Chase Oaks Church » Blog http://www.chaseoaks.org Come as you are, whoever you are…Be Transformed by the love and the grace of God…Make a Difference in your world Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:11:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jordan Refugee Crisis March 2017 Report http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/04/jordan-refugee-crisis-march-2017-report/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/04/jordan-refugee-crisis-march-2017-report/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:50:51 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=33870 Syria is now in its seventh year of civil war with a total of over 400,000 dead and 6 million Syrians displaced. And refugees continue to enter Jordan, a safe place. Reports from fighting around Mosul in Iraq indicate that possibly 20,000 more refugees may be on the way to resource-stretched Jordan. Our trip in March […]

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CO-Staff-Web-John-Stanley-60x80Syria is now in its seventh year of civil war with a total of over 400,000 dead and 6 million Syrians displaced. And refugees continue to enter Jordan, a safe place. Reports from fighting around Mosul in Iraq indicate that possibly 20,000 more refugees may be on the way to resource-stretched Jordan. Refugee Update - Ahmad Ali AlsoloumOur trip in March allowed us to see the ministry to refugees up close and in person again. We met Ahmad Ali Alsoloum, from Damascus in Syria who had owned a clothing store until someone painted anti-government graffiti on the outside of his store. The next day, government soldiers came and took him to prison assuming that he was the one responsible. He was beaten and tortured in prison for five months. He had to flee with his children for their lives, leaving everything behind, and ended up also in Jordan. He’s been away from his country now for five years and still suffers with many medical issues including anxiety. Our partners in Jordan are working together to care for Ahmad and his family through this season of his life.

Refugee - Ronda MosuliWe also met Ronda Mosuli from the outskirts of Damascus. When she fled with her five children from Syria they left her husband behind. She’s not sure if he’s even still alive as she hasn’t heard from him since. She’s been living in Jordan for four years. After living in Zataari, the largest refugee settlement near the Syrian border for 9 months, they moved to a city south of there. Since she has five daughters to support, Jordanian families and churches have helped her with a place to live and essentials. Her daughters are not in formal education but taking supporting classes at a church that assists them. She shared that she’s feeling lost in life and praying God will show her a new path again. We promised her we would have our church pray for her.

Refugee-CampWe also visited a small refugee camp and met some of the people living there. We were impressed not only with their stories of survival but additionally their desires and effort to make the best of the situation in the environment that they have been forced into living.

There are 14 families from Syria, 300 kilometers north, living in this settlement. Since there’s no opportunity for formal education, one of the fathers has taken on the role as teacher, doing his best to ensure education of the children still happens. He isn’t trained as a teacher but passionate about the education of the kids at the camp. They use one of the tents for the school, teaching a wide age range of children. There’s a local church that visits once a week to care for these families. Our support will help them support the refugees.

Sewing Center in Amman

One of the best ways to support developing countries and refugees is by providing training, skills and tools to create income generation and self-sustainability. Our partner in Amman currently has one facility where women are trained in embroidery and sewing products that can be sold in their bookstore as well as globally. Sara, the young woman on the right was a veterinarian in Iraq and her husband worked with computers and the security camera business. She is learning the craft of embroidery to help provide income for her family.Sewing-Center-Collage

Our partner hopes to expand this venture by acquiring another much larger building so more women can be trained in the craft. Our support may go to help them with this additional space.

We invite you to pray with us for these people and the hundreds of thousands in their same plight. We cannot fathom what they have endured and what they will continue to experience while waiting for their situations to change, but we can be thankful they will be cared for by our friends in Jordan while we support their ministry through our financial offerings.

At Chase Oaks Church, we want to do our part in this global crisis. If you’d like to give financially to this project of our global impact, you may do so at the button below (select “Global Outreach” from the Giving Type drop-down):

Donate Now

VISIT REFUGEE CRISIS PAGE

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Reflections on the Stations of the Cross http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/04/reflections-stations-cross/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/04/reflections-stations-cross/#comments Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:52:30 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=33698 As I reflect on what filled my heart and mind as I pondered each station or point of reference, I’m forced to consider, for me this wasn’t simply an historical journey remembering the steps of Jesus, this was a personal pilgrimage which followed the footsteps of my own life. From the outset, when considering the […]

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As I reflect on what filled my heart and mind as I pondered each station or point of reference, I’m forced to consider, for me this wasn’t simply an historical journey remembering the steps of Jesus, this was a personal pilgrimage which followed the footsteps of my own life.

Jesus-is-Tempted-300pxFrom the outset, when considering the Stations of the Cross, it occurred to me that Jesus’ temptation to bypass the Cross, with which He wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane, wasn’t His first encounter with the enemy of His soul and ours.

What if Jesus had yielded to Satan’s temptings in the wilderness at the outset of His ministry? What if when Jesus, the embodiment of perfect man and perfect God, encountered Satan, He’d failed, and yielded to the weakness of His humanity, forsaking His divinity? Then, of course, the Cross wouldn’t have been necessary. God’s plan would have failed. Satan would have been the victor. But what, then, would have become of me…and you?

It didn’t take long for the tears to begin as I considered the faithfulness and strength of Jesus in the face of insurmountable odds and His determination not to fail His mission of dying on the Cross.

Why? Why was His death on the Cross so vitally important? Had He not persevered, there would be no hope of forgiveness or eternal life for me…or you.

Jesus-Mocked-300pxSo as I pondered the pictures and verses of each station, I couldn’t escape the reality that what Jesus experienced through His temptation; His betrayal; His condemnation; His mocking; the bearing of His Cross, leading to His literal falling under the weight of the world’s sin; His willingness to allow assistance from Simon; being stripped; nailed to the Cross; His life slowly draining from His body; and finally His body being placed in a borrowed tomb — none of that was because of what He did. Jesus didn’t deserve any of that.

So as my mind and heart grieved His horrible, unimaginable torture, my spirit kept pleading — “Why? Why? Why? You didn’t deserve to be treated like that? Why would You allow it? How could You possibly have endured it?”

“It was for you,” He said.

Again, my heart and mind were wrenched as I pleaded: “Why? Why? Why? I don’t deserve to be treated with such love and mercy! Why would You allow Yourself to be tortured for me? You know me better than I know myself. You know the countless times and ways I’ve failed You.”

Jesus-Rises-REV“Love always finds a way,” He said. “I overcame sin and death, failure and shame, hopelessness and defeat when I walked out of My tomb, just as I said I would. My resurrection proves I’m exactly who I said I Am and that all things are possible to those who believe.”

“But how can I ever respond appropriately to such love? What can I ever do to express my gratitude for such a gift?”

“Follow Me with your whole heart. Trust Me to lead you in ways and to places you never dared dream possible. Love Me and others as I love You, and let all that I did while I was on earth be a constant reminder of My love for you. Walk in confidence knowing I am always with you.”

My heart can only sing: “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

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Trapped Royalty Gains Freedom http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/03/trapped-royalty-gains-freedom/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/03/trapped-royalty-gains-freedom/#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:48:03 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=33233 Eight months after I decided to pursue becoming a licensed minister, everything important to me was snatched away. My close friend battling cancer got a bad report. After we prayed, I said to myself, “I need to see her next week.” But next week never came. She passed away two days later. After her death, […]

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Adrianne in red jacketEight months after I decided to pursue becoming a licensed minister, everything important to me was snatched away. My close friend battling cancer got a bad report. After we prayed, I said to myself, “I need to see her next week.” But next week never came. She passed away two days later. After her death, my dad was diagnosed with late stages of Alzheimer’s. I flew home to visit, but dad didn’t recognize me this time. I realized he would never be the same.  And after years of crying out to God about my abusive marriage, I made up my mind that I would no longer take the abuse.  I had had enough of my husband’s drunkenness and abandonment, his pictures on social media with other women, his illegal activities and his verbal, financial, sexual, and emotional abuse. While he sat at home drinking and playing video games, I had been working three jobs. He was reckless and aggressive towards me. Trapped and unsure of my future, I thought to myself, “I will not let this man kill me.”

Several years earlier, after being diagnosed with Lupus, my first husband decided that he “didn’t sign up for this.” After finding myself in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage with feelings of abandonment, I made the decision to leave in search of a healthier environment. Now, with the realization of a second failed marriage, I was left with feelings of inadequacy. I hid in the shadows of depression and anxiety. Although my husband never physically beat me, he intimidated me with his aggressive temper. The more he drank, the more the abuse increased. I don’t know why, but I felt like I had to pretend like our marriage was great. I buried myself in “busy-ness” to self-medicate. If I could convince myself, then maybe everything would be “okay.” But during my agony, I sensed God revealing to me my self-worth. I realized how much God loved me and how valuable I was. One morning as I slowly got up off the floor after waking up with dried tears stained on my face from crying myself to sleep, I knew something in my mind had changed. God had answered my prayers for strength and courage. I made the decision that I would no longer be a victim.

When I confronted my husband, I asked for a separation. He said, “If I want to drink, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll go to church when I feel like going. I’m not going to hear you preach all the time and I’m not going to go to counseling.”

Numb, I said to myself, “Lord, if that wasn’t clear, then I don’t know what else could be.”

First thing Monday I filed for divorce. I waited until he left, packed my valuables in my car, and moved in with one of my friends. Within a four-month span, I walked away from my house, my marriage, quit my job and moved to the opposite side of town. At this point, I had no choice but to trust God and totally depend on Him. As I walked away from everything, I lost friends, and even my dignity. God removed my self-pity and replaced it with humility.

Solomon said, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). God removed my sense of self-sufficiency and replaced it with a total dependence on Him. I sought biblical counseling, and I surrounded myself with people to help encourage me through my path of healing.

Although I was starting my life over, I was reassured that God had never left me. God was always there during the most difficult decision of my life. Thus, my worship for God increased, my faith in God increased and slowly my heart began to heal. If I had walked away from the abuse in the beginning, it would have saved me years of suffering. As God rebuilt in me the confidence that I had before the abuse, I began to flourish in my new job and in ministry. I continued to pray, worship and serve. My faith was the only constant in my life. Without it, I would not have made it through those four months.

