October 30, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, October 30, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for October 30, 2022

Online giving is available here


CALL TO WORSHIP — Psalm 46:1-3, 7
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Be Unto Your Name

GRACE & ASSURANCE  — Psalm 46:10-11
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

The Lord Is My Salvation

I Love You Lord


“The One Name Above All Names” – Philippians 2:5-11

May the Mind of Christ My Savior


Encouragement for Thursday

Many years ago I was involved in a theological discussion of sorts from a post on a friend’s Facebook page. If I remember correctly, the general theme of the discussion was the continuity of teaching throughout the New Testament. After one of my responses, another man said the following: “Well, I follow Paul’s Gospel, not Jesus’ Gospel. It isn’t the same.” After lifting my jaw off the floor because of that heretical proclamation, I made a lengthier response explaining that Paul followed Jesus’ teaching and Gospel precisely. The man didn’t respond. He had a very faulty opinion of what constituted the Gospel along with a misunderstanding of Paul.

Pastor James’ sermon this past Sunday brought that discussion to mind. Paul’s words in Philippians 2:1-8 run a very strong parallel to the words of Jesus presented in John 15:9-15. I can easily imagine Paul having these words in mind as he wrote to the Philippians. Here are the words of Paul in Philippians 2:1-2:

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”

Following are the words of Jesus presented by John in John 15:9-11:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. How are we united with Christ, and how do we have comfort from His love, and share in the Spirit? “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:9-10).

Jesus reminds us that there is no separation between Himself and His Father, and acknowledges the Spirit later in His discussion: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (John 15:26). I believe this is the basis of Paul’s instruction to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” What is Jesus’ goal? “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11). In Philippians Paul is seeking the joy that Jesus promises from all of us being united with Him.

Jesus continues His message:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:12-14).

Jesus fully knew the meaning of His statement “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Even in the immediate days following His crucifixion I am not sure the disciples understood. After He met with them following His resurrection it became much clearer. This is where Paul’s mind was focusing when he wrote about Jesus humbling Himself and dying on the cross for us. He was in the form of a man yet still divine. Still, He considered us more important than Himself. Paul was looking to Jesus’ example as he wrote verses 3 and 4:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Many times in the New Testament we have Scriptures from the Old Testament, or even other New Testament writers quoted. In Philippians 2 we see Paul not simply quoting other verses for the point of teaching. He is exhorting in a way that indicates that he has internalized Jesus’ teaching from John 15. Jesus’ way of thinking has become Paul’s way of thinking. That is the purpose and intention of the Bible. It isn’t just a historical record, or a rule book to follow. God’s ways must become our ways.

Lord, help us to make Jesus’ teaching part of our lives and being as Paul did. Let us share His love, tenderness, and compassion with each other. Thank You for Your love and compassion for us, and for considering us friends.

Take heart and be encouraged!

Encouragement for Thursday

One of the areas I visited in northeastern Ohio this past summer was the Ashtabula, Ohio area. I was in the area to see and photograph some of the covered bridges that are still standing in Ashtabula and Trumbull counties. In the late 1800’s through the first half of the 1900’s Ashtabula was a busy industrial center. Its harbor on Lake Erie brought manufacturers due to the convenience of shipping materials and goods to and from the area. The Ashtabula River brought goods from further down state to the harbor. Railroads from the east coast passed through the city on their way west.

On December 29, 1876 the largest train disaster in the United States to that time occurred in Ashtabula. That night the Pacific Express, a Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway train, traveled through the area in the midst of a heavy snowstorm. The train was carrying nearly 200 people bound for different western destinations, in addition to the crew. Two locomotives were pulling 11 of a variety of types of cars. As the train crossed the Ashtabula River the iron bridge collapsed. Only the lead locomotive was able to reach safety on the far side of the bridge where it was not involved in the impending tragedy. The second locomotive separated from the first and was eventually dropped down as the last link in the chain of train cars that plunged 75 feet into the river. After the cars settled the coal fired boilers and oil lamps set the wooden train on fire. Around 64 people were able to escape with injuries. The remainder (exact count unknown) perished in the crash or the fire. Most of the victims were not identifiable. The railroad purchased a large plot in Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Ashtabula, and the remains that could be gathered were interred. A monument listing the names of the missing passengers was later added at the site to remember those who lost their lives.

We have heard the account of how Horatio Spafford wrote the words to “It is Well with My Soul” while passing the spot in the Atlantic Ocean where his 4 young daughters lost their lives when the ship they were traveling on sank. After writing the lyrics of the hymn he contacted his friend Philip P. Bliss to ask him to write the music to accompany them.

Philip Bliss left home at a young age to try to find work. He found himself particularly interested in music and was eventually able to take enough specialized schooling to become a teacher. He became a traveling teacher, stopping in certain locations for limited periods to teach music to those who were interested. His faith in God led him to begin to write hymns. He composed the music and wrote lyrics. He began to perform sacred music concerts in addition to his teaching in schools and conventions. While attending one of Dwight Moody’s revival meetings he noticed that the singing portion of his meetings needed support that he believed he could provide. Mr. Moody gave him a chance and was grateful and impressed. He invited him to come to any of his Sunday evening meetings he could to share his musical abilities in improving the music worship. Dwight also encouraged him to become a singing evangelist, giving up his other lines of work.

