When We Won’t Need Thanksgiving Anymore

I think it’s interesting that we have a season and, specifically, a day: Thanksgiving, set aside to turn our minds toward being grateful. I guess sometimes thankfulness doesn’t come easy.

Like the day my car conked out right on the other side of the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, infuriating hungry people who couldn’t get their food into their mouths fast enough, because they couldn’t get past my car. Honking horns and dirty looks!

I guess they were HANGRY!

But the Bible commands us to be thankful in all things and in all circumstances even the hard ones.

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I think we can all agree with the Bible when it tells us that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:9)

His narrative is:

We have to be last to be first.

We have to die to self in order to live.

God’s thoughts and ways are counter-intuitive to our human logic because He is sinless and selfless. And because of God’s selfless act of sending His Son to die on a cross to save us from our sinful acts, we can choose to have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

When we do, the perspective on our circumstances change.

Every year, I write out a list of what this kind of thankfulness looks like to me. This year, as I am continuing to learn how to  surrender to God’s will,  I’ve added a few more perspective changes to my list:

This year…

I’m thankful for the tooth I cracked because, with God’s help, I overcame my fear of going to the dentist and having it crowned.

I’m thankful for my car breaking down in the middle of the Chick-fil-A drive through, because it taught me that impatience breeds impatience, but kindness opens the door for mercy.

I’m thankful for dirty dishes and stinky laundry, because it reminds me I have food to eat and clothes wear.

I’m thankful when I can’t sleep, because it gives me a quiet space to pray.

I’m thankful for deadlines, because they teach me the discipline of time management.

I am thankful for regrets, because they remind me to seize God-given opportunities.

I am thankful for the problems that I can’t solve, because they bring me to my knees before my Heavenly Father.

I am thankful for humiliation, because it strips me of pridefulness.

I am thankful for the ability to laugh at myself, and laugh hard, because it keeps me from being too serious.

I am thankful for struggles, because they help me reach forward toward my full potential.

I am thankful for my weaknesses, because, in them, God shows me His strength.

I am thankful for hurt feelings, because, through them, I am better able to comfort others who have been in similar situations.

I am thankful for conviction, because it brings me to repentance.

I am thankful for my failures, because that’s how I learn to succeed.

I am thankful in grief, because God is close to a broken heart.

I am thankful for the scars of past sins, because they remind me not to go there again.

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On this side of heaven, we will never fully view this life from the angle God does. But as we pray and study His Word, learning to trust Him–truly trust Him–we can begin to see how His ways actually make sense, and then thankfulness in everything will come as naturally as taking a breath.

And when this happens, we won’t need a “special” day to turn our minds to giving thanks anymore, because everyday will be Thanksgiving. With that being said, however, we will still need a special day to have an excuse to over eat!  Amen?

Hope you have a happy, joy-filled Thanksgiving.


Christy Mobley{This article was written by Christy Mobley. Christy is a girly girl at heart. She has a passion for fashion and decorating which is to say, she loves to shop and move things around her house. She chases tennis balls for recreation and enjoys scavenging the beach for shark teeth. She and husband David of 32 years, are life group leaders and have been at Chets from it’s earliest beginnings. They have two adult sons and two daughter-in-laws. Christy loves sharing God’s Word through writing, speaking and teaching. Check out her personal blog at www.christymobley.com.}

Using the Sword of the Spirit

When Jesus was in the desert being tempted He relied on the Word of God by quoting it and using it as an offensive weapon against spiritual attacks from the enemy. Our Lord was teaching us how important knowing and quoting Scripture is. David said that he hid God’s Word in his heart so that he might not sin (Psalm 119:11). We know that the Word of God is powerful and eternal. We know that it is given to us, to help us, but do we utilize it like we should?13709688_10209480565428220_2088099286_o (1)

When I first started discipleship triads and was presented with memorizing Scripture, I’m sure I was like most people I know thinking, “This is hard; it’s been awhile since I had to memorize (not since college) and how am I going to remember where all the verses are from.” I thought I was in for a challenge, but once I found a method that worked for me, memorizing Scripture became a passion. All that “I can’t do this” talk disappeared and the Holy Spirit opened my mind to how important Scripture is to my walk with God.

