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Amazon Kindle
  • Citadel: First Colony
    Citadel: First Colony
  • Citadel: Paths in Darkness
    Citadel: Paths in Darkness
  • Tin Man
    Tin Man
  • College Made Stupid Simple
    College Made Stupid Simple
  • A Little Bit of Everything
    A Little Bit of Everything
  • Getting Gone
    Getting Gone
Books in Print
  • Citadel: First Colony: Book One of the Citadel Trilogy
    Citadel: First Colony: Book One of the Citadel Trilogy
  • Citadel: Paths in Darkness (Volume 2)
    Citadel: Paths in Darkness (Volume 2)
  • College Made Stupid Simple: A guide to getting more than a diploma
    College Made Stupid Simple: A guide to getting more than a diploma

Entries in writing (15)

Friday
Apr192013

breviticipitation

Yesterday I talked with three different friends on three different topics. A couple of them came to me for advice and counsel, one was just offering encouragement. But all three ended up giving me counsel and inspiration in areas of my life where I hadn't even realized there was a need!

That's the way it works when two or more gather in His name.

When two or more Christians come together, they feed and strengthen each other. Their intention to help each other and to serve and glorify God creates synergy (I know ... over-used word from 90s business. But as one friend points out to me, words matter. Words have power!). Christians, coming together with their minds open and their hearts willing, can make anything happen.

My friend Rick called to chat about a few things he's interested in. He wanted some practical advice, and I am always MORE than happy to give that, even if I don't have any! But it turned out that I did have some things I could contribute, and in our sharing he said some things that gave me a great sense of joy and strength. I felt closer to God by being closer to one of God's children. 

At one point I quoted my favorite Zig Ziglar quote:

You will get allyou want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. 

—Zig Ziglar

He immediately saw a connection to a quote from Norman Schwarzkopf:

"You can't help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself."

—H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Bam! Two Christian brothers share two quotes that express one idea to rule them all. I like that. And I might never have encountered that quote, and might never have gained a bit of "wisdom reinforcement" from it, without putting heads together with a Christian friend.

Another of my trusted Christian friends, Marshal, gave me some wisdom about the length of these blog entries, and that is (in part) why I'm about to wrap this up for the morning. He was gracious enough not to out-and-out call me a windbag (though he's not one to shy away from telling it like it is), but he did say that there are times when I could have ended a post a bit sooner than I did. It's the kind of brevity-through-editing that I require from writers who work for me, so how could I demand any less of myself? 

I realized that he's right, and that I need to take a closer look when I'm writing these posts, the same way I look at work I do for my work, and find where the "fat" can be trimmed. 

But he also said that sometimes the message may not be FOR him. And that makes a lot of sense to me, too. Sometimes, when I'm reading, I think, "Yeah, yeah, Author X. Enough already. I get the point! Move along!" That's me filtering the work through my own knowledge and experience. But another reader, someone who hasn't been exposed to the ideas as often as I have, may find it vital, even enthralling, and may need that extra verbiage to really get a full grasp of the concept.

So if I go a little long at times, just bear with me. When I write these posts, I pray first, and ask God to give me the words that will glorify Him, reach others in His name, and reach me as well. Somtimes that will mean that what I'm writing isn't meant for you (or isn't entirely meant for you). I may actually be talking to me!

The short of it all is this: Even if you don't feel you need counsel right now, talk to your Christian friends. Look into their needs. Offer them everything you can. Do it in God's name and to His glory. Because you'll likely find that they can offer you strength and encouragement in areas where you didn't even realize you needed it.

Wednesday
Mar272013

wealthitude

The two biggest management challenges for lifestyle design (Christian or otherwise), are time and money. Seems like we're always short on both, or otherwise they're freakishly out of balance. For most of my 20s I had more time than money. These days I find a shortage on both sides of the scale, but if you take debt out of the equation I have less time than money, overall. Them's the breaks, right?

I always thought so. But that's pretty much a wrong-headed way to approach either subject. Nothing is inevitable about time or money. Both are tools, and our job is to learn how to use them.

I'm working on my financial education these days, because building wealth is important. With wealth you can help people. You can be at peace about one of the most stressful parts of life. Most importantly you can do good and glorify God.

Part of our "charter" on Earth is to be good stewards of what we're given, to be responsible and increase what has been entrusted to us. Building wealth gives us more resources to use on our mission.

Time, though, is the other side of that equation. Most of us are short on it, because we're busily trading it for coins. Wealth may be part of the charter, but we have to remember that time is the commodity in our life that we can spend but can never increase. God wants good things for us, and wants us to do good. Both require time.

Wealth can help free up your time, this is true. But here we have to be careful, and look a little closer at the definition of the term. Wealth is different than money.

Money is a symbol—it stands for the value of something. And since value is negotiable, according to supply and demand, that means money has a variable value. 

Wealth, on the other hand, has a constant value. Wealth—true wealth—is the ability to choose. If you want to take a vacation, you can choose where and when, but also how long and how many people to take with you, how many fine restaurants you'd like to visit, which hotel you want, and a myriad of other choices that have less to do with what you can "afford" and more to do with what you "want." Wealth means you are able to operate above the level of "need," and in the domain of "want." 

That's why wealth is such a tricky and controversial subject. As a rule, we humans are pretty poor at choosing the right "wants." If we aren't diligent in our obedience to God's Word, our wants become entirely self serving. We think only about what we want, what we have planned, what we will do with our wealth. We become a closed loop.

You know where a closed loop leads? Nowhere. You just keep running in the same circle, over and over, getting right back to where you started and starting right back up again.

One way to veer out of that rut and run at angles to your closed loop is to start focusing on others. God's greatest command is to love others—love 'em like you love yourself. Love 'em like your momma and your granny. Love 'em like you love your kids. You'd do a lot for your kids, right? How would you feel if someone else loved your kids as much as you do? How much joy could you take from someone giving to your kids the way you'd want to give to them, if you could? How sweet would life be if you knew that someone out there was taking care of those you loved?

That's how God feels about it.

We're all God's kids. We're all God's loved ones. "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (That would be Matthew 25:40).

You want true wealth? Start doin' for the least among us. Start focusing on finding ways to increase your reach and your ability. Build a store of tools and resources that you can use to help others, to do good, to glorify God.

I haven't been so hot at this plan in the past, but I am definitely starting to see it in action in my life. The more I get away from focusing on Kevin, and the more I focus on God, the greater my joy and the greater my wealth. Now it's time for me to start focusing on ways to help others increase. How can I use what God has given me to do good among my brothers and sisters on Earth? How can I glorify God with everything I say, think, feel, and do? 

That's the reason I've started writing about Christian lifestyle design in this blog. God gave me an ability—I can think and I can organize that thinking and I can put that thinking on the page or the screen. I've used that ability, that gift, all of my life. I've served myself with it. Now it's time for me to use it to its real potential, to serve and glorify God. And to do that, I love you by sharing what I've learned in life. 

I'll need to go further, of course. I'll need to increase the wealth I steward, and then use that wealth to further the work. I'll need to use my tools to build and acquire better tools. That's the point.

Time and money. They run short. But humans—we have a remarkable ability to do a lot with very little. That's God at work in us. So let's embrace it, and use it to build something God will be proud of.



Friday
Mar012013

realocity

I shouldn't write a blog post just to write it. 

That's the conclusion I came to about two minutes ago, right before I highlighted every scrap of text I'd written and hit "delete." It was a good piece, about regret and decisions and making up for mistakes. But it wasn't really from the heart, ya know? It was me trying on a voice. Me trying to be someone I'm not.

Sometimes I write things that are heartfelt and, miraculously, inspirational. I see it when it happens. I feel it. And that gets me all jazzed up. 

"Yeah!" I think. "I'm good at this! I can motivate people! I'll be an inspiration!"

That's me up there, putting my own ego and motives above what God wants from me. I'm not exactly glorifying God with that kind of post. I'm glorifying me.

I don't plan my blog posts. Not really. I write whatever pops into my head, or I post an image I think is funny or a video I think is inspirational. I don't have any sort of organized plan concerning this blog. It's me. Brain dumped, gettin' all wordy widdit, doin' that voodoo that I do so well. I like writing. LOVE writing. I like to jazz things up, make things fun and exciting, inform and inspire and occasionally enrage. 

But when I pretend ... when I write something that's hollow and uninspired and disconnected, when I write something that's meant just to push some false image of me to the reading public, that's when it sucks.

Lately I've written several posts that come from a spiritual place within me. That's God talking, not me. That's God, doing the voodoo the He do so well. Reaching out through this wretched sinner of a Wordslinger, reaching past the goo and bile of my ego and self-centered interests, and saying something to the world that counts, that matters. God gave me a skill and a talent and a passion, and when He uses it there's nothing but AMAZING there. When I use it, for my own selfish agenda, there's nothing there at all.

What I want, the earnest desire of my heart, is to write and fulfiill God's will in my life. I want to touch others. I want to inspire. I want to entertain and motivate and move. I want to create that thing, that ineffable thing that God has placed on my heart, that burning desire I can't even define, and I want to spread it wide and far and deep in the world. 

And I can't do that if I'm writing a blog post just to write it.

I made a commitment a week ago. I want to post something on this blog every day. There will be days I miss, I know. There will be days when I repost something from social media, or post a picture I created or a YouTube video I found, or an excerpt from one of my books, or an article on online TV programming, or an open letter to a restaurant, or a million other things. I just want to make sure, make absolutely sure, that what I'm posting is real, that it counts, that it MATTERS. That it's me. And that, above all, always above all, it's glorifying the God who created me, and who rules in my life.

You have no idea how hard it is to write a sentence like that. Honest. I think that I feel some sort of weird "shame" about it. Like I'm afraid I'll offend a large swathe of my friends and my readers. I'll somehow turn people off to me. They'll scorn me, ridicule me, toss me aside.

Good! SO good! I need that. I want that. I've been promised that with that sort of scorn and ridicule, in God's name, I will be blessed. The shame? That's something I need to deal with, because it's not real. It's not me. It's not right.

Thanks for reading. I have to tell you that. I appreciate it. I love you for it. I hope that somehow I touch you, and I help you. But you touch me and help me, by reading and commenting and just being who you are. God bless you. Thank you. I wouldn't do it if you weren't here, reading it. 

And I promise, I will try with every post, every book, every article, every word I write to ensure that it is always something from within me, something that glorifies God, something that is real. No lies. No posts just to post. Always from the heart.

Thursday
Dec062012

new ebook - "Getting Gone" - Exclusively for Kindle at Amazon.com

It's kind of a good book.My new ebook "Getting Gone" just hit Amazon.com! It's a novella (that's a short book ... keep up), and I'm very excited about this one! Here's the cover blurb from Amazon: 

Shawn Stewart is kind of an unusual husband.
He has high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming an incredibly wealthy inventor with a gorgeous wife. Brilliant and resourceful, and sometimes a little clueless, Shawn knows he's anything but a typical guy.
When his wife, Christine, turns out to be an ex-spy and is murdered by someone Shawn thought was a friend, he's forced to go on the run and stay one step ahead of the organization that will do anything to bury one of Christine's darkest secrets.

Buy it here! http://amzn.to/UiVlm3 Exclusively for the Kindle, at Amazon.com!

 

Thursday
Nov082012

golf balls (and the nature of writing)

Things we know from science. WORD science.