Gospel Centered Marriage
1 Peter 3:5-7
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Sin separates. The hardest relationship in the world is the marriage. Two people trying to come together and do life as if they are one is an element of disaster, however, this is God’s plan. The problem with this is that we are a selfish and sinful people who desire to have things the way “we” want when “we” want them. Since that is the case, anytime you bring two people together to exist in the manner that God calls us, there are many obstacles to overcome.
Over the years, thru reading scripture and personal experience, I have come to understand something about marriage. I will call this more of an observation than something that I have mastered, because God knows that I haven’t figured this out at all. I often wondered why God is so big on women submitting to their husbands and husbands being “loving and gentle” with their wives. I mean, of all the things that God could have told men and women to do in his Book, why choose to tell husbands to “love” their wives and women to “submit” to their husbands?
To help get a grasp on this, I think it is necessary to first understand what the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is. Jesus is one of the three Godheads of the Trinity, referred to as the Son. He has always been and always will be. He is the head of the church; He is our mediator to the Father and the sender of the Holy Spirit. He is creator and Isaiah says he sits at the right hand of the Father, receiving worship from all of heaven. In Genesis, as the Trinity was making creation, it says that Jesus was there in beautiful rhythmic harmony with the Father and the Spirit, as man was being created in His image. After sin enters into the world in Genesis 3; Jesus, in order to save Gods elect and enter into relationship with Him; leaves the comforts of home (Heaven) and enters into His creation to live as a sinless, humble man; under humble circumstances; live the life that humanity could not live, and die the death that humanity deserves, only to be raised back to life on the third day; overcoming sin, death and absorbing the wrath of God because of our rebellion.
The crazy part of this story is that God did this for self-glorifying people who were God haters, selfish, proud sinners and on their best day had nothing to offer God. The bible states that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It says that Christ who knew no sin, became sin, so that sinners could be the righteousness of God. This is a beautiful story of loving the unlovable; one in which just about every great movie or novel is about. This is a story of a man giving up his life so that others may receive life. In essence, Jesus is our Hero.
How does this affect a marriage? The main reason we see God often speaking about how a man should “Love” and “Be Gentle” with his wife is because that is counterintuitive with our sinful nature. The same is true for a woman. God tells the wife to “Submit” to her husband, because a women’s natural sinful tendency is to lord over her husband and run his show.
As a husband, my natural desire is not to be gentle with my wife. Actually the opposite is true. My natural tendency as a sinful man is to be harsh with my words, brash with my attitude, and manipulative with my ways. Concerning how I love my wife; as a sinful man, my initial tendency is to love her when it is only convenient for me. I choose to love her when I want something from her or I will love her because of what she has to offer me. My natural tendency is never to love my wife because of who I am. Instead, I choose to love her for selfish motives. This is why it is so easy to say unloving things when husbands don’t get their way, to emotionally disengage, or in the worst of cases, become physically overbearing to a wife who is physically much weaker than her husband.
The wife, is not too different in her sin. A wives sin typically revolves around her desire for headship and leadership in a home. This has been going on since our first parents Adam and Eve walked the earth. As a matter of fact, sin first enters into the world, because Eve desires leadership, therefore sins, and then leads her husband to sin as well. God himself says in Genesis 3 that although a man will be called to lead his wife; the wife will desire to have the husband’s role as the leader of the marriage. Because of this, many wives are considered a nag. Proverbs compares a woman like this to the annoyance of a leak in the roof on a rainy day. This typically plays out in all sorts of ways. Most often because a wife cannot be physically superior; she becomes her husband’s greatest critic. Constantly criticizing every things he does; from his driving, the way he eats, the way he dresses, the way he parents, the way he pursues sex, the way he provides, the way he talks to her, and even his motives when he decides to love her well. Again, because her ultimate desire to lead, she will continually nag at his leadership and undermine the way that he does everything.
How can a marriage overcome this? To be honest, it almost seems hopeless and too broken of a system to overcome. However, Christ is in the business of reconciliation man to himself and his ways. 2 Corinthians puts it this way in chapter 5 “In Christ, God is reconciling the world to himself.” In other words, as we look at Christ and centralize the gospel in our lives, we will find God’s original intention and order for all of our ways. That being said, we now have to look at Christ in order to understand how marriage can work.
As we learn what our sinful tendencies in marriage are, we should be looking to choose to submit to Christ’s teachings in order to have a biblical marriage even as it gets hard. Looking at the gospel helps us endure when it seems too difficult. Before Christ was crucified for our sin, he went to the garden to wrestle with God. You see him pleading with God to change his ways and defeat sin in a way that did not require Him to separate from the Father and experience His wrath. However, after Christ wrestles with God, he humbles himself to God’s process. He does this out of Love for God and not love for Himself. If he loved Himself more than the Father, he would have avoided the cross and death and not have experienced the wrath and resurrection that saves sinful man. In the same way, we too need to wrestle with God. Gods design on a Godly marriage goes totally against our intuitive ways on how to go about relationships. In all honesty, God’s design for marriage is just too selfless.
Husbands and wives, dream with me for a minute.
Can you imagine a marriage that really fulfills Ephesians 5:21”Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ”? Husbands, what if you pursued never saying another harsh, unloving word to your wife again? What if you looked to continually encourage your wife without any selfish motive or self seeking reason? What if you were gentle with her and kept your tone low and honored God with your words, looking to build her up and lead her as if she were really God’s child? Wives, you’re not off of the hook either. What if you fought every desire to lead and criticize your husband knowing that blessing comes from submitting to your husband because that’s God design? What if you chose to follow his leading; allowing him to do things the way that he desires without manipulating him and urging him to do things the way that you want it done? What if you thought the best of your husband and believed that his motives were always in love and honor to both God and you?
How would this change your communication? The way you fight? The way you make love and desire each other? The way you parent together? The way you seek to give rather than receive?
The trick to all of this is found in the Gospel as well. Again, the Gospel says that all have sinned against God and fallen away; but despite our sin and while we were still sinners, Christ died. In other words, Christ didn’t love us because there was anything special about us, he loved us because there was something special about Him. In marriage, the same is true. We are commanded to “Love” and “Submit” not because your spouse is “Lovable” or “Submission Worthy”, but instead we are to Love and Submit despite their sinfulness at times. Doing this despite sin is the mark of a true Gospel Centered person who is more interested in being obedient to Christ than they are in responding to sin by sinning themselves. Let’s be honest, when a wife is trying to Lord over her husband because she feels that she can lead better, she is sinning. The same is true when a husband is choosing to not deal with his wife in a lovable way because she is being un-lovable. We are not free to sin because our spouse first sinned against us. That is when this gets really hard, because we want to treat people with an appropriate response to how we are being treated. But, the gospel says that Christ treats us with love while we are unloving towards him; He is our great example.
Typically a marriage gets stuck in a never ending spiral of, what I will call, “Responsive Doing.” In other words, because He is not leading well, She will respond by sinning and taking over. Because she has taken over, He will respond with sin and be harsh with her. Because he was harsh with me, I will nag him and criticize every thing he does. Because she’s always nagging and criticizing, I will not love her well. And the spiral goes on and on and on.
Wives, allow your husbands to lead not because he is a great leader, but because of your desire to love Christ and obey his commands. Husbands, love your wives well and be gentle with her, not because she is lovable, but because of your desire to love Christ and obey his commands. Wives, make it easy for your husbands to lead by not criticizing every thing he does. Husbands, make it easy for your wives to follow you by leading well. Do nothing out of selfishness, but consider your spouse better than yourself.
Ultimately, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." – Ephesians 5
Keep in mind, repent quickly and forgive graciously.
I never thought I would have the balls to disagree with Mr. Don A Carson, but I am very against this statement (although he leaves 1 or 2 exceptions): The whole article is at
(2) The right thing to do, in both cases, is usually (I can think of one or two difficult exceptions!) to finalize the other part (get married). It is not to try to undo what has already been done! One cannot “undo” this sustained sexual, common-law, union. Thus to demand that a couple tear themselves apart after they’ve been living together for, say, five years, with perhaps a child or two, simply won’t do. What needs to be urged upon them is that they get “married” legally — i.e., publicly, according to the cultural standards of the state.
When God transforms the heart of an unbeliever into a new believer in Christ, many things come along with that. New desires, new motives, and literally a new heart. In essence, that person is clearly a new creation and if the bible is true, they will only slightly resemble the old self. That being said, he/she is not the same person who was in the previous relationship even if they had been together for 7 years unmarried with 2 kids. I humbly submit that it is the biblical responsibility for the for the believer to exit the relationship and seek a Godly husband or wife. In reality it is only fair for both parties because a christian wife will desire a husband who will lovingly lead her in the Gospel, Pray for her children, serve her and lover her as Christ would. We all would agree that an unbelieving wife does not have the grace to do that. The same is true for a believing husband, he will desire a Godly wife who will compliment him in his pursuit of Christ, not fight for leadership and glory in the relationship, and humbly submit to his Godly leadership and authority. Similar to the unbelieving husband, the unbelieving wife does not obtain the grace to do this as well.
