Archives For Courage Church

Expanding the Margin

Chilly —  June 10, 2015 — 2 Comments

I’m on vacation.

Resting… Playing… Recharging… Praying… and, Listening.

It’s been a really busy, crazy, fast-paced, exciting and exhausting season of life and ministry.

So, during a walk along the beach, I felt the Lord ask, “How long do you intend to live like this?

expired-parking-meterI was reminded of a series that I preached at Courage Church a few years ago called: “Margin” — I think I need to preach it again TO MYSELF. This series really challenged me in some of the fundamental areas of my life. And, you know what? Looking at and adjusting our schedules and daily disciplines can turn out to be one of the most spiritual things we can do!

MARGIN = The Amount Available Beyond What Is Necessary.

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely.16 Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.17 So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17

If you don’t tell time where to go, you’ll be asking it where it went.

GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF GREAT. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of organizations never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is the main problem. — Jim Collins

So, with this in mind, I need to eliminate or adjust some ‘good‘ things in my life that are robbing me of GREAT things!

Allow me to challenge you to do FIVE things:

  1. Confess those areas of your life in prayer that are causing too much busyness. Ask for God’s help.
  2. Also, as you pray, ask God to give you the strength to say no to good things so that you can say yes to GREAT things!
  3. Listen for God’s response. Take notes.
  4. Commit to God the things you will do immediately that will allow you to create more margin in your schedule.
  5. Be amenable. Get with someone who knows you well, and talk to them about the changes that you’re putting into motion TODAY.

“Life is tons of discipline.” ~ Robert Frost

Here’s a few things I feel like God is asking me to adjust:

  • First is Distractions. Life has enough distractions without me creating them. When I’m with those that I love or serve; I’m putting down the mobile devices or anything else that’s competing for their attention. Seems like in today’s world, we’re all a bit ADD (attention deficit disorder) — we get distracted super easy.  Let’s make it easier to help people engage in meaningful relationship. Stop multitasking and ask the Lord to help us slow down our brains and really listen.
  • Second is Latenight Media. I’m a late-night guy and get lots accomplished after my family is in bed – that’s a good thing (and at times, a great thing)… but God tapped me on the shoulder and said “at 11pm: read, journal, pray but turn the POWER off on TV, Macbook, iPad, etc.” – I’ll get more focused and get more sleep! Win/Win — another good to GREAT move!
  • Third is Queen Time. My wife needs and deserves more of my MARGIN! So, I’m returning to a previous plan of asking HER to pick one breakfast, lunch or dinner each week — our lives & schedules are unique – so the cute little immoveable “date night” won’t work (plus, it’s kind of annoying when people make a HUGE deal about their immoveable night)… we’re a bit more flexible than that! Plus, it will be fun to mix it up and try unique places at unique times! Ultimately, this time is for me to value & listen to my queen speak! She’s my best friend. This commitment should expand my family time too!
  • Fourth is Health & Fitness. I’ve had been much more deliberate about what I eat (MyFitnessPal app) and also exercising daily (Running, biking and Nike+ Fuelband)… and then the move happened to Lansing. Somewhere in the busyness I stopped be intentional about this and gained weight & lost discipline (in this area). Well, I’m more resolved than ever  to lose weight and increase my energy. I also plan to figure out a course of action for when winter arrives — my fitness suffers when I can run & play. Ask me about this later this Fall!
  • So, number Five is Prayer & Journaling. Yes, I already do both of these a lot. But, we must increase the good things in our lives to crowd out the not-so-good or average things. I’m still seeking the Lord about a new book idea — so, I need to increase the discipline of writing. And, my need to be in the Lord’s presence has only increased. I’m so thankful that I serve with a pastor who loves prayer and a home & church that provides lots of unique places to do it!
Ok, so there it is! I’m being transparent and vulnerable with EVERYONE! 

Now it’s YOUR turn!
What good things does God want you to lay down in your pursuit for what is GREAT? And, I would also LOVE to hear from my Mount Hope and Courage Church friends as well as those allies in the Accelerate Network! And, of course, YOU! Can’t wait for the interaction that will come through this accountability! GO FOR IT!
Growing my MARGINS, Chilly

New Assignment

Chilly —  January 25, 2015 — 10 Comments

Letter to my Friends and Family at Courage Church

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I love Courage Church so much!  I also love Detroit like no other city I have ever lived!

I’m still totally amazed at all that God has done in and through my family since following the Lord’s leading to Detroit. We have lived in three different houses and led our church to four different locations (often more than one at a time). And, now here we are stronger, healthier and more united than ever before. Praise God! He is always so faithful! 

As we have recklessly abandoned ourselves to the cause of Christ; He has led us from miracle to miracle. You can never, ever, go wrong by obeying God — no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you or others.  And, I have learned that God’s will is always about more than just me or you. It impacts all of us who are in relationships together. 

