All posts by Calvary Temple

Waiting For God’s Help

– By Pastor Ruth Denboer

In Pastor Vern’s last blog he wrote about how we spend our time. Sometimes we waste our time however, it may even be time well wasted if we plan right. This week much of the reading was in Isaiah, which is not an easy book to read without context. I really just want to focus on a few of the verses that I read from Isaiah 30.
First, verse 15 ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”’
Sometimes we not only waste our time on things that don’t matter, but sometimes we spend a lot of time trying so hard in our own way to fix things, or sort things out, or simply work so hard at being good enough. It can be exhausting! The beauty of this verse is how it simplifies life by reminding us to rest in the confident hope of a God who loves us dearly. He wants us to know that He can handle life for us. This is the God who has already done everything necessary to save us. We will never be good enough … or smart enough to get it all right. Only when we stop our personal struggles, return to Him, and rest in Him, will we truly know peace. As we take the time in a quiet place to remind ourselves of His greatness and His faithfulness, we are able to let things go into His care and trust Him. In THIS place we can know a deeper confidence than we have the ability to even understand. This becomes our strength through any and every situation. This verse is talking about the simple but very powerful every day miracle of walking in relationship with God. When Jesus died for our sins, all of our struggling to be good enough was complete. When Jesus sent His Spirit to live within us, all of our struggling to be enough was complete. We have everything we need in Him.
I’ll close with verse 18 ‘So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

 

Joy and Peace is For the Taking

By Pastor Ruth Denboer

Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I have thought of this verse so many times in my life.  Times when I certainly didn’t understand what was going on in my life or in the lives of those around me.  Times when I thought life didn’t seem “fair” or “just”, or simply went a completely different direction than I had thought it would.  I find this verse, and the whole of chapter 55 in Isaiah, to be very encouraging when going through something particularly challenging.  As I read this chapter I again realize that God’s thoughts are nothing like mine.  When I don’t understand … HE DOES!

This chapter seems to be telling me to just simply trust in Him.  It tells me in verse 11 “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

This verse calms my heart when I feel anxious and confused.  This verse tells me that nothing is above God.  When He speaks there will be action!  This verse also challenges me to know what the Word of the Lord says, so that I can speak it.  God is faithful and His Word is forever settled.  The key is for me to take a step back from the situation and remember who God is, humble my heart and accept the fact that He is God and I am not.  I have been given the wonderful opportunity of trusting in the character of God and the Word of God.

So to sum it all up I need to put my thoughts and opinions aside … verse 6 says to “seek the Lord” … “to call upon Him”.  I then need to trust in a God who is much wiser than I, and if I am willing to do this … verse 12 gives us the result of that decision … “You will live in joy and peace.”

 

Vitality

By Pastor Ruth Denboer

Titus 3: Do What Is Good

1Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

3Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4But—

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

8This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

9Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

I love that this section of Titus is called “Do What Is Good”. As mentioned in our Vitality 2016 meetings, vitality requires us to focus on what God is calling us to do and what He has asked us to refrain from doing.

We should always be ready to do what is good, to be gentle and humble. We should know the truth as mentioned in verses 4-7 because these teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

However, we are also instructed to refrain from certain things as well. We are not to slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. We are to avoid foolish discussions so that divisions do not happen between the believers.

If we are determined to live this way, we will live with vitality in our personal lives, which will bring vitality to the church body, and through the church body, we will bring vitality to the world.

Beware of that weapon of destruction … the wedge of discord.

Let’s choose a life of vitality!

 

I Do Not Change

By Pastor Vern Kratz

In this fast-paced ever-changing world there are very few things that stay the same.

As you drive to the edge of town you can hear the “old-timer” reminisce as he looks over a newly developed residential neighbourhood, “I can remember when this was all farmers’ fields.”

I remember when gasoline was 35 cents a gallon and we measured the temperature in Fahrenheit. I remember wondering what a computer was and if there was any value to having one in the house.

I remember waiting for months (sometimes years) for a movie to finally show up on TV because there were no VCRs, DVD players, or Blue-ray players. Some will even remember a time before televisions.

Rules change, leaders change, places change, friends change… time moves on and everything changes in one way or another.

Even for those who like change, the constant change can become draining and even scary at times.

My reading over the weekend took me to the Malachi. It’s the last book of the Old Testament in the Bible. It’s also the last book of the Bible written before Jesus Christ came on the scene (approximately 400 years before Jesus). So it’s fitting to read this book during the few days leading up to Christmas where we celebrate the coming of our Lord to the earth as a baby.

Several phrases from Malachi jumped out at me, but one in particular caught my attention. Malachi 3:6 says: “I the Lord do not change.”

And somehow in those words I find great comfort. As I look back over the year that was 2015 I have seen many things change, some for the better, some not so much. Both in my life personally and then also on the world stage – many things have changed, and not always for the better.

I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here, so I want to encourage us with the reminder that our God does not change – ever. He is the same as he has always been. He keeps every promise. His commands to us have never deviated. His truth has never changed.

As we look to the New Year and all its possibilities it is a great time to make some changes in our lives. Change can be good! We need to put good disciplines in our lives that maybe weren’t there before. Maybe its time to finally give up that bad habit that isn’t good for us – that would be a good change.

Whatever changes we choose to make, I pray that they are changes that will make you more like Christ, and the God who does not change!

Blessings on you this Christmas! And I pray that we make good changes in 2016!

God loves you very much – that is also something that will never change!

I have Chosen

by Pastor Gary Jennings

RAP – It’s simple to do. Read a passage; Apply the passage, and Pray the passage. Everyone can rap.

At the time of my blogging, it is Wednesday, December 9. Our church family Bible reading guide on this day took us to Isaiah 44:1-28. This is a very busy week in the life of our church. We begin our Singing Christmas Tree (SCT) presentations tomorrow. Much of what I am doing in the present I am seeing through the portals of our SCT. As I read Wednesday’s scripture passage, the words I have chosen in verse one immediately leaped out at me. Over the next four days, and six SCT presentations, I will be giving myself, and spending myself in ministry. I actually live for these moments when God can use me in our SCT. It’s the highlight of my year. Much has already been done, but there remains so much more to do. Now we will do what all the work, effort, memorization and practices were really for. It’s about the great news of the message of Jesus at Christmas time. We are praying that Jesus will transform lives.

Now back to the words, I have chosen. I am one of many who are in the Singing Christmas Tree. I am one of about 230 people who are involved in the entire SCT production, one of 58 adults in the choir, one of 9 men who are singing the base part, and even though I am the only one closing each presentation and giving a salvation invitation, I am far from standing alone. My SCT team is with me in prayer and support. I know they are standing with me, and I know I need the team.

And, as great as team support is, I have God’s word to stand upon and to be encouraged by. In Isaiah 44:1, just as God said, listen, to Jacob, He is saying listen to me. I noted what comes next for me to take personally from verses one and two. As I do my part in our SCT, God says that I am His servant. He says that He has chosen me. He says that He made me and formed me and that He will help me. Then he says I do not have to be afraid. Wow! I’ll take it; wouldn’t you? Awe, but you can.

Onward to an incredible weekend of ministry,

Pastor Gary Jennings

The Singing Christmas Tree

by Pastor Ruth Denboer

Here we are, busy preparing for our annual Singing Christmas Tree. The SCT has been a Calvary Temple Christmas blessing to our community since the early 70’s. Many times people will recognize the name of our church by making the connection to the SCT. As many of you know, the choir starts practicing way back in early September, and the songs are carefully chosen for each Christmas tree back in early summer. There are many, many hours of labor from many, many angles that allow the tree to happen each year.

So why? Why do we put in all the time and effort? Some may even argue it’s not a good use of time.

However, when I read through the scripture passages for this week … my heart couldn’t help but rejoice! We are so privileged to be a part of something so God honoring in our community. As I read the Psalms I realize we are indeed fulfilling the commands of scripture.

Psalm 96:1 Sing a new song to the lord! Let the whole earth sing to the lord!

2 Sing to the lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.

3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

4 Great is the lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 98:1 Sing a new song to the lord, for he has done wonderful deeds.

4 Shout to the lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!

Psalm 100:1 Shout with joy to the lord, all the earth!

2 Worship the lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.

I also felt the combination of the passages that were chosen for this week’s readings had significant meaning. The story in Luke reminds me that it’s not what we do that matters … it’s the heart we do it with. The woman is commended for giving her all. Although it was condemned by some as very little … she gave all she had, with a grateful heart. Jesus was blessed by her gift of love.

That is my prayer for this year’s Singing Christmas Tree. May we all give our best out of a heart of love. That’s all that is needed. God will do the rest! Each year people find Jesus through the Singing Christmas Tree. How thankful we should be that we are given this amazing opportunity to make Jesus known in our community!Singing Christmas Tree

The Fear of Missing Out

by Pastor Nikki Ragush

Today, more than ever in our culture we can see all the fun things that others are doing and many times focus on the boring things we must do. Recently in our young adults study we were talking about this idea called the “Fear Of Missing Out”. Maybe you’ve run into the situation where you ask them their plans for the weekend, and as they begin to tell you all the exciting plans they have you begin to turn a bit green, and wished you’d never asked them in the first place. Many people today are on social media at an increasing rate and as we look at social media more we get a pulse on the happenings of people’s lives. But, most people don’t post pictures of the monotonous things they do, instead they post pictures of their exciting adventures so all we see of their lives is fun and excitement. There is no issue with fun and excitement but the question is how much time do we spend thinking about other people’s lives and forgetting about our own.

