The Things You Can Do at 62. (Or Thereabouts)

Well at last I have decided to get on with writing the book and what you see above is the title, (at least the working title)  I wrote the first chapter a year ago but floundered as life got in the way. That’s just the way things happen isn’t it, we must fight back against the difficulties and, press on towards the goal. Most of the content will be found in previous posts on this blog because after all it is only my thinking written down, I cant change my beliefs and ideas just to write a book or we would have to call it a novel. I will be rewriting every word though. No copy and pasting. New thoughts applied to existing ideas.  Things have happened recently to make me feel so inspired to organise my most important thoughts and publish them in printed book form.  Most of those things I would never have dreamed I could do at 62.  Now though, I don’t care if you are 82, I believe there is still an adventure waiting for you.

I have never written a book before and the idea was daunting at first, although I write sermons regularly and have preached them around the world, and I have been writing this blog for a few years;  so what’s to stop me writing a full blown book. Even if no-one else reads it I will enjoy counting my blessings and recording some of the things I have learned. 

I never believed I could write well enough or have something to write that would be of interest to the public and yet I have had loads of people telling me how they enjoyed and have benefited from some of my written thoughts.  I guess we all have an audience somewhere. But until now writing has been something that happens in the secret place of my home office.  I write it, I publish it online and if the odd person reads it well thats OK and if people want to debate me on it, well I guess I can handle that too. Its all on line, it is easy to be brave from behind a keyboard: you only have to read some of the comments on social media to work that out. That’s not for me, I will never pull anyone down online and I am not going to fight for long with those that do either, although I did sometimes try to reason with them for a while. I gave up eventually, deciding that they actually want to hate, they want to criticise and they are not going to learn anything from me no matter how hard I try.

Anyway that was the extent of my public communications (apart from the fact that some of my sermons are recorded and have been published on various websites and podcasts) until late last year when I was invited to be a guest on a talk radio show.  I said yes quite gingerly but was wondering what I had done until the big day. What would I say? Why would anyone want to listen to me? But the host was convinced I could add something to his show so along I went to Blackpool and entered a radio studio for the first time in my life.

It was actually quite exciting and an enjoyable experience. Driving home I was just thinking about how glad I was that I had done it and that it would now be confined to my personal history when the phone rang.

“This is Matthew Branson, I am the founder and owner of Cornerstone Christian Radio, the radio station you were just on. I heard your interview and you have a great voice for radio, would you like to talk about having a show of your own? ‘Gobsmacked’  is a common phrase where we live, too common my wife says, but what better way to say it. “It won’t be till the new year, we are building a new studio which will be better equipped and totally dedicated to the purpose but I would like you to do a show, maybe once a week.” I was totally inexperienced, it would take me a while just to grasp the technology let alone get together the music and some idea of what to say for two hours. Four months later after doing a two hour show every week I was asked to do a morning show Monday to Friday to set people up for the day. It started at 7:30 and ended at 9:00AM.   Although our target audience is the North West of England I am amazed to find I have listeners from many parts of the world including India and Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa and lots more. I suppose the facebook live talks I give before my shows has widened the audience but it is still very pleasing. How far will this go? I don’t know. All I know is I am doing something that I never could have imagined, I have a big vision and goals to grow and help others grow at the time of life I thought I would be winding down. Hence the title ‘The Things you can do at 62’.

The kind of success we have in mind cannot be achieved without help so we have partnered with one of the worlds largest online shopping companies who sell a good range of healthy, and environmentally friendly products similar to what we all use in our own homes. Listeners can make a contribution to Cornerstone easily and simply by ordering some of the things they would normally buy from the supermarkets each month from our partner company.  When we introduced them as customers the company pay the station a small commission every time they order. And everyone wins because members get discounts and other benefits when they place their monthly order online. What a great way for our listeners to contribute to the station without spending any more money that they currently do and they should see long term improvements in their families health too because every product contains only natural ingredients.  

You may be asking what’s that got to do with how far this thing can go? 

All the presenters are volunteers and also work at full time jobs and that’s the way it will be for the foreseeable future. Thats’s OK by us, but it means the station struggles to generate cash to meet the studio’s ongoing running costs.  We have ambitions of getting a DAB licence in the near future which will greatly enlarge our reach. Cornerstone Christian Radio is a ministry and already well over 80,000 listeners have enjoyed the great variety of music and particularly the banter of the live shows. This has all been done on a shoestring budget with the generosity of Matthew and his wife Andrea Branson who works full time to make it all possible.  With every new long term customer we introduce to Melaleuca we move a step nearer to meeting those goals. For information of how you can help and for answers to all your questions. email me at mail@robchannings.com   

My own show is called the Personal Growth Program and is not aimed solely at Christians.  As a local pastor I see the whole community as my flock, even if some of them don’t want to know about spiritual things right now there is no reason I can’t help them lead better lives: so we  are doing what we can to help people grow in every way. That includes businesses and personal careers, personal confidence, family, relationships, health, education and obviously the most important thing to us is the spiritual growth of our listeners. 

A good example can be taken from this mornings Personal Growth Show. (Obviously it may not be this morning’s show at the time you are reading it but it was on the day I wrote it.)  I played a recording from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon himself was speaking on one of his own radio broadcasts from more that 50 years ago. He said everyone wants to get rich but most people have no idea of what riches really mean. They have the idea that riches can only be represented by what money will buy. This is very far from the truth and Napoleon then went on to outline the twelve areas of true riches.  Financial security was definitely among them but down at number twelve. The full list is below.  We will be covering all of them in greater depth on forthcoming shows. 

Hopefully the Personal Growth Program from 7:30 – 8:30 on CornerstoneChristianRadio.comis entertaining, and fun and a great way to wake up in the morning and I already know that some people think it’s good company too, which is lovely.  The purpose is to improve the circumstances of as many people as we can, in every way we can.  

Hear is Napoleon Hill’s list. We will be expanding on each heading over the coming weeks.

A Positive Mental Attitude

Sound Physical Health

Harmony in Human Relations

Freedom from Fear

Hope for Future Achievement 

Applied Faith

Willingness to Share Our Blessings with Others

To be Engaged in a Labour of Love

Open Minded on all Subjects with all People.

Complete Self-Discipline 

Financial Security.

For now, please note that everything begins with a Positive Mental Attitude and whilst Financial Security is vital and should be attainable by everyone it comes at the end of the list. A positive mental attitude helps you make the start, keeps you going when things get tough and sees you complete the journey. Virtually every victory in your life started with the courage to face defeat, every ‘YES’ you ever heard in business started with the courage to hear ‘NO’. Let’s grow together.

Have a great day.

Is this ‘One Thing’ holding you back too?

Do you have Goals and Aspirations as yet unfulfilled? Have your dreams grown dim…and do the desires of your heart seem further away than ever? Lets get the defibrillator out. Maybe we can give them a  jump start. Let’s get them dreams off the back burner and get the full flame of Faith back under them again.

This morning I woke up thinking about a lady from a church I used to attend.

For 17 years Joyce and I worked closely together before God moved our family to pastures new. We have been at the church where my wife and I are Pastors now for over 14 years. I feel it is important to say, if we are to be successful we must stick with things for longer than many people tend to do. It seems easy to throw things away and start again but it will always leave a scar if the time or the reason to move on was not right. That’s why I said God moved our family and I know that although we had some really tough times at first we were able to stand firm because we knew we were doing what our God wanted us to do.

Anyway, back to Joyce. That lady lived a triumphant life of Faith until she passed on February 19th 2018.  I was privileged to say a few words at her leaving do. (read funeral if you like) and although the coffin was right in front of me as I spoke I knew it was just a box, with an empty shell of a body inside it.  Joyce was not there, she was with her husband Ted, and the saviour she had loved every day of her life. She had been a great success: like all of us, she had her ups and downs, but the testimonies from all over that very full church building told me that during her 88 year sojourn on planet earth the impression she made will last for a very long time.

