Monday, November 24, 2008

"Let's Do Lunch"

I am on vacation this week at the beach with all of my family.  It is wonderful.  I am currently sitting on the back porch listening to "Revelation Song" by Gateway worship, looking at the ocean!

I have also been reading a book that has been challenging me.  It is called "Total Church" by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis.  The following made me think:

"A woman once told me about the difficulties she faced as a Brit fitting into American culture.  One of her struggles was with people who said, "Let's do lunch."  She expected them to phone and arrange a date.  They never did.  "Let's do lunch" was just an idiomatic way of saying farewell.  We all say, "Let's do mission," but does it carry any more intent than "Let's do lunch"?

I was convicted!

Your thoughts?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Defining Sin - Part II

Today I want to continue to our series on sin by looking at the impact it has on our everyday lives. We have defined sin as being more than just doing something is allowing good things to become ultimate things. Obviously when that happens the consequences are serious and far reaching.

Tim Keller said:
"Defining sin this way, we can see several ways that sin destroys us personally. Identity apart from God is inherently unstable. Without God, our sense of worth may seem solid on the surface, but it never is--it can desert you in a moment. For example, if I build my identity on being a good parent, I have no true "self"--I am just a parent nothing more. If something goes wrong with my children or my parenting, there is no "me" left. Theologian Thomas Oden writes:

"Suppose my god is sex or my physical health or the Democratic Party. If I experience any of these under genuine threat, then I feel myself shaken to the depths. Guilt becomes neurotically intensified to the degree that I have idolized finite values....Suppose I value my ability to teach and communicate clearly....If clear communication has become an absolute value for me, a center of value that makes all my other values valuable...then if I [fail in teaching well] I am stricken with neurotic guilt. Bitterness becomes neurotically intensified when someone or something stands between me and something that is my ultimate value."

If anything threatens your identity you will not just be anxious but paralyzed with fear. If you lose your identity through the failings of somone else you will not just be resentful, but locked into bitterness. If you lose it through your own failings, you will hate or despise yourself as a failure as long as you live. Only if your identity is built on God and his love, says, Kierkegaard, can you have a self that can venture anything, face anything."

In what ways have you sought to find your identity in someone or something other than God?

I know for me, when I am still before God, this is a very humbling question. It is a question that I need to ask all the time!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Defining Sin - Part I

I know that it has been a while since we have updated the blog and for that I apologize. We are going to work hard at keeping it updated much more regularly and we would love your input and comments.

This morning I want to begin a series of posts on "sin" and what the implications of sin really are. As I have shared with you before I have been really challenged by Tim Keller's book The Reason for God. The book really is a must read for all Christians. You can get a copy here.

In Chapter 10 entitled "The Problem of Sin" Keller systematically addresses the implications of sin, and I want to spend some time looking at each of them and also hearing from you and what your thoughts are.

I know that long quotes can sometimes be tedious, but let me share some thoughts from Keller regarding the meaning of sin. He writes:

"The famous Danish philospher Soren Kierkegaard wrote a fascinating little book called The Sickness Unto Death in 1849. In it he defined "sin" in a way that is rooted in the Bible but also is accessible to contemporary people. "Sin is: in despair not wanting to be oneself before God...Faith is: that the self in being itself and wanting to be itself is grounded transparently in God." Sin is despairng refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from him.

What does this mean? Everyone gets their identity, their sense of being distinct and valuable, from somewhere or something. Kierkegaard asserts that human beings were made not only to believe in God in some general way, but to love him supremely, center their lives on him above everything else, and build their very identities on him. Anything other than this is sin.

Most people think of sin primarily as "breaking divine rules," but Kierkegaard knows that the very first of the Ten Commandments is to "have no other gods before me." So, according to the Bible, the primary way to define sin is not just doing of bad things, but making of good things into ultimate things. It is seeking to establish a sense of self by making something else more central to your significance, purpose, and happiness than your relationship to God."

I thought one of the most challenging thoughts was how we can turn "good things" into "ultimate things?" Are there ways in which you have done that?


Monday, July 14, 2008

Would our community miss us?...

Today I had the opportunity, along with Al and Guy, to visit several of the Mission Winston-Salem projects where our membership are sharing the love of Christ in our community. Needless to say it was pretty incredible. I had a friend ask his church "If we were no longer here would our community miss us?" My prayer is that we will serve our community in such a way that people will take notice and realize that we treasure Jesus more than anything else in the world.

Let me give you an example of some of the incredible things that are taking place today. I got this email from a Captain in our Fire Department. The email read:

"I am the Captain at Engine 15 on Shattalon Dr. A group from your church came by with cookies and stuffed animals for kids affected by fires or other incidents. We gave the kids and the moms a tour and they prayed with us. I wish to thank you for this kind service. We do not get much help with things like the animals which I have seen can be a great help for a young person when they have lost all their things or a parent. We here at Engine 15 thank you for this and all your church does for the community."

May God receive all the glory!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Praying for our children...

This week is no ordinary week in the life of our church. In fact all you need to do is show up around 9:00 am and you will notice a sea of parents and children rushing into the building. This week is our Vacation Bible School week and today there were over 1,100 leaders and children here!

Each day this week between 9:00 and noon these kids will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and be challenged by the Scriptures as they study about some of the heroes of the faith. They will also have opportunities to fellowship, play games, sing, and make crafts. VBS is a wonderful outreach to families in our community.

In your prayer time this week take a few moments to pray for the next generation and their families. Pray for all that is transpiring this week through Vacation Bible School. Pray that children will give their lives to Christ and spend their lifetimes passionately pursuing Him.

Finally, if you think about it this week take a moment to thank Karen Malek and her team working with pre-schoolers and Sheri King and her team working with our children. They have spent countless hours preparing for this week and they are phenomenal leaders!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Calvary West...A Step of Faith

I have been a member of Calvary Baptist Church for most of my life. It is where I gave my life to Christ and was baptized. It was where countless people invested their time, resources, and Biblical wisdom into me and countless others. Through those years there have been times where, as a church, we have decided to take steps of faith that would seek to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Those steps have included building buildings that would facilitate growth, beginning strategic initiatives and programs that address needs within our community, and a strong commitment to sending both short-term and long-term missionaries throughout the world.

I believe that yesterday, June 22, our church took another great step of faith in voting to move forward with starting a second campus in Davie County. The motion, brought from our deacons passed with 99% approval! This vote comes in the wake of countless hours of prayer, seeking the will of God, and planning.

My prayer is that we will look back at this defining moment years from now and rejoice over the countless lives that have been changed because of the willingness of our church to take a step of faith in order that the Gospel might go forward. It is such a great privilege serving at a church where the people long to honor God and are passionate about the bringing the "Good News" to the world.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Calvary West

Yesterday in all of our morning services we shared with the congregation that the location for our second campus will be in Davie County. We are so excited about what God is doing in our midst and what we believe is going to be an incredible step of faith as we start the second campus this fall.

There are several reasons why we feel led to Davie County some of which include the fact that it is the fastest growing county in the Triad and that almost 40% of our congregation live in that direction.

As we continue to move forward it is imperative that we continue to pray and seek God's will and direction. Here are some of the things that you can be praying for:
  1. Pray that God will begin preparing the hearts of those who will hear the Gospel message faithfully proclaimed at our West Campus.
  2. Pray for God to lead us to the right facility to meet the needs of our West Campus.
  3. Pray that God will continue to raise up leadership that will commit to serve at both of our campuses.
  4. Pray for wisdom for both staff and leadership as they continue to look for ways to maximize the strength of our central campus.

Remember if you are interested in being a part of the team that will be pioneering this adventure email us at