Monday, December 5, 2011

Where You Can Find Me

You really thought I was back after that last post, didn't you? Me too.

But it's looking like I won't be here often at all so I would like to give you an update on where you can REALLY find me. Here's what's going on:

1) I'm getting more opportunities to publish my writing elsewhere and would like to keep it that way. From the looks of it, I'll be a contributing writer at Burnside Writers Collective. They were kind enough to publish my piece on a recent trip to Istanbul and liked me enough to give me a password to publish faster. I also agreed to write a devotional on the book of James for Forward Edge International, a missions organization that sends over 1,000 people on short term missions trips a year. My students and I were fortunate enough to go to Nicaragua with them. Hopefully more stuff to appear beyond the arenas of personal blogging.

2) The DEVOTE Podcast series did a lot better than I expected. We have a great number of subscribers already and actually numbering in the hundreds of downloads for some of the episodes. I am going to commit to finishing out 22 episodes and then begin to post one a week starting January 1st. I really like how God has chosen to use it. You can read more about the podcast here and you can subscribe to it here.

3) I am really dedicating a lot of my time to my church, Willamette Christian Church and the students there. I am teaching much more and focusing on trying to multiply disciples in the South Portland area through this awesome body of believers. It's a ton of work and I would rather do it than blog. At least that's how I feel most days.

4) I tweet @chrisnye and am on Facebook.

5) I'll also be at home with my wife. I love her tons. No, you can't come over.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five Years of Sound and Five Months of Silence

Author’s note: I have tried to write this post 11 times. I did count and it is sad.

It’s absurd to think that a blog could last forever, that one small spot on the Internet would carry out a life longer than the author. It rarely happens. My silence on the blog has been necessary as well as intentional (although I doubt many of the readers care or even noticed). But now I’m giving my shout from the darkness, a call out to anyone still paying attention and still (unfortunately) subscribed.

I started this blog five years ago yesterday as a place to put my writing. It was November 16th 2006 and we didn’t know who Katy Perry was. I have loved blogging. A couple of weeks ago, on a day off, I got extremely nostalgic and vainly flipped through a ton of pages (probably too many), re-reading old entires and quietly giggling to myself at the roughness of the blog in many (most) places. 

The blog has been purposefully silent as I finished the work on a number of creative projects, of which I will gladly tell you about.

1) The DEVOTE podcast series. I am teaching through a series called “Distant God” with my students. The goal of the series is to recognize that God is not always close to us, but that the distance is normally our deal. The series works out the process of getting nearer to God. While there are no tricks (illusions, Michael) to get God into your life, there are practices that people have been doing for centuries and I think they worked. Not sure. The DEVOTE podcast is a series of 22 audio-devotionals done by yours truly. They are 5-7 minutes long and include a passage or scripture and some thoughts on it. All of this is done aesthetically with music, pauses, swells, etc. It is my attempt to take the classic print-form devotional, re-work it and bring to students where they already are: in their tiny white head phones. The first 10 are available on iTunes now: Search “Willamette Students” in the iTunes store or simply click here or here.

2) Better writing (hopefully). During my silence at WAMOS, I actually did not stop writing; I think I wrote more. I have been working on submitting pieces to outside blogs, websites, and publications. One problem with blogging is that you’re the editor and you think your writing is awesome right away. There is a short editing process and it involved one set of eyes. I’m re-entering the world of having someone else give the approval of my verbiage, something I remember loving about writing for newspapers and magazines when I did. I’ve entered the world of rejections and I think it’s making me a better writer.

3) I might still write here and over at a newer Tumblr I began called, A Certain Persuasion, which focuses on the ties between language and belief. Sort of. Please visit every once and a while to see the writing that gets rejected.

Thanks for your patience, I’m hoping to stick around here more. But I must say, because of my silence here, I have had much more creative energy and time. My preaching has certainly improved and I’m hoping my writing/podcasting follows.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thank you for your patience as I have been out of the country and getting caught up as I came back. There has not been much time to write.

