Calvary Assembly of God

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Feb-26-15

We Must Pray

posted by Craig T. Owens

We Must PrayPrayer 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 1, at 5pm.

Please come invest an hour of pray with us.

 

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Feb-23-15

…And Then A Miracle Occurs

posted by Craig T. Owens

Pastor Craig continued our look at the book of Ephesians on Sunday, and he posted this recap on his blog today. 

The Miracle of JesusLast week I shared how important it is for us to remember what we were before meeting Christ, and what we now are after meeting Him (you can click here to read that post). But we need to spend some time looking at how we went from “were” to “are.”

First, we need to recall how bad we really were without Christ. We were…

  • …dead (Ephesians 2:1)—this is a rotting corpse.
  • …separated (2:12)—we faced a gaping, unbridgeable, uncrossable chasm.
  • …alienated (4:18)— we were completely shut-out from fellowship with God.
  • …given over (4:19)—this implies an open betrayal which resulted in us running the opposite direction from God.

“The man on the street would simply shrugged his shoulders at this charge and say, ‘Sure, no one’s perfect.’ Even we Christians talk about failures and defeats, but the Bible uses other terms. It speaks of wickedness and rebellion (Leviticus 16:21). The Bible speaks of King David as despising God (2 Samuel 12:9-10). It charges another man of God with defying the word of the Lord… (1 Kings 13:21). It is evident by these descriptive synonyms for sin—rebellion, despising, defying—that God takes a far more serious view of sin than the man on the street or even most Christians.” —Jerry Bridges, in Transforming Grace (bold font added)

…and then a miracle occurs! You who once WERE far away [dead, separated, alienated, disgustingly sinful] HAVE BEEN brought near through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Jesus Himself becomes our salvation … He IS the miracle! Notice the wording here—

  • He Himself IS our peace (v. 14a)
  • HE has made the two one (v. 14b)
  • abolishing IN His flesh (v. 15a)
  • create IN Himself (v. 15b)
  • IN this one Body…by which HE put to death their hostility (v. 16)
  • THROUGH Him we both have access to the Father (v. 18)

Jesus Himself IS (1) our peace, (2) our reconciliation, and (3) our atonement.

Not only must we always remember what we WERE and what we ARE, but remember the MIRACLE whereby this transformation could happen: The blood of Jesus spilled for us on the Cross!

We’ll be continuing our walk through the Book of Ephesians next Sunday, and we’d love to have you join us.

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Feb-16-15

But Now

posted by Craig T. Owens

As we relaunched our series Sit Walk Stand, which is a study of the Book of Ephesians, Pastor Craig shared an important reminder for us. Here is the recap he posted on his blog

But nowRemembering our past is so important. Forgetting where we’ve come from can make us insensitive to the feelings of others, it can make us falsely proud of what we assume we’ve accomplished for ourselves, and it can make us fearful that God cannot handle what’s coming next.

So God want us to remember two things: what we were, and what we are. In Ephesians the verb tense Paul uses literally says, “Keep on calling this to mind; keep on keeping it fresh in your thoughts” (Ephesians 2:11 & 12).

Keep on remembering what you WERE:

  • separate from Christ
  • excluded from citizenship
  • foreigners to the covenants of the promise
  • without hope
  • without God in the world (v. 12)

And then come two amazing words―BUT NOW (v. 13) keep on remember what you ARE:

  • brought near through the blood of Christ (v. 13)
  • able to access to the Father (v. 18)
  • no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people (v. 19)
  • members of God’s household (v. 19)
  • a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (v. 22)

Constantly calling this to mind should produce three attitudes―

  1. Thankful to God for His grace gifts to me.
  2. Graceful to others who are separated from God now like I used to be.
  3. Hopeful of the help Christ can bring through me to others.

We are continuing our study of the Book of Ephesians this coming Sunday. Please join us!

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Feb-12-15

Sit Walk Stand

posted by Craig T. Owens

Sit Walk StandThis coming Sunday we re-start a series which we began last year called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.

Why Ephesians? Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”

It is Pastor Craig’s desire that our congregation be as biblically literate as he can encourage and resource us to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with him again this year as we continue our attempt to master this powerful epistle.

The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”

Please join us this Sunday at 10:30am.

Whether you were with us last year or not, Pastor Craig posted some sermon recaps each week which will help prepare you as we re-launch this series. Click on the links below:

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Feb-9-15

1:one:(12)

posted by Craig T. Owens

Hey, Calvary Assembly of God, how did you do on your 1:one:(12) challenge for January? Hopefully you got your 1 in (or even more)! Whether you did nor not, February 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 Sit Walk Stand—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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Jan-15-15

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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Jan-8-15

Sanctity Of Human Life Month

posted by Craig T. Owens

SOHLS PPT2January is the month of new beginnings, so it’s an appropriate month for us to focus on the sanctity of human life. Life is precious. All life is precious.

God determines our day of conception (Psalm 139:16), the value of our life (Ephesians 2:10), and the day of our death (Job 14:5). Taking any of these things out of God’s hand, and putting them into our own hands, not only constitutes murder but dishonors God.

We celebrate life and honor our Creator by promoting life.

One way we can do this is support organizations that support life. In Cedar Springs we support Alpha Family Center. If you would like to help us, please consider making a donation to Alpha, or donate some needed supplies like diapers, pull-ups or formula.

And especially we need to pray.

  • Pray for those who are pregnant to choose life.
  • Pray for the counselors at pro-life organizations to have wisdom.
  • Pray that pro-life legislators will have influence among their peers.
  • Pray that life will be promoted. All life.
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Dec-1-14

Setting The Example For Us

posted by Craig T. Owens

FundraiserThis is from our Pastor’s blog

When Paul was writing to his young protege Timothy he said, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). I was so proud of a couple of young people who did this for us at Calvary Assembly of God yesterday!

Savannah has been raising money for childhood cancer research. She shared with us how this is the least-funded form of cancer research, and that every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. “That is unacceptable,” Savannah said. So in an amazing example-setting move for all of us, Savannah and two of her coworkers worked to bring in over $3000 in donations for childhood cancer research, and they shaved their heads as a sign of solidarity with the children undergoing cancer treatments. By the way, you can still donate to this noble cause by clicking here.

Then Josh brought us a challenging message entitled Are You Growing? Taking his text from 1 Corinthians 3:6, Josh reminded us that God makes things grow, but we can put ourselves in a place for Him to do that. Just as with a plant, our spiritual growth requires:

  • Sunshine—basking in God’s presence.
  • Water—soaking up God’s Word.
  • Nutrients—surrounding ourselves with the people and things that encourage growth.
  • Time—the dedication and investment in God’s process.

I am so proud of Josh and Savannah for setting an example for us to follow!

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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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Aug-26-13

We ♥ The EnGedi Youth Center

posted by Craig T. Owens

We are big fans of the EnGedi Youth Center, an after-school program in Cedar Springs.

This Christ-centered program gives students in 6th grade and up a safe place to hang-out after school, and gives them opportunities to play some organized sports with high school coaches, get homework help, learn life skills, and develop lasting friendships with the dedicated Christian staff members.

If you have a couple of hours a week you can invest with these students, we promise you that the rewards will definitely be eternal. For both you and the students with whom you will work.

EnGedi for 6th-8th grades meets Monday through Thursday, from school dismissal until 5:15pm, in Red Hawk Elementary. For more information on EnGedi, visit their website by clicking here.

 

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