So Even To Old Age and Gray Hairs…

I hope you are still thinking about that all important sentence. “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I…” (Psalm 71:18). You can read how the psalmist finished that sentence. Hopefully, you paid attention to how the psalmist finished that sentence. But all of us MUST finish that sentence. Doing so reorients perspective on the rest of living.

So many of you either texted and emailed Sunday evening with how you are finishing that sentence. It made for a rather exciting Sunday afternoon/evening for me! I enjoyed waiting to hear from you.

I have taken your sentence or in some cases sentences, to help me pray specifically for you each day this week.

This Sunday the plan is to spend time in Psalm 66.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We are beginning a Wednesday morning community group. If you are able to make it, it can start tomorrow – just let me know if you would like to meet tomorrow. The plan is to begin at 9:30 am and conclude at 10:30 am. We will start with a devotional and spend the rest of our time in prayer.

And as a reminder: men, we have an important time for you. It is a community group that meets each Tuesday morning at 8:30 for breakfast. Usually, it is a light breakfast from McDonald’s. This morning, though, we had fresh cinnamon rolls from Becker’s Donuts and Bakery. It is a simple to talk about anything, but always we are encouraged by someone from God’s Word. This morning, one man was able to come but just for a few minutes. He encouraged us from Genesis 3.

Also men, the Thursday evening men’s community group meets again this Thursday at 6:30. This group is studying 1 Thessalonians. It is winding down and will conclude it two weeks. But it will not be over. We will continue to meet for Bible study. The aim so far has been to practice Bible study by doing Bible study.

And…do not miss out on September 10 at 6 pm. This is our picnic and a fire! Not only come prepared for dinner and a side to share, but also ready to share what God has been doing for your soul! And bring a guest or more – those who are without a church home (the unchurched).

August 29, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, August 29, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for August 29

Online giving is available here.

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PRAYER & CALL TO WORSHIP  |  Psalm 96:11-13
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.

Let the Earth Resound

Be Unto Your Name

GRACE & ASSURANCE  |  Psalm 71:1-3

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

O Lord My Rock and My Redeemer

QUIET MEDITATION — Psalm 71:3

Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Sermon

“When Old People Pray (It is the Best Kind of Praying)” – Psalm 71

My Soul Finds Rest

BENEDICTION

Encouragement For Thursday

The attached pictures are two that I took of a site that I was able to visit while I was on vacation. It is the Castillo de San Marcos that sits at the edge of the Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine. The first picture shows a broad view of the entire structure from a distance. It was built by the Spanish beginning in 1672, being completed around 1690. St. Augustine was first settled by the Spanish in 1565. They first established a wooden fort, and also created a town designed for planned defense and community survival. The area saw a continuing battle for control by the Spanish, native Americans, French, and British over many years. A number of wooden forts were built, only to have them attacked and burned by the French and British. Finally the fort that still stands today was constructed of rock. It was a square form with triangular shaped bastions, each with a small tower, protecting each corner. The fort provided a housing area for many people, food, gear, and ammunition storage, and even shelter for animals. There was an outer wall that bordered the bay, with a dry moat that provided for grazing land for animals.

I listened to both tour guides and U.S. National Park Rangers describe how the fort was attacked by the French and British to no avail. A large British naval contingent attacked the fort with large volleys of cannon balls. The British commander wrote that they were frustrated by the fact that the cannon balls went into the walls like a knife point into cheese. They stuck, but did not do any damage. If you look at the second picture, to the bottom right of the visible outer wall area of the bastion, you can see what looks like several holes in the wall. They are only dents that were caused by cannon balls that could not penetrate. The Spanish learned that the local sedimentary rock that they could use for building had special qualities. It is called coquina, and it is a compressed amalgamation of crushed coral and bone combined with sand. Compressed by time and the action of water and weather, it is a solid material that can easily worked for building. However, it couldn’t be easily damaged by cannon balls or by fire. The design of the fort itself created security because of its high walls and the addition of the bastions at the corners. They were designed so that soldiers in the towers had crossfire from 2 or 3 bastions at any attackers who tried to approach the fort (in addition to the main cannons stationed on all sides of the top of the fort).

