Sunday 2018-04-22

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


For What Would You Take The Blame?

Acts 4:5-13

5The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11Jesus is  ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
 
  • For what would you be willing to take the blame?

 

  • How comfortable are you talking about your spiritual walk with people outside of the church or outside of your friends who you know are people of faith?

 

  • The question the Sanhedrin was concerned about was, “By what power or what name did you do this?”

 

  • What brought the Sanhedrin to astonishment? It was the courage of Peter and John!

 

  • In what ways are we ‘blamed’ for being a Christian?

 

  • The transformation that the Resurrection brings happens through us.

 

  • In what ways might we step up so that we can be vessels of transformation?

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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-04-15

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Does This Surprise You?

Act3:12-20

12When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
17“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
 
  • How has the Resurrection of Jesus made a difference in the world?

 

 

  • The lame man at the gate wanted money, but God gave him healing.  

 

 

  • How has the church historically made a difference in the world?

 

 

  • How have Christians historically made a difference in the world?

 

 

  • How is Calvary making a difference right now?

 

 

  • How are we as Christians today making a difference right now?

 

 

  • Are you surprised when Jesus works through you or through someone else? Why or why not?

 


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

Sunday 2018-04-08

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


When God Says No

Luke 22:39-46

39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”41He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46“Why are you sleeping?”he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

 

Reflections on “No”

 

God’s responses to our prayers:

  1. Yes
  2. Wait
  3. No

 

What does that say about God when He says “no”?

 

Why would He say “no”?

  1. Conflict
  2. Free will
  3. He has a bigger perspective
  4. He has a bigger plan

 

What do I do when God says “no”? How can I deal with that?


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

Sunday 2018-04-01

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Where's Jesus?

Luke 24:1-8

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8Then they remembered his words.
  • If Jesus was and is all powerful, wouldn't he have escaped the cross? No. Instead, Jesus escaped the grave.

 

  • If Jesus was and is all powerful, wouldn't he end suffering and heartache in our world?  No. Instead, Jesus wraps his arms around us and sits with us in the midst of pain....promising to bring us out on the other side.

 

  • Are we missing Jesus because we're looking for the miraculous, the mass healings, the fiery destruction of evil? Are we looking for all of this rather than in the forgiveness of our own attitudes, the softening of our own hearts, and the promise of new beginnings?

 

  • Are we looking in all the wrong places for Easter? 

 

  • The resurrection means that the unknown is only unknown to us….Jesus will still be in it.

 

  • The resurrection means that when there seems to be no good options, Jesus reveals possibilities we couldn't even imagine.

 

  • What's the mess that you think you've made in your life that seems unrecoverable? Do you trust the resurrected Jesus to transform it into a masterpiece?

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TODAY'S PREACHERS

Randy Reese & Debbie Reese are Co-Directing Pastors of Calvary UMC

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Sunday 2018-03-25

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Praying for Healing and Restoration In Our Lives and In Our Nation

II Chronicles 7:1-3, 11-16

1Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. 3And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
11Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. 12And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. 13If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
  1. Admit I'm not in control
  • Humility
  • Be quiet and patient and don't retaliate
  • When you look for ways to serve others instead of expecting to be serve (I Chronicles 29:10-13)

     4 things God will do if you work on this: Humility

        2.  Ask God for help

  • John 16:23-24
  • Jesus wants me to ask

         3.  Seek God, not a miracle

  • Psalm 14:2:

    The Lord looks down from heaven
        on all mankind
    to see if there are any who understand,
        any who seek God.
         ... seek my face

         4.  Turn my attention from the world to the word  

  • Wickedness - (screen) forgetting God
  • Turn - Greek  "meta-noia" to change your mind - not just turn away from sin but turn to God

James 5:16:
    16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 

I will hear from heaven.

I will forgive your sins.

I will heal your land.


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

 

Sunday 2018-03-18

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Praying Through Our Days

Philippians 4:4-7, Ephesians 6:18

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 
 

A daily schedule built on the Lord’s Prayer (adapted from 40 Days of Prayer by Rick Warren)

 

Wake up:           Our Father, who art in heaven, 

Get up with Gratitude: make a gratitude list and keep it by your bed; make a playlist of songs of thanks and wake up to them in the morning.

 

Breakfast:          Hallowed be thy name, 

Praise God and anticipate what God will do throughout your day.

 

Mid-Morning:    Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Remember what matters most: have you forgotten your priorities already?  Have you lost your focus and missed the bigger perspective?

 

Lunch:               Give us this day our daily bread.  

Share with God your needs (and other peoples’ needs, too).

 

On the way home or late afternoon:

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Confess your sins and forgive others who’ve hurt you.

 

Early Evening:   And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. 

Remember the temptations that attack especially hard when you’re tired.

 

Going to bed:    For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Remember that God is in control and that today is not the end of the story…...God is still on the throne and will remain there for eternity.  


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-03-11

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Praying in Five Dimensions - Prayer Perspectives

Ephesians 3:14-21

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family, in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

5 Dimensions/Perspectives of Prayer

  1. Look backward to the cross
  • I Peter 1:18-19

       2.  Look upward to the Lord’s face

 

       3.  Look inward Jesus living inside of you

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5

       4.  Look around and ask the Holy Spirit to use you

  • Ephesians 4:29

       5.  Look forward to your future in faith

  • Philippians 1:6

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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

 

 

Sunday 2018-03-04

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


How Do We Recognize God's Voice?

I Samuel 3:1-10, John 10:2-5

1The boy Samuel ministered before the Lordunder Eli. In those days the word of the Lordwas rare; there were not many visions. 2One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lordcalled Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6Again the Lordcalled, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lordhad not yet been revealed to him. 8A third time the Lordcalled, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lordwas calling the boy. 9So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10The Lordcame and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

 

Recognizing the Voice of God

We very rarely hear God in an audible voice, yet God’s voice is very recognizable in the following ways…..

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

Can we identify who is calling simply by hearing their voice? How?

 

As we are listening to someone else talking on their phone, can we determine who they’re talking to based on their tone? What cues are we given by that other person?  

 

Do we know God well enough to recognize when God is talking to us?


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-02-25

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


A Beginner's Guide to Prayer

Luke 11:1, Hebrews 10:22-23, Matthew 7:7-8

1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“ ‘Father hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. 5Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;6a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’7And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for11:11 Some manuscripts for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus and Beelzebul
14Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.18If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul.19Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.20But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.22But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” 27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
The Sign of Jonah
29As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here.32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
The Lamp of the Body
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy,11:34 The Greek for healthy here implies generous. your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy,11:34 The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy. your body also is full of darkness.35See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.36Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law
37When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 39Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.40You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?41But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” 45One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” 46Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. 47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them.48So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.49Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’50Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world,51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. 52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” 53When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54waiting to catch him in something he might say.
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.8For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

4 Foundational Truths about Prayer:

  1. God loves for you to talk to Him about anything.

    • John 5:14-15

  2. God listens to prayer that are sincere and simple.

    • Matthew 6:5-8

  3. God likes to show His grace by answering prayer.

    • Jeremiah 33:3

    • James 4:2-3

  4. God longs to be close to you.

    • Isaiah 30:18

    • Hosea 6:6

 

Reflective Questions:

  • How often do I pray?
  • How does prayer really change me?

  • Do I want prayer to change me? Do I want God to change me?

  • Has prayer changed me to the point that others have noticed a change?


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

Sunday 2018-02-18

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Do You Want To Grow Up?

Ephesians 4:11-16

11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I am going to participate in the 40 days of prayer in the following ways:

_____ In Worship

_____ In a small group (days and times)

_____ By using the prayer journal that goes with this study

 

Other Scriptures to read:

  • Matthew 4:4
  • Acts 20:32
  • Hebrews 5:11-14
  • I Corinthians 9:24-27
  • Acts 2:46-47

 

The way that I need to grow up in my prayer life the most is:

 

This is what I’m going to do to grow my prayer life:

 

Methods that may or may not be new to me:

  1. Christian Labyrinths: the Finger Labyrinth
  2. Prayer beads
  3. Prayer walks
  4. Ancient prayers of the church
  5. Writing prayers to God

TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-02-11

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Get Up and Don't Be Afraid

Matthew 17:1-9

1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,”he said. “Don’t be afraid.”8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Additional Readings that are helpful:

 Matthew 16:13-20; 21-28; I John 3:1-3

“The Transfiguration” - the journey to understanding the Messiah, the cross, the resurrection, and the Kingdom

Those involved:

  • Jesus - fully God and fully man - Here, His deity is revealed in a new way
  • Moses - the lawgiver - Elijah - the most jealous of all the prophets
  • Peter - James - John - a core of the disciples - the raising of Jarius’ Daughter, the transfiguration, in the Garden of Gethsemane
  • The Lord God Almighty

Metamorphoo - (metamorphosis) - transformed/ changed

What this meant:

  • Jesus was fully man
  • Jesus was fully God

God’s words:

          “Listen to Him”  (referring to Jesus - not to Moses or Elijah)

          “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased”

Through a season of prayer, fasting, reflection - Begin this Lenten season asking God to reveal Himself, His light, His glory, His presence to you.


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC       

Sunday 2018-02-04

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Altars, Altars, Everywhere

Psalm 84

1How lovely is your dwelling place, LordAlmighty! 2My soul yearns, even faints,for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. 4Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. 5Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. 8Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. 9Look on our shield, look with favor on your anointed one. 10Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11For the LordGod is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

 

God is revealed in the mountaintops of life as well as in the valleys. How is it that you expect to see God? Are you looking for mountaintops or spiritual ‘highs’?  

 

God is often revealed in the mundane times of life. What might that look like for you?

 

When have you experienced God on the mountaintop?

 

When have you experienced God in the ordinary living of life?

 

Is a time of worship only powerful if we feel something? How might worship be more about what we offer to God than how we feel about our time with God?

 

This link shows a great altar idea for families of one or many.                       

 

Check out Pinterest or Google for more ideas for creating worship spaces at home.


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

 

 

Sunday 2018-01-28

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Make My Day

Micah 6:1-8; Matthew 23:23-24

1Listen to what the Lord says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2“Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. 3“My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. 5My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” 6With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly 8Or prudently with your God.
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

 

Micah the prophet

Chapter 6:

  • V. 1-3: The Summon, Case, and Charge against Israel
  • V. 4-5: God’s case
  • V. 6-7: Defendant Israel’s response 
  • V. 8: The Decision

 

Random Acts of Kindness Suggestions:

  • Pay it forward - buy someone’s meal behind you in the drive thru - Give a blessing to someone - a food basket, a gift of service - sweep or clean a sidewalk, several go together and buy someone’s groceries or gas, call a nursing home - ask for someone who’s family is far away or who has no family - send them a card or make a visit 

 

Check out the podcast on Tuesday - we’ll offer some other suggestions - those will appear on the Daily Connection later in the week as well.


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-01-21

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Peace, Be Still!

Mark 4:35-41 and Matthew 14:22-33

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many,”he said to them. 25“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” 30 “Truly I tell you,”Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” 31But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.  32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.

Calming the Storm

  1. What are your storms? 
  2. Do you feel like your boat is taking on water? 
  3. Are you more afraid of your problems or of Jesus?

Walking on Water

  1. If Jesus said, “Come” would you get out of your boat. 
  2. Have you started looking at the wind and the waves again? 

Calming our Heart

  1. Are you asking God to calm the waters in your life, or calm your heart?  
  2. Do you want your circumstances to lower to your faith or your faith to rise above your circumstances?

Additional Scripture Dive: Isaiah 11:2, 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 111:10, John 16:33


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Michael Pitzer is Director of Senior High Ministries

Sunday 2018-01-14

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Soothe the Savage

Psalm 40:1-11

1I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. 4Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.40:4 Or to lies 5Many, Lordmy God,are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. 6Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened40:6 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts but a body you have prepared for me— burnt offerings and sin offerings40:6 Or purification offerings you did not require. 7Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll.40:7 Or come / with the scroll written for me 8I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” 9I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. 10I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly. 11Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

The 17th century poet and playwright, William Congreve, originated the saying, "Music hath the charms to soothe a savage breast."

