Bread and Wine

Recently I met my boyfriend for the first time. Say what? Yes you heard me right. I met my boyfriend for the first time when he stepped off of the airplane and into the Ohio humidity. Nervous jittery feelings were deeply imbedded into my person as the moment I had be waiting for and almost believing was not reality became reality.

Not more than 24 hours after we met in person for the first time we were thrown into a five day church conference complete with 2,000 people (exact number unknown). To say the pressure was on and the nerves were at an all time high is a vast understatement. I’ll pause here to say I wouldn’t have changed a single moment but it was far more overwhelming than I could have wrapped my head around.

This blog post isn’t about my Mark and I. Sorry to disappoint you but I sure do hope you’ll continue to read along as I share something very special to me.

Monday night at my churches conference we all go up on stage to sing. The singing comes after a special sermon directed at our young folks. Mark and I walked in to the song Would You be Poured Out Like Wine. The words gripped my heart as I heard it through his heart. For me it’s a fairly common song and I hear it a lot. For him it was the first time and I’m glad he had the thought to record it. As I reflected over our week together being surrounded by my fellowship I couldn’t help but have the light bulb moment of understanding that this fellowship had truly been poured out like wine and broken not only for each other but for Mark and I personally.

The week leading up to this unprecedented meeting I started getting texts of prayers and support. The day before a dear sister stopped by and as the Holy Spirit prompted took my hands and prayed for mark and I. All throughout the conference and even still phone calls,texts,and so very many prayers are being poured out like wine on our behalf. It’s not uncommon for me to value and be filled up with love by “my people”. In fact in every season I have had brothers and sisters walk along side me as consistent cheerleaders ready to support me however God leads. Poured..so much poured on my behalf.

Then there were the sermons prepared by God using willing men as humble vessels for His glory. Oh so incredibly rich were the moments sitting in fellowship ears attentive and hearts connecting. After each preaching service I was so in awe of all the people who came up and talked to Mark and I. They treated us like fellow citizens of the kingdom and not simply the next article of gossip in the newspaper. Ministers,friends,strangers,everywhere everyone was available to talk about the Lord. My friends from all spots in life shared meals with us. These selfless acts of making the person I care about feel welcome was not overlooked but in fact was noticed and brought tears to my eyes! My fellowship was broken like bread to feed the hungry! Oh we are hungry for your continued prayers over this relationship.

Next up was Tuesday council meeting which I honestly didn’t really know what to think about as we walked in. Soon I knew without a doubt that these men laboring for this little part of the body of Christ were communicating in love and I was glad Mark got to experience that. Before Tuesday’s council there was Sunday’s communion. It’s nothing for communion to be a moving time of pure worship. I personally felt overwhelmed by that point. Overwhelmed in a good way but there was a lot of pressure on us having just met and now everyone being so excited and ready for us to tie the knot in their minds. I sat at the table just sobbing realizing that there was no way that I could do this relationship on my own but rather I needed Jesus take the complete lead as we have desired from the beginning. No amount of well wishes or personal hopes could carry us, only the Holy Spirit has that capability. So after taking the wine and the bread I felt peace so much peace knowing no matter my tomorrows He has already paved the way. He has provided me with a loving fellowship that is the embodiment of the song we sang and the Jesus we serve.

I don’t know where you find yourself on this pilgrim journey. Maybe you’re not yet a pilgrim and find yourself just plum lost. That’s not how this life is supposed to be. The kingdom of God is a community made up of living people living in abundant joy serving their king Jesus. That manifests itself in many ways such as laying down your life for a brother or sister as my fellowship has done for me. If you haven’t yet started your pilgrimage I ask “why not”? Why haven’t you surrendered your will to the Lord? Are you going through life looking the part but living in the depths of depression or lukewarm living..or maybe you’re just spiritually dead? Know this one thing. We have all come short of the glory of God. We are rotten with sin and deserve to die. God doesn’t accept dead people into His spotless kingdom. You must take hold of what the Word says in John 3:16. For God so loved the world (you&me) that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever shall parish will have everlasting life! He wants to take you from death into life,darkness into light! Then only then you can follow the Words of Jesus in taking your cross (His cause) and follow after Him as pilgrims and strangers in this foreign land.

To the pilgrim that’s just journeying on. Don’t be disheartened in well doing. Your labor is not in vain. Like the fellowship that I’ve been placed in, be an blessing and an encouragement to those that you meet. I once was lost sinking in sin but if it weren’t for pilgrims willing to step out in faith along the way to walk along side me at a slower pace, I may never have found real healing and surrender! Chin up dear ones! You’re doing a good work! Continue to be Poured out like wine and broken like bread in the name of of sweet Jesus Christ!

Much love, Pilgrim Nicci

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At Odds:The Victory is Yours

Folks let’s talk about Spiritual battle real quick. It is something raging all of the time. The Spirits are at war EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not that all of a sudden they switch their attention to the unsuspecting Christian. There is sin,temptation , doubt, and fear around EVERY CORNER! Jesus didn’t say “Let’s go on a jolly good walk in the park to find the gold at end of the rainbow.” He said take up your cross(cause/mission) and follow me”. He says follow and we follow. That can be follow me into a sweet time of fellowship with likeminded believer or it could also mean follow me into battle against the false teachers disguised as brothers and sisters in Christ. Then He can lead us into obvious blessings that overflow and then right into blessings that don’t always immediately feel like blessings. He’s GOD and has the right to lead us,call us,and command us into whatever season He needs us in to put us in the best position for battle against the adversary! He allows the shots of fiery lies to be shot our way by Satan to strengthen us and to prove His strength. It hurts! Ouch oh it hurts! It hurts so bad that it is downright tempting to walk off the battlefield hands thrown up in surrender to the wrong king. I think there is the misguided assumption that when you become a Christian that it means a warm fuzzy life carefree from pain and suffering. Like some how Jesus acts like a bandaid from all our sorrows. WRONG! He IS our healer but healing spiritually isn’t really anything like being healed naturally. It’s far grater but so are the wounds that the healing must be delt with.

As this spiritual battle continues on and the lies of Satan are being shot with cannons at lightning speed there are some things that you can do to to bring victory in the name of Jesus Christ.

1)Make sure that you’re in the Word. Cliche as this sounds it’s really your only basis to go into battle. Without it you’re useless and might as well give up the fight. You’ll be a sitting duck and very little help to the kingdom. In fact you can bring great damage to the fight at hand.

2)Let others know that you’re facing this war. Partner in prayer with as many as you can. A war is never won alone. It takes a mighty army of people all laboring together with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

3)Confront every single lie head on. Is Satan telling you something about a thought someone has about you? Go ask them directly if what he is telling you is true. They’ll appreciate you coming to them. Is Satan discrediting your value? Read the Word and see what the Lord has to say about you. Are the attacks coming in the form of past sins being brought up? Recall the moment you laid them at the foot of the cross. Read what Jesus has done for you and when the Holy Spirit entered you!

4)Get sleep. This one really isn’t spiritual at all but Satan does attack when we are weak. If you’re weary and worn out physically it can be prime time for lies,nightmares,and imaginations to swell up.

Be of good cheer dear ones as we as brothers and sisters unite against the one who fell! If a Christian family member comes to you battle weary, walk along side them to lift them up to continue the good fight. Soon they will be the one to lift you when you have been wounded and the positions of battle have been changed. Go forward with the mighty armor of God knowing what Ephesians 6:12 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” You have the power of Jesus Christ walk in all confidence as given the example in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” We can be pleasing to the Lord by our faithful battle not with others but with Satan alone. He WILL GO DOWN!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=nlpSl3yadO4

Snippet:Don’t Be Content With Darkness

There is light and there is darkness. Contrary to popular belief you won’t find a middle ground between the two. It doesn’t matter if you went into the water and came out sopping wet. This thing called church membership and community living has absolutely no value without the Holy Spirit causing the old man to be laid off and new life to spring forward.