As I looked at and listened to the description of how the fort was designed it brought to mind Psalm 18:2–

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

I had always appreciated that God was our defender and security. It didn’t really strike me as to how much thought and planning went into the design of an actual fortress in order to provide strength, safety, and security. It is made to defend in multiple ways, from absorbing blows without damage to providing for effective counter attack. It is made not just to provide a place to hide, but a place to live comfortably. A well built fortress was designed to preserve and save those within.

David would have understood a properly designed fortress and how it would operate and save those within. When he calls God his rock and fortress, his refuge and his shield, he knows that God can protect those within His care from any threat. God resists any damage infinitely better than the coquina the Spanish found. And His counter attacks on evil cannot be resisted.

I didn’t really expect to be reminded of God when I visited an over 300 year old Spanish fort that changed ownership about four times. Castillo de San Marcos still stands in St. Augustine as a testament to its design and construction. I am thankful that David’s thoughts and words in Psalm 18 stand as testament to an even greater fortress– God Himself!

Take heart and be encouraged!

A Few Things…

We need the Psalms because the Psalms help us care for one another. And we care for one another so that no one misses out on the joy God has for them. Think of it this way: The Psalms help me care for you so that you do not miss out on the joy God has for you.

This Sunday we will be in Psalm 71. Looking forward to it!

And keep in mind September 10. We are planning on gathering together that Friday evening for an outside dinner and campfire! And be prepared to show what God has been doing for your soul recently!

August 22, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, August 22, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for August 22

Online giving is available here.

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PRAYER & CALL TO WORSHIP  |  Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

How Firm A Foundation

Only A Holy God

GRACE & ASSURANCE  |  Ephesians 1:7-9

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.

Here Is Love

QUIET MEDITATION —  Isaiah 26:3-4

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Sermon

“God Will Not Have You Be Silent!” – Psalm 30

He Will Hold Me Fast

BENEDICTION

And In His Word I Hope

Psalm 130 has four parts.

Part 1 – Out of the depths I cry (v. 1-2)

Part 2 – Out of the depths I cry (v. 3-4)

Part 3 – Out of the depths I cry (v. 5-6)

Part 4 – Out of the depths I cry (v. 7-8).

The entire Psalm are the words of a believer during and in their sadness! It is amazing. Our church needs those who talk like Psalm 130; think like Psalm 130; feel Psalm 130 and know what to do when they experience Psalm 130. This psalmist begins with crying to God for help; personal and individualized help. And yet, the psalmist ends not by looking inward but by looking outward to those who belong to God. And the psalmist looks outward at believers and says, “I need you to need God to be a performer of his promises” (Psalm 130:7).

As this week goes on and one, continue to meditate upon Psalm 130.

This Sunday we continue our refreshment from the Psalms with Psalm 30.

And keep crying out to God.

It is good to be reminded now, especially now, of Hebrews 13:3. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

And all I need to say further is in one word: Afghanistan.

Take time to read through this statement from Voice of the Martyrs concerning what is happening right now in Afghanistan.

It won’t be worse in the level of persecution, but I think it will be worse in terms of the numbers because there are more Christians in Afghanistan than there were 20 years ago.

“We know there are followers of Jesus Christ in every single province of Afghanistan.”

Afghan believers face oppression and danger whether foreign troops have a presence in the country or not. However, the absence of aid organizations and advocates presents a new set of problems.

Most foreigners have left the country. NGO workers, others had to leave in the face of this advance of the Taliban. That poses some [logistical] challenges of delivering aid, of being there to help [believers] and the Afghan people.

Right now, a lot of what we can do is pray for our brothers and sisters because the situation is so fluid and because the delivery of aid on the ground is so fraught with danger.

Pray for wisdom for Afghan believers deciding whether to stay in their country or flee. It is absolutely crucial that we lift them up in prayer.

VOM helps believers who want to relocate, but that isn’t an option for everyone. Our contacts in Afghanistan heard directly from some Christians who are saying, ‘Listen, God has placed us here; He will sustain us, He will get us through this.’

“They are choosing to stay, to be a lighthouse [and] a minister of the Gospel, despite what they know is coming.”

August 15, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, August 15, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for August 15

Online giving is available here.

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PRAYER & CALL TO WORSHIP  |  Psalm 36:5-9
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
   Your judgments are like the great deep;
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
For with you is the fountain of life;
   In your light do we see light.

Come Thou Fount

Unbroken Praise

GRACE & ASSURANCE  |  Psalm 107:28-30

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters  were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.

Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor

QUIET MEDITATION —  Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Sermon

“Out of the Depths I Cry to You” – Psalm 130

When I Survey

BENEDICTION

Encouragement For Thursday

This time of focus in the Psalms to refresh our souls led me to consider Psalm 86. When I pray I tend to ask God for things for others, and some things for myself. I usually ask for guidance, wisdom, judgment, strength, and insight into Scripture (which helps in sharing these messages). Something that I realized that I don’t often pray for is joy or gladness. Maybe that is why I don’t feel it sometimes. David spoke to the Lord about a lot of things and asked Him for very specific things.

“Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”
                —– Psalm 86:1-5

The first thought I had in reading this was, “If David, the king of Israel, considered himself poor and needy, what am I?” Well, David wasn’t talking about power, position, or wealth. He recognized that he wasn’t strong on his own accord, or because of his own talents and abilities. He needed God. God chose to use David in a very special way as His representative to further His plan for all of mankind. David trusted in God fully and tried to rely on Him always.

Throughout the Psalms we see David asking for protection, strength, forgiveness, and leadership ability that would lead to victory in different ways. The request that jumped out to me in these verses is this one: “Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” The NIV translates the verse as “Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.” I think that David realized that while protection, strength, and forgiveness were invaluable, he craved joy. I think we do too. I become used to carrying on with fulfilling my responsibilities and receiving satisfaction in a job well done. I try to be useful to God and to others. I feel somewhat satisfied if I don’t feel a huge burden of problems at any given time. I am often missing the sense of joy, or gladness in my soul. I am going to try to ask for it more regularly. God is the one who can bring it back.

Lord, please help us to remember that joy is there for the asking. We can’t generate true joy in ourselves. Any that we manage is only temporary. True joy comes from You because of who You are and how You love us.

Take heart and be encouraged!

We Need This…Right Now

I loved thinking through the Gospel of Luke with you. It was timely and exactly what we needed and when we needed it.

The end has made an impression on me. I keep thinking of those disciples standing together watching Jesus leave them. They stood there watching him ascend and kept standing there even when they could see him no longer. But Luke emphasizes that this group of disciples – keep in mind the each disciple was unique just like you and me – were together as Jesus left them. And as he left them, these disciples were worshiping Jesus together. They then went back to Jerusalem and Luke emphasizes something else – they stuck together. They stuck together and were sure to be in the Temple together “blessing God,” that is, speaking of the goodness and greatness. But do not miss it – they were sure to do this together (Luke 24:50-53).

I hope you will keep meditating upon that as it pertains to us.

And now we are spending August and September in the Psalms. The reason we are spending two whole months in the Psalms is because we need this…right now. I will say it again. We need this…RIGHT NOW.

Right now is our soul care moment.

In place of our fighter verse, I want you, I am calling upon you to meditate this week on Psalm 100. We spent last Sunday in Psalm 100. And the big idea was that I do affect worship. The psalm begins with seven commands. And each command is equipped with emotion. Each command is to be done with motion. To not do these commands with emotion is disobedient. It is sin. For example, Psalm 100:2 says to, and it is an imperative, serve the LORD with gladness. To not serve God with gladness (an emotion) is disobedient.

