As per my promise to the students of Believer Chapel Youth (BCY), I’ve made my notes on tonight’s message on “Sex: What They Don’t Tell You” available as a free PDF. My prayer is the information within strengthen’s your resolve to honor and guard God’s desires for your body, and fuels your passion to live as an example for a generation that needs rescuing. ch:
Jennifer and I had our final night of ministry here in Switzerland last night. I walked into it knowing my body was failing, and I’d have no voice by the end, so I asked Jenny to be prepared.
The band played amazingly well, and this was the most I’ve seen the Swiss dance yet! But sure enough, my fever, cough, and soar throat took their toll, so by the time I finished our 1.5-hour set, I could barely speak. I managed to squeak out a few lines for the expected message, and then passed the mic to Jennifer.
What followed was about 20-minutes of profound encouragement on the pursuit of intimacy with God and being more concerned with his heart than the condition of our own. You had to be dead not to be moved.
Like Paul, I’m slowly learning:
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 Cor. 12:10]
Sometimes the strength we’re looking for is the gift found in other people afforded only when we step aside.
Continued prayers are greatly appreciated as we fly for Madrid, Spain this morning. This is the first trip in years that Jennifer is at 100%, and Levi is rocking Europe like a champ. I, however, am far from being on top of my game.
Thanks for all your encouragement and prayer. You are the best readers ever. ch:
Local Schools and CiCi’s Pizza Play Host to National Authors
By Kristen Japowicz – Wednesday, November 30, 2011
WATERTOWN, NY – Young Adult Fiction authors Christopher & Allan Miller, as well as local author and entrepreneur Christopher Hopper, will be dining with fans of their nationally published book series for two nights at CiCi’s Pizza in the Stateway Plaza, Thursday December 8th and Friday December 9th from 6pm to close.
The evenings are a part of their publisher’s “Discover the Adventure of Reading and Writing Tour,” which includes appearances at local Jefferson County schools, including Indian River, Wiley, and South Jeff, as well as some live radio interviews.
“Visiting schools and meeting students who have read our books is one of the hidden treasures of being a writer,” says Spearhead Book’s co-founder Christopher Miller. “When you see the light go on in the student’s imagination, that’s the best feeling of all.”
“We wanted to take this experience beyond the class room, too,” says Hopper, speaking of the evening activities at his restaurant on Arsenal Street. “Hosting these nights at CiCi’s is a great way to connect with families and have fun.”
More than just pizza will be for sale at CiCi’s, too; the author’s books, including The Miller Brothers’ new Mech Mice series, Code Bearers series, and Hopper’s newly published trilogy, The White Lion Chronicles, will be available for purchase.
“I’m really stoked about this,” says CiCi’s General Manager Shane Marolf. “I think it’s going to leave a very positive impact with a lot of families.”
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Spearhead Books’ Discover the Adventure of Reading and Writing Tour
-8:15am-8:30am on-air with Johnny Spezzano The Border
-9:00am-11:00am Wiley Middle School Workshops
-12:20pm-2:00pm Indian River Middle School Workshop
-5:00pm-6:00pm on-air with Glenn Curry AM 1240
-6:00pm-11:00pm CiCi’s Pizza “Dinner With The Authors”
Just a simple, loving, and very grateful shout-out to our new family at Cornerstone Church in East Longmeadow, MA. Dr. Tim and Debbie Moore, and all their amazing staff, went above and beyond the definition of hospitable.
Saturday evening’s service with Youth Impact was as powerful as it was memorable: who will ever forget Dillon plowing me over for his tissue box? Contend for you faith!
And this morning both jennifer and I felt overwhelmed by the congregation’s love and appreciation for our ministry in music and the teaching of the Word.
We look forward to a return visit. Much love and appreciation to you all. ch:
After a short drive around Lake Geneva to the mountain-ensconced, lake adorned village Villeneuve, Joseph and I were treated to a long-overdue kebab. Following a walk along the lake, we headed back to our host home where a nap ensued (Joseph’s longer than mine as he didn’t sleep on the plane).
We traveled through Montreux – host of one of the world’s premier jazz festivals – who’s Palace Hotel is pictured above, and loaded in to La Chapelle de Clarens. To my wonderful surprise, the venue had arranged for Rolf Schnieder and Stephane Unger to be part of my backup band, both of whom were instrumental in the recording of our album into French (and are fine musicians and dear friends). Special thanks to Yves and Stephan for adding their considerable talents to the music of the evening.
After a 2-hour practice, Swiss pizza for dinner, and a time of prayer with the pastoral team, it was time to worship.
The church was packed out as people journeyed up to an hour away, which is long for the Swiss, almost halfway across their country. By the third song, we moved all the chairs out, and the dancing began. Granted, I sweat through every shirt I ever wear on stage, but you know things are hopping when it’s drenched by the end of the fourth song.
