2008 in Review!!

This was a big year for my family. God was so good to us this year and has blessed us in so many ways. I wanted to go through a couple of those big things and share it with my blogging world.

1. Marriage. This past year God really did a miracle in our marriage. Beth and I have grown to love each other much deeper. In late 2007 I confessed some things from my past to Beth that I very much regretted. Although that was hard, God did a miracle through it and we are closer than ever. Sin separates! That is just the facts. When sin enters the marriage you will automatically be separate, just as it does with our relationship with the Lord. Since my sin was from before we were married, I never was one with Beth the way that God intended. In 2008 we were able to achieve that oneness through confession, repentance, and forgiveness. I love my bride deeply and I am the man I am today because she pushes me to be there.

2. Babies in Heaven. As most of you know, we have 3 beautiful children; all of which were unplanned by Beth and I. This year we decided that we were going to go for #4. We were very excited. We went on a cruise in March and began trying (that was fun, I recommend it for married people) Sure enough I shot for the stars and hit; she got pregnant. A few weeks into the pregnancy Beth began to have cramping and bleeding. Next thing we knew, she had a miscarriage. This was odd because that never happened before. The one time we try and she has a miscarriage! So, the Dr told us to wait 2 months and we could try again. So, we did. Again we started trying for another baby (fun fun fun) and another direct hit. This time the pregnancy lasted a few weeks more than the previous but with the same outcome. It was a very hard time for Beth and I. Although we knew that God was in full control, we were confused to say the least.

Now Beth is almost 4 months along and it looks like we'll be having a healthy baby in 2009.

3. Walk with the Lord. This year I made a strong effort to do 2 thing. 1. Have a meaningful time with the Lord everyday and 2. get into the Word everyday. Although there were some days that I missed, I absolutely fell in love with my Bible and my time with the Lord like never before. I have learned how to hear the voice of God and God has spoken to me more clearly this year than ever before. I know how to study my bible and have a heart to know God rather than religious practice. I know more scripture than ever before and it has changed my life.

4. Transition from OFY. As God began to burden me more and more about our church plant, he also began to transition me out of OFY (youth group) in order to have more of a focus. While doing this, God also raised up some other great leaders that are serving Frank in ways that I was never able to because of my schedule. It is a testimony of God's absolute control over his Kingdom. OFY is now literally on fire for God. I have never seen a group of kids on such a rebellious pursuit of God. It convicts me with how much faith these kids have. I remember the day that God transition me out. Frank and I were set to meet at Panera Bread and I was going to tell him that God was transitioning me out. It was just after the Catalyst Conference. Well about 10 minutes into the conversation, Frank told me that he felt that God was transitioning me out. I didn't even have to say anything. It was awesome and totally God.

5. Church Plant. In 2008, God absolutely confirmed in me that we are to move to Boston to plant. All of the people who I consider spiritual leaders over me have confirmed it. God has spoken to both Beth and I about this. God has already begun to build a team. We are out of all consumer debt and have money in savings. Someone has donated to our church plant already. The stories can go on and on and on. It truly is amazing. I am at the end of the Acts 29 process, Daystar has agreed to sponsor us, we have all of our Brochure info ready, logo done, and are close to a website.

6. Work. This year I have been so blessed at work. I closed my first $1,000,000 deal. I hit my goal again this year even with all of the economic trouble that we are seeing. I have favor in the eyes of my leadership at work and have been given more responsibility. Also, this enabled Beth and I to give more than ever before and get ourselves of a lot of debt.

7. Kids. My kids are the joy of my life. I love them to death. This year Daniel has gone from a toddler to a young boy. He is a total dude. He loves fighting, dirt, peeing outside, sports and I even caught him glancing a some girls this year at his basketball practice. Although only 5 the boy prays like a theologian, knows more scripture than most evangelicals and truly has a heart for God. Just the other day he was telling me about how he was telling a friend about Jesus at school because they were acting bad. haha....That's Kinda fundamental. He also calls himself a "Mighty Man of God"

Abby is still a princess. She cries if we put her in pants, she is very sassy, but tender hearted and sensitive. The girl can eat like a horse although she's the same size as Ella who is 2 years younger. Abby is totally convinced that she is going to marry me. I tell her all the time that I am already married to her mommy but she wont buy it. In her eyes we're married. I guess that's OK for now. Abby called herself a "Beautiful Women "OF" God" with a major emphasis on "OF" not sure why that is, but whatever.

