Calvary Grace: 12 Years On
On November 26, it will be our 12th anniversary as a church. This is no small thing, and we ought to give thanks to God for his great kindness to us. For some readers, they are long-time Calvary Grace members, maybe even stretching back to the days of living rooms or community centres. For others, they are here more recently, yet they have come to call Calvary Grace their church home.
Let us consider together what God has done and think a little about what God may yet do.
1. God has changed lives through the ministry of Calvary Grace. God changes people. He is able to make the lost found, the alien adopted, the enemy befriended. He is also able to make newborn, untaught Christians into ‘oaks of righteousness’ (Isaiah 61:13) and together cause them to grow as a well-watered and fruit-bearing field (1 Cor 3:6-9; John 15:8). God changes lives through means. One of means he uses is the witness of the church (Eph 3:9-11). God has used Calvary Grace as a tool for his transforming work in people’s lives.
Ask yourself: How has God used the people and ministry of Calvary Grace in my life?
2. God is moving the message forward through Calvary Grace. As we have learned from the example of the Philippian church (see chapter 4), God moves the message of the gospel forward through churches. We get to be in partnership together in order to move the message forward. We are already seeing more new Canadians and recent arrivals to Calgary who are visiting our church and staying in order to hear this message. And we are praying and planning about ways to move the message forward into other regions around our city, like Cochrane. This is a wonderful time to participate in what God is doing as he spreads the knowledge of his salvation and dominion in Christ from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth (Psalm 72:8)!
Ask yourself: What is God calling me to do in order to move the message forward? Is it by giving my time? My talents? My treasure?
3. God is preparing us for great things, though we may not see the fruit of them in our lifetimes. It is no secret that our society is rejecting any sympathy toward Christianity. This is a simple fact. But this does not mean that God is somehow absent or careless or unconcerned. Instead, God is doing a deepening work in our church. He wants us to love him for his Fatherly care in the sufficient Son by the empowering Spirit. He wants us to be wise and discerning. He wants us to be faithful in our witness to the gospel, even if it means losing our status and entitlements in society.
If we do that, we can trust that God will work through us to lay deep roots for lasting fruitfulness in generations to come. Maybe we won’t see a true revival. But our faithfulness may be leaned on by future generations as they cherish the godly heritage that we pass down to them.
This means that we won’t have the luxury of being consumers. We have to be missionaries. And God willing, we can bear witness to the Truth, so that our neighbours, co-workers, family members and children will see the Truth and believe in the One who said, “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Ask yourself: Am I serving God now in ways that might not bear fruit until after my time is passed? Am I serving for an eternal kingdom (Heb 11:6) or seeking self-satisfaction for today?
Conclusion: Luther-like Hope
There is a quote attributed to Luther that he didn’t actually say. It goes like this: “If I knew the world was to end tomorrow, I would still plant an apple tree today.”
Even if Luther didn’t say it, it still expresses the kind of hope that we need to have when it appears that “the sky is falling”. Our task is to keep sowing; keep planting.
As we celebrate our 12th anniversary, let us pray and plan about the new efforts we will make in serving the Lord’s kingdom in the year to come.
We can have confidence that God will lead, guide and bless us according to his grace in Christ Jesus. Amen.