Planted in Pearland

What's going on in the life of Covenant Community Church

Giftedness February 19, 2012

Filed under: Covenant — Sarah @ 2:51 pm

One of the things that struck me at Covenant’s two year annivesary service was how God has put together a body of people at Covenant who are gifted in a huge variety of ways. It is truly amazing to see the diversity of skills and talents contained within our church family, and it is even more amazing to see those skills and talents put to use in service of our church and in service of those in our surrounding community who don’t know Jesus.

As I was pondering all this, I was reading along in the Bible reading plan that I have been doing since the beginning of the year. Some of the people in our church decided to read the same plan this year for the sake of accountability and discussion. As a result, several of us are reading through the Bible chronologically, which puts us in Exodus right now. Here is something I shared with our church family on our church’s online community, The City. I thought I would share it here, just to do a bit more bragging on God and all that He is at work doing through a bunch of messed-up sinners like us.

{{{Message to Covenant on The City}}}

A couple days ago, I read this from Exodus 31: 1 “The LORD said to Moses, 2 ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting,and in carving wood, to work in every craft.”

And then yesterday, I read this from Exodus 36: 1 ‘”Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.’ 2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”

As I read these two passages, I was struck by two things: 1. All our skills, talents, resources, time, money, energy, health- all of it, every single thing we have- are gifts from the Lord. That is, the only reason we have them is because God has given them to us. 2. They are to be used in the service of the Lord, to accomplish the work that He has given us to do. God hasn’t given us any of the things we have so that we can use them for ourselves. We are to use them for Him, for His purposes and for His glory.

I was also struck by how, by God’s amazing grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, this has been on display in our church family, especially in light of Covenant’s anniversary and what God has been up to in our midst the past two years. 1. God has gifted us immensely: there are those among us who sing, play music, take photographs, make movies, draw, sew, paint, organize, teach and care for children, build things, do carpentry and electrical work,  have extra bedrooms in their homes, have extra money in their bank accounts, talk easily with strangers, cook, bake, effortlessly make others feel welcome and included, roast coffee, have strength in their bodies for manual labor, have knowledge of computers and media equipment… the list goes on and on. 2. I can think of so many ways I have seen these gifts used in the past two years, to bless both those inside and outside of our church family. It makes me praise God to see not only all the ways He has gifted our church but also the ways He has motivated our church to use those gifts selflessly and joyfully in service of others and the gospel of Jesus.

Finally, this part from Exodus 36 was my prayer yesterday morning: 3 “And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, ‘The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.'” I pray this would be true of Covenant, that there would be MORE THAN ENOUGH workers for all the tasks God has called us to do.

More than enough. I admit it’s hard for me to even have a category for that. Can you imagine? More than enough children’s ministry volunteers? More than enough music ministry servants? More than enough set-up/tear-down crews? More than enough people wanting to lead and host community groups? More than enough people serving their neighborhoods, telling their neighbors about Jesus? More than enough people stepping into the messiness of hurting marriages and fractured families in order to bring the hope of the gospel? More than enough people praying consistently, interceding for all the brokenness in our own lives and in the lives of those who are dying around us? More than enough people wanting to care for orphans, widows, the poor, the oppressed? Whoa. I pray that we would continue to see all our resources, time, talents, skills, etc., as an opportunity to serve Jesus and be anxious and excited to use all of those things for the sake of the gospel. And that by God’s grace working actively and powerfully with us, we would have more than enough of everything we need to do what God has called us to do.

Check out this quote I stumbled upon today. Totally amazing. I hope it can be said that Covenant is like “the early church, where folks met Jesus and their lives careened wildly off course. They were called lunatics, heretics. Like the pagan satirist Lucian (130-200 c.e.) mocked: ‘The earnestness with which the people of this religion help one another in their needs is incredible. They spare themselves nothing for this end. Their first lawgiver put it into their heads that they were all brethren.’”

How. Awesome. Is. That. I am so encouraged by how this quote already describes our church body in many ways, and I pray it will come to describe us more and more as we push in closer to Jesus and are empowered by the gospel.

Love you, Covenant. So thankful to have you as family.

