A surprise best-selling book on Amazon over the past few months has been Atomic Hobbits by James Clear. Here’s why you should consider adding it to your reading list:
A lot of books have been written on how hobbits work, the secret to their success in the shire, and information churned from studies on the science behind their genius work skills. Take for instance Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book from 2014 The Power of Hobbit that shared a lot of great information on the topic. It demonstrated just how remarkable the hobbits skills were, but barely skimmed the surface on how to practically apply their work methods in your own life. That’s where Clear’s newest book comes in to play. What’s so great about it?
It’s so practical that Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek exclaimed on his podcast, “This is a supremely practical and useful book!” while announcing he would be traveling to New Zealand to join James Clear and Samwise Gamgee on a speaking tour in February 2020 to promote the new book.
Brain candy books are fun to read. But, it’s really special when someone goes above and beyond to break down the insights teaching you how to apply them in a 100% practical way to your own work life. It’s easy to see why so many top performers are reading this book in droves…the results are remarkable.
Popular YouTuber Matt D’Avella spent some time talking with James Clear about his new book. You can watch the video below:
If you’re a church leader, read this wisdom before you post anything on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube in 2021 (and the remainder of 2020). Please share this with your ministry team.
People get fired EVERYDAY for what they post on Facebook.
People leave churches EVERY WEEK for what they see church leaders post on Facebook.
But, if you’re a church leader, you SHOULD be on Facebook. Facebook is a valuable tool for engaging your church and your community. Just like driving a car, it can either help or kill you depending on how you use it.
1. Don’t Post Updates From Your Vacation
Think twice before posting photos from your next vacation. When you’re asking members of your church to sacrificially give of their time and money, and you’re posting pictures of you and your family partying on a yacht, it doesn’t look good. There’s nothing wrong with going on vacation, in fact, it’s one of the most important things you should do as a leader and a family, but there is wisdom in enjoying it privately, especially during this season of struggle for so many. Some of the people who go to your church and give regularly can’t afford to go on vacation. The same rule goes for your weekly Thursday afternoon round of golf. Don’t forget…most church members work during the week.
2. Don’t Criticize Another Church…Ever
Like something off of the Jerry Springer show, two years ago leaders and elders at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky took to Facebook to publicly sling mud at elders at Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana in a no holds barred online brawl. That prompted other well known church leaders to jump in on the chaos on Facebook, which then led to other church members taking sides and getting in on the social media mayhem. The unfolding chaos was covered on the local Indiana television news station, rumored to be fueled by fake press releases written by church staff members. Yes, this all really happened…let that sink in. It’s very hypocritical to tell your own church staff to “trust positive intentions” within the church while slinging mud online at leaders from other churches when you don’t get your way. Trusting positive intentions goes both ways. The BIG wisdom here is to always praise publicly and criticize privately…especially if you’re a church leader or elder. The only posting you should be doing about another church should be encouraging them or building them up or celebrating their accomplishments. Always BUILD UP other churches (even when someone gets fired that you’re related to).
3. Don’t Create Mysteries
Don’t create mysteries. If you’re a pastor in Seattle and you suddenly post a picture of yourself checking into the Miami airport, you’ve just created a mystery. And, if you’re a church leader, creating mysteries on Facebook is never a good idea. Why are you in Miami? What are you doing there? How long will you be there? This only creates confusion and usually causes minds to jump to negative conclusions: Are you interviewing for a new job? Are you having an affair? Are you doing coke deals? Who’s paying for your trip? Wise church leaders don’t create mysteries on Facebook. If you’re in Miami for a conference, post a picture at the conference with something you learned or someone you met…not a picture of your toes in the sand. If you’ve checked in at a restaurant and posted a photo with a woman who’s not your wife…tell us who it is. Oh, it’s your cousin? Okay, cool. But, we don’t know if you don’t tell us. Step back and look at what you’re posting…are you creating mysteries or are you being straightforward?
