Archive for the ‘Grace Capital Church’ Category

Who Is Andrew Allard v.5

This will be the last post for the week about who Andrew Allard is.  This post will share with you the insights of several friends. One of Abbie’s(Andrew’s sister) best friends, Alisa Etkie, who knew Andrew and saw him a lot because she spent a lot of time at their house.

“Andrew always had a smile on his face, which brought many smiles to the faces of others. I remember one time when he sneakily took my purse when I wasn’t looking and hid it from me. I looked everywhere for it, and then asked him about it. “Andrew, where’s my purse?” He said, “I don’t know” and tried to hold back a smile. Finally, he returned my purse. I’ll always remember his light-hearted spirit and how bad he was at telling a lie without cracking a revealing smile.”

Abbie, Andrew’s sister, shares this:

1367319050_lBeing his big sister, I saw the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly. But throughout our lives we were always there for each other. Because Andrew and I were only sixteen months apart, people would always ask if Andrew and I were twins. Of course, I would always make it a point to let them know I was older. And of course, Andrew would always make it a point to tell them he was in the same grade as me. Because we were home schooled from the very beginning, almost every hour of every day was spent together. He was my other half; the connection we had made it feel like we were actually twins.
Andrew was the silly one. He was always goofing off, making every situation fun. I remember his last Halloween back in 2006. We were having friends come over and going trick or treating in my huge neighborhood. Thirty minutes before they were suppose to arrive at my house, Andrew said to me, “So, what should I wear for a costume??” Being all concerned and serious, I replied, “Andrew! Why are you thinking of this now?! You should be ready!” He went into our attic and compiled all these random items and put together a costume. “Flava Flaveeeeeeeee!” he said as placed the handmade clock necklace around his neck. My friends and I all just laughed with him at his strange costume.
So many people remember Andrew for his contagious smile, compassionate heart, and love for a good time. I would have to agree that those things really did define who he was. In addition to that, Andrew had a love for life—never wasting a moment doing something he didn’t want to do (unless it was English homework that we would both put off together.) He was very self-motivated to accomplish the goals he had for himself. He wanted to pitch the best fast ball; he worked hard. He wanted to reach out to his friends; he spent quality time with them. He wanted to play a sweet guitar solo; he practiced—for many hours at a loud volume! His love for different things was very apparent, not because he just spoke about them—and let me assure you… he spoke about them. A lot!—but because his time was spent on what was important to him. Many days I get caught in the cycle of doing the same old thing. Wake up, homework, eat, class, gym, sleep. I do things just to get through them, so I can get to the next thing I need to get through and so on. Andrew was never like that. He always lived in the here and now. His example of loving things enough to made time for them still teaches me that is how I need to live my life. I miss so many opportunities to love those who need it because my focus is everywhere but where I am at the moment.
Out of every human being on this earth, Andrew was the one I was closest with by far. We shared laughter, tears, arguments, joys, pain, and friendships. Though I miss him terribly, I know his influence lives on. His name is on a flippin’ building! I hope my legacy will impact people tremendously like his does.

Joey Libby, Andrew’s band mate and the “L” in AKL (the band that Andrew played in) shares these memories:

l_79fff6bbb9a359d368702b5abcab622a“I remember the first day I ever really got to start talking with Andrew was when I was either 8 or 9 years old in the minor league field baseball dugout. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the never ending smile on his face. And then there’s the times with the band and me going to visit him in Florida. No matter what vacations I go on in the future that will always be the greatest trip of my life. One thing I’ve never told anyone because I guess its just not that important to anyone except myself – but after everything that happened I tried to imagine the last time I ever got to see Andrew’s smile and that was the day before I left Florida and we were throwing a tennis ball with gloves on the street he lived on.  I can’t remember which one of us threw it over eachothers head but Andrew had laughed over something I said before one of us went to get it and that one image will never leave me for the rest of my life. I tell Andrew’s story at every concert AKL plays now and I’m always going to. The main thing I say is “after me saying this the point I’m trying to make is God is over us and watching us and I know Andrew’s doing the same and he always will be.” Andrew will always be #1 in my heart.”

Bottom line, Andrew will always be missed and always remembered.  Yes, we have a soon to be finished youth center that will bear his name and will stand for many years to come.  Many will pass through the doors and may never have the chance to know who Andrew was.  But who Andrew really was, the essential Andrew, will always live on.  The youth center is being built so that we will have one more opportunity to reach outside of our own building and be a blessing to our community.  That is who Andrew was, he was never self-serving, always looking out for others who may have a need, and he never missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people.  My prayer is the legacy of Andrew’s life will live on through the youth center.

We love, miss, and wait for the day when we will see Andrew again – but for now, we will continue to share the love of Jesus with many young people throughout Central New Hampshire.

