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The Difference One Can Make – The Chattanooga Challenge

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “He can win the battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” 1 Samuel 14:6

Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 14:1-16

During the 1970s and ’80s, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was decaying. Divorce was rampant.

Half of all births were to unwed mothers. Single women, many living in poverty, were the sole providers in 30 percent of homes.

Five local businessmen decided to do something about it.

In 1997 they formed the nonprofit organization First Things First. It provided classes to help couples prepare for marriage, strengthen families, reduce teen pregnancies, and encourage father involvement in the lives of their children.

Some seminars offered: “Before You Say I Do,” “Boot Camp for New Dads,” “Fighting for Your Marriage.” DVDs and videos can be checked out from its resource center.

When businessman Brad Rymer was exposed to the state of Chattanooga families, he says, “I went home and prayed, ‘Lord use me to help You save marriages.'” He ended up selling his business and assuming a mediation role with fractured families.

The results? As of 2006—less than 10 years since the program began—the city’s divorce rate has gone down by 25 percent. Cases of children having children have gone down by 26 percent. Fathers, more aware of their crucial role, spend more time with their children.

—Julie Baumgardner in Focus on the Family

My Response: What goal dare I pray for God to empower me to achieve for Him?

Thought to Apply: Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.—William Carey (missionary to India)

Adapted from Focus on the Family (8/06) and First Things First (

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.



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