Today’s guest is all about encouraging others in their own spiritual formation. Originally from Iowa, Eric Nevins lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife of 20 years and their four children. A graduate of seminary, he’s now hosting the “Halfway There” podcast and is here today to share more about that journey.
Eric grew up going to church. He has a degree in biblical studies. Hearing others share their testimonies of becoming new creatures in Christ is something he’s familiar with. While conversion is an important part of the story, there’s so much more to the spiritual journey. Eric wanted to expand upon what he saw as a typically simple format of sharing those conversion testimonies. He created the “Halfway There” podcast to tell the stories of people at every point along the way. He and his guests talk about the ups and the downs, the doubt and overcoming it, and all the other things Christians go through as a natural part of life. His hope is that others listening will hear stories that resonate with them and be encouraged by hearing how others face their trials successfully.
A year and a half into seminary, Eric went through what he considers a dry season. His parents’ marriage was falling apart. He and his wife were exhausted by the demands of being first-time parents. Their marriage was going through rockiness of its own. He decided to take what turned into a three year break from the seminary. They had another child in that time, but got to a point where he and his wife rarely spoke to each other. One night, after a particularly rough evening of hashing out their problems, Eric found himself alone in his living room, mad and tired. He started to pray and sought not only to obey God but realized how much he needed Him. In that moment of surrender, Eric felt God’s presence. It was the first time he’d experienced the profound love of God. Until then, he’d grown up with knowing God and who He is, but hadn’t really experienced that relationship and fellowship with Him. Until then, he’d grown up asking things of God without confidence that He would or even could answer. That moment in his living room was the catalyst he needed for changes to occur in his life, including opening up communication in his marriage.
As a seminary student, Eric worked in a call center, taking customer service calls. He learned how to actively listen to the customers, which included asking a question and then listening to the response. He’d quietly listen, and then ask clarifying questions in order to discover the root of the issue. It seemed useless work at the time. However, God was using that experience to develop Eric’s curiosity – the thing that would have him loving to learn and loving to ask questions. It was preparing him not only for studying spiritual formation, but even more specifically, his podcast.
Whatever is happening on your spiritual journey, take it to God. Ask Him to use it. Even the times of questioning His plan, ask that it not be wasted. Embrace the journey He has for you.
Jake Enriquez: 00:01 Press and Reach episode number 48, halfway there with Eric Nevins.
Jake Enriquez: 00:13 Good morning, afternoon, or evening, whatever this may be to you, I sure hope and pray that you’d be found well in spirit, my friend. Hey, my name is Jake Enriquez is. It is a joy, honor, and a privilege to be your host today. So please let me welcome you to press and reach a podcast where we’re simply walking out our faith and encouraging others along the way. Do the same. Welcome back to press and reach. My name’s Jake Enriquez your host. What a joy and honor and a privilege it is to have you with us in this beautiful morning. I pray and hope all is going well for you.
Jake Enriquez: 00:53 However you may be. I do know that in the Dallas Fort Worth area, we have finally experiencing, you know, the beautiful sunshine this morning. But, uh, again, I hope it’s well for you where you are and you know today our guests, you know, I love by the way, I just love fellowshipping with fellow believers, other believers. You know, I love the body of Christ, the body of Christ by the way, is everywhere we go and when we get to connect with somebody else who’s a believer in get to just fellowship and expand upon thoughts and different things, man, it’s a blessing. It really is. And today’s guest, uh, Mr Eric Nevins is actually a host on different podcast called a halfway there. It’s the halfway their podcasts and I know that Eric simply lives out there to encourage others in their own spiritual formation as we go through this whole world, you know, and I’m all for it. So anywhere I see somebody else lifting up the name of Christ and encouraging others in their spiritual walk, their faith was, man, I applaud them. So please welcome our next guest, Mr Eric Nevins. How are you doing this morning, Eric?
Eric Nevins: 02:01 I’m doing great. Thanks for having me, Jake.
Jake Enriquez: 02:02 You Bet. Thank you for coming out and hanging out with us today, man. I’m, you know, on the podcast we always like to get to know you on a personal level, man. So if you will just take a moment and just introduce yourself. Who you are and where you’re from.
