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.
You may recall that during the month of February, our Student Ministries was working through the four ancient Greek words for love. We do studies like this to help us better understand what the original authors of the New Testament were trying to convey with their letters. And to better wrap our 21st century brains around 1st century people. We finished our series with the ultimate of all loves, which is Agape. Agape love describes the unconditional, divine love that God has for his creation, for us. Agape is a love that is selfless, and sacrificial. While researching this I stumbled on an article that describes Agape love like this;
“Agape...is unmotivated in the sense that it is not contingent on any value or worth in the object of love. It is spontaneous and heedless, for it does not determine beforehand whether love will be effective or appropriate in any particular case”
Agape love is not based on the value of what's being loved. Agape doesn't say, “If you're worthy of this, then you can experience it.” It doesn't require something; it is an undeserved love. Which makes perfect sense to why this is the love that the New Testament authors would use to describe God's love for us. We've done nothing to deserve His love, yet he gives it anyways.
Isn't that amazing?
I think of a passage like Romans 5:8, which states:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
Agape love. Unconditional, undeserving, sacrificial love for His creation. Why? Simply, because He does. We've done nothing to deserve it, we've in fact done everything in our power to reject it. Yet, He gives it, to the point of sending His son to die on a cross, that we might know it. Wow.
It's really easy to stop there, and just say, Agape love, that's God's love for us, neat!... BUT, our New Testament authors don't stop there. Several times we see this word used to describe how we ought to love others. John 15:9-13, We see Jesus commanding his followers...
“This is my commandment, that you love (agapate) one another as I have loved (egapesa) you.”
Jesus is calling us to love each other sacrificially, selflessly, unconditionally, and maybe the toughest of all, undeservedly. That's tough, don't get me wrong. Agape love is a tall order that none of us should take lightly. But it's something we've been commanded to by Jesus himself. This word is also used to describe the love, in a passage you all likely know very well, Galatians 5:22-23, which states;
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love (agape), joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
It's really easy to zoom past that first “fruit” and get to some of the more specific fruits of the Spirit. We get caught up thinking, okay, be kind, be patient, be peaceful, be good, be faithful, be loving. But the word used here is not philia (which describes a friendly love), nor storge (familial love). The word used in Galatians 5:22 is agape; unconditional, undeserving, selfless, sacrificial love. The fruits of the Spirit at work in our lives STARTS with this kind of love. And under this kind of love, the rest of the fruits get their framework, and their purpose. How God loves His creation, we too are to love.
We are about to enter into that time of the year where God's agape, love, is on display for all to see. Even the un-churched will hear of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us all. When you approach the cross this Easter, reflect on God's agape for us. Reflect on the fact that you can't earn it, and that you've done nothing to deserve it, YET, God gives it freely, unconditionally, and sacrificially, because He loves you.
Mike Sanders, Youth Director
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The new Calvary App is here, and we think you'll love it!
First we have to mention that when you install the App, please allow notifications. We won't inundate you with texts, but there are things you will want to know about (program updates, inclement weather). After you download the App open it and allow notifications. Then navigate to the side menu (top lefthand side of the screen) click Settings, and then Notifications. There you can select which groups can notify you. Definitely click General, and then add any other relevant groups.
Here are just a few of the features of the new App:
The Home screen features an entire section devoted to Sunday morning. You'll find the online Bulletin and the digital Connection Card, as well as our new Sermon Notes section. There you can fill in your notes and then email them to yourself so that you can look them over during the week.
The Events tab gives you our calendar at a glance. Within each event you can add it to your calendar (use the calendar icon on the top righthand side of the screen), or send the event via text or email. Pro tip: use this feature to invite someone to a games night, or to remind family members about upcoming programs.
The Media tab allows access to the latest sermons and notes. Pro tip: Download the sermon to your phone so that you can listen on the go, and save on your data charges! You'll find the Downloads in the Menu (three little lines in the top lefthand side of the screen). Also cool is that the media player is also available online through the desktop experience - click here to see it.
The Bible tab gives you both a full Bible and a reading plan - no other Bible App needed! Pro tip: The App will read Scripture out loud, and iOS users can airplay it to an Apple TV for an even bigger sound experience.
One of the main reasons we love the App is that it isn't cookie-cutter. It has been fully developed and is customized for our church family. You'll notice that at the time of launch we have an entire section devoted to #TheGreatestBook - our national initiative to get back into God's Word, including a 14-day devotional. At other times of the year we will have tabs for Christmas at Calvary, Easter, Summer Camp and more.
This is just a taste of what you'll find in the App; download it today and check it out for yourself.