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Ezekiel 36: It's Not About You!
Ezekiel 36: It's Not About You!

Calvary Baptist Temple • November 09, 2020

By Chris Watson


“IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!” The words rang out from the football coach as practice was ending one early summer evening. His players conditioned tirelessly to start the football season and at the end of another hot practice, the players were tiring, on the verge of giving up. For too long the boys with greater skill were allowed to coast by, but today, these boys, with this coach, weren’t going to be so lucky. “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, SON!” the coach said again. As the final minutes of practice waned, the coach pulled in his team to teach them a valuable lesson. It’s not about the name on the back of your jersey, but rather the name on the front. The name on the front of the jersey represents who the member of the team plays for. 


In Ezekiel 36, God wants to remind the Israelites that they are in exile because of their conduct and actions. They defiled the holy name of God and as a consequence to their actions they are scattered across the nations. Being scattered throughout the nations, God’s holy name continued to take a hit. God is not going to allow this to happen anymore. However, before He begins to restore Israel back to the land, He has a message for them, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! In verse 22 He says, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.” God is doing restorative work to the land and people of Israel. He is doing this so that His name will be glorified. So who’s team are you on? Who do you represent? And what can you do to get out of the way, so that God can make His holy name known among the nations?

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Psalm 134: Praise God at all Times!
Psalm 134: Praise God at all Times!

Calvary Baptist Temple • November 02, 2020

By Jacob Mock


Our Bible reading this week brings us to Psalm 134, which is a brief Psalm:


“Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, 

who stand by night in the house of the Lord! 

Lift up your hands to the holy place 

and bless the Lord! 

May the Lord bless you from Zion, 

he who made heaven and earth!”


As I read over Psalm 134, I’m tempted to look past it without reflecting on the words because of its brevity. How could such a short Psalm be significant? First of all, it’s God’s holy, perfect, precious, inspired, inerrant word! All of it is significant all the time. Second, it’s a Psalm all about singing praises to God.


Praising God is something that we should do every day! Too often we think that giving God praise is something that has to be done inside the church building. Or even if we don’t necessarily believe that, we still only praise Him once or twice a week while we are at church. We can stop any time we want and offer praise to the Lord because of the work that Jesus did on the cross! We don’t have to wait for Sunday to come around to sing His praises. 


Have you stopped and praised Him today?

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John 1-5: Close Encounters
John 1-5: Close Encounters

Calvary Baptist Temple • October 26, 2020

By Kenny Grant


The book of John is an amazing book. Written for the expressed purpose of pointing people to the Lord Jesus so that they might be saved. The key verse of the book is hung near the back door, John 20:30-31, which states: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”.


The miracles recorded in John were specifically chosen to prove who Jesus was. They offer many insights into the heart of God. 

Of particular interest to me, are the people who cross our paths as we read through this book. Their close encounters with Jesus instruct and encourage us as we seek to live as His disciples today. Those who truly encounter Him, then or now, can truly ever be the same.


In John 1, we see Jesus simply and sublimely introduced to us as the one who is coexistent, coequal, coessential, and coeternal with the Father. We are told of John the Baptist’s close encounter with Him as he sees the Holy Spirit descend and remain upon Him. John’s mission as the forerunner or messenger was drawing to a close as he pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (vv. 29). We are soon in the company of Andrew and John as they leave John the Baptist to follow Jesus (vv. 37). We see Simon Peter’s first encounter with the Christ as he is brought by his brother Andrew (vv. 42). The very next day Jesus Himself marks Philip as a disciple and bid him to simply follow Him (vv. 43). An enthused Philip finds his somewhat skeptical friend Nathaniel and brought him to Christ. The lives of these men would never be the same after each of their close encounters They each set out on life’s greatest adventure of following Christ. 


In chapter 2 we find ourselves as guests at a wedding. But for Jesus, the wedding would have been a disaster, “NO WINE”. We are not introduced to the bride and groom and know little to nothing about the other guests who were there, but we do know that Mary, the mother of our Lord was there, and she notified Jesus of the crisis. The interesting thing about this His first miracle was that lowly servants were really the only ones privy to it. The bride and groom were clueless, the master of ceremonies didn’t know about it, the guests were beneficiaries of the ‘good wine”, but didn’t know where it came from. The scriptures clearly state that the servant who cooperated with Jesus knew what happened (vv. 9). They had a life-changing close encounter. So it is today; those who cooperate where He operates are the ones who see the miracles.


In chapter 3 We are brought into the presence of a man who was by all accounts truly conflicted. Nicodemus was an influential and wealthy man who also held a seat in the Jewish senate. He comes and encounters Jesus at night. We know that during his close encounter with Christ that the darkness of confusion began to give way to the dawn of conviction, (7:50ff) and finally to the daylight of confession, (19:39) as we see him in full faith identify himself with the crucified Savior.