Eric Nevins: 02:17 And I live in Denver, Colorado, which is we like to refer to it as God’s country. It’s a huge improvement on Iowa, which is where I grew up. Um, so while a lot of good connections there, I’m married, been married 20 years, celebrated 20 years last August and we have four kids. And so last year we had one who was learning to drive and one who was learning to read. So in between those, those ages.
Jake Enriquez: 02:46 Absolutely. That’s awesome. You know, and I’m sorry. Uh, how, how long did you say you were married? Twenty years. Twenty years man. That’s awesome. And that’s a great, that’s a great thing. You know, 20 years is quite an accomplishment and you know, to be together and working together and walk in together, we know that that has to be field well with your own journey of things to talk about. But man, thanks again for coming out. I know you have a halfway there, podcasts and uh, I know that you’re in that ministry as you walk, you encourage others as well. But what about, uh, what about that podcast? What about that ministry, tell us a little bit about it and what it’s really all about, if you will.
Eric Nevins: 03:29 Halfway There is a podcast that I created because I really wanted to contribute some things to the conversation that you can judge those are having, um, specifically about spiritual formation. So the reason we’re here in Denver because we came out here to go to Denver seminary and I finished it and ended up here and um, but with an emphasis in spiritual formation. So that’s what, that’s how it kind of became my might thing. My passion. What I really want to do with it is a lot of times the testimonies that we hear, um, at least at the time or you know, they’re, you know, my life was terrible. I met Jesus and that my life is great. Kind of simple format and I understand why we do that because it’s compelling, but I don’t, didn’t feel like that told the full story of a spiritual journey and that there’s actually a lot more to the spiritual journey that just those, the conversion chart. And so, uh, I wanted to create a story that would tell or create a podcast and tell the stories of people at every point along the way that we’ve talked about the ups and the downs, the doubt, and coming through that, all of those kinds of things that, uh, that we go through in that are completely normal and natural. And I wanted to say to other people, if you hear this, maybe resonate with it. It’s OK. You did great for you as well.
Jake Enriquez: 04:48 That’s good. That’s good. So not just focusing on, uh, the conversion, so to speak. Uh, the entry point though. It’s good though. It’s awesome to experience that conversion though. It’s awesome to experience a brand new life in Christ. Focusing more about the other things that, hey, the questions and the concerns that we may all have. That’s a, that’s a good stuff.
Eric Nevins: 05:09 Well, I always asked about the conversion because that’s an important part of the story, right? But it’s not everything. So, um, you know, sometimes those are the best parts of the story. That’s awesome. And other times there’s a lot more to it, you know, in the growth and learning about them. Got It.
Jake Enriquez: 05:25 And I could see that. I mean, I definitely understand, you know, because to be honest with you, we can experience a, maybe we experience a lot of emotions on the conversion part of it. May We experience a lot of, uh, of great things as we come to know. Well, as the scripture says, we walk from death unto life, but we have questions and concerns and we, you know, we can look around. I know that it’s easy to get caught up in that, you know, as a new believer you might turn around and look at somebody else and say, well man, I’m not getting all that. I’m not, you know, I’m not there. I don’t understand that that he might understand is we have our, we have questions and concerns that we want to share. Maybe just looking to get them answered from somebody else. So I could see how that would be incredibly beneficial, you know, for all believers. What have you experienced in doing that podcast? I mean, do you find people really willing to open up and share those things or has it been kind of challenging?
Eric Nevins: 06:21 People are willing to open up and I love that and I don’t know if that’s willing to ask a question. It’d be quiet, you know, all about the head, um, just listen to them or if it’s just there’s a real appetite for people to do this, you know? But yeah, people definitely have opened up and shared all kinds of things in their story. Um, you know, it’s interesting to try to. I try to vary the kinds of stories that we have and the different kinds of experiences as much as I can. Although I don’t always know when I get on a conversation with somebody where we’re going. And I actually liked that a lot because, um, I get to discover and I get to be curious and I think that curiosity really does a bleed through into the conversation so that, you know, hopefully, like there’s times when I’m editing a conversation and I, and I go, oh, I wish I would’ve asked about this. And the next thing I say is what I was wishing I was about. So. OK, good. Like curiosity was on point.
