Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Reflection, reviews, Success

Chase The Lion

 

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New Book by Mark Batterson

I recently had the honor of being selected to be on the launch team for Mark Patterson’s new book “Chase the Lion.”  Today, I got a sneak peek of the first two chapters.  I can honestly say that it’s the only work that I’ve read where I wanted to post every other sentence on Facebook or Twitter.  Immediately, I was challenged to dream big, and to revive dreams I’ve set aside.  He approaches the topic from a fresh perspective that I’d never thought of before.  It is INSPIRING!

I can already tell that this book should go on everyone’s “Have To” read list.

What is your dream?

The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life
is to arrive safely at death.
Run to the roar.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail
without divine intervention.
Stop pointing out problems. Become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future. Face your fears. Fight for your dreams.
Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go!
Live like today is the rst day and last day of your life. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you
keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Dare to fail. Dare to be different.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

#ChaseTheLion  #MarkBatterson

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Reflection, Success

Finding The Secret Place

 

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I’m no early morning girl, in fact, if I were the one who created the world the sun would never rise before 8 a.m. Years ago, when the kids were younger I got up long before the sun on a regular basis, and spent quiet time with the Lord.  Honestly, at that stage of my life, it was early or never.   As the kids got older, life got busier and nights got later and my early morning time got later and shorter.  Amazingly, my peace and joy shrank in direct proportion to the time decrease. Then one day, I got “the email” asking me to review a book called “Early to Rise,” this great little treatise on the value of rising early led me to read further, which convicted me that the first part of the day could really be the best part of the day.  So,  I pulled on my big girl pants and set the alarm for 5 a.m.  What a difference an hour makes!

Keys to Finding Your Secret Place

  • I have everything ready the night before: coffee set, cup out, Bible

and other study tools and a notebook handy. Be sure to set your alarm.

•  Pick a quiet comfy spot free of distractions.

  • For the first 15 minutes I just sit and still myself and try not to let me mind run down my chore list for the day. Then I thank Him for all the great things in my life.  My family, home,  ministry, car, everything I can think of, nothing is too small to be grateful for! This helps to minimize problems and it maximizes joy and gratitude.
  • I read my Scriptures for that day, a Proverb, a through the Bible schedule, or whatever I want to study.
  • I journal what God is showing me as I read.
  • Next, I have a confession list of what I believe God wants in my life with the Scriptures to back it up that I speak out loud each day.
    • (example) God has great plans for me.  Jeremiah 29:11-13
  • Lastly, I make any requests I might have and thank Him for hearing me.

If I can do it, so can you.  I promise it will change your life.

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Success

How to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

th “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone—a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”  John 12:24

Just the word dying sounds like it’s the end of life.  The end of anything that’s good.  Jesus is telling us here if we want to find real life, we need to put others ahead of ourselves.  We may be thinking, “I am comfortable and I enjoy my time off and frankly, I don’t want to change anything.” I totally understand that! I love my time off!  I love relaxing and just spacing out!

When we moved from California to Oklahoma in 1989, it was to get involved in ministry.  I jumped in and started helping out in bus ministry and with the 4 and 5 year old class.  My husband on the other hand, felt he had not heard from God on what he was supposed to do, so he did the logical thing . . . nothing!  He just kept praying about where God wanted him to get involved.  He felt with something that important he surely didn’t want to make a mistake. In the mean time, he was really enjoying his time off.  You see, we had owned a business and sold it along with our home, so we had enough money to take a long rest and really get God’s heart on what we were supposed to do.

At least until the day I conned him into helping me out in the 4 and 5 year old class.  After the first day, he realized that “he hated working with kids!”  His feet hurt and he felt like it was a total waste of his time.  He felt his time would have been better spent in the adult service or praying about where God wanted him to get involved. However, I was pretty persuasive and before he knew what hit him, he found himself helping out again the next week.  He kept telling himself that maybe it would be better this week, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know how I did it, but there he was in class again for week three.  I wish I could tell you how amazing I am, but I’m pretty sure the real credit belongs to the Spirit of God; He was setting him up for his destiny!!

Sure enough, this day was different.  There was a young boy in the class who never paid attention to anything or anybody. He would crawl around the classroom or lay under the chairs and totally ignore you when you spoke to him.  He would never look anyone in the eye. This particular day would be a turning point for my husband and Clarke.  Kip got down on the floor with him and asked him if he could help him listen to the lesson.  He got up into his chair and helped my husband listen to the lesson.  From that day on, Clark and Kip were buddies.  He was hooked!

The last time we saw Clarke he was in fifth grade leading an altar team and praying with a group of kids to receive Christ. Kip’s life was never the same from that fateful day.  The rest is history that led to Bible School and 20 years as a Family Pastor.  Before this time, he lived on the emotional roller coaster.  One week, he’d feel great about life and the next he would be depressed.  The cycle was a downward spiral that repeated itself over and over again. It turned out that when he got his eyes off of himself and onto others his life leveled out. He has never been on that emotional roller coaster since that day!  Plus, it opened the door to God’s plan for his life.