As Christians we are taught the importance of putting God’s word in our hearts.

  • Jesus illustrated the importance of Scripture– Scripture was so important to Jesus that He quoted from 24 books roughly 180 times. God calls us to memorize Scripture and in His Word we are constantly told to dwell on it, meditate on it, study it, place it in our heart, teach it, obey it, and talk about it all the time, lest we forget.
  • Scripture renews your mind and it transforms you to be able to discern what is good and pleasing to God. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2. This renewing of the mind is achieved only through the reading and retaining of His powerful Word.
  • It helps us resist temptation, discern the lies of the enemy, live righteously, and be obedient. As Jesus illustrated in the desert, memorizing Scripture gives us a better understanding of God, what He desires from us and for us, how He wants us to live, and what He says about us. God has given us His Word as a weapon to use in spiritual warfare; in fact it is the only offensive weapon on the list.
  • It helps us encourage other believers. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”
  • It allows us to more effectively share the gospel with unbelievers. We don’t always have our Bible handy when witnessing and presenting the message of salvation. God’s Word, unlike ours, has authority and power. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. And in 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to always be prepared to give an answer for our hope in Christ.

There are many methods to memorizing Scripture, but the most important thing to do when you start is not to be self-defeating by saying, “I can’t do this, I ……”  YES YOU CAN DO THIS!! God would not tell us to do something we were not capable of doing. Here are some suggestions and the internet has multiple sites dedicated to helping people learn the best ways to memorize Scripture.

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  • Choose a verse to memorize that speaks to you about something going on in your life right now.
  • Make the verse smaller by breaking it down into 5 words at a time and when you have memorized those five words, add more until you have memorized the entire verse.
  • There is plenty of science behind the fact that we retain information better when we write it down and say it out loud. Always start with the location of the verse and continue to repeat what you have read as many times as it takes to put it to memory.
  • Use different techniques such as drawing pictures, putting the verse to music, writing it on flashcards, stick it on your mirrors or carry it with you.
  • Don’t give up!  Like any new good habit it takes time to develop a system that works for you and with practice anything will become easier.

FullSizeRender (3)I find for me the flashcards work best. Now when I wake up in the morning, I grab my flashcards of God’s Word and promises and I go through them, adding new Scriptures to the old ones I have memorized. All day long, as I go through the day, I can apply the verses I know to help me with temptation, obedience, trusting God, to give me hope, and to discern lies from the enemy. Just as important, I can recall Scripture to help others in their time of need. I find peace in my struggles and hope in the midst of it.  Start small – one verse – anyway that works best for you. You will never regret it and I know it will change your life.


This post IMG_3250was written by Chelly Brown, a disciple of Jesus and leader of the Chets Women Transform Ministry. Chelly is also a mom of four young men and grandmother to three adorable preschoolers – all boys!  She stays active by taking care of the little ones and attending her teenage sons’ band performances and baseball games. Her superhero power is tap dancing and she will never turn down a fishing trip.

 

When You Are Called To A Great Work

Three years ago Lisa Wolff’s quiver was full. She had everything she could possibly want with two precious girls, a husband, 2 cats, 2 dogs, a large house and a good job.

God calls usShe was content.

Until, God broke her heart.

Not in the sense of hurt feelings, but in the sense of a call.

A call her heart felt burdened to undertake yet one she didn’t feel equipped to take on.

 

It wasn’t a call she requested and it wasn’t one that she necessarily wanted.

When Lisa first heard God whisper, a hundred questions raced through her mind. Questions about safety, finances, her marriage, her age.

But bathing her fears in prayer, she remained faithful and stayed the course.

Why?

Because God called her to a great work.

Approximately 2,500 years ago, around 445 BC God also broke the heart of an unsuspecting guy named Nehemiah. He called Nehemiah to do a great thing amidst some impossible odds.

Nehemiah was in service to the king of Persia when God called him to rebuild the city wall of Jerusalem. He got word from Judah that his people were in danger and it broke his heart (Nehemiah 1:4). But what could he do? A king’s servant doesn’t simply ask for time off. He could have ignored the burden on his heart but he didn’t. Nehemiah bathed his burden in prayer and King Artaxerxes not only gave him time off to go, he made him governor to the Jerusalem province as well.

