Recipe for an Amazing Birthday

Last weekend (on Saturday), I turned 26!!

And I’ve never been having more fun in my life than I am NOW!!

One reason: Jesus Lifehouse Church!!!!

Birthdays are always fun and something to celebrate (no matter what age you may be!), but this birthday was EXTRA SPECIAL!!

In the morning, I got to celebrate May 22nd with my AMAZING friends Tobacchi and Yukiko – why?
BECAUSE….they got married!!!

They were the CUTEST, CUTEST couple!!

The wedding was awesome, full of joy and laughter…and even a few tears as people were moved by the beautiful ceremony and the strong, pure love that these two share for each other!

These two met and fell in love at JLH (Jesus Lifehouse) and their love is so amazing, pure and, well, like a fairytale…because it was scripted by the author of love, Jesus Christ ❤

At JLH, the atmosphere is just SO amazing – it’s like we are one big family – we all just love one another so much and it’s amazing to be able to come together on special days (like weddings) and celebrate together!!

And something about that day really touched my heart….it was Yuki-chan and Tobacchi’s BIG DAY and the Happy Couple were so busy greeting and thanking everyone…and yet, with just so much love, the Beautiful Couple made sure to take a moment to wish me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY – they are so sweet, kind and always giving – that is the HEART of Japanese people! – and I felt overwhelmed and thankful at the amount of LOVE that abounds in our Beautiful Church Family!!! Thank-you so much, Mr and Mrs Takayuki Toba (A.K.A. Tobacchi!!)

In the afternoon, after an amazing and very memorable wedding ceremony, everybody headed off in different directions to have fun in Our Beloved City, Tokyo!! That’s one of my favourite things about JLH – there’s ALWAYS something going on!! Some went to karaoke, others out for Ladies’ Afternoon Tea, other just chilled out and enjoyed the GORGEOUS SUMMER WEATHER!!

I was super blessed to be able to spend the afternoon with SUCH amazing friends….and as we said our congrats and catch-you-laters to Tobacchi and Yuki-chan, we were full of excitement at what that evening would hold…

We all hopped with enthusiasm onto the train and headed off to Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo where the heat outside was magnified inside!!

What on earth was going on inside, you must wonder??

PASSION WORLD TOUR 2010!!!!!


Chris Tomlin sang up a storm as thousands of Japanese youth (and some from other countries!!!) danced, clapped, sang and just LOVED God over a three-and-a-half hour conference that brought joy, laughter, tears and MUCH MORE!! Hope, inspiration, passion…it was truly a life-changing night!!!

As we left the venue, we were full of excitement, joy, love and just…well, we were on such a HIGH!! Life is just SO fun and I felt so blessed and amazed to be able to be surrounded by love on my birthday in a country that I’ve come to know as home!!

So, it was natural that, being at home in My Darling Japan with My Amazing JLH Family, we would want to celebrate a family meal – and that was just what we did!! Hungry from all that dancing and singing, we all headed off to Kua Aina, a fantastic burger place in the Marunouchi Building, near Tokyo Station!

http://www.marunouchi.com/marubiru/english/01_shop/restaurant.html

There, my FABULOUS friends shouted me to dinner and sang a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday – thanks so much, Guys – LOVE YOU!!!

Though we are from all corners of the globe, we are ONE – one family, one love, one purpose and one life FILLED with joy and lived together!! I’m so thankful to God, who created and embodies the word FAMILY, that I belong to this awesome, crazy, international family!! JLH, I love you!!!


Sound like fun?

Well, here’s the great news…we are always looking to adopt!!! Seriously though, if you have some free time and are looking for a little fun, why don’t you come hang out and enjoy some great company, a lot of laughter and, of course, in the Land of Japan…there’s gotta be FOOD!!!

Getting to our CITY Services in Roppongi (Sunday)

Roppongi-Map
We have four Sunday services: 11am, 12:45am, 3:30pm, 5:30pm – make some time in your Sunday and come hang out with us!

Getting to our WEDNESDAY Teaching Service

Shinjuku_Map-1-839x1024
Wednesday Service is from 7:15pm!

AND…we have a Church in Yokohama, too, so if you’re living out that way, go check out Yokohama Jesus Lifehouse! You can find details about when and where at the following link:

http://yokohama.jesuslifehouse.com/en/church-services/

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Sunday, Sunny Day, Super Day!!

Yesterday at Church was an AMAZING day!!!!

Not only was the music just wonderful!! The messages, too, were so awesome!!!

11AM – Pastor Paolos –> Protecting Your Heart from Greed!!

We had a guest speaker from Indonesia, Pastor Paolos, and his wife visiting us at JLH!! It was AAAAAAAAWWWWEEESSSOOOMMMMEEE!!! He spoke about protecting our hearts against greed, because it’s kind of like a disease that, once it gets into your heart, will destroy and isolate you – God give us everything so generously and all He asks is that we pass it on!!!

Makes sense right!! If someone did something nice, like maybe baked a cake for your birthday and then, come another friend’s birthday, you decided not to bake a cake, cos you didn’t have the time or money…well, it’s not really paying it forward, is it?

Anyway, the point of Paolos message was very simple: GIVE!!!!

It got me thinking…

We often get so caught up in our lives, thinking, I have no money, I CAN’T give – yesterday, I learned to be very careful before I go making statements like that – I have SO much!! Don’t you??

So…if you have the chance, just GIVE to others!! Remember…giving isn’t only about money – it’s about time, love, prayer…!! We have so many opportunities to do things for others! Reading this, I hope you won’t feel overcome with a sense of guilt about being selfish – no! See it as an exciting and encouraging motivation to start giving to others!! I tell ya, it’s the best high in the world, to selflessly give of yourself!! And God sees and will give back…more than our minds could ever comprehend!!

4PM – Pastor Rod –> Change – Stronger or Weaker?

Pastor Rod spoke about how, in our lives, we are always changing – in our jobs, relationships, and well…in everything!! The question is, in what direction are you moving? Are you getting stronger? Or weaker?

If I’ve learned anything in the few (wonderful) years that I’ve been at JLH, it’s that your DECISIONS are so, so, so, so, so important – they really will change the course of your life!!

Talking from the Bible, Pastor Rod summarised the life stories of two kings of…Judah (or Judea…?). Their names were Saul and, his successor, David. These two guys had a lot in common! They were both strong warriors and both had been chosen by God! Although they both rose to the position of King over the people, they were both from unimportant, obscure backgrounds and both had weaknesses – they were really no different from you or I…ordinary people, given authority to do great things by an extraordinary power!!

Sounds like their two lives were just a repetition of the same story, right?

Wrong!

David went down in history as one of the great heroes of his time – a King who did amazing things and whose legacy left a lasting impact! He was, to sum it up in one word (and pretty much my favorite word), AWESOME!!!


Saul, on the other hand was….kind-of, well, a bit of….a prize fool! He DIDN’T make good decisions and as a result, was a terrible leader in the end. So much so that he was forcibly ejected from his position of King and was replaced by David – he didn’t take it lying down either…he was slightly put out, to say the least – in fact, he tried to kill David! (The Old Testament is full of stories like these – they read like a modern day drama, but teach like the best educator!! Pretty awesome reading really!)

So…what was different, then? How did one King go one way (up and up and up!!) and the other, well…NOT up?

Saul – a man of fear, fearful of men’s opinions, and yet, relying on them to guide him through life – made dum decisions, based on the wisdom of people which…well, can be subjective and at times, NOT wisdom at all!! He was gifted, for sure, but lacked the integrity to apply these gifts in a way that had any impact – his words and actions didn’t often match – and on top of this, when he did screw things up, he then did something that we’ve all been guilty of at some stage (I know I have!!) – he looked for where to put the blame and put it anywhere but where it really belonged – on himself!!

David – he didn’t care what people thought – but there was one opinion that he sought above all else – and that was God’s! When he made a mistake, he went to God and prayed a very simple prayer: “HELP!”


When he did something stupid and things went pear-shaped, he went to GOD and said, “Dad, I messed up. I’m sorry. Can you fix it?” – And god honoured his humility and integrity!

So…who do you think is the best role model for your life? Saul, who got weaker and weaker? Or David, who just grew in strength?
Follow his example to be the best you can be and have the best life EVER!!!

5:30PM – Shinsuke –> Keep It Simple!

