Church Blog

David Platt’s Encouragement and Sermon

June 9 2015 at 1:52 pm 0 Comments

Last Sunday, guest speaker David Platt, President of the International Missions Board, shared a stirring message on the biblical call for Christians to share the gospel with unreached peoples around the globe. But before his sermon, Platt had a powerful word of encouragement for the members of our church. Here you can review both Platt's word of encouragement and his sermon as a whole.

Learn more about upcoming, short-term missions trips on the Serving Our World page. Also discover how you can get involved in serving our community by visiting our Local Missions page.

Encouragement to Covenant Life:

David Platt: "We Owe the Gospel to the Nations" (Romans 1:1-17)

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Nations Nearby | Part 10 | Respectfully Ready

May 18 2015 at 2:32 pm 1 Comments

Respectfully Ready
by Almasih Kahdost

It was my first time visiting the home of a friend and he was showing me around his suburban townhouse. It was a typical introductory run-through.

“Here’s the kitchen. Our garage is over there. These are our gods. Here’s our bedroom.”

“Ah. Very nice.”

Wait. What?!?

This was a casual, but intentional, introduction to his family’s Hindu deities.

Polite Company and Culture

From the time of my youth I was taught (implicitly and explicitly) that certain subjects were out of bounds unless you knew someone really, really well. Making conversation of politics, a person’s salary or (gasp!) religion was the social equivalent of eating with your hands at the table. (Something, as it turned out, we would do later in the evening!)

Understanding that religious discussion doesn’t bring the uneasiness in many other cultures that it brings for westerners enabled me to ask, “Which is your favorite god and why?”

Dialogue or Discourse?

Hearing that Ganesh (who blesses new beginnings) and Lakshmi (who brings wealth) were his favorites gave me insight into his values and desires. Asking questions lets people know we’re interested in a discussion rather than a diatribe. And discussion affords our friends respect as well as the opportunity to ask questions.

Paul modeled a similar approach in Athens where he found himself distressed by seeing so many idols in the city (Acts 17:16). “So he the marketplace day by day with whoever happened to be there” (v17). In fact, Paul is said to have conversed (NAS, ESV) or debated (NIV, NLT) with the Stoics and Epicureans (v18). It was a back-and-forth. Did Paul frequently engage in a unilateral fashion? Sure. But these verses indicate an occasion that was more of an exchange than a one-sided homily.

Primed but Gentle

So, if someone introduces you to their favorite deity, or tells you their present state is a reincarnated one, maybe it would be better to first draw them out before jumping down their throat with chapter and verse. Consider learning about their worldview so you can address it.

Back to Paul; the Spirit spoke through him telling us to always be ready  “ give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” (1 Peter 3:15). We mustn't shy away from telling folks Who we believe in and why. But how we do so is important too. The verse continues, “but do this with gentleness and respect”. 

“Almasih Kahdost” is a long-time friend of Covenant Life who desires to see the nations come to Christ. Though preferring to publish anonymously, Almasih Kadost welcomes your comments below.

See all the posts in this series.

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Book of the Month | Is God Anti-Gay?

March 23 2015 at 9:03 am 0 Comments

Shifts in our culture related to homosexuality have raised significant questions for Christians that are are now a part of everyday life. What do I do when someone close to me tells me they experience sam-sex attraction? How do I relate to people at my job, in my neighborhood, or in my family in a God-honoring way who are homosexual? What does the Bible really say about all this?

Once you get past the awkward title, Is God Anti-Gay? is a brief, thoroughly Biblical and practical guide to understanding Homosexuality. The author, Sam Allberry, is a British pastor and author who has experienced same-sex attraction himself and has a burden to help the church with this issue.

For more information, check out Tim Keller’s review of Allberry’s book, as well as another related (and recommended) book from the Gospel Coalition.

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Nations Nearby | Part 7 | One Way to Share God’s Plan with Muslims

February 17 2015 at 1:34 pm 1 Comments

One Way to Share God’s Plan with Muslims
by Almasih Kahdost

Sitting barefoot in a sportsplex in Maryland, wearing traditional Pakistani attire given to me, I was enveloped by the chant of Allahu akbar, droning continuously. I watched as Muslims of various sizes, shapes and ethnicities assembled themselves in neat rows preparing for prayer; men filling the front of the field, women, the back. Once all (save one) gave praise to Allah while performing the various salat prayer positions, an imam taught that one lesson learned during the fast of Ramadan is gratitude. By denying oneself food during the daylight hours, a person is more grateful for it come evening. Having been fasting for my Muslim friends during this month myself, I learned this lesson firsthand and was grateful Ramadaan had come to a close.

