Coffee Break Bible Study: John 13-16

I provide Coffee Break Bible studies so busy people can take a moment to pause with God’s word. If these are useful to you, I’d love to hear from you!

Read John 12.

Why do you think Mary annointed Jesus?

How do you think Jesus handled what would be a temporary time of being praised? How does this help you in considering times when you may be praised?

Read John 13.

What act of service is Jesus demonstrating here? Why?

Write out verse 15. How can you follow Jesus’ example today?

Read John 14.

How can you apply verse 1 to a specific situation in your life today?

How do we show Jesus we love Him? (verse 15)

Read John 15.

What does it mean to abide in Jesus?

How does verse 25 help you believe that Jesus can identify with any feelings of rejection you may be experiencing?

Read John 16.

Why is it to our advantage that Jesus is not right here with us in person?

How does verse 33 encourage you?

Virtual Assistant Services

A contact of mine shared: “I read the blog of a professional which has great content but often contains errors. An editor would make his blog one of the best in my industry.”

Are you that busy professional whose presentation online has a few “scratches and dents” since you are pressed for time? Do you have projects you wish would move forward, but because of all the details, are afraid to tackle? A virtual assistant can help!

The working world is changing. While there are still many organizations and companies following the traditional path of on-site employees, many companies have ventured into allowing workers to telecommute, and some have created their teams through self-employed contractors such as virtual assistants. Technological advances have melted the miles between colleagues, making it possible for people to work together even if they are thousands of miles away from each other.

Well-known blogger and former CEO Michael Hyatt has written a book about the value of these workers (I’ve added it to my recommendations page) as well as an informative blog post on the topic.

Today, I am using this post to announce officially my availability as a virtual assistant, the details of which are available on the slide show above and also on the services page at my website. Please go to these resources for more details such as specific services and pricing.

Now, on to the post. Here are three ways a virtual assistant may be the answer you are looking for.

Virtual assistants provide:

Flexibility. Many leaders have projects they would like to see done but have a hard time justifying hiring a permanent part-time or full-time employee. A virtual assistant can work just a few hours a month, and even just for a season. Imagine having a qualified professional be available when you hit a crunch time or need progress made on a non-urgent but important project. She has her own equipment, takes care of her own taxes and overhead, and you get focused work done.

Objectivity. Several virtual assistants screen email and phone calls for busy business owners who cannot afford a full (or part) time on-site executive assistant. There can be an advantage to your assistant not being on-site, neck deep in the workings of the organization everyday. A virtual assistant can focus on representing the company in your electronic or phone communications after having had clear instructions from you. He doesn’t get distracted by all the group interactions and other tasks that your on-site staff need to focus on. He can even give you feedback from an “outsiders” point of view.

Adaptability. Virtual assistants have a variety of skills. Some specialize in certain types of projects (i.e. web site development) while others bring a well-rounded wealth of experiences to the table. They can assist you with polishing your online content, managing your calendar, screening your email, creating your newsletter/customer communications, researching, planning events and travel, and many more tasks. In some cases, you’ll find a very talented jack-of-all-trades which may be just what you need for those few hours a month, to take care of all those little loose ends that slip away from you while you pursue your calling and build your business.

If your support staff is overwhelmed, or you’re noticing important items you are letting slip through the cracks, but you’re concerned about hiring someone on-site permanently (with all the associated costs and concerns) consider learning more about hiring a virtual assistant. It doesn’t have to be me. There are reputable firms you can investigate, as well as many independent contractors available. Find the fit for YOU!

I invite you to look over my specific information, and if it resonates with you, contact me for a free, no obligation consultation. Use the contact page to get started!

Coffee Break Bible Study: John 8-12

For former Coffee Break Bible studies, visit the elevate page. We are traveling through the New Testament throughout all of 2014 but you can jump in anytime!

Why do I provide Coffee Break Bible studies? I know that many of you are busy professionals, and sometimes time to spend in God’s Word can seem elusive. Coffee Break Bible studies are meant to provide you a way to dip into God’s Word during the short pauses in your life, such as coffee and lunch breaks.

