Elisabeth Elliott Tribute

Margaret Ashmore Drawing of Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliott, pioneer missionary and Christian author, entered the presence of Jesus on Sunday, June 14, 2015, after a long battle with dementia.   A prolific author, her most famous book, Through Gates of Splendor, told the story of five missionaries (including her first husband Jim Elliott) who died while trying to reach the Auca people in Ecuador.  Splendor had a significant impact on me as a young adult as I encountered men and women in the pages of the book who were willing to give all in the service of Christ. And, not only did they give all but they considered their sacrifice worth it in the service of their Savior.  Jim Elliott famously wrote in his journal, 

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep

to gain that which he cannot lose.

The day of her death, I just happened to re-read These Strange Ashes, the book detailing the first year of her life as a single missionary woman in the jungles of Ecuador and the faith lessons that she learned.  Each lesson ultimately centered on the the sovereignty and goodness of God — in other words, how she learned to submit to the assignment given to her by God.  But, she wrote about submission to God’s will with a full understanding of the cost.  She wrote,

To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact.

I had the opportunity to meet her, but I only really knew her through her many books and articles.  Through those vehicles, she was a teacher and an encourager.  More often, she was one who rebuked me as she asked the Lord to “deliver us from our sad, sweet, stinking selves!”

She ends the most recent epilogue of Through Gates of Splendor with these words that are a fitting match to the current sermon series:

We are not always sure where the horizon is.  We would not know which end is up were it not for the shimmering pathway of light falling on the white sea.  The One who laid earth’s foundations and settled its dimensions knows where the lines are drawn.  He gives all the light we need for trust and obedience.

Christianity Today has an excellent summary of her life here, with a lot of links if you want to learn more about her extraordinary life.

All is well,


(picture from elisabethelliott.org)

We’re Back!


The Olives and Coffee hosting site was hacked at the end of last year and it has taken quite a while to get everything back up and working.

We look foward to getting back to our goal of providing the Calvary community with extra information related to Sunday morning services, encouragement during the week, music that inspires us, book suggestions, stuff we find helpful on our faith journeys, and a few things that just make us smile.

Let’s relaunch with some new favorite music.

Where words fail, music speaks.

-Hans Christian Anderson

“It is Well” is an updated version of the classic hymn that beautifully captures the idea of our Hebrews theme of having eyes of faith.  How do we do it?  By “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Or, as the song says,

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

All is well,


Snoeyink Family Update

The first Grace Beyond video featured the Snoeyink family talking about being on the journey of adoption.  Kent and Amy shared how God made it clear adoption was the right way for their family to follow the biblical command to care for the fatherless.  You can watch the video on our Aug. 14 blog post.

Here is a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness as Josie officially became a Snoeyink last month:

SPraise God for guiding the Snoeyinks through the legal process of adoption as that faithfulness will sustain them as they continue the journey of adoption.

If you would like to read more, you can read the blog of their trip to China at journey2josie.blogspot.com.

Welcome to Calvary Church Josie Joy Snoeyink!

All is well,


Happy 90th DTS!

Dallas Theological Seminary began In the fall of 1924, when 13 students met together to study under the teaching of Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer.  From those humble beginnings, DTS now has more than 14,000 alumni that serve the Lord around the world.

DTS’ story is our story too.  We individually felt God’s call to attend DTS and our lives intersected on the small campus in the heart of downtown Dallas.

As part of the school’s 90th birthday celebration they asked several alumni to record short birthday greetings. This is our video.

Jim and Lisa

Ice Bucket Challenge

I would normally pass on these kind of social media crazes but due to our connection with several dear friends who passed away from ALS, and for those who currently suffer as a result of an ALS diagnosis, I decided to accept the challenge.

Since Pastor Ed Dobson and I often sparred over our respective love of Notre Dame and Michigan football, I did his ice bucket challenge at the Big House on Saturday.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Note:  we did tell the people around us first!


Rewire (Again)


This summer our family was able to spend a week in the Adirondack Mountains at Camp-of-the-Woods (COTW) on Lake Pleasant.  While we were at COTW, Jim gave the Rewire series talks, a biblical look at how to live faithfully in a technological world.

Spending time hiking in nature (the picture above was at the summit of one of our expeditions), rappelling down mountains, and playing in the lake became ideal backdrops for reflecting again on the biblical principles of how God wants us to view technology.

Psalm 19 reminds us that:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Spending time in nature allowed me to hear creation shouting the praise of God without the competing bells and beeps from the devices I carry around with me.  The voice of nature proclaims God in a way that technology often masks but can never match, and the majesty encourages me to join the chorus.

If you missed the Rewire series earlier this year at Calvary, or if your small group or class is interested in doing the study together, DVDs and workbooks are available for purchase.  Contact Technical Services (media@calvarygr.org) at Ext. 5150 for details or to order materials.

All is well,





Even though there is one more discussion section for groups to discuss together on their own, Sunday night was the last teaching session for the Rewire series.

Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make Rewire possible.  From the booklet, to the stage design, to the music, to the many people who prayed…Rewire  was the result of hundreds of hours of work for the benefit of the Calvary community.

