With that being said, I would like to quote Ephesians 5:21 which is the verse right before “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” In verse 21, it says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” This is clearly stating that a husband should also submit to his wife. Then Paul clarifies that even tough both a husband and wife should submit to one another, it is important that the family has a leader as the head of the home. If you look at the structure of any well functioning organization, whether it is a church, military design, McDonalds, law office, police department, or a fortune 500 company, you will see the same thing. All of those organizations have a chain of commands or a structured line of authority. The line of authority has nothing to do with value or importance; it is just that this structure gives functioning organization the best possible opportunity to be successful and prosperous. To be honest, Beth is much more valuable and important to my family than I am. (Especially now that I have $1 million in life insurance) She is the one who takes care of our children, keeps the house in order, takes care of me; she is the link that keeps our family together.
One last thing to note is that if I want to make it easy for my wife to submit to my leadership, than I need to be a servant leader. The problem that the world has with submitting to husbands is that the typical husband is viewed as being a macho, chauvinist, Napoleon complex, little man syndrome, insensitive, my way or the highway, over powering, hole punching, nympho maniac. But when you view that to what a Christian husband should be; loving, compassionate, selfless, serving, God fearing, Christ pursuing, sensitive, a man who doesn’t get angry or pushy, a man who doesn’t raise his voice, a man who listens to his wife, supports his wife, and try’s to do all that he can so that she can be everything that God wants her to be.
Would that man really be hard to submit to? I’ll let you answer that.
Love you momma, Matt
I have been convicted by Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
I often seem to lean more on my feelings rather than my convictioncs. At times when I feel complacent, down, depressed, restless, inpatient, angry, etc, I have to take a moment to re-focus my mind on Christ. See, when I take a minute to do this and compare my life towards Christ incarnated (Life on earth) and Christ exalted (Jesus exalted on his throne in heaven), I begin to re-new my mind. This is why in Hebrews 12:2 Paul tells us to Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. When I begin to allow Jesus to be my source in all situations, rather than allowing people, Beth, my job, the Internet, sports, etc, to be my source, that is when lasting change can occur. That is when God begins to sanctify me.
Today when I got home from work, I wasn't in the best of moods. It was a long night last night with the kids, I woke up at 6:00am in Daniel's room not remembering how I got there.That usually is a good sign that I didn't sleep well. Anyway, when my amazing wife who Jesus considers my helper (Genesis 2), saw my bad attitude, she encouraged me to go up to my room and pray. For a second I felt like I was 12 years old again and just got sent to my room. At first I was annoyed that she would even tell me to do such a thing, but when I got up there God re-newed my mind as I fixed my eyes on Jesus. Minutes into my time with Jesus in my closet, Beth opened the door only to find me in a pitch black room on my knees. She grabbed me and we prayed together. Together we sat there and were immediately transformed by the renewing of our minds and the fixing of our eyes on Jesus.
Since then, I already feel re-energized and ready to tackle the world again.
A couple of questions you may want to ask yourself like I was forced to ask myself.
1. Do you need to go somewhere where it is pitch black, close the door, fix your eyes on Jesus and renew your mind? (Do you need to be sent to your room?)
2. Do you need to encourage someone to do the same? (Do you need to send someone to their room)
3. Do you feel like your standing still? If so...."Go to your room, NOW"
When Jesus was walking the earth 2000 years ago, it is amazing how fast people would drop what they were doing and just begin to follow him. Just listen to how fast these guys dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus in Mark 1: 16-23.
16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18At once they left their nets and followed him.
19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Why were they so eager to follow Jesus? It doesn't make any sense...or does it. If you look at verse 22, it captures exactly why people were so willing to follow him. It all hinges on his authority. Jesus was already an very authoritative figure in his community. The bible states that he started teaching in the temple at 12 years old. And even at 12, the religious leaders were amazed at his teachings. Now with 18 years of experience under his belt, 18 years of teaching in his community, 18 years of a visible sin-less life, 18 years of leadership experience, 18 years of studying, teaching, and learning the scriptures. After all of that, I guarantee that he already had his place of honor in his community. And here is the answer to the mystery of why people would drop everything to follow him. When a man of that type of authority calls you to follow him, it is an absolute honor to do so. It is no surprise that those men dropped everything to follow Jesus. It would be a dream for a man like that to ask you to follow him.
