If You Want Results, Here’s The One Trait You’ll Need

The Difference Between Being Interested vs. Being Committed

Until recently, I’ve never heard of the shiny object syndrome.

It’s the “syndrome” that causes one to be easily distracted by “shiny objects” and lose focus on the tasks at hand. You see it with parents overcommitting their kids. You see it in entrepreneurs starting several businesses at the same time. You see it in churches dabbling in everything except the main thing.

Are you interested, or are you committed?

How do you know the difference?

Why does it matter?


Interest vs. Commitment

I heard a story one time that discussed the difference between commitment and interest. Two guys independently created an objective to swim a mile. The first man calculated how many laps he would need to swim in the community pool to complete the distance goal and proceeded to attempt the objective.

The second guy had a friend drive him out in the ocean 1 mile, drop him off and leave him to swim back to shore. For the first guy, it was a matter of convenience, if he became tired, he could simply get out of the pool. For the second guy, there was not an option to simply get out. He would have to push through the fatigue, sore muscles, to achieve his objective. That is the difference between commitment and interest.

The Single Reason Why Vacations Are Vital

It’s no secret, like most executives and business owners, many pastors are workaholics and rarely take vacations. Workaholics, please take note – a vacation is a must. It’s time to mute the noise and take an annual vacation. Regardless of what others may say, it’s time to let go of your guilty feelings and VACATE.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 2015

Welcome to the “Guilt-Free” Zone 

I use to feel guilty about taking vacations fearing I may fall behind. Sometimes I took work with me and short-changed my family in the process. A recent study shows that 82 percent of small business owners who took a vacation were performing better at work when they got back. An added bonus is that about a third of men who take this sensible step are less likely to die of heart disease.

So, If taking vacations trouble you, I’d like to share the single most important reason taking a vacation makes you better.

Vacations Inspire Creativity

“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick-start creative thinking,” according to Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.
For me, the church environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, strategies, and decision-making techniques. Ministry, like any other high-demand profession, is intense. You cannot be creative or get inspiration when you are under enormous pressure.

Change Your Scenery – Change Your World

A change of scene on a vacation can work wonders. Although you cannot switch off completely, when you relax, creativity flourishes. Your mind will start asking questions you never thought of up until now. You’ll have a clearer mind because you are no longer tired.

So, forget the old work ethic that longer hours mean higher productivity. Take a vacation instead.

You can thank me afterwards.

Erase and Replace

How to Change The Way You Think About Yourself

Recently I took up photography as a hobby and realized how much I love it.

Photography relaxes me and takes away stress. While taking pictures during my children’s graduation ceremonies and sporting events, I ran out of storage space.  I couldn’t take more pictures because the SD card was full.

An SD card (Secure Digital) is a digital storage device used in portable devices such as digital cameras and cell phones because of its small size and light weight. Since videos and pictures require a lot of space, an SD card can fill up quickly. If you want to add additional footage, you have to transfer old footage to another storage device.

Concept of Businessman memory upgrade with futuristic effect

Your brain is like an SD card with unlimited storage space.

Our Brains Are Like SD Cards With Unlimited Storage

Your brain is like an SD card with unlimited storage space. It has recorded every single experience your five senses have experienced – everything you’ve smelled, seen, heard, touched, and tasted. It records everything people say (both past and present). Your brain is an amazing storage device.

What To Do When The Tears Won’t Stop

Recently, I ran across a startling statistic that blew me away.

When it comes to cruel and cutting remarks, 99 percent of the time they’re not from strangers; they’re from someone we know. Let that sink in. Their words are painful and memorable because they come from people who should be the source of love.

It’s hard to admit, but wherever a relationship exists, the possibility of someone getting wounded exists. How do you respond when the people you know hurt you? How do you stop the tears from flowing?  You agree to release the grip resentment has on you.

Depressed and sad man on the couch in the room, covering face and crying in despair.

You can’t hold onto a hurt and enjoy life. You can’t get well as long as you harbor resentment. For your sake, let go the right to get even.  The fact is, you only have a certain amount of emotional energy, and you must determine how you spend it.

I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate. That’s actually a serious point. If you’re going to do something that’s never been done before – which is basically what innovation is – people are going to misunderstand it just because it’s new.

Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.com (BusinessWeek.com April 17, 2008)


(Jeff Bezos, April 17, 2008)

How To Heal a Wound That Won’t Heal

The Key to Healing Emotional Wounds

Do you have a wound that won’t heal?

“A wound that has been present for more than six weeks is considered a chronic wound and may need special treatment,” according to Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a plastic surgeon and director of the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Have you ever had a cut that required stitches? Have you ever had a surgery of any kind? Deep cuts and surgical procedures leave wounds that often require stitches. Eventually the stitches are removed and the pain goes away. What do you do about wounds you can’t see? How do you begin to stitch emotional wounds embedded deep within the recesses of one’s heart?

beauty girl cry

Hidden wounds are memories that hurt

Hidden Wounds are Memories That Hurt

Hidden wounds are the recollections from your past that when you think about them, they still cause pain in your life. Some define them as memories of abandonment. Some have memories of abuse. Some even have memories of ridicule, criticism or hatred.

Hidden wounds come from prejudices in society. They come from family members (they are the ones that hurt the most). Sometimes they come from parents, our children, our siblings, and aunts and uncles. You can get wounded in the work place. They’re everywhere.

