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A Life of Power

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Of all the emotions that a human can feel, fear is possibly the most impactful. Fear can seamlessly compel a person to act in ways that are not beneficial to their well-being. Fear is of the enemy......

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Faithless or Faithful

02.21.16 FAITHLESS or FAITHFUL IMAGE

It‘s true we often suffer some great disappointments, some expectations or plans we might have not always materialized. We may even feel like God’s left us hanging and that an illness or injury has taken him away from us. But remember, He is faithful. And the real upside of this is if we remain faithful we will live eternally with Him someday. ...

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Love Does

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Love isn’t just for Valentines Day -- it’s what gets me up everyday. Love isn’t just for that one special someone -- it’s for everyone. The chance to care for and encourage those around me is an honor. Measure all things in your life by the “Rule of Love”. What would God have you do? What does love require? What breaks your heart, and what one thing can you do ...

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Elite Athletes

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Truth be told, I am not an elite athlete. When I was in kindergarten, I flunked “skip” (not sure how my self-esteem survived that report card, but that is another story). While early on, I was too uncoordinated to skip, I did play baseball, soccer, real football, and basketball when I was growing up. However, I was never endowed with the physical gifts to become what I...

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Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam

God doesn't want sunbeams. Not you - not me. He doesn't need docete, children or adults floating through life. He wants life-changers -- people who not only have discovered that He's got a plan for their life, but are eager to share that discovery to somebody else....

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Hot or Cold

I pray for Hope and all the other churches I have had the privilege of serving, that we would glow RED HOT with Christ's love. That the world might know just by looking we are about our Father’s work. I pray no one will ever wonder if I really believe in the work and the relationship God has called me to. Do you feel the same? Can the people around you feel the fire in y...

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May The Force...

01-03-16 May The Force

There are many differences between God, as the Bible describes Him, and the Force of Star Wars but there’s a line from Han Solo in the new movie that sums it up. One of the new characters talks about how he’s going to do something that seems impossible and Han asks him how. The young man says, “I’ll use the Force,” and runs off. Han yells after him, “That’s n...

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John the Baptist: The Forerunner

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When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son... On the eighth day [her neighbors and relatives] came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”...

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Prepare Him Room

As we kick off this Advent season, let us remember that "The real Christmas was nothing like the Christmas we’ve come to know, with its traditions, memories, and legends. It was a desperate moment that occurred for a desperate reason."...

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Scripture and Politics

The plans of man will always fail, but the plan of God has already won its battle. If Christians are to actually make an impact in the world then they must collectively turn to the truths found in scripture alone. They must become engulfed in the transformative power of God through His word provided in the bible......

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Cup of Cold Water

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Before we arrived back at Hope Covenant Church this summer to serve as the associate pastor, Karen & I had been travelling across the country in our motor home. When Pastor Duane called we were in South Dakota and travelling east on Interstate 90.......

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You Are Right Where You Are Supposed To Be

No matter what your Holiday plans are, big or small, my prayer is that you will take a minute and remember all the wonderful things God has provided for you... even if you're feeling like the man in my devotional......

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Organic God

I hunger for simplicity. I want to approach God in childlike faith, wonder, and awe. I long for more than just spiritual life but spiritual health ...

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Blah Blah Blah

The attached article is something that I read recently pertaining to leaders serving in student ministry, but it is great reminder of the power and weight that our words carry....

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The Wisdom In Hot Chocolate

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A group of middle-aged friends, well-established in their careers, were talking at a recent class reunion. When one of them mentioned an old professor they had all had in college, who was now retired but living close to campus, they decided to pay him a visit. He had always been a great inspiration and they knew they would enjoy reminiscing about the years back in school. ...

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P.U.S.H.

Boldness in prayer is an uncomfortable thought for many. We think of speaking softly to God, humbling ourselves before God, or having a chat with God... but agonizing before God? Storming Heaven with prayers? Pounding on the door of the Most High? Wrestling with God? Isn’t such prayer irreverent? Presumptuous? It would be had God not invited us to pray as such....

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Who Am I?

I love the fact that God uses ordinary people to partner with Him in accomplishing His purposes. When we join up with God remarkable changes take place in our lives. God unwraps the package of His power, gifts, strength, insight, wisdom, character development, hope, compassion, grace and on and on. Read more... ...

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Home Alone

Just about every person knows someone who LOVES gadgets. Perhaps that person is you! Many of us have a love-hate relationship with technology. When it's working well, it can be so amazing; when it's not...what a headache!...

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Would You Know One If You Saw One?

A local businessman was teaching a Sunday School class of 4th grade boys and wanted especially to impress these boys because his own son was in the class. One Sunday during the lesson he asked, “Why do you suppose that people call me a Christian?” It was unusually quiet, so he asked again. “Why do you suppose that people call me a Christian?” Still ...

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Learning To Wait

Waiting may be the hardest single thing we are called to do. So it is frustrating when we turn to the Bible and find that God Himself, who is all-powerful and all-wise, keeps saying to his people, Wait....

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Good-bye

I hate good-byes. I’m the guy sitting in the car waiting for Sheri to say her good-byes. The definition of good-bye is “an act of parting or leave-taking.” So this blog is one of my good-byes… a leave-taking. It’s difficult because I’m one who likes to be in control of his emotions ...

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Labor Pains

There is a greater purpose to our work than providing our basic needs. There is an underlying factor why God created work in the first place. Work has been ordained by God since day 1 (Genesis 1). He did not create work to punish us. He created it as a gift to fulfill our lives....

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Take a risk!

To be a risk-taker presumes doing. I looked into the face of a young man laying in a casket at his funeral. I’m sure nobody there wanted to trade places with him. He wasn’t doing anything bad… he just wasn’t doing! And not just not doing wrong isn’t a noble purpose to satisfy every people....

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When Jesus Works A Room

When Jesus was physically here on earth, what would it have been like to be Mary or Martha or Lazarus or one of the disciples? What would it have been like to shoot the breeze with Jesus? To have a barbecue with Jesus? What would the conversations have been about?...

