Friday, March 31, 2006

Feed ME!

Feed ME!
Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
Nathan figured since Brandon was allowed to eat the whole carton of ice cream that he should be allowed some as well. This is Nathan's best rendition of "FEED ME!"


Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
I probably wouldn't believe this so I won't be upset if you don't. In church it's hilarious that Nathan will raise his hands during the worship songs. Since Nathan was born I pray that he will understand God's love even now and will worship God with all of his heart and understand God at a young age. So I thought it ironic but figured he just loved to mimic people. This morning I put on a worship cd while I cleaned the kitched and Nathan finished up his breakfast in his high chair. Right when the lyrics said 'we stand and lift up our hands' Nathan raise his hand and kept it up. I thought it coinincidence but he kept doing it at different parts. He doesn't do this with other music...Frankly I think it's amazing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Iddo: My son's name is Nathan. We choose the name because it means "gift of God" and we really do view Nathan as a gift of God to us. I also really like the name Nathan because he of course was a prophet in the Bible that was prophet to King David and Solomon. I haven't told Heather yet but I thought we'd continue to use the names of non-writing prophets and specifically prophets that ministered to the kings. Abijah was the king that followed Rehoboam's son Abijah, a very godly king. The prophet that ministered during that time was named Iddo. So Iddo it is!

Gaze: For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him...2 Chronicles 16:9 (sorry it was wrong earlier)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Racism: I was working at Starbucks this morning and man I was into it. I don't think I've gotten as much done in 2 hours in a long long time. I guess the two african-american women talking at a table near me noticed because one of them asked me what I was working on so hard for such a long time. I explained to her I was a church planter in the area and I was working on a timeline to submit for friday. She told me where she went to church and gave me her opinion on what church was all about. She was a great lady and our conversation that followed was very good, it even drug in the other lady sitting with her. One of the most interesting topics that came up was racism in the church. She is the one that brought it up and was explaining to me that her church at one point was 100% black and white people were not welcome. She said one of the largest struggles her current pastor has had is teaching the elderly in the congregation that their racism will not be tolerated. She told me about some success in this area and it was just eye opening to me. It felt great that she would open up about such a typically taboo subject.

Name: I'm sick of calling people and getting a generic voicemail. "you have reached 757-988-4356..." At that point I hang up. If you won't take 5 minutes to set up your voice mail account I'm not taking 30 seconds to leave you a message. I want to be reassured it's you. Tell me your name, tell me something funny, witty or just plain stupid, tell me you're glad I called and that you want me to have a good day. I tell you back in my day...

Crazy?: I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure the lady sitting at the table in front of me is pretending her little tape recorder is a cell phone. Or maybe it really is a cell phone and she's getting her friend to dictate to her notes over her cell phone, on speaker phone in the middle of Starbucks.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Retreat:I was asked today to be one of the speakers at this years District Youth Retreat (Mid-Atlantic District of the C&MA). The retreat is May 19-21 and since I was planning on going anyway I'm even more excited. It really is a privilege because the guys that asked me know me very well, they know my flaws and weaknesses and they know my character and...they still asked me. I'm honored.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cult like behavior?

The fam
Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
Well here is the follow up to one of the pictures below. My Mom and her fiance, JD, are involved in time period reenactment. They portray business owners in the 1740's-1840's, think colonial Williamsburg. They are really into it and to be at the camp you have to be in time period garb as well. Which explains why I look like a fryar. What I can't explain is why it looks like I'm hiding a series of beachballs under my coat. I think you can click the picture and it will take you to a few other pictures we took this weekend.


Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
Here is a picture I I took of Nathan on Friday. He needs a haircut but he sure is cute. He's almost 13 months old now and I am continually amazed by him. That's not a typo in the title one of my nicknames for him is Nathanson...kind of like Danielson but I'm not a karate master. I can pretend.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

#1:As a church planter for my district I am assigned to preach at various churches around the district. Last week I was at a church in Richmond and generally I only do these about once a month it just worked out that this week I was at Portsmouth. But because Portsmouth is only a few miles from our house it wasn't a big deal. This morning I spoke on the glory of God and how his presence and glory is dependant on the condition of our heart. I started with a look at Solomon's temple and the promise God makes to Haggai about the rebuilding of that temple and then moved New Testament with Christ being the fulfillment of the temple and eventually believers being called the temple because we are know where the Spirit dwells. I felt this sermon needed to be preached and I was obedient to God in this but I had a hard time all week making it into managable piece I felt I could share. I like to put and individual spin on my messages with illustrations or props but was never able to get around to it this week. Either way I believe God honored my words and they penetrated the hearts of the people.

