The Vineyard Journey is Alive!!!!

One of my Dreams has been to develop a vineyard. One day two years ago I realized if not now then when? The journey began and then challenges came but I pushed forward after delays and now we have a vineyard!!!

The biggest part of the dream for me is having my whole family work on a business together. Something that takes a lot of work that we can all do together for rewards that don't come easy and take time. There is nothing better for a family then farming together. The lessons are priceless, the moments last a lifetime like putting stakes in the ground with my daughter Kelsey and praying together as we did it.

We prepped the land, put in the trellis system, and are almost done planting the vines. Of course this is a simplified way to explain all we've done but the bottom line is it's happening!!!

The whole family is working hard to build something together.

My son Austin rarely wants to do physical labor and he turned around. During planting my three older kids worked hard for 7 hours straight. My 5 and 8 year old actually planting vines, watering, staking and loving it!!

It was one of our best days as a Tolpin family ever!!

I took everyone out to eat and gave much praise to them for their hard work and great attitudes. We were exhausted from building a dream together. There is no better feeling and we all felt it. It was magical...

Of course it's just the beginning of this journey together. There is much work ahead but with work and challenge comes triumph, learning and bonding



The Seasons of Growth

I recently gave a message at our national manager conference and wanted to post one of the concepts I think invaluable to achieving what we want in life.

There is an age old concept that we attract more success to our life through becoming more as a person first and foremost. The process though is far greater then simply reading, listening to audio files... That is vital to stimulate our brains to create more action towards what we want but an understanding of the process that highly successful people go through is vital. We must understand what's happening so growth happens through the actions we take vs just what we know.

We all have times we have "Fresh Enthusiasm" about accomplishing something in our lives and work. Almost immediately upon pursuing what we are enthusiastic about increased challenge comes our way... I look at this as the "Testing Period". Most in life never make it through this period and recede back to what's comfortable in their lives. So many people live a pretty normal life with slow progress. I believe this ends with a life of serious regret. It also ends with people not achieving the best possible path God had for them.

In fact what can even happen during the "Testing Period" is people can misunderstand what God is trying to do. People can mistakenly call challenges during the testing period God closing a door to that path. From my own experiences I usually see this as the exact opposite. I see these challenges as tests that I must pass by persevering and growing. Tests that God actually wants me to push through and overcome.

Also during the testing period many that are closest to us will say things like "Maybe this isn't meant to be". In most cases if it's a worthy endeavor I would say they are wrong. People closest to us don't like seeing us go through challenging times but it's absolutely necessary for us to grow and become more.

If there are no "Testing periods" then there is no real growth in us. God made our brains to work best with constant growth happening. Perhaps this is why we get depressed if we aren't stimulating our brains with new ideas and new actions. Our brains are almost unending, in fact as we learn and implement new ideas new connections actual form in our brains. There is a physical transformation happening!!!

I recently read that our brains can make new neorological connections in the amount of 1 with 6 million zeros after it. How many do you have?

The people that understand the testing period get excited about passing the tests, are willing to grow to do it which calls for us to break out of our comfort zones. because they understand the secret.

The real secret is that when we pass the tests by taking action we "Grow". When we grow through the tests we get blessed with "Favor" in our lives.

I've seen this so many times in my life and the lives of others...over and over and over again.

Now that you have "Favor" you go back to the top of the cycle with "Fresh Enthusiasm" for new and bigger things to achieve and become. Now we can handle even larger challenges in the "Testing Period" because we have grown. We pass these tests and grow even more and then get new favor in our lives. The "Testing Period" is our capacity training.

The more we go through the cycle the more abundance we attract because real growth is happening to us at a faster rate.

So when you get tested upon taking action on something our response is the key. I love passing tests, I think God wants us to pass tests in life. He wants to strengthen us by forcing us to rely on Him and push through these times. Fight and persevere to get through them as fast as you can so you can get onto bigger things.

This is how leaders develop capacity. The ability to take on more and be able to handle it. It's how people are able to handle larger families, larger businesses, more service to others... I believe It's one aspect of how people stay on the best path God has for their lives.

We are meant to constantly be growing and developing as people. The more capacity we have the more God can use us for his purposes!!!



"Fear God?"

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ at the age of 23 there were a lot of foreign concepts related to how we are to view God. One of the things I most misunderstood about the scriptures was the concept of Fearing the Lord. To me fear seemed like a bad word in a lot of ways and why would God want us to fear Him. We all have fears and there would be no courage without fear. In fact courage is to do something even though we fear it...The more fearful something is the more courageous the act of doing it would be. So to have courage is a great attribute but it's because we are overcoming something worthwhile but challenging or unfortunate.

The fear God is talking about perhaps is more about the something worthwhile and challenging...It certainly isn't about something unfortunate. It's challenging to follow what He asks of us on our own will or by ourselves. Of course salvation is a deep real event someone goes through but is such a simple act to do it. To pray to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and accept Him as your savior can take less then a minute. If it's sincere then it's real...God starts working in that persons life...To follow after Jesus the way He wants is not so simple though.

As I've grown in my faith over the years I have realized more of what it means to really fear the Lord. Fear has to do with a deep respect for who God is and His power. He created us, intimately cares for us as our ultimate father, has an ideal plan for us that can only be realized by following Him and has influence on how things turn out in our lives. It's a respect that is true so it impacts the choices we make each day. If it doesn't influence our choices then it's not a real respect for God's Authority.

When we surrender to Gods authority we start to make sure our choices reflect things God approves of. We care more if our life is honoring to Him then catering to our every desire.

I think of a true fear is to fully realize how in tune Christ is with our lives. That he's always present, He always knows our thoughts, our choices, our actions.

We can't visibly see Him which may lead to a lessened fear for many. See He wants our fear to be based on faith. Faith is believing in something you can't phyically see.

Can you imagine what it would be like if Jesus was Physically walking with us every minute of every day. If God was looking at you as you made every choice every moment of every day. Would that impact our behavior, choices, or thoughts? Would His visible presence impact our business decisions and priorities? Would that influence how seriously we take our walk with Christ?

What's amazing is this is true. Jesus is present with us every minute of every day, but we just can't see him. So if that's true, and we don't act the same way as if we could see him then we may need to step up our faith. Fearing the Lord is directly related to our faith in Christ.

The greater our faith the greater our fear.

The bible says that you can tell a persons faith by the fuit their life bears. The more we fear God the greater our faith is...Faith acted upon bears good fruit.

Dig into the scriptures and walk closely with Him, develop that strong fear that holds you accountable to staying on the best path God has for your life. How do we know what He wants for us? We surely will see his splender in our lives if we obey him each day and live a life that is honoring to God. No matter how much we Fear Him we will still make mistakes. Actually we will most likely make them daily but that's why Christ Died on the Cross for us...to forgive us in advance for all the mistakes we make.

But to have the most impact we can on earth for His kingdom and to live the most productive life possible takes having a healthy fear of God.

Proverbs 14:26 "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge"

Proberbs 14:27 "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life turning a man from the snares of death"

Proverbs 19:23 "The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble"



"Derailed for a Reason"

It’s so amazing how life goes in cycles of change. We develop a rhythm in our life that we begin to enjoy and if something alters this we can get frustrated. We can get to a place where we are striving purposefully moving towards our dreams then things change. Something happens that completely alters everything. Something happens that derails us that is completely out of our control...

2007 was an incredible year of personal growth and listening and obeying God’s calls for my life. 4 months ago we got exciting news that my wife Angie was pregnant with our fifth child. This was something we were wrestling over whether we should stop having kids by our control or let God be in control. God answered with news of her pregnancy, that alone is a life altering experience but one we are very used to, having gone through it 4 other times.

Then something extremely challenging happened. Angie threw her back out with a herniated bulging disk in her lower back after only 2 months into the pregnancy.

The chiropractor said that if she did exactly what he said for the next 2 months that she would have a chance of healing it and avoiding back surgery.

We found out that she can’t pick anything up heavier then 5 pounds or so, she can’t drive and needs to put no strain on her back at all.

This prevents her from doing almost everything she usually does to take care of our children and home. We are used to challenges and when one comes no matter what it is we tend to immediately accept it and go to work on what needs to be done.

I had no idea what was really in store. I had deep respect and appreciation for my wife being a stay at home mom but once I tried to fill her shoes I began to get a taste of the truly hard work involved in running a home full of children. It’s much different then doing it for a day or a weekend like most fathers have experienced. It’s easy to conquer it and make it look easy for a couple days…doing it day in and out is a taxing job that never ends.

Like anything it’s so important to see the meaning behind the ordinary to lead effectively. That’s why my wife is so good at what she does, she sees the meaning behind doing laundry, cooking meals, time with the kids, teaching them, discipline…..when we see the long term it makes these ordinary tasks extraordinary. She does extraordinary work that will “echo in eternity”.

I’m used to facing challenge daily from running a business and leading all kinds of people but it is a whole different kind of challenge running a home. It takes immense selflessness, patience, and a see the big picture perspective to do it right. It’s much more then doing all the tasks, while getting all that needs to be done we’ve got to spend the day on purpose…coaching, loving, guiding, and teaching the children to be extraordinary contributors to society. From recent experience this can get completely put aside with how much other stuff there is to do. It takes deliberate focus to lead in this way. It takes being off ourselves and on purpose by remembering the long-term significance.

It’s hard to stay off yourself because in this job, everything seems to be about everyone else and you can’t leave your work to go home. Work is your home…I finally get why my wife acts the way she does when I don’t give her breaks to do things for herself.

So as I’m filling her shoes the laundry piles up faster then I’m washing it, to try and catch up I washed 11 loads in one day…but then there’s folding and putting away….our living room had a mound of dirty clothes on the floor and our couch’s had mounds of clean…and it never never ends. grocery shopping takes me forever and once I go there’s no food again a couple days later. Constant diaper changes, bathes, battles with kids fighting and discipline then there’s cooking. I never make things right like mommy does. Then there’s cleaning the house..I figured out we almost do 3 loads of dishes per day.

I start to think….I wish we had room for two dishwashers and I’m going to make room for another set of washer and dryers. I truly see the need for two sets to get twice as much done in the same amount of time. That will be our next major purchase.

Then on top of that my wife is usually home schooling….and of course Im not even mentioning everything involved.

So during this situation I hadn’t been working for 3 weeks in a row, I realize this can't go on, if I don’t work things will fall apart.

Here is where the great miracle happens, the miracle of the family of Christ. Angie and I are fiercely independent people that at all costs work to prevent being needy. We are very self-reliant and until now haven’t needed major help with anything.

I now realize that we were missing an experience that's very important to have.

Pretty soon people start arriving daily with full meals for our family. Some people we know and more people we don’t know. They seem so happy to help and this blessing overjoys us.

There were days where we didn’t think anyone was bringing anything so we start to try and figure out dinner then a meal shows up.

Then people start offering to help Angie during the day so I can work, it has meant so much to Angie and I to receive this help. Church all of a sudden became so much more meaningful to me.

Church isn’t only about the building, the pastoral staff, the service, and programs or even spiritual growth…it is also about serving each other…it is about loving each other and being there in each other’s time of need. Church is about people helping people, it is about loving others so they see Christ and are attracted to the Holy Spirit in His people so they hunger to have that, to find out about that and ultimately to accept Him.

No wonder Jesus talks about helping your neighbor and treating your neighbor as you would treat yourself. Who are our neighbors? Everyone we come in contact with, everyone around us wherever we are.

So Angie and I became derailed by our circumstances out of our control but God has taught us that it’s okay to rely on others when in need and have been deeply touched by the body of Christ.

Another challenge is having to give up for a time the important projects and activities in order to attend to what’s most important.

I will say there were times both Angie and I became frustrated with our situation, depressed, and tired. But when we get derailed I think it’s so important to see what God is doing in this. To be able to slow down and shift our priorities when we are called to do so. To stop doing what we want and do what He wants us to do with joy in our hearts no matter how challenging we may think it is.

I think when derailed it’s important to look at it as a test God is putting us through. Then we can focus on passing the test!! The test here for me was slowing down and being willing to give up things I feel called to do in order to do what’s most important. Often we are called to do things but can misunderstand God's timing. Sometimes we have to slow down and let God make the path before us.

