Author: Shannon Lovelady

Are You on the Edge of Your Seat?

I was talking to the staff recently about moving into City Station the day before Grand Opening and assured them I wasn’t worried. (Yep, you read that correctly… in case you missed the memo, we most likely won’t be able to move into City Station until June 22!) I honestly can’t stop grinning about it, even as I’m typing this. I love a good story! Don’t we all? There is nothing like a plot full of twists and turns. Ted Dekker is one of my favorite fiction authors for that very reason; you never know what plot twist is coming next. Once I pick up one of his books, I can’t put it down. He just has this incredible way of drawing you in until the very end. It’s the same reason we all love Disney. “Once upon a time” draws us in all the way to “happily ever after,” but it’s what takes place in between that we can’t wait to talk about. It’s the twists and turns of the plot that keep us …

The Darkness Can Never Extinguish The Light

So let’s talk about the eclipse for a second… I’m not sure what I expected to happen here in Carrollton, GA at 2:35 PM on August 21, but I know what actually happened wasn’t it. Most of our SoHills staff had been hanging out in the parking lot, watching the moon slowly move across the face of the sun, while sporting our trendy solar eclipse shades (thanks to Pack #2819). The sky was progressively getting darker and darker.  The temperature was dropping. The “eclipse music” was playing (thanks to Andrew Hicks). Right before it was time, we all ran to the other side of the building to get a better view of the sky line. And then… it happened! 95% of the sun was blocked by the moon! It was neat to watch the moon move across the sun. The glasses were definitely styling! The temperature drop was crazy. But the climax… the big moment for those of us not in the “path of totality” was, at least for me, disappointing. But in those moments …

Our Crazy SoHills Family

I love our crazy church family!  It never ceases to amaze me how God so graciously allows us to be a part of His plans.  And make no mistake, God is definitely using His body here in little ‘ole Carrollton, Georgia! Did you know?… our 456 program for 4th-6th graders has experienced tremendous growth averaging 46 kids and 16 leaders the last 2 months on Sunday mornings our Fusion (7th-12th grades) ministry has over 140 students showing up every Wednesday night to hear the Gospel and how it applies to their lives there are currently 26 adults being discipled in the Soul Care ministry, and since January over 80 adults have experienced Soul Care through one-on-one counseling or participation in our Care Groups Campus Outreach (our UWG partner) is experiencing unprecedented growth on campus and we are seeing a rise in college students attending on Sunday mornings new members are joining Southern Hills every month each month, more people get involved in the various ministries of Southern Hills. The Fusion ministry alone has had 7 new volunteers …

Salvation through Emmanuel

Emmanuel… God with us! I truly don’t think there is a more beautiful name ever given in all of history. It’s not just a name though, it’s a promise to you and me. He is here, we are His bride, and nothing can separate us from that love. We were lost, and now we’re found! But what does that really mean? Romans 3:23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”  Paul then writes in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because of our sin, we deserve death.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  We can never be good enough or do enough good things.  Jesus is our only means of salvation (John 14:6).  He is the Son of God. He came to earth; lived the perfect life; and died on a cross for our sins.  He rose three days after his death and did it all because of how …

Be Strong

Have you ever had one of those “I’m totally overwhelmed and not sure I can do this!” kind of days? Weeks? Maybe even months?!? It’s been one of those seasons for me. When city council said “yes” to City Station, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and began to make plans for the future. Signing contracts. Approving promotional materials. Fundraising in the community. Meeting with staff. Reviewing blue prints. Reviewing altered blue prints. Writing messages. Writing blogs. Meeting with the press. I felt like I carried the future of City Station and our church family on my back. I know… you’re shocked that I felt overwhelmed. Thankfully God is good, He is patient, and His Spirit is persistent. He would not allow me to rest in my stubbornness and He has been faithful to guide me back to His truth. God guided me back to a passage that He first directed me to almost 20 years ago. His Word was true then and it remains tried today. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead …

Right Facts… Wrong Conclusions

I am willing to eat a lot of things, and have even developed a taste for foods that I never cared for before.  But… I cannot stand green peas!  First and foremost, I hate the way they taste and they make me gag.  But there’s more… Statistics show that people who eat green peas experience sickness at some point in their life and even death.  Actually, my research shows that at least 90% of the people who consistently battle ailments such as the common cold, the flu, and even allergies have eaten green peas.  Here’s another frightening fact: 100% of people who ate green peas between the years of 1900 and 1940 have begun to experience mild to serious decline in health and energy in recent years.  The most terrifying statistic is that of all the people born in the 1800’s who ate green peas, only two are still living! For these and many other reasons, I will not be consuming green peas, and I urge you to consider joining me. Right facts… wrong conclusion. I grew …

Building Fences

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I shared the story of Elias Nour.  In 1927, with a roped tied around his waste, he was lowered down the face of Stone Mountain to rescue a little boy who had fallen and become stranded on a ledge.  Over the next 36 years, Elias rescued 36 people and 6 dogs.  Then in 1963, the rescue missions suddenly stopped… not because he was no longer willing, but because he was no longer needed.  Finally, someone wised up and decided that guarding the dangerous areas made way more sense than continual, life-threatening rescue missions.  So, they built a fence around the top of the mountain! There is a dangerous battle going on in our hearts and minds, but we so often don’t notice until we already fallen off of the cliff. James, the brother of Jesus, says it this way…”What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” (James 4:1, NLT) How do we put up a fence around …

Experiencing Community

“We belong to each other!”  I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot over the last few days and how that statement practically plays out in the life of the local church. Paul writes, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:16, NLT) So how do we, His Church, practically “lead a life worthy of our calling”?  What are some specific things we can do to begin experiencing this community we keep talking about? First, make an effort to get connected in smaller groups within the church.  It’s no secret that you can sneak in and sneak out on a Sunday morning and never be noticed.  Find a smaller community group in which to get plugged in.  It doesn’t have to be a life group; those are just one of many ways to begin building community at Southern Hills.  Consider one of these connecting points as well… 3 women’s …

Altar of Freedom

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Jesus (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT) Wasn’t Glenn Graves such an inspiration this past Sunday at SoHills? His story has most certainly been a blessing and a challenge for me personally. If you weren’t able to be here, I would encourage you to check out his testimony about the freedom found in giving generously by clicking here.   It is amazing to me how quickly and quietly idols can slither their way into the fabric of our lives, without us even being aware. I know for me, my house had become such an idol.  There is nothing wrong with having a nice home, car, yard, etc.  The issue comes when those things become an object of our worship, or as Jesus said, “our masters.” …

Making Prayer Intentional

Zeb Johnson, one of our teenagers in Fusion, said something Sunday that continues to resonate in my mind this week: “How can we grow stronger in our faith if we never talk to the God we serve?” I remember when I first met Natasha, I couldn’t get enough of her.  We would stay up hours on the phone just listening to each other’s voices, all the while falling more and more in love, as we learned more and more about each other. Thankfully over the years, our relationship has continued to grow, not by accident mind you.  We have been extremely intentional about our time together, our open dialogue with each other, and as a result, our love for one another has grown. Remember when you first met Jesus Christ?  Remember when you couldn’t get enough of Him, His grace, His forgiveness, His mercy, His glory, His presence? Has that feeling grown, or is it a distant memory? Are you being intentional about your time with the Father?  Are you continuing in open dialogue with the Holy …