Prayer Changes Things: A testimony

On Wednesday, Kelley Hastings shared about the women’s Nocatee prayer group in her post: Praying for Nocatee.  Today, Chets Woman Michelle Arguello shares her testimony about praying for Nocatee and how God is continuing this prayer ministry in the Nocatee community. 


I am excited to have the opportunity to share with you what God has been doing in my life and how I was inspired to continue the women’s prayer group for Nocatee. I have had a heart for the Nocatee campus even before I knew it was going to exist.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I were praying about what God had in store for us in 2014. We absolutely love Chets, but we were feeling something stirring. We couldn’t shake the exciting idea of helping to start something new. After a few weeks of wrestling with God about this feeling, we both knew we had to start looking for a church plant. We thought about the idea before, but we knew God was telling us it was time. I was sentimental about leaving something I had been a part of for seven years and excited about what God had planned for us in the “unknown”. About a week after that decision was made, Pastor Spike announced that there would be an extension of Chets planted in the Nocatee community! How much more clearly could God speak! We instantly knew that this was the opportunity God had called us to and we wouldn’t even have to give up our Chets family.

We immediately expressed our interest in being involved and I was invited to attend a women’s prayer meeting for the Nocatee community and future campus launch. It was an awesome night as Kelley previously described. I was completely blessed by the fellowship with this group of women and inspired by the connection we all had through this new venture. I couldn’t wait until the next meeting!

Throughout this same time period God had been dealing with me and my prayer life. We all go through natural ebbs and flows in our quiet time with God. My quiet time was becoming anything but quiet. I felt a deep need to start REALLY praying for people. I started a prayer journal and made mental notes about needs my friends casually mentioned in conversation. I started spending my daughter’s nap time in prayer and Bible study instead of watching TV or creating a new board on Pinterest. I felt like I was entering a new season in my spiritual life. So, when the women’s prayer group for Nocatee started, it fell right in place with what God was doing in my personal life.

A few weeks passed after the initial prayer meeting and I felt like God had been giving me some ideas about what we could do next. I started to ask around about the next meeting and quickly found out that there were no subsequent meetings planned. My heart sank. I prayed about it and felt like God was calling me to organize another meeting. I spoke with Christy Price and Jill Darkatsh about my ideas and found out that there had been prayers in the women’s ministry for God to call someone to take over organizing future prayer meetings. At first I just wanted to share my ideas, but God had bigger plans (as he usually does). It became clear that I needed to do this.

Fast forward another few weeks and the second prayer meeting is on the calendar! I have to admit I never saw myself doing something like this and I have asked God, “Why me?” on more than one occasion. I am not the most experienced in planning gatherings, nor am I the most eloquent speaker or the most dynamic prayer warrior. I am just trying to be obedient and I will let God fill in the gaps. There will be many gaps, but that is what is so great about our God. He doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

If you would like to join us for our next gathering (June 30th), please email me at michellearguello2032@gmail.com.

 

{This post was written by Michelle Arguello.  Michelle recently traded in her investment banking job to be a stay-at-home mom. She felt like God was calling her to be a better steward of her home and family. Through that life altering decision her priorities have shifted and she is striving to use her God given talents and abilities to make Him known and be a blessing in the lives of others.}

Praying for Nocatee

In late April, a group of about fifteen women came together in Jo Ray’s home for the express purpose of praying for the Nocatee campus launch. The prayer ministry of Chets Women, led by Jill Darkatsh, felt a prompting to put this evening together as they had witnessed firsthand the importance of undergirding every aspect of their ministry in prayer. After visiting over yummy desserts and coffee, we made our way to the family room where we gathered in a large open circle. We each shared about what brought us to the meeting – some had sensed a clear call to go and serve at the new campus, while others are still waiting for that final confirmation from God. A third group, to which I belonged, was there as a personal support for our friend, Christy Price, wife of the Nocatee Campus Pastor.   It was so exciting to hear each woman’s story and areas of passion, and begin to see how God was knitting together this brand new body of Christ. What a comfort it was to realize God already loves and cares for this new body and He will provide for it just as He abundantly provided for Chets Creek Church 16 years ago!

The hosts provided a very helpful prayer guide for us to follow so we would be sure to cover all of the needs. We prayed for the Nocatee staff and leadership, volunteer teams and location needs (now answered!); for the future partnerships between the church and school, and the church and community; and lastly, for the spiritual impact of this new campus. We asked God to stir up a spiritual hunger in the Nocatee/Bartram Springs area; for protection against spiritual attacks that are sure to come; and for supernatural favor to blanket the entire process. We prayed Luke 2:52 over the new launch—that it would “grow in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man.”

