Unprepared

Have you ever felt unprepared for something?

I remember it wasn’t too long after I said ‘I Do‘ that I realized marriage was much more complicated and required much more responsibility than dating. The closer Nicki got to giving birth to our first child, I remember thinking that I was definitely not prepared to be a father, then Tristan came, even less prepared for two, oh yeah, then we had Hailey…three kids!? I’m still unprepared.

Have you ever just stopped and thought, “How much preparation would it require for me to feel prepared?” Maybe you feel unprepared because someone told you they didn’t think you were ready or qualified for a certain responsibility. What would it take for those people to see you as ‘prepared?’ Many times we don’t have a gauge at which those people would be pleased, but we allow them to point us in their direction for our lives.

I’ve never felt more unprepared for something than I do in my new role as a pastor and church planter. I am constantly facing new challenges and struggles that I’ve never experienced in other roles. You can tell me that you think I am unprepared for this role, and I’d agree, in fact you’d only be preaching to the choir. Although there are times I feel unprepared and I know that there are areas in my life where I am definitely unprepared, I had to make a choice whether I would listen to my feelings or past voices in my life or would I be obedient to God by listening to his voice. If I based having children on a timetable of feeling ‘prepared’ Nicki and I probably wouldn’t have the three amazing children God’s blessed us with.

We started a new series this past Sunday called ‘Ready, Set, Go!!!‘ – In the series we are exploring the journey that Christ calls his Church to and how he wants us to be obedient to that call.

We started off by looking at Jeremiah and the mission God sent him on as a Prophet to Jerusalem. There were several reasons why Jeremiah felt unprepared to fulfill this mission God had called him to. If Jeremiah were in our present time, I am sure there would be a “Prophet Assessor” or a “Senior Prophet” that would give Jeremiah a failing grade in this mission God called him to, but God declared him as prepared.

My encouragement to New Passion on Sunday is that when it comes to obeying the instructions of Christ #1 We are Prepared Because We are Called (Matthew 28:16-20) and #2 We are Prepared Because We are Gifted (1 Corinthians 12) – It was the same for Jeremiah. God Called him (Jeremiah 1:4-5) and God Gifted him for the mission (Jeremiah 1:7-10).For some of us, our obedience in pursuing Christ may not be anything huge (I.E. Planting a Church, Foreign Missions, Etc.), it may just be simple obedience in things like sharing the Gospel with a friend, loving those who are in distress, providing for those who are in desperate need.

Join the Conversation…Is there something that you are standing still on because you feel unprepared? Have you allowed other people’s opinions to hold you back from pursuing what Christ has called you to?

A Love Letter From God

My friend Hank Murphy sang this song at our CSRA See You At the Pole Event last night.

I like what he told the students…”Just listen to this love letter from God to You…”

I love this song, its called “How He Loves Us.” – I found this video on You Tube with it being performed.
(In my opinion Hank and his band did a better job…just my opinion :) )

Here are some of the words that are my favorite parts of the song:

“He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.”

“So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way”

That he loves us,”

So sit back and listen to this love letter from God to you…

Join the Conversation: What is God’s Love Letter Telling You?

What Is Kingdom Day?


So I opened my big mouth and I am in the middle of watching something HUGE unfold right in front of my very eyes, and it has nothing to do with me, this is seriously a GOD thing, and I am blown away that in the last week I have had the opportunity to be a part of what is going to happen in 2009. “Kingdom Day” has been one of those things that I told some people about and then I blogged about it, and it started catching fire in front of my very eyes and the response has been great so far , but it will totally be bigger than I can grasp on my own. Go HERE to see how “Kingdom Day” started, and continue reading to get a better idea of what is going to happen.

I am not trying to be overly spiritual here with the name “Kingdom Day” – but I feel it is time that the Church that claims the name of Christ quits talking and starts walking. We are always talking about being unified as the Body of Christ, yet we never do anything about it. Recently we have seen some progress in this area with new methods such as the ONE Prayer Campaign, but what if we went a little further? What if we quit praying that Christ would use us to make a difference in the world around us and in the life of people who are in need, and we take action to be the answer to our own prayers? That’s what Kingdom Day is all about. Its not about gathering a group of students to see who can go out and recruit the most souls for the Kingdom of God. Trust me, I am pro-evangelism and I am pro-sharing our faith, but we (Christians) talk a lot! I believe it is time that we quit talking and start living it out and showing our cities and our communities what the Kingdom of God is all about. ‘Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done…’ We are the body of Christ and it is our responsibility to be the hands and feet for Jesus, to flesh out the faith life we say we have. I believe actions truly do speak louder than words in many cases. In James 2:18, James said that he would reveal his faith through his good deeds. In chapter 1 verse 27 James told us, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” – It is evident that part of God’s will for his Body is to take care of the hurting, the broken, and the needy.

