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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 Benjamin 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 Benjamin 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:

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We would love to have you join us!


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Nations Nearby | Part 2

November 6 2014 at 8:57 am 0 Comments

For years, my job required that I commute from Maryland to Virginia. As such, I joined thousands of other locals in experiencing the daily joy (read “horror”) of crossing the American Legion Bridge. I’m sad to say that I came to view that bridge as a real force of evil until I realized its absence would create a far less desirable alternative: no way of getting across. Bridges, I came to see, are good.

In many ways, Muslims and Christians seem to be on opposite sides with no common ground between them. Indeed our differences are many and pronounced. Take, for example, the fact that Christians believe Jesus to have been crucified (1 Peter 2:24), while Muslims object that it was only made to appear so (an-Nisa (4) 157*).

It seems the bridge is out.

But is it?

October 4 and 5 mark an opportunity for Christ-followers to build a bridge of conversation with our Muslim friends. The Islamic calendar calls these days Eid al-Adha, which is Arabic for Festival of the Sacrifice. This time commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. (as-Saaffat (37) 100-107)

So there is some common ground amidst all of the differences between us. Along with Christians, Muslims also believe in Abraham, Adam and Eve, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus the Messiah and more (Ibrahim, Adam and Hawa, Musa, Yahya, and Isa al-Masih, respectively).

Begin to build a bridge to your Muslim friends by asking them about this holiday. Typically, it is westerners who are uncomfortable discussing religion, so don’t shy away from bringing it up. Remember to come as a learner and not one who is going to set them straight. Dialogue rarely occurs this way. Ask them about the story behind the holiday, how they will celebrate and with whom.

After your friend has explained to you the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son, you can segue into telling them that true followers of Isa (Jesus) also believe in sacrifice. We believe in the Taurat (the Torah) which tells the story of Ibrahim, and we too believe God provided a sacrifice to take the place of Ibrahim’s son as does the Qur’an (as-Saffat (37) 107).

Tell your friends that God has used sacrifice throughout history. Tell them how God used sacrifice to cover the shame of Adam and Hawa’s sin (Gen. 3:21). Tell them how God used the prophet Musa to instruct the people to bring sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins (Lev. 4). Tell them how, through the prophet Isaiah, God foretold of the coming masih (Messiah) who himself would be a sacrifice. Tell them how the prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) identified Isa, as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Why would Yahya call him a lamb? Tell them that Isa said he would lay down his own sinless life as a sacrifice for the sins of his people (Mark 8:31, 9:30-32, Matt. 20:17-19). Explain to them that it was not a dishonorable death for a prophet, but the most honorable thing anyone could do for another.

Reach out a hand to your neighbor by asking them about Eid al-Adha this year. Dialogue with them about their beliefs and share with them yours.

Bridges to your friends exist. By God’s grace, look for them and cross them. Doing so embodies the heart of Jesus who crossed (pun intended) the ultimate bridge to reach us.

*Unlike the Bible, the Qur’an is not a compilation of books, so when citations are used, the numbers refer to a sura (chapter) and verse (ayah). Another distinction is that the suras are more widely known by their names rather than numbers. Hence “an-Nisa (4) 157” means “verse 157 of the fourth chapter, which is called an-Nisa.”

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

See all the posts in this series.


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Nations Nearby | Part 1

October 31 2014 at 12:17 pm 0 Comments


By Almasih Kahdost

A mother and her daughter were at the mall when the mom silenced her kid by wildly exclaiming, “They’re here!”

The embarrassed teen rolled her eyes, hoping the moment would quickly pass, but it was not to be.

“Listen! They’re here,” the mom repeated.

Moving from humiliation to concern and hoping mom hadn’t completely lost her marbles, the daughter trepidatiously asked, “Who’s here, mom?”

“The nations! Nobody here is speaking English. They’re all speaking something else!”

Chance are, you’ve had a similar experience. If not, just go to the Costco in Gaithersburg. You will both hear and see that, indeed, the nations are here. People from multiple tongues, cultures and religious beliefs have found their way to Gaithersburg and the surrounding area.

Acts 17:26 and 27 says that God decides just where people should live so that people would seek and find him. So, the people of God (especially in this area!) have an opportunity to befriend and share Christ with the internationals God in his sovereignty has brought to the area.

In efforts to keep these opportunities on our radar, we are creating a monthly series called “Nations Nearby.” It will explore topics like:

    ● Ways to serve and engage local internationals with the gospel
    ● Utilizing bridges between the church and people of other beliefs
    ● Avoiding barriers to sharing Christ with people of other backgrounds
    ● Culturally appropriate opportunities to leverage in loving our friends in the name of Jesus
    ● and more

May God use this series to encourage us that God desires and is fully able to use his people to reach the nations nearby. See you next post!

See all the posts in this series.

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


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Prayer Focus: Ethiopia Missions Trip 2014

June 23 2014 at 11:52 am 0 Comments

Between June 21 and July 2 a small team from Covenant Life will be traveling to Ethiopia to participate in a variety of missions activities. Though we can’t pack you into our suitcases, we are eager to have you join us in your prayers! Here’s what we will be doing:

Pastoral Training
I’ll be participating with local pastors in two training seminars for local pastors. It will be an honor to teach, model and encourage these men to handle God’s Word wisely and faithfully. The church is growing rapidly in Ethiopia, but solid biblical teaching is scarce. Pray that we would lay good foundations. And pray also for the staff of Leadership Resources International (LRI), the U.S.-based organization that is coordinating this training.

Business Consulting
Ken Tarter, a businessman and member of our Global Missions Committee, will be helping our national partner, Christian Horizons Ethiopia, to evaluate several small businesses. Each of these businesses has been developed to help Ethiopian nationals find sustainable employment and to encounter the good news of Christ. Pray that Ken would have the discernment to offer useful advice in a cross-cultural context.

English Camp and Community Library
Charlotte Deibel and Elizabeth Flickinger, both 2nd-Grade teachers here in Montgomery County, will be offering a four-day English camp for 80 local teens. They will also be bringing a supply of donated books and establishing a new library for the local community. Please pray that Charlotte and Elizabeth would be filled with strength and joy as they serve LOTS of eager learners.

Children’s Ministry Training
Greg will have a unique opportunity to equip a dozen children’s ministry leaders who, in turn, will share what they have learned with hundreds of national churches. The future of the Ethiopian church lies with its children—please pray that Greg could impart clear, gospel-centered strategies that touch the lives of thousands of young believers.

Bible Distribution
Covenant Life Church has donated $5,000 to purchase Bibles in the Oromo language for distribution during this trip. (Students in the 12:13 Middle School class donated an additional $300.) In the churches our team will be visiting, it’s common for only 1 in 50 believers to own a copy of the Bible. Many pastors do not even have their own copy! Please pray that each Bible will get into the right hands and transform the lives of these hungry saints.

Outreach To Muslims
Islam is on the rise in Ethiopia, but evangelical church planters associated with Christian Horizons Ethiopia are aggressively preaching the gospel. During this trip we will be learning from these church planters and seeking to encourage them in their efforts. A few team members will visit an unreached region and observe a community center that Covenant Life is helping to establish within a Muslim community. Please pray that the light of the gospel would shine brightly in this part of the world.

We cannot thank you enough for your interest in, and prayers for, this trip to Ethiopia!

Because our Savior is worthy of the praise of all peoples,

Gregory S.


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