Monthly Archives: August 2015

Breaking Lies – Addressing brokenness in the Church

Living outside of the U.S. really makes it easier to avoid the daily tabloid news feeds there, which I generally consider to be a great blessing. But, lately I have seen several articles cross my Facebook feed regarding the Josh Duggar and Ashley Madison scandals, particularly regarding these as the most recent “black eyes” to be discovered on the Church, as so many involved have such strong ties to the Christian community.

In the articles and comments I have seen, I have noticed what appear to me to be flaws in some of the fundamental thinking, which I feel inclined to address.

First, sex is not dirty. We in the Church should be the clearest on this point. Sex is a gift from our Father, designed to consecrate the union of two people committing to live their lives with one another, and to procreate new life. (The legally recognized marriage contract is something the world founded. Real marriage recognized in the sight of God begins when 2 people have sex for the first time, and in its original design is absolutely beautiful.)

The world has twisted and corrupted sex so that it has taken a form of something entirely opposite of what it truly is:

-The world tells us that sex is a commodity, i.e. Something that is to be sold, traded, or stolen. In reality, sex is no less than an amazing gift.

-The world tells us that sex is shameful and dirty. In reality, sex is a beautiful act of ultimate trust, commitment, and unconditional love.

-The world tells us that sex is only good if engaged with multiple persons. In reality, sex by design is an act that gets better as trust and emotional intimacy between two people strengthens over the course of a lifetime committed to one another, learning to love one another selflessly.

-The world tells us that sex is an expression of dominance or power. In reality, sex at various times throughout a lifetime shared with another person may be an expression of passion, or joy, or healing, or comfort, but always love.

But the core of all of these lies really stems from the greatest deception, which is that we just don’t have any clue how loved we really are.

And I am not just talking about all those sinners “out there”. I am talking about Christian leaders, pastors, teachers – all striving to show God’s love to the world, while operating under the lie that they themselves are absolutely unlovable, even for God.

These men and women become consumed with the brokenness of hurting people all around them, which they can’t fix. Many of these Christian leaders have been placed on pedestals (which we put them on), and are constantly on display, facing peoples’ expectations of perfection, which they can not meet. These people become desperate for some sort of escape, to be able to let go, to have just one moment when they feel in control of their own lives, and accepted just as they are.

Many of these people have no one in their lives with whom they feel they can be honest with their own brokenness, their own struggles. They can’t turn to their friends, or often even to their family. Sadly, for most of these folks their own church family is the very last place they feel they can be honest.

So they turn to the places where they feel they can find that moment of escape, in places where they won’t be judged. Maybe to the bar, maybe to online porn, maybe to the extra-marital affair, or maybe worse.

Maybe we don’t all have affairs, or buy porn online. But, I truly believe that if we are being honest, there is not a single one of us who doesn’t understand how these people feel.

Our pastors and church leaders are not God. They are coming from broken homes, and failed relationships. They have experienced rejection and humiliation. They are bombarded with the same billboards, commercials and movies that tempt all of us.

They, like many of us, are functioning on a basis of lies, convinced they are only as valuable as the world tells them they are. Believing they are only as lovable as the size of their bank accounts, the magnitude of their ministries.

In reality, we are not defined by our accomplishments, or our failures, or our disappointments, or our rejections. We are not our addictions, or our affairs, or mistakes. We are much, much more than that.

Each of us is a son or daughter of the Father, absolutely precious in His eyes. He loved us so much that He came Himself to pay the price for our freedom, so that we could walk free of the deception that plagues us, so that we could know the truth. So that we could know His love.

Let us in the Church no longer be conformed to the world, condemning and shaming those who we see have “failed”. Let us be known by our love for one another. Let us die to ourselves, and to our own judgments and ideas of justice. Let’s remember the “justice” God has shown us, otherwise known as grace – undeserved mercy, forgiveness, and compassion.

Let’s ask God to transform us, to renew our minds so that we will be free to know and to walk in the truth. Let us ask Him to set us free from condemnation, and fear, and death. Let us ask Him to give us His heart, His justice, His freedom, and His kingdom.

For some more good insight for those who may be struggling with these issues, I recommend the books Every Man’s Struggle (Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker) and Every Woman’s Battle (Shannon Ethridge).

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Good News from the Chastain Family

Greetings from an unseasonably warm Estonia!

We wanted to update you on our workspace needs here in Tallinn.

In our June newsletter, we told you about our challenges finding spaces to work. We are happy to say that those hurdles have been overcome!

After multiple landlords refused to rent space to Miki because of her planned “Christian activities”, we really started to wonder if we could ever get this prayer center off the ground. But after more prayer and diligence, another space presented itself.

bde6e9c2-3e72-46b3-8c76-958b56106f1aWe’ve had a longstanding relationship with Vineyard Tallinn church, and they graciously offered Miki the use of one of their extra office rooms in their building. This has become an exciting opportunity for us, as the church is located in Mustamäe, a Tallinn district that is predominately Russian speaking and is one of the more challenging locales in Estonia to do ministry.

So as Miki continues her prayer work thru Eastern Europe and Russia, she now has a place to invite people who want to dig deeper and know more about Christ.

The room needed a bit of work, but after some help from our kids and members of Vineyard Church, we’re pleased to say the Prayer Center is up and running!

Miki is already working regular hours there, and we’re seeking local volunteers to fill some more hours to keep the center available to people in need throughout the week.

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I (Charlie) also had an unforeseen issue with my workspace in June. If you recall, we had to move out of our flat because our landlord decided to raise our rent above what we were capable of paying. Given that I did all of my music production work in an extra room in that flat – and that our new apartment is much smaller – I found myself with looming project deadlines without a space to work!  Once again, God came through with an unexpected location that is just perfect.

Armed with a minuscule budget, I started looking for tiny spaces to rent so that I could keep up with my deadlines. I looked at quite a few 100 square foot spaces, and had found one that I was ready to rent. Before I was to sign that contract, another realtor called me who was returning my inquiry from a week prior and offered to show me another small space. While looking at this office, we ran into the building owner, who inquired my purpose for using the space. Assuming that I was about to be told to take my business elsewhere, I nervously told the large Russian man that I produced music and needed a place to work.

Surprisingly, he told me in russian, “Oh no, no, no. This space is not right for you to make music! You need to come with me.” So I followed him down another corridor and he showed me a three-room space in a much quieter part of the building. He said, “You should work here.” I did like the space, but told him that my budget was very small and that I couldn’t afford two more rooms. With a big smile on his face, the building owner named Anatoly, explained that he’s a huge music fan, and always wanted to learn how albums are made in the studio.  He then offered this much bigger space to me for considerably less than the market value.

Anatoly really wanted to help me put a studio in his building. I was only looking for a space to edit and mix, but he was offering me a place to record as well! I warned him that sometimes my recording work could get loud with drums and other noisy instruments, but he said to make as much noise as I needed.

So I now have a recording studio! In the same district as Miki’s prayer center! It could not have worked out better.

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While the price Anatoly offered for the space is great, it is still more than I had budgeted. But Miki and I both felt it was worth trying out the space to see if the projects would come to offset the price difference. So far, I have been slammed with new projects and my calendar is filling up.

Miki and I both are starting to meet our neighbors in Mustamäe, and its been so encouraging to tell people about what we do and for Whom we do it.

We do covet your prayers and support for both the prayer center and recording studio. We thank our Father for His steadfast love and provision. and pray for people to be drawn to Him thru our efforts there.

In addition to all of this moving, we’ve had a busy summer and hope to update you on that soon as well.

In the meantime, every blessing to you and yours.

Charlie (and Miki, Isabel, Jasper and Celia)

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Ways to donate to this ministry:

By Check: Send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:

The Mission Society
6234 Crooked Creek Road
Norcross, GA 30092

By Credit/Debit Card: Go to our website: ** http://www.actsofadvocacy.org (http://www.actsofadvocacy.org)
and clickon “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

Donation options:
For general support, please note “Chastain/Russia 322”
For vehicle project, please note “Chastain/Russia 322 Vehicle”
For prayer ministry, please note “Chastain/Russia 322 SPJ”

To make a monthly pledge:

Either contact us via email or phone (678-436-3016) so that we can send you the appropriate documentation, or go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org (http://www.actsofadvocacy.org) and click on “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

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