She did what she was called to do, she was like a ‘mother’ to multitudes.

It may seem like a tentative link but my mind made the leap, and success in any field is still success, so I think there is something else I need to share from my first thoughts this morning?

I have had the DESIRE to build a successful Consumer Direct Marketing Business for many years now. I have done OK part time for the last 14 years but with everything else going on in my life (I admit that’s an excuse) I have never taken it to the next level.  My goal is to achieve sufficient monthly residual income to provide for my family, free up more time for my pastoral ministry and also to help with funding various other ministries that are important to my wife and me.

OK, I have done reasonably well, but not so well that it will make a difference when I am lying in my own wooden box. I have done many things well but why I have not broken through in this one thing continues to baffle me. I could fake it now and tell you how fantastic I am doing and how swimmingly it’s going but that is not why I am here. I have to be honest with you if you are taking your valuable time to read my writing. I appreciate you and I want us to grow together. I do some things very well but in other areas I need to learn and grow. I suppose we all do and I know I always will.

So I asked myself this question, is it my DESIRE or my FAITH that needs to be increased? Do I not want it badly enough or are there little foxes of doubt that are spoiling the vine and holding me back? (ref. Song of Solomon 2:15)

Well I certainly have FAITH in GOD: above all things I know that my God will supply all of my needs according to his riches in Heaven. I believed Jesus when He said He would never leave me or forsake me. So there is no problem there.

I have Faith in the Physical Laws of the universe. I know that that sun will rise tomorrow morning and that if I let go of the object in my hand gravity will always take it the same way. I know that I will reap what I sow, every time. I have never doubted those principles.

I have faith in my wife. I never doubt her love and her desire for the best in my life and the lives of our children.

I trust the integrity of the company with which I have partnered, and I know they do their best to produce the highest quality goods they can at affordable prices: and they always pay me what I deserve and always on time. They have their faults like every company but they do try to fix them quickly when they come to light. I have no doubts there.

I have faith in the marketing system which many companies use to distribute their goods efficiently. I believe it is the best way to get goods or services to the end consumer saving time and cutting the costs of middle men. It is also one of very few ways that an ordinary family like mine can start a small business of their own with very little outlay and whose earnings are only limited by their willingness to work.

I have the same NO LIMIT opportunity as everyone else, I produce better results than many and yet I have to admit I am not fulfilling my potential in this area.

So why not? Where is the disconnect in my Faith?

Thinking about Joyce and all she achieved, and about all that there is still for me to do, I had a revelation.
The problem is that I still lack Faith in me.

And my thoughts went to many of the people I know and I thought ‘the problem is the same for them too’…we can all believe for great things for other people, but we struggle to believe for ourselves. As an example just a few days ago we were asked to pray for a 4 year old boy in hospital with meningitis. His parents had been told by the doctors to prepare for the worst and it was suggested we pray for them to be comforted. I would not ask God to do that.  I had not one ounce of doubt in my mind that the child would be healed. I was not a bit surprised when the good news of his recovery came through a few days later. I have seen it before with the same evil bug and I know nothing is beyond my God’s power to heal… or His desire to heal.

This morning I was saying ‘God, thank you for the miracle’…it was then that I got the revelation

How I talk to God about others, how I pray for others is different from how I talk to Him about myself. Somehow I feel they deserve the miracle but perhaps I don’t.  It was immediately clear that my daily self-talk must change (and yes, I am also talking to you, dear reader) and so must my daily activities.

I have Faith in God, and He has faith in me… but I must agree with Him and have faith in me too. So I am not changing the massive goals I have set for myself, but I am taking a step back to focus on the next simple step that will get me back on the road to that goal.

My Faith has increased even as I have been writing this simple declaration:

So NOW I commit to doing the small, simple action steps that will ultimately get me to my desired result. What is the one thing that will make a difference, can I put everything else aside until that one thing is accomplished before I move on to the next ‘One Thing’?  I know what my ‘One Thing’ is and I am starting right now, even as this message is uploading.

Will you ask yourself this question, if you have the DESIRE, and you have the FAITH, and yet it is still not happening… “What is the one thing that I must do right now and for as long as it takes, to get back on the right track.”

Now don’t take it that I mean you can’t eat or sleep or speak to your partner or your kids till its done. But if you decide a television program or some other unprofitable activity is more important, if you would rather do something that will take you further away from your goal when you should be moving towards it: then who do you think you are fooling? I know what it’s like, we have all done it. But lets stop it. Let’s commit to fixing it.…Right NOW.

Lets finish with the master teacher, Jesus, who tells a parable in Matthew 13:31…

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his
field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is that largest
of garden plants and becomes a tree…”

Do you have faith right now that is the size of a tree? Probably not!
Neither do I, but I bet we both have faith the size of a mustard seed.
Make the commitment to yourself, to your family, to those you care about.
Believe you are worth it, believe you can and just make the start.

Always look on the bright side of life…seriously!

I am sitting by the pool on the 24th floor of a Las Vegas hotel as I write today.

Just ruminating and coming to the conclusion that if we want different results to those we have been getting then we are going to have to do some things differently to what we have previously done and maybe some totally different things altogether.

There is no point in telling most people we have to change this, that or the other thing, they already know that. Together we are going to discover exactly what needs to change and more importantly, HOW to make the changes and sustain them for the long haul.

I USE ANCIENT WISDOM A LOT, ESPECIALLY THE BIBLE. I won’t be changing that but don’t let that stop you from being totally honest in your comments should you feel the need to make any.

In Psalm 37:1,2 King David wrote Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Davi’s son, King Solomon wrote Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. Proverbs 23:6,7
So the message is don’t envy a wicked man or eat with a miserly avaricious person. To sit down and eat with someone really meant much more in ancient cultures than we understand in our fast, modern fill ’em up and move ’em out society. In some cultures today, hopefully more and more in our church life, it means fellowship, not just sharing food but sharing our lives.


So when Solomon says don’t eat with that kind of person he is thinking on the same lines as Paul the Apostle, who wrote to the Corinthians “Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” 1Cor 15:33.

They both agree, these wise men living 1000 years apart, they give good advice, don’t hang about with ungodly people, don’t wish to be like them or envy their possessions.
Not everything is as it seems… his smiling face might be hiding his true character from some people, but God is not fooled, and the Spirit of God will give you discernment too, if you are careful to read and meditate on the Word of God.

The wicked may appear to have more material things than you have right now but it is better to be content with however little you have than to be rich and still not satisfied.
David has much more to say about it in Psalm 37…just one example in verse 10 he says Soon the wicked will disappear.  Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.

It’s OK to prosper. In fact it’s the theme of one of the permanent pages on this site. But its good to note that while money can be a good servant it can be a harsh master. However much the men described have they can never be satisfied, they will always want more and they will never be filled… and worse they can never properly enjoy even what they do have.

It’s still Ok to prosper. Its not wrong to have money…Solomon said in another place
A good person leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the wealth of the wicked is reserved for the righteous. Proverbs 13.22

Most people have heard the saying, ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he’, but perhaps they don’t realise it goes all the way back to bible times and the wisdom of King Solomon.
James Allen’s wrote his seminal book which he called “As a Man Thinketh.” in 1903

John Maxwell in his own book ‘The 15 invaluable laws of Growth’ says he read it in 7th grade and almost a dozen times more before the penny dropped with him that he was responsible for his own growth .
We are all responsible for our own growth.
Solomon’s statement… As a man thinks in his heart so is he…embraces the whole of a man’s being, and reaches every condition and circumstance of his life.
God created Adam in His own image and God provided all that Adam needed for himself and his beautiful bride to enjoy a perfect life.

