The Life Designed series resulted from sincere questions I constantly heard from believers. “What is my mission from God? What is my life purpose? What am I supposed to do?” The more I sought biblical answers to these questions the more I realized accomplishments were irrelevant to our individual missions from God. They aren’t even close.

I also often heard how people, especially women, felt unimportant. They were never enough. Their own care was second, third, tenth, twentieth to the needs of others, if considered at all, and that was okay. It isn't okay. All of God's people are Called to Flourish, Called to His Presence and Called to Disrupt. They are Called to Emerge from darkness into a marvelous light. They are Called to Connect to the maker of the universe and to each other.

Called to Flourish



“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again.”

2 Corinthians 1:10 New International Version

Every year brings challenges. Graduations, marriages and births are celebrated and bring newness to life. Brisk hellos and sometimes sad good-byes to people, places and lifestyles. It is human nature to hope for a better tomorrow. God gives us permanent hope regardless of circumstance. There is hope for the future becuase our God reigns!

And I heard a sound like the roar of a great multitude, like the rushing of many waters, and like a mighty rumbling of thunder, crying out: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

Revelation 19:6 Berean Study Bible (BSB)

You and I will always be confronted by change. Called to Flourish gives us a chance to express our frustrations and receive assurance from God. Our mighty God still wants the best for us and I am convinced He calls us to flourish in our relationships with Him and in our crazy world of bright joy and dark unknowns.

Responding to God’s call to flourish is a process. Give yourself time, especially in our upside-down world, to internalize ideas presented here and make small changes. But begin the process. Don’t wait. The 31-days of Bible concepts in Called to Flourish are seeds you and I can choose to plant, feed and see the result in ourselves, our families and our world, this year and the years ahead.

“‘It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds sown upon the earth. But after it is planted, it grows to be the largest of all garden plants and puts forth great branches, so that the birds of the air nest in its shade.” Mark 4:31 BSB

At the same time we plant, you and I are going to have to pull some weeds. I define weeds as anything growing where I don’t want it to grow, taking up space and nourishment needed for what I intentionally plant. Pulling weeds can be physically taxing; deciding to pull out something green and blooming but in the wrong place at the wrong time may be equally, or more, difficult. Their elimination might even be prickly. But, there isn't room for both weeds and plants in my physical garden or my spiritual garden.

I hope you enjoy this study. There is one page for each of 31 days. It is very important to have a printed version so you can write down your thoughts. Date them. If you are receiving Called to Flourish by e-mail, please don't distribute the study to others but give them my e-mail address so they can purchase their own copy. It will make the study more valuable to them and give them more incentive to work through it.

Please send me your feedback. I know I can learn from you and your insights.


Day 1 Date: _____________

"So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth." Hosea 6:3 NAS

Sometimes we feel like winter will never end. It will! Spring is around the corner. The never changing God is still ahead of us leading and behind us protecting. (Exodus 13:21, 23:20)

Babies are being born. Birds are singing. The ground is warming. Plants are budding. The earth is thriving, growing, rejoicing around us. It was all called by God to flourish. Even rocks, pretty but dead, would be singing out hallelujahs if all else was silent. (Luke 19:40)

Can you hear God calling you? His voice is loud and can be heard above madness, fear and heartbreak.

The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks

the cedars; The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire. Psalms 29:4-5, 7 NAS

Read Isaiah 55:3. What happens when we listen to God’s majestic voice?

He is calling you and me to turn to Him, depend on Him and put Him first. You are meant by God to flourish in your relationship with Him. You are called to flourish as part of His joy and His kingdom.

Read Isaiah 55:12. How is the world around you rejoicing because you are His?

Your presence, and your contribution to God’s design, was announced to creation at the beginning of time. God is concerned with your well-being. He made you and you are worthy of care both from others and from yourself. You are accountable for protecting and taking care of yourself.