Which side do you find yourself on? Do you sit in darkness but look nice on the outside,content to look nice and catch a few of the church life benefits? Or rather do you live a fulfilled life in the kingdom reflecting the light,life,and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Do not be pleased to be hypocrites. The world will call the pretender’s bluff and rightfully so. The truth will be found and judgment will come when the bridegroom comes for His perfect bride spotless without blemish or wrinkle. He will not be content with an unlit soul insiders a dead body.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Come!

Driving home tonight my Spirit is heavy with grief for those that refuse to acknowledge the Lord as king of their lives. The sky on the way home had so much depth and feeling to it. I don’t think the Lord has to labor in His marvelous works but something in this sky told me He added some extra care. There was something He wanted me to grasp. The beauty began to fade as I continued on my trek home. With each mile putting distance between me and my job the sky grew darker and darker. The hopeful colors disappeared and in their stead was a new type of depth and as if God was crying in the distance I felt the fullness of the message He was presenting to me. “Nicci WAKE UP WAKE UP MY PEOPLE ARE DYING! This beauty is more than a sky picture and a sign of my love! Precious Nicci my people will never see what I have done for them,how I love them,and what awaits them in eternity! Daughter don’t you care? Daughter cry with me for them to turn from their wicked selfishness. Help them know truth!”.

So I tried making a video to urge those of you that are lost, deceived,or whom have hard hearts. I pushed delete and realized that my words are just words that’ll come across your screen tonight. What truly has power is prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. I don’t know where each of you stand before the throne of God. I am not the author of the Lamb’s Book of Life but I do know it’s author and the author of your life. I’m crying out on your behalf whoever you may be that you will have opened ears to hear the call of my Father! You too can have joy and peace. Not the false thrill of what the world offers but true wholeness that comes from a submitted soul and the protection of obedience to the one who loved you enough to create you and to die for your sins and rise victorious over Satan’s hold on the world. You don’t have to remain broken and hopeless. You have a lifesaving creator waiting for your answer on the final adoption. Come now dear one!

Time Well Traveled

Here we find ourselves at the end of another year. With God’s abundant grace we have will be given a new year with multiple opportunities. I know for myself this year has been a year of change,growth,and exciting new doors that have opened and some that have closed. I’m not unique in reflecting on the year that has passed. Many blog posts and conversations will be focused on this passage of time. I’d like join in and reflect on the awesomeness of my God in His love and care for me in this past year.

Moody Clouds!

January: I found myself preparing for my newest roommate to move in. Having the privilege to live and work along side Roxy was a joy and blessing.

February: I discovered that although for many many years I valued St. Patrick’s Day as my favorite holiday it actually turns out to be Valentines Day. I wear pink,bought a heart shaped pizza,and my parents sent me beautiful flowers. What more could a woman ask for?!? Alongside my new found favorite holiday, I celebrate in my heart the day I fully came into submission and surrender to my Lord! It fills me with all sorts of large feelings I will never be able to put into words. My life removed from God is worth nothing. That is cause enough to praise His name! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/they-call-me-a-fool-he-calls-me-his-bride/

March: This month was filled with birthday type stuff. I turned 27 and started a new year of life.

April: I boarded a small six passenger airline and headed with a team to Florida to serve at a family healing camp. My heart grew like the Grinches heart grew while I spent time with children and families effected by RAD(Reactivate Attachment Disorder). I would never of called myself a “kid person” sure I love teaching and such but something changed in seeing parents literally fighting for the lives of their children. We are called to care for the widows and children and I can do that by supporting these awesome families that are growing little hearts that have been hurt.

