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a Good Friday thought…

Published on April 18th, 2014

good friday thoughtHe (Jesus) personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 1 Peter 2:24

A man who gave who gave his life to help others…

A man who touched the untouchable…

A man who loved those who weren’t that lovely…

A man who reached out to those who were marginalized…

A man who willingly spent time with those who were pushed to the fringes of society…

A man who fed the hungry…

A man who cared for orphans and widows…

This man – struck down and brutally killed for me. For you. I want to personally invite you to remember and celebrate him this Easter weekend at ValleyPoint Church. Follow the links below to learn more about ValleyPoint. I hope to see you this Friday or Sunday (or both!).

Information about ValleyPoint Church

Directions to where we meet this Friday and Sunday at the Garnet Valley Middle School in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

 
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Tonia Koehler on anxiety…

Published on April 14th, 2014

Tonia 3 mainI had the honor of speaking at the “Come to the Well” conference in Illinois this past weekend. It was a great event where women were encouraged and challenged. Amazing amounts of people were volunteers for the conference, and the volunteers were happy and hard working. Attention to details was definitely a strength for this event.

I learned a few lessons for me this weekend. First, I was reminded how God’s Word gives me strength. Because I was speaking, I was nervous. I had been anxious and excited since the initial contact where I was asked to speak. I didn’t want my nerves to overshadow what I was saying. Before I spoke, I read, “Cast all your anxiety on (God) because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) Such a simple thought but extremely encouraging words. These words aren’t just any words…these are God’s holy, inspired words. Sometimes I forget how sacred and powerful God’s Words are. I gave my worries to God, and it helped me immensely.(No puking!) I need to remember to do what God tells me to do.

Next, I had the opportunity to see family and friends. Because we rarely see our family and time is so limited when we return to Illinois, I hadn’t seen most friends from the Midwest in two years. It was encouraging to see others continuing to walk their journey for Christ. My heart was full and happy!

Last, the body of Christ is a great network. I learned new and unique ways to look at women’s ministry because I was around women who see life differently from me. I hope to change and grow because of what I observed.

You can follow Tonia at realsimpletruths.com.

 
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I made it…

Published on April 11th, 2014

jfk mainA Cruel And Shocking Act…

I finished! This was not an easy read. Oh my…the names, dates, and information were overwhelming. But I’m a big fan of JFK, and this being the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I wanted to learn something new about this historical event. I got lost so many times, and it was impossible for me to assimilate the vast amounts of content that was placed into this book. But I did it, and here’s what I learned about finishing something that isn’t necessarily fun.

+ Set smaller goals along the way that help you reach the finish line.

+ Give yourself more time. It’s OK. More time allows “the finish” to become a reality.

+ There is still something to learn in challenging tasks…keep churning…keep turning pages.

 
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don’t quit

Published on March 31st, 2014

Alli quote mainDon’t quit. Quitting leads to a life unfinished projects. And those who are the quitting type leave a wake of unfinished stuff in their past. Unfinished things aren’t pretty.

That relationship…

That goal…

That class…

That dream…

That book…

That song…

That debt…

That challenge…

That job…

Try again. Fail again. But don’t quit.

 
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teams that finish

Published on March 29th, 2014

teamsthatfinish main + A team that finishes has a compelling purpose.   They have a compelling reason for existing. They have an answer to “why”. Why are we here? Why do we exist? Why are we doing this? Those are questions that can easily be answered…and answered with passion.

+ A team that finishes knows what they don’t know.  Because they are not afraid to step into challenging situations, these teams can often be overwhelmed. It’s in these moments that they ask for help. Their own hubris does not keep them from reaching out and finding solutions from those who have traveled the same path…and won. They’re comfortable with what they don’t know and surround themselves with wise advisers.

+ A team that finishes has courageous persistence. Fear does not keep them from moving forward even if they don’t know how everything will work. They step out and move toward their dreams with courage. This courage gives them confidence as they continually find solutions and answers that other teams often miss.

What have you learned recently from teams that finish?

