A new year is always the perfect time to renew our commitment to the most important things. We know what to do to restart better habits for our body; but do we know exactly what will renew a deeper life for our soul? It is this: saturation with the Word of God. Job 23:12 says, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” And Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) On the night of his betrayal, our Lord prayed to the Father on our behalf: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Nothing will renew our spiritual life more than a faithful emersion in the Word of God. The methodologies for regular Bible reading are endless. Just pick one, tell a friend, and get to it. Read through the entire Bible in a year. Read through the New Testament in a year. Read through the gospels as many times as you can in a year. Read and pray your way through the Psalms, the Old Testament prophets, or the letters of Paul.

If 2020 was the year of bingeing Netflix, let us commit to make 2021 the year of consuming the Bible! “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10)

January begins a new series in our preaching schedule. Jesus: the I AM who changes everything. Why this series? To focus our lives on Jesus Christ. If the last year of isolation, fear, and uncertainty has shown us anything, it is that we must be anchored in our true identity as followers of Jesus. He once asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” But the larger question for us today is, “Who did Jesus say that He is?” Seven times He declared His true identity with statements that began with the loaded phrase: I AM… Each of these reveals His deity, His authority, and His transforming power in the lives of those who truly believe in Him. He is the great I AM; uncaused, uncreated, self-existent, self-sufficient, all-sufficient, omnicompetent, and eternal. To calibrate our lives around anything less is futile idolatry.

On Sunday, January 17, we will begin holding in-person services on each of our three campuses. It will be a phased regathering in which we will initially hold worship services but not all of our other programs. Details about service times and other logistics are available on our website and will be communicated in our weekly updates in the days ahead.

For ten months we have done our best to balance three biblical commitments: respect and submission for our local governing authorities, the call to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” as a local church, and a commitment to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are moving forward with in-person services with these three commitments in mind.

We understand that for some members of Calvary, meeting in-person is not advisable at this time. We will continue to provide our online worship services and HomeGroups and encourage you to tune in with us each week. Whether you are with us in-person or worshipping with us online, we love you and deeply value your crucial role in our fellowship.

For those who choose to return to in-person services, we ask that you do so with a spirit of grace and patience! The regathering will be a new thing, rooted in simply worshipping together again and studying God’s Word as a family. We will observe the guidelines of social distancing to the best of our ability. Masks will be required for now. We have installed new air-filtration systems on each of our campuses called the Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization System, a state-of-the-art air purification system to assist in reducing concentrations of viruses, particles, allergens, mold, odor, and bacteria in the air distribution system. To the best of our ability, we want our worship services to be simple and safe.

We have been praying for you. Pray for us as we launch into a new year and a new season at Calvary.

Warmly yours in Christ,

Tom Shirk
Senior Pastor