Calvary Chapel Dickinson

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Be Strong in Grace

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:1

 

What is grace? It is God’s unmerited favor. So what does that mean to you and me?

It means that the God of creation, who spoke the universe into existence, who measures heaven with the width of his hand (Isa. 40:12), who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills (Ps 50:10), who alone is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient (all powerful, all places, all knowing), that this God has bestowed His favor upon me!

“Well,” you think to yourself, “and why not? After all, I am a pretty swell person! I go to church almost every Sunday, and I toss a couple bucks into the offering plate occasionally. I hardly ever yell at my wife…all in all I am doing pretty well. Of course God would bestow His favor on me!”.

Actually, friend, that is exactly what makes this grace so amazing! NONE OF US DESERVE IT! That is why it is “unmerited” favor. Do you not know that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rm 3:12), that our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9)?

Unfortunately, many folks try to bestow favor upon themselves. They have an over-inflated sense of self-worth, like our friend in the earlier example. Honestly, that attitude may make you feel better, but that and 2 bucks will get you half a cup of coffee!

God’s grace poured out on His children has power! We can count on it, not only for salvation (Eph 2:8), but also for obedience (Rm 1:5), sufficiency (2 Cor 12:9), edification (Eph 4:29),  everlasting consolation and hope (2 Thess 2:16); I could go on and on!

Just remember, my brothers and sisters in Christ, grace is amazing not just because it is “unmerited favor”, but because it has the power of our almighty God behind it!

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Consider Jesus

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus
 
Hebrews 3:1
 
The word consider in our text is a Greek word that means "to observe fully, to behold or perceive." In the first two chapters in this book, the author was demonstrating the pre-eminence of Jesus, first over the prophets (Heb. 1:1-2), then over the angels (Heb. 1:3-3:18). It is in view of this exaltation of the Son of God over created beings that we are asked to "consider" Him.
 
I find that just as this was an issue for the church in the 1st century, so also is it pervasive in the 21st century. It seems many Christians are stumbled, and take their focus off of Jesus, because they place created things in a position of exaltation over Jesus. "Wait, Pastor Ron, no way do I have anything in my life that is ahead of my Savior!". Many may be thinking that, and in their heart of  hearts they believe it, but often time actions will belie your true heart.
 
I encourage you to take a look at your life, and see where your time is spent. Is there anything that you do that takes time away from fellowship with Jesus? Everyone has daily responsibilities, and many of those require much of our attention. But if you are so busy that you find little time is spent in worship, and study, and prayer, I submit that your priorities need a radical adjustment! 
 
Jesus just desires that we stop periodically during the day and "consider" Him. We can all spend time during the day in quiet, prayerful thought where our Lord is the center and focus of our quiet time. After all, He gave His life on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven, and we can spend eternity with Him. Surely that massive sacrifice merits a small part of our day "considering" Him!
 
May God richly bless you!
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Rest In Christ Jesus

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 Hebrews 3:19

 In Hebrews chapter 3, the author is revealing the supremacy of Jesus Christ, in that He provides for us perfect rest. There is no rest available to man that can compare to the rest we have in our Saviour. And who among us does not long for rest? Sure, we can go on vacation and relax, we can open a good book and kick our feet up, but this will result only in physical rest. What Jesus offers us is a deep, spiritual peace that passes all understanding.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

I don’t know about you, but I want a peace and rest like that! But there is something hindering us from receiving this rest. It is unbelief. Just as the unbelief of the Hebrews wandering through the wilderness after being freed from Egypt kept them from entering the rest that God had for them in the land of Canaan(Heb. 3:11), so our hearts of unbelief will keep us from experiencing the rest Jesus has for us.

Are you experiencing depressing, anxiety, stress, or many other negative emotions? We all do at one time, but true belief, not just lip service, will free in from those things in Christ Jesus! We must believe that He is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9) to deal with any and all issues that we are dealing with. We just need to lay them at the foot of the cross, and Jesus promises to take those burdens from us. (Matt 11:28).

Believe, and rest in the peace of Christ!

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Milk Drinker or Meat Eater?

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

Hebrews 5:13


There are few pleasures in life for me personally than gulping down a big glass of ice cold milk! I realize there are groups of people that say milk is bad for you, that humans are the only creatures that consume milk after being weaned (they never met my dog and cat, apparently!). But the nutritional value of milk, high in calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other healthy stuff has been well documented. I prefer to drink mine as God created it, without the corruption of pasteurization and homogenization...but that is for another blog.

As much as I like milk, it would be unwise of me to eat or drink nothing other than milk. That may be fine for a baby who is unable to eat anything else, due to an immature digestive system and lack of teeth. But for an omnivore such as myself, with incisors and canines for tearing and ripping meat in my mouth, along with four rows of bicuspids for chewing and grinding, it is obvious I was designed for eating much more. As much as I enjoy feeling that white, smooth beverage slide effortlessly down my throat, I adore taking my time chewing on a  rib eye or new york cut steak, medium rare. Not only is that the source of much enjoyment, bu also the added nutrients in other foods are necessary for our health and very survival.

Just as feeding on a variety of good food allows for physical maturity, so feeding on God's word on a regular basis will allow us to grow spiritually. To many Christians today (and when the epistle to the Hebrews was written), are satisfied being baby Christians. They go to church where the average pastor spends a few minutes reading a couple of verses from God's word, then expounding on a topic of his choosing for the week. The people then consider themselves "fed" for the week, and forget about God's word until next Sunday.

They are starving spiritually! They are not recieving the full spiritual nutrition available to them by chewing on and digesting God's precious word to us. Let us recieve all the blessings that He has for us by making His word a part of our every meal, every day!

Taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8

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Truth or Dare?

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 2 Peter 1:16

In 1 Peter, the apostle encourages the early church in enduring the persecution that comes on each and every believer in Christ from outside of the church. In 2 Peter, he once again addresses persecution, but this time from within the church. In 2 Peter 2, he specifically speaks of false teachers being among them, with many being decieved, and following in their destructive ways (2 Pet. 2:2). In v18, he speaks of how they "speak great swelling words, they allure through the lusts of the flesh". As an elder of that church, his concern was that the sheep would be led onto a path of destruction, and as a caring shepherd, it was his desire to point them in the more perfect direction.

 As a pastor and elder, I am often called on the carpet by well meaning brothers and sisters for "naming names" when I speak of what I see as deception in the church. There are many "pastors" within the body of Christ that speak, if not outright heresy, then certainly deceptions that lead a good number of Christians on a very dangerous path. I do not believe that teaching grace and works is necessesarily heretical, but leads a Christ loving saint on a path of depending on themselves for salvation. I do not believe teaching "warm fuzzy" sermons are heretical. In fact that is the kind of sermon most preachers prefer to preach! But a steady diet of sugar will only rot your teeth! At some point, your hand needs to be slapped when you are overdosing on ice cream! God's justice and righteousness cannot be ignored.

Certainly these things lead to spiritual immaturity, but much more dangerous are the "fables", or mythos in the Greek (where the word myth comes from). Beware of the "pastors" that teach that all roads lead to God, and that a sincere Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, etc., will all go to heaven. Or one the teaches that you can be a "good" Christian and not believe in the resurrection.

There are some people who do not find the style of Calvary Chapel Dickinson to their tastes (for the life of me I don't know why!), but I know that it is not the only true church around. Please, if not CC Dickinson, find a bible believeing/teaching church, that first and foremost believes that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17.

 

God's grace and peace be poured upon you abundantly!

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Creeps in the Church

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 4

I wish that every person that I met who called themselves a Christian was truly a Christian. In fact, I have read polls that state that 80 to 85 percent of Americans claim to be Christians. But if that were true, this nation, and in fact this world, would be radically different.

Why are not more "Christians" acting Christ-like? Why don't more "Christians" demonstrate a biblical world-view when it comes to issues of sin, rather than either turning the other cheek, or an out-right denial that sin is really sin? It certainly comes from the rejection of the authority of God's holy word. But why this outright rejection of the truth of the Bible?

We have allowed "certain men" to creep in unnoticed into our churches. Some of them are in positions of leadership. That, of course, is right where Satan wants them. I have heard pastors teach that hell is not a real place. That atheists can go to heaven if they are sincere/good. That we cannot know truth. That to believe in a literal six days of creation is foolishness. When men from the pulpit are undermining the authority of God's word, the sheep in the pews are going to do what sheep do, they are going to trust that the "shepherd" is there to protect them, that the pastor must know because he has and advanced degree of some kind, and has studied God's word. And of course, that sort of "pastor" will present himself as an authority in scripture. But how arrogant and prideful to claim authority over God's word! That was the same tactic used by Satan himself in the garden, when he convinced Eve that God's word was not true, which led to the expulsion of the first man and woman from the Garden of Eden, and worse, resulted in the end of fellowship between God and man!

Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). Do not forget the words of Paul to the Roman church when he said faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rm 10:17). When we believe in the authority of God's word, and steadfastly seek to know it, then we will not be decieved by the creepers who enter into the church.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into and angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

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