Sermon – Mark 5:21-43 (Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, June 28, 2015)

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From the Pastor’s Study . . . July 2015

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Dear Friends,

Our Vacation Bible School week is quickly approaching – August 3 – 7! Many of the children who attend this program are not members of our congregation, and so it provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share the good news of Christ Jesus with children who may not have a church home. Last year, there were approximately 70 children who participated in our program, and we are anticipating even more children this summer.

On the Thursday evening of Bible School week (August 6), we will gather for a potluck supper and a program presented by the children. The supper begins at 5:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall, and the program begins at 7 pm in the nave. Everyone in our congregation is encouraged to attend the supper and the program.

In adopting our congregational goals this past January, our leaders and members have announced their commitment to getting serious about evangelism and outreach. The potluck supper before the VBS program on Thursday, August 6th is Calvary Church’s biggest outreach opportunity of the year. On that evening, our building will be teeming with young families who do not know other attendees and are looking for a welcome and someone to sit with. Initiating table fellowship in a room full of strangers is a very uncomfortable and awkward experience. Have you ever gone somewhere for the first time, and walked around a crowded room with a plate filled with side-dishes and thought “where are we going to sit?” What a difference it makes when someone spots you and says “there is room here at our table if you would like to join us.” Such a welcome is powerful. You have the opportunity to offer this welcome!

During the meal, you will have the opportunity to get to know our guests, share a little more about Calvary, and to invite them to join you for worship. I will, of course, be sending each family a letter thanking them for bringing their children and joining us for the program. However, this is not as effective in terms of outreach as having members of Calvary connecting with them on Thursday evening. Once these families leave the building on Friday, our efforts are intended to attract them back. On Thursday evening, they are here and our members have the opportunity to form relationships with them. When people feel that they have made a connection with members of a congregation, they are much more likely to return to that congregation than to visit one in which they do not know anyone.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us here at Calvary on Thursday, August 6, at 5:30 pm. Please bring a hot dish and a welcoming smile to share with our guests!
In Christ Jesus,
Pastor

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Sermon – Genesis 3:8-15 (2nd Sunday after Pentecost, June 7, 2015)

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Sermon – John 3:1-17 (Festival of the Holy Trinity, May 31, 2015)

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From the Pastor’s Study . . . June 2015

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Dear Friends,

Another school year is quickly drawing to a close, and with it graduations are approaching and/or occurring. Many of you, like Dawn and me, have students who are graduating. Hallmark and other card companies are anticipating that each one of us will know someone who is graduating from some level of education. As you prepare cards and wrap presents (or use gift bags from the dollar store – which is my practice), I encourage you to take a few moments to pray for the graduate you are honoring. I encourage you to pray not only for their success in finding a job or achievement in their given field, but also to pray for their continued spiritual growth.

As Christians, we pray daily for a whole host of concerns. It is, of course, very common and important that we pray for our family, friends, and others who are close to us. As we give thanks to God for these people whom He has put into our lives, and pray for their well-being, do we also pray that God will bless them spiritually? Knowing how difficult life is and the many problems that befall us, it is quite natural to pray for their temporal needs without asking God to preserve their faith and bring them to spiritual maturity. There are perhaps few things in this life which are as powerful as a parent or loved-one praying that our faith in Christ Jesus may be deepened and that we may continue to grow in the knowledge of God’s mercy and will.

Let us take note of Paul’s prayers to God on behalf of the Thessalonians: “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thes. 3:11-13). We do well in our praying on behalf of others to remember before our Heavenly Father their temporal needs and their spiritual needs. May the Holy Spirit who dwells in you and all the baptized continue to refresh your spirit, deepen your faith, and conform your life to the life of our Lord Jesus.

Congratulations to all graduates, and may the Holy Spirit continue to deepen your faith in Christ through the Word of God!
In Christ Jesus,
Pastor

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Sermon – John 16:4b-15 (Day of Pentecost, May 25, 2015)

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Sermon – John 17:11-19 (Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2015)

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