We have a special treat this week. While Jeff is in India with the rest of the team, India is sending us Dr. Samuel Thomas. If you have been around Calvary for a while you will be familiar with Dr. Sam and his ministry. If not, Dr. Sam is the President of Hopegivers International, an orphan rescue and training ministry in India. Calvary and Hopegivers have been partners for many many years and we rejoice in the work God does through Dr. Samuel and Hopegivers. If you would like to learn more about Hopegivers you can do so by visiting their website here.
We will gather this week to sing, pray, hear, and give. This is a typical rhythm for us at Calvary, and that isn’t a bad thing. Rhythms can be good, as long as we continue to engage. Typically if a system that has worked for 2,000 years because stale to us, it probably has more to do with us than the system. So what will we sing this week? I’m glad you asked.
You Make Me Brave
Every time we sing this song I cant help but think of Peter. Peter’s life as a disciple of Christ didn’t get off to the best start. Imagine Peter, looking at the crucified Christ, shaking his head in disbelief. Thinking to himself “I denied Him, I swore off all allegiance to Him. I said I didn’t know Him.” He had been in denial. Just days before Jesus had told him this would happen and Peter was defiant. He would go with Him to prison or even death. (Luke 22:33) Not cower, like the others. But here he is just hours after the arrest of Jesus, lying to a little girl about Him.
But Peter also remembered — surely he recalled — what else Jesus foretold, that after he would be killed, on the third day, he would rise (Luke 18:33). And so, as the Son of God was laid in darkness, Peter, through his tears, must have clung to those words. He said he would rise on the third day.
On the third day, in his fear, and hiding, he hears that Jesus has risen. Does he go with fear? Does he rise and see with trepidation? No! He runs! Heart racing, out of breath to finally see the truth he had so desperately wanted to see. Just linen cloths.
He goes home marveling, and we see the outworking of that marvel in the book of acts. Peter had reason to marvel, and so do we. The resurrection of Jesus means victory over death, and victory over our shame — over our fears. The darkness that Peter saw in his frailty was flooded with the light of Jesus’s faithfulness. In his strength, Peter denied Jesus. He sold out. But in Jesus’ strength, in the strength that secured Peter’s everlasting good, Peter was made brave. He was made brave — which means, it’s not by his work, but the death-defying work of Jesus.
Because Jesus is risen, Peter could stand. And so can we. Though our faith is tested, though hardships will come, no fear can hinder the love that made a way.
To Honor You
To Honor you is a humble prayer of praise. If we believe what we sang in “You Make Me Brave” then our response must be this. That we would worship at His feet. Not only that but that we would live to see every knee bowing, and every tongue confess. This is our focus at Calvary. This is why we exist. To make disciples of King Jesus in our city and around the globe so that they can one day too sing in all earnestness “I bow my heart and worship at Your feet”
It is Well
No matter the circumstance, our God is stronger. That is the message of our final song this week. I pray this week you would have the confidence in Christ to say that it is well. It’s not always easy, but it is always possible.
There is so much going on in the hearts and lives of the people of our church this week. Maybe for you its a funeral, or a newborn. Maybe its a new job, or maybe the loss of one. With a church our size there is no telling the about of jubilation and heartache happening all over the city that will directly impact how Calvary worships on Sunday.
That seems like an odd thing to say doesn’t it. How does someone else’s week change how I worship. Let me tell you, the people around you have everything to do with your worship! Next week on this blog we are going to dive into the issue of personal and public worship but just as a teaser think about this. What if church isn’t primarily about you as an individual growing closer to God? What if there was a much bigger picture of worship inherit in our gatherings? How would it change the way you interact with others during the week? We will dive into that soon, but for now be praying for the other people in the church. Maybe they have to do the hard work of forgiveness this week, or are dealing with personal struggles that they have no idea how to communicate to others. Be praying for them that God would reveal Himself in the midst of their realities.
Most gracious Father, be with those in this body of believers who are not hearing Your voice as clearly as they want to. You are the protector of the lowly, and some of us feel pretty low. We ask that you calm our hearts, and bring peace to our minds so that when we come together to worship you, we do so from a place of confidence in Your promises and trust in Your word. Amen