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Showing posts from September, 2011

Walking in Wonderland

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I'm believing God to show up and do something big this weekend.  I have to believe that because quite honestly Deanna can't create miracles, she can only surrender to and flow with a mighty God who wants to do them.

I never, ever lose the wonder that anybody shows up to hear anything I have to say.  I mean, it sincerely shocks me. 

You can ask the people at Celebration Church where we pastor.  Every week I thank them for showing up.   I'm like, "Wow!  You're here again!"  I know they are there for Jesus but really they could be going to thousands of other places to worship Jesus but they choose to come to CC.

My favorite thing to do is sit in a room by myself and write to my heart's content.   Well, actually I like to sit with Max silently next to me for hours, writing.  I could be happy just writing, but God has given me additional opportunities.

It never fails that anytime I go anywhere to speak before I get up and actually talk I think to myself, "…

Up in the air!

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That's where I'm at today -- headed to North Carolina for a few days.  I'm the speaker for the NC District of the AG's Women's Breakaway Conference this weekend. 

I'm gonna do it again next weekend too!  (They have two breakaway conferences on either end of the state...isn't that cool?) 

I'll be back for Sunday services each week, getting back in the nick of time.  My schedule is crazy the next two weeks.  I'll be preaching in four different locations the next two weeks, NOT counting our church.

I covet your prayers, for powerful services, and lives changed in these coming days. Pray for my family too, while I'm away.

Everyone always asks me if I get excited to speak at places.  Quite honestly it's hard to be excited until I'm actually on the way there, whether in the car or in a plane.  Until then the wrapping up of loose ends at home, church & coaching plus the warfare is complicated.  No one has any idea what someone goes throu…

The mosaic that is you

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Do you ever feel like nobody understands the unique road that you walk?

You're right.  Although some can understand parts of it, they can't understand the totality of it.  They never will because the only two who understand the complexity of the road you walk are God and you.

This is why it's so important to hold to His unchanging hand.

Cling to His ever present help.

Did you ever receive unworkable advice?  I receive it all the time.   

Suddenly yesterday I had an epiphany that the lack of understanding makes perfect sense.  Nobody except for God is privy to the sum total of what makes things so complicated.

You and He are the only ones who comprehend the entire mosaic of your life.  Even those people who may claim, "I know you better than you know yourself" are fooled.  Really.  It's just you and God who are in the know about every single thing that has happened to you since you've been on this earth.

No wonder people feel hopeless and alone when they …

We're fighting over BOWLS

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This is what happens every time I'm getting ready to preach somewhere.  My husband and I start to have some very intense moments of fellowship.  ::smiles::   Sometimes it's over big things and sometimes it's over stuff like bowls.

You might want to click this link before you go any further, and come back, just to have a good understanding on what I'm about to say here.  I know many pastors won't admit stuff like this, but Larry and I aren't most pastors and we will tell you right up front that what you see it what you get.  The other night,  Jeff Staudte,  our missionary guest at Celebration said, "This is the most REAL church I've been to in a long, long time!"  Well it starts with the pastors. This is real life, folks. 

Men stereotypically accuse women of being complicated.  We get accused of playing games, not really saying what we mean, saying one thing and meaning another, yada yada yada.

I often tell my husband how blessed I think he is bec…

I hate this dumb question

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I read an article today that frustrated me.  Perhaps I was so disappointed because I've read so many like it, and feel even more pressure when I receive what I view as unworkable advice.  The article was about time management, scheduling and stress.  The basic premise of this article was the question: "What if you knew you only had six months to live?  How would that impact your daily decisions on what to do or not do?"  The article went on to advise that however you would live if you only had six months should be how you are living right now.  

Although I'm all for asking people powerful questions, I don't believe this question always works in the real world.

If I only had six months to live, I'd stop flossing my teeth.  Right now.  I'd never do it again.

If I only had six months to live, I'd forget about having my mammogram this year.

Forget the pap smear too.

See what I mean?  It's a bad idea to just stop doing everything you would never do a…

Til' the blessed end!

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Ever heard people say, "they stayed until the bitter end?"  At Celebration we don't have people who stay until the bitter end, they stayed until the blessed end!

I would estimate that the attendance for our Fall Connection today was about double what we normally have on a Sunday morning.  There was a buzz on the entire church campus.  Kidzone surpassed their next attendance goal and not only did Miss Michele get a pie in the face, but the kids got the "largest ice cream sundae EVER!  It was a huge ice cream sundae made in a (clean) gutter and all the kids got to line up and eat it.     

Although it rained outside everyone hung in there with us and just went with it.  It didn't seem to phase anybody that it was raining.  As long as there wasn't thunder and lightening, the kids went on the 18 ft. water slide and jumped in the two bounce houses. 