Royalty--Collage

I admitted my faults, and learned from my mistakes of allowing the abuse. I acknowledged my mistakes so that I would not make them again in the future.

I read Jeremiah 29:11-13 which says, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” I realized at that moment my life was moving in the right direction.

Today God has restored everything that I lost when I walked away from the abuse. I have a home, better credit, a recent job promotion, and my ministry is exploding!  I am even more dedicated to helping people understand their God-given purpose and how to live intentionally. In addition, I’m currently active on the Writing Team at Chase Oaks, serving as a Women’s Ministry Bible Study Table Facilitator, and leading a 10-week “Established” group. On top of all that, despite having lost hope that I would ever find happiness in a relationship again, surprisingly, I met a gentleman at church who shares the same spiritual values as I and treats me like a queen! We agreed to practice celibacy so that our relationship honors God in all that we do. God has completely restored my life, and now I hope it is a testimony to you of how God can restore your life even after it has been broken.

Adrianne attended seminary at both Ashland Theological and Dallas Theological Seminaries and received her Master’s of Theology degree in Systematic and Historical Theology from DTS in 2002.  To learn more about Adrianne’s international speaking and teaching ministry, visit www.royaltyministry.com.

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My New Normal Started at the Chase Oaks Family Center http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/02/new-normal-started-chase-oaks-family-center/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/02/new-normal-started-chase-oaks-family-center/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:33:22 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=33040 It’s an amazing blessing to see what God can do when you choose to follow and serve Him.   I knew I had to find a new normal. While I was gone, changes at my previous church resulted in fewer people my age and stage of life to connect with. I started looking for another […]

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It’s an amazing blessing to see what God can do when you choose to follow and serve Him.   I knew I had to find a new normal. While I was gone, changes at my previous church resulted in fewer people my age and stage of life to connect with. I started looking for another church to attend. I really liked Chase Oaks Church and had several friends who attended, but it was difficult to figure out where I wanted to get plugged in while I was still trying to transition back and feel like myself again.

I struggled with attending church regularly; my attendance was sporadic at best. I finally came to the point one day where I knew that something had to change.

I had long ago learned that God will accomplish what He sets out to accomplish with or without me, but if He wants to let me be a part of His work, then I wanted to be a part of it and be blessed by seeing God at work.

I knew I had to find a way to attend church regularly, get plugged in, and serve the Lord. It was around that time that I heard the announcement that the Chase Oaks Family Center needed bernice-schoolzone-pic-1volunteers for their annual SchoolZone event that helps low-income families provide backpacks and school supplies for their kids. I decided to sign up to volunteer; and once I did, I knew it was the beginning of my new normal.

CO-Staff-Web-Julissa-Estrada

Julissa Estrada

After the SchoolZone event, I told Julissa Estrada, the Chase Oaks Family Center Director, that I was free to volunteer anytime she needed help with anything since I had just left my job. She contacted me multiple times over the next few months. The next big event was the annual ToyZone, a one-week event that allows low-income families to provide extremely low-cost Christmas gifts to their children. I was starting to interview for new jobs at that point but went every day to help out as I could. It was there that I met a few groups of coworkers from a company called MedAssets.

I used to be a weekly volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank, so I was used to coworkers constantly complaining about their company to each other as they volunteered. Interestingly, that didn’t happen with the groups from MedAssets. There were different groups on different days, and yet none of them complained about work. They all seemed to enjoy their jobs and the company, even though many of them worked in different departments. I also found out that they were all volunteering together because their company gives them five paid days to volunteer each year.

I was sold. I looked up the company on Glassdoor and did some research and started applying. It only took about a week before I was contacted for an interview, and within a month, I had started my new job there.

This past year, I took a bunch of my coworkers to volunteer at ToyZone held at the Family Center. It was the first time that many of them had ever used any of their volunteering days. They all enjoyed it a lot, and everyone said they wanted to go back again next year. A few of them enjoyed it so much that they said they want to know when there are other volunteering opportunities at the Chase Oaks Family Center.

nthrive-med-assets-group-FC-Toyzone

Volunteering at the Chase Oaks Family Center not only helped me begin to feel like myself again, but it was what really motivated me to begin attending Chase Oaks Church regularly and gFC-Christmas-servinget plugged in even more. Now, a year and a half later, I help out with the conversational English class every Sunday morning at the Chase Oaks Legacy Campus, have gone on several mission trips with Chase Oaks, and am now on the lead team for the mission trips to Casa Hogar Elim Orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

A verse that God always puts on my heart when I serve Him is 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, which says, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

My new normal is God-designed perfectly for the work He wants me to be a part of. This verse helps me remember that I get the opportunity to get over my own qualms and release my own expectations of what sharing God’s love will look like in any given area of service. It’s not about my need or my time, nor about what I provide whether at the Family Center, the church, the orphanage or elsewhere. It’s not doing everything, nor doing more than what God has given me to do. If I try to do more, I take away from His glory. It is about what those who I am helping need – practically and emotionally. It is about loving people in a way that makes them know they are loved by God. And it is an amazing blessing to see Him at work.

If you’d like to learn more about our Chase Oaks Family Center or would like to serve in their various ongoing outreach ministries, contact Julissa Estrada at jestrada@chaseoaks.org.

 

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Jóvenes Chase Oaks Making an Impact http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/02/jovenes-chase-oaks-making-impact/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/02/jovenes-chase-oaks-making-impact/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:25:10 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=32759 Jóvenes Chase Oaks (JCO) has been a life-changing experience for me.  Many people might think it’s an exaggeration when I say that it’s completely changed my outlook on the world—but it has!  When I first joined JCO, it was summertime, and I was going through a tough time.  But when I got to meet all […]

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Jóvenes Chase Oaks (JCO) has been a life-changing experience for me.  Many people might think it’s an exaggeration when I say that it’s completely changed my outlook on the world—but it has!  When I first joined JCO, it was summertime, and I was going through a tough time.  But when I got to meet all of these new people and heard their own struggles, I didn’t feel so alone.  Getting to know so many varieties of people made me understand people more.  JCO has defnintely contributed to my spiritual and social development and has helped me through a lot of the hard times in my life.  It’s incredible to know that I have people that I can turn to when I’m in need.  It feels immensely comforting to have a safe place to share one another’s victories and struggles.  We also get to help each other out, and we get the opportunity to have these remarkable experiences together and create memories that will last a lifetime.

JCO-Collage

At times life can be overwhelming, but coming together on Saturdays provides a break from the hectic pace of our lives and gives us something to look forward to during the week.  I’m very thankful for JCO!  Every leader and every group member means something so special to me.  I’m very blessed to be part of something so incredible, and I hope JCO continues to make an impact in other people’s lives like it has in mine.

Jóvenes Chase Oaks is our Student Ministry at our En Español campus (for Grades 6-12).  It launched in June 2016 and has already seen tremendous growth with roughly 25 students attending each week.  They meet on Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at our 201 building on the Legacy campus. For more information on JCO, email Claudia Vega at cvega@chaseoaks.org.

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The Transforming Power of LifeGroups http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/01/transforming-power-lifegroups/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/01/transforming-power-lifegroups/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2017 21:39:33 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=32224 Marriage between a man and a woman is a holy covenant, a God-ordained relationship that He likens to His relationship with the church.  Holy or not, anyone with any experience with marriage knows it is hard work even in the best of circumstances.  Throw in a stressor or two, and a marriage can easily end […]

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Marriage between a man and a woman is a holy covenant, a God-ordained relationship that He likens to His relationship with the church.  Holy or not, anyone with any experience with marriage knows it is hard work even in the best of circumstances.  Throw in a stressor or two, and a marriage can easily end in divorce.  So let’s look at a story of one Chase Oaks couple whose circumstances were less than ideal from the onset, were headed for divorce, but before they got there, opened their hearts to allow God’s love to transform their relationship into the steadfast union He intended it to be — and He did it all through a powerful resource that He has graciously provided to each of us in our very own church: LifeGroups!

Amber-and-Kain-BWAmber and Kain Coughlin have been married eight years.  Amber describes their marriage as a forced one—an obligation arising from guilt.  They both came from basically non-churched, broken homes with no role models for a healthy marital relationship.  Six months before their relationship began at the age of 16, Kain’s mother accepted Christ as her Savior.  She invited the couple to go to church with her, and they went.  By the age of 18, both Amber and Kain had become Christ-followers as well.  But they had made some mistakes along the way and knew they weren’t honoring God with their sexuality in the relationship.  They didn’t want to continue sinning against God in this area, so they decided they needed to either break up or get married.  Neither one could afford to live on their own and continue dating in the recessive economy, and neither one wanted to break up.  So they opted to marry.  They were wed between Amber’s junior and senior year of college; and a few weeks after her graduation the following year, Amber discovered she was pregnant.

It was a troubled marriage throughout her pregnancy.  They had no married friends, and no resources to turn to for help.  Since Kain’s mother’s church was too far from their apartment to attend regularly, they were hopping from church to church, attending consistently but casually.  They remained disconnected, but believed since they were Christians and going to church, it would make marriage easy.  Yet, the struggle continued; and the arrival of their first child only added to the strain of the marriage.  The couple finally ended up at Chase Oaks because of its proximity to their apartment.  By this time their daughter was a few months old and Amber recounts,

“We were a signature away from divorce.  We did not parent as a team.  I had already found an apartment to move to.  Pride was the only thing keeping us together.”

Both of their families expected their marriage to fail.  Therefore, before making the final decision to part ways and prove their families right, they decided to visit a LifeGroup as a last-ditch effort to save their marriage.  Neither one of them believed the group would really have any meaningful effect, but they felt they had to exhaust that option.  The group they chose to attend was led by the Hansen and Roper families—two older couples who catered to younger ones with the intention of serving as role models for a healthy, Christian marriage.  That first night, Amber and Kain felt the welcoming spirit of the group.  Meeting other couples in the same life-stage with the same challenges was a relief, and they made connections quickly. However, it was the study topic of the group that challenged them to return week after week. As if planned just for them, the discussion examined a sacred marriage, the core question being, “What if God intended marriage to make us holy rather than happy?”

