The real impact of the gospel will be seen when we don’t feel joyful, when we don’t want to pray, and when we can’t think of a reason to be thankful. That’s when we discover if our Christianity is the genuine article or a spiritual counterfeit.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” A few days ago a friend asked me if I would share some […]
“The mark of true Christian faith is that it changes everything you do and say.” Ray Stedman We have come to the last few verses of 1 Thessalonians. As we begin our study, I would like to remark for a moment upon the words quoted above from Ray Stedman. In his sermon on this text […]
Billy Graham says it. Pope John Paul II says it. Even some Orthodox Jewish rabbis have been saying it. They all agree that the coming of the Messiah is very near. Now why would a Protestant evangelist, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and Jewish rabbis agree on anything? Because so many Bible prophecies […]
My subject this morning is one that we don’t often talk about. Over the twenty years I have served in pastoral ministry I have had very few conversations on this topic. The reasons are not hard to understand. Death in the best of circumstances is not easy to discuss. Even as an academic topic, most […]
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, […]
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 New King James Version). There are not many things from which the Bible tells us to abstain. The word itself is used only 7 times in the New Testament—3 times in the book of Acts referring […]
“Prayer is not everything but everything is by prayer.” So said Ray Ortlund. All Christians would agree with that statement. No matter what our background, instinctively we know that prayer is central to the Christian life. Most of you are familiar with Corrie Ten Boom whose family hid Jews in Holland during World War II. […]
God has ordained that your trials are part of his plan to make you like Jesus. There are no short-cuts to spiritual maturity.
Not long ago I received the following letter. It came as a total surprise from a person living in another state: Dear Pastor Ray, I don’t think you would expect a message from me, but I felt God directing me to. It is kind of hard to find my words and I feel a bit […]
Every church has a story. Ours begins 81 years ago in a small house not very many blocks from here. A group of men and women had gathered to discuss the possibility of starting a brand-new church in our village. Most of them lived in Oak Park and nearly all of them attended one of […]
“No one cares how much you know till they know how much you care.” Yesterday we had a most amazing wedding here at Calvary involving Barry MacNamara and Uli Keyna. I first met Barry several years ago when he started attending our services. We occasionally talked after the services about his desire to use his […]
Several years ago my older brother took me to visit a cemetery outside Florence, Alabama, near the remains of an ante-bellum mansion called Forks of Cypress. The mansion was built in the 1820s by James Jackson, an early settler of northwest Alabama. My brother and I walked among the ruins of the mansion and then […]
A few days ago a friend sent me an email telling about a question posed to her by a co-worker. Here is the exact text of the question: How is a Christian defined? It used to be that if you were not Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist, you were a Christian, whether Catholic or Lutheran […]