Tag Archives: Max Lucado

When You Get to be Cinderella for 2.5 Hours… (2 Louisville Artists You MUST Know!)

Friends! Have you ever found yourself luxuriating in the Land of Denial?  Then POOF!  Back to reality?

Paralleling one of my all-time favorite stories, Cinderella, Yours Truly was blessed to escape for two and a half hours recently.

Why, you may be asking? I’ll blame it on my writer friends who strongly suggested I have a professional photo taken for a head shot for my upcoming book.

I’m beyond blessed to share with you two, count ‘em two, crazy talented artists right here in Louisville.  One’s a make-up and hair artist and the other’s a professional photographer.  These incredible people happen to be friends with our children.

Both of these young adults are completely in their sweet spot.  They could be a case in point in Max Lucado’s book, Cure for the Common Life—Living in Your Sweet Spot.

First, allow me to introduce you to these artistes extraordinaire, and then I’ll show you a little trick to see if YOU are in your sweet spot.

The first miracle worker (!) is Carley Brooks.  Her company is Carley Randall. www.carleyrandall.com She does hair and make-up primarily for weddings and has teamed up with two other gals, one who’s a photographer, and one who’s a wedding coordinator so they can take wedding parties thru’ the entire event, sans angst.

Our kids went to Christian Academy of Louisville with Carley. She’s also great friends with our daughter-in-love, LT, and even helped choose LT’s wedding dress when she worked at Rebecca’s.

When LT gave me Carley’s number, I called and asked if she’d entertain such a “pushin’-60-project” as myself and she said, “No problem!  I can have you outta here in 90 minutes.”

My visit to Carley’s adorable studio was a blast and seemed to last nine minutes, not ninety. Complete with false eyelashes (a first), I could hardly see to drive home.

Enter artist #2, gifted photographer Lang Thomas. www.langthomasphotography.com   Lang and his wife, Kate, who’s also an accomplished photographer, shoot weddings together. When you book Lang for a wedding, it’s like getting two for one as he and Kate are shooting photo opps all over the wedding venue.  It’s wild seeing them in action.

 

Here they are with their two beautiful daughters, Leonelle and Dolly. Our little Claire was mesmerized by both of them at church on Easter Sunday.

Lang and Kate shot Woody and LT’s wedding, and several other of our friend’s kid’s weddings.  He was recently named “one of the top wedding photographers in the country” by Martha Stewart Weddings. The Thomas Duo also take family photographs, and even grandchildren.  Oh, yes.

This is one of my favorite shots Lang snapped before Woody and LT got married.  They didn’t want to see each other before the wedding, but wanted to pray together. (Note the plaque on the wall.)

Hair and make-up tackled, I got home in time to meet Lang for the photo shoot.  It was a dreary, cloudy day, so most shots were taken inside.  It was over before I knew it. Alas, my glass slipper turned into an Asics tennis shoe.

Here’s a sample of one of the shots which I’ll use for my website once my book is out. (Working Title:  Let’s Be Friends—What My Sister-Friends Taught Me About Faith, Food, and Fun. Stay tuned!)

Happy to report my Cinderella moments weren’t all lost as Hubster and I dashed to Bonefish for dinner. Eating out is more our m.o. than eating in, thus the shots Lang took in the kitchen should have the caption, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Thanks again to two of Louisville’s finest artists, Carley and Lang.  Y’all are WAY in your sweet spots and our gracious Lord is smiling over you.

Speaking of sweet spots, see if YOU can write YOUR “S.T.O.R.Y?”

Max Lucado spells this out for you in his book Cure for the Common Life and here’s a peek to get you rollin’:

“S = Strengths: how you get things done using your unique gifts. The verbs you use to describe your activities reveal these strengths.

T = Topics:  what you want to work with. You feel completely absorbed when you get involved in this, whatever it is—be it a person, a group, a car, a concept, food, music, fabric, furniture, or anything else in God’s creation. The nouns you use reveal these topics.

O = Optimal conditions:  the conditions in our environments that make things best for us. For example, some people work best under pressure; some need challenges; some like structure; some like an audience. What triggers you, gets you started, sustains your drive, defines the tasks, and provides the setting for you to feel highly motivated to effectively accomplish the task is part of your optimal conditions.

R = Relationships: what kind of role and relationships to others you seek in the task.

Y = Yes! You achieve this joyous affirmation when you fulfill the purpose for which you were designed. At that moment your sweet spot experience tastes ever so sweet!” (From Part One:  The First Step Toward Finding Your Sweet Spot)

‘Til next time!

P.S.  Thanks to Val Manley, who gave me Max’ book in 2006!  The BEST!

 

 

 

 

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Holy Week – Anxiety = Peaceful Week… (With Help from Max Lucado)

Friends! Anyone lugging around worries that are making you anxious?  (I’m just realizing lug is in luggage.) Luggage denotes “inconveniently heavy baggage.”  Well, take heart, I’m bringing you good news to lighten your load and bless us this Holy Week.

Many of you know how often I quote author Max Lucado.   His most recent book, Anxious for Nothing—Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, is a current favorite, its’ many pages already highlighted and dog-eared.

I’ll share a few of many favorite quotes which I pray will ease our anxiety, perhaps even erase it altogether, blessing us with a peaceful Holy Week. In the meantime, you may wish to grab this book as it’s a resource you would return to time and time again.

Max begins with, “Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs…

Anxiety is trepidation.

It’s a suspicion,

An apprehension.

Life in a minor key with major concerns…

You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling and it’s falling disproportionately on you.”  Anyone?!!! Max not only cracks me up, he often perfectly depicts my own moods.

Flip on the news or grab a newspaper and “anxiety disorders” are usually the front runners.  Epidemic proportions.

Max states what we think, yet fear to admit:  “One would think Christians would be exempt from worry. But we are not. We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us. Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety!  The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.”

What’s a person to do?  Thankfully, Max gifts us with the solution straight from Scripture. Philippians 4:4-8 says:

Max shows us that these five verses include, “four admonitions that lead to ONE WONDERFUL PROMISE:  ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.’” (v. 7)

Additionally, this book blesses us throughout by equipping us with a simple acronym, the word “CALM”.  Put this in your anxiety arsenal and you will have a peaceful Holy Week:

 

The concept of “CALM” is introduced in Chapter One,  and expounded on throughout the book.  You’ll never look at it again in the same way! (See page 10 for starters!)

We readers are reminded to consult the Apostle Paul’s words and actions. Max says, “Paul believed in the steady hand of a good God. He was protected by God’s strength, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings.”

What does that look like for us?  It translates into savoring God’s sovereignty.  Clinging to His sovereignty and reminding ourselves daily that God is still on the throne.  Always occupied.  Always interceding for you and for me…

This Holy Week as we march toward Good Friday and Easter, may we remember the acronym “Calm”, and hear Max’ reminder:  “God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.”

Max’ book also includes a Study Guide which would be great for anyone, but also super for a Small Group to work thru’.  And, more good news, he’s got another new book coming out this summer, due to be released August 7th, called Unshakable Hope:  Building Our Lives on the Promises of God.  Yet one more sure-to-be great resource!

Have a most blessed Easter.

‘Til next time!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holidays, Scripture

Mind Your Mind….

Friends!  I just ran across this post from a couple of Octobers ago, remembering I’d forgotten (huh?) its’ message…May we all remember to guard what goes into our minds.  Enjoy!…

Filled to the brim with excitement, Hubster and I were crossing the pond for our first-ever trip to France. Flying thru’ the night from Detroit to Amsterdam, most everyone but me slept.

Watching a little virtual map of our plane flying over different countries, logging hundreds of miles in minutes, kept me wide-eyed. Just as we touched down in Amsterdam, a big, beautiful orange sun was rising over the airport! While it was midnight back in the States, it was six o’clock in the morning in Amsterdam. Wow.

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Clueless as to how to find our next gate, some sweet soul showed us how to enter different checkpoints en route to our plane to Marseilles. Suddenly, we came upon a very familiar landmark: Starbucks! And what before my wondering eyes did appear, directly across from Starbucks, a very large chocolatier!!! What a welcoming sight!

eliz in front of chocolate store

We had plenty of time before our next flight departed, so we plunked ourselves and our carry-ons down for a big ole’ comforting cup of coffee. Like little children on Christmas morning, our adventure was already unfolding.

Amsterdam’s airport is a melting pot of passengers from all over the world. John and I sat back and took it all in. The clothes, the accents, everything was fascinating.

Even the moving sidewalk…this lovely female voice, in a sing-song manner, repeated over and over, “Mind your step…..Mind your step…..Mind your step.” We Americans would’ve just hollered, “Watch where you’re goin’, already!!!”

