My thoughts and experiences with death and grieving


Death  is very hard on this earth. Knowing someone we love, someone who has been part of our life, our history, even our day, will never be with us again on this earth, can be overwhelming, paralyzing, and discouraging, even depressing. I have watched people grieve, walk through other’s terrible tragedies, and experienced my own.

I lost a close friend in high school, tragically and suddenly. We were best friends since kindergarten and man that was hard. My first funeral to oversee and preach, was my brother Pat. We grew up together, went to school together, found Jesus together and grew in Christ together.  I had no idea at 20 years old, how much his death would affect me at that time.  Since then, and being a pastor I have had to bury many wonderful people, including a lot of my family, and very, very close friends.

Since the tragic death of my brother Pat, and then my very close brother Steve in 2010 from cancer, then my mom from COPD, as well as grandparents, and one of my closest friends and pastors here at Compelled in February , I have had to do some grieving, and still do.

Can I share some points from my experience?

  1. Allow yourself to grieve in the way you want to.  Yes, I cry, I remember, I get quiet. I look at old pictures, I go be by myself, and yes I cry (did I say that?). It’s OK, your way is the right way for you.  Everyone grieves differently. Every way is the right way.
  2. Grieving does not have an end date.  How can I  “move on” and just quit missing people that loved me so much and I them?  Don’t feel guilty or like you are doing something wrong if you have not gotten “over it”. You most likely won’t.  The emotions get more manageable and less intense, but the longing in my heart will never stop here on earth.  I’ll never forget or stop talking about these people and “move on” as some may want. (Maybe it’s because they are uncomfortable with feelings and emotions they want us to move on??)
  3. Talk about them.  Tell the stories. Remember the laughs. Journal the fun times, and quotes. Don’t act like they never existed and be honored when others bring them up (not offended).  They still have a place in our hearts and lives, and so talking about them has brought and is bringing me healing and peace.
  4. I don’t blame God.  I never became bitter that God did not heal them. I have stressed my disappointment to the Lord, but I trust Him. If you are mad at God. He’s big boy, he gets it. Don’t worry about what you said or thought about God.  When Steve was fighting cancer I prayed for his healing and it came, not on this earth but eternal life.  That’s the most incredible healing.  The Isaiah 53 verse “by his stripes we are healed.” is not just applied to the present, but it is a verse for our future.  We will be “whole” one day. I miss him daily.
  5. Their things don’t help my grief.  Yes, a few things for memories, but no one can hold onto everything forever. Parting with their things, that  I have, does not mean I do not love them and I am disloyal.  You can’t hold on to everything.
  6. I don’t pay any attention to the day of their death. I hoping to forget that day on my calendar as the day _______died.  I personally have not felt that celebrating that, remembering it, or sinking into a depression on that day helps me. I remember their birthday and the day of life, as their life blessed mine. If you want to, though and grieve that way that is OK too.
  7. I express my feelings verbally. I dont’ hold them in.  “I miss Marty” I yelled in my woodcarving shop to the Lord, and I have said it to others.  When my boys wrestled I thought and said, “man would Steve love this!”   I eat real butter and blurted out ” this is for you mom” and held my toast to the heavens in honor of my mom’s love for real butter and not margarine.  These acts, and connection bring me peace, and I express them to others.  Dad and I just talked yesterday about what Patrick, Uncle Allen would be like today if they were still here, or what mom would think of this or that.
  8. When my mourning for Steve was so intense and I once broke down in a message and started sobbing  and could not pull myself together. Three hundred people sat there and watched me weep. I abrubtly closed the service.  I went and talked to a counselor, and I took some time to grieve.  You may need to go and talk with someone. That does not mean you are crazy, or losing your mind, it means you need to care for yourself and that is something you should never feel guitly about!
  9. I pray thanksgiving prayers to the Lord for their lives in my grief.  When my brother’s Steve’s passing was so raw to me all I could do was weep and thank God for Steve’s impact on my life.  The presence of Jesus comforted me, and I realized what Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5.4).” I was comforted by the Lord Himself. I admit there were times I felt desperately alone too. But I knew in my heart my God was with me.
  10. Be aware when you grieve, you are vulnerable. The enemy knows this. He wants Christians to go get wasted, pull away from the faith, shut people out,  relapse to drugs, surf porn, have an affair, go in debt through shopping, lash out at others. Don’t make stupid decisions when you are grieving, try to make no decisions that have too much weight at all, and be aware of the evil one, who tries to make one think dumb decisions will bring us peace.  They won’t. Stay connected to your church, family, and good people that love you.
  11. I allowed myself to express my grief in creative ways other than tears.  I wrote a journal about Steve, carved a face for Marty, eat butter for mom, etc.  These things have allowed me expression. I did some other things, but I will be shy about sharing those, they are deeply personal, and a little goofy (but not to me).
  12. Don’t stop loving people.  Some say, “don’t get close to people, don’t love them, they will leave you.”  That is true, but also a lie.  Keep people in your life. Don’t build up walls to protect you from pain of loss. You can’t do it and you will be robbed of wonderful relationships.
  13. I dismissed, without offense, the silly things people say (said), that I do not believe, and did not appreciate, but I knew they wanted to help me and they honestly had no idea what to say.  I did not let these things make me angry and I did not respond poorly.  “They are in a better place.”   “God has a plan.”  “When our number is up, there’s nothing we can do, it was his time.”   “This was God’s will.”  I could go on and on, but you understand. Guard your heart, it’s ok. They love you.
  14. I learned from my counselor not to live in guilt for what I did not do before their death.  We all struggle with this when we encounter death.  We beat ourselves up for not calling more, not visiting, a quarrel in the past,  etc.  This makes the grieving process impossible as it becomes about us and not them.  Let go of the “I wish I would have….s” and just be sad they are gone.
  15. Grief hits when  it wants. I go with it.  Out of the blue, like a punch in the gut, a wave of grief, without warning, consumes me.  I go with it.  I hope this never stops. It reminds me of the blessing they were to me, and God’s Spirit comforts.
  16. I don’t hold it against others if they don’t understand my grief, or seem to be not grieving like I think they should have.  Everyone grieves differently and all ways are ok. Some hide their’s, I do mostly, but I don’t keep it in. The Lord and I have a moment.
  17. I believe in Heaven and eternal life and the Gospel more than ever.  I used to be thankful for my salvation, and what God can do for me.  But I have a different view of the Gospel now. Jesus forgave my sins so I could be with him FOREVER.  There are more of my family with Him than with me.  Eternal life, and never dying, and Jesus’ death and resurrection to make that happen me so much more to me now than it did when I was younger.  I will see mom, Patrick, Steve, Greg, Grandma and Granpa Ford and Elarton, Grandma Knight,  Marty, Alta, Nancy, Brother Skoog  and on and on.  My faith in Christ’s work on the cross, forgave my sins, so I can be with Father in the eternal after life forever with those I love. I believe this!  This does bring me comfort.

