Monday, February 22, 2010

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

I have been following The Village Church and pastor Matt Chandler for some time as Matt has taken the church from 160 to over 6000 on three campuses. I try to learn as much as I can from other multi-site churches that are honoring the Word and reaching people with the precious hope of the Gospel.

A few weeks ago the Anniston Star shared a little of his life journey. Matt Chandler is a 35 year-old pastor who is battling cancer. I read a great article that the Associated Press did on Matt about a month ago. I want to share it with you in hopes that you will find the same spiritual depth when you life is “in the valley of the shadow.”

In this Jan. 4, 2010 photo, Matt Chandler, center, holds hands with his son

Dr. Derek

AP – In this Jan. 4, 2010 photo, Matt Chandler, center, holds hands with his son Reid, 4, left, and daughter …

DALLAS – Matt Chandler doesn't feel anything when the radiation penetrates his brain. It could start to burn later in treatment. But it hasn't been bad, this time lying on the slab. Not yet, anyway.

Chandler's lanky 6-foot-5-inch frame rests on a table at Baylor University Medical Center. He wears the same kind of jeans he wears preaching to 6,000 people at The Village Church in suburban Flower Mound, where the 35-year-old pastor is a rising star of evangelical Christianity.

Another cancer patient Chandler has gotten to know, spends his time in radiation imagining that he's playing a round of golf at his favorite course. Chandler on this first Monday in January is reflecting on Colossians 1:15-23, about the pre-eminence of Christ and making peace through the blood of his cross.

Chandler's hands are crossed over his chest. He wears a mask with white webbing that keeps his head still when metal fingers slide into place on the radiation machine, delivering the highest possible dose to what is considered to be fatal and incurable brain cancer.

This is Matt Chandler's new normal. Each weekday, he spends two hours in the car — driven from his suburban home to downtown Dallas — for eight minutes of radiation and Scripture. At the hospital, Chandler sees other patients in gowns who get chemotherapy through catheters in their chests and is thankful he gets his in pills before going to sleep at home next to his wife.

Chandler is trying to suffer well. He would never ask for such a trial, but in some ways he welcomes this cancer. He says he feels grateful that God has counted him worthy to endure it. He has always preached that God will bring both joy and suffering but is only recently learning to experience the latter.

Since all this began on Thanksgiving morning, Chandler says he has asked "why me?" just once, in a moment of weakness. He is praying that God will heal him. He wants to grow old, to walk his two daughters down the aisle and see his son become a better athlete than he ever was. Whatever happens, he says, is God's will, and God has his reasons. For Chandler, that does not mean waiting for his fate. It means fighting for his life.

Thanksgiving morning, a normal morning at the Chandler home. The coffee brews itself. Matt wakes up, pours himself a cup, black and strong like always, and sits on the couch. He feeds 6-month-old Norah from a bottle. Burps her. Puts her in her bouncy seat.The next thing Chandler knows, he is lying in a hospital bed.

What Chandler does not remember is that he suffered a seizure and collapsed in front of the fireplace, rattling the pokers. He does not remember biting through his tongue.

He does not remember his wife, Lauren, shielding the kids as he shook on the floor. Or, later, ripping the IV out of his arm and punching a medic in the face.

During the ambulance ride, Lauren, 29, looks back from the passenger seat at her husband in restraints. He seems to be looking at her but is seeing through her. She texts the women in her Bible study and asks them to pray.

At the hospital, Matt comes to. "Honey, what happened?"Lauren replied "You had a seizure." He realizes that their two older children — Audrey, 7, and Reid, 4 — had seen it. "Are the kids OK?" Tears well up in his eyes. "They're fine. They're fine." He dozes off, wakes up and asks about the kids again. The same exchange repeats itself five times, always ending the same way, with Matt tearing up. In short order, Chandler is wheeled back for a CT scan, followed by an MRI.

Not long afterward, the ER doctor walks in and sits next to him. "You have a small mass on your frontal lobe. You need to see a specialist." It was Thanksgiving. Chandler had not seen his kids for hours. He had collapsed in front of them. For whatever reason, those grim words from a doctor he'd never met did not cause his heart to drop. What Chandler thought was, "OK, we'll deal with that." Getting the news meant he could go home.

