Good morning. Let me first start off by saying thank you to everyone that filled out an application and dedicated their time to serving in DL this September. I greatly appreciate you volunteering, and I wanted the current volunteers that have been working this past year to be encouraged as well. Thank you, it is truly making a difference in these kids, my kids, lives. Just last week I was teaching the main session for the 1st -5th graders and was prompted by the curriculum to quiz everyone through the use of a game. So, I set up the game and began to ask these questions to the crowd to respond with a true or false answer. Let me just read these off: Not only did I get the right answer from the children, they resoundingly gave the corrected answers to the false questions! This blessed me greatly. Not only that but my 4 year old girl is starting to retell the story of Saul and king David and how they obeyed or disobeyed God. This was an amazing set up for me to take the conversation to Jesus and present the gospel. That is so important to me. So thank you to all who have served and brought all the children into contact with the gospel and Jesus.
It is because of stories like these that I believe what we are doing in DL is a good thing for our church and for the people that walk through the door on Sunday morning that are not members. The gospel is being taught. Here is a number that I thought is important to share; did you know that around 50% of all the children that went to DL this past year were in fact children of guests. So it is not just about serving ourselves, we are a front where the gospel is being shared to people visiting our church.
So, I wanted to give everyone a progress update on current commitments to make all this happen again next year. We are currently around 35% of volunteers we need to keep the lights on and the programs running back there. We need 400 volunteers and or we are looking at downsizing by the end of July. Its July because we would need to redesign the ministry to ensure the safety and effectiveness. So if you holding on to your application please turn that in to help us avoid downsizing the program. Just to give you some perspective of how big of a ministry it is, if you would take a look at this section of the congregation. This section represents around 400 people. That is the average of people that occupy DL right now. On average we have 300 children and 75-100 adults back there every Sunday.
That is why we need you to consider signing up. And just so we are clear, bulk of people that have already signed up to serve are parents with kids. The gap that we are experiencing needs to be filled with singles; it needs to be filled with empty nesters; it needs to be filled with seniors; it needs to be filled with young married couples. This is our need. We need you to volunteer to serve one Sunday a month for the next year starting September to ensure these stories and gospel opportunities keep going. Our church is and will be a place where young families can come to hear about Jesus and feel served.
Will you consider? Thank you.
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July 6 2016 at 9:18 am 0 Comments
By the end of JOY Camp approximately 70 kids heard the Gospel. Some of these kids have been coming to camp every year since it began, some came for the first time this year. But all had Gospel seeds planted this week.
At the beginning of the week the kids had a difficult time opening up to the youth during one-on-one partner time, and tended to get off topic. But by the end of the week, kids were opening up, asking deep questions about Jesus and the Gospel, and taking in every second of what they were learning. Some youth were able to remind kids of the Gospel and pray with them to receive forgiveness. Other youth watched as kids prayed silently and trusted that God was working.
JOY Camp is more than just a one week a year vacation bible school. The kids we encounter this week cherish every moment we spend with them and eagerly await the following summer. They love the little things that the youth do with them. From making friendship bracelets, to playing board games, to giving endless piggy-back rides, to participating in all the crazy dance moves for worship, the kids are shown the love of Christ and realize the youth aren’t “too cool” to hang out with them. One kid, during one-on-one partner time, said that when she grew up she wanted to be just like the CLC youth volunteer and wanted to work at JOY Camp.
The Gospel impact we make during this week is wonderful, but what if we could make that impact all year long? Here are some ways where CLC is currently involved in making a Gospel impact in our community.
If you would like to get involved in any of these outreaches, please contact Todd Keeler. Thank you for praying for us this week.
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June 21 2016 at 12:46 pm 1 Comments
This week about 50 youth and adults from Covenant Life Church are immersed in a community mission "trip" called JOY Camp. The three sites are Laytonia (across the street from the church), nearby Camp Hill Apartments (a few minutes down Washington Grove Road), and South Lake Elementary School (near Lake Forest Mall).
We meet together at the church everyday to pray, worship, study God’s Word, share meals, plan for the day, and go out into the community to provide a free Christian day camp.
JOY Camp is an informal Vacation Bible School with the purpose of sharing the love and truth of Christ through songs, crafts, skits, Bible teaching, Scripture memory, one-on-one conversation, and friendship. Our theme for this year is STAND UP! As we teach lessons from the book of Daniel, we will share the gospel with the kids and teach them that we can have courage to stand up for what’s right because of who Christ is and what He has done.
We would love for you to join us in this mission by praying for:
- Our team, that we would be good ambassadors for Christ and for strength to persevere;
- The gospel to continue to spread in our community;
- Ask God if He wants YOU to get involved with some of the ongoing ministries in our community
- The ESOL ministry at South Lake Elementary School – offering English classes to reach the nations with the gospel
- JOY Club provides childcare for the ESOL ministry and serves as a follow up to JOY Camp, so the relationships we form this coming week can continue.
Thanks so much for partnering with us in prayer!
—Andi Alonso (on behalf of the Joy Camp team)
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June 20 2016 at 1:31 pm 0 Comments
Several folks asked for a transcript of Tim Harvey's pastoral prayer this past Sunday, so we share it here:
Gracious Heavenly Father, we come before you this morning to agree with your evaluation of us, spoken through your prophet Isaiah. Like the people of Isaiah’s day, we have rebelled against your laws and forsaken your ways, both inwardly and outwardly. So we come before you as your people to confess our many sins.
Lord, we have raised up other gods before you in our hearts and our lives, idols that we have looked to for joy and hope and meaning more than we have looked to you. And our idols are many – they are entertainment and social media where we have run for refuge and for joy rather than to you. Even your good gifts like work and family and children and marriage and friendships we have exalted as other gods above you by running after them and holding on to them as our ultimate sources of joy and hope instead of you.
Lord, we have disregarded and dismissed things of eternal value – the wonderful treasures of your word and of deep fellowship with your people – in favor of things that will not last – entertainments and diversions, or even a few more minutes of sleep.
We have prayed more for our own kingdoms and our own comfort than for your kingdom.
Lord, we have failed to love our brothers and our sisters as we ought to. We have made harsh judgments in our hearts without knowing or even caring about their situations. We have distanced ourselves from those in need, we have been too afraid or too concerned with our own comfort to embrace the hurting, the desperate, and the difficult people around us.
We have sought to be proven right more than we have sought to be loving.
And Lord, these things have come about because we have looked first to ourselves rather than to you. We’ve trusted in our own strength and wisdom and become fearful when those fail us. We’ve chased after our own comforts only to find those comforts are ruling over us.
And so we turn to you, Lord. We turn to you to ask your forgiveness for our many sins. And we turn to you to thank you for the great forgiveness that you purchased at such a cost – by turning your back on your own son as he died – and yet that you offer to us for free. We turn to you to rejoice that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, that you have set us free from the sin that once enslaved all of us.
And we turn to you, Lord, to cry out for your help to turn aside from our sinful ways and to live in a way that pleases you. We cry out, Lord, that you would give us not just an outward form of obedience, but that you would change our hearts. Take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh that are tender toward your ways. Fill us with your perfect love that casts out fear. And turn our eyes away from ourselves, away from the foolish idols that fill our view, to see more and more your kingdom and your glory.
We pray in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave himself for us,
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May 17 2016 at 3:38 pm 0 Comments
On Sunday, P.J. Smyth interviewed Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett who shared about his journey from abject poverty in Louisiana, to college, law school, and ultimately, public service. Ike offered warm words of encouragement for getting involved in serving those in need in our community.
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April 18 2016 at 12:56 pm 0 Comments
Shared courtesy of Keith Welton’s blog “Everyday Truth.”
We all want to grow more mature and deeper in our walk with God, but often we just don't see the fruit that we would like. The Puritan minister Thomas Boston has some great tips for understanding growth.
Boston first points out "the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon (Psalm 42:12). Using the image of a tree growing he gives the following helpful instructions.
If all true Christians are growing ones; what do we say of those who instead of growing, are going back? I answer, there is a great difference between the Christian growing simply and his growing at all times. All true Christians do grow, but I do not say they grow at all times. A tree that has life and nourishment, grows to its perfection, yet it is not always growing; it grows not in the winter. Christians also have their winters, wherein the influence of grace, necessary for growth, are ceased... but they revive again, when the winter is over, and the Son of righteousness returns to them with his warm influence.
Boston also give two tips to those who mistakenly measure their growth by 1) their present feeling and 2) their growth in the top and not the root. To these he says,
1) Those judging by their present feeling. They observe themselves and cannot perceive themselves to be growing: But there is no reason to conclude they are not growing. Should one fix his eye so steadfastly on the sun running its race, or on a growing tree, he would not perceive the sun moving nor the tree growing. But if he compares the tree as it now is, with what it was some years ago, and consider the place in the heavens, where the sun was in the morning; he will certainly perceive the tree grown and the sun moved.
2) Those measuring their growth by advances in the top only not of the root. Though a man be not growing taller, he may be growing stronger. If a tree be taking with the ground, fixing itself in the earth, and spreading out its root; it is certainly growing, although it be nothing taller than formerly. So also a Christian may want the sweet consolation and flashes of affection, which sometimes he has had, yet if he is growing in humility, self denial, and sense of needy dependence on Christ he is a growing Christian.
We may have seasons where we are not growing as we might hope or think, but sometimes there is a deep internal work going on. Maybe we are growing stronger in convictions or spreading roots deeper. Those may be the winters that precede the growing season and the harvest. Don't be discouraged by them!
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