I enjoyed the "Love Does" book and the series. It was a great reminder of keeping love first in my life. I am working with a team of people from Cypress to put on a 5k and 1 mile fun run to benefit children living in poverty...here in our community and in Kenya and Haiti. I knew one if the tasks that was needed would be soliciting sponsors for the race. So I recruited team members who I thought had good connections and were confident in sales. I was feeling like Moses...I don't speak well. I am not a salesperson. I can't do that part. I asked God for "Aaron" to join me and do the talking for me. Then I read Love Does and Douglas spoke on the chapter "Just Say Yes!" I was willing to say yes, but...
My story is that God gave me courage and determination. I made the contacts and God was faithful. We have started to find sponsors who are willing to donate to the Course of Hope Race! God is faithful! just say yes!!!
Briana and John Grady
Our story is about giving to the poor as Jesus taught. We have many but this one is too cool.
Briana met a poor man in Dunedin and had nothing to give. So, she drove home and made two sandwiches for the man. He was very thankful and excited. That night we went to Busch Gardens for Hallow-scream. I remember thinking to myself " Wow. $80.00 entrance fee for us both. This may hurt my budget big time!." So, none the less, I put my money on the counter and the ticket lady takes it. Immediately a man taps me on the shoulder and says "I have an extra ticket. Would you like it? No charge." I said "Sure, wow, Thank You". The ticket lady gives me back $40 and says" Wow, I guess it's your lucky night." This just astonished us so much. There were thousands of people in line and he picked us! Briana kept thinking about the poor man she fed earlier that that day and we realized God is watching all the the time.
If you feed his children and follow Jesus' teachings you will be blessed.
I began going to Cypress Fall of 2009 after Kim and Nate McAllister invited me to go. They started attending because of a Cypress post card they recieved in the mail that had my picture on it. I didn't actually go to the church, it was a professional stock photo from a photographer friend that I "modeled" for. Crazy, huh??
The first service I went to at Cypress I instantly knew this was the church home for me! I felt God\'s presence and I understood and was fed by Pastor Poole's message. I learned what Cypress was doing in Haiti, Kenya and locally and knew I had to be a part of it, even if it was a small part. Everyone at the church was sooooo welcoming and I felt LOVED by these people I didn't even know.
I ended up being involved with the Christmas production, Me and My Drum, that year and later with the Youth ministry on Sunday nights. I moved away the end of 2010 but couldn't stay away for long so I came back and ended up getting married March of 2012. My Husband and I started attending Cypress shortly after and normally go to the Saturday night service.
We both got Baptized, again as adults, togther in June of this year. What a glorious moment! In May we got involved with the AMPED student Ministry through the Serve it Forward series. I love volunteering with the youth and seeing God work through them and the leaders and other volunteers.
One day when we are not switching jobs and school hours and our schedules are more set, we plan to join a small group so we can connect with more people and build an even stronger relationship with God.
"We also want you to feel loved, unconditionally. That's how Jesus loves and that's what we're striving for as well." That is a quote from the home page. I definitely feel loved unconditionally from the people at Cypress and I hope I make others feel that way too!
Yay Cypress and most definitely Yay God!!
My second week in Florida just one year ago was spent attending the leadership summit for the first time. As I walked away I felt even more excitement and purpose for the job that I was about to begin with the student ministry of Cypress. After walking away from this year's summit just a few days ago, I feel excited and energized all over again. It is such a blessing to take in information and inspiration from leaders all over the world, and I am looking forward to another great year
My husband son and I came to Cypress Meadows for the Christmas program in 2011. We joined a small group in Febuary and our lives have been changed forever. My husband has had some serious health issues and our small group and the poeple of Cypress have gathered around us to pray for us, support us and love us through this difficult time.We are so blessed by the faith, hope and love that is shown us. It has helped us to grow in our faith, given us hope and is loving us back to health.
Godfrey is 13 years old and a total orphan. He was abandoned at the boarding school by their uncle after his parents died. No one was paying for their schooling and now they need sponsors. Godfrey stays at SOHK during the holidays and breaks. He is brother to 4 of the other children we have at SOHK. he is a great young man. he would like to be a Pastor when he grows up and he is wonderful big brother to his siblings and all of the other children at SOHK. Godfrey just needs Love and a chance in this life.
Jane is 8 years old. She came to Springs of Hope Kenya through our Ministry partner, Ben Msandu. She is from the slums of Rhonda. We were told of Jane and her younger sister and how they would beg for food all day long looking for anything that they could get to survive. Unfortunately her sister did not survive this environment and we were told she died a very suspicious death at only 4 years of age. This left Jane to beg alone until SOHK stepped in and rescued her. As you can see from her picture Jane is very happy now, Receiving food, love and and education. all the things she was lacking in her previous life. She is a delight! A gift to us from God!
