Heart Of Service

Zechariah Newman —  October 14, 2014 — 10 Comments

In life we can either live a life of service or one of self-service. I struggle often with actually living a life of service. One that comes from the heart, not just the right actions. Not some mask of service, but authentically serving those I touch in my everyday life. When I am focused on my wants and desires I struggle with depression. Thoughts of self-service succumb to self-pity. Why me? Why is everything hard for me? I do the right thing and never get a good result! These are some of the negative thoughts I have when I focus on my life instead of living a life for others. At the time it feels like the truth although it is the furthest thing from the actual truth.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

When we focus our lives on helping and serving, we will be fulfilled. However, when we focus on when we will get a harvest, we will be depressed and frustrated. Our eyes have fallen on our wants and fixated on the negative things in life. I could spend ten minutes telling you how blessed I am. I could also spend ten minutes telling you why my life sucks. Sometimes in the same hour. It is all about where we choose to focus.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

Zig Zigglar has a great quote. It says, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” I love this quote. I have one issue with it though that has led me astray. If in our hearts we are helping others to fulfill our wants, it will not work.

Studying Zigglar’s work, I believe he was exhorting us to get our minds off of ourselves and on serving others. This will lead to success! Only when we lay down our wants do we actually receive our true desires. Unfortunately, I at times have manipulated others; helping them with the intent to get what I want. The problem is then I am unconsciously or consciously still fixated on myself.

This week let’s be proactive in helping others. Let’s detach the strings that we put on “favors.” Serve just to serve. Sow seeds of love, peace and joy into others by focusing on the cross and God’s love for you. Love because Christ loved, serve because Christ served. Be the light that believers are called to. Use your dream that God put into you to serve and that after all is why He gave it to you to strengthen and exhort the body. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you focus your life into being one of service?

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I hate having a meaningful conversation and watch the other person stop looking at me and look down at his or her phone. The conversation energy just completely stops. It makes me feel really important to the person. Okay, maybe not.

You see the same thing in restaurants. Couples looking down and fiddling on their phones. It is sad to me that in a connected world we have become isolated.

I am ashamed to say that I started to do the same things. I stopped being present in the moments with those I love. Looking down at my phone when it went off. Social media began to control me instead of me using it as a tool.

With a world that never stops, I began to remove all points of quiet out of my day outside of that first few hours that I didn’t have my phone. The phone would interrupt my work, writing, family time, prayer, and other things throughout the day.

I at least, felt a little powerless. I believe most people like me are a little powerless. That is why I have made a choice. I no longer have Facebook and Twitter on my phone. If this doesn’t help I will get rid of my smart phone all together.

Are you present with those physically with you? How many times a day do you check your Facebook or Twitter? Track it for one day. In 2013 ABC did a study that the average user checks 14 times a day. I was checking more than that. Yikes!

I still get on social media to post and respond, but for me, social media plays into a weakness having such easy access. Some are stronger than me and that’s okay. Know yourself; weaknesses and strengths.

The experts would say I am wrong with this and I need to be everywhere all of the time. That is why I haven’t done it until now. My dream was feeling like a nightmare. I have decided my family is more important.

A funny thing has happened. I am now getting more traction now that I am not wasting away my day being interrupted.

What stand will you make? I would encourage you to chase your dreams in a way that makes sense for you and your family. Use Hootsuite to post at certain times and only get on social media when it makes sense for you. Stop being controlled by the tool of social media and take your life back. Be blessed on your journey.

Do you have a problem with your smart phone?

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I get caught up into “the grass is greener” thinking all of the time, sometimes resenting my very life and the gifts that are in it. I can be blinded by the beauty and stuck in my mind of “what ifs.” I’m guessing you struggle with this to. Do we really think that our dream will make us happy? Pause and think that over. I believe most dreamers believe that it will, I know I do at times.

I want you to chase your dream, but you and I need to be happy and content in the life that God has given us today. If we do not appreciate the moment, we will be unhappy on the journey. Guess what? We will be unhappy when we reach our dream as well. Yuck!

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

We believe sometimes, well at least act like a dream or a thing will complete us. Like Jerry Maguire, “You complete me dream.” I believe that this is a false trap of the enemy to distract us.

If you are in your job right now that you don’t like, I believe it is your job and mine to be a faithful steward. If you don’t know what step to take, it is your job and mine to love God and others today. One of the most honoring things to God is a cheerful heart and appreciation for all that He has entrusted you with.

Why would God give us more when we aren’t faithful with what He has given us today?

Chasing your dreams the right way with surrender to God’s will, while doing all that we can is so fulfilling. However, chasing your dreams with a victim mentality is deflating and depressing. Trust me, I have tried it both ways and still fall back into victim mode on certain days.

