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Simply Christmas: God is With You

From the "Simply Christmas" series
Preached on Dec. 11 & 12, 2010

by Pastor John Absher
December 14, 2010

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Saying “yes” can be a difficult thing to do. When Mary was asked to give birth to the Savior of the world, it was probably a challenge for her to say “yes.” When Joseph was told to take an already-pregnant Mary as his wife, it was probably hard for him to say “yes.”

Saying “yes” to God is a routine part of the Christian life. We must be willing to say “yes” to God’s plan for our lives. This past weekend, Pastor Ross encouraged us to say “yes” to God’s plan for our lives and continue to live right so that we can hear, know and respond to his plan. We must keep in mind that God’s best comes when we say “yes.” No matter how challenging life may be or how difficult circumstances become after we say “yes” to God, we can know that God is always with us.

How do we know that God is with us?

  1. God says that he will be with us and that we can trust him.
  2. We can trust that God is with us as we feel his presence in the midst of our difficulties.
  3. We can trust that God is with us as we begin to see the results of his plan unfolding before our eyes.

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Simply Christmas: Anticipation

From the "Simply Christmas" series
Preached on Dec. 4 & 5, 2010

by Pastor John Absher
December 06, 2010

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This weekend began “the most wonderful time of the year.” The Christmas season has begun, and Pastor Ross began a series called “Simply Christmas.”

In Luke 1:13-20, Gabriel tells Zacharias that he is going to have a son and name him John (who we refer to as John the Baptist). Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, had wanted a child for so long, but now that they were old, Zacharias did not want to hear what the angel had to say and did not believe his words.

Similar to Zacharias, sometimes we don’t get Christmas in the way that we expect; sometimes we get the Christmas that we need. As a result, we need to make room for what God wants for us during this holiday season. How can we make Christmas more simple and Christ-focused?

How move to forward at Christmas:

1. Slow down. You don’t have to attend every Christmas party and event.
2. Cut out some of the noise. Allow time for God to speak to you and share his desire for your lives and the next year.
3. Manage your spending. Don’t feel pressured to think that a great Christmas requires many costly gifts. Especially in these economic times, we shouldn’t feel the pressure to indebt ourselves by spending more than necessary.
4. Take the focus off yourself. This holiday season, see how God might lead you to meet the needs of others.

This year, do your best to keep your Christmas simple … you might find it to be the best Christmas you have ever had!

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God’s Gift

Dr. Luis Palau
Welcome Weekend #1
Preached on Aug. 14 & 15, 2010

by Pastor John Absher
August 16, 2010

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We had a powerful weekend at Calvary Church! Our special guest, Dr. Luis Palau, brought a life-changing message about the greatest gift that God has given to man: the gift of eternal life!

Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Isn’t it ironic that work can earn a wage for sin (which is death), but eternal life is the gift of God? Jesus died on the cross so that, when we receive him by faith and turn from our sinful behavior, we get eternal life.

If you are not sure if you have eternal life, then take a few minutes to watch Dr. Palau’s message and know for sure that you have eternal life! You can pray with him at the end of the video. If you pray that prayer for the first time and want to know more about the eternal life that Jesus has provided for us, we encourage you to be part of Calvary’s Alpha Course on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Check out more information about Alpha.

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Malachi

From the "Voice" series
Preached on June 12 & 13, 2010

by Pastor Ben DeBoef
June 13, 2010

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Why should we listen to God? Is God speaking? If he is speaking, then how do we listen to him? These are questions that every person will ask at least once in their lives. These are big questions with life-defining answers. This past weekend, Dr. Kregg Hood spoke to us about what to do when God speaks. Using the book of Malachi, he gave us some very simple yet profound thoughts concerning this topic.
 
Why should we listen to God? Because it’s God! I guess we could stop there. Any effort to go beyond this would only take away from the idea that the Creator of the universe always trumps the simplicity of man. Yet one of the most amazing things is that God speaks to us in love—every time. Even in his anger and frustration with us (as the Minor Prophets keep showing us), he can’t help it. He loves his creation. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t speak to us at all. If it wasn’t God who was speaking, then we wouldn’t listen. If he didn’t speak in love, then we couldn’t listen.
 
God’s voice speaks to give direction, correction and protection. Dr. Hood took these principles and applied them to Malachi 3:7-12.

1.  Direction: God said, “Return to me” (Malachi 3:7). Israel had once again gone far from God without even realizing it. Their sin, rebellion and apathy had put up a wall. God said, “Come back. I want to rekindle our relationship.” God was showing his people how to live. He was giving them direction. When we don’t get his direction, he has to move to the next level of communication.

2.  Correction: God said, “Test me in this” (Malachi 3:10). God told Israel that they had been robbing him. They asked him, “How?” His reply was, “By not tithing and giving offerings.” This was an indication of how their hearts had forgotten him. God said, “Giving is not for me; it is for you. Test me in this and see what I will do. This test is not for you; it’s for me!” This was a cosmic dare from God! When we follow his direction and heed his correction, something powerful happens.

3.  Protection: God said, “All will call you blessed” (Malachi 3:12). When we are able to hear God’s direction and correction, we will see the blessing of his protection. The curses of life are limited, and God’s favor is restored. God speaks not only for his benefit, but also for ours. Most people believe that their own plan for their lives is better than God’s plan for them. You may have a good plan, but God’s is better. When you realize that God is a father who wants to bless his children, listening to him is not a task at all. It is the door to his immeasurable blessings!

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