Archive for November, 2009

Enjoying Thanksgiving.

November 25, 2009

Each year we head up to the mountains of western North Carolina for a little time out and a little time with Penny’s family. It has been beautiful as the air is crisp and the clouds are thick. We have no wi-fi at our cabin but there is a cool little coffee shop at the bottom of the mountain that does. Now time for the things I’m thankful for: Clarity (thank you Jesus!), our call to northern New England to start a church, family, my Penny ;), and of course my boys. I really could go on and on, I won’t bore you.

Good week.

November 21, 2009

Friends.

I have been able to connect and reconnect with people from various seasons of my life. I met with pastors, church planters and old friends. Just talking with them all, sharing our story, has been confirming to our call to start a church in New England.  People have been so supportive and encouraging, this is so necessary.

Circumstances.

We had to pull our house off of the market this week. I have learned that the lending world is only set up for delinquency not for those who want to have integrity. For example I had a bank manager tell me that we should use the rest of our HELOC and then default on the loan. Sketchy. Because the bank will not release us from our existing equity loan and draw up another loan , we cannot sell our house out right. The options: short sell (default on loan, no thanks), rent or wait on God. We have decided to wait until 12/15 and see what the Lord does.  We also need to sell our boat and believe that the Lord will take care of this as well.

Participation.

I have the opportunity to go to a surf video premiere on Thursday. On in Jupiter, Florida! So cool to see more than 200 people at a beachside civic center watch this epic premiere. Calvary Jupiter was asked to participate in this event by providing the audio and video hardware. It was our honor. One of cool Florida things I will miss when we leave for the northeast.

Too blessed.

November 17, 2009

As we prepare for this new life chapter I am so grateful for the guys who have gone before me as church planters. I have had an amazing opportunity through these early stages of starting a church to glean from a couple. All of the mistakes, the could’a, should’a would’as. They are sharing with me. Encouraging me. Praying for me. It’s like a brotherhood, a fraternity and I’m the nOOb. I have such a great opportunity and I plan on making the most of it.

A lot to do!

November 16, 2009

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When starting a church there is so much to do. My church planting friends have warned me, now I am experiencing this. From the legal stuff, the meeting

place stuff to the family stuff and all the stuff in between, there’s a lot of stuff. Please pray that all will be complete with excellence. If you are a church planter, any advice? I’m all ears 🙂

Whata couple of days!

November 12, 2009

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The past few days have been ridiculous. I have met several pastors, ministry and lay leaders from the Upper Valley region. I have been humbled and I am being crushed. Several weeks ago I heard Chuck Swindoll say that a pastor must be crushed to to be used by God. I am experiencing this first hand.  I came up here with a list of things I would like to accomplish or hear from God about.  The first being a name for this new church launch. After prayer and fasting and of course a lot bad potential names it became very clear what the name is going to be. Each pastor that launches a new church has a story attached to the naming. I have heard various, like they knew the name going into the process (lucky!), a name from a denomination or movement, or like my case, God revealed supernaturally . I stayed with my friends Derek and Laura. They live in the UV and have so for 15 years. He and I had been praying through this together and I had some horrible name suggestions and even had a logo created (stupid me!) . He had some amazing advice for me last week as I shared with him the name I was thinking. He said “Dude just get up here and get a feel for the area. God will give you the right name for the church”. He was right. On Tuesday evening we were both sitting around the house reading, praying journaling. Honestly I was perplexed and exhausted after a day of crazy God stuff. He wasn’t over. Derek came and sat at the table where I was and humbly said, “I got the name”. He could see that I was toast but definitely interested in his thought on this. He had his Bible opened and read from Ezekiel 47:12 “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” After reading he said Riverbank Church. I know right away this was the name. Inside I took a deep breathe and thought to myself “YES!” You must understand that the UV is all about the Connecticutt River. It’s the lifeline of the valley. Towns and cities exist because of the river. It connects with the people. It has a deeper meaning as I wish to see fruit that doesn’t fail come from the life of a regenerate people. Powerful. Riverbank Church. Please pray for us as we move forward now. The name is ready. It has meaning and it speaks to the people of the region.

Ready, set…….

