LIFT Living in Fullness Today

The joy continues.

I am so thankful and humbled by the response to my new book, LIFT, Living in Fullness Today, published by Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

Lift is what God does to get people off the ground. Lift is what aerodynamics does to get airplanes off the ground. LIFT is needed in every man and every woman’s life, everyday.

On Launch Day we watched as people posted, “I got mine.” And every new picture and post brought tears to my eyes as I watched my dream come true. I wanted to see people encouraged on a national scale, enough with the blame game, criticism, laughing at others, putting others down and division. People need to be lifted not downgraded. Lifted not scorned. Lifted not shunned.

Launch Day and the day after proved to be amazing. God kept amazing me. On Launch Day, LIFT, went from Amazon’s Best Seller Rating on Spiritual Growth Books #16,698 at 8:30 am to #365 by 9:00 pm. And, Kindle downloads, the day after on Amazon’s Best Seller Rating #55 in Christian Prayer and #283 in Christian Spiritual Growth.

I asked several people, including my congregation, to believe in prayer, specifically on Launch Day, that God would be glorified as the CEO of LIFT. It wasn’t the money because writers don’t get rich but it was a message needed among thousands.

Thank you! To the many people who bought the book, thank you! For the many people who posted their picture with “I got mine,” thank you!  For the many pastors who ordered multiple copies for their staff, thank you! For the many people who prayed and believed with us, thank you!

If you haven’t ordered LIFT here is a link for both paperback and Kindle download. Blessings to you.

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Achieve Your Goals This Year

Goals like resolutions are often broken without the intended results we wished for – I know, I have done the same thing only to feel guilty and disappointed in myself. However, last year’s goals were beat beyond my expectation and create a greater confidence in God and my purpose in life. Whether jogging, writing, blogging, dieting, prayer, spiritual growth or business projections, you CAN do it.

Here are some of the tools I use frequently in setting goals:

Write Each One Down Writing down your goals is essential in “fleshing out” your dreams. Placing your goals on paper builds a system of checks and balances.

Develop a Bull’s Eye Be specific. Be focused. You may have to rewrite your goals, as I have done, they can’t be general, for instance, “write a blog” may be better stated, “write on my blog twice a week.” A goal must be “zeroed in on” if you are to be satisfied with the results.

Collect Pictures Gather pictures (I call them “visual reminders”) to consistently remind me of the goals I created and the hopes of accomplishment. Place them in a prominent position so you can view them frequently.

Build a Theme This has been a huge plus for me in accomplishing my goals. For instance, my theme this year is “APPROPRIATING.” Simply appropriate my dreams into life settings. Having a scripture underneath my theme is a double positive, my scripture this year is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Evaluate Often Check your goals often, don’t be disappointed if you didn’t accomplish one goal or two, I have set 18 Health, Reading, Praying, Living, Family and Financial goals this year, There will be many I accomplish, hopefully all of them but realistically some may fall by the wayside.

Do the Little Ones First You can build momentum to the larger ones by accomplishing the little goals first. I usually read my Bible, read my devotional, read a chapter in a book, pray, write in my blog, exercise and more; by 8:00 in the morning I have already accomplished half of my 18 annual goals. However, here is a caution, don’t be so mesmerized by the small goals accomplished that you’re not spurned on to the larger goals.

Don’t be Afraid of Baby Steps Some goals take longer, so I must be incremental, in other words, steps must be set to each goal, “How will I reach the goal?” For blogging, I set ten to twenty minutes to write so I can have two posts a week, maybe I write in the morning, maybe a little in the afternoon, but I stair step to the goal rather than take giant steps. Don’t be afraid to jog .5 miles for two or three months. Add 10% growth to your accomplishment the next month.

Pray About It Purpose in life is God-given and goals develop purpose in my life. It is reasonable to pray about the life I am living in God’s purposes.

Memorize Scripture This is something I stumbled upon to be honest. My wife and I decided to memorize together Psalms 91, not only did it erase fear but it placed our mind and spirit in a different frame of mind. Sharpen your mind by memorizing and meditating on the Word of God.

