The Impact of Lifegroups by Morgan Moody

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Morgan and Josh Moody joined Calvary in July of 2015, right after their daughter Paisley was born. Morgan serves in kid city in the nursery as well as a life group leader. Josh co-teaches Sunday school for the Calvary young adults class, as well as serves as life group leader. During their spare time the Moodys love to hang out with Paisley and find cool family adventures to go on, like seeing Shamu, trampoline parks, splash pads and attending sporting events.

My husband, Josh and I wanted to find a home church. We didn’t expect to spend a year and a half looking. We both had only had one pastor growing up; mine was my Granddad, and Josh’s was his Dad. Our standards were set pretty high for that reason alone. Who could compare to family? We both come from families that have a well-known legacy and cherished the feeling of being completely comfortable in a congregation. We are proud of where we come from and carry the Langley and Moody names with great honor, but we are also our own people.  In our new church home we wanted to be known as Josh and Morgan Moody. 

In the beginning, the thing we craved the most was the very thing that scared me when walking into Calvary’s doors. Would I know anybody? Would anybody talk to us? God kicked that fear to the side very quickly and brought many people to us. Relationships began to form, but they still lacked the intimacy we hoped to find. I knew that intimacy would come from a life group.

However, this is where our expectations differed. In college, I had incredible discipleship leaders and experienced exactly what a life group should be. Even now I keep in contact with the lady who poured into my life like I was her own. I was also privileged to have a couple who opened their doors and made sure that we, as college students, had a second family away from home. I remember one evening in college when I was wrestling with what God wanted me to do in a particular situation. I was walking the sidewalks on campus and pleading with God. Since I am an ugly crier and my face turns really red, it is pretty obvious when something is wrong.  As I was walking, I passed Eddie, my mentor’s husband. He asked if I was okay.  In order to quickly get away, I just said, “Yeah,” as fast as I could. In thirty seconds, he had called his wife, Missy, and by the time I was passing their house on campus, she was sitting on the steps waiting for me to pass by. This is what true discipleship looks like, to be willing at any moment to direct someone to God’s word or to simply pray with him or her. When I graduated college and got married, I continued to crave this intimacy with people my age.  I simply wanted to be surrounded by people who were in a similar stage in life as we were and could be part of the village we could rely on as we focused on Christ.

As we sat in church last summer and heard the announcement about life groups forming, my heart began to pound from excitement. This was just what we needed! Just as quickly, my heart fell. I knew Josh would not want anything to do with a home group. His experience was completely opposite of mine. He had experienced groups that were centered on arguing about what was going wrong in the church and catching up on the latest gossip about who, what, where and when in the congregation. This left Josh with a bitter taste in his mouth and disillusioned about what life groups could be. I wanted to be the submissive wife and follow his direction, but I also knew this was what we needed. To my surprise, he agreed to try it out for one season. Two days later, Brandon called and asked if we would be leaders of a life group. When Josh shared Brandon’s request, I laughed, knowing that this was God’s sense of humor on display. We agreed to be leaders and could never have envisioned all the blessings we would receive by accepting that position.

Our group was made up of mostly college age students and young couples. We became a family and a village. Most Wednesday nights, people would still be at our house when the clock hit 9:30.  They felt comfortable and this was their home.  When Josh would travel, they would stay and make sure our house was picked up and would always make sure my trash was taken out. One of the sweetest outcomes of our time together came from watching our daughter, Paisley, and her friend Brooklynne participate with our group. By the end of this season they both understood what it meant to pray. They saw their mommas, daddies, and friends pray weekly together. During this season, I found the intimacy I longed for and Josh realized that life groups aren’t such a bad idea.

If you have never tried a life group, please prayerfully consider joining one. You never know what blessings or relationships you may be missing. Keep an open mind. We have all been the newbie and realize the discomfort it can bring. We will love on you! If you are a seasoned life group member, remember the anxious nerves you felt walking in the first few times.  Love on the newcomers and make them feel like they have been there all along.  Together we can encourage each other and guide each other. Speak with love and use God’s word to guide you as we do life together.

