Some Resources For You!

I decided, because I had to go and update my auto insurance (which took a decent chunk out of my normal writing time) to give you all a list of awesome resources I have found invaluable in my walk with Christ, below are links and pictures, enjoy!

(click on the pictures for the link)

Desiring God
-For everything related to The Bible and life, plumb the depths of their many articles and sermons!
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Bible Gateway
-A great resource for looking up and reading scripture!

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Plugged In
-When it comes to new movies, it’s hard to tell how crude it’s going to be. Plugged In gives you every instance of Sexuality, Cussing, and anything else before you even watch it!

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Downcast (APP)
-The BEST podcasting app i’ve ever found, though it’s only on iOS, the interface is clean and easy to use. I found ALL of the sermons I listen to and easily download them daily. I great tool for sermon and teaching consumption.

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Ministry Updates: Worship Team, Sunday School, and Teen Group

  1. Worship Team:

My wife and I both play for our churches worship team. I play drums, she plays piano and also sings. (and she’s quite good at it, too!) The last couple weeks have been honestly rough, why? Because of the weather. Our practices have been canceled a couple times which has caused us to rush through sunday morning practice before service, but there’s really nothing we can do about it, God had us home those nights for our safety, so I know He’s just watching out for us. Anyhow, other than the lack of practice things have been going well as of this week. A little while ago we had a good practice where we reset the stage’s wiring, and freed tension in the longer XLR cords. The music itself went well, nothing perfect, but we managed to get through it! I enjoy worship team. I love music anyways, but being able to help lead a congregation in worship of Christ is amazing!

2.  Sunday School:

At NHBC we have many different sunday schools for all ages, but the one i serve in particular is with the teens. Mark, the leader has me helping him when he needs it and has me teaching at times, which has been a very growing process. I thought it’d be easy to read the material and go with it, but it’s a whole other thing to present it in a way that shows your own passion about it during the fact.

In the material we’ve been going through a lot of worldview material, ranging from presuppositions to the seven C’s of biblical history. I’ve been learning a lot through teaching and listening to good teachers. As that old saying goes: “God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason!”

3. Teen Group (aka Youth Group)

A famous youth leader once said that “you have to earn a teenagers respect” though I’m still a teenager (19) I’m in charge of leading a few younger teens in my group, and I can tell you- that saying is 100% true. Though of course we should always respect each other despite our age, these teens will know whether you care or not. They know if you’re just reciting words from your head but really don’t care at a heart level. They know.

That’s definitely been the hard part, asking God for the strength to genuinely care when I don’t “feel” like it. There have been times I didn’t want to go to youth group, after all a nice cup of hot chocolate with the wife cuddled up watching a good movie sounds pretty nice right? And of course it is, but God’s been working and changing my heart through those youth nights.

And even when that kid that drives you up a wall (almost literally) God still gives the strength to love them in every situation.

Thanks for reading! I really want to get back in the habit of writing, i enjoy it and i want something to read 5 years from now to remember what I did. So… Hi Nolan 5 years from now!

 

An Update On My Life

So. 25 more days until marriage. Kinda crazy, right?

After many a week going through pre-marital counseling, listening to sermons, and reading books, I can confidently say that even I think I know something about marriage, but from what I’ve heard you can’t really know much (practically speaking) until you get there.

But that’s alright with me.

Anyways, in these past weeks I’ve been doing a few things:

  1. Work-searching
  2. Wedding Planning
  3. Personal projects

I’ve been blessed to have work at a local farm down my road doing things like maple tapping, checking fence, etc. (farm stuff). I’ve generally enjoyed it (though I’m not much for farming) but I still find the skills very helpful and it’s good to learn how to work hard anyways, right?

So as I’ve looked around for work my Dad and I have decided to start a property management business (odd jobs, landscaping, etc.). I’m sure for now it will be part-time but the pay will be good and I have other jobs to fill in with anyways. Also, I applied at my local hardware (yeah, talk about a lot of part-time jobs!) and got the job instantly I’m sure mostly to do with my Pastor’s recommendation which I’m so grateful for. I’m actually starting work today at 12:30 learning to store and being trained to mix paint, cut keys and the like. Pray it goes well and business stays steady!