I’ve been a pastor for a long time and I’ve talked to people and I’ve learned two truths about life.

  1. Everyone has a hidden wound. You may be masking it but everybody has a hidden wound. An emotional scar from someone in the past who hurt you in a serious way.
  2. Hidden Wounds (emotional scars) take longer to heal than physical wounds.

Are you ready for some good news? The good news is this: Jesus wants to heal your hidden wounds.

Check It Before It Checks You

How To Face Your Fears With Confidence

According to the Phobia List, there are OVER 2000 “CONFIRMED” fears.

Phobias are emotional and physical reactions to feared objects or situations. Symptoms of a phobia include the following: Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror. Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of danger.

Nervous young black man looking out window, horizontal

Fears are mostly learned behaviors and this process can often start in a mother’s womb. Unborn children pick up on their mother’s responses to situations. This is known as innate learning and can become naturally inborn fears.

It appears there are only TWO fears we are born with:

  1. The fear of LOUD NOISES – (We question how sound affects and impacts a growing baby, after all we can make judgment, see, hear and sense sound. A baby has little insight of this)
  2. The fear of FALLING – (Giving birth is about gravity, and often baby’s can spend a long amount of time upside down, no wonder this is classed as a fear we are born with)

Therefore, if we can learn them, we can unlearn them.

The Real Reason Why Change Rarely Works

3 Lessons On Change and Transition

I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision.

It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?

Do You Like To Fish?

Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back, they find that half the people are still on the river bank.

Some are still prepping their fishing gear. Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles, and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realize that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate the transition.

A metal toggle switch with plate reading Change and Same, flipped into the Same position, illustrating the decision to work toward changing or improving your situation in life

We have a choice to change or remain the same.

John Maxwell in his book Winning with People admits that patience is not one his strengths. He says:

When I was younger I constantly cast vision for the people in my organization and then left them behind – not a good thing for a leader.

In the past sixteen years, Mars Hill experienced many changes.  But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that during the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process whereas leaders we simply dropped the ball. Here are three humbling lessons learned:

What To Do When There’s No Time

5 Blog Posts to Help You Manage Your Time More Effectively

Someone once said, “time flies when your having fun.”  I’d like to suggest that time flies whether you’re having fun or not.  In fact, time never stops.

It seems that everyone’s busy these days. And life shows no sign of slowing down. There are an endless number of apps, books, planners, and software all designed to help us manage our time more effectively.  Since life has no intention of slowing down, are your efforts effective? Or do you sometimes feel like you’re spinning your wheels?

Orange Time Management Button on Computer Keyboard. Business Concept.

“Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.” -CE Stowers

Now more than ever, we seem to have more work than time to do it.  Everyone has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. So since we can’t increase the amount of time we have, we need to learn how to control our use of it.

Here are my five favorite blog posts to help you grow in the area of time management.

Why You Can’t Seem to Manage Your Time – Brandon Cox

Time management. Of all the people I know who ever focus on this concept, only a small handful are confident that they’re doing it well.

Source: Why You Can’t Seem to Manage Your Time

Time Management System – Ron Edmondson

If you aren’t doing so already, I want to encourage you to plan your week for efficiency.  Every Monday (or Sunday night if you prefer), as the first thing you do, consider the week ahead.

Source: Time Management System – Ron Edmondson

3 Essentials for Time Management – Artie Davis

As you grow as a leader, your time becomes the most valued gift you can invest in others.

Source: 3 Essentials for Time Management

Top 10 Ways Leaders Waste Time – Carey Nieuwhof

When was the last time you complained about not having enough to do and more than enough time to do it in? Exactly. Almost every leader I know struggles with finding the time to get it all done. I do too. So what helps? And what hurts?

Source: Top 10 Ways Leaders Waste Time (And 10 Time Hacks to Help You) – Carey Nieuwhof

14 Tips for Time Management – Chuck Lawless

I make no claim to an expert at time management. What I am is a seminary dean, education consultant, church consultant, and local church pastor who has been forced to learn how to budget time. Here are some time management tips that have worked for me:

Source: 14 Tips for Time Management – ThomRainer.com

Heartsill Wilson said,

God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it – or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it!

When you open your eyes tomorrow morning, remind yourself that it holds incredible possibilities. You can allow that day to slip away from you, or you can use it to make things happen. The choice is yours.

What other time management techniques have worked for you?

The #1 Obstacle That’s Holding You Back (and What To Do About It)

Here’s something you don’t hear at most conferences and seminars: Behind every opportunity are obstacles.

In 1999, I was installed as pastor of the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.  However, as is so often the case, this opportunity came disguised as a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  I succeeded my father, Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. as pastor.  I inherited a traditional baptist church that had plateaued.

Basic RGB

Based on almost every metric available, I knew I had to do something fast or else our attendance would decline. The optimistic side of me was determined to turn our church around. Therefore, in 2000, I attended the Purpose Driven Church Conference and worked hard to formulate and cast a new vision for the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.

I restructured our church, hired staff, and with fresh enthusiasm, we were off to a great start. I anticipated smooth sailing ahead.  What I didn’t anticipate is that everyone wants change until it affects them personally.  Why?  Growth is uncomfortable and requires change.