Check-In Update

Darin Charles —  October 22, 2015 — 1 Comment

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to let Check-In take a hiatus for awhile.  This group has been significant and impactful to many guys (including myself), but, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to be working.  I’m not sure what the future holds for this group.  Ultimately, that decision belongs to all of us.  Somehow, if it’s going to return, it will have to be in a format, a location, a time, with the right content, and with a leader that all come together to draw guys in on a consistent basis.

Thanks to everyone who’s been to Check-In.  Thanks to the guys who’ve come recently to try and help it survive.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead this group.  Thanks for letting me be a part of it.  This group has truly changed the way I think, the way I live and the way I relate to others.

If any of you have thoughts or suggestions on how to re-organize and re-structure this group to better meet your needs, and the needs of tons of other guys looking for fellowship and spiritual growth, I’d love to hear it.  Let’s have breakfast sometime.  In the meantime, make Saturdays count – spend time with your family, play with your kids, get coffee with your wife, go to the gym, pray.

Ecclesiastes 3, KJV

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


I’m Out (for now),


Check-In: October 17, 2015

Darin Charles —  October 15, 2015 — 1 Comment

We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing and defining the Holy Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What I’d like to do now is to extrapolate the concepts of those beliefs to our own lives.

If our God is the one, true God.  If he is love and joy; if he is all-powerful and all-knowing; if he is patient and kind, then. . .

If Jesus is our Lord and Savior; if he suffered and died for our sins; if he defeated death and promises eternal life; if he speaks truth; if he is the ultimate example of sacrifice and humility for us to emulate, then. . .

If the Holy Spirit is always with us; if it guides us in our faith journey; if it is a teacher and a reminder of Christ’s teachings, then. . .


If all of these things are true, (and these are the collective truths of the guys in attendance), then what does that say about us?  If I believe what Jesus says about the Trinity, then “Who am I?”

My answer would be something like this:

I am a child of God.  Created in His image.  I am a follower of Christ.  I am imperfect, but I have been redeemed.  I am saved by his grace.  I am led by the Holy Spirit – God’s presence inside of me, and it creates within me a continuous unrest for my life as it is – a desire to live a life aligned with God’s purpose for my life.

Knowing those things, I choose to live a life reflective of Christ’s teachings, so that others may see him, through me, and may come to know him more.

So, “Who are you?”  Take a few minutes to think about a similar statement for your life.  Write it down if you like.  Post is here if you can’t be there in person on Saturday morning at 7:30.

I’m In,


Well, I have to be honest.  When I was planning the discussions for this “Who Am I” series, this upcoming week was the one I was most stressed about.  This week we’ll tackle “Who (or What) is the Holy Spirit?”

Most of us are comfortable with the concepts of God and Jesus, but the Holy Spirit, by its/his/her (see I can’t even come up with the right pronoun) nature is difficult to define.  But, this faith thing wasn’t meant to be easy, and it wasn’t meant to be done in isolation, so let’s get together and work towards a shared understanding of the Holy Spirit.

In John 14, Jesus says

26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

If you, like me, believe that U2 is not only the greatest rock band of all time, but, more specifically, the greatest Christian rock band of all time, maybe Bono’s lyrics in Mysterious Ways (which David first pointed out to me seemed a reference to the Holy Spirit) will help you form your thoughts on the subject

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You’ve been living underground
Eating from a can
You’ve been running away
From what you don’t understand…

She’s slippy
You’re sliding down
She’ll be there when you hit the ground

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things you can’t explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel

(on your knees boy)

She’s the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright

We move through miracle days
Spirit moves in mysterious ways
She moves with it
She moves with it
Lift my days, light up my nights

There it is, four lines from the end of the song – “Spirit moves in mysterious ways.”

Consider your mind blown.  See you Saturday morning.

I’m in,


Looking forward to meeting with you guys again this weekend.  This week we continue to build on our discussion of some key foundational topics regarding our faith.  So, we’ll attempt to tackle the question:  “Who is Jesus?”

Perhaps we should start the conversation by looking at what Jesus, himself, said.  In the book of John, Jesus uses several “I am” statements when referring to himself:

John 6: 35, 48 I am the bread of life

John 8: 12, 9:5 I am the light of the world

John 10:9 I am the door

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd

John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life

John 15:1 I am the true vine

Let’s discuss these statements and add some of our own ideas about the central figure of our faith, starting at 7:30, this Saturday in David’s office.  If you can’t make it this weekend, feel free to add your thoughts as comments here.

I’m In,


Check-In will not meet this Saturday.  I’ve got soccer pictures for the team I coach at 8:00, and I couldn’t find a last-minute replacement to lead.

We had a really great conversation last weekend discussing who God is.  Taking a cue from the recent conference, we started by discussing our earliest thoughts on who God is.  Most of the guys used words like punishment, fear, judgement, and “Hellfire and brimstone” as words they previously associated with God.  It takes a lot to overcome those early narratives about God, and it’s interesting how similar many of the concepts were.  A couple of us were thankful that we actually grew up without a narrative of God as a child.  Better, perhaps, to start with a clean slate, than to have to erase a negative image.

Collectively, the image of God for the guys present on Saturday has changed significantly.  The description now includes words like love, kindness, sacrificial, gracious, joyful, honest and patient.  Altogether, a very different image.  So, the obvious question arose, “How do we raise our kids to know the God we see now, rather than the one of our youth?”  Short answer, we don’t know, but focusing on the God the Jesus describes (as discussed in The Good and Beautiful God) is a good start.

As we continue to work towards the ultimate question, “Who am I?” it helps to get a good, personal understanding of who God is.  I’d love to hear any thoughts the rest of you may have on this.  Perhaps the easiest way to keep this conversation going is through a newly created private group on Facebook.  This is different than the previous public Check-In page, so you’ll need to be re-added.  If you’re on Facebook and you’d like to become a member, send me a message, and I’ll get you added.  If you’re not on Facebook, why not?  All of the cool kids are doing it.  Actually, none of the cool kids are on Facebook, mostly just old guys like us.

So, no Check-In this Saturday, but we’ll get back together next Saturday to tackle the question “Who is Jesus?”  Should be good, and I hope to see you there.

I’m In,

Darin Charles

This Saturday we are getting back into the routine with Check-In, and I hope many of you can make it.  We’ll meet in David’s office from 7:30 – 8:30.  We’ll try to start on time so anyone needing to be somewhere by 9:00 can get there.  We’ll be starting a new topic that I’m calling “Who Am I?”

This week we will actually be focusing on a different, but foundational question, “Who is God?”  The following weeks we’ll look into a few other questions, ultimately leading to the a good discussion about who each of us are.

I saw many of you at the Good and Beautiful Conference this weekend, and I’m certain that you learned a lot from it.  If you missed the conference, you can watch the sessions online through the church website.  One of the first concepts discussed at the conference was the idea that we all have a unique narrative about who God is.  This inner narrative is key to our understanding of God and our relationship with Him.

So, the question for the week is both simple and extremely complicated – “Who is God?”  More specifically “Who is the God you were first introduced to, and who is the God you know now?”

This should be good.

I’m In,


Check-In Update

Darin Charles —  September 9, 2015 — Leave a comment

This weekend is the Good and Beautiful Conference, Friday night and Saturday.  I’ve had a few more tickets, that include lunch with the author, come available.  Let me know if you would like to come.  I think it’s going to be a great conference.  With the conference, we will obviously not be having Check-In this week.

We will start back in full force next weekend, Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 in David’s office.  Mark your calendars now.  Let’s get a strong group coming consistently this fall.  We will not be covering the Deeper With God series in our group, but I strongly encourage all of you to find a home group to attend with your spouse. If you’re looking for a home group, David can probably help you find one that will work for you.  My plan for Check-In is to start a 3-4 week discussion around the question “Who am I?” next week.  I hope you’ll join me.

I’m In,


Gentlemen, this Saturday we are planning to help out with playground clean-up for First Faith Pre-school and Kindergarten at our church. Start time is 8:00, and it will take a few hours. The more help we have, the better. Bring shovels and wheelbarrows. This is a great opportunity for us to help out the church, and typically a fun morning working together.

Hope to see you all Saturday,

Check-In Reminder

Darin Charles —  August 16, 2015 — Leave a comment

Just a reminder, we’re having a special evening event for Check-In, this Tuesday.  We’ll gather at my house, 3212 Abbey Rd, Mansfield, to watch the Rangers game.  Game starts at 7:05.  Bring a drink or a snack, and I’ll grill some hot dogs.  Free hot dogs are better than $1 Hot Dog Night any time.

Next Saturday we’re taking off as most of us are getting ready for back-to-school.  The following weekend, August 29, we’ll be helping the pre-school prep the playground for the upcoming year.  This has been an annual tradition for several years, and it’s a great way for a group of big strong guys like us to help support the church.

Hope to see as many of you guys as possible Tuesday night. If you haven’t been able to make Saturday mornings, this is a great opportunity to catch up with the group.




“If it feels good, do it” was a catchy line from the Better Than Ezra song “Teenager” from 1995.  As a teenager, this seemed like a pretty good philosophy for life.  I would like to say that with maturity, denying myself and delaying gratification has become easy, but that is not necessarily the case.  With practice, I’ve gotten better, but it’s never easy.  We can all relate to Paul’s statement in Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Personally, I think that Self-Control is a misnomer.  It is neither about self nor control.  It’s about putting others, or God, first, and releasing the illusion of control.  But, we can talk about that more on Saturday.


So, we all face temptations every day, some big, some small.  I won’t ask you to name them (although you’re more than welcome to share), but I will ask

“How do you manage these temptations is a healthy way?”  

See you guys Saturday morning, 7:30, in David’s office.

I’m in.