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(It’s a simple rule for a revolutionary life!)
Most of us would like to think of ourselves as followers of Jesus, but what does that really mean, practically?

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23. Simply put, it’s trusting Jesus enough to say “no” to what we want, and “yes” to what he wants. So, then why is it we don’t obey him more often than we do?

Years ago I noticed that during the course of my day I’d have these impressions to do something I was reasonably certain Jesus wanted me to do. It could be an impression to either do something good for someone or a warning about a sin I was about to commit. It might be to stop for a car broken down on the highway, speak to a co-worker about Jesus, or simply turn off my computer before I ended up at a site where no Christian should go.

Almost simultaneously I would sense another voice whispering to me. “You don’t have time to do that – helping that person could get messy – you can’t afford to help them right now – it’s okay, one more time won’t kill you – send it, you’ve been wronged!”

If I listened to this other voice and thought about it long enough, the moment for obedience would pass, often to my relief. It finally dawned on me that by procrastinating, I was unintentionally teaching myself the habit of disobedience. Why is that?

Because I knew that almost every decision to obey would cost me something – time, money, embarrassment, inconvenience, or a momentary pleasure denied – something! By choosing not to obey Jesus, I could avoid all of that! As a result, I found myself settling for good enough almost daily – which is kryptonite for any would-be followers of Jesus!

Then a decade ago a lay pastor from China taught me a simple rule that helped me break that cycle:

 

The 10 Second Rule:
“Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus
wants you to do.”

(and do it immediately before you change your mind!)

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
-John 14:15

But, how do we know what Jesus wants us to do, exactly?

God hasn’t ever spoken to me audibly, so I’m not talking of actually hearing voices. However, I’ve found that the more I study the teachings and character of Jesus, the more confident I’ve become moving in spontaneous, simple obedience to the opportunities he sends my way. It’s his life, and the Holy Spirit reminding me of everything he did and taught that gives him this voice.

Can we always be sure? No. The Rule doesn’t require you to be absolutely certain an impression is from God before you obey. In fact, I’ve found that the need for certainty is often the enemy of obedience! But, let’s just say this impression wasn’t from God. So what? You’ve still done something good for another human or kept yourself from sinning. How can that not be the will of God?

But, here’s what discourages many of us. We know that there is absolutely no way we can ever hope to surrender to the will of God perfectly, every day, for the rest of our life. And, none of us want to chase an impossible dream. But here’s the power behind The Rule; even though absolute surrender is impossible, doing the next thing I’m reasonably certain Jesus wants me to do, isn’t! I can do that! And, so can you.

So, The Rule gives you a place to begin again following Jesus, right now – today, if you’ve drifted spiritually. It’s following Jesus made simple and being led by Jesus, moment by moment, day by day (or even in the next 10 seconds!).

And, it’s been the experience of Christians since the time of Jesus that true godly character is forged less by a few, big dramatic decisions than the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of simple obedience.

The 10 Second Rule book is full of all kinds of stories of ordinary men and women who are living by The Rule and how it has shaped and transformed their lives. In it I share practical ideas for discerning God’s will, recognizing his voice, and studying Scripture so you can gain greater confidence in knowing what Jesus would do if he encountered the challenges of living your life in the 21st century.

Living by The Rule is how we train ourselves to be godly men and women. It’s a call to rediscover the revolutionary power of the simple gospel message as Jesus taught it, the early church lived it, and before religious Christianity tamed it!

 

Clare De Graaf
Author of The 10 Second Rule
Published by Simon and Schuster (Howard Books)

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  1. Phil Sartell said...

    While reading The 10 Second Rule for the first time (I’m on my second reading now.) I was struck with the wisdom of “pre-positioning” gift cards to give away. That pre-decision impression by the Holy Spirit to act on that immediately led to our buying a stack of McDonalds gift cards. They’re split between our two glove compartments, ready for action.

    • Clare said...

      You got it! That’s exactly how “pre-decisions” work. Bless you.

  2. John H. Adams said...

    Great book but why does the author insist on using an expression not found in the Bible? Where do I read that I’m to “surrender” my life to the Lord. “Surrender” is not found in the Bible. Yield, Yes: surrender No! What is the BIG difference? I surrender to an enemy, I yield to a friend. I have been walking joyfully with the Lord for 78 years and not once have I regarded Him as my enemy. Not once has He asked me to surrender to him. Andrew Murray erred when he published his best-seller “Absolute Surrender”. John H. Adams

    • Clare said...

      John thanks for you comments. It’s true that the exact words, “surrender your lives to Christ, or God” don’t appear in scripture. However, I don’t think it’s a stretch when we read verses like; “Submit yourselves to God” James 4:6, “But now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God…” Romans 6:22, “Live as God’s slaves…” I Peter 2:6, and finally, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” While I do yield to an enemy, I also yield to someone in authority over me, which Christ clearly is. To be a believer is to put yourself under the authority of God.

  3. Caleb J. said...

    Dear Clare,

    I finished reading “The 10 Second Rule” about 10 seconds ago. I have been sensing the need and desire to put my faith into action, but apathy, fear and everyday life have made it difficult to know where to start. Your book was an encouragement from page 1.

    I was getting ready to read for a while in my apartment a few days ago, when I had the impression to take my book to a local book store and read there. My thought was that this idea may be the prompting of the Holy Spirit and that I might run into someone at the book store who needed some encouragement or to hear the good news of the gospel.

    It was cold outside and I had no desire to leave home, but I did it anyway. I read at the book store for about an hour and went home. To my disappointment, nothing happened. However, it was encouraging to realize that your book and The Lord were already making me more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and, if nothing else, more intentional in my walk of faith.

    I wanted to thank you for your ministry! With God’s help, I hope to have more stories to share in the future.

    “Not to us, but to His name be the glory!”

    God bless you!

    • Clare said...

      Caleb, thanks for your encouraging story! The reason I’m encouraged is that you were faithful even it looked like a failure. On pages 46 and 47 I address these aparent “failures” Bless you!

  4. Jean said...

    Clare,
    I first read and practiced the 10 second rule when friends sent it to us at Christmas time. I am so grateful that you are helping us all to be more sensitive to God’s leading.
    Now I am caring for my husband who needs physical assistance throughout the day, plus the complications of a new puppy. Some days roll along easily, others seem to leave me with half-finished jobs all over the house!
    Beginning now, I am taking January for a 30 day focus on the 10 second rule. I respond to requests and needs with a fresh sense of doing this for the Lord. What a difference that makes in my attitude – and my ability to do what needs to be done! Thanks for encouraging that instant obedience that connects me with God’s plans for the day.
    In Him,
    Jean
    Edited

    • Clare said...

      Jean, thanks for writing. Frankly, I’m surprised myself that when I’m really sensitive to listening and obeying Jesus, it puts a spring in my spiritual step. Someone once called “the Rule’ a “spiritual defibrillator.”

  5. Rex said...

    It was Saturday afternoon and I had just left the grocery store. I was done shopping in town and ready to go home. Going to town is a chore I don’t always enjoy, and I hate to get home and find out I forgot something so I deferred to God in a quick prayer asking if I was finished or needed to pick up something else before going home.

    I like to go to the Goodwill store sometimes and look around for deals, but not today. I was on my way home and had no intention of stopping at Goodwill; but immediately upon making that decision, I had a powerful aching desire to go to the Goodwill. It was only a half a block away, so I went. Following that urge, even when I hadn’t planned on it, has yielded some pretty good deals from yard sales and thrift stores down through the years.

    When ever I am in a thrift store I always check for books first for books I like to read so I went straight to the bookshelf. As I began to look at the first row of books, I had this overwhelming desire, almost an anxiety, to go on to the junk aisle that I always check after the books. So I headed for the junk aisle. I was looking neither left nor right but moving down the junk aisle like somebody who has some place to get to in a hurry. I was almost trotting as I was feeling pressed to hurry. When I got to the end of the aisle and looked right I felt kind of bewildered and then I looked left.

    There in the corner half hiding with her little hands pulled up to her face in the classic stance of a frightened child was a little blonde girl. She looked up at me with beautiful trusting eyes and said “I can’t find my daddy and that man (pointing him out) wants me to go with him and he scares me.” I looked at the man and he smiled and shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Before she had even opened her mouth a sense of relief had washed over me as soon as I saw her. I realized I was here for a purpose and she had just told me what it was. I have four girls. I smiled and asked her name She just stared at me and I understood! This little one has been told some very important rules to remember. Never go with a stranger. Never tell a stranger your name! I smiled. My wife and I have raised six children. I said “okay! What’s your daddy’s name?” She told me her daddy’s name.

    Now a little note here.

    God has blessed me with a voice, that when I raise it to be heard, I am heard. I raised my children on a 155 acre ranch and when I would call them in for dinner or whatever reason, they heard me even from the neighboring ranch (in the house) and came running. So if you can understand what it was like, good. If not, imagine this. We were standing in the corner of the store which was about 75 x 100′. I turned slightly away from her and cupped my hands around my mouth and loud and clear and sure to be heard wall-to-wall I announced like a public address system. “May I have your attention please! I have a little blonde girl here who cannot find her daddy and is afraid of strangers!” I then called out her father’s name and repeated it. This had, in part, the desired effect. I had everyone’s attention. My call brought about 10 or 15 people to my corner of the store but none of them were her father. With the approach of all these people this frightened little girl grabbed a hold of my leg with a death grip and slid around behind me. She was terrified by all the strangers I guess. One of them fortunately was a Goodwill store employee and he offered to take her up front, but she refused to let go of my leg or to go with him. She looked up at me and said “no.” I told her it was okay to go with him this time only because he worked here and I would go along to protect her so she need not be afraid. Well, we went up front. They made their announcement which brought her father out of the changing room. With father and daughter reunited I left the store. As I did the little girl using the universal sign for I love you waved goodbye and smiled a great big smile.

    I had purchased nothing. That’s not why I was there. I was there because God used the right promptings to motivate me to go there and get me to that corner of the store for that little girl. Because I’m a dad, and I grasped the situation, I knew exactly what to do. God had equipped me with the right tool from childhood. A loud clear voice.

    Oh! By the way, she had the prettiest little silver cross on a silver chain hanging around her neck. Coincidence? I believe not!

    All glory be to God our father in heaven in the name of our King Jesus Christ.

  6. Beth said...

    Please read this book at least once a year to be reminded of what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. After having our Teacher’s Book Club read this, this past summer, we are now doing the “10 Second Rule” at school. It has been so much fun watching the ladies being prompted by the Holy Spirit do do things for others. It’s contagious too! Those that aren’t aware that we are doing it, are now finding new ways to encourage others. What a difference it made this first month of school!

    • Clare said...

      Beth, I’d enjoy hearing stories of both the successes and the “failures.” Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Maria said...

    A few months ago, I lost my job. There are very limited opportunities left in the same field, specially for one my age (nearly 50). Then a few weeks later, I found out about an opportunity for re-training in a different career. A short-cut route into that career path was available, but involved a stringent exam – and one was scheduled in 2 months’ time. It was daunting to say the least, but I felt in my heart that God was calling me to do this, to take courage and give it all I got. So I paid the $500 fee to sign up for the exam, plus another $500 or so for the study materials. For 7 weeks straight, I poured my heart and soul into my studies, often staying up till dawn. Oftentimes, I would cry out to God for help as everything just seemed too difficult. But everytime, if I persisted I would then feel the Holy Spirit give me encouragement and then I would find the answers. Fast-forward weeks later to the exam date – first off, I was 30 minutes late for the exam. Apparently they had posted the schedule change on their website – but it didn’t even occur to me to check that. I wish I could say the exam went well, but sadly it was an utterly humiliating disaster. My family urged me to complain to the exam coordinators about not being informed of the schedule change. Not that it would have made much difference to my performance on the exam, I thought – but yes, I did write to them saying it would have been greatly appreciated if they had advised me of the schedule change. They didn’t even reply.

    So the reason I am writing is I recently found out about your book – it is currently being promoted in a local bookshop. The 10-second rule… would that have applied in my situation? Should I have stopped to think first if this ‘prompting’ I had to go for the career change and the exam was really from God? Why would I feel the Holy Spirit encourage me to go through all this, only to let me down in the end? I feel deeply discouraged, and still struggling for some answers.

    I am hoping your book can provide some insights.

    I sincerely hope you will take the time to respond and give guidance. Thank you Mr de Graaf.

    • Clare said...

      Maria, I’m truly sorry that the exam went poorly. I don’t know what to say about whether you misread God or not. The 10 second rule is more about these everyday impressions from God, rather than career moves. If fact I actually warn people to not make career moves based on simple impressions. Those kinds of decisions require much prayer, the counsel of godly people and even fasting at times. It sounds like you’re also having a tough time finacially. It you email me your address, I’d be happy to send you a free book.

  8. Faith said...

    This happened many years ago, before I knew about the 10 Second Rule. I was taking over the school bookstore at my children’s school. I often went and used a corner of the counter where the school secretary sat, trying not to be in her way as I put up posters, etc. I could tell it was irritating her that I was using the counter. One day I asked to borrow her tape. She had it locked up because someone stole her tape dispenser. In the next day or two I went to the office supply store and the Holy Spirit nudged me to buy her a tape dispenser. I ignored the nudge. A few days later, when I went back to the office supply store, the Holy Spirit shouted at me to buy her a tape dispenser. Such a simple thing but I remember saying, “Okay, okay. I’ll buy her a tape dispenser.” It was only a few dollars. I brought it home, put her name on it, and wrapped it up in pretty paper and brought it over to the school. I then brought it over to her. I told her I had a present for her. Her face lit up. She knew by looking at it what it was and she was thrilled. That one small thing changed our relationship over the next 8-9 years we were at the school. We became friends. Sometimes it’s such a small thing that you are asked to do. You never know the impact in another person’s life. It’s been 20 years since that happened. I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve had many failures over the years of not doing what I’ve been nudged to do, and deeply regretted not following through. I recently read the 10 Second Rule, and so has my husband, and am trying to be much more aware of acting immediately. It can really make a difference.

    • Clare said...

      What an inspiring story! Bless you for being faithful.

  9. Paul, Corey and Andrea said...

    A 10-Second Rule Failure
    I was on my way home last week, it was late and I was really tired from working. At a stoplight there was a woman with a sign that said homeless. I didn’t have cash with me, but across the street was an ATM of my bank. I felt a nudge that I should go to the bank, take out some money and give it to her. But I thought, “I’m sure that someone else will give her something.” When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking, “what if nobody helped her?”

    I don’t often have a real conviction to help, that’s why this failure was so disappointing to me. I knew I should have done it and I said “no” to both this woman and to God.
    Paul

    Another Failure
    I pulled up to the stop light and sitting at the bus stop was a man with a cardboard sign. On it was written “$1.50 for bus fare please” I felt a pull. Thought of the book instantly. And I actually had a month long bus pass in my wallet! The light turned green, I was late already. I pushed the gas and failed the opportunity. I will be ready next time!
    Corey

    And, yet another.
    As my husband and I were out for a walk, we started a short conversation with a woman who asked us for prayer. I felt a nudge that we should pray for her together right then with her, but I pushed it away, not wanting to be too creepy and wanting to get back home sooner.
    10-second failure.
    Andrea

  10. Neal said...

    My wife and I are staying with a divorced man and his daughter, while I finish school this summer. He gets his daughter every other week. She’s ten and has a ton of energy and is more than a little attention deprived. My wife works at a kids camp all day everyday so when she gets back, and I get back from working, we really value some quality time together – like walking or playing tennis. We make this time a priority.

    Yesterday, dog tired, we headed out to play tennis. Rachel, the ten year old, asked to join us.

    Here was an obvious opportunity to follow God’s will. The correct answer was “Yes; of course you can join us.” But, it’s not the answer we wanted to give at first.

    It couldn’t have been more obvious what God wanted from us.

    So, we said yes. She was a terrible at tennis. I’ve never had less fun playing a sport. It was brutal. But…

    In the car ride home she enthusiastically thanked us for taking her. She said it was the best part of her day and was really glad she could come. (It was the highlight of ours as well.)

    Neal

  11. Kevin said...

    This summer my wife, our son and I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Costa Rica to visit with my family and friends. It came in a good time because we have been working non-stop for more than a year and we really need the break.

    I told my wife that I had three goals for this trip: First, spend time resting in a hammock by the beach, doing nothing. Second, spend some quality time with her and my son, and last; spend quality time talking with my family.

    My dad is a pastor of a Presbyterian church in Costa Rica, and in it are a lot of teenagers. While we were there, my dad told me that most of these kids didn’t have a dad. Their mothers were very poor and needed to work a lot of hours during the week to pay the bills, so they didn’t have much time to spend with them.

    Instantly, God put on my heart that I needed to do something with them. My wife and I were on a thin budget and didn’t have much extra money, because of the cost of the trip. So, I went to these kids and told them that we wanted to take them to see a movie in a new mall that was recently built in San Jose. All of them came, and my dad as well. On the way back home some of the kids told us that it was the first time in more than a year that they went out and did something fun.

    And the money that we used to do this was the money that my wife and I were going to use to spend a day on the beach doing nothing. Can you imagine?

    It took God 10 seconds to change my selfish plans and be His instrument to bring joy to the kids. It was money well spent. Glory be to God!

    Kevin

  12. Beth said...

    Last night our Teacher’s Book Club finished the 10 Second Rule. We wanted to be obedient and do something for Jesus on our last night, so we went downtown Grand Rapids to Heartside Park. We had each made two “Socks of Love” to hand out to people we met. Inside the sock, was the sock match, along with beef jerky, crackers, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. Attached to the sock, was a note sharing Christ’s love. We had such a wonderful time. We gave out tract’s, “You are Special” to many others that we talked to. Please pray for Ray, Debra, Bobby, Tijan, and many others that we shared Jesus with. Thanks for sharing the 10 Second Rule. We hope to continue the 10 Second Rule at School this year! To God be the GLORY!

    • Clare said...

      Beth, I love that idea. I’m guessing that when someone in your group suggested it, not everybody jumped on the idea immediately. If that’s true, I appreciate their willingness to subordinate their will to the will of the group. Nice job! Bless you.

  13. Dave said...

    I had a nice experience following the 10 second rule last month. I was sitting in my rental car at the Albuquerque airport waiting for my wife, Jan, to come out with our Chinese friend who was flying in to attend my son’s wedding. A young lady with a backpack and hiking boots approached my vehicle, came over to the driver’s side and asked me if I would give her a lift to the expressway (about 5 miles away). Our car is already overloaded, and of course my initial reaction was, no. But I said, OK, where are you coming from and where are you headed? She said, I just arrived from Columbia and I’m trying to hitchhike to Phoenix, but I’m out of money. So I said, well we will take you as far as Gallup, and from there you can train to Flagstaff, which would be an easy hitchhike to Phoenix. She accepted. We had three hours in the car to talk (the four of us) about her 11 months on the road in Europe and Latin America, our faith, her lack of faith, and we purchased her train ticket and got her to the station about 30 minutes before departure. I am embarrassed and regret that we did not pray with her when saying Goodbye. Next time!

  14. Paula Borton said...

    Sometimes the 10 seconds rule takes you to very, very far out places.
    My husband and I saw a man roofing the house across the street from ours. We needed some work done so my husband walked over to the man, got in conversation with him and God took it from there. “Ask him to eat with your family of 3 school age boys”, we did. After knowing him for a very short time God told each of us to invite him in. This 40 year old addict came to Christ. From that one crazy idea we now have had 525 drug and alcoholic women live in a 6 acre farm with us that we bought in the country because we said yes to one step at a time of seemingly very crazy ideas that God said to do. We are now directors of a nonprofit called Solus Christus with addicts living in our home. My husband still works in our family bakery. I work just as I did in our other home, without pay except in God’s system watching 100s of women come to freedom in Christ. God ideas are crazy to us but wonderful in His Kingdom.

    • Clare said...

      Praise God! That’s the 10 second rule on steroids! Bless you.

  15. Bruce Westerdahl said...

    Dear Mr. De Graff

    After reading your book, The 10-Second Rule, God nudges me to “Feed his sheep.”

    No sheep around Penn Yan, so I figured he meant the dogs and cats at our local animal shelter. I called the shelter and asked what they needed, then off to a local store to buy cat litter and bleach.

    In the store, I happened to run into the owner, and I asked him if I could buy the supplies at cost. When he learned I was buying them for the shelter, he donated them. Now I can still and will, buy additional supplies because the first load was free.

    The 10-Second Rule at work.

    Blessings,

    Bruce Westerdahl

    http://www.contemporaryparables.com/

    • Clare said...

      Now thanks being creative AND obedient! Bruce, I’m curious, where is Penn Yan?

  16. Rick said...

    Been doing the Ten Second rule for a while … this one though just floored me. It was Mother’s Day at Church, early in the service we do a greet your neighbor handshake thing. I was sitting quite a ways out from the main crowd (have a handicapped friend that can’t get in real close) Greeted a few folks, then looked over and saw a woman still seated, no one saying anything to her. I gulped said OK, wasn’t sure if she was a mother, but God told me to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I walked as fast as I could tapped her shoulder and took her hand; saying Happy Mother’s Day. She burst into tears and said no one had said that to her in many years and that I had made her day. Service was starting and I couldn’t say more, I do know that I got a much bigger gift than she did.

    • Clare said...

      WOW! Thanks for your boldness. It’s one of those small things that literally changes some peoples entire days.

  17. Rosemary Wilson said...

    My 10 second rule moment came while mixing with some international visitors at our church. I met a Brazilian couple and just that quick I got that voice in my head, “Invite them for lunch”. So I did before I talked myself out of it.

    I had planned to spend the day relaxing, but God obviously had other plans for me. It was an amazing afternoon as God opened my eyes to the needs of Brazil. (Even my grumpy husband had a great time!). I’d have missed all that if I’d listened to reason, rather than God. Thank you!
    Rosemary
    (edited)

    • Clare said...

      And I’m praising God you are!

  18. Lisa V said...

    Hi! I try my best to live this way everyday, however I have had an opportunity to go a bit further. I go skating every Friday with my daughter (10) and there are a lot of inner city kids there. Through weeks of going and getting to know two of them, (boys who are 8 and 10) I learned their story. (a bit heartbreaking) I encourage them to do well in school and usually buy them a slice of pizza and at some point they mentioned math was NOT their strong suit at school. While at the dollar store I picked up some “flash cards” and so now every Friday night while my daughter skates, I do math with my two new friends, and it’s been a blast!!

    • Clare said...

      Lisa, it’s those simple acts of kindness done by millions of followers of Jesus all over the world that make the kingdom of God real to the world. Bless you!

  19. Steve & Judy said...

    My car had broke down on me and my wife and I had to take it to a local dealer to drop it off. It was the night before Valentine’s day and we went out for a pre-valentine’s dinner. While there, a man from the military came in with his family. Earlier in the day I had received a $50.00 bonus from the company I worked for and I mentioned it to my wife that had I brought the $50.00, I would be glad to give it to him to help pay the bill. She looked at me and said she had the same thought. Then I remembered that I carry a $50.00 in my wallet all the time. After we finished our meal, I approaced him and his family and told them that I wanted them to have the money to help pay for the meal. At first, he said he would rather not take it and then I explained that my wife and I pray for the military on a regular basis and that I wanted to bless him. He had a very humble look on his face and said thank you. I’ve thought about doing this for years but the book has really inspired me to realize it’s not about me. Thank you for your inspiration!

  20. Jennifer said...

    This may be a bit personal, but I felt like I should share.
    So…I finally finished the very last chapter of the “10 Second Rule” book. The last chapter is where he encourages you to actually START doing it. So…after I finished the last page, I lay in bed, mulling over how I was going to obey…and I made a pre-decision that I WOULD obey God the next time he asks something of me..NO MATTER WHAT it was. That was at about 9:30pm.
    At 12:44am our daughter comes into our room saying she is about to throw up…so I get up with her. (She didn’t throw up) I got her back to bed and went back to bed myself. I lay there wishing I could fall back asleep. About that time my husband says, “Weird! I am WIDE awake!” So we are both just laying there staring at the ceiling.
    So, I’m laying there trying to fall asleep and clear as a bell I hear God say in my spirit “Be intimate with your husband right now.” I’m like…”WHAT? GOD…seriously? At 1:00am in the middle of the night!!?? NO WAY! I’m TOO TIRED!!!”(We’ve struggled with intimacy for years.)
    So I lay there thinking of 101 reasons why I should not and do NOT NOT NOT want to do this. All the while, I’m also hearing thoughts like “Just a few hours ago you said you’d obey no matter what” “If I can’t trust you with this, what CAN I trust you with?” “This is your chance…your first 10-second rule…are you going to obey??”
Aughhhhhhh!!! I wanted to cry. Ha ha
    It took me about 10 MINUTES (not 10 seconds sadly) to finally submit and roll over and take initiative. It was going against everything in me, but I was obeying God.
    Skip ahead….
Later my husband says to me…….Wow! I thought I was DREAMING! I told him about the book and that I was obeying God, and to my delight, he loved that and now teases me that he thinks he hears God saying I should… well, you get the point.
    I just want you to know that I really believe that little book is going to change my life in many ways. I am very excited about hearing and OBEYING God’s voice.

