Encouragement for Thursday

This week ends our period of reflection and exploration of the Psalms. As we have seen through our study this summer the Psalms address many of the human feelings, concerns, and needs of their writers. David, Solomon, Asaph, and others unknown shared their uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, determination, hope, and joy. Throughout the humanness and admission of weaknesses that we have read about, an overriding recognition of God, who He is, and how He is the center of all emerges. This week I would like to share the final Psalm, Psalm 150, which is a summary reaction to the previous 149.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
(Psalm 150, ESV)

The first thing that jumps out to me is that the first and last lines in the Psalm are the same: “Praise the Lord!” The transliterated Hebrew words of these lines are “Hallelu Yah!” Sound familiar? We are used to hearing “hallelujah” in many hymns and expressions of praise, but don’t often realize how the term is used by writers in the Old Testament. Psalm 150 begins with that thought, and then recognizes reasons to praise God: He lives in His sanctuary, He owns the heavens, He has performed mighty deeds, and in summary equals excellent greatness. Specific occasions of these qualities of God, and many more recognitions of His greatness appear throughout the Psalms.

The next few following verses list ways in which He can be praised. The list isn’t all inclusive of course—it generally seems to be focused on the worship experience: to praise Him with the instruments typically used in temple worship, with dance, and with breath (of course, breath can mean both speaking and singing, which also would have been included in temple worship). The Psalm then ends with a final “Hallelu Yah!”

Seeing the opening and closing verse in English brought to mind a song I have not considered for a long time. Fittingly it is called “Praise the Lord.” It was performed by The Imperials, featuring the voice of Russ Taff. It is from a time when I was much younger. Some of the young whippersnapper readers of this message might not be familiar with it, so I thought I would share it. It still brings a strong message that reminds me God is greater and stronger than any problems we might face. Praise the Lord!

Take heart and be encouraged!


It is Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Life is really short.

As we learned Sunday, we will not last. However, there is great potential that our work can outlast us. Our work, week in and week out, is to share the good news of Jesus with someone and to encourage a fellow church member. It is terrible thing that a church would outlast the work.

This Sunday, October 3, will conclude our end of summer series in the Psalms. We are concluding with Psalm 23.

The plan is to begin the book of Daniel on October 10!

We will plan to gather for communion on October 10.

October 17 is a Sunday to celebrate believer’s baptism. If you are a disciple of Jesus and have not yet been baptized, PLEASE DO NOT DELAY ANY LONGER. There may not be a more exciting Sunday than when someone expresses their faith in Jesus Christ in the act of baptism.

And get ready for this announcement from Bob Hershey, director of the Cleveland Pregnancy Center:

We are going to do Christmas a little different with our clients this year. We are asking the church family to sponsor a family. That would be typically a mom and the child that is enrolled in the program. We do have some guys involved also. I am sending the client a survey kind of to ask what they need and want then we would give you that paper, you shop, wrap and return to the center.

Please put this to your congregations. We have 25 potential families to receive these gifts. Probably get you the list by end of October and receive the wrapped gifts back here at the center by the end of November.

Let me know if you would like to participate in this as a church family as soon as possible. I would love to let Bob Hershey know by the end of the week!

September 26, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for September 26

Online giving is available here


CALL TO WORSHIP |  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.
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!

O God In Our Help In Ages Past

God Evermore

GRACE & ASSURANCE  |  Psalm 80:1-3
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your might
and come to save us!
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Shine On Us

QUIET MEDITATION  |  Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


“So Teach Us to Number Our Days” Psalm 90

My Worth Is Not In What I Own


Encouragement for Thursday

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

— 2nd verse of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas O. Chisholm

Today is the autumn equinox of 2021, more commonly known as the first day of fall. The word equinox is word adapted from the Latin which means “equal night.” It is the point during the fall and spring where the length of the day is roughly equal to the length of the night (it isn’t precise, but as close as it can be figured). Today it marks the change of our seasons from summer to fall in the northern hemisphere. For farmers it is generally considered the onset of harvest time. For me personally it usually brings a tinge of sadness because I don’t like the cold weather and snow that winter brings in our area. I appreciate summer much more, especially as I age, I think.

Why do we have the seasons? Because God is wise and knew how to make the Earth operate in the best way to provide livable conditions for people all over it. As God told Noah after the flood ended,

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
                (Genesis 8:22)

How do these things happen? God designed the earth to turn around on its axis once every 24 hours, making a day. He also designed it to travel completely around the sun once every 365 days or so, making a year. He tilted the earth on its axis, which varies the amount of sun and heat that different areas of the earth receive as it travels around the sun during the year. This creates the seasons. If it was not tilted some areas would be constantly in sunny, hot conditions while others would be constantly shielded from the sun, and therefore very cold. Many plants require an overwintering dormant period to grow properly. Likewise many animals, especially insects, are adapted to a dormant period in the winter. Summer changing to fall is a reminder of God’s planning our world in our best interest.