Psalms 73:1-3

1God is indeed good to Israel,
to those who have pure hearts.
But I had nearly lost confidence;
my faith was almost gone
because I was jealous of the proud
when I saw that things go well for the wicked.

This verse is specifically talking about the troubles that many people have when they see others profit in life but find struggle within their own lives. The question though is not who deserves what in life, our good deeds and lifestyle should not be for the sake of receiving great reward. The question instead is what can we be thankful for in our lives? In Scripture it makes it clear that we are all sinner so truly none of us deserve to be forgiven but we all have the opportunity. As we spend more time being thankful for what we do have, our desire for what other have will diminish. There is a one song that reminds me that even the breath in our lungs is something that we can be thankful for. There are times I struggle with desiring the opportunities others have, but we have been made specifically the way we are for reasons that God understands. I hope today you can enjoy this song, and find thankfulness in the good things that God is doing in your life, as I challenge myself to do also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHz0w-HG4iU

Blessings,

Pastor Nikki

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

by Pastor Heidi Kratz

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

This Psalm is only 9 verses long, but it begins and ends with this declaration of the majestic name of the Lord.

Your name is important. Before our children were born we spent many months thinking about their names. We had a list of boy’s names and girl’s names that we were considering until we decided on the one name that they would be called for the rest of their life.

When you hear name spoken in a crowded room, you stop to see who is trying to get your attention. When you get mail, you are looking for your name to see what you have received that day.

Even though our name is important to us, it does not compare to the “majestic” name of Jesus.

His name is glorious, excellent and great!

That one name of Jesus is everything that we need.

O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Appointed Praise

by Pastor Gary Jennings

RAP – It’s very simple; everyone can RAP. RAP means: Read a passage; think through how to Apply the passage; then Pray.

This past week most of our church prayer reading guide took us to the book of I Chronicles. On Wednesday’s passage reading, the verse that stood out to me was I Chronicles 16:7 where I read that David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord. I know that Asaph was one of David’s assigned worship leaders and that he was a very gifted musician and songwriter. But as I thought about this verse, and let my mind go off the beaten trail, I could not help but wonder what response I would get if I went around appointing people at random to praise the Lord. It was just a passing thought, but I am sure I would get mixed responses and strange looks. This is not something we normally do.

David went on to tell Asaph to give praise to the Lord in this manner. He took it a step further and in the verses following this one, he explained in great detail how he wanted Asaph to praise the Lord in a public leadership setting. David actually wrote the worship service details so to speak – This is how I want you to do it personally, and how I want you and lead it corporately.

What is my practical take away from this, and how can I apply this to my life? How can you apply this to your life?

Well here goes. I probably should not go around appointing, and designating people to praise God, and then follow that up with how to do it – but, I can still inspire and lead people to give praise to God in a more indirect way. Jesus called us to let our light shine and to make praise a lifestyle. Just think of the impact of this on other people.

My parents never told me that I had to praise God; they showed me how vital this was by their own life. I heard them worship as I stood by them in the church pew. Through their posture, I saw them praise God. At home I would hear my father giving praise to God as he moved about our home. I heard my father on church platforms and in secular platforms, singing and giving praise to God.

Wow! What an impact on my life. They never appointed me to praise God, but I did end up becoming a worshiper. Note to self: Gary, pass it on.

Pastor Gary Jennings

Man of Faith?

by Pastor Ruth Denboer

Sometimes I have to admit I am completely daunted by the stories of absolute faith that I read in the Bible. However, I was again intrigued by the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18. What a powerful display of absolute faith in God we see in chapter 18! I can’t imagine standing in front of all the people of Israel and the prophets and doing what Elijah did. I read more than a little confident … almost to the point of being arrogant. I ask myself, “Would I have anywhere near that level of confidence in declaring my absolute faith in the God I love and serve?”

And then I read chapter 19. I see a completely different picture. I see a frightened Elijah running for his life. Following Elijah’s impressive display of calling down fire from heaven you would think that he’d be set for life as an amazing man of faith. His faith level must have increased tremendously through that adventure and you would think he’d have quite the following after that event. However, when King Ahab tells his wife Jezebel what ‘Elijah had done’ … (missed the point that it was God), Jezebel then sends a threat to Elijah telling him that she will kill him like he killed the prophets of Baal.

Elijah went from man of incredible faith to man of seemingly no faith, running for his life. I find this so true to human nature. When we display great faith in God for any reason we would be wise to remember that we are only strong and powerful in HIM. Without HIM we are no better than anyone in the world around us. God did not forsake Elijah in his weakness, instead graciously poured out provision and comfort to him. And although Elijah asked to have his life ended there and then … God is greater than our hearts, merciful in not taking us at our word and granting our foolish passionate requests.
We serve a great and loving God who understands our human weaknesses … and loves us anyway!