Thursday, February 28, 2008

Strike Your Balance Financial Devotional

Crown Financial Ministries is providing a new 31-day devotional free of charge. As a nonprofit ministry, Crown’s passion is teaching people how to make money, manage money, and fulfill God’s purpose.

I challenge you to join me with this devotional during the 31 days of March. You’ll spend a few minutes each day with God and learn His principles for financial success.

Get ready for a life-changing journey and download a copy of this free devotional HERE

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lesson 5 of Og Mandino's University of Success

My notes from reading lesson 5 of Og Mandino’s University of Success this week include 10 causes of failure and how to conquer them:

  1. Blaming others - take responsibility for self
  2. Excessive self blame - forgive yourself
  3. No goals - set goals
  4. Wrong goals - make sure you have the right goals
  5. Taking short cuts - work hard
  6. Taking the long road - enjoy today
  7. Neglecting details - pay attention to details
  8. Quitting too soon - have persistence
  9. Burden of the past - adapt to the present
  10. Illusion of success - continue the effort

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taxes Are Done!

This past Monday was a holiday for me (President’s Day) so I worked a few hours on my Federal and State taxes and got them e-filed. I’ll be getting small refunds from our friendly Federal and State governments. In April I’ll pay about half of the refunds back to the city of Xenia and the Xenia school district. Oh well, easy come, easy go!

Wednesday evening our family participated in house church and had a good discussion around James 1.

Thursday my 16-year old son interviewed with Walgreen’s and came away with a new part time job. Next week he’ll be starting there as a service clerk a couple of days each week. Ah, the hurdles of growing up!

My time in Scripture this week produced the following thoughts:
  • Jesus was baptized, called some disciples, began teaching and healing, went to a solitary place to pray, which are all good examples for us (Mark 1)
  • Folly is undisciplined and without knowledge (Proverbs 9:13)
  • Jesus was associated with sinners…they were/are the ones who need him. Jesus was angry and distressed about people with stubborn hearts (Mark 2)
  • Laziness makes poor, diligence brings wealth (Proverbs 10:4)
  • In Mark 4 we read the story of the farmer sowing seed, some seed the birds ate, some seed fell on rocky soil, some seed grew among thorns and eventually were choked out, and some seed landed in good soil and produced a harvest
  • Some people are seeing but not perceiving, some people are hearing but not understanding (Mark 4:12)
  • Leviticus is just so full of rules and regulations; thank God we’re not under that system!
  • People were amazed at the wisdom of Jesus; he was amazed at their lack of faith (Mark 6)
  • You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth – each man is but a breath (Ps 39:11)
How are you progressing on your 2007 taxes?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chapter 1 of How to Win Friends and Infuence People

Some thoughts from Chapter 1 of Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People:
  • Criticism is futile because 99 of 100 people don’t blame themselves for anything
  • People thirst for approval
  • Judge not (as stated in Luke 6:37)
  • People are creatures of emotion and not of logic
  • Don’t condemn, criticize or complain, try to understand /empathize

Monday, February 18, 2008

Toll-Free 411 Service from Google

Google has introduced an amazing new service, which has to be costing the company millions of dollars -- in other words, hardly anything. It offers a toll-free 411 service for businesses. Here's how it works:

Simply dial this 800 number: 800-GOOG411 (800-466-4411)

You are greeted by a voice that asks you what city and state you want to call.

You state the city and state.

The voice confirms the city and state and then asks what business name or business category you want.

You tell it what business you want and the service dials the number and connects you automatically. No muss, no fuss.

Thanks, Google (for the service).

Thanks, Gary North (for telling us about it).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finishing Well

From now on I plan to post less words but post more often since I’ve learned how blogging is supposed to work :-)

This week I finished the books of Matthew and Exodus and started into the books of Mark and Leviticus for my Scripture reading:
  • God chooses, fills with skill, ability and knowledge (Exodus 31)
  • I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)
  • All who are skilled are to contribute (Exodus 35) and the Lord is the one who gives skill and ability (Exodus 36)
  • The most important event in all of history – Jesus died on a cross (Matthew 27) and rose from the dead! (Matthew 28)
  • Make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey (Matthew 28)
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)
Tuesday was a snow day for me. It started with an authorized delay due to the bad weather. My wife had a patient she needed to see so she went to work for a few hours. By the time she returned home I had decided it wouldn’t be worth going to the office. What a life!

House church Wednesday evening was at Tim Horton’s here in Xenia. We had planned to meet and then visit a brother and sister briefly for communion and prayer. Since they didn’t feel up to it, we just stayed at Tim Horton's. Our time of discussion was about the command to love one another and what that looks like. Most of the love languages came up (i.e. time, words, etc) along with "meeting a specific need" and "taking initiative to contact".

