As a pastor entering the new year, I’m thinking about certain things that I’d like to highlight in my ministry to the church. For my church, the needed focus areas might be different than yours. There are also other items my church is focusing on that aren’t included here (like church planting). At this stage in our church’s growth, and in view of the current clima...Keep Reading
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Having seen last week that the first qualification of a potential deacon is a solid reputation, we now turn to look at the second qualification found in Acts chapter 6: being “full of the Spirit.” Of all the qualifications, this one is perhaps most at risk of being misunderstood in the present day. What does “filled with the Spirit” mean?...
We see in Acts 6 that even in the earliest church the temptation to be distracted from this ministry is strong. The apostles put it in blunt terms: “it is not right that we should give up the preaching of the Word of God to serve tables.”...
As a pastor entering the new year, I’m thinking about certain things that I’d like to highlight in my ministry to the church. For my church, the needed focus areas might be different than yours. There are also other items my church is focusing on that aren’t included here (like church planting). At this stage in our church’s growth, and in view of the current climate in the wider church and society, these are some of the things I hope to guide the flock to graze on this coming year. Maybe this list is helpful for you as well....
In this final article, I wanted to pass along, briefly, a few practical suggestions he made to help us reach Muslims, and particularly new arrivals in Canada....
Our Syrian brother not only understands but exemplifies a spirit that sees a local church and its pastors as not merely existing for themselves, but for the benefit of other churches for the sake of the Gospel....
Let’s pray, then, that the Lord would make us bold, that he would cause us to count stability and plenty as relatively unimportant, and that he would move us to sacrifice our reputations, our comforts, our personal preferences, and even our safety in order to make disciples of Christ and build up his Church....
Human beings have an innate longing for meaning and significance. As we continue to pray after David's example in First Chronicles 29 we wrestle with the need for us to confess our mortality and shortness of days to God, and live in light of them....
As we remember God's provision in the life of our own church one year ago, when we took possession of a building of our own for the first time, we look at the example of David's model prayer in First Chronicles 29. In this article we consider how David opened his prayer--with blessing and praise....
As we continue to celebrate our first year owning our own church building, we are meditating on and praying through First Chronicles 29. How does the Christian look at a text like First Chronicles 29, or indeed any Old Testament story or promise or command? The answer is the classic Sunday School answer: “Jesus!”...
Sometimes God provides spectacularly in the life of an individual or a church. On Calvary Grace's first anniversary as "homeowners" in a building of its own, we pause to consider the example of King David's Israel after God ordains a staggering offering by his people for his Temple, seeking wisdom on how to pray after God pours out blessings....
We can’t understand the amazing prayer offered in First Chronicles 29 unless we first understand the man who offered it. In this article, we’re going to look at King David, a "man on a mission." We’ll review what brought him to that moment, in order to help us grasp why he prayed the way he did....
Sermon listening is a central part of the Christian life, and so why not learn more about it? Christopher Ash has written a very short but very useful booklet called Listen Up! A practical guide to listening to sermons, filled with useful tips and challenging questions that will help you “take care…how you hear” (Luke 8:18). After getting started with Gathering One2One, we strongly urge you to find and use this book....
On November 26, it will be our 12th anniversary as a church. This is no small thing, and we ought to give thanks to God for his great kindness to us....Keep Reading
Our aim is to see the prospering of the gospel message among the needy souls of Calgary and beyond. We trust that God will work through this partnership in order to bring lasting fruit, the spiritual prosperity of the life of the Age to come. ...Keep Reading
Don't assume that the visitor will be 'caught at the door' by the pastor. If God has blessed you in the service, you need to jump at the chance to share that blessing with someone else. That will make the post-service hello more than empty chit-chat. It will be small talk crammed with joy, praise and thanksgiving for the grace of the gospel of Christ. It’s exactly the ki...Keep Reading
During the Downgrade Controversy, opponents of Spurgeon thought that he was ‘on the wrong side of history.’ They thought he was an egotistical dinosaur. His clarity about right and wrong was viewed as arrogance in the face of a changing world. Spurgeon was attacked. And in the end, he got eaten alive. ...Keep Reading
It is also a season for calling people to believe in the gospel. This is not just your own personal belief in Christ, but the importance of bearing witness to this news of salvation. The season for this is brief too. And that is all the more reason why we need to have a sense of urgency, even as we are basking in the sunlight of the Son....Keep Reading
