One fab leader in the leadership galaxy is Tony Morgan so I was stoked when I got included in the opportunity to write an Amazon preview and a blog post preview for his latest eBook, “Take the Lid Off Your Church.” You might be scratching your temple why I would blog about this. One, I’m not a man. Two, I’m not a senior leader. Three, I’m not on a senior leadership team at a church. But that is PRECISELY why I wanted to blog about it. It would be a disservice to my brain if all I ever fed it was a diet of female-Christian-part-time-staff books. I am always looking to diversity what I read. And in this case, I am glad I did. This month is Pastor Appreciation Month–this is a GREAT gift to give the pastors and senior leadership in your worlds. This book concisely & accurately addresses the 6 ways you can have a healthy senior leadership team. And from my vantage point–since I work for a senior leader and I am married to someone on a senior management team, SHAZAM, this book on the money. Because if I can learn what the senior leaders in my life need to be healthy, then I can do what’s needed to help support that.
- Carry around a small scribble pad and scribble verses in it that pertain to your mind. Reference it, memorize it, say it aloud when driving and this will keep your mind in good God-shape! (i.e., Philippians 4:8, Psalm 3:3, Isaiah 26:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Colossians 3:2, Romans 12:2, Isaiah 50:7, Isaiah 43:18-19, Philippians 4:6)
- Read “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer and “Thinking for a Change” by John Maxwell
- Weekly, do a couple Crossword Puzzles or play a few games of “Words with Friends.”
- Take an entire week to log every single sin you’ve ever done in your entire life. Pray throughout the week that God will let them come to mind. Take the journal with you every where you go, so that as you recall them, you can log them. Then, after you’ve purged & logged all that crap, shred that journal & never look back on it again! (my therapist had me do this once. It was healing & liberating)
- If you are having a hard time falling asleep because you are worrying, fall asleep praying. Intentionally lay there and talk to God. This surprisingly does 3 things: helps you sleep, empties your mind of worry, gives God the chance to carry it.
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The inspiration for “WondHerful” came from Psalm 139. I’ve revered this Psalm for a long time. I call it the “God Only Knows” chapter, because if you study it closely, it reveals 6 things that God only knows…
1) God knows what you do. (Psalm 139:1-6) There are some of us who won’t let anyone know the most hurtful parts of our lives. There is a fear we won’t be accepted, or loved if it was revealed. One person already knows. God. And He has continually loved you and accepted you DESPITE that most hurtful thing.
2) God knows where you go. (Psalm 139:7-12) God’s a stalker? No. God’s a walker. And if he wasn’t with us every where we went, how could he hold us up? Support us when our feet crumble to the ground? Keep us from going the wrong way?
3) He knows what you are. (Psalm 139:13-16) He planned your potential before you had your first major accomplishment. When you wish you were never born, when you wonder why you are here…know this: God took a part of his character and used it to breath life into you. You are His dream come true
4) He knows what you think (Psalm 139:17-18) And that’s a GOOD thing! If he knows what you’re thinking you can talk to Him without ever saying a word. He can read your mind–be thankful for that. The master artist should have access to every precious part of the masterpiece.
5) He knows what you love (Psalm 139:19-22) David shows us that if we truly love God, then we truly love righteousness and justice. What God is for, we are for; what God is against, we are against. Trust me, God knows what and who you love, you can wish for what you want or let God bless you with what you need.
6) He knows what you desire (Psalm 139:23-24) What gives you excited heartbeats? God already knows. God created your body, and within it, he created your purpose. And your desires are the manifestation of that. But your desire needs to fit into God’s timing and snuggle between God’s plan. You can open a window to your dreams and desires–but God can open doors. Let go, let God.
