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?