 
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Ephesians 2:4

Published on March 28th, 2014

Ephesians 2.4 mainThese words have been filling my heart recently…

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much…”  Ephesians 2:4

God is wealthy. He doesn’t hoard his wealth. He doesn’t hide his wealth…he shares and this is great news. God has an abundance of mercy, and he willingly shares it. He shares it with me. He shares it with you. This is an amazing God who allows us to enjoy his vast portfolio of compassion. And this was all his idea. He offers to us his plentiful kindness. Yes…he is mercy rich.

 

 

 

 
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conversations…

Published on March 13th, 2014

conversationsRecently, I’ve been having numerous and diverse conversations. One of my days was filled with simply listening and talking with people…all day. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but I also found myself energized. I enjoy these moments because I like being with people. There is something about conversations that are invigorating, challenging, and educational. They’re invigorating because you get the opportunity to ask questions. They’re challenging because you have to be prepared to offer solutions, accept criticism, or learn a new discipline. They’re educational because you have the opportunity to learn from the experiences, failures and successes of others.

I don’t feel I’ve always enjoyed or have even been good at having conversations with others. I like to talk. Talkers tend to…talk too much. One way conversations aren’t real conversations. They are kind of like having an imaginary friend. It’s your friend, but is it? It’s a conversation, but is it?  I’m trying to improve with real, human conversations. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

1.  Listen with eyes that communicate you’re actually listening (not just preparing a response). Listen actively.

2. Ask questions. Questions clarify.

3. Encourage (and smile). Everyone benefits from some type of encouragement.  Everyone.

 
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defining moments

Published on March 7th, 2014

train 2 mainIt seems that most of life can be described as normal or routine. Our days are filled with responsibility, conversations, and tasks. After multiple days of engagement with these responsibilities, conversations and tasks, we fall into patterns of behavior that can become habitual. Except for when a moment confronts us that changes everything. Have you ever experienced a moment that was exciting, energizing, and scary all at the same time? Perhaps this moment is a career opportunity, a new relationship, or a bold, creative idea. These defining moments often have the potential to grow our confidence and our influence while giving us the chance to be involved in something that will outlive us. In that moment, the question becomes – will I step through that moment, or will I step back? I believe that when we step through these special moments in life…

+ We change. Our experience makes us a different person. We grow. Our thinking is expanded and we learn new strategies.

+ We get to help others change. Because we’ve learned, we now have the opportunity to inspire others with our ideas. Our focused vision creates new possibilities for others.

If you have a moment in front of you, will you take it? Are you going to step through or step back? It’s OK to fear, but don’t let that fear keep you from a defining moment that will outlive you.

 
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Guest post from Tonia Koehler

Published on February 17th, 2014

Tonia 3 mainThere are days as a mom when I wonder if “I’m getting through.” I feel like I say the same things over and over. I know it’s part of the job, but it’s always encouraging to see them really change. One of my younger children had a rough time responding correctly when life didn’t work her way today. Tonight I had a large chocolate bar on my bed with a note that said, “I love you even when I have bad days.” Then I received an apology and a hug. I loved it!

Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Sometimes it’s hard to be patient with our children, but it can also be a struggle to be understanding with others in our lives. The idea of this verse is accept others where they are on their journey. None of us have it all together! Be loving and patient even if it isn’t a child who needs the second or third chance.

 
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Rocky!

Published on February 13th, 2014

rocky 2 mainI have a whole new appreciation for Rocky since I moved to the Philadelphia area. His rags to riches story is truly inspiring. This small budget film shot in just twenty eight days became the highest grossing film in 1976 while winning three Oscars. It’s possible that Sylvester Stallone and Rocky have done more for Philadelphia’s image than anyone since Ben Franklin. I love these movies. My favorites in the series are Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky IV, and Rocky Balboa. My “favorite” favorite may actually be Rocky Balboa. This fictional character has become so captivating simply because he captured the deep passion, don’t quite, and work hard spirit of an iconic American city. Just writing this fires me up to run the steps, throw a few punches, and raise my arms in victory. Everyone can dream, right?

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”
–Rocky to Rocky Jr. in “Rocky Balboa”