Be Encouraged!

I try to stay informed about what is happening in the news without dwelling on it to the point of becoming frustrated or depressed. Media coverage anymore tends to be woefully unbalanced, but I will not dwell on that at this time. What I find especially depressing is politicians’ inconsistent actions in regard to their faith. This usually comes in two forms. First, those who claim to have true faith ignore it in making decisions because it isn’t politically expedient. They don’t want constituents angry with them because they acted in a way that doesn’t follow the current “flavor of the day” of societal preferences. Second, those who claim to have faith sometimes adjust their understanding of God’s instruction in Scripture to make it conform to current societal preferences.

This past Saturday I visited a historical site that has been relatively nearby throughout my lifetime, but I had never visited. I visited the McKinley Memorial and tomb in Canton. After my visit I was motivated to do some research. He was born in Niles Ohio, and while he was growing up his family lived there before moving to the town of Poland. As with many leaders his parents were a huge influence on his faith. They were devoted believers and were founding members of the Methodist church they attended in Niles. They went to church at every opportunity, and William developed a strong faith. At 16 he decided to devote himself to God with formal acceptance of Christ, and was immersed in a creek outside of Poland. His mother hoped he would become a minister, but he chose to study law.

He eventually became involved in politics, which led to serving in Congress. He lived much of his adult life in Canton, which he considered his home. He was a member of the Church of Our Savior Methodist Church, and served as the Sunday School superintendent and as a trustee. He devoted daily time to prayer and Bible study, before and during his presidency. He became a member of the Foundry Methodist Church in Washington. It has been noted that he liked to invite friends to the White House on Sunday evenings for hymn sings. He was known to make declarations about how following God’s rules guided him in the decisions he made while President. Even in his time these statements made many other politicians uncomfortable, especially those who didn’t share in his belief in God. In his first inaugural address, he made the following declaration:

“I assume the arduous and responsible duties of President of the United States, relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God. Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps” — First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1897.

He was guided by his beliefs as he made many decisions, notably helping to fight to overthrow the rule of Spain from both Cuba and the Philippines. Not long after his second term as President began he was shot by an anarchist, and died about a week later. His last words were, “Good-bye, good-bye all. It’s God’s way. His will, not ours, be done. Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee” — September 14, 1901.

David speaks to the attitude that I believe William McKinley used as a pattern for his life, and it is my prayer that all of our leaders would read and pay heed to it:

“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:7-11).

It is often easier to see negative qualities in our leaders regarding fidelity to God and His teachings. Today current popular opinion usually carries the utmost importance in determining the best course to follow. William McKinley was a leader who didn’t necessarily choose the most popular action, as demonstrated by his choices in dealing with Cuba and the Philippines. He honestly tried to make the decisions he believed God wanted him to make.

I am glad I became more acquainted with President McKinley and his history. Learning about one of our leaders who wasn’t afraid to be led by his faith gives me hope for the future, that there may once again be someone dedicated to God’s law above the law of popular opinion. I hope that becoming acquainted with him strengthens you also.

Take heart and be encouraged!

Community Bible Reading April 25-May 1

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Here is our Bible Reading plan for April 25-May 1.

If you haven’t yet, you can download and print the Reading Guide here. If you haven’t been reading along with us, it’s not too late! Just jump in where we are.

This week’s readings are:
Matthew 13 // Psalm 97
Matthew 14 // Psalm 98*
Matthew 15 // Psalm 99-100
Matthew 16 // Psalm 101
Matthew 17 // Psalm 102

* This year we are also encouraging you to watch the corresponding overview videos from Bible Project. Here’s the second video for the gospel of Matthew.

April 25, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, April 25, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Before Attending: Please review Calvary’s COVID-19 Precautions.

Download: Worship Guide for April 25, 2021

Online giving is available here.

_____

Call to Worship & Opening Prayer  |   Psalm 91:1-4

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;

Quiet Meditation |  Isaiah 12:2

Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.

Sermon

“Jesus Looked and Peter Remembered” – Luke 22:54-62

 

 

 

Worship Together and Prayer Together

This Sunday, April 25 at 10:00 am, we will come together to worship together. A part of our worship together will be spent in Luke 22:54-62.

And this Sunday, April 25 at 5:00 pm, we will come together to pray together.

I want to emphasize something that was emphasized last Sunday. Worship together and prayer together are not all we do together and not all that we are to do together. But worship together and prayer together are some of the things we are to do together.

And there are all kinds of times to pray together. Praying together does not have to happen every Sunday at 5:00 pm or every Wednesday at 7:00 pm. Praying together is to happen though. Praying together can happen in our worship together. Praying together can happen before our worship together. Praying together can happen after our worship together. Praying together can happen in our community groups. Praying together can happen in our private conversations together.

The point is that praying together is not limited to nor is it to be limited to a weekly schedule of praying together.

The last two weeks we have learned two things regarding prayer. First, we are to pray with purpose (see Luke 22:39-46). Praying with purpose means to know why we are praying – adoring God for who He is; thanking God for what He has done or is doing; asking God to do something; asking God to do something for the sake of others; praying when anxious or afraid or hurting; praying when not knowing what to do or praying when we want to do what we want to do. These are just some examples of what it means to pray with purpose and it applies whether praying alone or with others.

And second, when we pray with purpose we get prepared for whatever it is God allows to come our way (see Luke 22:47-53).

Again, this Sunday evening, we will come together to pray together. It is something that has been on my mind since Good Friday. And we will pray with purpose. And it has to do with being the local church God wants us to be and to do the things as a local church that God wants us to do. We are specifically praying for our church family as a church family.

So, how will we pray together?

First, grab a blank piece of paper and a pen. You will need to do some writing before we come together Sunday. Next…

  • Adore God for who He is – write this on your blank piece of paper and underneath begin to adore God for who He is. For example, God is our very present help. Why is this so amazing and why does it mean so much? Write this out.
  • Thank God for what He has done and/or is doing – write this on your blank piece of paper and underneath begin to thank God for what He has done and/or is doing. Write this out.
  • Psalm 139:23-24 – write this Bible reference on your blank piece of paper and then read it. From what you just read, what is your prayer for yourself? And from what you just read, what is your prayer for our church family? Write this out on your blank piece of paper.
  • Romans 5:1-5 – write this Bible reference on your blank piece of paper and then read it. From what you just read, what is your prayer for your church family? Write this out on your blank piece of paper.
  • Saved lives – this is pretty straight forward. We will pray that Calvary Community Church will reach all kinds of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Write out the words “Saved lives” on your blank piece of paper and underneath write out your prayer that your church family will reach all kinds of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Revived lives. We will pray that Calvary Community Church will be a part of seeing the joy of salvation restored in the lives of Christians. So, write out the words “Revived lives” on your blank piece of paper and underneath write out your prayer that your church family will be a part of seeing the joy of salvation restored in the lives of Christians.

It is really important that you do the above before we come together to pray together Sunday, April 25 at 5:00 pm. This will be our purpose in praying and how we will pray. Listening to others pray in these ways will help you pray in these ways, too! So, bring a pen with you to add to how you will continue to pray in these ways.

I hope this helps you and encourages you as we look forward to our Sunday together.

Community Bible Reading April 18-24

Here’s our Bible Reading plan for April 18-24. It is our prayer that this time in God’s Word is helping you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. How is God revealing the truth of His grace to you through your reading?

If you haven’t yet, you can download and print the Reading Guide here. If you haven’t been reading along with us, it’s not too late! You can catch up or just jump in where we are.

This week’s readings are:
Matthew 8 // Psalm 91
Matthew 9 // Psalm 92-93
Matthew 10 // Psalm 94
Matthew 11 // Psalm 95
Matthew 12 // Psalm 96

* This year we are also encouraging you to watch the corresponding overview videos from Bible Project. There are no corresponding “Overview” videos this week. Here’s the first video for Matthew, in case you missed it.

April 18, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, April 18, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Before Attending: Please review Calvary’s COVID-19 Precautions.

Download: Worship Guide for April 18, 2021

Online giving is available here.

_____

Call to Worship & Opening Prayer  |   from Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!

Quiet Meditation |  Psalm 42:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Sermon
“Betrayed With A Kiss” – Luke 22:47-53

 God Evermore

Benediction

 

Encouragement For Thursday

Our fighter verse this week:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).

I can’t count the number of times I have heard a young child run to a mother or father excitedly telling them about a current problem of the utmost urgency. The parent will usually let them finish venting, and then respond with “Calm down.” That is usually followed by assurance that the situation is under control, and not as dire as it seems. That is God’s message to His followers in verse 10.This becomes clear when the psalm is read entirely, beginning with verse 1.

The psalm, intended as a song, is written to address human worries. What kind of worries? Physical environmental ones as mentioned in verses 2 and 3. Throughout time people have witnessed destruction from storms, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Then threats to personal and national peace and security are addressed as described in verses 4 through 9. The world has always known strife at personal, regional, and national levels. Our current situation is no different from that of God’s people for whom this psalm was originally written.

In 1529 a noted reformer looked at the state of the world he was living in through the lens of Scripture and wrote the following words:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

It seems clear that Martin Luther had Psalm 46 in mind when he wrote “A Mighty Fortress.” This is made still clearer from the refrain in the psalm, noted by Pastor James in verse 7, and repeated in verse 11:

“The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

The term translated as “Lord of hosts,” or “Lord Almighty” in different translations appears in verse 2 of “A Mighty Fortress”: “Lord Sabaoth His name.” Sabaoth is a transliteration of the Hebrew word carrying this meaning and its equivalent was used by Martin in his native German tongue.

As Pastor James also stated, God and his followers have already won. As we find in Psalm 46, His habitation is immovable, His voice is all powerful, and He alone can stop the wars and strife on Earth. Martin Luther also recognized the victory in verse 4 of his hymn:

That Word above all earthly powers no thanks to them abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also.
The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever!

This world with its problems, disagreements and evil are temporary. God and His kingdom and goodness are eternal. I pray that we will all be blessed through calming down and remembering that God has already won the battle.

Take heart and be encouraged!

We Are On The Winning Side

This week’s fighter verse is Psalm 46:10 and the key to this verse, the key to fighting with this verse in hand is…finish the verse.

As we continue our study of Luke, this Sunday we will be in Luke 22:47-53. Read it this week, think thru it and be sure to pray for our time together.

Sunday, April 25 at 5 pm, our plan is to come back together to pray together. Our purpose in praying together concerns two things: to be the church God wants us to be and to do that which God wants us to be doing.

And one more announcement…

Currently, our children’s church teaching rotation includes three teachers. It would be wonderful to add 3 more teachers to this rotation. Doing so would mean each teacher would be teaching once every 6 weeks. If you would like to know more or have interest in joining in this ministry please see Lisa.

Looking forward to Sunday!!

-James

April 11, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, April 11, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Before Attending: Please review Calvary’s COVID-19 Precautions.

Download: Worship Guide for April 11, 2021

Online giving is available here.

_____

Call to Worship & Opening Prayer  |  Psalm 84:10-12
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Quiet Meditation |  Colossians 3:1
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Hearing From God’s Word

“In Agony He Prayed More Earnestly” – Luke 22:39-46

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery

 

Why Are You So Full Of Hope?

This week’s fighter verse is 1 Peter 3:15.

Sunday we will be back in Luke, thinking through Luke 22:39-46.

And be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, April 25. We made mention on Good Friday that we would come together that evening at 5 to pray specifically together as it relates to Romans 5.

And you might remember the name Doug Boisvert. I traveled with him to Mongolia a couple of years ago for a teaching module. He sent this urgent prayer request to be shared with you.

I received this prayer request from a Church Leader of a training Program for Village Church Planters and Overseer for a number of newly planted churches throughout the rural areas of his country, Myanmar. I am withholding his name for security reasons but the military coup there has caused terror among the people. They have a difficult time sleeping at night waiting for random soldiers bursting in on homes and either dragging off some or killing them. Even in the midst of all that, this godly pastor points out the need to comfort with the Gospel of Jesus. Seize the opportunity to minister grace to those desperate and scared.

He writes…

My heart is broken and it weeps for the people of Myanmar. A place where we live in Yangon is just like a battle field. Not only in Yangon, everywhere around Myanmar is the also the same. Everyone, in our neighborhood is really in need of help for food and daily basic needs as we need.

I am praying that God will bless to our New Life Mission(NLM) more and more to be able to help out people around us to show our love in Christ. That is the better way to reach people with the gospel in the crisis time. If we can continue to help people in times of their needs in each mission fields, it is a great chance for the ministry and to reach out to them with the gospel. They will gratitude our help and respect us to hear our sharing of the gospel.

NLM to do this work for the gospel ministry, it will be thankful to the Lord and glorify to Him. This situation is getting worse and more desperate by the minute.

Please pray with us for to end the violence. Peace. Pray for the safety of my people. Pray for our church planters, their families and the church members. Our Lives are no more Safe.

Save Myanmar by Prayers