Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Calvary Chapel Churches Moving Forward

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Psalm 85:6 

Over the last several weeks many Calvary Chapel pastors have had to address their congregations concerning recent developments within our family of churches.

For some, it’s been a difficult time filled with sadness and confusion. Many of us had to field questions that we were not necessarily prepared to answer. We had to read posts on social media or listen to audio clips from a conference, or observe a photo of the Calvary dove split in half and more. Yet, in the midst of it all I can see that the LORD is working. What the enemy has intended for evil the LORD is using for good.

There are spectators looking on saying, “Well, this must be the end of the Calvary Chapel movement. The movement has now become a monument and now it’s bound to be a morgue.” There are others who would suggest that we are old wineskins too inflexible to be filled with fresh power from the Holy Spirit. Or, that we are misguided leaders living in the past, caught up in legalistic traditions destined to miss out on future opportunities to be used by God. I don’t believe that for one second. In fact, I reject it. 

We are a group of ordinary men called and empowered by an extraordinary God. We are pastors committed to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, all of it! We are humble servants earnestly praying for a greater outpouring of God’s Spirit and pleading for revival, unwilling to settle for less. I can see a cloud in the distance the size of a man’s fist (1 Kings 18:44).

I don’t look at what has transpired in Calvary Chapel as a split but instead a necessary pruning so that we might bear more fruit (John15:2).

This situation has caused me as a pastor to be even more committed to what I am called to do. This has challenged me to solidify what I believe about ministry and to stand in boldness for why I believe it. This has caused me to revisit and be firmly established in the foundational principles I have been taught. This has awakened a renewed sense of passion to serve Jesus with all that I am. As I talk to Calvary Chapel pastors from around the country they also have a revived vision and restored purpose for their ministries. As leaders in our churches we realize that what we are doing is still relevant to the culture we live in. And the desire within all of us, which some have called into question, has ignited a flame of determination. We are a family and we are not going to let anyone pull us apart.

If I could encourage my fellow Calvary Chapel pastors in any way I would say this, “Let’s move forward!” Let’s stay the course. Let's lay aside the weight and sin that so easily besets and run the race with endurance (Hebrews 12:1). Let’s shake off the spirit of heaviness and let’s put on the garments of praise (Isaiah 61:3). Like Samuel, let’s stop mourning over the separation of some and instead pick up the horn of oil and raise up others (1Samuel 16:1). Let’s keep our hands to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62). Finally, let’s apply the exhortation of Jesus to Peter when He said, “What is that to you? You follow me” (John 21:22). 

I am reminded of the words of Nehemiah in chapter four when he said, "The work is great and extensive and we are seperated from one another on the wall. Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us. (Nehemiah 4:19-20)" I believe the trumpet has sounded and we are now rallying together in this spiritual battle. 

There is too much work to be done and too many people going to hell for us to be striving any longer about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14).  “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6).

I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward. 

-David Livingstone