In chapter 4 we see the loving and redemptive way Jesus deals with the woman at the well in Samaria. Her close encounter with Him shows us again something of the heart of God. Jesus had dealt with one of Israel’s most respected leaders in the last chapter, and now he deals with this woman who would have been considered a social “throw-away”. She came to know who it was with whom she was talking. She had perceived him to be a prophet (vv. 19), but she found out that He was more than just a prophet. At the end of the chapter, we see a desperate Jewish official’s plea for the life of his son. Again Jesus who is the Christ of every crisis graciously heals his son. His close encounter with Christ had changed his life, and the life of his entire household (vv. 53).


Chapter 5 introduces us to an invalid with a chronic and critical case for 38 long years. This man’s life would be radically and dramatically changed as Jesus interrupted his daily routine of waiting for the moving waters in the pool. Because of his close encounter with Christ, he would experience the person and power of the God who could make him walk (vv. 9). Sadly there were those in this chapter who persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him (vv. 18). The close encounter with Him revealed the nature of their own hearts. They would forever be lost if they would not repent.


As it was, so it is; those who have a close encounter with Christ can never be the same. Some will be made the better, but some, the worse. The very name of Christ draws or it drives. The gospel of Christ brings conversion or aversion. The people of God are a fragrance of death unto death or a fragrance of life unto life (2 Cor.2:16). Which is it for you?

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Psalm 95: Celebrate, Worship!
Psalm 95: Celebrate, Worship!

Calvary Baptist Temple • October 19, 2020

By Derward Poole


Psalm 95:1-7 “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you would hear His voice, …” (NASB)


Dr. Charles Stanley said of worship, “Of all the things Christ wants for us, loving Him and focusing our attention on Him are the most important.” When we celebrate Jesus, we have a sense of revival. When we come to worship, we should expect to hear God’s voice and to understand God’s voice. The tragedy in our society today is that many are looking and wanting some entertaining, emotional movement. When we worship “focusing all our attention on Him,” it builds a foundation for a true experience with the Lord.


In Psalm 95, we have an Invitation to Worship. The method of worship is spelled out for us. First, in verses 1-2, 6, we are exhorted to worship:

     =Joyfully (v. 1): Spiritual joy is the heart and soul of thankful praise. Drawing near to God is the reason for rejoicing in the Lord.

     =Readily (v. 2a): The anticipation of going to meet Him! There is a readiness of heart offered with pleasure and zeal.

     =Gratefully (v. 2a): The grateful recognition of God’s gracious dealings with us and all the blessings He has bestowed on us.

     =Reverently (v. 6): The posture of profound reverence in attitude. Joy wedded together with seriousness, gratitude wedded with humility, confidence wedded with reverence, and zeal wedded to Holy awe.


In the passage, there is also found the Motives of Worship. We are motivated because:

     =The Lord is Supreme (v. 3): He is exalted far above the highest position ascribed to the gods of this world. He is ruler over all!

     =The Lord is the Creator and Owner of All (vv. 4-5): From the peaks of the mountains, the deepest, darkest caverns, the depths of the sea, He is the absolute owner and ruler.

     =The Lord’s Relations to His People (vv. 1b, 7): Our Maker made us capable of worship. It is to Him alone that our worship should be offered. He is the “rock of our salvation.” He is unchangeable, faithful, protecting, providing, governing, and watching. He is “our God,” and the shepherd of our souls. “Come let us worship and bow down!”

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2 Chronicles: Praise - A Weapon of Warfare
2 Chronicles: Praise - A Weapon of Warfare

Calvary Baptist Temple • October 13, 2020

By Patrick Mulvehill


In 2 Chronicles we read about King Jehoshaphat who was facing a "...great multitude against thee from beyond the sea…" In verse 3 we see the humanity of the king when we read, "...Jehoshaphat feared…" isn't that our natural response when the enemy surrounds us and threatens our peace?


What is it that is shaking your peace today? Are you having problems in your marriage? Is something threatening your job? Do you feel like you are on the verge of a breakdown? Have you gotten bad news from the doctor? How is the enemy attacking your peace? Whatever it is, why don’t you do the one thing that the enemy doesn’t expect? It is one of the hardest things to do when you are feeling attacked. That’s right, just praise the Lord.


Praise is a spiritual weapon! We see it throughout the Scriptures, when God’s people are in trouble, they turn to worship. When Jehoshaphat was facing the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites he didn’t prepare his finest warriors and put them on the front lines... no, he called out to the Lord and when the Lord assured him that the battle was not Jehoshaphat’s to fight but that it was God’s battle, Jehoshaphat did the only logical thing...


