Back to Joseph

I know. I know. I spent MONTHS dissecting CHAPTERS about this man’s life.


But last Sunday my pastor shared something that I had never thought about. And it really hit home. So I had to share it with you.


Over the summer my pastor has been hitting some of the ‘big’ stories in the book of Genesis. And last Sunday he taught on part of Joseph’s life.


He shared about Joseph’s home life. How his father doted on him and favored him over all the other brothers. How the brothers resented Joseph for their father’s favoritism. How Joseph shared his dreams about ruling over his family with those same brothers (not a real smart move). And how eventually the brothers had had enough of Joseph.


My pastor talked about how first the brothers were going to kill Joseph. Then they decided it would be more humane to drop him in a pit and leave him there to starve to death. That made them hungry, so they took a break and ate lunch.


Then a caravan came by and they decided why not make some money off of the situation. So they sold Joseph to the passing caravan.


I know you remember all of that part. And I’m sure you also remember what they did next.


They killed a goat and covered Joseph’s infamous coat with the blood and took it to their dad and said, Hey! This looks kinda familiar. Is this your son’s coat? (My paraphrase.)


And Jacob is inconsolable. No one can comfort him. And he spends the next two decades mourning Joseph. He mourns him until he learns that Joseph is indeed alive and well in Egypt.


The point that my pastor shared was this: Jacob lived over two decades of his life believing a lie. He based his attitude on that lie. He based a lot of life decisions on that lie. He related to his family and friends based on that lie. He related to God based on that lie.


His whole life was affected by this lie. It colored his entire world. For over two decades.


Then my pastor asked this question: What lie are you believing and how is it affecting your life?


Wow. That’s a powerful question. And I had to do some soul-searching.


Here are some of the questions I had to ask myself:

Do you believe that God’s love for you is based on how well you follow a set of rules? Or how well you ‘behave?’ Or how much you study your Bible and pray and attend church and give to the poor?

Do you believe that you’re not good enough? Or smart enough? Or young/old enough? . . . To do/be whatever you feel God wants you to do/be?

Do you believe you’ve made too many mistakes? Or one too BIG mistakes? And because of this, you’ve used up all your chances?

Do you believe your past is too powerful to overcome? That what you’ve done can’t be forgiven? Or that what’s been done to you can’t be redeemed?


What is the lie (or lies) that you’re believing?

And how is that lie keeping you from living the life God created you to live?

How is believing that lie stopping you from fulfilling your purpose?

How is the perpetuation of that lie keeping you from being the influence in your family and your church and your community that God wants you to be?


And what is the TRUTH that needs to replace that lie?


My prayer is that you will take some time this week and ask God what lie(s) you’re believing. And then ask Him to reveal to you the TRUTH.  And then I challenge you to start verbally replacing that lie with the truth every time you think about it.


And watch your life dramatically change!!



A few weeks ago I mentioned a thought that came to me in the middle of the night. It’s still swirling around in my head. Here’s the thought:

“There is not enough human acceptance, affection, attention, or approval on earth to make up for your lack of an acute awareness of just how much God loves you.”

This thought reminds of the “God-shaped hole” concept. The idea that every person is born with a hole in their life that only God can fill. A longing only He can satisfy.

While I agree with that concept, I believe we need to go a little deeper.

I don’t believe having God in your life, having a personal relationship with Him through Jesus, automatically fills up that aching hole or satisfies that intense longing. I think it takes more than that.

I’m basing that statement on my own personal experience. For years–even decades–after I began my personal relationship with God, I continued to run around searching for something to fill up an aching emptiness in my life.

The sad thing is I apparently wasn’t aware of what I was doing or I’d have gone directly to God and asked Him to take care of it. Instead I looked everywhere else trying to find something or someone that could satisfy the intense longing that only the intense love of my Creator could provide.

I tried human acceptance. If only the right person or the right people would accept me, would include me, would like me . . . then I would be okay. Then I would feel like my life had purpose.

I sought human affection. If only this person would love me. If they would just want me and choose me . . . then I would feel worthy to be the person I was supposed to be.

I craved human attention. Since I wasn’t being accepted by the people I ‘needed’ to accept me and since I wasn’t being given affection by the people I ‘needed’ to choose me and love me, I unknowingly went about seeking attention from other people. I guess this was necessary in order to feel validated as a human being . . . because without attention from somebody, I felt like I was a waste of oxygen.

And when all else failed, I did whatever it took to at least gain people’s approval. I worked more than required, said yes to anything I was asked to do, and tried to anticipate other people’s needs and fulfill them before they even had a chance to take care of it themselves. Even if they didn’t approve of me, they would at least approve of my work . . . because it was excellent.

But none of it soothed the ache.

And it won’t for you either.

Without the very personal awareness of how much God loves you, the great lengths He went to in order to have a personal relationship with you, how many times He thinks about you every day, how intimately He knows you–and yet still loves you enough to die so you can live . . . until those are the thoughts that fill up your mind and until that is the knowledge that swirls through your spirit and until that is the backdrop for the life you live surrendered to Him . . .

You could possibly keep doing what I did for decades.

Use acceptance, affection, attention, and approval from other people as filler for a hole that God created in your life as His own place of residence. And there’s not enough of that filler in the entire world to even make a dent in the emptiness.

Owing vs. Owning

A couple of weeks ago my pastor shared the testimony of a fellow pastor.


Years ago, this pastor moved away from his home state and planted a church in obedience to God.


A few years into the project, things weren’t going so well. There had been very little growth. They still had less than 100 members. It had not turned out at all the way he imagined it would or how he expected God to work it out.


And in the process of planting the church, this pastor had lost everything. He had lost his home. He had lost cars. He had lost everything. And he was continuing to lose.


One day he was praying and crying out to God about the situation.


He reminded God that He was the one who asked him to give up his previous life. Asked him to move his family to this particular location and plant a church. He told God that He owed him because of all he had given up, all he had lost, and all he had invested in this church plant.


And then God told him something.


God told this pastor, “I don’t owe you. I own you.”


And the pastor said that from then on, everything changed.


Wow. God’s right, you know. He does own us. He owns us because He bought us with the blood of His own Son.


And because He owns us, He can use us whenever and however and for whatever purposes and for however long He chooses.


This pastor’s conversation with God changed his attitude. I have a feeling he was reminded that he was there to do whatever work God gave him to do, and that the outcomes were up to God. At least, that’s what this story helped me remember.


Where has God placed you? What work has He given you to do? How is it going so far? Do you feel like God OWES you because of what you’ve given up or lost or invested? Or do you live like He OWNS you?


Oh. And by the way. The pastor is still at that same church. Only it now has over 15,000 members, is heavily involved in helping the people in the community, and is one of the most well-respected churches in the city.


Go figure.

Falling Up

This is a very exciting week for me.

As you probably know, I’m a book coach and editor. I work with nonfiction authors in several genres, helping get books written and published that will change people’s lives.

Several months ago I met Connie Carey at a monthly meeting of the National Speakers Association – Georgia Chapter. She asked for my business card and contacted me soon after that meeting to discuss her book ideas.

Long story short, I was honored to work with Connie to help her choose her subject, organize her material, and then edit her book. And Thursday night I’ll be attending her book launch!

Her book is titled Falling Up: Lessons Learned on the Way Down. It’s an uplifting, inspirational book that you do not want to miss. In this book, Connie shares her journey of healing from the loss of her father to suicide. I knew Connie would do an outstanding job telling her story, but she far surpassed everything I was anticipating. You’ll want a copy of this book for yourself. But this is also a great book to share . . . especially with someone who’s been through heartache in their life.

And there’s more exciting news! Connie will be competing later this month in Malaysia at the International Speech Contest sponsored by Toastmasters, International. At the launch Thursday night I’ll get to hear the two talks she’ll be taking to Malaysia as well as the story behind her book. I think I know a little bit about that one, but I can hardly wait to hear it again!

Falling Up will be available on Amazon beginning Friday. Here’s the information on it. And you can keep up with Connie through her website at

Congratulations, Connie!!

Falling Up Front Cover