Jesus As Life Coach – Exploring Your ‘Why?’

Path to the CrossHey, Jesus here. Just checking in again. You’re doing great, faithful servant! Oh, not feeling so faithful? Fear not, you have been, you are, and you will be.

I wanted to talk to you about your ‘why?’ Any journey of transformation is going to take a significant amount of effort. Change is difficult. Your ‘old man’ or ‘worldly self’ is going to keep fighting to come out and control your behavior. Sheer willpower will not be enough to break through the bad habits and strongholds.

No, in times of weakness and temptation, you will need intrinsic motivation to keep you moving forward. Intrinsic motivation refers to actions that are driven by internal rewards. The motivation arises from within because of the inherent satisfaction rather than the desire for a reward or specific outcome.

A long time ago I beckoned some fishermen, a tax collector, and a bunch of other ordinary men and women to “come and follow me.” They dropped everything – their livelihoods, their families, their homes to follow me and learn from me as I opened up the Kingdom of God to crowds of people, healed folks, cast out demons and offered the forgiveness of sins. Why would they do that? Why would you?

There ARE rewards and good outcomes from following Me. Eternal life – that’s a big one. Forgiveness of past, current and future sins which takes away the burden of guilt and shame – another biggie. The chance to do good works prepared for you by our Father in Heaven. It does feel good to help people. Having the Holy Spirit live in you to encourage, comfort, convict and instruct you. Developing a deep, close relationship with your Creator who made you to love and praise Him. It’s deeply fulfilling to know and be fully known and cared for by God, your provider, protector and savior.

So, what is your ‘why?’ Why are you willing take risks and give up control of your life for me? It has to be about more than a ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ card. It should be more than pleasing your parents or your spouse. It should be more than just a habit you’ve established or a reputation you need to keep up. Negative motivators are almost never enough to keep you going.

I’m going to share my ‘why.’ It wasn’t to defeat Satan, although I totally did. It wasn’t out of fear of disappointing our Father in Heaven. It wasn’t so I could be famous or have crowds follow me. Nope. My ‘why?’ was and continues to be LOVE. In the Garden of Gethsemane, I had a moment of weakness. I begged our Father to find some other way. But you know what? At that moment of trial and temptation, Father God showed me pictures of people – pictures of you – all the people who needed a Savior, who needed true forgiveness and everlasting life. When I saw you and all those others, I was so eager to meet you in Heaven and hang out eternally that I made the decision to give up my life, go to that cross and endure its pain and shame. It was absolutely the right decision. No regrets.

You also have to make difficult decisions in order to follow the will of our Father and be transformed into the saint He and I know you can be. In those times, whether it’s giving a financial gift, giving your time, having a difficult conversation, going to that church meeting after a long day, or just getting out of bed when you’d rather sleep in, you need to think about your ‘why?’ Why did you make a commitment to Me? Why did you dedicate your life to following our God? Keep it front and center in your mind as you PAUSE, QUESTION and DECIDE.

When you sense a prompting from God, or an opportunity to do some kingdom work, PAUSE and clear away distractions for a moment. Go somewhere private, turn down the radio or whatever so you can really listen and think. Then QUESTION. You will probably raise a bunch of objections to whatever the Lord is asking. Look at each one in light of your ‘why’. Will this action move you closer to your mission or purpose? Then DECIDE. If you genuinely can’t or don’t have time, that’s okay. Just be sure. Make a conscious decision, don’t cave to comfort, peer pressure or the world’s definition of what you should do with your time or money.

The more decisions you make to invest in God’s Kingdom with your heart, soul, mind, strength, time, money and resources, the easier it gets. And before you know it, you will be transforming into a more loving, joyful, peace-loving, patient, gentle, kind, good, faithful and self-controlled person. Then your faith walk will truly be ‘fruitful.’😉

Right now, write down your 'why?' You can also think of it as your Mission Statement, Purpose or 'North Star.' Keep it somewhere where you'll see it often and let it guide all of your thoughts and actions. Keep up the good works!

Lenten Blessings,


Better Than A Pot of Gold

Irish Rainbow“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

-1 Peter 1:24-25

“I wish there was a way to know what God wants me to do.” “I wish life came with an instruction manual.” “How can we know a God and Savior who are invisible and up in Heaven?”

You’ve probably heard a friend or family member say one of these statements at sometime or another. Perhaps you’ve even said them yourself. I know I have. Well, there is, it does and you can…by reading God’s Word to us, His love story for all of mankind. In these 66 little books bound up into one big book, we find God’s purposes for us, His creation. We find His wisdom and commands on how to live our best lives. And we come to understand His attributes, qualities, and as much of the purposes, will and personality of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit as it is possible for any mere human to comprehend. It’s all in there. And just in case we might find it helpful, there are also numerous stories of real people with real problems and challenges having real feelings and struggles about how to stay faithful in a faithless world, how to serve God with their whole selves, and how to endure hardship in a godly way.

