Category Archives for "stretch"

Help for Your New Year

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.

Think Enriched – How to Stretch Yourself to Become Your Best

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.

Inertia Might Be Messing Me Up

“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.

To Impact the World in a BIG Way You Have to Start SMALL

“I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company”

The New Seekers

I want to have a BIG impact on the world!

I want to put a stop to bullying.

I want to see an end to all illnesses brought on as a result of poor water quality.

I want to build a house for every widow in need.

I want to provide homes, hopes, and father figures for all the orphans in the world.

And I want there to be peace on earth – all over the earth!

It seems like I want a lot of things.  And these things seem so overwhelming when I start thinking about them.  After all, how can one person fix all of this?

I was talking to my Dad the other day on the way home from work, and we started talking about the desire to make the world a better place.  We also talked about the GIGANTIC goals that some people seem to put down to solve the worlds problems.  I think it’s good to dream big, but I also think it’s important to think small.

I truly want to build one hundred houses (or more) for widows in Guatemala.  One hundred houses don’t happen all at once, and they certainly don’t happen my accident.

One hundred houses starts one house at a time.  And one house starts one nail at a time.

Deep down inside, I know you want to change the world.  You want to make a real lasting difference that will outlive you.  In order to make this kind of impact on the world, we must learn to take one step at a time.

Andy Stanley is known for saying “Do for one what you wish you could do for everything.”

Don’t let your big dreams overwhelm you.  Start small, and take one step at a time.

One more thing.  Don’t wait for the PERFECT time to start.  Get started right now!

What small step do you need to take RIGHT NOW to make the world a better place?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 04.02.2017)

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:

Quotes that stretched me this week:

“If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us tickets.”  Mel Brooks [via Manlio Mannozzi]

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”Archilochus [via Entreprenuer.com]

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work – you don’t give up.”Anne Lamott [via Entreprenuer.com]

“We need to watch out for the resistance that will wnat us to stay in the past, trying to collect a debt that will never be paid.”  Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

“Christ’s love and grace will not produce guilt or shame, but it will fill us [with] a feeling of great responsibility.”  Maile Smucker [via ShawnSmucker.com]

“To the extent that we surrender our tendencies to condemn others, and are able instead to forgive, we will experience the fullness of forgiveness from God.”  Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

“Being present is better than trying to be everywhere else.”  Leslie Samuel [via BecomeABlogger.com]

“if you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor.”  Dorothy Day [via BrianJones.com]

“When doing public ministry, you need more private time with the Lord.”  Sean McFeely

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”  Zig Ziglar [via Dictionary.com]

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss [via Dictionary.com]

“[An attitude of forgiveness] releases us from a life of keeping emotional scorecards and insisting that everything be fair and leads to a life of love, grace, freedom, and forgiveness.”  Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

“To forgive is very difficult.  It means letting go of something that someone “owes” us.  But forgiveness brings freedom from the past; it brings freedom from anyone who has hurt us.  To forgive means to write it off.  Let it go.  Tear up the account.  It is to render the account cancelled.”  Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

“If you don’t take the first step, you’ll never get to the second step.”  Zig Ziglar

“Forgiveness through Jesus’ death is God’s solution; it rescues us from our hopelessness and restores our connection with God.”  Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

“Eat a live from first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  Mark Twain

Scripture that stretched me this week:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  Hebrews 6:10

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

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”  Matthew 16:26

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  Psalm 116:1-2

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.  James 2:12-13

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Matthew 5:43-44

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

What I’m reading now:

Eat That Frog!  by Brian Tracy

Articles that challenged me:

What Is A Mastermind? (And What It Isn’t) by Ellory Wells

What Is A “Hot Seat” In A Mastermind Group? by Ellory Wells

Great Responsibility: Maile’s Thoughts on Intervening After Seeing a Mother Hit Her Little Girl by Maile Smucker [at ShawnSmucker.com]

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.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 03.26.2017)

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:

Quotes that stretched me this week:

“There is a right and a wrong in the universe, and that distinction is not hard to make.”  Superman [via DeliberateDads.com]

“We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows.”Tim Keller [via JeffRandleman.com]

“Nothing promotes reconciliation more than forgiveness.  To forgive someone means to let him or her off the hook or to cancel a debt owed.  When we refuse to forgive someone, we still want something from that person, and even if it is revenge that we want, it keeps us tied to the person forever.”Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud [via Forgiveness Reading Plan – YouVersion.com]

Scripture that stretched me this week:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

What I’m reading now:

No Excuses!  The Power of Self-Discipline  by Brian Tracy

Videos that stretched me:

 

Articles that challenged me:

How To Really Support Your Church by Jason Raitz

Articles I posted this week:

Are You Intentionally Busy?

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.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 03.19.2017)

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:

Quotes that stretched me this week:

“Success leaves clues, but failure leaves a blueprint.”  Cory Ellerbroek

“We can live 40 days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.”Unknown via [Bill Grandi]

“Never stop creating work that matters and impacting people along the way.”Adam Smith

Scripture that stretched me this week:

“But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”  Luke 22:26

What I’m reading now:

Wealth:  Is It Worth It? by S. Truett Cathy

Videos that stretched me:

Articles that challenged me:

The Busier You Are, The More You Need Quiet Time by Justin Talbot-Zorn [via Harvard Business Review]

Who You Surround Yourself With Matters by Ellory Wells

How to Be Content in the Midst of the Struggle by Kent Sanders

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.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 03.12.2017)

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:

Quotes that stretched me this week:

“Knowledge of biblical doctrine is to the soul as an anchor to the ship, that holds it steady in the midst of the rolling waves of error, or the violent winds of persecution.”  Thomas Watson [via JeffRandleman.com]

“Just because you’ve received an email, doesn’t mean you need to use your time to process it.”MichaelHyatt.com

“Travel safe, but stay dangerous.”Seth Barnes

“To reach people no one else is reaching, we must do things no one else is doing.” Craig Groeschel [via MarkHowellLive.com]

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”  Stephen Covey [via MichaelHyatt.com]

“An opportunity with a yes attached is an obligation. Too many obligations is an obstacle.”MichaelHyatt.com

Scripture that stretched me this week:

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.  Proverbs 15:29

The he said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  Luke 12:15

What I’m reading now:

Wealth:  Is It Worth It? by S. Truett Cathy

Videos that stretched me:

Articles that challenged me:

Finding Your Passion, Not Wealth, Should be Your Main Goal by Tom Corley [via RichHabits.net]

Are You Careful, Cautious and Concerned? by Seth Barnes [via Radical Living by Seth Barnes]

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.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 03.05.2017)

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:

Quotes that stretched me this week:

“The severest self-denials and the most lavish gifts are of no value in God’s esteem unless they are prompted by love.”  A.W. Pink [via JeffRandleman.com]

“Take the long view.  Tune out the drama, and get back to the things that matter most.”MichaelHyatt.com

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”John Lee Dumas

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar [via Manlio Mannozzi]

“Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification.  To put it another way:  people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.”  Pope Francis [via DeliberateDads.com]

Scripture that stretched me this week:

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:35

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  I Corinthians 12:26

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.  I Corinthians 1:10

What I finished reading this week:

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

What I’m reading now:

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does – The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging by Susan Fowler

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Videos that stretched me:

Articles that challenged me:

40 Percent of America’s Food Is Thrown Away. That’s a Stewardship Problem by Susan Narjala [via RelevantMagazine.com]

3 Reasons You Need More Downtime In Your Life by Dan Erickson [via HipDiggs.com]

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.

Stretched This Week … (week ending 02.26.2017)

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.