 

Happy 2nd Birthday, Covenant! February 14, 2012

Filed under: Covenant — Sarah @ 7:37 am

Covenant Community Church kicked of public services on Valentine’s Day in 2010. So that means, this past Sunday, February 12, we celebrated that milestone with a 2-year birthday party. There were so many fun and special things about this day. I’m not even sure how to talk about them all, so I’m just going to be lame and list them:

  • It just happened to fall that our 2-year anniversary was the week after a couple of our lead servants (deacons) in the area of set-up/tear-down/connecting had been to another older, more established church plant in Houston to see how they do their set-up and tear-down stuff. The fruit of that visit was immediately visible the Sunday of our 2nd birthday party. The chairs were set up in a new orientation, the curtains, screen, sound system, everything had been arranged a little differently and made things look a little more worship center-like (to the extent that is possible in a dance studio, of course).  I walked in and my first thought was how great everything looked. My second thought was how funny that this new look had fallen on this particular Sunday, instantly making the church seem a little more “grown up” on a day we were celebrating growth milestones.
  • We always have a portion of the service called “Community Spotlight.” It’s a time each week when we hear from someone in our church family about what God is doing in their lives, which just gives us as a body a time to praise God corporately for what He is doing among us individually. I love it; this is possibly my favorite part of service. Well, for our anniversary Sunday, community spotlight was opened up for people to just shout out what God has been doing in the past 2 years in and among us at Covenant. The testimonies were amazing. God has literally provided homes and food for people who did not have these things. He has repaired marriages, exposed hidden sin, begun the process of healing long-standing hurt, and drawn close to Himself people who were once far from Him. Covenant didn’t do any of that; God did that. And the fact that He invited Covenant to be a part of all that beauty and redemption is amazing and overwhelming.
  • A Covenant party cannot exist without two things: copious amounts of food and a bouncy house. There are exactly seventeen children at Covenant for every one adult. Ok, the ratio is not exactly that skewed, but it can certainly feel that way sometimes. Enter the bouncy house, entertainer of children and savior of parental sanity. The kids had an awesome time bouncing away, and parents got to visit, at least a little bit.
  • And the food, oh, the food. There is a precious lady at our church whom God has gifted extraordinarily with the ability to cook giant amounts of delicious food. She prepared the yummiest  jambalaya I have ever had in my life for ALL of the nearly 100 people at this party. It was so incredible. I am continually amazed by this woman, both her exceptional giftedness in this area and her selflessness and generosity in using this gift over and over in service of our church family.
  • We had a birthday cake! And not just any old birthday cake. Check it out:

  • Isn’t that awesome? Another sweet lady in our church family used her giftedness and creativity at cake-baking and made this delicous and beautiful cake for us to share. It was so fun to sing “Happy Birthday” to Covenant and celebrate all that God has done among us.
  • I have stated elsewhere that I really love birthdays because they are natural time to remember, reflect and refocus. Leading up to this birthday party, a guy in our church who is really gifted in media and film interviewed some people to make a movie about Covenant, just chronicling Covenant’s story and how God has been at work in our body. He interviewed me and Tim, among others, and while it was quite awkward to have a camera in my face as if I was on 20/20, it was fun to rehearse Covenant’s story from our perspective, where we have been and where we are going and have a chance to recount God’s faithfulness every step of the way.
  • In the same way, our lead pastor/planter Daniel stepped out of our normal series preaching through the book of Matthew on our anniversary Sunday, in order to remind us of why we are doing what we are doing. His sermon was a powerful reminder of what we already knew but tend to forget: that our mission is to enjoy and spread the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus. He unpacked what this means and how it would look. I greatly encourage you to listen to the sermon here.
  • I was struck throughout the morning at how gifted our church family is. God has truly given our church a multitude of varied and exceptional talents and skills, resources and wisdom, that He has in turn used in amazing ways in service to our small church body and the wider community of Pearland. Really, that’s a whole separate post. Hopefully, I can get to that soon.

All in all, it was such an amazing day to just celebrate all that God has done. With each passing day, month and year, I am more and more thankful for Covenant Community Church, and I am more and more aware of the fact that God is active and moving, busy doing His incredible work of redeeming and saving that which is lost…. And I am so grateful He has graciously invited our church family to be a part of what He is up to.