Wednesday, February 3, 2016

29 going on 30

Wow! I cannot believe I am going to be 30 this Friday. It is crazy to think that I am already done with 29 years, and entering into the middle portion of my life. I know for many of you reading this you may say "Nick, you aren't that old" or "you have the best years ahead of you," but for some reason I can't help but reflect on what has occurred in my life these past years. So I wanted to share just some momentous years from this past decade with you. So sit back and check out some of the high points in the last ten years!
  • I enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in 2006.
  • I graduated college in 2009.
  • I began a temporary career in security in 2009 that resulted in learning some pretty cool stuff and meeting some incredible people.
  • I bought my first new car in 2011. Wrecked it, and bought another.
  • I began working as a senior pastor at a church in New Egypt, New Jersey in 2011.
  • I got my own place for the first time ever in 2011. It wasn't the prettiest but I struck out on my own!
  • Elise and I began dating in 2012.
  • I moved to Iowa in 2012.
  • Elise and I became engaged in 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
  • Elise and I got married on July 13, 2013!!!
  • Elise and I took our first trip together outside of the country to Jamaica in 2013.
  • I accepted a position at Parkview Church in Iowa City working with their Student Ministry Program.
  • Elise and I relocated to Iowa City in 2013.
  • I helped to orchestrate the biggest high school outreach for Parkview that is now entering its third year.
  • I took my first missions trip since college to Belize in 2014.
  • Elise and I celebrated our one year anniversary.
  • Elise and I began sponsoring our Compassion Child, Subhashree, in 2015.
  • Elise and I went on vacation to Mackinaw.
  • Elise and I celebrated two years of marriag.
  • I began my pursuing a dream of obtaining my Masters in Biblical Counseling with a Youth and Family emphasis.
  • I started formulating the outline for a book proposal on holistic counseling for those who have walked through abuse, the abuser, and their families.
Call it a bit of nostalgia or reminiscing or Facebook flooding me with memories or whatever, but these past ten years have been pretty good to me, and because of that I think I do not want to let go. I think that is the way many of us lead our lives. We stay focused on the past. Things worked this way in the past so we must continue to do them this way, even if a newer way may be more effective. We had our best years behind us, and fear the future. We are getting older and weaker and our bodies don't work like they used to. As I sat here reflecting on my past, as amazing as it was, I realized that this mentality was rooted in something: fear. Fear of the future. Fear of aging. Fear of becoming irrelevant. Fear of the end. Fear of not meeting goals. Fear of failing. You name it, fear has become the master of our lives. But why is that? Why is this rooted there?

Have you ever noticed fear being used in the Bible? Have you also noticed that it is usually used within the context of "fear not"? God knows that we as humans fear. We fear disease, famine, wars, ISIS, terrorism, cancer, death, the afterlife, school, tests, tomorrow, interactions, loss, being told no, our mirror, our true selves. But the crazy thing is that in the midst of all this fear God tells us to fear not.

Fear not. It is a funny phrase. Fear not. Literally do not fear. But why shouldn't we fear? Isaiah 41:10 says this: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. We don't have to fear because the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, I am, Jehovah, the Creator, the Everlasting God will always protect us and see us through things.

Thirty is a new milestone for me. It symbolizes the unknown, a new road to follow, getting older and hopefully wiser, more life changes. In the midst of it all I am vowing to FEAR NOT! And because of that I decided to make a list, not a bucket list, but a list of things that in faith I believe God will accomplish in this next decade of my life. So here ya go:
  • Elise and I will celebrate ten years of being married and many more after that!
  • I will graduate with my masters.
  • I will begin actually writing and potentially publishing one of my books.
  • I will continue to allow God to use me as a minister for His kingdom.
  • Elise and I will see God grow our family.
  • Elise and I will get a dog.
  • I will pay off my debt.
  • Elise and I can sponsor more Compassion Children.
  • Elise and I will travel more.
  • The ministry I serve in will grow and impact people with the Gospel.
  • I will grow in my knowledge of God.
  • I will grow in my knowledge of counseling.
  • I will help family members come to know Jesus.
So here is to turning thirty! Not just another year older. Not just more gray hairs. Not feeling aged. But trusting God to continue to work in my life and use me as His hands and feet to bring this world to know the saving power of grace. 

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