I Have Beautiful Toes.

I love my little princess, Abby. Actually I love all of my babies, but this is two posts in a row for daddies "Beautiful Woman of God."

On Saturday Abby decided that it would be a great idea to paint my toenails a beautiful pink color. Being the good sport that I typically am, I happily agreed to let her get her painting on as long as it made her happy.

The only problem is that I totally forgot about it. I was occupied watching UNC choke while playing Maryland and just slipped my socks on and never thought about it again. That was until today when I was at the gym. I was just getting done doing my plyometrics strength training and my feet were killing me from all of the jumping. I was going to put on my flip flops until I took my socks off and realized..........oops.
I forgot to get the nail polish off. So as you can imagine, I was sitting there with pink toenails right in front of about 10 dudes. No really, DUDES, you know like massive buff ballers. I don't think anyone noticed though.........THANK GOD. I would have never heard the end of it.

However, now the whole blogging world knows.

The Power of a Praying Child (Little Abby)

The routine for nite nite time in the Chewning Home is pretty basic. Come 8:00pm the kids get in their PJ's run upstairs, brush their teeth and then go to their rooms. Typically I will put Ella in bed first with a bottle, pray for her, put her music on and the shut the door. Then Daniel is next, I usually have to get him a glass of water and tell him a story that incorporates Spiderman and Jesus. There always freestyle so you can only imagine how crazy the flow can get. I pray for him and then ask him what he is; his quick reply is always "A Mighty Man of God." To which I say; "Don't you ever forget it." and shut the door. Then on to Abby who is a little more difficult and loves to try and convince you to stay in her bed with her a little longer than necessary. But that routine is pretty similar to Daniels as well; water, prayer, and then the question with her reply being "I'm A Beautiful Woman of God."

I tell you this because this past night something happened that was a little different. Daniel is sleeping at a friends house so Abby is allowed to sleep in my room on the floor. I put Ella to bed and then tucked Abby in. We did our routine and when we were done she said it. It was those words that a Father longs for, the words that will make any daddy's heart both melt and leap at the same time. "Daddy, Can I pray for you?" Now our family prays for each other often; when there are booboos, when someone gets in trouble, when someones feelings get hurt, before school, during meals, etc. However for some reason tonight really touched me in a way that was different.

So.....I got down with Abby, she put her hand on my head and pulled me close so that we were face to face on her pillow. Then she prayed for me. She thanked the Lord for giving her a Daddy that she loved so much, a daddy that plays with her and kisses her all of the time. It was not long and elaborate like most Super-Christians are but it was beautiful and simple and brought tears to my eyes. Now, I don't often cry or admit to crying but it is beautiful to see God working in the life of your child even at only 4 years old.

"Thank you Lord because I do not deserve this, but yet you have entrusted me to this family. Help me lead like a Godly man should. Forgive me of my sin and free me. I love you."

Matt's Valentines Day Wisdom.

Happy Valentines Day. Well Kinda.....

Beth and I agree that Valentines day is overrated. Like many other holidays in America; it is a time for marketing and debt. It is another reason to spend money that we don't have and buy things that we don't need. Let me give you all a little wisdom from my short 26 years of life experience. "If Valentines Day is a time for you to focus on loving your spouse or significant other more deeply; than your missing it." In my house we try and do Valentines year round. We shouldn't dedicate 1 day per year to the love of our life.

Let me give some practical advise for all of you and some of the things that I have implemented in our house.

1. Do a date night every week. This does not have to be extravagant. It can be a date out or in the house. Pick a night that the two of you sit down with no kids and have dinner together, maybe a little drink (Some Red Wine or a Sam Adams winter ale would be my suggestions) Have some dessert planned and maybe a movie or a game. Beth and I like a romantic comedy or Uno. It is so important to set aside some of your time to spend with your boo. All week long you run around doing stuff and it is so easy to forget the love of your life. Make this night the same night of the week every week. NEVER schedule anything on your date night. Sanctify that time and never let things get in the way. Every Wednesday we have a babysitter (Usually my father-in-law) come over to watch the kids while Beth and I get dinner and get some coffee. Then we'll come home and watch LOST together.

2. If your married; Make Love Often...Very Often: Fellas, Love Making is more than just a time to "get off." It is also a time to know your lover in ways that nobody else can or is allowed. "Drink and eat your fill O lovers"; "Enjoy the wife of your youth"; these just some of the references to good love making in scripture. Sex in marriage is for many reasons. It is a way to serve your spouse, protect your spouse, control your spouse, encourage your spouse, pleasure your spouse. Most importantly it keeps Satan from creeping into your bedroom (1 Cor 7). This should be no surprise to anyone but Beth and I try to enjoy one another as often as we can. It builds trust, brings unity and grows our desire and passion for each other.

3. Serve your spouse or significant. Your life goal is to serve your spouse or significant other. We are all prone to wanting to be served because we are selfish by nature and are always looking out for #1. True love is putting yourself last and others before you. This is so important in relationships. I try so hard to do this with Beth. This does not have to be with huge things; they are the small things. Every night I get up with the babies. For the past 2 years I cannot remember one time that Beth had to get up with one of the kids. She has them for the first year while they breastfeed; I get the the rest of their life. That's just how we role in our house. I put the kids to bed, clean the dishes, and help out in every way possible. The fulfillment I have in serving Beth is greater than being served by Beth. It's almost like Jesus was right; "its better to serve than be served." MEN.....Do your best to serve without expecting something in return. WOMEN....If your man serves you; its always nice to get something in return. (I'm just sayin)

4. Talk to each other. Very few couples do this and it sounds so basic. We need to talk talk talk and talk some more. Beth and I talk all of the time throughout the day. If we don't talk often throughout the day its either because we talked about something and it turned into a fight or we haven't talked so now we have to fight about why we didn't talk. People at work get on me all of the time about this. They see me on the phone with Beth; e-mailing with Beth, Texting with Beth, etc. It is important that we do this with each other. Communication within relationships protects and grows the relationship.

