Above (from Sunday, January 19): Betty Stavely describes emerging from 35 years of shame and struggle and receiving forgiveness and freedom in Christ.
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January 21 2014 at 9:40 am 0 Comments
The process for adding new elders to serve in a non-staff capacity is underway! We encourage every church member to participate in the life and future of our church by praying and submitting your recommendations.
If case you’ve missed any of our communications about non-staff elders, consider this your one-stop shop:
• You can review Kenneth Maresco’s letter from January 9 announcing the process (it’s duplicated below)
• Check out Ben Wikner’s and Kenneth’s sermons on elders
• Read the elder profile (describing elder qualifications and the nomination process).
• Recommend a member who meets the qualifications by using the simple recommendation form.
Don’t forget next Sunday evening’s Members Meeting at 6 p.m. where we’ll continue the discussion about non-staff elders, the Constitution and more. Also bring your thoughts and questions to Coffee and Conversation on February 9.
What a gift to be able to work and serve together as one body in Christ Jesus!
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January 16 2014 at 10:27 am 0 Comments
The Lord is great and mighty! He is proving this to us more and more each day! Thank you again for praying for our team. Our internet is going to be very minimal for the duration of the trip, but we’re doing fine. The Holy Spirit has been with each of the speakers during their messages at churches and the Youth Conference. We finished visiting the villages and some of the children from those villages have been able to come to the conference to hear the Word of God proclaimed - praise the Lord!
The Lord had also been meeting each team member during this trip in powerful ways and it is so clear that the Holy Spirit is abundantly present. We have bonded greatly as a team and he is also faithfully speaking to us individually. Greg [Somerville] has been teaching the pastors, helping them study the Bible and talking to them also about how to better love their wives and their churches. Angel [Cabrera] has been speaking at the Youth Conference about our identity in Christ and the importance of God’s Word. Some of the team members were able to talk to the children about Jesus, play with them and sing songs. Even when they don’t understand exactly what we’re saying, we try to simply love them! We were able to talk to them about Jesus today and put on skits with the help of an interpreter. A few of the team members have been sharing messages and testimonies on the Voice of Kamwenge radio station which reaches about 8 million people! We are also learning Runyankole! Well ... at least we are trying!
The food is also wonderful! Some of the team members have been learning to cook Ugandan food, which really blesses the women to know how much we appreciate and enjoy their culture.
As you pray for us in the coming days, please continue to pray that Light would reign over all darkness. We know that Jesus Christ is stronger than anything and we continue to pray that the will of the Father would be done. Please also continue to pray for the health of the team that we would all be able to sleep enough and be able to pour out more and more love on these people. We have less than a week left here and we want to show Christ to as many as possible. We pray that the Lord would remind us every moment that this is not about us, but all for him. Amen.
Check out the previous days’ updates.
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January 13 2014 at 3:23 pm 2 Comments
Covenant Life staffer and member of the Uganda mission team, Beth Kraatz, has been providing brief daily updates on the work of the team currently partnering with local churches in rural western Uganda. Below are her updates from days 1-4:
Praise God! We have arrived in Uganda without any challenges. Everyone is excited but a bit tired. We plan to have an early dinner and head off to a long awaited sleep. Tomorrow we have a 10-hour bus ride to Western Uganda.
Thank you for your prayers!
We made it to Uganda! We are now at the Kamwenge Guest House resting up and preparing sermons before going out to the village crusade this evening. Last night, we had the privilege of fellowshipping with the pastors and their wives from Moses’ network of churches. As we joined hands with our brothers and sisters, we were made freshly aware that we truly do all have one Spirit in the body of Christ, despite the different languages and backgrounds. We are the children of the living God!
Please keep praying for the abundant and loving presence of the Holy Spirit as we seek to be vessels in the coming hours and days. We have nothing to offer the people of Uganda, but we pray that the Lord would use us to pour out his truth, love, and salvation on them through us. Thank you for your prayers!
Today, the team traveled into the town of Kamwenge for the first crusade held in the town. All of the pastors that we met last night were there to greet us with open arms and smiles. The language barrier is evident at times, but the Lord works and allows us to enjoy each others’ company despite that.
The pastors and their wives led the worship for the small town. Their worship is lively and filled with dancing. There wasn’t a large group of people present, but the voices could be heard through the speakers far across the town. Some of the highlights were the length of the worship and the obvious sensitivity to the Holy Spirit present. Two messages were preached by Rick and Ken, and two testimonies were shared by Carrie and Mike. The Lord led the time and a few people prayed to receive Christ— let us rejoice!
We are also aware of the spiritual battle we face as ambassadors of Christ. During the altar call, the mosque several feet away had a call to prayer. There is a battle for souls, but praise the Lord that He is stronger! Please continue to pray for us, but more importantly that many souls would be rescued from destruction and brought into the eternal light and life in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Tomorrow we will go visit the village churches to preach and encourage the congregations. Not to us, but to the name of Jesus Christ be all the glory!
Thank you for your prayers, church. They have been felt and the Lord has been near. Today has been very eventful. We left at 8 a.m. to visit the village churches in Pastor Moses’ network, and the Holy Spirit was present. The dancing and zealous songs they raise before the Lord are so encouraging to us! The messages also went well by his power, for we have nothing to offer these precious people but the hope that we have been offered.
On a different, more sobering note, we have also experienced a significant amount of demonic opposition today. During prayer for healing in one of the churches this morning, some of the team witnessed a demon being cast out of a baby. Praise the Lord that his parents were saved during the same time! Some of our team members have also been experiencing demonic dreams, and some have been oppressed in their thoughts. We do not say these things to give more weight to the devil than appropriate, but rather to acknowledge that our enemy does indeed prowl around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8,9). We are aware of the fight against darkness in a way most of us aren’t used to, and are aware that we can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5,6).
After returning from the village churches, we all spent an extended time in prayer and afterwards in worship, crying out to the Lord. The Holy Spirit was so present and spoke to each one of us. Please continue to pray for us and for the work that the Lord plans to do in the coming days. Pray that the Lord would guard our hearts from fear: “For we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Also, pray that he would aid us in knowing how to put on his armor (Ephesians 6:10-20). We are only jars of clay that hold a priceless treasure! That is all we have to offer, and that is all of the Lord. Nothing can happen apart from him and his mercy. Thank you for lifting us up in prayer!
“To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19,20).
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January 13 2014 at 10:24 am 1 Comments
(L to R: Chris Perdue, Joshua Harris, Hannah Moore, Katie Barnett,
Andi Alonso, Deborah Banks, Joshua Quinn Harris, Elen Costa,
Caitlin Perdue. Not pictured: Greg Somerville, Corby Megorden)
Over the last two weeks, a small team from Covenant Life has been abroad joining hands with other volunteers to serve an extraordinary group of believers. Believers who look just like us—young couples, single adults, white-haired seniors, children of all ages. They would be quick to tell you that there is nothing special about their faith or testimony.
But these are frontline troops in global outreach. They are penetrating regions of the 10/40 Window that are notoriously resistant to the gospel. By the power of the Word and their witness, over 1,000 people have come to Christ in the past year.
Joshua Harris served as the keynote speaker for this annual gathering of missionaries. He delved into some of the most difficult moments in the lives of Paul, Elijah, and David, urging these workers to press on and never give up. In his final message he turned to Revelation 21 to remind them how the story ends—with the victorious return of Jesus!
Many expressed their appreciation for his messages. These are folks familiar with challenging circumstances. One couple, recently kicked out of the country where they had served for 14 years, prayed with Josh for renewed faith. Others were facing the prospect of not being allowed to return to their home countries at the end of the conference.
Two young men from our worship team as well as the worship pastor from our sister church in Frederick led the singing. By our American standards, it was a small, simple band. But for the participants, who are accustomed to worshipping in small and often remote home settings, the times of praise and worship were tremendously refreshing.
Two of our team members spent two entire days in strategy meetings looking at how to leverage business platforms to minister the gospel in closed countries. Please continue to pray that much fruit will come from Covenant Life’s partnership with these sharp, spiritually-minded professionals who are passionate to see Christ’s fame spread throughout the nations.
Without a doubt, the team members who worked the longest hours under the most challenging circumstances were the five single ladies serving in childcare. For more than six hours a day they cared for 24 three- and four-year-olds (17 of whom were boys). As you can imagine, they had numerous stories of bathroom “accidents” and colorful personalities (like the little boy who alternated between being a Ninja and a Snuggle Puppy). Though totally exhausted by the end of the conference, these ladies were unanimously grateful for the chance to serve these front-line workers, releasing them to soak up the teaching, worship, and fellowship.
As expected, we gained far more than we gave. Hearing the stories of these ordinary but extraordinary saints, seeing their commitment to go to hard places, and rejoicing with them in the reports of gospel advance affected us all. Just like the Apostle Paul, who more than 1,900 years ago crisscrossed this part of the world, they are blazing new trails for the sake of Christ.
It makes us want to follow in their footsteps!
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December 31 2013 at 2:28 pm 0 Comments
This week 52 college students, along with six leaders, gave up five days of their winter break to be inspired and challenged to take the gospel to the ends of the earth at the CROSS conference in Louisville, Ky. It has been such an encouraging time. Speakers like John Piper, Matt Chandler, and David Platt have called us to see the greatness of God, treasure Christ, believe the power of the gospel, and proclaim it in love with confidence from our campuses to the nations. God has truly been at work in our midst. And we can’t wait to get home and tell you all about it!
From the CROSS website: “CROSS exists for the global purpose of magnifying the kingly majesty of Jesus Christ. Our focus is on all the unreached peoples of the world where Jesus is not worshipped as God and Savior. To that end CROSS aims to mobilize students for the most dangerous and loving cause in the universe: rescuing people from eternal suffering and bringing them into the everlasting joy of friendship with Jesus.”
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