Author: Southern Hills Christian Church

How to Write A Thank You Note to God

-written by Jean Daniel If my mother gave you something, she expected to receive a thank you note! It might be a wooden nutcracker for Christmas that she got on sale dirt cheap, or maybe just two dollars stuck in a birthday card. No matter how expensive or cheap the gift was, she would be looking for a handwritten “thank you” note in the mail. If she didn’t get one, she would say, “Well, I guess you didn’t appreciate what I gave you since you didn’t bother to write a thank you note!” The next year you might not receive a gift at all!  My children learned to write thank you notes very quickly. In this age of technology, when was the last time that you received a handwritten thank you note for a gift or thoughtful deed? Showers, weddings, birthdays, graduations. We zip off a text or email to the giver, if we bother to thank them at all.  Just last week, I received a note by snail mail from a friend thanking me for …

You Are More Than Just Useful

-Written by Matt Clotfelter If you are anything like me, you probably find yourself at night, lying in bed, reviewing your day. During that review, these questions come to me: Did I make a difference to someone today? Did I serve God in this world? Were my choices driven by my will or God’s will? I want to do my best to serve God faithfully with my life and work. I don’t want to interfere with His plan, but be useful to God. As we look at the story of the redemptive work of God, there were only a few people who had truly pivotal roles in the plan. There is Jesus, of course, who is God come down to earth to redeem man. There is Mary, who gave birth to Jesus. (Jesus had to get here somehow!) (see Isaiah 7:14). We find Judas, who betrays Jesus. Pilate, who has this opportunity to release Jesus, but instead, he caves to the crowd and orders him be crucified (see Isaiah 53:3). Finally, we find the soldiers who …

Taming the Destructive Fire of Your Tongue

-written by J.J. Cole A single wooden match weighs .15 grams. It is so light, that its weight cannot even be felt. It produces a small spark and flame, that can easily be pinched out with our fingers.  Nevertheless, when not respected, it can produce a monster that will destroy and even take human life. In 2016 a single spark resulted in 14 lives lost and 10,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains to be engulfed in flames, including significant portions of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  A place with several decades of investment and effort that so many of us have visited laid in waste.  But, thanks to resilience placed in the human heart by God, rebuilding is happening. James 3:6 tells us that “the tongue is a flame of fire.” It goes on to explain in descriptive detail that it can “set your whole life on fire.” Basically, James 3:3-10 sternly warns us to respect the tongue, for at its core it is a match. Today, James may have included our fingertips as we …

Love Does Alongside the Greatest Visionary

-written by J.J. Cole Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found.  I’ve found it’s the small things.  Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings Earlier this weekend Christine and I did a family devotional with the kids titled “Sandcastles & Monuments.” We decorated rocks with markers, depicting how God has shown Himself to us in our lives.  Gabby drew a rainbow on one rock and waters parting on another.  Tyler drew a fireball coming down from the sky (go figure) and the Cross. It struck me how the kids so easily reached for these “monuments” in history where God acted, where God demonstrated that love does. The rainbow – His promise to Noah The Red Sea parting – His deliverance of the Israelites The fireball from heaven – His support of Elijah The Cross – His willingness to go any length to save us Throughout the Bible, we see God works …

Can We Skip The Hard Stuff And Get to The End?

-written by Devin Feeney I don’t know about you, but I find the ambiguity of life both frustrating and terrifying. As I end college, I’m learning more and more that life is a process in which God grows and refines us. Which leads me to ask, “What storms am I going to face and can I avoid them?” Up until now, life has been planned out with clear steps set before me. I feel as though I’ve been living in a bubble where the realities of life aren’t squeezing in. As I enter into this new stage, I’m learning more and more that life is messy and hard. Life isn’t easy. I know that there are lessons I need to learn, but I’d much rather skip the learning process, not have to face anything difficult, and be on the other side where I have it all figured out. How unrealistic is that?!? My fear of the uncertainty that life brings is outweighing my trust in who God is and what He promises to do. When …