Fighting to Say ‘Yes’ When God Says ‘No’ by Ann Swindell

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Here's a great article I wanted to share with all of you!  

In Christ, 
Brandon H.

Fighting to Say ‘Yes’ When God Says ‘No’
The Gospel Coalition · by Ann Swindell · April 6, 2017

God doesn’t always grant healing and wholeness in this life, a painful reality that came to a head for me in college. I wrestled with the knowledge that God could heal me instantaneously—a small thing for him, surely—and the truth that he didn’t.
By the time I entered college, I’d struggled with trichotillomania—a hair-pulling condition—for a decade. I pulled my eyelashes and eyebrows out every day, even though I hated it and wanted to stop. Neurologically, my brain couldn’t stop itself, and that meant I couldn’t heal myself. Because of the “no” I kept getting in response to my prayers for healing, God seemed silent and distant.
One day, as I felt my frustration toward God mounting, I headed to the prayer chapel. I poured angry, hasty words onto journal pages with dark strokes of ink. I told God he seemed mean and cold and distant and impossible to deal with. I sat there with eyelashes scattered across the pages—ashamed they were no longer where they should have been.
The tears I cried weren’t new, but they felt surprisingly fresh. “I keep asking this question, God,” I cried. “Why? Why won’t you heal me? My hours of praying and begging, even my days of fasting—what have they done? Anything?”

I answered myself: “Nothing. They’ve done nothing! I’m worse than I’ve ever been.”
I wanted to push him away—this God who is all places and everywhere—and I wanted to run from him. I began to understand how people become bitter, how the seeds of anger turn into deep roots of distrust. I’m not proud of my bitterness or the ways I fought God. But it’s the truth: I was mad. In fact, I was offended.

Choice of Offense
When we’ve begged and pleaded with God, and he still doesn’t change our situation, we’re left with a choice: We can offend him or obey him. Offense puts us in the judgment seat. We declare what God should do and how he should work. We’re offended when he doesn’t follow our plan. We point our finger and tell him he’s wrong.
While it’s good to be honest with God, there’s a distinct difference between heartfelt honesty and hostile honesty. Heartfelt honesty comes to God on its knees, crying out with humility and trust. Hostile honesty comes to God pointing a finger. When our honesty turns hostile, we become bitter. We judge him and run from him. By doing so, we reject the very source of comfort we desperately need.

Choice of Obedience
The second choice we have is obedience. We say yes to God, even when we don’t understand him. This option feels harder in the short term. But it’s the only real one if we’re going to continue walking with Christ.

In mercy, God pulled me back from the crag of prideful offense. Through small steps of obedience, he reminded me of his truth and kindness. He softened my heart in two ways. The first way was through a woman named Nita, the wife of one of my professors. She and I met twice a month to talk about my walk with the Lord, to discuss the Word, and to pray.

As we talked one afternoon, my words came tumbling out. My anger, frustration, and hurt bubbled over, and I started crying at the kitchen table. What I remember most is not what Nita said but what she did. She put her hand over mine, and she cried with me. She didn’t chastise or immediately correct. Her hand and her silence let me know I was allowed to feel those emotions. She didn’t force me to be anywhere other than where I was.

When she spoke, her voice was a violin, wavering with emotion but full of deep conviction. “Ann, we don’t always understand what God does or doesn’t do. But we always know—we always know—that he loves us.”

“It just makes the no harder to hear sometimes,” I said. “Because I don’t understand why that’s his answer. It’s hard for me to reconcile his love with the no.”
“I understand, Ann. I do.”
I recalled the losses Nita had endured, the sorrows she had walked through, and I knew that she did understand. Her eyes were glossy, and she took a big breath before speaking again. “But who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35).
I shook my head. “Nothing, Nita.” My voice was a whisper. “Nothing and no one.” Not even a no. Nita’s kindness and truth spoke blessing to me. She pointed me to the Word and offered me compassion. That day, through her, God began to heal my hurt and frustration.
The healing and softening continued as I obediently read the Word and spent time in prayer. As I met with Christ, I couldn’t harden my heart against him. By reading the stories of men and women in the Bible who waited and trusted, I came to trust God’s sovereignty over my life, even when I didn’t understand it. And, as I poured out my heart to him in honest and humble prayer, I came to experience his comfort and love.

Better than Healing
In my obedience of small steps toward God, he pulled me back from offense. He showed me all I really need is Jesus. To walk away offended is more devastating than continuing to deal with any sickness or unwanted condition.
I may not have healing, but I have Christ. And he’s more than enough for me.

Editors’ note: This is an adapted excerpt from Ann Swindell’s new book, Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want (Tyndale, 2017).
The Gospel Coalition · by Ann Swindell · April 6, 2017

Our Family on the Other Side

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"Our Family On The Other Side" Brian Loveless Sermon on June 11, 2017 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas. Part 3 of the series "Family Matters"

One of the tough things that's happened in these last few weeks, I know so many of you are aware of and it came as such a punch to the heart for so many of us, and that was the news about Austynne Roberts.  James and Cindy Roberts, and their family, from the time I came to Calvary they were an integral part of this this church body.  They were busy and everything, they’d grown up here, very connected to our lives and to our families, and when I got here their daughter Austynne was seven years old.  We just saw Austynne grow up through youth camps, through the youth department over across the street.  Teenagers, she sat right down where you're sitting, week after week.  I had the privilege of seeing something as a relatively young pastor that's new to me, and that is watching somebody come all the way up and see them coming into their own as a young woman.  Austynne and her family moved to the Aledo, Willow Park area some years ago.  They joined the Church of a great friend of mine, Clark Bosher, and he's a product of Calvary as well.  We've still kept in contact, they'd still come back [here] and our people go over there for different events.  This last week we got word that Austynne, at 21 years of age, had been in an auto accident that took her life. I think I've gotten to the point I'm accustomed to brutality.  I think if you've been a pastor any time at all you better get accustomed to the hardest things in life because you're going to see them constantly. Maybe part of it was that I was laid up, part of it was that I was home, but a lot of it is I knew that girl!  She was just coming into her own. But it hit me really, really hard and I think it did a lot of you too.

The last time I was with you, on Mother's Day, we were starting a brand new series simply entitled Family Matters.  I appreciate James our young pastor, our youth pastor, who's really developing and all these things, he preached for us.  My friend Joshua Reese came and preached for us and they've been in the vain of family. We've been talking about raising kids, and talking about making marriage work. It's not easy but it can be good.  We've been talking about what it is when you have your parents who raised you, now starting to be faced with a lot of changes in their life and difficulties physically and emotionally, and how you kind of relate to that. All those things were things we either tackled or intended to tackle.  I'm telling you, laid up there at home the thought occurred to me that there's a topic we don't address that often that has everything to do with family.

What about our Christian family members that have already gone? There are a lot of you in this room that have family that have already gone. For some of you it's a mate, for some of you it's a child or a grandchild, for all of us it's somebody that we love, somebody in our circle who's already gone home.  So as we're beginning to wrap up the series on the family it's been weighing on my heart to answer this question: what has become of them?  We can't see them anymore, we wish we could. We can't talk to them anymore; we'd give almost anything if we could.  What is their current state? I want to entitle our time together this morning Our Family on the Other Side.

Before we get to our text: 2nd Corinthians 5 is absolutely gorgeous. It's going to fill in a lot of gaps for us. Before we get to that 1st Corinthians 2:9 tells us this
But as it is written, Eye [has] not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: 

Now I want to note before we even get into our text what this is saying. I believe this text refers to far more than eternity; far more than just the afterlife, but it certainly includes that. Here's what its saying - your physical five senses, what you see, what you taste, what you touch, what you hear, what you smell, will be of zero help to you in understanding the afterlife.  Those five senses can get you pretty far down here, and I'm telling you when you lose one of those senses you understand that especially, but they won't help you at all in understanding what comes after the pulse stops beating, the lungs stop breathing. All you'll see is a casket, all you'll hear is the cry and laments of family members, all you'll feel is the agony of separation.  So the text tells us upfront, your physical senses aren't going to help you understand what happens after life is over.

