What does it really mean to have “influence”? Read this week’s INNER VIEW as Flo Oramasionwu unpacks both the privilege and responsibility of having influence, and how she lives as an “encourager” of others everywhere she goes.
If you were searching for a soulful pop singer with a huge, heart-stopping voice, the Canadian Prairies is likely not the first place you’d start looking. But that’s exactly where Flo got her start. Flo is a multiple award-winning soul/pop artist who captivates with undeniable stage presence in every type of venue from intimate clubs to arenas. She represents encouragement, personal strength, passion, and positivity. Her enduring message of faith and self-empowerment reflects her resolve: to overcome all obstacles and continue to live out her dreams, “I believe this dream is bigger than I am.” Luckily her voice is bigger than her dreams. She is passion in living form and travels into realms of soul that some artists never tap into, and this is only the beginning.
“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
Kathleen Cooke: As an award-winning musical artist in Hollywood, what lessons has God recently taught you about who He is?
Flo Oramasionwu: God has taught me that He is personal, present, and REAL! Not just a distant God that our parents, grandparents, and friends teach us about. Not a fictional or past character that was just active in the historical Old/New Testament times. JEHOVAH JIREH has come through for me in so many miraculous ways throughout my journey in LA that my mind is blown! He is not only faithful, but He is also so loving. He does miraculous things through people (even absolute strangers) and circumstances.
He moves and creates the resources to bless, encourage, and keep you going on your journey to ensure that you are on the right path. He’s got your back. He KNOWS you so well. He not only supplies your needs but also provides for your desires and the things that sometimes you think are unnecessary or may feel frivolous. He wants to give you the things that make your heart jump and smile. He truly is our provider. And, when God does it, He does it in beautiful ways.
Kathleen: The music industry is a constant struggle to create more music and get yourself seen. It takes enormous grit and endless determination. What have you learned about setting aside your ambitions and choosing God’s perfect plan for your life and work?
Flo: God has patiently taught me the importance of surrender and not to obsessively strive so much that there’s no room left for Him to drive. In other words, He’s been showing me the beauty of letting Him take hold of the “steering wheel” while I rest in Him and enjoy the beautiful view from the passenger seat.
Ambitious striving to accomplish specific dreams and goals can turn into an idol. It requires trust and faith to let go and leave it in God’s hands. He not only knows best, but His way is so much better than what we could ever try to do on our own. He is so much more efficient than our timing and far more effective than our efforts could ever be.
I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with aiming for excellence (Daniel and Joseph were men of excellence), or having a vision (David had a vision for building God’s temple and left the blueprints to execute them with his son Solomon) and working towards it. But I do think God wants to eliminate the fear of needing to do everything on our own or else it won’t be completed or get done well. God knows and places the desires we have in our hearts for a reason and a purpose. He created us with gifts and abilities “for such a time as this” (as Mordecai told Esther) in history. He will fulfill the things He has planned for us. There is no need to spin our wheels and strive. God’s got this, and He’s got us!
Kathleen: It takes great faith to set aside yourself and your way for God’s way and choose to trust Him. You make yourself vulnerable and exposed in a world that thrives on self-assurance. What has God taught you about choosing Godly choices? (more…)
How do we live according to the truth of God in a deceived, yet truth-obsessed culture? How can we tell if “our truth” is a little askew or not rooted in Jesus? Read this week’s INNER VIEW with Pamela Christian as she breaks down the building blocks of both truth and lies—and how to tell the difference.
For over twenty-five years, Pamela Christian has compassionately helped people discover and live from life-giving truth. Pamela is a keynote, radio/television talk-show and podcast speaker, teacher, multi-award-winning author and blogger, and an ordained international itinerant minister. As an apologetics enthusiast (Biola University) and charismatic apologist herself, Pamela uniquely helps people balance rational thought with spiritual realities.
Kathleen Cooke: What’s something that God has taught you lately?
Pam Christian: Recently, God’s been teaching me the vital importance of teaching our children absolute truth, morality and righteousness. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home at a time when the culture pushed every limit—a trend that’s continued to this day, bringing with it all sorts of egregious immoralities, corruption, censorship and more—all promoting evil. Unless children are taught truth, they will, as I did, follow the ways of the world, leading to their personal demise.
The entire world today is suffering under the gross increase of evil, which would have been restrained had more people been firmly standing on and promoting truth. I wouldn’t have such a strong understanding of this without experiencing my own personal life crisis, which revealed I’d been deceived and not living in the light of truth.
Kathleen: I, too, believe that young women—and men—are under attack from the deceiver as never before. Your heart, like mine, is to help others discover and live in life-giving truth and experience the hope that truth provides. What can you share to help others in their quest for truth?
Pam: My own experience and current conditions compel me to help others understand that truth is not personal and relative as many people claim. Those who claim truth is relative would say, “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” Yet that statement relies on the laws of absolutes, proving those who claim truth is relative, in reality, believe truth is absolute. As I share in my book, Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies, unless we intentionally examine what we believe and why, we can easily be deceived and unaware of our condition because that’s the nature of deception. And in this condition, people are pawns in the hands of the devil.
Kathleen: Yes, the world is obsessed with truth today because we live in a culture of internet lies and deception. Yet, the Bible says, “the truth will set us free.” How can we know the truth today?
Pam: There is a three-point proof-test we can use to discover truth. When all three are in place, we can confidently embrace the matter as truth. These are:
- Truth is based on reality (i.e., gender is not a choice)
- Only one thing can be true and all opposing matters are false (i.e., it cannot be both dark and light at the same time)
- Truth is universal (i.e., tyranny is recognized as tyranny anywhere in the world)
One question I ask is, “Who in this room wants to live your life on the basis of lies?” No one ever raises their hand, which is highly revealing. That one question reveals that each of us has an innate moral compass enabling us to recognize truth as good and lies as bad. The fact that we universally desire truth is a God-given trait to guide us in discovering Truth, namely Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Light.
Kathleen: God tells us to go and be an influence on the world. Why is this important in our truth-obsessed culture?
Pam: Today, more than ever, we have overwhelming evidence worldwide of the importance of those of us who have the truth, to be actively sharing the truth, consistent with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to partner with Jesus to share the truth with those who are deceived—to share the gospel of truth and hope. When God’s people fail in this, the enemy increases his influence bringing all manner of evil and destruction as we’re seeing today. As was true in my own life, sometimes it takes a major crisis to cause us to realize the path of destruction we’ve been on. And even in that, we experience the restoring grace of God.
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Podcast: Faith to Live By with Pamela Christian
How do you lead and balance your career, while prioritizing Jesus in your schedule? Read this week’s INNER VIEW with Lisa McGloiry, executive director for Dream of Destiny, as she breaks down the most important life lessons she’s learned as an executive-level professional working in the corporate and nonprofit sphere.
Bio – Lisa McGloiry, J.D.
As a creative visionary and leader, Lisa has over 25+ years of experience in communications, marketing, and public relations for corporate and non-profit entities. Currently, she is the executive director for Dream of Destiny, a diversity and inclusion ministry at Shepherd Church, a 10,000 member multi-racial and multi-cultural church, with three locations in Porter Ranch, Woodland Hills, and Agua Dulce, California.
Lisa is also a certified church consultant specializing in communications and marketing. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and, in her spare time, is a conference speaker and writer. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in legal studies at the University of Maryland (UC) and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid), she and her family served as missionaries in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa for many years.
Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband Michael, stepson Blair, and is a paw parent to a spoiled terrier named Charlie. She loves music, salsa dancing, dogs, lions, and all things purple.
Kathleen Cooke: This month, we focused on leading where God has you, even if it seems insignificant or small. What has God taught you about that?
Lisa McGloiry: God has taught me to seek His mind and heart about everything to make sure my plans, intentions and desires are aligned with His. I’ve learned to ask Him about my role in His bigger story. God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. I would encourage women to rely on the Holy Spirit for more wisdom. We can never ask God a silly question because He wants to give us direction and answers. (James 1:5) When we call on Him, He will show us mighty things. (Jeremiah 33:3) I’ve learned the power in “the ask.”
Kathleen: Yes, often we forget to ask God with the right heart. He knows our schedules and what is good for us here and now. Working at a mega-church in media can get intense; how have you learned to balance your work and family and keep your priorities in line?
Lisa: I’d like women to understand that God wants to spend more time with His children. When we fail to prioritize our time with Him, we miss out on the abundant life Jesus promised — more joy, peace, wisdom, favor, mercy — inherent rights as daughters of the Most High. One thing that has sparked my faith is realizing that we were not made to live outside the continual presence of our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus died so we can have a close relationship with our Papa God — the maker of the universe, the one who knows all things, and who holds us in the palms of His hands.
Kathleen: What’s a life lesson that you’ve learned?
Lisa: Here’s a learned life lesson. “If you ever want anything in life, just ask God for it.” It seems really simple, but I wasted so many years searching for approval or favor from others rather than looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. One day, the Lord said, “Why don’t you trust and wait on me?” One of the names of God is Jehovah-Jireh — God our Provider. He provides much more than just our financial needs. Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” When we look to Him, He will supply our needs, so we never lack anything.
Kathleen: We are called to be influencers of God. The Bible says it this way; we are to be a “sweet aroma.” How can we do that in our day-to-day lives?
Lisa: God has given us the capacity to be influencers in our homes, workplace, and community. Our influence is mighty and tangible. As Christ followers, when we walk into a room, lead, work, create, serve, pray, and play, we can dramatically change the atmosphere and people around us. I’ve asked of the Lord not only to use my gifts and talents for His Glory but also to give me the ability to refresh others. People in the world are hurting more than ever before and need to see Jesus in us. When His presence permeates our being, we leave a sweet lasting aroma and show who God is by our love, acts of service, empathy, kindness, and grace that we extend to others.
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Have you ever wished you could hear the voice of God more clearly? A sexual abuse survivor, learning to hear the voice of God was a healing game-changer for Michelle Watson Canfield. Speaker, author, counselor and founder of The Abba Project, enjoy this INNER VIEW as she shares her journey and the emotional stability and confidence she has gained through her relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bio – Michelle Watson Canfield, Ph.D., LPC
Michelle Watson Canfield is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of over 25 years, and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose daughters are in their teens and 20’s. She writes guest articles for journals and magazines and her own bi-monthly Dad-Daughter Friday blog and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs. Her best-selling book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, is followed by her most recent field guide for men, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. She has also written contributing chapters in Fathers Say and How to Disciple Men…
Do you have trouble setting boundaries and trusting God with your career choices? With decades of experience in corporate America, Dr. Debra Dean is an expert at integrating faith in every aspect of life. In this INNER VIEW, she candidly shares the lessons she’s learned to become a successful leader who influences others for an eternal difference.
Bio – Dr. Debra Dean is a Christian, first and foremost, wife and mother. She is co-founder of His Kingdom Matters, president and CEO of Dean Business Consulting, and adjunct professor at Regent University. Dr. Dean served in corporate America for 25 years. Her most recent position was Director of Business Transformation nested in the Business Intelligence Department.
Dr. Dean is a published author and public speaker. Her TEDx talk Restorative Justice and Disrupt HR presentation Respectful Pluralism: Including Everyone relates to her faith at work passion. Dr. Dean has received numerous awards, including the Colorado Springs Business Journal 2020 Women of Influence Award and the 2020 Global CEO Excellence Award: Most Influential Business Consultancy CEO. She was nominated in 2019 as an operational excellence leader with OPEX Week: Business Transformation World Summit, and in 2018, she won the Outstanding Reviewer Award for Management, Spirituality, and Religion.
Dr. Dean was born and raised in Kentucky, spent nine years in Iowa, and currently resides in Colorado with her husband Steve and their youngest son Gavin. They have six children and four grandchildren. Her mission statement is to “Inspire each person to identify their human potential and pursue authenticity while living a life of eternal focus.”
Kathleen Cooke: We all think we are smart until things flop. What has God taught you about trusting Him for the unknown and seeing failures as opportunities for what He desires for us and not what we thought we wanted for ourselves.
Debra Dean: God is teaching me to trust him. It is so easy to get distracted with self-doubt about my ability or calling, but God is teaching me to trust that He has a plan, and I need to follow His plan. When I left corporate in 2018, I thought I was following God, but I got off track and started my business instead of God’s business. The past few years have been lessons of listening, praying, trusting, obeying, surrendering, and being willing to let God provide and guide me. I’m a hard-headed woman, so this is hard. But, when I surrender and trust Him, everything else works out much better. In December 2020, I had a call from a woman that worked with the White House Faith & Opportunities Initiative. We had planned an agenda for the call, but she started crying. I could hear how overwhelmed she was with work and life in her voice. She asked me, “Where are all the Christians?” She was fighting a good fight in D.C., but she felt all alone.
This gave me fuel to move from my business to God’s business and launch His Kingdom Matters in June 2021. Wow! When I trust God, BIG things happen. I did not want people to feel alone or unequipped with fighting the Christian battle in our world today. I have prayed and asked God for wisdom and guidance, and I trust that He divinely pre-plans all the content in the ministry. We start with Bold & Courageous and move into Revival. In retrospect, there is no way I could have come up with this content. It is God. Trusting Him is still a struggle I face daily, but when I trust Him with all aspects of life, He delivers miraculous works.
Kathleen: You have worked in leadership positions in the corporate business world for many years. What are some key things you have learned in your career journey? (more…)
Ever wonder what the secret to joy is? In this month’s INNER VIEW, I talk with Suzanne Niles, Director of Relationship Development at Broadstreet Publishing and a faithful woman with years of experience in the entertainment industry as an executive producer, actress and publicist. Find out how her relationship with the Lord has impacted her life and career.
Kathleen Cooke: This month’s Influence Lab Journal focuses on JOY. Joy comes when we are confident and contented in our relationships, and specifically, our most important relationship, the one we have with God. What have you learned about the importance of a personal in-depth relationship with God?
Suzanne Niles: An intimate relationship with Christ takes personal deliberate action and faith. Action like that which moved the woman with the issue of blood to discreetly approach Jesus believing, “If only I can touch the hem of His robe, I will be healed.” She didn’t feel she needed to present her case; she didn’t have to say a word, but she determined to have confidence in His miraculous power. She had faith, a faith certain in who He was and what He could accomplish. A faith that persevered without doubt. Make your move towards the savior… He’s more than able and He’s waiting.
Kathleen: You talked about the bleeding woman’s “confidence” in the miraculous power of God. It’s confidence that we often fail at that cripples us from being obedient and acting on God’s direction. What has God taught you about stepping out of fear, embracing His plans and moving forward in His confident arms?
Suzanne: I wished I had understood earlier in my life how to judge the inner motive of my heart and to consider my underlying reasons for my actions. So many times, we do things because we want to please others and the only one we really need to please is God. We should love, not only to have that love returned but because we are loving others for Him. We shouldn’t act to have our good deeds noticed but because we want to be His hands and feet. We should sacrifice for Him because of His great sacrifice on the cross for us. I wish I could say every moment of my life was lived solely to honor Him, but it wasn’t. Yet it has now grown to be my heart’s greatest desire.
Kathleen: Your work keeps you surrounded around influencers, accomplished artists, leaders and authors. How has that impacted your life and the choices you’ve made for your lifestyle?
Suzanne: I learned during a time of financial lack to find encouragement by focusing on my future heavenly dwelling. While others around me were building their dream homes and traveling to exotic locales, I set my eyes on the hope of the eternal dwelling Jesus has prepared for me. Now that the finances have resolved my perspective has remained with the realization that time is short and earthly possessions will not last. All that is eternal are people and what matters is where they will spend eternity. It is not about what I can gain on earth but how I boldly share the gospel with all I encounter so that they may gain heaven. Fulfilling the great commission must be our focus.
Kathleen: I love that. It’s about others, God’s eternal Kingdom and the contentment of God’s eternal love we find in Jesus. What would you tell someone about how they can begin to take on that “sweet aroma” of Jesus’ contentment in their life?
Suzanne: We carry the life of Christ in us… let that sink in… let it amaze you and convict you. We are responsible for how we represent Christ. For a while, after I had given my heart to Jesus I backslid. I don’t ever want to walk a single step outside of God’s will again. My gracious God was waiting with open arms of forgiveness and acceptance when I was done chasing the empty wind. But what if I hadn’t repented or lived to regret my rebellion? I shudder to think where I might be now. Hold Him close and serve Him well. He is the only way, truth, and life and without Him people will perish. Let the legacy you leave be a life lived for the salvation of others to the glory of God.
Suzanne Niles has worked in different facets of the entertainment business for several decades as executive producer, actress and publicist. Director of Relationship Development at Broadstreet Publishing, she is the co-author of “Fast Friends, the Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer,” contributing writer on six published devotionals and enjoys pursuing new authors. Suzanne is also part of Beautifully Flawed Productions founded by Shari Rigby with Claire Yorita Lee.
Follow Suzanne Niles on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.