May: The end of a challenging school year ended and honestly I was so thankful! A much needed break was in the horizon. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-not-the-amish-romance/

June: Annual meeting was a delight because I got to connect with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a vision that takes place in my mind when we are gathered around the communion table seeking to do the will of God. We are each humbly waiting for that day that we are one in the consummation of the marriage with Christ!

After annual meeting I packed my bags for a week of Training/working in Canada with a raddlet (kid with RAD). Whew no amount of time would allow me to tell all of the stories. Fear,excitement,drama,smells,and friendship blooming we’re all words I’d use. Originally I was planning on heading to Georgia for about a month but the child needed different care so I headed home with a switch of plans.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/passport-prayer/

July: This was the most boring,lonely,horrible month ever. On the tail of the disappointment of lost opportunity I was in the house completely alone for a good portion with absolutely nothing to do and no motivation to find something to fill my time. I’m not proud of July but God uses it to draw me closer to Him. I had a lot of one on one talks with Him and my Bible was opened on my lap more than it wasn’t. I found comfort in bringing my Bible to bed with me each night as if a security blanket.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/diary-post-a-few-thoughts-on-boredom/

August: I went to Kansas for a weekend that I can honestly say was one of the best weekends of my life! I felt so loved by my friends Lana and Monica as they had carefully planned a to do list of fun for us. We did so much but beyond that we grew a little closer as friends. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/find-me-in-the-woods-among-the-trees/

School started and instantly I could “feel” that it was going to be a good year. I have yet to be disappointed in how the cookies have crumbled.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/a-fresh-start-with-a-rainbow-of-opportunities/

Yes, I was terrified but it was worth it!

September: We (at school) really started to feel our routine set in and the normal school days began to flourish. I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to work among fellow followers of Jesus Christ as we labor for the kingdom of God! I started doing therapeutic respite in my home and I have been enjoying the process so much! It’s a unique challenge and requires me to be on my A game 100% but oh so worth giving these wonderful parents a small break from having to be the superhero for a few days. I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to support these awesome parents! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/its-a-sloths-life-pajamaspity-partiesand-pee-peevpants/

October: My teeny tiny nephew came into the world with many prayers and much love. His arrival has been a highlight of the year for sure! Each new babe is a special miracle from God. Let’s hold our children a little closer this year as we realize some children never get to feel the love that yours does. Let’s pause to pray for the hearts of the neglected and abused children. Oh Lord you do care and hear their cries!

Sweet child

I got on an airplane for the third time this year for an adventure of a lifetime! Myself along with my brothers and sisters in Christ went to Germany to meet up with more of our family in Christ to support and have a love feast in their neck of the woods! Oh what a joy filled experience unmatched by anything I’ve ever been a part of before. This was the moment I got what I really was a part of. My fellowship is my everything here on earth to me.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/spaghetti-loving-people-in-germany/

Brother and sister in Germany

November:This month was a fun one! Myself and three other women rented a cabin in the woods in Holmes County to find some R&R. We did all the usual things that you do there with the addition of spending a day doing fun crafty things! Somewhere along the way in the summer I took up painting. It’s a skill I hope to expand to bless others as I write letters that will bring encouragement to those that get them.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/handwritten-letter-a-lost-art-or-not-needed-anymore/

December: December=eventful!

My friend Lana came out for the weekend so we could…well let’s just say check your mailbox in the next week. We had more laughs than I knew could happen! Friends sure make life fun!

I had the opportunity to be perused by a godly man in another fellowship. It was a fun opportunity that turned out to not bring peace even though it was fun while it lasted. Who doesn’t want to be valued by someone here on earth? It was a growing experience bringing me to face my vision for my life and how God has continued to call me to be faithful in all things.

I am traveling home now after a week in Missouri and Kansas. Things like Christmas,sickness,Cheesecake Factory,bonding,and large sloths are the words used for this trip.

