February 27, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, February 27, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for February 27

Online giving is available here.

_____

CALL TO WORSHIP —  Psalm 89:1-2, 8, 52
I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
O Lord God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O Lord,
with your faithfulness all around you?
Blessed be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.

Behold Our God

Praise the Father, Praise the Son

GRACE & ASSURANCE — Psalm 66:16, 20
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

I Will Sing the Wondrous Story

QUIET PREPARATION — Lamentations 3:25-26
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

SERMON — Daniel 7

Ancient of Days

BENEDICTION

Encouragement for Thursday

I recently saw a video where a woman was walking through an outdoor garden spot in Florida. She stopped to look at a small Kalanchoe plant. They are a tropical bush-like succulent plant that tends to maintain a loosely rounded growth habit. It had a flower at the end of one stem that was pointed straight upward. It was probably 8 times taller than any of the other stems with flowers. She noted that it was in a position to grow straight toward the sun and took advantage. One of my houseplants does something similar. I am not sure what it is, but it has thin flexible vining type stems. It has leaves but no flowers. It sits on a small table at the end of my couch. The stems with the leaves all bend and reach to point to the east-facing window behind the couch, reaching toward the sun. I think we can learn from the natural tendencies of plants.

Paul writes about the coming of the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3. For many years the Israelites were veiled from being able to look directly upon God’s glory because they were unworthy due to sin. We are still unworthy due to sin. Christ enables us to see past the veil. It is taken away when we turn to the Lord (v. 16), and only then can we truly see His glory.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Something else that I have noticed about my plant: even when it is overcast and the sun isn’t directly visible (which has been most of the time this year in our area), it still faces toward the light. The available light still provides what it needs to grow and thrive. The lesson to us is that even though things seem dark to us and we might have difficulty seeing God’s presence, He is there. If we stay pointed toward Him we will grow in faith, and grow closer to Him. This is the process of sanctification, and we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”

Lord, as we face both the joys and trials of our earthly lives, please help us to stay pointed toward You. We need your glory to help us grow. Transform us to Your image.

These thoughts this week brought to mind another old hymn. Please listen to this rendition from some of our brothers from southern India.

Take heart and be encouraged!

Prayer is the Greater Work

I read a quote from Oswald Chambers this morning. “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.”

I spent a short time in Ukraine, in Kiev (the capital) actually. My dad has spent a lot of time in Ukraine. My close friend Matt has spent a lot of time in Ukraine. Each of us used that time with church leaders and Bible teachers, young and old.

My heart hurts this morning.

The Christians of Ukraine know, that is, have experienced, the evils of communism.

Did you know that it is believed that the Apostle Andrew took the gospel all the way to Ukraine?

Since 2010, I have not been able to read Colossians 3:11 without thinking about the Ukrainians and how they love the gospel. “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” The Scythians’ history intertwines with the Babylonians and Persians and even Alexander the Great. Sound familiar so far? Read about them. They were fierce warriors. Well, guess who descended from the Scythians? That is right, the Ukrainians. Ukrainians get very excited about Colossians 3:11. Not only do they see their ancestors in the Bible, but they rejoice in the life transforming power of the gospel in the lives of their ancestors. It transforms warriors, violent warriors, into gospel filled, gospel proclaiming servants of Jesus. It is really awesome.

I cannot imagine a president urging the citizens – men, women; moms, dads; young and old – to arm themselves to prepare for battle with an invading nation. But that has been realized in Ukraine.

Be praying hard.

Be praying hard for the citizens of Ukraine; for the brothers and sisters of Ukraine.

There is a large Ukrainian population in the Cleveland area. If you go out today, you may see someone from Ukraine. You may have an opportunity to love them and serve them today.

A Piece of Paper With Your Name on It.

The size of the picture is much bigger than I anticipated, but I think you “get the picture.”

This Sunday we will again be in Daniel 7. So far, we have seen a couple of things. First, worship matters. The end of the matter is that worship matters. And second, do not neglect the saints. A tremendous way to not neglect the saints; a powerful and effective way to not neglect the saints is to be in continual prayer for the saints (see Ephesians 6:18). This begins with the saints you see on Sundays.

Right now and on any given day, I have a piece of paper in my back left pocket with your name on it. Yes, your name. My hope is that you have the names of one another somewhere and with the plan to pray for one another.

March 5 is quickly approaching, the day of the Man Up! conference for men. It is being hosted by First Baptist Church of Medina. You can see more about it here: https://manuplife.com/. I believe there are 14 or 15 men who have registered for this day. And there is still time to register. Men can register all the way up to the day of the conference. It will be beneficial to enjoy a day like this together. And remember, each of us are to seek one thing from this day to give us courage.

Then March 6 is our church fellowship lunch following the morning service. We are having a potluck lunch. You may sign up to bring a main dish, a salad, dessert, and/or bread. We have great lunches together!

Be looking forward to March 13. We will come together that Sunday for the Lord’s Supper.

February 20, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, February 20, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for February 20

Online giving is available here.

_____

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.

The Solid Rock

In Christ Alone

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 PREPARATION — Isaiah 55:10-11
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

SERMON — Daniel 7

Ancient of Days

BENEDICTION

Encouragement for Thursday

Most nights I am tired by the time I settle into my recliner to go to sleep. I usually need a little while to disengage my mind so I watch something familiar and silly, like an old episode of The Red Green Show. I turn off the T.V. when I sense I am about ready to fall asleep. I normally sleep about 4 or 5 hours and wake up. If I am lucky, I fall asleep again within a minute or five. If I am unlucky, I don’t fall asleep again that quickly. I start to think about things. Unfortunately, the thoughts that come up in the middle of the night tend to be worrisome or unsettling thoughts. The project or problem I have been working on at work resurfaces. Maybe I think of something that I said to someone that I wish I had said differently. Sometimes my mind invents problems that only exist in my imagination, anticipating worst case scenarios. Eventually I start to worry about getting back to sleep so that I won’t be extra tired at some point the next workday due to lack of sleep. I would bet that I am not the only one who experiences a series of events like these (although I’m not sure how many watch Red Green before going to sleep).

I happened to read a psalm this week that speaks to my concerns—Psalm 131. It is a prayer from David which contains only 3 verses, but which carries valuable advice in those few verses.

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
        my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
        too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
        like a weaned child with its mother;
        like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
        from this time forth and forevermore.”

— Psalm 131

David has reached a point of maturity in his life by the time of the writing of this psalm. He is not proud (“My heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high”). He doesn’t overestimate his reach or power (“I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me”). He is not always hungry for more than he has (“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me”). Perhaps most telling, he encourages his nation to follow the Lord forever, rather than trying to rally support for himself (“O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore”).

I hope that next time I am lying awake I can remember to pray this Psalm in my own words: “Lord, I know I don’t have any reason to be proud. I need your help. I try not to take on more than I can handle, but sometimes I goof. I need your help. I know you provide everything I need. Remind me of that and quiet my worries. I need your help.” My prayer for all of us is that we always remember to put our hope in the Lord always and forever, rather than in ourselves or our present world. He alone can help us grow to maturity.

Take heart and be encouraged!

February 13, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, February 13, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for February 13

Online giving is available here.

_____

CALL TO WORSHIP — Psalm 95:1-3
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.

All Hail The Power

O Great God

GRACE & ASSURANCE — Psalm 95:6-7
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.

Good Shepherd Of My Soul

QUIET PREPARATION — Psalm 118:14
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

SERMON — Daniel 7

Ancient of Days

BENEDICTION

Encouragement For Thursday

I went to Target the other evening to pick up a few prescriptions, and as usual also went shopping for several grocery items. The shelves were even emptier than last week. I had thought then that they would be receiving more truckloads of goods to restock the shelves. I was apparently wrong. The bread and snack cake aisle looked ravaged. The cereal aisle, which I always visit, was very depleted. Some of the frozen foods freezers were nearly empty and selection was pretty diminished (although the plant-based product freezer was still well stocked; it doesn’t capture my interest– I prefer real meat). The situation almost reminded me of what might happen in anticipation of a major snowstorm, or a hurricane in the Gulf coast.

The situation caused me to remember some of my much younger days back in the mid 1970’s. It was another time of inflation and shortages. Gas prices went sky high due to OPEC actions, and rationing was instituted in many areas. As often happens with me a song came to mind. Back in 1975 The Imperials released a song which became a Christian chart hit, and even played on some popular stations. That song was called “No Shortage.” It bears remembering in light of our current situation. Take a short trip back to 1975 with me:

The line “There’s no shortage of God’s mercy, there’s no shortage of God’s love” brought to mind Psalm 86:13-15:

For great is your steadfast love toward me;
        You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
        a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
        and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
        Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Merriam-Webster defines “abounding” as “existing in or providing a great or plentiful quantity or supply.” Though his problems were many, David knew that God was merciful and provided a great and plentiful supply of love and faithfulness on his behalf. He has demonstrated the same for each of us, as shown best by His giving of His Son to pay for our sins and secure our eternity. I may not be able to find Toaster Scrambles, but I always have an abundant  supply of God’s love, and it can’t be bought. It is free for the acceptance for each of us!

