Holler Back!?

Zechariah Newman —  November 11, 2018 — Leave a comment

“Luke where are you?!” I hollered in a frenzy as I searched for my eight year old son. My son, my father, and I were all in eastern Oregon deer hunting and now my son was nowhere to be found.

That morning I had hit a deer and we were trying to find it. As we searched, my dad and I decided to split up and Luke would search for the deer with me. At eight years old he has different fears and right then I realized he was scared of the sound of the gun.

He didn’t want to be next to me so I agreed that he could stay back a little. As I moved through the sage I was so focused on finding the deer that I didn’t turn back to see if Luke was still behind me. Cue father of the year award. As I turned back around he was gone! My mind whirled, I can’t shoot and I am a crappy dad.

Frantically hollering his name and searching, I cared nothing for the deer and everything about my boy. “Luke!” I yelled, now not being able to hold back tears. What seemed like hours later was only a few minutes. My dad bellowed, “I see him! He is coming towards me.” As I walked over the small ridge I found my son.

“Could you hear me, Luke?” I asked trying to not lose my temper. I quickly learned that he could hear me, but was afraid that he would get in trouble. It reminded me a lot of the story of Adam and Eve. They had just eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God comes to the garden to walk with them like He has done every evening. What do they do? They hide.

God is hollering for them and they hide in their shame. A really effective game of hide and go seek when you play with omniscient and omnipresent Deity.

On the path to your dreams, you are going to screw up a lot. Sometimes by mistakes and sometimes in sin you will screw up. I know because I am like a professional at failing. The key is to fail forward. In those moments your human nature to cover and hide will kick in. Hidden failure will not help you move forward. It keeps you lost in the desert of eastern Oregon while your dad cries and imagines the worst case scenarios.

The simplest and hardest thing to do is to “holler back.”

First, hollering back to God, “Here I am! Here I am God in all of my mistakes and sin. Here I am in my failure. Here I am, forgive me. Here I am, help me overcome.” In our low moments we need to take our burdens to the cross instead of hiding them and pretending like we are fine. When we bring them to God He will be faithful to draw near to us.

The second place we need to holler back is to people. You don’t need to drop your baggage on the doorstep of every person, however, you do need to tell a small band of people. In those moments that you share your full self and your mighty men love you anyways and remind you that a moment in time does not form your identity. They remind you of who you are in Christ and they set your feet back on solid ground.

Only when we holler back can we fail forward. Only when we walk in humility can we move on. The very thing that at moments feels like the opposite of healing is the very thing that moves us towards wholeness. Hiding takes more effort and steals more life than any other activity we humans do. Be you, be strong and courageous and your dreams will come to fruition. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to Ponder:
When are you tempted to hide from God?
When are you tempted to hide from your peers?

Prayer: God, forgive me for hiding. I want to be transparent with you and others. Give me courage and help me to find people I can share my true self to in my worst moments and my best. Help me to move in spite of failure. Amen.

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I hate that the labels that say, “deer resistant” are a bunch of liars.

I live in the country and love the deer and the turkeys that are around our house, but I don’t love that they love my plants. I planted a bunch of different types of deer resistant flowers outside of our fenced area of the yard. I thought I was beautifying my driveway. Apparently the deer realized I gave them a buffet of greatness.

All summer long the deer would actually leave the plants alone for the most part. I watered and cared for my precious plants. Then buds would form and I waited in anticipation for the colorful bounty that would be my front yard. Then in one evening right before the flowers would open the evil deer crushed my colorful dreams. The carnage was heartbreaking.

A couple weeks later the plants had recovered and so had my hopes. The plants were ready to bloom again in only weeks, holding scars from the last apocalypse of the deer. My rainbow visual display would make my neighbors jealous of my gardening skills. Then the zombie deer destroyed my plants again!

All summer long this pattern would persist. The deer would leave the plants alone until they started to bloom and they would chew off the flowers. The plants would never give up. They would try and try again. This fall I have flowers! The plants look funny with the tops chewed off, nonetheless, the front yard is full of flowers.

Okay dream chasers, we need to learn a lesson from my non-deer resistant plants.

At the edge of success they would get their faces chewed on by a deer of death and have to start over from scratch and try and bloom again. I didn’t hear my flowers whine or even show a hint of giving up; they kept trying to bloom. They bounced back up like Rocky Balboa getting punched by Apollo Creed.

Luckily, we don’t have zombie deer trying to chew our beautiful faces off, but we will have a lot of setbacks. Someone you admire will tell you your dream doesn’t matter, your plans won’t work, and you will have to try a new strategy. Time and time again there will be setback after setback. Your emotions will have you wanting to cry and throw a big fit. That’s not your nature though.

Our true nature is a resilient one. One more powerful than my flowers. Our true nature I am talking about is our identity in Christ.

In Romans 8:37 it states, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

We have everything in us through Christ to bounce back and be an overcomer. The problem is that often instead of reminding ourselves of our nature and pushing through all of the obstacles in front of us, we focus on something else. This may be our current circumstances or the obstacles themselves to our own inadequacies. Instead of being a conqueror, we shrivel into a wimp because we choose to not operate from our identity in Christ.

It’s as simple as choice.

Choose to never surrender. Choose to live in joy. Choose to persevere. Choose to have a faith so strong that you are willing to look like a fool to others. You have what it takes to do what God has called you to do. You were built to dream, just make sure to bring your family with you. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to Ponder: 

When are you tempted to give up?

What do you need to remember to push through setbacks?

Prayer: God, thank you for giving me perseverance. Help me when I am tempted to look at things outside of you and what you have called me to do. I want to be a man/woman of faith. Help me to live out that desire. Amen.

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The Hill

Zechariah Newman —  October 28, 2018 — Leave a comment

When I run I like to imagine I look like Eric Liddell, the man who the movie, Chariots of Fire, is about. I have found out that this is not true though by seeing photos of me running, still I love to run. I am training at the moment for my sixth marathon in November.

Running marathons is similar to chasing down any major goal except for extra sweat and the joy of getting to eat more chips and salsa after long runs. When you run a marathon, paying attention to how you attack a hill is crucial to finishing the race.

I have a tendency to push the hill. When I get to the hill I try to get up the stupid thing as fast as I can. The problem with this is that pushing up the steep hill wastes precious energy. In running a long race it’s all about conserving energy levels. My running translates over to my dream chasing tenacity as well. I want to push and get up whatever hill I’m climbing and it usually leads to burnout.

Another group of people avoid the hill. I watched a close friend of mine plan out a run and he picked the easiest stretch with as little incline as possible. The problem with this is that nothing good comes from easy. Muscle is built on those hills and if they are avoided on race day, the hills will eat you up and spit you out. Not literally, the hills are not alive! A dreamer that avoids hard and seeks comfort will never fully accomplish the dreams that are in their heart and mind.

When running the hill, there is a third group. This group is unnatural to most of us runners. They let the hill come to them. There is no avoidance of the hill, and if there is one in their root they take it in stride. They don’t press up the hill either. They maintain the speed they had as much as possible. Focusing on that next step and gliding up the hill.

The Hill

Balance is achieved on your journey just like with scales. When you have weights on either side and they don’t balance, the heavier side needs to be reduced or the lighter side needs to be increased. A hill in your life would be that you have a lot going on and it usually puts off your balance.

How is the weight at home? Are you facing anything at work? What goal are you working on? How is your health?

Asking questions like these let us know when we are on the hill. Are you on a hill right now?

Burnout

The byproduct of pushing too hard and not resting is burnout. If you have a tendency to burnout you need to pull back or you need to increase rest when you are on a hill. Be honest with the weight and pressure that you are carrying and find out ways to decrease your load. I ask three questions that help me.

