Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 8

As I have asked before, do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18? For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive, implant and save. Today we will look at the last concept of souls.

In my last blog, I referenced the fact that our soul is made up of three parts…mind, will and emotions. The process of transforming our soul to be more like Christ is called sanctification. As new believers in Christ – as one who has accepted the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, I believe my spirit is saved and I am going to heaven no matter what I do between that day and my death. (Side note: however, if I continue to live an ungodly life and do not change from year to year to be more like Christ and do not suffer from conviction of the Holy Spirit, I would question whether I have been truly justified in Christ.)

However, if my soul is not being sanctified, I will live a miserable life with much conviction, discontentment and no peace. I will do what I don’t want to do and not do the things that I want to do. Christine Caine talks about Christ followers having tormented minds, broken hearts (I refer to this as will) and wounded souls (I refer to this as emotions.)

Because we live in a fallen world, our minds are tormented by lies, our wills are broken because of disappointments and our emotions are a mess because of unforgiveness.  So the sanctification process works by replacing the lies with Truth, the disappointments with reliance on Christ and the unforgiveness with forgiveness. As I go through life and I respond inappropriately to a situation (i.e. get flustered while waiting in line, get angry when corrected, get depressed when plans are cancelled), I need to look deeply within me to see if that has been caused because of lies I am believing, false expectations I have set up or forgiveness that I have withheld.

A quick example is when I get flustered while waiting in line at the grocery store. This usually comes about because I am having several thoughts that are lies:

  1. My time is valuable. (Lie: I am more important than others.)
  2. That cashier is bad. (Lie: I do not ever need grace extended to me.)
  3. I am the boss. (Lie: If they did things my way, they would be faster.)

To change from being flustered to being at peace and even grace filled all I need to do is replace those lies with Truth. The Truth is that I am to think more highly of others than myself because I have needed and been given much grace. Another Truth is that I have not been called to be the manager of this store and aren’t I glad? In a moment, I am back to living the fulfilled life that I so desire.

How about you? How are you doing with lies, false expectations or unforgiveness? Please be in touch if there is any way I can help you live a more fulfilling life!

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 6

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18? For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts: uncleanness, wickedness, humble and receive. Today we will look at the concept of implanting. As is the case of many terms in scripture, there is an agricultural concept associated with this word. To implant is to not just put a seed in the ground but for it germinate and have its roots gone deep into the ground so that it will bear fruit.

For us to live a life of peace, contentment and fulfillment, the Word of God cannot just be something that has a surface impact on our lives. We must take the Bible and have it planted deep into our hearts. We cannot let the cares of this world and the deceptions around us distract us from making sure the seed of God’s Word is not only planted in good soil but allowed to grow deep roots.

A few ways to do that are to read the Bible, out loud, daily. If just starting, read a Proverb a day each day of the month for a year. This practice will grow your knowledge and when applied, increase your wisdom. Another way to saturate the soul of your heart with the Word of God is to play it all the time in your home. A great way to do that is using the app created by Life Church that allows you to download the audio of the Bible and then play it continuously in your home. The Word of God is active, alive and transformational. Your faith will grow because faith comes by hearing.

What about you? Do you have any suggestions of how to implant the Scripture into your heart?

Next time, we will be discussing the concept, save.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 3

gossip_1280How are things going? Are you living a John 10:10, Ephesians 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 life? Are you experiencing abundancy and a life full of peace and contentment? I am living this life and as I have shared in the past I want all to live life this way. For me, a key verse that has helped me live this kind of life is the following: So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

In the last entry, we looked at uncleanness. Today, I want to dig a bit deeper into the word wickedness. Wickedness as defined in the Vine’s Expository Dictionary is depravity, malignity, maliciousness, naughtiness. Often when one thinks of wickedness, they go to Hitler or Stalin or some of the awful cases of child abuse and neglect that we unfortunately hear about on a daily basis. Those are all true of what wickedness entails but if I am not careful, I will think that this is not something I, personally, have to deal with and I would be so wrong.