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Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen

In the series I’m preaching on “Christian or Disciple?” we are asking the question “How would our world be different if we lived and loved and died like disciples” (real-time followers of Jesus)? If we treated our brothers and sisters in the church as “ladies and gentlemen”, how different would the church look? How about every single visitor who walks through...

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I Can’t, but God can.

Some of the most frustrating things we may experience as humans is overcoming adversity. Adversity comes in many different forms, and it is quite often unwarranted. Adversity may occur without rhyme or reason. It may come in the form of losing a loved one, trouble in marriage or with your children, or even through a poor attitude of a coworker. However, God consistently us...

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Is there a place we are not prepared to journey in the quest for greater capacity?

"I wonder what you would consider is too high a price for your discipleship? Your marriage? Your children? Your parents approval? Your family’s acceptance? Your friend’s affirmation?"...

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What's Going On, God?

We persistently ask God through prayers and we sometimes wonder if He hears us, even when we know He does. Sometimes the answer to our prayers is No and you’ll never understand why. Our heavenly Father is far too wise and loves us far too much to give us everything we ask for. Someday we’ll thank God for the prayers He didn’t answer as much or more than the ones He d...

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Hope in a Hospice

How do you minister to someone who is dying? You trust the Spirit and point them to Jesus. But that is not always the only pathway. This article “Hope in Hospice” written by Percy McCray and published in Leadership Journal (Spring, 2015). Is a beautiful reminder of what it means to be the very “presence” of Jesus. Enjoy....

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Reaching a “Lost Generation”

In recent years there has been an unsettling disengagement of young adults with the American Church. For some reason, when students graduate high school and gain the freedom of college, they are simply choosing to not go to church anymore. In the four years that I’ve worked with youth I have received this question the most: “How do we keep students engaged after they g...

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Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian

This article written by Carey Nieuwhof of Connexus Church gives 5 helpful perspectives to remember as we begin to engage in a topic that has potential to become a fruitful dialogue....

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Penny Game

At my house we love to play games together so I’m always looking for ones that the boys can have fun and learn from. I came across this game the other day and thought you might be able to use it to teach children of any age a great lesson in giving....

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What's Driving Hope

All churches are driven by something. Some are driven by tradition (“We’ve always done it that way!”). Others are driven by finances (“What’s it going to cost us?”). Others are driven by strong personalities (“What does Mr. So-and-so think about this?”). At Hope, our desire is to be a “purpose-driven” church. In other words, we want the purposes of God ...

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5 Reflections On My Upcoming Departure

As most of you know from my letter a few week ago, I am resigning from Hope Covenant Church on July 5. I have accepted a Lead Pastor position at Escalon Covenant Church in Northern California and will begin there in early August. This means that Kelly, the girls, and I have just under a month left at Hope. And, as I wrap up my time with you, I want share several reflection...

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Honesty: A Big Thing That’s Built In Small Ways

Often, our actions speak louder than words and this article by Jon Acuff is a great reminder that "A strong foundation of honesty is built brick by brick"....

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You Can Opt For God

Happy Summer Hope family! I hope everyone is ready for VBS! Please pray for God to do great things with this event. I would love to meet the children of people you know that don’t know what they are missing – not having a relationship with Christ and a church family to love them. No pre-sign up needed. Just bring the kids a bit before 6:30pm so we can get them ...

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Your Small Church Is Big

I grew up in a small church as many of you did. Even though about 70% of all churches are under 100, and 95% of all churches are under 500 (our size), the smaller churches are often seen as the “weak kid in the block.” In this article by Karl Vaters from The Leadership Journal (Spring 2015), the author celebrates small churches. May we do the same....

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A God Greater Than Google

When faced with some of life's toughest questions and in an age of information, where do we turn? "Do we believe God can tell us something Google can't?"...

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Faithfulness & Availability

This month I would like to share a video from the Children’s Pastor Conference I attended this past February. Beth Guckenberger of Back2Back Ministries was one of our speakers. I find her very inspiring and hope you will, too. In this video she talks about those very close to God moments that change our lives....

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What's in a Sign?

Looking for a church for imperfect people? Try the one on the corner of Dobson Road and Armstrong. Join one of our Grow Groups, find an opportunity to serve. If you want to know more about Hope, join us on Sundays for our new series, “The Abundant Life.”...

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The Triumph of Joy

Easter announces, in the voice of the risen Christ, “Your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20) and “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22)...

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Merciful

As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Easter, take a look at how Jesus prepared the disciples the night before his death. Max Lucado uses his gifts to tells us this story of Christ's great love and mercy not just for them then, but for us today, too. I pray you are refreshed and moved....

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"Reaching Churchless America"

From the beginning of my pastoral ministry at Hope, it has been our stated goal to reach people who have either stopped going to church or never attended regularly. We don’t want to steal from other churches, but reach both unbelievers and believers who are churchless. We have had a lot of success in reaching our neighbors, but there is so much more work to be done. Near...

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Wayward Sheep and their Wise Shepherd

Today's post is a fresh reminder of our loving, courageous, and vigilant Shepherd who invites us to listen and trust him this week. Guest writers, Deb and Ken Yaremko, remind us that we are sheep and during the Lenten season Jesus calls us to come to terms with our weakness and fully depend on him. ...

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Show Marvelous

As my role has temporarily expanded from worship to also encompass youth ministry, I have spent a bit of time thinking about one of the most awkward stages of life – middle school! When I look around at the middle school students at our church, I wonder what I could do differently to connect with them and help them feel grounded at Hope, even as they navigate this li...

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Where's the Fruit?

  Hi Hope Family, I spent this last week in California at the Children’s Pastor Conference. It was a wonderful time of learning and worshipping. I was again reminded of how important it is to reach children for Christ. Children learn so quickly. Research has told us that the greatest window of opportunity for children to learn is before they reach the age of 1...

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If Jesus Had a Smartphone

Ever since I purchased (Sheri made me!) a smartphone, I feel smarter… and dumber. I’m smarter because I have the Internet and information access 24/7. I’m dumber because I rely less on conversation and personal interactions that I used to. In an interesting commentary in Leadership Journal (Winter, 2015), David Kinnaman gives a unique perspective. Enjoy! ...

