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No Time To Write?!

Keep It Simple

One of the biggest challenges many people face, is finding, and or making the time to “Write”. Do you write in the morning, afternoon or night?

Real life often gives us no time to write.

In an ideal world, we’d all have that perfect writer’s schedule. We’d rise early and toss out five thousand words before breakfast. We’d lead off lunch with a few hundred more, and after the kids were in bed, conclude the day with another thousand just because.

My life certainly looks nothing like that. Does yours? From personal experience, I’m here to tell you how to write when you have no time.

How to Write When You Have No Time

If you want to write when your schedule is crunched, it’s going to require a little bit of prep.

It’s worth the effort.

Think of it as marinating the chicken breast before you leave for work so it’s ready to cook when you come home: it’s prep that leads to a faster (and more delicious) delivery.

Step One: Decide You’re Going to Do This.

This has to be serious. Death-and-taxes serious. If you make this decision with anything less than your full heart, it’ll go the way of New Year’s resolutions and quick-fix diet plans. You have to decide to do this—and mean it.

That means TV can’t get in the way. That means closing the door (if you have one) between you and spouse, children, pets, etc.—at least for a few minutes.

They will all survive a few minutes without you. You can survive without them, too.

Step Two: Plan a Scene.

No, not the kind where you throw shoes and break crystal vases. I’m talking about a scene in your story.

I promise I will go into how to pick and choose scenes later. For right now, here is your definition of a scene: a single moment with a beginning, middle, and end, without the need for transition. It’s the bit between fade-to-black or any kind of time-skip.

Your planned scene doesn’t have to be in-depth. I’m not a plotter (though I wish I were), but even my pantsing style can handle planning out one scene ahead of time. I’ll give you an example.

  • Beginning: marching into the office to clock her required hours at her civil service job.
  • Middle: idiot coworker tosses all the mail down the incinerator instead of the mail slot.
  • End: “So now that the wedding certificate is ash, I am free. I can be anyone I want… but precisely who is that?”

Obviously, the details are needed between each of those items for them to make sense, but it’s a roadmap. It’s glow-in-the-dark stepping stones. Here’s a scene I’m planning out for my very next writing session:

  • Beginning: bored with teaching, escapes through the window and explores at night
  • Middle: meets HER, is taunted way above his head, has no idea what she’s promising/asking
  • End: returns to his room with that huge secret; doesn’t know that by keeping it, he’s changed the course of his life
  •  

A scene could be your character making a sandwich. It could be a single conversation. It could be one glimpse of contemplation on the road as your character heads into work.

You can plan that scene while waiting for email from your boss, or watching your smallest child brush her teeth, or idling at a traffic light.

Plan a scene. Ahead of time.

Step Three (The Writing Part): Set Aside Five Minutes.

You saw that right. Five minutes.

This needs to be five minutes without interruption. Tell your spouse about it; politely ask your children for the space (and ignore them if they interrupt those five minutes—that’s just teaching them boundaries, not bad parenting). Shut off the phone. Close Twitter.

Make sure you have a timer. You can use the one at the end of this page. You can also (as I learned) type “timer” into Google search, and the Google search page itself will give you a timer. Nifty.

Are you distracted by noise? Put on noise-cancelling headphones or those little rubber earplugs.

Don’t look out the window.

Don’t doubt.

Don’t judge yourself.

Don’t question whether you can do this. You can.

Sit down. Start the timer. And without stopping to correct typos or any other error, write the scene you planned out from start to finish.

Yeah, it’s that simple. Yeah. It really is.

6 Final Tips for Writing When You Have No Time

If you need some extra mental fortification, here are six final tips:

  • Anyone can manage five minutes. Most bathroom breaks are longer. It takes just a little bit more time than that to brew coffee. Don’t see it as impossible; believe it’s possible, and you’ll find it is.
  • Do. Not. Stop. Not while the timer is going. Even if your writing is filled with horrific typos, keep going. Even if you couldn’t remember that word and had to put, “and then she asked me about the [WHAT THE HECK IS THE NAME OF THAT SCIENCE STUDYING BIRDS], but all I could tell her was I thought the Potoo was the funniest looking bird I’ve ever seen.” (And it is, if you’ve never seen it. The Potoo looks like a Muppet.) Look up the missing word (ornithology) later. During those five minutes, you don’t stop writing for hell or high water.
  • The world will try to steal those five minutes. Seriously. THAT will be when the toilet overflows, or the cat swallows the other cat’s tail, or some kid with a tricycle crashes into your front porch. Keep. Writing. Five minutes; anyone and any situation (except maybe the choking-on-a-tail one) can afford five minutes.
  • Did I mention to avoid editing? Don’t reword. Don’t delete. It doesn’t matter if what you just wrote wasn’t the best phrasing; what matters is you got it down, and you can fix it later.
  • Just write like someone cut open your brain and you’re bleeding words.
  • Write the scene.