Put it this way. For myself, if the CEO of my company called me into his office and told me, "Matt, I have another position for you. You're a little under qualified, but I know that you can do it. I have been leading this company for 18 years and with all of that experience, I think that you are my guy. Matt, what you are doing now is honorable but the new position I have for you will change your world. And don't worry about anything (money, job security, training, a team) I'll take care of all of that for you." Matt, will you take the position? Will you stop what you are doing and follow me?
Can you imagine, if the CEO of my company had a meeting with me and said all of that? Just imagine with me for a second what I would do. I would drop everything so fast it wouldn't even be funny. Why? Because if a man with that type of authority and experience has that type of faith in me, and believes in me like that, it would be an honor to drop what I was doing and follow his lead.
Now, if all of that is true. How much more should we be willing to follow Jesus. A man who promises to never leave us or forsake us. A man who says "Do not be afraid, for I am with you always" Jeremiah 1:8. A man who says that "Through Him, anything is possible" Philippians 4:13. And on top of that, a man who had no sin, and his followers were amazed at him because of his authority. How much more should we be willing to follow that man? And when we say "No", I wont follow Jesus in that area of my life, we are really saying; Jesus, "I just do see you as having that much authority and Jesus, It doesn't impress me that you would have that type of faith in me because your not that valuable to me and I don't think I am that valuable to you." Truth be told, that is sin and we need to repent.
1. In what way is Jesus calling you to follow him?
2. Do you see it as an honor that he is calling you to this, or is it a hassle?
3. What is it that you have to drop in order to follow what he is leading you to do?
4. Are you willing to say "Yes" to Jesus?
Join me in my journey of trying to drop everything and following Jesus.
Anyway, it was a great Day. We went to church in the morning, Daniel had his first ever basketball practice. Yeah, my boy is the best on his team already. Then we had a few people over for cards and cake. After that Beth took me out on a date. It was a great day.
One thing that was so cool in my conversations with Beth at dinner. She told me that the other day God gave her this burning desire for ministry. That was so cool. As a husband, it is the most encouraging thing to know that my wife is hearing God. As the leader of my home, there is nothing that can lift me up more than knowing that my family is hearing from God.
Habakkuk 2:1-2 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
Key #1 - God’s voice in our hearts sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Therefore, when I tune to God, I tune to spontaneity.
Key #2 - I must learn to still my own thoughts and emotions, so that I can sense God’s flow of thoughts and emotions within me.
Key #3 - As I pray, I fix the eyes of my heart upon Jesus, seeing in the spirit the dreams and visions of Almighty God.
Key #4 - Journaling, the writing out of our prayers and God’s answers, provides a great new freedom in hearing God’s voice.
I have had such an unusual opportunity to have people in my life who have literally come along side of me to walk me through many different parts of my life. I can think specifically of men who were there for me in my marriage, ministry, accountability, parenting, early stages of my faith, etc. It is awesome to think back about how God has placed men in my life and how further along I am because of their influence. In the midst of realizing all of this, i realized that I have not yet intentionally taken anyone under my wing. One gentleman said yesterday that "no matter where you are in your walk, there is always someone behind you". That basically means that everyone is qualified to mentor someone or lead someone.
If you are a Christian, you are called to do this. You are called to invest your life in someone who God places in your life. This was the example of Jesus and every single one of his disciples. If that isn't enough, listen to the words of Paul in 1 Thes 2:8 "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."
Here are the questions I am asking myself and I will pose them to you as well.
