Jolted awake, my mind was running a million miles an hour. The only light in the room was the slight glow of my alarm clock. I looked over at it and saw that it was 3:30 in the morning. I lay there not trying to think so I could go back to sleep, which was ending up in a futile matter.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

Are you sure you are making the right decision? What if you’re wrong? These thoughts were soon replaced by, you are going to ruin your life!

On the edge of the “promise land,” the fear gets the loudest.

It is in these moments of time that I realize I am no better than the Israelites in the Bible. I often look at the passages of scripture where they wander in the desert wanting to go back to slavery and think, you guys are idiots! Then further ahead on their journey on the edge of the promise land they have been waiting and again they say no to God and yes to their fear. Then I think, what a bunch of faithless people!

I am no different from the Israelites. I say yes to my negative thoughts and circle them in my mind. I focus on the giants ahead instead of the land flowing with milk and honey. I think slavery and bondage sounds better than freedom. On the edge of the great unknown the familiarity of the chains sound peaceful.

That is what it comes down to, isn’t it? We don’t know! We worked toward something for so long that we forgot there would be giants there. We don’t know what war will be like so we would rather go back to the familiar chains of slavery.

Have you thought of that before? That even in the “promise land” there will be war. I think two things amplify fear on the edge of greatness. We realize that it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows in the promise land. Second, we don’t know for sure it’s what we are supposed to do. The promise land ends up being one option and we end up frozen in fear.

Frozen in fear is right where the devil wants to keep you. Sitting, weighing the options of Egypt or the promise land.  Weighing if it’s worth it to step into the unknown with an unknown enemy. Playing out all the terrible options, fear magnifies our giants to be even bigger!

Comfort

There is comfort to us. God promises to be with us. He doesn’t say, “I will be with you IF you pick the right option. If you pick the wrong one you are on your own buddy!” God is more than enough for whatever giants are in front of us. With God all things are possible. The creator of the universe has your back. Don’t fall victim to the fear in the shadows of your mind.

Action

Faith in action is what we are after. To move in spite of fear. To at any moment pick up faith and say no to fear. So, pray over what you should do and move in the direction you feel God is calling you to. Seek the Lord and move with confidence and He will take you places you never thought possible. He will be with you and you will be blessed on your journey.

How do you say yes to action and no to fear?
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My grandpa went to Heaven and the funeral was this last weekend. Watching him in his latter days reminded me of the preciousness of life. Our lives are finite here on Earth and there is no greater reminder than watching someone you love deteriorate until all strength is gone. What a great grandpa I was privileged to have.  He taught me so much in his life and the lessons continued watching him pass. I learned these 4 life lessons in his death.

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My Grandpa

What love looks like. My grandparents exhibited a sweet love for each other. My grandma cared for my grandpa all the way until the end. I watched her struggle as she watched the love of her life laboring for a breath. I watched as she sponged his mouth so he could get some water. I watched the way she still looked at him and the way her eyes still light up talking about their life together.

Love is shown on the hard days. It is built over time. Love is shown when it can’t be fully returned. I hope to love those in my life with the fullness and vigor that I saw my grandma loving my grandpa. This week let’s love a little deeper and be a little less dependent on the actions of others.

Memories is all we have. I don’t remember one gift my grandparents ever got me. They did buy me gifts, I just can’t recall them. I do, however, remember all of the memories. My grandparents made holidays so much fun. It was an event every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and even the Fourth of July. I remember playing games with my grandpa while he wore his usual red socks.

Too often we focus on giving gifts when we should be focused on making memories. Take time today to carve out some memories with those you love. With a little thoughtful effort, you can make memories that your loved ones will hold with them forever.

You won’t see your full impact. My grandpa will never see the full impact he has had and will have. He spent his whole life serving others.  His legacy lives on in my kids and will travel to their children. I also know he left a positive impact on the lives of several others.

Don’t focus on what you see with your eyes. Focus on how you can positively affect the world and the ripples of your life will continue through time.

