Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving Week is a few months off, but we must give thanks now. This past week at Covenant Church was one of the most incredible weeks of my life. We knew that Sunday, August 12 would be a big day for numerous reasons.

Laila first suggested to me the idea that Covenant should avoid the politics of our city and community on this day by pointing people to Jesus and celebrating God’s blessings upon us. It also occurred to me that the date coincided with the 66th Anniversary of the congregation.

Germinating an idea is not difficult. Maturing the idea from a dream to reality is the challenge. Many good dreams flounder upon the shoals of failure for lack of a wise plan. A wise plan logistically administrates the dream eventuating in completion with celebration. Thank God for those He has gifted to do the homework that make dreams come true.

I remember a night that Laila could not sleep because the dream was on her mind. Up 2 AM she worked until about 5:30 AM outlining a plan of action.

She met with the pastoral staff to engage the plan. Pastor McCready took the lead with the staff. Meng Blazon volunteered to organize workday on August 10. Filipinos agreed to provide food for dinner guests after church on the 12th. Karen Sheffron contacted newspapers, radio & TV stations to advertise. A host of good people began to help in more ways than I can remember or even know.

Finally, on August 10 volunteers gathered in force. The construction areas were organized and cleaned. Carpets shampooed. Floors shined. Flowers planted. Enlarged playground mulched. Painting. Golf carts cleaned and shined. Sidewalks power washed, ad infinitum.

Contractors pressed their work. There was excitement in the air. A buzz!

The joy of those who worked all day Friday was exceptional. Some folks even took a day from work to be part of the preparation for Sunday. I can truly say that I have never witnessed a more wonderful day of volunteers making their place of worship beautiful!

Sunday came. Beautiful weather. Pleasant. Transportation staff in parking lot. Greeters. Musicians. Ushers. Sound , light & technical assistants. Refreshments. Full court press!

General Overseer Tim Hill and Paula his wife were our special guests. Special music provided by children's choir, an international choir, and everyone joining together to sing about being a part of the family of God. Bishop Hill sang and then delivered a powerful message based on Philippians 3:10-14, with emphasis on (1) Consistency, (2) Cancellation, and (3) Commitment. People recommitted their lives and celebrated at the altar.

Dinner in the Cafe with guests, pastoral staff, pastors of ethnic congregations and elders and spouses was exceptional. Asian, Indian and American cuisine prepared by our own excellent chefs. Beautifully decorated and served.

While Charlottesville had more than 500 extra policemen to protect and prevent violence, at Covenant Church there was the calmness and serenity that comes with the presence of the Holy Spirit. We sensed no danger. While proper cautions were exercised not a single incident was a safety challenge. How do we know what angels silently did to protect us?

Many had been the prayers for our protection, and we do believe in the power of prayer! We believe our prayers were answered. Unity of the Body is in Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit unites us in the gentle love of Our Lord Jesus!

I personally will savor what God bestowed upon us last Sunday. It was as if the Lord God lifted us up to look over the tops of mountains and see the wonder of divine favor!

Our hearts are grateful to a host of dear brothers and sisters. Our hearts are grateful for the privilege of walking in fellowship with precious saints who so deeply love the Lord.

Contractors are pressing to finish construction. We see a harvest and want energies to be focused on serving people, winning people to Jesus and making disciples.

Will you join with me in concerted prayer for God to bless our efforts? I feel pressed to prayer. Pressed to ask you for prayer, knowing that prayer not only moves heaven, but prayer changes our hearts.

If Jesus tarries there will be many lives changed by the gospel ministered in the Covenant complex. Let us be true to Jesus' prayer for us before His Ascension to heaven (Matthew 28:18-20).

Giving thanks to you and to God And to God for you! Pastor Bare I Thessalonians 5:10-17