Three Things I Really Really Really Want in 2018!

It's cold in Ellendale, North Dakota and the wind is blowing so forcefully that even the bare branches tremble in the wind as fiercely as I do.  The wind has stripped every tree of their leaves and even the leaves that held voraciously to the branches refusing to let go have been torn away by the arctic blast leaving barrenness and nakedness in its wake.

The atmosphere almost has a texture that is thick, wavy, grey, and cold.  When the wind blows it actually hurts and that is probably why I appreciate springtime.  The weather turns and with it comes green buds and the promise of new life. The birds come to life and listening to their song always warms my soul.

January the 1st is generally cold and I don't like to make resolutions just because it is a new year.  I don't want to live thinking about a resolution that I have made that will tie me down for 365 days.  I want to live in the moment.  Today has enough worries and challenges without me thinking about giving up sugar or coffee for a year or some other crazy resolution I have made.

So here are the three things I want in 2018.

I want to be more like Jesus.  I have studied the life of Jesus for over 45 years and the more I read about Him the more amazing He is in my eyes.  He was the great iconoclast.  He loved unconditionally.  He gave His life for undeserving people.  I could go on all day, but I would encourage anyone who does not know about Jesus to study the first four books of the New Testament to discover the most amazing person who ever walked the planet.  And that is why my deepest desire for 2018 is to be more like Him.

I want to suck the marrow out of life.  Yes, I want to live life to the full.  Life is short and I want to make the most of every opportunity.  I want to love more and give more and serve more until I have sucked the marrow right out of every single day. 

I want to live with perpetual gratitude.  Being thankful comes easily to Paul and to me.  We start every day by reading God's Word and praying together.  I can honestly say that the first words that come from our lips are words expressing our thanks to God.  I never grow tired of thanking God for all His goodness.  I want to remember the good times and be thankful for each blessing.   However, the not so happy memories concealed beneath the passage of time or buried beneath those moments of pain must also echo my joyous lament and thanks for a God who kept me through the darkest hours.

I don't want stuff, money, clothes or exciting experiences.  There is nothing wrong with any of those things, but I don't want to waste my time wishing I would find a hidden treasure that will set me free from financial restraints or longing and dreaming of superficial things that do not give lasting joy or peace.  With each passing year, those things seem to diminish in importance and the truly important things seem to fill their place. 

My prayer for you for 2018 is that you will suck the marrow out of life and in so doing have the best year you have ever had.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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God, are you listening to me?  Why aren't you answering my prayers?  Do you love me...are you mad at me?   Valid questions right?  Yes, and I am sure most of us have asked these kinds of questions at different times in our lives.  But, when we understand God in all His greatness and power then we can stop questioning Him and rest in who He is and wait for Him to answer in His way.

Crying, pleading, and at times begging God to answer my prayers had been the rhythm of much of my prayer life.  "Where are You God?" I would often quip!  Silence and darkness were at times the only reply.   I simply did not understand why my loving God was not hearing me.

Truth be told, He was listening.  His loving and attentive ear was hearing my cry to Him day in and day out even though I felt as if He wasn't.  I have learned on this journey with my God that my faith is not held captive by my feelings.

Here are a few of the other lessons I have learned through my years of prayer and intercession.

1.  Just because I feel bad doesn't mean God has abandoned me:  God is way bigger than my feelings or emotions on any particular day.  My feelings do not change God.  He hears my cry when I am feeling good or bad.

2.  God answers my prayers on His clock and not on mine:  I live in time but God lives in eternity.  I do understand that I am an eternal being living in the temporal bound by time and space... I get locked up in the day to day activity of my life instead of seeing the big picture.  God does see the big picture because He is eternal.  God knows best and He always answers in His time.  And His timing is always perfect.

3.  God doesn't always answer my prayers in the way I anticipate:  At times I give God some great suggestions as to how He can answer my prayers. He doesn't always adhere to my clever ideas.  It amazes me because I feel as if I give God some great courses of action.  I have to remind myself that God sees the end from the beginning and He knows how best and when best to answer my prayers.  I also know that God is significantly cleverer than I am!

4.  God sometimes doesn't answer my immediate prayer because He sees the whole story:  I have asked God for things along the way and those prayers have seemingly not been answered.  That confused me and troubled me.  However, from this perspective, I thank God that those requests weren't answered then, because He saw the full picture and answering those immediate prayers would have changed the entire pathway I have been on.  I didn't understand it then, but I do now!

My friend, if you are struggling with your prayer life I pray that my blog encourages you.  Don't give up!  God's answer will come in His way and His time.  I am with thanksgiving as I reflect on the faithful and loving God I serve. He always answers prayer even when it is not obvious to me. Keep praying, keep trusting, His answer will come!

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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If it was in our power to choose I think most of us would choose for life to be pain-free, stress-free and worry-free.  And most of us we would probably add an addendum that perpetual sunshine would make for a pretty perfect life. 

I think God knows best and in His wisdom, He knows that a life without challenges would not only be boring but would not be good for the soul.  It is the dark nights that make the sunrise of a new day so exceptional.  It is the challenge of fighting for something worth fighting that makes the gift of receiving so priceless.   It is our pain that makes us realise what a precious gift our health is. It is a loss that makes us treasure what we have and engage each moment to the full.

I do believe that we have the power to make choices to navigate our lives in a successful way.  And I think that there are a number of choices we can make on a daily basis that will ultimately mark our lives successful.

1.  Choose a good attitude every day:  Most mornings we wake up to a number of challenges.  These challenges can be varied and at times overwhelming.  Sometimes they are health-related or finance related or relational challenges.  Whatever the issue we can make choices and we can choose our attitude in every situation.  That is actually an extremely powerful truth.  You can choose to face the day with bitterness or sweetness.  You can choose to respond in a loving and gracious way or an angry way.  The choice is entirely yours, it is totally in your power to choose your attitude.  So why not choose a gracious, loving and forgiving response to whatever challenge you face today.  I can assure you that life will be easier today if you choose the right attitude. Viktor Frankl said it this way: 'The last of the human freedoms is man's right to choose his attitude in every situation'.