When God breaks our heart for His plan, He builds us a path to His purpose.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (NIV)

Once in Jerusalem, Nehemiah worked diligently to complete his task.

In Nehemiah 6:3, he reminds us of his resolve when he says, “…I am doing a great work and cannot go down.” (ESV)

Although he was chided by trouble makers and his life was threatened by enemies he stood firm and did not come down off the wall until it was finished and the city of Jerusalem was safe.

Why did he bother?

Because Nehemiah was called to do a great work.

On Tuesday January 19, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. my friend Lisa Wolff and husband Dylan will add four more to their “Wolff pack. The adoption of Chance, Sean, Makenzie, and Ashten will be complete.

Lisa’a heart broke three years ago when she heard that after the death of their mother and being abandoned by their father, these siblings would be separated if put up for traditional adoption. So God called her to make a choice. Trust Him and stand firm or turn her head and walk away.

After much prayer Lisa and Dylan together chose option one.

During this three-year process this couple faced obstacles, objections and opposition and at times feared for the safety of their family.

Making this decision to take on these extra children has strapped Lisa and Dylan’s finances, their time, and emotional reserve. The children were left with nothing—clothes had to be purchased, school arrangements had to be made and the trauma of blending two families left wounds that needed to be healed.

But Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide), has done just that. He has come to their aid with people, protection, provision and purpose.

God doesn’t just call us, He makes a way for the call.

He doesn’t leave us on the side of the road empty. He helps us in all things, through all things, to do all things He has ordained us to do.

It matters not that we think we can’t. It only matters that we believe God can.

And when God sets a plan in motion, no obstacle, naysayer, or circumstance can stop it.

The Wolff six-pack

The Wolff six-pack 

What is God calling you to today that’s breaking your heart? And what are you going do about it?

Seriously.

Scripture tells us we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

Nehemiah built a wall and reaped the protection and the esteem of God’s people.

And what about Lisa?

“Her children rise up and call her blessed…” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)

It makes me wonder, what will I reap?

How about you?

 


Christy Mobley

{This article was written by Christy Mobley. Christy is a girly girl at heart. She has a passion for fashion and decorating which is to say, she loves to shop and move things around her house. She chases tennis balls for recreation and enjoys scavenging the beach for shark teeth. She and husband David of 32 years, are life group leaders and have been at Chets from it’s earliest beginnings. They have two adult sons and two daughter-in-laws. Christy loves sharing God’s Word through writing, speaking and teaching. Check out her personal blog at www.christymobley.com.}

Mother’s Day: “In Christ Alone”

This past Sunday, May 10th, 2015, was Mother’s Day. To be perfectly honest, it started exactly same as all of my other Sundays. I got up with my three kids around 6:30 in the morning and made them breakfast. As precious and dear as my children are, there was a significant amount of whining that morning over the type of breakfast being served and the vessel it was being served in.

My husband, Will, awoke from his slumber when the noise level began to escalate. He separated the older two into their rooms and individually gave them a good ol’ fashion talkin’ to. From the back of the house I could hear him say, “It’s Mother’s Day today. That means no crying allowed, got it? Now go out there and tell your mother Happy Mother’s Day and that you love her.”

The day started to look up from there. They both came out of their rooms with happy, smiling faces and immediately got out the crayons and coloring paper to make me a card. Whether this act of kindness was their own idea or whether my husband threatened them with their life if they did not “get out there and make something immediately” will never be known. All I know is that I got some pretty adorable, homemade Mother’s Day cards out of the deal.

We spent the next two hours scurrying around the house getting ready to leave for church. I often find myself chuckling over the irony of getting my family ready to walk out the door for church on a Sunday morning. With three young children under the age of five, it can be rather hectic, to say the least.

Once we arrived at church we dropped the kids off at their classes. I would like to take this moment to thank the kind and committed volunteers in the Chets preschool ministry! Thank you! Will and I retired from the preschool ministry about a year and a half ago when it dawned on us that our home is, in essence, a preschool ministry these days. We moved up to the middle school ministry and now serve there as Life Group leaders; Will for the seventh grade boys and me for the sixth grade girls.