Don’t wait to speak words of love. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t tell my Grandpa enough how much he meant to me. In his latter days when he wasn’t able to respond, I told him how proud I was to be his grandson. I told him what a good job he had done. I know he could hear me even if he couldn’t respond, but why did I wait until now?

Today and every day let’s speak words of love. Encourage someone in your life today. Every person no matter how young or old needs to hear how great they are doing. They need to hear what they mean to you. Speak life into others.

Serve others, love deeply, live fully today and every day. This journey of life will take you places you never thought possible when you live a life of service. Be blessed on your life’s journey.

How can you love those in your life more deeply?

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Life changes in the little moments more than the big tragedies and mountain top experiences. The massive scars and glorious mountain tops are what I and I am sure you remember. However, what has really shaped my life is the little decisions, habits, and choices that I have made and continue to make every day.

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Photo By: KCNewman Photography

As an outsider to someone else’s life it often appears that big shiny moments just happen. That it is smooth and easy for them and hard for you. That somehow they’re born with something you’re not. Humility for me turns into self-loathing. I have wished to be more intelligent, harder working, confident, fearless, loving, patient, and more articulate. If I could just be a little more _____, then I would get my dreams. Then I would increase my business and be a better husband, father, and son. Wishing and waiting for God to magically change me into something better.

These 4 truths have given me peace and helped me to change slowly over time.

 1. You will never be enough. Recently on a cold, crisp morning I was running with my mentor and pouring my heart out to him. As I did, he stopped me and said, “Zech it sounds like you are a man who has not arrived. This is not the problem. You also sound like one that thinks that he will.” His words hit me right between the eyes. It is quite simple to get into faulty thinking that someday we will be enough. That perfection is attainable. Well, at least we think and act like it although we would never say it. So let me ease your mind like he did mine. You are never going to be enough on your own. No matter how many positive changes you make, you will still need a Savior.

2. God will always be enough. I am so thankful for the simplistic truths. No matter how unworthy and sinful we feel, God will always be enough. It is always God that makes us worthy and upright. It is Him, His death and resurrection. He atoned the deepest darkest things we are scared for others to find out. Every weakness He makes strong. He will always be enough and is way bigger than any shortcoming you think makes you unworthy.

3. Think big. My thinking and I suspect yours needs to increase. Whatever you think is capable for your life, you will unconsciously aim at. With God all things are possible so why not aim higher? I thought I was unworthy to write for large sites so I didn’t even try. Now I am a contributor for Addicted2Success, Entrepreneur, and just found out Fast Company later this month. All that changed was a strategy tweak and belief. For every post that has gotten accepted, many have been rejected. But it’s possible! What have you not even tried? What goal do you dare not aim at because it scares you to death?

4. Act small. Big hairy goals happen by small minuscule changes in our daily routines. For a week record everything you do. Don’t try to change everything at once. Just record your day and pick one thing you are going to stop doing and one thing you are going to replace that with. That’s it! For example, I am going to cut out thirty minutes of television and write for thirty minutes each day. Just carve out a little time to chase that audacious goal and you will get there. It will take a long time, but it will be worth it.

So that is the simple formula. God makes you enough, so think big and make small steps toward your dream and He will take you places that you thought were not possible. When we come from a place of abundance in Christ our small journey will be radically blessed. Be blessed on your journey.

 Do you need to aim higher?
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Freedom in Business

Zechariah Newman —  March 23, 2015 — 6 Comments

Last month I was privileged to take my oldest child to the annual father-daughter dance. She is six and this is our second year to go. In a few years I will take my other daughter as well who is two. The anticipation of the dance increases as the day approaches and on the big day she wakes up with sheer excitement. I love this day too as it is a great time to be alone with my little girl. This dance is one opportunity to show her how she should expect to be treated and to make her feel special. We both love the dance, although I hate dancing. :)

Zoe

My beautiful daughter.

