Sunday, December 30, 2012

engaging the present, creating a future

inspiration: a message that has been recurring over the last 2 weeks.......

last night, i went to the last service of 2012 at Seacoast Church.
we had a guest speaker, Naaem Fazal from Mosaic Church and he gave a powerful message about how to start 2013 off in the right way.

  • Reconcile your past --> don't dwell on the past, but begin to move forward
  • Engaging the present --> don't just wait around for life to happen, truly engage in where God has you now
  • Create your future --> accept the promises of hope and a future from God

now to back up a little bit...
i've been struggling with where i am for a while now.
in my relationship with God and in my relationship with Holden, i've fallen into the "comparison trap"; but for the last two weeks, i've heard the same message over and over and over and over again:

Don't define success by your expectations, define it by God's promises.

Don't just let life happen while you wait for the next big thing, bloom where you are planted now and you will reap a great harvest down the road.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

for nothing is impossible with God

inspiration: my current Facebook status: not going to lie: i'm a hot mess after this morning's service. i got attacked from all angles in my relationship with a good way :D

it's been a long time since i cried in church - not like *sniffle sniffle choke back a tear or two* (i've done that plenty) - but like full on "i'm a hot mess sitting here in my chair" cry session...

but today's message was powerful and hit me in a lot of different angles.

Friday, November 30, 2012

mustard seed faith and a Type-A personality

inspiration: having faith the size of a mustard seed and a Type-A personality makes me feel bipolar sometimes.

if you look up Type-A personality in a textbook, dictionary, Google, whatever form of reference you'd like, you will likely see my picture right beside it. i'm a control freak and i like solving problems. i'm a web developer for a small company that is growing every year and i manage their sales database. so when the company grows, so does my job. but the fact that i'm a control freak and a problem solver is a winning combination.

but here's Matthew 17:20 after Christ casts out a demon that his disciples could not:
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

amazing grace. how SWEET the sound.

inspiration: having Luke 15 pounded into my head and heart today.

this morning, Holden and I went to the Dream Center campus of Seacoast.
He and i love going there for the atmosphere and the worship, and as always, to be fed by the teaching staff!
it's amazing how comfortable you can get, even when you're in the presence of God.

but i digress...

this morning, there was a guest speaker: Brady Boyd from a church in Colorado Springs.
he preached on the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
but as i mentioned, the same thoughts have been pounded in my heart and head today.
after spending most of this long weekend with Holden and his family for the holidays, i came home and opened my Bible study...and lo and behold, i was studying Luke 15 again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

forgive yourself. forgive others.

inspiration: Jonny Sharp's awesome message at theWell tonight.

tonight at theWell, Jonny Sharp brought a powerful message about forgiveness.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:14-15
there comes a point in every person's life where we simply cannot find it in us to forgive someone.
whether it's ourselves or others, we struggle.
Matthew 6:14-15 reminds us that in order to receive God's forgiveness, we must forgive.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes

30 days of thanks: days 5-12.

inspiration: i've been slacking in my blog, but not in my thankfulness.

day 5: thankful to have a job i love.
day 6: thankful that i live in America and have freedom of speech and the freedom to worship!
day 7: thankful for bagel and cake wednesday - sometimes, it's just the simple things that make me happy :)
day 8: thankful for my friends
day 9: thankful for my best friend, Joyann!
day 10: thankful for my church!
day 11: thankful for everyone who has served and who serves our country.
day 12: thankful that Jesus was enough and thankful for God's forgiveness!

as i reflect on how much i've been given and how blessed i am, i just can't help but praise God for who He is. everything i have is His, yet He allows me to enjoy all good things.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17

what are you thankful for today?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 days of thanks: days 3 and 4

inspiration: more things i'm thankful for

day #3: i'm thankful to be in charleston
day #4: i'm thankful to serve an amazing God!
i often reflect on how blessed i am to be in this amazing city.
with amazing people.
with amazing food.

Charleston was never on my radar, but God knew exactly what He had planned for me here.
He knew the job He needed me to fill.
He knew the people He needed me to impact.
He knew the food He needed me to try ;)

i love reflecting and knowing that because i stepped out in faith that i am in the middle of His will for me. i've felt lost at times, but i'm still at peace knowing that i'm exactly where He needs me to be.

which brings me to #4.
i'm so very thankful to serve an amazing God!
In Him, i have life...and not only life, but life to the abundant!!
He loves me so much and i will never comprehend it.

John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and Romans 8:38-39 are two incredibly powerful verses that i reflect on when i get discouraged. because no matter the circumstances, God loves me! incredibly and powerfully!

what are you thankful for?

