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I AM NOT PENTECOSTAL OR REFORMED ...                                                                   ( AND IF I AM HONEST NOR AM I CALVARY )

Although, I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit I do not consider myself a Pentecostal, and immediately after saying that many ask me, then are you reformed? And, although I believe that we who are saved are saved by divine election, I am not reformed.  It is much more common than you'd think; when someone finds out I'm a pastor the first thing they ask me is "what denomination?" I always answer "Christian" And almost always they emphasize, "Yes, Christian, but what denomination? As if people were trying to identify the type of Christian I am. Truly, I understand why that happens, but it’s not cool.  Actually our largest alliance should not be to a movement, or a denomination or a preacher.  Our largest alliance should be to Jesus.

Although there is nothing wrong with calling yourself a Baptist, or Reformed, or Charismatic, or Methodist, or in my case "Calvary"; but we have to understand that God does not divide His body that way. With God all Christianity is His body and it isn’t divided according to doctrine or belief but rather by function. The problem I have seen, and the reason I'm writing this is that there is a strong tendency to accept only teachings from people who think like you, and to doubt any assertion of people who are of another movement. In some extreme cases and cultures there are those who believe that their church is the only one that has truth.

That kind of proud attitude is not helpful. That's not discernment that's elitism, and we need to believe and live what Jesus prayed in John 17 that we be one as He and the Father are one. I'm not saying accept them all, because of course there are false teachers and false ministries, but what I am saying is that there is separatism within Christianity that is damaging the name of Christ and his church's reputation.

Perhaps Martin Luther said it best: "I pray you to leave my name alone, and call not yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified by anyone. How then does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of God? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with them all, and let us call ourselves only Christians after him from whom our doctrine comes.


Jonathan Domingo

 

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Critical Elements Of Biblical Preaching - Pt1 by David Guzik

Most preachers and teachers want to do their work in the best, most effective way possible. There are a lot of helps available for them - better techniques, finding a better process in preparation and delivery. All that is good, but it isn't of prime importance. God-honoring, effective preaching and teaching comes from a certain type of life, not just from a process or techniques.

When I speak of it coming from a life, I don't mean only a moral and ethical life (as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) - though that comes first. The kind of life that produces effective preaching and teaching has specific characteristics related to the work of a teacher. Here are seven character qualities I think that are important.

Honest

God-honoring teachers will be honest with the text. They will take it for what it says, not for what they wish it said. For example, when we come to 1 John 5:7-8 in the King James (or New King James translations), we must be honest with the difficulty of the text. Though the Trinity is definitely a Biblical truth, we must be honest and say that1 John 5:7-8 doesn't address the Trinity in the way many hoped. I might wish that it gave me an airtight statement of the Trinity, but the textual evidence says otherwise. If we are not honest as expositors we will be prejudiced, manipulative, and careless.

Secure

If we don't have a sense of security of who we are in Jesus and in the power of God's Word, we will never please God with our work as a preacher or teacher. Paul recognized that living to please men and living to please God don’t go together (Galatians 1:10).

Hardworking

To fulfill your ministry as a preacher and teacher will take many years of hard work. You can't be lazy or always look for the easy way out. You must be able to do the hard work of study and preparation time. It's not just a matter of time (though that is part of it), it is also a matter of focus and concentration.

Bold

The effective preacher and teacher will have a sense of boldness; not arrogance, but a genuine confidence in God and His word. The boldness does not come from any confidence in self, but from a justified confidence in God. The timid or hesitant preacher simply will never fulfill their ministry as they could.

Passionate

If you don’t care much about what you are teaching, why should anyone else? God forbid that we should conjure up a fake passion or enthusiasm. God's word is filled with greatness on every page. If you can't see it and have a genuine sense of its goodness and significance, don't blame your hearers for their boredom.