Our religious observances do not save us. Christ saves us. He alone is our salvation. It is not a combination of our faith and our religious observances, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. Rather, Christ alone saves and all our guilty sin has been born by Christ on the cross, while his resurrection seals the forgiveness of our guilt forever....Keep Reading
As life goes on we are repeatedly faced with choices. And as we are confronted with choices we can be tempted in various ways. We can seek to escape them. Or we can make our choice based on our own worldly wisdom. Or we can rashly make a choice without even thinking. By contrast, we ought to learn to pray, discern and decide....Keep Reading
Their passport is a two-part gift. First, the Scripture says that believing in him is something granted. Second, is the other part of the gift that must be included. It has been granted to you, not only to be believe, but to suffer for his sake. ...Keep Reading
The Christian life might not be romantic or nostalgic but its real. Our organic connection to Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection is better than all of the hoped for clean eating and living that hopeless shoppers pursue. ...Keep Reading
When it comes to the Protestant Reformation, let’s not be like the forgetful people after the ‘celebration of life’. Instead let’s pray like the Psalmist did, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11)....Keep Reading
Revival is a special season when God does intensely the things he does regularly. He saves sinners all the time. When many pay attention to God in a new way at the same time, that is a revival....Keep Reading
Death is a big problem for religion. How can a guru, saviour, or priest hope to provide any kind of lasting salvation if they die?...Keep Reading
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. This familiar verse can come to life if we contrast what the Scripture says with its opposite. So ask yourself, “What do you look to for help in your weakness?”...Keep Reading
Paul always presented his desires to God, so that if God answered his prayer, his desires would be met in God’s way. So Paul’s Gospel is the channel of his prayers. Paul’s Gospel is the motivation for his prayers Paul’s Gospel is the goal of his prayers. ...Keep Reading
Are you communing with Christ, enjoying the filling of your Pipeline Heart and displaying the irrigated beauty of the Spirit’s change in your life? ...Keep Reading
If our church is to have a culture of holiness, we will need to wake up. It is too easy for Christians to get drowsy and relaxed in the fight against lust in the mind and sexual immorality in the heart and hand. ...Keep Reading
So there is no crossing of God’s border by any fake papers we might print up for ourselves. No personal achievements, no “I gave at work”, no charity dinner, recycling program, yoga class graduation or “I’ve been a member since ‘92.” Only in Jesus Christ, who said, “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) can the border be crossed. ...Keep Reading
So that is how it’s possible to give up the ownership of our lives to Jesus Christ. He is Lord. He knows what’s he’s doing. And more importantly, he has already paid the bills of our sledgehammer spree. As 2 Timothy 1.10 says, Jesus is the one, “who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”(NIV). He has come to make“...Keep Reading
The Scriptures can give us great confidence like they did for the apostles, and others like Maskepetoon. Such confidence helps us to bear regular consistent witness with the testimony of the Scriptures....Keep Reading
There are many things that we can view through this lense of promise and prospect or an already, not yet. When a blushing girl gets a ring from a nervous guy, that engagement symbol is a promise that they will marry. The couple has the promise already, but they must wait for their wedding day which is not yet. ...Keep Reading
One of the classic examples of an awakened recognition of the gravity of God came to the ancient prophet Isaiah when he had a supernatural vision of the khavod of God. Isaiah saw that God was morally pure-- triple deluxe pure so that angelic beings could not view God directly because their creaturely eyeballs would fry if they looked at God’s holy purity. And these angel...Keep Reading
In the West, we are hearing more and more about the global refugee crisis. Each day we hear reports about the dangers and trials of refugees. From Greece to France to Britain and North America, refugees are looking for a new places to call home....Keep Reading
There are few things that all people across the political and social spectrum can agree on. But these days, we all agree that we can't agree. We all suffer from 'outrage fatigue' and the divisions in our world seem more immovable than ever before. Civil discourse is neither civil nor discourse....Keep Reading
Calvary Grace Church is faced with a decision to make by the end of June. We have to decide whether we will express 'our intent to purchase' the building which we currently rent. In this newsletter, I want to share a little bit about what the remaining timeline looks like as we seek to pray, discern and decide....Keep Reading
Thoughts on conflicting views about church buildings, the strategic importance of buildings, and strategic Christians in Spiritual warfare....Keep Reading
One of the things that happens when you do something for a while is that you start to de-prioritize it. When life is busy, the things that used to be special become commonplace. As the old saying goes, 'familiarity breeds contempt'. ...Keep Reading
Calgarians are anxious. As the oil boom comes to an end, there is a sense of stress and fear. People who have tried to buy their way to happiness are realizing the vanity of wealth and chasing after the wind. Others who have trusted in the security of a prosperous society are now disoriented and confused about what life is all about....Keep Reading