2. Choose a happy heart every day:  I know that some might think that happiness is not in our sphere of control but it actually is.  You can choose to see the bucket half full or half empty.  You can choose to focus on the dreary grey sky and the rain or the birds singing and the earth dripping with moisture.  It really is a choice.  You can jump out of bed knowing that you have another day to live and engage life with all of its challenges or you can choose despair and give in to the challenges you are facing with a defeatist heart.  The book of Proverbs says it this way: 'A merry heart does good like a medicine, a broken spirit drieth up the bones, but a merry heart is a joy unto the Lord'.

3.  Choose a gracious spirit every day:  When situations confront us we can choose to respond graciously or harshly, it is our choice.  When people are rude to you then you can make a choice to respond in kind or in the opposite spirit.   I can assure you that if your respond graciously your day will be different and perhaps the other person's day will also change. 

4.  Choose to guard your mind every day:  This is the big one.  I know how hard I have to work at guarding my heart and my mind.  There are some places I will never allow my mind to go not even for a minute.  When thoughts that are unwholesome pop unexpectedly into my mind I immediately deal with those thoughts.  I have found that if I linger even for a short while on a negative or unwholesome or unkind thought I very quickly get my spirit embroiled in ugliness and sin.  My friend, we are the guardians of our hearts and our minds.  Noone can do the guarding of your or my heart only each individual is responsible for their thoughts.  If your thoughts are wholesome then your words and actions will follow.  Choose good wholesome thoughts and I can guarantee that your day will be easier and richer. 

Simple choices can make a lot of difference in your day.  Choose wisely today and have a truly blessed day.

I am and always will be

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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Is Small Insignificant, Ineffective and Inconsequential?

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Big is we are told!  If a town or a church or an organization is small it is probably of little consequence or we are told!  You see in the 21st Century, it seems that you have to be big if you want to be reckoned with.  Big is bold, significant, effective, influential and we are told!

Now before you think I am knocking big organizations or big churches hear me out, please.  I am a great admirer of leaders who can gather thousands of people to their communities each week.  It takes immense skill, gifting, and leadership to grow any community to thousands of people.  I do think big churches and organizations can wield influence and power and they can bless their cities and beyond because of their size. I am keen to learn all that I can from these gifted people.

But because something is small does not mean it is insignificant or inconsequential or lacks the ability to influence. 

I live in a small state, in a tiny town,  and by American standards, Paul and I lead a relatively small College.  Please don't think I am being defensive because of where we find ourselves.  I am not!  I love big, but I also love small! 

I have learned to appreciate this beautiful state of North Dakota.  Yes, it is small, but of all the places I have ever lived, I have never met kinder, more generous or more humble people than Dakotans.  I love this open space and the quiet stillness that surrounds us.  I am able to think, I can breathe deeply, and I can appreciate the beauty of my Creator and His magnificent world. 

I often meet leaders who lead small churches and some of them feel inferior to those who lead large and prosperous churches. Now let me get one thing straight.  I detest laziness.  If a leader has a tiny congregation because they sit at home doing nothing...shame on them.  That kind of small is insignificant, ineffective and inconsequential.    But if the leader leads a healthy, vibrant, small community, and they are putting their heart and soul into God's work, then I think they can be as influential as any large church and perhaps even more so. 

I get tired of having 'big' shoved in my face at Conferences and Seminars and Leadership Events.  Big is not everything!  I have lived long enough to see leaders who led large churches fall off their pedestals and exit ministry.  There are times I want tohear and be exposed to the stories of the incredible, gifted, significant, effective leaders leading small churches and organizations.  Why do I never hear their voices?

Yes, I do want to learn from the leaders who have succeeded and built great organizations and churches, but don't silence the voice of the heroes who have heard God's call and their task is to lead smaller communities where they too are succeeding in their task.

Why on earth did God choose a tiny, insignificant town like Nazareth for Jesus to be nurtured in?  Why did God not send the greatest preacher of all times to the big, bustling, vibrant city of Jerusalem?  I ask myself why God sent John the Baptist to the desert and why Jesus was not raised in a great city of influence.

Perhaps it is because God often uses insignificant, isolated places and people of humble birth to make the greatest impact on His world.  Yes, great can come out of small.  Significance can come from nowhere and God loves to take nobody's and make them influential. 

Please don't despise small.  I love big, but I also love small.  God uses both! 

If you are a leader leading a small community, in an insignificant town, with few resources, hold your head high you are still God's chosen and anointed servant.  You may never know the impact of your ministry, but if you are obedient and faithful I can guarantee you that greatness surrounds you and God is with you.

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I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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Four Ways to Challenge An Entitlement Mentality

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Living in the 21st century has some unique challenges.

Added to that I live in the United States which is one of the richest countries in the world.  Most people in the U.S.A who consider themselves poor would be deemed rich in most other parts of the globe. 

We live in in the midst of a culture and people who feel entitled.  We think because we have worked hard we deserve more, we assume that because we have sacrificed we should see particular rewards or because we have been a good person we should get... 

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So how do we combat this prevailing cultural assumption that seems to unwittingly draw us in?

I have a few suggestions that I think could be helpful.  I hope they challenge or encourage anyone who has been led to open this page and read my blog today.  I don't write blogs for the fun of it, I write because I want to convey what is in my heart for people.

  1. Check your pulse:  Okay I am not talking about counting how many times a minute your heart beats, but I am talking about looking into your heart.  You see very often an entitlement mentality comes from a selfish or self-centered attitude. I sometimes think I am deserving of certain things because of all the great deeds I have done or the things I have accomplished.   In actual truth, I have to look into this selfish heart and check the reasons why I think I am entitled to this or that.  My biggest challenge in life is to keep a watch on my heart and to ensure that it is not just all about me.  I am the only person who can look deep inside my heart and keep a check of what goes on inside of me.
  2. Focus on God:  I know that might sound a bit trite, but actually, it is the core of the issue.  Instead of focusing on what I deserve and seeing what I don't have I need to focus on God.  When I do set my gaze on this amazing God of mine I am overwhelmed at His goodness, His faithfulness, and His kindness, and I am forcefully reminded how undeserving I really am.
  3. Follow Jesus:  As a Christ-follower, I am totally and absolutely besotted with Jesus.  In those moments when my humanity expresses itself in selfish ways and demands attention or whatever else I feel entitled to, I stop and think about Jesus.  Just one glimpse of Jesus in all His sacrificial glory makes me feel very small and undeserving.  I know from this perspective in time that everything I am, and all that I have is because of my amazing Jesus.  This gives me great pause and helps me to see how much I really do have because I have Jesus.
  4. Be Content:  Instead of a mentality of entitlement, it would be wonderful if we practiced a Kingdom culture like Jesus.  Giving of ourselves. Sharing what we have. Serving others less fortunate than we are.  Caring for the poor. I realize that having everything I want when I want it, is not good for my soul.  Being deprived of certain things has made me appreciate when I do get something I really desired.  When other people have more than I have,  I tell myself that I have much more than most.  I am reminded over and over that I don't deserve anything, I am basically unworthy, but that God in His infinite love has given me way more than I ever deserved.  He gave me Jesus and He is really enough to make me content.
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I am and always will be,

Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,



7 Reasons Why I Go to Church!

I believe that inside every human heart is a longing for authentic relationships.  I understand that there are different personality types, but whether we are extroverts, introverts or somewhere in the middle, all of us long for relationship.

I do not believe that there can be a church-less Christian.  In my view, no person can sustain a long term relationship with God and not be connected to a community of like minded believers.  Yes, I understand there are people who are imprisoned for their faith and have no connection to any Christian whatsoever.  In such dire circumstances, I believe God meets with those believers in special ways and He sustains them through those periods of isolation.  But for us who live in a country where we can freely worship God, we have to make going to church a priority.

There is no such person as a church-less Christian

So why do I go to church?  Here are 7 reasons why I feel it is important to go to church:

1.  The bible exhorts me to go to church:  Hebrews 10:25 says 'And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near'.  Such great advice!  The writer of this book knew the importance of believers gathering as a community so that we could encourage each other in our faith.

2. Going to church inspires me to live a godly life: When I go to church and listen to the preaching of God's Word, and share in praise and worship it encourages me to live for Jesus 24/7.  Every time I listen to God's Word being expounded it inspires me to go back to where I live and work and to live my life well.  The church is the place where I learn values and the importance of the values being deeply instilled in my life.

3.  Going to church encourages me in my Christian walk:  When I am discouraged I don't stay away from, I go to church.  Why?  Because I need to be encouraged by the praise and worship of God's people.  I need to listen to God's Word so that I can be exhorted to keep going.  I need the community of God's people and their love to challenge me in my moments of discouragement.

4. I need like minded friends:  Yes, we all have friends and family outside of the community of faith, but I need good friends inside that community as well. I need the kind offriends that will hold me accountable and care for my spiritual well-being.  In the most difficult times of my life, my church friends have helped me and challenged me to live my life more intentionally.

5. I need to be accountable to godly leaders:  When you belong to a great Christian church and you get locked into that community the leaders should hold you accountable.  I think it is amazing that a pastor would take the time and trouble to point out where I am failing or slipping.  Get connected to a small group so that you have a place of accountability, and this is especially true if you are part of a very large community.

6. Going to church is good for my soul:  truth be told,  there are some days I would rather sleep in.  There are other times I would rather stay and listen to a sermon on the web in the comfort of my living room.  But, I don't because I know that regular attendance to one church and one community is good for me and I want what is good for my soul.  I also need the discipline of belonging to a community.

7.  It's the best thing I can do for my family:  There is no greater community to belong to than the church.  When you are in need the church is the most wonderful and supportive community ever.  Ask me!  When my son had his accident it was our church family that help to sustain us and see us through our darkest hour.  In times of need, in the midst of pain, during those moments of loneliness the church has been there for me and my family.  The best and greatest gift we can give to our families is to lock them into a loving and caring community of God's people. 

So, these are the reasons as to why I go to church on a regular basis. 

If you are discouraged with church, have been hurt by people or have been disappointed by your leaders, then either find a way through your problem by speaking it out with the people who have failed you and hurt you or pray that God will connect you to a godly community that can assist you in your Christian walk.  Don't make excuses—that is lame and will not help you or your family. 

We should make going to church and serving God our priority—there are too many things out there competing for our attention and the attention of our children and young peopleWhen children and young people are going through challenging times in their later years what will grab their attention?  Will it be church? Sport? Friends? Unwholesome activities? 

I believe we get to have a huge part in how their destiny will be shaped, so make serving God and going to church a priority, it could be your life line in the years ahead.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,




7 Reasons Why I Read My Bible

I have always enjoyed reading and seeing the different ways in which people string words together to tell stories.  I love words and the power that they have.  Some words are so pretty they almost dance on the page and others are so lovely you feel as if you can almost taste them.  Then there are the harsh words that can be cutting and leave a bitter taste in your mouth or drab words that need other words to give them some color—words are powerful and effective. 

Of all the books I have ever read, no book has ever touched me more deeply and profoundly than the bible.  I have been stirred by the stories of people's lives, challenged by all genre's of Christian literature, and informed by history and other books.  But no book has ever had the impact on my life that the bible has.

Here are seven reasons why I read my bible on a daily basis.

1.  The bible inspires me:  I have read the bible more times than I can remember, but I never grow tired of it.  I am always inspired by the stories in the bible.  No matter how many times I have read the story of Joseph I see something new each time I return to that story and every time I read it I am inspired to live more intentionally. 

2. The bible challenges me:  When I read the stories of the lives of Jesus and His disciples I am challenged to live a holy life.  I cannot read the bible without it confronting my commitment to Jesus. 

3. The bible convicts me:  When I am not living as I should the bible convicts me and shows me a better way to live.  That is why I am disciplined to read my bible every day.  I want God to speak to me through His word and convict me of my sin so that I can walk in step with Him. 

