Zacapa 2015: Loving People On a Not-So-Lonely Mountain

 I hear crickets. Dogs call to each other across the ridges. A turkey gobbles off in the distance. The huge leaves of the banana tree my hammock is perched in on the side of this mountain rustle with the never ending breeze. After a scorching week in the sun the coolness of the continuous flow of wind borders on miraculous.

It has been a week of weeks. Our team has been outstanding. They work and play with an energetic tenacity on par with their vivacious faith. Grace drips from these people like the sweat they have shed for seven days.

We have been to school after school playing with kids, performing skits, praying, speaking, loving. We have visited small churches, in the remote places of the Guatemalan Mountains where our people have preached the love of Jesus. We have given away food. We have built a wall. We have built a road. We’ve been busy. It’s been good.

Busy and good are not always words I like to put together—but accomplishing the work, sharing the good news, and serving my friend Greg’s ministry are both. Because busy can be good when it is purpose driven.

As I lay in my hammock staring out across the expanse of darkness at the closest ridge I can see the humble twinkle of distant village homes. The places that house the beautiful people of Guatemala.

I can rest full of faith in the one who sent us. I can sleep soundly satisfied in our pursuit of purpose. I never enjoy leaving my family behind—and under different circumstances would probably bring them—but even in my homesickness I can rest in the peace of God.

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declares his followers to be as a shining city on a far dark night. That’s our job. To take hope with us. We partner with powerful people of God in needed places. We are Gondor in the midst of Mordor. We are beacons among burdens—and bonfires among chilling darkness.

I have burned in my heart the desire to go to far places and far people because, as A.W. Tozer penned, “if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.”

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100 Days of Awesome: Day 3 – Fireball

100 Days of Awesome is about helping people. It’s about unleashing, recognizing, realizing, and living in your awesomeness. You are awesome. It’s so true. Maybe sometimes more so than you even know—and at other times less so than you think. Take the challenge. Join the adventure. Dedicate an hour a day to being awesome by making someone else’s life more awesome. Post your stories. Share your adventure. I’d love to hear all about it. You can follow along with my 100 Days of Awesome everyday right here.

  
Fireballs are awesome. Roadside fireballs are more awesomer. Except for that one time in Guatemala when a street performer almost spit one onto my bus. That wasn’t awesome. But this most recent fireball that I encountered was crazy awesome.
Except that I don’t mean the good kind of awesome.

We were driving along the road and BOOM there is this giant plume of dark smoke (not good) shooting up into the air. We were maybe a mile away driving through hills and woods. I told my pal Aaron this wasn’t going to be good.

We round the corner and. BAM! Sure enough. It was bad.

Some dude was standing in the highway about 40 yards down a slight hill. A car, presumably his, engulfed in flames on the side of the road. In the woods. In summer. This is not ok.

As we approach we slow to see if the guy is ok and ask how we can help. What did this guy do? He waved us off. He didn’t want our help. Ok, now this just seemed sketchy. Why would a guy who’s car is obviously a raging inferno just a few yards away not want us to stop and help.

Given that we were in the middle of nowhere—the kind of place were the trees themselves seem to reverberate with dueling banjos—we acquiesced to his apparent wish. We did not stop. We drove on. Right past the fireball that could have at some point in the none-too-distant past been a fairly nice yellow automobile.

Wow. It. Was. Hot. 

I could easily feel it through the car door. It’s power was intimidating. We drove on. Thankfully we met a firetruck on its way to the scene.

Because firemen are awesome.



Thanks for reading. Stay awesome.

~ Nate

100 Days of Awesome: Day 2 – Guilt

 
One of my favorite things that I get to do from time to time is to speak to groups of students. Today, my friend Aaron and I made a trip north to the tiny town of Marshall, AR to speak at a church. It was, in a word, awesome. 

I spoke about guilt. Why? Because it’s something we all struggle with.

But if I have learned anything at all on my journey with God; its this…

Guilt is banished by love and truth; Fear-of-God deflects evil. (Proverbs 16:6 MSG)

God’s love is amazing. We all have done things we are guilty of. We carry that guilt around. Many of us have had things done to us we had no control over, and often we carry guilt around for those as well.

Guilt is dangerous. It’s like a slow fire that burns and burns until one day there is nothing left. Guilt is disastrous. However, guilt can be banished.

If guilt is a fire that burns. Love is an action that walks into the flames. Jesus is that love. He comes into the middle of our guilt and stands in the gap.

Jesus is also our truth. He said it himself…

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except by me. (John 14:6 NIV)

If guilt is a fire that burns, and love runs into the flames, truth overcomes the fire itself.

The facts are in. Guilt comes via sin. Commission and omission. Sometimes given, sometimes received. The wages of sin really are death. But the truth of Jesus Christ is bigger than the fact of death.

Guilt is a fire. It burns. It can ruin you. And if you don’t fill your life with the love and truth of Christ—it will. Give it all to him. He can handle it. He’s awesome like that.

You can’t stand in the fire and be angry at the flames. 

Get rid of guilt. Get it gone. Pronto. Step in and step up to the good life God’s got for you. It’s bigger and better than your bad day.

Stay awesome.

100 Days of Awesome: Day 1 – Help

What if for the next 100 days we spent one hour a day doing something awesome? FYI, that’s totally doable. We can do it. You, me, and all of those yet to happen upon this happy little challenge.

That’s only sixty minutes a day, but it adds up to 6,000 minutes! That’s 360,000 seconds of awesome. 

Today I helped my friend. We moved his family’s stuff out of a hot moving truck into their new home. It was a very small act. It really didn’t take much time or effort. A couple of hours and a little sweat, at most. But after three laborious days full of moving madness my buddy and his family thought it was awesome. They were really grateful for the help.

Helping people is always awesome. 
What will you do to be awesome today? Will you join me and take the 100 Days of Awesome Challenge?

You can catch the 100 Days of Awesome daily update right here on the blog or on Periscope by following @nateking.

Stay awesome.