God is calling us, yet again, to radical obedience! As most of you already know, for the last year as I have continued to serve as the Lead Pastor of Courage Church, I have also served as director of church planting and networking for Mount Hope Church in Lansing. I’m so grateful for the way God has merged our churches together and provided Courage with a parent church that provides leadership, encouragement and family. We are blessed to be considered the Detroit Campus for Mount Hope!

As God continues to strengthen this relationship, He has called me to make a radical transition from being Lead Pastor at Courage Church to joining Mount Hope Church, full time, as Pastor of Campus Development. This next step in obedience will require my family and I to move to the Lansing area. As part of my new responsibilities, I will serve as an overseer and board president for Courage Church — which affords me the honor and blessing to remain part of your mission and vision. In fact, I truly believe that I will be able to provide new blessings from this position that I could not by remaining here.

Words cannot express how much I love each of you. You are my friends, my family and my heroes! Your sacrificial and joyful approach to ministry and outreach has literally impacted every place where we have served. We have been honored by 2 mayors and are continually involved in our community, schools, neighborhoods and beyond! And, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

God has placed a very unique apostolic calling on my heart and this new position will enable me to continue to plant churches, raise leaders, disciple students and impact cities. At the same time, it opens the door for new vision and fresh anointing to continue the work that has begun and is thriving here at Courage Church. We are already sensing that God is raising up leadership that can truly take this body of Christ to the next level! I look forward to being a blessing and resource to Courage and it’s leaders any way that I can. Each of you, now, have the opportunity to step up and be the church at a greater level.

It has been my greatest joy and highest honor to be the founder and pastor of Courage Church! I have had a front row seat to watch God transform people’s lives. I am a living example that the Lord uses imperfect people to do His will. It’s been so thrilling to worship with you, marry you, dedicate your children, baptize you, share God’s Word with you, pray for you and LOVE YOU!

God has been SO good and SO faithful to us. Because He IS good! We can be confident that his heart, purpose and love will continue to grow and abound through each of you! And KNOW THIS: Greater things are ahead! Like Elisha following Elijah, I am believing for a double-portion of anointing in the days and years to come! It’s SO exciting!

One of my life verses has always been Acts 20:24, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” This passage was spoken, in part, as Paul’s farewell to the church and elders in Ephesus (see Acts 20:13-38). It is this purpose that leads me forward and also requires each of us to examine our own hearts, lives and purpose. God’s will is always best. And, to obey is better than sacrifice. 

I will remain as Lead Pastor through Easter Sunday. I will also remain active in the transition process for Courage Church through this time and beyond. As mentioned already, I will continue to provide active oversight and assistance. I also plan to visit several times this year and I also look forward to continuing to lead “4Days Detroit” again this summer and beyond.

Through this process, the leadership of Courage Church will also be very active and available to each of you. We met this week and truly sensed God working and preparing Courage for greater things! My executive team is Mohan and Freddie Karulkar, Anthony and Erin Gancer, Andrew and Kathryn Jump and Zachary Platt. Please pray for them and seek ways to serve with them. 

You are more than my church, you are my family. And, I love you!  My family and I are so grateful that we will only be 90 miles from you. We are also so excited that our two churches will continue to do ministry together. You are part of our lives FOREVER! 

Thank you for your patience, kindness, prayer, hard work, grace and love. You are the best! You are part of the reason Detroit is changing! You each have purpose, calling and destiny! I will always love you, cheer for you and pray for you! The best is yet to come!

So, my dear family and friends, I close this letter with these final words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

I’m ROARing for you!

Your servant, 

Chilly Chilton (and Family)

One Thing Prayer

Chilly —  January 8, 2015 — 6 Comments
Due to subzero temperatures, crazy windchill and predicted snowfall; Courage Church has cancelled our midweek Equip prayer meeting & Bible study. However, we can STILL pray and encourage each other online and through social media!  So, take 40 minutes this evening, grab your journal, some post-it notes, a pen and a Bible — then use the following guide to focus your prayers. Then post one or two things that God spoke… Cool?  Go for it!

One Thing Prayer // 40 Minute guide

PRAYER POST-ITSlowly and prayerfully speak each passage of Scripture, out loud, several times. Then pray to apply the truth to your life. Listen for specific ways the Holy Spirit may instruct you to respond. Write it down & obey. (Spend 5 minutes per passage)

One thing I ask of the lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the lord all the days of my life, delighting in the lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? … You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:13,15

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. Philippians 1:3-5

Trust in the lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

umble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
8Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:7-8

 take joy in doing your will, my God, 
for your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalm 40:8

ever be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:11-12

Give thanks to the lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.  Psalm 107:1-2

In the comments, please share ANY prayer request or answers to prayer! We would love to pray with you and rejoice with you!  You are NOT alone and you are LOVED! Big time!