Archive | January 2015

There’s Still Time

If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of the Truth Project Bible study yet there’s  good news; you still have time to get in on the study. The 12 week series of lessons are all independent teachings, so if you haven’t attended any of the sessions yet you won’t be lost when you join the group. This amazing study series is being offered Saturday evenings at 6 PM from January through March at 1343 Chirikof Court. If you have questions or need directions please call Nick at 351-5609.

Here’s a little teaser to whet your appetite

Advertisements

Super Duper

Looking for a place out of the cold where you can watch the big game in the company of friends that’s welcoming and alcohol free? We have just the thing for you. Join us this coming Sunday at 4335 Laurel Street for Joy Christian Center’s annual Superbowl Party. Tons of snacks are available to keep you munching all afternoon while you cheer on your favorite team.  Bring a couple of friends to enjoy this fun, free event with you. Contact 349-0255 or info@akjoy.com for more information.

superbowl

Being Mentally Tough

Today’s devotional by Wayde Goodall inspires us to toughen up our minds by getting rid of things that waste time as well as mental and emotional energy. Read on for some fantastic how-to ideas to help you get started.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” – Proverbs 24:10

“Mental toughness is essential to success.” – Vince Lombardi

“Mental toughness is all about improving your mind so that it’s always on your side; not sometimes helping you nor working against you as we all know it’s quite capable of doing.”  – Jim Loehr, The New Toughness Training for Sports

I believe our Creator frequently gives us instruction to: Focus. Make up your mind. Don’t be double-minded. Set goals. Have vision. Stay on track.

We’re all occasionally tempted to give up . . . particularly when we’re going through a stressful time. We might be in a season of life when we’re  experiencing tremendous negative pressures emotionally, physically, or relationally. When going through these times, we need to reach deep inside and decide to persevere. We must decide to fight the battle one more day (or hour). Often we find strength we didn’t know we had when we trust God rather than quitting.

A few thoughts on how we can get our thinking God-focused and under His control:

1. When going through a discouraging or stressful time, slow your thinking down and take time to process.

Ask yourself, “What’s going on? Why is this happening? What is God’s wisdom on this? Who will give me the best advice?”

Even though we might be going through tremendous uncertainty or stress, we can maintain focus. We ask God for help while doing all we can to slow our anxious thinking down. To do this, we need to put our worry on pause and think, go for a walk or a drive, meditate, and not panic.

2. When your mind is stuck, and you don’t know what to do, do something positive and helpful that will move you (even just a little) toward your goal.

You can do something. Sometimes, that could just be getting out of bed and starting.

When my wife and I attended college, we needed to find part-time jobs. I was offered a job in the electronics department of a major department store. I didn’t know how to be a salesman, so I asked the Lord to help me know the products and be good at the work he had provided. I also asked God to help me be transparent and fully honest about the quality of the various TVs and stereos and have the attitude of Jesus. I thought, How would Jesus do this job and how would he treat the customers? I knew he would have absolute integrity, would work hard, would be sensitive to people’s needs, and would be loyal. I made a list of those things and made it my mission to sell like Jesus would. I told the truth, acquired as much knowledge of the various products as I could, worked hard, and served the customers and my employer. I prayed for favor and for God’s help in this new job.

To my surprise, I began selling product . . . lots of product, and making good money . . . while working part time. After a few months of doing that job, I was recognized as one of the company’s top 10 salesmen in the country, and that department store wanted to talk to me about management.

“Work as if everything depended on you: pray as if everything depended on God.”  – Ignatius

We can waste mental and emotional energy by getting stuck in the rut of worry about what might happen to us. Fight the worry. Begin to move in a healthy direction — even if it’s only small steps.

3. Don’t use emotional energy on things you have no ability to control.

Your emotional and mental strength is similar to physical conditioning. Even professional athletes don’t have unlimited energy. They understand how to play their position and not waste energy on things they can’t do.

When working with our family, friends, or others, we know we can’t control people’s behaviors. We can only do our best to help them; however, they ultimately choose what they’re going to do.

4. Don’t waste your mistakes, failures, or sorrows. Look at these life experiences as valuable training and nothing more.

We learn from the past and gain wisdom and perspective from our wrong decisions and from observing the mistakes of others.

