Bio, Blog, Story


Originally schooled as an artist, Jay McCarl has served in ministry since 1973, including pastoral ministry at Calvary Chapels in Orange, Napa, San Diego and Auburn, CA. In 1991 Jay founded Calvary Georgetown Divide where his distinctive teaching style reaches people around the world through an array of media outlets including YouTube and Ingenuity Films. He teaches courses and seminars on subjects including eschatology, ancient Middle Eastern logic and semantics, the Book of Revelation and The Life of Messiah at Calvary Bible colleges worldwide, and trains chaplains in crisis response and management. In 1998 he founded Biblical Dinners Ministries, featuring unique presentations of the Last Supper, Biblical Weddings and more, for Bible colleges, retreats and hundreds of churches. He’s an author, speaker, Holy Land tour leader and teacher, short-term missionary and has, as he says, “the best job in the world—making the Bible simple.”

Jay has Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Chaplaincy Ministry and was a Chaplain with Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy for 30 years. He has been married for more than forty years and has four grown children.


So, here I am: pastor of Calvary Georgetown Divide serving folks in the Sierra backwoods. I speak a lot, do Biblical Dinners, Galilean Weddings, teach, preach and more, in amazing places for wonderful people. I’m an author, Law Enforcement Chaplain, Israel tour leader and speaker, teacher, artist, musician, husband and dad. And though it goes without saying, this is my personal blog—the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CGD, PCLEC or anyone but me. There you go.


I despised all things God, Jesus and religion—a 10-year old atheist. My Darwinian indoctrination in grade school had done its work. Then the God-who-wasn’t-there showed up in the form of a classmate wearing a snappy Boy Scout-ish uniform. Whatever organization it was, I wanted in and my friend arranged a ride to the meeting. It was at a church.

The ‘scouts’ were actually ‘Royal Rangers’ and the church was Pentecostal (to put it mildly). My skin crawled. A man with a flattop haircut greeted me warmly, then turned to the boys and said a terrible thing. “Let’s pray.” And they did—twenty young men stood up and began to wriggle and speak in tongues. Horrified. Someone finally said “amen” and they got down to business—and to my dismay, it was fun—so fun, in fact, that I returned the next week—and the next. And that was when Mr. Flat-top knelt in front of me and asked, “Would you like receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” I inexplicably answered, “Why not?” and prayed. The Atheist died.

Two years later my family moved to Southern California. What followed was four years of ugly: violent bullies, coerced academic mediocrity (good grades made one a target), few friends and no Christians. It wasn’t long before I relapsed into serious doubts about God, reasoning that if God existed He didn’t care about people (condition of the world, Vietnam, et al)—or perhaps He just wasn’t there at all—that humanity was consigned to meaningless extinction. So I prayed—and it wasn’t a nice prayer. “God, if you’re there, you’d better prove it, or tomorrow night I’ll leave you forever.” I meant it with resolve.

To my surprise, God showed up again the next morning at gym class in the form of two social rejects.

“You need to come to Campus Life tonight,” they insisted. “No,” I said, “I’m busy.” They insisted and offered me a ride. I was out of excuses. Again (and to my dismay) the meeting was fun and I didn’t want to have fun. Then the leader, a former NFL linebacker, began a peculiar discussion. The subject was hope—not a syrupy, superficial placebo for a troubled world, but a piercing declaration that life held no lasting hope unless it came from Jesus. I was stunned—and prayed again. “OK, God, I’m listening.”

Life changed and High School became filled with the unexpected: evangelism, discipleship, forgiving bullies and being mentored by men like Ray Schmautz, the young John McArthur, Dennis Agajanian and Ben Patterson. After graduation I joined Campus Life staff and pursued college degrees in fine arts and astronomy. Those were the days of the Jesus Movement, and I attended Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and got involved in their many ministries.

To maintain my habit (food) I became a sail-maker until going full-time with YFC. In 1979 I married Kathee Alexander and we relocated to the Napa Valley to assist at a big church that self-destructed two years later. Following a brief sojourn in San Diego I took a position at Calvary Chapel in Auburn, CA, and two years later we planted a church near Cool, CA, where I’ve pastored ever since. Cool. Really.

The subsequent years have been my most exhilarating, exhausting and fulfilling—I’m breathless and blessed. Above all, my love for Jesus still grows—He’s still everything to me. He forgave my sins and taught me to forgive, chased me down when I ran and took me down when I got cocky. He cared when I didn’t, stayed faithful when I wasn’t and loved me when I hated. I am His forever.

Maybe He’s chasing you, too. Let Him catch up—He won’t hurt you. He saves.

As a friend wrote once wrote,

“You’re on the ride of your life,
Only God knows where you’re headed;
Sit down, hold tight,
You’ll go places you never imagined;
Through the ups and downs, twists and turns,
Trust me,
It’ll be quite a ride…”

It has. Thanks for checking in.


7 thoughts on “Bio, Blog, Story”

  1. Hi Jay, my name is Miguel. I met you back in 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya. I was part of a small missions team from Calvary Chapel Golden Springs. We were invited to a small church in Nairobi where you gave a talk about the last supper. I never forgot it because it blessed my soul. My buddy and I often greet each other as you described in your talk. I was wondering if you have any resources or perhaps a video of that sermon that I can purchase or find online?

    God bless you,



    1. Hello Miguel,

      Blessings on you, brother! Great to hear from you and thank you for your encouraging words. If you send me your shipping address, I will send you the video and my books, yours to keep. The one entitled “Broken Bread” is all about the Last Supper. May the Lord bless you in all you do as you serve Him.



    2. Dear Jay,
      A friend was discussing some things written in your book “The Best Day Forever: Jesus…”. Could you tell me your experience/credentials regarding ancient Israelite practices. Where did you learn it?
      Thank you.
      William Sebastian


      1. Hello William,

        Great to hear from you and thank you for writing. Glad you have a copy of The Best Day of Forever—it’s currently out of print, but as I write it’s being reprinted under the title, “Before the Wrath” as a companion book to a new video documentary of the same name. The PR on the documentary was handled by the producers, which overstated my credentials. I am not an anthropologist or archeologist, but I have been extensively involved in the study and teaching Biblical culture, customs and semantics for the past twenty-five years and have been told by the credentialed that it is all spot-on (and for which I am both grateful and relieved). My educational pursuits were originally fine art and astronomy, and due to unforeseen life-changes I earned bachelors and masters degrees in chaplaincy ministry. My great interest in Biblical anthropology has taken me to the Middle East upwards of forty time, where I have led study tours of Biblical/archeological sites, taught the same subject matter in Israel-based colleges (including several in Latin and South America and Europe) and been both guided and affirmed by professors of Hebrew Studies from Hebrew University Jerusalem, Belfast Bible College and more. My most significant influences have been Dr. Jim Fleming (whom I have not met in person), Dr. Rachel Roubin, post-grad professor (ret.) of Hebrew studies at Hebrew University, author Gayle Erwin along with extensive contact with Bedouin Arabs in both Jordan and Israel.

        As to where I got the data, great question, long answer. Here is a link to a ‘brief’ explanation that includes the final chapter of the book and a revised bibliography: Among my favorite resources are various Bible-background commentaries (Zondervan and IVP) and the works of Kenneth E. Bailey, Dr. Jim Fleming, Henri Daniel-Rops and Prof. Robert Garland (lectures). Of course, the best course is ‘boots-on-the-ground’ and first-hand conversations with people who still practice forms of the ancient customs and use the same logic as is found in the Bible: the Bedouins. Hope this helps.



  2. Good day Jay,

    I recently heard about your ministry of biblical dinner trug Bridgewater Church, as well as my mother and brother through Classical Conversations. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the class but was lent youth broken bread book. Loving it. I’m one that has been periodically researching hebraic roots of Christianity so I love what you’re teaching. I saw the Bible question above and was curious if you’ve ever had of the one new man Bible. That’s the one I read, switched from NASB. Just curious and wanted to reach out. Have a great day!


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