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Today is my son, Luke’s third birthday. He is the little light in our family as his name means “Light of God.” He says hi to everyone as long as they don’t look at him first, takes command before meals to be the first to pray, and loves being with his family. Oh and how he gets into everything, enjoys eating chicken food every once in a while, and jumps off the highest things he can find. There are a lot of things we could learn from our children if we just open our eyes. After all Jesus said in Mathew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I have learned these 5 lessons from my son.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” ~Mother Teresa

1. Hugs should be full. None of this side hug garbage. When my son hugs me it is an all out tackle. You can just feel the warmth and love coming through the little guy. We should love each other like that.

“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~English Proverb

2. Everyone gets greeted. He says hi and smiles to everyone that doesn’t look at him. It doesn’t matter what you look like, he will say hi. If he is feeling comfortable he will  start talking. A warm smile and acknowledgement is all it takes to brighten someone’s day.

3. Unafraid. Sometimes this makes me nervous, but he is not afraid of much. He jumps off everything arms wide open. This is how we should be. Not tipping the toe in the water but rather jumping in arms wide open giving all of ourselves into the new adventure.

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever truly be yours.” ~C.S. Lewis

4. Why. He is a why machine. Anyone who has kids is familiar with this time of childhood. It can be challenging, but we all need to be asking why. If you don’t know the why, you just don’t know. (Tweet that)

5. He asks for help. Heaven forbid us adults show a little humility and ask each other for help. After all we have to keep up with the game and pretend that we are perfect and need no one. You and I are flawed. When we need help let’s just ask for it.

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” ~Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady

Happy birthday, Luke. Thank you for teaching your dad how to live a life that is a light to the world.

What things do your children or other peoples’ kids teach you?

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Anytime you are pushing toward a vision for your life you will face adversity and flat-out opposition. There will be challenges both inside your mind and externally. The question is, how will you respond? When these things come in our path we will react like a honey badger or an opossum. An opossum when scared often times plays dead. If I just lay here maybe I won’t be touched. Maybe the opposition will go away if I do nothing. The honey badger is quite different. It is aggressive and it doesn’t really matter how big the attack, it goes on the offense. These 5 things make us like a honey badger pushing through adversity to see our vision.

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

1. Know who you are. Well, Ephesians 2:10 kind of sums it up. You have a mission. Don’t let doubt, circumstances, or other people stop you. You have strengths and weaknesses. Be comfortable in your own skin.

2. Exercise. Exercise changes how we feel. It gives confidence and a boldness. When I’m exercising I have more endurance and a better mental attitude. It takes a lot more to get me down. When I am not exercising, I tend to be a little too sensitive to everything in this world.

3. Scripture. It is not enough to say, “Don’t think negative.” We need to replace the detrimental thinking with positive things such as scripture. Here are a few verses for you to look up: Romans 8:37, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 2:9 and Deuteronomy 28:13. These are just a few verses that get me in a positive state of mind.

4. Positive people. I made a decision a while ago that has helped me tremendously. I don’t allow people with stinking thinking in my inner circle. That’s not to say all of my friends are positive but the ones close to me are. I don’t have the energy to be close to people who are dragging me down. It is like carrying around ankle weights.

5. Write the dream down. Write the dream everywhere. If you truly believe that you will achieve the dream, other people’s opinion and your own self-doubt matters less and less. Until then convince yourself through seeing it. When I was training for my first marathon, I had the date of the race written in a lot of places. It became a given.

Learn more about writing dreams and goals down here.

These are just 5 things that help me with my tenacity. These turn me from playing dead to being fully alive! Don’t rock vanilla to the grave. Be special; turn and fight for that which is worth fighting for.

Learn more about achieving your dreams here.

What are ways in which you fight opposition?

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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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1 Samuel 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD.
Observation: Eli experienced great success as a priest, not at all as a parent. He was a whimp as a paerent failing to discipline his sons. He taught others but not his children expecting his kids to get it because he was a preist and judge.
Application: Rick Warren famous preacher and writer son just comitted suicide after years of a mental illness battle. Tony Dungy famous football coach and christian speakers son comitted suicide. I’m writting this not to judge these men but to remind myself that if these men had children that anguished to a point that they took there own life why would I think that I’m above my children struggling. I’m new to fatherhood but see certain things as important. Live out my priorities; God,wife,kids then ministry. Show my kids the love of God, discipline them, teach them independence. This needs to be a proactive pouring out of myself into the ministry of husband and dad.                     
Prayer: Lord keep me focused on your priorities seeking YOU. I give you my kids. Thank you for allowing me to be their dad. Help me to be strong enough to point them to YOU. Protect them from my failures as an earthly parent. Protect and build up their spouses even now. Help me to raise them the way they are bent. Make me consistent, patient, strong, and gentle. Amen

Sparking A New Fire

zechariahnewman —  November 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

When I was a young boy I tried to use a magnifying glass to start a fire. The lessons I learned from this have helped me when applied to my own life. Our lives should be well-rounded, but when an area of our life is extremely deficient we need to apply these 4 rules of the magnifying glass.

1. Sunlight: When starting a fire with a magnifying glass the sun has to be out, not hidden behind the clouds. The magnifying glass simply directs and focuses some of the rays of sunshine. We should be the same way and merely reflect the Son. We are not to create the light but rather reflect the light. If we don’t reflect the Son by asking God what we should do first, we will be wasting a lot of time and energy.

2. Focus on the right objects: If the light is put on cement it will not get hot enough to start a fire. If the light is shining on dry grass it will eventually ignite. If you are trying to become debt free you need to either raise your income or lower your expenses. No amount of lowering the interest will get you the desired goal in a reasonable amount of time. Focus where you can and you will get ignition the quickest.

3. Be still: When trying to light a fire you need to keep still so that the area of light reflection heats up enough to catch the object on fire. It will then continue to burn with minimal effort. Same is true in life. Often we need to stay extremely focused to create momentum. When I was in bad physical shape I had to spend much more time exercising. Now that my physical shape is better I can take less time exercising. It now requires less of my focus.

4. Time: Not fun to hear, but the truth. The focus of the light needs to be over a period of time to ignite the fire. Creating momentum for change takes time. The bigger the life change the longer the amount of time is usually required.

So to spark a fire for change, take a lesson from the magnifying glass. Ask God for direction, be still, focus on the right change, and expect some time to go by. As John Maxwell says, “People do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future.” Decide today to be used in a mighty way. Change your habits and focus with intensity over time. Be blessed.

Was there a time that you had to use the rules of the magnifying glass?