Wednesday, July 7, 2010

always beyond my hopes

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." Eph. 3:20-21

This has been a personal favorite for a long time because of the constant reality it has been in all my life experiences. As many of you know, when Derek and I first moved to Oregon we, like most others, did not have jobs. It was a difficult reality for me to face that I'd be venturing into the sub world after having what I considered to be the all time best teaching experience. I wrestled through it for 2 years having the verse above help carry me through (and of course the Spirit!). Like most times in life, I knew, but did not quite fathom how true this scripture is of God. I am so very grateful for the transformation God performed in my life, and Derek's, as I subbed. That is what has been best for me spiritually, mentally, emotionally, all the ways only God really knows.

Never had I imagined that I'd be in the position in which I find myself now. I have been provided a teaching position for the upcoming school year. I will be job sharing with a very admirable and experienced teacher part-time. And, like always, the situation I find myself entering into is far beyond anything I had imagined. I'm so glad that God "determines our steps" as the Proverb states. And, it gives me further joy to know that this is not the last time that I will be in awe of God's work and character! Please rejoice with me in this truth and give Him glory for His goodness.

Staci Nickleson

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures tell all...

I haven't written in forever. So again, the pictures will have to tell all. Long story short, visited family in Indiana, Elias shot his first rifle, Jael played dress-up, the kids played with puppies and pigs, went back to Eugene, the kids posed for pics on top of Skinner's Butte, Elias broke his leg playing football, he's on his 3rd cast, we had Easter at Lawrence Street Chapel, and that's about it.

Hope all of you who are reading this are well.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Slow down and rest

Side note: I'm pretty sure, ever since I was born I was a child that was always busy. I rarely sit still. It's almost impossible for me.

But lately I've been just "sitting" (haha!) on the thought of being still and resting. I wonder how possible it really is to just be still and know that God is God? We all have our endless obligations to attend to and our calendars are already filled up to the max. But I still yearn to be still. Are we created for that? I sure think so. Why else would God have declared the sabbath a day to rest? Ok, so my mind can wrap around all of the logic behind rest. I get it. But why don't I do that more regularly?

I am laughing currently as I am sitting here on my couch, icing my twisted ankle, and realized what a perfect time to just rest. Hmmmmmm...yet here is what is really on my mind. Ugh, I have laundry to do but I'm pretty sure it would take me 20 minutes to get up and down the basement steps. I need to run errands so that I can be ready for the week. I could wash the dishes that are sitting in the sink, but my ankle would probably hate me. I need to go to the library, but again stupid ankle. Excuses, excuses, and more excuses. I just keep thinking about all of the things I "need" to be doing. But what about just taking today to rest in Jesus?

I'm not wired to slow down and rest. I'm wired to go, go, and go some more! But then there are those times when something happens (twisting an ankle) that forces you to slow down and rest. I'm pretty sure God is a humorous God who is looking at me right now laughing, saying how good he got me now! Sometimes it just takes work to slow down, especially if you are like me.

Who knew that my twisted ankle would remind me to slow down? God knows what he's doing. :)

Much love,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Family Pics and rambling thoughts

Thought I would post some pics of the family since it's been forever since I've last been on here. I really have good intentions about blogging more often but then don't seem to follow through. My bad! Anyway, things are good from the McKinnis family of 4 in Eugene. We had a good Christmas even though it was kind of tough being away from parents and grandparents in Indiana. We cut down our own tree this year and I hung lights in our apartment. It looked like a college dorm room when I finished it, which really wasn't what I was going for! Elias is still enjoying school. He does such a great job of listening but he's kind of a "tattle tell." He always wants to point out to the teacher if someone is doing something wrong or not listening. We think he has a little crush on a girl in his class. He always looks forward to Fridays when she's in his class. I guess he's starting young...ha! Jael still has blond hair and blue eyes so I'm not sure how that worked out. She is absolutely beautiful and loves to play and joke around. She is at such a fun age right now and is just so full of life. We really couldn't be prouder parents of both our children.

Rachel is doing well. She continues to excel at being a mother, wife and basically the smartest person in our family! I continue to be amazed at how God has gifted her and how she always seems to have such profound wisdom to share. She really has a gift of wisdom and discernment. Our family is so blessed by her gifts, as well as our church.

Speaking of church, we are continuing to pursue the mission of demonstrating the kingdom of God here in Eugene. We are developing close friendships here and we continue to ask God to soften the hearts of our neighbors in this city. We are currently journeying through the Gospel of John right now as a community. Last night we discussed John 6 where Jesus says "do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life." We talked about how food that spoils represents more than just physical food but anything other than Jesus that we are tempted to place our belief, trust, or hope in for nourishment, fulfillment, and life. It was good to hear our church body share how God has continued to teach them this lesson and how we are all constantly being called by God to deeper waters of faith and trust in him.

I want to leave you with a Psalm that has given me hope for a city that by in large loves creation but not the Creator.

