A Balanced Diet
Who among us does not enjoy the culinary delight of dining at a fine restaurant? Well-chosen and well-prepared food, great service, and pleasing ambiance all combine to enhance the pleasure of dining out.
With this in mind, we at Calvary Chapel have made it our number-one priority that God's people would feast upon His word; in essence, that Calvary would be a place where "the sheep" like to eat.
The first thing you notice in most restaurants is that they have prepared a menu with various courses, beginning usually with appetizers and drinks, and ending with dessert. This is very similar to what we experience as we gather on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, working our way through the word of God.
Our teaching menu is well thought-out, with the goal of bringing all the saints to a place of maturity in their walk with Christ. Therefore we are committed to teach through the Bible, eventually taking everyone from Genesis to Revelation.
Calvary Chapel believes that by teaching in this format we will find balance to many issues that the Church faces in our day. It restricts the temptation to exalt some teachings or doctrines of Scripture over others, and forces us to look at both sides of sticky issues, such as God's sovereignty versus man's responsibility.
Because larger congregations have individuals in various stages of their spiritual walk, I try to remember this thought: every message should have milk for the young, meat for the spiritually mature, and most important, the manna that each of us needs each and every day.
To accomplish this, we use different styles of teaching. Sunday mornings have been designed so that the teaching is "topical within a text." This means that, though we are moving through a particular book of the Bible, we may not comment on every verse or even each chapter. Instead, we focus on a set of verses the Lord has led us to that we will expound on at a deeper level.
Wednesday nights we study the Scriptures verse by verse, usually two chapters at a time. These services are casual and more like a seminary class than on Sundays, as we delve into historical background, the meanings of Greek and Hebrew words, and so on.
Several times within a given year, as the Lord leads, we may also teach a
Sunday morning "series" -— groups of messages on a particular topic that will challenge us as a fellowship in a particular area. Past series have dealt with the family, praise and worship, relationships, career, finances, the will of God, and other such topics.
Because my family is in the restaurant business, I understand that great food doesn't just appear on the table. Whenever you have had a great experience dining out, rest assured someone has put in many hours of preparation.
Likewise, when it comes to the word of God, the standard is no less.
Anyone who teaches from our pulpit should be well prepared, a workman who has labored in study and prayer, hearing from God and discerning His will for the people. To enhance this we try to bring in guest speakers, not only on Sunday mornings, but also at selected events and retreats, in order that we might partake of the fullness God has to offer. (See Ephesians 4:11-12.)
Food That Endures
My goal is that your experience at Calvary Chapel is one of being well fed. We will continue to pursue balance and excellence in order that you might be blessed in your church experience. Though a restaurant's ambiance and service are great, it is usually the food that keeps us coming back to our favorite places.
Jesus proclaimed that He had food that would never perish. (See John 6:26-27.) In other words, we just keep coming back for more and more, feasting upon His table and enjoying the bounty of the Lord. We truly are blessed people.
Just remember the chilling words spoken by the prophet Amos to the people of Israel: "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11)