7 Pitfalls Men Face

January 4, 2018 — Leave a comment

Good things do not come easy. The road is lined with pitfalls.

Desi Arnaz

Tonight, the current semester of the Stretched Men Group men’s mastermind group ends. This semester, we have been working through Mark Batterson’s book, Play the Man. The book has provided excellent perspective on seven virtues men should have to become the man God created us to be.

I’ve been encouraged to watch participants take significant steps forward in their journeys of becoming the men they were meant to be. And it’s been helpful to have Batterson’s perspective as we’ve navigated these waters together.

Signups are underway for the next semester of the Stretched Men Group which is scheduled to start in February.

During the upcoming semester, I will be taking the teaching time to walk through 7 Pitfalls Men Face. Here they are (and yes they all start with the letter ‘P’):

7 Pitfalls Men Face

  1. Power
  2. Prestige
  3. Porn
  4. Popularity
  5. Passion (Interests/Hobbies)
  6. Parts (Material things)
  7. Perspective

During the first 10-15 minutes of each session, we will talk about these pitfalls and about the things we need to overcome these traps. I’m excited to prepare for our time together, and I’m excited to help men STRETCH.

If you are a man, you struggle with one or more of these common pitfalls. If you want to take the next step in overcoming these traps, I’d encourage you to check out the Stretched Men Group.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

What other pitfalls do men face? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Companies have boards. The board members serve as advisories for the company. They hold the company leaders accountable, and they look out for the best interest of the stock holders. They give advise to the leaders of the company, and they encourage the leaders to lead well.

Have you ever thought about the possibility of having your own board of directors?

Seriously, I believe board of directors aren’t just for companies. They for organizations and individuals who want wisdom, accountability, and encouragement.

This week, Leanne and I began the process of creating a Strategic Advisory Board for us. That’s right. We are in the process of rounding up individuals and couples who will give us wisdom, accountability, and encouragement.

What’s the purpose of our board?

In my recently released book, Rooftop Reflections, I share my vision for building one hundred houses in Guatemala before I die. As Leanne and I have discussed this goal, we’ve come to realize a few things:

  1. Building one hundred houses is my dream. Leanne’s not against this, but she has other passions that need to be merged into my dream to help us be on the same page. Leanne has a passion for the children in Guatemala. We believe we can build homes for families and minister directly to children in Guatemala.
  2. Building one hundred houses in Guatemala is not a minor undertaking. It takes money, planning, support, and a lot of prayer.
  3. In order to effectively serve in Guatemala over the long-term, we need to set systems in place. We need to solidify the “organization” associated with these plans. This will further legitimize and confirm our thoughts moving forward.
  4. We need help! We don’t know everything we need to know about building a sustainable ministry in Guatemala. But we know God has placed incredible people around us who can help.

Over the next few weeks, we will be speaking with key people and building our Strategic Advisory Board. They will help us clarify our vision, build the structure we need to have for long-term success and legitimacy, hold us accountable to move forward (and to follow God’s direction). In addition, our board of advisors will pray for us and for God’s wisdom.

I don’t know what you are doing, but you need a Strategic Advisory Board, too.

You need people who will support you and lift you up. You need people in your life who will redirect you when necessary and confirm your direction. You need people who have your back when it seems like the rest of the world is either against you or completely absent.

Who’’s on your board? Who do you go for when you need advice? What’s stopping you from creating your own Strategic Advisory Board? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Time To Be A Real Man

January 2, 2018 — Leave a comment

Let men see, let them know, a real man, who lives as he was meant to live.

Marcus Aurelius

In the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet comes to life and gets to play with the girls and boys.  Despite his ability to talk, to move, to jump and play, Pinocchio is plagued by one desire.  He wants to become a real boy.

In today’s world, it’s not that much different, there are a lot of men out there who are confused.  They want to be real men, but they simply don’t know how.

Society is sending them conflicting messages.  In the pursuit of keeping up with the Jones’, men are distracted from their true calling.

Deep down inside, men want to be the best husbands they can be for their wives.  They want to be the best fathers they can be for their children.  They want to be the heroes this world needs them to be.  Men want to be real men.

Does this sound like you?

Marcus Aurelius seemed to know that men have a deep desire to live as they are meant to live.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if every man got this?  Wouldn’t it be incredible if every man unchained themselves from the expectations that feel others are putting on them.