Dirk-Hansen-and-John-Roper

John Roper & Dirk Hansen

Through the guidance of the Christ-led group and devoted mentors, they learned the skills to strengthen their marriage and how to parent as partners.  John Roper took Kain under his wing, meeting Kain every Sunday morning as a mentor for him as he met the challenges of being a husband, a father, and a faithful Christian.  Kain was grateful for the support which was not limited to the Sunday breakfast hour.  When Amber and Kain had questions about parenting, they called John, secure in the knowledge that he would always make himself available to share his wisdom and experience.

Today, Dirk and Shannon Hansen have broadened their mentorship by taking on the role of Area Directors and meet with LifeGroup leaders in their area quarterly.  That meeting includes Amber and Kain because they have become co-leaders of the Gardner/Coughlin LifeGroup. They, along with the Gardners who were also members of the original group, decided to take the next step and pass forward the love and support extended to them by the Hansens and Ropers to other young families.  Thus for a little over a year, the couple has assisted with facilitating meetings, sending emails, leading discussions, and has even, along with their whole LifeGroup, adopted a family.

As for the Coughlin marriage, Kain states, “Our marriage is a work in progress.  Now we have people to talk to in the same stage of life.  We have a level of security, and divorce is off the table.”
Amber-Coughlin-Jennifer-Gardner

Amber & Jennifer

The couple has also had two more children since initiating a LifeGroup connection.  All three of their kids are plugged into Kidzone and the oldest two even serve with Amber and her fellow LifeGroup co-leader, Jennifer—showering the one-year-old class with love every other week.

“Our priority, second to strengthening our marriage, is to provide a solid spiritual foundation for our children,” Amber states. Allowing themselves to get intimate with members of their group and intentionally working toward transformation salvaged the Coughlin marriage.  God provided for their needs through the LifeGroup.

Is marriage always romantic?  Absolutely not!  Is it hard work?  You better believe it!  What about shouldering unemployment?  Can that rob us of happiness?  It certainly can!  And illness—is it debilitating, painful, or even scary?  All too often, yes!  But we are not alone.  LifeGroups— an intimate point of connection with Chase Oaks—are a resource, a safe place to share with mentors and others who are struggling with similar challenges and need you as much as you need them.  They are places where God’s love transforms us, if we will only come with open hearts. So, which group have you chosen?

If you’re not already plugged into a LifeGroup and would like to check out some in your area, visit our LifeGroup Locator, or stop by the Groups area in the lobby of your campus on the weekend to learn more about the groups available.  

 

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BEST Kids Program is the Best! http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/01/best-kids-program-best/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2017/01/best-kids-program-best/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 17:38:16 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=31662 Mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and evenings on Wednesdays, are busy at the Chase Oaks Family Center.  Over 80 students from 15+ different countries come to learn and/or strengthen their English skills through our BEST (Building English Skills Together) ESL Program.  Friends are made.  Coffee is provided.  And this year, more than any other, parents […]

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Family-center-esl-signMornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and evenings on Wednesdays, are busy at the Chase Oaks Family Center.  Over 80 students from 15+ different countries come to learn and/or strengthen their English skills through our BEST (Building English Skills Together) ESL Program.  Friends are made.  Coffee is provided.  And this year, more than any other, parents are bringing their children to benefit from our complementary program, BEST Kids.BEST-Kids-pic-1

We don’t just want to offer childcare.  We want to teach these children how to learn, and provide them with the skills they’ll need to start kindergarten.  We’re allowing them to learn at their own pace, in the ways that suit them best.  We’re encouraging them to demonstrate good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves, which will make a difference throughout their lives.  Currently, our children’s programs are at capacity, but we have a waiting list for open slots.

loribustos-web-picBEST Kids wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful director, Lori Bustos.  Lori has been attending Chase Oaks for five years, and has been with BEST Kids for three years.  She and her team welcome thirty kids on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, as well as twenty kids on Wednesday evenings.  About half of these children are toddlers; the rest are preschoolers.  Lori creates lesson plans and a curriculum that includes a monthly theme, letters, numbers, shapes, vocabulary words, music, and even light homework.

“The parents love seeing the work the children have done during class,” Lori says.  “This is the only learning outlet for some of the children and it makes their parents proud knowing that their children are being prepared to enter school.  The end goal is for all the children to feel confident walking into their first day of kindergarten knowing their alphabet, spelling their names, understanding numbers and recognizing colors.”

preschool-pic-BEST-WebA large percentage of these kids have never been away from their moms, so we are greatly honored that parents trust us with their children.  Since all of our ESL students are foreigners, our program is the first place many of the kids are introduced to an English curriculum.

Thanks to Lori’s dedication, and the wonderful support of her team, the BEST Kids program has flourished.  They provide opportunities for the children to learn, and memories for their parents to capture.  Kids create beautiful works of art to take home, they perform songs for their parents, they participate in both individual and class pictures, and they develop great friendships with other students.  It’s inspiring to see how the BEST Kids program is impacting their lives and making a significant difference in our community.

Our BEST ESL classes resume in the mornings on Tuesday, January 10, and in the evenings on Wednesday, January 11.  We are always looking for more volunteers (teachers, co-teachers, substitutes, and greeters for the hospitality team).  For more information, contact Kay Hurley (allykhurley@gmail.com).

 

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Nuevo Laredo Mission Trip http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/nuevo-laredo-trip/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/nuevo-laredo-trip/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 18:58:10 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=31352 Mission trips can take on so many different forms with a wide myriad of goals based on the needs of the destination.  Within the past few months, we saw a group go to Louisiana to help clear out the flood ravaged homes of residents.  Sometimes they take on health concerns in disease-ravaged areas; other times […]

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Mission trips can take on so many different forms with a wide myriad of goals based on the needs of the destination.  Within the past few months, we saw a group go to Louisiana to help clear out the flood ravaged homes of residents.  Sometimes they take on health concerns in disease-ravaged areas; other times it’s to deliver the Word of God to those who have no access to a God about whom they’ve only heard whispers.

In September a group of about 15 went to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to accomplish perhaps the most important task that we as Christ-followers could ever hope to devote ourselves to: loving on children who haven’t known the love of an earthly father and showing them the love of a heavenly Father.

The team went to Casa Hogar Elim, an orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, to help with the daily life of caring for the nearly 80 orphans that live there.

Bannis-Family-300px“Our mission for this trip was not to ‘fix’ anything but to come alongside these children, help them and show compassion,” shared Karen Bannis, whose family went on the trip.  “Mama Lupita runs the orphanage, but there are older kids (late teens and 20s) who have many responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, dorm parents, overseeing school work, etc).  When our group gets there, it is a chance for this group to take a break from their many daily responsibilities. And we take over cooking and watching the children for a few days.”

AC-Nuevo-Laredo-Blog-Casa-Hogar-collage
While the orphanage does have a bakery and jewelry business that bring in a very small amount of the money, it for the most part relys on donations for its day-to-day operation.

The teenage boys live at another location where they raise chickens and are building a Tilapia farm as a way to generate income.  The girls run a jewelry business which was started with a $100 micro-loan, teaching them how to keep track of inventory, design, quality control and accounting; all skills that will roll into their adult lives outside of Casa Hogar.  A baker who is on-site supplies bread and pastries to over 70 nearby convenience stores.

There are several trips done each year to the orphanage by Chase Oakers, and every trip they bring boxes of toothbrushes for the children.  Without any sort of storage for the kids to place their personal belongings, everything inevitably gets lost.  Upon hearing this, Elliya Bannis (12) came up with the wonderful idea of collecting shoe boxes to take on this trip, so that they could have a place to store their personal items.  The Bannis Family managed to collect 80 shoe boxes and break them all down for easy travel and bring the orphanage both a fun project but also the ability to hold on to the important things.

Nuevo-Laredo-Shoe-Boxes-300pxUsing stickers, markers, and everything else imaginable to craft, the residents of Casa Hogar were all given an opportunity to decorate a box, filled with joy at knowing that they had something to call their own and a place to store what other precious belongings they had.  For Xavier Bannis, this was a moment that really stuck with him, getting to see their excitement as they decorated and shared their creations with one another.

One member of the Bannis Family, Evie (8), was able to learn just how powerfully love can transcend language and background.  For this little girl who naturally makes friends so easily, she suddenly found herself in a situation where she could not communicate with the children around her due to the language barrier.  What she learned from the trip was that sometimes just being with someone, whether coloring or playing a game, is all the communication that is needed.  As she put it:

“God helped me find a way to make a new friend even though I didn’t speak Spanish.”

The name of the facility, Casa Hogar Elim, stands for “house home refuge,” an apt name for what it represents.

“Casa Hogar truly is a refuge for these children,” says Karen.  “Many children live here because they have no family to take care of them.  There are some children who live here part-time because their family can’t afford to take care of them on a daily basis.  Others live here because their family does not live in a safe area.  As long as a child needs a home, Mama Lupita, the Director, will not send them away.”

Interested in Attending a Trip?

The Nuevo Laredo team would love to invite people to come on any of their trips in 2017.  Dates for new people are March 9-12, May 26-29, September 1-4, and December 29-January 1.  “It’s a great first trip to go on, especially for a family trip.  It’s easy, cheap, attainable, and only 4 days long over a weekend,” says Karen.

If you have never been on a mission trip, this would be a great place to start to have your life changed and see how you can start living more intentionally for Christ.

MORE INFO

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Partnering with a Purpose! http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/partnering-purpose/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/partnering-purpose/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2016 20:38:18 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=31009 Visit with me, if you will, the West Campus of Plano Community Homes.  We’ll step inside the activity room where preparations are underway for the second annual Pumpkin Decorating Bash for the residents of this low-income senior living community.  The furniture in the room is sparse and well worn, but accommodates the residents for group […]

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Visit with me, if you will, the West Campus of Plano Community Homes.  We’ll step inside the activity room where preparations are underway for the second annual Pumpkin Decorating Plano-Community-Homes-West-Campus-RszBash for the residents of this low-income senior living community.  The furniture in the room is sparse and well worn, but accommodates the residents for group activities provided by local organizations.  It is a Saturday morning and the House LifeGroup from Chase Oaks is preparing plates with fruit, pastries, cheese and brewing coffee for the event.  Tablecloths have been placed on the tables along with pumpkins, paints, paintbrushes, glue, and a variety of craft donations to be used to decorate the pumpkins.  Approximately 30 residents are expected.  As the first of the residents walk through the open doors, they are welcomed by LifeGroup members and encouraged to grab breakfast, pick a pumpkin, and then decorate to their heart’s content as they nibble their refreshments.  Pumpkins, much too expensive for these seniors to purchase for such fun, are chosen with care.  After all, it will be a personal work of art, a decoration for their humble abode by the end of the gathering.  The aroma of coffee wafts through the room as the residents settle in to their seats with their breakfast and a blank canvas.

Plano-Community-Homes-collage-2The atmosphere is festive.  Expressions of concentration can be seen on the seniors’ faces as they create a masterpiece on their spherical orange canvases.  Pictures are taken by Denny Farmer, a photography buff, as the pumpkins evolve into individual creations.  The pictures will be placed in a photo album and shared with the residents on a later visit.  Hearty laughter can be heard as the residents and LifeGroup members interact.  Smiles come easily as old friends reunite.  You see, this is not the first time the House LifeGroup has visited this place.  In fact, the members of the group have committed to hosting an activity one Saturday a month for the last two and a half years.

“I can’t even remember what we did that first day,” says Jan Farmer, the LifeGroup coordinator of this undertaking.  “It was a landscaping job of some sort, I think.  I had called Traci, our contact at the facility, to ask if they had a project we could do for them.  While serving that day, we discovered there is a continual need at the community home, and we felt led to partner with them to meet their needs on a regular basis.”

The House LifeGroup members wanted more than a one-day, done-and-gone event.  They wanted to develop a personal relationship with the people they served.  Thus, Jan reached out to Traci for a permanent partnership with the senior community.  Traci was thrilled to assign the group one Saturday each month to help provide an activity from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. for the residents.  Since that time, they have been faithful to host a game day, a craft, or Bingo on a 2016-09-17-SeniorCenterBingo20160917119-rszrotating basis.  Bingo is the residents’ favorite because prizes are provided to the winners. The prizes include toilet paper, paper towels, dish and laundry detergent, Windex, and hand lotion since the residents are predominantly on food stamps which do not pay for cleaning supplies and toiletries.  These items go like hot cakes as they are prized commodities.  All of the prizes and craft materials are furnished by the LifeGroup members.  In addition to supplying the prizes and materials needed for the crafts, the group leaves no footprint on the home upon their departure.  They bring their own cleaning supplies to clean up whatever mess was made during their visit.  According to Traci, the Chase Oaks LifeGroup activities draw a bigger crowd than any of the other organizations who host activities on the campus, and their group is the most consistent with showing up when scheduled.

Their dependability along with their longevity has earned the House LifeGroup members the privilege of doing little “Honey-dos” for the residents, like hanging pictures, moving furniture, and cleaning windows and screens.  “It took a while to gain approval for that,” says Denny, meaning a foundation of trust had to be built first.

So how does the House LifeGroup pull off this substantial commitment?  The answer is simple—with an Outreach Connection Champion, a donation jar at every LifeGroup meeting, two sign-up sheets, and a storage container full of the necessary supplies.  The Outreach Connection Champion schedules with the facility contact and plans the events for each month.  Jan Way is the Outreach Connection Champion for the House LifeGroup.  The donation jar is for monetary donations for the supplies needed for the monthly activities they host and the cleaning supplies.  The sign-up sheets designate who will be participating in the event on a given month and who is responsible for bringing the food.  Finally, the storage container holds all the supplies.  It is portable and restocked each month by a LifeGroup member.

When asked, what keeps their LifeGroup committed to the community home, Denny quickly retorts, “The project has the support of all of our members.  There is something for everyone to do.”  “Oh, yes, and we have fun with the residents,” Jan adds. “We have never enjoyed a project so much!”

Plano-Community-Homes-Collage2Sound like fun?  Inspired to get your own partnership going, but wondering how?  Plano Community Homes has three campuses and the House LifeGroup is only capable of serving one.  The other two campuses, Pioneer Place and the East Campus, are gold mines rich with need, sitting right here in our mission field.  You only need to call Traci, the contact who can make the partnership a reality for those willing to make the commitment. The foundation has been laid. Best of all, you would not have to go it alone.  Jan has volunteered to be a mentor to any LifeGroup that feels led to partner with one of the other homes, sharing the knowledge they have gained from their own experience.

If you desire to have a partnership with a purpose like the House LifeGroup did, this opportunity is ripe for the picking!  Please contact Traci Lane at 972.867.1905 or at traci@planocommunityhome.org.

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A Match Made in Heaven http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/match-made-heaven/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/match-made-heaven/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:14:51 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30845 We know God’s timing isn’t always ours, thus we can’t demand instant answers to our prayers. But, boy, when it occasionally happens, what a sweet kiss from God it is! After attending Chase Oaks Church for about a year, David and Cathy Billington were looking for a place to plug in and serve. They learned […]

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We know God’s timing isn’t always ours, thus we can’t demand instant answers to our prayers. But, boy, when it occasionally happens, what a sweet kiss from God it is!

David BillingtonAfter attending Chase Oaks Church for about a year, David and Cathy Billington were looking for a place to plug in and serve. They learned about our Fair Trade store and loved the whole concept of selling original, handmade, quality products that directly pull people out of poverty. So they dug in there, along with their daughter Marley, and David is now the store’s volunteer director.

Fair-Square-outside-bldg-resizedDavid became somewhat overwhelmed with the behind-the-scenes logistics necessary to run the store properly. He and Cathy prayed about it with a new LifeGroup couple one morning about three-and-a-half years ago as they met at The Pantry restaurant in downtown McKinney.

As David walked out of The Pantry, he looked across the street and saw the store sign for Fair & Square Imports.  Immediately intrigued, he walked in and recognized some of the Fair Trade products the Legacy Campus store sells.

Andrew and Kate Jones

Andrew-Kate-pic-resizedDavid was greeted by store owner Andrew Jones. Andrew and his wife Kate had opened Fair & Square Imports about eight months earlier. They had moved here from Indiana for this specific reason, and their store is the only Fair Trade store in Collin County.

Their website states, “Andrew & Kate are especially passionate about Fair Trade because it decreases individuals’ dependency on aid in a dignified and long-lasting way. Opening a Fair Trade store was a natural expression of that passion.”

David explained his role with Chase Oaks’ Legacy Campus Fair Trade store. Andrew had already heard of us because we are the only church around who runs a Fair Trade store year round. After David asked lots of questions about vendors and how to reach this one and that one, Andrew said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you just let us come and stock your store on a regular basis? We already have relationships with certified organizations, we know their inventory requirements, and we have the variety of products you’re looking for. We’ll absorb all the risk for what doesn’t sell.” And, because they were still trying to grow their business and increase sales, it would provide a needed boost for their store also.

David wasn’t sure about that proposition, so he said he’d have to pray—are you kidding? He saw this as a perfect answer to the prayer he had prayed just a few minutes before! So, anyone watching our Fair Trade store at that time began to see the inventory increase significantly.

Kate makes the trek down to Chase Oaks every few weeks to bring new products, restock the best-selling ones, and take a few back to their store. She also does artisan spotlights, so store shoppers can learn more about the people behind the products and their individual stories. Now, David finds himself looking for things to do. (Okay, that’s not totally true. David recruits and schedules store volunteers, and Kate said his Excel sales reports really help her out.)

Three Goals

David told me the three main goals of our store are:

  1. Sell products specifically to promote Fair Trade and lift people out of poverty.
  2. Provide an avenue of service for volunteering an hour or two/month at church (Contact David at theshop@chaseoaks.org if you’re interested).
  3. Extend a hearty welcome to guests when they spend the $5 gift card provided in their guest packet at Legacy, taking time to talk to them and answer questions.

Fair-Trade-Artisans

Incidentally, the Chase Oaks Fair Trade store makes no profit from its sales. We pass that on to Fair & Square Imports because we know they plug some of their profits into growing the Fair Trade movement as a whole, and they work to maintain long-standing relationships with the artisans they support. Our store currently provides Fair & Square about 8% of their total sales through our annual sales of roughly $35,000. David also hopes to help our other campuses set up a Fair Trade store in the future.

Andrew and Kate have been amazed to see how uniquely mission-focused Chase Oaks Church is. Kate said, “I have not met people who ‘get’ service more than Chase Oaks. They go out and meet their neighbors, they’re volunteering everywhere. It’s really inspiring for us.” As a bonus, the Joneses and Billingtons have become good friends and get together often.

Fair Trade Gift Weekend

Why-Fair-Trade-SidebarMeet Andrew and Kate at our Fair Trade Gift Weekend, December 9/11. The store inventory will be expanded to help shoppers with their Christmas lists. If you want to buy unique, affordable gifts for your family members that they won’t find anywhere else, this will be the place to shop! And the Joneses can tell you many more cool things about Fair Trade I can’t fit in here. The store will also be open for our Christmas Eve services.

Threadies-3bears-logoBe sure to check out the Threadies at the store also. Andrew and Kate started this initiative to minister to child refugees (50% of refugees are children). These stuffed bears are sold in pairs: for each one bought here, its twin is donated to a child refugee. This not only creates a special bond between children across the world, but it can change a child’s whole outlook. Each bear comes with a special coping kit to help the child refugee heal from trauma. What a marvelous idea!

So next time you’re praying about a specific need, better keep your eyes open once you walk outside!

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New Service Times Starting in 2017 http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/new-service-times-starting-2017/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/12/new-service-times-starting-2017/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:33:36 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30810 I love how we’ve been learning more about our Chase Oaks DNA through the “We Too” sermon series this fall. One of our DNA statements (This Is Not Our Party) reminds us that our weekend services are meant to provide strategic and effective environments to help reach the 1 million people in the 10-mile radius […]

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CO-Staff-Web-Peter-ParkI love how we’ve been learning more about our Chase Oaks DNADNA-Party-Icon through the “We Too” sermon series this fall. One of our DNA statements (This Is Not Our Party) reminds us that our weekend services are meant to provide strategic and effective environments to help reach the 1 million people in the 10-mile radius of the Legacy campus.

Kidzone-Expansion-SpaceNow that the Legacy campus expansion of our Kidzone space is complete (which prior to the expansion required us to have three services instead of two on Sundays), we are going to make an exciting change to our Sunday morning service times to create more effective environments for our guests.

 

New Year!  New Times!

Starting on January 1, 2017, Sunday morning service times will be at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.! 

There are multiple reasons why this is a smart move for our Legacy campus:

  • Churches that have three Sunday morning service times usually discover that one time is too early for most people and one is too late. The middle service becomes the “Goldilocks” time that is just right. At our Legacy campus our current 10:45 a.m. service is full (and sometimes overflowing). This is a great problem to have, but it’s still a problem when we want to continue to provide a welcome environment for our neighbors and friends. We’ve discovered that 9:30 a.m. is a much more attractive time for new guests than 9:00 a.m.  This move will actually open up more seats for our guests giving them two attractive times instead of one.
  • This enables us to move toward standard service times with our other campuses (except En Español which will move to 1:00 p.m. at the 201 Building) to reduce confusion. What we have seen at our Sloan Creek campus is that these two times are both about equally popular and convenient…not too early or too late for most people. When 544 moves into their own building, they will also adopt 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. service times.

 

For those who are totally not morning people and love the 12:30 p.m. service, 11:15 a.m. is later than our 10:45 a.m. service and hopefully will work.  Even better, Friday night has plenty of capacity and is the ultimate answer for a night person.  In fact, to continue to give room for our Sunday services, when most of our guests come, we are asking as many as possible to consider trying out a Friday service at 7:00 p.m. We think once you try it, you’ll love it!  It’s the same great experience as Sunday and opens up your whole weekend.

Thank you SO much for flexing with us and being awesome hosts for the guests who have yet to come.

Love all y’all!

Peter-Park-Signature-300x97

 

 

Peter Park
Legacy Campus Pastor

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Gifts For Moms Set to Party in Style! http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/gifts-moms-set-party-style/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/gifts-moms-set-party-style/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:59:19 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30688 About 90 single moms wearing colorful tutus will fill the Legacy Room, Saturday, December 17, as our Chase Oaks Legacy Campus hosts the annual Gifts for Moms Christmas Party. This year’s theme is “Shabby Chic Christmas,” and the attire is “tutu chic.” Moms will be treated to valet parking, a special meal prepared by renowned […]

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About 90 single moms wearing colorful tutus will fill the Legacy Room, Saturday, December 17, as our Chase Oaks Legacy Campus hosts the annual Gifts for Moms Christmas Party. This year’s theme is “Shabby Chic Christmas,” and the attire is “tutu chic.”

Moms will be treated to valet parking, a special meal prepared by renowned Chef Cassondra Armstrong, a special gift, a swag bag, childcare and more.

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PullOutQuoteGifts for Moms is a nonprofit organization that supports and encourages single moms and partners with Chase Oaks each year to give them a special night to remember. The party is just one of the organization’s outreach efforts to provide relief for single moms who usually go unnoticed during the Christmas holiday. 

Tamara Ragland, mom of three, has attended the party for the past three years and says it is one of the highlights of her year.  “I love the fellowship. Everyone is in the same situation as a single mom.  So they understand where you are coming from, and there is no judgment—just good food and fun. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your kids, so you can just relax.”

Jordan Weilbrenner is a mom of two children.  She also looks forward to the party mostly for the camaraderie with other moms.  Until recently, she was dealing with her 7-year old daughter’s cancer diagnosis. She shared that she has lost almost everyone in her family to cancer, so Christmas is always a struggle for her.

“The party is awesome,” she said.  “You get to meet a bunch of cool people.”  Her favorite part of the evening is the team games played at each table. “I loved the game where we had to transfer the t-shirt to the other people.  The party is a lot of fun!”

Arionna-pic-300pxArionna Johns, 28, has four children.  She recently moved to the area to help a friend who was struggling with a difficult pregnancy.  Then the friend’s husband was deployed to an army base in another city, and she and her family were suddenly left with nowhere to go and forced to live in a shelter for the past three months. Thankfully, a few weeks ago, she finally got an apartment. She has secured a job as a property manager that is helping her make ends meet.  But times are still tough.  She was able to purchase beds for her children, but she herself is sleeping on the floor.

“I am sleeping on the floor, but at least it is a home.  We are eating and sleeping on the floor.  But I did purchase a folding chair at Walmart, so when I want to get off the floor, I sit in my chair.”

Arionna has never attended the party but has looked forward to it since her counselor at the shelter suggested that she fill out an application for the program.  “She told me that I would really enjoy it,” she said.  Arionna says she usually spends Christmas trying to make it special for her children, so having a time just for her will be a new experience.

Erica Woods, 38, a single mom of a 6-year-old, also looks forward to the party.  She just completed a year at The Samaritan Inn shelter in McKinney, and recently moved into her own apartment.  She heard about the party from a few other ladies in the shelter who had attended the party before and told her how much fun it was.  She has been homeless for a year until last month when she finally graduated from the program and got her own apartment.  Rent in Collin County is expensive, so she is trying to save for furniture as she and her daughter are sleeping and eating on the floor.  Even after the long stint of misfortune, she is hopeful of things to come.

If you’d like to help give a special Christmas to these hardworking single moms, there’s still time to pick up a $50 gift card and drop it in the Gifts for Moms box in the Chase Oaks Legacy campus lobby.  Deadline to drop off is Sunday, December 4.

To learn more about Gifts for Moms and all they do to come around single moms all year-round, visit www.gfmsinglemoms.org.

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Saturday Service at Sloan Creek Takes A Break for the Holidays http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/saturday-service-sloan-creek-takes-break-holidays/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/saturday-service-sloan-creek-takes-break-holidays/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2016 22:01:23 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30467 Back in September, our Sloan Creek campus launched a new Saturday service at 5:30 p.m.  The reason behind the launch according to Campus Pastor Dan Martin was: “In short, we were full on Sunday.  Both the auditorium and our Children’s Ministry areas needed some relief.  We sent a survey out to everyone who attends Sloan […]

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CO-Staff-Web-Dan-MartinBack in September, our Sloan Creek campus launched a new Saturday service at 5:30 p.m.  The reason behind the launch according to Campus Pastor Dan Martin was:

“In short, we were full on Sunday.  Both the auditorium and our Children’s Ministry areas needed some relief.  We sent a survey out to everyone who attends Sloan Creek and the overwhelming choice for adding an additional service was Saturday evening.  The secondary reason was to offer a unique service option to folks in our community who either could not attend on a Sunday morning or were open to a less traditional feeling service time.”

They introduced the Saturday service as an 11-week trial scheduled to end the week before Thanksgiving—November 19 will be their last meeting time for 2016.  During this trial period, they’ve learned a lot shares Dan,

“The initial launch went very well.  There was a lot of buzz leading up to our first service in September, and we had a great turnout.  There have been some key things that we have learned: one would be that Saturday services have a different feel and personality than our Sunday morning services.  And we want to build on that and not feel like Saturday has to look and feel exactly like Sunday.”

Saturday-Service-Collage-580px

Saturday Services Set to Resume on January 7

Sloan Creek will be re-launching the Saturday service at 5:30 p.m. as a permanent third service starting on January 7.  During this interim period over the holidays, Dan says they will be using the time to build anticipation, solidify all of the teams that will be needed to make it successful, and also make changes from things that have been learned in order to improve the Saturday experience overall.

Interested in Serving?

One of their main needs that they will be addressing over the holiday break will be recruiting and training additional volunteers, primarily in Children’s Ministry.  If you’d like to help out, please contact Lorri Vogel at lvogel@chaseoaks.org.

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Let It Echo Worship Album Release http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/let-echo-worship-album-release/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/let-echo-worship-album-release/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 22:01:43 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30440 On Friday, December 2, Chase Oaks Church will release Let it Echo – our second worship album. Unlike our first album, Jesus Victorious, which was a collection of new and original songs, Let it Echo will be a collection of songs that we already know and love and sing on the weekends at Chase Oaks. To […]

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On Friday, December 2, Chase Oaks Church will release Let it Echo – our second worship album. Unlike our first album, Jesus Victorious, which was a collection of new and original songs, Let it Echo will be a collection of songs that we already know and love and sing on the weekends at Chase Oaks. To capture the fact that these are already our songs in this season as a church, our worship teams decided to record this project as a live, concert album. Many of you reading this were part of that memorable night just a couple of months ago. All of our worship leaders along with different worship team members from each campus contributed to an extraordinary evening of worship. The heart behind this project has always been to give each of us the ability to take our worship songs with us wherever we go. We are all eagerly anticipating getting our hands on this CD!

As you might imagine, creating a concert album requires a tremendous amount of work, preparation, and coordination leading up to a single concert (giving the worship leaders and bands only one shot to get it right). But, along with the stress and hard work came the opportunity for our musicians and worship leaders to bond and create something extraordinary together. To get a behind the scenes glimpse, check out these journal entries below written by Wendy Child (our Sloan Creek Worship Pastor) as she records her thoughts and emotions through that memorable weekend.

