The Week After

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We can have incredible moments with God and then quickly waste them. The past few months I have had some incredible weeks with God, but it is easy for me to just let them be one time experiences and not be a life changing experience like they should be. 

God did some incredible things while I was in Puerto Rico in June, and then two weeks later I got to pray with and watch many of my students grow like crazy at Summer Camp. And yet a month later I lead a team to serve at the Dream Center in LA for a week. Each one of these weeks God did some incredible things, but if I don’t put in work afterward to remember, to memorialize, to celebrate these moments then I miss out deeply.

The hard part of any experience like a mission trip or camp is the high you come out of it with. Most of us know this high, but it only lasts so long before the emotions wear off. This is where we must do the hard work. I think it is the same concept as in marriage in which I steal this quote from my pastor, “Anyone with a pulse can fall in love, it takes work to stay in love.” Anyone can have incredible moments and experiences, but it takes work to keep those moments fresh.

Have you had moments in the past where God showed up and did something, but you didn’t follow up afterward? Don’t let the incredible moments you have on top of a mountain be missed when you get back to the base camp. Journal about it, apply the take aways, don’t lose sight of what happened! And go tell people about it.

Great Customer Service Turns Fans and Customers into Loyalists and Free PR

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A few months ago I joined the UP community. That is, I bought a Jawbone Up (Yes it is an affiliate link). The Up band is basically a glorified pedometer, that tracks steps, sleep, syncs with a ton of other health apps (I sync myfitnesspal and RunKeeper) and basically works to keep you healthy. I have loved my Up band since the day I got it. It helps sets goals and I’ve been much more intentional about health since I first purchased it. I highly highly recommend getting one! I especially like the feature that tells me how much sleep I get (Or don’t get with my son).

The last few weeks I’ve noticed the rubber on the outside of my Up band stretching. I was a little irritated, and not sure what to do. I logged onto the Jawbone customer service forum, and sent an email. I got a generic response saying, “thank you for your email, you will be notified within 24-48 hours.” I was a little annoyed, but that’s better than sitting on hold for 45 minutes. I ended up getting an email back 3 minutes later from a person with a name! We emailed back and forth a few times, then he said he’d mail me a new one, and the packing slip to send mine back. All I needed to do was send a few photos of my damaged band, and we were good to go. Also, on the return packaging I could just put it in my mail USPS, which is so much easier than UPS store, and it’d head their way. 48 hours after my original email on the forum I have a new Up band on my wrist and synced to my iPhone.

I say all this to say: I will continue to be a huge fan of Jawbone. Not only do they put out an incredible product, but they back it up with phenomenal customer service. I don’t usually promote products like this on my blog, but I was so blown away at the speed and service that I had to share it. If you sell a product, make it incredible, and back it up! Don’t make empty promises that you can’t keep. Blow the customer away, and maybe you’ll grow your tribe! Go buy a Jawbone!

Guest Post: 5 Observations on Connecting with Today’s Students

Because of the rapid cycles of change we’re experiencing these days, I propose that we must rethink how we connect with students every four years. Let me suggest a few. The following observations are about Generation iY (i.e. students born since 1990) that may help you as you attempt to communicate and connect with students today:

Observation #1: They want to Belong before they Believe.

Today’s students are different than those of past generations. They don’t necessarily make decisions based upon logic or statistics. I know professors, salesmen and ministers who will try to convince a young person about something before they build any sense of relationship or community. Students today would rather join and belong to a small affinity group before they embrace the beliefs of that group. Their basis for making decisions is more relational than logical. If you hope to get them to embrace an idea, embrace them first.

Observation #2: They want an Experience before an Explanation.

Author Leonard Sweet describes today’s culture and its young people as “EPIC”: Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich, and Connected. Teachers must remember that a lecture isn’t enough anymore — or, at least, we cannot begin with a lecture. If we want to be heard, we must engage iYers’ interest with an experience that captures their imagination. They want to do or see something. They want action and interaction. Even if it is an old message, they are asking for a new angle on that message.

Don’t just ask yourself, “What do I want to say?” Ask yourself, “How can I say it creatively and experientially?”

Observation #3: They want a Cause before they want a Course.

If you hope to seize the attention of students today, plan to give them a reason for why they need to listen to your words. For instance, if I want to spark a passion for world history or international justice, I must first expose students to a cause that interacts with that issue.

