Attention “Austinites”!

We just realized that many of you weren’t registering for Student CPx because you didn’t want to pay the full $250 to stay in someone else’s house when you have your own place right down the road. Duh. So, we decided to extend registration, and offer Austin locals who stay at their own place a discounted price of $150 for the ENTIRE 10 day training! On top of that you can receive an additional $50 off if you open your home up to house 2-5 CPx students for a total of $100. GO REGISTER NOW!

That’s $100 for a 10 day experience of a lifetime that will empower, and equip you for a lifetime of kingdom impact. Not to mention there will be some incredibly special people there spending time with us who have been such a blessing to this movement.

***Neil Cole, Brian Orme, Tony & Felicity Dale, Jack Allen, Michael Stewart, Jackie Markovich, Sam Lee, Erik Fish, Lauren Nanson, Dawn Delaney & MORE!***

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Dearest Eliza…

editA few days ago I posted the letter I wrote to Morgan as she began her adventure as a mommy. I also wrote a letter to Eliza a few weeks before the birth. After she was born Morgan and I spent some time alone together with her. It was a beautiful time of worship as I prayed, and spoke these words over them in Jesus’ name…

7.12.2009

“Dearest Eliza,

I am humbled that the Lord has chosen your mommy and I to be the first two people who get to welcome you into this new world. We do so in the name of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ who did for us what we could not do ourselves, become sinless & Holy that we may commune with the living God. It was God who formed you inside of your mother, and allowed us to be blessed with you. We have committed to a life centered on the Gospel, and kingdom of God. We realize that first and foremost this means we get to raise you as a disciple of Jesus. Aside from each other, we now commit to placing you before anyone else. It is upon this foundation that you enter into our lives. May this become a reality as you grow into the woman of God that He created you to be.

We begin this first conversation with you by confessing our weakness, and brokenness. We admit that we do not have the ability to accomplish this task of raising you that has been laid before us. We humbly confess that we will not always know the right answers, and will likely make decisions that disappoint you. Due to the sin nature that battles inside of us we will probably be responsible, at some point, for pain in your life. It will be these times that we must ask you, as our daughter, for grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Our need for, and dependency upon Christ must be made known now, and we must all be reminded of this reality from this day forward. We are daily begging God for the power of His Holy Spirit to empower us to be equipped for a task such as this. We claim victory over your life right now in Jesus’ name. That victory covers our task as parents, and we are believing by faith that it covers your future decision to follow Christ as Savior with your life.

Eliza, we chose this as your first name that we may be reminded daily to declare these words over you. Your name means “worshiper of God”, or “consecrated to God”. We have a deep desire for you to grow to learn and understand what it means to be a true worshiper of God. We, as your parents, consecrate you, or “dedicate you”, and “declare you as sacred” in Jesus’ name. We declare, by giving you this name, a life devoted to God as your Heavenly Father.

With your middle name, Sage, which means “wise one”, we declare a life of divine wisdom over you in Jesus’ name. This wisdom will allow you to understand the very nature of God, and His Kingdom. It will also give you the ability to make decisions that line up with those Kingdom principles.

As your earthly father I commit to you a lifetime of love. I, once again, admit that my love is conditional due to the sin nature that lives in me. However, I commit to constantly pointing you to your Heavenly Father who’s love is UNCONDITIONAL. I can only pray that as I point you to Him, and you experience His grace and love that you might be able to extend that same forgiveness and grace to me during the times that I fail you. I commit to striving for these characteristics as your daddy:

Humility/Honesty: I will never lie to you, or take advantage of the Spiritual authority I have in your life. I will not deceive you into thinking that I always know the right answers to everything. Patience: I will not expect you to know things, and be able to do everything right all the time. I will patiently wait for you to grow, and mature in God’s perfect timing for you. I commit to teaching you slowly, and throughout your life what it means to follow Christ, and put others before yourself. When you mess up I will patiently help you learn more. Throughout this entire process I promise to pursue being in control of myself, my emotions, anger, and temper. I will need the power of the Holy Spirit for this one, and much grace from you when I fail to live up to this commitment. When the above things do not go as planned I am striving to be slow to anger, and quick to love. Of course, the foundation for all of these is Love. Love, Integrity, and Character, are the foundation in which I commit to building everything else upon.

Eliza, you are a precious gift to your mother and I from our Father in heaven. We are extremely grateful for you, and commit to spending the rest of our lives loving you and showing you how to love. Our purpose in life, which will hopefully become your purpose, is to know God, and make Him known. We are trusting that one way we can do that is to pour our lives, and love into you and your future siblings. We love you very much. We declare these things over you in the name of Jesus, our Savior. Amen.”

We ask that you, as our brothers and sisters in Christ, would hold us accountable to these commitments we have made to our baby girl. Thank you.

Last Call Church Planters…

We have extended registration for Student CPx – Austin!

SCPx Austin promo simple

You don’t want to miss this powerful 10 day hands-on simple church planter’s training. You’ll get to spend time with seasoned practitioners like Neil Cole, Tony & Felicity Dale, Brian Orme, and many more! The cost for the entire 10 days is just $250. Austin locals can receive a $50+ discount for opening up their home to host one of the simple churches! Register NOW!

Neil Cole

Tony & Felicity Dale

Brian Orme

I hope to see you all there. The Student CPx family is an ever-growing family of kingdom minded campus/simple church planters who are spread out all over the country. It’s been a good family to be a part of in the past year. Look forward to new members joining the family this summer…

Dearest Mommy…

IMG_1604I wrote a letter to Morgan, and a letter to Eliza a few weeks before the birth. After Eliza was born Morgan and I spent some time alone together with the baby. It was a beautiful time of worship as I prayed over, and read these letters to my wife & new baby girl.

7.12.2009

“Dearest mommy,

You did it baby. You made it through this pregnancy, and brought this little baby girl into the world. You didn’t just make it through, but you insisted on making this a worshipful experience that brought glory to God. You set a wonderful example by disciplining yourself, and being determined to acquire as much knowledge about this process as possible. You ate well, exercised, and took care of yourself for the sake of our baby girl.

You have sought the Lord, and prayed countless hours for this baby. You have spent even more time in thought about this baby. You have a deep desire to raise her as a lover of Jesus. I want to declare the same victory we experienced in this birth over you as a mommy right now in Jesus’ name. You will have the same determination to raise this baby girl up as you did to care for her while she was in your womb. You will make your job as her mommy a worshipful experience that brings glory to God. You will set an example for many women of what parenting, and being a mommy can & should be like. From this point on this will be a new part of your purpose and life in Christ; this will be your biggest kingdom pursuit yet-to be a mommy to our children. You will continue to discipline yourself, and acquire as much knowledge about this process as possible. You will continue to be in deep thought, and prayer for this little girl. I know these things to be true based upon who Christ is to you, and your obedience to Him.

It is these things that cause me to fall more and more in love with you each and every day. I am lucky to be the husband and father of two of the most wonderful women on the planet. As your husband I commit to being right beside you every step of the way. I commit to leading the two of you, and providing for you in every way necessary. I have a responsibility to hold the below “family values” as priority throughout the rest of our lives as a family…

To family:
…This is a commitment to one another, as a family, that we are entering into by the grace of God, through Christ Jesus, made possible by His activity in our lives. We make this commitment as parents, and have invited you, as our children into this commitment in Jesus’ name. May this commitment, and purpose become real to you as you grow in maturity of faith by the grace of Jesus. (Using this statement as a filter by which all of our life decisions as a family are run through)

