Our Small Group

Just 4 weeks into it our new small group and God is already beginning to change the lives of people in our little community. It is just beautiful. We have such a mixed crowd. You name it and their in there; all of us are at different levels with our maturity, belief, trust, doubt, etc. Although that s true, it s also a beautiful testimony of how the body is to come together to edify each other and push each other towards Christlikeness.

There is to way to much to tell through just a blog; but I wanted to just share that God is showing up in huge ways. I will give you one little example. Yesterday after our group was over, Mike (A guy who by his own admission has major doubts) pulled me to the side and said this. "Matt, I want to thank you for this group. I have been at Daystar for years now and have never felt so comfortable to share where I am honestly at with the Lord. I have just learned so much these past 2 weeks about the Lord, all due to this group. Thank You." I was pretty much blown away. He went on to explain to me that he felt for so long that he had to pretend to be somewhere spiritually that he wasn't so that he could fit into his previous small groups. Last week we talked about Progressive Sanctification and it really touched him. He was able to see that it is OK where he is at because God is progressively working in him.

Yesterday we talked about what it meant to be a Christian. Sounds basic but you would be absolutely blown away at how many people in our group unintentionally talked about how being a Christian meant to "Try Harder". It was beautiful to take them to 1 Cor 15 and unpack the Gospel with them. I literally felt them sigh a sigh of relief as God was teaching them to rest their lives in the hands of his sovereign work. That they didn't have to try at all but instead pursue the Lord with all of their Heart Soul and Mind. It was just so God Saturated. People were writing scripture referenced down so they could go home and read for themselves. It was awesome.

I had a chance to explain the doctrine of Justification and Regeneration to them as I could see them becoming enlightened by the Lord as their perceptions of Him began to change.

I took a lot away from our meeting yesterday but this stood out the most. Rather than harp on our struggles and the do's and don'ts. Lets point our groups to the Glory of Christ and allow God to do the rest. It really does work. (who woulda thought; haha)

Netcast Church (Crazy Cool News)


On Sunday I got a call from my mother-in-law. She told me to come over because she wanted to talk. Now for any of you out there with a mother-in-law you know that this can go only 1 of 2 ways. You did something wrong and your about to get the smack down of your life or you are did something right and are about to get some major brownie points.

Anyway, I got to the house and right off the bat I could tell that something was serious. We sat at the table and she started in. She began to ask questions about the church plant in Boston. Why Boston? Why now? etc etc.

Let me give you a little background: For the past 9 years Steve (Father-in-law) has been a guy who has played a major role in my walk. He has indirectly taught me how to serve Beth, he has indirectly taught me the importance of humility, as well as the importance of standing firm on the Word of God regardless of feelings. For that I am blessed. However for the past 2-3 years as God began to call us to move and plant, Beth and I would tremble at the thought of not having them with us. So, I have been practically pleading with them to move and be a part of the church plant. On my Birthday 12/2/08; God spoke to me very clearly that they were supposed to move with us; however I felt I heard just as clear that it was possible that although God would say to Go, that they would not. (Don't act like you do everything that God tells you to do.) From their perspective, this would be a very risky and make no sense.

Here is why:
1. They have been in ministry for 30 years and have not build much of a retirement. Moving would probably mean selling their house and losing their main investment.
2. After years of financial struggle; God has blessed them with a dream home in NC and great jobs that provide them well.
3. They are older than us and the older you get the less risk most people are willing to take.
4. Our church will be very different than what they have typically been a part of.
5. Steve has been a senior lead pastor for 20+ years. Now he would be playing a support role for a guy 30 years younger than he is.

6. There is no guaranteed money involved. We are to like Abram, stand firm on the promise of God and allow him to do the impossible.

Anyway: On Sunday at church; God spoke. He clearly communicated to Karen that they are to move. Her natural reaction has been to fight this because of how uncomfortable it will make life for them. However, on Sunday, she submitted to the Lord and has decided to move forward with being a part of a Church Plant in Greater Boston.

I will close with a statement that Karen made to me with tears streaming down her face while explaining what God had spoken to her. "Matt, I know that although being in the center of where God wants us is not the safest place to be; it is always the most beautiful place to be."

Come On Now; that's good stuff!!!

If you wouldn't mind. Leave a quick comment for both Karen and Steve on the is blog. I will then forward those comments to them. This is a great opportunity to commend those who are willing to take a risk and follow the voice of God. To many people in today's christian culture shrink at the thought of trusting in Christ when the odds are against them. (Me included)

We know what we're having (Boy or Girl ???) Read and find out!!

