Archives For friends

I find it interesting to see which of my blog posts are the most popular during any given period of time and decided to share the information for July with you, my readers. A few of my more recent posts have been quite popular, but there’s one older post that has remained on the list month after month. Here it is, in declining order of popularity:

  1. Psalm 16:7-11
  2. Texas Bar Sues Church
  3. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
  4. Sabbatical
  5. MuseScore and ScoreRender
  6. Stop Dating the Church! by Joshua Harris

Please read and comment!

Your Whole Self

By Nate LaClaire —  October 27, 2009 — 4 Comments

Several years ago, Christian singer Dan Haseltine (of Jars of Clay) challenged readers of Relevant Magazine to bring our whole selves into our relationships. I must admit that when I first read his article, entitled Your Whole Self, certain aspects turned me off. However, on closer inspection the truths found within overpowered the negatives.

There is a weight to the Gospel. There is a mass connected to the story of redemption. It is in the dark places – the addictions to pornography, alcohol, drugs, power and control. It is in our propensity to blame and abuse each other, our greed and our depravity. It is the substance of these things that gives us a place to speak about the slow road to recovery… In our church culture, there are behavioral codes set in place to give the appearance of victory. There are things that church people cannot talk about. There are activities that church people do not engage in…. There is not a darkness or a shadow to speak of… Because we have chosen to speak only about the victory from these things, we are left to promote a gospel that is feeble and moveable at best… Our Gospel is unbelievable because it is only half a Gospel. It is the resurrection without any signs of the crucifixion. I believe there are profound reasons why Jesus still carried the scars from the nails on His hands when He appeared to His friends. He was bringing the entire Gospel to His disciples…

The full article is available here.

Last winter, a series of events reminded me of his article. I was reminded of the importance of being authentic. It is only in our total authenticity that we are able to testify to what the Lord has done for us. Too often we Christians give an air of perfection. Several years ago, I heard a testimony that the giver was saved from a life of “terrible sin” at the age of five and had lived for Christ ever since. Twenty years of the person’s life was missing. Twenty years of struggle, twenty years of growth. As someone who was at that point very much teetering on the edge, suffering from addictive behaviors and very nearly ready to give in at any moment, the testimony left me with a sour taste in my mouth. “Terrible sin at the age of five,” I thought, “you don’t know terrible sin – I’ll show you terrible sin!” At the same time, I knew better than to believe that someone so close to my own age hadn’t struggled over the previous 10-15 years with certain sins that were very much a reality to me. It seemed insincere. And yet, that testimony reflects the norm for our sterilized church culture. In fact, if you had asked me yesterday you probably would have heard a similar response: saved somewhere around the age of five, forgiven for my sins, now I’m a new man and look forward to eternal communion with my Savior. Is it untrue? No, not at all. I believe that I was forgiven for my sins once and forever when I accepted Christ at around the age of five, but there is so much more to my story. The fact that I don’t have much of a pre-conversion story (due to my young age at the time) doesn’t mean that God hasn’t been working in my life.

Funny thing about sterility: it tremendously inhibits the ability to reproduce/multiply/spread the Word. Seeds that aren’t planted will never grow, stories that aren’t told will never inspire, and pain that is never shared will never give hope to another hurting soul.

So, what now? I’m going to work harder to bring my whole self into my relationships. It might hurt – probably will – but anything else is a lie and will inhibit my ability to serve Christ.

PS Despite my initial reaction, I don’t question for a moment that a five-year-old can be saved from a life of “terrible sin.” All sin is terrible. Life in sin is terrible. I am confident that the person giving that testimony was referring to this fact. I don’t mean to suggest that my own sins have been worse than anyone else’s, but rather that our struggles as redeemed children of God are very much realities that we should embrace in the name of authenticity. Failing to do so shortchanges those around us and fails to give God the glory for the progress He has made in our lives.

Thanksgiving

By Nate LaClaire —  November 27, 2008 — Leave a comment

I was thinking last Sunday about how my life has changed over the past year and that has led me to several days of consideration about this topic. Some know that on my 26th birthday I was frustrated about where I was in life and set a list of goals to achieve before my next birthday. As August 2008 approached, I became more and more depressed and frustrated by the fact that I still hadn’t achieved most of my goals. Well, my 27th birthday has come and gone and I still haven’t achieved most of the goals on that list. Know what? I still care, because all of the goals will have a lasting and positive impact on my life, but I am no longer mad. I realized on Sunday that while I was focusing on certain areas of my life, something else was happening. My list of goals included reconnecting with one old friend. Aside from that, the goals had nothing to do with friendships, or relationships of any kind. What I realized on Sunday was that God had other plans: to give me the quality relationships that I so much needed. Over the past year, I have formed closer friendships with people that I have known for several years but hadn’t been close to, restored close friendships with people I had drifted away from, reconnected with people I had lost touch with, and formed new friendships. A few days after my birthday last year, someone commented to me about telling my friends something. Although I kept this to myself, I realized at that moment that although I had “friends,” I hadn’t been giving myself time for friendships. I knew people that I would consider friends, but I couldn’t be sure they felt the same way about me. Then there were the people that I knew I could count on as friends to help me out in a pinch, but could they say the same about me? 

No man is an island and I am living proof. Through Facebook and LinkedIn, I have reconnected with those I have missed communicating with. Through church and college, I have built new friendships and rekindled old ones. Meanwhile, I have learned who my real friends were that I was just too blind to recognize. I discovered the true meaning of friendship and learned what a real relationship looks like.

I thank God for what He has done in my life this past year. I pray that I will never again get so caught up in my own list of goals that I miss the work He is doing in my life.

links for 2006-05-26

By Nate LaClaire —  May 26, 2006 — Leave a comment

As promised, more information regarding classical guitarist Peter Fletcher‘s concert in Poland is now available on the Friends of Ricker Memorial Library web site. Hurry and get your tickets before they are all gone!

A Great Smoothie

By Nate LaClaire —  February 17, 2006 — Leave a comment

I promised some friends from the library last week that I would give them the recipe for an awesome smoothie that I have been drinking, so I decided to post it to my blog. This is based on the recipe for a smoothie called “The Green Gorilla.”

  • 1/2 package frozen spinach
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • 1 peach
  • 1/2 cup water – use more or less depending on desired consistency

Yeah, you read the first ingredient correctly. What’s wrong, not feeling adventurous? Trust me – you’ll love it. I recommend letting the spinach thaw at room temperature for about 10-20 minutes before you try to cut it. You don’t want it to thaw too much, though. Blend the whole thing as much as you want (I thoroughly liquify it) and enjoy!

I don’t taste the spinach at all – what I taste is the fruit. I eat this and only this for lunch 6 days a week. It’s tasty and filling! And, just look at all of the servings of fruits and vegetables that you are getting out of the way in that one meal (I believe it comes out to 3 servings of fruit and 2 of vegetables). Enjoy!

Well, Christmas is two days away. I finished my school work on Monday, finished my shopping on Monday, finally got most of my Christmas cards in the mail Wednesday (if you haven’t received one yet and think you should, it’s probably in the mail or still sitting on my desk – I’m thinking about sending Martin Luther King Day cards :-) ). Life has calmed down somewhat. Gifts still aren’t wrapped, though…

Today I went to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my sisters and a friend. That is the best movie I have seen in a long time! Now I’m trying to figure out if I can fit it in my schedule to go back with some other friends next week. Awesome, terrific, fantastic movie! One of the most common questions I’ve heard is: does it keep true to the book? Answer: I don’t have a clue. Does it stay true to the Wonderworks movie? Not as I remember it. However, it’s been so long since I read the book that I can’t recall if it matched the movie or not. Now I want to read it again… Were I still working at the library I would grab the book first thing Monday morning. Since I don’t… I’ll have to make a special trip. :-)

Actually, first I need to finish The Christmas Wish. I am thoroughly enjoying that book.

Life’s funny isn’t it? I’ll elaborate at another time. Hey, there has to be some reason for you to come back! :-)

Purpose

By Nate LaClaire —  December 6, 2005 — Leave a comment

The whole idea of a blog is kind of odd… I mean, who really cares what is going on with me, or what I think about the latest legislation? Does anyone care? Should anyone care? Probably not.

I first started my blog back when I left my old job and related lifestyle (more on that some other time) and wanted to provide a method for people to keep up on what is happening in my life. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take time to write blog posts when I can’t find time to do stuff that earns me money or stuff that is required for college. However, I want to do better. If I find something interesting on the web I want to tell the world about it. If I read an interesting verse in the Bible I want to blog it. If something exciting, or neat, or frustrating happens in my life I want to share it with others. As I get more photos of Riley (my cat) or my family I will post those, too.

I have been reprimanded for dropping off the face of the earth… The fact is, I miss my old life. The fact is, if I could undo what I did I just might do it. The fact is, my decision was not a mistake, as God has proven to me time and time again (I’ll share more about that later as well). The fact is, making any decision other than the one that I made would have been a mistake. So, where does that leave me? Still right here trying to piece together a life after the library; trying to retain friendships that were formed while I was at the library; trying to move ahead without leaving that all behind.

Have you ever felt too comfortable with your life? I knew that if I didn’t exit soon I could be stuck forever. Sometimes it seemed like I had grown up at the library. Like it was my second home. Now when I go back it feels odd… Like walking into a place that used to be familiar but is familiar no longer. The same friendly people are there, but it’s not the same. It never will be.

I know that most people won’t care about most of what I post on my blog, but perhaps each thing that I write will be meaningful to some person in some way. That is my prayer. Thanks for reading.

October 1

By Nate LaClaire —  October 1, 2005 — Leave a comment

October 1 is here. The trees are turning, autumn weather is upon us. Beautiful autumn weather. Today is Community Day here in Poland, Maine. This year’s event is being run by the Poland Recreation Department and is being held at the Poland Regional High School. I will be going to the event at around 11:00 this morning to help the Friends of the Library with their cake walk.

Last night I was invited to go along with the library staff for the end-of-summer staff party. We went to Julian’s in Gray. The party was also a going-away party for Joanne Wildes, a dear friend, fellow believer, part-time library employee, and just plain great lady who is moving to Rhode Island with her husband in another month. Dick, her husband, attended the party as well and we all had a very nice time.

Life has been busy since my last post. My college classes are in full swing and choir has now begun. So, when my business is figured in to the whole thing, free time is not something I experience very often. However, my grades are doing well, as is my business – so it is worth the stress.

A friend of the family, Philip Stange, is staying with my family this weekend. The weekend promises to be a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I have some (typical for me) last-minute school work to do, but I am sure I will have time to recreate as well. According to Philip my web site is easily findable by someone who is not looking for it. :-) He told me that his mom found it and sent him the address. Hello world!

I am committed to not making promises I can’t keep. However, I do seriously hope to post something else before another month+ has passed.