29 May 2017

Resist the Temptations of Summer

Resist the temptations of summer.


How much time are you wasting?

Here we are in the early in the summer and I can see that Satan is winning some battles among us. We’ve got to resist the temptations of summer. I can tell many of you are not putting your full effort into your job search. Your absence at JS shows it; your lack of activity on LinkedIn proves it.

The topic last week was “How to earn $15K real fast.” Would you run eight $20 bills through the shredder every day? If you take the summer off, that’s the lost income for the average member of JobSeekers. Some of you are doing the equivalent of shredding money by your lack of effort!

During the meeting I asked, “If you were accused of looking for a job, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

For many of you, the answer is “no.”

Are the temptations of summer causing you to lose focus?

In this hyper-competitive job market, you’ve got to get your game face on. You’ve got to get your act together. You’ve got to get out there every day and put the pedal to the metal. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for the economy to improve in NOT an option.

If you want to change your results, come to JS and do what we teach.

If you really want to get back to work, do everything you can do to find a job – and leave to God what only He can do. We believe in a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (See Ephesians 3:20.)

What are the implications of this?

When you succumb to the temptations of summer, your job search gets stretched out. These temptations are not sins as we typically think of sin; sin is doing (or not doing) something that prevents us from finding a job. See James 4:17, which says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Here are three examples:

  1. An employer called me looking for a payroll administrator with ADP experience. I searched my database of résumés and couldn’t find a single match. I was certain we’d had someone at JobSeekers within the past six months with that background. He or she failed to send a resume to me and he or she missed a job opportunity.
  2. One time I was speaking to Pat Brannon, who has given hundreds of networking leads to JobSeekers over the years. He said he gets really upset with people who he invests time with, learns their needs, gives them leads, and then they fail to follow up on them. Both Pat and I can cite specific people who have failed to follow up on networking and/or job leads. Since 80% of all jobs are found through networking, it is a safe bet that someone has missed a job because they failed to follow up.
  3. People tell me they are going to take it easy during the summer. If you earn $62,500 per year and succumb to temptation by taking the entire summer off, your summer vacation will cost you $13K. If you reduce your effort by 30% (how would we measure such a thing?), your summer slump will cost you $3,600. If you can afford to do that, great; but most people I talk to need a job now.

When we are out of work and money is tight, we are more vulnerable.

Resist the temptations of summer.

Friends, the devil may have been waiting since the last crisis point in your life – like the last time you looked for a job – for you to be as vulnerable as you are now! Whether or not the Evil One caused you to lose your job, I don’t know. But I know this for sure: he will do everything he can to take advantage of the situation.

In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge asks (p. 155, the text within the brackets are my additions), “If you are having trouble taking in all of this, let me ask you: Have you had this experience? Something bad happens [you lose your job], and you start telling yourself what a jerk [failure] you are. Do you really think the source of that is just you? Or God? Think about it this way: Who would take the most delight in it? … Start by simply entertaining the notion that the source might be something besides your ‘low self-esteem.’”

Your lack of confidence, self-doubt and low self-esteem may not come from within. Here’s another thing I am sure of: when you have a negative thought that causes you to lose momentum in your campaign, it is not coming from God. Furthermore, Eldredge says that other Christians, including and especially our families, deliver some of the worst blows to our heart (p. 116 and 154). These people don’t understand who is stirring them to say things to wound you. He sights Peter as an example. When Peter told Jesus he shouldn’t go to Jerusalem for Holy Week Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:21-23).

Since reading this book about spiritual warfare I look at my life, my business and your job search in a different light. For example, Satan can use a televised baseball game to his advantage. Oftentimes I stay up late to watch a game that I don’t even care about. Then I sleep a little later the next day. Maybe I could have used the extra hour in the morning to help one more person find a job. When I let myself get distracted by low priority items, I can also see that they are preventing me from growing my business. If I don’t grow my business, I won’t be able to serve Christ as ably. And who would take delight in that?

In James 4:7 we are commanded to “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” And 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone [you, while you are unemployed] to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers [other JobSeekers] throughout the world are undergoing the same sort of sufferings.” Take hold of these promises from God.

Be aware that the assaults on your heart can be overt, or they can be very subtle. Added together though, all of them can have an impact with eternal consequences. Your heart is good. You matter to God. He wants you to have a job and an abundant life. Resist the devil and he will flee from you!

Action item: Write to me and share how you have been engaged in battle with the Enemy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I implore your to recognize the enemy, resist the devil, get into God’s word, claim the power of the Holy Spirit, be steadfast in prayer, fellowship with other Christians, and work harder and smarter on your job search during the summer than you did a month ago. God has many blessings in store for you. Now that’s something you can have faith in!

Come to JobSeekers on Friday to claim the abundant life God has in store for you!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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    We Reap What We Sow

    We-Reap-What-We-Sow


    Where are you scattering your seed?

    I met with a client recently who has two companies after him right now – one said, “What would it take to get you to join our company?” He just launched his campaign. We reap what we sow. This client is doing the hard work necessary to prepare himself for this competitive job market and it is paying off. He is reaping what he sowed.

    Several years ago another JobSeeker, Ken King, wrote to me about some networking success he’d had. He said, “I’m convinced that networking is like planting seeds. Some will germinate, but it may take a while. The seeds need ongoing attention to help them grow.”

    It occurred to me that Jesus told a similar story; it’s known as the parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23:

    (1-9) That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”

    (18-23) “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

    Jesus was talking about those who hear the Good News in this parable. The way we respond to the call of God has eternal consequences. The cool thing about parables is that they teach truths about our time here on earth as well. I believe this parable is where we get the phrase, “We reap what we sow.”

    When it comes to job search, this parable teaches us that we experience the consequences of our actions. The seeds and soil represent the way we sow (use) our strategy, tools and skills:

    Along the path.

    Job boards may seem like the path of least resistance, but Jesus teaches us that the evil one snatches our seed away. Of the four places to scatter seed, this is the only one where Jesus mentions Satan. Satan loves it when we rely on ad response because thousands of birds are snatching our résumés away before employers get to see them. Responding to ads gives us false hope.

    I hear those of you scattering seeds along the path saying, “Dave, I don’t know what’s wrong, I’ve sent out 50 résumés and haven’t heard a thing back.”

    In rocky places.

    This represents those of us who begin networking with joy, but when trouble comes we quickly fall away. We give it a try but quickly let it go when it fails to produce a crop. We get pumped up on Friday, but by the time the sun comes up on Monday, we revert to job boards or fall into depression or get distracted by competing priorities.

    Those of you who sow in rocky places say, “I’ve tried networking; I called someone and left a message and they didn’t call me back. Networking works for other people, but not for me.”

    Among the thorns.

    Here we are networking hard, but worries and deceitfulness choke our enthusiasm out, making our efforts unfruitful. We try networking and have some success, but get bogged down for a couple of reasons: “analysis paralysis” and “all eggs in one basket.” Sometimes we get so focused on one job that if it doesn’t bear fruit, there are no other seeds that have broken the surface, so we have to start the cycle again by sowing more seeds.

    Those of you who sow among the thorns say, “I’m interviewing for a job and I need to focus all my attention on this one so I don’t blow it.”

    On good soil.

    Those of us who sow in good soil produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times what we sow. Like Ruben and Ken, we “get it.” We know that producing a crop a crop takes time and informed effort. We sow some seed every day. We nurture the seed we’ve already sown. We do our best to give it the right amount of sunlight, water and fertilizer. We pull weeds and prune. Over time our efforts yield a crop – one or more job offers.

    For those of you who sow in good soil, I hear you saying things like, “I met with my advisory board and they’ve given me some new ideas.” “That call didn’t go so well, but I’m not giving up.” “I asked a friend for help and you won’t believe what happened.”

    We reap what we sow.

    Which of these four characterizes your search? When you look around at your garden, are birds snatching your message and flying away? Do you try networking but quickly revert to job boards? Have you zeroed in on one thing to the exclusion of all others? Or do you accept disappointment and failure as part of the process of success?

    ACTION ITEM: As soon as you finish reading this message, I challenge you to call three friends and ask for advice, information and/or referrals (AIR). Plant some seeds like this week’s client and Ken did.

    Come to JobSeekers Friday and let us know what happened.

    Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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      Scuba Divers Perish 10 Feet From Safety

      Ginnie Springs


      Never, never, never give up. You may be
      10 feet from your saving light.

      When I moved to Florida many years ago, I took up scuba diving. My scuba diving home was a place called Ginnie Springs in north central Florida. I use the story of my first trip to Ginnie – and the sheer terror I felt on my first dive into the spring – in some of my teaching to describe what an empowering experience it was to conquer my fears and expand my comfort zone.

      A few years ago I had the pleasure of taking my kids to Ginnie for some snorkeling. We were on the way home from Tampa after a five-day cruise to celebrate my parents’ anniversary.

      I love scuba diving because it is an extra-sensory experience. Most people know about the feeling of weightlessness. Light does interesting things. It doesn’t diffuse very well; that is, it doesn’t bend around corners. Reds fade to gray at a depth of 30 feet; other colors melt away as depth increases and at 120 feet everything is gray. To be weightless and in pitch black on a night dive is very disorienting.

      One thing that blew me away was the fact that you can’t sense a person who is just inches away. I lost my dive buddy one time; I looked left, right, forward and backward and couldn’t see him. I thought about how much trouble I was going to be in because I lost my dive buddy. Making just the slightest movement toward the surface, I bumped into him. If he had been that close to me on terra firma, I would have felt him breathing on my neck.

      Scuba divers perish 10 feet from safety.

      Back to Ginnie Springs. In addition to the spring for which the park gets its name, there are two other springs there, Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear. These two springs are less than 100 feet apart; it’s well known that a cave connects them. In spite of repeated warnings of the imminent danger, a few untrained divers have attempted to traverse the underwater cave. You’ve probably guessed by now that some don’t make it.

      One of my instructors, Steve Straatsma, was one of three or four people in Florida who recovered bodies from caves. One night he was telling us about the last extraction he’d done. It was a father and son. When they gave up hope of finding the exit, the father wrote a farewell note to his wife on an underwater tablet. Steve said the amazing thing was that they were 10 feet from daylight. If they had only looked around the next corner, if only they hadn’t given up hope.

      Don’t perish 10 feet from your next job.

      Being in a job search is an extra sensory experience too. Maybe you feel weightless – or maybe you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Perhaps everything is gray and melancholy for you, or maybe even pitch black. Maybe you can’t feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, even though he is breathing on the back of your neck. Maybe you feel like you’ll never find a job.

      Friends, don’t give up! Never give up hope. Your next job may be 10 feet away, even though you can’t see it. Take Steve’s advice and look around every corner. When I experienced disappointment and frustration with my job search in September 2000, my friend Fred Fratto reminded me that it’s always darkest right before the dawn. He was right; 30 days later I had the first conversation that led to me accepting a great position with a leading training and consulting company.

      Light dawns in the darkness.

      You have the Light of the World (see #10 below) shining on your face; when you trust Christ to be your guide, you will never walk in darkness – you will have the Light of Life before you. Here are just a few verses concerning darkness and light:

      1. Psalm 112:4 – Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. (Contemporary English Version)
      2. 2 Samuel 22:29 – You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
      3. Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
      4. Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
      5. Isaiah 9:2 – The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
      6. Isaiah 42:16 – I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
      7. Micah 7:8 – Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.
      8. 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
      9. 1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
      10. John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

      See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we step out of the darkness and into the Light!

      Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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        How King Hezekiah Prospered

        Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Spring of Gihon -- low rez


        Hezekiah’s Tunnel from the Spring of Gihon

        JobSeekers’ name is derived from Matthew 6:33, which says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In this week’s message, we will examine one of the great Old Testament kings, Hezekiah, who descended from kings David and Solomon. Hezekiah lived the spirit of Matthew 6:33 more than 700 years before Jesus spoke those words.

        The account of Hezekiah, King of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is found in 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 36-39. He was 25 when he became king in 728 BC; he reigned 29 years, so he was 54 when he died (2 Kings 18:2 and 2 Chronicles 29:1). He was a good king and oversaw:

        1. Spiritual reform.

        He purified the temple (which had been corrupted by his father and other kings), oversaw great sacrifices (600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats), and led the spiritual reform of the people. “There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.” – 2 Chronicles 30:26

        2. Economic prosperity.

        The Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The chief priest said: “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.” – 2 Chronicles 31:10

        3. Relative peace.

        In 722, the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Israel (the adjacent Northern Kingdom) fell to Sennacherib and the Assyrians. Eight years after the fall of the Northern Kingdom, Sennacherib attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. He taunted Hezekiah and insulted the living God. Hezekiah prayed for deliverance from Sennacherib. “That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36).” When Sennacherib fled back to Nineveh, his sons killed him with a sword.

        Hezekiah’s Downfall

        At the age of 39, things were going very well for Hezekiah, just like things were going well for us when we were rocking along in our careers. Guess what? Hezekiah’s heart filled with pride (2 Chronicles 32:25).

        Were you full of pride when things were going well in your career? I was.

        This displeased God and Hezekiah became ill. Isaiah suggests that it had something to do with boils (Isaiah 38:21). “Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 32:25). Here’s the account in Isaiah 38:1-6:

        In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

        Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add 15 years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.’”

        Hezekiah repented of the pride in his heart and God added 15 years to his life. During this time Judah enjoyed more peace and prosperity. He oversaw the building of storehouses, villages and a tunnel – which was one-third of a mile long – that brought fresh water from the Spring of Gihon into Jerusalem.

        He Sought His God and Worked Wholeheartedly

        Throughout his reign (with the one exception mentioned above), the key to his success lies in 2 Chronicles 31:20-21; it is one of my favorite verses for job seekers: “This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”

        Hezekiah sought his God and worked wholeheartedly; and so he prospered.

        It drives me crazy when a JobSeeker tells me he or she is trusting in the Lord – and then I find out he or she is sitting on the couch watching Dr. Phil and waiting on the phone to ring. Friends, this is not what God has called us to do! He has called us to trust him AND to work wholeheartedly.

        To what degree would God say you are seeking him in your job search?

        To what degree would God say you are working wholeheartedly on your job search?

        J.B. Kirk once said to me, “Part of our sanctification process is going through a period of brokenness.” As you go through a period of brokenness, do what Hezekiah did. Seek the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength. Listen to his guidance and instruction, AND work wholeheartedly on your job search as he directs you. Like Hezekiah, you will have success and prosperity again as long as you seek the Lord AND work wholeheartedly. Not only will you come out of this process with a good job, your faith will be stronger.

        See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we seek the Lord and work wholeheartedly!

        Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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          Power in Jars of Clay

          Clay-Jars-low-rezWhen I think about job seekers and the challenges we face during career transition, sometimes I think about potters and jars of clay. It’s mentioned in chapter four of Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. My church uses handmade pottery to serve communion to small groups. I have a beautiful watercolor painting of a clay jar in my office that was created by former JobSeeker Lori Withner.

          Clay in the Hands of the Potter

          Both the Old and New Testament use clay as a metaphor. In the OT, we are described as clay in the hands of The Potter. Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” We are being transformed into the image of God and of his son Jesus. It is amazing what can be accomplished, and how we can be transformed, when we place ourselves in The Potter’s hands.

          Here’s the same metaphor used in Jeremiah18:1-6: “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the LORD. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’”

          We get marred on this journey of life, and yet The Potter forms us into another pot. What new pot is the Lord shaping you into?

          Jars of Clay

          In the New Testament, we are described as jars of clay. First Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” It’s only we when go through the kiln of life that we become shiny and strong. Yet our earthy bodies are nothing compared to the extraordinary bodies we will have in heaven. Paul makes one thing known for sure: these earthly bodies, fragile though they are, can hold God’s treasure — his all-surpassing power.

          As you experience your job search, and with this in mind, ask God these three questions:

          1. Lord, what do you want me to learn as I go through my job search?

          Oftentimes, we put lids on our jars that prevent us from hearing God’s gentle leading or from receiving His blessings. Open your eyes and ears, hearts and minds to the leading of His spirit. Respond to His call. For instance, here’s what a JobSeeker wrote one time:

          “He’s TRULY A GOOD GOD, because even when I gave up on myself, He never gave up on me. There was one thing I especially learned through my journey: I had to give up on myself in order for Him to work on me. Please let everyone know that I am praying for all of them. God will move in our lives on His time, not ours.”

          2. How do you want me to change?

          Allow The Potter to mold you into the person he wants you to be. Einstein’s definition of insanity applies. To get a different result, we have to think differently, do things differently and become a different person. One fellow that I met with said “I am a spiritually changed man because of this 16-month job search.” Shortly after that he received an offer out of the blue (or from Heaven above?) on a position that was dead two months earlier. God is good.

          3. Who do you want me to serve in your name?

          This job search is not about you only; it’s about how you are going to use the talents God has given you to serve his purposes here on this earth. We receive blessings so that we may be a blessing to others. Whether it’s through your vocation, avocation – or just the selfless gift of your time and energy, serve others. Some of the best therapy I’ve ever experienced is when I’ve helped others. Ask God to fill your jar up so that you can pour his blessings on others.

          If you do this — learn, change, serve — you will be ready to withstand the hardships associated with job search. Listen to the next two verses in 1 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” No matter how badly things are going at the moment, God will never leave you nor forsake you.

          See you Friday at JobSeekers; the place where we fill our jars up!

          Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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            Power, Love and Self-Discipline

            Power, Love and Self-Discipline


            Be bold like these guys. Stick your neck out.

            One verse I associate closely with the process of finding a job is “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).” I quote this verse sometimes when I’m encouraging a client to pick up the phone and call someone, or to memorized and repeat before an interview. And this quote by James Conant reminds us all to stick our necks out sometimes.

            Paul was writing to encourage a young preacher named Timothy, a young man whom Paul thought of as a son. On one of his missionary trips, Paul left Timothy behind to be in charge of developing churches in the city of Ephesus and the region of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). We think of Timothy as timid, but what he was doing required boldness of an extraordinary kind. For most of us, job search also requires boldness of an extraordinary kind.

            One time four clients and I were talking about the positive and negative aspects of introversion and extroversion in job search. Introversion is beneficial only in the first two or three weeks of your campaign – while you are developing your plan, strategy and marketing collateral. Extroversion, of course, is necessary to make contact with the people who can help or hire you.

            Our challenge occurs because we have to be our best extroverted self at a time in our life when our confidence has been shaken by the loss of our job, rejection by potential employers, uncertainty about who we are and what we have been designed to do, and a host of other ego-sapping messages. You may have received a message similar to this: “You’re not worth having around our company anymore; now put a smile on your face and tell the world what a valuable employee you are.” How can we be bold when the world is putting us down?

            It’s easy to see why we end up in a state of timidity. It’s in our human and sinful nature. Timidity influences us to sit at the computer all day and search for job leads, a process that gets more depressing with each passing day. Timidity tells us that we are not valuable and not wanted. Timidity causes us to withdraw more and more until we are like a turtle sucked into his shell in the middle of a busy highway.

            Satan gives us a spirit of timidity; God gives us a spirit of:

            Power

            Unlimited strength is at our disposal. The power that brought Christ back to life is available to all of us. “But he said to me [Paul], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

            Love

            Let love your your family motivate you. Love drives out fear as we see in the passage that says God is love. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18)

            Self-discipline

            One of the toughest jobs in the world is looking for a job. It is hard to face uncertainty, rejection, financial stress, and much more. This passage teaches that God has given us a spirit of self-control or self-mastery. The people who find jobs the quickest are the ones who take a disciplined approach to their job search every day. The people who find jobs the quickest are the ones who take risks and leave their comfort zone. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13)

            The same power, love and self-discipline that were available to Timothy and Paul are available to all of us. All we have to do is claim it, believe it, and act on it.

            See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we are strengthened with power, love and self-discipline!

            Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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              The Worst Decision Ever

              worst decision ever


              Make the best decision ever.

              Who made the worst decision ever? There’s a link between this week’s message and the community-wide Good Friday Service, which is held annually here in PTC.

              Seven pastors and priests from our community will preach a 10-12 minute sermon on one of the seven last words (sentences actually) that Christ spoke while he hung on the cross.

              The 36th annual service with be at Peachtree City United Methodist Church at 12 noon.

              Here are the seven last words of Christ:

              1. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
              2. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
              3. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
              4. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
              5. Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
              6. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
              7. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

              Friends, I urge you to make time to attend this meaningful service. This will be my 14th time attending – all since I left my “traditional” job. If you are reading this and are in transition, you won’t even have to take time off work!

              – – – – – – –

              This week’s message about the worst decision ever made has to do with the two criminals who were crucified on either side of Jesus; here’s the story as told in the 23rd chapter of Luke:

              One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

              But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

              Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

              The first criminal made the worst decision ever.

              He had less than six hours to live. He knew it, and there was nothing he could do about it. He was hanging on a cross next to the Lord of all Creation and the Light of the World. Whether he decided yes or no, it was not going to change his circumstance or the length of his life here on earth one iota, but it would determine where he spent eternity. The man was about to die and he rejected Christ!

              Here’s an excerpt from “Cries from the Cross” by Erwin W. Lutzer:

              Both thieves had an equal opportunity. Both heard the words of Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them.’ Both knew that Jesus was ridiculed for claiming that He was King of the Jews. Both heard the witness of Jesus’ enemies, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One’ (Luke 23:35). And yet these thieves will be apart forever, each in his own separate destiny. Even as you read these words, one is in the presence of Jesus, the other in a place of isolation, grief and horror. What separated them was not the degree of their wickedness nor their distance from Christ; they are separated because one called on Christ for help and the other derided him.

              Each of the robbers saw and heard the same things, but they made a different decision. Approximately 1984 years later they are experiencing the consequences of their decision. Ten thousand years from now they will still be experiencing those same consequences.

              What struck me is that here in south metro Atlanta, we all have the same data (The Good News) and yet we have made different decisions about our relationship with Christ. Some have chosen Christ as their Savior and Lord – others have not, even though they attend church regularly. I’ve heard that only 20% of the members in a typical American congregation are truly Christians; that is, they have made Christ their Savior and Lord.

              You can make the best decision ever.

              My concern is that a typical JobSeekers meeting must be the same way. Most or all of us would say we are Christian, yet when judgment day comes, 80% of us may be headed in the wrong direction. Where are you in your relationship with Christ? If you haven’t made the commitment or you aren’t sure, I urge you to commit your heart and your life to Christ. If you are a believer, I urge you to pray that the Good News will convict others during this Holy Week.

              Where you will spend eternity is not the only reason to choose Christ. I’ve found that having Christ’s presence in my life is the key to being joyful, no matter what my circumstance. Jesus said good and bad things happen to everyone: “He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).” We all face difficult times, why not have Christ there to lead you through them?

              I admit that I had to look this up; here’s what you need to do:

              A four-step salvation prayer.

              1. Acknowledge in your heart that Jesus is Lord.
              2. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
              3. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised three days later.
              4. Repent of your sins and get baptized in the name of Jesus.

              To learn more, click here.

              Friends, one of the times in our lives that we are most receptive to the Good News of Christ is when we are looking for a job and feel we are running out of options. Don’t make Christ your last option; make him your first choice. Lutz cites his mentor Warren Wiersbe as saying that the thief didn’t accept Christ at his last opportunity, but more likely at his first opportunity because he probably had never encountered Jesus before. Whether it’s your first or last encounter – or somewhere in between – today is the day and now is the time to believe in Christ.

              Lutz concludes the chapter with this: “The thief’s forgiveness reminds us that there is more grace in God’s heart than sin in our past. We, like he, can also receive a welcome in the life beyond if we transfer our trust to the One who holds the key to the gates of paradise.”

              See you Friday at JobSeekers – where we rejoice in the Risen Christ.

              Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                Don’t Lose Heart, Don’t Lose Hope

                hope“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air… but only for one second without hope.” – Hal Lindsey

                Every now and then I get a hint that the positive energy that is so evident at a JobSeekers meeting is a turn-off to some. Some people have a very difficult time embracing hope when life seems hopeless; seeing the new day dawning when they are in their darkest night; expecting a great outcome when all they can see is a train wreck in their rearview mirror. Hanging out with folks who are at odds with your present view of life can be a real downer!

                Some members of JobSeekers who didn’t lose hope.

                A few years ago we had a member named Paul who gave a very rousing testimony about the ups and downs of his job long search. I admired his transparency because all of us have felt the emotions he’s felt, we just wouldn’t describe them in detail to 30+ people! For instance, he said Friday was the only day of the workweek when he knew he’d have to get out of his pajamas and get dressed for work. Even when he was down Paul came to JobSeekers.

                Paul also told us about a rejection letter he received; it said, “After prayerful consideration, we’ve decided to go in a different direction.” Paul really wanted that job; of course he was disappointed. Five minutes later, the phone rang and an offer from another company came in. He accepted. Paul didn’t lose heart, and he didn’t lose hope. He looked for a job even when he didn’t feel like it.

                Another job seeker sent me an email right after she had accepted a new job. She said she had been working a “dead end” job for three months. She told me how discouraged she had been and wrote: “Don’t back down on your encouragement to others! When I would attend the meetings and hear encouraging words from others who had ‘been there,’ I was like, ‘yeah right, but I need a job!’”

                As I reflected on her message, I thought of this verse from Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

                Folks, if you are down and out, come to JobSeekers. If you aren’t in the same place as many of the other folks, that’s okay! We want to meet you – and God wants to meet you – right where you are. If you are in a depressed state right now, remember that it is – or it can be – a temporary state, just as it was for these two people. Get the help you need to pull yourself out of the pit of despair. One good place to start is at JobSeekers of PTC on Friday morning. Don’t lose heart, and don’t lose hope. The LORD is close and he will save you. It starts when you turn to him and ask for help.

                The lady who wrote the email found out that God was working for good all along, even though she couldn’t see or feel it. She finished by saying, “It has taken a lot of prayer and patience and a lot of dead-end interviews, but the miracle is that this firm was not advertising for someone, but somehow they found me! Tell me that wasn’t God’s hand in it!”

                In May 2006 I spoke to fellow named Phil, a client and job seeker who’d been having a tough time – he had come close on several opportunities during his search, but couldn’t seem to get one across the finish line. His latest disappointment was that he’d not heard back from the hiring manager about a job he really wanted. We made plans to have lunch and a strategy session the next day. Monday night at 9:15 the manager called and offered him the job, so we celebrated instead. Since then Phil has changed jobs and careers and he’s never been happier.

                Click here for one more example.

                The Psalmist didn’t loose hope.

                I show Psalm 42 to my clients sometimes. The Psalmist is in agony, lamenting the days of old when things were good: “My tears have been my food day and night.” But here’s what I point out: even though his spirit is crushed, he says he will continue to praise God: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” The Psalmist didn’t loose heart, and he didn’t loose hope.

                With Christ, we always have hope, no matter how poorly things are going at the moment.

                You never know how close you are to landing a job – but you’ve got to keep doing the things that lead to success. Come to JobSeekers this week. Keep the faith. Keep trying. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Brighter days are ahead.

                See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where God turns despair into hope!

                Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                  When Someone Shatters Your Dreams

                  When Someone Shatters Your Dreams


                  Joseph’s coat of many colors.

