Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolutions into Realities

"I am going to lose thirty pounds this year; I know I said that last year but this year I really mean it.  I. Am. Going. To. Do. It."  My sweet friend pounded the table for emphasis with each word of the last sentence.

Across the table from her another friend of mine spoke up, "This year I am going to read the entire bible all the way through.  I have always wanted to do it but never seem to make it through the Old Testament."

"My New Year's resolution is to work on my marriage more.  I want us to have a date night once a week where we just focus on us and not the kids, the bills, or the problems in the world."  Her voice was heavy with regret and feelings like their rocky road their marriage had taken last year could have been avoided if they would have spent more time together.

As I sat there and listened to each of my friends share their promises and hopes for what the New Year would bring to them- I could not help but notice that they all had one thing in common.  Each of their resolutions involved a commitment of time.

Getting healthy required setting aside time to exercise as well as planning and cooking healthy meals.  Reading the entire bible in a year meant a daily commitment to carving out time to set down and open God's word and learn about his truth. The best way to improve a neglected relationship is to nurture it with time and attention.

Change requires commitment and the biggest area that you need to be willing to commit yourself is in managing your time better.  We each are given the same 24 hours in each day and it is our choice to use it wisely or waste it away.

So many of us each new year with the greatest of intentions.  However, intentions are not enough to turn resolutions into realities.  If you want to see change in your life, your body, your faith, or your relationships it takes more than intention -- it requires investment.

You may have made poor investments of your time in the past; however, there is one truth about time that is powerful and consistent: The mistakes we made in our past by using our time poorly can often be corrected by choosing to invest our time in the future more wisely.

 Ask God to guide you in the wisdom of what things need your time and attention daily and which are tools that the enemy uses to distract and detour you from your purpose and potential. Be ever mindful that the story you write this year  will be authored by the choices you make investing each moment you are given.   Time is God's gift to you- what you do with it is your gift to God.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


By Kim Goad
“I’d be very careful of associating with her; she’s very needy.”
I was shocked. This comment, said with a hint of ominous warning and raised brow, was from a mature Christian in a church leadership role. Not only that, but she was talking about a woman with an abusive past who was bravely seeking healing in Christian community.
My friend’s comment tapped into one of my own fears. Had others viewed me as needy when I sought their presence, encouragement and prayers during my own times of crises?
The fear of being needy will keep a husband glued to the pew even when he knows elders are willing to pray with him. The fear of being needy will cause a son to cut himself night after night while his parents sleep in the next room. The fear of being needy will prompt a teenager to purge her feelings into a toilet rather than to her youth minister.
How many people are suffering silently so as not to appear needy? Even King David wrote, “I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me . . . I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.”
What courage it takes to admit neediness. To say, I’m scared. Or, I’m lonely. Or, I need to know that when you say you’re praying for me, you’re really praying for me.
But there is an upside to being needy.Francis Chan wrote, “If you have not known and experienced God in ways you cannot deny, I would suggest that you are not living in a needy and dependent way.” And when others scorned him, King David focused his attention on the very Lord who, he wrote, “stands at the right hand of the needy.” When you are so needy that others can’t or won’t meet your needs, it is then that you get to experience the undeniable power of Christ to meet your needs.
Jesus looked at the paralyzed man lowered through the roof, and the woman who’d been bleeding for twelve years, and the grieving widow who had just lost her only son, and the woman caught in adultery and rather than say Sorry, you’re too needy, he comforted them. Friend, your sins are forgiven. Daughter, your faith has healed you. Don’t cry. Go and sin no more.
He has comforted us so that we can carry each other’s burdens, so that we can pay it forward. The truth is we have all been needy. And, at just the right time-when we were still powerless-Christ died for us.
It doesn’t get any needier than that.
Kim Goad, MS,is an author, speaker, consultant, and therapist. She is coauthor of One Girl Can Change the World and Inked: Choosing God’s Mark to Transform Your Life. Find her online at and on Twitter at @InkedbyGod.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This Year, Stop Leading!

By Lesa Engelthaler

As we exited the church building one friend said, “I am done with women’s ministry.” Another one replied, “And I will never attend a book club again.” To say the least, the meeting had not gone well.

For the past decade I had facilitated a successful women’s mentoring ministry for our church. As the church grew, however, my team and I struggled to accommodate the demand. Deeming one woman worthy to impart wisdom over another to the next generation made us uncomfortable. We felt there must be a less top-down model.

The initiative we proposed at the “meeting-from-the-dark-side” that evening was to be the new grand idea. We were mistaken. As I slid my weary soul into the driver’s seat of my Camry, I couldn’t have agreed more with my friends. We decided to shut down the mentoring program.

Two long years later I was given David Benner’s Sacred Companions. “Freeing” does not begin to describe how I felt about Benner’s thoughts. I lent the book to what was left of our program team. They loved it. Wary of anything with “mentoring” in the title, we advertised a gathering for women interested in deeper friendships.

For me, the huge difference between Benner and other philosophies of mentoring were found in two of Benner’s statements:

1.    “Spiritual friends help us most when they make clear that their job is to point the way, not to lead the way. And the Way to which they should point is Jesus.” This had bothered me for years—I can hardly lead myself, much less someone else.

2.    “An equally important temptation for those seeking to offer spiritual friendship is to assume that one’s own route is best for others.” I had done this very thing—advised a young woman that the (I think I said only) way to be with the Almighty was in the morning. . . in a house. . . in a chair. . . with her Bible and prayer journal. Benner argues that to dictate a specific path to God is like giving a map of one’s own creation. He calls it idolatry.

Taking my cue from Benner, I’ve begun to ask two questions which launch deeper conversations: How has God been present for you in recent weeks? When did God seem to be absent?

One woman who participated in our first gathering (and declared she could never ask “those kinds of questions”) stopped me in church a few Sundays ago. She had invited a neighbor to meet with her this coming year. I’m getting together with three gals starting this month.

Care to join us? Ask a coworker or gather a few friends for a cup of coffee and open with Benner’s questions. No predetermined roadmap required. Just point them, and yourself, to Jesus.

2013 might be our best mentoring year ever.

Lesa Engelthaler lives in Dallas, Texas, where she works for Victory Search Group as an executive recruiter for nonprofits. She serves on the board of Synergy Women’s Network and is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Follow her on Twitter at @lengelthaler or friend her on Facebook. Lesa also highly recommends Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself.