Anyone familiar with weather in Houston, Texas, knows that September is still very much part of the summer season. While some areas were experiencing a welcome relief from the heat, Houston was holding strong with temperature in the high 90’s, exacerbated by the fact that Houston is currently in one of the worst droughts on record. So, while the routines of the school year and community groups were back in full swing, the weather outside still felt like we should be hanging out at the pool and playing in the sprinkler every day.
As such, I will admit, September was a rude awakening for this spouse of a teacher/pastor. In most parts of the country, school gets back into the full swing by September, so the change of pace is to be expected, but it is interesting to see how that seems to happen in church life too. This year, it seemed as though the lazy days of summer abruptly became the mad-dash days of “fall” (and I use that term incredibly loosely- see above), and I had to scramble to catch my breath and figure out what in the world happened.
As we got back into the flow of community groups, we started implementing a new format according to the training we community group leaders had received. It was hard to know what to expect, since it was quite a drastic change from what we had been doing, but we jumped in and prayed for the God to use this new way of doing things for His glory and purpose. And boy did He ever. The response from our first few groups was so positive, and we were so encouraged. There are definitely still some ongoing kinks to work out, as each group experiences some “growing pains” related to the changes that have been implemented, but from conversations and feedback, I can tell that it is the good kind of growing pains, that make our groups healthier and stronger and able to welcome and disciple more people. How exciting it is to see God using the stories found in His word to grow and stretch people and make them more like Jesus.
In September, a sister Acts 29 church, Kaleo, hosted a men’s conference over a Friday/Saturday weekend, and they invited other Acts 29 churches in the area to bring groups of men from their own churches. Not being a man, I didn’t attend this conference myself, but my husband Tim did, and as we spoke after the conference and he shared with me the ways he was challenged as a husband and father by what was taught, I was so thankful for Kaleo putting this event together and inviting our Covenant guys along. It was a great blessing to the men in our church family, and I am excited to see how God continues to use it in the lives of our men.
Finally, I have to draw attention to one of the sermons that was preached at Covenant in September. If you have never listened to a sermon by one of our pastors, I beg you, please listen to this one called “Walking on Water.” Our main planter/pastor, Daniel Davis, returned from an extended family vacation at Disney World with this sermon for us, and it really and truly rocked my world. It was just such an awesome re-telling and explanation of a story that those of us (like me) who grew up in church have heard hundreds of times, that is, when Jesus’ disciple Peter walks on the water. God used this well-known story and this sermon to breathe fresh hope and passion into my heart as I seek to follow Jesus and learn what it means to love Him and walk with Him. Listen to it. Please. PLEASE. I pray it blesses your heart and gives you an renewed excitement about following after Jesus, as it did for me.