Imagine a world where men lived the way they were meant to live!

I want to help you become a real man.  I want to help you figure out the next steps you need to take on your journey to becoming a real man.

Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of leading men on this journey through the Stretched Men Group.  This mastermind group for men is all about helping men stretch into the men they were meant to be.

The group meets every other week for a three-month semester.  Each meeting lasts about an hour-long (sometimes a little longer).  Zoom (video meeting software) is used for these meetings.  The guys in the group are committed to learning and taking action to become real men.  When we meet, I typically teach for 10-15 minutes on a relevant topic to becoming a real man.  Then we take the rest of the time to wrestle through one of your issues as a group (we call this the Hot Seat).

Guys who have participated in the group so far have made significant changes in their jobs, in their marriages, in their relationships with their kids, and in their faith.

Spots are now open for the next semester of the Stretched Men Group, and I’d love to have you in the group.

To find out more, simply fill out the form below (or go to www.stretchedmengroup.com).  Once you fill out the form, I will reach out to you to schedule a FREE 30 minute call where I can answer any additional questions you have about the group.

Use the start of 2018 to do something for you that will have a ripple effect on your world now and for generations to come.

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.

Charles Lamb

It’s New Year’s Day, and it’s a time when many are considering how they want to start the new year.  What targets will we set for the new year?  What resolutions will we make?  Will they last, or will they fade away as the days and weeks unveil themselves in 2018?

If you’re like me, your Facebook feed is filled with advertisements promoting planners, guides, books, and webinars that are “guaranteed to make you a new person in the new year.”  I’m not opposed to all of these things as I’m a very goal oriented person; however, it can be a real challenge to pick the “right” just for you.

As I’ve been thinking about my goals for 2018, I’ve been thinking about dreams and goals in the following areas:

  • Faith – I want to be intentional in my relationship with God.  I want to make my faith a priority in 2018, and I want it to be the underlying current for the rest of my hopes and dreams.
  • Family – I want my marriage and my parenting to be all they can be, and I want them to have an impact that far exceeds the walls of my house.
  • Fitness – I need to be in good shape (and I don’t mean pear-shaped – although I like pears) if I’m going to be all I can be.  Dropping a few pounds and keeping a consistent exercise routine are essential for me to succeed in this area this year.
  • Function – This relates to my job.  I want to grow in my leadership and skill, and I want to do whatever I can to help my team members, my customers, and the company succeed in 2018.  I also want to make sure I’m thinking long-term in my approach to my function (my work).
  • Founder – You probably are getting the picture.  My goal areas for 2018 all start with the letter ‘F’.  When I say founder, I mean my entrepreneurial pursuits.  I have goals related to my writing, my speaking, my mastermind group for men, and other things I’m working on outside of my job.
  • Financial – In order to reach my dreams of being completely debt free including my mortgage and of being prepared for retirement, it’s important to set financial goals for this year.  Leanne and I are preparing to have both of our kids in college later this year which means this goal area requires extra attention to make sure we thrive through these years.
  • Fun – Yes, I said fun.  We can’t forget fun when we set our goals.  This means vacations, weekend trips, family outings, and even individual retreats.

As you consider your goals for 2018, I don’t want you to feel lost.  I’d also hate to see you let apathy set in as you enter the new year.  It’s important to have a target at which we can aim.

“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”  Zig Ziglar

I’d love to help you sort out your goals for 2018.  In fact, I have a framework that will help you STRETCH in the new year.  Because I believe you aren’t really living if you aren’t stretching and growing.

To help you get off on the right foot in 2018, I’ve created a 7 Week Stretch Challenge.  When you sign up for the Challenge, you’ll get a weekly email from me that will teach you some important concepts to help you STRETCH into the new year.  Each week, you’ll have one simple concept to work on that will help lay the groundwork for a better you in 2018.

You have a choice to make.

You can proceed as usual.  When you make this choice, you should expect a usual outcome.

Or you can take the challenge and STRETCH yourself.  You can be a new you at the end of the year.

What’s your choice?

To sign up for the 7 Week Stretch Challenge, click here (or sign up below).

What goals are you setting for 2018?  Share your goals in the comments below.

While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.

Matt Bevin

This week, I had the honor of being a guest on Amy Robles’ podcast – Think Enriched with Amy Robles.

We talked about the Stretched Men Group, Rooftop Reflections, and about becoming EXTRAORDINARY!

