It’s The Pits

Working out is one of my favorite things to do! You are probably thinking that I am crazy and need prayer, but I love to stay active and am usually open to invitations to play sports, work out, go for a run, ride bikes, etc. So, last year when a friend of mine invited me to run an obstacle course race, I immediately said yes. Only after committing to the race did my friend give me more details: Our race was called “The Tough Mudder,” it’s 12-13 miles long, it involves getting electrocuted, jumping into ice water in November, going through mud pits, followed by more freezing water, and did I mentioned it’s over 12 miles long?

Weeks went by and when race day finally arrived, I felt ready. I had been training, doing research on YouTube, and most importantly, consuming lots of protein shakes. I remember starting the race and feeling that the first three miles were fairly easy; there was some running, crawling in mud, and a couple of small walls to climb. I was nearly halfway through the race and my ego was growing with each mile. I even began planning out my American Ninja Warrior debut.

Then came mile 6. There I encountered chest-deep mud pits so full and thick it was impossible to move, let alone climb out. After a few minutes of trying to push forward in the pit, I realized I was completely stuck and so were all of the other runners around me. Determined to get out of the ridiculous pit, a few of the racers and I began to work together and developed a system. We locked arms and alternated between pushing the runners in front of us and pulling the ones behind us. I had spent weeks preparing for this race on my own, but in that moment I realized: The Tough Mudder was never designed to be completed alone.

Life, just like The Tough Mudder, is not intended to be completed alone. In Hebrews 10, the writer is addressing wavering Jewish believers and encouraging them to stand in their faith. He specifically uses the words “us” and “we” to show the wavering believers that they are not alone, that they have a community of “we” and “us” that are standing in faith
with them and for them. When you fall into the pits of life, remember that you are also surrounded by a “we” and “us”; your church and your community are always behind you to push you through. In turn, we also have the opportunity to encourage and lift up our fellow believers and watch them come out on the other side.

IT’S THE PITS that make life tough, but it’s also in those pits that we discover the strength and power of community. It’s the pits that show us that we can’t do it on our own, and fortunately, that we don’t have to.


-Jimmy Tsai


God Has MORE Available for YOU!

I grew up in the church and went because I thought that I was expected to go.  Over time, I started to drift away because I didn’t feel connected to the church that I went to or the messages of the pastor.  It just didn’t seem relevant to my life at the time.  About two years ago, my wife, Lacey, and I started attending Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, where we first met Pastors Bryan and Crystal Sparks and several members of our launch team here at The Church RC.  The message that we found  encouraged us to stop just getting by and start proclaiming the blessings that God had in store for us.  Our faith grew, and our lives have been touched forever by the Word of God.

I had settled for a job in retail management that I didn’t care for.  God had put teaching on my heart when I started college, but, due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to go right into my chosen field following graduation.  I began praying about it, and Jimmy and Nancy Tsai agreed with me in prayer.  God opened the door, and I ended up having my choice of position.

I tried to handle things myself and settled.  When I turned it over to God, he fulfilled the desires that he put on my heart.  God wants to see us all use the gifts that he has given us, but we have to go through a process (even though we don’t always know the plan) to get where he wants us to be.

-Matt Brewer

Head of Parking Lot Crews


Church is NOT a Place

When I was 22 years old I hit rock bottom. I was felt unloved, unfulfilled, and unhappy. I measured my value based on the approval of guys, and I knew I needed help. One Sunday while I was working at my parent’s restaurant, my Pastors walked in to eat lunch and I felt a nudge to approach Pastor Crystal. She was fully aware of my situation so I was prepared to feel judged and ashamed. But to my surprise, she received me with open arms and accepted me just as I was. How wonderful it felt to feel true love and acceptance with no strings attached!

The next week I went to church and sat on the very front row next to Pastor Crystal. That morning I rededicated my life and began attending church on a weekly basis. I began to live my life counting down to the next Sunday. After years of feeling inadequate and empty, I was so excited to find a place where I felt loved, accepted, validated, and full of joy and life. On Sundays I didn’t feel lonely or self-conscious. On Sundays I could worship God and just rest in Jesus’ unconditional love for me.

But after sitting in church week after week and being taught by my Pastors, I realized that my life had been changed on a Sunday, but it didn’t have to continue to revolve around Sundays. The church had allowed me to experience love and acceptance like never before, but it was an extension of love and acceptance outside of the church that made me return in the first place. See, God is not confined within four walls. We don’t have to sit in a pew to read our Bibles or be kneeling at an altar for our prayers to be answered. Our worship is just as powerful without the accompaniment of musicians, and God’s love is just as present Monday through Saturday as it is on Sunday.

The Church is not a place; it’s a purpose. It’s not somewhere we go, it’s what we are. What God speaks to us on Sunday is what we’re entrusted to apply to our lives throughout the week. The Church forever changed my life because it’s where I learned about all the good things God has in store for my life. And now my goal is to take everything I learn and experience within the four walls of my church and carry it with me everywhere I go. I want to pour out love, kindness, joy, and speak life-giving words wherever I may be. I first experienced what church had to offer outside of the four walls, and I know now that I have the ability to impact other people’s lives in the same way.

I want to encourage you, if you don’t have a church home, to step out and seek one. Despite any past experiences you may have had, God has the perfect place for you. And once you’re there, you’ll experience the power of not just belonging to a church, but of being the church too.

Nancy Tsai

Head of Hospitality Team