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How I went from 0 to over 6000 followers in less than a year?

Just a simple down to earth look at growing your online influence

Short Wisdom

Hey nice people!

Yes, it’s been a while. I know… I know… I just got tired from posting and I needed a break. Maybe it’s not my thing.

Nevertheless, so many of you are so great at this blogging thing and it is so visible that it is your thing! That this is what you need to do with your life! It’s your calling, your passion! And that’s why I want to share my blueprint of how I managed to grow this blog so much in so little time!

1. Post as much as you can!

You need to really know yourself and find your rhythm here. I posted 4 times a day. And let me tell you that it is exhausting. But it was exhausting because I realized blogging is not my thing. I’m more of a reader than content creator, even though I think I am fairly good…

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The Keys, Where are they?

THE KEYS

When you read that simple two-word title what comes to mind?

I think of the following:

  1. Car keys… then quickly… do I know where they are?
  2. House keys…. Yeah, with the car keys, but do I know where they are?
  3. Lesson keys… Keys to lesson or maybe the answer key. I wish I had some of those.
  4. Piano keys… Nope, If I was on piano… not good but I know where my car keys are.
  5. Hiring keys… yes, this is a stretch but if you knew the right key to a lead to a good paying job, or that ever daunting raise.
  6. Coaches’ keys… seem like every athlete now, has a key card on their person. It tells the play or set up.

I am sure you might come up with some of the same but maybe even better ones. I will be thinking about keys more often now, following this blog post.

In my devotion time today, titled “the Keys of the Kingdom”, and referenced Matthew 16:19. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”’

I bolded the word keys for effects I guess.
It reminds me of a story, names are changed to protect the innocent. A friend, will call Jon, called his wife frantically. He lost his keys, the keys to the car and needed to get to an important meeting. As he was franticly searching, his wife began to tell (suggest) he retrace his steps…. Desperately, he complied this time to her advice. The first stop… the Car and it hit him, like a ton of bricks, square in the face. Looking into the vehicle, he found his keys… IN THE VEHICLE Amazing I know!

Upon further examination, after hanging up the phone with his wife, he realized just how safe his car keys where…… swinging from the ignition…… Yeah… open the door, Jon! One would think that was a great idea. Can you relate with me… or think… Great idea, I never thought of that. Of course not, we would never do that lol. Please read again in your sarcastic voice.

Lifting the door handle of the driver side… locked

Lifting the door handle on the driver’s side back door… locked

To save time… every door, locked. Every window up and not moving… Those keys were super safe in the car locked ready to be used to get Jon to his meeting…. 

If you are like me, well it was my story, and have misplaced your keys, maybe lost them, or just don’t have them can be super frustrating. I would say it could push a person to consider breaking things, like the car window, and get super frustrated.

Think about the verse above, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Wow, what an awesome gift. It is something that has eternal impact, personal joys, and the ability to know where to go, what do to. But how often do we as people simply, lose the keys, lock the keys away until a better time, or worse yet never grab the keys given? Often, is my reality.


God offers me the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and I choose to desire other keys, world’s keys, personal keys, and frankly keys that do not work.


I would like to post more but I need to go find my keys. This blog has me worried about where they might be….  Grab your keys, keep them close, and use them often.

Everything is different but it is the same

I have found myself in a weird state of balance these past few weeks. I enjoy a routine and for matters of national health (and mine) I am adjusting to this stay at home order in hopes that we as a nation, state, community, house can rid ourselves of this nasty virus, health scare. I am not sure how long it will last but I have found some struggles:

  1. 6 adult people in the house at one time, using two bathrooms, one refrigerator, one television and not a whole ton of internet band with…
  2. I can’t make my regular Starbucks run with Bob. It isn’t as much about getting a chai tea with soy but missing the conversations to and from.
  3. I can’t see, high five, side hug or even knuckle bump with anyone of the awesome students I know.
  4. There is no spring sport events to attend and support students, or musicals, band concerts and maybe even graduation. This one hurts. I so enjoy supporting our school and students.
  5. The list could go on and on..