I believe it's also saying very plainly the culture is going to be a very little help to you in explaining the afterlife. The stuff that other people can come up with, and they show it in their movies, and they put it in their comics, and you see it on sitcoms, and people write books about it; very little, zero might I say, help in helping us understand about what comes after you die. But listen to this,

1st Corinthians 2:9 Eye [has] not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his [Holy] Spirit: 

In other words the Holy Spirit of God wants to show us, tell us, narrate for us, some things that come after you die.  Well how is He going to do that? I've never had the Holy Spirit like come down and “Brian, let me give you some information...” Let's look at our text 2 Corinthians 5:1.  If you're with me this morning say “Amen” (you hadn't heard that in a while).


2 Corinthians 5

  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [that’s our body] were dissolved [or died], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this [this present body] we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon [or further clothed] with our house which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked [we don’t want to die and that’s it, we long for something more].
For we that are in this tabernacle [this body] do groan [there’s that word again], being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed [not just die], but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of [or by] life.
Now he that hath wrought us [or designed us] for [that very same or] the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [you’ve heard of “earnest money”, right?  The down payment, the promise] of the Spirit.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Okay, he says again you're not going to figure out what's happened to your loved ones on the other side that have already passed away by looking for it physically. All you're going to see is death, but we don't walk by sight, Christians. We walk by faith! God says the Holy Spirit is going to show you what's coming, by faith, to which we say again, “Lord that's awesome. I got people over there.” Some of you have more people over there now than you have here.  “I want you to show me this by faith Lord, but how does that work?”  My friends there is a scripture I've come back to again and again. It's so simple, but if we forget it, we forget it to our detriment.   

Romans 10:17
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God says I know you've lost people. I know you got family that your hearts still attached to, and they knew my Son Jesus Christ, and they died. But I don't want you to sorrow like other people sorrow. I know you're sad, I know you're hurt, but don't sorrow like a lost world! Don't sorrow because of what you see, and hear, and feel; go to this book and find out what's really going on!  Find out what comes after they breathe that last breath. Find out what happened after their neurons stopped firing, and their lungs stopped breathing. God says I have some stuff to share with you, and he shares that in 2 Corinthians 5. 

By the way I believe it is because we have so often looked to the physical instead of the spiritual, we've so often looked to the culture instead of the book, that we have such a distorted view of heaven, most of us.  We've seen too many movies; we've heard too many jokes about St. Peter greeting you at the gate.  It's all about harps and halos, and it's all about angels earning their wings.   I can't tell you how many people that are Christians, you've talked to me about, “well I'm glad my loved one is now my guardian angel in heaven with their wings.”  My friend, your loved one never became an angel. Your loved one is made in the image of Almighty God, they're not angels, and they are something that will be even more glorious!

By the way, all that business about St. Peter at the gate is based on the belief that Peter was the first pope.  That’s a Catholic belief. But the Bible says nothing about that!   All that about halos, and wings, and clouds, and boredom has nothing to do with [the bible]. So today we go to [the bible] to see what the Bible says about our family on the other side.  I want to give you three things, does that surprise you? I had somebody Facebook me while I was home, they said Pastor Reese preached a message just like another preacher I love, three points; it was so good. 

Three thoughts this morning from our text, there could be a lot more, but for time’s sake three things about our born-again loved ones.