In my mind this becomes a Gospel issue. Is it hard to leave a relationship of 7 years in which there was deep sexual commitments involved? Yes. Is it hard to leave the mother or father of your children who is not your spouse? Yes. Is it hard to start dating again in search of the Godly spouse that God may have for you? Yes. But, none of that is as difficult as leaving eternity in heaven to incarnate on earth and start over as a baby. None of that is as difficult as living in an evil world, being tempted in every way and having no sin. None of that is as difficult as being beaten as Jesus was and carrying your own cross to be crucified for the sins of man. None of those things are as difficult as although being without sin, becoming sin; so that cheaters, murders, idolaters, etc can become the righteousness of God by bearing His wrath for us.
In the Gospel we see the great example of making hard decisions for glorious outcomes. It is a trust issue. Do we trust Christ enough to make the extremely difficult decision? As Pastors, do we really trust Christ enough to counsel our people in hard ways, leading them to make decisions that in light of our world seem crazy.
Make the Gospel decision.
Hope you had a great this year and didn't eat to much food. This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. For starters, I am thankful that Jesus has saved me and forgiven me of my sin. This past year, I have realized just how wicked of a man I can be. It is amazing to me how easily I overlook my own selfishness, pride, and sin; but yet it is so easy to see it in other people. So, that being said, I am thankful that Christ has both saved me from my sin and by his grace He is daily conforming me to be more like Him. For that I am so grateful.
My family and friends are such a blessing to me. I am thankful that God has given me an incredible bride. She is not just my wife, but my Gospel partner. We work hand in hand making disciples of one another, loving people, and raising our kids in a God fearing home. It is a daily joy to wake up every morning next to my best friend.
Netcast Church is another thing that I am so thankful for. I am literally living a dream. I am so thankful that people have believed in us and have been so generous in helping us run after our dream of planting a Jesus-Centered church in Greater Boston. I am currently interning at 121 Church in which already has been catalyst in helping me be better prepared for when we move. The elders have been so generous in sharing their lives with me and for that I am extremely grateful.
I want to thank all of those who have funded us thus far. We did extremely well in our matching donations which is currently allowing me to intern and be in the best position possible to pastor and plant Netcast Church next year. I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me in my journey. I am thankful for every email, phone call, and letter we have received. They mean more to us than you will ever know.
We are still working on our budget for 2010 and trying and get a jump start on our funding for next year. If you're interested in blessing us with an end of the year donation, our address is below. All checks can be made out to Daystar ; who is handling all of our accounting. We do not waste money here. Every dollar helps prepare us to plant Netcast Church and spread the message of the Gospel.
Thank you for being a dear friend and staying up to date on how Netcast Church is progressing.
Netcast Church / Pastor
P.O. Box 3347 BEVERLY, MA 01915
Well....There's a lot going on with Netcast Church as you can imagine. First things First!!!! I want to thank Jesus for allowing me to be in the position that I am in. Not many people get to pursue their God given dream, but by His grace, I have been given the unique opportunity to pursue the planting of Netcast Church.
Some Boston News....This week in Greater Boston there was an attempt to abduct a middle school boy. Pertaining to the economy, it was announced that MA has reached its highest unemployment rate since the 70's. Also, a dying man's last wish is to find his daughter who was taken out of his home 15 years ago because of his alcohol addiction and he has no idea where she is or where she was sent. He simply wants to tell her that he loves her before he dies of cancer. Wow; This is the area that God is calling us to.
I was told this week that there is not one city in all of Massachusetts that has at least 4% of its population attending a . What an incredible opportunity to reach people and have an impact on a major metropolitan city. There is no question in my mind that this is a great investment of my time, money, and energy. Did you know that 1 out of 4 presidents received a college education from a university in Boston? It is one of the strongest intellectual, historical, and cultural hubs in the entire world.
Beth and I have concluded that we will be moving between January and . If we have $100,000 of funding come in before June, we will move right away. If not, we will continue fund-raising and move in June. Also, I have been approached by a few companies about working in Boston while we plant bi-vocationally. That may also play a part in us leaving early; however, with kids in school, we are planning on June when school is out.
Please continue to pray for us. Support is beginning to come in and we have a few people praying about being financial partners. We are still short of our goal of $20,000 by the end of October. Please pray with us that God will stir people's hearts to give graciously within the next 15 days. Also, please pray for me as I continue to pursue humility. These past few months I have noticed how my pride creeps in very easily. I somehow at times feel as if "I" can do this when in reality, "I" cannot do anything. Christ promises to build his church, and if he chooses to use me in anyway, I am wholly grateful to be of service; however, this is not my deal. Nothing will kill a church plant faster than a prideful leader who thinks that building a church is all about him. I want my heart to cry Romans 11:36 "To God be the Glory forever, Amen."