If we’re mentally stuck on a mistake, failure, or tragedy, we can become paralyzed. We need to let it go.

The past is just training for the future; it doesn’t define you.

5. Be happy when others do well.

Jealousy, envy, insecurity, and unhealthy competition will sap your mental and emotional energy. Encouragement, giving congratulations, and honoring people who have succeeded will give you energy. Help others win, and many times, it will be reciprocated.

6. Decide (one day at a time) not to complain or criticize.

“The tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18b

Our words have the ability to hurt or to heal. They have the power to make you feel bad or better, and to help others feel wounded or healthy.

Complaining feeds negative emotions. Try to look at the positive. Find the good in yourself, other people, a job, or even pain. When our friends are being critical, point out the good, as you care about them and want them to have good thinking habits.

7. Be you — the person God created you to be.

Many live their lives trying to make people like them. They purchase stuff — cars, homes, clothing, etc. to impress. Some spend money they can’t afford and try to buy their friends. Some try to gain titles or trophies to impress others.

This is a tremendous waste of healthy energy.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Proverbs 29:25

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress others and become content with the person God created you to be. You are unique, gifted, talented, and have God’s favor on your life.

Be yourself — you’ll have a lot more mental energy.

8. Believe that God wants to give you favor.

“A good man obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 12:2

Take time today to tell yourself that God wants to give you favor, blessings, and wisdom. Don’t quit. Keep going. Do what you can, and stop worrying about what you can’t do or don’t have. Be mentally tough, and think about how God can provide and give you favor.”

(c) 2015 Wayde Goodall Used with Permission http://www.northwestu.edu/watchmen/article/mental-toughness/

Who You Are

Today’s devotional by Holley Gerth reminds us it’s not what  you do but who you are that really matters.

 

We can be a career-obsessed culture. Stand around long enough at any gathering where you don’t know everyone and you’ll be asked, “So, what do you do?” Frequently it’s even thefirst question posed when meeting someone. {In case you didn’t know, this is oddly American. Most other cultures don’t start with your job. They start with who you are. Your family. Your friends. What you love.}

Maybe that’s one reason why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do equals who we are. We define ourselves by titles {manager, artist, stay-home-mom} and by the roles that go with them {employee, Etsy shop owner, mother}. Then when something changes {the company closes, the art doesn’t sell, the kids grow up} we despair.

“Who am I now?” we ask.

We also experience a lot of fear if it even seems like that might happen.

“Who would I be without this?” we question.

I thought about this as I drove home the other day from a writing session at a coffee shop. I have a deadline coming up and it’s scaring me silly. Because I’m afraid if I fail then I might have to stop writing and without writing it feels like I might not know who I am.

I whispered a prayer for help and one simple statement flashed into my mind: What you do is not your identity. It’s your assignment.

Oh.

I knew that but somehow it got buried under stacks of “what ifs” and worries. Immediately I could feel my shoulders relax and I let out a big sigh of relief. Because I remembered this too: As long as I’m on earth God will find a way for me to be useful. I saw that in the life of my 93 year-old Grandpa who went home to heaven last summer. I see it in women like Barbara Beskind, a 90 year-old designer for the tech company Ideo. I watch it in the lives of others around me who continue to contribute despite significant alterations in their circumstances.

We usually have one what but over a lifetime the how will change a lot. For example, one woman’s “what” might be encouraging. She might primarily do that for friends in high school, for her team at work in her twenties, for her kids as a mom in her thirties, for her Bible study for her church in her forties, for her classmates when she goes back to school in her fifties, for her employees in her sixties, for her neighbors in her seventies…and so on until God decides it’s time for her to go Home.

None of those are about a job or career…even if they involve a business or specific title. 

Our culture may be work-focused but thankfully God isn’t.

He isn’t like that stranger at a party asking, “So, what do you do?”

Instead He’s posing a far more important question, “Who have I made you?”

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He’ll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life.”