Number One:  They Are Very Much Alive. 
They are very much alive.   Look at verse 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
We are confident [there’s that word again], I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The Bible makes it crystal clear over, and over, and over again that a person’s soul lives on when their body stops living. I hear people talk about the whole idea of annihilation, even religious people, when you die that's it. If you believe that, throw [the bible] in the dumpster because I'm telling you from Genesis to Revelation it says you don’t.  When the body dies, the soul lives on. What's the soul?  Your mind, your will, your emotions, your personality; the thing beyond the physical that makes you distinctly you. That's your soul.  God says when your body dies, that lives on. Let me give you some scripture in Ecclesiastes 7, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it

Luke 23:42, remember Jesus was being crucified and there were thieves on either side of him and the one said 42 Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. [He was thinking maybe one day at the resurrection; that was a common belief.  I’m going to die, I’m going to be unconscious, my soul is going to sleep, but maybe one day you’ll remember me] 
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily [Truly] I say unto [you], Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Maybe a day later that guy died.  He suffocated hanging on that cross, he couldn't draw a breath, he'd lost so much blood.  He died but Jesus said no, the day before he was with me in paradise.  What did he mean? Not his body, but his soul! A few moments later Jesus, the Bible says cried with a loud voice he said “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” The soul!  Now they took his dead body down and it was absolutely dead they pierced his heart! The pericardial sac was pierced, blood and water came out; he was dead! The body was dead but his soul very much alive had gone to be with the father. Our text makes it crystal clear, a person's soul lives on after death, but let me tell you something else, our text makes it crystal clear that a Christian soul immediately goes to be with Christ. Immediately!
Y'all, I have been there so many times holding the believers hand when they breathe that last breath. I've been there so many times when they turned off that machine and we just waited, and sometimes it took a long time, sometimes it was real quick.  I've been there with a lot of you, when you were grieving, grieving, grieving the loss of your loved one. You were there with them when they breathed that last breath. I want to tell you something for those born again loved ones, the moment they were absent from the body, the Bible says they were present with the Lord. The Bible says, there's only one of two states for a Christian you're either here or you're there. You say “well what about purgatory? What about a holding place for the soul until your sins can be properly dealt with and then you can be worthy of heaven?” Can I only tell you friend, if you're a Christian there's nothing more that needs to be purged because Jesus purged your sins on the cross - one time - forever!   The doctrine of purgatory isn't even based on the Bible, it's nowhere in there; it’s based on the Apocrypha.  It's based on church history. It’s never in Scripture. You’re either here as a Christian or you're immediately with Christ.  What about soul sleep?  I have a Seventh - day Adventist friend and they talk about the fact that your soul is sort of dormant, unconscious in your body, until one day the resurrection happens and you get woke back up. Can I only tell you again you have to colossally misinterpret Scripture to come up with a belief that the soul does anything but go to be with Jesus immediately when you die.

John 11:23 Lazarus had died and his sisters were grieving.  Martha said to Jesus Lord I know if you'd have been here he wouldn't have died and Jesus said your brother's going to rise again. Martha said to him I know he'll rise again at the resurrection, at the last day. I mean he's dead he's unconscious now, but one day he'll come back to life. Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life he that believes in me though we were dead yet shall he live, but He goes further whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die!  And then He asked her do you believe this?  What was he saying, your soul never dies, and it doesn't sleep. If you have a Christian loved one they were here one moment and the moment they passed they were with God.   But there's something else in this text.

Chapter 5, verse 1
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Here's the thing, the Bible doesn't just promise life after death for a believer. It promises life after life-after-death. In other words, your soul never dies. Jesus says I'm going to put your body back together and glorify it and make it what it was always intended to be and I'm going to give it back to you at the resurrection.  One day every Christian will receive a glorified body that is infinitely superior to the body they possess in this life.  The scripture makes it plain.  By the way, some smart believer is asking right now “okay my loved one’s passed away but the trumpet hadn't sounded, there hasn't been a rapture yet, there hasn't been a resurrection, yet are they just a disembodied soul?”  I believe the Bible has a lot to say about a temporary body that we receive in the meanwhile until Jesus takes that old body and puts it back together and reshapes it and gives you a brand new glorified one.  Do you realize in Lazarus and the rich man it talked about his finger, it talked about his tongue? In Revelation chapter 6 the Saints that were awaiting the resurrection the Bible says they wore robes that means there must have been a body. Some of you are zoning out a little bit let me help you.

My son Vance, my 10 year old, has been after me for a while now “Daddy lists let's camp. Let’s get the old tent out and let's camp. Let’s just do it right there in the backyard,” we got that patch of ground okay and here's the thing I've been making some excuses. I want to be with him I want to spend time with him but it's always, “Son it's real cold out there right now if we're going to freeze to death” or lately it's like “ Son it’s getting pretty hot man there's a lot of mosquitoes out there.”   I'll be honest with you the reality is sleeping in the tent past the age of 40 is like a pretty difficult proposition. Have you slept in a tent like on the ground after the age of 40? Don't you wake up like “my back hurts!” Right? You’re like “I got a sore throat.”  “I think I got lice!”   I don't know what happened but like overnight my body breaks completely down.   I mean and usually let's be honest when you're camping out back it's like somewhere around 3:00 in the morning you wake up and you're like “why? why am I'm on this pad? I got like a king-size bed in there!  Ten paces away there's a pillow top waiting on me! I got a big-screen TV!” Right?  “a Xbox! It's right there!” Right?  Here's the thing, the Bible says that we that are in these Tabernacles groan for our house that is from above.

You know what tabernacle means? Tent.  You and I for 21, 40, 60, 90 years we have these tents pitched for us. We're living in them, we love in them, we travel in them, we know beauty and pain, we know glory and agony in them, but God is saying  a couple of paces away I got a house waiting on you. It's so much better than your tent!  And every joy you've ever known as good as it was, it's just a foretaste of what I have waiting on you when I put that body back together and give you a glorified form. The first thing is please, please believe it about our born-again loved ones they are very much alive. They are conscious today. They know they're in the presence of God. They know that they're alive. They remember!  People asked, “Do they remember?” I believe they absolutely remember you and life. Here's the second thing, they not only are very much alive, and they are still themselves.

Number Two:  They Are Still Themselves. 

You know what I mean?  I think a lot of us had the fear like, “well the Bible says we won't be male or female, and the Bible says we won't be married, and I don't think we will remember, because how could you be happy if you remember the things on earth?  So I'm going to be there, look nothing like I look, not remember any of my relationships, and basically stroke a harp and on a cloud for eternity and I don't remember anything about my former life. And that's supposed to be good why?”  That's the stuff people don't say in polite church circles but it's what a lot of us have thought.  That's a distorted view of heaven.

Here's the thing, if you read this book about eternity you begin to understand that in heaven nothing good about your present life will be diminished. It will only be enhanced. Charles Stanley once said that sin is not a thing; it's a lack of a thing. Sin is corrosive. Sin eats away. So I want you to think of this, science tells us we only use a very small percentage of our brain in this life. I don't know this, it's a theory, perhaps that's because of the fall in Genesis chapter 3; because sin eats away at perfection. Think of a pie and sin takes 3/4 of the pie and leaves you with a sliver, so the best joy you've ever known on earth, the happiest most peaceful memory you have, the greatest love you've ever shared, the beauty of seeing your babies born, the best things you've had in life were just a piece of the pie, and in heaven my friends we receive the whole pie!  

By the way I think there's a lot of error people say “well we won't be male or female in heaven” where does the Bible say that? It says we won't be given in marriage, it doesn't say we won't maintain our gender identity. You say “well it won't be the same if I'm not married to my mate in heaven” but who's to say? We will have a love for everybody that transcends anything we knew on planet Earth.  Friends it's not a diminishing.  And by the way I want to put this right, in heaven the Bible says your mind will be the same mind you had down here, only sharper! Your soul will be the same soul only now completely pure! Your skills will be the same skills but now unhindered in their expression. 