4. The bible encourages me:  If ever I am feeling discouraged God's word encourages my heart.  In some of the most challenging hours of my life the bible has been my deepest comfort and strength. 

5. The bible sustains me:  Reading God's word sustains me as a Christ follower.  I want to be a healthy and strong Christian and the only way to sustain my commitment to Jesus is to go to His word on a daily basis.  I find when my devotional life slips every thing begins to slide. 

6.  The bible guides me:  Yes, I find guidance for my daily life by reading the bible.  When I need direction I get on my knees and I pray.  I find God speaks to my heart through His word and he guides and directs my path.

7.  The bible strengthens me:   The more I read my bible the stronger I grow in my faith and in my commitment to Jesus.  I want to be strong in my faith so that when challenges and difficulties come I can withstand those storms. 

I know too many people who fluctuate in their devotional life.  They read the bible sporadically and go to God's word if they have a problem or they need a quick fix.  If you want to be strong in your faith you need to make reading your bible a daily habit.  Don't let your bible reading be a chore or something to get over and done with.  Read God's word so that you will be inspired, challenged, encouraged and all the other reasons I have suggested for reading your bible.

If I was ever to go to a desert island and was given the choice of taking one piece of literature with me it would be my bible.  No other book has nourished my life, challenged my heart and blessed me more than my bible.  I trust you will be inspired to read God's word on a daily basis.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,



I love spring.  You can smell the earth and the air vibrates with new life.  There are blazes of color everywhere and the trees, shrubs, and bushes delight in displaying their new growth.  Hope seems to permeate the atmosphere as the world turns into soft pastel shades and our senses are enlivened by the sights, sounds, and aromas of spring. 

Summer arrives a short time later and there is growth everywhere.  With it comes the need to water the plants and mow the grass, but that is a small price to pay when we delight in the smell of newly mown lawn and the feel of damp soil under our feet.  There is growth everywhere and sheer joy and laughter infuse the air in this season.

Fall comes with its golden hues and brings with it the opportunity to cut back the branches and ready our world for the harsh winter weather that will follow all too quickly on its heels.  For me, autumn feels like a pensive season a time to prepare for the long, dismal, and dark nights that lie ahead.

Winter is my least favorite season.  The trees shed their leaves, the earth seems to shiver at the very idea that winter has arrived and gloom fills the air around us.  Everything looks dismal and dark and the only thought in everyone's mind is; "when will this season pass".

Though everything looks dead and lifeless on the outside the roots of all those trees, bushes, and shrubs go deeper and grow stronger. 

I have found this true of my own personal life.  I do not enjoy the winter season of my soul.  I feel vulnerable, exposed, and naked—my only wish is for spring to arrive once again.  But, I have found over and over that it is in the winter season of my soul that my roots grow strong and they go deep.  I learn deep and abiding trust in my Creator in those harsh seasons, I hold tightly to Him as the wind blows and threatens to topple me over.  Sometimes I can barely hear God in the winter storm, but when I stop to listen I hear His still, small voice echoing through the clouds promising me that, "weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning'.  

I know now why I love spring so much.  It is because I have experienced the dismal and dreariness of the winter and the invasive blackness of the night.  The winter of my soul has taught me to appreciate the beauty of a new day and a new season.  Somehow the intense darkness and cold of that time did something on the inside of me. I have a new sense of wonder, the world around me seems bright, I see God everywhere, and my heart is filled with overwhelming thankfulness that He has carried me through the darkest night and the dry season of my soul.

I don't enjoy winter, but I have a deep appreciation for that season of life.  Someone put it this way: "Grace grows best in winter.' 

If your soul is going through the winter of life my prayer is that you will hold tightly to the magnificent God you serve.  You may think He is silent, but His voice can penetrate through the darkest night and the thickest silence and shout these words: 'I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you.' 

Take courage, my friend spring is on the way.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,



Memories are extremely powerful recollections that can draw all sorts of emotions from us.   They can be joy-filled reflections or they can engender sadness, despair or anger.  Whatever emotion the memory triggers makes us aware of how powerful the stories of our past are and how deeply they can impact us.

I have shared this story so many times, but now fifteen years later I sit here one hour before midnight ushers in the 1st of July—undoubtedly the worst day of my life!  However, I must reflect on this day because it is a period of my life that will grow dimmer with the passing years but it must never be forgotten. 

So, fifteen years ago...

The doorbell rang and as I hurried to see who it was, I was caught off guard by the burly policeman standing there.  I heard the words: 'Your son has been involved in a tragic accident...get to the hospital immediately.' And suddenly all about me was dark and I was sinking...until the unseen hand of my Jesus touched me and I knew He would walk with me through the darkest valley I had ever traversed. 

Our precious son fought for his life and the dedicated medical staff of Carolina's Medical Centre, fought alongside him.  There were agonizing hours where I felt the pain of seeing our son suffer and fight for his life was too much to bear. But God...  Yes, God walked that journey with us and never once did He leave us or forsake us.  I didn't always feel His presence, but I instinctively knew that He was there.  I have written the full story in my book Wild Hope: A Memoir.

God spared Jay's life despite the prognosis and the 28 days in Trauma ICU. Today Jay lives a full and happy life in California.  But let me reflect on the worst day of my life and share a few lessons I learned.

  • Life is short, seize each moment and live to the full.
  • Don't carry bitterness or unforgiveness because you never know when life will be snatched away.
  • Keep short accounts with people because life is short and you don't have time for anger.
  • Stop and smell the roses because you don't want to miss the moment.
  • Love deeply and live well.
  • Tell people how much you love and appreciate them.
  • Spend quality time with your family because they are your most precious treasures.
  • Love God with all of your heart.
  • Live each day as if it is the last, but plan for the next 100 years.
  • Be quick to say: 'I am sorry'  and 'I forgive you' and most of all 'I love you.'