I think it’s when we are derailed in life that we learn the most. Our response to the challenge is what’s most important. Unfortunately many don’t respond how God probably wants us to. I didn’t in this situation part of the time…but as soon as I did the scales fell from my eyes and I could start to see how many blessings came from this…how much I’m learning and how much more I understand my wife and what she does.

This journey isn’t over as we have 5 months left of her being pregnant with a bad back but what a great journey to be on with my wife. What a great growth experience, what a great learning experience. I read 30 books last year, which was exhilarating. I learned so much. I started getting depressed since my reading has halted but really I’ve learned so much through this challenge. Learning comes in all different forms and our best learning comes from the challenges that come our way and figuring out how to respond best and work through it relying on Christ.

I’m getting my joy back, which is what God calls us to have despite any and all challenges.

My marriage and my kids will be stronger for this experience. “Thank you God for allowing challenge in our lives to grow my family and I in new ways...Thank you for using your people to minister to us in practical ways...I pray that we honor you Lord no matter what comes our way"



"How an Extroardinary Year Happens"

The very nature of a human being is to have unending potential…God designed us this way but it is up to us to constantly discover more of it...new potential is found through being intentional about our development as a person.

Our Potential has a self-imposed lid on it. The lid is based on our current development as a leader, as a person. To change our current potential we must be purposefully trying to grow as a person. Current Development = Current Potential

In the pursuit of our development we develop more potential for all that we want to accomplish and all that God wants us to be.

This is why we feel certain levels of confidence about achieving things…We may know what we want but lack confidence in pursueing them….think of your goals for 2008 and dreams beyond...

If we don’t seek personal growth our potential stays right were we are in our own eyes. Our view of our potential keeps us here…in our comfortable place

It takes a proactive approach to growing personally…It doesn't happen automatically……choosing the right books to read, calling people and asking questions, putting plans on paper and thinking through them….implementing what we are learning constantly…..

Why do people come up so short from their goals?….they didn't grow to the level of their goals…they didn’t commit to that growth before the year even started.


It’s okay not to feel confident…our confidence grows as we do things that cause us to grow …confidence is found through action…Action must come before confidence most of the time. This is why so many stagnate in their growth as people because this is hard to do. It’s hard to make yourself take action when we don’t feel the confidence to do so.

What dreams do you have that you won't take action on?

I believe doing despite our lack of confidence is easier when you surrender to the Lord because when we are walking close with the Lord there is less to worry about. In fact the closer we are to Jesus the less we worry. The opposite is also true..the more distant we are from Him the more we worry. The more self absorbed we become…focusing on our fears vs what we want or even better what God wants for us. Focusing on our challenges vs our opportunity..focusing on existence vs thriving working for the lord…

See it’s a huge advantage for people that have a relationship with God because the less our lives are about us the more we charge ahead with faith vs. our personal confidence. We get used to living by faith vs our own capabilities. It’s an amazing way to live, with a faith in our Creator we can rely upon Him vs ourselves. What an amazing opportunity to rest upon the Lord…to push forward despite our insecurities because we know God is with us and God is for us.

This is a major difference between those that truly love life and don’t. We love life when we are forging new ground, when we are stimulated, when we are developing. We love life when we are close to God and doing His work in all we do.

The biggest excuse people use is the lack of time…I tell people I will have read 30 books by year end…the common response is “I just don’t have the time to do that”. The biggest mistake people make is to not find time for their own development. What’s amazing about time is when we make time for our development it creates time. How? We have more energy and passion in all that we do when we are growing so things don’t take so long. We become twice as effective as we were.

So much time is wasted by our lack of passion and energy. Without passion and energy we waste time with unimportant tasks that create the least amount of results. We don’t do the most important things but feel we are working hard. We don't attract people to our products or cause as well. People make this same excuse about reading the bible consistently. What’s amazing is when we put God first, when we give him our firsts; Our first fruits, the first of our time…he blesses that.

If you say “I don’t have enough time to read the bible daily” I would say back “That’s exactly why you need to do it daily so you get more time” It’s a paradox isn’t it..the very thing we use as an excuse is the thing we get more of if we just did it.

