A Godly Woman’s Superpower

Pastor Craig shared an encouraging message for moms (and all godly women) on Mother’s Day. This is the recap from his blog, but you can scroll down to find the video of the full message.

Mother’s Day messages seem to set a lofty expectation for women. When a pastor flips to Proverbs 31 and begins to read the description of the noble wife, I’m afraid many women—both moms and not-yet-moms—wonder how they could measure up to this list! The proverb itself really starts out with a question, “Who could find such a woman?!” (Proverbs 31:10).  

The Hebrew word for noble is used five times in Proverbs. Three of those are for this kind of superwoman (Proverbs 12:4, 31:10, 31:29).

This same word is also used twice for men in Proverbs—A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (13:22); do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings (31:3). 

(You can read all of the verses I’ve mentioned in this post by clicking here.)

A woman’s nobility and virtue either unleashes strength OR her vices deplete strength and bring ruin. In the language of Proverbs 31:3, she is either a king-maker or a king-breaker. 

This picture of empowerment is seen in the very first couple (Genesis 2:18-24). In the King James Version language, the word for helper is help meet. This means that Eve is the key that unlocks Adam’s potential. The godly woman makes possible what the godly man cannot do on his own. 

For a negative example of this, look at how Delilah sapped Samson of his strength and potential (Judges 16:6, 16, 19). On the flip side, we see a positive example in Ruth who unleashed the king-making power of her husband Boaz (Ruth 3:11, 4:11). 

As a kid, I always suspected my Mom had superpowers. I remember digging through the hair on the back of her head to find “the eyes” she said she had in the back of her head! She could kiss my boo-boo and instantly I was better, and she could help me understand the things that perplexed me the most. 

As I got older, I realized that my Mom actually did have superpowers:

  • She was faithfully loved her God—Proverbs 31:30  
  • She diligently served her husband—31:11-12, 23 
  • She consistently cared for her children—31:27-28 

Ladies, that is the superpower that you have—you complete us, you elevate us, you unlock our potential! This brings both elevation for your family andhonor for yourself (see Proverbs 31:29-31, and notice the phrase “city gate” in vv. 23 & 31 which symbolizes a leadership position). 

Women who ignore their God-given superpower of nobility unleash the vicious cycle of king-breakers. 

Women who use their God-given superpower of nobility unlock a virtuous cycle of king-makers. 

Ladies, be encouraged today that all that is required for this Proverbs 31 list to be an accurate description of you is faithfully loving your God and faithfully serving your family in the consistent, little things day after day after day. God sees this, He is pleased by it, and He is rewarding it! 

Guys, you have a part to play in this too. What you do with the potential that your mother and your wife have unlocked for you also plays a vital role in your family and in your community. We’ll talk about this on Father’s Day…. 

Takin’ Him To Rodeo Drive

Pastor Craig shared the next message in our series Takin’ Him To The Streets. These notes are the recap that he shared on his blog. If you would like to watch the full sermon, please scroll down to get the video link.

Jesus has sent us on-mission (which means we are missionaries) to every street. We don’t go in our power, but we are empowered by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 24:46-49). 

Jesus said our missionary work would take us to every street, starting with Jerusalem—which we have called Main Street. These are people very similar to us. Then our mission will expand into all Judea (Acts 1:8). These are people that have less in common with us. Last week we talked about taking the message of Jesus to Lombard Street: Talking with people who have knowledge of the Bible, but tend to twist and turn with the popular traditions of the day. 

Remember that our mission is to be witnesses—share the Scripture and our personal story. It’s not our responsibility to try to open people’s minds so they can repent, but the Holy Spirit opens minds and calls people to repentance. 

The apostle Paul reminded us that, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:5). The Holy Spirit uses our witness as the catalyst to open minds. This clash of light and darkness creates acceptance and anger. Notice these contrasts in one short segment of Paul and Silas’ missionary journey in Acts 16:13-24 and 17:1-13:

  • Acceptance—Acts 16:13-15 
  • Anger—16:16-24 
  • Acceptance—17:1-4 
  • Anger—17:5-6 
  • Acceptance—17:10-12 
  • Anger—17:13 

The opposition in Philippi brought Paul and Silas to Thessalonica, and the opposition in Thessalonica brought them to Athens. 

