We are on the go here in Kenya! Today we are visiting with our kids at the Mitaboni children’s home. And we’ll catch up with the guys on the Sevenglory worship team trip this evening. Follow the Calvary Global Outreach Facebook page this week for updates. You can also follow my Facebook page for pictures and Sevenglory on Facebook for photos and updates.
Recently my wife Lyn and I, along with our three boys, had the privilege to travel to Kenya to visit our church partners, Nairobi Chapel, and to serve with Kids Alive International. My wife and I are so thankful for Kids Alive and the work they do, and we want to thank Calvary Church for your generosity towards them. Your giving is making a kingdom impact, and we have seen it with our own eyes!
We're on a mission at Calvary Church: we want to change lives forever with the gospel of Jesus Christ. As C. S. Lewis put it, "The church exists for nothing else but to draw people into Christ, to make them little Christs." We see this happening right in front of us at Calvary from students to senior saints. The ancient gospel is attracting people to our community and that gospel is changing lives.
There is such a thing as a good problem, and we are having one at Calvary. The last two Sundays we have been out of room at both the 9:45a and 11:15a services. Sometimes we are even out of room in the overflow areas. We are trying to find a way to get nearly 1600 worshippers into a building that was built for less than half that number!
I was “suffering” for the Lord in Southern California last weekend, but when I listened to the sermon online, I got excited. Pastor Lionel spoke from Galatians 6 about Calvary being a place that restores people. It’s not about getting people to stop sinning and be better, it’s about helping them become more like Christ, which allows them to live life just like God created it to be lived! Helping one another is part of Christians “doing life” together. In fact, Life Groups will be meeting this week to talk about exactly what it looks like for them to do life the way it’s described in Galatians 5 and 6. It’s an amazing idea: we aren’t just here to worship together; we’re here to help encourage one another to...
I am thankful for new beginnings and I'm ready for a new year. My wife and I are praying big in 2017 for our family, our friends, and the church community we serve. We pray together every morning over coffee and we always end our prayers with the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:22-26. We want God to bless us and the people we love in 2017!
On the day before Christmas, more than 2,200 people crowded into four worship services for our largest Christmas Eve gathering ever! With four full services—some with standing room only—the day exceeded our expectations in the best way possible. It was a Christ-centered exclamation point to another amazing year at Calvary. Lives are being changed because of Christ and because you are inviting friends to hear the gospel, giving your time to serve the church, and letting God use you. When everyone does something, there is no limit to what God might do through us. The church "grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work" (Ephesians 4:16).
A few days ago, one of our faithful members handed me a very large check for the Even More project and then said, "I want to add another $25,000 to my commitment. God did something unexpected for me, and I just want to continue to be generous." I was stunned. And grateful. I still tear up thinking about the single mom who walked up to me after church and said, "You prayed for me to find a job. I don't have much, but I want to give $100 to help change lives forever." Talk about making a pastor cry!
Jesus was born in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem. It’s a story beautiful in its simplicity. And yet there are so many distractions this time of year that joy can drain out of the season. Let me encourage you to keep it simple. Do a little shopping, but don’t make this season about the Christmas presents. Let it be about the people. Be with friends. Cozy up on the couch with the people you love. Make worship a priority every Sunday of Advent. Do something generous for a person in need. Make the season simply beautiful.
We keep track of numbers because they help us see areas where we need to improve, help us plan for the future, and give us a picture, albeit an incomplete picture, of what God is doing in our midst. And besides, keeping an accounting is biblical. (There is an entire book of the Bible entitled Numbers!)
If you want to see worship, go to a Cubs game. People are cheering, clapping, shouting, responding, and giving (lots of money) all in adoration of the Chicago Cubs. I will admit, I'm one of those fans. I love baseball. I love the rhythm of the game, which leaves time to talk with a friend sitting next to you in the stands or to read a book with a game on the television. (Some call it boring; I call it relaxing.) I love the beauty of the ballpark, a perfectly landscaped "garden of Eden" wrapped in the sights and sounds of the city. I love being around an excited "cloud of witnesses," all watching and cheering the most amazing athletes in the world.