A very special group of people so dear to my heart stayed til' the very end -- the blessed end - and helped cl…

Stop wasting time chasing the vacuum cleaner

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Yesterday I was vacuuming the house.  As usual Max was trying to eat the vacuum cleaner while I did.

I have no idea why he does that.  He sees that the vacuum is powerless all by itself and does nothing until I plug it in and start to use it, but as soon as I turn it on he goes postal.

He chases after it as I go around the room, trying to get his mouth around it anywhere he can to bite it.  He never accomplishes it because I vacuum too fast.  I would put him in his kennel while I vacuum but I'm a little particular about my dogs never going into their kennel unless they absolutely have to.  [The only time I make them go in there is to sleep for the night, and then anytime I'm gone and none of the kids are home.  If any of the kids are home I want the dogs to be out.]

Max is convinced there's something going on with the vacuum cleaner.  There's some reason he feels the need to chase it although the vacuum is neither aware of Max nor doing anything to harm him.  The vacu…

A huge key to getting what you need

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We all need help from somebody at some time.  When we need help, it's obviously important to us, and we want the best care we can receive.   So then why don't we all receive what we desire?

A lot of it has to do with timing.  Being both a pastor and a coach, working in the church world and the business world at the same time I realize most people in this world have little regard for timing.  


I do not refer to extremes, like, "call me in 2014 and I'll see what I can do for you..."

There's a big difference between 2014 and next Tuesday.

I'm also not referring to emergencies.  Obviously in a crisis, you need help NOW, not next Tuesday.  The one caveat here is that a lot of people don't realize the true definition of emergency.  I once had a lady call me about her marriage problems, during an important family celebration we were having.  I told her I couldn't help her right then - we were in the midst of a family occasion.  I offered to return her ca…

What's the biggest hindrance to you growing?

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PRIDE.

How do I know this?  Because it's the biggest hindrance to my personal growth too, of course.

Your biggest hindrance is not your schedule, your husband, your wife, your kids, your lack of money, your boss, your pastor, your extended family, your skills or lack thereof.

The biggest hindrance to anyone's growth is pride.

Pride says, "I know that already."
Humility says, "Even if I know it already, it's always good to be reminded again."

Humility never minds reminders.
Pride chafes against reminders and thinks, "what do they think I am?  A novice?  Stupid?  Clueless?"

I always know when I'm working with someone in the church  or coaching someone outside the church who is simply not ready for my investment into their life.  When I try to teach them something they quickly pipe up and say things like, "Yeah, I know."
"I already know that."
"I've been told that before."
"This is old news to me."


3 Ways to Evaluate Yourself to the Next Level

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Evaluation is not always easy but it's always profitable if our heart is open.  Yesterday I promised to share some things I do to get the right kind of feedback to bring improvement in preaching.  Here are three things I do:

Evaluate Myself
Without a doubt I'm my own toughest evaluator.   Back when I started 25 years ago I would listen to  obsess over cassette tapes of my preaching every time.   (Yeah, remember cassette tapes?  I remember 8 tracks too, although we didn't have them as sermon tapes.  Classic!!)  Then CD's came into existence and I started evaluating those, and now I review the messages online when our sound person e-mails them to me.

I will often put a message on my iPod and listen to it later while I walk or exercise.  I think, "let me detach and pretend I don't know myself and am listening to a stranger.  What would my first impression be of this person talking?  Would I be inclined to keep listening?  To open my heart to what she's sayin…

Why most preachers never significantly improve

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I'm about to step into a controversial minefield.  I know that.  It happens.  It's why my husband has called me, "Sassy" for 25 years.  I tend to dare to say things that nobody else will verbalize which is why I keep getting invitations to teach about sex.   Don't worry, I'm not going to talk about sex in this post.  I'm kind of tired of talking about sex, at least this morning.  ::smiles::

How many preachers do you know who are basically the same this year as they were last year?  I know most people are better than the first time they preached.  That would pretty much be everybody.  But this post is about significant improvement and reaching your full potential -- not just a little tweaking here and there or the fact that less people are going to sleep when you preach.

I'm just going to cut to the chase and say that most male preachers never improve much because the person they trust most has lied to them.  And they are perfectly content to let them …

Who wants to speak and transform the world?

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One of my goals is to communicate a life changing word to people every week.  I am one of those rare women who preaches every week and most times more  than once a week.  I have a lot of opportunities to practice but by far my most important experience isn’t actually in the pulpit.
My most important tool of growth in communication happens afterwards, and that is in evaluation.  I have come to believe that the reason most speakers never move forward is because they simply don’t honestly evaluate.  The vast majority of people are scared of evaluation and their fear keeps them from ever moving from where they are to where they want to be.
I’ve been mercilessly evaluating every single message for 25 years.  My messages aren’t just evaluated by me – I always request other people’s brutally honest evaluations.  There’s a difference between evaluations and accolades.  The majority of speakers I know request accolades because their insecurity or ego needs it.  This makes you feel good for about…

I want you to burn

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I'm burning.