When I think of wickedness, what first comes to mind is mean people. People that are belligerent, angry, spiteful, hateful and cause harm because it makes them feel better or builds them up. A wonderful friend once said to me, “Hurt people hurt and 95% of the time you are wonderful but there are times when you hurt.” Ouch but oh so good – the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.

This comment forced me to dig deeper in my motives and my actions and how often I was responding out of a wound and not out of wisdom. The kicker for me was the definition of malignity – Oxford says it is to speak about someone in a spitefully critical manner: i.e. don't you dare malign her in my presence.

Oh my! Another ouch! There is a fine line between speaking of someone critically and being critical in a spiteful way. To be safe…to avoid wickedness…to maintain purity in what I say and do, my goal is to never speak critically of someone. And to not hang around long with those that do.

Let’s be known as people who lift up. People who see the best in others. People who not only have clean hands in all that we do but the very words out of our mouth and the motives of our hearts are pure. That we are never ashamed of nor excusing the words that we speak or the comments that we make. Is this a high calling? Oh yes!! But when we do it, peace and contentment are a normal part of our lives.

Next time, we will look at the word humble.


imsis047-078"All my life I have been called unworthy..." Oh my goodness, can I just be real with y'all?  This so describes me!  Not that this describes who I was or used to be a long time ago but this often describes me on any given day!  Well, actually until I heard Big Daddy Weaver's song, Redeemed, two weeks ago it was my daily mantra.

With that kind of daily mantra, I would do some crazy things to earn my worth.  Before Christ it included lots of immoral stuff, trying to feel worthy.  Then after Christ, despite knowledge of the Word and great counseling, I would often believe I was unworthy and so then I had to earn my worthiness.  Work harder, faster.  Produce more.  Please everyone around you.  Manipulate here.  Exaggerate there.  Anything to silence that voice...

Then a friend who knows me so well, sent me Redeemed (now that is a true friend!)  And when I heard this line in the middle of the song, the lightbulb - no, it was a flood light - went off.  Here is the entire line:

"All my life I have been called unworthy...named by the voice of my shame and regret."

It wasn't a parent or a teacher or a coach or a friend who had called me unworthy but it came from the voice of my shame and regret!!  I could silence the voice not by performing better or pleasing more people.  I could silence the voice by walking in the fact that I am redeemed and that my shame was paid for on the cross and my regrets can be released to Him who cares for me.

Is the voice always silent?  No...I am still living in a fallen world and in a body of flesh that is so prone to sin. However, when the voice calls out, "Unworthy! Unworthy!"  I can respond, "Redeemed!!  Redeemed!!" and the voice goes silent.

How about you?  What's your daily mantra?  Do you hear the voice?  Can you cry out, "Redeemed!"?

How's Your Faith Impacting Your Work

CareerLast week, I was blessed to be at a breakfast that was raising funds for an amazing ministry, WorkFaith Connection.  I had heard most of the testimonies before and was close to quite a few of those testifying but I was still moved to tears.  WorkFaith Connection is all about helping others understand and find the wonderful gift of work.  More than a job...a new life! As I was reviewing one of The Master's Program booksThe Spirit of Disciplines, later that same day this quote by Martin Luther helped me make another connection between Work and Faith.

[Faith] is a living well-founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die a thousand times rather than surrender its conviction.  Such confidence and personal knowledge of divine grace makes its possessor joyful, bold, and full of warm affection toward God and all created things - all of which the Holy Spirit works in faith.  Hence, such a man becomes without constraint willing and eager to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer all manner of ills, in order to please and glorify God, who has shown toward him such grace. Because of an unwavering faith (i.e. confidence, assurance, belief, knowledge) that God's grace covers me, it compels me to be a good worker as well as a good friend, a good family member and even a good enemy.  My gratitude for having the physical ability or mental capacity (all given by God) to even have a job should motivate me to give my "utmost for His Highest."  Assurance of His grace should not spur me on to slothfulness but to doing all things as unto the Lord!

The profound thing is this...we don’t need to “work” harder but rather have more faith.  This increased faith will then impact our work.  Of course, our cry will always be, "Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!"

How is your faith being demonstrated in your work - whether at the office or at home?  Do we demonstrate our faith in God’s grace by the way we do “life” with those around us?

