Warfare (Netcast Church Update)

Hi guys,

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

Matt Chewning

Any gifts can be sent to 4604 Ridgefall Rd, Greensboro NC 27410. Make any checks out to Daystar Christian Fellowship.

13 comments:

Jen Shomo said...

I love my family... :) and I love the work he is doing in us! Im proud of you Matt, keep fighting: our army is much stronger than ANYTHING Satan can throw at us! You know that already... in prayer for the mission!

Mom said...

I agree with Jen. I love your passion for the work you believe you were meant to do. I am proud to say that you are my son.

Jon Austin said...

Matt, thanks for the update. God will provide everything that you need to accomplish His plan...

I don't usually comment on blogs...but...

I can't get past your first statement:

"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."

Dude. I think you need to be very careful how you word things. That's a pretty offensive statement. I know you...and I'm still offended - I can only imagine what others who don't know you might think.

A couple of things...first, where do you get the stats that Christianity is predominantly female? (just curious). But more importantly, using a blanket statement like you did and saying that the church is full of limp wristed men is not only untrue, it's also very harsh and completely offensive to men in the church (of which I am one).

Maybe you'd like to reword your statement before we talk about it more?

Peace,

Jon

Matt Chewning said...

Hey Jon, good to hear from you. Seems like I may have caused some controversy. I hope that you don't look at me as some sort of male ego or something like that because that was not my intent at all. I could definitely see how my words can be taken that way. Anyway, there are ample stats (I've listed them below) that show that Western Christianity is predominately female; however, that is not really an issue for me at all. I love that there are so many strong women of God. You and I married a couple of the strongest Christian women I know. (Lucky us.)

One of the things that I really feel is a calling on me is to lead the men. Did you know that in 80% of the homes where the man is an active participant of the local church, the entire family follows? Pretty cool stat from the Barna Group as well. The concept of the quote that you cited me writing was taken from "Wild at Heart" Chapter 1 and 2 (except for the limp wristed part, which I probably could have done without.) I too am a man of the church which is in part why I wrote what I did. Partially because I feel that way about myself at times. From my experience I have seen that many men in the church often deal with the same issue, so I’m not alone. Recently I was at a church service where they were sending out a couple to another church for ministry. The pastor invited the congregation to come up and lay hands on the couple and pray. 21 women and 0 men went up. Now, I am soooo thankful for those women of God who laid hands on that couple and prayed passionately for the sending of the couple. However, I was a little thrown off that none of the men were willing to lead in that manor.

I know that at times I tend to not watch my tone or attitude as I sit down and type. That is definitely an area that God is working on me. Thanks for giving me your perspective. I really appreciate it.

Gender Inequalities (Barna Group)

Women proved to be much more spiritually inclined than men in relation to most of the religious measures examined. Females were more likely to say they were absolutely committed to Christianity (10 percentage points higher), read the Bible (+10 points), attend church (+11 points), pray to God (+13 points), participate in a small group (+7 points), and have a quiet time (+14 points). The differences between the two genders were statistically insignificant regarding volunteering at church, attending Sunday school and sharing their faith. Men were much more likely to be unchurched (38% vs. 29%), meaning that they had not attended a church service other than for a special event such as a wedding or funeral at any time in the past six months. Women were also more likely than were men to be born again by a 45%-to-36% margin.

Tearfund
The Tearfund report shows that in the UK the ratio of women to men in church is 65% to 35%. So while men still dominate the priesthood or pastorship, statistics show that 2/3 of the church membership are women and if you look at programmes run within the church a much higher percentage of them are led by women than men. There is no gender gap in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism or Hinduism, nor is it a feature of the Eastern Orthodox Church. If you look at the Tearfund report, buried in Appendix 1, you find data that actually confirms this.

Edgar said...

Matt,

this was a very good post. Funny, but I couldn't get by that statement either, the one that Jon Austin quoted,

"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."

I couldn't get over this statement of yours because it is so refreshingly bold!

