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Showing posts from August, 2011

I have a dream!
3 Steps to Help You Discover YOURS!

Throughout my life people have loved to tell me what my dream should be.  Sometimes it's been all about helping them achieve their goals and at other times their remarks have been based upon what they perceived as my most visible talents.  

One thing I've come to realize about people is that most have never stopped long enough to come to terms with what their dream really is.  A lot of people copy other people's dreams because they haven't taken time to seek God for their own.

Author Renee Swope in her book, The Confident Heart says,"When we don't know what our heart's desires are, we tend to spend our lives fulfilling the desires of others."

This is my favorite quote about daring to dream:


"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that is was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.&q…

Are people truly following you, and if so, WHY?
5 questions for every leader

I was flipping through the channels one day and stopped to watch a TV show of a chapel service at a major Christian university, reportedly the largest of it's kind in the USA, with over 70,000 students.  The speaker that day was a professor that for the purpose of this post we'll call, "Professor Pinhead".  A major point in Professor Pinhead's sermon was the influence of bloggers.  Specifically he was upset about "young up and coming pastors" ...successful church planters within the denomination who were blogging and had gained a huge following.  He realized a lot of students were following these bloggers, many of whom had sat in the same chapel seats just a few years before, also from this same denominational background.  The students were soaking in the insights, creative ideas and wisdom of these bloggers on a constant basis.  Professor Pinhead was not happy.

His complaint was that the students were following these bloggers instead of "tried and…

The pastor who cussed out the staff
Fear vs. Love Based Leaders

Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain, writes that there are only two types of emotions—love and fear,  and every emotion is based in one or the other.   Psychology indicates this but more important, the Bible backs it up.  I John 4:18 NIV says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Love is a fear antidote.

Recently I have been thinking about this as it concerns leadership.  I've come to the conclusion that as leaders we either operate in love or fear.  People follow us, or don't follow us based on love or fear.  

Fear is a terrible way to run an organization, a ministry, a family or pretty much anything else because FEAR IS NOT OF GOD.

Sometimes people are loyal to us out of love, other times they are simply worried about what will happen if they aren't.

Sometimes people follow us because they know we love them -- we lead with love…

We're stirrin' up deep, deep wells!

We do this song at Celebration and it's the church favorite right now.  It really speaks well to what's going on in the church.  I wish I had a video of us doing this at CC and how the congregation responds to it.  It's rather amazing. 

I'm expecting phenomenal things today!  Each week we've been going to new levels. Tonight we're having another newcomer's night because even though we just did one last month, we've already got a slew of new people.  ::excitement::

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

3 things to do in a hurricane

We're had a few severe hurricanes since we've lived here in Florida.  Thankfully nothing has devastated Tampa though I can't say the same for some close friends in neighboring cities and after that storm we helped in their clean up and restoration process.   One hurricane  kept us indoors for two days without coming out, about 3 years after we moved here.  What it ended up being was a really bad storm and lots of tree limbs down and signs knocked over but fortunately for us nothing tragic.  We use it as a time to spend some quality time together.

For those of you who are northeast, riding out Hurricane Irene, here are 3 things to consider:

1)  Do everything NOW that you can do while you still have power!! (Cook, laundry, vacuum, etc.) Charge your cell phones and computers now if they aren't already charged.

2)  Light some candles whether you need to or not.  Not only will this prepare you in case you lose power but you'll remember how nice it is to light candles …

5 Absolute Ways to Get Something Done

"How do you do it all?"  This is a question I'm often asked, and I've written about it here on the blog before.

Today I thought I'd share five points to quick start your productivity.

1)  Give yourself deadlines for things.

I'm on more deadlines imposed by myself than by others.  I keep them unless prohibited by waiting on others for things I can't control.

2)  Tell people about your deadlines.

I share with my close friends about my deadlines.  They ask me about some of them and it keeps me on track.  Nothin' like a little accountability!

3)  Make an initiative list every week.

My list is done by Thursdays for the following week.  The list includes everything I have to do for the entire week.  I find great joy in checking off things when they are done.  I keep mine on my Outlook but you can do this on paper or the computer or however is best for you.


4)  Divide your initiatives by the number of days you're going to work.

I keep Friday as my sacred day…

3 Strange Things I Do

I have about 50 pairs of underwear in my drawer but I only actually wear the same 15 pairs, wash them and go through the same 15 again.  I have no idea why I have these other 35 perfectly good underwear in my drawer that just sit there.  I just can't bring myself to get rid of them.


I read someone's facebook wall all the time that I am not a friend with, have no mutual friends with, have never met and more than likely never will.  I happened on their page one day and am kinda fascinated with watching their facebook life from afar.  If they change the privacy setting of their wall it's really gonna devastate me.  


The Fugitive is one of my favorite movies.  No matter how many times I watch it I get really nervous and pray to God that Richard escapes even though I already know he is going to escape.

What strange things do you do?   (Keep it clean, please!)

