Masquerade: How to Drop the Mask of Chaos

Does your life feel chaotic? Are you frantic and stressed? A recent study reported that sixty percent of Americans admit to living a life that’s out of control. Being “busy” has become a national status symbol.

But the Bible cautions against this kind of lifestyle. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap,” (Luke 21:34). 

 You know you’re too busy, if you can’t finish the book you just purchased on stress.

When life gets chaotic, it’s easy to become scattered and not do anything well. It’s also easy to become reactive; suddenly what’s urgent takes the place of what’s important. You become frantic and stressed, which takes a toll both emotionally and physically.

Job put it this way, “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy,” (Job 9:25).

But God has a better plan.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matthew 11:28-29).

God wants to help us make the most of our time. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” (Psalm 90:12).


1. *Identify your unique values. Ask yourself what you value as a family and what you want to accomplish. “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…,” (Jeremiah 6:16).

2. Identify your single most important objective. What’s the one thing you could do during the next six months that would advance your family forward? Also, remember: You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything. What will last? “A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth,” (Proverbs 17:24).

3. Check your progress regularly. Evaluate where things are going. “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind,” (Proverbs 21:5, MSG).

4. Focus on the eternal.  At the end of life, nobody ever says, “I wish I could’ve spent another day at the office or one more night out with the boys.” Ask yourself: “What difference does what I’m doing make in light of eternity?”

The secret to living a life of intentionality and purpose is to focus on the eternal.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is,” (Ephesians 5:15-17).


* Steps one through three taken from “The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family” by Patrick Lencioni.

Are You a Christian or a Christ Follower?

Getting to Know You: Christine Gabriel



1. What’s your role at Life Church?

Administrator of Student Life and Business & Finance


2. Besides Life Church, what are you passionate about?

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Students
  • Children
  • Shopping

3. Share some things on your “bucket list.”

  • Travel the world
  • Own my own motorcycle
  • Live in Chicago

4. Who’s influencing you right now?

  • Pastor Aaron
  • Noel Miller
  • John Maxwell

5. What’s your favorite meal?


6. What’s something we may not know about you?

I went skydiving this past summer 2010.


Are You Missing What’s Most Important?

Getting to Know You: Jeremy Chapman

1. What’s your role at Life Church?
Life Church West Campus Pastor

2. Besides Life Church, what are you passionate about?
My family, parent resourcing of other families, golf, hiking, hunting

3. Share some things on your “bucket list.”
Go on an extended back-packing/hiking trip to Europe again
Buy a cabin on a lake
Build a house

4. Who’s influencing you right now?
Andy Stanley, Wayne Cordeiro, Mark Driscoll

5. What’s your favorite meal?
Anything Mexican!

6. What’s something we may not know about you?
I spent an evening in jail. I was innocent. It was a long & funny experience though!

Getting to Know You: Cassie Voisin


1. What’s your role at Life Church?

My job here is the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Pastor. I LOVE people and I LOVE to serve! I help out a lot with life groups, volunteers, membership and anything else Pastor Ryan may need. I also volunteer and lead our single twenty-something Life Group called theLink.

2. Besides Life Church, what are you passionate about?

Phil, my awesome hubby, family and friends! Oh…I am also really passionate about Starbucks!

3. Share some things on your “bucket list.”

  • Go to Ireland. I am almost 50% Irish and have wanted to go since I was a little girl. Our family never went on many vacations so I always said when I got married I would go!
  • Go on an Alaskan Cruise. I think Alaska is just beautiful!
  • Ride in a hot air balloon. It would freak me out but I think I would love it!
  • Pay off all our student loans and be debt free.
  • Have kids and also adopt a child.


4. Who’s influencing you right now?

Craig Groeschel with the book “Chazown.” We recently went over it in our singles young adult life group and it blows me away! Also, Pastor Aaron & Tammy Cole. In the five years that I have worked for Life Church, I have grown so much in leadership, confidence, my personal walk with God, and so much more. I couldn’t ask for a better boss and model.

5. What’s your favorite meal?

Chicken Parmesan, salad, bread sticks and tiramisu from Olive Garden! I love Olive Garden almost as much as Starbucks.

6. What’s something we may not know about you?

I never grew up in church or had a relationship with Christ growing up.  During my freshman year in college my now-stepdad and mom walked by Life Church and decided to try it out. They got saved the first time they came. I saw the life change in them but I felt that I wasn’t good enough to go to church with the life I was living. I didn’t know anything about God or church. It took four months to get me in the doors, but one time was all I needed. My life radically changed and I even got called into the ministry at one of our youth camps while I was a leader. Fast forward seven years, I am happily married to the most amazing man of God who I met in a Life Group here and we are both called into the Ministry and on staff at Life Church.

The Good News About Bad News

By Jim Sukup

I love the sermon series “Plain James.”  James has always been my favorite book in the Bible, because it’s named after me. (You believe that don’t you?) James starts off talking about something we all know about, “trials”.  The bad news is that trials are a fact of life, they affect everyone, and we will encounter them as long as we walk this earth.  The good news is that scripture gives us plenty of real life examples of others who navigated through the same kind of trials we experience, and it also gives us insight into the workings and outcomes of trials.

First James tells us we should consider it “pure joy” whenever we face trials. Have you ever tried telling somebody that they should be joyful when they were going through a serious trial?  It doesn’t go over very well, believe me! 

Yet James tells his Jewish and Christian brethren this after they have been scattered into other nations, persecuted, and impoverished. Doesn’t sound like a good time to me. James can say this because the joy is not in the trial but in what is being accomplished through the trial. 

The Bible says trials build a foundation for us to become mature and complete. If we understand that something is being developed in our lives we can have the right attitude about trials. Joy doesn’t make the trial go away but it makes carrying on much easier.

In addition to James, the book of Job also addresses the issue of trials. The only words that can describe Job’s trial are words like horrible, tragic, terrible, and devastating. Even these words cannot begin to describe what he went through.

I can confidently say that I have never, ever, heard of anyone even coming close to going through a trial like Job’s! If you think you are going through a trial that is setting new standards, please read the book of Job. The good news is not only did Job survive the trial but it also clearly tells us that God was aware of what was going on and gave back to Job double what he had lost.  Romans 8:28 tells us that God takes the worst situations that we experience and turns them around for our good.

The last thing I will leave you with is that no trial goes on forever.  I looked throughout the Bible but couldn’t find anybody that suffered an endless trial. All too often Christians going through trials complain, try to get out of the situation or wallow in self-pity. The only thing these responses accomplish is to prolong the trial.  Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell… keep going!” 

When you go through a trial don’t stop to take pictures… keep moving forward with purpose and the knowledge that God will see you through.






Getting to Know You: Courtney Etzel

1. What’s your role at Life Church?
Executive Assistant to Senior Pastor Aaron Cole

2. Besides Life Church, what are you passionate about?
Students, Shopping, Family

3. Share some things on your “bucket list.”
Travel the world, Sky Diving, Drive a NASCAR 

4. Who’s influencing you right now?
Colette Carlson

5. What’s your favorite meal?
Spinach tortellini 

6. What’s something we may not know about you?
I am a triplet