James is 9 years old and he was brought to us by the Nakuru Children’s Dept. James was in a very serious situation. His mother was found unfit and living in conditions that were not fit for humans. He was not being fed and was being mistreated. He now has so much fun and is so loved by all the staff and his brothers and sisters at SOHK. James loves football and dancing. He is learning about God's love and hope.
Beryl is 9 years old. she is a beautiful and talented nine year old from a family of thirteen children,plus an assortment of cousins from deceased siblings of her parents. Her father is deceased and her mother could no longer care for all of the children. They were suffering from severe poverty. Beryl is now with us at SOHK . She is one of the leaders at SOHK and excels a karate, other sports and is at the top of her class. She is thriving in her new environment along with her younger sister Harriet. Please consider sponsoring this remarkable young lady. She is committed to God and is bold in her faith.
Harriet is 7 years old. This sweet young lady from rural Western Kenya she is one of thirteen children. Harriet’s father is deceased and her mother could no longer care for the children. Harriet’s mother relinquished her parental rights to SOHK as she could no longer care for her and her sister. Harriet is a shy, delightful and charming child. She loves school, playing and church at SOHK.
Joyce is 4 years old. She was brought to us by the the children’s Department as an abandonment case. We know very little about little Joyce. We refer to Joyce as the Queen of SOHK. She loves her home and feels very comfortable and loved here. She is so cute and such a good little girl. Joyce says she loves to sweep, dance and loves God and her brothers and sisters at SOHK.
Nancy is 7 years old. Nancy’s case was brought to our attention through our ministry partner Ben Msandu. She has a very tragic case. She was a repeated rape victim at age 7. Her mother an alcoholic was not around to protect Nancy and we could not let Nancy stay in this awful situation. Now that she is at SOHK Nancy is happy, healthy, and knows she is safe and protected. She is in safe and loving environment now. Her nickname is Sweetie and if you meet her you would know why. She is sweet , and lovely little girl.
(sister to Sarah Helen Lucy Wambui)
Sarah Halen Lucy Wambui
Sarah is 3 years old. This sweet little girl is Sarah Helen Lucy Wambui. A big name for a little girl. Sarah’s case was brought to us by a partner in ministry. It is very hard for me to explain this horrific case. But Sarah was being sexually abused. She is now safe and sound with us at SOHK. She is spunky and happy and full of love and she knows she is safe and protected now. She is experiencing God's love through the staff and children at Springs of Hope. (Sister to Nancy Wambui)
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Kevo is six years old and a fun loving and sensitive little guy. He is an orphan and was living with his grandfather who can no longer care for him or protect him from his abusive uncle so he is now in our care. Kevo loves to play and is very mischievous to say the least. He loves to meet new people and visitors who come SOHK! He needs to have a sponsor so we can continue to give Kevo the life he deserves.
Mark 10: 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Dennis is 8 years old. He is so much fun and is such a joy to us at SOHK. He loves to make funny faces and is great dancer and athlete. Dennis is an orphan and was being abused by an uncle. His grandmother told us about Dennis’ plight and we could do nothing less than to come to his rescue. Since the day we picked him up he has not stopped smiling, and making us smile!
Dennis likes Springs of Hope Kenya because they take care of him and love him..
I am 13 years old. I used to live on the streets of Nakuru. That's where I was when I met Molly and Daniel. I can speak very good English because I learned while I was on the streets. Now I go to boarding school because one of Molly's friends from one church sponsors me.
I ran away from school because I didn't like a teacher. But Daniel and Molly and Pastor Douglas talked to me and told me that God has a plan for me. He doesn't want me on the streets. He wants me in school. I went back to school because my sponsors believe in me. Molly and Daniel believe in me. But most of all God believes in me.
I have worked with Springs of Hope Kenya as a care giver for the children and now I help manage Bagamoyo, the sewing center. I have found God\'s favor with Molly as my boss. She cares about me and my children. Molly believes in me and has challenged me to grow and learn in this new responsibility. God has given me hope and love. I am blessed.
Job Kenyatta (2 years old)
Job was only one when he and Sammy, and Abby lost their mother. The staff at Springs of Hope welcomed the three siblings last year, even though the expectation is that children be at least 2 years old to live at Springs of Hope. The plan to separate the family didn\'t seem like the best thing for the children so the three now live at SOHK. They have hope and love and are learning about faith in God.
Abigail Kenyatta (4 years old)
Abby is Sammy's sister. She is a beautiful little girl with a big, shy smile. She loves to have her hair braided and styled. Her eyes and smile reflect the love and safety she finds at Springs of Hope Kenya.
Sammy YEMITSS Kenyatta
Sammy Yemit Kenyatta (6 years old)
Sammy is the oldest of three in his family. His parents both died due to AIDS complications. He is a kind caring boy. However he is all boy... he loves to run and play. He knows he and his younger sister and brother are safe and loved. They have hope.
Brivian is quite shy, but always polite. She is a total orphan from a rural area in Western Kenya. Her parents died as part of the AIDS pandemic. Through the love and care at Springs of Hope, she has a new family and faith in God who gives her hope.
