5 Steps to Transforming Your Life in 2016 by Jöel Malm

So this is the year right? This is the year that you are going to change some things and really pursue the life you know God has for you.

If you’ve decided this is the year you step out and really pursue your calling I’ve got good news for you. You can do it!

As a personal development coach I’ve seen that the moment we get serious and start taking the steps toward transforming our lives God steps in and does what we can’t do – he brings the transformation.  He does what seems impossible.

But we need to take the first steps.

St. Iraneus is know for saying, “Work as if it depends on you. Pray as if it depends on God.”

Life transformation is a combination of hard work and God’s power in your life.

That said, here are five steps you can take right now to show you are serious about stepping into the fullness of all God has for you this year.

1. Get Quiet

We live in a loud world. But God typically speaks in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). If we want to really connect with the voice of God we must learn to get quiet. God is telling a story with your life, you just need to get quiet and listen. The good, bad, and ugly of your life are all things God wants to use to bring himself glory and ultimately to bring you joy. Get quiet and listen to God’s voice in your life.

2. Get Focused

You are going to end up somewhere in life. You might as well get there on purpose. This only happens when you get intentional about direction. Your life is on a path right now. Is it taking you where you want to go? Are lesser priorities sapping your valuable time? As you listen to God’s voice he’ll remind you what is most important. The next step is to make sure you create margin in your life for priorities. Then stay laser-focused on those priorities.

3. Change Your Habits

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Studies have shown that 40-45% of our actions aren’t decision-based. They are habit-based. We develop habits without even realizing we have them. Much of what we do comes from defense mechanisms we developed long ago to cope with life. But many of these defenses and habits are actually self-destructive. They hold us back. There’s a good chance you already know what habits are holding you back. If you want to move to the next level you need to get serious about beating those habits. Bring in some outside help and accountability. You can beat your habits, but you need a community around you to help you.

4. Overcome Your Fear

If we are honest, most of us would admit that we live in a constant state of fear. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Fear of death. Some of us even fear success. Our fears limit what God wants to do in our life. But God offers freedom from fear. Too often we come right up to the precipice of what God has for us but we are afraid to step of the ledge. But as Joseph Campbell once said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” The future you dream of will only come on the other side of you overcoming your fear and taking some risk.

5. Make a Written Plan

If you want to make God laugh just tell him your plans. You can’t plan every step of your life. But you can make a plan for how you are going to be a good steward of what God has put in front of you right now. We all have access to resources. How we use those resources will determine what other opportunities God places in front of us. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. (Matt. 25:29) Faithfully using what God has given us now ensures he will give more. Make a written plan for how you are going to manage what God has given you. Then get to work doing what you can. God will bring the increase if you step out and are faithful with what you have – no matter how small it may seem.

By Joël Malm

A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

Today, among urban Americans and Europeans, “evangelical Christian” is sometimes a synonym for “rube.” In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.

We love this article from the New York Times about Dr. Stephen Foster.
Click here to read.

Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

Two weeks ago we were doing an emergency surgery late one night when Gift, the nurse on duty, urgently came to the theatre (OR) door and told us a young lady who was very sick had just come to the hospital and needed our immediate attention. She lived in one of the many small villages on the west side of the Zambezi River across from Chitokoloki. Several days earlier she had a miscarriage and day after day since, she had continued to bleed. She had passed so much blood that she was barely able to stand and she was much too weak to walk. The woman realized that she desperately needed help. Her concerned family and friends loaded her onto the back of an ox cart and after a several hour journey through the deep, sandy paths, they made it to the river—long after dark. They then helped her into a small dugout canoe, only 16 inches across and just a few inches deep, and paddled her across the crocodile infested waters of the Zambezi late that night. Finally, they reached their destination as they carried her on a makeshift stretcher up the steep one kilometer bank to the hospital.

I finished the emergency surgery I was doing and quickly went to assess her. She was cold (it is winter in Zambia and it gets very cold at night) and wet (from the trek across the river) and shivering and in shock. She was SO pale. Her hemoglobin, which should be 12-15 grams, was 3 grams. Her blood pressure was barely recordable. Gift quickly took a sample of her blood to the lab for a cross-match for transfusion.

I remember so vividly that she had no shoes on her feet. And her feet were calloused and scarred from her life of daily toil. And every swirl and crevice and ridge of the soles of her feet were darkly stained with the soil from around her home and village. In the bright light of the operating room, the contrast of her pale skin and the swirling dark patterns made her feet look beautiful—almost like a work of art.

I did an ultrasound and saw that we needed to operate to stop the blood loss. By then the operating theatre was clean and ready, so we moved her there and covered her with blankets and attached her to a machine that blows warm air under the blankets in order to try to bring her body temperature up. Julie Rachel (one of the long term nurses here at Chitokoloki) started big IVs, Allison (another nurse) helped Kyombo (works in theatre) get the instruments ready for surgery. Meanwhile, Victor and the lab team brought us three units of cold blood. Three of us took bags and tucked them under our arms next to our chest to try to warm them before transfusing them. Within an hour we had given her two units of blood and a third one was slowly dripping in. Her blood pressure was now 100 mmHg, she was nice and warm, and I had done surgery and was able to stop her bleeding.

As we waited there in the theatre after surgery, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I had just witnessed and the image that was now before me. A young lady so desperately ill. Concerned family and friends who courageously brought her for help. Gift, who had so quickly and accurately assessed her when she was admitted. Victor, who had left his home on this cold night to come to the lab to make sure she had blood. Kyombo and Alison and JR who were tired from working all day, never hesitating to offer their services and help.

Now, this lady is warm, her blood pressure is normal, the blood is transfused, the bleeding has been stopped, and blankets are piled on top of her as she is surrounded by people who have tenderly and compassionately and expertly and expeditiously cared for her. All in the Name of, and for the sake of Jesus—our Lord and Savior. There is no doubt in my mind…this pleases His heart greatly.

When I was sick, you cared for Me. -Matthew 25:36

A few days later, she crossed the Zambezi again in the small dugout canoe. She trekked hours through the sands to her village and smiled broadly as she was embraced by grateful family and friends. And she wore no shoes on her beautiful feet as she made her journey home.

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