Category Archives: Coaching

Are You a Servant – Or a Son?

Many times, we hear Christians talk about how they “serve the Lord”.  We also hear that when we become Christians, we must not only make Jesus our Savior, but also our Lord, which is another way of saying “Master”.  At the same time, we also believe that we are children of God.  So which is it – are we servants, or sons?

Galatians 4:4-6 answers this question for us:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

As Christians, it’s time that we stop being double-minded.  Are we sons and daughters of God, or are we servants?  Have we already received God’s abundance of grace (Romans 5:17), or do we have to continually work to deserve good things from Him?  What kind of Father do we think we have?   Is He a good Father who takes great pleasure in giving us good things?  Or is He a harsh and stern Father who wants us to suffer “for our own good”?  It’s time to settle this in our minds once and for all – after all, how can we ever make a difference in the world when we are not even sure of our relationship with the One who has created us to make a difference?

The Bible refers to us as God’s “little children” (I John 5:21, Galatians 4:19, I John 2:12, I John 3:7, I John 3:18, Matthew 18:3).  Little children are not supposed to serve their parents. The job of parents is to serve their little children.  In fact, my husband and I just spent two days looking after our 20-month old grandson Noah, and believe me, not once did he bring me a glass of water, fluff my pillow for me, or rub my feet.  But, I did do all of those things for him!

Jesus did not come to Earth, die and be raised from the dead so that we could serve Him.  He came so that He might serve us. (Mark 10:45)

Why does this matter anyway?  Because someone who is a son can expect quite different outcomes from a person than someone who is a servant.  When a servant does wrong, she can expect to have something withheld, or even worse, experience punishment.  The child of a Good Parent, on the other hand, could expect to be gently corrected when she does wrong, but would never be concerned about losing her position in the family.

That is what grace is all about, after all.  The pure, unadulterated gospel is completely about God’s grace given to us, through his Son Jesus.

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24, NKJV)

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7)

These scriptures make it clear that the gospel is grace, that grace is Jesus, and the gospel is all about Jesus!  The true gospel of Jesus declares that God is not mad at you.  He has given you blessing, favor and goodness that you did not deserve, do not deserve, and will never deserve.  He has freed you from the requirements that say you must earn goodness. Jesus paid for all of it already.  Because of this, you are now a bonafide child of God.  Accept your true position as a daughter of the King, and expect good things from your great Father!

 

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Do You Qualify for Greatness?

Have you ever disqualified yourself from doing great things because you believe that you are not worthy of God using you? I believe that some of today’s religious teachings have actually held us back from doing great things, too often because we don’t feel that we have earned God’s approval.

Here’s what I mean…I can’t tell you over the years how many talented and gifted people I have seen rotate through the revolving doors of church. One minute you see them in church every time the doors are opened, and then suddenly, they become MIA for weeks and months on end. Do you know people like that?

Religion is quick to blame that person, labeling them as “uncommitted” or “backslidden”. The fact is, however, that many of these people are so hungry to live in harmony with God, and to live out their God-given purpose.

So, where have things gone wrong?

In my opinion, one reason we see people giving up – on God AND on church – is because we have a wrong perception about what it means to be “righteous”. We have believed that God is pleased with us only when we behave in a righteous manner. On the other hand, when we sin, we often believe that we are at risk of losing God’s stamp of approval.  This causes so many people to believe that they could never be qualified by God to do anything of significance.  Hence, they give up on themselves, on God, and on their dreams.

Romans 4:22-24 says, “And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (NLT)

To be honest with you, in the past, I just plain ole’ didn’t understand this scripture. In my mind, I asked, “God, how in the world could you have counted Abraham as righteous, and by the way, make him so successful? This guy disobeyed you on more than one occasion, and then lied about his wife being his sister – not once, but twice!”

But now I see it…

Abraham was not deemed righteous because he had a stellar behavioral track record. He was considered righteous because he BELIEVED in the God who is connected to Jesus. Period.

The Greek word for “righteous” is “dikaiosýnē”, which means “the approval of God”, or ”divine approval”. As verse 24 promises, you too are considered righteous before God if you simply believe in Jesus. By no means am I saying that sin is okay – it’s not. But our sin does not disqualify us from God’s love, support or blessing.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19, NKJV).

By Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, you have been MADE righteous. No person or no act of sin can take that away from you. You have God’s stamp of approval. He has qualified you to accomplish great things. So have confidence that you can do anything, with Him on your side!

The Courage to Take Risks

What is your life purpose? Chances are that no matter what your dream is – whether it is starting your own business, going back to school to begin a new career, or starting a ministry, going after your dreams will require a key ingredient …risk!

It would nice if we were able to experience great change without risk. But the fact is, very rarely do we reach our life purpose without risk being a part of the picture. And, risk, my friend, takes great courage!

Esther, a courageous woman of the Bible, found herself in a precarious position that demanded her to take a great risk. During Esther’s reign as queen of a region, she uncovered an evil man’s scheme to annihilate the Jewish people.

Esther realized that as queen, she was the only person who had any chance of influencing the king to change the decree, allowing her people to live. However, there was one small catch; the law stated that anyone who dared to go before the king without his consent would instantly be killed – and that included the queen!

Esther had two choices: She could continue on with “life as usual”. After all, she must have thought, she was the queen – surely the king would spare her life! She could choose to mind her own business, and continue to live “the good life”.

But Esther realized something…that her life purpose was to do something to stop this horrendous event from occurring. She understood that to save her people, it would require risk on her part to make it happen. After praying, she received a plan from God, and shared it with her uncle. She proclaimed, “I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.” (Esther 4:16)

Wow! What powerful words!

What do you want to accomplish that might require great courage and risk? Unlike Esther, you probably won’t have to risk your life (thankfully!). But you just might have to risk:

  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Ridicule
  • Embarrassment
  • Loss
  • Comfort

Do you have what it takes to create change and live out your purpose? Ask yourself these coaching questions:

  • What is your life purpose?
  • What risks might you face in order to bring about this change?
  • Are you willing to move outside of your comfort zone to bring about change? It’s okay to be honest.
  • Create a plan that will bring about the change you want. Remember, if your plan does not involve risk or discomfort, then your goal may not be big enough!
  • Like Esther, share your plan with someone. Ask them to help hold you accountable for results.

Less “God”, More “Jesus”

Easter is just around the corner, and for many Christians, this is one of the most special weeks of the year.

In just about any church you walk into this week, you will hear the pastor talking about Jesus. In fact, this is the week when you’ll probably hear Christians talk about Jesus more than ever. However I’m willing to bet that once Easter passes, we will hear His name mentioned less in the pulpits – and from Christians on the street – at least until Christmas rolls around again.

Here’s my point: I think that we talk too much about “God”, and not about “Jesus”.

You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? They are one in the same, aren’t they?” The answer to that is yes, of course…but unfortunately, the subject of god is not so simple anymore.

A person’s image of “god” can be so very different, depending on who we ask. Some people believe that god is in the trees and every part of nature. Some see god as this Invisible Force that has little or nothing to do with our everyday lives. Others see God as some Mean Guy from above who is waiting to punish us every time we mess up. And many Christians still see God as the One who spoke from the top of Mount Sinai – blessing us when we do right, and punishing us when we do wrong.

It’s like walking into a room full of people and shouting out, “Hey You!” Not only would that be annoying to most in the room, but it would also leave everyone confused as to whom you are referring to. Referring to God as simply “God” can sometimes be seen in the same way. It not only runs the risk of sounding generic, but can also conjure up such a wide range of opinions and emotions from others – some that are positive, and others not so good.

Jesus is a very specific person. He is the Son of God, who came to this earth in order to purchase something for us that we could never purchase for ourselves…total forgiveness, total love, and an eternal future with Him. His name is so powerful that the mention of it alone breaks addictions, brings healing and changes any circumstance.

I believe that as Christians, it’s time that we stop talking so much about “God”, and start talking more about Jesus. Jesus came to demonstrate to us that God is not distant from us. Jesus came to let us know that God’s not mad at us. And Jesus came to bring a fulfilling life to anyone who believes in Him.

And here’s the best news of all…Jesus loves you too, even if you are not a Christian. He wants you to know Him, and He wants to share His life with you. Don’t judge Him based on what you have heard or seen from others. Judge Him based on what you come to learn from Him personally. If you want to know Him, just say to Him:

“Jesus, I believe that you came to this earth to purchase my forgiveness. Thank you for paying the price for my sin, and for forgiving me of every wrong I have ever done, am doing right now, and will ever do. Because you paid the price for me, I am in good standing with God. Thanks for being my friend, and I look forward to our new and amazing relationship that starts today.”

Stepping Off The Hamster Wheel of Performance

Society has taught us that with enough hard work and determination, we can accomplish any dream or goal that we set our minds to. Although this is true to an extent, I believe that there must be more to success than simply hard work. I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who have sacrificed much energy, money, time and effort, but sadly never quite saw their dreams materialize.