Sadly they chose their own way rather than walk the path that had God planned for them and so man’s character was forever flawed.
A division came between Adam and God…the relationship was broken…and all of Adams offspring were to be born slaves of a principle within themselves, which the bible calls sin.
Many people in our modern society would like that word removed from our language…but there is no other word for it…mans inbuilt desire to serve himself before pleasing God is called sin…it is not the selfish acts themselves, if it was we could just stop doing wrong things and we could save ourselves…it is the force within a man that drives him to act in ways that are contrary to God’s will for us.

King David said “Teach me your ways Oh God”…and he was sincere, he wanted to keep God’s ways…but he couldn’t…and before anyone points the finger at David…no-one else has ever managed it either…except for Jesus.
God never gave up on man and has made a way for him to be completely restored, a way which begins with receiving forgiveness of sins.
Paul wrote in Romans 2:4 Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you? Don’t you realise that it is God’s kindness that is trying to lead you to Him and change the way you think and act? (God’s Word Translation)
God in His kindness draws us to the cross on which the Prince of Glory died.
There is no other way, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,… but at the Name of Jesus Christ every knee must bow and every tongue must confess that He is Lord of all.
It is not complicated, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Yes, it is a big decision, one some people are not willing to make. They think more highly of what this world has to offer. But Jesus Himself tells us, “If a man found a very valuable pearl in a field he would sell everything he had so he could go and buy that field.”
It may well be the start a hard road, a narrow path, but you are not called to walk it alone, the very Spirit that raised Jesus from death will be with you all the way and and for that alone it is worth it. Jesus is the way, the only way to God and to heaven. No amount of work will do it, no religious ritual will earn it, no money can buy it…simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. I know…it’s just too simple for most people.

Now having said that…and knowing we cannot deviate from that at any time our purpose here today is to discover how a man’s character is literally built out of the complete sum of all his thoughts, and that holds true whatever his religious or belief system, or even if he has no religion at all.

If you don’t believe in Christ you are the sum of all your thoughts…and if you do believe in Christ, you are the sum of all your thoughts, but when you commit your life to Christ He sends the Holy Spirit to lead you in to all truth…and if you will cooperate with Him you will be renewed in the spirit of your mind. You thoughts will change and your life will change.
That’s why Paul writes to the Romans in chapter 12:2 Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. New living Translation

Just like a plant springs from, and couldn’t exist without the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.
Actions are the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; so whether for good or ill we have all made our own circumstances and our own environment.

Our family moved into a vicarage a few years ago, the garden reminded me of the children’s story Sleeping Beauty. Remember she had been asleep inside the castle for so long the trees and bushes around it had grown so thick, the woodcutter had to take his axe and hack his way through it so rescue her… with a kiss.
Well our garden was like that and I had to take a machete to it and it was a long old job.
It had been neglected for years. Thick bushes had been planted around the edges, maybe on purpose, maybe they had seeded themselves, I don’t really know, but over the years thick roots had travelled under the ground sending up this wall of dense scrubby bush maybe 15 or even 20 feet thick in places. Nothing of any value or use was growing anywhere in that garden.

There was what had probably once been a vegetable patch alongside the house, you could only tell because it was laid out with paths of flagstones: but the soil was as hard as the flags, we broke it up, dug it over, planted vegetables but the first year nothing grew, not even potatoes. The second year there was a very small improvement, the third year it was a bit better…as I write we are in the fourth summer…a couple of time this week we have eaten our own potatoes and some broad beans, and raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries.
We have tended and cared for it and now we have dominion over it. I say we, but I really mean My wife Stephanie.
Why am I telling you about our garden?
Because your mind is very much like a garden. Any persons mind is.
A garden can be intelligently cultivated, and it will, in time bring forth good fruit and beautiful flowers.
OR
It can be allowed to run wild and eventually it will come to ruin and no good thing will grow there.
But one thing is certain, whether cultivated or neglected, it will bring forth something.
If no useful seeds are purposely planted there then an abundance of useless weeds will take root and quickly begin to take over, the birds will bring some, the wind will carry others, some, like our scrubby bush will travel secretly in the darkness underground and believe me, the only goal that bush had was world domination.

We reap what we sow.… and that applies to every area of our lives.
Cause and effect are as certain in the realm of thought as they are in the visible and material world. A sincere prayer to God uttered in faith and according to His will is guaranteed to be heard in heaven. Guaranteed…we know that He hears us and that we already have the answer. We may not be able to see the answer with our eyes yet but if we see it clearly with the eye of faith, and if our words are congruent with that faith it is on the way. No need to trouble ourselves with how, we must only believe and not doubt.
I did say whatever we ask must be in agreement with the will of God. Sometimes we do not have because we have simply not asked and at other times it is because we ask selfishly. If we are sincerely trying to develop godliness and a noble character we will ask according to His will. A noble character is not given as a gift neither does it come by chance. It is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of sustained, God-like thoughts.
By the same process a disreputable character is shaped by continual, habitual thoughts of a negative nature.

For good or ill the character of man is made by his own thoughts: he can forge the weapons by which he destroys himself or the tools with which he builds for himself a castle of joy and strength and peace.
With a majority of good choices (we all make some poor ones) and the application of right thought, man may rise to great heights and will look back upon a life blessed with many splendid accomplishments. It is important for him to know there is no limit to what a man can do except the limits he places upon himself.
It is wonderful to me that God created man in His own image but did not make him a puppet. God did not preordain what a man should do or put any limits on what a man could do if he so desired.
God made man the master of his own thought, the moulder of his own character, and the maker of his condition, his environment and his destiny.
As people of power, intelligence, and love, and as the master of our own thoughts, we hold the key to every situation, and we have within ourselves the power and the knowledge that we can be whatever we will to be.
Want to be is not enough, will to be is more than that. It involves deep, concentrated thought.

God has endowed mankind with great power, if we search for understanding of certain laws, which work for the righteous and the unrighteousness alike, we will become wise stewards directing our energies and thoughts with intelligence and passion into only fruitful enterprises.
Good fruit will be brought forth by diligent application, continual self-analysis and the accumulation of all our life experience. As a Christian I have found that God can use even small, seemingly trivial, everyday occurrences to teach us more about himself and about ourselves and how much He loves us.
We must co-operate with the omnipresent, omnipotent Spirit by cultivating positive, godly thoughts and so we will gain understanding, wisdom and power for living godly, fruitful lives, highly successful lives.

Whatever we build in the inner man, what the mind conceives and believes, what it constructs in the world of thought the mind will then find a way to build it in the physical world and the forces of heaven will cooperate in the work.
But we must understand it works both ways…prolonged negative thinking will bring its own reward…

A man does not become destitute or find himself in prison by accident, fate or circumstance.
I led a prison study group for a number of years. To meet a man who would admit he was the only one responsible for his being there was rare. The stories were many and varied and sometimes very creative but they had been repeated so often to themselves in their inner thoughts and to others in spoken words that they genuinely believed them to be true.
But this is the real truth. They all got there by a well trodden pathway of unworthy thoughts and base desires. And if they would take responsibility they could learn to replace them with better thoughts and more wholesome desires and they would certainly rise up from whatever depths to which they had fallen.
Pure-minded people don’t fall suddenly into criminal acts, or immoral circumstances because of pressures placed upon them from outside themselves; thoughts of greed or avarice or envy or lust have for a long time been secretly fostered in the heart, nurtured and meditated upon….and when the day of opportunity comes to reveal its gathered power: the trap is finally sprung.