5 Ways to Tame the E-mail Monster

I receive between 100-300 emails DAILY.  Between writing, working full time at the church as co-pastor, career coaching, and traveling/speaking not to mention family and friendships, this is probably not an abnormal amount. People who know my schedule often ask me about things having to do with time management.  Today I'm sharing 5 things I do to stay sane on the days my box is closer to 300 than 100 :

1)  Delete first thing every morning.

When I open my inbox each day I delete unnecessary mail and customarily for me this includes all forwards.  I just don't have time for them.  If I receive e-mails from lists I never signed up to be on and don't want to be on, I take a moment to unsubscribe, knowing it will save me time on other mornings to not have to keep deleting that piece of mail.  (I do not delete myself from all lists - if friends have put me on certain valuable things as a courtesy, I stay on them.)  Upon occasion I do get questioned by people who say things like,

10 easy ways to make sure
your kids won't be Christians when they grow up

Want your kid to walk away from God?  Here's a sure-fire formula, my friends.  Follow this easy-to-use guide to turn them away from God  and the church.  These are very easy things to do, in fact thousands are doing it with great results and their kids are turning away in droves.  It will work for you too!!    

1)  Be a totally different person at home than you are at church.

2)  Switch churches.  Don't stay in one place too terribly long.  Keep 'em hopping.  The more churches you can expose your kids to without putting down roots, the better.  The second you're unhappy with something, uproot as soon as possible and head out to church shop again.  Tell them this is for their own good.

3)   Don't bother with sending them to kids and youth camp.  It can get expensive especially if you have several kids.  Think practically.  You need the money to pay on other things and besides kids aren't going to die if they don't go to camp.  Save that camp and youth conve…

3 ways to get your teenager to talk to you

My baby starts high school this morning.  It's surreal.

I asked her what she wanted for breakfast today and while I usually don't cook her breakfast (we do easy things like cereal and fruit and granola bars) this morning IS the first day of school not to mention the first day of high school.  She wanted eggs over easy, bacon, toast and a smoothie.  So that's what she got.

My oldest is 21 now, middle child is 20, so they are both past the teen stage and both are still very much on speaking terms with us, in fact they love being with us and doing stuff as a family.  While the kids aren't perfect (and neither are we, by any stretch) our kids have always talked to us and seemed to want to be with us.  I kept my fingers crossed with the oldest two, hearing horror stories of kids running away and stuff like that, especially "rebellious PK's" but here we are still living together and very much hanging out as a family, doing life together, even ministering in th…

Wild horses couldn't keep me away...

I wouldn't miss being with my Celebration family for anything today!  We went to a whole 'nother level Friday night, and we're headed to higher heights this morning.

I'm totally exhausted right now, not only from leading at Prayer and Pancakes Friday night from 11 PM - 1 AM and then going to IHOP til' 3:30 AM (got to sleep at 5 am) but then waking up at 10:00 AM yesterday to start working on my book proposal again.  We had dinner with some friends from church last night but aside from that I worked on the book proposal until about midnight.  Most people have no clue what goes into a book proposal.

I finally got it ready for the final edit, finishing at 55 pages last night.  I sent it to my friends who are helping me edit, to fire away with their critiques.  What I said in my note to them was:

SUBJECT:  FINAL EDIT!  START CRITIQUING THE HECK OUT OF THIS!!

Here it is with the sample chapter.  THROW AWAY ANY PREVIOUS COPY YOU HAVE.
It’s at 55 pages…
Criticize the heck ou…

My writing partner, and an explanation of significant loss

Here he is.  My steady partner in this adventure.  Although I've been writing for my whole life, Max has been my constant side-kick for a year and a half.  It's hard to believe at his now almost 100 lb. self that he was just a tiny puppy in the palm of my hand a year and a half ago.

"Constant friend?" some may wonder..."what happened to Maddie?"  Somebody even asked me that on facebook recently..."why don't we hear as much about Maddie?  Is she okay? Why do you write about Max more?"  In answer to these questions, Maddie's still the best girl dog on the planet, and she absolutely lights up our lives.  And as far as how she's doing -- MARVELOUS.  She totally healed and just as happy and sweet as she can be.  So in answer to the question of why I write about Max more, or why I spend time with him more...

The answer is simply that he spends more time with me. Maddie likes a lot of "alone" time.  It's just how she's wired…

I have no dream bigger than this

I'm almost done my proposal.  I plan on spending a significant amount of time putting finishing touches on it today. 
I got to thinking about it the other night and the truth is, I have no dream bigger than this.  The question career coaches often ask their clients:  "If money were no object what would you be doing in life?" is easily answered for me.  There is no doubt about it -- everything else pales in comparison to this, for me.  Even if I had to choose speaking vs. writing, or music vs. writing, or coaching vs. writing,  it's no contest -- writing wins every time.  If you haven't figured it out by now, THIS is what I live for.  This is why I breathe.  This is why I get up in the morning.  For anyone who says, "Wait a minute, what about Jesus...isn't He what you live for?  Isn't He what you get up in the morning for?   What about your family?  What about souls?  Of course.  Quite truthfully for anyone who has REALLY known me longer than five minu…

The greater your abandonment to God the greater the enemy's fear

"The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it."  John Eldredge
This week I have had some amazing increased territory in my life.  Some doors have opened that I prayed about for a long time, and other doors opened up beyond my wildest dreams that I never prayed for because quite honestly I didn't even have them on my radar.

