Principle of Increase

When everything around you seems unsettled, and old foundations, once-sturdy, have given way to more invisible calls for faith…

As familiar faces and customary graces distance themselves, each for reasons of their own – each creating their own sense of short-term grief or longing…

I pray that you will experience a fresh rush of God’s Spirit – manifesting Himself powerfully, touching your heart tenderly, transforming you beautifully, reminding you faithfully that you are never truly alone. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

river

God often speaks with an inside voice.

In fact, that’s His preferred method of communication.

Quiet.

Still.

Small.

It requires that you listen carefully, and in great faith.

Of course, there are different kinds of inside voices.  [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Gazing

Hold.

Such an ordinary, blue-collar word.

Industrial strength, geared for protection and defense, holding commands attention – not by rising to dizzying new heights of adventure or romance, but by remaining ruthlessly still…

Safe…

Steady.

Boring? Only when, in your desperation for a change, any change will do.

Oppressive? Only when you think the grass is greener somewhere else and you can’t get there.

Holding is a sign that somewhere there is someone or something that is stronger than you are – at least for the moment. You may be held back by your fears. Or held safely by that seat belt and airbag. Or held in the arms of someone who can comfort your heart.

But sooner or later fears subside. Belts are unbuckled. And people, however well-meaning, let go.

But there are everlasting arms and an all-powerful Strength that promises to hold you in love and peace long after all other sources are exhausted or used up.  [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

businessman or writer, making notes in his diary notebook

Marvin and Dick were brothers and business partners.  Best friends too, if my suspicions were correct.  Well into their retirement when I first got to know them, I caught them both together one afternoon when Dick was in the hospital. There Marvin was perched in a chair beside his bed and they were visiting.

“Come on in,” Marvin said.  “We’re closing the books for the day.”

Turns out, through all their years in business together, every day at 5:00, the two would get together and evaluate the day’s business and plan for the next.  They called it “closing the books.”  This had become such a habit, when they entered their retirement years, they kept the practice going.

I’m pretty sure a cup of coffee was involved.  But regardless, day in, day out, every day at 5:00, these two men would meet together and “close the books.”  Even if one of them was in the hospital.

How about you?  Do you have a way to “close the books” on your day? [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Friends

Did you know that a golf ball has a sweet spot? The next time you tee one up, position it so that you’re hitting the label… hopefully with the sweet spot of your driver.

Did you know that a Christian life has a sweet spot too?

I have made many discoveries over the years, and many of them have been impactful. But this is one of the most important, powerful, and life-changing principles I have ever made in 40-plus years of being a Christian. This is going to sound a little over-the-top, but if you master this one principle, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking.

On a broader scale, if the people you worship and fellowship with could really get this as a church, there is no limit to the influence you display.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

It may explain why you may have a lot of money or no money and not be affected one way or another in terms of your happiness or joy.

Discovering and practicing this one simple (didn’t say “easy”) idea can give you a shortcut to solving problems, healing relationships, and moving forward in every single area of your life.

Interested?

At least curious?

Okay, check back tomorrow.

Just kidding. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Edge of a Cliff

(Fumes, Form and Fashion, Part 4)

Phillip and Amanda are an item. Second marriage for him, first for her. Two kids together. Christians.  Raising the family. Paying the bills. Doing life.

And they’re both exhausted.  It’s more a case of life doing them.

Phillip, as mentioned here, is nearing 40 and finds himself yearning for a return to more structure and discipline that kept him in shape, both spiritually and physically.

Amanda, as mentioned here finds herself choking emotionally and desperate for some sort of life-energizing change.

They each have a sincere faith in God and are committed to each other.  They each are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.

They need to hear the voice of God in a fresh way.

They both, but especially Phillip, need to go back to the basics.

They both, but especially Amanda, need a change in scenery, starting with that internal scenery we call vision.

And they both are on the cusp of something new and exciting.

And unbearably stupid. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Color abstract background with birds and flower and  blue eye.(Fumes, Form, and Fashion, Part 3)

Suffocating.  That’s how Amanda describes it. No, the office walls aren’t literally closing in on her. She isn’t fighting with anyone at work, home, or anywhere else. In fact, everything is really calm.  Predictable. Safe.  Consistent.

Or, to hear Amanda describe it, boring, ritualistic, depressing.  Yes, suffocating.

Everything on the outside speaks of steady in an unsteady world. But something inside the 33-year-old wife, mother, and loan processor at the local bank is screaming for something new. Different.  Something alive.

Amanda needs renewal.

What she may not realize is that with the urge to resurge, she’s standing at a dangerous fork in the road.  More on that in a minute. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Geese Fog

The day was cold.

Cold and foggy.

Cold and foggy and damp and dreary and what in God’s name was I doing out in it?

Walking, that’s what.

Walking and praying.

Praying and walking.

And I didn’t care about how cold or foggy it was because on this day I was desperate and yearning for an audience with – and a word from – God.

Anyway, I had a jacket.

It was one of the last times that I walked the 20-acre boundary of the church I had planted. And on this day the cold heaviness of the West Texas air was only exceeded by the cold heaviness in my spirit.

I got about halfway down the fence row, asking the Lord to speak to my heart. I so desperately wanted to hear His voice.

What I heard instead was the honking of the geese overhead.

Listening for God, I could only hear the dissonant, grating sound of geese. Can you relate?

Looking up, there was no way to see them, the fog was so heavy and low-hanging. But I could sure hear them.

I laughed to myself because of a recent conversation I’d had with my wife. She hates the sound of geese.

Eventually I did see them in the mist – surprisingly lower than I had imagined. And they were dealing with the same fog I was dealing with. Nevertheless, they flew in perfect formation, in a straight line.

And that’s how the Lord spoke. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Senior

Hello, this is Carl.

Hi Carl. A mutual friend gave me your card. Is this a good time to talk?

Sure. How can I help?

Well, I’m not sure if you can. The card says “Criticism Coach.”

Yep. That’s me.

I gotta be honest. I’ve never heard of a criticism coach.

Neither had I until the day I decided the world needed one.

So you just sort of made this up?

Well, I formalized the idea a couple of years ago. But I’ve been criticoaching for years.

Criticoaching?

Yeah, that’s my shorthand term for it. I did make that up.

What is a Criticism Coach?

So at the risk of asking a dumb question, what’s a criticism coach? [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Broken Bread

Imagine with me.

You’re an actor, and your dream is to land a role on the Ultimate Stage – a place where your talent can be on display for the entire world to sit up and take notice. A role that can lead to even bigger and better things. You don’t have to be the star. You just want to be able to show your star power.

The script: Interesting. It’s a modern retelling of a famous scene from the Bible – the time when Jesus fed about 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish.

You’ve been summoned to a callback audition and informed you have a spot in the play. That’s all you know.

Can you imagine the excitement? The anticipation you’re feeling? This is what you have dreamed for, wished for, prayed for, and endured a lot of questions and unhelpful go-be-a-teacher suggestions for.

You. Are. Going. To. Broadway. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }