The Weekend Update...

Sorry for the blogging silence folks. Between speaking at a retreat this past weekend, getting stuff packed, and trying to get ready to move it has been beyond crazy this past week. This week holds more craziness as we make our actual move to Kyle, so the blogging may be spotty this week too, but I know it will pick up after that. With that said, here's a recap of the weekend.
  • Friday Johanna, myself, and a couple of our students from Lockhart spent the morning and early afternoon getting stuff ready for our garage sale that Johanna held on Saturday.
  • Friday afternoon I headed out to Camp Travis outside of Austin, TX on Lake Travis. I spent the weekend speaking at FUEL weekend for Randy Moore and the students of Millwood Baptist Church. Even though Randy had to leave early for some family stuff, it was a really good weekend. Pray for Randy and his family and pray for the students of Millwood as they start school this week.
  • Sunday was spent gettilng acclimated some more with all things The Connection Church. I absolutely love this place and am honored to be able to serve on the TCC team!
  • Speaking of Sunday, Cole knocked it out of the park with his sermon. At TCC we use hell as a motivation because we don't want people to spend eternity there. And in his words, "If that means we charge the gates with water guns, that's what we'll do!"

I'm hoping to blog a little more consistently this week, but the packing and moving craziness is in full swing. If I'm not back on my regular blogging schedule this week, it'll hit back up next week for sure. Thanks for your patience...


Link "Love"...

My friend David Stippick recently started blogging. From time to time I throw out link love and he's been giving me a pretty hard time about leaving him out. In turn, I've been holding off showing him any link love simply in spite.

Well, the ban is over. Today I read Stippick's blog and he wrote one of the most incredible blogs I've ever read in the form of a letter to his future wife. It is a MUST READ. Click here now to read it.

I absolutely love my wife. I am a pretty romantic guy. I love making her feel like the most incredible woman on this planet. And in light of all these things, I wish I had written this blog. It's good. Really good. (Except for the part about watching chick flicks and reading romantic novels...that's scary.)

So Stippick, here's your link love bro. Enjoy.


The Weekend Update...

INCREDIBLE weekend. Here's the recap, bulletin style:
  • Friday night, Johanna, myself, and a few students from our ministry in Lockhart headed to Kyle to the Chris Sligh concert. It was a great night. Good food at Chilis. Great concert at the PAC. Some of the best company on the planet.
  • Saturday we headed back to Kyle for a Current meeting. That's the quarterly leadership meeting at The Connection Church for any and all volunteers and ministry leaders.
  • Saturday afternoon Jo and I met with a lady about leasing her house...And we signed a lease! We actually have a place to move into at the end of this month...and it has a hot tub!
  • Sunday was spent being involved at TCC...ALL DAY. We spent the morning at the worship service at the PAC, the afternoon golfing with some guys from one of the small groups, and the evening getting a taste of what the Surge Jr. High ministry is all about...FANTASTIC DAY!

As you can see, the weekend was packed. But it was a blast! Now, it's time to follow it up with a great week!


What It's All About...

Over the last two weekends Elevation Church, led by Steven Furtick, had a goal to baptize 1,000 people in their two weekend Awakening series. They didn't hit that goal. They passed it. In the past two weekends 1,044 people were baptized during the services at Elevation. Life-change. People taking the plunge to follow Jesus. That's what it is all about.

I just watched this video and read about Leo's story on Steven Furtick's blog. INCREDIBLE. You need to click here and watch it now. Seriously. Right now.


An Office Jewel...

I spent a lot of time this week packing and cleaning out my office. Just so you know, I despise both packing and cleaning. I'm just not sure which one I hate the most. But in the midst of the cleaning, sorting, and discarding I came across several random pages of old notes. One of them had to do with "Why Stillness Is Important." This morning I met with a great friend for breakfast and one of the first things he asked me was how my walk with God was going. Straight up and to the point. We all need those kind of friends. Then this afternoon I found these notes so I thought I'd share. I don't have a clue where I got them. For all I know, I may have made them up. But I doubt it. They may be notes of someone else's teaching. I honestly don't know. They were written on some notes that I recognize to be around 3 years old. In any case, I hope this encourages you, as it has me, to seek times of stillness with God.

