Being in community in small group is where we believe that you will experience the greatest spiritual growth. It’s in small group that we are able to ask our questions, be vulnerable and honest with each other, care for each other, and encourage each other as we pursue God together.
Here is the full story of Josh Yahoudy’s small group experience.
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The Raveditti’s graciously opened the doors of their own business for the work of ministry.
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Chuck deciding to volunteer with the database team that later became the IT team served as the catalyst for Chuck in growing in his faith and commitment to Jesus and his mission.
He has since joined a small group, taken multiple classes at Clear Creek, and worked on dozens of tech projects at the church.
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Amy Swift and her husband, Chris, moved to Louisiana from Texas, about a year after they were married. It was supposed to be a short-term move, but it turned into five years. And it was a long, lonely five years for Amy.
The Swifts just had their first baby, she was living in a new city where she knew no one and Chris traveled a lot for work. Which meant Amy was home with the baby most days, and she began to feel the crushing weight of isolation, separation and eventually depression.
She was tired, frustrated, anxious, and alone.
Chris & Amy thought getting back to Texas might fix everything… Texas is awesome, but Amy’s dark season wasn’t over when they moved back.
But I want you to hear how God used HIS PEOPLE to bring peace in Amy’s life. How through his people she experienced the presence of God.
Take a listen.
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“I can see the life I was born into, but not the life that I was destined to live. God definitely had a plan for me…”
Want to learn more about fostering and/or adopting? Visit clearcreek.org
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Dear Amanda, I hope you receive this holy Bible with all of my love. And that in yourfuture you study it, understand it, and grow to love the words and the wisdom andcompassion they will bring into your heart.
Amanda Milski’s father penned these words in the front pages of Amanda’s Bible when she was a girl. Love from God, within her home, and through her church, was a primary theme throughout her youngest years.
Amanda grew up in Bacliff as one of eight children in a blended family. They attended a small church in San Leon where her dad’s faith in God grew as a result of a close-knit relationship with the people of the church, specifically the pastor.
“We used to go very religiously — every Sunday the whole family would go,” said Amanda. One Sunday the church hired a photographer to take family portraits, and they all dressed nicely and smiled big for the camera — the girls dolled up in “adorable little dresses.” All smiling. All together. That was her childhood.
“One of my earliest memories was when my dad got baptized,” said Amanda. “It was one of the most incredible days of my life.”
She felt a wave of warmth as she watched her dad go under the baptismal waters. That day, she told her dad she wanted to be baptized.
“He thought I was too young and didn’t fully understand,” she said. He had her explain to him what baptism was, and she recited a version of what her dad had previously told her. Ultimately, her dad decided she should wait. There was no rush.
Shortly after her father’s baptism, their pastor was hit and killed in a motorcycle accident.
“Our church changed after he was gone,” she said. Their family eventually stopped attending, and her dad grew distant.
“My life was completely different after our pastor died,” Amanda said. “My dad stopped praying with us as much and stopped reading the Bible with us as much.”
A few years after the incident, Amanda’s mother abruptly left the family.
“When she left I took it pretty hard,” Amanda recalled. “I felt a lot of abandonment and unworthiness. I was so unworthy that my mom couldn’t even love me, so she left.”
That happy family portrait was the only picture of the entire family together, and Amanda could no longer find it.
Amanda buried her conflicting emotions — a trust and belief in God and a feeling of unworthiness — deep in her heart and struggled with them throughout her growing up years.
In middle school, Amanda again asked if she could be baptized. She had been attending a different church in her neighborhood whose student pastors had a great influence on her growth as a Christian. Her stepmom asked her to write an essay explaining what baptism meant to her, but, for reasons she did not understand, her request was again denied.
“She rejected my essay, and so I started feeling really defeated,” Amanda said. “I started doing a lot of research and started reading the Bible as much as I could because I felt like I didn’t know enough. I felt like I had to know everything.”
Then in high school, the incredible pastors of her youth group moved away, and the church changed yet again. Amanda stopped attending altogether midway through high school.
She joined the Army National Guard right after graduating and quickly became lonely and isolated, enduring two years of depression and severe anxiety.