CO-Staff-Web-Wendy-ChildThursday Night, 6:00pm: The band slowly arrives for rehearsal in the main auditorium at the Legacy campus. This is the final rehearsal before the big album recording, and everyone is feeling the weight of the whole thing. We start practicing each song, one after the other, then we do the whole set all over again. Our feet ache. Our voices scratch. We are the kind of tired that makes you suspect someone unleashed laughing gas into the auditorium.  We practice transitions, we make Facebook videos, we run parts. We are ready.

Saturday Morning, 9:00am: I’m nervous because this is a HUGE weekend. Sloan Creek is starting the new Saturday night service, and hopes are high for what this new adventure will bring. I sit at home with my coffee and my puppy and practice all the songs for the worship set. I take a few deep breaths and try to prepare myself for what the next 36 hours will bring.

Wendy Child Leading Worship at SCSunday Morning, 9:25am: We are about to start services at Sloan Creek. Last night’s Saturday service was a success—that’s one big milestone down, one more to go. The Sloan Creek band leads our campus in worship, and I wonder about what is happening at all the other campuses. I know everyone is anxious for what is about to be an insanely long yet thrilling day.

Sunday Afternoon, 2:30pm: The band starts trickling into the Legacy campus auditorium for a final run-through. I arrive early to bring Michael, my husband who also serves as Chase Oaks Band On StageMusic Director, some lunch. He’s been feverishly checking, double checking and triple checking all the recording equipment. The thing about a live event is that you have one shot at it. If even one piece of gear goes out during the recording, that’s the game, folks. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve seen my husband under this type of stress before, and I know that’s when he’s at his best.

Sunday Afternoon, 3:00pm: The thing that hits hardest about this short time before the concert is the strange sense of joy I feel…that we all feel. To be honest, there has been a lot of life happening in the week leading up to this event. Heartbreak and pain has hit like a freight train in the lives of many members of the team. There is an unmistakable heaviness to our hearts. But even in the midst of it all when the music starts, like someone flipped a switch, everything somehow feels like it’s going to be all right. We’re together, the love between all the people on stage seems to radiate like a light bulb. We’re singing these songs about a God who is above it all, who is good to us, who knows us, who loves us. The lyrics to these songs speak life into our souls. The mood shifts—we get goofy, we get excited, we’re ready to go. Final sound checks are made, finishing touches are added, lights and video transitions are rehearsed. It’s go time!

Sunday Evening, 5:30pm: The band waits anxiously backstage. Tyrone, Krista and I get ready to walk out on stage and welcome the crowd. Nerves mingle with excitement for what God is about to do in our midst. We perform our little speech that we’ve prepared together, the stage goes black, the video starts, and then… well to be honest, the rest is a bit of a blur. 

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Sunday Evening, 7:45pm: Pictures have been taken, hugs and high fives have flowed freely. The crowd stays long after the event is over, and there is an energy in the room that makes everyone want to soak in it for a while. People eventually start to filter out and the band packs up their gear. Exhaustion and adrenaline create a strange pair as we all realize that this crazy weekend is over. We did it. I check in with Michael to see how he thinks the whole thing went. He is beaming.

Sunday Evening, 11:00pm: We’re finally home and all the recording gear is unpacked. I sit down to mentally survey the weekend. I’m beyond tired, but I’m also thankful. These people that I get to create with, that I get to sing with and make music with, are some of my best friends. I breathe a sigh of relief that the day is over and say a prayer of thanks for all of the unforgettable memories.

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An Invitation to Celebrate 2gether! http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/invitation-celebrate-2gether/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/invitation-celebrate-2gether/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 04:07:07 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30417 Can you feel it in the air as the temperatures finally start to drop?  Or perhaps you smell it when you walk into a store and the scent of pine or cinnamon wafts through the air.  Yes, it’s nearly Christmas, and time for Chase Oaks Church to Celebrate 2gether!  Part of the celebration at this […]

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Can you feel it in the air as the temperatures finally start to drop?  Or perhaps you smell it when you walk into a store and the scent of pine or cinnamon wafts through the air.  Yes, it’s nearly Christmas, and time for Chase Oaks Church to Celebrate 2gether!  Part of the celebration at this special time of year involves giving gifts, and while we all love to receive gifts at Christmas, the One we are really celebrating is Jesus!  It’s His birthday, and He is our greatest gift!  So here at Chase Oaks, we want to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors Him.  To do that well, we want to care for those that Jesus always showed special concern for—those around Him who were struggling in some way.  That’s why this Christmas, each Chase Oaks campus has different community partners and projects to engage in to come around kids, families, or single moms who could use some encouragement this time of year.

Check out the various opportunities available this year as we Celebrate 2gether!

ToyZone Store at the Family Center

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This year we are expanding our ToyZone store at our Chase Oaks Family Center to include partners from multiple campuses.  In addition to helping children in need from Mendenhall Elementary in East Plano, we have also invited children from our partners at Agape Resource Center, Family Promise and City House.  All of these new organizations help homeless families and children.  Three of our campuses (Legacy, Sloan Creek and En Español) will be collecting donations for the ToyZone store hosted at our Family Center.  Our 544 Campus will be hosting their own store this year.  Learn more.

According to Julissa Estrada, our Family Center Director, we typically serve around 250 kids at ToyZone; but this year we are estimating that number to be closer to 300!  Every family who is invited is given a specific appointment time to shop the store, where they receive a shopping bag and can browse the many toys/games/items set up by age group.  Parents pay pennies on the dollar for the items, so if a toy costs $30 at the store, it costs only $3 at ToyZone.  Maximum amount to spend per child is $10, which is equivalent to $100 retail!  In addition, every child receives a free coat.  When families are done shopping, Chase Oaks provides free gift wrapping as the families relax and enjoy some warm coffee or hot chocolate, snacks and conversation with our volunteers.  This is a great opportunity for us to love on these families and also invite them to check out Chase Oaks.

How You Can Help

Gifts-Drop-Off2We need Chase Oakers to continue to help make ToyZone a success by donating toys and coats again this year. The ToyZone Trees will be up in the lobbies on November 18-20 weekend at all of our campuses, and donations can be dropped off beginning the weekend of November 25-27.  All gifts for our ToyZone at the Family Center, need to be received by Sunday, December 4.

When planning on purchasing your donations, bear in mind that gifts for older children (Grade 5) are always a challenge.  Tweens are no longer interested in toys, so we ask for things like sports items for boys and nail polish, purses and hair accessories for girls.

Gifts for Moms

In addition, we will have a tree set up at our Legacy campus benefiting Single Moms in our area. Chase Oaks partners with Gifts for Moms to collect gifts and gift cards for single moms who often get overlooked at this time of year.  We also host a special evening event to pamper and celebrate these single moms in December. More info coming soon on this!  However, donations for this event must also be received by Sunday, December 4.

ToyZone Store at 544

HarmantOur 544 Campus is excited to be hosting a ToyZone store at their new permanent building location (2709 3rd St., Sachse, TX 75048), on Saturday, December 17, that will benefit Hartman Elementary children in need.  Parents invited to the event will be able to shop for just $5 per child, with each child receiving a free coat as well!  Gift wrapping will also be provided.  Donations will be collected at the B&B Wylie 12 Theatres on Sundays, December 4 and 11.  For more information on this event, contact Chris or Jamie Dunkle at dunkles@chaseoaks.org.

Sloan Creek Partners with Rountree Elementary

Rountree CarnivalIn addition to helping at our Family Center ToyZone, our Sloan Creek campus will be partnering with Rountree Elementary in Allen for their school’s Penguin Patch Holiday Shoppe during the week of December 5-9.  This gives children the opportunity to purchase gifts for their parents and other family members.  Sloan Creek will be helping to provide volunteers for the shoppe that week at the school during various time slots from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  If you’d like to help, email Renee Smith at reneesmiths@yahoo.com.

How Your Generosity Is Making a Difference

The impact of ToyZone and the generosity of those who’ve donated toward it over the years has truly had lasting effects!  One example comes from last year’s ToyZone store, where a family that shopped for their two children went to pay their $20 at the checkout, and instead paid $40 and said they wanted to donate the extra $20.  They explained that winter months were especially difficult for them financially because of their line of work, but they were so blessed by the nice gifts they found for their children that they just felt a huge desire to give extra towards our church or for us to use to cover another family’s shopping amount.

Another great example comes from a few years ago, when one family who was shopping started asking a lot of questions about Chase Oaks and decided to check out our En Español Campus.  They have since been baptized and are now serving at that campus!

That’s not all, through ToyZone and our various partnerships, we have been able to build great relationships with the community.  Teachers from our partner schools constantly let us know that they are so thankful that their students will have gifts under their tree and not just any gifts but the awesome gifts Chase Oakers provide!

Please pray that this year will be another impactful year where many new connections will be made with people and that invitations to our church will be accepted and embraced.

Finally, if you have friends, co-workers, or neighbors who would like to make a difference in people’s lives this Christmas season, regardless of whether they are a part of Chase Oaks or not, please invite them to join with us as we Celebrate 2gether and bless others in Jesus’ name!

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The Second Story—Child to Family Connection Event http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/second-story-child-family-connection-event/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/second-story-child-family-connection-event/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:37:32 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30368 At Chase Oaks Church, we are so excited about our new partnership with the Second Story, a team of churches in Collin County working together for the sake of children in need of families.  It can be overwhelming and heartbreaking to think about children who have been, for whatever reason, displaced from a stable, permanent […]

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At Chase Oaks Church, we are so excited about our new partnership with the Second Story, a team of churches in Collin County working together for the sake of children in need of families.  It can be overwhelming and heartbreaking to think about children who have been, for whatever reason, displaced from a stable, permanent home, but we all know how passionate God is for them, and as Christ-followers, we are eager to help.  The Second Story provides a way for us to connect with Child Protective Services (CPS) so we can better come around and support children in the system, as well as their caregivers.  The best part?  Anyone can be involved!

Alex-picEach church is matched with a child—or a group of siblings—waiting for a “forever family.”  Chase Oaks was recently matched with 11-year-old Alexandria (Alex), who is in Sixth Grade.  Now, our job is to pray for and assist both her and her foster family until she is finally adopted, and to hopefully maintain our relationship with her afterwards.

That means we need volunteers to pray for Alex, her foster family, and her case worker on a regular basis.  We need volunteers to help provide consistent mentoring, to encourage her that she is loved and valued.  Second-story-blog-callout-picAnd we need volunteers to help equip her caregivers, offering them a variety of support and resources.  For example, we could help cover the costs of therapy, tutoring, extracurricular activities, summer camp, or even a day out to Six Flags or a Rangers game.

“When Alex found out about us,” said Ashli Young, one of Chase Oaks’ liaisons with the Second Story, “she asked us to be involved in her service project for school.  She wanted to collect clothes for kids her age and older to donate to a foster care clothes closet, since there are less of those kinds of donations.  We were able to do that with the awesome Ladies Bible Study group stepping up in a huge way with donations.”

But that’s not all!  The Second Story strives to facilitate adoption, to raise awareness, and to provide guidance for families who want to adopt, but don’t know where to start.  On this coming Monday, November 14, Chase Oaks Church will be hosting a Child to Family Connection Event from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Legacy campus.

Ashli YoungAshli explained, “We’re hosting a dinner event for prospective adoptive families… to feature specific children in the foster care system that are from our area who are looking for forever homes.  Their CPS caseworkers and Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) workers will be present so prospective parents can hear first-hand information about these children from the people who are working with them.  For families interested in foster care and adoption, there will also be an ‘Introduction to Foster Care’ break-out session after the dinner.  About 10 adoption agencies will also be represented and have booths in the lobby.”

Everyone is welcome to attend!  Register online or simply walk in on Monday evening.

Foster care and adoption doesn’t have to be as scary or intimidating as so many people think.  Yes, there is a process involved, but all you really need is an open, loving heart.  “At the end of the day,” says Lisa Riazi, another Chase Oaks liaison with the Second Story, “we’re talking about children who need homes.  It’s very simple.”

CO-Staff-Tracy-Parlin“When this opportunity was shared with me—for us to become a part of Second Story—I was really excited,” says Tracy Parlin, Chase Oaks Legacy Campus Outreach Director.  “It’s a reflection of the church, and how we’re called to come around the most vulnerable and be a light to them…  There are so many children waiting for foster care, waiting to be adopted, and we’re hoping to help fill that gap.”  Please join us.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Second Story, don’t hesitate to contact Ashli or Lisa at sidekicksministry@yahoo.com. Let’s work together to change these stories of pain and brokenness to stories of hope and healing.

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Encounter: A World in Need http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/encounter-world-need/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/encounter-world-need/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:14:19 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30213 Though we all know from the words of Jesus Himself (and of course through our own experience) that this world is fallen and in need, and that it is constantly struggling and crying out, it is still a struggle to come to grips with the stark reality of seeing lives shattered. In what is beginning […]

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Though we all know from the words of Jesus Himself (and of course through our own experience) that this world is fallen and in need, and that it is constantly struggling and crying out, it is still a struggle to come to grips with the stark reality of seeing lives shattered.

In what is beginning to feel like a never-ending, cyclical storyline of grief, there was yet another flooding in the gulf this year that tore apart lives, hopes, dreams and livelihoods.  An unprecedented 6,900,000,000,000 gallons of water fell.  Seven trillion gallons in one week leading to the devastation of over forty thousand homes, many without any flood protection because the elevation of their homes had given the impression that there was no need for it.

It is into these moments that Christ walks, and He most often does it through us, His followers.

Answering a Call to Action

Jeff-MLK-dayOn the weekend of September 2/4, Jeff announced that Chase Oaks would be sending any volunteers who could make it to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one of the hardest hit areas from the flooding, the following week, all expenses paid, to do what they could and help in the clean-up efforts.  Ten beautiful souls volunteered their time and energy away from work and their lives to bring hope in whatever way they could to the people of Baton Rouge who hadn’t much left in terms physical possessions, but proved through their words and actions that in the spiritual, they were vibrant and alive.

Paddy Feller, one of the Chase Oaks volunteers, shared:

“What memory stands out the most? As cliché as it sounds, it’s the resilience of the people there. Eighty percent of the homes and businesses in Denham Springs (a suburb of Baton Rouge) were affected by the floods. Most of the people lost everything, yet they were there doing what it took to get back on track.”

She continued, “We talked to an elderly man (84) in the food line who was there getting meals for him and his wife. He said he lost both his rental property and his own home in the flood. His home had been paid off for five years, but he didn’t have flood insurance. He said, ‘It has never flooded here before.’ He was quick to add, ‘If it wasn’t for my faith in the good Lord, Jesus Christ, I don’t know where I’d be.’  People like him and people like the store clerk who was living with friends because he lost everything, to people like Troy and Granny, all showed us resilience. You could just feel it there.” 

LousianaFlood-Tracy-and-the-Guy“… the one thing that was consistent with every person we ran into was an attitude of thankfulness. Thankful that they were alive, and yet they lost all their physical possessions.  It’s a great reminder that the things we tend to spend a lot of time doing, decorating, consuming and acquiring, in the end it’s the people in our lives that really matter.  These are the things that last,” commented Tracy Parlin, Chase Oaks Legacy Campus Outreach Director.

Day one was a grimy one for the team as they spent the day cleaning out a storage shed packed to the brim with items that had spent three weeks sitting in dirty water, growing and hiding all sorts of things in the humidity and heat.  Cockroaches and rodents were nestled away throughout the belongings, but regardless of this (or their personal feelings towards them), the team labored together with the single mother, LeeAnn, who owned the property, side by side to empty it out and sort through its contents.

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Day two they went to the home of a couple who had already managed to empty their belongings and began tearing out sheet rock and pulling nails from the shiplap siding.  Though they didn’t spend much time with the homeowner here, they were grateful for a reprieve later in the day when the owner brought them ice cream and sat with them talking about the day of the flood.

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When we serve God, there are beautiful moments when He brings people across our path to minister to and whose stories touch our hearts.  The team met a man named Troy who even in the middle of difficulty prayed to God daily not to give him stuff back, but to take his sins and allow him to be a good father to the children that had been forced to grow up without their dad while he was in prison.  In a spirit of grace, the Chase Oakers were able to buy him some new shoes to wear as the ones he had were too small and had been given to him by someone else.  The Spirit of God moved as they gathered around him to pray.

Louisiana-Group-PhotoThere are also times when we are ministered to by those we aim to serve.  As the team took a break outside, Granny came over and handed out hats as she sprayed them with Febreeze to freshen them up.  She had seen the group working hard out in the heat and sun without protection and wanted to make sure they were covered up.  They asked if they could pray for her, and she responded that they could pray for her town and the young ones like her grandson.

“Granny shared with us that ‘Young kids only know this world like it is since 9/11,’ — so many tragedies and unrest. Her grandson asked her why God was angry with people, and it broke her heart to try and explain that God wasn’t angry,” said Paddy.

Although it was just three short days, September 7–10, the 10 members of the team not only ministered and worked hard, but they were also ministered to.  All of us at Chase Oaks thank the team who went (Tracy Parlin, Mary Jane Ballard, Paddy Feller, Amanda Chin, Sarah Schwarz, Jane Hopper, Camille Lindsey, Tim Norwood, Julius Henry, and Jon Nelson) from the bottom of our hearts for their service and for representing not only of the Body of Christ, but also for shining the spirit of Chase Oaks Church.

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New Sermon Series – “We Too” http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/new-sermon-series/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/11/new-sermon-series/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 21:16:11 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30268 Several weeks before we launch a new sermon series a few of us on staff gather to plan what the series will be all about. We make decisions on music and video elements, posters, handouts, fun elements, stuff like that. We also decide what the series will be called. Well, a couple of months back, […]

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Greg-Holmes-WebSeveral weeks before we launch a new sermon series a few of us on staff gather to plan what the series will be all about. We make decisions on music and video elements, posters, handouts, fun elements, stuff like that. We also decide what the series will be called. Well, a couple of months back, we had such a meeting to discuss an upcoming sermon series that will focus on our church’s DNA statements. If you are not familiar, Chase Oaks has 10 DNA statements that help explain the distinctiveness of Chase Oaks Church. Statements like “we glow in the dark,” “we don’t go it alone,” DNA-Header“we count the change,” and “we don’t sweat the small stuff,” describe how and why as a church we want to be a light in dark places—why we partner with others to make a positive difference and lasting change—why we try hard to stay focused and on mission. If you would like to see a full list and explanation of all ten statements, click here.

Anyway, we were meeting as a team to talk about our upcoming series that will focus on our DNA, when something interesting began to happen. Each person began to voice their desire to not only be an active part of a church that holds these values, but to be individuals who were described with statements such as these. How great would it be if someone else were to describe any one of us as a change agent for good, or a person who cared about others more than ourselves, or a person who stayed focused on the right things and fought against distraction? That would be incredible!

SC-People-LobbyIt’s important to remember that Chase Oaks Church is not an institution with its own institutional values. It’s people. People like you and me who fall short of our own expectations and the standards set forth in the Bible but, nevertheless, desire to make a difference and lead a life of significance. I think that the Chase Oaks DNA statements are values that most of us have for our lives already. But, for many of us, much of the time these values remain aspirational and don’t reach fulfillment in our lives. That’s why we need each other. That’s why we need to be a church—together. Together we can encourage one another and create opportunities to turn aspirations into reality.

So we called our new series, “We Too” because we too want to be loving and accepting toward everyone. We too want to experience rich diversity and build relationships across racial and ethnic lines. We too want to bring about positive change in our world. What an amazing, frightening, fulfilling, abundant life God is offering to us. I want to be a part of it. I hope you do too.

Join us for “We Too” for the next six weeks as we examine our distinctiveness as a church and the life of adventure God has for each one of us.