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

The point of today’s post is simple. What we all have is a heart problem. Not a job problem. Not a money problem. A heart problem. God is more concerned with what is happening in you than in what you do for a living. This does not mean you shouldn’t chase your dreams, but that you should chase God first, then family, then your dreams. Surrender to God by doing all that you are physically able with a cheerful heart. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you keep a cheerful heart?

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Who’s Fault Is It?

Zechariah Newman —  September 23, 2014 — 9 Comments

You don’t understand! No one will help me. They got lucky. These are all the thoughts I have had. Protecting and defending my choices and actions can be a full time job. Even my sin I can shove aside as a generational curse or wounds of another. I have no responsibility for my actions. I am a victim to the failures and sins of others.

It is so easy to blame circumstances outside of my control for my lot in life. Blame for me is not hard to find and I have played the victim more than I would like to admit.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

As I write this with tears in my eyes, I am amazed at how I have let my flesh and Satan distract me from God’s purpose. I have been so busy squabbling for scraps that I don’t even look at what I can do! Today no matter what circumstances arise, no matter where we are, we can do something.

If we don’t take responsibility how can we change?

If we don’t admit that we picked it up, how can we put it down?

If we don’t recognize ourselves as a sinner how can we be saved?

2 Corinthians 12:9 states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.'”

Failures, setbacks and challenges are real. Generational sin and wounds from others affect us, but you and I have a choice to stand and say, “Jesus I need you! Change Me!” Only when we take responsibility for failures, can we have the power through Christ to change. So this week walk in boldness. Be a warrior for Him by being weak and in need of a Savior. Do what you can and give what you can’t to Him. Be blessed on your journey.

How can you take more responsibility?

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Dream chasing feels heavy sometimes with the amount of decisions we have to make. I feel like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart, my favorite movie. He is being tortured by having his arms and legs stretched in different directions. The strain on his joints as horses pull causes him to experience tremendous agony. Freedom! He ends up yelling before he loses his life. That about sums up my brain at times. I think, I’m going to go this way, then someone mentions a new piece of information and then I zig-zag. Never mind, I will head this way. You and I will never reach our fullest potential acting in this manner. Momentum happens over time so we need to learn how to stop over analyzing. These 5 steps help me to forge ahead in a direction.

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1. Perfection is a myth. This is the root of all the over analyzing. The myth that decisions are perfect; that if you just make the right choice it will all be wonderful. The clouds will part, light will shine down on you and the angles will sing. Look at this man; he chose wisely.  Make the wrong choice and you will be miserable and everyone will point and laugh. This is not reality. We make the best choice with the information that we have.

2. Life of learning. This is the mindset we should have. No matter if we choose the best choice or the worst we will learn. We will be perfecting our choices. That should be our measuring stick. Perfecting, not perfection. Focus on health and you will grow in your decision-making. This will take a lot of the fear out of acting on a decision.

3. Set a deadline. Set a deadline of when you will stop thinking and choose how long you will travel in that direction. When I started writing I didn’t know if I would enjoy it. I knew I wanted to help people and I knew I liked restoring. That was all the information I had so I dedicated to write for a year no matter what. That will end in five weeks and then a new decision will be made.

4. Narrow or broaden your view. If you are a big picture person come down to earth for a minute. If you are a narrow vision person expand your horizon. We all tend to look at life one way. I look at the big picture too much. I need to come back down to earth and look at life in a different way. Which way do you naturally look at things? Change it up and it can help you make decisions.

5. Stop asking others. I am way too guilty of this. Are you? I ask so many people and surprise they all have different counsel. There comes a point when you have to shut up and stop asking other people what you should do. Make decisions that you don’t need a co-signer for. You don’t need approval except for your spouse. People will not like your decisions and that is okay. Stop asking!

These 5 things should help you make a decision, but ultimately the battle is between your ears. Your decision is not life or death. If you don’t like the decision, just make a new one. Be blessed on your journey.

What helps you make decisions?

Several years ago I was so out of shape that I could not run a half mile without stopping and this was after being an athlete in high school. My cholesterol was high and my doctor told me I needed to start making changes. “I had to reduce my stress”, he said. How could this be? I was only in my late 20’s! I was seeing success in a lot of areas of life, but like a lot of hard drivers I was ignoring my health and body. The effects on me physically were nothing compared to my mental health. Unfortunately, when life gets busy I think that exercise is the first thing we drop.

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Fortunately, I slowly but surely have gotten my health back and now run marathons. I have a stretch goal to run one in every state. You don’t need to run marathons, however, you do need to make physical exercise a part of your everyday life. I have no doubt that running has changed my life and no doubt it will change your life too!