The key was just what Jesus said, “You find your life when you lose it.” Many people think that only the pastors make a difference.  The truth is, everybody has the power to make a difference.  Get off the roller coaster and really start enjoying the ride!

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 10

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Never Stop Dreaming

Children are dreamers, they see themselves doing great and noble things.  “When I grow up, I’m going to be . . . a firefighter, a policeman, a nurse, a princess.”  Yet, as the realities of life sink in around us, it is all too easy to give up on dreaming.

Is it because dreams involve risk? I don’t know, but I do know that I sit and counsel with way too many people who have quit dreaming.  Without dreams we do not live, we exist.  Without dreams there is no passion.  Without dreams there is no vision and as it is written, “Without a vision the people perish.”  Don’t let the comfortable and the convenient rob you of your destiny.  You were created for greatness, but before greatness comes dreaming.  Chose big humongous impossible dreams that challenge you.  Take the risk, dare to dream again.

This is one of the greatest things that you can model for your children.  Make dreaming big be the norm in your family not the exception.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 – God has great plans for you and your family!!!

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How to Have the Family You Always Wanted – Part 9

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Keep First Things First

“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life. ” ~ David Jakeilo

Sometimes life controls us instead of us controlling our life.  It is vital to periodically stop and take an accounting of our priorities lest we fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.  When we allow this to happen it is usually effects those closest to us in a negative way.  Your priorities will be determined by your value system.  However, I would encourage anyone to think long and hard before they put their career at the top of their priority list.  Life passes all too quickly and you know the old saying, “You never see a hearse towing a Uhaul.”  The “stuff” stays behind.  Our real legacy remains behind in the lives of those we impacted along the way.

For me, my priorities are my faith, my marriage, my family, then my career.  It seems when I keep things in that order, my life is really great.  When my priorities shift, my life can go into a tailspin in nothing flat.  When I see the very first tell tale sign that I’ve gotten myself out of sync, I stop and do a quick self evaluation and invariably I find that my priorities have gotten misplaced.

Keeping your priorities in order is like a pilot keeping his eye on the Altitude Indicator to make sure that the plane is flying level.  Remember to do regular “Priority Checks.”

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 7

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The Number One Key to Peace in Your Home

Be quick to forgive. Easier said than done until you realize the incredibly high price of a grudge.  Failure to forgive has destroyed more marriages, families, interpersonal relationships, and lives than any other single poor life-choice. Unforgiveness is a personal prison you sentence yourself to, and the good news is you are the only one who has the key to let yourself out.

For our family, holding a grudge against anyone for anything was not an option. This policy was one of the biggest keys to harmony and peace in our family. We called it keeping “short accounts.”

Forgiveness has nothing to do with how we feel, it is a choice we make. It’s not an emotional decision, it’s a heart choice.  Sometimes we have to make it, and make it, and make it, as many times as it takes until it sticks. Your choice will bring you the life-changing freedom that only true forgiveness can bring, if you stay consistent in making good choices in the thoughts you keep and the ones you discard.  Then you train your kids by your example.

We taught our kids that when they realized they did something unkind to one another, they needed to immediately go to the person involved and ask their forgiveness.  We taught them to say, “I was wrong for ________, will you forgive me?”  And hopefully the response would come back, “I forgive you.”   Remember, there is creative power in our words.  Important: once we forgave, we never brought it up again.  Just like Jesus.

We all lived by, when you blow it, man up and own it.  Ask forgiveness quickly so bitterness and unforgiveness never have the chance to take root.  “I was wrong, but you . . . “ just didn’t get it.  That was blaming – not owning in our household.  Any time you put a “but” in a sentence, you can forget anything that came before it.

Are you in a self-imposed prison of unforgiveness?  Now you have the key, use it and set yourself free.  Your example also holds the key to keeping your family free of this plague as well.

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 6

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For some of us, it’s easy to focus on the 10% others do wrong instead of focusing on the 90% that they do right.

Unfortunately, what you focus on tends to get bigger. I believe a common reason people fall into the trap of focusing on the 10% deficiency is because that person is making them look bad.

This is especially common in the parent child relationship. The parent feels their child’s actions are a direct reflection on them. Basically, “You make me look bad.”

This was one I struggled with for a long time as a parent.  It boiled down to I was more concerned about what others thought of me.  I felt like my kids actions short of perfection reflected negatively on me.  It was not only selfish, I cheated my kids out of some valuable growth experiences.  If the truth be told, I probably added some scars to their souls as well.

The Bible flat out warns us not to go there.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” msg

What helped me to get over this, was when it happened to me.  It’s probably happened to you too.  I’m sure you can think of examples of when someone, a parent, a spouse, a boss, tended to focus on what you did wrong and never or rarely praised for what you did right.  What happened? I bet you felt defeated, or maybe it made you angry? Or, worst of all, did it make you want to give up?

Now, a little heart check, do you do to others what you hate having done to you?

I’m not advocating overlooking positive correction, but I’m recommending in all your relationships you focus far more of your energy on encouraging others in what they do right.

Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!” TLB

We all have enough sources telling us everything we do wrong. The really great thing is when we focus on the 90% right, the 10% usually self corrects. So make a choice to affirm what others do right daily and tell them.

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 5

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Our Words Have Creative Power

When God created Adam, the Creator taught the created how to create.  He said, “Adam, name the animals.”  And, whatever Adam named them, that’s what they were called.  Today, our words hold the same power, what we name things is what they become.

Here’s an example: a young man, we’ll call him Fred, is offered an opportunity.  What does Fred call it? “That’s impossible, it is way too hard.  I could never do that!”  Another young man, we’ll call him Bob, is offered the exact same opportunity.  What does Bob call it? “This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for all my entire life.  I must be the luckiest guy on the planet!  I can do this!”

Now let’s take this “Name It Principle” into our personal lives, what are you naming your relationships?

Are your kids, “Can’t you ever do anything right?” “How many times do I have to tell you?”  “Do you have anything between those ears?” “You’ll never amount to anything.”   Or do you name them, “You have amazing potential.”  “I can’t believe how bright you are!”   “There’s an amazing plan for your life that’s better than anything you can imagine or dream.”

Our words are etching themselves onto the very souls of our kids.  Their subconscious minds are gathering up every word and storing it as an impression to filter future information through.  The old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” could not be further from the truth. I don’t know about you, but I can quote verbatim hurtful words that were spoken to me 20 and 30 years ago.  It’s not that I sit around and think about them all the time, but I can pull them back up like a stored computer file if I decide to do so.  If that’s so, how much more is my subconscious effected?  Did you know that 80% of the decisions we make come out of our subconscious mind?  Make a conscious decision to think before you speak.  Take time to consider the future impact your words may have on your child’s life today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now.

This principle holds true for all our relationships, not just in our parenting.  How about your marriage, your job, your finances, what are you naming them? Here’s one to ponder, what do you name yourself?  Be careful what you say, you can rest assured you are creating something.  Make sure it is what you want.  #parenting  #leadership

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 4

 

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I’ve decided that life is not that complicated. It can be boiled down to some simple principles, that when applied, optimize your chances for joy, peace, and health in every relationship in your life.

The next key is so simple it is almost laughable, but it is so simple that it is often completely overlooked or disregarded.  The problem is, what we think about shows up in our words and actions. The ripple effect is what started as a thought in our head ends up effecting the lives of others, especially those closest to us.

4.  Everything Starts with a Thought

Every great and noble thing and every lowly evil thing started with just one thought.  When that thought was held for more than a moment, it led to another, and another, until it became an attitude that expressed itself in words and actions. The good news is, we really do have the power to choose our thoughts.  So how do we choose our thoughts on a practical level?  Again, this is going to sound ridiculously simple.

Simple Keys to Change Your Thinking

  1. Use your own words, attitudes, and feelings as a red flag that it’s time to check your thoughts.
  2. Stop and think about what you’re thinking about.
  3. Ask, “How do my thoughts line up with the Word?” Then, if needed . . .
  4. Chose to think thoughts that line up with the Word.
  5. Do it again, and again, and again . . .

When we apply these simple principles we will see remarkable changes both in ourselves and those around us.  I heard an amazing story the other day that illustrates the negative power of our thoughts as it relates to parenting.

There was a father who for no apparent reason did not trust his teenage son.  When his son asked to borrow the car, the father thought he’d make it hard on the boy by giving him an early curfew thinking he’d get out of lending him the car.  He said “Okay, you can use the car, but you have to have it home by 10:30 p.m.”   To the father’s surprise, the boy agreed.  All that evening the father thought about how he was sure the boy would be late and what he was going to say to him.  The closer it got to the curfew the angrier the father got imaging his son out there doing all sorts of evil things.  By 10:15 p.m. he was fuming. At 10:29 p.m., the boy came rushing through the door announcing proudly that he had made it.  Instead of being happy that his son was obedient.  He mumbled, ” You cut it pretty close didn’t you?”  Then, went on to ask if he put gas in the car.  In all this, the boy had done nothing wrong, Yet the father by his thoughts had decided his son was disobedient at best.  The boy was sent the message that he didn’t measure up.  The father missed an opportunity to encourage and build confidence in his son, all because he didn’t control his own thoughts.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 msg

How do you choose your thoughts?

#parenting
Posted in Encouragement

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

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We live in a world where things happen that honestly on this side of heaven we just don’t understand. I can’t tell you the number of funerals I’ve attended where the speakers eloquently pontificates on how God took the deceased because He needed him to tend His garden.  However, this directly contradicts Scripture.  If you follow this line of logic, you’d have to reach the conclusion that God kills people.  In John 10:10, we are reminded that,  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  James 1:17 continues this thought when it says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The truth is, we live in a fallen world and bad things do happen even to good people, but God is a good God and does not send bad things our way.

This idea that everything that happens is caused by God, is known in the church as the Sovereignty Doctrine. The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. When it is used in other translations, it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.