Do me a favor, and give the episode a listen.  (Then consider subscribing to Amy’s podcast.)

What have you been up to this week?  Share your experience in the comments.

Why Me!

December 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.

William Barclay

Today, I celebrated the 23rd anniversary of my 23rd birthday!

It was a fantastic day.

I woke up at 5AM, so I could make it over to my men’s group (DIBs – Dudes in the Basement) where we had the opportunity to catch up on some of life’s happenings over the past several days before diving into a discussion about the Bible, it’s relevance, and it’s validity. We are using The Problem of God by Mark Clark as a starting point for our weekly discussions.

I took the day off of work, so I came home to a warm pot of rice pudding (one of my favorites) and an empty house. It’s rare that I am home alone, so I took a few minutes to enjoy a bowl of pudding and listen to the quiet of the house.

Then I dove into a project – the making of the Korv. Korv is a traditional Swedish sausage served at Christmas time. My Grandpa Stolpe, who shared the same birthday with me, used to make the Korv. As I made this year’s batch of sausage, I thought of my Grandpa. I’m so thankful for the heritage he passed down – not just in food, but in faith, work ethic, and humor. The Korv project took all morning.

For lunch, I drove over the California Tortilla to enjoy a free birthday burrito. It’s nice when restaurants send a little gift your way.

After lunch, I had the honor and privilege of being interviewed for Amy Robles’ podcast. Amy is a friend from Ellory Wells’ Catalyst Mastermind, and it was a fun to catch up as I shared about the Stretched Men Group and Rooftop Reflections with her audience.

As we were talking, she said something that made me think. She said something about me having a purpose to everything I did – an intentional focus to how I lived my life. I don’t always think about it that way, but I think she’s right. I want to live my life in a way that honors God and represents Christ well. I want to treat people the way I want to be treated. And I want to leave a legacy. I don’t want my life to be a waste.

After my interview, Isaac and Leanne came home from school and work.

We went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (Craft Ale House), and we enjoyed time together. Here Leanne gave me a gift I will always treasure – a painted picture of the same photo used for my book cover. The painting was created by Brittany Brubaker who was on our 2017 Guatemala trip. My plan is to hang the painting in my office. It’s a reminder of a place that is special to me, and it’s also a reminder of the purpose and dream I have to have an impact in Guatemala.

Having reminders like this can be important for keeping our eye on the prize – for keeping our purpose in focus.

I am made on purpose and for a purpose, and you are too!

What’s your purpose? How are you living out your purpose in your daily life? Share your thoughts in the comments.

“Increasing your highway cruising speed from 55mph (90km/h) to 75mph (120km/h) can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. You can improve your gas mileage 10 – 15% by driving at 55mph rather than 65mph (104km/h). Note how quickly efficiency drops after 60 mph.”

http://eartheasy.com/move_fuel_efficient_driving.html

What is your optimal speed?

We live in a culture that promotes faster, quicker, speaker, busier. People seem to think multi-tasking is the way to go to get more things done. More is better.

Right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

What if we were designed for a specific speed? What if we were created to work a certain amount of time each day, play a certain amount of time each day, and rest a certain amount of time each day?

When people hear what I do for work and play, they often ask me when I sleep or how many hours of sleep I get per night.

I’ll confess I’m often proud to tell them I get 5-6 hours a night (sometimes less). I where my lack of sleep on my sleeve like a badge of honor.

What a loser!

Many studies indicate you need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to achieve peak or optimal performance.

God created us to work, and he also created us to rest. In fact, he gave us Sabbath as a reminder to take a break.

Finding your optimal speed requires these intentional actions:

  1. Practice regular Sabbaths. My Dad says you should take a break one minute every hour, one hour every day, and one day every week. The Sabbath was made for us. In order to achieve your peak performance, you must learn to take breaks.
  2. Just say no. This can be challenging especially if you are a people-pleaser like me. When you let too many things on your agenda, you are no longer able to focus on the things that truly fit you. For more about this, I’d encourage you to read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. His teaching about your Zone of Genius fits right in with this point.
  3. Experiment and take notes. Not everyone is exactly the same. My optimal speed may be a little different than your optimal speed. Test out things to see how they impact your overall performance. I’d encourage you to keep a journal to document your daily activities and to comment on your perceived performance in relationship to these activities.
  4. Look in the mirror. What does your face tell you? Do you have bags under your eyes? Are you wearing a smile? Or has the stresses and strains of your life etched your face. I can usually tell if I’m operating in my sweet spot or not simply by looking in the mirror.
  5. Get someone else’s opinion. You and I need people in our lives who can help us see beyond the blinders we where. I meet with a few different groups of people. These people call me on the carpet when I’m doing something stupid – like operating outside my optimal speed. Who is in your corner who will give you an honest assessment of your commitments and your priorities?

