Ladies Love Ministry by Joyce Felton

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Joyce Felton has been a member of Calvary Baptist Church for about 44 years. She volunteers in the Park area of Kid City, plays the piano for the Friendship class, and attends ladies prayer room as well as Bible study on Wednesday nights.  Along with keeping grandchildren, Joyce enjoys cooking for her family, having them over for a meal, or cooking and sending it home with them.  Joyce also loves talking with friends, quilting with those who quilt, and exchanging books with other readers.

Ladies Love Ministry by Joyce Felton

I had only attended one meeting when Loretta Cook (who started the latest version of the Calvary Ladies’ Love Ministry) asked me to help her with the purpose of taking over leadership. I appreciated her faith in me yet balked at the idea until the Lord pointed out that she had over 28 years on me and I should be willing to help. I couldn’t do what she did by organizing a place to meet each month at a restaurant, so I asked if she minded if we met at the Family Life Center and provided a meal there. We asked the ladies and they agreed to pay or help cook. And I don't have to do it by myself.  Along with all the ladies that help, my daughter-in-law, Beth, and her boys help make sure all the food is prepared, tables are set, and help with  all those small details that make it come together. She's been my right-hand and I couldn't do it without their help. 

Working with the strong Christians and seeing their steadfast faith has been such a blessing to me and made me want that closeness to the Lord for myself. There is not a day that passes that I don’t think about my friends who attend and our friends who can’t be with us because they are not able. God has given me a love for this ministry.

The question is ”How can we not see and experience God each day as we pray for and minister to others?" What a lovely time of community and fellowship we have each month as we share about the needs and answered prayers from the month before. Wouldn’t you say that is sharing life? And serving others with cards, calls, visits, and prayers? It is staying connected with those who can’t physically stay connected to us. Most of our group do not text or Facebook, but there is nothing wrong with their ability to take the time to call and visit with each other and those in need. Amazing!

I am reminded of the chorus of an old song “Others” that goes like this: 
”Others, Lord, yes others 
Let this my motto be.  
Help me to live for others, 
that I might live like Thee.”

Being with this group of ladies has been one of the greatest blessings. They are the most caring and generous people I know.  They keep up with the ones who are sick or hurting and keep me informed of the needs of others. They are truly a group of prayer warriors. 

The work and commitment these ladies put in reminds me of Ephesians 4:32a says “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted……” and again in Matt. 25:35-4 when the Lord said (and I paraphrase) when you have done anything for one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it for me.

The Ladies Love Ministry meets every first Tuesday of the month in the Family Life Center at 11:30am.  All ladies are welcome and encouraged to come and fellowship!

The Scarlet Thread - Pt. 7 Judge Samson

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The Scarlet Thread
Pt. 7 Judge Samson
Judges 13:1-5; 16:23-30

Well, here we are. The final installment of the Scarlet Thread series. The shadows of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament are sometimes a little difficult to find. But we know now that there is indeed this Scarlet Thread that has been woven throughout the entire Bible. In this final article, we’re going to look at a very familiar story, but we’re going to look at it in a fresh way.


After the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, they needed some form of government. For a while they were considered a “Theocracy” meaning they took orders directly from the Lord by way of the prophets. But there came a time when they needed more. So for a period of time, God chose to govern over the nation of Israel by way of Judges. Judges were only a temporary form of government until the Kings were established. These judges were each appointed at a certain time for only a certain period. There were 12 judges in total, with Samson being the very last, and probably the most well-known, of them all. His story starts like this…

Judges 13:1 “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.” Kind of a lousy way for your story to begin, right? Now remember, Israel represents Christians today. They were freed from the slavery of Egypt, and they made it into the Promised Land, showing how Christians are freed from slavery to sin. Some Christians never quite make it to live in Christ and enjoy His power and manifest presence. But other do make it into that Promised Land.

Once a Christian reaches the Promised Land to enjoy God’s power and presence, they are not completely free of temptation or trials. Even to this day Israel does not live in peace. They are constantly defending themselves in their land from surrounding countries that are trying to take their country. It just so happened, not long after Israel reached the Promised Land, that they were attacked from the Philistines. Unfortunately, Israel lost their faith in God, and did what was evil in His sight rather than trust in Him. And so God allowed them to be taken captive.

Read this carefully, you might have once enjoyed Christ’s power and presence, but that doesn’t mean you are free from trials and temptations. Satan still wants you. You still have a sin nature. And the world still attempts to persuade us that we’re wrong. Many of us, right now, find ourselves being taken captive again and again. The Philistines in this story do not represent Satan, they represent your flesh, your sin nature. And when you allow your flesh to make your decisions for you you’re willingly giving control of your life over to your sin.

And just like always, the Israelites could not free themselves from this problem. They needed a hero just like we STILL need a hero.

Judges 13:2-5 “There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” A woman for whom it would be impossible to be pregnant is promised a son. This son would be special and would save the people. Doesn’t this sound a little familiar? Like the virgin Mary perhaps?

The story of Samson is a bit twisted. He is a shadow of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. But he was imperfect. He sinned pretty badly. So he’s only a 2-dimensional shadow. Not a perfect image of Christ. Yet throughout Samson’s life he did some incredible things. He basically waged guerrilla warfare on the Philistines singlehandedly. He killed a lion by ripping it apart. Caught 300 foxes, tied torches to their tails, and sent them running through the Philistines wheat fields. He fought an army of Philistines and killed 1,000 of them with the only thing he could find; a donkey’s jawbone. He tore the city gates off their hinges and carried them up a hill for everybody to see.

