BIG News...

Big news coming...That's all I can say right now. Stay tuned...


A Night At The Attic...

I stole this from my buddy Jmob. He time lapsed our Wednesday night student worship service this week. We meet on Wednesday nights at a place called The Attic. We hang out from 6 to 7, with tons of stuff for our students to do. Then at 7:00 we kick off our worship time. Jmob said that the computer was in a bad spot in the room and he's gonna' do a "re-do" so I'll try to post that as well. Check it...


Reaching Others and a GREAT Quote...

Sometimes I get criticized for the approach I take to ministry. In fact, just this week I heard of someone slandering Jo and I for reaching out to those "kids off the street" and not focusing just on "our own" church kids. Here is one fact that I know and have experienced first hand: When you are willing to do whatever it takes to reach people who are far from God it usually makes religious people uncomfortable. Especially people who believe that the church is all about them. But when I read the Bible, I see that Jesus was most passionate about reaching lost people. Sure he went to a dinner or two. He even made a couple of "hospital visits." But that is not what consumed his life. His life was consumed by reaching those who were far from God. That's who he hung out with. That's who he ate with, and talked to, and was most passionate for. In fact, Jesus himself said that his primary reason for coming to earth was to seek those far from God. Check it out in the Bible in the third chapter of the book of John.

And often people misunderstand a pastor or church leader's focus on reaching others. When they hear someone talk about numbers or be concerned with the number of unchurched people who are coming, they immediately assume that our motivation is wrong. They assume that we are more about numbers than people. But that couldn't be further from the truth. For me, every single number is a name, face, relationship, and person that needs to hear the life-altering love of God. That's why I'm passionate about the numbers.

I am reading Pop Goes The Church by Tim Stevens and he quotes Steven Furtick about this same subject. He puts it in perspective in a way that resonates with me:

"If you get the impression that we're all about the numbers, let me clarify. Of course we're all about the numbers. What else would we be all about? The spaghetti supper? To hell with the spaghetti supper. I want to see some changed lives!"

Here's the deal: God has called me to do whatever it takes, short of sin, to reach those who are far from Him. If that makes people uncomfortable, so be it. Jesus made people uncomfortable from time to time too. I'll take that kind of company...

Whiteboard Sessions - Vince Antonucci and Perry Noble

Let me say it once again: The Whiteboard Sessions were phenomenal. Ben Arment (check him out here) really took this conference to the next level. It was a time of stretching and challenging and renewal for me. I've blogged about the highlights of the six of the eight speakers. But I saved the best for last.

In my opinion, Vince Antonucci and Perry Noble were the top notch of Whiteboard. Don't get me wrong...the whole lineup was incredible. But these two guys absolutely ROCKED my world. I've been following their blogs for some time and I really admire how they are both leading their churches to do whatever it takes to reach those who are far from God. Here are the highlights...

Vince Antonucci - Pastor of Forefront Church in Virginia Beach, VA. You can check out his blog here.
  • His Big Idea: That we would do whatever it takes to reach and save God's lost children.
  • How is it possible that I lived for 2o years in the USA and never heard of Jesus?
  • Only 2.2% of churches are experiencing growth and much of that is transfer growth.
  • If we are honest, we have to admit that we are reaching people - just not lost people.
  • Reaching the lost was the passion of Jesus. Is it ours?
  • If we are not close to people who are far from God, then we are not as close to God as we think we are. Because God's heart is always with those far from Him.

Perry Noble - Pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, S.C. You can check out his blog here.