Now we find ourselves back at January where I began a year ago. I can’t tell you what the next year will hold but my prayer is go a steadfast commitment to my Lord and Savior as I continue on my pilgrimage in the kingdom of God. I hope I meet many new friends and strengthen relationships with the ones I already have. This year has brought many Mountain View moments and yes, a few moments where I stood at the bottom of the mountain wondering why I had to start again. I can say without any stretching of the truth that the climb was worth it!

The sun rose and set every day of this past year and I got to enjoy most of them as I did life. Oh the gift that is a new day! Let us each wake to look for the gift God has given us then let us fall before Him in praise!

I love you all! Much love dear ones. If you haven’t found yourself at the foot of the cross casting your sins away, I urge you to cry out to our sovereign Lord to help you to do so! This life here on earth will vanish and we will each face eternity. I want you each to face it looking at the face of Jesus at the wedding of His people with Him to never be separated. If I can help you by answering questions or praying along side of you please let me know. We are not promised another day on this earth. Make your choice now. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/why-i-deserve-to-go-to-hell-but-i-wont/

Pilgrim Nicci

Spaghetti Loving People in Germany

There is no adequate way to give my readers a real life peak into the heart of what visiting the kingdom in Germany was to each of us. To me it is too raw and intimate. If I were to casually put it out in the open space of the internet I think it would rob some of the glory from God. I’m going to share as I see fit. If you’d like to chat over coffee or tea I’d love to open my heart in a detailed way.

This trip from beginning to end has shown the hand of God. I wouldn’t even be where I am if it weren’t for God setting things in motion before I knew what was even going on. His glory is unmatched by any other and He IS worthy of all my praise. I am nothing in comparison to His vast wonder. I stood at the top of a mountain and I saw how big He is. I walked along the valleys of a small town in Austria and I learned just how small I am. Oh what a worm am I? I have nothing to offer my God but my feeble praise and yet He calls me His. I fail daily and still He calls me beloved. Then in His magnitude of love He allowed me to take part in His pure blood and sinless body. No, not alone but with my dear brothers and sisters! I have some falling on my face to do when I get home to my “closet”. Then I might just dance with Him in unashamed abandonment. Yes, that’s just what I plan to do!

Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I have a brother and sister in Christ in Germany. They are pilgriming the way for the kingdom right in their neck of the woods. They are the bride and a church of two. It was our great delight to come join them in communion and support. It’s not unusual to participate in communion and to be changed. There is nothing rare about tears being shed or a feeling of wholeness because that is exactly how it should be. What was rare was the intensity of the desire to be one. There is one God,one body,and one bride. We in a very real way were bonded together as one Spirit (the Holy Spirit).

Before communion and before all of our bonding,we went to a concentration camp. There we walked in stunned silence. It is one thing to read a book or watch a movie about wickedness, it is entirely another to walk the very steps where death by the thousands has taken place. As I went through the camp two major thoughts came to the forefront of my mind, “these were souls and these were people” and “This right here is an example of why I want no allegiance to this world”. Can you stand in the place so closely resembling death and not almost see the faces,smell the stench,or hear the sounds? Being a very imaginative person I could and it was nearly overwhelming.

On the cusp of finishing up our time at the camp Jonathan and Carolyn showed up. The reminder was fresh of all they have given up to be in this body of Christ. We ate lunch,went to the store,and headed to their home. Everything about Germany was foreign in my opinion. From the language to the water but soon we saw just how similar we all really are. To quote my friend and brother in Christ as we sat down to eat “we are all just a bunch of spaghetti loving people, we aren’t all that different,not really”. I would like to think that no truer words have been spoken.

Saturday we did some touring which really isn’t the important part. I’ll spare you many details and head right in to the cliff notes. We did a whole bunch of fun things and crossed off some major unknown bucket list items as we grew closer as friends. One thing that can’t be left out is the fact that we were stopped many times to be asked about our head coverings. With each “Excuse me(insert German that I couldn’t understand)”came an opportunity to plant seeds for the kingdom. If you are a Christian woman and don’t cover your head I sincerely ask of you that you would humbly pray and study the scriptures. The thought came crashing back to me with each new planted seed “these are people and these are souls “.

