Month: April 2012

Yesterday was a FUN day

Yesterday was the culmination of 10 years of dreaming and praying.

Yesterday was a day free of stress and anxiety.

Yesterday was a day of HUGE blessings.

Yesterday I was reminded of much people believe in me and Live Now.

Yesterday I hope was a day that will keep our movement growing.

Yesterday I was humbled by friends generosity with their time and talents.

Yesterday I had the honor of doing what I love to do…speak.

Yesterday I loved encouraging students to choose kindness over bullying.

I am thankful for God’s blessings.

Would you drop everything?

Do you have people or friends in your life who would drop everything to help you?

Last night, I found out that I did.

These past 4-5 months have been both terribly exciting for me as I was figuring out next steps in following the dream that God has placed on my heart. But, they have also been extremely stressful and anxiety filled. Stepping away from a steady paycheck and health insurance to start something from scratch is both rewarding and stressful. Lot’s of ups and downs. Lot’s of prayer. Lot’s of faith.

Transitioning is hard. You’ve got to deal with an amazing amount of complex emotions and then the emotions of the people your close with. For some of my former co-workers, me leaving was really tough and our relationships are different. I understand and I’m working hard to remind them that I still love them and believe in them.

And, I’ve gone from working in teams for 17 years to working with myself. Don’t me wrong, I have friends and people who are helping and that’s a huge blessing.

But, it’s a little of both worlds. Exciting and Stressful.

That brings me to today

This week is a pretty important week for Live Now Leadership. I speak at my first assembly tomorrow and then tomorrow night I’m hosting a ‘Meet Live Now’ night on the campus of CMU. The thing I need most is a demo video to show schools that I can communicate and tomorrow we’re getting a ton of footage. Because of 2 great men and great friends, they are going to film both events.

Tomorrow night is huge, because I’m asking everybody I  know to drop their Thursday night plans and come out and support me and Live Now. If we have 50 people show up, it’s going to take a lot of creativity to film. So, I’m hoping and praying for 100 or so. It’s a big ask of people, but I believe whole-heartedly and passionately about how we’re trying end bullying and I hope all ages will come and hear.

On Monday I was thinking to myself…typically during stressful or really important seasons something tends to go wrong and I starting thanking God for the amazing, AMAZING, amount of blessings He’s been pouring on Live Now, me and my family. Then, yesterday I noticed the car started weird. Then, when I was leaving Church last night it wouldn’t start, but finally did. I made it to a gas station and then it died. And, it went out strong! Smoke, burning, noises, the whole deal.

I sat in my car and I thought, OK, this will either make me stronger or pull me down. You choose Jason!

Would you drop everything?

As I sat there, I wondered who to call. We live a long ways out of town and we just had work down on our car thanks to an amazing gift from a dear friend. And, I knew all the people that I would call and did call first, were in small groups back at Church. So, I knew they wouldn’t answer, because they couldn’t, so I had Tracie turn to Facebook.

Amazing that after seconds people responded from all over. What a blessing. Friends who would drop everything to come help out another friend. Eventually, friends from Church called as well. So, I had the car towed and was able to borrow a friends car.

It’s really made me think about my friendships though. Would I drop everything to help a friend out? I hope I do. It’s my goal and it’s the kind of life I want to lead.

Still stressed this morning. But, I know God provides amazingly for me and my family and I put my trust in Him.

It’s going to be an amazing day!

 

I’d rather Give than Get

I am a young man. I have 4 kids. I’ve been married almost 15 years. I worked for the local Church for 17 years. Now I work on my own and am building an organization from scratch. All that to say, I have a bit of life under my belt.

And, in 3.5 years I’ll be 40. I’ve actually been thinking about that a lot lately. I feel like my 20’s zipped by and my 30’s have been hard. Don’t get me wrong, I am a blessed man. But, there has been a fair share of pain, loneliness, grief, hurt and sadness.

In the midst of all that. God is Faithful. His love is amazing in my life and I feel overwhelmed by how He has blessed me with family, friends and my needs.

Here’s a reality that I’ve been thinking about lately…

I’d rather Give than Get

Don’t get me wrong. It’s humbling and awesome to get. My two love languages are: Gifts, Encouraging Words and Time. Hah. But, I do like to receive gifts. I have some of my favorite gifts hanging above my desk.

But, in my short life I’ve found it is so much fun to give. It never ceases to amaze me how much life comes from giving. Giving in secret, giving in the open and getting others together to give. It doesn’t matter. Giving is great for your soul. Giving is great for your heart.