Update on the Great Adventure

Message from GodIf you read my earlier post, you know that I am on a great adventure!! Since resigning from LifeHouse of Houston in February, the Lord has continued to led me on an amazing walk and through it all He has shown Himself, once again, so faithful.  God continues to reveal confirmation after confirmation to not get a “real” job but to do my own consulting and coaching business.   God has demonstrated this to me in a really cool way – almost like a postcard in the mail – people have called (and continue to call) asking me to work with them.  To date, all of my engagements have been prompted by my clients.  How much clearer does He need to be? One of my clients, The Master’s Program for Women (TMP), is a unique three-year program of life-designing and coaching that encourages women to discover and pursue God's plans for their lives.  It has been developed to answer their deepest questions as well as help them gain a new understanding of their Kingdom Calling – that one thing that God created only THEM to do for His Kingdom.  TMP focuses on one’s ability to manage the foremost issues in their life, including their faith, family, career, relationships and the varied opportunities to serve.

I went through TMP as a participant beginning in 2006 and as I applied the tools I gained in the program, I became more balanced in my life.  I experienced increased margin in my day to day living and gained a clearer focus of God’s calling on my life.  I believe that these last five months would have turned out totally different if not for the coaching and knowledge I received through TMP!!

The time commitment is only a 5-hour class once a quarter that will include lectures, small group activities as well as fellowship over a meal.  The same group of ladies stays together throughout the three-year time period and has a great opportunity to experience community.  The “homework” each quarter can be a couple of hours or several days just depending on what peaks her interest.  On a quarterly basis, I will also meet one on one with the participants to give personalized coaching on her greatest area of need.

The first class is starting in just a few weeks on July 1st!!  And so, the adventure continues….

The Great Adventure

Compass As I mentioned in yesterday's post, God has me on a new race - a new adventure - and I am thrilled!!!  Right now I do have a road map of sorts and a Compass that always points True.  So, to answer the questions that I am hearing from so many dear friends and family, this is what I am up to...

Stewardship Consulting God has opened several doors of opportunity in this area.  People have been contacting me and asking if I would be willing to help them.  I have several projects lined up that will pay the bills for the next few months – praise the Lord and have several more strong prospects.

The essence of what I am doing is summed up in the tag line, “Serving Others...Better.”  I am coming alongside those who are serving, ministering, touching others and help them do it even better – especially in the areas of fundraising and operational excellence.  Helping them be better in the stewardship of their time and treasure.  Be looking for a tab real soon on this website that says “Consulting” so that will have more information.

Writing a Book This is really a God-calling!  For years, I have been encouraged by many to write a book but I have never done it because I did not have the time and it was too much work.  Well, at least one of those excuses is out the window and after writing 15,000+ words so far the second excuse is becoming less formidable.  The book is primarily autobiographical and many never get in a published form but for now I am clearly called to write it and we will go from there.

The Master’s Program for Women (TMPW) I am probably most excited about this opportunity.  The mission of TMPW is "To prepare Christian leaders to change their world and build God's Kingdom through their irresistible lifestyles and influential works of service."  It is a 3 year long program that is comprised of 12 interactive meetings (one a quarter), 12 notebooks filled with practical, hands on information, almost 30 books and, of course, personal coaching from me.

To accomplish the mission, TMPW teaches LifeMastery.  The first year is focused on the personal realm (body, mind, soul and spirit).  In this realm one exercises discipline.  The second year is focused on the family and professional realm (marriage, children, career/volunteerism and resources).  In this realm one exercises authority.  And lastly, the third year is focused on the Kingdom realm (the Church and the world).

The first session for Houston will be Thursday, September 16th.  However, I know that God will open other cities (i.e. Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, etc.) as I continue to seek His face and find favor with Him and His people.

There you have it!  Steve Curtis Chapman was right on when he sang, "This is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure."  And, what a Great Adventure I am on!!!

So, what about you?  Are you in an at-ease position or are you at the ready?  What Great Adventure are you on?

Faith Walk in Action

“Any leads?”  “Are you staying in Houston?”  “What are you up to these days?”  These questions and others have been the conversation starters of many of my visits with my friends these past 30 or so days.  How blessed I am to have so many who truly care about me as well as what my future holds? As many of you know, I have felt much like Abraham these past few months.  From the Bible, Hebrews 11:8 tells us, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  I was definitely called to leave LifeHouse and upon my resignation, was not the least bit certain of where I was to go next.  But, I loved this recent tweet by Suzanne Eller, gave me great comfort “God didn't ask Abraham to leave his country as a sacrifice, but to move him closer to the promise...”

As I shared in an earlier post, God has given me some direction but it still has been one of the strangest faith walks I have ever been on.  What has been so unique about this walk is that instead of being in an “at-ease” position between steps – you know, where you take a step with the left foot and then bring your right foot parallel to your left and stand.  This walk has looked more like this…

Next Step

And since much of this came down during the winter Olympics, apart from the skin tight suit, I have felt a bit like this...

Speed skating start

In the ready.  On my mark.  Awaiting the starter’s gun.  Not wanting to miss the signal but also not wanting to get ahead of the voice of God.

Well, now, after being back from vacation for two weeks, I definitely feel like I am in my stride in this next season of my life.  There is joy in my steps, my yoke is easy and my burden light.  Tomorrow, I will share exactly what I am up!

90 Days

Ninety days ago most of us were finishing up last minute shopping, putting the finishing touches on the menu for Christmas dinner and even packing to spend the holidays at home. It is amazing how much your life can change in 90 days!! Friends of mine still have unopened gifts because their loved one suddenly died before he could open his present. Others have been let go of jobs that they thought would be a lifetime career. Calendar I also know of friends were joyous things have happened – babies being born, marriages restored and houses sold!

Personally, when I boarded my flight back to Houston on New Year’s Day 2010 I never dreamed I would be where I am today. No longer at LifeHouse of Houston. Starting my own consulting business. Writing a book. The goals I had in my mind on the first day of the new decade have gone out the window. But, there is great peace in my soul because I know that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

Despite the peace, there are mornings when I awake and wonder, “What am I doing?” Even, “What is God doing?” However, the Lord encourages me as I read His Word, re-read my journals and check back in with my counselors concerning the steps I have taken these past 90 days. For the first time in my life in such a big way, I am being courageous. Because courage is really not courage unless you are afraid and you do it anyway.

So before you know or I know it, another 90 days will roll past. For me, I am excited about my journey and my struggle will be to enjoy it and not get too caught up in the destination. What will your journey be like these next 90 days? Are you being courageous or are you playing it safe? Are you excited or are you dreading it? Regardless, I pray you can sing with me the words from Robin Mark’s song, All is Well: “All is well with my soul! He is God - in control. I know not all His plans but I know I'm in His hands.”

Time at LifeHouse

Life has been a bit challenging for me lately.  Here is a quick update on what is happening... After much prayer and counsel, the Lord has confirmed that my time at LifeHouse has ended.  I resigned on the 10th of February and my last day will be March 31st.  There is much sadness in my heart but I have full assurance that this is the next step I am to take. iStock_000004237399XSmallRecently, a dear friend of mine shared a word with me that has given me a great comfort for me these last few weeks.  "Obedience is more important than understanding."  As I have been walking this path these last few months, I have often asked the Lord, "Why?" and He has not answered.  He has simply said take the next step.  He truly is only revealing to me my next step and it is long after the sound of the previous foot fall fades that I hear, turn to the right or turn to the left - walk this way.

Praise the Lord that He has taught me to live a very frugal lifestyle and to live debt free.  Because of that, I have the ability to take the time after my last day at LifeHouse to wait, pray, study, rest, etc. so that He may reveal to me the next step.  I don't know what the future holds but I do KNOW these things:

1.  He holds the future. 2.  He loves me BIG. 3.  This path is for my good and His glory for if there was a better path for me to walk He would have taken me down that path rather than this path. 4.  He who began a great work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. 5.  The plans He has for me are to prosper me and not to harm me; to give me hope and a future. 6.  The plan is much bigger than I can imagine and there is excitement in that.

As the Lord brings my name to your mind, please pray for me as I walk through this new season in my life.