And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV
I am always thinking ahead—anticipating, planning, speculating. But these annual reports are good, because they force me to look back over the past year and reflect on what God has been doing. It seems to me that we have been growing as disciples—head, hands, and heart.
As a “Bible church,” we naturally gravitate toward following Christ with our heads. We place an emphasis on learning truth. Week after week our study of Luke’s Gospel keeps challenging us to think like Christ. But I’ve also been encouraged to see the way so many of you engage with God’s Word in our Sunday School groups, including through our “30 Days to Understanding the Bible” study at the beginning of 2019. But the highlight of learning for many of us was probably our time hearing from Dr. Christopher Yuan and his parents on a Christian response to homosexuality. His teaching reminded us that God’s word is sufficient to address every issue that we face in our world. (Click here to watch our sessions with the Yuans)
I mention hands because so many of you are actively involved in serving here at Calvary East. Last summer we launched our new system for scheduling people for every role that needs to be filled on a Sunday morning. The old saying is that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, but this imbalance inevitably burns people out. I’ve been thrilled to see that during every sign-up period, new people are stepping forward to help and to try out different roles. Christ wants us to serve in more ways than filling a role on a Sunday morning, but we are moving in the right direction. As you will see by looking at our benevolence expenses, several in our church family have faced challenging needs this year. But those numbers cannot capture all the ways you have served one another.
Right now our study of Luke is focused on the heart, and that’s my prayer for us in the coming months. (Click here for the series) May we continue to develop a passionate gospel-shaped heart for God, for his church, and for the lost!
– Bryan Craddock