Teachable

The effective preacher and teacher will keep pressing on to learn. They will not have the sense that they have “arrived”. They won't have a sense of self-confidence, self-assurance, or self-satisfaction. Like Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 they will keep pressing on, pursuing the high call of God in Jesus Christ

Sympathetic 

In Hebrews chapter four, verse 15 describes the priestly ministry of Jesus towards His people, telling us that He can sympathize with our weaknesses. If Jesus has this sympathetic heart towards man, so should his messengers have this same heart when they preach and teach. They should think through how things will sound in the ears of those who hear them, and seek to persuade them. More than eight times the Book of Acts speaks of the persuading work of Paul, and you can't persuade unless you have some sense of how your hearer thinks and feels. The unsympathetic preacher will be perceived as being rude, hard-hearted, and harsh.

If someone has these seven characteristics, there is much they can learn and grow in as a teacher or preacher. Without them, all the best techniques or technologies will not be effective to fulfill one's ministry.

 

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Critical Elements Of Biblical Preaching - Pt1

http://www.calvarychapel.com/
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I won't put up a Pagan Tree!

I was probably 10, when I heard a woman for the first time, whom was furious because thousands, if not millions, of Christians celebrated Christmas with what she said was "the pagan tree". Since then I've ran into several people with the same conviction, that it is a sin to have a Christmas tree. So, I looked up biblical and historical information regarding the Christmas tree.

Biblical:

The Bible, in Jeremiah 10: 1-5, speaks of a people who worshiped a tree cut from the pine forest and decorated it with gold and silver. The Bible tells us not to fear the "pine god."  It’s only a pine tree. What this passage is teaching us is that it’s not bad to decorate a tree, but it's bad to worship a tree. In other words, it didn’t state that it was bad to decorate a tree, but that people worshiped and feared the tree.  Today there are people who do the same, that for them Christmas has little to do with Jesus and has everything to do with decorations, food, and gifts. However, most of those who put up a Christmas tree are not worshiping a god. They are simply enjoying a festive decoration.

 Throughout the Bible, we see the concept of idolatry as elevating something that is neither bad nor good and putting it in the place of God. There are people who do this with images, but itdoesn’t mean that a picture is bad unless it is seen as divine or something that takes the place of God. Some people have their spouses as an idol; it doesn’t mean that marriage is bad, but people are taking something good and making it a priority ahead of God.  There are people in the Bible who worship the sun, but that doesn’t mean that having a picture of a sunset in our homes is a sin. There are people in the Bible who worshiped a pine tree, but that does not mean that having a decorated pine tree in your house is a sin.

 Historical:

 The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree is relatively new.  During the Reformation in Germany, people would have holiday gatherings and through plays they would illustrate what happened in the Garden of Eden with a tree (in Germany the most common tree is the pine). They would hang apples, figs, or some fruit on the tree to represent the forbidden fruit.  Some people, to this date, still hang apples on their trees and have no idea why.  In fact, the spheres currently hung on trees represent the fruits that would hang on the tree back then.  After a while, thanks to the Christmas drama, the pine tree began to be a Christmas decoration. Those who started this tradition did not see it as something that they worshiped, but as something to remind them that all have sinned and that the purpose of Christmas is that Christ came to die for our sins to give us eternal life.

 The Christmas tree is not a useless decoration, on the contrary, it should serve as a reminder of how much God loves us. The Christmas tree has more value than we imagine.  For a Christian the tree is not an idol, but something that reminds us that we need to be redeemed by Christ.

 

Jonathan Domingo

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BLACK FRIDAY, CHRISTIANS, & MATERIALISM

BLACK FRIDAY, CHRISTIANS, & MATERIALISM

 

Within the last few weeks the Mexico News has been full of stories regarding...

 

President Peña Nieto, Angélica Rivera, and her $7 billion dollar house.

