Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Due to the inclement weather expected on Christmas Eve and after much prayer, the Christmas Eve Service will be moved from the parking lot to the Main Auditorium. In an effort to make room for as many people possible, we are having two services: 4 pm & 6 pm. If you attend Calvary regularly and are able to do so, we encourage you to attend the 4 pm service to make room for people in the community who will be coming for the 6 pm service. These are family services so all children are welcome to sing along with their families; however, there will be no formal childcare. Parking will be available onsite and offsite for overflow. Because this is a last minute change, please share this email with as many people as you can. We look forward to seeing you all there and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Dear Calvary Friends,
The International Student Christmas Conference is coming together but I still need a home for 2 single males. If you know of anyone who can take 2 guys please let them know they can still sign up.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Why God Is Allowing the Demise of America
Previously I made the case that Satan is guiding and empowering the forces destroying America. We see in the book of Job that Satan can only work in this sphere where God permits. Therefore, we must conclude that God is permitting this satanic destruction of our nation.
One reason for God's hostility toward America is found in Romans 1:21: "because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…."
Though the matter of thankfulness in this passage no doubt includes literal giving of thanks to God, I believe that it refers to something more important than expressing gratitude. Foundational to the expression of thanks is the recognition that God is the source of our blessings.
I was blessed with wonderful parents. They deprived themselves of some of the joys and comforts of life so that their children could have things that they never did. Gratitude for all their kindness necessarily needed to begin with the realization of how good they were to me.
It's easy for kids to take things for granted. Of course I should live in a nice house, have plenty to eat, and nice clothing to wear. Of course my father should go out to work every day to provide those things and my mother should do the laundry, iron, clean the house, and make meals. They should also take care of my doctor bills and dentist bills and even pay for an orthodontist so that I wouldn't have to go through life with crooked teeth. So in reality, they just gave me the things I deserved as a kid.
Of course, this kind of ingratitude is self-centered, irrational, and unconscionable. And with this attitude, I would never have reason to say "thank you," which they deserved to hear countless times.
As Americans we have been blessed with countless benefits. We have enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. We have been able to successfully defend our nation. We have enjoyed the peace, order, and freedom that comes with good government. Along with our prosperity has come good education, good healthcare, and many other benefits.
It is difficult for us to fully appreciate these blessings.
I am currently reading a book entitled Kisses from Katie, Why God Is Allowing the Demise of America which records the story of an upper middle-class American girl who right out of high school began ministering to impoverished people in Uganda. (She is now 24.) I would encourage you to read it for many reasons, one being the reminder of how blessed we are. How easy to take for granted running water, electricity, healthcare, enough food to eat, homes that keep us out of the elements, and countless other material blessings that we enjoy while seldom thinking about them.
During the D-Day commemoration this year one commentator called attention to the fact that victory that day was not a slam-dunk, but rather on several occasions hung by a tenuous thread. This prompted him to raise the question, "What if we would not have won that battle and the war?" Can you imagine what life might have been like for us under the rule of Hitler and of the Japanese? I don't think we can fully grasp the horror. Read this article on the Nanking Massacre to get some idea.
Imagine if instead of being blessed with stable government we experienced the instability prevalent in other countries characterized by a coup every so many years, or imagine if every time we had need to do business with the government an under-the-table kickback would be expected.
And why do we enjoy these blessings? Of course the answer is because we are Americans. They are our birthright. That's the way it should be. Why wouldn't we? One evidently wrong answer is that these blessings have been poured out from the hand of God.
And why do I say that this is an obviously erroneous response? Because back in the 60s we moved into a post-Christian era, deciding that we did not need God, indicating that He was of no special value, provided no benefit to our nation. One can almost feel the hubris, the sense of pride and accomplishment in the voices of those announcing that ours is now a post-Christian culture. When our President declared that America was not a Christian nation, it was evident that he made this declaration before the nations of the world in arrogance, the implication being that not being a Christian nation did not represent a net loss but a net gain.
In other words, our President, our intellectual leaders, and others credit God for none of our blessings and therefore view casting Him overboard as no loss.