In the book of Genesis 4:7. we read that the bloodless offering of Cain was not acceptable. He was jealous of his brother and angry at God because of this and it showed on his face. The thoughts of our inner man show on the outside, and if not checked they result in actions which manifest the fruit of suffering. You may know the way the story of Cain plays out but do you realise that had he only listened to loving correction and been obedient to the words of God it could have been a very different story.
God said to Cain In Genesis 4: 6  “Why are you so angry?” … “Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
Sin is crouching at the door in all our lives. It begins with sinful thoughts and if they are dwelt upon and not substituted with good thoughts, sin can bring about the fall of even the best of us. In the case of Cain and many men since, the fall has been great and still they wake up and ask “How have I come to this?”.
Circumstances did not make the man this way…they revealed his inner man. The man he has created by his own habitual thoughts.
No one descends into vice or criminality and the sufferings it brings upon themselves and their loved ones except by vicious, avaricious, or lustful inclinations,
And no one becomes virtuous and attains the happiness which is the fruit of it without the continual cultivation of good and virtuous aspirations. Man is the master of his own thoughts, and the author of his prayers should he choose to share his thoughts with God. By those thoughts he is the designer and manufacturer of his own character and ultimately the architect and builder of all his circumstances and his physical environment.

You might ask where is God in this?
The fallen man has no hope and seemingly no power to overcome. Even if he can obtain release from the prison bars, he cannot break free from the prison of his mind.
In truth some unbelievers do very well in life and many Christians do badly and to me this is ample proof that God is fair to everyone. He has given all of us powerful tools within ourselves and is available to help and advise all those who choose to seek Him and commit their lives to Him.
Sadly not all people who profess religion are positive people, some have no idea of the freedoms and abilities they have locked away in their religious boxes.
But what does the Bible say about those who are in Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
or again in Ephesians 4:22-24 …throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.

(Notice that lust and deception are thoughts and they can be replaced by better, purer thoughts.)

23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

In Philippians 2:5 Paul says…Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

and then in Philippians 4 he gives us a lesson in how to…

how to have the mind of Christ…

how to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes….

how to let God transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.

Paul knows the law of substitution…we can only think of one thing at once…don’t try to resist the bad thoughts, that only makes them stronger…substitute them with good thoughts.

Jesus knew about the law of dual thought…that means there are two ways to look at every situation…when we are abused or persecuted we can sometimes adopt a victim mentality but Jesus said in His great sermon

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

the Monty Python team wrote a song about that…”always look on the bright side of life” some Christians were up in arms at the time, they said it was blasphemous, I am sure Jesus saw the funny side…He is not as stuffy as some of us think…there’s always two ways to look at everything.

Lets finish with a look at Paul’s how to in Philippians 4

verse 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

So what is Paul telling the Philippians to do here? Think…think joyful thoughts. Choose to be joyful. And it really is your choice.

verse 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

But you might not feel like being considerate and here is Paul telling you to let everyone see how considerate you are…how are you going to do it?…Paul tells you how…He says remember the Lord is coming soon. Think about Jesus, direct your thoughts towards Jesus…focus on Him…and His soon coming…and then you will find it easy to be considerate to others.

verse 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

There are good thoughts and bad thoughts…He says ‘don’t worry’ why? because that’s a bad thought…it is not trusting…it is not faithful… it is positively harmful spiritually, mentally and physically…worry leads to stress and stress is responsible for many serious illnesses. My doctor told me… stress is a killer.

So try the good thoughts instead…pray about everything…tell God what you need and give thanks for what He has done.

You might say I prayed…He hasn’t done anything yet.
Gratitude is the cause, God knows what you need before you tell Him and His provision will be the effect, the reward of a grateful heart.

verse 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

What is peace…it’s thought isn’t it…tranquil thoughts…your heart will beat slower… your blood pressure will come into line…you will experience a greater feeling of well being.

That’s why Solomon says “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

But back to Philippians 4 verse 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts
…Paul is clear that you can choose whatever you think about…and He is aware that you can only think on one thing at a time. He knows you can’t pray with gratitude and worry at the same time. Which is why he says…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
verse 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Putting into practice means action and keep putting into practice means continual action… remember action is the blossom of thought, and peace will be the fruit of it.

Then the God of peace will be with you.

so finally…from Numbers 6:24-26

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’

God told Aaron to bless the people in that way and He promised that whenever he or the priests that come after him did so then God Himself would indeed bless them. The way I understand it everyone who believes is a priest…but even if you don’t believe right now I want to leave you with this thought…. God has promised to bless you and He always keeps His promises…just meet Him half way…use the law of substitution, get your thoughts right and your words congruent with them and watch how quickly your fortunes change.

4 Keys to Unlock the Doors to Everything in Life You Really Want

What do you mean 4 Keys that can Unlock the Doors to Everything in Life You Really Want? I can hear you thinking already. Surely it can’t be that simple?

Well you are probably right… but it’s not so difficult as you might think either. The 4 keys will definitely work, 100%,  you can take it to the bank…but they are not switches, it won’t be instant, it will take a while, but it will be days not weeks before you start to see encouraging results. We have a 21 month plan to financial independence but experience tells me that 21 months is too long for some people to cope with. Sorry, thats the best we’ve got, we don’t do magic.

We have applied the 4 keys to our Network Marketing business where it is having astounding results for a lot of our team members…but you can take it and apply it to whatever you like, these are universal keys and you can have them for free.

But lets be honest, there is no free lunch, as it is in our business so it will be in yours… it’s not magic…the ones who are pulling up trees are the ones who are using the keys at the same time as they work hard on the business plan, they follow the time tested path we have all trodden before them. Everyone uses their own personality but no-one is trying to reinvent the wheel.

Before I get to the keys let me give you a basic formula…don’t be put off because I said it’s basic. It’s the only way to achieve massive, sustained success.

You can get a much more in depth report on this from us later but this will get you going. I borrowed some of it from Mark Januszewski and I happen to know he borrowed most of it from elsewhere. There are seldom any original thoughts, we are all just ideas reporters, but it has stood the test of time and it is good stuff. This is the Formula.

DMP + PMA + POA + MMA = Everything You Really Want in Life

To explain briefly DMP stands for definite major purpose, you have got to know why you are on the planet. Producing this is the work of weeks or even months but don’t worry, help is available.

PMA stands for positive mental attitude and believe me, there is much more to that than rah rah rah. There are ways to get one and keep one and transfer one to everyone around you.

POA means plan of action…like I said before there is no magic, it takes a plan and the plan needs to be worked continuously and diligently until the goal is achieved.

MMA is a mastermind alliance, this comes from Napoleon Hill’s seminal book Think and Grow Rich. If you haven’t read that it’s a great place to start your growth journey. Basically it means no-one gets it done by themselves, you need like minded people to give and receive help. Together everyone will achieve massively more than the sum of all their individual efforts.

So you can get the full script on that another time, lets get to those 4 keys.

1. The Key of Gratitude

Remember I am applying this to our business and you are going to adapt it to whatever you like, so this is what I tell my team if they don’t get how blessed they really are.

I say be grateful you live in a free society where you can study and read and take your education as far as you want to. A country where you can worship according to your own conscience without fear. A society where anyone can apply for and land any job they are qualified to do or they can freely choose to start a business for themselves, and if they work hard and continuously improve there is no limit to how far they can go with in the job or the business. We went the business route because we wanted something to eventually pass down to the family so lets concentrate on that.

Some businesses cost many thousands to set up and maintain and the proprietors have a great many hoops to jump through. So I tell our guys “We should be truly grateful that our business costs less than £200 to set up and maybe £60 a month to maintain and yet there is no ceiling at all on what we can earn.” Be thankful that millions has been spent on product development and we get all the benefits of top quality products that help our customers stay healthy and help look after the planet for the next generation.

