What’s Your “Popeye Moment” … Efficiency vs Effectiveness

I like to consider myself to be a very efficient person.  I’m an expert at multi-tasking and consistently juggle many activities at once. Sometimes I find a couple two or three dozen Windows open on my computer all at once and I work efficiently! Efficiency is doing things right! However, Effectiveness is doing the right things.  One can be so busy being efficient … that they fail to be effective.

Effectiveness is directly related to passion. What is your passion?  What condition, situation or cause drives you to sadness or anger?  What breaks your heart? What drives you to want change?  Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Church, defines that one thing in your life as your Popeye moment” … that moment when you say to yourself, “I can’t stands it no more!!!”  I can recall that Popeye always did things right.  He was quite an efficient sailor.  He also puts up with a lot of abuse from Brutus UNTIL Popeye’s own “Popeye Moment.”  The sailor man has had enough when he says, “I can’t stands it no more.” Then, he eats his spinach, grows huge muscles, and proceeds to let Brutus have it with both anchors.  And, he wins the heart of Olive Oil … toot, toot!!!  I’d say he became effective!

There are many world issues that can break our hearts:  child abuse, animal abuse, environmental issues, human trafficking political issues, senior citizens, 3rd world plights, homelessness, Alzheimer Disease, cancer, heart disease, mental illness  or a plethora of other diseases.

In my own life, the pain resulting from addiction and co-dependency in my own family was my “I can’t stands it no more” moment.  I went from being busy as an efficient real estate broker to being effective at Faith Farm Ministries.  I use ALL of my experience and talents that I have accumulated throughout my long career and apply it to my passion for helping people overcome life controlling issues so that they, too, may live effectively.  I can honestly say that I LOVE my work.  It is not like work at all when you love what you do.

Faith Farm Ministries is a 64 year old, free, long term, residential drug and alcohol recovery program for men and women.  Three locations provide an intense, college accredited recovery curriculum, a comprehensive work training program, spiritual guidance and counseling.

I am also blessed to lead a Celebrate Recovery group at Faith Farm in Boynton Beach on Friday nights.  This is a 12 Step program that is accessible to the students as well as their families, alumni of Faith Farm, and the community members that have struggles with any life controlling issues.

My passion for what I do translates into my effectiveness for those I serve.  Passion allows your life to take on meaning, purpose and effectiveness. I used to be very efficient, busy … and unhappy.  Today, I have purpose, effectiveness, joy and peace that surpasses my understanding.

What’s your “Popeye Moment?”

Nobody does “Thrift” like Faith Farm

For the last 7 years, I have been blessed to work at Faith Farm Ministries. Working in the Administration Offices, it’s always a treat to take a break and visit the Thrift Store, and I am always amazed when I do. Nobody does “Thrift” like Faith Farm. 20150612_091412Every time I enter the store, it is fresh and different.  The New Furniture department is filled with staged ensembles of beautiful new furniture, complete with fireplaces, lamps, tables, art and floral centerpieces.  The used furniture area has new choices every visit, whether one day or one week apart.  During a “Big Sale” at Faith Farm, inventory changes hourly.20150612_085912I am amazed at the deals in the clothing room with lighted jewelry display cabinets, hat and shoe displays and mannequins featuring party dresses and wedding attire.  It looks more like a boutique.  20150612_085642Quite a few visits have resulted in found treasure in the form of brand new designer suits with the tags still on them!  … YEAH!20150612_085557New books, art and collectibles come in every day; electronics, computers, appliances, sporting goods, medical equipment … all your needs at prices anyone can afford.  The outside sales area is a rummage lover’s dream.  I am amazed at how friendly everyone is and how hard everyone works.20150612_090356What amazes me most is that after 64 years, many of our shoppers still do not know that they are saving lives by shopping at a Faith Farm Thrift Store.  We are so much more than a Thrift Store.  When you shop with us, you are supporting our 9 month residential, college accredited, drug and alcohol addiction recovery program.  Simply put, your shopping dollar saves the lives of those that are serving you through their work training program in our Thrift Stores!  Visit us and you will be amazed, too! Our “Red Hot Summer Sale” is August 7 & 8, with extended hours from 9 am to 8 pm both days.  Also, every Wednesday is “Senior Day” when our 55+ year old customers can receive an additional 25% off any item, excluding new furniture.  Bring your friends, have some fun, and save a life, too!

Celebrate Recovery Boynton returns to Faith Farm Ministries

crboynton_0001So Excited to announce that CR Boynton will be returning to Faith Farm Ministries at Boynton Beach together with much of its original, experienced team members.

