Stories of Faith
There is nothing that communicates quite so powerfully as hearing how God has made a difference in someone’s real life. If you have a faith story we could post on the website, would you be willing to write it down and send it in? Email it to Cove@covefellowship.org. This could be about The Cove, a mission trip, stewardship, prayer, worship, youth ministry, homegroups. Anything. Any story of how God met you or helped you or changed you.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is an ever present encouragement to me. Often times His presence is a nudge to do or say something that serves God and those around me. He ministers to those around me when I accept his fruit, live and receive nourishment by it. And I know that even though I grieve Him at times, he calls me back and forgives me. This is truly amazing!!
The Holy Spirit and I have a strong bond. I could liken it to the directions on a Rubber Cement can: For a permanent bond, wipe cement on both surfaces before joining them. Once they are put together the bond may damage the adhered surfaces if they are pried apart. Like damaged goods, I can't really function as a whole person when I try to do things without the Holy Spirit -- He is literally, stuck to my soul like Rubber Cement!
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:10-11
I've never been in a church where you feel like all are equal, like you're all on the journey together. The churches I've been in have always seemed to have a sense of hierarchy, where people often end up feeling "used" to fulfill the vision of the "leaders". They seemed to be more like the young business men's club, with everyone vying for the next higher rung on the success ladder, than a community of believers trying to grow in God together. The people of the Cove seem to get the fact that we are all "ministers" and we all need "ministry". That, though we all have different roles to play, we are a flock of people following the same head, Christ, together. No one is waiting until you attain to some idealistic goal to care about you or honor you right where you are.
If I tried to think of a phrase, I might say:
Come as you are, be welcomed, valued, and loved as we journey through this life towards Christ, the goal, together.
Restitution of Goods vs. Restitution of Relationship
Several weeks ago Pastor Jeff mentioned the term "restorative justice" in one of his sermons and it brought back the memory of something God taught us. We learned that seeking justice which restores a relationship is God's way and that it is worth more than justice that just metes out punishment. Some years ago our family's vacation home was broken into and used for the enjoyment of a group of young men. Their drunken roughness caused some damage to the house as well as violating our trust, causing a rupture in relationship. In talking with the police about the break-in we came to realize that these young men were students at our local high school. We had a choice to make ... either file a complaint (which would go on their record) or provide an opportunity for repentance, forgiveness and restoration. At the time we related the situation to our Home Group and received good advice from a couple of its members ... give the guys a chance to apologize, make physical repairs to the house, and receive forgiveness. We took the advice (over the temptation to punish them). One by one or in small groups they came to our house and acknowledged their guilt. We forgave them and worked out an acceptable plan for repairing the physical damage. Since that time Linda has come face to face a number of times with one of the guys at the grocery store where we shop and he works. We realize now that the best thing which came out of the situation was a friendliness between us that was born of forgiveness; a restoration of relationship. We don't avoid one another because of a past hurt but, rather, we've come to care about one another's lives; we treat each other with openness and respect. We are grateful to God for this outcome and for the gentle and wise counsel of other Christians. This is just one of the many ways our life of faith has been enriched by the fellowship of other believers.
Linda and Bob A
A Family's Point of View
What the Cove has given our family is a closer relationship to God and has given us friendships to people that accept us where we are. My son really enjoys going to the Cove’s Sunday school program. The curriculum that is taught is one that he can apply and relate to, plus he is having fun with the many close friends that he has made. When my husband had a heart attack awhile back, the support that was given by the Cove was amazing. There were meals delivered, visits at the hospital, cards and prayers. We were touched by the many people who reached out to help us in that time. My family has/is enjoying the many fellowship gatherings such as meeting with a Home Group, attending bible studies, church retreats, church baseball games, pot-lucks, and many other activities. As a member of the Cove, I have grown personally in my spiritual walk with Christ and have realized how much I am in need of a savior from sin, myself and worldly ideas and the Cove has encouraged me by having a servant’s heart to shine for God’s glory. We are thankful for our pastor, Jeff Johnson and to the staff and the many volunteers who have touched our lives and share our commitment to God and each other.
Mark, Linda and Forrest Hewitt