 

I find it interesting that these same weeks I have been studying Revelation in preparation for the series that we are currently in (The Revelation of Jesus Christ), particularly Chapter 17 and 18 speak of Babylon; we don't know exactly what Babylon will be in the last days but one thing that is clear is what it represents; the world trading system. And chapter 18 narrates that one day this whole system will be destroyed in one hour, this is more than any decline in the stock market or problems on Wall Street, this is the complete destruction of the global economy.

 

The decision of the First Lady of buying such a luxurious house has generated much controversy, and my plan is not to add to the controversy but to start a conversation about materialism.  What it is and what are its effects.  In this short blog I hope to discuss Christians and materialism.

 

What is materialism?

 

Materialism basically is finding your fulfillment, identity, and happiness in the things you own; if you earn more this year than last year you will have more happiness, but if you earn less or lose your job then you lose your happiness.

 

When you buy a new TV you feel complete but when you don’t have enough money for the TV you want you feel empty.

 

And maybe you think this is an "oversimplification" of a more complicated issue, but the reality is that for Christians, our identity, happiness, and fulfillment are not in the things that we have but on the relationship we can have with God through Jesus.

 

Why is materialism bad?

 

Although it is not bad to have things, it is bad to allow your happiness to depend on them because sooner or later you will lose them.  Your phone will be obsolete in a few years, your car will be in a junkyard in a few decades, your house will be demolished in a few generations.

 

C. S. Lewis said:

  "We must not let our happiness depend on something that will be lost."

 

The reason that materialism is bad, Jesus says that we should not accumulate treasure where rust destroy and thief steals. The desire to accumulate things leads us to ruin, either we lose what we want or we lose peace because instead of enjoying what we have we are always fantasizing about what we don’t have. In addition consider the debt we have for wanting to increase our "lifestyle" and instead of increasing our quality of life we decrease it.

 

The answer to materialism.

How can we overcome materialism? What the Bible presents as an antidote to materialism is worship.

 

Materialism is worshiping the material, Christianity is worshiping Christ.

 

The result we see in the Bible as a way to worship Jesus is to reflect His life.  What I see in the Gospels is that Jesus lived an impressively simple life.  He didn’t have anything valuable, but instead walking from town to town, sleeping in parks, eating bread and interacting with the crowds. This was a huge contrast to the Roman culture in which their leaders gave themselves over to their pleasures and delights.  The early Church ate bread from house to house in simplicity of heart. This brings conviction to my heart because I know there are many things in my life that consume too much time, too much attention and if I were to lose these things my happiness would be affected. The counterpart of this is to loose ourselves so deeply in love for Jesus so that our happiness depends solely on him.

 

What does all this have to do with what happened with the presidential family? Personally, it frustrates me to see people in debt, without joy, living for the material, and criticizing people with the exact same condition as them.

 

You and I are the same as the First Lady, the only difference is that there are more zeros at the end of her income. The problem of the heart is the same. I'm not saying its right or wrong, what I'm saying is that most of us have to repent of materialism in our own hearts.

 


Jonathan Domingo

 

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A Letter from a Pastor to the parents of the Ayotzinapa

                                                                                      A LETTER from a PASTOR to the Parents of AYOTZINAPA

Dear Parents of normalists in Ayotzinapa:

The entire country is frustrated and angry about what happened in Ayotzinapa. I am also very young, I am 25 years old and I have no doubt that this is the worst tragedy our country has experienced in my lifetime. Sure, there have been thousands of tragic deaths in Mexico in the last decade, but the vast majority of mass killings have occurred between different drug cartels.  This is different. There is an inexpressible pain that we all feel at the thought of 43 students who were preparing to serve and assist schools in rural communities who are not with us today. We feel disgusted to hear the testimony of the killers who performed these very inhumane acts. We cannot imagine how you feel.

With all the coverage that this story has had, it is highly unlikely that this letter will reach you, but I wanted to write it for the sake of those who will come across it and read it, and if I'm honest, writing it will also help me process everything that is happening. So this is what I, as a Christian pastor, want you to know.