Celebrate Accomplishment When some goals have been accomplished I will go to a coffee shop, take my iPad and just savor the moment. Goals can’t be driven 24/7 – you must find time to think, relax and enjoy.

Comment: What system do you use to accomplish your goals?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

When Do You Need A Mentor?

Picture1Now – Is the correct answer. Life is better when another set of eyes views the project. Life is better when another heart feels concern. Life is better when another mind has assisted in thinking out the process. Life is better when two carry the load.

A young couple found another couple in their church; this couple had been married about ten years more and had served God since their teens. The young couple heard laughable and insightful stories to encourage them through the bumps in their own marriage.

A pastor was navigating his church through difficult waters, stressful and tired, he and his wife called an older pastor and his wife over for dinner. The evening went quickly and after the older couple left, the pastor’s wife smiled at her husband, “I feel totally refreshed.”

An aspiring writer wanted to put something together but kept hitting rough spots; she called an experienced author and asked if they could meet over coffee. They did and continue to meet – inspiring each other.

A mentor may meet once but most likely will meet several times and often. A mentor is not a counselor but a coach. Not “I have all the answers” but “let’s find the answers.” A mentor doesn’t push but coaxed. A mentor is concerned and you should be honest but a mentor is not a garbage can to put your trash in.

Mentors Coach You To Go To The Next Level. If you wish to grow in a more rapid pace you will need a coach. A true mentor will encourage you to take risks with careful consideration, to spend money frugally, and to make decisions prayerfully.  A wise mentor will not push you to the next level but will persuade you to take the next step.

Mentors Address The Vision. Mentors will dig until your true vision comes to the surface. Mentors will prod until your true feelings are exposed. Mentors ask questions about your vision, your dream and your purpose in life.

Mentors Discover The Path. A mentor will encourage you to take the first step in the right direction. A classroom, a conference, a phone call, a book, may be the right step but a mentor will help you find what the next step is.

Mentors Will Pray With You. A real mentor knows prayer unveils truth, discovers direction, and fills the heart. Compassion is the unique quality of an effective mentor. You may not see them every week but when you do you know it is a God moment. Praying together helps the heart to find its purpose.

Comment: What do you feel is a great characteristic of a mentor? Do you have a mentor?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Do You Know How to End Well?

bookWhere to begin is not an important as where to end. When writing an article, speaking in front of a crowd or living life, the conclusion is best when done well. Most people will remember how you finished much more than how you began. As you prepare it is essential to picture your conclusion in your beginning. Just as life: we live our life so we will end well. In writing or speaking we must end well. The height of the message shouldn’t be buried somewhere during the discourse but reach for a highpoint during the introduction, during the plot and especially in the conclusion. To drift towards the end is to leave the matter undone.

I am always learning more about writing and speaking but here are a few tips on bringing your book, article or speaking engagement to a greater ending:

Stories Tie It All Together. Probably nothing can conclude your message like a well-rounded, thought-provoking, heartfelt story.

Unravel The Plot. “The resolution, also often called denouement, which is French for “to untie” or “unraveling”, is the conclusion of the story. Here, the conflicts are resolved, all loose ends are tied up, and the story concludes with either a happy or sad ending.” https://wikis.engrade.com/plottingashortstory

Create A Continuing Scene. This continuing scene leaves the listener or reader on the edge of his seat to bring him again for the much-anticipated conclusion or continuation.

Hand Out Something. During my speaking career I have handed out ropes, ribbons, a card, rocks, fishhooks and more. I went into a business office two years after speaking on “Not Letting Go!” and a business woman had taped the fish-hook to her office phone and said it was a continual reminder to never let anyone go.

Conclude With A Climax. By definition a climax is “the point of highest dramatic tension.” It is that moment when emotion feels, ears listen best and eyes visualize the most. Create a climax and your listeners or readers will come back for more.

