3 Tips For A More Successful Life

One thing I’ve really desired and battled for is a consistent morning routine.

Michael Hyatt wrote on this topic a lot.  He brought up a great point that once the day starts it’s hard to get the things done that you want to do, so you need to get them done in the morning before the day starts.

There are 3 things that I want to be a part of my day that are hard to do, but that I want to do.

Exercise.  Reading.  Writing.

Once the day starts and there’s a million different things asking for my attention, exercise gets thrown out the window.  I want to do that, but I don’t really want to do it, so it’s easy to make an excuse saying I’m too busy to do it.

Reading.  I want to READ a lot more.  I want to read the Bible more, and I want to read books more.  I want to be a learner.  But once my day has started and my mind is going a lot of different directions, it’s hard to focus and quiet myself enough to read.  Therefore I’ve got to read in the stillness of the morning.

Writing.  I want to write more.  But just like reading, writing takes focus.  And focus is hard to come by once you’ve checked your e-mail and are being pulled in a bunch of different directions.

Here’s 3 tips that help me in my morning routine.

1.  Be prepared the night before

Go to bed at a decent hour.  If you’re burning the midnight oil, you aren’t going to wake up refreshed and ready to do your morning routine.  Have everything set up ready to go so you can easily roll into your routine.  Water already in the kettle, coffee grounds in the french press, reading and writing materials out and ready to go, socks and shoes by the door.  Early planning, removes obstacles between you and success.

2.  Set an alarm

If I just rely on waking up when I wake up, it doesn’t provide a hard start to the day for me.  But if my alarm goes off and jolts me awake then I can get the day started appropriately.  This morning when my alarm went off I battled with myself, it was still dark out, today’s my day off, but I reminded myself that successful men wake up early and I want to be a successful man.

3.  Don’t get on the internet

Nothing will distiract and deter you from what you want to do like the interent.  I used to check e-mail and social media while still in bed.  The problem is that it pulls my mind in a million different directions making it hard to focus.  So part of my night before routine is to turn off the wifi on my iPod which is my alarm, and and off of my computer which is my reading and writing device.

Do you have a consistent morning routine?  What helps you be successful?  Let us know in the comments.

Linky Wednesday 09.23.15

Happy 21st birthday to my nephew Stephen:) Proud of you and love you!  Be safe tonight!

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Father and daughter beatboxing!  Amazing!

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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview “K”.  K is a missionary in a muslim nation in Asia.  She talks in this interview about being robbed and shot.  Check it out.   If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!

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“Never limit your vision based on your current resources.” – Michael Hyatt

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The Secret to Ben Carson’s Success –> http://bit.ly/1Mj7AgO

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Josh Duggar, Ashely Madison & The Gospel

A few weeks ago, you probably saw that Josh Duggar made the news again.  This time because he was part of an affair website that hackers exposed.

You can read his statement here.

I don’t intend to make light of what Josh did, what he did was wrong, but I want to give us strategy to fight against the temptations of the world.  Because our big action’s don’t just happen, there are steps that lead to that destruction.

The gospel, the good news, at it’s core EXPOSES our depravity and NEED for grace.

The good news is that God alone is Holy and perfect and pure and without the finished sacrifice of Christ we are completely helpless and full of wretchedness.  The righteousness that we get, is a gift of grace from the Lord.

What if our war for morality started with empathy.  What if instead of us touting our righteousness (which was a free gift and nothing earned) we related with peoples struggle.

Wasn’t that God’s way of doing it?  Didn’t He send His son to walk among us, to be tempted in every way but still choose the ways of God because He had a revelation of how good God’s plan is?

The human condition is that we’re all searching for something.  Love and acceptance.  We’re all orphans looking for a Father.

If you got quiet right now and reread that sentence and were real with yourself you’d realize what I’m writing is true.

So in our search for love and acceptance we run to anything that appears to give us that.

God loves us, and accepts us because of Christ’s sacrifice, but it doesn’t stop there.  In His goodness He transforms us, He doesn’t let us stay the same.

You don’t want God to just accept you as you are.  You want God to transform you.

There’s a huge difference between a gracious loving God and a god that accepts you by condoning all that you do.

Our problem Christians is we are not exemplifying the GOODNESS of God.  And we forget to be honest about our struggles.

God’s ways ARE better.  We’re trading in all of our broken junk ways that don’t work, hasn’t worked and will never work for pure gold.

