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calvary life December 2012

Important Christmas Events...7 Save the Date - What’s Coming in 2013...20 First Time at Calvary? Welcome...28

A Time For Christmas Festival of Lights 2012 Program...2

Time Calvary Church Festival of Lights 2012 In our story this year, we meet Bill, a man who is too busy for Christmas, and experience with him an encounter with a mysterious stranger who reveals the “spirit in the hearts of Christmases past.� Together, they take a musical journey through time to the shepherds, a medieval castle filled with masques and madrigals, a time when Christmas was outlawed, and to a Dickensian orphanage. In the moving conclusion, they return to the present where Bill comes face-to-face with the issues of his own heart.

Together we will all experience the wonder of the season, and will see that the true joy of Christmas comes from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. A Time for Christmas Book by Paul McCusker Music and Lyrics by David T. Clydesdale, Steve Amerson, & Lowell Alexander Arranged and Orchestrated by David T. Clydesdale

Still need tickets? Festival of Lights performances are December 7, 8, 9 and 14, 15, 16, Fridays at 7:00pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are $7 and are available at, 1-800-585-3737, and at all Michigan Meijer locations.

OVERTURE “Among The Leaves So Green” ScEnE 1: A city sidewalk, Christmas Eve “It’s a Merry Christmas Eve!” “Bill, It’s Christmas Eve!” “It’s a Merry Christmas Eve!” (Reprise) ScEnE 2: Bill’s office, a short time later “No Time for Love” “It’s a Busy Christmas Eve!” “I Know a Lot of Things!” ScEnE 3: A hill outside Bethlehem, Christmas Eve, first century “A Savior” “Little Drummer Boy”

ScEnE 7: Mary’s church, Christmas Eve “A Christmas Eve Celebration with O Holy Night!” ScEnE 8: Mary’s apartment, a short time later “A Gift of Hope” “Speak to Me” ScEnE 9: A city street, the following morning (Christmas Day)

As you leave the performance, please remember to give to the Salvation Army. Ushers will be holding buckets as you exit the Sanctuary. All the money raised will be used by The Salvation Army locally in our community. Thank You and Merry Christmas.

ScEnE 10: A city street, immediately following “It’s a Merry Christmas Day!” “He Is Our Hope!”

ScEnE 4: A great dining hall in England, Christmas morning, 1450 “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” “On This Chri-sa-mus Day” ScEnE 5: A small church sanctuary in London, Christmas morning, 1657 “O Little Town of Bethlehem” ScEnE 6: A London orphanage, Christmas morning, 1850 “I Had a Dream” “With a Little Bit of Faith”

December 2012 | | 3

Welcome On behalf of Calvary Church, let me say how glad I am that you have joined us as we present, “A Time for Christmas.” Through storytelling, music and drama, the cast, crew and musicians have been working for months to make the wondrous, awe-inspiring events of this season come to life. As Christians, Christmas holds a special meaning for us; it is a time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If you have questions about what it means to be a Christian, we hope you will take minute to read through the next couple pages. We have also included questions you may be pondering and stories highlighting what it means to put your faith in Jesus Christ and live life with God. I especially hope that you will read the note from our Assistant Director of Evangelism and Discipleship, Jake Boerman, on page 5. If you’re looking for a church, I’d like to invite you to try Calvary. It’s a big church I know, but with the host of opportunities available you’d be surprised at how quickly it can come to feel like home. Throughout the pages of this magazine you’ll find details on the many ways you can experience life with the Calvary Church family. We would love to have you join us as we journey together.  Wishing you a blessed Christmas season, Jim Samra, Senior Pastor 4 | December 2012 |

What is a Christian? There are a lot of different answers to that question. Some think a Christian is a good person who follows the golden rule. Others claim that a Christian is a person who believes in God, prays and attends church. Some might say that Christian are people who go to church and think that they are better than everyone else. However, none of these answers are sufficient. Can we even know what really makes someone a Christian? Thankfully the answer is yes and the answer is found in the one place that resolves this confusion— the Bible. The Bible is the authority on all things Christian, and the Bible alone can teach us what it is to be a Christian. The Bible says that a Christian is a bad person. Surprised? Most people are when they hear that for the first time, yet that is what the Bible states. Of course that is not the whole story, but that is the first part. The Bible tells us that: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible claims that there is not one person (including Christians) in the world who has not sinned and fallen short. The Bible also tells us that the punishment for sin is death, which means total separation from God. This presents a serious problem for us all; because we all know that we are far from perfect. Thankfully this is where the good news comes —”God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What does this mean? The Bible tells us the reason that Jesus came and lived a life on this Earth was to die for us. The Bible tells us that Jesus lived a perfect life in which He committed no sin. The Bible also tells us that because of His great love, when Jesus died on the cross He took the punishment for our sin upon Himself. When Jesus rose from the grave He defeated death and made freedom from sin and death available to mankind. The Bible tells us that by believing in Jesus and turning away from our lives of sin we can be forgiven of our wrong doings and receive eternal life, meaning we are never separated from God again. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your

mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

So what is a Christian? Christian are people who recognizes their short comings. People who know that they are not perfect and understand that on their own they cannot make it. So, they choose a different path. Ultimately Christians are people who in faith believe that the only way to be right with God is to trust and hope in the power and work of Jesus Christ alone. Simply put, a Christian is a sinner saved forever by Jesus. One of the most famous Christians of all time put it this way: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). If you have more questions about the idea of being a Christian or want to know more about Calvary Church, we would love to talk with you. Contact Calvary’s Associate Director of Evangelism, Jake Boerman ( at ext. 5165, to set up a time to get together. God designed us to live this life together; being a Christian isn’t something you can do alone. We gather together, at church on Sundays and throughout the week in community groups, to encourage and support each other. If you are curious about faith and want a safe place to ask questions and learn from others in a similar place, check out Simple Faith (beginning February 17 on Sunday mornings) on page 13. There are no dumb questions. Wherever you are today, Christ wants to meet you there. As a church family, we hope you will take a moment this season to answer His call.

When All My Options Were Exhausted, There Was Still One Place to Turn By Jake Boerman, Assistant Director, Evangelism & Discipleship | 956-9377, ext. 5165

The Bible tells the story of Jesus interacting with a man named Nicodemus. Jesus tells this man that “you must be born again” and “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” The interesting part of this conversation rests in the identity of the person that Jesus is speaking to. You see, Nicodemus was a religious ruler. He was a man who was well educated and highly trained in theology. He prayed, fasted, read and even memorized the scriptures, and yet he was lacking something spiritually. There was a point in my life where I had been to church hundreds of times, prayed hundreds of prayers, learned and read various Bible stories, been baptized and received communion. I tried my hardest to be a “good person” and obey the Ten Commandments. I could say, “Jesus died on the cross for sins.” Still I felt horribly empty, thinking that this Christianity thing doesn’t work. I thought for sure I had done all the right things to make sense of life. Like Nicodemus, I was seriously lacking. What was the problem? When Jesus tells us we need to be born again, He reveals something about our current condition. Jesus does not say, “We need to clean you up a little bit,” or “We really need to correct your behavior.” He tells us that we need a completely new nature. We need to be remade. We need a new birth. The reality is that our sinful nature is far worse than what we see when we look in the mirror every morning. God’s word tells us that “our righteous acts are like filthy rags,” and we are “by nature children of wrath.” So even the good things we do are corrupted with sin; we can’t stop doing evil. Nicodemus was not just seeking to know God more fully, but rather to be fully known by God, to be completely loved and accepted by God. He hungered for something way beyond his grasp: eternal life. Jesus wasn’t telling Nicodemus he needed to be born again just to ensure his happiness or fulfillment. Jesus knew that apart from a new birth, Nicodemus could not receive eternal life. Just like Nicodemus, we need the new birth Jesus offers to avoid spending the rest of our lives, and all of eternity, separated from God’s goodness. This lack of ours, this eternal separation, is why Jesus came to earth. He lived the perfect life that we are incapable of living. He was mocked, spit on, bruised and beaten. Then, in the greatest act of love the world has ever known, He went to the cross, standing in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve. He died and three days later was raised to new life. This new life is offered as a gift to us. There is nothing you, I or Nicodemus can do to earn it. We just can’t make ourselves be born again. So what do we do? Seven years ago I experienced the answer to this question. I had exhausted all possible options to make sense of life and reconcile my relationship to God. I gave up. I begged him to forgive me. I told him He could have my life. I committed to follow Him and Him alone. He gave me new life - a life free from the weight of my past, a life at peace with the one who created me, life as God intended it to be. The life I lived before passed away and the life I live now delights in Jesus and His leading. The call to you today is simple. Will you continue to trust in yourself or will you trust in Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection? Will you insist that your way is the right way, or will you surrender completely to Jesus and his way? Then you also can experience this new birth. If you have questions about any of this, please contact me. I would love to talk with you. You are not alone. December 2012 | | 5

