Sunday, November 28, 2010
If you've felt a nagging whisper in your soul to raise the bar for Christ, Radical is a must-read. If you've ever wondered how a Savior who asked a rich man to sell everything and give to the poor could reconcile with the idea that more is better, read the book. If you've ever felt a tiny bit guilty about eating well when others are starving, you should! Ha ha... I was just seeing if you're still paying attention. This book tells you, in concrete steps, what to do about that guilt... or what to do if you feel led to do more in service and love. Jesus is counting on us to change the world, and many of us are too busy counting our money.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
May God bless you with a strong capable mind...
Ears to hear only the truth...
Eyes to discern...
A mouth to speak praises to Him...
Shoulders to carry burdens for others less fortunate...
Hands to do God's work...
Feet to stand firm on His promises...
And a heart to love Jesus and others.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
"We were just working in our churches, doing what we do, not even really looking for this. Then God said, 'Buckle your seatbelt. Have I got plans for you.'"
We don't have to be working in churches or creating award-winning music for God to use us in a mighty way. God has plans, amazing plans, for each one of us.
If God whispered, "Have I got plans for you!" in your ear, what would He be talking about? What would that whisper encourage, empower and inspire you to do?
He just whispered it, my friend. Buckle your seatbelt. The ride of your life is about to begin.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This evening (Wed 9/29) Cliff found what we thought was a dead baby rattlesnake in the parking lot by the last curb. When we attempted to remove it to the desert, it reminded us that it was very much alive and upset.
It then proceeded to crawl into the drainspout at the north end of the building. Per Bill's instructions there are 3 cones around the spout. Since several people who work late park out back, please be careful when going to your car, since it was right were one would walk when leaving.
My next thought was, "Good thing I park in the front lot." After returning to my desk after the on-air shift, I read this message:
Thanks to you & Cliff for being alert, as of now the problem has been resolved, I put a hose in the roof drain & the flow of water brought him from hiding in the darkness to being exposed by the light. At that time the forces of darkness & the forces of light collided & I was able to intentionally remove his head. Once again light has triumphed over darkness.
Everyone have a Blessed day.......
In His Service,
Normally, I'd advise prayer as a hedge for any scary issue in your life. But traffic cones and Godly men can help, too.
Friday, September 24, 2010
But in the alley one day, we met gregarious neighbors, Tom and Brenda, whose house backed up to ours. Long story short, Mark and I both were invited to be in their wedding and to this day, four moves later, consider this couple among our dearest friends.
Every once in a while, we would congratulate ourselves on paying off our debt, but we still wondered about that stage of our lives--why things happened the way they did, why we had to leave the house we loved, and so on.
Fast forward to last January. Brenda's brother-in-law hired Mark when he needed a job. If we hadn't known Brenda, we sure wouldn't have known about the job in Arizona that's a great fit for Mark's talents. If Mark hadn't been in Arizona, I would never have been looking for the Christian radio job in Tucson that I started in April. God's ways are not immediately known to us, but I thank Him that he watches out for us.
Mark and I left another house we loved in Georgia. We are wondering about the last two years in Atlanta--what relationships did we make there that will make a difference some day? Will we ever know specifically why we felt called to ministry there? We try to be obedient, but our human nature wants to see a reason why we were there. However, we may not see the big picture until we see Him face to face.
In these times of uncertainty, I am thankful to have a job, and I am thankful that God sets plans in motion years before we ever know our needs.
We have traded a dream house for a worn apartment, but I know that God has a mansion waiting for me. I hope mine backs up to yours.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Remember, for many other religions, you have to earn your way in to a life after death. Jesus bought your admission ticket. No other religious leader died for his followers. Jesus did. The other religious leaders remain in their graves; Jesus conquered death. If you don't believe me, research it.
We remember what happened tomorrow to honor those who have sacrificed their lives to keep our nation free. We remember what happened, knowing that our lives can change in a single moment. We remember what happened so that we appreciate life and laughter and love.
We are not safe. But we have Jesus.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Rod, Elaine and I challenged each other with the question, "If you knew Jesus was coming in the next two years, how would you live your life differently?"
Wow. How do you answer that question?