God's response: "Try on your own, and see how that works for you." What I find especially amazing is that most Americans still haven't figured out that God was the source of all those blessings, and without Him it is not working well at all. Only when we figure that out, repent of our ingratitude, and become thankful can we expect God to display His mercy. Till then, we can count on Satan doing his work of stealing, killing, and destroying.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Disturb us, Lord, when We are too pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, (the perceived safety of the familiar). We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas Where storms will show Your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars. We ask you to push back, The horizons of our hopes; And to push back the future In strength, courage, hope, and love. This we ask in the name of our Captain, Who is Jesus Christ. Sir Francis Drake 1577
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Voice of Martyrs (VOM) is issuing a signed letter to the N. Korean government through the UN in New York city. They hope to have 1 million signatures. N. Korea is torturing and imprisoning over 30 thousand Christians. On Janet Partial VOM said that these brothers and sisters get sentenced up to 15 years in a concentration camp for becoming a Christian. they only really last 5 years and once they get sentenced they know it is a death sentence. They are tortured daily and have submitted to eating rats, snakes ,grass and anything they can get their hands on to get something into their stomach. When they escape with the help of Christians and other agencies and somehow make it out of N. Korea, their testimony is that they are honored that Jesus trusted them to suffer for their faith.
VOM is asking that we would not only sign the letter but COMMIT TO PRAY for the country of N. Korea and these brothers and sisters and the salvation of Kim Jong Un and that God would move in this country and do something radical. Please go to https://www.letterofconfession.com/bg_LetterOfConfession_persecutioncom-vitals-loc-hover1_470.html
And read the letter and sign. Its very easy to do. Not many steps. Then pray and pass it on!!!!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
We have two opportunities to serve on a short term trip coming up soon. The first is short notice.
Public Open House Tours of the new Mormon temple in Ft Lauderdale will begin on March 29 and continue for 3 to 4 weeks. Without a Christian presence standing in the gap, thousands of Christians and even unbelievers will be deceived into thinking that this impressive Mormon temple and their efficient love bombing organization represents another denomination of genuine Christianity.
Our mission will be to politely distribute literature to the visitors after their tour, usually as they exit a remote parking lot in their cars. Typically, there are opportunities to answer questions about the Christian faith and share testimonies, etc.
Call Tom Jones at 727-667-4112 for more information.
JULY MISSION TRIP
When: July 10-19, 2014
Where: Hill Cumorah Pageant, Palmyra, NY — Birthplace of Mormonism
Purpose: To share the good news of the genuine Gospel while warning (up to 120,000) Mormon Pageant attendees about what they will not hear during this Christian-sounding pageant about the false gospel of Mormonism — by quietly handing out tracts comparing the basic teachings of Mormonism to the good news of Jesus Christ from the Bible. You will be trained to answer questions from Mormons and non-Mormons alike while working side by side with another missionary who has experience in missions to Mormons.
Cost: Your cost will be:
• your independent transportation to Palmyra NY
• your daily breakfast and lunch, and a couple of dinners.
•Two dinners and other meals, on your own. (Dinners for each of 7 nights of the Pageant are usually provided by Palmyra Christian families at our headquarters church.
CONTACT: Tom Jones • 727-667-4112 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Gospel Coalition Blog post by Rosario Butterfield. I read her book. It rocked! http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2014/02/14/you-are-whatand-howyou-read/
ROSARIA BUTTERFIELD|12:05 AM CT
You Are What—and How—You Read
I just returned from a well-known (and well-heeled) Christian college, where roughly 100 demonstrators gathered on the chapel steps to protest my address on the grounds that my testimony was dangerous. Later that day, I sat down with these beloved students, to listen, to learn, and to grieve. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is homophobia; the snarled composition of our own sin and the sin of others weighs heavily on us all. I came away from that meeting realizing—again—how decisively our reading practices shape our worldview. This may seem a quirky observation, but I know too well the world these students inhabit. I recall its contours and crevices, risks and perils, reading lists and hermeneutical allegiances. You see, I'm culpable. The blood is on my hands. The world of LGBTQ activism on college campuses is the world that I helped create. I was unfaltering in fidelity: the umbrella of equality stretching to embrace my lesbian identity, and the world that emerged from it held salvific potential. I bet my life on it, and I lost.
When I started to read the Bible it was to critique it, embarking on a research project on the Religious Right and their hatred against queers, or, at the time, people like me. A neighbor and pastor, Ken Smith, became my friend. He executed the art of dying: turning over the pages of your heart in the shadow of Scripture, giving me a living testimony of the fruit of repentance. He was a good reader—thorough, broad, and committed. Ken taught me that repentance was done unto life, and that abandoning the religion of self-righteousness was step number one. The Holy Spirit equipped me to practice what Ken preached, and one day, my heart started to beat to the tempo of my Lord's heart. A supernatural imposition, to be sure, but it didn't stop there.