Now, Ella and I got to know each other this year. When she was breastfeeding, she wanted nothing to do with me. Now she wakes up every morning yelling DADDY. Its very cute. That girl has grown like crazy. She loves to wrestle with me, jump on my belly and have me tickle her until she cries, haha. She always comes running back for more.

8. Theology and Doctrine. I am by no means a theologian or doctrine expert but I will say this. God has given me a deeper understanding of who he is. In Ephesians 1 Paul writes that we should have a Spirit of Knowledge and Wisdom. This year I have read more books and studied more than probably ever year of my life combined and I am not even in school. I have a room in our house dedicated to study and prayer. I have literally become a student. I read often and am constantly downloading seminary podcasts and learning on my own. I look forward to getting back into school part time to began to have more of a focus in my studies. Who would ever have though I would like to go back to school. OMG.

9. Influence. This year I have had more influence in the lives of other people than ever before. I have seen people come to Christ through relationships and conversations I have been engaged in. God has given me words for people that have been right on. I am constantly learning what it means to live missionally in my world and how to have influence in the lives of other people. In no way am I there, but I am a student of this. I have done this at work, the gym, church world, and with random people. To God be the Glory in this. I do not want to boast in this because I know it is just the progressive work of the Lord, however I am very thankful.

Facts about BOSTON !!

The Greater Boston Area
1. 4th most densely populated city in the country
2. Public school system is the oldest in the country
3. 22nd most populated city in country in 2008
4. 20% of Boston City population live below poverty level
5. 5th best city for young business professionals
6. Over 100 college’s / universities and 300,000 students
7. Irish Americans are a major influence on Boston's politics and religious institutions.

Of the 4 regions of the United States; someone in the Northeast (Greater Boston area) is the least likely to do the following: (Barna Group)
· Pray
· Read the Bible
· Attend a Small Group
· Volunteer at a Church
· Claim to be Born Again

Boston is at a Crossroads!!

Boston is at a Crossroads
Founded on Puritan ideals, Boston has largely turned away from its roots in Christian faith. Today it is considered a bastion of humanist ideals. The evangelical community that exists there is largely viewed as irrelevant and checked out of mainstream culture.

But consider the opportunity! Statistics show there are hundreds of thousands of individuals here who have never truly heard the life-changing message of Jesus. And Boston is home to one of the most vibrant college populations to be found anywhere — currently over 300,000 students are in the area. This is a place literally exploding with potential revival!

We believe that God is calling us to reach out to Boston and we are ready to respond to that call.

Romans 15:20 says,

“I want nothing more than to preach the Gospel where Christ has not yet been preached.”

Boston is a place that desperately needs this preaching. And we’d like
you to consider partnering with us in this effort.

I got jacked up!

I thought that Beth would be cool with us not getting gifts for eachother this Christmas.
I Guessed Wrong!!!!!!!!

They had to durabond me back together; they don't like to do stitches that close to your eye.

haha. J/K, I caught an elbow playin Ball.

What is the Gospel? Please Read and Respond!!

I miss all of the dialog with my friends over the blogging world. I thought that I would ask a question and maybe get some thoughts back. My hope here is to get us thinking like we have in the past on issues such as homosexuality, marriage, scripture, etc.

My question is "What is the gospel?" (i.e. theologically speaking, not how you would explain the gospel message to a non-Christian) Please add where you get your beliefs from.

Here is my answer. Please add comments, thoughts, additions, etc. and lets try and figure this thing out.

The gospel is a historical event that was planned somewhere in eternity past. Within that event, Jesus who is God incarnated, lived as a man, was tempted like us, and while on earth, demonstrated for us full surrender to the Father. Jesus, who knew no sin, was murdered on a cross, bearing the sins of man, paying our debt and satisfying the wrath of God, which man rightfully deserved. Jesus physically died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and literally rose from the dead in his body three days later. Through this historical and supernatural act of Love, God fulfilled his redemptive plan to redeem his children which are called. By repentance of sin and faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, sin is forgiven and you are saved. Your name is written in the Lambs book of life and you will spend eternity in the presence of Almighty God forever.

