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.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

Thomas A. Edison

Being busy has become a status symbol in our culture.  If you’re not busy, you’re not accomplishing anything.  That’s what society is telling us.

What do you want to accomplish today?

I want to work on my book.  I want to schedule several blog posts and emails to the people on my email list.  I would like to talk to my daughter (who is away at college) on Facetime.  I’d like to take at least 10,000 steps.

What do you want to accomplish this week?

I want to write and give my next Toastmasters speech.  I want to schedule an appointment with my tax accountant.  I would like to clean up the house to make sure we are ready for any showings that might happen this week.  I’d like to meet one-on-one with my team members.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

I want to publish my next book (Rooftop Reflections).  I plan to go to Guatemala and build more houses.  I’d like to complete my Advanced Communicator Silver and my Advanced Leader Silver for Toastmasters.  I would like to move up at my company.  I plan to complete Dynamic Marriage Facilitator Training with my wife.  I hope to sell my house and downsize.

It’s not a bad idea to have plans for our days weeks, months, and years.  After all, “if we fail to plan, we should plan to fail.”  But what if our short-term goals and accomplishments don’t match up with our long-term objectives?

What does success look like to you?  When you reach the end of your life what do you want to have accomplished?

I think these are two very important questions to ponder.  And we need to have the answers to these questions in mind as we plan out our short-term goals and our plans for the next days, weeks, and months.

You will not succeed in meeting your long-term (life-time) goals by accident.  You must be intentional.  You must begin with the end in mind.

Here are a few of my long-term goals:

  1. I’m going to build 100+ houses in Guatemala for widows and orphans.
  2. My wife and I are going to be known as marriage builders.
  3. I will have deep relationships with my wife, my kids, my future grandchildren, and a few close friends.
  4. I will be known as a good steward, a generous person, and a role model.
  5. I will mentor other leaders, couples, and men in order to leave a legacy that outlives me and my name.

These are just some of my goals.  Knowing these, I’m in a much better position to answer the initial questions asked at the beginning of this post.

Being busy is a complete waste of time when we are busy doing the wrong things.  Be intentional in your busyness!

Over the next few days, I’ll be sending out additional information to those on my email list about living intentionally today.  If you want to get these emails, make sure you are on the list.  Sign up below!

What are you doing today?  How do your actions today match up with your long-term plans for your life?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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.

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.

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.

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.