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dream

Hobbies and Dreams

For a while, I really hated the question: What do you like to do in your spare time? The reason I hated that question was because I always had to give an awkward answer. “Well, I like to work and spend time with my wife.”

That sounds like I was a complete workaholic. Maybe I was. But that “work” I was referring to wasn’t my day job. It was my dream job I was working toward. It was these websites, blogs, and books that are now my day job.

But they would have never become my day job if they hadn’t become my hobby. If they weren’t my hobby when I had a job, the only way I could have built these things was to quit my day job and hope these things worked out. (more…)

creative

5 Things Creative Christians Choose to Be

Have you ever noticed that the most creative people are often the ones turned off by God? I don’t believe this has to be the case.

In the beginning God created. Creativity is reflective of our creative God. Everything we see was designed by our Creator. He saw that what He made was good. And when we are creative, we get to share in that goodness. He’s given us the opportunity to work with our hands and see the fruit of our labor. What an amazing opportunity.

I see the Christian faith as a very creative thing. When Christians infuse creativity into their walk with God, they experience a new level of relationship with their Creator. I’ve seen creative Christians are intentional with their lives. They’ve chosen to do things differently than others.

Here are five things I’ve seen can make you a creative Christian:

Be Limited. When Gideon went after the people invading his homeland he was outnumbered, 4 to 1. (Judges 6) God stepped in and reduced his army to only 300 (against 135,000 enemy troops). God forced Gideon to take creative measures. Measures that were completely unconventional. They limited Gideon, but gave a chance for God to reveal His limitlessness.

Through shock-and-awe tactics, the enemy army turned on each other and ultimately fled. God got the glory. Gideon got the win.

God says his power is made perfect in our weaknesses and limitations. (2 Cor. 12:9) As much as I don’t like the thought of being limited, it makes we wonder if we should be quicker to embrace limitations in our lives. God seems to thrive in that environment.

When forced to work within a strict framework, the imagination is taxed to its utmost… and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom, the work is likely to sprawl. T.S. Elliott

Be Brave. Allodoxaphobia is the fear of other people’s opinions. And I’m pretty sure almost everyone has an undiagnosed case of this phobia. We are all desperately insecure and fear what others think about us and our work. Sometimes it can keep us from even trying. We don’t want to risk the negative opinions people might have. But I know this for sure, “The fear of man lays a snare.” (Proverbs 29:25) If you start making decisions based on what people think, you’ll be trapped.

No matter what we do in life, we’ll never be able to avoid negative opinions. It just isn’t possible. The people that succeed in life squash that fear. They put it to the side and create in spite of it. They put themselves out there and risk rejection.

Have you let fear hold you back?

Be Curious. Who on earth figured out that you could eat olives or drink coffee? Proverbs 25:2 says that God loves to hide things from us, because He loves us to seek them out. I love the passage. It almost shows a hide-and-seek playing God. He delights in hiding things for us to discover. God wants us to be curious. This tells me something: He isn’t threatened by our questions. He wants us to explore and ponder—to challenge and question. To figure out unique uses for things.

Christianity isn’t meant to be a blind faith. The world needs more curious Christians. We need to delve into the mysteries of God and His Word. There’s more than just history and pithy proverbs inside. There are stories and mysteries that rival J.J. Abram’s greatest masterpiece.

Curiosity killed the cat. But I say it’s worth the risk.

Be Tenacious. You have to admire Jacob. He wrestled with God and survived. (Gen 32:22) Jacob wouldn’t let go of God until God blessed him. That was the turning point in Jacob’s life. His tenacity led to him getting a new name and becoming a revered figure to those who came after him.

Lots of people have ideas. But few people wrestle them through until the end. Most of the creative process is sweat and tenacity. An idea is a good thing, but the true magic happens when you persevere through resistance and make it happen. It’s the same for our walk with God. God wants us to seek Him unrelentingly. He wants us to pursue Him. To be tenacious.

Be Redemptive. An honest movie about the Bible would surely be R-rated. Violence, blood, cursing at God. In Psalms 73, Asaph is upset with God. And he takes the whole psalm to lay out his case.

“For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain!”

But you’ll notice, God didn’t let Asaph leave it there. Asaph ended the psalm like this: “I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.” God let Asaph vent his frustrations, but He didn’t leave him in the doldrums of despair. God encouraged him and redeemed his thoughts.

It’s amazing how God has the power to redeem anything—if we’ll let him. No matter how messed up things get, creative Christians look for how to make something redemptive. How to pull something good out of it. God delights in redeeming things, and if we’ll let him work through us, we can become people who are redemptive.

Let me ask you this? Have you seen your walk with God as a creative endeavor? Perhaps you need to infuse a little more creativity into your relationship with Him. Maybe it’s time to commune with your creator God in a new way. What will you choose to be?’

[Blog photo from Mopho.to]

dabbling

Your Dream Probably Won’t Happen on Weekends

This is the tale of two books. Two of my books. One book is about 50 chapters and 30,000 words. The other book is about 7 chapters and 7,000 words.

The big book (the 50 chapter one), is already done. I wrote it in about 3 months. The small book isn’t done. In fact, I’m only about halfway through. And I began writing this book three months ago.

Can you tell which one I took seriously? Looking only at my actions and the statistics of the book, you can tell I took the big book seriously, and I’m just dabbling with the small book. There’s one difference between the two books that have made the difference. (more…)

coach

3 Reasons You Need a Coach in Life

I’m convinced everyone needs some form of a coach in their life. This is someone who understands where you want to go in life and helps you get there. A coach could be someone helping you achieve a business goal, a life goal, or a physical goal. You need one, and it doesn’t matter how good you are.

Even Michael Phelps had a coach. You know he could swim laps around his coach. But he still humbled himself beneath his coach and learned from him. I don’t care how knowledgable or amazing you are, you need someone you can submit to and learn from. And here’s why. (more…)

getting-published

3 Ways to Get an Article Published on Relevant Magazine

I recently got an article published on Relevant Magazine’s site. It’s called 3 Ways to Know Your Ambition is from God. It’s actually been really popular. (You can tell how popular the article is by how many hateful comments or Facebook posts you see on the article.)

So how did I get published? I believe there were three keys to my getting published.

1. Write the best content you can think of, then submit it.

That was step one. Write the best I could come up with, then submit it to the site. It was a lot of work. Unfortunately, the first article I submitted didn’t get published. So I moved on to step two. (more…)

distractions

Why Most People Don’t Have Enough Time

I constantly talk to people who complain about not having enough time. “I’d love to hang out but I just have too much work to do.” Or they say, “I’d love to write a book, I just don’t have the time to make it happen.” I say that’s a lie.

Now, before all my friends who work at churches preparing for Christmas get mad at me, I realize there are busy seasons. People go through busy times. Some jobs are more taxing than others. I get that.

But the majority of people have plenty of time in their day, they just waste it. They let it dwindle away here and there with things that don’t have value. Let me illustrate with a story. (more…)

indy-thing

Who Should Publish My Book?

When people find out I’m a published author, I frequently get questions about a book someone’s working on. “I’m interested in publishing a book. I was thinking of going with x publisher. What do you think about them?”

I always say, “Sounds good. Go for it.” Because to be honest, I don’t really believe the publisher matters that much. I’ve found that a publisher deciding to publish your book isn’t necessarily a reflection on how successful the book will be. Instead, it’s a reflection on whether or not the book has obvious market value.

Can the publisher see the value in this book? If so, they’ll probably pick it up and publish it. But unless they pour hundreds or thousands of dollars into promoting the thing, it’ll sit on the same bookshelves as highly unsuccessful books occupy. (more…)

underdog

Underdogs Are on the Wrong Team

If you’re a Christian and you’re playing on God’s team, there’s no such thing as an underdog story. God’s side always wins. It may not seem like it sometimes—maybe the other team scores or takes advantage of someone. But in the end, we win.

That means you can be confident. Whether you lose your job, get taken advantage of, or simply feel inferior. You aren’t the underdog. If you’re following God’s will—you’ll know if you aren’t—you are ultimately the victor.

I know way too many people who live their lives believing they’re the underdog. Those types of people are drags to be around. They’re scrappy and they’re always assuming people are trying to take advantage of them. Don’t be like that. (more…)

two-superstars

A Tale of Two Superstars

I generally try to avoid writing about celebrities. I can’t really judge these two superstars I’m writing about. I’ve never sat with them for coffee. I don’t know their backgrounds and I don’t know their motives. But all I can write about is what I’ve seen.

In September 2009, I saw two celebrities interact on stage in an absolutely embarrassing moment. Most of us saw Kanye West interrupt Taylor Swift as she tried to accept an award. Since then, I’ve been following both of them.

I know both of them receive tons of criticism. Kanye says things people don’t like. Taylor dates guys people don’t like. And even though they’re celebrities, I know they hear the criticism and it likely hurts—quite a bit. (more…)

love-is-external

How I Show Love to My Wife

My wife, Carolina, is an intimidating woman. She’s gorgeous, she’s fit, and she’s super intelligent. On top of that she’s hilarious.

She’s also not too impressed with me. Not to say she doesn’t respect what I do or value me, but she sees me for who I really am. She knows I have sweaty feet. She’s seen firsthand the recession of my hairline. She sees me when I’m most insecure.

So sometimes, I’m tempted to impress her. There are times, in order to get her to love me more (or something), I try to remind her how awesome I am. I’ll mention the cool things I do so she gets the picture everyone else sees of me. And I’m realizing that’s the worst possible way to get her to love me. (more…)