I love that God hard-wired our DNA to be givers. Sometimes though our wiring gets messed up and we need to tweak or ask for God’s help to get it straight. But, when we do, it’s amazing.

Giving pleases the very heart of our Almighty Father.

Giving touches the souls of those who receive.

Giving teaches humility.

Giving makes our Life’s Story Great.

A few simple ways to Give

1. Send a Thank You card. Not a text. Not an email or Facebook message, but an actual hand written card. You would be surprised how much these mean to people. And, don’t just write thank you. Think through something your thankful for and tell the person in writing.

AND…if they’ve helped you or given you something. Re-Thank them months later. Remind them how much it meant to you.

2. Remember details. Take mental notes about the people you care for when you’re talking with them or reading their Facebook. Then, ask them how they’re doing. Facebook can give us the feeling that we don’t need to catch up with people. That’s not right. Ask them about their day, their job, their relationships and their heart!

3. Buy someone’s lunch. You’d be surprised how much this means to someone. Please consider doing this is if you’re a leader, or you lead volunteers. It’s a simple and easy way to honor the people you lead.

There are so many other ways to Give.

What are some of the ways you give? What are some of the ways you’ve been blessed by giving?

Really wish I could take those back

For someone who prides himself on making sure I let the people know in my life how much they mean to me, lately, I wish I could take back some words that have come out of my heart and mouth!

But I can’t. I can only work towards not letting them slip into my heart and out of my mouth again!

I wish I could take them back because they weren’t words that filled buckets. I said hurtful words spoken out of loneliness, pain, hurt, frustration and fear. It’s very interesting that I just wrote about making sure your words bring life, and not hate. Now, I didn’t say anything vulgar, or I didn’t say anything out of anger, just short little biting statements. Argh! So disappointed!

I’m ashamed because I firmly believe in helping people live a great story with their lives, but the reality is, we’re going to say things or do things that hurt others at times because we’re human. We’re messy.

And, it’s been a messy year for me so far. It’s been a year of highs (Launching Live Now) and lows (grieving not serving at Community Church). And the highs of being able to speak and teach more, but the lows of doing a lot of it by myself.

Let me say this. I am very excited. VERY EXCITED about what God has called me to do through Live Now Leadership. It is the culmination of 10 years of dreams, 10 years of visions and 17 years of serving the local Church as a Pastor. I love it and I am so blessed that God laid it on my heart.

I can’t wait for the day till we can bring on staff. Have our own office. I already know who I want to partner with and I pray everyday that God would make a way for that happen. Because I know when we get to that point, it means the more lives we can be reaching. I can’t wait till we’re not just partnering with one school but many. And, I dream of when we’ll send out teams of college students and speakers to schools and literally bring an END TO BULLYING!

I can’t wait for the day till we are passing out our book to thousands of students. I can’t wait for the day till we’re standing in front of thousands of parents and teaching them how to unlock their children’s potential. I can’t wait for the day till we bring on college interns and a full-time person who will develop these men and women into communicators and life changers!

I can’t wait!

But, until then…it’s just me. Don’t get me wrong. My wonderful wife is helping as much as she can, but with taking care of two PKU diets, there’s not much time. And, I’ve been blessed with some amazing volunteers. But, it’s been hard. I am a team guy. I have always worked in teams. I am not a lone ranger type of leader. I don’t want to be. I love to collaborate. I love to dream with people. I love to work a strategic plan with people.

So, leaving my team at Church has been hard. I mean, they’re still friends and I get together regularly with a few of them. But, they have full-time jobs and some of them have other jobs on top of that. Don’t get me wrong. They still will help me think through an issue over email or a call. But, it’s different.

And, in my insecurity, I have dealt with the fact I don’t have a team and people to sit and dream with in some negative ways. I have said some words that I really wish I could take back.

I know that James 3 says that the tongue is powerful and in Matthew Jesus talks about not letting your heart be centered on non Kingdom things and that’s my goal.

What I did to apologize

1. I tried to say sorry right away and as humbly as I could.

2. I sent an email saying sorry again and stressing that those words and actions were something that I wasn’t proud of and I would work HARD to make sure they wouldn’t happen again.

3. I asked for God’s forgiveness. Maybe this should have been number 1, but I went to God and begged for his forgiveness.

