Nick, you are vacationing with one celebrity. Who would it be and where would you go?
I would travel with Stanley Tucci, the actor (Beethoven, The Hunger Games), and I would go to the Japanese countryside.
Why the Japanese countryside?
First of all, I’ve heard that the rural parts of Japan are really gorgeous and I think he’d have a similar appreciation for it as I would. Then we could go to a city, maybe for a day, but we could also just hang out wherever we were staying and just be friends.
How did you find Agape?
I met Sanj and Taylor- I knew other people, but they were two that I became really close with in the community, and just over time seeing them do really amazing things and knowing what they believed, it made a lot of sense of me and I felt like God was pushing me toward this community. The first few things that I went to before I was super involved, I just felt so welcomed. People didn’t know me, but I just felt like I fit so well.
What draws you into the community?
I think the accountability that is a part of the relationships I have with people in the community. My relationships with people were borne out of really good, pure intentions and consequences. Just getting to see the benefit of that for me, and the benefit that I feel like I get to bring to other people. There is a really symbiotic relationship between the people in this community. There’s a depth I don’t get to experience outside of this church. The common ground and having it rooted in Christ is just amazing. It’s allowed me to explore a different depth with people in general.
Why are you a Christian?
I don’t know, I think it makes a lot of sense. At this point, I realized how much God has done in my life. It makes me want to be better. Pursuing a relationship with God has just been really interesting and made me grow as a person in ways that I don’t think I could have if I didn’t know God. I don’t know- I think its just really cool to get to live my life for something that I really believe in and something that I think is making me better every day. I’ve learned to be a lot more trusting in God, especially in things that I think are going wrong- I’ve learned to give a lot to God.
What draws you to Jesus?
I think the way that I see Jesus in other people, they are constant reminders of Jesus’ presence in different communities that I’m a part of. In China, they don’t really have religion, and I still felt God all the time and saw Jesus in people there every single day. It was overwhelming to me. I see so much good from people a lot. Not to be naïve or think that everyone is just this amazing person, but when you’re aware of it, it’s really hard to look past. Jesus was so present with people that it makes so much sense that that is how he’s reflected on this earth.
What gives you hope?
I think knowing how many things have happened to me and knowing that I’m still alive and better for all of them. When I was talking to Kelly Ravenscraft today, we were talking a lot about doors closing and how shocking that can be when it happens. But later on, you begin to understand why that happened. There is almost always a present purpose for everything that happens. That instills a lot of hope in me. I realized that as much as I might think things totally suck, in the past year I’ve had a lot more understanding that things won’t be that way forever.
What breaks your heart?
My heart feels really broken when people don’t have an openness to other people. I really try and be open to meeting every single person I cross paths with. It really makes me sad when I see people who feel like they don’t have time for that. I think those are some of my saddest moments, when I see that in people, an unwillingness to extend yourself past what’s immediately around you. That breaks my heart a lot because there are so many good people in the world and so many good things in each person.
Do you have a favorite film?
Yes! I think my favorite movie is Amelie- it’s in French but it’s really famous. It’s about a girl who lives her life for other people, but keeps to herself all the time. She does random acts of kindness every day. It’s a really involving story. I think it has to do a lot with the idea that if you extend good, good will come back to you. She’s such a good person in her heart. She cares for her dad who is a widower, and for the people in her building, and gets really upset at injustices. I’m always in awe when I watch that movie.
Any closing thoughts?
First, I want to give a big ol’ shout out to Agape and Ecclesia- I’ve felt a lot of love for them today. I think at the root of our church, it’s so positive. i see so much life emanating from our church, so much God, Jesus, Holy Spirit- it’s so cool that our relationships are postured that way.