We certainly would be less complacent, wouldn't we? My dinner companions and I decided to live each day to make a difference. It's easier said than done, but gives me a new sense of purpose. There are many people that need to hear about Jesus before He arrives!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
When I focus on the things I can do (talk, listen, encourage), it helps me focus and be more productive. That feeling of inadequacy though, reminds me to surrender and pray. For instance, someone asked me to do something recently that made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn't anything immoral, illegal or out of bounds, just not something in my experiencce that sounded like a fun way to spend time. What made me feel inadequate was that I didn't have the words to explain in a kind way why I didn't want to do this.
Fortunately, God has put friends (and a smart mom) in my life who talk me through situations like this and give me wise counsel. They then remind me that we don't have to be adequate... we only have to serve the One who is.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Second, I am working with a man from Australia, who loves his country, but after 20 years here, decided to take his citizenship test. Seeing how hard he has studied and how proud he was to pass the test remind me of the gift I received by simply being born here.
Sure, our country has its challenges. But look at the amazing opportunities, the tremendous resources and the terrific people. We are blessed to be Christians first and Americans second. Let's celebrate the gift of democracy and the freedoms to speak, assemble and worship.
God bless America!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
-- E. Merrill Root
We do need a renaissance, a renewal, a revival in our cities, our nation and our world. I'm thankful the experts are saying our economy is in recovery. Let's pray for spiritual awakening to provide hope to the depressed, help to the downtrodden and comfort to the hurting.
Monday, May 24, 2010
- Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I am blessed to have a nearly perfect mother and mother-in-law. My mother is such a good cook she probably thought I'd learn my way around a kitchen by osmosis. So it's a good thing my mother-in-law taught my husband to cook. He has banned me from the kitchen.
The mother I met this week whose only little boy was shot to death by her then-husband had tears in her eyes when she admitted Mother's Day is hard for her. My heart breaks for her.
I must look like a mother, because every year, people start wishing me Happy Mother's Day around the first of May. Some of us are mothers of canines and some of us are mothers without children, but we all had a mother. That's why I can rationalize that we all celebrate tomorrow. We can celebrate the blessing that God created: someone who loves us almost as He does, without conditions and without reservation.
Monday, May 3, 2010
This week, you can hear me on morning radio again! If you live in Arizona, dial in a terrestrial station from 6-9 and listen. If you live out of state, go to www.myflr.org and then where it says, "Find a Station," click on an Arizona city, then scroll down to "Listen online." It's fun to be back on the air in broadcasting ministry. If you want to call in, the number is 1-800-776-1080.
Things are still tough for many people. So I feel blessed to have work in my field. If you are struggling, I want to encourage you to avoid stressing or worrying. God has a plan, and everything will work out. Enjoy your extended vacation. Now you have the time you always wanted. Clear out the clutter. Recycle, throw away, give away. Clean, exercise, read. Enjoy. Praise. Write a letter. Start a blog. Volunteer. Pray. And pray some more.
Friday, March 26, 2010
LA: Brad, how did you come to decide you were an atheist?
BW: Although my parents were Christians, I had never had a personal connection or relationship with God during my childhood. So by the time I got to college and started making decisions for myself, I was 100% of the world.
I took a philosophy class that really made me question what I believed and what I didn't believe for the first time. I spent a lot of time soul searching, but in the end it was a purely intellectual decision for me. I concluded that either the universe and everything in it had always existed, or God has always existed and He made the universe.
I couldn't tangibly prove God...but I could tangibly prove the world. So, I placed my faith in what I could see and touch with my own hands...the world. It was then that I decided to become an atheist.
LA: What led you to start thinking that there may be a real living God?
BW: Fate. All the circumstances and "coincidences" leading up to finding and marrying my wife Sharon was fate. I resisted that conclusion for many years because of the obvious implications; fate would mean that there was a higher power orchestrating events in my life. When I finally accepted fate as a reality, I started to seek that "higher power."
LA: If we know someone who is an atheist, how should we approach him or her about spiritual matters?
BW: Just like there is not one type of Christian, there is not one type of Atheist. What I can tell you is that no canned approach, strategy, or series of arguments will work. Any attempt to convince them of a spiritual realm will be met with resistance. However, if you truly love the person and aren't solely out to "save" them, I have two recommended approaches.
1) Ask them about their beliefs. Ask them why they believe what they believe. Ask them to share with you their life experiences and how their life has led them to their current way of thinking.
