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Men On Fire VII: The Perfect Man!!!

by: ellis j. still

“You, therefore, must be perfect (growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity), as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

                Matthew 5:48 (Amp.)

i.e. – get your swagger back!!!

This is perhaps one of the largest and most significant conferences that is geared towards encouraging, strengthening and building up men in the country, outside of T. D. Jakes.

Every year men travel from across the country to gather on Wednesday evening at Agape Family Worship Center in Rahway, NJ and on Thursday evening at Abundant Life Family Worship Church (ALFWC) in New Brunswick, NJ, with Friday and Saturday sessions held all day at an offsite hotel (this year at the Somerset Doubletree Hotel).

This conference is unique in that it appeals to the issues and challenges that men face, with strategic takeaways that can be applied to everyday life. In addition to building up the spiritual man, Men On Fire also features sessions on entrepreneurship, leadership, finances, and provides many opportunities for fellowship and networking… building up the perfect man, and, building up the entire man.

There is also the awesome praise & worship, and ridiculous band :- )

This year’s installment of Men on Fire will include Bishop George C. Searight, Pastor Lawrence Powell, Bishop Dale Bronner, Bishop Donald Hillard, Bishop Courtney McBath, Dr. Ron Elmore, and Dr. Buster Soaries.

Question: Many great visions, leaders, entrepreneurs, and dreams fulfilled have been birthed out of Men On Fire. Why not take a few days to get away from home, get some great impartation the will benefit you, your family, and everyone around you and get your swagger back?

For more information, see links below:

ALFWC Facebook Page 

Men on Fire Facebook Event Page

Abundant Life Family Worship Church (ALFWC) website

Agape Family Worship Center website

Twitter Hash-Tag: #MenOnFireVII

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Faith and Fiction:  Episode 5 (2011)

By: ellis j. still

Well, 2011 is well underway, and that means a new and exciting installment of the Faith and Fiction Retreat, this year being held in Ponte Vedra, Beach, Florida. Last year I attended the annual Faith and Fiction retreat for the first time  in Atlanta GA at the CNN Center / Omni Hotel. I had such a great time, before I came back home from Atlanta I resolved to do it again this year.

The Faith and Fiction Retreat is an annual literary event that is the brainchild of best-selling author Tiffany Warren. Early on, she sought to share with people in person the ministry behind author’s writing. It began in 2005 as a tour, and evolved into the retreat that we have today (to read the entire story, Click Here).  Every year readers (individuals and book clubs), well-established and up-and-coming writers, and other literary enthusiasts come together for a few days to share their craft as authors, to gain support as new authors, and to meet and discuss various topics with their favorite author.

One of the many things that become clear to me in my first year of attendance was that there was a genuine camaraderie among and by authors that set the tone in the atmosphere for the entire event. I have seen many instances in the book industry where authors operate in a pretense  of arrogance and superiority syndrome, and are therefore not willing to work with other authors (unless through contractual obligation), and barely tolerate interacting directly with their readers. At Faith and Fiction, the authors are not only friendly, but are about building genuine and lasting relationships with others, which is an impressive representation of Christ and of what being a Christian author is all about. The idea is that it’s a big world out there…. there is more than enough room to support each other as authors, which allows for everyone to flourish while upholding Christian values and integrity.

This year the retreat will be at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa. The organizers are cost-conscious when planning the retreats and are aware of the fact that people travel from across the country to attend the retreat. When choosing venues, the goal is to not only create a nice atmosphere for the retreat, but at a reasonable price. Since this venue is associated with golf courses, year my wife and I (this will be Tina’s first year of attendance) will be getting in town early such that I can get some golf in before the retreat begins.

Every year is a different experience, and 2011 is no exception. Every morning, the day will begin with beachfront prayer. For the first time, this year will include two separate tracks to participate in… one for up-and-coming authors (author bootcamp), and one for readers and enthusiasts. The reader track will include panel discussions on a variety of topics, and the author’s track will feature panel discussions relating to advancing your craft and your marketshare as an author. Likewise, there will also be male author panelists, with panel discussions geared towards men. The retreat will culminate with an all-white beach party (the full itinerary will be provided shortly).

This year’s featured authors include are ReShonda Tata Billingsley, Victoria Christopher Murray, and Stacy Hawkins Adams

This year’s author panelists include Tiffany L. Warren (F&F Retreat Host), Angels Benson, Victor McGlothin, Vanessa Miller, Tia McCollors, Michelle Stimpson, Norma Jarrett, Rhonda McKnight, Kimberly Cash Tate, Patricia Haley-Glass, Booker Mattison, MaRita Teague, Sherryle Kiser-Jackson, Pat Simmons, Ellis Still (hey… that’s Me!!!  :- ), Miranda Parker, Leslie Sherrod, Patricia Bridewell, Shawneda Marks, Shana Johnson-Burton

So this year, wives, bring your husbands. Husbands bring your wives. If you are single, bring friends, or you can attend alone if you wish – like I did last year. This event is for anyone even remotely interested in reading, or interested in learning more about the world of fictional writing. For more information, Click Here to visit the official website.

Question:  Are you really willing to miss out on a great experience? If not, don’t procrastinate… register today!!!

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved. Photographs are courtesy of Tia McCollors and Tiffany Warren’s Facebook pages, respectively. Faith and Fiction graphic courtesy of http://www.faithandfictionretreat.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am the CEO of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBB), the company that retails books written by these authors. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read or reviewed and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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Men On Fire VI – Built To Last!!!

by ellis j. still

 

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”

click image to visit website

This week (November 3rd thru 6th) marks the sixth annual installment of the Men On Fire men’s conference. Every January I circle this weekend in November on my calendar in anticipation of what is always a special weekend of camaraderie and fun. Something special happens when men get together, and Men On Fire does not disappoint… setting the atmosphere for growth, mutual support, and learning in a way that is practical and applicable to our daily lives. It is a conference that is dear to my heart, and is the spark that propelled TBB – The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (http://www.TBBbookstore.com ) from dormancy into what it is today. 

This year’s conference subtitled “Built To Last” features Dr. Myles Munroe for the first two evenings, and on Saturday, discussions will be led by Bishop George Searight, Pastor Lawrence Powell, and Dr. Gloria Morrow. Also, a “power panel” of experts that will discuss “Reinventing and Repositioning yourself for success during difficult times” will be held. Panelist names have not been disclosed, but knowing the excellence that this conference operates in, I am sure that the panelists will be heavy hitters with a wealth of wisdom and feedback. Free time is built in on Saturday for fitness, fun and games at the Rahway Recreation Center and the conference will close out at the respective sponsoring churches.

 

Here are five reasons to attend Men On Fire VI: Built To Last 

  1. It is an opportunity of sharpening, of encouragement, and of building up  in a great atmosphere
  2. Entrepreneurship panel for business owners or start ups
  3. An opportunity to meet some new golfing buddies
  4. You haven’t been on the basketball court in a while and you need to tune up your skills
  5. You will be inspired to create something new, an idea, develop a thought … to go beyond where you currently are.
  6. Bonus reason – It’s only $60 bucks (Thursday and Friday nights are free)

 

For more information contact:

Abundant Life Family Worship Church

New Brunswick, NJ

732-545-3897

http://www.ALFWC.org/

 

Agape Family Worship Center

Rahway, NJ

732-680-9800

http://AGAPECENTER.org/ 

Question:  what are you doing to invest in yourself?

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Reflections of Faith & Fiction 2010: Catch me!!!

