NO HARM DONE? Page 5
FROM ABANDONED TO ADOPTED Page 10
BATTLE Page 12
THE MAKINGS OF
WINTER EQUIPPING CLASSES The full schedule Page 16
ABOUT THE COMPASS EDITOR IN CHIEF Grant Cox EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mark Shetler CONTRIBUTORS Dan DeMuri, Glenda Harr, Tim Layfield, Jennie Nagy, Dan Palmer, Mark Pennington, Justin Smith, Ted Smith, PC Walker PHOTOGRAPHY Will Race
THE COMPASS IS A PUBLICATION OF
First Covenant Church of Sacramento PO Box 276450 • Sacramento, CA 95827 916.861.2240 • www.firstcov.org
CONTENTS ON THE COVER 3 Where are You, God?
CULTURE 4 Faith Cubed 5 Pornography: No Harm Done? 14 Lost in Translation MARRIAGE & FAMILY 7 Parenting Your Teens 8 The Makings of Marriage PEOPLE 4 Through it All 6 Meet the Staff 10 From Abandoned to Adopted 12 Brooklyn's Battle 18 Meet the Staff ON THE PATH 9 Beyond the Guitar 14 Growth Groups 16 Winter Equipping Class Schedule MINISTRY 6 What's a Mom to Do? 15 Living in La Limonada 15 Global Outreach Short-Term Teams NEWS 19 Upcoming Events
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
COMPASS Magazine is First Cov's quarterly publication. In a church our size, it can be an overwhelming task to meet everyone and know everything that is happening. The COMPASS will serve as a platform to bring our church family closer together. Within its pages, you will find true stories about the people and ministries of First Cov. And, most importantly, it will help guide you farther along the Path to becoming a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
WELCOME TO FIRST COV Welcome to First Cov! Our goal in publishing this magazine is to serve two purposes. First, we wanted a way to tell some of the many stories of faith that are being written throughout our First Cov family. We want you to know about real people and how they are being affected by real faith to make a real impact in our world. Second, we wanted to create a useful printed resource that would outline the many ways you can get connected at First Cov. There are countless ministries, events and activities in our church for people of every age group and personality. The COMPASS will help you find those things that best meet your needs. We know that there are many ways to grow spiritually — and every church develops its own unique process. At First Cov, we have designed a simple strategy that we call the Path. We are not claiming that this is the only way to become a fullyJESSE SMITH SENIOR PASTOR devoted follower of Christ, but it works well for us. We want everyone who makes First Cov their home to be involved in three things: Worship (the regular gathering of believers to thank God for His help in our lives and to learn from His Word); Equipping Classes (six week classes on relevant topics that offer tools for godly living); and Growth Groups (small gatherings of people in your neighborhood who support each other through study of the Bible and prayer, and who challenge each other to serve people in the community). We believe that if you step onto the Path with an open heart and mind, God will help you grow in your relationship with Him and with others. I believe that the COMPASS can be a tool to guide you along the Path and help you find your place within our church family. Enjoy this issue. There's some awesome stuff in the pages of this magazine!
NOTE FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Grant Cox, our editor in chief and the director of communications at First Cov, recently accepted a new position at an investment firm in Fresno. The COMPASS was his brainchild and he has served our church family with great dedication. Thank you, Grant, and may the Lord continue to guide you.
WRITE TO THE COMPASS Do you have a comment about this issue, a question about one of our columns, or a story idea for a future issue? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUNDAYS • 8:30 A.M. The familiar sounds of First Cov, from the best of the cherished songs of our faith to the most loved worship songs of today.
SUNDAYS • 10 & 11:30 A.M. An intentional approach to inspire honoring and engaging worship that is fresh and relevant in our culture today.
We love kids and teenagers! We have a full schedule of classes on Sunday mornings, from nursery to high school.
Life is hard. I thought You would make it easy. Relationships are so painful and complex, why can’t You make things simple? I am a good person! Why are the broken fragments of my life scattered in the wake of the evil
I wrote this reflection after hearing personal stories from friends that tore my
actions of others? Why is there so much hate and so little love? Where are You, God? I look at the powerful
heart to pieces. Life can
ocean and, with searing pain and a broken heart, I can see the truths of human life in it. The ocean crushes
seem so unfair and it is a
the surf with inevitable and relentless fury and, with watery tempest, proclaims the storm at sea to the helpless land.
constant struggle to make sense of the suffering and pain that inevitably comes.
Likewise, storms in our lives wreak destruction, the innocent
I heard that a young girl
suffer, and we become desensitized to the pain, resuming
had been sexually abused
life unmoved. SEE the child on the street, with grimy dirt
by her father and was
covering what should be an angelic face, clothes hanging tattered and torn on her filthy body. SEE her hand held out
so broken that she was contemplating taking her own life. I talked to a
in desperation, crying for some money to provide for her
friend whose ex-wife was
many needs. SEE her hollow eyes, devoid of love, absent of
feeding malicious lies
the sparkle of joy that should be evident in a child her age. SEE her scowl as she is rendered invisible by thousands of
about him to his children. There are so few answers to the questions that arise
saviors who could help, but cannot SEE because it is easier for them to pretend that hurting, starving, abused,
from these experiences.
and helpless children do not exist. Where are You, God? Are You blind, too? Are You unable to heal and calm
Even so, there is comfort
the storms of life? Do You SEE the broken and weary people without love and, therefore, without hope? The
in our Lord who suffered
prostitute with a lonely heart and a broken self-image needs to know that at least You love her — even when no one else does! The honest family torn by the deceit and hate of an unwarranted enemy needs to know that
as we have. Why did He weep at the death of Lazarus? Didn’t he know
You are an administer of justice! They need to know You, God! Where are You, God? You are here, God! There
that Lazarus would live to
is not a storm at sea, meant to wreak havoc and chaos on unsuspecting lives, that does not receive into its
the glory of God? He did.
hard, watery assault, a soft and compassionate tear from the Father who promises an end to the pain before
I believe he wept at the
it breaks us. You are here, God! The tempest of this fallen world pushes in like the tide, intending to sweep us
recognition of the pain that death had caused
away, but the Father, in His mercy, stops the pain with love, and the inevitable happens — the tide reverses
in the lives of those yet
and flees the power of Almighty God. The storm will return, you can count on that. It
living. He had intended
is like clockwork, but each time we will learn more and more that safety is found
so much more for them.
in the hand of the Father and we will rejoice even in the midst of the storm. I stand and my eyes sweep over the expanse of the
They were created in the image of God and were made for eternity. Yes,
sea. Beauty, intermingled with power. The elation of the heart at this
Jesus wept, because their
wonder is tempered with an awe-inspiring fear. God also is a paradox.
loss was great. But, he
Justice will meet us all because we are responsible for the
is the Redeemer and he
sin and pain in this world. We will all be held accountable
gives hope in every trial because he suffered and
for laughing at the homeless and prostitutes, pretending that
died to restore life to us.
the poor do not exist, and giving in to our selfishness; seeking
May we stand out in this
to be loved rather than loving, and to be served rather than
world, not because we
serving. BUT, those of us who face the storm that we have created and, in humble fear, cry out “Where are You, God?” will find that God also loves mercy. He longs to
never suffer, but because in the midst of suffering our eyes remain fixed on
cry back, in the midst of the storm, “I am here, child” with His tender healing, love, forgiveness, and hope. Go
the “author and perfecter
to the sea. Observe the sublime beauty. Question God. Receive His answer. “Surely I am with you always, to
of our faith.”
