Archives For zechariahnewman

A Need For Peace

zechariahnewman —  September 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

Peace is crucial to having a fulfilling life. There will always be things in this world trying to steal our peace. If we are not proactive and just sit passively, we will live a life of anxiety and fear. The moment peace is removed we get into emotions. Emotions are up and down and are unpredictable. We start making bad decisions and saying a bunch of stuff we should not say.

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If you have accepted Christ into your heart, submitting to His authority, I have great news for you. You have peace! In John 14:27 it says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” That means if God lives in you, you have peace! It may be a mature sequoia tree or a little mustard seed, but if you are born again peace is in you. God will work with you daily if you call out to Him to help you.

There are three areas we need peace. Peace with others, peace with ourselves, and peace with God. We all have strengths and weaknesses. If we are going to be in relationships with anyone they will annoy and irritate you in one way or the other. We need to see the good in each other looking past the faults.

My biggest struggle is peace with myself. If you can’t look yourself in the mirror without liking the person in the reflection, it is a bad sign. One of my mentors pointed out to me that when you sin and then beat yourself up over how dumb you are to still struggle with that, you are sinning again because you are cursing God’s creation which is yourself. I love that and I’m asking God to change me. He’s changing me and I have much more peace with myself.

If you can’t admit that God is God and you are not, you will never have peace. You don’t need to have all the answers. I over reason things. Don’t fall into this trap. When we are constantly reasoning and trying to plan exactly how everything will go we are trying to be God. I don’t know why bad things happen, but what I do know is God is God and I am not. I will ask a lot of questions when I get to the other side. Until then I choose to believe Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

All of these are areas in which we need to be pursuers of peace. If anyone of them is not at peace we can feel it. We will be running around with a clenched jaw mad at the world and not knowing why. What is your peace worth? I would say it’s worth way more than the time we give it. Let’s be pursuers of peace. Peace is something the world cannot offer. Full peace is something indescribable until you are in it. It is that calm in the midst of the storm. Shalom and be blessed.

What are some practical things you do to keep your PEACE?

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When we hear of rip off financial systems or bad investments they all have one thing in common; the promise of quick money. Most of us have very little patience and this is the hook in our mouth. We never hear the term, “get rich slow schemes” as this would allow time to think. In the children’s fable, The Tortoise and The Hare, we learn that the tortoise always wins. My brother once said, “I just wish my tortoise was faster.” Isn’t that the truth? We want to grab our turtle and strap a rocket to its back. This is the point at which I have made my worse financial decisions. These 5 steps help me to avoid my share of stupid tax.

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1. Breath. There are many studies that show deep breathing allows for better decision making. Give your brain full oxygen and lower your blood pressure. Breath down through your belly button then slowly exhale. Yes, using your brain helps to avoid bad decisions. It moves us from emotion back to logic.

2. Can you teach it? We must be able to explain the investment idea to others. If you can’t do this don’t put money into it. Only invest in things you fully understand. Know how it could make money as well as how it could lose money. Everything has an opportunity cost; know what it is. Fund managers and investment help is great, but don’t let that be an excuse for not paying attention and understanding what they are doing. As Dave Ramsey says, “They must have the heart of a teacher.”

3. Prayer. Pray about it. I have not invested in certain things because I didn’t feel comfortable about them after praying. The burden of proof is on the side of investing in something new. One instance of this was a company that got all of its assets frozen. I wanted to invest, but after praying I didn’t feel right so I didn’t do it. Glad I didn’t now, although at the time that was a tough decision. A lot of people I knew were making good money with little effort. I love the people who lost money in the company and my heart aches for them.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”~ James 1:5

4. Counsel. Always get counsel from those that do well financially. Get counsel from the ones that will challenge you, not the ones that will be “yes” men and women. Another chance to teach that person about your investment or purchase idea. They will open your eyes to things that you have not considered. You have to be open to being wrong. Don’t get argumentative and stay open to critique.

“Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10  

5. Long term vision. Some won’t like this but I don’t prescribe to market timing short-term single stock investments. It feels too much like the hare in the race. I’m going to hold for the long-term. This helps to avoid microwave thinking and sets my life up to be like a crock pot. No adrenaline rush but highly effective. Investment strategy should be boring.

So if you have made your share of oops financially, join the club. Knowing what to do and doing it are two separate things. Don’t look back except to learn. Look forward, learn your lesson and take your time making decisions. When all else fails ask more questions. With most things we come to decisions too quickly and don’t have enough information. So breath, ask, pray, and ask some more.

What are some things you do to make better financial decisions?

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Achieve Your Dreams!

zechariahnewman —  June 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” These lyrics by John Lennon described my life. Now I’m a recovering dreamer going toward a visionary. It seems as if most of us are dreamers. We go around with grand dreams saying things like, “If I win the lottery” or “if only I get a shot.” The problem is if my shot comes now I’m not ready. We see shows like American Idol and Hells Kitchen thinking how lucky they got picked and now life is great. This is not reality; the reality is it takes work and those people have put in a lot of time and effort before that brief shot. They were ready. These 3 contrasts helped me discover I was a dreamer and set my course towards visionary!

1. Victim thinking Vs. Empowerment. I didn’t even realize I was being a victim. Pretty sad yet the truth. I blamed other circumstances for different things. For example,          (1) when my pay check wasn’t what I wanted, (2) the economy, (3) those employees, (4) competition, (5) industry, (6) family, and (7) God. When we say, “Why God why, when God when?” I believe this is the heart of a victim, at least it was for me. Empowerment is different as it takes personal responsibility. If finances are bad, I’m to blame. If relationships went sideways, what can I do? If God is quite, did I do the last thing that He told me to do? It is completely focused on my part. In relationships, whether it is man or God, it focuses on my part of the partnership.

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

2. Passive vs. Active. I was passive waiting for my fortune to turn. When you sit passively life happens to you instead of you happening to life. Reading my Bible was about as active as I got. Even waiting on God is supposed to be an active stance. What we really mean when we say this is, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing.” Active is uncomfortable; it is where do I want to be and how do I get there? It requires change in action. Change in thinking. Change in the questions we ask. Visionaries focus on what needs to change to fix the problem.

“Let your actions betray your uncertainties. Be not afraid.” ~Bob Goff

3. Not paying attention to the present vs. Realistic about present. This is what dreamers do. Someday mentality. They may say, “Someday I will have time to workout, fix my finances, eat right, be a good spouse, parent, write a blog.” Someday will never come. Today is never focused on and tomorrow the dreamer will focus on the next day. Visionaries are all about today. Focusing energy and passion into the day while still being focused on the vision yet paying attention to the steps today to create that vision. For the lives of great men and women are made up of many days.

“You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.” ~Jon Acuff

So if you realize you are a dreamer instead of a visionary the first step has already happened. Your eyes are open! A choice lays before you. Do not let the sun go down without making a decision. Do you keep dreaming? Or do something now and change your today. Do what God has called you to today. Make small choices that affect your individual calling today. Be weird, become a visionary!

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Half awake driving into work mind numb going through the same motions as the day before. Is this not how most of us live? There is no passion rather a begrudging attitude about having to work to pay the bills. The excitement of the new job is gone and everything seems gray. Living for the weekend and evenings, the day is going to creep by. How do we get that passion back like when we first had the job? These 2 things will bring passion back into your work so you don’t feel like you’re on a train track doing the same thing day after day.

1. Recognize the alternative. No job. That’s the alternative; all the weekends you want. Problem is no money, may go hungry, can’t pay the mortgage or keep the lights on. Scared, but lots of free time. Talk about stress! Anything I face at work is better than the lack of work and if it’s that bad, it’s time to find a new job.