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Prepare For Something Special

When company is coming over, when a big test is on the horizon, or a difficult conversation is coming later in the day, there is something important to be done. It's called "preparation". We prepare for all kinds of things, and during this Easter season we want to extend an invitation to you to prepare for Easter. ...

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2015 Midwinter Conference - ECC President Updates

Evangelical Covenant Church president, Gary Walter, shares updates on Covenant mission and ministry at the 2015 Midwinter Conference in Denver, Colorado....

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Serving Others Is Everyone's Calling

You love others best when you love God most. Love prompted the King of Kings to humble Himself and wash the disciples’ dirty feet. Love led our Lord to the cross. Love is what we need to serve others. ...

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Pastor Duane's 2014 Annual Report

For the past 14 years, Pastor Duane Cross has been faithfully leading Hope Covenant Church. His report highlights many of the exciting things God has been doing over this past year. ...

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The Missing Link

In this week's Hope Weekly article Pastor Brandon considers the missing link in many Christians' spiritual lives -mentoring relationships. These varied forms of spiritual friendships are absolutely vital to our development as followers of Christ. They offer us a way share our life with others and receive the coaching, advice, listening, and perspective that we need in our ...

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Your Kingdom Come

Christmas is here, the King has come... but what about the Kingdom? In the last couple weeks we have celebrated Christmas, the coming of Christ. In His coming we recognize as stated in Matthew 10:7 and Luke 10:9 that “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Why then, in Matthew 6:10, does Jesus instruct his disciples to pray that his kingdom come?Follow the link...

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'Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

Merry Christmas Hope Family! This is an old favorite story I came across many years ago but the message is timeless. Please be ready, He sent His Son to make the way. Get on the list early so you can enjoy the wait until He returns. I’m praying you all have a wonderful Christmas, filled with Christ’s love. Love U, Pastor Barb --------------- ‘Twas the n...

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Overheard

The ease with which one can conduct their business tends to make one less disciplined in their schedule. There is really nothing here you can do at 10 in the morning that you can not do at 10 at night. We even have a do it yourself all-night Post office. There is no line at midnight. And if the box you’re mailing is too big to fit in the bin, FedEx-Kinko's is right ...

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Worship Is an Act of Reversal

As we have come through the season of Thanksgiving and now head into the Advent, I would like to encourage us to think about our worship. Is our love misguided, or are we appropriately directing our worship to God? Have you ever wondered why singing worship songs is part of our Sunday morning worship time? Is it just an old corporate tradition that has carried on?...

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The Biggest, Best, & Most Wonderful Part of Christmas

Here's a question you're probably tired of hearing -- what is the meaning of Christmas? Everybody wants to tell us what Christmas is all about. There are all kinds of answers. Christmas is about people, presents, time with family, giving, children, shopping, memories, and much more. For many people the Christmas season is about people making the world a better place. Ye...

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Worry

Worry is associated with stress which is associated with elevated adrenaline levels in our body. In God’s design, adrenaline is for emergencies; for crisis situations that demand a “fight or flight” response. But in our western culture we’ve made “emergencies” out of many routine situations. So much so that many of us live each day as ...

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Happy Thanksgiving Hope Family!

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let's prepare our hearts too. Are you truly thankful? Are you even thankful for the bad? If you're like me it's easy to be thankful for at the good but harder for the tough stuff. ...

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Reaching Churchless America

Churches and demographics are constantly changing. This article in Leadership Magazine gives some interesting insights into cultural dynamics. Enjoy....

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Lessons from Lois

On Sunday, Bruce and Stacey Heimkes shared with us about Paul Carlson, a Covenant medical missionary who was martyred in DR Congo 50 years ago. In today's article Gary Walter shares with us several lessons he has learned from Paul's widow, Lois. Click here to read the article:...

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When Science Trumps Faith:

Over the past few days I have been trying to keep tabs on the story of Brittany Maynard. Many are aware that this 29-year-old woman with brain cancer said she would end her life through physician-assisted suicide on November 1. Sadly she did....

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Lord, I Need Help

I came across this wonderful devotional by Max Lucado the other day. It just spoke to me and I wanted to pass it on to all of you. Most of you knew me well enough that I struggle with what I call the "Martha syndrome." You know, ‘work, work, work, ‘til you get it’, right? I loved what Max Lucado says about Mary: "She has identified the problem, brought i...

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Kids Matter Most

Question: Who should be Hope’s #1 ministry priority? Adults? Teens? Children? The politician in me wants to give equal emphasis to all the different age groups. It seems only fair to divide up the resource pie into three equal slices. But after reading pollster George Barna’s book, Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions, I have to change my answer. W...

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Life-changing Vistas from a Far-away Land

2009 was off the charts! In August, my oldest daughter Adeline was born. Then, several months before that I went on the trip of a lifetime. I visited Jordan, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Greece with 30 seminary students, 10 lay women and men, and 3 top-notch bible scholars and archeologist. After returning home, I published an article about this trip called, "Life-Changing V...

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The Power of Empathy

Recently, I came across this short video on empathy. It served as an excellent reminder of the differences between empathy and sympathy. Watching this video convicted me how often my ministry with youth has often been sympathetic instead of empathetic. ...

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Women to Women - It's Relational

God has built a relational need into each of us. So He also provides opportunities for personal interaction. Consider Mary, the mother of Jesus. A young virgin, who suddenly finds herself unmarried and pregnant with a miracle baby, is clued in by the angel that her cousin, Elizabeth, is six months into her own miracle pregnancy. What better place for a young girl to go for...

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GUEST POST: OUR CULTURE NEEDS A NEW APOLOGETIC

The summer after my sophomore year of high school, my world was rocked at summer camp. My best friend spoke to our youth group and encouraged all of us to start figuring out what WE believe and quit living out our parent’s faith. I returned from camp having decided I was ready to put my stake in the ground and own my faith; read and learn about other religions and h...

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Hope Covenant Serving Others in Need

Last Saturday, a group of volunteers from Hope got together to go "on the move" and be the light of Christ for those less fortunate in our community. The New Leaf Men's Center (formerly East Mesa Men's Center) is located just north of the Loop 202 on Country Club Drive and offers men who have fallen on hard times a place to come and rest, while they work on their physical,...

