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We can wear a mask and put our best foot forward for only so long.  We can squeeze ourselves into the expectation of someone else for but a fleeting moment.  Bowing to the pressure of our peers brings a temporary solution but essentially denies the truth of who we are.  For a season it works, but there is that sense that its not real.  That its all make believe and one day something or someone will see beyond the facade into the realness of who we are.

It can be exhausting.  The edges become frayed and gray.

But God promises life abundantly.  He calls us into a life of authentic truth.

He has created us, fearfully and wonderfully.  He loves us.  He likes us.

And so He calls us into those places of truth and reality.

To let go of the masks and to be who we really are.  To let the world see.

The world needs to see the real you.  Not a copy or an expectation.  Not an image of what we think they should see.

But you.  In all its truth.

Those promises of abundant life and the richness that God’s love and grace gives so lavishly are for you.  The real you.  They are to be lived and felt and tasted.

God welcomes you in, just as you are.  He delights in you.  He delights in your authentic self.  He has dreams for the real you.  Plans, purposes, promises.

God is calling you to step out of the boat of expectation into the warmth of His embrace and acceptance.

He is calling you to embrace who you are and to discover freedom and joy in being you.

You do not need to have it all.   You do not need to be a size whatever. You do not need to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect anything. You do not need to be married with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. You do not need to be classically beautiful.   You do not need to be anything more than who you are because God declares you are enough.  More than enough.

What mask do you need to let drop today?

What expectation are you trying to live up to?

What freedom is God calling you into?

These are some of my favourite (aka inspiring / challenging) reads from around the net this week




How Turned Imagination into an Empire

Ideas are currency. Ideas plus implementation are the bank.

Even before he grasped that he had a gift for conjuring beats, hooks and melodies that the world would find as irresistible as a virus and a whole lot more fun, intuitively understood the power of collaboration.

“I never wanted to be a leader of a group,” he says, reclining in The Future, an appropriate moniker for his Hollywood studio. “I always wanted to be the ideas man, the one who said, ‘Hey guys, let’s try this!’ ”

Implied in that statement are the importance of community and teamwork, and the fact that the power of one seldom is enough to create something worthwhile. Will’s gift is ideas. He has a high level of curiosity, and a love for curiosity in general: He encourages and stimulates it in others. He acts on his imagination. When he approaches a partner in art or business or in fixing something broken, he comes prepared, with well-thought-out plans. He enjoys putting things together and doesn’t insist on credit or compensation.

“Will has the most advanced right brain and left brain of anyone I  know,” says Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, the company that produced Rio and Rio 2. “Usually people are logical and analytical, or intuitive and creative, but Will is each to a high degree. He’s a creative genius who thinks pragmatically about the way the world really works.”





3 Practical Tips to Become a Thought Leader

You’ve most likely heard the term thought leader tossed around in conversations or even read it in this magazine. But exactly how do you become a person whose unique ideas on a subject can influence an entire industry or community? Dan Rockwell of the “Leadership Freak” blog, shares three practical tips on how to be a thought leader…



The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded by transforming habits.






I often hear this question from younger aspiring leaders. They want to apply my teaching to their current situation, but they don’t know how.

The good news is that you can be a leader no matter where you are. You don’t need a title. You don’t need a position. You don’t need a formal education. All you need to begin is the desire to lead and the willingness to learn. The key is influence.

Leadership Is Influence

You might have heard me say this before. But it’s still true: Your ability to influence others will be the single greatest factor in your success as a leader. Author and professor Harry Allen Overstreet asserted, “The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate.” Influence is an invitation anyone can make to another person.

i love tedtalks.

they’re short, punchy, well spoken, well written, witty, deep, provoking.

an art form.

these are some of the tedtalks i like and also am watching at the moment.


Meg Jay – Why the 30’s are NOT the new 20’s

Russell Foster – Why do we sleep?

Brené Brown -The power of vulnerability

Richard St. John – 8 secrets of success

Shawn Achor – The happy secret to better work

Aimee Mullins – The opportunity of adversity

Steve Ilardi – Depression Is a Disease of Civilization

Cameron Russell – Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model

Suzana Herculano-Houzel – What is so special about the human brain?

Angela Lee Duckworth – The key to success? Grit

Matt Cutts – Try something new for 30 days

Richard St. John – Success is a continuous journey

what’s your favourite tedtalk?



How do you finish that sentence?


the beautiful Jen Moff asked this question on a recent blog post – The Power of I AM on her blog


Jen goes on to dig deeper:

So how is “I am…” completed by you?

In the book “The Help”, Aibileen Clark repeatedly says, “You is kind, You is smart, You is important”.

She was wise to do so.  She knows the power of words.


so this is my answer. 

this is my I AM…


i am me.

i had to learn to embrace my i am when i felt like i was being crushed by the i am not statements in my own head. i had just completed a preaching course and was saying to myself i am not spiritual like that person, i am not deep like that person, i am not theological like that person, i am not i am not i am not.

God reminded that I AM the person He has created me to be and to be myself. to embrace the i am. i am me.

i am spiritual and deep in my own ways. i am a connector and communicator. i am passionate and purposeful. i am funny (though not intentionally usually) and make strange noises and use pop culture references. i am using the voice and expression God has given me.


self talk is incredibly important. 

how we see ourselves can determine whether we can or we cant.

it shapes our capacity to step out and to trust God THROUGH us.

it defines how we relate to those in our world.

it weaves itself into how we dream and dare, how we build and believe.

our anchor is our course God – our security is found in Him.

how does He answer the I AM sentence for you?  what does He say about who you are and who He has created you to be?

we need to line up our answer to the big question with His answer.

to find our peace within His purposes.


embrace that.

be that.

be you.


so… how do you complete the sentence I am…?




tomorrow in SAS we’re talking about personality and using the myers briggs personality test to examine ourselves a bit closer…  its a great way to wrap some words about some aspects of who we are… and can give good insights why someone is wired a certain way…  me and antonio find it really useful when we find ourselves on different pages to then stop, look and semi analyse what and why we may be feeling a certain thing.  it helps us understand ourselves and each other better.


i am a ENFP = Extravert(67%)  iNtuitive(50%)  Feeling(75%)  Perceiving (11%)


and my results are:  ENFJ Extravert(100%)  iNtuitive(62%)  Feeling(88%)  Judging(11%)

  • You have strong preference of Extraversion over Introversion (100%)
  • You have distinctive preference of Intuition over Sensing (62%)
  • You have strong preference of Feeling over Thinking (88%)
  • You have slight preference of Perceiving over Judging  (11%)



3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got MarriedTyler Ward

I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.

Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.

This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.

This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.

However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.

According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.




There is no such thing as “The One.” – Tyler Ward

HISTORY. The idea of  ”THE ONE” and a “soul mate” comes originally from Plato, the Greek philosopher.

In his book, the Symposium, his character Aristophanese suggests that the reason romantic attraction is generally so strong, was because at one point, we were all round people. Rather, we all were both male & female, and because of this, the human race became too powerful. So, Zeus split humans in two with the intention that we’ll spend our time trying to find our other half and won’t threaten the gods.

Sounds about right, eh?

REALITY. The spouse you spend your life with is your choice.

With as little as the Bible talks about initially getting married, it implies that it is a choice based on character & faith – not feelings or destiny.



The Cure for BurnoutAnn Voskamp

Turns out that you can spend your life looting the world, looking for acceptance, only to find that all that made you feel acceptable — were phony fakes of the real thing.

That’s why it never lasts. That’s why you get up everyday still desperate for something, someone, to keep saying you are somebody. That you are somebody who is okay enough, who is acceptable enough, who is more than good enough.

Sin is really about what you let determine your acceptability.

The conductor’s focus never wavers.