"Children are a gift from the Lord ;
they are a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3 NLT)
When I came to Springs of Hope Kenya, I was sad and sometimes I was bad. They worked very hard to make me feel safe and comfortable. Now I go to school and know that even though I have no parents I have hope. Thank you for helping me.
I am 5 years old and don\'t have a mother or father. I live at Springs of Hope Kenya because my Grandmother is too poor to care for me. I go to school and learn every day. I love God. P like living here because I am safe and I am loved.
The local children's department brought Baby Unknown to Springs of Hope Kenya, he is now Noah Kibet. He is 4 years old and fully of boyish energy. He is loved and cared for as part of the Springs of Hope family. Noah is the modern day child that Mark wrote of in chapter 9.
"Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me." (Mark 9:36, 37 NLT)"
6 year old, Mary, was being cared for by her sickly grandmother when a local church intervened. They brought Mary to Springs of Hope Kenya where she would experience the love of a family. She has adjusted to the large family and her smile reflects the hope she has for her life. She attends school at the orphanage with the other children her age. She is learning to read and write. And learning about how God provides for even the littlelest children.
Mildred is 13 years old. She is the older sister of Christine. Mildred was attending boarding school when her mother died and was having difficulty adjusting without the closeness of her sister and a surrogate family. She is the oldest of the children living at Springs of Hope Kenya. Today, Mildred is a reflection of the love, faith and hope she experiences because of the actions of Cypress Meadows and Springs of Hope.
Christine is 8 years old and she lives in Nakuru, Kenya. Her story of hope began when she was placed at Springs of Hope Kenya. At the time her father had died due to AIDS and her mother was too sick to care for her and her older sister, Mildred. She arrived at SOHK and began to thrive. Molly visited her mother who was bedridden and brought reports of the girls. Her mother also died, but she was assured of the safety and care for her daughters.
God's faith, hope, and love...
The Nikita story... She is the 16 year old we met at the Nairobi Airport who was flying for the first time and going alone to Denver. She was on the same flight as my friend, Molly who runs Springs of Hope Kenya orphanage, from Nairobi to JFK in NYC. The first flight got cancelled out of Nairobi, so they had an overnight wait...they took the same flight out the next morning at 4:30 am. Molly learned that Nikita's mother died at the airport 2 weeks prior, so now she was going alone to live with her dad whom she had never met. While waiting for 2 years to get her visa she had lived with her uncles, who abused and molested her. She finally went to live in a church where she was safer. Molly, Elijah and Nikita finally made it to JFK!
But Nikita had to return to the plane to get customs papers and Molly and Elijah couldn't wait for her or they would miss their connection to Tampa. Molly gave the immigration officer a paper with her contact info and asked him to give it to Nikita when she came through. So Nikita was on her own in NYC airport. She had not been around white people before meeting us at the airport. We had no idea if she made it through customs and immigration nor if shefound her connecting gate to Charlotte then to Denver. I searched the address that she gave as her final destination and found nothing. So I called the police station in Longmont, Colorado and requested a welfare check. The officer was very understanding and promised to look for Nikita and to call me back.
About 20 minutes later I received a call from the officer and she had located Nikita! She had made it and seemed to be fine. The officer promised to do a home visit to meet the father.
Then Nikita called Molly! ( the immigration officer had given her the paper with Molly's contact information.) I called and talked to her and breathed more easily knowing that she had made it...after spending the night in Charlotte airport alone because she missed the flight. But she said she is safe.
Pray for her when she comes to mind. She has experienced things most of us can't imagine. Now she has to navigate a new culture, school system and create a new life.
Springs of Hope Kenya is a real, vibrant living place and it is because of Cypress Meadows Community Church. The children who live there have been given an amazing gift from each member and attendee of Cypress.
I challenge you to make a monthly investment in the life of just one child. Set up an automatic deduction from your account to go to Springs of Hope Kenya. There are almost 60 children from age 2-17 years old, who are learning about faith, hope and love from the care and support of Springs of Hope Kenya. Only about half the children have sponsors. Surely we can do more for these children. A full sponsorship is $126 per month, but you can give a sponsorship of $63 or $30 per month. Let's continue to join together for these children.
James' writing reminds of what faith that matters to God looks like:
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27 NLT)
Finally, in the words of the Lorax by Dr. Seuss:
Unless... Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not.
Pastor Celestin Charles
From Egypt to Mount Nebo, God has put into the hand of Moses a stick for this perilous journey into the desert. What was this Stick in the hands of Moses for the Jewish people?
Cypress Meadows Community Church, since 2005, God made you for Siloam church and especially for the school what the Stick was in the hands of Moses.
-Pastor Celestin Charles, Founder of Siloam Church and School
Desgranges, St Louis du Nord , Haiti
Over 20 years ago my son, Todd, was going to a small church called Countryside Chapel (now it's called Cypress Meadow's) and he kept telling me that I needed to go there because the people were really nice. Well I went and he was right. I have been there ever since. CMCC is home and the people there are my my family. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't walked through those doors.
