Archives For Jon Stolpe

We take in so much information throughout the week.  If we don’t review this information from time to time, we’ll forget it.  I want to make the most of the things that stretched me this week.  This starts by taking note of the things I come across each week.  Then it takes intentional time to review these notes.  Finally, great information is meant to be shared.  Here are some of the things that STRETCHED me this week:

“If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”  C.H. Spurgeon [via JeffRandleman.com]

“If you want to fly, you must give up what holds you down.” – Anonymous [via MichaelHyatt.com]

“People will often forget to thank you for various things, but in my experience as a driver one thing people will almost always thank you for is listening.”Shawn Smucker

“If our mission is to alert others to the universal reign of God through Christ, then all believers should see themselves as missionaries.” Michael Frost [in Surprise the World! – Five Habits of Highly Missional People]

Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this:  Wisdom preserves those who have it.  Ecclesiastes 7:12

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing dept to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  Romans 13:8

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.  James 1:26

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

What I’m reading now:

Double Play – Faith and Family First by Ben & Julianna Zobrist

This inspired me to stand up…

And finally, I know I mentioned This Is Us last week, but the show keeps getting better…

If you are looking to STRETCH yourself, sign up for the 7 Week Stretch Challenge.  It’s FREE!

What STRETCHED you this week?  Share your observations and thoughts in the comments below.

 

We take in so much information throughout the week.  If we don’t review this information from time to time, we’ll forget it.  I want to make the most of the things that stretched me this week.  This starts by taking note of the things I come across each week.  Then it takes intentional time to review these notes.  Finally, great information is meant to be shared.  Here are some of the things that STRETCHED me this week:

“Fall down 7 times, stand up 8.” – Japanese Proverb [via Entrepreneur on Fire blog]

“When performance is measured, performance improves.  When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.”  Thomas Merton [via MattMcWilliams.com]

“Make it a habit to tell people than you.  To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”  Ralph Marston

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:18

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.” – Unknown [via MichaelHyatt.com]

I’m not a Tom Brady or Patriots fan, but this ESPN clip got me…

If you’re not watching This Is Us on NBC, you might want to watch this moment…

“We need to develop a rhythm of gift giving, time spending, and affirmation sharing as an end in itself because it fosters a spirit of generosity, it mirrors the character of God, and it alerts others to his reign.”  Michael Frost in Surprise the World! – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  Titus 2:7

What STRETCHED you this week?  Share your observations and thoughts in the comments below.

Heights and Depths

February 6, 2017 — 6 Comments

“You seek the heights of manhood when you seek the depths of God.”

Edwin Louis Cole [via DeliberateDads.com]

In this world of social media, multi media, and “real” and “fake” media, it’s easy to get disoriented, distracted, and disengaged.  It’s also easy to become worried, weary, and a little wacky.

When I look at my Facebook feed, I have “friends” on both sides of the political spectrum who are using this platform to proclaim their stance, to bash those against their viewpoints, and to rip apart the Body.  While I understand the desire to debate, to disagree, and to defend one’s point of view, I find it appalling the way people are treating each other verbally.

Facebook is no longer a place for friends to connect, to share life’s moments, and to encourage each other.  I’ve often asked my wife why there can’t just be a different social media platform where people can air their politics.

Some might say I’m simply avoiding the issues that need to be discussed.

Some might say I’m failing to take a stand or to choose a side.

Some might even think I believe something that I really don’t believe.

There maybe some truth to these thoughts and accusations; after all, I hate conflict.  But there is also a major part of my heart and mind that wants to be a voice and a model for positive, constructive behavior.  I want my actions and my words to represent Christ well.  I want people to see HOPE instead of despair because of how I choose to communicate.

With this in mind, I try to ask myself this question:  “In what I am saying, doing, and even thinking, am I building others up and am I building up the Body?”

I started writing this post with a different intent, but I guess I had other things I needed to say.

I’m concerned with helping men reach the heights of their potential as husbands, fathers, and men, and I think it starts with learning more about the depths of God.  (Visit Stretched Men Group to learn more.)

I think this applies to my thoughts above.  If I want to represent Christ well in my actions, my words, and my thoughts, I need to know Him more – more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than today.

If you and I want to change the world for the good, I think I might know where to start.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

In what you are saying, doing, and thinking, how are you building others up?  Share your thoughts in comments.