  • The reason we do what we do is that for some reason Jesus wanted you. He chose you. He called you.
  • We don’t volunteer for this. We are called. If we're volunteering, we’re stupid
  • If ministry ever overtakes our time with God we have forsaken our calling for the expectations of others.
  • There is way to much imitation in the church and not enough revelation.
  • God is not green. Kermit is green. We can save the planet and everyone on it could go to hell.
  • Preach the gospel of Jesus. You get more than Jesus and you have screwed up.
  • It will be a cold day in hell when I preach a message on recycling at the neglect of the Gospel message.
  • I’m crazy enough to think God has at least one more big move in him.
  • The time has come for us to stop walking if fear and start walking in authority. Do you really want to be a prostitute for the rest of your life?
  • We need to stop preaching about God's sovereignty and then cowering in fear in front of the deacon or elder board because we don't want to lose our paycheck.
  • If you are a pastor you will experience spiritual warfare and temptation on a level that those in your congregation will never understand.

Whiteboard was all that it promised to be and more. I'm glad I made the investment in my own growth and ministry to be there. I'm still processing all that I heard and learned - and that's a good thing.


I Miss My Buddies...

Don't get me wrong. It's great to be home. I like sleeping in my own bed and I was pumped to be back ministering to our students tonight. But I already miss DC. Not the city or even the incredible history and "touristy" things to do. (Ok, I may have made up that word...) I miss my two new buddies. I got to spend more time with my niece and nephew than I really ever have, due to the distance between Texas and Maryland. And in our time together I realized that these two kids are AWESOME. I wanted to pack 'em up and bring them back to Texas with us. We really, really enjoyed our time with Jerry, Ingrid, Lana, and Diego. In the midst of an amazing trip, spending time with them was definitely the highlight. And my niece and nephew are two of the cutest kids ever. If you don't believe me just check out these pictures for yourself:

Whiteboard Sessions - Mark Dever, John Burke, and Ed Stetzer

We're back from DC and we get back into the grind tonight, with our midweek student worship gathering. I am pumped because I haven't spoke to our students in a couple weeks...Ready to go tonight! But I also wanted to do some more reflecting on the Whiteboard sessions. Here are some highlights from the sessions with Mark Dever, John Burke, and Ed Stetzer.

Mark Dever - Pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. and President of 9Marks Ministry:
  • The church will win. There is no question about it.
  • Our churches should be places where it is normal to love God and be growing spiritually. Everything else should be diverse.
  • Church is not an event to be produced, but a community to be cultivated.
  • We need to hold every member accountable to live like Jesus so his message is reflected.
  • When we read Hebrews 13:17 our souls should be fed and terrified at the same time.

John Burke - Pastor of Gateway Community Church in Austin, TX:

  • What got Jesus crucified was good, religious people addcited to self.
  • Too many times we labor to sell a spiritual product that we are not drinking deeply from ourselves.
  • The way we love God is by responding in obedience.

Ed Stetzer - Church Planter and Director of Lifeway Research

  • For most of us, ministry will not look like what we see at a conference. Conferences are like ministry pornography - something we will never have.
  • Don't be afraid to say to God, "I don't get it."
  • Too many times we teach a gospel that doesn't last through the first tragedy that comes people's way.
  • Saying "I don't know" is not a sign of spiritual immaturity, but rather a sign of maturity.

I've still got two speakers to blog about from Whiteboard - Perry Noble and Vince Antonucci. These two were my favorite sessions, so they are definitely coming...It just may be toward the end of the week.



One of the things that I've noticed lately is that most of us are just not very grateful for things. Sometimes we just aren't very good at saying thank you. This past week and weekend has found me with gratitude on my mind several times. And just from this week I have tons to be thankful for.
  • I got to spend a few days in a couple conferences where men of God poured into me. I am grateful to the people who put these events together, to those who helped lead, and for the opportunity to be a part of it all.
  • Memorial day and being in DC has got me reflecting on my gratitude for our men and women, both past and present, who serve our country in our Armed Forces. They are the REAL heroes in our midst. THANK YOU!
  • I am blessed with great friends, family, and ministry partners. Each day I am reminded of this. In fact, these past few days would not have even been possible without the great generosity of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They have graciously opened their home to Jo and I and have been incredible to us. Thank you Jerry and Ingrid!

