“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.”
We sing that little chorus many times as part of our welcome and greeting time in worship. It is not just a catchy little chorus designed to give us the warm fuzzies like a child’s teddy bear or a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter night. There is profound theological truth in that simple chorus. Because we’ve been washed in the blood of Jesus and cleansed from sin by faith in Christ, we’ve been adopted into God’s family and we are in fact joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ! If that doesn’t make you glad to be part of the family of God; I’m not sure anything else could. Being chosen to be part of a family through adoption is so special and I’m so proud of families who’ve done just that. I know of many people who have adopted children and brought them into their families, giving unconditional love as they have their biological children. That’s what the Lord has done for us and it makes me so glad to be part of a local church family of God. I honestly have a hard time understanding why people would not want to be part of a church family like Calvary, commit their lives to membership and serving the Lord but I suppose that is a discussion for another day.
I am proud of our Calvary family in how you have been responding to the recent crisis we’ve had thrust upon us. So many of you have affirmed to Pastor Mike, Pastor Ken and myself your love, support, encouragement and you’ve told us clearly you are praying for us! You all have no idea how much that means to all of us and I know you’ve been reaching out to people directly affected by these recent events with cards and other expressions of love. I can assure you your prayers are being heard by our Heavenly Father and they are needed so much! Last Friday night I was so pleased to have a number of parents and others who have a genuine interest in our youth ministry come enjoy pizza and to hang out with our teens for a little bit; then spend an hour in prayer for our youth while they were having youth night. Seeing faithful leaders step up and take leadership roles and other volunteers offering to help in any capacity needed has absolutely been wonderful. I am so glad I’m a part of the family of God! I do not deserve the blessing of being called the senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. While no church is ever perfect and we certainly have much to do and work on for the glory of and expansion of the Kingdom of God; Calvary is a unique and special church family and it is my joy to lead you as one of God’s under-shepherds here. Thank you for seeing this whole thing through spiritual eyes and responding through the lens of Scripture in how we are to deal with crisis in the body. I must urge you to continue to pray for everyone affected by this awful tragedy and the lives that Satan has tried to destroy.
I want to reiterate to you my door is always open for you if you want to talk to me or there is something I can do to minister to you. Obviously I need to continue to pray and study God’s Word in order to feed you the meat of Scripture; generally I devote my mornings to study and am trying to be disciplined to that regimen simply because I have nothing to say but God certainly does and we desperately need to hear from Him! Having 5 kids however; I’m well groomed to be able to stop briefly to visit with one of my sheep in order to pray with you and then get back into mining for gold in God’s Word. If you need longer time; it’s best to call for an appointment generally in the afternoons before the office closes at 4:30.
The new school year is off and running and suddenly we all find ourselves instantly over scheduled and scrambling with the “shock and awe” that goes with the start of school. Putting sports games on the calendar, concerts our kids and grandkids will be involved in and the pressing requests to be part of the PTA, boosters, serve in the concession stand etc. It beats anything I’ve ever seen! We need to pray for our students, teachers and school staff but specifically those who are part of our church family as they go to school daily; that they would represent Jesus well. I would also caution all of us to remember that God wants us to minister and serve the body of Christ. We still have a number of needs for volunteers in ministry. I promise you God has ways of multiplying time back to you as you prioritize to put Him first in service. While volunteering in school activities is important and gives us opportunities to connect with a lost world; we need to be careful at how we do that. I personally will pick school volunteer opportunities like working a concession stand for a varsity football game because I know it won’t interfere with my church responsibilities. I also know there are things I just have to say no to which is hard having 2 sons in high school.
Wednesday September 12th, our new Wednesday schedule and time frame begins from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. After much experimenting with two full hours from 6:15-8:15 p.m.; we believe an hour and half will allow us to balance our efforts to make disciples and help families get home on a school night at reasonable hour. We’re offering a number of discipleship classes that we believe will be of great help to you to grow spiritually. We also want to encourage you to help even if for a brief period of time to listen to kids say verses in AWANA before you head off to choir or your class. The first 30 minutes or so will be time for prayer before the study or rehearsal begins and we are hoping to balance all the needs for everyone. I ask that you’ll be patient as we work through these initial weeks of change on Wednesday nights. I want to encourage us all to remember to be flexible. In this issue of “The Way” you should see a list of class offerings and we need you to RSVP the office so we can order your study guide. If you’re able to help at all with AWANA, we need you to go to the homepage of our church website and fill out the form for SMART and a background check before you can work with our children. If you did this for VBS, or have completed this recently, you don’t need to do it again. Even if you’ve been SMART approved previously (before VBS 2012), we now require all children and youth volunteers to complete the online SMART application, which includes consent to criminal background check and identity verification. It only takes a few minutes and if you have any questions or difficulty with it, please call the office.
Let’s keep praying for our church family and lets all work together for the glory of God. We refuse to give Satan the victory and we’re going to see God do incredible things here at Calvary. Our best days are ahead of us and God is going to make His name great in spite of Satan’s opposition. To God be the glory! I love you and thank God for you. I am so glad to be part of the family of God, from my little corner of the world to yours…
Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church www.calvarybelair.com