Easter Egg Hunt

March 30th, 2018 by

I have been asked many times over the last couple of weeks how the Early Egg Hunt went this year. Here is just a glimpse through the eyes of one young boy and a mom:

“Jesus is always with you and always listens to your prayers.”

One of our Easter Story Egg table leaders spoke these words of life to a young boy who shared about a hard family situation that he is currently in. She was in the midst of sharing the Easter story with him when he opened up about it. Beautiful words of hope for this boy in the midst of despair.

“This is the best Easter egg hunt my family has been to because we have had the chance to meet people from the community afterward!”

This second comment was made by a mom with two young kids. She was excited that there were activities after the egg hunt so that she could actually meet and get to know people from the community. Through the tangible environment that was created (great food, playground, Easter craft) people found more than just an egg hunt. They found a chance to get to know one another.

So much preparation from our church family goes into creating the tangible environment that spurs stories like these. Thank you for snapping eggs together, for bagging candy, for setting up tables and chairs, for grilling hot dogs and refilling drinks, for helping kids with Easter Story Egg sets, for welcoming families, for directing parking, for capturing the event in pictures, for praying, and so much more – all to share the joy of Easter!”


We Are the Temple

March 9th, 2018 by

Dear Friends,

Some of you asked for the slides from the last Sunday’s sermon, so here they are.  For some reason you can click through them a lot faster than I did at the service.  Perhaps it’s because you don’t have to say, “Click” for each one, and/or because I have abbreviated the stories a good bit?

As we are the Temple, this is part of who we are in Christ, how our heavenly Father sees us, and what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us and through us.  Enjoy.

We are_the Temple

Right before the verse where these slides begin, v.8, “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them,”  the Lord says to Moses:  “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.  These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze;  …  Ex. 25:2-3 

And Jesus says to us… Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Luke 12:33-34  

I bring this up because the offering that was brought for the Temple of New Covenant last month was just a bit more than half of what was budgeted. We pray it’s an anomaly. For example, January was almost on budget.  Thank you for your support and helping build his temple here.

Blessings to you all,

Who will take the Son?

December 5th, 2017 by
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
           When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
            About a month later, just before Christmas,
            There was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
            He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly… He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.. ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
            On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’
*There was silence…*
Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘we want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’
But the auctioneer persisted ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’
Another voice angrily. ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’
But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
            ‘We have $10, who will bid $20?’
‘Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’
            The crowd was becoming angry.  They didn’t want the picture of the son.
They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel.. ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’
A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’
‘What about the paintings?’
‘I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will… I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.
*The man who took the son gets everything*
God gave His son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?’
*Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything*


Author Unknown

African Family and Community Outreach Christmas Gift Sign up

December 1st, 2017 by

You sign up to here to bless an African family with a Christmas gift. Names, gender, and ages of each child have been provided for an age appropriate gift.  Gifts must be given no later than December 20. If have any questions, please contact Sheryl Shaw at 407-699-0202