#2:Tonight I gave a message I had given twice before but was able to add some things this afternoon and felt it went better than ever before. Tonight our entire launch team and most of our LiFE Group was at the service and there was an excitement in the air. It was neat to have them there and have them hear and I think even realize the vision for Suffolk. My friend Brandon even shared a bit of his story during the question/comment time and his words are just affirming with what God is doing and is going to do through The Bridge Church.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
Now this...there is no explaination for this!

the ladies

the ladies
Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
I'll explain this later...

Baseball: We're one week away from opening day and we finally were able to use the game field. This was great because we were able to work our pitchers and take a game like batting practice and practice some game situations. I have definitely been working out a game strategy in my head and was able to put some of that to work. I have decided that we will be extremely aggressive on the bases and will test the catchers arm every chance we get. The other teams better know what's going on or we're going to burn them.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my players on base because we didn't look real good hitting today. But we have two practices left, Monday and Wednesday and then our first game next saturday at 1:30pm. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

LiFE Group: Thursday nights are our regular LiFE Group night. Last night I believe I counted 11 or 12 in our living room. We took a look at Philippians 3 and the passage where Paul talks about the race before us and the goal and prize we are running the race for. It is honestly one of my favorite passages because it is such a practical way to get a third person view or ourselves and how we are doing on our quest.

The best part of last night was when people began to open up and share how God is moving in their lives.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Practice: I'm a baseball coach for our local little league. I really do enjoy it very much and just enjoy the game of baseball and I enjoy the kids as well. 90% of them are teachable and it's so amazing to see them improving over the course of the past few weeks. Somedays it seems like from practice to practice they get better. Last night we were hitting and 2 of my least athletic kids where batting and I wasn't expecting much out of them, the first pitch Calvin really got a hold of and it went pretty far and pretty fast. I figured he got lucky. The next pitch he lined back at my face and again I figured he got lucky again. Turns out pitch after pitch he kept hitting really well. It was awesome. All of the kids, who know Calvin is a little slow were was I. Before long the kids were like Go Calvin...I think they were cheering him on to hit me in the face!

So about this practice issue. For some it seems to be optional. I have tried and must have failed because I can't seem to get across the point that if your kid get doesn't practice then he's going to be playing right field 2 innings a game.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Water

The Water
Originally uploaded by drnickcerda.
Here is shot of the creek by our house. I went for a little walk here this morning.

Encounter: Not the good kind- trust me. I have had 2 frisbee golfers confront me about playing baseball on "their" frisbee golf course. I really don't understand it because I'm not even where they would be throwing disc and it's a public park that has many other facilities besides a frisbee golf course. Today it escalated to swearing- fortunately it wasn't me doing the swearing...

It was a good lesson in "i am NOT".

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Freebie: I seem to remember the internet costing money at Starbucks. It's a t-mobile hotspot so it's a paid subscription but right now I'm on it for FREE. Weird but I'll take it.

Funny: Zechariah 5:7-8 Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! He said, "this is wickedness," and he pushed her back in the basket...
I got a good laugh out of that this morning.

Sunday: This Sunday is an important one for me personally. I am preaching at the church I grew up in, The Alliance Church of Portsmouth, VA. I remember back to when I was a kid looking up at the preacher in the pulpit and just wondering if I would ever get a chance to do that as a grown man. Sunday after Sunday God used the sermon time to help me realize my call to bring the scriptures to his people. Needless to say I'm looking forward to it. I'm a bit nervous because I'll be preaching at both the sunday morning and sunday night service, a first for me.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Nathan has this thing where he thinks it's absolutely hilarious to run around without his clothes on. I mean you let the kid run around the house a few times in the buff and he's happy for hours. He now tries to escape when we get his diaper off just so he can do the naked baby run.

I've been working out at the Y lately and of course this involves locker room changing. I have noticed that like Nathan these old men like to run around in the buff as well. It brings them joy. Sick!

