Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 8

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! Where possible, the teams established a personal relationship with the residents of the home being worked on. Relationships were also built between the teams from the different churches at the site as we compared notes, lent and borrowed tools, and generally supported each other in our work.

Each evening the Covenant team would gather as the prayer partner bags were distributed. For me, it was a wonderful feeling to open a bag, receive a short quote from a Charles Wesley hymn and a snack to eat or share. (Sorry, Jell-O is to be shared – NOT eaten by me!) These bags represented the collective efforts of many Covenant folks offering tangible gifts of love and support for people who are away from home, sleeping on the floor, and working hard each day.

Whether you are supporting a formal mission trip or not “Love in actions and in truth” should be the way we, as Christians, live on a day to day basis. Loving in action and in truth is not that complicated. It is as simple as offering to take a person to the store, church or a doctor’s appointment. It can be offering a cup of coffee or even cold water to a stranger or friend. It is as simple as patiently waiting while the car in front of you maneuvers into a parking place or letting the parked car out into the lane of traffic.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments . . . This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (See John 14:15 & 15:12.)

What can you do which will be love in action and truth? More importantly, what will you do to love in action and truth?

Grace & Peace
Pastor Jim

Previous Callers

December 1, 2017

There are two ways of looking at the Christmas season: as the great winter holiday season that has the potential for stimulating the retail economy, or as the season centered on a Holy Day celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. These two ways of considering the season are vastly different. How do you celebrate the season?

Covenant Church is offering a number of opportunities to help you to focus on the Holy Day aspects of the Christmas season. We begin the season by offering a new study led by Pastor Kevin called “A Different Kind of Christmas,” based on the book by Mike Slaughter.


November 1, 2017

For the month of November our Sunday messages will revolve around the idea of our “legacy.” As we begin this sermon series, I thought it might be helpful to understand what we mean by the word. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary we read the following: “Legacy, noun: 1. A gift by will esp. of money or other personal property: BEQUEST 2. Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” It is this second definition we will be focusing on during the month.

When I think of my own life, I realize how blessed I am by the legacy left to me by those who have gone before.


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.