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

The Sickness of Self


We live in a world where self is god, and our feelings are first.  At times, it seems everyone is consumed with self. Their health, appearance, clothes, hair, and so on.  People mostly resist correction, spiritual direction, and no one likes it when it is pointed out that they are wrong.  Crossing someone’s will can bring deep conflict.  We are honestly a people that appears to be consumed with self. It is accepted and it is normal.

Lately it seems the Lord is reminding me of a verse I learned in College at North Central.   “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and raised himself for me.”  Galatians 2.20

Here is the problem and sickness I deal with. It is the sickness of self.  It is the opposite of dying for Christ and letting your flesh stay in the grave, and being risen in newness of Jesus.  Denying self is not necessary in our society because everyone seems to be so narcissistic, being intoxicated with self is the norm. But it is very, very necessary to truly know God, and to have Christ seen through you. The Lord is showing me deeply, and painfully, this basic truth and the reality of the power there is in denying self, along with the joy that this alligns me with my creator, which brings me close to the Lord.

How do you know if you have this sickness? I offer these pointed symptoms.

  1. You are currently breathing.
  2. You talk about how you feel a lot like Aches, pains, tiredness, hunger, etc.
  3. Comfort is king and we find ourselves thinking of ways and purchases that make us more comfortable.
  4. You are distracted by your appearance.
  5. You insist on your way.
  6. You must always be correct.
  7. Your opinion must be known to all.
  8. You avoid the uncomfortable things in being a follower of Christ. Things that push against self.
  9. You must control your kids, your marriage, your finances, and anything else you actually believe you are in control of.
  10. Worry about what people think of you. This consumes a lot of your thoughts.
  11. You put yourself ahead of your family, and your time is yours and you deserve _____________.
  12. You struggle with giving things away and giving money to the Lord and to missionaries.
  13. You covet your stuff, and you want more, updated, and bigger.

I think  you get the idea. When these kinds of thoughts and behaviors rule us there are effects in the Kingdom of God, and to our character, attitude, personality, and of course relationships.

  1. We can’t submit to the Word of God (self is first).
  2. We are unable to see other needs, as our needs are at the front of the line.
  3. No one dare disagree with us, our opinion and will must be first.
  4. The voice of God, becomes distant…then gone, we hear our voice in our head, putting us first.
  5. We actually cannot truly see Christ unless we die to self.
  6. We have a lot of conflict with spouse, friends, and family.  We get offended and hurt a lot it seems.
  7. We become shackled with self, and miss the freedom of only glorifying Christ, not us.
  8. The “Lord” is always moving us to different churches, or we just don’t even go anymore.
  9. Many don’t become saved and born again, they can’t break away from the god of self, and let Jesus be Lord.

How do I know these things? I am like everyone else. I wrestle and struggle with self.  I find myself, needing to be heard, needing to be right, needing to be selfish, BUT I really need to “die” to self, and let the life of Christ shine through me, and so do you.  This morning I again knelt before the Lord and crucified my flesh and repented of my selfishness and thoughts of me, and not of Him.  I love the freedom that living for Christ and dying to self brings to my heart and spirit.  Take some time with Jesus and ask him if you have this sickness, and let him heal you.

Luke 9.23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Good Friday Prayer


As I think about the price that Christ paid for our salvation, as I read the week of the passion, and as I think  about what it cost, to redeem us from sin, the curse, and our own arrogant stupidity, I ask this from my God in Christ……

  • Let me not live like this did not cost a lot.
  • Let me never to compromise whose I am now, I am a child of my Father in Heaven in Christ.
  • May my life never compromise the directives and teachings of Jesus my Savior.
  • Let me live in abandonment to the will of God on this earth and may my pathetic will be obliterated.
  • Let me never pity myself, my lot in life, and may my feelings that are selfish not rule my self or kick Christ off the throne of my life. He must always be my Lord.
  • Help me never Father, to take for granted your gift of salvation through your Son.  May I never go a day without expressing my praise, thanking you, and bowing my life, heart, will future, at your Lordship.
  • May the love you had for a sinful humanity, flow from me, to every race, to the hurting, the poor, the rich, the bound, the lost, the found, the kind, and the mean.
  • May Christ’s example of sacrifice and servanthood be manifested in my life to my God, my wife, my kids, my friends, my church, and to strangers.