MacBook Pro Wireless issues

Up and rolling. The guy at the apple store was incredibly helpful yesterday and he wasn't trying to sell me a bunch of crap I didn't feel I needed. He answered all of my pc to mac questions and told me he had just made the recent switch over. That fact alone helped me out a ton. He did tell me that MacBook Pro does not work with a linksys wireless router. Well seeing as that's the router I have here at the house I was slightly disgruntled but not enough to change my mind. So I get home last night and sure enough I can't get my new Mac on the wireless network. I played around with it for a good while and to no avail. Finally I gave up and took a shot at it this morning. With the help of my good friend Google I am now up and running on my home wireless network and I kept my linksys router. YES! Here is the link for anyone that might need this information in the future.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

World of Mac

I couldn't wait till tomorrow. While I do need to go to bed I had to share the news of my entering into the world of Mac. Today I bought my first mac and I am enjoying it. It will be a learning process but I already like some of the features that a pc doesn't offer. I got the MacBook Pro with an 80 Gb hardrive and I opted for the extra 512 mb of memory. Again...more specs tomorrow, just wanted to share the news.

Just having some fun with my new computer...more details tomorrow!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tonight at the hockey game we went public. Check out our name on the sign! We had a block of tickets and better than 30 come out to watch the game with us. It was a ton of fun...and we were on the sign.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Twins: My friend BJ has a friend named Brandon and as fate would have it I now have a new friend in Brandon. He's a great guy. They played golf today and I ate with them before they headed to play. BJ showed up to lunch looking...and then Brandon showed up looking...exactly the same as BJ. It was just weird and good for a laugh. Here is the ambiguoulsy gay duo now... or maybe the exotically gay duo. Who knows?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Currently reading: Breakout Churches by Thom Ranier- He was inspired and asked to write the book in the fashion of Good to Great by Jim Collins. I haven't even begun the first chapter and I've noticed the theme that was also in purple cow and that theme is good is not great. So basically good is bad. Purple Cow stated that great is bad remarkable is the only way to do. I'd say it's a matter of semantics and personal definations. But the truth and principal is clear.

Shust: He's getting plays on the radio all the time. Let's try this word of mouth epidemic thing. You can hear his songs on his myspace and add them to your own. Aaron Shust's myspace or

Monday, March 13, 2006

Purple Cow: At the recommendation of David Trotter's blog I grabbed a copy of Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I understand that this is a marketing book and I am a church planter. I also understand that I'm not exactly marketing my product but in many ways I am marketing a product only right now I'm not sure what that product is. Sure I know what the end goal is and should be. But I think if most churches are honest with themselves, even the growing ones they are marketing more than just changed lives. They are marketing arts in worship, children's program, exciting preaching, captivating and moving worship, etc.

There is one truth that gripped me and whether you are businessman, pastor, church planter, school teacher or any other profession that might encounter these words this truth applies to you. Things that are remarkable get noticed. People's lives are filled with so much stuff really most of us have everything we want in this world. So to offer us something new it better be remarkable. I feel a strong need to be remarkable. Not for my own good but because I believe in a remarkable God that changes lives in a remarkable way. Be remarkable today. It's not easy, cheap or always beneficial but it's always remarkable.

Seek: Oh God let this be a generation that seeks, that seeks your face...

Friday, March 10, 2006

From the Cup:
The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.
-- Anne Morriss

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

WBC: aka the World Baseball Classis is underway and I happened to catch a short bit of the Venezuela game yesterday. But this article was cool because it has two students from Olivet Nazarene where one of my former students goes to school.

Two other fans with split affections, Chris Eleiott (Yankees) and Paul Adams (Red Sox), expressed themselves by covering their bodies in Wal-Mart house paint. The two college students from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois were in Phoenix for spring break.
"I'm not quite sure everybody is as pumped up as we are," said Eleiott, a mini American flag painted across his face. "But we've been jacked about this for a while. It's sick. Have you seen the U.S. lineup? It's so sick. Ten to 20 years from now, this is going to be huge. And I'll be able to say I was at the first one."

Bonds: News flash in a new book coming out there might be more evidence that Barry Bonds knowingly took steriods to increase his game because he was jealous of the cracker Mark McGuire breaking the home run record. Read an editorial here. My question is did we really need a book to know this guy was taking steroids.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

8 Below: This post is delayed but still worth mentioning. Heather and I had a free babysitter on Thursday night so we decided to catch a movie. 8 Below was the only thing playing that look worth seeing. I'm not sure why I thought it was worth seeing, I don't think I had even seen a preview for it but I guess a friend recommened it and I thought we'd give it a shot. Granted it is a Disney Dog movie but I have to admit it was excellent. It had times of suspense and times of action and overall it was a really good movie.

Nametags: I've noticed in our visiting of so many churches that many churches put nametags on their staff. Staff being anyone doing a job of some sort. I'm not sure I really see the reason. If a greeter is greeting people then there is not need to describe her role because her actions are speaking for themselves. Really the only area these nametags seem like a good idea is with children that way people know they are leaving their children with "official" children's workers rather than some stranger with animal crackers and apple juice. I was thinking how funny it would be if we wore nametags with our mess ups on it not our positions. Moses' nametag would have said "murderer", David's would have said "adulter and murderer", yours would say...mine would say...