This man was the number one enemy of the Philistines. Remember, the Philistines represent your sinfulness. You cannot defeat your sinfulness on your own. You need a hero. And throughout the life of Jesus Christ, He proved that He has the power to defeat the strongholds of sin in your life.

But then tragedy strikes. Samson is betrayed by a person he trusted, and he is taken prisoner. Sound familiar? Jesus Christ was betrayed by a person He loved and was taken by soldiers. This all sounds like terrible news. It’s like the part in a movie where the hero gets amped up, he goes to battle the villain, and something goes wrong. The villain seems to prevail. But read this.

Judges 16:23-30 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”[b] 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.

In Samson’s death, he did more to defeat the enemy than while he was alive. His death brought a victory for Israel, and a blow to the enemy. Now, what does this have to do with us today in 21st Century America?  Check it out, this is a picture of when Jesus Christ died. When He died, it was the enemy of sin that was defeated. Christ’s death brought our victory. Jesus was taken, beaten, and crucified in our place. We were supposed to go to Hell, but He died for us. His death bought our freedom. His sacrifice gave us victory and satisfied the law.

The reason all of the Bible has a Scarlet Thread running through it is because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to our faith. If you do not build your life on the Gospel, then nothing will feel in place. This life is designed to only function properly when we have centered our lives on the Gospel. Not just as a means of getting us to Heaven, but even to give us peace with God now. To give us a satisfactory relationship with God, even after we had fallen short of Him.

In Italy, the Tower of Pisa began construction in 1173. The foundation was laid, and then abandoned due to war. Two floors were built by 1178. The weight of these two floors began causing the tower to sink. The foundation was thin and the soil was soft. Again, construction was abandoned due to war. After 199 years of construction the tower was finished. Because of the lean, the architects made one side taller than the other so the building is now actually curved.

A decade ago, they determined the tower was on the brink of collapse and so efforts were made to stabilize the building. Now architects say it will stand another 200 years minimum. At this point, the tower itself is safe for tourists to visit and get pictures of. But the foundation will eventually cause the entire structure to crumble. It’s a ticking time bomb. But not all is lost. The foundation can be fixed.

The Gospel Thread runs throughout the entire Bible because the foundation of Christianity is about bringing you back to Jesus. If you’ve tried Christianity and it has failed you, could it be that you have fallen out of alignment? Do you feel lost, burdened, depressed, and confused? Could it be you’ve built your life on something other than the Gospel?

Return to the Gospel. Thank God for His sacrifice. Thank Jesus that He satisfied God’s wrath. Thank God that you can know Him because of His death and resurrection. And place yourself back on the secure foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Recommended Resource: “The Songs of Jesus”

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Recommended Resource: “The Songs of Jesus” by Tim and Kathy Keller




I can’t recommend enough the book “The Songs of Jesus” by Tim and Kathy Keller. For myself, it has helped shaped my prayers, my affections, and drawn me closer to God.  The book is structured as a 365 day devotional which takes you through all the Psalms roughly 5-7 verses per day. There is a short reflection on the verses as well as a prayer that is shaped by the content of the Psalm. I strongly encourage you to pick up this resource and do it with your family, with your spouse, or for your own time with the Lord. 

You can find out more information about this book at http://www.timothykeller.com/books/the-songs-of-jesus

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:
The psalms lead us to do what the psalmists do—to commit ourselves to God through pledges and promises, to depend on God through petition and expressions of acceptance, to seek comfort in God through lament and complaint, to find mercy from God through confession and repentance, to gain new wisdom and perspective from God through meditation, remembrance, and reflection.
 
The psalms also help us see God—God not as we wish or hope him to be but as he actually reveals himself. The descriptions of God in the Psalter are rich beyond human invention. He is more holy, more wise, more fearsome, more tender and loving than we would ever imagine him to be. The psalms fire our imaginations into new realms yet guide them toward the God who actually exists. This brings a reality to our prayer lives that nothing else can. “Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us. . . .  What is essential in prayer is not that we learn to express ourselves, but that we learn to answer God.”7
Most of all the psalms, read in light of the entire Bible, bring us to Jesus. The psalms were Jesus’s songbook. The hymn that Jesus sang at the Passover meal (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26) would have been the Great Hallel, Psalms 113–118. Indeed, there is every reason to assume that Jesus would have sung all the psalms, constantly, throughout his life, so that he knew them by heart. It is the book of the Bible that he quotes more than any other. But the psalms were not simply sung by Jesus; they also are about him, as we will see throughout this volume. The psalms are, then, indeed the songs of Jesus.


The Faith Factors: Three Keys To Growing A Vibrant Faith

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In January 2018 Pastor Brian Loveless started a sermon series called "The Faith Factors: Three Keys To Growing A Vibrant Faith".  Missed a week?  Check out all the videos from the series below!

Part 1: "What Is Faith?" Brian Loveless Sermon January 14, 2018


Part 2: "Relationship With Christ" Brian Loveless Sermon on January 21, 2018


Part 3: "Community With Insiders" Brian Loveless Sermon on January 28, 2018


Part 4: "Influence With Outsiders" Brian Loveless Sermon on February 4, 2018