I hope you are too.

The world needs you to BURN.

"If you catch on fire, people will come to watch you burn."  ~ John Wesley

True Church Stories #38

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This true story in the "True Church Stories" series comes from the Experience Conference this past weekend.  In addition to being privileged to share in the opening general session Friday morning I also was asked to teach a workshop on both Friday and Saturday afternoon entitled, "Hot and Holy Matrimony." Both times this workshop was packed, and this afternoon we even had people sitting on the floor so many had interest in this topic.  I'm just setting the tone for you here that a lot of people evidently have interest in "Hot and Holy Matrimony"!!  ::smiles::

To further set the stage, I was rolling full steam ahead in teaching, and due to the volume of material I had to present, we had no time for a question/answer session.  If someone said something during this particular session, it would be classified as an interruption.  Some who were actually in the session later referred to the interruption as "heckling" but I'll let you decide.

I …

Pursue Your Potential: CONNECT

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It's the end of the day and I'm just getting around to blogging.  I have been going at warp speed all day.  My day began by speaking for the general session of our district's "Experience" Conference.  I was given the assignment of speaking on the topic of "Experiencing Our Potential to Connect."  I was honored and very excited to speak on this particular topic as it's one of the things I'm passionate about.

With the way communication potential has exploded across the world, we all have the ability to speak into people's lives, and with people at any given moment We are only limited by our own issues of inconvenience, and the decision to connect, or not, is ours.

People are showing up 24/7 these days.  It's up to us to decide if we'll meet them where they're at and join the conversation.  I believe it's not only important for us to "speak into people's lives" but to actually JOIN A CONVERSATION.

A lot of people th…

True Church Stories #37

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I've omitted all names in this post for anyone who might want to remain anonymous.

Last night the topic for our Fusion service at Celebration was Toxic Health and what the Bible says about it.  (Yes, God does give us clear direction in His Word to be good stewards of our bodies.)  After I taught on the subject we divided into groups to discuss/pray about it.  I usually visit a different fusion group every week.  The group I visited this week never disappoints - they have fantastic discussion and lots of fun.

One lady shared with the group that she has insomnia and her health is really affected by it.  She doesn't know what to do about it.  A man in the group says, "I'll tell you how to solve it!  You need to spoon with your husband!"

"What's that?" she said.

And with a surprised reaction he said, "spooning?  You don't know what spooning is?"

[insert lots of laughter here from the fusion group]

And she shyly says, "No, I don't…

When you're frustrated because everything's not "perfect"...

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One of my favorite songs is Sara Evans, "Perfect".  The lyrics speak to the fact that everything in a relationship doesn't have to be "perfect" ~ dinners by candlelight, trips to Paris, lingerie, for a relationship to be great.  Thank God for THAT!  Cause' every day of my marriage doesn't consist of those things, only sometimes.  Today Larry and I didn't have a dinner by candlelight, we had a cuban sandwich lunch out of a paper bag.

Last night after our women's connection night at Celebration I needed a place to take our guest speaker, Tammy Young, for dinner.  Karen, a friend of Tammy's, was assisting her on this trip, and we were also joined by my husband.  We dined at a place called Taco Bus. We've been hearing rave reviews of the Taco Bus from our presbyter, Mike Tedder and his youth pastors, Mark and Allison Goss-Lara.  They talk about Taco Bus alllll the time.  How much they love the tacos, the tamales, and more.  Mark informed us …

3 Simple Ways to Stand Out

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1)  Answer your mail.  

Give a response to everything that's in your inbox, within 24 hours.

There's a huge connection between those who are most successful/effective in life and how prompt they are with responding.  My friend Sue Duffield is a well known gospel music artist, speaker and minister in her own right and a phenomenal leader who moves in both the church and the marketplace.  Sue says this:  "The higher you go in leadership, the more in touch you (should) become with those around you. I get quicker e-mail replies from CEO's than I do from some in church leadership. It's time to learn from the business community - where connection is vital for life."  

I believe the one exception to this would be one's day off.  A sabbath, even from mail is wisdom.


2)  Respond to voicemails.


Set a certain amount of time per day that you're going toreturn calls and then do it.  Returning a call doesn't have to be lengthy.  I do realize that learning to…

I peek

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Sorry, I just can't help it.

I peek every time.  I'm thinking maybe other pastors' wives do the same thing.  Matter of fact I'm thinking they have to.   You might even do it if you're not a pastor's wife.

Peeking when the altar call is going on.

Yep, I do it every week.  Most times I don't even hide the fact that I'm peeking, I just do it.  I think it's something that most people give the pastors' wife a pass on.

I want to see whose life is being changed, and I wanna see it as it's happening!  Cuz' this is what I live for.