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What On Earth Am I Here For?

The question of existence – why am I alive? This is not exactly a new question. It was asked thousands of years ago. In fact, Jeremiah asked it in Jeremiah 10:18. It says: “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace?” Have you ever felt that way? ...

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Fired Up: Reflections on Our Men’s Retreat

Celtic Christians used to talk about “thin places.” These were places where the veil between heaven and earth is razor thin. It’s a time when you can get a whiff of the Kingdom of God, and a glimpse of the his glory. These sacred moments are few and far between, but when they come we’re overwhelmed. The burning bush (Exodus 3), Mount Sinai (Exodu...

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What Measures Grows!

As part of the Church staff I had the privilege of attending a Leadership summit last month. All the speakers were wonderful so, I thought I'd share one of my take aways with you. One of the speakers challenged us to look at what we are measuring as leaders. The idea is that "What you measure grows!"...

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Don't Let Them Sail Without You!

This article is by Craig Jutila, author of several great books one being "Faith and the Modern Family." He has a wonderful funny way of helping us see what we are missing....

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Big News

God clearly calls us to be a church that reflects his character and extends compassion, mercy, and justice in our city. But, how to we, as a church, be people of compassion, mercy and justice? Who are the marginalized, voiceless, oppressed, and invisible in Chandler? How could we extend love and mercy to them? We've found one way and I want to tell you all about it....

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Opening to Door

This past Sunday I encouraged us all to say “no” to self-sufficiency and “yes” to Jesus-dependency. According to Revelation 3:20 Jesus is knocking on the door of our lives because he wants to be with us, talk with us, and to get know us. Today, right now, Jesus desires your fellowship. But how do we cultivate a "friendship" with Jesus? Where do we b...

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Campuses are a battleground for souls!

By the end of this week most of the Arizona children between the ages of 4 and 18 will be enrolled in school. By the end of this month, most of the colleges in the state will be up and running as well. Campuses will be bustling with students of many nationalities and colors. It will be a glorious sight! ...

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How to Grow Up

How do you know if you’re growing closer to Christ? Can spiritual transformation be measure any way? Are there benchmarks in our walk with God that help us know we're on the right path?...

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Invest and Invite

In a book that some of us have read recently, Can We Do That? by Andy Stanley and Ed Young, the authors identify their strategy for evangelism. It’s called, “Invest and Invite." The idea is that each member is to partner with the pastoral staff in winning people to Christ....

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How To Keep Your Marriage Strong

Google “marriage jokes” and these are some of the things you’ll find: Marriage is not a word. It is a sentence��"a life sentence. Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached. Marriage is love. Love is blind. ...

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2014 Resolution on Immigration

The “2014 Proposed Immigration Resolution” is presented to the church with the intent of fostering dialogue, awareness, and feedback around a complex and often politicized issue. Please read this resolution which was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church this past June....

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Serve Like Jesus

If you were given a multiple-choice test with this one question, how would you honestly answer it? “How would you describe your involvement in your local church?” A.) I don’t feel like I have much to offer. I feel unqualified. B.) I am hesitant to get involved because of past hurt. C.) I recognize the importance of serving and I feel I am ade...

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A Word from Paul Wilson, Superintendent of Pacific Southwest Conference

What am I asked everyday? "How do you like your new job?" My answer: "I like it a lot." Three reasons stand out....

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Thriving Churches

A couple of years ago I was invited to participate in a “Thriving Church Conference” sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Covenant. Myself and seven other pastors were led to discover what a “Thriving Church” looked like. Doug Stevens, a church growth consultant, put the results of our two days together into the following form. As yo...

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Got a Virus?

How are you feeling? Are you healthy? Have you ever sat next to someone coughing and sneezing and worried, "Oh I hope I don't catch that!" I have been suffering with Valley Fever for the past 6 months, so I know what it's like to be the person coughing and the looks people give are so strange. I know they think it's a cold or flu and wish I'd go home. They never stop to th...

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Spiritual Practices

Sometime ago I was struck by a statement from Richard Mulholland in his book “The Deeper Journey.” He said, “we can be so busy being in the world for God that we fail to be in God for the world.” It’s often true that those of us engaged in ministry can find ourselves spiritually dry. If we are not grounded in God, attentive to the Spirit, we ...

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Lucky Poor?

How many of us middle class folks think that the poor are lucky? How many of us believe that the poor are happy? ...

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Why God Wants You to be the (Host)ess with the Mostess

Last summer something tragic happened. The air conditioner in our house died. It completely stopped working. Thankfully, a couple from church invited us to spend the night at their place until our air conditioner got up and running again. So Kelly and I packed up the girls and drove over to this couple’s house. When we arrived we were overwhelmed....

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Do Christians Really Need Hope?

I am looking forward to our next series on Hope. I found myself thinking about the concept since you announced the series about how hope fits into a Christian’s life. And then I came to the conclusion that there is no room for hope in a Christian’s life....

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Farewell from Pastor Corrie

Read as Pastor Corrie bids farewell to her friends and family at Hope Covenant Church. ...

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2014 Easter Hope

Do you know anyone out there whose back is against the wall? - Anyone crippled by a destructive habit or negative pattern of behavior they can’t over? - Anyone who’s been damaged by a negative home life? - Anyone consumed with fear about terrorism or the economy or the future in general? - Anyone believing their sins or burdens are too big for God...

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Walk in the Park (CCCC)

Each year the Chandler Christian Community Center has its annual fundraiser, “A Walk in the Park”. This year it was held on April 12, 2014. I represent Hope Covenant Church as a board member. I have been a member for three years and have just committed for another three year term. Our church has been very generous in the past with a donation to the food bank an...

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Forgotten Virtues

As we enter April, we are in the season of Lent, leading up to Easter near the end of this month. Many churches in the Covenant use the days of Lent to reflect with a depth of gratitude on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus in prelude to the joy of Easter. ...