I’m still trying to figure out my optimal speed. I want to make sure I’m operating efficiently.

What’s your optimal speed? How do you find and stay at your right speed? Share your thoughts in the comments.

“The focus of Lesson 1 is Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-1/Newton-s-First-Law

Does it ever feel like you can’t stop moving?

Even when you lie down to sleep your brain keeps going.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to go, go, go, and the more I experience life it seems like inertia might just be our enemy sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a person of action. I want to be busy getting things done – things that matter.

Here’s the problem: We are also directed to “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

How can we be still when everything in us seems to be leaching forward?

The discipline of stillness takes intentionality. It takes purpose. It takes an all out resistance to our natural tendency to move.

According to Newton’s 1st Law of Motion, we actually need an unbalanced force to stop us or to change our direction.

I’ve experienced these kinds of unbalanced forces before. Like the time my wife was hospitalized leaving me with two young kids to care for while running around between home, the hospital, and work. Or like the time when I received a call from my Dad telling me my Mom had been diagnosed with “Early Onset Alzheimer’s Progression.”

Sometimes these unbalanced forces can seem catastrophic at the time. When we step back, these might actually be the things we need to re-calibrate us – to cause us to stop, to think, to be still.

Recently, I have felt inertia taking over in my life. Some of it is fantastic. But some things in my life require that unbalanced force to force me into a better pattern or position.

I’m not waiting for something catastrophic; I want to take the right next to step starting now. I want to slow down and even stop to take in life, to connect with my Creator, and to make sure I’m on the right path.

How about you? What helps you slow down when it seems like life is moving at a breakneck speed? Share your thoughts in the comments.

TODAY is the day!

Rooftop Reflections is officially available on Amazon.com for all the world to see, purchase, and review.

I’m truly praying this book will have an impact on readers which will hopefully result in having an impact on churches, communities, and the world.

This process of writing and launching this book has taken me down a wonderful journey – a journey which has confirmed to me that we are meant to be part of something EXTRAORDINARY.  Too many of us are stuck in the ordinary (or at least the perception of ordinary).  I know, because this was my story.  It all changed when a young youth pastor at my church invited me to go to Guatemala in 2012 with him and a bunch of high school students.  I was the guy working in corporate America trying to keep these running smoothly for my family and my life in general.

To steal a phrase from Jeff Goins, Guatemala WRECKED me.  In fact, it flipped my world upside down and caused me to look at things differently – in an EXTRAORDINARY way.

Purchase your copy of Rooftop Reflections – Missional Thoughts of an Ordinary Guy in an Extraordinary Place TODAY by clicking HERE.

For more information about the book, I’d encourage you to go to the book website at rooftopreflections.com.

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.

C. S. Lewis

My wife and kids will tell you that I’m a bit of a book hoarder.  I love getting books in the mail, and I love supporting other authors.  I especially love to promote these books when they have an impact on my life.

This week, Andi Cumbo-Floyd released her latest book, Love Letters to Writers.  And it’s just what I needed!

Despite the fact that I am getting ready to release my own book (December 5th – Rooftop Reflections – go to rooftopreflections.com to find out more information), I have felt disappointment and discouragement regarding my own writing consistency.  I’ve allowed the busyness of life and other activities to take me away from my passion for day-to-day writing.

Andi’s new book provided the right encouragement and reminders I needed to take a new look at my writing and my approach to writing.

In Love Letters to Writers, you’ll find 52 chapters or letters designed to challenge and encourage your writing.  I love the way each letter spoke to me and brought me back to a place in my writing experience where I thrived.  If you are a writer who needs a little (or a lot) encouragement, this book is for you.

If you are not a writer but you are someone who is trying to develop a daily discipline in your life, I think you’ll find Love Letters to Writers helpful.

Pickup a copy of Love Letters to Writers today!

What daily discipline are you trying to develop in your life?  How will your life be different by developing this discipline?  Share your thoughts in the comments.