“I just lived my life as if God wasn’t in it — kind of meaningless.”
“When I was close to graduating from job training [in the National Guard], one of my friends asked if I wanted to go check out some churches on base,” Amanda said. “I was like, sure, why not.”
They visited several different types of churches, none of them a good fit. But those visits did ignite in Amanda a desire to start a conversation with God again.
Not long after this, she met a guy on an online dating site. They talked for about two months before they met, and after their first date he asked Amanda to go to church with him.
The guy — Jordan Milski — went to Clear Creek Community Church. Amanda was hesitant at first to attend such a big church, but the service — from the music to the message — struck her in a deeply emotional way.
“I went home and asked God to forgive me for not sticking by him and trying to take control of my own life,” said Amanda.
Amanda saw how God began putting people in her life to bring her back to him. Two of those people were Jordan’s friends from Clear Creek. But since they were “church people,” Amanda thought they would judge her.
“They terrified me at first,” she recalled with a laugh. “They’re gonna see how crappy I am,” she remembered thinking. “But they were amazing, and they still are.”
Amanda began to live her life more purposefully. She worked to build a relationship with her mother and began to pray regularly for her dad, hoping to bring him back into the church.
Amanda and Jordan started attending Clear Creek regularly and eventually married. Not long after they married, the Coffeys asked Amanda and Jordan to join their small group. It was in small group that Amanda finally began to deal with her feelings of unworthiness and considered the idea of baptism again.
The group read through Missional Community, a study that explains the mission of Clear Creek and essential beliefs of the Christian faith. Through this study and the encouragement of her small group, Amanda learned what it takes to get baptized.
“The reason I hadn’t been baptized was that I still had my feelings of unworthiness, like I didn’t know enough,” she said. “Now I know I don’t know enough, and it doesn’t matter how much I know. It just matters that I know God sent Jesus to die on a cross for me and that my sins are forgiven as long as I believe. Outside of that, I have a lifetime to learn about God.”
Amanda was baptized by her husband on October 6, 2019, at Clear Creek’s Egret Bay Campus with her mother, father, many of her family members, and her small group in attendance.
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That was Geovani Mejia’s initial thought when Clear Creek Community Church first announced the Bold Love campaign.
“I was very upset, annoyed, and angry,” Geo said. “I couldn’t believe they were trying to raise this much money.”
Geo had been a Christian for many years and he and his wife, Portia, had always given a portion of their income to their local church. But changes in his life had caused his heart to become “indifferent” toward his relationship with God, and that disconnect became more obvious to him as he heard the church’s plan for the campaign.
“Honestly, I hated the idea of giving more money to the church,” he said.
Geo and Portia moved to the League City area from Houston when Geo was hired by the League City Police Department. That was a huge career shift for him—from banking to law enforcement—and it came alongside other big changes. The Mejias were still adjusting to life with a new baby, and they had left the comforts of friends, family, and their beloved home church.
At their church in Houston, Portia and Geo had invested heavily in serving, specifically with the youth and in Sunday worship services. They felt the church really needed their time, but it was apparent to the Mejias that it also needed a lot of financial help.
“That church needed every dollar they could get to survive,” Geo recalled.
After the Mejias moved to League City and began attending Clear Creek, they settled into a routine of ease and anonymity, choosing to take a break from serving and struggling to continue giving. Indifference toward God began to creep into their hearts.
“I was giving only out of obedience but not out of love,” said Geo. “It was a struggle to give the church my money.”
“It looked like the church was fine and didn’t need our money,” Portia added. “We [had] served nonstop for five years. We were tired.”
By the time the Bold Love campaign began, the Mejias had adjusted to life in League City and were becoming invested in Clear Creek. Portia had begun serving on the worship team at the Egret Bay campus, and they joined a small group together. Geo realized that his relationship with God was beginning to grow again through small group.
Eventually, it was their small group leader, Curtis, who questioned Geo about why he felt such anger toward the campaign.
“It was Curtis who said ‘You need to check your heart to see why you’re so angry about this.’ So that’s what I did,” said Geo. That’s when he realized his anger wasn’t about money. “It was a heart thing… selfishness.”
