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Today at Covenant…We Worship in Spirit and in Truth

A new month means a new sermon series at Covenant Church. This month Pastor Travis Davenport will be teaching on the Core Five-the five major principles that set our church apart from others. This sermon series is geared at helping the church to realign its focus with the mission. I’m really excited to jump back into studying the fundamentals of our body and I look forward to sharing those with you today.

Before I jump into the study I wanted to introduce the Covenant Life Magazine which was released today. I’ve been anticipating this day for a few weeks as I contributed toward the magazine for the first time ever. I had the privilege of writing the life change cover story about one of my FCA leaders and other students. That project was a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the church writing team on future publications.


We Worship In Spirit and In Truth

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Prior to the resurrection of Christ, worship was a requirement. In order to get to God you had to keep the law and in order to be obedient to the law you had to worship God. It wasn’t until the law was annulled (through the death of Jesus) that worship was viewed as a privilege. Part of the free will that was granted to us by a loving God gave us the choice to worship God and in whatever way we chose to do so. During his time on Earth, however, Jesus gave clear instructions about how we were to worship once we were given the freedom to do so in more ways than one.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman whom he met at the well that true worshipers are those who worship in Spirit and in Truth. Where at one point it was only possible to worship in truth Jesus was foreshadowing what was to come when he mentioned the worship in spirit part of the equation. The Spirit would not enter the scene, however, until the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2.

There Has to Be a Balance-

The problem with only worshiping in truth is that truth without spirit will always produce religion. Our faith should be based on our relationship with Christ and not on religion. Religion always requires something of us and says, “Go and do…,” while Jesus requires only his own blood and says, “It is already done.” Religion keeps us from a relationship with Christ. The Spirit is imperative to balance the equation of worship.

The problem with only worshiping in spirit is that it requires an exclusively emotional response which is the root of chaos. We see this illustrated in 1 Kings 18:26-30 when the prophet Elijah speaks to the Israelites on Mt. Carmel. Elijah has the knowledge about God that allows him to see that the Israelites are worshiping a false god. The Israelites call on their God by shouting, slashing themselves, and pouring out their own blood. And Baal never comes to their aid. This is the epitome of chaos.

Following Christ is about a balance between worshiping in Spirit and Truth.

There should be value placed in the knowledge of God’s Word. We should study it in order to know Him and to grow in our own faith. Worshiping in truth is a more intellect-driven worship which seeks to know God by learning from His Word.

We should also recognize that knowledge alone of God will not build that relationship. We must interact with God on a regular basis on a personal level. Worship in Spirit is an emotion-driven worship which seeks to acknowledge what God has done or is doing and responding to Him appropriately.

We are called to find that balance…

To build that relationship…

And to Grow in our knowledge of God.

The Ameri Brit Mom 

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Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Suffering

This week Pastor Travis Davenport of Covenant Church in Grove City continued leading us through Romans 5. Today’s message was part of the sermon series Friends With Benefits. This portion of scripture is rough especially for those currently going through a tough circumstance, but that makes it even more important to be aware of the benefits of a friendship with Jesus. It’s when those tough times strike that we need him most in our lives.



Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:1-4

Suffering is a part of every journey with Christ. Sometimes suffering marks the beginning of our journey. Sometimes suffering occurs frequently on our road maps. But one thing is for sure: we will all face suffering of some kind in our lives. It’s easiest for us to thank God for His many blessings than to be grateful for the tough places he makes us wade through, however this passage highlights the necessity of those troubling moments in our faith. We love it when God chooses to listen to the prayers and answer them according to our will, but we need to remember that God is more concerned about our eternal state than our benefits here on Earth. Sometimes his answers don’t align with what we think they should, but that usually means that he’s allowing this testing to happen for a greater purpose. And those greater purposes are outlined here in the passage above.

In the pit of suffering the last thing we want to do is throw any type of party (except maybe a pity party.) So there is a struggle in comprehending verse four when Paul says to, “(rejoice or) glory in our sufferings.” The one practical piece this verse gives to us is a look at the importance of perspective when it comes to suffering. When we can stand up to the testing of our faith in the face of struggles we set off a chain reaction which reaps eternal benefits. (Oftentimes this is the purpose of the suffering we face.)