the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 6)
—— Dan Palmer Associate Pastor email@example.com
THROUGH IT ALL By Ted Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org
It was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve had in a long time. I was at our weekly seniors' ministry, called MOSAIC, which stands for Mobilizing Our Seniors Adults In Christ. We meet every Tuesday morning — it has become the high point of my week. But this specific Tuesday morning was amazing. We were singing that great song by Andraé Crouch, “Through It All.” As I sang those lyrics, I was moved to tears as I began to think about some times in my life when I felt so alone and afraid. I remembered when Jesse was born and, for a week, we weren’t sure he would live as we watched him gasp for breath. I remembered the two years of Cheri's anorexia when she came home from college weighing only 95 pounds. Karen Carpenter had just died and we knew we could lose our beautiful daughter the same way. I remembered the five years of my mom’s senior dementia — and taking care of this godly mom who was always there for me when I needed her. As I looked around the room, I saw tears flowing as our seniors I’ve been to lots of places, remembered their own storms. Then And I’ve seen a lot of faces, it hit me! Here were 32 seniors who, There’ve been times on average, had each been walking I felt so all alone. with God for 50 years. That meant they represented over 1600 total years of But in my lonely hours, going through the storms of life while Yes, those precious walking with God. lonely hours, Think about that! 1600 years of Jesus let me know life experiences and learning to trust that I was His own. God in the tough times. So I changed my lesson plan on the spot. I shared what I was feeling and said, “I see all I thank God for the mountains. those tears. I know, like me, you are And I thank Him remembering those lonely, scary times for the valleys. when you wondered if you were going I thank Him for the storms to make it. Let’s take time to share the He brought me through. experiences you’re remembering that For if I’d never had a problem, are causing those tears.” One couple shared the loss of their I wouldn’t know that young son while he was in college He could solve them. and how much it hurt to lose a child. I’d never know what Another woman shared the loss of faith in God could do. her husband at an early age and how tough it was to raise their child alone. One lady remembered sitting with her Through it all, through it all, sister while she died so she would I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, know she was loved and not alone as I’ve learned to trust in God; she faced death. Then one man shared Through it all, through it all, how he and his wife had not heard from I’ve learned to depend a daughter for ten years. They don’t upon His Word.† know whether she is alive or dead — they've heard nothing in ten years! He felt he had been too strict raising her and struggled with his role in the separation. We stopped and thanked God for His faithfulness through the years. MOSAIC has been studying Philippians recently — a letter written by Paul who was chained to a prison guard, waiting to hear whether he would live or die. He was writing to Christians who had lost everything. His message? “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) He reminded them that pain is a part of God’s plan for us to learn to trust Him more, and that our pain is then used to encourage others in their struggles. All with the purpose of bringing Him glory. I asked them what they would like to tell the young people in our church family. Their responses can be wrapped up this way: Our MOSAIC seniors have walked with God for a total of 1600 years and God has never failed us once! He doesn’t rescue us from our storms, but He always walks with us through them. God always takes care of His kids…through it all! 4 †
Lyrics by Andraé Crouch. © 1971 Manna Music, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
C U B E D
By Jennie Nagy • email@example.com
M-Y-O-B! Somewhere along the way, a teacher, spouse, sibling or friend may have spoken these letters to you in clipped, rapid succession. Whether abbreviated or fully articulated, “Mind your own business!” can feel like a fist to the nose. Strangely, though, it is a Biblical directive. As a “cube” dweller, a smorgasbord of office concerns surrounds me every day. Most do not belong on my work plate or desk. In fact, involving myself in them often leaves me with nothing but stress, fatigue, gossip, discord, depression, and isolation. I have no doubt that Paul was addressing this exact scenario when he said, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11, NASB) Paul understood that — for the church to be productive and unified — each member needs to stay busy minding his or her own business. In other words, when too many cooks are in the kitchen, havoc is inevitable. By design, I want to be heard. I want to know that my voice matters and my opinion counts. I want people to recognize my value and worth as both an employee and a person. These desires are understandable and normal for us because we are created in God’s image. But my natural desire to offer input or advice — even when masked as helpfulness — can mutate into a destructive busybody monster with tentacles and suction cups that could drain the life and health out of any office. When I engage in these conversations and situations, I decrease productivity, sabotage relationships, and cripple my pursuit of becoming more like Christ. Please don’t get me wrong. A time and place exists to jump in, be helpful, speak up, and volunteer. But first, I must ask myself some challenging, honest questions: Is this my business, my role, or my responsibility? Why do I want to be involved? What are my motivations? Do I have something to gain? Unlike David, who asked God to thoroughly search and test his heart and intentions (Psalm 139), I tend to conduct my own self-search, selfishly (and sinfully) deciding that my motives are pure and right. God repeatedly uses John 21:2122 to remind me to mind my own business. In this passage, Jesus basically tells Peter to MYOB! He knew when Peter spent his time competing with, worrying about, and meddling in someone else’s life, he would miss the fantastic calling God had on his own life. Likewise, forcing myself into situations to make myself look or feel important renders me useless in achieving God’s calling on my life, resulting in missed opportunities to make an eternal impact in the lives of my co-workers. Minding my own business may be one of the most difficult challenges of working in an office. But God knows my heart to honor Him, make my efforts count for His kingdom, and selflessly serve for the right reasons. And He continues each day to correct, remind, and gently whisper in my ear, “MYOB.”
Make it your ambition to lead
a quiet life and attend to your
own business and work with your
hands, just as we
By Justin Smith ail.com
porn ograph y
nO harm done ?
It’s a growing epidemic in our culture. At the click of a mouse, a plethora of images invades the home of the average American. They run the spectrum of “soft” body-beautifying images to “hard” exploitative and obscene depictions. In their November 25, 2011, issue, "Newsweek" reported that an estimated 40 million people in the United States log on daily to 4.2 million pornographic websites. So the question begs: “Can viewing inappropriate material have negative consequences on us?" Our society glamorizes and exploits it. So how could it be so serious? How could it cause us harm? I lived a life addicted to pornography. I know all too well the damage that it does to our lives. The costs can be devastating. When we choose to be involved in any unhealthy sexual activity, we buy into a counterfeit representation of what God’s plan is for our sexuality. Marriages suffer. Relationships suffer. YOU suffer. This counterfeit representation harms us by enslaving us to our “self” and separating us from our loved ones and more importantly from God and His divine plan for our lives. Sex was designed to create life and to promote healthy, long-term intimacy and bonding between spouses — within the marriage between husband and wife. Every form of unhealthy sexual behavior leads to the misuse of the divine benefits intended by our Creator for the mere gratification of temporal lusts. By our choices, we live with divided hearts: one side is devoted to something that enslaves us; the other seeks to find a way out from the weight of shame and loneliness. Pornography cuts you off from your feelings. It sends you into a destructive cycle in which you use it as a false way to deal with unpleasant feelings. It leads you into difficulties in your relationship with yourself, with others, and with God. You end up spending your life sapped of the vibrant passion that Jesus died for you to have. As a person who was once hopeless but is now hope-filled, I am here to tell you that, with Jesus, you can be set free from the shameful, choking grip that pornography has on your life. I would like to share with you a few ways God has helped me find peace and freedom. First, you need to spend time with God. This is very basic, but so many of us choose to spend our time doing that which we don’t want to do! I find as I move along in my journey with Jesus that there is a direct relationship between the time I am spending with Him and the condition of my thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. I encourage you to make time each week to read the love story He wrote for you and me. Spend time in prayer. Meditate on the things that He reveals to you rather than the messages dictated by mass media. By spending time with Him, you will begin to realize that He holds the key to making you feel accepted. No image on a screen can do that. You need to find the root of your pain. We all have a God-shaped hole in our heart. If this hole is not filled by God, it will be filled by the things of this world. You need to seek the source of your addiction. Something is keeping you from realizing and accepting that Jesus died for you and has great plans for you. You need to figure out what that thing is! Please seek help. Many people have broken free and are resting in the power of a Savior. There are groups that can help you — Celebrate Recovery, Sexaholics Anonymous, X3 recovery groups, counseling, and online resources, to name a few. If you have a desire to be free, God will place someone in your life that yearns to help you claim victory. Celebrate Recovery is where God grabbed hold of my heart. In CR, I met people just like myself who were choosing to get to know God, dealing with the pain of the past, and finding healing. I encourage you to do the same. In my experience, going to CR and admitting that I was struggling was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. But it was also one of the most liberating. Celebrate Recovery meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the First Cov chapel. James 5:16 says to “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” I have met with an accountability partner for many years and have found that having someone hold you accountable to do the right thing is like iron sharpening iron. However, you must build a framework for it to be a successful, meaningful partnership. The basic framework should include honesty, confidentiality, regular face-to-face meetings, and both partners need to share the same struggle. Psalm 103:12 states, “As far as the east is from the west, He has removed our transgressions from us.” I am living proof that — with the help of Jesus — you can reclaim your innocence. He is in the business of heart transplants. Don’t live another day in slavery. Your restoration awaits you. Jesus came to set the captives free. Leave your shackles at the foot of His cross. WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG 5
what's a mom to do?
By Glenda Harr • firstname.lastname@example.org
Moms are well-acquainted with the cute, little bear with his honey jar — named "Pooh." He constantly finds himself in predicaments and asks himself the question, “What’s a bear to do?” Moms ask that question, too! What is a mom to do when
difficult things happen and she wonders who to ask or where to run for help? Her days can get long as she tirelessly cares for her children. Her demands are continuous and often draining. It seems as though her children should just go off and play while she cleans and cooks and plans for her family. But motherhood doesn’t work that way. Some of us may remember the bubble bath commercial that says, “Calgon, take me away!” That’s how a mom feels after a full day with her children — darling children who have not stopped moving or needing her all day! What’s a mom to do? Since the beginning of human existence, many of the struggles women face have remained the same — dysfunction in the home, health issues, infertility, marital strife, difficult in-laws, and disobedient children. And don't forget about sleep-deprived nights, potty training, and temper tantrums! Moms today — unlike the previous generation of moms — face even more challenges. They are bombarded with ideas, advice, books, talk shows, and online blogs that tell them how they should handle motherhood and raise their children. These so-called answers seem to be just a click away! But there is hope and a different kind of answer for moms! At First Cov, we have a program specially designed for mothers. It offers support and encouragement through the very important years of raising children and teaching them to identify the real meaning of life. Mom's Connection exists to help you become a better mom. It will provide you with answers to all the questions that motherhood presents. And its answers come from the Word of Truth — the Bible! We live in the world that says truth is subjective and relative, and where Biblical truth is often mocked. We often don’t recognize the subtle mistruths found in our culture. We don’t recognize the misconceptions and unrealistic expectations that we place on how to be a mom. Mom's Connection uses guests speakers, small group discussions, Bible study, prayer time, brunches, special events, service projects, and mentor moms to provide you with encouragement, wisdom, and strength to help you find your way on the journey of motherhood. Our time together each Tuesday morning is a time of refreshment, helping you grow in your relationship with God and everyone He has placed in your life. It will help you answer the question, “What’s a mom to do?”