Friday evening our family finished watching the video series “Strategies for Success: Blueprint for Achievement” by Zig Ziglar. This final lesson was focused on setting goals in all areas of life and maintaining a balanced life.

My notes from reading lesson 4 in Og Mandino’s University of Success this week:
  • The will to fail is disguised as purposeless activity or routine
  • What are you best equipped to do?
  • What is your personal contribution to the world?
  • The intention to fail is filling life so full of secondary activity that there is no time left to perform your best work

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Dash Movie

I occasionally read something that by-passes the brain and goes straight to the heart.
Reading The Dash Poem was one of those times.

The Dash Movie takes only three minutes to watch, but those three minutes can truly
change the way you think about life. I hope it will touch you as much as it touched me.

Turn up the volume on your PC then click here to watch The Dash Movie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The 11 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

Speaking from experience, TurboTax helps find tax deductions you may have overlooked.

Every year, the IRS dutifully reports the most common blunders taxpayers make on their returns. And every year, at or near the top of the list, is forgetting to enter a Social Security number or making a mistake when entering the nine digits that identify us to IRS computers.

Yes, friends, tax time is here and it can be a dangerous time. It’s all too easy to miss a trick and pay too much. Years ago, the head of the IRS told Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine that he figured millions of taxpayers overpaid their taxes every year by overlooking just one of the money-savers listed in this article on the 11 most overlooked tax deductions.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Focus on Gratitude

The majority of this past week I was in Marietta Georgia at the contractor supported weapons system conference. This conference is the forum for discussing the various aspects involved in prime contractor (Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, etc) support of Air Force systems (C-17, F-22, RQ-4, etc).

My time in Scripture this week brought the following thoughts:
  • The Lord tests his people to see if they will follow his instructions (Exodus 16)
  • Many are invited but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)
  • Delegation was taught to Moses by his father in law, Jethro (Exodus 18)
  • The greatest command given is to love the Lord with all (Matthew 22)
  • Man ruins what God puts in place (Exodus 18 and Matthew 23)
  • Be prepared because you don’t know when Jesus is coming back (Matthew 25)
Additional thoughts from lesson 3 of Og Mandino’s University of Success book:
  • Count your blessings, not your troubles
  • Consider the less fortunate in order to regain perspective
  • Take time to think about all you have, be grateful, and thank God for it
  • Make a personal list of all you have to be grateful for
That’s it for this week, short and sweet!

My challenge to you is to focus on being grateful for all you have. What are you especially grateful for?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hope, Direction, and Encouragement

Welcome to the month of February…already! Here are some of the things that were memorable from this past week.

Last Sunday our family had brunch together, as is our custom, along with a time of discussion, planning and calendar review. This time has become more and more important as the kids mature and are involved in their own individual activities.

On Monday evening President Bush gave his final State of the Union address. Although I didn’t see very much of it, I was prompted to ask the question “What’s the state of my life?” That’s probably a good question for all of us to ask one month into a New Year. So, what’s the state of your life?

Tuesday morning, my 16 year old son passed another College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test and now has a total of 21 college credits. Did I mention how proud of him I am?

At house church Wednesday evening, the guys group had some good discussion on 1 John 2 about loving your brother and what that looks like in our lives. We also discussed gratitude, spiritual struggles, and solitude.

After dinner Friday evening our family watched the fourth lesson in the video series “Strategies for Success: Blueprint for Achievement” by Zig Ziglar. This fourth lesson taught more about the things that people really want. As a reader of this blog, if you send me an email (you can use the email link at the VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE page), I’ll send you the list of 10 things people really want. A key thought that caught my attention this week is that people need 1) hope, 2) direction, and 3) encouragement.

Here are the things that stood out to me this week as I read Scripture:
  • Consider the end of your life when you will groan and say “How I hated discipline”, “How I spurned correction”, “I would not obey or listen” (Proverbs 5)
  • Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? (answer found in Matthew 18)
  • People need to be encouraged and set free (Exodus 6:9)
  • Even though I might do a lot of good things, that’s not enough. I either have to be perfect (didn’t happen) or I have to accept Jesus payment in my place (Matthew 19)
  • The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1)
  • Whoever wants to be great must serve, just as Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20)
  • Questions, Parables, and Old Testament quotes were methods Jesus used to communicate (Matthew 21)
Bonus thoughts from my reading of Lesson 2 of Og Mandino’s University of Success:
  • Success is an inside job.
  • Do you think of yourself as a success?
  • Is your life full of purpose or aimlessness?
  • Do you accept your batting average or do you have unrealistic high expectations?
  • Do you realize there is a price to pay for success and that it (success) is not free?
  • Joy balances effort!
  • Do you experience satisfaction or enjoyment that comes from having the right attitude?
  • Regarding spirituality, do you have a relationship with God?
So, in summary, what’s the state of your life? Do you have hope? Do you have direction? Who/what are the sources of encouragement for you?