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Well last week besides the rain the recording was trashed. This week we are back with a great teaching but the batteries died right at the end with about 5 minutes left. It ended on a good note but OOPS! Oh well. Enjoy the teaching I think you’ll be blessed anyway.
Please remember to invite friends and family to not only download the podcast but to also visit with us on Tuesday nights. Starting in the next few weeks I will begin teaching a Wednesday night class at Calvary Chapel South Orlando. We will be covering spiritual warfare. If you can’t make it to the classes, no worries, we will have podcasts of all the teachings.

until next week, BLESS YOU!

His Kingdom His Righteousness
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February 20, 2008 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | faith | Jesus | Righteousness | kingdom

Forget the billions of dollars spent on producing Hollywood films and all-star lineups. Multi-tiered movie theaters and box office ads weren’t needed to promote and draw more than 6 million views of a five-minute skit on GodTube and YouTube. It’s the second-most viewed video on GodTube, having nearly seven times more looks than its third-place competitor. The “Lifehouse Everything Skit,” performed by Mission Baltimore with music by Lifehouse, has deeply moved the hearts and souls of America, and the only “hook” pulling people toward it is a yearning to draw closer to a forgiving and embracing Savior. The skit was originally performed at the 2006 Smoky Mountain Winterfest in Knoxville, Tenn. It packed 30,000 into the Tennessee Volunteers’ Thompson-Boling arena each night, and has deeply impacted God’s Kingdom ever since. In a society caught up with Oscars and Golden Globes, those involved in the production of the “Everything Skit” received a much greater reward than any golden figurine could ever deliver—witnessing changed lives. Numerous testimonies of people receiving Christ have been reported to Winterfest staff through e-mails and GodTube postings, providing eternal blessings far greater than most had ever anticipated. The huge response to the skit has driven youth leaders from across the nation to request the video and use it to teach their own drama teams. The drama focuses on the spiritual warfare being fought for our souls. At the beginning of the skit, the young woman indulges in the pure joy and innocence of finding her first love in Jesus, as He shows her all the wonderful things He has done and has in store for her. But this blissful moment becomes tarnished by seemingly harmless distractions, which turn into temptations and ultimately into deadly sins. The fallen spiritual forces at work begin their relentless attack on the young woman, who takes her eyes off Jesus and sets them on the world. She finds herself overcome by all the vices made to look so attractive in life: sexual impurity, greed for money, drinking, bulimia, and cutting. The lies that she has been told about her worthlessness and inability to measure up lead her into depression, attempted suicide, and ultimately into a desperation that spurs her to once again seek her first love. Only after the woman hits rock bottom does she remember the true source of her joy—a relationship with Christ. But she’s not alone as she battles to regain the abundant life Jesus has given her. Unable to fend off the enemy’s spiritual attack on her own, she puts her eyes back on Jesus, who is waiting for her call for help. Eager to step in and fight the battle for His bride, Jesus fends off and defeats the demonic attackers who are after her very soul and life. We are reminded that Christ already won the battle for our souls on the cross, and that we have victory over our sins through our hope and redemption in Jesus. It affirms I John 4:4: “You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Since the video was introduced by a student to GodTube on May 31, 2007, the “Everything Skit” has been viewed more than 4 million times. It has also been visited more than 2.3 million times on YouTube since it was posted there on February 2 of this year. The evangelistic opportunities of this skit are enormous. “Sixty-four percent of Americans seek spirituality on the Internet, and as Christians, we need to be there for them,” said’s Director of Ministries Craig von Buseck. “I love watching this video,” said one GodTube viewer. “This put me at peace because I have been there and see that God is there looking over me. I just wanted to let everyone know that I almost committed suicide. Thank you so much for the reality that this skit showed me and for its impact on me… It pointed me back to God.” The drama helps all who watch it take II Corinthians 5:21 to heart, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

You can view the video skit at:

Jesus 'Everything Skit'

December 01, 2007 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | Jesus | skit | video

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the
florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been
as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a “minor” automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.
Troubles had multiplied.
Her husband’s company “threatened” to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend suggested that Sandra’s grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow
her to empathize with others who suffer. “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered. “For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child’s?”
“Good afternoon, can I help you?”
Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. “I . . . I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.
“For Thanksgiving? I’m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”
“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said,
“I have the perfect arrangement for you.”
Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, “Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.” She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.
“Do you want these in a box?” asked the clerk. Sandra watched – was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said, as she gently tapped her chest.
Sandra stammered, “Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . . she left with no flowers!”
“That’s right,” said the clerk. “I cut off the flowers. That’s the ‘Special’. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today,” explained the clerk. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk. “For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.”
“So what did you do?” asked Sandra.
“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, ‘Why? Why me?!’ It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed
the ‘flowers’ of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”
Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”
Just then someone else walked in the shop.
“Hey, Phil!” the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.
“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement . . . twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?”
“Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,” Phil replied. “After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from “thorny” times. That
was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific “problem” and give thanks for what that problem taught us.”
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”
“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too fresh.”
“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”
Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment.
“I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.
“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”
“Thank you. What do I owe you?”
“Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”
The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.”
It read:
“My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a
thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.”
Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.
God Bless you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.
“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.”
We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and Duct tape. God did it with nails.

November 13, 2007 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | thorns | Jesus | trials | healing

“And Jesus answered and said, What would you have me do for you? The blind man said, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Go your way; your faith has made you whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus.”

Have you ever wondered what happened to the people after Jesus cured them? Let me share my story. It is the story of a blind man who had his eyes opened—not the eyes that look out on the world, but the eyes that look inward at my soul.

I will remember that moment forever. It was a Thanksgiving day. I was sharing Thanksgiving with the woman and children who had once been my family. My wife and I were divorcing. I had hurt her and my children in so many different ways. We were at the home of our minister. He had invited the entire flock to join him in Thanksgiving and, though we came in separate cars, from separate houses, I was sharing Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in quite a while. It was during that celebration that I was touched. The Lord reached out and touched me and in a flash I saw my entire life up until that moment – all the hurt I had caused. The people I had led astray. The anger I had let control my life. The many times Jesus had reached out to me and I had turned my back. I saw it all and I felt the Lord’s message that this was the last time. I could open my eyes and see or forever be blind to God’s love.

Like the blind man in the gospel, I received my inner-sight and followed Jesus. I stopped living the life I had been living – a life in the fast lane, with drugs, money and power (mostly it was about power). I made peace with my family. My wife and I struggled to make it work and finally divorced, but not in anger and I built a bond with my children. I found a new purpose. A vision of how I could put the talents God gave me to use so that perhaps, just perhaps, I could help some kid like me, faced with the same choices I was faced with as a blind teenager, banging hard against an establishment that said, “Brother, if you want to be equal, you have to be three times as good.” I could do something so that teenager might be more inclined to make better choices than I made because he didn’t have to be three times as good. He just had to be as good as he or she could be.

When I called my vision, “Freedombox,” I had that moment in mind. Because that was the moment I was suddenly free. God had set me free from a prison of my own making and He had given me the opportunity to set others free.

The vision has two parts. One part, the Freedombox, (now called System Access) is a barrier buster. When I was in high school I was at the mercy of other people: counselors, special education people, teachers and administrators to get me the things everyone else had. I mean simple things like books. Books in Braille had to be ordered a full year in advance. When those people failed (and they often failed), I failed. And their message was, “That’s just the way it is. You blind people have to work three times as hard because the world isn’t made for you. It’s made for people with eyes.” The Freedombox removes those kind of barriers in what I believe is the most important communication medium man has yet devised – the Worldwide Web. System Access makes it possible for any person, blind or sighted, dexterous or unable to use his or her hands, genius or learning disabled, to access the Worldwide Web and computers on an equal basis. Where once there was a barrier – a high curb, now there is a “curb cut” with a gentle slope. System Access says, “We got you there just as easily as the next guy. Now you make good use of this freedom.”