“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord ; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 KJV


When we praise God we acknowledge our need for Him and that the battle is not ours to fight but His. Praise helps us to focus our thoughts and fears on the only one in existence that can actually do anything about it. When we do this it allows us to experience the VICTORY that God wants to give us.


Find a song today that you can sing or a scripture that you can recite to the Lord. Make it your victory cry and just praise the Lord!

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Jeremiah: Clay in the Potter's Hands
Jeremiah: Clay in the Potter's Hands

Calvary Baptist Temple • October 05, 2020

By Allan Bosson


As we at Calvary read through the Bible in a year, this week’s readings are found in the book of Jeremiah, written by a man known as the “weeping prophet.” Though the readings go from chapter 11 to chapter 45, I want to direct our thinking to chapter 18, which covers a parable about the potter and the clay.


Jeremiah was the premier prophet of Judah during the dark days that finally led to the complete destruction of Israel, as well as the eventual departure of the presence of God from His position in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant. This departure of the Spirit of God from the nation of Israel led to what is known as the beginning of the “Time of the Gentiles”. This period of history will last until the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ. As a nation, Israel has not and will not enjoy again God’s personal presence as their leader until Christ reigns over the entire world during the Millennial period. Although the light of other prophets, such as Habakkuk and Zephaniah, flickered in Judah at that time, Jeremiah was really the blazing torch exposing the darkness of Judah’s sin through the brightness of God’s Word. Now, of course, Ezekiel also wrote of Israel’s sin at this time but Ezekiel was already a captive in Babylon.


Looking at the message in chapter 18, we see God directing Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house to observe the potter at work. He sees the potter molding a lump of raw clay, fashioning it into an amazing, decorative Middle Eastern pot. As Jeremiah watched, the potter suddenly stopped his work. He apparently had discovered a flaw in the pot that he was shaping. Thoughtfully, though disappointingly, the potter pressed that flawed pot into what looked like the original lump. Then, with that same lump of clay, he began to form a new pot.

God went on to announce to Jeremiah that the potter and the clay illustrated His relationship to His people. They were like clay in His hand, and He, as the sovereign God of the universe, has the right to tear down or build up any nation or person just as He chooses. Yes, He had promised to bless the nation of Judah. Judah, however, had continued to ignore Him and practice evil. Therefore, He would reconsider the good He had intended and replace it with judgment.  But, if the people of Judah would turn back from their evil and disobedient ways, repent and obey God, He would revoke His plan of judgment and replace it with a blessing.


There is a clear analogy here to how God deals with not only nations but with individual people. The God of the Bible is the Master potter, and He plans to mold His followers into great vessels for spiritual service. When, however, He finds a flaw (unrepentant sin) in a vessel that He is molding, He will not ignore that flaw, but rather He will firmly deal with that sin through the Holy Spirit’s conviction. After a believer’s genuine repentance, He will remold that individual vessel into a more usable and faithful servant, which in turn leads to a more fulfilling and exciting life. Wow, how great it is to be clay in the Master’s hands.

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Habakkuk: The Power of Leadership
Habakkuk: The Power of Leadership

Calvary Baptist Temple • September 30, 2020

By Sarah Snyder


As we enter into a season of elections and voting, we find ourselves thinking more about leadership. What qualities do we like? What policies are important to us? How does he/she stack up? Each question leaves us wondering exactly how a certain individual will perform as a leader. The Old Testament found itself in similar situations throughout all the centuries it covers. Most recently, our Bible Reading Plan has us covering multiple kings and their inevitable downfall. This week we discover Habakkuk, who found himself questioning leadership in a time of turmoil.


Habakkuk is a unique book amongst the Minor Prophets as it is written as lament rather than a prophecy. The book begins with Habakkuk and God dialoguing about Israel’s future. Habakkuk does not understand why God allowed Israel to become so violent and unjust (1:2-4). God responds by saying that he will bring Babylon to take care of Israel (1:5-11). This surprised Habakkuk as Babylon is even more violent and unjust as Israel (1:12-2:1). God responds again to Habakkuk by telling him that he will bring down Babylon but that all nations are ultimately unjust (2:2-5).


The leads into a series of ‘woes’ that God has for poor leadership of all nations. In 2:6-20, God describes the leaders of the nations as unjust and without hope. They “get rich by extortion” (v. 6) and “build cities by bloodshed” (v. 12). They have “committed violent acts against the lands, cities, and those who live in them” (v. 17). Finally, they have created idols that they put before God, idols made of wood and metal that have no speech (vv. 18-20). God has seen all these acts of injustice and will put up with it no longer. We should be reminded that these nations include Israel. Remember back on the kinds of Kings and Chronicles as one by one they chose to serve other gods. 