“Family Values”
→ To be giving of ourselves in every aspect of life. (Spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc.) To be sacrificial in that. Phil. 2:4 putting others before ourselves. This applies not only to one another, but friends, family, and strangers.
→ We will have open hands & open hearts, a loose grip on our stuff/possessions.
→ We will make decisions as a family as we seek the Lord.
→ We commit to being open and honest with one another about everything. (How we feel, etc.) We will clearly communicate our feelings to one another in a timely manner, refusing to allow a lack of communication to produce bitterness and resentment in our hearts towards one another.
→ We will have a time or rest/Sabbath as a family on a weekly basis. Family time will be a priority in our lives, and not just something we do once per week.
→ We will look to scripture for guidance, and have a solid foundation of Biblical Truth in which our family is built upon.
→ We will pursue our individual callings in the Lord, and help one another discover those callings/gifts. As we discover them we will encourage one another to walk them out through the power of the Holy Spirit.
→ We will teach one another to love deeply.

Morgan, I love you and am so proud of you. I can’t wait to begin walking these commitments out with you on a daily basis. I know it will get tough, and at times feel impossible, but I want you to rest in the fact that we are being led by the Holy Spirit. He will sanctify us through this entire process, and we will welcome it in Jesus’ name. I love you more now then I ever have before, and can’t wait to continue this journey with you.”

-Aaron-

Stay tuned for the “Dearest Eliza” letter in a couple days…

Eliza Sage Snow

IMG_9081The birth of our daughter was a powerful event to say the least. Many tears, thoughts, and prayers were involved in the birth of this little girl. We have watched the video of the birth several times over now; it is extremely powerful, and I wish I could show it to the world. (However, my wife might not appreciate that too much =) I am still processing my experience with the 12 long hours of labor followed by me catching my baby when she came out. I then gently placed her on her mother’s chest as she took her first gasp of air, and began crying. Morgan and I both exploded with tears of joy. I will be journaling the events of the entire evening over the next few days, but wanted to share this brief update with you now…

Eliza was born on July 12th, 2009 at 7:46 in the morning at Gentle Beginnings Birth Center in Hurst, Texas. She weighed 10 lbs. 3 oz. and was 20 inches long. Morgan delivered her naturally; both baby and mommy are doing very well. We owe that to our Lord Jesus who heard our desperate prayers throughout evening, and to our close friend, Ann Crowell, who delivered Eliza. Ann’s birth assistant, Cindy Haggerton, who is also our friend and chiropractor, also played a huge role during the evening.

We had the pleasure of having one of our best friends, Keri Duckett, shoot photos the entire evening. Keri is an extremely talented photographer. You can check out a blog she wrote about Eliza with more pics, as well as some of her other photography HERE. She is available to do maternity photos, births, engagements, weddings, etc. and can be contacted at: keriduckett@gmail.com. Keri put together this wonderful slide show of the birth for us…

Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this entire process. You have been wonderful. From Target gift cards, and baby gifts, to pregnancy/parenting advice you have all blessed us tremendously. Thank you from the Snow’s; all THREE of us.

“Laughing With” – Regina Spektor

If you don’t listen to Regina Spektor’s music then you are missing out on an incredibly talented artist. My wife introduced me to Regina’s music a few years back and I thought it was really weird; I didn’t like it at first. Now I think it’s brilliant. Her latest album has an incredible song on it that you MUST hear….The video & lyrics are powerful, and posted below. (Regina does not profess to be a Christian that I know of, which makes this song even more touching)

Regina Spektor Laughing With lyrics

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one´s laughing at God when they´re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one´s laughing at God when it´s gotten real late
And their kid´s not back from the party yet
No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one´s laughing at God when they see the one they love
Hand in hand with someone else and they hope they´re mistaken

No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad

news sir
No one´s laughing at God when there´s a famine fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they´re ´bout to choke

God can be funny
When told he´ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one´s laughing at God when they´ve lost all they´ve got
And they don´t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they´ll ever see
Is a pair of hateful eyes
No one´s laughing at God when they´re saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they´re ´bout to choke

God can be funny
When told he´ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in a hospital
No one´s laughing at God in a war

No one´s laughing at god when they´re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one´s laughing at God
No one´s laughing at God
No one´s laughing at God
No one´s laughing at God
We´re all laughing with God

“Good Teaching…?”

CB064071What is “good teaching”? There is one class of people who would name their favorite pastor, or conference speaker to answer that question. (Usually based upon how that person measures up on the laughter meter, or how “deep” & theological that person can dive with their eloquent sermons) Others would say that “good teaching” is a non-negotiable when searching for a “church home”. Many venture out on a journey to find a church with “good teaching”, never to find what they’re looking for. The sad thing is that the phrase “good teaching” is usually measured with an improper “scorecard”. It is usually a question of, “good entertainment”, or “did the person on the stage say anything in particular that caused me to perk up in my seat-based upon excitement, or conviction?” Or, “Did the sermons elicit any emotional response?” What then, really, is “good teaching”, and how can we shift our minds away from an inaccurate perception to a healthy, Biblical one?

My friends Tony & Felicity Dale, along with the help of George Barna, have recently come out with a book I have been reading called, “The Rabbit & the Elephant”. As soon as I am finished reading the book I will be posting a more extensive “review” if you will. Today, however, I wanted to share with you a bit of what the authors have to say about this topic of “good teaching”. I need not add anything to their words…

“Let’s look at the Apostle’s teaching first. If our simple churches are going to multiply rapidly, we no longer have the luxury of taking several years to train a Bible teacher. Anyway, the goal is not a few gifted teachers but a lot of hungry learners. Paul the apostle faced this dilemma as well-in some instances he was forced to move away from the new believers almost immediately. For example, in Philippi he only ‘stayed there several days’ (Acts 16:12, NIV). Therefore, we like to use an approach that allows the Bible to teach itself, enabling even young believers to lead. In New Testament times, teaching was far more interactive. For instance, the word used for Paul’s lengthy teaching in Ephesus is the Greek word dialegomai, from which we get our word ‘dialogue’ (Acts 20:7). Jesus’ informal teaching was frequently discussion-based and interrupted by questions He either posed Himself or was asked by others. Evangelical Christians tend to emphasize the importance of good teaching, but we believe that this is missing the point of helping people to genuinely learn Scripture and apply it to their everyday lives. Statistics show that we learn far more by actively participating than we do by hearing alone. People remember approximately 20 percent of what they hear, 50 percent of what they see and hear, and 70 percent of what the say themselves. In simple church, everyone is involved in the learning process. More than once, we have had people tell us they have learned more in just a few months of simple church than in years of listening to good sermons!”

The authors then go into a few methods of scripture study and teaching they’ve experienced in different simple churches, but you’ll have to get the book if you want to learn about those! Many evangelicals get worried that this type of teaching is dangerous, and allows potential heresy to creep in…

“Many who come from traditional church backgrounds are concerned that such an approach opens the door to heresy. We can attest that in the dozens of groups we’ve been part of over the years, we have never seen anyone sidetracked by wrong teaching. Even with the youngest Christians, we’ve found that when anything too outlandish comes up someone will usually point it out.”

Some other good tidbits from the book:

“Larger groups may run more smoothly if someone acts as a facilitator-to make sure that the study keeps moving, that everyone is taking part, and that no one (particularly the facilitator) dominates. It is not the facilitator’s job to answer questions but rather to direct the questions back to the group…by continually pointing people back to the scriptures, the facilitator ensures that the Bible remains the authority.”

“…The Bible itself is the teacher, and everyone in the group is involved in both the teaching and learning, as well as applying what is learned to daily life.”

“…The hard fact is that listening to long discourses does not turn people into disciples!”

“…Research by the Barna Group has revealed that in conventional churches in the  US, within two hours of having left a church service, the typical attender cannot identify the topic of the sermon, much less the key points communicated within it!”

“While there are many people who appreciate well-crafted and flawlessly communicated sermons, there are even more who appear to get little value from them.”

***All exerpts from “The Rabbit and the Elephant” – Chapter 10: Simply Reproducible***

Click Here to purchase the book!