We hope you will be encouraged by reading this recent letter the Good Samaritan Advocates team received from a beneficiary of their services. Praise God for the difference this work is making in our community!
“I just want to tell you that because of you and the GSA team, it feels like heaven here on earth. Your sacrificial giving of your time and talent on a Saturday morning free of charge just to help people is very rare in this world. I was deeply touched by the passion and diligence that the team I was assigned to on January 19 put forth in handling my case. It felt like [these servants] were angelic beings! The prayers and everything they did for me availed so much, and miracles occurred in that room that day.
For several months I could not find a neurologist who participated in the insurance I had. This team found one, and I had an appointment with her on January 29. She did not order a bone scan, as she does not treat work injury cases, but she examined me for the ongoing neurological symptoms affecting me. May God do for you and the team as written in Matthew 25:31-40. Thank you so much for your labor of love for others.”
GSA conducts clinics in Gaithersburg and Falls Church, Va. Visit the GSA website for more information.
August 12 2012 at 6:13 pm 8 Comments
Pastor Erik Sheffer sent the letter below to the members under his care last week. We hope it encourages your soul, too!
When was the last time you had a fresh encounter with our living God? If you are like me, sadly, these aren’t every day occasions. These moments are rare. And I want to share one with you to remind you that he does speak, personally and intimately still.
But first I want to remind us that they need not be rare. God is speaking powerfully right now. God is fully present right now. It’s our hearts, our seeing and hearing that is the problem. Romans 1:19-20 says,
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
So my prayer that I have been crying out to God is for him to help us truly see him and hear him, which I believe will lead us to love and worship him. How can a heart that has seen or heard the voice of God not melt before him?
Ok, so now the story I wanted to share. My newborn daughter, Jubilee, was in the NICU for a few days after her birth before I finally got the phone call from my wife, Jerusha, that she was ready to be discharged. As I was driving in, excited, yet weary, I thought I’d listen to a song to refresh me and help me worship with a grateful heart. I remembered the Sara Groves song, “He Has Always Been Faithful,” and than remembered I purchased her new album a while back, “Invisible Empires.” I really never listened to it, but the song, “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize,” grabbed my attention so I began to play it. What a great song!
Again, picture me 10 minutes away from Shady Grove Hospital ready to pick up Jubilee and Jerusha hearing this song. Without giving any specifics of the song away (you have to listen to it!), the way the song ends (the last 30-45 seconds, so you can skip to it if you don’t have 3 minutes) reminded me that God still speaks … not just corporately, but personally and intimately. He knew exactly what I needed at that moment AND I had the grace to slow down, listen, and worship.
Let’s keep praying for God to speak powerfully in and through our lives today, for he is a consuming fire!
Grateful to be your pastor,
July 3 2012 at 12:32 pm 0 Comments
Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16 that Christians are the salt and light of the world. Last Sunday in church we got to hear from several members of Covenant Life who are living examples of this passage. We’ll be revisiting their stories over the next couple weeks with the hope that you will be encouraged by the work of God through people in our church.
Mark Mitchell challenged us all to pray about how we could share the love of Christ to those hurting and in need. Several of the highlighted ministries, as well as similar ones that we didn’t have time to include, would love to have more people join them in serving and reaching the world. Please use this list to pray for these ministries as well as to consider how God may be calling you to be salt and light.
Celestial Manna | Jason and Jennifer Cloutier
Celestial Manna lives out the love of God by providing food and clothing for those in need and by preserving resources that may otherwise go to waste. Their volunteers pick up extra food from stores and distribute them to anyone who needs it.
Good Samaritan Advocates | Chip Grange
Good Samaritan Advocates provides legal counseling to those who cannot afford it. Their teams include lawyers and non-lawyers who have a heart to “neighbor strangers.”
Local Missions | Todd Keeler
The Local Missions ministry spends one week each summer offering Christian day camps for children in several neighborhoods near the church. The goal is to love our neighbors through serving, developing friendships, and sharing biblical truth as they combine service projects with intensive, relational ministry.
Redemption Ministry | Denny Cook
Redemption Ministry is a twelve-step program that ministers to people with addictions. Those involved get a front row seat in God’s work of transforming lives and freeing people from slavery to sin.
Shady Grove Pregnancy Center | Susan Veirs
Shady Grove Pregnancy Center provides counseling and practical help to women with unintended pregnancies. Women receive a listening ear and truthful information about their options. The Center not only helps women to choose life for their babies, but they also help these women transition to motherhood.
Washington Square Tutoring | Becky Faherty
Second through fifth graders in a neighborhood near the church need help in reading and math. This tutoring group works with kids both in the summer and the school year to help them with their homework and take them through a supplemental curriculum.
Women’s Shelters | Vania Carneiro
There are several local shelters that help homeless women by providing a place to live and spiritual truth from the Bible.
If you’d like to be put in touch with one of these ministries, please fill out the form below. When submitted, the form will be sent to the point of contact for the ministry you selected and the LINK team with cc to you.
June 30 2012 at 8:40 pm 0 Comments
We were blessed to get to speak with several new members and create a brief video of their remarks for New Members Sunday, June 24. We hope you’ll be encouraged by hearing how Christ is at work in each of their lives.
May 21 2012 at 4:39 pm 0 Comments
Covenant Life member Ryan Tiren recently wrote this note to thank and encourage the Business Transition Network (BTN) ministry for helping him find new employment. BTN is a ministry outreach of Covenant Life that works to assist job seekers with tools for their job searches. Let’s give glory to God for BTN and other ministries that are serving the job-seekers in our midst!
The Lord really used this time of unemployment to help me clarify and focus in on what I really wanted to do. I had general ideas of where I was skilled that really needed to be refined and specified. Utilizing important faith-based organizations like BTN and the Career Network Ministry was crucial—each provided a number of resources for me to take advantage of, allowing me to make my resume more impactful, take full advantage of LinkedIn networking, and explore vocational sites like SIGI3. These means of grace were so instrumental in my job search. Thank you, Jesus, for these ministries!
I am now doing exactly what I wanted to do—working as an Operations Manager. God used this time not only to provide me with a wonderful job, but grow me along the way. I had no choice but to turn to him (always the best thing to do!), drawing closer to my Savior and allowing my wife and me to build our faith for his provision and goodness. We are so grateful for all the prayers that were lifted up on our behalf; the Lord does hear us and has a perfect plan laid out with perfect timing. Thank you again to everyone at BTN for your consistent care and for laying down your lives for this important community of the unemployed.
January 14 2012 at 9:50 am 2 Comments
Here are more thoughts from church members in connection with our “Reading the Bible For All Its Worth” series, currently in progress. We asked people to send in brief stories describing how they have been affected through Bible reading, study, meditation and/or memorization. They are shared by permission. The first installment ran earlier this week.
... I’m currently 17 years old. As a church kid, I’ve heard the gospel a million times but never really gotten into the Bible. To be honest, it seemed kind of boring. My parents encouraged me to read the Bible every day, so I could spend time with God to know him better. I obeyed my parents, and as I read the Bible my attitude toward God’s Word gradually began to change. I had so many questions and prayed to God to show me those answers that I could find by myself. I wanted to know the Bible more, so my parents encouraged me to go to Bible classes. God began filling me with the Holy Spirit, and reading the Bible didn’t seem boring—it was awesome! The more I read the Bible, the more of my questions started to be answered. Never take God’s Word for granted, or treat it like a chore to check off your list. It will bless your life if you continue to read it carefully. Thank you. —Andrew Payne
I was brought up in a non-Bible believing church that dismissed much of Scripture as allegory. Even though I didn’t accept what the church said, there was so much of the Bible that I didn’t understand. It seemed like such a big book and it wasn’t written in a simple, orderly manner. I found it confusing and overwhelming. I was also discouraged by my walk with the Lord – up and joyous one minute and down and disappointed the next. I knew that something was very wrong, that something had to change, but didn’t know what or how. As I desperately cried out to the Lord for help, God began to speak to me and told me that my problem was that I didn’t know His whole counsel. He said I was picking and choosing various Scriptures that I liked and trying to live my life by them. I thought, “Wow, can anyone know the whole counsel of God?” God let me know that He wrote it all out in His Word and He wanted me to read the whole Bible. He later brought across my path a reading through the Bible plan that takes three years—this has been an AMAZING thing in my life, and I am now on the 10th cycle of this plan. Because I read such a small amount each day, I have time to meditate on it, look up words I don’t know, or even read a commentary. I am not rushed and know that I am literally spending time with Him. I can now see that the whole Bible is His love letter to His people, and we have the most awesome God and the brightest future.
I am currently going through a program to read through the Bible in a year. I am proud to say I’m almost done – but I started the program almost three years ago. There have been many mornings where I’ve told my wife I’m going to spend lunch time fasting and reading God’s word, and she has found me in the kitchen around noon sitting down to a big late of food and reading the newspaper. At times I get discouraged thinking about how I’ve failed to hold up my end of the bargain when it comes to my relationship with God. But in those moments I’ll read something like Romans 3 that reminds me that my righteousness and acceptance with God has nothing to do with my performance! One of the biggest benefits I’ve found in my interaction with God’s living Word has been through my prayer life, as I’ve learned to do more listening and less talking. —Jim Lutz