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Showing posts from 2016

5 Things to Do After a Big Event

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THRIVE 2016 is now over and what a time it was! I am trying to be a better leader in the area of what to do AFTER an event that I lead.  For most of my years in leadership and ministry, I would scarcely celebrate or focus at all on what just happened and would go bolting head first into the next event at 500 miles an hour. A few years ago I asked myself why. There was an urgency to get things done and get busy on the next thing. BUT, I realized I was doing myself and my team a disservice by racing into the next thing without celebrating the last thing.




This season is particularly challenging because I am leaving in two weeks with members of our team for Africa for 16 days. I feel an urgency to race ahead but I am holding myself back from doing that.

Here are five things I've found it's important to do:

1) Celebrate

I have observed that Pentecostals in particular seem to be not-so-good at this. I think part of it is the admonition that is banged into all of our heads to "…

I Will Not Be Surprised if a Bear, A Lion or an Uncircumcised Philistine Show Up At My Office Today!

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God knows my name.

And on strategic weeks like this one - the week of the THRIVE Conference,  I feel like every demon in hell knows my name too.

 Every year at this time, things come seemingly out of left field and pelt me until I feel like a wrung out dishrag. Souls are in the balance. The enemy is fighting hard. Last year at THRIVE over 50 women made decisions for Christ, several hundred women were filled with the Holy Spirit and there were too many healings to count. Believe me, satan (I refuse to capitalize the loser's name) is not happy about this. Our team has fasted for 30 days this year just as we did last year.  I am not surprised that the hordes of hell seem to know where to find me. 

Fortunately I have some prayer warriors on speed dial. There is none greater than my Dad.


My father is a person who gets up really early every morning and goes into his "prayer room." (When the movie WAR ROOM came out, I told him, "Dad there's a movie that just came ou…

Everybody is Losing Something

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Pick a person. Any person.

Have their name in mind?

Now, consider what they recently lost. It could be a job, a family member, a pet or a home. They may have experienced a miscarriage.  Perhaps they are staring the empty nest in the face.  Their beloved co-worker may have retired or transferred. The office will never be the same. It could be something as simple as their daily routine being lost. There is the loss of the familiar and comforting rhythm of the day. Perhaps the worst losses are sudden ones.

Everybody is facing a loss of some kind. And it's hard. Life is filled with loss after loss.

I know there are gains.

And yet there are still losses.

You say..."Well, don't focus on the losses...be positive." We need to be positive and at the same time losses still have to be processed. If we don't handle them right we can actually get sick in more ways than one.

Be kind. Everybody out there is losing something and it hurts.


Proceed today with the understanding t…

Apparently "It's going to be okay" is code for "You're Not Going to Die" (Unless you do and then there's a response for that as well...)

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"It's going to be okay..."

This phrase has been said to all of us.

But what is "okay"?

I've come to believe it means, "You're not going to die."

Other challenging things may take place. Your body or your (emotional) heart may be crushed into a million pieces...BUT...at least you're not going to die.

Except when you die. And then people change directions. "It's okay! He/she still wins because they are with Jesus." And, "They are actually MORE than okay because now they are walking on the streets of gold," etc.

I understand why people say this. For the Christian, it's true. And at the same time, it's hard when people tell you that it's going to be okay and it doesn't feel okay, at least for a while. Maybe a long while.

That is the reality for some people at this very moment. Their pain cannot be explained away by a Hallmark card ("Everything happens for a reason...") or some Christianese. (&…

When Your Problem Doesn't Budge No Matter How Hard You Work

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Sometimes we face a situation that doesn't move forward not matter how hard we work. This is frustrating for a leader. (Everything can be solved by working hard, right? lol ) There are some things we can't work out - we just need to walk them out and wait them out.

This week, I came upon this quote about waiting:

"Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work."  ~ Peter Marshall  
It's so true! It's much harder for me to wait than work.  I don't mind work - in fact I love it. I could work all the day long and if all my problems could have been solved by working they would have been solved long ago.

So...regarding the problems that appear stuck in the mud of life,  I have to ask, "What is to be gained in all this?" God must be accomplishing something in me during the wait. It is the Word of God, so I believe it and...for my own sanity I believe it.

Whatever it is that I'm supposed to learn - may I le…

Leaders: These Two Things Matter a Lot!

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1) People are the way they are for a reason. 2) People are where they are for a reason.
These are two principles you can count on.

Some people may disagree with me and say, "But what about grace and mercy? Doesn't that have an affect on the way people are or where they are?" I've taken that into account with these two principles. 
Regarding #1............

Watch others closely and you will discover why people are the way they are. Particularly if you observe their passion, you will find out. For instance, I'm really passionate about leadership health. Anyone who talks to me for more than about five minutes about leadership will find that out. Dig deeper and you'll discover that my parents were/are both leaders in the church whose marriage crumbled in dysfunction. That affected me in a big way and now leadership health is something I'm relentless about. I want leaders to be healthy personally, behind closed doors so that they can have a God-hono…

What Do You Think You Don't Need?

