Housing Update & Birthday Video


I wanted to give you an update on the housing situation, so here it is….

Purchase and Sale: 
Last week we had our inspection on the home which came back good except for some minor punch list items. After submitting the list of changes, we have heard back and the builder will be fixing mostly everything so we can potentially have a closing by the end of the year.

Financing: 
We talked to about 5 different banks and today landed on our lender. The good thing is that this bank will service the entire loan for its entire length, is located in Beverly and has a very competitive interest rate. This is helpful on a number of levels. This is a huge blessing for a number of reasons.

Fundraising: 
We are grateful to Jesus that people have shown interest in helping us with, what should be, our last effort of fundraising for a long time. We are still about $55,000 short of our goal but have 35 days to go. I am both nervous and excited to see how the Lord will provide. Please pray for Beth and I through this time.

Thank You and Birthday Video:
I am so grateful for your partnership with our family. Many of you have prayed faithfully, some of you have encouraged us continually and others have generously given financially. There is no way that Netcast would be who we are without your love. I love the church that God has given me to shepherd and lead. Just last week, I celebrated my 31st birthday and they made me an awesome video.

How to Give:
This is not a closing tactic by any means!! But, many of you have asked for information on how to give and I would hate to rob you of the opportunity. HAHA. All of that info is below.

Until all have heard,
      Matt and Beth

Send a check: 
Payable to Netcast Church 
Attn: Matt Chewning 
186 Cabot St. Beverly MA 01915 

Give Online: 
  1. Click "Netcast Online Giving" 
  2. Select "Pastor Support Matt Chewning" 
  3. Fill out the remaining info and submit it.

Life-Story at Netcast Church


I love my job. It is stories like this that get me up in the morning.  

Matt: 

 I've considered myself a Christian my entire life, but I specifically gave my life to Christ in middle school. I knew I was His, but not with as much certainty as I know now. Growing up in a Christian household, attending church on Sundays, learning what it means to put my faith into action on a daily basis, all contributed to a foundational understanding of what it is that Christ's death on the cross accomplished for my life. When I asked Christ to take over my life, I underestimated His promise of hardship and discipline for those He loves. 

Understandably, life presented it's fair share of hardships throughout high school and college. Those hardships enabled doubt to blind me from the reality of Christ's forgiveness. I realize hardships will always be a reality. It's God's way of bringing the focus back to Him. In one sense, being baptized was my way of accepting that reality. I attended the baptism service without intending on being baptized. However, I was consumed by a peace that reassured me it was time I stopped letting doubt paralyze my desire to fully rest in the strength of Jesus Christ. I had no reason to deny any longer what I know to be true about my life. That peace slammed the door on the doubt that has so easily crippled my faith at times, or that has robbed me of an eagerness to serve the One who saved my life. I understand baptism to be an outward expression of what has occurred inwardly; the decision to be baptized was as much of an outward declaration to myself as it was to anyone who witnessed that service. My mom once told me: "Don't forget in the darkness, what you know to be the truth in the light." Being baptized was a way of recognizing and obeying His truth. 

Anyone who desires to make much of the name of Jesus Christ, will inevitably face countless moments where worldly desires and faith collide. While wrong decisions are unavoidable, and repercussions of sin ensue, the realization of Grace in my life is an overwhelming catalyst to my ever-growing faith in Jesus Christ. It is perhaps the single best way I can explain why I know that my life it not my own! I know that being baptized solidified a greater appreciation for the grace I so desperately need each and every day. 

Ultimately, I hope to be a man who praises God when times are bad, just as much as I do when times are good. The water rushing over my body is a moment I'll forever keep frozen in my mind, which helps me fulfill that goal. That image depicts what Christ's love has done to my heart. It renews my confidence that I'm forgiven, and that He is faithful, even when I am not. I try to hold on to that experience, that moment, as a way of preventing doubt from clouding my mind. Some days I'm better at it than others, but that's the beauty of His grace! 

I'm really thankful for the opportunity to be baptized at Netcast. I hope you enjoy your week. 

Take care,

Please Pray: Housing Situtation

I still remember sitting at my office in North Carolina and reading Deuteronomy 8:7-10 “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land…a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing...praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”

I was terrified and anxious yet full of adrenaline as those words jumped off the pages. Then Lord said, “Don't be afraid, I am calling you to Greater Boston and I will provide.” At that time we owned a new construction home, had 4 kids and never wanted to leave. I remember thinking how crazy it would be to give up such a great job, a great home, great friends and family; to move to one of the most expensive areas in the country. In addition to that I was going to start a church in one of the least reached regions in America. But the Lord was clear; so we went.

That was 3 years ago, and three years later we are still seeing God do amazing things.

Officially Under Contract
As most of you guys know, we have been looking for a house for the past 6 months. Yesterday we put down an offer on a home in Beverly. Today that offer was accepted and we're officially under contract. This is an extremely exciting day for our family. After serving here for 3 years, we are really excited about being in a permanent home that we can call ours.

Please Pray
Please pray that the Lord opens doors so this dream can become a reality. As much as I hate this part of my job, I have to raise a money for a down payment and have a short window of time to do it. I praise God for the people around me who love our family, believe in our calling and desire to see Netcast thrive.

Until all have heard,

Matt

Netcast is moving to 2 Services 9am & 11am



Netcast is moving to 2 Services.

After much prayer, planning and discussing; Netcast will be going to two services starting September 22nd. The service times will be 9am and 11am. By committing to launch an additional service, especially with the intent of filling it with new people, this gives us the potential of reaching more people for Jesus than we could with a single service. Simply by adding another option and making more room for visitors, a momentum can be created that we never thought was possible. However, this will take some serious commitment on all of our part. A commitment to plan, a commitment to pray, a commitment to give, and a commitment to serve and a commitment to grow in our unity as a body and a mature as worshipers of Jesus. If our volunteers are unable to increase in number and involvement, then our dreams will slowly grind to a halt. However, I truly believe that the road ahead is filled with excitement and adventure for Netcast.

Although this may be a scary thing for us, we will never settle for being a church that is driven by fear. Rather, I pray that we will consistently be driven by faith.

Kingdom-Minded at Netcast



The more I have studied the Kingdom, the less I wanted to teach on it. It is so massive of a topic that I think we could spend our entire lives learning about it and still not come close to fully grasp it's magnitude. The series has really challenged my thinking of mission, unity and the local church. Today I read John 1:1-18 and again was reminded of our responsibility of Kingdom-Mindedness.

John 1:1-18 
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 

Our job as a local church is to always bear witness about Jesus. John the Baptist was a perfect model of this. He lived his life in an effort to decrease so that Jesus would increase. As people would look at him, he would point them back to Jesus, saying "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." May we model the same thing. May Netcast be a place that fights the temptation of trying to put butts in seats in order to build an empire, but rather utilize the influence that God gives to advance the Kingdom by point people to our King.

Gods Presence at Netcast



My daily reading today was to read through the Book of Jonah. As I read the first 3 verses God began to speak….

Jonah 1 
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. 

When the Lord began to put the dream of Netcast in my mind, a longing for "Gods Presence" was at the center of those dreams. I longed for the day to see God build a church that was more concerned with His presence than anything else. Do I love good theology, sound teaching, authentic leadership, Gospel-Centrality, certain worship music, community, etc? Absolutely…But no amount of right intellect, wisdom or musical preference can produce the personal transformation that occurs when we are saturated in the presence of the Lord.

Since Netcast began, "presence" (among other things) has marked us. People have walked into our worship gatherings and been overwhelmed with Gods presence, brought to tears in Gods presence, healed in Gods presence and danced in Gods presence. Presence has grown to become one of the common things that people speak of when they visit Netcast. I can't tell you how many emails I get that speak about visitors "sensing God or feeling God" while in a worship service or Community Group. Sturgeon has continued to encourage us as a church to keep pursuing "Presence over Programs or Process."