4. Don’t Post Headscratchers or Deadends
Headscratchers are Facebook posts that create bad optics. If you’re a church leader, and you post a selfie of yourself in full KISS makeup, sticking your tongue out, on Halloween, that’s a headscratcher. Even if KISS is your favorite band and you’ve dressed up like them a million times before, it’s wise to leave this off of Facebook. Yes, this really happened.
Deadends are posts that literally create a dead end. Examples are:
“We won’t be having Sunday School anymore.”
“I won’t be in the office on Friday’s effective immediately.”
“I got a new phone so don’t call my old number.”
“I’m leaving Facebook.”
Deadends usually answer questions no one has asked, and there’s no reason they should be posted publicly unless they’re backed up with a thought out explanation that provides more background information.
Also, sometimes it’s best not to post anything. Does everyone need to know that you deleted Facebook Messenger? Does everyone need to know you’re not going to be in the office on Fridays? Probably not.
5. Engage In Politics at Your Own Risk
When you call the President a liar or attack a member of congress on social media, you have nothing to gain. Don’t do it. People can watch CNN or FoxNews if they want political discourse. You’re above that. You’re a pastor. And you have more important work to do.
Engaging in politics on social media has a price, and you have to be willing to pay it if you go down that road. My suggestion is to avoid politics at all costs on social media.
BONUS: The Sabbatical Trap
Don’t forget that 99.9% of people in your church don’t get a sabbatical. And, when you share pictures of your feet in a hammock, reading Francis Chan’s new book, you’re doing it wrong. And, if you’re on sabbatical and posting on a Sunday morning how great it is not to have to go to church, you’re definitely doing it wrong. Does the world really need to know you’re on sabbatical? Probably not. A better option would be to fast from social media on your sabbatical and when you return get to work actually doing what God has put on your heart. Feel free to share what you worked on, a renewed vision for your ministry, or a thanks to your church for allowing you the opportunity, but the better thing would be to just actually do whatever it is God is calling you to do.
6. Don’t Post Reviews or Rants
No one needs to know if you hate American Airlines. No one needs to know that you’re upset there’s not a stoplight on the road you turn left on to get to church. No one needs to know your thoughts on every current event. Posting “These refs suck!” in the middle of the UK game or randomly posting “I LOVE the new Joker movie!” is a bad idea. It’s okay to have opinions, but Facebook isn’t the place for it, if you’re a church leader. See #10 on how you should post about news and current events.
7. Do Post Pictures of your Church
Your profile picture should be a picture of you, not a picture of your dog. Your cover photo should be a picture of your church, not the Guns ’N Roses concert you attended two years ago. Facebook is a great place to share pictures of your church. It’s also a great place to promote what’s happening at your church. If there’s a worship night at your church on Sunday night and you’re posting about the new Game of Thrones episode, you’re doing it wrong.
8. Do Highlight People From of Your Church
Celebrate members of your church for their accomplishments. Share posts about volunteers doing a great job. If you see a church member while you’re eating out, or at an event, snap a pic and post it on Facebook or Instagram. It’s also a great place to celebrate people from your community doing cool things. Make your Facebook about others…it’s not all about you. Encouraging others on Facebook is something wise church leaders do.
9. Do Share Meaningful Family Moments
The world is full of broken families. Your Facebook is an opportunity to lead by example. Show pictures that demonstrate you loving and encouraging your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and extended family. Celebrate your family on Facebook. Share family moments on Facebook, even the sad ones. Be real. If you’re going through a health crisis, share it. If someone in your family passes away, share it. Show people what it means to be a real person. Manny Pacquio, the world champion Filipino boxer, regularly shares photos of his family going to church together. Be like Manny.
10. Do Help Church Members Navigate the Complexity of Life & Current Events
Bob Russell uses his Facebook to share links to his blog posts each week that help Christians make sense of current events. In a recent post he references how “Brandt Jean, a Christian who is mature beyond his 18 years of age, forgave the policewoman who accidentally shot and killed his beloved older brother.” Bob uses that news story to talk about Christians imitating the holiness of God. Be like Bob. Use your Facebook to help your church make sense of current events.
By now you should notice a trend…
All of the things you should be doing on Facebook are positive, encouraging, and helpful to others.
All of the things you shouldn’t be doing are self-serving, manipulative, or lacking self-control.
Final Things To Remember About Facebook If You’re a Church Leader:
Facebook is an extension of your ministry. It’s not your own private space.
Be creative with ways you can use your platform to engage your church and encourage others.
Optics matter more than your personal intentions when it comes to social media.
Facebook isn’t the place for your stream of consciousness thoughts.
Ask someone you trust to give you honest feedback about what you post on Facebook. Give them permission to let you know if you post something that might give the wrong impression.
Be real. Facebook should be an extension of who you really are. Nothing is more icky than someone pretending to be someone they’re not on social media.
If you’re a church leader, you SHOULD be on Facebook. Facebook is a valuable tool for engaging your church and your community. Not being on Facebook is like disconnecting your church’s phone line or dismantling your church’s mailbox. It’s almost 2021, and Facebook is the primary source of communication people engage with on a daily basis.
Beware. Facebook will hack your brain’s dopamine over time if you let it. Consider removing the Facebook app from your phone, and only use Facebook while on your computer.
When in doubt…don’t post.
P.S. I’m More Guilty Than Anyone
I’ve posted a lot of really bad stuff on social media. In 2011, I was at a party hosted by my neighbor. It was a very wild party. I posted a picture of me with some drunk party goers flipping off the camera. All in good fun, right? Nope…
The next morning my mom had sent me a message asking me to delete the photo. I was running a Christian company. “What kind of message was I expressing by posting that photo?” she asked me. I was so embarrassed. She was right. She wasn’t playing a “gotcha” game with me. She truly wanted the best for me.
This blog post is not about playing “gotcha.” I’m fairly confident I’ve done more bad stuff than 99% of the people reading this. I genuinely want the best for church leaders and I think we can all benefit from a gentle reminder that people are watching us and we need to set the tone for what it means to be followers of Christ. Don’t let social media ruin your ministry.
Urgh…I took my hat off and my friend said “WOW! You’re going bald!” That was when I knew I had to accept reality.
I had a consultation for a hair transplant procedure in Las Vegas.
It was going to cost me $15,000-20,000, if not more.
It would leave a giant scar on my head.
It would take a year to see the results.
I might need multiple transplants.
There could be major complications.
I was working out at Lifetime Fitness, and I saw an ad in the gym for Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP for short). I had never heard of it before. I did an internet search, watched some YouTube videos, and saw that the #1 place to get Scalp Micropigmentation in Las Vegas was a place called Full Micropigmentation.
I went in for a consultation with Joe Barghi, the owner of Full Micropigmentation. That’s Joe in the photo:
Hair Transplant VS Scalp Micropigmentation…Joe explains the difference between the two procedures. After he explained it, there was NO way I was going to get a hair transplant. I decided I was going to go the SMP route and scheduled my appointments.
Joe did an INCREDIBLE job! Here’s my before and after pics:
For more cool before and after photos, check out the Full Micropigmentation Instagram page (@fullmicro)
Here’s some information about my procedure:
It cost $6,500
It takes 3 appointments
Each appointment lasts around 7 hours
I didn’t golf or do anything that would make me sweat for 3-4 days after each appointment
Surprisingly, it was NOT painful and NOTHING like getting a tattoo
The results look 100% natural
Joe was super talented, informative, and helpful which is why he has so many positive reviews on Google and Yelp
I’m really glad I did this instead of getting a hair transplant
It’s finished! No creams or pills to take and no scars. Back to living life to the fullest!
Here’s a great video that explains the difference between getting a HAIR TRANSPLANT and getting SMP:
I hope you consider SMP over a hair transplant. You won’t regret it. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my experience.
Here’s a list of the TOP 3 Scalp Micropigmentation providers in Las Vegas according to Yelp:
I’ve seen so many bad church emails over the last few months that I’ve created this simple checklist you can download, print and follow to make sure every email your church sends is simple and effective.