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 days of thankful: days 1 and 2

inspiration: it's time for me to reflect on things i am thankful for

yesterday, i posted on facebook and twitter that i am thankful for my boyfriend, Holden.
and today, i am thankful for my family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

you glow brightest when you're broken

inspiration: "Miss Me" by Andy Grammer

while i'm not usually one for breakup songs, i will admit, i love this song and video.
i'm a huge andy grammer fan.
i love his music and his voice.
i saw him live a few months back when he opened for Gavin Degraw and he put on a great performance!!
but one of my favorite things about this music video in particular is the symbolism in the music video:
just like a glow stick (or a minion from Despicable Me)

you glow brightest when you're broken

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

loving your friends is easy...

inspiration: jack-the-lesser's sermon at theWell last night

theWell's mission is to love God. love others. be the change.
last night, Jack Hoey, III gave a powerful sermon about what it means to love others.

i thought he made some very good points last night.
and some very convicting ones

  1. in our society, we tend to equate loving others with tolerance - when we accept others, we see it as the same as loving them. and while this is very true, we must take a look at what Jesus taught about loving others. i'm not going to lie, there are people in my life that i am tolerant of. but i fail to truly get to know them on a deeper, more personal level; if i would allow myself to go beyond tolerance and love them, i would truly be loving others rather than accepting others.
  2. loving your friends is easy.
  3. loving your enemies is hard - but it will be the thing that sets us apart as Christians.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

where in the world is ... nikki?

inspiration: my blog presence has been sparse.

so, for the last few months, i've been a busy-bee.
not in a bad way, but now, i realize how far away from my blog i've gotten.
while it sounds weird: "why is she so worried about her blog?", for me, blogging = time processing God's work in my life. i've been so unintentional in taking time to 1) be in God's word and 2) processing God's work in my life, that now i feel a huge void in my life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

how do i identify myself?

inspiration: theWell and Ernest's message last night

I love theWell.
its so refreshing to go and be with my friends and to learn about God consistently on a Monday night and especially to know that I'm in the middle of God's will when i serve there. God answered prayers mightily and has been working in incredible ways! we've been downtown for a month now and have seen multiple salvations!

last night's worship was incredible.
honestly, sometimes I go to service and sing the songs with a heart that is half-full. I'm singing the songs and praising, but only because I want God's blessings; but last night, I was fully head-to-toe all about singing and praising and being filled with God's presence! it was powerful.

"at the cross, You beckon me
Draw me gently to my knees
and i am lost for words, so lost in love
I am sweetly broken, wholly surrendered"

I was sweetly broken and wholly surrendered last night.

and then Ernest gave a message that spoke to me to the core.
he asked us about who we are and how we identify ourselves.

I identify myself as Nikki.
I'm a Christ-follower.
I'm a daughter, friend, girlfriend, co-worker.
I'm the crazy asian.
I'm a runner (when I feel like it) a web developer.
a nerd.
an optimist.

I know who I am.
but there are times when i lose sight of who I truly am: a daughter of the Most High!

Ernest talked about Peter and how he identified himself a lot with what he accomplished. he also mentioned that most times, that's how guys identify themselves. and i know I'm not the only female exception in this, but this is where I struggle most in my identity.

I want to do big and great things.
I want people to remember me.
but i also have to remind myself that its not about what I do.
but who I am.

last weekend, a pastor at Seacoast and volunteer at theWell, Dan Chritton passed away. and everyone I heard who knew Dan talked about his character and integrity because he was truly a man of God.

and that's what I want to be: a woman of God.
I want that to be my identity.

years from now, I wonder if people will remember be as the crazy asian who did random things...things that were fun but had no eternal value. or as Nikki,a woman after God's own heart, who served and invested in others. who cared more about those around her than herself. a woman who loved God above all else.

I want that to be my legacy and identity.

how would you identify yourself?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

which brother am i?

inspiration: the story of the Prodigal Son

it's been a really long time since i've blogged about a sermon from theWell! but last night, Jonny Sharp brought it!!

First He asked us a question: what do we picture when we think of God?
He asked us to think of one word to describe our picture of God.

mine were almighty and powerful (i know that's two words, but i'm an overachiever when it comes to these sorts of things). his two words were merciful and gracious. and he related those words to the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.

gotta be honest, when he started talking about the prodigal son, in my mind, i'm thinking "i've heard this story so many times." but in his message, jonny began to juxtapose the two brothers, the youngest, who squandered his wealth, ran away, later to return home broken and shamed, prepared to beg his father to be a servant was shown mercy. the question of the younger son was "Can he forgive me?" and his earthly father answered him "Yes" as he gave his son a ring and robe and threw a feast in honor of his return home.

Just as the son's father forgave and welcomed his son home, our Heavenly Father does the same for us. He is merciful to forgive us and will always welcome us home.

in some way, we've all been in the shoes of the younger son.
but jonny's point about the older brother really struck a chord with me.

the older son was angry about the treatment his younger brother was getting.
after all, the younger brother had left, squandered all he had, and, in the older brother's mind, didn't deserve everything he was getting. the older brother had been obedient and was doing his duty and was upset that he wasn't being rewarded. his question was "what will you do for me?"

but the point that really stopped me in my tracks and made me evaluate my relationship with God was:
"when we ask "What will He do for me?" we will miss what He's already done"

the father was a gracious father.
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” -Luke 15:31-32
and just as the boys' father was gracious to his sons, our Heavenly Father is gracious to us.
He loves us all, whether we're younger brothers (in the spiritual sense) or older brothers.
whether we've strayed from him.
or whether we've stayed obedient to him.
the price was the same: Jesus and our debt has already been paid.

i've had my "younger son" moments, where i've wandered from God.
but lately, i find myself having more "older son" moments. wondering "why am i not being blessed in this area of my life?" or "if i do this, what will God bless me with in return?"

if i'm being honest, i struggle more with legalism than wandering.
but i have to remember that my Father is merciful and gracious.
He is full of love and wants me to live in that love :)

what words do you think of when you think of God?
do you identify yourself more with the younger brother or older brother?