1. What do I need to cut?
a. How can I do that in a healthy way?

2. What am I doing that someone else can do?
a. Who can I train to do that?
b. How can I hand it off in a healthy way?

3. What do I need to say no for now, but not forever? (Andy Stanley question)

Lazyness

We can avoid the hill and cover it up in wisdom. I believe one of the biggest idols in North America right now is comfort. We hold up comfort as the standard. In all reality, Jesus does not call us to comfort. If the hill is in between you and what God is calling you toward, don’t avoid it! There are a few questions I ask to find out if I need to run the hill.

1. Does the hill help get me where I want to go?
2. What will it cost if I avoid the challenge?
3. What will I gain if I tolerate the pain?

There will be a lot of hills (challenges) between you and your goals. They require more focus and acknowledgement of our human limits more than at most points in life. Let the moments refine you, embrace the hill, and let it come to you. God will work all things for good! Trust Him even with the hill. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to Ponder:

How do I normally face challenges?

Where can I adjust to face into challenges in a healthy way?

Prayer: God, I need wisdom. I tend to (push the hill/avoid the hill). Help me to run the race in a way that honors you and the limits you put on my human body. Guide me and direct me so that I finish the race you placed in my heart! Amen.

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Waves

Zechariah Newman —  October 21, 2018 — Leave a comment

A few years ago I went halibut fishing in Alaska. That was the moment it became apparent; I get sea sick.

As we were going out to the spot where we were fishing at, I felt fine. The second we stopped to fish and drop our lines in the water, that fine feeling slowly slipped into I’m going to up chuck over the side of this boat. If you have never been on the ocean, it’s the swells that get you. I had started watching my pole and the highs rolling into lows caused this guy to feed the seagulls his breakfast. Try reeling in a fish and puking at the same time; it’s an experience!

When you get seduced into looking at the waves, you get sick. However, there is one thing that can help you when you are feeling sick and that is to keep your gaze and focus on the horizon. Looking at the horizon, levels out the high highs and the low lows.

When you are chasing dreams and goals that are beyond what you can see, you have a different kind of wave that has a higher cost than wiping your mouth of a little regurgitated cereal. That wave is the wave of belief.

One moment you are up high: Move out of my way, I’m going to make this happen! I’m quitting my job and going all in baby. You may think. The next you are low: What am I thinking? I can’t give up all this! In fact, I don’t think I can even make that dream come true. Your emotions make about as much sense as a two year old’s emotions. Try reasoning with a two year old and you won’t have much success.

The same method of stopping the upchuck shuffle is required for the waves of belief: look to the horizon. The horizon balances out emotions to a point where your wife or husband doesn’t go nuts by listening to you switch back and forth from a conquering hero to Eeyore, the sad donkey, on Winnie-the-Pooh.

The horizon of future.

When we set our gaze out in the future, it levels out the boat. Where God is calling you in the future isn’t where you are today. I know this because you’re reading a blog about chasing goals and dreams, and also we are not called to live a stagnant life. When you look to the future, what excites you about where you are going? Can you see yourself accomplishing your dreams?

The clearer you are on your preferred future, the more the wave chop will get taken out of your belief. When you want to cry to your mama, you will instead have the resolve to keep pushing through. When the future looks so good you can overcome the obstacles of today. If you have not taken the time to write down what you think God is calling you toward, please start. It is crucial because the road is long and the valleys can be deep. You will need the reminder about where you are going.

The God of the horizon.

Doubt is usually a product of circumstances. When we switch our gaze toward God, we are reminded about whom He is and not where we suck. We are reminded of who controls the cosmos and made the ant and who made us for purpose. God is in your corner. He made good works for you to do. He will give you the strength when you feel like you have nothing left to give. There are 4 things that help me to fix my gaze on God.

1. Silence and solitude in the morning, praying to Him.
2. Memorizing a verse to meditate on throughout the day.
3. Reading through my identity in Christ.
4. Praying audibly about my struggles.

Friends of the horizon.

Friends of the horizon doesn’t make sense, but I had a theme going on here. We need friends that we can reach out to when we are struggling. Friends that you respect and can remind you that you do have what it takes. A reminder that you can overcome challenges and setbacks. That you are awesomer than awesome. See I even make up words because you are so awesome. Building community is critical to dream chasing because we need a physical person to believe in our ability. Grab some friends and ask them if you can reach out in your low moments and tell them what you need from them in regards to support.

Keep your gaze up and don’t get seduced by the waves of emotions. God has placed in you a desire for a reason. Run to win the prize. You have what it takes. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to ponder:

What excites me about where I am going?
When do I struggle and want to give up on my big goals?

Prayer: God, I am full of doubt and fear. Help me to run the race in a way that honors you. Give me strength to overcome my lack of faith. Give me wisdom in my dream chasing journey to set up a plan of horizon. I will be faithful no matter what to what you have placed in me. Amen.

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A Dangerous Couple!

Zechariah Newman —  October 14, 2018

You are dangerous!

Well, not on your own. Actually, on your own you’re pretty wimpy and before you think I am mocking you, so I am. On our own we are vulnerable, fearful, and probably even divisive. There is power in unity and togetherness.

In fact, this spring I planted a pear tree. I was very proud of the tree until I actually researched about the tree and realized I needed more than one pear tree in order for it to ever or grow one single pear on it. On its own it would be leafy green and flower beautifully, but the flowers would never become pears. It’s called cross pollination. Cross pollination is pollination of a flower or plant with pollen from another flower or plant.

So, this isn’t a horticulture site. Sorry to burst your green thumb bubble if you thought so, however, nature often reveals a lot of truths. Truths that can be applied to your journey.

In Genesis 11, people were building a tower to reach heaven using ingenuity and unity. In verse 6 it states, “The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible.’”

This passage is the foundation of different nations and languages, but what I want to point out is the fact that with unity nothing is impossible. NOTHING!

Your marriage is the powerful force in your dream chasing journey. When you and your spouse are on the same page, there is nothing that can stop it. But when you are divided, you’re a chump. Why do you think that the biggest spiritual attack in our world is on marriage?

One of the most overlooked aspect of chasing dreams is unity as husband and wife. Unity should be at the forefront of your dream chasing journey. Finding togetherness should take precedent over any other activity but in the zeal to chase dreams you can unfortunately leave your family behind.

Even Chuck Norris needs his wife in unity because the two of them have become one. If Chuck needs Gena, you need your wife. By the way, when the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. A bonus Chuck Norris joke for your time.

Okay, so hopefully Chuck Norris convinced you. You need to be united with your spouse and now you’re wondering how? I’m glad you asked. Okay, I’m going to tell you even if you didn’t ask.

Listen

Often we are so excited to share our dreams, we aren’t listening to our fears and dreams of our spouse. Instead, we are shoving our dreams down their throats and they want to slap our dreams in the face. Try listening to your spouse and putting yourself in there shoes. When we hear the fears and other dreams of our soulmate, we can tend to take it personally instead of hearing them personally. LISTEN to understand the perspective of your partner.

Verbalize

I am not talking about verbalizing your dream, I am talking about verbalizing back what you heard. I want you to be an echo to your spouse’s voice. Saying, “What I hear you saying is…” If you didn’t repeat back what they were trying to communicate, ask for more clarification. Most of the time, a lack of unity is caused by a lack of understanding what the other person is feeling and thinking. Verbalize to understand your partner.

Slow Down

You need to slow down in order for your partner to catch up to your vision. You have a full visual in your brain of what you want to create. Your supportive spouse wants to see your vision, but they may have a hard time. You are better off to slow down in order for them to process and catch up to you, than sprinting out in front trying to drag them along. Both of you will start to resent each other when one pulls the other. Slow down to allow your other half to catch the vision.

Pray

Pray and when you think that you have prayed enough pray some more. God is the one that moves the mountains, not you. There is so many things at work that we need the Holy Spirit’s help to see and act on it all. Pray without stopping. Pray for your souse to unite with you. Pray for wisdom on how to chase the dream together. Pray constantly and God will answer.

