This past Sunday we continued our trek through The Whole Story of the Bible, entering into the world of the Judges. This bit of the story contains stark contrasts.
You’ve probably never considered the book of Deuteronomy as one long funeral sermon, given by a man who knew he would die, to a people aware of his impending death. That’s exactly what we reflected on this last Sunday.
This last week we made our way through the book of Numbers. We learned how this book, filled with some pretty famous Sunday School type of stories, is also shot-through with the sad themes of unbelief and rebellion. It is shocking how a people who experienced so many displays of God’s faithfulness could still be ungrateful and unsatisfied with his provision and timing. Which ironically makes it so relevant for our study, for we all struggle with being satisfied with the circumstances of our lives.
It is the backdrop of Leviticus — with its thousands of priests and millions of sacrifices — that causes the beauty of the work of Jesus — the one priest, and the once for all sacrifice — to shine all the more brilliantly.
There are a number of major themes that weave their way through the whole story of the Bible: covenant, kingdom, and temple, just to name a few. This last Sunday we looked at the theme of God’s presence in each of the sections of the story that we have covered thus far (Genesis 1-11, Genesis 12-50, and Exodus 1-18), and then how this idea of God’s presence comes into a bit of a sharper focus in Exodus 19-40.
I think it is probably safe to say that there are two great peaks in the mountain range of God’s rescue and restoration of the earth. What the cross-resurrection event is to the New Testament, the exodus is to the Old Testament. In each case, the great redemptive salvation act (exodus/cross) produces the covenant community of God’s people (Israel/church) who are called to serve God and his universal mission.
Genesis 12-50: I Will Bless You
It is hard to look at any one text in the Bible and say that it is more important than any other text of the Bible. Since the whole Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit as God’s Words, it is all equally valid and useful for growth in the grace and knowledge of our King, Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, there are those passages that are particularly vital and important to knowing what God is up to in his rescue and restoration plan for the world.
The Whole Story: Genesis One Through Eleven
This last Sunday, January 7th, we kicked off our new sermon series, The Whole Story. As Genesis is the first book of the Bible, we began there, by covering chapters one through eleven...
Why Should I Read The Bible?
Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day.
Advent 2017: Hope and Love — Christmas Eve 2017
This last Sunday, we completed our Advent Series for 2017 with two unique services on Christmas Eve. Read below to learn more about each, along with some study notes and videos for each sermon.
Advent 2017: Joy
This last Sunday, we unpacked the Biblical theme of “joy.” And we began by asking a simple — but very important — question. Namely, “What is joy?”
The Whole Story
On Sunday, January 7th, we will begin a year and a half exploration of the whole story of the whole Bible...
In this excerpt from a recent sermon, Pastor Matthew gives us a roadmap for where the preaching on Sunday morning will progress as we complete the series in Acts, move into the Christmas season, and what’s on tap in 2018 and beyond.
How to Keep Studying the Sermon
In this excerpt from a recent sermon, Pastor Matthew gives us some insights on how to keep working through the sermon Scripture text as we move into our week. The key? Inwardly digest the Word.
Each of us was designed to be in community, to talk and listen, to love and be loved. We long to relate, to commune, to belong.
In our worship service on June 4th, we honored our graduates, and Pastor Josh prayed over them.
A CULTURE OF URGENCY
Learn to declare war on complacency and embrace urgency, because we cannot change what we’re willing to tolerate.
PRAYING FOR OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS DURING RAMADAN
May God use us -- a people who have received mercy -- to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus to those still in darkness and apart from the light.
NO MIXED FEELINGS
You see, I am filled with mixed feelings about me. But God looks at me, as a follower of Jesus, as his adopted child, and has no mixed feelings whatsoever. And, he has no mixed feelings about you whatsoever.
Trusting God to work in our lives and our kid’s lives is always a step of faith.
Child Dedications May 2017
Six children were dedicated this past Sunday. We pray God's blessings upon these children and their parents!
Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship.
God is Pro-Women
As Mother’s Day approaches I want to consider how I can honor not just mothers, but women in general.
On Easter Sunday, the Calvary family got to witness God working in the lives of two men who publicly affirmed their faith through baptism. It was a joy to see!
Why would Moses utter what seems like such a rudimentary and simple command at this point in the life of God's people? What might be bound up in the word, "hear"? And how might such an exhortation continue to apply to God's people today?
It is my prayer that all of this will lead you to immerse yourself in the only Story that makes sense of all our stories.
Presentation of the Pulpit
On Sunday, a new pulpit that was created by Grant Kaihoi was presented to the congregation.
How Quick We Forget
I pray that we would not feel entitled as if God owes us something more. Family, we already obtain infinitely more than we ever deserved from God.
Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet.
This past Sunday in a sermon at Calvary, I described what a praying life could look like through the lens of a definition from David Powlison: “Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet.”
Don’t Leave Your Family
My hope is that everyone who attends on a Sunday morning would grow to see this church as your home and the people of Calvary as your family. I also pray that we would all think twice before leaving this family when times inevitably get difficult.
We all know what exhaustion feels like. When we’ve reached our maximum capacity and are pushed beyond it. ...
On Sunday, the Calvary family had the opportunity to pray for the pastors and elders following the message. It was a sweet time that we were blessed to share in, as we together strive to Live On Mission. Here is the video in case you missed it!
