Thursday, July 16, 2009

forgiven

hello,
i'm doing well. i discovered an open wifi in my apartment so i thought i would write a quick blog.

natalie and i are doing well. we are learning how to follow God while living in reality. when i say reality i mean having jobs. for so many years we were able to read and pray and worship whenever we felt like it. now with our jobs we've realized how difficult it is to find time to spend with God, mostly because when i have time i don't feel like it. its been hard but rewarding.

so many years i spent in a fantasy, it was fun but unrealistic to maintain.

this morning i also was recognizing how quickly i condemn rather than forgive yet again, even though God has shown me so much forgiveness. convicted i repented.

well, i'm still not doing much music. i've actually been enjoying focussing on family, work, & friends rather than being consumed by performing for expectance. its nice to not be a slave to my self ambition. for so long it consumed me. not any more! i'm free!

i still want to do music but its different now. my priorities are more in line with what's important. people! pray for me that it stays that way.

well, i truly hope you find the love and forgiveness of your creator today. its amazing!

chris

Friday, July 3, 2009

the meat slicer strikes again




another attack from the meat slicer at jimmy johns. you would think i would have learned to be more careful. nope! boy did i feel stupid.

well everyone, things are well except for my finger.

work is going well. i'm training to be a PIC at work, person in charge. it will be better pay.

natalie and the baby are well.

i would write more but it hurts to type.

love you guys.

be sure to be safe when your working with sharp objects.

chris

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

how to survive


as of yesterday i started my new job at jimmy john’s. if you’ve never heard of jimmy john’s well, your missing out. its probably the best sandwich shop in reno. i just had a “vito” yesterday it was awesome! be sure to come in and say hello. i’m working at the store on 9th street across from UNR.

where do i begin?

its been a long year. i’ve been taking a break from traveling and playing music for the past 8 months. i haven’t taken a break from performing music since i began back in 1996. it became apparent recently after the “pittsburgh syke” (previous blog) that all along God has been leading me to step back from performing and get my priorities strait. in doing so i’ve been able to recognize so many things about myself and how i operate. good and bad. breaking free from the performance trap i so easily fell into. i’ve been so caught up in the identity of being a rock star, and finding my worth in wether i was successful as an artist. that i stepped over people. including myself.

well, God in His graciousness allowed me to come to my end. after having vaelyn i quickly began to realize what was important to me. people!

please understand me. although i’ve cared about people along the way i’ve failed to love them as myself. always putting my own illusions of what i need above others needs. i hope this makes sense?

so...the calling and vision has changed. no longer do i want to be consumed by the haunting temptation of being famous or winning the approval of people. although i realize this sin in me will continue to try to pop its head up. i feel as though i have turned a corner. able to say no to gigs because i’ve realized my identity is not as a artist. my identity is as a follower of Jesus. Jesus cared for and loved people.

because of my choice to believe in God and His son, i believe the scriptures when they say that the spirit of Christ comes to live inside me. my heart is changing its growing in the understanding of loving people. for years i’ve ran from growing roots in one place afraid of being hurt again not realizing that i was missing out on what life is truly about.

(DING)the light bulb has gone off. i see the tremendous value in loving people and being involved and known in a community. the good the bad and the ugly.

i no longer want to step over the importance of true relationship for fantasy, the lie that i’ll be happy if people love me for what i do and not who i am. believe me when i say i’m far from having it together, but i am reaching forward to become more like Jesus in the fact that i want to build up those around me by being true to who God has made me to be.

the only problem is i still don’t fully know who i am nor will i ever probably, but i guarantee that i will grow closer to who God is calling me to be as i pour into those around me.

like a ton of bricks i had a revelation a couple weeks ago. i realized for the past 30 years i’ve attempted to please myself and believe me i’ve loved myself well. pursing all that i desired with my dreams and goals stopping at nothing. running over my needs, my wife’s needs, and the needs of those around me.

so now i’m turning from my selfishness (sin) and attempting to love people as i’ve loved myself.

pray for me. this is a huge task but one i feel i’m called to as a follower of Jesus.

so...i’m going through a season of reevaluating and putting priorities in order. my relationship to God, my relationship to my wife, baby, family, & community and when there is room, art & music.

i thank God for the amazing journey i’ve been able to experience and wouldn’t trade the amazing people i’ve been able to meet and have relationship with, but ultimately music is not my life following Jesus is.

prayer requests:

natalie and i are trying to figure out how to survive (growing up).
our house mate dave is loosing his job. if i hadn’t been for dave and jacci turner not only would i have not come to this revelation of what is important but natalie, the baby, and i would still be living in an rv. as of june they will no longer be able to allow us to live with them do to their financial situation and the changes they are going through. please keep them in your prayers. they are a huge blessing us and to this community.
we are also needing to figure out how to navigate natalie getting a job so we can afford a place to live, as we can’t afford a place and our current bills with my job alone, but the trick is figuring out how to manage this in this economy without dividing our ability to be a family. i realize many are trying to figure this out currently do to the economy, but on top of the economy crises natalie and i have never been on our own so we’ve never learned how to manage jobs and spending time as a family. we’ve been so fortunate to be together side by side for the past four years working together as a team. emotionally this is hard for us. reality is stripping away our fantasy. (i know God has a plan in it. its just hard.)
my mom is still struggling. she hasn’t been getting better and the doctors still can not figure out why her body won’t function. they are both getting tired and i sense their hope is being challenged as is mine.
wisdom on how to pay down debt and provide so we can be a family and be involved in our community.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

problem solving


well, i’ve began picking myself back up after a very disappointing couple months. unsure of what the future holds i do find myself grateful to still be in reno.

i have to tell you its been hard to be motivated to do anything. i just mustered up the strength yesterday to unpack. i finally got tired of the constant reminder the boxes were of our move to pittsburgh and all that we were looking forward to there. wrestling between knowing God has something better and the expectations that we created in our hopes for our move across country.

so now we wait... again.

during this 8 month process my heart was stirred in a couple different ways, but mainly to plug into a community and just be.

i know i can do that anywhere and when i think about it i totally prefer to do it in reno where i already am apart of an amazing community, but the struggle is the resources that were offered in pittsburgh that i don’t see here in reno. housing, health insurance, and getting to play music for a job. all in one.

as a husband its been hard because for the first time i thought i was going to be able to provide a place where natalie could nest and make her own. i thought i was going to have amazing health coverage for the entire family, i thought i was going to plug into a community and just be. and to top it off i thought for the first time in my life i was going to have security. not having to stress each month to pay our bills.

i do realize living a life of faith is what we are called to but the stress of not knowing how each bill gets paid, well i was looking forward to not having that stress.

i know God will provide He always has. obviously He is trying to instill in me character, perseverance, and faith, but its been tough. your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

things to pray for:
the ability to have our own place someday in the near future.
the ability to afford health insurance.
the ability to get out of debt and save so that we can leave a legacy to our kids kids.
to sum all that up pray for God to bless us with WISDOM.

thanks for loving us.

sincerely

chris

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the big syke



packed and ready for the big move. we sold our rv, we had a going away party, our church family prayed and blessed us. 4 days before the big day we got a phone call from the church in pittsburgh rescinding our offer.

shocked we stumbled through vaelyn’s 1st birthday. days later i’m still trying to get my head around it. ever since we got the news natalie has been sick. i believe the stress of it all finally sent her body into shut down mode.

well, i have to say i trust that God will have His way in us and that He will be praised through all of this. i do know that i’m not the same person i was when this all began. God has stirred up my heart in so many different ways.

i’m going to do my best to allow Him to bring all the things He’s stirred in my heart to pass and not try to make them happen for myself.

so what is next for the heifner’s? i really have no clue. i just know that i want to settle in and be a blessing to reno. so with that in mind i really want to plug into the community and use the talents God has given me to be a light.

things to pray for:
a job
ambition
health
direction/wisdom

sincerely

chris

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the big move


hello everyone, just a heads up this is a long one so gird up your loins.

i am proud to say that we received an offer to be apart of the team at Northway Oakland campus in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. starting march 23rd 2009 i will begin leading the music department there at the church. i know this is going to be a stretching experience but i’m really excited about the growth and fruit that God will produce from it.