The last message of the day was delivered with passion and overflowing excitement, and was remarkably simple – keep your LIFE simple!!

Humans…we have an overwhelming ability to think, analyse, act, and react! And it’s not always good…

How many times have you, facing an issue, a hard time, a problem…reacted by thinking, and then thinking some more…and then some?? Until you have driven yourself half mad, and have reached a point where your thoughts, sub-thoughts and the little trails of thought have led you into a knot of thoughts, anxieties, speculations and fears that are just…crippling?? I know I’ve done that! And the only way I’ve gotten out is to stop and think: “Hey, actually…it’s okay.”

Shinsuke gave us a few bits of advice for how to keep your life simple:

1. Identity your priorities – what’s important to you? Think about these things and put energy into these – think the right thoughts – good thoughts, joyful thoughts, thankful thoughts, HAPPY thoughts, kind thoughts, loving thoughts, giving thoughts!

2. Cut the crap –> take out the stuff that isn’t important and that isn’t going to help you – I don’t think you’ll find a person in the world who could actually, seriously argue that negative thinking has been proven to be productive, helpful, or therapeutic! So…why bother with it? Your mind and heart are too precious to bother with that!

3. Decide to do something – and do it! Don’t decide you want to change and pencil “changing” into your appointment diary for Wednesday next week – do it now and do it quick – a split-second decision is all it takes – following through can be more of a process – but if you try, you’ll actually find it’s easy, effective and, well, better for you then a month at the world’s top health spa! Make over your mind and you won’t regret it!

Finally…there was one analogy that Shinsuke used to talk about having a simple thought life, leading to a simple overall life – be childlike! Doesn’t mean you have to act like one, throwing tantrums or spilling ice-cream down your front…but, THINK like a child – their faith, their purity of heart, their simplicity never fails to amaze me – they take things at face value and never feel the need to over-analyse! Children can make simple decisions and follow through on them. Cliched as it may sound, we can learn a lot from kids!

I had the best day yesterday – it was the kind of beautiful, sunny day that makes you feel light as a feather! And thanks to the awesome messages at JLH yesterday, my heart felt light, free, and liberated! I love Church! It’s so uplifting!!

To hear more of these messages and more, check out http://www.jesuslifehouse.tv/


Knocked over by the overwhelming power of freedom…

Wow…so I haven’t written here for well over a year, I guess…perhaps not quite that long, but it has been a while!!!

But I want to get back to doing that because I want to share with friends, family, and anyone else all that my life holds, and all that I’m blessed to see, hear, feel, experience, do and receive!!

And because I want to share about my Greatest Love, Jesus – My Best Friend, My Saviour, My First Love, My All…you might not know Him and maybe you aren’t interested…but please just read it and enjoy and I hope my words touch you!!

I just want to share a little of what’s on my heart right now, because it’s something that is just bursting out, something that I can’t keep in:

LIFE!!!!!

IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it just keeps getting better…sounds like a 70s rocky kinda love song!!

But seriously though…let me tell you why 🙂

To tell you the truth, the last few months have been challenging…details aren’t really necessary, suffice to say that I was in a relationship and then that ended.

I really wanna share a few quick sentences about what I was feeling initially (when that happened) simply because I want to reach out to others in the same situation and share how I dealt and how God rescued and healed me!!

At first…I was mad. At myself for not being able to make it work and for the dumb mistakes I’d made. But even more so at God, for “taking that from me”…

How wrong was I?!

You see, God didn’t take it from me – life just happens and we can spend our days looking for someone to blame or we can reflect and think, “What did I learn from this?”

And I learned two very important and invaluable lessons!! You wanna hear them? If  not, stop reading, cos I’m gonna tell you anyway!!

A) God does not CAUSE bad things to happen. They just do. But they ARE a chance to trust in Him, to grow, to get stronger and to rely on Him!

B) We don’t have the past. We have today and we have the future, and that’s exciting, because I really believe that He will be there!! For anyone and everyone. He just loves us, one and all!!

God’s grace and mercy are always present and available in abundant amounts, but…we have to be willing to receive it and that means letting go of the past and of hurt, so He can come in and heal our hearts!!!

So easy and simple, isn’t it?

But hey…the best things in life are free, and freedom is one of the best things in life.