Chandler can be sober and silly, charming and tough. He'll call men "bro" and women "mama." He drives a 2001 Chevy Impala with 144,000 miles and a broken radio. He calls it the "Gimpala" One of Chandler's sayings is, "It's OK to not be OK — just don't stay there." In other words, your doubts and questions are welcome at The Village Church, but eventually you need to pull it together. He's also been known to begin sermons with the warning, "I'm going to yell at you from the Bible."

Chandler's long, meaty messages untangle large chunks of Scripture, a stark contrast to the "Eight Ways to Overcome Fear" sermons common to evangelical megachurches that took off in the 1980s. His approach appeals, he believes, to a generation looking for transcendence and power.

His theology teaches that all men are wicked, that human beings have offended a loving and sovereign God, and that God saves through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection — not because people do good deeds. In short, Chandler is a Calvinist, holding to a belief system growing more popular with young evangelicals.

"Matt goes right at Bible Belt Christianity and exposes the problems with it," says Collin Hansen, author of "Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists." "He says, 'Enough of this playing around and trying to be relevant and using cultural touch points. Let's talk God's words.'"

Chandler's background does not suggest someone suited to the role. He grew up a military kid, drifting from Olympia, Wash., to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Alameda, Calif., and Galveston, Texas.

Chandler was taught that Christianity meant not listening to secular music or seeing R-rated movies. He developed what he calls a small and "man-centered" view of God — that God will bless people who are good. That began to change when a high school football teammate started talking about the Gospel. After graduating from a small Baptist college, Chandler became a fiery evangelist who led a popular college Bible study and traveled the Christian speaking circuit. He was hired from another church in 2002 at age 28 to lead what is now The Village Church, a Southern Baptist congregation that claimed 160 members at the time.

The church now meets in a newly renovated former Albertson's grocery store with a 1,430-seat auditorium; two satellite campuses are flourishing in Denton and Dallas. Chandler has a podcast following in the thousands and speaks at large conferences. "What Matt does works, because it resonates with the deep longing of the soul the average person can't even identify," said Anne Lincoln Holibaugh, the church's children's ministry director.

Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The Chandlers meet with Dr. David Barnett, chief of neurosurgery at Baylor University Medical Center. The weekend had brought hope: A well-meaning church member who is a radiologist looked at Matt's MRI and concluded the mass was encapsulated, or contained to a specific area.

But Barnett delivers very different news. He saw what appeared to be a primary brain tumor — meaning a tumor that had formed in the brain — that was not contained. It had branches. "Matt, I think you're dealing with something serious," Barnett says. "We need to do something about it quickly. Go home. Talk it over with your wife. Pray about it."

Chandler is facing brain surgery. He schedules it for that Friday, Dec. 4. He is scared. Questions start to haunt him. Am I going to wake up and be me? Am I going to wake up and remember Lauren? The surgery begins around 2 p.m. A biopsy determines that it is, indeed, a primary brain tumor. As far as Chandler knows, there is no history of cancer in his family. His tumor, like most others, was likely caused by a genetic abnormality, Barnett says. There's no way of knowing how long it's been there.The surgeon is aggressive, pushing to remove as much of the mass as possible. It's in a relatively good place in the brain's "silent hemisphere," removed from areas that control most language skills.

The hospital has an intraoperative MRI, which allows surgeons to remove part of a tumor, stop, take a picture, look more closely, then go in and remove more. Barnett uses it twice during Chandler's surgery. "You cannot be a timid neurosurgeon when you deal with these things," Barnett says later. "Your first shot is your best shot at treating this. I wanted to get as much of the tumor out as humanly possible, but I also wanted to be careful not to permanently injure him. It's a fine balance between the two."

Seven hours after entering surgery, Matt is wheeled to intensive care. His head is swollen and wrapped in a bandage. His irises are quivering. Chandler wakes to Barnett's voice. "Matt ... Matt ... Who am I?" He knows the answer. Relief. His left side is numb. His facial expressions are frozen and his voice has no pitch, what doctors call a "flat affect."