He eventually did, dedicating his life to God’s service. Over the years many hymns that Philip Bliss wrote became standards used in many churches. Many of us have sung at least some of them: “Let the Lower Lights be Burning,” “Wonderful Words of Life,” “Hallelujah what a Savior,” “I Will Sing of My Redeemer,” “Jesus Loves Even Me,” “Dare to Be a Daniel,” “Almost Persuaded,” “In the Cross of Christ I Glory,” “Meet Me at the Fountain,” and many others. Some of the Titanic survivors reported that those in their lifeboat sang his hymn “Pull for the Shore” as they tried to reach safety.

You might be wondering what the Ashtabula train disaster has to do with Philip Bliss. He and his wife Lucy were passengers on the Pacific Express when it plunged into the Ashtabula River. He was on his way to Chicago to work with Dwight Moody in a series of evangelistic meetings. They were among the unidentified who perished in the wreck. Their trunk, which contained songs that Philip had been working on, survived. One for which he had only finished the lyrics was “I Will Sing of My Redeemer.” Friend and sometime colleague James McGranahan wrote the music to accompany it.

At the time of his death Philip Bliss was only 38 years old. It is easy to focus on the tragedy of his relatively early passing. I can just as easily look at his life and say, “Wow! He made quite an impact for God in only 38 years.” His words and music have educated and strengthened many believers; more than his evangelistic meeting contributions could have touched. I pray that I, and each of us, can also make an impact for God on people that we may never meet in our earthly lives.

I was prompted to remember Philip Bliss yesterday because of a posting by one of my Facebook friends, Changsoo Kim. He is a great ukulele player and educator in Korea. He is also a believer and has arranged and performed many hymns and Christian songs. His posting yesterday was an instrumental recording of “It is Well with My Soul.” As much as I love the words of this song, this version highlights the musical talent and contributions of Philip Bliss. Please listen:

Take heart and be encouraged!

October 16, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, October 16, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for October 16, 2022

Online giving is available here


CALL TO WORSHIP — Psalm 133:1, 3; 95:1
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our Salvation!

Oh How Good It Is

Praise the Father, Praise the Son

Jesus Name Above All Names

GRACE & ASSURANCE  — Psalm 147:4-5
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.

Christ is Mine Forevermore


“The One Essential For Every Church” – Philippians 1:27

I Need Thee Every Hour


Encouragement for Thursday

Matthew 19:26 is a well-known verse, and one I remember hearing from my youth.

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

He said this after telling His disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God, in answer to their question, “Who then can be saved?” (v.25).

I have heard and read this verse countless times. I know that it refers to our ability to be saved of our own accord without the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of Him. For those with worldly wealth and status who can depend on their own strength for many things, it is even more difficult. I fear that familiarity sometimes makes me lose the impact of the meaning of Scripture.

By now you might be thinking, “Gee, what does this section of Matthew 19 have to do with mushrooms?” I am not a mushroom expert, but I have been photographing and studying them more the past couple years. Generally you find them close to trees or decaying wood. Sometimes they appear in certain grassy environments where their spores are carried and have enough moisture to provide a good environment. They are most common in shady woodland areas. I saw these in the Headlands Dunes Nature Preserve. This is the first time I have ever noticed mushrooms growing in sand. The nearest tree was about 10-15 feet away and it was a cottonwood, which are generally not known as being great hosts for mushrooms. There was no decaying wood that I could see nearby. They were not close to any sort of shade. By my understanding of mushrooms, they should not be growing there.

Seeing these in that location reminded me of Matthew 19:26. Humans are generally pretty good at learning and adapting to their environment. Being blessed with many of God’s attributes, we can reason, discover, develop, love, and even create in our limited way. We learn and feel confident in knowing how certain types of plants and animals grow. We propagate certain plants like corn or tomatoes and try to promote them and try to kill or discourage others like poison ivy. At this point in life I thought I had a pretty good handle on some things, for a non-expert. Then I found mushrooms growing in sand.

Human reasoning even with the best intentions is limited. We think we know all sides and angles about ourselves and our world. We regularly develop more ways to battle diseases and physical problems. We continue to learn more about the universe and how to extend our reach. Yet the more we explore the depths of the sea, the more we discover that we haven’t seen before.

Lord, thank you for all You have given us, especially Your Son. Thank you for our world, and all of the abilities you have bestowed on us. Thank you also for reminders that so much is possible in ways that we can’t see or haven’t discovered yet. Don’t let us become hardened to the ways you make things, small and large, possible. Help us to be an extension of your possibilities in the world.

Take heart and be encouraged!

October 9, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, October 9, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for October 9, 2022

Online giving is available here


CALL TO WORSHIP — Psalm 34:1-3, 1 Timothy 1:17

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,
    be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Immortal Invisible

Ancient of Days

GRACE & ASSURANCE  — Colossians 1:18-20
He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Man of Sorrows

“Say Something!” pt. 3 ~ Psalm 19

O Great God


October 2, 2022 Worship Service

This is our service order for Sunday, October 2, 2022, at Calvary Community Church.

Livestream at our website or the YouTube Channel.

Download: Worship Guide for October 2, 2022

Online giving is available here


CALL TO WORSHIP — Psalm 19:1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

This Is My Father’s World

We Fall Down

GRACE & ASSURANCE  — Ephesians 3:17-19
May you be rooted and established in the love of Christ—
So that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints,
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Oh The Deep, Deep Love

“Say Something!” pt. 2 ~ Psalm 19

Oh Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer