Tag Archives: Stuart Briscoe

When a Downpour Deluges Your… KITCHEN??? (Spring Cleaning, Part 3 of 4 with help from Stuart Briscoe)

It was  Wedding Week in the Hoagland Household. Being parents of the groom helps…not too many to-do’s there…

Spoiler Alert: Indulge me a moment in the lovely RESULT of the week, so you can see we did survive the below challenging circumstances after all… We were blessed to be part of what was the picture-perfect-Wedding-Day from start to finish:

Wedding Photo

Pictured left to right:

Gordy and Lauren, Hubster and Yours Truly, The Groom: John Jr., and the Bride: Diana (She’s wearing my dress which will be thirty-two years old, Lord willing, this July!!!), and Woody and LT. Congrats again to our lovely Bride and Groom and praises and prayers for their marriage and for all of ours! (This was April 23rd.)

This particular week also happened to be Week Two of our Master Bath’s Remodeling Project. Juggling around workmen, enduring frighteningly loud noises while they removed tile, mirrors, walls, etc. bothered our Sweet Gracie more than Hubster and me.


Progress happened daily. Each night we’d go peek into the bathroom to survey the situation.

Wednesday afternoon, however, went sorely awry… Plumber was due early, but kept getting delayed due to emergencies. Foreshadowing???

Upon his arrival, he capped off all the faucets. Or so he thought. I took him down to the basement, showing him where to turn the water back on. He said, “Make sure you check your faucets as some were turned on to drain the pipes earlier.” Right.

Sure enough, as I ascended the stairs, I could hear water running. I turned it off in the powder room. But, I could still hear water running and splashing…

Upon entering the kitchen, I beheld a curious sight. The splashing noise proved to be not one, but…

TWO SHOWERS of water,

BURSTING thru’ the canned lights in the ceiling,

GUSHING downward,

all over the floor!!!!

flooding in interior. 3d creative concept

(Above pic is a slight exaggeration!!! ) Water was falling so fast, it filled the tray of Gracie’s crate, spilling out. It was falling from such a height, it began to splash over into the family room.

I froze.

Then I yelled, “Turn the water OFF!!!”

The plumber also froze.

It occurred to me perhaps we should be trapping the falling water! Novel idea….Plumber went back down to the basement to turn the water off. This seemed like it took an eternity, but was probably no more than a couple of minutes, all the while the water continued to deluge our kitchen.

Quick Fix: Mixing bowls to catch, beach towels to dry. Soon, some semblance of order arrived.

Au contraire…

Enter Hubster, now home from the office. Practical Paul announced, “I’ll have the water removal guys*** come check this tomorrow. We need to be sure the water is gone.”

Fast forward to Thursday morning: Don’t you know those guys found water everywhere??? Wood floors, ceiling, walls, blah, blah, blah. One of the guys informed us, “Water migrates, you know. It’ll travel very far where you can’t even see it.” Awesome.

Don’t you know they set up what looked like a HAZMAT area, ceiling-to-floor plastic walls, coupled with fans and mats regulating the new “room” to over one hundred degrees? (Kept the food in our pantry nice-n-toasty.)

Five and a half hours later, (!!!), new drying room was constructed. It had to be checked every day. Once pronounced dry, on Wedding Day no less, they took said structure down. Just in time for our houseguests to arrive. Super swell. (Below pic is inside of the plastic tent.)

Plastic Room 1

Plastic Room 2

(Above pic is exterior of the plastic tent.) Needless to say, we did not have the time or the nerves for this calamity. This occurrence cost us (Truthfully, it cost Yours Truly, not Practical Paul who’s also known as Cool Carl.) some sweat equity. I confess I was ready to implode. This huge frustration defines a phrase Stuart Briscoe taught me: Time Bandit.

Stuart’s book, Time Bandits—Putting First Things First was a welcomed sight for me to re-read after all this needless angst. It’s perfectly portable, so small you can pop it in your book bag or briefcase. I highly recommend you fetch it ASAP!

Time Bandits

Stuart’s writing style is one of my all-time favorites. He’s so funny and direct, you can’t help yourself from nodding in agreement, laughing out loud, and declaring, “Oh my word, you are spot on!!!” Plus, his love for the Lord and His Word is contagious.

Stuart says, “The problem is the demands of life exceed the supply of time.” Hello?


That’s when he said, “I began to sniff out the banditry under my roof.”

See if you can relate to this:

Some days it seemed as if I was HELD HOSTAGE

by demands and interruptions,

crises and trivialities,

diversions and frustrations

that surrounded me like masked men

ominously demanding my time and robbing me of my day.”

Sounds like his kitchen may have flooded a time or too also!!!

Criminal Running Away Carrying A Bag

He shared while pastoring their growing church early on, several of his church members helped him figure out how to spend his time:

One lady took it upon herself to enroll him in a Book Club (atta girl), so he’d have time to read.

close up on stack of book

One group of “very fit looking men said, ‘Stuart, we believe your physical fitness is very important, because if your body quits, your ministry ends’.” Time to exercise.

Athlete running man - male runner in San Francisco listening to

Then, another man shared what he’d been learning while reading about Martin Luther, sharing “he couldn’t possibly manage on anything less than three hours of prayer.” Time to pray.

Bible and praying hands

While yet another gal approached him preaching he must spend more time with his family!!! Family time.

Families Playing Soccer At Beach Smiling

Finally, a little ole’ lady proclaimed, “Stuart, you look exhausted. Are you getting enough rest and relaxation?” Time to rest.

ready to nap

All of these folks mean well, but how does one BALANCE all of these helpful suggestions? Ahh, you must read the book to find out! But first, I will give you a couple of the many, many pearls of wisdom to get us started:

Bottom line: Reassess your priorities.

 Go-to Scripture:

 Matthew 6:33 – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (NLT)

Matthew 6 33z

Point to Ponder:

 Are we expressing His Kingdom in our everyday lives?

Stuart gives us 3 “Es” to help us remember how to do this: “We must strive to


Express, and

Extend the Kingdom” — God’s Kingdom, by our daily testimonial lives. I’ll never forget a friend from Bible study teaching me, “You may be the only ‘Bible’ somebody reads!”

Let’s close with this helpful and honest prayer from Stuart. Especially on our crammed calendar days, this could be hugely beneficial to all of us:

All right, Lord, here we go again. Today I have this, that, and the other to do, and I don’t need anything else added to my schedule. So would You please help me to go through today thinking Kingdom? So that in the contacts I make, and the decisions at which I arrive, and the responses I give I will concentrate on expressing and extending Your Kingdom rather than instinctively thinking about my little empire.”

I pray these snippets have caused you to re-examine your days, and your calendars. Spring Clean them up via your priorities.

‘Til next time!


Note: You can find out more about Stuart and his lovely wife, Jill Briscoe, via their website: www.tellingthetruth.org They have a wonderful app you can download for free on your phone along with a plethora of resources. (Both of them have written over forty books!!!)

John and I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from them in Naples, Florida this past January.


***FYI: Should you need professional water extraction, drying and restoration help, or fire and smoke damage restoration, etc., oh, I pray you don’t, but I’m serious…our guys really did an incredible job. Our hardwood floors were buckling and they are now smooth as glass. Call Jerry Wilkerson and his capable crew with A Nicer Reflection, Inc. www.nicerreflection.com



Filed under Book Reviews, Family

Four Fabulous Kinds of Love in February Part 1 of 4: Love for God with Help from Stuart, Jill, and Pete Briscoe…

Ahhh, February. The month of love. Any of you guys out there reading this better have “buy chocolate for ____________” on your calendar…

Gift boxes of gourmet chocolates for Valentine's Day

We gals really appreciate it even if we say, “Oh no, please do not buy me any this year.” Just know we do NOT. MEAN. A. WORD. OF. IT. (!!!)

This month we’re going to have some fun with four different kinds of love:

Love for God,

Love for Spouse,

Love for Family, and

Love for Friends.

We’ll be exploring ideas from God’s Word and from excellent authors who can teach us a thing or two or ten.

Just when I thought our beloved Naples, Florida couldn’t get any better, Hubster and I were blessed with an unbelievable opportunity to enjoy it even more. On Sunday, January 24th, we attended Covenant Church of Naples (www.covenantnaples.com).

Pastor Trent Casto delivered a sermon on ‘The Lion of Hell” which caused each of us to walk out of there with both eyes open, hearts beating more rapidly, and much more on the alert for the prowling lion/thief/father of lies who’s looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Translation: Major wake-up call!

In addition to being blessed by an applicable sermon, we noticed in Covenant’s bulletin we could return on Wednesday to have “Breakfast with the Briscoes”. As in Jill, Stuart, and Pete Briscoe! For real???


Guessing many of you have either heard of the Briscoes or have read one of their many, many excellent books. Their books cover every topic you can imagine such as Bible studies, women’s ministries, prayer, marriage, family, aging, renewal, children’s books, etc.

Two of my personal favorites are Time Bandits: Putting First Things First (LifeChange Books) by Stuart


And A Little Pot of Oil: A Life Overflowing (LifeChange Books) by Jill


Stuart and Jill hail from England, married in 1958, and praises to our Lord landed in the United States, ministering at Elmbrook Church (www.elmrook.org) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for thirty plus years. They’re “retired”, altho’ still travel and speak everywhere while being in their 80’s! They are still goin’ strong. Stuart said when asked when they were going to quit speaking, “As long as we’re able, we’ll go!”

Their youngest son, Pete, pastors Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas (www.benttree.org). He, too, has written several books. He is very articulate, clearly loves the Lord, and is fun to watch interact with his parents.

The three of them have an amazing ministry, in addition to all they do via www.tellingthetruth.org. It offers messages that are broadcast all over the world via six hundred radio stations in eight different countries! Their website is a wonderful resource with invaluable teaching. (Podcasts, etc. are available PLUS they have a FREE APP you can download on your phone!)

Let’s get to the questions Pastor Trent posed to the three Briscoes. Each and every one of us can benefit from these.  Consider your love for God in each of these scenarios:

QUESTION #1 – How do you find joy and purpose in your everyday life?

Stuart said we must keep everything in perspective, especially from our human vantage point. He quoted Theologian Dr. Vernon Grounds who said, “aging means diminishing”. We must embrace slowing down, finding joy in each and every stage.

He told us he loves enjoying different generations. He and Jill are blessed with three children and thirteen grandchildren. Each month, he asks his grandchildren for a few sentences’ worth of an update—for their “beings and doings in the last month”. Then he publishes them in “Pappa’s Monthly Round-Up” so they can keep up with one another. Grandparents, take note!

Stuart told us he used to be a runner. One day he was out jogging and became really tired. He slowed to a walk and suddenly realized what he’d been missing: trees in bloom, green, green grass, blue skies, he heard birds singing, etc. He added, “It’s amazing what you see when you take the time to slow down.”

He quipped that in England there’s a trajectory to your life: you start out playing rugby, then soccer, then you just run, then you walk and play golf, and finally you become a bird watcher. We all laughed at this, and yet while Stuart said he and Jill are now birdwatchers, they still were quite spry moving around on the stage, up and down the steps, etc. He may have been fooling all of us!

Bird Watchers

Pete said one lesson he’s learned was that he does not find joy and purpose in success. He pointed us to Galatians 5:22-23 which lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

He said, “Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit. We must be available to the Spirit and receive joy and purpose from Him.”

Jill said when you can’t praise Him for what He’s allowed, praise Him for what He has done. She cited cancer as an example. She doesn’t believe we should praise Him for the cancer, but praise Him for our caregivers, medicine working, family surrounding us, etc.

Praise Him that we find joy in Jesus, within us. There’s joy in serving Him. Look for the invisible qualities of God that are visible in His Creation. She cited Psalm 16:11 which says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy…”


QUESTION #2 – Each of you are leaders in different capacities. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?

Stuart replied that “leaders are intended to lead with followers following—a followship if you will.” He offered three suggestions:

A – Lead them where they are, not where you think they should be.

B – Lead in the direction they’re willing to go, not where you’re determined they should go.

C – Move at their speed, not yours.

IF you’re able to accomplish all three of these, two things will happen:

1 –Rapport is built.

2 –Momentum is generated. As a leader, you need momentum because nobody can steer a stationary vehicle!

Stationary bike

Pete said he loves the opening line of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life: “It’s not about you….” He said, “As a leader, you must remember that!”

Two levels to consider are “is this working?” and “is this not working?”, all the while remembering it’s not about you! Piece of cake, right???

Pete quoted Bill Hybels’ book Courageous Leadership illustrating the difference between “Capitol L” leaders and “Little ‘l’” leaders. He talked about leaders who are visionary, entrepreneurial, motivational, directional, strategic and managerial. Many audience members nodded recognizing some of their own particular styles.


He admitted, “It’s tough to not get hung up on performance. At the end of the day, people still want to know how well you know Jesus, not how well you perform.” John and I talked about this later and he said, “This reminds me of that saying, ‘People don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care.’” Amen.

Jill confessed she’s quite the instigator, full of ideas. While this is a gift of hers, putting the ideas all together, coming up with a plan, and implementing it is not. Therefore, she learned to invite help.

When she and Stuart first arrived at Elmbrook, she realized she was the “minister’s wife”, therefore she must surely have a job to do. She gathered the women of the church and asked them to write out what their expectations of her were. (Can you imagine?)

Not surprisingly, their lists, upon lists, upon lists of expectations not only overwhelmed Jill, but she almost instantaneously realized she could do nothing on those lists!

After her cup of tea in a time of crisis (great suggestion!!!), she realized, thanks to the Lord, she’d just chip away a la Ecclesiastes 9:10 and “do unto the Lord”. Even if her efforts were bad, she was trying with all her might and praying harder than ever.

QUESTION #3 – In your own walk in Christ, what is the single greatest discipline a Christian should develop?

Jill suggested three things: prayer, solitude, and silence. No performance. She said, “Jesus will mentor you when you pray to Him.”

Young woman praying in the church

Jill recalls a visit to Viet Nam thirty years ago. They were led to a secret church. After hearing Jill pray, one young gal who’d also risked her life to be there said, “I love how well you know Jesus. I want to know Him like you do.” Jill realized that how we pray suggests how deep our relationship is to the Lord. Now that will make you think!

Stuart believes there’s more than one discipline. He said, “Both dependence and obedience are required.” These produce trust. Let that soak in a minute…

He pointed us to Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 where He tells His disciples to “go and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to obey all the commands I’ve given you…”

Pete believes the discipline of knowing who you really are is of paramount importance. He threw us a curve ball. He asked, “How many of you are sinners in need of a savior?” To which we all raised our hands.

He corrected us by saying, “We shouldn’t identify ourselves as sinners, we are saints now, saved by grace. Perhaps we’re saints who sometimes sin, but we cannot mistake our identities…

There’s so much Christ has purchased for us. Knowing Him more today than yesterday should be our goal.”  How great is your love for God?

After the Q & A we had the opportunity to receive two books:

Improving with Age: God’s Plan for Getting Older and Better by Jill and Stuart Briscoe


Experiencing Life Today: 365 Day Devotional by Pete Briscoe


Sadly the morning flew by and it was time to leave. Pete, Stuart and Jill all gave John and me lots to discuss and ponder. We got to meet and speak with each of them and they were positively lovely, engaging and sincere.  Their love for God is contagious.

Take the time to explore their website: www.tellingthetruth.org.   You will be blessed!

‘Til next time!




Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews, Scripture