By:  ellis j. still

This post talks about both my experience at the Faith & Fiction retreat and my first experiences in Atlanta, GA in general. Usually I try to keep posts between 500 – 750 words, but we’ll see how this one goes :- )

Last week I attended the annual Faith and Fiction retreat, this year held at the Omni CNN center in Atlanta, GA. While I have met many of the authors through online social networking, this was to be the first time I would meet them in person. The goal for me in attending the retreat was to bring exposure to the bookstore, but it became much more than that…

Atlanta, GA

This was my first time visiting Atlanta, and I was really impressed from the start. The airport has a connecting commuter train system that took me to the Omni Hotel, which is where the retreat was being held. I could have taken a cab, but having grown up in Philadelphia, PA, I will forever be a city-boy, and the words “public transportation” isn’t a cuss word to me unlike many people nowadays. You would be surprised at how many metropolitan cities do not have efficient public transportation and me having to pay $60.00 for a cab to my destination… I have a strong appreciation for cities with thought out and appropriate transportation planning.

The Omni Hotel at CNN Center

The Omni (http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/AtlantaCNNCenter.aspx ) was great!!! Being in retail, I am a stickler when it comes to customer service. Everyone at the Omni – even when I registered the room via telephone so many months ago – was courteous, friendly, and anticipated my needs.

I had to secure two separate reservations because I was in town a day earlier and the first day was not included in the discounted block of rooms. When I approached the front desk to check in, my mind was preoccupied with an armory of questions and talking points, because as a vendor I knew I would not have the time to deal with reservation items the next day. Nicole at the front desk noticed the two separate reservations and anticipated my needs by ensuring that there would be no disruption in my having access to my room. I felt relieved, yet kind of cheated at the same time… I had all this verbiage inside me that I was prepared to unleash because I expected the worst-case scenario, but it was all for naught. Nicole was personable, knowledgeable, and frequently asked how my stay was going as I passed through the lobby. Service like this is unheard of to me from a hotel. I don’t know if this is a function of Omni hotels, or Atlanta and/or the south in general, but this definitely left a lasting impression.

Faith & Fiction (http://www.faithandfictionretreat.com/ )

The Faith & Fiction retreat celebrates fictional writing by largely African American Christian authors who’s creativity centers on themes that reflect characters and situations within the African American community. Stories evolve from the combination of an author’s imagination and things experienced in real life. This area of writing tends to be fun, thought provoking, and entertaining, yet also exposes difficult subject areas that often tend to swept under the rug. To paraphrase, an overall goal of this fictional writing is to tell stories that promote healing, create dialog, and expose people who may not know Christ to His awesomeness in even our seemingly impossible circumstances. A good fictional book is not “preachy”, but speaks to the reader where they are.

The retreat  featured lively panel discussions geared towards up-and-coming writers, readers, book clubs, and anyone interested in this genre of writing.  Panelists were established authors… heavy-hitters in their own right, with a wealth of experience, knowledge, success stories, and not so successful stories to pass on to others. Informal networking and book signing sessions created plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with your favorite author, and there were also a series of book discussions, hosted by the book’s respective author.

I attended my first ever book discussion on the last evening of the retreat. Despite not having read the book, I could kind of follow along with the conversation, which actually touched on an area of life and writing that I have had concerns about how to handle if I needed to. And they had cake at the discussion, which kind of coaxed me into having a seat in the first place :- )

With everything being considered, from the chosen hotel, to working with the retreat staff as it relates to my vending area, to the atmosphere and camaraderie of the entire weekend, the entire retreat was done in excellence. Kym Fisher is the best!!! I don’t know what she gets paid, but she deserves a huge raise  :- )

There as a closing banquet in the Omni’s atrium that featured good food, good fellowship, and live gospel music. However an unexpected and powerful moment came when during the photo-op session of the author panelists, the up-and-coming authors were honored via a photo-op as well as a way of touching and agreeing that these authors are the Faith & Fiction panelists of the future. This gesture was symbolic of the Christ-like support system that permeated the atmosphere of the entire weekend. Business people (authors are in fact entrepreneurs) tend to play their cards close to their vests in trying to be a step ahead of their competition… even among some Christian circles. It was inspiring to see the acknowledgement of the fact that there is room for everyone’s gift in the world.

Faith & Fiction: Keynote

The highlight of the weekend was author Sherri L. Lewis’ keynote speech. In summation, she spoke about her life’s challenges and obedience to everything else except her dreams. Dreams never go away. Sheri’s dreams kept trying to punch and gnaw their way to the surface to the point where the she had no choice but to cry out in all confidence:

“God, I’m going to Jump, and I want you to catch me”.