And just one more thing, about 3 years ago I reluctantly visited a women's small group. Even though we were at different stages of life there was an immediate connection. These are some of the strongest, faithful, loving and compassionate women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. So yeah God, Yeah CMCC and Yeah Todd ( I think God nudged him and he listened and my life was changed..)
Everyday I look at a post-it note on my computer that simply says - "You are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you" ~ Romans 5:8
I know that no matter where my life journey takes me - that I have a church family in Cypress that loves me and more importantly, I have Jesus, that loves & stands by me always.
For in Him - I have faith, hope & love!!!
Cypress Meadows Community Church is where I became a new believer in Christ. In 2004, I was a single mom, newly divorced, and no where to turn to for guidance. So I came to Cypress Meadows. I felt an overwhelming feeling of love, security, and grace after attending several services and developing new friendships with the people of this church. I immediately found support by joining a small group for women, and started volunteering my time in the Cypress Arts team. My son, Keegan, was my biggest motivation to seek God. Last year, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to serve with a our wonderful missions team to travel to Nakuru, Kenya. It was a life-changing experience. I have been baptised here as an adult in 2005, and my son was confirmed here in 2005 also. I feel great that I can come here every week and feel like family to many of the members here at Cypress. It's a great place to grow spiritually with Christ.
When I think of the impact that GOD has had in my life I am overwhelmed - and might I add not just in my life but in the lives of others. This loving GOD of mine who forgives, strengthens and guides showed me some of his best work in helping me to build an awesome relationship with my twin brother. My heart overflowed with love, awe and hope when a couple of years ago my brother told his story, made his decision to turn his life over to GOD and was baptised by Douglas.......and yes Douglas....you needed to hold him under water a little longer than others!!! I am so proud to be God's child and to introduce him and call him Father. YEA GOD!
Hi there I'm Deb I'm usually the first one in the back row on Saturday nights. Not that I'm back sliding by any means. If anything Pastor Poole and Cypress Meadows has made me a much stronger Christian. I first came to Cypress about a year and a half ago. Even though they didn't have a singles dept. per say ,I loved the service. The praise and worship team is phenomial as is Paster Poole, His message is always down to earth , clear and understood. I had been in the past abused by my ex husband and hurt by my ex-fiance'. I have come to the realization that there isn't always someone for every- one as the saying goes...... The thing about being a Christian is... God "IS" for everyone! So friend won't you come to the savior for refuge too.
I went to serve in Haiti with a wonderful group of people from our church in June 2010. Trying to be a good and responsible father to my then-5 year old daughter, we had many talks about the trip. Sara is a daddy's girl, so the thought of me being gone for five days did not sit well with her. Since I didn't hide details of the trip from her and showed her pictures of where I was going, she became progressively less excited.
I have tried to do my part in teaching her that we do what we have to do and try to do the right thing. I know Kid's Connection at Cypress teaches her this as well. Just a few days before my Haiti trip, we were having another talk at dinner and Sara looked at me and asked if going to Haiti was the right thing to do. I told her it was. She smiled at me and said, "Even though I'm going to miss you, I want you to go." I was so proud of her, as a father and a Christian. Like many of the wonderful kids I work with and learn with on Sunday mornings, Sara gives me hope that God's work is in good hands in the coming generations.
I sat four different time to write this and couldn't think of something witty to say. I mean, I we've set a pretty high bar with "Christmas in the Fjords". I've had lots of people come up to me and ask, if I really play the violin. Ive had tons of kids come up to me and very seriously say "Whatever you do... DON'T let Caleb take you to Waffle House!". At the least I have people that know me as "that guy with all the tattoos". But today I had four different friends ask if I'd go into the water with them when they get baptized. I can't think of a better honor than to be asked that knowin that I can be there for four really cool people wherever thier walk takes them.
I got connected with god when I was around seven or eight years old. I got connected when we were doing a lesson with Jan about when God can be your eternal friend. Life has been going good ever since. I now have my own Bible and a LIFE journal. I've toured other churches with my dad to check out other student ministry programs, and none of them compared to Cypress'. The other churches only focused on entertaining the kids, not teaching them. I really love coming to Cypress every Sunday. I like how cypress goes in depth with there lessons. This is truly an awesome church!
Cypress has had such a major impact on my life. I have always said prayers to god even before I started going to church. Although I never really understood the bible and god. I wanted to learn more about god and about church but I never really went to church. I really love Cypress meadows and think it's a great church to go to.
Jean Dutson and Kettia CHARLES
Married on august 2011, 4 months later we were so closed to death and lost everything in the earthquake that hit Haiti(Port-au-Prince) on January,2012. All hope had gone and we became so discourage, traumatize specially we had to face the fact to go to live somewhere else in the countryside. The only thing that help us to recapture our dream, to get hope in the futur again is the experience of true love of God through Siloam church and Cypress Meadows Community Church specially the physical presence of Pastor Douglas, Chris Cox, Marq etc..... Now for the best we live for the glory of God and to share this same faith, love and hope to all humain being. Saved by grace, being protected by grace, live by grace, we devote ourselves more than ever to serve by grace until our last breath on earth.