But in the midst of this I am finding some joy, or God sightings

  1. My kids are home, healthy, learning and growing. They are sharing things too.
  2. I can have a chai at home and communicate with Bob over the phone, text etc.
  3. I get to see my students via virtual reality on different social platforms. I am thankful for that. They are an encouraging, loving bunch for sure.
  4. I am not seeing the denominational arguing that was very heated and present prior to the Virus outbreak.
  5. I am happy that we live with technology but also have printed Bibles, bible apps we can use to grow ourselves and share with others.
  6. I am not spending a ton of money eating out or fueling my vehicles. That is a pleasant truth,… well besides gas prices being lower than I can remember.

It really simply comes down to making lemon aide out of lemons, thinking about the cup having liquid in it.. half empty or half full you still have contents in it. It comes down to realizing we are in a new season. A new normal is forming and we are learning to embrace the season.

I am thankful for you. Yes, You!  You are growing, learning, adapting and adjusting to a new normal, A normal that has ups and downs, wins and losses but ultimately it is a season you can choose to make the best with it.

Know I am praying for you today.

Jon

School delay to a cancelation

“Your life affects those you have in contact with, whether you intend to or not.” Yes, I read those very words today in my Experiencing God: day by day devotion. It is a timely first sentence. I am assuming the author didn’t have inspiration in writing this back in 1997 for today but God did.

Our local school (Sunman Dearborn Community School) had an interesting morning. Our Superintendent (Dr. Jackson) had to deal with winter weather and one of the elementary schools not having power, which also implies area houses and businesses are out of power too.

He first out a two-hour delay based on the school being without power and not the road conditions with a stipulation, the district would be in session if the elementary regained power, which it did. Then the weather conditions worsened and was determined that school would be cancelled.

Do you see the challenge in making this decision?  Teachers and staff would be affected, some lose pay when they don’t have school. Parents and children would be affected for different reasons. Who will watch the kids while I am at work? What about my exams? Or how can I know get to the Perfect North Ski slopes?

All this responsibility rests on Dr Jackson and his team’s shoulders… if my assumption is correct, he will not make everyone happy. I pray for his discernment regularly. I thought being a youth pastor was a tough gig… try running an entire school corporation.

 

How does your life affect those around you? Have you taken time to really truly look around you and see who and how you are influencing others? What about your social media presence?

 

I am working on some new goals for 2020, one of which will be intentionally making a positive influence on others… those who I know are watching (family, church, store cashier, waitresses etc) and those who I am not sure about (social medias, those reading my material or lessons)

 

I hope you will join me in being intentional on impacting others and adding a prayer or encouraging word for those who aren’t doing a great job of being positive.

 

 

Want want want.. We desire the want

Getting what you want?

I have learned over the past 50 years; I don’t always get what I want and beginning to realize that is probably for my best interest. I recall asking and wanting…

  • A horse… yeah glad that didn’t happen
  • A new car… I couldn’t afford the payments
  • A new job… I was needing to learn through the job (this would be a whole additional blog)
  • A better friendship… I was the one needing to grow and help my friend grow.

The list could grow and grow but you get the point. I have had some very good wants provided too

  • A wife who loves Jesus and me
  • A family who loved me for me
  • A few kids (four) who make me proud and are great people
  • A great job, I truly am blessed to be working full time in Ministry.
  • A Horse… well that one didn’t happen, but I am glad.
  • A new car, someone donated (gifted) us a few automobiles over the years.

We tend to view things in our lives as wants and needs… I need to breathe, eat, drink and live and I want a ton of other things… of which are simply that wants.

We are quickly approaching the Christmas day events. Some will balance church, family events and others will simply function as it is just another day. We made it through black Friday and will approach time of Happy New year but snuggled in the middle is Christmas… I enjoy it for two reasons…  Family time and watching my then younger kids playing with the boxes presents came in over the presents themselves. It is a funny reminder that we truly are blessed with more than we need and for sure than we want.

As we move into the season of Christmas take time to be thankful for what we have and what we need compared to what others seem to need throughout the world we live in.

 

Thanksgiving or Not?

Thanksgiving, holiday or not? Are you out of context when talking to others?

It is a national holiday, but I bring attention to national. I reside in several Youth Ministry Groups and dabble with comments on occasion. Someone posted the comment about what will you be doing for thanksgiving, or more specifically do you get holiday off or not?

I have several youth worker friends who do not reside in USA but is also cool to know. We live in a global connected world for sure. Some of the posts say… not getting a day off, not a holiday which puts us into a reality. A reality of proximity, how often do we (you) quickly jump to assume you know all the contexts of a conversation or situation?  If you are like me, you do it way too often, daily in fact.

I would like to grow in this area. I am planning on being more intentional in the pursuit of connecting, hearing and bringing value to the situation before I speak to the opinion of this. I am simply a work in progress which seems more practice than success.

I hope you will join me in this pursuit of listening more, reflecting more and then speaking to the opportunity, person or whatever it maybe. Maybe this is something we can begin doing now, to have a habit of doing so prior to New Years day resolutions take place.

Lord, first help me lean into your word without bias, or opinion but to be open to the Word you want me to hear and apply to my life in that moment. Second, help me seek you in all conversations to discern what you are having me learn and say. Third, that I might be open to a renewing of me each day. Finally, be with us all as we seek to grow in relationship with each other. Amen

The victory comes before the event

I am a big fan of the underdog in sports, and in life. I don’t know if it is as much about the little guy beating the giant as much as the preparation done prior to the challenge or event.

1 John 4:4 tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who, lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Think about this verse a few minutes…
1. When you belong to God… having accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are no longer controlled by the world. The world can and will influence you, but it doesn’t control you.

  1. When you have victory over the world… having victory over the world is all about how you view and function in the world. We are to be in the world not of it. Simply put, we are to be in it, but it isn’t in us.
  2. When you see the details… you discover two different letters used in this verse… S is capitalized when it refers to a person and that person is the Holy Spirit. It also implies the s (spirit) of the world is less than that of God. This is a key point to remember… God wins.
  3. Preparation is vital… we must prepare for the victory or game etc.. When we practice to the focus of the win, we will be better equipped for the win. It is all about preparation and focus.

This is something our world misses…

We can be caught up in the touchdown celebration but totally overlook the plays that prepared for the touchdown.
We can celebrate the winning field goal without seeing the hours and hours of practice with the snap, hold and kick.
We can watch out friends get a promotion, find a great house or other things along this line but we often forget about the hard work put into earning, developing and earning the promotion, saving up for the house or vehicle etc.

We can see the parent with a great relationship with their children and overlook the hours and hours of time spent conversing, working on homework and doing life with them.

We can see the perfect couple who seems to have it all, the best communication, date nights etc… but we neglect to see the commit they have made to make it a priority or to see the time they invest in growing the relationship.

I could go on and on for pages of we can see but we don’t see. God has won the victory over death and the world through Jesus and we are no longer slaves to the world but servants to the One True God. So, what?

I would encourage you to take regular time out of you day, week, month :
to reflect on the victory God has done,
to put in the work to gain and earn things.

Dave Ramsay talks about living different now in a way that you can truly live land give different later. He speaks from a financial mindset but I would also encourage us to take the same attitude towards life… live now so you can enjoy living fully in Christ later… Devote yourself to the apostle teaching, spend time with God and continue to influence the world on His behalf.

Healthy People don’t need a Doctor – sick people do.

Healthy People don’t need a Doctor – sick people do.

I am all for health care. When someone begins a post with that comment, it might imply a distain for the health care system, or it simply implies I am all for health care.

I first begin with:

  • I appreciate my medical doctor. Dr Tibby is the best.
  • Daughter 2 is studying to work in the medical field.
  • I have friends who work/volunteer/run the Bright Fire Department.
  • I have a sister who taught most of her career (Ferris State U) in dental hygiene
  • I appreciate our school athletic trainers

So, I not to excited about shots or giving blood through a needle… next to snakes I am not a huge fan. If a snake had a needle in its possession I would be long gone.

But the above line “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, sick people do.”  Found in Luke 5:31 jumped out at me and I wasn’t working in that paragraph or section of the bible in preparing for some teaching coming up. I was drawn to it for a couple reasons:

  • We all need coaches in our lives and support people who will guide and care for us.
  • We all know someone who isn’t doing well
  • We all have gifts and abilities (both time, talents and funds) to help people

But we also make excuses:

  • Well I am not a coach… but seem to have no problem coaching from the sidelines or (the arm chair QB position).
  • Well I am hurting and struggling myself. Often helping others will also help yourself.
  • Well I am a busy person running kids around, working in my yard or at the office etc. But we share the same 24 hours in a day and can choose to help others in the midst of those things.

I will focus energy and time in investing in others this week. I might not have a medical degree or called to be a Doctor of Medicine, but I can be a doctor of hope, help or even encouragement. I can choose to (be smart about it) connect with those who need support without falling into the cycle they are in or even just simply pray for those who are hurting and in need of a doctor…

I hope and encourage and challenge you to take the challenge to seek out those who are in need. The very next verse says, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”  Jesus is showing us the need to reach out to those who have no clue of their need for support and in turn or need to be supporters.

 

Chosen? Royal? Holy?

In my devotion time today, reading from Experiencing God day to day, I landed on the title Royal Priests.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light.”

I bolded three key words. I had them underlined from a previous year of devotional time. I want to give or suggest some ideas alongside of each word.
1. Chosen.  We live in a  world that everyone wants to be picked… and not picked last. I remember standing in the line during recess hoping to be in the top five picked.. sometimes it happened but not often.
God has chosen you to be His child.. reread that… You are picked first…. Celebrate and remember that. The creator of the world picked you to be his child.

2. Royal. This is a word more designated and reserved for kings, queens, princes and princess of England or other countries. If you are like me, you are not in line for the throne of England or any country unless, like me, you are the king of your garage, room or vehicle. Yeah, sad but hey I am king of my vehicle most of the time.  God calls you into royalty… in fact a royal priest. I know it seems and sounds intimidating but should it? I know God is equipping each of us to be his instrument to a world that doesn’t know Him. I know but I am not smart or biblical awesome but when you opened the bible, listened to a sermon or podcast, attended FCA or a bible study or small group… you are equipped more than others who didn’t attend or do those things… Welcome to the priesthood friend.

3. Holy. Holy is something we do not see or recognize very often in our world or life. I believe it is partly due to living in a world of sinful nature but also due to our inability to seek it out and recognize it due to our limited desire to see it. It brings accountability and a standard of life that we often choose not to live up to or achieve. So, this is more of a challenge than anything… live holy, pursue holiness and seek out those who are doing so and learn from them.

I know we are all called into relationship with Jesus and that calling and acceptance will change our lives as we continue to pursue Jesus. The people in successful marriages often are due to their pursuing each other as a couple. They are no longer single and adjust their lives accordingly. They learn and grow in their relationship with their spouse. See, it is a work in progress that a single person does to become a successfully married person. A parent doesn’t know everything about raising kids, that too is a work in progress. We read books, watch Youtube videos, attend classes and occasionally make a guess

In closing, I want to remind you.. You are CHOSEN. You are a ROYAL priesthood. You are a HOLY nation.

Looking out for others

Ezekiel 22:30 says “SO I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but i found no one.”

Obviously, at first glance this is a tough read and can be taken out of context. God was looking for someone to do a tasks (well two: build the wall and stand in gap) but none could be found. I was reading this as a part of my devotional time and my mind went into a new direction….

God is looking for someone… a person or peoples to stand in the gap… In the gap for what? I feel He is looking for individuals and groups of people willing to stand in the gap for the following people groups:

  • homeless
  • widows
  • those in prison
  • those with disabilities or special needs
  • those who are hurting, physically, mentally, emotionally
  • those who are lost, trying to find identity in the world with no success
  • those who struggle with suicidal thoughts
  • those who just don’t feel like they fit into a social or friend group
  • those disconnected with and to the church
  • those simply lost in their selves.

I know it is an exhaustive list. I know it seems like a big task, or seems like it doesn’t connect to or concern me so why bother? I know we can make excuses but why?

Excuses come in a variety of means… but often are developed to keep fear in check or our lives comfortable and safe.

My prayer and challenge is to seek God and do our best to friend someone.. it will both help us and the person being friended.
My prayer is for our needs to be met while meeting other people’s needs in the process.

Take a risk for someone.. you never know.. someday you might need them to take a risk for you.

 

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