So amidst all the job searching and crunching part-time work together has been wedding planning. It’s been a bit crazy but good! This morning we met with pastor and his wife to discuss the order of ceremony and what we want. It’s all coming together! We only need a suit to be reserved by one of the groomsmen and some lyrics and Bible verses we like to be given to pastor for the bulletin. Other then that, it seems to be going quite smoothly!

And in the middle of work and planning and visiting my fiance’ and her family has been my own personal time. I’ve been trying to continue to work on projects like my music, (Click here for one of my songs!) which has been a personal passion for a longIMG_4754 time. I’m currently mixing a new song, which has to do with trusting Christ to get you through the times when you don’t “feel” that much passion for Him, trusting Him to give you the strength to persevere and love Him.

Other than music I also need to do things like personal hygiene (yesterday I took a shower, changed, ate dinner, and made myself some lemonade in 10 minutes, a record for me!) which I’ve had to make time for because of my busy schedule, which has never been a problem before. But hey, gotta smell and look nice, right? I still need to give myself a haircut, so I have to find time for that. Anyways, you get the picture, it’s crazy!

In other personal news I’m thinking of personal business ideas. I’ve been inspired by one of my favorite Christian Youtubers and authors (Jefferson Bethke) to make pipe-desks. He had a photo of one on his Facebook feed and I loved it! So I’m going to try my hand at making some, and maybe a shelf or two.

And in it all I’ve been listening to TONS of sermons (maybe 15+ hours a week or more) and reading my IMG_4756books at night. (pictured) It’s crazy how little time I have now and how much I did. I don’t regret my business, I welcome it! It’s taught me to “make the most of the time” and to use every minute and second wisely. It’s also shown me my need to rely on Christ every second. I’m tired much more and haven’t realized how easy it is to feel overwhelmed until this point in life.

But I don’t have to let life get all up in my business, when I trust in Christ for my love, security, and hope, life goes so much smoother and I’m so much more at peace.

So pray for me in this crazy stage of life!

Thanks for reading!

 

My Last Day Of “Childhood”

Yep, “I am 17 going on 18…” and today is my final day of being a “young adult”. Such a scary thought!

29435dba8c5b6991c6a0b22d944f68f1Tomorrow I turn 18. Thoughts run through my head like “what am I gonna do after school’s finished?”, “Will I marry soon?”, and “Where will I work?”.
Though they’re all legitimate questions, I gotta keep my head on straight. I find (with myself at least) when I over-think on long-term things I get very clammed up and lack the right mind to intelligently think through things.

The answer that I constantly go back to is found in Romans 8:28, where Paul clearly tells us that God works ALL things together for good for those who are called according to HIS purpose. So I need not worry about anything! (Neither should you!) Though I do find myself worrying often, we all must recognize the lack of trust in God’s sovereignty in our lives when we do. We’re basically saying, “If I repeatedly think enough about this, then I can be in control, not God”.
Though I know some things are legitimately worrisome (a child’s safety for example) we can’t let it dominate us into not trusting Christ with where He’s put us now.

So where has God put me these days? (nostalgia time!…)
Well, through the years I’ve always been blessed with a nice family, very few long-term friends (but the ones I have mean the world to me!), odd-jobs here and there, and generally a “good” life by some standards.
But more specifically, in the past year I’ve learned so much! (still am!)
So I started a year ago with a fairly confused heart (Yep, girl troubles) which providentially led me to who I’m with now, but along the way it was really hard. Trying to let go and move on was really tough (I’m sure many can relate) and reassuring myself I did the right thing was even more difficult. But through it all God taught me the value of balance. Balancing confusion with a godly maturity. Remaining level-headed when things seem to spin out of control.

So Jesus led me through that rough patch a year ago into where I currently attend church. It was really a blessing because of all the things going through my heart. I got involved in the worship team (love electric guitar!), and started (for the first time ever) to attend a formal Bible Study. The Bible study was a particular growth point, because I disagreed in some areas doctrinally (though we do agree on core doctrine) with my Pastor, which in turn helped me solidify my Biblical convictions on many points of doctrine.

Throughout this time (from last October-now) I’ve been going to a nearby college with my Girlfriend and her Father every Thursday evening (during the semesters), where they’re a part of a concert-band (Her playing Flute, her Dad playing trumpet).
Those little trips helped Her Dad to get to know me better, which has helped my relationship with His daughter grow in a biblical, healthy way also. On top of that, my older brother (and best friend) attends that same college, so I get quite a few perks!

