Hello, Bailey-

Once or twice as a child, I had the extremely unpleasant experience of having my mom wash my mouth out with soap, after I uttered some inappropriate words. (I do kinda wonder what it was I said to bring on the Ivory mouthwash.) 

I think this practice has (thankfully) been mostly abandoned, but the lesson stayed with me, that we should avoid inappropriate or hurtful words, that words matter.  

We are in the midst of a series called WORD POWER.

My hope with our WORD POWER sermon series (which continues Jan 28 and Feb 4) is that we would be more connected to God’s word and be more intentional with our words, especially in this election year. 

The Bible has a lot to say about words. I encourage you to pick one of the verses below to learn, to take to heart, to memorize.

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths but only what is good for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.  

--Ephesians 4.29 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 

--Colossians 3.16 

Jesus said, “Everyone, then, who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded on rock.” 

--Matthew 7.24-25 

How great a forest is set ablaze by a such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire… No one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes a blessing and a curse. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 

--James 3.5,8-10 

Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

--Matthew 12.36-37 


We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. 

--Ephesians 4.15-16


Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, 

    sweetness to the soul and health to the body. 

--Proverbs 16.24 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 

    be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. 

--Psalm 19.14

Which one of these verses rings true for you? Pick one for yourself.

I have an idea on how to remember it: 

Most of us brush our teeth a couple times a day. In a sense we’re washing our mouth out with a special kind of soap, to keep our teeth and gums healthy.  

So our toothbrushing time gives us a good opportunity to think about the words we have used during the day, to acknowledge and foolish or hurtful words we may have uttered, and to remember that our words could be a blessing to someone. Toothbrushing cleans our mouths, and mindful toothbrushing can help us use clean and helpful words.  

I invite you to tape one of these Bible verses near where you brush your teeth, and pray as you brush—asking God to use your words to build up and encourage, to speak the truth in love, and to let your words (and deeds!) be a blessing to others. Then look for opportunities to use your words for good!

On the journey together,



  • In-Person and Livestream worship: 9:00AM & 11:00AM
  • "Word Power" Sermon Series
  • Preaching: Charlie Berthoud | "Building Up" | Text: Ephesians 4:25-32, read by youth Aliah Conley (9:00) and Declan Kennedy (11:00)
  • Music: New Day Ensemble; Ben Welch, pianist (9:00) | Covenant Chancel Choir; Doug McNeel, organist (11:00)
  • Children's Time with Nick Von Bergen
  • Kaleidoscope Kids (during 9:00 worship)
  • Nursery Care: 8:45am-12:15pm
  • Bradfield Café: 10:00-10:45AM
  • Visit our Worship HQ for everything you need to worship with us online!

If you missed a service or would like to watch a service again, all livestreamed services are saved to our YouTube channel. Or you can give the sermons another listen on our sermon podcast!

Adult Education

Join us Sunday (January 28) at 10:00am for reflections on The Matthew 25 Summit. The Matthew 25 Summit in Atlanta was an inspiring experience for those from Covenant who attended: Deb Cohn, Melissa Hinz, Jennifer Morgan and Ann Athas. Covenant became a Matthew 25 congregation in 2021, but beyond “checking the box” our hope is that Covenant members’ interest in the priorities of the Matthew 25 initiative will lead to meaningful action. Join us to learn more! Click HERE for the Facebook post, including links to an article featuring Jennifer and videos of keynote speakers.

Note: Online access to Adult Ed classes is on hold temporarily as we explore other options. Visit covenantmadison.org/adult for more info on Adult Education at Covenant.

Children's & Youth Education


Our first Spiritual Stroll of 2024 is on Sunday at Picnic Point! We will meet at the trailhead off Lot 130. These strolls are part of CONNECT, a program of deacon-sponsored events with the intention of fostering connection between Covenant and the community. We visit a different green space every month to explore God’s creation.

Pick up a hard copy of our devotional at Covenant or SUBSCRIBE to receive daily email devotions from this devotional as we delve into Exodus in January!

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This week's white rose commemorates the life of Rick Gullickson, Covenant member. This week's red rose celebrates the birth of Harper Ann O'Neill, granddaughter of Craig and Sherry Anderson.

New this week: Barb Eikenberry, Covenant member; Deb Cohn, Covenant member.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayers for each of these your children. We pray for healing, for courage, and for peace, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Full Prayer List

Bradfield Café Volunteer

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Greeter & Welcome Center Volunteer

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February 4 is Heifer Sunday, when we raise awareness of world hunger and poverty, while raising funds to support the development work of Heifer International. In Sunday School, the children have been learning about animals, nutrition, and agriculture. They will wear animal costumes while hosting various games for the rest of us during Fellowship/Sunday School hour (10-11). Bring some coins to donate and/or donate below!

Donate to Heifer!

Final Studies - February 1

We are reading Exodus as a congregation in January and learning more about this ancient text and its contemporary relevance. Never done a Bible study before? No worries! Beginners are welcome! Sign up below to help us plan if you can. Come join us as we explore some major themes in Exodus. Please note: 10:30 studies are in-person, 6:30 studies are on Zoom only.

Annual Report and Financial Report will be available by January 28!

Mondays 7:00-9:00pm (February 26 - May 6)

Registration is now underway for Nehemiah Center’s Black History for a New Day, an eye-opening course that helps us look back at how the African-American experience has shaped who we all are today. Covenant will have their own group led by Jennifer Morgan. With generous support from GMB and our longstanding relationship with Nehemiah, the cost will be a reduced $125 and $50 for alumni of the course. Scholarships also available! No homework necessary. Register below - only 14 spots left, so register now!

Notes: 1) there are no classes on Mar 25 or Apr 22. 2) Please do not register through the Nehemiah website, as we are registering as a group.

Register Now!

Sunday, February 4, 12:00pm

Join us in reading "A Sand County Almanac" in 2024. This is a non-fiction book by American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold written in 1949. Describing the land around the author's home in Sauk County, Wisconsin, the collection of essays advocate Leopold's idea of a "land ethic", or a responsible relationship existing between people and the land they inhabit. Edited and published by his son, Luna, a year after Leopold's death, the book is considered a landmark in the American conservation movement. Organized with an essay for each month of the year, the book group will meet on the first Sunday of every month to discuss the essay from the previous month, beginning with our first meeting on Sunday, February 4. Join us!

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