Reflections in Welch

As I sit here in a McDonald’s in Welch, W. VA after a day of amazing ministry, my heart is warmed and filled with the presence of God.  My favorite playlist is blaring in my earphones as I review for the message in the morning, but I wanted to jot some thoughts.

  1. I need Welch more than Welch needs me.  Little things in life can seem so big, and my heart can grow away from God’s heart.  I can forget the love He has for His creation.  Serving this community, softens my hard and calloused heart that is prone to wonder from the compassionate  zenith of Christ.
  2. I quickly realize many are suffering.  I can insulate myself from the unpleasant feelings and exposure to poverty, health care crisis, the heroin epidemic, and the hopelessness many experience daily.  I realize only Jesus can end suffering, and give the hope that the pain of this world will not last forever. Jesus is the answer.
  3. I am in awe at the heart of so many wonderful people.  Three churches of different denominations combine to help a saint named Sister Cora Goldman fulfill a vision God has given her for McDowell County. Many sacrificed to come, worked very hard, love harder, and drove into the night so tired, yet we are so alive in Christ.
  4. We must keep giving and working to meet the physical needs on this earth.  This is the heart of Christ. Read the teachings of Christ. I am thankful for a church, Compelled Church, that makes this happen every year. What a missional community of believers I have the honor of leading for Christ. 

    “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
    35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
    36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “

Yes, I need Welch so much more than Welch needs me.

In Christ,   Nate

  1. New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 25:34–36). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Thy Kingdom Come…really?

The Lord’s prayer that Christ taught the disciples has this line for us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6.9-13).

I have heard teaching on the mostly as a proof text that God wants to heal everyone for there is no sickness in Heaven. So on this earth we should all be healed and in perfect health  ( I do not believe the Scriptures teach healing this way, but I do believe in divine healing).   I believe the intention of what our Lord was teaching is a little deeper.  Remember, usually our theology slants toward our comfort.  The Kingdom of God is more than physical healing so we can just avoid suffering in this life. It is about Jesus Christ.  His Kingdom wants to reign in us.  In you.  But there is a problem.  For that to happen, you must allow your “kingdom” to be dissolved. To live in His kingdom we must not have our own kingdom.  We must get off the throne of our life and kingdom and let Christ and his will reign, and we must live in His Kingdom.

He wants to be here in our lives, on this earth, in us.  He has to violate our kingdoms for His Kingdom to come in us.  Simply His Kingdom is His will.  What Jesus has say over. Our Kingdom is our will, it’s what we have say over.  So how much of our lives are living in Him, His will, His desires, His Words, His ways, and His goals?  Do we look to what he says, before we decide and have say over?

  • Is your time His Kingdom or your domain?
  • Is your money under your authority? Or in His Kingdom?
  • How selfish or selfless do you live for Christ.

The benefits to living in the Kingdom are awesome!  His will gets done in your life, not yours.  Our will is always janked up with selfishness, but his will is glorious. Your time and efforts will produce heavenly fruit, not earthly results which are always so disappointing.  A great marriage is a Kingdom of Jesus marriage.  Greatness is in the Kingdom. Perceived greatness, is our kingdom, and in reality, it’s self worship.\Pray the Lord’s prayer differently maybe.  With divine intentions, that may have more to do with discomfort, than your comfort on this earth. In Him, regardless, is the greatest comfort and joy.

Thy Kingdom come (in me and overtake my Kingdom)  Thy will be done (I relinquish my say and want yours)  on earth (in my heart, my mind, my words, my life, my marriage, my time, my money, my talents) as it is in Heaven (in your amazing presence!)

My 7 Mission Convictions

Here are the 7 convictions I shared this weekend for Compelled Church.

Conviction #1  God’s goal for mankind is a missionary goal as God is a Missionary God.

Conviction #2 All People Matter to God

Conviction #3 God has called the church to sacrifice to take the Gospel to the World.

Conviction #4 We want the name of the Lord to be known and praised by all People, languages, skin color, and nations.

