Sermon By Pastor Corky Calhoun
It's interesting to me that the further away we get from that personal moment of salvation from sin, the less passionate most Christians are about their faith. Time in truly erodes awareness of. I think the thing that keeps us from having a "Life on Fire" for Jesus is a disconnected prayer life. It's not frequent enough, fervent enough, faithful enough. Look, we are passionate about the things that mean the most to us, it's a simple truth that reveals a hidden reality. This reality is that our passionate life for Christ should be in full view to the world, people should know we are passionate about his mission to reach our community with love and grace. It is why we use terms like "All In" and "Sold Out" around here to describe the walk we are supposed to be walking. It's my desire that none of us would forget that not only have we been redeemed, but we have been redeemed with a purpose. When Paul tells us we should "pray with out ceasing" I think what he is trying to say is that we should live our life on fire. Not only should our prayer life be passionate, but it should influence our passions! I think we spend so much time asking God in prayer to give us the desires of our hearts, instead of asking him to help our hearts burn with greater desire for him!
Join us Sunday as we continue to look at the practice of prayer and the difference it makes.
This Sunday we look at the one aspect of prayer we share most in common with both our believing and non-believing neighbors...the Prayer of Deliverance. I really do believe this is the most common type of prayer uttered by all people. As I said last week, there are no atheists in foxholes. The fact is that for some people it is the crucible of crisis that ever drives them to pray. I mean, how many of our prayers have some aspect of, protect me, guide me, deliver me, rescue me, help me, watch over me? A great many of our prayers are cries to the Lord, which is perfectly fine as these types of prayers are littered throughout scripture. Even Jesus in the garden asked God to take from him the cup of wrath. But how often do we pray a prayer of deliverance with no expectance of him showing up? I call these "wishing well" prayers! The truth is all of us will need to be delivered even if it is just from our sin alone. I also believe we will all need Jesus, just better to know him before you need him. I always marvel at people who pray for deliverance and then attribute their rescue to luck. Or the person who prays for deliverance and then isn't happy with the means God chose in deliverance, I reference the Israelites on their way out of bondage in Egypt. So this Sunday, I hope we affirm that prayers of deliverance are both common and welcomed by God. However, I do not want us to miss that the methodology of God's chosen deliverance might not look like what we wish for. After all wishing and hope are not the same thing! And yet, God's chosen method of deliverance may be the very thing God needs to be glorified through our coming victory!
Sermon by Pastor Corky Calhoun
This Sunday we start a new series on "Prayer." Increasingly I am at meetings with Pastors, which by and large are a strange bunch of folks ( I am sure other vocational groups have strange members as well, but since this is my group I just need to call it like I see it). What makes it strange is that for people in the relationship business they seem to be awkward around each other. Honestly, I don't know what drives that, maybe the fear of competition or a hesitancy to be vulnerable. Conversations tend to be shallow and often times limited to complaining about the flock. Anyway, not long ago at one of these meetings a Pastor asks me one of the three questions always asked by one pastor to another..."what are you preaching on these days?" I shared that our emphasis this year had been on prayer and that we would soon begin our second series on this topic. His response was, "I can't think of anything more boring than a series on prayer." Yes he did, he actually said that! So I have been wondering...do we think prayer is boring? Is our communication with our God, who rescued us from sin and death more duty than delight? Is our encouragement to be in prayer once a month in the historic sanctuary more guilty obligation than anticipated expectation? I really do think prayer is one of the most vital and often one of the most neglected aspects of anyone's spiritual life. I never meet anyone who says "I am crushing my prayer life", but I speak to lots of people who wish their prayer life was better. This is what the next seven weeks will be about...the practice of prayer! So I hope you will join us and begin a journey to become prayer warriors in an age of darkness.
This week, we are continuing to talk about Defiant Joy. I think this is a timely series and I hope everyone has been taking it to heart. How do we have joy when everywhere we look, all we see is hurt, and suffering, and hate, and foolishness. It's the blind leading the blind. How can we come back from this? In the words of one pastor, "it's like everyone has lost their minds!"