Monday, September 3, 2012

the future.

inspiration: God doesn't scare me - His plans for me do, though...

the future scares me.
not knowing what happens.
or worse yet, what if what i think will happen actually happens?!

lately, i've been trying to plan my future.
where i will be in 6 months.
in a year.
in 5 years.

but i have to remember that no matter what, God has a plan for me that will ultimately trump anything that i have planned for myself. His thoughts are higher than mine, His ways higher than my ways; He loves to bless His children, and His plans will ultimately be for my good, even if they're not what I expect.

so while the future scares me, i can take comfort in knowing that God is in control!

does the future scare you?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

bloom where you are planted - love your potential

inspiration: learning about myself and loving my potential

it's been way too long since i've blogged!!!
but over the last few days, i've experienced so much of God's presence and provision that i couldn't NOT blog about this.
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." -Psalm 138:13-14 
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." -Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, July 7, 2012

i want to be different.

inspiration: for the first time in a very long time, i feel confident in being labeled as "different"

so i had an interesting conversation earlier that has sparked some interesting thoughts in my head. i made a comment about how i read in "The Hole in Our Gospel" the monetary figure of curing world hunger compared to how much we Americans spend on luxuries such as eating out, entertainment, and jewelry. the response was definitely not what i expected. instead of being humbled by the reality of how extravagantly we live compared to other countries, the response was "that's a socialist idea". at the time, the comment stung and i was actually a bit taken aback by it, but i quickly brushed it off.

Monday, July 2, 2012

freed for freedom: Part two

inspiration: continuation of the Freed for Freedom: Part One blog...

yesterday, i posted about how we are to live in the freedom God has called us to. how we often let our pasts define us. we would rather stay bonded and enslaved in the past than to live in the freedom God has called us to.

it's often not an easy transition to make.
it requires us to not only leave our pasts behind.
it requires us to renew our minds in order to walk in a different perspective as we move forward.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. -Romans 12:2

Sunday, July 1, 2012

freed for freedom: Part One

inspiration: FREEDOM!

this morning, my roommate Ashley and I visited our friend Deana's church: City Church of Charleston. it was a completely different environment than we're used to, but i think we both agreed that it was different in a good way. it was much smaller and intimate and the presence of the Holy Spirit was ever-present. there were people speaking in tongues and worshiping more openly than what we're used to at Seacoast. but it was an awesome experience!

i know for me, it was a good way to experience a different type of worship and a way to experience something outside of my comfort zone. it's definitely a great opportunity to learn to worship God in a different way! :)

but the sermon was powerful.
this week, we will celebrate the 4th of July - a day where we celebrate the freedom we have as Americans ("MERRRR-CA!" - forgive the redneck outburst ;)). but we should live like every day is the 4th of July in the spiritual sense: because we have access to freedom that is unparalleled to the freedom we have in Christ!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

what i've been up to...

inspiration: a quick blog...

so i have written a whole TWO blogs this month.
pretty sad for someone who loves blogging...

but lately, i've been staying busy and i'm just praying for God to continue to use me in unimaginable way.

Friday, June 22, 2012

remembering HIS will

inspiration: trials draw us closer to God and force us to remember that He is in charge, not us

ive been working diligently to become a better steward of my money.
ive been going through Financial Peace University, making my budgets, and planning ahead financially
i thought i had my 3-year plan mapped out...
...but God has other plans it seems

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ever had one of those days...

inspiration: it has been one of "those" days.

if you're anything like me, you've had one of "those" days.
a day that's not bad.
but it's just not "right".

i spent an awesome day yesterday with my boyfriend and some of his family.
we drove to Columbia and kayaked out on lake murray.
it was beautiful.
(i also came to the realization that i want to have a house on the lake one day ;)).

but today, ive been in a funk.
i just feel like im not doing "enough", yet at the same time that i'm doing "too much".
but i was window shopping on barnes&noble's website and came across a book cover entitled "You're Already Amazing". i only read the back cover, but was also instantly reminded of this photo someone posted on Facebook.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

what if he is right....

inspiration: Ernest's blurb about apathy.

tonight, we had theWell at the beach - beautiful night (until the bugs came out, that is). we had food, volleyball, fellowship, a bonfire and s'mores, all the makings of an epic night, really.

we worshiped some and Ernest spoke about the biggest problem he sees our generation facing: apathy.

maybe he's right though.
there are a lot of problems my generation faces.
off the top of my head, I would say obesity, divorce rates, lack of proper communication due to social media and technology.
but I think Ernest is right in a huge way, too.

I look at my life over the last few months and I wonder sometimes, "am i doing what God is calling me to do - am I passionate about Him or am I just complacent and maybe even apathetic with everything"

I look at things like church.
and my job.
and my boyfriend.

if God was calling me somewhere else, would I truly be willing to joyfully and passionately be able to follow that calling? I wholeheartedly believe that God has called me to Charleston and to Seacoast and to Hawkes and to be in a relationship with Holden, and i wouldn't still be in these places if i didn't have spiritual peace about these things. but just in general. I wonder if i have grown too complacent here?

because I'm enjoying the fruit of my life, has it made me blind to the needs of others.
in areas of serving and outreach, the way i spend my money and time.
have I become so introspective and focused on me that I'm apathetic to the needs of others?