When I read those first three verses in Jonah, it stirred things in me. It reminded me of the importance of being faithful to Gods call on Netcast. It reminded me that "Gods Presence" through the proclamation and worship of Gods Son, is our only hope in seeing Greater Boston transformed. It reminded me that if we ever stop prayerfully seeking Gods direction or neglect His leading, then it's possible to lose the most important thing we have; "The presence of the Lord". When Jonah failed to be obedient to the word God gave him and fled to Tarshish instead of Nineveh, it clearly says that "Jonah didn't just run from Gods call, but actually ran from Gods Presence." In the same way, if we stop seeking God for a unified direction, the first thing to go will be the sensing of His Presence. Not because the Lord has left us, but because we stopped following the Lord.

Similar to Jonah, the Lord has called us to a "great city". Like Nineveh, Greater Boston is a great city full of people "who do not know their right hand from their left. (Jonah 4:14)" Greater Boston needs to turn away from its idolatrous evils, repent of its sins, trust in Jesus and experience Gods Presence. May Netcast never stop being a place that displays the beauty of our "gracious God, who is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Jonah 4:2)"

May we lead the way in seeing Gods presence known by (1) keeping Jesus central to everything, (2) creating deep authentic communities, (3) worshiping God with all of our being, (4) planting churches, (5) equipping Gods people as best as we can and (6) being willing to do whatever we believe the Lord is leading us to do.

X Factor Basketball Tournament (3 on 3)

Check out my man Johnathon Currier with X Factor Basketball Training. He is looking to run a 3v3 Basketball Tournament set for August 4th to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and the Beverly YMCA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS.

Team Grade Level: 
  • Middle School: 2PM 
  • High School: 3PM
  • Adults: 4PM
Fill out the flier and bring it to the Beverly YMCA. 


Youth Community Group (High School Girls)

Hey Netcast,

We wanted to let the church body know about a new community group for high school girls that will be starting on July 10th. Emma and Lindsey are recent Gordon grads and now teach first grade in Lawrence. They felt called to start a community group for young women in the church to be able to build relationships with one another and to grow in their knowledge and application of biblical womanhood. They will be discussing several topics that many young women face and looking at how they are called to respond. The group will be meeting every Wednesday night at 70 Lothrop St. in Beverly from 6:30-8:00.

Girls from 9th-12th grade are welcome to come enjoy some food and fellowship.

For more information or any questions, email Emmaloughlin96@gmail.com

Thanks to Emma Loughlin and Lindsay Malenich for your service to the Kingdom.

Being a Missionary at Work.


Since the day I realized the that Jesus calls me a missionary in the context in which I work, I have seen ministry completely different. No longer is missions something I have to do overseas or along side of my church, but rather it is who I am in Christ all day everyday. The problem is that for years I was attempting to climb the corporate ladder and the thought of reaching my co-workers was terrifying. Today, I want to encourage us that this is possible. We can actually love our co-workers and reach them with the gospel, if we are intentional. Here are some ways that we can pursue it.....

1. Don't eat alone, intentionally eat with other co-workers and learn their story.

2. Get to work early so you can pray for your co-workers and the day.

3. Make it a daily priority to speak or write encouragement to one person.

4. Bring extra snacks when you make your lunch to give away to others.

5. Bring breakfast once a month for everyone in your department.

6. Organize a running/walking group in the before or after work.

7. Have your community group provide lunch for your workplace once a month.

8. Create a regular time to invite coworkers over or out for drinks.

9. Make a list of birthdays and find a way to bless everyone on their birthday.

10. Organize office parties as appropriate to your job.

11. Avoid gossip in the office. Be a voice of thanksgiving not complaining.

12. Car pool if there is someone who lives close to you.

13. Throw a shower for a co-worker who is having a baby.

14. Cover for a co-worker who needs off for something.

15. Start a lunch out with co-workers (don’t be selective on the invites).

16. Organize a weekly/monthly pot luck to make lunch a bit more exciting.

17. Ask someone if you can grab them a soda/coffee while you’re out.

18. Be the first person to greet and welcome new people.

19. Make every effort to know the names of people and their families.

20. Visit coworkers when they are in the hospital.

21. Have your community group fill a break room for coworkers to enjoy.

22. Go out of your way to talk to people who typically are overlook.

23. Double-Date with other couples after work for happy hour.

24. Invite your co-workers in to the service projects you are already involved in.

25. Keep small candy, gum, or little snacks around to offer to others during a long day.

26. Finds ways to get your co-workers to mingle with friends from church?

27. Remember, 90% of the people you are friends with would visit your church if you invited them.

Thanks Josh Reeves for some of the ideas.

Church Planting... A Great Joy!


As I sit down and begin to think about the journey that the Lord has brought me through over the last few years, it is hard to stay seated. Reflection for me brings about a desire to run around my house like a crazy man screaming the praises of God. There's no doubt that ministry is one of the hardest adventures anybody can ever endeavor themselves in. Interestingly enough, it is also by far the most honorable and rewarding work imaginable.

There's nothing more difficult than trying to deal with the unbalances that come with church planting. The random phone calls, the untimely meetings that are necessary, the family needs, the financial stresses and the burning desire to fulfill what God has called you too. All of those things have the ability to bring upon great amounts of stress. Yet the rewards of seeing just one person having their life absolutely transformed by the grace found in the Gospel of Jesus, trumps any amount of difficulties.

This past weekend I had the privilege of baptizing 11 people in our service, as the rest of Netcast sang loudly their praises to our King. Some of those baptized were very close friends of mine, while others I didn't really know well. Nonetheless, the beauty and power that is found in a life transformed by Jesus continues to fascinate me. When service ended, I rushed into the city of Boston and performed a wedding for two friends of mine, which was beautiful. It was small, intimate and fun. In addition to that, I was able to walk this couple through pre-marital counseling and saw incredible growth in their relationship and walk with Jesus over the past few months.

When I eventually came home that night and laid down in my bed, absolutely exhausted, it occurred to me that in the course 10 hours I witnessed 11 people outwardly demonstrate their identification with Christ in his death burial and resurrection and then I visibly witnessed two people becoming one flesh through the covenant of marriage.

 Honestly, can you think of anything in all of the world that you would rather be doing? I feel like I am literally living a dream.

Don't tell people how to be "Radical for Jesus".


As many of you know, I am a church planter in a major metropolitan area of the country. In addition to that, I am attempting to spread the gospel in what many believe to be the most pagan and liberal area of North America. I am a part of the SBC and the North American Missions Board which simply means that I love the Jesus, the bible, evangelism and the autonomous church. I am also a part of the Acts 29 Network which means that I love the Gospel, Reformed Theology, Missional Philosophy and Church Planting.

That said, I often see things that I fear in American Evangelicalism and specifically within some of the tribes that I roll with. Here are some things to think about...

The movement of The New Calvinism, Reformed Christianity, Missional Living and anti-fundamentalism / attractionalism, has the temptation to lead people into a hyper-theology, unbalanced philosophy of ministry and too much cultural compromise in the name of "Godly Influence". All believers need to learn what it means to be content in the mission of Jesus throughout the mundane rhythms of life. We have to be careful to not fully define what it means to be "Radical for Jesus" or "Living on Mission" lest it become another rule for people to follow that brings no life and in the end births no joy. If we over explain the practical application of the mission of Jesus, we rob people of the beauty of hearing God's voice for themselves and utilizing their own unique gifts in the time, place and culture that the Lord Jesus has put them in.

What sparked this though was recently a good friend asked my thoughts on an article written by Anthony Bradley called: The New Legalism. You can read it here.

Sex: I'm Gay & I Love Jesus (Day 6; Post #7)






This post comes from a very brave and Godly young man at Netcast. I commend him for his incredible honesty and faithfulness to the Lord. 


All I Need is You, Lord”...Really? 

I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents. I went to church every Sunday and attended a Christian school. Like all the other boys, I enjoyed sports, Legos, and long days in the backyard with my friends pretending we were police detectives who could travel into outer space. I even had crushes on the pretty girls in my class and in my neighborhood, but was always too shy to admit it!