Soon enough it was the time we had been waiting for,communion. Oh this is the raw and intimate part and although I so wish to share every detail I simply can’t in this format. I’ll show pictures instead. This was a rare opportunity and one I will keep dear to me until my final days here on earth have come to an end. It was in these special moments where I was reminded very vividly just what the bride of Christ should look like.

Sunday came with another opportunity to tour around but as I type this I am reminded that maybe I’m getting my days mixed up. Either way after what ever it was on whatever day it happened to be, on Sunday we held church meeting. My heart thumped so fast inside of my chest as each humble man brought the words of our God to us. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I realized that this moment was special but it had to end. My brothers and sister were filled and supported this week but what happens when we leave? I only know a tenth of what it’s like to be pilgriming in this fellowship and in this kingdom without my family by my side. Yet I don’t understand the gravity of them being without a local body. I know that Satan will be on the prowl in the coming days,weeks,and months. I ask that you pause right now and lift our brothers and sister up to the strength of our God. Ask God to give them assurance of what they are doing. Ask God to bring them a local body.

The crux of this love feast was there were people that we grew to love that we may never meet again on this side of eternity. Have you ever shaken the hand of a brother in Christ that wanted fellowship so badly that as you looked him straight in the eye you knew that he literally had to struggle to let go? There your hand was in his firm grasp knowing his opportunity for fellowship was literally slipping through his fingers. That has power. Language had no barrier in that moment. He was loved and he gave love. I pray this isn’t the last time we meet but I don’t know where the Spirit will lead him to go. May God be with him until we meet again.

The next day brought new opportunity and a new county to see. Austria was a little nugget of surprise to me. I have never given Austria any thought before now. As we drove along my eyes met the sky and I knew without a doubt that my God was massive. In the distance there were mountains bigger than I’ve seen before. This little lady from flat Kansas was in awe! Maybe I’m stupid for feeling so little as we had the chance to not only stand at the top of one but to walk along the valley as well. The ripples that flowed through the little moss covered stream was like music to my ears. It was fun to watch a brother slip down a little closer and drink the water flowing through. His joy was fun to witness.

On our little trip to Austria there were six of us. We laughed,shared special moments,and got lost in the beautiful creations of our great God. The moments spent together are too wonderful to blast out here to the inter webs. I will say is a 14 year old,16 year old,30 year old,32 year old,and and an 83 year old are forever etched into my heart. Bothers and a sister. They are the kingdom and we serve the same God. We are each in a unique place in our pilgrimage. God brought each of us and stitched this experience together using us where we are. I didn’t know I could have so much respect for a 14 year old young man. Honestly in my work setting I typically avoid the 14-18 age range because I have absolutely no idea how to relate to them. At 14 I was having sex,telling lies,and was “homeless” off and on. This young man had a testimony worth listening to and certainly walked the walk that would go along with it. Among all of the hoopla and excitement of the occasion he stood out to me as a man (although young) of God. His tears were real as we prayed over our family. His sincerity shown through as a light for all to see! No glory to him but all to God.

Each of the six on our little side trip have a contribution to the kingdom. I’d like to highlight each one. I hope it doesn’t embarrass them or take any honor from God. I was really impressed with the gifts each one had. No name names will be used just ages.

83: My God has given him a lot of years on earth. I’ve only observed a small portion of those years. A man of wit and integrity. I have watched him as he walks along side the young men in our fellowship,giving them confidence,a companion,strength,and wisdom. I believe these men will look back at their time as youth knowing they walked along side a Jesus here on earth.

30:A leader willing to bend who works well under high stress situations. This man is thoughtful of others and showed a true servant’s heart. I was touched by the care he had for the mentor mentioned above.