Saved by faith- covered by grace

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dedication: We had Nathan's dedication yesterday. We haven't seem to be in much of a hurry to get him dedicated but I figured we should try to do it before he started growing facial hair. In our tradition and from what I can find in the Bible this act of dedicating a baby or child is a reflection of the parent's heart to raise their child in a godly home and to raise their child in a manner pleasing to God. For Heather and I it seemed like a natural action. We have given our lives and our efforts to God why not our son. I view it as a covenant that I am trusting God to honor. I vow to raise my son as God leads and always pointing to the Father's love and I ask God to bring my son to saving faith at a very young age. Amen.

The "Online Bulletin Board" is up for the Athletics.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Baseball: After much searching both in the community and in my heart I finally dicovered a way to serve my local community. What's more amazing is that I also get to do something, well two things actually I am passionate about. I get to impact children and I get to coach baseball. I just got the official phone call I am now the manager of the Bennetts Creek Little League Minor League A's. I suppose I'll get a blog up for the A's but will mostly use it to annouce practices and keep the Kids up to date with stats and stuff...or should I use a myspace? Who knows?

I'm excited about the opportunity- I'm excited about the baseball!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Birthday: Today is Nathan's first birthday. What an amazing year this has been! I have understood the fatherhood of God more this past year than ever before in my life. It makes sense but the depth of love that a father feels for his son/daughter is unlike any other love on earth. Man and woman fall in love parents and children are born to love.

Nathan grows bigger and learns something new practically every day. My favorite thing he does is smile. He's been doing it for months now but I never get tired of seeing his toothy smile. In fact when he's doing something he shouldn't and I tell him no he smiles at me and I have to look away to keep from smiling back. My second favorite thing he does is give kisses. I worked on this for months with him, I'd kiss his cheek and then tell him to give me a kiss. Finally he did start giving big, wet, open mouth kisses on the cheek. Like any boy he doesn't do them all the time but when he won't give you one he smiles and knows he's being difficult. It's a win-win.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Space: Well I opened up a myspace. The Thinking Padre. Check it out- right now!

Commies: No not the canadians! It seems like the Soviets took a shot at Pope John Paul II back in 1981. No legal ramifications but DANG!

Starting Point: I'm not a huge fan of curriculum, meaning I've never bought a set and then used it verbatim but I do like curriculum for ideas and tweaking. I just ordered Starting Point by North Point Ministries and will be using this for our LiFE Group meetings for the next 6 weeks.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This is a picture my friend BJ took on his cross country tandem bike trip last summer. Thanks for the excellent picture! It says more to me than any words ever could.

400th: This is the 400th post of The Thinking Padre. I did some math. I have been blogging for a total of 632 days and have posted 400 times. That means (if I did it right) I am posting a blog roughly once every day and a half. I'm sure you are all wiser for knowing that.

Study: Last night we had our 4th Bible Study and I'm so encouraged to say we had 14 people. Every study I pray that we have more people this time than last and that we see some people "stick" from their first time coming. The night went very well and I find it so comically ironic how minor the Bible study portion is as opposed to the socializing and getting to know. I really wouldn't want it any other way because at the end of the night when people are driving home they don't say, man I learned a lot I can't wait till next time. Rather people are driving home and they say, I met a lot of nice people that were really interested in my life I can't wait to see them again...oh yeah I opened my Bible too...that's a good thing.

Morning: I set out this morning to spend some time in prayer for the Church Plant as well as my family and the members or our launch team. I went down to my favorite park and did succeed in praying for Nathan and Heather. It's when I pray for them I realize how much God does provide for us. As I was praying and began to pray for members of our LT I was finding praying very hard. That's not unusual becuase very ounce of my being rejects praying and it is a fight to pray for impact. But this time the interuption was God and I felt the sense to just be quiet and listen. So I walked and I listened and I ever anticipated how I was going to explain this on this blog. The idea was simple and the ramifications not much more complex...God said "I change lives. I don't apologize, I don't do it gently- I change lives. And I have called you here to be and advocate and catalyst for me changing lives. So I don't need you to apologize for me and I don't need you to tip toe around issues I need you to proclaim the idea that I change lives and there is not a life in existence that I cannot change. So strap yourself in and let's go."

So I did.