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”  ~Washington Irving

2. What are you here for? What did God put you on earth for? For me it is to restore people by giving them significance in their journey. So I view the world through this lens. If I focus on those parts of my job as a Figaro’s Pizza franchise, I love it. How can I play a role in restoration or significance there you may ask? Letting my employees know they are valued. Giving customers food with service. Hearing about their day. Sometimes praying with them. If I focus on what brings me joy and passion I have no more Mondays. If I focus on rolling dough, doing books, and making pizza my job gets stale.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

These are just two quick things that bring passion and drive back to my day. In the end if this doesn’t help, as an employer I would say please find a new job. This is meant as a coconut on the head as we all need that sometimes. Would you pay yourself the wage you are making for the job you are doing? Sometimes my answer is no. If your answer is no all the time you are not going to feel fulfilled, but rather feel like a leach. No one likes to creep by in life. Stand tall, take charge of your attitude and nothing can hold you back. Choose to have passion!

1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” It is sad that three words into the verse I struggle. I’m good with love, I’m good with is, then patient. Wham sucker punch! Patient? Come on. Why not love works a lot, or love kills the spiders? Love is patient. You mean love doesn’t sit by the door with his shoes on him-hauing about being late for church. My bad. Patience is one of my biggest struggles. Sometimes I feel about as patient as a 2-year-old when they are denied something they want. I may not flop on the ground on the outside, but inside it kind of looks the same. When I am more patient I have noticed a pattern, so here it is. These 4 things help me with patience so that I show love to my wife.

1. Plug into the vine. What I mean by this is submit our will to the spirit of God. I wrote about this more in His Yoke Is Easy. How do we know when we are submitted to Him? We spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying, and studying the Word. We need to know what God stands for so we can submit our lives to Him.

2. Proper sleep. I don’t know about you but I’m much more irritable without proper sleep. For me that’s eight hours. Some people will need more and some less. Listen to your body. If you’re like me with three kids ages four and under sometimes sleep doesn’t really happen. My point is make it a priority. We should work out of our rest not rest from our work. Sleep affects so many areas and pretty much every part of physical and mental health.

3. Eat throughout the day. When my blood sugars get low, I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type experience. It’s bad enough that if I am cranky my wife knows that I need to eat. She will ask me, “Do you need to eat?” aka code for cool your jets. So do what I struggle with and eat small meals throughout the day. It is good for your health and your temper.

4. Opportunity cost. This means the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue certain action. With my example in the beginning, waiting by the door, my opportunity cost for losing my patience is pretty large. I lose the opportunity for a nice drive to church without tension. Also if I’m extra ridiculous it could pour into the rest of the day. Getting on the crazy cycle is pretty easy.

So my challenge is, let’s be intentional with our love by working on our patience. Walk with God and take care of our body so that we can live a life of patience, a life of love.

His Yoke Is Easy

zechariahnewman —  May 29, 2013 — 8 Comments

Mathew 11:30 30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I remember the first several times I read this and thought “bull.” Maybe this is not “spiritual,” but it’s the truth. Living the way God wanted me to did not seem easy and light. Still doesn’t sometimes. Out of pure frustration I looked into this more, praying for insight and direction. Nothing I was doing felt light and easy, rather straining. What was I doing wrong? When God are you going to make it easy? Those were my questions then and the following explains what it means to me now.

Yoke is defined as a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.

In John 15:5 it says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So we need to be joined up and remain into God then our burden is light and His yoke easy.

So how do we remain in God? We submit our will to the spirit of God.

Augustine wrote, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.”

An illustration of the two verses listed above came to me; it’s like driving a screw into a board with a drill. All we have to do is plug it in and our torque goes way up making it easy. The drill has been there the whole time but it’s true power only exists while it is plugged into an electrical outlet. Have you tried to use a drill without power? Of course not, but that is what I do with my life sometimes which is just as useless while I’m unplugged.

This is what I have done in the past and do not recommend:

I have plugged the power cord into myself. Epic fail! All this leads to is self-condemnation and frustration. I have plugged the power cord into others. Talk about disappointment. Expectations for others are a big way to feel jaded. I most often do the on/off method. Plug-in, unplug, plug-in, unplug. This gets exhausting. I try my own will and effort then give up, plug into God then life’s burdens get easy (well at least the straining stops). Then I slowly place the burdens back on my own shoulders until I have had enough again.

