I want to influence culture instead of letting culture influence me. Despite this intent, I’ve learned that I can’t live my life with blinders. While I want to be influential, I need to be open to how I might be STRETCHED by the world around me – and that includes the culture.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This week, I was folding laundry while Leanne was working on grad school homework. While I was folding clothes and sorting socks, I turned on a new NBC television show, New Amsterdam. In the show (inspired by a true story), Dr. Max Goodwin (played by Ryan Eggold) takes over New Amsterdam, a not-for-profit hospital in New York City. Dr. Goodwin introduces himself to the hospital staff by asking a simple question: “How can I help?”
The rest of this episode (Pilot) introduces viewers to various characters and their stories while watching Dr. Goodwin repeatedly ask this question.
Believe it or not, this time of multi-tasking (folding laundry and watching television) had a profound impact on me.
I’ve always tried to be helpful – especially as a leader. But if I’m honest (which I try to be), I don’t always think about what others need. I don’t always ask how I can help. I sometimes become self-absorbed caught up in my own list of things I want to accomplish or attend to each day. I miss out on the real needs of my team members.
This is not good, and it’s not the way I want to lead.
I want to have a “How can I help” mindset.
On Friday at the office, I repeatedly asked this question as I interacted with my co-workers and customers. It was refreshing. I felt a renewed sense of connection with my job, my team, and my mission. I rediscovered a new passion for my role as a leader in my organization.
As you head into the work week, I challenge you to ask this question at least once a day. And when you ask how you can help be sure to listen to the response. Then go do what you can do to help.
Leave your response below (or feel free to reach out to me privately). I’d love to help you!
I came back from Guatemala almost six weeks ago with a cough I picked up at the end of our trip. A week after our trip, I figured the cough would go away as I began to feel better. Unfortunately, my cough has persisted.
Finally, I made a visit to the doctor’s office on Monday evening. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and an over-the-counter cough medication. Next week, I’ll return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up checkup to make sure the cough goes away.
I don’t go to the doctor’s office very often. Thankfully, I’m generally very healthy. But honestly, I tend to try to beat whatever illness I’m fighting with rest, time, and home remedies.
In this case, it was time to get some help.
Men often do a terrible job when it comes to asking for help. We don’t like to ask for directions, and we typically don’t want to appear weak by asking for anyone’s help.
We’ll drive around lost for an hour if it means we don’t have to stop to ask for directions.
Does this sound like you?
It’s great to be independent, but we need people in our lives who will push us forward, who will give us a hand when we need help, and who will hold us accountable to take action on things we’ve been avoiding.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Next week, I’m launching the Stretch Man Mastermind. This is an opportunity to get the help you need.
The idea for a mastermind group was developed in part based on a conversations I’ve had with men who have approached me about mentoring them.
“No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
― Napoleon Hill,
This is humbling – to say the least. It’s also a bit overwhelming. (How do I find time to meet with these guys who want my attention?)
After a lot of prayer, thought, and conversations with other men and my family, I’ve decided to launch a three-month, on-line paid mastermind group for men starting next week.
The group is made of men who want to intentionally “stretch” their marriages, their parenting, and their manhood. The group is meeting on-line (via Zoom) every other week. After our initial kick-off/get-to-know you meeting, the bi-weekly meetings will consist of a 15-20 minute teaching time where I will share with the group. After that, we will rotate a hot seat from week to week. On the hot seat, one guy will bring up an issue or question in which he needs help, and the group will discus the issue/question/topic with the purpose of helping each man STRETCH. (The hot seat time will typically last 30-45 minutes each week.)
I’m looking forward to the community and accountability that will come out of this group.
Most men are missing this kind of man-to-man interaction in their lives. And I believe this mastermind will raise the bar for each of the men in the group. I still have a couple of open spots in the group, and I’d love to fill them before next week.
If this sounds like something you need in your life or if you simply want to learn more, please contact me so we can schedule a phone conversation. Leave a comment below or fill out the form below. Let’s connect. I’d love to talk with you!
What’s in it for me? This is a question most of us are asking ourselves.
What if this is the wrong question? What if we flipped the question?
What’s in it for others? What’s in it for those who really need a helping hand?
Four years ago, our family faced a significant health crisis which resulted in my wife’s hospitalization. This was a time which rocked our family’s world.
I remember going through all kinds of thoughts and feelings during this time. I wondered how this crisis would impact our family and our marriage. I questioned God – why would he let this happen. I felt loneliness even as family members and friends wrapped their arms around our family. There were times of hopelessness, but there were also moments and days of hope.
I recall praying that Leanne would know my love and commitment for her as she struggled to find wellness, and I prayed that she would look to God’s heart for clarity and comfort when everything around her didn’t seem to make sense. (In a way, this was a prayer I needed as well through this time, and I’m thankful for many who were lifting me up during this crazy time.) I had a strong feeling God would work the rest of the healing process out.
There are times in our lives when we will face times of crisis. There will be many times when life doesn’t make sense.
It’s times like this when we need to remember God is simply calling us to find a way to His heart. He is there for us during the peaks and valleys of life. He’s with us in the mundane middle. He is our Rock, our Fortress, our Refuge, and our Redeemer.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
I have no idea what you may be going through. You may be riding high on the good waves of life, or you may be trudging through the muddy trenches. I pray you would look to God’s heart for clarity and comfort.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
This song by Phil Collins spoke to me as I contemplated this post. It’s not a “Christian” song in itself, and the theology may not line up exactly, but it reminded me how God wants us to be connected to Him through the ups and downs of life.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Ronald Reagan
Many complain that things need to change. We know people who are unemployed. We see people who are struggling to put the next meal on the table. We live next to people who are facing an uphill health challenge. We hear about people who have strained family relationships. The list goes on. People are hurting. People are struggling. People are simply trying to make it through the day. They are hopeless.
This is true all around you and me – even in the opulence of America.
What’s the answer to all the hurt, struggle, and hopelessness?
The ultimate answer is Christ.
I guess I could end the post here, but I believe God can use each of us to make a difference in this world.
There are things that we as individuals can do.
So why don’t more people get involved to help out? Perhaps, we feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people who need help. Maybe, we don’t know where to start. Or, we think someone else or even the government is the answer to the hopelessness. Maybe, we just don’t care, or we don’t believe it’s anyone’s responsibility to help those who won’t help themselves.
What if we looked in the mirror? What if each one of us looked next door to see how we could bring hope to our hurting neighbor? What if each of us took action to help someone in need? What if we took responsibility to help someone?
I think we could actually see a tidal wave of change.
If each of us was willing to help someone else, we can help everyone.
What do you think?
Yesterday on Michael Hyatt’s blog, Mary DeMuth guest posted about setting goals for the future and going for it now (Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now). Through the comments that followed the post, I had the opportunity to interact with Mary and other readers about my own passion for writing. I shared in the comments that I was considering the possibility of taking my writing to a different place by writing a book someday.
Through the on-line dialogue, my friend Tom asked me about the subject of my book. I threw out a few ideas that I’ve considered, and I shared that I wasn’t all together sure. The conversation continued with a suggestion that I use my blog as a stepping off point for my book. To which Mary proposed that I ask my readers to give me feedback on which Jon Stolpe Stretched blog posts resonated with them the most.
Hmmm…. (That’s the sound of me thinking). Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea.
So what do you think?
Can you help me?
What Stretched blog posts resonate with you the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You could help write my first book!
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Phil Olson. Phil is the pastor at Church on the Mall which meets at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Phil was also a partner in ministry with my dad in Mt. Holly, NJ while my dad served at a church there. I happen to work ten minutes away from this mall, so it was convenient to hook-up for lunch. (I don’t know why we don’t do that more often.)
Phil and I caught up about friends from our NJ hometown. We shared about our families. And we prayed together. It was truly a blessing to be with this friend (even though he’s a big New York Mets fan).
Recently, Phil has been working as a chaplain at Cancer Treatment Centers of America one day a week. At first, this doesn’t sound all that strange, but Phil will tell you that this wasn’t something he had considered before this opportunity came along. Phil admitted that he didn’t have the training of most hospital chaplains. One thing that sets Phil apart from the other chaplains is that he is a cancer survivor. When patients learn this fact, they are more receptive to Phil. They relate to Phil, because he knows their pain. Obviously, Phil wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone – including himself, but he has realized that God can use his cancer along with his other “junk” to help others.
As our discussion continued, I was reminded that I have “junk” in my own life that allows me to relate to people on a different level. For example, the struggles that we have dealt with through my wife’s illness have given me (and our family) a deeper understanding and compassion for families that are impacted by mental illness. God can use my “junk” to help others and to draw me closer to Him.
As we concluded our discussion, Phil prayed for me using the following scripture from Isaiah 40:
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I am thankful for Phil’s encouragement and the reminder that God can use our “junk” for His glory.
We’ve all got “junk” in our lives. How is God using you through your “junk”?
God’s word to me as I head to bed (from Psalm 62)…
1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend some time at one of my favorite job sites. While I was there, one of the facility engineers asked me if I could help his sister’s sister-in-law. Seems like an interesting requested coming from a trash mouth colleague. Instead of leaving the details for me to explain, here’s the information he passed out. (I contacted the organization today to get my free test kit.) I hope you’ll be inspired to help out.
I am sending this e-mail about my sister-in law to my friends in hope that you will pass this request for help to your friends. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your help.
Eighteen months ago, my sister-in-lay, Myra, was diagnosed with a rare form of Lymphoma, a blood cancer. Three weeks ago, we learned she now needs a blood stem cell transplant from a donor. The doctors believe they can put her in remission for three months, which means we have a short window to find a suitable donor. Unfortunately, finding someone with similar DNA is pretty difficult. That’s why my goal is to recruit as many new stem cell donors as possible in order to give hope to Myra and others like her who are in need of a stem cell transplant. Currently, her doctors are searching the National Donor Registry for a match. So far there are no matches for her. You could be the ONE.
With the help of DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center, I am conducting an on-line donor drive. If you are not already in the National Marrow Donor Registry, please consider being tested. The screening is non-invasive and simply requires a prospective donor to swab their mouth with a cotton-tipped swab and to complete some paperwork. Your sample is sent to a lab, assigned a tissue type and then put into an anonymous National Registry. It is easy to request a free test kit on-line and have it mailed to your home. There is no charge to the potential donor for any part of this process.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along this e-mail to any of your friends and family who might be interested in signing up to potentially save a life. You do need to be between the ages of 18-55 to be a donor.
I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about registering and the donor process. I hope that you will consider taking advantage of this amazing opportunity to potentially give someone a second chance at life.
For more information, please visit www.dkmsamericas.org
Many, many thanks for your consideration.
(Thanks to DKMS, I am able to get the testing at no charge. DKMS, a non-profit, is the only organization I found that will cover the costs of testing for the sake of saving a life. If you would like to make an individual contribution, you can do that on-line as well if you like.)
So what do you think? Seems like it’s at least worth checking out.