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Discover Just One Word To Give You Focus In 2019

(updated for 2019)

Below is the same post I wrote a year ago. Why? Because as I was praying/pondering what my ONE WORD might be for the New Year I quickly realized that my word for 2018 needs a second year to run strong. So, I’ve modified this post for 2019. I hope it inspires you to discover your word.

During the time of the New Year, many of us ponder things we would like to BEGIN doing versus those things we desperately want to STOP. Those things have historically been referred to as resolutions.

The problem with resolutions, as you know, is they tend to only last a few short weeks or months before we fail and ultimately forget them for the remainder of the year.

For this reason I gave up completely on New Year resolutions. About seven years ago I discovered a much better replacement.

OneWord365

OneWord365 is both a CONCEPT and COMMUNITY. It is simple and powerful. The idea is to come up with just one single word that will ultimately be your theme for the entire next year. One word to focus on, to offer regular direction and reflection for your priorities. And there is an ever-growing Facebook Community where you can share your struggles, victories, and dreams around your one word.

That said, I’d like to expand on MY one word for 2019.

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Yep, MOMENTS! Not allowing those seemingly insignificant daily interactions and experiences to pass by unnoticed. Things like taking note of special, quiet moments with Jesus. Fully being in the ‘moment’ when with my family.

When I’m at the gym I’m focused on exercise. I’m not taking phone calls or replying to texts or emails.

I listen to music through my earbuds when having my quiet time. Our home often has a lot going on. Putting my earbuds in accomplishes two things. 1) It keeps me from being distracted by all that is going on around me, and 2) It is also a subtle way of letting my family know that I don’t want to be disturbed.

So, I simply want to be dedicated in the MOMENT of whatever I’m doing. In the past, I’ve learned that being too busy creates distractions. At the end of the day I could think back over my day and literally have no memory of 40 – 60 percent of what I actually did!

That’s a problem.

Here’s to a 2019 with focus that is also memorable.  How about you?

Comments and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

 

 

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3 Things to Avoid When God Begins to Speak

The other night, I sat down to have what I assumed was going to be 20-30 minutes of prayer and reading in one of my devotionals.

Then, God showed up and decided to join me!  What a novel concept.

I read one random page in my devotional book containing one particular scripture verse.  Next, I felt prompted to check out the verse of the day in YouVersion.  This was a different passage, but same theme.  Huh?

I then decided I would pop my earbuds in and experience some worship music.  You want to know something?  The bridge of the song I chose relayed the exact same message as those two scripture passages!  What the heck?  You know God’s trying to get your attention when he puts the same thing in front of you 3 different times.

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When God takes you down this sort of path, it goes without saying that it would be wise to pay attention more than usual.  I would suggest, however, 3 things to avoid when he starts speaking this clearly.

  1. Avoid DISTRACTIONS – Remain in that moment as long as possible.  But sometimes God catches us just as we are on our way out the door to work or an important engagement.  In these times, it is critical that we come back to this moment and word with God as early as possible to allow him to continue speaking.
  2. Avoid HURRY – Don’t jump to conclusions trying to quickly decipher what is being said.  The things of God are often quite large and can take time for us to truly gain a grasp on the specifics of what he is either telling us or asking of us.  Be patient.  Meditate calmly on his voice.
  3. Avoid PRIVACY – Shortly after you’ve had a bit of time to process what you are experiencing with God, go ahead and share it with 1-3 people.  These should be individuals who you know love Jesus and who honestly care about you and your future.  Ask them for their thoughts on what God might be saying.  Then, look for a common theme.

What have your experiences been when God starts communicating in such a bold way that your mind and heart are simply taken captive?  I’d love for you to leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

How Do You Define ‘Worship’?

Worship is not a church service. It’s not a spiritual song. Not a moment in prayer.

Worship is a condition of the HEART. It’s a constant mindset of GRATITUDE toward our creator and savior, Jesus.

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And in my own personal experience, the some of the most POWERFUL seasons of worship have been the seasons filled with challenge, pain, and loss of clear direction. It’s in those seasons, when we’re able to STAY CONNECTED to the Father…remembering ALL the ways he has been faithful and provided…that re-directs our attention away from our own circumstances and onto the countless blessings that we so easily overlook.

I’m going to refuse to let my ‘Thank You’ be silenced today. I’d invite you to join me!

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

God Is Working On Your Behalf This Very Moment

Recently I’ve felt COMPLETELY overwhelmed! There is a helpful counseling tool known as the Holmes & Rahe stress scale. It measures ‘life change units’ in various point values to help determine how at risk someone is for medical illnesses resulting from stress. The scale measures 3 categories.

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.
Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate.
Score <150: Slight risk of illness.

A few weeks ago I scored a 407. Then we discovered that we are moving into a better home TWO DAYS before Thanksgiving…and my uncle lost his battle with cancer. Now my score is sitting at 490. Not the type of score you want to go up.

GOD working

Let me be clear, my stress is comprised of BOTH good and negative things.
GOOD: weddings, better living space, different spiritual calling, approaching holidays.
NEGATIVE: death in the family, health & medical bills, tight life schedules.

With all of this going on, I was reminded this morning that God really is working on my behalf in every one of my MOMENTS. The moments that are filled with joy, blessings, and positive change AS WELL AS the moments that at times feel like they’re stopping me in my tracks and taking away my breath. God is at work in each one. I FEEL him!

Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who ACTS ON BEHALF of those who wait for him. – Isaiah 64:4

Now…’waiting for him’ acknowledges his role as Savior and Heavenly Father. It also hints at an EXPECTANT HEART. Faith permits us to expect God to work in our situation. It ALSO encourages us to exercise a HEIGHTENED AWARENESS of all that he is already doing!

This is the season I am in and I felt I would share it with you. If you are open to it I’d like to pray for you and whatever season you are in. It’s empowering to know that we are not alone in our struggles and pain. And that those things are not at all unique to us.

Feel free to leave a comment or DM me. I’d love to hear your story and support you.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Are You Failing Today?

Living a life with Jesus doesn’t mean a life void of difficulty. Man, this is so true! In fact, at times it can feel as if it actually invites catastrophe. Of course, we know this is not the case. At the point that we step over into Christianity our eyes became opened. God’s light (truthilluminates our world around us. We are now simply aware of the spiritual battles going on all around us that we were blind to before this new life.

So, how are we to journey through the multiple valleys, difficulties, and dark seasons of life as a person of faith? 

failure

Paul, the author of a significant portion of the New Testament, shared with us very authentically his own struggle in the faith.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?  Romans 7:17-24 (MSG) 

Can you relate? I know I can. You’re not alone! Every one of us struggle. And still, God used Paul as a major catalyst in the early Church. Paul’s last questions here are a bit poetic. He’s not completely hopeless as it appears. Let’s continue reading.

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 7:25 (MSG)

The power of Jesus resides within us. When we stay closely connected to him he gives us the strength, direction, fortitude, and endurance to do the good we desire to do, and turn from the distractions of the enemy.

I’d love to hear what you think and how I can pray for you. Leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

How To Choose Joy In The Tough Things

Jethani

Last week I had the privilege to hear Skye Jethani speak at our District Pastors’  Conference.

This is a quote from his talk that really grabbed my attention. Let me provide a little context.

Examples of some things we DO NOT choose: medical diagnosis, unemployment, depression, ministry calling, where we are born, divorce, changes in social behavior, our parents, etc.

Some of these can be GOOD, and we all know that some can equally be UNFAVORABLE.

Now, it’s easy for us to choose JOY in the things we actually choose; things we had a say in. But it’s another issue when a life circumstance makes its way into our lives that we have little to no control over.

The REAL QUESTION to ask, then, is this. Does God have a purpose for me in this particular situation? And even though I DON’T LIKE IT, can I embrace it as my current reality and TRUST GOD to work through me?

So you see, making a conscious decision to choose (own) what we didn’t actually choose in the first place can be a real game changer.

What UNCHOSEN circumstance are you in today? What might it look like if you chose to OWN IT?

I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below. You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

Didn’t See It Coming [review]

Here’s my review of Carey Nieuwhof’s latest book. [I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book]

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Carey Nieuwhof offers powerful insight and reflection in his latest book, ‘Didn’t See It Coming.’  (order your copy HERE)

He combines wisdom with personal authenticity in a ways that all of us can relate.

One of the inevitable challenges we will all face at some point in life is the reality of irrelevance. Carey says…

The barrier to change, of course, is that anything that deviates from your default–your normal–will feel unfamiliar, challenging, and sometimes even threatening.

This section on irrelevance was the most challenging for me personally. I’m still working through what my approach to this challenge is going to look like.

He may have written on irrelevance in a chapter or two, but this book is clearly one of the most relevant reads of the year! Please take my word for it and be sure to get a copy. And then take your time reading through it. Highlight, underline, or journal your thoughts in Evernote as you read.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

“When you’re no longer breathing, the legacy you’ll leave will center on your character.”

“Progress begins with self-honesty.”

“As a culture, the more connected we’ve become, the more isolated we’ve grown.”

“Conversation has become a press conference with whomever happens to be listening.”

“You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.”

“Culture never asks permission to change. It just changes.”

“…keep changing, learning, and evolving. Change starves off irrelevance.”

 

Learn more about Carey

You can stay connected with Carey Nieuwhof at Twitter and Instagram. And if you are a CNLPpodcast listener you really need to check out the Carey Nieuwhof Leadershp Podcast!

 

3 Tips To Implementing Strong Social Media Boundaries To Protect Your Marriage

If you’re married or engaged and one or both of you are active on Social Media, take a minute to watch this short video. I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you’ve done anything similar in your relationship.

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below or connect with me on INSTAGRAM.

For specific questions about your marriage, email me brentdumler@icloud.com  

May God bless you with a fulfilling, happy, and long marriage together!

Join the #Identify3 Challenge

Needing a change of PERSPECTIVE this week…this month…this year?

Sometimes all we need is to modify our ATTENTION for our perspective to obtain clarity.

Try counting your blessings each morning. Like, REALLY counting them.

List them.

Acknowledge each blessing from God.

Challenge yourself to identify 3 ‘different’ blessings each day for a solid week. You will have a list of at least 21 unique, freely given blessings by day 7. Then, take time on the 8th day to give special thanks to Jesus for each of them.

And even if you’re not a follower of Jesus, that’s OK!  Simply recognizing the GOOD THINGS in our lives is something everyone should be able to do.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’m going to do this myself!  Comment below if you’re going to accept the challenge too.  Also consider sharing this post wherever you are on social media.

Use the hashtag #Identify3 with your posts. 

To get you started well, enjoy this music video by Rend Collective! (they’re amazing)

 

Connect with me on Instagram. That’s where I spend most of my time.