Chris' Blog


Chris Philbeck

Don’t Give Up (An Easter 2017 Challenge)

On a drizzly afternoon in early 2015 seven people gathered for Washington D.C.'s newest group—The Quitters Club. Tagline: "Let's Give Up on Our Dreams … Together!" One attendee was ready to cast aside her long-held ambition to become an actress. Same deal for a would-be writer. Another was ready to quit Washington D.C. The group of strangers were drawn together by the same invite that read: "Most of us have something special we'd like to do with our lives. At the Quitters Club we can help each other stomp out the brush fires set in our hearts, and get on with our lives."

Founder Justin Cannon has quit all sorts of things—filmmaking, music, graphic design. He is tortured by the dueling forces of grand ambition and intense self-doubt. Most often, the battle leaves him frozen and despondent. At one point, Cannon expressed his growing exasperation. "I was like, 'We should have a group where people want to give up on their dreams.' I was making a joke," he recalls. "But somebody said, 'You know, that's a really good idea.'" So, a few days later he took action. He posted a note for his new group on Meetup thinking he might be forming a club of one, but within 48 hours, 35 people signed up. And for two hours, at the first meeting, the attendees expressed their dreams and their inability to make progress. But the strangest thing happened. Instead of giving up, the participants ended up encouraging each other to persevere. They decided, for example, that the aspiring actress should give it one more year before giving up on her ambitions of making it on the stage and that the “would-be” writer should devote time every day to pursue his passion. In the end, one attendee mused, “Here we are at the Quitters Club and we’re all encouraging each other to keep going.” The first meeting ended with a plan to meet again the following month to continue to help people quit. Or, as it turns out, to say, “Don’t give up.”

I hope that true story encourages you as much as it encourages me. Surely we all know what it’s like to come to a place in life where we’re ready to give up. But one of the great things about the human spirit (of course, I think this comes from being made in the image of the eternal God) is we find a way to press on…we find a way to overcome. No one can be successful in life without the will to overcome. As I write this blog, Easter is just a few weeks away. There’s no question that the story of Easter really is the greatest story ever told. It begins as a classic “rags-to-riches” story as Jesus was conceived out of wedlock (of course it was a divine conception) and born to a peasant couple who were traveling a long way from home. He grows up in obscurity and then, around the age of 30, he breaks onto the public scene with promises about a coming kingdom. But Jesus doesn’t just speak empty words, he backs them up with miraculous actions. Then, suddenly, the story takes a dark turn as he’s arrested, beaten, humiliated and nailed to a cross where he dies. But that’s not the end of the story (TALK ABOUT OVERCOMING) as 3 days later, he rises from the dead. As a result, he overcame two things that give all men hope for eternity. He overcame sin and death. And that’s what we celebrate each year at Easter.

This Easter, at Mount Pleasant, we’ll be celebrating Jesus’ overcoming story. We want to celebrate yours as well, but we need your help. When you log onto  you’ll see our Easter logo and the question: “What’s Your Overcoming Story?” When you “click” on that question, you’ll be taken to a page where you can record/film your story of overcoming some challenge, set-back or obstacle in your life. There are clear instructions on the page that make it a simple process. It might be helpful to sit down and think through (or even write out) your story in advance because each story is limited to 3 minutes. We’ve already received some great stories, but we’re waiting for yours.

Every good story has that one moment of challenge that has the ability to change the trajectory of the main character’s life (that would be you). Tell us about how you were able to overcome that challenge and what happened next. Let your overcoming story encourage and inspire others today.

Jesus cares,

Pastor Chris