Jake Enriquez: 07:23 I can certainly appreciate that man. Definitely the podcast is all about, you know, walking out our faith that we have here, walking out our faith, encouraging people to do the same and you know, hopefully answering some of those questions as we go and grow. But, you know, we always try to find out, you know, because I know, you know, somebody might look at you, Eric, and I say, well, you know, that guy, he’s, he’s got it all figured out and he’s, you know, he’s probably been doing this forever. He has no problems, no issues, but people don’t know each other so much. We don’t really get to know each other out here anymore and just connect. So talk about your childhood, if you will. What was it like for you coming up? Because before eric started doing the podcast experience, many different things coming up as a kid. Oh, and everything. So what was that like for you?
Eric Nevins: 08:08 Yeah, you know, my childhood, um, you know, it was good. It, it’s interesting when I grew up in a Christian family and so we always made a church where the family was there every time the doors open. My parents were volunteers and that was great. Um, and so I was always, I always had a group of friends, right? Boys had people around me, but at the same time I always felt a little insecure because our home was not necessarily great. We didn’t have anything super dramatic or I’m terrible, like some stories do, but it just wasn’t happy. And so, um, that I think definitely shaped me a lot in terms of just wanting to try to find happiness and find a, I guess piece, you know.
Jake Enriquez: 08:52 Well, yeah. Let me ask you a little bit about that right there. You said that, um, it really wasn’t, you really weren’t experiencing that made me not been a bad relationship, but you weren’t experiencing that happiness or that joy. So what if you weren’t experiencing that? If you don’t buy, what then was it looking like for you? What were your thoughts going through your mind at that time?
Eric Nevins: 09:13 Yeah, confused as a kid, you know, the difference between what we believed at church and what we did at home, you know, but it’s interesting when one thing I, I only think about when people ask me that these kinds of questions, I used to pray every night as a kid. I would pray by myself in my room and I just Kinda talk quietly to God and I would ask him to do certain things. Um, you know, to keep our families safe for some reason I was really concerned that our house had burned down or harper, you know, our, uh, our, somebody would break in or something. I don’t need anybody to steal, but what I didn’t know that, um, and, and I would pray that God keep us healthy and then also that, uh, that guy without my parents to get along because that was the real problem. Um, so I didn’t have faith, you know, I mean, I expected God to intervene in that. And I did. I did pray and ask him to do those things.
Jake Enriquez: 10:18 OK. So now can relate to that. I think I was pretty much the same way, you know, I could, like you’re saying, I used to pray at night ask for those things and I found myself though wondering on my behalf, I’d wonder like, you know, how does that really work though? What does God do to, to take care of us or provide for our family? So there’s always questions about by, you know, I always think about that. It was always those questions in my mind. I mean, you know, as a kid, I think man, I mean my, my relationship with God so to speak was man, he’s, he’s this big being that I’m never going to see or understand and he’s far greater in a. actually, it was almost intimidating to be honest, you know, so. But I would pray and still still want that and seek that. Just didn’t really understand it. Stand at the time how that really works. You know,
Eric Nevins: 11:09 I wonder about my motivation there because I think some of it was fear of those kinds of things happening and some of it was trust in God. I believe you and I want you in this aspect of my life.
Jake Enriquez: 11:24 Yeah. That really comes down to the way we, you know, people say, I guess we do all things in motivation. Either you’re motivated by fear or you know, motivated myself. I also at the fear factor definitely is. It does take a place in A. I certainly would admit to that it’s always had that kind of fear and not that reverence type of fear. I was just kind of scared to be honest. No, that’s just it for me.
Eric Nevins: 11:48 Which is an important thing to talk about.
Jake Enriquez: 11:52 Yeah. And hopefully we’ll
Jake Enriquez: 11:54 be able to do that, but I’ll tell you what, let’s take a really quick break and we’ll be right here. OK. Hey guys. It’s Jake. Hey, I just want to take a brief moment to ask you if in fact he liked the podcast to come and subscribe, rate, and review. Just to take a brief moment to do that, but not only that, we ask that you come and visit us on [inaudible]. We’re all about faith, family, and community. Listen to if you have a story about how your faith and the Lord has seen youth or we certainly want to hear from you, whether it’s been in your business life, your personal life, which could be your marriage or dealing with your family, whatever it may be. We know that faith is a wall. So come join us as together we build our communities back up and give God all the glory.