In October of 2003 after many years of up's and down's I felt the urge to reconnect with God after doing life my way. I had attended church with my Mother growing up and always enjoyed it but as I got older I drifted away from it. I had attended several churches locally but never found the right fit. After receiving several open house fliers to a church called Cypress Meadows in the mail I decided why not. From the minute I walked in the door I felt a sense of connection. I was greeted by Alana and to my surprise I knew two people Anna Ortiz and Grandma Faye Thompson. Well once the worship began and Douglas spoke I felt such peace and connection. It was awesome! Within the year I became a member, was baptized and began my new life with God. I have found the spiritual gifts God has given me and serve in several different ministries. My main passion is serving in Extension Ministries being it here locally or in Haiti where I was fortunate to go with a group of fellow Meadower's in June 2010 and share God's love and grace. I must also say that being in a small group is great. Doing life together is so important. This has been a very tough year for me and my small group has prayed, cried, and been there to pick me up through it all. I could not even think of doing life without them. Thank you Cypress for sending me that flier and giving me a place to proudly call my church home.
Your Story God's answer to every question these days seems to be 'You're blessed to be a blessing.' It was the charge of the Nation of Israel and is our charge as the Body of Christ. In every way, God has blessed us to bless the world!
Joseph T Guzzi, Jr
Wow! Thank you Pastor Chuck and Korin. The Marriage Class my wife and I attended at your home was phenomenal. Absolutely life changing! And Praise God for putting it on the hearts of the church leaders/pastors at Cypress Meadows and thanks to those church loeaders for being obedient to my God so that there is a Marriage Ministry at my church. My family and I will continue to be in prayer for the support and growth of this ministry as the Deitch's have been truly created by God to minister to couples and bring them to Him. The Guzzis will also remain in prayer towards Cypress Meadows initiating a Women's Ministry and a Ministry of Recovery/Restoration. Go God! Let's change lives.
Jim and Brenda
With so many possible things to write about, we'll focus on the recent – marriage. Last fall, God spoke to us with a powerful sermon through Douglas and Jacque that highlighted the surprising demise of a seemingly healthy marriage of one of their respected friends, and lessons to learn. Since then, God has really helped us to grow closer together. As a result, we ended up unexpectedly pregnant :-) during a time in life that seemed already too busy. When Chuck and Korin opened up a Marriage Class, we jumped right in and it has sure come in handy and prevented many disagreements from becoming unhealthy and damaging. Anyway, it is exciting to see how our marriage has improved over the past year and we have to give God and Cypress major props for this. Thank you!
*In case you are interested, the sermon was on Oct 10/23/2011 –Mr. and Mrs. Of Guardrails series – check it out from the Weekend Messages link
I have been attending Cypress Meadows for about 15 years . Suffice to say I have seen a lot of changes over the years but there are two things that have never changed nor wavered in all that time...
The love and grace God continues to show me through my Cypress family and it is felt from the moment you walk through the doors. If you have been in search of a church where you want to know about God and be known, love and be loved, serve and be served, then you have come to the right place.
I have been blessed beyond words to do life with people whom I believe have the most amazing Christ filled hearts !
My first exposure to Cypress Meadows occurred in December, 2005 when I was invited to a Christmas show. I cannot say that I remembered a single thing about it. (Sorry Douglas)I went back to my "normal" life and really didn't give it a lot more thought.
In early April something started to nudge me giving me a feeling that I should start going to church and to Cypress. I had no real clue who or what was pushing me in the direction, but I did decided to go to one service.
Unfortunately for Satan, Douglas said a lot of things that Sunday that must have hit home with me (Sorry again, Douglas, I don't remember what they were.) because I decided to come back the next week... and the next... and the next... and have been attending ever since.
But that is not the real point of my story.
Only in hindsight - and often at some distance - can we realize why things seem to happen the way they do. I was being set up - by God - because he wanted me to extend grace to someone at a future date and if I weren't attending Cypress and getting the message, that would not have happened.
So, how significant was this bit of grace?
I'd call it life changing.
At the time I'd say that my marriage was heading toward a likely end primairly due to alcohol abuse. I was pretty much at the end of the rope when I learned my wife was in the ER.
I'll spare the details, but suffice it to say it put me on a path where I believed that there was only one way to go.
When I got her home from the hospital I wasn't sure what to say or what conversation to have. I'm not even sure I really wanted to risk the possibiity of having to deal with a similar situation in the future.
So, I closed my eyes and let God take over. All I spoke was, "I forgive you."
I'm happy to say the this June we will celebrate my wife's achieving six years of sobriety.
It's amazing what God can do through us when we allow him.