These are the simple reflections of the heart of a grateful Mom to a wonderful God who spared the life of her precious son some fifteen years ago.  Now the worst day of my life is one filled with joy filled reflections and gratitude.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Jay and I a few weeks ago!

Jay and I a few weeks ago!

Run Baby Run: Joy Filled Reflections!

I am sitting on my deck peering over a forest of dappled green foliage listening to the birds singing their morning anthem.  All is quiet—I can hear myself breathing.  A new day.

I have just returned from a ten-day visit to Australia and so I am quietly reflecting on those precious moments.  One of the joys of our visit was catching up with friends that we had not seen for over fifteen years.  It was a special time for Paul and me.  Reconnecting with friends after so many years held some apprehension for me, but all of those feelings melted away in the warmth of renewed friendship.  We had some beautiful moments.  Meeting our friends' children who are now successful and well-rounded adults was a mixed blessing.  It reminded me of how quickly time goes, but on the other hand, it warmed my heart to see all these amazing kids serving Jesus passionately.  I was reminded that life is short and we need to seize each and every moment we have. 

I also visited family and spent some precious moments with my aged parents.  I feel blessed to have both my mom and dad at this age.  Dad is ninety and still the life of any party.  Mom is almost eighty-seven and she grows sweeter with every passing year.  I know my parents are nearing the end of their journey on earth, and as Paul and I spent hours with them talking and reminiscing, I wanted to hold those images in my heart and mind, bury their words deep in my psyche, capture each special moment so that when they eventually go to their eternal home I will still have them.

I have seen people live their lives well.  I have watched my parents weather the storms of life and grow in their love for each other and their God.  I want what they have.  Yes, I want to grow old gracefully and well.  As the writer of Hebrews exhorts us, I want to; ' the race marked out for us.'  I don't want to meander through life or mess up.  I want to keep my eye on the goal and run my race well.

A few short days away and my heart is full.  Seeing my parents has renewed my commitment to live well.  Meeting old friends has reminded me of my faithful God and that He loves to work through all generations.  Being with my sister and family has strengthened my resolve to pray earnestly and daily for all our children and grandchildren. 

I want to run to the very end and blaze the trail for my children and my grand children. I pray that the end of my race will be a Hebrews 12 ending...she fixed her eyes on Jesus and finished her race.

I trust that my reflections will be an encouragement for you to keep running your race and to finish well.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Precious time with my parents.

Precious time with my parents.

Time with friends.

Time with friends.

Growing old gracefully.

Growing old gracefully.


I love my life.  Paul and I lead a great Bible College and Graduate School and although life is busy it is full of fun. I must admit that there are times I am too busy and I don't take the time to stop and smell the roses.

I don't want to end my life with regrets.  When I breathe my last breath I want to exhale with satisfaction knowing that I engaged life to the full.  Some of you reading my blog may be significantly younger than me and some might be older, but whatever season you are in I urge you to engage it to the full.  Here are a few principles to help you to love this season you are in right now.

1.  Don't live in the past: Paul said in Philippians 3:13 "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead...'  Yesterday is gone and we are not going to get it back.  Sitting and reminding yourself of yesterday won't help you to engage today.  Remembering the hurts and licking your wounds will not enable you to live life to the full.  I understand that there are hurtful experiences that we need to navigate and some of those we have to carry into this day in order to work through them.  However, I think you understand what I am saying here.  Don't let petty and silly things keep you from engaging your day.

2.  Don't live in the future: Some of us live only for tomorrow.  We can't wait to finish this or that and to move onto the next best thing.  Sometimes we live for a future that will never be.  The bible talks about living for today.  Tomorrow may have all sorts of exciting adventures for you, but you need to enjoy this day. 

3.  Live with gratitude:  I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that I am looking older.  I almost said; "I don't like getting older', butI stopped myself because I realize that behind every wrinkle is a story.  Yes, those stories have given me a perspective on life I would never have if I had not lived my life to the full.  The outward part of me is growing older, but I still feel vibrant and jubilant on the outside.  I wake up every day with joy.  When you or someone in your family has stood at the door of death you know that each day really does count.  I live with deep gratitude that I have today and I want to live it to the full.

4.  Don't hold grudges:  We have probably all experienced varying degrees of hurt in our lives.  We have experienced failure and probably have some regrets.  There is one emotion that we definitely do not want to engender in our lives and that is bitterness.  When we hold anger or unforgiveness in our hearts it prevents us from engaging this day.  So, my word of advice is to let go of the anger and bitterness so that you can live today to the full.

My prayer is that you will engage this day and this season of your life.  The circumstances may not be perfect, but take the time to smell the roses and to truly taste your coffee.  When you look for the joy in life it will surprise you at how much fun you can start having. 

I am loving this season of my life.  Yes, there have been challenges along the way and they have certainly left their mark on me, but they have given me a perspective on life that helps me to engage this day and live it to the full. 

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,

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I am sure most of us have experienced times in our lives when our world has been turned upside down.  The most distressing part of these times is that one bad event always seems to follow on the heels of the next.  As human beings, we like to feel that we are in control of our situation and when things spin out of our control we can get into a panic. 

Sometimes life deals us a hand we never anticipated.  How do we handle these moments?  I believe the bible gives us some guiding principles for moments like these.

1.  Acknowledge that God is in Control:  I love the verse in Colossians 1: 17 'He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together'.  The truth is, even when we think that our situations and our lives are out of control God is holding them together.  God knows what He is doing.  He has an eternal perspective that we do not have.  When things are unraveling or coming unglued, be assured my friend that God is still in control.  He is sovereign.  Even if we do not understand what He is doing, we can be confident that He is good and kind and faithful.  He is a God who is worthy of our trust.  He loves you and His plan for your life is a good one even if it does not feel like it at this precise moment.  Which brings me to my second principle.

2. Realize that God is Greater than your Feelings:  To feel is part of being human.  I cannot deny my feelings and neither do I want to.  When bad things happen I feel sad and when I am hurt I feel pain.  That is normal.  However, I should never allow my feelings to dictate my actions.  We could make some terrible mistakes and some silly decisions if we subject everything to the way we feel.  I can feel as if everything is out of control, but the reality is nothing, absolutely nothing, is out of God's control.  Therefore you can rest in His sovereignty. 