    • Clare said...

      Jennifer, thank you for your transparency and your permission to share your story. To you husbands: I can almost hear the clinking sounds of 10,000 husbands grabbing for their car keys to head off to the bookstore to purchase a copy for your wife for Valentine’s Day. While I’d love to sell you boys a bunch of books, remember two important facts; it’s your wife that has to hear from God. And, you’re not God.

  21. Judy M. said...

    On my way into town 2 days ago I prayed that the Lord would help me learn to really know His voice.
    At a thrift store, a little book caught my eye & I picked it up and brought it home-The 10Second Rule. I didn’t have to read far to see that it was an answer to my prayer.
    I’m not yet through with the book, but am beginning to put it into practice. I thank you & God for your obedience in writing it.
    Let the adventure begin!

    • Clare said...

      It’s interesting how the Lord works. Makes you wonder if the person who donated my book to the thrift store gave up on obedience,or never read it.

  22. Charles Guild said...

    I pulled into a 7-Eleven to buy a couple of cups of coffee.
    As I pulled in I had to wait for a parking space, while waiting, a man at the side of the building caught my eye. At first I thought he was depositing some trash into the barrel. But on second glance I realized that he was making a “withdrawal” and quickly eating whatever it was he had found. He looked up and saw me and turned his face away so I could not easily make eye contact. I had just finished your book and had prayed for the ability to see people to help. I am a believer in Christ and recognized the opportunity that had been afforded to me.
    I quickly got out of the car and asked him if he was hungry, no response, then I asked again in Spanish. To which he replied. “Yes, very!” I asked him to come with me into the store. He followed.
    Inside I had him get whatever he wanted. He was very polite. He started naming some of everything on the counter then he proceeded to the coffee bar and started with a large cup of coffee with cream and sugar. I looked for my guest and found him locked in on the hotdog roller. I asked him his name to which he replied “Fernando”. We then ordered two of the biggest hotdogs they had. Fernando asked me “Why you do this?” I replied “I am a Christian”. Fernando got his things together and went outside after I paid. Outside a man was standing in front of the open hood of a car he had been driving . In his hand he held a fire extinguisher. He had just sprayed to extinguish a fire in the engine compartment. The area smelled of burnt plastic and hot engine. When I asked if he was alright he nodded yes. I asked if there was anything I could do to help, He replied “Can you let me have four dollars for the bus, it has gone up to five dollars you know.” I offered a ride but he declined saying the car was not his and the place he borrowed it from was right on the bus route. I pulled the balance of the money I had left and the first bill I saw was a five. I handed it to him, he thanked me and asked the same question as Fernando to which I gave the same reply. I got into my vehicle and said a prayer of thanks and praise for the opportunity God had afforded to me, allowing me to exercise my 10 second rule. It was a good feeling and just the beginning. Praise the name of the Lord!
    (edited)

    • Clare said...

      That’s the way it goes some time. Some people are thankful for anything and others keep wanting more- just like us with God!

  23. Susan C. said...

    I just finished the book last night.
    There are 30 days left in the month.
    Just enough time for the challenge.
    And I felt ill, but I decided to t-r-y it. To, by God’s grace, take the first step.
    I even posted about it on my blog – talk about accountability.

    So the first whisper came in an unexpected place.
    A personal struggle.
    Too personal to share the details with you.
    And I felt too weak. And I didn’t want to do it.
    I wanted to be selfish.
    But God took my hand and walked me through it.
    He won – my mind didn’t!!
    After it all I shared it with my husband – the gleam in his eye was priceless.
    And then I went into the other room and felt the sob rising in my throat.
    I had that “free” moment. This addicts first , “NO”!.
    Today is a victory for Him… in Him!!
    Thanks! (edited)

    • Clare said...

      Obedience is hard. Our “old self” doesn’t go down easily. But I’m encouraged by your courage. Bless you.

  24. Alainya said...

    I read The 10 Second Rule just this past weekend. It was a very challenging read — not in that it was difficult to read, but that it really made me think about how I was living. I realized that while I was doing some things according to the “Rule,” there were things that I had been putting off because I simply didn’t want to do them. I was willing to spend money and buy gifts when I felt that I was being prompted to, but I was very unwilling to start a bible study. For more than a year I put it aside. It would come up every now and again and I would say, “No, I just really don’t want to do that.” Well, this book finally got the message across. I used facebook to let the world know I was starting it, and now I can not back out. I am excited to see what God will do. (:

    • Clare said...

      Thanks for your encouraging words and more importantly for your courage to be more obedience.

  25. Dave Bishop said...

    I JUST FINISHED YOUR BOOK WHILE HERE ON VACATION IN MONTANA. I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT, AND I REALIZED I HAD BEEN PRACTICING A VERY SIMILAR VERSION OF IT FOR MANY YEARS, BUT WITH LESS SUCCESS DUE TO NOT SPECIFICALLY TARGETING THE FIRST TEN SECONDS. PERHAPS BECAUSE I AM SOMEWHAT A.D.D. I CAN EASILY BE SIDETRACKED FROM WHATEVER I AM DOING AND FOLLOW THE SPIRIT’S LEADING MORE SPONTANEOUSLY THAN PEOPLE WITH BETTER “STICK-TO-IT-TIVENOUS”.
    I WILL RECOMMEND THAT PEOPLE READ YOUR BOOK AS WELL AS “THE FORGOTTEN GOD” BY FRANCIS SCHAFER TO BETTER DISCERN AND OBEY THE SPIRIT’S LEADING.
    THANK YOU AND THANK GOD FOR INSPIRING YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK.
    (edited)

    • Clare said...

      Dave, Thank you for your observations. I find that I don’t seem to procrastinate on the things I want to do, but on the things I don’t want to do- “well, I need to pray about that.”

      By the way, John De Vries was one of the key men in my spiritual journey as well.

  26. Dawn said...

    Well, I LOVED your book and have shared it with my mom and she read it and passed it on to my aunt who read it all passed it on to my cousin! ha! It’s so inspirational.

    My first real experience following the rule was at church, of all places. I was approached and asked to teach vacation Bible school, which was starting the very next day! I wanted to say NO so badly. We were heading out of town at the end of the week for a two week vacation and I needed to get ready. My parents were coming in from out of town. My house was a mess, I hadn’t read the lesson plans or prepared for the job in any way. Two things came to mind that pushed me to obey…#1 Matthew 5:42 Give to him who asks. I had no real good reason to say no. Sure it was inconvenient, but I could do it. And #2, My 10 seconds were coming to an end and I knew this was a big test for obedience from Jesus. So, I said YES! ha! It seemed crazy but it was a wonderful experience and God blessed my time with those kids in so many ways. And somehow, everything got done in preparation for our trip, my parents were happy to stay at home with my two youngest while my older two and I went to VBS. It all worked out. And the best part, when people asked me why I was doing it on short notice I was able to tell them about obeying God and the 10 Second Rule!

    Thanks for the inspirational book!!!

    • Clare said...

      Thanks for the great story! It isn’t all that difficult is it? It’s really a shock that we don’t follow Jesus more. Bless you.

  27. Marty Varga said...

    WHOA!!! is all I can say! This is day 2 of my commitment of 30 days of doing the best I can to serve this commitment! It continues to amaze me the things/people Jesus will put in front of you if you just open your eyes! The 10 Second Rule is exactly what I needed to keep the focus on Jesus to take action for him outside of my own head!!!

    • Clare said...

      Marty, I’m so grateful for faithfulness and passion!

  28. Marty Varga said...

    This is an excerpt from an e-mail that I sent to Ron V from Granger Community Church, (Granger, IN. who is being instrumental in teaching any and all who desire a need to be more missional and how to get there. He shared ” The 10 Second Rule” principal and then offered the book for 1/2 price if people were able to pay. I still had 8 seconds left when I bought it!!! This book is just what the complicated mind needs to simplify it all! The Holy Spirit is truly working if we listen!!! Thank You Lord!

    1)I left the GCC service last night and saw a woman walking by the road…I thought (10 Second Rule)…I was past her do I stop….is she going to the apartments…she crossed the road to do what I thought was just that….I turned around anyway…..she walked past the apartments….I asked her if she needed a ride…she didn’t but the smile in her eyes and the sincere thank-you for offering told me I was right to ask.

    2) I came home from a vacation that I had taxied to the airport @ 6:00 in the morning the week before when I called for the same company cab to take me home upon my arrival back to SB. Long story short it’s not the usual company I use for my taxi needs, first experience @6:00 I established a rapport with the driver due to our shared patriotism, he wasn’t working on Saturday when I returned but they promptly sent someone out. I walked out of the door of the airport and he wasn’t there yet, but there were 3 other taxi’s waiting. I called the company and said if they hadn’t sent him already there was no need…..while we spoke I saw the cab round the corner. He was FILTHY…I mean grubby looking and I wondered if I had misplaced my loyalty to a company I truly didn’t know by any other means than the first driver shared a love of country as I do. His first question to me” How much does X charge you for this ride?” Whoa….the meter on the dash wasn’t running, (nor was it on my first ride), I asked, “Don’t you have a rate? Especially to Notre Dame? ( I live very close)” He said, I don’t usually drive. I told him “$12.00” . No issue, except that it was a lie…the first driver actually charged me $15.00….I rode for probably a minute ( not quite 10 seconds) and I told him, “ I lied…and X had actually charged me $15…..I explained that I was trying to be a better Christ follower and I don’t know if I was testing him/them or myself but I had to tell him the truth! I also was able to hear him share his own losses to cancer that he had experienced in the last 2 years with losing a father and his wife to the disease. There are no coincidences in God’s plan….thank you for assisting me as I attempt to just plain do it better than I have and continue to try to surrender to God’s will over my own. The book was invaluable as the book I need to dive into will be!

    • Clare said...

      Marty, I’m sitting in a cafe’ in Poland teaching a group of college seniors what it means to follow Jesus in real life and I got your comment. I can’t wait to share your great stories with them! Thank you for your faithfulness. Clare

  29. Erik said...

    Clare,
    I have just recently come to faith and wanted you to know that the 10 Second Rule has made an almost immediate impact on me and my journey. Last week while returning home from vacation I exited the highway to find my hotel for the night. When I stopped at the light I noticed a dirty and disheveled looking man with an old back pack sitting to the side. He appeared as thought he might be homeless and had a sign that read something like “traveling, need food / money, please help”. Until just recently I would have handled this like I usually had – look straight ahead, pretend not to notice him, and hope he wouldn’t approach. For as you wrote, if he had, it might have cost me something in time, money or embarrassment. However, because I had read your book, I had made a pre decision, and this time was different. The first thought I had now was “whatever you did for the least of these brothers you did for me.” The second thought I had was “follow the 10 Second Rule!”
    As it turned out he just sat to the side, not moving, so I called him over. I asked him his name and told him that I am a Christian and that the holy spirit had moved me to assist him in the small way that I could (with some of HIS money). As he accepted it he seemed sincerely appreciative and thanked me profusely. I told him that I hoped he made it safely to where he was going. The light turned green and I went about my way.
    Reflecting on this several days later I recalled how truly grateful this man had been for such a small effort (in both time and money) on my part. I am now looking forward to be able to do this again and am thinking ahead in the hope that I might make an even bigger impact on the next person. I also wanted to thank you for your book – while I know many who call themselves Christians, its not very often that I see them act as such, both amongst themselves and especially so with those who are different and/or less fortunate. To me your book’s importance is that it emphasizes the need for us as Christians to get out of our comfort zone and act, to truly be the hands and feet of Christ, and as I grow in faith I hope that this idea will be manifested through me.
    Erik

    • Clare said...

      Erik, what a blessing your story was to me. It’s exactly what I had hoped would happen as I wrote the book-”throw your brains out the window, but not your heart, Christianity!”

  30. Alex said...

    I’m pretty cynical about most “Christian” stuff on the web.
    But
    I like your 10 second rule.
    I am even going to try to FOLLOW it.
    How about that!
    AA
    UK

    • Clare said...

      Thanks. You’d even more skeptical if you knew how often I disregard my own rule some days!

  31. Tom Hins said...

    I had just started the 10 second rule and was only like in the second chapter. I had been working long hours and so had been ignoring most things in my life. One Friday night I was leaving work about 9 pm and felt it come upon me that there would be someone needing a ride as I drove home and I should stop and pick them up. So driving home that night I got about half way home and sure enough there was a guy walking wearing leathers, chains hanging on his coat and pants, rough looking dude. I didn’t hesitate and almost got ran over while pulling over to see if he wanted a ride as he wasn’t holding out a thumb or anything just plodding along on down the road. He came up to the car kind of suspicious why this Toyota Corolla pulled over to so I offered him a ride. He said sure and got in. He said he never thought anyone would pick him up dressed like he was so he was sure he was going to have to walk. So that let me tell him well I got this feeling from God that I was suppose to pick someone up on the way home and he was like wow. So we chatted about the 10 second rule my church and God. So we conversed and I pulled off on the exit he previously indicated and got to a stop sign. I finally had to say right or left, I had it come upon me to pick up a person but I wasn’t given the exact address. We bothed laughed and he gave me directions the rest of the way to his house. As we pulled into his driveway He said his pastor had given him a book to read about a year ago and he thought he might do that. I don’t know what if anything this encounter had to do with this person’s future I just know I obeyed and that is all I can say.

    • Clare said...

      Your story wins the “Following Jesus by throwing your brains out the window” award of the week. I love it! Bless you!

  32. Paul Ransdell said...

    Well, I’m quite ccustomed to waiting…talking myself out of sharing a blessing. Your book is just right about me.

    So, now I have the book, about to read it. But I wonder…

    I ran out of gas between Berea and Richmond KY on I-75 a few years ago, driving a green Mercury Grand Marquis, and a man who looks suspiciously like you stopped, took me to buy gas, then back to my car. It was really inconvenient, undoubtedly.

    Nahhhh, the odds are too remote that it was you Mr. De Graaf – but whoever that was, thanks soooo much. It was a spontaneous obedience to what I believe must have been God’s urging.

    So, now I’m embarking on my journey to heed those urgings right away – within the first 10 seconds.

    • Clare said...

      I wish I could say it was me that helped you out, but I haven’t been on that highway in 35 years. I any case, thank you for buying my book. I’d really like to get any feedback from you as I’m editing the book for a future printing and there’s no such thing as a perfect book.

  33. Jodie said...

    I started reading the book and was scared of what following Jesus with radical obedience would look like. But as I started reading, I got more and more excited about what God could do. My first impression seemed simple- offer my friends some candy that I had been holding onto to savor later in the day. I took the opportunity seriously and did it! As I continued to follow Jesus and the rule, I found God asking me to do more challenging things. This last impression was to give a friend $1,000 to assist him and his wife as they adopt a child. Being in full time ministry myself, $1,000 is a lot of money. I felt the impression and called him right away to tell him I was sending a check.I didn’t want to call yet, simply because it was a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to bother him. I decided to call anyway. Had I waited, my friend would not have answered because he would have been on a long flight! I probably would have been discouraged and not called back! He explained to me that his wife and him were quite discouraged lately and wondered how and when God would provide. He was teary ( I was sobbing!). God is good. I can’t wait to live out the rule more! And challenge others to do the same!

    • Clare said...

      Jodie, bless you for your faithfulness! When you’re early into this adventure it feels so reckless and irresponsible, but once you get past the guilt of that it will feel sweet and right and true- the way it ought to be- the way Jesus meant it to be.

  34. Jim said...

    The 10 Second Rule rocks!

    One of the great pleasures I have at National Christian Foundation of Indiana is working with caring, committed Christians who love God and share their experiences…in this case a book. About a month ago Ginny gave me one that she said I just had to read. The whole idea of The 10 Second Rule by Clare De Graaf is not to take even 10 seconds to over-think the situation; just do the next thing that you’re reasonably sure Jesus wants you to do. I read it, thought it was great, and I figured that was the end of it.
    Then, about a week after I read the book, just as my mind was consumed with thoughts of dinner and an evening of reading and relaxation, the Holy Spirit grabbed me and took me way out of my comfort zone, literally.

    It was around 5:00 pm. I drove back to the office after my last appointment. Since my wife, Nancy, was out of town, I was thinking about stopping by Paradise Bakery and Café on my way home to get carry out – one of those crumbly blue cheese salads that I like so much and maybe even a chocolate chip cookie or two.
    As I walked into our office building I passed a woman standing in the lobby looking out the window as though she was looking for her ride home. We smiled and said hello and I went back to work for a while.
    By the time I decided to leave it was just after 7:00 pm. Wow, those two hours went fast. I packed up my iPad and put on my coat, turned off the office lights and locked the office door to head home.
    As I approached the front door in the lobby of our building, I realized that the same woman was still there. She looked worried. “Are you alright?” I asked. She told me that she had just moved to Indy, had no car, so she had taken a bus to our area for a doctor’s appointment. Somebody told her that the last bus came at about 6:00 pm. She looked out window around 5:40 pm and saw a bus pulling away. No other bus came after that. “So,” she said, “I called a cab…even though I can’t even afford the cab fare, which would probably be $50 or $60.”

    “Where do you live?” I asked. She told me that she lived in Speedway, which is quite a haul from our north side office at 91st and Meridian.

    She said she had called a cab about an hour earlier and when I asked her if she had checked back to find out when they were coming she said, “I couldn’t. My cell phone battery died.” Her voice cracked as though she was starting to cry.

    “I’ll call them,” I said. The dispatcher explained that they were looking for a cab for her. “You’re LOOKING for a cab for somebody who called an hour ago?” Then I realized what was going on. “God, I know I could offer to give her a ride home, but I’m tired and hungry, and I want to pick up my dinner, and…” Then it hit me.

    I sensed that my 10 seconds were almost up…it was time to just obey. “Forget the cab,” I told the dispatcher. “I’m going to drive her home.”

    As we drove around 465 to the west side, Mary was explaining that she needed to find a job close by her new apartment, because she wasn’t able to buy a car until she worked for a while to save some money. I confirmed that she had a resume with her and told her to make sure that she gave me a copy when we stopped.

    As I was thinking how much different Mary’s life was than mine, I realized that I had driven past the Crawfordsville Road exit. So, I went on to 10th Street and back-tracked up Lynhurst. After navigating around in pretty unfamiliar territory with the help of a navigator who barely knew the area, we found her apartment complex. As she got out of my car, I remembered what she had said about cab fare, so, as Mary handed me her resume, I gave her the $22 I had in my pocket. She hugged me and said, “God bless you.”

    I felt great. I had done the right thing, simply because I didn’t talk myself out of it. And, I was able to give her a little when she had nothing. I figured that was the end of it.

    The next morning I headed out to my first appointment. Following the directions on my iPad, I took the Crawfordsville Road exit. When I arrived at my appointment, something caught my eye. I looked around the side of the building and realized that the building behind was Mary’s apartment. “Lord,” I thought, “what more do you have in store for me today?”

    Once we finished getting to know each other, I just had to tell Sarah, the business owner I was meeting with, about my experience the night before. I told her how Mary needed a job that was near her apartment (located conveniently behind this office). She asked for a copy of Mary’s resume, and said she would see what she could do to connect her with nearby businesses whenever she heard about any job openings. So, I left feeling even better than I had the night before, because I was hopeful that Sarah might be able to help Mary. Again, I thought that was the end of it.

    Then, this morning, I noticed that Mary had sent me an email. She starts her new job with Sarah’s company today. But today I didn’t think, “That’s probably the end of it.” God is at work every single second of every day helping all the Marys in the world, and He will be especially effective when His helpers follow The 10 Second Rule. I had simply been selling Him short. Not a mistake I’ll make again.

    God, you are absolutely awesome!

    Blessings,
    Jim C.

    • Clare said...

      What a great example of the unintentional consequences of faithfulness to change someones life!

  35. Jim Ryken said...

    My family and I recently returned from a week in Haiti. The excerpt below is from our blog post.

    The 10 Second Rule is a book written by Clare DeGraaf which Sonlight sent us for free with a homeschool curriculum order. It was from this book that I took our Friday night devotions in Haiti. The subtitle of the book is, Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do. It’s a book about the principle of obedience to God. The idea is to hear God’s promptings and act on them in the moment, before you talk yourself out of it. Help a homeless person; call an old friend; make a donation; it could be anything. Typically, we may hear these things, but somehow we rationalize not doing them.

    On Saturday morning during our prayer walk a few members of our team had a chance to put this into practice as they met a stranger and started a conversation. Jean-Jean said he felt a prompting to ask the man about Jesus when the 10 Second Rule came into his mind and he acted. That man wanted to learn more about Jesus –> prayed to receive him –> later came to get new shoes –> came to church the next day and inquired about baptism –> and on Monday showed up at the UCI worksite for devotions and to get a job. Amazing! God used that little book and a chain of faithful followers to lead a soul to Christ.

    Many of us liked the quote on page 93. “Many dream of doing great things for God half hoping he won’t ask. Fewer wake each day longing to be used by Him – that day.” That quote causes you to question your motives and intentions.

    • Clare said...

      Thank you for your faithfulness and your willingness to demonstrate childlike obedience before your family!

  36. Kenneth said...

    My name is Kenneth M., I’m 24 years old and live in Mississippi. My teenage life was spent in and out of juvenile jails, rehabs and behavioral centers. I gave up drugs at age 20 but that was all that changed. I started drinking more, partying, had a foul mouth, and stole small things from time to time. I just was not living a Christian life. I thought I was saved, but felt no joy at all. I prayed only maybe ten times a year for years.

    One day I felt the strong urge to go to Family Christian Bookstore located at a local mall. As I was walking out, I casually glanced at the other books on the shelf. For some unknown reason I picked up your book. The 10 Second Rule, read the cover and decided to buy it.

    When I got home that day I found myself wanting to start your book. Since reading your book I have felt touched in a way I could never explain. As I’m writing this my eyes flow with uncontrollable tears. Tears of happiness and peace. True PEACE. I have made a 180 degree turn since that day. My whole life feels changed and I am so happy to really know the Lord, and happy for the fact that I know I’m being the man God meant for me to be.

    Tonight I felt an impression suddenly to write you this and let you know that you have changed my life. I’m not the boy from the bus stop but I may be one of the others that you spoke of in other parts of the book. I could write a dozen pages and it still wouldn’t be enough to express how I really feel. I read your blogs now. Have a blessed day, Mr. De Graaf.

    Sincerely,
    Kenneth M.

  37. Dana Mackay said...

    Blessings Backfire…..So, my daughter and I have been reading 10sec rule during the last couple of days……today we went out to get a haircut and then stopped in to get lunch at a restauraunt……as we were entering, we saw a man that looked like a person that we have known to be addicted to alcohol and that lives on and off the streets. The man in the restauraunt might have been homeless and might not have been, but was definitely drunk and shabby looking. So, without waiting 10 sec to think about forgoing an act of compassion, I offered to buy the guy lunch. He immediately said that it was ok and that he had enough money….so, while I was waiting in line I figured if he didn’t need the monetary blessing that I would let him know that I was praying for him and that I had hoped Jesus would bless his day. By the time we made it to the cash register…..he ended up buying us lunch!

    Go figure…..GO God!

  38. Charlotte Dance said...

    My husband, 2 teen daughters and I were helping with a VBS in a church on a reservation. I cared for an almost 2yo boy whose foster mother went to the church. At the end of the 2nd day, she told me his story. He was available for adoption, but no family member could take him. I went back to the motel and checked out Native American adoption. I felt strongly that I was supposed to do something, but saw that it was impossible. I requested the number for child protection, thinking that I would talk to my husband and if it was OK with him, I would contact them. That morning the foster mother called and said ‘Would you like to adopt him?’ I said ‘Yes’ (Definitely within the 10 second limit) She said ‘The social worker would like to talk to you.’ Then I talked to my husband! We talked to the social worker that afternoon. 4 months later we drove back to pick him up. 2 years later the adoption was finalized. That 10 seconds have changed all of our lives.

    • Clare said...

