The Final Countdown

The count down continues!

The apostle John penned 5 books, 50 chapters, a little over 1000 verses of the New Testament and we are going through all of them. Literally from “the beginning” in the Gospel of John to the end of Revelation with an “Amen”.

Join us Sunday mornings to find out what the youngest of them all had to say.

Pastor Will

Associate Pastor
Pastor Will

pastorwill@calvarycs.org

Pastor Will Torres has a passion for God’s word coupled with a love for God’s people and a passion to reach the lost youth of this generation. He was ordained as a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Coral Springs in 2011 under the leadership of Senior Pastor Joe Reul. As associate Pastor of the church, he has been serving and teaching the Wednesday night bible study.

Pastor Will is originally from Brooklyn, New York.  He is a die hard Mets and NY Giants fan.  He loves spending time with his family, and his beautiful wife Kristan.

His heart is still to see this generation reached through the equipping of others through discipleship and one on one interactions so that people can find their God given abilities to further the Kingdom and bring God the Glory!

Pastor Joe

Senior Pastor:
Pastor Joe
& Barbara Reul

pastorjoe@calvarycs.org

Prayer, the first and last word in my bio, through which I came to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ over 20 years ago at this fellowship which was Calvary Chapel Sunrise at the time.

Born and raised in Bronx, NY and served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 during the Vietnam War. I am a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan and love to sing praise. I moved to Florida with my family in ’79 and this has been our home ever since. With 5 children, and 12 grandchildren which we love dearly, the Lord has blessed me with an amazing and wonderfully loving wife,  Barbara currently holds the “Best Wife in the World” title!

Since 1990, I’ve served the Lord and have been involved in almost every ministry.  In 2003 I was ordained Associate Pastor of Calvary Chapel Lake Worth, and have been blessed to have great teachers who shared the word, their wisdom and love.  I became Senior Pastor in December 2011 and I strongly believe that Jesus Christ is the head of our ministry and our direction comes by and through the Holy Spirit and our continued commitment to Prayer!

Prayer and the Difference It Makes

By

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help.” –Psalm 39:12 (NIV)[i]

“Lord, teach us to pray.” –Luke 11:1

“After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed.” –John 17:1

“They all joined together constantly in prayer.” –Acts 1:14

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” –Ephesians 6:18

“Pray continually.” -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Throughout the Bible, believers are called to pray. But what is prayer? What does it mean to “pray without ceasing?” And does prayer really make a difference? Before delving too deeply into the topic of prayer, it will be beneficial to first define the term, as well as the focus of our prayers—God.

Prayer and God’s Nature

Let’s start with the second part. In order to develop a clear idea of prayer, we must first have a clear idea of God. Biblically speaking, God is a personal being. This is critical to prayer because it means that God is a person we can interact with, that He has a will and that we are able to relate to Him on a meaningful level. If He were impersonal, then prayer would not be meaningful. If He were personal, but uncaring and distant, prayer wouldn’t serve a purpose.

Not only is God personal, He is also loving (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16). This is also important in relation to prayer. If God were personal, but uncaring or unkind, then prayer might do us more harm than good! But God is not only loving, He is all loving (omnibenevolent). In relation to prayer, this means that God always desires the best for us because He loves us.

God is also all powerful (omnipotent), meaning that no prayer is beyond His ability to answer, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). If God were less than all powerful, then we would have no assurance that He could answer or even hear our prayers.

The fact that God is all-knowing (omniscient) is also significant to the concept of prayer. If God were limited, then He would not know all that is happening in His creation. If this were the case, He might overlook our prayers because they might be beyond His knowledge. Fortunately, the Bible is clear that God knows everything (see, for instance, Psalm 139:2-4; 147: 4-5; Isaiah 46:10). In relation to God’s omniscience, Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).

God is also wise and holy. He knows what is best for us, as well as what will lead us to holiness rather than sin. He is also immanent, meaning that God is active in His creation in a personal way, not only directing greater matters of history, but also involved in the life of everyone. This means that no prayer is too great for Him, but also that no prayer is too small for Him.

