Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My wife and I are expecting our second child in May of 2010. This child brings with it a variety of emotions, as well as expectations and questions. As far as my emotions go, I'm so excited about having a new little one in the house... I'm nervous for my wife during the pregnancy, labor and delivery... I'm anxious to see how our 3-year-old will respond to having a newborn around... and I'm full of joy when thinking of the promise of this new life!
My expectations with this pregnancy are closer to reality (at least I think so). I expect to have no sleep for a good long while once baby gets here. I expect to be on full-time dad duty with our 3-year-old, while my wife recovers and takes care of a newborn. I expect to have even less one-on-one time with my wife after baby arrives. I expect to fall head-over-heals in love with our second child (just like I am with our first). I expect to learn even more about how amazing my wife is (both as a wife and a mother) with the arrival of baby. I expect that I'll become a better follower of Christ, man, husband and father as God teaches me how to be a father to another child.
My questions are pretty ordinary ones (I think). Questions like: How are we gonna afford another child? How are we gonna afford a vehicle with more space? How long will it be before this baby sleeps through the night? What are we gonna name this one? What will the gender of the baby be? Will the Boston Celtics win the title again this season? Ok, the last one is not really necessary. Of course the Celtics are gonna win the title this season!
So, my life is changing.
I've got to say, I'm glad. Don't get me wrong, I love the life I have now. It's just that I am excited about what God has in store! He is in control! Worrying will do me no good! Whatever comes along, I have the Spirit of God living in me. God has promised that nothing will take me out of His hand, Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us! So I can face the future with peace of mind and being calm in my spirit.
I'm so glad that God is with us. I'm grateful that God is with me (even though I still don't have it all together).
I'm Nate and this is what I think is essential.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Here is an article written by my assistant, Julie Johnson, for our church newsletter to explain the MCU! Enjoy!
For Ralphie Parker in 1983’s A Christmas Story, it was an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock. The dream, though, -- regardless of how passionate or factual it was presented – was always met with the begrudging response, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
Fast forward 26 years. It’s April 2009. Dr. Nate Bock, the student pastor at Ridgecrest, has just returned to Springfield from a student ministry leaders conference where another pastor told the story of how his ministry took a bread truck and made it into a portable stage.
“For awhile, I had been trying to think of a way to have a presence in the community,” Bock recalls. “I wanted to find a way to take Ridgecrest into neighborhoods and to school campuses. I knew the bread truck wasn’t the idea I was looking for, so I started praying for clarity.”
As he traveled Republic Road on that fateful day, he moved west, past PriceCutter and its makeshift used car lot. “And there it was,” he says, “the van.” But not just any van. The van that caught Bock’s eye was a black 1989 Ford Econoline E150.
“My original thought was the A-Team,” confesses Vickie Hicks, a parent and teacher in the student ministry. “But beyond that, I was intrigued.”
The van, now known as the Mobile Church Unit, or MCU, was presented to Ridgecrest’s leadership team the next day. “I shared the idea of using the van to be a presence in the community, to make connections, to build relationships and to be outward focused,” Bock explains. “Then I showed pictures of the van. It received a lot of laughs at first, but Hosea said, ‘I like it; go for it.’ I began to share the idea with people in the student ministry, and before I knew it, God provided.”
And He hasn’t stopped. The MCU was paid for with donations “of people who believe in the vision of being outward focused in a unique way,” Bock explains. “The MCU has been known to make grown men, even big, tough guys, giggle. There is something about the first time you see what lies behind the back doors and what is packed away in the cargo area that causes such wonder and anticipation that you cannot help but giggle in excitement. Trust me, I’ve heard a lot of giggles.”
Be it the giggle of a man or the glow from a screen, people are curious. “It’s a wonderful attraction to make students want to come over and talk and hangout with us,” says Joe Lamar, a senior in the student ministry. “It’s a good way to interact with other students in the Springfield and surrounding areas and build relationships with them that could eventually lead them to Christ.” Emilee Garrison, 8th grade, agrees. “It’s such a great outreach opportunity.”
