Saturday, June 21, 2008


Restless. That's how I've felt today. Ever worked really hard at something, then to only find once you've finished, you're not really sure what to do with your time and thoughts? That's how I feel. Atlanta Fest is now over. I worked really hard to make it all come together. It was worth is it. Now what?

Atlanta Fest brought up more questions that answers, which seems quite like my God. He's good at that.

Here's some of the questions floating around my head: What's the purpose of music? Can music just be entertainment and still count for something? When I say count for something, what do I mean? If I believe God's called me to play music, what the heck does it look and sound like?

Take guys like Toby Mac. He was the main artist of the night after us, and his show rocked. It blew me away. Such excellence. It was plain fun. I'm sure God likes Toby's set too. BUT for me, if I did what Toby does, I think I would regret it later. I have the idea from somewhere, that my friends and I play music, that it do what Jesus did on the earth (isaiah 61) Set the captives. Free those in bondage. I wanna see God's Kingdom come through music. I want to see people encounter Jesus as savior, healer, and deliver in one moment. When heaven touches earth, ushered in on sounds from above. Can this happen? I believe so. When? How? Where? Questions. My King has the answers, and He likes it that way, because I have to seek His face for the answers.

Maybe mainstream Christian festivals aren't the easiest venue for this to happen. I felt that most people didn't know how to respond to what we were playing . They were interested, but while we worshiping, they were watching. I wasn't frustrated while playing, but I did find myself praying for everyone. "God wake up this generation!"

We played Brock's song "Come Away", and I believe that that song carries God's heart of love for our generation. It was so fun getting to sing and play that there. That was probably the highlight for me.

OH, whitewater rafting on the way home was great. I fell out 2 twice. Kandace set the record with 4 falls. Good times.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

puzzle world

Life sometimes feels like a giant puzzle, and us people are the pieces. I've always been crappy at puzzles for some reason...I never seem to have patience required to stick it out in finishing it.

Here's my thought for the day.
All our dreams are intertwined, interwoven with each other. Alone, we will miss our destiny. Together, we will find the fullness of our calling.

See if you can track with me here for a bit...i've got a thought brewing.

So lets pretend we're all represented by puzzle pieces. Firstly, we are all bound by living in the 2 dimensional realm. No moving up and on, only side to side. Sorry. Ok, so we all are trying to be made into one gigantic puzzle. We hear rumors that this puzzle, once completed, is the most beautiful thing one can imagine. Oh, and there's no box to stare at to know what the finished product is. All we have is faith that the puzzle is going to be beautiful, and that its worth sticking it out to finish....and on side note, us puzzle pieces don't move so fast, so we're pretty much stuck in our one little puzzle region.

This is what I envision puzzle world looking like:

"In a land far far away is a place called puzzle world. Us puzzle pieces want to get the puzzle completed so badly, so we all start running around trying to make it happen. Problem is we don't live in a 3 dimensional world, so we can't see what the puzzle is turning out to look like. Many start puzzle clubs, when this or that leader saying he or she knows the best way to complete the puzzle. Often times various puzzle clubs fight with other clubs, and chaos breaks out. (Maybe its hard to imagine puzzle clubs fighting, but try for me ok:)

Life in puzzle world goes on, much know for its lack of unity among puzzle pieces, and after years of hard, grueling work, the puzzle is no closer to being completed. In fact, such bitter puzzle club rivalry has grown that the possibility of ever fitting together seems impossible.

Just when we think there is no hope for puzzle world, no chance for ever being complete and whole, along comes the puzzle master. Turns out there's this "somebody" who lives outside puzzle world's 2 dimensional world! He can move up and down and see what the whole puzzle looks like! He also is the one who designed every single puzzle piece with utmost care and love. Every piece is beautiful. Every piece is different. Every piece is needed for the puzzle to become complete.

Mr. Puzzle Master breaks into puzzle world chaos with a startling announcement.

"Attention puzzle world! If you would like for the mess to be mended and for everyone to find there place in the puzzle, please relax for a minute, and let me guide you one by one to your rightful spot. This is going to take sometime, so make friends with your fellow pieces around you, and help each other out. You'll find that there's pieces that I've created you to fit together perfectly with, and I'll direct you to find them. I'll be coaching you through this, but you're gonna to have to follow my directions. I'm not going to pick you up and move you.

Some of you have lost hope that there's a purpose for your piece. Some of you sky blue pieces think your boring. I see you green tree pieces too. Every single one of you was created to fit into the most beautiful puzzle ever. When you finally find the pieces your supposed to connect with, your going to thank me. Here's the secret to finding your place. Finding your place, or should I say your purpose, is connected to your ability to listen to my voice, and from that move to where I lead you. Oh, you'll need the help of those pieces around you, for I've designed this whole thing to only work when you work together. Why you may ask? Because I like when all my pieces work together.

How can you trust me?
Lets just say I'm the puzzle master."

the end.

So by now if you're still reading this madness, you'll probably think I'm psycho crazy. Many times God speaks to me in the crazy thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, you've caught on to what I'm thinking. I'll save the interpretation for later, or maybe I'll pull a "Jesus" and say he who has ears to hear, let him hear:)

So here's my thought again...maybe it makes more sense now.

