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Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Prov. 4:23, GNT) Your Thoughts Matter! Did you know your beliefs unconsciously direct you in your moment-by-moment choices and actions? What you believe drives your viewpoint and your mindset in every situation. That means your beliefs actually become self-fulfilling prophecies in your life. Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the "Pygmalion effect," a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. This fictional story shows how self-perception, who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life. We behave according to who we believe we should be. So what do we do when we face a difficult situation and can see no positive side to the issue? There is no way you or I can predict the challenges we will face in our lives, and usually our priorities will change as we go on. But just as we shape our lives with our thoughts, our reactions to those challenges can alter the outcome. If your thoughts are holding you back, or negatively affecting your relationship with someone else, then it's time to reframe. When you reframe, you change your perspective on how you...

Forgiveness is one of the greatest lessons that Jesus taught. In fact, He lived and died for our forgiveness and so we could learn the importance of forgiving. When someone hurts us in some way, intentionally or unintentionally, the act causes pain, frustration, and even anger to take root in our lives. Those feelings can take over if we are not careful, spreading to other relationships and even affecting how we function on a daily basis. Jesus wanted each of His followers to know that opening the door to negative emotions would ultimately interfere with their relationship with Him! So What Is Forgiveness? In order to understand why forgiveness is so important we must first understand what forgiveness is. Forgiveness means you've acknowledged the hurt or injustice you’ve faced and you are ready to let it go. According to Psychology Today, “Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger toward others to eat away at us.” Forgiveness is not something you are doing for someone else, you are forgiving for your own peace of mind and for your relationship with Jesus. When you hold on to the hurt and anger, you...

As we celebrated Father’s Day this past weekend, I thought a lot about my father and the lessons I learned from him as I was growing. My dad was a warm, affirming father. He supported my call to ministry, and I feel incredibly blessed to have learned my leadership basics by watching how he lived his life. He gave his all to his God, his family, and his ministry. He loved his work so much that he worked full time as pastor until his eightieth birthday! In his retirement, as pastor emeritus, he continued to go to work every day to serve the church he loved so much. His personal mission to build that church continued to give him boundless energy and enthusiasm until he went to heaven at age eighty-six. All of us have role models and mentors we learn from. Some are formal relationships, some are friendships, some of us are blessed to grow alongside amazing, God-ordained leaders. Dad was a great leader, and I want to share with you a few of the lessons I learned by watching him. Lessons I still live by today. Never limit God’s influence in your life and ministry. We do this. We do this...

My granddaughter Israel (Izzy) just recently graduated from kindergarten. When I watched my kids hit milestones, it gave me a feeling that is hard to describe. Joy, happiness, wonder, and thankfulness all tied together to form an emotion that grabbed me by the throat. Now I get the pleasure of doing the same with my grandkids, and I have to say it is a different experience. All of those emotions are still there, but it seems richer somehow. I feel this sense of honor and gratitude at the legacy God is creating out of my life. I see the continuation of the legacy built by my mother and my grandmother and her grandmother before her. Izzy is more than just my granddaughter. She is a glorious, wonderful creation of God. She is a leader, an innovator, and she already has such a heart for the Lord. There is power and intelligence in that girl that fills my heart to overflowing. As she graduated from kindergarten, I was reminded that God has wrought a miracle in her. She is going to change lives. She is going to lead in her own way. She is going to step out in faith and do...

I want to talk to you for a minute about how important teamwork is in our lives. We live in a society where the person on top is considered the “winner.” Unfortunately, that attitude is not biblical, and it doesn’t reflect what actually happens to create that “winner.” When I read about leadership (all of us are leaders in some area of our lives), most books and articles narrowly focus on the leader as an individual, neglecting the role of teams, collaboration, and partnership. This individual focus may or may not serve as an effective approach within business organizations (none of us is an island), but I think it is particularly ill-suited in the context of church leadership and in our daily lives—where teamwork is essential Your Teams What kind of teams do you have in your life? A team can be any collection of people who have come together for some common reason (even just two!). Your family is a team. You may have a work group, small group, book club, or parents group that functions as a team. How do the people in those teams work together? Does the leader (you or another) work alone? I hope not! When teams are functioning...