You will have moments of success and moments of failure. The important thing is to have a household of grace along the way and to fail forward. Remember, you are built to dream, but make sure to bring your family with you. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to Ponder:

When do you feel the most disconnected from your spouse?

How can you hear your spouse better?

Prayer: God, forgive me for putting myself in front of my precious spouse. Help me to honor them and their dreams, goals, and wishes. Help us to unite the way God intended us to unite. Amen.

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Household of Grace!

Zechariah Newman —  October 7, 2018

Chasing dreams  is tough!

I know, thanks for the newsflash captain obvious over here. I am like the weather guy predicting rain when it is raining, however, some of us need to be reminded.

It’s obvious, but it’s true. Not only is chasing dreams that you have in your mind hard, but goals that you really want, bring with them a certain amount of pressure. Add to the pressure of a dream and throw in a dash of being married and having kids, and the strain can be about as fun as a headache while your kids are watching Barney, the stupid purple dinosaur, in the background.

(loving, not fighting)

Pressure can bring about great good, however, it can also cause you and your wife to fight at midnight about absolutely nothing when all you really want to do is go to sleep so you can feel half human in the morning. This is just an extreme example; that’s never happened to me or anything.

The key for you and your dream is embracing pressure for good and not turning the pressure into a damaging event. There is only one way in which my bride and I have thrived while chasing dreams and that is by committing to being a household of grace. A house of grace turns fights into discussions and misunderstandings into well misunderstandings instead of ugly cry moments.

Sounds great, right? Getting sleep instead of hugging the edge of the king sized bed just to prove your mad you can actually sleep on the whole bed and not have to apologize for being an idiot in the morning.

Know thy spouse

I don’t know why my titles are King James Version but bare with me. When we get married we have made a commitment to love and care for our spouse and the only way we can do that is by studying them and how they work. My wife in heated discussions has a tendency to avoid. She will go to the other room if I am being too aggressive. How does your spouse react when in a confrontation. If you don’t know maybe have a conversation about how they react. Not to fix them but to discover them. Be curious in your understanding of your wife.

Know thy self

How do you normally react? In an argument I get aggressive. If I feel like you don’t hear what I am saying I will get louder, because volume works right? In my heart I am honestly wanting to come to understanding and one of the worst things you can do when I am in this mode is shut down on me and leave the room. I don’t know what insecurity that hits in my heart but it feels like leaving me alone. Do you know how you tend to respond and why?

Commit to meet in thy middle

So I’m aggressive and my wife is passive. It could be dangerous except it’s not. She lets me know when I am making her feel attacked and she wants to leave the room. I let her know when she leaves it makes me feel like rejection. Then we can fight fare with respect. How do you meet your spouse in the middle? One sure fire test I ask myself is do I care about the relationship more than being right? Remember to meet your spouse where they are at. It can be one of the most loving and grace filled things you can do.

Forgive

Ok even with this awesome advice you and I will still screw up! When you commit to being a household of grace you commit to forgiveness and repentance. Remember that you and your partner are human and humans with pressure create diamonds at some points and junk at others. A moment often doesn’t define your marriage or mine but what happens after the dust settles can be the determining factor.

Chase dreams with your spouse and more than anything communicate how your feeling and the pressure you are under so that you can join together instead of drift apart. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to ponder:

How does your communication style differ from your spouse?

How can you communicate in the way your spouse can hear you better?

Prayer: God forgive me for my selfishness, help me to love my wife the way Christ loved the Church. I want to be united with my spouse and I know that the devil will do anything to break apart the union that God has formed. Help me to honor her in the pursuit of my dream and not be a man of dishonor. Amen.

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Pulling Punches

Zechariah Newman —  September 16, 2018

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life and I know that it has popped up in your life from time to time with your dream.

I talked this weekend to the Oregon state-wide Chamber of Commerce. I was the headline speaker and had almost two hours to speak. I did something that negatively impacted my life and talk. I never made the “ask.” For those not in sales, that is when you ask someone for his or her business or to do something.