Adolescence hit around the 6th grade and that’s when the sexual feelings started. Although, oddly enough, my focus was not on the pretty girls, but rather on the handsome boys. It didn’t really bother me at first. I had just discovered my body’s newfound, um, abilities, and I was curious if any of the other boys had found them as well. “It’s just a normal thing. Every boy is curious,” I tried to convince myself. To confuse matters, it wasn’t until 8th grade that my parents told me about the “birds and the bees”. Well, they didn’t actually tell me. Mom left a book on my pillow and hoped for the best.

Apparently this issue was just too difficult or embarrassing for them. Of course, by that time, I had most of the facts of life figured out already. As I entered high school (A good Christian high school, of course), I finally began to become a little concerned that maybe I was gay. My interests still hadn’t changed. It was still the boys I thought about when I was in bed at night. “Maybe I’m just a late developer,” I thought. “If I pray hard enough, God will make me interested in girls. Then I will be normal.”

I met a great girl and we became best friends. She really liked me. We had similar interests and a similar sense of humor. She had been raised in a “good Christian home” like I was. I loved being with her. We had so many inside jokes together that when I saw her down the hall, I’d just start cracking up. We would have made a great couple if I had had the slightest interest in a romantic relationship with her. I kept checking myself... Nope. Nothing. Dang.

High school came and went and it was off to college. Christian college, of course. Now, I’ve heard tons of college stories where the guys in the residence halls enjoy being naked for no good reason. I was disappointed when I found out that my floor was nothing like that. Even the showers were very private with double curtains! So my homoerotic curiosity continued unsatisfied. I’m embarrassed to say that I would occasionally try to sneak peeks at my roommate when he returned from the shower just to see what a naked man looked like. (These were the days before internet porn was there to satisfy every curiosity in its own destructive way. But that’s somebody else’s blog post!) 

Now, at this point, I need to rewind my story a little bit. Ever since I was a young child, I have been painfully shy. My father loved me, but was emotionally distant and didn’t do put much effort into raising a son with confidence. We didn’t do much together. And the older I got, the more difficult it became to interact confidently with people. The teasing in middle school (that everybody goes through) really did a number on me.

When adolescence hit, I started getting depressed because I wasn’t getting any attention at school. I felt completely invisible. When high school came, I started internalizing it so much that I started feeling worthless. When college came, I knew “for a fact” that I was worthless. Especially with my struggle with homosexuality on top of everything else. I lived in a world of self-pity. But the people in college were not like the people in high school. They were kind. They were friendly. And for the first time in my life, I made true friends. It was, without a doubt, the most excited I had ever been about anything in my life. I had friends! Maybe I was worth something! That feeling didn’t last long.

All my newfound hope crashed down when I had to withdraw from school to take a mental break. I was now out of my friends’ everyday world and they were out of mine. I tried to visit the campus and reconnect, but they were getting to know new people and seemed very, very busy. In my mind, they didn’t want me around anymore. To make matters worse, I had just gotten fired from my job. And that’s when I hit rock bottom. It’s hard to know what rock bottom looks like until you get there yourself. It’s a place of absolute hopelessness where you despise every minute of your existence during the day--and the night is even harder because there is nothing to distract you from your thoughts of despair, loneliness, and self-loathing. It was all-out, full-fledged depression and I really didn’t have anybody to talk to about it. Even my prayers to God seemed to bounce off the walls. But “rock bottom” was also when my relationship with God changed. I was a lonely, sick, broken young man and I was desperate for hope.

Up until now, my faith was just “going through the motions” of what I had learned from my mother. But now, it was becoming real. In a very small way, I knew that He was listening. It was time to get serious with Him because I needed Him so badly. One weekend, to my surprise, one of my former floormates gave me a call and wanted to fix me up on a group date with a friend of his girlfriend. “I have to try it,” I thought. “Maybe there will be something there.” I went on the date. There was nothing there. Nothing but awkward. College came and went and it was off to pursue a career. Now reality was setting in. I was gay. There was no denying it. Every single one of my sexual fantasies was about the male form.

The pain that this realization caused was excruciating. First there was the pain of being different. Then there was the pain of being in a people group that society generally looked down upon. And finally, there was a crisis of faith. After all, I was supposedly this fine Christian young man. I can’t be gay. “Homosexuality is forbidden in the Bible!,” I thought. I will never forget the night I “came out” to my friends. It was absolutely the scariest night of my life. I got the college boys back together for a little reunion and we went to one of our favorite outdoor hangout spots--a cool seashore spot covered with huge boulders that the waves crash into. Hanging out on a huge rock overlooking the ocean, I finally told them, without actually saying the words, that I was gay. To my surprise, I was met with nothing but love and acceptance. Telling people got easier after that. Many years later, I was even able to tell my parents. But living with this “condition” didn’t get easier. It was time to fix things.

I went online and checked out Exodus International and Harvest U.S.A. and got myself checked into a local support group. I got involved in a church and had godly men in my life. I read the books that were published at the time, all explaining how I can be freed from homosexuality and fall in love with a woman and get married and live happily ever after. I did all the right things, but nothing happened. I was still a homosexual. Nothing I could do--and no amount of prayers--was changing that. But God had begun His work on my heart--calling me to draw close to Him. To trust Him in my circumstances. To allow Him to be a companion when I was lonely.

It was a very slow road to fully accepting His reality and his care for me. He did begin to answer my prayers for companionship, and through some odd circumstances when I was in my mid 20’s brought me to an amazing church where I became part of a family. God used these people to give me a sense of belonging. I quickly got involved in various ministries and a sense of purpose began to grow within me. I learned more about God’s love for me and got excited about joining God in the things he was doing on our planet. I learned to live outside myself and see what it was like to serve others instead of constantly being focused on my own needs and shortcomings. New life was rising out of the ashes of brokenness.

I did ministry in that church for twelve years. It wasn’t always without complication. In fact on a few separate occasions, I essentially “fell in love” with certain men in the church. These guys were my friends and we had bonded emotionally. And that led to physical desires as well. But each guy was straight, so nothing happened--except for the emotional torment of desiring somebody I knew I couldn’t have. This was just as painful, if not more so, than when I hit rock bottom during college. I ended up having to go on anti-depressants because my heart was so hungry for love (or what I thought was love) and so distraught that my desires could never be met. But even through those excruciating times... even through the times I was literally screaming mad at God for making me this way. He never let me go. I wanted to walk away. I wanted to give up. But I couldn’t. His love for me and His call on my life has been so unmistakable that I could never live without Him.

I still struggle with same-sex attraction today. I have made the choice to not enter into a gay relationship based on what I believe God’s will for me is through study of scripture. (Other gay Christians conclude their study differently.) But He is making me stronger and more confident in who HE is. Who I am is becoming less and less important. My story is becoming less and less important. I’d rather be a part of His story. And I’m learning from my married friends that a spouse doesn’t meet you in the deepest places of your soul’s longing. Only the pure love of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit can do that. The love that was displayed for all to see when he stretched out his hands and died for us. The love that made a way for us to be with Him in perfection forever. The love that washes us clean of everything we’ve done wrong. It’s an amazing love. It’s an undeniable love--not always with our emotions--but with a deep-seeded satisfaction that it’s the truth.

I will probably never get married. I will probably never have sex. I will probably never have a romantic kiss. I will probably never hold somebody’s hand. Isn’t that sad? NO! Because there is greater freedom in walking with my heavenly Father and following his best plan for my life. Instead of putting my hope and trust in the love of another person, I’ve had to put my hope and trust in Him and Him alone. In the Father, I’ve found a nurturing dad who wants me to grow up big and strong. A dad who has big plans for his son, who is priceless, not worthless! In the Son, Jesus Christ, I’ve found a friend who never leaves me, even when I come home to an empty house. A confidant who knows what it’s like to face struggle, loneliness, and temptation. And a partner and guide on an adventure to change the world! In the Spirit, I’ve found an indwelt intimacy that surpasses the love of any man or woman. He is continually inside of me representing the abolition of my worst fears and lies about myself. When I turn to Him, my spirit unites with His, and His power becomes my own. I am empowered to view this life not as a series of difficult struggles and circumstances, but as a specific plan that was drawn up by the Father. 