Be grateful that all of our customers get their orders sent from the manufacturer directly to them so we don’t have to stock inventory, make deliveries or collect any money. For me I am very grateful for that one, I am hopeless with paperwork.

Oh and last but not least since we all use our own products I am grateful that they are keeping me healthy, young for my age and beautiful. (IMHO)

So the first key is THE KEY OF GRATITUDE

2. The Key of Generosity

If you want to unlock the door to everything in life you really want you have to help enough other people get what they want. (Thanks Zig) That means you have to be generous. You can’t be stingy with the opportunity and keep it to yourself. You have to let some other people in on our secret. You have to give it away and you can do it sincerely believing you are doing those who will receive it the best favour ant friend ever did. Now the timing is not always right for everyone but who do you know who wouldn’t like to be healthier, wealthier and free up quality time to spend with their loved ones doing what they like to do best. I ask around the team and people tell me the thing they appreciate more than anything is the ability to take better holidays and build memories together. I speak to a lot of older people and a theme with them is ‘travel, see as much of the world as possible while you still can.

People you helped to make those especial memories will be grateful to you for ever and you will be continuing the cycle by teaching someone else to use the Key of Gratitude.

Give without expectation of reciprocity from the channel you bless, just give to give and not to get. That’s truly using the second key which is THE KEY OF GENEROSITY

3. The Key of Encouragement

With so many negative people in the world you will really stand out when you use the Key of Encouragement. Your words of Gratitude and the actions that follow as a result, the generosity you demonstrate as you give of your time and share your knowledge is the best way to lead by example. And when your words build people up and make them feel special when sometimes all they have heard before has pulled them down you will soon become a person they want to be with, a person they will want to follow. And you can let them follow for a time while they find their feet and learn their craft but you will be a real encourager, a real leader when you rejoice to see them fly past you and enjoy even greater success than you have. This is the only business I know where the leaders are happy to see the people they mentor go on to do better than themselves. What could be more encouraging than knowing the more people you help to be successful the higher you will rise as a natural consequence. A rising tide lifts all boats and everybody wins when you use the third key which is the KEY OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

4. The Key of Faith

The fourth key is really the Masterkey to all success in any field. Without it we are lost, and sadly so many people are.

In the Bible can be found the Book of Hebrews where it says “Faith is the Substance of things hoped for, the evidence of the things do not yet see.”

Faith really just means believing, well more than that I suppose, more like knowing that the thing for which you are hoping will come to pass. If you are conversant with the Bible you will know that hope has a much stronger and more certain meaning than the wishy washy way we use it today. If you follow the plan, use the keys and believe you will see what you hope for materialise in due time. So as you go about your daily walk believing become more and more the person who gives others the hope for Joy, Affluence, Kindness, Peace, Prosperity, Love and as you cause those kind of thoughts to flow out from you in your words and actions you can be sure that you are in the flow and all you give out will come back to you many times over. Jesus said if you give with a generous heart men will give back to you pressed down shaken together and running over. Now that will be fun.

Once last thing, while you are using the Keys in daily life confess this over yourself every day…out loud and with enthusiasm. I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious, Healthy and Happy.  Say it NOW!

Say it often, make it true.

I hope this has helped you as much as it helped me and lots of other people on our team. Feel free to pass it on and we don’t even mind if you take the credit. We are only ideas reporters after all, and there is nothing new under the sun. There is plenty more where this came from…perhaps you might like to work with our team…if so we will be doing on line webinars and telephone interviews over the next few days. We will be evaluating you to see if you would fit in and you can make a judgement on us and our business. No strings. 

Drop us an email at rob@aglowhealth.com with your thoughts, questions, what town you live in and maybe your mobile number if you’d like a chat. We will send you some good stuff and hook you up with the person on the team who is nearest where you live. But please remember we are busy people, not robots or auto responders so be a bit patient and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Building again on the ruins of broken dreams.

This is a bigger than normal post and I thought long and hard as to whether I should publish my thoughts here…I know that to some they will be controversial but I am sincere in the hope and the belief that they will help some find new light. That is my prayer.

I have gained immeasurably from the Master Key by Charles Haanel and other writings were suggested to me in the course of studying it…yes I see some flaws in Haanel’s work some of which he may well have brought up to date with the benefit of later science…but they are not so significant when I compare them to the overall benefits of the knowledge gained.

It also shone light on flaws in my own previously held dogmas and being set free from them has helped me help others powerfully in areas where I was previously impotent.

The recent re-reading of ‘As a man Thinketh’ has been done in a new light and I have thought of it in a way that puts God back on the throne but does not in any way bring down the power He invested in man.

We Christians have been afraid to talk about the power of thought in some cases even suggesting it may be occult.  (Haanel deals with the dangers inherent in the occult side of these things very well).  On the other hand there are people who talk about the Universe as if it had designed and created itself and are afraid of using the Name of its Architect and Builder lest they offend those who have no concept of God. Haanel says the infinite designer made an infinite environment for himself and this is thrilling to contemplate. For those without God I am not offended at your views and I trust if you cannot accept mine you can at least engage in peaceful discussion without taking offence.

We ARE eternal SPIRIT beings, we HAVE a SOUL which consists of our mind, our emotions, our will and for our time on this planet we LIVE IN this wonderful earth ship we call our BODY. Some like to talk only of the body, some talk only of the Soul and others retreat behind the walls of theology and suggest that only the spirit is of importance. We are whole people and I have come to see that more clearly than ever before…I will post my thoughts from ‘As a Man Thinketh’ in a few instalments here over the coming days…

In Psalm 37:1,2 King David wrote Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

His son King Solomon wrote Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. Proverbs 23:6,7

Don’t envy a wicked man or eat with a miserly avaricious person, don’t wish to be like them or envy or desire what they have.  Not everything is as it seems… his smiling face might be hiding his true character from some people, but God is not fooled, and the Spirit of God will give you discernment too.

The wicked may appear to have more than you right now but it is better to be content with what little you have than to be rich and still not satisfied.

Money is a wonderful servant but it is a harsh master. However much the men described have they can never be satisfied, they will always want more and they will never be filled… and worse they can never properly enjoy even what they have.

Those words of King Solomon prompted James Allen to write a famous book in 1903.  called.  ”As a man thinketh.” and most of us have heard the well known aphorism ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he’, perhaps without realising it goes back to the Old Testament writings of King Solomon, a man who asked God for wisdom above all else.

I am  going to borrow some of his thoughts. A church group I am a part of has been reading John Maxwell’s  The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth as we are watching his Leadership videos’s.  He mentions James Allen’s book in the first chapter saying he read it in 7th grade and almost a dozen times since.  I am going to borrow some of my thoughts from it in the hope that it will help us all to grow.

Solomon’s statement As a man thinks in his heart embraces the whole of a man’s being, and reaches out to every condition and circumstance of his life.

God created man in His own image and wanted a perfect life for him and his beautiful bride. Sadly they chose their own way rather than walk the path God planned for them and so man’s character was forever flawed. God never gave up on man and has made a way for his complete restoration, which we may get to later.  But our first purpose here is to discover how a man’s character is literally built out of the complete sum of all his thoughts, and that holds true whatever his religion, or belief system.

Just like a plant springs from, and couldn’t exist without the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” as to those which are deliberately executed.

Actions are the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; so whether for good or ill we have all made our own circumstances.

Cause and effect are as absolute and undeviating in the spiritual realm of thought as they are in the visible and material world.

A noble and God-like character is not given as a gift neither does it come by chance. It is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts.

Let me show you what I mean from Scripture. Look at Philippians 4 with me…from verse 4

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

So what is Paul telling the Philippians to do here? Think…think joyful thoughts. Choose to be joyful…rather than miserable, and it really is your choice.

5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

But you might not feel like being considerate and here is Paul telling you to let everyone see how considerate you are…how are you to do it?…Paul tells you how…He says remember the Lord is coming soon. Think about Jesus, direct your thoughts towards Jesus…focus on Him and what He has already done…and look forward to His coming again…and then you will find it easy enough to be considerate to others.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

There are good thoughts and bad thoughts…He says don’t worry because a worry is a bad thought…it is not trusting…it is not faithful… it is positively harmful spiritually, mentally and physically…worry leads to stress and stress is responsible for many serious illnesses. Not to beat around the bush… stress is a killer.

So try the good thoughts instead…pray about everything…tell God what you need and give thanks for what He has done.

You might say I only just prayed…He hasn’t done it yet.

Gratitude is the cause, God knows what you need before you tell Him and His provision will be the effect, the reward of a grateful heart.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

What is peace…it’s thought isn’t it…tranquil thoughts…your heart will beat slower… your blood pressure will come into line…you will experience a greater feeling of well being.

That’s why Solomon says  “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Go back to Philippians 4 verse 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 

Fix your thoughts…Paul is clear that you can choose whatever you think about…and He is aware that you can only think on one thing at a time. He knows you can’t pray with gratitude and worry at the same time. Which is why he says…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Putting into practice is action… and remember action is the blossom of thought. And peace will be the fruit of it.

Then the God of peace will be with you.

By the same process an unworthy, or a disreputable character is shaped by the continued, habitual thoughts of a much more negative kind.

For good or ill the character of man is made in the laboratory of his own thought: he either forges the weapons by which he destroys himself or the tools with which he builds for himself his castle of joy and strength and peace. With favourable choices and the application of right thought, man may ascend to great heights and look back upon his many splendid accomplishments. Between the extremes of the great and the deplorable are the multitude who think more of less average thoughts and lead unremarkable lives and who may be very content to do so. That is a matter for each man to decide but it it is important for him to know there is no limit to what he can do save the limits he places upon himself.

It is wonderful to me that God created man in His own image but did not make him a puppet or pre-ordain what a man should do or put any limits on what a man could do if he so desired. God made man the master of his own thought, the moulder of his own character, and the maker and shaper of his condition, environment and destiny.

As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and as the master of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself power and the knowledge that he can be what he wills to be.

When he begins to reflect upon his power and searches diligently for the law upon which his being is established, he becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful issues. This fruit is brought forth in due season by diligent application, continual self-analysis and the accumulation of every experience, using even the most trivial, everyday occurrence, as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself which is understanding, wisdom and power.

However low a man has fallen there is a great hope…there is redemption for the man who will turn around…there is a God who will forgive every truly repentant heart and if your heart is open and you want to start again please know he will restore you to the place He originally intended for you…His Name is Jesus Christ…He will listen to you cry out to Him…and He will not do it all for you but…He will help you build a whole new life from the remnants of your broken dreams…

The Fishes Shared Their Secret

I was sitting by the pond in my garden …just idly watching the fishes enjoying themselves, playing under the waterfall… and wishing I could join them, they seem so relaxed, how big they are getting. Like the grass they don’t even try to grow, they just grow. Well it is 28 degrees, which in Manchester is pretty hot and we are just not used to it… I reckon I could get used to it though with very little effort, and it was all very relaxing as I was trying to think through something someone told me a few days ago.

“I work best under pressure,” he said, “I must have a deadline to do my best work.”

Well I have been reading through his work, and if I am going to be blunt about it, it’s not that great. In fact it would be difficult to hide the signs of the shortcuts he had forced himself to take because he left himself so short of time to do the job properly. I mean I do agree that a deadline is important but do we have to do all the work in the hours approaching that deadline? Wouldn’t it be great if those final hours were saved for last minute changes suggested by a subconscious mind relaxed in the knowledge that the task has already been completed.

But the truth is he really believes he works best under pressure, and he really believes his rushed efforts represent good work and actually he seems quite proud of it. That’s a shame because it will be my job to shine the glaring light of reality on the situation.

I will do my best to bend and shape him without breaking him and hopefully we will see both of us grow through the situation. Really that will be more up to him than me, will he be teachable or will that pride cause him to harden his heart? I have seen both examples with others in the past and it really can be a ‘sliding doors’ situation. It comes to all of us sometimes, doesn’t it: none of us are perfect and we must learn if we want to grow. The real question is, Do we want to grow?

But what have I gained out of this as I relaxed gazing at the fish whilst talking to God amid the beauty of our creation? That was the first thought, I noticed all the variety of colours, so many greens and yellows and purples. I used to think there was just green or just red but it is the infinite variety of God’s palette that has allowed him to paint such beautiful pictures. And then I remembered what the garden was like four years ago when we first moved in, I even had a glimpse at the old pictures that are saved on my phone.

And I felt God smile and whisper, “We did this together. I created you in my image and I gave you the ability to create too. You thought about this all by yourself, it came from a blueprint that I put inside you but you saw it before it was ever here, you saw it clearly in your mind just like I saw you before I made you.  You had to see it first and then you were able to take the action to create it. I did add the finishing touches of course; you would have struggled to make a fish by yourself. Thats why we work together, that’s why I called my disciples to be fishers of men: we are partners.”

Well that was good, it thrills me when God speaks back in my times of prayer and meditation and it would have been worth taking the break and sitting in Gods presence just to hear that, but what about this ‘working to a deadline’ challenge I was facing? What could I learn about that?

My young friend is not alone in claiming he works better under pressure, and I have to be honest, I have often left things to the last minute and stayed up into the wee small hours to get them finished myself but lets see what actually happens here.

Looking back we recognise the enemy is procrastination. The time just seems to melt away, but actually it doesn’t melt: we freely choose to spend it on less important things knowing we will invoke the old habit of cramming just ahead of the deadline. The pressure we think we work best under is really the optimum amount of tension that we can take between giving up on the job altogether or what we need to move us to overcome that procrastination and its resultant inertia.

The best work I have ever done, and I know I am not alone, has always been in the times I have been enjoying myself, when I have been excited about the task, where I could anticipate the satisfaction of the breakthrough, the new learning, the job well done and yes, I am no different from anyone else, the recognition that would result. “Pride cometh before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction,” says the ancient scribe, but I know he did not mean that I should not do such a good job that I cannot look on it with the satisfaction of knowing I did my best and enjoying the pleasure or profit it has given to myself and others.

I will try harder now to serve my young friend, if I bring positive input as I gently correct him I am sure I can help him to be teachable. If I can show him the benefits, that he can feel and actually be more positive, that if he will meet the challenges early he can tackle them with optimism and not with fear, that he can enjoy the doing, not just the end result, that he can delight in the journey and not flop down exhausted at the destination.  If he is relaxed, he will learn along the way, he will perform more often, spend more time in what some of us call ‘the zone’ and his results will be far above what he can even imagine right now.

He will be satisfied and whilst it will all be his work I will be satisfied too. One of the most amazing things God can ever say to us is that He is satisfied with us. He is not disappointed, he is not angry, he knows the journey is not over by any means but as we sit by the way for the moment, even as Jesus came aside for a while to think and to pray He says in this moment h his satisfied.

I think He appreciates that the feeling is mutual. I am satisfied with all He has done in my life until now and still I am excited to know that the journey must go on. I don’t have to try to grow, if I say in His presence I will just grow.

Can a Single Word Change a Destiny? MKMMA continuation

Early on in the MKMMA course of study we switched the use of just one word and replaced it with another which proved to be so much more powerful. Whilst the thing the two words described did not change at all the attitude towards it and therefore the effectiveness of it changed greatly. Let me explain in greater depth for clarity and to enable me to take the lesson learned to another level.

We had a 3×5 card on which we wrote a promise to do something new each week, nothing too difficult, it was ‘keeping’ the promise that was important for the exercise and not the size or nature of the promise itself: so it needed to be something we could definitely achieve in the timeframe. The idea was to convince the subconscious that “I always keep my promises” by actually keeping each weeks promise. So the promises started simple, like “I promise to tidy my office by Sunday the 4th” or I Promise to wash the car by Sunday the 11th” and they gradually got more challenging like  “I promise to contact 4 people about my opportunity by Sunday 18th” There was no significance about Sundays except thats when we met online to discuss our progress.

Early on we called this 3×5 card “The Chore Card”… and it was a chore that had to be done and indeed was done.  After a few weeks we renamed the card…from that day on it was to be called “The Service Card”.  Everything else about it was to remain the same but the change in name put the card and the promise into a completely different light. Instead of doing a chore we were now giving a service which made it much more pleasurable and felt like we were now making a contribution to ourselves and others instead of simply meeting an obligation. Same job…but done with more enthusiasm and with love.

That was to set the scene…we also have what we called the Law of Giving and Receiving and we wrote these out by hand on another card and read them aloud daily.  Obviously the aim was not just to say them but that reading them would influence behaviour from the inside out and cause us to do them. I will get to the Laws themselves in a second but first I wanted to apply the previous lesson to them…A few weeks ago I realised that they were not Laws at all and my calling them laws was putting me in the same mindset as the chore card had done earlier.

We are studying the Masterkey by Charles F Haanel. A Master key will open any lock but it occurred to me that these four sentences we were reading each day were actually not laws but keys each of which would open its own lock .

So where I used to say, “I promise to read the 4 laws of Giving and Receiving 3x daily I began to say…

“I promise to use my four keys to giving and receiving 3x daily…since words carry power the very act of speaking them was using them and then taking action in line with the words was further reinforcing the power of repeated use.

Can I recommend that you write them out for our yourself by hand and also begin to read them out loud each day… faith comes by hearing and there is nothing more powerful than hearing the repetition, with feeling, of our own voice.  The four actual laws/keys are in bold below. The additional writings around the bold letters are from other sources or are my interpretation and what I want my own subconscious mind, my inner man, to hear and believe.

so here is my new reading…

I promise to use these four keys of giving and receiving as a normal part of my life and I read them aloud three times each day…

The first is the key of Generosity…Wherever I go I bring a gift, I may bring a compliment, a prayer, a trinket, a flower, but I promise I will give something to every person I encounter.

The second is the Key of Gratitude  Because gratitude is a cause and not an effect…I promise to be a grateful receiver of the gifts that surround me, noticing nature, kindnesses, smiles and compliments, which I gladly receive with a ‘Thank you’.

Third is the Key of Encouragement…I promise to give the hope for Joy, Affluence, Kindness and Love consciously with every encounter regardless of the brevity.

Fourth is the Key of Faith…I promise to give without expectation of reciprocity from the channels I enrich because I know (I have faith) I am in the dynamic flow of giving and receiving and I know my God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I always Keep my Promises

I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences these past months…I am not a hearer only but a doer…I have not succeeded on every encounter but I have on very many done exactly what I promise each day to do… I have received some amazed responses and occasionally have caused delight far above the effort I have invested. These keys unlock the treasuries of mens hearts. I bought a box of pens with a torch light on the end especially to give away and although they cost not much more than a pound each some people have responded as though I had given them a gold coin. As the Master Teacher said “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

The City of Heroes: Developing Leaders

I am writing from Manchester on the day 40,000 people turned up to run the annual 10K around our Great City…The newly elected Lord Mayor was one of the thousands of heroes who completed the 10K run in absolute defiance of the ISIS loser who blew himself and 21 innocents up earlier this week. Hundreds of thousands turned up to cheer the runners on. They want us to be afraid…NO FEAR…Our city has so many heroes. We always need heroes, and we certainly need more leaders and today we saw many who were willing to step up to the plate, to take the lead, to show we will neither be oppressed nor defeated. I makes me proud to be a ‘Manc’…

I am honoured to be part of the leadership of a wonderful church that meets in Greater Manchester. A church committed  to produce heroes and develop leaders. This week we held the second of our fortnightly training meetings. People of several generations and both genders, different countries of origin and levels of formal education all masterminding together and  all moving toward one worthy goal.

The first scroll in Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman in the World was about replacing habits that do not serve us with habits that will lead us towards our Definite Major Purpose in Life. The first of the exercises involved reading the scroll every day, three times each day actually, reading for understanding and reading to establish the very habit of daily reading.

Self development author Brian Tracy says you will double your income if you read in your profession for half an hour every day. I agree with Brian and I would also add that if you read other books and essays not directly linked to your profession they will build you up in every area of life. If you want a reading list The Bible is obviously top of mine and even for non believers there is more wisdom in that book than can be found anywhere else. Steven Covey has been a favourite and I would use him to prove my next point…we will come back to the reading list later

If you want to pass on some of the skills you have learned you will find people are not used to reading and some may find it pretty hard going at first.

That may apply to you who are reading this now so let me ask you to think of it like an athlete. Whatever his sport the athlete will need to learn and perfect skills and techniques: they will need to strengthen certain muscles in order to be better, stronger, faster.  With muscles it is impossible to get more unless you use what muscle you already have and test it, stretch it to its current maximum. Pretty soon the athlete finds what used to be hard gets easier…well it’s exactly the same with learning a new subject…if you read a book that’s ahead of where you are it will be hard, there will be words you don’t understand, it will stretch your brain muscle but if you persevere, one day you will look back and see it as basic, foundational, but by then you will be reading and understanding on a much higher level.

…so back to Stephen Covey…people have told me they started his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and found it hard going so they never completed it. I have to admit I also found it tough but I persevered and now I find the book that’s become his legacy has helped me raise my game. OK so sometimes I have to use a dictionary but now I find things like Emerson’s Essays, Epictetus, Peter McWilliams Charles Haanel have all become staple diet to me now.

So we are looking to develop leaders with the aim of growing the church from the present congregation of 60 or so to what I expect to be 500 within the next four years. That’s a lot of growth and so it means I will have to grow personally, and I will have to develop many leaders, probably twenty or more and be willing for them to take all of the credit and want none of it for myself. I love the sayings of Jesus as he leads up to teaching the disciples to pray in the Sermon on the Mount, he says if men want the credit from other men, they can have it, but that will be all the rewards they will ever get. We know how fickle men are, the adoration will be withdrawn as quickly as it was given. The rewards God gives will be eternal.

So we are studying together a video course by John Maxwell called “Developing the leaders around you”. At the same everyone is supposed to be reading his book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”.

How we are getting on with the videos can be found on the church website at HGFChurch.org under the developing leaders tag but the personal growth part I want to pursue here.

Last time we looked at the first 5 chapters briefly and though each one was important we thought a bit more about chapter 5 which is called the Law of Consistency. We have to replace habits that are not serving us with new habits that will lead us towards our purpose and not away from it. Habits are things we do every day and are so powerful they can control our lives.

As Christians we believe that God has given mankind free will but it is my belief that we have often surrendered that free will to our habits and addictions.  I personally believe that God’s principles will work for all of mankind but there are certain conditions to be fulfilled. Belief or Faith is the key.

So the free will we have will allow us to choose habits that serve us and honour God.

The first habit as foundation to  many others is the daily reading and it will be easier to do if we set up a conducive environment… which brings me to John Maxwells this weeks edition of Maxwells 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

Chapter 6 The Law of Environment

First you must create your own personal environment to help you learn better. Find a place where you can be comfortable, quiet and undisturbed every day, your den, your office, the bottom of your garden if like.

Then agree with yourself on a special time, even if you have to get up 30 minutes earlier, but whenever it is block it out of your diary, and don’t let anyone take it away. If they try just say, “Sorry, can’t do it then, I already have an appointment”.

Be sure to leave some time for just sitting and thinking over what you have read, make some notes, write it up in your own words… like I am doing right now.

If you learn something new or an alternative way of understanding something you already know…think about how you can teach or at least discuss it intelligently with someone else, you will learn a lot more from teaching. Maybe you can share it on a blog like this one.

The chapter in Maxwell’s book covers all the other environments that affect your life, your workplace, church, associations etc…if you feel they are no longer places you can grow and you can’t affect them positively to change that environment for the benefit of everyone there then you may have to move on.

I like to keep goldfish in a pond, I used to keep them in tanks but it was not long before I noticed they would stop growing according to the size of the tank. When I moved them from the tank to the pond they would quickly double in size. Sometimes we have to change our environment to grow. That may take courage, you may have to push back the boundaries of your comfort zone but you only get one shot at this life. So go for it.

Propagating our new knowledge for the benefit of others.

As a consequence of six months study with the MKMMA  a big part of my DMP, the part which involves significant growth in the membership of the church where I am pastor, has become clear and the pathway to get there plain.

We are looking to develop leaders because we have a vision to greatly grow the church in numbers and in significance. It is evident that a strong church family is the body to support the home family unit and to lead a successful society.

So talking to the individuals who came to our first early Saturday morning session eager to lean and develop as individuals and leaders we introduced the session this way.

Before you can have you must do and before you can do you must be. But you can be anything you want to be provided it is in harmony with the will of God.

You can be what you will to be…meaning you can design the future you by thinking the thoughts, speaking the words and beginning to do the things that the person you want to be in your future would do.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The scripture tells us that nothing shall be impossible to us if we trust in Christ and live right with God.

You can have anything in life you really want. You just have to help enough other people get what they want. Jesus said if any would be great among you he must first be a servant. Therefore the greatest among you will have served the most people the best way possible. The more you serve, the greater your reward and the closer you get to your own goals.

We then watched John Maxwells Lesson which will be reviewed separately.

And then looked at the first 5 chapters of John Maxwell’s book  “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.” Because as well as watching the Developing leadership videos we are conscious that we must all grow individually into the position as leaders and have chosen this as our first text.

Chapter 1 The Law on Intentionality I choose to grow…and I take action every day to develop myself. Of course there is much more in the full chapter and these brief summaries are only to serve as a memory jogger. Please read the book one chapter a day.

Chapter 2 The Law of Awareness   I know myself…I know where I am now…where I want to be…I am working hard to find out what are the various ways to get there and especially what is the best way for me right now.

Chapter 3 The Law of the Mirror.  I see value in myself… I am a child of God… He thinks I am worth saving so I must believe I am worth the effort it will take to develop myself to reach my full potential.

I don’t see this as a chore…but as a service to the world around me. The more I develop myself the more I have to offer. If I add value to myself then I can add more value to the world. This is a virtuous circle since the more value I add the greater will be my rewards.

Chapter 4 The Law of Reflection. I must let the growth catch up. Spend time each day thinking, concentrating on the person I wish to become… allowing my spirit to bring my soul up to speed with what I have learned. The penny may take a few days to drop when I am leaning new things at a fast rate. Time spent in meditation and thought helps me to gain an understanding rather than simply storing facts by memory.

Chapter 5 The Law of Consistency

Success in any venture does not come by one massive effort though it may sometimes look like that’s what happened…but success is built over a long period, many small positive steps taken one day at a time.

Similarly failure does not come by one big error of judgement although it can be that one error that finally brings a man down. The character that finally brings about the error was built over a sustained period. Lots of small steps taken every day until they became habitual.

So whatever we have consistently thought and done in the past has produced the person we are now. Whether that is good or bad we can’t turn the clock back but we can make it better. We can develop, we can grow.  And over the next 16 weeks if we help each other we can all be better and we can all be on a track to life long improvement.

Vive la Revolution

For six months the information has been coming in from all directions.

I have rediscovered old friends like W Clement Stone who’s ‘Success System….’  helped me to go from zero to hero almost 30 years ago at Encyclopaedia Britannica: old friends like Napoleon Hill whose ‘Think and Grow Rich’ has always been on the shelf and has been off it more than most, or like Og Mandino whose works have always been a staple but have never before been read with such fervency. MKMMA has raised the bar that’s for sure.

I have met some new friends too, like Ralph Ward Emerson (well he was new to me) and Peter McWilliams, both fascinating in their different ways and both taking my thoughts into new and exciting areas. The great weekly conversation with Charles Haanel has risen at times through debate to occasional argument but it has been nothing if not stimulating. My favourite book and the eternal benchmark has always been the Holy Bible (currently the NLT), and I am grateful to the aforementioned authors for their having helped open up new understanding to passages previously overlooked or confirmed and enhanced some which I had understood but maybe not completely. (That does not meaning I am claiming to understand them completely now, but I do have more light than I had.)

With information coming from so many diverse sources and with some opening up my understanding immediately and others taking time for ‘the penny to drop’,  there have been times of excitement and even exhilaration but there have also been times of confusion. So now it is time to take stock, organise and begin to apply the distilled wisdom. As Og Mandino said in Scroll I “Much has been filtered and tossed to the wind, only the pure truth lies distilled in the words that remain.”

It would be a great shame to live and die with so much insight but without practical application that would produce the fruit. The thoughts are the cause…we have discussed that at length… but the effect does not just appear by magic. The thoughts must be turned to action and it is the action that will produce the results. Thinking has taken up much of my time, in fact all of my spare time and there has been little left for action. Organised thought is a wonderful thing, I know most people have not experienced even that fully, but organised action is what will move the mountain. I have thought a lot about Jesus’s words and their implications…you can move the mountain IF…If you believe with all your heart, nothing doubting.  You may not know this but the Number One reason for His arrival on Planet Earth was to introduce ‘The Law of Forgiveness’ and make it possible for all men to give and receive forgiveness. Every man is forgiven every sin…it’s no use pretending we have no sin…if we do that the Bible says we call God a liar.  We have all sinned, we have all fallen short, but forgiveness is available to every man and woman on earth and it’s really simple to appropriate it.  The Mountain of Guilt and Shame that stands before all of us at times can be cast into the deepest sea never to be seen again and the rules for its removal have never changed…Only believe that Jesus came to give you forgiveness, paid the price for it so it’s completely free to you, believe nothing doubting, and unreservedly forgive those who have sinned against you. If you can manage that you can walk the earth as Jesus did.

OK. So I am a Pastor with a congregation. Am I to keep them mentally trapped inside some ancient hereditary dogma or am I to show them how Jesus came to give them a more abundant life. How He came to bring physical and emotional healing, to prosper them as they give into the lives of others. How God is always good and that he has provided enough for every single person on earth to have enough, no more than enough. There is no limit to what God has done, what He can do and what He wants to do for every people group on earth.

There is no lack in Gods house…when Jesus said pray “Your Kingdom Come on Earth” he was not proposing a rich ruling class and a great unwashed mass forced to live in poverty and slavery, that’s what men have done.

It’s time for us to organise our thoughts, to begin to Mastermind together, to plan the work and work the plan and to begin to see the Kingdom coming on the earth.

It needs a renaissance of thought and a revolution in action but if we are up for it God is able to do a quick work and He is ready to use a willing army of people who desire more than anything to see His Kingdom come.  If we ask anything according to His will we know He hears us and if we know He hears us we already have the things for which we are asking.

Our asking is the cause, so if we do our bit and ask the effect is on the way.