I gave my best effort at a conference that I spoke at for free and still struggled to say, “If you want to chase a dream the right way, subscribe to my email list at zechariahnewman.com or get on the waiting list for my new book, Dream Chasing in a Mini-Van. Instead I talked and walked away. I self-sabotaged.

This is kind of a pattern in my life. I give of myself, but struggle to put myself in a situation that I could be rejected. I self-sabotage because I get fixated on what other people think.

I know you struggle with this at moments while you chase your dreams and as I was praying about my struggle to put myself out there I have come up with some tips that I know will help US.

The first thing I want you to do is analyze. When you don’t do something that will serve others better, I want you to stop and analyze, why? Why do you pull the punches on the truth you have to say? What makes you not sell your product, goods, purpose, or cause? Often, we do things we want to do and don’t dive into our heart and mind to see what is going on there. Don’t be shallow. Dive into the deep end of your decision making and analyze.

Do you believe? Whatever you are doing, do you really believe that it helps others? I believe what I have to say can save people’s faith and family while they bring the best version of themselves to the table. I need to remind myself to put myself out there and get over myself. If you believe that you are truly helping people, they need what you have to say. You are short-changing the world by not giving your best effort to sell your idea.

Get over yourself. It may sound harsh. Just remember I am talking to myself as well. When we self-sabotage we are focusing on ourselves. God can’t do through us what He wants to do when we are consumed with ourselves. Okay, God can do what He wants, however, I have never seen Him move in my self-absorbed state. When you focus on helping and not what others think of you, you bring your best version of yourself to the table and I believe God smiles in that moment.

Most massive breakthrough happens when we embrace simple truths. Focus on others, believing in the dream that is in our minds and heart, and catch ourselves when we aren’t living in that truth. Earth shattering no, earth changing, yes! God will move the more you follow Him and focus on others. Move despite your nerves and doubt and watch your world change. It’s not as overwhelming as it’s built up to be. It’s like this; share this post with a dreamer that needs to believe in themselves instead of pulling their punches. See what I did there? I am like a sales ninja. As you embrace what He has for you and not your self-consciousness, you will be blessed on your journey.

 

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I Can’t Make It!?

Zechariah Newman —  August 26, 2018

I don’t think I can make it!

I was on a long distance run and I couldn’t get this nagging and insignificant thought out of my mind. The thought was growing with every step and I was tempted to stop and walk home or slow my pace. I don’t know if I have what it takes today, started to overwhelm my thinking.

I started to think about what food I ate and water I drank. I wondered if that might be affecting my run. As I continued with my steps I wondered about the humidity and the heat in the air. Maybe these outside circumstances are holding me back, I thought. Pushing through those overwhelmingly loud thoughts was not easy, however, in the end I was able to overcome.

Our minds are powerful things and after I got back home I started to think about what I did on my run to doubt the doubts and push through to the finish line. I know that it will help you and your dreams. Because dreams bring you and I alive in our hearts and minds and they also make us go insane in the membrane. We can go from exhilaration, to crying on the floor wanting to give up on everything. Like a roller coaster of highs and lows, our minds can have us wanting to hurl.

When you want to give up, the thoughts often start out small. What you think about your abilities often, and then when doubt persists, it becomes breeding ground for further doubt. When I get about this far, my mind switches from doubt to reason. Reason at why I should stop and I got a list. I may focus on my actions and how that is why I should give up or on outside circumstances. However, the more I think about it, the more it’s logical to stop.

We don’t need help learning how to quit. Some of us have become masters at the art of giving up and we need help learning how to push through our feelings that may or may not be accurate. Doubt the doubts my friend.

Here’s how to doubt the doubts and defeat the wimpy parts of our mind.

