Thursday, August 31, 2006

Backpack: When I was a young teenager I was at my friends house and we started watching this movie. The lead actor was in really good shape and every morning he would get up and put on a backpack and would go for a run. The crazy thing is that the backpack was filled with bricks. So every morning this guy would get up and put on a backpack filled with bricks and go for a run. He was tough. Sometimes he would add bricks because it wasn't heavy enough but he never took out bricks, only added them.

Then one morning he takes his brick filled backpack and forget to look both ways as he crosses the street and WHACK he gets hit by a car. He is paralyzed from the waist down or maybe from the neck down...I don't remember. Then I think there was something about a white faced was a long time ago.

Sometimes I get to feeling real responsible for life. I feel responsible for The Bridge Church and guaranteeing success for the church. I feel responsible to change people's lives to connect people to God. I think on the surface those are pretty good things to feel responsible for and sometimes it is. But then I get to feeling too responsible and rather than conduit or a vessel of these things I must be the initiator and creator of these things. I assume the role of God. I remove God from his throne in my life and in other's lives and I feel responsible to take over. I put on my brick filled backpack, which as illustrated by the guy in the movie probably isn't such a good idea. I might get attacked by monkeys.

The backpack isn't mine and it's a ridiclous burden to think I can carry. It will go on for a few days and I start getting tired and I feel these bricks jabbing into my back and I start thinking all this work just isn't fair and this responsiblity just isn't good. Then I realize I'm carrying that darn backpack again and I ask God to take it off of me and to carry it for me.

Taking the pack off is generally harder than putting it on. God gives his grace though and he's carrying it again for me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Way Off: You know I don't think I've ever had anyone tell me when I shared with them a new thought I've had "Nick, You're way off!" Even in a bible study sometime someone will share something (is that ambigious or what?) and what they share will be so off kilter and wack I barely contain my facial expression and I'll try to gently try to help them refocus their thought but I've never told someone straight out that they were way off and living poor theology and had a wrong view of God. Not saying I'll start I just wonder if there's a place for that.

Plan B further thoughts on faith: I finished the book and as I was reading it I would wonder why I was still reading it and I concluded that I wanted to finish so I could fell justified when I wrote this blog entry. I think Anne Lamott is a very creative, endearing and interesting writer. I really do enjoy her writing style but not so much her content. Maybe it's because she's west coast and I'm east coast. Maybe I'm just not hippie, left, or pessimistic enough to get it this time. But honestly I don't live in the sky is falling world she lives in. Life is just not that bad for me. I do value her consistent idea that God brings hope and that God uses mankind to be instruments of hope in this dark world. I agree with that.

There were certainly other truths I got from her book. For instance she talks about how she talks to her son and how nasty she can be with him and him with her. She says that she talks with him that way because...she can. That got me thinking about how family will treat family sometime. How the ones we spend the most time with and the ones we love the most can be the ones we treat the worst. We do it because, like Anne says, we can. We talk to a stranger that way and they would punch us in the face but we talk to our children that way and they have no choice but to take it. The thought has stayed with me and I want to learn from it. I want to treat my family better than I treat perfect strangers.

Nathan Son: Heather and I took a day off yesterday and went up to a state park about an hour from our house. It's right on the river so there is a beach and the river is huge so the water is calm and shallow. Nathan played in the water, I went fishing and we had a great time. It's amazing how much Nathan already wants to do what I'm doing. When I was fishing he wasn't happy until Heather made him a fishing pole from a stick complete with line and a bobber.

Last night I was playing with Nathan and I threw some folded socks at him. Well he smiled and threw what he was holding at me. Which happened to be his drink. Oops.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back to School: Yesterday in Kempton Park we hosted a back to school party for our neighborhood kids. We were joined by New Hope Christian Fellowship (Va Beach) and they helped us set up, run the games, and clean up afterwards. We used the pool area and had registration, craft, photo area, games, snack and checkout which awarded prizes for "bridge bucks" that were won playing the games. The kids played the games and cashed in their bucks for really cool school supplies. We had great attendance despite the sweltering heat and all of the kids and parents had a great time. We made good contact with our neighbors and will be following up with this this week about The Bridge and how they can join us.

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This is our photo area which our resident interior decorator, Kristina, decorated. It looks great!

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Sunday: Sunday afternoon and it's almost 1. We hit the early service at one of my friend's church and we've been home more than 2 hours now. I'm preparing for my fantasy football draft tonight and throwing down a little blog entry.

Love: I been told twice this week that it's apparent how much I love God and the way I live seems to inspire others to desire a better relationship with Christ. I hope this confession is appropriate. I really do love God but honestly I'm not sure how much that matters. What matters is how much God loves me. I'm sure it's not a popular thought but sometimes I follow Christ out of obligation. That might not sound romantic, or lovely or even desirable but it's the truth. I do love God and there are times in my walk with him that I feel God but right now in my life, I don't feel very close to him. Nothing changed, no sin, not even apathy, I'm laboring for the gospel day in and day out and I don't feel God.

But I believe growth is developed in the valleys and the not feeling very close to God is one of the ways we experience the valley.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Prayer: Heather and I pray before every meal and that includes us holding hands across the table and praying for our food. Nathan normally gets quiet but doesn't pray and every now and again he'll want to hold hands with us.

Yesterday we were eating Chickfila at the mall and we prayed like normal. About halfway through the meal Nathan reached for both of our hands and he quickly bowed his head, shut his eyes real tight and said a few words. What he said we have no idea but he said his first prayer. Then for dinner he did it again. It's his new trick and it's funny as heck. He shuts his eyes real tight and says a few words. His prayers are about as long as mine, 2.5 seconds.

Friends: It's nice to hear from old friends, especially old friends that have been reading my blog. So shout out to Phil Horner- Press on!

Ask for Help: I'm not an ask for help person by nature, I'm assuming most guys aren't. But I've learned to ask for help. I mean for heavy lifting and moving I'm quick to ask for help but say audio set up or electronics "I got this yo". But I'm finding somethings are much quicker when you ask for help especially if you've never done it before. So just today I called up a friend from my old youth group who has experience in sound and he talked me through the set up process for the sound equipment I need to use tomorrow. Thanks Jon, baby huey, sloth, super sloth, super duper, you're the best!

Back to School: No, not me, at least not yet. But we're hosting a back to school party for our neighborhood tomorrow. This is our first preview event and we are previewing children's ministry and community. It's going to be a great day and I'll have pictures by monday.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Books: Two new books to comment on. I finished reading the first and am currently reading the second.

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones- I'm not sure Andy Stanley can write a bad book and I'm fairly certain it's because he has surrounded himself by a team of people that are exceptional and they contribute mightly to his success. This book is a great book and I'll even call it a must read for communicators in the church. Lately I have been pondering and kind of exploring the idea of communicating from the pulpit. Mostly I have been aware of the drastic difference in the types of speaking I've been doing lately. In the past few months I have spoken at a 400 person youth retreat, I've spoken in churches to fundraise, I've spoken in churches in the traditional preaching mode, I've lead group devotionals and I've done little 10 minute blips at a informal beach retreat.

I want to be an excellent communitor. I want to be one of the best and I've decide that I'm willing to make this a goal and work on it.

Because of this I've been listening to communicators that I've found effective and I determine their effectiveness by how much I'm impacted by their messages. I also listen to young and upcoming communicators to hear them to be impacted but also to tune my ear to what might be annoying or ineffective that they do that I probably do. But basically I could flounder in the dark on this quest for the next 15 years...

and I still might. But this book, Communicating for a Change, is a great tool to help me on my way. Andy Stanley is one of my favorites and I highly value what he says, in spoken and written word. If you are a communicator buy this book, if you desire to be a communicator one day or get a shot every now and again at this pulpit then buy this book.

