Tag Archives: Jesus’ mission

How big is your “try”?

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

Inspiration this week comes from one of my favorite verses in the New Testament; 1 Corinthians 15: 58 “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

Yesterday, Meg turned 20. It seems crazy to me that my girls are 22, 20 and 17 as some days I could easily believe that just yesterday they were 8, 6 and 3…The last 22 years have been amazing, and I can honestly say that being both a wife and a mom has been my life’s greatest gift ❀️

As I look back on the things that I wanted my girls to learn growing up, one thing rises easily toward the top of the list. I believe that my girls grew up in a home filled with love, honesty, and just a touch of goofiness (thanks to my favorite farmer). But, they also grew up in a home where effort was an expectation. Chores were not shirked, and a good attitude was always preferred πŸ˜‰ God loves a cheerful giver 😊 (2 Corinthians 9:7)

In our family, “try” matters.

On the farm, there is always work to do and the day just goes better when everyone contributes! Our family is truly blessed as we work well together. Some of my most precious memories are working alongside my girls. We weren’t perfect, but we packed our faith to find purpose and meaning as we sweated (or froze) together.

Scooping bunks at the cattle feedyard during a blizzard in 2016…

It’s been a few years since we all scooped bunks together in a snowstorm, but I think the lessons learned still remain fresh in our minds. The Holy Spirit periodically reminds me of how important it is to pack my effort in order to offer a big “try”. And, it warms my heart to watch all three of my girls live with hearts that are packed with steadfast effort. After all, isn’t that what God asks from us?

Six years later, she is still brings a tenacious “try” as she packs her faith to let Jesus help her to fly high.

I believe that God asks for our hearts every.single.day. And, when He asks for our hearts, He asks for our try. If we truly believe and live for Jesus, then our hearts can’t help but work enthusiastically. God’s grace covers us so that we do not have to work perfectly, but it is important to God that we work enthusiastically. Nothing that we ever do for the Lord is useless — He uses it all for the glory of the Kingdom. He asks us to be strong. He asks us to be immovable in our faith. He asks for us to trust our hearts and our lives to Him. In return for our try, He offers grace, strength, hope, peace, love, and purpose.

As God moves through our try, it blesses others generously. Love is a verb – an action verb. And, what a privilege it is to let God move through us to accomplish great things 😊 We don’t have to offer our effort in order to experience the grace of Jesus. However, when we withhold our effort, we lose the ability to help others to see the love of Jesus as He shines through us. I pray each day that my girls will hold Jesus’ hand and let Him hold their hearts. A Jesus inspired heart works enthusiastically to share love with others in order to bring honor to the God whose steadfast love endures forever.

How big is your “try”?


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The Delivery…and the Message

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

Inspiration this week comes from the book of Proverbs 15:2

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”

One of the professors in my online classes with the AACC pointed out the above Proverb last week and it has stuck in my mind for several days now. Wise words only become wisdom if the delivery of the knowledge is appealing and effective. The very same words can be foolishness if they are given in such a way that they fall on deaf ears.

That is such a critically important message for us as communicators! A Natural Horsemanship teacher once told me that “a horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care”. I think that same mantra applies to humans as well. If knowledge is the what (the information), wisdom is the how (the delivery). How much you care is communicated by how you deliver the message! When we speak in love, our delivery is wise and our knowledge is effectively shared. When love is not the basis with which we speak, then our delivery is unproductive and we are simply “belching foolishness”.

I cannot even count the number of times that I have come home after coaching or teaching thinking to myself, “Why won’t they just listen to me??!!” I am starting to see that when my frustration inspires me to ask that question, then I need to look at how I am delivering my message 😊 I think sometimes I forget that love comes in many different forms. Grace provides the basis for all of them, and there is a relatively exhaustive list of types of love which allows for the critical element of truth to blend or balance with the grace.

Grace allows for effective delivery. It intrigues, attracts, compels, comforts, and demonstrates the value of the person with whom we are speaking. When people feel that they matter, then they become open to hearing our message. This allows space to communicate truth. Truth inspires and influences. It is more than just facts. It is not just something that we act upon, it is something that acts upon us. We are unable to change truth — truth comes from God, and we find it in His Word and in our hearts as the Spirit moves within us. However, truth can change us! When we learn how to communicate the “guardrails” of Biblical truth in a message that is created in grace, it ensures that our words become wise and appealing.