Draw Near to God Via Lust & Mammon

June 21st, 2017 by
Dear Friends at New Covenant,
We began our year drawing near to God through His Word, in Worship, and in Prayer.
During our  leadership retreat I asked our vestry, intercessors, and worship leaders to press into God in these three areas.  Fr. Christopher and I have invited our congregation to do the same, and have provided a way to do that which has been nicknamed, “The Prayer Book on Training Wheels.”  Barbara and I have found it a wonderful way to start the day and draw near.
As we cross the half way point of the year, and move into summer, I wanted to share two more ways for us to draw near to God, oddly enough, via lust and mammon.
“Lust can be focused but not eliminated,” so says Andy Stanley, in his last chapter ofEnemies of the Heart.  He suggests it is different from the other enemies; guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy, in that it is God given.
Lusts’ definitions indicate that it is something very powerful that comes from somewhere deep inside us.  I was intrigued by the author’s suggestion that it could be refocused.  What if we were to focus, train, our deepest, almost subconscious, desires on to the things of the Kingdom of God?  Could we harness, or loose it, this force within us, for good, for God?  Perhaps with God’s help, since it is from him, with His might, we might.
I believe it’s possible.  Aren’t all things with God?
With this on my mind: A couple weeks ago I was blessed to listen to Bishop Fitzsimmons Allison, with several of our African partners, as he talked of creating the word ‘metakardia,’ instead of the word metanoia, for repentance.  Metanoia is the Greek word for repentance, which means a change of mind.  Bishop Fitz said, “I can change my mind five time in a minute.  What needs to be changed is my heart.  We need metakardia more than metanoia.”
Since then I have been testing it out, seeing if I can lust for the things of the Kingdom of God, i.e. loose the strength of something like lust to work for the good, for God.  Here’s one incident where I believe the fruit of my efforts was manifest, where the metakardia had done its work.
It was a routine hospital visit, but as I listened to the patient, I realized I was hearing more than the words of the person speaking.  It was as if our Lord began to paint a landscape of the inscape of this person’s life and it was absolutely captivating! It was gorgeous, and as I left I told her how wonderfully blessed I was listening to her story, more than she could guess.  This hasn’t proven to be an isolated incident.
Refocus your lust.  Turn it to the things of God, His kingdom.  Want to be part, share in, and partake of His realm and His riches?  Then really want it!  Be intentional, and seek metakardia.
Lust, as we know, is powerful.  Beware then, that if the things of his His heart become your deepest, almost unconscious, desire, you will get closer to Him and the metakardia He may perform on your heart may be overwhelming.  Lust is powerful.
Mammon, it, too, is powerful.  Money even talks, as they say.  According to Jesus it contends with Him for our worship, and he adds,  ‘we can’t serve two Gods.‘  It’s Mammon or Him.  Choose this day whom to serve.
It’s unnerving, but Jesus cares enough to watch what we do with it, e.g. ‘the widow in the temple.’  He was so concerned about the power and influence it has that, according to the scriptures at least, he spoke more about money than he did about prayer.
Like lust however, we can use it to bring us closer to our Lord and in turn affect a transformation of our heart, metakardia.  At one point Jesus says, ‘where your treasure is there your heart will be as well.’
If you want your heart to be closer to God, it will, as they say, follow the money.  And this is true too; if you do begin to lust for the Kingdom, you will invest in the Kingdom of God!  It becomes a priority, the priority.
(I want to let you know that we are about 39K short of our budget to offerings so far this year.  So, if you have been on vacation or traveling, or if you are behind in your tithing, it would be a true blessing if you can catch up.  Thank you.)
The most caring thing I know to do for anyone is to encourage them to draw near to their Lord; the one who knit them together in their mother’s womb, who knows their days before they are lived, and gave the life of his only Son that they may have life, abundant and eternal.
Dare to Draw Near,

New Covenant Church – Summer 2017 – Inside Out

May 6th, 2017 by

Weekly Lectionary for the 3rd Sunday of Easter – April 30, 2017

April 30th, 2017 by


O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

New Testament

1 Peter 1:17-23

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially,live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.


Luke 24:13-35

On the Road to Emmaus

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas,asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Graduation Sunday – May 21

April 21st, 2017 by



If you have a graduating high school senior, we want to celebrate this incredible milestone with you on Sunday, May 21, during the 10am service!

Please email Erica Stephenson at erica.stephenson12@gmail.com, by May 7 with your graduate’s full name, high school they are graduating from, a senior picture, and their plans for the future.

Holy Communion and Holy Week 2017

April 20th, 2017 by


Holy Week is a special time of year as we reflect and remember the sacrifice Jesus paid for sins.


This year, Holy week was observed from April 9  starting with Jesus’s last arrival into Jerusalem in what is remembered as Palm Sunday. Holy Week concluded with the remembrance of his crucifixion on Good Friday on April 14.

You can watch the family of New Covenant Church remember this special time of remembrance in our video recap here.

Community Easter Egg Hunt 2017

April 20th, 2017 by


The  Community Easter Egg hunt was held on April 8, 2017.


You can watch our video recap here.