3.  Remember that God's timing is always perfect:  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says; 'He has made everything beautiful in His time'.  God knows the end from the beginning.  He sees the future and He knows what is coming—we do not.  So, we can trust Him and believe that His timing is always right.  Don't try to manipulate events, don't try to steer things in a particular way.  Allow God to take control of your life.  He knows what is best.

It is difficult at times to get to that place of complete trust in God—to take your concerns to Him and lay them at His feet and believe that He will have His perfect way.  However, this is the only way to handle the crises of life.  Trust God!  It is the best and safest option.

My prayer is that you will know His peace and grace in the midst of a topsy-turvy world.  That you will 'cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.'  That today will mark the beginning of a chapter of reckless trust in God.  May your day be blessed by the One who loves you more than any human ever could.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthless committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord’.

Super Brain

We know that the human brain is an amazing organ.  With over 100 billion neurons, it is a complex and marvelous creation.  Scientists tell us that we have not even begun to tap the full capacity of our brain. 

My sister had a stroke a number of years ago.  There were parts of her right side that were paralyzed, but through sheer determination and hard work, she has regained full use of those affected areas.  Over time the neural pathways repaired themselves and she now leads a normal life much as she did before her stroke.  The brain is an amazing organ.

Scientists tell us that the brain loses an average of 85,000 neurons a day, but be encouraged, there are 40 billion other neurons available in your cerebral cortex for you to make use of.

Your brain is a living organ that grows and expands as you learn, walk, communicate and pray.  Don't ever underestimate the power of your brain.  So why is the brain so important?

1.  Your brain has potential to improve:  You may be getting older, but you can still learn new things.  You are never too old to learn and to grow.  If your brain has been damaged by a stroke or some unfortunate accident you can find new neural pathways to restore functions.  The brain is an amazing organ.

  • Meditation is good for the brain:  Did you know that praying is not only a way to communicate with God, but it also has a powerful and positive affect on your brain?
  • Exercise is good for the brain:  Just walking for twenty minutes a day will revitalize you and also replenish neurons in your brain.  So, if you enjoy walking and praying you are definitely growing your brain.

2.  Your brain has the ability to delete experiences:  That sounds a little far fetched, but actually, you can 'unlearn' certain things.  On the surface, this may appear a strange concept, but there are scientists who now say that our brain has a type of delete button.  If we train our brains to stop thinking about a negative experience and we begin to think about positive experiences we can delete some of those memories that haunt us.  It sounds complicated, but actually the process is simple.  The Bible talks about; "...being transformed by the renewing of your minds".

  • Meditating on God's Word is powerful:  Yes, actually thinking about Scripture will have a powerful impact on your brain. The apostle Paul gave us that sound advice in Philippians 4: 8-9. 
  • Acts of kindness impact your brain:  Once again, scientists have shown how random acts of kindness do marvels for the brain.
  • Healthy relationships impact your brain:  Good positive inter relationships have a powerful and positive effect on your brain.  So work hard at keep good relationships.

Our brain is a marvelous organ.  We have complete control over our thoughts. No one else does.  We can make decisions that will impact our brain for good or for bad.  When our brain is impacted it affects our entire body.  Our brain and our body are one, and when we feed our mind with good things it has a positive affect on our bodies. 

The amazing discoveries of scientists are not new.  Our wonderful Creator who fashioned us has given our brains these wonderful capacities.  Two thousand years ago Jesus talked about the importance of our thinking (Luke 10:27; Luke 6:45),  and so did the apostle Paul. 

Don’t waste your is a beautiful gift from God.

Start your week with feeding your brain in a positive and wholesome way.  Pray, think kind thoughts and do good deeds and your entire life will be impacted by it. Have a blessed week my friend!

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Your thoughts are powerful, they impact the health of your entire body. Guard your thoughts today.


The older I get the quicker time seems to fly.  It feels as if time is gobbling up the minutes and striving to rob me of more.  I know this is not true, but where does time go? 

Maybe I am just loving this season of my life so much that it seems that each hour is swallowed with a vengeance by the enemy of time.  I sometimes look at my grandchildren and wish I could freeze the moments that I have with them.  They were my sweet little babies only a few years ago and now they are growing children. 

I know I can't capture time, I can't lock it up and throw away they key, but I can engage each moment and make the best of every day.  There are three ways in which I do not want to end my life.  Here they are:

  • I don't want to finish my life with regrets:  I don't want to reflect on my life and feel sorrow for wasted moments.  I want to live each day to the full.  In the evening when I lie on my bed and close my eyes I want to smile about the day I have just lived.  I want to sleep deeply because I have lived fully.
  • I don't want to finish my life with unfinished tasks:  I have dreams like everyone else and I want to ensure that I accomplish those dreams.  Some dreams are unrealistic, but the ones worth pursuing are the goals I want to complete before I stand before Jesus and give Him an account of my life.  It doesn't matter how old I get I still have dreams and desires in my heart for tomorrow.  I never want to stop dreaming.
  • I don't want to finish my life with unforgiveness:  I don't want to live with any kind of bitterness or anger in my heart and I certainly don't want to end my life with unforgiveness.  What a horrible way to finish my journey of life.  I want to live each moment with a free heart and a joyful spirit.

So, I choose to live this day to the full.  I choose to have a free and happy heart.  I choose to accomplish the task before me and strive to do better and more.  I will not let time be my master nor will Ibecome its slave.  I will seize today!

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,




I was sitting under a canvas tent listening to the stories of young people.  They had my attention as they spoke about Jesus and what He meant to them.  I was captivated by their sincerity and their stories of His love and grace in their lives.  It was on that humid day, under a green canopy that I decided to follow Jesus.