I believe song selection is one of the most important aspects of my role as your Worship Pastor. See, at Calvary, we have the opportunity to introduce around 12 songs per year - 17 songs max. That’s a new song every 3 weeks to a month. Introducing new music too often doesn’t serve our worship gatherings well and can even discourage participation. Not often enough and we could become too comfortable and no longer stirred by the lyrics. We want healthy rhythms of new songs that allow people to get familiar with the songs we sing so they can not only engage, but also firmly grasp the truths we’re singing about.
Celebrating Black History Month
February is Black History Month, and it is likely that this month is needed in 2017 more than any year since. In a time of turmoil and division, it opens up an opportunity for racial divides to be bridged.
Say What You Mean
Paul spoke the truth of the gospel to Peter in the way Peter (and the church of Galatia) needed to hear it. He appropriated the message. This is what we all need to be able to do as we preach to ourselves first and foremost, and also as we preach to others. We need to heed Inigo Montoya’s advice and not "keep using that word” that may not mean what we think it means. More importantly, we need to figure out what the gospel means so that when we use that word we are confidently saying what we mean.
When I exhale in the cold weather, I am reminded that God is showering His grace upon me.
Child Dedications January 29, 2017
Deuteronomy 6 calls us as parents to live out what we believe. It commands us to be careful and diligent as we teach our children to follow God. On January 29th at Calvary, we had parents commit to loving the LORD with all their heart, soul, and might. These parents dedicated their lives to live in such a way as their children will marvel at God. Let’s remember to lead these children to love Jesus with their whole being and follow Him all their days.
You Have Been Freed
His grace has forever freed us from needing to prove our righteousness and worth. So we remind ourselves every day not to search horizontally for what we've already been given vertically.
Wrestling with the Notion of Pleasure in Pain
"...I need to figure out how to want what God wants for me. That his will and his ways and his plans truly are best. For that is why this story from Paul is in the Bible for me to wrestle and argue with…"
Christmas - God’s Connection to Us
Christmas can be a time that reminds us of just how disconnected, detached, and trite some of our relationships are. There’s a profound fracture in the world because of sin. But we have a Savior who sympathizes with our weakness.
Why We Are Still Gathering On Christmas Sunday
Well, it’s happened again for the second time in my pastoral vocation. Christmas is falling on a Sunday, and the discussions on the merits of still gathering as God’s people that morning are occurring across all media platforms — blogs, magazines, podcasts, and more.
A Glimpse of What is to Come
About two weeks ago, my wife Mindee and I had the privilege to go to the Minnesota Vikings game in the brand new US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. I have been a big fan of the football team ever since I was very young and so this was something I was exceptionally excited about. ...
Dealing with money is a progressive journey. We are still growing in our understanding of how to manage it well. We are still seeking to learn from others and we trying to be generous with what God continues to lavish on us.
What’s Wrong with “Kids These Days”?
"Let us be careful as we speak of other generations, lest we create a generational divide that is out of place among believers."
Giving Thanks. Not a new idea. Not all that difficult. Something we hear a lot about and are often found practicing during the holiday season of THANKSgiving. But what if I’m not thankful?...
Calvary was recognized on November 13th for the contribution of over 1 million dollars to the ministry of CRU! A milestone award was presented in the service followed by a word of appreciation from CRU president Steve Douglas.
What Happened to Singing?
Have you ever noticed that we rarely worship through singing outside of the Sunday gathering? In fact, we rarely sing anywhere in public anymore. Is that contributing to the lack of singing when it comes to worship? What happened to singing?
Living on Mission Generously
As we continue to explore Living on Mission Generously as a family, my prayer is that we may be inspired to join an adventure. To join this adventure.
Our Future Hope Sustains Us In Our Present
This past Sunday, I preached from Acts 3. My central aim in recounting this encouraging story of a lame man being healed at a gate of the Temple mount was to show that because we see what God has done through the name of Jesus (healing the lame man), we can trust what God will do through the name of Jesus (heal every single one of us, who are also lame in some way). ...
Longing For The New
Unless you have familiarity with death I’m not sure it’s very easy to be encouraged or moved by Jesus’ words in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new." I’m not necessarily referring to physical death, although that certainly applies, but rather to the far-reaching implications of the brokenness of this world...
Deuteronomy 6 calls us as parents to live out what we believe. It commands us to be careful and diligent as we teach our children to follow God. On October 9th at Calvary, we had parents commit to loving the LORD with all their heart, soul, and might. These parents dedicated their lives to live in such a way as their children will marvel at God. Let’s remember to lead Oliver, Ezekiel, Ezra, Evie, and Isaac to love Jesus with their whole being and follow Him all their days.
Life, In Fact, Is Too Much for Us
"It is not our feelings that determine our level of participation in life, nor our experience that qualifies us for what we will do and be; it is what God decides about us."
How would you answer, "I live on mission by______"?
On October 9th, we want to invite you to join us in creating your own video answering the question, "I live on mission by______". We want to share these individual videos online as an encouragement to others, and we hope you'll share yours as well. Can you imagine how amazing it would be if God used your video to inspire others? Please come, make your own living on mission video, and join with us as we live on mission together!
My Hope On Sabbatical
“Possibly one of the most devastating things that can happen to us as Christians is that we cease to expect anything to happen..."
How To Start A Movement Of Prayer At Your Church
It is rare today to see a passion for prayer as the essence of gospel ministry...
He Sees Vistas Of God's Extraordinary Grace In The Good News
As I continue to make my way through memorizing passages of Scripture this year...