Author: Southern Hills Christian Church

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, …

Overcoming Fear of the Little and the Worst

-written by Betsie Richards Ever wake up with a mouse in your hair? I have and it’s quite a story, especially coming from someone who hates/fears mice, snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders, and clowns. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll ever die from a heart attack or I would have that night for sure. (Ask me for the story if you guys ever need a good laugh.) On some level, we all struggle with fear and worries.  Sometimes it’s over seemingly ridiculous things like small reptiles, but sometimes it’s over pretty significant things like your mom having cancer, financial concerns, losing a job or even a loved one. I read a quote from Beth Moore’s Breaking Free study that says, “Anything we exalt over God in our thoughts or imaginations is an idol.” Woah. Anything huh? Including the fears that I allow to take over my thoughts and influence the way I act? That’s pretty tough to swallow since idolizing is sin. I have a bad habit of letting my imagination run wild. It starts …

Are You Ready for Something New?

-written by Betsie Richards Here’s the deal… when I go to the nail salon, the decision of which color to choose seems like national security, level 9, life or death. I will stand there like a goober and ponder for a good ten minutes over which color to chose, talking out loud to myself about if this color will match this outfit or if it will last longer than another color. Heavens to Betsie (pun intended)… does this really matter?? I’m just going to pick the same red color that I pick 9 our of 10 times anyway. Why do we have a tendency to return to the same old thing? The same nail color, the same meal, the same sin? Is it comfort? Fear of change? Fear of being ridiculed by our friends and family? Sometimes, I think it’s because we truly don’t understand there is something better out there, something new. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those …