Plan B- Further thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott- let me say I really liked her previous book Travelling Mercies. It came at a good time in my life. So perhaps this books timing just isn't right or perhaps its her incessant whining about George W. Bush. I'm on chapter 7 and she has mentioned once per chapter that the president has ruined her life, thrown her into a depression, or caused her to not want to live anymore. Suck it up cream puff. I mean seriously I'm not a real big fan of our boy George right now but when politics can have so much control over your life I think you need to reevaluate life. Step back and take a long hard look. But then again it's fun to be popular and it's fun to say cynical and popular things. But Anne is bigger than that, or so I thought.

Which leads me to my weekly left/right conversation...

I've heard it say if you're not a liberal in your 20's you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative by the time you're 50 you have no brain.

Theology: Theo- of or relating to God or deities. Logy- dull and heavy in motion or thought; sluggish. (I know it really means "study of" but this definition is real and seems a bit more appropriate right now in my life). This whole emergent thing I'm largely able to ignore. Rarely is it showing it's head and while I think we see characterisitics of it in life especially in the under 30 crowd it is still largely...not relevant. Here's why I say this. I'm not an opponent of Emergent and for a while I took a long hard look at it and I ran with the pack of emergent theology, I read some books, I tasted the bait. Now I've back off a little, not as an opponent but not as a buyer either.

As I understand it people want to follow someone who stands for something. They want a leader that is...a leader. They want someone to tell them everything is going to be ok and if it's not going to be ok then that's ok, life will go on. People want answers more than questions. They want to know how to be holy and what to do to hear from God. Taken to an extreme this is dangerous but handled correctly and biblically I don't think this is wrong at all. Afterall Jesus did tell his disciples everything would be ok, but not in the ok they originally thought. Jesus ok not disciple ok.

God is mysterious and following him sure does seem like a paradox a bit more often that I'm comfortable with but we aren't left out here without answers. We aren't on a mystical journey through the fog, we are on a tough journey through the valley. Our destination is clear and our objective is clear.

This is all a semi-reaction to some stuff I've been reading and hearing so to most observers I'm just ranting an answer that noone is asking...I'll do more to clarify later.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Vietnam Wall: This memorial continues to be my favorite. I think that's too much of a positive word for such a sombering monument so perhaps I should say it contines to be the monument that stirs my heart the most. It's not fancy, just a list of names of those dead, but more than that I think it's the things left at the wall. I only know about Vietnam what I've read or seen in movies and tv shows. But I can still feel the pain when I visit and I can see the sense of loss and remorse from soldiers both past and present.

We were involved in conflict in Vietnam for 16 years, I'm sure the casualties didn't seem like more than a few thousand those first few years but before they knew it the numbers totalled in the tens of thousands and then finally equalling almost 60,000.

2604 American's killied in action in Iraq as of August 18, 2006.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Trip: Here's a little photo blog of baseball extravaganza 2006. It was much fun spending the weekend with Robbie, Brandon, and BJ.

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This was stop number 1- RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. The Nats got beat in a 4 hit shutout loosing to Atlanta 5 to 0. RFK is a dump but the Nats are my team so I had a good time...and thanks to Byron (formerly known as BJ) I got a free pencil set to commemorate the event.

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The fellas at the game.

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This was the next stop, DC at night. We walked from the Smithsonian metro stop to the Lincoln Monument to the White house to our hotel up on Thomas Circle. It was quite the hike but I got to see my favorite monument, The Vietnam Wall. I think I'll post a separate blog entry for this.

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Tomb of the unknown soldier. It has been guarded 24 hours a day since 1930. The guard must be between 5'10"-6'4" and his waist no larger than 30", they take 21 steps and pause for 21 seconds. Their first 6 months of service they can't speak or watch tv. To wear the honor guard pen they cannot drink alcohol or swear in public for the rest of their life. Wow!