When the exiles returned from Babylon they rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah tells us that, “each laboured on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.” (4.17). They didn’t have the luxury of focusing entirely upon the building work, since they were in a hostile environment. But they couldn’t simply focus on fighting all of the time; they had...Keep Reading
If you have small children or elderly relatives you know that birthdays are a big deal. Birthdays mark out the early stages of life as well as milestones of a long life nearing the end. It seems that somewhere between years 30 and 60 we prefer that additional birthdays are forgotten! Nevertheless, we mark off our birthdays by keeping track of the years, like this one, 201...Keep Reading
In the aftermath of the coordinated attacks in Paris murdering 150 image bearers of the living God, who were all somebody’s daughter or son, many wonder if the world is going mad....Keep Reading
Bolstered by your support, Calvary Grace has had new opportunities to encourage gospel ministry in Canada and overseas....Keep Reading
When some people compare religions with each other, they can come away thinking that they are all arbitrary. Not so with biblical Christianity. The Christian gospel is not merely another clever scheme to provide what Karl Marx called, “the opiate of the people”. The Christian message of salvation has an internal consistency. It fits....Keep Reading
Since we believe Paul when he said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3.16), then we all want to know our bibles better. Obviously, the starting point for this is to read the bible. But there are some things that can help us to do that. Here are four ways to know you...Keep Reading
John Owen was a 17th century English theologian and pastor who wrote one of the most extensive commentaries on the book of Hebrews. Looking at the passage from Heb. 12.24, “[blood] that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”, Owen wrote: "The blood of Christ never cried, as Abel’s did, for vengeance on them by whom it was shed, but pleaded their pardon as sinne...Keep Reading
It is a funny thing to watch a kid who has just discovered their shadow. They step on the pavement trying to hold the shadow down. Or they’ll run trying to get away from a shadow that runs just as fast. Shadows and the forms that they mimic are simple things that we see every day. The metaphor of shadows and substances is one of the simple ideas showing how the Bible is ...Keep Reading
A little ‘pagan ridicule’ should not send us running away from faith in the resurrection of our savior. Of course we look at the Bible’s testimony about the resurrection and we see evidences that show the trustworthiness of the testimony (e.g. the sealed, soldier guarded tomb was empty, no cover-up concerning women as early witnesses, the eyewitness encounters of div...Keep Reading
It's funny how the conference theme of love was so impactful for everyone, yet Ryan Fullerton’s comments in Sunday School about organization in a growing church really resonated too. ...Keep Reading
One of the great things about the Christmas season as it is celebrated by Canadians is the family get-togethers. There is always lots of food, feasting and fun. But when family is far away, or estranged, those family gatherings that everyone else enjoys can rip the skin off of old scars. ...Keep Reading
Have you ever wondered who "has the say-so"? In any family, business or organization there are many decisions that must be made. And if the decisions are to be made it has to be clear who has decision-making authority. That’s what some old-timers that I’ve known used to call, "having the say-so."...Keep Reading
n the early winter of 1997, I spent a few minutes in the office of theologian David Wells, picking his brain about the history of 20th-century evangelicalism. He graciously and patiently answered my questions then handed me a little booklet called The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church....Keep Reading
As we recall Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on his way to the ironic reversals of betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial and three days later, resurrection, we are reminded of our own call to the cross....Keep Reading
Sometimes a change of facility can mean a change in the logistics of ministry. This is what we anticipate with our move from the Alexandra Centre to St John Lutheran Church. Now visitors can find seats. Classes meeting in hallways can sit comfortably in classrooms. Leaving the building after church will feel less like being a part of a herd of cattle in a crowding alley....Keep Reading
“Anything you can do, I can do, better”. That’s how the saying goes. Or is it a song? Whether or not you can do things better, is it true that anything anyone else can do, you can do? Are we all simply interchangeable parts in this world? The voices of our culture tell us that if we remove all the barriers to opportunity, then anyone can do anything. That is the a...Keep Reading
In a city of oil-bucks and big trucks, the idea of church may seem irrelevant. But the claims of Jesus Christ remain, and his church continues to be built, even here in Cowtown. Other people might think Calgary is the buckle on the Bible Belt, but they would be wrong. Calgary is in desperate need of the gospel as fewer churches hold forth the good news of Jesus’ death an...Keep Reading
In the afterglow of a weekend conference you can almost bank on the intense feelings to start wearing off by about Wednesday if not earlier. If a conference is a good one, it can seem a bit disappointing to let its benefits slip through your fingers like so much water. And most of the time, we content ourselves to feel disappointed with the quick loss, rather than actually...Keep Reading