Tuesday, December 31, 2013

7 Practical Secrets to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution


Seven Success Secrets That Will Help You Keep Any Goal You Set


Yesterday's tips were well received so.... I thought it might be helpful to add a list of methods for achieving success in the New Years Resolution business. 

I have been setting goals for as long as I can remember.   I have also watched others have various levels of success with their goals and resolutions.  Here are the seven things that help me achieve a high degree of success.  Maybe some will help you.

1.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no - in other words, your word should be your bond, not just with others, but, by all means, with yourself.  The secret to not breaking your word is to not give it out willy nilly.  So only make resolutions that you seriously intend to keep.  This will create a pattern of success that will allow you to set new resolutions in the future.

2.  Keep your eye on the prize.  If the resolution requires doing something you’d rather not (like eating less or exercising more), there will be days, or weeks, or every day, when you struggle with doing what you’ve planned to do.  Visualize the result your hoping for … in detail.  Even imagine the praise you might receive or the trophy you might win. 

3.  Reward yourself often for achieving small victories.  Dark chocolate is a great reward.  It has been proven to be good for you.  Only allow yourself the indulgence on those days or weeks when you have done what you planned to do.

4.  Share with others in the effort.  If you have others to socialize with while running or going to the gym, or just other folks to keep you accountable, you chances of staying on course rise dramatically.  Choose your accountability or discipline partners carefully.  The wrong one can drag you down.  For me - I will lose 15 pounds in 75 days by cutting carbs and working out 20 minutes a day.

5.  Keep some kind of record that provides you with a check box or way to line through the various levels of accomplishment.  It helps to stay motivated when there is a score that is being kept.  You might even compete with your partner, but keep it fun.

6.  Tell the world about your resolution.  The more folks who know you’ve made a pledge to accomplish some goal, the harder it will be to back away when the going gets tough.  Keep a few friends apprised of your progress; specifically, those you know will encourage you.

7.  Assuming there is a time associated with the goal, tell yourself this on the hardest days:  “I can do anything for two months (or fill in the blank with the time left).”  This isn’t a lie.  Humans are quite capable of strenuous or noxious tasks if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Go For It! 

By the way, if you have an idea to add to the list or if one or more of these don't work for you, please add your thoughts in the comments.

There is also another post that preceded this on that listed 7 tips to Happiness.  Some of those would be the best kind of goals to create at any time.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

7 Secrets to Choosing Happiness in 2015



Have you had enough negative input for one decade?  Tired of hearing about squabbles in Washington, tensions in the Mideast, and the economics of fear?  Here are seven guaranteed ways that you can choose happiness in 2014.

1.  Take a 40 day FAST from the news.  Don’t read newspapers, listen to news radio, or watch the news on TV.  Tell those around you that you don’t even want to discuss it.  Within 3 days, your spirits will be lifted.  Trust me on this one.


2.  Stop procrastinating about stupid little stuff.  Make a quick list of the top 10 things that bug you in your life that will take less than an hour or so to fix.  Then do it them.  I once allowed my garage to look like something on a reality TV show for 9 months.  It only took 3 hours to make it perfect.  I was stoked.

3.  Deal with the most toxic person in your life.  Some one person is probably responsible for most of the grief you deal with.  Set a boundary with them.  If they can’t handle the boundary, limit or eliminate contact.  Just thinking about this one made you feel better.

4.  Set some small makable goals for the year.  Vacation, savings, date nights, learn or improve a skill or talent, special projects with the kids, charitable giving, community service, make a difference.

5.  Forgive someone who you are really ticked at.  The problem could be a recent issue or a really old one.  You don’t even need to tell them you forgave them.  Just do it.  75% of emotional illness is due to failure to forgive.  If you do this one, and none of the others, it will be the biggest gain for 2014.

6.  Begin each day with a daily devotional or inspirational reading.  Then exercise.  Even 10 or 20 minutes.  I’ve never met anyone who does this who doesn’t feel huge benefits.

7.  Intend to be happy.  Make a choice to be happy.  Cherish each moment.  Resist every temptation to be negative, or upset, or grasping, or intolerant.  Take every opportunity to be loving, giving, and blessing others with your kindness.

Do you have some you'd like to add?  Or, are there any above that you dispute or need more details about?  Use the comment section.

Also, please note that there is a follow up post on how to keep your resolutions.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Riviting Parable of Dramatic Loss Leading to Victory


A Fictional Tale Loaded with Truth


It wasn't that long ago that I went from a life rarely interrupted by any type of negative circumstance to one where I can remember worrying over the single dollar it was going to cost me in gas to drive to the gas station.  It was a time when my 20 year marriage was on the rocks with divorce papers drawn and ready for signature.  A time when my adult daughter stated:  "You're like a country western song; even your dog died."

Jackie Macgirvin
So the story that Jackie Macgirvin tells hits very close to home.  It tells the story of a woman of greater means than I possessed even at the top of my financial time, who is brought lower by far than the lowest day I endured.  The devastation I experienced brought havoc to my life in every way, including my spiritual walk.  Why had Jesus allowed this to happen?  Where was He?

The author doesn't let her heroine off the hook in any of this.  She certainly asks the same questions, shakes the same fist, and feels sorry for herself.  She comes ever so close to giving up on the promises God has made to her, to me, and to every saved individual.

The story is fiction, but has the power of seeming all too real.  Jackie Macgirvin brings her characters alive and makes you feel their emotions, deprivation, hopelessness, and then hope and wonder at God's wonderful works and grace. 

I would give this book any number of stars allowed.  Beautifully written, wonderfully inspiring, incredibly insightful, and a joy to read. 


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Man Bites Dog? Woman's Prison Story and Christian Non-Fiction Come Together



Book Review: "Treasures of Darkness, a Prison Journey"

Who'd a Thunk it?  A No-holds-barred Personal Journal of One Woman's Journey

It's all there.  The violence, the drugs, the power hierarchies, the payoffs, the intimidation, the lesbians, and the crooked guards.  Enter a suburban housewife who admittedly "did the deed," and was sent to real prison for a complex financial fraud, that offered her no potential gain, but inadvertently caused others loss.  How does she negotiate the world of professional criminals, mentally and emotionally challenged, and often desperate women in prison?

Trish Jenkins wrote letters home to her husband a young girls all during her ordeal.  What she couldn't send them for fear of retribution by staff or fellow inmates, she recorded in a journal for later.  After serving every day of her sentence, she turned the detailed history of her life behind bars into a compelling honest book that will chill you and sometimes thrill you.
Trish Jenkins, author, "Treasures of Darkness, a Prison Journey"

You see, Trish Jenkins is also a Bible believing Christian, sold out for Jesus.  She determined to make every facility where she did time into a place of ministry.  Her constant thought was about how she could take this awful experience, and like Paul, make it into something good and eternal for Jesus.

I'll be the first to admit that at times her faithful acts seemed to good to be true.  Who knows, she might have embellished here and there.  However, there are many, many witnesses to what she did.  I suspect that if she's not telling it straight, some of those would be challenging her.  So, I'm taking her at her word.

The other thought that kept coming back to me was "what would I have done, given her circumstances."  I'm 150 pounds soaking wet.  I would be a big target in a men's facility.  Could I hold it together, keep my focus on Christ, and not merely crumble?  Would it be on my mind to tell those around me about Jesus at every possible chance?

Trish didn't pull it all together every day or even every hour on any given day.  She shares her heartbreaks, depression, and more.  She gives us a momentary glimpse into the re-entry into the real world afterwords, which in some ways seems to have been worse than the time in prison.  You start to see why some criminals prefer the inside, with clear rules and three squares.

Usually, book reviews cover the quality of the writing long before this.  However, the real power of this book is in the first person narrative, honestly and completely revealed.  Having said that, Trish Jenkins is a fine writer who tells the story clearly, and with passion.

While there were many lessons and takeaways from this work, my favorite line was:
"Many of us dream of having a great ministry; but we want it on our terms.  We don't really count the cost, because we cannot really see what the cost will be.  Yet only by willingly paying the cost can we appreciate the joy and satisfaction of fulfilling our call."

I also appreciated her oft repeated prayer regarding a situation or ministry:  "Lord, help me to be effective."

"Treasures of Darkness, a Prison Journey," is available on Amazon.com.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spiritual Sensitivity, Connectedness, and Burdon Bearing - Book Review

 

"The Mystery of  Spiritual Sensitivity:  Your Practical Guide to Responding to Burdens You Feel from God's Heart" by Carol A. Brown

Carol Brown didn't write this book for me, or at least I'm pretty certain of that.  I am a rescuer to some extent, but my inclinations are based more on a desire to see improvements in folks who have great potential.  I think it would be rare for me to come along someone to support them in their distress or even victory just because I felt God's call for me to do so.

Carol Brown wrote "The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity" for those who have a gift of spiritual connectedness to others, a hyper intuition, something akin to extra sensory perception.  She makes it clear that this is not new age, not charismatic.  In fact she has specific instructions to protect those who have this gift from using it inappropriately in ways that can create harm.  

I own a degree in Psych from UCLA and have studied and undergone testing for ESP in 40 years ago.  I have very close friends and family members who are charismatics, though I am mainstream Baptist in that regard.  On the other hand, I believe the Bible is clear about the spiritual world, and I conclude that Carol has supported her thinking theologically quite well.  

That long introduction brings me to the following:  This book does what it was intended to do for those with varying degrees of spiritual sensitivity who need help and guidance to use it appropriately and keep burden bearing from becoming destructive to the individual or their family.  But Carol may not be aware that the book speaks strongly to those who are not gifted about how they might at least become "normal" in their ability to get in sync spiritually with those in their life.

Here is my synopsis of her message to people like me who do not have a gift of spiritual empathy:

Pray to be more in tune with the actual underlying needs of those you care for or about.  When you become aware of a need, intercede and ask God for wisdom, healing, etc.,  then let it go.  It is now for God to do what God chooses to do in His time.  Then be available to hear from the HS for more directions if any.  You may be needed to be continuing to pray or to take some other action.  But you should not take action unless clearly called to do so.

My belief is that this is a book that 70% of Christians could get huge insights from reading and digesting.  Word of warning:  The first 40 pages are heavy sledding.  Hang in there.  You may feel you aren't really getting it.  It will become clear.  Don't be discouraged.  

Some books that challenge us to action seem smart and I might resolve to take the ideas to heart, only to find that days or weeks later, the concepts are forgotten.  This book is such a shift in my way of thinking, and so obviously correct, that I am working diligently to build up my skill in spiritual sensitivity, much like I might build up my skill in praying or giving. 

I Never Could "Leave It at the Alter!" Until I Heard This!

 



'Give Your Problems to God' Wasn't Working for Me.  Now it Does!

Life gives us problems.  Sometimes big problems.  Then there are the kind of problems that stop us in our tracks.  We can't work, think, socialize, or even pray.  Especially pray.  After all, God could have intervened by now to cure my cancer, heal my marriage, provide needed finances, lead me to a mate, save my dad, or end my cravings.  My sister didn't have to die, my best friend didn't have to move, and my daughter didn't have to end up on meth.

Today is another day where you are staring at your computer, but you aren't producing any work.  You are going through the motions on the job.  You have no prayer life, and haven't read the Bible in weeks.  It is all you can do to get up for church, and sometimes you can't do that.  Your eating and sleeping are all over the place.  You stare at the TV for hours.  Numbing your hurts.

The pastor has an alter call.  "I know there are some here today who are hurting.  You don't understand why you need to go through this trial.  You need comfort, and God has promised to provide you with that comfort.  But you need to act first.  You need to bring your concerns to the alter and turn them over to God.  He wants to take care of whatever is on your heart.  Come up now and bring all your problems to Jesus."

So you do.  You feel better for an hour or a day.  But then it's back.  Next time someone tells you to just turn it over to Jesus, you add their suggestion to the long list of "worthless platitudes" that your friends and family have been offering.  It didn't work.  It won't work.

That is where you would have found me 5 years ago.  I'll spare you the gory details, but broke, separated, in default on the mortgage, facing bankruptcy.  Starting over at age 60 with a new business, I was working 16 hours a day, but getting an hour worth of work actually completed.  I had no interest in anything but my own pile of problems.  Enter my sister, Judy.

Putting My Problems in a Box


"Why don't you just put it all in a box," she offers.  Aaaghhh!  I want to say.  Instead I tell her that I've tried leaving it at the alter literally, and giving it to God, and it isn't working for me. 

She responds:  "Oh!  That's because you are doing it wrong."

"Ok.  Whatever," I tell her.  "I'm pretty sure I did it the right way."

Well, did you give yourself permission to take your problems out of the box later, so you could cry over them, rehash them, think about them, pray about them, yell at God about them, and try to move forward on them for fifteen minutes before putting them back in the box?"

"Huh?"  I cleverly grunted.

"Sure.  You get to take them out, but only for a little while.  Then you put them back in the box."

I actually felt lighter for the first time in weeks.  "Won't that ruin the whole idea of giving the issue over to God?  If I can take it back, then I haven't really trusted Him to do it." 

Judy had an answer:  "That's the beauty of this.  You aren't taking it out of the box to solve it.  That's God's part.  You are taking it out of the box to lift it back up to Him in whatever way you can at the moment.  King David commonly lifted his issues up with a great deal of anger and frustration.  Other times he praised God for his provision, comfort, or strength."

Now she had my attention.  I'm a problem solver.  It is my most difficult area of submission.  I may believe that God can do all that He says He can and will do, but my actions belie my belief.  I trust me more than Him far too often.  But here was a way I could relinquish the burden to Him in a way that made sense.

For me, the results were nothing short of miraculous.  The very next day and every day after that I was fully functioning and clear thinking.  Even as other issues entered that could have taken me off track, I was able to abide in His strength far better than ever before.

I pray that this story will be as helpful to you as it was to me.  And if it is, please tell others, or at least send them this link.








Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christian Book Review: Kevin Mark Smith's "Flashback"

"Flashback" by Kevin Mark Smith
"Flashback" by Kevin Mark Smith

Kept Me Guessing Until the Very End - Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Christian Themed

Spoiler Alert!  There is nothing I can tell you about "Flashback" that won't ruin this crazy (I can't say it or it would give too much away)thriller, romp through multiple XXXX, and even includes a romance with an XXXXX. 

I can tell you that I prefer to be very regimented about my sleep, going to bed at the same time every night.  "Flashback" got in the way of my discipline.  If I had possessed a physical book, I would call it a page turner.  Having a digital version, I suppose we need to come up with a new description.  Page clicker?

Author Kevin Mark Smith is an attorney.  So it may not be surprising that Smith brings some legal issues into his inaugural novel.  So we have criminal investigations, corporate shenanigans, smart lawyers, outstanding PI's, dead bodies, bombs, chases, romantic interludes, spiritual interventions, and so much more. 

Some books are easily compared to others.  Some authors are easily pegged.  I really can't think of any book I've read which brings more complexity to the story, yet does it in such a way as you can "almost" always follow it.  I say the almost part with kindness.  I lesser author who had the same wild imagination could have easily confused his audience beyond hope of redemption. 

Like any good Christian novel, you have a chance to think about the implications of the actions, failures, and successes of the characters.  But for those who prefer a light touch on the morality play aspect, Smith delivers here, too.  There is no doubt where Smith stands, and there is a great message, but it is not delivered with a sledge hammer.  And the message never requires deviating from the natural feel of the circumstances. 

Flashback has only been out a couple of days, and is available on Amazon.


Monday, August 26, 2013

If You Love Christian Fiction from Ted Dekker, Randy Alcorn, Paul Young

You Are Going to Get a Real Treat with "The Masters Quilt (Giants in the earth)" by Michael Webb

For some who love to get lost in a great novel, there is just not enough great writers working in Christian Fiction.  You find a new author to love, and soon you've read everything the guy has to offer.  Then there is the withdrawal, the idea that there will be a new one for Christmas.  My kids don't even ask me what I want for Christmas anymore.

The really good news is that I have found an author you probably don't know anything about.  And he has three other published works available right now.  And I even happen to know that there's another one coming shortly.  The Master's Quilt is the first in a trilogy called Giants in the Earth.  I have just completed this book and will be reading the other two very soon.  I'll report on the others here.

Michael Webb brings so much more than just nail biting action to the stage.  He has an amazing knowledge of history and the inter-relationships of the major players during 1st Century AD.  He weaves tales of deceit and manipulation that provide us one view of what might have been going on behind the scenes as Pilate, Saul of Tarsus, Herod Antipas, Caiaphas and others battled for power.

There is seemingly never ending stream of specific anthropological, cultural, and religious insights that help us to see more clearly what the struggle between Rome, the Jews, and the new Christians was really all about.  Add the spiritual realm to the equation to complete a tapestry that keeps you guessing throughout the work.

Some reviewers on Amazon have argued that the book starts off a little slow.  I would encourage every reader to give the book 50 pages.  I would compare the opening to Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities."  I started that book twice, and only the third time did I finish it.  The reason is the same.  There are many, many characters, and they have very odd names.

In the headline, I compared Michael Webb to some huge authors.  He is actually a better writer than Young or Dekker.  His story lines are equal to any of the three.  His research is as good as Alcorn.  I'll give Alcorn an edge on writing, but not by much.

You can get any of Webb's Books on Kindle for under $5.  As of today, this book is available free on Kindle.  I think it is normally $2.99.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Expectations Ruin Relationships by Mark Foster - Book Review

If a Friend or Loved One Doesn't Meet Your Expectations, What Is the Likely Result?

I give someone a gift that I spent hours shopping for and I have built up this huge imaginary scene in my head of how thrilled they are going to be.  I see them gushing over the gift and I imagine my value as a loved one going up in their heart.  I might even be contemplating some benefit to me in terms of immediate affection or future attention.  Maybe they will think harder next time they get me a gift. 

There are quite a few things wrong with the above day dream. 

1.  It might turn out to be a nightmare.  Maybe the gift goes over like a lead balloon.  Maybe the person just has a hard time gushing.  Maybe they love the gift, but it doesn't result in any change in their behavior toward you at all.

2.  Many of your motives are selfish.  You are giving to get.  Even if your primary motive was to bless the socks off the recipient, you have now built up all kinds of rewards in your mind that you surely deserve for being such a wonderful giver.

It's that time of year again at the office.  Promotions, raises, and bonuses have all been determined, and today they will be announced.  You've worked hard and you expect to see all that hard work pay off today.  If all is right in the world, you should get everything you expect.  But have you considered:

1.  Maybe there is no place to promote you to.  Maybe the economy is such that raises are just not possible this year.  Could it be that the profits were poor, or increasing expenses will deny normal bonuses. 

2.  Possibly your evaluation of your work is not the same as the decision makers.

3.  You may have misunderstood or not paid enough attention to the process and systems that determine promotions, raises, and bonuses.

4.  The boss might not play fair.

5.  Your motives are once again all about you.  Of course you probably deserve all that you expect.  However, your motive should be to give your job 100% effort regardless of the results to you.  You are there to do a great job and to be paid per your agreement. 

When expectations are dashed, those failing to live up to the expectations are likely to be the subject of your ire.  The results may be no more than pouting, but could also include anger, a break in fellowship, retribution, or even mayhem. 

Mark Foster has written a very solid book on expectations that is very easy to read and understand.  He points to many of the expectations that we have of our spouses.  Our poor spouses commonly don't even know what we are expecting them to do

, and then it is possible that they just don't do it well enough or often enough.  When our spouse fails to do what is expected, we may shut them out at some level, and commonly not even tell them what is really going on. 

It doesn't take more than a quick evaluation of these expectations to see that they are all based on our selfish desires or our desire to control our spouse.  Can you think of one expectation that you have of your spouse, best friend, adult child, boss, or pastor that isn't based on selfishness or desire to control?

Please put that example in the comments.  

Regarding the book.  It is called Expectations Ruin Relationships.  It is only $2.95 in Kindle.  And it worth one hundred times that amount.  I assure you that if you read it carefully, do the study questions, and pray the prayers, you will change your expectations. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chapter 10 – Surrender to Holiness

 

How Is Your Walk . . . Really?  Are You Really Seeking to Be Holy?


I should be a great bowler.  But I really stink at it.  My Dad’s family has amazing bowlers.  At least two of my uncles had 300 games and my Poppy was ranked nationally.  I bowled a lot.  Had my own ball and my own shoes.  I’ve never had a 200 game and during my league years averaged around 135. That is not good, for those who don’t bowl.

What is the problem with my bowling?  How does that relate to Holiness?  

This is the final chapter in a book that has been created here on this blog.  The book is  available on Amazon.com under the title God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  This will be the Kindle edition.  The print edition will follow approximately May 15, and the audio is slated for availability around June 1. 

Click here to buy on Kindle

The rest of this chapter was available free for almost a year, but has now been removed.  It is my hope that you will truly enjoy the book and that it will bless you.  Some have already reported their thoughts about the book.  Early readers report below.  

Serious Disciples of Jesus should read God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  because, according to one reviewer:

If a baby were born and failed to thrive, the family would rightly consider it a great tragedy. When a Christian is born and fails to thrive, however, many people don’t notice. God Called—He Needs Your Decision! by Randy Kirk is an invitation to Christians to thrive. It is a spiritual counterattack to the widespread misconception that “being” a Christian is a passive state. Randy invites Christians to “do” Christianity.

Katherine Harms, Editor

Are you ready to ratchet up your devotion to God and Jesus to the next level?
God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is perfect for you

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your walk and desire to be of greater service?
God Called was written for Christians just like you

Are you the first to sign up for any seminar that teaches how to find out God’s will for your life?
The pathway to that answer for you is one click away.

God Called is not for the lukewarm - UNLESS you are ready to repent of being lukewarm

God Called is not for the prodigal - UNLESS you are tired of eating with the pigs

God Called is not for pew dusters - UNLESS you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone

Here’s what others are saying:


Even as a Pastor sometimes we can lose focus on what it really is to be a
true disciple of Christ.

I would recommend it to any Pastor or leader of a church
Great Stuff!

Robert Hill
Core Church Los Angeles

Just reading the first few pages, God spoke a quick word to me, setting me free from years of bondage to what people will think of me if I follow Jesus full out. Using Randy's simple steps of faith, this is a must-read for your next step in growing in grace.

Cheryl Colwell   author  The Secrets of Montebellis and The Proof

The Psalmist tells us that deep calls unto deep . . . Take the plunge into
the River of Life with Randy Kirk's newest book, God Called—He Needs Your Decision! and drink deep from the well that never runs dry.  Find keys to intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit hidden in plain sight.  Come away refreshed and longing for more of Him.

Michael J. Webb, Bestselling Author of The Master's Quilt

God Called was written specifically for mature Christians who feel they have not really heard the Lord speak to them. These Christians truly want to hear the voice of God calling to them with an offer to serve in a capacity that is outside of their expectations. 

Review these questions which might be holding you back from hearing God’s plan for your life:

Jesus says disciples need to carry their cross and follow Him.  Can you do that?
Jesus said that disciples must hate mother and father (compared to Him)  Is that you?
Jesus said that disciples must obey what he has commanded.  Do you?
Jesus said that disciples must give up everything.  Are you prepared to do so?
Dallas Willard says “very few Christians want to hear what God has to say.  Do you?

Here’s a sample of the impactful words from God Called that have encouraged readers to take their Christianity to the next level:

Our Christian walk is always about how much we trust and believe, and whether we trust God enough to put aside our fear. Each stage of our maturing in Christ depends on our ability to repent of our unbelief, or pride, and our idols, and move to the next stage. This is true from our first profession of faith. It is true when we start each new discipline. It is true when we become aware of the depths of our sin and mindful of our need to be continually repenting. It is true when we become willing to be completely dependent on and open with God—intimate with Him. Then we must repent of our unbelief again if we are to fully surrender to a calling.

Don’t put off your decision to move closer to God and hear His voice. Get your copy of God Called - He Needs Your Decision! today and get started on a journey that will lead to a fully surrendered life.


Click here to buy on Kindle

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chapter 9 - The Crux of the Christian Life - Surrender


Have You Really Picked Up the Cross and Followed Jesus?  


This chapter is the reason for the book.  It is the end of the journey.  The use of the word crux has been carefully chosen.  Crux is taken from the Latin word cruc, which means cross or torture.  It is a part of the root of crucify.  Jesus has called us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. (Matt.16:24,25; Mark 8:34,35; Luke 9:23,24).  I believe that most of you are just exactly like me - you and I give total lip service to this idea.  This may sound harsh, but hear me out.

What does it really mean to take up your cross.  Have you ever done it? God is waiting to give you a treasure trove of blessings when you are willing to go all the way with Him.

This was the beginning of 9th chapter in a book that has been created here on this blog. This opening has been radically altered in the final version  The book will be available on Amazon.com April 26 under the title God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  This will be the Kindle edition.  The print edition will follow approximately May 15, and the audio is slated for availability around June 1.  

Click here to buy on Kindle


The rest of this chapter was available free for almost a year, but has now been removed.  It is my hope that you will truly enjoy the book and that it will bless you.  Some have already reported their thoughts about the book.  Early readers report below.  

Serious Disciples of Jesus should read God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  because, according to one reviewer:

If a baby were born and failed to thrive, the family would rightly consider it a great tragedy. When a Christian is born and fails to thrive, however, many people don’t notice. God Called—He Needs Your Decision! by Randy Kirk is an invitation to Christians to thrive. It is a spiritual counterattack to the widespread misconception that “being” a Christian is a passive state. Randy invites Christians to “do” Christianity.

Katherine Harms, Editor

Are you ready to ratchet up your devotion to God and Jesus to the next level?
God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is perfect for you

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your walk and desire to be of greater service?
God Called was written for Christians just like you

Are you the first to sign up for any seminar that teaches how to find out God’s will for your life?
The pathway to that answer for you is one click away.

God Called is not for the lukewarm - UNLESS you are ready to repent of being lukewarm

God Called is not for the prodigal - UNLESS you are tired of eating with the pigs

God Called is not for pew dusters - UNLESS you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone

Here’s what others are saying:


Even as a Pastor sometimes we can lose focus on what it really is to be a
true disciple of Christ.

I would recommend it to any Pastor or leader of a church
Great Stuff!

Robert Hill
Core Church Los Angeles

Just reading the first few pages, God spoke a quick word to me, setting me free from years of bondage to what people will think of me if I follow Jesus full out. Using Randy's simple steps of faith, this is a must-read for your next step in growing in grace.

Cheryl Colwell   author  The Secrets of Montebellis and The Proof

The Psalmist tells us that deep calls unto deep . . . Take the plunge into
the River of Life with Randy Kirk's newest book, God Called—He Needs Your Decision! and drink deep from the well that never runs dry.  Find keys to intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit hidden in plain sight.  Come away refreshed and longing for more of Him.

Michael J. Webb, Bestselling Author of The Master's Quilt

God Called was written specifically for mature Christians who feel they have not really heard the Lord speak to them. These Christians truly want to hear the voice of God calling to them with an offer to serve in a capacity that is outside of their expectations. 

Review these questions which might be holding you back from hearing God’s plan for your life:

Jesus says disciples need to carry their cross and follow Him.  Can you do that?
Jesus said that disciples must hate mother and father (compared to Him)  Is that you?
Jesus said that disciples must obey what he has commanded.  Do you?
Jesus said that disciples must give up everything.  Are you prepared to do so?
Dallas Willard says “very few Christians want to hear what God has to say.  Do you?

Here’s a sample of the impactful words from God Called that have encouraged readers to take their Christianity to the next level:

Our Christian walk is always about how much we trust and believe, and whether we trust God enough to put aside our fear. Each stage of our maturing in Christ depends on our ability to repent of our unbelief, or pride, and our idols, and move to the next stage. This is true from our first profession of faith. It is true when we start each new discipline. It is true when we become aware of the depths of our sin and mindful of our need to be continually repenting. It is true when we become willing to be completely dependent on and open with God—intimate with Him. Then we must repent of our unbelief again if we are to fully surrender to a calling.

Don’t put off your decision to move closer to God and hear His voice. Get your copy of God Called - He Needs Your Decision! today and get started on a journey that will lead to a fully surrendered life. 



Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

17+ Ways we hear from God if our senses are tuned in and our heart is open- Chapter 8

 

Don't Box God In!  Keep Your Heart Wide Open As to How He Might Reach Out to You


Communication is an amazing thing.  We have amazing numbers of ways to communicate with one another.  We practice communicating hours and hours per day from before we are born until death.  We can be driven out of our mind when deprived of communication, but we so often fail miserably at it.  


The story is the same when it comes to our communication with God.  We are almost all horrible at this critical skill, even though God has created an arsenal of ways that He can communicate His desires for our lives.  We almost seem to go out of our way to ignore Him, misunderstand Him, and confuse His voice with that of the Devil.  

Are you expecting to hear from God in some particular way? In thunder? In a spiritual trance? How do you feel about angles bringing you messages.  

This is the 8th chapter in a book that has been created here on this blog.  The book will be available on Amazon.com April 26 under the title God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  This will be the Kindle edition.  The print edition will follow approximately May 15, and the audio is slated for availability around June 1.  

Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

The rest of this chapter was available free for almost a year, but has now been removed.  It is my hope that you will truly enjoy the book and that it will bless you.  Some have already reported their thoughts about the book.  Early readers report below. 

Serious Disciples of Jesus should read God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  because, according to one reviewer:

If a baby were born and failed to thrive, the family would rightly consider it a great tragedy. When a Christian is born and fails to thrive, however, many people don’t notice. God Called—He Needs Your Decision! by Randy Kirk is an invitation to Christians to thrive. It is a spiritual counterattack to the widespread misconception that “being” a Christian is a passive state. Randy invites Christians to “do” Christianity.

Katherine Harms, Editor

Are you ready to ratchet up your devotion to God and Jesus to the next level?
God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is perfect for you

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your walk and desire to be of greater service?
God Called was written for Christians just like you

Are you the first to sign up for any seminar that teaches how to find out God’s will for your life?
The pathway to that answer for you is one click away.

God Called is not for the lukewarm - UNLESS you are ready to repent of being lukewarm

God Called is not for the prodigal - UNLESS you are tired of eating with the pigs

God Called is not for pew dusters - UNLESS you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone

Here’s what others are saying:


Even as a Pastor sometimes we can lose focus on what it really is to be a
true disciple of Christ.

I would recommend it to any Pastor or leader of a church
Great Stuff!

Robert Hill
Core Church Los Angeles

Just reading the first few pages, God spoke a quick word to me, setting me free from years of bondage to what people will think of me if I follow Jesus full out. Using Randy's simple steps of faith, this is a must-read for your next step in growing in grace.

Cheryl Colwell   author  The Secrets of Montebellis and The Proof

The Psalmist tells us that deep calls unto deep . . . Take the plunge into
the River of Life with Randy Kirk's newest book, God Called—He Needs Your Decision! and drink deep from the well that never runs dry.  Find keys to intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit hidden in plain sight.  Come away refreshed and longing for more of Him.

Michael J. Webb, Bestselling Author of The Master's Quilt

God Called was written specifically for mature Christians who feel they have not really heard the Lord speak to them. These Christians truly want to hear the voice of God calling to them with an offer to serve in a capacity that is outside of their expectations. 

Review these questions which might be holding you back from hearing God’s plan for your life:

Jesus says disciples need to carry their cross and follow Him.  Can you do that?
Jesus said that disciples must hate mother and father (compared to Him)  Is that you?
Jesus said that disciples must obey what he has commanded.  Do you?
Jesus said that disciples must give up everything.  Are you prepared to do so?
Dallas Willard says “very few Christians want to hear what God has to say.  Do you?

Here’s a sample of the impactful words from God Called that have encouraged readers to take their Christianity to the next level:

Our Christian walk is always about how much we trust and believe, and whether we trust God enough to put aside our fear. Each stage of our maturing in Christ depends on our ability to repent of our unbelief, or pride, and our idols, and move to the next stage. This is true from our first profession of faith. It is true when we start each new discipline. It is true when we become aware of the depths of our sin and mindful of our need to be continually repenting. It is true when we become willing to be completely dependent on and open with God—intimate with Him. Then we must repent of our unbelief again if we are to fully surrender to a calling.

Don’t put off your decision to move closer to God and hear His voice. Get your copy of God Called - He Needs Your Decision! today and get started on a journey that will lead to a fully surrendered life.
 



Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Repenting Must Be a Continuous Attitude - Ch 7C

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Thanks to http://bit.ly/1b7Dkn6

The Very First Word Spoken by John the Baptist to His Followers was "Repent"

When was the last time you repented?  To be more clear, when was the last time you sincerely repented of a specific sin, crying out to God that you know just how much your sin hurt Him, and asking for His help in turning from that sin and towards holiness.  

I am going to venture a guess that you are not much different than me, and that you can’t really recall the last time you did any such thing.  You may have recited the Lord’s Prayer asking God to forgive your trespasses, but it is unlikely that you contemplated at all, or at least for more than a few seconds, any specific sin.

This is the one of the most popular posts at this blog and part of the 7th chapter in a book that has been created here on this blog.  The book will be available on Amazon.com April 26 under the title God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  This will be the Kindle edition.  The print edition will follow approximately May 15, and the audio is slated for availability around June 1. 


Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews  

The rest of this chapter was available free for almost a year, but has now been removed.  It is my hope that you will truly enjoy the book and that it will bless you.  Some have already reported their thoughts about the book.  Early readers report below.  

Serious Disciples of Jesus should read God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  because, according to one reviewer:

If a baby were born and failed to thrive, the family would rightly consider it a great tragedy. When a Christian is born and fails to thrive, however, many people don’t notice. God Called—He Needs Your Decision! by Randy Kirk is an invitation to Christians to thrive. It is a spiritual counterattack to the widespread misconception that “being” a Christian is a passive state. Randy invites Christians to “do” Christianity.

Katherine Harms, Editor

Are you ready to ratchet up your devotion to God and Jesus to the next level?
God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is perfect for you

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your walk and desire to be of greater service?
God Called was written for Christians just like you

Are you the first to sign up for any seminar that teaches how to find out God’s will for your life?
The pathway to that answer for you is one click away.

God Called is not for the lukewarm - UNLESS you are ready to repent of being lukewarm

God Called is not for the prodigal - UNLESS you are tired of eating with the pigs

God Called is not for pew dusters - UNLESS you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone

Here’s what others are saying:


Even as a Pastor sometimes we can lose focus on what it really is to be a
true disciple of Christ.

I would recommend it to any Pastor or leader of a church
Great Stuff!

Robert Hill
Core Church Los Angeles

Just reading the first few pages, God spoke a quick word to me, setting me free from years of bondage to what people will think of me if I follow Jesus full out. Using Randy's simple steps of faith, this is a must-read for your next step in growing in grace.

Cheryl Colwell   author  The Secrets of Montebellis and The Proof

The Psalmist tells us that deep calls unto deep . . . Take the plunge into
the River of Life with Randy Kirk's newest book, God Called—He Needs Your Decision! and drink deep from the well that never runs dry.  Find keys to intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit hidden in plain sight.  Come away refreshed and longing for more of Him.

Michael J. Webb, Bestselling Author of The Master's Quilt

God Called was written specifically for mature Christians who feel they have not really heard the Lord speak to them. These Christians truly want to hear the voice of God calling to them with an offer to serve in a capacity that is outside of their expectations. 

Review these questions which might be holding you back from hearing God’s plan for your life:

Jesus says disciples need to carry their cross and follow Him.  Can you do that?
Jesus said that disciples must hate mother and father (compared to Him)  Is that you?
Jesus said that disciples must obey what he has commanded.  Do you?
Jesus said that disciples must give up everything.  Are you prepared to do so?
Dallas Willard says “very few Christians want to hear what God has to say.  Do you?

Here’s a sample of the impactful words from God Called that have encouraged readers to take their Christianity to the next level:

Our Christian walk is always about how much we trust and believe, and whether we trust God enough to put aside our fear. Each stage of our maturing in Christ depends on our ability to repent of our unbelief, or pride, and our idols, and move to the next stage. This is true from our first profession of faith. It is true when we start each new discipline. It is true when we become aware of the depths of our sin and mindful of our need to be continually repenting. It is true when we become willing to be completely dependent on and open with God—intimate with Him. Then we must repent of our unbelief again if we are to fully surrender to a calling.

Don’t put off your decision to move closer to God and hear His voice. Get your copy of God Called - He Needs Your Decision! today and get started on a journey that will lead to a fully surrendered life. 


Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Close Walk with God - Ask and You Shall Receive - Ch 7b

 

How Are You Doing in the Asking Part of Your Prayer Life?


Here comes my biggest confession of all.  I am “the Beave.”  I was a toe head, blue eyed, bright smiled kid who grew up under Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy.  We cured polio, were the greatest nation on earth, and decided to send a man to the moon.

My personal life was also inordinately blessed.  No major crises until my 30’s.  I enjoyed plenty of love, family, solid direction, and Christ at the center.  But there was also an underlying theme of the time that was a big part of who I was and am.  “You can be anything you want to be.  You can be President of the United States.  You can … you can … you can!”  I believed it and I lived it.  I won’t bore you with the details.  You can find it all online.  But just the fact that I’m writing on this subject, and believe that I have the ability to write a book or something important enough to say clearly comes from that upbringing.  

The result for me, and I suspect many like me who grew up in that era, is that if I can do it all, why do I need anyone else, even God, to help?  While the baby boomer mantra described here might be a unique moment in history, it is not so unique. There are plenty of Christians before and after the Boomers who believe it.  And there are plenty in Russia, Europe, and Asia who believe it, too.  

Do you really believe God?  Do you trust Him fully?  

This is part of the 7th chapter in a book that has been created here on this blog.  The book will be available on Amazon.com April 26 under the title God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  This will be the Kindle edition.  The print edition will follow approximately May 15, and the audio is slated for availability around June 1. 


Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

The rest of this chapter was available free for almost a year, but has now been removed.  It is my hope that you will truly enjoy the book and that it will bless you.  Some have already reported their thoughts about the book.  Early readers report below.  

Serious Disciples of Jesus should read God Called - He Needs Your Decision!  because, according to one reviewer:

If a baby were born and failed to thrive, the family would rightly consider it a great tragedy. When a Christian is born and fails to thrive, however, many people don’t notice. God Called—He Needs Your Decision! by Randy Kirk is an invitation to Christians to thrive. It is a spiritual counterattack to the widespread misconception that “being” a Christian is a passive state. Randy invites Christians to “do” Christianity.

Katherine Harms, Editor

Are you ready to ratchet up your devotion to God and Jesus to the next level?
God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is perfect for you

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your walk and desire to be of greater service?
God Called was written for Christians just like you

Are you the first to sign up for any seminar that teaches how to find out God’s will for your life?
The pathway to that answer for you is one click away.