For a long time I would just inconsistently pray to God when something really bad happened. Then, I grew a little bit, and started to prayer-journal to God thanks & requests. Then, I grew a little bit more and began to start my prayers off with acknowledging who God is by using letters of the alphabet, thank Him & submit requests. Several years ago, I realized all these prayer parts had a blockage–I wasn’t praying for forgiveness! I wasn’t including that I was sorry for my screw-ups from the day before AND the forgivness to take them away. Then, two years ago, I added one more dimension to my prayers. At one of the lowest & most painful points in my life, I found myself praying on my knees. Admittedly, awkward at first. But the awkwardness was usurped by a desperate need for proximity and humility before the only One who could save me. So that’s the progression of my prayer life over the years. In summary, it makes an acronym: A.C.T.S. = Acknowledge God; Confess screw-ups; Thank God; Submit requests. I hope this encourages someone today. Thanks! And Happy Monday! 🙂
After I went crazy in 2000, I went through 52 weeks of therapy & made myself a student of books. Every, single, honkin book my therapists recommended, I went out immediately; bought; and read in its entirety. I thought I’d share a partial list of them (although I’d be happy to share all of them, if you like). The following list includes links to where you can read more about the book and/or purchase it:
- Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
- Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer
- Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore
- Broken Image by Leanne Payne
- Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs
- The Hidden Rift with God by William Backus
- Exquisite Agony by Gene Edwards
- Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
- It Came From Within by Andy Stanley
- Search for Significance by Robert McGee
- Honestly by Sheila Walsh
- Lord, I Want to be Whole by Stormie Omartian
- Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
- Who Switched off my Brain by Caroline Leaf
- Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott
- God is in the Small Stuff by Bruce and Stan
- The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer
- The Shack by William Young
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
- Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler
A woman, a Samaritan, a prostitute. Back then, those 3 equaled 3 strikes. You see, very clear social-rules kept men from speaking to women like that. She was also a Samaritan–in other words, segregated from the cool, dominating Jewish race. And she was a prostitute – today, people look down on them, but back they were total outcasts–the only way they could even get water was to beg or steal. Ever felt like you have 3 strikes against you? Maybe you are male-athiest-addict. Or a female-Christian-adulterer. Or a student-porn-watching-non-American? Here, we had a non-Jewish-female-prositute. Who cared? Jesus cared. He cared so much, he spoke to her directly. He even looked at her. This may have been the first time a person hadn’t mistreated her. Friends, God is reaching out to you–a “you” others won’t give the time of day to. For this “woman at the well,” Jesus started a conversation with her. It’s also the longest convo found in the bible between Jesus and anyone. You hold out your empty, rusty, beat up life to Jesus, and he doesn’t see what you’ve done; He sees who you are. And He sees your pain & your need for a rescue. But you have to be willing to meet Jesus where you are–not when you finally arrive. This woman didn’t run from this Jesus in her shame. She stayed with Him in spite of it. He filled her heart, He changed her life. And he’s still in the business. Read more about this encouraging bible story, HERE. And I hope you know that even if the world sees you as “3 strikes, you’re out” Jesus will always see you as “3 strikes, forgiven, & you’re still in.”
Sometimes, we literally need to take a moment and smell the roses. Sometimes, in something as simple as a piece of nature, where there is no agenda, no ringing, no logging on, no contending, no noise, we really can see the goodness of God. In one piece of nature…one rose, there are at least 3 reflections of God: the fragrance, the beauty, the bloom. Now we’d never stop to worship the rose. Rather, stop to be reminded by it, that God, who cared enough to put this much work into something this common & simple, cares a million times more about the care he put into you! Take a moment today and identify something in God’s creation. Find a “what,” and take a moment to give glory to the Who. He made the rose, but made you in His image. He’s got you.
- that Jesus came into my heart at 4
- that Jesus has never left
- my parents’ 40-year marriage
- haven’t been in the hospital with my lungs for over 2 years
- for David and Lisa Hughes – friends & rescuers
- Church by the Glades
- that Raul chose me, when he could have chosen easier, better, simpler.
- my Christian counseling team of 13 years: Betty and Dr. Faulk
- social media & the freedom to express joy & faith on it
- 5 years of blogging
- liberties and freedoms as an American
- hibiscus, bougainvilleas, magnolias, azaleas & palm trees
- comebacks from depression
- ice-cream and chocolate and coconut cream pie
- the opportunity to serve every weekend
- a college degree from Judson University
- my fantastic boss, Fred Uhl
- running water, a roof over my head, electricity
- my 3 brothers: Jason, Jamie, Chris
- Calvary House at Calvary Chapel for saving my brother
- eyes that see, ears that hear, a mouth that speaks, legs that walk
- friends who stick closer than brothers (you know who you are)
- sunrises – daily reminders that we will always rise too
- Keurig K-cups of coffee
- my grandpa who believed in me at 8 years old to keep writing
- sweet ole’ Chicago!
- God’s grace getting me into Heaven
- God’s mercy saving me from Hell
- my daily USA Today
- my iPhone
- Nordstrom Rack, Sephora, Zappo’s
- worshiping God from the amen-row
- Leading and Loving It
- Raul. He is deserving of double-mention.
I got up early Saturday morning to hit the gym. I couldn’t believe the sunrise God gifted us with. Just stunning. Though I’m about half way through my life span, I haven’t seen thirty-eight years of sunrises. But I can guarantee, God hasn’t missed one. The sun ALWAYS rises. Does it rise in blue skies? Not always. Sometimes the sun rises in clouds; in rain; in winter. But it always rises. And so will you. As someone who has had to rise often from depression, I have clung to this one promise in God’s word, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” We sure do get knocked down, don’t we? But if we have Christ in our lives, we have Christ in our comebacks. And here’s what that means: we will always rise. Addiction, divorce, loss, mental affliction…all kinds of things knock us down. But Jesus Christ isn’t only about sundowns, He’s about sunRISES. If you are knocked down, take heart, you will rise. And if you have recently risen, take heart and celebrate it!