Find Financial Peace

When you think about your finances, is your immediate reaction one of worry and stress . . . or of gratitude and peace?

If you’d like more peace and less stress, come to Financial Peace University (FPU). The nine-week course begins Wednesday, September 24 at Willow’s South Barrington campus. (Willow Chicago is currently offering a class at their Ministry Center in the city – you can still register.) And it can truly change your world — financially and otherwise.

“More than 4,300 people at South Barrington have participated in this course—with remarkable results,” says Matt Sundstedt, Willow Creek’s CFO and leader of the stewardship ministry.

Taught by Dave Ramsey via DVD, FPU provides biblically-based, common-sense principles that offer hope, no matter what your financial situation. Over the course of nine weeks you’ll learn to:

· Break the chains of debt
· Understand the basics of budgeting
· Plan for retirement or college
· Learn to be a smarter consumer
· Understand the world of investments
· . . . and more

The average family who completes Financial Peace University pays off $5,300 in debt and builds $2,700 in savings — during just the nine weeks they are attending class! So what are you waiting for? Decide today to sharpen your skills in this area — and enjoy the peace that comes as a result.

Register Now

Go Ahead . . . Ask!

Finding a safe, authentic place to questions like, “Why am I here?” “What’s my purpose?” and, “How can we have faith?” is challenging . . . what’s a person to do? Alpha.

Alpha is a series of interactive sessions in a group setting that allows people to ask those questions and discuss the Christian faith in an informal, fun, and safe environment. Each week includes dinner, a short talk about a key question, and discussion in small groups. Everyone is welcome and no question is out of bounds.

“Alpha opened up my world in ways I never imagined,” says Tiffany, a recent participant. “During our Alpha group meetings, I talked about God in a way I had never talked about God before. I shared my opinions and beliefs with people who were just as curious, just as frustrated, and asking just as many questions as I was. And I really got to know my group. Not just as fellow truth seekers, but as friends.”

The next Alpha course at Willow begins Tuesday, September 30 from 6:45 to 9 p.m. at the South Barrington campus. And for the first time, Willow offers a youth Alpha course designed especially for high school students, which meets on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. beginning October 1. Both courses are free of charge.

“What makes Alpha so unique is the relaxed, no-pressure environment where like-minded people just talk together around tables. You don’t have to commit to the whole series — just check it out at the first session and see what you think,” said Mike Shintani, director of Willow’s Alpha.

Learn more

The Best Night of Your Week

Ever get halfway through the week and find yourself in need of a spiritual infusion? You’re not alone. Every Wednesday, people gather at Willow for dinner with friends, experience heartfelt worship, explore the available classes and workshops, and soak in biblical teaching designed to help you take your relationship with God to the next level.

It’s all part of Willow’s Midweek, and the fall lineup of classes and workshops has something for everyone—even kids.

“Midweek is connection on overdrive,” says Teaching Pastor Steve Carter. “When I walk around Willow before the service begins, I see small groups meeting over dinner in the atrium, couples in Dr. B’s making this a date night, families sharing time together before the kids go to Awana and the parents go to the Lakeside teaching or to a class. And during worship, everyone can make a deeper connection to God.”

Worship begins at 7 p.m. in the Lakeside Auditorium, giving you an opportunity to pour out your heart to God and be reminded of His goodness and mercy, His power, and His infinite love. Following worship, you can remain in the Lakeside Auditorium for this fall’s teaching series on the Sermon on the Mount, or head to any number of classes designed to help you take the next step on your spiritual journey.

The Lineup for Fall

This fall’s Lakeside series delves into the Sermon on the Mount. Teaching pastor Steve Carter, Dr. Gary Burge, and Bryan Jones, director of Student Impact share teaching responsibilities as they unpack this pivotal message from Jesus in Matthew 5-7.

Other classes explore a variety of topics, from marriage and parenting, to spiritual gifts, finances, grief support, recovery from addictions and more. There are even classes related to unplanned pregnancy, finding employment, and a Bible study especially for teens and adults with developmental disabilities.