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Before we left for our recent vacation I was perusing Amazon, purchasing a few books to put on to my Kindle. I came across a book that lots of friends had recommended and my immediate thought was, "that's not for me." For some reason I was convinced that all the advice this author gives couldn't possibly apply to me in my current season.

 It's a good thing I had second thoughts and bought the book anyway. Here's something to think about. Whatever it is that you think you don't need in many cases is EXACTLY what you need. Whatever you think couldn't possibly apply to you is EXACTLY what applies to you many times. Whatever you think you don't need to talk about is EXACTLY what you need to talk about.

Whatever it is that you are resisting so hard...it's probably long overdue for you to do something about.

Are You Open or Closed? (Your Future Depends On It!)

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"I'm about to say something..." my assistant Erika said apprehensively, as if to warn me of something I didn't want to hear. What followed was something she thought I needed to hear for my own good. She was right, but I would have been fine with her telling me long before this conversation we had last week.

"You could have already told me that! Why didn't you speak up sooner?" I said.

She was relieved.


After letting her know I was grateful for the input and was going to change things, I became concerned that maybe there was a deeper issue. I thought maybe Erika thought she couldn't tell me the things I need to hear. So I brought it up again later saying, "Did you not think you could tell me that?" She said she did feel that she could tell me things like this without a problem, but she appreciated the conversation.

Andy Stanley says that leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say. I believe that…

Talent Is Never Enough

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When I was in Bible College music students were required to do juries where we would perform for two or three music professors and receive a grade. I love playing and singing and have done it since I was four years old. But I but dreaded juries. The reason for my disdain was my lack of skill with music theory.  Theory doesn't come naturally to me, but playing by ear is something as natural to me as breathing. Although I've taken lessons over the course of my life, the majority of what I know was learned by ear and watching other musicians and gleaning from them. My earliest experience with learning to play the piano consisted of listening to 33 records of groups like the Happy Goodman Family. Soon I could go up and down the keyboard with ease, but not by looking at a piece of music. This isn't exactly the skill set needed to do a music jury in college. 
I will never forget what happened to me during one of those dreaded juries. I came into the room and played for…

Leading From a Deep Well

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My assistant Erika was talking to me one day and said:

"I've learned something about you. You lead from a very deep well." 
Her comment gave me pause for thought and  I recognized  a few things I do on a regular basis regarding this that might help someone.
Stay Thirsty
Effective leaders have a thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and improvement. Not a day goes by when I'm not pursuing these three things. It comes in the form of books, podcasts, classes and personal conversation. It's not by happenstance, but by a relentless pursuit. Each day I receive various insights that fill me, however my favorite times are those when I receive so much that it's like a Big Gulp. Those times would be occasions like spending a few hours or a day with a trusted mentor, or attending a leadership conference.
Resist the Urge to Rest in What You Know and What You Do
A leader can become so knowledgeable on a subject they think they know everything there is to know about it…

Five Thoughts I Have at 50

These aren't my only thoughts of course, but a few random ones I had yesterday while on a flight and took time to jot down.

1) I'm really glad I made it to this point. Some people despise growing older but these days my prevailing thought is, "I've made it to this point!!!" From a young age, I had a sense that time was running out.  Even as a child I felt an urgency that there was a small window of time to make a difference in the world. On my Grandma's porch, she had a sign that said, "Only one life twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." I try to live every year like it's my last. I make a big deal over my goals (I call them 'Investments') every year. If some people knew they had a year to live, they would quit their job, take all their money and travel the world and relax. Not me. I'll be working hard on many things until the day I go to heaven, whenever that is.
2) I've stopped having anxiety over how…

When The Walls Speak To You

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Dustin moved out on Sunday night.

I always expected I would break down and sob when this happened.
Instead, I was too preoccupied with the tasks at hand, to have a meltdown.
I'm sure Dustin was grateful.

Since there was only a day to get the room ready for Lexi and Brody to move in, I had to get busy.

Everyone knows how much I adore Dustin. Not that I don't adore all my kids, for I do! However, everyone remarks about how much Dustin and I are alike and it's true. 

We are both INFJ's.
Musicians.
Poets.
Preachers.
Writers.

We both crave quiet spaces and places.
Being away from noise.
Out in the woods.
Books.
We are hard working people. (Neither of us can stand laziness.)

We both go to the wall for what we believe.
We'd die for it.

We're both deeply introspective introverts.
We interact with people when we need to in order to lead.

Because we can't help but lead.
It's in our blood.
In our bones.

We came out of the womb a few decades apart,  ready to…

The Value of Group Norms

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“Avoid meetings, if you can…they are a waste of time.” 
I’ve heard some prominent leaders say this. Some people are part of the school of thought that meetings have little value, failing to produce anything significant. My experience with meetings is that they are a key factor of success over my years of leadership. My pattern as a leader has always been to clearly establish a purpose for meetings and make sure initiatives are developed before we adjourn. Then, I inspect what I expect over the coming weeks and months.
When I became leader of the current team I serve with, it became clear we would need some new guidelines to have successful meetings and make the reaching of our goals a reality. I was thankful when Joy Conley, one of our team members, shared the idea of  "Group Norms" with us. Group Norms are the four rules of every meeting that Joy utilizes in her teacher meetings at the public school where she serves a teacher trainer. We tried Group Norms and have never loo…

The Number One Thing That Has Helped My Marriage

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This is not a cliche.