With the imminent approach of Easter, I have been contemplating afresh the sacrifice that Jesus made for humanity.  He came to earth, born of a woman, lived his life among people and then suffered and died for all mankind.  This has to be the most magnificent story of all times.  I know it moved my heart forty-eight years ago, and it continues to stir me to this very day.

There is a little song that says: "I have decided to follow Jesus...not turning back, not turning back".  Although a children's song it is very meaningful to me and has been through the years.  I made a commitment to Christ when I was thirteen years old.  I understood that following Jesus would involve some sacrifice on my part, but I wanted to give Jesus my very all.

Now forty-eight years later I can look back and reflect on this decision I made as a young girl.  Here is what I can say categorically.

  • Through all the trials and hardships I have never been tempted to turn back because God has been so faithful and good to me.  No, it has not been an easy journey and there has been pain, but God has never left my side and I have no intention of turning my back on Him.
  • Through all the seasons of life, He has never failed me.  Even in the good times, we can be prone to 'going it alone.'  I have failed God many times.  I know I have disappointed him, but He has loved me through every single season of life.  What an amazing God!  I echo those words again; 'no turning back, no turning back'.
  • When other people have failed me God has been there to comfort me and nurture me.  The truth is people are human like me.  I have failed people and they have failed me.  However, God has never ever let me down.  He has been with me through all the hurt and failure.  What an incredible God.

My blog post is just a simple declaration that "I have decided to follow Jesus... (48 years ago) no turning back, no turning back'. 

As Easter approaches, I am still awed at the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for all people everywhere.  I am determined to pursue Him to the very end.

I am and always will be

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


The Easter story is the most magnificent story ever told. It is still changing lives 2000 years on.
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Whether we lead an institution, a church, a small group, a Sunday School class or our family we can all probably agree that leadership is a challenging task.

Leading people requires skill. However, it is not the only element required to lead effectively.  The psalmist said:  'And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them'.  We need a blend of character and ability to lead successfully.

There are some people who exude natural leadership and others who have worked quietly and consistently at enhancing their abilities to lead with competence.  Whatever the case leading is tough work.

Leadership is a huge topic, but I want to emphasize the importance of leading with words.  I think our speech is important, what we say and how we communicate are both vital elements of leadership. If we are passionate leaders we want to see people reach their potential.  And I am of the opinion that our words are an integral component to leading people.

So, why are words so important for the leader?

1.  Our words can inspire hearts and minds:  I have sat in seminars and listened to some of the most brilliant minds and have come away empty and frustrated at wasting my time.  Why?  Because clever words do not inspire.  The leader who inspires people is the one who understands that their words need to be sincere, honest and authentic.  My heart has been stirred by people whose words are married to their lifestyle.  Some of the defining moments of my life have been listening to an inspiring leader who has challenged me at the core of my being.

2. Our words can heal:  Proverbs says; "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver'.  Choice words can guide people, bring clarity to situations, and save them from making mistakes.  Words are powerful.  Wise words can heal and unwise words can bring untold destruction.

3.  Our words can challenge:  Sometimes we have to be brutal to be kind.  There is a difference between being nice and being kind.  If someone sings terribly and I tell them they have a good voice, I might be trying to be nice, but I am definitely not being kind.  Sometimes leaders need to be brutally honest with people and that honesty can be challenging, but when those words are heeded they can change the course of someone's life and their destiny.  

Words are important.  We need to use our words wisely and sparingly.  If you are a leader you need to learn to articulate in a simple and clear manner.  Yes, we lead by example but we also need to use words to inspire, to challenge and to direct. 

My prayer is that your words would inspireand encourage someone today. 

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Our words can inspire, challenge, heal, guide or they can destroy. Choose your words wisely.


Sometimes when we are desperate for God's blessing we are quick to remind Him of His promises.  However, with every promise or blessing there comes a prior command.  If we do not obey God's commands how can we expect His blessing?

When I decided to become a Christian I made a decision to follow Jesus.  In fact, Jesus said that we should 'take up our cross and follow' Him.  Put simply, when I put up my hand to follow Christ I was saying yes to a particular way of life.  As I read the Gospels I discovered that being a Christian meant saying yes to God's way and no to my own.

I was enjoying a walk the other day and reveling in God's creation.  As I looked up and saw the sky through the trees and listened to the birds singing I felt real joy.   As I reflected over the years I have served Jesus, I realised that I have never needed to take drugs to give me a lift, I have never needed to drink alcohol to drown my sorrows, and I have never needed to look outside of God for any kind of thrill.  My life has been simple, but it has been rich and full.  No, I haven't been perfect.  I have messed up, failed, fallen short of God's standards...I am a sinner like everyone else.  But early on in my life, I understood that I needed God and that He was the only One who could truly satisfy my heart.  Now, forty-seven years later I know that following God's way is definitely the best and wisest way to go.

I have never been famous, never had money to do all the things I would like, but I have had peace even in the midst of the most trying circumstances.  I have known that God was with me in my most desperate hour.  I have never had to turn to any substance to find tranquility, I have leaned heavily on God.  I suppose some would call that a crutch.  I call it a choice that has enabled me to live life to the full.

Don't claim the promises of God if you are not living according to His standards.  If you don't give you cannot expect to receive.  We have to live according to God's Word and when we do His blessings flow. 

I am conscious every single day that God is good and that my life is blessed.  

Jesus satisfies my friend.  If you live for Him you will experience His blessing.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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Keep His commands and you will know His blessing


I remember the moment as if it was yesterday.  I was sixteen years old, I was kneeling down beside my bed and pouring my heart out to the God I love so much.  I heard God's voice speak to my heart and ask me if I was willing to serve give my life to His cause.  I felt completely overwhelmed.  Why would God want to use a simple little South African girl from an ordinary family?  I knew I had nothing to offer.  In a simple, childlike way I told God that I had nothing to give.  Again I felt God speaking to my heart and assuring me that all He wanted was my willing heart.  I knew I could give God that much.  So on that day, many years ago I gave my entire life over for service in God's Kingdom.