In August, Bock took the MCU, along with volunteers, Poweraide and water to two local high schools. The group served numerous organizations, such as band, softball and football, as well as the coaches and directors of each. “In a two-week timeframe, we made connections with more than 400 area students and the adults that work with them,” Bock says. “In fact, one of the coaches started attending church at Ridgecrest the following week.”
Although the student ministry provided water to sports teams two years ago, the practice had little effect. “The difference is the MCU,” he says. “We are recognizable. Students see the MCU on campus and immediately take notice and ask questions. The MCU helps us start conversations. It opens the door for us to be an influence in our community.”
Hicks has also experienced this in her professional life and as part of the Road Crew, a team of students and parents who set up/tear down, serve, start conversations, pray, cook and share Christ during MCU events. “I really think the MCU can become a presence,” she says. “It draws people in by allowing them to have an encounter with Christians and to help them become familiar with Ridgecrest – no obligation, no cost. I have talked it up at work and in the community. People think it’s brilliant.”
In addition to the outreach in August, the MCU hosted tailgate parties through October at area high schools. The manner of his students left Bock impressed. “I’ve already seen students talk about the MCU, invite others to church, talk about Christ’s love and give food to hungry people. It’s truly amazing what God is already doing through the Road Crew.”
The feeling isn’t lost on Road Crew members Kayla Whorton, freshman, and Hicks’ daughter, Hannah Hicks, also a freshman. “I like to be involved because making other people laugh and smile is what makes my day,” Hannah says. “Serving with the MCU has just been really fun and a good experience meeting people.” Whorton agrees. “It’s a ton of fun just to talk to people and serve them just because we can. I like to talk to people at the games and see how they are doing.”
If you would like more information about being part of the MCU and its events – tailgating, backyard Bible school in neighborhoods, sports camps in neighborhoods, block parties, etc. – or if you would like details of Bock’s dream of another MCU – a Ford Transit Connect – or his dream of a discipleship/missions program, please call the student ministry at 885.5232.
“We need your prayer support,” he adds. “Everywhere the MCU goes, we are razing Hell. Pray for God’s mighty right hand to be on us and the MCU. Pray for the salvation of everyone who encounters the MCU.”
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
As I read this book, I see how the author goes back and forth between (1) telling of God's great anger and vengeance toward his enemies and (2) God's goodness and love for those who take refuge in Him.
There is a great truth to be seen here.
God is right in being jealous, angry, and avenging with a people that are full of evil. God extended mercy to Nineveh by allowing them to repent from their evil ways and turn to Him -- as seen in the book of Jonah, which was written some time between 783 B.C. to 772 B.C -- before turning away from him again and going back to their evil ways -- taking the ten northern tribes, Israel, captive in 722 B.C. Yet God was still slow to anger.
But Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire after 702 B.C., continued to do wicked and horrible things. Nahum 1:11 says, "From you came one who plotted evil against the LORD," giving depth to the idea that Nineveh was evil. No only did they act wickedly toward people and nations, they actually thought up new ways to be evil toward the One who had given them mercy and love.
The Lord is just in acting as he did toward Nineveh. In fact, if he did not act in this manner towards them, then he would be unjust. He could not allow such evil to continue, especially after being so patient and showing so much mercy towards them. He would be going against who He is if he allowed it to go on too long.
So, what is my point with all of this...am I talking about the world today?...am I talking about America?... am I talking about the church?...where am I going with this?
God's wrath will come against all injustice at some point. And God is just in bringing his wrath. He is perfect yet allows injustice and wrong doing to go unpunished for a time so that man might repent of evil and live for God.
I'm trying to understand what I need to do to stop injustice. Obviously, God cares about justice. He has taken action against it over and over again, and --each time -- he uses humans to carry out His plan. So, where do I start?
I am Nate and this is what I think is essential.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Camp...God moved in our students (here is a picture of us at the Bock family farm)!
Lately, God has continued to move and we are looking forward to a busy and hopefully fruitful start to school!
Small Groups...we are jumping into new teacher training and connecting students with new teachers for the upcoming school year!