We asked a few moms about their Mom's Connection experience. Here is what they had to say:
In a world where I often feel like I’m responsible for countless things, it’s refreshing to come to a place where I can just show up and be ministered to. The childcare, the leadership, and the mentor moms all add to the atmosphere of safety and stress-free enjoyment. As a first time mom, Mom’s Connection has provided me with much needed support and friendship with other moms. This has blessed me beyond measure. Mom’s Connection has provided a great community where I can ‘do motherhood’ with other moms who ‘get it.’ Mom’s Connection is a great way to share our highs and lows and gain godly parenting advice in a safe environment. I love mom’s group and continue to go because I can share encouragement with other women and realize I am not alone in my struggles of motherhood. Being able to drink my coffee before it gets cold is also a plus! Mom’s Connection has been such a blessing to me as a mom, wife, and person. I love how the studies bring the Bible to life and make it applicable to me and my life today. This group of women helps me in my daily walk with God and I’m so grateful.
There's a place for you at Mom's Connection! We invite you to join us as our new semester begins.
real women, real faith It's not easy being a woman in today's world. The demands and expectations you face can be overwhelming. And deep within, you long to meet with God and be changed. This study will help you discover new Biblical insight and leave you feeling challenged, encouraged, and deeply valued.
Tuesdays in the chapel, starting January 10 at a NEW TIME: 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. Cost: $25 (only $15 for returning moms) Childcare provided for kids (6 weeks - 5 years old.)
Austin Ba ker Role at First Cov. I get to serve Jesus by loving the families of First Cov. As an associate in children’s ministries, I help facilitate our KidKare, mid-week children’s equipping classes, and all other aspects of our children's program. First set foot on First Cov. My family and
I first began attending in June of 2001. We fell in love with Pastor Ted's messages, the friendly faces, and the idea that — because First Cov was such a large church — we could easily hide out in the congregation and never have to volunteer. But God had other plans for us and we soon found ourselves involved in many different areas of ministry.
On staff since. October 2009 — just in time for harvest carnival preparation and handling child care needs for Christmas rehearsals. Birthday. October 29 — that’s all I have to say
Wife and kids. I have been married to my
beautiful wife, Kellee, for 17 wonderful years. We have three fantastic faith-filled kids: Randy, Faith and Aimee.
Favorite Scripture. Hebrews 11:1. Knowing that I have the assurances in God’s promises and knowing that He is there encourages me to live a faith-filled life. It keeps me from falling away from God when the things around me start to spiral out of control. Favorite Quote. “Do all the good you can. By
all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley
Favorite eatery. La Fiesta Taqueria on Natomas Boulevard. The service is great and the carnitas burritos are amazing. Last book you read. That seems like a trick question. As a school teacher, I am always reading. The last one I read was "The Out of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction." The last book I read for entertainment was "The Pillars of Creation," from the "Sword of Truth" series. Last movie you watched. "Arthur's
Christmas" with my family — in a theater in the small town of Paradise, the night before Thanksgiving. We got there early, expecting the place to be packed. When the movie started, we were surprised to find that we were the only people in the theater.
At Starbucks. During the holidays: Pumpkin spice latte and the nine million calories it comes with. The rest of the year: black coffee.
parenting your teens
By Tim Layfield • email@example.com
We want to help you find Jesus Christ, grow in your faith, and learn how God works in your life. On Tuesdays, we play, connect, and explore through activities and games. We also discuss spiritual topics in growth groups and see how they apply to our lives.
There is never a need for explanation or apology; we will accept your children with open arms. We provide a Sunday class, as well as monthly free respite care for special needs children and their siblings.
An exciting environment where students can experience and express real faith. We are passionate about introducing students to Jesus by teaching the truth that God is crazy about them regardless of what is going on in their lives.
SUNDAYS • 10 & 11:30 • Room 207
Our ministry to college students and young adults
SUNDAYS 7:30 p.m. in the chapel Connect with God. Connect with others. Connect others with God.
CONNECTION ENGAGE WITH OTHER MOMS AND DIG INTO GOD'S WORD
9:15 - 11: 15 A.M. IN THE CHAPEL
Learn more about Mom's Connection on page 12.
Let’s be honest — parenting a teen can be frustrating. For some of us, it has been down right difficult. Some of you have teenagers who are angels. This article is for the other ninety nine percent of the parenting population. Perhaps you can admit that you need a little help from time-to-time when it comes to understanding your teen. Think about this for a moment. Their culture, their fashion, their music, their friends, and even their methods of reasoning, are completely foreign to you. It's no wonder you have difficulties connecting with your teenager. Here are a few tips that may provide you with some valuable insight.
from controlling to coaching YOU
When our children are growing up, they need a controlling parental figure to guide them and teach them. As parents, we need to control and demonstrate certain behaviors for many reasons. Controlling them to protect them is a great example. You don’t want little Timmy to run into the street. So you set rules or boundaries to prevent that tragedy. You also want little Timmy to learn how to treat others with kindness. So you instruct and guide in the areas of selflessness and forgiveness. Controlling young children is a necessity in raising and nurturing them toward living a healthy lifestyle. However, when your controlling parenting style carries over into the teenage years, it can be counterproductive. I am not asking you to abandon your core values or beliefs. I am, however, asking you to meet your teen at his level and respect his individuality. Demands simply won't work. Start listening and initiating discussion. Think conversation, not lecture. Changing the delivery doesn’t have to affect the message. Allow them to communicate about their actions and then come to an agreement on the issue. Listen and then discuss — enforcing your values through discussion. Develop practical applications to those values and always remember to ask good questions. This approach gives them an opportunity to own their actions and accept the consequences. Remember to coach your teen toward a healthy life.
bad crowd. what happened? THEM
Perhaps your teen has begun to associate with friends whom you do not approve. Let's call them the bad crowd. When this happens, questions will flood your mind. Why does this happen? How do I get them out? Your best approach here is to build a good offense. Take inventory of what is going on inside your home. Does your teenager feel significant? Are you validating his input? Are you providing her with a sense of purpose? When your stamp of approval stops, they will seek fulfilliment and validation elsewhere. Here are four things you can do to validate and encourage your teenager. 1. Provide structure. Structure communicates love. It says,“I love you enough to set boundaries and rules for you.” No teen will ever admit it, but discipline tells them you care. 2. Ask good questions. When you listen to the things they say, you validate them and show them that they are important. As a high school pastor, teenagers constantly tell me that their parents don’t hear them. Many parents listen, but listening to them is very different from hearing what they have to say. Give them your full attention. Make strong eye contact as they speak. When they tell you something that is shocking — and they will — REMAIN CALM! A strong reaction almost always slams shut the door to further communication. A harsh response will send them running in a different direction, so be careful to avoid words that may do damage. 3. Offer grace. Grace is unmerited favor and honor. When you offer grace, you communicate, “I love you when you make good choices, but I also love you when you don't.” Love your teen unconditionally, just as Jesus loves us. 4. Give your time. Your teens know you’re busy. So carving out time specifically for them is more valuable to them than anything else. Do things they enjoy and use your time together to learn about them. Time equals relationship. Make sure they know your desire to be in this together with them. Don't merely endure them; instead, truly enjoy them! Parenting teenagers can be a difficult road to navigate. But you can do it! Learn to step out and meet your teens where they are. Give them ownership in your relationship by placing value on their input. Coach them in a way that helps them win. They will love you for it. WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG
THE MAKINGS OF MARRIAGE
A few weeks before their wedding day, Global Outreach Partners Kayti and Johnny sat down with Phil and Lil Jarwin who had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. For nearly two hours, they discussed love, marriage, and faith. The following are some of the observations Johnny made as he reflected on that conversation.
Kayti and I recently had the opportunity to meet with a successful married couple, Phil and Lil. As we started to get acquainted with one another, Phil explained that in honor of their 60th anniversary he planned to surprise his bride with a bouquet of flowers set up in the lobby of the church. But Phil said that his plans fell apart because he was sick that day and unable to attend church. Lil interrupted his story and corrected him, “You weren't sick! I was sick.” Phil quickly responded, “Well, when you're sick, I'm sick.” I was so impressed with the obvious affection that this couple has for one another after decades of marriage, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing bits and pieces of their life story. Phil says he loved Lil from the first time he saw her, but she passed by him with her nose in the air. Once he convinced her to start “courting,” Phil learned of some things he should not do if he wanted to keep her. He recalled that early in their relationship he made fun of her for crying at a movie they watched in the theater together. “Bad idea,” he concluded and warned me that I should never do that to Kayti. Phil admitted that he had a steep learning curve to overcome, but being with Lil was worth it. As the two continued to keep company with each other, they were very intentional about building a strong foundation for their relationship. Both wanted their relationship with God to take precedence over their relationship with each other. So they molded their lives together based on their scriptural beliefs, often keeping a Bible sitting between them as a chaperone of sorts, reminding them that the Lord was their first love. Because of that commitment, Lil said they truly learned how to love one another, and after two years of courtship and intense work, she knew they were meant for each other. Because Phil and Lil have been together for so long and obviously still love one another deeply, we asked them to share their ideas about the keys to a happy marriage. The first thought from Phil was, “Whenever you have the chance, grab your partner's hand. Especially going down the street, you want to proclaim to those people that might give you a glance that you
belong to each other. You need a way to show people around you that you love each other and respect each other.” Lil agreed, “Affection should be shown most of the time” She then quickly added, “And have fun together – find something that you really like to do together. Life isn’t easy, but having some fun as a couple makes it easier.” Of course, the Jarwins wanted to make sure that we knew there was no substitute for love. They made it quite clear that true love is more than showing affection, laughing together, or sharing a hobby; it’s the unconditional commitment you make to remain with the other person. They explained that when you truly love, you see things that other people cannot see. You can see beneath the surface to qualities that make your beloved special and unique. Love is to know the inner beauty. Both Phil and Lil said that communication has been an important key for their relationship and something that has required a lot of effort. Lil pointed out that “the idea of not talking when you're mad is detrimental to a marriage. You need to talk. You need to complain. If you don't complain, resentment builds. This isn't an excuse to be nasty, but you need to talk things through and be respectful.” Phil added that it has been imperative for them to devise strategies for how to handle miscommunication and disagreements. “When issues come up,” he says, “you need to know your course of action. You need to know when and how you’re going to talk about it.” Before our conversation ended, I asked them what has been the best thing about being married for sixty years. They both grinned and looked into each other’s eyes, expressing something more profound than words could describe. As Kayti and I remember our conversation with Phil and Lil we are thankful for their advice, but we are even more grateful for their example. It is our desire to follow in the footsteps of successful marriages – to grow in love for one another for the rest of our lives. We want to become one, with Christ as our head. We hope that someday when one of us is sick, we are so close that we won’t be able to distinguish who is not feeling well. I want to be able to say, "When you're sick, I'm sick, too.”
easter carnival saturday, april 7 3 - 4:45 p.m.
jump houses giant slides obstacle course live band free BBQ Three Easter Egg Arenas for all ages.
ministry can come alongside you during tough times. It is a FREE ministry available to anyone who is hurting or needing clarity in life.
BEYOND THE GUITAR
I must admit that I’ve felt a little discouraged lately when it comes to the topic of worship. I get inundated with tons of information about the subject and a majority of it tends to be negative. Some of the information I’ve requested but most of it is unsolicited. Yet it finds me, anyway. I’ve read articles on the “right way to worship” and the “wrong way to worship.” I’ve seen parodies on YouTube that mock the way the American Church worships. I’ve read some books that say we (the Church) have “got it all wrong” and other books that say “[enter church name here] has it right,” so be more like them. I’ve seen and heard pastors and parishioners CALL or EMAIL NOW FOR A from various churches and denominations get in some pretty heated debates about the proper and improper CONFIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT JNAGY@FIRSTCOV.ORG ways to worship. I’ve also seen some pretty lively discussions in forums and on Facebook pages, as well, and I’m sure that my situation is not unique. Even if you are not a vocational worship leader, I’m sure that, at some point, you have also experienced the controversy that can ensue from these endless discussions about worship. There’s no doubt about it. Worship in the American Church is — and, I think, will always be — a hot topic. I do believe that those conversations and debates are important to have, at times, because we should never believe that we do it perfectly. But I also think this scrutiny can become toxic. At what point does our desire to get it "right" supercede or even hinder our ability to actually enter the throne room of God and truly worship Him? There’s a song we regularly sing at First Cov called “You Hold Me Now.” Its lyrics describe the day we will stand and behold God in all His glory. It says our eyes will be opened and we will see all that He has for us. The things that make no sense to us here on earth will finally be revealed. There will be no more pain, no Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. A Christ-centered, faith-based recovery program that offers more sorrow, no hurt, no greed, no envy, and no war or support, teaching, and love for any type of hurt, habit or violence. Creation will live at peace with God and we Worship the LORD with gladness; hangup. We are a safe place where you can share and not will worship Him — truly worship our glorious King and be judged. We meet every Thursday, including holidays. come before him with joyful songs. Creator forever. This is God’s promise to us — hope for a better life and hope for an eternal future with Him. EVERY Know that the LORD is God. 7 P.M. That’s the big picture. IN THE CHAPEL THURSDAY I entitled this article “On That Day” because I It is he who made us, and we are his; believe that — when we stand before the Lord and he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” — learn more at www.firstcov.org/CR we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. the angels will sing His praises, we will fall to our knees and praise Him in our new bodies. And, at Enter his gates with thanksgiving that moment, when we suddenly realize that this is our eternity, all those things we scrutinized and and his courts with praise; debated and attempted to measure will be a vapor in the wind. IT WON’T MATTER! We will be with our give thanks to him and praise his name. Savior. And nothing else will matter. But we don’t have to wait. We can do it now. We For the LORD is good DivorceCare is a six week support group for people who don’t always have to be consumed by the details. are separated or divorced. It's a place where you can gain and his love endures forever; We can passionately, and with full abandon, worship wise counsel and be around others who understand what our Savior whenever and wherever we want. We you are feeling. It's a place where you can begin to heal his faithfulness continues don’t always have to worry about whether from the hurt of divorce. or not we’re getting it right. We just have through all generations. to show up. Let’s not waste time. Let’s Next group begins March 7 whole-heartedly worship our Savior, Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. — PSALM 100 Jesus Christ.
GriefShare is a support group program that provides you with direction and purpose and helps you learn how to walk the journey of grief. It is a place where hurting people find healing and hope.
Next group begins March 6 Tuesdays from 6:30-8 p.m.
Contact Pastor Dan at 861-1634 to register.
By Dan DeMuri • firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Jack Townsend at 214-2665 or Pastor Dan at 861-1634 to register.
to adopted “God mentions caring for orphans forty-seven times in scripture,” says First Cov member Sandy
Runner. “We spend a lot of time asking God what He wants from us, but I can just hear Him saying, ‘For the forty-eighth time, care for the least of these!’” Sandy and her husband, Micah, founded Home For Good Ministries — a Christian organization aimed at mobilizing and empowering local churches to get involved in adoption, foster care and other ministries to orphans. In the last year, a number of First Cov families have adopted — or are in the process of adopting — children into their homes. Each family has a journey that led them to adoption as unique as the families themselves.
THE HILL FAMILY
Heidi Hill was adopted as an infant. And all her life, she has desired to adopt. For years, she had prompted her husband, Scott, to consider adopting, also. In September 2010, Heidi and Scott, along with their two sons, Jason and Ben, welcomed seven-year-old Hao Jing (they know her as "Elizabeth") into their home. The Hills know very little about their precious little girl's background. They do, however, know that — when she was only eighteen months old — she was abandoned near a rail station in central China. Elizabeth is now nine and is quickly adapting to her new life in California. Adopting a child — especially one who is from another country — and knowing very little about her background was admittedly frightening for the Hills. "Thanks to the Holy Spirit’s timing,” says Heidi, “it was orderly and clear that this was the path we should take.” Scott remembers his concerns regarding the financial strain that adoption would add to the family’s budget. After much prayer and careful consideration, he concluded, “The bottom line was this: If God was behind this, He would pay for it. The whole adventure is a step of faith and the finances are just a part of it. Caring for widows and orphans is very important to God. [It is an] issue not discussed nearly enough in most pulpits. Every kid needs a dad, even if that child is not yours or is from another country.” Elizabeth’s new big brothers, Jason (14) and Ben (13), enjoy having a younger sister. Ben remembers the language barrier during their first few months together. He described the difficulties it presented, but says they are quickly learning how to communicate with each
other. Heidi says the boys absolutely love her. “They spoil her, tease her, adore her, give her piggy back rides and read to her. [The experience] has made [them] mature and helps them look outside of themselves more.” According to Jason, the best part of having a new sister is “her hugs and happy, joyful smiles; things she wouldn’t have had if she was still in China.”
THE GOLDIE FAMILY
Connie and Darrell Goldie’s road to adoption was quite different. The couple wanted to have a biological family together, but had been unable to conceive. Darrell says “after the fertility program did not work for us, we gradually started talking about adoption. But at first, I was not completely for it.” He recalls looking at Connie — who also serves as the nursery coordinator at First Cov — one day and noticing the sadness in her eyes. At that moment, his heart began to soften toward the idea of adoption. In November 2010, they learned about two half sisters in the Sacramento area who needed parents. They met the two girls at a soccer game. “They were adorable,” said Darrell, “and the excitement immediately set in.” The Goldies remember praying for years that God would bless them with children. They struggled with disappointment, especially after the efforts of a fertility clinic had failed. “Once we met the girls, we were relieved that God had answered our prayer,” Darrell said. Siana (almost 6) and Ava (4) were officially adopted by Darrell and Connie in November 2011 — only one year after the four first met.