Take heart and be encouraged!

Beginning With Change, Ending With Change

Daniel 6 ends the first half of the book of Daniel. These first six chapters take place over a period of nearly 70 years. It begins with change (Daniel 1:1-3) and it ends with change (Daniel 5:31-Daniel 6:1). And yet in the midst of change, there remains Daniel – faithful and trusting in God. The word consistent comes to mind.

We mentioned that Daniel’s greatest test came not at the beginning of his spiritual journey but near the end of his spiritual journey! And what prepared him for his greatest test? We could say all of those previous smaller tests (quizzes)!

What prepares us for the tests, small and great? How about the plan to pray each day? How about filling up daily on God’s Word? How about being faithful (in the things I can control)? How about trusting in God (in the things I cannot control)?

I have known Daniel since I was a kid. I have read the book of Daniel numerous times. But I wish I have would have spent more time with Daniel and enjoyed Daniel like this sooner. I hope his life and this book is encouraging you!

This Sunday we will start Daniel 7. Daniel begins the second half of the book. It begins early in the reign of Belshazzar. I want us to think about this: what more does God have for us?!
Also this Sunday, we will enjoy the Lord’s Supper together. Notice two things: the Lord’s Supper is to be enjoyed and it is to be enjoyed together.

Man Up! Men, we have a special one day event just for us – Saturday, March 5 beginning at 8 am. It will be good to have this Saturday together. So, if you are able to attend, I am asking that you come looking for one thing that will fill you with courage and help you in your faithfulness to be the man that God is calling you to be. There is still time to register: http://www.manuplife.com. Make note, too, that the conference is being hosted by First Baptist Church of Medina (3646 Medina Road, Medina, Ohio).

Encouragement From Thursday

The month of January made me kind of weary from seeing clouds. By “clouds” I mean there were a lot of days that seemed to have total cloud cover. I did a bit of research and learned that during the month of January 2022 the city of Cleveland had 8 days with sun during the month. Three of those days were considered sunny, which means that clouds covered the sky less than 30% of the day. Five more days were considered partly sunny, which means that there was cloud cover between 40% and 70% of the day. The rest of the days were overcast, with 80% or more cloud cover. No wonder overcast skies seem like the norm to me at this point in the year.

I know that there is a reason and purpose for clouds in our world. They are part of the means that carry out God’s plan for the operation of our world. Clouds provide for periodic, intermittent delivery of rain and moisture to promote growth of plants and replenishment of water in our waterways. Humans and animals need fresh water to survive. Without clouds and their function things wouldn’t live or grow, and we would eventually see a lot of evaporation from bodies of water.

I wondered what Scripture has to say about clouds. The Hebrew term for cloud literally indicates a covering. The Bible mentions clouds many times, in various respects with varied purposes.

 1) Clouds are a high division between the Earth and the heavens
    "Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you." (Job 35:5)
    "For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." (Psalm 57:10)
 2)  Clouds are a provider of rain
    "He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens." (Luke 12:54)
    "In the light of a king's face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain." (Proverbs 16:15)
 3)  Clouds are a special indicator of God's presence
    " And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the  glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud." (Exodus 16:20)
    "And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, 'This is my beloved Son; listen to him.' " (Mark 9:7)
 4)  Clouds are an indicator of impending judgment
    "For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations." (Ezekiel 30:3)
    "A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!" (Joel 2:2)
 5)  Clouds are a transport for Christ
    "Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand." (Revelation 14:14)
    "And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
 6)  Clouds are a great number of something
    "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," (Hebrews 12:1)
    "Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows?" (Isaiah 60:8)
 7)  Clouds are used to deliver God's message and instructions
    " I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)
    "Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp." (Numbers 9:17)

This study has been a reminder to me as to how important a role clouds have in God’s grand scheme of things. We couldn’t live without them, and they ultimately will play a role in our being reunited with Christ. As you can see from the picture I have attached they have a beauty of sorts in their different types and roles. If you look hard enough they can even help stretch your imagination (“Hey, there’s Darth Vader on a skateboard carrying a giant crawdad!”) Let us remember that even cloudy skies remind us that God loves us and has prepared for our future.

Take heart and be encouraged!