Author: Southern Hills Christian Church

Can You Change Your Perspective of Your Circumstance?

-written by Matt Clotfelter When I revisit stories of the Bible we have heard since we were kids, I like to try to look at them from a different perspective. I like the fresh feeling this gives as I seek the living nature of scripture. The story I have been looking at recently is when David faces Goliath. I wonder what it would be like if I were one of the Israelite soldiers called up by Saul to face off against our sworn enemy, the Philistines. I have marched off to the battlefield. When we go out for our first day of battle, at the front of the enemy line marches Goliath. This guy is huge! I can imagine how ferocious his voice would sound, as he taunts and shouts obscenities. And then he issues his challenge: “Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves!” (1 Samuel 17:8-9) No one wants to be …

A Quiet Night for Grace to Arrive

-written by Matt Clotfelter During the heavy snow in December 2017, I was at work. To say the shift was busy would be an understatement. Of course, with all the snow on the ground, traveling was much slower than normal. Luckily, there were very few people on the road. Most folks had heeded the warnings to just stay home, often with no power. Once we would get as far as the fire engine could go, we would leave it behind and continue on foot to our destination. Without the chaos of people milling around, without the lights emanating from every house, and even without the noise of our truck in the background, our trip to our destination was always so serene. The only sound was us talking, the wind blowing the tree branches, and the snow crunching under our feet. The only lights were from our flashlights, transformers arcing off as the power company worked feverishly to restore power, and the glow coming up from the blanket of white. My favorite modern Christmas song is …

God Knows Your Mess and Accepts You

-written by Betsie Richards I’m sitting in an ICU waiting room, wishing I wasn’t here. To distract myself, I people watch. I’ve caught myself wondering the stories of all these people and their families. How did they end up here? What’s wrong with their loved one? Do they feel like we do? I could go up and introduce myself and get to know them but… yikes. Strangers. One thing I’ve noticed about my Mom during this hospital stay is, when she is feeling well enough, she makes a point to find out everyone’s name. Her nurse, the tech, the person taking her for a CT; then she typically thanks them by name. I’ve been scolding myself for not doing the same. For being willing to leave those I meet as anonymous or outsiders to my world. Sometimes I wonder if the shepherds felt like outsiders? We don’t know much about them specifically- not even their names. We know they weren’t the social elite of the time, they were probably smelly and dirty, they basically lived …

Do You Know the Secret to Generosity?

-written by Matt Clotfelter One of the all time greatest Disney movies is “Cool Runnings.” It is enticing–the struggle to overcome unbelievable odds. One of the climactic scenes of the movie has the two main characters discussing purpose. Derice, the bobsled driver, asks his coach, Irv, why he had cheated when he competed. Irv responds, “It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I’d made winning my whole life. And when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. You understand that? A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.” So often, we feel compelled to win. Sometimes we are so compelled we will go to any length to be the victor, even at the expense of our integrity. And this is not confined just to sports; in business, relationships, and even arguments, winning is paramount. Even our modern American culture is rife with language that tells us we have to have it …

How Can You Trust When Trust Seems Impossible?

-written by Matt Clotfelter Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 As a dad, I have to teach my kids how to trust others, how to assume the best and believe all things. But to be entirely transparent, there are times I question how much I should trust someone else, especially someone I have just met and don’t really know. This was the reality that I had to grapple with when my first born arrived in this world. To say she was born early and a little unexpected would be an understatement. Ten weeks prior to my wife’s due date, we found ourselves in the hospital, with a doctor we had just met looking us in the eyes and saying, “So, we are going to be delivering your little one today.” Those were not the words I had hoped to hear. As they wheeled my wife off to prepare for surgery, I watched her till she was out of sight and could not …

Suffering Alone And For What?

-written by Kristen Ebensberger Have you ever felt like you were the only one who is suffering? When you are knee-deep in the muck, you may think it’s only going on in your world. We can get caught up in self-pity. We start thinking “if only…” and it’s usually followed with a thought of how someone else should have acted differently. I can promise, you are not alone. Scripture tells us our trials, or “heat,” has a purpose and it’s our job to figure out how God wants to use it for our good. Our trials reveal what is at the heart level. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. – James 1:2-4 Have you ever wondered why your children won’t listen to you the most when you’re out in …

A marriage Worth Rejoicing About In Eternity

-written by Jean Daniel Okay, let’s just get it out in the open… I was divorced years ago! My first marriage took place when I was twenty, when twenty seemed far more older and wiser then it does now. I wore a simple white dress I had been purchased, not as a wedding dress, but months earlier at a store similar to SAM’S. To make matters worse, the dress had already been worn a few times before the wedding. The pillbox hat that I wore balanced on my head was made from a cardboard oatmeal box covered in satin and pearls with a pouf of a veil emerging from the top. My shoes, uh… well worn. The reception consisted of standing at the front doors of the little country church afterwards to shake hands with the guests. My parents worried about only spending $60 for the wedding, but, hey, we were married! The wedding by all legal standards worked, but the marriage did not! Joyfully, my second wedding, although again very simple, was nothing but …

Are You Ready for the Change God Has For You?

-written by Matt Clotfelter On May 15, 1991 my world changed forever. I sat with my family and friends, preparing to board a plane for the first time since I was an infant. My family was leaving everything we had ever known, and we were going to Thailand. My parents were answering God’s call to be missionaries. We had spent the last two years raising support and making plans. Our stuff had been packed and shipped in 55 gallon barrels more than a month earlier. That day we stepped out into the unknown. I was unsure of what my future looked like. As a 12 year old, everything I knew as normal was about to change. I had an aunt, uncle, and two cousins who lived there already. We knew we had our family to depend on, but we didn’t know what other friendships we would have once we got there. After being in the air for 24+ hours and a 12 hour train ride, we set foot in our new hometown. My cousin began …

Do You Know Who Jesus Says You Are?

-written by Betsie Richards My favorite name is “BetBet.” If you know me, you know that’s what my niece and nephew call me and I love it. I’ve heard it yelled across ponds, parking lots, dining rooms, ball fields (sooooo many ball fields), and even a classroom or two. When I hear it, I don’t have to guess who someone is looking for. “BetBet” isn’t all I’m known as. Some people know me as “Betsie, who sings at Southern Hills,” others as “Betsie, from Carrollton Ear Nose and Throat,” and dear to my heart are those who still know me as “Betsie, Beedie’s grandaughter.” Those are a lot of good ways to be identified. There have been times, however, when I’ve been identified in a much more negative manner. I can sometimes be identified as “Betsie, the bitter woman” or “Betsie, the unkind.” As much as it hurts to admit, there have been times I could be identified as “Betsie, the liar.” I think Peter would understand that last one. Luke 22:54-62 tells us of …

Is Your Love Stopping Short From Your Calling?

-written by Cambrian Brock This past Sunday Keith talked about passions. We learned how Godly passions lead to a life of actions which ultimately glorify the Lord, while worldly passions lead to a life of sin and separation from God. However, knowing how our passions align with the Gospel is not enough; we need to live with the implications of that knowledge. To look deeper into this, let’s look at one of Southern Hills’ core values: Love does. Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1 John 3:18 I am in love with this verse! It reminds me the best way to love people is not just to say it but to live it. Godly passion promotes action, action, action, and more action. Why do we stop at merely saying we love people, instead of following through with actions? I believe it is because Biblical love costs us stuff. Sometimes money, sometimes time, maybe even being in tough, emotionally draining situations. At times, …