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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

No Matter What You Are Important

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.-  1 Corinthians 12

From the time my husband and I got married, we noticed how the  the Lord gave us both a heart for the singles in our local body. I remember our first years of marriage consisted of college students living and hanging out with us on a regular. Those were the most FUN, and interesting times I must say.(LOL!) Many would come to visit and we would look up and they are instant roommates! It was the most, ( I will say again) interesting time of our life as newlyweds. As we are 5 years or so into urban ministry, college students still find a way into our home and lives. Of course. we welcome them as we know it's what the Lord would want and we find great joy in serving them.

My heart goes out  to the singles in many churches as I feel they're forgotten. Many ( NOT all the time, in every church) times singles ministry is geared towards hooking them up with one another,  or finding a good babysitter, instead of teaching them to devote their lives to the Lord through sacrificial living and serving. Many singles leave their churches on Sunday thinking the chief end of man is to be married, stay at home and have kids. Please don't doubt for a second that I don't believe all of the above is a gift, because they are. Singleness is a gift as well. I believe this has affected the single community more than we know. I believe this and many other things is the driving force behind many unhealthy dating relationships, which is leaving many girls bitter and may brothers frustrated. (sometimes visa versa)

My whole heart behind this post is to say, my prayers and desires is to see something different in our communities. I long to see healthy relationships amongst the singles and marrieds in our congregations. We need each other is so many ways. Women mentoring women in biblical womanhood, and men mentoring men in biblical manhood. No matter what season, age, marital status ,or number of kids, God bringing the body of Christ together in a way that is sacrificial, unselfish and powerful in love.

Let's pray together that things within the body will change and that the change we want to see would start with us. May God's grace abound.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Unconditonal-The Movie

I can't wait to see this film. Our staff had the privilege of meeting some of the directors and creators of this film a (maybe) a couple of years ago. I love the vision, I love the heart, and most importantly I love the fact that the story of many inner city kids will be told from an honest film. This movie is scheduled to debut sometime this fall. I will keep you posted!! Until then, peep the  trailers below. Enjoy!!

The desire is that Unconditional become more than a movie. The story will bring awareness to those who’ve committed their lives to making a difference in the lives of under-resourced and fatherless children, and tell you how to help those hurting in your own community.

The Heart Behind Unconditional
The Heart of Unconditional from Harbinger Media Partners on Vimeo.

Movie Teaser Trailer

"Unconditional" Movie Teaser Trailer from Harbinger Media Partners on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Biblical Vision for Urban Ministry-Article

'The whole Bible climaxes in the redeemed city, the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65, which is God's model city plan. In Isaiah 17–25, we're told to build the city. Then God says, "While you're building it, by the way, I'm also building a city, and it's going to look like that." From my studies, it became clear that if we want to orient our lives toward Heaven, we have to seed the transformation of our cities.' 
-Raymond Bakke

I love this article. So much so, I would love to share it with you. I'm always reading and searching for books to encourage me in why we are where we are as a family. God always provides exactly what I need to hear. :)

I pray the Lord uses this to stir something amazing within your heart that will give you a greater vision of HIM, HIS purposes and glory!

To Return or Not To Return

I'm praying tonight.  I'm praying for the involvement of the church in under resourced communities everywhere.  My heart has a sense of hope. I  can't help but think of the possibilities of those in the body of Christ playing a huge role in our community. (other communities as well) Huge does not necessary mean relocate, which I always wonder is that the reason why many shy away from urban church plants/ministries that have relocation as one of their missions. Maybe they feel the pressure or expectation of moving in?? Whatever the case is, our communities NEED them.

My prayer is that the Lord would transform under resourced communities through the many men and women who have such a wealth of resources. I'm so burdened by the lack of love and or concern many believers have shown to those who are in poor communities. My heart immediately goes to the sin of Sodom. Where many people say God destroyed  them due to  homosexuality, the bible says something different.

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy... -Ezk. 16:49

Oh, brothers and sisters. Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Where we tend to drift towards what's comfortable to us the bible is calling us to something different. Where we have the tendency to only be concerned about our little bubble, God is calling us to His Kingdom advancement. What a privilege it is for all of us to play a part in such a task. Why shy away from that? 

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind...-Luke 14

I've sat and watched my husband many nights plead and cry out to many outside of our community  to invest in the lives of those in our community. Many times the cry is for short term, and many times the answer is, no reply or I simply don't have time. While those could be legitimate excuses, sometimes I wonder do many of us stop and simply take the time to wrestle with the Lord in whether or not this is something HE would want us to do.

In His book Return Flight Bob Lupton talks about the importance of people of many classes returning to the inner city. He also talks about those who believe they are not called to relocate and how they TOO may still play a huge part in what God is doing in the city. In an interview about his book, he made the following statement to this question:

What role can people who don’t live in the community play in this kind of strategy – people who don’t relocate but still feel a sense of call to be involved?