Why Is Stillness Important? - Psalm 23:1-3
  1. God orders it. - Psalm 46:10 - What God has to say to us is worth waiting to hear.
  2. Wisdom prescribes it. - Ps. 51:6
  3. Survival depends on it. - Psalm 1:1-3 - Just as we need physical rest, we must have spiritual stillness.
  4. Success requires it. - Jeremiah 9:23-24 & Matthew 11:28-29

If you're like me, your life is busy. The temptation is to fool ourselves into always thinking that busyness = godliness. But it's a dangerous thing to get so busy that we forget to be still with God. I pray that this weekend we'll all be able to spend some still time with God.


The End of an Era and The Start of Something New...

We just got home from our last night at The Attic, our student ministry building. Our staff and students have called this old upstairs building home for the past year and a half. For a year before that, we were in the wilderness - bouncing from Sunday School rooms, to fellowship halls, to random homes. I couldn't help but hear the tune to Green Day's Closing Time as I walked out tonight...Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Over the past year and a half we have seen GOD do some absolutely amazing things in our ministry in this place. We've met in an old, musty, hot, old, ugly, hot building (did I mention old and hot?). And in that place, God showed up, week after week, and changed lives. And it's been amazing. So tonight, as Johanna and I close this chapter of our lives and step into the next chapter, I am overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions.

We've seen God move incredibly and we are grateful. And we will miss our relationships in this ministry. We've made lifetime friends and ministry partners that we'll charge the gates of hell with for a long time to come. But even in the midst of those feelings, we are looking forward to this next step with great anticipation. We are beyond excited about what God has in store for our future at The Connection Church. I am pumped about being a part of the TCC team and doing whatever it takes to reach people with the love and hope of Jesus. So tonight has become both a celebration of things done and a celebration of things to come...and I can definitely handle that.


Creators or Connoisseurs?

Over the past couple years in ministry I have noticed a growing trend: most churches and ministries are simply copying innovation and creativity. If you look at churches that are considered "cutting edge" the vast majority of them are simply copying their "creativity" from a very limited, few sources. Whether it's teaching series ideas, outreach events, or overall programming, it seems that there is a lot of copycat ministry that exists in the church today.

And here's my take on it. Innovation and creativity are hard work. Even for those who are naturally creative, innovation doesn't happen without work, time, and vision. That's why it's so easy to simply copy what someone else has done. And if all of our innovation and creativy are "borrowed" then it's not really innovative at all. After all, by definition, innovation is the creation of something new.

For the church, this ought to be alarming. After all, God is the ultimate Creator. He is the author and beginning of all things innovative and creative. It is from His being that all creativity flows. Unfortunatley, far too many times we settle for being connoisseurs of innovation, rather than creators of something new. It's a whole lot easier to copy someone else's new idea than to work hard enough and pray hard enough for God to give us something new.

In short, we've settled for being consumers of innovation instead of creators. I think that the author of creativity demands more from us than that.


The Weekend Update...

So here's a little recap of this past weekend in the life of Nic:
  • I spent most of Friday doing absolutely nothing. Seriously, it may have been the laziest day I've had in months!
  • Friday night Jo and I went to eat at Blake's in Luling. However, we made sure that we were back in time to catch the majority of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies...That stuff was KILLER. I feel for the nation that has to follow up that act. Wow.
  • Saturday was spent working on my sermon, cleaning out the Blazer, and working around the house...and more Olympics.
  • Today was by far the highlight of the weekend. I preached this morning and our student worship leader, Michael Pittman, led worship. Our 2nd service was ROCKIN! Absolutely incredible stuff.
  • I got to baptize two students today. One was a sophomore in our ministry and the other was his 9 year old little sister. AMAZING. The symbolism of the life-change that baptism represents gets me pumped up every time.
  • Tonight was our "going away" reception at the church. We had some worship time, some cookies and punch, and some sharing of memories. Good stuff.
  • After church we got to spend some time with some students and youth workers at Taco Bell just hanging out...had a great time.
  • I just finished up the weekend watching more Olympics, with the USA men's swim team coming back at the last second to stick it to France. Yeah baby!

That's the wrap up. I'm out.


Pray For Clara...

I'm not sure why I haven't posted this on here yet, but I have a friend who could definitely use our prayers. Clara was our children's minister at FLBC when I came on board and I absolutely loved serving alongside her. Over the past couple years that I've known her, and even longer than that, she's suffered from some incredibly painful headaches/migraines. A few months back they found out it was all caused by something called Chiari. To make a long story short, she and her husband Tim traveled to New York this past weekend for Clara to have major surgery. You can read all about it on their blog here. Clara's surgery is done but she's still recovering in the hospital and she, Tim, and the family are defnitely still in need of prayers. Thanks in advance!


