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2014 Praise Report

Dear Church Family,

 

 

As you look through the pages of this Praise Report, my prayer is that you are reminded of the amazing things God did through the ministries and mission of Cottonwood Creek in 2014. The sum total of all the blessings we experienced as a church in 2014, were greater than any year before.

 

 

In 2014, more of our Cottonwood Creek members served locally, nationally and internationally than in any year before. However, it wasn’t just seeing the people of Cottonwood Creek serve and go more, we also sent more than we ever have before. Early last year, a large contingent of our congregation left to plant a church in Melissa. That church is now the second largest church in Melissa and it is thriving and growing.

 

We forged partnerships in Baltimore to see more churches planted in the inner city than had been planted in the last 24 years combined. This year will bring more opportunities for us to further our ministry impact in Baltimore. Plus, our partnerships in Kenya and the Dominican Republic are flourishing.

 

As we look back on 2014, we can surely pray as Paul did in Ephesians 3:20, which says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

 

In conclusion, let me ask you to do three things:

  1. Look at the Praise Report and celebrate what God did in 2014.
  2. Remember how and when you contributed your time and resources that  made such a great year possible.
  3. Join me in committing your time, talents and resources to make  2015 amazing.

 

Your Pastor,

John Mark

 

View The Report

The Gift 2014

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The Gift is a Sunday morning devoted totally to being On Mission @ Cottonwood Creek. We cancel our normal Sunday morning small group Bible Study and dedicate the entire morning to missions.

On Sunday, November 16 over 1,300 people came together to be On Mission. Opportunities included serving with:

  • Operation Christmas Child
    Packing shoe boxes with gifts for children across the world. What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal. By packing a box, participants became a part of changing children's lives all over the world in Jesus' Name. 961 Operation Christmas Child boxes were collected. Learn more about Operation Christmas Child here.
  • Seed Packing 
    Volunteers created vegetable garden packs. They labeled the vegetable envelopes, filled them with seeds, sorted and ended with harvest packs boxed and ready to send. Our efforts will provide 12,000 new farms in Africa. 28,000 seeds were packed!
  • Meal Packing 
    159,000 meals were packed this year. These meals will be taken to the Dominican Republic and mission teams will help distribute this aid next year.
  • Pink Heart Fund
    Pink Heart Fund provides free wigs for children and adults who have lost their hair due to illness or cancer treatment. At least 8 inches of hair was required to donate. 25 pony tails were donated.
  • Give Blood
    Carter Blood Care set up a blood drive and 87 people donated.
  • The Gift Canned Food Drive
    We partnered with Community Food Pantry of McKinney to collect canned food. 1,638 cans of food were donated.
  • Angel Tree
    Over 95 Angels were adopted from the Angel Tree this year.

 


 

The Gift Testimonies

The Gift not only touched the lives of those received the food, blood, seeds, gifts and hair, but those who volunteered. Below are some of the testimonies of service from The Gift.


I did experience a “God Moment” last Sunday. Ever since I have accepted Christ, I have always remained open to those in need. Helping homeless or helpless in the inner city with a meal or assisting someone broken down on the side of the road are some things I have always felt compelled to do. But missionary work has been something that I’ve shied away from because of a real fear of displacement. I was not willing to step out of my comfort zone. Sure, serving at home was okay but I never wanted to travel abroad to another country where I wouldn’t know the culture and would probably fear for my family’s safety.

After hearing the testimonies from the various different organizations, God revealed something to me that was very obvious. If He loved me enough to sacrifice His only son so that I could spend eternity with Him, how could I have any fear for my well being? Sure, I could tromp through an African rainforest and be captured and killed by the very people I was trying to disciple but that fear is no longer relevant. Brings to mind Romans 8:35-39:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

-Kevin Sears


What a joy to fill seeds with a family from Gain. I think the Anderson's. My envelopes were filled by a precious 2 year old little girl named Olive. She had four siblings including a sister that was adopted from Ethiopia. Her name was Elsa!

We talked about where the seeds were going and how they would be used. A precious experience seeing these kids serve and already understand what it means to give of yourself for others.

Thank you CCBC for this opportunity to serve!!

-Denise Fransisco


God used John Wedemeyer’s testimony at a previous deacons meeting and The Gift to call me to “GO” on the DR mission trip this year. So, I’m making plans!!!

-Craig Cravey


I have a touch of arthritis in my hands and wrists. I am in my 85th year but an amazing thing happened...

I started with opening one bag at a time for the tomato seeds to be tossed in by another volunteer sitting opposite me. Another volunteer sitting by me had the same speed until an 'Angel' directed my hand in such a way that I was opening 3:1! In fact the seeds had to linger much less poised in another volunteers hand which, was also aged like mine.

I feel this exercise was a blessing in disguise for both of us. I must tell this to my arthritis class at the Sr. Center. God's ways are hard to understand, perhaps that would be an invitation for some of my class mates to join my beloved Church!

-Nimma Mullens


Our home group signed up to serve by meal packaging together. It was really neat to serve alongside them and continue our fellowship out at lunch together. Every time we get together I am thankful for the Transform Campaign and the ways we are still impacted after it ended. The Gift was just one of those ways I was impacted and I hope we can find more ways through the church and local opportunities to give back.

-Michelle Gallimore

 


To learn more about how you can take part in The Gift 2015, click here.

 

Ron Shrock: Emotional Health Transformed

Ron Shrock lived a double life. On the outside Ron was an easy going, yes-man that was always available. On the inside, Ron was constantly worried about his reputation and exhausted from over committing himself. The emotional despair Ron

“I am a grateful believer in Christ who struggles with co-dependency and people pleasing,” Ron said. “I introduce myself that way because for years I was enslaved to what other people thought of me. That took a tremendous toll on me. I always thought that if people knew the real me they would not want anything to do with me.”

Afraid of rejection, he became a yes-man and people pleaser.  Ron constantly worried about him looked in other people’s eyes. Never wanting to rock the boat or tarnish his reputation, Ron went above and beyond to accommodate everyone. Over time he found that he was over committing himself due to his inability to say no to people’s requests. After committing he would suddenly regret having said yes. The burden of these commitments began wearing him down.

“You end up telling lies right?” Ron said. “Instead of being truthful and saying what is going on, you only address the positive and make it sound like you have it all together.”

The pressure began taking a toll on a lot of Ron’s relationships and he needed a way out. Ron sought out the help of a counselor and joined Celebrate Recovery at Cottonwood Creek. It was there that he discovered a secret he had been keeping was the root of the issue.

“I had been sexually abused as a child and I had told no one,” Ron said. “I was never willing share or let anyone know because I thought if anyone ever knew about that, that they would reject me and not want anything to do with me. I never realized the connection between that life event and how it shaped my personality. This is what we call a character defect in Celebrate Recovery.”

Ron went through Celebrate Recovery’s 12 step program and transformation took place in his life as he ruled out all of his character defects. He was able to forgive the person who abused him and make amends to the people he hurt by keeping this secret.

“I am now able to say no when people ask me to do something,” Ron said. “I’m not feeling like I always need to say yes. I have much more boldness because I can speak the truth. I can say it in love but without fearing other people.”

The transformation that took place in Ron’s life inspired him to help others. He serves in the Celebrate Recovery ministry and helps other men go through the same process that he did nearly five years ago. Some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships in Ron’s life have been made with other men participating in Celebrate Recovery.

“The biggest change in my life is that God has become big and people have become small,” Ron said. “While I am absolutely sitting here and telling you that I have been transformed, I will also say that I am a work in process.”

Celebrate Recovery meets on Monday nights at 6:40p. For more details on Celebrate Recovery, contact Ryan Koesel.

 


Jeremiah 6:14:They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

 

Philippians 3:12-16: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

 


 Watch John Mark's message on Emotional Health Transformed.

 

 

Scott & Linda Elliot: Relational Health Transformed

A brick wall of despair and financial burdens nearly separated Scott and Linda Elliot in the early years of their marriage. Circumstances beyond their control and poor financial decisions left the young couple emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt. The Elliot’s found healing in their relationship when and where they least expected it.

“We argued a lot during those years,” Linda said. “Every argument was a brick. Every brick built a wall that eventually drove us a part.”

As leaders in their church, Scott and Linda kept their situation a secret and this put a strain on their marriage. Afraid of how this was affecting their three daughters, Linda began looking for ways to solve their problem. The way of the world said that getting a divorce was the only way to protect their children. Instead of following that path Linda began praying for God’s solution.

“We had too much pride to ask for help,” Linda said. “We had too much pride to admit that we needed help. Of course we had to keep up that facade that we were that perfect family.”

Scott began retreating from the situation by working longer hours. When a group called Life Action Ministries came to their church for a ten day revival, Scott and Linda looked at each other and said there was no way that they were going to go in their current condition. They promised each other that they would go to the first evening just to show everyone how fine they were.

“We turned to each other that night and looked at each other and said ‘Will you forgive me?’” Linda said. “We also went to God and asked for forgiveness for many things, some of which were anger, pride, resentment, and disobedience. He was faithful to forgive us and at that moment, the wall that we had built literally dissolved and we began to heal.”

Even though the forgiveness was instant, the Elliot’s were on a long path of healing and rebuilding. God did not take away the consequences. It took years, but through God’s faithfulness they were able to rebuild their marriage and finances. Scott stepped up and became the spiritual head of our household and it changed the dynamic of the household for good. This was important for the ongoing health of their marriage.

“We didn’t see necessarily a church-wide revival and honestly we don’t know of anyone else that was helped,” Scott said. “It may have been that that entire event was just for one couple in trouble who were short on time and hope.”

Scott and Linda have been married for 31 years and credit God with turning their floundering marriage into a fantastic marriage. When it seemed like there was nowhere to turn and all hope was gone, Scott and Linda cried out for forgiveness and guidance. It was a long road of transformation, but their relational health has been restored.

“Although you may think the problems that you are struggling with are unique and that no one else is facing those problems,” Scott said. “That is absolutely not true. That is a lie straight from Satan meant to isolate you and to destroy your hope. As long as God is on His thrown, there is always hope.”

 


 Watch John Mark's message on Financial Health Transformed.

 

 

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