Tag: inspiration


Sunday Inspiration: Have You Had a Wake-Up Call in Your Life?

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

by Matthew Kelly

Do you like your life? It’s one of those sort of basic questions we don’t really think about that often. It’s an easy question never to think about. Very often I think we’re sort of just sleepwalking through life. We’re not aware of the incredible people, experiences, opportunities that we’re constantly facing, one after another.

One of the things the Gospel does is, it’s constantly waking us up. Constantly trying to wake us up, constantly trying to put things in perspective. And as we awaken, we become more and more grateful. And one of the ways to measure how awake we are is, how grateful are we? Because when we’re aware, when we’re awake, we tend to be more grateful. But the question “Do you like your life?” is one worth thinking about, because it does wake us up. It does heighten our awareness pretty quickly.

If you don’t like your life, what don’t you like about it? And what are you gonna do about it? And can you do it on your own, or do you need the help of other people in your community? Can you do it on your own, or do you need the help, cooperation, collaboration of people in your family?

And can you do it on your own? The answer, of course, is no, because all is grace. Everything comes down to grace. And so we can’t do it on our own because we need God. We might need other people in our community, we might need other people in our family, but we definitely need God. We need God’s grace. We need God’s fuel. We need God’s cooperation, collaboration, direction, coaching, encouragement. We need God.

So, do you like your life? If you don’t like your life, what are you going to do about it? Jesus said, “I’ve come so you might have life to the fullest.” He wants you to have that kind of life. If you don’t have that kind of life, it’s time to sit down with Jesus and have a chat.

by Lauren Fedders

Before [my current job], I worked for a publicly traded company with a popular brand and product. I worked really hard at that job, and I loved the people there, so when there were rumors there might be layoffs in my department, I was really worried. When I did get laid off, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t disappointed, heartbroken, or panicked like I really thought I would feel. In fact, I left feeling pretty excited and energized.

If getting laid off from your job and feeling relieved about that, or excited about that, isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t really know what is. I took time to reflect and I came to realize that, at that job, I was just going through the motions and I was sleepwalking through my day, my week, and my year. I took time to travel, and to pray, and I was really intentional about where I decided to work next.

My wake-up call led me to a career that challenges me and allows me to work for a place where I’m truly passionate about what I’m doing. So, when have you had a wake-up call on your life?

Source: Best Lent Ever, A Wake-Up Call

Sunday Inspiration: Success Requires Hard Work and Integrity

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” Pr 12:11 NLT

In The Finishing Touch, author Chuck Swindoll tells about a man he met who made a great impression on him: “With a grin and a twinkle, he whipped out his hand. It was a hand you could strike a match on, toughened by decades of rugged toil. ‘You look like a man who enjoys life. What do you do for a living?’ I asked.

‘Me? Well, I’m a farmer from back in the Midwest.’

Swindoll asked him, ‘What did you do last week?’

He said, ‘Last week I finished harvesting ninety thousand bushels of corn.’

I then blurted out, ‘Ninety thousand! How old are you, my friend?’

He didn’t seem at all hesitant or embarrassed by my question. ‘I’m just a couple of months shy of ninety.’

He laughed again as I shook my head.

He had lived through four wars, the Great Depression, sixteen presidents, ninety Midwest winters, who knows how many personal hardships, and he was still taking life by the throat.

I had to ask him the secret of his long and productive life.

‘Hard work and integrity’ was his quick reply.

As we parted company he looked back over his shoulder and added, ‘Don’t take it easy, young feller. Stay at it!’

Hard work and integrity! Those two qualities go together, and are the essence of a life well-lived. And when you practice them faithfully, you experience the highest level of joy and fulfillment in life.”

The Bible puts it this way: “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.”

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/hard-work-and-integrity

When I read this, it made me think of my grandfather who worked his farm up until two weeks before he died at age 95.

It also made me think of my clients who come to me with a desire for a more fulfilling life and career.

They want to know if they have what it takes to start their own businesses. They want to know if it’s too late in life to do so. They want to know if their idea is a viable career option or if it’s just a “fantasy.”

First, it’s never too late to start something. Colonel Sanders was around 60 years old when he started KFC. Prior to then he’d had multiple career failures in other jobs and ventures, and his Original Recipe was rejected 1,009 times before it was accepted.

Second, sometimes things are just fantasy, but you have to do the research first to find out or not. Otherwise, you’ll live life always wondering, “What if?” There are ways to test the viability of an idea and that’s something I teach my clients how to do.

Finally, if you have a viable idea, then yes, you have what it takes to be successful if you work hard and do so with integrity!

Lori

Sunday Inspiration: Do You Have a Passion That Surprises and Delights?

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly blog posts. Enjoy!

Meet Ed. Ed is a friend of mine I met about three years ago in an art class I took. He’s a retired guy who has a heart for helping other people make the transition from career to retirement.

Ed also has a passion for a rather unique skill he learned 40 years ago. This skill isn’t something he set out to learn. Instead he remained open to the idea of new things, and as a result found a passion that not only surprised him, but also surprises a lot of people. It’s a skill and passion he doesn’t earn money for, but instead uses to give back to others.

As you read Ed’s story, think about when the last time was you kept yourself open to learning something new. Do you have a skill or passion that maybe doesn’t earn you money, but gives you joy when you use it to give back to others? Does it serve as an outlet for you and give you purpose?

Ed’s Story

I play spoons. I’ve played spoons for over 40 years, ever since my wife surprised me for my birthday and took me, along with the friends she had invited, to a concert.

Two gentlemen representing the Smithsonian Institute were touring the country playing a concert of authentic American music—sea chanties, Dixieland jazz, blues, and a host of other music all born of the diversity we have in this country. The highlight for me was “Turkey in the Straw” with Jew’s harp, washboard, hambone, and, my personal favorite, the spoons.

At the end of the concert, we were invited to see the instruments and get a spoon lesson. Before that day, I’d never seen or heard spoons played. I was surprised and delighted.

Our party then headed back to my house for birthday cake. The guitars came out, we raided the silverware drawer, and we all tried to play spoons.

 
Here Bill, Lanette, Sheryl, and Carol all give the spoons a try in our living room.

Shortly afterward, my friend Earnie asked me to join a small group to play at a church gathering. Since I couldn’t blow on my clarinet and sing at the same time, he said, “Bring your spoons.” I spent that summer learning to play spoons—and sing at the same time. The effort has paid off with a lifetime of fun and meaning.

The group Earnie formed grew and became the Blakemore Boys Bluegrass Band. For 35 years we sang at church events around town, also for the infirm and homebound. We took our music to hospital beds, visited nursing homes, and did special fundraising concerts and caroling. One highlight was performing and recording a Christmas cantata that Earnie wrote.


Earnie, John, Earl, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Bob, and I surprise the neighborhood as we sing carols door to door, fundraising for a Nashville daycare center.

Bob, one of the band members, then invited us to form a new group that plays almost exclusively in nursing homes. September 2018 marked our eighth anniversary of playing at least three times a month. Our repertoire of gospel and old hymns is very popular among patients and staff; most everybody knows the words and many sing along as they are able.


The camera caught Earnie, Bob, me, Clare, and Jim by surprise.

Surprise and Delight

I tell you all this to offer a backdrop to 43 years of what I call surprise and delight.

One of the earliest things I did after learning how to play the spoons was to invent and use the “Happy Birthday Cha, Cha, Cha.” It’s pretty much the same as the original except that most lines end with “cha, cha, cha.” I lead the singing of that at most birthday parties I go to at home or elsewhere. But for me, the most fun is at restaurants. You see, I try to make it a surprise.

My favorite gambit is to solicit some volunteers to be a cha, cha, cha chorus. I like to find a table with two to four youthful guests. I’ll go sit down with them. By the time I’ve shaken everybody’s hand and introduced myself with, “It’s good to see you,” two are convinced they know me but don’t remember how.

I invite them to come sing cha, cha, cha backup and surprise my friend. So… off we go back to the table where the birthday boy or girl is usually very surprised—and once the embarrassment wears off—delighted as well.

I’ve done this so often and for so many years nobody in my family is embarrassed any longer. People do get wary, though. Our friend Lanette wanted no surprises at the Spaghetti Factory and asked whether I’d brought my spoons. I truthfully told her I hadn’t, but when it was time, my wife passed me the spoons we’d hidden in her purse. It’s all about surprise and delight.

I also like to show up and play impromptu with different bands. I have played with a Dixieland band on a Mississippi River paddle boat, a mariachi band in a restaurant, an Eagle’s cover duo on St Martin’s Island, and a Cajun band, as well as several street bands in New Orleans. I also got to play a solo with a jazz quartet in the swanky Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans at a Mother’s Day brunch. Very cool.

  
My wife and I play with a Cajun band, and I play with a street band in New Orleans.


I definitely surprised the jazz group on Mother’s Day!

As often happens after I play, two kids invited me over to show them how the spoons worked. They were surprised and delighted.

One time the table was turned on me. When I was leaving a restaurant where we’d celebrated my daughter’s birthday with my signature song, I heard coming from the kitchen the unmistakable sound of two spoons banging together. These weren’t just the usual kitchen noises! I found some of the wait staff trying to work with spoons to get the sound right. I took some time and gave them a spoon lesson. I was surprised and delighted that day.

I was surprised and delighted again one afternoon in a nursing home. We saw a mother and daughter on the sideline that afternoon. Mom had her head on her daughter’s shoulder most of the time, but she was singing along with her daughter. Afterward, the daughter came up to thank us for “bringing Mom back.” Mom had Alzheimer’s and hadn’t talked in over a year. The daughter told us that she had grown up singing those songs to her mother’s piano playing. For that one brief hour, we were able to bring Mom back for an encore.

I was surprised and delighted.

Singing in nursing homes is fun but also eye-opening. Some patients walk to the performance on their own. Many more have some sort of conveyance like a walker. Still, others are brought in a wheelchair or bed. It’s not uncommon to see people hang their heads and slump in their chairs. Some even seem asleep.

After the music one afternoon, I went out to meet and greet some listeners. I saw a head rise off the table; I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “Hi, I’m Ed. Did you enjoy the music?” Straight away I felt his grip tighten on my hand and heard a whisper, “Oh. Very much. It was great.” I had thought he had slept through the whole concert. But no. I saw an unmistakable light in his eyes.

I learned a valuable lesson that afternoon, one that I hope you take to heart too: Surprise and delight are universal. I knew that kids could be surprised seeing spoons played. I knew that musicians could be surprised and sometimes delighted by hearing a well-placed burst of rhythm from what they thought an unlikely source. But… I hadn’t known that even if you can’t talk anymore or raise your head or clap, there is still room for surprise and delight in your heart.

Never give up on life. Take surprise and delight with you. You may one day be like the man who couldn’t raise his head off his arms but was still open to surprise and delight.

Ed Zinkiewicz
…the retired guy

Sunday Inspiration: Having the Right Attitude

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” 
Php 2:5 NLT

How many jobs do people lose every day because of poor attitudes? How many are passed over for promotion because of the way they approach their work and the people around them? How many marriages fall apart? It would be impossible to calculate.

No one should ever lose a job, miss a promotion, or destroy a marriage because of a poor attitude. Why? Because a person’s attitude isn’t set; it’s a choice.

Chuck Swindoll writes: “Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It’s more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I’m convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…We are in charge of our attitudes.”

Paul writes, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” He always approached people with love, grace, acceptance, and a heart to serve rather than be served.

So if your attitude hasn’t been as good as it could be, make this your starting point. Pray: “Father, give me a Christlike attitude toward everyone I meet.”

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/having-the-right-attitude

Sunday Inspiration: How to Discover Your Assignment and Purpose

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:6-8

If you look hard enough, you will find that there are clues to your assignment everywhere.

Finding your assignment in the kingdom is critical.

You are treasured. You are valued.

If it was true for Jeremiah, it’s true for you. Before you were in your mother ‘s womb, He knew you, called you to an assignment, had a plan and a purpose for your life.

We all become pretty good at believing in other people’s call and other people’s assignments and other people’s potential, but we don’t see it in our self. We call it humility, when, in reality, it’s the spirit of intimidation and fear that causes us to feel unimportant.

In God’s eyes, you are treasured and valued. He knew you before you were in your mother’s womb.

The first step in finding your assignment is understanding God can talk to you.

We need to know that God is still speaking today, and He is still calling people to be a part of His kingdom purpose. He speaks through church services, through  preachers,  He will speak through  circumstances, and through other people. And He always speaks through His Word.

You’ve got to learn to listen and hear God’s voice. That’s how He puts dreams in you! He will speak to you.

I get amused hearing people say, ”I’m going to take a course on how to hear God’s voice.” When I call my mother and hear her voice on the other line, I know it’s her. I don’t have to take a course on recognizing her voice.

When you know God, you know His voice. It’s that simple-and it is important.

You get to know Him by spending time with Him and listening. The more you listen, the easier it will be to recognize His voice.

Jeremiah begins chapter one saying, “The word of the Lord came to me saying … ” The Word spoke to Jeremiah, and The Word is still speaking today.

Listen for Him. He knows how to talk to you.

A true assignment from God will showcase your inferiority and your limitation. It will be bigger than you are and make you feel incapable of achieving it.

Don’t focus on your weakness; God gets glory out of what happens in spite of your weaknesses. God said, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

You’re not here by accident. You were created for purpose and for His glory.

Start believing your assignment is so much less about your ability and so much more about your availability.

It’s not your responsibility … it’s your response to His ability.

Think About It

  1. Rate your confidence level in knowing your calling in Christ on a scale between 1 and 10, with 10 being “I know exactly what I am supposed to do” and 1 being “I have never thought about having a calling.”
  2. Rate your ability to hear God’s voice on a scale between 1 and 10, with 10 being “loud and clear” and 1 being “never ever.”
  3. Based on today’s study, what can you do to move those numbers closer to a 10?

Source: https://jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/fasting-day-18