1. Who has God given you but you have not yet submitted yourself to investing in them?
2. Why is it not of major importance for you to invest in someone 1 on 1?
3. What will you do to take a 1st step at investing in someone who is behind you?
Lastly, if you want to grow as a christian or person, get a mentor.
Thank you Frank Bishoff, Allen Holmes, Dr Bill Bennett, Dan Byrd, Steve Shomo, Scott Stone, John Austin, Ricky Grant, Kevin Roach, Andre Benson, Cliff Hersey, Adrian Morales, AZ and his kid brother Dan. Thank you all because at one point in my life, I was that kid that God placed in your lap and you were as faithful as you knew how to be.
Lastly, Thank you Beth for putting up with me through all these years. You have had a greater influence on my life than all of those men combined. Second only to Jesus. You'll always be my soul mate, my angel from heaven, my first gift from God.
Thank you. Matt
Not to long ago I was listening to a speaker talk about the fruits of the spirit and God totally convicted me about something. I sin more against the people who I am closest to than I do against people I don't really care about. Here is what I am talking about. A couple of weeks ago, Daniel spilled some water on the floor and I got really angry at him. I mean, it was water and he spilled it on my vinyl floor. I don't remember the details but I think I raised my voice in disappointment and sent him to his room. I mean, I had just told him 2 minutes earlier to be careful and plus he just turned 4 and should be able to take a drink without dumping it all over the ground. Rightfully so, I got upset...right? Of course not, he's a little boy, he's only 4, and he spilled some WATER on a VINYL floor (right next to a roll of paper towels) in which it may have taken me 26.3 seconds to clean it up. I was totally out of line to loose my patience and God looks at my action as sin.
Now here is my question. Why are we so quick to sin against people who we are most comfortable with than when we are around people who we don't even know? I'll even go as far as asking this...Why do we feel like it is OK to sin against people who we are most comfortable with than when we are around people who we don't even know?
This is true inst it? If my pastor was over and his kid did the same thing as Daniel, I know for a fact that my actions would have been totally different. I would have laughed it off and been liek "Oh, its ok, he's just a kid" How about in our relationships with our spouse. If Beth points out a fault in me that has some truth to it, my first reaction is to get proud and defensive, but if someone like my neighbor pointed out the same thing, I would probably act different. Have you ever been having a fight with your spouse and your phone rings and you answer it all chipper and happy, only to hang up and start fighting again? Its crazy how two faced I can be sometimes.
God convicted me on this. We should have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control with the people who we love and care about the most, rather than treating people who we don't even know very well like this because we want them to view us in a certain way. The truth is that we are not this way with the people we are closest with because that is not who we really are yet. And I think I would also say that I am hypocritical and proud if I choose to act this way; we all would be.
Lets begin to be intentional about treating all people and especially the people who we are closest with, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Next time you are in a conflict or uncomportable situtation, PAUSE for a second and think to yourself, how would you act if this was someone I didnt know very well. Actually, next time you get in a conflict, say to yourself, If I was in a conflict with Jesus right now, how would I act?
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
It amazes me that as married people, we just expect to have a great godly marriage. We really just expect this to somehow happen. We not only expect it, but we expect it will happen even if we never work at it, study on it, or ask God to help us. Actually, here is an interesting fact....it takes more work and study to get a drivers license than it does to get a marriage license. And we wonder why over 50% of marriages in and out of the church end in divorce.
Here are some things that have helped Beth and I over the last month, as we started to pursue the "Chewning's Great Marriage Model"
1. Two 10 second kisses everyday.....soooooo important
2. Pray together...both people pray. Everyday.
3. Have an agreement to be honest with each other without hurting each other’s feelings.
4. Attack problems and not each other. (Learn how to argue)
5. Study Ephesians 5; 1 Peter 3; 1 Corinthians 7
6. Understand and learn what it really means to Men: Lay down your life for your wife, love her unconditionally, and lead your wife. Women: Follow your husband, obey and submit to your husband, and respect your husband.
