Plenty of families know the trauma and expenditure of seeing an orthodontist or an orthopedic surgeon. One straightens teeth, the other sets broken bones right. Orthodontists and orthopedists put things back into correct alignment; they reform smiles and straighten crooked limbs. Braces and broken bones were part of growing up in our house; I think I bought a new car for each of my ortho-doctors as my kids made their way to adulthood. But we’re thankful for straightened teeth and correctly re-formed limbs.

Ortho is a Greek word that means “right, correct, or straight.”  We use the word orthodoxy to refer to correct teaching or right doctrine. If one is orthodox, it is because she correctly believes the true doctrines of the faith. When she lives in accordance with those orthodox beliefs she demonstrates orthopraxy. Orthopraxy refers to “right practice” or “right behavior.” Orthodoxy + orthopraxy = integrity, sincerity, and maturity. Christians who affirm orthodox truths about God and live according to those truths are those who walk the talk and practice what they preach.

Being informed about right doctrine is not enough; we must be FORMED by that truth through the work of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of our spiritual habits to make us more and more like our Savior. Jesus once condemned those who had the right teaching but didn’t live up to it. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice,” Matthew 23:1-3.

None of us get it perfectly right all the time, but this is the aim of our life: to believe in Jesus and to be like Jesus. According to Romans 8:29, God saved us that we would be conformed to the image of his Son. The Apostle Paul once described his entire toil-filled ministry as the ongoing struggle of preaching and teaching to present everyone mature in Christ. He pleaded with the Philippians to practice the things that they had learned and heard and seen from him. To his protégé Timothy, Paul demanded that he devote himself to the Scriptures (orthodoxy) and to practice these things (orthopraxy), immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. It is in believing and in practicing that we are FORMED into greater Christ-likeness.

We are all—intentionally or unintentionally—being FORMED into something by something. Our personal habits and spiritual disciplines will promote character, virtue, Christ-likeness or they won’t. What are the practices that align with orthodoxy? This will be the subject of our summer series called, FORMED. How does it happen? How do we participate? What is the role of God’s Spirit? Join us this summer as we learn to practice the habits of Jesus.

Summer will go by quickly. How great would it be this fall to look back on the summer of 2024 as a season in which we all grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.                                  

With you on the journey,


Our best days are ahead

This week the members of Calvary met to elect elders and officers who will lead us in the next year of ministry. We also approved our 2024-2025 operating budget, so we’re off and running for another journey of faith, building Christ-centered communities devoted to loving God and loving others. Who doesn’t love an Annual Meeting? Ha! I’ve talked to a few people, new to Calvary, who have shared their own stories of other church business meetings that were marked by tension and conflict whenever the congregation got together to make financial and business decisions. Glory be to God that our gatherings have been a celebration of what God accomplishes through a united congregation on mission for Jesus. We ended by singing the doxology, praying for His good will in the days ahead, and eating ice cream! Who doesn’t love an annual meeting?

Now that is not to suggest we don’t face many challenges. The days are evil. The church moves in a different direction than our culture so that we are frequently opposed. Many of our members and regular attenders face personal hardships of health, employment, finance, and family strife. We live in a broken world, and we are all sinners. More than ever, we need the stabilizing community of a church committed to God’s truth and grace. Each of us are called to pray for one another. Leaders and pastors pray for members. Members pray for their leaders.

This is a good opportunity to remind us all of the six commitments we make as members of Calvary. Even if you are reading this and not a church member, these are core commitments of being a Christ follower. These are shaping values of discipleship.

We are committed to:

Biblical Authority. We submit ourselves to whatever the Word of God teaches and affirms. His Word is a lamp to our feet – a light to our path. Jesus called us to observe all that He commanded. Like Ezra we set our hearts to study the word of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach it to others.

Prayer in Faith. We know God accomplishes His will through our prayers. Jesus taught us how to pray and to always pray. The greatest blessing is that He prays for us.

Loving Relationships. We put on love, which binds everything together. We bear with one another. We are tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. Love is the greatest. When love shapes the life of a church, it shouts the reality of the gospel and becomes the place lost people want to be.

Moral Excellence. We are committed to pursuing holiness in the fear of God. Jesus told us to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. None of us have this dialed in to consistent perfection, but we grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord and pursue a life that reflects His goodness and holiness.

