The Navigator: 6.9.22

My apologies for not being able to publish the Navigator last week.  I came close to encountering the same this week as each day I’ve been at the hospitals with our sick, counseling the hurting, encouraging the discouraged, and preparing to speak to a bunch of teenagers a little over a week from now on “The Deconstruction of the Christian Faith.”  Of course, this doesn’t include the unexpected interruptions that we all encounter on a daily basis.

It’s common for schedules to relax a bit during the summer months (at least since I’ve transitioned from full-time student ministry).  But, so far this year, that’s not been the case.

The Navigator is not something I merely “slap together” in an afternoon.  What I send you has been carefully gathered and researched and, hopefully, is helpful and gives you something to think about.  nw


THIS SUNDAY, June 12th

  • Regular morning schedule
  • Church-wide event at Sun & Fun: 6-8pm.  No food provided, but you are free to bring your own if you desire.



Martha Swearingen (her husband, Ray, is on the trip) shared with me the team is having a wonderful time.  Although their arrival was delayed, the Lord is working mightily on his time-table.  They are scheduled to return home on Friday.


Our students leave for camp on Monday.  Pray for Luke Kilmartin and his team.  Pray for the students, that their hearts would be pliable and receptive.  It was at camp that, as a teenager, I committed my life to vocational ministry.


This week’s tip:  The Re-purposing of our Pain

What follows is something I posted on social media this past week.  It’s received quite a bit of traction and feedback.  Perhaps, it will spark thoughts and stories from your own life you can share with your class, helping them to know that “with God all things are possible.”  nw

God can take your pain and, if you let him, create something that can change the world.

Nearly everything most people know about my dad is unflattering.  Most know he was a violent alcoholic, that he often beat my mom, twice struck me with full force, and that, when I was 16, I had to almost kill him one night when he was in a drunken rage and I was certain he was about to murder my mom.  The police made more than one trip to our house. My childhood was about as bad as it could get.

In 2000, at only 57, he died of alcoholism.  Or, to use a phrase from Brad Paisley’s Whiskey Lullably: “He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger.”

I have no memory of having a single conversation with my dad about life, religion, or anything else.  My parents had no clue what I was up to as a kid, whether I was doing my homework, attending class.  Everyone was just trying to survive in their own way.


I want the world to know that my dad professed his faith in Christ when he was young.  Like so many Christians, he developed an addiction as a young adult. That addiction, coupled with severe anger issues, eventually cost him his family and his life.

He was a wonderful man when he was sober.  Alas, he just wasn’t sober very often.  But, during those moments when he was…

He was generous. Michelle and I wouldn’t have had a honeymoon had it not been for my dad.  With what little he had, he funded the entire trip.

He was funny.  I can still remember his laugh. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of watching old Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Abbott & Costello, and Don Knotts movies on TV together.

He was – uh…. innovative.  In the “God works in mysterious ways” category:  Although drunk, he brought the piano player home from the bar one night after it closed (around 2am), got me out of bed (i was about 10; it was a school night), and had the piano-player show me how to play the “boogie woogie.”  I’ve played it ever since. (True story: when I was entering the School of Music at HSU in Abilene I had to perform a piano piece of my choosing for the entire piano faculty – Ph.D’s, Juilliard grads) so they could decide if I was proficient enough to receive private instruction – if not, i would be placed in a class.  I played “Great Balls of Fire.”  I was placed in private instruction.)

He prompted in me an interest in public speaking. Dad was a DJ early on in his life, then a newsman for KRBC TV (NBC) in Abilene, TX for a number of years.

He was intelligent. Two photos are included here: (1) a picture someone made for him when he had his own Morning Show with KRBC, and (2) the plaque he was given upon being elected to the Abilene City Council in 1974.

People sometimes ask, “How in the world did you survive all of that and then turn out to be a pastor?”

My dad started letting me drink when I was twelve so I should’ve been an alcoholic before I reached sixteen. So, I just don’t know why I survived while others in my situation have not (my youngest sister did not).

All I know is this:  God is mightily present even in our darkest and seemingly most hopeless moments. Job (rhymes with “robe”) said, “But those who suffer, he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” – 36:15

He doesn’t waste anything.  He can take the pain we endure and use it to reach others who are in pain.  This gives purpose to our pain. (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Like a furnace used to purify metal, he can take the highest heat the devil can summon and forge us into the image of Almighty Christ. Through Isaiah, God said, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” – 48:10

Satan wants us to focus on our pain.  God is inviting us to focus on what our pain can accomplish through his power.

Where would I (we) be without the Cross and the Empty Tomb? Because of Christ, I have been able to re-purpose my pain.  I will one day see my dad, free from addiction.  And I will see my son, free of debilitating depression. 

On earth, my dad and my son met one time – not long before my dad died.  Jordan Blake Watts was 5.  I don’t know exactly how heaven works.  But, i like to think they’re making up for lost time.

My friends, so many of you are hurting, suffering, exhausted, afraid.  Know this:  Jesus is whispering to you, “I’ve got this.  Trust me.”


Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

Speaking of the universe serving as evidence for the existence of God…



From Reddit:

“The Solar Orbiter spacecraft released its closest images of the sun today, revealing a range of never before seen phenomena including this odd geyser of hot and cold gas dubbed the  solar hedgehog.”

Try and wrap your mind around this:

The spacecraft took these pics from INSIDE the orbit of Mercury with temperatures at 930 degree Fahrenheit.

This solar inferno sits suspended in space, rotating – at different speeds at its axis and its middle! – at just the right distance.  If it were closer, life wouldn’t be possible.  If it were farther away, life wouldn’t be possible.  But, earth and the sun are separated by a perfect 93,000,000 miles.  As though it were designed that way.



I always get good feedback after I teach or preach.  But, after Sunday, I was flooded with responses – all good.  For that sole reason, I am linking the message for you here.


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Do you know someone who is “book-smart & life-stupid?”  Me too.

Two great quotes here on referring to this type of delusional individual:

“Education does not equal intelligence.” – Thomas Sowell


“Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” – G.K. Chesterton


SOUL FOOD:  Mormon Christianity vs. Biblical Christianity

I’m reading Micah Wilder’s autobiography of his coming to faith in Christ.  We’ve hosted Micah twice here at BHBC.  He’s become a dear friend.  As you may know, Micah was raised in a Mormon home, his mom a professor at BYU, and his dad serving in a high position in the Mormon Church.  It was on Micah’s assigned Two-Year-Mission that God showed up in a powerful way and changed everything.  Eventually, Micah’s entire family came to faith in Christ.  You can read his mom’s excellent book here.  All of that said, while reading Micah’s story, I was reminded of this blog I wrote years ago when I taught on the topic.  You can read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick