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Ryan Koesel: Spiritual Health Transformed

 

In his search for happiness, Ryan Koesel turned to chasing after money, glamor and fame. These worldly tokens gave him a temporary yet fleeting happiness. Through biblical community, seeking the Lord and God’s grace, Ryan’s spiritual health was transformed.

“I am now transformed by the renewing of my mind and no longer controlled by the patterns of this world,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s father left when he was eight years old and he began turning to food to fill the void. His mother began taking Ryan and his brother to church in search of God. From then on her life was different. Pastor Harold Meaux took Ryan under his wing, making sure to include him in activities and connecting him with mentors. At 13 years old, Ryan became a Christian.

“I ultimately found healing in knowing my mom now had peace in the Lord and seeing that I wanted it as well,” Ryan said. “I eventually experienced that peace in coming to know Jesus.”

After becoming a Christian the fight began in Ryan’s life. He had one foot in the world and one reluctantly in the kingdom. In 2001 Ryan lived in Nashville, Tennessee and began working in the country music industry. Contracted to work on recording studio design and ambiance, Ryan had an all access pass to movie premiers, meet and greets and the best parties in the industry. Living on a bus for months at a time made partying all the more easy. The rich and famous lifestyle had a hold of Ryan. The more money he made, the more successful he felt.

“I kept chasing after money, partying, glamor and fame,” Ryan said. “The world promised all of these things would make me happy. In turn they did, but eventually they failed me in every way. In God’s grace, He was there all along the way placing Godly people as guideposts and reminders to turn back to Him.”

At the end of the day, Ryan would find himself falling on his face, crying out to God. This emptiness led Ryan back God and he began attending church with his family again. From there he was connected with a young adult home group. His life turned from one rooted in greed, debauchery and pleasure, to one rooted in God’s word, love and grace.

“This is what I like to refer to as the snowball effect in my life,” Ryan said. “Through experiencing true biblical community God grew my appetite in his word and he also showed me how he wanted me to change, how he gifted me in his spirit. This snowball of grace that I was experiencing kept picking up critical mass as God kept showing me what I was gifted in.”

God grew him in this community and Ryan began to see his love for God and His people. Ryan learned of his spiritual gift for teaching and began leading small groups. During a study on Nehemiah, his small group began praying for each other and the vision God had for each of them. It was then that Ryan began to see God’s plan for him to serve vocationally. After seeking counsel, praying and fasting Ryan applied to seminary and moved to Texas to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now Ryan serves as the Single Adults and Single Parents Minister and leads Celebrate Recovery at Cottonwood Creek.

“While at times seemingly tough and dark, God in turn used my childhood as a product of a single parent home, my divorce and poor lifestyle choices to now relate and minister to where God has me serving,” Ryan said.

While Ryan was trying to turn away from sin, he was still missing something. It wasn’t working for him and he still struggles with it today. Working through Celebrate Recovery, Ryan routinely finds his character defects and replace them with what God has for him.

“Ironically the most painful, whether emotional or physical, moments have led to my spiritual healing,” Ryan said. “It forced me to lean on Him more and grew my faith, rather than trust my own feelings and understanding of what I was suffering through.”

 


James 1:5-8: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

 


 Watch John Mark's message on Spiritual Health Transformed.

 

17th Annual Fun with the Son

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Members of the Cottonwood Creek family have delivered school supplies and the gospel to east McKinney residents in need for the past 17 years through the Fun with the Son event. Fun with the Son prepares low-income students and families for the upcoming school year by providing for their physical and spiritual needs.

On August 17, 2014, 260 families came to Old City Park in McKinney and participated in a fun morning filled with games, balloon animals and a live concert. 350 volunteers passed out 1200 backpacks filled with school supplies, making it one of the most successful years in its history.

“The Word of God told us that we are supposed to be in the world but not of the world,” Cottonwood Creek Deacon Al Hewitt said. “It gives us an opportunity to share, to be able to give truth back to the people and to be able to help them.”

After running a needs assessment, each family was then directed to the different service areas. Children received eye and dental exams free of charge from local doctors. Two tables stacked a foot high with prescriptions glasses were available for those who needed updated lenses. The amount of glasses donated for this year’s event was so abundant that participants had many frames to choose from. Three hair stylists and two barbers also set up shop and gave the students fresh haircuts to start the new school year. The line for their services wrapped down the hallway and out the door.

Each year participants can bring their bikes to the event to be serviced at the repair station. ReCycles McKinney, a Texas-based 501c3 organization whose mission is to “re-cycle” bikes within the community and give back to those who need them, along with other volunteers, serviced the bikes this year. When a young boy brought his bike in that couldn’t be repaired a member of Cottonwood Creek stepped up and met his need.

“A young gentleman brought in his bike,” Randy Hancock, founder of ReCycles McKinney, said. “His 12” tire needed to be repaired and unfortunately we did not bring the stuff with us to do that today. We had a member of Cottonwood Creek provide us with a brand new, or almost new, bike. It’s going to be great to see this young guy and hopefully we can share the gospel with him while we are doing it and show him what Jesus can do in his life.”

