Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Wonderful Day

Yesterday was my (Chris) birthday. I am 44. It’s always been easy to remember how old I am because I was born in 1970. Middle aged birthdays are, well, not like young birthdays (here’s the part where I feel a little sorry for myself). I worked all day yesterday from the morning till about 8:30 pm. I was describing it to a friend last night who wanted to know if I’d had a wonderful day. I told him that I hadn’t really had a wonderful day. I was mostly ok with that (Tuesdays are always our family's longest day) and Amie and the kids cooked me a really nice dinner and cake, which was delicious. The day was busy. And part of my afternoon was spent dealing with two bills (you know, the ones that come printed on "pink" paper?).

For many reasons, it just wasn't a wonderful day.

Or was it?

On November 4, 1970, I almost died. When I was born, my lungs refused to work. I had something called “Infant respiratory distress syndrome.” The hospital I was born in wasn’t even equipped to take care of it. There were no ambulances near (1970 remember) so the nurse informed my Dad that if I was to survive, he would have to drive me to the other hospital where I could receive treatment.

Dad told me that he felt like he was in a dream. A nurse held me in the back seat and another rode shotgun and told him which way to turn. Dad said to me at almost every birthday growing up, “Those nuns saved your life!”

I am not at the age where one receives very many gifts for his birthday. And I’m fine with that. I don’t need any more stuff. What I mostly received for my birthday were well wishes (for “a wonderful day”…thank you Facebook) and a nice meal with my family. And those were really nice.

But the real gift? 44 years. And right now, November 5th, my own, personal New Year's Day. I am grateful. This was my morning Psalm today.

“You are my hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;
My praise is continually of You.” Psalm 71: 5 & 6

Friday, October 31, 2014

A new believer.

Dear graet Pumpkin

I hope you give me lots of candy and where do you live? I want to know.
Write me back soon
Also theres a movie and you turned out to be Snoopy
One more thing, write me back and send a picture of you so I know you are real.
Try to remember.


Stella Whitler, Modesto

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Whitlers Visit Pixie Woods!

Today, we drove up to Stockton to do something we have been talking about for about 13 years...we went to Pixie Woods! It's a little park filled with playgrounds and a couple of little rides. It's Central Valley fun at it's weird, strange finest.

The small merry-go-round wasn't too fast...

There were lots of places to put your face...

Cool, old play areas...

And a little story-telling theater!

All in all, if you're prepared for a strange, fun, cool, old, odd place, then you'll like Pixie Woods!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Liner Notes from Chris' New Album "Rushing Waters"

You can download my new album for free! CLICK HERE
And listen to it right here...just over to your right :)

It’s been 2 years since “Burning Bushes” and I’m so happy to release “Rushing Waters”. The burning bush is where Moses first noticed the voice of God in the desert. In St. John’s Revelation, we’re told that the voice of Jesus is like “the sound of rushing waters.” And I guess that’s what all these songs are about...noticing the voice of Jesus speaking in nature, scripture and relationships.
Many thanks to Jimmy Sustar who has labored over these songs. He is playing almost every instrument you hear with the exception of my acoustic guitar and my son Sam on the uke (Thanks Sam!) Jimmy also volunteered to mix these songs and make them sound great!

The BGV crew is Amie, Josh, Sam and Stella Whitler, Jimmy, Kelly, Mila, Zion, Gabriel and Ezra Sustar and Aaron Alford

Aaron also provided the cover art. The photo is from a prayer chapel at the Gethsemane monastery in Bardstown, KY where you can go to hear the waters.

CMW, June 23, 2014

One Little Something - Just a little song about Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Brother Andrew, St. Francis, King David, Jesus, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and you.

Laughter Digs A Well - Genesis 26:12-33

The Spirit’s Tree - To really understand this song, you’d have to see my friend Aaron’s tattoo and the sculpture of it
on the mud hut library we helped build in Thailand. But you’ll get the gist.

Close The Door - a song about Noah and us.

The Man On The Tree - Inspired by things I’ve seen, things I am, Jesus, the book Eternity In Their Hearts by Don Richardson and a great song  that Jimmy wrote once.

Evidence of Good - Acts 14:16-18 (The Message)

Je Veux Voir Mon/Ma(?) Bebe Ce Soir - Every time I travel with my Dave, I write a song about how I miss my wife. This was written in Quebec and we couldn’t quite get a good idea of this phrase from the francophones but we did our best.

Ancient Stone - Written on the ferry from the mainland of BC to Vancouver Island...and yes, traveling with Dave.

Things My Grandparents Gave Me - the best inheritance I could have ever hoped for. My son Sam is playing the ukelele on this track! A proud and noble instrument.

Altar - a song for the little flock at New Hope in Modesto

Pillar of Fire - the oldest song of the bunch but seemed a good closer. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A post in which Sam graduates 8th Grade and Josh graduates High School And Sam gives a speech.

8th grade diploma! 

12th Grade diploma

The tassel!

With Great Grandma!

Back at church, the kids made an "arc de triomphe"

And Sam gives a little speech!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Chris Talks About Maintaining Hope

Shared with our home congregation here in Modesto...some thoughts after a week of surgery and stress. You can listen right here online or go to our podcast site HERE to download and/or subscribe to all future audio.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chris talks about fellowship

This is a message I shared last week with our congregation here in Modesto in the importance of fellowship, what it meant to the early church and still means for us today. You can listen right here or go to our podcast site to down load and listen to later here...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Evening With Bradford Loomis

Join us around the fire bowl for an acoustic concert with Bradford Loomis! You can check out his music at

This concert is free but we will be accepting gifts to help Bradford get farther down the road. He'll also have CDs you can purchase.

Wed., March 19 at 6:30pm at New Hope Christian Fellowship, 300 Trask Lane, Modesto, CA 95354

Call 209-404-4027 for more info.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

"...He called a child to Himself..."

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 

 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven'". Matt 18 

 A lot has been said about this passage. I attended a session on "silliness" at a conference/retreat called Hutchmoot this past October. The session was lead by Phil Vischer (the voice of Bob the Tomato and now heads up What's in The Bible) and Randall Goodgame who writes and performs some of his music for children called 'Slugs & Bugs'. His latest effort is called Sing The Bible and I think it's my favorite album of 2013. You can find out more about that HERE

Anyway, Randall asked our group what becoming like a little child means. What is a little child like? And our group said all the stuff you'd think we'd say. People shouted our things like innocent, joyful, creative, trusting and playful. All of which were affirmed by Randall. But then he surprised us. What about things like irritating, prideful, mean and selfish? Children are also like that. The difference is, in a healthy home, children bring all of it to their parents. They bring hurts, arguments, annoyances, work, joy, laughter, messes...everything. When things are good, when things are bad, they come to Mom and Dad for help, advice, to share and to show off, for approval, permission and blessing. 

 And that's what Jesus wants from us.