PCC Scroll: Editor’s Corner

Here is my Editor’s Corner from the latest issue of the PCC Scroll.

In the last issue of the Scroll, I wrote that I consider the last few and the next few years of my life to be a time of preparation. I am on a journey of laying down the groundwork for the direction I am heading. I can envision my desired future, and I am trying to lay a solid foundation to build upon. As we move toward our futures and lay our foundations, it is important to place ourselves in the correct positions to thrive.

There is a fine difference between surviving and thriving. In the church world, we have lingo about “being the head and not the tail” and “God preparing a table for us.” Both of which come from scripture. Both involve us doing our part and being in the right position. Because God has promised us life…more abundantly.

When I think about surviving, I think about waking up every Monday morning wishing for 5:00 p.m. Friday to come quickly. When I think about thriving, I think about having a strong passion for what I do as a career. Surviving seems to be just about making it. Thriving seems to be about growing and developing.

Part of my “getting into position to thrive” is talking to a Dream Coach. The process began with a 10-week series. Now my coach and I do monthly check-ins. When I say the term “Dream Coach,” many people assume it is someone who analyzes the dreams I have at night. In actuality, Angela helps me to discover and define what my passions are. What is it that I would do if money, time, fear, insecurity, etc. were not the driving forces behind my decisions? I have a strong idea of where I want to be, and our conversations help steer my actions. Each month, I walk away with “To Do’s” that help me position myself to grow and work toward those passions.

A lot of the time, I feel like the gardener many of the articles discussed in the last issue. I am impatiently waiting to see the shoots of my labor spring forth. It is like the proverbial watched pot that does not boil. But just because I don’t see anything at the surface, does not mean nothing is happening below the surface.

Working with Angela gives me the accountability I need. I set clear goals each month, and I have someone who is a cheerleader and encourager as I achieve minor and major milestones. I am learning to have patience, faith and trust that God is mindful of my hopes and dreams (and even my ambitions) and that they align with His plan for my life.

The other thing I am doing is education. I have my formal degree and certificates, and I also have my work experience. In addition, I am finding classes that align with growing my skill set in the areas that interest me. For example, in the winter quarter, I am taking some classes on social media. I am also looking for some classes on photography.

As you continue to position yourself to thrive, I would encourage you to find a friend, mentor or coach (formally or informally) that will hold you accountable to moving toward your goals. Life is busy and full of distractions, but we must be in position when it is time to reap our harvest. God wants you to flourish and thrive.



PCC Scroll: Word of the Quarter

Here is the Word of the Quarter for the latest PCC Scroll.

In this issue of the Scroll, we are continuing with the overarching theme of “Preparing for the Harvest: Positioning Ourselves to Grow.” The overarching theme began in the fall issue with the theme of “Preparing the Soil.” In this issue, we continue the overarching focus with a theme of “Positioning to Thrive.”

When the editing team met to discuss the “Word of the Quarter,” we talked about obstacles that could get in the way and keep us out of position. For example, let’s say we were trying to eat healthier, but every day we walked past a donut shop that sold freshly baked donuts. The smell alone would create an obstacle if we were trying to position ourselves toward not eating junk food.

We also talked about Mary and Joseph, who are featured in “Women of the Bible” and “Men of the Bible,” and how they changed their location many times to thrive. Imagine had they not been in position at crucial times during their journey.

We talked about Zacchaeus, who was a rich man. He desperately wanted to see Jesus, but he was short in stature and could not see Jesus through the crowd. So Zacchaeus ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus when He passed. Jesus honored the seriousness of Zacchaeus’ drive. Jesus stopped and spoke to Zacchaeus by name. Jesus told Zacchaeus to come down, and Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house, which puzzled the people.

Zacchaeus was rich because he was a tax collector, so he would not have been popular in his community. He would have been considered a traitor to his people and corrupt, but his mission to see Jesus was more important than the opinion of the crowd.

In Zacchaeus, we see a person whose hunger to reach his goal was stronger than any distractions, fears or obstacles. That is how we must be. We need to be so focused on positioning ourselves to grow and thrive that we tune out all distractions, fears or obstacles. Being in the right position means that we must be careful of the company we keep and where we find ourselves. We must be mindful of tuning out negative energy and negative voices. We must be mindful of what distracts us.

