Stories of Praise

"We proclaim how great you are and tell of the wonderful things you have done."
Psalm 75:1 

Below you will find stories of God's goodness. He is working inside our Clear Creek family as well as through Clear Creek into the community. As you read, we encourage you to stop and tell God how thankful you are and how good He is!

Tornado Relief

The night of Easter Sunday East Brainerd and Ooltewah suffered much damage from tornadoes. Our Church family is awesome and did a wonderful job of checking in on their groups, friends, families and neighbors. We have heard many stories of numerous people and groups helping with clean up, delivering meals, delivering generators. Our church family also helped our brothers and sisters at East Brainerd and Ooltewah and other churches. 
Thomas Neil and Ken Mobley were helping an East Brainerd family last week with tornado stuff. (John Albright who works with the Church of Christ Disaster Response Team called Thomas Neill)  They got to talking and were able to turn the conversation to spiritual matters.  Family used to go to Ooltewah Church of Christ long ago but had “lost faith in God and in people.”  Through the love and outpouring during the post-tornado stuff, they said that it has made them “rethink their position” on the matter. 
Melanie Mann said clean up in their area is going well. Their neighbors are connecting in ways they’ve never connected before. “It took the trees to come down for us to connect."
My high schoolers showed their hearts with the amount of them that went out to serve in tornado relief efforts this past week. And not only did they take time out to go do that, because everyone has been cooped up inside, almost all of them mentioned going to serve as the highlight of their week. They were able to serve and interact more joyfully when they were able to experience the blessing of community in the midst of tragedy.  - Michael Chambers
Meghan Phillips shared on Facebook after the Easter storms that they were so thankful and praised God that even though water was rising, power was off and a car was destroyed, God provided shelter, protection for their home and insurance coverage to replace a car. He also provided assistance from strangers, friends and church family to help get things back to normal. Even though some tools may be lost, Meghan says, "We are blessed. Blessed and grateful." 
“Seen the Lord in the midst of the tornado clean up and everyone coming out to help with clean up. His family was able to help a family friend."

"The tornado relief has shown a lot of good in people's hearts coming out to help.”
"I've been able to enjoy connecting with co-workers! Many have reached out to check on each other and help with tornado clean up together." - Mary Rose Teague
John Clevenger was out helping neighbors within hours of the tornado, cutting down and moving trees.
"On Easter Sunday we were all still trying to adjust to our new normal when we were hit by a tornado or the accompanying winds about 11:30 PM. A large tree knocked our door off its hinges and across the room, almost immediately we knew something had also happened upstairs! The silver lining was, we were all fine as Hunter would later say. On Monday morning about 30 people showed up to help saw trees down and away from the house and swimming pool. Most of these people worked with Hunter at Heritage High School in Ringgold as well as Jeff and Matt Stone from Church and friends of Hunter's from Boyd Buchanan School and David Lipscomb. These friends were here for 5 days along with some tree service folks. Heidi Stone plus Jake and Shelly Hendrix brought food to feed us...the Johnstons were so blessed during a difficult time." - Sandra Johnston
Clear Creek is able to bless others due to the generosity of our church family. Due to the generous response for tornado relief, Clear Creek has been able to help many families impacted by the Easter storms locally. Clear Creek also makes contributions to Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, Inc., in Nashville and to Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team in Ohio, because our church families' generosity.
In one group,  a person learned that a coworker had a tree come through her house and then she totaled her car. This single mother was very private and taking unemployment so no one knew of her predicament. With a church gift card, she was able to use it towards her deductible. This group used this to be a blessing from God at just the right time for this mom.
Another group was able to help two police officer's families. One officer with a wife and 2 kids, had a tree fall through their house and lost most everything. They are staying at a B&B until permanent housing is found. The other officer has a wife and 2 kids, one being a newborn. They suffered flood damage and are in the process of cleanup and repair while working six days a week.  These families were very thankful for the church gift cards,  and that someone would think of them and reach out to help. 

