Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear Escondido,

I think I love you. I know. I know. It sounds crazy. But ever since we met, I haven't stopped thinking about you. There's so much for me to learn! What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? I just can't wait to get to know you more! To be with you. Until then, ~Nathan

Friday, March 26, 2010

"The Choice" by Max Lucado

He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground.

All of the Garden's inhabitants paused to witness the event. Hawks hovered. Giraffes stretched. Trees bowed. Butterflies paused on petals and watched.

"You will love me, nature," God said. "I made you that way. You will obey me, universe. For you were designed to do so. You will reflect my glory, skies, for that is how you were created. But this one will be like me. This one will be able to choose."

All were silent as the Creator reached into himself and removed something yet unseen. A seed. "It's called 'choice.' The seed of choice."

Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form.

An angel spoke, "But what if he ... "

"What if he chooses not to love?" the Creator finished. "Come, I will show you."

Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow.

"There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter."

The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and the burdens shared. He absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.

"Heaven has never seen such beauty, my Lord. Truly, this is your greatest creation."

"Ah, but you've only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter."

A stench enveloped the pair. The angel turned in horror and proclaimed, "What is it?"

The Creator spoke only one word: "Selfishness."

The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never had he seen such filth. Rotten hearts. Ruptured promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of the creation wandering blindly in lonely labyrinths.

"This is the result of choice?" the angel asked.
"They will forget you?"
"They will reject you?"
"They will never come back?"
"Some will. Most won't."
"What will it take to make them listen?"

The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until he stood by a tree. A tree that would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then he could smell the hay that would surround him.

With another step into the future, he paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler of a bald hill. The trunk was thick, and the wood was strong. Soon it would be cut. Soon it would be trimmed. Soon it would be mounted on the stony brow of another hill. And soon he would be hung on it.

He felt the wood rub against a back he did not yet wear.

"Will you go down there?" the angel asked.

"I will."

"Is there no other way?"

"There is not."

"Wouldn't it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn't it be easier to not give the choice?"

"It would," the Creator spoke slowly. "But to remove the choice is to remove the love."

He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind.

Men clad in soldiers' garb sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed.

Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant, cocky. They had protected God, they thought, by killing this false one.

Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill. Speechless. Faces tear streaked. Eyes downward. One put her arm around another and tried to lead her away. She wouldn't leave. "I will stay," she said softly. "I will stay."

All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command.

"It must be done ... ," he said, and withdrew.

But as he stepped back in time, he heard the cry that he would someday scream: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) He wrenched at tomorrow's agony.

The angel spoke again. "It would be less painful ... "

The Creator interrupted softly. "But it wouldn't be love."

They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within him. He had died for the creation before he had made him. God's form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks fleshened. A finger moved. And an eye opened.

But more incredible than the moving of the flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped.

Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the star saw that moment is what has made it blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it:

"It looks like ... it appears so much like ... it is him!"

The angel wasn't speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside—at the soul.

"It's eternal!" gasped another.

Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created earth's mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

Now it's our choice.

From In the Eye of the Storm
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1997) Max Lucado

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Today I met with a kid who used to be a resident in the cottage I managed. I haven't seen him in about ten months. Some of the things I tried to teach him seems to have kinda stuck. He's grown. And wants to grow more. And it looks like I'm gonna have the opportunity to mentor him again in a different capacity. He insists on still calling me Mr. Nathan, like he had to back at the facility. Thats gotta change. Just plain 'Nathan' is fine, thanks. 'Nate' works, too. His life is pretty much a wreck. But somehow in that mess, he's trying to find his way. I have a feeling the Way is going to find him. God does that. And I can't wait to watch!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Heart for Haiti

Want more info about H.O.P.E ? Go HERE. Wanna join Ashley Anne and help, too? Visit CSI Ministries' website!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Season of: Visting the In-Laws

The Harris' make their way down south for another visit with Kimberly's brothers and father, but this season's visit was like none before. The Harris' stay with brother Allen and wife Shannon (and shelties Monty and Charlie) and enjoy their hospitality and the comforts of their beautiful new home. Kimberly and Nathan speak face to face with the whole family for the first time about their upcoming move to Escondido, CA and bring along a memento for them t0 be remembered by; their cat Winnie. Allen and Shannon graciously answer pleas to take the cat, as the Harris' fear they will not find a leaser in CA welcoming of all three of their pets. Kimberly's father, Gary, makes more appearances in this season than ever before, and has a heart-warming moment with Kimberly as he expresses concern for the Harris' plans to move west. Kimberly shops at her favorite used bookstore, McKay's, and finds herself somewhat disappointed with changes the store has made since the Harris' last visited in June 09. Brother Mick and wife Leigh, newly weds of the family, sit down with Kimberly and Nathan to catch-up, sharing about the comings and goings of life since last season. Mick salvages all pictures and data from Nathan's damaged laptop, but declares the machinery dead upon arrival. No season would be complete without appearances from the nieces, Katie and Steph, who enjoy craft-time with Kimberly and join Nathan to play ball with the dogs. The finale begins with a cook-out hosted by Mick and Leigh, where the family gathers and enjoys good food and conversation, and celebrates the nieces' upcoming birthdays. The Harris' are presented with a gift from Mick and Leigh in support and encouragement of their upcoming endeavors in ministry, and fun is had by all when the family sits to play the game Loaded Questions. Kimberly and Nathan fail to make farewells with their cat, Winnie, and stow her away in their SUV for the return home. Allen and Shannon generously offer to later reclaim the cat if an accommodating home in CA can't be found. Kimberly and Nathan find it difficult to express their gratitude to Allen and Shannon for their great hospitality and understanding. The season ends on somewhat of a sad note as the Harris' share that they will probably not return for another visit until after next year. With more laughter than ever before, this is one season of Visiting the In-Laws you won't want to miss!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bouncing Betty

Today Allen introduced Kimberly and I to his friend Danny, who, in turn, introduced us to his dog Betty. Betty is a police dog specially trained to sniff out bombs. When she smells a bomb, she sits down so that the police officers know where it is and can disarm it. Betty not only works with Danny daily, but lives in his home with him and his wife. Although Betty is not specifically trained as an attack dog, she does have a knack for scarring the UPS man.

