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CCM Staff : Elders

Nick Nickelson-01  

Nick Nickelson

 

Family : We are a blended family. Between the 2 of us we have 9 children (1 boy and 8 girls). We have 20 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. They are scattered between Murfreesboro to larksville and to Dover, TN.

 

Testimony : For many years I attended church and thought I was saved, boy did I lie to myself. After years of a longing, and not really sure what it was, I went through marriage counsiling and at the end was asked if I was saved. I was not sure, so I was asked if I wanted to repent to the LORD.  I did and it has been a wonderful, rough but, wonderful journey.

 

Favorite Verse : John 3:16

     
Mike Sutter-01  

Mike Sutter

 

Family : I have been blessed with a loving wife, Maya, and a beautiful little girl named Bayli.  We moved to Murfreesboro in 2004 from California along with my Mother Rhonda, my father Wayne,  and my sister Kelli.  My Mother passed away fairly suddenly in 2007.  My father remarried and lives in Nashville with his wife Dianne.  My sister Kelli and her husband Ben also live here in Murfreesboro and I am proud to say are also a brother and sister in Christ and are regular attendees here at CCM.

 

Testimony : My Family was not religious as I was growing up and my mother is what I call a "closet believer" in that she had faith in Jesus as her savior but I never saw her praying or reading the family bible or the like.  She would mention God in passing every once in awhile but I never even thought of her as a believer until a year or so before she passed away.  She had told me when I was younger that she wanted me to find my own way in my faith and this basically led to me not looking for God at all as I was growing up.  In fact I began to seek to justify why there was not a God.  In hindsight mom wore her faith on the outside in ways I never understood until after she passed away.  So growing up I developed a knack for the hard sciences and became focused on biology and anthropology and evolution as a way of looking at the world around me.  In college I dedicated myself to micro-biology, immunology, and parasitology and when I became a lab instructor in parasitology I thought I had everything figured out.  I used science to build a case for evolution and openly denounced the Bible and the existence of God.  I taught my students and argued with my peers about the unenlightened nature of Christianity and the obvious nature of our evolutionary origins that proved the notions of Genesis wrong.  And if Genesis was wrong then everything else in the Bible was mystic mumbo jumbo that was invented to help keep the unenlightened masses in line and give them the crutch of hope they needed to lean on (actual words I once used in class ).  Needless to say I was a hardcore and vocal atheist.  So you're probably asking yourself how this train wreck got turned around.  All I can really tell you is that God's plans are much bigger than us and everything occurs for a reason.  In 2001 I first met my earth bound angel who is now my wife Maya while managing a small photo store in a mall after graduating college.  She approached me after a few months and we began dating and deep down in my soul I knew in the first week that we were going to marry.  But alas like most young relationships we had our struggles and it was in the midst of despair in one of these rough patches that I found myself praying to God for his help.  At that point everything about who I thought I was crumbled away and I realized in my heart that there was a God.  This led to a year or so of complete confusion culminating in me accepting Jesus Christ as my savior at a Harvest Crusade in 2002.  Alas though, while I knew in my heart that Jesus died on the cross so that My sins could be forgiven, it took it a long time for my mind to let go of its preconceived notions of what the World had taught about how the puzzle of the universe fits together and embrace the true nature of God's love for his creation as the creator of all that is seen and unseen.  I cannot tell you specifically the date and time of my true rebirth as a follower of Jesus Christ and my acceptance of his message and the bible with all my heart, body, and soul.  I do know that while sitting under the glorious Word here at Calvary Chapel Murfreesboro and through the wonderful patience and faith of my Angel that my eyes were opened and I was born again.  Looking back over my Life, I can see Gods hand at every single turn, his providence in every moment, and it is in His wisdom that my path was chosen for me so that I may use what He has given me to serve the body of Christ as only He has designed me to.  I am thankful for every moment that God gives me to be his tool on this rock that rest in the palm of his hand and it is for his Glory that I breathe.

 

Favorite Verse : You might think this a little weird but my favorite verse really changes all the time.  I find as the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to different nuances of scripture that I find myself drawn to different versus all the time.  Currently I am rather fond of Joshua 7:1 which introduces Ahchan and his lineage and how his trespass brought the anger of the Lord upon Israel.  You might think that this is a rather strange verse to be ones favorite but to me it is a magnificent example of the Holy providence of the Bible and the fingerprint of God upon it's pages.  If you look closely at Achan's lineage provided you will find the names : Zerah Zabdi Carmi Achan : and if you do a Hebrew word study on these names you will find that these names in this order mean : arise to give the vine dresser trouble.  Referenced to John 15:1 which says that God the Father is the Vinedresser and my mind is blown.  Remember that these were the names of four individuals from four generations and they perfectly describe the nature of Achan.  This just goes to show you that even in the most innocuous verse filled with what appears to be meaningless detail the GLORY of God is served by every single letter.

     
Graham Caylor-01  

Graham Caylor

 

Testimony : I recall, as a boy, pondering the ultimate questions of life: “Why do I exist?”, “What’s the reason for all this?”. It seemed inconceivable to be accidental. But I discovered no one I knew had any good answers so I stopped asking.
     I grew up like any other kid in the 80’s and 90’s. Listening to music, playing with toys, video games, and in the streets. I didn’t have God in my life and no one around did either. I didn’t even know I was missing Him. Until, that is, I got old enough to feel those unanswered questions lingering still in the darkness. But now alongside the almost forgotten doubts was a whisper of the terrible answer: “You are a cosmic accident. There is no reason, or purpose for any of this. There is no hope”.
     As that nihilistic realization was reached I abandoned all attempts at healthy life. I survived as someone under a death sentence - looking for any passing pleasure or means to numb the pain. Keeping busy! keeping happy! these were my driving demons. “…to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting…” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). I lived untethered from morality, compassion, or wisdom. I had lots of “knowledge” - collections of so-called facts - but the total inability to apply them in any fruitful way. I was truly lost…but, for the grace of God.
He had not abandoned me. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jeremiah 1:5) With an irresistible call on my life that is more complicated, tortuous, and lengthy than could ever be adequately chronicled, He drew me steadily toward the truth. Jesus took a hedonistic heathen and gave him the living answers to those critical questions:
“Why do I exist?”
“Because I love you”
“What’s the reason for all this?”
“To know Me, to choose Me as I choose you, and to show others the love I show you.”
All of which leads to the fact that for the first time in my life I understood there was hope.

Hope and purpose for my ruined past: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and "'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." (Luke 8:39)

Hope in the present: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

And hope for the future: ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

     All of which leads to the point of my testimony. If you, reading this, have doubts, questions, or (worse yet) answers of your own which point to your worthlessness, pointlessness, or hopelessness, then I challenge you. Reach out. Ask us for the reason for the hope that is in us. What we have been given is meant to be given to you. God bless.

 

Favorite Verse : Joshua 24:15

Sunday Teachings