Benevolence

Our benevolence team called everyone that we heard had damage and expense from the tornado. They have helped people find workers to help with maintenance or damage. One person after the benevolence team offered financial help with property damage said, “she was so, so appreciative of the concern and that she was contacted by her church family.”
The benevolence team also called those we knew who had lost jobs or had reduced income. They offered financial assistance and financial guidance in how to go forward.
The church office got a call from a concerned person living in another county. Her parents had friends, an elderly couple that lived in downtown Chattanooga, who were not able to get food for themselves. Because of our church families' generosity, our benevolence team was able to deliver them groceries to get them through the end of the month. The person who called to let us know of this family's need didn't want to be known and gave all the glory to God! 
Bob's handicap ramp building group are all older guys and have suspended their ministry due to coronavirus; however, the men drew up the plan and ordered the material from Home Depot (which gives them a discount). David Gray called several Clear Creek men who showed up at the Vickerys' house and built a ramp for Waymon. Bob Olson, Glen Leamon (from Oak St. Baptist in Soddy), David Gray, Todd Zumbrun, Matt Dolberry, Clint Odum, Glen Golden, Joe Paul Tackett, Jeremy Slaven, Seth Miller, Nick Miller, & Keith Mosley all served as the hands and feet of Jesus!
A family, a husband, wife, and two children, were living out of their car. They have found temporary housing with a relative. A small group was able to bless them with a case of diapers and wipes for each of the children.  
Another group blessed a family that they knew from Middle Valley Elementary.  A friend knew that they needed  help with groceries and utilities.  Because of a church gift card, this family received a blessing from God to help them through difficult times. 

PANDEMIC

Regardless of how you feel about the effects technology has on our daily lives, we can all agree that having the ability to stay connected, share information, and even have “face-to-face” conversations with those we love during this time has been an incredible blessing. We have been able to engage in the same worship at the same time as many others in our church family. We have been able to continue to meet as small groups. Trainings, graduations, birthday parties... and the list goes on… have been able to keep some small sense of normalcy in a time where you may go over a week before seeing someone who doesn’t live in your home. Of course we all miss the hugs, handshakes, and high fives, but because of technology, we have only had to shift how we do certain things in our lives rather than completely change or even stop doing them.

And even though it looks a little different than we might be accustomed to, we have never ceased to function as the church. We have still worshipped the same God, with our same voices and our same hearts, that we always have. We have still taken the time each week to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus through the Lord’s Supper.  We have still done whatever is needed to care for one another spiritually, physically, and emotionally. We have still prayed together, cried together, laughed together, and celebrated together. One of the greatest blessings to come out of all of this is that we, not once, have had to compromise what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Our daughter was born just weeks before social distancing was implemented. School was soon cancelled for my son who was still adjusting to becoming a big brother.  Like so many others, my husband's work hours were reduced. What was potentially a stressful and isolating time turned out to be a blessing in many ways! My husband was able to spend more time with us, bonding with our new baby, easing the transition for our son, and helping me so much in the process. What a precious time God created for us to become a family of four. Praise Him who is always in the details!  - Olivia Pippin
May 6 was Boodie and Carol Fox’s 65th anniversary. Steve Campbell decorated their window and flowers and a cake were delivered on behalf of the church. 
Dale and Lisa Taylor have been doing DBS every Sunday with their family.  Joel (the youngest) texts his grandfather, Bob Taylor, what his “I will” statement is every week so that he can help keep him accountable. Caleb (middle son) has a friend that he talks to often and Dale overheard him telling his friend, who does not go to church, what his “I will” statement was one week.
Since quarantine started, Sheri Schannuth has been delivering “goodies” to her neighbors by hanging them on their front doors just to show some love. The trend has caught on and other neighbors have started doing the same. One in particular saw Sheri outside, stopped to say thank you, and ended up talking for 45 minutes about their family, their religious past, and everything in between. God opening some awesome doors. 
My sister and her family are being encouraged during this time by all of the generosity of people around them (God is pursuing them through his people!), and decided to watch an online service this past Sunday. They haven’t physically attended church in years. I feel like this is a huge win! 
In the season of quarantine there have been many doors closed, but surprisingly many doors opened as well. There have been a handful of unexpected awesome results that have come from this time. One is that I have seen a rise in participation and desire for community from a lot of the teenagers within small group. In our regular meeting times I have gotten reports from many of the small group leaders that they are having folks step up and answer questions and offer meaningful insight who, in the past, were less prone to do so. Additionally, the small group leaders during this time have been more involved in community with their groups than I have seen since starting here in the fall. 
On April 20, thanks to the members of Clear Creek Church of Christ, over 220 Zaxby’s Grilled Chicken Cobb Salads with a cookie were delivered to CHI Memorial Hixson and to CHI Memorial GA.