Jake Enriquez: 12:40 Welcome back to Preston. Reach mammary. Hanging out with Mr Eric Nevins. And uh, we were just talking about childhood coming up and actually kind of experiencing sharing our experiences as well as what we thought about God and how we perceive God, so to speak at that time, early on in our lives as we were coming up. But you know, Eric, I gotta tell you man, everybody out here is uh, you know, we have a different story or at a different place. This journey that we walk with the Lord is definitely a journey with him. You know, and again, everybody’s at a different place. But man, there is a time that comes somewhere in there that we have some kind of a. We run into something that really strengthens our faith. When we trust in God, we rely on God and that our faith is absolutely strengthen. And you know, there’s some other lights that come on, you know, for us. Can you share a time for you where your faith was strengthened in the Lord?
Eric Nevins: 13:36 I mentioned that I went to seminary I didn’t say is that I actually thought was going to come out to Denver. I finished an md. That’s because I started them there at trinity seminary in chicago, but there was a three year break between that period of time was one that I really grew a lot. Um, I had gone To trinity for undergrad and got a degree in liberal studies. And then yeah. the thing is when you have a degree in biblical studies, you don’t have a lot of options. So you either go to be a pastor somewhere or you go to seminary and I want him to go to seminary. But it did a year and a half. And during that time, a number of things, we’re starting to just kind of fall apart, you know, I’m young, we’d been married for five years, so we were kind of starting to find some rockiness in our relationship. We had our first child, which we were exhausted and at the same tIme my parents marriage was falling apart. and so that was also weighing on me. And in retrospect I can, I can see that this caused a lot of questions for me, right? I’ll told you about how he prayed for this all the time off and I don’t understand why, why this is happening.
Eric Nevins: 15:01 And it was just really, really dry. And so I’ve been in school for a number of years and it was jusT kind of hard. So I decided to take a three year break and during that three or actually decided to take a break, they Said quit. It turned out to be three years in two kids. But, but, uh, the time my wife and I were having, having a hard time and at one point we didn’t talk to each other. I was rarely angry and we didn’t talk to eaCh other for like five days, which is the longest one we’ve ever done. I can’t stand that now. Like I just, she’s the first person I want to tell everything to, you know, um, but this was a really, really difficult conflict that we were having and she is a harmony person so she can’t really choose an enjoy having our standing conflict going on. So she finally says to me, hey, we’re going to talk about this or what? And I said, all right, I’m a loving. And so I just let go. Or I threw everything out there, all the feelings that I’ve been having over the last few days. Everything that I thought was wrong, let it out there. Then she responded and we ended up having more of those marital, you know, late. Not brutal might be too strong of a word, but in that direction.
Eric Nevins: 16:22 And it was bad. And so I got up and I’m like, I’m out here. I went to our are living here. So we’re, well, I may make some people this happens, right? So people might be really relate to that. So I’m in the living room and I’m like hunkering down on the couch, mad and tired. It’s like midnight. And uh, I am in this room, are a little bit living room, was just this great big box. And it was huge. It was equity and um, and it just felt very cavernous and that was kind of how I felt just like hollow it out. And so I started to pray and say, god, I really want to like, what, what is the deal I want to obey? I want to, from wanting to have a good relationship, I need you. And that was sort of the catalyst for, uh, some, some big changes in my life to I felt for the first time they’re, god just kind of.
Eric Nevins: 17:17 I can’t really descrIbe it. It was not even a physical feeling. It was just, I felt god’s presence and he gave me. I began to cry and um, was really overwhelmed with this kind of emotion of surrender to the lord. Um, my wife came out and then we were able to have through tears patch those things up and actually hear one another again, but that experience was just one of the first times, I think I said at the time that god really, um, was one of the first times I felt bad because I did not grow up with, with a tradition of feeling like god or the, the, the experience with god was common sense. So I didn’t really expect that, bUt that was having an experience. God’s love at that time really was profound. And it was the first time, I think for me, I’ve had a number of others since, but that was, that was a really big one. So actually the result of that is I hadn’t been baptized even though it was, you know, the trick my whole life. I just never was a little afraid to do it honestly. And a sensor that at that time I need to be baptized. And then that has a couple months later.
