Positioning for Breakthrough.
November 1, 2019
Have you ever wanted to make a move only to discover that when you weighed the possibilities you simply did not have the margin in your life to do it? Maybe it was a new home that you found at a really great price. Maybe you stumbled upon an amazing business venture with a great financial return. Whatever the opportunity, you missed it because you were not prepared physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially.
Well… My pastor, Dan Stallbaum, has written a book that is designed to help keep you from ever missing an opportunity like this again. It is called, “Positioning for Breakthrough.” And let me tell you… The message in it is good. In fact, when we heard his message ten years ago, my husband, Landon, and I had no idea that the direction of our future would hinge on whether or not we implemented the principles found in this book.
After hearing Pastor Dan’s message, Landon and I discovered the extreme importance of being prepared for whatever opportunities God had in store for our future. Our hearts desire was (and is) to steward our lives in a way that would allow us to follow the Lord’s leadings- whatever they may be. We never wanted to be forced to say “no” to any opportunity the Lord brought us due to poor planning or a lack of margin in our own lives.
At the time, finances were our biggest hindrance to being able to say “yes” to the Lord. So we established a plan to become debt free. Because we were already living by Godly principles, the only debt we had was our home. We committed to live even more modestly in order to pay off our house in ten years, thus creating margin for whatever road the Lord would take us down.
When we made this decision, paying the house off this quickly was a stretch that would test our faith and commitment level. But, when the housing market took an unexpected nosedive, our concerns reached an all time high. Nonetheless, we remained faithful to the plan we believed God gave us. In the end, despite the cost of moving and the money we lost in the housing market, by the grace of God we were able to pay the house off in ten years plus a few extra months.
In June of 2016, we became 100% debt free. Of course, we had no idea of the turn of events that was about to take place in our lives.
Let me share the backstory. I promise, it will all come together in the end…
For many years, Landon had been in a steady, fairly secure job working in professional baseball. He worked for the St. Louis Cardinals as a Minor League player. Then for the LA Dodgers and ultimately, the Washington Nationals as a Strength and Conditioning Minor League Coordinator. Somewhere early on in his career, he began officiating Park and Rec. Basketball as well. He never intended for officiating to become a career. It was simply a way to make a little extra money doing something he thoroughly enjoyed. But as time progressed, Landon’s officiating career began to make advances we never imagined.
Fast forward a few years… Landon and I began to feel a stirring from the Lord for Landon to move away from professional baseball and into full-time college basketball officiating. Refereeing basketball would leave 7 months of the year free to do Kingdom work. However, in the short term, this transition would be a huge pay cut. After much time in prayer, we ultimately planned for Landon to retire from professional baseball in the spring of 2018 or 2019. However, the Nationals decided to move their spring training headquarters to West Palm Beach in 2017 instead. With the stadium so far from home, we were left with two options: 1) Leave our home, family, friends and church to move to West Palm Beach. Or 2) Leave baseball early and step out into the deep.
As we prayed, we did not feel peace about uprooting our entire family to make the move southward. So, rather than go where finances would be easy, but God’s peace would not come, we made the choice to leave baseball and start afresh on the journey the Lord was calling us to. This decision would have never been possible had it not been for the teaching we were so blessed to receive outlined in the book “Positioning for Breakthrough.” If we had not created financial margin by paying off our home, we would have had no other option. At a critical time in our children’s lives, we would have been forced to remove them from the security of all they have known- to a new school in an unfamiliar city with new friends, a new church, a new home, new pressures and every other thing that comes with moving.
While the story continues to unfold, there is still much uncertainty. The years that followed these decisions have stretched our faith and caused us to draw closer to Jesus than we have in years. Regardless of it all, there are a few things I am confident of… God’s timing is impeccable. His provision is certain. And His faithfulness is never ceases. All those years ago, we heard a word that the Lord used to position us for breakthrough. I am so grateful we heeded the message. Only He knows what all will come from our obedience, but I am convinced we have only just begun to see His goodness unfold.
If you would like a copy of Pastor Dan’s book, “Positioning for Breakthrough,” click here. I have no doubt you will be blessed beyond measure in the same way my family has been.
Is God At Fault?
October 1, 2019
It was just an ordinary day at the rehabilitation facility. I walked in to room 121 like I always do and introduced myself to the elderly gentleman lying in bed. He opened his eyes and quickly closed them again. He didn’t speak a word. In fact, he acted as though I wasn’t even in the room.
Despite his obvious disinterest, I continued to speak. “Hi Ted. I am Amy from Physical Therapy. I am here to help you get moving again.” Slowly Ted opened his eyes. Without words, he nodded reluctantly in agreement.
We did some exercises in the bed before attempting to get out of it. It took a substantial amount of effort to get Ted’s cancer ridden body into the wheelchair beside his bed. But once seated comfortably, Ted opened up and offered me a minuscule glimpse into his life.
“They told me if I had laid there on the floor another 15 minutes, I would have died.”
“Really?” I rebutted. “I guess the Lord still has plans for you here,” I said nonchalantly.
Immediately, the walls that surrounded his hardened heart came up again. The cynical old man I met when I walked in the door was now staring me up and down.
“Oh, you are one of them,” he replied. “If there is a God, He must hate us. I mean… all the bad things He lets happen… You don’t really believe in God, do you?”
“Well… Yes… I do… I suppose I am one of them.” I said. “Not only do I believe God is real, I know He is good- no doubt about it. It isn’t His fault that bad things happen.”
“Oh really,” Ted responded.
Not wanting to get into a debate with this frail gentleman, I began to shy away from the conversation. “I could certainly talk to you about my faith all day, but I wouldn’t want you to think I was pushing my beliefs on you. Is there anything else that I can do for you before I leave Ted?” I said.
“Yes.” he responded. “You can get me a glass of water. And… when you bring it back, I will let you tell me your thoughts.”
A number of ideas rushed through my mind. Of course, there were so many things I wanted to say. But how would I be able to answer His questions in the few short minutes I had. And… if I was indeed able to answer them, would I be able to articulate what he needed to hear? I was skeptical… Was there anything I could say that would make a difference? I mean, Ted clearly knew what he believed: God did not exist; And if I could somehow convince him that He did exist, this man was was certainly not going to be interested in serving Him.
Or was he?…
I offered up a quick prayer to the Lord as I fixed him a glass of water. “Lord, help me to help Ted. Give me the right words to say.”
When I walked back into the room I addressed his question with one of my own. “Do you believe Beethoven was a brilliant musician?… If a young child butchered his music on the piano during a recital, would that make Beethoven any less of a great musician?” I asked. “Certainly you would blame Beethoven for the child’s poor performance, would you?”
With only a moment to contemplate the question, I shot another scenario at him.
“What if I thought you should have died while you were on the floor the other day. So instead of helping you get better, I ‘played God.’ What if I walked out to the medicine cabinet and gave you a deadly dose of sedative while you were asleep? Would it be God’s fault that you died? Or would it be the evil in my heart, carried out by my hands, that caused your death?”
“Ted… God is the great musician. We are the ones who make mistakes. God isn’t at fault for His children being evil any more than Beethoven is at fault for someone playing his music poorly. God gave each of us a free will.”
I began to sense a shift taking place in Ted’s demeanor. For the first time since I entered the room, I felt like maybe, just maybe… Ted’s heart was softening.
“Ted,” I said… “Whether you believe in Jesus or evolution, both take faith. Personally, it is easier for me to believe that a God who loves me formed the world, than that all of this we see just ‘proliferated’ into existence. Plus… If I am wrong, at worst, I have lived a good life being kind to others.” (Pause) “The way I see it, If I am wrong, I have ‘wasted’ nothing,’” I continued. “Ted, if you ever decide you want to make Jesus your Lord, all you have to do is pray and invited him in. It’s not nearly as difficult as we make it.”
Ted interrupted, “Well, I don’t even know how to pray.”
“Sure you do. You are talking to me, aren’t you? All prayer is- is talking to God, the way we are talking now.”
Again, Ted interrupted, “I wouldn’t know what to say.”
“Well, if you would like… I mean… If you want to pray now, I can pray and you can just repeat the words I say.”
“Yes. Yes. I want you to pray,” Ted said.
Then, there in the room with the rest of the world completely unaware, Ted repeated words after me and invited Jesus to be the Lord of his life.
I don’t remember Ted’s real name. I don’t know when he died -or- if his family ever knew about the prayer we prayed. But, I do know that a number of people played a role in his decision: Ted’s parents took him to church everyday as a child. A number of relatives had been praying for him for years. The bartender from the bar he frequented had been talking to him about Jesus for months. And most recently, his oncologist had given him a Bible and suggested he read it. So many people sewed into Ted’s life; people who acted as the hands and feet of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 9, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives growth… For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”
I don’t know where you are in your walk with Jesus or how readily you share your faith with others, but I want to encourage you… A simple statement of God’s goodness can start a conversation that can change lives.
Even the hardest of hearts are not beyond his reach.
Broken Escalators: Dream Accelerators
April 17, 2019
When my daughter, Aspen, began walking, I would spend my days cleaning up after her. She would wake up, eat half her breakfast and throw the other half on the floor. Immediately, I would clean up the mess. Once I let her down from her high chair, she would begin “playing.” Her form of play meant pulling out anything she could get her hands on, looking at it for a few seconds, then leaving it on the ground in front of her before moving on to the next toy. I would pick up her mess and put it back where it belonged. She’d pull pots and pans from the cupboards, clothes from her drawers, and toys from the toy box and dump them on the floor. Like a robot, I would follow behind her cleaning up the mess. Daily I would repeat this cycle- staying busy- doing a whole lot of nothing.
Our world is filled with all kinds of people like me; busy people expending a lot of time and energy on things that make no real difference in life. We are wearing ourselves out doing a whole lot of stuff- and this “whole lot of stuff” is preventing us from doing the ONE thing we were created for.
John 18:37, “Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth…”
Each of us was created for a specific purpose- to bear witness to the Truth. The way we find fulfillment in life is by getting to know who Jesus is and in turn, pointing others to Him. While each of us was created for this same purpose, the manner in which we fulfill that purpose is different; it is based upon the individual dreams God put on the inside of us. Whether you are a stay at home mom raising little people or a middle-aged single climbing the corporate ladder and being a light to the word as you go; if you are a grandmother praying for your community or a firecracker on a mission to change the world as we know it… your dream should help others to know Him more.
In this podcast based off of chapter 8 of Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators” we will be talking about how to work with God to bring your dreams to pass. We will use two different individuals with very different backgrounds to show how God makes even our unspoken desires come to pass when we recognize Him and walk in obedience.
I hope you will take a few minutes to listen in.
Broken Escalators: Moth Eating 101
April 8, 2019
What if I told you that your current emotional state is more a product of who you hang out with than the circumstances of life? Whether you realize it or not, it’s the truth. The people we spend our time with influence us in many different ways- some in the right ways; others in wrong ways. Both the good and bad habits of the people we consistently hang around rub off on us – which is why it is so important that we choose our friends wisely.
Not convinced? Let me let you in on some interesting facts…
- Research indicates that we can significantly predict happiness, stress, memory loss, weight, life expectancy, and the odds of quitting smoking based on the quality and quantity of friends we have.
- One study found that your odds of exercising increase by 37% when you have a large number of friends.
- Studies show your chance of surviving cancer, stroke and heart disease doubles if you have supportive friends.
- People who go to church regularly are 22% less likely to be clinically depressed.
- Of all the circumstantial things that can affect your happiness, your friends are one of the top predictors- far more than income, location, or any position you hold.
Who your friends are matters. Who you allow entrance into your life matters. Who you ask advice from… Who you talk to about your everyday situations… And who you tell your problems to, will set your life in a direction. The question I want to ask you today is… What direction do you want to go? Are the people you have given entrance into your life helping you get to your destination?
In this week’s podcast based off chapter 7 of Peter Haas’ Book “Broken Escalators,” we will be talking about friends and callings and how our friend’s can help confirm and fulfill our calling.
Broken Escalators: The Five Pillars of Promotion
March 30, 2019
In Acts 13:22, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul writes: “And when He had removed him (King Saul), He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after My heart, who will do all my will.’”
David was a man like each of us; a man with an imperfect soul. Had he been born today, his life is one that would undoubtedly have Hollywood gossiping. David’s face would grace every tabloid and magazine cover in America with headings such as: “King Has Affair with Married Woman” and “King’s Plan to Kill His Lover’s Husband Exposed.”
In case you haven’t read the story, while leading an entire nation of people, King David had an affair with a married woman and then tried to cover up it up by having her husband killed. Despite this treacherous mistake, because of his repentant heart, David was not disqualified from His calling. In fact, the Lord used David in many mighty ways despite his failures. Because of his heart attitude, the Lord even attributed this character to him- “a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”
What an honor.
In the many years between being anointed king and becoming king, David learned character that set him apart from his peers; character that helped him get back on track when he veered off course; character that prevented him from becoming proud and rebellious; character that resulted in the fulfillment of his calling.
#1- David obsessed over his own character issues, not the issues of others.
#2- David left vengeance to God.
#3- David regularly considered the possibility that he might be wrong.
#4- David assumed God was working promotions- even through perceived demotions.
#5- David knew that no one gets away with sin.
In this podcast based off chapter six of Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators,” we will look at some of the unique theological convictions that King David possessed which helped him to achieve this place of honor with the Lord and man. Please listen in as Emily Moore helps us to understand these principles and how to apply them to our lives in order to see the promotions God is calling us to.
Broken Escalators: The Great Hot Dog Snatcher
March 18, 2019
Is there someone in your life that drives you crazy? Someone who knows just how to push your buttons? A person who really just rubs you the wrong way? Maybe there is an individual in your life who “makes” you act in foolish ways and say things you never meant to say; one who “makes” you act in ways no one else can.
The Bible has much to say about a person who gives in to their feelings and acts foolishly when stirred to anger like this…
Proverbs 29:11, “A fool vents all his feelings. But a wise man holds the back.”
Proverbs 16:32, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”
Proverbs 22:24, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.”
Proverbs 14:29, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yield’s patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
The truth is… No person can “make” us act foolishly. No man can “make” us lose our cool or say things that aren’t already dwelling within the boundaries of our hearts. When someone pushes our buttons, rather than make us angry, that irritation should act as a warning sign to us; a sign to point us to the weaknesses we have in our lives. It should cause us to draw closer to Jesus – that we may become more like Him.
In this weeks podcast based on chapter 4 and 5 from Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators,” we will address the question… “What if God intentionally allows irritating people in our lives to help us realize only he can affect our promotions?” Through closely examining the life of King David and King Saul, we will look at how our character and relationships with God affect the anointing in our lives. I hope you will join me in this spiritual journey to discovering a deeper meaning to then nuisances in our lives as you listen in.
Broken Escalators: How To Talk A Manly Man Into Circumcision
March 8, 2019
The year was 1998. The prayer was short and sweet: “Lord, give me joy that no one can take away.” When the words left my lips, I had no idea of the significance these ten words would carry. But… it wouldn’t be long before I collided with their effects head on. That year, 1998, will forever be marked as one of the most difficult years of my life. And, if I am being honest, 1999, 2000, and 2001 weren’t much better.
As a young woman of twenty three, life was supposed to be carefree and fun- at least that is what I imagined. I thoroughly expected the season after college graduation to greet me with excitement, adventure and a sloppy, wet kiss. However, instead of strong arms to hold me and whimsical friends to hang with, I landed in a bed of needles on the back side of the wilderness. While most of my friends were falling in love, getting married and making babies, I found myself in a completely different, and quite lonely, place.
To start the year, my world fell apart when the man I thought I would one day say “I do” to shattered my heart into a million pieces. Shortly thereafter, I moved away from everything familiar to me to start my career as a physical therapist in a new city. Then, as the year came to a close, the unthinkable happened… After twenty eight years of marriage, my parents divorced.
The life I once knew had become extinct.
It cut like a knife.
I found it hard to breathe.
But what met me on the other side of my misery, was a life I only dreamed about.
On the back side of the wilderness, the Lord taught me the secret to finding joy that lasts. It was in those lonely, dark and difficult times that God taught me how to have joy that is independent of my circumstances. On that bed of needles, the Lord- in His great mercy and love- answered my prayer for “joy that no one can take away.”
In this week’s podcast, you will discover the key to lasting joy as I share the intimate details of my journey to find true happiness. And… if you need a bit of encouragement in the realm of healing, you will LOVE Mindi’s testimony as well. I hope you will take a few minutes to tune in.
Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of JOY; At your right hand are pleasures forever more.”
Broken Escalators: The Day All My Dreams Came True, And I Hated It
March 1, 2019
In this world, there are many things we crave. For some of us, it’s pizza and sweet tea. For others, it’s chocolate covered potato chips with a side of ice cream. To me, a juicy steak and loaded baked potato has never sounded like a bad idea. In fact, I love just about everything a girl can put in her mouth.
For years, Dr. Pepper was my ‘food’ of choice- my morning wake up call. I don’t know if it was the caffeine or the sugar, but the pleasure I derived from a single sip made me crave it all the more.
Fortunately, not all of my cravings are bad. Some actually go much deeper than what I goes into my stomach. I crave things like good health, a happy heart, an amazing marriage and obedient children, too. I want for a nice car, a beautifully decorated home and landscaping that looks like HGTV got a hold of my yard.
Yes… We crave a myriad of different things… prominent positions, perfect curls and hour glass figures. We want for “all expense paid” vacations and winning lottery tickets too. We desire complements, praise and prestige. We want to be seen. We desire to be noticed; to be needed and to feel loved.
In truth, we long for all kinds of things- things we believe will bring us the ultimate satisfaction. “Once I have this thing,” we tell ourselves, “then I will truly be happy.” But then “that thing” arrives and we are left feeling empty still.
Why is this?
Why do all the things we believe will satisfy, leave us still wanting for more?
In this week’s podcast, based off chapter three of Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators,” Emily Moore will let us in on the answer to these questions and more. I hope you will take a few minutes to listen in. No doubt, you will be refreshed through her words that are so rightly spoken.
Psalm 62:1 (NIV), “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.”
Broken Escalators: Exploding Potty Buckets
February 23, 2019
Chapter 2: Exploding Potty Buckets
We all know that life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, but why does it seem like for some people, life just seems to add up? Why do some people appear to have an easy journey through life whereas others have a much rougher path? Why does it seem like some people’s prayers get answered speedily and others are left waiting for what seems like an eternity.
The truth is… No matter what it looks like to the outsider, everyone goes through difficult seasons. Everyone faces unanswered prayers. Everyone feels lonely at times. Everyone deals with grief and loss. We all feel disappointed when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped. In fact, it is very possible that someone who looks like they lead a “charmed life” may very well be going through one of the toughest seasons of their life. Just because you can’t see difficulty doesn’t mean someone is not experiencing it.
No matter how much we try to prevent it, suffering impacts us all. The Word teaches us that we should not to be surprised when we face trials; that if we want to experience God’s glory, we must also partake in His suffering. It is in suffering that we are forced to learn His ways- which is ultimately for our good and teaches us character.
1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
In this week’s podcast based off chapter two of Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators,” we will review some of the ways to let go of control in your own life and learn to walk in the victory Christ died to give you. It will remind you that suffering is a part of life that God allows in order to teach you the real value of life. Most importantly, I believe you will walk away refreshed, with a fervor to believe God. He will use every difficulty you face for your good and the good of others, if you will only allow Him.
John 16:33 (AmpC), “In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.)
Broken Escalators : Who’s Your Daddy?
February 14, 2019
The way we respond when tragedy happens reveals a lot about our relationship with God. How we pray reveals a lot about our theology. If our prayers are filled with doubt, worry, anxiety and fear; if we are constantly trying to figure things out or trying to control the circumstances or people around us, there is a good possibility that we don’t understand the fullness of the love of our heavenly Father.
The Word says in Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
The Lord is a loving Father. When we pray, He hears. The Word says He actually bends down to listen to our prayers. Like any good Daddy, His ears are open to the cries of His children- even when it seems contrary. As the Word promises, when we pray for a fish 🐠, God doesn’t give us a snake🐍. He gives good gifts to those who ask.
When our prayers are not answered in the way we expect them to be answered, there is always a reason. God sees the bigger picture. He has the good of His kids in mind through every situation. He knows the parts we don’t, He sees the parts can’t, and He is working out the details to point His kids wholeheartedly to Him.
In this podcast, you will be encouraged to trust God on a deeper level than you have ever known. You will be reminded that the middle of a trial is not the time to determine whether something is good or bad. You will be encouraged to lay aside anxiety, fear, doubt and worry and exchange it for the rest and peace of God.
I hope you will take a few minutes to listen in to this podcast based on Chapter One of Peter Haas’ book, “Broken Escalators.” We are meeting at the Avenue Worship Center of East Coast Christian Center every Thursday from 9:30 to 11 am now through April 18, 2019. We would LOVE for you to come too!❤️