THE byrne FAMILY
Amy and Jamey Byrne decided to consider adoption through a different set of circumstances. Amy had worked as a therapist and then a foster care social worker. She was regularly exposed to cases in which children were victims of abuse and neglect - often poorly served by the system that was intended to care for them. Amy remembers, “As a professional, I often felt paralyzed and helpless. I saw children living where their basic necessities were taken care of, but not cherished or loved.” After laying aside her career to care for two small
By Mark Shetler • email@example.com
children of their own, Amy says, “God began to show me that He is passionate about orphans and that He does care, not just about me and my family but about those children who are defenseless.” With Jamey's support, Amy launched a new ministry at First Cov called "Chosen Ones." This ministry seeks to support families considering adoption or foster care, and is exploring ways that the whole First Cov congregation can become involved in caring for orphans. After launching "Chosen Ones", it became evident that God had more in mind for the Byrnes. While Amy was concerned in a general way about the needs of orphans, she couldn't stop thinking about Robbie, a little boy she met while employed as a social worker. “At first, I pushed it away,” she recalls, “and then later, I talked to Jamey about it. We prayed about what God might be doing. Then through a friend, I was connected with [Robbie’s] social worker.” Robbie was still in need of a permanent family and, after a series of events, was placed in the Byrne’s home. Since then, Amy and Jamey have been working toward his adoption. Jamey's journey wasn’t an easy one. When Amy was a social worker, he was very supportive of her career. He says he felt badly about the kids she encountered each day, but was also relieved that he was removed from it. "Someone else was dealing with them,” he thought. But, in the midst of Growth Group training and personal devotions, Jamey felt God beginning to challenge him. As Pastor Ted began to preach through the book of James during Sunday morning worship, he recalls, "I began to see from a different angle that the faith that saved me changes me. [True faith] requires that I respond out of obedience — based on God’s faithfulness, not my comfort.” Each of these families recognizes the huge commitment that a healthy adoption requires, but they also recognize the substantial steps in their spiritual growth throughout the adoption process. “We don’t even realize how close adoption is to the heart of God. In fact, it is a central theme in scripture. Moses was adopted. Jesus was adopted by Joseph. And in Ephesians 1:5, God tells us that He predestined us to be adopted as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ,” says Runner.
For more information on adoption or other ways to care for orphans, visit www.firstcov.org/chosenones and www.myhomeforgood.org.
"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me.'" THE BYRNE FAMILY PSALM 68:6
"God sets the lonely in families." THE GOLDIE FAMILY
THE HILL FAMILY
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."
How do you see God at work in what you’re going through? M: I definitely believe everything happens for a reason, even though I may not know that reason. I don’t have to see the good in it to know that God’s plan is good. What matters is how we respond. K: Of course, we definitely did not expect Brooklyn to get cancer and would not choose this, but it happened. Things may not happen the way we would plan them, but it’s not for us to decide. M: We could play out the countless "what ifs" and not get out of bed, but what good would that do? We’ve got to move on and accept that God has us in His plan.
What lessons has God taught you in this process? M: When Brooklyn was first diagnosed, Pastor Jesse told me that there are two ways most people react when facing something like this. He said, “They either become stronger in their faith or they turn away from their faith.” What we’ve gone through has definitely drawn us closer to God. So much has to do with how you respond to things. K: Mike and I learned a lot from his days of playing baseball and traveling. (Mike was a professional baseball player.) We learned to be flexible and spontaneous and that’s helped us so much now. We have to be so flexible in our planning because we never know just how things will be with Brooklyn. Being spontaneous helps us respond to each situation.
Brooklyn Frank is a beautiful little three-year-old girl. Like any girl her age, she loves to perform somersaults and sing and dance. In 2011, at the fragile age of two,
M: There were times when you were playing great, but you show up one day and you’re released or you’re traded. There’s just so much that is out of our control. You can’t worry about it because if you worry, you can’t perform at the level you need to. So we've learned to rely on our faith.
What kind of support have you experienced? M: Our church family and [growth] group have been amazing. It’s been overwhelming and humbling. Knowing that people are praying for Brooklyn and for us is powerful. K: Some who barely know us are praying regularly. The Mom's Connection group has been incredibly supportive with meals. We’ve had some friends from college and some here locally who have organized events for Brooklyn and that’s been hard for me to accept. Mike has been real good at helping me to know that accepting things from other people is how we can share God’s love. M: We have a number of friends who will drop everything to come watch the kids when Brooklyn has to go to the hospital — and it’s never at a convenient time. It’s always two or three in the morning, but they still show up at our door to help.
doctors diagnosed her with acute lymphoblastic
How has your family responded?
leukemia — a fast-growing form of cancer that affects
K: Brooklyn’s cancer has united our family in fighting this disease and getting her better. The kids want us to be together, snuggling on the couch. But it’s a balancing act because sometimes we have to be in the hospital. We do still have dinner together almost every night.
the normal production of blood cells and weakens the immune system. Her parents, Mike and Kristin, brother, Braden (8), and sisters, Kayla (5) and Kelsey (18 months), join her in the battle against this disease. COMPASS contributor Mark Pennington sat down with Brooklyn's parents to learn about their experience. By Mark Pennington • firstname.lastname@example.org
M: We’re very much like a team. It’s definitely brought us closer together as a family. K: The kids have been amazing with it all. Braden knows more, of course, than Kayla does. They both know Brooklyn has cancer, but Kayla doesn’t quite understand it. M: We're still a normal family with four kids — screaming, fighting, and chaos. But there’s a different kind of closeness, because everybody senses that they all have to protect Brooklyn. The kids don’t necessarily know how or what to do, but they can sense it. I think that even Kelsey picks up on it.
Have you ever asked “Why us, Lord?” K: I’ve learned that it’s okay not to know the answers. We may never get to find out the "whys." M: It’s been comforting that Brooklyn has never asked, “Why me?” Probably because she is so young, but if she did, that would probably break my heart. Brooklyn will continue to receive treatment until she is five years old. We may never know why she was diagnosed with cancer or how it’s affected her family, but we trust that God will use this process to shape her — and use her to make an impact in every person she meets.
From Kristin's blog: "Brooklyn's Journey" March 3: It is amazing to see
where God puts people to help you in times when you need it the most.
March l3: It is crazy to think
that God knew that Brooklyn was going to get cancer even before she was born. I know it must be hard for Him to see her going through this time too because He is her Father and loves her even more than we do. God is using this time in our lives to shape us and make us stronger and into the people that He knows we can be. It’s exciting to know that He’s working on us, but it’s certainly not always easy.
February 5: I read this from 5
Psalm 28 today, and I think it will be a verse that will help us all through the next few months: "The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy." I know He has a plan for us through all of this, and I don't need to know it, I just need to trust Him.
February l9: I know that 7
through Brooklyn's illness, I am learning to live life at a slower pace and that it will be an advantage to all of our children as they are growing up. I am learning to be a more present, more patient, more humble mom, and for that I am grateful.
November 6: Tonight when I 8
Brooklyn on the day we were released from our initial stay at UC Davis (when she was first diagnosed). Brooklyn laying in her hospital bed during our most recent stay, when she had pneumonia. 2 Big brother Braden hugging Brooklyn on the morning of her first day of preschool. 3 Brooklyn painting in our hospital room in isolation because she had shingles. 4 Brooklyn playing in the hospital waiting room before a spinal tap. 5 Family fun at the park. 6 Brooklyn's preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. 7 The Frank family at Brooklyn's "Cookies and Carols" performance at First Covenant Preschool. 8 Braden, Kayla, Brooklyn and Kelsey waiting for the doctor to come in for a check up. 9 Kristin and Brooklyn before her port surgery. 10 Mike, Braden and Brooklyn on the day they all shaved their heads. B 1
was getting Brooklyn ready for bed I was just looking at her thinking, why did you get cancer? How did that happen? It's not fair. She is really so sweet and loving and has such a big heart.
Read the full blog online at brooklyn-frank .blogspot.com WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG
Two Questions to
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. in Room 206
MOSAIC is our NEW ministry to senior adults, led by Pastor Emeritus Ted Smith. We invite you to join us for fellowship, food, worship, and Bible study.
connect? Experience a lifestyle where you can grow with one another in Jesus. At the same time, learn to actively share Jesus in your neighborhoods.
Growth Groups meet throughout the Sacramento region. find a group near your neighborhood
Learn more about how you can get involved in our orphan care ministry at www.firstcov.org/chosenones
COMPASS COMPASS MAGAZINE MAGAZINE
CHANGE THE WORLD
By PC Walker • email@example.com
An old Hassidic Rabbi once said he best-understood love from a drunken peasant. While visiting a friend who owned a tavern, he noticed two men at the bar who had clearly been there awhile. In typical fashion — with arms around one another’s shoulders — each of the two men assured the other how much he loved him. One finally said to the other, “Tell me what hurts me.” His friend asked, “How do I know what hurts you?” He quickly responsed, “How can you love me if you don’t know what hurts me?!” What made Jesus the greatest lover in human history is that He really knew what hurt people. Love that understands how you hurt can transform. How would this greatest love make its presence known in our city and culture? A Portland pastor came to his congregation a few years ago with a significant challenge. He presented two questions his church needed to answer together. 1. Where does our city hurt the most? 2. What can we do about that? They quickly set up a meeting with the mayor and asked the same two questions. It was revealed to them that education was the largest hurt in the city of Portland. Upon learning this, the church created an in-house tutoring program, and the city began sending kids from all over to their program. The largest hurt in Portland was beginning to mend. Each year, that pastor continues to ask his congregation those same two questions as they continue to search for the city's greatest hurt — and what they can do about it. Scripture reveals Jesus as someone who resonates with our anger, frustration, brokenness, hurt, pain as well as our joy and happiness. We are shown a Jesus who knows what hurts the human heart. It shows a Jesus “moved with compassion.” When you read that Jesus was moved with compassion, it is to say that his gut was wrenched, that his heart was torn open, and the most vulnerable part of Jesus is laid bare. It is this truth that proves Jesus weeps from within our broken hearts. Do you know where Sacramento hurts most? Your school? Your workplace? Your family? Your marriage? Part of becoming a people who not only love God but also love PEOPLE is learning to answer that question with action. Our actions are far more telling than our words. We commonly say we love the sinner and hate the sin, but nobody really believes that about us. In fact, I am not certain I believe that about us, because, too often, I do not believe that of myself. I cannot claim to really love the sinner unless my own lifestyle really backs up those words. Harvey Blaney said, “All evangelistic effort is both pseudo and futile where the world being evangelized is not also loved.” If we could recognize where those around us hurt the most and make movements toward addressing those hurts, we would finally grasp the sort of love our culture craves. More importantly, it is the kind of love that can transform and heal. An Englishman once came across a friend whose horse had just been accidentally killed. While a crowd of onlookers expressed words of sympathy, this man stepped forward and said loudly to the others, “I am sorry five pounds. How much are you sorry?” True love will notice and get involved in the NEEDS of others — it cannot stay uninvolved. Loving people has to be practical. It has to ask and actively answer the question: Where do people hurt and need around me, and how can I sacrifice my own comfort and rights to meet that hurt and need? We would do well if we quit fighting to change our culture — we lost that fight a long time ago. Instead, we need to begin asking how we might impact and reach the culture around us. Asking and answering these two simple questions put us in the thick of that impact.
lost in translation
GLOBAL OUTREACH sHORT-TERM Teams
By Mark Shetler • firstname.lastname@example.org g
“I felt so bad for the children. Every one of them had such a sad story — even the ones who were only four years old. They seemed hopeless and there was no one to fight for them. I wanted to change that.” La Limonada. One of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Guatemala City. Tina Breshears first visited this extremely poor town when she was 23 years old. As a member of First Cov's global outreach team sent there in 2008, Tina and her teammates visited numerous sites around the city, but her experience in La Limonada would be one that would change her life. As the team drove away, she cried for three hours. “I think that was God breaking my heart for La Limonada. He was preparing me to go back again someday,” she recalls. Tina did return to Guatemala. In 2010, she began a six-month stay during which she worked with the same children who had stolen her heart two years earlier. During that time, she worked with Tita Everstz. Tita is a small-statured, energetic woman who is best described as the Mother Theresa figure in this Latin American ghetto. She started two schools in La Limonada that minister to over 350 children and their families. A recent documentary, entitled "Reparando" (the Spanish word for “repairing”), features Tita’s inspiring story of caring for the poor — and often abused — children of the gang members and drug dealers that inhabit this section of this city, I felt so bad for the children. which over 60,000 people call home. When Tina arrived in La Limonada, the school in La Limonada was looking for someone to care for its four youngest children. These children became Tina's primary They seemed hopeless and responsibility. She fed them, bathed them, dressed them, and gave them the attention they desperately needed — something they rarely received at home. As her six months came to a close, the school opened a there was no one to fight for them. long-awaited safe house that would rescue children from violent homes. Tina's four children were the first ones welcomed into the new safe house. When she returned to Sacramento, Tina faced several major life decisions. Just before leaving for Guatemala, I wanted to change that. she graduated from Sac State. She originally planned to earn a teaching credential and teach elementary school. But her experience in Guatemala completely changed those plans. “When I came back, God made it clear to me that my heart was no longer into the things that were a part of my life here in California,” recalls Tina. “My priorities and passions had changed.” She decided to become involved in First Cov's Global Pipeline internship — a program that encourages its members to seriously consider God’s call on their lives and to develop purposeful relationships with unreached peoples in the community. “In Global Pipeline, I learned so much about how to serve God with my life and how to lay down my plans,” says Tina. “I knew I wanted to go back to Guatemala sometime, but I began to realize that my plans to get a teaching credential and get financially secure [were] a safety net. I just wanted something to fall back on. I wanted to go back to Guatemala — but on my terms. Global Pipeline challenged me to lay that safety net down.” On January 5, 2012, Tina returned to Guatemala. She continues to serve at La Limonada, working as its child sponsorship coordinator and living among its poor. She has committed to a full year in ministry there, but expects to stay longer. “It puts me in a weird place ... Where do I call 'home?'” she asked. “It’s teaching me to trust God more and to be okay with unanswered questions.” For more information on Tina’s ministry, visit www.lemonadeinternational.org. To learn more about the documentary featuring the ministries in Guatemala City, visit www.reparandomovie.com.
guatemala JANUARY 5-13
Under Pastor Jeff’s leadership, this team of men is visiting Guatemala for the first time. Working with Pastor Marvin — a former student ministries intern at First Cov — the group will visit Tina Breshears and the ministry in La Limonada, providing some much needed manpower for projects that need attention in the neighborhood. The men will also minister to inmates in a prison just outside Guatemala City, initiating conversations with inmates, sharing the Gospel with them, and perhaps playing some soccer.
This is our third men’s team to visit Colombia in the past few years. Long-term Covenant global outreach partners Gary and Marylou Sander are hosting the team, providing the men with a variety of ministry opportunities, including construction projects, evangelistic outreach, teaching and preaching in churches, and home visitations. The Covenant Church in Colombia continues to grow and greatly appreciates the support and encouragement they receive from their partners in the United States.
During the last few years, our women’s ministry has developed significant relationships with women in Bangkok through Rahab Ministries and NightLight International. Both organizations offer alternatives to girls and women caught in the sex-trade, changing lives with the message of hope and freedom found in Christ. We have the privilege of participating with these organizations through prayer, encouragement, bar outreach, and special projects designed to enhance the lives of those we encounter within these Thai ministries and clubs.
WINTER EQUIPPING CLASSES JanUARY 22 — febRUARY 26
Equipping Classes last six weeks, provide you with tools to develop a significant skill set, and help you apply what you learn through weekly homework assignments and personal challenges. We’re excited about this session's topics and about the teachers who are investing so much to help us be better equipped followers of Jesus. We encourage you to read through the class descriptions, to pray about which one may be right for you, and to make a commitment to fully participate in the class. We pray that the Equipping Classes will be a part of significant growth in your life. There is no need to sign up for an equipping class. Just attend!
ADULT CLASSES ►ABIDE IN CHRIST
TRUE CHRISTIAN LIVING sundays • 10 a.m. • room 210 The Christian life can be simplified to three words: Abide in Christ. If a believer will simply strive to abide in Christ, all the other benefits of the Christian life will follow. Joy will overflow, ministry will thrive, prayers will be answered and the fruits of the Spirit will manifest. This class will equip the believer of Jesus to rely on, cling to, and draw from Christ alone. TEACHERS Mike and Jane Daly – Mike is a former pastor and teacher and desires for people to enter into a deep and fulfilling relationship with God. He and Jane have been married for 34 years and have been very involved as a team in ministering to youth and couples. COST Purchase online: "Abide in Christ" by Andrew Murray.
►THE CLASSICS: MERE CHRISTIANITY
UNDERSTANDING AND DEFENDING YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH 10 a.m. • room 200/202 Learn from master apologist and theologian C.S. Lewis as he examines and explains the case for Christianity, Christian behavior, and the reality of the new life that we ought to have in Christ. This study will broaden your knowledge, deepen your confidence in the facts of Christianity, and give you the tools necessary to engage your friends and family in meaningful discussions about the Christian life and Jesus’ purpose for your life. Beware! This study may change your behavior, also. In fact, you may never be the same.
ABOUT THE TEACHERS Dan Palmer, Bryan Krenzin – Dan is the associate pastor of First Cov. Bryan is a member of First Cov with a B.A. in Church Leadership along with eight years of experience as an associate pastor. They will passionately equip you to live out your faith in a fallen world. COST Purchase online: "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. Come to the first class having read Book One.
►FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY BY DAVE RAMSEY
A BIBLICALLY-BASED CURRIcULUM THAT TEACHES PEOPLE HOW TO HANDLE MONEY GOD’S WAY
sundays • 10 a.m. • room 205 This class focuses on a life-changing program that teaches people how to achieve their financial goals by eliminating debt, saving for the future, and giving like never before. We will be challenged and motivated to make a plan for our money and change our family tree moving forward. Learn how to develop good financial habits, pay off your debt, and make wise decisions for your family’s future. ABOUT THE TEACHERS Jeff & Betty Koons, Dave & Joy Nahigian – Jeff and Betty have been on staff at First Cov for over 20 years. Dave and Joy are ministry leaders at First Cov. Together they will challenge you with true life experience and help you tackle the financial decisions that impact many families. COST $25 for workbook, plus additional resources available for purchase.
Managers.” The truth is that most people want to be financially savvy and the key to godliness and happiness is to give generously. You will grow spiritually as you trust God through giving your money, time, and life to others. Together we will discover what it means to be genius with this book/video series by Chip Ingram. ABOUT THE TEACHER Dorothy Compton – Dorothy is a member of First Cov and a regular teacher of Equipping Classes. She is enthusiastic about helping believers deepen in their knowledge and obedience to God and His principles. COST $5 suggested donation for book (Pick up the first day of class when the first chapter will be assigned as homework for the second session).
►LIVING BY THE BOOK: BIBLE STUDY METHODS THE ART & SCIENCE OF READING THE BIBLE
sundays • 10 a.m. • room L-3 Far from being boring, exploring God’s Word can be one of the greatest adventures of life. Learn how to study and understand the Bible like never before. Acquire inductive study techniques that teach you how to OBSERVE, INTERPRET and APPLY God’s Word. ABOUT THE TEACHERS Nick Brys, Brian Parker – Nick is a member of First Cov and a former youth pastor who is excited about God’s Word and loves to train others in how to study the Bible for themselves. Brian is a member of First Cov and a worship leader who wants to see people engage God in every aspect of life. Cost Purchase online: “Living by the Book” by Howard Hendricks.
►PARENTING BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY
CONNECT YOUR FAMILY TO A WIDER COMMUNITY sundays • 10 a.m. • room 206 Engage your family in a bigger story — a story that involves more than just your family but one that involves other influences who are on a journey to discover why a relationship with God really matters. Let us encourage you to establish a lifestyle as a parent in which you: •Invite others to invest in your children so your sons and daughters have other voices that will help shape and determine the direction of their lives. •Create a culture of unconditional love to fuel the emotional and moral health of your children. •Tap into the power of quality moments together, building a sense of purpose through everyday experiences. ABOUT THE TEACHERS Fred Hammer, Dawn Jeske – Fred is the pastor of children’s ministries at First Cov. Dawn is the director of our preschool. They have a wealth of knowledge about kids and parenting that they are eager to share with you. COST Purchase online: “Parent Beyond Your Capacity” by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof.
►IN THE CENTER OF GOD’S WILL ►THE GENIUS OF GENEROSITY
LESSONS FROM A SECRET PACT BETWEEN TWO FRIENDS sundays • 10 a.m. • room 203 The “secrets” to being financially savvy are all around us. Go to your local bookstore to read all the books written on how to manage your finances. Turn on the television to hear wise tips from financial experts. Surf the internet to skim the “Seven Habits of Highly Successful Money
A STUDY IN THE LIFE OF JOSEPH
sundays • 10 a.m. • ROOM 204 Join us as we study the life of Joseph. Learn from his story as he goes from favorite son to outcast and from slave to ruler. Abandoned by his brothers, God leads him to become their savior. Joseph will encourage you that even when life seems to be falling apart God is in control. Joseph’s life of integrity and faithfulness reminds us to hold fast to our faith and rely on God for his provision.
TEACHERS Curt Dickinson, Dan Zimmerman, Bob Woods, and Glenn Hezmalhalch – This team of men is actively involved in many ministry areas of First Cov and strives to create communities of believers who are actively living out their faith in the world. They will challenge and encourage you to walk closer with God than you ever have before.
►WHERE IS MY JOY
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS sundays • 10 a.m. • room 215 It has been said that joy is the evidence of God's presence in our lives. Joy is not an emotion but the recognition of God’s plan and purpose being lived out in us day-to-day. But for so many of us, that evidence is elusive and at times impossible to see or find. We can lose our ability to see that God is still working in our lives in powerful ways. When we fail to see God at work in our lives, we can become discouraged, apathetic, and lost. Come with us on a journey through the book of Philippians to learn how to find joy in even the most difficult experiences. TEACHER Will Race is the pastor of middle school ministries at First Cov. He has been working in youth ministry for 13 years. He and his wife, Brandi, have three children.
IDENTITY MIDDLE SCHOOL MINISTRIES
►SEEING THROUGH GOD’S EYES
A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE FOR STUDENTS sundays • 10 a.m. • room 213 Most students would agree that becoming a believer means that their lives should change. But they assume that praying the prayer or making a commitment to Christ automatically results in lasting change. But when things get difficult, as they often do, they begin to wonder about the reality of their faith. The apostle Paul shared a different perspective when he wrote that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words, he said we should align our perspective with how God sees things. It is His mind and His perspective that we need to gain. This study will begin a journey to change how we view the tough times in our lives because, when students begin to see as God sees, they will also begin to do as God says. TEACHER The Middle School Teaching Team, a group of committed adult volunteer staff who work in middle school ministries, will be leading this class. RENOVATE HIGH SCHOOL MINISTRIES
►CHRISTIANITY IN THE EVERYDAY LEARNING TO WALK THE TALK
sundays • 10 a.m. • room 214 As followers of Jesus, we are always on display. Each day, our actions, attitudes, and words tell others something about who we are. We declare what we stand for and what we value through those actions. There are so many people trying to “sell” their Christian lifestyle to others by “putting on” all the approved actions of Christianity. But learning to walk the talk is not about looking like a follower of Jesus. It's about learning to actually follow Him. TEACHER Tim Layfield is pastor of high school ministries and has been involved in youth ministry for 14 years. He and his wife, Jessica, have two boys.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT CLASSES
MEN’S BIBLE STUDY
►STUDY OF firST JOHN: BE AN AUTHENTIC FOLLOWER OF CHRIST TURNING FROM HYPOCRISY TO TRUTH
wednesdays • 6:30 p.m. • room 200/202 A religious climate filled with false teachings. Christians whose lives don’t line up to their words. A seductive world that distorts the truth. Sound familiar? This study examines themes that are relevant to every believer and encourages us to be real in our faith, our words, and our lifestyle. The eight sessions include: 1. Real 1 John 1:1-2:6 2. Love, Life, Light 1 John 2:7-11 3. The World 1 John 2:7-11 4. Truth 1 John 3:1-10 5. The Pretenders 1 John 3:1-10 6. A Matter of Life & Death 1 John 3:11-24 7. God’s Love 1 John 4:1-5:5 8. Certainty 1 John 5:6-21 TEACHERS Jeff Koons, Ty Lewis — Jeff Koons is pastor of family & men’s ministries here at First Cov and has over 25 years of teaching and ministry experience. Ty Lewis has been teaching Bible studies for 25 years and has a desire to see people grow in their passion for following Christ. Ty has a degree in business administration and works as a section chief for EDD. He and his wife, Melinda, have two teen children. COST $25 for study guide WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY
CHILD CLASSES Kids Klub is our mid-week equipping class designed specifically for children. Kids Klub aligns with our adult equipping classes on Wednesday nights, allowing parents to study in their classes — worry free. Each night includes a Bible-based lesson, high energy games, projects, Bible memory verse contest, and a themed snack. All coaches and leaders have been screened and have completed an application process which includes a background check. REGISTRATION Advanced registration is not required but all children must have a signed and completed medical release and registration form before they are able to attend. These forms are available online at www.firstcov.org. Go to ONLINE FEATURES > DOWNLOAD FORMS > LIABILITY RELEASE to download the form. AGE 3 — kindergarten
►JUNIOR KIDS KLUB wednesdays • 6:15 p.m. • ROOM 112 A special Junior Kids Klub program will be available for all preschool children, ages three to five years old. This interactive program will be geared specifically to their age development and will include Bible stories, puppets, videos and crafts. Our nursery will also be open for children six-weeks to two years old for those parents wishing to participate in the adult equipping classes. TEACHER Carolee Catterall is a preschool teacher with several years of experience in working with children. COST $5. Optional Kids Klub shirts will be available for purchase.
