You’ve Got Mail! – Ridding Yourself Of Distractions

If you are old enough and were connected during the golden age of the internet, you probably heard your computer utter the now famous words, “You’ve Got Mail!” As a matter of fact, the famous voice is none other than Cleveland resident Elwood Edwards. Elwood got paid a whopping $200 for his voice in 1989 for his catchy phrase, as well as a few other phrases that were heard when you were checking your email on AOL. If you are ever in Cleveland and in the Heights area and call for an Uber, you might just have Elwood as your driver! People, including me couldn’t wait to login into that speedy dial-up connection to hear those famous words. It made you feel important! All of a sudden you were instantly connected with people from all around the world and they were sending you electronic correspondence.

Fast forward twenty-eight years and we carry the technology times a thousand in our pockets every day. But instead of getting a message that is informing you  have mail, you are getting instant notifications from email, not just one account, but possibly several. Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, and endless news apps that beep, ding, and ring you everytime  something new happens. It’s enough to make you wish for a flip phone!  What was supposed to make life easier has become a slab of distractions.

Distractions come in many forms and venues. A distraction by the very nature of the word means  your attention is diverted from something or someone  you were concentrating on, to now something or someone else. What can we do to be less distracted in a distracting world?

Be Still

Our spirit, by its very nature, anticipates something on the horizon the like of which we have never seen before. Yet it is possible to not see it. To miss it. To turn just as it brushes past us. So move away from the hustle and bustle. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. There will be time enough for running, for activity, for pushing, for worrying, for crowds. But for now, stay. Wait. Be still. Something is on the horizon. When you take photographs with a camera, you have to be still or the photo will be out of focus. The same is true with your life.

“Be still (Stop) and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 NIV, writes the Psalmist.

We need to refrain from an overload of activity to see Jesus. This will mean that we deliberately choose to stop, to wait, and to push back.

Find A Place Of Quiet

Our lives comes packaged with a lot of noise. It’s everywhere. There’s music playing, horns honking, people chattering, paper rustling. The nature of crowds prompts noise. It can’t be avoided. The only way is to move away from the noise to find a place of quiet.

Look at four words from Luke 2:8. When Jesus was born the story of the shepherds captures this thought precisely – the shepherds were “out in the fields” NIV.

Out in the fields implies that they were away from the clutter of life and the crowds that accompany that mess. They had found a place of quiet. A place of quiet is not always a physical place. In fact, often when we need quietness the most, we can’t get away from the crowds. A quiet place is a place of the heart. Like the eye of a hurricane, the storm rages around us, but internally there is calmness, peace, and silence.

Find the time, and if you can, the place, to enjoy the silence, the calmness. Move away from the crowds and listen to the still, silent voice of God.

Be Intentional

I wonder if as I ask myself, “Am I really living?”

I’m afraid I’m guilty of pretending to live. There’s a lot of pretending going on today. Are we just going through the motions. Could it be you are just waiting for the paycheck. You are hoping for the weekend so you can party till you drop. Bidding your time until you can retire? Or are you living? Not in a hurry. Not being bombarded with peer pressure. Making a difference with your life and not feeling worthless.

The only way to break that cycle is to be intentional – do something that will make a difference. Start to focus on your passion, your calling, your first love. Don’t wait another minute, another hour, and another day! Do something now!

 

 

Self Publishing The Book Inside Of You

Would You Be Willing To Help Me?

If you are a writer, blogger or a wannabe, I am doing one-on-one Skype calls March  14th, 15th and 18th to help gain insight on writing a course on self publishing your book. I want to learn about you and where you are at right now in your writing/publishing journey. I would love to know how I can help. To schedule your 20 minute Skype call click here.  Also, for anyone wanting to learn how to find their writing voice, download a free copy of my e-Book, Missionary Writing. 

If you are a writer who is unpublished, you might be puzzled as to how do you get your book in front of agents and publishers. After trying to get a book in the hands of traditional publishing experts several years ago, I learned the hard way of what didn’t work to publish a book.

I have stacks of rejection notices from agents and publishers dated back in 2006 and 2007 when I was sending in queries and proposals. I received lots of positive feedback back then from those rejection letters that helped me land an agent in 2015. Without an agent and a publisher I decided to self publish then using an author services company that no longer exists. The book cover was beautiful and the formatting was excellent all the while selling a grand total of 300+ copies. After thinking about the experience during the next several years and becoming a intense reader of publishing books and joining many online writing and publishing communities, I decided I would try this writing/publishing thing again.