Our Heart Aches

Collectively, the heart of Mexico is broken; a country where young people cannot express themselves openly is not a free country.  It is terrible to think that the authorities who God has placed for our protection are those from whom we have to protect ourselves.  It is impossible to think that there will be 43 classrooms without teachers because of the deplorable whims of a few. Jesus’ heart also ached when He looked upon Jerusalem.  Likewise, it was a nation with corruption in every sense, a place where people betrayed his people to personally profit, and God replied with a heavy heart and said, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen protects her chicks under her wings, but you left me" (Luke 13:34 NLT). God is neither apathetic nor absent at this time, on the contrary, God wants to embrace Mexico in general, and those most affected by the tragedy of Ayotzinapa in particular, as a hen protects her chicks under her wings, and we need to let him hug us. 

No Man Has The Solution

This is not the time to put our eyes in the pines, nor the time to put our hope in the government, nor in some one.  This is the time to believe in Jesus. Believing that hope and the solution is not found in more reforms, nor in more laws. It is in Jesus.  Only he can heal a shattered nation as only he can change hearts that are hardened, and he alone can transform our nation into a place where justice and righteousness exist.

God Will Do Justice

We believe that God does not miss anything. All the guilty will pay but not in this lifetime because there is no punishment severe enough to rectify the damage they have caused, but what we believe is that all evil is punished by God. The Bible says that one day the books will be opened, and everyone will be judged according to their deeds and all sin will be punished.  The only escape is to trust in Jesus and let him take the punishment in our place. For though I would say that the only ones who deserve judgment are the murderers, the reality is that we all deserve God's judgment, so we all need God's forgiveness.

This Is Not God's Plan, But He Will Use It

One of the phrases that annoys me the most is when people tell someone who is suffering that "God has a plan," because although it is true, it seems to state that God planned the difficulty they are going through.  God didn’t plan the Murder Of Ayotzinapa. He allowed it, but that does not mean that it was part of his agenda before the foundation of the world. What's more, God's plan is to restore this planet full of justice and righteousness, not injustice and evil. The Bible says that God is light and in him is no darkness ... God allows evil but it is never God's desire for there to be evil. What I’m getting at is that God is just as angry with the situation that is happening in Mexico, but he, unlike us, sees the end result. We don’t know how this can turn into something that will ultimately bring God glory. We do not know how something so horrific could glorify God, but if I had to guess, I think something this tragic can produce two positive results; one, that Christians are lifted up with greater urgency to spread the message of hope that is in Jesus, and two, that Mexico will be awakened from the sleep that it is in to find the one who can provide light when there is so much darkness, Jesus.

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Pass the Salt

Pass the SALT

 A few weeks ago I was listening to a study by Tim Keller and he shared a concept of prayer that I had never heard but that really blessed me and I want to share with you.

What he said is that it is typical of Christians to put prayer as a priority.  In other words we begin the day with prayer then we read the word and then live life in a way that glorifies God. Prayer is one of the most important things we do, but that's not what the Bible says.  The Bible says to pray always and not only "before we began our day".  An example is SALT.

SALT is important but it’s not first.  If you consume a mouth full of SALT first, and then your food, it will not taste good. In the same way, prayer is not something that comes before everything else, but it goes in the middle of everything else. When reading the Bible we are reading in prayer, at work we are working with prayer and if we are preaching with prayer.

The SALT is distributed throughout all of the food so that everything tastes good.  In the same way, prayer is distributed in all we do to give purpose to everything we do

 I like what Spurgeon says:

"If you don’t have breath you know the body is dead.  In the same way we know that without prayer the soul is dead"

Prayer is not first on the list of priorities but saturates and fills every aspect and every element of our lives.

Spice up your life.

(This Wednesday November 5th is our monthly prayer meeting and you're invited, also be preparing for December 1-5, which will be the week of Prayer and Fasting)

 

Jonathan Domingo

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!Halloween! SATANIC OR INNOCENT?

