“The simple generosity of Covenant Life opening their building has left a huge ripple effect for the ministry, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and people coming to know Christ around the globe,” said Maryland State Director of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Mark Stephens, after another successful FCA sports camp at Covenant Life this past June.
If you happened to be at the church during the week, you would have seen hustling lacrosse sticks and whizzing footballs in the fields, soaring volleyballs and squeaking basketball shoes in the gyms, and teetering cartwheels and running flips in the lobby. At this “All In” Power Camp, about 200 eight to thirteen year-olds, 50 high school small group “huddle” leaders, and 50 adults participated.
Four people from Laos, Singapore, and Korea also came to observe, learn, and be trained to lead these camps in their own countries.
“These guys are pumped up. They are really going to go back and do something. There’s gonna be an incredible ripple effect from this camp,” Stephens shared. “This FCA camp at Covenant Life Church is a model for the world.”
A Vietnamese sports ministry leader came out to shadow Stephens a couple years ago and went on to lead two FCA camps in Taiwan and two in Vietnam. Since then, others have come for training: Reon from Singapore, Philip from Malaysia, and Suttisak from Thailand.
“Vietnamese kids left by the wayside that no one was going to interact with, kids who get one bowl of rice a day and have only the t-shirt on their back, were shown the love of Christ through sports,” Stephens shared.
“I was a pastor for 15 years,” Stephens said. “Sometimes as a church you think, ‘Oh, we’ll be nice and loan someone our building and not charge rent. We’ll do a good deed.’ This church has no idea the positive impact that it has made on this community and worldwide by their generosity of opening their doors. “
He shared that the hundreds of people who have come through Covenant Life’s doors for FCA camps have nothing but positive things to say about this church.
“Whether it’s the location, or the kindness, or how the staff works with us, it just keeps getting better… I’m forever grateful for the partnership that we have with Covenant Life and how they’ve supported us,” Stephens said. “I consider them friends, not just partners.”
“It’s been incredible to be here,” said camp director Hannah Cheung. “Churches don’t usually have three gyms and a couple fields. The facility has been perfect for the camp. It’s the smoothest camp I’ve done in six years.”
The Laos pastor explained that in Laos, where 98% of the seven million people are Buddhist, “the problem is getting the people to come to the church—they will not come.” He is a part of the 2%.
While there are camps all across America, he has never seen a camp in Laos. His kids never attended camps. They’re not a part of the culture. He said, “So, we are trying to find new ways to share the good news. To do a sports camp is one of best ways. When we ask people to come to play soccer, they come. That’s why I came here. To learn, see, and experience the camp and how they do it here.”
When he heard about FCA, he was excited. “You can share the good news to the non-believer and build the relationship between the kids and God through the sports camp, so it’s a very powerful way to do a camp to reach the people, to share Christ, and to build up the faith of a believer.”
“Please pray for us,” he said. “ We would love to have sports ministry in all 700 hundred churches to reach out to the young generation.”
In Korea, when it comes to sports, “We are a top down, Olympian level, high profile level,” explained Korean FCA director, Olympian Committee member, and Taekwondo master Hyung don Jung (Lion is his English name).
When he returns from observing this camp, Lion hopes to focus on high school level athletes. He has sensed discouragement in sports for young people who are not interested in high profile achievement. He wants to encourage them to come together and play.
“FCA is an important thing. They really love Christ,” Lion said. “Your church is doing great things. Nationality, race, everything is overcome for the sake of the kingdom. Everyone is for the same kingdom here. It will be a great influence on the next generation.”
Stephens shared how after the first day, a mom and son were walking out when she asked how his day was, he said, “Mom, I love this camp.”
“That’s what we want,” Stephens said, tearing up. “We want kids to keep coming back. They’re gonna come back if they love it, and they’ll love it if they get loved.”
“All for the glory of God. That’s the important thing,” Lion said. “ ‘All In’ for the kingdom.”
Photo Credit - MOCO FCA
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June 9 2014 at 4:02 pm 4 Comments
Jenn Harvey leads the church’s English for Speaker’s of Other Languages (ESOL) Ministry, re-launched just over a year ago. Here is an exciting report she shared, just one of the ways God is at work in our community:
Last April we held an Easter celebration at one of the sites where we offer adult English classes, South Lake Elementary School. Despite pouring rain that evening, close to 30 students and their families came out and were able to hear the gospel clearly proclaimed, as well as have a chance to deepen friendships with the volunteer teachers from Covenant Life.
After reading 1 Peter 3:18 together in seven different languages, a short skit portraying how Christ cleansed us by taking our sins upon himself was presented. The evening ended with everyone sharing food from their countries that the students and teachers had brought.
During that time, many new connections were made and existing friendships strengthened. I had the opportunity to talk with a Muslim student from Bangladesh and her high-school-aged daughter, and share at length with her daughter about the effect that having a relationship with God has had on my life.
Here is another testimony from that night shared by Geney Harvey, another ESOL teacher:
On Monday night, as everyone was lining up to get food, I looked around for someone to chat with and saw an African woman by herself.
I went over and introduced myself and as we began to talk, it became clear that she had very minimal English skills. I asked if she spoke French and when she said yes, I began to try to talk with her with my limited French.
The Lord helped us to communicate and in the course of the conversation she told me that this was her first night attending and that she has been in the U.S. for 10 months and still has not found a job. She was very discouraged and was very concerned about how she was going to keep on providing for herself and her four children.
I told her how some of us prayed for one of the other students in my class (who is also from Africa) to find a job and that last week the Lord provided one for him. I asked if I could pray for her, and she very willingly agreed and acknowledged that only God could really help her.
I prayed for her, and it seemed that it encouraged her just to have someone show that they cared. Could you all join me in praying that the Lord would provide a job for her and that he would use this difficulty in her life to draw her to himself?
Thank you for partnering with us in praying for the gospel to reach every tribe, language, people, and nation through the ESOL ministry!
Find out more about us and how you can get involved at the ESOL LINK page.
photo credit: Pam Wilbur
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April 25 2014 at 2:25 pm 0 Comments
It’s hard to believe that our Women of the Word conference with Kathleen Nielson is only two weeks away! I hope you can hear a bit of Kathleen’s passion for digging into the treasure of God’s Word in the above video clip. I also hope you will enjoy this third testimony by Yvonne Wyzga.
I first heard Kathleen Nielson teach during the introductory session of the women’s track of the Simeon Trust online course that I am currently taking. I was inspired by her passion for the Word and her ability and credentials to effectively instruct from it. Once I heard her, I was determined to order any Bible study assists she may have written!
I was pleased to see that her Bible study workbook was suggested as an optional companion to Covenant Life’s monthly women’s Bible time called Women at the Well. I have been using her study on Colossians and Philemon for the past six months and have received priceless biblical insight, understanding, and thought provoking questions to help me in interpretation and application of those books.
Through Kathleen’s guidance, I have been challenged to look thoroughly into a book of Scripture and have seen the glory of God the Father and his Christ revealed in the book of Colossians. The questions and tools given to understand original meaning have helped me to better apply the Scriptures to a contemporary context. I am more careful to make sure I understand the original emphasis, aim, and context before receiving someone else’s interpretation and application of Scripture or before speaking it to others. I have grown in appreciation for the beauty and greatness of God’s revelation and provision to man, and it makes me want to seek Him and follow Him all the more.
I’m happy to see that resources are being given to women to interpret the Scriptures, and I hope you will join me and your sisters in Christ as we learn together May 9-10!
Women’s Ministry Director
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April 10 2014 at 8:48 am 0 Comments
I hope you enjoyed the brief excerpt above. For an entire teaching by Kathleen Nielson, visit the Christian Conventions website for a recent message she gave on Rahab.
Here are comments I received about Kathleen’s teaching from Amanda Welton:
I have seen God grow my faith in so many ways through Kathleen’s Bible studies and ultimately His Word! After reading her book, Bible Study: Following the Ways of the Word, and attending a seminar with her on biblical exposition, I was anxious to dig into the Word more deeply. In fact, I have now gone through four of her Bible studies with a group of friends in my neighborhood!
Last summer, we went through her Colossians study, and each time we met I was more deeply amazed at God’s grace through Jesus Christ and how he has made his church to function! We would start talking and we would begin to see how the Spirit had spoken differently to each of us to give us a fuller picture of what He was saying in His Word! And truly I saw happen in our little group of ladies what Paul had desired for the Colossians: “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)
I so appreciate Kathleen’s studies because she doesn’t give her opinions or spoon-feed you answers, but she has questions that make you dig and think. She also links the passage you’re studying to the rest of the Bible, so you see how cohesive God made his word! I’ve always “known” God is the same God as He was in the Old Testament, but when I went through her Joshua study I really saw it! I am looking forward to hearing Kathleen teach at our upcoming conference in May and to gain a better understanding of the Psalms through it. I know that you too will benefit from her gift of teaching and interacting with God’s Word!
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October 17 2012 at 11:50 am 0 Comments
Register now for The Gospel at Work conference, coming to Covenant Life January 11-12, 2013. The conference was born out of a desire to help Christians think and live differently in the workplace. If you work a 9 to 5, will someday be working a 9 to 5, or are in between working a 9 to 5, this conference is designed for you and will build you up.
Come and be taught and encouraged by Os Guinness, Mark Dever, Bob Doll, Michael Lawrence and more fine speakers.
Despite the fact that most Christians spend half of their waking lives at work, most have been taught very little on Sunday mornings about how to apply the truths of the gospel to the practicalities of their Monday to Friday work life. It is not uncommon for Christian professionals to hold an undeveloped, if not flat-out unbiblical, theology of work.
The conference will address questions like:
• What is God’s purpose for my work?
• How does the gospel change my work?
• How does applying the truths of the gospel help me manage differently?
• How does a Christian strategize and plan his or her career?
We hope you’ll make plans to attend. Register online and begin to pray that God would be glorified, that employees would be built up, and that our workplaces will be an area of extraordinary, gospel-centered, faithful and fruitful living. Visit thegospelatwork.com to learn more.
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September 28 2012 at 10:53 am 0 Comments
After his sermon this past Sunday, “Fasting: Awakening Hunger for God”, Josh mentioned that he would provide appropriate resources on the topic of fasting. We pray the following three books, all available in the church bookstore, will be of value as you seek to understand and apply fasting in your Christian walk.
A Hunger for God by John Piper:
• “As an act of faith, Christian fasting is an expression of dissatisfied contentment in the all-sufficiency of Christ. It is an expression of secure and happy longing for the all-satisfying fullness of Christ … Christian fasting is not self-wrought discipline that tries to deserve more from God. It is a hunger for God awakened by the taste of God freely given in the gospel.” (pg. 44)
• “The burden of Isaiah 58 pervades the ministry of Jesus—and more and more it should pervade our ministry as well.” (pg. 131)
God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis:
• “Fasting is a God-appointed means for the flowing of His grace and power that we can afford to neglect no longer … The fast of this age is not merely an act of mourning for Christ’s absence, but an act of preparation for His return.” (pg. 32)
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life; Chapter 9: “Fasting…for the Purpose of Godliness” by Donald Whitney:
• “We cannot use fasting as a way to impress God and earn His acceptance. We are made acceptable to God through the work of Christ Jesus, not our work. Fasting has no eternal benefit for us until we have come to God through repentance and faith.” (pg. 165)
•“God will bless a biblical fast by any of His children. And whether or not you receive the blessing you hope for, one thing is sure: if you knew what God knew, you would give yourself the identical blessing that He does. And none of His rewards is worthless.” (pg. 178)
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