I think our subject matter this week is the most important reason we can have joy and hope in trying times. We can have Defiant Joy because of the Power of God.
This week,we are going to look at the Resurrection of Lazarus, because, hey, what's a better demonstration of Power than raising someone from the dead?
The middle ground that stands between life's challenges and eventual victory is always a road of perseverance. We have become a culture of the quick fix, the easy button approach to life and when the going gets tough more and more people just quit. It's why happiness fails to have long term sustainability, and why in this life we not only need a sustainable joy but a defiant joy. I believe that the words defiance, perseverance and endurance are all synonymous. They all have to do with staying in the game against a known resistance. If we are going to advance the cause of Christ, if we aren't going to have our "Joy" stolen, then perseverance will have to be a part of the kingdom game plan. Furthermore, I believe our cultural pursuit of comfort has caused us to minimize this personal value of perseverance, and in some cases made it a non-necessity. This is a formula for both long term failure and frustration! I want us thinking of iron sharpening iron, that we see challenges as what strengthens us to finish well! See you Sunday as we build a foundation of Defiant Joy!
Sermon by Pastor Corky Calhoun
Sermon by Pastor Corky Calhoun
This Sunday we conclude our summer series "Shine" with a look at this aspect of the fruit of the spirit, that requires some personal responsibility. So have you ever said something to some one and you immediately wished you could take it back? Have you ever let the actions of one person influence your reactions to many others? And how is it that one person dings us and we then feel the permission to ding dozens? Self-control covers a multitude of issues, whether it's our tongue, our desires, our selfishness, our weaknesses. The thing is, the absence of it is a spiritual issue. As I say so frequently, you may not have a... (fill in the blank) issue...what you probably have is a Jesus issue. Have you ever noticed that when we fail to exercise self-control in some aspect of our life, it always seems to be some one else's fault? Why do we do that? Why do we play the blame game? What ever happened to personal responsibility? The fact is our "witness" to all things Christ, or our ability to "shine" His glory is directly connected to the spirit led self-control we demonstrate. We live in a world of cyber-courage that allows us to fling insults and criticize others without seeing the damage we cause. What if we could hit the pause button and ask...does this comment, action, activity, feeling or thought, actually glorify God and represent Christ that I claim lives inside of me? Join us Sunday as we close out our summer series with an exclamation point.
Sermon By Corky Calhoun
It was about 700 years ago that reformer and priest Martin Luther penned these words, "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing...is worth nothing". Probably nothing else in all of Christendom is more distorted than our understanding of sacrifice. It's hard in our comfort based culture to embrace suffering of any kind, and sacrifice is rare. I find that sacrifice is a noble virtue we want in public servants, but seems beyond our ability when its thrust upon us. For example, I haven't met anyone who doesn't want our schools to be safe, I just haven't met anyone who can agree on who should pay for it. If we are going to live the life Christ has called us to as His Disciples then there will be some sacrifice involved. Somebody is going to have to give something up in order for some one else to have. Isn't that what Jesus did? Trade his life for our sin so that we would be granted life? When people ask me why the North American church is in decline, I tell them it is the curse of the 3 C's; Comfort, Convenience and Complacency. Here is my driving passion; I want the church to be here for my grandchildren, and I know that won't happen without some sacrifices. Our church is 136 years old, the doors are still open because people made sacrifices in the name of Jesus. The Kingdom doesn't advance without sacrifice, plain and simple. Join us Sunday as we look at this critical aspect of allowing our faith to shine.
God, by his very character and nature is compassionate. And that is good news for us sinners. It is because of God's compassion that we don't always get what we deserve. And that compassion finds its
fullest expression in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of Jesus' earthly mission was to seek and to save that which was lost. Yet along the way, he encountered multitudes of sick and suffering people. And scripture tells us that "he healed every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people." These healings ultimately demonstrated Christ's power to free everyone, not just from physical suffering, but from the bondage, penalty and consequences of sin.
There's a well-known story in the Bible that brilliantly illustrates this. Join us Sunday as we dig deep into this Parable to see the undeniable and incomparable compassion of Christ and how he has entrusted us to continue this mission until he returns to take us all home.