I know this sounds like it won’t help you, but believe me, it will.

Look at it this way: if you can grab six five-minute spots during a day (and you can do far more than that, believe me), then you’ve gotten in half an hour of writing—and if you planned out your scenes ahead of time, that’s potentially five whole scenes in one day.

Do you see where this is going?

FAITH Strategies For Beginners

Keep It Simple

Today, we are going to talk about a subject that has always fascinated me, we are going to look into this idea of faith and two people whom God finds to have the greatest faith.

One is a Canaanite woman, of whom He says, “Woman, your faith is great!” And the second person was actually a Roman officer.

The Lord says, “It will be done to you according to your faith” (Matt. 9:29). You see, if my faith is little, it will be done to me according to my faith. That means that if there is just a small amount of faith, then that is the size of the funnel that His blessings, guidance and revelations will come through.

A Woman of Great Faith

One such person of great faith was a woman who initially approached Jesus in desperation. And for great reason: her daughter was demon-possessed.

“… a Canaanite woman came out from that region and began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.’ But he did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is shouting out after us’” (Matt. 15:22-23).

Jesus’ response to her seems completely out of character — He doesn’t answer her a word.That rejection, from Jesus Himself, was a pretty hard blow. In fact, for most of us, I thinkthat would have been enough to stop us dead in our tracks. But not this Gentile woman.

This woman had such a persistent and resolute—even stubborn—faith that she receivedthe blessing she needed: her daughter was healed at once. In other words, you’ve got to have the faith necessary for this type of miracle to take place. And what kind of faith is it?

The first quality of “great faith” this woman shows is …

1. A Faith that Pursues God’s Best 

The first quality of great faith is a faith that is determined and stubborn, relentlessly pursuing God’s best for your life and for those around you. You cannot wallow yourself to get thrown or dissuaded from that. You must pursue it with all that you are!

This Canaanite woman refused to be dissuaded or discouraged. In fact, she continued topursue Jesus even more vehemently!

God is looking for that kind of faith — one that keeps asking, keeps seeking and keeps knocking in pursuit of God’s best. This is a quality that transforms a mediocre faith into a marvelous faith.

We are going to have problems. We are going to run into walls. But we, like this Canaanite woman, must refuse to give up! That’s a hallmark and a necessity of great faith.

2. A Faith that Refuses to be Offended

This Canaanite woman absolutely refused to be offended: “… She came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Oh, woman, your faith is great’” (Matt. 15:25-28).

I don’t know about you, but if someone called me a dog, I’d be a little offended! Yet, this lady refused. In her heart, she had to say, “No. This is not a hill I am going to die on.” She made an internal choice not to get hung up on a lesser offense because she was battling a larger war. Instead, she answered Him so wonderfully.

Do you know that when I take offense, it diminishes my faith to the point where it turns into unbelief? It’s that serious! And because we make that first fatal choice to take offense, it ultimately leads to unbelief, which wipes out any chance for the miraculous to take place. If we want the miraculous, we must choose to refuse to take offense!

Another instance of faith is found in Jesus’ interaction with a Roman centurion, a commander of the very army that oppressed the Jews. Yet, this man stunned Jesus with his faith.

Not only did this many portray a jaw-dropping faith, he was able to “wow” Jesus by displaying a last quality of a great faith:

3. A Faith that Acts on God’s Word

“… the centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel!’” (Matt. 8:8-10).

This kind of faith was a great, rare and dumbfounding kind of faith.

What about it was so striking? It was the fact that the soldier said, “Lord, You don’t have to go. You just say the word and I know it’s done!” This showed the Lord that this man believed the Word of God and acted on it.

Do you believe God’s Word? And do you act on it?

Believing God for What He Says

One of the most difficult dichotomies in our lives is that we know what God says, but how much do we really believe?How much of it do we act on?

First, you have to know what God is saying in order to do it. And in order to know what He is saying, if you have not developed a time for daily devotions, I encourage you to please start now.

The more you apply what God says to you, the more it depicts the depth of relationship that you have with Him.

How much do you apply? Your answer to that question will reflect a depth of relationship. And if I really trust Him for His Word and there is a wonderful relationship, then I will act upon it. And through that, God will begin to do wonderful miracles in my life and through me into other people’s lives, too.

**Create A Great Day!**

Keep It Simple

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~Carl Bard

Birthdays. They’re supposed to be a joyous celebration, right?