Currently I have the privilege to be interning at a church plant called 121 Church in Winston Salem, NC. God has opened a great opportunity for me to walk with their pastor and learn from their elders. This will put us in a very strong position when we are moved and ready to launch. Being able to learn from their past mistakes and successes is something that many don't have the opportunity to do.
Next weekend we have been invited to the church that Beth grew up in and Steve Shomo, our Executive Pastor, used to lead (Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene) We (Chewning's and Shomo's) will be able to share our story and seek sponsorship from many people who we have known for years and we love dearly. This is very exciting news and I am blessed that their pastor / board has opened up thisoppo rtunity to us. So...if any of you are in NY, come and visit us on Sunday October 25th, 10:00am at 201 Route 17A or Route 94, Warwick, NY 10990.
Here are the financial goals we are praying for:
To make financial donations please mail all checks to: Netcast Church Please make checks out to our "Daystar"
If you would like to be removed from this email. please let us know.
By now I am sure that most of you have heard of the baby in Australia who was in his stroller while it rolled over the ledge and onto the train tracks and then was run over by a train. Amazingly, the baby survived without anything more than a small bump on his head. If you haven't seen the video, you've gotta check it out at http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=8843383 Now, lets be honest. If that baby was crushed, most of the world would have been screaming "Where was God in that?" But since the baby's safe, I wonder if the world will notice God's protective hand under that train? GRACE. This family and the world has seen grace in the video. the question is, will you notice it? You would have noticed the wrath, but will you notice the grace.
By the , my main focus right now is to hear God and pursue Christ everyday. My secondary focuses are planning, fund-raising, and moving. We only have about 2 more months of income left in the bank, but we trust that we heard correctly and the Lord will continue to provide as we share our vision with people. As terrified as I am, I am also so excited and humbled because I know that I will see the Lord provide for us and build His Church.
This past Saturday I was honored to be ordained by the Elders of our church (Daystar Christian Fellowship) It actually came exactly 9 years and 1 day after Christ regenerated my heart, the Holy Spirit came to live in me, and I received salvation. A lot has gone on since then; I've moved around, met my bride, had a lot of babies, met a lot of people and when I look back I can see God's gracious work in me. I have not arrived; actually many days I think I am more jacked up now than I was back then. However, just like Nehemiah says in chapter 2, I can look back and be confident that "the gracious hand of God has been upon me."
Please do not be surprised if you receive a phone call from me. I am spending much of my time prayerfully seeking support and partners. I love you guys and am grateful that Christ has sovereignly allowed us to be un contact with each other.
By the way, . I a typing on a donated laptop. Amazing.
A few things to be praying for:
1. Please pay for the hearts of the people in Greater Boston. They are the least likely to pray, go to church, or read their bibles. Only 4% consider themselves Christians. God has given me a huge heart to reach these people for Christ by his leading and power.
2. That I would be filled with the Holy Spirit ( ). Everyday is a challenge to fight the urge to take the pastoral position and make it an administrative role. Pray that I am lead by Christ and not by "Matt". He must increase and I must decrease.
3. As I mentioned previous, please pray about partnering with us financially. We have a local businessman who is willing to give $10,000 if we can raise $20,000 by at least 20 people. Every penny is matched 50% up to $1000 per person/organization. All checks can be made out to our sending chuch "Daystar " and sent to .
4. Is God calling you to reach Boston? You may be saying "it's not possible....but anything is possible with God." If God wants you to move, are you will to go? Isaiah 6 "I will go, send me."
Pastor / Church Planter
Nehemiah 2:20 "The God of heaven will give us success."
What is success? It can't be money, health, prosperity, or understanding. If it were, John the Baptist would have been a failure and we know from what Jesus says, that there was no man greater. I am fully convinced that success is doing the will of Jesus and allowing his sovereignty define the outcome. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all else will be given to you."
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. 6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land
The idea is that God is still speaking today. As a man who claims to be a follower of Christ, I can choose to listen and obey as God speaks or instead follow my own personal plan. God will stir peoples hearts to support us as missionaries so that we can fulfill what we believe God is calling us to do. Specifically, Transform and Empower people for the glory of Christ in the Greater Boston area. He will provide through people just like you.