There has been a lot of requests for CR to return to Faith Farm over the past year and now it’s happening.

Friday night meetings will begin June 19th at 7 pm.  This is a Faith Tabernacle Church outreach ministry and Pastor Jim Reneau will be a crucial part of the leadership team and supports this outreach 100%.  The weekly gatherings are open to the public and will help anyone with hurts, habits and hang-ups.

Celebrate Recovery is not just for addicts.  Help is available for those who struggle with co-dependency, anger, depression, abuse issues, forgiveness, eating disorders, gambling, pornography, self-esteem and integrity issues.  Faith Farm students will benefit with the ministry present, but student’s families are also encouraged to participate and use this weekly opportunity to share the program with their loved one and receive recovery for themselves.  Addiction is a family issue and is rooted in many other issues.

We look forward to welcoming back old CR Boynton friends and team members and all the new folks that will be attending.

If you are interested in serving in this great ministry, please contact Judy Walters, Ministry Leader via email celebraterecovery@faithfarm.org.

I Can’t … But He Can!

Remember the story about “The Little Engine That Could?”  After all, it’s a 1930’s children’s’ classic authored by Watty Piper and illustrated by George and Doris Hauman.  Its valuable story was intended to teach the value of optimism and hard work.   My parents took the lesson a step further by teaching me that I wasn’t to say the word, “Can’t!”  They encouraged me to believe I could do anything and be anything I wanted to be.  I would simply have to work hard and set my mind to it.  I grew up as an over achiever that believed it was wrong to ask anyone for any help with anything.

I now know that this theory is defective.  News Flash:  TV’s Cleavers and Nelsons were pretend.  We do not live in a utopia where everyone believes in themselves and everyone does the next right thing. On the contrary, in the REAL world there is a status quo most people, including me, are exposed to called dysfunction.

Today’s American families are complacent to dysfunction, like today’s Kardashians and the Octomom. If “Middle of the Room” elephants are in plain sight for all to see, I wonder what their “Family Secrets” might be!  Dysfunction is a funny thing. Everybody is exposed to it, yet it remains undetected until the damage is done because many are in denial about it!  If you think you’re the exception, there’s a great 12 Step program just for you.

Am I part of a minority that is not satisfied with this status quo?  I don’t like this “New Normal.”  Somehow, we need to get back to wanting to “doing the next right thing.”  I am not so old that I don’t remember my own family’s dysfunction.  I struggled for many years to get my family back on track.  I convinced myself by saying, “I can do this! I can fix this! I am strong like the Rock of Gibraltar!” Being taught that I can do anything is a fallacy, because I can’t.  I can do nothing without the strength of God.  Things don’t happen because people believe they can. Things happen when people know, they can’t, but He can!  And then, people need to make the choice to let Him!

I am privileged to work and serve at Faith Farm Ministries; a 63 year old, free, long-term residential, addiction recovery program.  In the last 5 years, we have students from 47 of the 50 states at our three South Florida locations with 445 beds.  Our residents struggle with substance abuse caused by dysfunction:  Dysfunction that led to self medicating through the use of drugs and/or alcohol, thus multiplying the dysfunction that they were trying to suppress in the first place.  It’s a vicious cycle.

No one sets out to become an addict. They are convinced they CAN quit on their own, but addiction sneaks up on them.  Many have been in multiple rehabs before coming to Faith Farm without successfully maintaining their sobriety.  Through the recovery program at Faith Farm, all of the dysfunction is addressed, unsuppressed and surrendered to God; because He can … and He does!  It truly is amazing to see what restoration God can do when you can’t!  If you know of anyone who struggles with addiction, Faith Farm’s recovery program may be an option.  If you can help support our free program, you can make a gift at our website: www.faithfarm.org; call (561) 737-22559 or send an email to jwalters@faithfarm.org.

Discipleship

Love to share my new recorded sermon on Discipleship.  Would love to have your feedback.  Thanks!

Judy

DARE TO DREAM

This month, Faith Farm Ministries will hold its 63rd annual Homecoming celebration.  It is unlike any homecoming events you might have attended in college.  Approximately 1,000 students, alumni, staff and families of those once addicted to drugs and alcohol will gather to celebrate their recovery from addiction and/or co-dependency.  They worship, fellowship, share their stories and give hope to those still struggling.  They received another chance at life; some recently and others many years ago.  Recovering addicts are the bravest and most courageous people you’ll ever meet.  They have been through hell and back, and they are willingly to share their stores because of what God has done for them.  They are transparent (real), and they use terms like hope, new life and eternity … and they “Dare to Dream;” such an appropriate theme for this year.

Keynote Speaker, Dean Middleton, is President of United TranzActions, Inc., is also the founder of Spirit in South Florida, a nonprofit that has funded two opportunities for Faith Farm’s students to attend a free Phillips, Craig and Dean Concert at the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale.  Dean funded bus transportation, tickets, venue and band for approximately 200 Faith Farm students; once in May and again in December.  Additional concerts are being planned to bless similar rescue mission/recovery type ministries.  Dean’s heart and message is a one of hope and concurs with our “Dare to Dream” theme.

Three of Faith Farm’s courageous alumni will share testimonies, each with a passion to help those who are going through what they experienced many years ago.  Roy Foster went on to become a 2009 CNN Hero nominee for his passion to help veterans and recently broke ground on The Village of Valor, an entire community devoted to serving veterans and their families.  Alyssa Schroeder attended our women’s program.  Since Faith Farm, she married Eric, also an Alumni. They now run a successful business while they continue to help others who struggle with addiction. They are expecting their first child.  Marty Angelo attended Faith Farm in the ‘80s and was mentored by Founder, Rev. Garland “Pappy” Eastham.  Marty answered the call to prison ministry in California and has counseled celebrities who struggled with addiction.  He has authored five books and continues to give back.  All “Dared to Dream!”

Underwriters for this event include Solid Rock Church, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, The Tucker Group, LLC, Alpha Ministries, LLC, plus two anonymous employee staff members.  All day live music by their own Faith Farm bands, barbecue, Pappy’s Old Fashioned Lemonade, Ice Cream and other home-baked goodies, fishing, Volleyball, Kite Flying, Bounce Houses and Face Painting are some of the other activities typical of the day, but the highlight of the afternoon is always the extremely competitive annual softball tournament between the farms. There is nothing like witnessing a bunch of competitive, recovering addicts … humbled and praying and giving thanks before and after (sometimes during) these softball games.  “Dare to Dream!” It’s Tim Tebow times 30! And, it’s beautiful!

Faith Farm is making a huge difference in thousands of lives and needs your financial support to continue saving lives being lost to addiction.  It is because of special people like you that we can continue to help restore lives of people who struggle with life controlling issues.  For more information on how you can help, visit www.faithfarm.org, or contact Judy Walters, Project Manager, at (561) 737-2259 or email Judy at  jwalters@faithfarm.org.

Photo from Homecoming 2013 by Christina Wilkof Photography

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The Armor of God – Believers Prepare for Battle!

The Armor is God’s provision for the protection of His children.  As believers, we need to grow in faith and hold firm to Jesus’ teachings.  Our lives do not become easy just because we are now saved.  We know we will go to heaven, but our life does not become some peaceful utopia that we imagine will be in heaven.  On the contrary, the more we grow in faith, walk our journey and gain wisdom, the more of a target we are.

The Armor of God is meant to defend against attacks that would jeopardize our ability to walk out our faith.  Spiritual Warfare is battle on a grand scale.  We cannot see this enemy, but Satan is there.  The further we go in our Christian journey and the more Christ-like we become, the bigger threat we are to what Satan hopes to achieve.  He wants to create doubt, destroy faith and prevent us from bringing others to the same saving knowledge that we have in Christ. He will attack your faith, your marriage, your health and your children.

In today’s culture, it is easy for Satan to accomplish his dirty deeds even by infiltrating the Church. Many church leaders are teaching a watered down version of the truth.  They choose political correctness and re-evaluate the bible based on their own philosophies or popular opinions, which are often tainted to accommodate today’s moral relativism.  They pick and choose what to believe.  “What’s true for you may not be true for me”, although common belief in congregations today, is a grossly inaccurate evaluation because there is only one truth.  This leaves the door wide open to attack.  The Word of God is our only standard for the Truth.  We need to stand firm in our faith and be prepared for warfare.

It is not a matter of “If”, but “when” we are attacked.  Satan WILL attack and God tells us to be ready.  Without the Armor of God, we are vulnerable to the deceitful and clever manipulations of Satan.  He will try to cause doubt.  He WILL try to get you to budge, but you need to Stand Your Ground!  We are NOT defenseless if we “Put On” the Armor, a permanent solution.  Awareness that we will be attacked enables us to prepare, be strong in the Lord and NOT rely upon our own, impotent strength to prepare for spiritual battle.  “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 God will always win.