While we cannot explore all of God’s attributes here, one final one to note, of utmost importance to prayer is God’s sovereignty. God is supremely in charge of everything that happens in His universe. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing happens in our lives without the knowledge of God, even though we may not always understand His actions: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In hearing and responding to our prayers, then, we are assured that God will do so on the basis of His many attributes. His personal nature, love, power, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, immanence and sovereignty all play a role in how we relate to God in prayer and how He relates to us.

What Prayer Is Not

Now that we have a clearer understanding of God’s nature, it may be tempting to delve right into a definition of prayer. But first let’s take a brief look at what prayer is not (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Prayer is not magic. We cannot summon God as though He were a genie, waiting to grant our wishes without regard for our circumstances or the consequences.
  • Prayer does not make demands. While we can make requests of God in prayer, we dare not make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us.
  • Prayer is for our benefit, not God’s. We need a relationship with God, available to us through Jesus Christ and engaged primarily through prayer, because we were made to function best when we are in a proper relationship with our Creator.
  • Prayer is not a guarantee against suffering. “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33); “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
  • Prayer is not an opportunity for us to show off. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men” (Matthew 6:5).

What is Prayer?

So what is prayer? Prayer is a relationship, wherein we humbly communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God’s face, knowing that He hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire. Prayer can encompass confession, praise, adoration, supplication, intercession and more.

In addition, our attitude in prayer is important. We must not be haughty, but humble (Ephesians 4:2; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, etc.). Seen in this light, to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means, in one sense, that we must always strive to have a prayerful attitude. Our prayers must come often and regularly, not from legalistic duty, but from a humble heart, realizing our dependence on God in every aspect of our lives.

The rest of the articles in this series will further explore prayer, as follows:

  • “Prayer Has Its Reasons” addresses questions about why we pray.
  • “The Availability of Prayer” explains how prayer is always available to us and, as such, is a wonderful spiritual resource we should turn to regularly, not just in times of crisis.
  • “Learning from the Prayer Life of Jesus” explores the many prayers of Jesus, emphasizing the Lord’s Prayer, as well as some of Christ’s habits of prayer and how we can learn from his example.
  • “Probing the Problems of Prayer” looks at some challenges and difficulties in relation to prayer, addressing questions such as, “Should we pray for our enemies?” and “If God is sovereign, why do we need to pray?”

As we journey together in understanding the nature and purpose of prayer, it is my prayer that God will bless these words and instill a joyful and fruitful prayer life in your life and mine. Prayer can make a profound difference in our world. But it is up to us to offer our prayers humbly and regularly.

Robert Velarde is author of Conversations with C.S. Lewis (InterVarsity Press), The Heart of Narnia (NavPress), and primary author of The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer Task Force). He studied philosophy of religion and apologetics at Denver Seminary and is pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary.



[i] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible.

reposted from: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/faith-in-life/prayer/prayer

Live as if…

“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:3-4).

Spiritual self-examination is one of the most difficult commandments contained in God’s will. But, the effects of not doing it, or for doing it ineffectively, are totally unacceptable to the human mind. Failure to know one’s strengths and weaknesses is a sure formula for failure in many arenas, but especially in the spiritual one. And those who think they have no weakness are self deceived. Of all the types of deception that one can name, self-deception is the most deadly. The only inoculation against such deception is an unabashed and undying love for truth (see ).

The reasons for self examination are simple: First, we all have a job to do and the only way we can be prepared to do that job is through self-examination. Secondly, the only way we can determine where we need to grow is through self-examination. Thirdly, growth can only be measured by comparing where we are with where we have been. Relative to the first of these reasons, Paul wrote, “For each one shall bear his own load.” It is to this point that we direct our attention.

For an examination to occur in any arena there must be a standard; it is no different in spiritual matters. And there are a variety of standards from which we can choose. There are books authored by men which may be used to assess our spiritual health. There are teachers that say that the way we feel about ourselves is the all-important measure of spiritual health. Still others teach that the inner feelings prompted by the Holy Spirit are the means by which we can determine the status of our relationship with God. The problem with the latter two in this abbreviated list is – there is no standard! Its all touchy-feely, better-felt-than-told, wispy and abstract feelings! Faith takes a back seat to feelings in such matters. Stated plainly, the Bible knows nothing about such a standard which subjects faith to feelings.