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I liked this picture of me. I'm giving my pope blessing to the masses!

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This is Camden Yards. Baltimore won 7-2 and we saw a few homeruns jacked, it was great. Camden is a great ballpark and I think rivals any in the country.

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Baltimore inner harbor at night.

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If you look very closely you can see it. There is a tv taped between the two front seats. I'm talking about a 13" regular plug in tv taped between two seats.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Here they all are thrown together.

the last few days have been crazy, crazy excellent but crazy all the same tomorrow marks the start of baseball extravaganza two major league cities in one sweet trip my only regret is that all the guys from the bridge won't be coming with us but i know we'll do it again nathan rode a motorized scooter today as well as a motorcycle not bad for a 17 month old i'm going to start a new blog to attach to our website when i get back from basefest

i think that's all for now

cerda out

Monday, August 14, 2006

Preacher: I wanted to give a brief comment on a man that passed away early Thursday morning, Rev. Earl Freeland. Rev. Freeland was the first pastor that I had and while I was only 7 years old when he retired I still can remember some of the stories he told during his sermons. He is the man that performed the ceremony for my sister's wedding. More importantly it was his sermon 21 years ago that the Holy Spirit used to stir my heart and that night I prayed to Christ and told him to be Lord of my life...He took me up on the offer!

But probably even more important than that, Rev. Freeland was the pastor of the church when my mom first went to church in her high school years. And he is the reason mom clung so hard to The Alliance Church and why my sister, my brother, and I were raised in the church. He is probably the reason why all 3 of us profess Jesus Christ as Lord, which gave us great peace during the time of my brother's death more than 2 years ago now.

Preacher Freeland, as we called him, was a MAN in the pulpit and his charisma and passion for the word of God really played an instrumental role in my life and my calling to be a pastor/preacher/ or whatever the heck people want to call me. There are few in the world I might have more respect for than Rev. Earl Freeland, for now and for the rest of my life.

Distribution-Success: We distributed over 4000 pieces to our surrounding neighbors. The Students were excellent help and they really made the whole weekend a success. On Friday night they gave an hour of their time to help us stuff packets, which can seem to be an endless and thankless job. Then on Saturday morning after a quick briefing on what we would be doing we hit the neighborhoods. In under 2 hours we distributed ot well over 4000 homes and from what I could see and heard there were lots of positive contacts made. Conversations were had and smiles exchanged, it was a great day for distributing the name and efforts of The Bridge Church.

Weather: the weather has been amazing here the last few days. Warm, even hot, during the day but cool and comfortable at night. I love it.

Baseball: This Thursday some of the guys and I are heading up to DC to watch the Nationals play the Braves. That's a 1pm game. After that's over we'll do the tourists tour of DC and then on Friday night we're going to see the Orioles play the Blute Jays. 4 major league teams in 2 seperate major league cities in 2 days. It's going to be a great time.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Report: I'm please to report that 1500 packets are now put together and ready to go, including our special Kempton Park pieces. I'm in the home stretch of the printing and will take them to get folded later this morning.

I have to tell you this mailer has been good for me. Up until now talk of planting this church has been just that talk. I mean we've been casting our vision and peddling our cause for over 7 months now and gathering people to this cause. But last night was when the reality his that we have some hard work ahead of us. I know we've been preparing for it, I know we're ready for it but it's still a reality check.

And I want to send a thanks to Heather ;), Kristy, Mark, Maylene, Randi, Robbie, and Jenni for sticking around an hour and some change when I know you all were tired to stuff those packets. You're the best!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cerda Printing Company: No job too small, no job too large except possibly this one. Change of plans today put me printing 5000 letters. I estimate I can print 1 page every 6 seconds, 10 pages a minute, 600 pages an hour. So it should only take me 8.33 hours to print this 5000 piece monstrosity.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

World Trade Center: I've known this was coming out for some time but have succeeded in ignoring it until now. I suppose I could rant, like I did with Flight 93, that it's just to early for a movie. We're not even quite 5 years removed yet. I could also rant that this type of event is not to be for our entertainment so soon after. I mean it took almost 10 years to start movies on the first gulf war and that was thousands of miles away.