The critical part of this approach is to NOT get into a debate, try to change their mind, etc. Don't listen for the perfect angle or opportunity to jump in and share your beliefs. Just listen with love; without judgment or criticism. Be a real friend who cares for them and is available to them...regardless of their beliefs.
It's God's job to convict their hearts and minds. At some point in your relationship, they might ask you about your beliefs. When they do, share just as they have done. But since you listened, they will be more open to hearing from you.
2) Love them without trying to change their mind. Serve them just as Jesus would do. Forgive them quickly when they hurt you. Be the type of person they would admire and respect. Walk the walk. Be real and transparent. Be a worthy representative of "Jesus" to them.
In other words, live your life such that they would recognize a positive difference in you worthy of emulating. It must be real...not a mask of perfection. Then, be ready for them to ask what causes you to be different. Explain your faith and let God take it from there.
LA: That is such good advice. We can follow your recommendations for anyone of little or no faith. How has your life changed since you became a believer?
BW: The biggest change has been my worldview of people and their value. When I was trying to be my own god, other people really didn't matter that much. Life was all about me; my happiness, my success, my glory. I had no mercy or compassion.
Since becoming a believer, I try to see people through God's eyes. I see other people as worthy of my love and attention. I have mercy and compassion for other people... because we have all been hurt and emotionally scarred. I try to love and serve other people. I'm quick to forgive and I treat other people with grace.
In this life, people are ALL that matters. It's been a complete 180 degree change in my life.
LA: Brad, I always thought you were a nice guy. But that really touches my heart. And it gets even better... Tell us about the two ministries you created.
BW: I have started two important ministries that I'm passionate about. The first ministry is Deeper Bible Studies (http://www.deeperbiblestudies.com/). I write and sell bible studies that are all about life changing, life application.
I started this ministry because I recognized a problem with many of the studies currently in the market. Too many Bible studies overwhelm people in their busy lives with lots of reading. They have questions that make no attempt to personalize the reading and they lack accountability. So, people get behind in the reading, cram to catch up, and then do it all over again.
The result is no real change.
My studies offer an alternative. For example, my 1 John study has 5 units to match the 5 chapters in 1 John. The reading for each unit takes less than 5 minutes. I write questions geared to help you personalize and apply the reading to your life. Then, each unit concludes with a "mini" action plan that each participant creates. These action plans are shared with the group and are followed up the next week for accountability.
It's a fresh approach that people really like...and they make a difference in people's lives. That's what makes it worthwhile for me.
My second ministry is called "Changing the Face of Christianity"
(http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/). This is what I feel God has prepared me for and has led me to leave as a legacy of my life.
Non-believers have a highly negative perception of believers...I would know.
All too often, Christians come across as hypocritical, intolerant, anti-gay, intellectually "challenged," prideful, arrogant, judgmental and too political. This perception has been confirmed through research conducted by the Barna group (http://www.barna.org/), and documented in the book titled unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.
This negative perception is a stumbling block for non-believers. With such a negative perception, Christian missionary work, evangelism and outreach efforts to non-believers are met with resistance and contempt.
Our ministry's goal is to change that negative perception and pave the way or "prepare the field" for more palatable and effective evangelism. The change we are seeking is not a cosmetic or marketing/spin type change. Instead we are seeking life transformation in believers.
For every significant negative perception, there are volitional changes we can make to reverse the perception: consistency, openness, acceptance, humility, compassion, grace and unconditional love. Truly living the Christian faith and treating others as Jesus would is the essence of what we're after.
This is the new face of Christianity we seek. By changing our thoughts, actions, and words in accordance to essential Biblical teaching, non-believers will start to see a new face; a face that compels them to want to know the source of the change: Jesus Christ.
Here is the exciting part: IT IS POSSIBLE! Non-believers typically form their opinion and interest in Christianity through only a handful of Christian friends or acquaintances. If we live what we preach and act in accordance to our beliefs...we WILL change the world.
LA: How can people get involved?
1) You can join our cause. Visit http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/ and sign-up to join the movement. We'll keep you informed of upcoming events and practical ways to make a difference in your own circle of influence.
2) We need Champions and Ambassadors to share the vision around the globe.