Sherri’s eloquent address touched the very core of our (my) being… of my purpose. We all (should) have had moments of conversations with God about what we want out of life… about our dreams and purpose, but faith without works is dead. Me speaking for myself, I no longer want to wonder what it is like to life out my dreams. Catch me…

There were many discussion items during the retreat and it is impossible to revisit them all. You will just have to make sure you make it to the retreat next year.  :- ) All panelist authors and their body of writing will be featured on the The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore website (http://TBBbookstore.com/ ) in July. We will also highlight the 2010 up-and-coming Faith & Fiction authors as well, and if you are reading this and we were not able to connect in ATL, shoot me an email so we can talk.

When God exposes me to new things (Faith & Fiction) I try to take advantage of it the best way I can… it is my belief that it is God’s way of opening a door to new possibilities. It was a privilege to meet all of the authors, readers, and supporters at the Faith & Fiction retreat in Atlanta this weekend, and I look forward to 2011!!!

1,268 words… not too bad  :- )

 

“Write the story of your heart. If your story is connected to Him, it will always be the right story”.

Rhonda McKnight, Author

 

Question: If you missed this year’s retreat, what are doing to ensure that you make it next year? Have you bookmarked http://www.faithandfictionretreat.com/ ?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

____________________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

Ocean City, NJ Bed & Breakfast: A great place to recharge your batteries

By: ellis j. still 

This past week my wife had a super-secret-surprise for me for my birthday. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, she would refuse to tell me what it was, but she did tell me that the surprise was a place and that we would be there from Sunday June 13th through the 16th. So, I’m thinking road trip out of state… New York, Philly, Poconos, Baltimore, or maybe Washington DC. But then she told, me that the place that we were going to was dog-friendly, and that we will be bringing Peanut with us. At this point, I was really clueless. Other than Staybridge Suite Hotels, where could we possibly go that accommodates pets? Is there a Chuck-E-Cheese for dogs? So we get into the car, she drives, I fall asleep in the passenger seat, I wake up at our destination, and we are in Ocean City, NJ at a really cool Bed & Breakfast. 

This was the best birthday mini-vacation ever. Ocean City has the same kind of calmness as North Carolina, beaches and boardwalks within walking distance, good restaurants, and a boardwalk carnival if you are in the mood for some activity. Likewise, there were many dog owners in the city, and there is even a beach that is dog friendly. There’s an informal social thing early in the morning when dog owners walk their dogs and the dogs get to meet and greet each other (sniff each other’s butt) with their owners in tow.

Ocean City Mansion (http://ocmansion.com/ ) is where we stayed, and Nancy is the best. This was the first time Tina of I ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, and Nancy, the Innkeeper,  made us feel right at home. The house was a mansion that was built in 1896 that has been well maintained over the years, yet has all of the modern amenities in order to make your stay pleasant. Our suite was complete with a Jacuzzi, an alcove bed, and was Peanut friendly as well. Every morning Nancy cooked a different breakfast for us and we ate outside on the front porch as we read the morning newspaper in the calmness of the outdoors.  That in itself is a novel idea. Who has time to sit and eat breakfast before work anymore? Breakfast at the mansion pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day, with more relaxing and quiet on the front porch, or a series of power naps in our suite.

I.   So.   Needed.   This.

Our lives tend to be constantly in hustle and bustle mode such that we rarely take the time to slow down and replenish ourselves. A quiet and relaxing four day vacation with the woman of my dreams two hours from my home… it just doesn’t get any better than that.  My first experience with a Bed & Breakfast was definitely a good one, and we plan on making this a habit every year since our birthdays are five days apart. This was a great start to my week. The second half was also great, but that is a different blog post  :- )

Question:  When was the last time you slowed down to recharge your batteries? Have you ever thought about visiting a Bed & Breakfast in your area?

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

____________________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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