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CHASE OAKS EN ESPAÑOL CELEBRATES 3RD-YEAR ANNIVERSARY http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/10/chase-oaks-en-espanol-celebrates-3rd-year-anniversary/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/10/chase-oaks-en-espanol-celebrates-3rd-year-anniversary/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:05:26 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=30067 This September marked the third anniversary celebration of Chase Oaks en Español—which boasts to be the most diverse that it’s ever been!  I was thrilled to get the opportunity to attend this special event. As I walked into the celebration service, the projector showed over 16 flags, representing all the nations the congregants call their […]

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keyla-kirton-picThis September marked the third anniversary celebration of Chase Oaks en Español—which boasts to be the most diverse that it’s ever been!  I was thrilled to get the opportunity to attend this special event.

As I walked into the celebration service, the projector showed over 16 flags, representing all the nations the congregants call their first home.  Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, San Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, USA, Philippines, Chile, and Ecuador were all represented. I was pleasantly surprised that my homeland, Panama, was listed among the countries, and I felt right at home.

As I walked from the parking lot into the 201 building at the Legacy campus where En Español meets, I couldn’t help but notice the attendees carrying in cakes, balloons, and decorations, despite the wet weather that day.  Once the service began, it was a beautiful site, as I witnessed men, women, and children from a variety of ethnicities participating on both the worship team and in the congregation.

En-Espanol-Worship-TeamIf you haven’t had the privilege of visiting the En Español campus, in addition to the poignant sermon, you absolutely must do it for the music! The percussion and horn sections offer a live flair that creates for a fun and unique worship experience.  Popular tunes from artists like Martha Munizzi, Israel and New Breed, and Hezekiah Walker were sung in Spanish, which was impressive, as I had no idea translations were available.  And the Spanish words were projected on the screens so that people with varying proficiencies in Spanish could follow along.

Immediately after the service, Campus Pastor Armando Zuniga took the stage to welcome those in attendance and to share about the great things God has been doing for the past three years.  He shared about the incredible support from Pastor Jeff Jones, the Legacy campus, and all the Chase Oaks campuses.  This was important, as it reinforced that although this campus worships in a different language, we are all “Chase Oakers.”

En-Espanol-Baptisms2My favorite moment of the service was the baptisms—similar to those at the other campuses in that family members and friends are allowed to participate.  There were three individuals getting baptized that day—Mario, Diana, and Guadalupe.  They were asked if they had trusted in Jesus as their Savior, as the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus,” played softly in the background.

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Each of their family members huddled around them and asked them to repeat the confession.  I was particularly touched by the parents of Diana and Guadalupe, who had the privilege to baptize their children.  Their tears of joy were a testimony to the amazing work that Chase Oaks en Español is doing, not only in sharing the gospel, but transforming families.

After the baptism, three of the leaders took to the stage for a presentation about the church’s journey. They talked about their beginnings at the elementary school in East Plano, the Armando-Preachingdevelopment of the Chase Oaks Family Center which offers ESL classes, citizenship classes and family services for the East Plano community, and the impact it has made since moving their campus to the 201 building.

The festivities continued with gifts for those attending, as everyone was asked to look under their seats for a special treat!  Then it was time for the most important part of the worship service—the message.

Pastor Armando focused his sermon on the meaning of commitment.

“The word commitment means we’ve been given something valuable, and we have to take action concerning what was given,” Armando shared.  As a church, we are called to a commitment.

His illustration was about a chicken and a pig that were walking together. The chicken said, “Let’s give people eggs with bacon.” But the pig didn’t like the idea. “You have to contribute,” he said, “but I have to commit everything.”

“Many of us begin commitments with good intentions,” Pastor Armando continued. “We get married, but then leave halfway.  WE are not consistent in our commitments.”

Pastor Armando shared his own experience of being called to leave a successful business to become a pastor.

“Sometimes we don’t follow Jesus because we’re afraid to lose our reputation,” he continued.  “[But] our greatest victory is found in our trust in Him, and not in rejecting Him.”

Zuniga-FamilyNot too long ago, Armando owned a business that was successful in the Dallas area.  Newspapers documented his success, including a story that was aired on prime-time television.  During that time of his life, his energy was more directed to the business’ success than to his family. The pressures of not being successful in his country were great, and he feared being a failure. One day, he made the decision that enough was enough.  He decided to give himself to God and ever since that day, he began walking in God’s freedom.

After sharing the sermon, he asked those who were committed to Chase Oaks en Español along with his wife, Sharone, and one by one, he called the leaders and attendees to stand together with him.  Before we knew it, everyone was standing up.

“Pray for us so we can take the gospel around the world,” he said. “Pray with us that the spirit of God will guide us.”

And so we did.  We read Psalm 86:11 together as a symbol of our commitment.

Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
Give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

The service closed with a lively rendition of Israel Haughton’s, “We Worship You.” 

After the service, refreshments were provided. Actually, the word “refreshments” does not even begin to express the immense spread ranging from salad, fruits, dips, to international home-made dishes—all of which I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy because I took some time to meet some great folks.

En Espanol Anniversary Feast Collage

I hung around to meet the worship team members. Angela Johnson, wife of Legacy Worship Pastor, Tyrone Johnson, stopped and shared about her commitment to the En Español campus, despite her increasing proficiency in Spanish. She’s not fluent, but would like to be. She was attracted to the campus by the people and the sense of family. She was encouraged to join the worship team and now sings there regularly.

I also met Mark and Mallin. Mark works with the sound system. Mallin is a faithful attendee and volunteers in various capacities.  As I was chatting with them, my husband walked in and the four of us talked and joked until all the refreshments were practically finished.  It felt so much like we were friends and not at all like we had just met. We talked about challenges relocating to Texas, the housing market, raising children, marriage, and work.

If you’ve never had the privilege to attend the service, please do. Chase Oakers, you will be proud of how your support and prayers go a long way in helping this vibrant campus reach those who need Jesus.  No Spanish language proficiency required, as they have translation services provided via headsets.

In the meantime, please pray that God will help them develop new servant-leaders and disciples through groups and teams. Chase Oaks En Español is still a Chase Oaks Church, and just as dynamic, fervent, cutting-edge and impactful as ever.  Check the link below to read some amazing testimonials of those who have been impacted by Chase Oaks En Español!

Testimonials

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Multiplied Results http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/10/multiplied-results/ http://www.chaseoaks.org/2016/10/multiplied-results/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:14:34 +0000 http://www.chaseoaks.org/?p=29967 Sometimes when you do an act of service for someone in need, the act itself is the result and reward. At other times, one act breeds another which blossoms into another, and the results are multiplied much more than initially imagined. Below is a heart-warming story about the second scenario. Back in June, our Sloan […]

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Sometimes when you do an act of service for someone in need, the act itself is the result and reward. At other times, one act breeds another which blossoms into another, and the results are multiplied much more than initially imagined. Below is a heart-warming story about the second scenario.

Back in June, our Sloan Creek campus cooperated with Live.Love.Allen (the equivalent to Plano’s Love Where You Live, which the Legacy campus participates in). The City of Allen informed our church of houses that were under code violation and the reasons why.

Adam-IsaksonAdam Isakson, the project leader, identified four houses that Chase Oaks Sloan Creek was able to provide assistance to throughout the month. One of these homes was owned by Betty, a single working woman, 60ish, who suffers from chronic pneumonia.  Although she loves to garden, Betty’s yard had gradually gotten out of control over the years, both from overgrowth and from piles of “stuff.” Because her home doesn’t have a fence around the back yard, the neighbors saw the piles and were increasingly frustrated about it.

BeforePhotosOn a hot day, Adam and five other people went to work and took about three trailer loads of debris to the dump, then organized the rest of her things. They arranged her patio so she could have seating again, then spent most of their time landscaping the back yard. Betty supervised and helped as much as she was physically able.

Soon after they started working, a next door neighbor woman stopped by and was very interested in what they were doing and who they were. She had been concerned about this house for a while but was unsure how to help. When she learned the group was from Chase Oaks, her eyes got big. She immediately told Adam that she had just started attending Chase Oaks Legacy the week prior and loved it!

Adam told her about the Sloan Creek campus’ involvement with Live.Love.Allen as a way to be involved in our community. Adam said,

“This made a big impression on her, and I know God’s hands were all over this situation. Coincidence, right? As we spoke a bit more, she said she would try to get her husband to come down and give us a hand. He was not interested in going to church with her, and I think she was hoping this would give him a little better perspective.”

After-PhotosAfter an hour or two, Robert, her husband, did come down with a very nice weed-eater and mower and jumped right in. He was a huge help and stuck around until they were finished. Before the group left, they gathered together and took pictures, which Robert participated in also. Then they circled around to pray for Betty, and Betty joined in, as Robert listened.

As you can see from the pictures, the patio looked dramatically different by project’s end. Betty told the team that the area was once again a place of peace and not frustration.

This would be a cool enough story if it ended there, but a few days later, Robert sent Adam this email:

“Thank you again, to your church and your group, for helping our neighbor. I have wanted to myself, but it was too much for me. I stayed and talked to Betty for a bit after I mowed her yard and blew grass away again. I confessed to her that I have not liked her for quite some time because I felt she flat didn’t care about her house and yard, and it was an eyesore to our block. I apologized to her for judging her, but I just didn’t know she needed help. She was kind to forgive, and I insisted she ask for help when she needs it.

She admitted that it got so bad, she just didn’t know where to start. She also said she has hired a landscape group to come every other week to do her yard. I told her that if she is strapped for cash and needs the $33 dollars once in a while to knock on my door. I will be happy to contribute instead of watching your good work go to waste.

Thank you again. Your group gave me a ‘road in’ to help a neighbor instead of carrying disappointment around. Everyone on our block is grateful to the time and effort you all gave.”

Adam, of course, was moved by the email and heartened to hear of the ongoing relationship and involvement between Betty and the neighbors. Adam said,

“I have been doing these projects for many years, and I have not seen God’s hand move this way before. It was a great reminder of why we get out and get engaged.”

Adam knows there are a lot more Bettys out there. He and his team of workers are motivated to keep up the good work, for the city, the homeowners, the neighbors—and to see God take it where He wants.

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