3) We need leaders and volunteers of all kinds to support the ministry and make it a reality. Email Brad@changingthefaceofchristianity.com with your desire to get involved, and we'll equip you to share the vision and find meaningful ways for you to serve the cause.
4) Sales of deeperbiblestudies.com Bible studies are used to partially fund this ministry, so please order your small group bible studies from our site.
LA: What would you like to add?
We have an abundantly loving, gracious and patient God. I'm humbled every day to think how far away from Him I ran, and how quickly and joyfully he accepted me when I returned to Him.
If we will surrender ourselves to His purposes and will for our lives, He will transform us into Christlikeness and use us to bring glory to His kingdom.
LA: Brad, thank you for sharing your life and your ministries. I am excited to see how God is using you and your talents!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
As a Christian, "Today Could Be the Day" has a different meaning to me. Today could be the day that:
- God has a special surprise planned.
- I lead someone to faith in Jesus!
- I help someone who needs it.
- I grow closer to God.
- I grow more mature and wise in my faith.
- Jesus returns!
And those are all better options. Today could be your day to _________! Fill in the blank... play the Believer game... and win no matter what your numbers are.
The winner always has a program. The loser always has an excuse.
The winner says, "Let me do it for you." The loser says, "That is not my job."
The winner sees an answer for every problem. The loser sees a problem for every answer.
The winner sees a green near every sand trap. The loser sees a sand trap near every green.
The winner says it may be difficult but it is possible. The loser says it may be possible, but it is too difficult."
-- Barbara Johnson from Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms
Monday, March 8, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
"This morning I decided that I needed to get back on my walking schedule. So I bundled up and took off. As I got just to the end of my street I noticed a young woman, who appeared to be by herself, unloading a truck, moving into a house. As I passed I waved and immediately starting thinking of spiritual opportunities. And of course, the obvious physical help it seemed she could use right here and now. I thought of how God, who is always faithful to my prayers (prayed with evangelism on my mind this morning) in that area.
"I continued to walk, thinking that I just got started good, and I really need to take care of my health (before I can take care of others, trying to heed my own counseling words to others). Rationalizing, trying to not feel guilty. So, I walked with purpose and determination, feeling good about disciplining myself toward lowering my cholesterol. At the same time I would not forget about what I might do for this young woman: take her homemade banana bread, welcome her to the neighborhood, invite her to worship services... I made my big loop of several blocks, and as I got close to my street I decided that I would double-back. I said, 'OK God, if she is still there and still unloading furniture, I will need your help to not injure my back,' which was already hurting.
"So, I rounded the corner and headed her way. I could not see if she was still there at first, so I kept walking. Then I could see her standing at the front door, just looking at the sofa, half was in the back of the truck and half on the front porch. I thought, 'OK God, maybe it's not too heavy and we can do this.' Just as I was about one house away, my husband drove up beside me. [He had taken the day off to make some repairs]. I told him what I was about to do, so of course he pulled over, and we went up and met our new neighbor. I held the glass door open out of the their way as they moved the sofa inside.
"I had faith that God would help me, and he sent my husband at just the perfect time. Isn't that cool?"
Thursday, February 25, 2010
1. Olympians don't give up. Despite injuries, falls, personal tragedy, they keep their eyes on the goal. We can keep our eyes on Heaven. And we can never give up on bringing others to Christ.
2. Olympians do whatever it takes. Did you see the stories about cross-training? Skaters work out in the gym and jog. Skiers ride bikes. We need to be cross-disciplined, too. We need to pray, study, attend church--whatever it takes.
3. Olympians support their team. It's not all about the individual; it's also about national pride. Are we supporting our home team? Or are we gossiping, cutting each other down and being critical of ministry efforts? Support your team with encouragement, prayer and love.
4. Olympians sacrifice. The stories about parents giving up everything to provide training for their children get to me. Then the athletes themselves sacrifice their time, their diets and more. What are we giving up for the cause of Christ?
I will never stand on the podium and hear my country's anthem. But I hope to hear something even more special one day: "Well done, good and faithful servant." How about you?
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The VDT has been featured in national TV programs and in magazines, but just in case you haven't heard about it, the "tour" simulates what it's like to suffer from dementia. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to watch three people go through it in person. Wow. One woman broke down crying afterward. Even though she's worked in Long-Term Care communities for years, she said she had no idea that the people she worked with were going through these challenges. This will change the way she works.
