Our Stories

Seeking Jesus in the Journey

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My name is Christopher Clanton.   I’m married to Ester, my wife of almost 25 years.  We have two amazing kids. My daughter is a sophomore at the Univ of Michigan, and my son is a freshman at Wake Forest.  I’ve gone to church to my whole life but have been a Christian a little over ten years.

Now that I understand what to look for, I can see that God’s hand has been on my life since the beginning.   In some seasons His hand was heavy and clearly directing my every move. In other seasons his hand has been light, offering small corrections to keep me on track day to day. In my current season, I see Jesus at work in a number of small ways in my life…

My wife.   Ester and I share our faith.  As of last year, Ester and I have spent over half of our lives being married to each other.  What a blessing to be able to be married to my best friend. 

  1. My children.   Our kids are transitioning to new chapter in their lives.  They have highs and lows as they make their way, but it’s comforting to know they have been raised in faith and will turn to Him in both good times and bad.
  2. My commute.   I found a Christian music station called KLOVE about two years ago.  I listen every morning on my commute into the City.  I look forward to that hour of “lazy worship” with a cup of coffee and a chance to start the day with the right perspective.  
  3. My friend.   This will sound weird to some, but I have had long stretches of time in my life without a true friend (other than Ester).  There have been acquaintances, work colleagues, etc. of course but the gift of a genuine friend is a blessing indeed.
  4. My contractors.   Another weird one!  We are on the move in 2018 downsizing and restoring an older house in Westport.  Like any project, there have been highs and lows.  The group of contractors we are using are largely Brazilian and most go to the same church.  It is a real blessing to stop by the house and hear Christian music (English, Spanish, Portuguese, whatever!) blasting as the men worked.   ‘

In closing, I want to pass on one of my favorite images from the Old Testament.  As the Israelites were finding their way out of Egypt and eventually to the promised land, God’s presence led them by a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire by night.  How amazing it would be to have God’s will for our lives so obvious!  The cloud and pillar of fire don't seem available anymore, yet He wants His will for our lives to be known.  Some verses that help bring that to life for me;

Proverbs 3:5-6
Romans 12:1-2
1 Peter 4:10
John 10:27

King James Version

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Christmastime is as much a retelling of past memories as it is an annual memory-in-the-making opportunity. I must have been in third or fourth grade when both the original Christmas and my own collided, leaving me these many years later to still marvel at the work of the Lord in my family.

My elementary school had begun planning for a Christmas Holiday pageant. The role I was given was to orate the Christmas story from Luke 2 ala Linus in the “Charlie Brown Christmas” story. Back then, Judeo-Christian themes easily mixed as both cultures held each other’s traditions in kind respect.

The whole idea of the “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…” soliloquy was actually my mother’s, and she spent the weeks leading up to the pageant helping me memorize and shape those precious Luke 2 verses.

I remember all the details from that night:  The very bright fluorescent lights of the cafeteria turned theater; whole grades noisily climbing onto risers to sing “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Dreidel Dreidel”; and the unwieldy mic that I would hold to read from a heavy, blue family Bible. It was a wonderful night:  a chance to dress up and perform and eat cookies afterwards. All really wonderful memories for a young school girl.

But mostly, I remember my mother, and how holy she approached that pageant assignment.

Now decades after both elementary school and having my mother on this earth, I hold that Christmas memory very dear. My mother – whether motivated as an evangelist or as a parent – seemed to understand the magnitude of the moment and was compelled by the Lord and perhaps also by Isaiah 55:11: so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  What I did not comprehend then but now do, is that God never wastes a moment. He orchestrates all detail on heaven and earth to represent His saving grace before mankind. He can and will use anybody at any time to show His love. He used my mother in that moment. And He used me. But mostly, He just showed up that night in His amazing word to a mixed crowd of people who all desperately needed Him.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sharing Jesus Begins with a Choice

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As most of you know I recently spent nine days in Norwalk Hospital.  Not what I was looking for at the time but as we learn in Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

The Doctors and staff were really kind and I was amazed at the diversity of the workers:  people from the Philippines, a young medical student from Taiwan, India, The Caribbean and many more.

What surprised me was what a fertile field for evangelism the hospital is.  For example my nurse from India was a fifth generation Christian.  She shared her family testimony about contact with English missionaries but admitted there was much bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart.  I related a story about a missionary I prayed for in Zambia, Africa, who forgave her father and talked with him for the first time in three years.

I also befriended a young nurse who moved to Norwalk just six weeks ago with her husband who is a medical student who believes in Christian Faith Healing.  Even though she recently transferred to an overnight shift, I am hoping they will be joining us soon at St. Paul for Sunday service.

Sometimes the Lord places us into situations we wouldn't have chosen ourselves.  But I believe He always provides an opportunity to show others how great our God truly is.  Oftentimes our main job is just to be a pal to someone.