The Chain Reaction-

  1. Suffering leads to endurance
  • the Greek term for endurance means single-mindedness/focus
  • the act of suffering eliminates distractions in our lives
  • our time and money accumulate distractions, but the circumstance of suffering takes value away from things which formerly distracted us from God.

2. Endurance leads to character

  • character is proven through testing
  • once character has been tested the result is proven and genuine
  • you can take control of your suffering by controlling how you allow it to affect you

3. Character leads to hope

  • Hope is a conviction or confidence in an end result
  • our hope is rest and peace with God
  • our suffering removes any competition for our hope
  • suffering shows us that the only thing that will truly fix our situation is Jesus and proves that our hope is in eternal life with Jesus not in anything of this world.
  • there is no rest in any other outlet

So know that if you find yourself in a dark place struggling to keep your head above water that God has in mind your eternal benefits over your Earthly ones. It is not an easy message to digest especially in the midst of a large struggle, but if you endure, prove your character and place your hope in God then the benefits of those choices will far outweigh any other option.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Today at Covenant…Benefits of Being Justified

One thing I love about my home church is that each month Pastor Travis focuses on a new idea. The monthly move from one concept to another keeps things fresh and allows us to really focus on an idea over a short period of time. Today was the first Sunday of March so he began his sermon series, Friends With Benefits. It was so nice to be united with my church family as the past several weeks we have been traveling with Sam’s basketball ministry. February and March are his busy season as a majority of his bookings come from Upward and other basketball awards nights. Anyway, here are some notes from today’s service.


Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Throughout the entirety of today’s message we unpacked the verses above. In the beginning of the dissection of this passage we looked at justification. Verse one of Romans 5 explains that we have been justified by our faith. That is a theme in Romans as a whole. The entire book discusses the fact that we are saved by our faith and not by our actions. In fact, I even wrote about that in my blog post, Sola Fide.

So what is justification? Justification is the action of God declaring us righteous in His eyes. It’s the point where God no longer sees our sin and our mistakes, but rather the blood of Christ when He looks at us. Justification is an action which results from a decision to follow Christ.

And once we are justified we obtain benefits from that justification which are outlined in the remainder of the passage above.

Benefits of Justification:

  1. Peace with God-(Romans 5:1)
  • Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • The peace of God mentioned in Philippians 4:7 is a subjective peace. It’s a peace tied to emotions and the way that you feel. Although this is a promise of God it is not the kind of peace that Paul is talking about in Romans.
  • Peace with God is an objective peace.
  • Peace with God is the end of all hostility between God and yourself. It is not attached to emotion, but rather it becomes truth once you are justified.
  • A benefit to being justified is that in that moment, the war between us and God ends and we are made righteous. God wipes the slate and you are new.

2. There is access to grace in which we now stand- (Romans 5:2)

  • The access discussed here in this verse is referring to our favorable position with God because of Christ.
  • We are no longer separated by God once we are justified.
  • In many religions they believe that we do not have access to God on our own. Those religions preach the idea of a man (or image) who must come between us and God.
  • But scripture says here that there is no need for a man to approach God on our behalf. We have 24/7 access to God through prayer once we are justified.
  • This is made possible because Jesus became our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). When he died the veil separating us from God was torn (Matthew 27:51).

3. The hope of the glory of God- (Romans 5:2)

  • The Greek word for hope used here in this passage does not have a strong equivalent in the English language. We use the word hope as a conditional term when this verse is conveying a conviction or certainty.
  • Our hope-filled certainty is heaven.
  • In our moment of justification we are granted the promise of heaven and an eternity with God.

In closing, these three benefits of justification are available to all who have accepted Christ. And poetically, these three benefits illustrate our walk with Christ:

  1. Peace=Past
  2. Grace=Present
  3. Hope=Future

If you aren’t quite to the point of justification in your own life know that your story isn’t over yet. The simple act of accepting a God who loves you and gifts you with peace, grace, and hope is the beginning to a wonderful journey.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Solus Christus

Today was one of the best services I’ve experienced in a long time. Pastor Travis changed up the order of service, which is a great way to rock people’s routines and gear them up for really listening to the message. It’s funny how habitual we can become as people. When the worship band unplugged after the second song you could actually see people looking around for songs three and four. Everyone wore a bit of confusion on their face as the Pastor approached the stage long before his anticipated cue. There was such a strong desire for an explanation that not a mind wandered as Pastor Travis began to move ahead with his sermon. To be honest, I liked the shake-up. It’s nice to get knocked out of routine sometimes. We lived on the edge today at Covenant Church. The worship band still did four songs today, but they held off and did two after the pastor’s message which was brilliant. What a great way to prepare to depart and face a new week than with more worship!?! Things were different today, because the pastor’s message was heavy. Today was the fourth week in the Five Solas series at Covenant Church by Pastor Travis Davenport.

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Solus Christus: (Christ Alone)

John 14:6- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”

So far in the series we have learned that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, plus Christ alone, plus nothing. Christ lacks nothing and does not need adding to in order for us to achieve salvation. Much like we discussed last week, we are saved by faith in Christ alone not faith plus morality. We cannot add to our salvation because Christ has already done what we could never do.


Jesus+anything (works, morality, service, etc.)=nothing

In the first week of this series we focused on the authority of scripture in our lives as we dove into the term, Sola Scriptura. The scriptures were written to point us toward Jesus, the giver of salvation. The scriptures without Jesus are worthless. Much like the Harry Potter series is worthless is Harry Potter’s character. (Had to AMEN that parallel drawn by the Pastor during service being the Potter nerd I am.)

But all nerdy parallels aside, if Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, was correct in saying that, “Jesus is the center and circumference of the Bible,” then why are so many churches shying away from Solus Christus? So many have replaced the idea of salvation with morality.

Numbers have become a priority to modern churches and let’s be honest the story of Jesus isn’t always going to bring in numbers. The story of Jesus is messy. It’s offensive. It steps on toes and makes people uncomfortable. It causes radical change. So instead of preaching the gospel so many churches are turning to a morality-centered message. Sermons on how to organize, build your marriage, and stock your savings accounts are all good things, but should never take priority over the message of Jesus. We, as the western church, should be careful not to ever confuse salvation with morality. When you stand before God at the gates of heaven your organizational skills, marriage, and savings accounts will not be your ticket to move forward. Christ alone saves us. (Solus Christus)

When you remove Christus from “Solus Christus” your church is left solus. (I really liked that play on words.)


Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Sola Fide

Today the sermon at Covenant Church in Grove City was the third of the Five Solas series that Pastor Travis is focusing on during the month of January. The study today included a look at what it means to live by faith alone and the significance of justification in a life saved by faith.

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Sola Fide:

The focus scripture today comes from Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Sola Fide means faith alone and refers to the fact that we are saved by our faith and not our works (or good actions.) We are justified by our belief in God and our acceptance of his gift of grace. To receive justification means to be declared righteous. God justifies us when we put our faith in Jesus. This belief is the cornerstone of Christianity which sets this religion apart from all others. It is the only religion where salvation is not about what you do, but rather what is already done. It’s a simple acceptance of a gift that was purchased over two thousand years ago.

Five Reasons Why Works Cannot Save You:

  1. Good works cannot cancel your sin, but sin ruins your good works. (The only thing that can cancel your sins is the blood of Jesus)
  2. Good works cannot save you because God doesn’t grade on a curve. (His standard is perfection and not based on our works in comparison to others)
  3. Good works cannot save you because you can never be good enough for long enough. (We are still subject to sin because we live in a fallen world)
  4. Good works cannot save you because you can never be sure you’ve done enough. (It’s not about bondage and anxiety wondering if you’ve done enough to earn your spot in heaven.)
  5. Good works cannot save you because if they could, you wouldn’t need Jesus. (Before Jesus was taken to be crucified he spent time with God earnestly praying that if salvation could be done in any other way that God would not cause him to endure the pain that awaited him. We all know how that story ends. Jesus was crucified because it was the only way. If there had been another way -like good works- then Jesus would not have been crucified.)

Instead of being justified by our own righteousness we have been saved by alien righteousness. Alien righteousness is righteousness which comes from another place. In the case of our salvation our alien righteousness originates with Jesus as the source. Our salvation is completely outside of us. God calls us, draws us near, and all we have to do is accept that gift of grace by believing in him. Our faith alone is what saves us. There is nothing we can do to earn anything from God.

So, if our works cannot save us what is the function of performing good works or deeds?

  1. Good works are born of our love for God
  2. Good works are born of our desire to bring others to know God

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. (Romans 3:28)