And by the way, we're going to work in eternity we're going to travel this universe and eternity doing labor for God, but we'll never get tired, and it'll be a labor that we desire with all our hearts!  God will change you in heaven, yes he will, but he will never obliterate you, or replace you, you are you in eternity! But a better you than you can possibly imagine.  Scripture indicates a considerable amount of continuity between our present earthly bodies and our future resurrection bodies. Whenever the disciples saw Jesus, after He rose from the dead in a glorified body, they recognized Him as Jesus. Sometimes it took a little time because I believe He was the youngest, most vibrant version of Himself. He hadn't been beaten up for 33 years in the body, and so there was that moment, but they still knew it was Jesus. On the Mount of Transfiguration they knew that was Elijah, they knew that was Moses.  How did they know? Did Moses have like a gold chain that said “Moses” around his neck?  No.  Was there a sign like, “Hey you’re in the presence of Moses.” No. There was something about that glorified body that made who you really are so plain to people it couldn't be mistaken. You’re going to be you in eternity but a better you than you can imagine! And that means that husband that's gone home, that wife that’s gone home, they are still them!  That child that's gone on, they’re still them. 

1 Corinthians 15:49 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

In short our bodies will be like Jesus’ glorified body. The Bible (Philippians 3:21) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,

Almost very message I've done on heaven in the last few years has included this quote because I'm telling you I never read it without the hairs going up on my neck. Randy Alcorn uses scripture, after scripture, after scripture, after scripture to back this up in our resurrected state we'll have real, substantial, and spiritual bodies that will have physical substance. You're not going to be a ghost. We'll be capable of talking, walking, touching, and being touched. Christ’s resurrection body could appear suddenly, apparently coming through a locked door, and disappeared just as quickly. Christ ascended into heaven in His new body this suggests we may be able to fly and transcend the present laws of physics. Christ ate food in His resurrection body both He and we will eat and drink in heaven. Every reference to sitting at a table and having a banquet in heaven should forever free from the myth of floating around like ghosts. Get ready for some great food. Though we'll eat and drink there will be no hunger or thirst in heaven at least none that remains unsatisfied. Our heavenly bodies apparently won't need what is now essential—food, drink, oxygen, covering, etc.—but we'll be fully capable of enjoying them.

Let me tell you something else about our loved ones Hebrews 12:18 and 22-23 after my own dad passed away, this insight was given to me that blessed my heart and I hope it'll bless yours. Paul said 18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, In other words he’s using the analogy of when the Ten Commandments was given the people were so in awe at the glory of God, burning fire, and smoke, and trumpets, and voices, they were mortified to be in his presence. He said that that's not what you're experiencing you're come to Mount Zion and under the City of the ... I’m messing this whole thing up let me go back up.  I've only got one eye y'all only got one eye.  I'm going blame everything on that by the way. Jenny's like “you didn't take the trash out,” I’m like “honey I got one eye.” *laughs* you think I'm joking?

18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, [That's what's going on around us right now y’all in heaven] and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

You know a lot of the struggle of this life, Christian is our sanctification. I'm still so banged up, and I still struggle with temptation, I still struggle with my mouth, and struggle with getting angry, and bitter, and writing my own story about what people think and what they said, right?  I know that's just me y'all might not have any of those problems, but you probably do. Our sanctification, He's transforming us into the image of Jesus, but it's slow-going.  You know the Bible says the moment you breathe that last breath your sanctification fast-forwards completely and you are perfected.  No more struggle with sin, no more struggle with temptation, no more God I'm seeking you but I can't find you.  No He's right there and you can see Him! By the way no more cancer, no more suicide, no more car accidents, no more war, no more violence, no more confusion, no more hatred... what God designed this to be He hasn't given up on it! The Missio Dei, the mission of God, is He's bringing it all back! And your born-again loved one that has passed on, my friend is in the presence of the perfect God and their sanctification is complete!  One last thing, then we're gonna be done.  Our loved ones that have gone on before if they know Christ are very much alive, they are still themselves, and they are truly home. 

Number Three:  They Are Truly Home. 