But the first command is the most important command, for the remaining commands depend on it. Make a joyful noise to the LORD! In Hebrew, make a joyful noise is one word. And the question becomes, how do I make a joyful noise when I am not full of joy? The answer is in the rest of the psalm. Not only are there 7 commands in the Psalm 100, but there are 7 truths about God in Psalm 100. Do you see any connection yet? It is truth about God that gives me joy. And the example is Moses (who may have written Psalm 100). In Exodus 33:18, Moses asked God, “Please show me your glory.” And God did. God said, “I will have all my goodness pass before you.” And how did God do it? How did God show his glory to Moses? How did God pass all his goodness before Moses? God proclaimed the name of God. God proclaimed truth about God (see Exodus 34:6-7). And the affect was seen in the countenance of Moses (Exodus 34:29).

The truth about God is what makes the difference. And to do any command, to obey with emotion, I need truth about God. I need truth about God over and over and over again until I am overflowing with feeling.

And this is all for our soul care moment.

I shared a video message yesterday. Someone has watched it. I can see how many times it has been viewed. These last two Sundays in the Psalms were heavy on my mind yesterday. And you were heavy on my mind yesterday. And so I am inviting us to do something. But there are two requirements. First, is if you agree with me. And the second is if you are available. If you agree with me that right now is our soul care moment and if you are available, I am asking that we join together Wednesday, August 11 at 9:30 am to pray together. And we will pray one request, urging God to answer; pleading with God to do it. Here it is: refresh souls.

Listen, please watch and listen to the video below. And if you agree with me and if you are available, please let me know as soon as possible to expect you tomorrow, to pray together.

This Sunday morning, beginning at 10 am, we will spend time in Psalm 130. Do. Not. Miss. It.

Also, Sunday morning at 9:30 is important to what will happen beginning at 10. Sunday morning at 9:30, I am asking that we be sure to pray together regarding our worship together. Oh, that God would move among us! We will meet in the fellowship area.

Encouragement For Thursday

Psalm 103 is filled with David’s main overriding thought– “Bless the Lord,” or “Praise the Lord,” depending on the version of the Scriptures you are reading. David recounts the many reasons God gives us to be worthy of praise: He forgives our sin, heals our diseases, redeems our lives, crowns us with love, and satisfies us with good things. He knows us intimately, and understands our mortal nature and challenges because He designed us. God loves, defends, and stands with those who love Him unfailingly. He is already on His throne in Heaven, and everything is subject to Him. What does David recognize as the proper response? Praise.

We tend to think of praise in terms of verbal or vocal actions– we thank Him in prayer, tell others about how He has blessed us, or sing His praise in worship. Is there more we can do to show praise to God? I think David addresses this in the final 3 verses of the psalm.

“Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.”
                     –Psalm 103:20-22 (NIV)

David focuses his thoughts on what these different groups do. I believe he is saying that the praise of the angels comes through the way that they do His bidding in obedience to His word. The rest of the heavenly hosts serve Him through doing His will. All of His works everywhere in His dominion work according to His will. Lastly, David speaks to himself to “Praise the Lord, my soul.” This last statement is translated a bit differently in the New Living Translation: “Let all that I am praise the Lord.” These words remind us that we are a combination of an inner being and an outer being, and we cannot separate them. It follows the thought from the previous 2 verses that those who should praise God are those doing His will, not merely speaking about it. At this point it might be easy to wonder, “How can I show my praise since I am not an angel or member of the heavenly host? What can I do?”

This thought brought to my mind Colossians 3:23, where Paul was speaking to slaves: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” The praise we show to the Lord should come from not only our mouths, but our lives. We can praise Him not only when we are in a worship service, but also when we are cleaning, working at our jobs, doing yard work, or cooking. The sense of devotion and quality to what we are doing reflects God Himself.

When focused properly our work and activity can be an outlet for our souls to praise Him. We can never thank Him enough or praise Him enough for all He has done for us. But, we can do as much as we can do by using our talents and abilities in thankfulness that glorifies God. We can praise Him with all of us, not just our mouths!

Take heart and be encouraged!