While we were out to eat before the dance and I was paying for our meal, the man taking our payment asked, “Are you guys going to the dance?” I responded, “Yes we are.”  Then he said something that stuck with me. “I would go, but I can’t. I own the restaurant. Even though my daughter cried asking me to go she just doesn’t understand that you can’t take off any weekends when you own a restaurant.”

This statement by this entrepreneur stuck with me for two reasons. One, I own two restaurants and took the night off. My stores didn’t suffer. In fact, the two locations had a great night of sales and didn’t have any known mistakes. The second reason why it stuck with me was because I often use my life as an entrepreneur as an excuse just like this man. There are many days that I do need to be there. However, a lot of times I have an excuse of the business.

Do you run your business or does it run you?

The first step to freedom in business is determining where you are. I am controlled by my company more than I would like to admit. Not much of it is the business and most of it is me. I don’t train enough or give enough responsibility and then play the victim for needing to be there. Are you suffering from self-inflicted wounds?

Start today! Make a plan of action. Who are you going to teach in your company to do different aspects of your job? If there is no one you trust, you need to hire new people. Slowly build the muscle in your staff to stand without you. This takes time and energy to accomplish, but it is worth it.

Discipline. Being trapped is really a lack of discipline. Trust me, I am talking to myself as well. We know we should train, but it’s just so easy to do the job ourselves! To accomplish this think in terms overtime. Do you really want to do this same task tomorrow? This has helped me a lot. Another tip is to figure out your hourly wage and ask yourself if you would pay someone who amount to do the task.

Future-time. The reality is the more time you spend training and empowering your employees, the more you are multiplying time. As much as possible spend a portion of each day in this multiplication place. Think of training like investing. Spend at least part of your minutes each day investing in your future. The more time you spend, the bigger the pile of time will build.

Over time replacing yourself will bring bigger profits and more of an actual life. Take charge and run your business, instead of allowing your life to be controlled by it. Be blessed on your journey.

 How can you gain more freedom in your business?
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Home Run

Zechariah Newman —  March 16, 2015 — 8 Comments

It is tempting to swing for the fences with every action. This is how I operated in the online arena for a long time. Everything I did I was trying to tattoo that ball and hit it out of the park. I would put all of my effort and might into a single action. More importantly, I would watch the ball to see how far it flew.

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photo by: Chris Ptacek

That is the negative aspect of home run swinging. It isn’t negative to put all of our effort into something, however, it is negative when we stand there and admire our hit watching to see how far the ball will carry. Will this be the effort that will send us over the edge? It ends up being a bunch of starting and stopping and as a result gaining no momentum.

 Momentum is the mass of the object multiplied by its velocity.

This is what we are after. Not a home run, but greater momentum. If we are little we create more momentum than our larger competitor by increasing our velocity. We need to ramp up our activity, not do a single act. I got the best news of my writing career, celebrated for a day and then went back to writing. Since then I have written ten posts in seven days. I want my momentum to increase. I have a goal that one single piece of big news does not accomplish my goal.

When you gain momentum everything is easier. It is as if you are swimming downstream with the current. Things begin to feel easy, when before you were straining to move an inch. With momentum your small effort has massive movement.

This is the power of momentum and why single-minded focus is so important. This is the reason you should have a goal outcome and do many actions toward it. The compounding effect of your effort multiplied by God rolls on top of each other.

These are simple steps to follow to create momentum in your life.

  1. Ask God what you should focus on.
  2. Write down what the goal outcome is.
  3. Plan the activities that will get you there.
  4. Start!
  5. Do a little bit every day.
  6. Don’t stop until it is finished.

Unless God calls you to something else, remain focused on a single outcome and your efforts will yield small outcomes. Then over time you will gain momentum. Over time is what you need to remember in order to fight discouragement because in the beginning it will feel like you’re going nowhere fast. Push on and fight again and again. Eventually you will overwhelm and surpass the goal. You can do it, little by little it can be done. Be blessed on your journey.

What has helped you gain momentum?

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What if you woke up today and the dreams you cry out for were handed to you? What if everything you petitioned to God for came about instantly? Sometimes we wish this was the case. In all reality, we wish this was the case all of the time. Let’s face it, most of the time we want to be playing God. We wouldn’t use those words, but that’s the truth.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

I have been thinking about this and really repenting in my posture toward God. A great example of people being handed their desires are lottery winners. Buying a ticket and winning sometimes multiple millions of dollars instantly. Researching this, several studies show that 70% or more of lottery winners are broke. It doesn’t matter how many millions of dollars they win, the result of losing it all is the same. This blessing ends up being a cursing.

I have judged these people with a lack of intelligence. However, I don’t believe intellect is the reason for these lottery winners to lose their fortune. Contrary to this, many self-made millionaires who have earned their way financially have lost everything and regained their wealth and beyond at a rapid pace. Here is the huge difference. The lottery winners didn’t change. They were handed money and didn’t have to become anything new.

Your dreams and mine are the same way. Your knowledge, skill set, relationship with Christ, and so much more needs to expand, grow, and change. You have not achieved your dream because you need to grow! If we were handed it today it would be a curse, not a blessing. God needs to chisel and change us into something new.

The process is painful and I don’t know about you, but I have shed many tears. I have struggled to trust God through the process at times. I have almost given up because it didn’t come in my way and my timing. For me chasing my dreams is a transforming process. It is a chance for me to practice faith and hope while growing the muscles of persistence. Will you submit to God and allow Him to change you?

Growth is the key to your dream. What skill do you need to grow? Do you need to hire a coach in an area? How about a course or a book? In what ways do you need to submit your will to God’s? Each time you ask growth questions instead of complaining about where you are you will make progress. If you complain, you will remain. Each time you lay down pride and choose humility you will advance. Submit to God’s will while doing all that you can today. His plan and timing is perfect. Trust your whole life to Him and not just the bits and pieces. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you need to grow?

 

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Calling and Attack

Zechariah Newman —  March 2, 2015 — 4 Comments

There is an enemy waging war on our souls. As we follow what God has for us, our souls always come under attack. Following God’s plan puts us on the edge of light and darkness. It is where we need God the most and He is the most present. If we sit passively the devil leaves us well enough alone, however, when we move and act our lives will come under opposition. This ground that we are taking back is not taken back easily and it can feel like we are wasting our time.

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photo by: KCNewman Photography

You are a dangerous warrior as you pursue and live out your calling!

As I sat in my quiet time this morning, I felt God speaking to me, “Did you really think it would come easy? Did you think that when you are following what I have for you it would be smooth? Did you forget what the great men and women of faith went through?”

God never asked us to figure out when and how, but when I get discouraged this is what I go to. I believe the devil does three things to get us off of the path God has us on. I think he tries to distract, discourage, and dissuade us from moving. Where we have potential impact, the devil wants to keep it in just that form because potential doesn’t change anything, only action will.

Here is where I get confused sometimes. I get DISTRACTED by the wrong actions. The first actions that need to be taken by all of us is to focus on God. In Mathew 6:33 it says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We need to begin with our seeking and focus on the Kingdom of God. It is only when we seek His Kingdom that our actions come out of this place of eternal, not temporal focus.

When we come from an eternal focus the world looks and feels different. It becomes about others, not self-focused and empty. We need to be reminded constantly that the works of our hands are about others and not about ourselves. Our vocation is not our identity, our lives are not our own, and our business is not ours but God’s. To push through distraction, discouragement, and dissuasion focus on God. Focus on why you were on this journey in the first place. Live today with passion, dedicating even the smallest actions to the glory of God. Overtime this life of purposeful, dedicated action will lead to a life you could only imagine. Be blessed on your journey.