Athens was named for the goddess Athena, and it has been called “the university city of the Roman world.” Philo (a Jewish historian) called the Athenians “keenest in intellect.” It was the center of art, literature, and philosophy 

I’m going to call Athens “Rodeo Drive.” 

Rodeo Drive is called “the intersection of luxury, fashion and entertainment.” Kay Monica Rose, the Rodeo Drive Committee President, said, “There is nothing in the world comparable to Rodeo Drive. The legendary street’s magic continues thanks to the exemplary craftsmanship from today’s greatest fashion houses and brands, the architect-designed boutique spaces, the spectacular window displays, artist collaborations and pop ups, and our unrivaled customer service. At the heart of my vision for Rodeo Drive is the preservation and advancement of an unmatched legacy.”  

A marketing professor once told me, “When advertising, you have to remember that everyone has radio station WIFM playing in their head—What’s in it for me?” The people on Rodeo Drive are self-focused and self-assured. 

How do we take the message of Jesus to those Judeans on Rodeo Drive? Let’s learn from Paul’s time there (Acts 17:16-34). 

  1. Control your anger. Even though Paul was “greatly distressed,” he didn’t let his anger control him, but he kept his distress under control. 
  2. Use measured words. Paul “reasoned” with the people there, which means he engaged in meaningful dialogue with them.  
  3. Don’t argue. Some to the Athenians “disputed with him [Paul]” but he didn’t dispute back. Instead he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 
  4. Start where they are. Paul noted that the Athenians were “very religious.”  He doesn’t condone their idolatry, but he simply uses it as a conversation starter. 
  5. Move to the eternal issue. He then proceeds to point them to Jesus as the “unknown god” that they are worshiping, bringing everything back to His resurrection from the dead.  
  6. Be ready for acceptance and anger. As in Philippi and Thessalonica, there were some who accepted the Gospel message and some who got angry when they heard it.  

Remember: We don’t change minds—the Holy Spirit does by using our words as a catalyst. 

If you’ve missed any of the other “Streets” we have discussed in this series, please click here to get caught up

Takin’ Him To Lombard Street

This is the third message in this highly practical series about sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. This is a recap that Pastor Craig shared on his blog. If you would like to watch the video of the full sermon, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

As missionaries, we are people sent on a mission. We are sent to everyone everywhere. We are to take Him to every street where God sends us.

“Main Street” (or Jerusalem) is a great place to start, and probably a place where we will always have work to do. These will typically be the people that are most like us—people with whom we will have the most in common. 

There are others that need to hear the Good news of forgiveness that Jesus has made available. As our circle of witness widens, we may have less in common with those with whom we are interacting. This may take us out of our comfort zone, but since the Holy Spirit is in us we will never be out of our empowerment zone! 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea (Acts 1:8). 

We need to ask two questions: 

  1. What did it mean then? Judea was still compromised of Jewish people, but it was the area slightly outside the neighborhood of Jerusalem. 
  2. What does it mean now? These are people very similar to people on Main Street, but we are starting to see more differences. These differences often become the source of controversies. 

I’m going to describe some people in our Judea as cultural Christians but not biblical Christians. In the time of Jesus we could think of the Pharisees: People who would call themselves godly because they have set their own standards. 

Lombard Street in San Francisco is a short, curvy street. This is a one-way street and motorists are only supposed to drive 5 mph, and still there are frequent controversies on the right-of-way between homeowners, motorists, work crews, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Everyone thinks their way is the right way. 

How do we take the message of Jesus to those on our “Lombard Street”?

(1) Distinguish the biblical from the non-biblical. 

Both the Pharisees that interacted with Jesus and today’s cultural Christians seem to quote more from their own traditions than they do from the Scripture, so we need to distinguish that the source of our beliefs is from God’s inspired Word. (I share more about the concept of biblical, unbiblical, and non-biblical in this post.) 

A great example for us is how Jesus answered two questions from an expert in the Mosaic law: How do I earn eternal life? Who is my neighbor? See Luke 10:25-37.

(2) Stick to Scripture and your personal story.  

