Covenant Church appreciates diversity and honors covenant relationships because these are things God has demonstrated in His creation.
A Place to Call Home – Covenant Relationships & Diversity
Pastor Ricky Texada
Sunday March 19, 2017
Theme – Covenant Church appreciates diversity and honors covenant relationships because these are things God has demonstrated in His creation.
Honor in covenant relationships
- Covenant Church’s core values declaration includes the statement, “We honor in covenant relationships - We encourage, love and champion one another—committing to exhort and challenge each other towards growth in Christ.”
- A covenant is a strong agreement between two individuals for the mutual benefit of each.
- It is not possible to do the will of God if we are not in covenant agreement with someone else. Psalm 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Each of us must be firmly planted in a place, along with other people.
- God delegates authority to different people. Therefore, we must have strong relationships - one to another - to be useful in the Kingdom.
Covenants are God’s idea
- Because God initiated numerous covenants with His people, it is our responsibility to embrace the concept of covenants.
- The most recent covenant with the Body of Christ was declared by Jesus when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Luke 22:20 says, “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
Our response should be to have covenants with each other
- We need covenant relationships with each other in order to fulfill God’s will on the planet. Romans 12: 4-5 says, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
- It is impossible to love God and not have relationships with each other.
- Matthew 22: 37–40: Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
We have to work at maintaining our covenant relationships
- Ephesians 4: 1-3: I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- At Covenant Church we interact in our covenant with each other by:
- Encouraging each other
- Championing each other – we are advocates for each other
- Exhorting one another to live a holy life
- Challenging one another – we hold each other accountable.
Covenant Church appreciates diversity
- Covenant Church’s core values declaration includes the statement, “We appreciate diversity - We find value in people, their stories and their unique gifts—empowering them to leverage who God has made them to advance His Kingdom.”
- Our church is blessed with a rich diversity of members.
- God is the author of diversity. He loves diversity. The very earliest Christian church described in Acts 2 was obviously very diverse in its make-up of different types of people.
- Our different gifts and experiences make life better and enable us to see different perspectives.
Our response to diversity
- We must be committed to the concept of diversity among us. Our love for one another will enable us to rise above adversity.
- We must be intentional to employ diversity throughout our church ministries.
- We must deal with our own fears, hurts, and previous experiences and not take offense because of them.
- Our citizenship in the Kingdom has more value than the temporary world events that cause division.
Reflective Questions for A Place to Call Home: Covenant Relationship and Diversity
- Think back on one of your first experiences at Covenant Church. What were your feelings about that experience? Did the experience reflect well on God’s Kingdom?
- Pastor Ricky said no one should be working alone in the Kingdom; we need each other to do God’s work. What are some practical things we can do to maintain our good relationships with each other?
- Why is it important our different ministry groups at Covenant Church reflect the diversity of the larger congregation?
- How successful have you been at focusing on larger Kingdom values during this time of division and anxiety in the world?
One of Covenant Church’s attributes is we embrace the Holy Spirit and intentionally use Him in our daily lives.
A Place to Call Home – We Embrace the Spirit Filled Life
Pastor Joel Scrivner
Sunday March 12, 2017
Theme – One of Covenant Church’s attributes is we embrace the Holy Spirit and intentionally use Him in our daily lives.
Some in the church have misunderstood (and misrepresented) the Holy Spirit
- Since the time of Jesus the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood – and misused – by some in the church.
- These mistakes have caused many to be confused about who the Holy Spirit is and how He functions.
- Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us to be Spirit filled.
- If you have given your life to Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit with you.
- One of the reasons Covenant Church has been successful is because it enthusiastically embraces the Holy Spirit, and not only knows the Spirit is with us, but can also be in
- Jesus’ entire ministry was focused on getting to a place where the Holy Spirit would be able to get inside us.
The Holy Spirit is in us
- The words of Jesus in the Book of John talk about this new opportunity.
- John 14: 14-18 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And if you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
- Jesus is no longer here physically. But the Holy Spirit is here, and He is also inside us.
The Great Commission and the Holy Spirit
- The Great Commission is the clear Word of Jesus telling all Christians to go into all the world – teaching what we have learned. However, this commission also included a promise that the Holy Spirit would accompany us.
- Mark 16: 15-18 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
- The Holy Spirit is as active today as He was when those words were written.
Our divine advantage
- It is to our advantage that Jesus went back to Heaven. Because He left us, we have now received God inside us. We have this clear advantage over God’s people in previous history – and certainly over anyone who is not a Believer.
- John 16: 7-15 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
- Jesus performed His miracles through the Holy Spirit. Now, we have access to that same power.
Use this advantage in your daily life
- Because the Holy Spirit is in us, we have God with us in every environment to which we enter.
- We have this Holy Spirit power so that we will use it in our daily lives.
- Acts 1: 4-8 “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
- The Holy Spirit gives us insights to situations we would not otherwise have.
- The Holy Spirit has not come to us only for spiritual reasons, but for the practical reasons of being involved in the world.
Pursue the Holy Spirit
- We must regularly ask to receive the divine advantage of having the Holy Spirit.
- We need to continually ask the Holy Spirit for His presence and guidance as we go through our daily lives.
- We must be intentional and focused in our pursuit of the Holy Spirit’s infilling.
Reflective Questions for A Place to Call Home: We Embrace the Spirit Filled Life
- The Holy Spirit has been misunderstood in the church since the time of Jesus. Why, do you suppose, this has occurred?
- If you grew up in the church, did you at one time have a misconception about the Holy Spirit?
- What is the difference between the Holy Spirit being with us and being in us? Give an example of what happens when the Holy Spirit is with Give an example of what happens when the Holy Spirit is in someone.
- It requires constant attention on our parts to experience the benefits of the Holy Spirit advantage. Why is it necessary for us to continually pursue the Holy Spirit’s presence? Why does the Holy Spirit advantage rarely happen if we don’t consciously and sincerely pursue it?
One of Covenant Church’s goals is to lead with authenticity. The ability to have compassion is one of the attributes of authentic leadership. We should begin our relationship with Jesus – and with others – by being honest about who we are.
A Place to Call Home – Lead With Authenticity
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday March 5, 2017
Theme – One of Covenant Church’s goals is to lead with authenticity. The ability to have compassion is one of the attributes of authentic leadership. We should begin our relationship with Jesus – and with others – by being honest about who we are.
A place to call home
- Over the next several weeks we will review the attributes of Covenant Church.
- We will learn what Covenant Church is about, who God has called us to be, and where we are going as a church.
- Knowing who we are, and where we are going, gives us initiative to work toward goals.
- It takes a team of people to accomplish a church’s goals.
- God’s Word has the answer to any question. However, we should be continually studying the Bible so we know how to initially react when something happens.
- We want our initial responses to be God-like reactions. We want to respond to things like Jesus responded to things.
Leading with authenticity
- Authentic leaders are open and honest about personal shortcomings. Authentic leaders do not attempt to cover up problems.
- Genesis 3:15b reads, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This was a prophetic declaration that God would crush Satan, but that Satan would injure Jesus (and His followers.)
- Life provides injuries and bruises for all of us. We have to be honest about the fact we have imperfections. “If you’re not limping a bit, you’re faking a lot.”
What authenticity looks like
- Compassion is one of the strongest attributes of authenticity.
- The New Testament describes Jesus as having compassion in many instances.
- Different definitions of the word “compassion” include “to feel sympathy or empathy, to pity, to be moved” (Greek) and “the intellectual identification with, or to vicariously experience something of another, that motivates the desire to help” (Webster).
- As leaders we must be able to connect someone’s need with the source that can satisfy that need.
- We have to simultaneously empathize with individuals’ needs, while focusing on the glorious power that is the source of all healing. We must be the conduits that connect earthly needs with Heavenly sustenance.
Start with authenticity
- “Jesus can’t heal what we won’t reveal.”
- Begin your relationship with Jesus – and your leadership in the church - by being honest about yourself, and then build relationships from that point.
- The Old Testament person Jacob was a pretender in life. Genesis 25: 23 – Genesis 37 tell his story.
- In Genesis 32 he wrestled with God until he admitted his shortcomings (v. 27). At that point, God gave him a new name and released him to his destiny of fathering the tribes of the Jewish nation.
- “God can’t bless what you are pretending to be. He wants to bless the real you.”
- Wherever God is taking Covenant Church, we must head that way knowing – and recognizing – the identity of who we are.
The short journey
- Soon, Covenant Church will plant a location in - or near - downtown Dallas. Many people who live in the city of Dallas travel to attend services at our Carrollton or McKinney locations.
- A Dallas location will give Covenant Church a presence in many of the significant areas of the eastern half of DFW.
Reflective Questions for A Place to Call Home: Lead with Authenticity
- Identify one or two leaders in history who have inspired you. Can you name some of their weaknesses as well as strengths? Why does knowing a great person’s weaknesses actually enable you to like him or her even more?
- The Old Testament character of Jacob is not someone many of us desire to imitate. However, there likely are things about Jacob we can see in ourselves. What about Jacob do you see in yourself? (You may want to review the events of Genesis 25-37.)
- Why, do you suppose, God wants us to acknowledge our shortcomings before He will bless our leadership initiatives?
- Does this have anything to do with what Pastor Stephen described as compassion linking earthly needs to Heavenly healing? If so, why is compassion necessary to “connect” Heaven to earth?
Most of us experience times when our abilities and gifts are not understood or recognized by others. These may be times when God is calling us from our current environment so He can clarify our mission, provide mentorship, motivation, and a better relationship with Him. God may also be keeping our ultimate purpose hidden from Satan.
Pastor Amie Dockery
Sunday February 26, 2017
Theme – Most of us experience times when our abilities and gifts are not understood or recognized by others. These may be times when God is calling us from our current environment so He can clarify our mission, provide mentorship, motivation, and a better relationship with Him. God may also be keeping our ultimate purpose hidden from Satan.
When no one notices
- How do you feel when it seems others are not noticing or recognizing what you have to offer?
- This experience is common in ministry work.
- In nature, there is great power flowing beneath the surface of the earth that no one knows about (water, minerals, oil, etc.) At some point in time, someone taps into this power and uses it.
- Moses is an example of someone who was not, at first, recognized for his leadership calling among the Israelite people.
The “drawing out” of Moses
- Exodus 1:22 – 2:10 tells the story of how, as a child, Moses was delivered from death, and was ultimately supported and empowered by the very government from which he was to deliver the Israelites.
- As Moses was being prepared for greatness he was not considered a threat by Pharaoh.
- God will often use our greatest adversary to empower us. Satan is only cognizant of size and strength. He does not notice the hidden power in each of us. Satan continually underestimates us; he is blind to our abilities.
Your hidden purpose
- The name Moses means “to draw out.”
- Exodus 2: 11-15 and Acts 7: 22-29 tell of Moses using his abilities to assert himself, but not being recognized for his leadership abilities by his own people.
- At this time, Moses’ abilities were untapped; they were unrecognized.
- The conflict in Egypt revealed to Moses his mission, but others did not initially recognize Moses as a leader.
- Moses chose to leave his surroundings and journey to a neutral place where God could draw out his untapped leadership.
- Hebrews 11: 24-27 tells us that Moses was acting by faith when he chose to leave Egypt for a time. It was not a personal weakness that drew him away to a neutral place, it was by faith that he left.
- Exodus 2-4 tell of how Moses received a clearer understanding of his purpose, mentorship from his father in law, motivation, and a stronger relationship with God during this time.
- Acts 7: 35-38 shows us that Moses’ purpose was to “bring out” others in bondage. Moses was living out the meaning of his name – to draw out.
- To understand our hidden purposes we need to put into the past any fears or traumas and move to a new, neutral place where our purpose will be drawn out.
- It is important for mentors to personally know you, and to care enough about you to keep you accountable.
- Myth #1 – a mentor must have, at one time, been where you are now. (Rather, a good mentor should be a mirror through which you can accurately affirm your identity.)
- Myth #2 – a mentor needs to be where you are going. (Rather, a mentor simply needs to be someone who draws out your potential.)
- Myth #3 – a mentor needs to be doing what you are doing.
- Myth #4 – a mentor needs to know a lot about what you are doing.
- Myth #5 – a mentor needs to be better at what you are doing than you are.
- Myth #6 – a mentor needs to be a person of influence in the area of your gifting.
- Myth #7 – a mentor needs to make you feel good about yourself.
- Myth #8 – a mentor needs to have successfully mentored others before you.
Your place of being tapped into
- Draw closer to God through His Word.
- Engage with other people who are in a similar situation as you.
- Align with a mentor.
- See yourself as being on a mission to perceive the deeper things of God.
Reflective Questions for Untapped
- Have you ever felt no one else recognized your gifts and abilities? If so, what were some of the thoughts you had at that time? Were your thoughts defensive and confrontational in nature, or were you able to recognize that you simply needed time to have your abilities developed?
- Explain how God may actually protect us from Satanic attack when our abilities are not being recognized by others.
- Have you ever had a good mentor? Describe this person and why s/he helped draw out your giftings.
- Pastor Amie provided a number of mentorship myths. Pick out one or two of those myths and explain why those characteristics are not necessarily needed for good mentorship.
Each of us should be aware of the importance of our responsibility to be influential in a certain region. God operates in physical territories. Geographical locations are important. He has anointed each of us for a particular territory.
God’s Plan for Leaders – Building His Kingdom by Increasing Our Territory
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday February 19, 2017
Theme – Each of us should be aware of the importance of our responsibility to be influential in a certain region. God operates in physical territories. Geographical locations are important. He has anointed each of us for a particular territory.
The prophetic significance of territory
- Revelation 21: 1-5 reveals the end time event where Jesus will rule in the physical location of Jerusalem. God has always involved Himself in certain cities and locations.
- In the meantime, before Jesus returns, what is our job? Do we have any responsibility to influence certain geographic locations?
- There is influence that comes along with ministry work.
- Part of the Church’s responsibility is to take advantage of influence and increase territory.
- Covenant Church’s mission is to add converts, make disciples, train leaders, and plant churches.
The first will be last, and the last will be first
- Matthew 19: 30 – 20:16 tells the story of the different vineyard workers being paid the same regardless of when they began their labors.
- As part of God’s family we have already received our reward. We operate in life from a place of security. Our work should be to sow seeds for the next generation’s reward.
- It has been famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Our areas of influence
- Being able to lead others begins with leading one’s self.
- Before we ask “Am I doing this right?” we should ask “Am I doing the right things?”
- Our peers
- When Jesus turned the water into wine in John 2, He did so to build his team. He was strategically empowering his followers for greater future works by enabling them to believe in Him. John 2:11 – “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
- Our physical territory. God has always dealt in geographic regions:
- Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 19)
- Jericho (Joshua 6)
- Ninevah (Jonah 1:2 – “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”)
- Similarly, God has anointed each of us to operate in a particular city or region.
- This type of anointing for a particular location will lead up to Jesus’ return described in Revelation 21.
Jesus oriented Himself geographically
- John 1: 43-51 recounts how Jesus, Philip, and Nathanael related to each other according to their home towns.
- Philip was from Bethsaida, a fishing village.
- Nathanael expressed a sarcastic opinion of Jesus’ home town (v. 46). Nazareth had the reputation of being a poor town of the region.
- Jesus replied to Nathanael with his own, good natured sarcasm about Nathanael’s biases (v. 47).
Jesus reveals a much larger geographic awareness
- However, after this friendly interchange, Jesus quickly prophesied a much greater geographic awareness in verses 50-51.
- In verse 51 Jesus referenced Jacob’s vision of a dream (Genesis 28: 10-17) where God’s people would have influence across the globe.
- Each of us is part of the expanding territory of God’s Kingdom.
- Jesus is in each of us. Wherever we are is where God’s territory is meant to be.
- There are people everywhere who need what you have.
- A simple invitation to another person may be all that is needed to increase God’s territory.
- God never lets us down.
Reflective Questions for God’s Plan for Leaders: Building His Kingdom by Increasing Our Territory
- Pastor Stephen indicated before one is likely to have influence over a geographic region, one first has to effectively manage one’s own self – as well as a peer group. Does this give you confidence in your potential to eventually be influential in a geographic region? Why or why not?
- How does our work of sowing for future generations inform our thinking in terms of geographic locations?
- Do you feel a calling to be influential in a particular geographic region? If so, how did this feeling emerge and develop within you?