I'm not going to say yes or no to any of the questions I posed.
I just realized tonight how much time I've been spending inwardly focused rather than outwardly focused. and spending time in either phase isn't bad - we definitely need balance in all our lives.
but it just got me thinking.
what if Ernest is right?

what are we, as a generation, going to do to fight against apathy?
what if it really is the biggest problem we face....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

financial peace university.

inspiration: just finished week 4 of financial peace university!!!

so about a month-and-a-half ago, ashley and i started going through financial peace university.
i'm not the best steward of my money and i've been convicted of that several times, but it wasn't until i started Dave Ramsey's course that i did anything about it. and having accountability has helped me stick to this as well.

well, like i said above, i have finished week 4.
in the words of dave, i've undergone "behavior modification" and i have seen a huge difference in my spending habits.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

adoption: the greatest form of acceptance

inspiration: adoption and becoming heirs with Christ

tonight at theWell, we studied Romans 8:5-14, but Ernest focused mostly on verse 14.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. -Romans 8:14
later in the chapter, we learn that as soon as we believe in Christ, we become children of God. Verses 16 and 17 say:
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. -Romans 8:16-17
but the main emphasis is that through Christ, we are adopted into God's family.

i'm adopted.
i was born in South Korea, was adopted, came to America when i was 4 months old.

for me, the word "adoption" holds a strong meaning to me.
for me, it's the reason i'm here - literally, where i am - today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


inspiration: struggling to be patient

have you ever felt like you were in a holding pattern for God's will?
i'm there now.
There is a time(A) for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens. -Ecclesiastes 3:1

it's so hard for me to wait for God's best for me, too.
i want things my way.
i want things on my timetable.
i want things now!

i guess i'm truly a product of my "instant-gratification" society. i alone in this?

Friday, May 18, 2012

today would've been the day...

inspiration: today would've been the official end to my year of not dating

one year ago, i would've told you that in a year, i would...

  • be closer to God
  • be serving more
  • be completely happy and independent
  • be fully content in my singleness

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jesus made up the difference

inspiration: small group discussion - part three - John 2

another huge thing that came out of our small group discussion was how Jesus makes up the difference in our lives and how because the servants were obedient, they got to truly witness the amazing power of Jesus.

it's amazing, honestly, how many times i've heard the story and read it, but never thought about the awesome illustrations of God's love and mercy that it depicts. and how it alludes to the fact that when we serve, we experience Jesus in an entirely different light.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

be filled to the brim

inspiration: small group discussion - part two - John 2

i wrote previously about John 2:1-3 and how we are encouraged to stay "full" and how we must never run out of wine. we are to honor those around us and to be willing and able to pour into them.

now, here are the next few verses in this story.
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. They did so... -John 2:4-7

Monday, May 7, 2012

we must never run out of wine

inspiration: small group discussion tonight - John 2

so in my Bible study, we began reading through the Gospel of John. i know for me, it's been an awesome experience being back in the word and just gleaning wisdom from Scripture. tonight, my friend Carlee led discussion on John 2 and brought with her notes from an Elevation Church sermon about Jesus' first miracle in John 2 - the turning of water into wine at a wedding feast.

it was so fascinating to learn about the true context of this passage and so for the next couple days, i'll just be sharing about the passage we discussed tonight. there was just a lot of wisdom and perspective that i got, which i'm excited about - i LOVE when God blesses me with knowledge of himself.

Friday, May 4, 2012

living on a budget.

inspiration: Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course

so the roomie and i are going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course.
sometimes money is a "four-letter-word" and i know that honestly, i have failed to be a good steward of mine and it's quite disappointing. considering i'm a recent college grad who is doing very well for herself (at least, by her standards), it disappoints me that i 1) seem to be living the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle when i don't need to and 2) have no savings/emergency fund built up and 3) i am getting really good at using credit cards rather than cash.

so per this week's lesson, i found an accountability partner (my roommate), mapped out my budget for the next two weeks (until i get paid again, at which point, i'll put together another budget), and accounted for every cent in today's paycheck.

i'm confident that since i have accountability and the desire to become more financially free, that this will go well. i'm typically pretty good at exercising self-control when i want something badly enough (although, that just may be the pride talking ;)).

this is day one of living on a budget.

Friday, April 27, 2012

no strings attached.

inspiration: jonny's wrap-up of the Unbound series.

last night, jonny sharp brought a powerful word at theWell.
we've been studying through the book of Romans for almost a year now (i think tomorrow will be one-year, actually) and we're in .... *drumroll* Chapter 6! which is awesome, but means we'll be done in approximately another year and a half :P

but last night was powerful. it brought me to a realization of a lot of things in my spiritual life that i needed to be reminded of.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

what i learned from green eggs and ham

inspiration: a week later, i'm still reciting Green Eggs and Ham to myself....

last week, after theWell service, we had an open mic night.
now, i can't sing or dance to save my life.
but i do have a knack for memorizing things, so i decided to tackle the ever-classic Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.
...and 62 pages of classic literature is stuck in my head.
i recited it with a handful of errors, but i still had fun :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

God-shaped holes.

inspiration: Chip Judd's message at Seacoast.

at Seacoast, we are in a series called "Love Is..."
we started it last week on Easter and we'll be talking about God's love.

tonight, Chip Judd talked about God's love in the context of how we are to love ourselves.
for me, one of the biggest challenges i have is accepting God's view of me for myself
basically, it comes down to the fact that sometimes i just don't accept the fact that GOD LOVES ME and that He created me so that He could love me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

trusting You.

inspiration: a poem i wrote at work today.

true story: i'm struggling at work.
i absolutely love my job.
i wouldn't trade it for the world.
i love the company.
the people i work with.
the location.
the opportunities i have with it.

but i'm at a point where i'm feeling really burnt out.
i've been working on this same project for a long time and i see the light at the end of the tunnel.
but i'm just treading water.

slacker update

inspiration: just a few praise reports and blurbs since i haven't blogged in forever and a day...

