Can You Admit the Truth?


This weekend’s service at my church began a new series titled Life, Money, Hope: God’s Way Works. I’m excited about this series because I’ve found that the Bible really does have the answers to every situation in our lives.

God knew what we would need to navigate life.

He didn’t randomly throw things together and then wonder how to make it all function. From the beginning to the end, intentionality marks the history of creation. All we have to do is be willing to ask God what to do in a situation, and he will point us to his word (the Bible) with the answers.

One of our pastors, Kyle Jackson, who taught us this weekend, gave us some clues about our financial lives and the hopelessness most of us feel or have gone through in the area of money. He offered four reasons we can get off track, and then showed us where God’s word gives us great instruction for living in peace and abundance.

So, how do we move forward in life?

The first, and I believe most important, point he made which aims not only at our finances but every area of life is that we need to…

“Admit the reality of where we really are.”

The Bible tells us that the truth will set us free, but often we hide from the truth because we’re ashamed, guilty, embarrassed or confused. I know there were times in my life when I didn’t want to face the truth because it meant I would have to deal with unpleasant or downright hard situations that may cause pain to me and/or someone else.

Pastor Kyle reminded us that pride is what keeps us acting like things are good when they’re not. But when we are honest and admit the truth about our mistakes, we get a second (or third +) chance to do something different for a different result.

Isn’t that what we want in all of our life?

If you want to take your life forward into hope, healing and redemption, I recommend this new series. Here’s the link for this weekend at Next Level Church where many of us are moving ahead in our lives. I invite you to come join us online or in person if you are in our area.

What is an area you’ve admitted the truth and found it freed you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or in a email


Can You Relate?


Moving our life forward means navigating relationships.

This week someone introduced me to a website with tests and tools for discovering our style of relating in relationships based on our past experiences.

“Your childhood relational experiences are wired into your behaviors and beliefs, creating imprints called “love styles.”

The couple, Milan and Kay Yerkovich, who created the site were frustrated by their inability to relate well during the first fourteen years of their marriage. When they examined their lives, they discovered some interesting insights.

After years of struggling and research, they developed their quiz and passed on the information they learned. I took the test and learned some valuable things about myself.

I believe this is worth exploring.

Check out and take the quiz. I’d love to read about your results in the comments below!

Getting a Handle on Fear

Aussie land 145A couple of weeks ago, I posted about fears sinking us.

As I learn to trust God more, I’m beginning to understand to a greater depth that he really is in control of every situation. I don’t believe he causes bad things, but I see how he allows them to bring about something better for us. Sometimes our idea of “good” isn’t as good as his “best.”

As a result, my fear is diminishing.

Over the last three months, I’ve read a couple of books that are changing my perspective.

Prison to Praise is the testimony of Merlin Carothers who describes his journey finding God and his power in Merlin’s life. Power in Praise gives numerous stories of people, including Merlin, who began to praise God for every situation in their lives – both good and bad.

God’s plans for us are good. And they can’t be hindered.

I know that you can do ALL things, and NO purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Job 42:2

So every situation is from his hand in order to bring about something good.

every. single. situation.

I get that is hard to wrap our minds and hearts around. I have friends who just lost a son. How do we apply this mindset? Honestly, I’m not sure.


I won’t offer platitudes. But I do know that God is good and is doing something good even in that situation. It comes down to whether we can fully trust God, his goodness, his promises and most of all his love for us.

And that is what alleviates our fear.

No matter what happens, I’m trying to choose to praise God and trust that he is doing something good. Even when it looks bad.

At the very least, my heart is calmed, and I find peace and joy.

But I’m also finding that God works out the circumstances I thought had no answer or were too bad to take – not usually as I envisioned, but always better than I hoped.

As we approach Easter, I see the ultimate example of this.

When the religious leaders dragged Jesus away, and mocked, tortured and crucified him, his followers scattered. Terrified and alone (so they thought), they tried to make sense of the turn of events. They had believed, expected that Jesus would rescue them from the oppression of Roman rule. They watched their hopes and dreams die on that cross. Right?


God had a better plan. An eternal plan for life beyond the one they were living on earth. He sent Jesus to save them from being forever separated from God. God’s perspective was far greater than theirs. Saving them from their current situation was not as crucial as saving them for eternity.

With God, there is always a bigger picture.

One we can’t usually see until after the fact. You know, that 20/20 hindsight thing. So if we can believe this, trust God and thank him for what he’s doing even when we can’t see it or understand it in the moment, we experience peace. We also take our hands off situations which allows God to work things out.

To experience his best way, we have to get out of the way!

I challenge you to consider taking your life forward by praising God even for the tough stuff that seems bad. What looks bad to us, is a gateway to the ultimate good from him.

Let me know your thoughts…


4 Ways Fear Sinks Us

DSC_0154 (2)copyI recently read the story of the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in the year 2000. It stunned me to find that seven countries offered help that was declined. Apparently, even though the Russian government wasn’t completely in control or even possessing full knowledge of the details concerning the situation, they chose to keep silent, deny their need for help and allow 118 crew members to die.

It seems the facts are still a bit fuzzy, but for the topic of today’s post the illustration fits.

We live in a world of fear.

Various folks have recently commented about how fearful they are because of our new president taking office. They fear the violence in our cities (nothing new, just more of it) and the natural disasters wrecking havoc across the globe. Where I live, car accidents are a multiple per day occurrence which still can unnerve me a bit since we were hit a year and a half ago.

Fear is real.

But if we let it rule us, it will sink us.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading through the book of Matthew in the Bible and a few situations of fear based actions caught my attention. All of these fears were ones I’ve dealt with over the course of my life. Here’s my take:

  1. Fear of looking weak – In the above situation, the Russian government didn’t want anyone to know that they didn’t have it all together. It cost 118 lives. Owning up to our mistakes or lack of knowledge about something can feel awkward and embarrassing, but allowing that fear can cost us and others far more than the momentary discomfort of admitting we’re wrong or need help.
  2. Fear of what people will think of us -(vs. 9) Herod had John the baptist beheaded because of a foolish oath he made in front of his company. He was distressed because he really didn’t want to kill John, but he was more afraid of what his friends would think of him if he didn’t. Hopefully, we’ve never gone as far as murdering someone (if you have, clearly you know the power of fear) because we’ve been afraid of what people thought, but who have we hurt or sacrificed because of that fear?
  3. Fear caused by an inaccurate assumption -In verses 25-26, Jesus’ disciples were out in a boat in a storm. Jesus came to them to help, but they thought he was a ghost. Because of their fear in the situation, they made an inaccurate assumption which caused them more fear. It says they went from fear to terror! I can relate. I’ve made a few assumptions created by fear that ended up making the situation far worse than it needed to be.
  4. Fear of our circumstances – Peter, in verse 30, was in the midst of a miracle. Jesus, walking on water through the storm, answered Peter’s request to walk on the water to meet him. Peter jumped at the chance. What an amazing situation! But the moment Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and looked around at the raging wind and towering waves, he began to sink. Fortunately, he called out to Jesus and was saved.

We are all faced with difficult, sometimes tragic situations which can overwhelm us, bringing fear and uncertainty. Fear was given to us as a gift when God created us.

It keeps us safe.

We don’t jump off cliffs, place our hands on hot stoves or experiment with a circular saw to see if it will work on our limbs like it does on wood. We possess a healthy respectful fear of those dangerous things.

But like anything that we misplace in our heart or mind, fear can become a ruler or master over us taking us into harm rather than keeping us from it. God didn’t intend for fear to control our thoughts, actions or behavior towards others.

Recognizing harmful patterns is the first step in taking our lives forward.

Which of these areas do you feel might be ruling you?