I read four books over and over again that electrified my thinking; Platform by Michael Hyatt, The Well Fed Self Publisher by Peter Bowerman, How Do I Decide? by Rachelle Gardner, and Ape:How To Publish A Book by Guy Kawasaki. Each one of these books educated me on the rise of self publishing and the how the publishing paradigm has shifted in the positive to self publishers. What this meant for me was that I was going to have to set up a publishing company, get my own ISBN numbers, hire an editor, a designer for both the cover and the interior layout and figure out how to market this new book.

So, before going the self publishing route again, I decided I would send out some emails to the agents whom I had queried several years earlier to see if there would be any interest in this new updated book I was titling, Uncluttered: When Spiritual Baggage Hinders God’s Vision For Your Life. Over the next several weeks my email began lighting up with agents who were interested in talking to me and finding out more about the book, myself, and other future books I might have in me. I was humbled to have some of the top agents in Christian publishing be interested in my writing. After prayerful consideration, I decided to accept the offer from Literary Management Group and Owner Bruce Barbour. Bruce is a stalwart in the Christian publishing industry. In 1870, his great-grand uncles, Fleming H. Revell and Dwight L. Moody, started publishing Christian books and founded Revell Publishing. You would think that I would have been ecstatic to be one of the lucky ones who lands an agent. But, after much consideration, soul searching, and prayer, I cancelled my literary contract and decided to move forward with self publishing. If you want to learn how I landed a literary agent read this blog post.

All These Reasons For Self-Publishing You Have Heard Are True:

You control all the process of publishing your book. From the design of the cover to the design of the page layout and style.

You retain all the rights of your work.

You keep all the profits, not 10% of what the book sells for minus agents cut minus cost of production and discounts. You are not going to make tons of money this way.

You control the success of your books. I know this might be debatable, but publishing houses are not going to put tens of thousands of dollars into marketing your book.

Your book can be published and hit the market much sooner!

It is easy.  You can make it hard, but there is no reason to.

Self Publishing is fun!  It feels pretty cool to create something and be the one who makes it happen.

You are able to put your own special thumbprint on the project. That is powerful!

Would You Be Willing To Help Me?

If you are a writer, blogger or a wannabe, I am doing one-on-one Skype calls March 14th, 15th, and 18th to help gain insight on writing a course on self publishing your book. I want to learn about you and where you are at right now in your writing/publishing journey. I would love to know how I can help. To schedule your 20 minute Skype call click here. Also, for anyone wanting to learn how to find their writing voice, download a free copy of my e-Book, Missionary Writing.

 

 

I am thinking about the next Free course I want to give away and need your help!

Create your own user feedback survey

 

Someone Is Waiting On You To Start A Movement

Maybe The Fart Smeller Movement?

Back in October 2011, my wife Julie and I were in New York City during the time of the Occupy Wall Street protests to attend a conference on ministering to immigrants that are arriving daily in the United States.  While walking through the area around Wall Street in Manhattan, I came across the guy above and asked if I could snap his photo. Apparently he was wanting to start his own movement (no pun intended). Today, several years later I came upon the photo and began to wonder, “What type of movement could I begin that produces change.” Change for myself, my family, my friends, people I coach and train that are planting churches in Cleveland. I believe that we have the ability and capability to begin movements that create change. Change that is temporal as well as eternal. This has me asking the question, how?

In my thought process, either wrong or right, a movement can take on the nature of a business, a political agenda, or a movement that is spiritual. Some people might call a movement a cause, but I think that is really one dimensional. A movement is more than a cause, it is different. A movement changes me, the individual. It changes others.

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Why You’re Spending More Money Than You Have

According to nerdwallet.com in 2016, “Today, the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,061.”  That is a staggering picture of people spending money they do not have. Let’s take a minute to look at why we are spending money that we don’t have?

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What Christianity is NOT

It is absolutely amazing how many wrong ideas there are concerning what it means to be a Christian. It would absolutely astound you, I hope, to hear what many people think makes them a Christian. Let’s look at a few things that some wrongly believe.

not

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What Millenials Can Learn From Boomers


Last week I wrote about what a middle age guy in his 50’s like myself could learn from Millennials, the new wave of generational twenty year olds.  Today I am going to take a stab at what those twenty-years olds could learn from 50-somethings like myself. The group of Millennials are more educated, more dedicated in their relationships, more cosmopolitan/urban, are more in tune with popular culture that their 50-something counter parts, but can learn from each other if both will take the time to do so. So, here we go….

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What Boomers Can Learn From Millennials

from a previous post

millenials-final-e1434644831211

I am a Baby Boomer, barely by three years. Not sure that I like the tag “Boomer” and not sure if the twenty and thirty year olds like the tag Millennials. Anyway, sociologists have a way of labeling people with something that will stick with a group. Yeah, so I am fifty-four, headed to fifty-five this fall. While I have a world of experience in relationships, corporate marketplace experience and more importantly, ministry experience, I believe that as a 50-something Boomer, I can learn several things from the 20-somethings Millennials. While many in-depth research studies have been done about this group also known as millennials, my words are from my observation from being around many in this age group and especially having two daughters and a son-in-law who are Millennials. I will say that the Millennials need to be very cautious in thinking they are something special or that they are owed something. Just because you fall into this category does not make you special. As a matter of fact, there are seven billion others on this planet just like you who are special in their own way. No one owes you anything. 

The interesting thing about this unique relationship is that the Millennials are the children of the Boomers. Interesting indeed…

1. They Are Confident

No that cocky, arrogant type of confident that I see in many people older than the 20-somethings, but they know who they are and they know where their capabilities lie. To those of us who are Boomers, we sometimes mistake their confidence for arrogance and we totally miss that they are achievers. I am learning from them to be someone who wants to finish well.

2. They Are Resilient

In a job market that basically stinks to be nice about it, they find ways to survive. That might be sharing an apartment with one or several others to make ends meet. It also can mean they head back home to the empty nest until something else comes along. The great thing I can learn from them – do not give up!

3. The Believe In Education

This group of adults may the best educated group of adults to ever walk the face of the earth. While Boomers may think they are lazy, they across the board are not. What has happened is that technological advances have streamlined processes across all domains to make work more efficient. I do believe that more young people are not navigating toward manual labor as others in the past and that may drive that thought among my generation. Learning point for me is education really is important.

4. They Respect Their Elders

While there are some baggy pants 20-somethings who think showing their underwear is cool, this generation respects those of us who are older. Countless times I have had Millennials ask me for advice, tell me they appreciate me and thank me for sharing my life with them. I am learning to rethink how I invest my life into younger people.This is how I want to spend the rest of my life, investing in young people who will make a kingdom difference with their lives.

5. They Want Change

Just look at the election cycle every four years and you will see that Millennials are targeted for votes. This year especially, an unusually large number seem to be supporting Bernie Sanders. Bernie is not main stream in his political idealogy as he promises radical change and free stuff.  They see things as they could be which can be productive and also be destructive. The point is, they believe they can make the world a better place in their perspective of reality.

There are things I believe Millennials can learn from Boomers. Tomorrow I will address things Millennials can learn from a middle age guy like me. Things like work ethic, faith, morals, relationships, and I am sure I will think of some more while watching an episode of Big Bang Theory.

You Can Do Something About Planned Parenthood

Every Life Matters

because-every-life-matters-pic

I have read enough Facebook posts over the past several days complaining about the new videos of Planned Parenthood Executives explaining how they sell fetal tissue, otherwise the body parts of aborted babies. I am growing weary of Christians of who complain, lament, and otherwise post ignorant ravings on social media.

It is time to do something. If you need help to know what I am talking about ask someone, they can explain it – Put your money where your mouth is.

It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun, but it is the right thing to do. For the fifty-five million who never saw the light of day and for the three thousand, six hundred and fifty-two who saw the face of Jesus today,  Planned Parenthood must be defeated. I have to make changes with who I do business with and let them know why. It won’t be easy, but it is the right thing to do.

UPDATED

Here are the 41 38 companies that have directly funded Planned Parenthood.

Adobe
American Cancer Society
American Express
AT&T
Avon
Bank of America
Bath & Body Works
Ben & Jerry’s
Clorox
Coca-Cola
Converse
Deutsche Bank
Dockers
Energizer
Expedia
ExxonMobil
Fannie Mae
Ford
Groupon
Intuit
Johnson & Johnson
La Senza
Levi Strauss
Liberty Mutual
Macy’s
March of Dimes
Microsoft
Morgan Stanley
Nike
Oracle
PepsiCo
Pfizer
Progressive
Starbucks
Susan G. Komen
Tostitos
Unilever
United Way
Verizon
Wells Fargo
Xerox

You Are Not As Good As You Think Either!

What if there was only one rule you had to keep, in order for everyone to be happy and life to be great. Think about it kids, your parents only have one rule. Students just one rule – no dating until your 20! On your job – just one rule. In your home, just one rule. You would be asking, ”Where do I sign up?” In my last post, I shared how I thought I was really good at tennis back in my younger years only to be proven that was not the case. But what about my life? I mean, at one time or another we think, “I’m just as good as him or her.” It’s only natural to compare ourselves to others when it comes to morality, looks, and life in general. The problem in that, is that we are using the wrong measuring stick to compare ourselves to. If there were only one rule I had to keep to be good…

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