So as 2007 comes to a close think about the year. How have you grown this year? Are you happy with that? What were your goals at the beginning of the year? How did you do? If you are far from what you would of liked to have happen in 2007 then I think you will agree it’s time for a change. It’s time to get angry..get to a point of disgust about it so we do something about it that’s drastic.

We’ve gotta get disturbed before we make real life changes. Get serious about your growth in 2008. It’s a clean slate, a brand new year that can be your best year ever!!

In fact I started a journal this time last year…On the first page I wrote “This will be my best year ever” I then made commitments for the new year, dreams and goals. This has been the most extraordinary year of my life. Why? because I got intentional about how the year was going to be, committed to paper. Shared them with people and pursued them daily.

More importantly I was willing to do when I didn't feel like it. I was willing to take action when I felt I couldn't do it because I trusted that God would show up and guess what...God showed up in amazing ways in 2007. I believe He will show up for you too if you take leaps in faith towards your dreams this year.

It’s time to be unreasonable

• About what you are willing to do

• About not joining the crowd

• About your personal development

• About your vision

• About the moment

• About your relationship with Christ



"It Doesn't Matter What I Want"

It doesn’t matter what I want....

We often want things because God puts them on our heart, puts the desire there for good things, great things, big and small things. When it comes down to acting on this desire we often don’t want it anymore, we don’t want to do what we need to in order to achieve it. But that is living a life of doing only what we want to do versus what God wants us to do.

When something good is put on our heart…fed into our mind….no matter how difficult we must push forward to do it. See, when it gets tough our desire gets overwhelmed by fear…our insecurities and doubt…we often turn our back on that desire placed by God in us.

I believe the most important reason God puts good desires into our heart is the growth that will take place in us when pursuing it…whatever "it" is….and even more important is that we will have to rely upon God to push forward...

If God called us to only do things that we thought we could do then we wouldn't need Him, we wouldn't have to rely upon Him. Instead we must push forward and rely upon Him...not only do we learn a ton about ourselves in the journey but we strengthen our faith and relationship with Him.

God loves us no matter what and no matter what we do good or bad it doesn’t change that love…He doesn’t love anyone more then another…we are all His children but God doesn’t want us to stay the same….He is a God that expects growth.

The journey is more important to God then the destination sometimes. I think if we look at it this way then we will charge forward despite our hesitations…we won’t do what we want but we will do what God wants which is to persevere…stay the course..charge forward and become more of what God wants us to be.

The greatest blessings in life come to those who aren’t living for themselves and what they want but instead are servants first to Christ and then to others around them….when we serve Him and others, we get blessed beyond what we could of ever wanted or thought of.

It takes seeing the big picture…why are we on this earth?…for ourselves? Nope…a life focused on ourselves is a miserable life. Our culture constantly is pushing people towards focusing on our selves..God is constantly trying to focus His people off of themselves

We have to listen to Him to hear Him though...without listening we just call what culture hands us as normal and accept it as the way to live...never accept normal...go for abnormal

Who are you going to let win this battle, this war against your focus? Our culture or God?



"How Two became One"

There once was a man that was weary, that just wanted to be loved and was alone, he lived for himself and pursued success as the priority. One day God sent an angel from heaven to deliver a message to him. The most important message in the universe; the message of salvation. This message was delivered many times before but all he saw was their weakness, people believing in something good so they can cope with life.

He needed no such thing because he was in control and creating the life he dreamed. He lived a life of independence because the world had taught him that depending on anything else would lead to disappointment. This time was different though, God was in control and determined so he sent an Angel to him and gave her the words and wisdom to cut through the thick skin of independence and unbelief...

She showed him how unhappy he really was at a point of extreme worldly success. It was through her joy that was not of this world that began the transformation. A joy he had never witnessed before, a joy that only comes from a soul drenched in the Holy spirit.

It began with a question the man could not answer, a question that cut to the heart of him and revealed the real emptiness, the void that he had filled with inferior answers and things. The pivotal question the Angel asked was so simple and so lethal to his selfishness. She asked; "What is your purpose in life"?. He began wrestling in his mind for an answer but everything seemed so trivial that used to make perfect sense.

After struggling with a few answers he asked her; "What is your purpose in life?" The spirit moved her with the truth, the truth from above that blessed his soul forever. She shared with him how God had used her, how she was on earth to share the truth of the Lord, to be God's tool so others can have life, life beyond this world, life forever with the Lord.

Living for the world became so trivial to him after hearing this. He realized his purposes had flaws, "helping people grow", "Developing leaders"... as great as these things are he realized the comparable insignificance of his answers.

He fell deeply in love with her immediately; she was the most beautiful person he had ever met inside and out. He felt a draw to her that was so strong nothing else mattered. This draw to her drove her away, she left never to return but the seed had already been planted and it was growing fast in the man. He kept wrestling with his poor answers for his existence and the idea that God could actually love him so deeply. That he could actually have a relationship with God closer then any father he had ever hoped to have.

He was driven to figure it out, to figure out what this God was all about. He was driven to find the catch, find the reason He didn't exist but every turn to disprove His existence just ended up strengthening his belief in Him. This journey was difficult and lonely because God was changing him, he no longer had the same desires his friends had and became alone by the worlds standards. As he slept something had waken him in the middle of the night, all he could see was a light from God in his room. He was told that everything in the bible was true and since it's true then he's got something to do. The fear of the Lord was upon him and he got on his knees and asked Jesus to be his father, to be his God, to be his Savior.

He now began to experience a new joy and a new life path began. His purpose in life was now to do whatever God told him to do. To be a light in a world of darkness, to shine his light wherever he goes and speak the truth through example and words.

The man's love continued to grow for his angel. He prayed to God to bring her to him, for God to bless him with a life of her company and sure enough God handed her to him in marriage.

God put the man and the angel together for reasons beyond their understanding. For reasons still to be discovered. But they have realized that their lights shining together became so much brighter for the world to see. That together their impact is magnified, that together God can use them in different ways, important ways. They were meant to be together forever and so they are. The two have become one to further the mission of Christ.



"The Power of the Moment"

This moment matters for all future moments you want in life and beyond

The power of the moment is immense, each moment aids or hinders the next, each moment creates fortune or disaster. The challenge is in this moment the consequences are unseen and the best course of action or thought in the moment is seldom the one that is easier to choose. This is why so many choose thoughts and actions that only later lead them to the lesser destinations. Lead them away from what they truly want in life, away from the path God wants them to take...

The successful, the fulfilled are the people that understand this and are not blinded by the moment. They seize the moment and often are uncomfortable because they are growing, they are choosing growth, they are becoming more, they are uncomfortable because they are picking the harder thought or action to take. They are choosing to succeed in the very moment that most are subconsciously choosing defeat.

Everyone has an ideal path to travel; the actions and thoughts in the moment are what keep us on that path or take us down a path that leads to normalcy, mediocrity and defeat.
Awareness of this is what keeps us on the path or gets us back on it. Awareness only comes from living by the highest standards for ourselves.

Standards we live by are what get us back on the path. The people with the highest standards are the ones that see the value in the moment and make corrections needed to get back on the path. Without standards we don’t realize we have been choosing and thinking incorrectly until it’s too late. Defeat and mediocrity have already arrived, we get so off the path to what we want, what God wants for us because our standards are too low.

Each moment offers an array of emotions, responses to situations, thoughts we can choose and actions we can take. God made it this way so we can freely choose Him and His path, but we have to choose it.

The good news is no matter how far off track we get in life there is always a way back, hopefully we learn the lessons from getting to this place and set high standards for our life. This breeds new habits which leads to consistent actions that create improved outcomes and fulfillment in life. If we don’t learn and change from this experience our whole life will be extreme highs and lows because we never developed a conviction about where we want to go and set the standards necessary to be there, to get there, to live the way God wants us to live.

Either way God loves us the same, the choices and thoughts of the moment will be reflected in our life, our impact, our success, our fulfillment, and our relationship with Christ.




I'm convinced that everything has 3-4 fundamentals that create high performance when followed precisely. If we aren't getting the results we want with something then the fundamentals need to be executed more closely.

We become frustrated and neurotic if we believe anything else. The first place to look for improvement must be within us, otherwise we play the blame game, we place blame in places we have little or no control.

If we buy into the blame game we will believe we are executing the fundamentals and not getting results. If we're here then there is little hope for improvement and negativity and frustration will take the place of achieving what we want.

Here is the test to see if that's true...

Are there others somewhere achieving the results you want? If someone is, then the only possibility is that you can execute fundamentals better. Precision is key when it's a fundamental.

Spend a majority of your time working on improving at the engines of success---the fundamentals. Never succumb to the belief that there is no room for improvement. At the height of his game, Tiger Woods decided that he could get better but to do so he must completely change his swing. He developed a completely new swing and improved his game.

We are neurotic if we ever believe we are doing everything right but not getting results. All we can control in this world is our response to things. Respond well when you are lacking the success or results you want. Focus on your own improvement over anything else because that is what we can control and that is the fastest route to the destinations we desire.



"The Balanced Life Myth"

The amount of time spent doesn't necessarily show priority. God says to work 6 days and take 1 day for rest. Does this mean God is saying work is the #1 priority? Obviously not but that is what people spend most of their time doing.

Our heart shows priority.....How we spend our leisure time shows priority and of course how we spend our money shows priority.

Balance is a funny thing...people are constantly seeking balance. I think often we have some vision in our head of what that would look like and we get frustrated that we aren't achieving that picture. Sometimes this battle with wanting balance can throw us off the best possible path for our lives. A path of great positive influence on our world...

Was Moses balanced as we would describe it?

Was Paul balanced?

Was Jesus Balanced as society might think of it?

Think of anyone that we have great admiration for and I think you will find that there were times their life was completely out of the balance we think is ideal.

I think of my greatest periods of time in life and in many cases they were the times I was the most out of balance. These were memorable because of the challenges, the forced growth upon myself, rigorous work schedules and out of it pure Joy because of who I was becoming, new levels of confidence, achievement and influence.

We must not waste time at work but also we don't want to waste time trying not to work when it's needed. Don't waste time feeling guilty about working when it's a time that's important to do so.

There will be times of great unbalance in our lives that forges new growth in us. I don't believe we can be pursuing our God given potential by always being balanced as we may picture it.

And if we are so caught up in what we don't have in our life we may miss out on all that God has given us in this moment.

So don't throw in the chips and give into a picture of total balance--We must keep charging and pursuing our potential--You know you are if you still have times of great unbalance because your charging towards something great and challenging.



"Here for Big Things"

God says each of us are unique and special, put on this earth for a reason. Our own beliefs often diminish our own feelings that we are special and have a purpose to fulfill. If a person can get themselves to the point of feeling as special as God knows they are it will perpetuate all they do in life for the better

"I'm special" "I have special talents and gifts" "I"m on this earth for important reasons"

We don't always need to know Gods reasons or mission on earth for us---That's okay.
As long as we are proactively preparing ourselves in a general sense new doors of opportunity will open and our growth and influence will improve.

I'm on a mission right now--This year will be one of my largest personal growth years of my life--a year of new kinds of preparation led by the spirit. I don't know what I'm preparing for but it feels good...

I feel more alive then ever! It seems the more I prepare the more God uses me for good. I'm coming to the conclusion that we always should be preparing. We've gotta stop trying to figure everything out--it's actually more fun to prepare without knowing what it's for. Instead just go to work on yourself--constantly learn and challenge yourself.

My life has been relatively comfortable in 2006. It surely was an adventure with all the events of the year but still there wasn't a lot of tension on me. Tension is important, it keeps us growing!!


"I Don't Need To Know"

So many times we pray for God to show us what He wants for us, what He wants us to do in life. God has his own timing which I have found isn't in line with our own. This can present a problem if we wait for God to show us what he wants us to do.

Perhaps He is waiting for us to prepare with faith. But Hey--How do we know what to prepare? Especially since we don't know what we are preparing for. Good question--God wants us to have faith. When we prepare by faith we can make sure we are truly preparing for what God wants for us. He will show us how to prepare if we ask--I think He is much more likely to immediately put things in our life that direct our preparation then simply say "Here is exactly what I want you to do with your life".

Our God is a God of action...

As we take action in our preparation by faith I believe He will show us things he wants us to do that we would of never came or even thought of ourselves.

Preparation today is what gets us ready for whatever is next.

Waiting today keeps us from the progress God wants for us.

I believe God wants us always preparing, constantly creating tension on ourselves that forces growth. This tension isn't comfortable but real growth usually only happens when we are getting uncomfortable because we are forging new ground.



My 10 Best Practices

I was asked to give a message to a business networking group on my 10 best practices

Here they are...

1. Clear vision of what I want
2. Create meaning in what I do beyond the obvious
3. Attract talent (The right spouse is most important)
4. Leadership Training
5. Communicate a simple vision "Choose Growth"
6. Do what's most important and delegate the rest
7. Start with the most difficult tasks first
8. Live a disciplined life
9. Pursue my own personal growth (Spiritual growth most important)
10. Keep it simple "Fundamentals" ---Drive them

I would add the most important one which is to honor God in all I do (this wouldn't go over that well for the business meeting but is my most important practice)



"Change Catalyst"

This year has been life changing just 22 days into it. They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit and it feels true!

Often when we think of making changes in our life we develop a list that becomes idealistic--the perfect picture--we say to ourselves, "Here are all the ways I need and want to change". We think of all that needs to happen this year and we think we are going to do it. Unfortunately we become so set in the rythem of our days and lives that to attempt to change more then 1 or 2 things becomes almost impossible all at once.

To actually follow through on this idealistic picture becomes daunting and discouraging once we realize it's been 10 days without following through. Days become weeks, weeks months and before we know it it's new years again and almost nothing we had great intentions to do came to fruition. The real challenge is...

years can become decades without real change, without shifting your life in the real direction you want.

This year I decided to take the simple approach. I thought; "what are the most important things in my life that are lacking that would create the most fulfillment and personal change".

The first thing was my health and the second was reading the Bible consistently

I had to be specific and keep it simple because the key is; success at a small level that triggers larger changes.

I call this a "Change catalyst"--That small commitment that creates a wake of new habits and personal change

I committed to 50 crunches every day this year and read something everyday in the bible

2 very simple commitments that could take as little as 10 minutes to achieve

Everyday is key because it creates new habits--New habits lead to other new habits....

Crunches has lead for a desire to eat better, increasing the number of crunches to 100 per day, now I added push ups every day, other exercise has been added and the affects on my life already are tremendous. It all started from 7 minutes on the floor a day!

Reading the bible daily has inspired me to dig in and learn as much as possible--the words have become alive like never before---God is teaching me so much through his word and this has led to all kinds of positive changes in my life

Now my favorite part of the day is to do these 2 things everyday

Perhaps even more important then the actual events I'm doing is the fact that I committed and followed through, I'm developing an identity that I do what I say I will do to myself--to myself is the key. This is the real change--the fact that when I say I will do something I have to do it because that's who I am. I'm a person that does what I say I'm going to do...

The MOST important aspect of following through on these small commitments was telling the people I lead in business them and to hold me accountable. I announced them on a conference call I ran at the first of the year. Now it's beyond what I feel like doing--we have to have a pull on us beyond our own feelings. We will seldom feel like doing things uncomfortable but I've noticed that the good things for us to do usually involve getting uncomfortable. Leverage is the key to follow through!



"Pride vs Confidence"

There is a major difference between pride and confidence:


-Pride stops learning because of feelings of "I got it" "I'm better than this"
"I've heard it before"
-Pride puts blame elsewhere vs How can I get better
-Pride creates mediocrity
-Pride focus's on our needs vs needs of others
-Pride is the enemy of true confidence, Pride = False Confidence

What is True Confidence?

-Belief that you can do something
-Strong in your identity--someone that really knows who they are
-Someone that is honest with themselves, they know their strengths and weaknesses
-Experience creates confidence--- a history of successes
-Confidence is real--there are true reasons supporting a persons confidence
-Confidence is about understanding and mastering fundamentals

The more we humble ourselves the more He can lift us up

What areas do we need to push pride out and replace it with real confidence