There is a standard against which all spiritual matters ought to be assessed. It is the same standard by which God will judge humanity in the last day. It is the standard which is unchanging and incorruptible. That standard, the one against which all matters religious ought to be measured, is the eternal living Word of God. It is “the measure of faith” which is the same for all men now living or who shall ever live.

Therefore, when Paul said, “Let each one examine his own work,” he was not saying that each person becomes a law to him//her self. He was saying that each person has an obligation to compare himself to God’s standard of right and wrong. And because all are of equal rank one with another, our persons make no difference in God’s eyes; we are all subject to the same requirements laid down by Sovereign God. We are each to bear our own load!

from ‘Today’s Little Lift’ with Jim Bullington March 20, 2015
http://www.liveasif.org/lists/view.cgi?type=w&list=20060922001

Character in a Tech-Overloaded World

By Lindy Keffer
re-posted from focusonthefamily.com

We live in a culture saturated by technology. The information, promotions, opportunities and noise it creates seem to fill in the cracks of our already-busy lives so that every waking moment is occupied. In the midst of the hubbub, teachable moments for developing character are often lost. But parents who are intentional about finding those moments can succeed at raising kids with moral fiber — and at creating small pockets of sanity in a tech-overloaded world.

Beating the Stuff Monster

You may remember what life was like without digital cameras, iPods, tiny cell phones, video game consoles, high definition TVs and laptops, but your kids don’t. So it’s easy for them to adopt the mentality that they need the newest techno devices on the market. That’s expensive. And in the rush to get their hands on the newest and best items, giving is often the last thing on kids’ minds — unless you help them to remember.

It’s important to start early — as soon as kids have an allowance or other income — and set standards that emphasize the importance of generosity. For example, one family required their young teens to save double the amount needed for any major purchase. The extra money was to go into savings, but families interested in raising generous kids could just as easily split it between savings and giving.

Another approach is the envelope system recommended by Christian financial counselors.
The idea here is to reserve a certain percentage of earnings for giving and to limit the percentage that can be spent on stuff.

Either of these strategies slows down the accumulation of new gadgets. At the same time, setting aside cash specifically for giving helps kids to prioritize generosity. After the money is saved, make sure to give youngsters some ownership in deciding where it goes. Encourage them to give to your church, but allow them some freedom to meet other needs they feel strongly about. They might support a child through a sponsorship organization or anonymously buy school supplies for a classmate who can’t afford them. When giving is personal, it’s easier for children to see that they’re making a difference. In turn, they’re more likely to make generosity a way of life.

Entertain Me! … Or Maybe Not

A 2006 Yahoo online poll reported that the average U.S. family owns 12 tech devices, including three TVs, two computers, and seven other gadgets such as MP3 players, video game consoles and mobile phones. Poll respondents said their overlapping use of all these devices adds up to about 43 hours during each 24-hour day.
Sound like your house?

Unless we make a deliberate effort to unplug, we can literally be entertained all day long. That doesn’t leave much room for important spiritual pursuits like praying (1 Thes. 5:17), meditating on God’s Word (Josh. 1:8, Ps. 1:2) and examining ourselves (Lam. 3:40, 1 Cor. 11:28 and 2 Cor. 13:5). It’s not that technology is bad, but its constant presence can distract us from important exercises that make our spirits strong.

Whatever our normal tech-drenched state is, let’s call its opposite contentment. It’s the ability to be still (Ps. 37:7, Ps. 46:10, Zech. 2:13) — to be alone with our thoughts and be at peace (Prov. 14:30; Is. 26:3, Jn. 14:27, 2 Tim. 1:7). Getting there in today’s culture takes some work, but it’s possible. We can start with the biblical discipline of fasting — but instead of fasting from food, we can fast from technology. Pick a week and turn off the TV. Stay off the Internet for a day. Once in a while, leave the radio off when you get in the car. Create some space in your life — and your kids’ lives — that’s free from electronic input.

Another practical option is to teach kids to be comfortable with silence and solitude. In later years, these can become rich spiritual disciplines, but with little ones the goal is to help them get comfortable with noiseless time in their lives. Start by declaring a tech-free hour each afternoon or evening. Books are definitely allowed in this quiet zone, as are walks outside and time spent on hobbies. A gadget-free hour probably isn’t practical every day, but honoring this quiet time often can create in kids a lasting appreciation for a bit of peace and quiet.

