whoa….big news!

Big News For Covenant Church. You have to check out this announcement! watch the video here….http://tinyurl.com/3kuugk3

Can I Do Anything I Want And Still Be A Christian?

Grace and sin have a complicated relationship.

In one sense, you can’t separate them. You see this in Romans 5:20-21 when Paul says:
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Where there is sin, there will always be grace. Every time sin raises its ugly head, the grace of Jesus rises even higher like a sweeping tide and covers over it. Every sin. Every time. No matter what you do.

The problem is if you just read these two verses, you could easily conclude that grace should be proportional to sin. If the more I sin, the more grace I receive, why not sin more and receive more grace? If I can do anything I want and still be saved, why not do anything I want?

Why not continue to look at porn?
Why not continue to live selfishly?
Why not continue in my old patterns of living?

These are good questions. For an unbeliever.

Because while grace means that I can do absolutely anything I want, it also means that what I want is now being informed by grace. And not just sin.

While in one sense you can’t separate grace and sin, in another sense grace and sin should be continually growing apart from each other. Right after Romans 5:20-21, Paul goes on to say:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:1-2

For the believer who loves Jesus, grace and sin should be inversely proportional. The more grace we receive the less we should want to sin because God’s grace empowers us to live for Him. Grace will never lead you to continue doing the very thing it just rescued you from. True grace will never lead you to take it for granted by trampling on it.

Does grace mean I can do anything I want and still be a Christian?
Yes.

But it also means I won’t.

What Breaks You Down?

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:3-4

Countless people struggle with discerning what God has called them to do with their lives. This is true whether you’re in college and choosing a major, or in your mid-forties and wondering if you’re wasting your life on a job you barely want to wake up to, much less give your life to.

If you’re ever in this position, ask this question to help yourself:
What is the brokenness in the world that produces a brokenness inside of me?

For Nehemiah, it was his people’s condition and the broken down walls of Jerusalem. What is it for you?

Injustice?
People who are far from God?
Poverty?
The state of the educational system?
The lack of honor in our world?
Child abandonment?

What is broken down that breaks you down?

Once you’ve figured that out, your next step is simple: build it back up.
That was Nehemiah’s calling. And that’s your calling. To build up the brokenness that produces a brokenness inside of you. Neither brokenness will go away until you do.

For some of you, that will mean leaving what you’re doing and giving yourself completely to it. Starting a new career. Moving to a new country. Leaving the ministry and going to work for a church so that you can empower others in theirs (that sounds weird, but trust me, that’s how it’s supposed to work).

For others of you, it will mean you’ll keep doing what you’re doing but you’ll need to go about it with a brand new purpose. Open up your eyes to see that you’re not just collecting a paycheck. Be an agent of change at work or in your school where you already are.

Whatever it looks like, there’s definitely one thing God hasn’t called us to do: nothing. God hasn’t put us on this earth to have a front row seat to a broken down world. Or complain about how broken it is. He’s put us here to build it back up.

So let’s find our place. And get to work.

The What and the How

The only way to figure out HOW something can get done is to refuse to take your eyes off WHAT needs to be done. Don’t let HOW intimidate you. The fact that HOW is so challenging is the very reason it provides you with great opportunity. If the pathway into the future were well lit, it would be crowded. If HOW wasn’t a problem, somebody else would have already figured it out.

What is impossible to do in your field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change your business?

Somebody needs to be asking that question. Why not you, why not me? After all, unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future.

BRING ‘EM HOME

Hey Covenant, here are some practical ways that you can share your faith and invite people to our weekend worship experience.

#1- Pray

Simple, yet effective. James 5:16 says, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Ask God to put someone on your heart that you have everyday contact with that needs Christ, and begin praying for them. Pray that God will begin working in their life, and that He will begin drawing them to Himself.

#2- Look

Look for opportunities everyday to be Jesus to this person in a practical way. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, it can be small things. Maybe bringing them a coffee in the morning at work, or letting them know that you are praying about a difficult situation in their life. Whatever it is, don’t be forceful, just serve them in any way that you can. Ask God to bring you these situations.

#3- Talk

Make sure that your relationship with Jesus is out in the open and talked about often. Don’t be afraid to pray before you eat, or to talk about your cLifeGroup or whats happening at Covenant. Again, don’t be too forceful here. You don’t have to “shove it” down their throat or hit them over the head with the Bible. Be patient, and know that God will give you opportunities to talk.

#4- Share your faith

Even if you’re not super comfortable sharing your faith, it’s something that we are all called to do. Maybe you feel intimidated, or your scared that you are gonna “mess up” the sharing process. But you really don’t have to worry about that. All you need to do is to talk about the things that God has done in your life, and how He has blessed you. People can always argue over Theology or Religious perspective, but what they can’t argue with is the life change that has happened in you, and how God has worked in your life. Point to specific situations where God has moved in your life, and be open in sharing how Christ has changed your life.

#5- Invite

Maybe you’ve been praying for a while for someone, or maybe you’ve just met the person, but you feel led to invite them to a weekend worship experience at Covenant. It doesn’t have to be hard. You may have some fear of rejection, but don’t let that emotion overtake you. The worst that someone could say is no. Again, don’t be too forceful here, don’t act like every single significant moment in their life from here on out will be effected negatively if they don’t come to church with you. Also, don’t throw a relationship away over whether or not someone decides to join you for a worship experience. The answer may be no….for now. But maybe down the road the answer could turn into a yes based upon what is going on in their life. Continue to pray for them, and continue to look for opportunities to serve them.