      Amazing! That’s how the Rule works sometime- your obedience to a simple impression leads to another and so on until whole lives are often changed. I do say in the book that for significant decisions like adoption, there’s no substitute for prayer and the godly counsel of others and I’m assuming there was a lot of that all along the way. Use the Rule with care. Bless you for listening and obeying!

  39. Michael Jr. said...

    So I started reading the book and before I was done, had a 10-second opportunity appear that would include about 2,500 witnesses.

    I am blessed with the gift of bringing laughter to people and as a double bonus, some of my events take place in support of great organizations such as The Mustard Seed in Edmonton, AB (Canada). The Mustard Seed feeds the homeless in that area and was hoping to raise $50,000 in ticket sales for a fund-raising event, which would include comedy, a silent auction and donations. The event itself was sold out. I also assumed that the auction had done well too, especially since I decided to spontaneously auction off a copy of my children’s book during my set, which due to the spirit of the cause, sold for an astonishing $4,000!!!

    After I’d finished the roughly 60-minute set of comedy and impromptu comedy auction, I was headed offstage. As I walked towards the green room, I heard someone say that they had come up short of their goal of $50,000. I never even looked up to see who was talking. I instantly felt an impression – heard God tell me – to go back out and sell another book for $4,000.

    Now, this is sounding crazy to me. The crowd had just been floored by the fact that a $20 book was sold for $4,000. They, along with me, were just very blessed by what had taken place. To try and somehow top what had happened didn’t make sense. Some of this dialogue that I am sharing here is what was actually going on in my head, with all kinds of other thoughts as to why I shouldn’t go back out onstage. Please keep in mind that I do stand up comedy for a living and I’m crazy creative, so I had multiple reasons for not going back out. I think I was at about the 6-second mark when one of the thoughts that popped into my head was the 10-second rule. At about the 7-second mark, I just started walking back to the stage, not at all sure what would take place, and well…here’s the video: http://youtu.be/TUvOOrTZVIA

    • Clare said...

      Wow! Michael, bless you for sticking out your neck a country mile. I cried as I watched you put it all on the line in pubic- flying without a net! Praise God.

  40. Jean Clarkson said...

    P.S.
    This poem in Our Daily Bread Monday reminded me of the 10 Second Rule:

    Lord, if I’m feeling rushed today,
    I need your eyes to help me see
    That when an interruption comes,
    It is an opportunity
    - Sper

    In Him, Jean

    • Clare said...

      Great quote!

  41. Jean Clarkson said...

    Last Sunday seemed to be the one dollar day. When the collection plate went by, I pulled a dollar out of my wallet and dropped it on the plate even though I’d put the monthly tithe envelope in the week before. After church, I stopped to buy doughnuts and tucked a dollar in the tip cup even though I usually ignore it. Then I stopped for gas. While I was at the pump, a woman open the trash can, looking for pop cans. I spoke to her, sorry she had not found any cans to redeem and she gave me a half smile. When she went on to the next trash can, I dug out another dollar and handed it to her. “Just a small gift,” I said. She smiled and she mumbled something about money for the baby’s diapers.
    Now I wonder why I didn’t give away more!
    Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll keep listening.
    In Him, Jean

    • Clare said...

      Jean, I have a feeling you’re going to do just fine in the future. Your heart’s in the right place to be used of God. Bless you!

  42. Ryan DeWard said...

    I have been trying to live by the rule for the past few months since reading the book and had a few opportunities to do so. Today however I had two opportunities. The first I was with my son in the car and passed a man holding a sign “hungry”. The easy thing to do would be keep driving, but after being prompted I turned around and gave the man a few bucks. It was a teachable moment for me to explain what I gave him and why. The Second was tonight as I was with my wife entering the movie theater we were approached by a woman who “needed money for gas”. Neither of us were particularly convinced by her story, but still felt it was the right thing to do and help her out with a few dollars as well. The 10 second rule has increased my spontaneous generosity and awareness for opportunities to serve.

    • Clare said...

      Bless you for your faithfulness! In the beginning of this journey these impressions will have a “throw your brains out the window ” feel to them. They are an offense to our sensibilities.

  43. Sheila said...

    While reading your book I was reminded of an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago. I was leaving the post office when I drove past a man with a child in an umbrella stroller holding a sign for help. (I think it said “need diapers.”) I immediately felt very uncomfortable like that sign was for me. I started to rationalize that I didn’t have any cash on me (had used my card at the P.O.), that I didn’t have little ones in diapers, etc. I drove home feeling very guilty. After a little while I couldn’t stand it anymore and drove back. I didn’t know what I was planning on doing (still had no money or diapers) but as I suspected, the man was gone. I had missed my chance. I confessed my sin of omission and prayed for that family.

    After reading your book, my hope is that I will not pass up on the opportunities that come my way. Thanks for writing it.

    • Clare said...

      First of all, I admire your courage to go back. I’m more worried about someone who just doesn’t care, than I am about a good person like yourself who cares, but realizes it too late and resolves to do it better the next time.

  44. Emily & Curtis said...

    A few weeks ago, my book club set out to practice random acts of kindness in our community. We rented a limo (right?) and headed out to make someone’s day. Inspired by a local story of someone paying off another’s KMart layaway, we headed for WalMart and promptly paid off the layaway with 5 toys on it. Then we bought gift cards. Lots of them! We passed them all around the store. Some to randoms, some to people that appeared to be very much in need. I’m a big fan of operationbeautiful.com, so I also left some “love notes” in the ladies’ bathrooms. We all went home that night feeling something very powerful. That day before our big trip, I stocked up on items after noticing a few homeless people standing near a busy intersection that I pass daily. I purchased deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a McDonald’s and Starbucks gift card, some handwarmers, a poncho, some water and a pile of granola bars. I wrote “YOU ARE LOVED” on the outside in hopes that we would see one of them at that spot that night. It didn’t happen that day. So, I kept it in my car, waiting for that moment when I would see one of them again. Today was that day. I told him that Jesus Loved Him, wished him a Merry Christmas and the light turned green and I was off. In my rear-view mirror, he promptly crossed the street and headed into the McDonald’s (yes, my giftcard was strategic!)

    A week or so ago, my Dad told me that I needed to read your book. Tonight SOMETHING (is this that impression?? The Holy Spirit!)called me to do that. This is not irony. This is God, moving through me…through YOU. Thank you, Clare. For bringing clarity to this 32 year old “beige” Christian. As I sit here, my prayer partner is reading it on the couch. Truly, from the deepest pit of my broken soul, thank you. God has called me to this place over the last few months, and this book has brought it all back to HIM. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 10430!

    • Clare said...

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I’m confident Jesus would prefer that I was a whole lot less religious, and instead be far more generous and kind. Thanks for reminding all of us of the joy of giving.

  45. Brian Turner said...

    My wife received this book as a gift from the company, sonlight, that we get our homeschooling curriculum from. She started reading it right away and now I’m reading it as well. She was out shopping the other day and ended up behind a young teen age boy in the checkout line. She noticed when it was time for him to pay for his order, totaling about $30 that he was short about 98 cents. He started to panic and rummage through the crumpled up bills in his pocket. My wife glanced in her purse but knows really that she never has any actual cash on her so what did she do to help this kid make up the 98 cents? She paid for his entire purchase along with our stuff. The cashier seemed dumbfounded as to what was going on. The kid with tears in his eyes tried to hand my wife his crumbled up bills but she told him to keep it. I am so proud of my wife. We have since bought copies of the book and have handed them out to our small group as Christmas gifts.

    • Clare said...

      What a great story- straight out of the book! I’m also glad that you were proud of your wife. I’ve known some husbands who might have questioned your wife’s judgment. Please tell your wife that I’m “reasonably certain”, NO flat out certain that Jesus is proud of her also!

  46. Todd Rettberg said...

    So been reading the book. Homeless guy comes in my church a week ago, just got out of jail and only has the clothes on his back. He asks me if we have any clothes and I take him back to our storage area and find him some sweatshirts but can not find any jeans to fit him. The Lord says what about the pair you are wearing. I had just returned from a trip so I had a pair of sweatpants in the car. Took my pants off and he tried them on and they fit perfectly.

  47. Karen Koch said...

    I received your book yesterday as a gift from Sonlight Curriculum. I read about half of it before bed. We had a big family event last night and have half of a huge cake left over. This morning I had a clear impression that I was supposed to give our brand-new neighbors some cake. I started to rationalize thinking, “They might think that’s weird from someone they don’t know. . .” etc. but as I went out to get something from the car before church, there was my neighbor getting into her car. I asked, “Would you like some cake we have leftover?” She sounded genuinely surprised and happy and said, “yes, they’d love some.” :-) I’m going to finish your book tonight.

    • Clare said...

      Thanks! That’s supposed to be how it works-hopefully it’s the new, normal Christian life.

  48. Todd Rettberg said...

    I am a pastor in Upland Ca. and just started reading the book today. I had just finished the part about the ten second rule and applying to your life and my cell phone rings. It is a pastor friend of mine who wants to know if he could rent my facility, he doesn’t have his own, a night around Christmas. He asks me how much and God tells me free so I tell him free and he is blessed beyond measure. I hang up and think how amazing for God to give me an opportunity so quickly to apply this truth. Thanks, Pastor Todd Rettberg

    • Clare said...

      That’s how it works! I’m confident the “other voice” was whispering, “What are the deacons going to say? Can’t they afford some rent? Do this and everyone will want to use “our” building.” If something like that happened, thank you for your courageous obedience.

  49. Mark Ismond said...

    When I saw the phrase “obedience for dummies” as an earlier descriptor of the ten second rule, I laughed out loud. New to the phraseology but well versed in the concept because of my delightfully blunt and caring dad who used counting to ten as his introduction to talking to men who swore around him. They’d take the Lord’s name in vain and he’s start counting out loud to them and on when he got to ten; would say that since they brought up the subject he thought he might take the opportunity to introduce them to his friend Jesus, because it looked to him like they could really use some help or a real friend about now. He always said he was using the ten seconds for big-time prayer support and seeking assurance that this was a God directed situation. Of the 30-40 guys I saw Dad talk to, only one man was truly offended. And that was because it was, he claimed, the only time he’s sworn in his 30 years since leaving the Navy, and he was ticked that my dad had actually heard it. They laughed for years about it as this was the start of a neat friendship between two men of God.

    thank you again for your prompting of me and the many ripples started by your obedience.
    Mark

    • Clare said...

      What a great story! Your father used what call in the book, a “pre-decision.” He had a plan for how he would handle the foul language of others. Perfect!

  50. Hal said...

    I have been unemployed for some time and about 7 months ago I was having problems with my unemployment disbursements and went to downtown Detroit to have it corrected. The line was long and once you picked a number, everyone waited in a huge waiting room. While waiting, a black gentleman wearing tattered clothes came up to me and asked me for money. I looked at him and said, “This is the waiting room for the unemployed.” He walked away. After reflecting on what happened for a few seconds, I got up and looked from him in earnest, but could not find him. I looked inside and outside and asked the hall attendants if they saw a homeless looking man. It would not have been that easy to disappear like he did. A thought suddenly flashed across my mind, I just missed Jesus and the moment to serve him! I needed the 10 Second Rule, maybe 3 seconds in this case. Jesus was quick!

  51. Scott said...

    Clare,

    I read your book on the way back from a recent missions trip to Central Asia. I had just been in a Muslim-dominated country, and there even Christians pray with their hands palms-up to show that they’re praying and to relate to their culture (in the Muslim faith people do that too). Anyway, on the plane ride home, I was grumbling to myself about my middle seat, and decided to pray. I had a sense that I should hold my palms up when praying, so I did. When done, the African-American gentleman from Chicago next to me (himself a US citizen en route back from Ghana) commented: “you prayed like a Muslim.” I then said, “actually, I’m a Christian, but have just spent the last 9 days in a Muslim country, and this is how even the Christians pray there, out of respect for the culture in which they live.” He then proceeded to tell me how he grew up in a family where his mother is Muslim, his father a nominal (at best) Christian, and how he’s been struggling to make sense of it all….and has some up with (my words) a sort of amalgamation that works for him….little bit of this, little bit of that. That led us to a lengthy conversation about true Christianity — basically, who is Jesus and what is his gospel, really, and why does it matter. We talked for about 1.5 hours on this, and then I prayed for him (he didn’t receive Christ, but he let me pray for him that God would open his eyes and heart to see the truth of Christ). He told me at one point, “I think God wanted you here in this seat, so you could tell me this.” Who knows where things will go. Hopefully I’ll hear someday (in this life, or later) that he has accepted Christ.

    I think this 10-second rule is great.

    Scott

  52. Naomi Hein said...

    I have been reading the 10 second rule book. My husband and I moved recently and I finally found a church home through prayer and trial and error. I pass a different church on my way home from work everyday. I had the impression I should try this church on Sunday . I prayed about it and even though I wanted to attend the church I had been attending I obeyed and went to this other church. The pastor was talking about decipleship and boldness in our Christian walk. Everything he said hit home with me along with your book. I won’t be switching churches because I know god wanted me to attend that particular service on that Sunday. I have a long way to go with following the 10 second rule. The hardest part to obey is with those closest to us. I am definitely one who is a little slower to act when it comes to family. I am excited about everyday listening to the holy spirits leading and obeying. I fall so short but have a willing heart.

    • Clare said...

      Wow! Thank you for your honesty regarding family. In some ways it’s easier to help strangers because there’s no baggage. With family sometimes there’s the, ” they don’t deserve……..” issue that holds us back. I’m just glad God doesn’t have the same problem.

  53. Pete Deutsch said...

    Hi Mr DeGraaf,

    Just met you back on the 7th Oct. at our Men’s Fraternity breakfast where you spoke. I bought your book and read it while on the road( I’m that truck driver that you autographed my book for, thanks!)I can’t believe that in such a short time how much this book is changing my way of thinking. I have followed the rule numerous times now and it has impacted others who have been the recipient of Jesus’s whisper to me.
    I have strongly recommended your book to my “Wakin with Jesus” Bible study group that I lead at Vineyard North. I think Jesus whispered in your ear to write this..God bless you Sir!

    • Clare said...

      I’m honored the book has been helpful. When I first started living and teaching the 10 second rule, i called it “obedience for dummies” and there are days I still feel like I’m wearing the cone hat.

  54. Dave Sorensen said...

    Clare,

    Glad to see your book is now available at Family Christian. Pam will be picking it up for my birthday next week, although she doesn’t know it yet!!!

    God bless

  55. Megan said...

    Some obey the rule and get to sit back and watch while God works. But not every experience affords front row seats to a life transformed. I pulled over the other night while hurrying home to my family, to help a man whose bike had broken along the side of the road. Rolling down my window, I asked him if I could help. He very brusquely told me no. I asked again to make sure, when he essentially told me to bug off. I drove away smiling. Because the deal isn’t that I will always get to sit back and watch God move in response to my obedience. The deal is obeying. And I wonder if maybe the whole thing came down to Jesus saying, “That guy has not had kindness shown him in a long time. Your job today is simply to show him kindness. That’s all. He’s my kid and he needs someone to be kind to him today.” I mean, the biker might just have been a jerk, but maybe he’s just lonely. Or lost. Or walking a hard road. Either way, the God of the universe does not need me to work out his plans. But he still lets me tag along. That’s sweet.

    • Clare said...

      Absolutely! We Christians have a way of assuming if things turn out the way we think, or hope they should when we sense God speaking, then we obviously heard God right. On the other hand, if things don’t go well, we must have misread God.
      I think God sometimes sends us these little assignments, if for no other reason than to see if we’ll be obedient, or as you point out, perhaps to show someone that not everyone is out to get them, or unkind to them.
      Thanks. I love you so. (Megan is our daughter in case you were getting worried!)

  56. Darlene said...

    About 10 years ago, while on a trip with a friend, we stopped at a town square for my friend to go to a bank. As I sat outside waiting for her, I saw a man walking to a car to ask the person something. Of course, he was asking her for money for cigarettes or booze (according to my ‘assessment’) and I was getting my defenses up as he came up the stairs toward me. To my surprise, he just sat down and asked how I was doing and chatted in a pleasant manner, then bid me a good day–never once asking for anything!
    As my friend and I got back on the road, an impression hit me hard–I just missed Jesus! I cannot tell you how my heart broke at how stingy I’d been. Why couldn’t I have just walked him over to a restaurant, handed the waiter $10 or $15, and tell the man to enjoy a meal?
    Some lessons are learned the hard way–I missed a Hebrews 13:2 moment!

    • Clare said...

      As I wrote in the book, the failures you bravely revealed are often the catalysts that drive us to do better next time. Thanks