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    All posts in "manhood"

    Stretched Men Group – Fall 2018 Mastermind – Forming NOW

    The next semester of the Stretched Men Group is getting ready to start, and men are getting ready to STRETCH their marriages, their parenting, their careers, their faith, and their lives.

    You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Stretched Men Group!

    The Stretched Men Group provides a safe, transforming environment to help men like you take steps forward.  Here are some of the ways the group has helped other men:

    One man started praying for his ex-wife.

    One man started taking his family back to church.

    One man changed jobs.

    One man had a tough conversation with his wife that transformed his relationship.

    One man had a difficult conversation with his co-worker that led to a job change.

    One man tackled a pornography addiction.

    One man started reading his Bible on a daily basis.

    One man reached out to his estranged sons.

    One man took his marriage and sex-life to a whole new level.

    If you’re looking to STRETCH and experience this kind of change in your life, you should join the next semester of the Stretched Men Group.  For more information, go to www.stretchedmengroup.com.  Once you are there, you can request a FREE, no pressure informational call with me to see if the Stretched Men Group is right for you.

    Don’t wait too long, the spots will fill up fast.

    What are you waiting for?  It’s time to STRETCH now!

    Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
    Napoleon Hill

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    Later today, I’ll be dropping my daughter off for the start of her junior year of college, and my wife and I will be entering the empty nest.  (Last week, we dropped our son off for his freshman year of college.)  While I’m sad to say goodbye to my kids knowing their return home will never quite be the same, I’m extremely excited by this next step in our journey together.

    Many people talk about the empty nest with negativity.  People imply that life is almost over when the kids leave the house.  Or people wonder out loud about how spouses will handle each other without the barrier and distraction of children.

    The empty nest doesn’t have to be a scary thing.  In fact, there are things you can do today to better prepare yourself for the empty nest.

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    1. Date your spouse while your kids are under your roof.  Many parents fall into the trap of making their parenting more important than their marriage.  This is a big mistake.  When we get married, we commit – we promise – to live life together for the rest of our lives.  When your kids leave the house (as they should at some point), you don’t want to find yourself living with a stranger.  Continue to get to know your wife.  Continue to have fun together.  Continue to grow closer.  Leanne and I have a weekly date night.  This has been a great way to help prepare us for the empty nest.
    2. Parent your children with purpose.  Too many parents make the mistake of trying to be their child’s best friend instead of people their mom or dad.  Also, many parents miss out on the importance of preparing their kids to leave the nest.  Talking to your kids about life after high school or college is important.  Kids need to understand the expectations you have for them as they get older.  Talking about these expectations, modeling expected behaviors, and establishing appropriate boundaries are all critical parts of parenting with purpose and of preparing for the empty nest.  Leanne and I have intentionally approached our parenting aiming our kids at the target and launching them well-equipped to leave the nest and contribute to this world.
    3. Invest in your marriage.  Beyond dating your spouse, you need to make regular investments in your marriage.  Find a mentor couple or two who are ahead of you in their married lives and take time to learn from them.  Spend money and take time to get away on a regular basis to connect with each other, to discuss goals, and to assess progress.  Go to a marriage retreat or conference (ie. Family Life Weekend to Remember) to learn from marriage experts.  Sign up in a marriage class like Dynamic Marriage (Leanne and I are getting ready to lead our next Dynamic Marriage class, and spots are still available).  Leanne and I have done a lot of things to invest in our marriage, and we will continue to do these things as we enter the empty nest.  Our marriage is worth it!
    4. Invest in yourself.  I’m a father, and I’m a husband.  I’m also me.  Our identities are complex.  While you will always be a father if you have kids, that part of your identity will change as the kids leave the nest.  It’s important to learn and grow (to STRETCH) as an individual.  I’m doing this through reading, through podcasts, and through mastermind groups.  In a few weeks, I’ll be launching the next semester of the Stretched Men Group – a mastermind group for men.  If you are a man, consider signing up.  This is a great way to invest in yourself and to help you prepare for the empty nest.
    5. Plan ahead.  Don’t get to the empty nest without plans for the future.  Leanne and I have been making plans for doing things together to have fun, to contribute to our church and community, and to position ourselves for further steps in our married lives.  We’ve created a “Dream Board” to document some of our bigger goals for the future.  If you want to prepare for the empty nest, plan ahead for what you will do once the kids leave the nest.
    6. Pray.  Don’t underestimate the importance of praying together about the future.  Pray for your kids.  Pray for their future spouses.  Pray for your spouse.  Pray for your future together.  God wants to be part of your marriage.  Pray that God would prepare you for the empty nest.

    When you take these steps, you too can enter the empty nest with enthusiasm, hope, and excitement.  Don’t wait for the kids to say goodbye, take action today to get ready for the empty nest!

    What action do you need to take to prepare for the empty nest?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    7 Pitfalls Men Face

    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.

    Time To Be A Real Man

    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

    It’s Time To Join My Mastermind

    “If you find you are weak in persistence, surround yourself with a Mastermind Group.”
    Napolean Hill (Think and Grow Rich)

    A few years ago, I joined a mastermind group for entrepreneurs.  This group gives me a place to share my ideas and to get the feedback I need to keep moving forward.  It’s also a place where I can help other entrepreneurs as they process their next steps.  I haven’t been disappointed with the experience so far.

