Your Legacy Starts Now

What will you be known for?

Do you spend any time pondering your legacy? How will people remember you? What stories will be told about you? How will you be described when you leave your current church, or workplace or neighborhood or this life?

We all want to be remembered well. Unfortunately, in an effort to create a great legacy, we can get into trouble by trying to do everything, and end up burned out and overwhelmed or feel so hopeless that we do nothing!

Lord have mercy! How do you find balance and direction?

What does God require?

Medical professionals use the term “potentiate”. It means to augment or accelerate the efficacy of a drug. So, when two drugs are taken together, the secondary drug augments or accelerates the effectiveness of the first one.

God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31) and to love others as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

Our legacy is built by loving God and loving His people using our gifts, talents and life experiences to demonstrate God’s love to others.

In other words, we are to potentiate God’s love to others.

What did God put in you to potentiate his love to the world?

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The Secret That Changes Lives

 

When Sylvia and I started working the same shift, I liked her right away. She was smart and confident and full of life. She had good ideas to make the work flow better and it was fun to be in her cubicle space.

At lunch, I often read my Bible or worked on a Bible study. Sylvia had no interest in God, but she was intrigued with me. “How can you go through so many hard things and not be angry at God?” she asked when I told her I was working at the office because my husband had died at 39 leaving me to take care for our two kids by myself.

As we learned more about each other, I realized Sylvia’s performance at work was exemplary but her personal life was messy. Her weekends were parties and binging and hooking up.

When she first started to tell me about her raucous weekends, she anticipated being judged, shamed, and lectured. But instead, I showed Jesus’ love to her.

Sharing the secret

As she accepted my acceptance of her, she stopped trying to shock me and began to confide in me, asking for advice. It was the open door to talk to her about Jesus.

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The Answer to Everything

Ready for an easy Bible Quiz ??

  1. Who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin?
    Answer: Jesus
  2. Who was tempted in every way, yet remained sinless?
    Answer: Jesus
  3. Who is the Savior of the world?
    Answer: Jesus
  4. Who issued the great commission in Matthew 28?
    Answer: Jesus! 

The answer to everything.

At our house we say Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. 🙂  You probably believe that, too, but I bet you know lots of people who wouldn’t agree with us.

These folks with an underwhelming faith sit next to you in church, stand next to you at work, and live next door to you in your neighborhood.

They long for the kind of faith and trust in Jesus that stands firm in any situation but don’t know how to get it. Maybe a name is coming to your mind right now???

The great commission in Matthew 28 says make disciples who make disciples … who make disciples… who make disciples of Jesus! 

The great commission is to make disciples, but once a person says yes to Jesus (becomes a disciple), the real work of reconciling that decision with past habits and patterns can be daunting. Old temptations are alluring. The tests are real. The choices are many.

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My Finest Recipe

The recipe everyone wants. 

Last week, I made the best balsamic Brussel sprouts … ever!  They were so good, everyone at the potluck wanted the recipe. (That didn’t surprise me, cuz I got the recipe at a different potluck.)

Though the recipe was simple, the dish was not easy to make. It took planning, timing, prepping and double-checking the instructions to make sure it would turn out well. But it was worth it to see it consumed with glee and share the goodness with others.

We readily share recipes for lasagna, banana bread and glazed Brussel sprouts, but what’s the recipe for a life that works?

The recipe for disaster.

I tried all sorts of things before Jesus.

  • Drugs.
  • Men.
  • Food.
  • Shopping.
  • Will-power.

Nothing worked till I surrendered my life to Jesus and found a woman to disciple me. Louise recognized how quickly a girl like me, who knew little about God and nothing about the Bible, could get discouraged or misled, so she took me on like a project and never made me feel like one. She provided a safe space for me to ask questions I was too embarrassed to ask in class.

  • How do I talk to God?
  • Where do I start reading the Bible?
  • Is there forgiveness for my past?
  • How can I let go of the pits and patterns that keep me stuck?
  • Where do I find peace in the midst of cruddy circumstances?
  • How do I know if God is leading me or if it’s my own idea?

Louise discipled me from starting out to standing firm. Could you do that?

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Exciting News Flash!

What’s overflowing in you?

I set up the coffee pot, hit start and walked away. Just like I’ve done everyday for the past umpteen years. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, I heard the hiss of the overflowing liquid hit the hot plate and the drip, splat, splash of coffee flowing off the counter and onto the floor. Arrgh!

Since my coffee carafe is metal, I hadn’t noticed it was already half-full of coffee from the night before. I’d brewed a new pot on top of the cold pot – ruining both pots!

I had a mess to clean up and no coffee!

As I fussed and mopped and grumbled and wiped, God whispered in my ear. “There’s no room for me to pour my fresh stuff in YOU if you’re already full of yourself.”

