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Blog Inspiration

Personal Tenacity

Throughout the Bible there are many pictures of tenacity. To push through any and every obstacle to obtain your goals isn’t a rare occasion but a common one for those who achieve them.

“Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking…” Matthew 7.

“Go to the ant thou sluggers and do likewise.” Proverbs  (somewhere)

Jacob literally wrestling with the angel of God all through the night to obtain a blessing. Genesis ( somewhere )

One of the most challenging stories for me is found in 2 Kings 13:18-19.
The Prophet Elisha is nearing death and he is summoned by the king for a blessing or a word or something to encourage him about his future battles.

Elisha tells the king to take the arrows in his hand and strike the rock.

The king obeys and strikes it three times.

Elisha is completely angry that he only hit the rock three times, and more.

Elisha’s response to the king was like “because you only hit the rock three times, you will only win three battles. If you had struck the rock five or six times, you would have won the war permanently.”

Everyday you and I are given breath to do something. But casual and nonchalant effort rarely yields results.

So whatever it is you’re wanting out of your life, I encourage you to have grit and endurance, clearly in your mind.

Resolve yourself to… in the words of Winston Churchill:

Never ever ever give up.

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Blog Inspiration

Thinking Is Not Living

Its amazing, when I stop to think about it, how often I over think things. Some call it, “analysis paralysis” other may say “procrastination”. But no matter how you describe it, the problem is I’m not actually living.
[Tweet “Thinking is not living.”]
I have a generic yet very applicable theme to this blog, “Aspiring, Perspiring and Inspiring.” (Aspiring – relates to my dreams and desires. Perspiring – relates to the effort, the down and dirty daily work. Inspiring – relates to the effects my life can make on others, when I’m faithful to God’s design and purpose.)

Oh, how I imagine great and lofty things for myself… My future and my potential are oh, so bright…

But unless I start doing things.. daily – this will only be in my mind.

And so, today, I once again choose to push myself into leaving the deep and nebulous realm of the mind and instead do something. Even if it’s just clicking “publish” on my blog post.

 

Create a Great Day! – AC

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Blog Inspiration Monday Morning Devo Youtube Show

Weekday Rant: Success is Ethical

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Blog Inspiration Strategy Youtube Show

Do it Daily | LISTEN to Chapter One | EPISODE 4 of Building, Growing and Becoming

Show Notes & Links:

1. Order Sanctified Ambition

2. Monday Morning Devo – Chapter One LISTEN NOW

3. Do it Daily Poster

4. How to Hack Your Way to 3,000 Twitter Followers

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Blog Inspiration

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty

This past weekend I attended the funeral of a friend. Well, she was more than a friend. She was the wife of the pastor who performed my marriage 10 years ago. This couple was a pair of spiritual giants to us in those days. They were not only pastors; they were spiritual parents to my wife and me.

They mentored us in prayer and deliverance, teaching us to begin and keep our marriage free from our past hang-ups and emotional baggage.

We grew extremely close to them as well as a whole community of Africans and others who attended Tulsa International Christian Center back in 2003-2006.

This was a while ago, but my wife and I still think back to that time with nostalgia. It was an amazing season of rich and powerful experiences. The church was a cultural buffet where we literally ate assorted cuisines and heard worship and conversations in multiple languages. We were given Kenyan clothing, danced to Congolese music, and spent most Friday nights in prayer until four or five am.

As newlyweds learning to love each other, we also were adopted into a culture that lived with a passionate devotion that greatly impacted and inspired us.

But when the church closed its doors and as many moved away, we’ve seemed to keep more memory than lifestyle or relationships.

And this saddens me a bit. Mingling with people and watching conversations… Seeing children who’ve grown yet hardly know who you are…

I know life gets complex and overwhelming at times as you grow older. I admit I have been slow to realize that not every relationship can be maintained through decades.

So I may be a little naive about expectations. But about the value of friendships, I’m sure I’m right. Relationships are some of the most valuable things we can invest in and work to keep as we age.

Sweet and meaningful relationships don’t have to end when jobs change or schools which brought us together end.

What’s the point of all our technology, unlimited minutes, and social media if it can’t keep us connected in meaningful ways with the people who really matter?

Rich experiences from the past may remain in your mind like it was just yesterday, but if you don’t work to maintain those relationships… As Harvey Mackey puts it in , “Dig your well before you’re thirsty,” you’ll end up with only memories but nothing to draw from in the present.