After middle school Life Group was over, we went upstairs to the third floor to watch the special Mother’s Day game the middle school youth pastor, Jeff Bedwell, had planned for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders before their worship service began. For those of you who don’t know, middle school has their very own worship service called OVERFLOW.

The game was perfect for the brain of a middle school aged kid. On one side of the room there were two, three-person teams operating giant sling shots, like the kind you see in a massive water balloon fight. Only they weren’t launching water balloons; they were launching baby dolls through the air to a “catcher” on the other side of the room. If said catcher caught a baby doll, they had to run it back to a table where another team mate was waiting with a Styrofoam cup and a gallon of milk. For every baby doll brought to the table, they had to chug a cup full of milk. Needless to say, it was hilarious and ridiculous. Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a fleet of baby dolls being violently catapulted through the air.

After the game, Will and I retreated downstairs to make our way over to the “grownup” worship service. As we were leaving the middle school wing, we ran into all of the families who had just finished with the Baby Dedication on the main stage. They were being herded out the back of the worship center for some photo ops and fellowship. Naturally, all of the families and their wee ones were absolutely precious in their coordinating outfits and Sunday best.

I couldn’t help but take note in the stark contrast between the way middle schoolers celebrate Mother’s Day and the way actual mothers celebrate Mother’s Day. Imagine the shock if the two were accidentally switched and Pastor Spike was sling-shotting real infants up into the balcony for Baby Dedication Sunday. It certainly makes for a good mental picture, doesn’t it?

When we finally made our way to the sanctuary, I was excited to hear the song “In Christ Alone” being sung by the praise team and congregation. Hands down, this is my favorite worship song.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My comforter, my All in All,

Hear in the love of Christ I stand!

The sermon that followed was wonderful and very appropriate for Mother’s Day. Pastor Spike focused on the parable Jesus told in the book of Luke, Chapter 18, verses 1-8; the one about the persistent widow who went before the corrupt judge to seek justice against her unknown adversary. As the story shows, this widow had several praiseworthy characteristics. She was a very determined woman who loved, protected and took care of her family, never giving up hope that, one day, justice would be served. Pastor Spike used this Biblical example to illustrate Godly characteristics of a faithful, modern-day mom; a mom who trusts in the Lord, is persistent in prayer, has a walk of faith, lives with integrity, provides security, makes provision, practices a life of worship and who shows love to her children through encouraging words as well as through discipline. My favorite line from the lesson that day was, “Sometimes a parent has to do the hard thing so their kids will do the right thing.” How very true.

I left the worship center that day feeling proud of my “Mom” title and inspired to live out my role as a mother the way God would want me to. For the remainder of the day, I also had the words of “In Christ Alone” echoing through my head. After all, it is In Christ Alone that I am a Mother. He created me and provided a husband for me. Together, He blessed us with three little, adorable and rather rambunctious munchkins.

It is In Christ Alone that I have the energy and strength to wake up each and every day and care for my family.

It is In Christ Alone that I live a life of thanksgiving and joy, even when my circumstances say otherwise.

Although my spouse and my children show their love for me on a daily basis, I feel most cherished and most worthy In Christ Alone; in what he did for me on that cross.

It is In Christ Alone that God can look upon me and see a holy, righteous and blameless person despite all of my sin and failures as a Mom… a wife… a human being.

Lastly, it is In Christ Alone that I have confident hope in knowing that, even when this life on earth ends for both me and my family, it will really only just be getting started. Whew! Thank God for that!

Even if your Mother’s Day, like mine, wasn’t overly glamorous or exciting according to the standards of our culture, I hope and pray you were able to rest as a Mom in the love, the hope, the peace and the joy that comes from Christ alone.


{This article was written by Katie Roseborough. Katie has been married for 10 years to her wonderful husband Will and is a full time mom to three amazing, crazy and hilarious children that keep her busy and laughing every second of every day. She is a part-time Physical Therapist who has a special love for her elderly patients. She loves Jesus and serves in the Middle School Ministry at Chets Creek Church. Her most favorite activities include eating, watching movies and swimming in a pool!}

Image is Everything

Photo Mar 10, 1 51 31 PMImage is everything. For so many women, and especially our generation of girls, this statement controls our lives. It dictates what we say, what we wear, what we eat, what we post on Instagram or Facebook, how we treat others, whom we choose to be friends with, and so on. Few of us get through a day without some thought of our image, of how others perceive us. One of my own very personal struggles is the struggle to be content with the woman God designed me to be—with my own unique gifts, abilities, and flaws—without fear or concern of how someone else will perceive or judge me. Why is this such a heart-wrenching struggle for us? Unfortunately, it begins in the hearts of girls at a young age, and without the pouring-in of God’s truth and love, it can get ugly…fast.

Seventy-five percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or eating disorders. Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are 4 times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they’ve ended up regretting later. Seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members (11 Facts About Teens). Beginning around the age of 10, girls become aware of and feel that they can’t measure up to unrealistic society standards.   THE AGE OF 10!! And it doesn’t stop here. With more and more girls upholding society and the media as moral compasses, consequently, we are entering womanhood emotionally bruised. And we say to others, “I don’t care what you think of me!” but, oh, how we do! As women, we must be image-bearers of Christ to our girls. We must help them to see that they are created in the image of our Father, and that it is only HIS standards we should seek to emulate.

Photo Mar 10, 1 50 04 PMI have lived most of my life in fear of judgment, in turmoil about what others might think of me. I have made poor choices, compromised values, sacrificed virtue…all in the name of pursuing approval of others, including those I don’t even know. The things we do for acceptance! You want to know how that’s worked out for me? Sleepless nights, broken hearts, wounded relationships, migraines, stress, physical exhaustion…it’s hard keeping up with the Joneses! So, here’s the deal…God’s truth tells us that we’ve already been accepted, not only accepted, but CHOSEN, HAND-PICKED by our Father: “But you are a CHOSEN people, a ROYAL priesthood, a holy nation, God’s SPECIAL possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). What’s so cool is that we are all broken, but God chooses us in that state! He loves us as we are. He stands ready to embrace our brokenness and heal us if we will be real with Him and let go of our self-made image. The Gospel of John tells us that “He must become greater and greater and [we] must become less and less” (3:30). Our image should be driven more by who GOD is and less by who WE are.

Photo Feb 04, 6 27 13 PMI’m broken. You’re broken. Everyone is broken in some way. But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus wants to bring healing to us, healing that allows us to use our brokenness for His glory. And as He reveals His image to us more and more, we can reflect His goodness, love, and mercy to the girls in our shadows who are desperately seeking a holy standard with which to align their hearts. We must reflect an image that is worth emulating.

So image IS everything. It’s our reflection of our Father’s image that influences the world for Jesus. And isn’t bringing Jesus to the world everything?

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?                                      Mark 8:36-37

Source:

“11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem.” DoSomething.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.


{This post was written by April Tapp.  April is an Arkansas girl who is enjoying her newly transplanted life in sunny Florida.  She is married to Jeff, the Minister to Students at Chets Creek Church.  April has taken on a role to minister specifically to our young girls.  Jeff and April have two boys that keep April on her toes, especially when their fun involves surfing (read: sharks), skateboards, and high speeds.  She loves her Keurig, writing, teaching, and you’ll always see her in a great pair of earrings. If you’d like more info about Chets Students, check out http://hodges.chetscreek.com/students}

Psalm 1 – Blessings and Warnings for the New Year

Psalms is a fascinating book. Not only is it one of the most widely read books by Christians, but it is commonly quoted by non-Christians as well. Psalms are scattered throughout the lyrics of some of our favorite songs, and are routinely recited at weddings and funerals.  Jesus himself frequently weaves words from Psalms into his teaching and dialogue. Each Psalm is a divinely inspired response from people to God, expressing a wide range of emotions. So, let me invite you to journey with me through one of the chapters to help us set our course for 2015.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Psalm ONE.

