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p. 08 Where is your


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Dirty Kitchen confessions p. 26

Love Your [AnnoYing] neighbor As YourseLf p. 27

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ABOUT THE COMPASS EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mark Shetler EDITOR Jennifer Raynes CONTRIBUTORS Mark Shetler, Jennifer Raynes, Jayne Williams, Lee Spesert, Josiah, PC Walker, Dan Palmer, Dan DeMuri, Kellee Baker, Jennie Nagy, Fred Hammer, Tim Layfield, Will Race, Jessica Stoner, Jane Daly PHOTOGRAPHY Will Race, Megan Nagy


First Covenant Church of Sacramento PO Box 276450 • Sacramento, CA 95827 916.861.2240 •



FEATURED 9 16 18 20 21 24 25 26 27

Breaking Down Barriers Shining Light in the Land of Smiles Where is your Treasure? Haven for Homeless the New Life the Strip Club Outreach Heart of Gold Dirty Kitchen Secrets Love your [annoying] Neighbor as Yourself

COLUMNS 3 3 8 13 20

Beyond the Guitar Faith Cubed Lost in Translation Parental Discretion Meet the Staff


Complete Ministry List Upcoming Events Xtreme Summer Camps Spring Equipping Classes

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 fully-devoted follower JESSE SMITH of Christ, but it works well for us. We want everyone SENIOR PASTOR 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!


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

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.



By Dan DeMuri •

By Jennie Nagy •

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD THE ONly CONSTANT I invite you to take a few moments and really think about how great God is. Take a deep breath. No, really…stop and take a deep breath…then slowly read the Psalm below. Don’t just skim it or rush to the end to see what else I’ve written. If you can, read the Psalm out loud and try to meditate on its message.

PSAlM 96

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

(New International Version)

This is easily one of my favorite portions of scripture. These verses remind us that as believers in Christ, we worship a God that is far greater than we could ever imagine and He is worthy of all our praise. We have been given the opportunity to communicate directly with the One who created the entire universe and all that it is in it, but sometimes our worship tends to become diluted because we forget His true nature and character. When we consider all that He is, and all that he has done, how could we not want to praise Him? I imagine the psalmist would sing these lyrics at the top of his lungs because he could not contain His passion for God. Three times in these scriptures, he calls us to “sing to the Lord.” Three times he tells us to “give to the Lord.” Our worship needs to always ascribe all the honor, glory and power to the Lord, in every way. So my question for you is: Do you worship like you are worshipping the creator of the universe? A self-proclaimed “uninteresting guy,” the coolest things about Dan DeMuri’s life are his wife Meghan, and two little girls, Adalyne and Holly. Oh, and he gets a front row seat to watch hundreds of fellow believers worship ever y Sunday. That’s pretty sweet too…

The only constant we can rely on in life is change. No sooner do behaviors and customs (agreeable or otherwise) become common place to us then change arrives to alter our landscape. Similar to the Israelites in the Book of Exodus we cling to familiarity (no matter how unhealthy), craving the sense of comfort derived from it as we trudge through the challenges associated with change. Undoubtedly the most profound and difficult change comes in the manner of loss. Though the Bible is full of them, we were not made for goodbyes. The first separation experienced by humankind took place when Adam and Eve sinned and God told them to leave the garden. Never knowing anything but rich intimacy in the place where they were created and lived, the pangs of their departure reverberate through our lives to this day. Personally speaking, I hate goodbyes. I avoid memorials and going away parties. As the daughter of a Navy man, I watched my Dad leave numerous times, always mourning his long absences. Later, when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and responsible for his care, saying goodbye to a piece of him every few months became all too constant. Regrettably, no matter who we are, where we live or what we do, the eventual comings and goings of life, death and Never knowing anything but change will always come our way.

rich intimacy in the place

During my tenure at First Cov, a consistent ebb and flow of faces, names and personalities have drifted where they were created through the office and my heart. One possessed a tender, sweet caring and lived, the pangs of nature, while another was gregarious, sassy and creative. Some were their departure reverberate organized, efficient, and dedicated with a can-do tenacity, whereas others through our lives to this day. embodied merciful, prayerful, servant natures—always offering hardy hugs and glowing smiles to brighten a bleak day. Each left behind their own uniquely formed spiritual footprint on this office through lessons, experiences, laughter and tears. Believers frequently speak of God’s unchanging character, and recently while reading through Genesis 40 and 41, His Word revived, refreshed and reminded me of this powerful, significant truth – not only does God never change, but neither do His plans and purposes for our lives. However transitory coworkers, friends, families, associations, surroundings, circumstances may be, God’s plans and purposes endure. Whatever changes or losses you may be experiencing right now, you can count on God’s love and plans for you to remain strong, firm and consistent!

Don’t tell anyone, but Jennie Nagy used to want to be a jockey once upon a time before she came to work as an Administrative Assistant here at First Cov (“I grew out of it,” she says). Wife, mom and avid traveler (most recently to Thailand as par t of First Cov’s global outreach trip), Jennie loves her job for the oppor tunity to build and be challenged by relationships “here, overseas and all over the place.” WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG


ministry contacts Children Sunday Morning Classes Available during all worship services for infants through 5th grade Contact: Fred Hammer at Kids Klub Midweek activities and interactive lessons available seasonally Contact: Austin Baker at Club 45 Sunday morning classes and midweek activities for 4th and 5th grade students Contact: Peter Gomez at Special Needs Ministries: On Eagle’s Wings Sunday morning classes for special needs children and monthly respite care Contact: Gabby Brigance at Preschool A Christian-themed preschool with a traditional half-day program for children ages 3 to 5 Contact: Dawn Jeske at Special Events and Summer Camps Summer Blast, Sports Camp, Kidshine Performing Arts Camp, Cooking Camp, Harvest Carnival, Easter Carnival, and much more! Contact: Fred Hammer at Orphan Care: Chosen Ones Educating and supporting families who are currently adopting/fostering children (or are interested in doing so) Contact Amy Byrne:

Students Middle School Ministries: Identity Solid biblical teaching and practical, interactive activities for students in 6th – 8th grades Contact: Will Race at High School Ministries: Renovate Practical messages, “sacred space” worship experiences and growth groups for students in 9th – 12th grades Contact: Tim Layfield at

Men Bible study groups, support, outreach opportunities and an outstanding annual Men’s Conference Contact: Jeff Koons at Women Engaging teaching, small group discussions, special events and a dynamic Women’s Retreat held each spring Contact: Glenda Harr at Moms: Moms Connection A fellowship opportunity for mother’s to receive support and guidance in the parenting process Contact: Glenda Harr at Seniors Ministries: MOSAIC A weekly fellowship opportunity for seniors to continue to grow, build relationships and have fun! Contact: Jennifer Raynes at SHAPE Class Offered several times a year, this class gives you tools to discover how God has uniquely shaped you to be in service to others Contact: Lynn Campbell at Membership Class Learn more about the history, beliefs and organization of First Cov in this class offered in the spring and the fall Contact: Jennifer Raynes at

COUNSELING AND SUPPORT 12 Step Program: Celebrate Recovery Struggling with hurts, habits or hang ups in your life? Process and receive support in a safe environment Contact: Jayne Williams at Individual Counseling: Lay Counseling A free opportunity for you to speak one-on-one with a non-professional counselor (a member of our church trained to listen and support you in difficult times) Contact: Jennie Nagy at DivorceCare Support group for those who are separated, going through divorce, or have been divorced Contact: Dan Wade at

College/Young Adult Ministries: Fusion Casual worship and messages designed to make you think and live out your faith for those 18-28 Contact: PC Walker at

GriefShare Support group for those recovering from the loss of a loved one Contact: Dan Wade at



Equipping Classes Six-week classes offered four times a year on a variety of relevant topics and Bible study themes Contact: Dan Palmer at

Adult Choir: Voices of Praise Be a part of the vocal ensemble that sings for worship during the 8:30 am Classic service Contact: Jennifer Raynes at

Growth Groups Join people in your neighborhood for Bible study, building relationship and outreach to the community Contact: Matt Newton at

Dance Studio Encouraging students and adults to enjoy the arts and express their gifts and talents in dance Contact: Carolyn Melville at

Children’s Choir Seasonal opportunities for grade school children to learn and perform exciting music Contact: Jennifer Raynes at Drama Team Opportunities for participating in worship services and special events Contact: Mark Shetler at Tech Team Offer support to worship services and special events through audio-visual technology Contact: Brian Webber at Band, Orchestra, Vocal Teams Participate in teams that help lead our congregation in worship Contact: Jennifer Raynes at

OUTREACH Global Outreach Internship: Global Pipeline A six-month program for those interested in exploring opportunities to reach out to the international community—both at home and abroad Contact: Mark Shetler at Short-Term Outreach Trips: Global Outreach Opportunities to serve in a variety of nations on 1-2 week trips led by church leadership Contact: Mark Shetler at Local Service Opportunities: ACTS Join with hundreds from First Cov in supporting local non-profits through various service projects Contact: Will Race at Homeless Ministries: Winter Sanctuary and Gathering Inn Help care for the homeless of our community through special programs held at the church at various times throughout the year Contact: Will Race at Christmas Mall Help people in need in our community have a very special holiday experience with gifts for the whole family, spa and salon services, entertainment, food and children’s activities Contact: Mark Shetler at




upcoming 6




For Senior Adults 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. • Room 200/202 MOSAIC’s monthly line dancing activity. No experience needed. All seniors welcome.

and their parents. Here’s a great opportunity for you to meet our Middle school pastor, Will Race, and his staff.



For Women High School Through Adult


This relaxing and inspiring weekend retreat is held at Missions Springs in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. It may not be too late to join us. Contact

For Incoming Middle School Students and Parents 10:00 a.m. • Room 213


Middle School Ministries Preview Day

In an effort to help families transition into Identity Middle School Ministries (6-8 grades), we sponsor this getting acquainted event for 5th grade students and their parents. Here’s a great opportunity for you to meet our Middle school pastor, Will Race, and his staff.



Women’s Wednesday Equipping Class Begins April 25 - June 13 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Chapel

Join us for Beth Moore’s latest videodriven Bible study, James – Mercy Triumphs. Topics in this study include: Joy, hardship, faith, reversal of fortunes for rich and poor, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility and prayer.

12:45 p.m. • Worship Center Hear amazing stories from our students and adults who participated in our annual Mexicali Global Outreach trip over spring break. Donations will be accepted to help cover the cost of a light lunch before the program begins.


Crossover Youth Basketball League Begins For High School Students 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. • Gym

Young men and young women are invited to participate in this league with a positive environment. Small teams with attentive and skilled coaches play in NBA style uniforms with paid referees. Emphasis is placed on respect and character development along with improving athletic skill. Interested students should contact


Middle School Ministries Preview Day

For Incoming Middle School Students and Parents 6:00 p.m. • Room 213 In an effort to help families transition into Identity Middle School Ministries (6-8 grades), we sponsor this getting acquainted event for 5th grade students


Men’s Wednesday Equipping Class begins April 25 - June 13 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. • Room 200/202

Guys, join us for Life Lessons from the Sermon on the Mount: The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached. What does it mean to “Seek first the kingdom of God” in our relationships, values, ambitions, finances and commitments? The Sermon on the Mount reveals the heart qualities God desires in you.



April 25 - June 6 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. • Room 111-112 Children can participate in a quality program just for them while parents are involved in Wednesday night Equipping Classes. For more information, contact


Club 45-Apex Begins For 4th – 5th Graders April 25 - June 6 6:30-8:30 p.m. • Gym

Students meet in the gym where they join their “tribe” for amazing camp style games, activities and growth group

For more information about these events, visit or call the First Cov office at (916) 861-2240.

discussions. Invite your friends and join us for APEX on Wednesday nights.

sewing project as well as a snack to share for a fun time of hanging out and making new friends.

April 26 - June 14 10 a.m. • Chapel

Join us for Beth Moore’s latest videodriven Bible study, James – Mercy Triumphs. Topics in this study include: joy, hardship, faith, reversal of fortunes for rich and poor, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility and prayer.


2:00 p.m. • Worship Center


For children ages 4 - 13 9 am • Worship Center See the add on page 14

This is a free event featuring performers from age three to adult in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, partnering, hip hop and more.

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 Middle School Students


Annual Dance Recital


Prayer Counselor Training


For High School Students and Adults 12:45 - 2:00 p.m. • Room 200/202

For All Ages April 29 - June 3 See full schedule on page 22

You can help out with Sacramento’s Luis Palau Festival by receiving training as a prayer counselor for the event. All ages are needed. For more information or to sign up for the training, contact




For Senior Adults 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. • Room 200/202 MOSAIC’s monthly line dancing activity. No experience needed. All seniors welcome.


Middle School Ministries Preview Day

For Incoming Middle School Students and Parents 6:00 p.m. • Room 213 In an effort to help families transition into Identity Middle School Ministries (6-8 grades), we sponsor this getting acquainted event for 5th grade students and their parents. Here’s a great opportunity for you to meet our Middle school pastor, Will Race, and his staff.


Club 45 Spring Overnighter For 4th - 5th Graders 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 a.m. • Room 212

This action-packed Club 45 event costs only $10 for food and all the activities. Plan now to bring a friend.

description will be available at

Check out this great event for the whole Sacramento region at


Thursday Women’s Equipping Class Begins



Promotion and Graduation Sunday All Sunday School students will move up to their next grade level. Our current 3rd grade students will move into Club 45 in room 212; our current 5th grade students will move into Identity in room 213; our current 8th grade students will move into Renovate in room 214.


Congregational Meeting 3 - 5 p.m. • Worship Center

Our congregational meetings are always exciting for our church family! Join us as we engage in worship, pray for our church, receive new members into our church family, and approve new elders. We invite everyone to attend, but membership is required to vote. During the meeting, kids are invited to a Summer Blast Preview Party. Nursery care is available for children ages 5 and under.



For children ages 4 - 13 5:30 - 8 p.m. • Worship Center See the ad on page 14

For Women of All Ages 10 a.m - 5 p.m. • Room 112 Bring your latest scrapbooking, craft or



Luis Palau Sacramento





All Church Campout

June24-29 Summer Camp

For All High School Students Jenkinson Lake (Sly Park Reservoir) Renovate High School Ministries is excited to host our own summer camp. Join us for a week of great activities like white water rafting, hiking, and a BBQ/ beach day in South Lake Tahoe. Dive in and connect with each other and God. Cost is $225 per person. For more information contact

4p.m. Friday – 12p.m. Sunday Fun for all ages—families, singles and Growth Groups! Tent camping, RV hookups, rustic and deluxe cabins.  Enjoy the private lake, swimming pool, ball fields, boating, kids play area, and more! There’s something for everyone. Visit for more info and register with



See full schedule on page 14


Summer Dance Studio Session Begins For Ages 3 Through Adult

We offer a wide variety of classes including ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap and more. New students are welcome. Cost is $25-$30 per month. See the schedule at or contact


GATHERING INN First Cov is opening up its doors to help feed and house some of our area homeless. If you would like to help, contact

July 30

KIDSHINE PERFORMING ARTS CAMP July 30 - August 3 See full schedule on page 14



After each worship service Gear up for the fall with a relaxing time to hang out with the First Cov family and enjoy a little BBQ food and an ice cream sundae bar. Join us on the patio after each worship service (breakfast foods will be available after the 8:30 service). Donations will be accepted for the meal.


SUMMER EQUIPPING CLASS BEGINS July 8 - August 12 10 a.m. • Chapel

Join our church staff for a powerful 6-week summer study. A class

For more information about these events, visit or call the First Cov office at (916) 861-2240.



by PC Walker

"the Third Place"

Since its beginning, Starbucks made it their goal to become the “The Third Place” in our society. There’s a theory in sociology that says people typically exist at home, work, and one other specific place they can go for socialization and escape. This place—the Third Place—is where we feel comfortable enough to have an informal public existence. Most nonAmerican cultures have some third place as a common staple to their culture.

Third places are attractive and beneficial for a number of reasons, namely their ability to equalize, level and bring together different people who would not ordinarily gravitate toward each other. American culture tends more toward networks than neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are increasingly exclusive, while networks are potentially less so. By “network”, I mean those places we frequent most outside of home and work (coffee shops, pubs, cafes, etc). These third places are exempt of pretense and comparisons. They are havens from the divisions we otherwise place on ourselves. Right now, I am sitting at a coffee shop, observing a doctor, working next to a dirty hipster, next to a man with ragged clothes and an unkempt beard. It is like a living timeline of American success or “importance” on one couch. This is the allure of our networks. If even for a matter of moments, status is put on hold and comparisons are at an impasse. For those literate in Christian lingo, this is an element of fellowship. These networks are where the mighty descend and the lowly rise. That leveled-out place eases the stress of life for everyone. Many Americans live without regard for their local community. We are prone to get in our car (parked in the garage), drive to work, and return straight to our garage and into the house without any interaction with our neighbors or concern for our community. This residual habit is a physical example of an attitude that runs deep within us. Although it is an attitude of most Americans, it cannot be the attitude of Christians.



Our attitude must be one which desires to love our communities enough to reach them with a sincere heart and an intentional approach. Part of being a Christian in any culture is engrossing yourself in that culture to a point where you truly know its needs,

its celebrations, and even its hurts. Part of reaching any culture or community is having an educated understanding of that culture. It seems Jesus lived the majority of his life in the third place. If the first place is home (which the Bible says that even the Son of Man had no place to lay his head) and the second is work (Jesus didn’t exactly have a corporate office either), all that is left is the third place—the community. Jesus valued community and was intentional about investing most of his time and energy there. Chris Huertz said, “Remember your community and celebrate the local. Most people know more about happenings in Libya and Japan than our own zip codes.” For us, this might mean reading those incessant community bulletins that flood our mailbox. We need to actually attend the neighborhood events in the local park and community centers. It means we take notice of the ways our community is struggling by asking questions of our city officials and local organizations. These are the people who can likely tell you exactly where your community struggles or hurts most. Do you care about your community enough to be involved in it? That is the first step toward being a Christian in our culture. PC Walker is a Midwestern kid who moved to California in 2003. Husband to Tonya and father to two little girls under the age of 2, PC is a selfproclaimed “coffee well and an enormous SNL fan.” He loves his role as pastor of Fusion, First Cov’s College and Young Adult ministries, because it allows him the amazing opportunity to be a constant for students during such a vagrant time in their lives.


The Power of Point Break

"I didn’t expect it, but I left there never to see teenagers in the same way again." There have been very few events or workshops that I have been to in my life that really changed my perspective of youth ministry. Two years ago, I was invited to observe a workshop for teenagers. I didn’t expect it, but I left there never to see teenagers in the same way again. Point Break is a one-day intervention program operated by the staff of Campus Life/ Youth for Christ. It is designed to positively impact the attitudes, behaviors, and values of teenage students. As a result, better learning environments are created, relationships are forged and reconciliation takes place on their campuses and in their communities. Point Break has allowed me to see what teens are faced with on a daily basis—what their struggles and innermost hurts are, all by their own expression. Students everywhere are finding it more difficult to fit in, express themselves, find value, connect with others and simply be heard. The reality is with all our cyber outlets for “connecting,” we are further apart and more detached than we have ever been. Point Break offers teens a time to break down walls in order to discuss the challenges in their lives. Through games and conversation, it allows them to realize that we need one another to get through life. They get to hear from experienced youth workers during the teaching segments about the power of our words and the importance of connecting with each other in a healthy and positive way. By far, the most powerful thing that happens during Point Break is toward the end of the day when students have the opportunity to share their life story without ever saying a word. “Cross the line” is an exercise where multiple questions are presented in regards to personal issues. Students simply respond by stepping out of the crowd and over the line. By doing so, they are saying: “This is me.” Questions range from peer pressure and home life, to abuse and even suicide. The power of telling their story to others, and seeing that there are others who share their story, is empowering for them. Some of them see for the very first time that they are not alone—that they don’t have to suffer in silence and that they can receive the support and help of others. Never before have I seen such a powerful tool to break down barriers and walls in the lives of students.

There are some really great things happening as a result of Point Break. Shortly after my first visit to a Point Break, I connected the director, Teddie Peddie (yes, that’s her real name!) with a point person from Folsom Cordova Partnership, who has now written into their grant the funding of four workshops per year (including one dedicated to middle school students). That means our local schools do not have to fund these workshops themselves! Both the High School and Middle School ministries of First Covenant have been invited to partner with the Point Break organization as speakers and facilitators of the workshops. To date, First Covenant’s high school ministries has hosted and participated in five Point Break workshops reaching over five hundred local students in the past year and a half. As a result, I have partnered with local school administration and been given access to school campuses with the purpose of better serving the students in our community. In May of 2011, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at Kinney High School’s graduation. As you can see, Point Break has been a bridge builder into our community, and it has been a privilege to partner with our schools in the task of helping teenagers better navigate life. If you are interested in knowing more about Point Break, Youth for Christ or Campus Life, please visit their website at www. Having worked in student ministries for 15 years (3 ½ served here at First Cov as the pastor for our high school ministries, Renovate), you can bet that Tim Layfield is quite a character. Aside from his role as husband to Jessica and father to sons Ethan and Jacob, Tim gets most excited about watching his students embrace Jesus and realize they are meant for so much more.



Jesus was a

nice guy, right? No reason to be afraid of Him. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. He loved children and offered forgiveness to those who had made a mess of their lives. He only used His supernatural powers to heal and feed the hungry, never to destroy those who spoke against Him or who plotted His assassination. Jesus just didn’t have a mean bone in His body. But if I’m honest, sometimes Jesus really scares me. I’m a pastor–a “professional Christian”. I grew up in a Christian family and learned all the happy stories about Jesus in Sunday School. I have a Master’s degree in theology and have read the New Testament Gospels more times than I can remember. But I must confess that, at times, Jesus really makes me nervous.





Now please understand me: I love Jesus. I can’t imagine life without Him. I worship Him and pray to Him every day. I want to be more like Him. Yet, the more I study His teachings, the more I get to know Him up close, the more I experience a deep fear in my soul. Let me explain: I do believe that Jesus was a nice guy. But He was more than that. He was incredibly honest. To those who sincerely wanted to follow Him, He was blunt about the things in their lives that got in the way of them truly loving God. His idea of spirituality was that it wasn’t just one aspect of life; it invaded all of life. Jesus taught that a relationship with God meant complete transformation in our attitudes, behaviors, relationships, priorities, and personal goals. To start with, He challenged His disciples to reevaluate their attitudes toward wealth and material possessions--expecting them to make giving more of a priority in life than getting. In one particular case, a wealthy government official approached Jesus with the question about how he could be sure he was going to heaven. He told Jesus that he had lived a good life, following the Ten Commandments since childhood. But Jesus perceived that there was a deep-seeded issue in the man’s life that kept Him from being truly at peace about his eternal destiny. Jesus apparently saw that this person of privilege was self-centered and placed too much confidence in his wealth. So Jesus gave him an outrageous instruction to sell all his possessions and give the money to those in need. Only then, Jesus said, would that man truly be able to follow Him (Luke 18:18-22). To me, that is a prime example of why Jesus sometimes makes me uncomfortable. A good, moral guy comes to Jesus for assurance that people like him get to go to heaven-- and Jesus proposes something unexpected, and really quite preposterous! Jesus knows that the official isn’t being honest with himself--that he’s really not as good as he tries to make himself appear. So he confronts the man with a demand that forces him to see what’s really important in his life. Evidently his wealth, and all the pleasure it brought him in this life, was more important than his question about the afterlife. After hearing Jesus’ response, the man walks away sad (Luke 18:23). This story challenges me: What would Jesus say to me about my attitude towards money? What would He have to say about my concern, or lack of concern, for the poor in my community? What misplaced priorities would He identify in my life that get in the way of my truly loving God? To be honest, I’m afraid to ask.



Another story in the Gospels that gives me reason to be afraid of Jesus is found in Matthew 18:21-22. Peter, another good guy who was trying to follow Jesus, evidently had felt that a friend had taken advantage of his good nature. This friend had offended him several times, and Peter had had enough. He asks Jesus how many times he has to forgive somebody who keeps hurting him. Seven times seemed like the limit for Peter—that it would be justified to hold a grudge if the guy screwed up for the eighth time. But Jesus rebuffs

Peter and says that seven isn’t the magic number; in fact, it’s more like seventy! The point is that if you practice a habit of forgivenessif you develop a pattern of mercy you’re eventually going to lose count. When you realize how many times God has forgiven you for your repeated failures, how could you possibly hold someone else’s stupid mistake against them? Again, the lesson that Jesus teaches here is uncomfortably challenging. Is there someone I need to forgive? Have I tried to justify my negative attitude towards someone because they failed me one too many times? When someone hurts me, intentionally or unintentionally, do I allow bitterness to take root in my heart? Is that bitterness keeping me from truly loving others? Is it keeping me from truly loving God? One last frightening quote from Jesus: What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs (Luke 12:3). Now, that’s scary. Really scary. Jesus is saying that no secret is truly a secret. The person you gossiped about is going to know what you said. The stuff you said that you knew you shouldn’t have to just one person “in secret,” is going to be heard by everyone. When I think about that, I’m terrified. I think what Jesus is really pointing out is that God cares a lot more about the stuff that’s hidden than the stuff that everybody sees. This is especially hard for me to consider as a pastor. On the outside, people think I’ve got my act together. I’m a nice guy, a religious guy--but that’s not going to cut it. What God wants is someone who is genuine through and through. He doesn’t want someone who just looks good in the public eye, but someone whose character in their private life matches the reputation they try to portray. And so I admit that Jesus scares me. I know He loves me, but He loves me enough to be honest with me—to bring me face to face with my sin, weakness and secrets. I know I’ll never get it all right. I’ll never live up to His standards. But I have great hope, because despite my mistakes, He loves me anyway. He died in my place. He takes away all my guilt. I’m so thankful for that. That’s why I love Him so much…even though He scares me.

Eight years (and counting!) as First Cov pastoral staff and Mark Shetler is still loving his job as an equipper, encourager and organizer. A fun and lively personality, Mark is most passionate about reaching unreached peoples, experiencing other cultures and, of course, his lovely wife, Melissa.


DISCRETIoN by Tim Layfield

A Career in Modeling For those who have seen me, it might be hard to imagine that at 40 years old, 6’ 3’’ and 260lbs, that I am a model. It’s true! (And no, it’s not for some big and tall magazine either…). Let me explain. Earlier this week I overheard my two young boys interacting with each other while playing with Lego’s. My youngest was trying to get the attention of his big brother because he needed help with his project. As usual, my oldest ignored his little brother’s plea for help. As I walked in the room to inform them that it was time to go to school, my youngest stood to his feet, put his hands on his hips and said with a loud, stern voice, “You see, if you would just listen to me and stop what you are doing for ONE SECOND, this could have all been avoided!” When I called my wife that morning to tell her about the interaction, my wife simply replied, “He is so you!” That morning, my son was doing his best impression of me. The words of my wife: “He is so you,” got me thinking. What else is my son picking up from me? He does follow me around everywhere I go, so what exactly does he observe me say or do? What does he see when I interact with his mom, his older brother or our neighbors? What does he hear me say when I talk about others? What does he learn from my work ethic? My mind raced as I contemplated all the things that I might be modeling to him. What I desire most is that my two sons grow up to be men of God—fully devoted followers of Jesus. I want them to learn what it is to love their wives as Christ loves the church. I want them to learn to love God and love others, to be men that would go the extra mile for a stranger in need. Which made me think: Are the things I am modeling worth repeating? What will be the next thing they pick up from me? As the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 1, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (New International Version). The reality is, like it or not, we are all models. Regardless if we think we are qualified or not; regardless if we want to be or not, there has been a great challenge placed before us. We are all faced with the task of modeling. Ask yourself the question I asked myself, “Are the things I am modeling worth repeating and worthy of the call of the Gospel of Christ”? Having worked in student ministries for 15 years (3 ½ ser ved here at First Cov as the pastor for our high school ministries, Renovate), you can bet that Tim Layfield is quite a character. Aside from his role as husband to Jessica and father to sons Ethan and Jacob, Tim gets most excited about watching his students embrace Jesus and realize they are meant for so much more.





Love kids? There are so many ways to invest in the lives of children here at First Cov. We have opportunities to help kids nursery through the teen years. You can serve on Sunday mornings or throughout the week. You may lead or you may assist. You can serve long term, or just help out for a season or on a rotating basis. Whatever the case may be, if you love kids, we can use you. Contact Pastor Fred at for more info on how to get involved.



From left: Maneewan (Rahab outreach team leader); Naang (a quiet, sweet soul – speaks excellent “American”); Koy (the class clown, Rahab outreach team leader); Lesley (First Cov team); Meow (very unassuming, loves to laugh, help and hug)



In Januar y, First Cov sent a team of 12 women for ten d ays on a glo b a l outrea ch trip to T h a ila nd to ser ve alongs id e three incredible wom en’s m in istries in Bangko k . W hile th e tea m wh oleh ea r tedly of fered the joy of Chr ist in th is “La n d of Sm iles,” th ey als o fo und them selves sm ilin g a t th e wonder ful work G o d was doin g a m on g th eir n ew friends in Thailand . Have a look a t th eir pictures a nd rea d more ab out the m inistries th ey worked with :

From left: Wow (has been with Rahab for over two years, and has a beautiful spirit); Nunang (Maneewan’s daughter); Backs to us: Aoy (worked as a “tout” luring potential customers into clubs, nearly shot during uprisings and came to Christ, reaches out to other “touts” now); Sassitorn (Rahab Pastor)

Koy teaching Megan how to crochet the cute little animals they make. (Meg is a leftie, so this was a challenging task to teach her).

RAHAB MINISTRIES This ministry works to tirelessly build relationships with women who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves wrapped up in the sex trade. Rahab works to provide practical help and emotional support to women working in prostitution. Rahab also provides opportunities for education, vocational training and alternative employment for these women. RAHAB HOUSE Any woman who chooses to stop working in the bars in Patpong are offered alternative accommodations at Rahab House. It provides a safe, family atmosphere and support as the women regain confidence in themselves and some are reunited with their children. niGhtliGht NightLight builds relationships and provides hope, intervention, rescue and assistance to women and children exploited in the sex industry by offering alternative employment, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom. NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry.

A BIT FROM OUR BLOG “We are immensely grateful for the friends we’ve made, the opportunities we’ve taken part in, the immersion in a culture of a precious people and the partnering with the Lord God Almighty and some awesome ministries! The sights and the sounds we’ve heard and smelled have made permanent impressions on us. Yes, there are some very dark places here, but the people of Thailand are kind and considerate. We come back with a whole list of things to ponder in the way we do things in our home country—the land of plenty. If they can be that way without much, how much more then should we be capable of? We have no excuse! Our daily sufferings and discomforts are quite nominal in comparison. God called us to ‘go and see.’ And now He calls us to ‘come back and do.’ What that means to each of us will be determined between us and God, but for sure we have to stay ‘connected to the Source’ to find out!” To read more specific stories from First Cov’s Thailand team, visit their blog at:

DTON NAAM Several good ministries are focused on helping the females in Bangkok, but Dton Naam has a heart to also help the males (aka Lady Boys), encouraging both men and women to leave prostitution, to pursue healing from abuse and to be freed from drug, alcohol and sexual addictions.

Lesley with Wow making one of the journals we crafted with them

Wow decorating cupcakes to take to women in clubs – it looks like she is writing a “W” as she did three cupcakes to spell out WOW.

Meow, Lesley, Glenda and Naang



Where is your


Hunched over the simple desk in a doctor’s clinic, I watched the elderly leader from the mosque next door. Ancient eyes squinting through large reading glasses, his long white beard moved up and down as he mumbled the words to himself. He was reading the letter of introduction we had written, explaining that our family loves God and that the most important thing for us is to do his will. The letter explained how my wife and I had taken a month to fast and pray to ask God about his will for us and how, during that time, God had shown us that he wanted us to move to India and love Muslims.



by Josiah

He finished reading the letter and without a word, pulled out his cellphone and began an animated conversation with someone. Several minutes later, he hung up, wrote something on a paper, and handed it to me. “Call this man.” The man we were to call was one of the primary spiritual leaders among the 600,000 Muslims of the city. This man could open or close the door to our hopes of living here. How would he receive us?

“The defining human reality is that the kingdom of Satan is seeking to thwart the kingdom of God and His purposes on earth,” Tim Lewis says. “Every single man, woman and child on the face of the earth is touched by that reality every single day of their lives.” Although this war is our reality, we can take heart because the intensity of the battle continually forces us back to the only one who is the Hope of the world. Every single day, we are to live desperately dependent on Him.

When we called the spiritual leader, he invited our family to come to his home. His family received us warmly and he expressed how glad he was that we were here in his city, trying to find ways to serve and love Muslims. He has opened doors to relationships for us.

After a frustrating series of events with my friend who owns a small business in our city, I lost my temper. I hurt and shamed my friend by how I spoke to him. Sitting in his shop sipping chai, with crowds of people on the road outside, I tearfully repented and asked him to forgive me.

In his reflections on cross-cultural living, Henri Nouwen says:

Sometime later, this friend told me that he had reconciled with his brother who lives next door to him but whom he had not spoken to for 8 years because of a disagreement they had. He said that after I came and asked for his forgiveness, he started thinking that life is too short to keep the grudge going with his only brother. Jim Gustafson says “Only people who are being transformed themselves can transform others.” Are you letting people see the reality of your own failures and brokenness? How else will they understand that the good news of the Kingdom is for broken people like them… and us?

“When we walk around in a strange milieu, speaking the language haltingly, and feeling out of control and like fools, we can come in touch with a part of ourselves that usually remains hidden behind the thick walls of our defenses. In the presence of God, we are totally naked, broken, sinful, and dependent, and we realize that we can do nothing, absolutely nothing, without him.” God delights to walk with us when we recognize our complete inadequacy and still go forward into the land of uncertainty, clinging to him in spite of fear. Where is fear holding you back from moving forward? This past year has been one of the most difficult and formative years of my life. I have been forced to confront the man-made support structures that were holding my identity together. In this new place, no one knows what I have accomplished, what I am capable of, and no one cares about the network of friends that defined me in the past. No one is impressed with the sacrifices I am making to live here. Living at the edge of the Kingdom has forced me to re-learn who I am and who Jesus is. I am nothing apart from him. But in Him, I am the beloved, apart from what I can do or accomplish. What is shaping your identity, apart from Jesus? Our city is the kind of place we know Jesus would spend his time. We are in the middle of blossoming wealth and degrading poverty; religious devotion and spiritual hunger; technological advances and dusty broken roads; loving people and cruel mobs; smiling children and policemen who kill. Life here is not photo-shopped or edited. We have been learning that living fully in God’s Kingdom opens our heart to greater joy but also to deeper pain. Here sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. This is a kingdom at war.

Walking the streets of our city, I see crippled men crawling across sharp rubble because they have no wheelchair. I see children scavenging for food in garbage piles. I see wealthy fathers leaving their families for months on end to increase their wealth. In a desperate world, Jesus’ invitation still stands - “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” What dominates your thoughts? What are you seeking above all else? Jesus reminds us “It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and will end up being.” Josiah and his wife are members of First Cov and have been living i n K i te C i t y, I n d i a f o r a l m o st o n e a n d a h a l f y e a r s . T h ey a r e p a r e n t s to four beautiful children with unique personalities: Ar wyn, Malachi, E v a n g e l i n e a n d Ta r o n . F o r f u n , J o s i a h l i k e s t o d r i v e o n h i s s c o o t e r exploring new neighborhoods, sit and drink chai with friends and track t i g e r s a t t h e a n i m a l p r e s e r ve c l o s e to t h e i r c i t y. WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG


JAyne WilliAms

Ted offered the New Members Class. I received answers to all my questions. It was a divine appointment. What got my attention the most – besides the friendly greeting and cookies outside – was that First Cov taught the Bible; and also required every member to participate in ministry.

At home.



I came here the summer of 2000. In the fall of 2001 I was asked to be a co-director of an outreach ministry to a nearby apartment complex called CrossRoads. A couple of years later I joined Celebrate Recovery as the Coordinator.


meet tHe stAFF


I am a privileged servant of Celebrate Recovery’s leadership and attendees. With that in mind, I also offer equipping classes to assist those struggling with hurts, habits and hang ups; make myself available as a lay counselor and serve in any capacity needed to help the community know that God loves them and wants them to heal from their past so they can be whole in Him.


The first day I visited First Cov, Pastor

April 29, 1956


I have two grown daughters; four beautiful and talented grandchildren (two boys, two girls, 9-1 years old), and the most amazing husband for 26 years..


Acts 3:6 Peter said, “Silver and gold, have I none. But such as I have I give to you.” That kind of sums up how I feel I should reach out to others, with the power I have in Jesus.


Playing with my grandkids and talking with my husband. Oh yeah, and I do like kayaking, rock climbing and a good movie.


Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. It’s about how God allows our dreams to shatter so that His dream for us becomes our priority and purpose in life.


“The Thing.” I know it’s creepy, but on Friday nights my husband and I like to snuggle together and watch unusual movies. The alien got so big inside the person that it eventually burst out of their stomach and the long fingers grabbed anyone close by. It makes me think of how I feel when my hope in Christ builds and builds and I think the Holy Spirit just wants to burst out of my body and grab everyone close by! Although I don’t recommend this movie – I see Jesus in most things. Ask my husband.


I don’t do anything at Starbucks.

A HAVEN FOR THE HOMELESS What do you get when you combine a magic show, a salon and the Sac State baseball team serving up some excellent Mexican food? You get Winter Sanctuary 2012 at First Cov! There was no shortage of creative ministry at this year’s annual outreach to the Sacramento homeless community. First Cov, along with several other area churches, took turns providing food and shelter to the homeless during the winter months as part of the city’s annual Winter Sanctuary. This year, First Cov hosted the outreach for nearly two weeks: with various dates in January, February and March. Many church members volunteered for the event, including several entire Growth Groups. Growth group leader, DJ Jernigan, who tries to organize an outreach project for his group every trimester, was pleasantly surprised to find his group members using talents he didn’t even know they had. Each member used their unique gifts to contribute a creative way to minister—from singing and doing magic tricks, to washing feet. DJ himself shared a devotional about hope, based on Galatians 5:5. It was encouraging, DJ



said, to hear one of the homeless men come up to him in tears and tell him: “I really needed that.” Aside from simply serving food, DJ recalls that each person in the growth group “made a point to talk, listen and reach out” to every homeless person there. Through those talks and prayers, volunteers observed that many of the homeless were able to find the safety, fellowship and encouragement they had been lacking when they were out on the streets. As Karina West, coordinator of the salon services, said: “We’re giving them the courage and confidence to take the next step.” That encouragement and love came from a diverse group of volunteers, including children, teens and even the Sac State baseball team who volunteered their time serving the guests dinner. “It was a beautiful sight to see seniors serving alongside baseball players and kids,” said Vicki Brown. Vicki recalled one young boy whose parents brought him to the event and was looking for a simple way to serve. Someone suggested he give out cups

of cold water to the homeless as they were receiving complimentary haircuts. Vicki says she was especially touched by watching children hone their gifts through such a clear biblical model of servanthood. In the process of exposing children to such powerful service opportunities, Vicki said, “their hearts are changed.” DJ Jernigan agrees. He brought along his children and had them serve with the Growth Group as a way of modeling servanthood and outreach. “My kids are still talking about it!” he says “It hit home with them, too.” After the event, one thing was clear to all those involved: We have fantastic people at First Cov who have incredible potential for impacting the Kingdom. “We have so much talent at First Covenant!” said Vicki Brown. Karina West agreed: “We have resources in our church that aren’t being tapped into.” Karina says it is her desire for more people at First Cov to experience the joy of serving the Lord. Vicki also wanted to encourage Compass readers that “Serving is how you meet people and get connected.” Although Winter


Sanctuary turned out to be a great event, Vicki and Karina hope that people will see that it is only one in a sea of opportunities for individuals and Growth Groups to get involved here at First Cov. Not only was it a fun, creative and rewarding experience for those who volunteered, but it made an incredible impact on the homeless that were served. In the words of DJ Jernigan: “I don’t think we ever could have imagined what a difference we made.” Prior to joining the First Cov staff as an Administrative Assistant and Copy Editor for The COMPASS, Jennifer Raynes served with YWAM in Australia, facilitating discipleship programs and leading global outreach teams into India, China, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia and Peru. As evidenced by her near-daily Facebook check in’s, when she isn’t at the church, Jen can almost always be found at Starbucks—sipping caffeine, catching up with friends, or doing homework for First Cov’s Global Pipeline internship.

THE NEW LIFE Romans 6:14 "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."


Read Romans 6:1-14. Paul explains some incredible concepts concerning our relationship with God and how we should live now that Jesus has died and risen again. It is vital to Paul that believers understand what Jesus accomplished on the cross and how it impacts our life in regards to sin. The power of Sin has been thrown down by Jesus and we now live in the new life of grace. Let’s define Paul’s terms. The first word in this passage that must be defined is “sin.” Sin is a constant theme running throughout this passage and it is imperative that we understand what Paul means when he says “continue in sin” (v.1), “died to sin” (v. 2), “body of sin” (v. 6), “slaves to sin” (v. 6), and “freed from sin” (v. 7). Many Christians misunderstand this passage because they fail to make a distinction between sins and sin. They assume that these words are synonyms that refer to our specific actions of rebellion against God’s righteousness. But that is the definition of the word sins not sin. When Paul speaks of sin, he is referring to the principle and power that produces sins or a force, a power that governs all those who are identified with Adam and makes them commit sins. That is why we can be “slaves to sin.” This distinction causes the entire passage to come to life and brings a new understanding to the terms that follow. For instance, this definition of sin brings a new understanding to the word “continue.” Paul is not simply arguing that we should not continue to commit sins, but rather, that we should not continue to place ourselves daily under the power of sin since sin is defeated and we are now under the power of grace. Thus, “continue” can be defined as the pursuit of a lifestyle or the daily

habit of submission as a servant to a power. At this point we must address the concept of death because Paul argues that we cannot “continue” in sin because we have “died to sin” (Romans 6: 2). Death is always defined in the Bible as separation. For instance, when a person dies physically, the body is separated from the spirit. Furthermore, spiritual death is the separation of a person from God as seen in the Garden of Eden when God warned Adam and Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by saying, “the day you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2: 17). Adam and Eve did not die physically on the day that they disobeyed, but instead, were separated from God spiritually. Thus, in Adam we spiritually died and were separated from God as a servant of sin. But in Christ we die to sin, are separated from its power, and receive the new life of God. Finally, we must define what Paul means by “old self” (v. 6). From the context it is obvious that the old self is all that the believer was before salvation or, to put it another way, what we were in Adam. The good news is that what we used to be under the power of sin is rendered old now that we are dead to sin and resurrected to a new life.

to the area. My son came home after attending a middle school function and he loved it. We started attending shortly after that.

On staff since.

This is my 10th year.


October 27, 1966.




Role at First Cov.

Mostly maintenance and janitorial but also random support such as greeter, sound tech, coffee maker- whatever is needed.

First set foot on First Cov.

I first came here when my wife Mary and I were looking for a church after moving

Married 27 years to the most wonderful woman in the world. We have three children, Corey, Chris and Cynthia. The boys are married and our daughter is in college. We have two grandchildren, one of whom is now attending First Cov preschool.

Favorite scripture.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.” That has been Mary’s and my verse since 1991. It means so much to know that we can do “all things” that come our way. With His help we can

Now that we have defined terms it is easy to see the powerful meaning behind this passage. Paul argues that we cannot continue to live under the power of sin because we have been separated from its power and now live under the power of Another. In other words, our identity has changed and Paul argues that it is illogical to live as if we are under the power of sin when we are now under the power of Jesus. We are not who we once were; why would we live as if we hadn’t been set free? We shared the life of sin that came to us as a result of our union with Adam, but now we share the death to sin and the power of resurrection to new life through our union with Jesus Christ. Thus, our sins exist not because we are slaves to the power of sin, but rather, because we have willingly submitted to sin and forgotten that we have a new master and a new life. Live today in freedom from the old power of sin and instead embrace the joy of the new life and power you have in Jesus. Creating havoc in the Sunday School classes and crawling under the pews during services as a child at First Cov propelled Dan Palmer into the Associate Pastor position today. Now his brood of boys, Caleb, Tyler and Shane terrorize the Children’s Ministry wing, while Dan passionately tells people about the incredible love of God.  He believes, and is an example of, the fact that God changes lives.

handle anything.

Favorite pastime or hobby.

I love the outdoors: camping, hiking, bicycling, hunting.

Favorite eatery.

It’s a tie between Texas Roadhouse and La Comida. Yum.

Last book you read.

The Hunger Games trilogy. I love science fiction. I was really looking forward to the movie!

Last movie you watched.

The grandkids were over on Sunday. I believe we watched “Cars”. Great movie.

At Starbucks.

Cup of plain old coffee.




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!


APRIL 29 - JUNE 3 • 10AM


sundays • 10 a.m. • room 203 God discusses caring for orphans nearly 50 times in Scripture and describes Himself as a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Learn about the heart of God in this exploration of the theological and practical aspects of defending the cause of the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17). Learn how you can be God’s hands by participating in the many opportunities available to demonstrate the love of Christ to the least of these. TEACHERS Jamey & Amy Byrne, Mike & Jane Daly, Micah & Sandy Runner – This team of teachers is both called and qualified to teach on this vital subject. Within this group is a social worker, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, adoptive parents, foster parents, foster children and founders and board members of Home For Good Ministries.

The Evidence Series: History of the Bible What Does The Bible Say

10 a.m. • room 210 While the Bible is not solely a history book, it does contain the history of the universe from beginning to end. This class will explore many of the historical narratives found in the Bible and then use the evidence of archaeology to validate the Truth of Scripture. We will explore and



examine some of the historical events in the Bible that have come under fire by modern skeptics. Join us as we explore creation, the flood, Tower of Babel, the Crossing of the Red Sea and more. TEACHERS Clark Jeppeson – Has been a Christian for over 40 years, but only after taking a SHAPE class did he discover his gift of teaching. He has a passion for the evidence behind his hope in Christ and desires to pass that hope on to those who take his class. Stanley Holzen – was led to Christ over 20 years ago, but soon was faced with the stumbling block of the seeming conflict between the world’s evidence and the Bible. Since then, he has had a great desire to learn and share truth from God’s Word with others.

Healing Is A Choice

Taking Responsibility for the Decisions You Make And the Lies You Believe sundays • 10 a.m. • room 205 “Healing is a Choice” is a book that will challenge you to actively seek God’s healing in your own life rather than passively hoping that God will change others. God has given you provision and permission to experience and be transformed by both emotional and spiritual healing. This class will help you to identify the lies that prevent you from experiencing healing and true trust in the Lord. TEACHER Jayne Williams – is a wife, mother, grandmother, a Lay Counselor, an Outreach Chaplain, the coordinator of Celebrate Recovery and one of First Cov’s most enthusiastic and powerful teachers.

Jesus Christ

God’s Son, Our Savior sundays • 10 a.m. • room 202 As the central figure of our faith, Christianity has much to say about Jesus Christ. The most important statements revolve around two major ideas: who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. This class will go beyond summary into an in-depth review of what Christianity teaches about Jesus as God's Son and what He has done for Christians as our savior. We will explore specific doctrines (e.g. Jesus' Divinity) and also take time to explain the historical evidence behind the truth of Christian teaching. The course will be an engaging time to explain who Jesus really is and learn to explain the evidence for the truth of Christian teaching. TEACHERS Tom Stanton – holds an MA in Theological Studies. He is a frequent teacher of equipping classes at First Cov. Kevin Vandergriff – holds a BA in Philosophy (Emphasis in Logic and Science) and is currently working on an M.A. in Christian Apologetics. He is also the Director of Ratio Christi at Sacramento State University.

Next Christians Growth Group Leader Training The Beauty of Community

sundays • 10 a.m. • room 215 Growth Groups are one of the main vehicles for community and discipleship at First Cov. Yet, in order for them to be effective, they must have trained and continually supported leaders who, in turn, raise up new leaders. This is done so that others can experience the beauty of Biblical community and share the message of Jesus within their neighborhoods. This class recasts the vision of Growth Groups, as well as equips possible future leaders to live out the Gospel in their local communities. TEACHERS Matt Newton – Is the Growth Groups Pastor here at First Cov. Having been at First Cov for 8 years, Matt is on the journey of learning to live a life centered on the Gospel and on mission in his community. COST $10 - $15 for leader binder and book

How the Modern Church is Restoring the Christian Faith sundays • 10 a.m. • room 200 Many people in secular America believe that Christianity is on the decline. In truth, Christianity’s best days might be just ahead. This class takes a look at the present and future, citing current models and examples of how Christianity over the next 100 years can and must adapt to ensure that the best days of Christianity are still to come. TEACHER PC Walker – Is the College and Young Adult Pastor here at First Cov and enjoys engaging people of all walks of life in spiritual conversation.


Discovering The Unique You sundays • 10 a.m. • ROOM 204 SHAPE provides you with insight into how God brought specific characteristics together to make you a unique individual. Learn what makes you different from everyone

else and understand how you have been specifically designed by the Creator. By exploring the five elements of SHAPE (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experience,) you will be able to identify where you can best fit into the ministry opportunities around you. TEACHERS Lynn Campell – is First Cov’s Ministry Connections Coordinator. Glenda Harr – is First Cov’s Director of Women’s Ministries and Assimilation and has been on our staff for nearly eight years.

Where In the World Is the Kingdom of Heaven?

COST: $5.00

Women’s Bible Study

James: Mercy Triumphs (A Study by Beth Moore) WEDNESDAYS - 6:30PM • IN THE CHAPEL Come along with Beth Moore on a journey to get to know both the man and the Book of James. You will never be the same again. Topics in this study include: joy, hardship, faith, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility, and prayer. Plus, Beth introduces a 5-tiered study approach that she has never done before. Join us for this transforming study! TEACHER Glenda Harr - is First Cov’s Director of Women’s Ministries and has been on our staff for eight years.

Gospel Theology Meets Current Affairs

sundays • 10 a.m. • room 206 The “Kingdom” was one of Jesus’ favorite topics―in the four Gospels, Jesus uses the word over 100 times. Many of us, however, would probably be hard pressed to articulate a useful definition of what the “Kingdom” really is. Using the Gospels as our text, this class will help us explore this incredibly significant theme in the teachings of Jesus, while discovering its relevance in our culture and within global issues today. We will do some serious Bible study together, but will also be challenged to practice kingdom principles in practical ways each week during the class.

APRIL 25 - JUNE 6 • 6:15PM


APRIL 25 - JUNE 6 • 6:30PM

Men’s Bible Study

Life Lessons from the Sermon on the Mount: The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached WEDNESDAYS - 6:30PM • ROOM 200/202 What does it mean to “seek first the kingdom of God” in our relationships, values, ambitions, finances and commitments? The Sermon on the Mount reveals the heart qualities God desires in you. Learn the importance of dynamic prayer, faith and giving. Find out Jesus’ prescription for worry. Discover what it means to live for God’s approval only as you cultivate a relationship with Him. We’ll dig deep into Jesus’ challenging message with large group teaching and open discussion. We will also meet in small groups for added discussion, life connection with other men and prayer together. TEACHERS Jeff Koons - is Pastor of Family & Men’s Ministries here at First Cov and has over 25 years of teaching and ministry experience. Jeff is married to Betty and has an adult daughter and 2 teenage boys. Ty Lewis - has been teaching the Bible for 25 years and has a desire to see people grow in their passion for following Christ. He has a degree in Business Administration and works as a Section Chief for EDD. He is married to Melinda and has 2 teenage children.

Women’s Bible Study

James: Mercy Triumphs (A Study by Beth Moore) THURSDAYS - 10:00AM • IN THE CHAPEL Come along with Beth Moore on a journey to get to know both the man and the Book of James. You will never be the same again. Topics in this study include: joy, hardship, faith, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility, and prayer. Plus, Beth introduces a 5-tiered study approach that she has never done before. Join us for this transforming study! TEACHER Glenda Harr - is First Cov’s Director of Women’s Ministries and has been on our staff for eight years.

Kids Klub is our midweek Equipping Class designed especially for children. Kids Klub aligns with the adult Equipping Classes on Wednesday nights allowing parents to study in their classes worry-free. All coaches and leaders have completed an application, screening and background check.

TEACHER Mark Shetler – is our Executive Pastor and Director of Worship and Global Outreach and has been on staff at First Cov for eight years. He is passionate about helping people see how amazing the Gospels are and how applicable they are to every culture, time period and situation.

Wednesday Evening Classes For CHILDREN

Thursday Morning Class APRIL 26 - JUNE 7 • 10:00AM

Our nursery will also be open for children 6-weeks to two years old for those parents wishing to participate in the adult Equipping Classes. Registration Although advanced registration is not required, 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 under our children’s ministries page. Just follow the Kids Klub link.  

Junior Kids Klub: Ages 3 - 5 Room 111 A special Jr. Kids Klub program will be available for all preschool children. This interactive program is geared specifically to their age development and will include Bible stories, puppets, videos, and crafts. COST: $5.00

KIDS KLUB: 1ST - 3RD GRADE Room 111 The evening begins with games, worship, prayer, and experiencing a bible story in a way that students can apply God’s truths to areas of their lives. After the main session children will be dismissed to one of two electives: Bible Boot Camp (extension of the Bible lesson) or Creative Arts. While in their electives, students will have opportunities to apply the biblical truths presented in the bible lesson in their chosen elective. At the end of the night, the students come together for snack, devotion, prayer, and reflection.



h by Mark S etler

EXOTIC SERVICE: THE STRIP CLUB OUTREACH If you’re trying to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, sooner or later you realize you need to find a place to serve. Some people sing in the choir. Others feel gifted to teach children or work in the nursery. And then, there are those that feel led by God to serve at the strip clubs. The Gospel writers record a number of stories of Jesus keeping questionable company; He had friends who were dishonest tax collectors, ate meals with “sinners” and allowed a prostitute to interrupt a dinner party by washing His feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. “I absolutely believe Jesus would go to strip clubs if He were walking the earth today," says Jennie Nagy. “He went into all kinds of places. That might be presumptuous on my part, but I just really see him opening his arms, reaching out and making himself available to the women who work there.” Jennie Nagy, founder of As You Are—an outreach to women working in strip clubs in Northern California, first felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to start the ministry when she and her family moved to the Sacramento area. Driving down a street in Rancho Cordova lined with numerous strip clubs, Jennie felt God was telling her that He wanted her to go inside and share the love of Jesus with the women who worked there. Jennie, who had experience working in such a club when she was 18, began to wrestle with how the Lord wanted to use her past--a life that she had left behind--to make a difference in the lives of women who often feel more judgment from Christians than love. After participating in two global outreach trips to Thailand where she and other women from First Cov reached out in love to women caught in the sex trade, Jennie knew it was time to reach out closer to home. Four years after that initial prompting, As You Are (AYA), an outreach to women working in strip clubs in Northern California, was born. A small group of women from First Cov and other area churches banded together to form a unique, but significant, ministry to women in this industry. AYA makes four visits a year to seven different clubs in Rancho Cordova, Sacramento, Stockton and Marysville. Their visits thus far are relatively short, only around 15 minutes each, but are generally well received. AYA members and volunteers prepare gift bags for the ladies ahead of time. In addition to small items like lip gloss and earrings, the featured items at Christmas were homemade scarves, and Valentine’s bags included bracelets handmade by former sex workers in Thailand. On the night of an outreach, two or three women go into the club, while a couple others stay outside in the car and pray for the conversations taking place inside. Club managers receive a Starbuck’s gift card and some homemade cookies, and then usually grant the AYA representatives some time to give the gift bags to the employees and engage in conversation. Women involved in this ministry range in age from 26 to over 70. Some have never stepped foot in a strip club before and have had little previous knowledge of the industry. Others have more difficult past experiences. Yet all of the women who volunteer with AYA have a desire to communicate to the women in the clubs that they are loved and cherished by God. “Because some of us have a past,” Jennie says, “it helps put everyone at ease. They understand we’re not there to cause trouble.” The philosophy behind the ministry is simple: “It’s not our job to bring them to Jesus. We just bring His love to the women and we let the Holy Spirit do the rest.” For more information on AYA, to read Jennie’s personal testimony or to explore ways you may get involved in this ministry, visit Eight years (and counting!) as pastoral staff, and Mark Shetler is still loving his job as an equipper, encourager and organizer here at First Cov. A fun and lively personality, Mark is most passionate about reaching unreached peoples, experiencing other cultures and, of course, his lovely wife, Melissa.



HeArt oF gold

The Inspiring Story of a First Cov Volunteer You may never have seen him, but Craig Rogers is one of those incredible “behind the scenes” guys who helps make First Cov church what it is. 20 year old Craig, who has been attending the church since he was a kid, is currently taking Child Development courses with a goal to become certified in Early Childhood Education. But far more than just your average student, Craig stands out amongst the young men in our church for his dedicated commitment to volunteering. Over the last year and a half, Craig has volunteered nearly 30 hours every week to work with the church. A young “jack of all trades,” Craig fills his volunteer hours during the day setting-up and cleaning classrooms and the Worship Center. On Sundays, he volunteers with both On Eagle’s Wings, First Cov’s ministry to children with special needs, and also helps with Club 45 (ministry for 4th and 5th grade students).

During his volunteer hours in the day, Craig serves alongside Galen Hedin and Lee Spesert, two of First Cov’s full-time facilities staff, both of whom he really enjoys working with. “Galen is friendly and easy to talk to—it’s like having another Grandfather,” Craig says. “Lee is fun to work with. He encourages me on my school work and helps me remember things I need to do.” Galen returns the sentiment, considering himself both a mentor and “Grandfather” figure to Craig. “He’s very helpful and reliable,” Galen says of Craig’s contribution to the facilities team at First Cov. Encouraged by Craig’s strong sense of values, Galen is inspired by Craig’s ability to maintain high standards in his lifestyle “It’s very different than other people his age.” Despite this surprising maturity in his beliefs and decision-making, Galen is also quick to note Craig’s youthful approach to his work, initiating self-imposed “races”

crAig rogers

to see how quickly he can finish certain tasks. Grinning from ear to ear, you can see just how much Galen appreciates his “mentee” as he shares stories about Craig’s contribution to our church: “He’s valuable…and he’s got a heart of gold.” Maintaining an inspiring attitude, Craig’s reasons for volunteering are both practical and encouraging. Aside from gaining job experience and learning new skills, Craig also cites a more profound reason for investing into First Cov: “The people at church are part of my family. I like helping people. I don’t have a job, so I can’t tithe by giving money, but I can tithe by volunteering at church.” What makes Craig’s story even more interesting is that he himself has had to live with learning disabilities and significant health issues. Of his learning disabilities, which affect his auditory and sensorymotor processing, Craig shares: “I have a hard time reading and understanding what I have read. It takes me longer to do homework assignments. They have to be broken down into small segments.” Craig was also born with hearing loss and a heart defect. He has worn hearing aids since he was 5 years old, and had to have open heart surgery when he was only 15 months old. But if you ask him how his health and learning struggles affect his view of God, he is surprisingly positive and accepting of it: “That is just the way God made me.”

Despite everything, Craig is very committed to serving First Cov through volunteering his time. Yet Craig admits that there was a time when his attitude towards volunteering was less than positive: “It was my mom’s idea. I didn’t want to volunteer at first…God has changed my attitude toward volunteering. Now I enjoy it and do it because I want to.” Craig says he encourage others to volunteer because “it’s fun” and “it is a good way to meet new people.” Above every other reason, Craig reminds us: “God wants us to serve and volunteer.” Prior to joining the First Cov staff as an Administrative Assistant and Copy Editor for The COMPASS, Jennifer Raynes served with YWAM in Australia, facilitating discipleship programs and leading global outreach teams into India, China, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia and Peru. As evidenced by her near-daily Facebook check in’s, when she isn’t at the church, Jen can almost always be found at Starbucks— sipping caffeine, catching up with friends, or doing homework for First Cov’s Global Pipeline internship.



by Jessica Stoner

Dirty Kitchen Confession Often while I am cleaning, I begin reflecting on my life. My kitchen is about 100 square feet. I sweep our little floor often and scrub it with a sponge and soapy water about once a week. In the past two months, I have gotten behind on the scrubbing and the deep cleaning part. The dirtiness of my kitchen floor finally hit me one day when our 6-month old decided she wanted to roll off her little baby blanket and try scooting around the kitchen. I left the room for only a second, but when I came back, I found her little hands desperately reaching for the kitchen floor as if she were straining to win the Tour De France. I peeked down under the stove, dish washer, and other such baby- level areas, and was horrified to find a collection of disgusting



left-over munchies. Our little girl graciously took an extra long nap that afternoon, while I put on my rubber gloves, got out the ammonia and started scrubbing! As I was reaching as far as I could underneath the stove to pull out all the sticky, crumbly, unidentified objects, I began to think of my sin and how much more detestable it must be to the holy God of the universe! It is so necessary for me to seek the Lord daily, asking him to search my heart and show me the things that are displeasing to him so that I may repent. It makes me think of Psalm 139: 2324: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me

that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (New Living Translation). How amazing is it that God knows everything about us, inside and out and loves us anyway? He sees the hidden messiness and reveals it to us so that He can come in and do the deep cleaning that needs to be done. Take some time to read the rest of Psalm 139. I encourage you to ask God to show you anything in yourself that is offensive, so that you too may repent and be led along the path of everlasting life.

Somehow in her busy schedule of being a wife, mom and student at Sac State, Jessica Stoner still finds time to serve as a leadership intern with First Cov’s Global Pipeline internship—an intense 6-month program of scripture study, local outreach to unreached people and global outreach training. She has the lovely privilege of reading the weekly spiritual revelations of the six current Global Pipeline interns—one of whom is her husband Eric.

Love Your [Annoying] Neighbor As Yourself by Jane S. Daly

I was introduced to Terri through a mutual friend. We met for coffee and began to talk as if we’d been friends forever. Our common bond was that we both had lost a child. Our personalities clicked and we forged a relationship that has withstood the time and distance that separates us. Have you ever experienced this---meeting someone and becoming instantly close? It’s kind of like ‘love at first sight.’ That was Terri. Then…there was Brenda. We both attended the same women’s Bible study. Something about her irritated me beyond belief. I could barely make eye contact with her whenever she spoke. I mentally tuned her out, believing that she had nothing to say that would be of value to me. I silently rejoiced when she didn’t show up to a meeting. You’ve heard the saying, “I know I have to love them, but I don’t have to like them!” When it came to Brenda, I firmly held to that principle. One day, as I was inwardly criticizing Brenda, the Lord spoke to me—one of those inner convictions that make you cringe. I was reminded of two scriptures: John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love” (English Standard Version) and John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (New International Version). Ouch. This certainly goes against my natural tendency. It forces me to live in a supernatural way. I can’t love irritating people on my own. I can’t conjure up pleasant feelings or acceptance. I’ve tried, but all it does is come across as phony, artificial or just plain sickening. I had to really look at Brenda and see Christ inside her. There’s a discipline involved in allowing Christ to love through me and seeing other believers as having His Spirit inside them. That irritating person is someone who Christ died for. When I can see Christ in them, I am able to more clearly see Christ in me. I have discovered that it takes a lot of practice to love one another. But love is the very essence of God’s Nature. As I am disciplined by Him and abiding in His love, it becomes easier for me to allow that love to flow from me toward others. Even to the most irritating. Maybe you have a neighbor or a co-worker who drives you crazy. Maybe it’s someone in your Growth Group. As you consider the words of Jesus: “Love one another,” think about the fact that God may have something for you from this other person. God showed me that if I would really open my ears to hear, He may speak to me through her. All I have to do is listen. Bank manager and avid scrapbooker, Jane Daly started attending First Cov in May 2011 with her husband Mike after a difficult season following the loss of their son, Bobby, to cancer in 2010. By day, Jane is affectionately known as the “Queen Bee” of First Bank in Rancho Cordova, but she moonlights as a writer—having written a Christian fiction novel that she hopes to get published soon. WWW.FIRSTCOV.ORG




Profile for First Covenant Church of Sacramento

Compass Magazine  

COMPASS Magazine is First Cov's new quarterly publication. In a church our size, it can be an overwhelming task to meet everyone and know ev...

Compass Magazine  

COMPASS Magazine is First Cov's new quarterly publication. In a church our size, it can be an overwhelming task to meet everyone and know ev...

Profile for firstcov