February 2015: we loved, we advocated, we gathered, we ate.

Well this little short month, seemed well…really short.

The homefront:

10955683_10152607063665846_2335272999697391516_nSadly, we had a terrible play during the superbowl and the Seahawks lost. This is more terrible for some of us here than others. In fact, some people in our house may have actually enjoyed this little fact, but we won’t name any names for fear of regional sports related persecution.

Other than that, I took Cole’s mom to see Rogers and Hammersteins “Carousel” on broadway as a late Christmas gift. We enjoyed a night out on the streets of Seattle (we’re hardcore) eating food and watching a wonderful production. This month on the work-front, my team at work achieved their highest month ever in sales, exciting! And, I was able to go with both my girlies and their school to “Advocacy Day” in the state capitol to raise awareness for all the great benefits our Head Start Schools provide for those in lower socio-10982460_10152624637215846_8550469485908427871_neconomic and disabled kids receive.

Cole took his dad (also a late Christmas gift) to see C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” at the Moore Theater. I’m gathering from pictures they enjoyed crazy Seattle coffee snobbery (Chemex…don’t ask…I don’t know) 10426298_10152685390710036_2050712116997543112_nand a great production. Cole is sort of continued later..stay tuned…

The kids (yep, all four) started sports at the YMCA. Oren in karate, the girls in ballet and gymnastics and all FOUR in swimming (totally looking forward to lots of camping 10924815_10152575045385846_9103125320824616768_n 10931116_10152622397705846_3593078812723973782_nand pool time this summer!). Oren also participated in his first ever science fair (which resulted in my first ever science fair related banging my head on a desk..whomever thought 1st graders should do this is NUTS! #facepalm). I can’t harp on it too bad…he loved it, BUT what 1st grader dropping mentos into diet coke wouldn’t?

We as a family also FINALLY did our last move-in task and we set up our “Bohemian Basement” (for those of you pinterest followers thinking, “What is Ashley up to?”). We wanted a space for group gatherings, dinner functions, etc. It turned out amazing, and to be honest if you are EVER in need of a cheap home decor: Go Boho (I feel like that should be a hashtag).

The Ministry:

Cole began his first official month working from “home”. He was sent off with a wonderful farewell lunch by his awesome co-workers at World Vision. He is so honored to have been an employee of a great organization who works hard to meet the needs of children all over the globe. I will probably miss his as my 4 yr old girls say, “worker girls” (sounds horrible, but they are 4). This is in pc terms: a predominately female co-worker team as well. Even though I never met most of them, we had some on-going inside jokes and shared yummy chocolate and goodies through my messenger hubby, and I’m thankful for them providing my hubby with constant comedic relief and an outlet of lots of kids stories.

So…what now? Well we (Cole and I) attempt to share office space and responsibilities and hopes and dreams (we’ve always shared that) and he is now able to focus on his passion: ministry. So, that’s the most exciting thing in the last 9 years! 🙂

10997523_10103051449832038_3693304250962448563_n 10991185_10103051460475708_4675545286414599450_nThen we launched some great new things with our small group (hopeful core team…click here for more on that).

We partnered with our apprentice church (and Cole and I’s home church for the last 5 years) to co-host a Loads of Love event. We had a group of volunteers take over a local laundromat and provide free laundry, snacks and kids activities for families in need.

This month our group also participated in a worship night which included a purposeful group prepared meal and a communion style dinner. Over our meal, Cole taught on the cost of discipleship and we shared a reflection on song, Bible verses, and thoughtful connection with God through the collaboration and participation of each persons skills and talents. Of course any time you have 18 people (a majority under the age of 5), there will probably be baby barfing, babies screaming, and thankfully we had playdoh in our candle holders which acted as a make shift toddler and kid distraction. It was a beautiful reminder that God has woven together His people to encourage, uplift and challenge us to live life in raw gospel filled community and it doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be good.

Our group also launched out into two discipleship groups: men and women. Our goal as we apprentice together is to learn, grow and share together and go deeper in our faith. This is just one of the ways we are doing this. We all had our first session this month which was really a time of community and get-to-know-you’s and a lot of laughs (and can I just add: really good food).

11024647_10103051464168308_249361871755716680_n (1)Lastly, Cole began his pre-work as a Pierce County Chaplain. This is an on-call volunteer position, and will provide Cole with valuable extensive training in both crisis intervention and grief. He will be one of our counties emotional first-responders and provide emotional and spiritual support to victims, families in trauma and to emergency personnel in need of this support. Oftentimes, they are the ones who help the family get further assistance with planning a funeral, connecting to local churches and counseling services. When you watch the news and a traumatic event or community situation arises, know that my hubby and his fellow chaplains are present on the front lines.  Please pray for him as he attends further trainings, and experiences these different heart-breaking situations.