[1] Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

[2] but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

[3] He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

[4] The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

[5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

[6] for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)

Focus on Psalm 1:1 for a moment.  The book hits the ground running with some profound words.  Blessing (to be highly favored by divine grace) is presented with three warnings:

  1. Who are you listening to? The Psalm writer says a person is blessed when he or she does not walk “in the counsel of the wicked.” Stop and think. What counsel are you listening to that affects how you spend your day, your time, your resources? Say, Pinterest? Maybe Facebook? If you are like me, I am constantly having to shut off the voices of American consumerism. To reach revenue targets, businesses spend millions in advertising trying to bring discontentment to you and me in order to create interest in …body image …business success …possessions …achievements – fill in the blank.  Are your goals for 2015 shaped by these voices? Maybe its other unhealthy chatter you need to stop listening to. In either case, the writer of this Psalm is warning us to be mindful of the source of counsel that shapes our walk.
  2. Who are you surrounding yourself with?  The second warning immediately follows the first. The psalmist says, one is blessed when we do not “stand in the way of sinners.” The action of standing in the way is not like a basketball strategy to form a wall to block a shot. Instead, it means that one is following a path (or lifestyle) of poor behavior.  A friend of mine in life group often reminds her son, “Boy, you hang around dogs, you’ll get fleas.” Yes, who and what you surround yourself with affects your thoughts, emotions, decisions. I’m not saying to keep yourself in a holy bubble – we are to be light in a dark world. The Psalm writer is expressing the fact that saturating yourself in a repeated lifestyle that looks to glorify someone or something other than God leads to misery, not blessedness.
  3. What are you doing that needs to stop?  Look at the third warning…”nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” People who are sitting stay a while; they’re committed to their company.  To sit with scoffers (those who outright stand against God) is the end result of first listening to ungodly counsel.  You join someone who – by their own volition – chooses not to believe in God or the Bible. In addition, they ridicule those who do follow God. The Bible warns us to be careful who we abide with. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (ESV). Perhaps you are not sitting with scoffers, but maybe you are doing something to hinder your faith rather than to re-new it.

Take a minute to evaluate what are you listening to, who are you surrounding yourself with, and what are you doing that needs to change.

As you reflect, don’t think that I’m leaving you saddled with problems you weren’t thinking about a few minutes ago. Continue again to verse two. [Blessed is the man whose] “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Saturating your life with God’s Word brings refreshment, joy, strength, peace, and closeness with our Lord. Rather than the voices of the world shaping 2015, let’s meditate on God’s word together. How? Glad you asked.

Here are a few practical next steps for Chets Women:

  1. Participate in the If:Gathering – On March 6-7, watch powerful speakers and testimonies in the comfort of a family room setting with other Chets Women. We like to call it a stay-at-home retreat where you can grow closer to God with your LifeGroup ladies, friends, and/or ministry teams. This two-day event will lead and challenge us to grow and join God where He is moving in the lives of women all over the globe. Interested in hosting or want to learn more? Join us for a quick info meeting after church this Sunday on January 25th (room 219).
  2. Join a Bible Study – Studies kick off February 2nd and are offered on Monday nights, Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings (through Life U) – all with free childcare. Dive into a topic or a book of the bible with other women and be prepared to leave changed for the good. For a list of studies and to register, click here: http://hodges.chetscreek.com/women/bible-studies
  3. Join a weekly prayer gathering – Praying Fit, Praying Moms, and Prayer Team Gatherings are starting the first week of February. We are zeroing in and taking aim; praying to bring change in our families, marriages, workplaces, and ministry. If you have a passion for prayer and love to connect with others, we need you. Learn more: http://hodges.chetscreek.com/women/bible-studies
  4. Start a discipleship triad – Growing in your relationship with God takes commitment, but it also takes encouragement. When three women gather each week to dig into God’s word using discipleship tools, transformation takes place. To learn more visit http://chetscreek.com/women/transform/ or participate in the How to Start a Discipleship Triad class on Monday nights OR Tuesday mornings starting February 2nd and 3rd.

So, are you needing wise counsel or some spiritual friends to help you pay attention to God? Get involved in the many of the ways Chets Women “meditate on the law of the Lord.” We are praying for you…and we’ll save you a seat near the stream of living water.


{This post was written by Susan Freese. Susan is married to her college sweetheart, Brett, and they have two perpetually joyful little men. In 2006, she left her corporate career to answer the call to serve in the women’s ministry through Chets Creek Church. She also co-founded All In Ministries International to serve women across the world. Susan is passionate to see women know Christ and be changed by Him in a way that will change the world.}

Katie’s Story

I’m not going to just serve anymore.   Before you judge me, read until the end and decide if you will stop just serving too. I’m not saying serving is a bad thing to do, I’m just suggesting another way of thinking about it. There’s more to serving… here’s my story and the event that happened that has changed me.