For details and a complete list of classes, click here.

What’s in it for Kids?

While parents attend worship and Lakeside teaching or a class of their choice, Willow offers two options for kids—all based on their age group. New this fall is a modified Awana program for children in kindergarten through grade 5. Students may choose to participate in art, drama, or team-building games designed to deepen their faith. Working at their own pace, they memorize Scripture and expand their knowledge of the Bible.

Younger children, from infants to age 5, will have fun in a safe, caring environment while parents attend worship and the class or workshop of their choice.

For more information and registration details, click here.

Join us September 17

Midweek kicks off its fall lineup on Wednesday, September 17. Check out the course descriptions, clear your schedule, and come discover what so many others have found: Wednesday night just might be the best night of your week.

The God I Wish You Knew

“When I hear someone say they can’t believe in a God who is judgmental, distant, angry, and impossible to please, I understand what they mean,” says Willow Creek‘s Teaching Pastor Steve Carter. “I don’t believe in a God like that either.”

On September 13/14, Senior Pastor Bill Hybels launches The God I Wish You Knew, a new weekend series focused on debunking myths and misperceptions about God.

What do you believe about God?

We all grew up thinking certain things about God that were shaped by what we heard, saw, or perhaps were taught. While many were based on Scripture—God is love and powerful—others were not. God is vengeful, and unforgiving. Whether we’ve grown up or grown into what we believe about God, if we look closely, most of us have a few ways we view Him that might not line up with what the Bible says.

“As we prepared for this series, we sat down with people in our church of all ages and backgrounds to find out what they believed about God,” says Creative Director Blaine Hogan. “It became clear that nearly all of us wrestle with the truth about God.” View a video about what people believe about God.

God redeems the broken

Listening to the stories of members from our congregation, Blaine was struck by how God continues to redeem broken things. “I left these conversations with members with a renewed sense that God really does make things new and that this is accomplished through the truth that God really does love us completely,”

If you wish you could introduce someone to the God you know, invite them to come with you this weekend for the first message in the series, The God I Wish You Knew. Services are held at South Barrington at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 and 11:15 a.m. on Sundays.

The Mission of God is Reconciliation

Two brothers. Two bitter enemies. At odds since birth, their story sets the stage for a lifetime of conflict. Separated by betrayal, deceit, bitterness, and hatred, neither saw hope for reconciliation.

But God did.

Turning them toward each other, God restored their relationship, and turned enemies into friends.

Saturated with conflict
Reconcile1Conflict. The world is saturated with it. Media coverage of news events bombards us with images and stories of global unrest—Gaza, Syria, Ukraine. The tension in Ferguson is a mere five hours away. And behind the closed doors of our neighbors…and maybe even inside our own homes, families often live at odds with each other.

How do we reconcile?
How do we take steps toward peace? How do we reconcile? “The mission of God is reconciliation, which means reconciliation is the mission of the church,” says Teaching Pastor Steve Carter, who concludes the two-part series called Reconcile this weekend.

“It takes faith and hope to approach reconciliation,” says Steve. “And it takes a commitment to building or rebuilding relationships that allow us to see each other in a healthy way—to see us as God sees us.”

The story of Jacob and Esau, the two brothers who were separated by hatred, is one of the Bible’s best-known examples of family conflict. And it’s a story that points to a reconciliation encounter orchestrated by the God who loved them.

Where in your life do you need to turn toward someone and make things right?

Everyday Reconcilers
“God calls us to be ‘everyday reconcilers’ and He can guide us toward encounters that can bring peace and reconciliation—in our lives and in our world,” says Steve.

The Bible points to four key voices in the journey toward peace and reconciliation. Do you know what they are? Don’t miss next weekend as Teaching Pastor Steve Carter concludes the Reconcile series.

If you missed Reconcile Part I, view it here.

Weekend services at Willow Creek are at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday.