Do This One Thing Today (and Every Day)

There is only one thing evil cannot stand and that is forgiveness. Yes, it’s only that one little word, forgive. Why is that?

Evil loves anything that breaks apart human relationships and creates discord. Think about all the things people have done to hurt you, and in turn, all those things you’ve done to others to hurt them. That’s the funny thing about humans, no one is immune to being either the perpetrator or the victim. We all have the capacity to hurt and be hurt in thought, word, and deed.

Are you tired of that? If not, then I’m sorry you’re not there yet. If so, then join me in committing to do this one thing today and every day: forgive. Forgive yourself and forgive others. If you do, then every day overflows with opportunity and possibility. Somebody must model this behavior, so it may as well be me and you.

Warning: We won’t be perfect. We’ll make mistakes, which is why it must become a daily practice, for the longer we do it, the more likely it will become a habit. In fact, evil would love for us to stop, to give up because it’s too hard, and to fail. It’s so much easier to retaliate than forgive. The thought of getting even seems much more appealing and rewarding. Nothing could be further from the truth so don’t fall for that lie.

Forgiveness is like fertilizer for your heart. It enables good thoughts to grow and flow from it. It creates the foundation for good thoughts and behaviors. It sets the tone for civility and dignity and unleashes us to become the best version of ourselves on earth. It empowers us to live with passion and purpose. It frees us to live up to the life we’re called to live, which is why evil can’t stand it.

It seems like we have so many problems in America. If we honestly do a root cause analysis of all of our problems, including the lack of unity, it would reveal one source: the hypocrisy of the heart. We have a heart problem, America, for out of the heart comes evil thoughts. If someone doesn’t align with your beliefs or politics, it doesn’t make them evil, and it certainly doesn’t make you better than them.

So what’s the solution? Forgiveness. Let’s commit to modeling this behavior so that eventually all those that are elected and selected in our executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, at all levels, also reflect the heart posture of forgiveness. Let’s hold up that goal as the destination who which our culture will eventually arrive.

Accuser or Advocate? The First Domino.

There is a fight that goes on inside all of us, a terrible fight, and it’s between two wolves that battle in our minds. One wolf is evil. The other is good. The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

The evil wolf is an accuser. It will do anything to make you feel as bad as you possibly can about yourself because if you feel horrible about who you are, then you will certainly look with evil eyes on your neighbor and believe the worst about them. Evil travels. It creates a domino effect. Accuse yourself. Accuse your neighbor. Get your neighbor to accuse someone else, and the evil dominos keep falling.

The good wolf is an advocate. It tells us we are lovable and good because we are God’s creation. The evil wolf wants us to not believe we are because they are a liar. The good wolf reminds us that we are God’s, which means we are good, which means our neighbor, who is also God’s, is also good and lovable. Good can spread and thrive like dominos too.

The accuser wants us to think the worst about who we are, so we will look at our neighbor and see the worst in them. The advocate wants us to see the best of who we are so we will look at our neighbor and see the best in them. You can be an accuser or an advocate. You get to choose. Feed your evil wolf and you’ll be an accuser. Feed your good wolf and you’ll be an advocate.

Rejecting the accuser’s message and embracing the advocate’s assurance leads inevitably to our neighbor. If we are lovable and acceptable then our neighbor is also lovable and acceptable because we are both loved by the Person who created us in a unique way.

Therefore, we are all called to do the work of loving and accepting. May that be the first domino that falls.

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 27 – Mike Colella

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued, and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Mike Colella

Marc interviews Mike Colella, Senior Vice President at TriState Capital Bank. Mike answers three thought-provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t an issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? Mike tells how he and his wife support the Light of Life Rescue Mission in Pittsburgh, PA and City Rescue Mission in New Castle, PA, describes the need to create a company that promotes the dignity of work, and shares his heart for helping the city and people of New Castle, his home town.

Neighborly Love, Episode 27 – Mike Colella (11-21-22)

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One Another

Dozer and Honey Casciani

Dogs are pack animals by nature. A pack is a group of animals that live together to thrive and survive. In dog packs, there is always an alpha dog that is considered the top of the pack. The pack looks to that individual member for leadership, structure, and protection. Dogs are not meant to be alone.

Humans also are not meant to be alone. We’re not designed to go through life isolated, trying to do everything by ourselves. Success happens when we work alongside others.

We need one another. We’re to love one another, help one another, serve one another, and bear one another’s burdens. Maybe you are struggling to accomplish your goals because you’ve been going at it alone. You were never meant to live without community. The work you are called to do will always be accomplished in partnership with others. This is what it means to have team spirit.

