Biblical Love

…when the Bible speaks of love, it measures it primarily not by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give of yourself to someone.

Timothy and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

Marriage (Part 2)

This morning we covered wives’ role in marriage as described by Paul in Ephesians 5.  I was not able to discuss a situation where a woman finds herself in a marriage with a man who is not striving to be a sacrificial, servant-leader.

Following is additional insight into this scenario that I did not have time to cover this morning:

And most important, don’t forget to pray daily for your husband, trusting God to transform his heart and mind.



Jonah Lehrer’s new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works is a fascinating read.

The first section of the book focuses on creativity from an individual point of view, a section I personally found very illuminating when thinking about sermon preparation.

However, the second half of the book focused on creativity from a corporate point of view and I found many insights for thinking about how we do church.

One of the insights that I was particularly drawn to was Lehrer’s discussion of how cities foster creativity.  He says of cities:

Because cities force us to mingle with people of different ‘social distances’ – we have dinner parties with friends, but we also talk to strangers on the street – we end up being exposed to a much wider range of worldviews.

The reason I find this so intriguing is that when I was writing the book, The Gift of Church, I had initially entitled the chapter on community “Soul Mates.”

This – I thought – communicated the idea that in and through church we find deep community with other Christians.  However, friends who read the pre-published book thought the idea of “Soul Mates” communicated the 1980s and Richard Bach – not exactly what I was going for.  So I abandoned that metaphor.

Searching for a new one, I came upon the metaphor of the city, mostly through reading Jacques Ellul’s The Meaning of the City.  Ellul points out that the first city in human history was built by Cain as a means to try to overcome his cursed existence as a restless wanderer (Genesis 4).  Rather than condemn this effort, God redeems Cain’s attempt at creating community so that throughout the Scriptures God is creating the City of God, a place where we can dwell with each other and with him.  The progressive revelation of the City of God, culminates at the end of time when the New Jerusalem, a city, comes down from heaven to earth (Rev. 21).  The city, therefore, is a powerful metaphor for what God intends to happen in and through the church.

When I read what Jonah Lehrer had to say about the city fostering creativity, it deepened my understanding of the church as a city.  In church we should come in contact with those who are like us and those who are different than us, just like in a city.

The seemingly random interactions of people in a physical city results in huge advances in art and science.  In the church, one of the results of the seemingly random interactions of diverse people all worshipping the same God is huge advances in spiritual growth and creative approaches in encouraging one another to live faithfully in this fallen world.

For this reason, a church must not only get its people into smaller communities where we can share dinner with friends, it must also continue to foster the seemingly random interactions of all the people who are part of the church.  One of the dangers of the trend in larger churches of running all service projects, care responsibilities, and missions work through small groups is that it cuts down on the random interactions that need to happen outside of small groups.

At Calvary, individuals in small groups still need to attend maturity classes like Fundamentals of the Faith or participate in short-term missions trips – not just with their small group members – but as individuals who are part of Calvary Church.   These opportunities will provide sparks of creativity and growth as we strive to be Christ’s church in this place.

That is one reason why I am so excited that more than 500 people from Calvary Church are meeting on Saturday to build two houses for Habitat for Humanity.  If you are signed up to be part of the project, make sure to meet someone new, it’s part of what God’s desires to happen on Saturday.


The Greatest Good

Our family’s favorite movie is the Pixar animated film The Incredibles. It is a very witty look at family life, with a lot of special superhero powers to make it lots of fun.

Our favorite scene, one that every one of us can quote verbatim, fits with what Jim spoke about on Sunday in his sermon on husbands.  It is a conversation between the superhero Frozone, who is looking for his superhero supersuit because he notices an enemy attacking the city outside his window, and his wife, Honey.

Watch here:

That last line is powerful, “I am your wife. I am the greatest good you are ever going to get.”

Husbands, there will always be something masquerading as the “greater good” outside your window.  Sometimes, you do have to leave and take care of the responsibilities that God has given you.

But, most of the time do your actions show that your wife is the greatest good you are ever going to get?

All is well,


Welcome to Olives & Coffee!

Today is the first post of a new joint blog.  We are excited to try something new, and see where the Lord takes us.

Why Olives & Coffee? 

Jim often says that olives are one of the few things we know that Jesus must have eaten while he lived on earth, so if Jesus ate them they must be the food of heaven.  They are a quick snack with a definite taste.  On the other hand, Lisa can barely stand the smell of olives so they are only allowed in the house in tightly sealed jars.

Lisa’s favorite way to start the day is a great cup of coffee.  Coffee is best when it is made slowly, allowing the coffee to “bloom,” and sweetened with sugar and cream.  Jim has yet to even allow the liquid to pass over his lips.

As we sought to name this blog, God brought to mind two things that are apt symbols of each of us, yet personify our differences.

Olives & Coffee is our opportunity to share our hearts as we offer additional insights into sermons, post relevant and meaningful quotes from throughout church history, highlight new or significant songs, as well as other things that we find interesting, moving and/or fun.

We also hope this is a way that we can connect with you.  We’d love for you to respond or comment on posts.  As time permits, we hope this will be an interactive feature of the blog.

Our prayer is that this new blog will help the Calvary Church community strengthen its faith in God as He does more than all we can even ask or imagine.

However, the views and content contained in Olives & Coffee are our opinion alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or views of the Calvary Church board or its employees.  The information on this site is intended for informational purposes.  While we will do our best to provide accurate and timely information, we are not responsible for unknowingly posting incorrect or outdated material.  In addition, Olives & Coffee is a snapshot of our thoughts and opinions so we admit in advance that we may change our minds.

We look forward to journeying with you,

Jim & Lisa