Confident Witness. We communicate in word and deed that salvation is found in Christ alone (Acts 4:12). With Paul we say, “we have become all things to all people, that by all means we might save some. We do all things for the sake of the gospel, that many may share in its blessings,” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

Faithful Stewardship. We give generously and faithfully of our financial resources. All that we have – our time and talents and treasures – are gifts over which we are merely stewards. We invest all of them for God’s purposes and glory as He builds His Church and advances His Kingdom.

When these kinds of values get internalized in a congregation, and are then practiced in the way we live, work, and play, the church becomes a very attractive community to be a part of. There is nothing like it in the world. People are starving for love, relationships, truth, connection to God, and a mission worth sacrificing for. Let’s give ourselves again to these important shaping values. Pray with us that God’s will might be accomplished in the next year through all the ministries that happen in Boulder, Erie, Thornton and beyond. Our best days are ahead. We have a great Savior. He is Lord of the Church.

With you on the journey,


Difficult times are God’s specialty

God is purposeful and patient. He does all things for His glory. He is always working in His people and through His people to share His redeeming grace with the world. The Bible chronicles His decisive movements in human history to rescue and renew those who trust Him, often in some of the darkest and most discouraging times. He is still working in our day – difficult times are His specialty.

When we fail, He doesn’t give up on us. When we turn away, He pursues us. If we rebel, He disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. His love is everlasting, and mercies are new every morning. He works all things together for His glorious purposes; and He’s patient with us as we stumble along.

The record of God’s dealings with His people are contained in the Bible for our instruction, that diligently studying them we might have hope. For the next ten weeks we will be following God’s patient and purposeful dealings with His people in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. Returning to Jerusalem following 70 (purposeful) years of captivity, Nehemiah was overwhelmed with grief that things were not as they should be in Jerusalem. The walls of the city were in shambles, the gates were destroyed, and the people were demoralized. It was the perfect condition for God to showcase His grace and glory. And He did.

God raised up a man, gave him a vision, answered his prayers, provided all he needed, and united the people to join him to accomplish the great work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Beyond the construction project, God was renewing His people and deepening their faith. He’s purposeful and patient. Nehemiah is full of leadership lessons, and countless spiritual applications for trusting God in dark times. It is an ancient book with contemporary guidance for anyone who wants to follow God in a challenging world. What do you do when life is not the way it should be? When you are criticized and challenged. When you don’t know where resources will come from. When you haven’t got a prayer. When it looks like things will never get better.

God’s specialty is demonstrating His power and glory when human resources are depleted. He delights to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or think, building up the faith and hope of His people as He works around us. Nehemiah’s description of God will guide us through the study: You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Nehemiah 9:17).

Trusting God’s purposes and resting in His patience!










Someone you know needs Jesus

Someone you know needs Jesus. God may well be preparing their hearts for the next time your life intersects with theirs. How can you get them to Jesus? Easter services at Calvary have a built-in draw for moving people toward the good news of the gospel. More people come to church on Easter than nearly any other time of year. We should help them get to church; more, help them get to Jesus.

In one of my favorite stories in the Bible, four men carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus, who happened to be inside a house so crowded with people no one else could enter through the front door. Undaunted, they climbed up on top of the house, tore open a hole in the roof and lowered their buddy down on a stretcher, right in front of the Lord. They knew if they could just get their paralyzed friend to Jesus, He would help, heal, and forgive. And that is exactly what happened.

Hutzpah for sure. Mark 2:5 says, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” The faith of the four friends caught Jesus’ attention. Their compassion and determination were rewarded with a front row seat to the healing power and forgiving mercy of Jesus in the life of someone they loved. They couldn’t heal their friend; they just got him to the One who could.

Over the last twenty-five years around forty million people stopped going to church, according to Jim Davis and Michael Graham, in their book, The Great Dechurching. Their extensive research shows a complex of factors impacting all religious traditions, including our own. The data is fascinating and more than a little discouraging. Yet in their research they found that a significant percentage of people who have left would return if someone invited them back to the community of church. The single application of their findings is not to get the dechurched back into the building, but to invite them back into a community of friends who know Jesus and want them to know Him too.

Easter provides us this very opportunity. You won’t have to cut a hole in the ceiling – just bring them in the front door with you on March 31. Then maybe take them for coffee or have them at your table. People are longing for a loving community where healing and forgiveness can be found. We’ve got to get them to Jesus who is their hope of eternal life and forgiveness. This is our mission.