Because of Jesus,  Amen

My brother Steve’s revealing question


My hero, Steve LeVeck

I am teaching on the Holy Spirit on Wednesdays until summer and I must mention what the Lord taught me through my brother Steve as he was suffering with cancer.  I was visiting my amazing big brother at his home, on a day when the symptoms were manifesting in his balance.  We were talking and he looked right into me and He asked me a question, Steve asked,  “Nate, it’s not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but ask yourself, how much of us does the Holy Spirit have?” Steve was within days of being with the Lord, and his heart and mind were filled with giving more of his life to His King.  His thoughts were on making sure his life was yielded to Christ and filled with the Spirit. He was still surrendering what life he had left in him, as he was transitioning to the presence of God.  This moves me deeply.

We want to be filled with the Spirit of God, but honestly we resist yielding completely to Him.  We don’t like giving up and letting go.  We must give more of ourselves to the Spirit.  Let go our past, shame, anger, fear, resentment, unforgiveness, irritations, sin, selfish habits, and addictions.  How easy it is to be filled, when we are emptied of the things that interfere with our spirit and mind being filled and controlled by God’s Spirit.  This question will be with me until I see Jesus and Steve again.  This question changes my life. I believe this was a question from Heaven, and glimpse into the heart of God, and my brother’s.

So, How much of you does the Spirit of God have?  What say you?

Six things really bothering me today


Praying through a few things and as I read the news, experience life, live out my calling, and lead a church.  I must admit things rub my spirit wrong.  I know many say worry is sin, and sometimes it is, but God-given burdens and responsibilities that grab our attention for action and prayer, are not that kind of worry.

1) I am bothered at the deaths of thousands of Christians by ISIS and the news/media stays silent, and our President, at a prayer breakfast compares that with the Crusades. The spread of Islam deeply bothers me. May the power of the Spirit arise, and Truth prevail.

2) I am burdened at the number of people that need great Christian friends to encourage them, and teach them the ways of Christ. We need more disciplers. We need a revival of believers that want the Spirit victory in others as much as in themselves.  May Father raise them up and give the church a deeper desire to share their lives and care for the weaker and newer in faith.

3) I am troubled that pornography will hit the big screen, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it seems that there is no outrage but acceptance in the abuse, and demoralization and dehumanization of women, or the sin it will graphically portray. The attack on human, marriages, and the minds and hearts of men is blatant and obnoxious. May God help us have some decency and discernment, and may this movie not make a dime of profit.

4) I am always sadly amazed when people walk away from Jesus and dive into the sin of the world, forsaking everything they know is right, true, and pure.  May they return and God’s people pursue them (Galatians 6.1,2).

5) I am burdened for our young adults. Seems many are drifting. I want to see them fulfill God’s purposes in their lives.

6) I am worried for discouraged pastors and friends that have so many challenges, trials, and struggles in the ministry. May God lift them and encourage them today. May they not quit. May the Lord give them great leaders, board members, staff members and volunteers that will encourage them, and so continue the fruitful work of the Kingdom.

This is the list of things that are agitating my heart.  This is my prayer list today.      ……..Nate

10 Lessons I have learned about choices and decisions.


I have made some great choices in my life.  I have also made some horrible choices that have caused many pain, and regret in my own soul.  Everyday they say (I don’t know who “they” are!  LOL) we make 30,000 decisions.  Wow!  A lot of opportunities to make some awful mistakes, but also, some opportunities to make some great ones.  So here are some things I have and am learning about decisions and choices.

  1. When I am not closest to the Lord, my choices have the potential to be the worst and the most selfish.
  2. I need to make decisions slowly with patience.
  3. I must pray about decisions and choicest that have the potential to affect others. I must pray about them more.
  4. I must never make impulsive decisions.
  5. The enemy will try to influence my decisions, and he would like to choose sin.
  6. I must have the wisdom of God, and the mind of Christ.
  7. Some decisions need counsel, and to glean the wisdom of others.
  8. I need to look into the future, of the potential effects of my decisions, not just the immediate.
  9. I cannot allow others to try to put me in the position to make their decisions for them.
  10. I am vulnerable to make bad decisions should I not pay attention to these.

James 1.5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Jas 1:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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