This is all good, leading Barnett to believe he pushed hard but not too hard. Each day after the surgery, Chandler gets better, stronger. "The first four days were just ... not scary, but hard," Lauren says. "I'm wondering, 'How much of this will stay? How much of this will be normal? How much of this will be the new normal?'"

Tuesday after surgery. Barnett meets with Lauren and Brian Miller, chairman of the church's elder board. The final pathology results are not in, but Barnett shares what he knows — the tumor was malignant, fast-growing and mean.

Though he removed what he could see, such tumors send tiny fingers of cells beyond their borders — and eventually a branch will reach back and grow another brain tumor, Barnett says. Barnett asks Lauren and Miller to keep the diagnosis to themselves for a week so Matt can concentrate fully on recovering from surgery.

On Dec. 15, Barnett shares the pathology results with the Chandlers. Tumors are designated by grade — with Grade 1 being the least aggressive and Grade 4 being the most. Chandler's tumor is a Grade 3.

The average life expectancy in such cases, Barnett says, is approximately two to three years. The doctor says later, in an interview, he believes Chandler will live longer because of the aggressive surgery, treatment and Chandler's otherwise good health. There's also a chance that "God smiles upon us" and the cancer goes into remission for years, says Barnett, a devout Christian.

Before the meeting ends, Matt prays that his children and others do not grow resentful. "Lord, you gave this to me for a reason. Let me run with it and do the best I can with it." Barnett says later that he's witnessed many tragedies and miracles. He has seen how people handle life-changing moments. He called Chandler's attitude one of the most amazing he's seen.

Chandler says learning he had brain cancer was "kind of like getting punched in the gut. You take the shot, you try not to vomit, then you get back to doing what you do, believing what you believe.

"We never felt — still have not felt — betrayed by the Lord or abandoned by the Lord. I can honestly say, we haven't asked the question, 'Why?' or wondered, 'Why me, why not somebody else?' We just haven't gotten to that place. I'm not saying we won't get there. I'm just saying it hasn't happened yet."

Later, Chandler clarified that. There was one moment when he looked at a Christmas card, saw a picture of a man who chronically cheated on his wife and thought, "Why not that guy?" Chandler confessed to Lauren that his thoughts were wicked and wrong.

Monday, Jan. 4, a month after surgery. Morning breaks with 4-year-old Reid singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" at full volume. Matt sits at his laptop in the dining room, nursing a cup of green tea. He's preparing to drive to a homeopathic clinic for an infusion of Vitamin C to bolster the immune system, followed by the long drive to downtown Dallas for radiation. He's in the midst of a six-week program of radiation and chemotherapy, to be followed by a break and more treatment.

Chandler never thought such a trial would shake his faith. But until now, that was just hope in the abstract. "This has not surprised God," Chandler says on the drive home. "He is not in a panic right now trying to figure out what to do with me or this disease. Those things have been warm blankets, man."

Chandler has, however, wrestled with the tension between belief in an all-powerful God and what he, as a mere mortal, can do about his situation. He believes he has responsibilities: to use his brain, to take advantage of technology, to walk in faith and hope, to pray for healing and then "see what God wants to do."

"Knowing that if God is outside time and I am inside time, that puts some severe limitations on my ability to crack all the codes," he says. "The more I've studied, the more I go, 'Yes, God is sovereign, and he does ask us to pray ... and he does change his mind.' How all that will work is in some aspects a mystery."

Since falling ill, Chandler has gotten letters from the governor and pastors in Sudan. He has tried to steer attention to others, including a 6-year-old Arizona girl with cancer.

At church, he has deflected sympathy with reassurances that this is a good thing, that he is not shrinking back. Chandler has preached the last two weekends and is planning trips to South Africa and England. He recently lost his hair to radiation but got a positive lab report last week and feels strong.

"The human experience commonly shared is suffering," said Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church and a friend of Chandler's. "If he suffers well, that might be the most important sermon he's ever preached."