I wanted to share this video of what happened in Managua, Nicaragua this past week. My wife and I led 32 students and 6 leaders to the Villa Esperanza for 8 days and it was a life changing experience for all of us. I am so happy my wife came with me as I not only got closer to Jesus in this trip, but I've never felt closer to my wife. We were able to witness horrific injustice and unimaginable beauty in just 8 days together. Something a mentor of mine has been known to say is this: "Shared experiences build intimacy." It's true. Intimacy is complex, especially in marriage, and I feel like there was nothing better for my wife and I to do as we approach our first year than to go to a strange place and learn more about Jesus by serving and being served.

It was a transformational week and I am so extremely proud of my students. We had the whole week with no drama, medical emergencies, or major issues - God truly provided. And I know he provided because we had literally hundreds of people praying for the trip. Because it was so saturated in prayer, God ended up doing remarkable things and for that I'm thankful.

Please take some time to watch this video and thank you for all who were praying for us and supporting us. May God bless you. For the best viewing, make sure you're watching in HD and go full screen with it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Off to Managua, Nicaragua...with 32 High School Students

On Thursday night, I will send our first team of 30 to Managua, Nicaragua to serve and be served by the Village of Hope, who takes care of widows and orphans living in the city. On Friday, my wife and I will take another 8 down to make a total of 38 people ready to follow God to Nicaragua.

This has been an incredible process of faith. I've been able to watch young high school students raise an incredible amount of money and pray incredible prayers for their friends and people they've never met. 
I'll be with my students and leaders until the end of the month, so needless to say this blog will be extremely quiet. However, I'm happy to point you to our minsitry's blog where (hopefully) we'll have daily updates of the goings on in Managua. The series will be called "Field Notes from Managua" and will include photos and blog entries from team members. I'd love for the followers of this blog to get a piece of what I get to do for a living. I can't even believe I'm paid to take kids to experience God with people who are materially poor, but relationally rich. I'm excited for all of what we have to learn.

Here's a link to the students blog.

We also made this video asking you all to join us in prayer:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Command is for Doing

A man approaches Jesus and says, "What's the most important commandment in all of the Scriptures?" The answer Jesus gives sounds at first a little dodgy: "Hear, O, Israel the Lord your God is One...and you shall love Him with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind, and with all of your strength."

Of all the commands given in the Bible, Jesus reveals that the greatest command is not about doing something, but primarily about knowing somebody.

We want a checklist, we want steps to get to heaven and ways to please God because we want to take care of our own salvation. We want it on our shoulders and in our hands. But, as Jonah reminds us, "Salvation belongs to the Lord" and it is not our condition to save ourselves with good works.

So since we cannot save ourselves, the number one command Jesus gives is to love God. To get to know Him. To begin an understanding of his Personhood and Life. But hold on...

This command dates back to the early days of the Jewish faith and in speaking about this command God says, "The command is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."

The command to know God, to love Him with everything we have is very close to us and in our ability for what reason? So that we can do it.

Here lies the connection: While the greatest command is not to do but to love, nevertheless, our love drives us to do something. As Bob Goff would say, "When you love, you do." It's that simple. I love my wife, therefore I do things for her. I love my family, therefore I serve them and spend time with them and do things for them.

Why do we have this backwards? We're so busy trying to go on missions trips, camps, and service projects so that God might think we're awesome and love us. But the reality is we must know His love for us and, in return, be given a love that drives us to do something about it all.

If you love God, you pray to Him and read His word and serve those around you. The Bible also tells us that if we do not love people, we are a liar when we say, "I love God."

This simple command to love God is not about saying we love God, but rather the command is there for us so that we can do it. Saying you love God does not mean you're a Christian. Knowing God produces a life filled with the Holy Spirit and driven to action: We pray, we seek God, we read, we serve, we spend our lives giving to others. The command to love God is meant for doing something about it. Because when you love, you do.