Archives For Family

I’m still learning.

Chilly —  October 10, 2014 — 7 Comments

Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10
years of ministry in Detroit.)

Things I’m learning today

… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
Part TWO.

You kids are capable of SO much more than you can even begin to imagine!

  • my FIVE heroesWhen we begin, we had three little girls (ages 12, 8 and 4). Since then, we have added to boys! So, we are now: Mariah 22, Courtney 18, Zoe 14, Maximus 9 and Chase 8.
  • They have had to adjust to various types of schooling (public school, home school, charter school, online school).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of sports leagues (Upward, Homeschool, PAL, Community).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of church buildings, leaders, people & programs (Hamtramck, Midtown, Mexicantown … Bars, Apartment Penthouse, Nightclubs, Bowling Allies, Church buildings).
  • My adult daughters are leading ministry with joy and passion. And my younger kids can’t wait to be at church or at outreach or whatever is happening! They LOVE IT!
  • They’ve had people come in and out of their lives. They have seen people fail. They certainly are eye-witnesses to my flaws & short-comings.
  • But, they have also seen hundreds & hundreds come to know Jesus. They have seen miracles. They have seen, experienced and expressed unconditional love.
  • And, most important, they EACH have a very real, personal, relationship with Christ.

I can’t even imagine all that God is doing and about to do IN and THROUGH each of their lives. They are my heroes!

Blood is thicker than water, but Spirit is thicker than blood.

  • This is a quote from my friend, Pastor Tim Dilena — he spoke this in reference to our family & friends in the faith.
  • One of the hardest things about being in full-time ministry is living far away from your family. Netta has family in Colorado and Kansas; I have family in Missouri, Minnesota and Georgia.
  • So, we are rarely with our natural families – especially when most people enjoy these times: holidays, birthdays and special events.
  • As much as we miss our natural family, our lives and home are filled with spiritual brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, sons and daughters. There’s a bond with those we serve with, that God has given us, that is powerful, personal and awesome!
  • We hope our kids will always live close and serve alongside us but if God leads them away — we are confident that He will surround them with spiritual family.

Thank you to BOTH our natural and spiritual families. WE LOVE YOU!

God doesn’t always lead through policy manuals, flow-charts and business plans.

  • Yes, I know that God is a God of order. But, I also know that sometimes ministry can be (or appear to be) messy, crazy and chaotic.
  • We’re working with people not machines. People are weird. People break down suddenly. People change. People die.
  • Our processes may not allow for the unpredictable wonderfulness, found in people.
  • Yes, we should have a plan. There should be organization.
  • But, we also must recognize that discipleship cannot be done in vacuum or delegated. It’s personal and every person is different.

Spirituality is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride of unexpected turns, surprise bumps and bone shattering crashes … a life ruined by a Jesus who loves us right into his arms. Mike Yanconelli

Yes, I will still trust the policies, constitution and by-laws, programs, and plans created by amazing servants of the Lord. But, I will not be limited by these things. They are the launchpad not the rocket ship!

IF you missed Part One, be sure to scroll down!

Next Stop … Breathe

Chilly —  August 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

*Journal entry during flight to Siesta Key

I’m 33,000 ft. above the earth on my way to Siesta Key for family vacation… sigh… You don’t realize you need rest until you make it happen (maybe until then, you operate in a focused denial).

almost there

I have so much to be thankful for:

  • ALL of my family is with me and ALL of my kids still love & enjoy being with ‘daddy.’ Rare in our crazy world & dysfunctional culture.
  • My wife (and queen) is still in love with me. Miracle for sure!
  • I’m healthy. I’m eating better (and less) and I run & play soccer almost every day. And for three weeks I’ll also swim/play in the ocean and pool for 4-6 hours per day!
  • My sleep is still not great but, perhaps, this vacation will allow me to adjust this to something sane.
  • My church (Courage) is doing really good! We’ve never been healthier – in all ways! They showed their love to us & for us in such a big, significant & generous way yesterday (pastor appreciation Sunday). Love them!
  • My other church (Mount Hope) also have expressed their love and appreciation. My role there is so unique – I never feel like I’m doing enough. But, GREAT things are happening.

Random: I’m drinking Bloody Mary mix (spicy tomato juice)

This time away – priorities:
1. God – deeper … More listening, More journaling and More vision!
2. Family – attention, fun, individual times with each. LOVE!
3. Health – exercise, eat right & sleep — and relax (breathe, stop over-thinking)
4. Seek Direction: next 25+ years marriage & family // And, next 10+ years ministry
5. Minister to my friend and host here in Florida plus other people we encounter
6. Follow: I lead & make so many decisions — so, here, it’s fun to just tag along.
7. Enjoy lots of seafood!  Fish, lobster, crab, clams, scallops, calamari & more!