If you have same-sex attractions, being alone for the rest of your life might seem an impossible, heartbreaking outlook. But with the nurture of a caring Father, the example of the Son, and the spiritual intimacy of the Holy Spirit, anyone in my situation can go forward into tomorrow knowing that your life has a purpose, a plan, and the support you need to make it a rewarding journey. At some point you need to accept the fact that your story doesn’t look like everybody else’s. But that doesn’t make it less valuable. Sure, you might occasionally feel very alone, but remember that your alone-ness was His call to make, not yours. Because the truth is that you’re not alone. Surrender your life to Him and realize that He is all you need. Trust Him to bring people into your life who will encourage you and keep your focus Him and not yourself. There is so much freedom to be found when we can shift our energy from what we want to what He wants.

Scripture that has encouraged and strengthened me in my journey: 

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:1-4 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39 

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Lesson through Divorce, Dating & Jesus. (Day 5, Post #6)


This is a post written from an incredibly Godly and dedicated woman at Netcast. 

I was married for 6 years, in my 20’s, and then was in a 9 year relationship, in my 30’s. And, even though we did get engaged, thankfully, we did not end up getting married. Both relationships were sexually broken.

First of all, getting physically involved too soon, definitely stunted the growth, in other areas of these relationships. I was too embarrassed to talk to friends or family and got very good at denial . Dealing with infidelity and lack of trust, can truly take a toll. After much prayer and reflection, I realize I was just as much of the problem. There is no excusing their actions, but it was up to me, to standup and respect myself. I was afraid to fight or have conflict , and didn’t really know how to address the issues in a healthy, mature way. Ultimately, both relationships ended.

I decided a number of years ago, to stop doing it my way, and committed to the Lord, that I would not live with, or sleep with another person, unless I was married. I can tell you, based on that decision, the peace and contentment I feel has made a huge difference in my life. I don’t know if I will ever marry again. But, am living my life determined to make it the best it can be, either way.

I wish I had heard a message years ago, like the one that Pastor Matt shared, this past Sunday. I would like to think, that it would have saved me much heartache. I am not that same person, in so many ways. God really changed me, and for that I am so thankful.

SEX: 25 Years of Intimacy & Thoughts from a Single Mom


This is a wife at Netcast who shares her observations from 25 years of physical intimacy...

Our first years of physical intimacy were illicit. We weren’t married yet. We were trying to be “technical virgins,” doing sexual acts right up to, but not including penetration. It almost worked, if it weren’t for the few times we couldn’t reign in the passion and took it farther than we intended. It was glorious in the moment, but shame and worry followed.

Our first years of marriage were challenging. Suddenly without the aphrodisiac of the forbidden and dangerous, I struggled to become aroused. Sex without arousal was sometimes painful and often nauseating, but I knew it was important not to deny my husband, so we settled into a couple times a week of ho-hum going through the motions. It was slightly better for him than it was for me, but nowhere near the pleasurable intimacy I knew it should have been.

I believed that this was what our married sex would look like forever; that it was the price I was going to have to pay for my pre-marital sins. Because it wasn’t all that pleasurable for me, I was also non-orgasmic. This really saddened and discouraged us both. We read books and tried different “remedies,” but part of me just continued believing that I didn’t deserve to have an orgasm because we weren’t virgins when we married.

Fast forward 15 or so years, and now we have fireworks. F.I.R.E.W.O.R.K.S. Mindblowing fireworks. And did I mention fireworks? 

It’s been that way for us for so long now that it feels like we’ve always had good sex. So what made the difference for us? It came softly, slowly, quietly. I don’t understand it completely, but here is what I’m sure of: Most importantly: grace. I needed to understand God’s grace. He doesn’t give me what I deserve. I don’t deserve fulfilling sexual intimacy with my husband. I also don’t deserve eternal salvation. Or good health. Or my next breath, even. But God loves me so much in my brokenness that He sent His Son to be my Rescuer. And, in His passionate love, He showers me with good gifts.

I Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Praise Jesus! I am not defined by my past sins. I am clothed in His righteousness. Once I was set free by a deeper understanding of grace, I think several practical factors played a role: 

  • Recognizing that seeing my husband breathlessly ravished by my love is a gift I give him. I’m the only one who holds the key. I love giving him that gift, knowing that I’m honoring God while I do it, and that I’m drawing my husband’s heart to mine as he knows he can count on me to leave him deliriously satisfied. 
  • Realizing that when I’m an active participant in our lovemaking by adding my own motions to his, or lovingly directing him in how he can increase my pleasure (which actually took me a while to figure out myself), or initiating sex altogether, that it not only increases his pleasure, but mine as well. I’ve discovered that when I might not be all that aroused in the beginning, engaging myself in the moment by doing some or all of those things usually leads to being highly aroused. 
  • Grasping the mechanics of sex. It’s almost humorous now how inhibited and uninformed I was in those early years. I was amazed when I learned that clitoral stimulation is most women’s pathway to orgasm. 
  • Embracing more than one type of sex. I think a lot of women have a problem with giving or receiving oral sex because they don’t think nice girls do it, or they think it’s gross. Godly girls know that it is a God-given gateway to orgasmic pleasure, especially for the wife, and that a sensual bath or shower together right before sex can be helpful to make you feel more comfortable with it, although it may take many tries at being vulnerable in this way before it becomes pleasurable. It took me probably 10 years, but I’m so thankful I never wrote it off completely. 
  • Understanding that my mind is my most important sex organ. If I’m worrying if I remembered to take the beef out of the freezer for dinner tomorrow, or if I smell ok, or if he noticed that I forgot to shave, I’m shutting down my ability to relax and engage, and cheating us both. 
  • Accepting that although times like menstruation or fluctuating pregnancy hormones might inhibit typical sex, this is a great time to demonstrate selfless love to my husband by offering to pleasure him in an alternative way, no strings attached. Just because I don’t need or want a release doesn’t mean he doesn’t. My body is not my own. 
Our culture thinks that monogamy leads to boring sex, but our life demonstrates just the opposite. God in His wisdom saves sex for the marriage bed because the best sex is a by-product of deep spiritually, emotionally, and relationally intimate couples. It takes time to get there. No matter where you are in your journey as a couple, please know that there’s hope that God can redeem beauty from ashes. Never give up. Never stop growing. Marriage thrives when each partner is seeking Christlikeness. It’s a beautiful parallel that the more satisfying sex is, the more I long for more. So it is with the Christian walk. The more we delight ourselves in our Savior, the more we long to know Him better. He gives us good gifts.



This is the story of a single mother at Netcast Church... 

Growing up in church, sex wasn't often talked about, and when it was, it was strange and horribly uncomfortable. At youth group, we were taught that we should remain virgins until we married, but why? I don't recall ever being told why, but instead was left with an impression that sex was the sin above all sins. As a teen, I made a decision and a vow to God to wait until I was married to have sex. I failed. I had sex, and became a mom at 21 years old. I believed a lie, as so many other young women believe, that if I gave my body to a man, I would receive love in return.

For a while, sex and relationships became a god in my life. I looked for fulfillment in these things and ran from the one who could truly satisfy my soul. There was a deep feeling of shame. I felt as if I could never go back to Jesus again. Thankfully, after some time, I went home. Jesus showed that although I sinned sexually, I wasn't hopeless. He showed me His word, His truth. Scriptures like Hosea 2: 14-17, John 4 and John 8: 1-11. 