Link Love...

Here some's links you definitely need to check out:
  • This (click here) might be the funniest blog I've read in months. My college roomate David Brown is a great writer and his post yesterday combined his mad creative writing skills and his almost scary love of music. If you're a Vanilla Ice fan, you've gotta' check it out.
  • My student worship leader Michael Pittman is now blogging. He is hands down the most talented worship leader, as a high school student, that I have ever served with. And he's hilarious. Click here to check out his blog.
  • Terrace Crawford posted this blog a few days back about 10 Ways A Church Can Show Students Love. It's really good stuff. If you work with students or attend a church and care about the students who go there too, you should check it out and pass it on.
  • I'm not a Packers fan, but you cannot go anywhere without hearing the Brett Favre/Packer drama. Even though Brett is now a Jet, I loved this post by Mark Batterson about the whole situation. I mean, c'mon...Favre is a legend.



Tony Morgan posted an interview (click here) with Seth Godin over on his blog. In the interview Seth makes this statement, and I thought it was definitely worth sharing:

Faith is never going to go out of style, and community is more important than ever. It’s just got to be relevant.

Good stuff. Seth Godin is speaking at Catalyst and I am pumped that I get to hear it. It should be really challenging stuff.


More Thoughts on Vision...

I had a great conversation with Phil Hamblin, pastor of Rhea's Mill Baptist Church a few weekends ago. Phil is a new friend and someone who I think is an incredible leader in the church today. We talked a lot about vision over that weekend and Phil said some things that I've been processing ever since. He said that churches, or any organization for that matter, are full of three types of people:
  • Those who can see the vision before it happens.
  • Those who can see the vision when it happens.
  • Those who will never see the vision, even when it is happening.

I think for far too long churches and pastors have allowed vision-stealers, those who refuse to understand or see the vision, to rob the church of God-sized visions. I get jazzed when I am around people who can see the vision before it happens. I can even go with people who need to be aided along to see things as they happen. But I quickly lose patience with those who refuse to see God's vision, even as it is becoming reality.

When it comes to God's vision for my ministry and for the church I lead and serve, I want to dream so big that people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them my dream of God's vision for the church. Because it is in those God-sized visions that God shows up and gets the most glory. And lives are changed!

**UPDATE** - After I posted this blog and my wife read it she pointed me toward a blog that Steven Furtick wrote last week about vision. Check it out here. Here's a quote about vision that Furtick made in the blog: "I’ve heard it said that if people have stopped laughing at your vision, you’ve stopped leading." Love it.

Redneck Stonehenge...

What do you do if your neighbors complain about the look and smell of living next to your farm? Well, if your Rhett Davis of Hooper, Utah you offer to split the cost of a fence between properties and even say that you'll build it yourself. But if that doesn't work? Then you build a fence by planting cars in the ground. That's exactly what Davis did in creating what he calls his "redneck Stonehenge." While he says it's just in fun and not to spite anyone, I doubt his neighbors are laughing. Check out the full article by clicking here.


Big Changes Ahead...

For some of you who are involved in the ins and outs of our daily life this is old news. But to some of ya' who keep up with Johanna and my life through this blog, we've got some BIG, EXCITING news to share.

This past weekend we shared with our church that we feel God has called us to make a move in our ministry. We've spent a ton of time praying about God's direction for us as we seek to follow Him and we feel confident that God is leading us to be a part of the team at The Connection Church in Kyle, TX. TCC is a church plant a litte over 3 years old that is rocking the Kyle area and beyond with the message and hope of Jesus. And we are stoked that God has opened the door for us to be a part of the team.

It has been a hard decision for us and one that's taken a lot of prayer. We love our students here in Lockhart and we will miss them greatly. Our team of youth workers here is incredible and I can't imagine a better team. We've got tons of memories and life invested in this place. But even though it's hard to say goodbye we are pumped about the next step that God has called us to.

I will be serving with Cole Phillips and Zak White, two incredible leaders and men of God, as well as with a ton of other great people on the TCC team. My official title will be Families Pastor and Johanna and I are excited about our role in helping TCC reach those who are far from God.

I'll be posting more details as they come about, but for right now we'd just ask that you pray for us as we make this move. And you can check out this video that Zak put together to show at TCC yesterday and check out his blog announcement here.