The symphony only happens, the symphony only makes music, when you are brave enough to simply turn your back to the critics and your face toward the place where the music’s made. I close my eyes, because I can, because I cannot. Music’s only made in the place of acceptance —– accepting the beautiful reality of the notes.

That’s the thing: We all get to choose where we set up the stage of our lives — before the Crowds, the Court, the Congregation, the Critics (inner or otherwise)-– or the Cross of Christ.

All except One will assess your performance.

Only One will accept you before your performance.





The Problem With Entitlement, Part 1 – The Actual Pastor

Paula D’Arcy was in her twenties when a terrible car accident (due to a drunk driver) took her husband and 21 month old child, leaving her pregnant and alone. She railed against God, she cried, she despaired. Almost everything she knew about life died in that car crash. But she gave birth to her second daughter, and slowly, she returned to life. This tragedy sent her on a slow journey towards a life and ministry centered on the things that emerged out of that tragedy. She calls these bedrock beliefs “The Things I Know For Certain.” Because they flow out of deep pain and loss, as I read them, they strike me as invitations into a different way of living, beyond entitlement and into gratefulness. I’ll list them below.

1. I am certain everything is a gift.

2. I am certain we are entitled to nothing.

3. I am certain the wells for joy and pain are not separate.

4. I am certain bitterness and healing are a choice.

5. I am certain that running from darkness only leads to greater darkness.

6. I am certain the darkness is held ultimately by light.

7. I am certain that the words from Scripture, ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ are not poetic; they are actual physical reality.





20 Things Every Twentysomething Should HaveRelevant Magazine

Your twenties have been called the “defining decade”—it’s the time in your life when you not only make big decisions about your career, relationships and finances, it’s also when you figure out what being an adult is about.

Obviously, there’s nothing magical that happens when you turn 30 (or even 40 or 50 for that matter), but being well equipped when your starting out as a real-life grown up can help set the course for decades to come.

Here’s our look at the 20 things every twentysomething should have…



Often we have an internal dialogue which is ripping us off and defeating us… we have an inner voice – our soul, our mind, that can depreciate our assets, rationalize a situation or just plain speaks with unbelief in our own abilities and more importantly the God we serve and that empowers us. 



This voice can tell us we are worthless when the truth is that we are very precious and God delights in us and loves us so much that He gave His only son to ransom, rescue and save us.


What shapes this voice we listen to?

  • our past
  • our parents
  • our peer groups
  • the media
  • the enemy


Our voice can often tell us that we wont ever be able to do anything to help or be very god at anything – but God calls us his partners and calls all of us to work with Him and promises to work through us.


Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  ~Winston Churchill


My voices says:

  • who do you think you are?
  • no one will listen to you
  • no one wants to listen to you
  • you’re just a …
  • nothing is going to change – why bother?
  • you’re a proven failure
  • you’re not good enough
  • you’ll never be good enough


The voices in my head tell me everything that I don’t like about myself, the remind me of my flaws and failings.  They however are silent when it comes to reminding me what God says about me and His promises and unfailing faithfulness.


“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” Jon Acuff


Fear is going to tell you you cant.

It’s going to lie to you and make excuses so you stop in your tracks.

Fear and insecurity partner with the enemy to limit us and restrict us.  To kill the dream.


But God is great.   He is good. 

He wants us to rip that negative self talk out of our heads, to change the cd so to speak and to hear HIS voice of hope and faith and truth.

God qualifies us for anything we dream and attempt. 


What does the bible say?

  • let the weak say “I am strong”
  • greater is God in me that the enemy in the world
  • those that know their God will be strong and do exploits
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


This is why God tells us to renew our mind, to be transformed and to fix our eyes (and ears!) upon Himself.

There is an enemy who wants us to think we are defenceless, useless, hopeless weaklings. If he can shut us down he shuts us up.


Can we see beyond what people say about our limitations to the fact that we serve a God who doesn’t even have that word in His vocabulary? To the God whose capability doesn’t rise and fall with our own inability?

Can we see beyond what people say about our dreams and plans to the God who has actually given them to us and is fully competent to bring them to pass?

