The Necessity of the Right Foundation

By Pastor Mark Combs

A handyman must know his limits. At times I have not realized my own. Like the time that I built a shed to store my lawn mower at the top of a small hill in our backyard. It was only 4'x8', so I thought there was little reason to pour a concrete footing for such a small structure. Within a year the shed was starting to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was light enough that I was able to jack it up and put some concrete blocks under it before it slid down the hill.

We all need to build on the solid foundation of Jesus. He said that He was the cornerstone that the builders rejected (Mark 12:10).

So many people think that like those builders, they can lay their own foundation. It goes something like this, "I can earn my own way to heaven by doing good things." Or, "I can get rid of my sin if I try hard." These are false assumptions. No one can do enough good things (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is impossible to live sin free (Romans 7:15-25), except for Jesus (II Corinthians 5:21). Our hope is in Christ alone, the Solid Rock. 

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. 

I passed by that house with the shed not long ago. After 30 years, it still stands - thanks to the foundation that was essential, not an option. 

Jesus, the Fixer-Upper

By Pastor Mark Combs

In 1992 I purchased a "fixer-upper". It wasn't free. I had to pay a price for it. I was now tasked with the job of cleaning out an old mess and transforming it into a new home where my family could take residence,

The house had been built in 1910. There was so much junk in the basement and the garage that I had no idea what they looked like. There were nearly 300 pairs of shoes piled in the basement. It took my parents almost an entire day to sort through them to determine what should be donated and what should be trashed. 

This place was a disaster. It needed to be cleaned, repaired, painted, and have new flooring put down. But after it was all done, visitors would comment on how beautiful the old home had become. 

Like the old house, our lives were full of junk (sin). It kept us from being what God designed us to be. Then, the "Carpenter's Son" did a rehab on us. According to I Corinthians 6:19-20, the Holy Spirit makes us His temple. We are reminded that it wasn't free. We were bought with a price and we belong to God. We are His possession. He paid for us with His blood.

If you are reading this and realize that you are still living in an old house filled with junk, you future doesn't look good. Confess to Jesus (pray) that you are a sinner who needs Him to cleanse and renew your life. Put your faith in Him and follow Him by looking at His blueprint, the Bible. He will declare you righteous, the Holy spirit will clean you up, and you will become a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). 

Faith that Gets Us Through Storms

By Pastor Mark Combs

The Sea of Galilee is an interesting place. In today's vocabulary, it would be referred to as a lake. In fact, Luke's gospel actually calls it a lake. It's about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is nearly 700 feet below sea level, and there are cliffs towering above its eastern side. To the north, Mount Hermon rises nearly 2 miles above sea level. The winds off the Mediterranean Sea blow down on the shallow lake and the differences in temperature cause sudden storms. It was at this location that Jesus taught us a lesson about building a foundation of faith.

Luke tells us that while Jesus and His disciples were in a boat "a windstorm came down on the lake"(Luke 8:23 NKJV). Jesus, the Son of God/human, was tired and fell asleep. His disciples were fearful and woke Him saying "Master, Master, we are perishing!"

At some point nearly every follower of Jesus faces a storm that causes despair. Like the disciples, we must cry out to the One who can calm the storm. He is our only hope. If we are building on a solid foundation, we can marvel at how He gets us through difficult days. Jesus asked the disciples, "Where is your faith?" For mature disciples our response should be that our faith is in Christ alone.

God's Plan for the Nations

By Pastor Mark Combs

Isn't it wonderful to live in a country where millions of school children declare that we are "one nation under God"? Now we can debate whether we're "one nation" or "under God", but there is no debate when it comes to the fact that we are very blessed. However, we must keep in mind that we aren't the only nation God cares about. He cares about nations all around the world.

Jesus told us that the gospel must be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). This "end" refers to Satan's influence over the world, which in turn will be the beginning of Christ's reign.

Jesus gave His disciples a great responsibility that all of His followers are supposed to be involved with today. He told them (us) to "go to all nations...teaching them to observe things that I have commanded you."

We take this seriously at Calvary. Even though we are small in numbers, we are dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. Currently, about 40% of the funds we receive go back out to ministries that are helping us get the message out to the nations. Praise God that He allows us to be a conduit to support points of light in places like Brazil, Mexico, East Asia, Portuguese speaking countries, and the Miami Valley.

What exactly is a nation you ask? In the Greek language the word was ethnos. Doesn't it look like the word "ethnic"? According to the Oxford dictionary, a nation is a group of people that have a common descent, history, culture, or language.

In the Americas we are a melting pot. The vast majority of people have African or European roots. But let's face it, we are all related to a common ancestor - Noah the ship builder. When we look at the genealogies in Genesis 5 and Luke 3, we observe that the line of Adam to Noah belongs to every person on earth. So what happened that made us seem different?

God purposely "confused" the languages and spread people over the earth (Genesis 11:9). Since that time, languages, just like customs and cultures, have evolved.

We are told that God so loved the world (Kosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son". This Kosmos refers to the people on planet earth. He gave us Jesus to save all nations from our lost condition - being separated from Him because of our sin.

There is a future event that will involve all nations. In Revelation 7:9-10 we are told that there will be "a great multitude which no one can count, from every nation, and peoples, and tongues (languages) standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Jesus)," We should be grateful that Jesus has taken care of our reservations.

Welcome to Building on a Solid Foundation

By Pastor Mark Combs

Jesus once preached a sermon to his followers on a mountain near the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. He told them that real happiness comes from a right relationship with God and people. He urged them to shine the light of His glory to a dark world. He taught them the essentials of prayer. He warned of the deceitfulness of wealth. He cautioned them to avoid hypocrisy. And He revealed that not everyone who claims to be His follower (invokes God's name) has their destiny in heaven.

At the end of this amazing message Jesus closes with a story about two builders. One of the builders was wise and the other one was foolish. The wise builder built his house on a rock, but the foolish builder built his house on sandy soil. When strong winds and flood waters came their way, the wise builder's house stood strong while the foolish builder's house could not withstand everything that came at it. The time that the wise builder had spent constructing his house had not been wasted. 

So what's the point? Let's not waste our lives. Our salvation comes by trusting in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our sins. It is His gift to us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our response should be to live our lives for His glory. Jesus said that if we hear His words and act on them we will be like the builder who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24). Our efforts will not be wasted. Only what is done for Him will last for eternity.