Conviction #5 God blesses the church that blesses the lost.

Conviction #6 We all are called, but we all can’t go to foreign nations, so we are responsible to send.

Conviction #7 God has called, will call, and is calling our people to world missions.

Gut Check

More of Jesus!
More of Jesus!

It’s time for gut check people. If you could have more of anything what would it be? Most people would immediatley say more money, or more sex, or more time off. How many of us would say more of Jesus in our lives? We need more of him. We need more of His Spirit, more faith, more obedience, more committment, more standards, more self-control, more love. What ever we need in spirit, in character, in behavior, we all need more of Jesus. How do you get more of Jesus? It is a decision, then it’s an action. You stop doing anything that is not of Jesus. You make room in your life for Jesus’ stuff. Stop making excuses and neglecting your soul. Gut check your life, evaluate your life, commitment levels and priorities. Be honest with the Lord and have a good gut-check. Some would call a quest for more of God in our lives a revival, or spiritual awakening. I say, call it whatever you like, but I am compelled to lead Compelled on a quest to check our guts and make sure that we are on fire for more of God, filled with the Spirit, walking in obedience, and serving this world the Gospel. There is too much at stake to live without “more”.

Do you want to come with me? The Quest starts with a gut check.

I’m “Provoked” from my trip to Mexico!

Acts 17.16  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”
Paul’s spirit was provoked because of the idols. He saw the deception and the lostness of the people of Athens.  he observed they were worshipping idols of no life, no power and no hope. He was “provoked” which means his spirit was stirred up or stimulated with this stie.  When is the last time righteousness and unrighteousness collided in your heart and our got a little or a lot provoked?  I am provoked   from this trip to Mexico where they are begging for a $1500 cement mixer to help build churches.  It costs us more to out new bulbs in our overhead projector than that!  I am provoked right now, bu my own selfish heart that is blessed a million times over compared to my brothers and colleagues in he Oaxaca, mountains that are trying to preach and pastor in areas steeped in a form of Catholicism and idol worship as well as the worship of ancestors . They walk hours to preach and visit people to witness for Christ.
I was provoked stepping into a church and seeing the idol worship, just like Paul in Athens.  I wanted to scream, “There is a living Jesus who cares about you more than these idols in glass boxes!!  The church there have little buildings most have none at all.  I am provoked that we continue to beat in the hearts of people who have had the Gospel beat on them their whole life and they just keep rejecting Gods plans and His ways.  These pastors are trying to reach 38 indigenous people groups with over 30 dialects of language spoken. Most of the mountains has not had an adequate witness of the Gospel of Christ.  They are an unreached people group .
The Pastors are heroes!!  They make almost no money, they receive no attention , accolades, or honor.  Yet they continue, day after day, fulfilling the call of God to reach their people for Jesus.  My spirit is very provoked, stirred, and broken.  I think of Haiti, Mexico, India, Nepal, Inner Mongolia, the  Arabian Peninsula, the muslims of Indonesia, the Horn of Africa and right now  and thank God for those God has called there.  We must support them in every way.  We must be provoked by the lostness of our world and be moved, provoked, and compelled to do something about it.  Whining about it won’t change anything.  Do you feel provoked in your spirit about anything?  Is it time to get provoked and compelled to holy action?  Let me answer that…YES it is time. Let’s get provoked about lost people worshipping everything and anything but Jesus.  “Provoke us Holy Spirit, provoke your church to action in this world.”  When We are provoked the worst thing in the world we can do is nothing, and I am not into doing nothing. Who’s going to Mexico with me next year????Pastor and Heroes of the Oaxaca Mountains
Oaxaca Mountains
Provoked by Idols

What about your “testimony”, remember that?