Steven Furtick 


We need to listen to the truth that God speaks. We need to listen to HIS voice in our head and hearts. 

Override any untruth (from the enemy or ourselves) with the truth of God.

Become master of your own voice – take every wrong thought captive. Don’t just think and believe every thought you have. Not every thought we have is correct. This is why I think it is important to read the Bible – to learn what God says about us.

Then we can reprogramme our heart.

Remember, we are loved with an everlasting love. We are children of God. Servants of God. Strong. Mighty. We carry the living God within us – a great powerful treasure in jars of mere clay. God calls us and anoints us and uses us. He works in us and through us. Despite our flaws and failings He is great and great in and through us for His glory.  He chooses the weak and the foolish, the ordinary, to demonstrate His extraordinariness. 


“Don’t underestimate what God can do through your life. God has a very long, proven, and consistent history of using foolish and broken things for His glory.” ~ Eugene Cho


He is our great healer, our great strength, the one who saves us.


“The best way to get rid of the negative thoughts is to crowd them out with something else bigger and more beautiful: worship of the One who holds everything in His powerful and capable hands.” ― Jocelyn Green


So how do we change the voices in our head?

  • Read the Word of God and transform the way you think (Romans 12:2)
  • Take control of the thoughts – when the lies and doubt come, change your mind, change the topic.  Stop passively agreeing with the negative voices.
  • Replace the negative thought with a positive one.  Change the tone of your thoughts.
  • Don’t play the victim, take control and make some changes if changes need to be made.
  • Find someone to encourage you, share your fear and ask for intentional help.
  • Analyse what you’re thinking.  Is this really true? 
  • Line a new truth up against the lie.
  • Give yourself grace.  Remind you that God’s grace is sufficient.


“I’ve tucked those negative thoughts in a drawer, and for the most part, though I know the drawer still exists, it never gets opened.” ― K. Martin Beckner


What else do you do to stop the voices in your head dragging you down?


Who are you listening to?


The worst thing people say to us moms. by Jenny Acuff

“We have heard all about Jon’s dreams and passions, but do you have any Jenny?”

This question always makes me laugh because I know people are not going to like my answer.

Folks want me to say, “My passion is baking or sewing or photography.” We all have a definition of what really counts as a passion and often it most be artistic by nature. People essentially think you’re going to respond with something that is found on Pinterest.

But do you know what my passion is?

Raising our kids.

Being a mom.

Taking care of the Acuff house.

That is my definition and I don’t particularly care if other people think those passions “don’t count.”

They count to me.



10 Ways to Do Adulthood Well

Don’t worry about aging. Worry about not aging well.

It’s hard to say when a person reaches adulthood. Leaving mom and dad’s house, finishing college or getting a job don’t seem to automatically make a person an “adult” these days.

If anything, adulthood is a daily and gradual process of choosing maturity over immaturity. It doesn’t happen in one big moment, but over years of wise decisions. Adulthood is a sculpture carved over time. It’s a process of a person casting away their childishness and taking the shape of Godly maturity in their thoughts, words and actions.




Reasons to be Passive (Part 3) by Paul David Tripp

You and I live in these little, mundane moments. The character of a life is not set in three or four moments of huge significance. No, the character of a life is set in 10,000 little moments, one after another. The character formed in those innumerable little moments is what positions us to respond in the big moments of life (see the Parable of the Ten Minas, Luke 19:11–27.)





FUN Prayers for Myers Briggs Types

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God,help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird-ing at a time.

ENFJ: God help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

INTP: Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.




Conflict Resolution by Lysa TerKeurst

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

When I was in my early twenties, there was nothing I disliked more than conflict.  I won’t use the tired cliché that I avoided it like the plague.  But, since I just used it anyhow, I’ll admit I tried to navigate around conflict at any cost.

I was a ‘stuff it and smile’ kind of girl.  The problem with pretending to be fine when you’re really not, is all that pent up steam will eventually come out.  And if you’ve ever held your hand too close to steam, you know how it can burn.