Halloween!

SATANIC OR INNOCENT?

We all know that "Halloween" has dark roots, and just seeing that it is celebrated with skulls, witches, mummies, and vampires tells us it is a celebration of darkness.  The question then arises: Is it wrong to get involved in the festivities of Halloween or the Day of the Dead? I want to present a different way of looking at Halloween:  We may reject it, receive it or redeem it.

Rejecting it

 This is an option that you can consider.  There are many Christians who say "Halloween is from the devil and I want nothing to do with it.”  This is a valid position. The Bible says,”what fellowship can light have with darkness?”  (2 Corinthians 6:14)  The answer is, none.  

Receiving it

There are Christians who receive Halloween with no problem, their sons dress up as the "chupacabras" and their daughters as "lucifer," and their mentality is that there is nothing wrong with it. I do not think this is right and I definitely don’t think that we should receive it in this manner.

The third option is where I want to focus.  As Christians, the option exists to not reject it or receive it, but to redeem it.

Redeem it

This means that there have to be some changes; in other words, we cannot accept it in the same manner as the culture does. We should not rejoice in darkness nor should we love death, but I think we can redeem Halloween and use it for the glory of God. Many of the holidays we have (Christmas and Easter) have pagan roots but they have been redeemed and now we celebrate Christ in those days.

How can we redeem it?

Celebrating the fact that God saved us from death, hell, and the His wrath. If we are going to wear costumes, we can do it in a way that celebrates the light of Christ (for children this can be angels and biblical characters, including superheroes and princesses. These things do not exalt the darkness.)

We can practice generosity. You can tell the kids that come to your neighborhoods that Jesus loves them and give them lots of candy. The worst thing you can do is tell kids “You look ugly dressed up as Dracula!” or “I'm not giving you anything because I am a Christian!”  Better to tell them that Jesus has already saved them from darkness and be generous. It is also a good opportunity to have alternative Halloween events where kids can dress up, play games, and get candy without having to be part of something as negative as Halloween.

My concern is that those who reject Halloween judge those who are trying to redeem it, saying " Oh what pagans!" and those redeeming Halloween belittle those who reject it by, saying "Oh how legalistic!"

Let’s be clear, Halloween itself celebrates death, but this 31 of October let’s celebrate the life that there is in Christ.  If you want to celebrate it in your room praying alone and reading the Bible, do it, and if you want to celebrate it by dressing up and eating sweets for the glory of God, go ahead.


Jonathan Domingo

 

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EBOLA

C h r i s t i a n s are very weird.

We have a double standard. When there is an earthquake in Haiti, we say: "It was divine judgment for all your witchcraft" and when a church burns we say "We have to resist Satanic attack."

When the Twin Towers were attacked, people said, "That’s what happens to America for taking God out of the schools," but when a Christian loses his health, we began to rebuke the enemy's work. 

We assume that if something bad happens to someone good, it’s a Satanic attack and if something bad happens to someone bad, they are getting what they deserve.

Do not forget that we all deserve the bad, and if at any point in time something good happens, it is solely a work of grace and not something that we have produced or deserve.

How about when things happen and affect not only one nation or continent, but the whole world? Things like AIDS, Ebola, or the H1N1 virus? Is this the way that God is "judging the world?"  Or is this something that God doesn’t want to happen and is actually a Satanic work?

There are two extremes and the goal is to find a biblical balance. One extreme is that God is sovereign, everything that happens is what God WANTS to happen. The other extreme says that God has nothing to do with the bad things that happen and it is from the devil.

What is the Biblical view? God is Sovereign.

This is another way of expressing what the Bible says from cover to cover:  God is almighty and there is no power that can oppose him. He has dominion over absolutely everything. This does not mean that everything that happens is what God wants, but it does mean that whatever happens, He has allowed it.