Off Campus "Home Groups"...I am praying for God to raise up 10 students who would agree to start an off campus Bible study group and boldly tell others about Christ!
Fall Calendar...our publicity piece for all events in the fall of '09! It will be out in a couple weeks!
fALL nighter...our Fall Retreat! It will be unreal!
This is only a small portion of what is happening right now with rbcstudents. We also have a new weekly schedule starting in September! We will have student worship services on Sunday nights and discipleship and serving on Wednesday nights.
Anyway, this is what is on my mind! All of these changes and what God is going to do in us during the fall of 2009! Pray for God sized things!
I'm Nate and this is what I think is essential.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It has been two and a half years since I came to Ridgecrest. At that time, we continued some of the existing programs (Sunday morning Bible Study, Wednesday night service, D-Team), while only beginning a few "new" things (mission trip training, overseas missions, annual parent party, BASH w/ After Party, MIX events). All-in-all, we didn't change too much. It was, for the most part, a very smooth transition.
Since then, we've seen God do some pretty amazing stuff (for example, in 2008 we had 122 participate in student missions, our average weekly attendance grew by 35% , and we began serving the poor multiple times a month as a part of D-Team). Over all, I've been pleased with what has taken place thus far.
However, I don't think we've reached the full potential of our students. By-in-large, in the past two and a half years, we've not seen our students' friends coming to know Christ. We've not seen our students get passionate about sharing Christ with others. We've not seen a large increase in the number of students participating in ministry (serving others) on a weekly basis.
This leads me to believe that it is time for some changes to take place. The old saying is, "Keep doing what you're doing; keep getting what you've got." Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the student ministry at Ridgecrest, the students who are involved and the volunteers who make ministry possible. But I cannot ignore the fact that students are not getting involved in ministering to others. I think that getting students active in sharing their faith is more important than continuing the status quo. It's more important than "playing it safe" with our programming. So this is my present reality.
I HAVE A DREAM
In my dream...which is the same, but different each time...I see students who don't just show up for services each week. I see students actively sharing their faith through serving others. Students leading Bible Studies in their homes. Students sharing Christ with their neighborhoods. Students passionately worshiping God in their school gymnasiums. Students who are not bored with the idea of church, but are invigerated by being the church! Students who are not only part of a ministry, but students who have a ministry!
The great thing about my dream is that in it, students from all backgrounds, social networks, and geographic areas are involved. They are active in ministry (sharing Christ) in a way that best fits their situation! They get to do what is most comfortable to them or what is the most uncomfortable -- but they are active in sharing Christ!
What does this mean for rbcstudents? It means that you have an opportunity to be the church and not just show up for church. It means that you can...
...lead a Home Group (a home Bible study you lead for your friends).
...do the My World Project (serve fellow students at your school through clubs, sports, and organizations).
...try to Rock Your Block (reach your neighborhood through backyard Bible schools or sports camps).
...be part of our Road Crew (the ministry team with the Mobile Church Unit).
These are just a few ideas. You might have more!
Here is the short answer for how my dream is different, yet the same...every student owns (is active in) ministry and none of the ministries look the same!
For rbcstudents a shift is coming this fall. A shift from doing church to being the church.
I'm Nate, and this is what I think is essential.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This year celebrates my tenth anniversary in ministry. However, 2009 will mark the ninth anniversary of Kari and I tying the knot! Believe it or not, this is only the second time we've ever done a photo shoot and last time it was with our son. The dynamic was totally different without a young one! We laughed, smiled, cuddled, kissed, and pinched each other!
If you are one of my students looking for some kind of information about SEVEN (the perfect event) then let me tell you this hint...AR.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I have a friend. Hard to believe I know...but I've known Brett since college. He is probably the funniest and most "fun" person I know. He married Amy, who was my summer camp sweetheart (in the first grade) and they have two beautiful children. He is incredibly talented in many ways including photography, video production, graphic design, playing the drums and preaching the Word! He joined my student ministry staff at First Baptist Raytown in May 2005 and is still doing great things there!