Resolve

When thoughts of quitting enter my mind, my first step is to resolve to not quit. When I run I focus my mind and tell myself to find out how much is inside of me. I can stop when I fall over or cramp so bad that I can’t move my legs. One of the biggest gifts you can be given is finding out how much untapped potential is inside of you. Let me tell you that there is a lot inside of you that you probably don’t know about. You can push harder and further than what you think is possible. When you don’t think you have what it takes to fight for your dreams, I assure you that you have an untapped layer.

Resolve to push through feelings.

Your brain will limit what you can do. Tell your mind to shut up, remind yourself of what you think God is calling you toward. My thoughts changed from, I don’t think I have what it takes to I am going to find out if I have what it takes. Simple shifts in thoughts keep us focused on pushing through.

Micro Steps

Resolving to push will help, but you also need to breakdown your end goal into smaller pieces. When I run I set a mark ahead and think, I have what it takes to get there! When I get to that location, I focus on the next micro goal.

Your dream chasing journey may look insurmountable. When you get the feeling of impossibility, break down your goal into something smaller that you have to stretch a little to get to. Once you stretch to that point, set a new mark and stretch a little more. After a while you will gain confidence that you can make it to where God is calling you to go.

In a speech I heard recently, Barnabas Piper said, “Doubt can be fertile ground for faith.” Your doubts can be the beginning of greater faith. Faith has to have a measure of doubt or it’s called certainty. You will have doubts. I know this because I know you are human. Learn to resolve to push through, create micro steps to stretch your faith, and doubt the doubts.

Sometimes we need to say like the man in Mathew 9:24, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” If you believe you are on the path that God has set before you don’t stop. God will move; press in and press through. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to ponder: Where do you struggle with doubt the most?

What helps you to overcome the doubts?

Prayer: God, forgive my unbelief. I doubt. Help my doubt drive me to you and not to hidden places. I know that you can do all things and that your plans are above my human reason. Help me to focus on you and what things you have set for me to do. Amen.

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A Deeper Vision

Zechariah Newman —  July 17, 2018

We all live out a vision for our life.

Some have prayed, planned, and written down their vision and maybe even put that vision in picture form on a vision board. Some are not actively, intentionally pursuing something, however, they are still headed toward a vision. It may be a vision your parents think you should have, friends, culture, or celebrities, but you have a vision.

Our vision is revealed in our actions that we take everyday.

I was reflecting on different points in my life and the different visions for my life that I have had over the year and lessons I have learned.

In high school, my vision was to get a college football scholarship. I dedicated myself in the weight room and in the classroom for that sole purpose. When that dream was close to fruition and smaller colleges were contacting me, I decided to not pursue that vision.

I had met a girl. This girl was going to a college that was above my football playing level so I decided to follow her instead. While in college, I all of a sudden didn’t have motivation to work out since I was not playing football. I also didn’t put my full effort in the classroom because I didn’t see the point without football. I was lost and visionless and as a result I never finished college. It worked out though because that girl and I have now been happily married for fourteen years.

In Proverbs 29:18 it states, “Where there is no vision the people perish.”

Where there is no vision, you die!

I was dying until my vision sparked and I found success again. What is your vision for your life? Have you prayed about it?

Vision roots us on the path God has set before us!

Without a strong vision it is like swimming across a river from one side to another. The river pushes you downstream. If you don’t have a marker you are shooting for on the other side of the stream, you will end up so far downstream from where you began. When you do have a marker, you need to go up stream from that location to reach it. Vision is that marker.

Our only way to get vision that will last is one that is set before us by God.

In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

You were created for purpose!

God when forming the world looked at this point in time and saw you. He not only knit you in your mother’s womb, but He prepared things for you to do! Have you asked Him?

The Bible will give you the general will of God and that’s extremely important. The Bible will not give you the specific will of God though, that is the Holy Spirit that will do that part. Asking God, who created you, what you should do is kind of important. I know that was genius level thinking right there.

What He has called you to will look different than what He has called me to. That’s the way it is suppose to work. We are not called to the same things. When we try to act all the same way, we get off our God given task.