“Get out of bed Robyn! For heaven’s sake, why are you still in that bed? This is the third time I’ve called you, and it’s the last time. If you don’t get up, I’m coming in there to get you up myself!”  I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was get up early and go, so in my whiny voice I answered, “Mom, why won’t you just leave me alone? I don’t want to go!”  As the sleep fell away from my consciousness, I struggled to sit up and pull myself out of bed. This time, I shouted down the hall so she could hear me, “Hey Mom here’s a question. Why do I have to go church again?” Before I could get to my feet, my little, five-foot Norwegian mom bounded into my room, laughing, and roared at me, “Because you’re the pastor! That’s why! Now get ready!” Mom was visiting us in Miami, and I was late for church.   Moms never stop being moms. You can be 50 years old and your mother will still ask if you are eating right, are you getting enough sleep, and she will still tell you what to do when you are in the same place together. God bless Mom! We need...

Imagine His pain. The heavy wooden beam of the cross hung across His lacerated and bleeding shoulders as the procession of the condemned Christ and His executioners began its slow journey from the Roman jail to His crucifixion site. The path snaked through the city and up the hill, an impossible journey for a wounded man with such a heavy burden. With enormous blood loss and in shock, Jesus stumbled and fell. When they arrived at Golgotha, the beam was placed on the ground and Jesus was thrown backward on top of it. His entire body pressed against the wooden stake. The soldiers stretched His arms out against the cross beam. The Roman soldier with the hammer grabbed His arm and dug into Jesus' wrist to locate the depression at the top of His hand. Once the executioner was satisfied he had found the spot, he drove a heavy, square, wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood, ignoring the screams of pain. He moved to the other side and repeated the action. He Took Our Sin Imagine Jesus, turning His head toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it. Imagine Jesus seeing the mallet, the nail, and...

This is Your Year to Thrive! As a woman, you need to have a strong sense of mission in every part of your life. Being an excellent mother requires a commitment to mission. Staying married when our culture gives permission to give up on family solidarity necessitates personal mission. Persevering in your calling will demand that your mission is crystal clear to you. God created a mission for you to help you flourish and thrive. Knowing your mission, keeping it at the forefront of your life, enables you to push yourself to the edge of your capacity, and then farther. Without meaning, work is an endurance test between vacations. With mission comes a sense of meaning that makes any job a calling. Deploying your greatest strengths into the achievement of a meaningful purpose brings the energy you need to break through everyday goals, opening your life to long-lasting, sustainable happiness and satisfaction. Do you know your mission? Do you have a dream given to you by God? Commit to your dream today! The way to do that is by setting goals. Goals are dreams with deadlines. So how do you start? By being specific. The clearer and more vividly you visualize a goal,...

What situation in your life could benefit from forward movement if you were willing to open your mind?   Your beliefs unconsciously direct you in your moment-by-moment choices and actions. It's true! What you believe drives your viewpoint and your mindset in every situation. That means your beliefs actually become self-fulfilling prophecies in your life. Your beliefs shape your perceptions, your perceptions define your experience, and you find meaning in your life from your experiences. This process is often called a "Self-fulfilling Prophecy."   Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the “Pygmalion effect,” a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. In the story, Professor Henry Higgins won a bet to prove his opinion that nurture was more powerful than nature. To make his case, he located a crude, unrefined young woman named Eliza Doolittle. With his coaching, she transformed from a street urchin to a charming, enchanting beauty. The fictional story presents how our self-perception, or who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life. We behave according to who we believe we should be. Not only does what we believe about ourselves impact our destiny, what we believe about others affects their...

Change Your Thinking for a Better You! How you think, your choice of focusing on the positive or the negative, actually affects the way your body and your brain works. The more you focus on positive things, the more likely you are to enjoy a sense of well-being, and positive thinking brings positive responses in your body that boost your mood and diminish stress. According to recent studies on its effect on our bodies, positive thinking boosts immunity, improves heart health, fights stress, increases resilience, helps us tolerate pain, prevents hypertension, and even extends lifespan. One well-know study, The Nun Study, looked at the impact of positive emotions and attitude on longevity and well-being and showed that there is a direct relationship between being positive and longevity. Another study focused on  individuals who have lived to 100 years-of-age or more, looking for reasons they enjoy such a long lifespan. Lynn Peters-Adler, a contributor to Forbes writes: “Almost all of the centenarians we spoke to believe a positive yet realistic attitude is critical throughout one’s life and described themselves as optimistic people.” Even more exciting, scientists have shown that positive thinking actually protects us! Alex Dranovsky and E. David Leonardo neuroscientists who are studying how positivity impacts the brain, state, “Stimulating...