freeze! Don’t you love getting snowed in? School stops, work stops, and the “urgent” business is halted…not so urgent I guess! The world around you seems frozen, allowing you time to get caught up, spend time with family, enjoy a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate. In our busy world, it’s hard to slow down and think. This year, we want to put a “freeze” on Christmas so we can quiet our souls and remember that our hope, peace, joy and love come only through Christ. Celebrating Advent is a way for us to pause and recognize that being ready for Christmas means our thoughts are focused not just on letters, cards and presents, but on repentance, humbling and interior “housecleaning.” If you want to slow down this Christmas, we invite you to use our family devotional guide to help your family “freeze” some moments during the holidays. This collection of stories about Mary’s ADVENT-ure— scripture readings, devotionals, prayers and suggested activities— will guide you through the traditional topics of Advent: hope, peace, joy and love. Use it to ponder Christ’s coming, consider what it means for us, and remember the meaning of the season. The more we are focused in this way, the less we will be overwhelmed by the commercialization of Christmas. We wait in the anticipation of the coming of the Lord. Christ has come; Christ has died and is risen; Christ will come again. Pick up your “Freeze” Advent devotional guide on November 25 or December 2 at the Children’s check-in desks, free for families registered in Calvary Kids Children’s Ministry (one per family). Additional devotional guides are available for a $5 donation. We invite you this Advent season to wait on God once again, remembering the time of the coming of our Savior so long ago, and perhaps, even during this time, learning to wait for things with a different attitude. May we wait with hope. 6 | December 2012 |

Young Adult Ministry

WORSHIP NIGHT Young adults (ages 18-34) — carve out a night during this busy Christmas season to pause... and focus on the greatest gift of all —Christ. Take the focus off you, your lists and your plans... and join us for a night of worship. Be uplifted as we spend time singing your favorite carols and meditating on scripture together. Invite your friends to join you for this unique Christmas event.

Thursday, December 20 7:00pm Chapel Questions? Contact Mason D. Sherrill at ext. 5036.

Christmas events Our Sunday morning services are at 8:10am, 9:40am and 11:15am; our evening service at 6:00pm, unless otherwise listed.

Sunday, December 2

AM Undivided Series* | First Sunday of Advent PM Arrest These Merry Gentlemen - LUMIN8 Children’s Choir Christmas Musical Sunday, December 9 AM Undivided Series | Second Sunday of Advent PM No Evening Service due to Festival of Lights Sunday, December 16 AM Undivided Series | Third Sunday of Advent PM No Evening Service due to Festival of Lights Thursday, December 20 7:00pm Young Adult Ministry Worship Night Sunday, December 23 AM Undivided Series | Fourth Sunday of Advent PM No Evening Service Monday, December 24 5:00pm & Christmas Eve Service 10:00pm No Childcare Provided. Sunday, December 30 AM Undivided Series - Communion Service | Family Service PM No Evening Service Currently we are in the midst of a series in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. In the books of Samuel we come across two different types of people — those who are outwardly religious but inwardly empty, and those who have an undivided heart for God. Throughout this series we are discovering what it means to follow God wholeheartedly through all of life’s circumstances. To catch up on past messages from this series, visit *

Christmas Eve There’s nothing quite like the night before Christmas; the anticipation of the birth of the Savior. This year, we invite you to make Calvary’s Christmas Eve service part of your holiday tradition. Lights hang brightly from all corners of the Sanctuary. The Christmas story is read for all to enjoy and we’ll sing carols around the piano throughout the night. It’s a simple service; a warm and spirited prelude to your Christmas celebration.  We hope you’ll join us. December 2012 | | 7


2 Festival of Lights Program & Synopsis for “A Time for Christmas”

6 Important christmas Events Dates and locations for this year’s celebrations

20 Save the date 2013 What we’re looking forward to in the coming year

10 | 5 Questions with Christy VanAndel

15 | Not Just Surviving the Holidays

11 | On the Bookshelf

16 | A Note From the Elders

Calvary Life sits down with the Administrative Assistant for Worship & Serving.

Reading recommendations for December from the Library and a few members of the Calvary family.

12 | Life{Together}

Experiencing community and spiritual growth at Calvary through Sunday morning classes

14 | Behind the Scenes

Serving at Calvary connects you to the life of the body; hear how as we sit down with Quinn Cook.

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Helping those with special needs enjoy the holiday season

The elders share a story of healing

18 | Top Ten Ways God Was at Work Missions and Outreach Recaps 2012

21 | Imagine Me, Set Free

Join Calvary’s Women’s Ministry for a weekend of spiritual growth and refreshment with Pat Layton

22 | Program Guide

22 - Children, 5th-8th Grade 23 - High School, Young Adults (College, Merge, Foundations), Calvary Community 24 - Compassion Ministries, Men, Pastoral Care, Prayer Groups 25 - Senior Adults, Special Needs, Women 26- Serving Opportunities, Giving Opportunities

27 | December Calendar

Dates to know and hold onto for December.

December 5


A Taste of Summer Herb Grilled Chicken Breast Marinated and grilled on the flattop Roasted Rosemary Redskin Potatoes Roasted Mix Vegetables


Each Wednesday we serve a hot entrée paired with fresh sides, our own oven baked fresh rolls, a salad bar, soda and ice cream cups. We have a kid sized meal, a Healthy Hero’s meal and a Super Hero’s Meal

December 12 Best Smell From the Kitchen Yankee Pot Roast Mashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy Sweet Corn


As you plan your Wednesday evening here at Calvary don’t forget that we serve a hot, fresh, homemade meal made right here from our Calvary Kitchen. As we finish out the year of 2012 we are grateful for your participation and fellowship on Wednesday nights. All of us who serve in the kitchen are energized by preparing and serving all of you.

Prices: $5.00 for the featured meal, $3.00 for the Children’s (under 10 only) or Healthy Hero’s Meal. If your child would like a larger portion there is the Super Hero meal for $5.00. To keep the cost down for families, there is a family meal plan for $15.00 (two adults, and three Healthy Hero’s Meal.

December 19

Sunday Dinner on Wednesday Grilled Handcut Cured 81 Ham Steaks with Traverse Bay Cherry Sauce Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes Roasted Mixed Vegetables

Let us know ahead of time if you have any special dietary concerns that we could accommodate. Blessings, Kevin Troupe Director of Culinary Services & Special Events

good to know Experiencing a Crisis? If you are experiencing a crisis, or perhaps going through a difficult emotional, spiritual, or relationship situation, Stephen Ministry & Lay Counseling can help. Contact Phyllis Dykstra at 784-1858. Family Service Sunday Please note that November 25, December 23 and 30 are family service Sundays. Nursery will be available; children preschool age and older are encouraged to attend the service with their family (activity boxes are available at the desk near Entrance N). If needed, room 254 is open for children ages three through five. No Wednesday Night Programming Please note that there is no Wednesday Night programming on December 26 or January 2 due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. For more information, see page 22. Did you know that you can give online anytime, from any location at You can also visit MyCalvary to review your giving for the current fiscal year, register for events, and find a small group. If you encounter any trouble with your log-in, email for assistance. Calvary’s Clothes Closet & Food Pantry Are Available To You Through the kind donations of many Calvary attendees, the apparel you need is available free of charge. If you would like to peruse Calvary’s Clothes Closet, please contact Lynnell Bok at ext. 3510. The Closet is open by appointment. If you are in need of food, one phone call to Lynnell Bok at ext. 3510 is all it takes to get the help you need. Onetime use of the Food Pantry is available with no obliga-

tion. However, if you need assistance for a prolonged season, we ask that you schedule a time to sit down with us. This will allow our team a chance to get to know you and ensure that more than just your physical needs are being met. The Food Pantry is open by appointment; please contact Lynnell at ext. 3510. Who You Gonna Call? If you get hurt or are not feeling well while you are at church, who do you call? We hope you will use a “help phone” to call someone on our Emergency Response Team (ERT). Our Facility team members, along with volunteer medical/safety professionals, make up the ERT and are always available whenever the facility is open. They are trained in basic first aid, CPR, AED and can give emergency oxygen if needed. Along with being able to do emergency care, if needed they coordinate with the EMS, first responders and our parking lot team to get medical assistance to the hurting.

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connections getting to know calvary 1

5Questions with Christy VanAndel Administrative Assistant, Worship and First Impressions/Serving

What is your role at Calvary Church? I work in both the Worship and in First Impressions/Serving ministries at Calvary. Currently, a big part of my job in Worship is preparing and coordinating various areas for Festival of Lights. I also assist with various choir and orchestra responsibilities and planning worship services. I work alongside Judie Fielstra in First Impressions/Serving to coordinate the Discovery program, Explore Calvary class, and plan various large events.