32: My friend showed great patience,relatability,and an over all positive attitude. She never once showed anger at my ENFP personality or the personality of the others in the group. Instead she made effort to relate to them. When my negative streak hit she was all too quick with something positive to say. She is a woman of great ability in leadership and confidence (when) others need just that. God is using that ability even if it goes against her natural inclination.

16: What an eye for beauty in nature! God has given this young man the gift of photography. He willingly shared his gift with the entire group. He was an example of who he is who he is. Not easily swayed by others.

14: I already mentioned above that this young man had a walk with the Lord that matched his talk. He showed care by opening doors,making comments,and even listening. His willingness to jump right in when needed wasn’t forgotten. There is a spark in him that is going to ignite the way for others as well.

Yes, each one has a place in the kingdom. I could write wonderful things about each person that was on the trip as a whole. I choose just to highlight the ones I was with the most.

I’m sure people will ask me what my favorite part was about this time of communion,exploration,and fellowship. Unfortunately there is no easy answer. The most meaningful was getting to talk to my brother Jonathan about church things such a vision for souls to come to Christ beyond just a GB church. That was a real highlight. It’s one tho g to chat on a computer screen and another to be screaming over a noisy dinner table talking about vision. Another meaningful moment was when my dear sister Carolyn gave me a tour of where she lived. Perhaps this seems insignificant but to me it meant something to be in her home one on one with her for even a few precious moments.

There were meaningful moments all spread out and obviously no one situation was more important or special than another. Communion was sweet,Sunday meeting was breathtaking, but those intimate one on one moments were by far worth mentioning.

As far as my most fun part in touring and such, I’ll have to say not being able to communicate the way we do in our day to day lives. I didn’t expect to love all of the clashing languages that surrounded us. There was a mystery in finding a way to communicate in various forms. Likewise the energy in Austria was a real treat. Just “getting lost” with no real destination has its own mystery. Oh and the beauty that just made you feel “home”.

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Obviously this little bit of writing does no justice and I’m tempted to delete it all. I’ll post it because I feel like the people that covered us in prayer,wish they could of been with us,or need a glimpse of Jesus, all deserve a peak inside to the heart of this experience. Like I said so many key points have entirely been left out. If you find yourself wanting more insight I’d be glad to meet with you. If you take nothing else away from this blog post take this one thing. There is one God and he is the same as He was at creation,crucifixion,resurrection,and forever. He wants to have the same intimate relationship with you that he had with Adam and Eve in the beginning. The love that the Father has for us is the same love he wants for us to have for not only Him but for all mankind.

Go forward and serve in prayer,praise,and peace.

Much love ,

Pilgrim Nicci

Community CPR

Community,It’s the latest buzz word causing people in a social media age to cry out for something more. Community, it’s a heartbeat of people connected.

Community,the vision of the kingdom of God.

Some odd years ago I felt that there was something lacking in my life. It isn’t so much different than what is missing from the average millennials life. That is our buzz word, community. It isn’t really all that hard to find these mysterious things called communities. You don’t have to go hunting in the woods or pay lots of money. You can join a number of communities with a simple internet search. You can join a baseball community and put on a jersey and cap. There are music communities where you can rock out on the weekends,all you’ll need is your guitar and drums. You won’t have to look far to find a community of pet enthusiast ready to babysit your “fur baby” while you’re away. There is even communities for introverts but I don’t understand that one,it probably is just lonely people on Facebook avoiding eye contact. There is vacation communities to get away from your everyday community. The list could and does go on. Ah yes, there is absolutely no shortage of community in this life. I didn’t say it was worthwhile community but it’s community all the same. I was once a part of a community of people. It had social events,a purpose to be together, unwritten social norms,and it even had a leader that we looked up to almost in Godlike fashion. We were in every sense of the word community. Beyond that it was like family. I left that because I found a community with a heartbeat when I realized my community was dead void of life,void of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean it didn’t have value just not what I needed to thrive.