Jesus said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose, picked up his bed, and went home, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”  Let’s have bold faith to open our lives to people who need Jesus. And may we see the glory of God in transformed lives like we’ve never seen it before.

With you on the journey,









Questions Jesus Asked

If you could ask Jesus any question, what would it be? He’s omniscient – there is nothing He doesn’t know. Wouldn’t it be exhilarating, and maybe a bit intimidating, to ask Him anything? Does the Daniel diet really work? What are the top three stocks you’d invest in today? Is climate change something we should worry about? How many more years do I have to live? What would you ask Him?

In the New Testament, a variety of people asked Jesus more than 180 questions, but He only answered around 8. On the other hand, He asked more than 300 questions as He interacted with the multitudes. He was interested in people, what they thought, what they believed, and what they wanted in life. He knew questions could engage a listener more effectively than simply dropping an exquisite lecture. He epitomized being quick to hear and slow to speak. (**A lesson we would do well to learn as we engage those around us today).  He was curious, and His questions demanded honest answers. Here are a couple:
Why are you anxious? Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and not see the plank in your own? What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and lose their own soul? Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robber?
His questions were conversation starters, drawing others in to consider what they truly valued and believed. Some of His questions were compassionate and gentle; others dropped like a bomb of searing conviction. But He always aimed to lead people to reflection, discovery, and decision. Ultimately, His questions were a call to faith in Himself, as the all-knowing, all-sufficient Son of God. When Jesus asks, we should answer.

Over the next two months, concluding on Easter, we are going to study some of the engaging inquiries of Jesus.  His questions draw us in; they confront us; they make us wrestle with ultimate reality. They demand a serious response as they invite us to evaluate our own lives, priorities, and faith. Reading through the gospels over these weeks will help prepare you for Sunday mornings at Calvary.

Now I have two questions for you. Will you be there this Sunday? Will you invite someone to join you? Week one, February 4, is Jesus’ question from the Sermon on the Mount: Why are you anxious? It is the perfect question to begin our series as the world reels with anxiety. But don’t worry, there is a brilliant prescription for peace in the words of Jesus. See you Sunday.
With you on the journey,


Frazzled? Or Flourishing?

Let’s take a little test to start off 2024. Which word best describes you today? Frazzled? Floundering? Or, flourishing?

Recovering from the busy holiday rush, returning to the pressures of everyday life, or worrying about the uncertainties of another year can leave each of us feeling frazzled. Do you think Jesus ever felt that way? Today as I rushed to make a lunch appointment on time, I laughed at the thought of Jesus running anywhere, ever, to arrive on time!  Sure, He stayed busy in constant ministry to others, experiencing fatigue and the need to rest. But you don’t get the sense that He was ever harried. He was always certain about His purpose and the meaning of His life. He never floundered about the reason He was here on earth. He came to do the will of His Father, and He did it – all the way to the end. So even though Jesus’ life had more than its share of ridicule, rejection, and suffering, He lived a life flourishing in the will of God. In 2024 we want to learn how to live more like Jesus – and to love more like Jesus.

Our world is experiencing one of the most divisive and contentious eras in history. Medicine, politics, morality, economics, world wars, and novel ideologies are all domains of increasingly heated debate and division, on display constantly in the news and social media. The goal seems to be to divide people through every means possible. Ridicule. Attack. Cancel. The results are suspicion and distrust; isolation and loneliness; and broken relationships everywhere. How would Jesus live and love in our world today?

He was drawn to the broken and loved them. He called the sick and healed them. He fed the hungry. He raised up the downcast and spoke the rebuke of truth to the proud. This was the work the Father gave Him to do so that all could know God so loved the world. God and His gospel tell a better story. There is a pure and perfect love that flows from the heart of God to broken people and restores the damage of our loveless world. God is love and we cannot flourish without Him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10, 11

The Bible says, “Above all put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Think of that. It is a priority. A command. And the energizing force that creates flourishing and perfect harmony. No wonder Jesus said, “by this will all people know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is an apologetic for the plausibility of the gospel. Love is also an attraction for those who fear love has passed them by. Love is the aligning mission for a church endeavoring to be a Christ-centered community of people fully devoted to loving God and loving others.

FLOURISH is our January series on Sunday mornings at Calvary. We’ll be looking at the relationships that make life beautiful and the love required to help them grow deep. We want to learn to love like Jesus. Love was His mission. Love is our calling. We cannot flourish without it.

With you on the journey,