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I am a dream chaser. My dreaming nature was put there by God. I have discovered that most of the time my dreams bring life and energy to myself and those around me. Unfortunately, at times my dream has made my life miserable.

When in the right light, your dream is wonderful. However, being human we have to make sure that our dreams haven’t turned into one of these 4 things or the dreams will quickly become a nightmare.

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photo by: KC Newman Photography

Lust. Lust is an overwhelming desire or craving. I believe pursuing our dreams turns to lust when we can’t be happy with our lives until we achieve what great grandeur is in our minds. I have been guilty of this; putting the dream on a pedestal thinking it will create happiness. This is a sure-fire way to ruin our lives.

Pursue the dreams that God has placed in your heart, realizing that some dreams will be seen when you are gone. Chase the dream giver instead of obsessing over the dream. When you can chase a dream with everything inside of you and are okay if it never happens, you are in a healthy place. It is a hard place to be but, it is a sign of someone who trusts God.

Identity. Where is your identity found? When it is tied to a business, dream, or achievements your focus is off. I have struggled in my business of not liking the identity of a pizza maker. I have swelled with an unhealthy sense of pride for the ability to work my face off.

Our identity is in Christ, being a son or daughter of the King. Don’t cheapen your identity by taking on something other than a priest or priestess of the King!

Self-centered. When we make our dreams about ourselves, pride gets inflamed. We are easily offended and have zero flexibility when others voice their opinions. Criticism is personal and our egos are shattered when others don’t catch the vision.

Our dreams are not about us! They are designed for others and only when we learn to serve others can we be happy. How can you serve people with your dream? A life focused on others is the only way to be truly happy. If you are miserable, reframe your life and position it around others and how you can help them.

Impatient. Although I have done all four of these things, this is the hardest for me. Impatience is no other thing than us trying to be God. If we trust God and we believe the Bible, it says that He is never late. So if we are uptight about how long something is taking, we are trying to assert ourselves into the mix as God.

Trusting God is not as easy as we make it sound, however, it is necessary. Enjoy life while you wait. If you and I don’t learn to enjoy the journey, what else is there? Life is a journey so we better get to truly living by trusting God’s timing.

Chase your dream, but if you are miserable on your journey may I suggest you examine why? Move forward, trust God, and serve others. Be blessed on your journey.

Are you a happy dream chaser?

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I have struggled most of my life to rest. Scurrying around, I have been too busy trying to accomplish and achieve. I have pushed my life to the limit until I would literally crash into depression. I suffered from panic attacks and high blood pressure and was told by my doctor if I didn’t fix my stress level, I would be headed to an early grave. To top it off, I was in the prime time of life, my mid-twenties.

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photo by: KCNewman Photography

Slowly, but surely God has healed my life. I no longer suffer from panic attacks and my blood pressure is extremely healthy. Though I still need to fight to keep rest a priority, I now know why rest is so difficult, which makes it beatable. If you are struggling to rest, make sure these 4 things are not out of alignment.

  1. Trust. I struggle to trust God. If we are honest, most of us need to grow in this area of trusting God. I would focus on, “when, how and why” instead of just trusting Him and taking a step. Micro-analyzing and tiring your mind out is a sign of not trusting God. When you are missing peace and joy, you aren’t trusting God.

Trust with God is expanded through prayer, studying His Word, picking up His thoughts, and the love of a close brother or sister in Christ. If you are struggling to rest, it may be a sign of a lack of trust in God.

  1. Boundaries. Without proper boundaries, it is impossible to rest. We must have time of activity, but we must have time of rest built into our lives. Boundaries to insure proper sleep and to make sure we are observing times of quietness. In the world we live in, it is even more important to set boundaries. Technology has not made this easier. We live in an age where almost anything we want is at our fingertips. We must have points in the day away from technology.

Removing distractions and turning off technology is a necessary step to bring rest back to our lives. You must have a game plan to follow or life will swallow up every second. Make sure that proper boundaries are in place so you can get the rest that you need.

  1. Loss of Gratitude. When we don’t rest, we are missing a piece of gratitude. Throughout our lives there will be a gap from where we are and where we want to be. This is a great thing when it is healthy, however, it turns into poison when we lust after what God has not given us yet. Our desires can quickly turn into the cancer of our lives when not put in check.

The more you try and control things outside of your control, the more control you are giving it. You cannot control God’s timing. Give control of the gap time between where you are and where you want to be back to God. You can have peace on the journey while having gratitude with where you are and how far God has taken you. Contentment and peace return when gratitude comes back to our lives.

  1. Mask. For years I hid from everyone afraid to admit my sin and failure. Afraid to admit my lack of trust in God. Masking and hiding our lives at the root, is a lack of trusting God or man. In all actuality it is usually a lack of trust in both. Our relationship with man effects our relationship with God and vice versa. This leads to an unauthentic life and one that is a shell of what we are meant to live.

If you do not have authenticity built into your life, it is impossible to rest. The masks we wear leads to a Pharisee’s view point. We need to knock others down so that we don’t feel as bad about our hidden sin. The only way to defeat this unauthentic cover up is to let God and others into these places that we hide. It is not easy to begin to trust others, but it is necessary to a healthy life.

 

In the end, a lack of rest is a clear sign of us trying to make something happen instead of allowing God to work. God will give you what you need when you need it. Life being led by Christ is alive and uncommon. It is bold and courageous and it is the bringer of life. Allow Christ into the areas that you are protecting and guarding and rest will return to your soul. Deep healing is not easy and does not happen overnight. It is worth it though. Be blessed on your journey.

 Do you struggle to rest?

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This season in my life has been very challenging. It has been challenging in ways that I never expected or saw coming. When we are going through a hard time that challenge makes sense. The low point is tangible because where we want to be and where we are do not match. This latest obstacle had me so shaken that I had a couple days where I was so overwhelmed. I was on the verge of panic attacks and felt my breathe getting rapid and shallow. What was happening to me was growth and success.

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photo by: KcNewman Photography

Though we get much more sympathy for moments of struggle and lack, abundance can feel overwhelming at times. When your business or dream takes off, there will be moments in your life that feel like you can’t handle anymore. These 4 things will help you to prosper during the stretch of growth!

Seasons of unbalance. Balance seems to be one of the buzz words floating around these days. The reality is something will always be out of balance and it is okay! A lot of what overwhelms me and I am sure you too is all that I “should” be doing. I am a Christian, husband, dad, son, friend, and entrepreneur. Each one of these things are blessings and each one can overwhelm me at times. I am sure the same is true for you as well. It is okay to be out of balance for seasons. The reality is that is life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Breathe. Be conscious of your breathing. When pressure becomes overwhelming you can have physiological effects. Slow your breathing and take deeper breathes. God made you, both body and spirit. Make sure that you do not neglect your body or the signs that it is giving you. If you are having shortness of breath, your body is telling you something.

Write it down. In times of feeling overwhelmed, it is important to write down what you are feeling. What do you have to do? What are outside influences? What are unneeded pressures and expectations by yourself or others? There will be things on your list to delegate, others to cross off and say “no” to, and some that you just need to grind and get done. Writing it down will help to formulate your emotions along with your to-do list. Write it down to remove the mental pressure.

God. It is with God that all things are possible. These moments are really great for us because we realize what is always true. We cannot do anything without God. We are inadequate on our own. We are more than conquerors in Him. Pray to God and refocus on Him. You will be given more than you can handle on your own, however, you will never be given more than what God can handle. Make sure to maintain your focus on God through all seasons.

It is important to be ready for all that life can throw at you. Growth and success can be a challenge, but you can overcome to get to new levels. To get where you want to go will be a constant refining process that is only accomplished through surrender to Christ. God will make you into what you need to be when you need to be it. Just trust Him. Be blessed on your journey.

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