Chandler would rather this not have happened. But he is drinking life in — watching his son build sandcastles at the park, preaching each sermon as if eternity is at stake — and feeling a heightened sense of reality. "It's carpe diem on steroids," he says.

At the dinner table on the sixth day of radiation, new normal looks like this: Reid in Spiderman pajamas. Peanut butter and jelly dipped in honey for the kids, turkey chili for the adults. And peppermint ice cream. It is a diaper changed, dishes done. Matt Chandler takes his chemo pills and goes to bed, grateful for another day.


Remember, we will have our “Servant Team” training on the 27th, from 8:00 – 12:00. As a volunteer in any area of our ministry, you need to call the church office at 435-7263 and sign up for the training in your greatest area of interest. We will begin with a “southern style” breakfast, followed by training sessions for all our precious volunteers. Then, on February 28, we will wrap up our “Servant’s Heart” series with our “Time to Unleash the Church” wrap-up in all three of our worship services.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Worthy Goal

Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” (2 Peter 1:5-10)

The above text is an incredible passage addressing the things that must be present in our lives if we are to be useful to our Master. As vessels of the King, our faith must be expressed by virtue (moral purity), knowledge, self-control, steadfastness (patience), godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

What motivates us to these things is, of course, the source of all things that lead to sanctification, righteousness and joy. Paul stated earlier,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust (v. 2-4).”

Just take a look at what God has done for you. By His divine power you have all you need in your pursuit of godliness. John MacArthur adds, “Christ’s power is the source of the believer’s sufficiency and perseverance.” So, He (Jesus) has granted you all things pertaining to life (redemption by His blood), and godliness (all that is necessary for conformity to His design for your life). Just think: you and I are partakers of the divine. We have escaped the wrath to come, having put to death all that corrupts eternally. And I love the fact that these are “precious and magnificent promises.”

Therefore, we march forward to Christlikeness because we have received His divine power. We rest in the security of knowing that He who has called us is faithful to keep us forever and ever. May our proclamation today be like that of Paul in Philippians 3: “I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (v. 12)

Until Next Week,

Dr. Derek


What an incredible worship experience yesterday led by our students and our “rappin’, rockin’ student pastor, sockless Jay Monroe. I am pumped about what God is doing in our student ministry. Jay, you are the man!

This Sunday we will be focusing on what it means to be “tireless” in ministry. Our text will be 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. We will have our “Servant Team” training on the 27th, from 8:00 – 12:00. As a volunteer in any area of our ministry, you need to call the church office at 435-7263 and sign up for the training. We will begin with a “southern style” breakfast, followed by training sessions for all our precious volunteers. Then, on February 28, we will wrap up our “Servant’s Heart” series with our “Time to Unleash the Church” wrap-up in all three of our worship services.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Heaven Came Down

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)

I have been in ministry for over 30 years, and over the course of three decades of ministry I have experienced several worship experiences where the Spirit of God fell. I have seen several over the years who were filled with pride, controlled by the lust that sin produces, and headed to a sure and certain Christless eternity, broken and remade by the Spirit of God. I have had worship services where the power of God was visibly present. However, last Wednesday night I had something of a “Mount of Transfiguration” experience.

First, let me give you a little history. Our south campus has seen incredible growth in the 15 months since we opened. God has blessed us with many that have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ, many who were disenfranchised with church in times past, and many attendees who are exploring the claims of the Gospel. Our growth has brought to us a ready supply of needs for our church to help meet. After much prayer we have addressed those needs and have created a “ministry team” composed of servants in each area of our ministry to enable us to continue bringing excellence to our schedule each week.

Then, we have added several to our leadership team and have refocused our energies into a “Servant Leadership” team that will focus solely on the spiritual needs of our members and those who regularly worship at EaglePoint. Our goal as a servant leadership team is to invest in our people, and pray specifically for their needs.

Last Wednesday eleven of us gathered in the prayer room of our south campus for our very first meeting since we expanded our number. I began the meeting by reading from John 13:1 where Christ expressed “the full extent of His love.” Jesus left the table and washed the feet of His disciples. He modeled humble servanthood and charged them to follow in His footsteps.

I asked the group assembled in our prayer room for the privilege of washing their feet. I took the pale of water and towel that were prepared in advance, and proceeded to wash their feet. God began to stir my heart while I washed the feet of men that I have grown to love so much. God so gripped my heart that I could not even lift my eyes as I went around the room. Then, the Spirit of God just fell.

Suddenly, one of the men left the room and, after a few moments, came back with another pale of water and towel, and proceeded to wash feet. Tears began to freely flow from our faces as we realized this was not a typical “Baptist” meeting. Every man took their turn, washing and drying, hugging and expressing love one for another, removed from the outside world, totally engulfed by the power of God.

Now I am used to giving in ministry, but I am not the best when it comes to letting others serve me. God taught me the value of seeing His hand in the lives of other church leaders and the joy of being a servant. For almost 90 minutes we were caught up in something God was doing, and we never wanted it to end! I understand why Peter, James and John wanted to stay on the mount in Matthew 17. I wanted the rapture to come so that I could go from my own “upper room” into His eternal presence.

As I drove home at the end of a really long day I was overwhelmed by the mega-awesome power of God and the way He is preparing the hearts of our servant leaders of our church for the great days that lie ahead. Jesus reminded us that “spiritual foot-washing” is hard, and sometimes dirty work.

Yet, great blessing comes when we model Him before the watching world!

Carl Jung told of a man who asked a rabbi, "How come in the olden days God would show Himself to people, but today nobody ever sees God?" The rabbi said, "Because nowadays nobody can bow low enough." Jesus emptied Himself, and became a servant. What about you? Are you willing to empty self and emulate the Savior? Are you willing to get low enough?

Serving Him and You,

Dr. Derek

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Country Comes to Heaven: I Love You Man!

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Last Thursday one of our dear brothers went home to be with the Lord. The above picture is of two of our south campus families (From the left: Kenny Burrell, Steve Spears, Kathan Spears, and Stacey Burell). For those who live outside of Jacksonville, Steve passed away last Thursday from an automobile accident at the age of 45. He awaits in Heaven his wife Kathan, and 5 precious children (Kristen, Olivia, Clancey, Scout, and Journey). These last few days have rocked our hearts, but they have also strengthened our faith in the sustaining grace of our Heavenly Father, and have reminded us afresh and anew that ours is a “LIVING HOPE.”

Steve started our pre-teen ministry (GPS: Godly Positioned Students) at EaglePoint with about 3-4 students and within a year consistently averaged 20-25. He invested his love for Jesus Christ in them and, as a result, nearly all of them who did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ have followed their confession with believer’s baptism. I think the Ray Boltz song “Thank You For Giving To The Lord” may have been inspired by Steve. I want you to read the tributes from Kenny and Stacey Burell:

By Kenny: My best friend Steve

"This is Kenny" I am going to miss that being said to me every day. I just left EaglePoint and there will always be a void there. I was one of the first people to see Steve on Sundays, his shirt tucked out and his larger than life Bible that looked like his smile. I am a better Christian, Husband, Father and friend because of knowing Steve. He taught his friends that nothing in this world matters except Loving Jesus and making sure we share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with, and loving his wife and children so unselfishly. I am going to miss the 20 to 30 text messages I would get from him daily, one would be so heartfelt loving and kind and the next one would be "Pants on the ground". Man did he love life, but what pleased him the most was his love for Jesus, he is walking on Streets of Gold tonight. Steve is truly worshiping Jesus now, I can see him with his arms raised singing worthy is the Lamb!!! I thank God that I was allowed to spend time with him, listening to his precious prayers for his family and friends and how his heart would be broke for lost people. Steve has been so proud that God laid it on his heart to teach the GPS pre-teens at EaglePoint. God used him in a mighty way and his ministry will live on. God I am so thankful that you put the Spears family in my life, they are part of my family and I know he is going to use this for his glory.
My heart aches because I miss my best friend, but my soul sings out to God for he is in Heaven praising Jesus. Thank you Steve Spears for being real and showing us how to love people and how to love sharing the gospel. I am looking forward to seeing you again one day when we are all together in Heaven!

