Calvary Blog | Calvary Burlington

Calvary Blog

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. 

 


 

September 2018

Stories, Lessons and the Works of the Lord

When I was in High School I attended a church that believed that when you were too old to attend Sunday School, you were just the right age to begin teaching Sunday School. By the time I hit grade 10, I was teaching a boisterous class of grade 4 boys in a big gymnasium crisscrossed with room dividers.

Words can’t describe the noise level. Each week I came, woefully unprepared, to teach Bible stories to those boys and hoped I was making some sort of a difference. 

Recently I read Psalm 78 and reflected on those early days of teaching Bible stories in a gymnasium in Kitchener. You have to understand that Psalm 78 was written by Asaph; he had been appointed to pass on the stories of the marvellous deeds of God Almighty so that future generations would know and worship the Lord. But here’s the thing you'll notice when you read that Psalm: Asaph didn’t just tell the historical stories; he taught lessons about the goodness of God in the face of Israel’s repeated disobedience.

Stories and lessons?  C’mon, what’s the difference?

Well, the facts of what happened in Israel’s past is the story, but why and how God responded is the lesson. The physical and spiritual acts performed by God to rescue his people is a story, but the impact of how we worship and serve a faithful God is the lesson.

Psalm 78:6-8 tells us that God established a testimony and law which we are commanded to teach to our children so that they in turn tell their children, so they will set their hope in God and not forget His works. Check it out: 

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

And I think this goes beyond the value of just teaching stories to our own children – this is transferrable to the relationships we have with those who are spiritually younger as well. By knowing the law and testimony of God (the stories and the lessons), future generations will not harden their heart toward the Lord. 

I confess that many times I have told the stories of God without teaching the lessons. Telling the story is easy, but teaching the lesson is hard because it means getting personal.  It means examining my heart to ensure that God is doing a work there before I teach others about God wanting to do a work in their heart. It means being humble and teachable and vulnerable. It means ensuring that my testimony begins with God’s testimony. It means knowing with certainty that God is the hero of my story (both the parts in the past and the parts yet unwritten) before I try to teach anyone else that God also wants to be the hero of their story. I taught Bible stories for years before I realized that if the people don’t see how the lesson impacts me, they’ll never see how it can impact them.

You might be a Sunday School teacher or helper, or maybe you are influencing future believers in your family, workplace or your community. As you communicate God’s Word, remember that it is the lessons that draw people to set their hope in Christ.

I’d love to hear from you about the lessons God is teaching you. Let’s grab a coffee (or three!) and encourage each other with the marvellous works of the Lord.

 

Candi Thorpe, Director of Administration, Communication and Frontline Ministries
candi@calvaryburlington.ca

Comments
Login to post comments.

The Worshipping Church

 

As September comes with the renewed energy from some rest over the summer, we embark on a new ministry year that promises to move us as a church toward greater spiritual maturity – measured by a deepening love for God, love for His people and serving our community. I hope you are anticipating and praying for God to do something very special among us as a church this year.

September is also a time for me as your pastor to point us towards Jesus and His church in a very intentional way.  For 4-6 weeks, I address a topic of the local church and our call to mission. Themes have varied from year to year but I believe it’s important to focus in to what God would have our church be for the coming year. This September I want us to zoom in on what it means to be a worshipping church.

Worship is something that we often take for granted in the local church.  We make statements like “the worship was really good there” or “I didn’t like the worship” without really thinking through the implications of such a subjective comment.  Worship is much more than “really good” or “not likeable” if we have a firm understanding of what worship is. Worship is hard to define but put simply, “is the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities.” (Delesslyn A. Kennebrew).

So, beginning this Sunday, I will be preaching for sermons in a series entitled, “The Worshipping Church”.  Each week we will unpack a various aspect of worship and its implications for the local church as we make it a priority.  It is my prayer that these messages will challenge us to reconfirm what we believe about worship and how what we do on a Sunday morning collectively is so important.

What I want to challenge you with this as we lead into Sunday is summed up in one word, “Preparation”. What is critical to these messages is how we prepare for them in advance.  Have you ever thought that the week leading up to Sunday is preparing us for what happens when we gather to worship as a church? I came across this quote from Jerry Bridges and it cuts to heart of what it means to be true worshippers of God who prepare.

 

“The vitality and genuineness of corporate worship is to a large degree dependent upon the vitality of our individual private worship.  If we aren’t spending time daily worshiping God, we’re not apt to contribute to the corporate experience of worship.  If we aren’t worshiping God during the week, how can we expect to genuinely participate in it on Sunday morning?  We may indeed go through the motions and think we have worshiped, but how can we honour and adore One on Sunday whom we have not taken time to praise and give thanks to during the week?
"I Exalt You, O God: Encountering His Greatness in Your Private Worship”, Jerry Bridges

 

Let me encourage you spend some time preparing for Sunday through Scripture reading, prayer, silence, service, whatever it takes to make sure that when we come together on Sunday we are ready to participate together and focus on our great God! I hope you will come with an expectant heart – ready to celebrate what God is doing and what He will continue to do.

See you the, by God’s grace,

You are dearly loved,
Pastor Aaron

Comments
Login to post comments.