Sam & Anne
A year ago we made what we thought was an astute career decision ~ only to have that decision serve as the catalyst for a complete upending of life as we knew it... 7 weeks ago, we made the decision to submit to God in obedience – after being driven to our knees. This decision left with the stark reality that we had to completely reevaluate our entire lives, from career to marriage. It wasn't optional, and sadly it was completely foreign territory. This period has been painful as we've "peeled back the onion" - to face realities of flawed motives and blatant disobedience to God. In search for the "how" to do this we grasped on to what Cypress Meadows has been teaching for the years that we've been attending – knowing that in the midst of our very personal turmoil, in the community of church, we would find the embrace of other seekers and lover's of Christ.
We were blessed at this critical time in our marriage life to have the opportunity to join Chuck and Korin's Marriage Small Group class ~ it has been a forum for us to grow and share in a nonthreatening nurturing environment. It didn't feel like a "class" it was a time of intentional sharing, with each of us looking to gain insight and share to aid the growth of the other participants. Tonight was our last meeting and from the deepest places we are grateful to God and to each of the person's that moved with us through this time for sharing and listening. We are better for having shared these past Thursday evenings with each of you! We will enthusiastically advocate for an expansion of this type of outreach across the church! A particular Thank You to Chuck and Korin who shared their home and life with us so generously – you'll definitely be invited to the celebration of the renewal of our vows. We are blessed to be a member of the Cypress family. Sam and Anne
7 yrs. ago I was looking for a new church to attend and through Chris Cox , God led my family to Cypress. We hooked up with a small group & made some good friends. I came to Cypress instantly serving as sound tech. It is very fulfilling and an honor to serve God & Cypress. There is nothing I would rather do than run sound & play music. I love large production. My goal & hope is to be an ongoing part of God's plan to spread his word through church productions. It has been a pleasure working with & being a servant to Caleb & the band, Douglas & guest teachers, drama & guest artists & musicians . All this goes to the advancement of the kingdom of God. I love being a part of it.
I grew up attending church and belonged to other churches as an adult. We found Cypress Meadows in 2005, shortly before traveling to China to adopt our daughter. We wanted a church close to home so we could feel more connected to our community. We joined our first small group within a few months. We felt so much love and support as new members and through our journey to bring our daughter home. Our small group threw a baby shower for us. Cypress Meadows and it's small groups is the first time I've been a member of a church where I've shown my true self, warts and all. From parenting challenges, job layoffs and changes, a move away and back, marital and financial ups and downs, I've learned that it's okay to tell the truth when a Meadower asks, "How are you?" I count many members of my church family among my closest friends and I feel the love of God and Cypress Meadows each time I walk through the doors..
Deciding to commit 10% of our pay to God was a leap of faith considering we were almost $30000 in the red. We took the plunge and haven't looked back. With the help of Financial Peace University and a giving God, we are in the black and able to give to others.
With two kids of my own, I can understand the trials of raising and educating children. Sometimes for us it's a miracle to make the bus on time. So when the opportunity to sponsor children in Haiti came about last year, I let my kids select the child we would sponsor. They chose a boy we nicknamed DJ. Same age, same grade as my oldest and he wants to be a pilot ( how could I refuse).... Even though we don't know DJ personally, to offer him hope as he completes 5th grade. To make his chance to succeed a little better. It's all done through the loving grace of a great God.
My family and I have attended Cypress Meadows for about 4 years and God has been so present in our lives. We have a strong connection to this church we've never felt before. The opportunities to share our gifts, whether it be helping someone in need in the community, serving on the Cypress Arts team, helping with children and youth, or being part of our Missions in Haiti or Kenya; has given us the opportunity to share Gods love and let the light of his grace shine through each of us.
But what a surprise I would experience when our God needed to teach me about his Grace and how to receive it freely. I have recently suffered some serious health issues that left me struggling with not only day to day chores but a struggle of feeling God being away from me in this time of physical pain and suffering. Douglas and our elders prayed with me and held my hands and reassured me that God was close to me....through my church family. We were brought many meals and given help with chores and shopping by the wonderful folks you see sitting around you every Sunday morning or Saturday night They would show His love when I doubted. How I need Gods grace and like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz I learned I had the power of His grace all along. I just had to open my eyes and accept it.
About 2 1/2 months ago my doctor told me I had an A1C level of 8.9. WAY too high. He said if I didn't get me blood sugar levels under control, I would have to go on insulin. I prayed "God, if you won't make me Skinny, PLEASE make all my friends FAT" LOL, just kidding. Anyway, I prayed about this, and started on a direct weight loss regimen I didn't know how I would be able to change all my terrible eating and drinking habits that I have lived by for so long. I have since lost 45lbs in 10 weeks, from 236 to 191#, and my doctor said , not only that I would not be going on insulin, that I could stop taking my Metformin medication for Diabetes, and that my A1C level was 5.9. GREAT!! He also said that my A1C from 1 year ago was 11.2 till now at 5.9, most physicians and others would say that this feat was simply impossible. I not saying that I may not fall in the future, but for now, I'm staying on track. I also believe that when you pray for something, that God often doesn't answer your prayers in the fashion that we want them. If i prayed to be thinner, does he make me thin or does he give me the opportunity to become thinner? My Choice in the end, however, I would go which ever way he wants to lead me, quickly or slowly.
Not only am I the director of small groups here at Cypress but I'm also a small group member! Our small group night has become an oasis for me. I get to take of my director hat and focus on building relationships and being a part of a dynamic, loving, and fun group of people. It has been vital for my family's transition to a new city and new church to be connected to like-minded people that we can do life with.
In the 10 years that I have been attending Cypress, God has made incredible changes in my life. I encourage everyone to get involved in a small group. I have been involved in a few over the years-each served as a huge growth in faith, as well as developing friendships with other Christ followers. Cypress has some of the most amazing, loving and giving hearts that I have ever seen! I also encourage you to study scripture-we need God's words imprinted in our hearts and in our minds daily. To grow your walk with the Lord you need to spend time in prayer and worship daily-not just on Sunday! Try it-and see how He changes you!
After moving from another state, being able to connect with families in the same stage of life as me was really important. Joining a small group at Cypress helped me to be able to connect to other moms and gave me an opportunity to build relationships here.
Ben and Lindsay Cournia
We are a military family that moves often and lives far away from our relatives. Cypress has become our family. The friends in our small group are the ones we do life with: our kids play together, we share tears and triumphs, and we pray for one another. We feel so blessed that God led us to a living, growing, giving church community like Cypress. We are at home here.
In the deepest despair of my life (divorce), God picked me up, wiped me clean, and waited for me to ask him to correct me. He is "slow, steady, and sure".
He is my father, my husband, my best friend , my money manager, my helping hand, the list goes on... Be careful what you pray for because he IS listening. Two sentences....... really? Your killing me here. I know I am loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you.
Your Story I cannot explain how excitied I've been with Amped in these past months, watching it grow from just a few people in the High School ministry to more and more people showing up each and every week. Personally I would like to thank Josh Woods for everything that he has done to make Amped what it is now and also for increasing my faith and knowledge in God and the Bible. I'm so happy that some of the closest people in my life are learning about how important it is to have a relationship with God, and just having them there with me each Sunday night makes it so much better. Amped Ministries has become an important part in my life, and I'm blessed to have Josh, Chuck, Nathan, Tyler, Bethany and everyone else there to continue to grow my relationship with God. I look forward to the growth of Amped ministries and more trips to help out in the community!
Amped has been a great experience for me Im meeting new friends and learning about Gods word . but why I love amped student ministries so much is because of josh woods he has been a very good friend to me and a youth minister i cant wait to hear the interesting story he has planned for sunday.
When I first found cypress I had just come from a church in st Pete and I felt God telling me that I needed something more because I wasn't being fed. I had prayed for a church that had a passion and cared about people knowing our amazing God. I came to the service a week before Christmas in 2010 and at the end of the service Douglas asked if anyone needed to talk about coming to Christ after the service and I knew this was the church I hungered for! A few months of going to cypress I went to the "Meet Cypress" and got to know a little about Douglas and the church! Before long people knew my name and I had no idea they knew who I was. Being apart of cypress I felt like I was becoming apart of a family which is the church I grew up in and what I missed having! Having people miss when you're not there, ask about life and everything going on, it was nice to have people there that truly cared! I became involved with the youth ministry in august last year bc I'd always been involved with it in my home church and I've feel I have a calling to be in that age group! In the past months I've seen the kids grow and the ministry grow and its encouraging and a reminder that were not there because of ourselves but because there's a bigger picture! They need us as examples, leaders and someone to go to for anything when life hits! Youth is precious, they need to know about the God that adores them and wants a relationship with then and I want to help them in that journey! I know what it was like being a Christian in high school and then having nothing in college so I want to help them not make the same mistakes and understand God is who he says he and they have volunteers in their corner! Being at cypress I feel at home and I love it!
I started going to cypress meadows to learn about God. Going here has made me realize how much of an effect God has on everyone's lives and how important it is to accept him and have a relationship with him. Going here has made me a better person inside and out and has showed me to appreciate the little things in life.
It's been great to be in a small group and share stories with a few of the people from the Cypress Community. Not only has it become a place to make a few friends, but it's nice to see how God is working in everyone's lives and to share our experiences with each other. Everyone has a drive to want to grow and develop their faith!
It has also been a great experience to be a part of the Amped student ministry. It's great to see young people learning about God and growing in their spiritual side, and sharing what they've learned with one another. It's been a humbling experience and it drives me more to help out with the ministry so we can help these kids become awesome people!
Not long after my husband and I had started attending Cypress Meadows, I felt God was nudging me to take action. I ignored the nudges for a while and I kept giving excuses as to why I couldn't offer to serve as a volunteer coordinator. "They don't need me… I wouldn't be any good at it…what if I can't devote as much time to it as they want?" Finally, I acknowledged the fact that God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called and it was time for me to own up to it.
Two weeks after the launch of the Serve It Forward volunteer program, a total of 41 people in the Cypress Community signed up to Serve It Forward. High school students, working professionals, unemployed professionals, stay-at-home moms, new members of Cypress and even some who have been attending for 10 or 20 years signed up to Serve It Forward. People signed up to serve in one ministry and some even signed up for multiple positions in multiple ministries!
The success of Serve It Forward in only two weeks has been a blessing to me and more importantly, to Cypress Meadows. I believe this program will continue to be blessed and grow with time and prayer because one of the best ways we can show our love as a community and touch the lives of the people that walk through our doors each weekend is to Serve It Forward.
Once again I find myself amazed at the joy, encouragement, humility and blessings received by being a part of a small group. However, I am even more amazed with God's patience and faithfulness in my life.
Marcia & I haven't been deeply connected to a church body since 2009. While its been a real privilage to participate with the worship team and to serve under Caleb's leadership, there was still something missing. I was missing (longing for) a deeper relationship with God and the church. It's a fullfilment or closeness that only comes from building community, sharing life and commiting to something greater than myself.
I am so thankful that God once again remained faithful and led my family to Cypress Meadows. As usual, He didn't stop there. We are blessed to be hosting a small group. So if you want to make new friends and build relationships with some pretty amazing folks, get involved with a small group...everyday people, acknowledging we are flawed and forgiven, simply sharing life ...
Being in my mid twenties and living in Louisville KY I have loved tuning into Cypress Meadows over the past few years. Every time I have tuned in there has been a message I've benefited from listening to. Not only has it been good for me and my walk with Christ, but I have also loved hearing about what God is doing at Cypress Meadows.
By the Grace of God I have learned to provide Hope to children in Haiti and Kenya, not of my abundance but rather my Heart.
Tom and Selena Dautel
We recently had another opporunity to join churches in our area to paint the house of an elderly women. We were able to meet the home owner and see how grateful she was for painting, raking, and planting flowers in her yard that day. It is not only rewarding to see that you can give another human such hope that there is a loving God who cares about them, faith in humanity, and that love does exist, but it fills our spiritual cup knowing that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and glorify our Savior.
As part of the elder/spiritual leader team at Cypress, I get to meet with people who need prayer, encouragement , or maybe just a non-judgmental ear. In doing so, more times than not, I walk away with a softer, more loving heart . When God allows me these opportunities to be a servant, I am constantly awed at how I walk away being served.
Imagine being a single mom with 2 yound children, a home, rent, a full time job and all of the other responsibilities that go along with all of the above!!! Probably the last thing you or I would think about would be taking care of my yard or the outside of my home so it has curb appeal. Well this is the case of a woman our small group and other friends/volunteers helped out a couple of months ago. When the city came knocking on her door with all kinds of pink slips and code violations and told herthat she would either have to pay, get out or clean up she had no other choice than to reach out for help. That's where we came in....and about 2 dumpsters, 50 garbage bags full and a curb that held all it could in garbage and yard debris later we had knocked it out for her. It took about 3 hours of our time on a Saturday morning and about 15 good hearted people to help this single mom who never could've done it on her own. The gratitude she expressed could not be measured and the good feelings of community and helping serve others could not be matched. No matter what you are good at there is always someone out there who needs a little more help than you and are just waiting for you to serve them.
In July 2011 I accompanied the Cypress Meadows team to serve at the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphange. I was told the experience would be life-changing. That was so true. When you meet the children at the orphanage and the Kenyan people, you begin to realize what joy in Christ really means through the faces and attitudes of the people. You will return from Kenya with a renewed sense of God's purposes for you, a more grateful attitude, and a greater spirit of forgiveness. I encourage you to serve in Kenya to see what life changes God has in store for you.
How could I say no? I have been given so much. So much more than I have earned or deserve. I could not choose to be born in this place, at this time, to these parents. I have to do something with what I have been given. I need to do my best to leave this world a better place than I found it. These are my brothers and sisters - we are all God's children.
The children of Haiti had no more control of their circumstances than I did. All we can control are our own choices. I first went to Haiti because it sounded like an adventure. I choose to keep going because I have faith and hope in the people of Haiti, because we are bound together by love.
God does not withhold what is good.
- Psalm 84:11
Today in my Bible reading I was reminded to depend on God for everything. As I pray for health and healing for friends, and provision for Springs of Hope Kenya, I am reminded of all that God has provided already through the family at Cypress Meadows and my faith is renewed.
Reading the Bible and connecting with God makes my faith grow.
Cypress Meadows group "Hearts on Fire" helped contribute funds for an automobile for a single mom at Cypress. It's amazing how making a difference in someone else's life can make such a difference in your own.