I hope these help you or someone you love that is journeying through grief.   Nate

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Personal Post


It has been a whirl wind of a couple weeks here. Feel like this is the first time I have been able to be alone and just reflect.  So many high’s and low’s.  Levi, my son, made it to states se) taking 4th at regionals (wrestling of course, last weekend. That was awesome to see him win, as he worked so hard, even with a knee injury he did not give up.  I am so proud of Levi on so many levels!  After that we went to Hudson, MI to see Wendy’s folks. Randy has a surgery this week.It was a great Saturday.  Our whole family was together this weekend, and then together at regionals.  it was all so special to me and warmed and swelled my heart.  We have also had a marriage banquet Wendy and I spoke at, I daily check on my dad,  and I had some presbyter meetings, and the services on the weekends.  I am thankful for my staff that keep on top of things when we are all so busy.

The sadness of Marty’s sudden passing still haunts me. I miss my friend. I miss his encouragement, chats, carving, and presence.  I know we will all go one, but, pastors don’t have too many voices in their lives like Marty’s. He was an amazing encourager.

We went to Grand Rapids,  Michigan yesterday to hear  Justin preach at a sr. chapel at Northpoint Bible College.  Man it was good. He is a brilliant young man and spoke an amazing message of humility.  It was simply solid, and profound.  I am thankful for him and his entrance into our family.  What a blessing he is and to know he is taking care of my daughter, is awesome. They are such a great couple and we are so proud of them.  God has a great plan for their lives and is going to use them for His glory.

