Wednesday, November 30, 2011

who are my neighbors - pt1

inspiration: Scott Williams' sermon last weekend

I only have a few minutes before work this morning, but I wanted to share this video...

Scott Williams really challenged us with a powerful message regarding church diversity.
11AM on Sunday morning still remains one of the most segregated hours - racially and spiritually.

We're called as the body of Christ to not be a body of white believers, black believers, Baptist believers, Methodist believers. We're called to be the body of Christ! United and living the true Gospel.

We're called to love the Lord, first and foremost in our lives, but also to love our neighbor as ourselves.

And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27) who are my neighbors? Who are those around me that I need to love as myself? Been challenged by that lately....

(to be continued...)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

50 things I'm thankful for - the 2011 list

inspiration: it's Thanksgiving, y'all!

  1. Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior
  2. my family
  3. my friends
  4. my health
  5. my amazing small group in SC
  6. my amazing small group from TN
  7. the men and women who serve our country everyday
  8. theWell
  9. Grace Community Church
  10. Seacoast Church
  11. to be employed by Hawkes
  12. clean water
  13. the ability to laugh at myself - it makes "awkward" moments so much more enjoyable
  14. the mission trips i've taken this year
  15. the leadership opportunities i have at theWell
  16. my previous sponsor children getting adopted (Maynerd and John Mark)
  17. my current sponsor children (maria and punyakorn)
  18. to be going home in a few weeks
  19. indoor plumbing
  20. a family that does not like black friday shopping
  21. charleston food
  22. sweet tea
  23. my ability with words
  24. jack's mannequin/something corporate/andrew mcmahon's music in general
  25. running and the opportunities i've had to run races with friends
  26. a fuel efficient car
  27. to be moving to Mt P in a few weeks
  28. anything made with peanut butter and chocolate
  29. the big bang theory
  30. tetris
  31. music
  32. the abundance of penguin stuff in the winter
  33. a cell phone
  34. money in my pocket (even though it's not a lot at times)
  35. chili's baby back ribs (...barbecue sauce)
  36. southwest flying direct from CHS to BNA
  37. comfortable t-shirts
  38. jeans that fit just right
  39. crock pot
  40. spiral notebooks & post-it notes
  41. pandora for variety
  42. spotify because it's amazing
  43. smores
  44. amazing weather in charleston
  45. turkey and dressing!!
  46. a queen size bed with a pillow top mattress :)
  47. food in my cabinets
  48. chick-fil-a
  49. converse <3
  50. to be surrounded by people who "get" me and my crazy sense of humor and adventure

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"for God loves a cheerful giver"

inspiration: theWell rising up to become generation of cheerful givers.

at theWell, the college/20s ministry at Seacoast Church, we have been studying through the book of Romans. we've been challenged by the messages from the pastors as they bring the word of God to show us that the lessons and principles of the Bible are still relevant for us today. sure, the book of Romans was written by Paul  some 2000 years ago, but Scripture is still relevant today.

we've been in a series called Radical for several weeks now. the name was inspired by David Platt's book Radical and it challenges us to turn away from our "American Dreams" in order to serve God in a radical way, whether it's by selling our possessions or simply reaching out to those that need it most. each week, we've had radical challenges, from tipping generously (50-100%) when we dine out (even if our service was terrible), to random acts of kindness, to giving out Bibles, etc.

But this week, we had an amazing opportunity to show the love of Christ in a powerful and amazing way...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"fully convinced that God is able to do what he promises"

inspiration: Romans 4:20-21

a bittersweet moment for us as Pastor Chris Russo transitions out of the college/20s ministry into ministry with young married couples. but we know God is going to do amazing things through him.

that was our topic tonight at theWell - and Chris brought the heat.
when i think of "trust" and what it means to me, i have a fairly "good" picture of it.
i generally think about my parents and friends and God.
but for some, "trust" is a hard thing to think about, because in many cases, it's been broken.

abusive relationships.
unfaithful spouses.
disloyal friends.

what can we truly put our trust in these days? with greed, abuse, pride, and other scandals plaguing our news, sometimes it's hard to see the good in things. and it's hard to trust that God has a plan for all of this.

but i have hope in a God who is mighty and powerful and trustworthy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

hoping against hope

inspiration: the sermon at theWell - Romans 4:13-18

first off, i will say that i have been slacking seriously on making time to blog and to spend time in the Word; excuses are excuses, but i will say that tonight's message was pretty powerful.

secondly, while the title of this post may seem a bit contradictory or confusing, don't's not...
we're trucking right along in our Romans study; we've been in this for 6 months now and we've gone through almost 4 chapters - so at this rate, we'll be done in 2013. maybe :P

but tonight's passage was Romans 4:13-18:
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."

but the emphasis was on 17-18 and how God gives life to the dead. He calls things into existence that do not exist. and because of this, we have hope!!
let me say this again: Because God is able to give life to the dead and because He can call things into existence that do not exist, we have hope!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

seattle: day two

inspiration: seattle - day two.

