Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Four Stages of Success

Originally posted by Life Founder and Author Claude Hamilton.

God bless, Scott Johnson


If you haven’t read Kenneth Blanchard’s One Minute Manager series, you should. Even though the first one was originally published twenty years ago, the books are still relevant today. In fact, I feel so strongly about Blanchard’s ideas that I’ve incorporated his four stages of development into my own business philosophy. Here’s a quick explanation of the four stages you should get familiar with if you’re starting something new:

Orientation: This is the first phase of your new project or endeavor. Your energy is high and you’re feeling positive. This positivity causes an interesting side affect, though—an initial lack of direction. If you have an unrealistic expectation of how easy success will be, you can’t properly plan for the challenges you’re sure to face.

Dissatisfaction: This is where you figure out that success isn’t as easy as you though it would be. This stage is the natural reaction to trying hard and meeting little success. Your energy drops and direction is still low. This is also where most people give up.

Resolution: This is where you finally achieve some success. Your energy is still low, but you have stronger direction because you’ve gained the skills you need and you’re finally able to envision a future for your new business or project. Some people still give up here, because they have a better idea of what it will take to succeed and they don’t have the energy or resources to pull it off. But those who do make it through the Resolution stage are usually equipped with a good plan for success.

Production: Aim to stay in this phase for as long as you can. This is where you start to achieve your goals. Your energy is high and so is your direction. Success follows success, until you’ve achieved something consistent and reliable. This stage is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Now that you understand the four stages of success, I’ll tell you the key to getting through them.
Lana and I often felt discouraged during the Dissatisfaction phase, but we followed Blanchard’s advice and clarified our purpose, worked with people who made us feel empowered, and learned to be more flexible. We also spent a lot of time with our mentors, who made recommendations and encouraged us. We followed their advice and kept working away and honing our skills. We met with a lot of different people and learned plenty. One of my key takeaways: looking like a gangster doesn’t open a lot of doors.

After lots of trial and error, we learned to be more effective and eventually found success. Looking back, I can confidently say that staying positive throughout each of the stages was the key to successfully reaching the Production stage. We also learned that we don’t have to wait for the Production stage to adopt the right attitude—it’s possible to keep our spirits up, our energy high, and our outlook positive, even when you’re struggling through the Dissatisfaction and Resolution stages.

Mahatma Gandhi sums it all up perfectly:
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why should we be different?

My wife Gretchen and I went to an amazing leadership convention this past weekend and I realized why it is so important for us to swim against the current and be different from the norm. I have rediscovered that anyone can truly be successful in all areas of life if  they are just willing to change themselves first.

My wife and I have chosen to go down a different path that most consider to be not so normal and for the longest time we struggled with this. Everyone kept telling us things like "that's stupid", "you're crazy", "that will never work", or "it can be done but it's hard. I don't know if you can do it so maybe you shouldn't try." All this tells me is that most of the people you know who dismiss an opportunity that offers freedom from a job within a few short years and the ability to make more money than one can at a traditional job just don't get it. In their minds they are protecting you, but the reality is they are stifling the potential that exists within you.

That is why we have to do this. We want to be different because we don't want the same results in life that they have; we want better results in our own lives. Why wouldn't we take advice from those who have the results in life that we want. Why would we take advice from those who are around us day in and day out when they are just as bad off as we are or, in most cases, worse.

We strive to be different and dream big, set goals, and plan our life out. We are choosing to be great students, to have a willingness to learn from those who have the fruit on the tree, and to do the best we can. We are going to give 100%  because our childrens' futures depends on it.

We know this won't be easy - success isn't easy. It's hard work and won't happen over night. It will take some time to build, but we don't care because we have a reason and a purpose for doing this.

I'm not afraid to work hard. I just want to be rewarded for those efforts. This gives us the opportunity to do just that and we are going to take this opportunity and run with it!

God bless, Scott Johnson

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why Freedom is Losing: The Battle for Our Future – Oliver DeMille

Originally posted by Author Oliver DeMille.

God bless, Scott Johnson

De Jouvenel said it all in one profound paragraph:

wolf in sheeps clothing 271x300 Why Freedom is Losing: The Battle for Our Future   Oliver DeMille“From the twelfth to the eighteenth century governmental authority grew continuously. The process was understood by all who saw it happening; it stirred them to incessant protest and…reaction. In later times its growth has continued at an accelerated pace…And now we no longer understand the process, we no longer protest, we no longer react. This quiescence of ours is a new thing, for which Power has to thank the smoke-screen in which it has wrapped itself…Masked in anonymity, it claims to have no existence of its own, and to be but the impersonal and passionless instrument of the general will.”
Let’s break this down, point by point, to understand it better:
  • “From the twelfth to the eighteenth century governmental authority grew continuously. The process was understood by all who saw it happening; it stirred them to incessant protest and…reaction.”
As kings, rulers, and aristocratic upper classes took more and more power to themselves, and increasingly more over the regular people, the regular people saw what was happening and tried to stop it.

This culminated in the American Revolution and French Revolution, which happened within a few years of each other. 

