Invitation

Our Pastor will be out of town on Sunday and our Senior Pastor is recovering from knee replacement surgery. I have been asked to bring the message at Amana Christian Fellowship, 310 Milton Road, Maurice. Service begins at 10 a.m.

Please consider joining us for the service especially if you haven’t been with us before or having been in a while.

Look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Be blessed.

Nick

Thanksgiving Eve

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.  The day before Thanksgiving is so cool. The house begins to fill with very pleasant aromas.  The phone has been very busy as recipes are exchanged.
Anticipation is sometimes the best part of any event. I look forward to spending time with the family. It’s a great sports time of the year: Cajun basketball tonight, football tomorrow. Of course, there is also the great food. 
It’s also good to begin thinking about all the things we are thankful for. If you’re not too busy today try doing an internet search for “things I’m thankful for.” You will become even more appreciative for all  you have been given. You might even want to make your own list.
I am being asked to make yet another trip to the store.
Before I go, I  just want to say I’m thankful for those of you who read this blog and even occasionally give me a little feedback. Knowing someone is out there reading makes doing this worthwhile. Sorry I have been so busy and not posting every day. I am trying to get back on schedule. Your prayers are appreciated.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Nick

This Present Darkness

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12


Something in a conversation I had today reminded me of Frank Peretti’s classic written in the 1980s, This Present Darkness. This was the first Christian novel I can remember that depicted the spiritual nature of the struggle described in Ephesians. As Christians, most of us believe in the reality of that struggle but it is incredibly easy to forget. After all, flesh and blood are so in our faces. Most of us would have to admit that our spiritual awareness is not what it should be. 

When small things interfere with out good intentions, it’s easy to forget it may be spiritual. Why is it so much harder on Sunday to get everyone dressed and in church by 10 a.m. when we can get the kids to school by 7 and us to work by 9 five days a week? Why can we relate the details of the last episode of The Good Wife a week later, but can’t, for the life of us, remember the three points of last week’s sermon? Why do we shake our heads in disbelief when “good Christians” suddenly act like the devil? 

This world is dark, not just because of the presence of evil, but because of the fog which exists over our spiritual eyesight. We don’t have to give in to the darkness. We can walk in the light. When anger and frustration rise over the actions of others, we can pause and consider the spiritual forces at work and pray.  We can direct our energy and frustrations at the real enemy not the folks whom Jesus loves as much as He loves us.

When it seems that we can never win the flesh and blood war we see, we can remember the spiritual war we can’t see has already been won.

Be blessed.

Nick

Ordinary Days

Most days are ordinary, one foot in front of the other, nothing really special. They pile up mostly forgotten into a heap we call our lives. 
Yesterday I sat for a few hours with a special friend. He is recovering from knee replacement surgery. I have had the same surgery and he sat for hours with me and my wife as I recovered. Recovery from knee surgery is no picnic, but he will do just fine. 
He has become a remarkably close friend in a relatively short period of time. We sat and talked about family and friends, folks we both love, the church we greatly love. The conversation was pretty strange because he would share a few sentences then the medication would win out and his eyes would close for a while. In those quiet times I would think about the hours he spent sitting like I was at someone’s bedside, just to be there. I would think of the hours of sermon preparation and counseling. Hours that were given joyfully, whether appreciated or not. 
Friends would drop in and share a gift and a few encouraging words and then head off. Most of the friends are also pastors and people who also love Jesus. 
Jesus binds us together in many ways, by sharing people we love, and ministries we serve and by spending quiet moments just sitting and enjoying and remembering.
Most days are ordinary, one foot in front of the other, nothing really special. Yesterday was not like that, not like that at all.
Be blessed.
Nick

Courage

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

The longer I live, the more I realize that life is really all about courage. Jesus knew that. He constantly encouraged his disciples to “fear not.” It’s not really the circumstances of our lives that form us, but our ability to act appropriately in the face of those circumstances. 

It seems that all of humanity is divided into those who encourage and those who discourage. The encouragers seem to have one thing in common they view the glass as half full. They see the positive in every situation. They believe one person can make a difference. The discouragers, on the other hand, are half empty people. They see something to worry about, or fear in every situation, and seem determine to pass that fear on to you, to dis-courage. They believe nothing you do really matters.

I watched a lot of football this weekend. I observed that the better teams, the winners, were those led by encouragers, positive folks who motivated their teams to greater effort and to victory.  The really evil thing about fear is that it keeps us from “doing.” Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. The encouraged are the ones who are doing something; they are living life. The discouraged are frozen in their fear. They do and accomplish nothing, simply waiting for something to happen to them. 

We are called by our Savior to encourage. We have opportunities to do so daily. It’s not the big fears that get us, but the little ones. We stop trying because we fear failure. We don’t cook because we fear we don’t cook well. Someone needs to tell us we do. We stop ministering because we fear we aren’t making a difference. Someone needs to tell us we are. We need to smile and hug and teach because it makes a difference. We need to tell those who do that it makes a difference so they will continue to do the things that matter. 

If life is about courage, then our mission is to encourage and never ever discourage, to do particularly the things that frighten, because those are the things that matter. 

Have Courage. Encourage and Be blessed.

Nick

Peace in His Presence

“Peace is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.” (Sheila Walsh) Every time Jesus stepped into a scene he either instructed his disciples not to fear or to have peace. He didn’t change their circumstances but brought peace by His presence. Injecting peace into every situation is a sign of a truly great leader.

During World War II, Roosevelt and Churchill led the free world less by their problem solving but by their dispelling fear and bringing peace. As Roosevelt famously quipped, “all we have to fear is fear itself.”

Modern times present just as many, if no more, fear invoking circumstances as at any other time in history. Even as medical science advances, it seems we have greater challenges in illness. As our standards of living increase, our fear of economic collapse multiply. As we develop more powerful weapons for peace, our fear that they will be used for war expand. The circumstances seem overwhelming, but Jesus is as capable of bringing peace in the midst of it all as ever before.

Our mission is not to solve the problems or to correct the circumstances, but to introduce the Peacemaker into the equation. As the end draw near, the circumstances will spiral out of control. Our reaction has to be to hold tighter to the one who promises an end to fear and a life of peace.

Spread Jesus. Spread Peace. Vanquish Fear and

Be blessed.

Nick

Leadership

There is a crisis of leadership in our country and in the church. We need to do more than just shake our heads and moan. We need to identify new leadership, maybe by looking in the mirror. What makes a good leader?
Ability to stand alone – Today leaders seem to focus on polls or what’s popular. A good leader needs to stand, sometimes alone, on what’s right.  
Ability to see what others can’t see – Today’s leaders seem to suffer from near sightedness. A real leader can see beyond the confusion of today. He has a “higher” perspective. 
Ability to think beyond today – A good leader doesn’t ask, “What now?” but “What’s next?”
Ability to communicate a vision – True vision comes from God. He choses those who are able to explain that vision to others and make them want it above all else. 
Ability to include people in the process – Great leaders are great delegators. They can identify where people best fit into the job at hand and know how to get them to do it. They give credit where credit is due and don’t seek all glory for themselves. 
Ability to make the first move – Leaders show more than tell. Every journey begins with a first step and leaders are the ones taking them. 
Ability to stay when others are leaving – When things get tough most folks bail. Leaders get going. When the dust settles, look around to see who is still standing. There’s your leader.
After considering these things, do you realize that you have been following someone who isn’t really a leader? Have you considered that perhaps you are called to leadership?
Lead on and be blessed.
Nick

Choices

Our life situation is, in large part, a result of the choices we have made. When you think about it we face hundreds of choices each day: when to get out of bed, whether to go to work, what to eat for lunch, etc. We take the pressure off of having so many choices by forming habits. When faced with many of these choices we simply do what we always do. It takes the pressure off. Instead of thinking about whether we should brush our teeth each morning we just do it. Rather than thinking about whether we should go to work, we remember we have bills to pay and we go. Many of these habits are no big deal. In fact, they are necessary for the success of our lives. 
But many of our habits have placed us in danger of failing to get everything from life that God intended. Just for one day give a little more thought to each choice as you are faced with it. Before you do what you always do consider, just for a moment, if there isn’t a different choice that could be made, one that might advance the kingdom of God just a bit more than the habit you have fallen into. 
If life isn’t everything you would like it to be, try make just a few daily choices just a little differently. It could open up a whole new exciting and productive life for you.
Make a deliberate choice and 
Be blessed.
Nick