Psalm 19:1-6 (The Message)
God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.

Theirs words aren't heard, their voices aren't recorded, But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

God makes a huge dome for the sun - a superdome! The morning sun's a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed, The daybreaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.

That's how God's Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.

God, please warm hearts to faith in Eugene!


Sunday, January 10, 2010


So, I noticed that it has been quite a while since I have posted any thoughts on our blog. I don't know exactly why that is. During my absence from the blog, much has happened here in Eugene. Staci and I have moved to a new apartment, adopting Drew as our roommate (or maybe he adopted us), I have made a few job transitions, and new friendships have been established. We just got back not too long ago from spending some time with family in Indiana, and now are back into our daily routines. Amidst all of this, I think often about our Church here, okay, I think about it most all the time, and I am in awe of the fact that God has trusted us to be in this place during this season. My thoughts continually go the first century Churches that Paul, Peter, John, and others wrote about in the New Testament. You see, these Churches were planted in places that had little background on who God was (or is), who the person of Jesus was, and had many competing spiritual paths. I think a lot about Paul and how he spent much time getting to know the culture of many of these places, and through that, connected with them. He was fully present in those locations. In fact, he spent years in Ephesus making tents and meeting with people. He was not absent, not some preacher who locked himself in an office inside a church building writing sermons. He molded his messages to the culture of the community and presented the Gospel in all its truth. Jesus did the same thing. He met people where they were at, loved them, healed them, and taught them the truths of God. He was fully present. And now, by His grace, we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit who is fully present with us as we journey through this earthly life. When I think about these things, I realize that absence was not an option for God. He desired to be present in the lives of His people. He is continually present in His Creation now, and He desires for people to know this. As Paul understood, to communicate this to communities of people who had little background or misconceptions of God, you must be present with them, build relationships, and love them. I love Eugene. I love the people here and have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Eugene so far. As Staci and I were walking this morning, I realized that we live in a beautiful place, and that God desires us to be fully present here. He is never absent from our lives and I desire to live in a way that avoids being absent from the people of Eugene.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strings of memories

I don't know where to start with this. To be honest, I've tried to write this little journal entry 2 previous times (both of them I deleted). So I sit here procrastinating other things to attempt try #3.

In my staff lounge there are some things hanging on the wall. There's 2 long thin pieces of string with small, cute paper clips attached. Attached to those paper clips are little squares of fabric. On the little pieces of fabric are memories written down for two incredible special ladies. Both are co-workers. One string belongs to a lady who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last spring and is currently not doing well. The other string belongs to a lady who has stage 4 lung cancer and has never smoked in her life. Oh they are beautiful strings of memories.

I wrote one today and clipped it on the string. I have one more to write and have until tomorrow to write it and am still unable to think of what to put on that little piece of fabric. Oh string of memories you are seriously breaking my heart.

I love this little project and it brings me so much joy. It's a gift that I know these ladies will truly love and cherish. Yet all I can do is cry thinking about it because I can see the faces of the ladies reading, or have them read to them, the little pieces of fabric. And as I envision them reading them I see tears run down their faces. I know they will be tears of joy.

So as I process this holiday season I am starting to think more and more about what I would write on a little piece of fabric for the people in my life that I care about. I challenge you to think more about how much people mean to you during this season and maybe even pass them a note telling them so.

Much love,
Stacie :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

He uses the weak

These last several months we’ve been in the book of John. Just a couple of weeks ago we came to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. There is such beauty in this interaction. As I read and prayed over the passage I realized that this encounter is completely loaded with truth, challenge, and love. One thing that really struck me that I’d never really noticed before is the utter beauty in the Samaritan woman being the one to share the truth of the Messiah with her town.

The Samaritans already were looked down upon because of their history and the fact that they were “half breeds.” I know this sounds harsh, but it’s just the way it was then. Back in the day these were some of the people corrupting the Jews because they did not worship God. However, some began to learn. So, already she was of low status because of these things; then, on top of it all, she herself was an outcast within her own culture because of the lifestyle that had caused her to have many husbands, etc. Sadly, she was the low of the low. She didn’t even go to collect water at the well during the cool hours of the morning and likely because she made every effort to avoid the company of the other woman that surely had a poor opinion of her.

But, the beauty of it is Jesus goes out of his way to show up at this well when she is there. He speaks to her and surfaces her life of many husbands. He shares with her that He has a fulfilling and abundant life to offer her and tells that He is the Messiah she’s heard about. When she hears this she runs directly to an audience who doesn’t think the best of her, she openly exposes herself to them again but this time with hope, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” And, they immediately leave the town and follow her to Jesus.

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

But, God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are…” 1 Cor. 1:26-29

God can use, will use, and does use the most unlikely (in our minds, or society) people to reveal Himself and His glory. I want to invite this into my life. I want to leave that opportunity open to all, not just the people who make me feel comfortable or good about my own status.

And, shouldn’t I, then, desire to be weak and low and despised in this world?

Staci N.