Read Ephesians 2:10; Psalms 139:14; Genesis 1:27. Why is your care important?

At the end of each day’s Bible seed there will be a suggested way to begin a conversation with God. Conversation. Have a conversation with God now. Thank Him for His voice that can be heard above the din. Thank Him you are part of His joy and His kingdom. Thank Him you are meant for great things as part of His Kingdom. Ask His help to remember these truths throughout the day and to take care of His workmanship — YOU. Listen for a reply. That is the best part of prayer.

Day 5 Date: _____________

Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes?

Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing? Jeremiah 18:14 NIV

For a spring, or well, to be useful to anyone, including ourselves, it has to be fresh and flowing. It cannot be polluted or stagnant. It has to keep moving!

You and I are meant to be vital and strong, enabled with enduring and replenishing resources. It is only then we are able to give anything to others.

When you and I make healthy choices for our physical bodies we multiply our resources to glorify God, better our lives and give to others. Resources may then be delivered rather than sucked out of us until we are dry. No ecosystem survives with only parasitic relationship. You and I are not, and were never meant, to be used, drained, depleted and set-aside. Even Jesus stopped for a rest and a drink of water when He was thirsty and tired rather than staying dehydrated and weary (John 4:3-6). And He was the Son of God.

When — maybe it is right now — have you felt drained to exhaustion? I, personally, have to remember this is different from being bored by the lockdown or annoyed I have to wear a mask.

What is, or did, contribute to this exhaustion?

God’s loves you and desires to provide for you. You may feel like scorched earth right now, but,

He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water; Psalms 107:35 NAS

Have a conversation with God. Admit you are drained. Ask Him what needs to change for you to begin to be replenished? Spend time listening.

Here are some of the things God has given me to replenish me. All of them have been worth the time and effort. If God is guiding you to any of these, choose one and use it to begin unblocking the flowing stream that will revitalize you. Add some of your own.

  • Bible study

  • counseling

  • exercise

  • rest

  • finding a reason to laugh

  • setting priorities

  • planning ahead

  • changing eating/drinking habits (It really is possible to give up caffeine. I promise.)

  • delegating what really doesn’t need to be done by you…and accepting the result

  • surrendering what doesn’t need to be done at all

  • going to church even if it is outside, with a mask and separated by families.

  • saying yes to sunshine

Day 14 Date: _____________

“His faithfulness is a shield”

Psalms 91:4 NAS

Fortification and protection is essential for healthy growth. Fruitful harvest never comes without it. Farmers constantly fortify their crops for greatest yield. Trees are pruned, taking extra weight off branches to protect them from breaking in a storm. Fields are fertilized, watered, weeded and hoed to get air and nutrients to the roots. Crops are covered when harsh weather threatens. Fences prevent predators from eating or damaging the crop. The result: plenty for all.

We are meant to be fortified and protected. God fortifies and protects us because He treasures us. He will provide answers and help in the middle of virus chaos.

He feeds,

“'But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.’” Psalms 81:16 NAS

He prunes,

“'Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.’” John 15:2 NAS

He covers us.

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”

Psalm 91:4 NAS

He creates a place we are shielded from harm.

“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3 BSB

You and I are fortified and protected because we are valuable. How does the process of fortification begin? It begins by getting the cobwebs, mold and dead stuff off of us and removing what sucks our energy away from healthy growth. Read Ezekiel 36:25 and 33; John 15:3. How does God say cleaning begins?

Who does the cleaning?

Have a conversation with God. Thank Him and praise Him for being willing for fortify and protect you even if it means pruning off dead stuff.…stuff that should have been scrapped long ago. Tell Him how you feel about being cleaned by Him and why you have been, or are reluctant now, to be cleaned by Him. Be honest. Listen all day for His reply. He really is trying to communicate with you.

Called to His Presence


But as for me, God's presence is my good. I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,

so I can tell about all You do.”

Psalms 73:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Called to His Presence is the second study in the Life Designed series

following Called to Flourish.