Our temptations do not identify us.  Jesus was TEMPTED in every way but was without sin.  The devil wants us to make us think that temptations are our identity.  Because once we say this is who we are, then that is what we do.

I’m in full time ministry and have been for the past decade and I’m still tempted daily with things I know are wrong.  Sometimes the battle rages and I win, and sometimes I don’t.  I am daily in need of grace.  But just because an idea pops into my head doesn’t mean that I am that temptation.

We have to bring our struggles into the light.  If you are struggling with a recurring temptation, share that with someone you can trust.  When we allow things to stay in the darkness it grows.  We feel ashamed because we’re tempted and we think that no one else is tempted in that way, but it’s not true.  We can’t do it alone.  Maybe someone has been through what you’re going through and has a practical strategy to overcome.

Sin is sin.  It’s choosing other than God intends.  We need to know the nature and character of God and learn that He is so trustworthy and good.  And then the decision to choose His ways is easier.

Remind yourself of what the gospel is.  Be honest.  Lead with empathy.  And get your struggles into the light.

Praying for Josh Duggar.  Praying for those people that think having an affair will fulfill them.  It won’t.  Praying that we’d see and exemplify how good God is.

Thoughts?  Leave a comment and let us know.

ugh… linky thursday?

Sorry guys missed Linky Wednesday again.

I’m having a hard time blogging lately.  Pray for me.

This week Doing Ministry Well interviewed Jhun Camacho who is Filipino and was a missionary to India for 20 years.

And this week I shared our friend Shannon’s blog.  We met Shannon when she came on  the stateside missions trip we ran last summer.  Here’s a snippet of her recent blog post.

“To my dear husband whom I have yet to meet, thank you for understanding that even though I’ve put myself into some not-so-great situations with men, I’ve still always wanted you.”

Read the full blog here.

What’s Been Exciting You Lately? Coins for me!

12031566_10156108063245565_1069082520398220831_oI’ve been trying for the past couple of hours to sit down and write something profound.  It’s not happening.  I can’t bring myself to finish blog posts I’ve started… so I’m just going to write about what has been exciting me recently.

I’ve started collecting coins.

I coin collected as a kid, I had a few of those penny books where you put the pennies in by year.  I’ve asked my parents to find them in the attic so when I go see them over Thanksgiving I can pick up where I left off.

A few years ago I started getting interested in “junk silver.”  I remember my dad had some silver coins, he said some guy came into the store he was working at and paid for something with silver dimes.  He gave me a few and I think one time when I moved I was in a hurry and just tossed them somewhere.  Moving makes you do things you regret and we’ve moved a lot.  -sigh-

I think every young boy loves the stories of pirates and treasure.  Maybe that’s why I think silver is so cool.  Because otherwise it really doesn’t make sense to pay more money for less money.

A friend of mine tweeted that her grandfather passed away and in the will told them that he hidden silver dollars somewhere in the house and they were for the grandkids if they could find them.  It’s been years and they still haven’t found them.  ADVENTURE!

I thought it’d be cool to give my each of my grandkids a small burlap bag of treasure when I’m old.  Who knows if they’d appreciate it or not.

I decided a couple of years ago I would use any birthday money I got to buy junk silver.  I’ve bought a little bit from a couple of different places.  My first purchase was online, and I got ripped off.  High premium for using a credit card, and then shipping.  Then I found a guy on craigslist that gave me a pretty good deal.  Then I heard about a place here in Tennessee and bought a bit from them but the almost 10% tax here kills that.  And once a bank teller friend of mine when I asked if she ever found any said she had just pulled some and was going to trade it in, but since I was interested in them I could have them!

So I’ve been learning a little bit here and there.  I’ve been asking for halves at the bank when I go in.  Any half dollars pre 1971 have some amount of silver in them.  Any quarters or dimes pre 65 have silver in them.

I look through my change to see if there is anything interesting.  It’s fun.  I watched a youtube video of a guy going through a box of $500 worth of halves and he found a few silver.  You know your a coin dork if you watch other people searching for silver and get excited for them.

I have yet to find any silver, but I’m going to keep looking.  I heard dollar bills with stars in the serial numbers are rare, but I found two today.

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Anyway, that’s what I’ve been getting excited about recently.  It’s good to have a hobby.  What have YOU been excited about lately?  Do you have a hobby? Are you a coin collector? Comment and let us know.