God Called is not for the lukewarm - UNLESS you are ready to repent of being lukewarm

God Called is not for the prodigal - UNLESS you are tired of eating with the pigs

God Called is not for pew dusters - UNLESS you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone

Here’s what others are saying:


Even as a Pastor sometimes we can lose focus on what it really is to be a
true disciple of Christ.

I would recommend it to any Pastor or leader of a church
Great Stuff!

Robert Hill
Core Church Los Angeles

Just reading the first few pages, God spoke a quick word to me, setting me free from years of bondage to what people will think of me if I follow Jesus full out. Using Randy's simple steps of faith, this is a must-read for your next step in growing in grace.

Cheryl Colwell   author  The Secrets of Montebellis and The Proof

The Psalmist tells us that deep calls unto deep . . . Take the plunge into
the River of Life with Randy Kirk's newest book, God Called—He Needs Your Decision! and drink deep from the well that never runs dry.  Find keys to intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit hidden in plain sight.  Come away refreshed and longing for more of Him.

Michael J. Webb, Bestselling Author of The Master's Quilt

God Called was written specifically for mature Christians who feel they have not really heard the Lord speak to them. These Christians truly want to hear the voice of God calling to them with an offer to serve in a capacity that is outside of their expectations. 

Review these questions which might be holding you back from hearing God’s plan for your life:

Jesus says disciples need to carry their cross and follow Him.  Can you do that?
Jesus said that disciples must hate mother and father (compared to Him)  Is that you?
Jesus said that disciples must obey what he has commanded.  Do you?
Jesus said that disciples must give up everything.  Are you prepared to do so?
Dallas Willard says “very few Christians want to hear what God has to say.  Do you?

Here’s a sample of the impactful words from God Called that have encouraged readers to take their Christianity to the next level:

Our Christian walk is always about how much we trust and believe, and whether we trust God enough to put aside our fear. Each stage of our maturing in Christ depends on our ability to repent of our unbelief, or pride, and our idols, and move to the next stage. This is true from our first profession of faith. It is true when we start each new discipline. It is true when we become aware of the depths of our sin and mindful of our need to be continually repenting. It is true when we become willing to be completely dependent on and open with God—intimate with Him. Then we must repent of our unbelief again if we are to fully surrender to a calling.

Don’t put off your decision to move closer to God and hear His voice. Get your copy of God Called - He Needs Your Decision! today and get started on a journey that will lead to a fully surrendered life. 


Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sold Out Christ Follower: I Did the Sin. I Can't Repent. I Would Do the Exact Same Next Time

Rebellious - http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35v9hw/

We All Face the Dilemma.  Saved Doesn't Mean Sin Free.  But What About Rebellious?


I told a big fat whopper the other day.  That is all you need to know.  Due to the circumstances, I would tell that same whopper again.  So, my conscience is bothering me.  I want to do what is pleasing to God, but in this particular case I want to do what is going to help a friend.

The whole thing takes me back to the '60's and the introduction of situation ethics to the debate within the liberal arm of the church.  I wasn't a fan of it then and am not a fan of situation ethics now.  But, I'm smack dab in the middle of practicing it.  The issue seems simple on the one hand.  No one will be harmed.  Someone will be helped.  But is it that simple.  My witness to those who know about the sin will be harmed.

I discussed this with a group the other day.  We all agreed that whether the sin might be lying, gossip, envy, anger, failure to forgive, theft, or some form of sexual sin, each of us is still going to sin.  Our sin could even be failure to trust God or pride.  Or how about this one.  We don't want to forgive someone, because they don't deserve it, or because we actually like the feeling of resentment we are carrying around.

So, as the group discussed it, we all came to the same conclusion at about the same time.  Not only was the issue one that pointed out how impossible it is for us to conform to what we know we should do, but it also was a very solid lesson in being very careful how we view the sins of others.

We all know the parable of the fellow who needed to take the plank out of his own eye so that he could see well enough to remove the speck from his friends eye.  We get that concept at a surface level when we here it.  However, the extra element in this situation, not being willing to repent, and being clear that I would repeat the same behavior in the same circumstance, seemed to drive the point home to those of us in the group.  Am I, or you, any different than some others around us who seem very rebellious, but maybe in a more obvious sin.

So we might look at the person who is drinking too much.  Maybe not an alcoholic, but drinking to the point of being drunk, even though they claim to be a Christian.  The have no inclination to stop.  W could have the same argument about someone who is grossly overweight, or someone that has serious anger management problems.

My sense until this new understanding would be:  they need to be repenting and working on changing their behavior, or they might need to question their salvation.  Now I wonder aloud, don't we all have some part of our sin nature that we are too rebellious to even try to change?

Love to hear your input on that first question.


Then we can add this.  Even though I said I would do the sin again in the same circumstance, I was still burdoned by my choice and my failure to repent or even be willing to repent.  If I had not been burdoned by my position, would that create a question of my being saved or not.

Let's use a tougher issue.  What if the Christian emotionally abuses their spouse, parent, or child, for instance.  What if they say that they understand their action is sinful, and for whatever reason, have no interest in repenting or changing?  Maybe they feel justified by something the other person is doing, or rationalize based on struggles in their life.  But they are upset about their actions.  They just are not upset enough to work on changing. 

Now take that same person and they say that they don't repent, believe there is some rational for their sin, would act the same in the future, BUT have no remorse, sadness, or concern about the effect on their relationship with God.  Is there a meaningful difference between the two?  

UPDATE

I have been able to repent of the sin.  I realized that I had believed I was smarter than God.  Instead of waiting for him to provide an alternative solution that wouldn't have required me to lie, I was too anxious to see the issue solved.  So, the sin was not only lying, but lack of faith and unbelief.

New book, God Called - He Needs Your Decision, delves deeper into these very kinds of issues.
 
Click here to buy on Kindle and see more reviews