  • i feel like such a middle-schooler for saying this, but Holden and I have been dating for a month today. i'm blessed to be dating him and i'm definitely excited what God has planned for us, individually and as a couple
  • my mom is doing really well! she came home last week from rehab and seems to be in high spirits
  • i'm working on becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer at work. i'm stressing about this already and i haven't even started any of it - definitely going to need strength to get through this one.
  • kenya is not in the cards for me this year; however, supporting some friends of mine on their mission trip to South Sudan has definitely been laid in my hands. i know the people that God is calling me to support and i will be praying through how much to give.

i'm incredibly amazed to see the where God has brought me.
i still suffer from spiritual droughts occasionally, and if i'm honest, i've been feeling that way lately. but i know that no matter what, God is walking with me every single day and using every single obstacle and encounter to draw me closer to Him.

what praise reports do you have?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

chase a lion

inspiration: prepping for Monday's Bible study.

i shared earlier about my small group last night.
it triggered a ton of amazing discussion and reminded me of "in a pit with a lion on a snowy day" (one of my favorite books). and as i'm preparing to piggy-back off our discussion last night to share my heart about pursuing our "lions" and overcoming our fears and learning to pursue faith rather than fear, i'm getting really excited about it!

i'm learning about "lion chasers" of Scripture and i'm excited about sharing some wisdom about some of these amazing people!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

they all overcame fears and overcame the odds and impossible because they trusted that God would come through. they faced their "lions" head on and were used in incredible and powerful ways. they never backed down from the calling God placed in their lives.

are you a lion chaser? who in your life is a lion chaser?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

lions and lions and lions, oh my!

inspiration: a bible study led by my wonderful friend Deana :)

so last night, my friend Deana stepped up and led an awesome Bible study last night.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8
last night, this was our springboard of conversation.
Satan is like a lion, prowling around, just waiting for us to stumble so it can attack.

we talked about how lions, in their natural habitat, feed where there is disobedience, where there is bait, where the light has gone out, where there is fear; they exhaust their pray and they isolate their target.

Satan does the exact same thing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

life is not a snapshot

inspiration: the message at theWell.

i feel like i haven't blogged in forever...
my blogging this year has been less than what i would've hoped to do thus far.
but tonight, i'm excited because i finally have words :)

i love the song "Before the Morning" by Josh Wilson
it's all about how the pain we experience is preparing us for the joy we will experience down the road.

i've posted this song so many times on this blog, it's not even funny. haha.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

my thoughts on "The Vow"

inspiration: the movie "The Vow"

let me start off by saying that ive been excited about this movie for a while.
i really have.
let me also say that i have one heck-of-a-boyfriend :) he went with me to see it (...i never wanted to be one of "those" girls, but i couldn't resist. i mean who can resist a heartwarming story of a husband who vows to love his wife "in all her forms" even after a traumatic wreck that leaves her without her memory of him).

i enjoyed the movie, i really did.
but i guess i was just expecting something different...


Monday, March 19, 2012

gratitude, not obligation

inspiration: small group study and quiet time study.
"Serve the Lord with gladness!" -Psalm 100:2
yesterday, i sat down and put together small group study materials.
the next section in our study of spiritual disciplines is about serving.
i was going through the questions and scriptures and the author listed 6 motivations for us as believers to serve.
one of which hit a little closer to home than the rest: motivated by gratitude.

Jesus' sacrifice for us should motivate us to sacrifice as well, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for the Cross. He paid the ultimate price. Our response should be worship - service being one of those venues of worship.

Friday, March 16, 2012

so, i have a boyfriend now...

inspiration: so...i have a boyfriend now....

it's so very strange to use that word..."boyfriend" can see a picture HERE...
i haven't used that words in years. and it's honestly one that i never expected to use for a while.
i took on a year of not dating and i certainly expected to fulfill that year and more in singleness.

but i truly feel like God had a different intention than i did for this year.
i heard distinctly a "year" because of Andy Stanley's New Rules for Love Dating and Sex series.
he challenged single men, specifically, to take a year off from going on any dates and spending a year overcoming any sexual sin they had in order to pursue God. it was a very specific challenge, but i decided that i really need to do something similar. i had gotten my identity wrapped up in the identity of a "single woman" and was feeling insecure about being single and i wanted to break away from that in order to see myself as "God's daughter, beautiful and beloved".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

a quick blog.

inspiration: i haven't blogged in a few days.

i know, i know...i've been slacking a lot lately on my blog.
which is why i'm bringing to you a short, quick-and-dirty blog about the happenings in my life:
the biggest update: i'm now in a relationship.
i know, i know, i've been heralding my "one year challenge" flag.
and i plan on writing a blog soon about the change of heart.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"will be"

inspiration: jonny sharp's message at theWell

tonight at theWell, jonny sharp brought an amazing word...
we're in a new series called A New Hope, focusing on the hope we have in Christ because of what He has done for us.

a few weeks ago, ernest talked about how sin entered through Adam, bringing us pain, conflict, sin, struggle, and death. but through Jesus, we now have grace, forgiveness, mercy, and eternal life. we have righteousness through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and most importantly, redemption from sin, leading ultimately to eternal life with God.

granted, we still have to deal with life.
choosing to follow Jesus doesn't give us a "escape from trials and tribulation" card.
in fact, the opposite is generally true.
but we have hope. and a purpose. and the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

rewards of encouragement

inspiration: receiving encouragement in various forms today

the past few days have been kind of rough for me emotionally. mostly in the realm of relationships.
i woke up this morning and gave myself a minor pep talk. "it's just another day. God's going to take care of you" (little did i know that, a half-hearted pep talk would actually come to fruition in many ways).

