Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 5

May 1, 2017

A few weeks ago, as the first service was ending and people were saying their hellos and goodbyes at the door to Wesley Hall, I was handed a prayer card.  The card had obviously been filled out by a young child.  Under the “Joys and Thanksgivings” section the child had written, “I love you God.”  Well, actually it read, “I love you Gob,” but I assumed the “d” was written backwards as children sometimes do.  There we also names written under the “Concerns” section and the child included their name along with the name of a sibling.

Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes meAt the second service, two children listened to the words of our opening hymn and took them seriously.  The hymn was Lord of the Dance and the children danced.  In that same service I began the children’s moment by asking, “How do we send a message to Jesus?”  Without hesitation the answer came, “Pray.”  Well, I guess I didn’t need to teach that message to the kids!

These incidents reminded me once again just how important it is to teach children about the faith.  It also reminded me that it is never too early to start teaching how to worship the Lord.  Obviously the parents of these children had done a fantastic job.  Show me a more sincere expression of worship than to say to the Lord, “I love you God.”  Who was paying more attention to the words that said, “I danced in the morning,” than the kids who were dancing?  Give me a better explanation of how to send a message to Jesus than to say, “Pray.”

Why do I feel it is so important for children to be in worship?  Several reasons: like adults, children need to worship God, children need to be taught how to worship, and children can teach adults about sincerity of worship.  Children may be fidgety, but they listen and learn.  And because in Matthew 18:3-5 Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

For our souls’ sake let’s become like children: worshipping sincerely, communicating with God in prayer, and letting the Holy Spirit move our souls to dance!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jim

Previous Callers

May 1, 2017

A few weeks ago, as the first service was ending and people were saying their hellos and goodbyes at the door to Wesley Hall, I was handed a prayer card.  The card had obviously been filled out by a young child.  Under the “Joys and Thanksgivings” section the child had written, “I love you God.”  Well, actually it read, “I love you Gob,” but I assumed the “d” was written backwards as children sometimes do.  There we also names written under the “Concerns” section and the child included their name along with the name of a sibling.

At the second service, two children listened to the words of our opening hymn and took them seriously.  The hymn was Lord of the Dance and the children danced.  In that same service I began the children’s moment by asking, “How do we send a message to Jesus?”  Without hesitation the answer came, “Pray.”  Well, I guess I didn’t need to teach that message to the kids!


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.


March 1, 2017

In Jeopardy style, the answer is, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” And the question is, “Why doesn’t fasting make a lasting difference in most people’s spiritual life?”

During the 40 days of Lent, it is a tradition to give up something for the season. Sometimes it is a food item we enjoy, but blame for our weight problem, so we claim to give up chocolate, or pie, or cake as a spiritual discipline, when we really want to lose weight. At times we try to use Lent to work on breaking a bad habit by pledging to give up something like swearing, cigarettes, or road rage for the season, in the hope it will last beyond the few weeks of Lent. But the reality is it doesn’t really work! Usually we are back to our familiar behaviors well before the Lenten season is complete. Why? Because our spiritual life, like nature, abhors a vacuum!


February 1, 2017

February can be a cold and snowy month. Despite its being the shortest month of the year, more snow falls and accumulates in February than any other month! Unless you are going skiing or snowboarding, that’s a dreary thought. But February is also supposed to be a warm month, the month we celebrate the warmth of love, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day, or more formally Saint Valentine’s Day, has evolved over the years from a traditional feast day celebrating the life of the martyred St. Valentine to a day of romance, roses, and chocolate. But, it wasn’t always that way.

Saint Valentine may have been as many as three different people active in the life of the early church. While all expressed love, none was particularly known for romantic love or in Greek “eros” love. Instead, they were known for serving the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the outcast.