We got back late after a nice stop to have dinner with Steve and Lillian Miller. They pastor a great church in Three Rivers and we have been friends for years.  He is a great encourager also.  Steve’s joy and laughter was a refreshing welcome to my soul.

I did manage to get out and finish a carving that has been half done on the bench for a couple of months.  It has been so busy, so carving goes first of course.  I needed to make time. I know Marty would have liked this one.  He would comment that I am getting better on the nose, and the stocking cap was cool

Today is a study day and prep day for the week so I had better continue on that.  My heart is thankful for God’s continuing strength and presence.  I am grateful for so much and the Lord’s grace.

The Baby Birds are Gone, God is Not


I was at the church this morning, doing some things and getting ready for the weekend gatherings. I noticed the little birds that were up underneath the car port  were now gone.  They got strong enough to fly away.  I then thought of Rick’s message on gratefulness.  I thought of how many people over the last 20 years have been nurtured, made strong, and have “flown away”.  Some of our young people have entered into full time ministry , and mission fields. I thought of many of them, and I was thankful.  I saw some other things on my walk.

  • I saw the empty quiet building which a few days ago was full of children every morning learning the Word of God, and trust in Jesus.  I walked to the front and remember dozens asking Jesus into their heart on Thursday.  My heart is so thankful for all the volunteers, leaders, and Pastor Matt and Mandie Reinhart. I pray these children will follow the Lord, and their parents will help and lead the way.
  • I walked on our new floors and remembered how many hands made it possible, so thankful for servant hearts.
  • I watered our beautiful flowers, thankful for Deb and Harry Welch, planting and caring for them. I prayed for her healing as I know she has been sick, and am thankful for their life, that God brought them to Compelled.
  • I put up the building plans for the Toledo Campus build out on the wall. So thankful for a church that is missional, and for what the Lord is going to do as we will have 3000 more sq. ft. for children’s ministry, and for Jennifer Perkins who has agreed to be the Children’s Ministry Director there! Praise God. Thankful for Pastor Tim and Amanda’s leadership, and for the faithfulness of Curtis and Iris Klotz and so many others! God is moving in so many lives there.
  • I put up a certificate on our Global Outreach Missions board that we were 371st in the nation for Assembly of God churches in missions giving. That is out of 12,000 churches!  Wow!
  • I looked out the window at the playground God provided. I believed for years for one for the children and young families, he gave it to us. He took care of us…..again.
  • I stepped into my office and looked at the pics of my family that line my walls. I am so proud of my children and thankful to God for who they are, and who they are becoming. Grateful for Justin, that God put in our lives. Said a simple pray for continued guidance, and protection from the enemy on their lives. another prayer of gratitude flowed without words from my heart.
  • I watched Jeremy Whitmill, fixing the drain and door on his Saturday morning off, he made time for the Lord’s work to help his church. I am grateful that we really love, love, and serve.So many  like him, make ministry here fun, enjoyable, and a blessing. We truly value serving.  Our Father sees it all.
  • I got something off my wife’s desk. I thought of our 29 years of marriage and ministry. I thought of all she does for Compelled, quietly, behind the scenes, unnoticed by most everyone, except the one who has His eye on the sparrow. What he sees in secret will one day be rewarded.   I thought back on the sacrifices she made so we could plant Compelled, and the church could be strengthened. I thought of her ministry to our children, who are now young adults that love the Lord. I am thankful for her beauty,  love, patience, and joy in which she lives out every day. I am grateful to have her by my side in life, as best friends, parents, and ministry partners.
  • I went out and washed off my brother Steve’s memorial stone. I stood choked up as I thanked God for His life and his persistence in helping my life, and showing me Jesus. I am honored and humbled to have his fingerprints on my life and ministry.  I pledged to “be about the Father’s business” on this earth, as he would encourage me.  I relish the day we can eat some blueberry pancakes, have a rasberry mocha together, catch upon the years we missed with Pat, and live in eternity with Christ.
  • I thought of God’s goodness to me, of his great mercy on my life. I am so undeserving to spiritually lead, be adopted into His family, and to have Him live in my life.  I bowed my head in humility and thankfulness for Jesus, whose death and resurrection brought me forgiveness of my sins, the guilt of my sin, the punishment, consequences, and the deliverance from the ways of this world and self-destruction without Him.  What a wonderful Savior I know.