Friday, March 2, 2012

more goals and blurbs

inspiration: i feel the need to append to my previous goals i've made for myself.

i made a video-log of a few goals i have for 2012.

i've decided to append a couple to that:

  • pay off all my credit card debt by the end of march and stay on top of spending for all of 2012
  • go on another mission trip
i've had a couple humbling experiences regarding my finances and God has broken through in a couple of major ways and i believe that's just my wake-up call to reign in my spending and to make wiser financial decisions.

i've also been praying about going to kenya this summer. i'm still really seeking God in this (a little less, lately, given the circumstances with my mom), because i'm not really sure what He is calling me to do. i just want peace in this situation and lately, i've hit some patches of uneasiness about it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

healing perspective

inspiration: sometimes you just don't understand...

I had a really hard conversation today with my dad.
a really hard one.
but it gave me a lot of perspective about the relationship with my mom. a lot more insight into why she is the way she is.
but it has made this healing stage a lot easier to get through.
there are a lot of things I will never understand.
a lot of pain I have the fortune of never experiencing.
but the tears I shed earlier have brought a lot of healing and forgiveness.

I've come leaps and bounds in the forgiveness realm.
and I pray for more healing to come.

what do you need to get a healing perspective on?
relationships with others? your relationship with God?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Patiently waiting...

Inspiration: morning devotional phone blog

As im sitting in a beach house with my amazing small group, i was reading and reflecting on God's blessings and the people and things He has blessed me with. Im so thankful for His faithfulness and provision.

Im re-reading Lady in Waiting because i think there are so many truths to be extracted from it. Just finished reading "lady of patience" and a quote in there just really grabbed hold of me:

"When the two of them were finally introduced, she understood why she had to wait. While she cultivated faithfulness before God, her knight had been slaying a few dragons and shining his armor. God did not leave her waiting any longer than necessary." 

It just reminded me that, Yes i may be ready to date (or think i am), but that doesnt mean my future husband is. God is working in both of us. He is working in my future husband just like he is working in me. All too often, i think only of myself being ready; but i know that God is working in whoever He has planned for me and that He may have put me on a shelf to wait and mature, but He will take me down and place us together in His perfect timing.

Patience is a virtue.
God is cultivating it big time in me.

What is God cultivating in you??

Friday, February 24, 2012

God is for ME!

inspiration: a powerful night of worship at theWell

last night at theWell, we had a night that was packed with an amazing worship set list and a powerful message by Ernest.

the main point being: GOD IS FOR US. God is for you and God is for me.
our response to this should be complete and utter worship.

we've been studying through the book of Romans for 9 months now and last night, Ernest preached about Romans 5:12-16 where Paul explains how sin entered through Adam, one man and how through Adam we are condemned, but because of Jesus, who is God, was a righteous man and through Him we are justified.

Ernest taught about how God is for us.
He doesn't like when we sin. But he loves us because of who He is and who we are.
God is love and He is perfect.
So why should we think he would ever want anything less for us than himself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

prayer request

inspiration: prayers for my mom, please

i'm taking just a second to ask for prayers for my mom.
she is in ICU again with pneumonia and was placed on a ventilator this morning to basically breathe for her since she is having a hard time keeping her oxygen levels up on her own.

i began praying boldly for a healed relationship with her about a month ago.
i will be traveling to TN next week and will be spending some time with my family while i'm there.

please keep us all in your prayers.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

forgetting what is behind...

inspiration: my friend andrew

tonight at YPM (Young Professionals Ministry), my friend andrew gave a message as well as part of his testimony. i'm proud of him for being bold and sharing it with us, knowing that he was putting himself out there, but also knowing he was setting himself up to be used by God.

so, andrew, if you're reading this, just know that i'm blessed to know you and to be able to call you my brother and friend in Christ. i've only known you on "this" side of everything that happened, but in the last year that i've been here and known you, i've seen God work and do amazing things in and through you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

i don't always have creativity...

inspiration: drawings.

John 15:5

Matthew 5:16

"A great city is that which has the greatest men and women" -Walt Whitman

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...'s about learning to dance in the rain"

Psalm 37:4

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pearls aren't created without some irritation.

inspiration: Reading Lady in Waiting and studying Ruth

i bought Lady In Waiting about a month ago and i read through it.
but now i'm re-reading it again and also reading through the book of Ruth, which is the ultimate Lady in Waiting that the book describes and encourages us to model our lives after.

truth be told, based on the title, Lady in Waiting will probably scare a few women off.
i was skeptical about the wisdom it would provide me in my season of singleness. i figured it would be one of those self-help type books that would try and cheer me up and make me feel better about being single.

and it did the first time.
but now that i'm really soaking in the Biblical wisdom and virtue that Ruth displayed, i'm more encouraged because it's not a "self-help" book for singles; rather, it gives us biblical wisdom and pulls out applicable truth for single women who are looking to become godly women and who godly men will be seeking.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

quick blurb.

inspiration: my 2012 goal to memorize scripture.

it is one of my goals to fill my notebook and memorize all the Scriptures i put in it.
write now, i've begun writing all of the Scriptures on a notecard; i've already written 31 notecards but i only know about half of them.

this is going to be a tough challenge, but i know that being able to pull Scripture in times of need is essential in our walks and i want to become a more fluent student of the Bible.

what 2012 goals have you been working on??

