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The Sweetest Sound We Hear

Posted on by Philip Nation in Life | Leave a comment

What is the best thing you ever hear? Some would answer that it is a beautiful melody played by a skilled instrumentalist. For a parent, it might be the laughter of their child. Others would recite a phrase or quotation that has a great impact on their life.

I maintain that the sweetest sound we hear is when someone calls us by name. Nicknames are fine. The filler phrases we use to be goofy are good for a laugh. But to hear someone call out your name is important. It shows meaning and validation. In the video below, Coca-Cola hits the nail on the hear. I think you’ll find it a refreshing 3 minutes of your day.

Truett Cathy and a Life Lived Well

Posted on by Philip Nation in Life | Leave a comment

truettcathy_pTruett Cathy has passed away. The founder of Chick-fil-A and leader of many charitable interests left behind a legacy of how to live well.

My wife Angie grew up at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Georgia where Truett and his family are active members. After we had been married for some time, I served as the Minister of Education at FBCJ for five years and was able to personally observe the life, business, and ministry of Truett. When it came to the business world, he was a genius. He essentially invented the modern-day food court in malls and the fast-food chicken sandwich. When it came to life, well, I don’t think there is a strong enough word to describe Truett Cathy. As I think about his passing into the presence of Jesus, I would make several observations.

  1. Humility matters. Truett was a wealthy and powerful businessman but never acted like it. He chose humility. At Chick-fil-A, everyone is on a first name basis, including Truett and his family. For many summers at WinShape Camp for Boys (where my sons have attended), Truett would teach during the Sunday worship service and his theme was consistently “I am third.” It is the way that Truett lived: God is first, others are second, and I am third.
  2. Kids always matter. Truett could have chosen anything to fill his time. He chose the needs of children. He even wrote a short book about it: It’s Better to Build Boys than to Mend Men. At FBCJ, Truett taught a Sunday School class for 8th grade boys for over 50 years. It was a common occurrence for Truett to have a herd of young men in tow at church and in other places. I never observed any type of mentoring plan. He simply spent time with boys and their families, pouring into their lives, taking care of their needs, and providing for their future.
  3. A living faith is a beautiful thing to behold. Most are aware that Truett was a man with a deep faith in Jesus. He prayed over issues of family, ministry, and business. But perhaps the importance of his faith is displayed most prominently in the lives of his children and grandchildren. His children Dan, Bubba, and Trudy are wonderful Christians. Every one of his grandchildren I’ve met are joyful about their walk with the Lord. Truett did what so many long to do – he lived what he believed.
  4. Faith can thrive in the marketplace. Truett showed how to keep your faith in a prominent place in the marketplace. He was not rude or arrogant about his faith. He simply allowed it to guide him. Thus, his businesses are closed on Sundays so employees can go to worship. He spoke openly about God and matters of faith to business associates. The purpose statement of Chick-fil-A is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” He was happy to talk about his church and what the Lord was doing in his life. Truett never made it awkward but simply a matter of fact in his life.
  5. Friendship is a grand thing. In all of my interactions, this incredibly smart, entrepreneurial, extremely wealthy, and busy man never rushed passed me. He was happy to simply be a friend to so many of us. I never felt small or insignificant when I was around Truett. In every conversation, he was invested in the person standing in front of him. The rest of the world faded away. For Truett, people always came first. It is a great lesson to hold onto for the rest of us: be a friend to the person in front of you no matter who they are.

The world is a better place because of what Jesus did through the life of Truett Cathy. I’m grateful to have been near his life for a little while so that I could learn from his life lived well.


Another Acoustic Version from Imagine Dragons

Posted on by Philip Nation in Creativity, Music | Leave a comment

I am loving these acoustic versions of their songs by Imagine Dragons.

Why Should We Value Communion with God?

Posted on by Philip Nation in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Image is a word associated with many things in our day. People maintain an image in front of others. An image is an idea or concept still being worked out. We work on our self-image. Perhaps the word is so far-reaching because we are a so visually stimulated.

Whenever people meet one or both of my sons, the issue of image normally surfaces because they look so much like me. (We are praying that they will grow out of it.) We’ve heard all sorts of comments such as:

“You boys look just like your father when he was your age.”
“You can’t deny those two.”
“They are you’re spitting image.” (Which, by the way, is a gross description.)

They take it all in stride. At this point in life, being like Dad is not too terrible. I pray that I can be the kind of man that they will always want to emulate. I want to have an image that is worth bearing in themselves.

From Creation

In thinking about the relationship we enjoy with our Heavenly Father, the fact that we bear His image cannot be over-estimated. In the account of creation, we are told in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” The image of God burned into the being of man makes all of the difference for us.

