Building Material or Scaffolding?

Have you ever taken the time to consider all the different people that have influenced your life? If you are like me, many people from all walks of life have impacted and helped shape who you are today.


I am blessed to have many stable people in my life, people that have been with me for the long haul. And, I have experienced some people who were only in my life briefly, but left an indelible mark.


My pastor once told me; “Some people are like building material and some are more like scaffolding”. He encouraged me to understand the difference. He said, “Some people you can build your life around. They will be with you throughout your life journey. They are building material to your life. Others are scaffolding, a temporary structure that helps you for ashutterstock_55365469 season and then is removed”. He went on to say, “Be grateful when God allows someone to be building material in your life. They are rare and precious people. Also, be careful to not be overly disappointed when you discover that someone was only meant to be temporary scaffolding. It is normal to have both”.


That being said, I want to give a shout out to a man that was “scaffolding” for a season of my life. His name was Dave Robison, my boss at a previous job. He saw the potential for leadership in me. He promoted me, then promoted me again, and promoted me yet again. I soon found myself sitting at his table, part of his inner circle. Honestly, I thought I was in way over my head. But, he saw something in me that I did not see in myself, and he gave me a chance to succeed.


At one of my performance evaluations, he gave me some of the best advice I ever received. He said, “Nick, you are amazing in a crisis. You rush right in and do whatever is necessary. But, what we need from you is…A LITTLE MORE CLARK KENT AND A LITTLE LESS SUPERMAN!” Hah! He had amazing clarity, and that advice was profound. Several times throughout my life I have caught myself unconsciously putting on the cape!


Dave passed away about two years ago. While he was only my boss a few years, he continues to impact my life today. Who says scaffolding can’t make a permanent impact on our lives?


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A Love that Makes You Leave

Recently, during a ministry trip to Europe, my good friends Lukas & Dita took my wife and me on a day trip to Hernhutt, Germany. It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, since Hernhutt isn’t near anything else I would be visiting. For those of you who don’t know anything about Hernhutt, it is the birthplace of the Moravians.


The Moravians were a group of persecuted Protestants that came to Hernhutt in 1722 and asked a land baron named Nicholas Ludwig Von Zinzendorf if they could stay on his land in order to practice their religious freedom. He agreed. And guess what happened next? More people arrived wanting to join this new religious colony. This continued for about 5 years. During these five years, there were many people with different religious views living in community with one another. And, there were many problems. As well as their differing religious views, the people also had different views on communal living. There was unrest in the camp.


Then, one Sunday, while holding a communion service, the Holy Spirit was felt by everyone. From that point forward, there were no doctrinal disputes or need for handling communal squabbles. The Moravians would later say they experienced the Holy Spirit much like the church did in the Book of Acts.


This move of the Spirit drove the people to a deep desire to pray. They set up 24 hour Prayer picprayer watches and did not stop praying around the clock for over 100 years!



What was the result of their selfless living and intense prayer life? People felt called to missionary service. As a result, many sold themselves into slavery as indentured servants, for the opportunity to take the Gospel where they were otherwise unwelcome! They sailed to these foreign fields with nothing but travel fare, a bible and a wooden coffin. This sounds like true religion to me. A move of God that stopped arguments over doctrine, caused godly men and women to pray, and inspired them to give their life away! That is the kind of religion I want to experience.


The Moravians have left a deep mark on the world that has continued to touch and inspire myself and many others. I will leave you with this Moravian motto:


“In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity (love).”


Let us pursue God until we get along with our neighbor, draw nearer to God, and find a reason to give our lives away! For more, visit


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Gym Friends

I grew up without any steady healthy relationships, and spent most of my life “relationally challenged”. But, over the years, with the help of healing, counseling, books and some long-suffering friends, my relational I.Q. has improved. That has made me much more aware of relational issues that the average person may miss.


I started back to the gym. I go at the same time every day, four or five times a week. I take the same class (which varies the workout every other week) with the same people. I am only at the gym for one hour and most of the time I am sweating, and trying to breathe, not start up conversations. But, since we are all relational creatures, inevitably small talk happens and you learn a little bit about each other. I now have “Gym Friends”. The difference with gym friends is that intimacy doesn’t come from talking, it comes from sharing.


My wife and I have been married for 26 years. My friends are her friends and her friends are my friends…except for my gym friends. She doesn’t know one of them. That is a new dynamic in our relationship. You might say, “Yeah, but you only see them an hour a couple times a week”. Yes, that is true. But, there is a level of intimacy you develop at the gym.


  • mighty-miteWe see each other stripped down to the basics/ no frills.
  • We high five and hug each other while pouring the sweat.
  • We observe one another about to puke after a particularly grueling workout.
  • We witness each other’s body parts bouncing, jiggling and stretching in a way that none had ever hoped to see.
  • We share the bathroom, locker room, and showers.
  • We see each other’s weaknesses (overweight, flawed, and unable to do a chin up) and cheer for each other.


I would say there is a great deal of intimacy that happens at the gym. Working out with my gym friends has become a favorite part of my day/week. Yes, I am more vulnerable at the gym than at other times, but I also don’t have any unrealistic demands put on me by my friends there. So here’s a shout out to my gym friends. I wish everyone had some.

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