Sunday, February 12, 2012

blessings in disguise.

inspiration: another moment of honesty....

last week was an absolute emotional rollercoaster and i feel as if i have just gotten off the ride trying to figure out if i liked it or if it's just going to leave me feeling sick. a lot of my pride and selfishness came out onto the table and i was forced to admit some things that i had been keeping inside.

"what people don't know won't hurt them" became my attitude. but the Holy Spirit quickly convicted me of that mindset. i had to come clean.
and i did.

and in the midst of me coming clean of pride and selfishness, i also learned of others struggles.
i learned that a lot of my best friends are struggling in their lives too, with similar things that i'm struggling with. i realized that i didn't have to endure this alone as i had let myself believe.
i didn't want to be a burden to them; but as much as i write and proclaim the importance of community, it finally dawned on me that God placed these girls in my life for a reason.

and after talking with many of them and sharing my heart and us conversing through a lot of things, i realized that God revealed Himself and His promises in my life through my complaints.

1. "God, i'm tired of being single" --> "Nikki, you're not ready yet"
sure, i want to pretend that my devotion to Jesus has completely quenched the desire of pursuing a relationship. but it hasn't. while i'm in a different place than some of my friends in that there is someone in my life that i want to pursue, i know that i'm not ready yet. i have so much going on in my life and he has so much going on in his that it's apparent that the timing isn't right on any front.

...but it still sucks.
i'm re-reading Lady in Waiting and truly trying to meditate and apply its principles rather than just trying to read it to say i have and came across this scripture:
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." -1 Corinthians 15:58
...and I'm constantly reminded that right now (and all the time, really), I am to be devoted to fully to the work of the Lord. I may think I'm ready, but God has placed me in this season of singleness for a reason. Like a farmer who clears weeds, tills soil, and prepares the land for a crop that he can't see yet, I must prepare my heart for someone who isn't mine yet, either.

we are made to complement each other, not complete each other.
when we try and find our identities in each other rather than placing them in Christ, we are not made whole.
two people who are not made whole in their relationships with Christ will never complete each other.

i thought i was whole, but right now, i'm still missing some vital organs.
i have to pray for who God has planned for me; i am continually praying that whoever it may be, whether it's who i want or whether it's someone completely different, that they are seeking God wholly and passionately.

2. "God, Kenya? Really?!" --> "Nikki, really."
for several months, i've heard about the ministry in Turkana, Kenya that Bread of Life Mission has established. for several years, theWell at Seacoast Church has taken a team of college/20s to continue to pour into and bless the people of Turkana. and i always wrote it off.

Me: "it's a two-week trip. i can't take that much time off work"
God: "Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3

Me: "it's a lot of money! you know i have bills, rent, car, food..."
God: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:9

Me: "People will think I'm crazy! What if my family doesn't support this trip? What if people think I'm doing it for the wrong reasons? What if it doesn't make sense..."
God: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 and "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

talk about waking up to the fact that when (not if) God wants to use you, He will provide. He will give you peace about the situation (even if it still terrifies you...umm, being out in the bush of Africa isn't exactly something I feel comfortable with); but it's definitely something that will draw me closer to Him.

we never want things to be hard.
we want the answers.
but it's during those moments of faith when we grow.
they're our blessings in disguise and we must see them as such.
our hard times actually draw us closer to God and closer to each other (as i have experienced in my relationships with some of my small group girls).

i'm not certain about the future relationally and missionally, but i'm excited to see how God is going to use me.
it's in the darkness where our light will shine the brightest.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

first things first.

inspiration: an impatient asian waiting for God's best.

this is the first blog in a while that i haven't written directly pertaining to a sermon.
i kind of like just freestylin' it, but while i feel light-hearted about my blogging style, it's time for me to get serious for a moment.

*cue dimming lights and dramatic entrance music*

two of my good friends posted blogs today regarding relationships and putting God first.
two of the things i struggle with most...
Allison: Proud to be a single peacock
Ashley: Drowning in a Sea of Uncertainty

i heard a pastor recently say "Put God first and everything else will fall into place".
easy concept, right? right.
easy to put into practice, right? well......