The American Revolution focused on replacing the old monarchial-aristocracy with a new, constitutionally established government of freedom for all classes. In contrast, the French Revolution emphasized killing off the old — literally executing royals and aristocrats in the hope that with their demise the regular people would gain liberty.

The American method quickly proved more effective in promoting freedom.
  • “In later times its growth has continued at an accelerated pace.”
Today’s regular citizen has less power than people did even a few generations ago, and our grandchildren will have even less — unless something changes very soon.
  • “And now we no longer understand the process, we no longer protest, we no longer react. This quiescence of ours is a new thing, for which Power has to thank the smoke-screen in which it has wrapped itself…Masked in anonymity, it claims to have no existence of its own, and to be but the impersonal and passionless instrument of the general will.”
When those increasing their power were kings and aristocracies, the regular people knew what was happening. 

Today, when the new ruling class is a nameless, faceless, unknown elite, the regular people do nothing. They don’t know who is taking away their freedoms, or what to do about it.

Yet power is being lost by the regular people — and gained by the ruling elite — at higher rates than ever before. The gap between the 90 percent and the 10 percent is drastically increasing, but not nearly as much as the gap between the 10 percent and the 1 percent. In fact, the power and wealth gap between the 1 percent and the .1 percent is widening even more rapidly than the others.

If current trends continue, a tiny, ultra-powerful elite will rule our formerly free nations in a way never known before in history — and hardly anyone knows who the new rulers are. They rule by policy, influence, spin, currency transfers, behind the scenes. But their power is still growing.

De Jouvenel wrote of this in 1945, and today the power of this ruling elite only increases. In the conclusion to his great book, On Power, he warned:
“We are the witnesses of a fundamental transformation of society, of a crowning expansion of power…A beneficent authority will watch over every man from the cradle to the grave…controlling his personal development and orienting him towards the most appropriate use of his faculties.
“By a necessary corollary, this authority will be the disposer of society’s entire resources, with a view to getting from them the highest possible return…Power takes over…the whole business of public and private happiness and…all possessions, all productive energies, and all liberties should be handed over to it…The business is one of setting up an immense patriarchy, or…a matriarchy, since we are now told that collective authority should be animated by maternal instincts.”
Today’s Americans are the recipients of this prophecy come true. Today’s newspaper of record, The New York Times, announces that the new “Health Care Law May Result in 2 Million Fewer Full-Time Workers.”
Because Obamacare requires much higher costs for employers to maintain full-time employees, there is a nationwide trend to downsizing employee workweeks. People are supposed to tighten their belts, make do on less income, and pay higher taxes. This is a massive shifting point for the economy.

Many corporations are avoiding the increased taxes and health care costs by moving their operations offshore, to other nations, citing less regulation and more business-friendly tax codes. It’s hard to blame them for seeking greener pastures and shores with more freedom.

Families that were once supported by one wage earner now can’t make ends meet with the incomes of both parents — so they go deeper into debt. 

The American Dream is dying. 

A new ruling class is rising behind the scenes.

A different future — a lowering standard of living — awaits our children and grandchildren.
Unless something changes.

Regular Americans walk past dusty books on shelves (full of real solutions for our current national problems), click on the television, and settle in for an evening of entertainment…

Somewhere there is a fading memory…of fiddling while Rome burns.

Learning is Painful to the Pride

This is an old post from Life member Steve Morgan I thought you all would enjoy.

In my opinion Steve is one of the greatest and youngest leaders on the team. He has been job optional since the age of 23.

God bless, Scott Johnson


We have the pleasure of working with the #7 Orrin Woodward & #12 Chris Brady, Leadership Guru’s in the world.  I would say that the journey has been amazing.
 
Why did I pick this title?  Because when you decide to start learning from others that have more results in certain areas than you do, you put yourself in a position to feel uncomfortable about needing to change.  Over the years I think the word CHANGE is the killer of what could have been in many peoples lives.  I, like many, don’t like change that much either. Change is the factor that can make everything different in someones life.

For example, if you read a: marriage, leadership, faith, or people skills book, you will hit some point in the book where it will (or should) make you look internally and say “man I’m not very good at that.”  That is a very hard comment to say, we all want to think we are great at everything.

For me personally, I have had to change a bunch, and still need to change more in my life.  The thing about change is that when you get better and look back at the old you, your glad you got better.

In the book Resolved, by Orrin Woodward, he has many great chapters in the book that I like.  The chapter that I wanted to talk about in this post, chapter 4, Programing Elephant.  Over the years I have been intimidated many times by people that dressed nice and smelled nice, but had stinking thinking.  By reading this chapter you will find that he says “By identifying what a person is feeding his elephant, one can accurately predict his future.”  That’s a powerful statement.  Most people let others feed their elephant and end up where someone else wanted them to.  I say, take the responsibility of feeding your subconscious (elephant) and end up in life where you wanted to.

Leave a comment of the most impactful book you have read.  I would love to hear the titles.

I heard Orrin Woodward say “its not about being perfect, its about striving for perfection that leads to greatness.”

Here’s to Learning- Cheers

Steve Morgan

Thursday, February 13, 2014

LIFE Leadership Convention February 2014

Posted by Life Founder Dan Hawkins.