Actress Angelina Jolie has confessed she grew up as a spoiled, rich girl in Hollywood, spending much of her early life pursuing success as an actress and a model. Then she read a script for a movie called Beyond Borders. It was about a self-indulged woman who lived a life of privilege until she discovered the plight of refugees and orphans in developing nations. The script was a catalyst for Angelina. She took the next year and traveled to refugee camps all over Africa and Asia. She now is an international spokesperson for the UN’s Refuge Agency and gives a third of her income to such causes.

Observation #4: They want a Guide on the Side before they want a Sage on the Stage.

Young people today aren’t necessarily looking for experts, especially if they are plastic or untouchable. They would rather have someone authentic to come beside them. In fact, when students were recently asked about their heroes, for the first time in over twenty years, they did not list an athlete at the top of the list. Their number one response was “Mom and Dad.” They hunger more for relationship than for information (even if it’s relevant information). They are accustomed to learning on a need-to-know basis — but their need-to-know will increase if a person they trust and know well is the one sharing the information. They’re looking for mentors — authentic mentors.

Observation #5: They want to Play before they Pay.

I find many characteristics of Generation iY healthy and fascinating. However, this one may cause trouble for them later in life. Almost everything for students today comes instantly. They don’t like waiting for anything. Shows like The Voice are appealing to this generation because one of their peers gets to become famous overnight — and they get to determine the winner in a short amount of time. Usually, they love events but don’t enjoy the process of growth. The “pay now, play later” mentality tends to be foreign to them.

Another way of saying this is that, for iY kids, results have to come quickly or they may lose interest. For those who seek to influence them, this means we must connect quickly. As communicators, we have to grab their attention up front, demonstrating swiftly that our content is relevant.

To learn more on how to connect and equip today’s students, order the book Generation iY—Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. It contains a fresh diagnosis of today’s young person (who are growing up in a world of screens, speed, and self-absorption) as well as a prescription on how to lead them into healthy adulthood.

Dr. Tim Elmore is founder and president of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. He is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. Find information on Tim and Growing Leaders at www.growingleaders.com, @growingleaders, and @timelmore

 

Risky

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Matthew 6:31-35

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For  the Gentiles seek after all these things, and  your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But  seek first  the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I’ve been on this kick lately where I ask myself if I’m really risking anything for my faith. I mean, I live in America, a “Christian Nation”. I have two vehicles. I never go hungry. I am never in physical harm’s way for having faith in Jesus. I own my home. I have an abundance of clothes. I can carry my Bible publicly. I pretty much live in a very safe world. I never wonder if I will get another meal today or not. Basically what I’m asking is, “Do I need God to exist for me to live life the way I do?” Or another way of putting it is, would my life look any different if I were an atheist?

All of this asking makes me look inside and see if I really believe the scriptures or not. I think asking this sorts of questions are incredibly healthy, and we should all do a inner questioning from time to time. I know that I want to live a riskier faith. I know that I don’t want to be walking around as a Christian by name only, and Atheist by my actions. This just causes from some deep reflection, and then steps to follow with it. It also forces me to have courage for the next step, and whatever that is that God places on my heart to take.

Legacy of Love

Legacy I’ve always been attracted to the idea of legacy. I even think it is a desire God puts inside of us to leave our mark on the world, and leave something that goes much beyond ourselves.

John 13:34-25 says, “A new commandment  I give to you,  that you love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I think when Jesus put skin and bones on and stepped into our world, one of the things he came to do was to challenge us to leave a legacy of love. He says there in John that we will be known to the world by our love for one another. Growing up I always wanted to leave a legacy of a champion. Something of the likes of Coach K or John Wooden. Not something that seems so weak like loving my fellow man.

But as I’ve grown as a man, and grown as a follower of Jesus I realize that the most powerful legacy I can hope to leave behind me is one of love. I want to do everything I can to love the people I encounter each day, and I want to challenge them to pass that love along. If I do everything else wrong in raising my son I hope that he gets this one thing, and that is the challenge to love everyone he encounters. It’s not an easy task though, there are some cruddy people out there (myself included), plus it also means continually putting others first which is so hard in a me centered world.

What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What will you be remembered for?

What does it mean to be a man?

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Four generations of Kolosik men. Zion, my dad, my grandpa, and me.

Manhood is such a hard thing to define. We have a common phrase to ‘be a man’, but really I think that just means to toughen up. Or does to toughen up define a man? I know some men that aren’t all that tough, myself included.

Each day I stare into the eyes of my son, and can’t help but see my face in the reflection of his eyes. This sort of scares the crap out of me. It’s like he sees the junk deep down inside of me that no one else sees. Not even what my wife can see. I know he doesn’t really see all the junk I have inside, but it feels that way. I know that one day he will leave my home with an idea of what a man is based on how I live and model to him. Much like I have a perspective of what a man is from the two men in the picture with Zion and myself.

Meeting Kasie made me want to be a better man. The same is true with my son. He makes me want to be a better man. But before I can be a better man, I must dig in and figure out just what makes a man a man (Spoiler alert: I won’t be answering this question in this post). 

I’ve read a ton of books on this stuff. I’ve read Wild at Heart, I’ve gone through Men’s Fraternity, I’ve listened to many podcasts from different pastors, and of course I’ve read the Bible for insight as well. Hollywood also give us some diverse perspectives and definitions of men as well (Just watch season 1 episode 1 of Last Man Standing). I’m not certain I have a concrete definition of manhood yet, but I do like the Men’s Fraternity definition as a starting point, but not necessarily a complete definition. They give the definition to manhood that a man is one who 1) Rejects passivity, 2) Accepts Responsibility, 3) Leads Courageously, and 4) Invests Eternally.

My prayer is that God would continue to give me wisdom and insight on how to raise this little man staring into my soul. I’m so thankful I have my incredible wife to raise him with. This way he knows how to treat a lady, and has a good perspective on woman as well. It’s not just about how to act or do the right thing, but have the right character and heart.

What do you think defines a man? What has helped you to understand this tough question?

Life is Different and Better Now

IMG_0875Zion Seth William Kolosik joined Kasie and I on October 15th at 7:58 am. I never knew I could fall in love with someone so instantaneously. I mean I loved this little man the entire time he was growing in the womb, but the moment I laid eyes on him my world changed. I fell in love with this little man, and I fell in to a deeper love with my Kasie.

Today Kasie went back to work part time. I know it is a sad day for her, as she won’t get to hang out with Zion all day every day now. We are incredibly blessed that Kasie is able to work just part-time. She is a great Social Worker, and I know she does an incredible job. Zion and I are both very proud of her. She makes any environment she is a part of better simply because of her presence. We miss her very much today!

We started off 2014 yesterday, and I hope to share more of our life on here now that we are figuring out this parenthood thing. Not sure if I’ll start posting more ministry stuff or just family stuff. You tell me what you like to read, and I’ll post that. Or maybe I’ll just keep doing both.

Fatherhood is an exciting ride so far, and great responsibility to come as I raise up this man. Still weird to think that I’m a dad now, and that my wife is now a mom too.

Goal Routine

Each year I have a routine where I create goals for the following year. I have a bucket list, 3 year goals, and goals for the year. I then break that down to quarterly goals to hit the annual ones, and then down to weekly/daily habits I need to create to get to said goals. This year has flown by and we’re already in the last quarter of the year. I’m not on track to hit many of my 2013 goals, and for some good reasons and for some that were just me being plain undisciplined. What were your goals for 2013? Is it possible to recover in the last quarter to hit some of those goals? Or is it time to close the door on some of them?

Justin Wise and Gary V #7mistakes Event!

Gary and JustinI’ve been following Justin’s blog and podcast for quite a while now, and I’ve heard so many people talk about Gary V, that I can’t pass up sharing this event with you!

Does social media ever feel like a waste of time? Like you’re spinning your wheels? Not getting traction? No clicks, likes, fans, or opens?

You might be making some crucial mistakes you’re not even aware of. Mistakes that could be costing you customers, web traffic, clicks, and engagement.

Good news: You can fix your mistakes.

Better news: It’ll take you less than an hour to do so.

Join the web event “The 7 Social Media Mistakes You’re Making & How to Fix Them” hosted by Think Digital Academy founder, Justin Wise. 

On this web event, you’ll learn:

1) Where 80% of your social media results (more purchases, traffic, members, etc.) will come from.
 
2) What an editorial calendar is and why virtually nobody uses one.
 
3) Why “engaging the conversation” is the worse social media strategy on the planet.
 
4) Why online influence is more important than ever.
 
5) How to instantly improve your search engine rankings with social media.

PLUS, you’ll get exclusive access to a 14-minute interview with New York Times bestseller and social media powerhouse, Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s worked with some of the top brands in the world  and shares some of the biggest social media mistakes he sees 

Registration is free. Anyone can sign-up. Get more details and join this exclusive web event by clicking here.