7. Commit to work on it.
Here is something that God also has revealed to me. Until I feel like I have a good understanding of how to have a Great Christian marriage and how to fulfill my role as a husband, he will not release me to fulltime ministry. God's view on marriage and infinitely more important than we think. If as Christians we cannot get this down, we do not deserve to lead his church. 1 Timothy 3.
A "Missional Church" can have a pipe organ or an Alternative Rock Worship band because the celebration is a result of the joy of witnessing those once lost becoming found. Those once dead, finding new life. A "Missional Church" doesn't look to program or style for effectiveness. This church relies on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. Biblical hunger drives the church more than program and finances.
Sadly, I'm afraid a vast majority of North American Church are "Churches with a Mission." The goal here is to sustain the organization for "God's sake." Kingdom effectiveness is measured by increased persons involved as well as financial resources collected. Vast sums of money are invested into property and buildings. Programs, which may have powerfully effected people 20 or 30 years ago, are maintained at great cost both in time and money. Participants spend countless hours attempting to make these "Ministries" relevant even as our culture totally ignores them. These churches are like Choirs, singing to themselves. Contemporary Christian radio stations broadcasting to the saved. Jesus left the 99 sheep to rescue the 1 lost sheep. "Churches with a Mission" believe that keeping the 99 sheep well fed, well organized, and unified will cause the lost sheep to find it's way back to the fold.
Pastors are burning out of pastoral ministry in alarming rates because in "Churches with a Mission," the flock are consumers feeding off the energy of the organization. Most of this energy is generated by the professional pastoral staff.
Missional Churches, however, have a majority of individuals with a conviction to minister the gospel where they live, work and play. Pastors become coaches, inspiring, challenging, and equipping persons to reach more of the lost around them. For a "Missional Church," the joy of the Lord becomes their strength. A joy which is energized each time a lost sheep is found, a lost coin is recovered, or a lost son returns home. Where they worship, what style they incorporate, or the numbers of participants is not that important.
By: Steve Shomo
The single most important thing in my life, over the past 2 years, has been who I intentionally allow to influence me. If I surround myself with people who have the same skill set, the same amount or less experience than I do, the same passions, the same knowledge, the same convictions, etc....then I limit my ability for God to teach me.
Currently I have an accountability partner who struggles with things that I am strong in and I struggle in things the he is strong in, this allows stern correction, strategic guidance, and honest prayer. Also, I have 3 people who I consider mentors all in which are people who I could call on any given day for any particular reason. All three of these people have different strengths, minor theological differences, gift sets, etc. I think that the more I broaden myself, the more God works in me.
Human nature leads people to spend their time, money, and talents on things that are either fun or important (or in the best of circumstances, both). I think the younger generation has largely forsaken traditional churches because they are seen as neither fun nor important. I do not believe that the younger generation hates church; rather, they feel it is irrelevant.
Part of the problem is the message. Many churches, as you have pointed out in an earlier E-mail, essentially teach that being a Christian means obeying numerous rules that are mostly prohibitions against certain behaviors. Young people find that to be a major turn-off because they don't see the importance of trying to live in a straight jacket. Furthermore, they are skeptical about this "code of Christianity" because they see people in the church who pay lip service to these rules but don't actually follow many of them.
This is very analogous to the Pharisees in the time of Christ. They took the Ten Commandments and a handful of other instructions given to them by God and built a huge legal system that took all the joy out of serving God and imposed an impossible burden on those who tried to follow the rules. An even bigger part of the problem, I think, is that the worship style of the traditional church does not speak to the younger generation. They have grown up in an era of fast-paced, continuous sensory stimulation -- of television, movies, video games, cell phones, PDAs and theme parks. They find the traditional worship style boring, to put in bluntly. Pipe organs and classical anthems might as well be slide rules and buggy whips as far as they are concerned. The language of the church and the style of worship does not connect.