In what ways has God lifted you up out of the slimy pit and set your feet on solid ground?  

How has God soothed the ‘savage’ within you?

Rev. Lori Bultemeier:  “The universe (one song) that God created resonates. Nature vibrates, we vibrate, the world can be in tune or out of tune. We can be in tune or out of tune with God, others and ourselves (dissonance). We seek harmony - each with their own part, that is better - not just in music, but in life. Music can gather strangers into one place and we can feel like friends because we have a common love of the music of the evening.”

Fascinating TED talk by Anita Collins on the science behind our brains and music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng (please note: we are not discounting the value of other activities in which we might participate)

Song Playlist


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2018-01-07

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


Flip the Switch

Isaiah 60:1-6

1“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4“Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. 5Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. 6Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.
 

John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The event is over
Borrowed energy
The sub zero temperatures
Less sunlight
People leave

  1.  Jesus our Light is self-sustaining - He will not burn out or go out
    • He’s our security light
  2. He is light for everyone
  3. He is bright enough to reach into the darkest of places and shine

He’s there - but we have to flip the switch. Let Him in - Let Him help - Let Him fill - Let Him live and breath in you.

Prayer card - candles - some investment on your part

Find the Prayer Card Here.

Let Him Light Your World


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2017-12-31

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


At Home with Life

Luke 2:22-40
22And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

What is it for which you’ve waited your entire life….or for what seems to be a lifetime? Have you experienced or received that for which you’ve waited?

“If I could just…(fill in the blank)......I could die in peace.”

Simeon said, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel…” Without getting political or judgmental, who/what might Simeon describe today that might be caused by Jesus to rise or to fall?

Now that Christmas is over, has the light of Christmas Eve already faded? How might we keep that flame kindled in our spirits so that it continues to light our way and to reflect the light of Christ to others?

Home and family: we’ve been redefining these terms throughout Advent. How might we live into the definition of home as that place where we are in the presence of God? How might we live into the definition of family to mean all people of God, rather than look at marital status or children in the house?


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC
 

2017 Christmas Eve Services

Welcome Home

Luke 2:1-20

1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. The Shepherds and Angels 8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

What does it mean to come home for Christmas?
I John 3:1  
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

 

Why is this baby's birth so monumental? Why do we still celebrate it today?
John 1:12 -13
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

 

How is God still appearing?
Romans 8:16-17
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”


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TODAY'S PREACHERS

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

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Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2017-12-17

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


God Makes the World Our Home

Luke 1:46-55

46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

At the micro-level:

At the macro-level:

Emmanuel - “God with us”

The Context: Luke 1: 5-25 - reread v. 25; 1:26-38 - reread v. 28

Hannah’s song - I Samuel 1:1-10

“The Magnificat”  Stanley Jones says, “the Magnificat is the most revolutionary document in the world”

V. 51:

V. 52:

V. 53:

3 questions to take home with you today:

  • How about you? Does your soul magnify the Lord?
  • Do people see Christ’s love and goodness in you? 
  • Are you letting God work within you to accomplish His will?

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TODAY'S PREACHER

Randy Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC

Sunday 2017-12-10

Order of Worship 7:45, 9:00, & 10:30


At Home with Joy

I Thessalonians 5:16-24; Psalm 30:4-5

16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.at…: or, to the memorial 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
 

If home is where we meet God, isn’t home also where God is walking with us to what’s next?

 

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” 

                                                                  John Lennon in Beautiful Boy

 

How would our world be different if we recognized and celebrated those moments along the way?

 

Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace. 

 

Nehemiah 8:10 - “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

 

Attitudes are contagious: What attitude are we spreading around?  What comes out of our homes?  Our home of Calvary?  Our Community?

 

Psalm 30:4-5

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name…..weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.


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TODAY'S PREACHER

Debbie Reese is Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC