All posts by Calvary Temple

Take up your cross, and follow me

Take up your cross, and follow me
Mark 8:34-35
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
Throughout my four years at Bible school we studied the Bible very intensely, reading through all different sections of the Bible and having them come alive. However, this section may have been one that has stuck with me most and continues to challenge me almost daily. Possibly you know it better from Matthew 16:24,25 or Luke 9:23,24. Whenever I see in the Gospels that multiple writers have found it important to include something, my brain clicks in and I desire to see why.
Why does this particular verse hit me so hard? Because Jesus isn’t vague, His message isn’t easy, and he’s only giving two choices. Jesus either allows people to continue in their selfish ways, hanging on to their lives and eventually losing them. Or, following Christ, taking up our cross, letting go of control of our lives, and having our lives be saved. So we can choose, try to have control even though it will never work, or just let God take control now. It’s truly a simple decision, however living it out and continuing to make that decision each day may not be so simple.
When we think about the cross we may only think of a necklace people wear around their necks now, or a symbol someone has in their house, but the cross had a much different meaning when Jesus spoke of it. This verse says we each have our crosses, and Jesus’ was death. Jesus literally had to carry the cross that he’d die on, he’d have to watch friends abandon Him, be humiliated, and ultimately die for nothing he’d done wrong but to save those who had done nothing to deserve it. Giving our lives likely will not mean death, but it could mean giving future plans, possessions, and even dreams to God.
We either choose to hold tightly onto our lives eventually having control slip away, or we give control to God right now and allowing Him to lead us on our next journey.


Pastor Nikki Ragush

Good News!

By Pastor Heidi Kratz

When is the last time you heard some good news? Good news can change your whole day or even your whole outlook on life.

Every morning before heading out for the day, I check the weather report and the latest news. The weather channel can sometimes bring some good news when you can see a forecast for warmer weather especially during this time of year. Catching up with the news on the other hand is not always the most encouraging way to start your day. There is a common thread through most news stories…hurting people. There are concerns about the economy, fear of terrorism, unrest and war in different parts of the world. Where is the good news?

Luke 8:1 reads “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.”

In Kids’ Church we have been studying the video series “What’s in the Bible” with Buck Denver. We have learned that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the first four books in the New Testament. These four books are called the Gospels. The word “Gospel” means good news. The Gospels tell the story of Jesus. Jesus is the good news. He is the one who can bring hope to the lives that are lost and hurting.

In Jesus’ day there were no news channels to check up on the events of the day, but people had similar experiences. People were hurting. They had different fears and were confused about the problems they were experiencing. Jesus went from “one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news”. Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and calmed the storms. He brought good news where ever he went.

In Luke 8:39 the man who was healed went away and told everyone in his town how much Jesus had done for him. In a world that doesn’t always hear good news, we need to share it with others. The hurting world needs to hear that the good news of Jesus can bring peace and hope to our lives.