When you do invite someone, make sure that you talk about it casually. The first invite is not the time you want to give them the whole doctrinal and theological and missional background of Covenant, THEY WILL BE OVERWHELMED! All you have to say is that it’s a fun church with great music filled with people that actually care about their needs, and its a place where they wont be judged for who they are. (Mentioning that it is led by a GQ Model Pastor is optional but encouraged.)

That’s the basic stuff in a nutshell. It doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be terrifying. Every single one of us have people that we interact with on a daily basis that need to experience Jesus first hand. And YOU may be the only Jesus that these people may ever see. So go and BRING ‘EM HOME!

Day 20

Sorry i,ve been gone for a couple of day’s. here is the final blog post over our 21 Day Fast…

We are looking forward to this upcoming weekend at Covenant Church. here are a couple quick reminders…

-this Sunday we meet at our new location, Jackson Middle School in Grove City at 10am.

-don’t forget to set your clocks FORWARD an hour for daylight savings time for the morning

-we are meeting for a time of prayer over our new location tonight at Brent and Janelle Goldbachs home at 6pm. Childcare will be provided. Hope to see you there. visit http://www.covenantchurchonline.com for the address.

-keep on praying with expectation, we are asking God to move in a mighty way through our church. continue to invite your friends and family to the grand opening of our new location tomorrow.

Day 16

Sorry for the missing day 15. We were in the process of moving locations for Covenant, and it got a little busy.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
—John 11:44, NIV

When it comes to the transforming power of God working in someone’s life, God often uses people to bring about divine life change. The story of Lazarus in John 11 illustrates how it was the power of Jesus’ prayer and spoken word that resurrected Lazarus from the dead, but the disciples played a role in this miracle too.

When it comes to the transforming power of God working in someone’s life, God often uses people to bring about divine life-change.

Lazarus was bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face had been wrapped with a cloth during his time in the tomb. When he arose from his death and came out of the tomb, Jesus called on the disciples to help in the transformation process. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” The disciples needed to help Lazarus. Likewise, we all have a part to play in the lives of those around us. God has done some incredible things around us during this fast. Could it be that someone around you is still walking around in grave clothes? What do you need to help them let go of?

Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still. —E. M. Bounds

True prayer is measured by weight—not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length. —Charles H. Spurgeon

Bible Reading Plan: Psalm 3-5

Prayer Focus: Who in your world is still walking around in grave clothes? Think about friends and family or those you
know who may not know God. What part has God called you to play in the life change He wants to bring them?

Also, this is the final week of our 21 Day Fast. Pray expectantly that God will move in a mighty way in our midst as we prepare to launch to our new location this Sunday at Jackson Middle School at 10AM!

Day 14

Today, instead of a devotional, I want to hear from you. How has God honored your fasting and prayers? Have you seen God move in a specific way over the last 2 weeks. Share it here. Or maybe you want to share what you feel God is going to do with your prayers. Either way, this blog post is dedicated to you, and the sharing of those prayers!

 

-Pastor Travis

Day 13

Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.    Mark 1:12–13

Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell of Jesus going to the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. They also describe other times when Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry, and even His closest friends to pray.There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world and focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world they are more likely television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, and the Internet. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual crowd to gather around us and drown out the Holy Spirit’s voice.Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging that process. If you think about it, though, in day-to-day life we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing, and entertainment. When our souls are full of those things, we often don’t hunger for God.

Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus.

During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hunger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowd and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. Instead let’s enter a state of spiritual hunger, a craving for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because there we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs (Matthew 5:6).

Prayer is reaching out and after the unseen; fasting, letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God. —Andrew Murray

Bible Reading Plan: Matthew 6
Prayer Focus: During this time, you will find that being still before the Lord will set you in a place of increased strength, peace, and hunger for God. Are you disconnected from things that nourish your body and soul? What do you need to deny yourself to make this a powerful time in your life?

Don’t forget to pray for…

1. God to Move Mightily through Covenant Church

2. To see many new faces and families when we launch to our new location on March 13th

3. A smooth transition to the new location

Remember to pray with expectancy! We are planning on seeing God do great things in our midst!

Day 12

And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant.”
—1 Kings 18:36

The sacrifice referenced above was a declaration that Elijah was a servant of the Most High God. Elijah belonged to God, and he represented God to the people. However, Elijah’s boldness was not a result of who he was; it was the result of knowing God!As children of God under the New Covenant, we don’t have to be timid or fearful when coming to God in prayer. We can approach Him boldly.Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:16, AMP) It’s intimidating to think about taking a fearless, confident, bold attitude when coming before God in prayer. Yet this is exactly what we are admonished to do! God has already settled the issue of our access to Him, but we can be assured our access is not because of our own righteousness. It’s because of what Jesus did on the cross.We can come to the throne in such outrageous boldness because Jesus was outrageously righteous! When we pray, we come to God in the authority of Jesus’ name, and we can be confident that we will find grace, mercy, and perfectly timed help.

Fasting is not an end of itself; it is a means by which we can worship the Lord and submit ourselves in humility to Him. We don’t make God love us any more than He already does if we fast, or if we fast longer. Fasting involves God in the problem. Then in the strength of God, victory is possible. —Elmer L. Towns

Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 14

Prayer Focus: Do you approach God with timidity or confidence? Seek God boldly today knowing you are fully forgiven and Jesus has made you righteous. When you approach God in prayer, seek a fresh revelation of who He is in your life.

Don’t forget to pray for…

1. God to Move Mightily through Covenant Church

2. To see many new faces and families when we launch to our new location on March 13th

3. A smooth transition to the new location

Remember to pray with expectancy! We are planning on seeing God do great things in our midst!