Yes, I had quite a morning of revelation, and my heart is full of God’s Spirit. Yes, the birds are gone, but the ministry here is not, and neither is the power and presence of the Lord.     I heed the word of Samuel the prophet to Israel in 1 Chronicles 12.24

“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

Selah……………………….Pastor Nate

 

 

Five Dangers of Resisting Change


Yesterday, we moved most of the last of dad’s furniture from his house. We moved him to Temperance last October.  He lived in that house almost 50 years. Of course, I grew up there.  The old brick house on Gorham in Morenci holds a lot of memories,every room has a story, every part of the yard a chapter in childhood. I looked out the window to the hosue next door, where mom lived the last years of her life (yes you read correctly)  Last Friday, my daughter graduated from college, my oldest son will graduate from high school in a couple weeks, our youngest will be a senior. Lots of change, more on the way. Most I celebrate with joy and parental pride for my kids.

What changes are you experiencing in life? Job? Family? Aging parents? Empty nest? Loved one called home? Health? Registering your baby for pre-school?

Change can be hard, and most people resist it. Here are some reasons why.

  1. We fear the unknown.  We want to have control and we control the present.  We think we have it mastered and we love the predictability. Change moves us into the unknown, which we can interpret unsafe, and our assumptions are usually wrong.
  2. We are comfortable in the present. Change rocks the boat. We want our lives to be consistent, routine, and the same.
  3. Our flesh, resists growing our faith stronger. Change requires more faith because we have topped our faith out in the present.  We, for some dumb reason, mostly resist spiritual growth because it makes us go to uncomfortable places….the unknown future, or a new ministry, or a new season of life.  Each change requires our trust in God to go deeper. Let’s not resist let’s embrace.

The danger of resisting change.

  1. You miss out on a chapter in your life that was meant to be.  Don’t fear, the Lord never leave us!  Don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate change.
  2. It happens anyhow and you live in denial, anger, sadness, or ambivalence. This will affect everyone around you and your most precious relationships.
  3. You hijack your future.  Joy and contentment can be robbed from us as we look back with sadness at the change, and not forward with faith. How many people did not experience their future, as they stubbornly held on to the past.
  4. We can miss something special God has for us.  He moves us forward through life, and He is there will his plan, power, and presence to guide us.
  5. Your faith become stagnate.  Change grows us whether we like it or not.  We learn the Lord is always with us. We sense his strength and courage. We learn to trust him deeper in the unknown. Don’t rob yourself the opportunity of having greater faith in the Lord.

In the changes of life remember Proverbs 3.5,6 and live in this truth.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Pr 3:5–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Addictions and Heroine continues to Kill, we need a Life Challenge Facility in the Toledo Area


I was deeply moved last night. Wendy and I attended the Life Challenge Gala in Livonia, as guests of Jeff and Lori Bonzelaar.  They have started an outreach and referral center here in Toledo, but need a permanent facility.  When Jeff first shared this with me, my heart and spirit resonated.  Toledo is in the middle of  heroine epidemic.  It seems daily a young person dies from overdose here.  Many started taking pain killers in high school from a sports injury. Either way, a generation is literally dying. Jesus Christ did not intend lives to end so soon, or for parents to suffer as their children spiral downward lost in an addiction.

Some may be surprised at my heart for Life Challenge and to see people free.  They may ask why? Can I share with you why I believe in this ministry so much.

  • The obvious need and drug and alcohol, lives are being destroyed, youth are dying.
  • I almost interned at a Teen Challenge during a summer of college.
  • I grew up within the context of addictions, for which I am thankful, Christ spared me.
  • I had a wonderful brother, who was in a teen challenge, left the program early, a couple months later, I did my first funeral, and our broken family had to bury our beloved brother.