I am single now. I hope to one day have a husband, to enjoy sex as God intended, but for now, I will wait. It is a daily choice that is not always easy, but is made possible by His grace. So, the question remains, why? For me, it's not because the bible says so, but because it is just one way I can express my love to my Savior. I no longer feel a need to give myself to a man, because I have Jesus who gave Himself for all of us. I wait because it is my act of worship to a God who loves me with a most precious and everlasting love. 

Having Fun through Theology, Intimacy and Sex (Day 3)


The story of 30 years of loving Jesus while having fun and enjoying the pleasures of marital intimacy by an anonymous couple at Netcast.

Having Fun through Theology, Intimacy, and Sex 

Being intimate for us encompasses much more than a physical act with each other. It is us not being afraid to reveal and share ourselves with each other. In the Garden, when God created man and woman, they experienced a level of intimacy with each other that caused Adam to sing with joy as he finally felt complete in a way he had never felt before.  

"Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23 ESV) 

Before the Fall, they enjoyed such intimacy with each other and with God, that they had nothing to hide from Him or from each other emotionally. Before the Fall, they were unaware that they were naked and they had nothing to hide physically. And then quickly, with both of them complicit, it all changed.  

"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:7-10 ESV) 

In one terrible act, their intimacy with God was lost. And, perhaps, their intimacy with each other was damaged for ever as they began to blame each other and their circumstances for their shortcomings.  

"The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12, 13 ESV) 

It's interesting that their first action, as a couple with lost intimacy with God and with each other, was to hide their sexual organs.  

"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they ... made themselves loincloths." (Genesis 3:7 ESV) 

It was clear that things weren't going to be much fun after that: there is lots of toil, sweating, and pain that is described as a consequence of the lost intimacy with God. In the garden after the fall and as a result of sin, ALL things became work and toil, sex included. What was once effortless and always perfect, now intentionally needs to be maintained. As a result of sin and lost intimacy with God, even sexual relations with the partner that God created for you can be flawed, can be work and require effort to maintain. ALL of creation, formerly perfect, was damaged by the fall. But for us, marriage and sex has been one of our most cherished gifts this side of heaven.

What began in college with a "flirt", was quickly followed by a first date, friendship, romance and ultimately marriage. It's totally crazy, but we knew after four months of dating that we wanted to get married; highly bizarre even to us. In anticipation, we started buying married people "stuff" like dishes, pots & pans and the like and hid them away. After what we thought would be an acceptable time to our parents, we asked their permission to marry. All were excited, everything was cool.  

Fast forward three years to the wedding... 

No joke, we had to wait THREE YEARS for one of us to finish college so they didn't have to pay their parents back for the education. That was the deal: if married or dropped out of school before the diploma was in hand, it was payback time. These parents were serious and really weren't kidding! The wedding was phenomenal, over the top, and what many people only dream of. All we cared about though was the wedding night. Waiting for sex was a long haul and we almost didn't make it. We were the LAST ones to leave our wedding reception because it was so fun to talk and spend time with friends. Finally at the hotel, life was good. A lingering first bath together in anticipation of much more to come that evening, well really, it was early morning by then. Little did we know "more" would come, but in the form of siblings and their spouses bearing champagne, and sitting all over the our bed! Not kidding, how ever did they find us , let alone get in? (story for another time though)!

Anyway, between the bath and the sibling arrival was the culmination of three years of waiting for sex. Two virgins, madly in love, naked and not ashamed! It really was amazing to become one physically for the first time, after developing intimacy in other ways for three long years. Neither of us had prior experience or other sexual relationships intruding on our first night of sexual intimacy. It wasn't that it was long and drawn out, but tender, slow, romantic and ALL about the needs of the other. It was a "perfect" first time.

Amazingly enough though, the real beauty wasn't really that night but in the months, years and decades that followed. We can now look back and know that we guarded and protected a very special gift that has and always will belong only to us, given and honored by God. For us, now married couple for more than 30 years, having fun with each other begins with being transparent and unashamed with each other, and with a desire to return to the garden in true intimacy. It requires being intentional about emotional and physical intimacy with our partner and best friend. We were made as physical and sexual beings to enjoy each other, and if there is something between us (like clothes), then we can't (fully) enjoy each other. But it also means we can't have emotional stuff between us, and that means being honest about ourselves, each other and what we like. It also means that we look for things we enjoy doing together, because once we have emotional intimacy then the physical intimacy is so much better.

Three years of developing emotional intimacy led to an amazing physical intimacy. But now, sometimes it's reversed. As we enjoy physical games together, we laugh, create memories and develop deeper emotional intimacy. Memories like naked hide-and-seek, with all the lights out. While the hiding and the seeking are fun, the finding was even better. Memories like strip pool - you miss a shot and off comes a piece of clothing. Memories like "Lose a bet, become my sex slave". (This last requires some explanation - sex slave doesn't mean degradation and domination. It means your partner is totally committed to doing what makes you feel good. You make me feel good, and I GUARANTEE you will feel good). Memories like a dice game: roll a six, and kiss something round. Roll a seven, and I rub your back. Roll a twelve, and you pick the body part I have to massage. Roll a three and tell me the happiest memory from the last year. (Making our own rules for both physical or emotional intimacy for each number is still part of the fun.). Memories like having sex in every room in the house, and then remembering which room was best.

Part of restoration back to the garden, through the blood of Christ, is that we can live life without guilt. Nothing is off limit for us when it comes to sex, because we love and respect each other. God created us to enjoy each other, He doesn't tell us what we can and cannot do for our enjoyment, except to say we have become one. We enjoy giving kisses to all parts of our bodies. We enjoy giving and receiving oral sex. We enjoy tickling each other with feathers when one of us can't move. We enjoy trying different positions in different locations: inside, outside, in the garage during the middle of the afternoon. But sometimes an experiment doesn't work. It's not pleasurable, one of us feels uncomfortable, it's not the garden experience of intimacy. So - we laugh, we stop, we say "That was really not fun." - and we don't do it again!

When we were married, two became one. We love each other as we love ourselves, and over 30 plus years, we enjoy our oneness without guilt on how we do that sexually. Some ways we build intimacy are physical, some are emotional but all are aimed at making us more "one". That's particularly true when we intentionally make plans together. We then get to enjoy the physical aspects of intimacy three times: during the planning, during the doing, and during the remembering. After 30 plus years of marriage all three are great!

Staff-Led Prayer & Worship: This Thursday

 
Just a reminder that THIS THURSDAY morning we are hosting our monthly "Staff-Led Prayer and Worship". 

Prayer and worship are inextricably linked, but we are used to practicing them as separate activities. Staff led prayer and worship is the 1st Thursday of every month from 6am - 7am. This is an incredibly powerful time for us to gather as a family to combine worship and prayer into an hour long encounter with God's presence.

Join us as we approach God in faith, guided by the Holy Spirit, asking Him to release more of His glory throughout our region. Come to worship, pray, and discover the prayer warrior that resides within you!

Location and Time
Beverly Church of the Nazarene.
556 Cabot St. Beverly, MA 01915
6:00am - 7:00am

Married Sex: Is it OK for us to _______? (Post #3; Day 2)


There was a recent comment that we need to address on the topic of sex. We hope that the other posts will also address this, but for now here are our thoughts. 

Anonymous said... 

I appreciate the candid blog.. BUT! That I was hoping to actually hear a bit more on how this is played out in the bedroom. Not graphic details.. but I think one thing that is lacking in our Christian Communities is more people talking about Sex and the different ways to experience it. We as Christians feel somewhat guilty if we provide Oral Sex to our husband for instance. Why? Is this wrong? Is everything accepted in the bedroom. Are their things you can do that will draw you closer to each other than apart? If so, please do tell us.. anyone? Anyone?

Matt Chewning said...

In reference to the question above, here are my thoughts..... The Bible says that “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Hebrews 13:4). Scripture never says what a husband and wife are or are not allowed to do sexually. Husbands and wives are instructed, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time (1 Corinthians 7:5a). This verse perhaps lays down the principle for sexual relations in marriage. So, whatever is done, it should be mutually agreed upon. No one should be encouraged or coerced to do something he or she is uncomfortable with or thinks is wrong.

