Author: Southern Hills Christian Church

Are You Experiencing Community as it was Meant to be?

-written by Betsie Richards “Joe’s here.” That’s all the text from my sister said, but that’s all it took to calm my nerves for the moment. My mom’s IV pump wasn’t working correctly and it’s hard not to panic when the medication keeping your Mom’s heart going isn’t getting there. In all honesty, we had minimal training on the home equipment we were given. But I knew who to call, part of my “tribe” if you will. Joe beat me to my parents’ house with two of his kids in tow. He had everything working correctly before I even got there. This was in addition to answering the (likely) thousands of texts I had sent him in the previous six weeks. “Bets, you have good friends.” Mom said this to me repeatedly during her hospital stay. She knew this because they came and sat with us, prayed with us, brought food, rolls of quarters, offered their homes, slipped cash into my hand or purse, sent constant encouragement, and even came to the hospital to visit …

As My Surrogate Family, You are Stuck With Me

-written by Matt Clotfelter The word family creates a different picture in everyone’s mind. For me, when I think about family another word which comes to mind is “surrogate.” Google defines this word as “a substitute, especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office.” For some, this word conjures up images of women who carry a pregnancy for another family. My image looks immensely different. You may live within walking distance of your extended family. Others may have to drive to a neighboring state. When I was 12, my family moved 11,000 miles from my nearest blood relative. In the missionary world, many times unrelated family units become an extended family of their own. I still have numerous parents of friends I refer to as Aunt and Uncle. It is an adaptive support system helping families in a time when it is hard to go it alone. Family can be one of the tightest forms of community, but even the Bible has examples of dysfunctional family. In Genesis alone, we find …

Your Story was Designed for Victory in Jesus!

-written by Matt Clotfelter Nearly 30 years later, I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember it was quite warm and it hadn’t rained for days. I remember the taste of the hot peppers and the feeling of the branches against my skin. It was the first time I was ever physically bullied. As a middle schooler, I was quite socially awkward. I was still trying to learn how to mesh with my peers. It had been a difficult few months. It was the end of the school day, and my friends were playing a game I had no desire to be involved in, seeing who could eat the most hot peppers. When they realized I was not going to participate willingly, they decided to ensure I did. Before I knew what was happening, I was being held down and force-fed hot peppers. This was not my idea of a good time. Amidst their laughing, I was able to push myself away and make a dash for my bike. I dove through …

Make A Change And Love Your Neighbor

-written by Trey Gass In college, my roommates and I went through a phase where we would build music playlists with different themes or genres. We put together playlists for working out, studying, and hanging out in the room. We built themed playlists like beach music and for rainy days. We even made a playlist called “Estrogen” for when women came over to the apartment. (It was clean. We were young.) One playlist we built was the “deep” playlist, featuring songs with deep thoughts on life. One of the songs we added to the playlist was “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. The song makes me want to snap my fingers and move my hips like Mr. Jackson himself, but if you slow down and listen, there is some deep meaning in the song. I’m starting with the man in the mirror I’m asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then …

Do What is Right, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!

-written by Jean Daniel Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.” As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars. Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade. During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she …

How Resolved Are You?

-written by Matt Clotfelter The dictionary defines the word resolution as “​a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Some of the synonyms of the word resolution include aim, resolve, single-mindedness, will power, and decision. In other words, when resolved, we have decided our course, and we are doing what it takes to achieve that end. Resolution is also defined as “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.” This word is what we think of in legal action. People go to mitigation to achieve resolution to a dispute. As I think of resolutions, I think of one of the most famous resolutions, which became something so much different. The Richard Henry Lee Resolution became something that changed our world. It was his resolution, submitted to the Second Continental Congress, which led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. It was the line drawn in the sand to declare the “colonies” as an independent nation called the United States. Throughout history, God has had a plan of resolution. As modern …

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 …