Let me ask you this: What do you have to be thankful for? Who do you need to show your gratitude to? When you and I begin to reflect on what we have to be thankful for it shows us how incredibly blessed we are. Give it some thought...And while you're at it, send that card or email to say thanks to those who you're grateful for.


Whiteboard Highlights - Tim Stevens and Darrin Patrick...

Here are some more highlights from The Whiteboard Sessions. Tim Stevens is executive pastor of Grainger Community Church and just wrote an incredible book called "Pop Goes The Church." It is one of the books I am currently reading and I posted about it here. Darrin Patrick is part of the Acts 29 Network and the founding pastor of The Journey in St. Louis.

Highlights from Tim's "Big Idea":
  • In most communities, churches are not making an impact. In fact, in many cases they are getting in the way of the gospel.
  • While church growth is declining, spiritual interest in our culture is on the rise.
  • We must leverage the culture or risk losing our impact.
  • Jesus came to us and met us where we are. He communicated by using signs, symbols, and methods of the culture of the day. We should do the same.

Highlights from Darrin's "Big Idea":

  • Idols are root sins. They are the things that hide deep within our hearts.
  • You are ruled by what you worship - either the Creator or something in creation.
  • Sin happens because we treasure our idols more than we treasure our God.
  • An idol is anything in my life that occupies a place that should be occupied by God alone.
  • If you are maturing, the longer you're a Christian, the more jacked up you realize you really are.

More highlights and incredible thoughts coming from my Whiteboard notes. Just be patient.

Link Love...

I have some INCREDIBLE people in my life...Some of those people include friends, former students, a great team and partners in ministry...In the last couple weeks some of them have started blogging and I wanted to give them some link love. So Jaron, Jenna, Jordan, and Kaylen, here is your blog shout out. Check out their links on the right side of this page folks. And you guys and gals keep filling up the blog world with your thoughts, life updates, and random stories. I'm glad to call each of you friends and I'm glad you're a part of my team. Link love done.


Whiteboard HIghlights - Mark Batterson...

The Whiteboard sessions got off to a fantastic start this morning with worship led by Lashley and Joiner. You can check them out here. Then Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. kicked things off as the first session speaker. Let me just say this: What a way to start! Each speaker was asked to present one big idea and Mark's was this: Your dreams are too small. Here are some highlights of what Mark said:
  • "The longer I do ministry and the longer I lead, the more I covet the favor of God."
  • "Your best thought and your best day is 13.2 billion light years away from God's." See Isaiah 55:8-9.
  • Our sin is the smallness of our dreams.
  • Too many times we live our lives (plans and dreams) as if God was not part of the equation.
  • We don't need more meetings or appointments or programs. We need to get with God and spend more time with Him.
  • Too many times we stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory.
  • We need some dreams we can accomplish but we also need some dreams that are way beyond our ability to accomplish.
  • If ever there was a dreamer, it was Jesus. The Great Commission is the Great Dream.
  • "I would rather have one God idea than 1,000 good ideas."

The Whiteboard Sessions...

One word: WOW. "Whiteboard Ben" really delivered. Jo and I spent all day today at the Whiteboard Sessions and I am exhausted from all the thinking, stretching, and challenging stuff I heard today. Seriously, it might be some of the best stuff I have ever heard at a conference...Some of these guys pulled no punches. I have tons of pages of notes from the seminar which I will be posting...I'll just be putting up the highlights, but I've gained tons of knowledge today. Also got to make some incredible contacts and meet some really cool people...More on that in my "Whiteboard Highlights" post...I've got another conference tomorrow so I'll have some time after that to blog and debrief all I've heard...Ben Arment - Great Job! Whiteboard really was one of the best conferences I've ever been a part of. It rocked!


D.C. - Day One...

Jo and I spent our first day in the D.C. area just chillin' and sight seeing. We flew up on Tuesday even though the Whiteboard Sessions doesn't kick off until tomorrow because it was WAY cheaper to fly on Tuesday vs. Wednesday. So we spent the day in D.C. sight seeing and spending time together. We checked out the Washington and Lincoln memorials. We also saw the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II monuments. Very moving. I want to blog more specifically about our experience there but it will have to wait until after this weekend. But I promise it is coming! We grabbed a PHENOMENAL lunch at Fogo De Chao. It's by far my favorite place to eat and we don't get there much so it was a real treat...We spent the afternoon at a couple of the Smithsonian musuems and then headed back to Jerry and Ingrid's for supper. We're all about to catch the American Idol finale and then it's off to bed to rest up for a BIG DAY tomorrow.


The Weekend Update...

Here's a recap on the life and times of Nic from this weekend...
  • Spent most of the weekend in Corpus Christi. My sister-in-law Jackie graduated from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, so Johanna and I headed down for the graduation. My friend and now-summer-intern Jaron joined us for the ride and we spent the weekend with Jo's family celebrating Jackie's graduation. Congrats Jackie!
  • Jaron and I spent some of Saturday looking over things for our upcoming BEACH BREAK YOUTH CAMP which will also be in Corpus Christi in June. We also spent some time tasting the seafood...
  • I preached this morning. Talked about the story of the prodigal son and How To Acquire A Pig's Lifestyle. God has an incredible plan for every one of us, but so many times we make choices that have us living life in the pig's pen. One of the best ways to keep your life out of the pig's pen is to spend your resources - your life, your time, your talent, and your treasure - on things that will last! Spend it on the kingdom!
  • Had too many meetings today at church...Have I mentioned lately that meetings aren't my favorite things? But we did see some good things come from them...
  • Super excited about leaving Tuesday for The Whiteboard Sessions. This is gonna' rock!
  • My Papa's birthday is Monday. Happy Birthday Papa!
  • Got to hang with some of our youth workers tonight...I absolutely love our team and love that I get to serve with people who I'd hang out with even if we weren't in this thing together...It just makes it more incredible that we are!


What I'm Reading These Days...

From time to time I try to let people in on the books that I'm reading. To be honest, reading is hard work for me. I have always been the "slow" kid in the class when it comes to reading and I have to be disciplined and work hard to get in the reading that I need...But here are a few books that I just got in that I am about to start reading...I'm sure there will be reviews to come later.

Pop Goes The Church by Tim Stevens - This book is all about using culture to engage, communicate, and reach our world with the love of Christ. It's right up my alley and I can't wait to dig into this one. Tim will also be speaking at Whiteboard next week, which is one of the reasons I am pumped about that conference.

Lord Save Us From Your Followers by Dan Merchant - This is one of those books that I was drawn to by the title. After reading a couple reviews, this should be a good one.

I Became A Christan And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt by Vince Antonucci - The subtitle of this book is "Replacing Souvenir Religion with Authentic Spiritual Passion." Vince is also speaking at Whiteboard, which is another reason why I am stoked about this incredible conference. He and his church plant are literally storming the gates of hell seeking to reach people far from God. I am excited about the passion that I know will be flying off the pages of this book.

So there ya' go. They're fresh in from Amazon and waiting to be cracked open. Who knows...One might even be my companion on my flight to D.C. next week...


The Whiteboard Sessions...

I absolutely cannot wait for this. A week from tomorrow, Johanna and I are flying to Washington D.C. to attend the Whiteboard Sessions, which are on May 22nd. Whiteboard is a billed as a conference that includes "1 Day, 8 Influential Leaders, 30 Minutes Each." It's from the brain of this guy and it is going to be an incredible day of stretching, learning, growing and being challenged. I cannot wait to hear from some of the top ministry leaders in the church today! It is going to be awesome...And to top it off, I'll get to meet some blogger friends and put real, personal people with some of the blogs I read...
Please pray for us as we attend this conference. We both think that it is going to be life-altering for us and we want to be able to be stretched and hear all that God has in store for us.



