Twonight


I am going to contrast two nights with you. Last night and this night. 

 

Last night I was worn down. I was frustrated. Discouraged. Disappointed. Confused. Angry. Sad. I felt like a husband who could not provide for himself or his wife. I felt like a man who was not confident nor knowledgeable nor strong nor courageous- I was none of the things I want and also need to be. 

 

This night I am content. I am grateful. Joyful. Peaceful. Fulfilled. Understanding. Patient. I feel like a man who has accepted that his strength is deficient and that the Holy Spirit is constant. Consistent. Present. Persistent. I understand that 

1.) I am not my own. He has paid a price to offer me a life better than the alternative. 

2.) Though I do regularly choose my path instead of desiring the path chosen for me, God has never taken his eyes off of me. Never rolled his eyes. 

3.) I married a woman who has agreed to trust me in everything. Who is supportive of me in action and honest with me in feeling. 

 

 

I can not tell you that I believe in a loving God with any proof beyond my own experience. I can tell you that my experience is sufficient. 

Hearts Condition


I desire one thing truly and purely. Without foul motive or intent. Without selfish ambition. That thing is to be a fully, truly, committed follower of Christ Jesus. I long to be an honest follower of my God with a more earnest passion than I have ever longed for or to be anything else.

This longing was intended in my creation, it was a natural response to the divide between the image I was made to mirror and the image which I currently portray.

It has been and will always be a struggle for every person to understand ‘how well’ they are living their life when their criterion are what they are not doing. The life of aversion. I am ashamed to think that I have lived this life for a long time and so have many in my community. I understand with more clarity than ever before that a fully devoted and committed follower of Christ does not even consider avoiding but instead focuses primarily and singularly on striving.

These are a few questions I have been pressed to ask in the last few weeks, I share them so you may also consider your hearts condition.

If you can picture your heart as a bucket, how full is it? What things draw water out of this bucket and what things pour water into the bucket?

If you were to write your own obituary purely to see which adjectives would come along with your name what would it say, right now? What do you want it to say?

For those things which people would not say about you now but you wish for them too, what actions do you need to take to change it? Does the way you spend your time need to change? Does the way you speak to people need to change?

Do you see your lifestyle and your finances as a gift or as a result? (gifts are not based on any action, results are based purely on actions)

Consider your life to be a story in a book, you are currently on page 761. In who’s hand is the pen to write page 762? Yours? Your employers? Your spouses? Gods?

I have been challenged by all of these questions and I have seen that I’ve moved God into a position of consultant, instead of say, director or guide. I have been living a life of good intent and have been straying from all traditional sins but I am reminded of the need to not only refrain from but attain and strive and grow.

 

 

(originally written 4/19/13)

What is this place?


It’s dark but there are lights everywhere.

Each light is too bright to identify it’s source/ you can’t tell if it’s a lamp, a flashlight, a star, a fire, or a comet headed straight at you.

There are noises coming from every direction.

No matter what you focus on, eyes locked on a light or ears attending to a sound, you are dizzy.

There is no orientation. No right. No normal.

You feel something brushing up against you, you swat and find nothing.

There is a breeze it only blows down your spine.

You speak and hear no voice.

You scream and the only response is your lungs gasping for air again.

You start to walk and the floor moves beneath. You stop and it stands still.

You’re alone. There’s nothing real for you to grasp. Nothing for you to base an understanding off of.

 

You’re lost.

 

(written 8/16/12)

The parable of the talents


I’ve heard the parable of the master giving talents to each of his servants before he departs on a journey and then seeing who was faithful with what was entrusted to them and who was not, almost as many times as I heard the phrase “Nathan, this is the last time I’m gonna tell you!” growing up. The gist is that whomever is faithful with a little will be entrusted with more, much more. 

 

Today, as my brother Ben and I were tossing the football in my parents back yard, my dad and I were talking and the gist of this story resurfaced but in a different context than I previously understood it. 

 

I was sharing dreams with my dad and more relevant, was sharing how my thoughts on dreaming and on dreams has changed as of late. I used to sit and dream of doing things. Of practicing an action or accomplishing a feat. Of being known for that one or hopefully two things that I had completed. But I am realizing that it isn’t about that. Between a baccalaureate speech, a commencement speech, countless quotes, and the insight of the Spirit I have distinguished what I think is a huge separation of thought. The point is not to accomplish these great things, it is to be a great someone. Micro instead of macro. The interesting thing is that micro turns into macro. The human condition embraces goodness. 

As a quick sidenote, I think it funny that again the principles of the bible find themselves manifested in this human condition shared by billions of people across millions of miles. 

 

I never considered that what Christ might have been referring to when he said to be faithful with what we are given may not have been tangible gifts at all- I think he was referring to the gifts and talents that He as uniquely and perfectly fitted for each of us. To become good people we must learn about what gifts we have been given. We must learn how to use, share, and give of our gifts so as to be faithful with them. Once we have learned about our gifts and are in regular practice of exercising them we will find ourselves stepping out of our micro worlds and into a macro universe with our actions starting to look like accomplishments, feats, and achievements. 

 

I believe, “the key” or “the secret” to being a world changer, a mover and a shaker, a life that was worth living, is to be a person of value. 

This new perspective is encouraging to me, and i believe it will be to many because it simplifies the process to greatness significantly. It only takes a vision for the person you want to be and a ton of discipline.

Here are some of the quotes that got me thinking:

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” 

J.K. Rowling

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Maya Angelou

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” 

André Gide

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” 

George Eliot

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” 

Mark Twain

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” 

Mark Twain

The tightrope


I’ve been mulling over some thoughts recently, especially this last week and a half or so. 

Thoughts regarding the balance between planning and living particularly. 

 

Kels and I have been dreaming up all these ideas for where we want to live, what kind of lifestyle seems to fit us best, what jobs to work, and what kind of people we want to and should be. I believe in dreaming as drawing from an inner well of desire and longing which God has intentionally placed in each of us uniquely so it would then be synonymous to say that us dreaming about what we want is the same as us planning or working towards what God has for us. 

Being that my disclaimer was aforementioned, I will continue…

 

There seems to be a way of life that is focused on long term planning and another way of life that is based on short term gratification. I believe there needs to be a balance and I think most would agree. I wouldn’t write about it if it was that simple. The trouble is, this balance is intricate and evolving and unformulated. Nobody can say how to do it. It’s just something you do. You will evolve just as the balance is constantly evolving. 

 

We have committed to living life with spontaneity and joy and a youthful spirit. We both believe that we are a more effective team together, better friends, better siblings, and better witnesses to the presence of the holy spirit in our lives when we live with a fervor, an excitement, a thrill. We believe that physical health is at least equally related to emotional and spiritual health as it is diet and exercise if for no other reasons than a distinct difference in stress levels.

 

I’ve been studying different ways to plan for a future. Just about all of these ways revolve around the management of liquid finances and assets, ie investment strategies and debt management. There is a lot of wisdom in considering financial planning but my belief is increasingly returning to the idea that the best route to the future you desire is to plan not finances but character.

 

If I am the man that I want to be in an even fuller understanding than I currently maintain, I am going to be more adept at managing my money and my assets appropriately all the while living a fuller and more complete life. As I write this I see a need to develop this idea even further. That is not to discredit the validity of character over cash. 

 

I will walk the tightrope of individual character, on my left will be long term strategizing, on my right will be short term gratification.  

This is my life


This is me. And my beautiful wife, Kelsie. She is my greatest earthly blessing. Bringing me hope when I’ve run dry. Always challenging me to draw from the well that never runs dry. God chose to use her to show me His love and I am so grateful.  Image

This is Maddox (AKA Moose). He’s our 2nd dog. We got him in August of 2012. He’s a Redtick Coonhound. He loves chasing birds, squirrels, rabbits, other dogs, cats, and barking a lot. Image

This is Amelia. She was our first dog. We got her in September 2011. She’s a Beagle. She also loves barking but not as much as her big little brother Maddox. She’s a sensitive one.  Image

 

I love my family. 

 

We live in this house. I only have one picture because I just finished refinishing the front door. Sorry you can’t see the whole thing. 

Image

 

 

I love the life we live. Early on we started planning and thinking and we have achieved so many of our goals so far. I am a dreamer and Kelsie and I have big dreams for what is to come. This dreaming however, leads to a struggle with contentment. I frequently am unsettled with where we are and what we have. I want to be somewhere else, have something else, or be someone else. I am working hard on focusing on the positive while not ignoring the negative. I thank God for my dreaming heart and for a spouse who can appreciate that as well as balance that. 

I am excited about the next three years. Really excited. 

Death to self.


 

Donald Miller wrote, “If God is real then he needs to happen to me”. 

 

I think that should be something we pray for daily. I don’t know any greater struggle than the fight to kill off my self in order to let my spirit live. Paul writes about it in Phillippians and Colossians. I can feel the struggle. I, daily, need to be praying for Christ to happen to me, again and again along with strength to put my ‘self’ to death. 

 

For to die is to live. 

Lacking inspiration? Look here.


“It is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest the soul of another” 

– George Macdonald

 

“Philosophy is really just homesickness” 

-George Macdonald

 

“Real Development is not leaving things behind as on a road, but on drawing life from them, as on a root”

-G.K. Chesterton

 

“Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean the explanation doesn’t exist”

-Madeleine L’Engle

 

“You doubt because you love truth”

-George Macdonald

 

“It occurs to me that it is not so much the aim of the devil to lure me with evil as it is to preoccupy me with the meaningless.”

