Man Up Day at CC Bartlett, TN

Saturday, April 25th, at 8AM, Calvary Chapel Bartlett in Tennessee is having their annual “Man-Up Day” and CC Birmingham will be caravanning up there to join them. Registration is $35 per person and we will all share the cost of hotel and gas. Registration includes a great day of fellowship and Bible Study, a Steak and Eggs Breakfast, BBQ Lunch and they’re throwing in a ton of fellowship and fun as well. You can register online by clicking HERE. You may pay at the time you register online or later at church by placing your registration fee in the tithe box. Deadline for registration is April 15th. We will be leaving late afternoon on Friday, April 24th, spending the night and attending the conference the next morning before returning home late Saturday afternoon.

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Persistent Prayer

Luke 18:1-5 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

In the parable, the woman was persistent in her request to the judge … Now if that judge, whom Jesus described as a wicked man, is moved to action by the persistence of the widow, will not God who is good, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, answer persistent prayers from the objects of His passion? The parable does not mean that God is reluctant to help … But … why does it sometimes seem like He is reluctant to answer our prayers? For one thing, yes is not the only answer God gives … He also says no and we should be content in that answer because God knows best for us. Sometimes the answer is yes, but God wants us to wait because there is a work to be completed in us prior to Him responding to our request. Sometimes the answer is just wait … because we need to learn to wait. It’s in the YES or NO answers that we learn God’s will. It’s in the WAIT answers that we learn to ABIDE in God’s will. Yes and no are clear cut answers and while nobody likes to get a no, it is an answer. But what about when a clear answer doesn’t come or when God tells us to wait?

Well, as we’ve just discussed, God is sovereign and because He is sovereign, His timing is spot on. Waiting is hard and that’s why God says that there is special blessing for those who are willing to wait on the Lord. In Hebrew there are two important words meaning “wait” which or yachal and qavah, both of which are frequently used in scripture. In the New Testament the primary Greek word for “wait” is prosdechomai. In all these instances, the meaning of the word is not a pointless waiting but an expectant waiting as one who has a promise would wait on it’s fulfillment. When God wants us to wait, we do so with the confident expectation that God will answer us … Whether that’s in vindication, or fulfillment of a promise. And so, like a child who knows they will be arriving at a desired destination might be inclined to ask, “Are we there yet?” over and over again, we can be persistent in our prayers to our Father … and He won’t pull out the duct tape! Prayer is an incredibly powerful weapon and it’s one that should not be wielded in reluctance or under any assumption that we are somehow pestering God. He desires our requests and so Jesus says, always pray and do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

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Deliverance

Luke 22:1-2 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

From a historical perspective, the celebration of the Passover in Israel represented the exodus of Israel from Egypt during the time of Moses. By recreating and retelling the Exodus through both words and in the elements of the meal, it emphasized deliverance from bondage. The annual Passover looked back, but also forward, anticipating a future deliverance of which the patriarchs and prophets testified, a deliverance Israel craved, as over the years they had experienced more bondage at the hands of Babylon, Assyria, and of course they were now under the yoke of the Roman Empire. That deliverance would be by the Messiah that had been foretold from the beginning, only the Messiah they were anticipating would not die on a cross, but would lead the Jewish people in victory over their oppressors. In the narrative of Passover and the suffering of Christ, there is an obvious relationship between Passover and Jesus’ crucifixion, highlighting the role of sacrifice in bringing forth deliverance.

God has always rescued people from danger, suffering and sin and it’s important for us to understand that God is not ambivalent or uncertain in His love. Throughout scripture (and in our own lives), we have seen God’s care at work through His deliverance of people from danger, illness, slavery, trouble, enemies, Satan, fears, sin and the coming wrath against sin.

God does this through direct intervention of His own, through angels and through people (think Moses, Joshua, the Judges, David and, of course, Jesus … and today through ministers of the gospel). Deliverance is an important theme in scripture and we may observe three important aspects of deliverance, (1) Deliverance comes from God, (2) Deliverance does not come from idols, and (3) Deliverance may be declined.

There is no case of deliverance that is not by the grace and care of God. Even when non-Christians are involved such as in the case of pulling someone from a fire or a surgeon who saves someone’s life through his skills, that is God at work … He gave the skills and He made the means of deliverance. From large scale deliverance, to day to day acts of mercy, there is no good thing that does not have it’s origins in God.

Deliverance never comes from idols. Deliverance NEVER has it’s origins in abstraction, in lies, in neutrality, or indifference. Apart from God, nobody has ever been saved … not by science nor by evolution and nobody has ever been saved by government.

God has given people free will to make decisions as we please. God does not force salvation on anyone, though it may be freely received by all. In light of the judgment that awaits all who abide in sin, I don’t understand why someone would say no to the gift, but deliverance may be declined.