All our dreams are intertwined, interwoven with each other. Alone, we will miss our destiny. Together, we will find the fullness of our calling.

oh, this is the song that' s running through my head. (Could be one of my favorite songs ever.)

"When we arrive at eternity's shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We''ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we'll sing
You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful"
Phi Wickham - "You're Beautiful"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

sunsets and control

So next door to me is the cutest little girl I think I've ever seen. Her name is Makala. She's mulatto, so her skin is beautiful. Her hair is a little black fro, and she runs around smiling all the time. I'm guessing she's six. She's a big fan of the Bank's house trampoline, and is an almost permanent fixture on it. Tonight, she knocked on the door asking for some paper towels. I would have given her anything at the moment i think...I've never been much of a baby sitter, but I'm seriously thinking about offering to...

Tonight the sunset was amazing. Maybe you saw it too...i laid on the trampoline and watched the low grey clouds mix with the blue sky and the fading orange and pinks, all mixing together. There's much beauty in the simple moments of life. God's glory is everywhere...we just have to look. The 5 minutes of gazing at the beauty seemed to calm the hours of stress from the day. We are created to gaze upon beauty. Eternity is going to rock.

I love watching sunsets, because I get this overwhelming sense that God is in control. Thus I'm not. Watching sunsets ask the question, "Nathan, will you release control to me again with xyz?"
Recently, I heard God whisper this about control...."you'll find my rest when you release the right to control your life to me." There's the catch. God lets us control our life to a certain extent. We have freewill to decide want we want in life, and do everything in our power to control and manipulate people and situations to get what we think we need. Our very American culture prizes the ability to set our minds on some goal, and do everything we can to achieve it.

BUT we live in an upside-down Kingdom. Those who desire to save their life will loose it. Those who lose it will gain it in the end. I beginning to believe that God's plan for my life is abundantly greater that ANYTHING I can think or imagine. Thus when I find myself fearing and worrying, trying to get something i think I need, I hear Papa's voice... "Will you release your right to control your life. Do you believe my plan for you is the best? Do you trust me?

When we offer our lives completely to Him, we become who we were created to be - lovers of God and one another. I love what Andrew Murry says about our purpose in life:

"Man's chief care, his highest virtue, and his only happiness, now and throughout eternity, is to present himself as an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.".....Manifest His love.

Releasing control brings us back to the garden. It brings us to peace. Fear is replaced with trust. Control is replaced with unconditional love.

Go watch a sunset - release control. Then do it all over again. Until the day we die, we will always be learning how to trust God more and more with every bit our lives. Lets start now though...

Friday, June 13, 2008

house meeting and trampolines

Tonight we had our very first official house meeting. We being Brian Johnson, Iain Cook, Will Reagan, and me. First order of things was to elect a house president, so we picked Will, because we thought he would look best with a white wig. His are the orders passed:

Brian is going to head up the mission "kill the mice" - I know, sounds a bit harsh at first glance, but you must understand what we've gone through in the past two months. Whole loafs of bread tunneled through - - -check. Mice poop everywhere - - double check. Even the Ramen noodles got attacked, not to mention our hot chocolate powder. Brian enacted a strict rule of no food left out. Sounds a bit obvious, but for some reason its hard.

Iain is going to take on the roll of head-recycle-man. Seeing that Iain came from Vancouver, and that he's way more "green" then the rest of us, he's the obvious choice.

I decided to take on the job of getting a new router for our internet. Not that exciting, but our internet has a bad habit of not really quite moody.

I can't remember what Will's role is....well, other than the fact that he's the head-renovation-expert of the house. For those that don't already know, we've decided to completely renovate the kitchen, and Will's working a ton on it. Its gonna be so sweet when its done. Pray for "cabinet favor" if that's possible. We have a tight budget, and need some new cabinets pronto.

After meeting tonight, I'm stuck with this thought. Community is amazing. Really, its worth fighting for. Its obvious how God has is hand on all of our relationships, how He birthed something so beautiful, and how He's called us to "be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - we got to pray for each other tonight, and I was struck at how blessed I am to be living with 3 amazing guys who are sold out to following Christ as any cost. Everyone in the house brings a different gift to the table. We all have our "stuff", our quirks, but there is also the amazing creativity of God in each of my roommates. What's cools is how we all call each other higher. "Let brotherly love continue." - Hebrews 13:1

Another thing that Iain brings to the house, seeing that he's the new roommate and all, is that he's full of big ideas. Like digging a hole for a pool. Or buying a old diesel car and converting it to run on grease. Or planting a garden. (none of these have happened i said, big ideas) He also decided we need a house trampoline , so he went on Craig's list and bought one. Lately, its been a constant source of fun, as we re-visit our childhood days, though slightly bigger and not quite as flexible. At sunset, I struck up a conversation with our neighbors and then invited all their kids to jump on the trampoline. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, they bolted on it. I'm amazed at their self-control in not jumping on it sooner. Our neighbors are real nice...the classic random assortment of people where you're not quite sure their relationship status....white lady, african-american man and brother, 4 african-amerian kids - but we had a good time chatting it up. I did learn that there utility bill was $600 a month, so our $300 a month bill doesn't seem so bad now.

