Young Adults Retreat Sunday, Aug 27 2006 

A few of us just returned from a young adults retreat on Lake Winnepauskee in New Hampshire. It was a wonderful time to enjoy digging into the Word as well as fellowshipping with old and new friends alike. Pastor Kevin Cooper, the Pastor of outreach for Greater Grace World Outreach in Baltimore, came as the guest speaker and shared time at the pulpit with Pastor Doug Wambolt and Pastor Jim Morrison, both pastors at Greater Grace Christian Fellowship. Pastor Cooper is the pastor of outreach and evangelism for GGWO. He also serves as the co-Chaplain for the New York Knicks with Pastor John Love, Youth Pastor for GGWO as well as host of the daily radio program the Grace Hour.
Pastor Cooper led the weekend off on Friday night with a great sermon on Grace and Mercy. He said that as children of God we are now possess the gifts of grace and mercy. Sine we have received these two gifts we can now choose to apply them in our lives. He defined mercy as “not receiving what we deserve” and grace as “receiving that which we do not deserve.” In application this means that as sinners we deserve hell, instead God gives us mercy and by accepting it we do not need to go to hell. God does not only not give us hell but instead he goes beyond and through his grace he gives us eternal life in heaven.
Pastor Wambolt then spoke on the motivation of our lives. We either be led by earthly wisdom or heavenly wisdom, it is our choice. Wisdom from below would lead us into a life that seeks to please people, this life results in sin and following people, not God. Living life motivated by thoughts above leads us to a life of joy through obedience. As Christians we need to always choose to be motivated by eternal truths.
During the day on Saturday we enjoyed a great sermon from P. Doug in the morning then we spent the afternoon onpictures-303.jpg the water. We went out on a few boats and cruised around the lake enjoying the sun. We stopped at the sand bar and while some played volleyball others tried their hand at wakeboarding. Wakeboarding was a blast and before we knew it the afternoon was waning and we had to head back to camp.
On Saturday night Pastor Morrison came and spoke on God’s knowledge being all encompassing. So many times we think of God as god of the spiritual, or god of all theology but God is a hand’s on God and is God of all. He used Isaiah 28:23-29 where it speaks of God instructing the farmer.
Sunday was a nice relaxing day. We enjoyed a nice breakfast of French toast then went to have service in the barn. After we started a roaring first Pastor Cooper and Pastor Wambolt both gave sermons. It was weekend packed with the Word as well as some great fellowship. Many people came for their first time and a number of people received the Gospel who most likely had never heard the Truth before. It was a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

Do not sacrifice the permanent on the alter of the immediate.
-Pastor Alpo, Finnish Missionary to Russia

That They May Know Him -Amanda M Monday, Aug 21 2006 

About two weeks ago, thousands of believers gathered together to do what we were ultimately created to do: worship our Maker. Many would agree that the presence of God was felt throughout Soulfest, especially during the times of music and worship. God was faithful to His Word, where He says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”lit_cross.jpg (Matthew 18:20)
Personally what touched my heart the most was not the undeniable talents of the famous Christian musicians… it was the fellowship of believers. There was something about being in the presence of thousands of people, all singing praises to God. It felt like a glimpse of what Heaven is like. An urgency in my spirit arose suddenly to let this lost and dying world know that there is so much more to life and that God has amazing things for those who choose Him. (John 10:10) The realization of the purposes of these gatherings (Christian conferences, retreats, concerts, etc.) finally came to me. They are not simply to draw believers together, but also to refresh us to go out and share Christ to the world. It’s the same reason we listen to Christian music, read Christian books, go to Church, and ultimately, the reason Christ died: SOULS… that all might know Him.

-Amanda M.

“For in Him, we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28)

Speaking the Word in Season – Jill G. Friday, Aug 18 2006 

Last Spring I felt uncomfortable when I first considered going to Boston for the purpose of sharing Christ with the people. I had reservations and felt uneasy stepping out of my comfort zone, then I realized that by doing so I was stepping out in faith. It would haveboston-at-night.jpg been easier to stay home on Friday night watching a movie or just hanging out rather than walking around on a freezing night approaching total strangers on the street. But, I decided it’s not about me, it’s about God and I want to be a part of His plan for the big picture. I can’t begin to say what a blessing it was and how fulfilling it felt to know I was an instrument in Gods plan and being used by Him to spread the great news to the people he loves and cares so deeply about, especially in the days we live in. There is a need for people to have an explanation for LIFE, So many don’t seem to know or care why they are here or for what purpose. Our hearts desire is that they would know, and for that reason some one must tell them! It’s like you’re running out of a burning house and you want to take every one with you but the time is short. I am excited to see how God will use cHc for His glory and I know He will continue to lead the way.

– Jill G.

Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.

-Ephesians 3:20

8/15/06 Wednesday, Aug 16 2006 

Remember Christian? Maybe not, I should have mention him as one of the main people we spent time with a couple of weeks back when KC, Jill and I were talking with people in Boston. He works as the security guard for American Eagle on Newbury St. We had spoken with him a couple weeks back and although he believed in God he did not know who God was. He had a faith but he did not know what his faith was in. Today I walked into American Eagle and Christian came walking right over and said, “Hi Mark. How are you.” I was surprised that Christian had remembered my name. I was glad to speak to him and spent a while listening to him tell me of the new job he just got, a much better job than he currently had. It was great to see God blessing the life of a man who we had shared his love with just a couple of weeks back.
Later, I went out for a coffee break to the Starbucks on the corner of Boylston St. and Berkeley St. I saw my friend Dennis who I had met when I first started working at IXIS well over a year ago. Dennis has been working at Starbucks coffee.jpgfor a long time and was very friendly from the first day I met him. Today I was standing in line and Dennis walked in (even when he is not working, he is a regular). We started talking and he told me that he was brushing up on his Greek. Brushing up on your Greek? That’s not an everyday activity so I asked him why he was studying Greek and he replied that he was doing it so he could read the New Testament in the original language. He is a Christian. It is was so encouraging to learn that his friend of mine as also a brother. As an added bonus he works at the very Starbucks we are planning on holding out Bible Study at this fall. Dennis loves C.S. Lewis and will be studying for his Masters Degree this fall at Boston College.
What as an amazing day got better when I was talking to a co-worker on the way to the train for the ride home. Mike is a great guy who I have become friends with during my time working at IXIS. He just moved close to my hometown and is really enjoying the area. I asked him if he was reading any good books and he said that, being a new father to a 10 month old daughter, it was just suggested to him to read She Calls Me Daddy. I had remembered my father reading that book. It was a Christiashe-calls-me-dad.jpgn book that he greatly enjoyed and has influenced the way he has raised his two daughters. While I was learning that a couple of my co-workers were reading Christians books, a college student from Worcester State, who had confronted me when he saw me reading my Bible early in the summer, say me and asked how my summer was going. He was also a Christian who was working at an environmental agency for the summer. I talked with him for a little bit and came away even more encouraged.
To add to what was already a highlight of a day I won an auction eBay for a used bike. When I received the email from the seller I check the website his email address was at and it ended up being East Delavan Baptist Church where Dan is a Pastor.
It is amazing how God can reveal himself through people, circumstances, and His Word. I didn’t even get into the Bible or what God has been showing me. I haven’t even mentioned the amazing truths I have been reading in David Well’s Above All Earthly Pow’rs. Amen.

Romans 14:8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Above all Earthly Pow’rs Monday, Aug 14 2006 

As I wrote a few days ago, I am currently reading Above all Earthly Pow’rs by David F. Wells. There are a number of thoughts that have stuck with me. I have been thinking about these thoughts of Mr. Wells and how they apply to our lives, how they affect the way we live, and how these facts can be the barriers we come against in others as we live our lives on mission to effect people for Jesus.

above“…those who gaze at the computer screen by day and a television screen by night may feel awkwardly obsolete in church if there is not another screen on which to gaze.” p.23

How much of our lives is dictated by the life at our workplace? How often is our thinking changed from caring about other people to instead caring solely about results the immediate gratification we receive when something gets done correctly and promptly. Are we able to break away from the mindset we have all day, everyday at work and enjoy the opportunity we have to live free?