Read John 8.

What do you learn about Jesus about how He handled the situation with the adulteress?

What does it mean to “abide in His word?” verse 31.

Read John 9.

In verse 3, Jesus explains why the man is undergoing hardship. Do you ever consider your hardships as opportunities to bring glory to God? What hardship may you be currently facing that could bring Him glory?

How did the man show courage after being healed?

Read John 10.

What does Jesus mean when He says He is the “Door?” (verse 9)

Ponder verse 27. What does it mean to you to hear Jesus’ voice?

Read John 11.

What part of the story of Lazarus touches you most? Why might that be?

Write out verse 25 with gratefulness.

Read John 12.

Why do you think Mary annointed Jesus?

How do you think Jesus handled what would be a temporary time of being praised? How does this help you in considering times when you may be praised?

Happy Easter!

Friends, on this celebratory day, I feel prompted to share something.

I’m thankful for all my readers, who represent a diverse group of people with a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. I thank you for being interested in my posts and for the gracious dialog you participate in when I share thoughts and questions.

Today, I invite you to consider the simplicity of the gospel. It’s not about a denomination, or even attending church at all. It’s not about checking off a list of “good things” to do to somehow merit God’s love. It’s not about being a good person so someday you can go to heaven. (How good is “good enough” anyway?)

Today is about a Savior who took care of all that for you. What’s next? Simply receive it. In your own words to Him, acknowledge that He is the One you are relying on–not your good works (though they reflect Him), not your denomination (though good things are done through all of them), not your unselfishness toward others (though the community is blessed when you are kind and thoughtful) and not your political/philosophical viewpoints (although there is need for wisdom and discernment in these arenas.) He simply invites us to have a relationship with Him and quit trying to do this on our own.

I’d be honored to dialog privately with anyone who wants to about this.. Otherwise, I hope that today makes a big difference in your life in some way. Maybe it will be the first time you really thought of it this way and you choose to acknowledge it. Maybe it will remind you of that first time when you did.

He is Risen.
He is Risen Indeed.

Happy Easter, friends!

Three Lessons I Learned about Excellence from Top Shot Star Gabby Franco

Gabby Franco and Beth Beutler

Sometimes God drops unexpected, amazing experiences on us. Isn’t it fun to surprise someone? Well, I think He enjoys doing that for us, and I got one of my surprises in early February, 2014.

I have dabbled on and off in recent years with target shooting. I grew up in a home that had firearms and am married to an outdoorsmen. For some other relatives and friends/associates in my life, including law enforcement officers, guns are a common–and sometimes important–part of their daily lives. I have easy access to a shooting range. I’ve tried to learn more about the sport and being properly prepared for potential danger without being paranoid.

From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. Nehemiah 4:16-18, NIV

Due to this, I became interested in watching the History Channel’s Top Shot show with my husband. It’s a shooting competition that eliminates participants until there is an overall winner. It’s an interesting show, and most of the cast members have been male.

There were, however, a few women who also competed, one of whom appeared in season four and was brought back for the All-Star season in 2013. Gabby Franco, who competed in the Sydney Olympics and has won a number of awards in other competitions, was the first woman on the show to make it to the round where the two teams combined after several contestants were eliminated. She earned respect from the cast members while retaining a pleasant, feminine personality.

Fast forward to February, 2014. I found out Gabby was coming to town for a meet and greet and to offer some lessons at Sharpshooters. Due to some last-minute changes to the schedule, I ended up in a two-hour range class with her, the local instructor, and get this–only ONE other student. So I essentially had a semi-private lesson, where she hands on guided me to making improvements as I participated in drills! It was almost surreal to realize I was getting instructed by someone with such a solid and recognized gift. It was amazing. Plus we had a nice conversation for awhile after the class–she’s down to earth and had written a book like I had (see below) so we had a couple of things in common.

