Pastor John Mark responds to the recent events in Charlottesville, VA.
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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.
Imagine One more life that could be reached with the Gospel.
In early 2015 Cottonwood Creek asked its members to imagine a world where they gave 1% more in their tithes. What could be accomplished? Over halfway through the year we have reached some amazing goals because people have faithfully given.
So far we have reached these goals:
- January 25 - Additional $5,000 Baltimore Church Plant Support
- March 8 - Fall Festival Paid with Free Admission
- March 29 - VBS Paid with Free Registration, $15,000 for Baltimore Housing Facility
- April 19 - Funds to build Laundromat for Naomi's Village in Kenya, Remodeling Creates 2 New Life Group @Church Spaces
- May 31 - $3,000 for The Edge Church, a Send Denver church plant, trying to purchase their building.
To learn more about Imagine One, visit us at http://cottonwoodcreek.org/imagine-one.
Who do you talk to when you have cancer? Unless someone has had cancer, they can’t fully understand everything that you are facing. Whether they are going through this journey or walking alongside someone who is, cancer will touch everyone’s lives at some point. John Arakelian knows what it’s like to wake up feeling perfectly normal one day only to get a devastating cancer diagnosis the very next day. His family empathized with him, but John felt like he did not have anyone to talk to about his diagnosis. John turned to God.
The good news is that no one has to face cancer alone. The Cottonwood Creek Cancer Ministry was formed shortly after John’s diagnosis. They walk alongside those facing the difficult battle that comes with cancer. To learn more about Cancer Care and John Arakelian’s battle, watch his testimony below.
Aaron wasn't looking for a summer internship, but one found him. A student at Dallas Christian College studying practical ministry and leadership, Aaron would drive his girlfriend from Dallas each week so that she could coach a team through the Cottonwood Creek Sports Academy. Nathan Quillan, CCSA Sports Director, noticed Aaron hanging out in the bleachers each during practices and decided to get to know him. Nathan knew that with Aaron's desire to become a minister and his college basketball experience, that a summer internship in the Sports Ministry would be a great fit. God provided a way for Aaron to serve this summer. To learn more about Aaron's summer in the Sports Ministry, watch the video below.