IS THERE A GOD?
This is one of the most asked questions in human existence. Growing up this is something that Jesse Chaney, Cottonwood Creek's Junior High Minister, thought about a lot. Even into early adulthood Jesse kept turning to this question.
Jesse's childhood was not one where both parents tucked him in each night, made his lunch for him and kissed him goodbye as he left for school. Both of his parents where struggling with issues of their own and eventually divorced. With seeing his father less and less and his mother turning to substances and men to make the pain stop, Jesse essentially was on his own.
"She would bring these men into the home," Jesse said. "And they were violent men. They were men that did not treat my mother in a Godly way. We were sick of it, me and my brother. So we told her if you bring anybody else home we're not going to be here. So instead of bringing a man home when I was 16 she just moved in with him. That left me in an apartment by myself at 16 years old."
The only reason he didn't drop out of school was because he wanted to be with his friends. With zero accountability or parental supervision Jesse began making his own decisions. These decisions were often careless and Jesse had to face the consequences.
In junior high, Jesse had attended a church that eventually failed. Believing that everything around him was doomed to fail, Jesse didn't seek out another church. When he had nowhere else to turn he remembered the truths instilled in him from the Godly men that had been around him for a brief time growing up.
"I knew there was a God," Jesse said. "I knew he wanted more for me and from me. Yet I had never truly committed my life to him. "
It took hitting rock bottom for Jesse to realize that life couldn't be lived this way. There had to something more. Jesse turned to his Christian friends who did all that they knew how to do. They invited him to church.
"My life still looked the same," Jesse said. "So I began attending another church with some of my close Christian friends. About a year into attending church I thought to myself 'Well, they got me! I actually believe this.' I began to see my life change, and I began to see this truth that there was a God. He did love me. He did want a relationship with me. It began to change my life."
Feeling the call to ministry in the 12th grade, Jesse ran from the idea, not believing that God could use someone with his background. Like Jonah found out (Jonah 1), there was no hiding from God. Jesse stopped running and began attending Bible college, where he met his wife and eventually found his way to Cottonwood Creek.
He continued to make himself more and more evident," Jesse said. "He continued to press on the fact that He was there and He was present and not some absentee god. He was living and active in my life. So, is there a God? Yes."
Psalm 139:7-12 - Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.