We are looking for financial support and prayer support. If you're willing to be on our prayer team or financial support team, please let me know. To request our budget, please reply to this email or go to http://www.netcastchurch.org/
Our 3 biggest needs today are:
1. Expenses. Every penny that is given will be matched 50% by a local businessman up to $1000. We're relying on both individual and corporate donations. All gifts are tax deductible and any checks can be made out to Daystar Christian Fellowship, which is our sponsor / sending church.
2. Computer. We are looking for a laptop to be donated for all church work to be done on. This is tax deductible if donated.
3. Prayer. We need to build a prayer team specific for praying for Netcast Church and it's needs. Because of the decision to do this; spiritual warefare is very close. I need a team willing to interceed for our needs, spiritual protection, and safety for our family. This team will be given specific needs through email and asked to interceed for us as needed.
Thanks for your time in listening.
Lead Pastor - Netcast Church
4604 Ridgefal Rd
Greensboro, NC 27410
I am to the point in my life, that the risky direction that God is pulling me outweighs the security and opportunity that Corporate America has provided me. Beginning September 25th, I will become a full time church planting fundraiser. At that time, we will begin to put our house on the market and look to transition to Boston where we plan to plant Netcast Church. http://www.netcastchurch.org/
Here's where I'm at.
Be Strong and Courageous, don't be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Before I formed you in your mothers womb, I set you apart and appointed you. Have no fear, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. The enemy prowls around like a lion seeking to devour you. He has come to steal, kill and destroy you. Stand firm, and after you stood for as long as you can, keep standing. Jesus has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
I have yet to understand why Christianity is predominately female and full of limp wristed men who consider themselves good guys because they open doors, don't curse, don't get angry, stay clean and are polite in public. That is not the tone of scripture. Read those words above again. We are in a violent battle for our lives and it will take fearless strength to win the good fight. God has already set us apart by his grace and has called us to this. Don't get me wrong, this is not some masculinity chant. There is nothing like a powerful spirit filled women of God, I married one. However, the men are called to lead the way in this reckless pursuit of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Over the past month, our family has felt the fierce attack of Satan on our lives. There have been lies told about us, a suit threatened against us, and we've had friends turn their backs on us. I personally have been tempted to take the easy, risk-free road that could avoid many challenges but also deny me of the joy that only brokenness and a tough God honoring road can bring. However, God is faithful through it all.
When I first started this journey of planting Netcast Church, I really did think it would be a walk in the park. I thought that the call of God was so strong on my life that I would breeze right through it. Today, I am more confident than ever that this will never be the case. However, me and my family are up for the fight. I have recently heard the voice of the Lord and will soon be taking the biggest risk of my life. However, that's the call, its the thing that I preach and although the center of God's will is never the safest place to be, it is always the greatest place to be.
Money is low but God is High. I am scared but the Spirit of God in me is fearless. I feel unqualified, but God calls unqualified men. I worry about not being able to provide for my family, but Christ loves my family more than I do. I am not typically a risk taker, but Christianity is risky business. I feel like nothing, but my Heavenly Father says I am a son of the living God.
Please be praying for our needs. Maybe some of you who will read this, God will plant a seed in your heart to be generous to our call to plant a church in Greater Boston. Then again, he may not. Boston is the most lost area of the country, and we are on a suicide mission, but so was every other great man of God in scripture.
1. We are currently asking for help to raise $20,000 in order for us to receive the full matching donation from a local businessman. Every single penny gets us closer to our goal, Please consider giving. I commit to giving my life for this ministry and I am asking that you give some of your resource. I know it is a huge ask, but please consider it. The money needs to be in by 10/31.
2. We are currently looking for a free laptop for me to be able to do all of my work on. I need a place to store my files, connect to the net, email, and travel with. We currently have only one computer and we need another one specific for the church plant. If you have a connection, please let us know. New, Used, Referb....we don't care.
3. We are still looking for a worship leader. If you know of anyone who has a desire to lead people into worship of the transcendent God of the universe who's name is Jesus and is either on the Boston North Shore or interested, let me know. We already have a great team full of incredible musicians, but no leader yet.
4. Please be praying for me personally as I lead this endeavor by the power or the Holy Spirit. Pray for my humility, safety, purity, and sensitivity to Jesus' voice. I want to live with the centrality of the the Gospel being evident in my life. A life full of repentance, growth, and love.
I cannot express my love for all who read this email. You are a part of God's plan even if you pray for his favor over us only one time. I praise God that you are in my life. Check out www.netcastchurch.org and www.chewningjourney.blogspot.com
Any gifts can be sent to 4604 Ridgefall Rd, Greensboro NC 27410. Make any checks out to Daystar Christian Fellowship.