It is time to position yourself to thrive. This may mean that you need to only surround yourself with people who speak into your life and who are where you are trying to be. This may mean that you need to return to school for training. This may mean that you have to be more intentional on how you spend your time. This may even mean changing your own mindset and attitude toward what you think you can do.

It is time to get into position. This will mean sacrifice, time and steadfastness on your part. You were meant to thrive.


PCC Scroll: Men of the Bible

I wrote about Joseph for Men the Bible.

Name: Joseph

Meaning: May He (God) add

His Character: Joseph was a just man with strong integrity, honor, loyalty and faith.

His Sorrow: Joseph planned to quietly break off his engagement with Mary because he believed she had been unfaithful.

His Triumph: Through listening to the instruction of angels, Joseph was able to protect his family multiple times from those who would do them harm.

Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:16-2:23; Luke 1:26-2:52

Joseph was a descendant of King David and from the tribe of Judah. He was a carpenter by trade.

Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary. Imagine his surprise when he learned that Mary was pregnant. He knew that the baby was not his, and I can imagine him having a hard time believing that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit.

To avoid disgracing and shaming Mary, Joseph made plans to quietly break off their engagement. Under Jewish civil law, Joseph could have condemned Mary and opened her to public disgrace. Mary could have had a court action against her, and she could have been stoned to death. Joseph wanted to do what was right and in the right way.

In a dream, an angel of God spoke to Joseph concerning Mary and the Child. By consenting to marry Mary, Joseph opened himself to ridicule and doubt. Yet despite all of that, the strength of his belief informed his decision and put him in the right position to be used by God. Through his obedience, prophecy was fulfilled concerning the arrival of Emmanuel.

After the birth of Jesus, I am sure Joseph marveled. He must have marveled at the visitation from the shepherds and hearing about their encounter with angels. He must have marveled at the old woman and the old man he encountered in the Temple in Jerusalem. He must have marveled at the visitation by the Magi. He must have marveled at and been humbled by the mighty task he had been assigned to do.

Joseph was receptive to the position that God placed him in. He was Jesus’ legal father and thus responsible for Jesus’ well being and safety. Joseph once again put him and his family in the right position when an angel came to him in a dream telling him to flee to Egypt with his family until the angel told him to return. Thus fulfilling another prophecy concerning God’s son being called out of Egypt. Joseph was able to place his family in the right position yet once again when he was led to the region of Galilee and settled in Nazareth, fulfilling yet another prophecy.

With each of his dreams and encounters with angels, Joseph was left with two choices. Either he could have relied on his own understanding and acted out of that (in which case, he probably would have acted differently), or he could walk in faith and obedience to his divine directions. Each time, he chose the latter.

Through his actions, we can conclude that Joseph was a man of integrity and compassion. He was also obedient. He was sensitive to the leading of God, and he was willing to do the will of God. He was Jesus’ earthly father. He took Jesus to Jerusalem to be presented in the Temple when the time came. He taught Jesus carpentry.

He was also a person who was constantly in the correct position to thrive because he listened to and heeded the instructions given to him. He may have been materially poor, but his life shows a man who was a good husband and father, who provided for and protected his family.

Through Joseph, we have an awesome example of what happens when we place ourselves in a position to thrive by heeding our divine directions.



PCC Scroll: Your Money Matters

Here is an article I wrote for the PCC Scroll.

In this issue, we are coming from the theme of “Positioning to Thrive.” In this section, I normally focus on financial planning and investment. For this particular issue, however, I will take a slightly different angle. I want to talk about other ways you can invest in yourself. If we are going to thrive, we need to be in the right position in all of the areas of our lives.

Invest in Your Health

Some years back, I turned 40. It really made me think about how I wanted the next 40 years of my life to look. As I pondered my life in general, being physically healthy was just as important as being financially healthy. When I started researching the cost of seeing a trainer, I balked. It seemed pricey. I looked over my budget to see if there were any areas I could cut back on. As I was glancing at my budget, one line item caught my eye. That line item was “hair.” At that point in time, I realized how ridiculous it was for me to be willing to “invest” more into my hair than in my health.

I see a trainer because even though I could work out on my own, history has shown me that I won’t. We all know ourselves. If you can be disciplined to go to a gym and take classes/lift weights, then do so. Take a look at your budget. Are there line items that can be eliminated to add a gym membership? Here are a few areas that came from the top of my mind: eating out, coffee, hair, pedicures/manicures, cable, etc.

The investment has paid dividends already. I have lost weight. I sleep better. And, most importantly, I was able to stop taking blood pressure medication.

Invest in a Financial Planner

I have friends who are very good at managing their financial portfolios and who balk at the idea of paying someone to help them with their investments. Again, it gets back to knowing yourself. I don’t have the discipline to monitor the market and update my portfolio even on a yearly basis. So financially, I bit the bullet. The fee that I pay is reasonable, and I found someone who I trust to help me plan my financial future.

Invest in Your Passions (with time)

Time is probably the most valuable commodity. I often remind myself that it is not time that is the problem. It is what I choose to do (or not to do) with my time that is the issue. I love to write, and I love to read. The list of things that I love goes on. I cannot stress how important it is to find time to work on your crafts, passions and likes. Since I take the bus to work, I try to read on the bus. In the winter, when I don’t want to walk outside, I will clear a space in a large conference room and walk in a circle and read during lunch. Whether you like to paint, write, read, sew, sing, cook, etc. make the time to invest in that pleasure.

Invest in Your Passions (with resources)

I have an interest in learning about social media and photography, so my goal is to take classes on both subjects. Seattle Central College Continuing Education and UW Professional and Continuing Education both have programs on a wide range of subjects. They cater to working adults, so the classes are at night or on the weekends.

Groupon is another source for exploring interests and passions. I have taken classes ranging from glass blowing to pasta making to painting to cooking to dance. In addition to being at a discounted rate, Groupon continually offers other cost reductions at different price points.



PCC Scroll: Editor’s Corner – Preparing the Soil

The editing team met for our yearly retreat in July. Our retreats are an opportunity to reset and to refocus on the ministry and its purpose, which is “Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping the People of God through the written word.” During the retreat, we talked about what was pressing in each of our spirits.


One editor talked about stretching physically, mentally and spiritually in preparation for what is to come. We become uncomfortable as we are being stretched. Muscles being stretched can be painful but expansion requires stretching.


Another editor reflected on how are our minds and hearts connecting in terms of what God is expecting. Who are we listening to? Who are we talking to? What are we saying? Are we imitating Christ or the world?


I shared a list of scriptures I have been meditating on. Scriptures like Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9 and Isaiah 64:4. If you read the scriptures, you will see a common theme in all of them. They are scriptures that encourage me to maintain my journey.


As we talked, the conversation turned to gardening. The overarching theme that surfaced was “Preparing for the harvest: positioning ourselves to grow.” We thought the first step to preparing for the harvest was preparing the soil. The imagery that came to mind was getting rid of weeds and adding fertilizer to provide nutrients, which allows roots to grow deep to expand.


I consider the last few and the next few years of my life to be a time of preparation. I am on a journey of laying down the ground work for the direction I am heading. I can envision my desired future, and I am trying to lay a solid foundation to build upon.


As I reflect on my life and this current season (and think about the preparation work I feel I am doing now), I often wonder about the phrase “due season.” I wonder when due season will arrive. But perhaps I am taking the term out of context. In Leviticus 26:4, the Bible says, “Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Then in Galatians 6:9 it says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”


In some ways, I want my envisioned future to manifest right now (well actually yesterday). My current struggle is resisting weariness as I impatiently wait for the shoots of my labor to spring forth. I occasionally catch myself fretting. I must remind myself to breathe and remember to trust in God’s timing, which is so much different than my own. This can be difficult when the journey of life takes those odd turns that leave me asking, “Why?”


In the end, I just need to continue laying down the foundation. I must believe that every situation that comes my way is a lesson that I needed to learn in preparation for my future.


I believe that many of us are working toward our hopes and dreams. All things will come to pass, “if we faint not.”


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” Jeremiah 29:11.



PCC: Word of the Quarter – Parable of the Soils

To illustrate lessons on life, Jesus often told parables.


In Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20 and Luke 8:1-15, we find the Parable of the Sower, which is also referred to as the Parable of the Soils.


In verses 3-8 of Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable to His disciples and the multitude. “…Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”


It isn’t until verses 19-23 of Matthew 13 that Jesus explains the parable to His disciples. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”


Although this parable refers to the conditions of men’s hearts when they hear the Word of God, we can also use the analogy to illustrate the importance of preparing our soil as we position ourselves to grow in God and grow in ministry.


If we are preparing for future growth but unsure of our direction and filled with unbelief, our efforts can fall by the wayside and be devoured. Unfortunately, the fowl can also represent people in our lives who don’t understand our futures and can sometimes become a stumbling block.


If we are preparing for future growth but become discouraged by setbacks, then the stony ground of our hearts could cause us to walk away. Our gifts must be allowed to take root, or they will wither away at the first sign of adversity.


If we are preparing for future growth but become distracted by “all that glitters,” the cares of this life could choke out our fruit. We have to have the maturity to be able to stand where our gifts and talents might take us.


This is why it is so important to invest in preparing good ground. When planting seeds, it is important to allow space for roots to expand. It is important to pull away weeds that will compete for nourishment. And it is important to add fertilizer that adds nutrients to the soil and helps plants grow.


We invite you to prepare your soil.



PCC Scroll: Men of the Bible – Adam

Here is an article I wrote for Men of the Bible.

Name: Adam

Meaning: Human being or humanity

His Character: When Adam was first created, he lived in harmony with God and nature.

His Sorrow: Due to the sin in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. Adam spent his days in hard labor.

His Triumph: Adam learned to toil the earth he was given. He was the first of many things.

Key Scriptures: Genesis 2-3

On day six of creation, God made Adam. Adam was made from the earth, and God breathed life into him. He made a place for Adam to dwell in called the Garden of Eden.


Adam, who was made in the image of God, was the first of many things. He was the first human and the first man. He was a caretaker, farmer, gardener, landscaper and zoologist. He was a husband to Eve. He was a father to Cain, Abel, Seth and others.


In the garden, Adam enjoyed a personal, close relationship with God. God gave Adam freedom in the garden, and Adam was responsible for caring for it. God allowed Adam to name the animals and birds. Adam lived in harmony with God, the animals and the earth. The only thing that was off limits was fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.


God decided it was not good for Adam to live alone. He put Adam in a deep sleep, and He created Eve out of Adam’s rib. They lived together and worked in the garden. And they communed openly with God. They knew no guilt or shame. They lived in peace and innocence.


Their innocence was interrupted when Eve was persuaded by the serpent to try the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She then gave it to Adam. It was after Adam ate of the fruit that they were aware of and ashamed of their nakedness, and I think that is significant. They then covered themselves with leaves. Because of their guilt and shame, they also attempted to hide from God, not knowing that God was already aware of what they had done.


In the garden, we see the consequences to sin. The serpent was cursed to crawl on its belly in the dust. Eve was confined to painful childbirth and that Adam would rule over her. Adam was sentenced to toil the land where thorns and thistles would grow from. Adam and Eve were forced out of Eden, never to return. And through them, sin and death were introduced into the world.


One of Adam’s weaknesses was that he avoided taking responsibility and blamed Eve for his actions (while Eve blamed the serpent). This is after trying to hide from God. Instead of admitting the truth, he made excuses. From this, we gain two life lessons. One, it is impossible to hide from God. Two, it is important to take responsibility for our actions.


Like Adam (and Eve), we are often drawn to that one thing we can’t have, the forbidden fruit. Then when we partake and suffer consequences, we still have a hard time taking responsibility for our actions.


In the end, God has given us the same free will that He gave Adam. God wants us to choose to do what is right because of our love for Him, not because of fear of punishment.


Paul, the apostle, emphasized the connection between Adam and Jesus. Through Adam, mankind was given the sentence of sin and death. Through Jesus, mankind was given eternal life. We are given the free will to choose which path we follow.