Each week the Calvary staff blog about Christian life, ministry and more. Some of our blog posts focus on ministries and events inside the church, while other posts look outside our building to how we live out the gospel in our everyday lives. Each of these posts is crafted to encourage and challenge you in your faith journey. We'd love to hear from you! Create an account and log in to leave us a comment and let us know how the blogs impact you.
In Student Ministries, we endeavour to change the lives of the students in our program. When I was a youth, and even a young adult, I often found that my best learning came from either hands-on experience, or from object lessons. There's something to be said about having something tangible that you interact with to help you recall information later in life.
I think of the experiment with beaker of water, a Jesus beaker (water mixed with bleach or ascorbic acid), and a sin beaker (filled with iodine). The demonstration is that you pour the sin beaker into the beaker of water, and it makes it all dark and cloudy. But you pour in the Jesus beaker and it gets clear. But then, to demonstrate the cleansing power of Jesus they pour the more of the sin beaker into the Jesus beaker, and it just stays clear. It's a demonstration of the saving power of Christ and His ability to cleanse beyond what we think is possible (click here for a video).
I like to use object lessons in my teaching, because of their lasting power. With our big fall kick-off, we got one of our youth to stand in the middle of a circle blindfolded, and then had the students, one at a time, clap their hands quietly around them. The person with the blindfold had to point to where the clap came from. Simple enough, until we packed the pinna of their ears with play-doh. And that caused the blindfolded person to point forwards, when the clap came between their legs, they had lost their ability to discern the vertical direction of the clapping. We then related that back to our ability to hear God's call, or to understand his will. When we are in tune with God, and using our ears as intended, we can see where he's calling us, we can hear his voice better. But when we pack our ears with things of this world, we lose our ability to discern the direction of his voice, and his will. How do we do that? We started with a focus on our love for God. To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength. If you can get your love of God in tune, it will be easier to hear his call.
Mike Sanders, Youth Ministries
I have always considered myself to be a youthful person. I lived independently at 14, graduated High School at 17, got married at 18, owned a home at 20, and I just always felt young. Recently though I was faced with my unyouthfulness when my son came home on his first day of school with an assignment that began, Now that you're in grade 12. Grade 12? Are you serious? When did I get old enough to have a child in grade 12? Apparently it happened this September!
The assignment was quite an interesting one; it told the students that although their age and stage of life were rapidly changing, their core identity was what made them who they are. It went on to ask the students to describe themselves and their thought processes in various categories using just one word.
What do you think about; In what ways do you demonstrate independence; Why do you consider certain things to be right or wrong; How are your dreams connected to your goals. It was challenging.
The final section focused on spiritual construct and the students' belief system. My son brought me his paper to proof read, and in the box that asked, Describe your thoughts about God, he had written this word: Friendly.
I questioned him, but he said that since God was his friend and he was friends with God, they are friendly. Now, if I had been asked to write down just one word describing my thoughts about God I would have pulled out bigger words like Redeemer, convenantal love, Creator, forgiven, chosen. But friendly? Really?
Oh, I how wanted him to change that word. But it was his assignment and his choice so I let it go.
Since then I haven't stopped thinking about that word. I realized that my own word choices focused on what God had done for me or how God felt about me, but my son's word was focused on relationship. At the core of his identity, he knows he has a relationship with God.
It's not such a far-fetched thing to have a friendly relationship with God. James 2:23 says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness - and he was called a friend of God, and Jesus says in John 15, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Maybe this week take some time to think about one or two words that describe what you think about God. Or you're reading this and you honestly don't know what you think about God. This could be a great time to plug into something like Christianity Explored so that you can ask questions and take the time to thoughtfully consider the topic of Jesus.
As for me, rather than reminiscing about my younger days I will choose to quiet my heart and think a little more clearly about the relationship I enjoy with Jesus.
Candi Thorpe, Director of Administration
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
Before our times of celebration around the Communion table this summer, we reviewed the theological importance of what we were doing. They were good reminders and I pray that they were helpful for what we do regularly at Calvary.
The purpose behind reviewing these fundamental principles was to introduce a change to the way that we serve communion. For years at Calvary, our Elders have faithfully served communion along with other men in our church, and I want to thank them for their faithful service to the body of Christ. During the spring, we reviewed the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, a question surfaced: Who should serve the two elements that we take together?
As we look at the Bible, Scripture gives no explicit teaching on who should distribute the elements of Communion, so we are left simply to decide what is wise and appropriate for the benefit of the believers in our church. The Elders have reviewed this topic over the last few months, and beginning this Sunday you will see both men and women participating in the serving of the elements to the church.
Just as has been our practice, one Elder (including myself) will lead the distribution of the bread and cup, and our servers will be people from our congregation who are walking in fellowship with God and each other, and who use their serving gifts to bless the church. Frankly, we believe that there is no biblical reason why only Elders or leaders, or only men, should distribute the elements. As Wayne Grudem summarises, Would it not speak much more clearly of our unity and spiritual equality in Christ if both men and women, for example, assisted in distributing the elements of the Lord’s supper.
I am looking forward to this weekend where we will all participate in the beautiful expression of Christ’s sacrifice for us. If you have any questions, you are invited to contact us.
As you prepare you hearts for worship on Sunday, we are praying that the time gathered around the Lord’s Supper as men and women would be worshipful, celebratory and encouraging. What a joy it is to remember the price that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, paid for our forgiveness and future hope.