Jake Enriquez: 18:37 Oh wow. That’s awesome. Uh, well, I mean, it sounds like, uh, you know, we grow up knowing of god and we can go learn all, we can learn aboUt god and even have a theological aspect and really know all these things about him. But until you experience that relationship, do things start opening up, you know, and I mean, you know, what a, an incredible experience that is to find ourselves relying solely on god. So I think of that scripture and I don’t really exactly remember what it is right now which one, but it says that, you know, the eyes of the lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth that he may show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are completely his and you know, it’s in that moment, you know, our heart is just, it’s like we’re just full surrender, lord, I’ve got nothing else.
Jake Enriquez: 19:43 but just to simply trust you and when we get that part and we get that experience, that place, man, I’m a firm believer, man. God just loves us right there, you know, so he can do it for us, type of thing. You know. so I appreciate you sharing that, but I mean, have you, you know, since then, you know, I mean, you mid married 20 years, you know, uh, what, what, what sits there has been any issues that may have arisen from that, you know, have you struggled since the head with it or are you just addie, addie handle that? It’s
Eric Nevins: 20:15 like everything comes and goes in waves, right? So we have times when we’re, everything is great and we have times when we were just like, you know, but the thing is we really do love each other and we really are committed to each other. And so that’s, that’s why we’re here. But it’s not easy man. And it’s uh, you know, I guess I have to be ok with that if you’re not going to stick it out for the term.
Jake Enriquez: 20:49 AbsoluTely. You’re exactly right. exactly right. Eric. We gotta be ok with that because it’s not going to be perfect. But we do know and you know, the great thing about your experience by the way, is does she know where to go back to it? If you absolutely know to give it to god? So that’s beautiful. Well, along the way, you know, in this walk, in this journey, you know, we do develop character traits, you know, and sometimes, you know, we don’t even do it on purpose, it’s just how god is shaping us or forming swap. But what would you say are some of the character traits have been developed in you along the way that, uh, that you really can stand on now that you maybe now when you look back and say, wow, you know, that character trait of perseverance or whatever it might be, you know, has really been developed in me because of him.
Eric Nevins: 21:35 So one character trait that I think is super important in my life to this point is curiosity. I love to learn and I love to ask questions. I mean, that’s, you know, you don’t have a podcast where you ask people questions if you don’t do that, but it’s a central component of spiritual formation is being curious about your experience, why you’re feeling that way, why god would respond to in a certain way or why you said something to somebody or what happened in scripture. But, you know, that’S kind of like I said, kind of led me to the podcast where I interview people and ask about the actual experience and when you do spiritual direction, um, I don’t know if that’s a term you’re your listeners are familiar with, but it’s just basically pastoring. I like to think of it as I’m sitting with somebody and listening to the lord for them or posting for the threads of god’s work in their life.
Speaker 4: 22:42 And so that’s really been, you know, for me, I think the main wise I, I’ll tell you how god has that in my life just to all these, this thread, right? I spent years on the phones working in a call center, so when I was in seminary here, I actually worked in a call center as well, full time. So go to school full time. I’m working full time getting yelled at, you know, trying to help people or whatever. But you can imagine how that job goes. Oh yeah, yeah. But, uh, but what I learned was I learned how to ask a question and be quiet. Good question to ask a clarifying question. If it wasn’t clear what they were asking, what do you mean by that? And, uh, I never thought like I during that time, I both, this is useless. I hate this. This is the worst, right? It’s awful. But now I can look at it. They go, oh yeah, god was using this to develop a character traIt that I have to use forever.