One of many favorite books by Max Lucado, Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now brings up another way of thinking from “Mind Your Step”, to “Mind Your Mind”….

Glory Days

One favorite chapter is called The God-Drenched Mind. Don’t you want your mind to be God-drenched??? This chapter centers around Joshua 14:6-15.

The good news? Max helps us readers with ways to equip our faith and our minds.

The bad news? He opens with, “You’ll never have a problem-free life.” That’s okay, tho’, because surely by now every single one of us has discovered this!

Max points out that “The Lord” is referenced nine times in this passage alone. We know that any time anything is repeated in the Bible, it’s significant.

Max asks, “Who was on Caleb’s mind? Who was in Caleb’s heart? What caused him to have a different spirit? He centered his mind on the Lord.”

Watch this…Max gets personal: “What about you? What emphasis would a transcript of your thoughts reveal? The Lord? Or the problem? The economy? The jerk?”

In another recent post we talked about the importance of putting on the helmet of salvation. We addressed running everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 filter:

Philippians 4 8

Max offers a show-stopping visual:

“Imagine two cooking bowls. One contains fresh, clean water. The second contains battery acid. Take an apple and cut it in half.

Place one half of the apple in the bowl of clean water. Place the other half in the bowl of battery acid. Leave each in its respective bowl for five minutes, and then pull out the two halves.

Which one will you want to eat?”

Two different apples, fresh and withered. Rotten apple.

“Your mind is the apple.

God is good water.

Problems are battery acid.

If you marinate your mind in your problems, they will eventually corrode and corrupt your thoughts.

But thoughts of God will preserve and refresh your attitudes.

Caleb was different because he SOAKED HIS MIND IN GOD.”

This caused me to pause and ask myself, “What am I marinating my mind in right now?” I busted myself (there’s a thought!) because I was stewing over a petite problem which my forever optimistic husband has told me, and told me again (remember???) to simply, “Let it go…” Alrighty then.

Finally, we’re blessed with one more prescription from Max for remembering to soak our minds in our Big God: “Stare at the mountain less and at the Mountain Mover more.” Amen.

LET’S MIND OUR MIND!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons, Scripture

What Every Grandmother Needs…

Friends!  Whether you’re already a grandmother or have a friend who’s a grandmother, I’ve got just the book for you and/or for you to give to a friend.

I discovered this book thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gifted me with it when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. The book?  A Grandmother’s Prayers—60 Days of Devotions and Prayer by Kay Swatkowski.

Not only was the book new to me, so was the author, Kay Swatkowski.  I’m already a huge fan of her ideas and creative writing, plus I discovered her blog:  www.americangrandma.com which also offers a wide variety of information.

The book includes sixty devotions.  Each is short, including five parts:

1 – Kay opens with a story which illustrates the point of that day’s devotion.

2 – “Let us pray that…” This part offers points to pray about related to the story along with a Scripture to bring that point home.

3 – A prayer to help us apply this idea into our lives with our grandchildren.

4 – “Think and Do”:  This part includes questions to get us thinking about how to incorporate the devotion’s idea into our lives, sometimes a Scripture to look up and sometimes a children’s book is recommended.  (I grinned after Kay recommended children’s books by Max Lucado on more than one day.  This is yet another reason she and I could be big buddies. Bigger smile.)

I’ve made quite a list of books purely from Kay’s recommendations to look into for reading to Claire and our future grands, Lord willing. (This may be a bit of an investment!)  Kay gives a brief snippet of each book she recommends for younger and older children.

Here are just a few:

 

Bedtime Blessings by John Trent

Just in Case You Ever Wonder, The Crippled Lamb, and The Christmas Child by Max Lucado

God is With You by Larry Libby

My Friend Jesus by Kathryn Slattery

Too Small to Ignore by Wes Stafford

The Lord’s Prayer by Rick Warren

A Child’s Look at the 23rd Psalm by W. Phillip Keller

A children’s adaptation of Les Miserables by Monica Kulling

The Priest with Dirty Clothes by R.C. Sproul

She also recommends reading missionary stories of Gladys Aylward, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, and Jim Elliot.

5Each devotion closes with several Scriptures to reinforce its’ focus.  Each entry is empowering and encouraging for us grandparents to boldly press on praying for our precious grandchildren.

Kay opens the book with a charge of sorts:

“Research reveals that the love and care of the older generation has a positive impact on children in many ways.

One study found a definite link between grandparent involvement and adolescent well-being.

Grandparents provide  not only affection and support, but also wisdom, problem-solving, and stability during times of family crisis…

GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH US.

WE HAVE A CRITICAL JOB TO DO.”

As God would orchestrate, when our whole family was at the beach in South Carolina in July, I opened Kay’s book to “Day Thirty:  The Sea.”  There I was, on a deck overlooking the ocean while Kay talks about us  being drawn to the sea.

All I have to do is see the sea and my soul begins to stir.  I recharge by the sea better than any other place on this earth.

Kay reminds us, “Our God is a Sea of limitless love and forgiveness. He is a Sea of acceptance and mercy. He is a Sea of strength and comfort…”

When the tide was out, walks on the beach allowed us to tote Claire along in her stroller.

Even this poor guy, having lost an eye and a claw, strolled the beach!

This particular morning, Diana and I started out with Claire in her Baby Bjorn.  It was so hot, Claire immediately fell asleep.  We decided to ditch the walk and grab an iced coffee in the air-conditioned shops.  Certain the whipped cream smothering that coffee was walked off from our other beach walks???

This year’s family vacation not only included the beach, but our new little beach baby.  Please note the wee bit of attention Baby Claire received from all of us:

In the devotional’s closing on the sea, Kay gives several Scriptures to pray, my favorite of which is:

“Let us pray that our children will have the delight of leading their children to an understanding of the deep love of God and of becoming part of one endless line of faith until Christ returns.” (3 John 1:4)

Amen and Amen.

 

Thanks to the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina for a week of fun for our entire family…What a blessing!

Til next time!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grandchildren, Travel

When You Miss Your Mom and Dad…

What seemed like a normal stop in the laundry room last week turned out to be a devastating downpour.  This is the challenge in losing a loved one.  One little photo can spark a thousand emotions…

Growing up a lonely only was super swell in my book.   My petite universe swirled around me.  No wonder sharing wasn’t in my vocabulary. (Can you say, “spoiled”?)

My Mother and Father married in 1952, but I wasn’t born until 1960.  After eight long years of waiting, who wouldn’t be fearful of a brand new baby girl?  I still believe they had no idea what to do with me.

fullsizerender

(Note most of our pictures were either of Daddy and me or Mother and me as with the three of us, who else would take the picture?  Please don’t miss Daddy’s very svelte argyle socks.  This was 1960.  My sweet sister-in-law got all our boys rockin’ with svelte socks last Christmas.  Yeah, 2015.  Thank you, Nordstrom Rack.)

Mom and Dad perfected helicopter parenting, not wanting a scratch or a bruise to mar my little self.  The day I rode my Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon down our neighbor’s hill, crashing on the asphalt in our driveway, depositing some skin on the pavement, freaked us all out.  Odd, there was no flying in that wagon.

Once in school, I began inviting friends over.  Many of them were lonely onlies too.

God provided the best kind of friend directly across the street from us.  She was ultra cool because she came with the bonus of having two older brothers.  They were boy scouts and there was nothing they couldn’t do.  Each visit was a new lesson.

Her name is Meredith Myers.  She and I are only one year apart, so for several years, we’d ride our bikes together to Glendover Elementary School in Lexington, Kentucky.  God graciously protected us because we never paid attention to cars near us as we talked non-stop all the way to and from school.

Bikes bicyclist girl. Girls wearing bicycle helmet with rucksac

(Note these little girls are wearing helmets.  Helmets weren’t invented back in our day.  Yes, we are old.)

Meredith’s parents and mine also became close friends and “those were the days” as they say.  Elementary School evolved into “Junior High” (now Middle School), on into High School.

Meredith and I went to different colleges, but we managed to visit each other, staying in touch.  We married three weeks apart and were in each other’s weddings.  She and her husband settled in Nashville while John and I settled in Louisville.

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Meredith lost her parents first.  Both deaths seemed too early and too sudden.  Thankfully, we were able to trust in a Sovereign God.

Two favorite Scriptures  which help are:

ecc-3-1

ecc-3-11

My folks stayed in their home, still across the street from where the Myers lived, as long as they could. Multiple illnesses plus my Dad having a stroke landed them in an Assisted Living facility in Lexington.

Unfortunately that was a short term band-aid, causing us to move them to Louisville into a nearby nursing home.  Our three boys swear they’ve never moved so much furniture so many times. God bless their strong backs.

Daddy had a heart attack that ultimately took his life, followed by a seventeen-month progression of health deterioration in my Mother.  “Only the Lord” is how we answer the question of, “How did we survive those difficult years?”

Deuteronomy 31:6 is one of our favorite “life-lines”: 

“So be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will never fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT)  Somehow that little word “panic” resonates. But look at the promise that follows…God will go ahead of us, never failing nor abandoning us.  Isn’t that the best?

Many of our friends are losing their parents too.  I find myself buying sympathy cards by the box.

Visitations and funerals are not at the top of my list of most desirable activities, but of course, who wouldn’t go for a friend?  The greater challenge of attending these services is offering the right words of condolence.  Not a gift of mine, rest assured.

I’m embarrassed to admit that often, the bereaved winds up comforting me because I’ve dissolved into a puddle of tears.  Thus, I’ve resorted to borrowing words of encouragement from a few of my favorite authors:  Max Lucado, Bob Russell and Kerry and Chris Shook.

The Shooks help with a good perspective when a death seems to happen too soon. They tell about a young couple in Owensboro, Kentucky.  The wife discovers she has terminal cancer and soon will be leaving her young children and husband behind.  (This is in their book, One Month to Live—30 Days to a No-Regrets Life.)

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She asks her pastor, Jess Moody, about the below verse:

2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

She did the math, and “figured if a thousand years is like a day, then forty years is like one hour…my husband may live another forty years, but that will be just like an hour to me in heaven.  When he gets to heaven, I’ll greet him and say, ‘Where have you been for an hour?…I’ve missed you.’”

My children may live another seventy or eighty years, but that will be like two hours to me.  When they get to heaven, I’ll greet them and say, ‘How was school today?  Mom misses you when you’re gone for a couple of hours.’”

Jess said, “Now that’s an eternal perspective.”

Max Lucado, in his book, When Christ Comes, quotes Bob Russell.  He tells about Bob’s father’s funeral.

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Bob said the day of the funeral was a “cold, blustery, Pennsylvania day”…The Funeral Director told Bob the roads were too treacherous to take a procession to the burial.  He said he’d take the body to the grave.

Bob couldn’t bear to not be at the burial, “so he and his brother and their sons piled into a four-wheel drive vehicle and followed the hearse.”

Bob said, “We plowed thru’ ten inches of snow into the cemetery, got about fifty yards from my Dad’s grave, with the wind blowing about twenty-five miles per hour, and the six of us lugged that casket down to the grave site…”

He continued, “We watched the body lowered in the grave and we turned to leave.  I felt something was undone, so I said, ‘I’d like for us to have a prayer.’  The six of us huddled together and I prayed, ‘Lord, this is such a cold, lonely place.’

“And then I got too choked up to pray anymore.  I kept battling to get my composure, and finally I just whispered, ‘But I thank you, for we know to be absent from the body is to be safe in your warm arms.’” (2 Corinthians 5:6 KJV)

Max concludes with what I hold onto today:

“We don’t like to say good-bye to those whom we love…It is right for us to weep, there is no need for us to despair.  They had pain here.  They have no pain there.  They struggled here.  They have no struggles there.

“You and I might wonder why God took them home.  But they don’t.  They understand.  They are, at this very moment, at peace in the presence of God.”

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This is an older picture of my parents, but it’s how I like to remember them. It’s the one staring at me over the washer and dryer.  It’s the one that triggered the unexpected tears.

On days when those of us who’ve lost our parents are homesick for them, I pray these words of these great authors plus The Author of the Word of God bring us all comfort.

‘Til next time!

 

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When Your Brain is on Overload…(Get Wise-Make Great Decisions Every Day by Bob Merritt is a Must-Read!) Spring Cleaning, Part 4 of 4

Ever feel like you need to go clear your head? Like there’s too much in between the ole’ ears? When I have fifteen frazzling thoughts vying for my attention, sometimes a walk to clear my head is the perfect prescription.

My friend Sherry gave me a book recently, Get Wise—Make Great Decisions Every Day by Bob Merritt. I devoured it and was so moved by it, Hubster and I promptly gave copies to all three of our boys. (Hubster’s readying to read my copy.) This book is great for guys and gals, plus it’ll clear your head rapidly, filling it with wisdom.

Get Wise

You can find Bob at Eagle Brook Church in Centerville, Minnesota. He’s the Senior Pastor there and Get-Wise is his third book. www.eaglebrookchurch.com

bob-merritt

Allow me to tease you with some terrific tidbits while strongly suggesting you procure a copy of this most excellent book at your earliest convenience.

The endorsers give you multitudes of reasons to read this: John Ortberg, Jud Wilhite, Lee Strobel, Shauna Niequist, Bill Hybels, and Wayne Cordeiro (Don’t miss a post hugely inspired by Wayne. He says it like it is.).

I love what Shauna wrote: “Reading Get Wise feels like having coffee with someone who knows more than you and wants the best for you.”

Coffee Cup On Wood Table At Sunset Or Sunrise Beach

One of Bob’s many talents is the gift of storytelling. He grabs you from the get-go and tells on himself more than once. You’ll laugh your head off while learning how to make wise decisions. He clearly has coined, “It’s not a mistake unless you learn from it.”

Here’s how the book’s set up, so you can either read it straight thru’, or pick and choose your topics:

Bob says, “Part 1 looks at the value of wisdom, how to acquire it, and why the wisdom of a man who had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines can be trusted.” (!!!) See what I mean about his humor???

Part 2 is where a wise life begins and why decisions about your heart, mouth, and feet are foundational to the rest of your life.”

Part 3 focuses on relationships, on the critical decisions you’ll need to make about sex, fools, friends, and revenge.”

Trust me, you’d be a fool NOT to read the chapter on fools! It’s the best!

Part 4 brings eternal wisdom to the three most critical decisions you’ll need to make about your family:

How to begin well,

How to build intimacy, and

How to raise great kids.” (Oh how I wish I’d had this book when we were raising our boys…)

Part 5 addresses the top two decisions you’ll need to make about your work, the area where most of us spend forty years of our lives.” Think about that for a minute!

 The benefits alone from reading this book will entice you to dive in:

Benefits of Reading Get Wise

Each of the fifteen chapters are loaded with sound advice. Any time an author uses Scripture to back up his points, I’m sold. Bob is a master at this.

Plus, there’s a set of Discussion Questions at the end of the book. They’ll help you and your Small Group, or Community Group or Bible study group respond immediately to each chapter’s lessons.

My first of three favorite parts comes from Chapter 4: Wise Heart. Proverbs 4:23 tell us, “Above all else, GUARD YOUR HEART for everything you do flows from it.”

Red heart in the hands

Bob reminds us that the heart is “the center of your life. It’s the core, the source, the place from which everything else flows. It’s like a deep well that keeps you alive…It’s the inner spring that sustains your life.”

Bob poses a killer question:

“When God examines your heart, what does he see?”

He also reminds us of Solomon’s eye-opening parallel: “A good place to start is to look at your mouth and feet.” (Oh my….) “…often what you say and where you go reflect the condition of your heart.”

So after you’re fairly flattened by that earth shattering thought, Bob graciously shows us HOW to get a wise heart. This book is amazing!

My second favorite part comes from Chapter Six: Wise Feet. This chapter centers around Proverbs 4:26 “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”

Woman Walking Along A Rural Path

Round two of questions: “What are your well-worn paths? Your paths will predict the outcomes in your life.”

“All it takes is a pair of wise feet that walk away from something destructive and toward something constructive.”

That reminds me of a great visual from Max Lucado’s book, Turn-Remembering our Foundations. He suggests when encountering a temptation to simply TURN and go in the opposite direction. To literally turn away from whatever it is…defining “repent”.

Turn

My third favorite part of Bob’s book is from Chapter 11: Wise Beginning. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

You must read how Bob and Laurie’s marriage began. Nothing short of comical. In spite of several poignant disasters, their marriage did not derail.

But…. (ahhhh you knew that was coming…) Bob shows us a couple of crucial findings:

“Whom you marry will affect every part of your life for the rest of your life….

Marriage is less about finding the right person and more about becoming the right person.”

Quitting isn’t the answer. Bob teaches: “Anybody can quit. It takes people of strength and WISDOM to say, ‘We’ve got a problem. But divorce is not an option, so let’s get some help and beat this thing.’”

Stop Divorce Indicates Warning Sign And Annul

Finally, Bob gives us two “ingredients” for locking in a wise beginning. (I’ll give you one of two, hoping you’ll go get the book to find out the rest!)

Bob realizes, “Through all our arguing and uncertainty during that first year, our faith in God was the ONE CONSTANT that held us together. He adds, “Make sure you BOTH have a holy reverence for God as your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.”

Remember last week Stuart Briscoe reminded us about seeking FIRST the Kingdom….by experiencing, expressing, and extending the Kingdom. He helped us “clean our clocks/calendars”, while Bob helps us clear and clean our heads/minds for wisdom.  Spring Cleaning at its’ finest!

Go get some wisdom!

‘Til next time…

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When Your Prayer Life Needs a Boost…(You’re INVITED to a fun discussion of “Before Amen” by Max Lucado at Book Club Monday, 4/25, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Ever start praying only to discover you’re making your grocery list or adding to your to-do’s list??? Distractions-a-plenty bust up a prayer faster than you can yell, “Help!!!”

Satan’s M.O. is distractions. He specializes in keeping you from prayer because prayer makes him run. You’d think we’d be more mindful of that little fact. (As I’m typing on my laptop, incoming emails pop up in the corner of my screen, just as a petite irritating example!)

Unplanned Detour

I have a new little prayer journal that’s so portable I throw it in my purse or my Bible study bag. But….it gets buried and forgotten because of so many other things. Frustrates the tar outta me. Can you relate?

If you can relate, seems you and I are in good company with none other than well-known author, speaker, and preacher Max Lucado. He begins his book Before Amen—The Power of a Simple Prayer with:

“Hello, my name is Max. I’m a recovering prayer wimp…distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night…When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray.”

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Confession: Before I buy a book, I look for several things. Right or wrong, I judge a book by its’ cover. (!!!) See above how pretty this one is???

Secondly, of course, I consider the author. No challenge there. Think I’ve read every book Max has ever written.

Thirdly, I look at the endorsements. Never mind Max has seven pages of twenty-two stellar endorsements ranging from George Strait to Christine Caine. Can you say, “Variety”???

Kathie Lee Gifford, another of the endorsers, cracks me up. She says, “A new book by Max is like going back to your favorite restaurant. You know it’s going to be delicious because it never disappoints…” You go, Kathie Lee. I’m in your camp. (For proof, checkout another post on another one of Max’ books:   Grace—More than We Deserve, Greater than We Imagine)

Serving dishes. Food restaurant.

One of Max’ many gifts is writing so readers of any age can understand. He reminds us of the Disciples’ request to Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray!” Doesn’t that make you feel better, that the Disciples, who spent the most time with Jesus himself, asked Him how to pray?

Jesus’ life exuded prayer. He went away by himself many times to pray, sometimes spending all night long in prayer. (Mark 1:35, 6:46; Luke 6:12)

Max reminds us:

“Jesus prayed before he ate.

He prayed for children.

He prayed for the sick.

He prayed with thanks.

He prayed with tears…”

Jesus answered the disciples with what we know as the Lord’s Prayer. (Luke 11:1-4) Here’s a formula we all can remember:

Max dubs this “the pocket prayer”: 

Max Lucado Prayer1

What’s so cool about this short-n-sweet prayer is Max parallels it to the Lord’s Prayer. In each of the nine chapters, he takes the prayer apart, phrase-by-phrase, showing us how to apply it to our everyday lives. More importantly, it’s something we can all remember!

Bonus: There’s a Study Guide at the end of the book for Bible study groups or Small Groups that’s excellent. It further expounds on each chapter with Scriptures to look-up in four sections spelling out the word “prayer”:

Personalize, Reflect, Abide and Yield.”

Please join us Monday, April 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church for our last Book Club Meeting of the season. I’ll be sharing sweet tidbits from Before Amen before we dive into discussion.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 www.middletownumc.org

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

In addition to the discussion, we’ll be having all kinds of FUN:

Potluck Supper – Please bring a dish if time allows.

Extra Special Door Prize valued at over $50.00!!! If you bring a friend, you and your friend will be entered in the drawing!

Bring any books you may have you’re no longer wanting for a Book Exchange! Take home a new book for summer reading! (Books not taken will go to the church’s annual Book Drive for Veterans.)

Finally, the BIG REVEAL for next Fall and Spring’s selections will take place with a couple of HUGE announcements, special guests, etc.!!! You do NOT want to miss this!

I’m excited to see you on Monday, April 25th! Pick up your phone RIGHT NOW and call a friend to come with you!!!

‘Til next time!

(Not to worry, we’ll return to our Spring Cleaning series soon!)

 

 

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