    Last year, I launched my own mastermind group.  After wise advice and consistent encouragement, I started the Stretched Men Group.  This mastermind group is all about encouraging guys to become better men, better husbands, and better fathers.  The group runs for three-month semesters.  After each semester, mastermind members have the opportunity to continue on with the group (or not), and new members have the opportunity to jump into the group.

    The next semester is getting ready to kick off in the middle of this month, and there are still a few open spots.  I’d love to fill the spots with guys who want to take the next steps in their journey.  If you’d like to find out more information about the group, I’d encourage you to go over to the groups website (click here) and sign up for a FREE informational (no pressure) phone call from me.

    In the meantime, I’d encourage you to check out this video from my friend, Ray Edwards.  In the video, Ray offers some fantastic tips about what to look for in a GREAT mastermind group.

    If you’re looking to experience these five essentials and your path to becoming the man you were meant to be, I’d encourage you to check out the Stretched Men Group.

    Don’t wait.  The next semester will be starting soon!

    It’s All My Fault (A Lesson In Personal Responsibility)

    “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.

    Time to Man Up

    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.

     

    Men – It’s Not Too Late!

    promo-smg

    “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

    – George Eliot

    Do you feel as though life is rushing by and your opportunities for influence are slipping away?

    Does it seems like your parenting journey, your marriage, and your life is a blur as the calendar pages change at rapid pace?

    Do you think it’s too late to be the dad, the husband, the leader, or the man you want to be?

    You are not alone!

    “THE MASS OF MEN LEAD LIVES OF QUIET DESPERATION”

    – Henry David Thoreau

    Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the Stretched Men Group and the new website that goes with this paid mastermind.

    www.stretchedmengroup.com

    The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you take the next step in your journey to becoming the man you were meant to be.  Through valuable teaching, customized coaching, and essential conversation with other men, you will be challenged and held accountable to take the next step as you go through the next three months with the men in this group and me.

    For more information on the Stretched Men Group, click here.

    Also, if you know a man who needs to take the next step, I’d love to connect with him.  Let him know about the group and send him to the site, so he can sign up.

    I’m accepting new sign-ups for a group launching in January until December 31, 2016.  Don’t wait.  Sign up TODAY!

    The Time To Ask For Help Is Now

    IT'S TIME TO ASK FOR HELP

    I don’t like asking for help.

    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?

    Do you struggle to ask for help?

    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, Think and Grow Rich

    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.)

    The group will have a private Facebook group for communication in-between our bi-weekly meetings.

    And I will be reaching out to each man in the group two or three times throughout the session for one-on-one coaching/conversation and for feedback.

    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.

    Is it time for you to ask for help?

    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!

    (Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the Stretch Man Mastermind.  Thanks!)

    Sending Your Child To College – Letting The Arrow Fly

    SENDING YOUR CHILD TO COLLEGE-1

    Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.

    Garrison Keillor

    IMG_5087One week from yesterday, we will be delivering Hannah, our oldest child, to Messiah College for the start of cross-country season and her freshman year.

    Hannah will be spending this week working, finalizing her packing, and saying her goodbyes to her friends.  Hopefully, she’ll have a few minutes for her family.

    Hannah is ready to go.  And as hard as it will be for Leanne and me, I think we will be ready as well.

    Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to rush things.  We will miss Hannah dearly and we will look forward to seeing her whenever possible, but we would fail as parents if we didn’t launch her onto this next stage of her life.

    As parents, we do our best to point our children at the right target.  Like an archer holds an arrow on the bowstring keeping his sights on the target, we’ve kept Hannah on the bowstring of our family.  We’ve done our best to point her to the right target – spiritually, financially, socially, and in other areas of life.

    But an arrow is not meant to stay on the bowstring forever.  An arrow is meant to fly towards the target and ultimately to hit the target, and this only happens when the archer releases the arrow from his grip.  And our children aren’t meant to stay on our “bowstring.”  They are meant to fly toward the target and to find their way.  This week represents a major step in our parenting journey.  Next Sunday, we will release Hannah to fly.  We pray that she flies straight and free of obstacles, and we trust that our parenting efforts – our intentional efforts to point her to the right target – will pay off for Hannah and her future.

    I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I was a little sad to be at this point in our parenting journey.  But my sadness is overshadowed by my happiness, joy, and excitement for Hannah.  I’m excited for what this means for our family in the coming years.  Leanne and I will get to spend some more focused time with our son, Isaac, as he heads into a big year.  I’m also looking forward to what this means in our marriage as we draw closer to the “empty nest” stage of our life.

    Parenting takes us on all kinds of fun, interesting, and crazy adventures.  It’s important to stop and enjoy the moments and milestones along the way.  And it’s important to be intentional along the way.  The time with our kids goes by far more quickly than anyone can describe.  Make the most of the moments with your kids.  Take time each day to show them your love.  And do your best to point them at the right target.

    If you want to connect with other fathers who want to be intentional in their parenting, their marriage, and their manhood, consider joining my new mastermind group just for men.  The Stretch Man Mastermind is all about creating a community of men who want to hit the right target.  If this sounds interesting to you, I’d love to talk.  Fill out the simple form below, and I’ll get back to you.  Spots are filling up quickly in my September – November group.  Don’t miss out!