Jake Enriquez: 23:42 Absolutely. You’re exactly right. You know, we don’t recognize it when he’s doing what he’s teaching us or training this are showing us, developing us. It, you know, you have to look back, you know, it’s in hindsight, I’m asked reflection in look-back, say, wow, ok, I see what that was, but that’s good. I’m glad to share that man. You know, uh, we often say that, you know, readers are leaders, you know, and because we should. And it’s just like what you were just talking about, curiosity. We shouldn’t want to learn more, grow more, discover more. But what kind of book would you, if you, if you do have one that you would recommend to the listeners, would be a great read for each and every one of us as we go forward.
Eric Nevins: 24:26 There’s a book called the critical journey green paper paperback. And I recommended this book shaped my life as it is in the top five books that have shaped my life in it is basically a developmental approach to spiritual formation. TAlks about the stages. But it’s the book that convinced me that we needed to talk a lot more about all of the stages of the journey, not just the ones where we feel triumphant. Um, she talks about conversion and um, you know, learning and then I’m kind of doing, of doing phase, but then also the wall, like sometime we hit the wall. So I shared the story I did because that was when I hit the wall. But then that there’s an inner journey and our genuine kind of a, a life of love, which, you know, those people when you, when you see them, you know who they are. Um, we have a lady at our church who actually is the first person I interviewed for my podcast named caroline. You guys could go find that, but she, she is actually, she lives in life to just gives herself. She loves people. She to me is an example of what that’s like. But I learned about that in a critical journey and I absolutely recommend it to anybody.
Jake Enriquez: 25:49 Critical journey. Definitely will put that in the show notes. Let me ask this air, you know, as you go along, I mean, how can the listeners today, I’m, I’m praying and hoping that you’re a ministry will definitely be expanded, that you’ll reach more people, you know, for the lord. And how would they go about finding. You didn’t have a facebook page, a website, instagram, how can they connect with you today? Man.
Eric Nevins: 26:18 Me is to go to my website, which is www.ericnevins.com. You can find all of my podcast episodes there and um, people want to, want to listen to you go back in the archives and there’s linked to itunes and you can get subscribed to apple podcasts. So that’s the best way. Also, can I just mention one other thing, um, because we’re, we’re in this group together, the christian podcast, so any of your listeners are christian pod-casters. I would love to have them in there system that’s at facebook.com/christian podcasts association.
Jake Enriquez: 26:52 Definitely we will put those by the way. We’ll put all those in the show notes where people can reach out and connect to you. And again, man, hey listen, I greatly appreciate what you do. I really do. Um, I think it’s important. I know that it has an impact and rather just keep doing what you’re doing, you know, god is going to continue to bless you along the way and see through. I love the idea of an are actually discovering more and more of that spiritual journey and that spiritual formation that takes place in our lives. I think it’s extremely important. So again, man, you know, just be lIfted up in it and know that, uh, we encourage you to keep going along the way and I encourage all the listeners can go out and connect with eric. Definitely. So, but eric, if he had a final word man of encouragement, you would want to share with people that may be struggling in their faith or maybe they have questions, maybe they’re feeling defeated, maybe they’re feeling a little bit down. You know what would be your final word of encouragement for them?
Eric Nevins: 27:54 No matter what you’re going through in your journey, god uses it. That it is definitely, if you’ll take it to him and embrace it, he is going to use it. So it’s comment that whatever experience you’re having happens in the spiritual journey, even if god feels far away, that happens. It’s happened to people in scripture. You can replace as like a backup or job where those kinds of questioning, angry times with god. It’s all over the psalms for instance. So just know and be encouraged that it does happen, that it’s a normal part of the journey and embrace it. Ask god to use it, asked them not to waste it. I promise you people,
Jake Enriquez: 28:39 a man, a man, hey, well brother eric, man. Hey, we love you and we thank god for you and what you continue to do. For the kingdom of god and for the listeners, make sure you go out to press reach.com forward slash p r 48 for the show notes on this episode. And eric, thanks again so much for coming out. Thanks a lot.
Jake Enriquez: 28:58 Once again, it’s been a joy hanging out with you, so please keep pressing and reaching and remember that you are not walking out your faith alone, out here for he has promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Have a blessed and wonderful day.
Speaker 5: 29:18 Um.
The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition Paperback, by Janet O. Hagberg, Robert A. Guelich