People receive an avalanche of emails everyday, so it’s super important that emails from your church GREAT to break through the clutter. I’ve sent over 10 MILLION emails in my lifetime, and these are the simple things I’ve learned that make emails GREAT.
Click the Download Button to Download a Printable PDF Version of This Checklist
Your subject should always be as specific as possible. BAD = “This week’s updates”, GOOD = “VBS starts June 2”.
❏ First Line of Text is the Main Message
Don’t bury the main message. It should be the very first line of text in the email.
❏ No Extra Fluff
Don’t add extra fluff to your email. Shorter is better. There should only be ONE message per email. Adding anything extra, takes the focus off the main message of the email.
❏ 100% Obvious Clickable Links
If your email requires someone to click on a link for more information or to take action, clicking the link should be as obvious as possible. Don’t assume that people know to click a photo or a graphic. Using “Click Here” buttons is a good idea. Also, including the text of the url below the button is helpful. Double check to make sure the links are correct, and make sure the landing page you’re sending people to is updated.
❏ Does Your Email Pass the 2-Second Test?
Can someone understand your email in less than 2 seconds? An ideal email consists of a specific subject, most important line of text, an image or graphic, a link if needed, and additional text that supports the main message.
Watch this video to see a live audit of a GREAT church email:
John Bayer’s weekly North Dakota newspaper humor column was ranked #1 in North Dakota and ranked #2 nationally. It was so successful he turned it into a best-selling book titled 15 Months of Winter: My Year in North Dakota (makes a great gift for anyone who lives in North Dakata or ever visited…it’s hilarious). John has also worked for ABC Studios in Hollywood among other creative jobs.
John’s Best Advice for Someone Wanting To Publish Their Own Book
Start with a blog or journal. Start sharing your writings on social media.
It’s a good idea to write about a small niche. You need to figure out how to stand out in a sea of millions of people. In my case it was a newspaper humor column about living in North Dakota.
Write about what you’re interested in. Create what you like. Be authentic, honest, and meaningful.
Amazon has a great platform to self-publish books.
Hire someone to proofread and edit your book.
Invest in hiring someone to design a good cover.
It’s not going to sell itself. Even if you hate marketing, you have to market it. Do giveaways, social media promotion, call bookstores, ask for reviews, do readings, do events, etc. Talk about your book any chance you get. But, don’t waste your money on advertising thinking that ads will magically sell your book. Think more in terms of marketing and connecting with an audience.
John’s Life Wisdom
I’ve had a lot of insecurities in my life, and I’ve learned that the times that I’ve felt judged or attacked or minimized by other people, most of the time it was me projecting my own insecurities on other people. I’ve learned that if you’re being held back, it’s probably you who’s doing it.
John’s Favorite Author
John’s Favorite Book
John’s Favorite Movie
John’s Favorite TV Show
John’s Advice For Making It In Hollywood
Making it in Hollywood is mostly about perseverance. With just a little talent and luck thrown in.
In Los Angeles, you’re either trying to convince someone to let you make something or trying be part of a crew that is making something. Either way, Hollywood is a machine and it’s hard to break in. But, once you do it gets much easier to work. Also, Hollywood is mostly a freelance industry. You’ll have work for a few months with a project, but you’ll have to hustle to get the next project lined up.
Think in terms of Hollywood being for where you turn your passion into a career. Outside of Hollywood is more about being entrepreneurial and making the things you want to make on your own.
You can skip film school. You’ll probably need to start an an unpaid intern somewhere, so better to just start now instead of spending a few years going into debt and postponing getting started.
If you move to Hollywood, you need to know you’re starting at the bottom. You’ll probably have to work for free to get started.
You have to eventually get in front of decision makers, and have something to show them. So you should always be preparing for those moments if and when they ever happen.
If you’re not working on your craft, you won’t have luck. Luck comes when your preparation meets coincidence.
If you’re pursing acting, volunteer at a theater. If you’re pursuing writing, find work at any cost.
Start building community right away. Hollywood can get lonely very quickly.
It’s okay to change career directions midstream. You’ll probably learn a lot about yourself, and what you love or hate to do as time passes.