I just know the Lord is going to provide a facility. I feel it in my heart.

Would you pray with me for the funds and a facility for a Life Challenge in the Toledo area.  There is a director with a vision, and a local leader Martin Hall, and many that would want to be part of this. A generation needs to be free. The church must respond, destructive addictions are everywhere.  Pray for this miracle to happen soon.

Just a personal post


Bicep Tear—Just a personal update.  Since Christmas and the ripping of my bicep in a racquetball accident. I really don’t feel like I have been myself completely.  I had a surgery to reattach it, but it was cut short because of my blood pressure and heart rate dropping for a few minutes. After a trip to Toledo Hospital in an ambulance, and 2 days of tests, it was determined my heart is in great shape and they have no clue why this happened. On January 18th, the surgery was successful and my bicep was reattached. I have been recovering since then and today I am free from the immablizing brace I was wearing. I feel like that ordeal is finally over. I am so thankful for all my wife’s help. Wendy has been an angel and servant to me. She is such a blessing. I can now get back to exercising, woodcarving, and leading spiritually, which is my mantle.

Wrestling– We have been busy supporting our boys and being part of the wrestling family of Bedford High SChool. What a joy. Levi won the League JV championship and is backing up some varsity guys. Gabe has had an amazing 3 weeks. He won the League Championship, the District Championship, and last weekend won the regional Championship at 189.  He will wrestle at States at the Palace Marcy 4-6.  Gabe and Levi do more than wrestle. They are leaders in the youth group, are preparing for Fine Arts, Gabe leads worship and the band for our youth ministry, and they are active in the things of God. I am so proud of them.

I am missing Abby and Justin, as she is finishing her sr. year. They attend Northpoint Bible College in Grand Rapids.  We miss them and look forward to seeing them soon. They have some tough classes this semester. They work hard and I am so proud of them both. On top of school, they shoot and video weddings, work at the college and are involved in ministry.

Daily, I have my scehdule with Compelled Church, check in on my father, whom I moved over here from Morenci in October. He is adjusting but misses his home of 50 years, as I can imagine. I know he misses the house and Morenci.

Wendy and I are coming off a nasty virus or something that hit hard. I am so glad to feel normal again. Man that, took the wind out of my sails for sure.

The next couple months will prove busy. We have our Compelled Business meeting Sunday at 5 pm. We are building out with 3000 more square feet at the Toledo Campus, redoing our lobbies at the Bedford Campus, Easter is coming, and our Missions month.  I am also leading a team to Mexico to build 2 churches.  We will return to help with our Vacation Bible SChool here at Compelled. Around 400 children attend that.  I am looking forward to connecting with my family at Spring Break.

Through all of this, I sense the presence of the Lord. He is everywhere, reminding me of everything I read this morning in Psalms 111. I am grateful to serve Him and desire to remain faithful to my God in everything I say and do.

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.

Personal Post, my life the last couple weeks.


Just a personal post.  Some have said they enjoy this, some will never read it, and has no interest. That is cool. I am good with either.

Took time this morning to thank God for his presence in my life and for my wife and family, Wendy and the kids. I have so much to be thankful to Christ for. For without him, it is all futile. He is the giver of all good gifts.  The Holy Spirit is reminding me in different ways lately to develop a deeper heart of gratitude.

Last week we moved my father from our home in Morenci to Temperance. He had been there for 49 years.  I grew up knowing no other home. It was a little nostalgic for myself and my sister as we packed him up. I know Pam will miss him, as will his grandsons, as they were close to Morenci.   I believe it was tough for him to say goodbye to the place, but he is now a mile from me and I have seen him daily.  I had lunch with him yesterday. Today we will take a ride around Toledo.  Wendy has him eating good, and he is getting settled.  One thing is for sure about life, is that it is ever-changing.

I went a couple weeks ago to my first professional woodcarving lesson. It was about 6 hours. Wendy gave it to me for my birthday.  It was amazing.  I learned under an incredible young man and wood sculpturer from Rochester Hills.  His name is Alec Lacasse. He is crazy-talented and a great teacher and brother in Christ. He is only 21 years old and is carving such stunning works. Check out his stuff if you are interested.  Click here to go to Alec’s site.