[I’ve recently been more active in sending emails to readers on my list.  If you want an opportunity to connect with me in a different way, sign up below.  This is a great way to get a different perspective on some other things I am doing and to be STRETCHED with additional thoughts and perspectives from me.]

Weary

January 30, 2017 — 3 Comments

Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work. 

Ralph Marston

A friend asked me today how I was doing, and here’s how I responded:  “Weary

I’m weary of dealing with things that don’t make sense.

I’m weary of chasing after things that really don’t matter.

I’m weary of disputing with the irrational.

I’m weary of social media and the lack of respect to on all sides of the political spectrum.

I’m weary of doing the right thing.

I’m weary of taking a stand.

I’m weary of holding my tongue when I simply want to blurt out words that won’t be productive.

I’m weary of uncertainty.

I’m weary of getting up early every morning.

I’m weary of being weary.

Honestly, I have a lot for which I am thankful.  I am truly blessed.  But I’m also human.  I deal with doubts, distractions, disappointments, and fatigue.  For this reason, I must rely on the wellspring of my life.  I must look for the true rest and total refreshment that can only come from my Maker.

And in the midst of my weariness, I find hope.

May God provide the enough energy and wisdom for today.

What is wearing you out these days?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m honored to be the featured guest on The Answers From Leadership Podcast with Joe Lalonde.  My episode is titled Importance Of Stretching Your Leadership With Jon Stolpe.  I’d be thrilled if you stopped by and gave it a listen.  Click here (or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher).

Then stop by and let me know what you think in the comments.

Blur

January 12, 2017 — 4 Comments

“My life has been such a blur since I was 18, 19 years old. I haven’t even had time to contemplate my own life. By forcing yourself to write your life story you learn a great deal about yourself.”

Grant Achatz

Is it just me, or does life seem to be a blur for you at times?

Life goes by so quickly.  And technology isn’t helping things.  Within a fraction of a second, I can be virtually anywhere via the internet.  News spreads quickly across the screens of our cell phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions.  Within seconds of a major world catastrophe, terrorist event, or celebrity death, the whole world knows about it.

And people expect instant replies to their emails, text messages, and social media attempts to reach out.

We are growing up in a world where people are developing additions to their cell phones.  They can’t go more than a few minutes or even a few seconds without looking at their “smart” phones.

As a parent, it seems like life has passed me by in the matter of a few moments.  Yesterday, my daughter was born, and today she’s a freshman in college.  My son was born yesterday, and now he is driving his own car.

And the day before yesterday, I married the woman of my dreams, and now we’ve been married for over twenty years.  (She looks the same, but I’m sure I’ve added some gray hairs, some wrinkles, and some pounds around my waistline.

It all can become depressing is we let these thoughts consume us.

For that reason, we must fight against the blur.

  • We must learn to stop and smell the roses.
  • We must learn to slow down and enjoy the beautiful moments of life.
  • We must learn to give thanks for the blessings of each moment, each day, and each relationship.
  • We must learn to prune our schedules, so we can spend our time on the things and with the people who matter most.
  • We must learn that in the frailty and brevity of life that we must be intentional in all things – in the words we share with others, in the actions we take, in the thoughts that run through our heads, and in the moments between the milestones of life.

Are you going to let life be a blur?  Or are you going to do something about it?

Make the most of every opportunity.

Let your words be seasoned with salt.

Embrace the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens of life.

In fact, suck the very marrow out of life with each breath you breathe, each step you take, and each move you make.

Don’t let your life be a blur.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:8 ESV

What’s the speedometer of your life say right now?  Are you going 100+ miles per hour?  Or are you going slowly these days?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Forest Gump

Life has been full of twists, turns, and surprises lately.

I’m grateful for what I’ve been experiencing (for the most part), but I’m also a bit overwhelmed.  I think life has a way of doing this to us sometimes.  We have all kinds of brilliant ideas.  We somehow think we can do it all.  We make plans, and God laughs.

I’ve been going 100 mph (miles per hour), and it feels as thought I need to find time to take a breath.  

Not just a quick breath, but a deep breath.  One of those breaths you take when you walk outside on a crisp, sunny morning and you just want to take it all into your lungs and into your very being.  That’s the kind of breath I need.

We’re eleven days into the new year.  I refuse to give up on my goals for 2017, but I must remember to pace myself.  I must remember to stop and smell the roses – to stop and enjoy the moment – to pause and breathe.

I don’t know what you are experiencing right now, but I want to encourage you to take a few moments in your day to join me.

My word for 2017 is PRESENT.

In order for me to be truly present, I must learn to be still – to listen – to breathe.

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

By the way, I can’t eat chocolate.  Oh well.

How is life treating you these days?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

“I think if someone gets kicked in the face it is their fault – they watched the foot come towards their face.”

– Kevin Hart

We have a wonderful 13-year-old black Labrador retriever named Iso.  Today, he bit me, and it was all my fault.

Let me explain before you go calling for his disposal.

Iso celebrated New Year’s by getting sick.  Sunday, I woke up to a mess in the mud room.  Thankfully, it could easily be cleaned up.  Unfortunately, this was repeated several times Sunday and Monday while our family was either sleeping or away from the house unable to let him outside to take care of himself.

Finally on Monday morning, Leanne called the veterinarian who provided us with a week’s worth of two oral medications and some sort of canine probiotic for his food.  In order to give Iso his oral medication, I have to physically open his jaw, insert the pills down his throat, and quickly close his mouth to make sure the pills go down.

This morning while I was giving him his medication, Iso clamped down on my left thumb while I was giving him his medication.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt me.  (If you’ve ever met Iso, you know he wouldn’t hurt anyone.)  He just didn’t like the presence of my hand down his throat.

I quickly realized he had punctured my skin in two places, so I washed up the wound, put on a couple of band-aids, and headed out the door to work.

The who incident made me think of this video that went viral a few years ago.

Charlie’s brother put his own finger in his brother’s mouth and then wondered why Charlie bit his finger.

We live in a culture of blame – of passing the buck.  We find ourselves in a troubling situation, and we look for someone besides ourselves to take responsibility for the problems we face.

Iso bit my finger, because I had my hand in his mouth.  It was all my fault.

As a husband and a father, it’s time for us to take responsibility for our failures.  Believe me, I fail all the time.  It’s time to put an end to passing the buck to our spouses, our children, our pets, and others around us.

It’s time to recognize our failings and find ways to overcome them in the future by taking responsibility for our actions, by learning, and by making the necessary changes in our lives.

The next time I give Iso his medication, I’ll find another way to make sure I don’t leave my hands in his mouth.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”

– Henry Ford

Do you struggle with personal responsibility?  Share your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.

looking-back

“I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry.”

– Cat Stevens

2016 is nearly over.  At this time of the year, I like to look back on the past, plan for the future, and enjoy the present.  Here’s a look back at the top posts on Jon Stolpe Stretched in 2016:

  1. 5 Lessons I Learned By Studying The Life of Joshua
  2. 5 Ways To Represent Well
  3. Ice Breaker – Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving
  4. 13 Delegation Quotes
  5. 3 Ways To Respond When Someone Is Unkind To You
  6. Ice Breaker – Superhero
  7. Ice Breaker – Star Wars
  8. Ice Breaker – Strengths
  9. How to Respond to the 2016 Election Results
  10. 7 Essentials For Overcoming Weariness

What was your favorite STRETCHED post from this past year?  What STRETCHED you the most in 2016?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Time to Man Up

December 19, 2016 — Leave a comment

are-you-ready

“A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.”

– Frank Abagnale

As men, we chase so many pursuits.  We want to climb the ladder at work as fast as possible.  We want to be the best athlete we can be.  We want to have the best things – the nicest car, the biggest house, the greenest lawn.  We over-involve ourselves in a variety of hobbies.  And we put so much attention on our favorite sports teams.

I’m not saying that any of these things are wrong, but I think our focus is often misguided.

If you were to create a list of your priorities and the way you spend your time, where would your wife and kids fit into the list?

If your marriage and your kids aren’t near the top of your list, it’s time for you reconsider your schedule and your priorities.

Last week, I announced the new Stretched Men Group website (www.stretchedmengroup.com), and I opened up sign-ups for first three-month mastermind in 2017.  For more information about the group, click here.

The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you understand your current list of priorities, to help you establish your desired list of priorities, and to help you create action steps required to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

The Stretched Men Group is also designed to help you find the accountability you need to make sure your good intentions become a reality.

Your wife and kids need this from you!

It’s time to man up!

If you are curious and want to learn more, I’d love to talk with you.  Sign up below, so we can set up a time to talk.