To read more books by John Bayer, visit his author page on Amazon.
1. Understand what your audience needs. The goal is to create content that people are actively looking for. You’re blogging for them, not yourself.
2. Understand what you can realistically create right now with what you have and start there.
3. Think about the words normal people use to search for what it is you’re creating when they search on Google. Spend a lot of time searching on Google to get ideas for what words people are actually using. The words and phrases you think they’re using to search are probably different than what normal people are actually typing to search.
4. Be as non-competitive as possible. It’s counter-intuitive, but highlighting other people and helpful resources in your niche will end up helping you, because you’re helping others.
5. Look at stats. Look at Google. Get familiar with where your traffic is coming from and what search terms are bringing people to your site from Google.
6. Be timely. When coronavirus hit, I immediately created resources relating to being quarantined and posted them on my website right away.
7. Always ask yourself “How can I be helpful?”
Tony’s Secret Sauce for Blogging Success
Smart Google keywords
Tony’s Life Wisdom
I was very idealistic when I was younger, but then that led to extreme guilt as I got older.
I’ve learned that both good and bad in my life today is a result of habits. There are great books like Atomic Habits and The Power of Habit that have helped me incorporate good habits in my life.
My goal is to do something good for 5 minutes everyday.
Before Facebook and Twitter, we had email, message boards, and blogs. I started a blog in college with a few other guys. Then, when I got my first job as a Children’s Minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Madison, Indiana, I had no way to connect with others to get and share ideas. In 2007 I started a website called Ministry-to-Children and posted some VBS theme reviews just for fun. Then, out of nowhere the traffic to my website blew up. I still remember getting my first check for $123 from running ads on my website. That was huge. I began to create content and give it away for free, and I always tried to give my posts titles that normal people were searching for on Google. That was my secret sauce. Today, it’s my full-time job and last year we had more than 6 MILLION unique visitors!
I paid $100 to Alice Anthony to share the wisdom she’s learned throughout her life as a photography professor. She taught photography at East Tennessee State University and then Milligan University for 28 years, and recently retired from teaching in 2019. She has a special familial bond with all of her students.
Alice Taught Photography at Milligan University from 1991-2019
“Originally from Coastal North Carolina, Theron Humphrey is a photographer who has lived and worked across the country. In 2011, he started a kickstarter-funded project across the US, meeting and photographing someone new every day. These days he’s about to hit the road again on a 50 state book tour and documentary project, Why We Rescue. He takes his best friend coonhound Maddie on his adventures.” – Amazon
The people you work with will make or break your job situation. No one told me that. Who you work with is important.
When you’re trying to navigate your life and career, ask the Lord to lead you, go through open doors, and always pray for Him to show you the way.
Keep God at the center of your life. Find your calling.
Alice’s Advice for Someone Wanting to Pursue Photography
The industry has changed. Everyone has a camera now. It is very hard to succeed as a professional photographer. Most photographers lost their jobs when newspapers were swallowed up by giant corporations. Those jobs are simply not there any more. And, it would be nearly impossible to get a job as a photography professor these days. If you want to make a career out of photography, you have to decide what you want to do, find someone who is doing it, and ask them to mentor you. Find someone to shadow…find someone who does what you want to do. Work for it. No one…I mean no one is going to give you a job. You have to make it happen yourself by working hard. Don’t ever settle. Go work for it and make it happen if you really want it.
Alice’s Special Connection With Her Students
I was just as much a friend and life mentor as I was a photography professor. Teaching photography and working in a dark room put me in a one-on-one situation with students. I became good friends with so many of my students. So many former students always came back to visit me throughout the years. I worked at a hospital for the first part of my career and then the right doors slowly opened for me to become a full time photography professor. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God placed me in that job. That was my calling. I got to mentor so many students through the years and loved teaching photography.
Alice currently lives in Johnson City, Tennessee with her husband Steve. She has Facebook and Instagram and continues to keep in touch with many of her former students around the world.
