Sunday, September 25, 2016

Growing Together

The day began with overcast skies that quickly converted to a steady rain. Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and quickly turned to announcements.

Next Sunday there will be a potluck dinner after the service. 
Prayer Team: If you have a request for prayer, contact Pearl Harmon or Nancy Peyton.

Our worship time began with the reading of Psalm 23. After several worship songs, Gail played a flute solo as the offering was taken.

There were many prayer requests this morning that we shared and lifted up to God. After the prayer time Cheryl and Darlene performed a skit dealing with the importance of staying connected with the church family, addressing today's sermon theme.

Growing Together

There are seasons in life. Sometimes it's spring and everything seems to be budding, blooming, bursting with life. There are other times when it seems like winter and simply staying alive is the goal.

Today's message used Ephesians 4:11-16 as its springboard. 

There are many passages in Scripture that speak of our individual walk with God, but this letter addresses our community of faith. Paul writes about the oneness of the body in this letter and our call to serve one another that the body of Christ may be built up, that we might achieve the unity of faith and attain the full measure of the fullness of Christ.

There are many ways to be a healthy body of believers. One problem that occurs is a drift in values. When we drift away from our mission and make "fun" and "safety" our aim, we've lost our focus.

For this reason, Pastor White created a handout that outlines our Covenant affirmations, the founding values of the Evangelical Covenant Church of which we are a part. The aim of these affirmations is to produce a healthy, missional body of believers.

Our place in the worldwide Christian Church...
We are an apostolic church. We confess Jesus Christ and the faith of the apostles as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. We believe the authority of the Bible is supreme in all matters of faith, doctrine, and conduct, and it is to be trusted. “Where is it written?” was and is the Covenant’s touchstone of discussion with regard to faith and practice.
We are a catholic church. The word catholic literally means universal. This means we understand ourselves to be a part of the community of believers that began with Jesus’s first followers, is alive today, and will continue until Christ comes again.
We are a Reformation church. We stand in the mainstream of a church renewal movement of the sixteenth century called the Protestant Reformation. Especially important is the belief that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, not by anything that we can do. The Covenant Church is also shaped by Pietism, a renewal movement that originated in seventeenth-century Europe and emphasized the need for a life that is personally connected to Jesus Christ, a reliance on the Holy Spirit, and a call to service in the world. We are an evangelical church.

For Covenant people, our essential beliefs are summed up in what we call Covenant Affirmations:
We affirm the centrality of the word of God.
We affirm the necessity of the new birth.
We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church.
We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers. It is a family of equals: as the New Testament teaches that within Christian community there is to be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit.
We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ.

 Conclusion... The Evangelical Covenant Church is a pilgrim church.

>>Read the document in its entirety here.<<

Here at New Life Covenant our aim is to be both Healthy and Missional. Healthy in the sense that we are pursuing Christ. Missional in the sense that we are pursuing Christ's priorities in the world.

The beauty of being a healthy, missional church is that it's not formula-based and not related to size. It's not musical styles or programs. It's about choices we make and being rooted in advancing God's Kingdom. In short, a healthy, missional church is comprised of healthy, missional people.

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