I have loved every single minute of serving the cause of Jesus.  It was shortly after my enounter with God that He brought Paul into my life and to my absolute delight discovered that he had also laid his life down for the cause of God's kingdom.  We have felt so honored to serve God that Paul and I have spent our lives encouraging other young people to do the same. 

The journey has been challenging and joyful all at the same time.  Yes, we have been treated harshly and unfairly by some people, but God has always been faithful and kind and He has never ever failed us.  He never will.  And here is the amazing aspect of my story...the longer I serve Him the more I love Him and the sweeter it gets. 

So, if today you are contemplating serving God's Kingdom I hope this post will encourage you.  If you are discouraged in your service because of unkind people, criticism or anything else for that matter let me encourage you today.  Serving God has the richest rewards.  I would never change my life for anything.  Despite all the challenges and hardships I have no regrets...not one!

The longer I serve Him the sweeter it grows!

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Serving God has been the greatest joy of my life.

How You Finish Your Race is More Important than How You Began!

New beginnings are always exciting.  The start of a relationship is filled with joy and pleasure.  A new job is taken up with anticipation and challenge.  Going on a journey is adventurous and fun filled.  Yes, starting anything new is thrilling for most people.  However, the real question is: How will you finish your race?  When the relationship becomes challenging, the new job is thwart with problems, the journey gets boring, will you finish, and more importantly, will you finish well?

I have seen people become bored with their relationships and cop out to find a new partner.  I have witnessed people at the first sign of a challenge leave their career.  But, sadly the most disturbing sight is when I see Christians give up the faith.  I understand there are hoards of reasons for why people do things, but I find it difficult to understand why people deny their God because other people have failed them or the church has let them down.  People are human, they will fail and they will disappoint us.  Churches are imperfect and there will be times when we are sorely disappointed with what takes place in church.  But that should never reflect on our relationship with God.

So how do we prevent failure and finish our race well?  If you read Hebrews chapter 12 it gives us some really good advice.

  1. Keep your eye on the goal: Hebrews says that we must "...look to Jesus"  If you run a race and are distracted by the crowd I can assure you that you will not finish well.  Whether it is their booing or applauding the distraction is not good.  That is why we must keep focused on Jesus.  Don't have your eyes on people. Christian leaders also fail, they also have feet of clay, but to blame a Christian leader's failure for your decision to leave the faith is a major cop out.  The only One that will never fail you or disappoint you is Jesus.
  2. Run your race:  Hebrews 12 says "run the race marked out for you."  I think it is wonderful that God has already marked out my particular race.  He knows me, He formed me and He will give me the grace to run my own race. Yes, you can only run your race.  You can never try to run some else's race.  When we are always complaining about our lives and making comparisons with other people it does not help us.  In fact, I can assure you that it will hinder your race.
  3. Finish the race:  Hebrews says"finish the race marked out for you."  The emphasis is on finishing the race.  You see we can start any new venture with enthusiasm, but how we finish it is what counts.  You will only finish this Christian race if you keep your focus on Jesus and you ensure that you are not comparing and competing with anyone else.  Keep your eye on the goal.

I pray that you will finish even better than you began.  I trust that every day, whatever the challenge, you will grow stronger and more determined to follow Jesus with your whole heart.  My prayer for you is that you will finish well.


I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


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Have you ever experienced deep pain and the question you keep asking yourself is; What have I done wrong?  What sin am I being punished for?  Your heart is crushed and broken and you don't know which way to turn.  I have been there and asked those same questions.

Physical pain is horrible, but emotional or mental pain tops that one every time.  I have watched people grieve at the bedside of a loved one, at the grave of someone taken away too soon, and stood with people who have had their hearts crushed by broken relationships.

So the question remains: Is your pain punishment from God? 

Here are a few lessons I have learned along the way and I share them with you for your encouragement.

1.  Pain is never a sign of God's absence:  I have come to see pain in a whole new light.  When Paul went for major heart surgery I thought my heart would break.  He was scheduled to be under the knife for fifteen hours.  When he came through the surgery I processed all we had been through as a family and I saw pain in a new way.  Imagine if I did not feel pain?  If I never loved I would never experience pain— and I know I never want to live without love.  If I had not felt agony of soul in my darkest night I would never be able to appreciate the beautiful moments of life. 

2.  Pain can produce amazing results:  Somehow pain has a cathartic effect on my soul.  When you see your loved one slipping away before your eyes all the petty things of life, the things you made such a big deal about, become insignificant and small.  Suddenly you see life as it really is and it has a way of cleansing your soul.  It seems to put everything into perspective and places things in their rightful order. 

3.  God's intentions are never for your harm:  God never intended to harm you, my friend.  Let me assure you that right now, at this moment, His loving arms are waiting for you.  His desire is to embrace and comfort you in your grief. 

4.  Deep beauty is born in the process of pain:  Have you ever looked into the eyes of the frail or elderly?  Ever looked into the eyes of a child who in the eyes of the world is not whole?  Look again!  Look past the physical defects and you will find a beauty so deep and so pure that the clearest crystal stream flowing from a mountainside could not be more beautiful.  That incredible beauty was birthed in the agony of pain and there is no sight to compare.

5.  Out of pain comes a season of joy:  I love the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis.  He was a confident young boy filled with passion and joy for life.  Unfortunately, his brothers did not feel favorable towards him.  The story tells us how they throw him into a pit, and then he is taken as a slave into the household of Potiphar.  Finally, when he thought things could not get any worse he ends up in prison.  What a depressing story?  No!  That is only half the story, my friend.  The other half is the story is of how God took his pain and his hardships and used them not only for his good but for the benefit of his family and his people.

If you are experiencing pain today I beg you not to give up.  There is still so much more of your story to be written.  Out of your pain and agony can come the next chapter of your life which could be the most beautiful.  Pain can teach us so much.  Don't let your pain debilitate you.  Do not allow your pain to cut your story short.  Your pain is not the absence of God, it is the very real presence of Him there with you.  Of this I am confident—your pain could birth the next season of your life.  Embrace your pain and your God and He will see you through.

You are the only author of your story—make it a good one

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,