My prediction is that it’s only a matter of time before we’re all required to have a microchip implanted. The use could be wide ranging…from healthcare, insurance, finances, population tracking. We know the technology already exists. The real question is if will ever become something mandatory, and how will it be used.
Links to Latest News Stories About Microchip Implants in Humans
“The end of the world IS at hand. And it will come and when it comes you will be judged. Your world will collapse. You will find out where your unaddressed weaknesses lie.”
– Jordan Peterson, Psychology of the Flood
I’ve boiled down Jordan Peterson’s Biblical lecture about the Psychology of the Flood down to 6 points and 2 quotes below:
Navigating coronavirus and quarantine represent a direct encounter with chaos. Jordan Peterson discusses how to understand and prepare for encounters with chaos in his Psychology of the Flood lecture on YouTube.
Series: The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories
Topic: Noah and the Ark: how encounters with the unknown should be understood psychologically
By: Dr. Jordan Peterson
Time: 2 hours and 36 minutes
1. Your body and brain are connected and have been shaped through time to have a certain outlook on the world. You live inside a story. Those stories help de-isolate you. For example, when a doctor diagnoses you, it is comforting knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing something. The last thing you want to hear from a doctor is, “you know, I’ve never seen a case like yours before.” If you can be put in a box, then the doctor can know what to do with you.
2. The world is very complex. Ultimately, people’s lives become so complicated that they die. The fundamental problem with life is that things are complex. Underneath all of our lives is an irreducible complexity. The dragon is a symbol of chaos. A flood is a symbol of chaos.
3. Are floods consequence of things falling apart or because of people’s mistakes? Things go wrong all by themselves. They also go wrong because we aren’t prepared. Hurricane Katrina was an example of both things going wrong and human error. If you got flooded, it means you weren’t prepared. Fairness is not the point.
4. You can’t ignore problems. You need to identify problems that arise immediately before they kill you. You can’t ignore a letter from the IRS or else it will become a bigger problem. Every solution to chaos carries problems that have to be dealt with.
5. You need to identify where you are in life. What’s good about you? What’s bad about you? Where are you going? Who’s story are you living? Yours or someone else’s? Life is too complex to plan 20 years ahead, but you should plan for 3-5 years ahead. On the macro cosmic scale…the earth has to die, then be reborn and newly created. On an individual scale, this is represented every New Year. You reflect on things you need to change and make a resolutions for a new life.
6. The flood is coming. The flood is always coming. This is a fact. Don’t fool yourself. You’re going to develop a serious illness. And, it’s likely to be chronic. And, if it’s not you it will be someone you love. And so is death and pain. And what sort of person are you going to be when that shows up. The question isn’t how are you going to be happy in your life. It’s a stupid ambition. It’s too shallow. Happiness comes and goes. If you’re happy, great enjoy it. When the flood comes you want to be the person who built an ark.
“Speak the truth, and pay attention. Then maybe the tragedy that’s part of life wouldn’t have to deteriorate into the unbearable hell that doesn’t have to be part of life. Then maybe we could rise above the tragedy.” – Jordan Peterson
“If you say ‘to hell with it,’ there’s a chance you may end up in hell. It’s no simple matter to get the hell out of hell. It might matter that things get addressed. It might matter that you do what you can to walk with God. It might be that that this is how you build an ark and are protected from the flood even if the damn thing comes. And the thing is it will.” – Jordan Peterson
Coronavirus and The Flood
Viruses are coming to kill us. They’re always coming. We need to be ready for them. The solution we come up with in dealing with viruses will have problems that need to be addressed. If we don’t develop solutions and ways to deal with the new problems they create, we will die.
Coronavirus has exposed where our weaknesses lie. Those weaknesses need to be dealt with. If we pay attention, we can rise above this seemingly unbearable hell.
One small way to prepare is knowing who are you, where you are, and where you want to go. A great tool that Peterson has developed for individuals to do this is called Self Authoring. I completed his authoring suite two years ago. It took me a few days to complete it. But, it was worth every minute. My life has been improved dramatically because of his program. You can learn more about it here: https://www.selfauthoring.com/