1. Boston. Beth and I made a trip to Boston a few weeks back. We went for a weekend and visited Paul and Amber and got to spend some time with Cerissa and Eric as well. I was also able to meet with a few local pastors and talk about them supporting us and partnering with us in our efforts in reaching the North Shore. Kim Richardson and Danny Ovallie were the two guys who really encouraged me. Both come from different theological backgrounds and denominations but both have a dear heart for Christ and reaching people with the gospel. I am excited about jumping into war with these guys.
2. Vasectomy. Yup, I said it, I got them chopped. I'm 26 with 4 kids and without it, there was no end in sight. Its a little sad to know that it's it and there will be no more babies. However God is bigger than any procedure and plus, they say I got at least 20 more shots in me. From our experience, I got pretty good aim. haha. One other thing. LIARS LIARS LIARS. They tell you that this wont hurt and its easy. One of those in and out procedures. Well it is quick, but the effects are brutal. OUCH. It hurt bad bad bad bad. All the other things that I want to write are inappropriate so I will stop there.
3. Support. It continues to amaze me how God is providing for our church plant. God is continuing to provide opportunities for me to share our vision with people and talk to them about funding us. There is still much more work to be done, but the early fruits that we are seeing is a huge encouragement for us.
4. God speaks. I believe that I have heard the Lord on something that will require us to be more risky than we have ever had to be. However, Faith comes from hearing the word of God and standing on it. I feel like God has given me a promise but it will take major trust for me to see his promise come to pass. Please be praying for me as I discern God's will for our family and church plant. I have talked to many of my Pastors and Godly friends/mentors about this and all of them have encouraged me to take the risk.
5. Preaching. I had a chance to preach at OFY and a AME Zion district conference last month. It was amazing to see my kids from OFY. I missed them so much and it seemed that they missed me as well. I am so proud how these young kids are running after Christ and being radical for the Lord. It is pretty amazing how bold these kids are. Praying for random people, sharing the Gospel at every chance they get. It is both encouraging and convicting at the same time. At the AME conference, I got to preach on Acts 17 and the Sovereign Glory of our Transcendent God named Jesus and then the next day got to talk on SEX with the guys. That was fun as you can imagine. I did a Q&A time at the end in which one kid asked "What would happen if a human had sex with an animal?" My response was "You'd probably get hurt." I am still wondering if that was the right answer. ha ha. My second favorite question is a toss up between "Does sex feel good?" and "Is sex boring?" I responded with a quick "Yup" and "Nope" respectively and left it at that.
talk again soon.
Wow, God is moving in an awesome way. I will say that raising money during the recession is a little crazy. While I would have never planned to do fund raising during the worst economy since the depression; God thought it would be a good idea. Here are a couple of updates.
1. We received our first check as a church plant over $5,000. It actually came from a team member who will be moving with us. The faithfulness and maturity of this individual is mind blowing, especially at barely over 20 years old. It was actually a total of $7,600. Praise God for providing.
2. I got an e-mail from Joe Polson who is a young man from Charlotte hat found us on the web. We have never met and had only 1 phone conversation together. He feels called to church planting and is praying about moving to Boston with Netcast Church. Only a huge God brings a random unity like that. Just recently he felt the Lord encouraging him to give part of his tithe to Netcast Church. Again, this young man's maturity at 23 years old is crazy.
3. Last month I had an opportunity to go to an event in Raleigh. It was an after hours gathering of the leaders and speakers from the Advance 09 Conference with guys like Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Danny Akin, Eric Mason, and many others. I was able to rub shoulders with some giants of the faith and learned a ton from my conversations with them. You can get the podcasted sessions from the conference at the Resurgence link on Itunes.
If you would be willing to send us a 1 time gift that will be put towards the matching contribution of a local businessman, please reply to this post with with your address. I will send you a pre-stamped return envelope so all you have to do is throw in a check and pop it in the mail. As long as the check is over $1 it would be a profit for us. We will take a gift of ANY amount. Remember it is all tax deductible. I really need your help in raising $20K in order to receive the full amount of the contribution.
Thank you all for being a friend to us and partnering with us as we are in this journey. Be praying for me, Beth, our kids, and the Netcast Team. Satan wants to steal our joy, kill our dreams and destroy God's work in us. Pray that we will stand like Ephesians 6 tells us to.
Check out http://www.netcastchurch.org/ if you haven't yet.
There has been some good and bad discussions that have been taking place in one of my latest posts. (We are all bent towards God) One thing that I am realizing is the unbelievable similarities that we all have. We all seem to have a belief system in which guides our thoughts, actions and ultimately our lives. We all hold tight to a philosophy; I may hold tight to the teachings of the bible and Christ following scholars while others may hold tight to the teachings of other books and Secular scholars. None-the-less, we are all being driven by information and logic that we hold dear to us.