It was also encouraging to see so many people willing to dialogue together on the topic of technology.  It is wonderful to be part of a congregation that wants to engage on this challenging, but necessary, subject.

After we finalize the DVDs, the material will be available to small groups and we will post the availability on the blog.

As we bring Rewire to a close, remember:

Jesus was a carpenter, which means he built things.  Jesus sailed on boats.  Jesus wore clothing.   Jesus encouraged his disciples to use nets when fishing.  Jesus paid taxes with money.  Jesus mentioned barns, towers, swords, millstones, and ploughs in his teaching.  All of which shows that Jesus used technology.

He used technology for good, but did not give way to coveting and idolatry.  He used technology without speaking evil of others.  He used technology but resisted making his plans without God.  He used technology but refrained from being selfish, impatient or individualistic.  Much of what Jesus did was remarkably non-technological, but Jesus demonstrates that it is possible to live faithfully in a technological world.

May the use of technology be another aspect of life in which we follow his example.

Jim & Lisa

Girls Night


On March 6, Women’s Ministry is hosting an evening for women to connect with each other.  I am looking forward to extended, uninterrupted conversations with friends — how often does that happen!  I hope that one of those conversations can be with you.

As part of the evening, I have agreed to be interviewed about my life and ministry.  Instead of simply writing the questions themselves, Women’s Ministry would love your input.

So, if there is something you have always wanted to ask me, this is your chance!  It can be serious, informative or fun.

You can either post a question on the blog or send it to women’s ministry at women@calvarygr.org.

Then, join me on Thursday night March 6, and hopefully we will have time to answer your question.

Registration is required so please register at MyCalvaryGR.org by Sunday, March 2.  If you’d prefer to pay with cash, tickets will be on sale outside the Calvary Café on Sunday morning.

All is well,


Israel Trip

Old Jericho Road at Sunset

Old Jericho Road at Sunset

Israel is a county of immense contrasts.  In a land small enough to fit into Lake Michigan, God created lush valleys and arid deserts; freshwater lakes and inland seas; hideaway caves and sweeping vistas.

It is a land filled with reminders of the biblical narrative and God’s promises that cry out the truth of his word.  But, it is also a land filled with great blindness as people’s hearts and minds continue to be veiled to the truth that God has placed all around them.

I recently returned from my first visit to this ancient land, after touring for eight days with a group from Calvary led by a very insightful and challenging teacher – also known as my husband.

As I was entering the country, the immigration officer asked me if I was on a pilgrimage.  Due to the negative connotations that our faith tradition often adheres to that word, my initial thought was to say no.  But, then I realized that I was not on this trip to sightsee or be a passive observer.  I was on a journey to a sit and see and smell, and take in all that God wanted to teach me on the trip.  And that is what I was able to experience.

The sites held no special blessing or means of grace, but they provided a setting to talk about God, and how he has worked through time and history to bring about salvation, not just to humanity but also to me personally.

If you would like to see and experience what a trip to Israel with a Calvary Church group looks like, check out the following links.

The first is a link is to this year’s group blog, CCIsrael2014, that highlights many of the things we learned in our teaching sessions, as well as lots of pictures.

Second, this video featuring the group that went to Israel in 2013 is a beautiful montage of several of the places they visited on their journey.

Although we just returned, plans are already forming for next year.  If you are interested in going to Israel in February 2015, please send your contact information to Kristen White at kwhite @calvarygr.org.

All is well,


Upcoming Opportunities

As I mentioned in the sermon today, I enjoy the opportunity to spend time in smaller groups in order to get to know Calvary individuals and families.

Following is some additional information on the opportunities I mentioned:

Vacation with Jim
High School Ministries has a three-day leadership event in the summer they named “Vacation with Jim.”  Students have an opportunity to hang out and get to know both me and Pastor Aaron Bolduc while we camp, canoe and spend time by the bonfire. Before “Vacation with Jim” each student submits two questions for me to answer during our time away. I hope the students look forward to interacting during the discussion time as we learn and build relationships together. This time is prayerful and loaded with fun. If you have questions contact Natalie Uecker at calvarystudents@calvarygr.org

During my past study break I studied a biblical theology of technology. In the winter, I will be presenting the information during a special Sunday night topical study series. More information will be available in the worship folder later this fall.

Family Camp
Family Camp at Gull Lake Ministries outside Kalamazoo, Michigan is a week-long opportunity to spend time with your family, as well as connect with other families from Calvary. High-energy, activity-packed days combined with a spiritual emphasis make Family Camp a fun adventure for families. In 2014, I will be speaking during week 7 — August 2-8 — and we would love for your family to join us. More information can be found online at gulllake.org or by emailing Kristen White at kwhite@calvarygr.org

Israel 2015
Lord willing, I will be leading a 10-day trip to Israel in February 2015. In past years, the trip has cost approximately $4,000 per person inclusive of all transportation, lodging and meal costs. If you would like your name to be included on a list of interested individuals that we will send additional information to once it has been finalized, please contact Kristen White at kwhite@calvarygr.org