November 10, 2009

I went to bed at 2 am. OUCH! Had a great time talking with my great friends Derek and Laura. Reflected back, catching up and talking about what is to come. Good time for sure. I awoke this morning to a beautiful and brisk New England fall morning. I walked out to the bank of the Connecticut River over looking Vermont and took it all in. Nice time with the Lord, talking, listening, waiting. I was reminded of Jeremiah’s call in the Old Testament when he chatted with the Lord and He told Jeremiah that “I will be with you”, several times. A great reminder to me. For the first time in this whole process of calling and confirmation this is the first time I have been speechless and almost alone. It’s part of the process of the whole deal I’m sure. I was again reminded that there are 78,000 people in “the triangle” of Lebanon, Hanover and White River Junction. 74,000 people are completely un-reached. This stirs my heart. It overwhelms my heart. Please pray.Picture 1

On foot.

November 10, 2009

At approximately 3:30 EST I landed in Manchester, NH and about 10 minutes later I stepped foot on New Hampshire soil. After an hour drive I arrived in Lebanon and met up with my friend Derek and his family. The air is crisper, cleaner and has a bit of sweetness to it. I can’t wait for tomorrow as we meet up with some local pastors and check out some potential living quarters. Please pray for me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit during this time. Check back tomorrow.

A new chapter.

November 8, 2009

Life is like a book. Different seasons equal different chapters. We are getting ready to enter into the most unique, even extreme chapter in our life as a family. Let me share with you an announcement that we made at church today. Please pray for us, and check this blog often as I will be posting often.

In January 2005 we brought a group from Calvary to Passion Conference. One of the speakers shared about New England and how unreached the region is.

I was moved by the challenge and stood when asked to pray about launching a church there.

During this period of time we were in the middle of our adoption of our kids from Russia.

We genuinely believed we would be in Jupiter until Jesus comes back.

Flash forward to October 2009.

Pastor Jeff and I went to the Catalyst Conference. To be honest my expectations were very low, but the Lord had different plans. I randomly chose a breakout to attend. Little did I know my heart was going to be stirred so deeply.

The speaker challenged us to be have real faith. I was challenged because our last real faith move in our life was our adoption. The Lord has recently closed that chapter by providing the complete payment of our adoption debt.

Our church wide fast was the following week, October 12-14.

On Tuesday morning, early I awoke to spend some time in prayer and study when the Lord very clearly spoke to me: “Chris I want you to move to Lebanon, NH to start a church”. I was shocked and moved. I know this voice. It is the same voice that spoke to me to talk to my wife about adopting from Russia. The same voice that called me to be a pastor. The same voice that spoke to me about being the student pastor here at CJ.

It is an unmistakable voice.

On Wednesday I tried to ignore and put off the call. On Thursday I said, It was just a Fast-high!! But the whole day I kept hearing the call. I shared with my wife that day after work. She was surprised yet not shocked.

Interestingly enough we had made prior plans to have dinner with Pastor Dan and Cheryl.

I asked Dan how his fast was and he said it was good. I said, well mine was interesting and shared with him the encounter I had. He said I can see this, and believe that this could be possible. He encouraged us to seek confirmation(s).

The following days were challenging as Penny and both knew the Lord was stirring our hearts but it was not clear yet as we awaited confirmation. Penny was not at peace at all. We prayed and asked for a sign. Ten minutes later in our car Penny says “Punch buggy black, no returns!” I was immediately drawn to the license plate and the writing on the vehicle. New Hampshire plates, and advertising of the state on the vehicle.

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Penny said, “I’m gonna’ be sick, that’s a sign isn’t it!” we looked at each other and knew that the Lord was doing something.

Over the next several days the Lord did a major work in our hearts for the region and our calling to go.

I kept in constant contact with Pastor Dan over the days as we were seeking the Lord.

My family confirmed the call as they have always known that the Lord has a calling on our lives.

The leadership and staff of the church have confirmed this calling.

We are excited to announce today that CJ is sending us out to be messengers to the most unreached most educated region in America.

It has been said the New England is more irreligious than Africa and Asia.

We will be leaving on January 1st to go launch a church in the Upper Valley region of NH/Vermont.

We love our church (Calvary Jupiter), the staff congregation and the Jupiter area. This is the hardest thing that we have ever done or will ever do, but our calling is greater than this love.

Pray for us as we sell everything and go. Pray that the Lord will provide opportunities, resources and all that is needed to launch a church big. Pray that the people would show us favor. That we would reach the people of the Upper Valley with Jesus and provide them the opportunity to be growing followers of Jesus.

Obsessed over football?

November 1, 2009

I really struggle with an obsession over football. I have to watch my college team on Saturday (go ‘Canes!) and of course the Dolphins draw my attention on Sundays. It has been this way in my life for countless years. I was just thinking if I were to take all of the football energy I have and apply it to things that have meaning, like family, Jesus or friends I would be a better father, husband, follower of Christ and friend to others. Maybe it’s time for a check……