We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. Because the spirit is the “quieter” part of our being, it can often get overtaken by the body and soul (mind, will, emotions), which are often much louder and more demanding! As a result, our emotions, along with the need to “do, do, do” can drive us into a cycle of activity, thinking that being busy will create results.

Unfortunately, religion often teaches us the same thing. We have been taught that in order to get God to do something for us, that we must first work hard for His approval. You’ve heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? Although many live by this principle, it can be found nowhere in the Bible.  Actually, it’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin.

We have been taught through religion, however, that we must “help ourselves” before we can expect help from Above. Perhaps that means that we need to read our Bible or pray more. Or maybe we need to go on an extended fast. Or perhaps we need to be nice to seven people in a single day in order to get God to pay attention to what we need.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are wonderful to do, and are something that we in fact ought to be doing. We do these things because we desire to do them, for our spiritual growth and benefit. We cannot do these things in order to compel God to be good to us. The Bible calls these things “works”. Galatians 2:16 says,

”Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

In simple terms, we are told here that no amount of self-effort can ever validate us before God. Only our belief in Jesus gains us approval from God.  In other words, God is not good because WE are good.  God is good because HE is good!

In fact, Hebrews 4 tells us that it is God’s desire that we be diligent to enter into a place of rest. This resting means that we are not working to gain God’s approval, but we rest in the fact that He loves us, and that He will take care of all we need – which includes guiding us to our dreams and life purpose.

So the next time you find yourself running on that hamster wheel, ask yourself these two questions:

– Is my mind at rest, trusting that Jesus loves me and will get me to my destination?
– Is my hard work based on what I’m hearing from God, not from my own self-effort?

If so, keep on moving toward your dream! If not, it may be time to simply step away from the wheel…

Pet Hamster Holding A Blank  Sign

Getting To The Core Of Relationship

You want to know your life purpose. But what do you need that will help you to reveal what that is?

The fundamental answer lies in relationship. Your relationships determine how you see yourself, your life, and where you are headed in the future.

When we think of relationship, we think of how we get along with our family, co-workers and friends. But there is so much more to consider.

Relationship exists on three different levels:

  1. Your relationship with God. How do you see God, and how do you believe He sees you?
  2. Your relationship with yourself.       How do you see yourself?       How do you speak to and treat yourself?
  3. Your relationship with others. How do you treat others? How do others treat you?

These three levels of relationship are like the parts of an apple: the core, the meat and the skin:

The core of the apple is like to the spiritual level of relationships. Just as the core is connected to the branch of a tree, you have the ability to be connected to something (Someone) bigger than yourself. This connection allows you to be so much more than what you could from trying to make it on your own.

As this life-giving truth becomes a part of your consciousness, you will begin value and appreciate yourself at a deeper level. Just as the meaty part of the apple is refreshing and sweet, you now are able to fully recognize and enjoy your unique God-given abilities, skills and qualities. You come to understand that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and gain a greater respect and peace with self.

When you are able to live in a place of self-respect and self-love, you naturally become irresistibly attractive to others. The beautiful shine of an apple is so attractive. Once you truly value yourself as God values you, like the skin of an apple, others will see your shine, drawing them to you. This attraction empowers you to make a real difference in the world, and allows you to fulfill your life purpose.

Your relationship with God determines how you see yourself. Your relationship with self determines how others see you. In this beautiful flow of relationship, your life purpose can then blossom and be a blessing to others.

“What’s God Got To Do With My Purpose?”

God has an important message for you.  And I believe that it’s a message that can change the landscape of your entire life.

I’ve met many people who long to understand what they are on this planet to do.  But for many reasons, most become frustrated and discouraged, to the point where they have given up searching out their life purpose.

Maybe it’s just the ex-engineer in me, but this I know for sure:  Everything that is designed or built has someone who designed or built it.  As human beings, I believe that it is God who designed and built us.  That means that He is the one who understands what we each were unique created to be and do.  So, if we truly want to understand our life purpose, it is important that we look to the One who made us.

Your creator wants you to know that He knows you inside out.  Like a fingerprint, He designed you so uniquely that you are a one-of-a-kind, never to be duplicated.  And within that unique design is a destiny that has been embedded into you.  One that is shouting to come out!

I believe that the reason many of us don’t ever find our destiny is  that there are so many misconceptions about ourselves, based on misconceptions about how God feels about us.  But once we understand the truth about God and how He feels about us, this truth unlocks something within us that actually causes our purpose to chase us down!

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