All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Waiting with Great Anticipation For The Savior

Can you remember the anticipation and excitement you felt as a child waiting for Christmas? You saw Christmas lights popping up around town, you heard parents whispering about gifts to come, and you counted down the days until Christmas morning would finally arrive. This nervous anticipation caused you to be on your best behavior as you yearned for Christmas day. Before the birth of Jesus, mankind was waiting for the Messiah or promised anointed one to come and save them from their sins. Prophecies were written 200 to 1000 years before Jesus was born and the people anxiously anticipated His arrival. They knew prophecies such as Isaiah 7:14, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Because of Micah 5:2, they knew the Christ would come from Bethlehem; “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of …

When Is The Right Time For Christmas Music?

Every year around this time the same thing happens.  Social media blows up with multiple rants. “It’s not right!” “It’s too early” “Why does it keep happening earlier and earlier every year!?” The age-old fight about Christmas music. Seriously, though, when are we supposed to start playing it?  Can we start when Christmas decorations hit the store shelves? Can we start when the weather cools down?  Do we have to wait until after Thanksgiving or even until the first day of December? My opinion? I don’t care. Seriously, it doesn’t matter one bit to me. I personally love Christmas music. I have a playlist on my Google music app (honestly, I have two different Christmas playlists) and I start playing them the hint Christmas comes around. Think back to the first Christmas… Jesus was born, our Savior came in the flesh to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins.  What was the “Christmas music” to herald His arrival? John the Baptist. And there were some arguments about the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth as well …

Silence Broken with a Message of Freedom for You

These words meant everything. Zachariah was shaken, overwhelmed with fear when he saw the angel. But Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zachariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son… He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (Luke 1:13,17) Many of us know now what the Israelites did not know then. During this time, the Israelites were under the authority of the Roman Government. They were not a free nation. The goal of the Roman government was to suppress and destabilize the nation of Israel, sending it into obscurity. Rome had been responsible for the final destruction of the Temple and the burning down of Jerusalem.  The Israelites believed from the line of David, a Jewish Patriotic King would rise from the downfall of the Jews, lead a revolution to overthrow the …

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 …

Giving Thanks in a God-sized Way

When Nicole first scheduled me for this blog I thought, “Crap, I have to write a blog that’s worth $500,000.” As Thanksgiving approaches, so does our annual Thanksgiving Offering. Our goal is $500,000, which for me comes with a little vomit-in-the-mouth feeling when I say it. For a chicken-farm church, this goal may seem astronomical or insurmountable or insert your own adjective, but pretty much everything that comes from God seems like that to us. God’s vision for us, for His church, is far greater than any one of us could ever think of. No one in Carroll County would have predicted a church out on Highway 113 would set out to build a community center at the other end of the bypass. No one at SoHills would have expected our 2017 Thanksgiving Offering goal to be double what it was last year. But that’s because we didn’t come up it. This vision we are walking out daily has been entrusted to us by God to show Carrollton and the nation what it truly means to love …

Today is the Perfect Day to Change

The past few Sundays, we’ve talked about how nothing we have is really ours and because it’s all God’s, we should be willing to give to the Lord.  This truth is the why of managing well what we’ve been given.  So, what does the how look like?  I think that starts with Today. Here is the great thing about today: you can only live in it.  You can never live in yesterday again.  It’s gone.  You will never live in tomorrow because today is always here.  It never goes away.  Today you will go to bed, fall asleep, wake up again, and it will be… you guessed it… today.  We live in today.  This is the reality of life.  When it comes to finances, and really everything we manage, are we living in today or are we trying to live in yesterday? Are we living in today or are we trying to live in tomorrow?  Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. – Proverbs 27:1 It’s really kind of foolish to try to …

Four Shrewd Money Principles For Peace

Growing up, my mom was a high school teacher and my dad was an AT&T accountant. Not only was my mom going to make sure my grades were stellar, but my dad was also going to make sure my finances and spending habits were on point. I believe what I learned from my parents is why I never worry about money. Never! I want to share a few of those lessons with you and hope they help your wallet and worry as we enter into this holiday season. Don’t spend what you don’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked back and forth, pacing isles with items in my arms, debating whether I can buy it or not. I do this often at Robinson’s Overstock. If you walk in there on a Friday and see me, chances are I am going through this routine. I talk myself out of purchases all the time. I walk around the store with arms full and then as I head to the check-out, I start putting things …

Why do you give what you give?

In the Old Testament, there were actually many different tithes required under the law. A tithe is 10% of something.  There was a tithe to the Levites, a tithe for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land. After Jesus’ death and fulfillment of the law, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:2 that monetary gifts should be collected at the first of the week.  Nowhere in the New Testament does it specifically state how much we are to give. But time and time again it does imply that we are to give: individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionally to our income. The biggest problem most people have is that we want someone to tell us exactly how much God wants us to give, when to give it, and how it’s supposed to be given. I want to do exactly what I’m supposed to: no more, no less. I want to know what it takes to keep God happy and prevent Him from smiting me. But God doesn’t really work that …

Meditating on the Goodness of God

Over the past few years, I have been greatly influenced and impacted by corporate worship through song. Whether it be with my church body, other believers at a conference, in the car by myself, or in the living room with my wife, I have come to love singing songs to the Lord. Psalm 96:1-2 says, “Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.” This Sunday, November 5, we’re singing a new song! We’ll also be singing a song that has become one of my favorites— King of My Heart. Through this song, we meditate on the goodness of our God. We meditate on the fact that God is our provider and sustainer— we are utterly dependent upon Him. I particularly like the bridge of this song, which repeats, “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.” These are such sweet words to meditate on if we truly understand them. These words are like honey to our …