Pastor’s Pen

Thanksgiving 2016

Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor

As we come to Thanksgiving 2016, what should be our thinking regarding giving of thanks?  Often our holidays are “hijacked” by a more or less culturally defined set of what are considered activities for any given holiday.  Hence Thanksgiving has become not so much thanks giving as extravagant eating!  How much time, effort, money, etc., we put into being culturally appropriate for that time.  Turkey, different recipes for potatoes, several vegetables, lots of stuffing, maybe a ham, and don’t forget all the pies-  apple, pumpkin, mince, chocolate, blueberry, cherry (I’m getting hungry just writing about it!).  And don’t forget about all the relatives.  Uncle Bill and Aunt Jane didn’t come last year, but we’ll invite them again this year, anyway.  And none of this is necessarily bad in itself.  The originators of this whole idea of gathering with abundant food and people originated with the very religious Pilgrims. They invited the Native Americans–known as Indians–to join them in a great celebration of the goodness and generosity of a loving God who provided an unbelievable abundance of all kinds of food for their nutrition and enjoyment.  But here’s the catch–do our gatherings carry out that part of the tradition?  That is, the reason for the festive gatherings?  Do we really give thanks to a loving, gracious God for abundant food, for friends, for giving us a land of liberty and plenty?  Above all, do we thank him for his coming into our world on a divine rescue mission to save us from our sins and give us a life of peace, joy, and purpose?  When you gather this year for Thanksgiving, remember to gather for thanks giving.  And you might even want to invite someone to join you who doesn’t have a family or who is away from family.  And be thankful!  I thank God for each one of you.

I love you all!

A Time to Reflect

As we take the time to reflect on the recent election, let’s do our best, as followers of Christ, to react in a Godly manner. For those who are elated over the outcome, remember Proverbs 24:17  “Do not gloat when your enemy falls, when he stumbles, do not rejoice” We need to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another, in love. Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

For those of an opposing political view, the council of Paul to the church at Corinth seems appropriate “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2nd Corinthians 6:10) Also his command in his first letter to the Thessalonian’s 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Let us all remember Romans 8:28 “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

He will use this political outcome to conform us more to the image of Christ. So let us pray for one another and realize that God uses all things – the good, the bad, and yes, even those things, which some believers feel, are good, while others, who love the Lord, feel are bad. In the Epistle of James chapter 1 verse 22 God inspired the writing “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We should all take that to heart and live as 1st Thessalonian’s 5:13 says “In peace with one another”

President Kennedy expressed what reminds me of that verse in James. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them” This is true in all situations, but was said in reference to Veterans Day, which we celebrated this past Friday. For those who served this country we also, as President Kennedy exclaimed, wish to honor our veterans, not only with words, but with the lives we live, in this country, borne from the desire to live in the freedom our constitution grants. We thank all veterans for giving themselves in service to this goal, not only in attaining, but in also keeping this nation free, knowing that alongside freedom lies responsibility. May the Lord Jesus, through his Spirit grant us the grace and courage to uphold that responsibility.

Rev. Larry Sassmann Assistant Pastor

In Memory of Stella Rosato

Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor

Our hearts and prayers go out to Frank Rosato and families in the Home going of Frank’s Mom, Stella.  We are comforted by the fact that Stella knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, so she is now singing his praises with billions of others of all times who had come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible assures us that to be absent from the body is to be at Home with the Lord.  Not at some future time, but to be at Home the very instant one is absent from the body.  The last breath drawn here is the first glimpse of Jesus there!  We have the wonderful assurance that the loss of a born-again loved one is not permanent but only temporary.  We will meet again and never again have to say “Goodbye” or “Good night.”  What a day that will be when we are all there together singing God’s praises as one great choir, or maybe many great choirs!  This is a wonderful prospect all Christians are awaiting with a sense of holy excitement.  But I don’t mean to minimize the real painful loss we all experience when we lose a loved one.  We still need- and now especially the Rosatos- the comfort that the God of all comfort brings us as we trust in him and commit our grieving brothers and sisters to his grace and love that he reveals in many new and loving ways.  2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at Home with the Lord.”