That brings me to our other resolution from the meeting - neighborhood block party! Get ready, late July is going to have the best party ever Banks Ave has ever seen. God's been speaking to us a bunch about living as revolutionaries, and that starts as our own neighborhood. I'm talking about being radical light-bearing, kingdom advancing dudes that bring God's light everywhere our feet tread. And turns out that people our desperate for this light - many never see it. Some remember it long ago. Many live in an constant state of darkness. We prayed together tonight, and God kept impressing that God's light, His goodness and peace, is ready to bust out of us to everyone we come in contact with.

I'm all about revival busting out of Knoxville, but I'm starting to see it starts with the relationships in my life and the people that live around me. If I'm crying out for the "general Knoxville revival", but not willing to see it happen in my own relationships, then what am I doing? Let this be a challenge to live everyday with your ears opened to what God may have you say and do with the people that YOU come in contact with in your NORMAL day. That's how a "normal" day turns in to a God adventure. There's nothing normal about being an ambassador of God - God's entrusted us with His Kingdom, and we have the privilege of seeing it established wherever we go.

I echo Paul's prayer, that "...for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." - Eph. 6:19-20

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Porch time

Here's a shot at writing down my "daily doings" - not sure what else to call it. I feel really busy sometimes, but then I wonder what the heck makes my day so busy. So now I will know. And you will to. Whoever "you" are....Maybe you will ''' be bored at my normal day, or maybe you'll be jealous...take your pick. At this time in my life, I'm searching out what it means to live out the "Christian life." - I'm asking a lot of questions. I'm pondering the why's of life. So I guess this blog is a dialog of my questions, and the answers i may find.

Waking up this morning was nice, because I have air-conditioning in my room now. I actually awoke cold! I went downstairs to find Brandon and Will about to head off to "Rakins" - the local breakfast dinner. Two words - - home-maid biscuits. Need i say more? Brandon and Will took the 1 mile journey on their bikes, while i chose my legs. I rocked out on the way there will the song "You're beautiful" by Phil Wickham. Quite possibly my favorite song so far this year. The song causes me to smile and kinda bounce down the street. Not a normal sight at 8am in the K-town hood.

I then caught eye contact with a man sitting on his front porch. I noticed he was in a wheelchair, and then saw his wife sitting beside him. In the split second we locked eyes, i felt his pain and brokeness. I felt my King's heart of love for them. "Jesus, if you were here, you would go and talk to them, and you would heal his body." - Thus starts the conflict in my head. I'm alive to see God's love pour out of my life, wherever my feet take me. I felt drawn to their porch, BUT then again, I don't know them...what if they don't want to talk? What if they are angry at God? then my stomach chimed in, plus who wants be left out of biscuits the bros?

I continued on, essentially ignoring them. The worship music in my headphones then made me feel guilty. "Jesus is alive" it blared. "If your alive, then you'll be with me if go talk and pray with them." I got to Rakin's to find it closed, with Brandon and Will no where to be found. I started my walk back home, and then remember the couple on the porch. I walked in there direction, thinking I still could find them. I started to pray for the prodigals in my neighborhood. Then I felt like it was time to put my prayers to action. I have God's word dwelling inside me. The Kingdom of God rests in me, and it wants to come out! Headphones off, eyes set on my neighbors, I walked up to them, not having a clue what to say....but my heart beating with a love that's not my own. Is this the Christian life? To be empty vessel for God to fill with His love. To freely receive and freely give away?

2 hours later, I left there porch. I found Jesus on that porch. I saw Him in there eyes. I pray that they saw Jesus in my eyes. I listen as Jim and Linda pore out there hearts to me...Jim (47), had a stoke 4 months. He is bound to a wheelchair now. He longs to walk and move again. Linda is his faithful wife. They share stories of pain and fear. They tell of almost dying, but being rescued by 3 angles; one with fire in his eyes, the other saying its not time yet for you to die. Jim knows there's a reason why he's still on the earth. He's just at odds with what it is.

As I'm talking with Jim, Linda gets a call...she finds that her daughter who has been trying to have a kid for years, just lost her child giving birth. See begins to weep, and we cry out to God together. I lay my hands on Jim and ask with all the faith i can muster for God to heal his body. Jim believes. Nothing happens right away, but I feel his paralyzed hand, its fiery hot...not normal i think for hand that doesn't work. He truly believes he will be healed.

Today, I encountered Jesus in my neighborhood. I felt let on a little secret today. He let me partner with Him in loving His precious children Jim and Linda. And that was one porch. There are many more porches in my neighborhood, all with people crying out for something more. Some know God. Some remember faint whispers of him from long ago. Some are angry at Him. Some know God as a rule book. Some don't even consider Him. BUT everyone longs to be loved. To be accepted. To be cherished. And for some reason God has chosen us to share this love with the world. Fill us up God to overflowing with your love!!! With your compassion!!

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."
2nd Cor. 4:6-7