I’ve often said, and I still believe, “It’s never too late to reconnect with people who matter most.”

But when death happens, and we once again are reminded of how fleeting life can be, we have the chance to think about our life and what we’ll do with it while it remains.

When death happens to others or the fear of death comes to us, we can think about what we want to achieve, who we want to be, or who we want to impact.

We may desire our legacy to be a “somebody,” but in reality, to paraphrase Jim Stovall, our legacy will always be the impact, good or bad, positive or negative that we make on others.

Relationships can be a rich reservoir which we pour into or draw from. But when we neglect people for years and years–even because of normal and natural busyness–we will not be able to draw from them in the future. No matter how great that past season was.

So if you haven’t caught the point of what I’m writing, I want you to make investing in relationships something you never fail to do.

I want you to realize that how you invest in or love people, it is the most long-lasting, legacy-building thing you can do.

No, not everyone is worthy of your time. But I’m sure there are at least 1-2 people from every school, job or season of your life worth staying in touch with.

Most people don’t think this way, but you don’t want to be like most people, right?

Die empty.
Create a great day!

Arvell Craig

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Blog Inspiration

CONFESSION: I’m Not Who People Say That I Am

Recently I was at a dinner party with my wife and another couple. We were talking about work, business, or something, and I started to mention how much I enjoy being an entrepreneur. Specifically, I enjoy the fact that, as a marketing consultant, I get to work with many different types of businesses and causes. Then I shared specifically how I love the idea of taking my skills and applying them to industries or companies that align with my interests and hobbies.

Immediately they acknowledged how they could see how my passion for running would bring great enjoyment if I were to be involved in marketing a marathon or some other sporting event.

For some reason, something in me reacted negatively and I wanted to argue how marathons or running weren’t necessarily my passion, but just a hobby. Of course, it’s just semantics, whether you call it a “passion” or “hobby.” The problem that occurred was marathons and running are not my biggest passions, however I do talk about them a lot. I would like to say that my biggest passions are Jesus, my family, my calling and helping other people grow in Him. However, that’s not something I talk about much.

Running marathons and learning to eat, stretch and train for optimal performance is something I talk about often when one on one. It’s easy to bring up, and almost everyone can jump into the conversation. And to be honest, it does give me a little boost of self-esteem because it’s impressive to most people.

So I don’t really have to ask myself why do I do it. It’s quite clear. My self-esteem is largely aligned with accomplishments. I feel good about myself based on what I have done. And so when I’m feeling proud about something work-related, I share about that. When I feel proud about my marathon training or completions, I talk about that.

But with God, I have many unmet goals.

I want God to be glorified by my life, across every area. If I don’t see or feel there’s something tangible to mention, He remains on the backburner.

This is, of course, aligned or maybe misaligned with my post about excellence and being a Christian witness. I seem to be waiting to do something I deem excellent before I fully bring up God’s involvement.

There is a disconnect between priorities of the head and those of the heart. We can have a conscious belief of how things should be and, yet feel in our heart or subconscious mind, we’re not worthy or ready. And so the easiest thing to do is reach in and grab the shiniest apple or prettiest outfit and display that.

And then, there’s our audience and whether we feel comfortable. If my marriage is one of my prized values, but I’m talking with someone who’s divorced or doesn’t believe in marriage, I guess it’s “wisdom” to keep that in.

Hmm… I don’t know.

I guess, what I’m really getting at is, do the people we spend time with really know us? In the words of Jesus, “Who do men say that I am?”

Sometimes I think we can be so caught up in trying to fit in, showcase our impressive knowledge, that we never bring out our true selves and passions.

It’s like the common question among men, “What do you do?” For nine of 10 men, this would lead to a conversation about their jobs, which is not what they most love or care about. Even if they spend 60-80 hours with their work, most likely the drive is fear or pride. Who they truly are and care about is never really shared.

If there’s a big difference between who people say you are, and what you’re really about, you may need to do some searching. Is there fear or shame causing you to hide? Are there self-esteem issues or personal disappointments that make you refuse to share your true passions?

Maybe we really don’t know. Maybe we are simply going through the motions but have never cross-examined ourselves.

To be honest, I have no idea where I’m going with this, but I think it’s something to consider.

I don’t have a solution. But I do want it to be known what I’m really about.

Yes, I’m a guy with a multitude of interests, projects, commitments, and goals. I’m not single-minded, but hopefully I’ve cultivated the life, anointing, and grace of God in all of my many areas and relationships. That’s my hope.

And when something comes up and I feel in my spirit that I’m not as focused as I want to be, I hope I change. When conviction hits and I realize I’m only glorifying discipline but not God, I hope that I change. I actually want to be intensely unbalanced with a devotion to my wife and children that stirs other men to rethink their priorities. I want to have a natural and passionate way of bringing God into places and conversations that provokes believers and blesses unbelievers.

Perhaps all I can do for now, is write.

Right here on my blog, I will start being who I want to be.

Then maybe, the next time I talk with someone, they’ll mention this blog post and we’ll converse about the things that really matter.

Perhaps.

 

Create a Great Day!

@ArvellCraig

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Blog Inspiration

Has Your Hard Life Made You Stronger?

Or are you more bitter? More critical, cynical and judgmental?

Or are you more resilient? Do you get offended less because you’ve been struck down but not destroyed?

The Bible says that a righteous man falls seven times but he gets back up. Is this you? Do you refuse to quit trying? Do you refuse to stop getting back up?

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Blog Inspiration

If it’s important – DO IT DAILY!

Do It Daily Manifesto

Values. Priorities. And Importance.
Below are some words I wrote about true commitment.

I call it, “If It’s Important – Do It Daily”.

In 2014 I began running marathons. It wasn’t a plan, dream or goal. But about 12 months prior I was hating my business and wanted to escape. One day I decided to do like Forest Gump… and I ran!

When started our a a few miles a day, eventually turned into a full 26.2 mile marathon. And then in the following 2 years I ran a total of 5 marathons and then an ultra marathon.

In those years of training and racing many things transformed in me. At first it was just my body, weight and endurance. But eventually it affected my discipline my perspective about what was possible to achieve.

Eventually I realized that true change and growth happens when commitment is given and displayed on a daily basis. Before this process of training 6 days a week for 16 weeks in a row did I really understand the benefits of discipline doing something every single day.

If you really want to see growth and change in your life, consider following the statements below. I promise you will faster and stronger change than you ever have!

If it’s important – do it daily. 

If it’s important – do it early. 

If it’s important – do it without multitasking.

If it’s important – study and learn to do it better.

If it’s important – don’t quit after failure. 

If it’s important – your checkbook should show it. 

If it’s important – prove it with actions and not words.

If it’s important – your closest friends could testify to it. 

( Click on the image below and get the poster! )

Do It Daily Poster Manifesto

Do It Daily Video

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Blog Inspiration

The Three Notebooks

A good friend of mine told me this story about productivity.

He says he has this recurring dream. When his life has ended and he is called to appear before God and give account for his life. He humbly approaches the creator of the universe and presents to him, three notebooks. Within the first book, smallest of the three, in fact very small he says, contains all the projects and tasks that he successfully completed. A few accomplishments done in obedience, that reflected the nature and glory of God. The second book, quite a bit larger in size, lists all of his failures. From moral failures to relational mishaps, failed business ventures. It’s ugly record was all written and being turned over to God.

Lastly there is the third book. This one was more than double the size of the first two books combined. But inside this book, there were neither successes nor failures. For it describes the many times he bailed on an idea or task, never following through. This book lists countless entries of all the times he quit. When he gave up because of internal or external pressures. Whether it was a good idea, God idea, faith or presumption, things he coulda shoulda woulda, but didn’t do.

My friend went on to tell me that he sees that these three books are all that he will have to show for his life. And that mastering the ability of being productive and using his time wisely was one of most important thing for him to do.

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Blog Inspiration

“Dying Empty” – What Does It Mean?

Dying empty – means to end ones’ life having emptied themselves of all they were to accomplish during their time one earth.

The opposite of dying full: taking your dreams and talents, ideas and inventions, songs and books with you to the grave. But, let me clarify this a bit.

Dying empty does not mean to simply live completely focused on accomplishments, success and productivity.

It does not mean you speak everything that comes to mind, or that you patent every idea that comes to you while in the shower.

Dying empty does not mean you sacrifice people, relationships and every present moment in hopes of some distant future future where you can enjoy life without obligations.