While it appears in some way all of heaven has opened up, in other ways it's been one of the most difficult weeks I have had in a long time.  The good and the bad has mish-mashed together in a world of mixed emotions.   Maybe it makes it easier that I'm menopausal and can just blame my responses on that instead of getting into a bunch of explanation about why the devil even cares about a wife and mom of 3 with 2 bulldogs and a house that needs to be cleaned.  

 I would go on a vacation but I just came back from one.  And then again if I went on a vacation I&#…

Walls

"Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people."   ~ Randy Pausch   How bad do you want your dream?I recently heard someone say:  "Never give up on a goal that you can't go a day without thinking about."Do walls stop you?They don't have to.   "For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall". Psalm 18:29Okay, time for me to go back to leaping over walls...ttfn!

It's a pumpkin pancake kinda morning...
a.k.a. tell your day where to go!!

Did you ever wake up and upon opening your eyes get hit in the face with a ton of problems to solve?  Well that's exactly what happened to me yesterday.  I hate when that happens.

I opened my first e-mail and wanted to scream.  But everybody else in my house was asleep so I didn't.   

Curve balls.  I hate them.  I still loathe them even after 25 years in the ministry.  Do you ever get used to them?  I wanted to shut my eyes and go back to sleep. I don't live in a world where curve balls can be dodged, only skillfully dealt with.  Some days I do better than others.

I'm not sure what today holds yet but if yesterday is any indication it might be a challenging day or even week of dealing with the unanticipated.  So last night I made arrangements to assure myself a good morning before anything had the chance to happen.  People don't usually call me before 8 or 9 am unless someone dies or something.  So I felt pretty safe to go ahead an make an early plan.  I called He…

Wrong voices

I always say, "wrong voices lead to wrong choices."  

Who you listen to is really important.

I was just talking to our life coaching group about this on Saturday. 

Years ago when I started out co-pastoring I  had a lot of questions and was in need of so much guidance.  Not many people were serving in this role back then and finding people who could advise or understand was a challenge.  I went to quite a number of people that were in positional authority, or further along down the road than me, or sometimes just people who had known the Lord for a really long time. 

The answers I got were rather interesting.  Many times when I approached someone about a challenge I was facing in hopes of receiving Godly wisdom, they would just answer that our model of ministry was wrong and if I just resigned or re-defined my role, my challenges would go away.  I heard that so many times!  One time I had bronchitis and mentioned to someone about the way I'd been feeling so under the weath…

I'm dreaming with my eyes open

I took this photo in the well fields as I was biking at sunrise on Friday.  It was the beautiful beginning of a new day.

It's befitting for what's happening in me right now, in my life.  I'm taking steps toward the biggest dream of my life coming true.   I've had this dream as long as I can remember, but with all the specifics attached and the details filled in it's been since 9th grade.  I don't have a dream in my life bigger than this one, although there are several, this tops all.

I'm taking tangible steps, not just dreaming but acting on it.  Leslie Wolf, my weight watcher leader once said, "Five frogs were sitting on a log.  Two decided to jump off.  How many frogs were left?  Five.  Deciding to do something doesn't mean you actually followed through."  How true.

God spoke afresh and anew to me about my dream.  He cracked open a door to let me know He's serious.  I've made a decision in response and am acting on it, moving forward…

He's home now

Earth has bid farewell to an amazing man - a stellar husband, father, pastor, college professor, district official, community leader, writer, musician and more -- and heaven has said, "welcome home." 

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5:30 am to go bike riding in the well fields with my friends.  Because I was up so early I never checked my e-mail before I left the house.  When I came home and settled in with a cup of coffee and started glancing through my mail I saw that there was a private facebook message sent to me personally at 4 AM from Arline Grabill, wife of Pastor Paul Grabill, who is a treasured friend.  He had passed away the previous night, going home to his heavenly reward.  I stand in awe of the fact that his wife was so kind as to get on facebook and write me a personal note hours before they were making it public at 7 am.   My friend  Pastor Walt Smith also sent me a personal note so that I wouldn't have to read the news first on a facebook status and for th…

It takes a village to write a book proposal, or at least for me, it does

I felt the tangible presence of God last night as I worked on my book proposal and was moved to tears several times by friends who interjected things throughout the process.  I did have to work for both church and NextJob yesterday but my every waking moment aside from that, cooking, doing a sink full of dishes and going to Weight Watchers was spent writing my proposal.  I would guesstimate that I spent at least three hours on it yesterday.  I took my laptop, shut myself off in my room and focused in.  I felt the prayers of people so strongly.

Kathryn, who many have already read about here on the blog, recommended a book to me a while back that I immediately ordered and devoured and has become my bible when it comes to writing.  (You can read about Kathryn on her official website here, but my series of posts about her here will tell you even more!)  I have followed the book exactly when it comes to writing this proposal.  I've read a lot of books on writing and publishing and prop…