Dear Calvary Church,

Before I get pastoral, I wanted to let you know that the final VCM report came out and the Elders and Staff would like to make it available to you. There are three versions – a one page overview, the Executive Summary (25 pages), and full report (152 pages). You can click here to download a copy.

Advent is about waiting, hoping, and anticipating. And as we’re doing that, we’re also likely reflecting on the ups and downs of 2023. And many of us are beginning to formulate our hopes, dreams, and fears for 2024. As I was processing all of the above, the 23rd Psalm came to mind and it brought me comfort and encouragement and I wanted you to experience that too…

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

The main objective of this psalm is to inspire calm and a renewed trust. It’s thought that David wrote this near the end of his life as he was reflecting on the shepherding of his youth and then how God graciously and faithfully shepherded him through the joys and sorrows of his life and career. I hope you notice the additional themes of comfort, reassurance, and God’s provision, which have resonated even with non-believers across the ages.

God’s got this—and He’s got us—and He’s got you. I’ll conclude by reminding you of what I’ve said in a couple of sermons… All church renewal begins with personal renewal—and personal renewal begins with each of us owning our own issues. As Christmas comes and as 2023 concludes let’s celebrate God’s care, provision, and faithfulness as well as taking our faults and failures and laying them at His feet, remembering that heartfelt repentance is the unlikely route to joy.

I’m looking forward to our continued celebration of Advent on Sunday.

Pastor Gregg