NEW WEDNESDAY NIGHT SERVICE
Starting January 17, our mid-week service will take on a bit of a different feel and format. I’m excited to try a new approach that I think will be of great spiritual and practical benefit to this church body. Calvary Chapel has always been known for teaching through the Bible verse-by-verse, book-by-book, and we will continue to do so on Sundays. However, on Wednesday nights, I’d like start focusing more on topical teaching. Here’s why. Over the years, as I have counseled with hundreds of people, I have come to believe that many sincere Christians still lack mature, biblical understanding in some very important areas of life. It’s essential that we have a balanced spiritual diet. Let me give you just a brief list of topics I have in mind.
Relationships (not just marriage)
Who among us, for example, doesn’t experience some level of frustration, disappointment, conflict, and confusion over a particular relationship in life? It can be complicated, messy, and downright discouraging! And, frankly, a brief point of insight or illustration in a Sunday sermon, while it may be helpful, doesn’t always go far enough to help us navigate the complexities of what we’re dealing with at home, at school, or on the job. By going deeper into this particular topic biblically, we can get the tools we need to really grow and see good spiritual fruit as it concerns our everyday relationships with the people God has called us to love. I agree with what I heard one pastor say, “Relationships are a mess worth making!” I like that – realistic, and hopeful. Let’s learn to do it well.
Another HUGE troubled spot for many today is in the area of finances. In reality, the amount of stress, conflict, and trouble this can bring into our lives can hardly be exaggerated. My experience has taught me that true change, freedom, and joy in this area of the Christian life comes only when we learn to see this subject from God’s point of view. When we understand the promises of God and begin to walk in the practical wisdom of His ways, our faith grows, and so does the good fruit in our lives. We intend to use a well-known DVD curriculum Financial Peace University, by a very gifted author and speaker, Dave Ramsey. Everyone I know who has taken this class raves about how encouraging and practically beneficial it is. Last time we offered it, about 20 people attended, but frankly, I suspect that there are literally hundreds more who could really benefit from this material.
Understanding the Times
One of the things I love about God is that He answers our questions, at least, the ones that matter most. But are we really even asking the right kinds of questions? And if so, have we really pursued getting the best answers? I see a clear need among Christians today (myself included) to be better equipped in the area of apologetics (defense of the Christian faith) and even Biblical Prophecy, especially as it relates to current events. If we, as Christians, still have lots of questions about God, the Bible, our life’s purpose, and what the future holds, then we can be sure that the people whom God has strategically placed around us, also have questions.
Quick little story… A while back, while I was submerged in my study, one of my daughters came to me with a question. I was so distracted by my work that I didn’t even look up to acknowledge her. Honestly, I knew she was there, but just barely. I’m ashamed to say, her voice, at the moment, was like “white noise” to me. She quietly walked away, with her head down, discouraged that she didn’t get the answers she needed. It was the sound of the door closing behind her that caught my attention. All of the sudden, I realized my foolish mistake. I quickly tried to remember what she had asked, but my mind was blank. I called her back into the room, apologized for my “thoughtless unkindness,” which she, thankfully, was gracious to forgive.
But here’s my point: I don’t want to make that same mistake as your pastor. I don’t want people walking away from their experience at Calvary Chapel discouraged because their life’s most urgent questions remain unanswered. You have questions that need real, practical, and biblical answers. I’m not saying that I have all of the answers you need, but as far as it depends on me, I want to teach what I can, and then let others step in and teach in the areas they are best equipped. This means that Wednesday nights will have some variety. Sometimes, I will be teaching. Other times, I will invite other pastors, elders, or guest speakers to fill the pulpit. But together, we’re going to get answers to the most important questions of life. Again, the above is merely a sampling of topics that we plan to address.
One final observation and word of encouragement, and it has to do with spiritual priorities. I have observed a significant cultural change in churches (including our own) over the past 10-15 years. Very few Christians gather for worship and fellowship at a mid-week service anymore. There can be many reasons for this, and some of them may be perfectly valid. My purpose isn’t to lay a “guilt trip” on anyone. Rather, I want to be pastoral with you for a moment and ask you to consider: “What else am I busy doing? Is it something of eternal value? Will this use of my time help me to help others become devoted followers of Jesus?” I realize these kinds of questions can make us squirm a bit, but I think they are important to ask because any one of us can be easily distracted in life, and miss God’s best.
Will there be any other changes on Wednesday nights? Yes. Our new worship pastor, Andy Landers, will be leading worship on Wednesday nights, starting in January. Also, we plan to start a new Young Adults (18 – 25 year) group. Our youth and young adults will be joining us for worship in the sanctuary, followed by their own night of teaching, fellowship, and fun!
If you have not been in the habit of coming to our mid-week service, we encourage you to check it out! I’m confident that this new approach will be well worth your time and energy, as you grow in your faith, and become better equipped to reach others for Christ.