The most noticeable thing that I am seeing is the difference in opinions on the following terms. Christian and Religion. On one occasion, someone labeled Hitler as a Christian (which according to my definition of a Christian, cannot be true) and on another occasion someone mocked people who are religious. I seem to have a very different opinion about the definitions of these two terms (Christian and Religious) than some of the people who read my blog. This brings up a couple of very important questions. What is a Christian and what constitutes being religious? I will address one of them below.
Lets start with Religion. In the comments that I receive, it is very obvious that we tend to view religion as a belief in God. Try telling that to a Unitarian or Buddhist. Unitarian Universalists believe in spirituality but not God. Buddhist' do not believe in God at all, but ultimately a pursuit of happiness. Religion cannot be a belief system in God because not all religions believe in God. Instead, religion is a set of answers to the major questions concerning our existence. Religion sets out to answer questions like: Why are we here? How did we get here? What is our purpose in life? What happens after we die? Within those questions, most religions tend to lean on an answer that includes God or Spirituality but other religions do not.
1. Intentionally engage your culture. In order to understand your culture, you have to live where they live, eat where they eat, travel how they travel, and play where they play. 2. Go where the people you want to reach are. Their park, bus, mall, movie theater, restaurants. 3. You first have to understand the people who you seek to reach. You can't be on mission to reach a culture you don’t know.
* how has God reshaped your theology/thinking to make you more missional (theological growth question)?
* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?
1. Write down examples of your own life when you were living out the mission and saw success. Keep that in front of you and in a format to be able to easily disperse it among people who may need it. Keep examples of how you were able to bridge the gospel in all sorts of categories. (at a ball game, at a public park, on a train or bus, in the gym, etc. 2. Train your team to engage with purpose.
Missional Strategy Interview: Stephen Wagner - Lead Pastor 1.21 Church
I completely understood the culture in Miami and Buckhead/Atlanta. I completely misread the culture in Cambridge. It took me 18 months of discouraging work to figure this out. We basically had to bring the gospel through personal relationships and meeting needs. A very secular place, environment.
* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?
1. Pray more and consistently and spend high quality time recruiting and training people to prayer. John Smed in Vancouver is a good resource. 2. Finding creative ways, mercy, creative arts etc to build friendships in the community and teaching people to do this. 3. Innovative ways of building half way houses, creative first steps in interesting people in the gospel
I did better in Miami and Atlanta, poorer in Cambridge. To do it again in Cam, I would select potential leaders, spend time in study interactive times, mentoring.
* how have you helped men to become missional in their marriages, families and professions
Building community, relationships, half way events, like Redeemer’s “Open Forum.” Alfa courses.
1. First you have to answer this question: "If your a happy pagan, why should you feel the need to go to church?" 2. One of the ways we brought the gospel to the culture is by making everything explainable. In order to be effective we had to lose the religious language and define meanings rather than assume people know the lingo. 3. Put together intellectual presentations in a way that is easy to understand. In an area like Boston, education is important, therefore, it is also important to present Gospel truths in intellectual ways. 4. One way to get a cultural temperature is by asking non-church people questions. Ask random people random questions that will help me understand their thought process. 5. Explain the gospel in terms of freedom. Keep in mind that although lost people feel free, they are really addicted and in bondage. 6. IMPORTANT: The main issue is unbelief. The reason why Christians and Non-Christians rebel is because of unbelief. Unbelief if the meeting ground where both Christians and non-Christians are on the same playing field.
* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?
* how have you grown people to missional maturity (discipleship strategy)?
1. From the beginning, have a focus on the entire community and not just your church plant. 2. Emphasize the importance of Christians living as an ambassador at their jobs. Training people that their main mission field is where they spend most of their day which is typically at work. 3. Fight the typically process of someone becoming a Christian and ditching all of their non-believing friends. Never let the non-believing friend fall away from the friendship. 4. All believers should have at least 5 non-believing friends who they are living in relationship with in order to show them the gospel through their life.
* how have you helped men to become missional in their marriages, families and professions
* what has been your strategy to evangelize lost people?
1. Evangelize Christians and non-Christians the same. The gospel fights against those who think they are in good standing with God because of their morality and the gospel fights against sin by bringing forgiveness and freedom. 2. Paganism is a sin just as much as salvation through religion is a sin. People need to repent of both. 3. Life Evangelism is the way to reach people. People need to be seen living out the gospel with the fruit of the gospel being evident in their life.
Well it's been some time since I was regularly writing on my blog. I guess I have been tied up with life. New baby, summer, work, and church plant seem to have me very busy these days. Anyway, at 6:00am this morning, I woke up to feed my new son Jacob only to get yacked on. Not a bad way to start the morning. So since I was up, I decided to get downstairs and get into the word. I have been studying Acts 17 where Paul visits Athens. It’s a great text. Anyway, I was intrigued by this question that kept popping into my head.
Why are we all bent towards spiritual things and worship?
It is hard to argue that that isn't the case. All throughout history, every culture, nationality, tribe, people group, and generation has had a bent towards spiritual things. From the ancient philosophers in Greece, to the earliest days of the Bible, all the way to today; spirituality and worship has been a vibrant part of life. Now, it has not always been a bent towards Christ and the God of the bible, but always something that is infinitely greater and more powerful than in which can bring us purpose and meaning. It typically has been a God that is personal in which we can either know "it" or "it" knows us. This is a weird concept that is imbedded in our DNA that I cannot understand or explain away. Even the atheist or agnostic cannot move away from having at the least, an opinion of God. To have an opinion of God, at the least, means that the clashing atoms of ones brain acknowledges the need to make a thoughtful decision of whether God does or does not exist; hence a bent toward the spiritual. I am also troubled with this thought; if my brain thinks it or craves it; is that proof that it exists? For example; because my body is hungry; that is proof of food. And my sexual desire is proof of sexual gratification through sexual intimacy. Is the same true that my desire for the spiritual mean that the spiritual exists? Where else do I crave or feel a need to make an opinion on something that does not exist? Is that even possible?
Like the Athenians, I am very religious and bent towards worship. By worship I mean, make things ultimate in my life in order to bring purpose. At times that ultimate thing has been different. My list consists or basketball, sex, my image, family, knowledge, and Christ. My goal is to still pursue all of those things, but keep Christ as ultimate. The other things on my list although good and satisfying; have made crappy Gods.
My coaching sessions with Acts 29 have been going great thus far. We are so excited to be learning from them and have them walk us through this process.
This weeks update is that our new website is finally up and running. On it you can see a video about our church, a little bio on our 2 pastors (myself and Steve shomo) and tons about Boston and our mission. I would encourage all of you to take 3 minutes to browse through it and let us know what you think. http://www.netcastchurch.org/
A special thanks goes out to Paul and Amber Shomo for both purchasing and designing this website for us. It was an honor to have them support us in this way. Another thanks goes to Evan Booth and Joseph who helped design our logo and condense the content. Please join me in thanking these guys for supporting us as well. They are very busy people and excellent at what they do, so it was a real blessing to have their help. They worked hard for us without asking for a penny. Thank you guys.
Some of you who are reading this have committed to sending a financial contribution. Thank you for that and I am so excited to see how God will be using your funds for his glory and the growth of his Kingdom. For information on where to send checks and who to make them out to; check out the "Timeline and Needs" page on http://www.netcastchurch.org/
I am praying to be fully financially supported by the end of the year. It will take a miracle for that to happen. But I believe in miracles. Per my previous e-mail, we are currently asking for 20 non-family members to give $1000 in order for us to receive the full matching donation from a local businessman. I believe that God has called us to do this, so I do not feel anxious for asking for the support.
On another note, we just had a new baby. Jacob Matthew Chewning was born June 6th at 9:24pm. Mom and Baby are doing great. That's #4 for us. Our family is doing great, growing like crazy. You can check out photo's on Facebook. Take a minute to pray for us as we continue our journey towards a church plant in Boston.
We love you guys.
How does this effect me:
I no longer feel the need to intelectually prove my belief over someone else's. No belief can be fully proven, all beliefs are an act of faith. Truth be told, I cannot prove anything, it is only the Spirit that bears witness to Jesus Christ, not my crafty words or intelligence. Instead, I now feel the freedom to just put my belief in the same pool of every other belief BUT....knowing that my belief produces the most inclusive and loving behaviors. In the end, I need to do a better job at looking at the Gospel of Christ and allow the gospel to transform my life so that when people see me they will praise my Father in heaven. That is why character is so important.
I just wanted to show off the Lord Jesus Christ real quick. I have become a firm believer that the Lord is telling the truth when he says "I will build my church." As most of you know, we have been going through the Acts 29 assessment process which we have passed through and are now being coached by a pastor in the New England area. The next phase of our church plant has been fundraising and building a team. Let me update you with a couple of financial miracles that has just stirred my soul.