New year Less is More

A New year coming. I wonder if it will be new season? It's funny we put a lot of energy by honoring dates, seasons and times. Yet, we really don't know what is ahead of us. New years resolutions usually last about a day. One thing I do know plodding on, plodding on, doing what you know to do often leads to a positive place.

I regress to a post from a few months ago. When Less=More. Think I'll continue to focus on the principle.

Go. Sow. A simple practical Guide into the arena of outreach. Book Link.

Thinking about when less is more, or how less, leads to more. The Minimalist movement is an interesting movement. They understand that more is often discovered in the less. So they adjust their lifestyles. They seek to have less in order focus on having more. More peace, more clarity, more focus, more time, and more being. They've discovered as they have less, and do less, they have more time for relationships, faith, and time to do what they really want to do.

When less is more.

Being less discouraged ='s being more determined.
Being less distracted ='s being more focused.
Being less fearful ='s being more brave.
Being less stressed ='s being more peaceful.
Being less negative ='s being more positive.

Being less confused ='s having more clarity.
Less talking ='s more listening.
Less striving ='s more resting.
Less doing ='s more being.
Less law ='s more grace.

Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more;
love more, and all good things will be yours.”
 ~ Swedish proverb

Did you know there are over 52,000 self storage places in the USA which is a 22 billion dollar industry, and there are more of these places than there are McDonald restaurants?

One man noted, "Clutter is the cholesterol of an American home."

One thing we have is stuff, and we have a lot of stuff. We build bigger houses to hold all of our stuff, and then we fill our garages with more stuff instead of our cars. Then we rent storage units to store all the important overflow stuff. 

What do we have? We don't really know, but we know it's all important stuff stored away for a rainy day.

Having stuff is ok, unless your stuff has you. 

1 Cor 7:31 NLT
Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.

When is less more?
When we are faithful in the small things…

God is the great Investor.
John 1:17 "From the fullness of His Grace we have all received one blessing after another."

We have all received the gifts of talents, treasures and…time.

According to the parable of the talents we will be commended, if what He has invested in us pays dividends. In other words, what He has given to us is to be invested into the lives of others. If we do, we will receive a well done. 

 Jesus..."Well done good and faithful servant, you have done good. Enter into the joy of your King."

Something happens in our hearts when we give away what we have received. 

A few months ago I was able to help a homeless man. We had a great conversation. I discovered he had HIV and bone cancer. I prayed for him. I also began to speak into who he was. As I prayed for his healing, I told him his health did not define who he was, Jesus defined who he was. We both wept as I hugged him. The hug was one of those healing hugs, where you sense love and health flowing. He told me I had made his day. I replied, "No you have made my day!" I walked away receiving far more than I had given. 

"More blessed are they that give, then those who receive."

  Jesus… "if you are faithful, trusted with a very little, you can also be trusted with more."

This is true in all of life. It is especially true concerning spiritual riches like love, power, presence, and peace. When we are faithful to love, heal, and to bring God's presence and peace to others, love, power, presence and peace increases in our own lives.

So faithfulness is the less, that leads to more…

Being faithful in the small things, leads us toward our destiny... our purpose.

You cannot change your destination over night. You can change your direction.---Jim Rohn

Our decisions do determine our destiny. 

One decision can lead to enormous blessing, or lead to enormous regret.

We base our decisions often on our feelings rather than seeking wisdom. In the flow of life we face numerous decisions daily. Some small, seemingly insignificant decisions can change the course of a persons destiny. It's important to pay attention to our heart.

A few weeks ago I went to Kinko's to have some cards cut for an event. I dropped off the cards, returned, and found the address missing from the back of the card. I realized I should have checked the cards before taking them to Kinko's. I returned to work and had more cards printed correctly. I then took them back to the shop to be cut, and set a time to pick them up.

I returned later that afternoon to pick up the cards. They weren't ready. The cards had been forgotten. Hummm? 

I had a decision. To be upset, or to not be upset. I've been practicing being calm in such situations. When I'm tempted to complain, I think about Heidi Baker and dirt. Most of the time my up-set-ness, especially over bad service, the food not being cooked right etc. pales in view of what she has gone through. I've never fallen backward into a dirt poop filled latrine. 

Decision. Do I wait 45 minutes, or do I return in the morning to pick up the cards? I almost decided to come back in the morning, but felt a slight God check in my heart, so I decided to wait. 

During the wait I visited a couple of shops, got a hair cut, and then returned for the cards. I walked out of the shop toward my car. At that moment a husband and wife pulled up next to me. The husband asked me if I could help them. They had just visited their son at the VA their car had broken down. They had spent all their money getting a new S belt for their car and needed gas money.

I said, "Sure follow me to the filling station." As the man was filling his car I heard the whole story. Their son, 23 years of age, had just passed away at the VA hospital. He had been wounded in Afghanistan and an ensuing infection had claimed his life. 

He was their only son. I listened, loved and prayed for him and his wife. She wept. I told them about a Father who understood their pain and their sense of loss. He too had lost a Son. I prayed for the Comforter to come and to be with them. They were more than grateful and thanked me for caring. I walked away in stunned wonder.

As I pondered what just happened. I thought about how many dots had to be connected for this meeting with the family to happen? 

A trip to Kinko's... back to Kinko's... seeing misprinted cards... reprinted cards... then back to Kinko's... cards forgotten... a forty-five minute wait... then a life encounter with a couple in need. To orchestrate all of this to its conclusion is impossible. It's simply mind blowing to think how many of my decisions were prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to / acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

What you sow is what your reap.  
Think about your decisions. Which of your decisions led to regret, and which decisions led to gratitude?
It is clearly evident you and I need wisdom to make right decisions 

Read Andy Stanley's book The Best Question Ever. Well worth the read and the application.

Here is a main thought from the book. 
"In view of my past issues; my current state of being; my season of life, and considering my future, is this the best and wisest thing for me to do at this moment?"

In order to hear clearly we must push pause.

In order to gain wisdom we must de-chatter our lives. Chatter: is the consistent ambient noise that crowds our lives. We have to find time to be in a quiet place, to push pause, and to slow down, and focus on the inside of our being. 

Wisdom comes from above. When we ask for wisdom, we can expect to receive the wisdom we need. We simply need to be in a faith place where we can hear His voice. Wisdom also, comes from trusted people. People who we know that love us and have our highest good at heart. Those faithful people who will shoot straight with us and help us see what's ahead.

I had a dream where an important leader was speaking to me. I could not hear him clearly because he was whispering. There was just to much chatter around me. I remember straining to hear what he was saying. I did hear, "You are a creative, and you need to plan personal space to think." 

I realized having created personal God space over time does pay off. I was encouraged to keep creating time zones for reflection.

 Socretes stated, "Beware of the barrenness of a busy life."

I conducted a funeral for a man who was an amazing builder. His family and friends spoke well of his life. One thing was certain he was a man who wanted to make sure things were done correctly and right. One time his sons had to install a water heater three times before he was satisfied. At the end of his life he reviewed his connection with Jesus, his faith. He wanted to be clear, so he made sure he reconnected and was connected to Jesus.

At the end of our life we all will most probably ask ourselves, "What difference did I really make?" I think, Jesus will ask one question, "Did you love well?"

At the end of all our lives our stuff won't matter, only three things will matter. 

Our faith, our family and our friends. 
Our investment into our faith, our family and our friends is all important. We have one opportunity to be who we were created to be.

"Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping…into the future."  Fly Like and Eagle Steve Miller Band. 

When a second is gone, it's gone. When a moment is gone, it's gone. It's important to live life from a point of living in the now, having gratitude, making the most of every moment. 

It's far better than living a fast paced life looking back in regret. If I had only... done, said, loved, served, prayed or decided.

Regret is a trap. Paul the apostle, stated that he forgot the past. He let go in order to take hold of his life's purpose and to press into his future.

God invests in us so that we can invest into others. Where we invest our time, energy, talents and resources reveals what really matters to us. 

The time you invest into the people you love always adds up to something that matters. 

It’s where and what you focus upon that matters. 

In order to see less become more, it's important to stay focused… on what really matters.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wisemaking the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5: 15–16)

When does less become more?
When we:
Are faithful. 
Remove the chatter. 
Invest in others. 
Focus on what really matters.

I'm looking forward to 2015. I'm going to continue creating space for the One who has led me this far. I told Pattie, "We only have one plan, and His name is Jesus."


slow... is slow...

Good photo from my friend Shana. She took this while out walking one day. The sign spoke to her heart and she realized she needed to continue to pace herself. 

She works for a top fashion design company developing social media connection, sales, seasonal launch, and store design. To say she is busy is an understatement. However, if you track her life you'd notice she takes breaks, attempts to stay anchored in meaningful relationships, still has time to cook some amazing food and have fun. 

Her picture reminds me to slow down, take my foot off the pedal. I discovered most of the  trouble I find myself comes from acting in haste, not giving space to life stress situations and by reacting too quickly. An old term would be "I'm not holding my peace."  In order to hold my peace I have to slow down, push pause, distance myself from certain situations in order to gain some perspective before I speak, text, write on Facebook, or write a blog post.

I wrote a post a while ago venting my frustration, and the un-settled-ness I was feeling. Before I pushed the publish button, I had a slight check, and heard a whisper, "Don't publish this."

I didn't listen. Yep, I was misunderstood, my tone offended, etc. etc. Within a day I deleted the post but the damage had done. Me stupid, me not humble, me reactionary. Me not pushing pause, me having brain freeze forgetting and realizing what is said in print can be misread, misunderstood, twisted, or used as future ammo.

The book of James has some real wisdom.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 NASB)

Stephen, one of my friends, talked to me about this yesterday. He is forming some pretty good thoughts about moving, acting and responding to life situations from Presence / Peace and not reacting from emotion and defense. He thinks it's always good to take a step back and to ask, "How should I respond to this?"

Slowing down on the inside and pushing pause, allows us to slow down enough to seek a higher wisdom, the wisdom from above that brings heaven to earth. My earth, my thinking, my emotions, my speaking, reflected by my response.

Notice the progression of wisdom from above:

But the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable,
full of mercy
and good fruits,
without hypocrisy.
And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

 (James 3:17-18 NASB)

It's a great list to follow; to think upon. Hey, if you get four of the eight, and have peace You are heading in the right direction.

Slowing down also enables us to stop for the one. I'm intentionally walking slower, driving slower, attempting to be not as rushed, hurried or living from pressure. 

Recently, I took my sister to the Greyhound bus station. We were in line, and had planned to arrive early in order to have time to spare. I noticed a young guy in front of us was attempting to process his ticket. He discovered he didn't print out the ticket and had to have printed it out in order to give to the ticket lady to board the bus. Stress mounted as he asked the ticket lady where he could get the ticket printed out. She mentioned Office Depot was just down the street. He asked how long would it take to walk there. She said fifteen minutes. His bus left in thirty five minutes, I could feel the pressure mount. I stepped up and offered the guy a ride to Office Depot and back so he could catch his bus. He was shocked and relieved. You could sense his stress lifting. 

We went to Office Depot, he printed his ticket from their computer and we headed back. When we returned he offered to pay me and asked me why I did this for him.  I refused the cash and mentioned I have a life value. I often stop for the one. He was the one. He was more than grateful, and allowed me to pray and bless him. He caught his bus to Michigan. He going to help his girlfriend take care of her sick mom. 

Slow, is good. Fast, maybe not so good. 

Slow down, you move too fast;
You got to make the morning last;
Just kickin' down the cobblestones,
Lookin' for fun, and feelin' groovy. 
The Seekers.


Simplify Christmas

I'm really encouraged about Simplify Christmas. Here are some details about what we are doing. If you are part of our Vineyard family I'd encourage you to join us as we make a huge difference in our community and beyond.

How often do we think our ability to give to others is connected to our riches? We’re afraid to give because we don’t think we have enough, and we believe generosity is for those who have more than we do. The cool thing is that we’re not generous because we are rich, but rather, we are rich because we are generous. This Christmas season, we’re issuing a challenge. Instead of us focusing on accumulating more “stuff”, we’re going to readjust, refocus, and realign ourselves with the heart of Jesus. We want to intentionally set aside our time and money, and SIMPLIFY what we are doing for us so we can leave a greater impact for His kingdom both near and far. 

This year at The Vineyard, we are helping bring the Kingdom of Heaven in a real way touching two groups of children. Some near and some far with YOUR HELP.


Over the last 25 years we have focused on reaching the urban area of Dayton with a Christmas party that has touched thousands of families. This year, 2014, we are continuing our focus on the children who are most at risk in our local school systems. Every family that is in need is known by the school counselors and principals. These families are given a pass by the principals and counselors to come and shop at our Simplify Christmas Store, December 17 – 20, 2014. 

With your help we’ll make sure that hundreds of kids in need receive presents this Christmas. Please begin now to purchase toys the families in need, ages Baby to 12 years male and female and sign up to serve at our store.

Things to expect:
Families, Families, Families. Hundreds of tickets have been given to school counselors, and principals. They will select the children who are most in need. Their moms and dads are coming to our store. They may also bring their kids.

People show up early. So plan accordingly, late lunch, early dinner, please be here before 6pm during the week and 9:30am on Saturday.

Snacks, hot coffee, and hot chocolate are for our guests. Please eat before you come. We will have coffee, hot chocolate and some snack food in the our secure room.

Ministry Partners room. Studio L will be our check-in / secure room for the evening. You can leave your coats, purses, etc. there and pick up a name tag. 

Here are the roles for the sessions:
Volunteer Hospitality
Check-in our ministry partners and maintain a relaxing atmosphere so they can take a break and enjoy some food, drinks and fellowship.

Warmly greet people who are arriving to the Family Life Center entrance and direct families to the store, food area, and Kidz Zone.

Guest Check-in
Welcome every family to the store while completing a simple check in process prior to connecting them with a guest guide. You will have a pack of post-its and will write either girl  or boy and their ages. This will help the guest guides go to the right gender and age gift table. Also, please ask the parents where they received their store passes, then write the location on the ticket as you take it from the parents. Keep the tickets until the end of the session.

Guest Guide
Accompany the families through the store, helping them find and carry exactly what they’re looking for, and having meaningful conversations along the way. Guide parents to the wrap up area. Pray for the family.

Arts & Crafts in the Kidz Zone
Engage the children with arts and crafts and provide a safe place for them to play while their parents shop for their Christmas gifts. 

Gift Wrap 
Wrap gifts, if there are enough wrappers, or place gifts in large bag. 

To sign up go to

                                   THE FAR

We are partnering with Naomi’s Heart Mission, a group of missionaries working in the Philippines, to assist them in serving the 5000 children they help every week. Only $25.00 will feed 300 children a rice porridge called lugaw.  They supply this twice daily at their Academy and also out in the community through the Community Service Ministry. Imagine if we all came together, what we could do to change the trajectory of a life.

Your monetary gift of any value is more than gratefully received.