Remember that the person with an experience is never at the mercy of the person with an argument. When the Sanhedrin questioned the legitimacy of the healing of a lame man, Luke wrote, “But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them [Peter and John], there was nothing they could say” (Acts 4:14)! 

Love the personal story of the healed blind man in John 9

Judea can be translated “he shall be praised.” We glorify Jesus not by arguing with those on Lombard Street, but by simply proclaiming biblical truth and our personal testimony. 

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim good news of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. (1 Chronicles 16:23-24) 

As we stick with the Scripture and our personal testimony, the Holy Spirit will use our witness to open minds to the Good News of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18-4:5). 

Follow along with all of the streets we are looking at in our series Takin’ Him to the streets by clicking here.

Takin’ Him To Main Street

On Sunday, Pastor Craig shared the second message in our new series. These notes here are the short recap he shared on his blog. If you would like to watch the video of the full sermon, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Just as assuredly as Jesus fulfilled God’s promise of His crucifixion and resurrection, we Christians are fulfilling God’s promise that we would take the message of forgiveness of sins to the whole world (Luke 24:45-48). We are taking Him to every street where God sends us. There is a song written by Michael McDonald called “Takin’ it to the streets.” One verse says—

Take this message to my brother 

You will find him everywhere 

Wherever people live together 

Tied in poverty’s despair

 

We know what the “it” is. He is a Savior, a God, a Redeemer, a Father who has made it possible for everyone everywhere to be in a personal relationship with Him for all of eternity! 

When anyone talks about taking the Good News of Jesus to people, our minds typically think “missionary.” 

What is a missionary? What comes to mind when you think of a missionary? 

Quite simply, a missionary is a person sent on a mission (see Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19-20). 

(You can read all of the Scriptures I reference in this post by clicking here.)

We are not sent on our mission unprepared, but Jesus promised us both His authority and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-19; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). In both Luke and Acts, Jesus says that our witness is to begin in Jerusalem. 

I recently looked up a list of the most common street names in America. I found that the most common street name is “Main Street.” But Main Street is also used as a way for people to describe the average setting in the USA. 

Going to “Jerusalem” or “Main Street” first is foretold in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 3:4-5). We’re not first sent to people with an unknown language or obscure customs, but to people we know and understand. These are people to whom we can easily find common interests. 

There are two simple steps when we take Jesus to our Main Street.

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you today and every day. 

You cannot give to others what you do not first have yourself, so you need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you first. Pray before reading the Bible to ask the Spirit to give you insight (Psalm 119:18).  

  1. Find a friend and tell them what was revealed to you.   

After Jesus was revealed to Andrew, he found Peter and told him what he had discovered. And after Philip met Jesus, he found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus (John 1:35-46). 

Every person with whom you interact today is precious to God. Our mission is to help them realize that awesome truth. 

So get filled up with the wisdom from the Spirit and then find a friend on Main Street and bring them to Jesus! 

Follow along with all of the messages in this series Takin’ Him To The Streets by clicking here

Takin’ Him To The Streets

Pastor Craig shared about a new series of messages that begins this Sunday.

Just before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told His followers that they would have the joyful responsibility of taking the good news of forgiveness and eternal life to all the highways and byways of every nation. Later on, Paul would get more specific about all of the groups to which he was taking the message of Jesus (see Luke 24:46-47; 1 Corinthians 9:20-22). 

That commission is still in effect for Christians today: We are to share the gospel with everyone—from easy street to skid row, from Wall Street to Main Street, and every street in between. 

The streets on which you live and work are different from the streets where I travel. In fact, all of us live on different streets, but everyone we meet on every street needs to hear about Jesus. In this new series of messages, we are going to learn how the Holy Spirit can help us be ready to take Jesus to those on each street where God sends us. 

We hope you can join us at Calvary Assembly of God for this highly practical series of messages. If you miss any of the messages, you can come back here to find a list of all of the lessons.

Year-End Review (2023 edition)

Pastor Craig likes to end the year with a review of all of the sermon series we had during the year. Check out this 2023 edition. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to find the video to watch the full sermon.

The apostle Peter said he wrote two letters to the church “as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking” (2 Peter 3:1). And Paul reminded his young friend Timothy to “keep reminding [your congregation] of these things” (2 Timothy 2:14). 

In the spirit of those great apostles, I have made it a practice to take time at the end of each year to look back on all that we have learned in the previous year, and then to look forward to where God may be leading Calvary Assembly of God in this upcoming year.

Clicking on each series title will take you to a list of all of the sermons in that series. 

Intimate Conversation—The dictionary defines the word “intimate” with these phrases: associated in close personal relations, characterized by warm friendship, and closely personal. These words perfectly describe the relationship God wants to have with His children through prayer. Pete Briscoe said, “Prayer is an intimate conversation with the One who passionately loves you and lives in you.” The One who loves you so passionately desires to walk with you and share intimate knowledge with you. Prayer is not something formal, cold, or mechanical, but it is vibrant, warm, engaging, and life-changing.

A Christian’s Mental Health—I don’t think there is any arguing that Jesus was the healthiest individual who ever walked planet Earth. Some may want to push back with, “Of course He was because He didn’t have any problems to deal with!” But the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus experienced everything you and I will ever experience (Hebrews 2:17), so His deity didn’t exclude Him from the stressors that His humanity would have to face. And yet, He handled all of these things successfully. Luke the physician observed the growth of Jesus and tells us that it all began with Jesus having a robust mental health. From that foundation, everything else—physical, spiritual, relational—all could develop properly. We must learn from this example and pay careful attention to our own mental health.

Bold Claims—“That’s a pretty bold claim. Are you prepared to back that up?” I’ll bet you have heard something like that said to you, and maybe you have even said that yourself to someone else who made a big, audacious statement. After Jesus is arrested by the religious leaders—an arrest that will ultimately lead to Jesus being crucified on the Cross—there are some incredibly bold claims spoken by key people in this part of the Story. For the most part, these are claims that we don’t read earlier in any of the Gospels, but as this story is heading toward its most crucial moment, we have these audacious statements pronounced. But here’s the most important part: These bold claims weren’t just made, but they were backed up with proof as well.

We Are: Pentecostal—Pentecost for over 1500 years was a celebration in Jerusalem that brought in Jews from all over the world. But on the Day of Pentecost that came just ten days after Jesus ascended back into heaven, the meaning of Pentecost was forever changed! Followers of Jesus—now empowered by an infilling of the Holy Spirit—began to take the good news of Jesus all over the world. These Spirit-filled Christians preached the Gospel and won converts to Christ even among hostile crowds, performed miracles and wonders, stood up to pagan priests and persecuting governmental leaders, and established a whole new way of living as Christ-followers. We, too, can be Pentecostal followers of Jesus Christ today. 

Ascending—Every year, Jews from around the world made four pilgrimages up to Jerusalem for various feasts and sacrifices. These journeys reminded them of God’s goodness as they went to the Temple to worship, and they helped refocus on God’s ways as they returned to their regular routines. Jerusalem is over 2500 feet above sea level, so the pilgrimage there was a physical workout as well as a spiritual workout. These workouts were beneficial for God’s people, preparing them to minister in their cities in the following months. The Book of Psalms contains 15 songs that these pilgrims would sing to and with each other as they traveled up to Jerusalem. These Psalms of Ascent are still instructive for Christians today.

Saints Together—Throughout the New Testament the word “saints” is always in the plural form. This is a clear indication that none of us can develop into the full-fledged Christians we were meant to be on our own. We all need each other. More specifically, we all need the most mature version of each other. A key component of an individual saint’s development is the time spent alone being forged by the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Maturing saints then come together with each other to continue to strengthen and sharpen everyone in the church. Strong individual saints make a strong church, and a strong church makes strong individual saints! Let’s learn about six important spiritual disciplines that each individual saint must put into practice so that they can use their newly developed strengths to help other saints in their own development. 

The Great Attitude Of Gratitude—There’s something about gratitude that distinguishes people. Think about it: would you rather hang around with grumblers or grateful people? The gratitude of Paul and Silas certainly made them stand out from the crowd when they were in Philippi. Wrongly accused, beaten, and thrown in prison, but instead of bellyaching, they were praising God. Later on, when Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Philippi, the theme of gratefulness permeates his letter. The distinguishing mark is actually in the title: The GReat ATTITUDE spells out GRATITUDE!

Long Live The King Of Kings—Throughout human history, whenever a king died, the people would say something like, “The king is dead. Long live the king!” They would say this because the next king ascended to the throne immediately after his predecessor died. Except when a nation had been defeated, the cry, “The king is dead” was unanswered by, “Long live the king!” Israel must have felt like this. After being defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and spending 70 years in exile, it appeared to many that the line of kings was broken. Even after retuning to their homeland, Israel continued to live under the thumb of other powerful nations. And yet, some still clung to the glimmer of the promise God had made about an eternal King sitting on Jerusalem’s throne. The First Advent of Jesus revealed to us in the Gospels reassures us that the promise of an eternal King is true. Jesus came to earth to reveal His majesty to us. The First Advent is so important because it bolsters our faith for the imminent Second Advent when Jesus will return as the King of kings! Christmas is a great time to be reminded that even now we can confidently declare, “Long live the eternal King of kings!”

2024 promises to be an exciting year! If you don’t have a home church in the northern Kent County area, we would love to have you join us! 

Jesus In The Seven Feasts

We had a special guest speaker on Sunday. Here is the recap Pastor Craig shared on his blog.

Douglas Carmel from Rock Of Israel ministries shared an amazing overview of the seven Jewish feasts that are listed in the Book of Leviticus, and how Jesus is the fulfillment of all of these feasts. Doug was born into a Jewish family and became a Christian in his late teens, so he has firsthand knowledge of both the traditional celebrations and the Christian understanding of these feasts. 

One of the things I appreciated was Doug’s explanation that the feasts were merely a shadow of the reality—Jesus is the Reality! 

Please check out the message he shared at Calvary Assembly of God. I encourage you to visit his website to get more information on all of the ministries Rock Of Israel.

Passover—celebrated on the 14th day of the first month 

  • Leviticus 23:4-5
  • Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-20
  • Jesus was crucified on the same day that the Passover lamb was being sacrificed 

Unleavened Bread—celebrated on the 15th day of the first month

  • Leviticus 23:6
  • 1 Corinthians 5:6-9

Firstfruits—celebrated on the 16th day of the first month (or the day after the Sabbath) 

  • Leviticus 23:9-14 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:12-26 

Seven Weeks—celebrated 50 days after Firstfruits 

  • Leviticus 23:15-21 
  • Also known as Pentecost 
  • Acts 2:1-41

Doug called our attention to the calendar on which these feasts appeared. Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Seven Weeks all happen in the spring. All four of these feasts have already been fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

There are no feasts in the summer months, as these are the months of field work (Leviticus 23:22). This is where we are now, which is why Jesus told us, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field” (Matthew 9:38). This is the time for us to tell others about Jesus the Messiah! 

The final three feasts appear in the autumn—Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. These are feasts that are still to be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Advent. 

Trumpets—celebrated on the 1st day of the seventh month

  • Leviticus 23:23-25 
  • This is also known as Rosh Hashanah when the shofar is blown 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

Atonement—celebrated on the 10th day of the seventh month

  • Leviticus 23:26-32 
  • This is also known as Yom Kippur—the one day of the year the high priest goes into the Holy of Holies 
  • Romans 11:25-32; Matthew 23:39 

Tabernacles—celebrated on the 15th through the 21st days of the seventh month

Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Jesus is THE Reality and THE Fulfillment of all of these celebrations! 

Our Foundational Beliefs

You may read a quick overview of our 16 foundational beliefs statements by clicking here. In 2021, Pastor Craig T. Owens taught on all 16 of these statements, unpacking how we can apply them to our daily lives. Please click on any link below to be taken to each of his messages. On that link, you may read a short recap of his message, or watch the video of the entire sermon.

  1. The Scriptures are inspired 
  2. One true God 
  3. The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
  4. The fall of man
  5. The salvation of man
  6. The ordinance of the Church
  7. The baptism in the Holy Spirit 
  8. The initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit 
  9. Sanctification 
  10. The Church and its mission
  11. The ministry
  12. Divine healing
  13. The blessed hope
  14. The millennial reign of Christ
  15. The final judgment
  16. The new heavens and the new earth