What an awesome time. On Saturday Beth went out all day and left me home with the 3 kiddos. Now normally I don't like spending my entire Saturday away from my wife and alone with the kids (sometimes its hard work) however, Beth let me into a lil secret. She told me that she had a fun night planned for us.
Turns out that my in-laws came by at 6:30 to spend the night and Beth and I were going to spend the night out at a hotel (ou-la-la). When she came home from being out, she mad me hide in a closet so I didn’t see her because she got her hair cut that day. Eventually it was time to leave; the woman was stunning. Oh yeah baby. Hot!!! AND that was just the beginning.

It turns out that she has a night of challenges for me. Here's how this worked:
She had massive amounts of envelopes. She has written a poem and broke the poem down into like 10 pieces. Each was in its own envelope. However for me to get more of the poem, I had to get the challenges correct until the entire poem was revealed. In other envelopes she has like 10 challenges. Pretty creative stuff. The challenges were like; "what would I order for an appetizer?" or "What is the total amount on the bill and you have to be within $1.00?"; another was "Tell me why you love me!" It was fun. So after each challenge, I would get to open up more of the poem. Eventually the poem revealed something to me and I was given a prize.

So after a night of that, eating at Carabbas, going to see a movie ("Marley and Me") btw, if you’re a dude, don’t go see it because your dude status will go down. Not because he movie is bad or too girly; but it will make you cry over a freakin dog. Also, we went to see my boy JonJo play at "The Bistro" in Oak Ridge. Fun stuff. Had a Seasonal Sammy A (yummy) and cheesecake.

Then we ended up at a hotel for the grand sha-band (not sexual). There was a bag with a box in it. Part of what I learned in the poem was that Beth went to "Tiny Toes" which is a (for fun) ultrasound place where they do 3D videos, pictures, tell you the sex, and all kind of cool stuff. Inside the box was an outfit for the baby. Blue - Boy / Pink - Girl. Can you believe that chic put pink tissue paper in that box. That’s crap. I nearly kicked her. BLUE it is!!!!! A boy.

I am very excited about having another "Mighty Man of God" in my house. That’s what Daniel and I call ourselves. Kind of arrogant but its all good.
So, please join me in welcoming Jacob Matthew Chewning to our family.

Bugsy, you did a great job this weekend. U really surprised me. You’re an awesome wifie. Love you boo boo.

Acts 29 Assessment (I had my 1 on 1 phone assessment yesterday)

Yesterday I had a two hour 1 on 1 with the Director of Church Planting at Acts 29. So far I have gone though the entire application process and this was the first part of the actual assessment. It was very in depth and detailed.

Acts 29 focuses on 6 areas; The Church Plant, Theology, Family, Calling, Entrepreneurial ability and Confidential (addictions, background, finances, etc.) They ask questions like; Explain the gospel from a Theological view? What is your stance on predestination? How do you pastor your wife and kids? Why are you called? Do you feel like you would be in sin if you didn't plant? Who has influenced you? Why Boston? What is your weaknesses? How do you strive for humility? and LOTS MORE!!

Overall, the conversation went great. I really felt like God had been preparing me for the interview for the last 2 years. I felt that I was able to communicate clearly what God was calling us to do. I felt that my life/beliefs/skills/personality/abilities are all in line with what they are looking to support.

Acts 29 is a Church Planting Network that provides Theological training, mentoring, coaching, accountability, funding, and opens you up to their network if you are accepted. I think it is important to note that they are the best in the country with a 100% success rate. To understand how amazing that is, you will have to know this little fact. In America, 80% of all church plants fail within the first year. So, to have a 100% success rate in all of their years of being established, shows how the hand of God is resting on them. Another interesting fact is that there has never been 1 known instance of infidelity or adultery of an Acts 29 Lead Pastor. In a world where stats tell us that 50% of pastors have confessed of having "indecent relationships" with someone other than their spouse; that is another outstanding fact. If your interested in learning more go to http://www.acts29network.org/

I feel so blessed today. I have a beautiful wife who is my best friend. She has walked along side of me though all of this. God has called us to a very difficult task and she seems to complain less than I do. I just felt it necessary to share that. If it were not for her, I would not be in the position that I am in today. She has taught me humility, servant leadership, and most importantly love. Above all the things that God has given me through the years, she stands far above everything else.

A Dialog between a "Consumer Focused" Pastor vs "Christ Centered" Pastor

This is a real conversation that is taking place between a pastor who is focused on growing his church and a pastor who is focused on trying to teach his church to be more like Jesus.