How has God recently revealed Himself in your life? Since graduating from college in April, I have been seeking God and asking Him to show me the plans He has for me. Recently, God has What encourages you most as you revealed Himself to me in a very personal way. minister at Calvary? It’s been a journey for me to see God work in I think the most encouraging part of doing ways that I wasn’t expecting. I have learned ministry has been seeing God’s hand move that quieting my soul before God and learning throughout the different ministries at Calvary. to listen and trust His timing brings true peace It’s exciting to see God answer prayer requests and contentment. and to see Him do things that we alone are not capable of. I feel blessed to be able to call How can the Calvary family pray for Calvary my family. Calvary is a place where true you and your ministry this month? worship happens and where God’s presence is Please pray for the Worship ministry as we very visible. prepare for the Festival of Lights performances. We need God’s continual guidance and direction to ensure everything runs smoothly. How have you experienced Please also pray for physical and spiritual life{together}? Currently, I am serving in the Children’s and health, protection, and for God’s name to be Young Adult ministries. I lead the dance elective glorified in everything that is done. for Kids n Action and I serve as the Worship Facilitator for the Young Adult Ministry.  Through serving and being involved in other




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areas of ministry at Calvary, I have been able to experience community in a way that has both encouraged and spiritually challenged me. I think that working with others to serve God has made the community I have at Calvary that much stronger and more meaningful.

on the bookshelf

recommended reading for december found in the calvary library

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury is a heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, a bookstore providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundredyear flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. Gripping from the beginning, The Bridge is an amazing story where we learn even in tragedy or loss, God is the God of second chances. At Christmastime we think of gifts and Christmas trees. We think of cookies and candies. But most of all, we think of Jesus and remember that Christmas is when we celebrate his birthday. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in a town called Bethlehem. The First Christmas is the story of Jesus’ birth, retold by Carol Heyer in clear and simple language for little ones. Her accompanying artwork is luminous and adds depth to the story of why Christians celebrate Christmas. For ages 4 to 8 years. The DVD Love’s Christmas Journey is the first ever Christmas story inspired by the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke. Still mourning the loss of her husband and daughter, Ellie Davis agrees to watch her brother Aaron’s children while he heads off to purchase farmland. But after a suspicious fire, she finds herself playing detective – with the help of a handsome deputy – to clear the name of a family friend. Despite her worries when Aaron doesn’t return, if Ellie can trust her faith, this Christmas just might bring more miracles than she could have hoped for. Billy Tucci faithfully depicts the Christmas story as never seen before in A Child is Born. Adapted from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and painstakingly researched with Nativity scholars, Tucci’s beautiful artwork brings forth a stunning rendition of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mark Johnson, Festival of Lights Cast Member

Andy Crowder, Assistant Worship Leader/Pastoral Resident

I highly recommend Ed Dobson’s, Seeing Through the Fog: Hope When Your World Falls Apart. It helps you think about living with the end in mind and share’s God’s heart and desire that we live each day for Him.

We need God, and we need God desperately. In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes on a number of subjects regarding our hearts as believers. Just as we are learning this year, we are to have undivided hearts for God.  Eldredge shares stories, prayers, struggles and practical help in order for us to gain a foothold in the battle for our hearts.

All the books mentioned are available in Calvary's Library. The Library is located across from Fellowship Hall on the lower level. Their hours are Sunday, 9:15 – 11:15am; Wednesday, 9:15 – 9:45 am and 6:00 – 7:30pm. Please note: The library will be closed on December 26.

December 2012 | | 11

life{together} experiencing community at calvary

Thresholds class: Finding common ground & encouragement a community of young couples and families doing life together

By Mark and Allison Johnson

We are a community of young couples and young families who are striving to follow the Lord's direction in our lives. We gather on Sunday mornings during the 11:15 service in rooms 125-127 and stay connected through bi-weekly Bible study small groups. Studying the book of Mark on Sunday morning has been a privilege and challenge to us all; many have heard God speak about job changes, service opportunities, and encouragement to love others in tangible ways as Jesus would. In small groups, we have been discussing Jim Samra’s book, God Told Me, and have been practicing these ways of listening and hearing from God. The ladies of this group have started an EveryOther-Month-Brunch to provide a space to go deeper spiritually with one another. A brunch is held in a member’s home and centered around a theme food, like pumpkins, for instance. We share recipes and testimonies of what God has been doing in our lives. Each person is encouraged to bring a written recipe that includes that featured food and there is time to copy down others’ recipes to try later! At each brunch, one woman in the group shares her testimony or leads a devotional, and afterward, there is time for other women to respond and share what God has been doing in their lives. The men of Threshold have been getting together in smaller groups for a morning breakfast or noon lunch, praying, fasting, discussing Scripture, and holding one another accountable to live lives worthy of the Lord. It has been an encouraging fall and we look forward to where God is bringing our group! If you’d like to join us in community, contact Mark (mrmarkjohnson@ or Allison Johnson (

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Community isn’t just another ministry at Calvary Church. We believe that community is an essential part of what it truly means to be The Church. At Calvary we encourage every person who attends to become part of a smaller group. The typical community group includes 10-14 people and meets regularly in their homes. They are designed to encourage and equip people from all walks of life to live authentic lives in the company of others. The group members gather together regularly to study the Bible, pray, care for one another and commit to doing Life {Together}. There is more than one way to join a community group at Calvary: Community Group Launches: Three times a year, we launch several new Community Groups. You may sign up for our February 10 launch by registering at Contact the Office: If you would like to join a Community Group, please contact us, via email: or by phone: at ext. 5650, and we will work with you to find a group. Connection Point: Visit the Connection Point after one of the Sunday services to talk to someone about joining one of our Community Groups.

New here ? Check t h i s o u t!

What is spiritual warfare? an eight-week class to help you discover what’s under the surface

When you hear the words “spiritual warfare” what images come to mind? Maybe you think of some kind of horror, like the movie The Exorcist? Or maybe you picture something a little more comedic, like the little devil in red spandex with a pitchfork perched on your shoulder. The truth is that none of these images are really all that accurate. Spiritual warfare is typically something you don’t even notice unless you’re looking for it. It’s a part of everyone’s life. If you look through the Bible, it shows up in all kinds of ways. This is not to suggest that everything in life is in fact spiritual warfare – far from it. Many things in life are just that – life. People get sick, people get sad, people experience suffering and difficulties and the devil didn’t make anyone do anything. But the Bible is pretty clear that there are times in life when there is something else going on under the surface. In I Chronicles 21, the extent of spiritual warfare is influencing David to make a decision. In Mark 1:29-31, it’s the presence of a fever. In other places, it looks more like medical conditions than anything spiritual. At times it has the appearance of depression, anxiety and phobias.  The Bible calls this “spiritual warfare.” Spiritual warfare can be a tricky subject. No one wants to go overboard and see every event in life as demonically influenced. But it’s just as unfortunate to be a person who fails to recognize and discern the daily and weekly spiritual influences in life. For many people, the balance is difficult, and understandably so.

Evidence-Based Faith 6-week Sunday Morning Class January 6-February 10 11:15am in Room 131-133

Can you trust the Bible? Have you ever questioned your faith? Could you respond to a doubter? Does evidence for the Bible meet the rigorous standards of science? Discover the answers in this series presented by Kenneth Dudley, MD, associate professor, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine where he teaches medical students how to evaluate scientific evidence. Whether you have questions or want to be prepared to share with those that do, this class is for you. To register for the class go to or contact Brenda ( at ext. 5650.

With this in mind, we’re offering an eight-week class on spiritual warfare starting January 6 at 9:40 on Sunday mornings. We’ll talk about what spiritual warfare actually is, how to discern what is just normal life experience and what is spiritual warfare, and we’ll talk about how we can engage with this aspect of life better. To register, contact Ruth Gudbrandson (rgudbrandson@ at ext. 5013.

simple faith the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask

Begins Sunday, February 17 at 11:15am in rooms 131-33. To sign up, contact Ruth Gudbrandson ( at ext. 5013.

Have you ever wanted to ask a question about the Bible and didn’t because you were sure people would think you were inadequate or would wonder what the heck you were doing in church? This is a class you need to investigate. It’s called Simple Faith because we make it a point to keep it simple. Whether you have been at Calvary for 40 years or this is your first time, check out Simple Faith. Each week we will take our time going through a study guide and learning along with you what God is teaching. Remember, the only dumb question is the one you don't ask.

December 2012 | | 13

Behind the Scenes Serving at Calvary with Quinn Cook

Where do you currently serve at Calvary?

I’m involved in the College Ministry, and I’m part of the college worship team.

How did you begin serving at Calvary?

Quinn Cook

When I came to Calvary, I was pretty overwhelmed by its size, so I didn’t get involved in serving for about a year and a half. But our college ministry asked me to be on a student-led ministry team, and it evolved into me being a part of the worship team.

What challenges have you encountered in your ministry?

Especially in the beginning, I felt completely overwhelmed. My first year or so, I constantly asked myself, “Why am I doing this? There are people way more qualified!” On top of that, sometimes I can lose sight of the motivation for service, which is bringing God glory, not myself. Usually when this happens, God quickly humbles me; He certainly does have a sense of humor!