"I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for thinking of the Hospitals during this unsteady Pandemic. Your gift brought a lot of smiles to the Staff, from Doctors down to the EVS workers that clean the rooms, to our security guards that have to explain to patients' families why they have to park and wait for a phone call from the physician and not enter the Hospital. And of course, to a lot of nurses that have been on edge as they work with patients and are not sure if they may be spreading anything to their family. The one thing that I always tell others about Clear Creek is that its members are extremely Community Minded! CHI Memorial Thanks YOU!"
Personally I have been blessed in an odd way through this time. I went through a pretty rough season as we were in the thick of this. I had a strange feeling of hopelessness and a bit of a lack of motivation as a result. Eventually after battling with that for a while I decided I needed to talk through those feelings with some folks. I found myself calling some old friends who I had not spoken to in a while. Not only was it great getting to catch up with some friends, but those phone calls were truly therapeutic for me because I was able to hear some perspective and advice as well as feel confirmed where I was. These aren't phone calls I make too often but what those phone calls did was remind me of the wide network I have of folks who care. Despite the unfortunate circumstances under which I was making the calls, I was incredibly blessed in that time and walked away from that with much more peace and motivation. - Michael Chambers
I praise God for the way everyone seems to want to help in the midst of this pandemic. Even though no one can go out to do typical activities, many want to do something tangible. When the need for masks for medical personnel was shared, several ladies immediately sprang into action to make cloth masks and promptly deliver them to some nurses' mailboxes. It may seem like a small gesture, but it brought tears to the eyes of one particular nurse and made her feel so very loved and appreciated. - Jana Cannon
I am a nurse. We are called by God. Lately the medical people have been called a few other things. We have been called ESSENTIAL, FRONT LINERS, BRAVE, and even HEROES. None of these are words any of us would ever use to describe ourselves. However, we would like to share with you who our heroes are. If you are an electrician, engineer, plumber etc, you have kept us with water and lights and computers. You are our HERO. If you work as a vendor, farmer, grocer, truck driver railroad worker ... teacher and have helped us with homeschooling our kids or a daycare owner who has offered to keep our kids so we could work ... in construction, work for home improvement stores and have made yourself available when others needed you ... in ministry and work to keep our church and children spiritually grounded ... if you have cooked meals for us, dropped food at our front doors, or left brownies and gifts in the mailbox ... if you have made masks, surgical caps, and face shields for us, our families and our coworkers ... if you have encouraged us with signs in our yards, balloons, flowers, cards ... if you have texted us , called us, or messaged us ... if you have prayed daily or even just once for us, our city, our state or our nation ... if you have stayed home, socially isolated, worn your mask, sacrificed events, washed your hands etc to protect yourself and others ... For all of these heroes above, we are all blessed and grateful.
It's been a joy for elementary kids to see each other and some of their Bible class teachers on Zoom! Faces were lighting up. Mr. John Clevenger led us through a fun time praising God together. 
No senior prom, no problem!  Leah Gray's family surprised her with a fun night in their bonus room dancing the night away after convincing her to dress up on a whim.
A family at Clear Creek has a friend who had a really rough week. The friend's daughter was on week two of being really sick. The parents are both working from home, very little sleep and just exhausted. The friend was doing her hardest to install a porch swing on their front porch, but she lacked some tools, time, and energy. So this CC family showed up at their house with the remaining tools and finished installing the swing (distanced of course). It really touched the friends! 