                  When someone shatters your dreams, make new ones. Joseph is a case in point. Things were going well for him. The favorite son of Jacob, he had his father’s favor far more than any of his 11 brothers. His dad loved him so much he gave him the well-known “coat of many colors.”

                  Things were going well for him until he told his brothers about a couple of dreams he had. In one he dreamt that he and his brothers were sheaves of wheat and all the other sheaves bowed down to him. In the other the sun and moon and 11 stars were all bowing to him. His brothers were so angry that they threw him into a pit and left him to die. Right before they left Joseph, a group of Ishmaelites came by. Seizing the opportunity to make a buck, they sold him for 20 pieces of silver instead.

                  Joseph’s brothers shattered his dreams, so he made new ones.

                  We’ve all had times in our life when things were going well. Then our dreams were shattered. Maybe it was the loss of a job, a home, a loved one, a marriage, or other intimate relationship. For Joseph, it was the loss of his family, his security and his way of life. So he made new dreams.

                  The Ishmaelites sold him into slavery in Egypt to serve one of Pharaoh’s officers, Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Joseph won favor there and received promotions to head of household. Things were going well again; Joseph had a good job and a comfortable life. Then his dreams were shattered again. Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and tried to seduce him. After many unsuccessful attempts, she framed him for attempted rape. Joseph was thrown in jail.

                  Potiphar’s wife shattered Joseph’s dreams, so he made new ones.

                  He was in jail at least two years. Instead of whining and complaining, he won the favor of the jailer. During this time two other prisoners, who had also worked in Potiphar’s household, told Joseph about dreams they had. Joseph accurately predicted that within three days, Pharaoh would free one prisoner and hang the other.

                  Some time later, Pharaoh had a dream. He called all the wise men and magicians he knew of and no one could interpret the dream. The prisoner who had been released told Pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph was called from jail and interpreted the dream to mean that Egypt would have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed he removed Joseph from jail and promoted him to ruler of all of Egypt, second in power only to himself.

                  Joseph had a job again. He’d received what might have been two knockout blows in his life so far, and yet he picked himself up off the canvas and made the best of a bad situation. That’s what God wants us to do too; make the most of our bad situations. I’ve received two big blows in my career – in 1992 and 2000 – and in both cases things have turned out better in the new situation than the old. Things are going well for me again.

                  Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key.

                  I want to challenge all of you to make the most of your situation. Be resilient like Joseph. Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key. I want you to be able to look back one day and say you like your new job better than the previous one; or that you like your new life better than the old one.

                  The story of Joseph concludes with some sweet revenge and a reunion with his family. The seven-year famine struck Israel too, and 10 of his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain. When they appeared before Joseph, they didn’t recognize him. He spoke through an interpreter to complete his disguise. He put them through all kinds of misery until all 11 brothers threw themselves on the ground before Joseph and begged for mercy. At that point Joseph revealed his true identity and the whole family, about 70 people in all, were reunited in Egypt and spared from the famine.

                  That brings me to my last point. Joseph didn’t get even; he got ahead. He could have gotten even with his brothers by throwing them in jail and leaving them there; or he could have sold them into slavery as they had done to him. Instead he chose the high road. He taught them a lesson in humility and then used his power to make things better for everyone.

                  So, instead of thinking about getting even with your former employer, and instead of dwelling on whatever bitterness, rage or anger you may have, look for a job or career that is pleasing to God, good for your family, and rewarding for you.

                  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
                  – Ephesians 4:31 & 32

                  See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we make new dreams!

                  Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                    How to Ride the Emotional Roller Coaster

                    One of my clients recently asked me about the emotional roller coaster of job search. I told him and my other two clients that when I got into the career management business 24 years ago, I was taught that job seekers would have good days and bad days. This has not been my experience. What I’ve learned when I’ve been in the midst of the most difficult times in my life is that I have good minutes and bad minutes; joy one moment and despair the next. They concurred.

                    When my kids and I rode eight roller coasters at Six Flags during Spring break a few years ago, I saw more clearly than ever why roller coasters are such a great metaphor for the ups and downs of job search (and for life in general). There are a lot of ups and downs, stops and starts, twists and turns, light and dark. Here are the eight roller coasters we rode:

                    1. Batman: The Ride – Soar like a bat out of Hades, through, above – and even underneath – Gotham City, suspended from the rails of one of the most innovative coasters of all time.
                    2. Superman: Ultimate Flight – Face down your fear – face first – as you fly above Georgia at super speed – just like the man of steel, Superman.
                    3. Georgia Cyclone – Fasten your seat belts. You’re in for some heavy turbulence aboard Georgia’s one-and-only Cyclone – a wooden coaster for riders with nerves of steel.
                    4. Mind Bender – Go on a thrill bender – let North America’s original three-loop coaster blow your mind.
                    5. Ninja – The thrills are awesome, but you won’t see them coming till it’s too late on Ninja –the black belt of all steel coasters.
                    6. The Georgia Scorcher – Put your feet to the fire on The Georgia Scorcher – one of the Southeast’s tallest and fastest stand-up roller coasters.
                    7. The Great American Scream Machine – There’s nothing like a wooden coaster for bone-jangling jitters and the Scream Machine is a living legend – once the tallest coaster in the world.
                    8. Goliath – It’s big, it’s mean, and it wants to take you for a ride. Meet Goliath—the gigantic steel coaster the other rides call “Sir.” Top speed: 70 miles per hour. Elevation: over 20 stories tall. [They didn’t publish the G-forces on this ride, but another (Ninja) hits four G’s, so I assume this one is greater.]

                    We went on Goliath first. I remember hitting the bottom of the first curve and realizing that my spine doesn’t enjoy the G-forces quite like it used to. Prior to that, I thought of roller coasters as more of an up-and-down event. Now I think of loop-the-loops, inversions and other disorienting experiences – sort of like job search.

                    On Superman, for instance, you are suspended face down looking at the ground to start. Click here to see what I’m talking about. (Warning: don’t get bogged down surfing this site, like I’m prone to do.) When the ride ended they had a mechanical problem, and we spent about 15 minutes staring at a red metal floor. It was uncomfortable and boring – sort of like job search sometimes.

                    Many years ago I learned about, and then taught, the grief cycle to my classes. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross found that people go through five stages of grief when they learn of their impending death. Job search and other life changes follow a similar pattern. They are:

                    1. Denial. “No, not me! I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
                    2. Anger. “Why me? How dare you do this to me!”
                    3. Bargaining. “If I do this good deed, maybe I’ll find a job within a week.”
                    4. Depression. “It really has happened. I can’t bear going through this.”
                    5. Acceptance. “I don’t want to fight this anymore. I’m ready to move on.”

                    M. Scott Peck says we go through similar stages every time we’re about to grow in psychological or spiritual maturity. So there’s the good news. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

                    With all this in mind, here are some tips for riding the emotional roller coaster:

                    1. Train for the event. People with heart problems, bad backs and expectant mothers shouldn’t ride roller coasters. Since job search is more of a mental and emotional battle than a physical one; make sure you do the things that help you perform at your best. Diet, rest and exercise form the three-legged stool of good health and peak performance. I recommend “Body by God” by Dr. Ben Lerner. Lerner offers a comprehensive plan for getting in touch with our bodies in four areas: nutrition, exercise, stress management and time management.
                    2. Pull the safety device down. It’s going to be a wild ride; you can count on that. Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Job search is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever face, so put on the full armor of God.
                    3. Keep your arms inside. Listen to the advice of experts. We know what works, and we know what can harm you. Don’t panic when several networking efforts appear to produce no fruit. If you don’t heed our advice and you surf the net for the majority of your day instead, you could lose an arm and a leg.
                    4. Don’t jump out. The worst thing you could do would be to jump off a speeding roller coaster. Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Giving up will only make the problem worse.
                    5. Scream. Scream if you have to. Better yet, write in a journal. It’s a way of communicating with God; it’s great therapy, and it’s free. Find a few people you can confide in. (I’m thankful for my advisors, they hear from me often.) Get professional help if necessary.
                    6. Breathe deeply. On my second time on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney MGM Studios, I tried to keep my heart rate as close to normal as possible. I did this by taking deep relaxing breaths throughout. This is what wellness instructors teach and what good athletes do. Find something that relaxes you. This not only smoothes out the bumps, it will improve your performance when it counts.
                    7. Enjoy some other attractions. Roller coasters may not by your thing. True, you are probably not on the roller coaster by choice. Find some attractions you do like. Ride them in between. Succeed at something; that way you can claim some victories along the way. For example, “I didn’t have much luck with my search this week, but the Adobe Illustrator class I completed will position me for some opportunities that I am really interested in.”

                    Here’s one more similarity between a real roller coaster and the emotional roller coaster of job search: the roller coaster will arrive safely in the end. And so will you, my friend.

                    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s website used to have 12 tips for dealing with grief and bereavement. I couldn’t help but notice that the first tip is to attend support groups in your area.

                    Sometimes I speak to someone who is too discouraged to come to JobSeekers on Friday. All of us on the Ship’s Crew have had times in our lives when we were too discouraged to get out of bed, or to go somewhere we didn’t want to go, even though we knew it would do us some good. We can empathize. Get out of bed anyway. Come to JobSeekers anyway. Get that big stone, which is full of inertia, rolling again.

                    We look forward to seeing Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hang on tight during this wild, wild ride!

                    Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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