God has invited you and I into a God sized dream. Expect others to not understand. Expect family and friends to not get it; they don’t need to understand. At the end of our life, we will give an account to God of what He has entrusted you and I with, nothing more and nothing less. Be faithful in your dream endeavors because the stakes are high. Don’t give up and push through. If God has placed you there, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to ponder: What do you feel like God is calling you toward?

When are you tempted to follow what other people say?

Prayer: God, please speak to my heart and mind what you want me to do. Help me to be focused on what you have for me not what others think I should be doing. Thank you for setting things for me to do. I pray that I will be faithful! Amen.

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Words Hurt

Zechariah Newman —  July 10, 2018

“You suck at baseball!” one boy yelled toward my seven year old son.

“Is he ever going to hit the ball?” another jeered.

My boy at 3

My son’s eyes went from wonder and enjoyment to tears and heartache as his teammate’s words cut deep down into his heart. Our peers can be cruel no matter the age and words have impact.

I went over to talk to my son to check on his heart. “Can I be done hitting now?” he questioned. As he moved out into the field, the whole team ran for not supporting each other.

On the drive home after practice we talked about what had unfolded and what hurt. Through a soft voice in the back seat he said, “Dad is it true? Do I suck?”

I don’t know about you, but I have asked this many times when people have said hurtful things. It’s a record that can shut us down and stop us from even trying. This was my son’s first year of baseball and he was excellent at it, but that day he struggled to hit the ball.

One day and one word could have stopped him from playing a sport he loves and could stop you from pursuing your dreams and I don’t want that for either of you.

When your brain or another person hurls words that are less than helpful, l I want you to do two things.

Reframe.

We need to reframe to stay on course. Jon Acuff said, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Comparison is poison.” It was my son’s first year of baseball and his first year swinging a bat. He was less than great if he had been playing for years.

Who are you comparing yourself too?

Often we compare ourselves to someone that has been practicing our craft for years and then begin to wonder what is wrong with us. It’s an easy trap to fall into. The only person we should compare ourselves to is our past self. Are you growing? Awesome! Focus on the growth to reframe.

The next step to reframe is to judge the source.

I’m not talking about comparison, however, use your eyeballs. For my son, the coaches had told him several times that he has natural talent and he was batting a ridiculously good batting average. The source was two boys that struggle with kindness.

When people say hurtful words don’t just accept them as facts. The source that is infallible for you and I is God. God doesn’t make mistakes and He made you for such a time as this.

The stronger our identity in Christ is, the less others’ words will affect us. Remind yourself about what the King of the universe thinks about you. Here is a list for you to read if you are struggling with who He says you are.

Remain.

Once you have reframed the words of others you and I must remain on the path that God has set before us to reach God given dreams.

Practice makes improvement. Improvement over time is what our dream chasing journey is all about. As you remain on track you will need to remember to forgive.

You will be tempted to prove people wrong and to be honest; this is terrible fuel. You will be tempted to make people eat their words or give them a nice glance of, I told you so. Again, proving others wrong is not good fuel. People speak today’s reality into an unknown future. Forgive anyway.

Forgiveness is for you; not for the seven and eight year old boys your dad wanted to slap on the baseball field. Forgiveness is for your heart to be able to focus back on your assignment instead of the wounds that have been inflicted.

Sometimes we struggle to forgive. We need to bring those things to God in authenticity. Tell Him you are struggling to forgive and ask Him for help. He will be faithful to do it.

You must reframe to remain on the path set before you. Your dream that God has placed in your heart is too valuable to set aside. No one knows what you can develop and change into except God. Trust Him to mold and change you into what He wants you to be. He will be faithful to do that too! Be blessed on your journey.

Questions to ponder: What words about your dream have you accepted as true?

Where are you struggling to forgive?

Prayer: God, words of others have hurt my heart and I have accepted many of them as true. I don’t want to listen or compare myself to anyone anymore. Help my eyes to be focused on you and what you have for my life. Forgive those who have wronged me or someone I love. Help me to grow into what you have for me. Amen.

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