He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Welcome To Our Family

I cant believe I have known this girl since the time she was born. I have always wanted to adopt and we have always wanted to add to our family but we have not gotten to the place where could afford to do that. But God had a plan! He knew he would add to our family in another way. In a way that was BEST for us and would display HIS glory perfectly. God parenting. Providence through a bible study and a teen mom.
Do you see that smile?

She has grown leaps and bounds. You could tell she wasn't use to being around us in the beginning. She wouldn't talk, she wouldn't smile, she just didn't seem happy. Now she runs into our arms and and sees our home as her home as well.

Her mom wrote on her FB page the other day how she was thankful for having us in her daughters life. We are thankful too. There is a mutual transformation that is taking place in our hearts as well. Providence is sooo amazing!

We love you sweet girl!

Real Talk Pt 2

A friend of mine told me about this show that comes on MTV. I haven't watch it in full as yet, but I am very curious to see how it all plays out. Its a show where they go from High School to High School placing teens in groups ,encouraging them to listen to one another about the issues they face on a daily. A lot of times in high school ( and for us in our adult years) people click up and become friends with those who appear to have it all together. Often times we read blogs, facebook updates, tweets from Twitter and even hear conversations in passing after Sunday morning worship that will leave us with the impression that the people we see or read about have such a "perfect" life. Many times as stay at home moms, when we know we have guest coming over we try our hardest to put our "best foot forward" so that those who come around may get the vibe that we don't struggle at all. ( you know, those of us with multiple children who battle with perfection in keeping the house clean..we wouldn't dare want our guest to see us with the kind of house that is displayed in Cheaper By The Dozen). Well, I will be the first to start off to say I am not perfect. Neither is my life.

I know some of you may know that...but do you believe it?? If you REALLY KNEW me you would know that I too struggle with perfectionism, my home has to look a certain way, things have to stay in a certain order. I am often dealing with anger because I want control and cant stand for things to not go the way I want. I am very insecure and battle inwardly with self image issues. I am a recovering feminist. I deal with jealousy on many different levels and often times can have a loose tongue. I struggle with pride,self control and I am horrible when it comes to communicating at times. (ask my husband-lol)

If you REALLY KNEW ME, you would know I am all about making WAR on my FLESH, I know none of these things are pleasing to the LORD and can NOT be used to edify HIS CHURCH so I strive to walk in obedience and give my life over to the one who has captured me by HIS GRACE and MERCY. I FAIL at this all the time. I do. If you REALLY KNEW ME, you would know that I too am in need of GRACE and all that you see or hear from me is because GOD is at work in my heart. Please be careful not to place anyone on a pedestal. WE are all weak, willed sinners striving to look more like CHRIST everyday. In all, I am thankful for GRACE and how it is ALWAYS available to Gods people in their time of need. My desire is to boast only in the cross of Christ, I pray that by God's grace you are found there as we

Friday, December 24, 2010

Came Down

It was dope how you came down
There was hope when you came down
Now I know why you came down
Glad I know why you came down

We met our Savior when you came down
We saw your flavor when you came down
You gave us favor when you came down
Now we goin’ praise ya’ cause you came down

The more I live the more I’m convinced of/ the fact there’s hope in this life in spite of what sin does/ Hard knock life and can’t weed out the sorrow/ Still I believe the sun’ll be out tomorrow/ I’ve got a right to think like this/ and my reason is connected to the season of Christmas/ ‘Cause though it doesn’t seem right one night this/ place of low worth held the birth of One priceless/ Straight up—wait a minute the kid’s sovereign/ Born in a stable he deserved the Ritz Carlton/ That’s just the tip of the ice/ And Christmas is the perfect time for the rhyme to hip you to Christ

Please—y’all let me reflect on the blessin’/ of what God did when He slid the flesh on/ Stepped on earth though His worth was slept on/ His word made the earth and by His word it’s kept goin’/ That’s why the season’s a good ‘nuff reason to please Him/ How I wish every hood would seek Him and see Him/ Grown, enthroned, more than just a rabbi/ I wish you could see Him as Lord just ask the magi/ Who brought incense, gold, and myrrh/ They saw a King—whatcha’ think that the gold was for?/ Servin’ others—madd blood and sweat/ Served and loved us—that’s the kind of gold you get/ when it’s Christ-style lovin’, change up your lifestyle lovin’/ Correct you when your lifestyle’s buggin’/ Christmas lovin’, the tear up your wish-list lovin’/ And switch it to the give gifts lovin’

Christmas is the time that I can get my eat on/ But now there’s divine grub I get to feed on/ It’s soul food every time I get my read on/ Now I no longer have to get my weed on/ He’s strong but he’s on nothin’ he’s reborn/ He keeps goin’ even with the gifts and trees gone/ And he’s hype of the fact that Christ is/ The God who came when others wouldn’t come down like gas prices/ Some swear it’s a myth but they should cherish the gift/ ‘Cause when Jesus was born there was a shift/ from hopelessness to hope that’s just so dope/ I hope you get to make the most of it

Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Your Year End Giving Can Impact Lives

It's that time of the year where many of your local and favorite ministries are in need of your financial support. I am so thankful for all of those who support the work of God all over. Its because of YOU we are able to work faithfully in the harvest. As you begin to pray through your Year End Giving, please remember the following ministries/organizations. Your generous giving will not only impact people, the future of urban youth but most importantly the COMMUNITIES they live in!
Merry Christmas!!