I grew up in church. I watched my dad serve as a deacon and Sunday School teacher; my mom served by providing meals and ice cream at our church fellowships (yes, you might guess… I grew up Baptist and we ate a lot!). As I got older, it became my turn to serve. I kept the nursery, led some youth groups, and took meals to the sick. You know, the usual. Serving was a family tradition.

Over time, I began to view service as an act of worship. And that hasn’t changed for me. I spend time serving in the preschool and special needs ministries at Chets. Sometimes I am with children who are able to understand the spiritual lessons of God’s creation and His love for us, but often the work is rather ordinary. Nevertheless, I am convinced that every diaper changed, every lego picked up, every snack provided, and every baby rocked is as much an act of worship as the lessons taught (Colossians 3:23-24).

I agree with Rick Warren who teaches that we are created to serve God. The Bible confirms this truth. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). In addition, serving is also rewarded. Hebrews 6:10 says “ God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (NIV).

So if serving for me is tradition, worship, and rewarded, aren’t those all good reasons I should serve? The fundamental word here is should. I don’t know about you, but the word should just does something to me. And that something is called guilt! Not healthy guilt related to godly sorrow, but destructive guilt that leads to self-condemnation, and distorted thinking. The “shoulds” related to serving have “wiggled” into my thinking attempting to rob me of the joy of service and the blessings.

But God very lovingly dealt with me on this issue. Last Fall, I agreed to facilitate one of the Tuesday morning women’s Bible studies. My motives were not should-driven, but rather a Yes-response to God’s prompting. Our study was on the book of Esther. If you are familiar with the story, you know that a very pivotal moment is when Esther has to make a decision. She is either going to participate in God’s plan to rescue the Jews from destruction, or His plan would be accomplished another way. Mordecai says to Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” (Esther 4:14, NIV). Esther indeed gave God a Yes-response to His prompting, and through her willingness to participate she received tha blessing of witnessing God’s plan unfold.

During the study of Esther, I experienced the blessing of seeing God’s plan unfold in the life of a beautiful young lady in the class. Katie had moved to Jacksonville for the purpose of awaiting a double lung transplant. We had met the previous Spring while members of another women’s study at Chets. Katie always had a bounce in her step. I never heard her complain about carrying the oxygen tank or her illness. When she entered the room, it always seemed brighter. Her smile was contagious. As I got to know her, I learned that she was godly young lady, seeking Him in all her life. When she came to the Esther study I was facilitating, I was thrilled to have her as a member. I knew she would be a blessing to the group.

About four weeks into the study of Esther, as I was driving my daughter to school, we were preparing to say our prayers, as is our custom. I sensed a prompting from God to pray specifically for Katie. I knew she had been waiting a couple of years for her transplant, and I felt God leading me to pray specifically for her and her transplant. I told my daughter about Katie and we prayed. Two days later, I hear from Katie. She had received the call from Mayo. The time of transplant had arrived. Now, let me be clear. There was nothing magical about my prayer. Neither God nor Katie needed me to pray. His plan was already in place whether I participated or not. But like Esther, God blessed me by allowing me to witness His work. Had I not participated in the Spring Bible study, had I not agreed to facilitate the Fall study, both my daughter and I would have missed out on watching His plans unfold.

So now, I no longer agree to serve… I choose to participate! I choose to participate because I know that whether His plan is revealed to me or not, my yes-response puts me in position to be a part of His work. As Mordecai told Esther, and I paraphrase…. “with or without you, God’s plan will prevail”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out! God’s plan is exciting. I don’t want to spoil a future post here, but Katie is doing amazing!

The double-blessing here is that through this experience God has relieved me from those feelings of guilt associated with the “shoulds” of service. Recently, we have had several unavoidable times in which we have been out of town and I was not able to serve on Sunday mornings as usual. Instead of feeling the guilt associated with not serving, I now feel a sense of longing to return to the areas of service God has allowed me to participate in. I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do! How about you?


{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.}