At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to talk about Southern Baptist news of all types.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast At Calvary!

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  2. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out
  3. At Calvary – Episode 42 – What People are Asking Google (2020 updates)
  4. At Calvary – Episode 41 – The Week of March 1st in World History
  5. At Calvary – Episode 40 – Who Are Baptists?

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The Mystery of the Resurrection

As we think this week about the resurrection of Jesus, consider that the resurrection is God’s declaration of approval of the cross. It is the declaration that the cross is not a failure. It is not a loss. It is victory.

Empty tomb with three crosses on a hill side.

First, it is a victory of mystery. What is that mystery? It is the mystery of Jesus. What makes Him special? Why do people need Him? Why would He come to save us? All of those questions swirl around the cross. These questions and more faced the apostles after the death of Jesus. The resurrection answers those questions – Jesus is the One that God has approved to save! Jesus is the One who has found victory over death! Jesus is the One worth listening to.

“He has fixed a day in which He will judge  the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Second, it is a victory over death. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that Christ’s victory in the resurrection is the proof that our victory over death is also assured. Death is the great enemy of our life. We hate it. We fear it. In the resurrection of Jesus, death is defeated!

What a Savior! What a mystery! But, to be honest, the most profound mystery is the mystery of love. It is the mystery that keeps God reaching out to us. Love redeems. Love saves. This love reveals another profound mystery – why would anyone would wait to say yes to the love of Jesus?!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

We have been studying the book of James on Sunday mornings. We have been learning about being ready to receive the blessing of God and living out our faith. James has specific suggestions on how we can do that.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast At Calvary!

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  2. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out
  3. At Calvary – Episode 42 – What People are Asking Google (2020 updates)
  4. At Calvary – Episode 41 – The Week of March 1st in World History
  5. At Calvary – Episode 40 – Who Are Baptists?

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Loving for Real

In Romans 12 Paul challenges the church in Rome to love. He calls us to love without hypocrisy.  He calls us to commit to loving in a profound way.  Love is different from being nice.  Love is real.  Love is committed. Love rejoices with those who rejoice. Love weeps with those who weep. Love seeks good always. Love values people no matter what they can give us. Real love even blesses enemies!

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13  contributing to the needs of the saints,  practicing hospitality.

Romans 12:9-13

Think about the profound power such love has.  Such love walks with the hurting.  Such love gives those who long for a connection a place to connect with real people.  Such love woos an enemy until the enemy is won over. Such love shows the world that Jesus means it when He says that He loves. Such love looks like Jesus.

Does our love look like Jesus? Does it look like Him when we are hearing the pain of others? Does it look like Jesus when we see a brother or sister in need? Does it look like Jesus when an enemy is struggling? Does our love look like Jesus when the lost persecutes us?

It is hard sometimes to remember that the standard of our love is not what we see around us in our friendships and families. It is not even that nice neighbor who always seems to have a smile for others.  Even though these are good examples, our real standard of love is Jesus.  His commitment, His fervency, and His steadfastness is our calling.  Let, as Paul encouraged, “love without hypocrisy.” Let us love like Jesus.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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Reminders from Christmas – God Loves Us!

How do we know people love us?  Sometimes we know because they tell us.  However, most often we know that people love us because of what they do.  These actions are pictures of love.

One of the great surprises we experience in life is the love of others. We are surprised that others value us.  We are surprised at their commitment.  The same is true of God. We are surprised to the point of disbelief at the love of God. As we approach the crucifixion and Resurrection Sundays, I thought that we could add to that expression of love what God shows us in Christ’s coming as a baby. Together, all of these acts tell us of the glorious ways that He has shown us His love in Jesus:

1. In Jesus God has given us His protection.  All through the Scriptures we see that God watches over those who are His.  When we think of God’s interaction with Joseph and Mary, we see God’s protection. God gave Mary a good man as husband.  God then encourages that man to stick by Mary.  God protected Mary.  God protects us.

2. In Jesus God has given us salvation. Joseph is told to give the Child a name. The name is unique.  It is ‘Jehovah saves’.  That is what ‘Jesus’ means.  His name means that Jehovah saves. This isn’t a name that was prophesied by Isaiah. This is a very personal name.  It is Jesus’ mission.  It is God’s passion.

3. Jesus has another name.  This is the one that was prophesied.  The name is Immanuel.  It means, “God with us.” God does not abandon His people. God stays with them.

4. The fourth picture of God’s love is what Joseph does.  He obeys.  He does what God told him to do.  Joseph is God’s living expression of the love of God.  It is Joseph who protects Mary.  It is Joseph who helps Mary to Bethlehem.  It is Joseph who takes her to Egypt to escape Herod.  It is Joseph who provides for Mary. Isn’t that amazing? Of all the ways that God shows us His love, God desires to use us to show it most. 

5. And then we fast forward to our Lord’s death. The Bible declares that He died for us. He died in our place. He died because God loves us so much. That Baby, who was born in a manger, was born for this purpose – to die for us.