And so, if this bestselling Book which is widely available and translated into nearly every language humans speak is so edifying and awesome, why is the world such a mess?

In my many conversations about the Bible, I cannot count how many times I’ve heard people, even some Christians, say “How can I trust the Bible when it was written by a bunch of Bronze Age men in languages that have been translated and re-translated so many times, and twisted to say what those in power wanted it to say?” They end there as if they’ve made an incontrovertible statement. But that is just an argument that Satan started. There’s so much to say on this subject, but I’ll just mention three things that convinced me.

  1. Historical Evidence. How do we know how ANY history happened? We have libraries dedicated to ancient history, but the reality is that it is all based on VERY LITTLE actual historical ‘proof.’ Stone pillars, tombs, tablets, skins, scrolls and bits of papyrus are all that are left of ancient civilizations. Did you know that there is more historical evidence for the existence of a person called Jesus of Nazareth than for Julius Caesar? But ancient people went to a lot of trouble to copy, protect and preserve the Holy Scriptures and we have a lot of very old editions of the books of the Old and New Testament.
  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls. I always wondered what the fuss was about these. The truth is amazing. When they discovered these scrolls of the Old Testament books in a cave in the 1950s many were in very good shape, and when they carefully unrolled them, they found that they were remarkably close to our modern version. This was possible because of the painstaking way the Jews copied the Scriptures. (Remember all of those ‘scribes?’) Fragments of every book of the Old Testament were found except for Esther, and the entire book of Isaiah was preserved. So, for at least 2000 years, those Holy Books were not changed or mis-translated.
  3. God says so. In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” In Matthew 24:35 He says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” And, of course, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

In the end, it is a matter of faith. It is an exercise of our spirit responding to the call of the One who made us and has given us everything we need to become our best selves and live our best lives. As we study God’s Word with the help of the Holy Spirit, eternal truth and wisdom are opened up to us. When our whole self is dedicated to His service, then our eternal ‘instruction manual’ and ‘love story’ from God will be more precious to us than a pot of gold or any ‘thing’ on earth.

Blessings in your reading and study,


In the Vicissitudes

Bright Hope for TomorrowMay the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

One of my hubby's and my favorite vocabulary words is ‘vicissitudes.’ You can find it on many of our love notes and cards to each other. It means ups and downs, particularly as it pertains to life.

I think the ancients got it right when they came up with the ‘Wheel of Fate,’ a wheel which sometimes has you at the top, and sometimes at the bottom. Like the proverbial king’s ring reading ‘this too shall pass,’ the Wheel of Fate is meant to remind us that if things are good now, bad times may be on the horizon. Similarly, if things are hard now, good times are around the bend.

Lokai has made rubber bracelets with a similar purpose. On one side a white bead contains water from Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth. On the other side, there is a black bead containing mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. The message is to stay humble when you’re on top and stay hopeful when you hit a low. I love the symbolism of that in a physical reminder because we humans are very prone to be forgetful. Even David had to remind his own soul to remember: Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Psalm 103:2

And so, as the Wheel of Fate continues to spin, isn’t it so amazing to be assured that God is faithful through all of it? The sun, moon and stars turn, but there is no shadow of turning in God! He doesn’t change like the weather or our moods or current affairs. He is the same yesterday, today and always!

This is the message of one of my favorite hymns, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” UMH140. It’s a great hymn of gratitude to keep us humble and hopeful in the highs and lows, in the successes and failures. The last verse inspired this illustration. This verse sums up so succinctly all those ‘benefits’ we should remind ourselves of every day. With such a strong reminder of His blessings and faithfulness, how could we keep from praising the Lord?!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with 10, 000 beside.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Take a moment to meditate on all the ways the Lord has been faithful to you. Praise him for the hope of new mercies every morning, His abundant provision and His personal presence with you throughout all the vicissitudes of life.



Making Disciples

Go ltrSanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

John 17:17-19

As the Missions Committee met the other day, I was vexed by the age-old question of what is ‘outreach,’ what is an ‘event,’ what is a ‘mission,’ and what is a ‘ministry’? These terms are frequently used interchangeably. I will confess to still not having clarity on the issue. However, in practical terms, I, personally, think it doesn’t matter what we label them as long as the purpose behind them is the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

As we are going about our daily church and community business, are we loving God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind? Are we loving others as ourselves? And are we in the process of making disciples by loving, encouraging and empowering those in our path to experience faith and life in Jesus Christ? That is the essence of Christian life, and as we serve God and others, we learn to be more like Christ.

I considered our church’s calendar and realized that truly, everything we do fulfills the Great Commission and Commandment. Our Small Groups, Bible Studies and Confirmation Classes keep us focused on God and His word and our own spiritual growth. Our two Sunday Services and Sunday School provide us an opportunity to worship God together and build our faith by increasing our knowledge of God’s Word and its principles. The Praise Band, Choir and Handbell Choir allow us to connect with and magnify God with music.

King’s Café, entertainers and various potlucks and lunches allow for valuable fellowship time where we can check in with one another and grow our relationships deeper. It gives us an opportunity to love one another with food and encouragement.

Our Preschool, Basketball Program, Easter Egg Hunt, 4th of July Picnic, Yard Sales, Trunk or Treat, and Holiday House Bazaar, Vacation Bible School and more give us the opportunity to invite others on to our campus to experience our loving atmosphere and build connections that can lead to opportunities to share Christ and invitations to visit on Sunday. They also allow us to plant the message of Christ’s love in the younger generations.

Our Food Bank, Mission Trips, Advent Missions, Love Boxes, Care Ministry and more allow us to actually demonstrate God’s love in action by providing food, assistance, repairs, financial aid, gifts and comfort to those in need. These are very real ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus, by personally impacting someone’s life.

Even in the relative peace and security of the Hereford Zone, we are going out in the world, loving, befriending, comforting and inviting people to experience faith and life in Christ. As we are going, we become better disciples ourselves even as we are making new disciples. So shine the light of Jesus and brighten the corner that you are in. Bloom where you are planted, and know that wherever you are, God put you there, it’s your mission field and you can accomplish His purpose for you there.


Movin’ right along,


To find out more about my awesome church:

Rest in the Lord

Rest in the Lord - FrontBe still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

-Psalm 37:7

Knowledge is power. Isn’t that what they’ve always taught us? Perhaps it really is, because censorship and silencing people has been used as a tactic for control by authorities since the world began.

Long before ‘cancelling’ people, long before McCarthy or the Nazis, or the Inquisition even, ‘dangerous’ people and ideas were silenced in the name of order and control. Jesus and His disciples learned that the hard way.

However, as Christians, we are commanded to ‘go and tell’ the world about Jesus and to make disciples, plant churches and change the world one heart at a time. Spreading the Word of God has never been an easy nor safe task. If you consider the prophets and their tribulations, or Jesus and His tribulations, or Paul and Peter and their tribulations, you see that following this command has its risks.  Then again, for Americans in the 21st Century, it has probably never been easier nor safer to spread the Gospel than now. Thanks to laws protecting free speech and freedom of religion we are largely protected from persecution. Thanks to the internet, email and texting we can share our message nearly anywhere in the world from the comfort of our homes.

Still, it can be uncomfortable to have those conversations. Religion is a hard topic to bring up with company, or at the grocery store, or the kids’ sporting events – and definitely at work. A few negative responses can have a real chilling effect on our desire to witness to others, even when we know the great value and importance of it.

As we were doing our Wednesday night Bible Study, we read of an account of Paul during his missionary trips. Spoiler alert: nearly every chapter begins with Paul entering a city, going to the Synagogue, preaching the Good News of the Messiah, attracting huge crowds, inspiring the jealousy of the local Jews, and being attacked, jailed or worse. We commented on the amount of faith it would take to keep going in the face of these obstacles. And then we read:

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10

At that moment, I felt that the Lord was speaking to all of us -- believers in the 21st Century. Yes, we may get strange looks, uncomfortable silences, even mean remarks and derision. But it’s unlikely we’ll be chased out of town and beaten, nor hauled off by an angry mob or even dragged before the authorities. If we share our faith on Facebook, some may ‘unfriend’ us. If we share on Twitter, some may tweet back nasty remarks. If we wear a Jesus t-shirt some may be offended. If you read your Bible in the breakroom at work, some might start to avoid you.

But in this world wracked by anxiety, violence, addictions, despair, greed and pride, those are a small price to pay if those simple actions start a conversation that leads to a conversion. We have to keep on speaking. We cannot be silent because the world needs us. This country needs us. Our community needs us. That man at the gas pump needs us. That senior in the checkout line needs us. That frazzled mom needs us. That parent of an addict needs us. That teen contemplating ending it all needs us. Even the mockers and scoffers need us. As Pastor Bill says, ‘We are Plan A, and there is no Plan B.’

As the Holy Spirit moves, let us be awake and aware enough to feel His leading and with the courage of Paul, the faith of Peter and the compassion of Christ, let us speak wonderful words of life into everyone we cross paths with. Remember, He is with us always, even to the end of the age.