Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 4

April 1, 2017

I believe in . . . the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

- Excerpts from The Apostles’ Creed

Wow, what a statement! The last line of The Apostles’ Creed is a powerful statement of faith. Faith, mind you, just faith. There is no absolute proof that such a statement is true. We do not have faithful individuals from the ancient past who have returned to earth today to witness the truth of life everlasting. All we have is the collected writings of the early church leaders, testimony from believers, and maybe our own unexplainable spiritual or mystic encounters.

While this last line of the Creed has no proof, it is indeed at the heart of the message Jesus preached. He preached that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

Life everlasting! That is the promise of Jesus Christ. Either it is true, or Christianity is a sham and Jesus is a liar. If Jesus is a liar, Paul would be right in his assessment that “we are of all people most to be pitied,” if it is not true.

I believe

But it is true!

While I cannot offer absolute proof of the truth of the Creed, I can, without hesitation, say I believe. My belief is based on both the witness of people I love and on personal spiritual or mystic encounters I have had with God. There have been too many instances in my life where I have seen God in action to not believe. Indeed I believe the testimony of the Bible is true.

Do you believe? Do you trust the promises of God made through Jesus Christ? I pray that you do and that you do sincerely.

If you are having trouble believing, ask God for help. Pray for a revelation, study the scriptures, and engage in Christian conversation with believers. One of the greatest resources of the faith is small group study, a study group where you can safely ask your questions, express your doubts and still be accepted by believers.

This Easter give yourself the gift of faith by surrounding yourself with people who care enough about you to listen to you, share their faith, and encourage you in yours. This Easter receive the gift God wants to give: the gift of faith that the promises of Jesus are true.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jim

Previous Callers

October 1, 2017

For some time now, we have been engaging in a process of discernment about a building project at Covenant. You may be wondering what the process is, when we will know the final plans, and how soon the project will begin. The process has been and will continue to be deliberate. It began with prayerful discernment of God’s will for the future of Covenant Church. It was during this time of discernment that we made some changes to our Statement of Purpose (see below) and began using the tag line “Changing Lives with Jesus.”

Next, we began to look at how our buildings impact ministry. The Board of Trustees saw a need for changes and updates. After working with architect Jack Althouse, they recommended the creation of a Building Committee (BC) which picked up where the Trustees left off.

September 1, 2017

You may or may not have noticed, but I am not the most athletic guy around. I’ve never been particularly good at sports, though I do enjoy watching some, playing others, and listening to baseball on the radio. Sports can offer all kinds of benefits: they help kids become physically stronger, develop muscle and hand-eye coordination, acquire a sense of fair play, and maybe most of all, experience the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork: think of the people that were, despite their fame, just one side of a great team. Would pitcher Steve Carlton had as many strikeouts without his catcher Tim McCarver? Would comedian Johnny Carson have been as successful without straight man Ed McMahon? Could Moses have confronted Pharaoh without his spokesman Aaron? Probably not, yet the general public gives just about all the credit for success to a single individual.

August 1, 2017

This year, for the first time in my 25 years of ministry, I had the opportunity to participate in an Appalachia Service Project mission trip as a part of Covenant’s ASP team. Our week (actually 8 days) was guided by the scriptural verse, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

The love started long before the week began. Throughout the year members and friends of Covenant have been supporting the fundraising efforts of the team. Then, on Saturday, July 1, many people showed up in the parking lot to see the team off and offer prayers and moral support.

Once in Cocke County, Tennessee, the team put their love into action by fanning out across the county to five different sites to make homes warmer, safer and drier. But the love didn’t stop there!

July 1, 2017

The school year has come to an end, the pools are open, the weather has become hot and humid, and air conditioners are humming. The traditional vacation season is upon us. Summer is here! Theoretically, it’s time to sit back and relax. Yet sometimes we have trouble relaxing because there is so much to do.

We are busy visiting grandma’s, the in-laws, and a few old friends, purchasing supplies for our summer barbeques with family and neighbors, mapping out sightseeing trips to who knows where, and maybe even spending some time at the shore or in the mountains. We are busy with home projects of painting a room, weeding the overgrown garden, and finally reseeding that brown patch that used to be grass. While all those plans and activities may feel important and sound good, we can make our summers so crammed full stuff, we may miss the opportunity to really relax and allow our spirits to be renewed and enjoy the opportunity for some re-creation.