When we were all exhausted, I shared a 20-minute message of encouragement on the affects of reaching just one person, as Jesus demonstrated in Mark 5. While we long for thousands in our regions to know Christ, it’s often our responsibility with effecting one life that opens perpetual doors for others to walk through.
Upon arriving back at our host home, in typical Swiss fashion, the real eating and drinking began. Julien – a 13 year old chef extraordinaire – presented us with not one but two plates of sushi, and the father of the home, Fredo, brought out a 1988 Pinot Noir from their region in our honor.
We got to bed somewhere after 1am.
Today Joseph and I are heading to Geneva to meet up with the team we’ll be ministering with through the weekend’s youth conference. ch:
People last forever.
Their eternal value, and location, were and still are of upmost importance to Jesus. Thus His irrefutable actions to ensure their redemption, if they so desire it.
With each passing year, this emphasis on the pricelessly incomparable worth of people promotes itself in my understanding.
It’s never about the places we travel, but the people we travel to.
It’s never about the weather we’re in, but the people in the weather.
Nor is it about the economies, languages, styles, or foods. While all noteworthy in their own way, such novelties are mere shadows of the more important form.
The weight and sadness I feel of saying goodbye to people I’ve known less then 72 hours is, at times, overwhelming. And beautiful. I understand more of Jesus’ groaning, Paul’s longing, and John’s heartache.
As I snapped this picture of Alexis, one of my exuberant little YWAM students, sending a letter on to Jenny via my backpack, I was reminded again of the reason I left my family for a few days this week.
Where Alexis spends eternity matters, as do those she’s being equipped to serve with the rest if her life.
Because people are the only thing you can bring with you.
A Post from YWAM Charlotte DTS
Unplanned, uncoordinated times of prolonged worship are like un-caging a lion: you’re not sure if it’s going to run free, or if it’s going to eat you alive.
Which is why we do our best as leaders to plan.
And that’s not a bad thing. We prepare because people are fickle, emotions are lethal, and often times those that think they are sensitive to the Holy Spirit aren’t. The last thing we want to do is abuse anyone’s time, including God’s with us.
But the risk can be worth it.
When a soaking session is done right, well, you never forget it. Because you get transformed.
Last night, it was clear from the beginning we were in for something awesome. The host church ended up double booking our first room. So we moved.
Ten minutes in to our second location, we were informed it was also double booked. So we moved again.
From hymns to spiritual songs to lead prayer to words of knowledge, it was a remarkably rich time in the presence of our Father.
Toward the end I felt lead to sing Song of Songs 2:10-14 over the students, as it’s evident the Lord has been wooing them nearer and nearer. As soon as I was done, the Holy Spirit gave me a very simple song for them:
Take me away
Take me away
Take me away
I want to be where you are
I will go anywhere you ask me
I will go anywhere you ask me
I will go anywhere you ask me
If you’re by my side
Teary eyed and full, we emerged from the old choir room they stuck us in, knowing we had been with God. ch:
A Post from YWAM Charlotte DTS
For anyone in the Christian communication world, if you ever get asked to present to the Discipleship Training School at the YWAM Base in Charlotte, NC, then you’ve arrived. Their hospitality is over the top, their staff is some of the best trained anywhere in the world, and their vision – social justice with an emphasis on orphans and the fallout of sex trafficking - is awe-inspiring.
Which means the brand of person they attract is equally impressionable.
I’m truly honored to have a voice among them, and I hope my words serve their futures in God effectively.
While most of what I shared today centered around my life’s story, as well as that of my wife’s, contained within it was the theme of divine love, namely, that of our Father.
As I was meditating on the Word last night, I made the following notes in my journal:
“The greatest source of comfort in this life comes from the sound and accepted determination and resolution that God the Father is always good, only good, and knows nothing else but good. While such a position may not appear to answer the impetuses of world happenings – whether of natural disaster or human depravity – it does rectify what God’s motives are not.
“If He and His goodness are the standard, then everything else must fall in line with His unshifting value, not challenge it. God is not the unknown integer being forced to equal a logical sum, held hostage by the unmoving assertions of human opinion; rather, He is the immovable power who makes all other questions subject to the gravity of his unbending goodness.
“If He alone is the embodiment of goodness, the working of evil is not, nor ever could be, His own, but is the fruit of human choice, allowed because He refused to control and manipulate the decisions and consequences of one person simply to protect the welfare of another.”
Tonight I will play over them (hopefully with a big piano) for a few hours in a “soaking” session the staff have scheduled, and look forward to seeing God add to what He started this morning. ch:
Not unlike being at either New Life or The Father’s House – CHB’s home churches – we had a 6am wake-up call and a 7am sound check at Church of the Living God. My voice definitely didn’t work right for the 8am version of “Rain Down” in D, but we managed. Our set for all 3 services included “Nothing Is Impossible,” “You Alone,” Nate Cronk’s “Jesus You Are,” “Revelation Song,” and a 2001 resurrection of “I Believe” which we’ve added back into our rotation.
As a group, CHB has never sounded so good. I continue to be so proud of my team, their hearts for Jesus and others, their dedication to the craft of fine music-making, and their hunger to affect society through committing their lives to service within the Kingdom. I count serving with them among my life’s greatest privileges.
One of the weekend’s fun surprises was finding out Pastor Josh Finley from Elim Gospel Church in Lima, NY was the guest speaker. It was a NY invasion of Connecticut! He brought a powerful message on the significance of the individual within the Kingdom. I was really blessed, and took notes all 3 times I heard it.
We headed to Ted’s Montana Grill for a post-church lunch of bison burgers, then said our goodbyes as the band headed back to NY. Because our individual ministry lives are so busy, our music trips are often the only times we get to see some of our very best friends; hard goodbyes are the marks of those who live life selflessly.
[Michelle "Merch Queen" Cronk and Jenny pose for a picture].
[Becca and Jenny part ways].
Jenny and I grabbed a nap, then I worked on my notes for Merge Ahead – CLG’s amazing youth ministry service every Sunday night. My message “Living as Lions” was drawn from Paul’s conversation with the church leaders of Ephesus in Acts 20:17-28 in which he charges them to walk in wisdom, generosity, and boldness. “We are lions!” #ROAR
[Photo by: Randall Martins | @randymartins]
[Bottom photo by: Randall Martins | @randymartins]
Pastor Eric Peoples and his wife Melissa took us out for dinner at a great Mexican place, and then we crashed back at Mike & Iris Kim’s house (where Jenny and Iris did some sort of facial mask that made them look like the girls friends of Jigsaw and Hannibal Lechter. Pretty weird).
Today we drive home to tribe (and relieve the babysitters).
Thanks to all those who came out on Friday and Sunday to worship with us; you made it one of our most memorable weekends ever. ch:
After almost a month off from traveling, Jennifer and I are headed to Connecticut for a full weekend of ministry with CHB at Church of the Living God in Manchester.
Follow @find_ch & @find_chb on Twitter for moment-by-moment updates, and lock in here for recaps & pics. I promise that whenever I’m around Mike Kim, and the rest of my band, things are guaranteed to get nuts.
Thanks for riding along. ch:
Thanks to all those who came out to Creation fest NE this year! It was so great meeting you, and such an honor to help push you into the plans and purposes of God for your life. If we aren’t connected on Facebook yet, please open up a new tab here and “like.” Likewise, you can get daily bald craziness from me by following my twitter feed here.
As Joseph and I made out way back to the Woods 3 stage on the hill overlooking the rest of Creation [ha!], we noticed even more people than yesterday were filling in early. Harry Thomas [pictured below] noted that all the teaching stages were packed out this year. “I think teens are really hungry for the Word, not just great music,” he said in a meeting at the Admin Office. In light of so many negative statements by disgruntled complainers, what a great commentary on our generation’s youth!
I’m not sure how you can “pack out the woods,” but we did! My message for Friday was on the role of the Arts within the Church. I really felt like I delivered the message well and was able to connect people with the inspiring heart of the Lord to use their gifts to promote Him.
I’ve made the PDFs of my notes for both messages available below, as well as the promised “Crickets Soundtrack” recording I used during Friday’s message. The audio recordings of the message’s themselves will be available on Creation Fest’s website later on this month.
Of course my favorite part about any event is meeting people, and Creation is no exception. Hearing their stories, praying together, and celebrating victories are some of my joys. One dad, Charlie, said he was so touched by “a conference that was loving on his daughter.” When I asked him to elaborate, he went on to explain that the only 1 of his 6 children to want to attend Creation with him was also the only unsaved one. With tears in his eyes he said, “My 18-year-old daughter is being loved on by the people here. She bumps into someone accidentally and they apologize profusely; she drops something and they pick it up for her. She can’t understand why everyone is so kind. She’s actually seeing a manifestation of Jesus’ love in them.” We prayed for her salvation together and then hugged.
Another great personality was a surfer from south Florida named Tom [pictured below]. His heart is to reach the beach community through the use of visual communications. And boy is he! Between his inflatable screens promoting the Gospel and his conversation starting t-shirts, Tom’s heart for evangelism through unorthodox methods made me a believer. I loved his t-shirt so much he even went back to his campsite and gave me one! Email him if you’d like to order one.
Thanks to everyone that came out! Go and be everything God has called you to! ch:
DOWNLOAD: Crickets Soundtrack
“We love you, Jennifer!” from Creation to @jenniferlhopper VIDEO