Archive for the ‘Spiritual growth’ Category

Even at 35 I still find myself constantly learning about myself.  Here is what I wanted to share with you:

I need alone time.  

I’m not talking about just my daily prayer and Bible study in the morning at my office. I need an extended time of solitude and prayer that happens on a regular basis where I make time for solitude in my life. You’d think that wouldn’t be a shocker to me as a pastor, but it was. After sharing this with me wife, she said, “Umm, I knew that.”  Apparently, I didn’t.

I thought because my pastoral role was so “people” centered that I wasn’t the type that needed to be alone much. I was wrong.  Here are some of the signs that I notice when I haven’t had that alone time: physically stressed, short with Erin and the boys, frustrated about inconsequential issues, easily annoyed by people and directed apathy toward things I usually value.

You might be thinking, “Nathan, who doesn’t feel that way sometimes?”. I agree, people have bad days, but am I feeling that way on a consistent basis? Those signs are merely symptoms of the real issue: I’m trying to carry life on my own. When I spend an extended time in prayer and meditation on scripture I come away from that time with my heart aligned with Christ’s heart. My circumstances might not be any different, but my perspective is.

Maybe like me you’ve told yourself,”My schedule can’t afford that kind of time away.”  The truth is that you and I can’t afford not to make the time. Pull out the calendar and make an appointment with yourself and God. Get creative on when and where you can have this time. Do it.

 

He’s Waiting,

Nathan

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Have you ever had a difficult time ending something? It could have been moving past a dream, a relationship, an employee that wasn’t contributing, a strategy or program that wasn’t working, a way you’ve always done something. This last month I started our Elder board on a journey through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud, “Necessary Endings”. In it Cloud discusses some of the obstacles that keep us from “ending” these things in our lives. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to face reality, maybe we don’t want to admit defeat or maybe it’s just because we don’t know how. Cloud points to pruning in a garden as an example of what happens when we don’t prune the things in our life or organization. These situations end up draining energy and resources that are needed else where so there can be thriving growth.  For a Christ follower Jesus is the vine and He points to the “Vine Dresser” our heavenly father who desires to “prune” what is not helpful or necessary in our lives or in the life of a church.

As a pastor I’ve seen churches be so in love with their strategy that they could not “end” it when it was clear that it was not working. Pastor and author, Andy Stanley, states that “we should be in love with our vision but only infatuated with our method. I don’t want to be that leader that can’t see when something needs to end.

I’ve asked our elders to go on a journey with me over the next few months to pray and think through any areas that might need to be “ended”in our lives personally or in our church so that we can thrive.

What about you? What areas in your life are you holding onto that just need to be ended? A friendship, relationship, an employee that does more harm than good, a dream, a goal, a strategy? My prayer is that God would give us the courage to do what’s needed.

Pruning is painful, but necessary,

Nathan

>What if the worst thing that has ever happend to you didn’t have to be a waste? What if the next time things in your life hit the fan and your life seems to be unraveling at the seams that you could actually have joy in the midst of it? These “what if’s” don’t have to just be speculation for your life. Scripture says this can be reality:

James 1:2-4

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
NASU

James is saying that we can view our trials in this life with joy because in and through them Jesus will produce in us “endurance” to take on the next challenge. That endurance will then produce spiritual maturity! That means: Family tragedy = not wasted , Past abuse = not wasted, Maligned for your faith = not wasted, Cancer = not wasted, relationship strain = not wasted, financial harship = not wasted…..you get the idea.

Bottom Line: The path to maturity runs through trial. Obstacles in this life don’t have to be a waste. Rather they can be one of the tools that make you into the man or woman of God that He longs for you to be.

Believe it,

Nathan