A much healthier approach to the inevitable conflicts we all must deal with is to face the issue head on with grace and humility having asked ourselves one very crucial question.  This question is so crucial that might I dare say not asking it could lead to extreme conflict escalationrather than relationship restoration.

So, what’s this crucial question?

Am I trying to prove or improve?  That’s the question.  In other words, is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship at hand?






**** notes from The Best Housegroup In The World with guest speakers Peet & Estelle


what makes us successful?

the world would say fame, power, money, status, recognition, = wealth

this is a trap from satan – he lies and says that success = money



how does GOD see success? 

godly success is the ratio between talents given and talents used

USE your gifts

follow your dream

bloom where you are planted

make a difference


1 Kings 2:3 – observe what the Lord your God requires: walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.


how do i become successful and what does it look like?

  • salvation – be filled with God
  • contentment
  • ability to handle problems
  • peace
  • wisdom
  • joy
  • eternal life


where your treasure is there your heart is


matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


the world spells SUCCESS with W.E.A.L.T.H
but God spells SUCCESS with P.E.O.P.L.E


the meaning of life is to find your gift. the purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso


men of success in the bible:

  • joshua / joshua 1:7-8 ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. : FOCUS ON HIM
  • david / 1 samuel 18:12-14 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. : GOD WAS WITH HIM
  • joseph / genesis 39:2-4 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. : GOD WAS WITH HIM


whatever the circumstances God can make us prosper, be faithful

live for an audience of One

your name doesnt have to be on a billboard but it does have to be written on the palms of His hands (isaiah 49:16) and in the book of life


would you rather find your success in the world or in The Word?


jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.



if it is so simple – we are we struggling?  why do we feel like failures?

  • pride – we think more of ourselves than we should and try to do things in our own power
  • doubt and unbelief – do we really believe its possible?
  • rejection – self and others, we believe a lie because of hurt
  • unforgiveness – unresolved issues with others that take our joy
  • jealousy – unable to celebrate the success of others
  • unrepented sin – builds a wall between us and God




10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one

9. Meditate- rewire your brain for happiness – Pray!

10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction


How to be a Great Wife

I believe every married woman wants to be the best wife she can be, but it’s hard to have a clear picture of what that really means or looks like.

The media seems to bombard women with conflicting messages about what the “ideal woman” is all about. One moment you’re being told to starve yourself and spend all your time in the gym and salon so you can always look like an airbrushed model on the cover of a magazine. The next moment your role model is a CEO mom who is making millions and still “having it all” by being a wife and mommy too. You flip the channel again and you’re told that an ideal wife makes her own clothes and home schools her 20 kids.

1. Give respect to your husband.

2. Create a positive tone in the home.

3. Fall in love…with God!



How to be a Great Husband

We men tend to get our priorities out of whack sometimes. We can be passionately devoted to our work, our hobbies and our favorite sports teams and still neglect the priorities that should matter most.

We need to “Man Up” and love our wives and kids the way they deserve to be loved. I’m not just writing this to you, but i’m writing this as a guy who needs a daily reminder of all these things myself! Here’s how we do it…

1. Love your wife passionately and selflessly.

2. Protect your wife.

3. Stop acting like a kid.

4. Communicate.

5. Create romance outside the bedroom.




What’s Your Animal Personality Type?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an expansion of Carl Jung’s ideas about personality types, expressed in one of 16 four-letter acronyms that express your dominant traits. Although you can only officially take the test with a licensed practitioner, there are plenty of unofficial version available online. These animals took the test and the results are in!

(i think i’m an ENFP) Creative and contagiously happy, ENFPs have boundless energy and an appetite for learning about new things and meeting new people. They bring joy to others and are keenly perceptive to the needs of those around them. They are vivacious and popular enthusiasts. ENFPs tend to get bored easily, and they are always ready for the latest and the greatest in friends, relationships, experiences, and ocean jumping.

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

January 2021
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