Moving on in my year…
So in the summer I signed up for a local christian camp that I had volunteered at the previous two years, where I counseled and IMG_3630was later head-of-staff for a week. This was by far the hardest summer. I had doubts with my current relationship, and hadn’t really gotten over some previous heart issues which eventually led to a break-up a week before training for camp began. So it was a little rough.
But throughout camp God revealed some things about that certain someone who I had seriously doubted before, and showed some very godly (synonymous with attractive) traits that She had grown in that led my heart back to her. So after prayer and intense thought I called up her Dad, arranged to meet in person, and had another talk where everything was explained and I was given permission to pursue His daughter again!

So that summer of camp matured me a lot. It brought out a ton of baggage in my heart to surface, and led my heart to be re-focused on Christ and who He desires me to be. It was the toughest summer of my whole life, but as I was talking to my Head-counselor, it was probably the best summer too. “Best” not by my (happy and fun) standards, but because Jesus led me to be a better man through it. Looking back, that pain and heartache was a deeply needed gift.

So now it’s after summer. Beginning dating (or courting, if you want) again with my girlfriend. Life seemed pretty good, nothing really “wrong”. Had a job, family, some friends, a great girlfriend, and her family.
It’s been pretty much that since then. Though where I was working I had finished all the bee-hive frames in storage, so I gotta wait till He gets more for more work. Still some rough relationship patches, still tough times at home, still very growing experiences, but I gotta be constantly reminding myself of that verse in Romans,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

So even though this year has been hard, I know it’s for my good. When I turn 18 tomorrow, and with all the things that come with new responsibility, I know who my Lord is.
And He’ll guide me through it all.

Thanks for reading!
I’ll hopefully have an interview with a current missionary-in-training in Tuesday’s post, so make sure to follow if you’d like to be notified of that! Thanks a lot!

How Can We Overcome Heart Issues?

So I was working downstairs this morning for about an hour (for my families business) and a thought had struck me as I was listening to Grace To You (John MacArthur’s sermon podcast). The sermon was called “The Sufficiency of Scripture“.
I can’t recommend it enough! He covers so many biblical reasons for the Bible being all we need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

ImageAnd so a thought passed through my head.

I have a very hard time not looking to myself for answers. Sure, a lot of the time I have a verse ready to remedy a situation, but so many times I use a verse as a quick “self help” and not a heart-changing truth. The sermon this morning opened my eyes even more to how sufficient Scripture really is.
I understand how easy it is to trust yourself and your gut for the answer, but I’m ever so quickly realizing that my own impulses don’t hold heart-changing answers to my problems.
My thoughts may make a quick-fix and solve something for awhile, but the heart issue is still highly unresolved.

One of my highlighted verses this past summer as I worked at River of Life (a local christian summer camp) was from Jeremiah 17:9, 

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”

Seems like a weird summer camp verse right? Not very lighthearted and encouraging? Well, I’d been struggling with some specific heart issues, and this verse constantly reminded me not to trust myself, because I’m by default an extremely self-relying, and not a God-relying person. I don’t like the selfish, independent streak in me, but i recognize it is there, and i knew something must be done about it.

So my real question as i was doing ministry those months was “how can i remedy this?”. And that question still holds true to me today as i still struggle, as we all do, with things of the heart.

So I did the right thing. I found a verse that was direct and concise, and applied it to my situation. The big idea being, “Don’t trust you, trust me”. And it really remedied my heart and began to change it.

How you may ask? The Word of God. The only thing that speaks to the heart and changes from the inside out, not the shallow outside advice I’m always tempted to read and apply. (Although i’m not saying don’t accept godly advice, just as long as the biblical principle is there).

So I’m a living example of the power of change that the Holy Spirit can bring through His word. I can say with certainty that Iv’e tried to think differently, to “be” different, to want differently, but it was all outward.
Once we begin to seek Christ at His Word can we begin to see a heart change. Only then can our desires become His desires, our wants His wants, and all of this through Christ and His saving work on The Cross. I’m living proof of this!

2nd Corinthians 5:17 says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

A new creation. Brand new. The old gone, the new has come.

In Christ we’re made new. A clean slate, a washed heart, a clear conscience. All through The Cross. The payment for our sins.
Check out John 19-20. Our savior lives! How encouraging is that?!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate every view, every like, and every follower immensely! Thanks so much.