If a husband and wife both agree that they don't mind an would like to try it, (e.g., oral sex, different positions, sex toys, dirty talking, role playing, etc.), then the Bible does not give any reason why they cannot.

However, 2 things I would warn against are..... 

1. Adultery is sin even if your spouse allows, approves, or even participates in it. Therefore, any sexual act is for the married couple ONLY!

2. Pornography appeals to the “lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16) and is therefore condemned by God as well. A husband and wife should never bring pornography into their sexual union.

Beyond that, there is nothing that Scripture explicitly forbids a husband and wife to do with each other as long as it is by mutual consent. Now, if there are selfish motives or degrading activity that leads to sin or one party being hurt or uncomfortable, that's different. Beyond that, feel free to get your freak on in any which way your two little hearts desire. Feel no guilt or shame in doing it and as long as it is mutually enjoyable have as much fun as you like. There is no part of your body or your spouses body that God says should be off limits as long as nobody feels abused, degraded or has a check in their conscience. Actually, there is great holiness to be found in fully giving yourself to your spouse.

I would encourage every married couple to experiment as much as they desire, with their spouse, in achieving the maximum about of pleasure you can by the grace of God in your marital union.

Have fun!!

For even more thoughts on this, check out this post. "What's OK and What's NOT"

Season of Sowing (Netcast Update)


The past 4 weeks at Netcast have been very eye opening for me. For one, I am more aware than ever that ministry is a calling and not a job. I am not a professional (although I need to be professional) or the CEO of an organization (although I need to be organized), but rather a simple man of God who has been anointed with the weight and calling of leadership within the Bride of Christ.

Because of that, the tension between family life, work life, play, and being a normal disciple who is deeply in love with his Savior, is not something that I am able to balance with a schedule. Over the past month I see so clearly that ministry is seasonal; some seasons have storms, some seasons are relaxed and beautiful, seasons vary in length and some seasons are busy and not extremely productive while others are full of busyness with lots of fruit. The goal is to faithfully endure each season with joy and worship.

Right now, Netcast is in a sowing season. It seems that with all the people who have coming through the doors and all the stories of God's grace, we need to continue to sow more than ever. We need to sow into leaders, processes, organizing, structuring, etc. We need to evaluate the areas where we are unhealthy and need to mature. We need to get better at the things we are good at and improve upon our weaknesses. We need to sow into relationships and call each other to holiness and repentance. We need love the gospel by serving together, giving together, gathering together, and being on mission together.

When Netcast first got started, we saw a quick harvest. People were getting saved every week, the church was growing at an untamed rate and we were able to manage much of the workload. Today, God is still at work. This weekend we will be baptizing a number of new believers, the Holy Spirit has been so powerful as we gather and communities are getting deeper. Yet, we are operating with the leadership and resources of a church ½ our size with the expectations of a church with 10 times more tenure. That said, I passionately believer what we are experiencing is minimal compared to the harvest ahead.

Rest assure another massive reaping season is around the corner. Thousands will know Jesus because of God's grace on us. Thousands will be influences by our faithful hands and feet. Thousands will benefit from our generosity and love for Greater Boston. But for now, it is vital that we labor well, that we work together, stay unified, continue to walk in authenticity and press into the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength.

GALATIANS 6:7-9  For whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

"SHOOP" & Sex Is Not A Reward. (Netcast Sex Post; Day 2)


Below is a testimony from a husband and wife who attend Netcast. This is one post you will not want to miss. I praise God for their wisdom and authenticity.


He Makes Me Wanna Shoop.

When I first saw that Pastor Matt was asking us to consider writing about sex for the church, I have to admit that my first thoughts were the lyrics to a couple of Salt ‘n’ Pepa songs from my high school days. Does that make me old or what? Then my husband came up to me and said, “I saw that email from Matt and all I can think of is, “You make me wanna shoop, shoop-ba-doop…” (For those who didn’t hit their teens in the late eighties/early nineties, “Shoop” was one of the songs I was thinking of…and it’s also a euphemism for sex.)

And that reminded me once again that a) it’s nice that my hubby is even older than I am, and b) he is my perfect match. But being reminded of the amazing connection that God has blessed us with – mental, emotional, and physical – wasn’t exactly enough to make me want to write about it for the rest of the world to see. While I have written professionally throughout my career and even shared many of the details of my life through personal blogs, I have never written about our sex life. Never even considered it. In fact, I really don’t disclose much of what goes on behind our closed doors to even my closest friends.

On girls’ nights out, when intimate details (and often complaints) start flying after a few glasses of wine, I typically just sit back and smile to myself thinking, “If only they knew how good it could really be.” If only the world in general knew how good sex could be! Oh, they think they know, don’t they? “They” being the creative geniuses that try to define ‘hot’ sex and even sexual attractiveness for us and our children through TV, movies, and other scantily clad images. I don’t personally watch a lot of TV or movies these days, but everything I do manage to watch seems to revolve around sex. Yet nothing about those sex scenes looks anything like the scenes that take place in our house, which are typically very happy and often filled with laughter. Instead, they look shallow, fiercely determined, uncomfortable, awkward…or often downright painful!

Good sex shouldn’t just be about two naked people pawing passionately at each other for a couple of minutes – or even a couple of hours. And yet, all the cues I am getting from the media (and the stories I have heard from people I actually know) lead me to believe that most people believe these kinds of sexual encounters are perfectly OK. So I guess with that in mind (and after praying about it) I finally decided to write about this just to state very clearly – for the record – that there is a better way. And it starts with marriage, yes. But not just any kind of marriage.

In full disclosure, I was married once before and the sex in that relationship was nothing like what I’ve experienced with my current husband. No…I think to experience true intimacy in the way God intended it, you have to start with a marriage in which two people are not only fully committed to each other, but also fully committed to God. Eew. Creepy, right? Why do Christians always have to say weird things like “you have to serve God to really enjoy sex”? Trust me…I wouldn’t say it if I hadn’t experienced the truth in that statement from both sides of the coin. In my life, I have seen that only through a relationship with God can we (as individuals) truly understand how to give and love selflessly in the way that He designed. And when only one person in a marriage is living that way, it just doesn’t work quite as well.

From the world’s perspective, sex is all about “getting some.” Satisfying your own needs. When you see some guy on TV chase after an attractive woman after saying something like “I want some of that,” do you think he has her needs in mind – either physical or emotional? Not a chance. And I guarantee when that scenario happens in real life (as it does thousands of times every day), no matter how much fun that encounter may be in the moment, it leaves both participants feeling just as empty afterward as they did going in – probably even more so. On the other hand, when you have two people who are thinking about every aspect of the other person’s needs, sex is so more than just nudity and passionate pawing (although there’s plenty of that too). You’ve heard the expression that “it’s better to give than to receive.” Well, that certainly holds true in the bedroom. If you go into a sexual encounter thinking, “How can I make him happy?”… you’ll find ways to do it. And you won’t walk away disappointed, no matter what’s in it for you. And if he’s thinking the same way…well, chances are that he will be equally successful. And you will both find even more emotional pleasure in knowing that you have satisfied each other in the way that only the two of you are able to do. This is human connection at its very deepest level.

The security of sex within a committed marriage also enables you to enjoy each other without inhibition, knowing that no matter what happens, the other person won’t be judging you or talking about it behind your back…or even worse, posting something about it on Facebook. I can’t imagine being able to truly give myself to someone in any other scenario. In our marriage, sex is the glue that holds us together. That’s not the same as saying our relationship is built solely around physical desire. It means that when we get to share intimacy on a regular basis, we function at our best – both as a couple and as individuals. When we can’t have sex, we both miss it. We dream about it. And we have to work much harder to maintain the connection that keeps us so tuned in to each other’s needs on every other level…and helps our passion survive the normal daily grind of working, maintaining a household, and raising a family.

Whether you’re still single or you’re wondering why the sex in your marriage still leaves you feeling unsatisfied or lonely (again, I’ve been there), these are the best words of wisdom I can offer. Prayerfully seek a marriage that is built around God, with you being willing to lead the example of selfless love – both inside the bedroom and out. I guarantee that once you and your partner have experienced this kind of intimacy, it will change the way you think about sex. None of the temptations that the world could throw at you will ever hold any appeal. How could any shallow imitation ever compare to the fullness of joy that you find in being “one” with your chosen mate? Impossible.

The Bradley Coopers and Channing Tatums of the world may be nice to look at. But it’s only when I look at my man that I ever think, “He makes me wanna shoop!”


Sex: It’s Not a Reward 

Since my wife started the theme about connectedness and selfless love, I’ll continue with the topic, but with a “what not to do” perspective. I have lots of married friends, both saved and unsaved, that have varying degrees of happiness in their relationships. Guys do talk about sex and marriage, but it tends to be surface conversations, usually with one impressive sexual feat thrown in (“hour and a half last night…no lying”). But you know that the sex (and usually the relationship) is bad, when one of your friends doesn’t ever talk about his wife. Or on the rare occasion that he does, it’s to complain that they haven’t had sex in weeks or longer.

I’m fortunate. My wife and I both view sex the same way: a way for us to connect, have fun, and relieve the stress of life (oh yeah, and our kids are a nice bonus). Unfortunately, a segment of married women view sex as a reward for their husbands when they behave the way the wife deems acceptable. This permeates our sitcoms and romantic comedies – a controlling wife and a bumbling idiot for a husband who will drop everything for sex. Ok, the ‘drop-everything-at-anytime-for-sex’ part is pretty much true for all guys (How many husbands can pop out of a dead sleep if they get that hand on the back and hear, “Are you still awake?” “Of course I’m awake…I was only fake sleeping until you were ready to have sex”). But it’s always shown as a one-way street.

Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t too far off on this one. A number of my friends talk about how good sex was early on, but that at some point it stopped being a priority to their wives. I’m not trying to pin too much on the woman in the relationship – I know there are tons of things a guy can do to ruin a sex life – but on this particular topic, NOT wanting to have sex usually isn’t one of them. I’ve actually heard friends’ wives joke about it at parties, “You’re not getting laid until you fix that hole in the wall I’m been asking you to fix for two weeks!” And from what I know, it’s no joke. And you know what? I can tell you personally that those husbands have stopped thinking about their wives as their primary sexual focus. I’m not saying it’s right, or that we don’t have a personal responsibility as Christians (although some of my friends are not) to obey God regardless of how our spouses behave, but there is a reality to that situation. And it’s hard to keep your spouse as your sexual fantasy, when her behavior indicates that she doesn’t care if she is. My wife cares. She loves our time in the bedroom, and it makes me think about her all the time we’re not in the bedroom. She turns me on and keeps me engaged on a physical level, and that encourages my emotional connection to her.

If you want your husband to be more in tune to how you feel, who you are…have sex. Have lots of sex! It draws them in and fulfills a God-ordained impulse in marriage. But if you treat it as a reward, or a duty you have to do sometimes, you’ll never have the connection you want…and he’ll probably never be the guy you are trying to turn him into.

Porn and Grace (Netcast Sex Post #1 Day 1)



Author: Anonymous Netcast Couple

We are a dating couple.  We love Jesus, and we love each other.  We have something to say that many of you need to hear.  



From the man to the men: Guys, I know your secret.  I know your secret because it was my secret too.  I know many of you are addicted to pornography.  I know the pit in your stomach that you feel right now. I know because I've been there.

The greatest power pornography had over me, is that I kept it a secret.  Satan had convinced me that I must fight this battle alone, that if anyone else (especially a woman) ever knew this secret, that I would be unloveable.  This is a lie, perhaps a bigger lie than the lie that tells you that porn will satisfy you.



You see, the reason porn is such a useful tool for Satan is that is an easy avenue to something every Christian feels at some point: shame.  I would succumb to temptation, but the real damage would be done after the fact.  My shame felt unbearable, and this shame sent me further into secrecy.  My secrecy yielded powerlessness.  And because I was powerless, it was only a matter of time before I started the cycle again.

When we started dating, I told my girlfriend that porn was a thing of my past in the hopes that it would raise the standard, and I would meet it because I cared about her.  But it was a lie.  I was unable to be honest and say that I was addicted, and that I wanted to get better.  So months went on, and I kept it to myself just like I was used to.

Our relationship became more serious, and I felt worse about my addiction, but still did not act.  I broke down during Christmas, when we were visiting my family.  I had given her pieces of the truth, but not the real truth.  The Holy Spirit did a mighty work in me, and I was able to actually be honest; I told her that I was still struggling with porn, and that I had been the whole time.  She reacted in a way that I didn't even know how to expect: with grace, forgiveness, and compassion.  I felt a freedom I had never known.  I didn't just feel like I didn't want to look at porn again, I felt like I didn't have to go back to it.



It was The Gospel, lived out for me, right before my eyes that set me free.  Her ability to look at my junk and forgive me pointed me straight to Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about boasting in weakness to make much of Jesus.  And as I confessed my weakness, I felt Jesus say to me "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Hallelujah, peace like a river.



To experience this, you must come out of your shell.  You must be courageous, and face what you are most ashamed of.  IF YOU HEAR NOTHING ELSE I HAVE SAID, HEAR THIS: NOTHING YOU HAVE DONE HAS PUT YOU OUTSIDE OF THE LOVE OF GOD.  There is hope for you, sinner.  You will be made a saint if you give up your act, confess that you are dirty, and desire to be made clean.





From the woman to the women: As my boyfriend and I have walked through this journey, I have learned a very clear lesson. My response to forgive when he comes to me in confession has nothing to do with porn, and everything to do with sin. As girls, it is so easy to look at a man’s struggle with, or addiction to pornography and to think ‘shame on him.’ That response, honestly, is what almost every man expects from us. That response is also the reason why men feel so driven to keep this sin from us. The church and the culture that comes alongside the church has taught us that the sin of struggling with pornography, when confessed in a genuine repentance demands a response that says ‘shame on you.’ My response to this ‘shame on you’ reaction is, how dare you? Shame on you, church, for this reaction.

When we are dating men in the church, and when we are married to them, it is so easy to forget the first role that they should play in our lives. We coin them our crushes, our boyfriends, our fianc├ęs and our husbands so easily. In resorting to these phrases, we forget that they are first our brothers in Christ, and members of our church community. When he came to me in an honest repentance and shared his struggle with me, I had to turn to my Bible and to my God to learn how to react to him. When I turned to prayer and scripture, I came up with two very clear answers that were supposed to dictate my response. I was called to forgive and to love.

The actual definition of ‘forgive’ in the dictionary means ‘to give up resentment of…to cease to feel resentment against.’ This is modeled in Matthew 18:27 when Jesus explains forgiveness and explains that the Master ‘let him off, erasing the debt.’ By erasing, Christ is explaining that forgiveness means removing the sin so that it can no longer become a part of your future relationship, or future conversations, including arguments. If I was called to forgive him for a sin, I was called to give up the power that I could hold over him through his repentance. When I spoke the words “I forgive you,” that meant that I was committing to not use his sins in future arguments. It meant that I could not use his sin to manipulate him to do things for me. It also meant that I could not use his sin as an excuse to feel sorry for myself, or play the victim. I was called to look at him, to tell him I forgave him and to force my actions to show that every time he stumbled.