Who Is Andrew Allard v.4

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Tyler Clark, a good friend of Andrew’s shares some of his experiences with Andrew:

“First me and Andrew met at the little leauge baseball game in Donati Park, I was watching the game and was playing with my yoyo and Andrew came up to me and we started talking then he pulled out a yoyo and showed me tricks that were out of this world!  I wanted him to show me more and I was amazed.  I was amazed about a lot of things Andrew did.  We exchanged numbers and became close friends. During the summer me and Andrew played golf all the time.  I remember we bet who would win on our golf games.  After 18 holes whoever won wouldn’t have to buy lunch.  Andrew always got alot of free lunches from me:).  He was an awesome golf player.

As the days passed we became closer friends.  I rememeber the first sleepover we had.  Andrew came over in the summer and we played mini hockey in my basement.  Andrew fell in love with that too.  When he left to go home we gave him one of my brothers old hockey sticks.

Andrew and Joey were soon in a band together and it was fun to watch them play because they came up with the best guitar solos and songs without singing yet.  Andrew loved coming to me and Joey’s hockey games.  I remember when we went to Dover to play a game and Andrew came with us. When I got in the car Andrew asked me if I had ever heard of the “best band ever.”  I was like, “no show me and he later let me listen to a song called “Who I am hates who I’ve been” by Relient K.  I fell in love with Andrew’s favorite band.  I remember during the trip he showed me the band on his iPod.  I fell in love with the iPod and later I got an iPod and Relient K was the first band on my iPod.

Those were the best memories I had with Andrew.  Theres alot more but those personally are my favorite. When Andrew passed away me and Joey had hockey playoffs and we felt as though Andrew was right there with us.  This helped me and Joey have the best hockey games of are lives that weekend.  We told the team about Andrew and his bright smile that showed everyone who he was just by the smile on his face.  I’ll never forget this part of the story – during one of the games we were all tied up in the 3rd period I gave Joey a pass and he scored a beautiful goal!  I went up to Joey and gave him a hug while we were both in tears as the crowed roared.  Andrew was on our shoulders helping us through every minute of the game.  Andrew is always on our shoulders every minute of our lives and I’ll never forget those memories with him and he’ll always be number one in my heart.”
– Ty Clark

Who Is Andrew Allard v.3

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Today we hear from Jeff Towne.  Jeff was Andrew’s cell group leader for a couple years.  They had a great relationship.  Jeff shares:

“I can’t honestly remember when I met Andrew Allard but I won’t ever forget knowing him.  Andrew and his sister Abby were part of a youth cell group that met at my house every week for several years.  He played the guitar for our cell group because he loved to worship the Lord and I’m absolutely certain that hasn’t changed.  He’s probably back stage somewhere in heaven right now, most likely behind the throne of God, looking for an autograph or a free t-shirt.

His insight into the love of God was beyond his age.  He could always be counted on to get a conversation about Christ started and he encouraged others to share their thoughts as well.  His joy for life was contagious!  We had so many awesome conversations – many of which were serious and some just hysterically funny.  He led others to Christ at the age of 11 or 12 like he had been doing it for 50 years.  He didn’t make it complicated to come to know Christ he just introduced people to his friend Jesus.  His life example was often times enough for people to want to know his Lord better.

We also both love the Red Sox!  We talked so much about who was playing well, who blew it or even worse about the dreaded New York Yankees.  We both had the same opinion about that team – enough said.  We always talked about going to a game but never got the chance.  Hey Andrew – apparently you have no pull this year!  What happened?

Who knew the Lord would want him so badly in heaven?  I can only imagine that the Lord wanted Andrew’s joy around the throne – a true worshipper with an awesome smile and laugh!  In Numbers 14 the Lord stated that Caleb “had a different spirit; he follows me passionately!”  God would also say that about my friend Andrew.  He had a different spirit than most people his age and he loved the Lord passionately.”

Who Is Andrew Allard? v.2

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In my continuing efforts to spread the word about who Andrew Allard was and why the Youth Center that is being built at Grace Capital Church will bear his name I have asked one of his closest friends, Jorden Bonanno, to share a bit of who Andrew was to him.

“Andrew Allard was a fun loving kid who loved the lord, and loved life. He was a good brother, friend, son and uncle. Andrew was a strong influence to a lot of people. He played sports and was always full of energy. He also really loved the red sox. Andrew wanted to be able to live life the way God wanted him to live it. He was a great kid and truly did obey the Lord and follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He was only 13 when he passed away but he had a strong faith with the Lord. The fact is that a lot of people miss Andrew, but we all know that he is having a great time up in heaven. Andrew will be in a lot of peoples hearts forever, and will be a good reminder to be obedient to the Lord and live life the way God has planned for us.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

Who Is Andrew Allard?

