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Pursuing your calling is hard work and at times it can feel more like a cursing then a calling. We say things like, “chase your dreams, and don’t settle, and God has a plan for you.” These are all true, kind of. Yes there is a plan for you, but if you fall for myths about your calling you will get discouraged.  Often discouragement can lead to giving up and a heart that is jaded to the world. We can fall into the blame game and blame God for not coming through.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

When I started chasing my dreams I expected support from everyone and encouragement from everyone. It was unrealistic and it set up those in my life and I for failure. I felt more like the Psalms crying out to God. Asking through tears, why did you give me this dream! I fell for four myths which were what was causing so much pain. I constantly have to remind myself of these myths because each time I am frustrated I have bought into one of these lies.

4 myths to calling

Vocation is calling. I believed the lie that there would be the perfect job for me. Frankly a job where my identity would lie, but calling is way more than a job. If it were just a job it would be easy. Your calling in some way shape or form must do two things, love God, and love others. Your calling will include a vocation but it’s what’s under the vocation that really matters. For example, I feel my calling is to restore. I own pizza parlors I write, coach, and speak as well. All of these activities are from a place of restoration. Your calling is hidden in the very actions you do both at work and at home. What bring us to life? Pursue those things that energize and light you up. That is how you will pursue you’re calling.

Calling happens fast. I haven’t yet found a story in the Bible and I haven’t yet found a person that something just happened. Trust me I wish things happened as quickly as I wanted them too. We humans are terrible judges of time. Before you begin to see the dreams that are in your heart there will be a big span of time between now and then. God will be shaping you and molding you the whole way. Buckle up trust God and do what you can today. We may wait months or years longer to see some of the dreams for our lives that are wrapped in calling. We confuse calling as a destination but it’s a journey. God will use all journeys two chisel and shape us in His image, embrace the time.

 Our calling is about us. This can get confusing because are calling will fill us up energize us and use our skill, talent, and ability. In the end it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. It’s easy to tangle the two and make it about you. I have done that more times than I can count. I have made my calling my identity. I have focused on myself and what I get. Refocus on God daily and serve others to avoid the myth of YOU. Your calling is to serve others and point the way to Jesus it always comes down to that.

 Our plan is perfect. We get these great grand visions of zero downside and that’s not reality. The reality is you’re calling will be difficult it will be hard, but it will be worth it. Make plans but hold them loosely. The main hindrance of this myth is that we are taking our eyes off God and putting our calling in our hands. There might be a left turn that you’re not expecting. If you hold tight and be rigid you may miss a course full of adventure. Trust God and have faith then when you get to the other side you look back at your life and see the reasons for the left turns. God is the one with the perfect plan not us.

God will use your calling both to shape you and affect others. The shaping is painful at times and other times its complete joy. Trust Him, make a plan, and do what you can today. Focus more on the Creator instead of a constant self-discovery and you will live a life of calling whether you see what you envision or not. Be blessed on your journey.

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

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What message are you trying to spread?

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Break the Chain Apparel

Zechariah Newman —  December 10, 2013

Today I am excited and privileged to announce a partnership with Break the Chain Apparel. Break the Chain is a clothing and racing team with a voice speaking out against the chain that holds people down from domestic violence all the way to bullying and verbal abuse. Visit their website here. You can also follow them on Facebook. Break the Chain has created a unique way for you to speak out by wearing clothing with a voice. Their clothes bring a much needed awareness to all of the major “chains” that are unfortunately not talked about nearly enough.

break the chain

This evening spotlights why a clothing line like Break the Chain is needed. Tammi Burns, owner of Break the Chain Apparel, is heading up a candlelight vigil in Turner, Oregon tonight at 7 pm. This vigil is for a young woman who was only 23 years old with a two-year old little girl. She was shot to death while running back in the house to save her little girl. It is a heart breaking story and unfortunately it isn’t a rare one.

Often the poor, the addicted, and the abused get reminded of their past over and over again. These things get hidden in the darkness. Break the Chain helps to bring these things to the light. Things that are in the shadows come into the light because only in the light can this chain be lifted.

We all have fallen short and if any of our past short comings and sins were shown to the world we all would be embarrassed and ashamed. In Romans 3:23 it states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That is why grace is so important. Tammi exclaims, “If I continually get judged by my past, what incentive is there to push through the pain? How do we let them know that they CAN break the chain?”

One of the things I love about Break the Chain Apparel is all of the resources. If you go to their site, you can see for yourself resources for sex trafficking, alcoholism, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, racism, child abuse, suicide, bullying, domestic violence, and drug addiction. Clearly this is a company that is more about helping people than making a dollar. Consider buying and wearing clothing from this great company to help bring awareness and spread light to the darkness. Join the Break the Chain movement and SPEAK OUT NO MATTER “WEAR” YOU ARE!