Freedom is here 🙂 Please check out this song, if you have a moment – I truly love it and think it’s just AWESOME!! (That’s one of my fave words…haha, can you tell?!)

This entry was posted on April 27, 2010. 2 Comments

Came to my rescue…

I found this video awhile ago and I really loved it, because I felt that it really describes the beauty of Jesus’ love for us.

That even though we may have gotten lost and taken our eyes off Him and focused on finding things to fulfill us here on earth, His grace is beyond sufficient.

When I couldn’t rescue myself, He rescued me.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

I found love. Love that sustains me. Always and forever. He is mine and I am His. My Jesus, My All.

God bless you all!!

Love Always, Nicky

And then the moon came out…

“Beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts.” – Simon Weil

“Because this is so true, we must have a measure of beauty in our lives proportionate to our affliction … No, more, much more. Is not this God’s prescription for us? Just take a look around. The sights and sounds, the aromas and sensations – the world is overflowing with beauty. God seems to be rather enamored with it. Gloriously wasteful. Apparently, He feels that there ought to be plenty of it in our lives.

Our experience of beauty transcends our ability to speak about it, for its magic lies beyond the power of words.

Beauty … heals, stirs us, moves and inspires. Lift any obstacle you may have to filling your life with greater and greater amounts of beauty.

Beauty is the closest thing we have to fullness without “possessing” on this side of eternity. Perhaps that is why it is so healing – beauty is pure gift.”

John Eldredge


A Father’s Gift

Tonight, I was walking home and feeling kinda sad…I didn’t know why and I knew that I didn’t know, so wasn’t seeking a reason behind the season. Pretty much because, being a woman, I know how fickle our emotions can be and knew that there was no real cause, other than the cycle of emotion that humans are prone to being caught up in.

So, knowing all this, I decided to simply say, “NO!” to that sadness.
Listening to Christian music on my MP3 player, I was focusing my energies on thinking about Jesus and His goodness.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Then my eyes suddenly turned upward, towards the night sky, and I was struck by the beautiful deep blue colour of the heavens by night.

God often shows His beauty to me through the sky and I feel that this is His way of romancing me, knowing how much I appreciate and adore this aspect of His creation.

Looking at the sky tonight, my eyes searched for the luminescent moon, a sight that never fails to speak into my heart how deep God’s beauty is. I couldn’t see it, and then realised that it was hidden by clouds.

At that moment….a thought came to me out of nowhere…or from somewhere (dare you to believe it was from above!): “Just because you can’t see God, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.”

On the contrary, throughout His Word, He promises time and time again that He is always with us and will never leave us. (Joshua 1:5)

Thinking about this, and listening to a favourite song of mine, “In You,” I focused on the lyrics as I gazed up at the sky:

So close I believe,

you’re holding me now,

in your arms I belong,

you’ll never let me go…”

I walked on a little further, and after a minute or two, I realised that my heart felt light and that God’s peace was upon me. At that same moment, I looked up…

And there above me shone the moon, in all of its brilliant glory, pale yellow, yet shining so bright, a beacon of God’s love.

And a Scripture came into my heart at that moment:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

This entry was posted on March 11, 2009. 1 Comment

The desires of my heart…

The other night, I had a dream. It was quite a long dream, I guess. I was at a theme park with a bunch of friends from Jesus Lifehouse. We rode attractions all day and we got to ride all of the biggest, best attractions. Except for one.

In this dream, I guess we were on some kind of overnight trip, and this theme park was also a campground or something.

Flash forward to the middle of the night (still in the dream), and we were all awake, having decided to get up in the middle of the night to ride that one attraction that we’d missed during the day. The name of the attraction was, “Gold Rush,” (a ride at Auckland’s theme park, Rainbow’s End – I LOVE this ride – it’s kinda similar to Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland).  So, there we all were, at the site of the attraction, in the dark of the night (though I guess we must’ve had torches (flashlights) or something…), trying to get it to start so we could get what we wanted: a chance to take the ride, a little bit of extra excitement that we were trying to inject into our lives!!

Suddenly….

The lights came on. The camp organisers/managers, our leaders, had arrived!!! Big trouble, right?

