The Boulevard Ministry with Holly & Ruben Alvarez

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Holly and Ruben Alvarez have been attending Calvary Baptist Church since 2010 and reside in Grand Prairie, TX with their two boys. Ruben serves on the deacon committee and security team.  He and Holly both serve faithfully in the Park and Boulevard areas of Kid City. Quality time is incredibly important to the Alvarez family. They enjoy anything they can do together including vacations, movies, games, playing outside, and visiting local attractions.  When they aren't spending quality family time, Holly and Ruben host game nights at their home to fellowship and do life with one another.

The Boulevard 

Holly and Ruben have been serving the in the Boulevard ministry, specially designed for preschool and kindergartners, for approximately six years. It wasn’t long after they joined Calvary that the Alvarezes knew they wanted to get involved and the Boulevard seemed like an ideal place to start. 

They believe the Boulevard ministers to kids who are at the beginning and best stages of their lives.  It is where they start truly understanding and learning more about Jesus and His love! The Alvarezes say they absolutely love this age. The kids come in so ready to sing, play, and learn. Everything is new and exciting for them. For Holly and Ruben, it is like seeing things for the first time all over again through the kids eyes. 

Holly says the more she works with children the more she feels like understands God's love for all of His children. In fact, Holly's favorite verse since she was a little girl has been Matthew 9:14 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”. Even now it reminds her that there is a meaningful purpose behind the children's ministry. Especially knowing those little minds are the future.

Ruben says serving in the Boulevard has been confirmation for him that this is where they should be. There is a need for children's ministry and they want to be a part of it! Ruben feels like the Boulevard builds up his own faith just by being there, seeing the kids each time, and showing them all about God’s love for them. 

The Alvarezes also feel like serving in the children's ministry holds them accountable. Not only to those kids, but to others, themselves, and more importantly to God. It helps them to stay grounded and involved in each other’s lives. It's another way to share life with one another.


Preparing to Love Well at Our Thanksgiving Gatherings by Scotty Smith

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Preparing to Love Well at Our Thanksgiving Gatherings

NOVEMBER 21, 2017  | SCOTTY SMITH 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16-19


Heavenly Father, this portion of your Word highlights the wonders of your love, the heartbeat of the gospel, and the essence of your being. You are love. We praise, bless, and adore you for being so generous, merciful, and grace-full.It also underscores our calling to love all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations, all the time—including our upcoming Thanksgiving gatherings. Relationships expose our need for the gospel more than anything else. At a time when our world, communities, and many of our families, are divided along political, spiritual, or cultural lines, may your love be supersized in our hearts and midst.

Because of your great love for us in Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of the risks of love. As this Scriptures says, we can “know and rely on the love God has for us”. May your perfect love continue to drive out all our fears—including the fears related to the loving in stressed, awkward, or broken family stories.

Help us love our family members in fresh and creative ways. Give us thick skins, so we won’t take things too personally. Give us big hearts, so we’ll love family members for who they are, not who we want (need) them to be. Fill us with your kindness, compassion, patience, and forbearance. Nobody in our families is beyond the need or reach of your grace—including us.

Replace our irritation with intrigue, and our hair-trigger reactions with long-fused respect. May we “roll out the red carpet,” more than we roll our eyes; listen more than we launch, and cherish more than we challenge. Whatever culinary delights show up on our Thanksgiving menu, may the greatest feast be your welcoming heart and Fatherly kindness. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.


Reprinted from The Gospel Coalition, Inc.. Copyright 2017 Find the original article here at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scotty-smith/preparing-love-well-thanksgiving-gatherings/

The Scarlet Thread - Pt.4 The Exodus

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The Scarlet Thread
Pt. 4 The Exodus
John 8:34-36


Let’s do a quick recap of the last three posts from this series: God rules over all of creation. Mankind sinned and ruined the perfect relationship. God is powerful enough to pour out grace despite our sinfulness.

We ended the last post with Joseph’s brothers coming to Egypt for food and Joseph forgiving them. He invited his entire family to live in Egypt with him. But eventually the pharaoh who favored Joseph died, and the next one was afraid of all of those Israelites living in their country. So he made a deal. If you want to live here, you have to work for us. But this pharaoh was sneaky. He broke the deal and made slaves out of the Israelites.

This sets the story up for one of the most meaningful sections of the Bible. The story of the Exodus. Exodus means, “A mass departure of people”. It’s the story of how Israel escaped their enslavement. For a long time, I thought this was just a story about Israel’s history, and it didn’t have a lot to do with me. I was dead wrong. I have since come to realize that the story of Moses and the Exodus has within it the keys to a full, Christian life.

Think about it: hundreds of years have passed since Joseph brought his family to Egypt. Several generations have now been born into slavery. All these people knew in life was to serve the Egyptian Empire. As each pharaoh died, the successor was even crueler. Doubling their work. Even killing their children. There was no hope for the Israelites. They didn’t have the power to overthrow such an empire as Egypt. They didn’t have the weapons to attack. They didn’t even have the motivation to try to escape. They were hopelessly enslaved to their sin.

A thousand years later John, the author of the Book in the Bible, explained that this is the human condition every person is born with. We are all born into slavery. (John 8:34)

The thing about slaves is they only do what their master commands. Before a person is redeemed by Jesus Christ, they must obey the sin nature in themselves. They can’t resist it. That’s why this world is in such a corrupt state. Because this world is enslaved just like the Egyptians were. The Scarlet Thread in the story of the Exodus begins by telling us we were born into slavery.

The Scarlet Thread then moves on to introduce us to a deliverer named Moses. Moses was actually found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. She found him floating in a basket down the river. She named him Moses which means, “Drawn out” and also “Son”. Because she drew him out of the water and adopted him.

Moses eventually realized he was actually a Jew just like the slaves, and chose to identify with them instead of as Egyptian royalty. When he tried initially to help the Jews they rejected him, and because of his choice, the Egyptians rejected him. This was now a man who had no place to go. He was an outcast. And so he went into exile for 40 years, working for a shepherd in no-man’s land.

I can think of another man who came to earth and was rejected by His own people. I can think of an outcast who wanted to free His people but was instead turned away. Moses is a shadow of the Christ, albeit an imperfect shadow. Moses was drawn out of a river, but he was then sent to draw the Israelites out of slavery. Israel couldn’t save themselves. They needed a deliverer, but they were so stubborn and lost in their own slavery that they initially resisted their deliverer.

This happens so often in reality, doesn’t it? Even many of us were perhaps too stubborn to accept that we needed a deliverer. We thought maybe we could save ourselves. But slaves need a deliverer, and for the Israelites, one was sent. For us, the One has also been sent. (John 8:35)

The struggle to be free from the slavery of sin is great. The sin nature doesn’t want to let go. But there’s a point in this story that is so important, if you don’t get it, nothing else will fit into place. Jesus Christ is the One who sets us free. Moses had a battle with Pharaoh. He brought plagues and still Pharaoh didn’t want to let the people go. Time and time again God had to battle the sin nature represented by Pharaoh and Egypt.

You know what Israel did during this time? Watched in anticipation. You know what they didn’t do? Try to do God’s job.

So after several terrible, awful plagues from God, Pharaoh decides to release the slaves. They pack up and start heading out. Only to have Pharaoh change his mind and start chasing after them. Your sin nature does not give up easily. When God began working in your heart, or when He does begin, your sin nature is going to pursue you viciously. (John 8:36)

Moses finally led them across the Red Sea where God once and for all delivers them from the slave masters. The crossing of the Red Sea is symbolic of the deliverance God gives His children from the sin master over their lives. This is a beautiful part of The Scarlet Thread that we should celebrate.

The Red Sea is interestingly named, because it was when Jesus shed His blood that our slave masters were defeated. When you put your trust in Christ and His sacrifice to save you from the slavery of your sin, you are figuratively passing through His blood that was shed in your place. And whoever the Son of God sets free, He is free indeed!

But that’s not quite the end of their story. Did you know the Israelites wished they were back in Egypt? The slave masters were dead. They were free people, but they still longed for the days of Egypt, because to them they felt a sense of security. Now that might sound crazy to you, but that’s not totally unheard of.

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln established the Emancipation Proclamation that said “all slaves are and henceforth freed from slavery.” But there were slaves who were born into slavery that knew no other way of life. They didn’t know where else to go. In a sense, the lifestyle of slavery meant security for them. And so they remained on the farms and fields. They were proclaimed free, and yet they chose to remain put.

I think there are many Christians who don’t know they have a choice. I think many people believe they are still slaves to sin. All the while God is saying, “I’ve declared you free. You don’t have to go back to that sin. You can enjoy the abundant life of freedom.”

So here’s what I challenge you to do. I want you to memorize this verse. “If the Son has set me free, then I am free indeed.” Say that to yourself. When you’re tempted, remind yourself of that glorious Gospel. You are free from the slavery of sin. But within you is a desire to return to your sin. My word to you is this, if you have passed through the blood of Jesus by putting your trust in Him to save you and free you, then you are free! There’s nothing left for you in Egypt. Live your life of freedom! Enjoy the costly liberty bought for you by Jesus Christ Himself.

"What Is Heaven Really Like?" Brian Loveless Sermon

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Take your bibles this morning if you would, turn to Revelation 21.  The heaven scene; always one of the most powerful moments at Judgement House. When people have come from that hell scene; it's hot, and it's dark, and it's terrible.  They walk down that long hallway in what we call the Long Building, the Winnie Long building, and they come down through heaven. They have that little white robe placed around their shoulders to symbolize a new body. They get to line up there in the heaven scene and Daniel comes by to every single person in there, and just speaks some word of encouragement. You know my wife, Jenny, she noted a long time ago... I honestly had not even noticed this, and she caught it, and when she told me this it moved me so much... she said you know no matter how anybody kind of laughs off the drama,  no matter how they sort of poke fun at the hell scene, whatever, she said when they get to heaven everybody wants to see Jesus. Everybody wants to see Jesus.