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Stretching yourself is hard to do but it is the only way to grow. We try to avoid pain and discomfort but the truth is there is only one way to get stronger. I recently went back to my hometown for one of my closest friend’s wedding. I had a great time. I golfed with eleven guys all of which were much better than me. Fine dining with three forks with one above the plate which took me a while to figure out. I knew one person in the wedding party prior to the weekend. My point is, was it uncomfortable? Of course at points I felt left out and like a fish out of water, but I also had a great time. These 4 things will help you push through discomfort so you can grow!

comfort zone 55 Inspiring Quotations That Will Change The Way You Think

1. Everyone is uncomfortable. Do we really fully understand this? We all handle our insecurities differently. Some go, others quit, and some talk non-stop. We are all unique. Stop believing that the person you think has it all together isn’t insecure because they are. We all have something about ourselves that we wish we could change. We wish we could talk less or talk more. Other people are too busy worrying about their own insecurities to even catch yours. Walk in this freedom.

“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.”~Saadi

2. Small victories. Start small. Don’t go from zero to sixty. Build up small experience where you can, push through discomfort and get a quick yes. Isn’t it nice when we push through and get a desirable outcome? If you do this enough, your mind will learn that pleasure comes after discomfort. Often this is enough to push through to bigger victories.

“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” ~ Bill Clinton

3. Practice. This goes with #2. Small victories over time will build and confidence in uncomfortable and new things will be a result. The more I push myself into the uncomfortable, the more my discomfort stops getting a vote. This is only the result of practice. Something else happens. I gain more life experiences and there is less time that I’m feeling awkward. Next time I have three forks I know what to do.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.~” Nelson Mandela

4. Eyes on the prize. All of these experiences gained me new relationships and new life skills. Also it reminded me of how other people are uncomfortable around me. It made me think of what made me more confident. Do you want to learn something new, meet new people, meet new business contacts, or share the gospel? All exciting things are also uncomfortable. Keep your eyes on the excitement; the spice of life.

Follow these 4 things to increase your growth! Do not stay where you are comfortable rather branch out to new and exciting things. Break out of the normal routine and change your life one step at a time. A world of opportunity awaits on the other side of discomfort.

What things help you to break through discomfort?

 

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In October I ran the Portland Marathon. I felt great and wanted to set up my next marathon. I signed up and paid to run the Eugene Marathon that was in April. Rachel said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? We do have Hope due in February and you will be pretty tired. Are you sure you will have enough energy to train?” Rachel mentioned this right before I finished filling out the entry form online. Well, this was offensive to me. “She doesn’t think I can do it,” I thought. “I will show her and signed up anyway.” Surprise! She was right. I wasn’t even close to ready and didn’t run the race. As I discussed in 5 Steps To An Awesome Marriage, I have a tendency to not follow through and my wife is great at following through. I learned these 3 things from my failure.

Proverbs 31:10-11

10 A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value.

1.Truly listen to your spouse. I heard the words that she was saying, but I wasn’t listening. I had made up my mind and that was final. She could “support” me or not, but I was doing it. If I believe Proverbs 31:11, I think it would be a good idea to listen to her. I can be stubborn but when the Bible gives a promise, I try to do what it says. Men listen and weigh what your wife is saying.

2. Rely on those with different strengths. I love that my partner in life is my opposite in a lot of ways. I need to weigh what she says even more. She looks at the world through different glasses than I do which gives me a much better perspective. I was looking through the lens of, “This was great. I want to do it again.” She was thinking, “Hello we will have a newborn.” I needed logic, then to weigh out “Will I run on four hours of sleep?” Find someone you trust that has different strengths. If you are a dreamer, find a realist. If you don’t dream, find a dreamer.

3. Failure does not define me. I got knocked down. I failed in listening to Rachel and at running the marathon. I am back on my feet, apologized and acknowledged her wisdom. Also, Hope is five months old so I’m able to have enough energy to run again. I am not defined by this one time of failure. If I let it eat me up, I wouldn’t be running and I may even have resentment toward Rachel for being right. Get back up off the mat if you have failed. Learn, grow, and don’t look back any longer. (Tweet It)

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content  with your failure.” ~Abraham Lincoln

If you have failed to listen, join the club of the stubborn. Let’s learn and grow. Actively listen to those with different strengths. Acknowledge that others may be right. Listen to your spouse and move on when you fail.

What things have you learned from not listening?

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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

“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 Acuffhttp://kcnewmanphotography.zenfolio.com/

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

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?