Category Archives: Time Mangement

A Step Past Hard

What if you went a step past hard in everything?

Your morning run. You say one mile will be hard. Go one mile and one step.

Your work. You have a long list to do. It looks hard. Do the list and one more thing.

Eating Right. You believe it is hard to avoid the ice cream. So avoid the ice cream and eat some broccoli.

Each of these are examples of a step past hard. If you go an extra step everyday on your run then pretty soon you will be going two miles.

If you avoid ice cream long enough and eat enough broccoli then you will be healthy. Well, healthier than you were before.

My point is, anything worth doing is on the other side of hard.

So step past hard every day and you will see some amazing things happen in your life.

I once thought about writing a book called A Step Past Hard. Two hundred pages of how to step past hard. But, in all honesty, that would be a waste of trees. You have everything here you need to reach your next goal.

  1. Define what hard is in respect to that goal.
  2. Go one step past hard.
  3. Repeat Every Day
  4. Reach the goal and then set the next one.

Have a great day as you step through hard.

Bible Study That Leads to Action: 1 Simple Solution

This is just a thought that hit me this morning. How many bible studies have you been to this week?



Three or more.

I know of many people that hear the bible taught, preached, and proclaimed more than three times per week. Awesome! Right?

Well my answer depends on the answer to another question.

What is the purpose of bible study? Most would answer to learn or to grow. Which is true in part. But ultimately the purpose of bible study is equipping for action.

1 Timothy 3:16-17 comes to mind here. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

The success of the teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness hinges on the SO THAT. Why are you taught, reproved, corrected, and trained in the word? SO THAT you are equipped for every good work. It is training that leads to action.

What if our military provided a 20 year boot camp for our military folks? They could put in their 20 years of training and never get in the battle.

Our current approach to bible study in many cases seems to take this same approach. Train, and train ,and train but never enter the battle.

I am afraid that we have many people who will go to their graves with heads full of biblical knowledge with no fruit to show for it.  They never moved on from boot camp. They never entered the battle.

One solution for this is not to study the bible less. I would never take that position. The word is life. We must be in it and get it in us. Allowing it to take root and to prompt us to take action.

The solution is found in a discipleship strategy that I came across several years ago called Truth 4 Trainers or T4T for short. T4T has a lot of great principles and teaching strategies within it but I want to share one with you that I believe could be transforming for the way we currently do bible study.

That principle, which I offer as one solution here, is to have an accountability portion of the bible study with the question, “Who are you going to tell about what you learned today?” The learner then must identify a person by name (preferably a lost person) and share that name with the group. Now that person is accountable to the group and the group prays for the persons named.

At the next bible study gathering when the accountability time comes up the follow up questions is asked, “Who did you tell the bible story to?” followed by “What happened?”

This is a very simple solution that only involves asking a few questions and then holding the group accountable. This encourages the learners to see the word not just as a source of information for themselves but as a source of life for those that they share the story with each week. It is a simple question that leads the learner to take action with the information they have learned.

So my answer to the first questions, “Is it awesome that people hear the word taught, preached, and proclaimed more than three times a week?” Absolutely, as long as it leads to a life of actively living out the truths that they learn.

I know that there is so much more to be said on this idea but I just wanted to get it out there for today.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you would like to read more about T4T I have provided a link below.

Have a great day!



5 Ways To Set Your Personal Bible Study on Fire

If it is true that “The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” Then we should strive to be interacting with the word on a daily basis. So many people I know struggle with taking the time to study the word on a personal level. So they struggle in life because they walk about in darkness.

For some it is because they have never been taught howto have a personal Bible study time. For others it is busyness. Or maybe even laziness. The list could go on and on. If you, or someone you know has struggled with maintaining a consistent Bible study time then I would like to offer some ideas to maintain consistency.

Here are 5 ways to set your personal Bible study time on fire

1. Be consistent. – You immediately think, “Right! that is the problem. I am not consistent.” A great way to develop consistency is to set aside the time and guard it with great tenacity. You may be a morning person. You may be an evening person. Whatever is best for you commit to a specific time that you will study the word. Write it on your calendar, save it in your phone, and then guard it like a dog guards his favorite bone. Do not let this time be taken away. I wake up early and give 15 to 20 minutes each morning to personal time in the word.

2. Have a Plan – So now that you are guarding the time to be consistent you have to have a plan. A plan that guides your study time. You can search the web to find specific Bible reading plans. Some take you through the Bible in a year. Others take you through specific topics in scripture. I would like to recommend that you simply pick a book to work your way through. I just finished up 2 Thessalonians. Pick a book and get to studying.

3. Write out the Scripture – It is good to read the word and to underline or highlight it in your copy of the Bible but there is something to be said about writing out the passage you are working through. I normally work through 8-10 verses per day in the book I am working on. This is very manageable and allows me to remember what I have studied for that day. I have a designated notebook that I write in. You can write wherever you want and you can write out as many verses as you want. Try this for a week and you will be surprised at what takes place. The Lord will begin to enlighten and enliven your Bible study time.

4. Underline, Circle, Highlight – Another advantage to writing out the word is that you can then mark it up in any way you like. I normally write the passage in one color pen and then mark it up in another color pen. This allows me to see the areas that the Lord showed me were important during my study. There is no real process to this. You can underline, circle, and highlight in any way that helps you remember and act upon the word. Remember, being in the word is not just about information but also about relationship development with the Lord. The word of God will change you and marking it up will help identify those areas where you need the change.

5. Ask questions and write out the answers – A good way to know what to mark up and underline, circle, or highlight is to ask some questions about the passage of the day. These questions can help identify important information that will lead to transformation. There are many questions you can ask of the passage but I would like to share 4 very simple and straight forward questions with you.

  1. What does this passage say about God?
  2. What does this passage say about man?
  3. What does this passage say about sin?
  4. Should I change anything in my life based on this passage?

These are five very simple ideas to help you see your personal Bible study time set on fire. There is nothing more powerful than sitting before the word of God and allowing it to inform and transform your life.

For some additional insights into how to have a quality Bible study time as well as ideas on journaling the Bible check out Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S Whitney. I revisit this book each year as it provides valuable insights into consistently being in the word and allowing it to inform my life.


Planting Mars [Ep.003] – Elijah Elkins

“The more things you measure, the more you can feel like you aren’t measuring up.” – Elijah Elkins

In this episode of Planting Mars I interview entrepreneur Elijah Elkins.

Elijah is a Productivity advisor and Entrepreneur. He founded and AVODA and co-founded Spruce. Elijah helps business leaders and companies with their productivity technology.
Elijah has some great insights into life, business, and how he makes sure he is always moving toward his goals each day. He also shares why he believes the Lord has called him to a life of business as mission.
In this interview Elijah will share with you:
  • The way he handles his social media feeds during work days.
  • His goal to read the entire ESV Study Bible in a year. (Including the footnotes)
  • The key scripture that keeps him motivated.
  • The way he sets up his day for success.
  • Some great ideas that help him remain productive.

Along with so much more. I hope you enjoy this interview with Elijah Elkins. It was a lot of fun for me.

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Selected Links for the Episode:

Connect with Elijah Elkins

Twitter                Facebook                LinkedIn      

Other Links Mentioned in the Show.


Third Path




Organic English Tea

Books Mentioned:

The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He is and Neither Are you?

Knowing God

Knowledge of The Holy

Show Notes:

[4:30] Elijah’s Background Information

[8:40] Is it a challenge for you to live in the moment? “Yes. We have a severe case of modern life.”

[9:30] What are some ways that you live in the moment? Elijah explains a plan for productivity called time blocking.

[10:20] Turn off your social media during the day to remain productive. “If I don’t need it then I don’t want it coming my way.”

[11:00] A more detailed description of time blocking.

[13:00] How do you always make sure you are taking action on your dreams?

[13:48] Elijah explains how he plans to reach his goal of reading the entire ESV Study bible this year (Including the study notes).

[14:40] Are there any other apps that help you reach your goals?

[16:30] AVODA is endeavoring to put many different productivity applications into one view.

[18:55] What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

[21:30] What is a key quote or scripture that motivates you each day? Matthew 24:14

[22:55] “Only Jesus and his gospel will make all things new and remove all of the pain.”

[24:50] Do you have some type of morning routine? “The routine is slightly more fixed than the times.” “Run in the morning to get an early win.”

[27:40] Elijah shares his recipe for his morning cup of tea: Organic English Breakfast Tea with 3 spoonfuls of honey and 2 spoonfuls of cream

[30:30] “The more thing that you measure the more you can feel like you aren’t measuring up.”

[31:30] We discuss goal setting and how we sometimes sabotage our goals.

[32:40] What is really exciting for you and your work right now?

[34:40] Were you scared when you started your first business? What pushed you over that fear?

[41:40] How do you guard your time with your spouse? “Talk to your spouse about what her expectations are for time and activities.”

[44:30] What are some non-negotiables when it comes to your family?

[47:40] What can we learn by thinking about big questions? “Elijah discusses an idea about church planting and business combined in a model to advance the gospel.”

[50:40] Listen as Elijah discusses a vision for the digital nomad.

[53:20] Rapid fire questions.

[55:00] If you could send out one tweet that everyone would read what would it say?

[56:00] What is the best purchase you have made for $50.00 or less in the last 6 months?

[58:00] Where can listeners find you?

Twitter                Facebook                LinkedIn      

Related Posts:

The Task

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Thank you for listening!

Parents: Have you Heard of Pokemon Go?

Unless you have been on a trip to Antarctica this past week you have surely heard about the latest app release called Pokemon Go. It is a game that has taken off in the last week. Released Thursday July 7, it already has, as of today Friday July 15, 21 million users who spend an average of 41 minutes per day playing the game. That is a lot of users in a short amount of time.

In this quick audio post I provide you with some ramblings about the game. I share with you the three positives I see in the game and I also share with you some potentially negative consequences of the game.

After you listen I would love to hear some feedback from you. Have you played the game? Are your kids playing the game? Have you set ground rules for the game?

Thanks for listening. Here is a link to a great article by Tim Elmore at Growing Leaders. He always has some great insights into youth culture.

Have a great day!

Chaos vs. Order In Life

I am always thinking about ways to better organize my life. Ways I can be more efficient and get more done. For that reason I read a lot of books on the subject.

I have read books like Getting Things Done by David Allen

and The Productive Person by Chandler Bolt and James Roper

as well as Do More Better by Tim Challies

As well as many others on the subject. All of these books have great insights and wisdom that are helpful in ordering and organizing ones life. I have found many useful points that have helped me along the way.

Each of these three books lay out a program for the reader to help the reader be more organized in life and to get more done. Each of these books points toward order in ones life.

The problem is that my life always reverts to chaos. Not chaos in the sense of an out of control life but chaos in the sense of my to-do list didn’t get done and my calendar is out of wack. That is the kind of chaos I am talking about. The “Well things didn’t go as planned” type of chaos.

That is the kind of chaos I experience most of the time. I try out one of these book’s philosophies and it works well for a while but then it all falls apart. I’ve tried and tried and tried but it all falls apart anyways.

So I have resorted to embracing the chaos. That is, I embrace  the surprises that life throws my way. To embrace this chaos I have to learn to adjust. Adjustment is about sacrifice.

So I have to learn to sacrifice my own plans so that I can move forward in life.

But I also have to have some non-negotiables that I will not sacrifice. I will not sacrifice daily time with the Lord. I will not sacrifice time with my family. I will not sacrifice physical activity.

So now I approach each day clinching tightly to my non-negotiables. Embracing the chaos of the day.

I will embrace the chaos from now on. Well at least until the next book on productivity comes along and then I will give it a try for a while.

How do you organize your life? I would love to hear from you.

The Way of Wisdom Principles

I have been reading a book by Gary Friesen called Decision Making and The Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View. I am only a few pages in to reading the book and have found some of the information very helpful. When I complete the reading of the book I will post my notes and highlights on my Book page. But for now I would like to share with you the way of wisdom principles that the author shares about decision making as a Christian.

The Way of Wisdom Principles:

  1. Where God commands we must obey.
  2. Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to chose.
  3. Where there is no command God gives us wisdom to chose.
  4. Where we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust toe sovereign God to work all the details together for good.

These principles have been over simplified here for ease of memory but I think you can still understand the point.

I share these principles because they are so different than the traditional, stress filled approach that many Christians take toward everyday decision making. Most often I hear Christians make a statement that leads me to believe they are waiting for a burning bush to appear before they will make a decision. I am like, “It’s just dinner. Pick a restaurant already.”  I’m kidding, just a little.

These principles shed light on the fact that we have been created with brains that can weigh the options in everyday decision making and come to a conclusion. I am not suggesting not to pray or seek the Lord in Scripture. I am saying, and I believe this is the direction the author is taking,  as we walk daily with the Lord we will know what decision to make as we mover forward in life.

What do you think? Do you struggle in making decisions from day to day? I would love to hear.

Is This What I So Feared?

I have a lot of ideas come and go through this brain of mine. Some are worth acting on and some are not. The main problem I have in acting on these ideas is the possibility of failure. “What if I mess this idea up and my family is hurt by it? Or what if I fail? What if I lose everything and have to start over?”

One way to overcome this fear is to live like you have failed already. This involves wearing the same clothes for a week or so and also eating the same food. All the time asking, “Is this what I so feared?’

To do this you would have to pick out an outfit that you will wear everyday for a week. Then go to the store and purchase food that you can eat at every meal. The simplest would be rice and beans. Then commit to eat that same food at every meal for the week.

This practice will help you gain the perspective and understanding that your fear of failure may not be as bad as you think. You can survive with just one set of clothing and you can survive on only rice and beans.

The main perspective it gives. God will provide.

The ideas that are worth acting on are often those ideas that God is calling us to. He is calling us out of our comfort zone to serve him and love him. That is not an easy thing to do. If we can act in advance by gaining perspective through fasting then we can prepare ourselves to faithfully serve God when He calls on us.

Is this what I so feared?

All Practice No Game

When I was in junior high school I would spend hours in our driveway practicing basketball. I would dribble the ball everywhere on the driveway. I would take a lot of shots. I got to where I was shooting a couple hundred free throws every day. And I was making most of them. I was all about basketball to say the least.

This love for basketball continued when I was in high school. I loved to get out in the driveway and play basketball for hours. In high school I played on the varsity team as a sophomore. It was a tough season for us because we started 4 sophomores that year. It was hard but it was a good learning experience for us all.

By all accounts things should have gone well for me. And for the most part they did but there was one problem. The problem, I was all practice and no game. Meaning, I spent hours in the driveway taking the shot but I was never willing to take the shot when I was in the game. I would shoot the ball on a rebound, under the basket, but rarely ever took the open shot anywhere else on the court.

All practice and no game.

This phrase still defines a lot of my life. I love to read. I love to gather information. But I often fail to put that information to good use. Reading, by itself, doesn’t lead to any positive outcomes.

Therefore, the time used to practice is wasted. Why spend hours preparing for something that I never do? The practice is not the problem. Neither is the time used in practicing.

The problem is the doing. The problem is getting from the knowledge of how to do something to actually doing it. That is the problem.

Does anyone have any solutions? How do you keep going every day to complete tasks and accomplish goals?

I would love to hear from you!

Prayerful Inaction

There are a number of storylines playing out with this year’s presidential election. Storylines about the candidates. Storylines about what the candidates are saying or doing. Storylines about which demographic will vote for which candidate. Some of them are compelling and interesting. Some are frivolous and unhelpful.

One interesting storyline playing out is the way in which the evangelical Christian voter is reacting to the available candidates. There are many reactions I know but one recurring reaction that has now become a theme sounds like this, “If those two are nominated by their respective parties I won’t be voting this year. I’ll just pray and hope for the best.” This is not a direct quote of anyone in particular but a recurring theme I have heard from different sources.

At first glance this statement sounds great. We might even say this statement comes from some super holy people who are trusting God with everything. Which is great! We must trust God! We must pray! But I think it shows a flaw in the way Christians currently view prayer. That flaw is the view that prayer is a one way street. Meaning, we tell God all our problems and He will fix them.

The healthy view of prayer leads to an understanding that prayer is a two way street. It is relational. It is conversational and it demands action on our part. God has called us to go and do and be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world.

We are good at finding the problems of the world. We are good at letting God know of the problems of the world. But we are not so good at understanding that God has called us to be actively involved in His work in the world.

Should we continue to pray about our problems? Absolutely! Should we continue to ask God for miracles? Yes! Yes! Yes! But we must understand, oftentimes God calls out great men and women to carry out His work in the world.

Are you praying God will use you to solve problems and do great things?

Or are you praying and hoping he will use someone else to do it?