Friday, April 3, 2020
Join us online for our worship service this Sunday
Instead of physically gathering at this time, we are live streaming our services with worship and a message. The live stream takes place at 10:00am on Sunday mornings. Also, you can watch the service on demand on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. During the first of the week, we post the audio of the sermon on our website and podcasts (Google, Apple, Spotify).
Click here for COVID-19 updates.
Our Sunday services will be available to view live online at 10:00am through the following channels:
YouTube: Calvary Community Church
In addition to the live stream of our worship services, I upload the notes of the messages on our sermon page. I want to encourage you to watch the live stream and to talk about it with others through texts, social media, email, or over the phone.
By the way, only our A/V team and those participating in the live stream are allowed to join us for the service recording sessions according to the stay home and work safe directives.
Touching bases on Friday, 4’3’20
I thank my God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3 NIV).
I miss being with you and seeing you. In this season of stay home and work safe, you and I are making a lot of adjustments, aren’t we? And, how you are doing? Really, how are YOU doing?
In this season, everything that can be shaken is being shaken, and the Lord is at work redemptively in the midst of the shaking (Hebrews 12:25-29). As a follower of Jesus, I believe that the Lord can take anything and everything that comes our way and use it to work something good in our lives, for those who are called according to his promise, which is to be conformed to Christlikeness. And that is true for this shaking in our world which is resulting from this pandemic (Romans 8:28-29).
And, I believe that you and I are going to make it.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved (Hebrews 10:35-39 NIV).
Yes, it is hard. Yes, times like these are challenging. Yes, you and I will have ups and downs. And, I believe that everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5 NIV).
Jesus lives in you as a believer and follower of Christ. Jesus is the overcomer. Because Jesus overcame, you are an overcomer in Christ. That is really good news.
Let me move on before I get to preaching. Actually, I am going to give an update that I want you hear and know. Later, I will let you know I am moving back into preacher mode. I will develop more fully a skill that will help you overcome in Christ.
Now, here is a brief update.
All of our ministries at Calvary are very active; they are just taking place in different shapes and forms.
Our staff team is amazing and doing great work. Your staff are working hard to stay connected with one another and with the people in their ministries and care.
We are moving forward as a church. Yes, our plans are changing and looking different. And, we are seizing opportunities like live streaming and other technologies to connect with and minister to people.
I am encouraged by the fact that lots of ministry is going on in and through this body. Journey Guides are doing a great job connecting with people in our Journey Groups. I keep hearing wonderful testimonies regarding how you are sharing the love of God with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Be sure to connect with your Journey Group Leader; that is the primary place of pastoral care for adults at Calvary. If you are a young person in grades 6-12, be sure to connect with Jane Winne, our Student Ministries Coordinator, at email@example.com. For children’s ministry, from Birth through Fifth Grade, contact Becky Gressett, our Children’s Pastor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Ladies Ministry, connect with Cheryl Moses at email@example.com. And for Men’s Ministry, contact Joshua Rushing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, if you aren’t plugged into a small group, then, please connect with Margaret Petry at email@example.com. We don’t want anyone falling through the cracks. Margaret will get you to the right place. She is a great networker and resource person.
As you know, the Governor of Texas and our Harris County Judge have issued stay home and work safe orders through April 30, except for essential businesses or essential errands, like going to the grocery story, picking up meals, stopping by the pharmacy, making doctor’s visits, or the like.
So, we will continue to meet online for worship on Sundays at 10:00am. I invite you to join us. (Visit our YouTube channel or Facebook page.) And, I encourage you to invite two or three friends to watch our next service online. Make the ask. And, this update will also be posted on our blog at CalvaryHouston.com.
Thanks for joining me for this update. And, I hope you are encouraged.
Here is the longer version.
Now, I want to highlight something I shared this past Sunday morning. If I were writing an email, I would title this section: The Longer Version.
So, back to the message I started earlier. I want to talk about a skill that will help you be an overcomer in Christ.
Everyone I know is experiencing at least one of the following three things: anxiety (feeling threatened), anger, or grief (loss).
I hope that you are connecting with others and sharing what you think, feel, and believe. The Scripture says, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 NIV).
Make time to reach out to others and to connect. Don’t wait for others to connect with you.
We all have chronic anxiety, that background noise that produces angst in our soul. It is perceived threat.
Today, we are facing acute anxiety in the form of a pandemic. It is a real threat. So, our whole world is full of anxiety, with acute anxiety on the top of chronic anxiety, and people everywhere are anxious.
What happens when we are anxious?
- When we are anxious, we don’t think clearly.
- When we are anxious, we become reactive rather than choosing to be thoughtful and reflective.
- When we are anxious, we react out of our anxiety:
- Conflicting: arguing more, being irritable, being short tempered, being mad at God or the world.
- Over or under functioning.
- Triangling: going to others rather than going to someone and working out our differences or working on our issues.
- Distancing from others or even cutting off others.
- When we are anxious, we make meaning and project on people, rather than having compassion, seeking to understand, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. We assume the worst rather than believing the best.
- When we are anxious, we judge and blame; someone has to be blamed for what I am going through or what I am experiencing. Rather, we need to ask ourselves: What is our role in this system that is causing or helping to keep these responses in place?
One of the most transforming practices we have learned is to walk in the light with God and others (1 John 1:7; James 5:16). Remember: What you don’t say owns you. Understand that what we don’t talk about, we act out.
Especially in this season of physical distancing and staying home, we need to come up with intentional strategies for having transformation conversations with others.
I recognize that it is hard for some of us to connect with others, especially when we feel isolated or quarantined.
- Some of us think that we don’t want to bother other people with our needs or concerns, because we assume that they are busy or have enough to deal with already.
- Some of us say that we don’t have anyone to call or anyone who would listen.
- Some of us are afraid of being corrected, fixed, or judged by others if they knew who we really were.
A Call to Action:
I want to encourage you to make a list of 10 people whom you can trust and who love you.
Basically, in making a list of 10 people, I am seeking to get you in action. And, I want to take away the excuses that no one cares or that no one wants to talk with you.
If you can’t think of 10 people, then contact your small group leader or one of your pastors and let them work with you on creating your list. We want to empower you to walk in the light with others and to experience transformation.
Now, contact the people on your list and ask their permission for you to call them. Let them know that you will call them when you need to walk in the light, when you need prayer, when you need to say what is so for you, or when you need to say what you think, feel, and believe.
Then, seek to have 3 to 5 conversations a week with people where you walk in the light. I recommend putting those conversations on your calendar to help you follow through like an appointment.
When you contact a person on your list, pick one or two of the following things to share:
- Talk about what you are learning.
- Share what challenge(s) you are facing.
- Express what you are celebrating.
- Talk about what you are feeling or thinking.
- Share what the Lord is putting his finger on in your life, even if you don’t know what it means or what to do about it.
- Say what you need to say.
We have learned the importance of walking in the light and having transformation conversations with others on a regular basis. Now, we need to continue connecting with others intentionally all the more in this time of physical distancing.
Prayer: May each of us make time to walk intentionally in the light with others even in the midst of physical distancing or isolation.
Thanks for sticking around to the end of this update.
Thank you for your faithfulness to give, to care, to connect, and to serve to advance the kingdom of God in the earth.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me at 281-686-5291.
Please continue praying for our church, city, and nation… and if you have faith, for this world that needs healing and mercy.
May the Lord pour into you his grace, wisdom, and strength which you need for each day.
Senior Pastor, Calvary Community Church