Linky Wednesday 09/09/15

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Highlights from the Global Leadership Summit, I should try and go to this next year.  My favorite quote from this video was “Longevity is perhaps the greatest strength that everyone can have as a leader.” – Brian Houston

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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Kimiyo Brown.  Kimiyo is on staff with CRU at the University of Hawaii, she shares about her ministry and 3 practical steps on how to do ministry well.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!

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21 Things You’ll Never Regret As a Leader – Carey Nieuwhof

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This article convicted me.  In the day and age of Facebook warriors.  What are you willing to go peacefully protest and spend 10 years of your life in jail for?  –> Linda Gibbons arrested again outside Morgentaler abortion facility http://bit.ly/1L6cHOa

Are you liking Wednesday links?  Did you find any of these links useful?  Share with us some of the links you’ve been finding interesting this week!  Let us know in the comments!

The Hardest People To Say Goodbye To [part 2] 

IMG_6309I really wanted to see Martin and say goodbye.  He was at the second to last pizza night but not the last one.  I told him I was moving to TN, he also responded with a puzzled look and the question why.

We sat on the grass as he ate his pizza and we talked.  I asked him if I could pray for him.  He stared at the ground and reluctantly said yes as if he was ashamed.  I asked him what he needed prayer for and he said he wanted to quit drinking, that he knew he needed to stop drinking.  I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him, asking God to help him break free of his addiction.  We talked a bit about how his environment will play a huge part in his freedom to addiction.  He knew that too, he knew that his friends were a bad influence on him.

When I came back the last Tuesday I was in Hawaii he wasn’t there.  But I really wanted to say goodbye.  So one night Jess and I and Tyler and Samantha, who had done pre-marital counseling for went down to Waikiki to get some ice cream.  I prayed that I would find Martin.

We walked up Kalakaua and found him a few pavilions up sitting with some other guys.  He had his head down on the table and was passed out.  I tapped him on the shoulder and said his name.  He stared up at me with bloodshot eyes and I could tell he couldn’t tell who I was.

“Hey Martin, it’s Jim, I’m leaving for Tennessee soon and wanted to make sure I said goodbye.”
“Bye.”  He mumbled.
“Can I grab a photo with you so I can remember you?”
I took a selfie with a very drunk Martin.
“I’m hungry man can you get me something to eat?”  Martin asked
“Sure, I’ll grab you guys some mcdonalds is that good?”
All the guys nodded their heads and smiled and thanked me.

Samantha was excited because one of her homeless friends that she had met as a student doing outreach was there and she hadn’t seen him in a while.

Joe who I’ve had a couple of run ins before was talking to Jess.  He’s a gospel piano player, always drunkenly singing praises to God and the same guy that accused me of being a cop and then threatening me.

Joe’s m.o is this, he makes sure he separates you from the group, and stands uncomfortably close to you, usually with his hand around your shoulder.  Then he speaks slowly and methodically while grinning making sure to monopolize all of your time.  As I looked over he was doing this to Jess, and touching her face commenting about her dimples.

We walked to mcdonalds and picked up some stuff off the dollar menu and brought it back.  All of the guys were thankful.  Joe again had his arm around my wife’s shoulder.  I could tell she wasn’t comfortable so I loudly said alright we’re gonna go.

Joe’s demeanor changed.  “Hold on wait a minute, come over here man.  See I don’t need that food that you just bought but you need to sit down and talk with these guys while they eat.”

I didn’t have the patience to deal with Joe so I shrugged his arm off my shoulder and told him we were leaving in a voice loud enough that everyone else could hear me.  Tyler and Sam stopped their conversations and started saying goodbye.

Joe stuck his finger in my face and raising his voice said “you can’t just buy us food and then leave man, you need to sit down.”

“Nope, we’re leaving.”  I said firmly and I walked away from the finger pointed in my face

“This is why no one respects you down here.”  he snarled as I walked away.

It’s almost like he knew what words would get under my skin.

I walked away angry.  Angry that at 8pm Martin was passed out drunk.  Angry that a drunk Joe was a master of manipulation.  But I was proud of myself for drawing a good boundary and walking away.

Sometimes in doing ministry I think that I have to be overly nice to people and forget that I’m allowed to draw boundaries.  I don’t have to listen to drunk people rant about nothing while they are invading my personal space.  Dealing with drunk people means they have no boundaries and certainly won’t respect yours.  Doing ministry doesn’t mean you’re a doormat.

I’m praying for Martin, I’m praying that he gets set free of his addiction and gets off the streets.

Who do you know that needs freedom?  Take some time to pray for them right now.

Linky Wednesday 09.02.15

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Did you see this?  Karate Kid was my favorite movie growing up.  It’s amazing how important context is and how you can twist a story to be anything you want it to be.  Remember that next time you’re watching your favorite news station.  :)

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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Rick Thompson.   Rick teaches on Christian world view, talks politics and shares 3 practical steps on how to do ministry well listed below.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!

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The Evangelism Conversation No One Is Having – Carey Nieuwhof

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Is The Smartphone Killing Weekend Church Services? – Carey Nieuwhof http://bit.ly/1L8QuED

Are you liking Wednesday links?  Did you find any of these links useful?  Share with us some of the links you’ve been finding interesting this week!  Let us know in the comments!

Are We In The End Times? How Can We Prepare

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There’s been a lot of chatter about September having some catastrophic event.  Something about a blood moon, and the Jewish Calendar, the stock market crashing and a meteor?

I believe we are in the end times.  But I believe we’ve been in the “end times” for the last 2000 years.  We can do a deeper study of the end times later if you want.

The world very well could end in September.  I don’t think it will, but it could.  No one knows the time or the hour.

But if you’re concerned about it, the first step to preparedness is:

Get right with God.

Admit that you’ve sinned against God and that there is nothing you can do to absolve that.  Ask Jesus to forgive your sins and allow Him to be Lord over your life.  Find a good church body and be known there and get involved.  Get in relationship with other Christians who can help you grow in your journey.  If you want help with this process e-mail me and lets chat.

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Recently Jess and I lived in Hawaii, one of the most remote places in the world.  Living on an island in the Pacific made me start to think differently about “preparedness.”

As a way to get more involved in my local community I joined Be Ready Manoa a disaster preparedness group.  This also got me thinking.

Hawaii is days from resupply.  Everything is flown or shipped in.  If one of those methods of transportation goes down like a company going on strike (which was threatened while we were there) there are only 3 days worth of food on the shelves.

Hurricane warnings meant bottled water was sold out everywhere and stores were packed with people.  I don’t care to be standing in long lines right before a storm.

Even on normal days in Hawaii, there was multiple times where I’d go looking for a specific item and that item would not be on the shelves.   Sometimes for months at a time.

Buy and have TWO of regularly used items.

Since I saw that sometimes items could be off the shelves for months, I started always buying TWO of things.  That way when I ran out of the first one I had a back up.  As soon as I used the first one up and started in on the second item I’d put that item on the grocery list so I would soon have 2 again.

I hate the label “prepper” because its carries with it an extreme paranoia.  You buy insurance for emergencies and hope you never have to use it right?  That’s how I see these small preparations.

Here is a list of things I think you should buy and think of the investment as insurance.  This won’t get you through a long term disaster, but will give you a leg up in most situations.

5 Gallon Water Container.  $12.00

Buy at LEAST one per person that lives in your house hold.  Rinse them with soap and water* and then fill them with tap water.  Switch out your water every 6 months when you change your fire alarm batteries.

You do change your fire alarm batteries don’t you?

Water is one of the first things you should have stored up.  Emergency preparedness sites say AT LEAST 1 gallon per person per day for drinking.

I once bought the 7 gallon ones but they were to heavy to comfortably move.

*Make sure you RINSE them real well with soap before filling them, I had shards of plastic come out of mine from the first few rinses.

Sawyer Water Filter – $49.99

 

If the disaster is lasting longer than you thought it would and you’ve poured out your last drop of water from the above containers that means you’re going to need to find a natural water source.  Can you collect rain?  How far are you from the nearest stream?  Water found from natural sources may need to be filtered before drinking.  If you’re in an area that doesn’t get much rain and are really far from a water source, I’d make sure you added more stored water.  This filter comes with a 5 gallon bucket attachment.  Which leads us to…

5 gallon FOOD GRADE buckets with gamma lids $29.95

Buy two of these.  You’re going to store  rice and beans in mylar bags in this bucket, along with the water filter.  Rice and beans when sealed properly can last for 30 years.  Food grade with gamma lids might be a bit overkill since we’re going to put them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers but if this is going to last 30 years then a back up measure isn’t a bad idea.

You can actually pick up food grade buckets with gamma lids for about half the price at Lowes.

One of these will also act as your water filter if it comes to that, and the other one can be used to collect water.

1 Gallon Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers – $12.99

I chose 1 gallon bags so that you can open one small bag at a time instead of having to open the whole 25 lbs of rice and beans.  Fill ALL of the bags up about half to 3/4 full of rice or beans (don’t open the o2 absorbers yet).  Then drop two o2 absorbers in each bag and double seal with a hair straightener.  If you’ve got questions about sealing let me know.

25 lbs of White Rice – $9.99

White rice when stored in mylar  bags with o2 absorbers will last for 30 years.  Brown rice has more oils in it so it will not store as long.

Go buy the equivalent of 25 lbs in smaller bags at your local grocery store.  The shipping on the above item is ridiculous.

25 lbs of Black Beans – $35.99

You can buy whatever type of beans you want if you prefer pinto beans buy those.  Rice and beans will keep you full and provide a complete protein and is a staple food for much of the world.

Again, go to your local grocery store to pick up the beans too, I’m sure you can find it cheaper in smaller packages.

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If you don’t want to put in that effort to seal mylar bags or don’t like rice and beans you can always go the freeze dried food route.

Mountain House Just In Case: $64.95

12 pouches 29 servings and all you have to do is add boiling water.  I’ve had a bit of one of these on a camping trip and honestly felt like they tasted really sugary and kind of plasticy.  But if it was an emergency you’d eat it.  They last 12+ years.  Figure out if those 12 pouches really are 29 servings to you and your family and buy as many as you need accordingly.

Do you have any kind of emergency preparations stored up?  Is there anything essential missing from this list?  Let us know in the comments.

Cheryl BakerSeptember 1, 2015 - 6:31 am

We do thanks to you :)

Cheryl BakerSeptember 1, 2015 - 4:31 pm

We do thanks to you :)

The Hardest People To Say Goodbye To [Part 1]

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It was my last night in Waikiki for Pastor RK’s homeless outreach pizza night.  There had been a few people that I had really connected with over the 3 + years I had been going down there off and on and I wanted to make sure I said goodbye.

I got to see Jersey Joe, he always had such a positive outlook on things.  And I got to see Cindy who always greeted me with a hug.

I really wanted to see this guy Martin.  And Barbara.  I didn’t see either of them.

I asked around.  A guy I hadn’t met before heard me and described Barbara to me and asked me if that was her.  Based on his description I figured it was, and he said she was sitting over by the zoo.  I walked with this new guy through the food line and then followed him over to the zoo.

There was Barbara sitting on a bench.

It’s been over a month since this happened, but the conversation went something like this:

“Barbara!”  I exclaimed.
She looked at me with squinted eyes, taking a few seconds to register who I was.
“Eh-ta!”  She always said that when she saw me, I don’t know what it means.
“It’s my last week, I’m moving to Tennessee but I wanted to make sure I said goodbye.”
She cocked her head to the side and asked me why I’d move to Tennessee.
“Great question.”  I responded.
“Sit down, do you want some of my pizza?  I’ve got some granola bars here.”
“No thanks Barbara, I just wanted to say goodbye, can I get a photo with you?”
“Sure” she said smiling.
I noticed that she had a black eye, I didn’t ask about it, but it wasn’t the first time I had seen her with a black eye.
The guy that led me over to her said he’d take the photo.
Barbara smiled and joked and then on the last photo kissed me on the cheek as she said goodbye her eyes started to well with tears.  “I love you.”  She shouted as I walked away.

I said goodbye and walked away and began to tear up as I returned to the pavilion.

Homeless people in Waikiki are valuable to the King of Kings.

And that’s what RK wanted us to do.  His objective in handing out pizza every single week for more than 3 years has been to show those people that they are valuable to God.  When teams come down, he asks them to find someone, remember their name, ask them how you can pray for them and then come back next week and call them by name and let them know you prayed for them.

Click here to read a recent blog post from RK about the generosity of God.

I read James 2 this morning.  And it convicted me that I need to be involved with the poor here in Tennessee too.

Maybe when we work with the poor, it’s not so much about us helping them.  Maybe it’s more about me realizing how much mercy has been extended to me.  And through working with them I’m given an opportunity to extend that same mercy and grace.

Do you work among the poor?  Where can you extend mercy and grace today?  Let us know in the comments.