When great leaders have a dream, they build a team. That’s what great leadership is all about. Great things happen when people are united with words of affirmation and opportunities to succeed in something they’ve always wanted to accomplish … together with one another.

Not everyone will want to be part of your God-given purpose and plan. That’s ok. Love everyone, but focus your time and energy on those who want your help and those who want to help you. Invest in the willing and don’t spend much time responding to critics. No plan is accomplished without friction and opposition. If all you did was respond to what other people think of you, you’d never get anything done. Instead, reply with love and forgiveness and simply move on.

Most importantly, focus on your community, i.e. your pack, who can help you build a dream. Anything significant you do in life will require help from others. God intentionally wired us to need one another so we will learn how to work together.

Life is a Binary System

Life is pretty simple when you think about it. We tend to make it complex. It’s about our choices. We choose to “do” or “do not”. It’s a string of 1’s and 0’s. In general, a binary system is any system that allows only two choices. Life is a binary system. The string of 1’s and 0’s we individually execute comprise our life’s work. They tell our story.

Our mind is the computer that makes our choices. Within each choice, there is either belief or unbelief. Trying is essentially unbelief. When you say, “I’ll try”, you are not committed. When you say, “I’ll do it”, you are putting a stake in the ground and making a promise you will get it done no matter what gets in your way. It takes guts, persistence, and stamina.

The right decision depends on the choice we need to make. Sometimes, a “do” or a 1 is the right answer. Other times, a “do not” or a 0 is. We don’t always get it right on the first attempt, however, we will always get another attempt if we are contrite, humble, forgive ourselves and others, learn from the mistake and have the strength to endure.

Eventually getting it right is the definition of success. It does not matter how many times it took. You did it. You did the right thing. And doing the right thing over and over, overcoming your hurts, hangups, and bad habits makes you a successful person. Every prosperous person fails and overcomes. Every failure lets fear, guilt, resentment, or pride inhibit them.

Success or failure. Belief or unbelief. “Do” or “do not”. 1 or 0. It’s that simple.

This post was originally published on June 18, 2017, and was republished on November 13, 2022.

Active Patience

Good things happen when we’re patient, but only if we remain active. What? Active patience? That’s an oxymoron.

Not an “empty” active where you’re just doing things to stay busy. Rather, an “intentional” active where you’re meaningfully serving others. Carve out daily quiet time for yourself to reflect on who and how you can serve. Your acts of service will directly benefit others and also shape your character.

Your purpose in life will be revealed in waiting and serving. Even when you’re doubting, and it’s seemingly taking forever, keep serving. This is faithfulness. This is active patience.

Being patient does not mean just sitting around waiting for something to happen. It’s not a passive quality. True patience is thinking, acting, serving, and learning in a trial-and-error fashion.

Being actively patient is to be meek, not weak. Many people equate meekness with weakness. Meekness is strength under control. Think of a wild stallion that has been tamed. They are just as powerful as when they were wild but are now under control. Meekness and weakness are 180 degrees out of phase.

There is strength in humility, power in gentleness, great force in kindness, and beauty in meekness. To be meek is to possess active patience.

Late 7th century BC, near the time of the transition from the Assyrian to the Babylonia empires, the prophet Habakkuk engaged in a profound dialogue with Israel’s God. Habakkuk begins by asking how long God will allow evil to triumph. God’s reply is that He is raising up the Babylonians as His tool of correction. When the dialog concludes, Habakkuk celebrates God’s dramatic intervention for Israel in the past and prays that He will do it again. Habakkuk resolves to be actively patient for God’s coming.

1I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.

3This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Habakkuk 2:1 & 3 (NLT)

Wanting to speed up God’s plan has always been a challenge. Part of His plan may include a slower timetable than what you or anyone else wants. One reason God moves slowly is that He knows delays make you stronger. God knows you will benefit when things happen slowly.

So, remember, there’s no need to rush to make your life go the way you want it to go. Instead, be actively patient as you completely trust God’s plan for your life.

This post was originally published on August 19, 2018, and was republished on November 6, 2022, with the addition of a story about the prophet Habakkuk to the ending.

An Invitation

Everybody everywhere was born to do something. The first challenge is believing that statement. The second challenge is understanding what it means. The third challenge is fulfilling it. “What should I do with my life?” is the question to which we all want an answer.

Here’s a hint to finding the answer: it’s not about you. The secret to discovering what you were born to do is about believing there’s Someone (yes, that’s a capital S) bigger than you at work in the universe who loves you and created you for a purpose. That Person (yes, that’s a capital P) wants to have a relationship with you so that you can grow to understand your unique gifts and how to use them to serve other people, not your own ambition. Fulfilling what you were born to do is an others-focused, life-long quest about learning to subordinate your will to His (yes, that’s a capital H).

So, the question, “What should I do with my life?” is really an invitation. God commands only what He empowers. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes to dwell in us and be our Advocate in life. We simply need to accept that gift of advocacy. If we do, then the Holy Spirit is always with us to help our discernment in the ebb and flow of our days. If we don’t, then we will go wherever life’s current takes us, which may feel good at certain moments, but in the big picture will be fleeting and leave you feeling empty.

For many years, I didn’t open my envelope. When I finally did and RSVP’d “YES” it transformed my life. No longer do I walk alone. Through the good times, I have a friend who keeps me grateful and humble. Through the bad times, I have a friend who keeps me grateful and hopeful. Either way, I am grateful because I know that in all things God works for my good because I love Him and am called to fulfill His purpose for my life.

I too hope you will RSVP “YES,” and may the Holy Spirit be with you.

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 26 – Jeff Coleman

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued, and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Jeff Coleman

Marc interviews Jeff Coleman, Founder & Principle of Churchill Strategies and author of With All Due Respect. Jeff answers three thought-provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t an issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? Jeff tells how he doesn’t view surprise encounters as accidental or incidental, shares his gratitude and passion for doing exactly what he is doing today, and reveals his heart to minister to people in public life and their families, a vision he shares with his wife, Rebecca.

Neighborly Love, Episode 26 – Jeff Coleman (10-28-22)

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Ultimate Success

As I walked out of the Pine-Richland Athletic Hall of Fame banquet last evening, I noticed something painted on the wall as I exited the cafeteria. It was something I had never noticed before, a quote from Mister Rogers.

There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.

– Fred Rogers

So simple. So wise. Thank you, Mister Rogers.

Upon reflection, as I listened to each inductee give thanks and testify to who and what made the honor possible, there was a common thread in each story: other people went out of their way to be kind to them. Someone … a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a coach, a teacher, a friend … did something they didn’t have to do to help them. Each five-minute autobiography was a narrative about kindness.

Going a little deeper in my reflection revealed the root cause of each story’s common denominator: each inductee had to decide what to focus on in their speech, what to rehash, and what not to worry about. Their life story could have been told in many ways, yet the way they told it would reveal what the audience remembers. Each finished product was a case study about kindness.

We write our own autobiography each day by deciding what to focus on, what to rehash, what to forget, what to forgive, what to learn from, who to give grace to, and who to love. Our life story can be told in many ways, and the way we tell it changes who we are and who we become. We are in control of that narrative, however, we have to be good editors of our own story. Ultimate success in life is owning it.

Who’s editing your story?


The Moses is a sculpture by the Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.

How did the word “retirement” creep into America’s culture? The dictionary defines it as the action of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work. Leaving one’s job, ok, that is not too far-fetched. People leave their jobs every day. Ceasing to work, well, is another story. Ceasing to work is like ceasing to live, at least if you define work like the Bible defines work.

Biblically speaking, everything we do is “work.” People confuse employment with work. There is a difference.

Employment is a contract where we are paid a certain compensation in exchange for the work we do. Employment includes work, but not all work is employment. Not all work earns compensation. God in his infinite wisdom planned that some vocations will receive financial compensation and some won’t.

Parenting is work. Volunteering on my school board is work. My job is work. However, I only earn money via my job. Why then should I do the other two? Because being a parent and serving my local community are callings. God has called me to them according to His purpose for me. My reward for them is bigger than getting paid. Think of it as an inheritance rather than compensation. This is why in everything I do, I work as though I am working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Michelangelo’s famous statue of Moses is a powerful depiction of God’s servant, someone who is working for the Lord, not for human masters. Moses is presented as a figure of massive proportions and strong stone, carrying the wisdom of God beneath his arm. But how did he start out in life? As a baby set adrift in a river. A child raised by an adoptive family. A young man who was very conflicted. However, from that fractured life, God raised up a leader who united His people and freed them from slavery. That’s what Moses was called to do. He didn’t receive compensation for it, but he did receive an inheritance.

You can retire from your job, but you can’t retire from what God calls you to do. You can try, but God has a way of never leaving you or forsaking you. No matter what sets you back or makes you feel unworthy, you will never lose dignity in God’s eyes. You were made in His image, He has a purpose for you, and He wants you to believe and see it.

Retirement? It’s a beginning, not an end. Finally, you can live up to the life you were called to live.

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