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

for man or for God?

inspiration: new series in Galatians at Seacoast.

lately, well, since the beginning of this year, really, that God has been speaking to me more and more through His Word. maybe it's because i've been more disciplined (or tried to be) about spending time really listening for His voice in what i'm reading and i have a deeper desire to understand Him more. i don't really know. i heard it said that the Bible is not simply a "road map for our lives", because that makes it about us. rather, it's a book about God and how He is faithful and and how He keeps His promises.

and it struck me...
how often do i make Christianity about ME?!
how often do i turn away from the true Gospel and begin to make life about ME?!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

endure. grow. hope.

inspiration: Jonny Sharp BROUGHT IT tonight!

this week has been surprisingly "fast", which is good in a sense.
God is doing some incredible things in my life and selfishly, i look forward to the weekends to be able to see people i don't see during the week; but i always look forward to thursday nights - to spend time with my Seacoast family - people who have poured into me and encouraged me in my walk over the last year. people who i genuinely love being around. people i love worshiping with. people i love serving with.

and tonight was no different.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

passing the baton

inspiration: the final sermon of the Immeasurable series

Sunday, we concluded the "Immeasurable" series at Seacoast
((You can read my posts about Week 2 and Week 3))

we focused on the end of Ephesians 3:21:
...throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
as Christ-followers, we are called to pour into the lives of the next generations, so that the church may continue to grow and thrive. and in order to do that, we have to "catch the bug" (passion for Christ) ourselves, we have to live it, and we have to give it away.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

peace isn't the absence of pain...

inspiration: theWell service: Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. -Romans 5:1-2

we all need peace in our lives.
peace from work.
peace from family.
peace from the chaos that surrounds us in our every day lives.

tonight, Ernest gave a powerful sermon about peace as it relates to our faith.
we're starting a new series called "Dying to Live" as it relates to Romans 5 and I'm pumped!
glad to be back in the Word and studying the impact it can have in our life! :)

the team did a "Man on the Street" video asking people "faith" meant to them and what they put their faith in.
most responded with faith being something they believed in, could trust and rely on.
and some responded with God, others family and friends.

but ultimately the thing we, as Christians, must put our faith in is Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

be a circle maker.

inspiration: prayer night at Seacoast last night.

every month, theWell has a prayer night, where we come together, worship and praise God for who He is and then pray for ourselves, for theWell ministry, and the Kingdom. it's always a powerful night - it's an opportunity to gather together to lift up the Kingdom in prayer.

last night was no different; it was powerful!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

to God be the Glory

inspiration: Week 3 of our "Immeasurable" series at Seacoast

so we've been in a series called Immeasurable at Seacoast.
((you can read my blog about last week's message HERE))

but this week, we focused on the first part of Ephesians 3:21: him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus...
Let me preface the remainder of the blog with a question...
Have you ever heard a sermon that you were certain the pastor was talking right to you?
Have you ever thought "How did he know about the situation with so-and-so?!" 
Well, let's just say, I had that experience last night.
...and it was like a kick to the gut....

Friday, January 20, 2012


inspiration: chosen conference.

last night and today, seacoast is offering a women's conference called CHOSEN.

Ephesians 1:3-6 states:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
as women, it's easy to lose sight of ourselves in a world that is commanding us to "look this way" or to "do this and that" and "girl, you don't need to eat that, it will go straight to your hips".

it's easy to forget that we've been CHOSEN by God to do His will so that His name might receive glory!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the single gift.

inspiration: poem from lady in waiting.

i've been reading through lady in waiting; i'm still going through my one-year of not dating (and still struggling with staying focused on Christ first and foremost in my life, especially when there is someone who has my attention and i have his), but staying rooted in Scripture and staying rooted in my purpose of developing godliness and discipline is definitely helping...

i read this poem earlier and it really encouraged me.
i definitely agree and i definitely encourage everyone, male or female, to read it and be encouraged.

pursue God first and foremost and everything after will fall into place!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

according to His power that is at work within us...

inspiration: Ephesians 3:20b

at Seacoast, we're in the middle of a series called "Immeasurable" which is based off Ephesians 3:20-21:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within usto him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Last night, Josh Surratt gave an awesome message regarding the second half of Ephesians 3:20.
I love the way he boils it down to terms we understand: iPhones (or in my case, the anti-iPhone - Droid, ftw)

Sometimes we lose power; we let our "batteries die" - we lose that "connection" with the God. But, we were promised the Holy Spirit - the Comforter, our Guide - when Jesus told the disciples He would be departing from this world.

And because we have the Holy Spirit, we have power! We are able to immeasurably more because of this power!

Friday, January 13, 2012

love God. love others. be the change.

inspiration: theWell's satellite service last night.

last night, Ashley and I had the privilege of hosting our first theWell service last night at our new apartment! it was awesome - we had 17 people (not including Ashley and me) come and worship and fellowship with us and it was just an amazing, amazing sight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

lady in waiting.

inspiration: just started reading lady in waiting.
I feel very strongly that marriage is not a higher calling than the single state. Happy indeed are those people, married or single, who have discovered that happiness is not found in marriage but in a right relationship with God." -Gary Chapman 
The past few weeks have been incredible in a lot of ways. someone special has come into my life and while it's been realllllly hard to stay focused on God, i trust in whatever He has planned for us. it's amazing to see God's hand in all of this, because when you truly are focused on Him and not on "finding mr./miss. right", He does bless you.

i've been really struggling in this new friendship though, because it's been easy to say and to think "in may, it will be different..." but thanks to some awesome friends and accountability partners, i was challenged to get back on track and to be pursuing Christ first and foremost in my life, as i am called to do.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

it's just a ring

inspiration: i wish i had more photogenic hands.....

(i wish i had more photogenic hands...)

a girl in my small group got us all rings that had the number "3" engraved on them.
the 3 represents the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

it's just a ring.
but i absolutely love it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


inspiration: having accountability in your life makes a world of difference in your relationships.

opening up to other believers is hard.
sharing your wounds.
your hurt.
your struggles.
it's painful.

but having accountability in your life can strengthen your relationship not only with those around you, but with Christ.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. -James 5:16