Steal it back!

Chilly —  November 27, 2012 — 27 Comments

The event I’m about to share is totally true…

This past Sunday, after an amazing day of ministry in our 3 church campuses and an incredible, vision-packed meeting with my executive team; I went to grab a bite to eat with my family, our tech director and our Mexicantown campus directors. We ate at one of our favorite spots in Corktown (pictured below). Good food, lots of laughs and just relaxin’…

mercury bar

After the meal, I was walking to my wife’s Suburban parked on the street. I was holding the hands of both of my little boys, Maximus & Chase, as I neared the vehicle. Then, all of the sudden, the car started and squealed away! Stolen right in front of us!

Well, the other two guys that I was eating with were pulling up and, without thinking about what I was saying, I (like you would yell sick ’em to a dog) shouted “go get my car!” to Zach – who was followed closely by Andy! They zoomed right behind the thieves! Crazy right?! Well, my boys were crying & a little shaken, so I put them in my car and my wife took them and went to pick up our daughters at a sewing class.

Now, I’m standing in the middle of the street shivering and alone while two of my staff guys are off chasing car thieves! Well, the bad guys got away, so Andy comes back & picks me up. I’m still determined to find them or at least my wife’s car; so we go back to combing the streets in the area where they were last seen. Note: this is NOT a good area for us to be snooping around.

We’re blowing through stop signs, going the wrong way on One Way streets, driving way too fast — Andy was really “excited”. By the way, we didn’t have a plan for what we would do IF we caught them, but I was feeling REALLY courageous! We had nearly given up hope and began heading back towards downtown when WE FOUND IT! My wife’s Suburban was parked on a shady looking street (abandoned warehouse on one side, and rundown apartment building on the other side). I hop out of the car – which made both of my guys very unhappy – I wanted to do something but they convinced me to call the cops first. So I did and we waited…

While waiting, the thieves drove by a couple times (they had a second car we were also chasing previously) – I guess they were trying to wait us out so they could come back and finish the theft (and eventually chop shop). The cops showed up and approached the car with flashlights & guns drawn. After securing the vehicle, I joined them and we inspected the damage: broken glass, steering column broken apart and wires hangin’.

The cops ask IF I have a towing company… I say, “ummm, I think we forgot to pay AAA, so I don’t know.” The cop says, “well I doubt you want to turn this in to the insurance – your rates will go way up, so let me see what I can do.” The other cop says, laughing, “man, if he can hotwire your car for you, I might have to cuff him!” IT STARTS! He says “there you go, now STEAL YOUR CAR BACK!” – he shows me how to turn it off with a screwdriver when I get home – so, I hop in (no electric working except headlights) and drive it home!

I felt like David in 1 Samuel 30. The enemy stole his stuff & took his family – so, he went after the enemy and got back everything the enemy had stolen! My story is less bloody but I still like it!

Friends, the enemy has stolen our sons & daughters, our brothers & sisters, our moms & dads, our friends & neighbors, our values & respect… and we should be ANGRY about it! And, we should DO MORE THAN PREACH about it! 

Maybe you think my story above is reckless and ill-advised. You would probably say the same about the way we’re doing ministry in Detroit. And, I would answer you by calling you a chicken and hypocrite! Put up or shut up! I’m not trying to anger you, impress you or offend you, I’m trying to provoke you!

Yeah, I could’ve just stood in the streets and preached at the wind — no risk in that (and I could’ve sounded really tough doing it). Zach and Andy would have been safer. We could’ve put a spiritual sounding spin on it all. But, I’ll tell you this, standing in my driveway last night with these two men, next to my wife’s returned Suburban, made us feel ALIVE and UNITED!

That’s how we should ALL feel every Sunday when the lost, stolen, abused and broken are brought back from the grip of the thief and given a new start and a place to heal. 

The way we felt in my driveway is the way we felt when we began this ministry in Detroit eight years ago. We knew we were in the enemies camp and that it was dangerous work. Since then we’ve seen 8-9 cars stolen, 7-8 on my team have been robbed at gun point, several home robberies and many other crimes done. God’s work is dangerous! It should be! Because when I pray and obey it brings the danger to the devil’s front door. He knows when I’m awake and he hates it! I’M AFTER HIM! I’m one of God’s REPO MEN and we’re taking back everything the enemy has stolen! I’M NOT ALONE. 

You don’t have to live in Detroit to experience the resistance of the enemy. Just get outside of your “sanctuaries” and enter the battle field of your community: then STEAL BACK everything that’s been stolen before it’s torn apart beyond repair!

I’m calling you out! And, yeah, I’m calling me out too!

Stop preaching and hiding — run to the front lines  — make hell regret the day you were born again. You’re alive for an eternal purpose. Victories may not come easy, but they’ll come!

Enough is enough,

By the way, my wife’s 1997 Suburban is in rough shape. She really could use a new or newer vehicle for my family (5 kids). Someone out there needs a tax write off before the end of the year. Ask around (church, friends, etc), maybe God could bring us a blessing through you! Thanks! And, hopefully, this story will also bring MORE PRAYER covering to us serving here in the D! We believe “the safest place to be is in the will of God”!!


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Chilly is a follower of Christ, husband of a queen and father of avengers. Executive Director of Instagram: @thechillychilton Twitter: @iChilly "I LOVE: my wife Netta, our 5 amazing kids, Buckeyes, good coffee, U2, Nike shoes, anything Apple, sushi, my dog Jack, beach vacations, sports, books & YOU!"

27 responses to Steal it back!

  1. Woo hoo! That got me fired up reading that. Let’s do this! 🙂

  2. Great story and awesome application! Every church leader needs to realize that this is for real. The enemy has stolen what is ours and we need to take it back. Thanks Chilly!

    • Right on, Eric! God tells us again & again to be BRAVE, STRONG & COURAGEOUS! Doing God’s will is dangerous for the devil, NOT doing God’s will is dangerous for us!

  3. Not just the leaders but those who call themselves Christ Followers as well!

  4. That’s amazing! Though ill advised. Once I got in big trouble because I went looking for a friend who was on crack in cass corridor. They said “well that was dumb, what were you gonna do if you found him” my reply was simple- “I don’t know but I couldn’t just sit by knowing he could be put there”.
    I’m thankful that all of you are ok!! I’m thankful your car is back, I’m thanking God in advance that you WILL have a new car before the year’s end!
    Thankful that you ARE the repo man winning souls for Christ, praying for you and your team, and as always your family!!

    • Yeah, each experience like this makes us wiser the next time – there are lots of variables that could have made this story worse – we know that… I would never put my life at risk for a car.

      Yet, my life is not my own. God can tell me to do anything or go anywhere without first running it by me. It’s His call. That’s why Detroit is tattooed on my heart.

      Thank you for loving us and praying for us!

  5. Kelly Satterfield November 27, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Thank you for “calling me out” and encouraging us to step out in faith….safe isn’t risky and won’t bear much fruit so I pledge to remember that the safest place to be is right smack dab in the middle of God’s WILL! Thank you for that reminder!

  6. I wish I was there, that sounds like an awesome chase. Way to go, team Chilly!

  7. Nice! Sounds like something I would do!

  8. Man… I was siting in Starbucks last night watching people walk in and out—some laughing, some alone, some loud, some hiding quietly behind a mask… Been burdened for this generation growing up disconnected from their Savior.

    Thanks for the spur in the butt. Great story, greater men serving the Greatest King!

    Love you guys and praying for you.

  9. Man that is some story and great connection with being as passionate to reach the lost ones in your city. Your challenge is inspiring and I’m taking you up on it. 2013 is going to be a different year with a renewed focus on taking back what the devil has stolen.

    Preach on!

  10. Bring it! Minerva doesn’t even come close to Detroit, except that people matter no matter where they live. Called out!

  11. Wow…..That is and amazing story….Praise God that you were all o.k. Regardless of what the circumstances we find ourselves in….God’s will is the best place for us to be. Thank you, Netta and your family for trusting the Lord enough to be in the battlefield of God’s will!!!!

  12. Thanks Pastor…this is exactly what I believe too…ministry needs to be seen on the battle fronts in our neighborhoods then going out in waves…not just someone speaking it on computers or books or behind the pulpit..but in action! That’s why I love you so much…You encourage me to fight harder, be a warrior “REPO” man Gods calls ALL of us to be. I struggle hard not to rip into people who just talk about this passion who NEVER have or ARE doing anything to prove it, just “preachin'” about it…tempts me to want to smack ’em and drag them out to the streets and say “SHUT UP! and FEED HIS SHEEP!…You just added another thought to it…GET HIS SHEEP BACK! Thank You, Love You and Yours, and I’m glad everybody is unharmed( even though I understand true ministry may involve harm…BRING IT!) Prayin’ for You…please pray for me in how to conduct my self appropiatley when dealing with people who just sound good talkin’ it…EEEWWW! Makes me mad…see? Thank for bein’ real Chill!

  13. I too AM FIRED UP! Thx for encouraging us to ‘Stop preaching and hiding — run to the front lines – make hell regret the day you were born again.’ I’d agree that we ARE alive for an eternal purpose. And you are absolutely right that victories may not come easy, but they’ll come! Thxful to be on this journey together as we take back that which the devil has stolen – Our City, Our Loved Ones, Ourselves. Pastor, I’ve got your back…’cause I’m standing with ya on the front line.

    • Stephanie — you ARE one of our “special forces” here in the D! I’m so thankful for your friendship, courage and fervent prayers — you keep me covered! Onward & Upward!!

  14. Wow! That is crazy, but I definitely needed the kick to get back to what God has called me to. I definitely needed to hear getting out of my comfort, or “sanctuary.” Thanks for sharing your story Pastor Chilly!

  15. YES! You are calling me out and I am ALL in! I love how you stole it back, you didn’t watch it drive away in fear- you went after it! I don’t want to sit back and watch the enemy win, I want to be ready for God to say, “GO GET IT” and steal back what the Enemy has stolen! Thank You Pastor for being an example of Courage and determination!

  16. Great analogy and excellent admonition. It is high time that all of us as believers and soldiers in Jesus’ army stop being on the defense and acting like we are ashamed of Jesus, and the Bible and thinking that we have to apologize for what the Word of God says or what we can or can not do as Christians. It is time that we go on the offence and start to proudly proclaim the name of Jesus, proudly proclaim that we are his followers(Christians), proudly proclaim and live the moral standard set forth in the Word of God, and proudly and actively go after those that are lost and win them to Jesus. It is of utmost importance that we live this motto at all costs”Win for the Lamb the reward of his suffering”. And I must say Pastor that you continually encourage me in this as well as in many other things.

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