5. Build Trust. Trust is not something that is just there; it is something that is consistently either growing or declining. It very rarely stays stagnant. I want Beth to trust me more than I trust myself. To do this, I hide nothing. Beth has full access to everything I do. She can see everything on my calendar; she can see every e-mail that has been sent or received; she can see my phone at any time and review anything that she wishes. She knows every password and sees every dollar that I spend. This is so important. It works as a trust builder and built in accountability from any way that Satan will try to attack you. MEN....You all should do this!

So there you go, that's my Valentines Day wisdom. Hope you enjoyed.

Acts 29 Boot Camp and Assessment Overview.

Well the boot camp is over. It was a great time to spend away with Beth and we had a chance to meet some awesome people. I guess the highlights for me were getting some time to talk with Tyler Jones, Wayne Grudem, Mark Driscoll, and Scott Thomas (All who are in the pic above) and all of our assessors. (Not sure who is wearing the Boston Red Sox hat in the pic; that's cool though)

The first day started out with Pastor Mark talking about the Holy Spirit and about how A29 is ReformedISH and CharismatISH; he did this by preaching through Luke and Acts. He talked about how unlike most networks or movements, A29 is looking to pull strengths from all over in order to be most biblical. They value people like John Piper, Don Carson, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, CJ Mahaney, etc. It was very encouraging. Then Wayne Grudem got up and told us to all "be strong and act like men." It was an awesome message that he shared with us.

That night we met up with our assessors and had dinner. We had some great men of God assessing us. It was both nerve racking and exciting all at the same time. The next day was all about mission and what it means to be a church on mission. Everyone talked a lot about training our congregations to understand that the are all Christ's ambassadors and missionaries in their culture. The speakers were great for that as well. Beth did the wives track that day too.

That night we went back to the hotel for a good night sleep to get ready for the assessment. We woke up and headed out. When we got there we sat in a room with the assessors. There were 2 guys and 1 church planting couple. They started right off with Beth. The asked her questions about our relationship and me as a husband and daddy. Then they asked me about my relationship with my father, my kids, and Beth. They asked some theology questions and things about our church vision.

In all I thought the assessment was a success. They were able to uncover some things that could be issues if we are not careful. They offered some great suggestions and in the end prayed for us. I think that it was a very confirming week. God really used the time to speak to Beth and I and confirm the calling. I felt that it the assessment was totally God. The team that assessed us did a great job in finding some areas of weakness and offered us some great encouragement. The areas that I think that they focused on were:

1. I probably am naive of the effects of being brought up in a broken home.
2. I need to better understand the narrative Gospel; not just the Theological Gospel.
3. The church gets my "Holy Leftovers" after my personal walk w/ Christ and my family.
4. Better understand Missiology.

Thank you for all who were praying for us during this. We definitely felt the Holy Spirit moving on our behalf. Thank you all and we love you.

Here are some more pics of some friends we made.

TJ and Jennifer from Florida

Will and Nerida from Austraila

Boot Camp Tomorrow. (Please Pray for Us!)

Tomorrow Beth and I leave early in the morning to travel to Raleigh for our Acts 29 Boot Camp and assessment. I am both excited and nervous. Excited because this will be a powerful conference where God in his might will show up; and nervous because other men of God have a part of my future in their hands. As most of you know, this journey to move and plant in Boston has been about a 2 - 3 year process. Beth and I prided ourselves on never getting ahead of God no matter how strong the temptation. If it were up to us, we would have moved long ago, however that would not have been the Lords will; it would have been ours. Over the past 3 years we have grown so much. God has given us unbelievable friends, opportunities and experiences that only the He could have ordained. All of those things would have been missed if we got ahead of the Lord.

We feel that we have heard so clearly that God is calling us to plant in Boston. We believe that ALL (not missing one) of the people that we trust and respect have confirmed this calling in our lives. We have received supernatural revelations from the Lord that we could talk about all day if given the time.

Please take 1 minute and ask the lord to do these things for us this week at the assessment:

That he would confirm our calling through these men who will be assessing us. That the Lord will speak clearly to us and that our hearts and minds will be open to what He wants to say to us. That He will lead, guide and direct our paths (Proverbs 3). Please pray that I (and Beth) will be ourselves while being assessed. That we will be open and honest about who we are and where we are at; not trying to please man but rather God. (1 Cor 15) That I will be confident about what we are being called to do (Philippians 1). Pray that we have protection from the enemy who is literally prowling around us right now just waiting for an ideal opportunity to devour us (1 Peter). He wants to kill, steal and destroy the will and plan of God in us (John 10) but we desire to stand firm and when we have done all to stand; we'll continue to stand (Ephesians 6). Amen.

I want to thank all of you who have walked with us either directly or indirectly. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for you. That you have been willing to listen to me, read what I write, pray for me, or even speak into my life. You will never understand how the Lord has used you in my life. If you are reading this and think that I am not talking to you; your wrong. You all have had some sort of influence in me at some point in my life. For that I say "Thank You and I Love you"