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A Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On

February 18, 2014

Greetings,

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”  Acts 16: 25-26

Last night I drove the last 150 miles home through near blizzard conditions in Indiana.  A very fitting end to a wild and fantastic road trip South and back, but it also felt very good to return home after 11 days and nights on the road.  This trip was all about fellowship, family and friendships and I thoroughly enjoyed all three the entire time I was gone.

On the way down I was able to meet for coffee in Fishers Indiana with Sophie D. and her husband Paul.  I have known Sophie online for several years, but this was our first time meeting face to face.  She is such a sweetheart.  Our time together was short, but the fellowship was sweet and rewarding.  We spoke of getting together again for dinner in the North Indiana Amish country this spring or summer.

I spent the first night in Chattanooga Tennessee at the warm and cozy home of Tony and Marty R.  Tony and I met a few years ago on Facebook and via this blog, and we have grown as close as brothers in that short time.  No one offers hospitality as well as these folks.  And no matter the circumstance their home is always filled with much laughter and true joy.

Next I spent 3 nights with my soon to be 92 year old Aunt Marie, who still lives alone in New Port Richey Florida.  I would probably not be alive or a follower of Jesus without the prayers of this amazing woman of God.  We spent our time cooking together, praying and playing cards.  One night we went to the home of Dave and Jenny E. for dinner and hot tub fellowship.  Dave is one of my oldest and dearest friends having met 40 years ago in the 7th grade.  We have been there for each other through both excellent and difficult dark times over the years.  I love “Igor” as a tremendous friend and dear brother.

From there I went to Fort Myers Florida for an informal HCDL (House Church Discussion List) gathering.  It is hard to believe that the idea of HCDL came to us nearly 20 years ago.  Attending were Bobbi and John B., Frank and Teresa V., Hal and Diane M., Pat and Doug H., Earl and Stephanie B., Jon and Dotty Z., Kent S. and myself.  We went to a beautiful park and freely discussed our journeys and how they related to relational house churching.  We broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts and also enjoyed some open fellowship by the pool later that afternoon.

The next leg of my trip took me to Augusta Georgia and the home of college friend Doug O.  It was supposed to be a 2 night stay, but God had other plans.  The first night a major ice storm hit and we lost all power as many trees, limbs and power lines came down.  I ended up spending 4 nights with Doug and his electricity did not come back on until the day after I left for North Carolina.  The house got very cold, but the fellowship was very warm and inviting.  We spent time discussing the possibilities of Doug opening his heart and home for fellowship in the near future.  My last night there it was late, but we still got out Doug’s guitar by flashlight and we both shared praise songs we had written.  Then all of a sudden a 4.5 magnitude earthquake shook the entire house.  To me it was surely a Paul and Silas experience as I felt more chains of bondage to PTSD and related issues break loose from my heart and mind.  My brother Doug blessed me in many ways while I was there with him.  The Lord surely uses him in ways he can neither understand or imagine at this point in his walk.  Like myself Doug understands brokenness and Jesus can certainly use that to reach and touch others in need.

From there I drove to North Carolina to spend time with Jeannie and Craig S.  Yet another relationship discovered via Facebook and my blog.  These guys made me feel right at home.  It was a very relaxed day and to top it off Jeannie made chicken paprikaus.  This brought me very fond memories of my childhood because this dish is one my grandmother made often.  Let me tell you…fond memories of childhood don’t happen often for those who have been abused and molested as children.  That meal made my whole trip all the more worthwhile.  Sure after dinner we spoke some of Christ and where we were in our current understanding of Him and His Body, but it was not forced or rehearsed at all.  Before we went to bed we all just chilled and watched a movie together.  I just love these guys and their simplicity.

My final day was spent back in Chattanooga.  This day was special because I got to connect Tony and Marty with Skylla and Shannon M.  I met Skylla on HCDL way back in 1997, but we had never met face to face.  Talk about a God thing….Skylla and her hubby just happened to be in the process of moving to Chattanooga and it all worked out to bring us all together on this exciting day.  Marty served us all a fancy delicious dinner and we all got to share how Jesus had brought us to simple relational faith in Him, all outside of traditional bondage and religion.  As each person shared their story it was easy to see that all our sharing was resonating deep within each others hearts.  I feel that true friendships were formed in our short, but rewarding time together.

So there you have it…… ice storms, earthquakes and blizzards were all part of my wonderful trip, but the major theme throughout it all was that what really matters in life are relationships with both HIM and one another.  To top it all off my sweet girlfriend Laura drove through the blowing snow and winter’s worst to meet me for 30 minutes on the last leg of my journey home.  It is also undeniable that Jesus is using the internet to help connect HIS Body together.   I love all my friends, new and old.  They are family to me.  So please be encouraged!  Many are finding a more true and relational faith outside of all traditional religion.  You are NOT alone, so don’t give up!

Love and….

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments
  1. Ramma permalink

    Wow, great awesome experience! It sounds like what you needed, not what you might have been expecting. Regarding all the extra events and surprises that the Lord had in store. He knew you needed extra time with Doug O. How cool is that!? God is so awesome and knows what will minister to the depths of our soul. The internet has definately drawn some of us together, who kind of stepped out and said “no more of this religion thing”. But, unfortunately it still has to be weeded through also. Your fellowship trip/journey is the type that i believe Jesus would want us to have. “REAL”, not anything that you are not. Simply you loving God and His people. Thank you for sharing this. You always bless.

  2. For some reason the last comment by Tony R. was posted with my name and ID. I must not have logged out of his computer when I used it there last Sunday.

  3. craig s permalink

    Dearest friend and brother
    So blessed by your visit. It never ceases to amaze me how Papa knits hearts together.
    You are always welcome here in our home.

  4. Skylla Moon permalink

    It was such a pleasure meeting face to face after having known you way back in ’97 in early internet days. Finding you recently via FB after such a long separation and yet, its like no time had passed! Then to finally meet you and have such great fellowship with the Rolands well it was delightful and inspiring to share our mutual Savior and Friend. And since we hadn’t planned on being there at all but how the “coincidence” of it all happened…makes it even more special!

    You didn’t say alot (over abundance of extroverts in the room lol) but when you did it was always jaw dropping. We need to do lots more of this! XOXOXOO Love you bro!

  5. Doug O. permalink

    I think my offerings are way over rated….but I am so glad that I didn’t have to go through that trial all on my own. Hopefully, you can come down again and we won’t have storms and earthquakes. It is a good thing when brothers can fellowship.

  6. "BK" permalink

    Such an excellent report, Chris! I sometimes wonder what the ‘return letters’ to Paul would have looked like if they were included in the New Testement….alot like Doug and Skylla’s comments, I bet! I especially love the part about the earthquake!! And so thrilled to know ‘chains’ are still falling off. The days of the Acts of the Spirit continue!

    We were just talking yesterday about the ‘priesthood of believers’. Ken asked why did we need to be a priest to people, why not just be a priest by ourselves? (no ‘headaches’ that way…grin) It occurred to me that by virtue of the word ‘priest’ you HAVE to be a ‘people’. A priest isn’t a priest without people to minister to. I love how Jesus set it up that we really do need one another….both to minister to and to be ministered to (minister = serve…by definition).
    Anyway, great stuff, Chris. I am so thrilled to hear about the trip! Love, “BK”

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