An important aspect of leadership is the power it holds. Kings and Chronicles does not document Israel’s sins as a people. It documents the king's sins and evils. When a king of Israel turned from God, the whole nation followed. To do otherwise would be to go against the one anointed by God. While the kings of Israel fell away from God, they were still, with each coronation, anointed by people on behalf of God. Psalm 2 was the coronation Psalm read aloud for each king. Psalm 2:6 says, “I [God] myself have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill.” So when this king inevitably worshipped other gods, the people followed their anointed king; with leadership comes power. 


Habakkuk ends with a prayer. It is a beautiful prayer that calls on God to rescue the nations. It should remind us of Exodus, when God comes down in might and power and pulls Israel from the grips of corrupt leadership. The three verses of Habakkuk call on us to find joy in the Lord, even though “the fig tree does not bud,” and “when the olive trees do not produce” (v. 17). Though we today may find ourselves under corrupt leadership or trying to explore how our future leadership might go, Habakkuk tells us “The Sovereign Lord is [our] source of strength” (v. 19).

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2 Kings 22-23: Look to the Book
2 Kings 22-23: Look to the Book

Calvary Baptist Temple • September 21, 2020

By Chris Watson


Those of you who know me know that we have had an addition to the family approximately every 2 years for the last 9 years. Over that time there are a few things that I have grown accustomed to: Diapers, stepping on toys in the middle of the night, and kid’s shows on the television. Over the years there have been many shows that have come and gone based on my different child’s preferences, but one of the shows that have remained the same has been Super Why! It is all about the values and things you can learn while reading. Typically the show is set up with a problem and when they need to find the answer they “Look in a book.” 


In 2 Kings 22-23, we see Josiah, the boy king take over the throne at the ripe old age of 8 years old. He had inherited considerable problems from his predecessors Manasseh and Amon, as they had driven God’s people into further disobedience to the Lord. Unlike his father and grandfather, it tells us that Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely in the ways of David. One day as they were repairing the temple, The Book of the Law was found. They brought it to Josiah and read it to him and at the hearing of these words, Josiah tore his robes and wept. He began to tear down all of the temples and sacraments to false gods and renewed a covenant to follow the Lord alone and keep His commandments. 


So where do we look when we have a problem? We look in The Book. God’s word has the answers to all of the problems that have surrounded us in the past, that surround us now, and that will come in the future. His word is timeless and can penetrate the soul. We see in the days of Josiah, that much of the lawlessness, wickedness, and evil that are going on today, was going on during that time as well. So as we look for answers to the problems we face, the hurts that we experience, and the struggles we encounter, look to the Lord and to His word, for in Him we find life, meaning, purpose, and hope.

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1 Corinthians 13: The Love Chapter
1 Corinthians 13: The Love Chapter

Calvary Baptist Temple • September 14, 2020

By Jacob Mock


As we enter week 37 in our Bible in one year plan, we start out in 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter of scripture is commonly referred to as “The love chapter,” which is a very timely passage. Being Christians and church members, most of us are certainly aware that love is an extremely important aspect of the Christian life. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us just how important it is. 


“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”


How well are you loving the people around you? Are you patient with them? Are you kind to them? Or are you quick tempered and rude? It makes sense that the world is not loving, but as Christians we should be the most loving people on earth! No other character trait can replace love. God’s word says that it does not matter how much money you give away, how many hours you serve, or how many weeks in a row you attend church. If you are not a loving person, then you have nothing! This chapter in the Bible should cause us all to stop and reflect on how we treat the people around us. Let’s be sure to love those around us well!

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1 Corinthians 4: Final Exam
1 Corinthians 4: Final Exam

Calvary Baptist Temple • August 31, 2020

By Derward Poole


1 Corinthians 4:1-5 - “So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” (NLT)


Upon completing our education, most of us are relieved not to have any more tests. Two summers ago, when I walked out of the office of Dr. Bret Sullivan, President of Covington Seminary, it was like a six year heavy weight had been removed. However, our testing days aren’t quite over, because God has a final examination of sorts for believers. And just as we needed to study to demonstrate scholastic progress, we should also be preparing for the day when the Lord assesses our life.


Although believers won’t be judged for their sins since Jesus bore them on the cross, we are nevertheless accountable to God for how we have lived since salvation. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to have our works evaluated for the purpose of reward. Some of the deeds that we thought were good will be found worthless by the Judge who knows our motives, whereas others will be rewarded.


There are many factors by which the Lord evaluates our lives, and His knowledge of every detail is absolute. We will have no excuses for wrong motives or wasted time and opportunities. Therefore, we should live in light of eternity every day of our life, seeking to please the Lord with our thoughts, motives, words, and deeds.

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