As we now have time on our hands (with 4 kids is that really possible?…in theory anyway), Cole and I are strongly working on developing community connections. Our goal is to spend time with our neighbors, friends, children’s schools, and with community members. We believe firmly that God has called us to deepen those ties as we pursue ministry.

We could use prayer in the following ways:

-As briefly stated, Cole’s training with Pierce County Chaplaincy. This month he attends “Crisis Intervention” training.

-Those who have made a core team commitment are headed to church planting boot camp, March 17-20. Please pray that God will speak to us as we look ahead, are trained, and work out all the details of starting a non-profit and church. 11021051_10103051453868948_6950017742877685576_n

-Our team is amazing. We have some great things planned for March. Pray for us as we spend time in our city meeting people where they are and bringing Christ’s love to dark places.

-Pray for discipleship groups.

Thank you for taking time to check in with us again, we are so thankful for your prayers and your un-waivering support. If you would like more info on anything were up to, would like to make a contribution, or would like to join us please feel free to email colewchambers@gmail.com or ashleynchambers@gmail.com.

In Christ,

Cole, Ashley and the littles Chambers (and Merci Mae too)

My First Amendment Right…..still submits to Jesus.

I am  pissed angry, and tired.

I’m tired of political posts that are used for “making a point”. You know the one that calls people who have an abortion a “murderer”, the ones that proclaim that people living off of welfare as “leeches”, homo-sexuals as the root cause of all America’s problems. I can keep going…

You know exactly what I’m talking about…

I may agree with some of the political stances behind some of these posts, I may disagree blatantly, but if you’ve somehow thrown a few stones at any person in the process…you’ve lost me.

Here’s why: Jesus said,

Matthew 25: 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

Jesus came for those people too.

Sometimes I think we think that our first amendment right means we get to say whatever we want-regardless of the consequences, another blogger this week said, “Again, the First Amendment protects our freedom of speech; it does not protect us from the consequences of the things we say.”

Let me remind you that while we have the “right” to say, whatever we want, we cannot forget that our political bullying posts may in fact be hurting someone. More importantly, it may be damaging the witness we have for Jesus.

Making a political stand, will never be the right thing if we do it in the wrong way.

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 8.38.05 PMWhat if you knew that your words like an ice pick dig into the wound of a woman who made a choice she regrets everyday. A woman who grieves the child she willingly allowed to be removed from her body. When she sees posts calling her a “murderer” she is reminded of that day and she feels unwanted by a community that is supposed to be the people of the great physician. What she needs is grace, healing grace. 

What if you realized that your degrading words infiltrated a single parent working 3 part time jobs. Who was trying with all their might to make a living, while still stuck in a financial rut. And wants to walk right out the front door of the church. Because they feel unwelcome. We forget that living on a minimum wage job and supporting a family isn’t always possible. We forget that sometimes (especially in an economy like ours) that jobs are hard to find for the educated-let alone those relying on a highschool diploma. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in a government agency, you notice right away the whole system is meant to demoralize and make you feel like a leech, unwelcome, and unwanted. We forget that the church isn’t often a place that is welcoming for the poor, but it should be. And hearing people of God, saying as much just pushes them further from the pews. What they need is grace, redeeming grace. 

We may be finding that the gay community genuinely believes that God hates them. And why wouldn’t they? It’s plastered on your facebook wall. What they need is grace, reconciling grace. 

I know that these situations are simple, and they are not always true, but they are conversations I’ve had recently with people who have been hurt. These are my friends. These are your neighbors. These are people you may not expect.

In James 2: 5-13, it says, ” Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms? You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.”

But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.

Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.”

If you use your first amendment right, use it carefully. Be above reproach. Use mercy when posting. Use endless amounts of grace with your speech. Jesus didn’t use words to condemn, he used service to win hearts.

If you call yourself a Christian and claim to follow Jesus and He wouldn’t have said it….then please don’t either. You’re first amendment right…still submits to Jesus. Try it his way.

What are your thoughts? How do we engage in open dialogue without being offensive? Have you had similar experiences with social media?

Other blogs you may be interested in:

Favorite Most Bestest Mom    Grandpas Without Homes   Obama Won, Romney Lost: Now what?