How has God blessed you through serving?

I have learned so much about the character of God through serving. Every time I feel inadequate (and every time God humbles my pride), I am reminded that it’s not about me. God doesn’t need me for His name to be glorified. And yet, He chooses to work through flawed people like me (and you). It’s the same with salvation: I brought nothing to the table, and yet God graciously called me to a saving knowledge of Him. When I understand this, the only reasonable response is joyful service for Him, with love as my motivation. Paul reminds us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, and His grace is sufficient. I would encourage anyone reading this who is on the fence about serving to just do it. Calvary is a great place to get plugged in, and God will use you, even if you don’t feel confident starting out.

Discovery is a program designed to not only learn about what spiritual gifts are; but to also help you figure out what your specific gifts are and how you could be using them. After signing up for Discovery you will meet with a trained staff member who will guide you through the course and review your results. You can fill out a Discovery card at one of the Information Centers today to receive your packet, go online to our Serving Ministry page, or contact Christy Van Andel ( at ext. 5615.

Serving Opportunities Abound

We are in need of your help! We need people who would be willing to volunteer in various departments. Do you love working with children? Singing in the choir? Setting up for large events? Contact Judie Fielstra ( at ext. 5095 today to get serving.

Are you new to Calvary Church? Journey together with us for three weeks on Wednesdays, January 9, 16, and 23 in room 126, 5:15-6:30pm. We’ll enjoy gathering in an informal setting to share a meal together, meet staff, and learn more about Calvary. R.S.V.P. by Tuesday, January 8 to Christy VanAndel ( at ext. 5615. 14 | December 2012 |

not just Surviving the holidays

Tips from Christian Learning Center (CLC) Network consultant and author, Barbara J. Newman While Thanksgiving and Christmas often bring up those Hallmark memories for many of us, for some children and adults with disabilities, holidays signal an intense time of stress. Often communicated with significant behavior changes, the underlying message might be “I’m overwhelmed”, “You changed my schedule”, “Why did you put a tree in our living room”, “There are too many people stuffed into this room”, or “I am on complete sensory overload”. While all of these ideas won’t work with all people, here are some strategies for families and friends to try as you create a positive time of celebration for each family member.


Find some pictures of the celebration from last year. If it will be similar, put together a photo album or story of that event so that the individual can remember it in pictures and written words prior to attending a similar event this year.


Put together a schedule of events for your party. Whether in words and/or pictures, let the person know the planned order. Some individuals enjoy crossing off or removing the individual schedule items as they are completed.


Many times we redecorate or rearrange rooms to fit more people. If, for example, a larger group will be gathering at grandma and grandpa’s house, consider setting it up a day ahead and visiting that room without people in it. Let the individual explore the changes without the added stress of people. Perhaps leave something on a chair or in a certain place so that you can “reserve a spot” for the event when you arrive. The individual will know to find that space or item to make a more comfortable entry.


Give that individual a “job” to do. Perhaps you could assign an individual to be the photographer, back massager, coffee or beverage server, greeter (be the first to arrive and assimilate guests more slowly – often a better choice for some persons), or card distributer. Many times, a helping role will not only use the gifts of an individual, but it gives the person a clear sense of what to do in that environment.


Designate a “safe zone”. It might be helpful to show that family member a quiet and designated space in the home or building where there would be a calming and preferred activity. It might be a mini tramp, rocking chair, a favorite book, or quiet classical music in a more isolated space where one might be able to find a refuge if the senses get overloaded.


Who needs to know? Many times extended families get together, and yet cousins or friends may not really understand the individual with the disability. It might be helpful for parents or the person with the disability to send out a quick update to family members prior to an event that includes such topics as “How Brent has grown this year,” “Activities and topics Brent enjoys doing or discussing,” “Activities and topics to avoid with Brent,”“Some things that Brent may really enjoy when we gather for Thanksgiving,” “Some things that might be challenging for Brent at our Thanksgiving celebration,” “Some gifts Brent might enjoy receiving,” “Some gifts to avoid.” Giving information in advance can be a powerful way to put people at ease while also arming well-meaning relatives with some quick strategies to try.


“It is better to give than to receive” – and many times we think our family member with a disability should only be the recipient of gifts, and not the giver. How important it is for all of us to have a chance to give. How can that person use an area of interest or gifting to provide something for others? Would it be the gift of a dance or song? Could that individual provide the cookies for dessert? Might that person enjoy a trip to a dollar store to pick out something for each guest or family member? What about a wall decoration or a note card for each guest with a favorite picture of an animal or area of interest? Find a way for that individual to also receive the joy of giving!


Think in advance of a way your family member can participate in holiday traditions. Do you collect prayer requests or notes indicating things for which each family member is thankful to incorporate into the celebration? How might that family member participate? Would it be helpful to have pictures of familiar items so that the individual can point to or pick up the prayer request and hand it to the one praying? How about singing? Could you have a colorful streamer or small rhythm instrument available so that a person without words could participate with movement? How about programming a portion of Luke 2 on an iPad or other device so that pushing a button will allow an individual to read a portion of the Bible? Adding figures or using the manger scene on the mantel may be a way for an individual to better understand or even help move or tell the Christmas story. Be creative. Think of ways you have made the holiday meaningful and consider ways your family member with a disability may be involved. Hopefully, some of these ideas will allow you to prepare in advance and begin to build some positive holiday experiences for each family member! For more information on resources and services that support those with disabilities, please visit

December 2012 | | 15

2012-2013 Elders & Deacons If you have any questions or comments you would like to share with an elder, please see the list above the blue line. If you would to contact a deacon, they are listed below the blue line.

Dennis Bergakker

Eric Cerling

( (

Dan Challa


the miracle of healing By Jeff Webb This month we, the elders of Calvary Church, wanted to share with you a powerful story of how God has brought healing to one of the members of the Calvary family. We pray that you will be as moved by Jeff’s reflections on the gracious faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as we were.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:7, NIV

Clare DeGraaf

Jim DeVries

( (

Ross Pettinga


Vernon Spears


Stephen Baab

Sam Roth


Noe Palacios


Kent Snoeyink


Mike Still

Allen VanHaitsma

Jim Hoekwater

Brian Klaver

( (

( ( (

Wilhelm Kliewer

Tom Miller

Mike Reiffer

Jim Stubblefield

Howard Timmer

Rob Umstead

Chris Walkup

Dan Wynalda

( (

David Radde


( ( (

( ( (

16 | December 2012 |

"100, 99, 98 ... I was out." I had made a gentleman's bet with the anesthesiologist that counting down from 100—I would make it to 90 before he could put me under. That was the kind of life I was living until that day. I was confident, happy, on the top of my game and at 43 years old I was achieving much of what I felt called by God to accomplish in life. The next few hours, however, would determine whether I would live the rest of my life as a quadriplegic— let alone return to my work and family a whole man. I woke up on the morning of the March 28, 2005, with what might commonly be described by most people as a "kink" in my neck. It hurt bad enough that, for some reason, I had to raise my left arm to get even minor relief from the pain. When Tylenol and ibuprofen proved ineffective, I decided that I would, finally, try out a chiropractor for the first time. My former boss had been encouraging me to see him for some time to help with some lower back issues I was having. I called and they agreed to see me immediately. During the first visit, tnot much happened. Before doing more “aggressive work,” he wanted to relieve some of the swelling and spasming. However, I was miserable rest of the day. I couldn’t relax the spasming muscles in my shoulders and neck to save my soul. I wasn’t able to rest during the night either, so I opted to wait the night out on the recliner in the family room. The next morning I arrived at my appointment with only a slight bit of relief. Arriving back at the chiropractor’s office, I told him that the ice helped a little, but that I was still in significant pain. He put me back up on the exam table. Slowly he rocked my head left to right, right to left, left to right and then all of a sudden he placed one hand on my chin, pulled my head towards him and yanked it to the left. “Ouch, that hurt”, I exclaimed in total shock. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be, but it brought to mind the close combat maneuvers right out of your favorite war film. I don’t remember much after that, except for numbness, dizziness and severe nausea. At some point I told my wife that I needed to go to the hospital. Next to come was an emergency surgery that lasted about seven hours instead of the three or four hours expected. Afterward, my surgeon, a close friend of mine, came out to see Bev. The look on his face betrayed his deep worry. He said when he opened me up "pieces just fell out in my hand." He told her I wasn't coming out of the anesthesia very well either and that he needed her to come back there to help ease me back to consciousness. I wasn’t aware of where I was. The brace they had installed was apparently causing me to feel suffocated, restrained and frightened. The doctor wasn't exactly sure what the short or longterm prognosis was, and wouldn't know for a few hours. But he was certainly worried. After days in the ICU I was released into rehab. God’s mercy protected me from being paralyzed. I would, however, have to live each and every day with feeling like my hands, arms and chest were being dipped into a vat of scalding hot grease, the palms of my hands feeling like they were sliced with razor blades and from shoulder to shoulder seizures would grip my upper body until it felt as though I would turn inside-out. My only relief was strong medications, bed rest and tears. But little did I know that even more was to come. Over time, my weakening condition contributed to hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, depression, nausea and vomiting, sleep apnea, vertigo, bed sores, gastro esophageal reflux