I just wanted to take a minute to say "Thank YOU" for keeping us connected in such turbulent and certainly, unsure times. From early on, each of you sprung into action doing your part to go ABOVE and BEYOND comforting us. I'm so thankful for the technological advancements that allow us to still be a Congregation even when the physical presence is so sadly missed. Not just Josh's messages, but the behind the scenes that takes every little last detail to be "thunk" about. I'm sure you have worked tirelessly so that WE can feel COMFORT. I'm also sure that comes with some added costs on your part. Not only do I feel It is WELL with my Soul because of you, I also feel Just A Closer Walk With Thee kinda way. In such social distance, I feel closer to My Church than before. I've appreciated each text, call, email, prayer, song, and message you have provided and just wanted to say Thank you again for ALL EACH of you DO!" - Christy
It has been a blessing to see our people be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community!  I’ve seen pictures and heard stories of people serving during tornado clean-up, delivering meals to families and dropping off milkshakes & cookies on front porches. One person was  offering free cap & gown pictures for Kindergarteners, 5th & 8th graders! I am touched everyday to see how our people are using what they do have to offer to help bring a smile to others who are struggling during this difficult time. Thankful to be a part of a loving family who uses God’s gifts to share!
“I can’t help but think about the timing of our praying and fasting during Awaken and the near simultaneous occurrence of COVID, storms and other brokenness. I am convinced that He is awakening our hearts as individuals, this church and our city to His love and sovereignty. Our hope is in Christ alone and there is no one who loves us more than God. He has rescued us and is using us to encourage, clean debris, bring food, cry together, laugh together and more. Thank You so much God for awakening us to the truth that You are alive and at work in our lives. Thank You Clear Creek family for sharing the love of Jesus! NOTHING is wasted with God.” - Bobby Ray
Praise for families spending more time together and doing more together, growing closer. “In absence of things that are normal day to day the family has been able to focus on spending time together. Allowed a chance to prioritize family and seen others doing it as well.” 
This kinda puts me in mind of the first century church, where disciples had to meet “underground.” Also encouraging is that the kingdom grew exponentially during this time!  Still, I look forward to being back together, and even way more to when we’ll gather around the banquet table in Heaven! Love you, church family! - Cathie Pinion 
One group was able to use a church gift card to bless two families. In one family, the wife had a heart attack and has not been allowed to go back to work, and her husband lost his job during this time of COVID-19. They are struggling to make ends meet and the group bought groceries that should last them for a couple of weeks.  The second family,  a husband, wife, and two children, were living out of their car. They have found temporary housing with a relative. The group was able to bless them with a case of diapers and wipes for each of the children.  
A group also used a church gift card  to replenish a school’s  food bank in the school where she teaches. With the tornado and COVID it was almost depleted. This will be a tremendous blessing to families that rely on the school for meals. 
One small group was able to bless two single moms on furlough from Erlanger with the gift card. This group said, “Praises that God used us to answer her prayers.” 
One recipient of a church gift card cried and at first was reluctant to accept. The group told her they were praying for her and times are hard. She accepted and was very touched.
A single mom had a young daughter and was able to use a church gift card on a minor medical procedure.  They would’ve had to wait until she got her finances back on track if not for the card.  Because of this small group, she will get a head start on better speech development this year, before she goes to kindergarten. This mother wrote in a thank you card,  “...I’m looking forward to visiting your church so I can experience the warmth and compassion of your congregation. Thank you, again, for reaching out and touching our lives with God’s love. You’ve made an incredible difference and we are very grateful.”
One family had medical expenses and the husband had lost his job. Receiving a church gift card from one small group was a big lift financially and in raising their spirits. They are thankful for the blessing from God through this church family.
One small group  found out about a family who had extra expenses due to everything that is happening. Their life has been put on hold and turned upside down. They found themselves getting food from the food bank though they never had before. This group used a church gift card to help ease some of that burden.
One small group gave a church gift card to The Bethlehem Center where one of their group members works. They serve around 150 kids in need a day by providing meals. 

Small Groups

The Crowell’s neighbor, David Anderson, had been in the hospital for a very long time in a life-threatening condition. The Cannon small group, of which the Crowells are a part, have been praying for and supporting David throughout this time. On April 14, after recovering from what many are considering a miraculous come-back, David was able to return home. Neighbors and several from the Cannon small group were present for a “socially distant” parade with signs and balloons to welcome him home as he turned down his driveway. Since then, many have continued to provide meals and hospitality to David since his homecoming.
Larry Carter installed a toilet for Connie Lowe this week.  She couldn't figure out how he knew of this need.  I mentioned it in small group last week then Jesus' took over with the hands of Larry Carter.
Carol and I would like to make everyone aware of some great things that are going on among our older members.  The Tuesday Morning ladies group meets regularly by Zoom to stay in touch with each other. Nancy Tallman sets up and manages the Zoom meetings so they can  continue to serve.  Some of the group do not have the technology to join by video but are connected by phone.  One of the group calls another member on her home phone and lays it by her laptop on speaker so the other member can hear and respond during their meeting. She also connects in this manner for the Wednesday noon prayer time and the Sunday morning worship time.  The group frequently call and check on other older members of the congregation. The lack of technology does not stop these ladies from connecting.  Sandra Johnston regularly calls our older members to check on their welfare, needs, or prayer request. - Bobby Golden
A member of our small group's sister has had a hard time in the recent years. We’ve fervently prayed for her in our small group to find Christ, make good decisions, etc. She has been watching sermons online, and following with our friends and asking questions about Jesus. This is HUGE!!! 
Even though how we are able to interact with others looks very different right now, several in our church family are taking the initiative to continue to hone their skills to become better disciple makers.  Over the course of three 3-hour sessions, more than 35 people from Clear Creek were able to attend a special training called IMPRINT where they were equipped on how to develop a more robust prayer life, use their own unique personalities to reach their community, and lead others to discover Jesus.
Our small groups continue to push further into the idea that they are the primary source of care for those within their group. Almost daily we are made aware not of needs that need to be met but stories about how a small group took it upon themselves to meet those needs.
Our groups are not only looking in, though… they are looking out as well.  There has never been a time when more intentional conversations were happening within our groups discussing who they can invite to their group, and God is truly rewarding that intentionality.  Whether fully committed to a group, somewhat committed, or not even in a group at all, we have seen person after person do whatever it takes to overcome both personal schedules and technological limitations to be a part of one of our small groups. 
A person In one group had a good friend that he went to nursing school with who had a brain tumor several years ago. Through treatment, he has been symptom free up until a few months ago when he began having seizures. They have since found another brain tumor and are awaiting treatment options. He is currently in the hospital with increasing symptoms. In the midst of all this, his wife has had to be admitted for inpatient psychological treatment as she tries to cope with everything that is going on. They have two children.  The group was able to use a church gift card to help them during this difficult time. 
Another group learned of a family from out of town who had been involved in a car wreck in Chattanooga. They will be in Chattanooga for months while their child recovers in the hospital.  The father met someone from the group outside of the hospital and was so appreciative to get a church gift card.  They were able to talk and pray with him, and he plans to worship with us when we reopen.  
In another group, one of the members had a friend she described as a modern day Job. Extenuating circumstances had caused them to struggle financially for years. They have opened their home numerous times to friends of their children who had no place to go without worry for their own situation. Recently, she was diagnosed with blood cancer which is treatable but not curable. During quarantine, her husband lost his job, both their washer and dryer broke, and their A/C unit had to be replaced. This past weekend, her daughter was set to virtually graduate from college. The morning of graduation, she woke up with terrible food poisoning, had to be admitted to the hospital, missed her daughter’s graduation, and spent Mother’s Day alone in the hospital. Though this person does not have a church home,  she always tells her friend that she knows “God has a plan and praises Him through it all.”  This family has been a blessing to others, and the group was thankful to bless them financially with a church gift card in their struggle.
Another group member blessed a lady that they had gotten to know who worked at Walmart. She works hard for her family at two jobs. They let her know that they see her hard work, and how much of a blessing she is and gave her a church gift card to help out.