Satan gives accounts to God.

If God is almighty, that means that Satan is not an autonomous entity. Satan has to submit to the power of God. Therefore, before Satan could take Job’s health, he needed God’s permission. Jesus said that hell was prepared for Satan and his angels and it says in Revelation that they will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb. This means that Jesus has authority over Satan in hell, and in a few words, in everything. There is nothing that operates outside the power of God. 

God created a perfect world.

We see that the Bible does not attribute evil to God, but it is human sin that has produced futility in the world, and Satan who is reigning in the air. What seems to be is that although God is sovereign, He has given man space to spoil the world so that He can be the redeeming hero.

God will perfect the world

God has allowed Ebola, but the reality is we as humans and Satan as the prince of the air, are responsible for any negative element in the world. God's desire is to renew the world. The end of the world is not its destruction, it will be renewed and purified by fire and the results will be a perfect world without sin, injustice, or evil.

The reality is that everything bad that happens is the result of the sins we have produced, but God works supernaturally on behalf of our bad choices to produce something that brings Him glory.

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THANK YOU

As many know, Odile, a category three hurricane impacted Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, a couple weeks ago leaving many homeless, so we felt led by God to open our accounts to anyone who wanted to make a donation.  Thanks to your support we were able to help two churches and through them they were able to help those in need. 

We appreciate your support. 

God bless.

 

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IS IT BAD TO DESIRE AN IPHONE 6?

Is it bad to desire an iPhone 6?

Recently, Apple made an announcement that had been anticipated by many “the IPhone 6". It was obvious that many people would be thrilled as usual, but what Apple didn’t imagine is that within 24 hours 4 million people would place their orders months before it went on sale. What is it that leads the human heart to want this technology?

I don’t know about you, but I'm a big fan of technology and I confess, I'm a big fan of Mac and Apple. When I saw the announcement of the Apple Watch my heart started to say "Let's see how we can get one." That led me to think that the Bible clearly speaks about greed; wanting what you don’t have, speaking about vanity; loving your looks, and it also talks about managing money.  My question is: Can a person want an iPhone 6 and not fall into any of these traps?

Greed

Greed is when you're not satisfied with what you have. You see the features and objects that other people have around you and you feel bad because you do not have them. One area where greed is more noticeable is technology.  Now there is nothing wrong with wanting a smartphone, and less if you think of a good resource that can be to hear sermons, study the Bible or interact with your friends.  The problem is when the desire is for more than just that.  It’s when you are dissatisfied with what you have at the moment and feel that only having this technology will make you complete; that is idolatry that is greed, that is sin. Many commit this sin when we see the "technology."

Vanity

Vanity is loving your looks.  It is to visualize yourself at a Starbucks, drinking your venti Iced Macchiato with your iPhone 6 in your hand taking a super slow motion video of yourself biting into your sandwich and thinking, "I look awesome.”  Vanity is loving the appearance of success, money, and prosperity. This goes against what we see in the Bible that even those who have much the Bible calls to live in a simple way and condemns those who try to show off their appearance with superficial things. I'm not saying that having a nice phone is sin or having a pre-owned car is sin, or wanting to have something awesome is sin, its sin when your appearance is an unnecessary luxury.

Managing your money (or) being good stewards

Finally, what about buying a new iPhone if you earn little or if you earn a lot of money, The Bible speaks about managing your income, and it is misuse of money to get into debt, paying money that you don’t have for something that you don’t need.  But even if you have money the question is: Do you need it? Because that's the question I'm asking myself, and I have an iPhone. Do I really need a phone that only has a few more features and is a little faster? No. God has called me to manage money well.

Now having said that, it is possible to be totally satisfied with what you have and not be obsessed with your image and be a good steward, and still buy an iPhone 6.  What I’m getting at is this, you have to ask yourself these questions beforehand, because what we do with our money communicates what our hearts believes.


 

Jonathan Domingo

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