  • Daylight Savings Ending - 1; Nikki - 0
  • As if jet lag and recovering from the time zone difference wasn't enough, daylight savings had to end and make it an hour early. while i'm not complaining about the extra hour of sleep (it was much needed and appreciated), it was quite disheartening to wake up at 5AM Pacific Time...what in the world is going to be open at 5AM ?! :P
  • but i started the morning off walking to Volunteer Park, about a mile from where i'm staying. there were a lot of cute little houses along the way!
  • got to Volunteer park and walked around; the Seattle Asian Art Museum was there (didn't visit it, but took a picture of it) - i took a few pictures.
  • i had breakfast this morning at the B&B - it was amaaaazing! fresh fruit and then biscuit and fried egg with gravy with sausage and asparagus. delicious!!

  • walked down to Pike Place Market this morning - stopped at Seattle's Best Coffee and got a Caramel Mocha (coffee is not my thing at all!) =P
  • walked around the Market - the thing is hugeee! There are so many floors and buildings - I got a caricature drawing done :) The man was really sweet. He told me I had beautiful eyes and that he liked my "beauty marks" (which i refer to as freckles, i guess. they're possibly moles. lol. i don't really know) :P
  • i walked back to Westlake Mall to take the monorail to the Space Needle - not sure why, but when i'm in new places, i love taking public transit...haha...
  • Went to the Space Needle! Took several pictures.

(their complimentary picture - they take your picture in front of a green screen essentially and you pick your own background)

  • Walked from the Space Needle to Kerry Park; up a monstrous beast of a hill, but it was totally worth it! Kerry Park isn't really a park, it's literally just a wall with a railing with some benches and a random sculpture, but it has an amaaaaaaaaazing view of downtown Seattle! it's absolutely gorgeous! made trekking up Queen Anne Hill completely and utterly worth it!

  • walked back to the space needle and took the monorail back to westlake and then walked home.
  • needless to say, my little asian legs are pooooooped!
  • once i got back, i uploaded pictures, charged my phone, and napped.
  • then i got up and went to Than Brothers to get Pho ("fuh") - it's basically this broth, soup with noodles and basil and beef or chicken (i got chicken). it was pretty good! i got a small, but the bowl was actually ginormous!! i only ate like half of it. and they gave you a cream puff. omg, it was amazing!
  • it's only like 6 o'clock here, but i am for real tired! i did pretty much everything i wanted to do while i was here in one day, so i'm excited to get to do even more tomorrow! i'll probably take a ferry/cruise around and go out on the water. not sure what else i'll do though :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

seattle: day one.

inspiration: Seattle - Day One.
  • flew from CHS to Midway to Seattle.
  • i wasn't nearly as jetlagged as i thought i would be after almost 7 hours of flying (although, it's catching up with me now).
  • i rode my first public transit train.
  • bought something other than Hot Chocolate or Iced Tea Lemonade from Starbucks.
  • then took two bus rides to get to the B&B i'm staying at (because i got off at the wrong place the first time. but in my defense, the B&B i'm staying on is on E John St and we passed an E John St so i got off the bus and started walking, but realized that i was near 27th Ave and where i'm staying is near 12th Ave, so needless to say, i caught another bus)
  • went to Pacific Place Mall to go to Pike Place Chowder for dinner (had Smoked Salmon Chowder) it was pretty good :)
  • walked around downtown Seattle for a bit
  • i'm staying in a really nice B&B here - it's right on the outskirts of downtown (i'll be able to walk or catch the train/bus to get everywhere i want to go)
  • i definitely need to get out of the south more - whenever i go somewhere new, i'm always so surprised about the diversity and cultural differences!
  • i'm glad i did a little bit of research/reading before i came - the area where the B&B is located is pretty open and accepting of the LGBT lifestyle and i've definitely seen it since i've been here; it doesn't make me as uncomfortable as it did a couple years ago, but i'm glad i wasn't completely caught off-guard.
  • and so many asians! i really, seriously, need to get out of the south more.
i'm excited about being here :)
but super glad that i get an extra hour of sleep since daylight savings ends tonight :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

rules of multiplication!

inspiration: First Wednesday's sermon

last night, Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Dallas came and spoke at our First Wednesday service.
he spoke about "rules of multiplication" and used the story from Luke 9 of the Feeding of the 5000 to illustrate his purpose. i'll have to remember to post the video because it was absolutely brilliant and hilarious, but wholly convicting in every sense of the word.