The interesting thing is that worship style and worship procedure is a creation of man -- not a mandate from God. In Jesus' time there were no pipe organs, grand pianos, acolytes, robed choirs, etc. All of that was introduced by people for the purpose of creating meaningful worship, and it reflected the highest ideals of the culture at the time these worship elements came into being. The culture has subsequently changed, but not the church.
The essentials of church are the message of the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ, ministering to the needs of the people, helping Christians grow spiritually, and providing opportunities for believers to live out their faith. Everything else is debatable and optional.
Ironically, the younger generation is interested in finding answers to life's tough questions: Why are we here? Is there a God, and if there is, can we know him? Where is life headed? What is our ultimate destiny? Are there moral standards that truly matter? But many traditional churches do not spend much time explicitly addressing these issues, and if they do address them, it is not in a language that can be understood by the younger generation.
Our traditional form of church does meet the needs of some -- generally those who are 40 years of age or older and who have grown up with a faith tradition. I am not advocating that all traditional churches should change their style and approach to worship and ministry. But clearly some non-traditional churches are also needed to reach younger persons who have no faith background. The success of Saddleback and Willow Creek demonstrate that if the message is delivered in the right way and if ministry is geared to those with limited faith backgrounds, they can be drawn to Christ -- and in large numbers.
"Netcast" Community Church. It comes out of Matthew 4 where Peter is casting his net to catch fish and Jesus rolls up and says, I'll make you fisher of men. Therefore we are a church that casts nets rather than moving fish.
Let us know what your thoughts are.
Anyone have an opinion on this?
I also think that the church, in general, has done a good job of preaching religion and a poor job of preaching Christ. I'll give you an example...when I first got saved, it seemed that I had 750,000 Christian rules to follow...Go to church, read your Bible, respect authority, don't smoke, don't get tattoos, no sex porn or masturbation, no music with cursing....you get the gist. The sad thing is that nobody taught me how to Pray, nobody truly explained the divine importance of Scripture, nobody taught me how to encounter God in a quiet place, nobody taught me about the importance of biblical accountability and relationships, or what it means to truly love my wife without loving her because I am supposed to. But hey, I sure did have the rules down. (we are not under law but under grace) And I think that this is the underlying reason why our culture is running from the church, its because we don't like rules. So instead of giving them rules, we need to figure out how to give them Jesus, with the understanding that when they have Jesus, all the rest will fall into place.
Am I way off on this?
Can someone elaborate on this?
Can you tell me your thoughts on this entire paragraph?
My question here is....in your experience do you see the same thing? How can we as Pastors create a church that addresses this?
In New York, a vast majority of the culture was totally unchurched or Catholic with baggage. What are 20 - 30 something people who are not in church saying is their reason for leaving church? Unless someone moves into the area from an unchurched region, I'm finding most people in this area either go to church or made their children go until they were a certain age. Is this what you see as well?
1. In response to this question, the reasons why most 20-30 somethings would leave church upon High school graduation, from reading some things and talking to some people, I have found that most of those people never truly encountered God in a real authentic and personal way during their years in church. Furthermore they rarely ever saw God as being relevant. In the generation before mine, there seemed to be an underlying understanding and fundamental respect for things such as "Truth", "Jesus", an "Inspired Bible", etc. Today we are dealing with a group of people that ask many questions. So my question to you is this.......how can we become culturally liberal and theologically conservative in order to reach these people with Jesus? I would love to hear your thoughts on this?
I have a vision to start a church plant one day, probably within the next 2 or 3 years is when we would launch. In the mean time, there is still a lot of preperation. Leadership team, mission, location, etc. Anyway, I think God gave me a church name and I wanted your thoughts.
"Netcast Community Church"
It comes out of Matthew 4 where Peter is casting his nets to catch fish and Jesus rolls up and says, I'll make you fisher of men. It seems that too many churches, especially in America, are aquarium attendants and are watching fish (Christians) jumping from one bowl to the other. They'll build their church on other church members. This church's mission is to catch new fish and build a tank. Our slogan, "We do church for people who dont do church."
What do you think about the name?
What do you think about the idea?