Wrong. They had decided to bless us by letting us ride that very same attraction in the middle of the night, and had come to get the ride started. But when they arrived, there we were, trying to get the blessing for ourselves, trying to obtain what they already wanted to give to us.

We didn’t get in trouble, though you’d think we would’ve. Despite our attempts to get for ourselves what they had wanted to surprise (and delight) us with, they simply went ahead with their plans to bless us, and we got what we’d all been seeking: a chance to ride the, “Gold Rush,” attraction!!

Waking up the next day, I instantly forgot about the dream and went about my day. It wasn’t until later that night that I had a crashing revelation of what it had meant….at the time that this realisation hit me, I’d been thinking about what many girls are often thinking about: boy stuff!!

I’d been thinking about God’s plans for me and how He has promised me a prince:

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:4,7)

(That’s another thing to note: He (God) says, “Wait patiently on me.”)

It was in the midst of my thoughts on God’s plan for my life and my musings of, “神様、だれかな??” (“God, who is it gonna be??”), that an understanding hit me, of what God had been telling me through this dream:

“You don’t need to go out and get the things that you desire in your heart, because I already want to give them to you, and I’m going to do so.”

What words of amazing comfort to the heart of a woman?? Don’t we all wonder, Single  Girls, who we will marry? For some of us, it can be a cause of distress, others just a matter of pondering, but it’s definitely a question that has crossed our minds…and there, in the subconscious state of dreamland, lay a resolution, if not yet an answer: Just wait and see.

And I will. Who’s with me?

Awesome Providence!! (And I’m not talking about the TV show…)

It’s funny how our whole lives are comsumed with needs (and wants), and it’s funny, too, how so many people will sing songs about money and how awful it is….and yet it is necessary for life. There are songs about that, too!

I came home last night and nearly cried out of thankfulness. My room mate, Kat, had left a little money on my desk as a parting gift (she’d left to return to Canada that day). I was so overwhelmed, both by her generosity and by the heart behind her giving spirit, at the centre of which is Jesus. Given that He was the “root cause”, so to speak, of her generosity, I was also grateful to God, for providing for me in a time of need.

Now, I really shouldn’t be too much in need, given that, according to past blog entries, I work a full time job, right? Wrong. I worked a full-time job.

What now???

Let me go back the beginning point of all of this, to the seed of thought that instigated a change:

There’s a famous story in the Bible. Christians and non-Christians alike will probably be familiar with the story of how Jesus walked on water. A slightly lesser-known story, perhaps, is that of Peter (one of Jesus’ disciples) walking on the water. Jesus was the Son of God, so it was probably a ‘walk in the park’ (haha…) for Him to set foot on the precarious waves, strolling out to His boat, on the lake. He had total and utter faith in His Father and God.

But Peter, while an incredible person, was a flawed human – just like us – and was kinda known for his perpetual doubt. He believed in the words of Jesus when his Master told him to step out of the boat (bear in mind that this boat was currently out in the the middle of a lake!!) and come to Him. He stepped out onto the waves. How awesome is that??

But…when Peter doubted, he began to sink…at which point Jesus told him (as He time and time again told the masses of people that listened to him speak during His time on earth) to HAVE FAITH!!

God gave me a theme phrase for this year: RELY ON ME! (“Me” being God). I was busy in the last half of last year, I was quite stressed at times and was learning gradually to lean on God and to turn to Him for strength. But with the hours I was spending at my job along with the stuff that I was doing for various teams in Church, I was still incredibly busy. Something had to give. And it wasn’t going to be Church.

I decided to take a leaf out of Peter’s book.

I quit my job.

Not the most logical thing to do in the midst of a world economic crisis, at least not from a pragmatic, seeing-is-believing point of view. The good thing is, I don’t subscirbe to that viewpoint. Furthermore, at this stage, God had already opened a door for me to work, part-time, at Waves English School, which was started by Jesus Lifehouse.

I’ve just started and I LOVE it!!!

Though the job doesn’t completely provide for all of my financial needs, I know that God will provide for me. I am currently looking for a job, and am not at all worried. Rather, I find myself effortlessly sliding into a typically Kiwi state of mind: “She’ll be right.”

Because I know it will…He promised me it would be. And a girl always trusts the promises of her Daddy.

This entry was posted on February 19, 2009. 1 Comment