As much as I was called to forgive, I was called to love. To not see him differently for his sin. It is so easy to look at a confession of addiction to pornography and to blow it out of proportion. It is such a scandalous word in the church that when people hear of an addiction to porn, they typically place it in the category of hard drugs, pre-marital sex and drunkenness. They view it as a ‘worse’ or ‘bigger’ sin than the others, like fibbing, cheating or gossiping. In reality, sin is sin. Period. I had to learn that when God heard the confessions of what my boyfriend had seen, and when God heard the confessions of my ungrateful heart, God was as disgusted with my actions as He was with my boyfriends. God did not view his sins as worse than mine. God did not view my sins as better than his. Sins are sins and they are all equally vile and revolting in the eyes of the Lord.

Understanding his sins and forgiving him created a deeper awareness of my own brokenness and my own need for Christ. I had to learn that I AM CALLED TO IMITATE THE FORGIVENESS OF CHRIST AS HIS SISTER IN CHRIST. IF HIS SINS WERE NOT BAD ENOUGH TO CAST HIM OUT OF THE SHADOW OF LOVE OF AN ALL KNOWING GOD, AND THEN HIS SINS WERE NOT BAD ENOUGH TO CAST HIM OUT OF THE SHADOW OF MY OWN LOVE.

When I learned this lesson, I learned the depths of my brokenness and the depths of my Saviors own love for me.

LADIES: PLEASE HEAR THIS -learning to forgive true repentance taught me the forgiveness of my Savior in a deeper way than I could have ever dreamt of. I learned how hard it was to forgive and how good it was when I did. My relationship with my boyfriend and my relationship with my God have never been stronger, and I fully believe that is because of my obedience to be willing to forgive in the same way God forgave me.

PLEASE, do not short-change yourself in learning about the relational intimacy that is experienced through forgiveness just because you are prideful. You will never regret it if you choose to forgive. 



We leave you with what we will pray over this post:



Ephesians 3:14-21
"For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven derives its name.  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Reminder: Sex Sunday

Just another reminder....

 This Sunday we will be having a very frank conversation on sexuality and God's design for sex. Because of this, I want to be sensitive to those of you who may have children or young teenagers in the room and would not want them exposed to such conversations in church. Personally, I believe that the bible has much to say about this topic and the church historically has done a terrible job addressing it.

To be clear, if the words "Penis, Vagina or Orgasm" are offensive to you in any way, note that they may be used this Sunday. Please bear with me as I am trying to do everything I can to create clear expectations with no surprises yet at the same time not shy away from being authentic about the beauty of Gods design for sex.

 All for the glorious name of Jesus.

Sex at Netcast


The Harmony Series is coming to an end. This weekend we will close out the series talking about Sex. I am emailing you because I want to give you ample time to emotionally prepare for what may be an uncomfortable conversation in a church setting as well as inform you that all children under 12 should be in Kids Ministry. If you feel comfortable with your child being in service, that is fine and totally up to parental discretion. However, we recommend children 12 and under to not be in service.

If you are bringing guests this Sunday, please let them know so nobody is surprised. I am praying that God will continue to move mightily among us as we close this series out. I believe that it has been transformational for many of us at Netcast and pray that God's working sustains us for years to come.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments; don't hesitate to email me. Also, expect homework after Sunday :)

All in Jesus Name!!
Pastor Matt

15 Hopes for the women at Netcast Church

This past weekend we talked about what it looks like to pursue biblical woman. At the end of the message I listed my 15 hopes for the women at Netcast. Those, as well as a quote inspired by the writings of Pastor John Piper is below.


“True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of his Son in ways that would not be displayed if there was no womanhood.” There are certain ways that man cannot display God's glory. When God described the work of his Son as the sacrifice of a husband for his bride, he was telling us why he made us male and female. He made us this way so this relationship would describe more fully the relationship of his son and his son’s blood-brought bride. If you reduce woman to biological features you not only reduce the value of womanhood but reduce the glory given to God in his beautiful creation. Whether a woman is married or single. Do not waste your God-Given womanhood, for it was made by and made for the glory of Christ.”

15 Hopes that I have for the women at Netcast. 

1. That all of your life, you'll be devoted to finding hope and beauty in Jesus.

2. That you won't stop modeling gentleness & compassion to us hard-hearted men at Netcast.

3. That you be women of the bible and not blame your church or a man for your lack of discipline.

4. That Jesus and the meditation on biblical truth be the source of your hope and faith; not a man.

5. That you fight to be heard at Netcast and in the community. Never letting fear quite your voice.

6. That you be women of prayer and faith; and grow in your influence at home and Netcast.

7. That you work to understand the deep mysteries of the gospel.

8. That you be totally committed to ministry within Netcast, whatever your role.

9. That you not waste God-given time on pointless TV shows, social media stalking or gossiping.

10. That, if you're married, you lovingly support the servant leadership of your husband and help him to die to himself as the Lord has called him to.

11. That you encourage, not belittle your husband when he is wrong and you are right.

12. That you develop a fearless war mentality when it comes to worshiping your King Jesus.

13. That you fight for transparency and authenticity, yet be honorable and respectful to others.

14. That you mentor and raise up the younger women at Netcast so they might love Jesus well.

15. That your motivation for the discipleship of others not be your own perfection, but rather your humility. Because young women need to know that imperfect women are loved by a perfect God.

Good Friday...and why was it good?

http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Good-Friday-Wallpaper-06.jpg 
Good Friday...
and why was it good?





Today we celebrate Good Friday which is traditionally celebrated as the day Jesus died on the cross. All day, Catholics and Protestants across denominations and nations will observe the day with services, Scripture readings, prayer, and retellings of Christ’s death on the cross. Some families choose to have a service of remembrance at home. Although God does not require us to celebrate Good Friday, but it can be a powerful practice to intentionally remember the pain Jesus went through both before and during His crucifixion. It can also be a preparation for the joy that comes when we will celebrate Easter together on Sunday.


One thing that I never understood was “why do we refer to it as 'good' Friday?” Although there was nothing good about the day when Jesus suffered and died, the outcome certainly is! It was the day Jesus became the perfect, sacrificial Lamb who shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18). This was the greatest act of love known to man, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place. And because of the resurrection, we who place our trust in Him believe in a living Savior, not a God who is dead. (John 14:1–3).

Although Netcast is not in a position to gather today for service, I do want to encourage those of us who call Netcast their home. Be intentional today; talk about Jesus, talk about His death and look forward to Sunday when we gather together to celebrate the miracle of His resurrection.

Here is an outline of what the past 24 hours would have looked like for Jesus... 

Jesus' last moments with his disciples. 
  • The Last Supper 
(Matthew 26:20-30; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-38; John 13:21-30) 
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane 
(Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-45) 
  • Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested 
(Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11) 
Jesus is taken into custody. 
  • Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate 
(Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-37) 
  • Jesus Sent to Herod 
(Luke 23:6-12) 
  • Jesus Returned to Pilate 
(Luke 23:11) 
  • Jesus is Sentenced to Death 
(Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:23-24; John 19:16) 
  • Jesus is Led Away to Calvary 
(Matthew 27:32-34; Mark 15:21-24; Luke 23:26-31; John 19:16-17) 
Jesus is Crucified on the Cross
  • Luke 23:34 - Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." 
  • The Soldiers Cast Lots for Jesus' Clothing 
(Mark 15:24) 
Jesus is insulted and mocked 
  • Mark 15:31 - The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. 
  • Luke 23:36-37 - The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 
  • Luke 23:39 - One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him. 
 Jesus speaks. 
  • John 19:26-27 - When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, "Woman, he is your son." And he said to this disciple, "She is your mother." And from then on this disciple took her into his home. 
  • Matthew 27:46 - And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
 
  • Jesus said, "I am thirsty."A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 
  • John 19:30 - When Jesus had tasted it, he said, "It is finished!" 
  • 
Luke 23:46 - Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. 
Events following Jesus' death. 
  • Matthew 27:51-52 - At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 
  • The Centurion - "Surely he was the Son of God!" 
(Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:47) 
  • The Soldiers Break the Thieves' Legs 
(John 19:31-33) 
  • The Soldier Pierces Jesus Side 
(John 19:34) 
  • Jesus is Laid in the Tomb 
(Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)