Maybe you just need some motivation to start or a reason to keep going. When chasing your dream, exercising is a must. I believe it is a key ingredient of any serious dream chasers journey. Running will help you to chase your dream by doing these 4 things to your mind!

1. Solitude. If you have a family like I do, there are times where you just want to be alone. Running has provided that for me. It allows me time that I can hear from God. To process my life and to come up with ideas. All of this happens because of the solitude that running provides. Run to get alone time.

2. Confidence. As my runs have gotten longer and faster, my overall confidence has improved. If you start running, you will see a difference in your overall confidence. There is freedom in knowing that pain is temporary and it is a choice to stop. My confidence in knowing that I can push through discomfort has changed my life. I have a level of endurance in my brain that was not there before. Run to push through to new levels in your life. Run to raise your confidence.

3. Energy. Since beginning running, my endurance both physically and mentally has shot up dramatically. Starting things in my life is not hard for me, however, the tenacity to keep going is a weakness. Running has helped my mental energy to increase. Just like a muscle pushing through mental barriers, it will grow your mental energy and stamina.  Run to increase your energy.

4. Relieve stress. We all fight stress in different ways. Some combat it with substances like alcohol. Some people tune life out by watching television. When I was out of shape and miserable, I would sit at home and watch hours of television or play video games because I could tune out my problem. Now when I have high stress I run. Running will help you reduce and even remove some stress the healthy way. Run to reduce your stress.

If you don’t run and are physically able, I encourage you to. Start slow and increase mileage slowly as well. Try running for a month and if you don’t like it you could always find another avenue of physical exercise. Running will change your life if you give it a chance. It won’t be easy, but if you stick with it, it will be worth it. Be blessed on your journey.

What benefits do you get from running?

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I Feel Like A Fake!

Zechariah Newman —  August 17, 2014 — 26 Comments

I feel like a fake. All of this talk of chasing your dream, pressing into God, and putting your family first and I struggle. I struggle with having patience and keeping my family in the proper order. I struggle with trusting God with His timing and His plan for my life. I struggle sometimes with anger toward God. I struggle with resentment toward my wonderful children.

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Photo by: KCNewman photography

I never once want you to think that I am the man with the answers. I have few and most of the time I wonder who am I to write advice to others? I often believe my dream will never happen and wonder what is wrong with me.

I struggle with self-hatred and feelings of being unworthy of the call that I feel tugging at my heart. If you struggle with this you are not alone. As a Christian, sometimes we feel we have to have answers. This is so foolish; only God has the answers and only God can bring my dream into fruition. Yet, I struggle thinking I must have a magic bullet and I have to write the words to inspire someone into action.

If I just work hard enough or get the right person to tweet my work, it will fall in line. That somehow my work will magically matter to millions. That with the right uppercut, I will have a knock out and see that ray of sunshine. That God will say, “Well done good and faithful son whom I am well pleased.”

I struggle with trying to please God instead of trusting in His beauty. Instead of basking in His presence, in this moment, I wonder what is wrong with me. Why can’t I get it right?

It is not as hard as you and I make it. It is simple and it is easy if we let Him. If we allow God to take the yoke, it is easy. What if being His son or daughter really was enough? What if trusting God is all we need? What if…

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I believe this is the Truth. God loves you and I the way we are today. He wants you to mature, but will never love you more than He does today. I believe that God already says well done! I struggle, however, I believe! Lord raise our eyes to ONLY You! Not some fake, pretend relationship, rather an authentic and real one. One that can admit that I don’t always trust You and that I can cry out in anger and pain. A relationship that’s bigger than playing church, rooted and transformed by surrendering to the cross. Overwhelm us this week with Your presence. Be blessed on your journey.

Do you believe?

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When you are first chasing your dream nothing is more frustrating than having something to say and feeling like no one is listening. I remember writing for six months, twice a week and seeing no results. I had seven email followers after that time. Five were family members and one worked for me. I had one person that didn’t know me after writing 24,000 words.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

I felt wonderful! Okay, maybe not. I felt like a failure. I felt as if I sucked and I should give up. People talked about converting traffic and I just wanted traffic. Just read my article, I kept thinking. How hard is it to press the blue thumb up on Facebook? I was losing the battlefield of the mind.

I just kept posting on my site thinking that I would get organic traffic if I kept writing posts. This never really happened. If you are waiting for people to find your thing, it won’t happen either. These 4 things will help you to go out and get traffic.

1. Radioguestlist.com. This site is pretty cool. It is a list of some podcasts that are looking for people to be on their shows. You just search for podcasts that are looking for someone like you. If you have a book, it makes it easier to get on a lot of them. These are smaller or new podcasts, but you get backlinks, practice and exposure.

2. Guest posts.  If you don’t have people reading your material, go to where they are. This is not a magic bullet. The more accurate you are with your niche, the more traffic you will generate. I have gotten many of my email followers from doing guest posts.