 

(c)2015 Holley Gerth  Used with Permission http://holleygerth.com/good-news-worth-work/

God’s Platinum Credit Card

When a business owner hires an individual to manage his or her company often the manager is given a credit card so that he or she can have the necessary funds at hand to do his or her job. There is, of course, the expectation that the funds are to be utilized for the work of the company as the manager carries out the purposes of the owner. We as Christ Followers have been commissioned by Christ to do the work of the Kingdom of God. To accomplish the work we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit – God’s Platinum Credit Card. We have an amazing, unlimited amount of the power of God available to us to accomplish the work Jesus left for us to do, power to do the works of Jesus and greater works than even these. Click on the arrow below to listen to Sunday’s message by Grace Bolt and learn about using God’s Platinum Credit Card in our Christian walk.

 

 

Sunday’s Bulletin  JCC Bulletin 01-25-15

Living Intentionally

Today’s devotional by Holley Gerth challenges us to pursue with passion those things that are a part of what God has called us to and to set aside those things that distract us from our primary purpose.

“I lay the plate on the table with a flourish. I can hardly wait for my husband to take the first bite. After all, Pad Thai is one of his favorite dishes and I’m so proud of myself for making it at home. He chews and then looks at me with a question mark in his eyes. I know he’s searching for diplomatic words to express what I’m thinking too. I decide to take the poor man out of his misery and admit with a sigh, “It’s not great…it’s just okay.”

When we were first married this meal would have put me into a fit of tears. I would have felt like a failure as a wife and woman. But this evening I laugh a little and add, “Well, I just won’t make it again. We can eat Pad Thai at our favorite restaurants guilt-free because I can’t make it like they do.” My sweet husband just pats my hand and smiles.

As we put away leftovers {LOTS of leftovers} I started thinking about how we all have times in our lives. We try to do something. We think we’ll love it. We may even believe we’ll be great at it. But the moment of reckoning comes and it’s just…okay.

Our society tends to tell us to try to fix the situation by trying harder. But that would be like me saying, “Honey, don’t worry–I’m going to practice my Pad Thai every single night. We won’t eat anything else until it’s perfect.”  That would be crazy talk. And yet we spend years in jobs we don’t love. Shed frustrated tears over tasks that don’t even have to be done. And try to prove ourselves through becoming “good” at things that seem to matter to everyone else when we could care less.

Let’s end the madness. What can we do instead?

If we have something turn out to be “just okay” then it’s time to explore other options…

1) We can ask ourselves: Does this have to be done? For example, I can make zillions of other recipes. I can feed my family just fine without ever making Pad Thai again. If that’s the case, I can {and probably should} simply stop making it. {Hint: If I don’t have to do it, I don’t love it, and I continue to do it anyway then it might be because I want to redeem my hurt pride.}

2) Then we can ask: If it doesn’t have to be done do I still want it to be done?  With the Pad Thai the answer would be, “Yes, we really like this meal and would miss it if we never had it again.”

3) After we determine what’s above we can ask: Then how can it get done? Here are some possible answers…

You can find someone else to do it for you. From now on, my husband and I will happily go to our favorite Thai restaurant on date night. They are amazing at it and one of the secrets of life is being humble enough to say, “Someone else is much better at that than me so I’m going to let them do it.”

You can make peace with you still doing it and it just being okay. Here’s the reality: we can only be really good at a handful of things. Sometimes saying, “good enough” is the best response.

If this is something you are truly, deeply passionate about and are determined to get better at then it’s time to ask for help. For example, I could take a Thai cooking class.

My recommendation as a counselor and life coach to most clients in most situations would be: find a way to let the Pad Thai go. Here’s why: you will spend time, energy and emotion to get better at something that will probably never be more than a step above “okay” anyway. And by doing so, you risk dragging down the things you are truly great at to being “just okay” as well. Researcher Marcus Buckingham did a study with thousands of women and he found that well-being is not usually taken by outright destruction–it’s slowly stolen by distraction.

Stop trying to have a perfectly clean house and instead appreciate that you’re a wonderful mom.

Delegate that excruciating task at work you’re holding onto and instead take on the project that excites you. 

Get off the decorating committee for the women’s ministry and get on the greeter list–even if your mother-in-law doesn’t approve.

You have gifts, strengths and talents only you can offer to this world. Ruthlessly eliminate, delegate or make peace with “good enough” when it comes to everything that’s not at the core of God’s purpose for you.

You have so much to bring to the table, my friend…

And it doesn’t have to be Pad Thai.”

(c) 2015 Holley Gerth Used with Permission http://holleygerth.com/living-intentionally/