So You’re Stuck in Traffic?

How to Turn Your Commute into a Classroom

Time is an unrenewable commodity. Once it’s gone, you can never replace it.

The real question is what are you doing with your time?

Each day the average American spends between one and two hours driving to and from work. Yearly we spend well over 300 hours of our lives in our car. It’s the equivalent of 38 work days of driving. Another way to look at it is 13 straight 24 hour days.

Traffic jam

We Spend a Lot of Time Commuting

The average commute in the U.S is 45 minutes, with New Yorkers having the longest trek to work with an average 73-minute commute. Chicagoans came in second spending 64 minutes a day commuting, followed by San Francisco residents with 56 minutes, while those in Los Angeles have an average 55-minute commute, according to CNN Money.

How to Stop Procrastinating in 10 Minutes or Less

Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It.

I have a confession to make: I waited until the very last minute to write this blog post.

Why? I work best under pressure. Really? That’s just another excuse I tell myself but in reality, it’s procrastination. No matter how many productivity tips I discover, procrastination still stalks me from time to time.

Stop Procrastinating Sign Painted, Open Hand Raised, Isolated on White Background.

Procrastination is a Universal Problem

Most of us know what we need to do, we just put it off. The problem with procrastination is that it becomes a way of life, a lifestyle. The more you do it, the better you become at it. Some people are professional procrastinators. They are very, very good at it.

The Bible has something to say about procrastination.

Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:17

I know the things I ought to do, and I don’t do them. Here’s why:

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.

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.

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.

The Single Most Effective Secret to Winning in Life

Let’s face it – winning is fun. I know some believe that “winning isn’t everything,” but why play the game if you’re not playing to win? That’s why I love Scripture, especially The Book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11 is about winners. It’s God’s Hall of Fame. These were ordinary people who accomplished extra ordinary achievements. They weren’t perfect. They often failed. But they all reached their goals. One of my favorite winners listed in this book of winners is Moses.

Businessman Writing the Words "Be Yourself"

In my humble opinion, Moses was one of the greatest men in the Old Testament. He received the Ten Commandments from God, wrote the first five books of the Bible, and led the children of Israel out of captivity and slavery into the land of Egypt. Why was God able to use Moses so effectively? He understood that being yourself is one of the secrets to living an effective life.