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My Wedding Day

October 12, 2012

Today I have the honor of marrying my sweet wife Melissa.  This is a day I have waited for – sometimes impatiently – for many years.  I have longed to have a wife far longer and more deeply than anything, short of my desire to be in heaven with my Lord.  And now by God’s grace I will marry the wonderful woman that God has brought to me.

I am awestruck when I look at the imagery and symbolism of a wedding day in Scripture. Read more…



December 18, 2011

Four months have gone by since I last wrote – though not from lack of inspiration.  I’ve been quite occupied with many things, and figured that my birthday is as good of an opportunity as any to break the silence.  Today I turn twenty-eight years old, and would like to take this opportunity to look back over this past year and think on what God has led me through.

The most significant change in my life over the past year has been my girlfriend of seven months now – Melissa.  She has been a constant grace to me, she is a gentle and kind listener, a faithful encourager, a patient and trusting friend, and she has sharpened me in countless ways over the past seven months.  I am immensely thankful that God has seen fit to allow us this time together, and I am excited about where he is leading us.  Before Melissa and I began dating, it had been three years since my last relationship, and five years prior to that.  God has been so gracious during that time to shape me and grow me – I can say with much weight behind these words:  God is good and faithful, through the dark and sorrowful seasons as well as the light and joyful times.  Know his voice, trust his Word, and have faith in his sovereign plan through all seasons.

Another more recent shaping of my life is that in mid-November I left my position at Wyndham to begin working for one of the elders at my church – Blake.  Blake and his wife Debbie own several companies and were in the market for someone who could help them organize and run at least one of them.  I’m primarily helping Blake run his gravel-hauling business, but I’ve also filled in somewhat for his church furniture manufacturing business. So for the last month I have learned far more about business, budgets, learning quickly, and adapting to completely new and different environments than I thought possible.  Though I am very thankful for my time at Wyndham, I must say that I am in a much better position that utilizes my gifts, helps me grow and prepare for my ultimate calling to be a pastor, and God has seen fit to have me work with very godly generous people who make a personal investment into every aspect of their lives.  I’m learning, I’m being stretched on a daily basis, and I am thankful to see the Lord guiding my employment opportunities over the past year to have me arrive at this place.  I also look forward with eager anticipation to see where he will lead in the future.

I feel as though I have settled into life in Missouri now.  I’m leading in several capacities at LifePoint Church, I’m making progress in many areas of my life, and I get to see God at work in and through my friends as well.  I could go on and on about the smaller and larger graces that God has blessed me and my friends and family with over the past year, but suffice it to say that he is good and he does good.  Several friends have gotten married (I even got to officiate one of them!), several friends have become parents and others are expecting to meet their children for the first time very soon.

So as I turn another year older today I celebrate not only another year come and gone with many evidences of God’s grace, but also look forward with anticipation to what God will do in the coming year(s).  It seems as though the melancholic season that was my mid-twenties is now behind, and God has given me the good grace of celebration and thankfulness for this season.  I pray that I do not take this time for granted, and that I give God the glory for what he has done.  Whether you are in a similar time of celebration and change, or whether you are in the darker and more trying times, I pray that you too will see that God is good and does good; he is ever-faithful.

July in Review

August 20, 2011

So now that I’ve had a little bit of time to breathe and collect my thoughts about last month, I’d like to review what God has seen fit to let me do these last few weeks.

July started off with a bang – I had the immense honor and pleasure to officiate my very first wedding for some dear friends Corey and Alli Claunch down in Austin, Texas.  It was a beautiful wedding, and despite the fact that I dropped the rings (twice) I felt as though things went really smoothly for my first time out.  I got to see lots of old friends and loved celebrating with them in such a worshipful atmosphere. During that trip I also had the joy of introducing Melissa (my girlfriend of three months now) to Texas history and culture.  We visited the Texas state capitol building and I recounted a few stories and nuggets from Texas history, and we had a great time together. Read more…


June 28, 2011

So I have come to the realization that July is going to be insanely busy for me.  Aside from work, my involvement at LifePoint, and a certain lady who takes up a fair amount of my time as of late, I have a lot of things on my plate.

First, I am traveling down to Texas (the Austin area) this weekend to do my first (of hopefully many) wedding!  My dear friends Corey and Alli are getting hitched, and I get to do the hitching.  I will also be preaching on community at LifePoint Center City on July 24th at the evening service.  Toward the end of the month I will again make the trek to Texas, but this time it will be to Abilene and the Fort Worth area.  The Abilene portion will involve my grandmother’s 90th birthday, a family reunion, videotaping interviews with my long-time mentor Jack Ridlehoover.  I will head over to Fort Worth to preach at CityView Church on the 31st, and I am both honored and very excited to be preaching on of Romans 3:9-21 at my old home church.

Things at LifePoint have definitely been gearing up in the last couple of months.  I’ve taken on a couple of people that I’ll be walking through the process of Gospel Coaching with, and I will also be launching and leading a new community group for LifePoint Center City.  Not to mention I’ve also been slated to lead the discussions for Aspire (the theological training class at LifePoint) and we have our first class and first round of papers due on the 10th.

All of that to say, first I would appreciate your prayers.  It is no small task to labor in God’s Word for preaching, and I pray that he would lead those times with me faithfully so that I might glorify him with the voice and mind he has given me.  Second, I would appreciate your patience – I am simply overwhelmed at this point and do not plan on updating this blog during the month of July.  I do plan on writing and posting my thoughts and reactions when time permits, but I doubt it will be before August.

Thank you for reading, thank you for the encouragement along the way, and thank you for praying for me.

Death to Life.

– NJ

Ephesians 2:11-21

June 23, 2011

Last week (I know I’m a week behind) Lane walked us through a really cool text that continues along Paul’s really tight line of thinking.  One of my favorite things about the way Paul wrote Scripture is how his logical, well-reasoned thinking presents excellent arguments and theology for the first few chapters (especially Ephesians), and then he works off of those themes and draws out applications for the last few chapters.  Last week we saw yet another step toward building the theology that he will ‘mine’ for the rest of his treatise. Read more…

Ephesians 2:1-10

June 13, 2011

So this past week (6.5.11) Lane walked through an immensely important passage of Scripture and brought out a few solid key points.  Over the last couple of months as we’ve dug into the first two chapters of Ephesians, I’ve been struck at the beauty of how our God serves us and loves us.  It’s so easy a lot of the time to take that love for granted and to just bypass all of the blessings that God has poured out on us.  But when I take a closer look at my life and dive into Scripture and really read the text for what it says and means, I am overwhelmed by the God who has chosen me and enabled me to love and glorify him.  And then, as I think about my life and how God’s sustaining and persevering grace has grown and shaped me over the course of my 27 years, I cannot help but worship him.  Which is exactly where Lane took us this past week.

Read more…

Ephesians 1:15-23

May 28, 2011

Last week (5.8.11) Lane touched on several distinguishing factors for our life in Christ – essentially what God has done for us.  We saw that God has chosen, predestined, forgiven, obtained, and sealed us.  I ended that post by saying what I’m praying for and through – that God would give me a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and that I would be thankful for all that God has done for me.  That coincidentally was a great segue into this past week’s text in the last half of Ephesians 1.

Read more…