Category Archives: Uncategorized

This Week In The News

Hey my friends!

A lot has been going on this week in the U.S. and around the world. I thought I’d sum up for you some of the biggest things that are going on in the news. There is a lot of information to sort through on the Internet, so sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But, we must make sure to stay engaged with what’s going on around us!

  1. Pastor Perry Noble was fired from Newspring Church – I have heard him speak before. He’s an incredible speaker and an impactful pastor in Anderson, South Carolina. It’s sad to see that he let an addiction get the best of him, but our prayers should be that God restores him and his family.
  2. Terrorist attack in Nice, France – At least 80 have been killed in this senseless attack. France has been dealing with many terrorist attacks recently, but they are not the only ones. This is truly becoming a worldwide problem, affecting many countries. My prayer is that the Lord does a miracle!
  3. Pokemon Go – A new Nintendo app. It’s spreading like wildfire. Millions of people are using it. My son wants in on it! Ahhhhhhhh! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just read.
  4. A Trump supporter wraps his whole house in a flag – Seriously. This isn’t so much about the politics of it. But it’s true. An entire house. Wrapped in the American flag.
  5. President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting – In a meeting related to the deaths of two African-American men at the hands of police, and the attack in Dallas that killed five police officers, President Obama held a town meeting. There’s a lot I disagree with when I listen to politicians across the political spectrum. I thought he said some good things here, so I included this one. Let’s continue to pray for God’s peace and justice in our nation.

That’s what’s in the news! Enjoy your weekend!

The G.R.O.W. Plan for Journaling Daily

Want an easy way to read the Bible daily?

Reading the Bible daily is an important part of growing as a Christian. Learning more about God, living out what he commands, and learning to love him and others are all important things that happen when we jump into God’s word on a daily basis.

For growth to happen in any area, there needs to be a process. For growth to happen in your life, you need a process as well? And, inside of that process, you need tools to help you accomplish the process.

A few years back I developed a simple tool to help myself (and others) to read the Bible for all it’s worth. I wanted to share that with you today. It’s a super easy way to read the Bible and journal about it. This tool is called G.R.O.W.

Here’s what it stands for:

G = Gratitude
R = Read
O = Observe
W = Wait on God

Here’s what you would write down with each letter:

G = Gratitude – You write one or two sentences of what you’re thankful for.

R = Read – Read your selection of Bible verses, then pick a verse or passage of Scripture that stands out to you. Write down that verse or passage.

O = Observe – Write down some observations about that passage. What’s going on? What is being talked about?

W = Wait on God – Take a moment and pray about the verse that stood out to you. Ask God what he wants you to do about it. Then, write down what action you are going to take.

Here’s an example of a journal entry:

G – Lord, thank you for your life that you have so freely given to me today. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you for another day.

R – Psalms 122:7-9 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

O – David prayed for Jerusalem, his city, because God’s presence was there in the tabernacle and because he had friends and family there.

W – I need to more consistently pray for my city (Los Angeles), because in my city are (1) family and friends -and- (2) God’s presence in HIS people. Lord, today I commit to more regularly praying for these areas where I live and work, so that your name might be made known among those who live in this city.

Let me know if this helps!

How to Set High Expectations For Those You Lead

Yesterday, I wrote a post about setting high expectations for those you lead. You can read that post here.

But, it’s not enough to simply know that you need to set those high expectations. It’s not as simple as saying to a person, “I expect you to operate at this level”, then leaving them alone and hoping it happens. What we need to define is how to set high expectations for those you lead.

I’d like to accomplish this by a question and answer format. Let’s begin!

How high of an expectation do I set for someone?

We must set expectations according to three factors. First, we must understand where the person’s potential could take them. How far can they go? What are they capable of accomplishing? Second, we must understand where they currently are. And three, we must clearly state expectations in the context of their area of responsibility. Too many expectations can water down what we desire for them to accomplish and to grow in.

A great tool for this is the zone of proximal development. This tool helps us to understand that there are certain things a person can do on their own, there are other things they can only do aided by someone else, then there are things that they cannot do.

If we set expectations in the area of things they cannot do, the person will most likely reject (or be apathetic about) the job. They won’t advance much. If we set expectations in the area of things they can do on their own, then they will do incredibly well at maintaining their level of knowledge, but there will be no growth.

Our job is to continuously push people one step further than where they are currently at. Only in this way do we help peoplpe grow step by step.

Yes, but what if I’ve got a big goal/vision/expectation in mind for the person who’s in charge of a particular area?

Well, don’t let go of it! Remember this, thing big, start small. In some cases you might have a candidate for a job who’s able to see at your level and get on board with you to accomplish the task. If that is the case, more power to you! But, most people are not that way.

In that case, we must take the person step by step with achievable tasks so that they gain the ability to believe they are able to accomplish big things. The goal here is growth and progress over time. A high expectation for a person may not be achieved immediately, but the goal is for it to be attained eventually, on a step by step basis.

How do I determine the type of expectation I set for someone? What should it look like?

Always be sure to keep your expectations in agreement with your organization’s values. Your values are the driving force behind the experience of what your company/church/non-profit is about. If you keep your high expectations in agreement with your values, you will have a cohesiveness in presentation and momentum. This means that everyone on your team will be working together to accomplish great thing, supporting one another in the process.

Other things to consider:

Is the person in the right role that fits their capacity and commitment? When a person is capable but doesn’t have the commitment level to make it happen, there will be problems. On the other side, if someone has the commitment level, but not the capacity, they will most likely never succeed in their role. In either case, we would be setting them up for failure.

Let me be clear: “capacity” does not mean that they are already there. On the contrary! Capacity simply refers to the potential that exists inside of the person to grow into a certain skill set. There are some skills that some people will never learn. It would be a mistake to place them in something that they don’t have a skill set for.

Let’s set high expectations for the organizations we lead!

Are there any other questions you have? Feel free to email me at connect@jefftolle.org or post your question in the comments. Let me know your thoughts!

This Week In The News: Shootings, Shootings, And More Shootings

The last couple of days I’ve been extremely busy…meetings, email, event preparation. It’s all been a bit crazy.

As I was checking my Facebook news feed I noticed friends of mine posting about some shootings that had happened. I didn’t think much of it at the time, since I was so occupied in my work.

Not until earlier yesterday did I get a chance to actually read about the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota.

Then, while in the midst of other meetings in the evening, I noticed a news article about the shootings of multiple police officers in Dallas, Texas, which has led to five deaths. As I write this early Friday morning, the police are still in a standoff with one other suspect.

We have no idea if the Dallas police officer shootings are related to the protests in Dallas about the deaths of the two African-American men mentioned above, or if they are related to Islamic terrorism, or if they are some type of homegrown terrorism. I’m sure those answers will come out in due time.

The following are a few thoughts:

  1. We must be willing to empathize with anyone who suffers. Regardless of the evidence and reasons for certain shootings, all who suffer need to experience our empathy and sympathy. I’ve never been personally big into hashtag campaigns like #blacklivesmatter -or- #alllivesmatter -or- #bluelivesmatter (or any others). What I definitely am into is the fact that Jesus suffers when humans suffer. We must suffer along with our brothers and sisters in the human race. This is a week of suffering for all of us.
  2. Evil is real. And no, I’m not trying to call the snipers evil who took out the police officers, or the police officers evil who killed Alton or Philando. There is an evil one, Satan himself, who desires nothing less than the destruction of God’s most valuable creation – humanity. He loves war, hate, disunity, bitterness, racism, and anything else that can come between God’s most favored creation. How do we combat this? With the love of God.
  3. Prayer is powerful. Is prayer our only tool? No! Must justice be served? Absolutely! While prayer does not eliminate the need for human action, human action does not eliminate the need for prayer! Human action can lead to justice. Prayer can lead to changed hearts. While we desire justice, we desire EVEN MORE the changing of people’s hearts. This is done through prayer.
  4. Justice is needed. Remember this: true justice ALWAYS focuses on the victim of the crime, not the perpetrator of the crime. What is just is determined by what the victim deserves. So whether it’s justice for Alton, or Philando, or any of the police officers who lost their lives, they all deserve justice. Will it look the same in every case? I imagine not. Every case is unique with its own circumstances. Regardless, justice must prevail.
  5. Wait for the evidence. It was so interesting to watch on the news tonight (on various channels) as commentators attempted to explain their own beliefs about what happened in Dallas. I guess that’s what they’re paid to do. Regardless, I found it less than helpful. They were proclaiming opinions/judgments before any facts or evidence of the case were known. While we must empathize quickly, we must be slow to judge. Most people do the reverse…they judge quickly and empathize slowly (if even at all). This should not be the case, especially for those of us who call ourselves Christ followers. Let’s empathize quickly, but let’s be slow to judge until we have more evidence.
  6. We need Jesus. You might be a reader of my blog and have no particular faith, or you have a faith that is different than my own. No problem! But, I cannot shy away from the fact that I believe Jesus is the hope of this world and that he is the answer to all that is sick in our society and on our planet. I encourage you to invite Jesus to become real in your life. If you need help with this, send me an email at connect@jefftolle.org.

Those are the main things I’m thinking about right now. Did I catch every possible thought about these occurrences? Absolutely not. If you’ve got more to add, feel free to reply in the comments section.

Peace to you!

 

When You Don’t Know What To Do

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know what to do?

Yesterday I had to deal with an extremely frustrating situation. And no, I’m not talking about the fireworks!

While in the middle of the situation, I couldn’t seem to find any peace. I wasn’t sure if it was caused by the situation or the Venti Cold Brew coffee I had just downed from Starbucks. If I had to guess, it was probably a combination of both!

But honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I was sitting there with my work in front of me, but my mind was just a mess of confusing thoughts. I like to make sense of things, so that was a tough place for me to be in.

I decided to read over some verses from the Bible that had stood out to me in the last few days. The following ones hit me like a ton of bricks.

Psalm 135:1-3

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD! Praise him, you who serve the LORD, you who serve in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.

A lot of times, our first response to a difficult situation is to pray. We ask God to give us peace. Or we ask him to give us understanding. All of that is good.  I tried that. But, it didn’t work.

Sometimes we can’t PRAY our way out, but we can PRAISE our way out.

When we choose to honor God in the midst of a difficult situation, it causes a few things to happen:

  1. It shifts our focus away from the situation and places it on God.
  2. It causes us to be grateful, realizing that there is goodness beyond the difficult circumstance we are facing.
  3. It creates space for God to reorder our thinking and our priorities.

Yesterday, in that moment of confusion, I decided to walk outside of the Starbucks and praise God for a bit. I was able to think through the decisions I needed to make and how to move forward.

Have you tried praising God lately?

Be blessed today!


P.S. One of the reasons I was able to get that verse that gave me clear direction was because I have a regular plan of reading the Bible and writing about it. I’ll be posting on this soon. Stay tuned!

 

When You Miss The Fireworks

 

2016-07-04 21.21.28-1

I was incredibly frustrated yesterday. There I was, thinking what a great day July 4th was, spending it with friends and family, when all of a sudden it all went downhill.

The one thing that everyone looks forward to on July 4th is the fireworks. Well, at least I think everyone looks forward to them.

It was around 9pm, and we were together with family outside, waiting for the fireworks to start. All of a sudden, my wife Evelyn says, “Your child”…well…she didn’t actually say child, she said the child’s name, but I decided to not write their name in order to protect the identity of the accused child.

Let’s start over. She said, “Your child needs to go the bathroom. Do you want me to take them or will you?”

Now, there are two things to note here. First of all, when women give you (men) a choice, it really is only the appearance of a choice. Please learn this lesson, men. You’ll thank me for it later.

But in this case, my wife actually did give me a choice.

So, the second thing to note: I am just an amazing father. Yes I am. And I say that in all humility. Truly I do. You’ll just have to believe me. And amazing as I am, I chose to sacrifice myself for the good of the family in order to take this child of mine to the restroom inside the house.

Once inside the house and the child securely situated in the restroom, I heard a loud bang. Then another one. And another. The fireworks had started! I was anxiously waiting to get back outside to watch the fireworks.

As time kept passing by, I was wondering what was taking so long in the bathroom. You would have thought this child of mine was writing a book in there!

As I was waiting, I was getting more and more frustrated, thinking about how I was going to miss the fireworks all because of a bathroom trip. Couldn’t they have asked to go 10 minutes earlier? What perfect timing!

Eventually, this child of mine made it out of the bathroom, and we went outside to watch the rest of the fireworks. All of my worry and frustration was for nothing. I still saw the majority of the fireworks. It was a great show.

This happens to all of us at some point. We miss something we were ready for. We encounter a situation that is out of our control. We deal with a circumstance that was not caused by us. This happens everywhere…at work, in our families, in life in general.

We have to remind ourselves of this simple truth: Life is never as bad as we think it is.

There is always something to enjoy. There is always something to be thankful for. Don’t ruin the future positive moments by wallowing in present negativity. Your circumstance might be difficult right now, but you will make it through and experience blessing on the other side.

What will you do when you miss the fireworks?

Keep moving!

Stay Connected

Hey guys!

A few days ago, I wrote a blog about different ways that you can keep on learning. You can read about it here.

The first thing I mentioned was that we should read books, articles and blogs. Read as much as you can! I’ve had a long term commitment to reading, and whenever I’ve done leadership development and training, I’ve included books and articles as a part of the learning process.

Right now, the pastors of the church I lead (citylifela.org) are reading the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, along with me. Reading is an essential part of learning.

So, if this blog is something that you would consider a resource to you, I invite you to stay connected to the blog so that you don’t miss a post.

You can sign up for this blog directly on the upper left hand side of this page.

I know how my life tends to work. I live life moment by moment, responding and reacting to the things that are coming at me in that exact moment.

The best lived lives are ones that build intentional patterns into how we live. Intentional patterns of rest, play, learning, working, etc.

I want to invite you to include this blog as a part of your intentional pattern of learning. By signing up, I promise that I will not spam you! On the contrary, my goal is to be a resource and a help to you as you live a life of leading yourself and leading others well.

So, would you consider staying connected to this blog? Please sign up with your email on the upper left side of the page.

Just so you know, I ask you for your age and location, so that as I develop resources, I can customize them best for the audience that is reading this blog.

When you sign up to receive my updates on new blog posts, go ahead and read it if it seems interesting or trash it if not! I promise I won’t be offended!

Thanks for your support, so that I can support you!

Let’s stay connected!

Today In The News: Istanbul Terror Attack

Not quite today’s news (this happened yesterday), but important nonetheless. Yesterday, 36 were killed and 147 were injured in a terrorist attack that occurred earlier yesterday in Istanbul, Turkey.

You can read about it here.

Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming more commonplace. Multiple attacks have been happening here in the United States and in many places abroad.

No matter who perpetrates terror, the goal is always fear. The impact of terror is far greater than the number of people killed or injured. Fear has the capacity to paralyze entire groups of people, even if they are under no actual threat of violence.

So, what to do? Since terror is reaching across the planet, how is it that this needs to be dealt with? Can it be stopped? What should our response be as Christians, who are called by our Lord Jesus to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)?

I believe there simply needs to be a distinction between the faith that we as Christians hold, and the countries that individual Christian citizens might belong to. This does NOT mean that we, as Christians, shouldn’t attempt to influence the countries in which we live. On the contrary! I am simply suggesting that we as Christians cannot hold our countries/governments to the same standards with which we live.

Countries and Citizens

We live in an imperfect world, filled with imperfect people, There is good in this world, as well as evil. In human society, we must create solutions for the problems we face, even if those solutions are imperfect.

There is NO perfect system for managing politics, economies, poverty, wars, or anything else. But, some systems are better than others!

With regards to terror, countries have the right to do everything in their best interests to protect their people from terror, going to the root cause of the source of such terror if at all possible. Without involving details of the politics of all this, the current fight against ISIS (ISIL, Daesh) is absolutely necessary, since terrorists need to know that there are consequences for their actions.

My prayer with regards to this attack in Instanbul is that justice is served on behalf of the victims of these attacks. And remember, the victims of terror are not only those killed or injured. The victims include all those who are filled with fear because of these senseless attacks.

Christians

Now, as Christians, how must we respond? While countries have the complete right to function and operate as necessary for the protection of their citizenry, what must we do? And while many Christians may participate in the armed services of their respective countries and have a duty to be a part of that process, how do we respond individually to these acts?

One Bible verse in particular comes to mind. 1 John 4:18 states, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

Those who are afraid need to experience the perfect love of Father God that has been expressed to them. Only by living in the eternal confidence gained by knowing Christ are we able to live lives without fear, since our future for all eternity is secure in him. Dying today or dying tomorrow means being with Jesus.

Our job is to love and engage those who do not know the love of Christ…it is only with this love that fear may be removed.

But, even for the terrorists, we must understand that many times their motivation is not only to cause fear in others. On the contrary, they are so filled with fear themselves that they believe it necessary to commit their acts of violence.

We must love terrorists as well. 

Yes, we HATE what they do. What they do is pure evil and we hate all that is evil. And yes, they must face consequences and justice for their actions. Absolutely! There is no room for doubt here.

But, these terrorists are God’s creation. So, we pray. We pray for God to rescue their souls, to fill their hearts with their love, to transform entire societies through revelation of the abundant grace of God.

Does love include justice? Absolutely!

Love includes (1) Love for those impacted by acts of terror (2) Love for those who committed the acts of terror -and- (3) Justice for the victims. All of these combined are an expression of true love.

May the love of Christ dwell richly in all of you!

 

 

6 Ways To Learn

There is so much information in the world today that you can learn anything you want. There is no excuse to not know anything you want to learn…and to learn it in most cases for free!

Want to learn how to cook? Look it up on YouTube.

There is no substitute for learning. Growing in knowledge and wisdom should be our pursuit until the day we die.

Want to be a better parent? Learn more.

A better leader? Keep learning.

A more successful business owner? Yeah, you guessed it. Learn!

So, what are some ways that you can set rhythms for learning in your life?

  1. READ. Books, articles, blogs. Take notes. Highlight.

2.   LISTEN. Listen to thought leaders. Listen to Podcasts. Listen to teaching from pastors and other leaders.

3.   CONFERENCES AND CLASSES. Attend conferences and classes to learn what you want. Need to learn a new trade? Go to a technical school. Want to better your business skills? Go to a conference or participate in a masterclass. As I write this, I am attending the Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church.

4.   MENTORS. King Solomon states in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” We need multiple mentors in our lives to help bring us success: in our relationships, our finances, our health, and so much more. There is no substitute for having personal advisers. When I started my church (citylifela.org), I had an adviser who met with me once a month for a year and a half. All I had to do was buy him lunch!

5.   EXPERIENCE. Learn from your own experiences and those of others. Learn from your present and your past. Learn from successes AND failures.

6.   ASK GOD. God is our best advisor. His Word (the Bible) is filled with 66 books by 44 authors inspired by God. Pray, read His Word, connect with Him. He is your most important guide in this life to live out the potential he has placed inside of you!

If you set rhythms of learning in your life, you will be guaranteed to be further along tomorrow than you are today. Keep learning!

Going for the Sell

A few weeks ago I was spending time at my mobile office, aka Starbucks. I was minding my own business working on my stuff when two random people walked up to me.

I love working at Starbucks because even though there are a lot of people, since I don’t know any of them, I do a much better job of getting my work done! No distractions and no interruptions, except for this one particular day when I was rudely interrupted by these two people.

They were nice enough…positive, happy people. In their hands they held a ticket. They let me know that they thought it would be great for me to attend an event in order to learn a new type of business where I could make more money.

How nice of them! Inviting me to make more money!!! What an incredible opportunity! Or not. Of course, my participation through their invitation would have made more money for them, as most of these schemes usually do.

But, you see, up until this point none of it was offensive to me. I totally get that they were passionate about what they were doing and they were passionate about making money. There is nothing wrong with that!

They asked me to grab the ticket so I could look at what they were talking about. Of course, I grabbed it as they spoke to me. The ticket was a free entry into their event. As they came to the end of their little speech they asked if I would be interested in going to their event. I politely declined, saying that I wasn’t too interested and it wouldn’t work for my schedule.

What happened next was ridiculous. After I politely declined, they told me that it was necessary that I pass the ticket on to someone else I knew if I wouldn’t be able to make it. Then they asked, “So, are you going to give it to someone else?”, then waited for my response.

Talk about feeling like you’re trapped in a box, stuck between a rock and a hard place!

Here’s the problem with their approach: They were less interested in ME than they were in SELLING to me. 

All of us have a product we want to sell (even if it’s not for the sake of money). What we are looking for is to buy in to our product. We want to sell to our kids the idea of growing up as people of character. If you are religious, you want to “sell” your set of beliefs to other people. If we think someone has a wrong opinion on politics, guns, democrat or republican, education, abortion, or any other item, we typically try to “sell” our opinions to them.

So, let me give you a tip. The best way to sell your product is to show your interest in the PERSON, not the PRODUCT.

Once a person believes that you truly care about THEM, they will be willing to listen to what you have to offer them.

Let’s make life about people!