Today, I am forty years old, which seems like an interesting time in a person’s life. There is enough life to look back on, and a lot to look forward to, Lord willing. I am thankful for what the Lord has done in me so far, and I look forward to all he will continue to do in me. I want to grow in him, to be conformed more fully into the image of Jesus. I crave that deeper Christlikeness and feel I have so far to go. Here, on my birthday, it only seems appropriate to thank God. All praise to him! Here are forty things that come to mind.
1 Jesus: His gospel is the good news humanity, and Nate Holdridge, needs. I am in love with my Savior and rejoice that he has made me his. He is worthy of our praise!
2 The Bible: The word of God has been a source of life for me in a million ways. God has shown his nature to me through his word. God has given me direction and wisdom through his word. God has blessed me with the truth of his word.
3 Christina: Outside of Christ, no one has blessed me more than Christina, my bride. I have learned more from her than anyone else. She is the joy of my life. I could not do life without her.
4 Lauren: My first daughter is a gifted leader and a great blessing to me. We are similar in many ways, which has been a joy (and a lesson) to me in a thousand ways. I cannot wait to see all she becomes for the glory of God!
5 Violet: My second-born daughter is so tender and precious, a true servant. I love her very much. She has brought me laughter and joy from the very beginning, and I look forward to watching her grow into a force for God’s kingdom!
6 June: My third-born daughter has taught me a ton about love and joy and people. She loves being with others and finds gladness in blessing others. I look forward to enjoying her and her ministry to others for years to come!
7 My heritage: I rejoice at growing up with Christian parents who served Jesus with their lives. I also rejoice that I grew up in a Calvary Chapel church, for I love the freedom and simplicity of ministry found there. I am thankful I was given a love for expositional teaching early on in my life, for it has been a true life-source for me over the years.
8 Calvary Monterey is my favorite church. I love the simplicity, focus, and grace found there. The patience of the congregation for me has been overwhelming. If it weren’t for their grace and hunger, I would not be half the man I am today.
9 Health: I know I don’t feel as healthy as I was at age thirty, but God has allowed very few physical ailments into my life. I know this body won’t last forever, at least not in this form, but I am thankful for the strength God has given me. I hope to use it for his glory.
10 The Monterey Peninsula: My home on earth, the place I sojourn, is beautiful to me. I believe God has great plans for this community, and I look forward to watching Christ’s kingdom expand here.
11 My friends: The men God has given me to relax and laugh with are good men who encourage me in my walk with God. I am thankful for their patience and faithfulness to me.
12 My extended family: God has given me wonderful people in my extended family. It has been such a joy to watch each one of them come closer to Christ throughout the years. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in each one of their lives.
13 Our pastoral team: The Calvary Monterey pastors are true comrades to me in the service of our Lord. Their encouragement, faith, and boldness are contagious. I feel incredibly blessed to have such solid men join me in the work of pastoral ministry.
14 Our church staff: Beyond the pastors, our team of Calvary Monterey staff is top notch. I love watching them discover themselves as the Lord brings them more deeply into his gifts and plans for their lives.
15 Mexican food: Need I say more.
16 Music: I am a bit of an audiophile, and have enjoyed many different styles of music over the years. I am so thankful for Spotify because I can remember the days before streaming, on-demand music. I love that millions of tracks are just a couple screen taps away!
17 Trail running: When a brother at church took me out on the trail for the first time, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Years later, getting out on a good trail, alone or with a friend, is a major way God restores my soul.
18 Pastors who feed me: Every week I watch or listen to various pastors who teach the word. My practice is to put them on a bit of a rotation, but I am thankful for their faithful work in delivering the word. I am especially thankful for Brian Brodersen at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. I try to catch his Sunday sermon each week, and they have been enriching to my faith and ministry.
19 Good books: Quality writers, fiction or non-fiction, Christian or secular, are a blessing to me. I am thankful for the wisdom, lessons, and teachings that come through a good book. I am also thankful for the escape well-written fiction can provide.
20 Good podcasts: I have podcasts for learning, but also podcasts for news and entertainment. Sometimes a good Effectively Wild Fangraph’s Baseball pod is just what the doctor ordered.
21 Laughter: God’s gift of laughter is one of the first things to go when I begin feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. For me, it is a gracious gift and worthy of cultivation.
22 Long summer days: Every year I become excited when the days get longer. The beginning of daylight savings time, along with the opportunity to play outside after work hours, refreshes my soul.
23 Short winter days: Then I love the shortening of the days, the way the darkness forces me indoors again. Though the Monterey, CA climate is moderate and our seasonal changes are nearly imperceptible, I love them.
24 God’s patience with me: He has been so faithful, patient, merciful, and gracious to me as I have matured over the years. I have been a bonehead more times than I’d like to admit, but he has stuck with me!
25 Future opportunities: Forty is interesting because there is enough history to look back on, with a bunch of life to look forward to as well. I am stoked for all God will do in the years to come!
26 Past fruit: Looking back on these last 20+ years of walking with Jesus, I am thankful for every opportunity he’s given me. I wish I’d born more fruit, but any that has come was his grace!
27 Writing: I love the opportunity to write about God’s word. Having shifted into it more over the past two years, I am so glad for the encouragement I received to push me in that direction.
28 Coffee shops: Because they have coffee and good vibes.
29 God’s provision: He has faithfully supplied everything my family and our church has ever needed. I rejoice in his provision.
30 The young men God has put in my life: God has blessed me with some absolute studs, young men who are going to rock the kingdom of God. I pray God’s grace upon their lives and development.
31 Calvary Chapel Bible College: I was glad for the school back in the 90s, and I am glad for it today. It was a source of inspiration and foundational support for me at an important time of my life. I am forever grateful.
32 Fort Ord, Jacks Peak, and Toro Park, with honorable mentions to Garland Park, Point Lobos, and Palo Corona Park: The trails and climbs in these parks have been God’s gift to my mind and heart for years now. I am thankful for the chance to run, hike, breathe, sweat, think, and pray while out in the wild with God.
33 Mornings: I have become a morning person. The quiet of the morning hours, the chance to read the Word and pray before the day stirs, is such a blessing to me. I am rarely excited when the alarm clock sounds, but within fifteen minutes I am in heaven.
34 People who like the Bible: The congregation of Calvary Monterey is such an asset and ally in my life. They encourage me to teach them the Bible, to hold nothing back, and to savor every section and line. I could not be who I am without them.
35 Black Licorice: All my life, it has been my jam.
36 Star Wars: I have a Galactic Empire pin which reads, “Enlist Now” on my backpack. It is a running joke with kids at Calvary that I am a recruiter for the Dark Side. I tell them, “I am just really into what they’ve got going on. The organization, the planning, cutting out the rif-raf from the galaxy…I love it all.” So, yes, I like Star Wars.
37 Baseball: The greatest game ever invented, I love watching and talking about the game. Every time I watch I see something I’ve never seen before.
38 My iPad Pro gets the job done. I can study, write, teach, record, organize, read, and more on that thing. It is amazing how powerful the technology we’ve been given is…
39 Android Phones: I’ve rocked mid-tier Android phones for a few years now. Inexpensive in comparison to iPhones, they do everything I need them to do. They’ve been my favorite phones so far.
40 Grace: God’s favor has and will forever blow my mind.