Saturday, December 20, 2014

How much transition can one family take?

So the month of December has been a whirlwind... decorating for Christmas, finding a place to rent until the spring, caring for sick family members, packing boxes, upon boxes, upon boxes... and yes there's more to pack, cleaning out the barn to get it ready for storing the majority of our belongings while we rent, and finally looking for new employees as Dave Artrip and intern Kira will not be traveling with us, and trying to give a Christmas present to all of our January customers by getting their product done in time for Christmas.
Through it all the Lord has allowed for some precious moments but there are days when Marghie Christensen and I just stare blankly at each other and remind each other to keep breathing.  Each of the family is dealing with the transition in different ways. Many of the kids are acting out in unexpected ways and we just have to remind ourselves to put on compassion and love each other through this.
Dave Artrip has worked with us for like 6 years now and seeing him move on to the next season of his life is a bit like losing a family member. I'm not really sure how to process it (JC). He certainly is a key man on our team and we will surely miss him. We're not sure he can be replaced but someone will have to take his place. We love Dave and the ways in which he has taught us to serve others with a gentle and quiet spirit.
In the past week the Lord has opened up doors for a new staff member for the mill, a place to rent in Orrville that meets all of our family's needs, and we've gotten a ton of things packed so far this weekend. We were also able to share with our church family about our future move in the Spring this past Sunday. The older boys are being such a huge help.
Please continue to pray as we continue to listen and walk according to the Lord's leading.
JC on behalf of the Christensen crew

Monday, December 1, 2014

Emerson Road and beyond...

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” - David Livingstone

A couple of weeks ago we found out that our house was being considered by a local couple here in Apple Creek. Another week later and we were under contract. Our house will close on January 5th and we must be all moved out by January 19th.
Pray for us as it's hard to decorate for Christmas and celebrate and keep things "normal" that way while packing up boxes and preparing for a move shortly after the holidays. Moving in the winter is not anyone's idea of fun but we'll make the best of it. The majority of our stuff we will put into storage which my parents have agreed to allow us to use the barn for storage. Then the smaller amount will be moved into a rental some place close.
We're still looking for a rental place to stay while we wait for the spring. We will move down to North Carolina then in early spring. I'm sure it won't be easy to find a renter who would be interested in a 3 or 4 month lease but the Lord knows best. We're not looking for awesome just 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining area/living room.
I'm sure the next several months will bring up all sorts of emotions in Marghie and I and also our children. For most of our kids this is the only house that they know and while they might be excited about moving they may not realize how much they are going to miss this place. We've had lots of amazing memories here in this house. This is the longest we've ever lived together in one place so that's going to carry some weight.
Please pray as we go through this transition and that we listen to the Lord voice in the process and don't hesitate to follow where he is leading. Thanks again everyone for your support!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Exploration in Andrews, NC...

Marghie and I are headed down with Ken and Elaine to Andrews today to spend a couple of days meeting with key community leaders there and also looking at properties. Please pray with us, that God's heart might be stirred to action and that He sense His movement in US as well as we consider, discuss, and prepare for the work of the ministry that the Lord is calling the church to become equipped in.

For the sake of your name Lord, let the nation's sing out your praises.

For the sake of your name Lord, let the church awake and be a pure bride and all that you desire in this life.

For the sake of your name Lord, bring revival to this rebel, break my heart, call me out, humble me, renew my mind, purify my heart, refine me in the fire, and bless my way that many might see and fear your holy name. 

For the sake of your name Lord, circumcise our hearts again a second time and cause a even greater sensitivity towards the work of your Spirit. 

Lord, wake us early in the morning to commune with you.

Lord, give us a tongue of those who are taught. 

Lord, open our ears, hearts and minds that we might know the coming and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim it boldly as we should.

Come Lord Jesus and be our guest let all that you have given us be blessed! 

For the sake of your name Lord, let your Spirit fall fresh on us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Report from our second exploratory trip to Andrews, NC

Thank you for your prayers for our family as we traveled down this weekend to North Carolina and back - they were evident! We survived the "Dragon's Tail" on highway 129 at 1:30am in the morning on the way down and now have arrived back home in spite of the driving wind and rain the whole entire way home. While we were there we really had no agenda except to share our hearts with the people whom the Lord made available to us. We arrived on Saturday morning at 2:30am and left to come home on Monday morning at 7am. So here's a report of what we learned on the trip.
During the long ride home the Lord began to make several things apparent from the conversations, devotional times and prayers offered over the course of the weekend. We've purposed to treat these things like ingredients that go into a crock pot to make a good stew. So over the next week or so we hope that they will soften and become tender and sweet tasting to us as we ask the Lord to continue to direct our steps. But we didn't want to make any hasty decisions until these things have had some time to cook in our minds. As always we're intentionally putting Psalm 37:5,6 into practice as we "commit our way to the Lord and placing our trust in him". We know that he will act for the sake of His name and the doing of His will. And in this process he will bring forth our righteousness (the paths upon which we must walk) as the light and our justice (the ways in which we must act) as the noon day. So please continue to pray that God would refine these concepts and make them applicable to our family.
The first concept was the need for a metaphorical "base camp" from which we can make final preparations for reaching the summit of what the Lord has called us to. Over the last 7 years we have continued to talk about and prepare in ways that we knew how without ever getting to serious. Now it's time to pack up and establish a base camp for the journey that lies ahead. This will create a much needed urgency and remind us again that we're moving towards the prize - that upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The reality that it is now time to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead has become clarified in our minds.
The second one was something we already knew but it was confirmed as we talked with others about who we are as a family and a business. Our business is a vehicle - it provides not only the possibility of "transportation" into the place to which the Lord is calling us but also a greater, more intentionally practical with more immediate access to the people to whom the Lord is calling us to bless while we are there. It is the way we can carry out Paul's model of not being a burden towards anyone - whether that burden is upon the people to whom we are going to or the people from whom the Lord is sending us. We were clearly reminded of this from 1 Thess. 4:11-12 this weekend as well as the concept of it coming up several times in conversations.
The third ingredient is that our business doesn't distract us from doing the Lord's work and seeking first the kingdom any more than having 8 children as a husband and wife keeps us from living for the Lord. Do priorities change and our time get allocated differently? You bet! But we find ourselves daily in a place where we have to live out our faith in raw, practical real world situations that make God's kingdom and the Gospel of that Kingdom so relevant. We wouldn't want to prepare ourselves in any other way!
Thanks for taking the time to read through our report and please continue to lift us up as the Lord provides opportunity.
May the nations be glad as we endeavor to be God's to TEOTE!
JC & Marghie

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lord are we moving?...

Marghie and I are praying, seeking the Lord's counsel to help with the ever growing needs of our business and family. Please join us in asking Father for direction and wisdom through this process.