God bless, Scott Johnson

I will be there!



Hello everyone, it is that time again! LIFE Leadership is hosting its first National Leadership convention of the year. This is shaping up to be the biggest and best convention in the history of this organization. We will be holding two events this quarter; the first in Columbus, Ohio at the Nationwide Arena and the second will be held in Visalia, Ca at the Visalia Convention Center.
On a recent conference call LIFE Leadership Co-Founder and CEO Chris Brady outlined four major announcements for this round of conventions. If you have attended any of the local seminars or open meetings you have probably heard small portions and felt the excitement.
I have attended every Leadership convention for the past 10 years and every time it hits a new level, but this one is different. With some great innovation, simplification and clarification Chris Brady has yet again taken this organization and the industry of home based business to a new level. We are creating a new industry and the programs rolled out at this convention will show you without a doubt you are in the right place at the right time with the right people!

LIFE Leadership had another record year in 2013 and has so many exciting things coming in 2014.

With the major announcements coming at the end of this month, I believe we will see record growth monthly throughout 2014 and beyond.  I am predicting that this will be the convention that people will talk about for years to come, the one that changed the course for so many people, launches LIFE Leadership to the next level and helped tens of thousands begin to live the life the have always wanted.

ImageSound like hype? I dare you to come and check it out for yourself. Find me at the end of Friday night and let me know in person what you think! I know every time I challenge someone to that, they come to me with tears in their eyes and hope in there heart and tell me how it has already began to make a difference.
LIFE Leadership is making a difference, maybe its time to start making a difference in your life.
God bless,
Dan Hawkins

Think back to when you first received The Gift. What difference has it made in your life?

This video was originally posted by Life Founder and Author Claude Hamilton.
This is a talk that was given by Claude at one of the LIFE Leadership events.

God bless, Scott Johnson



Monday, February 10, 2014

The Federalist Era

Originally posted by Life Founder and Author Orrin Woodward.

God bless, Scott Johnson


I am reading a fascinating book on the Federalist Era by John Miller as part of my new book for LIFE Leadership. Miller does a great job of showing the strengths of both the Federalist and anti-federalist positions. The Federalist wanted a consolidated government to end state induced chaos. This was the right course, but in their haste to ratify the Constitution, they permitted the Power Pendulum to move further into coercion than most understood. In fact, the Federal government immediately began usurping sovereignty from the states beyond its written limits. Sadly, this dispute between those who supported Federal sovereignty and those who supported state-sovereignty was not resolved until America’s Civil War.
What is surprising to me is that the issues fought over during the Civil War were clearly present as early as 1790! In fact, Alexander Hamilton, the leader of the US treasury, drove three key issues through Congress – Debt Assumption, The US Bank, and Protective Tariffs – that were all designed to move power from the states into the Federal government. Let’s  study the history and see what leadership lessons we can learn from the Founders experiences. Here is Historian John Miller’s explanation of Hamilton’s vision: 

Federalist Alexander Hamilton on Government
In they heyday of their power under the Articles of Confederation, some states had assumed part of the federal debt. Now, in 1790, Hamilton proposed to turn the tables by assuming the state debts. As he visualized it, such an assumption would serve as a double-edged sword with which to strike at the roots of state sovereignty. In the first place, it promised to bring within the orbit of the Federal government all the state creditors, the most influential part of the community; secondly, it would relieve the states of the necessity of levying taxes, for if the Federal government took upon itself the payment of all the debts, it must perforce have all the revenue – and possessing the whole revenue it came into possession of the whole power of the Union. Deprived of the support of their wealthiest citizens and unable to exert their authority by means of taxation, the states, Hamilton fondly imagined, would gradually wither away and their strength would be absorbed by the Federal government.

Interestingly, Patrick Henry predicted the North’s banking and manufacturing interests plan of action during the Virginia ratification debates. He outlined the North’s plan for consolidation of the states into the Federal government well before the Constitution was ratified when he argued, “Not satisfied with a majority of legislative councils, they must have all our property. . . This is a contest for money as well as empire.” Henry, surpassed all the other founders in his knowledge of human nature. He intuitively understood that human beings run governments; therefore, governments cannot be given absolute power without endangering the life, liberty, and property of society’s members. In the Founders haste to ratify the new Constitution, few, if any, stepped back from the precipice to ponder why one of the greatest leaders of the recent revolution was against the Constitution. Indeed, had they truly listened to the Anti-Federalist main issues, American history would be radically different. Unfortunately, one of life’s key lessons is that one cannot beat something with nothing. Although Henry clearly delineated the Five Laws of Decline opening within the proposed Constitution, he did not offer a viable alternative.

In consequence, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, the issues Henry pointed out reared their ugly head within Congress. John Miller wrote, “In November, 1790, the Virginia legislature sent a Protest and Remonstrance to Congress in which assumption (of the state debts) was pronounced to be ‘repugnant to the Constitution of the United States’ and the funding (protective tariffs) system ‘dangerous to the rights and subversive of the interest of the people.’” Alexander Hamilton was upset at Virginia’s state-rights stance and responded accordingly as Miller wrote, “This development strengthened Hamilton’s conviction that a decisive showdown struggle between Virginia and the national government was inevitable, ‘This is the first symptom of the spirit which must either be killed or it will kill the Constitution of the United States,’ he told John Jay. Instead of sympathizing with Hamilton’s eagerness to force a showdown upon Virginia, Jay advised him to wait for the healing effects of time and statesmanship to demonstrate the benefits of the Constitution.’”

As a result, the main undercurrents of the issues that led to open conflict in the Civil War – slavery, Federal usurpation of state sovereignty, and the unfair distribution of taxes and rewards (tariff and National Bank stocks) – were at work by 1790. Since Jay believed that time was on the Federalist side and eventually would overcome state resistance, Jay counseled Hamilton to pursue his policies with caution and patience (not an easy course for the aggressive Hamilton). Disastrously, however, time did not heal the riff between the North and Sought. Indeed, both sides rejected compromises and the injustices mentioned above continued until the Civil War ended slavery. Because the Founders did not address and resolve the inconsistencies inherent within the Constitution, their sons and grandsons died in droves in the Civil War fulfilling Hamilton’s prophecy as Miller wrote, “While Hamilton reluctantly agreed to hold his hand, he was never persuaded that there was any permanent solution to the problem short of carving up Virginia and other large states in smaller jurisdictions.” This is exactly what occurred in the Civil War when West Virginia separated from Virginia. Unfortunately, the others (Federal control over states, central banking, and oppressive taxation) were not ended. In fact, the Federal government invented new forms of tyranny as their funding grew and the realism of the anti-Federalist proved more accurate than the the idealism of the Federalist. American oppression grew to levels inconceivable by even the most fearful of anti-federalist.
The genius of Alexander Hamilton was to recognize the incompatibility between a nation with divided sovereignty. True, a nation can divide the spheres of sovereignty, but it cannot have two parities (Federal and states) responsible for the same sovereignty issues. Hence, the Constitution was created with the seeds of its own destruction. Curiously, the American Founders, although they studied the Roman Republic extensively, missed the main lesson to be learned from them. Indeed, the Roman Republic failed because of the divided sovereignty issues between the people supported  Tribunes and the aristocratic Senate supported Counsels. They both, in essence, attempted to lead Roman society and the political conflicts eventually led to civil war. In the Roman Republic’s example, Caesar resolved the conflict in the people’s favor against the Senate. Strangely, America followed a similar course in its divided sovereignty issue between the states and federal government. The political conflicts of 1790 were resolved in America’s Civil War of 1860 when Lincoln settled the disputed sovereignty in the Federal government’s favor. In both instances, the republics ended and the empires began.

I believe the main leadership lesson to learn from the above is that one cannot leave issues unsettled to pass onto the next-generation. Leaders address and resolved issues – that is what they get paid to do. Hence, when issues arise, one cannot pass the buck, hoping some leader in the future fixes the issues. In essence, this is why I created LIFE Leadership because I am sick and tired of watching America’s future be mortgaged through excessive government spending and borrowing at the expense of liberty, prosperity, and integrity. Leaders cannot sit back and wait for others. Instead, they must change themselves so they can play a part in changing society. What part will you play?

Sincerely,
Orrin Woodward

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bacon & Eggs

Originally posted by Life Member Steve Morgan.

God bless, Scott Johnson


I have the pleasure of working with 2 of the most amazing leaders in the world named Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.  Their thinking has changed my LIFE forever.  I never thought I would be working directly with the #7 & #12 Leadership Guru’s in the world.

I would like to tell you a story that I heard in my journeys with this amazing group known as LIFE.  The
story goes like this:

A little boy was sitting at breakfast one morning and his father was making him some egg’s, toast, bacon and orange juice.  The smell filled the whole house and he was so eagerly waiting for the plate to be sat down in front of him.  His stomach was hungry and his favorite food was bacon.

As his father brought the plate to the table with the hot food on it, he said “have I told you about bacon & eggs yet?”

The boy said ” I have no idea what you are talking about.”

The father said “There is a big difference in what it took for the bacon and eggs to hit this plate.”

The boy responds hungrily ” yes they are from different animals”

Passionately the father pulls the plate back and says ” The chicken only had a good interest in this breakfast but the pig was committed son, that’s the kind of commitment it takes to win in LIFE. The all in type.”

I know it’s a fun little story, but have you witnessed someone trying to win at something with just a good-interest effort?  I have, and it’s kind of sad, because it only takes a little more effort and more consistency to be great.

I hope that this story will help you in your journey of LIFE, to be the committed winner that it takes to do something great.

I remember being scared to be committed, it was much easier for me to back out of things when I just had a good interest.  I had always liked having a way out.

Parting thought: “Be the Bacon.”

Like Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady always say ,”Dream Big”

Steve

Challenging, Comforting, Powerful Words

Originally posted by Life Founder and Author Tim Marks.

God bless, Scott Johnson


Do you know what the word “resplendent” means?  Well, I must admit , I had to look up the word “resplendent” as I read this article below so I could fully understand what the author was describing. As I read this article it reminded me again of what God intends for us in our lives and what a true marriage is.

Some of you know that, about a month ago, I went to the Mayo Clinic to have my back basically rebuilt after years of chronic pain.  This pain has not only plagued me, but my entire family and, mostly, my wife Amy. She has put up with my short answers and lack of involvement because of this pain for years and now after the surgery she is still hanging in there and running things like a “Swiss Watch” AND taking most of my duties on AND caring for me.  What a wife I have.

Amy Marks is truly RESPLENDENT to me and I am very blessed that God made her for my wife.

Enjoy this wonderful article my pastor ( Dr Tom Ascol) sent me a few days ago.

God bless,
Tim

___________________________________________________

Love your wife, don’t be a stupid fool!Husbands, God commands you to love your wife. He says that you are to love your wife as Christ loves the church. These are words that should bring us to our knees in holy fear. Christ’s example of love is humbling and overwhelming. His example should shake us to the very core of our being. This command, properly understood, should drive us to cry out to God for strength, courage, and his mercy.
 Why?

Because if you are to love with the love of Christ, then the actions of your wife must not determine the quality of your love for her. Men, Jesus loved you when your were unlovely. He cares for you when you turn away from him. He returns good in exchange for your cold and callous insensitivity to him. He reaches out to you when you have made a train wreck of your relationship with him. He is selfless when you are selfish. When you insult Christ by taking credit for his blessings he offers you forgiveness. Jesus responds to your disrespect by taking the punishment that you deserve. He loves you when you withhold love from him. He prays for you, even when you stupidly think you don’t have time to seek him in prayer.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Jesus loves you at great personal cost to himself. The way you act towards him does not determine the way he acts towards you. That is a very good thing for you and me. The last prayer you should want to pray is, “Dear God, please love me the way I love you.” Anyone who would pray such a prayer is what the Proverbs call a ‘stupid fool.“

But sadly, the way we love our wives is often dependent on the way they act towards us as husbands. If they are distant, we become indifferent. If they are cool, we become hurt. If they are disrespectful, we become angry. If they need help, we feel put out. This sort of behavior is not love.

Husband, God calls you to model the love to Christ to your wife. You are to love her because Christ loves you, not because of the way she acts towards you. Certainly, it is more pleasant when your wife loves you unselfishly. But, even this must not be the basis of your love for her. The love of Christ to you must be the primary motivation and example of your love for your wife.

When your wife has struggles, be compassionate and know her well enough to be able to help. She, just like you, can be unlovely. Christ’s love is still the example you must follow. Ask God for strength. Ask God to help you not act like the stupid fool, who forgets what God has done for him. Love your wife as Christ loves you.

Just in case any wives are reading this, you can show this to your husband! And remember, even if your husband is not loving you as he should, the love of Christ is also your model and strength.

________________________________________________
Don Henley of “Eagles” fame once sang, “I had a good life, before you came.”
And so it was with me.

I was single.

I pastored the little white Church on the corner.

I did not feel as though I was waiting for my life to start, indeed I was locked in a pattern of discerning God’s will (as much as my fallen filter would allow), and, then by His grace executing His will in my life.

I bought an old white house within walking distance of the little white Church.

I christened the white house “The Hermitage”, and went about fixing it up.

The Hermitage had a little green dining room, so I went about teaching myself how not to be a terrible cook.
On the whole I attempted to skip the entire phenomenon dubbed “Batching It Up”, even when I was as it were, a bachelor.

I did not have cable.  The Hermitage didn’t even have a television antenna.

I had my books, my dog, and my God.

I prepared my sermons and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was not wasting my life.  My life was going at full speed.  And, for whatever it was worth, I was happy.
One day, God in His providence ordained to pour blessing upon blessing.  He brought her back into my life.  I had met her in college years before.  We were at a Christian college whose ecclesiology lacked formally ordained pastors, yet there I was studying to be one and there she was the daughter of one.  She had honey colored hair, green eyes and freckles.  We had been two fish out of water, and she was… resplendent.
The years went by and she had become a teacher, and served with Africa Inland Mission.

There she was, standing before me once again, and she was as she had ever been… resplendent.  Everything crystalized.

I told her I intended to pursue her.

She told me she was going to the remotest part of the Congo she could find.

I told her we’d pray about it.

God smiled down upon me, and she became my Resplendent Bride.

While we courted we read “This Momentary Marriage”.  Pastor Piper reminded us of things we already knew about the covenant of marriage from the Bible.

Marriage isn’t about you, it’s about God.

She wore a $100 white dress without guile.  I wore what she told me.

We were wed in St. Louis at a Church called Hope, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

I told her I would let her down: but grace.

We sealed it with our first kiss, and we made our home at The Hermitage, nestled in the sacred hills and hollows of Glenwood.

A year passed.  She showed me South Sudan.  I showed her how to brown hamburger meat.

The Covenant of Marriage is a gift, and I feel like I’ve always received more than I ever gave.

Two more months passed and a fox named cancer tried to raid my home.

He is a wily one, he is.  We fought him when he called himself Non-hodgkins Lymphoma.  We fought him when he called himself Hodgkins Lymphoma.  We fought him when he called himself myelodysplastic syndrome and we fought him when he called himself Acute Secondary Leukemia.  And still we fight on.
The Hermitage has sat vacant for months while we sojourned in various hospital rooms.

My Resplendent bride endures chemo cocktails and radiation.  I endure cots.

People say I need to take care of myself. Take a night off.  They mean well of course, and I don’t think less of them.

But I don’t leave.  That’s not what I do.  The two became one.  I don’t leave.

I said “I do”, and I still do.  The “I do” of marriage is always in the present tense until The Lord Jesus says otherwise.  ”I do” is never “I did at the time”.  ”I do” is always present tense. “I do” travels through space and time to whatever condition the married couple finds themself in and says, “I still do, I always do, and when the enemy burns down these battlements, I shall remain”.

The perpetual present tense “I do” is anchored in the grace of God.  It is only possible in Him.

Marriage was never about being happy.  Marriage is a covenant, and covenants are rarely pain free.
My Lord Jesus endured far more pain than I ever will to bring peace through the blood of His cross to this realm of dustlings.

What I’ve learned from my Resplendent Bride’s cancer is that The Lord Jesus shines still brighter.

Once, a nurse told me that it was good that I was there with my Resplendent Bride.

I shrugged and told her, “That’s what marriage is.”

A shadow of sadness creeped over her face and she replied, “Not always.”

She’s right, you know.

Many a caretaker have crawled into a bottle never to be heard from again.

Many a caretaker has retreated into himself so far so as to be useless.

Many a caretaker has found comfort in the arms of another.

God have mercy on us all, for the things we do and the things we have no mercy for.

I suspect though, that those whom vanish in the hour of need thought marriage to be about happiness and perpetual comfort rather than the perpetual “I Do” that comes from a Christ who is always saying “I Do” to His bride, the Church.

Recently, on the Grammys, entertainers mocked God’s Word because it is old and then stole our glass and arches and held a ceremony “celebrating the commitment to love”.
It all reminded me of something the Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy (though he is quite old by now),

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful,unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB

Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power, indeed.

Ask any Pastor of a Church residing in a beautiful historic building: people want God’s house, but only if He’s not home.

I remind many couples that the stained glass windows were not erected to honor and celebrate their commitment to love.  This house is consecrated to God, and furthermore, we are not part of the wedding industry.

We are about Jesus, and so too must be your wedding, and more importantly: your marriage.
If not, call it what it is: a celebration to your commitment to having bubbly butterflies for the flavor of the month.

God’s menu for marriage does not change.

When the squall rages against my marriage, I thank God that this marriage was not build by mine, nor my Resplendent Bride’s hands, but by His holy hands.

Many have questions about what marriage is, and whom it is for.  Many have sinned against a holy God and wonder if He forgives.  Many think that it would take a miracle to save the marriage they are in.

The village of Marriage has long been at the mercy of robbers and bandits.  And I do emphasize the word, “long”.

Perhaps you are like many who have suffered the scars of other’s sin so harshly that you think it would take a miracle for someone to love you with Christlike sacrificial love.

I know a guy.

All things are possible with God.

The Lord Jesus desires to take you by the hand and make you whole, but His hands shall always have holes in them.  You must ask yourself what you have to do with those holes.

Married or not.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thoughts on Blackberries, Souls & Legacies – Stephen Palmer

Originally posted by Author Stephen Palmer. He co-authored the New York Times bestseller, Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity. He is also the co-author of The Conscious Creator: Six Laws for Manifesting Your Masterpiece Life.

God bless, Scott Johnson



For two and a half years I babied my precious blackberries.

I spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours watering them, fertilizing them, weeding them, pruning them, building a trellis for them, painstakingly tying up each cane to make them grow better.

The first two seasons we harvested little more than a couple handfuls of berries.

But as the third season approached, the vines had burst into activity.

Here they are just after planting them in the spring of 2010:
2010blackberries1 Thoughts on Blackberries, Souls & Legacies   Stephen Palmer
And here they are in November of 2012:
trellis2 Thoughts on Blackberries, Souls & Legacies   Stephen Palmer
They were ready. All my hard work was about to pay off. The next spring would be our first official harvest. My mouth watered at the thought of homemade blackberry pie from homegrown berries, for which I had spent so much time, money, and energy.

Then we moved.

Someone else will be stuffing their faces full of plump, juicy berries and eating the fresh pies I dreamed of for years.

And I’m okay with it. A line in my Live Extraordinary Manifesto reads, “Plant seeds for others to harvest.” In other words, leave things better than how you found them.

I learned that principle and way of life from my parents. Growing up, I often saw my father picking up garbage left by other people. I wondered why he would spend time and energy on something that wasn’t his problem.

Until it clicked for me and I realized that John Donne was right:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Every problem in the world is the responsibility of every individual. We’re all in this together. Everything we do affects everyone else in the world.

The bell tolls, calling us to step up and make a difference. My father heard it, and he responded by planting good seeds for others to harvest.

The seeds we plant for others in the world are determined by what we’ve allowed to grow inside us.
We have seeds of divinity and seeds of degeneracy planted in our souls. The ones that grow are the ones we cultivate.

Truth is, we’re always planting seeds for others to harvest. It’s just a question of whether they’re noxious weeds or delicious fruit.

The kind words we plant today can flourish into the fruit of confidence for those we touch. Words spoken in anger can plant the seeds of resentment and bitterness.

The acts of service we perform today can blossom into love and joy that spread like wildflowers. The selfishness we sow today will be reaped as pain and heartache later — not only for ourselves, but more importantly, for others.

If we want our external world to flourish, we must care vigilantly for our internal world. The plants we allow to grow in our hearts become fertilizer for our choices and actions. And the seeds planted by our choices and actions are ultimately harvested not just by ourselves, but also by others.

A song in my “Inspiration Library” is “I Was Here” by BeyoncĂ© Knowles:
I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that meant something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget
I was here I lived, I loved I was here
I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here…
On a corner lot in Round Rock, Texas grow forty feet of blackberries, which I’ll never harvest. But someone will, because I planted them.

The Shameful Reason Why We Live Small – Stephen Palmer

Originally posted by Stephen Palmer.

Stephen Palmer is a writer and entrepreneur devoted to helping people conquer limitations, maximize their potential, and achieve true freedom.

God bless, Scott Johnson


There are infinite ways to live big, but only one way to live small.

I was driving home one evening when I saw flashing lights from a barrage of police cars and emergency
vehicles.

They had closed the street off, necessitating a turn-around detour through the local rec center parking lot.

Annoyed, I thought, “They’re not doing a good job of redirecting traffic. They need to have someone further up the road so we don’t have to waste time turning around in this parking lot.”

I drove home and tucked my four beautiful kids into bed, oblivious of the girl who would never be tucked in again.

The next morning Queen Karina said, “Did you hear about the twelve-year-old girl who was killed last night crossing the street in front of the rec center?”

Oh. My.

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion,” says Daniel Goleman in his book, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. “When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection — or compassionate action.”

Believe it or not, there are lives beyond our own, problems bigger than ours, pain worse than ours, burdens heavier than ours.

We don’t need to have our pain alleviated, our burdens relieved. We simply need to put them into perspective by recognizing those of others. By doing so, our problems shrink and our vision and value to the world expand.

Forgetting about our own problems and helping other people solve theirs is the doorway to a life of meaning and greatness. Thoughtful, compassionate service is the key that unlocks opportunity and unleashes joy.

As Christ counseled, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

Our energy can be spent whining about problems, or creating solutions. Our focus can be on meeting our own petty needs, or on relieving the heartache of others.

And that choice determines whether we live small or big.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Eight Strengths that Will Change Your Life







Originally posted by Life Founder and Author Claude Hamilton.

God bless, Scott Johnson


 For a couple of months when I was seventeen, my days were anything but typical. They began at 5:00 a.m., when I would bolt out of bed to run in formation with a number of other people. For the rest of the day, I could expect to be yelled at by drill instructors, and to perform endless repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. I also learned how to hang my uniform properly, spit-shine a boot in seconds flat, and make my
bunk up flawlessly.

I spent those months in basic training in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. It wasn’t easy—in fact, it was more challenging than anything else I had experienced before—but that was the point. We needed to toughen up so that we’d learn the discipline, the skills, and the courage to serve in the Canadian military. The experience that I built up as a cadet certainly helped, but it still took a lot of determination to stay tough through the grueling physical and emotional demands of boot camp.
 
It was a surprise to me at the time, but the emotional challenges were harder than the physical ones. We had to learn to follow orders without question, even when those orders didn’t seem to make sense. We learned to respond to the harsh words of our drill instructors with a simple “yes, sir”. And we had to adjust to an entirely new way of life with very limited contact with our families. I know now that emotional challenges are almost always tougher than physical ones—whether you’re at boot camp or building a family.

Not everyone could handle the challenges of boot camp. Even some of the people who excelled at meeting the physical demands had to go home because they couldn’t handle the emotional toll. As I began serving full time in the military, I started watching people closely, paying attention to the actions of people who failed and those who succeeded. I began to keep track of what worked and what didn’t, and I started making a mental list of traits that seemed to lead to success.

After I married Lana, I noticed that these same traits also seemed to benefit people who were building families and businesses. These characteristics make up what I call “The Eight Strengths”:
• Attitude
• Courage
• Character
• Duty
• Honor
• Relationships
• Passion
• Tenacity


Remember when I wrote about my definition of toughness? I explained that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re physically strong or resilient. It means that you continue to work towards your goals, even when the going gets tough. But to pull that off, you need some very specific skills. That’s where the Eight Strengths come in.

These traits may look like obvious ingredients for success, but they’re emphasized less and less these days. And in many cases, they’re disappearing because people never have the chance to develop them. Out of love, more and more parents are trying to shelter their children from challenging circumstances and experiences because they want them to have the easiest life possible. While this is an admirable goal, it doesn’t necessarily give children the opportunity to build these Eight Strengths. And those lost learning opportunities can make life difficult for children later, when it becomes impossible to shelter them.
But if you work to build these strengths, in yourself or your children, you’ll accumulate the tools needed to toughen up—no matter what happens.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

LEADERSHIP CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Originally posted by Life Founder George Guzzardo.

God bless, Scott Johnson


Have you ever heard people use their circumstances as the reason for not achieving their goal?  They use the phrase “Under my circumstances.”  I ask, ”What are they doing under there?”  Just how did they make the decisions that got them their circumstances? The results we have in life are directly related to the information that we use.  If you have some results you want to change, then it’s time to change the information.  One of the many definitions of leadership is planned conflict against the status quo. A leader does not accept a problem in their life as a circumstance. They don’t accept average if good is available or good if great is available whether it’s in their personal life or the world they live in. LIFE Leadership provides what many are finding is the highest quality of leadership information for the best possible cost.  We are seeing so many people get different results because they have changed the source of information. Just check the testimony box on the LIFE Leadership home page for great comments and perspectives about how leadership has made a difference.

We’ve all heard about people who set resolutions or goals at the turn of the New Year although it appears that the majority doesn’t follow through on their commitment. Achieving a great year requires new habits, focus, and persistence. That’s how you get different results by this time next year.  But you must begin your journey to a great year by having a great month. Here is why leadership is the difference maker. As you begin the process of changing your habits you begin the process of forging your character. Application or action also develops the plan, do, check, and adjust process that develops competency from learning through new experience. You now possess the main ingredients of leadership, vision with a goal, a character others can trust and competency that proves you can do the job. This same formula can be applied whether you are improving your marriage, finances, fitness, or business.

Why do many of us procrastinate or fail to follow through with a commitment? It’s called a comfort zone. Leaders move out of their comfort zone when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Also when a leader begins to own their own compelling vision of the end result, they become passionate with a purpose. Unfortunately most won’t make the time to break out of their procrastination. Most people I have met are so busy making money that they never uncover a true passion for life.

Leadership is about making a difference, first in our own lives by developing qualities necessary to change our status quo. As people begin to see improvements in finances, relationships, fitness, or their business, something happens. A leader’s influence begins to increase based on the changes in their own character. They begin to make a difference in other peoples lives because they gain credibility and earn trust with others. Because of the decisions to change our lives, we start to influence others. Others see the leader change and then they develop the belief that the change they seek is possible.

Take out a piece of paper and on the upper left, list the most important thing in your life. Next, list the second, third, fourth, and fifth most important things in your life. Now, divide the paper down the middle. On the right side under number one list what takes the most percentage of time in your life. Next, list the next most time demanding activity all the way to five. Most people find that they spend at least eight hours on the job accounting for 1/3 of their day. We typically sleep for about six to eight hours accounting for the other 1/3 of their day. That leaves eight hours for driving the kids to activities and cooking and cleaning. The remainder few hours spent is quality time we spend with our loved ones or our most important priorities in our life. What people are finding is that by applying new information they can line their priorities up in the same order to match their activities. They can become fulfilled.

This is where LIFE Leadership comes in with a systematic approach to leadership development. One of the most successful business concepts in the 21st century is a franchising format or a turn – key approach model. This is where a proven system has been tested and marketed. This happens to be why LIFE Leadership is growing like it is. People don’t have to find a new formula when they have a situation in their life they want change. They can simply have access to a proven system with new information. Best selling authors like Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady have taken their genius from the automotive industry into the leadership industry. They have developed a model we can use not only to make a greater difference in our lives but others. There are those who develop a passionate purpose because of their vision of making a difference in the other people’s lives or even the world. They see how they can make a greater difference by developing a leadership community.

It all starts when we want to make a difference in our lives. Each one of us can visualize something we can change to make our lives better. That’s when we begin to focus. Soon we realize how our influence from changing and making a difference in our own life is on others. There is a special satisfaction knowing you’ve helped others. When others align their priorities they can have more fulfillment that comes from making a difference in their lives. The average person does not lead a fulfilling life. In fact several studies showed that the average person is unhappy with their job either with the money they make or the task they do. New information that is applied can and does change results. What if leadership could make the difference? That is why more and more people are discovering the industry of the future. God Bless, George Guzzardo

The Clock vs The Compass

Originally posted by Life Founder Dan Hawkins.

God bless, Scott Johnson


busyOver the past ten years my life has radically changed for the better. Ideas have consequences, information you take in directs your path. LIFE Leadership has provided so many life changing ideas for so many. I hope you enjoy this video and after you ponder the thoughts of its content come join the conversation at LIFE Leadership forums.  People from across North America show up to this forum to discuss how better information leads to a better LIFE!

In today’s world, it’s easy to become caught up and distracted with our everyday activities; or what we like to call, “busy”. In this video, LIFE Leadership Founder Dan Hawkins discusses the concept of “being busy”. Taking the example from Stephen R. Covey’s book, First Things First, Dan explains that there are two distinct mentalities that we can view life through; the “clock” mentality or the “compass” mentality. Each mentality represents what we truly value in our lives and therefore governs how we spend our time. After watching, think about which mentality you tend to view your own life.