Happy Mother's Day Mom! I hope that everyone who reads this has already taken time to call your mom today and wish her a Happy Mother's Day. When it comes to godly women in my life, I have, without a doubt, won the lottery. My grandmothers were incredible women who invested so much in who I am. My mom has poured so much love and support into me. She has shown me time and again what it means to be a Christ-like servant. And my wife is an amazing woman who loves Jesus with all that she is and who is an incredible partner in ministry. When I think about how these godly women have poured into my life and how they've influenced me, I am so thankful for these blessings from God.

In honor of Mother's Day, check out this video by the Skit Guys...Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!


I Wanted To Do "Hoodrat" Things...

Latarian Milton took his grandma's car on a joy ride. The problem? He's only 7 years old. My brother and I found this video online last weekend and it's been making the rounds...Check it out and listen to some of the stuff this kid says. Crazy.

Committee Meetings...

Had a two hour meeting tonight with one of our new building committees...We just purchased an old grocery store and are looking at rennovating it, with it's primary use being student ministry. Let me just say this: The meeting was good and very beneficial. There are some fantastic people in this group who provided a lot of great ideas, making it one of the more productive meetings I have been in lately. With all that said, I still hate committee meetings...So in honor of all of you share my hatred of meetings, here is a "demotivational" poster from the people at Despair, Inc.


More on Vision...

I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about vision lately. As a leader and pastor, it is imperative that I am able to seek, understand, and communicate the vision that God has for my ministry, His church, and His people. The Bible clearly states that where there is no vision, people perish. They literally die from lack of vision.

One of the guy's who is motivating and inspiring me most in this area is Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, S.C. I've been reading his blog for a few months now and he has some incredible things to say about vision and leadership.

Check out his post about how to know if your vision is from God by clicking here. It's great stuff and well worth the few seconds it takes to read. Check it out!


The Weekend Update...

Johanna and I followed our long, tough week last week with a pretty busy weekend. We drove almost 1,000 miles this weekend so it was kinda crazy, needless to say!
  • Around lunch on Friday we left Lockhart and headed to Houston. Our 3 year anniversary was last Wednesday so I suprised Johanna with a night on the town in Houston. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Houston and had an AMAZING dinner at the Spindletop...The food was awesome and they gave us free dessert for our anniversary! I am lucky to be married to such an absolutely incredible woman of God. To be able to serve alongside her and have her in my life is truly a gift from God. I love you babe!

  • Saturday we slept in and then headed to Bridge City, TX. We stopped along the way in Baytown to see Jo's granma.

  • We were headed to Bridge City for me to speak at CommonGround Community Church. My friend Brandon is on staff there and this is the third time we've got to be involved in what's God is doing there...If you live in the Golden Triangle Area, check this church out! They meet at the Bridge City Community Center @ 10:30 on Sunday mornings! Awesome people!

  • Had a good ol' fish fry at Brandon's house on Saturday night once we got into town.

  • Last night after driving home for almost 5 hours we got in the car and headed to Austin. Our good friend Daniel had his 21st birthday dinner at Trudy's. Good food, better friends, and some Starbucks afterwards made for a great night.

  • That about wraps it up...I am preaching this weekend and next weekend here in Lockhart so it should lead to a couple busy weeks!


Too Spent For Words...

I've been in blog silence this week. It's because no matter how many times I've opened this up and tried to write something that would make sense it just won't come out.

My grandmother passed away Monday morning. It was sudden and unexpected. It has been a long time since I have felt this hurt and this numb at the same time.

I preached her funeral on Wednesday and did my best to sum up a life that has impacted me and many others far beyond words. I tried my best to honor someone who was my role model, my friend, my mentor, my advisor, my encourager, and my biggest fan.

Please pray for my family. Pray for my grandfather who lost his wife of 57 years, for my dad and mom, and for me & my brother and our wives. I know that we have a God who is a God of comfort and peace. He gives grace and strength in our time of need. And we are in need.

At some point, I'll try to put to words what an incredible legacy my grandmother left on this earth...But right now, I'm too spent for words...