“On our knees we are the most powerful force on earth.” ~Billy Graham

So if you have unplugged, plug into God our source. All else is vanity leading to death. Partner with Him, yoke together with the creator of the universe and He will give you peace, joy, strength, and fulfillment. He does not promise no problems, but a new lightness comes in when you remain in the vine.

On Memorial Day I wanted to take a few minutes to honor the people who have died for our freedom. I can’t relate to this sacrifice since I have never served in the armed forces. It is way too easy to gloss over the day and not realize there are individuals that died and families left behind. It is easy to say Memorial Day instead of saying the day that men and women died so I didn’t have to. In honor of this day that we remember our fallen freedom fighters, I decided to ask an active serviceman his thoughts about what Memorial Day means to him.

Sniper Daniel Pina, my brother in-law, has served in the United States Army since right after the towers fell on 9/11. He saw a need that day to defend our country and left college to fight for you and I. He has served several tours and has courageously earned two purple hearts. So here is a warrior’s view about this day.

What does Memorial Day mean to you? “Remembrance, anniversary, and honor.”

What do you love about serving? “War brings out the best and the worst in people. You will never feel more alive, or more lonesome. I serve for the guy to the left and right of me. That’s it and that is all that matters when the bullets start to fly. It is great to honestly say that you will lay your life down for someone and back the talk.”

What do you like least about serving? Being shot, losing brothers, feeling lonesome. Giving into anger and war lusts rage. Being away from family.”

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”  -Dwight D. Eisenhower

So let’s take one day at least to really think about those that paved the way for our freedom. Thank you to all who have spilled blood. All that have given the ultimate sacrifice. To all that have buried a grandfather, grandmother, husband, Wife, father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, or son. I am sorry for your loss and thank you from the bottom of my heart for living a life of sacrifice and for seeing a world beyond you; one of freedom.

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.”  -Thomas Campbell

Never Again

zechariahnewman —  May 22, 2013 — 6 Comments

In an uncertain world there is very little that is actually certain. Most things we love to argue about are not certainties rather opinions and stances. The thing that I can guarantee you is that unless Marty Mcfly comes along this will be the only time that 5/22/2013 will happen. We will never again get the opportunity to live this day again. This seems simple and redundant but it’s not. We spend our time so frivolously saying,  “I’m bored,” watching T.V., playing video games, killing time. These 5 things bring value back to this day.

1. Value of time. This is something that cannot be monetized. On our deathbed how much would we give for one more day with our family? One more day doing what brings us true passion. One more day saying, “I just need one more day.” I belive that the day is worth so much more when we are fully aware of our mortality. Live today like it’s your last.

“Lost time is never found again.”~ Benjamin Franklin

2. Time is finite. This goes along with value of time. There are no do-overs. Our time has an end. Some have longer than others, but your time on earth is not infinite. Don’t live as if it is. There are no “time stores” to go pick up more.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”
~ Earl Nightingale

3. Attitude of anticipation. There is no magic bullet here. I’m not saying that you will automatically have good things if you expect them. You do become like a thermostat in your environment. A lot of people walk around doom and gloom thinking, “Today is going to be awful,” and surprise it ends up being bad. Or worse it ends up not being bad and we have fretted for nothing. If you walk around expecting good things and exited for the day people can feel it. You know the person I’m talking about. When he or she is around the whole room lights up. Arms wide open, let’s be this person!

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

4. Opportunity to serve others are everywhere.  It is not a world of scarcity but of abundance. Start viewing the world this way if you are not. Someone else’s success does not dictate that you get less. Look for opportunity to praise, encourage, support, and engage with others. This helps me to value all interactions and in turn brings value back to today.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

5. See the big picture. Even remedial tasks if viewed in the right light have meaning. Understand everything we do has value. The big picture of eternity helps bring significance to our journey.

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

These are some of the ways that I conquer the feeling of killing time. As Michael Hyatt says, “Your life is a gift. Now go make it count!”

What are some things you do to focus on today?

Waves Of Life

zechariahnewman —  May 20, 2013 — 3 Comments

I’m sitting at the beach right now watching the waves come in. Wave after wave. Big and small, listening to the rhythm of the waves. Have you ever fallen down and had the waves pound on you while you try to get your breath? It can be scary and panic can come in. This reminds me of the waves of life. Sometimes the waves crash against us harmlessly and other times the waves come with such a force that it feels like we will die. The way to get through those waves is what surfers call a duck dive. You push the front of your board down, go into and under the wave. It allows you to go under the force of the top of the wave. It is the same way we should face the waves of life. Here are 4 ways to duck dive the waves of life.

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

“God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”  ~ Oswald Chambers

1. Push into God. When the going gets tough the tough get on their knees. A personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ makes some waves that use to seem huge, small and harmless. He gives us the strength to push through the wave. So press into God and He will sustain you through the pounding wave.
2. Push into Family. When a big wave hits you gather around the ones you love and that love you. Draw close to them. Pray with them, cry with them and laugh with them. A lot of times your family will give you insight. You need people you trust in vulnerable times. You need to feel safe to be open and honest as this will help you get under the wave.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~Stephen R. Covey
3. Push into an Accountability Partner. We all need someone outside of our family. Build a relationship with someone and get to know them. Meet at least weekly. When the wave of strife and trouble arise you may be tempted to hide. That is the last thing you should do. Have someone close enough that you can bear your soul to. That you can admit heartache, failure, or disappointment. Someone that will ask you the hard questions and give difficult answers. Not always fun, but accountability is worth the sacrifice.
“Haters never bother people who are ordinary, but the extraordinary are magnets for rocks. Keep going.” ~ Jon Acuff
4. Push away naysayers. In good times and bad it is important to push away naysayers outside of your iner-circle. We don’t need people pulling us down like an under current; making the pounding waves more ferocious, whispering in your ear that you have failed and are unworthy. I don’t have time to listen to the haters and neither do you.
So let’s take advice from surfers and press our boards down to go under waves, thus reducing the brunt force pressure on us making the waves roll over instead of crash against us. The key to most succesful things is time. Build these into your life now. The more time you put in to these four things, the smaller the waves become. 
What are ways in which you survive and thrive the waves of life?

I love road trips. It is not just the destination but the whole process. Seeing new things such as mountain peeks, rivers and strange places that I would never visit if I were not just passing through. Stopping to take pictures, what fun to take it all in. The hours go by quickly while I’m still so excited for the destination. These 4 things help me to enjoy the trip.

1. Focus on today. Life should be this way. The ride should be fun, thus enjoying the moment while you continue your personal journey toward your destination. When my wife and I were dating we thought, “Can’t wait until we can be married and start our life together.” Then it was, “Can’t wait until we have a house, a child, another child and then for them to be a little older.” Now we are wanting a bigger house. You see the wants never stop if we don’t relax and enjoy the things that today brings we will never really live.

2. List what you enjoy today; that may not be that way forever. With our house it is small so it’s easy to clean, you can see the kids everywhere they go, we are always together, and there is less to heat and cool. Lastly, a lot of people don’t own a house. How fortunate are we? These are just a few things I remember when I start to gripe.

3. Good road trip music. Put on some uplifting music. Music is part of the enjoyment in a road trip. Nothing depressing, rather songs that will lift your spirit. Play something that tells you the sun will rise in the morning.

4. Bring along friends or family. We all need relationships. Don’t be a loner when you are feeling low. Get around positive and encouraging people. Talk and enjoy fellowship with one another.

Return peace to the journey. The bumps, wrong turns, and side streets are part of the journey. We never arrive.  The destination is always changing. So we will be miserable or we can put on the shades, turn up the music, roll down the windows, and feel the sun. Road trip anyone?