►MAGNIFICENT OBESSION BY ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ
1st — 5TH GRADE
wednesdays • 6:30 p.m. • chapel In this eight-session study on Genesis 12-22, Anne Graham Lotz challenges you to follow Abraham’s example and not only embrace the God-filled life, but pursue Him in a relationship He would describe as a friendship. Despite worldly success, many people search futilely for meaningful lives. Celebrities attempt suicide. Religious leaders admit spiritual emptiness. What is missing from these lives that seem perfect but are actually hollow at the core? In her newest book, Anne says the answer is knowing God as Abraham did — and being known by Him — as His friend. The eight sessions include: 1. Bible Study Workshop 2. Get Acquainted and Dive In 3. Leave Everything Behind 4. Let Everything Go 5. Entrust Everything Completely 6. Lift Everything Up 7. Cast Everything Out 8. Lay Everything Down
wednesdays • 6:15 p.m. • ROOM 112 In many of Jesus’ miracles and parables, He emphasizes how important it is to listen so we will know what God wants us to do. Listening to God is just as important in our prayer times as talking to God. We also listen to God’s Word to know what God wants. Jesus gives us stories, commands, and miracles as examples of the kinds of things we need to listen to and do. Every Bible truth in the "Listen to Jesus" curriculum helps kids remember to listen to Jesus to know how God wants us to live. Each session will include skits, worship, games, Bible activities, memory verses, and a life message.
KNOW GOD AS ABRAHAM DID ... AS HIS FRIEND
TEACHER Glenda Harr is First Cov’s director of women’s and counseling ministries and has been on our staff for nearly eight years.
TEACHER Austin Baker, Dean Taise – Austin is one of First Cov's children's ministries associates and is an elementary school teacher with 15 years of experience in working with children. Dean is a regular volunteer in our children's ministries. COST $5. Optional Kids Klub shirts will be available for purchase.
pbell Lynn Cam Role at First Cov. My "official" staff title is coordinator of ministry connections and welcoming ministries. What that means in normal language is that I co-lead the SHAPE Class with Glenda Harr, and am a partner in ministry with our ushers, greeters, parking lot greeters and box office staff. In other words, I do what I love best — building teams, organizing and developing process and procedure, talking with people and getting them connected so they can know and feel the joy of serving the Lord by using their unique gifts and abilities. First set foot on First Cov. Fall 2001. On staff since. November 2005. Birthday. October 13. Belated gifts are welcome! It seems only right to celebrate for as long as friends want to continue to bring gifts and take you out to lunch or dinner, right? Family. My husband, Gil, and I have been married 44 years. We have two grown children. Daughter, Darilyn, and her family in Roseville. Son, Scott, and his family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We have two precious granddaughters, Micala (who was two last July) and Katelyn (who turned three on Thanksgiving Day). We love spending time with both little girls — together and individually. Favorite Scripture. Psalm 51:10. Favorite Quote. "It is better to be silent and
be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." — Abraham Lincoln
Favorite eatery. I have two: La Provence in Roseville and Armandos in Palm Desert. Last book you read. I typically read several books at once. I am just finishing "The Zero Game" by Brad Meltzer (an interesting twist on American political policy process and a page turning “who-dun-it”) and "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo (a beautiful depiction of heaven, Jesus, and God, through the eyes of a little boy who describes his afterlife experience to his dad who is a Wesleyan pastor). Last movie you watched. "Courageous" At Starbucks. Nothing ... I do not like Starbucks. When I do drink coffee (which is seldom), I prefer Peet's Coffee. =) Mac or PC. Whichever one works! Seriously, I prefer a PC only because I am very familiar with it.
Spring Dance Studio Session
For ages 3 through adult See schedule at www.firstcov.org/dance Classes have just started for Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe and more. Cost is $25-$30 per month.
Mom’s Connection Begins
For momS with infants through 5th grade 9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. • Chapel This session will study "Real Women, Real Faith: Life Changing Stories from the Bible for Women Today," by Sherry Harney. Childcare is available for the ages listed above.
midweek EQUIPPING CLASSES Begin January 18 to March 7 WOmen • 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Chapel men • 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Room 200 kids klub • 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Room 111-112 club 45 apex • 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Room 212
Children’s Baptism Class BEGINS
JANUARY 29—FEBRUARY 19 for 1st—5th graders 10:00 a.m. • Room 112 If your child has asked Jesus into his or her heart and they are interested in becoming baptized, please sign up for this 4-week course on Sundays. This course is free for children and includes a workbook, snack and special prizes upon completion. RSVP to email@example.com.
FOR SENIOR ADULTS 9:30-11:30 a.m. • Rehearsal Room MOSAIC's monthly line dancing activity. No experience needed; all seniors welcome.
The Big Show
For middle school students 6-9 p.m. • Room 213 Identity throws a dance party with airsoft, gaming and free pizza!
Minute to Win It Party
For college and young adults (18-28) 6:30 p.m. • Chapel The countdown has begun! Contestants get 60 seconds to accomplish crazy challenges using common household items for big prizes.
Winter Equipping Classes Begin FOR ALL AGES See full schedule on pages 16-17
12:30-4:30 p.m. • Room 205 Learn what makes you different from everyone else and understand how God created you as one of a kind. By exploring five elements of your SHAPE, you will be able to identify where you will best fit into His service. Lunch cost is $3.
Scrap, Craft and Sew
For high school students Powderburn is an awesome weekend away at the snowy wonderland of Jenness Park. It's a great opportunity for students to build relationships with Jesus and with each other, while enjoying a live band and an inspirational speaker.
For middle school students Join Identity middle school students for a winter getaway with lots of activities, friends, and faith-building experiences.
Scrap, Craft and Sew
For women of all ages 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. • Room 112 Bring your latest scrapbooking, craft or sewing project as well as a snack to share for a fun time of hanging out and making new friends.
For women of all ages 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. • Room 112 Bring your latest scrapbooking, craft or sewing project as well as a snack to share for a fun time of hanging out and making new friends.
For college and young adults (18-28) 12-4 p.m. • Meet at the church for carpool Can’t ice skate? Can’t play hockey? Don’t even like sports? Perfect! Come have a great afternoon of fun with us as we play this ridiculous game together.
New Members Class
12:45- 4:30 p.m. • Chapel This four-hour class taught by Pastor Ted will help you better understand your faith and how we function together as a church family. Lunch provided.
During Sunday Morning Worship 8:30, 10, 11:30 a.m. • Worship Center Baptism is an outward expression of the inward reality of what Jesus has done in our lives. Contact the church office if interested in being baptized.
FOR SENIOR ADULTS 9:30-11:30 a.m. • Rehearsal Room MOSAIC's monthly line dancing activity. No experience needed; all seniors welcome.
BEGINNING MARCH 6 • 6:30-8 p.m. GriefShare is a support group program that provides direction, support, and purpose and helps you learn to walk through the journey of grief. It is a place where hurting people find healing and hope.
BEGINNING MARCH 7 • 6:30-8:30 p.m. DivorceCare is a six week support group for people who are separated or divorced. It's a place where you can gain wise counsel and be around others who understand what you are feeling. It's a place where you can begin to heal from the hurt of divorce.
Scrap, Craft and Sew
For women of all ages 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. • Room 112 Bring your latest scrapbooking, craft or sewing project as well as a snack to share for a fun time of hanging out and making new friends.
Bounce and Battle
For middle school students 6-9 p.m. • Worship Center All middle school students are invited to this incredible time of inflatable fun and competition.
For college and young adults (18-28) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Several pit stops will be set up all over Sacramento for teams to discover as part of an exciting and challenging competition.
march 30—april 7 For high school through senior adults This is a great introductory global outreach trip. Ministries include vacation Bible school programs, youth outreach events, prison ministry, women’s ministries, sports ministries and activities with a local orphanage. Apps due Feb. 5.
San Francisco Missions Trip
April 2-6 For middle school students Learn about the needs of people in the inner city and serve in local ministries.
FOR SENIOR ADULTS 9:30-11:30 a.m. • Rehearsal Room MOSAIC's monthly line dancing activity. No experience needed; all seniors welcome.
Good Friday Prayer Experience
7 a. m. – 8 p.m. • Gym Set aside about an hour to work through this newly designed, self-guided, interactive prayer experience that will help you prepare for Easter by considering the impact of the cross of Christ.
3 – 4:45 p.m. Join us for an awesome afternoon of fun as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with this free carnival. Activities include music, jump houses, age-specific Easter egg hunts, and a free BBQ. Families are invited to stick around for an awesome Easter worship service afterward, while children can attend a special children's Easter program.
Modern Service • 5 p.m. • Worship Center
CLASSIC Service • 9 a.m. • Worship Center Modern Service • 11 a.m. • Worship Center
Children’s Global Outreach Trip FOR CHILDREN, GRADES 4-5 April 13-15. On this life-changing trip, students will serve the homeless and disadvantaged in San Francisco. Alongside caring adult leaders, they will engage this multi-cultural community by feeding and caring for people in need.
For more information about these events, visit www.firstcov.org or call the First Cov office at (916) 861-2240.
SATURDAY, APRIL 7
SUNDAY, APRIL 8 9 A.M. 11 A.M.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6
â€˘ 7 A.M. --- 8 P.M.
Set aside about one hour to work through this newly designed, self-guided, interactive Good Friday prayer experience that will help you prepare for Easter by considering the impact of the cross of Christ.
SATURDAY, APRIL 7
â€˘ 3-- 4:45 P.M.
Join us for an awesome afternoon of fun as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with this free carnival. Activities include music, jump houses, age-specific Easter egg hunts, and a free BBQ. Families are invited to stick around for an awesome Easter worship service afterward, while children can attend a special children's Easter program.