Love the Ones You’re With

It’s funny: Our techno-gadgetry allows us to stay in contact with so many different friends that we’re often guilty of ignoring the people in the room with us in favor of those we’re talking to online or on the cell phone. Furthermore, we sometimes interact long-distance in ways that we wouldn’t up close, and intimacy is lost. It takes some intentionality to ensure that real, high-touch bonds get maintained in an age of cyber-communication.

Priority number one is to create time for your family to focus on each other, without the distractions of technology. That might mean no text messaging at the dinner table. (Even better: no electronics at the dinner table.) Take time to look each other in the eye and catch up on everyone’s day.

Second, talk with your teens about how they communicate with their online friends. Are they being honest, or are they trying to look like someone they’re not? Treating others with honor means shooting straight about your identity.

Finally, kindness toward others also means not taking advantage of them just because you have the tech-skills to do so. Anastasia Goodstein, author of the book Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online, says that the Internet has made it possible for anyone to become a bully. And many are doing so: One third of kids say they’ve been victims of online bullying; 16 percent say they’ve done some bullying of their own.

Clearly that’s not kindness, but since it’s becoming common practice, you may need to give your teen some encouragement to be uncommon.

Logging Off

It goes without saying that children are most likely to pick-up on these character-building practices if they see you doing them yourself. Make yours a home where character is the core and technology is an accessory — not vice-versa.

 

what is discipleship

Jesus called us to “make disciples of all nations,” but what does that mean?

BY ANN SWINDELL

What is discipleship?

Put simply, discipleship means intentionally partnering with another Christian in order to help that person obey Jesus and grow in relationship with Him—so that he or she can then help others do the same. Jesus taught His disciples to follow Him and obey His commands so that they could lead others to do the same after His death, resurrection and ascension. The Apostle Paul continues the pattern with Timothy and encourages him to keep the cycle going: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

But how do we live out this command and actually do what we’ve been called to do? It can help, I think, to look at what we might be getting wrong about discipleship in order to understand how to get it right.

Discipleship Isn’t Easy.
Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost us our lives. Jesus put it bluntly:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)
To be a disciple of Jesus means that we have given up our lives in order to follow Him wholeheartedly and unreservedly. It means that our lives are no longer our own—they are His.

Discipleship Isn’t “Just Me and Jesus.”
While discipleship is all about Jesus, it’s not a solitary endeavor. Discipleship is relational, and to fully respond to the Great Commission, we need to be disciples who are making disciples of Jesus. This means we need to spend consistent time with other believers.

Jesus and His disciples spent a lot of time together (Acts 1:21-22). They ate together, walked together, rode in boats together. They even fought together (Luke 9:46-48). The 12 disciples were in one another’s lives, constantly and intentionally.

While we are all called to become disciples of Jesus, we become disciples with one another, learning how to love God and each other as we go. We need to allow others to disciple us by letting them challenge us and encourage us in our walk with God. This is why church and honest relationships with other believers are so central to the Christian life—we need one another in this journey of becoming wholehearted disciples of Jesus.

Discipleship Isn’t Mentoring.
As we allow others into our lives and let them help us obey Jesus, we also need to reach out and disciple others. But that doesn’t mean we are mentoring others.

Mentoring has to do with what the mentor can offer to someone else through their own wisdom and experience; discipleship has to do with what Jesus can offer to someone else through His wisdom and presence.

This is why you don’t need to have a slew of qualifications to disciple someone else (The original 12 were just “ordinary, unschooled men,” remember?)—you just have to be following and obeying Jesus in your own life and be willing to help someone else do the same.

Discipleship Isn’t a Method.
To be a disciple of Jesus doesn’t require attending a certain church, participating in a certain Bible study or praying a certain way. But it does require doing the things of the Kingdom, just as the 12 disciples did. They were sent by Jesus to cast out demons, heal the sick, and proclaim the good news that the “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Matthew 10:5-15, Luke 10:1-12).

The responsibility of the disciple hasn’t changed. We are still called to do these things—alongside of other believers—by sharing the Gospel in our communities as well as praying for the sick and hurting.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/what-christians-get-wrong-about-discipleship#HvSxq4uvxerRrPeB.99