Jesus Focused pastor (aka Chris) wrote:

Dear Pastor Connor, (Consumer Focused),

I wanted to take a minute out of my day and congratulate you on all of the growth that you are seeing at your church. I drove by your facility yesterday and I saw all of the construction that was taking place; it looks amazing. The word around town is that God is really doing something in your church. I hear that you are seeing more and more people every Sunday attend. That's awesome. You have only been established for 3 years and already have probably 10 times the amount of attendees that we have on a given Sunday and your charasima, so I hear, is extremely motivating. My daughter went to visit your church while visiting from college and said that your Worship was out of this world. Everything was perfectly put together and the sound was awesome, she said.

I just wanted to hear from you, how you are seeing all of your success. I am an older guy who has been in ministry for 20 years and have never seen the success that you are seeing. Whats your secret? How are you drawing so many people? How are you leading such a monster?

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you.

Bless you in Christ,
Pastor Chris, (Christ Centered)

To see the remainder of the conversation, look under the comments section.

ABC and Biblical Christianity (copy/paste)

I don't think that I ever have copied and pasted something on my blog. I think that a blog should be our origional thoughts. However, I read this and wanted to share. I thought it was extremely interesting and a good example of our current mainstream culture.

Jim Neugent is a coach in Childress , Texas ...Jim writes:

My name is Jim Neugent. I wrote to ABC (on-line) concerning a program called 'THE PRACTICE.' In last night's episode, one of the lawyer's mothers decided she is gay and wanted her son to go to court and help her get a marriage license so she could marry her ' partner. ' I sent the following letter to ABC yesterday and really did not expect a reply, but I did get one.

My original message was:

ABC is obsessed with the subject of homosexuality. I will no longer watch any of your attempts to convince the world that homosexuality is OK. ' THE PRACTICE ' can be a fairly good show , but last night's program was so typical of your agenda. You picked the ' dufus ' of the office to be the one who was against the idea of his mother being gay, and made him look like a whiner because he had convictions. This type of mentality calls people like me a 'gay basher.' Read the first chapter of Romans (that's in the Bible) and see what the apostle Paul had to say about it.... He, God and Jesus were all ' gay bashers ' . What if she'd fallen in love with her cocker spaniel? Is that an alternative life style? (By the way, the Bible speaks against that, too.)--Jim Neugent

Here is ABC ' s reply from the ABC on-line webmaster:

How about getting your nose out of the Bible (which is ONLY a book of stories compiled by MANY different writers hundreds of years ago) and read the declaration of independence (what our nation is built on), where it says 'All Men are Created equal,' and try treating them that way for a change! Or better yet, try thinking for yourself and stop using an archaic book of stories as your lame crutch for your existence. You are in the minority in this country, and your boycott will not affect u s at ABC or our freedom of statement.

Jim Neugent ' s second response to ABC:

Thanks for your reply. From your harsh reply, evidently I hit a nerve. I will share it with all with whom I come in contact. Hopefully, the Arkansas Democrat Newspaper will include it in one of their columns and I will be praying for you.- -Jim Neugent- -

Road Trip (Boston Friends - Please Read!!)

Beth and I are planning a trip to Boston the weekend of February 20-22. During this trip we would like to have some of our friends visit the area with us to see what we are getting ourselves into. This will be a time of prayer for our ministry, a time to connect with each other, and a time to seek God about our roles (if any) in this church plant.

If you are in Greensboro, we will look to get a 15 passenger van to drive. We'll leave Friday somewhere between 3 and 5pm. We will drive through the night taking turns in the cockpit and sleeping. We'll spend some time in the city and on the North Shore. Then on Saturday night, I would like to all get together at a church to just spend some time praying together. I am inviting some people who are in the Boston area and will be supporting us in some way or form to join us.

We have friends and family in the area so sleeping arrangements will not be much of a problem. I am sure there will be an aspect of Ghettoness to it, but ain't nothing wrong with a little ghetto. Remember Jesus said, "Foxes have holes and Birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. We're just tryin to be Christ Like!!

Get excited. It's gonna be fun!!!
If your interested in going with us, please let me know. Also, if you can be there on Saturday night, let me know. I would love it if you could!! Just leave me a comment on this blog or shoot me an e-mail at mwchewning@yahoo.com I will update the details as I work them out.

Netcast Update (our new website)

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to drop you all a note about where we currently are at with our church plant. Currently we are talking with Daystar Christian Fellowship, our home church, about how they will sponsor us. This past week we received our first donation, which was a total act of the Lord. We never asked for money and this couple felt the Lord put it on their hearts to give. I also just finalized my personality test for the Acts 29 network. It came back positive....I have a personality. haha.

The latest news is that we currently have a temporary website up and running. On it you can find detailed information about who we are, our time-line, the city we will be moving to and more. Please take 2 minutes and go and check it out at http://www.ourchurch.com/member/n/netcastchurch/

As we get closer to moving, my brother-in-law has donated his services to build us a full website. We're very excited about that.

Thanks for keeping up with us.