7 months we have been sitting still waiting for God to give us direction. finally He has answered our prayers in providing a place where we could plug in and use our gifts.

we have gone through so many emotions these past 7 months. looking back and seeing God’s love through the whole experience. He really did heal my heart to even be able to take this position.

looking back at the 3 years we have been in reno i can now see how reno has been a tremendous place of healing and restoration for my heart and soul. my gratitude goes out to everyone who has been involved in my recovery. in order: my beautiful wife natalie, mac smith, jacci and dave turner, Hillside foursquare family, louie locke, val tramonte, vaelyn bella, jason bennet, dennis and georgia clifton, thursday night bible study group, and dan whittemore. thank you to all of you who poured into me and loved me well.

coming to reno 3 years ago i was hurt and avoided putting myself under any authority because of the fear of being controlled. i decided in my heart to be my own master without even knowing it. i was blind because of my hurt, isn’t that always the case. its amazing how our conscience makes excuses for the flesh. so i began pursing the career of music missions and traveling abroad. it was easy because i had already been moving in that direction. God in His grace allowed me to seek out my ambitions all the while leading me to relationships that would ultimately draw me closer to Him and bring healing to my hurt.

after vaelyn’s birth we attempted to travel, there was a week while on our summer tour 2008 when we spent some time in las vegas our home town we had decided to spend time with our families separately. natalie with her family and me with mine. its amazing how in that week alone God really showed me what was important. my family. it killed me to be away from natalie and vaelyn. the thought of missing vaelyn developing without me killed me. it was that week that i realized i didn’t want to be away from my family and began to pray for God to bless my desire to be with them. slowly after that God began to allow my vision of traveling with the music to die.

around this season several churches asked me to be apart of their ministry. odd that! i thought to myself. as i walked through the process of praying wether these opportunities were what God had for us. nothing panned out. ready to give up, i received a phone call from my good friend mike arnold pastoring in pennsylvania. “ hey chris i was wondering if you would pray about maybe coming out and being apart of the ministry here” sure bro. i began to pray.

not thinking much of it at the time God began to show me my hearts desire. WORSHIP!

i had prayed about finding a job that would allow me to pay the bills, save, and allow me to be with my family. i searched for what i would and could do in reno for months. i hadn’t worked a job in at least 10 years. as i prayed about what i would do i began to realize i wanted to do what i was doing on the road which was, lead worship, build relationships, and make music. i had been traveling around tying to build up the church, which i believe God used, but to settle in one place and really allow God to use me in a consistent way. i was afraid. traveling i could never really go deep in relationships. if the relationship got hard i wouldn’t have to deal with it. not good.

God finally allowed me to see my sin in being my own master. i lead myself into a place of avoiding community which in reality cut me off from the flow of true life, the body of christ. God talks about being connected to the body, serving one another. finally ready to be apart of a body this pittsburgh opportunity opened up. ready to dive in to the local ministry here in reno and God opens the door in pennsylvania? that in itself has been hard. natalie and i have both wanted to plug in here in reno ever since we moved here but because of the traveling and my unhealthy ambitions we were never able to. to trust that God as my master is a new concept for me. i’m excited to walk out what it is to have a healthy fear of the master and those who are over me. as ephesians 6:5 says : bondservant, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.

God in His love has provided pittsburgh for us to be planted and grow and i’m not only trusting that He is going to bless us in that community but i’m getting really excited to follow Him into the new adventure for Him. God is so good and is always trustworthy. i know this in my heart even though my doubts get the best of me at times, but God always is victorious. ALWAYS!

i thank God for second and third and millionth chances. He is such a forging and loving God. through my journey i continue to realize His love and grow closer to Him. with everything between the lines the only thing that really matters in my story or your story is that we grow closer to our God. and learn how to love people. don’t miss out!

if i can be a source of encouragement. pursue your ambitions seeking God’s LOVE. He will always correct and lead you to life and life abundant. never give up on your dreams, but always offer them to Jesus. He is an awesome master and will never lead you into something that will hurt you. remember we are the ones who are blind in our sin. looking back at the hurts i’ve worked through they were all caused by my own lusts and desires. this is one reason why its so important to pursue community in Christ. to be known in your community is huge and has been healing for us here in reno. God has used it to show us so much truth about ourselves. make the best of the opportunities that God gives you. its there for a reason and that reason in my experience is to bring you closer to HIM, which always result in drawing closer to community. you can’t have one without the other. sorry folks God shows Himself through people. thats just how it works.

thank you so much for joining us in our journey. its a pleasure to be able to share what i’ve learned and am learning in my walk with Christ. God bless you in yours.

sincerely

chris

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

the heifner's and pittsburgh


we are back in reno. we got in last night around 10 pm. vaelyn did amazing on the trip. my main concern going to pittsburgh was how she was going to do. thanks for all your prayers.

the trip went well. i was able to meet everyone who i would be working with, what a great group of people. for all of those wondering. Jesus is alive and moving in pittsburgh.

i led music for the oakland northway campus in downtown pittsburgh it was good. the musicians were very talented and had great hearts for God. one of the things i noticed most about those that were serving in pittsburgh was that they all seemed to be serving in areas where their passion were. i was inspired. i didn’t see people just serving out of obligation but out of ownership. it was very cool.

star wars sermon: i was surprised of how i responded to the sermon being beamed in.(incase you didn’t know this is a campus church where the sermon is on a screen.) when i first heard about these types of services i was enraged and irritated that churches would do it, but i have to tell you my heart was humbled. sitting there watching the sermon hearing people respond i thought two things.
one: “this is our culture” we are a media culture. thats how we learn or at least i do. movies, tv, internet, radio. it hit me,”wow this works” hearing the people respond to the questions and the jokes. trippy!
two: i thought” PBS.” i’ve been watching PBS with vaelyn lately. this style of teaching is how we’ve been trained. as the tv asks us questions and interacts with us. wow!

i really like the opportunity the sermon gives the campus pastors to focus on the people too. because the pastor isn’t always giving the sunday morning sermon he has the energy to focus on the people. and when one campus pastor teaches at the main church the other campus pastor goes to his campus and hangs out with the people, so the campus gets to hang out with the guy on the screen. very cool concept. i like the flow.

seeing the campus for myself was good. meeting the team was great, getting to hang out with my good friend mike was encouraging. after months of talking over the phone about everything it was comforting to see it in person.

we asked questions worked through red flags. it was a good trip.

oh ya the culture of the city was very cool. not only was it cool being there during super bowl weekend and seeing and feeling the energy from the steeler fans but there is such a great art community there. i really feel like God could use natalie and i with our gifts not only to reach that community but to be apart.

we will be hearing from the church this week. so we will know soon. as for us we are both in agreement that if they want us we feel called to be apart of the mission there in pittsburgh.

just FYI. this whole process, these last 6 months of praying and conversations, i have to tell you i see God’s hands all over this thing. from the humbling to the excitement to the doubts, to the fears, all the emotions that come with life contemplating change such as this. God is in it.

if this is what God has for us it will be an awesome adventure for Him. if its not what God has for us i’m sure He will open another opportunity. God is so good. we’ve learned so much about ourselves in this process. even though its been hard at times its been very revealing.

please keep us in your prayers. even though we see God’s leading in this opportunity it is still hard to think about leaving our community here in reno. our relationships that we have acquired here in reno and the surrounding area are very valuable to us. leaving them will be the hardest part about the journey if pittsburgh is where He takes us? thanks again for being apart of our story.

love,

chris