The Effect of Serving with the Heart of Jesus

-written by Matthew Hicks When I think of the word serve, many different things come to my mind: serving in the military, serving dinner, serving a ping pong ball, serving the church. While all different, in each instance action is required from something or someone. I can’t serve in the military without first signing paperwork committing to service. I can’t serve dinner without first getting off the couch and preparing the meal. I can’t serve a ping pong ball without first finding an opponent and gathering the necessary equipment.  For me, I couldn’t serve at SoHills without first practicing and waking up early on Sunday morning. Do you notice a pattern? Each form of service is an effect of the initial action.  The end result, the service we are trying to achieve, is the effect and our actions are the cause.  We live in a cause & effect world; everything we do has an impact on our life and the lives of those around us. Jesus was fully aware of this cause & effect world …

Bugs, Worms and Your Daily Bread

written by Jean Daniel Just outside my screened-in porch, I have a small birdhouse. A pair of chickadees chose it as their nursery for the spring and began building a nest. After they carried straw for a few days, Momma Chickadee answered the call of nature and laid her eggs. She patiently sat until the time was right for her babies to hatch. I enjoyed watching all of this from my swing on the porch. Although I could not see into the birdhouse, I could tell when the babies arrived because Momma and Daddy Chickadee began the never-ending task of feeding those mouths just begging for a bug or juicy worm. But when I sat on the porch swing, the parents would not come feed the babies. I was a hindrance to the feeding process. If I moved farther away from their sight, the feeding would continue. The babies were hungry but I became an obstacle to their being satisfied. Give us this day, our daily bread. – Mathew 6:11, KJV We are the children of God …

This Week For Sunday

-written by Matthew Hicks As a kid, I had this strange obsession with RVs. I was fascinated by aesthetics and how much fit into such a small space. In January of 2011, I was watching a show called “Extreme RVs” and saw something that didn’t look quite like an RV. It was on wheels like an RV, but looked like a very small house.  I knew instantly that I wanted one!  As I began telling everyone about how I was going to build a tiny house, I received nothing but laughter and disbelief.  Today everyone knows what a tiny house is as they are all over social media and there are at least 4 different shows about them. But when I was introduced to the tiny house, no one had ever heard of it and it seemed like a strange idea. But that didn’t stop my dream of building one. Fast forward 4 years to my junior year of high school, and I purchased a custom built trailer that would be the base of my very own …

Is Your Faith Authentic in a Season of Masks?

-written by Kyndel Pirkle For the past couple of weeks at school, we have been dressing up. From cowboys to crazy Hawaiian shirts; my personal favorite was pajama day. Halloween will be no different. I love dressing up and seeing all the different creative costumes and the face make-up that creeps me out, but can’t take my eyes away from it. Kids and adults alike will take this holiday as an opportunity to dress up as that one thing they resonate with. Halloween is fun because we get to look like someone else for the night. We get to wear clothes that would normally have people staring holes through us and make-up that distorts our faces. We put on masks that hide who we really are. This is often what we do when we put on our happy “I’m blessed” Christian face, even though we are the same sinful human on the inside. Our human nature is obsessed with covering up flaws and correcting bad behavior, but as we have read and heard, Christ is in the …

Giving is Much More Than Money

–written by Jean Daniel Many years ago upon getting her weekly allowance, a little girl asked her father, “Daddy, how do you tithe a nickel?” She had been taught to tithe her money, but later learned it also meant giving of her time, money and personality. How does that apply to you? Personality: Does your Christian spirit come across through your smile, your words, your actions to your family or to strangers?  When my children were young, I accidentally recorded our conversation while preparing dinner. Later when playing it back, I was appalled at the manner in which I spoke to my kids. What would God’s recording of your comments and behavior toward others reveal? Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5, NIV Money: You know that you are supposed to tithe your money, but is it given with a tight fist or an open heart? Teach your children while they are young to tithe their money and they will give with eagerness and serve as an …