“The experience of our modernized world leads us to think of it not only as the absence of God, but as it turns out, the absence of human nature. This is no coincidence. The death of God is always followed by the death of the human being.” p.48
We see this reality as we live everyday. And it is sad. But there is hope.

Red Sox Nation’s Dream Night Saturday, Aug 12 2006 

If there is one thing that Boston can unite around it is the Boston Red Sox. Red Sox Nation has developed into a cult following with fans from across the world but nobody loves them more than their loyal Bostonians. And yesterday was a Red Sox fan’s dream come true. My company took us to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox since 1912, for our company summer outing. While at Fenway we took batting practice, took a tour of the stadium, and got to go on the field. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying dinner in the new EMC club. What a great night!

City on a Hill Friday, Aug 11 2006 

In 1630 John Winthrop, the Governor of Boston (then Mass Bay Colony), preached the famous sermon, “A Modell of Christian Charity,” to the Puritan colonists who were living in Massachusetts Bay Colony. These words spoken almost 400 years ago ring as true today as they ever have.

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken … we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God … We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

On Books and Reading Wednesday, Aug 9 2006 

1. One book that changed your life: All of Grace, Charles Spurgeon
2. One book that you have read more than once: Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Bible, God
4. One book that made you laugh: Blue like Jazz, Donald Miller
5. One book that made you cry: -not sure, we can get back to that when I think of one-
6. One book you wish had been written: Believe it! World Series Champion Red Sox & their Remarkable 2004 Season (oh it was written!)
7. One book you wish had never been written: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, Charles Darwin
8. One book you’re currently reading: Above All Earthly Pow’rs: The Supremacy of Christ in a Post-Modern World, David Wells
9. One book you have been meaning to read: Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwich
10. One book that wasn’t mentioned but should be: Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Mark Driscoll

Google Trends Wednesday, Aug 9 2006 

Google Trends

One cool tool my brother just showed me is Google Trends (www.google.com/trends). On this site you can find what cities in the world are searching most for a particular word or phrase. All you do is type a word or phrase into the search box and it will rank the cities which have searched most for it in order from #1 to #10. I tried a number of searches and found that Boston came up in the top 10 for the following searches:

#1 – “college”
#1 – “academic”
#2 – “vacation”
#2 – “medical”
#2 – “marathon”
#3 – “health”
#4 – “dane cook”
#5 – “literary”
#7 – “murder”
#8 – “college town”
#8 – “mutual funds“
#9 – “hope”
#9 – “frat”
#10 – “real estate”
#10 – “peace”

And of course –
#1 for “city on a hill”

This is a great tool for finding information out about your city, your faith, the world and just about anything else. A couple cool facts are that Lima, Peru searches the most for “Jesus,” Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, Australia took the top threee spots for most searches for “Christianity,” St. Louis, MO searches the most for “theology,” and Atlanta, GA searches the most for “faith.”

Taking it to the Streets Wednesday, Aug 9 2006 

A week ago was the most recent night we purposed to reach people in Boston. It wasn’t a purely evangelistic time, but instead was more of a feeling out of the culture. Jill, KC and I walked around the Copley and Newbury Street area. We talked with about twenty people over a period of a few hours. Of the twenty people, two said that they went to church. These two happened to be Christians who live in California and were just in Boston for a week to work. These guys were youth leaders at Desert Rock Church and shared their own realization of the spiritual desert that Boston has come to be.
Other than these two guys we had a number of conversations with people who never really thought much about their faith. There wasn’t one person who we met from Boston who went to church, or even seemed to care very much about their faith. We asked them “If you were to go to church, what would be most important to you?” We received a couple responses including community and acceptance, prayer, and a focus on God, but for the most part people seemed to be careless about their faith, no matter what it may be.

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