The Future is Now

It’s important who you surround yourself with, who you lock arms with and ultimately who you end up with…  I remember right where I was standing and exactly what I was wearing the day I saw Nathan Nockels in Estes Park, Colorado. I was standing in line for a concert and there he was just ahead of me standing next to Charlie Hall.  At the time they were two unlikely heroes, but they were two boys that would change my world forever.  I say “boys” because they were, we were all literally just kids, but I had never met or been around boys who were worshipers of Jesus before. I was ruined for lack of a better word and completely smitten by one of them.  I fell in love with Nathan. I had no idea then all that God was bringing together.  I see now that God had saved a special anointing for my life to happen when I joined my life with Nathan’s and that God intersected our lives at a crucial time.  There was a growing passion in our hearts, along with Charlie, to somehow fan the flame of a movement of worship we were seeing for the first time in those days.

Today marks the day of the new Passion 2013 live record release, “Let the Future Begin”.  I’m standing in all that God is doing in the present with great thankfulness today by remembering His faithfulness from the beginning… I’m going back to the start. The start was like God opening some sort of floodgate and there’s still water pouring from it to this day…

The early days of leading worship, even before Passion, were messy…again we were just kids.  I smile now to think of  Charlie passionately leading worship, so heart-strong and fired up about Jesus and then there’s Nathan walking up behind him during the worship set to tune his guitar… literally as Charlie was playing. While Charlie was leading bible studies and discipling people, Nathan could be found with the musicians, teaching them how to actually play their instruments and discussing the proper and improper use of drum fills. : ) Nathan eventually learned to completely tune Charlie’s guitar before we started the worship set as to avoid correcting him during worship…you know, the things you just learn as you go! Pretty sure Charlie learned to tune his own guitar… eventually.

Though rough around the edges, those early days of songwriting and leading as “Sons & Daughters” (the group the three of us eventually formed) were “dreams and visions” kind of days…things that had never happened to this little Baptist girl. Literally God poured out something on us in those times that is hard to articulate, something that marked us forever and that we will never forget.  I remember writing a song called “Holy Roar” in our little apartment in Oklahoma City.  Nathan was playing the piano, I was sitting on the couch and next thing I knew something he was playing along with what I was singing sent me to the floor… face down… sobbing.  Nothing like that had ever happened to me.  It sounds crazy now, but you have to understand that what I was seeing in my mind’s eye and in my heart on the floor that day, we had never seen before at that time. I saw thousands upon thousands of young people in a stadium, worshipping at such a great volume that it was a roar… a holy roar.  It was more than just sounds though, it was like God was letting me see these young people’s hearts, full of passion, ready to give their lives away.  Of course I know now that the vision was Passion and that God would soon connect us with the Passion family, like only He could.  He connected us literally through the songs we were writing… Turns out, the prayers they were praying were the songs we were singing and vice versa.  That was over 15 years ago…

This is a picture I took with my iPhone straight out of my scrapbook today. Charlie is the one making the funny face and wearing the “Calvin and Hobbes” shirt, Nathan is on the left. I think we all three had the same amount of hair back then.
This is a picture I took with my iPhone straight out of my scrapbook today. Charlie is the one making the funny face and wearing the “Calvin and Hobbes” shirt, Nathan is on the left. I think we all three had the same amount of hair back then.

This is a picture I took with my iPhone straight out of my scrapbook today.  Charlie is the one making the funny face and wearing the “Calvin and Hobbes” shirt, Nathan is on the left. I think we all three had the same amount of hair back then.

For the last few days my heart has been so focused around the idea that God uses very ordinary people to do His work…to even deliver His people from bondage.  Most of the time it seems like it’s literally the most unassuming band of people he can find. I love that about God. We didn’t have it together, that’s for sure.  I mean, look at us… Charlie was a complete wild child.  He was probably at the time the craziest person I had ever met but clearly a budding prophet. I was a preacher’s kid from Oklahoma, the youngest of 3 and the only girl in the family. I have developed my quieter spirit over the years, because in the beginning I fought Nathan Nockels for the better part of the first 7 years of marriage.  I fought his gentleness like it was a weakness and was continually annoyed over his attention to detail.  Like when he couldn’t just be spiritual and “enter in” in worship when the worship band was, let’s say…lacking.  : )  I couldn’t see then what I see now… the call on his life for excellence, the intricate wiring for detail, the great strength in his quietness and the special place that he truly has in the Body of Christ.  He is what his name means, “gift from God.” It’s crazy, but what I spent so much time fighting in those early years, now are the things I’m most grateful for about his life.  To describe Nathan in the words of our 10 year old daughter, who is much like her Daddy…“I don’t say things if there’s nothing to say.” When Nathan does have something to say, be careful to lean in because you just might miss it. If he says something funny, those closest to him are sad if they miss it because they know it was a gem and chances are…he won’t repeat it for them.  Nathan reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 – “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you might not be dependent on anybody.” Such a great reminder to let your life be winsome to others by how you carry on with the work in front of you.

And that’s what it was allot of the time…hard work in front of us, but a deep calling to carry it out.  Honestly we took it so seriously it kind of makes me laugh now, but in a good way.  We had fun but we weren’t playing around…  The story unfolds that “Sons & Daughters” was for a short season in all of our lives but what connected us in those early years of ministry will never, ever be forgotten…and of course it connected us to Passion, a story that keeps unfolding in leaps and bounds.  There was a sense of urgency upon us to ask God for more even then, in spite of our youth, to blaze a trail together. Even though we each had enormous places we needed to grow in, we somehow knew the future was upon us…that it was nigh and we needed to seize it with every bit of passion we had.  There was no social media in those days… I often say we were “made in the secret”.  There was no one to tweet when our little “Sons and Daughters” CD release happened, but the right people showed up somehow.  There was no one to alert when we jumped in the truck for the 18th time to go sing at some church in Abilene, TX.  We were just rollin’ in the dark, having no idea what we were doing really, but knowing somehow we were doing the right thing….

When I started this blog, I thought about the picture above and I knew right where to go to find it.  It sits in a scrapbook I made for Nathan just after our engagement.  It’s one of the first pictures in that book.  As I was trying to snap a picture of it without getting a glare (too lazy to figure out my scanner at the moment) I took a step back and just took in the whole page.  See, this was back in my college days when I made scrapbooks and collages out of magazine clippings…  So, let me give you the “pan out” version now of the same photo above but with my magazine clippings from the 90’s glued on top of that picture…

estes park future is now scrapbook
The Future is Now. Kinda took my breath away…

It’s so true all you #LTFB fans…it’s nigh, it’s upon you. Seize it. Dance in it. Blaze a new trail…get in a truck and start driving towards what you know God is asking you to do.  You won’t regret it.  It will connect you to the right people…after all, it matters who you end up with. Your songs will be their prayers and their prayers will be your songs and water will flow from the floodgates long after your big future is just a memory.  Jesus is enough for you.  He’ll never stop loving you and He’ll never give up on you.  Your perfect start is now, so let it begin…
Love, Christy

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