The Life Designed series resulted from sincere questions I constantly heard from believers. “What is my mission from God? What is my life purpose? What am I supposed to do?” The more I sought biblical answers to these questions the more I realized accomplishments were irrelevant to our individual missions from God. They aren’t even close. It seems like achievements should, though, because that is how you and I are often measured.

For Christian believers, being in God’s presence is where and how we find our life mission. It is from this safe, private, refreshing place you and I find meaning and purpose for our lives. It is in God’s presence you and I are nourished, empowered and are sent out to tell, whether in words or actions, “the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is no one to compare with You.” Psalms 40:5 New American Standard Bible (NAS)

Understanding and carrying out God’s work is a result of an intimate relationship with God.

My hope and prayer is this study will be as life-changing and revealing to you as it was to me. I felt an awakening as I studied these Bible passages. I admit, some days I sobbed as I read the ending prayer out loud to God. Other days, I got so excited I ran around the block and then called my friends Alice or Kathy to tell them about my joyous news from God. I felt freedom, release and fulfillment as I explored what God had waiting for me in His Word. Most of all, I wondered, wondered, wondered how it was possible God yearned for me to be with Him.

I hope you enjoy this study and that the study questions reveal new and compelling understandings of the text. There is one page for each of 30 days with a wrap-up. It is very important to have a printed version so you can write down your thoughts. Date them. If you are receiving Called to His Presence by e-mail, please don't distribute the study to others but give them my e-mail address so they can purchase their own copy. It will make the study more valuable to them and give them more incentive to work through it.

Please send me your feedback. I know I can learn from you and your insights.


Day 4 Date: _____________

“The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.” Psalms 104:12 NIV

The garden you described yesterday is meant just for you. You deserve a place to stretch and grow. You are a significant person who God has entrusted value and purpose.

As your time in God’s presence increases, your garden description may change. New possibilities may enter your mind and your life.

My perfect garden probably has similarities and differences to yours. Mine would be well-kept but unstructured for freedom and fun. Colors would run together. It would have plenty of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Hummingbirds would be flitting through the air. Owls would be hooting at night. It would smell like it was going to rain. Best of all, my family and friends would be available. I would work my muscles (I am loving my pick axe) to improve my strength physically, mentally and emotionally.

God would be present and walking in my garden. He wouldn’t have to look for me. He and I would be happy being together.

A boundary fence would be around my garden with a trellised gate I could open to those I welcome, and keep closed to others. The gate might be temporarily closed to some because of timing or permanently closed to protect myself.

It has been hard for me to understand, and take advantage of, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fences with gates. I have to work at setting boundaries, to safeguard and nourish God’s treasure…ME.…and to build healthy relationships. I have to be aware of how to open, and keep open, the gate to God.

Read Matthew 7:14 and Revelation 3:20. What words in these verses substantiate these ideas?

There is a gate, or door, to God’s spiritual garden. It is one you and I can open to God’s presence with anticipation and excitement.

What occasionally diverts your attention from opening the door to God?

Write down one way you need to better respond to God’s knocking.

When will you do this?

Have a conversation with God. Thank Him that He wants you open the door to His presence. Ask Him to help you pay attention to His knocking. What is His reply? Write it here:

Day 11 Date: _____________

“‘"You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You…?’” John 4:12 NAS

I am annoyed when I hear “Don’t question God.” To me, asking God questions shows I trust Him, He is listening and He will answer my questions. I can’t think of any time Jesus shut down a conversation when questions were asked of Him in honest faith or in search of truth. Jesus used interactions with curious people to lay a foundation of trust and draw people to Himself.

Read John 4:4-26. The woman at the well made serious, arrogant and presumptuous requests of Jesus. She was alone, weary and vulnerable, yet, she had enough toughness to question Jesus, and question Him with an attitude.

Here is the setting of the story: it was noon and the sun was hot and bright overhead when the woman walked to the well. Her eyes were on the dry ground to avoid the glare, and gaze of anyone she might pass. She was startled when Jesus spoke to her and replied…

“‘You aren’t from around here. You are a Jew. Who are you to speak to me?

Do You think You are better than Jacob?’” John 4:9,12 paraphrased

Really, she was asking: “Who are you?

Jesus answered her by describing Himself as the provider of what she needed; He was the Person for whom she waited. He opened to her His incredible world of forgiveness and truth.

Saul, who was later called Paul, asked the same question of Jesus. Saul was on his way to Damascus to kill Christians and quell their rebellious faith. He was more direct. He came right out and asked: “Who are you?”(Acts 9:5; Acts 26:15).

When I ask Jesus “Who are you?” I look around and see the magnificence of His creation and acknowledge He is the Creator. When I ask “Who are you?” with my granddaughter in my arms, I know and thank Him He is the comforter and giver of life and joy. When I ask “Who are you?” after I have given others my opinion too freely, I am grateful He is the generous forgiver and it is He is who leads me to seek forgiveness and restoration with others.

“Who are you?” is always the first question to ask Jesus regardless where we are in our Christian lives. Christian faith starts and grows by asking Him that question. Asking, searching and listening for the answer gets our focus off of the ground, like the woman at the well, as we walk in our weary state, struggling to find what can satisfy us. Like Saul, it stops us on our journey and forces us to re-assess it. It is a gutsy question because it will change us for a day or a lifetime. It is the question that allows us to thrive spiritually and envelopes us in His presence.

Stop wherever you are in your journey look up! Have a conversation with God. Ask Jesus “Who are you?” Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in rich, personal and new ways. Praise Him for who He is and what He is doing in your life.

Day 23 Date: _____________

“'We have seen the Lord.’” John 20:25

How many times have you been accused of, or reprimanded yourself for, doubting? I have been told “You just don’t have enough faith.” Yes, I have been stymied by doubt at times, but that comment wasn’t helpful. It accuses me of not trying hard enough. I need to try harder — like they do.

If you, like me, have suffered doubt, there is encouraging news. You and I are in good company.

Here are definitions of doubt:

  • a lack of confidence, distrust, questions abilities

  • an inclination not to believe or accept a claim

  • uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making

  • a deliberate suspension of judgment.

Read John 20:19-29. You and I cheat ourselves by singling out Thomas (and ourselves) as the doubter and missing the uncertainty felt by the rest of the disciples. What emotions were the disciples feeling at the beginning of the passage and why?

To whom did Jesus first show His hands and feet? (John 20:20)

Was Thomas present?

From where could Thomas have gotten the idea of seeing and touching Jesus’ wounds?

Jesus knew, and knows, you and I require His presence to diminish doubt and increase our faith. Showing His hands and feet to the disciples was Jesus’ idea. Jesus knows we need assurance and He makes it clear God will never abandon us.

“‘I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. After a little while, the world no longer is going to see Me, but you are going to see Me; because I live, you also will live.” John 14:18-19 NAS

Read John 14:25-26 and 1 John 4:13. What connects us to Jesus?

Have a conversation with God. Thank Him that He acknowledges your doubts and seeks to remedy them. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and to help you remember the words of Jesus rather than the reprimands of those who belittle the faith you possess. Ask God to help you admit doubts you want to hide from both Him and yourself and realize there is no gain in either of these things. There is comfort and healing waiting for you. What is His reply? Write it here:

Called to Disrupt


Called to Disrupt is the third 30-day devotional Bible study in the Life Designed series.

It follows Called to Flourish and Called to His Presence.

Disrupt is an antagonistic word. It’s definitions:

  • to cause disorder or turmoil

  • to destroy, usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unity

  • to break apart:

  • to radically change (an industry, business strategy, etc.)