The technology is not complex. Yet it took God’s touch to let me see the path and the Lord’s guidance to find the people; people like Matt Campbell our “beast in the basement” who set aside any need for immediate financial rewards and dedicated himself to making this vision a reality. That was a lesson too. Where before I carried the ball myself on every play, the Lord gave me the patience and the trust to hand off the ball to people who could do some things better than I could do them. It was humbling yet richly rewarding because System Access is not just mine, it is “ours.” And that was a new word for me. But it’s a word I’ve come to love.

The second part of the vision was to look at the why’s of discrimination. Oddly enough, some of my inspiration came from the dark side I lived all those years. There are just a few “cultures” where a blind man is treated as an equal. One is the music culture. Another is the drug culture. In both cultures you are just another supplier or another consumer. You either got it or you don’t. I could function as an equal in the drug culture because I could deliver as good or better than the next punk. I could function as an equal in the music culture because I could deliver an audio product that people wanted. Nobody had to make special allowances for me. And they weren’t likely to. If you were a drag on the party they’d just terminate the relationship, one way or another.

But what I saw there was the simple economic facts of life. If you represent a viable market, people will go out of their way to do business with you. You can see it in my old home town Miami with the Cuban culture. It was not so long ago Cubans were just immigrants, consigned to slums, given only the most menial jobs and largely ignored by politicians, merchants, and government bureaucrats. Today we people of Cuban descent are one of the most powerful political forces in the state. We shape elections. Businesses go out of their way to court our patronage. The barrio is a market.

The second part of my vision was to do for blind people and others with disabilities what the Americans with Disabilities Act can never do. System Access is about helping this community to become a powerful economic force by making them “accessible.” Today, if you want to sell something to blind people you are hard pressed to find a way to reach enough of them to support a business. But Freedombox Network brings people together as a community where merchants can reach them and sell them goods and services. And interestingly enough, as we Cubans found out here in Miami, when businesses see you as a viable market they start to treat you with respect. Suddenly you don’t have to work three times as hard to be equal. You start out equal. Then, when you work three times as hard, well perhaps you reap the extra rewards of that extra work.

For me the rewards are already far greater than I could have hoped. They aren’t financial rewards. Those may come someday or they may not. It doesn’t matter that much. But because the Lord saw fit to lift away the scales from my inner eyes and let me see the true depths of my soul, I have the reward of inner peace. I have come to understand forgiveness – a forgiveness so large that Jesus could forgive not just me and my puny arrogance, but those who killed Him. How could I hold anger in my heart against the people who had acted against me, many out of ignorance rather than malice, when Jesus could forgive his assassins? And when you let go of anger and forgive, you discover peace.

I have the reward of a supportive wife and loving family. I have the sure knowledge that the work I am doing is good work. It is work in service of the Lord that will hopefully lead others to the lord.

We blind folks appear any number of times in the Gospels and in the Old Testament as well. One of my favorites is Matthew 15, verse 14.

“And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

My father, bless him, used to always believe that others led me into evil. But the truth is, I was the leader. As it says in Matthew, I was the “physically” blind leading the “morally” blind and I was truly leading those who followed me not just into a ditch but into the abyss. I like to think that now, with the vision God has given me, I am still leading. But now I am leading people to a place in the light. A place where they can be free to make their own choices. Where they won’t have to work three times as hard to hear the Lord’s message and hopefully find the same gift of inner sight he given me.

And there is this message from the Gospel of John.
“And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
John|9:1 -3
I sometimes think blindness, itself is a mission – a gift from God, not a curse. Isn’t that a strange thought? But in my entire life I have never cursed my blindness. Blindness has never made me feel less than equal. Other people have tried hard to make me feel less than equal and there was a time in my life when I raged against them for their ignorance. But the blindness is simply there. It is what I am. And it could be that it frees me from visual distractions and allows me to better focus on the work God has for me. I hope that people will not pray for me to see as they do, but rather pray for me to see as God wants me to see, in the spirit. Pray that the works of God might be revealed in me not by suddenly giving me eyes that work, but by helping me understand, live, and share the vision.