disorder, constipation and severe headaches. It became impossible to walk more than a few steps without the help of Bev, so I soon required a wheelchair. The army-like regimen of drugs enlisted to fight my infirmities included more than 60 pills per day from 22 different bottles. Those brought with them a whole new set of side effects and suffering. I feel it very important that you know that I share all of this not so as to somehow boast or to gain your pity, rather, I share it so that you might somehow feel the depth of the despair and hopelessness I was feeling. For in doing so, you will be able to truly understand the height of the joy that I feel today. Back to the story. As the weeks, months and years passed, I found myself withdrawing from the world. I had a little 8x10 room made up like a hospital. More and more the room became my sanctuary from the world. My circumstances were causing me to become very reflective. Why does God allow me to suffer this much? Why does my family have to suffer because of me? Am I being punished somehow? How can it possibly be just or righteous for my wife and kids to receive my punishment as well? This can’t possibly be fair. What does this say about the character of the God I have served most of my life? Is this it? Is this where we part ways? I found myself talking, even arguing with God for hours—sometimes literally days on end. Much of the time I didn’t know where consciousness ended and sleep began. But as the months passed, I realized I was having a real ongoing conversation with God. The conversation was in my spirit, but it was as clear as if He were sitting beside me in a chair. As my anger subsided, my introspection increased. I began to listen to scripture on cd. I would meditate for long lengths of time on it. As my introspection increased so did God’s conviction on my heart. I began to pray for forgiveness for things I had forgotten about, or had carried for many years. I prayed for others and forgave those who had caused me pain in my past. I began to carry the burdens of the people I would hear about each day through the Holy Spirit, Bev or one of the kids. I realized that I must view my new life as an opportunity rather than punishment. Whether God was punishing me or not, the changes He was making in me and in the world around me were wonderful. The pain was becoming worth it after all. Never in my life had I so much time to talk to God to learn how to hear that "still small voice" that I had preached and taught about for many years past. To learn of God’s character and to be taught by Him for hours on end was, in fact, a blessing, not to mention a miracle in itself. As for my family, I began to see their lives change as well. Bev's walk with the Lord was always strong but I was beginning to see her desire to learn more about him becoming insatiable. Both of my children, suffering without a father for the most part, began to put their faith and trust in God for their strength. Through friends and close relationships at the church, all three of them got to see firsthand how God works through the lives of all of his children in many different ways and for many different reasons. They now understand Paul’s admonition to the church not to forsake getting together and building a church family. We have learned however painful it may be at times, to live on $1000 a month. Where once we would take for granted when someone would bring us freshly baked cookies or offer to fix our brakes, now those gifts of mercy bring joy to our hearts and tears to our eyes. We have seen firsthand, the commitment to prayer and care, given by each and every one of the Elders and

Deacons. And the pastor has lifted my spirit and taught me more than he will ever know through the gift of his live sermons on the computer. For reasons I now understand, I felt led to turn down offers for the elders to pray for me during the first six years. But then one day I felt the Lord saying to me— “it's time.” One evening, three elders from Calvary Church came and prayed with me. When I wasn’t miraculously healed, I didn't feel discouraged I simply felt it was another step God asked me to take by faith. One year later, in the dark of the night, and with tears streaming down my face for the pain—the Holy Spirit came to me and asked me this one simple question "why haven't you asked me to heal you, Jeff?" I knew that the reason was that I felt like I deserved the pain. For the many sins of my past. Nevertheless, He didn't have to ask me twice. I replied very simply, “if it’s in your will to do so, Lord, I’d certainly be grateful if you could heal me.” Immediately I fell into the deepest and most restful sleep I could remember. In the morning I woke up with no more nerve pain or seizures--- I was healed. Praise God, I was healed. I WAS HEALED! After years of being bedridden and unable to walk, suddenly I could walk. My legs and ankles felt strengthened and although my body felt weak my spirit indeed could’ve moved the proverbial mountain. I got up from bed and went down into the kitchen where Bev was. I hadn’t been able to do that unassisted in several years. No greater joy has ever been felt in either of our lives. After sharing my story with my atheist physician— with tears in her eyes as she looked at the before and after MRIs— she could only muster, "Good for you, Jeff." While I continue to tell my story wherever I can, this is only one of several equally astounding miracles the Lord has seen fit to grant us. I am still suffering in small ways as a result of my affliction, but I am also continuing to discover anew the power and the joy that one can find only through suffering and sacrifice. I can see how important a part suffering and sacrifice play in the lives of God’s children. Many in our immediate and church families are suffering with physical afflictions. All I can humbly say is—don’t let it be in vain. May I be so emboldened as to encourage you to claim it for Christ, suffer for HIS sake, so that even though you may not be able to see the blessing today—you will certainly share in the joy that comes in the morning. We should never be afraid to give more of ourselves and our resources than we think we can for the work of the Lord and to His people. God’s word is true: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1-5, NIV The elders pray for the spiritual and health needs of our church family on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:15-7:15pm in Room 211. Anyone who would like the elders to pray for them is invited to attend. If you have a health situation that limits your ability to travel, the elders can visit your home or hospital room. Please contact Cindy Marrell ( to schedule a special prayer time.

December 2012 | | 17

Top Ten Ways

God Was at Work

in Calvary’s Missions and Outreach



1) Manesseh Project

2) new missionaries

3) glocal involvement

Through our Good Friday offering in March, the Lord provided over $120,000 for the Manasseh Project at Wedgwood Christian Services – rescuing trafficked women here in West Michigan.

God called and we sent Calvary members Drew and Arika Roelofs to serve Him and the children of Zambia.

Glocal mobilization “community style”: What do you get when over 500 Calvary people join with Habitat for Humanity and God shows up? A joyful time of serving together to build a home for a low-income family!

4) new tractor

5) european training center

6) new leadership

When floods devastated the village and destroyed the freshly planted crops in Chinhangane, Mozambique, the Lord answered with Calvary’s offering for relief, replanting, and a new tractor.

Through our 2011-2012 Open Door Vision project, God blessed Calvary to be part of opening of a European training center to equip people to reach out in North Africa and the Middle East.

After a period of transition and a long search, God provided Celeste McDonough to lead Calvary’s Missions and Outreach initiatives.

7) media ministry

8) Honduras short-term teams

9) christmas project

Calvary Church was able to be part of God’s work in media through Open Door Vision gifts to SAT7 and Middle East Media, and through the Kairos Foundation which produces Christian programming for Central Asia.

We sent two short-term mission teams for the first time to work with missionaries Andy and Carmen Castillo in Honduras. Through these teams, the Lord showed us what a powerful witness families serving together can be.

When is ‘undecorating’ a Christmas tree a blessing? When each ornament results in warm clothing for those in the Heartside neighborhood. Look for the trees again this year to join hands with Take Hold Church in this outreach!

10) touching india Looking ahead: Calvary’s Open Door Vision (see page at right) project for 2012-13 is our opportunity to hear God’s heart and be His hands to reach the nation of India. 18 | December 2012 |

Touching lives in india | changing hearTs aT home & around The world

Calvary Church’s 2012-2013 Open Door Vision Project

Untouchable Calvary’s 2012 Open door vision project Frequently Asked Questions What is ODV (Open Door Vision) anyway? Each year, the Missions and Outreach Department seeks God’s leading for a significant offering for spreading the Good News, around the world and here in our community. The result is the Open Door Vision, a group of ministries we can bless with our generosity and prayers. How long has ODV been going on? Back in the mid-1990’s, God provided a special gift to Calvary Church which enabled quick payoff of a $5,000,000 addition to our building. In gratitude for this, we responded with an annual project focused on reaching beyond our doors. What are the reasons to give to ODV? Many people want to share an extra contribution at the end of the year. Calvary people value ODV for this because they know how much prayer goes into choosing the projects. They know that by combining their smaller gifts with so many others, they can have a big impact for Christ’s Kingdom. And, as with any opportunity for generosity, there is great joy in giving. Do I have to give by December 31? Certainly not! The ODV project is on-going throughout the year, and you can give whenever God leads and provides. How do I make sure that my gift goes to ODV? Just write “ODV” or “Open Door Vision” on the memo line of your check. Alternatively, you can mark an envelope in the pew with “ODV.” What’s with the “UnTouchable” theme? The nation of India is dominated by the Hindu caste system which places more than 15% of the population in the category of dalit or “untouchable.” These people experience significant poverty and must hide from the view of upper caste members. Our theme this year communicates that no one – regardless of social position, income, or lifestyle – is beyond the touch of Jesus. His love reaches us wherever we are – in West Michigan or in India. Thank you very much for considering how God can use you to touch lives through this years’ Open Door Vision project!