Can you say ouch?

It had been a while since I had spent any time in prayer. My Bible lay dust-covered on the bed stand. I couldn’t remember the last time I paid attention in church or spent time in community with women who loved the Lord and studied the Bible together.

That lack of connection was showing up my behavior and demeanor. I was often irritable or discouraged.

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Want To Take A Divine Journey?

Perfectionism is the lie that we can earn God’s favor. Or that we need to!

The truth of God’s word is that God already loves us to the moon and back (my paraphrase of Ps.103:11) and accepts us as is (Rom 15:7).

There are many strategies to overcome the compulsion to be perfect that we’ve addressed in previous blogs, but let’s review them before I give you the best bad news and ultimate solution for overcoming perfectionism.

1.

In a blog titled, How Do You Measure Up To Perfection, I suggested that you STOP measuring yourself against what you see in other people. Stop COMPARING yourself to what you think you see in others.  

Replace the lie that you don’t measure up with the truth of God’s word.
He loves you so much, he sacrificed his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins so you could establish an unhindered relationship with him.

No conditions
No catches.
No exclusions.
No performance required.

God loves you with an everlasting love. Jer. 31:3

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Where Is God When You Need Him?

Are you in the wilderness?

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you? Does it seem like He led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you?

I feel like that a lot whenever I launch a new series of talks, a service, or book. I have a “moment” or two when it feels like I might have misread the signals God sent. That I am all alone and forgotten. That I will die out here in the wilderness.

Then God shows up in some extravagant way to reassure me that I am not forgotten at all. That’s what happened when Almida said she had a present for me. 

I need to tell you Almida is an interesting woman. Her wisdom, life experiences and prayers have been my life line for decades. Russian by birth, she escaped the Nazis by walking across Europe only to live in a refuge camp for months before getting a sponsor in the US. She made a living as a tailor until she married an entrepreneur who made a boatload of money as a building developer. Her husband, Willy, died at 41 in a plane crash leaving her devastated. Her grief was compounded when Willy’s business partner bankrupted the business, depleting her resources and retirement.

Almida is now 87, and resides in an assisted living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and was never a big believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

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Perfection is an Evil Taskmaster

Does perfection impede your progress and alienate you from others?

I used to work in an office with Griselda* who knew everything about everything. She scrutinized every single phone conversation I had, every document I created and every chart I filed – for my own good and the good of the office, of course.

And she didn’t just “supervise” her co-workers. One day, a single mom with two little kids came into the office. While the mom was doing her business, the children got curious and noisy in the waiting area. From her desk, Griselda sternly chastised them into cowering submission, mortifying the mom and the rest of us onlookers.

The cost of perfectionism.

I’m all about doing your best, but when perfection is the taskmaster, and you can’t measure up, it sucks the want-to right out of you. Being told by someone else (or yourself) you need to be perfect wears you out and keeps you from experiencing new things and new people. 

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Does Striving For Perfection Drive You Bananas?

Going Bananas

Early in our marriage, Mr. 4-Ever made the mistake of mentioning how much he enjoyed another woman’s banana bread. Not to be outdone, I took it upon myself to make his life complete by creating my own perfect loaf of banana bread. I tried a dozen recipes, but none of them turned out well.

We ate a lot of really mediocre banana bread and threw an obscene amount of banana bread in the trash. No matter what I did, I could not get the bread to come out right.

I cried. I whined. I obsessed.

Finally, Dave told me that his appetite for banana bread had waned. He said as nicely as he could that my insane pursuit of perfecting banana bread was done and I needed to quit wasting my time and our money. 

Perfection steals your joy and your time!

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What Confession Is Good for Your Soul?

Sin is sneaky!

My son, Eli and I were at the Krispy Kreme drive-though, coupon in hand. We were moments away from warm, frosted donuts, but something was wrong with the coupon I was trying to use. I wanted chocolate frosted but the coupon was for glazed. I put up quite a fuss to get my donuts at a discount and succeeded.

Pulling away victorious, donuts in hand, my boy looked at me and said, “Mom, you were really mean to that lady.”

OUCH!  I sure was.

“Son, you are so right. Will you forgive me for talking to her like that?”
“Sure, mama, … can I have a donut?”

As he ate his circle of deliciousness, I silently asked God to forgive me for modeling behavior I would never tolerate from the young man next to me.  I thought that was done, but Holy Spirit laid his hand on my heart, prompting me to return and apologize to the girl at the Krispy Kreme.

With the store already disappearing in my rear view mirror and using the traffic zipping by at breakneck speeds, I justified why I couldn’t go back.

Holy Spirit wasn’t having any of it. For three days, He kept the pressure on till I couldn’t stand it anymore.

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