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That’s the question that I find myself being asked often now that the Andrew J. Allard Memorial Youth Center is being built.  I have answered many people and given my thoughts about who Andrew was and why his name deserves to be on the youth center that we are currently building.  This week, rather than using my words, my stories (however I will post my own personal thoughts later in the week) and my memories of Andrew Allard, I have asked a few of his close friends to describe who Andrew was to them.

To start you off with some basic knowledge.  Andrew was a young man who attended Grace Capital Church with his family.  He played guitar, loved music, and had a smile that would not quit.  He was thirteen years old when he contracted bacterial meningitis and passed away.  It was very sudden.  That was on March 4, 2007.  There are many who were impacted by his life while he was here with us and there are still many who are impacted by his life, his story, and his love for God.

First up in describing who Andrew was is Paul Thiemann.  Paul is a friend of Andrew from Florida.  5 months out of the year Andrew and his family lived in Boca Raton, Florida.  Paul shares with us:

“Andrew Allard was an amazing friend; you could always count on him for a good laugh. It didn’t matter if we were just playing some xbox or chillin at the beach, he was always really fun to be around. I still crack up whenever someone mentions one of our old inside jokes. One of the best things about Andrew was that he would tell you straight out what he thinks you need to know whether or not it’s what you want to hear. Andrew’s the one who convinced me to take music lessons and stick with it. Andrew was always there for you if you needed something, whether it’s a small favor or just someone to talk to, he was there for you.  Through him a lot of people met, and are still continuing to meet, Jesus, and that’s really something great. Andrew was truly a great friend, and was immensely dedicated to the Lord.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

Finishers

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Back in August I preached a series on Influence at GCC.  The final message spoke on the subject of being faithful to complete the things that you have committed to.  Here’s a snippet of the message:

I believe whole-heartedly that we are in a room full of people who have had a hard time finishing things in our lives because we have never fully experienced the joy of crossing a finish line in our lives.  I experience this as a pastor.  We are continual works in progress.  The work of a pastor is never done.  Until we cross the finish line of life there is always more for God to do in us.  As one who has a heart to see people grow and walk in step with Jesus I acknowledge that my work will never be done.  Just as I need to grow, there is more that I can do to help many of you grow.  There are days when this calling feels like burden.  I’d love for a day when I can close up my computer and feel as though the work is done.  A day when the task is over and the project is complete; but when you deal with human beings, the work is never done.

I think that is why I have become a runner.  In a race there is a definitive starting line and finishing line.  There is an end to the run.  There is a sense of accomplishment to the work that you have been doing.  I told you all a few weeks ago that in May I ran my first half-marathon.  I ran it with my good friend Jeff Cerow.  He had my back the whole way through the race.  We set the pace for the each other.  We encouraged each other throughout the 13.1-mile run.  And we finished the race together.  I can still remember the rush of emotion that came over me as I crossed the finish line.  It is an experience that I will cherish.  I accomplished something that day and I believe I also broke a trait of not finishing things.

I’d like to make this same opportunity available to you all.  On September 11 at 5:30 the Friendly Kitchen is hosting a 5K Trail Race over at NHTI.  I want to challenge each and every one of you to participate in this.  As of right now we have the entire staff of GCC on board for this race.  I want you all to join us.  It is a fundraiser and will go towards a cause that we as a church already support and volunteer at.   There are registration forms at the tables by the doors as you leave later today.  You have over a month to train.  A 5K is just over 3 miles.  You can do this.  I believe that not only can you do this but also some of you NEED to do this.  You need to cross a finish line and experience the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with it.  I believe that for some of you there will be a spiritual breaking that takes place as you commit to training and running in this race.

That was the challenge that I posed to the congregation of Grace Capital Church.  That was 6 weeks ago.  Yesterday, Friday, September 11, sixty people from Grace Capital Church ran in the Friendly Kitchen 5k and FINISHED something.  I truly believe that something spiritual took place for each person as they crossed the finish line.  For some people it was their first ever race.  For others it was just another run.  For all it was a chance to finish something that they put their mind to and they did just that.  I, for one, am very grateful for the showing of GCC runners and am very proud of each of them!

Great job TEAM GCC!

Best Place To Meet People

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Every year the Concord Monitor does a best of list and this year Grace Capital Church won the vote for the Best Place To Meet People.  I love this!  The fact that we strive to be a very relational place is why I attend this church.  My first time walking through the doors of Grace Capital Church over 12 years ago I was met by a woman who greeted me with a hug and made me and my wife feel welcome.

Do you want to meet people in and around Central NH?  Come to Grace Capital Church.  We’ll help you connect with others!