First, I need Jesus. Not like, I used to need him, then I got him, now I don’t need him anymore. No, not like that. I still need him everyday. Why? Because I’m still a sinner. So, to my non-Christian friends, I’m not better than you. To my Christian friends, I’m not better than you. To those who have cheated on their wives, I’m not better than you. To those who had sex with their girlfriends before marriage, I’m not better than you. To the arrogant, the insolant, the pervert and the pagan, in the same way I think you need Jesus, I need him. Any Christian pretending to be better than anyone is behaving in a non-Christian manner. The whole premiss of our faith prevents us from acting better than others. We cheated on our God, murdered him, and though he rose from the dead and saved us from our sins, we continue to fail him everyday. We are better than nobody, and only better off than everybody because our God shows us grace in an unending and incessant pursuit of love that cannot be stopped. I’m not a holy man, but an unholy one clothed in the holiness of my God who died for my sins, and changes me everyday. As my Pastor likes to say, it’s not my job nor my goal to impose Jesus on anyone, but to propose him to everyone.

Second, because of God’s grace I’ve managed to pursue my fiancĂ© in a manner that I can point to and say, “this is one of many awesome ways to do this well.” I haven’t walked the only path nor the best, but a real good one. I learned everything about this from Jesus and those who follow him, and I have been able to follow through because I relied on his Spirit to empower me and his people to look out for me. That’s how it works.

Third, it’s not over. I have a six month engagement and then a lifetime of marriage. I’m still going to need a community of Jesus-Butt-Kicking-People to rock my world from time to time. I still need to take all the emotional risk in our relationship as much as possible, and I still need to be praying and preparing for our future. This is far from over, and I’m just as dependent on Jesus right now as I ever was.

Last, I was single for a long time. There’s nothing wrong with being single, there’s something wrong with idolizing it. You get absolutely nowhere in ministry by trying to make yourself unattainably holy. There are legitimate reasons for being single, but if you’re not mature enough, rich enough, healthy enough or just generally not ready enough, then start working towards those things. Some of the best wisdom I received was that everyone is either called to celibacy or marriage. The problem is thinking that being called to marriage means you have a divine right to it, you don’t. I had to accept that, and I personally prepared myself as best and as fast as I could by God’s grace trusting that even if I never married, the spiritual growth that would come from preparing for it would be worth it because it would mean being closer to Jesus. To be honest, that’s how I’m still functioning. Jesus is my teacher, and I run out on him all the time and he is nothing but patient with me.

Jesus is the man, and he’s the point of all this.

I just want to make that clear if I can.

My father, Randy Nation. He is the senior Pastor at Woodford Community Christian Church in Versailles, KY.

My father, Randy Nation. He is the senior Pastor at Woodford Community Christian Church in Versailles, KY.

  1. He has been preaching the Gospel faithfully longer than I’ve been alive.
  2. He knows and loves me well.
  3. He is my oldest friend. We go way back.
  4. He is my best friend. He’s seen me at my worst, more than once, and is still my friend.
  5. He is one of the rare men who loves Jesus, stays faithful to his wife, loves his kids and has never failed to put his family before himself and provide.
  6. I can’t think of an athletic event from my childhood that he didn’t attend while cheering enthusiastically.
  7. He taught me how to hunt.
  8. He has baptized more people than I can remember, including me.
  9. I have never once in my life doubted that he would do anything for me.
  10. He has been my greatest theological teacher, starting with the doctrine of adoption. When I was 3 days old, he and my mom adopted me into their family.


A year ago this week, I moved to Portland, Oregon. It has been the hardest and best year of my life.

I’ve been extremely reflective all week thinking about everything that has happened in such a short amount of time. I’ve also thought a lot about the future. What will another year bring? In a lot of ways I’m still waiting for the dust to settle since I first arrived. I moved here fast, and everything after that just kept getting faster.

I started out with a roommate I found on Craigslist. While I knew I’d be getting involved with Mars Hill Church and was still planning to attend Western Seminary at the time, he was my first real contact in Portland. For two months I got a crash coarse in Portland culture. Lets just say I made a lot of curry for folks who had the munchies. It was an incredible learning experience. In the meantime I got a job at Starbucks the second week I was here, got plugged in to the church which shortly turned in to an internship, decided against school for time’s sake, and moved twice.

The job is a floating schedule, and high volume sales due to having both a lobby and a drive thru. So, massive moving spurts of immense latte making. It can be fun and stressful, and is usually both.

The church has been one of the craziest and greatest things I’ve been apart of, where lots of people meet and get close to Jesus, near death experiences aren’t far off, and where I’ve been personally challenged to weigh the value of traditional theological education versus actual fruitfulness in God’s Kingdom… still working out the details but it’s looking pretty lopsided…

Two months in, a couple I knew from my years in Ohio offered me a spare room in a city on the southern boarder of Portland called Happy Valley. We had lost track of each other, but they found me on Facebook and one thing lead to another. It was nice to get around familiar faces, have some fellowship, and make curry for folks who weren’t having out of body experiences. Their hospitality is probably one of the main reasons my budget isn’t in the trash right now. However, by New Year’s, living on the far southeast side, working on the far northeast side, having a community group on the west side, and going to church in the middle was starting to make my brain go in the trash. One of my pastors and his wife who live more centrally offered me a room, and that’s where I’ve been since then. Since I’m his intern, it saves a good bit of time actually, and they basically get curry whenever they want it, and sometimes even when they don’t.

Honestly it’s been a character furnace. For years I’ve focused on theological clarity, being able to articulate doctrine as well as I could. This season has been about personal clarity, articulating my sin, repenting well and often. I got pretty good at defining the Gospel, as good as 7 years of theological education can buy. Somewhere in there I got not so good at experiencing it. When I can’t articulate my sin, I don’t really know what that Gospel is good for, so I don’t really know it. Thankfully God’s grasp on me is always better than my grasp on Him.

So what’s up for this year… well, hopefully a slower pace. At this point a slower pace will still break the sound barrier, but at least not be light speed. I hope to nail down a specific direction to my life. I was aimed hard in one direction for a long time, and moving away from that has made things far more open then I like. Many have told me recently how great it is to have my options open. I don’t want them open, I need one option so I can start saying no more. I’d like to see my life head in the direction of starting a family, which strangely enough starts with a wife. My prayers are there, but we’ll see if the rest of my life gets there or not. In the end, whether any or all of these things happen, if people keep meeting Jesus, and I still get to know Him better, I’ll run around this town until I die with a smile on my face, or at least a smirk.