Older hand and a younger hand holding a rose

Remember Timeless Truths

Photo above by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

“Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” Joel 1:2-3

One of my favorite memories is talking to my grandma about what she remembers as a child. For example, she’ll tell the story of the flood when she lived along the river. Or she’ll tell the story about the table that was the last purchase her father made before he died in his 40’s. Or she’ll giggle about the story of her first driving lesson on the expressway in the city. She may not have been laughing that day, but it is certainly a funny story now. Through these stories, I’ve learned not to worry about possessions, how to value family relationships, and laugh about the stressful moments. Her storytelling reveals lessons that are timeless.

The book of Joel in the Bible shows a leader who included the context of the day and related it to God’s work in the middle of that context (see Maxwell Leadership Bible). God gave Joel a purpose to describe what he saw and tell how God was going to use the terrible to bring forth the miraculous—and encouraged the people to tell their children and their children’s children for generations to come. Those stories of what was happening in the moment became timeless truths.

Jesus might have done the same. In the Bible, he talks about a current event and highlight God’s fingerprints. He’ll use a story to reveal the timeless truth. Pastor Kevin of Magnolia Lutheran Church mentioned in a sermon that in Matthew 22:1-14, that it is possible (according to some scholars) Jesus referenced a real situation when sharing the parable of the wedding feast. It is possible Herod’s son was getting married, and those that didn’t show lost their lives (see Matthew 22:1-3). Jesus turns the story in an unexpected direction when he uses that launching pad to show what grace may do in that context. Jesus uses a story to reveal a timeless truth.

What stories do you share that reveal a timeless truth? What is happening now that you’ll want to tell future generations?

© 2020, Mollie Bond

What is Your Purpose?

Author note: A special thank you and shout out to Dr. Joseph Castleberry of Northwest University for allowing me to base this blog on his thoughts about determination. Photo by Michael Heuser on Unsplash 

I was recently in a meeting where Dr. Joe Castleberry, president of Northwest University, explained that determination in the Bible is knowing and understanding the purpose, then planning and following through with persistence. It is certainly a bit of wisdom I want to noodle on, and I hope you do as well.

I remember many plans I’ve made that lacked purpose—the passion that motivates a person into action. I also remember many of those plans dying away. I remember the underwhelming desire to persist. Perhaps you have a few plans that have fallen away without the underlying purpose.

As I restarted this blog, I realized that I needed a purpose. A plan. A motivator to persist. Then I read 2 Corinthians 3:5, which says, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”

The renewed purpose of this blog is to help you get closer to Jesus. To be comforted by him, refreshed by him, purposed by him. God must come first. If you are encouraged to spend more time in the word or thinking about or praying to God, then I have done my job. The blog is not proof of my competency (which comes from God anyway), or hot pursuit of persistence (which can’t occur without the purpose anyway).

I will also state that this is where I’ll give updates on other things going on that may draw you closer to God. One of those is an upcoming devotional for people separated by their spouse by me and being published by Ambassador International. As I work with the publisher to narrow down a launch date, I’ll release it via this blog and on social media channels. There will be fun giveaways, special opportunities, and much more to announce in due time.

In the end, it is all about determination to show God off. Albert Tate said, “The battleship is designed to fulfill the mission of the banner it flies.” I am designed–purposed, even–to fulfill the mission of encouraging people to come closer to God.

The battleship is designed to fulfill the mission of the banner it flies. --Albert Tate

What is your purpose? Are you in the planning or persistent stage? Leave your thought below.

© 2020, Mollie Bond

The Rebel

Author notes: Strolling through a shopping mall (masked, of course) two weeks ago, I saw the Christmas section. Already. It was the end of September. It reminded me of a short fictional story I wrote and thought I would share with you, based on John 7:32-49. Enjoy!

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash
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He stood up. Oh no, I thought, this is going to be a disaster.

A Christmas Eve service is my favorite moment during the Christmas season. It’s the one time that it feels like Christ’s birth is recognized before I am once again covered in consumerism. The feeling is like being wrapped with a hastily bought pre-made bow meant to rouse the receiver to believing a greater value of a re-gift. In other words, the season, apart from the Christmas Eve service, feels like smoke-and-mirrors to me: a bad white elephant gift.

So when the man stood up in the middle of the calm, candle-lit serenade of “Silent Night,” I feared the Christmas magic of a treasured memory would vaporize into another smoke-and-mirrors illusion.

He was the rebel. We all knew it. My small group leader whispered to me earlier that he was from the south side. Someone else asked during last week’s prayer session that we pray for him because she thought he was possessed. I can’t blame them in that assumption. After all, he was socially uncouth, loud, and almost heretical in the claims he randomly declared “truths.” I had not verbalized my own concerns—that he was here to stay in our small congregation, showing up each week with a new odd question that would take too long to answer during Sunday School, veering us from the carefully crafted lesson plan.

When I saw him at the Christmas Eve service, I guided my family to the other side of the sanctuary. No one was going to destroy this one moment. I deserved a holy night.

He stood up. And loudly, over the sound of the piano, bright as the candle that was dripping wax on my cardboard protector, yelled, “I am the light of the world!”

The piano stopped. We all looked at the far corner. We looked at his face that wasn’t anything like the others around us. We looked at his unkempt manners, at his rebellion. We looked. And we stared.

He stood up, interrupted our Christmas Eve service, and now commanded that we acknowledge him as the light of the world. How dare he.

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This fictional scene draws parallel to John 7:32-49. The Scripture tells us Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles. Each year, around October, the Jewish community gathered to watch the priest pour water on the altar, while the people chanted a prayer for God to send rains for the winter harvest. On the last day—“the greatest day”—the people walked around the temple seven times (like Jericho). It is this day that “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’” (John 7:37-38). It would be similar to someone standing up in the middle of “Silent Night” at a Christmas Eve service and proclaim themselves as the light of the world. Which, in fact, Jesus did in John 8:12. He declared himself as light of the world.

Meanwhile, “the Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him” (John 7:32) and were determining how to kick Jesus out of their club. Their conspiracies and overheard mumblings occurs before and after the feast.

And all the while, I wonder, how would I respond to such a rebel? If someone were to go against my traditions that were part of my religious routines, would I lay down those habits and follow his example, or would I shush him and ask him to sit? Am I a Pharisee or a Follower? When have I stood up?

I follow a rebel. Do you?

© 2020, Mollie Bond

Coaching and Mentoring

I sat at the conference, expecting to hear the answer to that question; The one question on my mind that didn’t go away. I didn’t hear it. I asked teams that were experts in the area the question. I didn’t hear an answer. I read research to see if I could answer the question. While writing the dissertation about mentoring, one gnawing question kept me asking the question: What is the definition of mentoring, and how does it differ from coaching?

Here’s where I ended up: The difference is not in the outcome, but in the process. Coaching, as differentiated from mentoring by the John Maxwell Team, is because coaching is built on questions that guide the participant to find the answer that comes from within the participant. Meanwhile, mentoring is more of a participant hearing of experiences from another externally from the participant. Using the example of another, that participant can craft and shape their own journey. Both require the participant to understand themselves and what comes naturally to them. The participant has a choice in both avenues.

Three years ago, I finished the dissertation, “Mentoring Generation X Women” about mentoring women to reach the next level of success, however they define success. While mentoring is still valid and useful, I’ve added to my repertoire coaching women in the nonprofit sector. No matter where a woman is positioned in the nonprofit sector, we can all use a person to ask thoughtful questions and expand our beliefs in dreams and future successes. Therefore, if you are a busy nonprofit professional woman looking for a dependable person to keep you accountable, ask the hard questions, and help you reach the next level of success in your career, contact me!

I help women in the nonprofit sector get unstuck and reach the next level of success–however they define success for themselves. Coaching isn’t the same as mentoring. While mentoring will instruct and guide you from my experience, coaching is my chance to ask you questions that unearths the answers that are most natural for you.

© 2020, Mollie Bond