All of this is my commentary of 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

"How Close?" read and have a Good Laugh!!

My beautiful bride loves games; we play things like Phase 10, UNO, Scrabble, Yatzee, and many more. One game in particular that she loves to play is "How Close" Now I will stop all of you freaks out there and let you know right off the bat that this is no sexual game...although it is almost as much fun.

The game goes like this, First you fill up your gas tank on Sunday or Monday. Then you drive around town all week taking the kids to school, running to the grocery store, Target, across town to the in-laws, etc. Usually by Wednesday or Thursday the Empty light comes on in the dashboard.
"Let the games Begin!!!"
"How close can you come to running out of gas; without running out of gas?
On Wednesday Beth hit her record and I doubt that she will ever be able to top it. We were coming home from taking the kids to see Santa at the local mall (by the way, Santa at this mall is a Christian and shares the gospel with every kid that comes through the line; how cool is that.) Anyway, so far we have had the Empty light on all day and have probably driven about 20 miles so far. Beth was looking for a cheap gas station, $1.54 was too much because we knew that some of the stations had gas for $1.53. Why waste the penny? Plus now the game was getting suspenseful. We made it all the way to the mall, now it was time to head home. We passed two $1.54 stations but we knew just 1 mile ahead there was the almighty penny-saving Hess. We pull into the complex where the station is and all of the sudden; Chaos! Lights on the dash come on, power steering goes off, the car literally is in cardiac arrest. Luckily we hit a downward hill. We make a right turn into the gas station rolling the entire way; all of the pumps are taken except for the 1st one in which we rolled right up to. 100 yards without any gas and we made it to the finish line without having to push at all.
Beth Wins!!!! Game Over!!! It's not worth playing anymore because I think it'd be impossible to beat the High Score.

Netcast Church's 3 Core Initiatives

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about our church plant and how it will be different and unique compared to Boston's typical church culture. Last night Ella was sick so I had a lot of time to just lay there and think. I think that God gave me these 3 things as our emphasis as a church. Everything that we will do as a church should be measured by and enable these three initiatives. I will call them our 3 Core initiatives.

Spiritual Disciplines:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Spiritual disciplines would include things like but are not limited to personal accountability, scripture memorization, bible reading, sabbath, prayer and solitude, regular repentance of sin, study of scripture, a meaningful time with God daily, listening to podcast, corporate worship.

Every sermon, small group, service project, worship experience, counseling session, etc will have to answer this question. How did this inspire or motivate one to pursue spiritual disciplines?

Engage The Culture
The bible is clear that once a person is saved by Christ, immediately the Holy Spirit comes into their hearts and stirs up a spiritual gift or gifts. That gift is implanted in order for you to Glorify Christ and lead people to him (1 Cor 12-14) Matthew 5:16 says that People will see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven. Then in Acts 17 Paul says that God takes us and our gifts and places us in a particular place at a particular time that is determined in eternity past in order that we and others may seek him and know him.

So, in other words, all who are followers of Christ are also missionaries. 2 Cor 5:20 says that we are Christ's ambassadors and he is using us to make his appeal to others. So our job is to engage the culture around us with the intent of Glorifying Christ in doing so. Engaging culture is not rebuking it, but rather becoming like Christ (God incarnated) and embedding ourselves in it. Jesus prayed in John 17 that he is not taking us out of the world but instead leaving us in the world to transform it. That goes for our workplace, the gym, the schools and colleges, the restaurants you enjoy, the after hours networking you do. Everything and Everywhere!!

Every sermon, small group, service project, worship experience, counseling session, etc will have to answer this question. How did this inspire or motivate others to engage their culture as missionaries?

Serve The Community
Matthew 20:27-28 "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

For anyone to have any influence they first must have moral authority. Moral authority is gained through serving others. Nobody is impresses with a self seeking or self sustaining organization. The organizations who are the most impactful are the ones who are wildly generous. It is my vision that we are a church that is wild about others; That we truly learn what it means to die to self. Jesus has commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will serve our community by giving our time, money, resources, and lives in order to gain the moral authority to bring the Gospel of Christ into our community. For years the church has lacked in this area, and become a self serving organization rather than a life giving movement to those around them.

Every sermon, small group, service project, worship experience, counseling session, etc will have to answer this question. How did this inspire or motivate others to be a servent and lay their life down for their neighbor?

