this all together!

Sunday, August 30, is our first week of being mobile. We will be meeting in Red Hawk Elementary school (you can access a map here) for our Sunday morning service.

This change of venue will allow us to be more accessible for ministry throughout the week, and it will free up finances to be able to go toward front-line ministries.

Please join us on August 30 at 10:30am as we move into our new meeting place. We are excited about the new ministry opportunities that God is going to bring our way!

If you would like to read more, please check out the Calvary Assembly of God press release we sent to the local newspapers.

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Aug-17-15

Are You Irritated? Good!

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Tom shared a unique way of looking at life’s irritations! Check out this recap Pastor Craig posted on his blog.

Pearl oysterPastor Tom Kaastra shared a whole new way of looking at the irritations we sometimes have, by pointing us to an example in nature. God reveals Himself to us in the Bible and through nature. That’s why Francis DeSales said, “God has signed all created things. We can trace His footsteps through the natural world.”

So take a look at the oyster. God designed it with a heart, a mouth, a digestive system, a reproductive system, a nervous system, and all other things that allow it to survive. But He also gave it a way to thrive.

The oyster can be irritated by a foreign invasion. But… God has put within the oyster the power to turn an irritation into a valuable pearl!

It is the same for Christians. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us (see Romans 8:11). That power allows us to see that all things are working together for the good of those who love God (see Romans 8:28-29). As Pastor Tom said it, “God wants to Jesus-size us.”

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” So God designs irritations on purpose to develop a valuable pearl in our lives that will bring Him glory.

Look at Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt (which ranks in my book as a major irritation!). But look how Joseph saw the pearl God developed—

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not to be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. (Genesis 45:4-8, emphasis added)

So the next time you’re irritated, remind yourself, “Great! God is making a valuable pearl in my life!”

You can watch the video of Pastor Tom’s message below, and be sure to check out his website for other valuable lessons like this one.

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Aug-13-15

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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Aug-10-15

What Does God Think About You?

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Josh SchramJosh Schram, our youth pastor, brought an amazing message to us Sunday morning. The link to his full message below.

Here are a few of my take-aways from this message that Pastor Craig shared on his blog.

Often we think about God’s thoughts of us the way we think about ourselves. That means sometimes I think He really loves me, and sometimes I think His love for me has cooled off a bit.

TRUTH: God’s love for me is not conditional on my circumstances or on my status. His love is unconditional … He couldn’t love me anymore than He already does!

In Luke 15, we see that the religious leaders didn’t like Jesus hanging around “sinners.” Why? Because those “sinners” should be getting the punishment they deserved, not getting Christ’s undivided attention (vv. 1-2).

When Jesus told His first two parables, it seems as if the Pharisees were more concerned about a lost coin or a lost sheep than they were about a lost person (vv. 3-10)! Do I feel that God is more concerned about a lost “thing” than He is about me?

To make the point perfectly clear, Jesus told the story of the lost son (vv. 11-32). The son deserved punishment. He came home covered in pig poop. But the son was STILL the father’s son and he loved his son no less than the day he left home!

The wrong way of thinking—God loves me less because I mess up.

The right way of thinking—God loves me unconditionally just as I am.

Check out this amazing message…

Pastor Josh will be sharing the Word again next Sunday, so be sure to join us!

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Mar-12-15

Are You Inviting?

posted by Craig T. Owens

1 one 12 stat2

What are you doing about this?

1:(one):12

 

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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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