Faith Covenant Church

Everybody Starts at White Belt

Posted on Jan 21, 2016 in Faith Updates

I have been studying the Martial Arts for quite some time. I started karate when I was twelve years old, have taken three years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and have studied Muay Thai for a season. In all of my years of training and teaching, I have seen hundreds of beginners. As a student, I was a beginner and trained alongside beginners. As an instructor, I trained many beginners from their first day through receiving their black belt. Despite the number of beginners I have encountered throughout my years in the Martial Arts, there has been such a variety among them – some come with the assumption that they will be the newest addition to the Power Rangers, some think that this is the beginning of their journey to becoming the next Chuck Norris or Jackie Chan, while others come with the sense that this is the most awkward activity they have ever been a part of and have no idea why they are there wearing the oversized, baggy uniform.

No matter the assumption, no matter the expectation, and no matter the amount of Walker Texas Ranger that an individual has watched, everybody starts at white belt. The white belt symbolizes new birth, and the sense that we all start as a clean and empty slate.

During my time as a karate instructor, one of the hardest parts of the job was to be able to teach a single class that had black belts, red belts, blue belts, and white belts in the same room and training at the same time. The difficulty was found in providing the advanced students with materials to work on that catered to their ability, while at the same time providing the white belts with the basic foundations of karate and not jumping ahead and skipping over vital pieces of their training.

I recently found myself having a conversation about Jesus with an atheist friend of mine. In the middle of the conversation I caught myself using words like sin, atonement, and spiritual death – words that I suddenly realized that likely made no sense to him. In essence, I was teaching black belt moves to a white belt.

Every person who comes to Christianity begins as a white belt. Paul captures this idea in his first letter to the Corinthians when he writes, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it” (3:2, ESV). While I was talking to my friend, I should have been offering milk, but instead was trying to give meat.

For all of us, let’s remember that when we have these conversations with co-workers, neighbors, and friends, that we need to realize where they are in their faith. Perhaps they are “black belts” – lifelong believers and knowledgeable in scripture – or maybe they are “white belts” – new to faith and the understanding of Jesus. In those conversations, remember “milk, not meat.”

Peace,
Ryan Nyquist

Here’s What’s Happening at Faith

Welcoming Concert of Prayer

Come join us at a celebration of prayer to welcome our new pastor, Brad Kindall. We will meet on Sunday, February 7 at 9am in the Legacy Chapel. All are welcome!

Ash Wednesday Worship Service

Please join us for our annual Ash Wednesday worship service on February 10 at 6:30pm. We will spend time in worship, meditate on scripture and offer thanksgiving. There will not be childcare, but children are welcome to attend the service with their parents.

Women’s Ministry Winter Study Kick-off

All women are invited to a mid-winter fellowship time at 6:30pm on Wednesday, February 3. We will hang out, play games and just catch up. You can also find out more information about our spring Bible study, based on the book “Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. The study will begin the week of February 15. Registration is available at faithcovenant.org/womens-ministry/.

Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack

All at Faith Covenant are invited to be a part of the hunger solution through a Feed My Starving Children MobilePack on February 1-6. This is an opportunity to learn about hunger related issues, pray for those in need, raise funds to cover the cost of meals and pack meals for the hungry. This year’s event will be held at 15125 Cedar Ave in Apple Valley (formerly Rainbow Foods). Sign up for shifts in the lobby at Faith or go to http://www.fmsc.org/mobilepack/events#Minnesota and choose the Apple Valley, South Metro Pack. As part of our fundraising support we are asking families to pick up an M&M tube in the lobby, eat the chocolate, and return the container, filled with quarters. This year’s packing goal is to pack four million meals! For questions, contact Jayne at jayne.stolt@mchsi.com.

Missions Garage Sale

Faith’s annual missions garage sale is returning this summer on July 14-15. All proceeds from the sale this year will benefit the M.O.M.S. Program. Lots of help will be needed to receive, sort and price items. Save your stuff and the date! More details to come at a later date.

Freedom Weekend

Join our Faith4Freedom team as we partner with Trafficking Justice during Freedom Weekend 2016 to raise awareness against human trafficking. Please go to TraffickingJustice.com to check out the many events occurring January 29-31. For more information contact Deb at dsdevine@charter.net or 612.384.7376.

Summer Camps Savings

Schedules for kids camps are posted for Covenant Pines Summer 2016. Check out the great adventures that are in store for your kids! Also, note that there is a discount for early bird registrations: $60 off by February 1, and $30 off by April 1. To register or get more information, go to covenantpines.org. Junior Staff service opportunities are also available for students entering grades 9-12.