Archive for the 'Featured Work' Category

No Regrets

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. Ecclesiastes 12: 14 NASB

We never know what a day may bring. An ordinary Monday morning may bring a great break-through at work, a brand new baby in the family, or a shining new soul in the Kingdom. Or, it may bring a trip to the hospital and a farewell to someone we love.

I used to be frightened when I thought about the uncertainty of life. But then some of the worst things I’d ever imagined actually happened, and I discovered an amazing fact. God was still there, and He was still good.

Now I just try to live each day with faith and with purpose. When I lie down at night and take an inventory of my soul, I ask myself, “Did I fear God and obey His commandments today?” If I failed somewhere, I repent. And I make a plan to set things right with other people. Then, I sleep.

Tomorrow will always have enough trouble of its own. But, for today, let’s live with no regrets.

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Walk This Way

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured Work1 Comment

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Isaiah 30:21

Sometimes when I’m trying to make a hard decision, I say to my husband, “I wish you’d just tell me what to do!”

He always responds with, “No way. I’m not playing the Holy Spirit for you.”

He is right, of course. I need to hear from God myself. But I’ve rarely heard Someone actually whispering in my ear. Instead, I rely on some basic principles.

Some things are just obvious. Should I have that last chocolate Pop Tart for breakfast or some whole grain cereal?

Other answers have already been given to me by the voice of my teachers. What would my mom/my boss/my group leader/my favorite teacher suggest for breakfast?

But most of our answers really do come from the voice of the Holy Spirit. Once you establish a relationship with Him through Jesus, the best place to hear Him is in the Bible. Open your heart as you open the pages and you will hear a word behind you saying, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘walk away from the Pop Tart.’” Or, whatever.

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All for One and One for All

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:12 NLT

If you happen to see a group of young adults wandering around town in a pack this week, don’t worry. It is probably just the Bible College students involved in a boot camp exercise created by Drill Sergeant Darin Rihanek.

We don’t believe in hazing at this school, but we do believe in learning to function together as the Body of Christ. We don’t want any lone toes trying to make it through life without the rest of the foot. So, the College staff has designed a series of events to introduce unity this week.

Please pray for the College faculty, staff, and students as they settle into college life and get ready to start classes. We do want each of them to encounter God and grow as individuals while they find their place in the Body.

And, if you are having trouble dealing with your own independent spirit maybe you should call Darin. I’m sure he could make room for you in one of the relays.

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A Time to Sift

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me… Psalm 139:23-24

Thirty years ago I walked into a Bible study late. To cover my embarrassment, I made a joke about my friend, Margaret slowing me down. Everyone laughed because Margaret was the most together woman among us.

On the way home, though, Margaret said, “Your joke actually hurt my feelings. I hear you say sarcastic things like that to your husband and children sometimes, and I think it is hurting your relationships.”

I cried for three days. But I came out of that season aware of how I used sarcasm as a defense. Decades later, I still remember that morning. It hasn’t kept me from ever saying a sarcastic word again. It has helped me repent quickly when I do.

Our church is in a season of sifting right now. I encourage you to stand still and let the process work. Let God (and your faithful friends) point out any evil way in you. Then ask the power of the Holy Spirit to help you change. I promise your friendships with God and with other people will be better than ever.

If you don’t believe me, we could call up my friend Margaret for a chat.

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Drought Resistant

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

I appear to be fixated on trees lately. But have you noticed some of ours are turning brown and dropping their leaves? The drought has stressed them so badly they are going into hibernation as if it were fall. Some of them may never recover.

Others will pull through even though they look dead now. If their roots go deep enough, and if they get some snow this winter, the trees will revive in the spring. A tree with good roots can take a lot more heat and stress than you might imagine.

And, so can we.

I’ve lived through seasons where every leaf fell, and I thought I might shrivel up and die. But then I’d reach down into the core of Who (not just what) I believed. I’d draw from the deep wells buried beneath the soil of my trouble, and I would hang on until the season changed.

And, it always changed.

No matter what you are going through right now, it will pass. If you are planted in the Kingdom of God, if you trust Him as your source and strength, you can make it through the drought. Eventually, the rains will come again. Then you will grow and thrive and become a tall tree where other people can find shade and shelter.

So, don’t let your life be declared a disaster area today. Hold on and become drought-resistant.

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Finding Rehoboth

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” Genesis 26:22

This week I felt like Isaac when he was trying to draw water from his father’s wells. The Philistines had filled the wells with dirt after Abraham died, so Isaac and his men dug them open again. But, the neighbors kept arguing over water rights.