Do you remember hearing that phrase about your “testimony”?  this means your Christ-likeness as you represent him.  When I was saved in 1981 I was taught quickly that now I represent Christ.  My life is proof of his existence, his life-changing power, His holiness, His love, His Holy Spirit, and that from my life and words other would see Christ as I was a “witness”, or proof of the reality that Jesus is alive, real, and is the Savior of the World.  This is needed today.  We get it all screwed up.  The Holy Spirit was sent to live in believers so we would receive power to have a good testimony, not just speak in tongues!!  Acts 1.8″ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The word witness is the Greek word “martoos” or “martyr”  It means a witness, or an example.  The HOly  Spirit is to help us live as Jesus to show Jesus.  So how is your “Martoos”?  How is your testimony?  Do you represent Jesus by your words, fruit, your marriage, your finances?  Does your life prove that Jesus is real?  Do you need to repent for making Jesus look bad?  Do you need strength?  He provided us the power….the Holy Spirit!  Get full of Him, get rid of the flesh, worldy influences, and let’s represent Jesus by everything we are and everything we do.

So Done with the Deception of “Christian Consumerism”

I don’t often just write about too many things that seem negative,  but the last few weeks it is becoming sadly apparent to me that there is an attitude in America toward God that is based on flat out capitalistic consumerism. So this is not a rant, but a warning for those of you that read. I hope it “spurs  you on toward love and good works” (Hebrews 10.24).   Many of God’s people, or the church are approaching and seeing their faith and relationship by what is in it for them, not for the Father, the Kingdom, or the church.   Many believers seem to be serving God with the unspoken but realistic idea that God is really serving them.  The needs and wants of the individual are put ahead of the mandates and Lordship of Christ, his church, or his fellow man.  It seems if God does not answer the prayer in the way we want our whole faith is thrown into crisis and people just walk away because our Father did not do what they demanded of him. God help us if we view God that he is bound to do our bidding!!!!!  If we walk away from our God, or our church because we did not get our way, our maturity in Christ does not exist. We are selfish, and don’t really comprehend who God is, what the Christian faith is, or what serving as a disciple of Jesus, a slave of the Lord.

Let us remember that we are part of a movement!  We are not part of a club, a tribe of those like minded in doctrine, or a member of the local church in which we bless God by our attendance if we happen to not be tired, sore, at Cedar Point, or too lazy to get there so we just watch on the Internet.  We are part of a movement.  The church is the Body of Christ and Jesus is alive!  He is not stagnate, dead, or neutral.  He has a mission for us and wants us to carry his message and promote His Kingdom. We have joined a movement when we got saved.  Do you view the body of Christ as a movement?  Do it, it will change how you approach your faith, church, mission, and life.

Let’s stop approaching God with our needs only! Our need to see miracles, our need to feel good, our need to be coddled, our need to have life our way, and let’s approach God with availability to His needs.  He does not exist for us to “consume” for nothing.  But be filled with Him so we can go to “them”.   Don’t just serve God for what he can do for you.  Why? He will not do your will, and when he doesn’t,  that will shatter your shallow faith, as God does not serve any man.  Serve God for what we can do for Him.  Serve God to glorify Christ and lift up his death and resurrection, and message of salvation and redemption.   Worship to glorify the Lord, not so you can just be touched. Give to further the movement, not to be blessed.  Serve because you know you are a little part of something very big! Serve no matter if you enjoy it or not. Do something because Jesus enjoys it. Serve him with unbridled passion in response to being adopted, redeemed, saved, forgive, through Christ’s grace and his substitutionary miracle of the cross.  Serve him because you  just love Him with all your heart.  Tough Post, but many  need a wake up call. Am I wrong?  Do you see this?  Please comment and dialogue about this.

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12.26 NASB

Nine Mistakes I have made as a spiritual leader

1. Undercommunication – I have done this and it leaves people wondering what is going on and that is unhealthy for a church or any organization.  I have learned that not only is communicating critical, but over communicating is necessary.  When there is no communication or spotty communication it causes anxiety, confusion, and misunderstandings.  Leaders need to overcommunicate with their leaders, and with everyone else.  I have learned this the hard way.