We are asking Student Ministry leaders to unite their students with at least one other student ministry in their community to plan a service project for their city and community. Projects may be as large as renovating a park or helping a local mission or community center do minor repairs and renovations or could be on a smaller scale of working a soup kitchen for the poor or helping an elderly adult with projects around their home. With student ministries varying in size we want each group to plan their own projects that will take place on April 25, 2009, Kingdom Day. This project is powerful in 2 ways: #1 Student’s are learning how to serve together with other members of the Body of Christ, despite their denomination, their worship styles, their personal preferences, or their group size. As leaders we are taking on the responsibility of paving a path that is pleasing to God with our students, so when they take our place as adults, they will lead the revolutionary church that Jesus intended. #2 With each student ministry partnering with other student ministries in their local area and serving with this campaign on Kingdom Day, our students will take part in the largest single service project in the history of the church! I believe that would bring a smile to Jesus’ face. One day…One Church…One Mission. Together we will unite under that which unites us, the banner of Christ, and we will live out the Gospel of Love for all the world to see, and Christ will use our students in an awesome way!

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish “INFINITELY” more than we might ask or think.”

We are in the process of getting a quote on a website package as well we are discussing the details with youth ministry networks across the country, both small and large. We will reveal more solid details as decisions are made, until then, here are a few questions I would like you to ask yourself (Pastor, Youth Pastor, Volunteer Leader, Associate Pastor, Etc…):

  1. Am I willing to get my student ministry involved in this campaign?
    If Yes, Email me (CLICK HERE) If No, Why?
  2. I am a member of this Body, how can I utilize my gifts, talents, and abilities to help?
  3. Am I willing to assist with funding for this campaign?
    (Major costs so far will be logos/web widgets/website/promotional, etc.)
  4. Why have I not emailed or called at least 3-5 other youth pastors to spread the word? (Go ahead and do that now :)

Email me or leave a comment if your student ministry will be involved and if you have any ideas or thoughts as well as your willingness to help fund this campaign (& maybe effective ways we can raise funds). We look forward to serving with you!

Conversations with a 5 Year Old

…about new sister and Jesus.

Gavin was in the bathtub at MeMaw’s house yesterday and here was their conversation (some of which is not exact word for word being that it was told to me, but was totally unaided and unprovoked…straight from a 5 year old’s brain & heart to his lips):

Gavin: “We need to go get Hailey a balloon and a blue balloon from the store.”

MeMaw: “Ok, we can go get Hailey a balloon, but why a blue one?”

Gavin: “The blue one is not for Hailey, its a thank you balloon for Jesus.” – “We can send it up to him to tell him thank you for giving us Hailey!”

I am so thankful that I have a 5 year old son who already has a heart to please Jesus. I was speachless when I heard the story, and as MeMaw told the balloon lady, she began to cry. Needless to say, I was blessed with a brand new Beautiful daughter this week, but I have already been blessed with two awesome sons, for which I cannot thank God enough for. We always hear how God will ‘open the windows of Heaven and pour us out a blessing’ and so many times people automatically think of financial blessings, but I know that it does not always come in the form of finances (that would make things a lot easier) but it comes at times like these conversations, becasue I would take a son with a heart for Jesus over all the riches in the world.

If the video comes out ok I will post it so you can see Gavin pray before he sends Jesus his ballloon.

Blessed,

Nick

Get Reel: Rambo (Sunday’s Message)

Thanks to all who prayed for me this past Sunday as I preached in an Adult service for the first time in 2 years. Yes, I was nervous. Yes, I was worried that I would go over my given time…All a perfect recipe for a disaster. So, who knows the outcome, except Christ and those who heard the message. I had some positive remarks, a few people who conveyed they needed the message at that exact time in their life, and then Chuck emailed me and reported HERE that we had two people mark their communication card that they received Christ in the service. So regardless of how I feel about the message, my main prayer is that the Lord used it in people’s lives.

I am posing the MP3 of the message HERE – the sound is not very good on the recording (Update: I’ve had a few people say it does not sound the same as it did live…its too loudplus some Firefox users have had some downloading issues). We are doing a Summer series called Get Reel where we are doing messages around Movie Blockbusters, I did my message from Rambo, here are a few things you may need to know:

#1 I opened with this clip, so you may want to view it before listening…it may put some of what I was saying into perspective:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-3BgQOusD8]

#2 When I refer to a monopoly faith I was using these as a visual aid (my hot wife made them), sometimes I said some things and was pointing or referencing these so it may confuse you on those parts:

Finally the audio goes silent in one section, its because we showed this clip to close out the message:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtJO6iZUddQ]

Get Reel: Rambo Message


A Rap Worth Listening To

I watched this over at Pete’s blog yesterday and had to go back this morning to listen to it again. My favorite part is “Send Me I’ll Go” because that sums up where my heart is right now.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.620792&w=425&h=350&fv=]

What are your thoughts? Join the Conversation!

