Call it trite… or cliché… or well-worn… I still love the old question which asks, “If money were no object, what would you do with your life?”

I love it because it gets down to what we really love doing.  We all get that we have to earn money, unless you’re independently wealthy already… in which case, this post is definitely for you.  But what if you didn’t need money?  What if you were so wealthy that you would never run out of money?  What would you do with your life?

Ok, after you’ve quit your job, slept a lot, gone on all those amazing vacations, and bought all the stuff you want… what then?  What would you do with your life if you didn’t even have to begin to think about how much it might cost to go after it?

What would you go to bed thinking about, dream about as you sleep, and wake up thinking about?

What wrong would you right?  What cause would you champion?  What need would you meet?  What lives would you purposefully impact for the better?

Mental Intermission… Stop now and really think about this for at least 30 seconds. Set a timer. And go…

Welcome back.  Here’s my point… 

Is it possible that this very thing that you would do then is the thing you should begin doing now?  Ok, maybe you can’t do it at the level you would if money was no object.  But you could start.  You could try.  You could begin.

Dream the big dream.  Chase the big goal.  Live a life so meaningful that you will never regret it, and no one else will ever forget it.

So, what’s stopping you?  Are you going to let that prevent you from your destiny?

Go for it!

As you know if you’ve followed the blog at all recently, I am a fan of the TV reality show Small Town, Big Mayor.  One of the guy’s on the show… “Get Down Brown”… recently said this about someone, and it totally connected with me… “This guy ain’t got no quit!”

Now, I don’t care if it is grammatically poor wording.  I love the sentiment behind it.  He spotted someone who had the attitude that they were not going to give up… regardless.

I want to live like that.  I want people to be able to say about me that I “ain’t got no quit” in me.  No matter how challenging… I want to keep doing good… having a right attitude… loving others… serving others… pleasing God… being a terrific husband… raising my sons to be men after God’s own heart.  No quit!

Let me ask you… If “Get Down Brown” met you, could he say that you “ain’t got no quit?”  I hope so, because Scripture points out that if we won’t quit, we will eventually accomplish what we’re working toward.  It will pay off.

So, let’s commit to not quit.  Unless it’s bad habits. Definitely quit those. But as for all the good we’re working toward, no quit!

Over the years, I have operated in my gift of procrastination.  If I didn’t want to do something, I would just put it off.  It’s not a successful way to live typically, but it’s what I did.  I suppose I still do it occasionally.  I put off mowing because the weedeating and cleaning up is so tedious.  And because it’s like a million degrees out there in the summer.  But I should just be grateful to have land to mow… and the tools to keep it under control… and the health to be able to get out there and do it all… and the time to be able to do it.

Yet, sometimes, I still procrastinate.  Why?  It always looks so much better when I’m done.  I’m always proud of it when I finish and look back over the yard.  I feel like slithering vermin won’t be able to sneak up on my family as easily.  And there is the sense of accomplishment that accompanies a job well-done.

Yet, sometimes, I still procrastinate.  Don’t look at me so disdainfully.  We are all tempted at times to put off till tomorrow what could be done today.

We put off forgiving.  We put off making that phone call.  We put off taking that class.  We put off getting readers and just determine to hold the phone a little further from our eyes.  We put off asking for help.

Why?  Fear… worry… doubt.  What might happen?  What could go wrong?  How much will it hurt?  What if it doesn’t go the way I hope?

C. S. Lewis wrote, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  But follow that up with Mark Twain saying, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Think about it this way… What could go right if I went ahead and do what I should do?  What if it’s better than I expected?  What if it doesn’t hurt too badly, or is painless after all?

Either way takes faith.  Faith for the negative… or faith for the positive.

People nearing the end of their time on this planet would tell us to go on, and do it now.  You don’t know how long you’ve got left.  You may never get the chance again that you have today. Make the most of it.

Hug your kids.  Tell your spouse you love them.  Clean the bathroom.  Answer the call to ministry.  Choose a job you love. Get that degree.  Dial their number, and just apologize.

Don’t put off whatever it is that you’ve been dreading.  Go on!  Do it today!  Put it on the top of your to-do list, and then do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Still reading?  Why? Put this down, and go on! 😉

As I was about to go to sleep last night, the quote in the pic above drifted into my mind.  Not sure why, or how, or where from, but I felt like I should share it today.

So, whoever you are… wherever you’re at… know this… Your best days are still in front of you… IF you make sure they are.  Quit living as if what has happened to you in the past will always be what people remember about you.  Set aside the thought that your past actions will always determine what you are or can do.

Face forward.  Make plans for a brighter future.  Determine that what you do today will outshine anything you’ve done previously.  And then press toward making what you do tomorrow make today pale in comparison.

I plan to live long, and go out strong.  My glory days haven’t happened yet.  My childhood was great.  I had some terrific teenage years.  I loved my time in college.  The early years of our marriage and ministry were wonderful.  But right now, I’m having the time of my life.  And yet I wholeheartedly believe no one- except God, because He knows the future- has seen my best yet!

I plan to be a better husband and dad!  I plan to preach better messages!  I plan to write better books and blog posts!  I plan to learn new tips and tricks to be better at fixing and building things!  I plan to catch more fish!  I say, “Look out world, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

What about you?  Which glory days of the past do you need to set aside so that you can look ahead to bigger, brighter glory days?  Is it your high school football stats?  Is it your raises and promotions when you were working?  Is it the health and fitness of your twenties?

Whether you have a week, a month, a year, a decade, or most of your life still ahead of you… determine today that what people will remember most about you, what they will say were your greatest moments, are those that are yet to come!

I am officially a fan of American Ninja Warrior.  We picked up the season part-way through, but watched the season finale of the finals in Las Vegas aired last night on television.

I can’t seem to help myself.  It’s exhilarating!  It makes my hands sweat just watching.  I mean, I don’t plan to compete myself, but I am mesmerized by the level of competition… how long and hard these people train… the unbelievable feats they make their bodies accomplish.

Then there are their personal back stories.  Some of these people have overcome extreme life situations to compete at this level.  Some are facing tough situations even as they compete.

But what I love most is the way they both challenge and cheer for each other at the same time.  Each athlete goes out there trying to not only do their own personal best, but outdo every other athlete competing.  They are competing to win.  And each one who does better, challenges those coming behind them to press past that mark.

Yet there is no smack-talk between competitors.  It’s often difficult to determine whether they want to win more themselves, or want one of their competitors to win. While waiting to make their attempt at a course, or having made their attempt… successfully or unsuccessfully… they stand on the sidelines cheering on the very competitors trying to beat them.  Most of the competitors have a shirt or symbol that represents them, and it’s a common sight to see the competitors wearing the shirt or symbol of the person making their attempt at the moment. They stand on the sidelines cheering loudly, giving advice, telling them how much time they have left.  When a competitor succeeds, they roar with excitement, jumping up and down, cheering loudly, high-fiving and hugging them.  When a competitor fails, they moan and hug them, speaking words of encouragement about how far they got and how they will succeed the next time.

To quote the old song, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
Why can’t we all live like that?  What’s wrong with pushing each other to excel by our own efforts at excellence… while at the same time cheering on the very people who are competing alongside us?  I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that… NOT A THING!

That’s the way we should live.  Just because some people are self-centered and think life has to be win-lose, doesn’t mean we have to sink to that level.  The Apostle Paul challenged the believers at Thessaloniki to cheer each other on… to encourage each other as they each strove to do the best they could in living lives that honored Christ.

We can do that.  We should do that.

We should each press to do the best we can.  We should try to set the standard higher.  We should work, and train and compete in such a way that we plan to win.  We should show those coming behind us a better way… a simpler way… a clearer way.

And we should also cheer for those competing alongside us.  We should cheer for the person who gets healed, even if we’re not healed yet.  We should cheer for the person who gets an “A” on the test whether we do or not.  We should cheer for the person who creates something awesome… or breaks a record… or achieves their dream… whether we do or not.

To compete against does not have to mean that we cannot also cheer for.  It doesn’t have to be win-lose… It can be win-win!  This is not something restricted to American Ninja Warriors.  It is a culture they have created.  And we can create it where we live… work… serve… shop… IF we want to.

Last thought… you know what else I noticed about these athletes?  Because of this kind of culture they’ve created, there are lots of smiles. And when they fail to complete a course, because there are smiles, and support, and a cheering section, they simply dry themselves off and determine to do better next time.

What a concept!  I plan to live like that!  Will you join me?

Talked with a friend today who told of his struggle to blog consistently.  Granted, this guy has more than one absolutely legitimate reasons… not excuses, but genuine reasons… why he has not been able to blog like he wants to.  And I love that he’s bold enough to say he wants to keep going for it.

But he asked me… as have a few others… what my key to blogging six days per week for the past year has been.  And truth be told, this really applies to more than blogging.  It’s really what it takes to be consistent with anything in life.  If I could narrow it down to the three biggest contributing factors, they would be:

1) Make it about something bigger than the action itself.  For me, writing the blog daily was originally about all the people I could encourage, and about me learning to write daily so that I could author books.  Find a cause that gives you a bigger motivation to stay committed day after day.

2) Make yourself accountable.  When I launched my blog, I told a crowd of leaders at a leadership event that I had started a blog and would be writing it six days per week.  And when I started the blog, I announced it to all those who read it that I would write it six days per week.  Now that all those people had heard me say it, I had to be a man of my word and maintain my integrity.  Sometimes, I would be busy and realize at 11:30 at night that I had not blogged yet that day. I would determine that I would write quickly and post by 11:59 because I committed to write six days per week.  Knowing that someone might call me on it has kept me writing.

3) Just do it today.  There have been times I haven’t had anything to write for an entire week, but I would just try to find something to write for that day, and not worry about the days ahead.  All I have to do is check today off the list. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.  Tomorrow, I will write my 300th blog since starting.  That didn’t happen all at once.  It happened one day at a time.

It’s about consistency, but cut yourself a little slack.  Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always succeed.  Just put one foot in front of the other, and take that next step in the right direction.

One last suggestion… ask God to help you do what you’ve committed to do.  He wants you to succeed.  And He knows how to help you.

Now, having kept my commitment today, I’m going to bed… but I’ll be sure to write again tomorrow with the Lord’s help!

I sat at the small, stained wooden desk in my bedroom, trying to fill the first page of the spiral notebook’s blue-lined paper with the initial chapter in my first book.  Stuck because of writer’s block and the sense that I had no business writing a book like that at that point in my life, I put the pen down, and closed the cardstock cover on my dream.

Today, the family joined me in the guest-room-turned-makeshift-writing-studio with video cameras capturing the moment as I sat at another small wooden desk and this time tapped the screen on the iPad to tell the publishing company to begin making my dream… which had been shelved for about thirty years… become reality.  And this Wednesday night at midnight in the Central Time Zone here in America, people will be able to participate in a dream that I had thought might never be.

Oh, it’s not the book I would have written thirty years ago.  In fact, it’s not the book I would have written five years ago. But it IS the first book I’ve completed and had published.  And so I continue to go on and on about this because I want those of you who read this blog to understand how big of a deal this is to me.

And I write about it because I want to put a shining example out there that says, “Hey, regardless of your age or stage in life… whether you think you have what it takes or not… whether you think anyone else will care or not… whether you have dropped the ball once or a thousand times… NEVER LET YOUR DREAM DIE!

This book is a victory in so many ways for me, and I want to be an encouragement to you that you can still accomplish your dreams.  If you’re still alive, then you need to know that God has not given up on you.  So don’t give up on yourself!

I’ve had to learn so much just to be able to do this.  And now I’m about to put this dream to the test in the real world.  But I am more excited than I can possibly explain on so many different levels.

I want you to experience this… this joy… this energizing lift… this sense of completing a quest… this anticipation of what could happen next!  This is the place I believe God wants us to live in… not in the mundane, but in the majestic. He designed us to walk out here in this place of trust and obedience so that we could enjoy life to the fullest.  In fact, in John 10:10, Jesus said that He came so that we would be able to “have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  (Amplified Version)

That is exactly what this moment in my life feels like, and I want you to experience it in your own life.  Late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, as people begin to visit this site and buy this book, they’re going to be adding fuel to the fire of the dream that nearly died at a little wooden desk in the bedroom of a teenage boy thirty years ago, but was resurrected all these years later.

So, what’s your dream? And how long have you had it?  Are you going to let it die?  Or are you going to let a little spark from the fire of my dream land on the tinder of your own dream and begin to set it ablaze once more?  Oh, how I hope you allow it to spring to life once more and chase after it with all you have!  I know that would make God smile.  It would make me smile.  And take it from the guy grinning as he types these words, it’ll make you smile, too!