December 2012 | | 19

save the date coming in 2013

7th/8th grade & High School: Winter retreat

7th/8th: February 15-17 | High School: February 8-10 | Spring Hill camp Cost: Early Bird - $120 (pay in full 2 weeks prior); Regular Rate - $130 Registration opens on December 1 for HSM, January 1 for 7th/8th grade students. Register online at

Community Group launch

fEBRUARY 10 | 4:00-6:00pm | Fellowship Hall We’ll be launching new neighborhood and family groups. Each new group will be unique, reflecting the personality of its members. All will commit to meet at least eight times. Each group will involve regular gatherings that include food, conversation, prayer and Bible study.

march madness Family Event

March 21-22 | Calvary gym

Watch as much or as little as you can handle of the second round action of 2012 March Madness in a safe, smoke-free, alcohol-free environment! There will be games for kids and delicious meals.

easter Week services

Palm sunday: March 24 | 8:10am, 9:40am, 11:15am Maundy thursday: March 28 | 7:00pm Good Friday: March 29 | 7:00pm Easter: March 31 | 8:10am, 9:40am, 11:15am* Service times may be adjusted as the date draws closer. Please refer to for exact times.


missions Weekend

april 20-21

On April 20 and 21 we will ask all Calvary attendees to“Awaken”to God’s heart for the nations. There will be two packed days of missions opportunities to hear challenging messages, learn new things, be reminded to pray and so much more.  Our keynote speaker is Steve Moore, President of Missio Nexus, an organization representing more than 35,000 missionaries ,190 agencies and churches including Calvary Church.

All church food drive

Sunday, april 28

Plan ahead and start setting aside some non-perishable food for Calvary’s Food Pantry.

Choir and orchestra season finale concert

may 19 | 6:00pm

They will be performing their favorite songs from this past year along with congregational worship and a few surprises. You will not want to miss this great evening of worship and celebration.

Children: csI: Creative Science investigators

june 11-13 | Calvary Church

This year’s theme is Xtreme bugs, wild weather and outer space. Children five-years-old through fourth grade gather at Calvary for three days of crazy, science-focused fun. 20 | December 2012 |


Program GUIDE Sunday Morning Worship Service

8:10, 9:40, and 11:15am | Sanctuary

Quick Connect administrative staff information in alpha order by ministry


Lynnell Bok ext. 3510

Calvary Community

Brenda Neher ext. 5650


Chris DeHaan ext. 5022

Pastoral Care & Senior Adults

Regina Scovill ext. 3672


Carla Boon-Julien ext. 5067


Judie Fielstra ext. 5095

Community Outreach Sharon Kaiser ext. 5077

Special Needs

Judi Warner ext. 5272

Compassion Ministries Lou DeGraaf ext. 3618


Melissa DeBoer ext. 5097

Technical Services


Women ext. 5290

Elaine Meredith ext. 5186


Jackie Rice ext. 5042


Kristen White ext. 5155


Lou DeGraaf ext. 3618

Sunday Evening Worship Service 6:00pm | Chapel

Church Office Hours Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm Sunday: 7:30am-12:30pm (Receptionist Only)

Children Carla | | ext. 5067

the difference He can make in our lives, and why those little red letters should be a big part of our lives. No need to register, just show up!

KIDS N ACTION Gingerbread Nativity Building Event December 19 | 7:15pm Please plan to pick up all of your children at 7:15pm (including nursery and preschool ages), and then join us in Fellowship Hall where we will be building gingerbread nativities! Help us prepare for this event by donating something from the list below. Drop off donations in the buckets at the Entrance K or M by Sunday, December 16. Items Needed: Nabisco™ graham crackers, large gumdrops, Pillsbury™ or Betty Crocker™ chocolate frosting, fun size 3 Musketeer’s™ candy bars. Because of the various food allergies in our ministry we are requesting specific brand name items. Please note that there is no LUMIN8 or Kids N Action on Wednesday, December 26 and January 2.


Natalie Uecker calvarystudents ext. 5181

Young Adults

Mason D. Sherrill ext. 5036

Church Phone Number: (616) 956-9377 Address: 707 E Beltline NE | Grand Rapids MI 49525

22 | December 2012 |

December 2012

No Main Event on November 25, December 23 and December 30 due to Family Services. Project SERVE! Destination: Pilgrim’s Manor December 8 | 1:45-3:30pm | Entrance J Christmas can be a lonely time of year for some. This is a time for us as a group to turn the focus away from us and focus on the needs of others. We will spend some time with senior citizens at a nursing home singing carols and just offering friendship to some lonely people. Ultimately following Jesus isn’t about us; it’s about serving God by serving others. This is a great opportunity to live that out. Just show up. Wear festive Christmas colors and get ready to sing Christmas carols and play bingo! All MSM students grades fifth through eighth are welcome to join us!

5th/6th Grade | ext. 5181

Family Service Sundays Please note that November 25, December 23 and December 30 are family service Sundays. Nursery will be available; children preschool age and older are encouraged to attend the service with their family (activity boxes are available at the desk near Entrance N). If needed, room 254 is open for children ages three through five.

Refuge Wednesdays | 6:30-8:00pm | Room 109 Refuge is a great time of fun and encouragement for fifth and sixth grade students. We learn about God, gather for small groups, play games together, laugh and experience Christian community. To join, just show up.

5th-8th Grade | ext. 5181

No Refuge on December 26 and January 2, due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The Main Event Sunday Mornings | 9:40am 5th/6th: Room 109 | 7th/8th: Room 108 This school year we are going to dig deep on Sunday and discover how the words of Jesus fit in to our everyday lives. Starting with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and continuing right until the end, you won’t want to miss a Sunday as we discover who Jesus is,

7th/8th Grade | ext. 5181 Oasis Wednesdays | 6:30-8:00pm | Room 108 Oasis is our Wednesday night small group program! Want to go deeper, asking specific questions about topics that concern you? Want to make some close

friends? Want to get to know some of our fun, caring, super skilled leaders on a more personal level? We’ll play games, worship, hear a brief talk, and break up into our small groups.  To join, just show up. No Oasis on December 26 and January 2, due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

High school | ext. 5181 UNITED Sundays | 6:00-8:30pm | Room 108 Join a community of students seeking to know God and live for Him. Come check out UNITED this month as we continue our series: ____ for the Glory of God. God has created much for our good, but due to the fall this good has been corrupted. What was intended to help us, often ends up harming us. Join us as we discuss how we can redeem school, work, sports, music , relationships and even sex for God’s glory. UNITED Attends Festival of Lights December 16 | 6:45pm | Meet in Room 108 | Cost: $5 Come join us as we attend FOL and cheer on your fellow students who are in this year’s production.

Young Adults a ministry for young adults 18-34 Mason | | ext. 5036 We were not meant to walk through this life alone, but to experience its fullness in community. That’s why we gather together to grow spiritually through age-specific teaching, edifying fellowship, and serving. The Young Adult Ministry offers three different communities where you can connect with a group that’s right for you. Young Adult Worship Night December 20 | 7:00pm | Chapel Young adults (ages 18-34)! Carve out a night during this busy Christmas season to pause... and focus on the greatest gift of all —Christ. Take the focus off you, your lists and your plans... and join us for a night of worship. Be uplifted as we spend time singing your favorite carols and meditating on Scripture together. Invite your friends to join you for this unique Christmas event.

fellow college-aged young adults? We meet together as a community for worship, small groups, and teaching each Thursday. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with other young adults from the Grand Rapids area and grow in our faith together. For more information contact Mason. College Life: Christmas Edition December 13 | 7:00pm | Room 108 Need a break from the hubbub of school finals and Christmas shopping headaches? Join us for a special Christmas Edition of College Life. Come and enjoy fellowship, Christmas activities, and a hot cocoa bar as a fancy holiday makeover to the regular College Life meeting. Let’s celebrate the coming of the wonderful Christmas season! College Discipleship On-Campus Community Groups meet on-campus weekly for an informal time of sharing and catching-up about what is happening in our lives. Even if you aren’t taking classes, we still have a group for you! For more information, contact Mason D. Sherrill ( College Ministry Lunch Sundays | 12:30pm | Room 121 Are you looking for a way to connect with other college students that attend Calvary on Sundays? Come enjoy a free lunch every Sunday after the third service. This is a great way to fellowship with other students and to learn about additional ways to get involved at Calvary Church.

College a community for young adults 18-22 Mason | | ext. 5036

MErge a community for single young adults ages 22-34 Sue | | ext. 5198

College Life Thursdays | 7:00pm | Room 108 Are you interested in joining a diverse community of

Merge Sundays | 11:15am | Room 137 Come just as you are and join us for a time of fellow-

ship and prayer as we discuss the sermon and study God’s Word. Together we’ll explore what God is revealing to each one of us. Merge Community Lunch December 9 | 12:30pm | Room 137 The Merge community will be joining together for fellowship and lunch immediately after Merge. Sign up on Sundays to bring a salad or dessert to share.  We hope to see you there!

Foundations a community for young couples ages 22-32 Mason | | ext. 5036 Sundays | 11:15am | Room 130 Join this community of young marrieds and be challenged and encouraged as you work on building a strong and lasting foundation for your marriage. Through a combination of sermon discussion and teaching, friendly mentor couples will help guide us towards making godly decisions and form healthy life-long habits that will strengthen our relationships and help us grow in Christ.

Calvary community Brenda | | ext. 5650 Membership Class February 2 | 9:00am-2:30pm | Room 108 Register at We believe membership in the local church is important. Membership means commitment to learn, to be in community, and to contribute – giving back to God what He so richly gives to us. Come as a family (children 12 and older) or invite those in your community group who aren’t members to join you. Register online or contact Brenda ( at ext. 5650 by January 28. Pre-registration is required. Lunch is provided. Sorry no childcare is available.

December 2012 | | 23

of Eve and can be easily deceived. We believe lies about God, about ourselves and about our families. These lies keep us from the freedom God promises us through Jesus Christ. Claim the Truth and find freedom. Contact Regina if you’re interested in joining this support group.

Monday Night Bible Study Winter Session Begins January 7 - Mondays at 7:00pm Chapel | No pre-registration neceessary Monday Night Bible Study is a place where men and women of all ages meet together throughout the school year to study God’s word, for prayer and for fellowship. This winter, from January 7 to April 15, our study will be The Astonishing Secret to a Joy-Filled Life: A study on the book of Philippians, written by Nancy Samra. In our study of Philippians, we are going to see our faith dressed in everyday work clothes. We are going to gain practical tools to help us reshape our thinking according to God’s ways. The evening begins with men and women each meeting in small groups for about an hour, then for the last half hour, we all meet together in the Chapel until about 8:35. Our teacher, Ed Kaleefey, shares with us additional insights from the lesson for that week. A $5 suggested donation per semester is appreciated to cover materials. You are welcome to join us at any time throughout the year. Women register in room 114 (lower level across from the choir room) and men in room 211 (upstairs near the Chapel). Sorry, no childcare. If you have any questions, men contact Dave Thrasher at 243-6603 and women contact Carol Spencer at 942-4743. Please join us.

Compassion ministries Lou | | ext. 3618 DivorceCare January 8 - April 9 | 6:30-8:30pm | Room 140 | $20 This 13-week seminar, led by people who understand the pain of separation and divorce, will help you recover from the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding your life. For more information or to register, contact Lou DeGraaf.

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DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) January 8 - April 9 | 6:30-8:30pm | Room 143 | $15 Offered simultaneously with DivorceCare, this 13-week class is geared for elementary age children. DC4K provides a safe, neutral and fun place where children learn to understand their feelings, express their emotions appropriately, learn to feel better about themselves, develop coping skills and are introduced to biblical concepts that bring comfort. Childcare will be provided for children birth through preschool. Scholarships are available.

men Lou | | ext. 3618 Men’s Breakfast January 12 | 8:00am | Room 129 | $5 A full, hot breakfast will be served for only $5 (collected at the door). Contact Lou by January 10 at noon to reserve a seat at this month’s breakfast.

Pastoral care Regina | | ext. 3672 GriefShare Workshop January 8 - April 2 | 6:30-8:30pm | Room 207 | $20 This 13-week seminar and support group is led by facilitators who understand what you are experiencing and designed for people grieving the loss of someone close. It will offer you comfort and encouragement during this difficult time as well as give you the opportunity to interact with others who have experienced a recent loss. Please join us. For more information, contact Regina Scovill. Lies Women Believe Begins January 9 | 6:30-8:30pm | Yellow House This is a Nancy Leigh DeMoss study that sheds light on how we can be set free to walk in God’s grace, forgiveness, and abundant life. As women we are all daughters

Life Threatening Illness Support Group Are you or a loved one dealing with cancer or another life threatening or long term illness? Would you benefit from being part of a Christian support group? We are forming a new group to provide a time of sharing and support as well as prayer and encouragement from the Bible. Occasionally we will invite a special speaker to share in an area of expertise. For more information contact Phyllis Tack ( at 243-4603 after 10:00am. Marriage Prep Workshop January 20 and 27 | 1:00-5:00pm | Yellow House We believe it is necessary to know as much as possible about each other going into marriage. It is important to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, as well as faith and fears, in order to build your relationship into all that it can be – into all that God intended it to be. Cost is $50/couple. Contact Regina for more information. Mental Illness Family Support Group The Calvary Mental Illness Family Support Group normally meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month. This year, the fourth Tuesday falls on Christmas Day, so we will not meet, but we wish you a Merry Christmas.  We will resume meeting on January 29.

Prayer Groups Intercessors Prayer Group Wednesdays | 6:45pm | Room 212 Open to anyone who is interested in praying for Calvary Church, its pastors, staff, volunteers, congregation and programming. For details, or to submit prayer requests, contact Nehemiah Prayer Team When Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem needed repair, his first response was to fast and pray for four months. For the past two years, the elders and deacons have been praying and fasting for God’s wisdom concerning our space needs. Now we would like to invite our church family to join us. If you are willing to fast and pray with the elders, please email Sarah Merrill (, and we will add you to a regular prayer update.

Pastor Jim Samra’s Prayer Team People on this team agree to pray daily for the Samras and for the church. Jim sends out weekly prayer requests to the team as well as requests throughout the week when he needs immediate help. Contact Ruth Gudbrandson ( at ext. 5013. Pastors’ Prayer Partners You will receive weekly updates from the Pastoral Staff via email or postal mail. Your obligation is to pray with a team of prayer warriors during one service a month, and pray in your own home regularly for their requests. Contact Arlene Timmer ( at 365-0728.

Quartet will perform a medley for us and Wilma Quist, a humorist, will also present a Christmas program. Punchbowl begins at 10:00, the program starts at 10:20 and then we enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by Calvary’s fine culinary team. Make reservations with Howard & Arlene Timmer at 365-0728, Virginia Claybrook at 940-1807 or Terry & Linda Markham at 247-8619 by November 27. Wednesday Morning Bible Study Wednesdays | 9:30am | Chapel Join us as we study God’s word together. Pastor Jim Samra and Steve Gibson are currently teaching a series on James. Refreshments are served from 9:309:50am, and the study begins promptly at 10:00am.

Prayer & Fasting for the Unemployed Thursdays | 12:00-1:00pm | Chapel Please join us every third Thursday for a time of prayer and fasting for the unemployed.

Special needs Adult/Individuals Elleen | | ext. 5623

Prayer for Worship Services Sundays | 7:45-8:05am (in Jim Samra’s office), 9:159:35am, 10:50-11:10am (in Room 105) You are invited to come pray specifically that God would bless our morning services. All are encouraged to join.

WOW Go-Getters (Adults with Special Needs) Wednesdays | 6:30pm | Chapel

Third Monday Missionary Prayer Bring your lunch and pray for our missionaries serving around the world on the third Monday of each month at 11:30am in room 207.

Senior Adults Regina | | ext. 3672 Confident Caregivers December 17 | 11:30am | Room 123 As a caregiver, do you ever feel alone? Does it seem like no one really understands the burden you’re carrying? Confident Caregivers is a monthly support group for sharing needs, questions, answers and encouragement. Please join us this month for our 11th Annual Christmas Party. Be sure to RSVP by December 13 to Regina. Hymn Sing January 13 | 7:30pm | Chapel Come lift your voices as we rejoice together with the timeless hymns you know and love. Our hymn sing will begin at 7:30pm, following the evening service.  Maury Lehmann will lead us in singing. Monday Monthly Luncheon December 3 | 10:20am | Fellowship Hall | Cost: $7 Join us for fellowship and good food. Calvary’s Staff

SOS Go-Getters (Adults with Special Needs) Sundays | 11:15am | Chapel

Go-Getters for Jesus are a large community of youth and adults with special needs who are eager to serve God and one another. Classes for Adults with Special Needs Wednesdays| 6:00pm Art Class (Room 114): Artistic skill development, in a socially friendly environment, is a regular part of Wednesday evening (during the school year) for any Go-Getter student who would like to attend. Choir (215): Scripture set to music is the focus of this group of Go-Getters. It is a way for those who cannot read to hide the word of God in their hearts. The focus is not on singing ability.

Sign Language (Room 211): The sign language class is open to the larger community of the church. There, students are taught basic communication and the use of signs to praise during worship.

Children and Youth Elizabeth | | ext. 5163 Explorers (Students with Special Needs) Sundays | 11:15am | Room 114 Explorers provides an active, less structured environment where learning takes place using interactive centers based on 52 Bible stories. Seekers (Students with Special Needs) Sundays | 11:15am | Room 112 A calm structured environment for those who learn best with less activity. Adapted curriculum will focus more on learning about God and His love.

