Reflecting, Rejoicing and Remembering:

Reflecting, Rejoicing, and Remembering: 6 Years of Ministry Partnership

Earlier this week, Bethany and I got away for a couple of days at the lake in celebration of our 16-year-anniversary in late July.  Time spent together over meals, hiking, and kayaking gave us opportunity to reflect on how our lives have changed since the day we said, “I do” and to rejoice in the rich blessings of God through years of laughter, tears, difficulty and joy.  Two days without the pressures of daily tasks and meeting the acute needs of our children provided the space to remember both the covenant we made to one another before God and man and the calling of God on our lives as husband and wife.

When we take the time, anniversaries provide the space for reflecting, rejoicing, and remembering what God has done, and this Sunday, August 25 marks another anniversary – 6 years since my first sermon as pastor at Calvary. 


As I think about these 6-years of ministry partnership, I am reflecting on the many changes the Lord has brought our way.  Our children, who were 7, 4, and under 1 when we unpacked out belongings in the summer of 2013, will begin 8th, 5th and 1st grade respectively this Monday.  Many people who worshiped with us that first Sunday are no longer with us, as God has providentially called some away and others home to be with Him.  Many empty chairs have been filled with new friends and partners in ministry, whom we’ve had the privilege to welcome, and some with whom we’ve experienced the sadness of saying goodbye.  And the building in which we gathered that first Sunday is today just weeks from an incredible transformation.

As I reflect, I’m also rejoicing in the blessings of God throughout these years.  He has faithfully enriched our lives with deep friendships and demonstrated His love to us through the kindness of His body, the church, through both the joys and sorrows of life.  He has brought our church through times of difficulty, and enveloped us with His presence, as we’ve gathered for worship, community and service.  He has enabled this ministry to bear fruit, not because of the strength of our plans, strategies, or talents, but because His Word will not return void and His strength is made manifest in our weakness.  And He has provided us with all we need to do all He is calling us to do in this and every season of life and ministry together.

As I reflect and rejoice, I also remember the calling that God has placed on this church is the same today as it was on August 25, 2013.  We have been called to bring glory to God in this generation and the next by making disciples right here in Raleigh and wherever we have been sent.  I’m always amazed that the “multi-everything” expression of the church is God’s great idea for enacting His mission in the world, but we at Calvary have the privilege of being called into His mission together.  And the promise of Jesus given to his disciples before He ascended to His throne is as true for us today, as it was for them 2,000 years ago, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As I reflect, rejoice and remember on this 6th anniversary at Calvary, my heart is filled with the prayer of the Apostle Paul, as he engaged a similar exercise in considering his beloved ministry partners in Philippi:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ (Phil. 1:3-4).

Happy 6th anniversary, Calvary!

With Gratitude and Love,

Pastor Nate

3:21 Initiative – God’s Glory in All Generations

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3:21 Initiative – God’s Glory in All Generations

We live in an amazing area of the country with tremendous resources and opportunities.  Each year, Raleigh is rated as the #1 or #2 place to raise a family by a variety of publications.  According to the Wake County website, Wake county is growing by an average of 62 people per day – that’s 22,630 people per year – good for the second fastest growth rate of any county with >1 million residents in the nation.  If that number stays flat, that’s 226,300 people in 10 years.  Since Calvary was planted in the mid 1970s, the population of Wake County has quadrupled from approximately 250,000 people to around 1 million people in 2014.  Estimates are that in just under 40 years (2054), Wake County will hit the 2 million mark.

This is great news for us, because the church is called by Jesus Christ to the great commission.  As you go, make disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (Mt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).  The beauty is if we desire to reach the nations, all we need to do is walk out our front door.  Of the 62 new people per day in Wake County, 9 of those (15%) are international residents.  We are called to make disciples where we are and where we are sent.  And God has graciously planted us in the middle of one of the most vibrant, growing and changing areas of the country.  But what does that mean for who we are and what God would have us to be?

Paul has a vision in Ephesians 3.  In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul lays out first what God is building – A church made up of diverse people to be the house of the Holy Spirit (2:19-22).  In other words, the church is the place where God would live.  Second, He tells us how God is building this Church – By saving people by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (2:8-10), so that all the ways in which we would divide would be broken down by our union with Christ.  Third, He tells us the why or purpose of the Church (Ephesians 3:10) – that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

In other Words: The church is a diverse community of people saved by grace through faith in Christ to display the wisdom of God to the world.

On the ground, what’s clear is only God can do this!  Before laying out this vision, Paul acknowledges this saying in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”

Then he continues with His vision for the church, “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

All we do should be about bringing glory to his name in all generations where we have been planted.  This is why we say that Calvary PCA exists to bring glory to God in this generation and the next by making disciples where we are and where we are sent.

Over the next five weeks, we will be engaging in what we are calling the 3:21 Initiative, in which we desire to cast this vision that the church would Bring Glory to God in this Generation and the next.  On a practical level, this means that we are taking the next steps toward the renovation and expansion of our facility at 6520 Ray Road in order to meet the needs of an ever-changing, ever-growing community.  This will include a commitment of time, talent and treasure on the part of God’s church.

In order to prepare our hearts to prayerfully commit this vision to “the one who is able to do far more than we ask or imagine,” we will be preaching through several pieces of the 3:21 Initiative over the next 5 Sundays:

3:21 Sermons

 

October 15 – VISION

Ephesians 3:21

Glory to God…

  • In Christ
  • In His Church
  • Throughout all Generations

 

October 22 – TRUST

2 Peter 1:16, Hebrews 11:1

Faith Must…

  • Be Anchored in the Truth
  • Believe in the Truth
  • Grow in the Truth
October 29 – GENEROSITY

Romans 11:36

All Things are…

  • From Him
  • Through Him
  • For Him
Nov 5 – SACRIFICE

Romans 12:1-2

Living to Die & Dying to Live…

  • Motivated by Mercy
  • Marked by Worship
  • Moved by Transformation
November 12 – COMMITMENT

Romans 12:3-16

All In…

  • Belonging in Christ
  • Gifted by Christ
  • Loving for Christ
 

Other Key Dates

  •  10/29@ 5:30pm – 3:21 Property Update
  • 11/12-19 – Week of Prayer and Fasting
  • 11/15 – Church-wide Prayer
  • 11/19 – Commitment Sunday
  • 12/03 – Celebration Sunday

 

As we enter this season together, there are two things, I pray we will keep in mind:

#1 – God is building His church to be the place of His Dwelling.  Brick and Mortar are a means to the end of making disciples where we are and where we have been sent.

#2 – Our goal here is to see this vision made a reality – that the glory of God would be made known in and through this church from generation to generation – now and in the future.

Join us in prayer over these next several weeks that God would be please to bring glory to His name, unity in Christ’s Church, growth in faith and love, and a culture in which we would faithfully make disciples where we are and where we are sent.