Charlie and I met at a New Canaan Society gathering in Menlo Park. We realized we live a few blocks from each other, and that we were both going to be dads soon. We got the families together and worked out together once in awhile. That would be a pretty standard friendship in many circles.
Then, in 2011 we both attended the New Canaan Society San Francisco Weekend. Even more than that we were roommates at the Fairmont Hotel. We mostly had our own agendas over the weekend, attending different breakout sessions, sitting at different tables for dinner, and so on. After one particular talk by Francis Chan (which I wrote about here), Charlie and I both walked back to the room. When I got to the door he was coming down the hall from the opposite direction. We didn't say a word to each other, both stunned by what Francis had said. We went inside and realized we were both there with the intent to lay on the floor before God.
And so we did so together, and our prayers sounded a lot of like.
"I don't want to keep doing things, even praying and reading Scripture, my way."
"I don't want to leave here and be nicer to my wife for a couple weeks only to revert back."
"I want you, God, to be the focus of my life! Nothing else matters, and I will give it all up for you."
When we were done, we knew that it wasn't a coincidence we had both come back to the room to pray, that we were roommates, that we had met. We acknowledged that we were not being fully open with each other. So right then and there, we agreed to hold each other more accountable by talking at least a few times a week, mainly to pray together, but also to see that we are in the Word, that we're being honest about our struggles.
And so we left that weekend with a new resolve, and ever since, we have kept our word. We began to pray together, often over the phone. We began to be more honest about our struggles and have more difficult conversations, even asking each other to share about our faults. At times, we've been challenged by the other, but we also know that our relationship is more about bringing God glory than having fun.
Within a couple of weeks of our time in San Francisco, we began to see "things" happen. Scripture was popping off the pages for us, and we were eager to share. Opportunities to share our faith became more frequent, and even though at times it wasn't received as we had hoped, we encouraged each other that being faithful in making the attempt was what matters.
So, I'm writing about Charlie because he is a dear brother, he's invested in our relationship even when its not convenient. He calls me usually at the exact time I need to be called, and I know that is God working through him. He shares his real thoughts with me, not the sanitized version, and we wrestle with the issues of our day. But there's more to Charlie that makes him a Hands On Christian.
Charlie opens the office of his bluechip commercial realty firm early in the morning just about every Tuesday so guys can usher in to pray together. It's a simple act that requires commitment. That Tuesday morning group, called Legends, isn't a Bible study or a fellowship, it's just a group of guys who want to get before God in the morning together to intercede on behalf of the Silicon Valley. There are a handful of these Legends groups scattered around, and they all have the same burden to get before God in the morning to pray. Even more, Charlie didn't set out to start a prayer group--he just started to pray in his office with another guy. For eight months or more they prayed, and they occasionally prayed that more guys would join them, and out of that he decided to invite others.
Last, but not least, Charlie and his wife are not shy to put their faith to work. For a few years, during the winter months they organized a large sleeping bag distribution to the homeless. They'd scout out their whereabouts, secure a wholesale buy of bags, coordinate donations from dozens of friends and families, organize a preparation day in a warehouse, and then oversee the delivery to sites all across San Jose. This is just one example of them putting their faith to work, among many. So its my honor to call Charlie a brother and to be able to put a few words down about him here.