Brett recently had brain surgery (about three weeks ago) to remove a tumor (non cancerous), which resulted in the loss of hearing in one ear, and a loss of balance. Traumatic enough to say the least, but this week Brett was suffering from serious back pain so Amy took him to the hospital where they found a tumor on his back.
So, Brett will have surgery again next week which will take another four weeks (at least) to recover from. Please join me in praying for Brett, Amy and their kids as they are facing another difficult week followed by difficult weeks to come.
Brett's grin...classic! He was up to something! Picture taken at Kari's 30th surpise party!
I'm Nate and this is what I think is essential.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This year, we are kicking things off with The David Crowder Band! I'm expecting a "melt my face off" good time of rock 'n roll and worship (ok, so actually I think DCB would be classified as techno and worship, but you get the point)!
For me, personally, I think I'm most excited about the small group sessions and the impact that they will have on the individual students. There are five small group sessions that consist of teaching, practice, reflection, teaching, practice, & reflection. Everything the students are taught during the teaching time will immediately be put into practice and then discussed by the group.
What makes this so exciting for me is that our topic this year is "Secrets of the Secret Place: Secrets to finding intimacy with God." So everytime the students have "practice" they will be spending time alone with God, in His word, one-on-one with Him, practicing ways of growing closer to Him!
Throughout the weekend, each student will spend a minimum of 100 minutes alone with God!
This is why I'm so excited about DNOW! Spend 100 minutes alone with God, and there is no way you can remain the same!
Next time I post, I'll give you a recap of what God does during DNOW09!
I'm Nate and this is what I think is essential!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Traditionally, January is usually a pretty slow month in student ministry, but January '09 has been packed! Oh well, only one more day! It has been a good month. I think we've got good momentum from the activities, events, and services we've had.
Two of the highlights of January have been (1) Ski | MISSIONS and (2) The Annual Parent Party.
(1) Ski | MISSIONS was a trip that didn't happen like I planned. Once on the bus took off to Colorado I received an emial from Chad (the missionary we were working with) telling me that everything we planned had fallen through. So, we had to try to figure out what God was up to! I've learned over the years (from my good friend Walker Moore) that, "Our disappointments are God's divine appointments!" (Day 1) After arriving at Copper Mountian we checked in our rooms, picked up our rental gear and hit the slopes! Chad came over after that night and talked with our group. We decided to send the group out that night with the purpose of iniatiating conversations with people so we could pray for them and/or tell them about Christ. Overall, the students did a good job of accomplishing what we sent them to do. Many students struck up converstaions, but none lead to any salvations. (Day 2) The weather was perfect and the skiing was great! The second night we prayer walked for an hour and then tried to engage others in converstaions that might lead to sharing Christ. It was a little easier on this night as the village was busy with visitors coming to see En Fuago (sp?), the big nighttime festival with street performers, fireworks, etc... On this night, I got to talk to a Doug who is one of the performers. We stood around a fire pit and he told of all he has experienced in his short life. What a story! All of us who were talking with Doug were blown away by how much he has lived though! I asked Doug if it was ok if I prayed for him. As he rode away on his bike he said "yes" and that was the last I saw of him. So, I've been praying for Doug. (Day 3) In short, I got lost in the back country (out of bounds) with two students and an intern for about three hours in all. We made it back, we left no one behind! Just before supper, Chad and his family came by to visit. I got to talk with him about 2010 and I got to pray for him and his wife and son. They don't get much help from groups like ours. Most just go to ski and relax. I pray that Chad and his family don't get discouraged! At the end of the trip we had all returned home saftely.
(2)The Annual Parent Party is a chance for me to see parents (some new to the ministry, some experienced), celebrate what God has done in the past year, and cast vision for the upcoming year. We had a great turnout of parents as well as our small group teachers. We had good converstaion, great food, and almost everybody took home a prize! I love getting with parents!
January was full of many other activities as well, not to mention that I was sick with the flu and strep during the month! I'm looking forward to February and to feeling better.
Pray for students to come to know Christ!