Small Steps to Making Huge Impacts

My new blog friend Brad Ruggles had this post and this post on his blog for the past couple of days. The conversations have been great, a little rough at times, but honest and interesting to say the least.

I want to continue to conversation here…

My friend Neely McQueen is the PDYM Community Guru. She keeps all of the state mentors in line and coordinates our state wide network lunches. Her husband Josh is a Student Minister in Washington (the state).

They are adopting a little girl (Little Girl McQueen) from overseas and I am asking you to help them. This is one more way that we can take a small step to make a huge impact. With your coffee purchase, 40% of the proceeds go directly towards helping bring Little Girl McQueen home to the US. Most of you out there love coffee, you buy it for your house, you buy it for the office, so why not continue doing what you always do, but make an impact in the life of a little girl and an entire family?

Click Here to purchase through Neely and Josh’s Affiliate Number so they get credit. Remember, birthday’s, anniversaries, Christimas, and Just Becauses are always great time to buy your family members or friends a great fresh bag of coffee. You will love it! Thank you for being Jesus by drinking coffee! You must order from the Affiliate Link for credit. Spread the word, I’m keeping a permanent link on my right hand sidebar to make re-orders easy for you, I’m all about customer service! :)

Does God Promise Protection?

I was reading the entry for My Utmost for His Highest this morning and was a little torn. Here is the section that brings me to this blog post:

. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18 ). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives.

Now, I am fairly new at reading Oswald Chambers’ stuff. There are times that I read it and I can hear some of his influence or at least an identical influence in some of the people who have helped form my thinking. One of those people, once again today, is Louie Giglio. Yesterday, as I piggy backed on Pete Wilson’s blog, I posted an audio message from Louie called “Prayer-a-Remix” where Louie points out how unbiblical many of our cliche’ American prayers are. [Download the Full Message Here - Requires Quick Time]

In the message Louie talks about how one of the typical things that we pray is “Lord Protect Me!” – However, in the post Cross/Resurrection teaching of the Gospel, we are never promised protection or safety. Louie points out that in the Old Testament all the heroes (David, Daniel, Noah, Etc.) were victorious and lived, but in the post Cross/Resurrection portion of the New Testament all the heroes suffered and died (Jesus, Peter, Paul, Etc.) – The bottom line is that sure we can pray for protection, and trust me I pray for protection for my family daily, but in reality, if you are living totally abandoned to Christ and truly mean that He can use your life to further His mission no matter what, then I believe there is no promise of protection, because sometimes His mission is greater than our lives!

**You have got to listen to the audio message about Louie’s example of Graham Stains – It puts this into perfect perspective – I admit I have used the illustration numerous times now!**

Join the Conversation, What Do You Think?

Do We Even Understand God?

I was wondering what I should blog about today, but after reading Pete Wilson’s post (God Bless America?) and watching the video he linked to, there is nothing more I need to say. I encourage you to go read the post and watch the video of a young boy who’s family had to give up their custody to the government because they could no longer afford to keep him. Pete’s post reminded me of a message that I heard in 2005 at the PDYM Conference by Louie Giglio called “Prayer-a-Remix” You can download the entire message for Free HERE

Warning: After listening to this message your prayer life will be totally messed up, so do not listen to it if you are comfortable praying the average cliche’ Americanized Chritian prayers and living the typical self-serving Americanized Christian life…I warned you!

Here is an excerpt from Pete, be sure to go check out the rest of his post HERE and watch the video:

I saw this bumper sticker the other day when I was walking into Blockbuster. It says, “My Pastor Says God Bless America.” Since seeing the bumper sticker I’ve discovered it’s linked to a political movement.

I want to be clear that I’m neither condemning nor endorsing this organization. I know nothing about it, but this bumper sticker just prompted the following thoughts.

I’m tired of praying “God Bless America.” Now, before you try to stone me at the county courthouse, let me clearly state, “I’m proud of our country.” I’m indebted to people who have served her to give me the freedoms I have. So we’re cool. I shoot fireworks off on the 4th and everything.

Join the Conversation, What’s Your Thoughts?

Atheism (Updated)

I removed the picture that I posted about Atheism. Apparently those who are atheist said the picture was inaccuarate to their actual beliefs, so although I do not share the views of an atheist I am removing the picture out of respect for them. After thinking about it, I could see how the picture could be viewed as devisive and that is not the intent of this blog. I desire to share the love of Christ and that is not done by being divisive or rude. I stand firm on what I believe, but felt that it was best to remove the picture so I do not portray the wrong attitude.