4. I’m choosing life for words moving forward.

Again, I don’t think what I said was in a def con 5 category, but it was out of character for me and I don’t want my heart and my tongue to take me to that category.

Really wish I could take that back…but I can’t…and I’m going to do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 

It’s hard being obese

Obese is a tough word. The dictionary says it means very fat or overweight.

Have you ever been called fat? It is painful. It’s much like any hateful or hurtful word. It pierces the soul. Even if you have thick skin, it heads right past and stabs your heart.

No one wants to be called obese. No one wants to be in that category. But, unfortunately for my life, I have swerved in and out of this not so glorious category for most of my life. I’ll never forget a few years ago when my doctor called me obese. She said…”do you realize for your height, you’re a 100 pounds overweight”?! What??? Actually, in my head there were a few other words that followed…words that start with…*&^%%&.

The reality is, she was right. For my height, I’ve been as much as a 100 pounds overweight. That’s incredible. What’s even more incredible is that I’ve lived overweight for years. I’ve lost weight before. 3 summers ago I lost 45 pounds and felt great. But, the stress and worry of life hit me, and bam…bad decisions led to gaining it all back and then some.

I wonder if you’re like me? Do you have a special section in your closet of food you can’t wait to wear again? Yeah? Me too!

More than one-third of adults in America are obese and 17% of children are obese. 

It’s tough to be obese. 

It’s really hard to be overweight.

I can’t even begin to count all the conversations I’ve had with my very well-meaning and caring non-obese friends who have tried to give me encouragement and counsel on how to not be obese. I love that they love me enough to have those tough conversations.

But, until you’ve walked in my shoes, you just won’t understand.

You can’t understand. 

Someone who doesn’t struggle with their weight may not understand the feelings of hate, and disgust that go through your head when you look at yourself in the mirror. And, I know my skinny friends may have the same feelings about being too skinny.

They may not understand why you just can’t start eating salad and exercising.

They may not get it. And that’s ok. I know they have their own demons and their own struggles. But, until you walk in someone else’s shoes who is overweight and/or obese, you may not get how hard it is.

2 Thoughts…

1. If you’re overweight. Please remember that God loves you. He created you and He formed you in His image. So, when you do stand in the mirror, remind yourself of the truth of His scripture. And, when you do finally hit bottom with weight, make a decision to do something. It may take you months and a year to lose what you want too, but just with one step at a time.

And, give control of your appetite and your body over to God. Way too often I leave Him out. I have to stop doing this. Everyday, swing your feet out of bed, put them on the floor and give God your day. Ask Him to lead you, guide and give you the strength to get through.

2. If you’re a friend of someone whose overweight. Please stop expecting them to be as disciplined with food or working out like you are. Be there for them. Encourage them. Be kind to them. Ask them if they need help. Pray for them. If they ask you to hold them accountable, then do so. But wait until they ask. But, love them.

And…never call them fat.

These are the raw thoughts of a guy who has some pretty good insecurities but is trusting God and living for Him in spite of them.

I’m working really hard and pushing myself to stop being satisfied with being 100 pounds overweight. It’s been a hard journey so far, but I’m going to keep pushing myself!

Can something that is sooo good be sooo bad?

I learned an incredibly valuable lesson from one of my best friends a few years ago. She is extremely wise and is the best listener that I have ever been around. The lesson I learned was this…

Put away your phone when your with people. 

Simple. Easy.Right? Wrong!

We’ve become addicted to our phones. I was the chief among them and still am to some point. I was late to the iPhone club, but I made up for lost time. It never left my hand and I was always fidgeting with it. Even when I was with people. Worst yet, even when I was with my family. I don’t know how many times while playing catch I told my boys to hold on so I could respond to a text. I’m still ashamed.

The day I stopped taking it into restaurants with me when I met with people and when I put it down when I was playing catch…was the day that I made people the PRIORITY in my life.

So…

Can something that is sooooo good be soooo bad?

The answer is YES! I don’t have an iPhone any longer. It was an extremely sad day but I sold it to save money. There are days I miss it. Trust me! I miss the camera and posting photos. I miss having my calendar. I miss having something to do while I wait.

But, I don’t miss making people feel second-rate. That’s what we do sometimes when we’re engaging with someone, we’re meeting with someone and they won’t get off their phone. Or we’re talking on the phone with them and they’re doing a million other things while they talk with you.

We’ve become a society of doing 7 things at once. No longer can we just talk to someone on the phone; we have to be texting with other people or checking Facebook.

Why is this?

I know why. Because it’s easy. Because it’s fun.

And…maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s no big deal.

But, here’s a thought:

What if we gave our undivided attention to the people we’re talking with or meeting with? Would that make them feel good? Do they mind when we take a phone call in the middle of a lunch meeting? I doubt it. But, is it necessary?

My life has definitely changed since I traded in my iPhone and downgraded to the cheapest phone known to man. Now, my productivity has decreased. I know longer can send emails or check emails. I can no longer just plug-in calendar appointments. But, I also no longer feel like I have to reach for my phone if it buzzes and I definitely give people my full attention.

When I’m meeting with someone or talking to them on the phone, they have my undivided attention.

This all matters because relationships are of the utmost importance. Especially our close friendships and relationships. People whom we’ve built a history with and have spent great time with.  Make them feel like they are your priority. If you do, they will be there for you!

All this matters because we were created to be in relationships. Relationships, connections and friendships are hard-wired into our DNA. The reality is…we all need people. We need close friends. We need family. We need friends to lean on.

Let’s give our relationships our undivided attention

1. Leave your phone. I know this sounds crazy to some, but would it actually kill us if we left our phone in the car when we met with someone over breakfast or lunch or coffee. Our phone may be helpful if it’s a business meeting, so bring it. But, if you’re with a friend or with someone who needs your undivided attention…

LEAVE IT.

2. Just talk. It’s amazing how quick people can figure out if you’re doing something else while on the phone with them. I am the chief sinner at this! Too often I sit in front of my computer and start reading emails. That’s just wrong. I am trying hard to just concentrate on giving the person I’m talking to my undivided attention.

3. Don’t forget to talk to face to face. I worry that by the time my kids have kids, they won’t any need to still meet with people face to face. That can’t be. We must make it a priority to sit with people and listen to them and hear their story.

Yes, sometimes things that can be sooo good, can be sooo bad. We just need to be careful to use them to add to our relationships, not to subtract.

 

 

 

 

Words…Choose Them Well!

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” -unknown (and whoever wrote this was 100% wrong)

It’s amazing how backwards that saying is! I broke my ankle almost 4 years ago, but I hardly remember the pain because my ankle has healed and is probably stronger than it was before. But, my mind retains harmful and hurtful words all the time.

I sit and talk with people all the time. It’s been a huge part of my job as an adult and it’s one of the things that gives me life. I love to listen and hear people’s stories. What’s amazing to me is that when people start to open up and get authentic and transparent with their stories, they will begin sharing times when people hurt them with words. What’s tough about listening to all those stories is to hear the pain come through and how it is still alive and well in their hearts.

That’s why I believe we must choose are words carefully.

Just recently I had a moment that I’m not proud of at all. I was frustrated with a good friend and I didn’t feel they were listening to me. I felt like they were blowing me off and were dismissing me. In my hurt I said some things I regretted the moment they came out. That was 2 weeks ago and I still regret them. I immediately apologized and have since apologized and they have forgiven me, but I am still working through the embarrassment of thinking those words and not choosing them well. I’m hoping and praying I can rebuild trust with them by bringing them life with my words.

Here’s a powerful reality:

Our words can bring life. They can fill peoples buckets. They can leave people feeling full inside.

Or, they can bring the opposite of life.

They can bring hate.

They can absolutely deflate someone and leave them feeling empty inside.

Which will you choose?

Let’s Choose Life. Let’s work hard to give life to people through our words. Let’s take time to think through our words if someone hurts us. Let’s be patient with our friends, with the people we work with and our family.

2 ways to choose life

1. Don’t miss the change to encourage someone. Too often I believe we miss the encouragement train. I believe that God puts thoughts on our hearts and in our minds all the time to encourage the people around us and I think we dismiss them too quickly. We tell ourselves things like…“they know how I feel” or “they have enough people giving them support”. I think that’s just wrong.

Act on those thoughts! Tell people you love them, tell people your proud of them and pour buckets of encouraging words on your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors and those around you.

2. Think before you speak. This is huge, isn’t it? Too often, in our human messiness, we get offended or rattled and then we shoot off words that take away life. When you get to those moments, immediately stop and pray. Think about what you were going to say and give it God. Take the extra time to think before you speak. I know from experience that those few seconds will you spare you hours of grief.

Choose your words carefully.

Choose words that bring life.

Choose words that offer truth.

Choose your words well.