"Those are all the connected people who have abilities, networks and resources that are needed to turn a community around – real estate developers, bankers, attorneys – people who are in real estate and real estate-related professions are essential partners in the transformation of a community. They don’t have to live there, but if they’re willing to focus some of their attention, energy and investments on the identified community, it can make a huge difference – you can’t get along without them."    (emphasis mine)

I love that statement. It places all of us in the position to do something. I know life is busy, we all have so much going on (which is another issue), but should we be ok with that as an excuse? I think we should work towards things not being so busy or crazy, so that we are able to submit to the scriptures and love of those around us. My prayer is that we don't get comfortable with the temptation of becoming the priest or the Levite but we become more of the good Samaritan: (for God's glory)

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him...-Luke 10:13

I love how a fellow labor of mine put it as he was speaking in terms of mentoring inner city youth, I believe the same principal could apply to those of us who need to invest in other ways. He says, "involving yourself in the lives of others and using your resources you can open up doors for a child  that may otherwise be shut, Imagine if YOU never had parents that pushed you, had relationships with networks, or graduated from college or worked good jobs. I doubt we  would be where we are because we would be the exception not the rule"

How true.  

I know some of you don't want to return. But, may I encourage you to take some time to stop, and really wrestle with what all this means.  Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and pray about ways YOU can be apart of what the God of the universe is doing to rebuild  the city.

Oh ff

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Lifestyle of Purity-Kingdom of God 3

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.- Matthew 13:44-46

"He cost everything, He is worth the price. 
You cost everything, YOU are worth the price."

I read the quote by a man who was expressing his desire to be in a relationship with a young lady, however, because their purity was at stake, He was expressing to her, "I'm willing to wait".

What young girl wouldn't love to hear some guy say that to her? Even if the young men never say it, do our girls ( and guys) really understand that they are viewed as costly pearls to the Lord?  God gave me the vision and burden to walk along side of young girls and instill in them the importance of purity. I won't stop until every young lady that has crossed my path hear exactly what the Lord has burdened me to share.

God made it possible for us to not only have these ongoing conversations week by week; but, specifically, during the month of February-May. We have special devoted time with our neighborhood kids talking to them about purity. These conversation carry over into the summer and following fall. I love it! The avenue He has chosen to use id our annual Purity Study & Ball.

This year, we are looking forward to imparting TRUTH into the lives of 40 girls and 15 GUYS!! ( past two years boys did not participate and the number of girls were 15-20)  I'm too excited about that! God has done some pretty amazing things over the past few years.  My prayer has always been, that these would be the kids who would break the generational cycles of teen pregnancy, faithlessness, STD's  & a lifestyles of immodesty.

This was God plan from the beginning. He set the stage, He provided the behind the scenes crew, He WROTE the script.  He's the MASTER artist, we can only see a part of the picture HE is painting! That gives me chills. I'm so unworthy, its ridiculous. My heart sings with thanksgiving, because the gospel makes it possible for a sinner like me to see a GOD like this! This is the kingdom of God on display!

All glory belong to Him ALONE!!

A few Prayer Request:
-Please be in prayer for all the kids involved in this study. 3rd -12th grade girls. 6-12th grade boys.

-Please pray for all those who have committed to help me lead small groups. I'm so THANKFUL for our Strong Tower at Washington Park church fam! Many of the my sisters & brothers  in the faith have stepped up and are serving in this area! Love to see the local church involved in the neighborhood!

-Pray for the parents. Sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow, depending on the lifestyle they live. Pray that the Lord would use these discussions to draw them unto Himself.

Other ways you can help? Would you consider  making a small donation to help us as a ministry cover some of the cost for materials.

If you would like to make a donation towards our study and or purity ball.

Please email me at mrsnicolek@yahoo.com or you may send in a check to our ministry location:

1516 Mobile Rd Montgomery, AL 36108
Make all checks payable to Common Ground Montgomery

**Please indicate this is for the Purity Study

Solo Christo,

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Converts & Baptism--Kingdom of God 2

Let's just stare at this picture for a moment.

I can't begin to explain, the joy that overwhelms me when I look at it. My mind immediately goes back 5 years to when we first began ministry. All the late night talks Delta and I had with this young lady and other teen girls. Begging the Lord to save, asking Him to bring repentance, bring brokenness. Bring LIFE. Back then, I didn't know what to think. I knew and I know God hands are NEVER too short to save anyone. Would we ever see it? Would we witness the power of the gospel in the lives of any of  these girls?
None of that was the goal, we knew we had been placed and called here for a bigger purpose.

The Kingdom of God and it's expansion.
'Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."

 It was time to realize & rejoice over the fact  that God saves in His timing. He chisl's, He convicts, He waters and causes growth in the lives of ALL! I wept at this baptism. God did it! If I had of tried to manipulate, or control  this young lady into repenting ( not that I could) I KNOW, I would've  missed out on worshipping the God of our salvation. I had the privilege of watching him peel back the scales from this child's eyes over the years. I've had the privilege of watching her wrestle through scriptures and consider the cost of discipleship. After sharing with me her decision to give her life to the Lord, her first conversation to me was about how she needed and wanted discipleship. God reminded me then of all the things that were said years ago and how now, those things are playing a huge part of what is happening in the life of this young girl.

What is the Kingdom of God? Its HIS rule and reign on earth, as it is in heaven. I'm witnessing it everyday in my hood. It's expanding in more ways than one.
What a privilege and what a gift! I am so unworthy!!!

Please pray for this new life in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2 Corinthians 5:17