I have been trying to carve more since the lesson so I don’t forget. I love woodcarving. I really sense the Lord’s presence as I carve and an undeniable peace.  The lesson helped so much. I plan on another one in December.  There are many genres in woodcarving. I am focusing in on realistic face carving.

God put a strong word of encouragement on my heart for the weekend message. If you missed it, and you are in need of a little strength from the Lord, please take a listen and let the Holy Spirit breath faith into your spirit.  Click here

Gabe and Levi won their football game on Friday. They are both on Bedford’s Varsity team and doing great. I love going to watch them. One more week and wrestling season is upon us!  Hooray!!!

Abby and Justin are busy in Grand Rapids, working, interning, full-time students and all.  We miss them and look forward to their visits. I am proud of them.

Looking forward to the rest of this day.  Praying about November Series and trying to tune into the will of the Lord for us.  I have a million thoughts sometimes so I have to really focus.

Walk with the Lord today.  Stand strong in the face of adversity.  Don’t compromise your calling to Jesus.  I leave you with some of my favorite verses.

12:1-3   Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Heb 12:1–3). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Why I need a night of extended worship.


Why is a night of Worship so vital for me?  Why am I excited about Dwell on Saturday?

Life is so busy, so hectic, so stressful, filled with joy, worry and disappointment. I need His presence to bring my heart peace.

I need the faith encouragement when I worship Christ.

I can hear his voice so much better.

Fear flees  from my heart when I worship.

There is spiritual power with others in His Presence.

I love hearing a corporate body singing, clapping, and joy exploding from our hearts because of Jesus Christ.

I love Jesus Christ and I want to express my heart to Him, for Him, and in Him!

—nate

My world, my week, my prayer


I wanted to write a few thoughts today that are just personal and not teaching or preachy.

The week was wonderful last week. I attended a presbyter’s retreat for the Michigan District , Assemblies of God, for which I serve as an executive presbyter. We heard the dreams, goals, and vision of our new supt, Jeff Hlavin. We then had our meeting and broke ground for a new cafeteria at the campground.  It was exciting and encouraging.  I began to fill sick Wednesday and excused myself from our small group training to go home and go to bed early.  I did a lot of prep and office work on Thursday, and on Friday pastor matt and I meet. We carved wood while we talked on my patio. I loved that and love this guy who is leading our Family Ministries.

Fridays are a highlight as I get to watch my boys play varsity football for the Bedford Mules. They had a great game and beat Skyline. Gabe got the “stick of the week” award with a bone-crushing tackle. Saturday we had full day.  Covenant partner class in the morning, and then in the afternoon we got some pics of the boys and their dates for Homecoming.  Since I was not speaking at Compelled This weekend, Wendy and I had a nice meal together on the lake. It was a much overdue date.  Sunday, we had a blast being with Brad and Rhonda Trask at Brighton Assembly of God.  They have been such dear friends and gifts to our lives. I preached for their “one day to feed the world” missions day.  It was an amazing time at that great church.  We came home and had a full “pizza with the Pastors” Sunday night with about 50 of us.  Met some amazing people God has led to Compelled Church.   I took the day off yesterday. Played racquetball at 6 am then came home and Wendy and I spent the morning together at Wildwood metro park talking, walking, and then a couple miles on the bikes.  It was a good day. Got a visit from Wendy’s mom and a family friend, who ministers out west with her husband to Native Americans.  Tuesdays I spend in study and prayer until 2 pm and we have staff meeting with our pastors.

I have found myself this morning hungry for a fresh touch from God.  I desire to hear His voice as I prepare for our weekend at Compelled and Monday morning chapel at Northpoint Bible College in Grand Rapids. I want so to be God’s spokesman, anointed with the right message, at the right time, that brings right results, that God desires in those who listen.  I belive we can become too used to “not hearing” a fresh word from the Lord.  I don’t want that to be my normal. I want to be led by Christ’s Spirit, to easily hear and discern His voice, and then to obey it. I want to hear the voice of the Lord clearer and more often. I want to hear Him through the Word, through life, through events in my life, and through others, and also within my own heart and spirit.

May your week be filled and very blessed! —Nate