Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Spam King

Ok, so I just spammed everyone in my gmail address book this morning. My apologies to those of you who bore the brunt of it. It all started when I received an email from a family member who uses Ringo to keep track of friends. Hey, this looks interesting, I thought, and I preceeded to enter my own info and then try to figure out exactly what it does. What it does, it turns out, is not much - it just allows you to share photos (which I can already do just fine, via my photoblog, thank you very much). But maybe it'll allow me to keep track of folks' contact info?

So I proceeded to play around and then before I knew it I had just sent a message to everybody I have ever sent an email to, along with their brothers, cousins, pets, and long lost chinchillas, inviting them all to 'come see Christian's online photos!' Of course, I don't HAVE any photos up on Ringo, but there's no way to undo it once it was done (you can't tell it to email everyone, saying 'whoops - ignore that previous email'). Sheesh.

So anyway, here I stand, Spam King for a day. Sorry about that. I think I'll crawl back into my hole now...

Letter to Friends

Many of you have already received a hard copy of this within the past week or two, but some of you may not know where we're at right now. Here's a letter we've been sharing with our friends:
Dear Friends,

Here we are at the beginning of another year, wondering what lies in store next. After four years of intense study (and many new friendships!), our time here in Philadelphia is finally drawing to a close. Christian will be graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary in May, and then we will be heading home to plant a church in Missoula, MT. And that's why I am writing you today – to invite you to join us in the next stage of this grand adventure.

Missoula is a beautiful place to live, but it's a barren wasteland spiritually. Nearly 70% of those living there are completely unchurched. That's not to say that they aren't seeking. Missoula is a destination for people who have rejected materialism to pursue community, nature, the arts. That's good. But the well of postmodern pluralism inevitably fails to quench their real thirst – Missoulians still suffer from high rates of depression and substance abuse; over half of their children will grow up in broken homes; most will end up in broken relationships themselves.

The people of Missoula are surprisingly open about their quest. Many are desperately searching for something more, but they are not finding it. Very few of them have any real understanding of Christ or the Gospel. We want to plant a church that speaks to people like these.

God is already stirring the hearts of others. Our dear friends Ryan & Rachel Sutherland (another Montana couple from seminary) will be joining us in this church planting effort. Our home churches (Billings, Bozeman) and our home presbytery (Rocky Mountain) both believe strongly in this project and have pledged significant financial support. So we’re off to a great start, but we're not there yet. Seasoned church planters have advised us that it may take up to 5 years for a new church to become self-sustaining in the West. This means we need to expand our team of supporters (both individuals and churches) to complete our funding.

I'll be honest – I wish we didn't have to ask for support. At the same time, I am excited to be asking. After all, this is what the church is meant to be about: God's people working together to tackle challenges that are beyond us individually. We do this for the Father's glory, for Christ's kingdom, and for the people in Missoula who do not know him yet (but will through the work of the Spirit). We come to you boldly, asking for your help. Here's how you can get involved in the Missoula Project:

1.We need people to earnestly support us in prayer. We are painfully aware of our own weaknesses and insufficiencies. But we have great confidence in the Gospel, and in the prayers of God's people. Would you be willing to pray regularly for this work?

2.We still need to raise personal financial support. Beginning this January, Christian will step down from his software job to focus on preparing for the church plant and finishing his studies. We have immediate financial needs. Would you prayerfully consider helping? All gifts are tax deductible.

3.We need other churches to support us as well. If you belong to another church body, would you consider introducing us to your pastor or missions committee, or even to your circle of friends? Fund-raising is much more effective with a simple introduction. Ideally, we want 5 to 10 churches supporting the project as a whole. Could you help us here?

We realize that some of you are already supporting us generously through your church's "Faith Promise" program. Wonderful! Please don't stop. But, if you do have resources and are not yet participating in some fashion, please consider getting involved. Some of you might only be able to give $10 a month. That's fine! Other's may wish to contribute larger amounts on a yearly or quarterly basis, or even through a one time gift. That would be great too!

What are we asking you to do? Just drop us an email, and we can tell you how to get involved. We will be contacting many of you directly over the next several weeks to talk about how we can work together in this effort, and to answer any questions you might have.

In all of this, please know that what we value most is you, your friendship. Today we get to invite you to participate more deeply in our lives as we step forward together in the ministry to which God is calling us. Will you join us? We hope so, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Your friends in Christ,

Christian & Marilyn Cryder
I just want to say 'Thank you!' to those of you who have already contributed. It really means a lot to have you in this with us.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Childhood Photos

So this will probably only interest family members, but I've put up nearly 70 photos from my childhood (Clarice and Dad sent me a CD with all the old photos they had of me on it - thanks you guys!!!). Mom, if you are reading this, I'd really like to get the same thing from you sometime...

Boy do these shots bring back a lot of old memories. And I am amazed at how good the photos are...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Howdy Pilgrim

Man this family is wacky.... Good thing I'm sane at least.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Malachi

What do you do on your birthday? Play poker with your friends, of course (I promise, I did not teach them this. It was those Kelly kids I'm sure...).

So Happy Birthday to Malachi! - 6'2" and 180 lbs at the ripe old age of 14 (to put this in perspective, I was 6'1.5" and 187 when I graduated from hight school at age 18). Holy schmoly. Must be something in the water...