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Nicki Koziarz Christian Blog and Commentary

Nicki Koziarz

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Nicki Koziarz is a speaker, writer, and leader in today's generation. She lives just outside of Charlotte, NC with her husband and their three girls. As a leader and speaker, Nicki is willing to tackle the hard issues this generation is facing to encourage the pursuit of God's Truth in their lives. She is on staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries as the coordinator for their online Bible studies. Visit Nicki's site at: www.nickikoziarz.com, or contact her here.

 

 

Dear Impulsive Christian Communicator,

You’ve lost me.

When you chose to use your platform to jump onto a trend-bashing wagon.

You lost me.

When you used your words to tear down, give false information and to deny what God did in someone’s life.

You lost me.

When your words were angry and filled with half-truths.

You lost me.

And now, anything you say, I’m not listening.

Because, you lost me.

Sincerely,

Generation Today

 

The past few weeks the Internet has been filled with controversy after controversy surrounding many churches and pastors.

We’ve called pastor’s cult leaders. We’ve denied the experience's people had with God. And we chose to use our words, filled with half-truth’s, to be part of some social media trending topic.

I’ve read many of the articles, tweets and Facebook comments. And I’ve lost a lot of respect for a few impulsive communicators.

I’m not the only one though and I don’t write this article today to represent myself. There’s an entire generation we [as the Church] are loosing due to our hotheaded religious rants.

A new generation isn’t coming up. It’s now.

And reaching this generation for God has never been more difficult than it is today. Because they are listening to very few of us.

Communicators, please hear my heart…

When controversy in a church rises I get your concerns, anger, questions and frustrations. But I also get how in the midst of church conflict we tend take our religious preferences and turn them into religious laws.

But when we do this, we potentially lose the ability to speak into today’s generation. Because this generation needs a safe place they can bring their views of Jesus and the Church to. If they are constantly met with an opposing force, they’ll stop talking about it.

Which is the worst thing that could happen.

I do believe God wants us all to be part of conversations surrounding the Church. Not hot-tempered debates. Not writing or sharing an article just to jump on a trending topic.

Conversations.

Here are three healthy conversations to consider having during a church controversy:

Conversation One: “Tell me what you’ve experienced.”

There’s nothing more frustrating than someone writing an article or crafting a social media status without getting the facts first-hand. Before we form our opinions about what's happening within a church, may we seek the facts from the right people. 

We can also ask questions without denying the movement of God in someone’s life.

Conversation Two: “Help me understand why things are done this way.”

The bottom line with many church controversies is that things are being done in very different way than in previous generations. And sometimes when our deep historical roots of tradition are messed with, we can start to feel unsettled.

But Jesus isn’t a tradition, He’s a miracle. And who are we to deny the new miraculous ways He’s working in people through this generation?

We can have doubts without throwing rocks of disbelief.

Conversation Three: “Is it okay if I share my perspective with you?”

Are there things being done within church walls we can disagree with? Absolutely. But I’d also love to see a church that does this thing perfectly.

May we be very careful our perspective doesn't reflect a perfect church when we speak up on controversial issues.

And we can speak Truth into this generation without hate.

As communicators are we more concerned with being right and trendy or with being in conversation? It’s something to consider.

While today the waters of controversy might be still, there’s another storm brewing somewhere. When the waters rise, there will be much at stake.

Ask. Listen. Or deny. The conversation choice is ours.

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” –Ephesians 4:3-6 

Conversation: 

I'd love to hear from you today. When you read an article or social media status bashing a pastor or a church, how do you respond? 

 

 

 

That night I laid in my bed tossing and turning. I glanced at my phone…11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am.

The hours of the night passed and I found no sleep.

I had just made a big decision and was wrestling with a lot of doubt about it. Throughout the night one question continually tapped on my soul, “Did I really do the right thing?” I just couldn’t find the assurance my heart needed.

Worry. Anxiousness. Fear. And even a dose of sadness overcame me.

Sometimes it’s so hard to know if we made the right decision.

We look for three-point formulas, we seek advice, and we pray. We may even fast but ultimately almost every decision we make can come with doubt.

When 6am rolled around I got out of my bed and tiptoed down our stairs. I prayed for no one else to get up, just for thirty minutes. I needed my God. I needed His peace. I needed His confirmation over my decision.

But God didn’t offer me those things at 6am. Instead, what He offered me was this promise in Proverbs 16:9,

 

I wish I could tell you there’s a way to never question the choices we make. I wish I could tell you the things we can do that will always lead to a perfect peace in decision-making.

But what I’ve come to understand about making decisions is:

even when we desperately seek God,

even when we pray,

even when we seek council,

there really isn’t a place of 100% assurance.

But I had to find a resolve at 6am with that decision I had made. And our gentle God spoke through that verse in Proverbs 16:9.

I can make my plans and decisions, but a life yielded to God means I’m open to His movement in every way.

So I want to quit making plans, writing to-do lists and making decisions based on a false assurance that everything will be just right. I want understand how assurance is only found in the promises of God, no matter what twists and turns we take.

Because when we make decisions based on this promise [Proverbs 16:9] from God, we don’t have to live in fear and continually wonder if we made the right decision.

As I continue to make decisions I’m sure I’ll still feel I’m only 75% sure I’m doing the right thing. But because of this promise, I’m 100% sure that even if I wander into something that isn’t part of my God-dream, He will still use it.

And this is a promise is for every person who has doubted a decision they have made.

 

It’s a new 365.

I’m sitting in my office on this quiet morning thinking of our community; our God-struggles, the deep places He is taking us through, and the hunger we have to understand Him more.

As I’ve reflected on 2013 I saw God do a lot within you and I.

Just like you, I had highs but I also had lows. I quit some things and I even quit some people. I ran from conflict, hard conversations and things that made me feel uncomfortable. These were not my finest moments for sure.

But this morning, I also realized how much I almost missed with God.

While I had many flops in 2013, there were a few things I did endure and persist through. And I share this experience today for the one heart that is feeling abandoned by their God and is ready to give up on something.

For years I’ve felt like I’ve been this wandering soul for the Kingdom. A woman with so much passion but nowhere to land it. So, I’ve stayed open to what God was doing and transitioned here and transitioned there. But so much transition in so little time, makes one weary of picking up the pieces and starting all over {again.}

Through all this transition, there was one constant God spoke over me in 2013:

“Stay put and grow.”

This thought from God came from Psalm 1:3,

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

In 2013, I cried many tears of frustration. I said goodbye to people I never thought I would have to. I felt overlooked and unnoticed. I told God countless times I was quitting and finished, forever.

Oh how I am such a woman in need of the grace God offers.

Thankfully because of His grace, He gave me the strength to pursue the hard places of 2013. While I didn't always recieve His grace in certain areas, there were a few places I did. 

And this past Monday, right before 2013 ended, I saw the fruit that is possible through this process of staying put and growing.

At 9am, I walked into a new position. One that fits my passion more than anything I’ve done before. One that only God could dream up.

 

 

And if this had happened in 2012, I don't think I would have valued this year-long process of staying put and growing.

While our list of goals and resolutions are all great things for 2014, perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can embrace is this place of learning to stay put and grow.

And oh how God is not finished with this woman right here. He’s reminding me of that verse in Psalm 1. He’s showing me how many times I’ll have the opportunity to quit and run again.

So He whispers,

-In 2014, when that relationship gets hard, don’t run…stay put and grow.

-In 2014, when you want to force success to happen, don’t…stay put and grow.

-In 2014, when you feel like I don’t hear your heart, your prayers or see your passion…stay put and grow.

Condemnation breeds quitters. Conviction produces change.

I’m so thankful for the way God loves us through our change process.

 

May 2014 be the best year yet. 

 

For more daily encouragement, join our community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nickikoziarz.ministry

Nicki Koziarz is booking speaking events for Spring 2014/Fall 2014. For more information click here: http://nickikoziarz.com/speaking-2/

She had rehearsed her one line for days. And it was an important one too, the opening line. That morning she asked me a dozen questions about how she should smile, what she should do with her hair and which of her shoes looked the most like Pilgrim shoes.

She looked perfect and with script in hand we walked to the bus stop.

Just before she climbed onto the bus she shouted back at me, “You’ll be there right mommy?” “Yes honey, I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” I said and smiled as she rode off to school.

And so at 1:00 pm I made my way to the elementary school for the much-anticipated 2nd grade Thanksgiving performance.

I took a seat in the front row and watched my little girl giggle with nervous excitement as she and her friends watched the parents arrived. They were so adorbs with their hand-made Pilgrim and Indian costumes.

The play began with a song sung by all the kids. And then it was time for my Kennedy’s big line. The one she practiced no less than 3 million times. The one she predicted would quickly send her to the Big Screen. And the one line I was there to hear.

She began strong but about 3 words into the line my poor Kennedy caught a horrific case of the uncontrollable, inappropriate giggles. And so, she flung her paper at her head and said, “Oh my gosh!”  Her face turned fire engine red and I could see the tears she was fighting back.

And there she stood for the rest of that 15-minute production with a paper over her face. She. Was. Mortified.

My momma heart sank as I watched my little girl stand before this group fighting her tears. And as soon as the performance was over she ran to me and collapsed into my arms. With tears streaming down her face she whispered, “I messed up mommy, I messed up so bad. And I practiced so hard!”

I tried my very best to console her but she wasn’t having much to do with my, “It’s ok…” pep talk.

The most important moments in life are not the ones we perfect with ease and grace. They are the moments that remind us that we are human; filled with flaws and quirks. Because these are the things that make us, us.

Kennedy Grace is a laugher. It’s what makes her, her. Even though sometimes it comes at the most inopportune time.

We will all have these come-to-the-edge moments where our expectations don’t match the reality of what is happening.

Perhaps the Psalmist who wrote this verse understood this all to well:

“To all perfection I see a limit…” Psalm 119:96

Sometimes we need a gentle reminder about the lies of perfection. 

~ When that scale shouts numbers you didn’t expect. Perfection lies. It’s ok to be you.

~ When the mirror shows wrinkles, age spots and acne [despite you being well past your teen years…] Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.

~ When that makeup product fails to do what it promised you it would. Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.

~ And when you stand up in front of your entire 2nd grade class and your inappropriate laughter disorder takes over. Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.

I’ll never forget her 2nd grade Thanksgiving play. Not only because it made me smile but because of the reminder it has given me to let perfection have its place, somewhere else.

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