The church had encouraged the congregation to look at their personal finances to see what each individual and family could give. Portia and Geo had always kept a budget, but Geo decided to dig a little deeper.
“That’s when I listed out all our debt,” said Geo, “and I realized how out of control it was: $58,000. That’s a lot of money. It was like God opened my eyes to do something about it.”
The connection between their looming debt and the anger Geo felt about giving above and beyond their usual tithe to the church started to become clear to him. He realized he needed help to do something about it.
“I started talking to Curtis more about budgeting and getting out of debt,” he said.
Curtis helped Geo develop a leaner budget. He also pointed him to financial advisor, Dave Ramsey. Geo read his book The Total Money Makeover and began listening to his radio show.
Around that time, their navigators asked Mark Carden, Clear Creek’s Executive Pastor, to speak with the group about the Bold Love campaign. Geo questioned Mark about the church’s motives behind Bold Love and discovered more about himself than he anticipated.
“I didn’t ask because I actually cared, it was because I was trying to justify not giving,” Geo recalled. By the end of the consultation, he just felt further conviction that the problem was with his own heart.
And so the Mejias made their Bold Love commitments: to continue in community with their small group, for Geo to begin serving on the parking team, to continue giving regularly with generous hearts, and to get out of debt.
The journey to paying off all their debt began. They had a plan in place with a strategic date set for when their final debt would be paid.
“We wanted to get out of debt because we couldn’t be generous, and we couldn’t accomplish the things we wanted to in life with the debt,” Geo said.
But, there were some big financial temptations along the way.
“I still wanted to do things my way,” said Geo. At times, he considered stopping their regular tithe in order to make up ground financially. And near the end of their journey, he decided to put the final debt payoff on hold so that they could save for buying a house.
But, continuing in their routine of encouragement from Scripture and other sources, they persevered. They continued to tithe and eventually decided to use the money they had saved up for a down payment on a house to pay off their final loan.
“I felt so much peace—so much relief,” said Geo. “In the process, God had to break me of my will.”
God taught the Mejias many lessons through their 23-month journey, and they’re already noticing little glimpses of a new life.
“To me it feels surreal,” said Geo. Their first debt-free week, they were able to buy several things for others as gifts. “It was joy. It wasn’t grudgingly giving like it used to be.”
“Material things don’t have such a strong hold on me now,” said Portia. “I’m trying to seek [God’s] kingdom first, and God is still working on me. Sticking to the budget and being disciplined is something that God has helped me with because if I’m not disciplined in how I spend our money, then that affects my husband and our whole family.”
They used the whole experience to teach their kids how to use money properly, in a God-honoring way.
“The boys got to see we don’t have to live that life of debt,” said Portia. “But, we can live another way—a way that not everybody else is living.”
Other fruits have come from this season of cutting back and allowing God to break them of their way of living, as well. Following the journey out of debt, the Mejias not only continued tithing, but they began to give more.
They also took the step to become Navigators, and Portia and Geo have both led short-term Bible studies with co-workers and friends. Geo admits that before all of this life-change, he tended toward hoarding his time and money. But that’s not such a struggle anymore.
“Bold Love and going debt free accelerated all that [growth],” he said. “I think God’s been trying to teach me to trust him—that it’s all his and to trust him. If I’m doing what he’s asking me to do as far as being generous, he’ll have my back somehow, some way.”
Geo and Portia both sense a great deal of spiritual growth in their lives and now live with a sense of anticipation, waiting on what God will call them to do next.
Looking back, the Mejias belive the Bold Love commitment was a crucial step in their story.
“I hate Bold Love and love it,” laughs Geo. “It changed our lives.”
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What do the Astros, Texas history, and brisket have in common? They are all things Yancey Arrington loves. On this episode Ryan Lehtinen talks with Yancey about his 23 years of serving as the Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church, his family, his passions, and what he would do if he wasn’t a pastor.
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Addiction can be one of the most difficult and isolating circumstances someone can walk through, but recovery and peace are possible. On this episode, Rachel talks with Jay and Jennifer Ellis and Bonnie Wilson about finding hope in Christ, and community in Pathway to Peace, as they follow Jesus and even use their pain to spread the gospel.
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