I peeked yesterday.  Five people responded.

It was glorious.

10 Reasons Why My Dog Max is an Ideal Church Member

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1)  Max loves being in the house.  He wouldn't have it any other way.  In his eyes, better is one day in our house than a thousand elsewhere.  When we are out on a walk and he sees our house, he immediately gets excited and starts walking, sometimes even running faster to get there.  

2)  I am very careful to make sure Max is fed daily.  He never comes up to me and complains, "Hey, I'm not being fed."  Max is grateful and lives a life of thanksgiving.

3)  Max has mastered the Apostle Paul's biblical admonition about contentment.  He likes his food to be mixed with yogurt everyday but even if it's not he's happy to eat it dry.  He never barks, "Hey! You forgot to get yogurt!!!"  

4)  Max has so much joy, everyday.  He rejoices when he wakes up, and again and again, he says, "rejoice".  Every time somebody walks in the door he rejoices.  When he eats he rejoices.  When he sleeps, he rejoices.  When you snuggle with him, he rejoices.  …

What I've learned about leading leaders better

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I've learned to ...

Listen ~ Value ~ Include ~ Appreciate

These things are more important than most people realize.

I've learned that most any difference or storm can be navigated successfully by doing these four things with those I lead.

I've learned about the importance of getting the right person in the right place.  A lot of frustration has come for me when I've simply misplaced a leader.  It really isn't their fault that they aren't producing if they are in the wrong spot.

I've learned how important it is to consider people for leadership even when and perhaps especially when we are really different people.  Yesterday I had a great conversation with my husband about a few people on our team that I'm so different from in world views on different things yet in ministry we mesh together like mashed potatoes and gravy!  A beautiful combination. 

I've learned how respect for one another despite our differing viewpoints is so important at the end o…

The difference between leading a follower and leading a leader

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Yesterday I began to write about the difference between leading leaders and leading followers.  I said I'd rather lead a leader any day than lead a follower.  Before you finish reading this post you might want to lay a foundation for today's post by going back and reading yesterday's post if you haven't already.

On our Celebration Church leadership team we have everybody from an engineer to a director of Human Resources, to a few medical researchers, to several teachers serving with us.  In fact, I lead our worship team at the church and both the local public high school and the middle school choral directors are on the team!  We have 32 people currently on our top leadership team at Celebration and most every one of them are leaders outside the church, many of them at the highest levels of their company.  I am not only very comfortable with this -- I prefer it.  I don't just want to be surrounded by a bunch of followers because quite truthfully, followers don'…

Who else want to lead leaders?

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Here's something I've come to a conclusion about...

Some people can lead followers, but they can't lead leaders, at least well.

Some people can lead followers, but would rather lead leaders.

I would choose to lead a leader over leading a follower any day of the week.

Leading leaders requires more skill but there is so much more that becomes possible when you lead leaders vs. leading followers.

Followers will just do what you tell them to do.
Followers will make you feel good about yourself most of the time.
Followers will not ever challenge your thought processes, plans or assumptions.
Followers are great at covering menial tasks that you don't want to do or have time to do.

But you won't ever get as far with followers as you could with leaders.

Tomorrow I'll share what leaders will do.

What to do when people keep trying to tell you who you are

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Do you have the courage to live out your identity and calling even if it isn't accepted by others?  I'd like to suggest one of my personal techniques today which is to INTRODUCE YOURSELF to people who already THINK they know you.  Warning:  they may rebuff this attempt but that doesn't mean it's not successful!   

Yesterday my friend Sandy Aguilar, leader of IMPACT Leadership Resources had this to say on her Facebook page:  "What's it take to really change???  Repetition, repetition, repetition...repeat the new you that you choose...whether anyone else does or not." 

I believe the major key is in the last six words of that quote -- "WHETHER ANYONE ELSE DOES OR NOT."

Did you ever have someone in your life who keeps wanting to put you back where you were?  To who you USED to be?  To old habits you USED to have?  To old things you USED to do?   For some reason they try to keep you in the past.

I lost a friend that way a while back.  They were rea…

3 Ways to Get Stuff Done When You Feel Overwhelmed

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Every week I talk to people who feel overwhelmed and unprepared.  Some sigh and say, "I have so much to do and don't even know where to begin."  This seems to be a common problem and people often ask me about this because one thing I do have the ability to do is get a lot of stuff done.  Today I'm going to share 3 key things that help me. 

1)  Develop a list of initiatives

If you have no idea of what you're going to get done before you go into the week, you probably won't get much done.  This is the difference between merely existing and thriving.   I live by my list and make it by Thursday of each week for the coming week ahead.  The way to do this is to make a list of the basics that you need to get done -- things you know you're automatically going to do.  Put those on the list even though they're a given.  It will give you great joy to check them off as you accomplish them.  When making your "basics" list, branch out from there and jus…