Randy Alcorn shares much wisdom on this topic in his book, “The Grace and Truth Paradox”. If you have not ever read it, I strongly encourage you to! Christ is 100% grace, and 100% truth. As humans, we have elements of both but struggle with what that really looks like. It helps me to picture it this way. When I ride my horse, the goal is to stay in the saddle. I need to ride with one foot in the stirrup of truth and the other in the stirrup of grace. When I do that, I am able to ride with harmony as my seat solidly remains in the saddle all while moving with the horse.

Our effectiveness to disciple others in our Christian journey hinges on not just the message that we impart, but the delivery with which we impart it. When we speak truth with grace, it changes lives. We are able to communicate both our love and our knowledge in order to build each other up in Christ. It allows our tongues to become wise, our message to matter, and our hearts to value with the unconditional and sacrificial love of Jesus 😊 This is my prayer for each of us this week!


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Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚

Inspiration this week comes from Hebrews 12: 11

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

Our family entered the world of Haymaker Wrestling this year. About a month after Joseph came to live with us, he decided that he wanted to learn to wrestle. Two of the Haymaker Wrestling coaches have kids that swim for me, and my favorite farmer was a wrestler in high school so it seemed a good fit.

As a swimmer and a runner (with a brother who played baseball), I was a newbie to the sport of wrestling. The discipline and fitness intrigued me, while the culture of the sport just plain pulled at my heart. Over the course of the season, I watched a small group of young men band together to create a brotherhood. A brotherhood that inspired loyalty and leadership.

Photo Credit: Brian Bazata

The mantra of the Haymaker Wrestling team is AOTA. A-always, O-on, T-the, A-ttack. I questioned it a bit going into the season, but it didn’t take long for me to understand the meaning and the purpose. In a wrestling match, you are either in control of the match and earning points or you are getting beat by an opponent who is. Leadership on the mat requires a high level of engagement and a willingness to take chances in the moment in order to claim victory at the end.

There is no room for laziness.

Rather, the wrestling culture inspires enthusiastic and proactive “headmanship”. Our Youth Ministry Pastor defines “headmanship” as the leadership that men demonstrate as they intentionally work to serve and protect. It comes from active and selfless engagement as mental and physical strength merge to create honor.

There’s a lot of spirituality that happens on the wrestling mat. I don’t know if the Haymaker wrestlers would intentionally call it that, but I clearly saw it as I watched them come together as a team this season. Paul reminds us in Hebrews 12:11 that God calls us to never be lazy – rather – we are called to work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

It takes an intentional individual choice to create a victorious community.

Joseph began his wrestling career as a senior with no prior experience. He faced the challenge of spending the season wrestling some of the Midwest’s finest who had more than 10 years of experience. I never worried that he would fail. I knew that God would carry him. What he lacked in learned skill, his teammates and coaches helped him to fill in with discipline, leadership, and love.

I cried when he won his first match. My heart swelled when he got his first victory by pin. I watched him lose more times than he won, but each match brought a sense of purpose, identity and worth to the young man that God had brought to me as a son. Joseph discovered the beauty of “team” as well as the pride found in working hard to honor the mission.

He learned that being on the attack can be something incredibly righteous.

Isn’t this what Jesus calls us to do?

The New Testament is full of passages where Jesus implores us to actively and passionately love community more than self. And, to keep giving even when it hurts because the mission holds unfathomable value. My heart filled with hope as the season went on and I realized that wrestling provided a tremendous battlefield to teach our young men to fight with righteousness.

When the battle is honorable, being on the attack is a good thing.

We are not called to be passive. We are called to fight with our whole hearts as we engage in Jesus’ mission.

To the 2019 Haymaker Wrestling Team, thank you for fighting the good fight. I pray that you will take these “life lessons” and apply them to the calls that God has for you during your life journey. You all earned many medals this season, but the greatest is the one that you carry in your heart as you honor your God and your team. Thank you for your efforts.

Respect is earned — you all have mine.

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