Women Elaine | | ext. 5186 The Gathering Place Study Resumes January 15 | 9:00am | Fellowship Hall The Gathering Place has openings! Come and join women of all ages in the Fellowship Hall for coffee, fellowship and a large group program that includes teaching, skits, worship and testimonies.  We then move into small groups for discussion on our study of Moses. An excellent children’s program also teaches the story of Moses.  Bible study resumes on January 15. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) 1st, 3rd & 5th Thursdays | 9:00am | Fellowship Hall MOPS is a place that gets moms. It’s a group of women with children from birth through kindergarten that meets for spiritual enrichment, encouragement, mutual support and fun. We understand your unique needs, challenges and

There is always sunshine above the clouds... Kevin Troupe is the director of Culinary Services and Special Events at Calvary Church. He is husband to Theresa, father to Hannah, Megan, Matthew, Sarah Anne and Isaac. The Troupes are a busy family who enjoy homeschooling their children, being active in church as well as negotiating life with two children who have special needs.They also enjoy allowing God to use them to share their life story of joys and struggles with others. Join the Special Needs Ministry for a special evening with Kevin as he shares the beauty his family has found in the midst of life’s storms.

Wednesday, January 16 | 7:00-8:15pm | Room 211 December 2012 | | 25

joys in this vital season of early mothering. You will be welcomed in our MOPS group just as you are! Register at, at the Sanctuary Information Center or at the Women’s MInistry bulletin board.

Serving opportunities

Looking for Wedding Coordinators Would you like to help make a Christian couple’s wedding day honoring to the Lord and memorable for the couple? Do you enjoy planning the events of a wedding and helping to coordinate the details? If so, we need your help. We need Wedding Coordinators to assist pastors and couples with the ceremony. The Wedding Coordinator helps the bride plan the order of worship, coordinates the rehearsal and assists prior to and during the wedding ceremony. There will be a stipend offered for your time and service. If you are interested in this ministry, please call Lynnell Bok ( for more information and details at ext. 3510. MOPS Childcare Help Needed MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) has a need for child care providers, especially for three to five-year-olds. Providing free, loving childcare is an essential part to the ongoing success of MOPS. Would you consider volunteering occasionally or on a regular basis so moms and kids can hear about Jesus? MOPS meets the first, third and fifth Thursday at 9:00am. Contact Elaine ( at ext. 5186 for more information. Shut-In Ministry If you have a heart of mercy for those who are lonely and compassion for those who are suffering, please prayerfully consider joining the Shut-In Ministry Team. This ministry is dedicated to reaching out to Calvary members who are no longer able to attend church services and functions. For questions, contact Rich Dyer ( Volunteer Opportunity at the Yellow House The Pastoral Care Department is looking for someone who would be interested in volunteering at the Yellow House one to three mornings a week, preferably Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Great interpersonal skills are essential and responsibilities include assisting walk-ins, taking phone calls and other administrative details. Training will be provided. If you’re interested or have questions, please contact Regina to set up an interview at ext. 3672.

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Giving opportunities Lynnell | | ext. 3510 Clothes Closet The seasons are changing and so must the clothing in our clothes closet. We are currently accepting cooler weather items for the whole family: snow boots for men, women and children; coats; snow pants; hats, glove and scarves; warm clothing. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Food Pantry This month we need the following: • Frostings • Butter • Cookie • Cooking oils decorations • Canned pie filling • Assorted baking • Canned fruit ingredients • Spices • Brown and white • Gravy sugar • Fresh & boxed • Powdered sugar potatoes Holiday Food Baskets Be a Christmas blessing by providing a food basket for a Calvary family. Our goal is to provide 80 baskets with special holiday treats for families using the Calvary Food Pantry this year. Food Baskets can be dropped off at the Yellow House Monday, December 3 through Friday, December 14, 8:30am – 5:00pm. Baskets will be delivered on Wednesday December 19. Thank you for bringing Christmas cheer to those in our Calvary Community who need encouragement. Merry Christmas! All items listed in the Giving Opportunities section above can be dropped off at the Yellow House, located behind Calvary on Bradford Street.

December 2012 sun



First Sunday of Advent 6:00pm Arrest These Merry Gentlemen: LUMIN8 Children’s Choir Christmas Musical





10:00am Senior Adults Monthly Luncheon




WFD Menu: Herb Grilled Chicken


7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas


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1:45pm 5th-8th: Project SERVE! 3:00pm & 7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas


Second Sunday of Advent


There’s so much going on at Calvary, we can’t fit it all on this calendar! We’ve only listed a few events for each day so be sure to refer to the web calendar at or the back of the Sunday bulletin for all our recurring weekly activities.






WFD Menu: Yankee Pot Roast


7:00pm College Life: Christmas Edition


7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas

12:30pm Merge Community Lunch


3:00pm & 7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas

3:00pm & 7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas 6:45pm UNITED attends Festival of Lights


Third Sunday of Advent 3:00pm & 7:00pm Festival of Lights: A Time for Christmas


11:30am Third Monday Prayer Confident Caregivers


Fourth Sunday of Advent Church Office Closed Family Service No Children’s or 5:00pm & 10:00pm Student’s Programming Christmas Eve Service


Family Service No Children’s or Student’s Programming


Church Building Closed









WFD Menu: Grilled Ham 7:00pm Young Adult Ministry 7:15pm Worship Night Kids N Action Gingerbread Nativity Night!

No Wednesday Night Programming

Merry Christmas!


December 2012 | | 27

Welcome to calvary church We are so glad you have joined us today. If you’re here for Festival of Lights or our Children’s Christmas Musical, we hope you will come back and join us for our Sunday morning worship services at 8:10, 9:40 or 11:15. We also invite you to join us for our special Christmas Eve service, a night that is sure to bless your whole family. We have identical services at 5:00 & 10:00pm. This is a big church, we know... but you’d be surprised at how quickly you can find your place. All over this page are ways to meet people and get involved in our church. You will find there really is something for everyone at Calvary! Jim Samra Senior Pastor

Need More Info?

Go to the Connection Point located through the Sanctuary doors on the right as you exit (in the Chapel wing) or stop at the Information Center at the back of the Sanctuary. Media Center: For past sermons or a series on CD, the Media Center is located through the Sanctuary doors on the left as you exit (in the Chapel wing). Children’s Activity Boxes: Located inside the Sanctuary doors by the Children’s wing. Explore Calvary This staff-led, four-week class is for people to learn more about Calvary, take a tour of the building and find out what your next steps in connecting may look like. Contact Christy ( at ext. 5615. Pastoral Need If you have a need and would like to speak to a pastor, please call the main church number, 956-9377 or email A pastor is always available.

Sundays at Calvary Connection Point

Our Connection Point is a place where you can receive a warm welcome. Whether this is your first time at Calvary or your sixteenth, the Connection Point is your place for information on connecting at Calvary Church. It is located in the Chapel wing of the building, on your right as you exit the Sanctuary, in room 215.

Calvary Café

9:00am-11:00am in the Gym The Calvary Café is designed to give you the opportunity to mingle with other attendees between services. Stop in for a cup of coffee and a donut. From discussing the morning’s sermon to catching up on your community group leader’s recent vacation, the Calvary Café is a great place to gather for conversation.

Adult Sunday Classes

Find a class that’s perfect for you. There are classes for adults of all ages, stages and interests, from singles to parents to senior adults. For exact location and class descriptions, pick up a copy of the Adult Sunday Classes Guide at the Information Center or at

Special Needs

Adult (Go-Getters): 11:15am *Students (Seekers and Explorers): 11:15am 

Chapel Rooms 112/114

*Pre-registration recommended

Children’s Ministries

Young Fives - Fourth Grade: 9:40am and 11:15am Visit the check-in desk at Entrance K on the lower level to register. Nursery Care: 8:10am, 9:40am and 11:15am For infants birth through preschool. Visit the check-in desk at Entrance M on the upper level to register.

Student Ministries

Middle School (MSM): 9:40am  5th & 6th Main Event (Studying the Life of Jesus) 7th & 8th Main Event (Studying the Life of Jesus) High School (United): 6:00pm (Studying ___ for the Glory of God)

Young Adults

Merge (Singles 22-34): 11:15am  Foundations (Young Couples 22-32): 11:15am College Lunch (Young Adults 18-22): 12:30pm

Room 109 Room 108 Room 108 Room 137 Room 130 Room 121

Community is a place where you belong; a place where you develop relationships with other Christians and do life together. When you experience true community, you have close friends who meet together, pray together, grow together in God’s Word, and care for one another. In community you will be loved; you will be valued; you will be transformed more into Christ’s image. If you realize it is time to engage with people in a new way and want to be a part of a community group, visit the Connection Point on Sunday mornings or contact Brenda Neher (

Calvary Life, December 2012  

News and inspiration from Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, including the program for our 2012 Festival of Lights, "A Time for Christmas."

Calvary Life, December 2012  

News and inspiration from Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, including the program for our 2012 Festival of Lights, "A Time for Christmas."