In order for people to be delivered from sin, there had to be a sacrifice for sin that did not only cover sins, as the sacrifices of animals did, but PAID the full penalty for sin … And that’s what Jesus’ sacrifice did.

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On Grace

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

It does seem to me that the grace of God is quite remarkable. It’s like a flood of water that seeks to saturate every nook and cranny, cutting off those who harden themselves against the flow; saving those who are pliable enough to be carried away with it; broad enough to reach all who will receive it. Grace saves those you don’t expect, and is rejected by those you thought would receive. Grace is not received by all. Yet grace is available to all.

Those who are cut off are hardened by self righteousness … I can get there my own way … after all, I’m a good person. Those who are taken with the flow are broken realizing they cannot depend on their own righteousness. And so, putting down their self-righteousness, undermined by conviction and carried on by grace they lay hold of the cross of Christ. The flow of grace takes us away from condemnation, immerses us in salvation and takes us into the presence of the Father. Amazing.

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Men’s Breakfast

Every Thursday morning at 6AM a group of men from CC Birmingham meet together at Bernetti’s Diner on US31 just down the hill from the church. Come on out and start your day with a great breakfast and a good word!

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What’s Important

Acts 25:23 So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus’ command Paul was brought in.

 

So, in comes Agrippa and Bernice (the most unexpected name to ever come after a name like Agrippa).  Anywhoo … they’re coming in and they don’t want to be mistaken for just anybody, so they are all decked out in royal robes and adorned in jewels and gold and the horns are trumpeting and their posse of commanders and prominent people are with them. Depending on the translation you are using, it was a full on two sentence, twenty-eight word entrance. And then there was Paul.  His entrance was a humble four word, half sentence entrance. It didn’t even merit an adjective.

What a great illustration of what God sees as important verses what the world sees as important. Paul, the man God used to write much of the New Testament and take the Gospel to nations, kings, and the sons of Israel. The chosen instrument of the King of the Universe entered the room in silence and stood in humility before those who declared themselves to be important … those whom the world called important.

Bernice was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, making her the sister of Agrippa II. The two were having an incestuous relationship. It is before this brother/sister/husband/wife couple that we find the apostle Paul making his defense once again at Caesarea. Paul, no doubt, knew of their unrighteous relationship, it was no great secret … and even as Agrippa and Bernice came in with great pageantry, and Paul was brought in chains, we find in chapter 26 that Paul tells Agrippa that he considers himself fortunate to be able to make his case before him.

If you desire to get to where God wants you to go, humble yourself. Paul could have been resentful of the situation, after all, Agrippa had no jurisdiction in this case, no business getting involved. Paul had already appeared before the governor, Felix, who found no offense worthy of prosecution, yet kept Paul incarcerated for two years. Now, the new governor, Festus, had heard the case and the accusations of the Jewish leadership and found no offense worthy of prosecution. Paul even appealed his case to Caesar which was his right as a Roman Citizen, and Festus had agreed, but now he was being asked to go through it all again for Agrippa. It must have been quite exasperating, yet Paul was willing to humble himself. Paul saw this as another opportunity to share his testimony, share the gospel and glorify Jesus, this time to Agrippa, Bernice, and Festus.

Don’t let opportunities slip by, but commit yourself to recognizing and taking every opportunity that God sets before you. Each day we are confronted with opportunities to either invest in this world or the one to come.  We make choices of where we will place our eyes or focus our efforts. What choices will you make? Commit yourself to a decision now, because it is a choice you will have to make over and over again. Paul was a master at recognizing and seizing on opportunities, often at the expense of his own comfort, and that’s the very essence of getting where God wants you to go … the path is paved with opportunities to Glorify the Lord. Seize one opportunity after the next and you’ll find you are headed where God wants you to go.

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Grand Opening Month!

Calvary Chapel Birmingham has relocated to a new facility in Pelham, Alabama. The congregation has been working together very hard over the past 6 months to get the building ready and while we are not 100% finished, now is the time to have our Grand Opening. October is our Grand Opening month.

We’ll kick off at 5pm on Sunday, September 28th with an evening of music and worship from The Surrendering, acoustic, worship, and original Christian music musicianaries hailing from Indiana, but always taking their music and the gospel on the road.

Then, on Wednesday, October 1st we are having an outdoor live music event with the bands of The Extreme Tour bringing us Christian Contemporary, Rock, Alt-Rock, Hip-Hop, spoken word, and Rap. The line up is Tal, Katie Ainge, Jordan Copas, The Uriah Effect, My Paper Tiger, and Driven. Weather permitting, music will be outdoors with a bounce house and games for the kids. The event will start at 4PM that afternoon.

