It means communion, not the bread and juice kind, but the friendship kind. It means fellowship. It means that we do life together, that we love each other, that we rejoice together and sometimes weep together. It means we have fun together. It means we spend time together. It’s important. It’s community. It’s koinonia.
On April 28-30, the Calvary Chapel family throughout eastern Canada is going to gather in Ottawa for a time of, well, koinonia. It’s not a conference where we only listen to great Bible teaching (which we will), it is a time of getting together and having fun as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
I hope you will make plans to be there.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)
In this short video, Pat walks us through some important keys that will help us make good decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and live a life that pleases the Lord.
Last week Pastor Paul told us about a message he heard from Pastor Greg Laurie about talking to others about Jesus. Just click on the image above to watch this message.
It ties in to what we are going to be talking about this coming weekend: "What is Your God-Story?"
In Acts 22, we see Paul sharing his God-story. We can do the same. Let's pray that God gives us those opportunities -- and that we take advantage of them!
If there is one question that every Christian has asked, if there is one issue that every believer has thought about it is the issue of “God’s will for my life.”
“What is God’s will for my life?”
“Should I go here or should I go there?”
“What does God want me to do?”
Sometimes it has to do with education – what school should I go to?
Sometimes it has to do with work and career – what job should I take?
Sometimes it has to do with ministry – should I quit my job and “go into the ministry”?
Sometimes it has to do with marriage – what person should I marry?
This issue certainly is an important one. How do I make decisions according to God’s will?
Acts 16:6-10 is a very interesting portion of Scripture. It is a passage that has to do with “discerning divine direction”. In these verses God leads one of His children into a certain geographical place, by preventing him from going one way and then giving him a vision of a man asking for help.
The book of Acts is an important book in the Bible because it traces the growth of the church from a small group of 120 Jewish followers of Jesus, meeting in an upper room in Jerusalem, to a very large, perhaps innumerable group of disciples all over Judea, Samaria, and into the western world of what we now call Europe.
The Apostle Paul is the man that God used to take his message throughout the areas of what we know as Turkey, Greece, and into western Europe.
Here in Acts 16 Paul and his companions Silas and Timothy are traversing the land, talking to people about the Messiah, the Saviour Jesus, whom God confirmed through signs, miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and through raising Him from the dead.
As they are spreading the message of the gospel, God re-directs their steps.
They want to go one way, but were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit.”
The try to go another way, but “the Spirit did not permit them.”
Two closed doors that ultimately led to an open door. Sound familiar?
This might be an important topic for you because you are wondering about God’s direction as it pertains to your decisions about your job, education, residence, or an important relationship.
These are huge areas in our lives. They not just impact our future, but the futures of those who love us.
The first thing that is important to realize is that God does have a plan for you.
Take a look at these passages:
““I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“For those whom he foreknew…he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:29)
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16)
“Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”” (James 4:15)
Yes, God has a plan for you. Beyond that, there are several things that we can learn in this passage about making good decisions. This coming Saturday, February 18, I will be taking a close look at these verses and uncover these “tools” that you can use as you “learn to discern” God’s will and direction for your life.
Hope to see you there!
(This week’s post is by Sarah, age 16.)
Last weekend a few of the youth and I spent two nights at the Word of Life Bible Institute’s “Recharge” snow camp. I was really excited because I’ve heard so much about Word of Life, and have wanted to go for a long time.
The campus in Owen Sound was covered in two feet of snow when we got there Friday evening, and it kept snowing all weekend; a huge change from our warm winter here in Oakville. But we were all ready for it, and snow camp did not disappoint!
There were way too many activities for us to try everything, but we had a great time tubing, playing soccer, running around completing a scavenger hunt, climbing the high ropes course, jumping into freezing water for the “ice cube” challenge, and eating super delicious food. The cardboard sled race Saturday night was extremely exciting, and our “Fishers of Men” fishing boat took home 1st place for design!!Over the weekend there were four sessions to attend. First of all we got to watch a creative skit the staff had put together that really got everyone thinking, then a gospel meeting on Saturday morning. We also listened to a workshop about modern culture and how to approach some difficult topics with a Biblical attitude, which was really very cool. And before we left on Sunday, there was a wonderful session about sharing your faith, which I hope most kids enjoyed and learned from as much as I did.
Above all, the highlight for me this weekend was the Word of Life staff: honestly some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Every one of them was so pumped to be there, eager to get to know us, and passionate about Christ, I would be so down to go again just to spend more time with them. I can’t imagine better role models for the hundreds of young kids that attend their camps every year. They truly, truly inspired me.
Overall, I’m so so grateful that we had this opportunity. I had a really great time at Recharge; we all did, I think; and I will definitely be first in line if we decide to go back in the summer.
In just a few days, several of the Calvary Chapel teenagers will be heading to Word of Life’s Recharge Winter Camp in Owen Sound, Ontario for a couple days where they will race cardboard sleds, eat as much pizza as possible, go night tubing on the mega-tube hill, and have their relationship with Jesus recharged through Bible teaching, friendships, and worship and prayer.
For many people, their relationship with Jesus really begins or is invigorated as a teenager during a camp or retreat. For me, it was camping trip in Utah when I was in tenth grade. God met me there, He showed me He was real and He showed me that He loved me.
If you are a teenager reading this, surrender your heart completeyl to Jesus. Get into His word and pray. He has a tremendous custom made adventure awaiting for you.
For those of us who are no longer teenagers, pray for this upcoming generation. Pray that many of them completely surrender to Jesus and give their life to work for His kingdom. Pray for those heading to Recharge — that they would never be the same.
We often call it a “testimony.” It’s defined as “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.”
I like to call it a “God Story.” It’s the story of how your life was changed by God. And it is a very powerful tool that God can use in your life to reach someone who is far from God. Every testimony, every God Story, has three parts. Here they are.
The beauty of a testimony is that it can be shared in as short as thirty seconds or as long as thirty or more minutes. Here’s a sample of a thirty second testimony:
Each of us should have a short version of our testimony that we are always ready to share. Be prepared! God can and will use you if you are available. People need to hear your story. Share it.
How’s your 2017 going? We are about three weeks in, with less than fifty to go.
One of the things that we are focusing on as a church is reading through the New Testament, one chapter a day. We started in Mark’s gospel, and will be finished with it soon. The message at each weekend service will be taken from the portion that we have read that particular week.
This has been a great thing for my family personally. Since we are all reading the same section of scripture, it prompts much conversation about God’s Word. Sometimes we all sit in the living room with our Bibles, and read the chapter together alternating verses. Other times, Janet or I will read it with one of the kids to help them with their devotions, or just to read God’s Word before bed. There are times where one of us might read it by ourselves in the morning, then read it again with the family in the evening.
I share all that with you to point out that we need to be intentional with reading God’s Word. This is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to discipleship. First and foremost, we are disciples of Jesus. He gave us His Word in order to tell us how to live.
Reading the Bible together as a church, I believe, is going to be a fantastic experience. I even spoke with another pastor in the area who heard me share about this and decided to do it with his flock!
It’s never too late to start! Make 2017 the year that you read through the New Testament.
Here’s the reading assigned for the first few weeks of January.
Lastly, you can share what you are reading or learning on social media using the hashtag, #NTin2017.
In just a few days, 2016 will be in the rear view mirror. I really can’t believe it! I am seeing too many years flying by, but I am thankful for each one of them. Some years are harder than others, but every year is full of God’s blessings!
The dawning of a New Year is the dawning of a new opportunity – an opportunity to change. Do you want there to be change in your life – good, lasting change? Do you want to grow closer to God this coming year? What if 2017 was the year for you and God?
Here’s what you can do to see good, lasting spiritual change occur in your life: Seek God with all your heart. The bible promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him. One of the best ways to seek God, is to read the Bible with an open heart.
During 2017, the community of people at Calvary Chapel Oakville are going to be reading the New Testament. In order to read the entire New Testament in one year, you have to read five chapters a week. That’s only one chapter a day, for only five days of the week. It’s something anyone can do!
Here’s the part I am really excited about. Every weekend service, my message is going to come from the five chapters that everyone has read.
The Bible says that if any man be in Christ he is a new creation. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17). In order to seek God, we need to prayerfully read the Bible.
He wants to speak to you. He has something to say. Will you listen?