I want you to notice verse 8 in our King James We are confident,  I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

If you're reading another translation this morning it probably says “home” with the Lord because the Greek word there is “indemas” meaning to be present, to be to be home, is to be among one's own people and in one's own land.  You’re either present in this body or you're home.  What does home mean to you? I'll tell you after two weeks in Uganda, seeing a lot of suffering, and a lot of hunger, and a lot of trouble, about two days before I got back my heart was longing for home. Not just a house, I love my house. You google “home” it'll just pull up all this real estate stuff but home is something more isn't it? Home is familiarity. It’s the place where you can take your shoes and socks off and be comfortable.  Home is where the people you love are, home is where you have meals with them, you laugh with them and you hurt with them.  You suffer with them but you rejoice with them. That's home. Here's the thing you guys, God tells us every taste of home you've ever had on planet earth is but, what does the old song say? “A foretaste of glory divine.”  Just the sound of a song you've never heard. Just the taste of bread you've never really sampled. Just a smell of a flower you've never seen in life.

Some of you, in the great spiritual moments of your life, when you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, it was like nothing in your life!  You thought “If I could just live there...”  That's home!  I want to put our picture back up of Austynne. Twenty one years old. You know why that's so hard?  Because in the flower of her youth we saw her go away, but that's not how God saw it. I don't know if this is original, people think it is, but a 19th century American clergyman named Henry van Dyck wrote this and I'll conclude with it:

"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then some one at my side says: 'There, she is gone!

'Gone where?'

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when some one at my side says: 'There, she is gone!' there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!'

She gets to grow up in glory because a few days ago Jesus Christ said here she comes! So many of you listening to me, He didn't have me preach this for no reason. You got people that know Christ and they're on the other side. And it hurts, and it should. You had to say goodbye, but I want you to know for them, if we could see what they're enjoying right now, we wouldn't have them back.  

Calvary Car Show by John Parker

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Johnny Parker has been attending Calvary Baptist Church since he was an infant and his wife, Tammy, since she was 16 years old. When the Parkers aren’t organizing the annual Calvary Car Show, Johnny serves as department leader for the school-age Sunday school classes as well ushering and deacon committee.  Tammy has spent over 20 years serving in the nursery department and continues to serve in other areas of Kid City.  In their spare time, Johnny & Tammy prioritize family time with their children and grandchildren for family Sunday dinners and games.

The Annual Calvary Car Show

When I was on the trustee board, the topic of Kids Camp came up.  One of the issues was a lack of fund raising being done for the little kids to help those who could not afford to go to camp. Some kids wanted to go but could not do so because of a lack of funds. This information was very troubling to me because I was saved at Minnetonka Youth Camp and the thought of a young boy or girl possibly missing out on something that was as dear to my heart and important as camp because of money was a problem.  I asked the Lord to use us to help, if it was the Lords will.

Tammy and I asked the Lord to lead us and show us what our part would be "if any" in making sure that any child who wanted to go to camp would be able to do so without it being a burden on their family finances. The ball started rolling fast and I knew whatever the Lord had in store needed to be a big one time event and not the usual cookie, cake, twenty dollar bag of fundraiser popcorn type effort. There were no car shows in town except the city "cruise in" which was only drawing 20-30 cars, it wasn’t really a car show. We figured if the church put on a car show and did it professionally, it would attract lots of spectators as well as classic car enthusiasts.   Especially if 98% of them would otherwise never step foot on our church campus.

The thought was to raise money to send every kid to camp who wanted to go as well as attracting lots of folks who would come to the car show.  Folks would come only expecting the car show but find more than that through the love of Christ manifested by our members who would one after the other introduce themselves and love on these folks.  Letting them know that they go to church here and invite them to visit us sometime.

My prayer is that when one goes to the Calvary Car Show they are swallowed up by the love of our Savior and when they leave they say to themselves “Wow I'm not sure what this feeling is that I'm feeling but those were the most loving, nicest, and warmest folks I've ever been around" We as born again Christians would know that the feeling they experienced was not from our kindness or even our love, but the love of the Savior of the world Jesus Christ himself.  He was tugging at their heart and placing in their heart that they HAVE TO get back to that place, the place where they thought they were going to a CAR SHOW but as it turns out it was not about classic cars at ALL!  It was about the joy in those people at that church, it was about the pressing down upon our very existence that there is something bigger than ME, and whatever it is, it is calling ME, and I MUST answer that call.