That one special day each year when we throw a party and reflect on the day our amazing journey began.

The starting point.

I’ve had quite a colorful journey and certainly enjoyed many wonderful birthdays in my life.

Turning 50 this past year wasn’t one of them. Here’s why.

When we’re little every birthday marks a major accomplishment. We learn to walk. Then we learn to talk. Then we go to school and learn our ABCs.

Keep It Simple

Everything is brand new.

When we graduate high school they tell us we have our whole lives in front of us. Whether we’re off to college, exploring the world, or entering the work force, we begin a whole new chapter. Independence.

Keep It Simple

A starting point.

You can just picture that open highway stretched out to infinity before you, beckoning to a future somewhere out on that horizon that calls you to adventure. All that you will become lies out there.

In my twenties, I was a freewheeling single young man touring the world with rock stars. How bad can that be, right?

Turning 30 was awesome too! I was living in sunny Southern California, playing music, and making records in recording studios. Life was good.

Even 40 was great. I had moved back to New York to play in my own band and got married. Our life together had just begun. Then came children. I became Dad.

A starting point.

Keep It Simple

But 50?

You’re supposed to have accomplished your greatest life’s work by now, right? Achieved all your major goals. Changed the world.

But what if you’re still working on that? What if you’re just now starting to figure out what you’re really supposed to be doing with your life?

You can say many things about turning 50, but one thing you can’t say with a straight face is that you still have your whole life in front of you.

At this point in the journey, life has shown you many of its cards. Not all, mind you, but you’ve got a pretty good grasp on how the world turns. If there are still any surprises, they have mostly to do with learning to change the way you see things.

But something else happened that was very difficult to escape. Much as I hated to admit it, I found that I was looking around and comparing myself to my peers.

This person has kids entering college and I’m looking at two young children and the reality that I’ll be close to 70 by the time the youngest is out of school.

That one is retired at 50 and buying their second Ferrari while retirement doesn’t seem to be in the cards any time soon for me.

When you view life this way, there’s always going to be someone who you feel is ahead of you by your own estimate. And you’ll never catch up to them. So that leaves you feeling behind in some imaginary race that can’t be won.

And when the game is comparing yourself to others, you will never have enough. Ever.

Unknowingly, you build this imaginary scale to see how you measure up against your peers. Let’s call it the Success/Happiness curve. Yet, no matter where you believe you fall on that curve, the moment you mark your place is to engage in a losing battle.

You believe that if you can just obtain that (figure of money in the bank, job title, certain car) that you will have arrived at your destination and will find happiness there.

But you won’t. Because it’s not out there.

Not in any material things you can obtain. Whatever it is will begin to lose its luster the moment you acquire it. Then you’ll have to look for something new to replace it and give you another fix. And the cycle never ends.

So how do you break out of this destructive cycle?

Well first, I needed to learn how to let go of a lot of my preconceived notions about where I thought I would be by the time I reached 50.

Keep It Simple

Ultimately, I found the answer in Prayer.

Through Prayer you learn how to silence your soul and become more aware and present.

Most of us never learn to appreciate where we are at this very moment because we’re so focused on what happened (or didn’t happen) in a past that no longer exists and worried about a future that hasn’t happened yet.

Prayer taught me that to compare ourselves to others is the root of human suffering, or samsara. Because it creates a separation between ourselves and someone else. A duality. A them and an us.

Armed with this new perspective, the next thing I did was to review my life and my experiences to figure out what was working and what was not. This brought me face to face with a rather harsh reality.

As much as I liken myself to be a caring person, I realized that I’d spent most of my career focused on my own self-interests.

Sure I spent a lot of time making music, which is something very personal that you put out into the universe in the hopes that you will connect with an audience and make them feel something.

But it turns out the giving was conditional.

It was like, “Enjoy this music and help support my dream. Please vote for me in this contest and buy that CD and help me or my band out.” The focus was all wrong.

And that’s when I realized what had been gnawing away at me all these years. It was a yearning to connect with an audience in a meaningful way that focuses on helping them. On seeing the world through their eyes.

Empathy.

And so at age 50, I am only now seeing the light.

Only after allowing the hidden writer within to finally emerge did I realize that I have been telling stories my whole life.

With that came the realization that each of us has a unique story we’re supposed to tell. That’s why we’re here. And I’m supposed to help people to tell theirs

Suddenly everything felt different. Like I had steered the boat back on course. Like a new chapter.

A starting point.

Suddenly that really successful person I follow who I want to emulate, the one who seems so far aheadin their journey, finally, it all gets put into perspective.

We think they just arrived where they are today.