We’ll land soon and our adventure will continue. IF you think of us, please pray! We want this time away to be refreshing, defining and encouraging. We’re so thankful for ALL of you! More later…

Time to find my boardshorts and sunscreen!


25 Years: The List

Chilly —  June 24, 2014 — 12 Comments

25 Keys to a Joyful and Lasting Marriage
(in no particular order)

257231-stock-photo-old-red-graffiti-wall-building-life-wall-barrierOne of the keys to our marriage has always been to realize that we’re not experts and that our way may not be best for others. In fact, over the years, we’ve been asked to do “Marriage Retreats” and other types of events and I’ve replied (with a smirk), “one of the secrets to our marriage is not doing marriage retreats!” So, this list is not comprehensive or authoritative. But, rather just a quick, random, spontaneous list from Netta and me as we sit together in Florida celebrating our FIRST 25 years of marriage… Enjoy!

  1. Smile every day — often!
  2. Talk (and listen) to God before you talk to each other.
  3. Buy good toilet paper and roll it over-the-top.
  4. Fight for your ‘sabbath day’ — and make it count.
  5. Last one out of bed makes the bed.
  6. Say I love you as often as you can! Also, compliment each other. Lots of eye-contact.
  7. Don’t discuss important things when you’re overly emotional (angry, sad, depressed, etc).
  8. Laugh… A LOT!
  9. Don’t compare or compete with each other — revel in uniqueness!
  10. Honor one another. Never tease or embarrass the other beyond what’s kind.
  11. Live translucent not transparent. Yes, allow others to see inside but not every detail.
  12. Live Amenable (even better than accountable).
  13. Follow God’s dreams rather than expect Him to follow ours.
  14. Make love not war (and everyone just went, “Oooooo!”)
  15. Discipline in unity — be on the same team.
  16. Be present (alert & responsive) not just around.
  17. Take time away from ‘everything’ together and at times, alone.
  18. Make sure God remains head of the home & marriage.
  19. Don’t make your spouse your only friend — do different things with different people.
  20. Live above reproach (opposite sex, computers, free time, interests, etc).
  21. In disagreements or decisions, avoid words like: Always and Never.
  22. Communicate LOVE the way your spouse needs it not the way you want it.
  23. Raise your children as individuals — no two are the same. Enjoy their uniqueness!
  24. Seek wisdom from those who have lived it — not just from peers, blogs & books.
  25. Don’t think you’re an expert… EVER. Avoid writing lists for the first 25 years!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little random list. I’m confident that we left out some essential things that may have made you think, “what about this?” — we’re just happy that it’s got you thinking, laughing and reading. We’re SO THANKFUL for our marriage! We’re also thankful for all of you who know us and still love us! Thanks for praying for our marriage and family, for reading our blogs, for sharing in our crazy little world and for living such extraordinary lives. You inspire us and encourage us to FEARLESSLY go for God’s best!

Life, marriage and family are all wonderful ADVENTURES not tedious chores or mindless routines! Your path is planned by God and is filled with unexpected blessings and opportunities. IF you avoid the ordinary, you’ll live the extraordinary! This is our prayer for our lives and YOURS!

Well, it’s back to the beach for us!

CHECK BACK in 25 years for our next list!

More IN Love than EVER,
Chilly and Netta

Family-Style Adventure

Chilly —  April 25, 2014 — 13 Comments

This blog post was inspired by reading some of the amazing comments on my post, When the Adventure becomes a Job <– click.  (this post set records in views, over 1,000 per day). You may want to read it BEFORE proceeding with today’s…

The past few days, I’ve really been thinking and praying about the ADVENTURE that God has called me (us) to live. And, obviously, my post about this really hit home with so many others.  I’ve been asking God, how can we have discipline, planning, and order without getting all business-like or turning my adventure into a job? Then, I said something in one of my responses to a comment, that began to help me understand – here’s what, in part, I said…

Courage Church

Courage Church Detroit, “4Days” 2013

My family would be chaotic without structure! Hmmm… Maybe I just stumbled onto something…

“Family” not business, organization or even church. Decisions created out of love not results.

I think this is brilliant (said best with British accent)!  Adventurous ministry is done best Family-Style! LOVE and LIFE are the keys. We’re doing life together with crazy, awesome, love!

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5

Here’s how the family-style adventure could be enjoyed.   Continue Reading…