A mentor once said to me, "Lionel, if you don't figure out what God has called you to do, you will end up doing things people call you to do." Boy, was he right! As your pastor, I am invited to be involved in all kinds of things, but I have tried to stay focused on the most important things: preaching the Word, protecting the flock, and proclaiming the gospel to the ends of the earth.
In just two weeks, on May 1, I'm going to ask our entire church family to join me in making a commitment to our Even More generosity initiative! I'm already all in and can't wait to see what God is going to do through all of us. Right now we are sharing the vision, answering questions, and praying....
I feel like we are in the midst of something very special. I'm constantly hearing stories of how God is changing lives: children are hearing the gospel and coming to Christ, students are learning to be generous (love that!), and our senior saints are witnessing to friends and neighbors! No wonder we need more room!
I think I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. Not only do I have the privilege of preaching the most interesting book in the world, I am also asked to be present in board rooms, locker rooms, hospital rooms, and living rooms to counsel, comfort, and occasionally confront. After more than 25 years serving the church, I have learned that the most powerful thing I can do in any situation is pray.
Wow! We welcomed more than 3000 worshippers to Calvary Church on Easter weekend, over 2200 on Easter Sunday alone. That is our largest Sunday morning ever! I loved celebrating this special day with all of you and the many friends and family you invited.
Passion Week is one of the most powerful in the church calendar. No matter how long we have known the gospel, this is the time when we stop to contemplate what God has done for us through Jesus the Messiah. What a joyful and hope-filled week! We are looking ahead to a time when Jesus makes all things new!
Spring is almost here. Yes, it arrives this week on Palm Sunday. I'm looking forward to watching the world outside the window be renewed once again. Let me encourage you to make time for body and soul this spring. May God renew us!
On Sunday we launched our EVEN MORE generosity initiative and unveiled our new plans to impact Valparaiso and the world! If you missed it, we also announced that God has already provided more than $2 million toward our dream. Can I just say, Wow?! Thank you for helping us make the floor plans better and more beautiful. If you haven't seen the latest plans, you can check them out in the church foyer. I am committed to praying every single day that God will change us through this generosity initiative and use us to change even more lives forever.
Rev. Aaron Ban has joined the Chesterton community as the pastor of St. John's United Church. He received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota and his Master of Divinity at Eden Seminary in St. Louis. He comes to us from a church in the St. Louis area, where he helped revitalize the congregation and built a youth group in the community.
Pastor Lionel will be on his way home to NWI shortly, and I know he is looking forward to being back with us on Sunday. I hope you will be with us as well. We are going to share plans for a generosity initiative to support the Calvary Church campus expansion. Together we can welcome even more people into our church community!
It took me about 10 years to fully understand the weight of my calling. It took me years of good songs, good writing, and my heart in a good place to realize good is not anointed and good does't cost much. This realization is when Who You Are was birthed. I was hit with the most devastating and exciting news of my life... of which I cannot disclose at this time due to confidentiality and safety measures. The day I received the news I sat in a room with Rusty Varenkamp, genius producer and writer, and we wrote Who You Are.