As my Muslim friend and I left the sportsplex, I referred back to the imam’s message, asking for what my friend was most grateful. After listening, I shared my own thoughts, saying I was most grateful for qurbani; that is, blood sacrifice. I related how a sacrifice was provided for Adam and Hawa (Eve) to cover their shame when they had sinned in the garden. I reminded my friend how when Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) son was in need of a sacrifice, it was divinely provided. I continued that Musa (Moses) was inspired to order atoning sacrifices for the sins of the people and that many years later, the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming masih (messiah) Who would Himself become qurbani in the place of His people, taking their shame. Then I related that the prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) pointed at Isa (Jesus) and calling him, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

“Why do you think Yahya called Isa a lamb,” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

I told my friend that prior to his death Isa had alerted his followers that He would lay down His life as a qurbani to set people free (Mark 10:45). Isa’s subjection to public shame was all a part of Allah’s loving plan to take away the sin and shame of His people. Just as He performed qurbani for Adam and Hawa to cover their shame, and just as He provided an animal for Ibrahim’s son, and just as He told Musa the way of qurbani for the forgiveness His people’s sin, now, in the death and resurrection of Isa, Allah was providing the ultimate qurbani - the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The shame and punishment that we deserved was laid upon Isa as a part of God’s loving plan to restore honor to His people.

My friend didn’t submit to Christ that day and is still a Muslim. We have had the family to our home and they have had us over as well. We have prayed in Isa’s name for the healing for their children. We’ve helped them with English and with transportation. I still make visits from time to time. We continue to pray regularly for this family.

These dear people represent one of many Muslim families in our area who can be reached with the love of Christ. Please consider how you can extend love and friendship to the people God has brought here. Amidst headlines filled by the likes of ISIS et al, it is too convenient to lump your neighbor in with them. If you begin to pray and ask God for inroads and share your life with your Muslim co-workers, neighbors and friends, you might be surprised at the laid opportunities before you.

“Almasih Kahdost” is a long-time friend of Covenant Life who desires to see the nations come to Christ. Though preferring to publish anonymously, Almasih Kadost welcomes your comments below.

See all the posts in this series.

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Tokyo Mission Update

February 9 2015 at 12:31 pm 0 Comments

Interested in learning more about the Tokyo Mission? The Missions Team is hosting a Japan Mission Info Night on February 15 at the home of Linda B. where Seita Sakaguchi will discuss ways you can pray and get involved. Also see the Redeemer City to City website for a video feature about Grace Harbor Church where Seita is based.

Seita writes:

“As you may know, the Japanese people are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Of the 127 million Japanese people, the Christian population is only 0.22%. Most people will live and die without ever hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, unless someone brings the gospel to them.

We have been in Tokyo for about a year, seeking to bring the gospel to the Japanese people through the planting of Grace Harbor Church. Grace Harbor is a new church planting initiative in an area called Toyosu in the Tokyo Waterfront area. Thousands of people live and work in this densely populated area, but there was no Christian church for these 120,000 people, until Grace Harbor started last year.

Even though so many people live in this area, it’s not unusual to meet people who tell us that they have been living in this area for years, but they don’t really know anyone and that we are the first ones they can actually call friends. We have been seeking to be a blessing to this community by connecting people to one another through various events, such as concerts and cookouts, and by serving the needs of our community through events like Kids English Camp. A team from Covenant Life made this event a success for us last year. We have made so many wonderful friends, and I don’t have time to tell you all the stories, but I want to tell you about what we’re most excited about recently.

A few months ago, together with two other missionary families, we started meeting together with several of our non-Christian friends who showed spiritual openness weekly for dinner. At this weekly gathering, we not only share a meal together, but we also share our own struggles in our marriage and parenting and other relationships and how the gospel shapes our thinking and gives us hope in the midst of life’s struggles and power for change. We are seeking God working in their hearts, opening their eyes to their own brokenness as well as to their need for God. We’re praying that the beauty of Christ and the light of the gospel will break through soon.

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” The harvest in Tokyo seems truly plentiful, so please pray that the Lord of the harvest will send more people to gather people into His kingdom. Pray also for us “that God may open to us a door for the word” to proclaim the glories of Jesus.

If you would like to know more about our mission in Tokyo and what God is doing there, please visit the Tokyo Mission website, and you can sign up to receive our prayer update e-mails.

Thank you so much for your partnership in the gospel with us.”

Interested in learning more about the Tokyo Mission? The Missions Team is hosting a Japan Mission Info Night on February 15 at the home of Linda B. where Seita will discuss ways you can pray and get involved.

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Sanctity of Life Sunday 2015

January 20 2015 at 11:03 am 0 Comments

We were reminded in our service yesterday, that every human life is sacred because we are made in God’s image. And every Christian has a responsibility to defend this truth in our culture. Please consider Terry Wilcox’s testimony below, and the list that follows it, of ways you can take a stand for the rights of the unborn.

I am here today to share the story of how God has worked in my life through the Forgiven and Set Free Bible Study. The end of this month marks the 34th anniversary of my abortion.

My story starts a long time ago. I was raised in a “good” Catholic family in the San Francisco Bay area. I was the middle of seven children (six girls and one boy). It was your typical dysfunctional family. My dad provided for our family but didn’t say a whole lot, and my mother drank to make it through her days. By the time I graduated from high school, my mom had finally stopped drinking, but the relationship between my parents wasn’t going too well. As I saw that happening, I turned to boys in search of love and acceptance.  I didn’t really care what happened to me, so I ended up getting pregnant.

Being a “good” Catholic girl, I knew abortion was wrong, but I had just started college, and a baby didn’t fit into the picture. I was over 18 so I was able to set up the procedure without my parents ever knowing about it. My friend and I skipped school and drove to the clinic. 

I chose not to think about what I was doing. I just kind of went into auto-pilot and went through the motions.

About a day and ½ later I started having some complications, but I was too afraid to get help. Looking back now I see God’s hand on me to protect me. I felt the Lord drawing me to himself after the abortion. I gave my life to the Lord shortly after the abortion and found a group of believers to help me learn about the Lord.

Fast forward three years, and I met my husband to be, Barry. My abortion had left me with a great desire to have children and a sense that a child would right the wrong of killing my first child. We were married for seven years before we had our first, and somehow the hole left by the abortion didn’t fill up. Every January, on Sanctity of Life Sunday, I would be there trying to fight back the tears as they talked about the millions of babies that had been aborted.

We continued to be blessed with child after child, and the hole just kept getting bigger. In 1999, we lost a baby girl to a chromosome disorder, and I felt like I didn’t know how to mourn the loss of our little girl. I realized that I had so much going on that I just jumped back into auto-pilot and kept on going.

Then a couple of years ago, I found out that Covenant Life was offering the Forgiven and Set Free Study. Being so tired of not dealing with the feelings of shame and condemnation, I looked into it. I joined the group, and as I began the study, I found the hope, grace and support that I needed.

I discovered that it was OK to grieve the loss of my first child and of the loss of our stillborn and the three other miscarriages I have had over the years.  And just as important I found a fellowship, albeit a “secret society” of sisters, where we all share the same shameful past but who are forgiven and set free! We have grown to love each other and to share in life’s ups and downs. I love them all, and I know that I can reach out at any time, and they will be praying for me and lifting me up.

If you have had an abortion, there is hope, grace and healing available to you, too. This Bible study has been life changing for me, and I’m confident it can be life changing for you. There will be an intro night on Tuesday, February 10 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and the actual study will on Tuesdays from March 3 to April 21. This is a confidential study and held in a home not far from church. Please call the church office or check the Forgiven and Set Free webpage for more information.

Thank you for letting me share. God Bless.

March For Life  |  Thursday, January 22, National Mall - Noon rally, 1 p.m. march

The March for Life began in 1973 as a small demonstration to peacefully protest the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion. The march is organized by the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. The overall goal of the march is to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. It has rapidly grown to be the largest pro-life event in the world.

40 Days for Life  |  Ash Wednesday, February 18 through Palm Sunday, March 29

40 Days for Life is an international group that campaigns against abortion. The campaign is active in the fall and spring of each year. The fall 2010 campaign launched in 238 locations around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, and Denmark. Should you be interested in participating, please contact the Pro-Life ministry for more information.

Maryland March for Life  |  March 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Annapolis

On January 22, 1974 thousands of pro-lifers participated in the first March for Life to stand up for the unborn. Since that time, a yearly march to the State House to redress the State of Maryland’s stance on the issue of abortion has been held. After over 30 years the Maryland March for Life has grown to dozens of organizations, churches and schools. It has become a centerpiece of the pro-life movement and has grown from a rally to a full social and religious event where pro-lifers from around the state can work together toward a common cause.

“Forgiven and Set Free” Post-Abortive Bible Study  |  Tuesday, February 10, 7 - 9 p.m.

Find healing and wholeness in this post-abortion Bible study which effectively ministers God’s healing grace. You will be guided gently into bringing your emotional scars from abortion “out of the dark past and into His holy light,” where true and lasting healing can take place. This is a confidential 12-week Bible study offered in a safe and understanding environment.

Prayer at Covenant Life Church  |  Wednesday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m.

A prayer meeting is held every Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Spurgeon Room. On January 21 the prayer will focus on the sanctity of life and all issues pertaining to the protection of life.

Monday Morning Prayer  |  Every Monday morning from 8 - 10 a.m.

Residents of Germantown, Gaithersburg and the surrounding areas in the metropolitan Washington area have been called to take a public stand against LeRoy Carhart’s late term abortion clinic through a weekly prayer vigil on Monday mornings from 8-10 a.m. Please join us. The address is 13233 Executive Park Terrace, Germantown, MD.

The Pro-Life Ministry Team

Our focus is to hear and obey the Lord’s heart regarding life issues, including all stages of life from conception to natural death. If you are interested in joining this ministry, contact:

Charrie Bates
Mary Beth Phillips
Betty Stavely

We would love to have you join us!

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