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Live your  life like a Heart In A Box!!!

by: ellis j. still

We are born to dream. As children, we use our imaginations to explore the visions of our mind by acting out what our future could be like. I played with fire trucks and those yellow Tonka construction trucks that were made out of metal, with the assurances that I would be a fireman or construction worker when I grew up.

My next phase was wanting to be an explorer in outer space that would one day save planet Earth. This came from repeatedly watching entire seasons of Star Blazers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica with the one-eyed Cylons. Later came Star Wars, of which I have all six episodes even today.

From there it went to realistically figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had great passion for drawing. I also started working in retail at age 16, so maybe I would own my own business one day. However, as I got older, and the world became more real, the creative imagination seemed to disappear and I sought practical venues for planning out my life.

You are taught to do what is proven… what everybody else is doing. To follow the status quo. Very seldom are you taught to be imaginative… to think outside the box – or in this case, inside the box.

Tina and I are avid watchers of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. While we don’t always agree with the content, it is a well written show, whose characters we often we have dialog about in our home as if they were real people.

There was an episode where one of the main characters was tasked with watching an actual beating heart that’s been placed in a box until it can be transported to its new recipient. The Heart In The box becomes the inspiration to no longer be average, but go on and do great things… that the same imagination that created the Heart In A Box is the same imagination that dreams are made of… that spawns great movements.

Anything that you do in 2012 should be more interesting

than a Heart In A Box.

Anything that you do in life should have meaning, both to yourself, and to others. Anything that you do should be exceptional, and inspire others to greatness.

Dreams are created by a combination of what we see, our imagination, and how we envision it happening… our special personal brand, based on our life experiences.

Are you stuck in a job or situation, but you have a great idea for a business inside of you? Are you doing what you need to do just to get by & merely existing, or are you following the passion that is within you? Are you listening to the voices inside your mind that gives you excuses why you can’t make things happen, or do you listen to God’s word which says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Heart in a box is all about not living mundane, but doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is about being inspired to do something outside of the status quo. It requires creativity and courage. It’s about not just knowing and reciting the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17), but owning it… knowing without a doubt in your inner core that God will do what he promised… that “every place where you set your foot will be yours” (Deut. 11:24). You have to have Faith that as you act on your dreams, God will make up the difference.

Heart In A Box is special because normally when you do a heart transplant, you take the heart out, put it in a cooler, and then you rush to put it into a warm body, and pray that it beats. But with Heart In A Box, it never stopped beating. It never knew that it was not supposed to be beating. The heart did not know that it was doing what it was not supposed to be doing. It just did it.

Question: What are you planning to do in 2012 that the world has told you that you cannot do? What are you planning to do in 2012 that is more awesome than a Heart In A Box?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Heart In A Box image courtesy of http://greysanatomyfans.wordpress.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

This is why I go to church…

by: ellis j. still

Recently I gave a speech at my local Toastmasters about my ancestors. In the mid 1800’s during the height of slavery, they taught themselves to read by studying the bible. They used to sneak bibles out of the house, and meet at a predetermined place (ravines, ditches, woods, etc.) to have church. Many of the famed accomplishments by slaves of that time were not on their own accord, as  most history books tell it, but out of their faith and fellowship with fellow believers in Christ.

Fast forward to 2011. On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, Tina and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary since we met. What is interesting is that when we met, I wasn’t looking for a relationship – on purpose.

At the time, it was maybe a year after I gave my life back to Christ. My life before then had been a mess… one of chaos and uncertainty fueled by bad choices, bad relationships, and addictions, simply because I did not know who I was. So when I got serious about my faith, I was purposely not looking for a relationship because I wanted to focus on growing in (and healing through) the things of Christ.

When I joined my church, there were many opportunities to get to know people and to make new friends. Othell Miller and I used to see each other all the time at church, and so he invited me to his birthday gathering at his house. Tina and I happened to be the first people there, we started talking, and it felt like we knew each other since the 5th grade. This friendship evolved into three-plus years of marriage.

Here are three benefits that I have experienced as a result of going to church:

  • Going to church creates relationships with people who are aligned in values, principles, and faith. These relationships expand far beyond Sunday, and into professional & personal arenas.  1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
  • Going to church helps the healing and delivering process, with the understanding that while no one is ever perfect, the goal to continually grow in faith & Christ and to be better than you were yesterday.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
  • Going to church is fun. Where else can you go that has a youthful & vibrant atmosphere, an awesome band with spirited Praise & Worship, has ministry groups where you can get involved to serve others or hang out, and to unexpectedly and unknowingly meet your future wife? Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

There are many more benefits to going to church… too many to name here. But the #1 reason is because God said so, and God doesn’t say things without it being for our benefit.  Acts 2:42 (ESV)

Question: What are some additional benefits to going to church? What are you thoughts on the subject? What is stopping you from going to church?

© 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 emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

Imagine…

By: ellis j. still

Imagine what it would be like to wake up one day, and you are homeless. Due to the passage of time, you can’t remember exactly how you got to this state of living, and you don’t care. All that remains is figuring out how to survive another day.

Imagine it is 105 degrees outside, and it will be a still-uncomfortable 90 degrees tonight. Imagine that you are deaf, and no one at the state offices knows sign language. The person behind the desk cannot fully understand your plight because of the communication gap, so they move on to the next person despite your needs still being unmet.

Imagine having to wander neighborhoods, knocking on doors to ask to rake the leaves, or trim the hedges, or help out in any other way in order to make money to eat. You are a hard worker, who never did drugs, drank alcohol, or smoked cigarettes. You have a servant’s heart, and you are genuine in your kindness to people. Most people dismiss your inquiries because of your speech problems due to being deaf and the fact that you are homeless, and are by nature afraid of you.

Imagine being abruptly waking up to being kicked and punched in the face by young thugs, looking for a late night thrill.  Because you are deaf, you never heard it coming, and because you are 59 years old, there is no way that you can defend yourself. Your is now jaw broken and bleeding. You spend three days in the hospital, but you cannot afford to fill the prescriptions needed for you to heal properly, or to mask the pain of the many bruises and broken jaw.

Imagine that it is three days later, and you still have to wear the same blood-soaked clothes in 100 degree weather.

Imagine that you are heartbroken, that people no longer has the compassion to help those in need.

Imagine that this is now your life.

This is a real and ongoing story of one man that I know named Tony, whose heart is soft and passionate despite the world being unkind to him. We tend to get irritated because of the economy when we can no longer afford life’s luxuries, and become ungrateful for what we do have. We take things like security, a roof over our heads, and health for granted. We forget that no matter what the situation is, it could always be worse. Moreover, when things do not go our way, we forget that we have a Savior. We have to remember to be thankful and appreciative for what we do have, and pray for those who have not. Tony knows where his strength is. Do you?

 Question: What are you thankful  for today?

© 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 emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

2011: The Year of Disillusion

By: ellis & tina still

Welcome to 2011!!! This will be the year of great expectations for TBB. We have some exciting events and new resources planned for the year, so keep your eyes open as we venture into new areas of service. We have thousands of new titles to browse, and beginning in February, we will have catalogs that you can download with all of the new and upcoming releases. We have partnered with Neilsen BookScan, so all of your purchases count towards national best seller lists, allowing you to support your favorite author. TBB has grown immensely in the short time that we have been open and we have you, our customers, to thank for that.

So, I guess you are wondering about the title of the blog: “2011: The Year of Disillusion”.  You are asking yourself what is that about?  We are supposed to start the year off positive, and speak life into the months to come, to have optimism that every area of our lives will be better than the last. That our business will grow; that we will advance at work; that our personal relationships will grow and be more fruitful, and that stress will no longer be a burden in our lives.  Every year we resolve to do something differently than the year before.  Every New Year we say that “this year will be our year”, but by the end of the year, we find ourselves in the same exact place… disillusioned.

This is a cycle that is easily repeated if you do not pay attention. You find yourself making the same or similar resolutions or declarations every year without noticing it.  After a while you stop making them all together, disappointed by hope.  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, self, what you are DOING differently from last year?  What changes have you made in your thinking?  In your actions?  Are you working harder and smarter? What are you doing to get yourself out of your comfort zone? What barriers are you removing from your life?  What are you loosing?  What are you binding up?  What changes have you made in the people you have around you, especially those who revel in your failures? How much quiet time have you dedicated to spend in prayer?

Faith without doing is not faith.  It’s just a word that has no weight to it. Your faith is fostered in your doing.  At some point you have to give your words some substance so that you can grow beyond anything you have ever imagined.  

In Habakkuk 2:2-3 is reads “Write what you see (Vision).  Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run,  The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.  It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait!  And doesn’t lie.  If it seems slow in coming, wait.  It’s on its way.  It will come right on time” (MSG).  What is your vision?  More importantly what is your plan?  What are your goals for this year?  In five years? In ten?  What are you doing to get better? Not in acquiring “things” but how are you growing?  How are you praying?  How are you developing yourself to be able to handle what God has in store for you?  How are you leading?  What have you cut out of your life, or out of your business?  What are you planning to do differently this year?  What changes are you making in the people you keep around you?  How will you grow together in marriage?  How will you grow in your singleness?  These are just some of the questions to ask yourself in your quiet time.  

Every year brings a new set of challenges. You got over the stumbling blocks of 2010. Rest assured there will be new ones in 2011. 

Question: How can you break the cycle?

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

Christians comparing Obama to Hitler: Are you serious???

By:  ellis j. still

 

“Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38  

 

My blog is not meant to be a political blog, yet there is an area of dialogue that stands out with me that I felt should be addressed to the best of my ability. During the 2010 Fourth of July holiday weekend I was received a Twitter text from the CEO of a Christian publishing company whose blogs I subscribe to. Many of his posts are uplifting and pertinent to the many facets of business and leadership, but a forward that he sent literally stopped me in my tracks, and infuriated me. It was titled “Socialism or Constitutionalism?” (See link: http://michaelcook.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/socialism-or-constitutionalism/ ). This is an area of discussion that people have strong opinions about. It is not my intention to cause offense, but to offer a different perspective of the subject matter at hand.

As Christians, the Bible teaches us that giving is better than receiving, and that in helping others, we are being a servant… we are being more like Jesus. But this is the very thing that people (surprisingly “Christians”) seem to have a problem with when it comes to the Obama administration… that it’s ok to help the poor, but as long as it isn’t coming out of “my” pocket. Likewise, the numbers in the articles are baseless in that every country has its own set of political and social dynamics that meet their tax structure, and therefore the United States’ tax structure would meet theirs.  

The author associates socialism with slavery, and thought out loud in his post:

“What if, citizens managed their own affairs, their own income, and through the prudence and common sense of average people, we used our personal freedoms to provide for the necessities of life.”?

The problem is that we live in the real world and not all things are on an equal playing field. For example, while anywhere from 13 to 15 percent of Americans are below the poverty line (depending on which poverty guideline chart is being used) that number increases to over 20 percent in Hispanic and African American communities. Many times it seems that the people that are criticizing have never had to deal with not being able to get a job because of their education, or their environment, or their race or socio economic status. Moreover, it seems like the people that are criticizing take the “hope” that they have for granted. I am not saying that people should not help themselves… people should take advantage of the opportunities as they are presented to them, but the reality is that government assistance is often the help needed to improve their socio-economic status so that they can take advantage of opportunities given to them. 

My wife and I, look financially sound on paper , but while we are not below the poverty level, with mortgage, car note, insurance, cable, phone, utilities, commuting cost and, oh yeah, food, we do not consider ourselves to be financially well off and yet, we have family and friends who are much worse off.  Individually, we would love to help everyone, but looking at our own financial situation, there’s no we would be able to help everyone, but collectively, we could make a difference.  Cal Ripken, Garth Brooks, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are well known for their charitable giving.  Jesus Christ gave the greatest gift of all to people less fortunate than Himself, his life.  The Bible speaks many times over about showing compassion to our fellow man, so if I feel that it’s ok to give to some who is less fortunate that I am then I would say that I’m in good company.  

President Lincoln, a socialist, was the founding father of the Republican Party who freed the slaves which was a great thing for not only the slaves, but for the country as a whole. People talk about wanting the era of big government to be over, but Government should be an instrument of good… a place where people come together, and no one gets left behind.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

-United States Constitution, Preamble

The phrase “We the People” indicates that the government of the United States “is, emphatically and truly, a government of the people,”… all people.

No one gets left behind.

 

Questions: What did Jesus say about loving your neighbor? How are you living this out in your life? How has your heart softened towards those who are less fortunate than you?

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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