Virtual Voice


“It’s not real, Mom!” “Yes” responds the devil and those demons listening in! We are so surrounded by witches, vampires, zombies, voodoo, black magic, and the occult that we take it all in stride…think Supernatural, Witchblade, Millennium, The Dead Zone, The X-files, Angel, Dark Angel, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or go back to Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Dark Shadows. The Exorcist, Carrie, Devil’s Advocate, The Craft, The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street–these movies tantalize, please and ultimately desensitize us to demonism, witchcraft, and magic. The horoscope is in our daily newspaper. Then there are books, stories, and games: Harry Potter and Merlin the Magician, board games–like Ouija–and role-playing games that use witchcraft, sorcery, spells, and spirits. All that can’t be real or we would have to adjust our ideas of harmless fun. Even most of us not all that into pop culture have computers that don’t show icons, but instead give us our choice among charms. Public universities offer courses in witchcraft and paganism. We have always been curious to know if there is more to this life; now in the face of very public failures of organized Christianity, people are growing more open-minded to any religion that appears to fill the spiritual void in their lives. The voice of a new generation says, “The truth is out there …somewhere.” “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV). Our desire to know the future and to control events that are not ours to control is at the heart of witchcraft, though these abilities belong only to the Lord. This desire has its roots in Satan’s first temptation to Eve: “You can be like God” (Genesis 3:5). There are only two sources of spiritual power: God and Satan. (Satan has only the power that God allows him to have.) To seek spirituality, knowledge, or power apart from God is idolatry, closely related to witchcraft. Witchcraft and Spiritism often involve the ritualistic use of magic potions and mind-controlling drugs to achieve an altered state of consciousness, which can open us up to the invasion of demonic spirits. Christians do believe in the visible and the invisible, both good and evil. (“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” Ephesians 6:12 ESV). We don’t need to fear Satan’s power, but we should respect it and stay away from it and all of Satan’s counterfeits to holy spirituality. So do Christians celebrate Halloween? Halloween literally means “the holy evening” and begins with the Christian concept of the importance of the individual soul. It started as a time to remember the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed by attending church services, praying, making special food for the dead, lighting candles on graves to help the dead find their families, wearing masks to hide those on whom the dead might seek vengeance and costumes to honor the saints, and ceremonially acting out the battle between good and evil, around bonfires and while dressed in costumes of saints or of evil spirits (now known to us as “trick or treating”). Halloween was considered a time when evil could manifest itself. It is an acknowledgement of that existence, to ask for God’s blessing and protection from evil in the world. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).

                                ∞   Rev. Linda Lee Karanja-Sebastian   ∞


Activities at Calvary Chapel

Love, fear, anger, confusion, gangs, murder, a minister, more than one dysfunctional family, and a court scene. A mother holding on to God and His word, trying to share truth with her alcoholic husband and gang leader son. “To Take It Or Leave It ” an original play about opportunities for a second chance, written by Danielle Rosato, brought smiles and concerns to those who came last weekend to watch. An encore performance is even being considered because of public demand! Recently, a bus trip to Sight and Sound Theater to see Samson had many from Calvary and some surrounding Churches, fellowship together for the ride, lunch, the show and return trip. A conference this weekend on the Holy Spirit concluding Sunday evening is not only informative and helpful to equip us in dealing pragmatically with any who question the third person of the Trinity, but also a time of fellowship, unifying believers. As Calvary moves forward toward the close of 2016 and into the calendar year 2017 many, more fulfilling activities will be made available. November 5th will be a time of fun and fellowship, as we meet at King of Kings Lutheran Church hall for our annual dinner concert with “The Crosstones.” For those who want and can, we will be traveling to NYC to see Max McLean in The Fellowship of the Performing Arts production of C S Lewis’s classic “The Screw tape Letters.” Within this story, Lewis reveals how a senior devil trains a junior devil in the fine art of tempting humans. Many more plays, conferences, movie nights, coffee houses, and special events will be made available in the coming months. All intended not only for our entertainment and edification, but to give opportunity to bring in those who for whatever reason, don’t belong to, or are not attending a church, to hear the glorious Gospel and be introduced to a Savior who bids “Whosoever Will”. Let’s join together for prayer, fellowship, and fun, making the upcoming months a time to draw closer to each other and to God. May we bring many to activities that will disarm the newcomers’ apprehensions and create a comfortable atmosphere that will cause them to keep coming and consider the Love that is “In Christ” Amen.

In Him,                  

Assistant Pastor , Rev. Larry Sassmann

How Important is The Gospel To You?

Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor

How important is the Gospel to you?  It is the greatest good news that ever greeted us, by internet, Facebook, Twitter, TV, newspaper, letter, invitation, or any other medium.  It is the news that God has come to rescue his beloved but alienated humanity, that he took our sins, failures, omissions, and diseases upon himself in order to be able to justly forgive us and give us new life.  What greater good news could there be?  Forgiveness and new life mean a whole new existence here, meaningful and exciting, and endless eternity in the presence of God and loved ones forever!  That’s the good part.  The sad part is that, strangely, in light of such tremendous reality, we still often allow the peripheral and temporal to win out over the eternal.  We can expend energy, time, and money on so much that will be gone so soon.  What if we allowed the Holy Spirit to do all that he wants to do in all our lives?  What if we were passionately committed to spreading the good news wherever and whenever we could, and helped those who responded by faith to God’s offer of salvation?  And we all lived our faith, lovingly, forgivingly, faithfully, putting Christ and his work, and our brothers and sisters in Christ, before ourselves in all things?  Every Christian church would be packed out at every meeting.  People would be coming at every service to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. Let’s let the Holy Spirit have his full way with us, and enable us to surrender all to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then we will see blessings the way God intended them.

Listening to The Holy Spirit

Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor

How sensitive are you to the Holy Spirit and his convicting, convincing leading in your life? The Bible is a living book, inspired by the Holy Spirit, given for our learning and transformation. But it is only as we surrender to him, trusting him for his deeper work in our lives that we receive and live in the benefits of his work in us. There are many distractions in our highly technological day to deter us from what the Holy Spirit wants to do, first in us and then through us. It is hard for some people to leave their cell phones and computers long enough to have a serious time of waiting on God, listening to the Holy Spirit. And it takes a bit of discipline in church to concentrate on the message the pastor, or evangelist or whomever, has for us. It is helpful to read the pastor’s text for the next Sunday, pray for it, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what it means. You may be surprised at how often many of your thoughts parallel those of the pastor. However, we can have the kindling properly arranged, ready for the match to set it on fire; yet if we don’t apply the match, we have a nice-looking, orderly set of wood pieces that won’t produce heat or light.

Our Holy Spirit seminar, set for October 21, 22, and 23 at 7:00 PM, should help each of us be more sensitive, yielded to, and dependent upon the Holy Spirit to ignite our fires!






Trust and Love –The Twist

“Do you know Jesus?” “Oh, yes! I love God.” And that seems all right. And it can be all right. But it also can be a very deceitful, dangerous twist. What am I possibly talking about? Loving God — dangerous? In a multitude of ways, Scripture shows us that we are to: Trust GodBut blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7). “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). “Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psalm 37:3). “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). “This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all, especially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). And Love people “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing back in return” (Luke 6:35).  When asked how often we are to forgive: “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:22).  Seven being the number for perfection and completeness, that’s a whole lot of forgiving. It’s forgiving that requires a love much greater than any we can muster if we’re not trusting God to bring his fruit — love — to blossom in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  That sounds difficult, but not dangerous. Here’s the twist: how much easier it is for us to love God and trust in people. You see, loving God puts us in control of our relationship with God. We find it comforting to give him love, not having to consider the salvation given us by God’s grace, as a gift. (“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8). When it comes to gifts, the receiver has absolutely no control, and no choice but to acknowledge the gift giver. Likewise, trusting people gives us control, because we all know that people will fail, so there really is no faith at risk. (“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people” (Psalm 118:8). “Fear of men will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). It’s so much more comfortable knowing pretty much how things will turn out, and not having to face that challenge that comes with trusting God. How much power we are giving Satan, with this twist on God’s way! By failing to trust God, and by failing to love others, we miss opportunities to show others God’s great gift to us, salvation, and redeemed life forever. Instead, let’s keep on trusting God and loving others.