This gospel centered event is about more than meeting the needs that each student has for the school year, but meeting his needs for the rest of his life. Volunteers take the time to sit down with each participant and present the gospel. By the end of the morning, gospel presenters were able to lead 144 participants in professions of faith.

“We are commanded to go out and give. Not just sit in the world and do nothing, but to do like Christ did,” Hewitt said. “To get out there in the world, share the truth, tell them about the forgiveness of sins and what eternal life looks like. To be salt and light to people. That is what we are here to do and that is what we will continue to do as long as God allows it.”

 

Nick Cobb

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Nick Cobb was on his way to achieving everything he had hoped for as a successful high school athlete until a sports injury left him suffocating underneath a pile of standards and expectations.

As an athlete since the age of six, Nick learned early that winning made him feel good. In his mind, he equated happiness and joy with success. The harder that Nick worked, the more he accomplished and the happier he became with himself.

“I was always taught to be humble, but in my head I told myself that I was superior to those around me,” Nick said. “I became consumed with the idea of winning and earning the praise of my peers.”

Heading into his junior year with two wrestling state championships and a spot on the Allen High School Varsity Football Team, Nick knew it was going to be another year of success. However, a few games into the season, Nick suffered a severe ankle sprain.

“I told myself that it was just temporary and that I’d be back in a couple of weeks,” Nick said. “I wasn’t. I began to grow frustrated with the situation and myself for not heeling soon enough.”

The week before he was able to return to the field, the Eagles lost a season ending playoff game. With little time in between to recover from the loss, Nick had to turn his complete focus towards wrestling. Nick began to break mentally under the pressure when he had to get his weight down for wrestling two days after the season ended.

“I figured I could handle it since I had already accomplished so much on my own,” Nick said. “I was being crushed under the weight of the standards I had set for myself as well as the expectations of those around me.”

Nick took an interest in Christianity during his sophomore year, but he pushed it aside when he earned a spot on the varsity football team. What little he had invested in Christianity was soon gone. Not able to logically prove that God existed, Nick told himself that God was not real. Knowing that he could not tell his family and girlfriend his beliefs, Nick went through the motions of attending church and acting like a good Christian, all while the pride he had in himself secretly grew inside.

“Success had become something I basically worshipped, my false idol,” Nick said. “Then God chose my junior year to humble me.”

Lack of faith in God turned into a bitterness and anger towards Him. Late at night, when Nick was alone with his thoughts, ideas of no longer existing and being forgotten filled his mind. He would wake up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and unable to escape immense feeling of helplessness. Winning another state championship in wrestling that year did not feel the void that was suddenly in his life.

“Something began to happen to me at church,” Nick said. “I still didn’t want anything out of the idea of God, but I began being moved to the point of tears almost weekly at church. I was truly struggling to push away whatever these things were I was feeling.”

At the end of the year Nick decided to go to Beach Camp. The promise of good food, hanging out on the beach with his girlfriend and not having to go to wrestling camp may have gotten Nick to camp, but he experienced a lot more while he was there. He resisted the sermons and worship all that he could until he grew tired of fighting the feelings inside.

“I finally saw everything clearly,” Nick said. “I saw how stubborn, how consumed in my pride and how broken I truly was. Despite how I had no desire for him, how I had resented him, Jesus softened my heart and found a way in.”

Once he gave up the fight to resist and gave his life over, the feelings of helplessness and anger were gone. It was the most satisfying feeling he had ever experienced. God lifted the weight of expectations of others and himself off of Nick’s back. In the end, Nick learned two life changing lessons.

“First, no matter how hard you try, you will never be permanently satisfied by worldly things,” Nick said. “Only Jesus will permanently satisfy your soul. Second, give all the glory to God because your success is only a gift from him.”

Seven Practices

 

Bible as our Sole Authority

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,..." 2 Timothy 3:16

Since God's Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is "What does the Bible say?" We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.

Autonomy of Each Local Church

"And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." Colossians 1:18

Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control. In relating to our "daughter churches" that we sponsor, we encourage each congregation to determine it's own strategy, structure, and style.

Priesthood of Every Believer

"...and He has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father;..." Revelation 1:6a

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light;..." 1 Peter 2:9

The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to "full time" Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.

Tithing

"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." Leviticus 27:30

At Cottonwood Creek we practice tithing for the support of Christ's body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the Biblical standard of giving.

Immersion

"...having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." Colossians 2:12

We practice baptism by immersion under water - the way Jesus was baptized, and the way the Bible commands.

Spirit-Led Living

(Jesus said), "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God's power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God's Spirit to enable us to do what is right. Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 5:18

Telling Others About Christ

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15

It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those with whom God brings us into contact. We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to church.

 

Statement of Faith

In Essential Beliefs

We have UNITY - "There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-6

In Non-Essential Beliefs

We have LIBERTY - "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. ...Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ... So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. ... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God." Romans 14:1,4,12,22.

In All Our Beliefs

We show CHARITY "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2

 

 

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Cottonwood Creek Church // 1015 Sam Rayburn Tollway, Allen, TX 75013 // 972-359-7777 © 2017