Throughout the creation account of Genesis, God’s image is not placed in anything else. The universe is made but not granted God’s image. The Earth with all of its grandeur is spoken into existence but not having God’s image ingrained upon it. Animal and plant life come into being, but without God’s image upon it. Only when God creates people does He grace us with His image.

Saints and scholars of every generation have discussed the nature of God’s image in mankind. Is it the soul? Is it our ability to have a will? Do we act like God? Or did Adam and Eve actually bear some physical resemblance to God? It is a difficult question to answer.

In Relationships

I would offer that a role in bearing God’s image is that it acts as a bridge for us to relate to Him. God is personal; even in the since that He is eternal. He has revealed Himself to us in personal terms. In the Bible, God tells us that He is Father, High Priest, Comforter, Shepherd, and many other personal terms. He speaks to us, reveals His will, and acts as a friend.

God desires to know us and has therefore placed His image within us. We bear a resemblance to Him in that we are designed for relationships. The relationships that we enjoy with other human beings are part of the general blessing of being alive. We love and care for those in our circles of influence. In bearing God’s image, it is obvious then that God also wants us to relate to Him.

However, in Eden, the image of God in man was marred. Sin stands in opposition to people mirroring the character and nature of God. Where God wants the crown jewel of creation – humanity – to be a showpiece of His handiwork, sin obstructs that purpose. It obstructs us from knowing the very One who has placed a reflection of Himself in us.

It is a reminder for us that sin is not just a glitch in our moral character but an affront to the very nature of our creation. More importantly, it is an affront to our Creator. As the Lord seeks to draw us close, He then does all the work necessary to reestablish His image within us through the redemptive work of Christ.

His image is within us so that we might desire Him. The Bible states that He has placed eternity in the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We clearly see from the whole of redemptive history that God is seeking those who do not seek Him. God has a great desire to restore the marred image of Himself in us through a saving relationship with the Messiah He has sent for us.

For the World

Now, the work done by Christ is for you. But never forget that it is also for others. The restoration of God’s image in us is not only for the benefit of the individual but for all the world. The image of God in the people of God – both individually and collectively – is a sign and a witness to the world of the Lord’s great love for us.

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul taught through many images who we are becoming in Christ. In 2 Cor 3:18, he wrote, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The concept of “glory” in the Bible requires a great deal of deep thought. But in this one verse, Paul lays out the concept that through the saving work of Christ, we are those who reflect the God’s glory. In this, we are showcases for who God is and how He loves.

The image of God cannot be trivialized. It is a mysterious gift in which God desires for redeemed men and women to show off His nature. As you search the Scriptures and draw close to Christ, keep in mind that He wants more than to make you an educated and morally upright person. God’s great desire is for you and I to bear His image as dearly loved children.

This blog post is based on a study from The Gospel Project for adults and students, focused on the doctrine of humanity, titled “Bearing God’s Image”.


My Daily Internet Reading

Posted on by Philip Nation in Leadership, Music, Tech | Leave a comment

I was recently talking with my friend Andy Dunning about how we keep up with the world around us. Specifically… with the world’s in which we work. Andy serves as a Bible study leader and chairman of our deacon body at The Fellowship. As a vocation, he owns Landru Design; a cool business that designs and implements conferences, designs and installs media equipment in churches, and trains media personnel in churches and the corporate world. The need for information in Andy’s life is pretty different from mine but we love to talk about what is happening in Christianity in our culture. So, recently, he asked and I shared the sites that I usually read on daily basis. We are both information junkies so it made for an interesting conversation.

Here are the websites that I generally visit everyday to consume information about world events, movements in Christianity, learn about leadership, and gain insight about my work world.


Fast Company

Harvard Business Review – a must read for all-things leadership

Ragan – for information about marketing, publishing, branding

Mashable – aggregating site about digital innovations

Church Leaders – aggregating site with good articles about life in ministry

Bible Study Tools – daily posts from various authors about biblical issues

Thom Rainer – my CEO who writes on leadership and church issues

Trevin Wax –keen insights about theological and cultural issues

Michael Hyatt – former CEO of Thomas Nelson and expert on promotion, publishing, and work efficiencies

Ed Stetzer –offers the best research and analysis of movements in culture

Eric Geiger – posts short, insightful articles about faith

Christian Post – best news aggregated news source for Christians

Christianity Today

Huffington Post – I find disagree with much here but find it to be an interesting source of news

SBC Voices – helps me keep up with the SBC theological/political landscape

Baptist Press – informative news each day about life in my denomination

22Words – just plain funny stuff


What websites are the regular places that you visit for learning?

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