The Cove Light-Notes and Encouragement from the Pastoral Staff
From Jim Cohn, Senior Pastor
Easter was a great season of worship and celebration in our church! I am thankful and grateful for the many people who made it work. Maundy Thursday was well attended and was a solemn worship time together. Our “night-time” Easter Egg hunt was a real success with many little ones, parents, and grandparents. The Easter sunrise service and breakfast was a great way to start the Lord’s Day. And certainly, we had a “full house” Easter Sunday worship with wonderful music that morning. Easter is our greatest celebration as we honor and worship our Lord for His resurrection to defeat sin and death for all believers. Thanks again to all of you who made the celebration happen in our church!
-We have been counting worship attendance the last few weeks and will continue to do so in the future. Interestingly, we are also counting cars present on Sunday morning. Early on we are finding a few trends: 1) There is a significant difference in our worship attendance and Sunday School attendance with worship far exceeding our traditional Bible study time. If you are attending worship I strongly urge you to get in a Sunday School class or small group to help you grow in the faith. 2) We have a lot of cars present on Sunday morning. That is not either good or bad but is simply a fact. It is certainly a consideration as we move forward and grow to provide adequate parking for everyone. 3) Our worship attendance is increasing and Sunday School attendance slightly decreasing. Again, I think we need to encourage all in the worship service to attend Sunday School or join a small group. We will probably soon start posting worship attendance numbers for all to see.
-That being said, our goal in the church is not simply more people but that we reach people who do not know the Gospel. I urge you to do all you can to invite someone to church, to love our guests when they are here, to share your faith. The work you do to share the Gospel is eternal treasure that lasts for eternity.
-Next Sunday afternoon we will have another “Family Forum” to discuss the feasibility of starting a building program for a multi-purpose building next door in our vacant lot. This forum is designed to discuss and develop the idea. NO plan or decision has been made either way concerning this effort. For what they are worth, here are my thoughts on such a project: 1) Our church needs to continue to grow to need a pay for such a building. 2) We must be careful that a building project does not take the time and capital we are currently investing in Kingdom work in our community. The goal of our church is to reach lost people for Christ. Does a new building support that effort? That is a question we must diligently and carefully pray for an answer. We want your input on this process, whether you are for it or against it. Please plan to attend this next session on Sunday April 30.
-Starting April 30 for 3 weeks Debbie and I will be away resting and studying. You have very capable leadership and preaching with AJ and Jacob who will preach and lead our morning worship services. We are extraordinarily blessed to have two young men of such character and ability in our church. They will continue preaching our John series. Pastor Jeff Stevens will lead our Wednesday evening Bible studies. I will be back in the office on May 15 and in the pulpit on May 21.
-In case you missed it on Wednesday night when I return on Wednesday evening we will study worship for 2 more weeks and then begin a verse by verse study of the Book of Revelation. That will take several months but I encourage you to make plans to attend as much as possible. If you cannot attend we will have a handout available for each of the 22 chapters.
-On behalf of Debbie and her family I want to tell you how much we appreciate the many kindnesses, to include those who attended the visitation and funeral of her Dad, who died on April 10. We love our church family and you mean much to us, especially during this time!
God bless you!
Associate Pastor, AJ Reynolds
Peaceful Sabbath! – sorry to write to you in an alien tongue, because I know that not many of us are well-versed in Hebrew. Literally meaning “cease” or “desist”, it indicates that work should be “stopped” for a period of time. I write to you during a week when I am preparing a sermon from John 5, when Jesus heals a man on the sabbath day. I would love to spend a while discussing a theology of the sabbath, but time will not allow me to do so this-coming Sunday. This is also the week that Pastor Jim is spending a sabbatic period with his family. Whether a particular day of the week, or three weeks with your family, the notion of the sabbath is a wonderful biblical principle!
In Mark 2:23-28, Jesus and His disciples were criticized for “working” to pluck heads of grain on the Sabbath Day (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday in the Hebrew calendar). Citing an Old Testament account where David committed what would have been an abomination, but because David and his men needed to eat. So in a context where Jesus is dealing with Pharisees that would rather see people obey the rules of the sabbath and go hungry, than to take care of their own physical needs, He reminds us of a principle as old as Genesis 1. Jesus tells his disciples and the Pharisees that sabbath is made for mankind; humanity is not made for the sabbath. The fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) teaches us about the sabbath as well. God blessed the sabbath and we are instructed to keep it holy. Though the Creator did not need to rest on the seventh day, He did so to teach us (like the Christ and His baptism).
We need rest. As fragile, created beings, our bodies, our minds, our souls need rest. In Exodus 20:10, God commands that we give rest to others as well: animals, servants, and aliens in the land. We can’t work and “play hard” and work and work and keep going. People experience “burn-out” at an alarming rate these days, because they don’t get the rest that they need. God knows that we need rest – He blessed it! I need a nap every now and then. Every three or four weeks, I need a day when I lay around and read and watch television. Our minds and bodies need it, but our souls need it too. In addition to rest, the sabbath is designed to be a period of worship. Our souls need to come together corporately, be fed, and worship together. This is an important component of what a biblical understanding of the sabbath is. Pastor Jim is hopefully getting some good physical and mental and emotional rest, but more importantly, we pray that he experiences spiritual rest. He hopes to visit another church or two, he hopes to spend blocs of time in prayer and the reading of the Word. This kind of worship is what we need during our sabbatic periods. We need spiritual refreshment every week too!
Historically, churches started having a morning worship service and another at sundown to book-end the day. It was a symbolic way to begin and end the day with worship. I encourage you to keep this in mind when you think of rest and rejuvenation – take care of your soul as well. Vacations and long weekends should have a spiritual component also. We must rest well if we ever want to work at our best. Don’t over-complicate this principle, as did the Pharisees, but remember that Mark 2:28 teaches us that the Son of Man is the Lord of our rest too!
Here have we seen Your face, and felt Your presence here;
so may the savor of Your grace in word and life appear.
Jacob Capps, Minister of Outreach & Students
Hello Church Family,
Summer is inching closer and closer, amen to that! Those of you have been praying for rain, God has answered those prayers, and now you can ease up on that because fishing has slowed down due to the muddy water.
On a serious note, I want to thank everyone again for the prayers and support for our Vermont Mission Trip. Our trip was amazing and God worked everything out just like He planned, not our plan, but His plan. We will be heading back to Vermont sometime in October, so go ahead and start looking at your calendar if you are interested in going. I will have a finalized date for this trip by the end of May and hopefully an idea of what we will be doing.
With summer approaching, we are coming up on three big events for our church with VBS, Deep Impact, and the Student Beach Retreat. I ask that you pray for these events, the leaders, volunteers, and students.
Vacation Bible School: June 11th – 16th
Deep Impact: June 25th – July 1st
Impact Student Beach Retreat: July 17th – 21st
Our Pastoral Staff has been looking at ways to get people engaged with Community First. With Community First being a completely new ministry, it is going to take some time for it to get off the ground, so we must be patient. Our focus is about building relationships first; we can’t do anything without establishing relationships first. Continue to pray for this ministry and know that God has it under control. Our small groups are going well and in the next two months, we hope to see another small group start, please see me if you are interested.
I hope everyone has a great month, and the May flowers keep away the April showers!