You've observed something that was peculiar to you and expressed it in a straightforward way. In my opinion there's no need to worry about offending anyone.

Who says that being offensive is a moral negative anyway? No matter what you say or how you say it, someone can find it offensive.

I believe offensiveness is in the mind of the beholder.

I also think you are right on the mark with your observation about limp wristed christian men. If it's truthful to your experience I see no need to apologize for it.

This politically correct idea that you have to tailor your speech or writing to conform to some emerging trend of moral relativism is exactly what keeps people from speaking their minds.

It's a form of thought control. You are not allow to THINK certain things a certain way. This politically correct nonsense stifles expression and sometimes truth.

I swear, in todays age PLAIN TRUTH is more offensive than pornography!

I think Jesus was considered offensive in his time. I think that Jesus wants us to be bold like you are being.

Here's another way I look at this whole idea of offensiveness. If such things are on your mind and you don't express them because it's not politically correct then you offend less people but, that's because they don't really know who you are!

Sure people would like you more but not the real you. These politically incorrect thoughts are indeed in your mind and are part of who you are. Suppress that and you'll just squirm like a little worm under the heal of political correctness, quietly behaving yourself and keeping your true thoughts to yourself.

Besides, if you plan to lead men to God I wouldn't suppose a limp wristed approach would be the best way to set an example of a manly leader. But that's my opinion.

Continue to be bold Matt and remember that often times the truth is offensive. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Jon Austin said...

Matt thanks for the response. I think I do know your heart, and I have no doubt that God will use you in great ways in Boston.

This topic of offending people is probably going to be very helpful for you to think through before you plant the church.

Hopefully this discussion will be useful, whether you lean more toward Edgar's or my thoughts. I do have some comments on what Edgar wrote. I'm surrounded by four kids so excuse me if this is a little scattered.

Edgar, I think you make some good points. But for me, you take them to a place that makes Christ followers look ugly.

To tell Matt that he should not worry about offending anyone is, in my opinion, terrible advise for someone who is about to plant a church.

Yes, Jesus was considered offensive at times. And yes, a Christ followers lifestyle may be viewed as offensive if we are truly living out the gospel. The message of Christ is so completely opposite of what the world thinks, it should seem offensive to the world. But this discussion is not about Jesus or Scripture being offensive, it's about the way we speak (write) and get our thoughts across to others. A lot of Matt's success at planting a church will be based around how he can communicate the Gospel.

You are right that someone can find offense in anything we say. So we must assess who we are going to or are trying to offend. Again, to simply speak your mind without thinking about who you will offend is NOT good advice.

My point for responding to this blog was to let Matt know how he was coming across to me. If it was his intention to offend, then that's a different story. I don't think that was the intention.

"It's a form of thought control. You are not allowed to THINK certain things a certain way."

It's not about what we think, it's about how we portray our thoughts to others. Being bold and being offensive are two different things.

Yes, the truth can be offensive. And Scripture is truth. But I think we are little too bold to think our own views are always truth. Do we want to risk pushing people away from Christ with harsh statements about the makeup of men in the church? I don't. Just my opinion...

Edgar said...

Jon,

you did a great job in expressing your well formed thoughts especially with 4 kids jumping all around you.

I still think you are fatally wrong.

Let me respond to a few of your statements.

"To tell Matt that he should not worry about offending anyone is, in my opinion, terrible advise for someone who is about to plant a church."

Well I don't think Matt should call anyone a racial slur or any other kind of purely offensive name. He should not be offensive just because he cares not about other peoples feelings and such.

However, whatever Matt feels is the truth in his heart should not be diluted to conform to currently accepted and politically correct discourse.

The bible speaks about the church of the end times being neither hot nor cold but rather lukewarm. God says he therefore wants to 'spit it out of his mouth' so to speak.

I think that verse describes the current state of the church.

Sure, if you want to start a church and not mess with your income, or not upset the applecarts of the congregation then you should give feel good sermons about Jesus' love and that's it.

That's every church these days. It's a business. But by contrast it's a rare and special treat to hear a pastor who is not afraid to say the bold and ugly things that sometimes need to be said.

Matt should speak his true heart as God is in his heart and speaks to him.

Gods message is stifled with politically correct speak.

"it's about the way we speak (write) and get our thoughts across to others. A lot of Matt's success at planting a church will be based around how he can communicate the Gospel."

Plain speak for plain folks is the best form of communication.

Look at jesus for example. What did he do? He upset the collections tables and called them all vipers and snakes.

Why didn't jesus use a politically correctly sculpted diatribe to get his point across? Plain speak for plain folks. He got his point across in no unmistakable terms. His truth couldn't be ignored.

Jesus was BOLD! Christians should be bold.

Look, when a pastor fails to address sensitive issues for the sake of keeping his church alive it is already dead.

Don't wear a lack of manners on your sleeve but don't shy away from the ugly truths that need to be addressed, and they are ugly.

I don't go to church because I utterly despise the lukewarm and PC approach used by most pastors. There's no fire, no passion and a careful stepping around of issues that might divide a church.

That's why I hate church and hold it in utter contempt.

"Do we want to risk pushing people away from Christ with harsh statements about the makeup of men in the church? I don't. Just my opinion..."

Yes we should take that risk. Speak the truth, speak it loudly and make no apologies. Or else just fall in line with the rest of the ineffective lukewarm endtimes church.

Don't be offensive just for the style of it but rather don't avoid it. We need new vigor, passion and directness in the current church and Matt is the kind of guy (I think) that can refreshingly deliver that, like Jesus did and in the same manner.

Just one mans opinion.

I do respect your thoughts though and don't claim to be right in this regard. But I do detect the poison of political correctness in your thoughts and I thinks it's fatal and characterizes the reason for the ineffectiveness of the church today in America.

Edgar said...

""Do we want to risk pushing people away from Christ with harsh statements about the makeup of men in the church? I don't. Just my opinion..."

It's precisely your reasoning that keeps me from going to church. Ever think about that?

The truth is a sword and you don't spread butter with a sword. If you congregation comes in with something green stuck to their front teeth do them a favor. Be a good pastor and tell them.

Do you have any idea why the christian church is such an abject failure in America today?

It's because the pastors and leaders fail to address divisive issues. Money rules the day.

Pastoring a church is not for the fainthearted. I just can't help but express myself strongly on this issue as I can't stomach seeing another passionate young pastor succumb to this pc stuff.

I just find the current state of the church to be a totally ineffective and sick joke. It disgusts me. Utterly!

That's my final thought on the subject as I just can't stand to talk about it.

Matt do as you wish but remember my advice if you choose to go another way and see, in the end, if I was right.

Peace fellas...

Jon said...

Edgar, I think you’ll see that we are actually more in line than you think. A lot of the things you have said I can completely agree with. I’m not sure if you really understand where I am coming from…I have just added some comments in parenthesis onto you’re last posts. (Two posts)

Well I don't think Matt should call anyone a racial slur or any other kind of purely offensive name. He should not be offensive just because he cares not about other peoples feelings and such. (I agree.)

However, whatever Matt feels is the truth in his heart should not be diluted to conform to currently accepted and politically correct discourse. (I agree. Yet there are times that we have to dilute our words. There is a time and a place to for certain thoughts to be shared. If we lack a filter before we speak, it causes problems.)

The bible speaks about the church of the end times being neither hot nor cold but rather lukewarm. God says he therefore wants to 'spit it out of his mouth' so to speak.

I think that verse describes the current state of the church. (I agree, for some churches. If you are truly looking for a church that is ‘hot’, you’ll find plenty. Yes, even in America.)

Sure, if you want to start a church and not mess with your income, or not upset the applecarts of the congregation then you should give feel good sermons about Jesus' love and that's it. (I agree.)

That's every church these days. (Untrue – you’re clearly not looking hard enough.) It's a business. (Untrue – although there are some aspects of any organization, including a church, that must run like a business. It’s not a bad thing.) But by contrast it's a rare and special treat to hear a pastor who is not afraid to say the bold and ugly things that sometimes need to be said.

Matt should speak his true heart as God is in his heart and speaks to him. (I agree.)

Gods message is stifled with politically correct speak. (I agree that it can be.)

"it's about the way we speak (write) and get our thoughts across to others. A lot of Matt's success at planting a church will be based around how he can communicate the Gospel."

Plain speak for plain folks is the best form of communication. (I agree. But I’m not sure how that ties into this conversation about offensive language. Are you saying that the church should speak offensively because people are offensive and will flock to Christ if we act like them?)

Look at jesus for example. What did he do? He upset the collections tables and called them all vipers and snakes.

Why didn't jesus use a politically correctly sculpted diatribe to get his point across? Plain speak for plain folks. He got his point across in no unmistakable terms. His truth couldn't be ignored.

Jesus was BOLD! Christians should be bold. (I agree. But it seems like you are using the terms ‘bold’ and ‘offensive’ interchangeably when they are in fact very different. Nobody is saying that Christians should not be bold.)

Look, when a pastor fails to address sensitive issues for the sake of keeping his church alive it is already dead. (This is a blanket statement which is not necessarily true.)

Don't wear a lack of manners on your sleeve but don't shy away from the ugly truths that need to be addressed, and they are ugly. (I agree.)

I don't go to church because I utterly despise the lukewarm and PC approach used by most pastors. There's no fire, no passion and a careful stepping around of issues that might divide a church. (I highly doubt that’s the real reason you don’t go to church. If it is, keep looking - you’ll find a church that ‘suits’ your approach to the gospel.)

Jon said...

That's why I hate church and hold it in utter contempt.

"Do we want to risk pushing people away from Christ with harsh statements about the makeup of men in the church? I don't. Just my opinion..."

Yes we should take that risk. (Why do you say ‘we’ like you are a part of the church when you clearly hate the church. As someone who is not part of the church, it is good to hear what you observe in the church. However, I’m not sure you are the best one to giving advice about taking risks within the church.) Speak the truth, speak it loudly and make no apologies. Or else just fall in line with the rest of the ineffective lukewarm endtimes church. (Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. MANY issues are caused by people opening theirs mouths before they’ve thought through what they are going to say.)

Don't be offensive just for the style of it but rather don't avoid it. We need new vigor, passion and directness in the current church and Matt is the kind of guy (I think) that can refreshingly deliver that, like Jesus did and in the same manner. (I agree.)

Just one mans opinion.

I do respect your thoughts though and don't claim to be right in this regard. But I do detect the poison of political correctness in your thoughts and I thinks it's fatal and characterizes the reason for the ineffectiveness of the church today in America. (There are many churches that are very effective in America today. There are also many reasons why churches become ineffective. I highly doubt that “political correctness…characterizes the reason for the ineffectiveness of the church today in America.” (If you know of some study that shows this, I’ll agree with you). It seems like you have such a bad experience with the church that you are grouping all churches together and saying that they all suck. It’s just not true.)

""Do we want to risk pushing people away from Christ with harsh statements about the makeup of men in the church? I don't. Just my opinion..."

It's precisely your reasoning that keeps me from going to church. Ever think about that? (No, I’ve never thought about that and don’t plan on giving it too much thought. And again, I don’t think it’s the real reason you don’t attend a church. There are many kinds of churches, some who would fall in line with your thinking. It’s kind of like saying, I’m not going to go to school because I hate the way that teacher in Kansas teaches. If it’s my reasoning that keeps you out of church, I think you need to take a look at how you make decisions.)

The truth is a sword and you don't spread butter with a sword. If you congregation comes in with something green stuck to their front teeth do them a favor. Be a good pastor and tell them. (I think you might be taking that idea about the sword a little out of context. Yes, the truth is a sword, but not for offending and cutting people down. I think it’s a misunderstanding of this scripture that causes a lot of problems. People think they can interpret the bible how they see fit, then use it as a sword to cut others down. How many thousands of people run from the church because they think the church is waiting with a sword to judge their life? (in my experience, many churches are). People use scripture as a sword to destroy homosexuals, thieves, liars etc to the detriment of the kingdom. The kingdom is made up of such as these.)

Jon said...

Do you have any idea why the christian church is such an abject failure in America today? (You seem to generalize very easily – it makes it difficult to have a conversation. There are many churches that are thriving, serving and seeking God’s will.)

It's because the pastors and leaders fail to address divisive issues. Money rules the day. (This blanket statement is flat out untrue. Just because SOME may fail, and SOME allow money to rule, you cannot judge the entire church based on these people.)
Pastoring a church is not for the fainthearted. (I agree.) I just can't help but express myself strongly on this issue as I can't stomach seeing another passionate young pastor succumb to this pc stuff.
Actually three posts...

I just find the current state of the church to be a totally ineffective and sick joke. It disgusts me. Utterly!

That's my final thought on the subject as I just can't stand to talk about it. (You’re doing a great job talking about it for someone who can’t stand to talk about it.)

Edgar said...

Jon, I appreciate that you are a friend of Matt's and that you had the best intentions in mind when you judged him for his apparent abandonment of politically correct discourse.

I look at small things and see big things through them. To me our little debate here Jon is not about Matt, the church, me or you. It's about the effects of so called political correctness on the free flow of ideas and expression.

I think political correctness is an intellectual virus. It works against open and honest communication.

It's in this context and framework that I criticize your judgment against Matt's capricious abandonment of politically correct values, which I applaud him for. It's refreshing, not hateful or offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

So I just wanted to make clear the context, in my mind, of my criticisms.

Since you went through the trouble to really read my last comment and thoughtful reply to many points, I will show you the same respect and reply in kind...but then I'm through with this one. It's too much for me.

Edgar said...

"Do you have any idea why the christian church is such an abject failure in America today? (You seem to generalize very easily – it makes it difficult to have a conversation,"

Criticizing me for generalizing? Why? You generalized:

"The message of Christ is so completely opposite of what the world thinks,"

"That's a pretty offensive statement. I know you...and I'm still offended - I can only imagine what others who don't know you might think."

Exactly what is SO offensive?

More generalities:

"There are many churches that are very effective in America today"

As you would say Jon, where are the stats? So much for generalities being an impediment to our conversation.

"Why do you say ‘we’ like you are a part of the church when you clearly hate the church."

I never said I hate "The Church" but rather church itself. Jon, there are spiritual people who believe in God that don't attend church. I say "we" as in "we who believe in God" of which I am definitely included thank you.

"I highly doubt that “political correctness…characterizes the reason for the ineffectiveness of the church today in America.” (If you know of some study that shows this, I’ll agree with you)"

Jon this is not a stats thing, this is a logic thing. If political correctness inhibits free speech and open conversation then it inhibits those things in the church as well.

Don't believe me? Think I'm making too much of it? Just look north to Canada. Certain verses of the bible are labeled hate speech and thus are not to be uttered in the public square.

They are trampling on the bible with political correctness and labeling it hate speech.

That's what happens when PC runs amok and it's the indifference of people like you who let it happen, not people like me.

There will be no more open and honest communication about God in this country if weak 'christians' are prone to this knee-jerk PC mentality.

I know you think you are more refined than me Jon but your way of thinking is precisely the instrument that will be used to eventually censure the bible in America an inch at a time.

The church (so to speak) in Canada is now rendered an abject failure because integral verses in the bible have been labeled hate speech making open conversation about God problematic. My prediction for this country has already manifest itself in our neighbors to the North yet you are blissfully unaware that you have been intellectually poisoned in the same way.

It happens a little bit at a time. If you want to contain Gods word then keep reminding everyone to be nice and PC. As the boundaries of acceptable speech narrow so will the right to openly discuss all matters of God and the bible.