But I think what I'll rant about is we need a movie? Is there anyone that was of adult age that doesn't remember exactly where they were when they saw or hear the news? Is there anyone that doesn't remember how they cried in fear, in anger, in the fact that they knew they were witnessing a tragedy of a magnitude that few events in history could rival? Is there anyone that didn't know that from now on things would just be different? I don't need a movie that's for sure- so in my silent protest I won't watch it just like I didn't watch Flight 93...

Oh and another's only rated pg-13...if any movie, any movie ever made could justify being rated R it would be this movie but...rated R movies don't make the money that pg-13 movies do.

Maurice Clarett: Maurice, you have as much chance at an NFL career now as I do. You blew it you threw it away, you're a sad story I'll admit that...but to quote the movie Liar, Liar- quit breaking the law #$%^#@!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Need: I've felt the desire to blog for a few days now but seldom does this desire come while sitting in front of my computer screen.

Rehearsal: I was watching Ironman marathon, the thing where the people swim, bike and run amazing distances and live to tell about it. This one guy has ALS also known as Lou Gehrig disease and he competed. He will be dead in no more than 5 years and he's competing in Ironmans he also has written narative poetry and I'm not sure if this quote is his but one I remembered is...Life is not a dress rehearsal

Victory?: Heard a story...a church planter's boys go to school and they ask their teacher if they can pass out flyers for the church's VBS. The teacher told them that was against school policy and that no religious material was allowed. The boys were naturally upset and went home to their father. The father went to the principal and was told what the boys were told, that religious material was not allowed. The father, a church planter, called some christian organization and the organization had their attorney contact the school board and the boys were allowed to pass out flyers, because the law was unconstitutional. A big praise report was sent out.

I see two sides of this. I agree that laws should apply across the board no matter the religion, cause or effort and that includes allowing passing out of VBS material.

I also see how this was the absolute wrong way to approach this problem. Now I'm figuring that this teacher has a bad taste of these boys, their father (a pastor) not to mention the prinicpal's opinion of forcing this matter. They waged war and they won but what did they win?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wash and Wax: I spent the morning washing the Accord and even pulled it into the garage for a coat of wax. I took off the wiper arms and spray painted them a flat black, the black had worn off and they were a very faded silver. Heather washed the other two vehicles (man I'm a slave driver!) mine needed to be washed so I could put it for sale and hers just needed a rinse off.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Car: I bought a car today. A 1995 Honda Accord with about 130k miles on it. In type that sounds like a beater but the car is in pristine condition and only owned by one other. I'm excited about it. A picture below.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

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No comment on the above picture except that I'll tell you I laughed when I saw it.

LiFE Group version 2.0: Tonight we enter into LiFE Group v. 2.0. We took about a month off from meeting for Bible Study and instead just met for fun. It gave me a nice 4 week break from preparing a study as well as some time to do some master planning for the remainder of the summer and the fall. Tonight we are going to start a new study that will run for 5 weeks with a get together at the end/beginning of v. 3.0 on September 7. This will be a get together to present the options for the fall as well as a chance for our new contacts to meet the LiFE groups leaders and the others that are committed and by the end of the night choose a LiFE Group to be part of.

*why am I so tempted to call them small groups? I don't particularly want them to be small but I want them to be growing and excellent.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Extravaganza: Last night I went with Brandon to hang out with some of his high school buddies. We had a 2 and a half hour Crazy Wing Extravanganza where 8 dozen wings were consumed. It was fun and there were there anything else greater in life? I'm actually hoping to make a monday or tuesday night once or twice a month a wing/dude's night for our men's meeting.