Comment: Can you add another reason why the conclusion needs to end on a high note?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

When to Say NO

noThere is probably not a harder word to say with conviction than the word, “No!” For the motivated and vision driven leaders we have a tendency to lean on “more is better.” Busy is the key word in business – so we work harder, schedule tighter, press on more and push until exhausted. When we do say, “No,” it is usually with a bowed head and droopy eyes; as if we had just been informed someone had passed away. No is negative – is our perception but I would like to introduce you to the positive no; the positive way to say, “No” with conviction and tenacity. Should I be able to say, “No!” without guilt? We like to please people but by saying, “No” at the right time is to be able to live with a light in your eyes even though you have turned down a worthy request.

Here are several reasons why “NO” needs to be your next answer:

To Have The Freedom To Say “Yes” To The More Important. When you refuse the insignificant and choose the important, you have just made a mature and essential choice. You have freed up your time to dive headlong into your vision and to intensify your efforts towards your dream. Doing what someone else deems important keeps me from doing what I feel is important. Ask yourself this question, Does this lead me to my important goals I have set?

To Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Worry And Fear. More to do will bring on more stress – give yourself some breathing room. Over committed translates underachieved. Set your focus around the necessary instead of the weighty. Ask yourself this question, Does this contribute to my stress or my delight?

  • Schedule your day, week and month with opportunities not jobs.
  • Set goals with liberty and room to reset the goal when necessary
  • Scratch items that can be delegated or dropped without repercussions

To Have More Thinking Time The ability to think is having a vacation in the mind. Writers, authors, speakers, leaders and pastors need time to think – creativity flows into spontaneous delivery. A short trip to the coffee shop, a walk in the park, or time with the family can have an amazing flow of energy and excitement back into the heart of the artist. Sometimes simply changing location will broaden your horizon. Ask yourself this question, Does this add to my life or subtract from my time?

To Enjoy Life Schedule time off, relax and enjoy moments of inactivity. This is one of my greatest difficulties is doing nothing. I am not advocating laziness or slothfulness nor procrastination but rest, sleep, relaxation and a day off. While writing a particular chapter in my last book, Highpoints, I had come to a place where my mind just wasn’t as sharp. My words were scrambled more than my eggs were for breakfast. I put on my jogging outfit and went for a couple of miles, upon returning fresh words filled my mind and I finished the chapter with greater ease than before. Ask yourself this question, Does this bless me or mess with me?

To Follow My Dream When pursuing the ideas of others I forfeit the dreams in my heart. To accomplish what the vision within me I must say, “No!” to the distractions around me. Don’t feel guilty about saying, “No,” when you are fulfilling the dreams within you. Focus is the supreme key to productivity. Ask yourself this question, Does this take me into my dream?

Comment: When do you say, No”?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Why You Shouldn’t Quit Today

4581Michelangelo spent 4 years painting the now infamous Sistine Chapel The Creation of Adam masterpiece. The physical demands of standing on a scaffold painting above his head were torture. One night, exhausted by his work, alone with his doubts, discouraged by a project that was too great for him, he wrote in his journal a single sentence: “I am no painter.” Yet for 500 yrs now this picture has spoken of God’s great desire to be with the human beings He created in His own image! When you feel like saying “I am no _____________” … DON’T QUIT! (Quoted by Pastor Derwin Ward).

From start to finish the climb is not a rocket shot straight up. Nor does life continue to go up on a sharp incline but it is rather a spiral of events leading to the achievement. Dreams are fulfilled in a mass of events rather than a series of events. Your confusion is another progressive step upward. Your indecision is another stair step. Life is not always confined to easy stair steps – you are looking for a fast escalator but instead it is a maze. Insecurity will come one day, indecision the next, rejection another then WHAM! A simple step forward moves you closer to your dream, closer to your passion and guides you, ever so close, to achievement.

When you say, “I am not a writer!” or, “I am not a designer” or, “I am not________” You just moved closer to the place, position and more so, the person you have wanted to be. Defeat may be your biggest boost to victory. Trial and error is a lesson for those who will try again.

Never let success go to your head and never let failure go to your heart – Pastor Chris Farley

Pattern Yourself after the Best Not after the Worst

When you are re-evaluating your loss it will be simple to compare yourself to those around you who have failed. If you are at the bottom of the barrel it is easy to look at others at the bottom of the barrel. Joseph in the book of Genesis was put in a pit and a prison but he had a palace in his heart. When you are in a fit of despair pray until the dream becomes real to you again.

 

Rather Than Quit Why Not Reinvent?

  • Reinvent by putting pictures up of recent accomplishments.
  • Make of list of your wins.
  • Don’t despise the day of small things.
  • Go back to the basics.

Ask yourself “WHY” did that work? Instead of asking when and where and who and what – ask the biggest question first – WHY? Once you answer the WHY the dream will live again, the adrenaline will flow and hope will turn into courage.

 

Get Help

Gather positive friends around you to encourage you in your journey. Research your topic again. Be the best you can be by investing into yourself. Grow in the areas you want to be great in. Study and read often on your subject. Push until something happens.

 

Your Set Back is Your Get Back into the Game

While you sit and soak and sour it may be easy to throw in the towel but I am willing to throw the towel back at you and say, “Get back in the game.” Fight harder. Stay true to yourself. Laugh and enjoy the closest ones around you. Live again. Dream again.

 

Comment: What has been your experience? Have you tried, threatened to quit then tried again?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

The Sixth Swing

Picture2I have asked a guest blogger, Niki, to write today. More information about Niki is at the end of the article

 The sun was finally shining again after several days of wintry bliss.  A gentle breeze was blowing just enough to make one entertain the idea of kite flying and the hint of spring brushed the air.  The playground was filled with smiling children grateful at last for a chance to be outdoors. Laughter saturated the air with a happy melody promising that winter soon would give way to sunnier days.

Her eyes met mine and a smile quickly spread across her face when she recognized me.  Her hand shot up in the air and back down again as if she became embarrassed midway through her greeting.   She darted around the slide out of sight and I began explaining to my daughters who the little girl was.

Several times she walked briskly in front of our family jabbering with a friend about the last time we had seen each other.  Then she would run to the woman who had brought her to the park.  I presumed she was telling her about us because of the vigorous pointing in our direction.

Sometime later as we were swinging and Daddy was giving “monster pushes” to our five kids, I noticed she occupied the sixth swing.  The girlish chatter was gone along with the giggles and grins I’d seen from her moments before.  She sat motionless in the swing, her small hand clutching the chain and her cheek resting against her knuckles.   She seemed to stare at nothing in particular though I caught her stealing frequent glances at our family.  She was momentarily oblivious to her friend’s pleas to join her on the slide again.

My heart broke as I watched her and replayed what I knew of her tragic story in my mind.  She had two sisters; her mommy and daddy were no longer married to each other; her daddy’s new girlfriend was the one who had brought her to the park; and her friend was the new girlfriend’s daughter.

Watching her sit motionless on the swing, I imagined her looking at our family and wishing she could have what we have.  A year ago, she did.  Now her little world was turned upside down and broken, and she was left to pick up the pieces and to try to make sense of it all.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized she had joined the ranks of so many other little boys and girls of our world today whose lives and homes were broken.  For some, the selfish effects of divorce have become common place, but never to those who suffer from its reality.

Once the infection of selfishness becomes obvious, changing one’s behavior is difficult, almost impossible.  The cure requires a heart transplant strengthened by daily Bible reading and prayer time to counteract the symptoms.

It has been said that marriage problems are simply “me” problems.  If I could learn how to get “me” out of the way, I could have a successful, thriving marriage; and therefore, raise healthy, thriving children.

Is my marriage immune to the disease of selfishness? Have I always been perfectly unselfish?  Don’t let me mislead you.  My husband and I have had our fair amount of struggles, often stemming from selfishness.  But for the grace of God, it would be my own little girl sitting idly in that swing wishing she wasn’t a statistic, inwardly longing for a “perfect” family. 

No family is perfect; there are no easy marriages.  Every couple must make a decision to love unconditionally– a love that is not subject to one condition or any condition.

Unfaithfulness, harmful addictions, and even “falling out of love” are symptoms of the condition of marriages and the raging disease of selfishness.  Sadly, selfishness has affected all mankind which is evidenced by the number of broken homes and failed marriages. 

The lives of children are impacted negatively by Mommy and Daddy’s decision to divorce simply because it’s too hard to learn how to live together and love each other unselfishly.  Physically, the child’s heart races and their stomachs sicken when they hear Mommy and Daddy fighting for their own selfish rights.  They wonder what they did to cause this or if they could be good enough to keep it from happening.  The enemy seizes the opportunity to ruin another soul because the parents think they are entitled to fulfilling their own selfish desires.

What can be done to keep the disease of selfishness from infecting our marriages and keep our little ones from being left alone on a swing longing to have a family life that only their parents working together through Jesus Christ can give? 

The antidote for the disease of selfishness is found in Philippians 2:3-4 where we are told to count others more significant than ourselves and to look to the interests of others.  Another antidote, found in Galatians 5:26 cautions that we should not become conceited, provoking or envying one another.   More importantly, we can live I Corinthians 13:4-6: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. This will ensure that we not only keep our little ones from the sorrow of a broken family, we can provide a thriving one for them!

I challenge you to immediately take the first steps in relieving the symptoms of selfishness in your life.  Don’t wait for your spouse to start the process.  Be the change in your marriage today!  Do what it takes to ensure that your child never occupies the sixth swing.

                 Picture1                               

Niki enjoys homeschooling her five children, homemaking, sewing, and creating inspirational art for the home. She has been married for twenty years to her best friend, Steve. They have two precious blessings resting in the arms of Jesus. Their family has enjoyed working together in children’s ministry since 1992 and Niki is currently working towards getting her first children’s book published. She is the blog author of For Journey’s Sake and can also be found on face book writing about her passion to mentor and encourage women and girls on their journey to becoming Proverbs 31 virtuous women.

It Couldn’t Be Done

IT COULDN’T BE DONE

4581Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, as he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one we know has done it.”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you,
one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That cannot be done, and you’ll do it.

By: Edgar Guest

New Book by blogger Josh Hood

3d_j_250x400I am introducing a new book by my good friend, Josh Hood.
 
What circumstances in your life right now would you call “bad”?
 
Maybe it’s a health condition. The doctor walked in and rocked your world with three little words: “You have cancer.” Or maybe a heart attack left you flat on your back saying, “Oh, that’s not good.”
 
Maybe it’s a financial need. You lost your job and you sit at a kitchen table littered with bills and invoices, running your fingers through your hair, and thinking, “Oh, that’s not good.”
Maybe it’s a strained relationship. A friendship you never thought would fall apart did. A marriage you thought was strong wasn’t. Your heart is broken, your cheeks are tear stained, and you’re crying out, “Oh, that’s not good!”
 
But maybe it’s not health, finances, or relational issues that are making you unhappy.
 
Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, it’s the part of your life that would not have been written this way if you were writing the story.
 
We look at these parts of our lives and label them “bad.” But I’ve discovered you and I are terrible at evaluating what is good or bad.
 
Some of God’s greatest blessings in your life are the times He has messed up your plans. Maybe you should write that down and stick it on your refrigerator, on your desk, or in your car.
 
That way, when things don’t go the way you planned and you’re tempted to label something bad, you can remember this truth.
 
God doesn’t mess up your plans out of vengeance or spite. He does it out of mercy.
Sometimes the worst things that happen to you are the best things that happen to you.
 
Blessings in Disguise is a reminder of God’s infinite sovereignty, even in the midst of pain, problems, and unwanted circumstances.
I hope you laugh. I hope you cry. But most of all, I hope you never see your problems the same way again.
 
Read his blogs here www.joshuamhood.com