The night served as a reminder of the importance of covering every detail of our lives, big and small, in prayer. Tony Evans defines prayer as “earthly permission for heavenly interference.” He writes, “There are many things God can do but doesn’t do simply because He has not been requested to do them. But when you go to God and ask for His divine intervention based on His Word, His truth, His promises, and His character, He intervenes in response to your faith, your desire for Him, your submission to Him, and your acknowledgement of your need for Him.” (Victory in Spiritual Warfare, p.138.)

We ended the night by breaking off into smaller groups of three to share any personal prayer needs. We scattered around the home and my group ended up on the screened-in porch by the pool. As we brought our requests before our Father, we could hear the palm trees rustling in the balmy night air. It was a reminder that God is stirring up something new and beautiful: hearts to serve, hearts longing to connect to a body of Christ; and hearts that do not know Him yet. We left so excited to see what God is going to do through Chets Creek @ Nocatee and how this new prayer ministry would unfold!

{This post was written by Kelley Hastings.  Kelley is married to her seminary sweetheart, Eddie, and they have two charming and rowdy boys. Kelley helps lead an adult LifeGroup and serves on the Chets Women’s Bible Study Team. She loves encouraging women to apply the truth of God’s Word and fully use their gifts. Her heart beats fast for infertility issues, adoption, caregivers and, of course, dark chocolate.}

 

Vision Lunch – Recap

Doesn’t it seem like only yesterday that we gathered around the table to learn and share with one another about all that God is doing with Chets Women?  I can still taste the strawberry shortcake and memories of sweet connection and conversation.  Thank you to the 100+ women that joined us for a meal and awesome fellowship.  We were truly blown away by your eagerness to connect with one another and to serve – evidence of God’s hand in this ministry.

If you attended, you may have felt challenged to join one of our ministry teams.  If you filled out one of our flyers, you should have been contacted by a leader by now, as we are all eager to have you on board to connect, serve, and grow in the community of women at Chets Creek Church.  God is most certainly doing something extraordinary!

Take a peek at a few of the photos captured at the event.  If you were unable to join us, we still need you to serve alongside us!  Contact susan@chetscreek.com to learn more.

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Don’t forget to save the date for our next large-gathering on Sunday (evening), August 24th! Great things are stirring as God stirs the hearts of his ladies!

{Photos were taken by Tamara O’Hanlon.  Tamara accepted the Lord when she was 18 years old, thanks to a youth pastor and his wife who took the time to share and show God’s love to her.  She has been married for 21 years to Jim and together they have a 17 year old son, whom she is able to stay home with and home-school.  Originally from Kansas, she and her husband have been in Jacksonville for 12 years. She has been through a lot in her walk with the Lord, but knowing the love He has for her carries her through the hard times.}

Happy Father’s Day

This Sunday we will celebrate Father’s Day.  For my family, it is a celebration of much more.  My husband and I wandered through these holidays for ten years wondering desperately when we would know the joy of being parents.  Of course, each year, we celebrated our earthly parents and made sure they felt honored.  Yet as the years passed, we both felt disheartened with our own desire to be called mom and dad.

During this time, two very critical things happened for us: God revealed to us that it is His timing and not our own AND we had to let go and let God take control.

One particular Father’s Day, our church was passing out a gift to fathers as they stood to be recognized.  A dear man of God saw my husband sitting down while all the fathers remained standing.  He walked over to my husband and gave him the gift and said “your time will come soon.”  And it did come.  We now have a beautiful 11-year-old daughter who has brought so much joy to us!

It is amazing how this day can take on a different meaning through life.  We had years of honoring our own fathers, years of yearning for a child of our own.  Now that my husband and I have both lost our earthly fathers, this day can be melancholy at times.  And we now also have the joy of celebrating God’s provision of our sweet daughter.  Through all of the years, we must realize, too, that we can celebrate our Heavenly Father on this day and every day.

You may be celebrating, you may just be trying to get through a tough day.  As you are at church and serving this Father’s Day, celebrate God the Father by asking the Holy Spirit to guide you to someone who may be struggling with a hurt or sadness that can hinder the Holy Spirit’s work in their life.  How can you plant a seed in someone’s heart?

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{This post was written by Elizabeth Hendry.  Elizabeth and her husband Jerry have been married 22 years this June! They have a beautiful daughter named Kaylee. Their entire family serves in some form of praise and worship at Chets and they have dubbed themselves the singing “Von Trapp” family! Elizabeth loves being a mom and wife and you will find her on the Soccer field and in a pedicure chair as often as possible!}

Don’t Go At It Alone: The Titus 2 Woman

When my husband and I began our time at Chets three years ago, we were eager to plug in, to serve, and to find a community like the one we had left when we moved from the DC metro area.  The last sermon series we heard at our church in Virginia was entitled, “A place to call home”.  Boy, was it hard to leave after that.

In the months to come, we found a home at Chets, and we are so thankful.  We have found sweet friendships with our fellow lifegroupies (that’s what we call them, right?) and others we have met through attending and serving at Chets.

