Happy New Year Calvary Church!

I am grateful for the (mostly) behind-the-scenes work that our Staff and Deacons undertook in preparation for our Christmas Eve service. (Thank you Staff and Deacons!) Over 350 people attended, and I heard there were many Calvary School families as well as people who used to attend Calvary but haven’t in a while. Let’s be prayerful that lots of those who attended will make their way back as 2024 launches and we begin our Sermon on the Mount series (see below for an overview). It would be great if we all were inviters and includers in 2024.

Year-End Giving

If you need to catch up on your giving for 2023 or would like to make a year-end donation to Calvary Church, you can view your giving options here. For a DAF contribution or gifts of stock, please contact our Financial Controller Nic Le Corvec. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Sermon on the Mount Intro and Resources

After we decided to focus on the Sermon on the Mount (SOTM) for a big chunk of 2024, we heard that the BibleProject was going to launch a 10-part series on the SOTM beginning on January 1. You can watch the trailer here. We think that keeping up with what the BibleProject is doing with the SOTM will be excellent supplemental material for our series, which begins on January 7.

Why study the SOTM? Because it is the inaugural sermon of the most revolutionary Person who ever lived. Jesus came down from heaven into our brokenness to ignite a counter-intuitive and subversive revolution that we now know as the Kingdom of God. The late pastor, theologian, and missiologist John Stott said of the SOTM, “It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that [Jesus] ever uttered, for it is His own description of what He wanted His followers to be and to do.” With the SOTM, Jesus dives into our innermost being, probing the heart and raising the question of motive. What made Jesus a threat to everyone—and the reason He was eventually killed—was that in His encounters with people (mostly the religious leaders), He exposes what they were on the inside. Some people find that liberating, while others hate it. In short, the SOTM shows us what life would look like for a heart that has been melted and transformed by the gospel of grace.

We’ll start with an overview on January 7, then we’ll look at one Beatitude a week starting on the 14th. There are (at least) two ways to view the Beatitudes: 1) They are a haphazard collection of pious platitudes, or 2) They are a systematic description of the truly liberated life—launching us into the first fruits of exalted joy and true happiness.

Additional resources if you’re inclined to dig deeper, in addition to the BibleProject, include Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Sermon on the Mount—Bible Study Book (Revised & Expanded) with Video Access by Jen Wilkin (coming next month), A Deeper Look at the Sermon on the Mount: Living Out the Way of Jesus (LifeGuide Bible Studies) by John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, also by John Stott, The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, and The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing, Jonathan T. Pennington.

Finally, click here for an excellent list of Bible Reading Plans for 2024.

See you on January 7!

Pastor Gregg