Why does this word seem combative, hostile and unfriendly? Because disruption hinders our personal agendas. It redefines who we are, how we should use our time and forces us to rethink our priorities and resources. It is humbling.

Doesn’t that sound like what God wants for us? He wants a glorious disruption. Within this glorious disruption there is joy, wisdom, discernment, surrender and courage. There must be these things to answer God’s call to disrupt. And He does call us to that.

Think about familiar and heroic biblical characters. They disrupted their worlds powerfully. Think about our revolutionary Savior. From His birth, throughout His life, His death and His resurrection, He disrupted. He radically changed, broke apart and destroyed the status quo. He changed DEATH. As you and I seek to be more like Jesus, can we dismiss this part of the challenge?

Called to Disrupt, a collection of devotional Bible studies, asks you to put aside defensiveness and consider your personal call to disrupt. Like personal definitions of boldness, calls to disrupt are subjective. For one person it could mean joining the military or going back to school. To another, it could mean leading or attending a challenging Bible study or changing how and what their family eats for dinner. However it is defined in one’s life, it is difficult. It will get push-back from multiple sources and requires great faith to continue on this call from God. You will argue with God if you are listening to His call because He is asking big things of you. God is asking, and will ask you, to turn aside from your daily routine with curiosity, trust and energy to disrupt your world.

That said, I can’t help but pray this prayer. I hope it helps you begin this study.

Oh, thank you God that you have disrupted my life, redefined who I am, my priorities

and how I should use the resources You have generously given me. How could you

love this undeserving person so much? Thank you for never giving up on me, constantly challenging me and teaching me despite how slow I am to learn and react to your leading.

Thank you for the joy, wisdom, discernment and courage you want to pour out on me.

Help me to surrender myself to You and Your glorious disruption to which You have called me.

My prayer for you is that you find answers to a prayer like this one throughout this devotional study.


Day 2 Date: _____________

“‘I and the Father are one.’ At this, the Jews again picked up stones to stone Him.”

John 10:30-31 Berean Study Bible (BSB)

Anomaly: something that deviates from what is standard, normal or expected.

Jesus was an anomaly. He wasn’t who or what the Jews, Romans, or Gentiles living on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea expected. He didn’t fit normal. He was disturbing on multiple levels.

King Herod was disturbed (Matthew 2:3) by the news of Jesus’ arrival. It caused Herod to order the murder of boys in Bethlehem, 2-years-old and younger, to eliminate his newly born rival. The news of baby Jesus by the angels terrified shepherds (Luke 2:8-9) but resulted in joy and amazement.

Jesus continually alarmed the Pharisees and confused his own family. He tangled standards, traditions, and rules. He broke ranks.

Read Luke 12:51-53. What was Jesus expected to bring to earth?

What did He say He was bringing?

The Contemporary English Version of Luke 12:51 adds clarity to the passage for me.

“‘Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides.’”

His disruption didn’t eliminate His compassion. It elevated it. Jesus healed, fed and welcomed regardless of the day of the week, disease, nationality, age or gender. This was revolutionary and dangerous.

Jesus disrupted everything in the known world. He is disrupting our world because He still makes us all choose sides. There isn’t any sitting in the middle. All must decide who Jesus is. By declaring Jesus as Messiah, you and I disturb the standard, the normal and the expected. You and I are called to disrupt.

This is a difficult challenge. Our culture is moving rapidly toward accepting everything and everyone politically correct at the moment. If anyone pushes back they are bullied, shamed and vilified.

Read John 7:13 and John 9:22-28. How have things changed?

Have a conversation with God. Ask His forgiveness for falling into the trap of cultural compliance (we all do it). Ask Him to help you discern when it is time to be unexpected, nonconformist, and unpopular even when there will be repercussions. Ask His help to be ready for the any reaction; push-backs will come from unexpected places. Declare and write down who Jesus is to you. Find a friend to share your declaration. It is good practice. We need practice. We will be called to disrupt our world with this declaration.

Day 5 Date: _____________

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Proverbs 27:1 BSB

Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash disrupted our church service. Members of our congregation were thankful they were worthy of this disruption.

Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park is 50 yards from our church building. Bryant was an investor in the facility and was there often. He and his daughter were on their way to one of her games at the academy when the helicopter crashed. Her team was waiting for her.

When the terrible news arrived, the academy’s security guard rushed next door to our service and found help. My friend Nancy — a biblical counselor — and others were tapped and streamed out the door to a baffled pastor in the middle of his sermon. They rushed through parking lots and into stunned teenagers, coaches and parents reacting in disbelief. Prayer circles were formed. Hugs were offered. Grief was acknowledged. Support was given. The Holy Spirit was there.

Should you and I pray for disruption? This example shouts loud and clear. Yes! I think we should be praying for Holy Spirit disruption and preparing for it.

…worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15 New Living Translation

Be ready. How? Read the following verses. Write down how to prepare.

Hebrews 10:24-26

Acts 2:42,

2 Timothy 3:16-17,

Isaiah 1:16-17

Building relationships with neighbors (how else would we know if they are oppressed or suffering), reading, studying and memorizing scripture, praying for guidance, discernment and help, obedience, meeting together and building relationships within the church to join spiritual forces are all ways to prepare. They are ways to welcome God’s disruption.

Have a conversation with God. Ask Him for a mindset that prepares you for disruption. Ask Him how you should prepare for Him to act to glorify Himself and promote His kingdom. What is His reply? Write it here:

Wrap Up Date: _____________

“…go to the street called Straight.…” Acts 9:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

I would like to leave you with this question: what if? What if each of the biblical lives we considered made different choices. Nicodemus, Joseph, Zaccheus, the Centurion, the Syrophoenician woman, Paul, Peter, David, Gideon, Moses, the man who needed to bury his father, Joshua, the disciples.

You and I don’t know if those who walked away from Jesus had a heart change later. Maybe. Hopefully. We do know Jesus loved them all and wanted all of them to follow Him.

We know those who stepped off of the path of routine, conformity, pride and fear changed their own lives, their families’ lives and a large swath of Europe and the Middle East for millenniums.

So, what if? What if you to step off the path to answer God’s call? His call may seem trivial to some, or even to you. It may seem so over-the-top it boarders on the impossible. God doesn’t compare calls. He asks you and me to act upon them. God weaves these calls, and the completion of them, into His purpose.

Read Acts 9:10-19. Write down what you know about Judas from this passage.

It is unlikely this Judas is related to any other Judas in the New Testament. Judas was a very common name in Jesus’ time and region. We know little about the Judas in this passage, only where he lived. He was, probably, one of the believers Saul was authorized to imprison.

You and I can only surmise the inner conflict Judas felt as he opened his home to Saul. Had Judas been warned? Did he recognize Saul? Saul was a threat; those leading him, because he was blind, may have seemed as threatening as Saul himself.

This act of faith by Judas, which I have overlooked for decades, should be compared to one of us opening our home to a man who claims to have converted to Christianity a few days ago ad before that, was an active ISIS terrorist. Judas’ shows us how every act of obedience to God is meaningful, probably scary, inconvenient and disruptive.

Your call to disrupt, your stepping off the path, depends on God’s unique call to you. It is vital you get help from other believers and be in a continuous dialogue with God as you turn to answer His call. You may never know how stepping off your path, or staying on it, effects or will effect the world. God asks you to trust Him.

Judas stepped off his path and welcomed God’s choice to evangelize the known world. The ministry of Paul, formerly known as Saul, began when Judas opened the door of his home on Straight Street in Damascus. Go figure.

Have a conversation with God. Thank Him for those who questioned, who were afraid, who needed help and did what God asked of them, anyway. Ask for clarity to understand His call to you and courage to act upon it. Ask for more of Him: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.