I love you man!!!.



My family was so blessed to have a friend like Steve Spears. Steve was an amazing friend, father, husband, leader, teacher, and servant. Mark 12:30 says "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength", this was a description of my friend's life. He lived and breathed every second of that verse each day here on earth. He was a walking example of the way everyone should be live. I simply can't say enough wonderful things about one man that walked into our life and made such an impact. Kenny and I were talking about how we met Steve and Kathan and we really could not recall the exact day. It just seemed like we knew each other forever and they were like family to us. Our family just clicked with their family. We shared some wonderful times with him and Kathan and the family that will always be great memories that I will hold dear to my heart. He was such a great husband to Kathan. You could feel the love that they had for each other by just being around them. Kathan told me yesterday that he treated her like a "queen" and he did, that was the truth. He was so appreciative of anything you did for them. He told me all the time "I'm so glad that Kathan has a friend like you" and I would say it was pleasure to be her friend, ya'll are such a blessing to me! Steve would deny himself and take up his cross and follow the Lord every day, just as we all should. I can't say enough good things about my friend, because there are not enough words to describe how I felt about him. I will miss the stories that Kenny would tell about Steve. The crazy things that the two of them would get into. I'll miss talking to him, hearing his laugh, seeing him at church with a smile on his face, the encouragement that he would give me and the family, praying with him, all the positive things he would say, and the fun times that we all shared. It was always so much fun being with him and Kathan, we had some good times. Kenny and I enjoyed just going to their home and sitting around talking and laughing with each other. You could just feel the love in their home and it made a great meeting place. Their house was always welcoming, warm, and cozy. Our kids and their kids would always be around, because it was the place they wanted to be. My kids loved Steve. Madison would look forward to going downstairs because Mr. Steve would always have the best message for them. He made it fun for the kids and they all adored him! He was preparing them for what the future would hold and how to handle it God's way. He did not have a book to teach from. The message would always come from his heart and I never worried because I knew that Steve walked in the footprints of our Heavenly Father. He prayed for the message that he talked to the kid's about and it was always something they related to. I had so much respect for Steve. He was Kenny's best friend and it will be difficult not hearing the stories that Kenny would share with me about them. He was so supportive and there for Kenny and pushed him through a lot of tough times. Last year, Jackson came out of his class saying "guess what mommy, "I gave my heart to the Lord today" and there was Steve with a smile on his face watching Jackson tell me the great news. I'm so thankful Jackson shared that moment with Steve. Steve was not afraid to share the love of Jesus with anybody. Steve was not just a friend to us, he was family and my whole family loved him. He always put a smile on our face. I'm so thankful that the Lord used Steve to glorify his name, because Steve touched so many people by the life he lived. He was always so good to my family. I'm so grateful that he taught us so much in such little time that we had him here. Steve will always have a special place in our hearts and I never forget how one man changed so many hearts. I have no doubt that our friend Steve is in Heaven with his Heavenly Father praising him at this very moment. I'm just so thankful that the Lord allowed us to experience such a blessing in our life!.

Thankful for every second,

Holding On and Looking Up,

Dr. Derek


Welcome these new members to the Church Family:

Caleb Adams
Charles & Gaynell Casey
Greg & Shelly Parrish
Scotti Simpson

I am blown away by our church’s response to the Spears family. I cannot even begin to say “Thank You” to all the servant volunteers who did so many things to make the last few days a smooth process. You stepped up and gave so selflessly from the needs at the Spears’ home to the incredible set-up at the south campus for the Saturday visitation, the Sunday service which brought the largest crowd ever gathered at our south campus, the meal in the Connection CafĂ©, the care in the parking lot, etc.

Yesterday, one of the funeral home representatives told me after the service that she has never seen a church respond in such an “incredible” way. It is no small coincidence that God led our staff back in September 09 to develop our “Servant’s Heart” series. He knew we would be needed by our families and by our community. Today, I feel emotionally spent and incredibly humbled to be the under-shepherd of such a precious congregation.