Common Ground Montgomery-Montgomery,AL- -To Donate Click Here!
Hope For The Inner City Chattanooga, Tn--To Donate Click Here!
City of Hope Outreach-Conway --To donate ClickHere-
Vision Atlanta-Atlanta ,Ga--To Donate ClickHere
Mercy Street-Dallas,Tx -- To Donate Click Here
Urban Youth Workers Institute- -To Donate Click here
**NEW MINISTRY headed up by my friends Adam and Beca! Check it! Blueprint 58

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rehab- The Overdose

It's that time again friends! You know I'm always going to give you the heads up on new music. So here it is, new Lecrae album out 1-11-11.

Around every corner is the lure to consume. A desire to be satisfied. Unfortunately no human being has found anything under the sun that brings satisfaction. So we consume more, and more, and more. Eventually, we overdose. However, there is hope--if Christianity is our Rehab. In Jesus, satisfaction can be found. Grace, love, peace and hope can be found...and there is always more. Consume more of Jesus. Overdose.

Rehab: The Overdose officially hits stores and online outlets 1.11.11.

Check out the promo video below.

Also, place your order today so you can be among the first to get an extra dose!

To pre-order Rehab: The Overdose album go here.

To pre-order Rehab: The Overdose combo packages go here.

To pre-order new The Overdose Tshirt go here.

Get ready for The Overdose on 1.11.11!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Princes and The Kiss Pt 2

One of the reasons I love having the middle school and younger girls hang out (or sleepover) at my house is because it opens the door for a what I hope would be lifelong relationships. These sweet girls call me to chat on the phone as if I am one of their peers. It can be a challenge at times because I have work at home I have to take care of and sometimes they don't understand that. Yet, God gives them understanding and they just show up on my front porch! (ha!) Which I am so glad they do, I miss them when they are not here.

As I have them over and we are having these long hard talks about peer pressure, boys and sex, I always wonder if they are really hearing all the Lord uses my husband and I to say. I sometimes wonder if these girls would be open enough to share with us when things are happening to them, or if they have engaged in activity that they shouldn't. Would they trust us with their secrets, with the many unanswered questions they have about life and boys?? The other night I didn't have to wonder anymore. I got a phone call from one middle school girl(14 yrs old) who wanted to let me know her mom was taking her to the clinic to start birth control shots. I just sat there in shock for a few seconds. Then it begins to settle and I begin to think about the reality of this cycle continuing. That just saddens my heart. We begin a for a little to talk about why birth control. I begin to ask her was she a virgin and how dangerous this was for her if she wasn't having sex. I hung up the phone and told my husband and shared with him how I wanted to have her over this week. I know that was nothing but God to have her to call me. I don't know what God is doing, and I know I cant save them, but why soo many girls?? Why is this need for purity so great in my hood??
Oh God, Its overwhelming!! This, this is why I am committed to these girls. (esp. my own daughter she is NEVER left out of this) Committed to teaching them how special they are to God, committed to teaching them the importance of purity and marriage, committed to instructing and training them along side of their parents in a way that is pleasing to God.

I woke up the next morning and spent time in the word and prayed over the purity of these girls. I also sat down and began to plan our 2nd annual Purity Study/Ball. Oh, how I pray this study is just as impactful this year as it was last year. I just want to see God do what I think is impossible in the lives of these girls. That's what I am going into this new year trusting Him with ...the impossible!

These girls need your prayers. ( I do too as I prepare for this study) I see God moving, I really do, I just want more of HIM and I pray that my girls receive more as well. Would you also pray that God would provided the resources for the Ball as well as funds we need to insure EVERY girl has a bible study book?

Many of you have asked me before how you can help. Well, we are in need of 25 bible study kits. Each kit is priced at $39. Click here to view kits. If God leads you to give please email me at mrsnicolek@yahoo.com and I will give you further instructions. It's so important for these girls to know what it means to have a pure heart in an impure world. I am trusting God for a greater city vision as a friend of ours says. As difficult and hard as things seem around us, I really believe greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to BE DONE in this city. I am thankful for the chance to see a part of the picture God is painting. Amen!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..-Ephesians 3:20a

Parent Me-Json ft. J.R.

"Parent Me" Json featuring J.R. (Official Video) from The Lamp Lounge on Vimeo.

May the grace of God help us all to parent our children well in the midst of ministry and other work outside the home. May God remind us that ministry always BEGINS in the home first!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Next Generation

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
- Fredrick Douglas

*This last photo is my favorite, for it shows a table of GROWING YOUNG MEN! These students are being equipped to give tours of our facility as well as learn the mission and heart of Common Ground. All of them are apart of our after school program and attend the junior high school behind our building.(maybe one or two are in high school) God is raising up leaders! Oh how we need the presence of more godly men in our hood!!

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. -Psalm 78:5-8

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hearing God's Voice

To know God, to hear from him clearly, to be in a place where things are broken, messy, and what may appear to be hopeless and SEE Him at work is just humbling and amazing to me. I woke up the past couple of nights hearing from the Lord. Having a heavy burden and weightiness to share the gospel with my neighbors like never before. I kept hearing Jeremiah 20:9 ...

But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.."

I've had THREE moms within the past three days share with me their desire to be apart of a bible study in hopes of them knowing God. One mom tonight in our Christmas store shared with me how her 9 yr old is ministering to her.(she didn't use that exact word) What she said was,
" Nicole I just have to tell you that God must have brought yall here, my daughter has changed and I cant believe how God is using her to change me, I too need to change but I will need you to give me that extra push because I don't know how to do it by myself.." what a time I had sharing with Her about CHRIST and the power He wants to make available to her so that she can change and live for Him. This mom lives in one of the worst secs of a housing project in our neighborhood, random gun fire is known to brake out , many times in broad day light. Yet, this is where I believe the Lord wants me to go. I heard a sermon this past Sunday on God's Sovereignty in the birth of Christ. It was very encouraging to think about how God had been at work behind the scenes of all the events that lead up to Christ our KING being born in a manger.
I was also challenged as the minister shared that we as Christians must remember to NOT leave Jesus, little sweet baby Jesus in that manger. We must remember that Jesus grows up as a man, a WISE King who calls us to do things that will involve risk, FAITH, and love. Yes, this little sweet baby Jesus calls us to suffer for HIS NAME sake. As I reflect on Christ birth I am thankful for the Sovereignty of God. Nothing about the leaders, Mary, Joseph or where Christ was born was a mistake at that time. It was all apart of God's plan to send us a SAVIOR. There is so much comfort in knowing God is in control. I tell you, it is the only thing that makes my heart glad, encouraged and full when I witness many of the destructive patterns of those in my neighborhood. That mom yesterday looked me in the eyes and said, "Nicole, I know sometimes yall don't think you are making an impact, but you are, and people like me and my child are being changed, i just really wanted to share that with you"
I looked at her and responded by saying," my friend, it isn't us, its all Jesus, let me tell you what He has done for me and I know He wants to do the same for you".

Man, what a JOY and HONOR it is to share such wonderful news with others. I am so unworthy to carry this Gospel,(good news). God knew that too, and so in that He uses weak, men and women to accomplish ONLY something He can do, so that ALL would know WHO HE IS! God is at work here, I must ALWAYS remember this. Every detail is apart of His Sovereign plan.

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."
-Psalm 115:11

...but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed..."- John 3:b

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eagle Eye

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:38

God rocked my world this weekend. Just when you think things could not prove to be more broken, messy, and burdensome, they turn out to be just that. I cant lie, at one point I felt such a strong sense of hopelessness for our kids. My chest felt as if it was about to cave in as I begin to anxiously think about how their sin, (including my own) effects so many people. Its like a disease, killing all those in its path. As I was writing in my journal tonight, the verse above was written on the bottom of one of my pages. I was just asking the Lord to reveal His presence in such mess. He did. I found in that verse that my vision must be that of the eagle, paying close attention to everything as it unfolds, watching details of Gods work before us as we minister to those hurting around us. Keeping my vision AWAY from the things that are seen, ( earthly pleasures, pain and hurt around me) but keeping my gaze on the things that are UNSEEN ( Heaven, Christ our HOPE putting an end once and for all to teenage pregnancy, sex at a young age, drugs, prostitution, poverty)

The bible tells us in Hebrews 11 that FAITH is being sure of what we HOPE for, and certain of what we do not see. Well, I am certain that God is good, and redemption is just around the corner. My HOPE is in the LORD and all that He WILL accomplish for the little ones we minister too. By FAITH I am believing all HIS promises are TRUE, one being that He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purposes, and two that we as a staff will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; and be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. The pain, the brokenness and burdens of my city are all temporary, God is NOT done, I see a thousand resurrections in the future. Praise God!!