For a time the lifeless community I belonged to pacified my desire for a position in a group. It was easy you see, because we were all actors and we could invent whoever we wanted to be. Everything in that community was based on what character we played. There were moments and people that I found connection to even among this setting. These people had a heartbeat just as I did but it wasn’t enough to sustain a life for me. When I stumbled upon a community with a heartbeat I knew I needed to be part of that. I observed for a time and I thought I saw involvement in each other’s lives. I saw care and serving along one another for a common goal. There were struggles but effort was made to restore what was broken. I felt at home. This community was the German Baptist. Soon I realized that it wasn’t one heartbeat but several going thud-dum..thud-dum but at a different pace.

We are divided into multiple districts all concentrated in one area. We set up things like Bible Studies,secret sister,service projects,and church services. From the outside looking in it seems great with all of these activities going on how could one possibly miss a beat? What you cannot see is that sometimes there is no beat at all but rather a ventilator humming along,prolonging life that is hanging by a thread. There is hope and with some intervention maybe that beat can come alive and blood (Jesus’s blood) can begin to flow. Death begins to creep slow in when those Bible studies get cancelled more than they are held. Church services only happen once or twice a month. Gossip and petty feuds over take praise and prayer. The heart gets a little weaker when we choose to serve alone and don’t see the need to come along side of each other. All too soon a person can ask themselves why they are where they are if the community isn’t fully alive and is only a place of self preservation? Do you hear the beat? Will it keep going?

So I began to read,research and pray about what community really should look like. After all sometimes CPR is needed to revive that heart beat! It wasn’t too hard to find the Word full of answers in response to community. Soon enough o was on my way to learning CPR!

C-Christ &Community

P-Prayer& Participation

R-Respect & Relationship

Community-I heard a minister say once “that the kingdom of God wasn’t something you entered into alone. The kingdom wouldn’t be a kingdom without active citizens that were all in. The kingdom of God in fact is a community.” That right there is reason enough to fight for thriving community on a local level.

Christ-As I stated before, there are many types of communities. What gives the community breath and blood is Christ. Without Him as our central focus we are left to lead ourselves and no reason to go anywhere. Christ is what unites the multiple beats into one.

Prayer- prayer will be vital in keeping not only enthusiasm but also focus. It’s really difficult to forget about the importance of something that you are busy praying about. Pray for your district as a whole,individually,and in the bigger body as well. Do not neglect to praise the Lord for placing you where He has. Think of prayer as your life line.

Participation- Ewww I know this isn’t one you’d like to hear about. However your community will fall to sudden death as fast as a heart attack if no one shows up,pulls their weight,or simply doesn’t care. Be all in. You have value in your district and you are needed. From the widow and the singles to the young folks and the young families. Each person was placed where they were to fulfill a unique purpose and you certainly won’t find out what it is by not showing up.

Respect-Honestly folks this shouldn’t need to be here. It should be as natural as a healthy body taking breaths. It comes to a point though that without exercise( because of not participating)that a reminder is needed. Respect one another to not only to show up when you say you will but to do your part. Cut all gossip ,yes even the well meaning speculation,and keep your conversation approvable unto God. Learn to love each and every member of your district. If you are having a struggle of personalities remember your vows and go to them in Christian love.

Relationship-Do you honestly believe we can have life without relationship? After all God Himself desired relationship and created us! Get to know one another through Bible study,cook outs,and everyday interactions. We should be so close to one another that if a need arose little or big ,sin or financial that we would be comfortable coming to our community for help. There should be no shame in speaking up in a group together. It should be a safe place.

With our crash course in CPR we are now ready to revive or communities if need be. Life can begin and our purpose can be fulfilled. Our fellowships should be bringing forward new life not only sustaining what is already there. It can’t and won’t unless blood flows through it’s veins.