I am thankful that God put such thoughtful planning into the design of our world, ensuring that it would provide for our lives, as well as for the lives of the plants and animals in it. If I had my preference and it was summer all the time in Ohio, we might never have anything to eat. He knows what was best for us. It is especially encouraging to imagine what our permanent home with Him will be like one day considering that He planned our temporary home so carefully!

Take heart and be encouraged!

End of Summer in the Psalms

Summer is coming to a close and it feels like summer is coming to a close. We have been spending these remaining weeks in the book of Psalms; a different psalm each Sunday. This Sunday we will be in Psalm 90.


This Thursday is week 2 of the ladies community group. Over 20 women have signed up to be together and think thru the letter to the Philippians. Be praying for them this week. Oh, that each would be blessed by this time together!

Mark down October 17 and then look at Matthew 28:19-20. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I have highlighted the three marks of these two verses – make disciples; baptizing them; teaching them. The pronoun them refers to disciples. So, think of those three marks this way: make disciples; baptizing disciples; teaching disciples. Notice two things. First, it is disciples who are to be baptized. The baptizing does not make one a disciple. Baptism, though, is for disciples. A disciple is that individual who wants to grow in their relationship with Jesus and help others do the same. A disciple is a Christian. A disciple is someone who is saved. A disciple is someone who is born-again. A disciple has turned from sin and toward the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ alone.

Notice that last mark – teaching them. Are you a disciple? Are you a disciple who is being taught? Have you missed out on that second mark? Have you been baptized? On Sunday, October 17 we will celebrate and observe believer’s baptism. If you are a disciple and have not yet been baptized, please wait no longer. See and talk to me today.

September 19, 2021 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for September 19

Online giving is available here


PRAYER & CALL TO WORSHIP  |   Psalm 63:1-4
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

Come Christians Join to Sing

Agnus Dei

GRACE & ASSURANCE  |  1 Corinthians 1:28-31

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

My Worth Is Not In What I Own

QUIET MEDITATION  |  Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.


“Are We There Yet?” – Psalm 13

May the Peace


Encouragement for Thursday

We have been reminded by Psalm 66 that there is much to praise God for– things seen and things heard. The phrase “Awesome God” has come up many times. Of course it reminds me of Rich Mullins’ worship song “Awesome God.” Thinking about the message we have been presented, another song of Rich’s has kept coming to mind. It is “Sing Your Praise to the Lord.” I was fortunate to hear him and his group perform it live at one of our college’s special casual evening get-together times. Of course, he wrote and performed many songs over a number of years. This particular song was noticed by Amy Grant, who then recorded it. It became a hit single for her. It was the gateway to her picking up other songs of his.

Rich was blessed with talent and vision, and a true love for God and His people. His life was always about sharing the Gospel and trying to set an example. Rich would always say that he was a terrible singer. That would be a bit harsh, I think. Honestly, his singing paled in comparison to his piano playing and ability to play other instruments. But it always revealed his heart and enthusiasm for Christ. More importantly he had the gift of being able to translate praise to God into terms and songs that people could appreciate and remember.

I don’t know if you have heard it, so I thought I would share a link to a version of him performing it

As Rich reminds us, singing praise not only glorifies God. It is good for us. Sing your praise in whatever way and through what ever song you choose. God will appreciate it and it is good for you!

Take heart and be encouraged!

Sloppy Joe is on the Menu

Well, sloppy joe is on the menu for our family this week. I prefer the McCormick Sloppy Joe seasoning mix with a few added ingredients sometimes (like jalapeno). Yet, not everyone in our home enjoys a sloppy joe dinner. It is Camryn. She always rolls her eyes the sight of sloppy joe.

Other than sloppy joe, I am asking and hoping that you hold on to this from Sunday: even in difficulty God listens.

This Sunday Lisa, the girls and I will be out of town. I have been asked to speak at a church in southern Ohio. We are looking forward to this opportunity!

Here at Calvary, we will enjoy the ministry of Steve Glick. He will preaching from Psalm 13 – “Are We There Yet?”

Two Announcements

First, the ladies community group begins this Thursday at 7 pm. This is a five week study of the letter to the Philippians. Lisa Sperry and Berdetta Sperry will be leading this exciting time. 22 ladies have committed to enjoying one another and God’s Word together!

Second, our men’s community group thinking through 1 Thessalonians will be meeting this Thursday as well. We will be together at 6:30.