October 19, 2007 by Mike Calvo | Comments (1) | Jesus | Testimony | Serotek

Here’s a great little story a good friend of mine wrote. I think it really puts the term “religion” in the proper prospective. Religion quenches the Holy Spirit. It is also a product of the enemy.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other.

Religion is man’s way of appeasing God and meeting a standard that man believe’s is favorable to God. But God wants to have a relationship with us not based on our works but on the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ shed for us at Calvary. He already accepts us. Not because of what we do but because of what He did for us.

The parable of the Bean

Once there was a man who had a remarkable bean plant. The fruit of this plant was extremely nourishing and those who ate it thrived. The man, fearful that other plants might contaminate this precious plant, built a huge wall around it. He only let in those who promised to eat only this bean and nothing else. The man was very suspicious and he devised all sorts of special rules for those who could eat the bean. And so among all people everywhere only a small group was able to partake of this nourishing vegetable and all others were kept outside the wall. The legend grew outside the wall that the bean was magic and that those who ate it were demons. Inside the wall it was felt that all outside were no better than unclean animals and were to be shunned at all cost and could be killed at will if they should interfere with those who ate the bean behind the wall.
And thus the world remained for about 1000 years. The fortunes of the bean-eaters rose and fell in cycles as do the fortunes of most small groups of people. But they held to their beliefs even in the worst of times, looking to see how they had offended the bean-plant and thus become unworthy of its blessing. It good times they lorded it over those outside the wall, slaughtering them without a second thought if it allowed them to expand the wall and grow more bean plants.
But one day, a man born inside the wall, became disenchanted with the whole idea that the precious bean plant was only for a few. He took some seeds of the bean plant and wandered outside the wall and wherever he went, he planted the bean until if flourished in many gardens. He preached that this precious bean was for all that no special rules were required. Eat of the bean and enjoy life-everlasting he said. And many were attracted to this man, and followed his example, eating the bean and sharing it with whoever was hungry.
Those who hoarded the bean-plant behind the wall were outraged. They considered this wandering gardener to be a heretic and they had him killed. But the open garden message lived after the gardener had died. It was almost as if the gardener was resurrected each time and place a bean-plant sprouted and grew. And those who ate the beans believed like the gardener that this nourishment was for all and his fame and his gardens appeared in many places throughout the world and wherever a garden grew there were those who came from far and wide and browsed, eating the beans and spreading love for one another.
But there were some who looked on this uncontrolled sharing and were angry. “Look at that,” they cried. “We’ve been tending these gardens for years and those others just come in and help themselves. It isn’t fair.” One by one the tenders of gardens began building walls around their gardens to keep out those who hadn’t done their share in tending the fields. An emperor, seeing the strength of these many walled gardens and their potential as forts, embraced them all, raised up the head gardeners as little kings within their gardens and set standard rules for all who could come into the gardens to feed. The rules oddly looked a lot like the rules that worked to make the emperor secure on this throne.
Those who controlled the new walled gardens weren’t content with controlling their own patch. Wherever they found a garden growing wild, they ripped it up less those others feast on the beans. Thus was the vision of the gardener, who freed the beans and made them available to all, perverted and then lost.
Strangely, while in the wild the beans had become stronger and even more nourishing, now that they were cultivated and packaged for controlled sale to the select few, they began to lose their nutritional value and most important, the love that sharing the beans engendered, was replaced by hatred and war.
Isn’t it time again for some brave soul to take the seeds and begin once again to sow them in the wild where they can nourish whoever passes by? I think so. And wherever you see a person building a wall around their plot of beans, encourage that the person to tear down the wall. The beans don’t need to be protected. The more who feed on them, the more there will be.

October 19, 2007 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | bean | parables | Jesus | religion