I'd believed gender and sexuality were socially constructed and that I was the mistress of my own destiny and desire. Through the lens of experience, this was self-evident. I'd built my whole house on the foundation of "gender trouble" (the title of Judith Butler's book), and then stood by, helpless, as it burned to the ground. But the Bible was getting under my skin. Hours each day I poured over this text, arguing at first, then contemplating, and eventually surrendering. Three principles became insurmountable on my own terms: the trinitarian God's goodness, the trinitarian God's holiness, and the authority of Scripture. And then, Romans 1 nailed me to the cross: "claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. . . . Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts . . . because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie. . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions" (Rom. 1:22-26).
Homosexuality, then, is not the unpardonable sin, I noticed. It is not the worst of all sins, not for God. It's listed here in the middle of the passage, as one of many parts of this journey that departs from recognizing God as our author. Homosexuality isn't causal, it's consequential. From God's point of view, homosexuality is an identity-rooted ethical outworking of a worldview transgression inherited by all through original sin. It's so original to the identity of she who bears it that it feels like it precedes you; and as a vestige of original sin, it does. We are born this way. But the bottom line hit me between the eyes: homosexuality, whether it feels natural or not, is a sin. God's challenge was clear: do I accept his verdict of my sin at the cross of Christ, or do I argue with him? Do I repent, even of a sin that doesn't feel like a sin but normal, not-bothering-another-soul kind of life, or do I take up Satan's question to Eve ("Did God really say?") and hurl it back in the face of God?
I had taught, studied, read, and lived a different notion of homosexuality, and for the first time in my life, I wondered if I was wrong.
Three Unbiblical Points
As I write and speak today, 14 years have elapsed since my queer activist days. I'm a new creature in Christ, and my testimony is still like iodine on starch. I'm sensitive to three unbiblical points of view Christian communities harbor when they address the issue of Christianity and homosexuality. Everywhere I go, I confront all three.
1. The Freudian position. This position states same-sex attraction is a morally neutral and fixed part of the personal makeup and identity of some, that some are "gay Christians" and others are not. It's true that temptation isn't sin (though what you do with it may be); but that doesn't give us biblical license to create an identity out of a temptation pattern. To do so is a recipe for disaster. This position comes directly from Sigmund Freud, who effectually replaced the soul with sexual identity as the singular defining characteristic of humanity. God wants our whole identities, not partitioned ones.
2. The revisionist heresy. This position declares that the Bible's witness against homosexuality, replete throughout the Old and New Testaments, results from misreadings, mistranslations, and misapplications, and that Scripture doesn't prohibit monogamous homosexual sexual relations, thereby embracing antinomianism and affirming gay marriage.
3. The reparative therapy heresy. This position contends a primary goal of Christianity is to resolve homosexuality through heterosexuality, thus failing to see that repentance and victory over sin are God's gifts and failing to remember that sons and daughters of the King can be full members of Christ's body and still struggle with sexual temptation. This heresy is a modern version of the prosperity gospel. Name it. Claim it. Pray the gay away.
Indeed, if you only read modern (post 19th-century) texts, it would rightly seem these are three viable options, not heresies. But I beg to differ.
Worldview matters. And if we don't reach back before the 19th century, back to the Bible itself, the Westminster divines, and the Puritans, we will limp along, defeated. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of flesh and the mind to understand and love the Lord and his Word. But without good reading practices even this redeemed heart grows flabby, weak, shaky, and ill. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can lose everything else.
Enter John Owen. Thomas Watson. Richard Baxter. Thomas Brooks. Jeremiah Burroughs. William Gurnall. The Puritans. They didn't live in a world more pure than ours, but they helped create one that valued biblical literacy. Owen's work on indwelling sin is the most liberating balm to someone who feels owned by sexual sin. You are what (and how) you read. J. C. Ryle said it takes the whole Bible to make a whole Christian. Why does sin lurk in the minds of believers as a law, demanding to be obeyed? How do we have victory if sin's tentacles go so deep, if Satan knows our names and addresses? We stand on the ordinary means of grace: Scripture reading, prayer, worship, and the sacraments. We embrace the covenant of church membership for real accountability and community, knowing that left to our own devices we'll either be led astray or become a danger to those we love most. We read our Bibles daily and in great chunks. We surround ourselves with a great cloud of witnesses who don't fall prey to the same worldview snares we and our post-19th century cohorts do.