We know the enemy is Satan, but his soldiers are the demons that are present among us every day.  There is a hierarchy in Satan’s army of ungodly people, the occult, immoral human beings; those that are still captive by their sins.  God’s armor protects us when we call upon the power that we have been given; the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead.  We are victorious at the end of each battle because we believed that we could “Stand Firm” in the full armor.

Paul describes six specific pieces of armor:

  • The Belt of Truth – Truth is the Word of God. If you know what the Word of God says, it is a weapon again the attacks of Satan.  Just like a soldier puts on his weapon belt to make himself ready for battle, we put on the Belt of Truth to make us ready to stand our ground.  Satan cannot trick you or manipulate you.  His deception tactics will not work on you because you will recognize his methods.  God’s Word, written on your heart, gives you an immediate, credible defense.
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness – This protects your heart, the source of life. It is the source of your emotions, your love and your joy.  Leaving your heart vulnerable to seduction by Satan is a great risk.  He wants to harden your heart, change the parameters of acceptable behaviors, move your personal boundaries and pervert your beliefs toward sin so that it can be rationalized.   Righteousness of Jesus is what God sees in your heart and obedience and humility will keep the Breastplate in place.
  • The Shoes of the Gospel – Your Christian walk in obedience to fulfill God’s purpose for your life will be long and sometimes difficult. The terrain might be rough but can be handled with proper gear.  The shoes are in preparation of a difficult journey.  Would you attempt a difficult journey across jagged mountains with bare feet?  Of course not!  In this same way, you need to put on the undisputed, without a doubt, confidence in your salvation, Shoes of the Gospel.  Know that grace is sufficient and that you are loved.  The unsaved person will doubt this and be helpless against attack.
  • The Shield of Faith – Unshakeable faith is my spiritual gift. It doesn’t matter what the devil throws at me, I believe … and it’s not difficult for me.  I know that God loves me and cares for me.  I know that He protects me and that He is always in control.  I know that He makes beauty from ashes because I’ve witnessed all of this over and over and over again.  The more trials or storms I encounter, the more my faith grows.  I must have one strong shield of steel with thousands of little knicks where arrows have made their mark.  Without my faith, I would be a hateful, fearful and prideful unbeliever.
  • The Helmet of Salvation – Satan lies to us and wants us to doubt our salvation through attacking our head and our thoughts. He will try at anything to come between you and God with discouragement and self-defeating “self-talk”.  An unbeliever could easily feel depressed and worthless, without purpose or anything to look forward to if they are not confident in their salvation.  Protecting your mind with the Helmet of Salvation guards our minds and provides endless hope.  We know that nothing could ever change what Jesus has done for us and that nothing will ever separate us from God’s love.  We are saved.
  • The Sword of the Spirit – All pieces of armor are for defense and protection, including the Sword of the Spirit. The ONLY way to win a battle in the spiritual realm is with the Spirit.  We cannot fight these battles with our flesh as we will be defeated in our own strength.  Paul says that the Sword of the Spirit is The Word of God.  Use of the Word to deflect an attack at close range and the Spirit gives us the Words to use.  But the Sword is also for the offensive battle.  We need to not only protect ourselves against Satan’s attacks but we need to fight back.  Scripture says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two­-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The power of the Word can take people from a sinful life to a righteous life and every time a person is lead to salvation, it is a demonstration of its power over Satan and this world.  The Sword of the Spirit can manifest itself as the fruits: change hate to love; change self-pity to joy, change anxiety to peace, change intolerance to patience, change selfishness to kindness, change immorality to goodness, change disloyalty to faithfulness, change hardness to gentleness and change instability to self control.  It can create hope where there is none, and it can attack from any angle.

For a minister, spiritual warfare is a daily affair.

A minister needs to be spiritually mature enough to understand that he/she sets the ground rules for spiritual battle.  God will enforce the boundaries.  Demons know about authority and will submit to the highest authority that addresses them.  Therefore, it is important for us to understand the authority that has been delegated to us by God.  If the demons see this as a weakness, it opens the door to needless attack.

In ministry is it also important to understand that no war was ever won on the defensive.  In order to win a war, we must go on the offensive, learn to attack Satan’s kingdom, battle the demons and bring God’s people out of the darkness and into the light all the while using the Armor of God.  Aside from the scripture in Ephesians 6:10-20 describing the Armor, there are many scriptures in God’s Word that lead us and help us in Spiritual Warfare.  Below is the popular Rhema Scroll that includes them.  These Words encourage us, equip us and define who believers are.  We are the nemesis of Satan.

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