2. Passion begins to wane – See #3 and #6.  Don’t lose your first love…Jesus!

3. Vision is lost in busyness – Our lives are so busy and have the potential to be busier!  We sometimes do it to ourselves.  We over-estimate our time and abilities and overwhelm ourselves.  The vision is lost in our heart and mind and then we are not driven by it, and can get the whole thing off course.  Stay on course and don’t let “just keeping up” steal the motion and focus toward the Spirit inspired vision.

4. Respond don’t react  I should have always waited when I felt my emotions well up. NOw I know, some things do not need confronting, some things do, not right away.  I have learned to get the mind of God, be patient, and pastor a situation with wisdom, not react, and then go back and apologize later.

5. Not enough encouragement– I tend to be a fixer and forward dreamer with my apostolic bent, but I also need to be a pastor! Encouragement from us, can breathe great courage and life into weary, broken, and discouraged people.

6. Spiritual Disciplines – Don’t neglect your spirit.  Feed your soul with the Bread of Life.  Enjoy the Word, the presence of God, other books, prayer and fasting, fellowship and solitude! There is always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to call.

7. Decision Procrastination – Some decisions are hard, but putting them off can frustrate our leadership teams.

8. Remember, before we are leaders, we are Called Men and Women of God–   It is easy to get sucked into being a CEO administrator with budgets, building decisions, church policies and processes.  Don’t forget you are first and foremost the spiritual leader!  Called by the Almighty to speak and lead as He would.  We are to know the Bible, study it, meditate on it. We are to be people of passion for prayer, enjoying the presence of Jesus. We are to be the voice of the Holy Spirit when there needs to be encouragement, correction, and the declaration of truth.  Don’t forget that we are to be in love with lost people, more than our newsletter and websites!  Many times I need recalibration in my heart concerning this.

9. Don’t become a people pleaser, learn to hold your ground – So who wants to tick off people when we love people?  Sometimes though, people want us to “fiddle” with the vision for an agenda they feel strong about that is not the purpose of the church or the vision.  I had to learn to communicate nicely to people that, “I am not letting you preach.”   “We are not having a rummage sale.”  “We are not going to start _____________ ministry.”  I cannot facilitate your life.”   “You cannot be codependent on me.”   “I will not be  a party to your drama.”  “You are not allowed to correct my staff.”  “I am not doing your fundraiser.”   “I am not meeting with you alone.”  “I will not communicate this over email or FB you have to talk to me.”  “I am not planning a trip for the church to the casino.”  “You can’t keep yelling out in tongues in every service. ”  Etc.

Can you add any others? Please comment.

Why? For the love of Christ COMPELLS us!

The food to give out at the Toledo Outreach.

Tomorrow we are giving out 20 to 25 tons of food to our city.  Over one hundred volunteers will give their Saturday to serve.  We will spend the money that our men raised 2 years ago at a Wild game dinner.  We will spend money granted through our gift cards or scrip.   Jesus said if we serve the hurting, we are serving Him.  In November 25 of us will travel to Welch, W. VA to give out Christmas gifts and food. We have had multiple team go and work at Mission of HOpe in Haiti and another is preparing for a Nov. trip.  Our youth are going to work with children in FL this summer.  Last year our church help support 40 missionaries and ministries. People give sacrificial and voluntarily every week and month for this to happen.   This weekend over 100 volunteers will serve at 4 different gatherings in two locations. Some will make coffee, some will smile in Christ and welcome people, some will teach the Word of God to our children, some will play, sing, run media, a camera, clean, take out trash, or just be ready. Our Toledo team will be waiting at 8 am for the doors of our rented facility to open to pour in and set up for the Sunday morning service and ministries.  They are volunteers, serving joyfully for no other reason than to help people love God more, love each other more and serve.  They are compelled.  Why do we do these things?  Why are people eager to be part of something bigger than themselves?  Our name is  our purpose. “For the Love of Christ compels us.(2 Cor. 5.14).  Are you Compelled by Christ love to do Christs’ work in His time, His way, and with His love, power and authority.  Be compelled and let his love “control” you.

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