My Name Is….

It was a blessing to have Marvin Williams back with us on Sunday, delivering a powerful message about Jesus enduring the shame of the cross so that we do not have to be defined by shame but can live in freedom.

The song, Hello My Name Is, by Matthew West reminds us to take off the labels we might be tempted to put on today and live in the truth of being a beloved child of God.

All is well,


Exercise in Gratitude


On Sunday, we discovered the way to avoid selling our inheritance for a bowl of soup is to “be thankful” (Hebrews 12:28).

I gave you several questions to help guide us towards thanksgiving.  We went through them fairly quickly so I am posting them on the blog so you can take time to reflect again.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I did the list exactly the same in every service so it may look slightly different from your notes.

Questions to help us appreciate God:

  1. How did God come find you?  How did he pursue and rescue you?
  2. Where would you be if God hadn’t rescued you?  What would your life look like without the Spirit?
  3. What are the things since you became a Christian that God has forgiven you for?
  4. What are the current blessings in your life?
  5. Who are other people in your life that you have seen God rescue and transform?
  6. How has God been with you, especially in suffering?
  7. How has God healed you – physically, spiritually and/or emotionally?
  8. How have your experienced the discipline of God?
  9. What are the ways that God has blessed you through your involvement at Calvary or other churches?
  10. What are specific prayers that God has answered?
  11. What are the things you are most looking forward to in God’s kingdom?

Thankfulness and gratitude help us keep our eyes on Jesus, which is the theme of the song A Mighty Fortress, that we sang at the beginning of the service.  Here it is again to encourage you on your journey of gratitude this week.



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,


Lent 2014


As we begin Lent, Calvary’s devotional book encourages us to start by reading our benediction for the Refuge series, I Peter 5:10-11, every day this week.


As we take time to reflect on the promise of this benediction, we remember that we cannot read the words of Peter without reflecting on the life of Peter.

Peter, writing to encourage us to be strong, firm and steadfast, knows what it means to sink under doubt and suffering (Matthew 14:22-33; Luke 22:54-62).

Peter, writing to let us know that God will himself restore us, knows what it means to experience that forgiveness (John 21).

As we reflect on God’s great promises, we hope this song, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), will be a beautiful reminder of these truths this Lenten season.

May God bless you as we prepare for Easter.

Jim and Lisa

The verse design is from ToSuchAsTheseDesigns.

Winter Snow

This beautiful new Christmas song, You Came Like Winter Snow, shares the same theme and idea of our service this week.

Jesus could have come to earth in any form but he chose to come quietly and live a difficult life for many reasons but ultimately to give us the hope of heaven.  Not because he didn’t have a choice but because we had no other choice.

From our family to yours – have a blessed and joyous Christmas,

Jim and Lisa

Psalm 136

The following song, Loof de Heer or “Praise the Lord,” is from The Psalm Project — a group from the Netherlands dedicated to modernizing the Genevan Psalter with updated lyrics and music.

Even though I don’t know the words of this song, only that it is based on Psalm 136, it is a beautiful reminder that the Psalms transcend cultures, language and time.