In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time? We create Christian communities that are safe places to struggle because we know sin is also "lurking at [our] door." God tells us that sin's "desire is for you, but you shall have mastery over it" (Gen. 4:7). Sin isn't a matter of knowing better, it isn't (only) a series of bad choices—and if it were, we wouldn't need a Savior, just need a new app on our iPhone.
We also take heart, remembering the identity of our soul and thus rejecting the Freudian ideal that sexual identity competes with the soul. And we encourage other image-bearers to reflect the Original in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, not in the vapid reductionism that claims image-of-God theology means he loves you just way you are, just the way your sin manifests itself. Long hours traveling the road paved by Bible reading, theological study, and a solid grasp on hermeneutical fallacies gets you to a place where as sons and daughters of the King, people tempted in all manner of sin, we echo Owen: "The law grace writes in our hearts must answer to the law written in God's Word." We also take heart, remembering that God faithfully walks this journey with us, that victory over sin comes in two forms: liberty from it and humility regarding its stronghold. But it comes, truly, just as he will.
* * * * *
Editors' note: During The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference, June 27 to 29 in Orlando, Rosaria Butterfield will lead two workshops: "You Are What You Read" and "Homosexuality and the Christian Faith." Visit TGC.org/2014 to find more information on the conference and register.
Rosaria Butterfield is a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University and author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown & Covenant, 2012) and Openness, Unhindered: No-Shame Spiritual Drills for Christian Living (Crown & Covenant, forthcoming).
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Joni and Friends Daily Devotional February 26, 2014
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24
The ugly old woman sat slumped in her wheelchair, her dirty terrycloth robe twisted underneath her. Her hair was mussed, her teeth missing. Most of the group visiting the nursing home made a right-hand turn down the hallways in order to avoid the woman. But my friends, Bev and Carolyn, made straight for her.
As Bev approached, she expected the crotchety-looking woman to snarl a nasty remark. Instead, the old lady smiled and said, "My, my, look at you two in those bright and lovely sweaters. And aren't you sweet to come here and visit us. Thank you!"
Bev told me later that the woman made her feel so at ease, so appreciated, so... beautiful. Here they had visited the nursing home to cheer up others! That nursing home resident had developed the art of Hebrews 10:24. She may have only been able to offer her smile and short greeting but, oh, the difference it made not only in the lives of others but in the way people perceived her.
Considering others is not the art of doing something extraordinary. It's the art of doing a common thing extraordinarily well. The most trivial action, the slightest smile, the briefest greeting may be considered a service not only to others but to God. The least thing -- the shutting of a door gently, the walking softly, speaking quietly-all can be a part of the art of considering others.
Lord Jesus, You refined the art of considering others when You walked the earth. Help me to model you today. Help me to lighten someone's burden, or look for a way to lessen someone's cares. Help me to find someone whose little pleasures I can help promote, whose wants and wishes I can gratify. May Hebrews 10:24 be my guide.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
NAVIGATOR DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING For Men & Women:
"For decades, God has used disciplemaker Skip Gray to mightily impact & challenge the body of Christ to live dynamic & fruitful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. Skip has spoken to thousands of men and women on discipleship, making a dramatic & lasting impact on them. He continues to inspire us to "give our all" for the Lord Jesus." Skip will be teaching on Friday, Feb. 28 at Calvary Chapel from 7-9 pm in Room C-14 and Saturday, March 1 from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm at "The Doc" Come and be inspired!
Weekend Discipleship Training Seminar for Men & Women:
Friday: "Calvary Chapel" 7:00 pm – 9:00 p.m Room c-14 Message #1
Saturday – 9:30 am -3:00 pm "The Doc" - 1920 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33712
Saturday's Agenda: (at "The Doc" - 1920 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33712)
9:30 am Fellowship & Coffee
9:45 am Worship
10:00 am Message #2
11:30 am Q&A & Season of prayer
1:00 pm Message #3
2:30 pm Q&A & Season of Prayer
Sunday: March 2nd at 3:00 - 5:00 pm – "Ladies Tea"….
Buzzie Gray speaking to the Ladies at Debbie Friley's house 410 72nd St. So. 33707
RSVP for the Tea - 727-460-5898