So Far . . .

Below are some pics from my phone of our trip. Kimberly and her nieces had a blast doing crafts yesterday, and we all enjoyed meeting for lunch. We've stopped by and spent time at her dad's house a few times, and his cat Tiger Boy watches me like a hawk! We've also got to take Kimberly's brother Allen to work and check things out, seeing what he does every day. Its been really warm, so I think Friday will be grill-out day! Mmm!

Just a few more days left, then it'll be time to hit the road!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No. More. Air-Mattress. Please.



-I'm starting to get really sad about leaving Winnie ;o(

-Today was a lot fun spending time with our nieces!

-LOTS of pictures to post when we get home!

-My brother-in-law retrieved ALL files from my dead Mac and put them on my external hard-drive!

-Its been fun and encouraging to share about Escondido with everyone. Mostly.

-Today I ate an entire bag of Hunting Eggs. Mmm.

-I miss our bed.

-Next week I need to refocus in regards to . . . everything.

-My Fanta-phase might be coming to an end.

-I'm exhausted. Many things are overrated. A good nights' sleep isn't one of them.

-TV is addictive. I forgot how much so.

-Little children singing raunchy, sexually explicit songs makes me angry and sad.

-Not even a week away, and I miss my Muncie, Farmland, and Winchester peeps!

-Umm, that might be it for now. I think.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hasta la Vista, Winnie

Today, Kimberly and I are headed down to the southern Tennessee, northern Georgia area to visit her brothers and father. And we are taking Winnie. To leave her there. Yep. About 6 or 7 years ago, we brought home a cat from my parents barn and named her Tootsie. We had roommates at the time, who also had a cat. When we moved into our own apartment, Tootsie meowed. All. Night. Every. Night. We chalked it up to loneliness, and adopted Winnie from Pet Smart to keep Tootsie company, which seemed to do the trick. Well, the following year, some scrappy little thing started showing up around our doorstep, and I, being the sucker I am, convinced Kimberly we should take it in. And so, Mona became a part of our family. She, by the way, is no longer scrappy, but by far the most . . . robust out of the 3. One cat is annoying. Two cats are occupied. Three cats are a pet shop. We love them all. They're animals, I know. But . . . Anyway, its just not feasible to move across the country with three cats. We initially planned to only take Tootsie to California with us, but then we recalled the displeasure it was to awake to her lonely song each night. So, two it is. Winnie is the most laid-back, easy going cat out of the 3. As long as she has a water bowl and a comfy place to lay (and perhaps the occassional vigorous brushing with a fine-tooth comb), she's content. Its sad, but she'll be the easiest to satisfy in a new home, and I know Kimberly's family will love her and take good care of her. So . . . sniff, sniff . . . hasta la vista, Winnie!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails Love is not proud / Love does not boast / Love after all / Matters the most / Love does not run / Love does not hide / Love does not keep /Locked inside Love is the river that flows through / Love never fails you Love will sustain / Love will provide / Love will not cease / At the end of time / Love will protect / Love always hopes / Love still believes / When you don’t Love is the arms that are holding you / Love never fails you When my heart won’t make a sound / When I can’t turn back around / When the sky is falling down / Nothing is greater than this / Greater than this Love is right here / Love is alive / Love is the way / The truth, the life Love is the river than flows through / Love is the arms that are holding you / Love is the place you will fly to / Love never fails you

Thursday, March 4, 2010


A new ministry opportunity might be making its way towards me very soon, and I'm so excited. I've really been blessed in this season of life to be relieved of past responsibilities and stressors, but my heart is beginning to yearn to again walk alongside the crushed in spirit; sharing in their burdens as Christ has my own, and through doing so, sharing His love.

Aaron and Melissa Black: Right There

When we first began our walk with Christ, they were right there. As life itself seemed to be crumbling all around us, they were right there. When I found myself in a leadership role facing challenges I had never even imagined before, they were right there. Yesterday, our spiritual growth group gathered to celebrate and make farewells to Aaron and Melissa Black as their departure date quickly approaches. They've been called to be full-time missionaries in Jamaica, where, undoubtedly, they will be right there; doing life and loving on people in a certain way that only they can. God will be glorified. His Kingdom will grow. Aaron and Melissa will be right there. And what a blessing its been to be in community with them!
* If you're interested in making a financial gift to support the Black's ministry, please go HERE for information. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bud &Flourish

Isaiah 55:10-11 “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Does the Teshuva Do Up in the 3:7?

The youth group, called the Teshuva. In the youth room, called the 3:7. Learning about what it means to be a God lover. And a stunt man.


Borrowed from John Gardner via FaceBook: "Dim lights trigger moral transgressions in many people, a new study suggests." Did we really need a study to find this out? This is NOT something new. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." - John 3:20 Nice.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Today I was blessed to open this piece of mail; "To Whom it May Concern, My daughter, who is four years old, wanted to do something for the children of Haiti after the earthquake. We prayed for the people of Haiti and she wanted to make pictures for the children there to cheer them up. I did some research online and found the HOPE Orphanage and thought that it would be a wonderful place to send her drawings. It is so great to see what you are doing for the children! I hope that this brings brings some joy . . ." CSI Ministries HOPE Orphanage

Eleven Years Ago Today

Eleven Years ago today, I asked Kimberly to be my girlfriend, And thankfully, she said "yes."