What's so great about P.K.'s work is that she believes she is on a mission from God to change the way elders are perceived and treated. And despite her own health challenges, she lets nothing stop her.
There is a family version of the VDT -- if a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent is suffering from dementia, please get a copy of this by going to http://www.secondwind.org/. You will be so much more understanding about what your loved one is going through.
And on another level, what is your mission in life? What issue would you like to change perceptions about? What can you devote your time to make this world better?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
By the same token, those of us brought up in church from Cradle Roll on, heard the Bible stories so early in our formative thoughts, that we sometimes do not realize the spectacular, awesome, amazing events that we take for granted. Specifically, I have been thinking about Jonah being swallowed by a big fish and being spit out without having any digestive juices tear up his skin, his eyes or limbs! I heard a great sermon Sunday from Mark--the story about the men who tore a hole in the roof to get their friend to Jesus. Some discount this, saying the roofs of that time were flimsy, thin and easy to tear. Maybe so, but it still wasn't that easy. There are so many other wonderful stories that only God could've orchestrated. We may rationalize by saying, "God can do anything."
That may be the point. When we need hope, when we need a miracle, when you are being swallowed by unemployment, illness, tragedy... remember that God can do anything. And you've got friends who will do anything to get you to Jesus.
Monday, January 11, 2010
This year, it is "Witness." The tagline is "Walk, Talk, Live the Light." The theme verse is "There came a man, sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man, was coming into the world." John 1:6-9
Yesterday, our preacher talked about what it means to be a witness. He says we have a passive and active witness. I'm eager to see how this challenge will unfold in 2010.
I have a girlfriend who chooses an inspirational theme for herself each year. Two years ago, it was "Be great in 2008!" What is your theme for this year? What is your theme scripture for this year?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
"Who do you lose your temper at?" I asked. (Not great grammar, but that's how it came out.)
"My husband and my kids," she admitted.
"You could get a goldfish to yell at."
"I wouldn't do that to a poor goldfish."
I started laughing at that response. Then she realized what she was saying and started giggling, too.
Goldfish don't have ears, memories, feelings or egos. And they cost a lot less than counseling.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Have you always wanted to speak better or represent your organization better? If so, I can help. For the first time, I’m teaching classes open to the public. Please take a look at the courses and see if any are a good fit for you or friends you know. If you have questions about the class content, ask me. They will be held at The Etiquette School in Cumming. Space is limited, so please register as soon as you can. To see costs and enroll, click here.
Here are thumbnail descriptions:
1. Speak to Success—Basic Presentation Skills—This is hands-on, interactive and fun. I guarantee you will leave a better, more confident speaker. Each participant will leave with a DVD of his or her speeches and feedback. The class runs every Tuesday night from 6-8 pm.
2. Basic Video Production—My award-winning, film-making husband is helping teach this one. Never again be disappointed in your home movies. You will learn behind-the-scenes secrets for making your videos and YouTube posts look more professional. Offered Saturday, January 9 from 1-4 pm.
3. Screen Etiquette—Do you ever wonder why people don't respond to your emails or texts? Maybe it's because you're rude! Learn email, texting and social media manners. Offered from 6-8 pm Monday, January 11.
4. Be a Spokesperson—Do you represent your church, HOA, business or non-profit organization to the media or in public presentations? Learn how to sound smart and look your best on TV. We will also talk about how to get media coverage. This class will run from 6-7 pm on Thursdays, January 21 and 28.
5. Conversation Etiquette—Are you gracious and encouraging? Does your speech reflect who you really are, or do you come off sounding like a jerk? Are you ever at a loss for words? Do you wish you had a phrase for the person who ticks you off? If you are nodding your head, this class is for you! It will be held from 7-8 pm Thursdays, January 21 and 28.
6. Marketing on a Shoestring—This one-evening session features no-cost and low-cost ways to make big bucks without spending dramatic dollars. It’s ideal for small business owners, non-profit leaders and anyone who needs to get the word out about a good cause. Attend January 25 from 6-8 pm.
Thank you for enrolling and thanks for passing the news along to others who may benefit from these practical classes! If you're still reading and don't live in the Atlanta area, contact me to bring these courses to your neck of the woods!