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Noah on the Big Screen

Last night was date night. Kelly and I dropped off the girls with the brave and courageous Williams family. Then it was onward to dinner and a movie. Thankfully, both were great. The movie was Noah, a new blockbuster movie about the biblical flood story. The film is exciting, interesting, question-inducing, and at times, even biblical. However, it's far cry from the Sun...

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Critical Decisions to Make NOW

I saw it far too often as a chaplain â€" a person in an unexpected health crisis who could not speak for herself, had no recorded wishes and who had never discussed with her loved ones what she would want done if she were incapacitated. ...

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Two Kinds of Churches

As I look out over the church landscape in America, I see two types of churches: those that are changing and those that are dying. That’s it. It’s change or die. ...

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4 Things Jesus Never Said

In the history of human kind, few people have been as widely quoted as Jesus. Which also means few have been misquoted as often as Jesus. I don’t mean we quote verses incorrectly; rather we associate thoughts, opinions, words and phrases with Jesus and the Bible that actually may not be there....

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Spring Forward

I know here in Arizona we don't do daylight savings time, but I want to encourage you to Spring Forward this week anyway! I don't mean change your clocks, I mean try something new! Step out in faith and see what God can do! As God makes all things new this spring, I know He has a plan for you! Maybe make a list of your top 5 goals and then ask God to give you a clear path....

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Deacons at Hope

In January, we commissioned our first group of deacons at Hope Covenant. In case you missed the service that day, I want to introduce you to the role and responsibilities of deacons and the people we have appointed to serve our congregation....

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How Can You Change?

In this week's article we are continuing our focus with the theme of our new sermon series, God's Transforming Power. According to N.T. Wright, after we believe in Jesus, God calls each of us to be "transformed" in this life, to cooperate with the Spirit and change our character. Here is Wright, in an article he wrote for Relevant Magazine, called What To Do After You Beli...

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Paul Wilson Nominated to be PSWC Superintendent

Paul Wilson, pastor of First Covenant Church in Oakland, California, has been nominated to be the new Pacific Southwest Conference superintendent. The election will be held at the PSWC Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, on April 26....

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The Battle to Remind

I think we often underestimate the power of remembering. Think of how important it is for parents to remember and celebrate a child’s birthday or how important it is to remember your anniversary. Remembering is important. It’s essential for performing well and preparing your mind for excellence....

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Pastor Duane's 2013 Annual Report

Read a partial version of Pastor Duane's 2013 Annual Report. He will announce his complete report at the January 24 meeting. ...

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Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

Earlier this week I was reading a convicting article by Jason Todd in Christianity Today called “The Socially Acceptable Sin.” To summarize, the author talked about something that is a bit close to home than many of us care to admit �" gluttony. Thoughts of overeating are typically what come to mind. Gluttony encompasses much more than food for it is simpl...

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Barrenness and the Birth of Hope

The third gospel begins with the story of a barren woman. When you take a moment to think about that, it’s pretty shocking. Two thousand years ago a man named Luke wrote down an eyewitness account about a man named Jesus and then gave it to a man named Theophilus. A story about a man, from a man, to a man â€" It’s surprising that such a narrative would ...

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God's Christmas Tree

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the Christmas tree. The day after Thanksgiving, Sheri and I pull out all the ornaments and cover every possible spot on our nine foot, 1,000 twinkly-light, fake Christmas tree (yes, we succumbed to the Arizona malaise that precludes using a real tree cut down in Bend, Oregon in early August). ...

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Great Ideas to Help Families Celebrate a Christian Christmas

I wanted to share some great ideas I've found over the years for helping children (and everyone else)to stay focused on Jesus. The ideas below are from a great book, “101 ways to have a Christian Christmas.” If you prefer to watch videos, the DVD "Buck Denver asks... Why do we call it Christmas?" is full of great facts about customs and the real Christmas de...

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We Celebrate in Different Ways the Same Story

You find them in varying styles in all kinds of places throughout the world during the Christmas season. There were more than three dozen of them displayed in Evangelical Covenant Church offices this year. The nativity �" or crèche �" depicts the story of the birth of Jesus....

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A Response to a Typhoon

Every year it happens, an event so devastating, so sudden, so all-consuming that families, communities and entire nations are knocked down, torn apart or blown away. Many of us have seen the news the past two weeks and seen the destruction of central Philippines by what meteorologists are calling a "super typhoon" and one of the "strongest storms ever." It's estimated that...

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Thanksgivemas

Here we are, the week before Thanksgiving. I am certain that many of you are making last minutes plans with family or friends; ironing out the details of who is bringing what for the big meal. As we enter this wonderfully busy season we remember the countless number of things that we have to be thankful for....

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Extra Cars

The extra cars parked in front of the house could have been there for any reason. A gathering of friends to watch Monday Night Football. A Pampered Chef party. A Neighbor Watch meeting. Maybe even a Bible study. There are lots of houses in this valley of 3 million people and more cars than houses. So many cars that to the eye they become invisible moving pieces again...

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One Box - One Life!

If you’ve been around Hope for a year or two, you know that when the calendar reaches November, it means one thing Shoeboxes! For the past 8 years or so, Hope has teamed up with the Ministry Samaritan's Purse to help send over 100 million shoeboxes to hurt, abandoned, and war ravaged children around the world....

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Hope: A Church Standing Against Abuse

Abuse is something the church does not speak about enough. This is a major problem because abuse is so prevalent -- even in faith communities and Christian homes. Abuse has devastating effects on individuals, families, work places, friendships and marriages, sometimes for generations. ...

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Invest & Invite

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase used around Hope lately. It is part of our vision and it’s all about partnership with you, the staff, and the Holy Spirit. The idea of “Invest and Invite” is that each attender is a partner with the pastoral staff in reaching people for Christ. ...

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Caught in a Tension That Never Was Supposed to Exist

As a student at North Park University in Chicago I had several friends who gave up their Friday night to work with the homeless ministry. They would make bags of food that they would take downtown and give to the homeless. Other friends would serve with the after school program once a week to help tutor kids from Cabrini Green, a public housing project on Chicago's north s...

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Photo Highlights from our Missionaries in Mexico

In this weeks article we hear from Janice and Tom Kelly, the missionaries we support and pray for in Mexico City. In this update Janice gives us some photo highlights of how their ministry is going, as well as some important prayer requests....

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Geri-Antics - The Beauty of Our Elderly

I spend a lot of time with elderly people. Even if my visits weren't part of my work, I would still find a way to be with them. Everyday the elderly astound and inspire me with their stories of hardships overcome, of the ripple effects of wars fought abroad and in the homes down the street, of great loves lost or found, of building families and communities with hard work g...

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Open Season on Christians

It seemed like open season of Christians in the Middle East this past weekend. Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, Egypt and other countries were especially targeted. And now, more than ever, they need our prayers. Learn more about what is going on in the Middle East and how you can lock arms with the global church in prayer. ...

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Seasons of Life - September, 2013

Did you know that God has a purpose for every season of your life? The lonely seasons, the sad seasons, the seasons of success, the seasons of waiting, the seasons of grief....

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"The Isaza Family"

Welcome to the Isaza family blog! We are a family of four preparing to serve the Evangelical Covenant Church in Colombia as project missionaries. We are so excited for how God is leading us to Colombia to support the church planting initiative and to help equip a new generation of leaders....

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Raising His Kids

Pastor Barb shares a parenting tip for Hope's families. ...

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Women of Hope: Ministry Matters

September is rapidly approaching and that means fall kick-off for most of our ministries that rest over the summer, including Women of Hope. If you are interested in getting connected to God and other women, please read below. We've got some great things lined up!...

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Coming Home

I’m glad to be home. In spite of triple digits and over 800 emails in my inbox, I’m glad to be home. Let me tell you why. It’s because of you, my church family, my friends and parishioners and co-laborers. You are why I longed to return…The Body of Christ…The Church of Jesus Christ…my beloved....

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Navajo Mission Trip - VBS At LWBC

The Missions Team conducted Vacation Bible School helping the staff at Living Water Bible Church in Dilkon. Many lessons were learned from this experience…self-control, humility, forgiveness, restoration…and more....

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iTunes And The Teenage Culture

This past summer, Mikey Dascoli and myself had the opportunity to take a number of our teenagers to the Student Led Youth Conference at Mariners Church in Irvine, CA. The conference is filled with incredible worship, amazing speakers, and challenging activities. On one of the break-out sessions, Mikey and I attended a workshop led by Jonathan McKee. Jonathan is the pres...

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Get Your Fun On!

Do you recall the zest for life you had as a kid? Remember the exhilaration of playing sports or learning music or reading a book? Remember how the world seemed so open and ripe for exploration? I do. I loved the endless summers, beach days, and pool parties. I lived for football, basketball and skateboarding. There were so many exciting things to explore......

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Don't Just Pray - Part 2

“Just pray about it.” We’ve all probably been on the giving or receiving end of this bit of advice. Usually we hear it after we pour out a steaming hot mess of things like doubt, fear, confusion or anger. We take the risk of being vulnerable with a trusted friend or mentor. We expose the mess of our lives to someone we hope will listen, who may have s...

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Don't Just Pray - Part 1

There’s something new that has been bothering me lately. Everywhere I go these days I hear believers praying the word just. With this word I’d expect insignificant requests. Our prayer should flow out of our identity. There is no need for us to just ask for anything. Friends of Jesus should pray boldly, not weakly. Beloved children of God should pray intima...

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God's Fault?

“Why is there so much evil in the world?” “If a loving God is in control of this world where is he in our suffering and pain?” “Where is God in my suffering?” These are good questions. They are difficult questions. They deserve our careful attention to Scripture and our world....

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Caught in a Tension that Was Never Supposed to Exist

As we find ourselves in the midst of God's great story of redemption we have an opportunity to be His ambassadors. In a perfect world we would only have the responsibilities of worshiping God and caring for his creation. But in a fallen world, humanity takes up the tasks of reconciliation, evangelism, social justice, and repairing the rift between humanity and its Creator....

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Kelly and I are now proud homeowners! After seven months of waiting and waiting and waiting for our short sale to close, it finally did. Looking back I wish tell you that I patiently waited out the process. But I didn’t. I tossed and turned, bit my nails, and cried out with the psalmist, “how long, O Lord?” ....Sometimes our spiritual livess are like thi...

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As Wildfires Rage, Covenanters Reach Out

Wildfires in Colorado have forced several members of the Evangelical Covenant Church congregations to evacuate their homes and come close to different Covenant Churches....

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What Do We Mean When We Talk About Christian "Missions"?

Jesus is the quintessential model of missions; one of the most often used phrases in the New Testament is “Jesus went.” He is the model of our faith and how to put our faith into practice doing what He commanded and modeled. Before Christ gave the Great Commission, he modeled missions for us by His very presence and through His ministry and He trained His disc...

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Helping Children Take Responsibility

Pastor Barb announces on July 3rd, Nate and Lucio will become part of the Ellis' family. Congrats! Today Pastor Barb shares a tip to other parents on "Helping Children Take Responsibility."...

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Nurture Your Spiritual Health This Summer

For many of us, summer is a time for travel and leisure, a break from the monotony of our work, or a time to hibernate from the heat. For some, summer is a excuse to be lazy in body or in mind. It's especially difficult to actively pursue our health in the blazing Arizona heat. ...

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Sabbatical

Pastor Cross will begin his sabbatical on Tuesday, May 28 until Monday, August 5....

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Should I "Come" or Should "Go" Now?

Pastor Brandon introduces his new sermon series for this summer, Blessed!,based on the Beatitudes, starting June 9th. It promises to be enlightening and notable!...

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Finding Hope in Our Pain

I have a confession to make. There was a small piece of me that was buried deep down that used to believe that if I was a believer in Jesus Christ; life would be a “full of roses.” I am not for sure where that belief came from. I am not for certain where that belief originated. It certainly didn’t come from the teachings from the pulpit at Hope Covena...

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The Gift of Singleness

Pastor Duane said many important things yesterday about how we should approach relationships, especially dating and marriage. He shared with us the startling statistic that unmarried adults in America now outnumber those who are married. It’s difficult to believe that is reality if we spend a lot of time in fellowship with other Christians. Singleness still seems to...

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Tragedy Experienced (firsthand) at the Boston Marathon

Grant Buchholtz, an Evangelical Covenant Church short-term missionary to Japan who is home on assignment, wrote this firsthand article about running in the Boston Marathon....

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Walking a Fine Line

This bend toward individualism is an ongoing battle within every church, including ours. Are we going through the motions of "doing church" or are we committed to actively "be the body of Christ"? Do we forgo opportunities to be involved and serve? Do we have a tendency toward personal comfort and convenience or a commitment to foster authentic Christian community? Do ...

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Is Global Missions a Waste of Time?

Is global missions a waste of time? After all, why worry about Colombia when there is so much need in Chandler? Why spend ourselves on people we don’t know, when there are so many people without Christ we do know? In this weeks article Pastor Brandon tackles these important questions and gives a fresh insight into the heart and strategy of our Missionary God. ...

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John 19:26 - Woman, behold your son

Picture Jesus swollen and tattooed with bruises, stripped of his clothes, adorned with a crown of thorns, with pieces of metal pounded through his hands and feet. He hangs vulnerable and in pain in front of enemies and followers and his mother Mary. In the midst of this great suffering, Jesus looks down at his mother and says, “Woman, behold your son.”...

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The Battleground: A Holy Week Reflection

How many of you could easily make two columns and file your life experiences under either the header “Mountaintop” or “Battleground?” Both are common metaphors we use to speak about our spiritual journey. The mountaintop is a prevalent faith metaphor for those sublime times in which we acknowledge that life with God is good. A mountaintop vista m...

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I'm Dreaming...

I know. It’s too late to dream of a white Christmas. Quite honestly, snow never occurs in my dreams (just my nightmares). No, I’m dreaming about the “dream church” these days â€" the kind of church that changes lives and makes an impact. The kind of church that makes God smile. I’m seeing glimpses of it here at Hope these days. Allow me ...

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Stop, Drop, and Pray

In the midst of our noisy and busy world it's easy for prayer to take a backseat. Many believers feel they are in the prayer rut--they know they should be praying but they are lacking the tools and time. In today's blog post Pastor Brandon introduces us to an ancient church prayer practice called The Examen. This tool offers a simple way reviewing your day with the Lord an...

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Gardening with Pastor Barb

Spring is in the air and Easter eggs are everywhere! It's my favorite time of the year. I can't wait for my yard to start to grow and bloom again. People say we don't have seasons here in Phoenix but I think we do. ...

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A Potentially Disruptive Re-entry System

I have a close friend who is a very unique individual (you know who you are!). He is an Irish (not Swedish Covenant pastor and an accomplished writer and artist. He doesn’t drink coffee or play golf; he watches “The Simpson’s,” listens to the Rolling Stones and is a war-and weapons buff. Several years ago, he and I visited Gettysburg where he rega...

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Privileged: Reflections on Midwinter 2013

Did you ever attend church camps as a kid? I did. I have fond memories growing up of camps. Winter and summer camps were always high points in the year. I loved getting away from home, clearing my mind, and hearing powerful preaching, moving music and having late night conversations with other Christians. I would usually come down the hill refueled, refreshed and renewed....

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A Word From Efrem

As we enter a new year, it is a great time to sit for a moment in between thankfulness and expectation. As I communicated with one of our pastors, we were able to celebrate the number of people who came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior during the Christmas services. I could sense in this pastor’s excitement a great expectation of what is to come....

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Pastor Corrie's Favorite Passages From the Prophet Isaiah

There is nothing more uplifting than the message of scripture. For my article this month, I want to pass along some of my favorite passages from the prophet Isaiah. Spend some time reading, listening and meditating on the encouragements and challenges that are here....

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Stories of Hope: Debi Loofburrow

Debi Loofburrow shares her testimony of hope through her struggles with God and cancer....

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New Year - New Ways

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, in this New Year, consider marking time differently. Reconsider Pastor Corrie's sermon and take on the old spiritual practice of confession. James 5:16 says: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."...

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Welcome Christ Again

Read this lovely Christmas poem to inspire this "Christmas Season."...

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Who Is This Man?

Regardless of your age, I am sure you have either seen or heard of “the Lone Ranger.” It was a television show in the 1959’s about a masked man, his horse named Silver, and his faithful Indian companion, Tonto. The Lone Ranger would wander around the Wild West (actually an outdoor film stage near Santa Barbara) doing good for those who were oppressed. He...

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Meet Your Family

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)You are loved. You are accepted. You belong. You have been brought into God’s loving family. This is one of the most precious truths of the Christian faith....

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"Love Came Down" A Christmas Book

Enjoy this childhood book from Pastor Barb! We hope it will warm your heart and fun to share the real meaning of Christmas with the next generation. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!...

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Leaning into our Pain

Have you reached a point where you sense that the only way to heal is to acknowledge your woundedness and courageously journey through the pain? Read to discover some difficult wisdom passed down from the ancients across all religions and cultures: to heal we must lean into our pain. ...

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Seasons of Life

Did you know that God has a purpose for every season of your life? The lonely seasons, the sad seasons, the seasons of success, the seasons of waiting, the seasons of grief. Every season. Romans 8:28 says “We know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” This is a promise for those who love God and are ...

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Christian Reflections on Veterans Day

In February of this year I was in the O’Hare Airport in Chicago. And as I was walking through the airport a large group of people caught my eye. So I stopped for moment�"there were babies, little boys and girls, and moms and dads. Some of them were holding signs and balloons. All of them were giddy with anticipation, like they were waiting for something....

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What Is Being A Christian About?

If someone approached you and asked you this question, “What would you say being a Christian is all about?” How would you respond?...

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A Message of Gratitude

It's Sunday evening and I'm sitting on my sofa still winding down from our fantastic chili cook off. If you missed it, we had about 150 people scarf up 17 kinds of homemade chili. ...

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Change - A Word From Efrem Smith

Fall is a time of change. Soon we will change the time on our clocks and gain an extra hour. The weather will change and we will experience more rain, cooler breezes, and in some parts of our mission region â€" snow. Change definitely happens. Why do we often fight change?...

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What the Heck is "the Gospel"?

Peter's sermons and writings are drenched with the gospel. The problem is in our culture many people have lost the meaning of "the gospel" It has begun to mean anything and everything. However, for the early church and the writers of the New Testament it had a very specific meaning. Let's explore it together! ...

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Participation or Observation - Part I

Recently I was having conversation with a friend who was going to be participating in his first triathlon. It was one day before the big race. When I asked what he had done to prepare, he told me about his last 16 weeks of regimented training. He was intentional about what how he worked out, how he rested, what he ate, and when he slept. Every precaution that could be take...

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The World is Going to the Dogs and Why Maybe That Would Be a Good Thing

The Fox News headline says that two 2nd grade girls were found murdered in Zion, Illinois today. These best friends went out to ride their bikes together and never came back. Some despicable, evil bastard stabbed them multiple times and left them for dead. ...

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The Heart of the Commander: "Love your neighbor" NOT "try to fix your neighbor"

In yesterday’s sermon, Pastor Duane asked a vital, if not the pinnacle question for all followers of Jesus: what does love require of me? Recently, several in our congregation shared with me their troubling circumstances. All of them came to me with of a sense of disappointment in the response of trusted friends and family. ...

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The Joy of Hilarious Giving

There are two ways to give gifts. Chances are you’ve tried them both. Could it be that we Christians are missing a wonderful opportunity to express our love to God? God is call us to joyful, sacrificial, hilarious giving. Jesus is our inspiration. ...

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You Lost Me: Addressing the Church's Dropout Problem

The church in America has a “dropout problem.” We all see it. Young people, particularly after high school, are ditching church. Droves of the Mosaic (or Millennial) generation are checking out and abandoning the faith....

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Practical Spirituality: The Tie That Binds

Gravity and nuclear forces hold the physical universe together. What holds the spiritual universe together, preventing us from fragmenting into separate specks of spiritual dust? It's Love. But love draws us so close together that bumps and bruises are inevitable. So God gave us lubricants to reduce the friction and heat that would otherwise destroy us as surely as a r...

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The "Goat Man" and Christian Living

“He’s been spotted out in the dusty wilds of Utah, lurking among the four-hoofed creatures on his hands and knees. He wears a funny suit with horns and a phony beard. And he’s developing a public following. He is… Goatman. And he’s baaaaaaaad...” says John Glionna. Believe it or not, the Goat Man has a thing or two to teach us....

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Change

Change is difficult. Mention to any human being that "change" is in order, and uneasiness sets in. Old habits are difficult to break....

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Stories of Hope: Pam Zeigler

From time to time we will be having people from Hope share their "God stories" on our blog. Today, Pam Zeigler shares with us her amazing story of God's grace in the midst of financial ruin and painful circumstances. Her story is an encouraging account of how God "works all things together for the good of those who love God."...

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For Spiritual Laws of the Universe

The universe is built with all sorts of invisible laws and principles, forces and particles. But we know lots of these laws. Even though we can't actually see them, we can see how they behave. Gravity pulls downwards, lift pulls upwards, magnetism attracts and repels, but we've never seen any of these forces directly. God has shown us some of the universal laws that ar...

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Practical Faith

We sometimes talk about faith as if it was a special, church-only phenomenon. But in fact, faith is both practical and common. We use it every day, though we might not recognize it. We rely on faith when our eyes fail us....

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Social Media Used for Sex Exploitation

Kids are using the internet,namely social media, to lure unsuspecting, unknowing victims into the sex trafficking world....

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God's Child

A sense of God's unconditional and lavish love for us is foundational to our spiritual formation. It is the fertile soil out of which our growth can take place. Today we welcome as guest writer, Richard Parrish, to share his story of learning to see himself as God's beloved child....

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HALLELUJAH? YEA GOD!

I'm not a fan of "church" words. I don't mean technical terms – redeem, sanctify, and baptize, for example – that mean specific things and belong in church. I mean those words that we use out of habit long after we've forgotten why. My past is littered with lots of King James thees and thous, and spiritual-sounding words like mindful… words I never use in casual c...

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What's the Big Deal about Church Membership?

Who needs church membership? Why does it even matter? In this article Pastor Brandon considers these questions and why church membership is important for the spiritual health and vitality of every Christian. ...

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Passion for Children's Ministry

Pastor Barb explains why we should all be passionate about Children's Ministry....

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How John Travolta Healed My Image of God

Pastor Corrie in her role as chaplain helps us to relate to a difficult patient as he blames God for his life circumstances....

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Becoming a Church for the Unchurched

A study was done in the last few years, and the results were published in the book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, by Thom S. Rainer. I was challenged as a leader to become a church for the unchurched. Here are some of the author's conclusions based on his research....

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The Christian Dream

Here's a little test for you. What comes to mind when you see these words? Greed Wanting More The Principle of Progress Exposure The American Dream Discontentment Upgrading Material Appetites...

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Do You Believe in Divine Healing?

"Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is Heaven." Jesus' words found in Matthew 6:9-10 and the Sermon on the Mount. I have a confession to make, the more I read and study the Bible, the less I know about what is written in the Bible. I am going through a time in my life when I have more questions than answers. I don't doubt God's existence, or...

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Jesus the Word

Confession time. I don't enjoy reading the Apostle John. The engineer in me is drawn to the clear narratives of Matthew, Mark, and Luke......

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The Call of God's Kingdom

Pastor Corrie gives us 6 scriptures to meditate upon this week......

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Marriage Still Matters

Are you disillusioned with the institution of marriage?...

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American Idols

There I was, standing at the foot of one of the greatest buildings in the world, a symbol of democracy, power, and empire. Pillars, over one hundred feet tall, towered over my head. It was breathtaking. It was the Parthenon, an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage and warfare......

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Emotional Healing - Time to Let Go!

Are you holding grudges, keeping thoughts piled up that keep interfering with your life?...

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Grief

Grief is an unavoidable thing. Since that is true, why don't more of us handle it better? Read Pastor Corrie's article today to give us some coping tools....

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Grumbling Meets Grace

Do you ever struggle with grumbling and complaining? Today's article will explore the subject of grumbling, why we do it, and what our proper response should be. ...

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