≈≈     Written by — Rev. Linda Lee Karanja-Sebastian        ≈≈

See Bruce Larson in How to Reach Secular People by George G. Hunter III, 1992

What Are You Sowing?

Written by,  Rev. Richard L. Shaw Ph.D, Pastor

The Apostle Paul issues a stern but loving warning to the backslidden church of Galatia in his epistle to them, Galatians 6:7-10.  There he admonishes them against a common condition of all people, including the Church-deception.  “Do not be deceived,” he says, “God cannot be mocked.”  It is no mocking of God if we live like we did before we were saved (the flesh) but it is to our own loss and distress.

Then Paul appeals to the law of sowing and reaping, using a metaphor from the discipline of agriculture.  Whatever one sows one reaps.  One cannot sow according to the flesh, and realistically expect to reap the peace and joy, the winning of others to Jesus, get many answers to prayer, etc.  The law of spiritual harvest is as inexorable as the law of physical agriculture.  If the farmer sows beans, it is beans he will reap- not peas or cauliflower. So, if your life is not producing much spiritual fruit, check the seeds!

What are you sowing?  Contention?  Pride?  Selfishness?  Deceitfulness?  Be ready for a harvest!  It won’t be pleasing. But if the you sow to the Spirit- Love- Peace- Joy-Acceptance of others- Eagerness to serve- Humility-you will also have a harvest.  But a totally different harvest from sowing to the flesh.  God further promises, through the Holy Spirit, that we must not grow weary in doing good, because we will reap if we don’t grow weary.  Therefore, he says, find, and fulfill opportunities to do good to all people.


Search Our Hearts


Written by, Rev. Larry Sassman, Assistant Pastor

This past week we entered the last month on the Hebrew calendar, Elul. The word Elul means search – the significance is to prepare, through earnest reflection, for the ten days of repentance starting with Rosh Ha Shanah (The Feast of Trumpets) and ending with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). During that time observant Jews ask God’s forgiveness for their sins and that He write their name in the Book of Life for another year. This tradition is believed to coincide with the story of the golden calf and Moses smashing the Ten Commandments, because of Israel’s sin, and the receiving of the 2nd set (Exodus 32; and 34:27-28).

During the month of Elul, God is considered to be more approachable (by rabbinic tradition). The letters that make up Elul also maintain significance; Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed, and is considered by some to be an acronym for Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li which translates to Song of Songs 6:3 “I am my Beloveds and my beloved is mine”.

When Jesus shouted “It is Finished” on the cross (John 19:30) the curtain that separated man from the Holy of Holies was ripped in two showing God was now approachable to all, at all times (Matthew 27:51). We, if we are “in Christ”, can be assured our names are in the aforementioned Book of Life, as we have been sealed, by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Yet Peter tells us we should prepare, not for salvation, but because of it. 1st Peter 1:13 declares “Therefore prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled, set your Hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

As we enter these days of searching, on the Jewish calendar, let us also search our hearts and allow the Spirit who seals us, to reveal any areas of our lives that still need to be given to His control. Remember that Christ gave all to become your Beloved! Are you His?

#Rosh Ha Shanah#Yom Kippur#Ten Commandments#Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed#Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li#Holy of Holies#Peter 1:13#Jesus Christ