Each time someone complained, Isaac moved on. Finally, he came to a place where his enemies would leave him alone. There, he dug a new well and named it Room-Enough-For-Us-At-Last (in the King James Version).

Several times this week I stopped and said, “Ah, yes. Now I have all the details for the day covered and I can take a breath.” Then the phone would ring. Or the computer program I’m trying to learn would reveal a new and confusing level of administration. Or, I’d remember I hadn’t written this column!

Finally, on Thursday morning I just stopped and looked at the lake. I remembered the nearly seventy people baptized there last night. And I thought, Why am I in such a dither about all this earth stuff? God has brought us to Rehoboth. He has filled our wells with Living Water, and He has sent the Philistines on the run.

Let’s just stop and take a drink, shall we?

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Grow in God

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers. Psalms1:1-3

Today is my tenth anniversary in Heartland. I like to say that my husband and I came here after the grass but before the trees. (Unlike people such as Joe and Becky Flood who came even before the grass. They had to walk from their house to the school on wooden planks thrown across the mud.) During our second or third summer at Heartland, the trees arrived. The landscaping crew spent hours planting and watering the little saplings that are just now beginning to offer some shade for our lawns.

Growth is like that. When you set out to build something like a family, or a business, or a community, or a church it takes a while. Change happens slowly and often in ways you don’t even notice unless you look back at a picture from 2005 and say, “Wow! Look how tiny those trees are in front of the Lodge!”

I think we get impatient about growth. We want to see fully-grown oak trees only eighteen months after a sapling is planted in good soil. But that doesn’t happen. A good tree needs time to grow so the root system can fully develop. That is the only thing that will hold it when storms come. So, take a look at your life today and see how far you have come. What changes have you made this year, this month, or this week that will help your roots grow deep in God?

And, if you haven’t changed, do something about it. Ask God to replant you today in His Kingdom, watered by His word and sustained by His grace. Then grow.

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Declare a Jubilee

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

If any Israelites have not been bought back by the time the Year of Jubilee arrives, they and their children must be set free at that time. Leviticus 25:54

The Fourth of July always reminds me of the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. Every fifty years, all the people of God came together and declared all debts forgiven and all slaves set free. Can you imagine the party they threw?

You and I can live in that freedom every day, of course. All we have to do is be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus. I think maybe there should be a parade for that.

This year, when you light a firecracker or watch the bombs bursting in air, why not declare your own Year of Jubilee? Get right with God. Then, forgive someone who is in your debt. Set them free from any expectations on your part. Forgive them for any wrongs.

Then go march around your house and shout if you want to. It feels good to be free.

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The Family That Serves Together

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. Leviticus 25:10

You’ve heard that the family who prays together stays together. The same is true for the family that serves together. Or, sweats together, as the case may be. On July 7th our church family will have the chance to experience that kind of unity during Heartland’s annual Open House.

Some of my greatest memories include the night we ran out of tables and chairs and still had seventy-five more people waiting for a steak. Or the year we all got soaked to the skin celebrating Fourth of July in a rainstorm. Facing obstacles and overcoming them together is a bonding experience.

It’s also great to have fun together. Like watching Dan White compete against Bill Henke in the Strongest Farmer Contest. Or seeing Pastor Charlie fly overhead in a P-51 mustang before the air show.

My memories of Open House are like a favorite family scrapbook, and each glimpse reminds me what a great God we serve. Together.

This year, let’s demonstrate our unity and our liberty in the way we laugh, love, and serve together. If you’ve never been a part of Open House before, grab someone at church and ask them where you can sign up to serve. Make sure you get in the scrapbook this year.

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Fathers in the House

By Kathy NickersonAugust 18th, 2012Featured WorkNo Comments

 But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” Psalm 92:12-15

It is so fitting that we are celebrating Father’s Day on the same day as our pastor’s 85th birthday. He is certainly a spiritual father in this House. This evening, Pastor Charlie will join a panel of fathers – Jay Hebert, Jim Palmer, and John Reider – to talk about serving God over the long haul of life.

These are men who have flourished in the courts of God longer than most of us have been alive. They are still producing fruit and remain vital and green. If you don’t believe it, just try to keep up with one of them any day of the week!

Maybe you didn’t have a father who demonstrated godly living. Pull up a chair tonight and listen as the fathers speak. Your heart and soul will be blessed. And you can learn how to flourish, too.

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