-Donald Miller

 

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive it can achieve”

-W. Clement Stone

 

“Some things have to be believed to be seen”

-Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Hate hurts the hater more’n the hated”

-Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Only he knew that to be left alone is not always to be forsaken”

-George Macdonald

 

“There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and others: in one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection”

-George Macdonald

 

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”

-Winston Churchill

 

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it but by it I see everything else”

-C.S. Lewis

 

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

-G.K. Chesterton

 

“I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my make is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter”

-Winston Churchill

 

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that we were made for another world”

-C.S. Lewis

 

“All that is not God is death.”

-George Macdonald

The Grinch and you.


Last night, Kelsie and I watched The Grinch. There is a scene where the relentlessness of The Who’s Christmas spirit overwhelms the Grinch and he starts to “feel”. His heart begins beating and it changes his life completely. He accepts his award of Holiday Cheer Meister and celebrates Christmas with all the Who’s. 

 

If you honestly look into your heart, I hope you can find yourself resonating with this.

Have you ever grown cold, numb, bitter, or otherwise out of touch with ‘feeling’ (feeling being connected to Christ-has that relationship ever gone dry?)? I’d imagine the answer is yes, mine is absolutely  yes. Well, the Grinch was all of these things and for a LONG time. The only thing that broke him free of that misery was the relentlessness of The Who’s joy. I see that as God’s love. It is never ending. It is unrelenting. It is constant. It is always desiring you. It is ready to welcome you back at any second. It can’t be quenched no matter what you do. 

 

Acknowledge His love and accept it. Your sin no matter how great is never enough for Him to say “I don’t want you back” or “You’re a mess, you’re not worth it” or “You’re filthy, sick, out of control” or any other lie you have learned to believe. My personal doubt is not the greatness of sin but the repetition of sin. Even if you sinned 100 times a day, Christ is still jealous for you. He is still seeking your return. He is still waiting with baited breath for you to accept his love, repent of the sin, and guard up to fight off the sin next time it strikes. 

 

So when you feel like the Grinch, numb and out of touch, either now or next time you do, think about your Abba Father’s relentless love. Consider what He has done and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by His love. If you can hurdle the challenge of stopping every thought that brought you back to not deserving or not being worthy of His love and just accept it, you’ll find yourself alive and passioned. I want you to feel that. 

If you struggle with that, watch The Grinch. It shouldn’t be that much of a task considering it’s Christmas time 🙂

Committed. Captivated. Convinced.


I’ve been struggling in my pursuit towards being a fully committed follower of Christ. I’ve really embarked on my journey of death to self and life through Christ within the last two months, after I resigned from my job. Now I’m starting a job this coming Monday and I’m reflecting on what God has done in me to prepare me for this next chapter. I am closing out these two months and starting something new. The logical part of my brain is confused because my circumstances don’t seem to have changed much, other than an empty checking account, a savings account that has quickly depleted, and credit cards that are rising to the max faster than I would have ever hoped. The logical part of my brain though is a part of the ‘self’ that needs to die for Christ to come alive in me. Circumstances are not a worthy measuring stick for me to land upon peace or anxiety. Instead, I should be looking at my heart and my relationship with Christ (therein my relationships with friends and family). In doing this, I can see a lot of change. 

 

I have been awakened to the Holy Spirit and His presence in my life. I have been overwhelmed at how intentional and active God is in Kelsie’s and my life. I understand now that God’s ‘silence’ is rarely Him being mute but me being deaf. I’ve seen my sin separate me from His love and His grace welcome me back- daily, sometimes twice daily. My sin is ongoing, it is devastating, and it is so difficult to resist. In my battle against sin and my innumerable failings, His love is constant, relentless, pure, and perfect. I have given up trying to deserve love but instead have chosen to live in grace and forgiveness.

 

When I started out on this particular journey I expected circumstances to change and significantly so. The more I have prayed, read the Word, and grown in relationship with Christ I am finding that circumstances are not the focus at all. The heart is the focus and my heart has been remodeled. 

 

Monday will be here before I know it and 11 hours of my day will be spent driving to work, working, and driving home from work. My time will be consumed with my work but circumstances are not the point. Heart is the point, again I circle back to this truth. I am experiencing a renewing of the mind and a transforming of the Heart like I’ve been praying for and like Christ has called me too. 

 

I am growing into a man who is committed to following Christ fully.

I am captivated by His love and relentless grace. 

I am convinced that I cannot do this alone. I am convinced that I need a community to support and encourage me and for me to support and encourage that community. 

 

Please, be a community. Seek to serve at every opportunity. Act with a heart of gratitude. Love with an abandonment of ‘deserving’. I am fighting to do this and I need your help. 

Trust me when I say that I’m not the only person who needs your help. Also trust me when I say that you need me just as much as I need you. Or more.

 

May my journey encourage you to pursue Christ fully and completely. May my words allow the Spirit of Christ to speak to you. It’s my prayer and my hope that my struggling to be the part of the body He has called me too will enable and encourage you to do the same.