3. Social media. This is not a plug to share this. The more you are generous with others’ work and sharing what is important to them, the more they will likely share yours. Don’t be so self-focused that you can’t help others with their causes. This should not be favors, rather read and share who you like. Reach out and help someone.

4. The platform builder. This isn’t really on growing your platform, but in remembering the purpose. If God is part of your life, it is Him who we should chase. My walk with God is more important than people listening or not. I trust if I try with all my might and if He wants me to have a platform that is as big as I envision, it will happen. The same is true for your business. Trust God to make your dream known and have patience.

I hope these four things help you build your platform. Remember, dreams that matter take longer than we want and are harder than we want. Stick to it and keep your priorities inline. Be blessed on your journey.

What message are you trying to spread?

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I am ashamed that in the early parts of my journey and still on certain days, I have viewed my family as a hindrance to my dream. If I only had more time. I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t have time due to the demands of being a dad. These thoughts and excuses were part of my regular life. Blaming them instead of taking full responsibility for my inaction. I talked about this in length in my book, Dreams That Last. The bottom line is this; if you have a family you can either include your family or exclude them.

Including your family in the dream chasing journey will not come easy. It takes commitment and creativity to chase a dream with your family. These 4 things will help you to create a family dream.

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1. Margin. This will sound the opposite of chasing your dream with your family, but it’s not. You don’t want your spouse or kids to hate your dream, so as much as possible work on your dream in the margins of your life. I write in the morning before my wife and kids wake up. This helps them to still love my dream because it doesn’t take away from time with them.

2. Have them help. As much as possible ask them to help you. I asked my daughter today how I could be a better dad. My wife, a new blogger, (aimed at you busy moms) corrects my blogs. In our restaurants, our kids have helped roll dough for a few minutes and they have even been tipped by customers. Make it a family affair as much as possible. Your family will be eager to help if you frame it right.

3. Ask and Listen. We need to ask and listen to our families about when to slow down and when it is okay to push. I struggle here as I am a little bit of a stubborn headed mule. I am working on this and you need to work on this too. Listen to your loved ones and if they tell you they feel second, ask them how you can change it. No defense; just listen and come up with an agreed upon plan.

4. Boundaries. Have clear boundaries of work time and family time. I love to write so much this is hard for me. I have stopped writing in the evening to be present as a husband and a dad. What time are you off and keeping sacred for your family? If you love your dream this may be hard, however, it is essential.

Let’s make it a priority to keep family first. Include your family whenever possible. This journey is too long and hard on your own. One day at a time, one action at a time. Encourage your family to speak up. Listen to each person and incorporate your dream into your family. If you do this your family will have a big dream and not just a dream so small for just one. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you include your family in your dream?

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I have been making a lot of traction lately. I have a guest post going live on Faith Driven Business today, six podcast interviews in the next two weeks and all while hitting my writing goal of 500 words a day with my book. I am kind of shocked at my small change and the amazing traction. I am thankful that God opened my eyes through my family and friends. Too often we are close to being on the money, but just a little off.

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Photo by: KcNewman Photography

About a month ago I would have told you that I don’t have time for anymore. It is Time Management 101, however, I think overtime we forget. Before I continue remember that time first and foremost must be consecrated to God The only thing I have changed is this. The night before I figure out what I am needing to accomplish and do it the next morning first thing. Figure out the result you need to accomplish and execute it. Then again and again. Small changes over a period of time get massive results.

What I was doing:

I was reading cool blogs and setting Hootsuite for my tweets for the day. What I wasn’t calculating was that I was using the best time in the day for me to write. I was replacing this with promoting and reading other people’s work. Underneath it all I think I was doing what made me feel important instead of what was most important. I have just hit the beginning of reexamining my schedule and I am sure there is much more space. For more on time management here is a good read by my friend, Matt Mcwilliams.

What I am doing now: 

The single thing I am doing is figuring out not what to do, but what I want to accomplish. Then and only then do I plan the activities.

Whether I am excited or not, I am doing what is going to advance my vision first. Right now for me that is two things; reach more people and finish my next book. Each morning I write my 500 words and then either reach out to a few podcasts or write a guest post. That’s nothing thrilling, but it works. What is so strange is I read the same amount of posts and share and comment as well, however, it’s on my time after I have gotten my list done. Figure out what your dream needs most and do it first thing. Try this for a week and let me know what happens.

Whether this is a new concept or you have gotten away from this, I encourage you to begin again. Keep slaying the dragon first thing. Often what we do with twenty percent of our time yields eighty percent of the results. Focus on that twenty percent and do more of it. That will get your dream to another level. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. It is effective though. Be blessed on your journey.

What small change has given you big results?

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