We never got to see all the years they spent toiling away in obscurity. Experimenting, missing the mark, failing. Trying to figure out the very things we’re looking to figure out now.

Until they honed their craft to excellence and were finally rewarded by the world for their efforts.

We never stop and give ourselves a break for simply being on the path. It may be a path of discovery. It may be a path toward a specific destination. Or it may be a path away from our old ways.

But you’re walking the path. Celebrate that.

The law says that if you take steps in the direction of your destination every day and keep walking, no matter how slow or how far you must travel, you must one day arrive there.

In Tibet they have a tradition. After a long and arduous journey, no matter how difficult, they seek a high vantage point and look back to see just how far they have come.

Age is irrelevant. Wherever you are in your journey is a starting point. Whoever or whatever it is you’re chasing, slow down.

Realize there is no race.

Whether you’re 20 or 50 or 80, if you never stop seeking then you’ll never cease to be amazed by what you might find.

And if every point is a starting point then every day can be your birthday!

How will you celebrate today?

To Blog or not To Blog…

Keep It Simple

This is the question.

My answer, START YOUR BLOG Today! Don’t question it, just do it! 🙂

Do you know what blogs are? If you don’t, then you’ve come to the right place. In the beginning, a blog was more of a personal diary that people shared online, and it goes back to 1994. In this online journal, you could talk about your daily life or share things you do. But, people saw an opportunity to communicate any information in a new way. So began the beautiful world of blogging.

What is a Blog?

Keep It Simple

Definition of blog

A blog (shortening of “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in the reverse chronological order, with latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.

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What is the purpose of a blog?

There are many reasons for starting a personal blog and only a handful of strong ones for business blogging. Blogging for business, projects, or anything else that might bring you money has a very straightforward purpose – to rank your website higher in Google SERPs, a.k.a. increase your visibility.

As a business, you rely on consumers to keep buying your products and services. As a new business, you rely on blogging to help you get to these consumers and grab their attention. Without blogging, your website would remain invisible, whereas running a blog makes you searchable and competitive.

So, the main purpose of a blog is to connect you to the relevant audience.

Another one is to boost your traffic and send quality leads to your website.

The more frequent and better your blog posts are, the higher the chances for your website to get discovered and visited by your target audience. Which means, a blog is an effective lead generation tool. Add a great call to action (CTA), and it will convert your website traffic into high-quality leads.

But a blog also allows you to showcase your authority and build a brand.

When you use your niche knowledge for creating informative and engaging posts, it builds trust with your audience. Great blogging makes your business looks more credible, which is especially important if your brand is still young and fairly unknown. It ensures presence and authority at the same time.

Blog structure

The appearance of blogs changed over time, and nowadays blogs include different items. But, most blogs include some standard features and structure. Here are common features that a typical blog will include:

  • Header with the menu or navigation bar
  • Main content area with highlighted or latest blog posts
  • Sidebar with social profiles, favorite content, or call-to-action
  • Footer with relevant links like a disclaimer, privacy policy, contact page, etc.

Blogs and websites

A majority of people still wonder whether there is any difference between a blog and a website. What is a blog and what is a website? It’s even more challenging to differentiate between the two today. Many companies are integrating blogs into their sites to perform the same function.

Keep It Simple

What differentiates blogs from websites?

Blogs need frequent updates. Good examples include a food blog sharing meal recipes or a company writing about their industry news.

Blogs promote perfect reader engagement. Readers get a chance to comment and voice their different concerns to the viewer. Static websites, on the other hand, consists of the content presented on static pages. Static websites owners rarely update their pages. Blog owners update their site with new blog posts on a regular basis.

Key elements that identify a blog post from a static page include a publishing date, author reference, categories, and tags within a byline. While not all blog posts have all those by line elements, static website pages do not have any of these items.

From a visitor perspective, the content on a static site will not change from one visit to the next. The content on a blog, yet, has the potential to offer something new each day, week, or month. Depending on the blog owner’s publishing schedule.

What is blogging?

In the early 2000s, blogging emerged in all different phases when several political blogs were born. Also, blogs with how-to manuals began to appear. Established institutions began to note the difference between journalism and blogging.

Definition of blogging

Blogging is the many skills that one needs to run and control a blog. Equipping web page with tools to make the process of writing, posting, linking, and sharing content easier on the internet.

Why is blogging so popular?

It’s important to mention that blogging grows with each passing day! Hence, to answer the question ‘what is blogging’ we need to look at the factors behind its rise.

In the early stages, blogs became mainstream, as news services began using them as tools for outreach and opinion forming. It became a new source of information

Businesses saw a good way to improve the customer’s level of satisfaction. Through blogging, companies keep clients and customers up to date. The more people visit your blog, the more exposure and trust your brand gets.

Personal and niche bloggers, saw the potential to reach to more people interested in specific topics. Through a blog, visitors can comment and interact with you or your brand which helps you create a network of loyal followers.

Did you know you could earn money through blogging? Once your blog gets enough attention and fans, you can look into ways of monetizing your blog. Through the blog, you can offer your services and sell products.

Who is a blogger?

In recent times, bloggers have become famous for various reasons. An alternative career or job to many, more people are choosing to join the ranks. So who are bloggers? These are individuals who love sharing parts of their lives with you. They post various topics from arts, home designs, carpentry, and finance articles. Bloggers are mobile and don’t need to be in one place. They live on the internet!

Definition of blogger

A blogger is someone who runs and controls a blog. He or she shares his or her opinion on different topics for a target audience.

Why are many people blogging today?

Would you want to have a blog of your own? Yes! Most people today are creating a blog for various reasons. Every human being has its story to tell. Hence, through the internet, bloggers can communicate to a larger group of people.

Why is blogging so popular? Blogs allow you to talk about any topics and express your opinion. You’ll find some bloggers writing on every activity that took place during the day. These may range from small issues such as waking up, to major issues like human rights and climate changes! Remember that as a blogger running your own blog, you need to rely on the topics that you love and strive to become one of the best blogs on the web.

Are bloggers getting paid?

Bloggers do earn money, but this is not a get-rich-quick kind of profession.

Before you can start monetizing your blog, you need to build both your Google SERPs ranking and your niche influence. And that takes plenty of time and quality content. Money-making opportunities won’t present themselves until you’ve gained some credibility in the field. So, get down to business.

Here’s how you can make good money as a top-ranked niche blogger:

  • Selling ad space on your blog privately or via Google AdSense.
  • Becoming an affiliate partner privately or through ad networks.
  • Selling your own digital products such as eBooks and tutorials.
  • Selling memberships for access to exclusive content or advice.
  • Using your blog as a content marketing tool for your business.

If you’re starting a blog as a way to market and boost your existing business, you probably won’t be selling ad space or memberships. But you can create and start offering exclusive digital products such as eBooks, guides, or online courses as a lead capturing tool in exchange for visitors’ email addresses.

That way, you’ll nudge them one step further down your sales funnel.

Want to start a blog on your own?

Creating your own personal blog takes a few steps. First, you need to decide on a name for your blog also called a domain name, and choose the best blogging platform. We recommend going with the self-hosted platform. There are few choices when it comes to self-hosted platforms but the most popular is WordPress.org.

Then you need to choose a web hosting provider and for new bloggers, we recommend Bluehost, a company that powers over 2 million websites worldwide. You will get a Free domain name when you sign up with them and if you don’t like their services, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Step One

Click on this link and you will go to the “Exclusive Offer” page reserved for our fans. Once you get there click on “Get Started Now”.

Step Two

If this is your first hosting account ever, you should start with the basic plan, because you will need time to determine your needs and options. The basic plan has everything any beginner needs to set up a new blog. Consider other plans later when your blog takes off and your needs become greater. 

Step Three

Your domain name will play a vital role in the future development of your blog and this is why it is important to take your time and figure out a good domain name. Once you’ve done that, enter the name in the “new domain” column and choose your Top-Level Domain.

Just type in the desired domain in this “new domain” box and BlueHost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names for you to choose from.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve learned something important when it comes to the world of blogging. If you’ve managed to start a blog then your next step is to work on your blog content in order to keep your future readers satisfied and engaged. Feel free to check out our extensive list of blogging resources which will help you run and grow your new blog.

Above all else, “Keep It Simple

Learn Stability in the Storm!

Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple

Younger men, you do need guidance from older men. At the same time, the myth that the older generation has it all together must be erased. We don’t. We are learning and growing in many of the same ways young men are.

God has taught older men a number of things, though — through our strengths and weaknesses, through our successes and failures — that he may have intended for you. There is counsel that can ground you in the midst of life’s turbulence (inside of you and around you) and equip you to become more mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

Here are five points that have served me well…

1. Find your identity in Christ.

It might sound cliché, but far and away the most important thing I have to say to younger men is that your identity must be anchored in Christ (Romans 6:112 Corinthians 5:17). We all define ourselves in various ways, and some of these are appropriate to an extent. But our identity must, first and foremost, be grounded in Christ. It is in our union with him that we have deep and real security. We are perfectly known and deeply loved (Ephesians 1:4–5).

“Far and away the most important thing I have to say to younger men is your identity must be anchored in Christ.”

You might know this theologically, but there’s a difference between knowing and knowing, you know? Each day — often each moment — when you find yourself despairing of love, look to Christ. When you find yourself seeking affirmation, look to Christ. When you find yourself needing to feel significant, look to Christ. When you have been slighted, or treated unjustly, look to Christ (Philippians 1:29–30).

Of course, God gives us people in our lives to help with these things (Philemon 7), but they cannot do it ultimately or decisively. Only Christ can bring true contentment, true identity, and true security (Philippians 4:11). Stop seeking your vindication and approval, and receive what Jesus purchased in full for you at the cross.

2. Have a plan for maturity.

I don’t need to tell you to grow up. You already know your need to resist our culture’s slipping demands on boys to become men. A boy used to become a man at 21. Then it was 30. Now it’s 40. I know you want to be mature. Desire alone will not mature you, though. You need a plan. Just getting older does not guarantee that you will mature — there are few things sadder than a 36-year-old boy, but they are out there in bulk.

Look around at men who are older than you — maybe ten years or more. Who do you want to be like? What characteristics would you like to have by the time you’re their age? What would following Christ look like at that stage of life (1 Corinthians 11:1)? Imagine the more mature man you want to be and take specific steps to become him.

Put to death the sins of your youth (Romans 8:13). It’s easy to think we will just grow out of certain sinful practices, attitudes, or beliefs. By God’s grace, sometimes that happens. But more often we just grow more deeply ingrained into the patterns and habits we establish in our youth (James 1:15). So, you need to be proactive and put these things to death. Don’t just assume they’ll go away one day. With God’s power in you and behind you, “Work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12–13).

3. Invest in your friends.

I have not been good on this front, and I continue to pay the price (Ecclesiastes 4:12). You need two or three close male friends whom you can talk to about everything. Male friendship has fallen on hard times in our culture for various reasons, but it is one of the most precious gifts God can give to a young man. If you don’t have close friends, pray for one and seek him out.

“Getting older does not guarantee that you will mature.”

Be vulnerable, be honest, and share in his troubles too (1 John 1:9). But also be prepared for potential disappointment; not every guy is looking for the same thing, and many already have their key friendships in place.

Seeking an older brother is important too. We all need an older man’s perspective, someone who can encourage us, who’s been there, and who knows that we’ll get through it, whatever it is.

Invest in your friends, but don’t rely on them to do what only Christ can do. This will put too much pressure on your friendships, and you will ultimately be disappointed and possibly disillusioned. Friendship is great (1 Samuel 18:3), but we need Christ more than any friend.

4. Stop looking for the perfect woman.

The perfect woman does not exist, so stop looking for her. Hollywood has lied and taught you wrongly (Proverbs 7:21–23). If you hope to be married, better to spend your energy developing your own godliness and maturity. Become a better husband (1 Corinthians 16:13), rather than shopping for a better woman.

Your future wife, perfectly fit or not, will never give you the wholeness that comes only from Christ. If you are looking for a wife to make you feel complete, to be fully known, or to give you security, you will put too much pressure on your marriage and you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you both know who you are in Christ, you will have the right foundation for a good marriage.

If you’re already married, you know by now that you didn’t marry the perfect woman. Don’t keep looking for the perfect woman (Proverbs 18:2219:14), as though you missed her. That lie comes from Hollywood too. That kind of thinking fails to trust God’s sovereign goodness (Proverbs 6:27–29). Love the wife he has given you, and don’t be a fool (Proverbs 5:18)!

 

5. Be strong — and gentle.

Masculinity is experiencing an identity crisis. Men don’t know whether they are supposed to be soft guys, tough guys, or something in between. I think we need men who have courage, especially courage in their convictions (Psalm 27:14Matthew 10:22). True courage comes from security, and that is only truly found in the truth about Christ (John 10:28). See point 1.

“We need men in the church who are strong, dependable, courageous, and tender.”

We need to be strong — strong enough to be gentle (2 Corinthians 10:9). God our Father is almighty and powerful (Psalm 147:5), but he also cares for the widow and the orphan (Psalm 146:9). He knows compassion and is tenderhearted (Isaiah 40:11Luke 1:78). This balance is hard to get right, but it’s important.

We don’t need more tough guys who are insensitive to the needs and feelings of others. But we also don’t need more sensitive guys without any backbone. Empathy matters, compassion matters, and gentleness matters. We need to be strong, dependable, and courageous. But we also need to know how to love, give, and comfort.

Stability in the Storm

When you’re young, it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the details of every circumstance immediately in front of you — every opportunity lost, every breakup, every failure, every sin. As you’ve likely noticed above, the older you get, the more your union with Christ becomes a discernibly meaningful and stabilizing reality.

Cling to Christ, and as you mature as a man, he will make clear to you the beauty and relevance of your union with him. He promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) — not now, not in your journey of growth as a man, and not when you are older. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely [sanctify and mature you]” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

A season of Promised Land

Psalm 22.3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people.  No matter what you are facing, when you choose to stop, cultivate your gratitude and give him praise, He meets you. This is a season of Promised Land testimonies. God is doing a new thing, filling your mouth with praise and endless hallelujahs! In this season, you get the opportunity to get over yourself and watch God create order around you. He is aligning your heart with His plans and purposes. Pull out your dream list and watch what God will do! 

ENDLESS HALLELUJAH 

Psalm 22.3 tells us God inhabits the praises of his people. The word “praise” means “offering grateful homage to God” (Patheo.com). There is beauty and power in taking the focus off the woes of our day and giving Him the honor He is due.  We are transformed in that moment, because, in a beautiful way, we are submitting ourselves to God.

The Hebrew word for worship is shachah which literally means “to bow down or prostrate oneself.”  It is in taking this stance that not only does God meet us, but He shifts things into place.  In taking this posture of submission and offering our sacrifice of praise, we are cultivating divine order in our life.  Give Him your endless hallelujah!

SWEET SURRENDER

“Create a new, clean heart within me.

Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you.”

Psalm 51.10 (The Passion Translation)

God is bringing your heart into alignment with His purposes and His plans, and He’s calling you to take stock of your heart.  You have a continual invitation to evaluate your heart and purge anything that is not of God. Many of you have encountered relational difficulties.  Fights, betrayals and tension have hurt you deeply. Harsh words, pent up frustration, and bitterness were like daggers to your heart. In the midst of your pain, you have a choice in this season to surrender your offense.

Carrying offense wreaks havoc in our soul (and body), and ultimately it can lead to resentment and bitterness, making our heart hard. It is your choice to let things go so God can come in and heal you.  He makes all things new, and His brand of restoration makes you better than you were before.  

PROMISED LAND

This is the time of Promised Land testimonies.  God is doing a new thing; He’s causing promises, dreams, and relationships to come alive – to be birthed. Many of these hopes have been long-awaited. He’s bringing people together, causing divine set-ups and relational unions that never could’ve worked before.  This is a season for new couples, engagements, weddings, pregnancies, and all kinds of desires of the heart to come into being.  This is a time to pull out your dream list and watch what God will do.  Pay attention to what God is doing, because it will be part of a testimony.  Psalm 32.8 tells us, “I will guide you with my eye.” It is a time to look to Him, to be moved by His presence as He gracefully unveils what He has been orchestrating behind the scenes for years.  Prepare to be wowed, as it’s better than you could’ve hoped or dreamed. It will be the manifestation of abundance.

He’s also revealing a new facet of the bride of Christ.  The body is accessing new territory, corporately inhabiting more of the kingdom.  It is a season for souls to be saved, prodigals to return home, new levels in miracles, and supernatural increase in things of the spirit.  Just as the Israelites crossed over the Jordan and into the Promised Land, much was revealed as they stepped out of the water. It’s a whole new world! The bride of Christ is being purified in order to be seen for who she is in all her glory.  

FREEDOM

“Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  

2 Corinthians 3.17

False beliefs have been a part of our world for so long that they often feel like truth. This season, watch as God makes clear to you any false beliefs you’ve been holding onto.

These false beliefs can sound like:

  • There is never enough
  • I will always be alone
  • God is not big enough to do that  

The primary belief He’s uncovering is fear.  Fear manifests in many ways in our lives, but it often feels like control, anxiety, or insecurity.  It can also look like isolation, anger, frustration, or judgment.  These false beliefs have been woven so intricatelyinto the fabric of our lives that it can feel scary to let go of them.  God is standing by ready to do the work to rid you of these lies – you need only surrender to His process.  Allow Him access into your vulnerable parts. Unparallelled freedom awaits you on the other side of these beliefs.   

DECLARATIONS

We at The Crowning Jewels believe in the absolute, transformational power of declarations.  We know truth comes by hearing (Romans 10.17), and speaking truth is a way to renew our minds (Romans 12.2). We also believe that in speaking forth these declarations, you will change your life.  We invite you to partner with what God is doing, and say these declarations as you journey throughout your season. We would love to hear what God does! Please email us your testimony at tellyourstory@thecrowningjewels.com.

  1. God inhabits the praises of His people.
  2. I choose to surrender my heart to the work God is doing.
  3. God is bringing me into my Promised Land.
  4. Fear is a liar and I choose truth.
  5. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. a season of Promised Land  God inhabits the praises of His people.
  6. I choose to surrender my heart to the work God is doing.
  7. God is bringing me into my Promised Land.
  8. Fear is a liar and I choose truth.
  9. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

A Note To The Men

Dear men,

You have probably heard so many words describing all of the ways you are failing. You’ve heard that you either aren’t empowering enough or that you don’t have enough of a backbone. You either don’t know how to pursue, or you move too fast. You are either are too confident or too timid, too successful or not successful enough, too overbearing or not invested enough.

A Fatherless Generation

In this fatherless generation, most of you had to define masculinity on your own. Even those of you who had a father figure, your image of masculinity was shaped by the message of advertisement, the entertainment industry and recent cultural movements. You probably had few examples to look up to, and even fewer godly men to mentor you.

Pornography, homosexuality and infidelity became the norm instead of the exception. The goal of being “on top” was esteemed so highly that it seemed to justify the means. Countless examples have shown that you could get away with overpowering or even violating the very people you were called to protect.

Being unbreakable

Strength was defined as being unbreakable, untouchable, unaffectable. Strong men don’t cry. Strong men don’t ask for help. Strong men don’t admit to any weakness. Strong men push through and don’t rest until it’s done.

Redefining Masculinity

In the midst of all of this, there’s a movement starting that’s redefining masculinity. We have seen it happening around us. We are surrounded by men who have so clearly stepped into who they are that they are causing a ripple effect. We see strong men that are moved by compassion, dare to be undignified in their worship like king David, and are tender-hearted towards the ones they love. We see you and we thank you for the gift that you are.

 

Vulnerability and Strength

The truth is that you are allowed to have needs. You are allowed to be human. You are allowed to be tired, and ask for help. True, lasting strength comes from your ability to lean on God. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, you are invited into His Presence to rest and refill. Vulnerability is not the opposite of strength, it is an expression of it.

An offensive Jesus 

You also have full permission to be unapologetic in your strength. You are allowed to be bold. Jesus, the greatest example of true masculinity, was too! He offended people with truth. He turned tables upside down. He broke every rule in the book in order to defend the weak. He sat in the dirt with sinners. He had dinner with prostitutes and frauds. He spat in the mud to heal a man’s eyes. He got angry. He told some highly-esteemed leaders that they were dead inside. He challenged the rich man to sell everything, and didn’t make any concession when he didn’t return.

The church flannels may have taught us otherwise, but Jesus wasn’t the soft man with purple linen robes, blue eyes and a perfectly curled beard. This softening of the Gospels doesn’t reflect the Jesus that Matthew, Luke and John wrote about.

Jesus as a Man

Jesus was a man. He was bold, and fierce, and honest, and protective, and strong. He was also kind, and gentle. He played with little kids. He let twelve men become his best friends. He retreated often to talk with His Father. He wept when His cousin died. His heart was moved when a woman gave Him a year’s wages to show her dedication to Him. He was tender-hearted, and strong. He was both. And so are you.

You don’t have to apologize for your strength, boldness and power. The world needs you to be a man. You don’t have to shrink in order to make space for others. You don’t have to decrease your masculinity in order to encourage and empower others.

Called to Thrive

You are needed in this world, so it’s time to dream again. Many of you have felt that you needed sacrifice your passion in order to fulfill your obligations and responsibilities. God wants you to be fully alive. He wants you to not merely survive and provide, but to thrive. He is calling you to become a man who is walking out his divine purpose alongside of your passion. God wants you to have both: passion AND purpose.

Your strength is a gift, and God isn’t worried that you’ll build your own kingdom of power. He believes in your ability to fiercely protect what He has given you. He sees your heart to pull others up, to fight for justice, to pursue what God has called you to.

An apology

We, as women,  see your heart, too. We’re sorry for all the times that we’ve made you feel like you weren’t good enough for us. We ask for forgiveness for the high demands we put on you. We never want to make you feel like you lost the game before you even started. It’s time that we, as women, start supporting and championing you, like you do for us.

We’re amazed by your strength and your kindness. We celebrate your unwavering desire to get to the top of whatever mountain you’ve claimed as your own. We believe in you, we know that you’ll get there.

Resetting the standard

 

God wants to breathe life into your dreams. He wants to redefine strength for you. Take your boldness to stand in faith, declaring that you will believe His promises.

There’s enough time left to become the man you are called to be. You are not behind on the timeline of success. You are right where you’re supposed to be and you have what it takes.

We can’t wait to see what you will do with what you’ve been given. Your life is a reflection of the Jesus who has fiery eyes and an open embrace. You represent Him well, and you will set an example for your sons, grandsons and many other young men that are watching you.