Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Mission Trip Without the Airfare

I've been on several mission trips in my life. Some in the States and some international. I try to encourage everyone that is able to go on at least one international mission's trip in their lifetime. It's life changing to see what God is doing in other places and to see the great need around the world.

However, the mission's trip I'm most passionate about seeing Christians go on is the daily trip to their mission field.....the missional trip into their circle of influence: their neighborhood, their kitchen table, their classroom, their break room, their cubicle, their job sight, their ball field. Many go to these fields but don't work them. If we could see past the assumed reasons of why we are there and see the God ordained reason we are there; we could see this incredible opportunity to be a part of changing lives around us with the gospel.

This weekend I'll be interviewing a special guest during my message: Randy Freeman. He's a great friend of mine and I'm excited about what the future holds for him and his family. Randy and his family are headed in a few weeks to Swaziland, Africa. God called Randy to leave everything he knew here in the U.S. to go and take the gospel to Swaziland.

Randy is going to his mission field. Will you go to yours?


Friday, March 25, 2011

Good Reads......

A great qoute I've read once before is fitting for this post: "Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers." From time to time I like to commend books to those that love to grow through reading. So here are a few:

 Dr. Henry Cloud (Christian Psychologist and Author who is as solid as they come) bring these two very helpful books to us. Both of these books are great for seasoned leaders or for those who aspire to great leadership. Click on the links below for the best deal.


Both worth every penny.

Read on,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Containing Complaining

I'm a complainer. It's a gift of mine. I've been known to complain about all kinds of things. Here is just a small list of things I've mouthed off about either in the past or recently:

My car, friends that disappoint me, my extended family, my finances, my health, a meal, a waiter or waitress, a boss, a team member, a task that had to be done.......and that's just a few that come out of my mouth.

At the heart of my complaining is a heart full of discontentment. It's about not getting my way or exactly what I want. The key to killing this cancer of discontentment is allowing God to give us an infusion of gratitude. We need a reminder that "every good gift comes from God" (James 1:17). You see discontentment at its core comes from a belief that we are entitled to get what we want or what we think we deserve. We stop being grateful when we think we're deserving.

When I look at cross however it robs me of thinking I deserve anything. The price Jesus paid on the cross for my sin shuts my mouth. I've got to come back to the cross daily and be reminded that Jesus took upon himself what I did deserve to give me what I do not.

The cross on my mind stops the complaining on my tongue,


Monday, December 27, 2010

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

"If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." Sir Isaac Newton

Just yesterday my family and I began a journey across the country to begin a new chapter of our lives in Raleigh, NC as we begin pastoring a wonderful church family at Raleigh Christian Community Church(

Much of our trip on I-40 is actually the old Route 66 made famous in our country's early car years. As I drove I reflected on the truth that most of I-40 was pioneered by men that first had a vision for Route 66. There were those that even laid the ground work for Route 66 in our nation's earlier history that were willing to have the heart to "Go West." I-40 (the present interstate) is the fruit of the vision, courage, endurance and tenacity of men that came before.

The church I now pastor was pioneered and led by such kind of men: Pastors Robert Spradley and Jim Kelly.

Any good that might come from my leadership as Pastor of RCC will come from Christ in me and the fact that as Sir Isaac Newton stated, "I stand on the shoulders of giants" such as these men that have come before me.

I wonder in your life have you taken the time to reflect on those that have come before you to sow seed that you now enjoy as harvest?

To God Be the Glory,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blind Spots: Believe Me, You Have One

In driver's education one of the first things that you're taught is that there are "blind spots" around your vehicle based on where your particular side and rear view mirrors are. To over come this obstacle we are instructed to actually take a hard look around us to make sure the way we intend to go is clear. Failure to do so can and often does cause a wreck hurting you and others around you.

People have blind spots too. These are areas in our own life where we do not see our actions and ways of doing things correctly. Most people don't know their blind spots. That's why they're called blind spots. As with driving, not taking the hard look at areas in our life that are weak can cause at best ineffectiveness and at worse destruction. I can tell you one of my blind spots: becoming distracted in one on one conversations. The reason I have the privilege of knowing this blind spot is because someone was kind of enough to point it out to me a few years ago. Let's say I'm out on the church patio having a conversation with someone I do care about as hundreds of people walk around us. While trying to tune into what is being said to me I can find myself distracted seeing all of the people I need to touch base with: people I've been concerned about, people that have been trying to get a hold of me, etc. Someone kindly pointed out to me, "Nathan, I feel like when I try and talk to you that you're distracted." While this was hard to hear (Most blind spots are difficult to hear) it was incredibly helpful because I didn't realize that I was making this person feel this way. With that input I was able to make corrections and do some things differently to work on this area.

We need people in our lives that we've given permission to point out areas of concern. When is the last time you've asked someone, "Is there an area of my personality that you think might be annoying or bothersome?" "What am I missing?" "What area in my leadership do you see as a weakness or could be sharpened?". While these questions are painful to ask, the pay off of knowing the answers to these questions is HUGE.

Prov 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

It's time to do more than check your mirrors. It's time to take the hard look.

Go On Ask,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Famous Last Words....

Let's continue on the theme of funerals. Shall we? I thought I might give you a brief peak behind the curtain of these services that a pastor provides. I did my first funeral when I was 19. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but in that time it seems I've seen everything from the comedic to the inspirational. I've actually entertained the idea of writing a book on these experiences because they are just that good! That is for another blog however.

When I receive a request to do some one's funeral or memorial service I make it a point to meet with the family so that I am able to help them in putting the service together. This meeting with the family is also crucial if I did not know the person that has died. I want to get know the person I will be eulogizing. I usually just bring a pen and a journal and ask the family to just begin to share. I say, "I'd like to just be a fly on the wall as you remember him or her through stories and descriptive words." Can I tell you that these meetings are either vastly moving or grotesquely shallow. When being summed up by those closest to you they can only share what they've experienced. (Side note: People do have a tendency to deify the person after they've past wanting to only remember the best about the person.)

Here are two contrasting lists of descriptions of family members of their loved ones:

Unbending integrity                                          He could really eat
Invested in others                                             Had a great golf swing
Very generous with his time and money            Made a lot of money
He loved God with all his heart                         He really loved his boat
He put his family first                                        He cussed like a sailor but he was so funny

One of the most heart breaking things I have to do as a pastor is listen to a family share about their loved one and continually tell me as they share, "you don't have to put that in there."

My question to you faithful reader is what do you want to be said about you at your funeral? Once you've answered that question I'd ask this: Are you living in such a way now that people would say those things.

Live with your last day in mind and you should be fine.

Tick Tock,


Monday, October 18, 2010

Why a Part of Me Loves Funerals

There is a strange part of me that loves to do funerals as a pastor. Before you dismiss me as insane, hear me out. While funerals are painful and difficult, I have found hope and comfort in knowing that those that attend funerals are dumbstruck with their own mortality. When people are faced with their mortality they for a moment put their life on pause and will consider what really matters in life if a pastor is intentional about posing the right questions. While the rest of a person's lifestyle might seek to push God away, their heart is tender in that moment when grieving a loss of someone they love. This coupled with the realization that they themselves are not invincible many times can allow their heart to be receptive to the gospel and what awaits them in eternity.