Particularly after becoming parents a little over a year ago, I realized how narrow our network had become.  Don’t get me wrong, there are few things more valuable than having friends who are going through the same things at the same time as you.  Together with our friends, we’ve wrestled with and prayed through tough times with pregnancies, toddlers, work drama, and more.  But something was missing and I didn’t know it was missing until I found it.  Ever had that happen?

A week ago, I sat at a table with a group of women for a potluck dinner. The different life stages, gifts, and personalities represented were astounding.  I was blown away by God’s ability to unify us over the simplest things: guacamole, for example.

That morning, I had read Titus 2:1-5 and I prayed over those verses again and again, longing – as a young woman – for that type of relationship and example.

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 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”  Titus 2:3-5

In reading this and studying with the She Reads Truth online community, I was reminded that “we cannot and should not try to live and grow in the Gospel alone.”  So true.  I knew right away that I was truly in need of women who have gone before me in the parenting department, the wife department, and the servant of Jesus department.  To model and encourage this life of serving Christ through family and community.

Little did I know that God would answer my request that very night with a group of women who love Jesus and guacamole.

With Chets Women, we are entering into a time of community like never before.  I am eager and excited to see how this all goes down.  God’s hand is clearly on it.  Let’s keep praying.  Let’s invite one another into our lives, our homes.  Let’s continue to see more women living out the calling upon women in Paul’s letter to Titus.

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This post was done as a response to #SheSharesTruth. If you want to read more of the Titus study with She Reads Truth, click the image.

{This article was written by Laura Wilson.  Laura is wife to Aaron and mommy to one sweet and silly little boy.  She serves with Chets Women by leading the Communications team.  As a mom and pediatric speech language pathologist, she carries an artillery of cheerios and toys everywhere she goes.  She loves learning more about the Lord from His Word, family, and Starbucks.}

Responding to Daniel: Raising Courageous Children

Click the photo to check out the sermon series.

Click the photo to check out the sermon series.

This past Sunday at Chets Creek Church, we started a new sermon series on the book of Daniel. As a girl who grew up right across the street from my church – yes, our driveway literally connected to the entrance of the church parking lot – I attended church regularly and was very familiar with the names of Daniel and his friends. I am puzzled a little about how I actually remembered the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as a child. I actually always thought Abednego was pronounced “Abendigo”. Hmmm, who knew?

As Pastor Spike began his message today, he mentioned that Daniel and his friends were probably about 15 years old. Wow! My ears really perked up… I have a 15-year-old boy.

My early Sunday School teachers taught me the great Bible stories about Daniel, including his “resolve not to defile himself” (Daniel 1:8), and about the subsequent favor Daniel and his friends had while in service to the king (Daniel 1:20).  Now that I am a mom, I thought, “I want to instill this Daniel-type resolve in my children”.

With that in mind, this is one of my lessons from the message: In order for a 15-year-old (who finds himself in a culture hostile to God’s teaching) to find the courage to do the right thing, we as parents need to prepare them well.

Daniel and his friends had constant reminders of who they were and to whom they belonged from birth. Daniel’s Hebrew name meant “God is my Judge”, Hananiah meant “the Lord shows Grace”, Mishael meant “Who is like God”, and Azariah meant “the Lord is my Help”. Culturally, Israelite children had names that reminded them to whom they belonged. Every time their parents called them in from playing in the yard, instructed them on their chores, and introduced them to others, the boys were reminded of the nature of God. For these parents, God knew that child training should be part of their daily lives.

Friends, God is just as practical today. Yes, we need to be intentional about teaching our children, but God doesn’t expect us, as parents, to hold a church service in our homes. He doesn’t expect us to be expert Bible translators and scholars. Yet God doesn’t expect us to out-source teaching our children about Him either. God’s early instructions regarding teaching in our homes still holds true today:

 “Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).

I am wondering: How are you teaching your children, teens, pre-adult children about God in your home? I would love to share ideas. One of the things I have always done is pray with my children every morning in the car on the way to school. What about you? Please feel free to share in the comments below. As we share, let’s grow together as parents and caregivers.

 

{This post was written by Eve Huntley. Eve is a wife, mother, business manager, student and Southerner. She and her husband Joe married five years ago, blending their families. Their five children range in age from 12 to 23. The two oldest now live on their own, leaving three kiddos at home with three rowdy dogs! In other words, they have a super quiet and peaceful home environment…. NOT!  God has given her a passion for helping families with marriage, parenting, and family-of-origin issues.}

IF:Chets – Recap and save the date!

Ladies!  Many of you are still asking about IF:Gathering.  How did it go?  What was it like?  What did you do?  It seems so long ago but many of the truths learned in that weekend are still being worked out in real lives.  Passions discovered.  Answering “yes” to calls from God.  Leaning more into Him.

One of our sweet Chets women wrote up a summary of her experience (in our pre-blog days).  We would love to share it with you now, even months later.  We hope it will help to continue to stir your hearts to gather with women as we seek God together.  Don’t forget to Save the Date for next year’s IF:Gathering on February 6-7, 2015.  For more information about IF, visit http://ifgathering.com/.


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As Eddie walked in from work one day last fall, I greeted him excitedly with, “There’s going to be a women’s conference in February and I think I’m going to host it at our house!”  He quickly replied, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!” You see, I’m not one to offer up my home, especially for an entire weekend, but God had been breaking down my perfectionist walls. Through a Tuesday morning Bible study I was leading, God was showing me what a lost art it had become for women to invite others into their “real life” and the resulting isolation. He had been calling me to open my home, whether it was “Pinterest perfect” or not, and this was the obvious opportunity.

photo-5As the event drew closer, I was becoming more and more excited. Eighteen amazing women had signed up to attend my group. It was a challenging event to explain to my guests for no speakers’ names were shared, no worship leaders were promoted and hosts weren’t even given a detailed schedule. This was all part of their purpose to glorify God’s name alone and I loved that. Yet, even with lack of detail, this forever-evolving event sold out in Austin within minutes. They opened up the event via simulcast and encouraged women to host local groups in their homes. Soon, host homes were popping up not just across our country, but also around the globe. God was up to something big and we could feel it. It was as if God was ushering in something new specifically to the women of my generation and younger. I couldn’t wait to hear what He wanted to say to us.

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 2.10.48 PMMy group came together on a cold, rainy Friday night–each contributing chili, snacks, desserts, and even extra bowls. It was rather exciting not knowing what or who was next once we started the live feed. It felt new and organic, not polished and perfect. We had just been told there would be four sessions over two days based on Hebrews 12:1-2. They were: Throw Off the Sin that Entangles; Fix your Eyes on Jesus; Run your Marked Race; and Unleashed Together. During each session discussion questions were provided and since my group was rather large we broke out into two smaller groups. We all agreed that this is what made this “non-conference” so unique and special. We were given time to process what we were hearing and then dream together. One of the central themes was for this generation of women to discover their calling. We can get so caught up raising our children that we start thinking we will just have to catch up with God and His purposes for us once we reach the other side of motherhood. However, we were being challenged that it isn’t an either/or predicament. We can build our nest and draw close to His calling at the same time. That was freeing.

Our calling is simply where our passions and burdens collide. Knowing your gifts is a good start but knowing why God gave them to us is the key. We discovered this through discussing questions like, “What is holding you back? What risk is God calling you toward? How has comparison kept you from obedience? If our generation of Christ followers were united, what could happen?”

We took our discussion to lunch on Saturday where we sat around our bowls of hot Panera soup and took turns reading the card we had drawn. We helped one woman answer the question, “What makes your heart race?” It had been so long since she had even pondered the question that she was having trouble finding her answer. I’ll never forget how her face lit up and a smile spread across her face as we helped her unearth her passion.

The takeaways were as varied as the women who attended. One woman is answering the call to step out in faith to start homeschooling her daughter – a call she’s been feeling for some time now but hadn’t found the courage to say yes to yet. Another is reengaging her burden for orphan care, realizing she doesn’t need to go around the world to do that for she can go right down the street and help neighbors with their foster children. For another it was the realization what a stronghold the sin of comparison had become in her life. She is releasing the habit of worrying about what others might think and focusing on what God thinks.

There were tears and heartfelt confessions all shared in the context of a loving circle of like-minded women throughout the weekend. We discovered we are all wrestling with finding the time and energy to even discover our calling, let alone follow it. To truly unleash our God-given purpose, we realized we need to untether ourselves from our phones – where feelings of self-doubt rapidly creep in and comparisons thrive after browsing social media, Pinterest and mommy blogs. This is Satan at work in our generation; crippling us with fear and lack of courage. We are to run our own race; not turning to the right or left, “copying, comparing and competing” as one speaker put it, all the while encouragingour sisters to do the same. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus and live for that audience of One, not to make our name great but to make His Name known.

My takeaway was simply courage – finding the courage to pursue a calling I have felt but have not been able to share openly for all the fears listed above.  What was the call you wonder? I wanted to do more writing. Here I was just a week out from this amazing IF: Gathering, already doubting myself when I got the request to write up my experience of the IF weekend. God was indeed confirming my desire.

{This post was written by Kelley Hastings.  Kelley is married to her seminary sweetheart, Eddie, and they have two charming and rowdy boys. Kelley helps lead an adult LifeGroup and serves on the Chets Women’s Bible Study Team. She loves encouraging women to apply the truth of God’s Word and fully use their gifts. Her heart beats fast for infertility issues, adoption, caregivers and, of course, dark chocolate.}