Calling all potential team member (Please Read)

I wanted to write a quick blog to anyone who may read this and considers themselves someone who may be interested in being a part of our church plant in Greater Boston. You can be a part in 3 ways that I will list below.

1. Core Team Member
2. Prayer Support
3. Financial Support

As we get closer to the move to Boston I would like to gather those who may fall into 1 of those 3 categories so I can keep you personally updated on our direction as a church plant. I will rely on this group for feedback of things like Logo, Website, Time frame, Planning, Direction, and anything else that will help in our efforts to move forward. Also, I will write monthly e-mail updates on the latest of God's work in our Church Plant. There is already a lot to tell, but the Blog is not the right setting.

If you feel like you would like to be a part of this group, please e-mail me your personal e-mail address at mwchewning@yahoo.com, hit me up at Facebook, or just leave a comment on the blog.
I look forward to working together to do massive things in Boston and impacting the world with the power of teh gospel of Jesus.

Home Sweet Home!! Jesus cares where we live.

Acts 17:24-26
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

I have read this passage many times in my studying through the book of Acts. However, yesterday we had a friend come by and we talked about it a little. This is an amazing passage about the sovereign work of God in our lives, even down to the very small details. To think that the God who has created Heaven and Earth, is so personally involved with his creation that he also ordains where we live and when we live there, is amazing. This is so comforting. This passage also shows God as a missionary. God cares where you will live, who you will have influence in and when you will be there. God is so passionate about redeeming his creation back to him that he ordains where we live so that we are in the best possible position to seek him and find him.

We serve an awesome God who deeply wants us to know him. We can be confident in the fact that he will set us up through his own sovereign way so we can know him and serve him well. I am so comforted in knowing that. My favorite verse in is Colossians which says, "He has rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." God is doing his work of bring us back.

Roaring Lion

The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour anyone he can, resist him in your faith. (1 Peter 5)

Spiritual warfare is a real issue. As Christians we believe that there is a real war going on for our lives. The devil wants to kill steal and destroy from us. He is the father of all lies and will use anything he can to ruin God's work in you.

I know I have some people that read my blog that need to read that and understand it. God has something for you. In every believer he places his holy spirit and with that spirit comes gifts and a calling to exercise those gifts. Use them to glorify his name. At times it will feel like the lion is winning; resist him in your faith. Do you know the authority that you have through Jesus name? You have a direct life line to the father through Christ's work on the cross. Anytime you command Satan and demons with the authority of Christ, they will flee.

Fight the good fight, beat your body in discipline, and claim victory over your enemy.

Encourage, but don't manipulate!!

For my entire life, I have had a gift of persuasion. Since I was a little kid people have always told me I would make a great sales guy. Then about 6 years ago when I graduated college, I jumped into the contract furniture industry which was at the time the 2nd most competitive and difficult industry to be successful in behind selling jet engines. However, I saw major and immediate success. I have always had a knack for getting people to make decisions that I wanted them to make. I even convinced Beth to marry me. Crazy.

This has been a huge conviction of mine because it fools me into believing that I can play the role of God. I have to be extremely careful about this, especially with the church plant. I have the ability to convince people to do things that they normally would never do. That is a lot different than inspiring people into something God sized that God wants them to do.

This past week I was listening to Pastor Furtick talk about how he built a core team and God convicted my heart. I do not want to convince people to be a part of my church plant, I want to inspire them to do something great, and allow God to convince them of what they are to do. That is not my job. My job is to encourage but not manipulate.

On Tuesday during a long trip to Raleigh at 7:00am I surrendered this to the Lord. It was harder than most would think. God exposed my own self-sufficient attitude and I needed to spend some time with Jesus in repentance and asking for his help.

On that same day (My Birthday by the way) I received 2 phone calls from 2 people who have the potential to have major influence in our church plant and being on our team. When I say major, I mean just as much influence as I or anyone else would have. They informed me that GOD, (Not me) has been speaking to them in private about the plant and they wanted to talk further about joining the team. They both felt that GOD (Not me) had brought them to the point where they needed to verbalize what God was doing in them. Nothing was set in stone, but God showed me his faithfulness through my surrender.

God is so faithful to us. If we are willing to surrender to him, he will flood our gates with things that we never knew were available to us.