On the way home, I already had a blog post forming in my head about how the lessons I learned in class tied in with living and working with excellence. So here are three things I learned about excellence from Gabby Franco:

Get a Grip
One of the most important fundamentals of shooting is learning how to have the right grip. The right grip helps you set up a successful shot, it helps you control your weapon and helps with your confidence. Over and over Gabby reminded me of weak areas in my grip–I was too tense with one hand, and too relaxed with the other.

To live an excellent life, it’s important to have a good grip. I should be holding tightly to God and His Word, while also relaxing and leaning into Him and what He is doing in my life.

Set Your Sights
Most guns have sights to help you line up with the target. Gabby pointed out that often, people concentrate on the target up ahead, and not on lining up the sights right in front of them. It is important to know your target and what is beyond it. But once you have that big picture in mind, your accuracy will come from dealing with the thing right in front of you correctly. You almost want the target to become blurry in favor of clearly aligning your sights (being sure, of course, that you are still directed to the spot on the target for which you are aiming.)

The same applies in life. It is important to see the big picture and know what you are shooting for (forgive the pun.) But if you don’t align your daily priorities with that goal, and focus on one step, one day at a time, even one task at a time, you’ll have less success staying focused and hitting your mark.

Speed is Important, But Accuracy is What Wins

One of my targets from some recreational shooting.

One of my targets from some recreational shooting.

In a self-defense situation, speed is vital. That comes with effective practice. But in shooting, especially competitive shooting, if you don’t hit the target, you don’t get the points no matter how fast you are. Sometimes people shoot fast and furious, hoping to hit several plates. But a marksman who slows down just a bit and one by one breaks the plates, can often win the match over someone who shoots faster.

In life and work, we must find the right speed while focusing on truth and accuracy. I’m not suggesting perfection. I don’t always hit a bullseye, but I do okay staying in a relatively specified area of the target, so I experience some success in my (non-competitive) target shooting. Excellence doesn’t mean perfection. In a match, a broken plate is a broken plate, even if it wasn’t hit in the exact center. However, going too fast can mean you miss the target altogether and there no point in that! It’s important to keep our projects moving along, and not let them sit around because they aren’t perfect, but also to go slowly enough to produce excellent work.

I learned a few more things, such as the importance of a coach, the value of practice, the wisdom of staying alert and safety conscious, and the discipline of overcoming fear. Perhaps I’ll expound on those at another time.

For now, to quote another Top Shot star, season 3 Champion Dustin Ellerman:

 

Pray hard. Shoot straight.

 

I’ve added Gabby’s book, Troubleshooting: Mastering Your Pistol Marksmanship, to my Amazon store on the blog. When you stop at my blog before shopping at Amazon, you help the site and I thank you!

 

 

Coffee Break Bible Study: John 3-7

For former Coffee Break Bible studies, visit the elevate page. We are traveling through the New Testament throughout all of 2014 but you can jump in anytime!

Why do I provide Coffee Break Bible studies? I know that many of you are busy professionals, and sometimes time to spend in God’s Word can seem elusive. Coffee Break Bible studies are meant to provide you a way to dip into God’s Word during the short pauses in your life, such as coffee and lunch breaks.

Read John 3.

Write out John 3:16, perhaps in more than one version. What does it mean to you?

If we live by the attitude in verse 30, how would that change our lives?

Read John 4.

What did many of the Samaritans believe about Jesus? What do you believe?

Read verses 46-54 again. What do you learn from this miracle?

Read John 5.

How did Jesus handle the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda? What do you learn from this?

How do you see the oneness of the Trinity through verse 19?

Read John 6. 

What do you learn from some of the specific steps Jesus took in feeding of the 5000?

Write out verse 48. How is Jesus “Bread” to you?

Read John 7.

Consider verse 5. Is there someone in your life that you feel does not believe in you? How does that make you feel? How can you look to God for fulfilling your needs for security and affirmation?

What does verse 8 show you about how Jesus made decisions?

12 Things I Learned from my Food Detox

In the winter of 2014, I was given an opportunity to participate in a 15-day food detox program offered by Nourish2Live.com in exchange for writing and sharing about the experience. The detox was divided into three phases: a 4 day pre-detox preparation transition, a 7-day detox practice, and a 4 day post detox transition.  The detox is designed to help you eliminate a number of food items, live without them for a week, and then slowly re-introduce them. The goal is to help you begin to create your own “blueprint” for what foods and practices most effectively fuel you, as opposed to inflaming you. Coach Chris DeHollander believes in “bio-individuality,” that we are all created uniquely and there is not a “once size fits all” lifestyle. She also is clear that this program is not meant to be your permanent eating plan. It’s a “jump start” to educate and empower you to design a healthy program for your unique needs. I like that.

For each of the days of my process, I shared a photo and caption explaining my journey. I also found Scripture verses and passages that seemed to fit what I was learning and what God has to say about living a healthy life. That slide show is available here:

I learned 12 key things from the experience to help me create a blueprint for me. To some degree, these principles will also impact my husband, who cooperated with the process and participated in some parts of it.

I learned:

1. While I don’t seem to have a serious sensitivity to any particular food, I do sense issues if I have too much of a particular type of food. For example, I love cheese and sometimes I also enjoy eating out or eating some type of processed food. But I now realize that these choices should be more of a “seasoning” in my diet than a main foundation of it.  I’ve discovered that my digestive system can rebel with bloating/irregularity when I get into unbalance in this area. 

2. I need protein almost daily, and can find creative ways to incorporate it. This means more use of seeds, tuna/salmon/chicken salads (without fatty mayo but something like Veganese instead), fish, occasional beef, avocado, Greek yogurt, etc.

3. It is good for me to limit carbs and to focus on whole grains when I do want that type of food. I’m actually not finding it that difficult to cut down on bread and pasta when it used to be something I wanted often. I believe that I tend to crave carbs and cheese when I’m tired or stressed—they represent comfort to me. Knowing those triggers can help me make healthier choices or at least add a healthy component or two to a meal that also contains those items.

4. It’s best for me to limit regular coffee to a couple of times a week, if that. I like the ritual of coffee, but decaf and other alternatives can accomplish the same thing. The jury is still out regarding a particular brand of caffeinated coffee and I may have to further limit, or replace, that brand.

5. There is no food that is off limits (for me, so far). This may be a controversial statement, but my personal conviction is that God no longer condemns any particular type of food, but does teach concepts of moderation, wisdom, restraint, and not becoming addicted to any type of food. So I feel I can occasionally enjoy a moderate portion of a dessert or crunchy snack without guilt.

All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV (note: Paul seems to be quoting the Corinthians who were making these statements.)

6. I need to be more intentional about water. I should be drinking 8-10 cups a day, or enough for urine to be pale or clear. I freeze different types of fruit to use as ice cubes to make it interesting.

7. Eating out has consequences. Not only does it affect my wallet, many foods in restaurants come from processed sources. I can make healthy choices, but the healthy options are limited. The day I wrote this I happened to be at two coffee shops and one restaurant throughout the day, thus having three of my meals for the day out. I feel I did reasonably well in my choices, but I wouldn’t want to have to make such choices several days a week.

8. Probiotics are very important. I’d already discovered the value of a probiotic and am strengthened in my conviction that probiotics and probiotic-rich foods are very valuable in building the immunity and warding off illness. I have become more familiar now with a couple more sources of these helpful bacteria (i.e. Kefir and Kombu.)

9. Variety helps you incorporate many important vitamins and minerals into your diet. While I personally decided to return to a daily supplement after detox, a healthy, nutritious food plan does not have to include a particular product or supplement, although it is understood that they can be helpful for some. Often we hear about “magical” supplements, powders and pills. But the core foundation of nutrition is the food we take in.

10. It is important to rest, to listen to your body and to de-stress. I introduced dry body brushing to myself in this process, and got more active again on my rebounder. I use essential oils for various purposes, and am very committed that weekends should be for recreation and Sabbath type rest and restoration–thus I rarely do any professional work on Saturday/Sunday unless for a scheduled professional event.

11. An 80/20 food lifestyle is an actionable and enjoyable approach for us. This mindset means that 80% of the time I want to be choosing “clean” nutritious foods–meaning foods that are not highly processed and don’t have a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce–and leave 20% or less for foods I eat simply because I enjoy the taste.

12. God wants to guide me in this. There were several verses and passages that applied to various parts of this detox, and it should include getting rid of toxic attitudes and putting healthy boundaries on potentially negative relationships. God is interested in guiding me through the process. I sense His guidance in the thinking process and I highly encourage any of you to learn about Chris’ programs and participate in one. You’ll learn a lot…you won’t be perfect at it, but you’ll be that much farther ahead in your mindset and actions than you may be now. And you may be surprised. You may be able to happily choose not to partake of junk food, like I was able to do today when some goodies were brought into an office I was at on “Fat Tuesday.” I was able to walk away with very little temptation or craving. That doesn’t mean at a different time I wouldn’t have enjoyed a treat. I just wasn’t willing to let those things be my treat for the day.

Chris is offering a Spring Detox that starts April 24. If you decide to participate, I’d enjoy hearing what you learn! Be sure to tell her Beth sent you!

Coffee Break Bible Study: Luke 22-24; John 1-2

For former Coffee Break Bible studies, visit the elevate page. We are traveling through the New Testament throughout all of 2014 but you can jump in anytime!

Why do I provide Coffee Break Bible studies? I know that many of you are busy professionals, and sometimes time to spend in God’s Word can seem elusive. Coffee Break Bible studies are meant to provide you a way to dip into God’s Word during the short pauses in your life, such as coffee and lunch breaks.

Read Luke 22.

Why do you think Jesus felt so compelled to have the Passover meal with His disciples?

This time, when Jesus sends out the disciples (verses 35-28) He tells them to take certain things. What do you think is different about this instruction versus when He sent out disciples without supplies?

Read Luke 23.

What do you learn from how Jesus handled his trials?

How does verse 28 show Jesus’ heart?

Read Luke 24.

Picture yourself as one of the individuals on the road to Emmaus. How would you have responded?

What stands out to you about how the disciples responded when Jesus appeared to them?

Read John 1.

Write out verse three and thank God for what He has done in creating you.

Why did John call Jesus the “Lamb of God?”

Read John 2.

What do you make of Jesus’ first public miracle?

Why do you think Jesus drove out the business people from the temple?

 

10 Key Thoughts from the E-book Bundle

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Prov. 31:27

As you know, we’re in the middle of a special featured e-book bundle for organization, which continues through April 7. Here are ten things I learned–or were reinforced to me–through some of the books in the bundle. These are not exact quotes…they are thoughts I came up or that were reinforced because of what I read. I have indicated what book prompted these thoughts.

(Next Thursday, I’ll resume my regular posts regarding an area of living or working with excellence. Thank you for the opportunity to share this bundle with you and a special thanks to those who have already purchased–a portion of your purchase will be given to me so while you enjoy the books, please also accept my appreciation for that blessing.)

Now, on to the thoughts:

1. Life is more than a clean house (Clean Enough)

2. Organizing home paperwork, even a little a time, can lead to clarity. (10 Steps to Organized Paper)

3. Sometimes it’s better to do whatever cleaning will make the room look acceptable that week rather than insist on a particular chore. (Clean Enough)

4. One small task a day, over time, can make a big difference. (100 Days of a New Year)

5. Use lists a lot–get all that stuff out of your head! (GTD for Homemakers)

6. Sometimes you have to set your own consequences for being late, to help instill more motivation to start earlier next time. (28 Days to Timeliness)

7. Routines and systems that become automated can help you stay on top of your responsibilities (plus they help alleviate mental clutter.)  (Productivity 2.0)

8. Sometimes it’s wise to create your daily schedule in small chunks rather than mapping out the whole day. This allows for interruptions to not derail your entire schedule. (Creating a Schedule that Works)

9. Organizing a small area–especially a frequently used one that frustrates you often–can be encouraging and motivating. (Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life)

10. Planning ahead on meals, even working ahead several weeks, can take the stress out of dinner planning. (Project Manage Your Entire Life)