Not a pat answer.

Not just something I feel I have to say just because I'm a Christian.

Or a minister, or a pastor's wife myself.

It's my life experience.

And it's reality.

So take it for what it's worth from a person who is celebrating 29 years of marriage, today.

This is the number one thing that has helped me more than anything in my marriage.

It's prayer.

Specifically, joining with someone else in fervent - warfare prayer.

It's important to pray with your spouse but I also believe it's important for a woman to have a Godly female friend who understands what is at stake, to stand in the gap with you and intercede. 

Matthew 18:19 says:  

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
There is power in agreement.

The enemy wants so badly to destroy our marriages. I've learned -- if you're going to stay together for a life…

9 Ways You're Blessed and Probably Have No Idea

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I saw this passage yesterday in the Message Bible, and it put a zinger in my heart.
Matthew 5:1-12

"When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your in…

When You Realize You've Had It All Along

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These are my new $3 Walmart sunglasses that I recently purchased on sale. It's the little things, ya know. 
A few days ago I needed to run a quick errand. I hopped in my husband's car instead of mine because of where it was parked in the driveway. Traveling down the road headed toward the sun I reached for the place where I normally grab my sunglasses in my car. I realized my husband had no sunglasses in his car. I squinted and held my hand up, lamenting that the sun was in my eyes most of the way there and back.  I was talking to myself and really didn't care if anyone noticed.

As I returned from my errand and turned the corner onto our street, I touched my head and suddenly realized that my sunglasses had been there the whole time. I had taken a bike ride that morning and when I came inside the house, I  pushed my sunglasses on top of my head and forgot about them.
The point is this. Sometimes we complain about the lack of something and fail to realize, we've had i…

Women ARE the Thermostat!

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Driving along on my journey to preach in Wauchula last week, I came upon this sign. As I often do when traveling and I pass something I want to capture, I stopped to take a photo.

Mothers set the temperature in the home.

We are the thermostat.

Whatever our mood, it impacts the whole household like no other person in the house.

While we set the tone, I believe we are also the person in the home who faces the most circumstances with the potential to affect our mood. No one cares about the state of the home more than we do. So, when everything falls apart or piles up, it impacts us like no one else.  None of my other family members seem to notice or care when this happens. But I personally experience a cloud of depression so real I can almost touch it when things aren't right at home.  It's even worse when I clean up the night before and after I go to bed someone messes it up.  I have found if I don't start playing worship music and begin to pray and seek the Lord for stre…

"How Did Your Books Get Published?"

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Many people have asked me this question. The answer is...

I didn’t want to get out of bed or brush my teeth.
I was so broken emotionally, it hurt to breathe.
My upper body was in such pain that I rubbed it constantly. As I spoke to people I would cross my hands over my body and knead my shoulders, back, neck and arms over and over again - not caring about how bizarre it must have looked. (No one can ever tell me that emotional injury doesn't manifest in one's body.)

I could have cared less about appearances. If people thought I was a freak, so be it. I was so terribly wounded and quite frankly at a dangerous place. I was close to checking in to a hospital. I really don't know what stopped me.

A visit to a Christian therapist revealed I was suffering from complex trauma, significant loss and complicated grief.

In the midst of my suffering, I blogged for catharsis. I didn't care about prettying anything up. Quite a number of people read all of the anguish I poured out. Maybe i…

"I'm Sorry But I've Got Something Going On..."

"I'm sorry I dropped the ball, but I've got something going on..."

I've heard this excuse too many times to count in leadership. And here's a question I have to anyone who offers this up as a reason for not fulfilling a responsibility...

When don't you have something going on?

There will never be a time when you don't have at least one challenge in your life.

I look at every  person on the leadership team I serve with and I can name something big (and stressful) that each one of them has going on. It could be a financial hardship, a son or daughter getting married, a grandchild on the way, an illness, a church conflict, a marriage issue or a myriad of other things.

Every time I get up to preach I could truthfully say, "Bear with me folks, I have _________________ going on."

But I don't. 

Leaders who desire to produce over the long haul need to come to terms with the reality that they will ALWAYS have something going on. And if you let …

More Than a Village
Spiritual Parenting in Today's World

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What a child learns to believe by age thirteen, they will die believing. That's what research by the Barna Research Group shows, about the majority of people. Yesterday I preached a message at our church for Mother's Day about the need for spiritual parenting. If the majority of our kids are making a decision by the age of thirteen, we'd better be about the Father's business. It takes more than just any kind of village or any kind of people to raise children for God. Spiritual  parenting requires Godly moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and Christian adults in general.

The need is great. Did you know that sixty-four percent of decisions are made for Christ before the age of eighteen and seventy-seven percent are made before the age of twenty-one?(Source: Barna Research Group)

Those statistics should light a fire under us! We must spiritually parenting our own children, and care about reaching as many others as possible.

To spiritually parent requires takin…

What Communicators Can Learn From Donald Trump
(You Can Learn Something from Everyone!)

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