As if that weren’t enough, on Sunday evening, October 12th at 6:00 PM, Creation Ministries International and Dr. Gary Bates will present, “UFO’s, Aliens and the Evolution Connection” based on his best selling book of the same name.

The next Sunday evening, October 19th at 6:00PM, it’s Chosen People Ministries and Dr. Ben Alpert presenting, “Israel in Prophecy” a very timely topic you do not want to miss.

All events are free of charge, but seating for October 12th and 19th is limited, so make plans now to be there.

As usual, CC Birmingham will continue to have our 7PM Wednesday evening services and 10AM Sunday morning services where we teach the Bible simply, verse by verse and chapter by chapter. On Sunday mornings we are verse by verse through the New Testament, currently beginning the book of Romans. On Wednesday evenings we are verse by verse through the Old Testament, currently in the book of Deuteronomy. Kids JAM, our children’s ministry is available during all services.

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Creation Ministries International

Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, Sunday, October 12th at 6PM at Calvary Chapel Birmingham.

On Sunday, October 12th at 6:00PM, Dr. Gary Bates with Creation Ministries International will be joining us to talk about his landmark book, Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection (the only creation book ever to be an Amazon top 50 best-seller). In his presentation, Dr. Bates will unravel one of popular culture’s enduring and growing phenomena, UFOs, crop circles, Roswell, alien abductions—it’s all answered! His well researched data will leads us to one conclusion: there is an ‘intergalactic’ battle over the history of life in the universe, and for the souls of human beings. Expect to receive eye-opening insights that have already won souls for Christ. This is a great event to invite your friends and family that have questions about Christianity and Science. The event is free.

Dr. Gary Bates of CMI

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Lord and Master

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

One cannot be a bondservant without a lord. In the case of Paul, his Master was Jesus, the One whom Paul devoted himself to out of love.  God gives us a choice of Who we devote ourselves to, Jesus Who we receive by faith, or Sin which we are born into. Jesus purchased our freedom from sin, but left us to choose to follow Him or to remain mastered by sin …it’s a choice of devotion. That devotion springs from an understanding of just how lost you once were without Jesus. Paul never would forget the deep, deep pit from which Jesus pulled Him out. In the final chapters of Acts we heard Paul recount just who he was before Christ. He was a Pharisee’s Pharisee and he was committed to the destruction of Christians. He hounded them from Synagog to Synagog, rooting them out and putting them in chains, even having them put to death. Paul hated Jesus and he hated Jesus’ followers. He was an enemy of Christ. Paul was very lost.

But Paul’s testimony didn’t end there. Jesus appeared to him on that road to Damascus, even as he was headed to persecute Christians. By God’s grace, Paul was rescued from the pit he was in. Jesus rescued Paul. This was something Paul would never forget. We also must not forget because it is an important part of Paul’s credentials and if we forget that, we will have a hard time understanding this amazing letter. This is the starting point of Paul’s credentials and an important one, without which he could not write with authority the things in his epistle to the Romans concerning yielding ourselves as slaves for obedience, and whether we yield ourselves to sin leading to death or to obedience leading to righteousness (Romans 6:16). Had Paul not been a bondservant of Christ, but merely an admirer of Christ, he would have been an impostor and we might place aside this letter saying it was written by a man with little integrity. Yet Paul’s life was yielded to Christ and he lived out those things that he wrote.

The same may be applied to our own lives. How can we point out the way to Jesus with our words if our lives are pointing another direction?  And how can we point out the way to Jesus with our lives if our words are pointing another direction? We find in this world two masters one might choose to serve. Those 2 are (1) God and (2) Satan.  Many people — even Christians — forget that Satan is a created being and that God is infinitely more powerful than him.  We also forget that Satan is a real being with evil motives and evil desires. God and Satan are not equals, not in power nor in authority. God is supreme and sovereign. Those who reject Jesus, by default are accepting the rule of Satan. Every single person in this world is a servant either to Satan or to Christ.

Jesus told us in Luke 16 that, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13). When Paul was persecuting the church, he was in the service of Satan. Now, this was not something he knew.  He didn’t bear some external mark or carry a “Minion of the Devil” card. But God says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4) and, “The carnal or fleshly mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Like Paul before he met Jesus, most non-Christians today do not realize that they belong to Satan and are serving him. I know that is strong language, but it’s what the Bible says.  We are talking about the eternal destination of people and that is no light matter. To that point, there are also Christians who have been rescued by Jesus but live as if they are still in the pit. If you or I are like that, then how can we point anyone to Christ?  It’s important not only that we have the Right Master, but that we are serving that Master. Are you, like Paul, a bondservant of Jesus?  You will never be able to serve Jesus until He is your Master.

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Everyday Sunday

On Sunday, August 24th, best selling Christian music artist Everyday Sunday will lead us in worship. For more about Everyday Sunday check out and like their Facebook Page.

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