Jesus said, “All men shall know you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13) We too are a picture of God’s love.  When we do what God has instructed, when we live in love of others, and when we reach out in kindness and the gospel we are showing others that God’s love is real.  Let’s do it!  Someone did it for us.  Someone else showed us God’s love.  Let’s share it with each other!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 42 – What People are Asking Google (2020 updates)

People ask Google questions about God, Jesus, and the church. What were they asking? This week we examine the top questions asked of Google about God. Each of these questions were asked by over 1,000,000 people in 2020.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast At Calvary!

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  2. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out
  3. At Calvary – Episode 42 – What People are Asking Google (2020 updates)
  4. At Calvary – Episode 41 – The Week of March 1st in World History
  5. At Calvary – Episode 40 – Who Are Baptists?

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We Need the Mercy of God

I am thinking about mercy this week. Mercy is unique. Mercy given must be received by the one who needs it. If we don’t receive it, we stay under condemnation. We stay in our guilt. And yet, many who need mercy refuse to admit that they do.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Why do we need mercy? We need mercy because of sin. Sin make us lost. Being lost makes us separated from God. Without God there is no lasting life or truth. Without truth we sin again and again. It is a circle from which we cannot escape.

Mercy breaks the circle. Mercy inserts a miracle into the natural order. Mercy gives the condemned access to freedom. Mercy shows the lost God.

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

Romans 9:16

God has declared that everyone who sins is separated from Him. He declares in the same breath that everyone has sinned. (Romans 3:23) So, what is our hope? Our hope is his mercy. It is God’s wonderful mercy that has stepped in and saved us. As Paul declares in Romans 9:16, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

What we could not do, God did. We needed mercy, but instead we tried to make ourselves better on our own. This led to an impossible legalism or hypocrisy. What was God waiting for? Why didn’t he save us when we tried really hard? He didn’t save us because saving us is not about just sprucing us up or making us a little better. Saving us is about transformation. To be transformed we must admit our need. He is waiting for us to admit that we need mercy.

When we admit our need for mercy, mercy comes. God transforms us. The question should really be: what are we waiting for?

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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Loving the Lost

We say often in my house, “If wishes were fishes we would all be in the sea.” We wish a lot of things. As a Christian, I wish often that the people around me all knew Jesus. Sometimes, I even think so highly of them that I avoid thinking about their lostness. I avoid seeing that they do not have Jesus. I avoid remembering the future of all who do not have Jesus.

“​I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

(Romans 9:1-3)

Yet, is it really loving to do that? Is it loving to push another person’s lostness out of mind because I like them? Is it loving to avoid thinking about it? The apostle Paul declared, “​1  I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1-3) Paul had unceasing anguish in his heart for his people who did not know Jesus. It hurt him.

This tells me that it SHOULD hurt me that my friends and loved ones are lost. It should hurt because of their future. It should hurt because they do not know the lover of their soul. It should hurt me because it hurts the heart of God. He does love their souls. He loves them so much that Jesus died for them.

If I am tempted to forget that my lost loved ones are lost, I remember that Jesus loves them. If I am tempted to avoid thinking about my loved neighbors or community members are lost, I remember how far God’s love was willing to go to save them.

The Father and the Son love the lost so much. The question I ask myself – do I love them the same way?

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 41 – The Week of March 1st in World History

This week in World History.  Did anything happen at all? I thought that this week would be dull. Oh boy, was I ever wrong!

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast At Calvary!

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  2. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out
  3. At Calvary – Episode 42 – What People are Asking Google (2020 updates)
  4. At Calvary – Episode 41 – The Week of March 1st in World History
  5. At Calvary – Episode 40 – Who Are Baptists?

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I Beg You, Pray

Superman is invulnerable. Pastors are not. God’s people are not. Pastors have flaws, temptations, and struggles. Pastors have insecurities.  Pastors do not always know exactly what should be done next.  Pastors yell or want to yell at their kids. Christians are all clay called to shine the light of Christ.

What is the answer? Pastors need prayer.  They carry the burden of their ministry, the burdens of their people, their own burdens, their own fears, and their own sinfulness. Pastors need prayer.

19 Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:19-20

The funny thing is, I am not the first one to declare this.  Paul was.  He asked for prayer.  He begged for prayer. He asked that words would be given to him when he needed them. He prayed that he would be bold even as he felt the chains around his wrists. In other words, he was praying for courage. Do pastors need less courage today than they did in those days? Do pastors need God’s words to come out of their mouths less today than Paul did then? How can we today not pray for our pastors?

Yet, pastors aren’t the only ones who need prayer. Paul begins his request for prayer by urging the church to, “With all prayer and petition  pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view,  be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:18) Paul asked for prayer for all the saints. That’s you and me. In fact, Paul urges them to persevere in prayer. Simply put, that means to keep praying. Don’t stop.

We need to be folks who passionately pray for one another. We need it. Pastors need it. All Christians need it. This brings two questions to mind:

1 – Do we actually pray or do we just talk about praying?

2 – Do we let folks know about our needs? That requires transparency, but the Scripture declares that it is worth it.

What do I need? I need three things – 1) In these difficult times I need the boldness that Paul asks for. 2) I am desperate for the wisdom of God to lead through these rough waters. 3) As we keep reaching out to our community, I would ask for the strength and energy to meet the need.

Paul asked for prayer. He shared his need. We should do the same. We need it too. Then, let’s pray for one another!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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