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I’m Not Perfect

Here’s a newsflash, I’m not perfect. I’m far from it.

I make more mistakes in a day then most people make in a week. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth so many times, I can tell you the brand of shoe you’re wearing by the taste.

Because I’m not perfect, there’s a lot of things I’m not good at. In fact, there are more things I’m NOT good at then there are of things I am good at. There are things that I see other people do that I would love to be able to do. But I can’t.

BUT…

There are some things that I AM good at! There are some things that I can do better than anyone else around me.

It’s not bragging saying this. It’s the truth. There are abilities and gifts that God put inside me that He didn’t put inside anyone else. Things that only I was created for.

It’s the same with you!

You have gifts that NO ONE ELSE HAS! You have a purpose and a destiny written by God that’s unique to you.

So why do we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others? Not just comparing, but selling ourselves short? Why do we (I) always think what others can do, or what gifts or callings they have, are more important than mine?

STOP IT!

THE ONLY THING YOU ACCOMPLISH BY FOCUSING ON THE GIFTS OF OTHERS IS THE NEGLECT OF YOUR OWN.

GOD NEEDS YOUR GIFTS ON THIS EARTH! They’re part of HIS master plan. You’re not here to fill space; you’re here to fulfill a purpose.

God needs your gifts developed, matured and ready.

Focus on YOUR gifts, stop focusing on theirs.

Besides, those people with all those gifts you’re focusing on and wanting might be doing the same thing with yours.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 29, 2018.

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Taking Responsibility

You may not have packed the bags you are carrying around through life, but at some point, you have to take responsibility and understand that you are the only one who can begin the process of letting them go.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 28, 2018.

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Stay Alert

There are opportunities around every corner to make a difference in the lives of the people and the world around you.

The reason most people don’t take advantage of these opportunities is that they don’t recognize them, and if they do, they aren’t ready for them.

Stay alert. Be ready.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 27, 2018.

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Keep Your Word

Do what you say you’re going to do no matter the cost, even if the only person it costs is you.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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On Pastoring People

You can only pastor a person to the degree they will allow.

No matter what you say. No matter what you do. No matter how much energy you spend. The person you are trying to help is the only one who can decide to listen and act.

But you can never give up.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 22, 2018.

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Look Around

Look for one opportunity to improve the day of someone else. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Compliment a stranger. Ask someone how they are doing and listen to their response.

Think about the one thing that someone could do for you that would make your day, and then do that for someone else.

What kind of impact would that make if you did that EVERY SINGLE DAY? What kind of impact would it make it EVERY SINGLE PERSON did that EVERY SINGLE DAY?

The world really can be a better place; we just need to be willing to put in the time.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Peace

PEACE should be the umpire for every decision in your life. You need to learn to listen to and trust PEACE. PEACE is life’s greatest commodity. PEACE is the language of the Holy Spirit.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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On Borrowing Influence

Find those people around you with more influence than you have and take your passion to them. You might hear the word “no” one hundred times, but all you need is one yes.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Confidence, Arrogance and Humility

You can be confident and arrogant.
 You can be confident and humble.
 You cannot be humble and arrogant.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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“I Am Willing”

Mark 1:40–42

“40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.”

I’ve always loved this story in Mark. It’s only three short verses, and you could quickly skim over it without even thinking. But when you remember that stories like this are more than just stories, that they are true, and they happened to real people just like you and me, then you start to discover how full three little verses can be.

Here are some thoughts, questions, and notes I had while reading through this during morning worship.

“A man with leprosy…”

Who was this man? He was a leper; he was unclean, he was an outcast. That’s all we know about him. We don’t know his name, how old he was or if he had a family. All we know about him was his label. Nothing else about him mattered.

“…came and knelt before Jesus.”

Because of his disease, according to the law at the time, he should not have even been in that crowd. He was unclean and would have defiled everyone that came into contact with him. Why did he do it? He could have been killed! Was this man that desperate? Or was this more an act of boldness and faith then desperation?

“If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,”

This man knew Jesus could heal him. He knew Jesus could restore him to the life he once had. Nothing in this man doubted Jesus’ power. He doubted Jesus’ willingness. Was this man so used to people avoiding him, so used to people looking at him with disgust, that that’s all he expected from Jesus? When he said, “If you are willing” was he saying, “Am I worth it?”

“Moved with compassion (anger)…”

I like that in some translations of this story the word anger is substituted for compassion. “Jesus was moved with anger.” He wasn’t angry at the leper. He was angry for him. The people around this man might have only seen a leper, Jesus saw more. Jesus always sees more. Jesus saw how much pain this man was in. He understood what this man had lost because of his disease. Jesus felt the sorrow of a man that had lost everything. He felt the pain this man felt when he was cast out. He felt the shame this man felt when he had to beg to survive. Jesus understood how worthless society saw this man. Jesus understood how worthless this man saw himself. Jesus was angry for this man. Jesus was hurting for this man.

“Jesus reached out and touched him…”

I wonder how long it had been since another person had touched this man? Who was the last person he touched before realizing he had leprosy? Was it his wife’s hand? Was it a kiss from his daughter or a hug from his son? I imagine that was one of the greatest things this man longed for. Just to be touched again. Why do I think that? Because of how Jesus responded to him. Jesus could have healed him with a word, a gesture or a command. Instead, Jesus reached out and touched him. Why did Jesus touch him? Jesus knew the law. He knew what would happen if he touched something unclean. He would be defiling himself! But that didn’t matter to Jesus. Jesus’ priority was, and still is making the unclean Holy.

“Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.”

The man was healed. But not just healed, he was free. Can you imagine what he felt? All that he knew, all the pain, sorrow, longing for what once was…gone. All replaced with hope. He was no longer unclean. No longer someone to be avoided. He had a new life. He had been restored. The pain no longer mattered. The disease no longer made the rules.

Now imagine the crowd. Silent. Shocked. All staring at this man. This man with brand new skin like a baby. Maybe this was the first time these people saw him as a man. Before he was the leper that they avoided at all cost, and now he was the man that Jesus healed. That’s not something you forget. Do you think this man spent the rest of his life known as the man that Jesus healed? Did one touch from Christ, change his whole identity? It usually does.

Put in the context of my life, I’m not sure how I would respond at that moment. Standing before Jesus, staring at my new hands. What would I have done? Would I run home to my wife and kids? Would I hold them, hug them, never want to let them go? Would I just stand there? In awe of what just happened to me? Would I laugh? Would I leap? Would I cry? What would I do? How would I respond?

How would you respond?

And while you think about that, think about this: There’s is no need, no disease, no sickness, no failure, no mistake, no sin, no choice from your past, that would keep you from receiving the same answer that this leper received from Christ:

“I AM WILLING.”


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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On Change

I hate CHANGE.

I am one of those people that order the same thing every time I go to a restaurant; I never try anything new.

There’s nothing wrong with not liking change. There is, however, something unhealthy about RUNNING FROM CHANGE.

“CHANGE is the only constant in maturity.”

If you always fight change, you will never grow. If you want to mature, if you’re going to grow, you have to be willing to CHANGE.

One thing I am sure about is I don’t know everything. (My wife would confirm this if you like) Because I don’t know everything, I tend to ask a lot of questions, “Why would you say that?”, “Why would you do this?”, “Why do you believe that?”.

The one answer that makes me cringe every time I hear it is, “because we’ve always done it like that” or “because it’s always been that way.”

Right now people are reading this that need to make some changes. Some serious, some not so serious. (yet)

There are businessmen and women whose companies would grow if they would make changes in their staff, “But they’ve been here forever!” It doesn’t matter. CHANGE.

There are husbands whose marriages are slipping away because they won’t grow up, “She knew I was this way when she married me”. So what, CHANGE!

There are some teens that are reading this, and you know that if you don’t change the decisions you are making, they are going to wreck you. Don’t wait. CHANGE!

There are parents who are about to lose your relationship with your kids because you can’t admit you might be wrong. CHANGE!

Don’t let pride or comfort get in the way of your growth. We were created to go to the next level. The next level in our RELATIONSHIPS, in our WORK, in our SCHOOL, and in our FAMILIES.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE!


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 13, 2018.

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Is It Your Problem or God’s Problem?

When I work at home on my laptop, because the house that we live in doesn’t have an extra room for an office, I usually just sit at my kitchen table.

The only problem with working at my kitchen table is the Sun.

We have two big windows in our kitchen, and because of the placement of the room, these two windows are in direct sunlight all day. Sun up to Sundown.

This is a great problem to have. I love natural light in the house. But it also means that while I’m working, I’m either dealing with Sunlight beaming through the spaces between the blinds when they are closed (that seem to always shine like a laser into my eyeballs) or the sunlight glaring off my computer screen.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Why don’t you work somewhere else?” I could. “Why not cover the windows better?” That might work. “You could re-arrange your dining room so the sun doesn’t hit your table.” That’s a good idea. “You could wear sunglasses.” Wearing sunglasses inside is stupid.

These are almost all great ideas. But here’s the point I’m making that you probably don’t even see coming.

The greatest advice in the world is useless if I don’t choose to act on it, and there is nothing you can do about it.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Watching someone you know make the same mistake over and over again, getting the same result every time? And no matter what you do or say, they don’t listen to you? It begins to feel like your beating your head against a brick wall.

I’ve been there, and if you’re in any leadership position, you’ve been there too.

The problem with beating your head against a wall is eventually your going to hurt yourself, possibly permanently.

How could you hurt yourself permanently? Because if your not careful, your FRUSTRATION could turn into INDIFFERENCE and then you might stop caring. As leaders and as Christians, that can’t happen. We can’t stop caring. We can’t give up on people. We don’t throw people away.

BUT, we can protect ourselves. Here’s how: KNOW WHAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE.

Here are two of the most significant lessons I’ve learned as a Pastor:

1) My authority over and my access to a person’s life only goes as far as that person allows.

“But, they are in your church! They should submit to your authority!” Yeah, maybe. But they also have a free will. And most of the time they’re adults, and I’m not their Dad or their boss. I’m their Pastor. It’s up to them to allow me to be their Pastor.

2) It’s not my job to change people. That’s God’s job. My job is to point THEM to HIM.

People may not listen to me. People may even go so far as to ignore or avoid me. But no matter what they do, they can’t stop me from loving them and praying for them. That IS up to me. And it’s a choice I HAVE to make, sometimes on a daily basis. I have to make the decision that I WON’T give up on a person.

When I had those two revelations of leadership, it did something AMAZING in my life. It took the burden I was carrying and put it back in God’s hands where it belonged. And because I know that there’s only so much I can do and that at some point it’s entirely in God’s hands, I can have peace.

And trust me, trying to lead without peace is a road that leads straight to burnout and failure.

So right now, right where you are, take the next 2 minutes and ask God to show you what walls your beating your head against. (You probably don’t need the 2 minutes. You already know.)

Now ask God these two questions:

1) Is there anything else in the natural I can do or say to help breakthrough in this situation? (other than unconditional love and unstoppable prayer)

2) Give me the strength to COMPLETELY hand this over to You, and the peace to know YOU’RE the one in control.

Now, let God handle it.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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One of the best things I’ve read in regards to being a minister. (or person really.)

“Just look for a moment at our daily routine. In general we are a very busy people. We have many meetings to attend, many visits to make, many services to lead. Our calendars are filled with appointments, our days and weeks filled with engagements, and our years filled with plans and projects. There is seldom a period in which we do not know what to do, and we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying, or doing.”

– Henri J.M. Nouwen, “The Way of the Heart”

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Two Great Books I Read Over Christmas


I took some time off over Christmas to do nothing but unplug, hangout with my family, and not think about anything.

I also read two amazing books. (Seriously, these are great.)

“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight
 This is the story of Nike from its first day to the day it went public in the 80’s, written by the founder Phil Knight.
 I love books like this because it reminds me that big companies like Nike weren’t instant successes. We see the big company but miss the years of hard work, doubt, failure and in some cases dumb luck that lead to breakthroughs.
 Something I did not expect from this book was how honest Phil Knight was on how empty and frustrating parts of his success has been, and what he lost along the way. (His oldest son died in a diving accident and he is really open about how he dealt with it.) I really loved this book.

“Stuff Matters” by Mark Miodownik
 Everything we use and rely on is made of something, and that something is made of something else. The screen you are reading right now is made of glass or crystal and that glass or crystal is made of other elements that is made of a combination of other elements (and so on and so on). The author, Mark Miodownik, is a material scientist and is able to explain what “stuff” like glass, paper, or concrete is made of in a very scientific yet simple way that anyone can understand and be completely fascinated by.

I literally read this book in a couple hours. It was that interesting and understandable.

So, there you go. Add these books to your 2017 reading list. (You have already started writing your reading list right?)


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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My Favorite Books from 2016

Last year I listed my top 5 books as well as 8 that almost made top 5. (Check out 2015’s list here)

This year I am going to list my top 5 books of 2016, these are the books that I read and re-read that made the greatest impact on how I live and think, plus 12 other books that I had a hard time not adding to the top 5.

The “Honorable Mention” list are a few other books I enjoyed from the books I completed in 2016. (I don’t finish every book I start, if I get bored or I lose interest I don’t waste my time in finishing.)

All of these books are really amazing. Just buy them all.

Top 5 Books of 2016:

1) “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
 2) “The Way of the Heart” by Henri J.M. Nouwen
 3) “American Icon” by Bryce G. Hoffman
 4) “Humility” by Andew Murray
 5) “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle

“Originals” by Adam Grant
 “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson
 “Adventures in Prayer” by Mary Jo Pierce
 “Deep Work” by Cal Newport
 “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg *Re-read from 2015 (Probably should be top 5 since it’s the second year I’ve listed it.)
 “Sprint” by Jake Knapp
 “Finding Eve” by Rita Springer
 “The Wisdom of the Desert” by Thomas Merton
 “The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Church Monks” by Benedicta Ward
 “Sacred Listening” by James L. Wakefield
 “Prayer Primer” by Thomas Dubai
 “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting” by Talbot W. Chambers

Honorable Mention:

“Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday
 “Poets and Saints” by Jamie George
 “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin
 “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sherma
 “The Lives of the Desert Fathers” by Norman Russell


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.