Live from Hollywood — Forgiveness!

6 04 2013

I have been following Tullian Tchividjian for about 3 years now.  He is a powerful pastor and author.  His book, “Unfashionable” should be read by all.  He has a powerful way of preaching that appeals to many including myself.  Tullian has an active blog that I follow to gain insight.  On March 22nd, he had an entry called the “Fruits of Grace“.  I started to read the article when it diverged into a recent event in Hollywood.  Now I am very grateful for what the movie industry has done in bringing fiction and non-fiction alive.  I am consistently amazed at the imagination of men and women who work in the motion picture business.  They have a great eye for detail and in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Recently (and maybe always) the people of Hollywood have been a little less active in their profession and more active in the downward spiral of America.  They tend to have a large influence on the minds of Americans in this media focused world.  (Remember that this is my opinion)  But I love it when I see truth being projected from those whom face is in the lights.  Too many people expect the actor/actress to be same off camera and on.  I expect them to be real and to show their real side.  And that their “fruit” in life tells us how much or who they can coach.

Well, in the recent blog by Tullian, we see an amazing act of forgiveness and also, an expectation of forgiveness from others.  Robert Downey, Jr.  was given the “American Cinematheque Award, a prize given to an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures”.  A mouth full to say the least.  Most of us know Mr. Downey,Jr from the 80-90’s and recently with the Sherlock Holmes series and the Iron Man series.  He is probably considered one the top names in Hollywood right now.  With receiving this award, Robert can ask anyone he chooses to present it on stage, and he choose Mel Gibson.  Most of us have heard bits and pieces of Mel’s quick drop from the top.

With all this being said, here is Downey’s acceptance speech:

I asked Mel to present this award to me for a reason. Because when I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith—didn’t have to be his or someone else’s—as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired so he cast me in the lead in a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly, he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly—”hugging the cactus” he calls it—he said that if I “hugged the cactus” long enough, I would become a man of some humility and my life would take on new meaning. And I did and it worked. All he asked in return was that some day I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him. Or that some day was tonight.

Anyway, on this special occasion… I humbly ask that you join me—unless you are completely without sin (in which you picked the wrong… industry)—in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough. [And then they hug].

Wow!  What an act in the bright lights.  At complete risk of his own career, Downey gives and asks forgiveness.  Someone at the bottom and someone at the top can work!  What if we used this as an example of grace in our life?  What if we were to give more hands up and less hands out?  What if we were to truly give from ourselves and expect nothing in return? Our neighborhoods can be like this once again.  It just takes you.  The whole “Pay it forward” theory.  My friends and mentors in the Life company believe in the motto of “making a difference”.  Check it out for yourself and you will see it LIVE.

God bless,  Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart!





Leadershift….More than just a book

24 03 2013

LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead

This highly anticipated book by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille is within weeks of publish date.  Those of you who have followed Orrin’s blog have likely been mesmerized by the little sampling from their book.  His recent article,

Jeff Daniels, American Freedoms & LeaderShift

may take you by surprise. (click on the title to go directly to the article)  Daniels uses language that is not “child-friendly”, but in an abrasive line of truth, he explains our “American Disease”.  I must compel the readers to watch the whole video or you will miss the point of it.  I believe this is the factor that prevents most of America from changing the downward spiral of freedom.  Most pull up or check out or turn off, when they should be driving forward.  Take a few short minutes and really take in the facts.

 Now do your future and the future of our country a service and watch the next video in the article.  What if we could take a small parable and bring it to life?  What if we could put our ego’s aside and started looking at the possibility of “shifting” our country’s future for the generation to come?  What if we could lead them to freedom?  I believe we have two men that have made a decision to give direction to the masses, because they choose hope over fear.  Won’t you join Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille and create a “Leadershift”? We can do our Duty to stop the Decline.   Because we can!

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816

God bless,  Aron

Steel the Mind and Tender the Heart.





Faker vs. Poser : More than the Same

25 09 2012

Chris Brady‘s [best-selling author of Launching a Leadership Revolution and Rascal] recent release through the Team system, “Depth or Psychiatry” struck a chord with me.  He has a statement of “Fakers vs Posers”.  The claim is one of “Fakers” will present a false self and make claims that they have achieved or gained something that they have not, while “Posers” are achievers in process, and have the look and mind-set to attain their goals.  This was brought to life on Saturday when I got a chance to take my son to an old fashion auction.  The items included garage stuff, farm equipment, and whole bunch of firearms.  Talk about a “man-sale”.  Tons of great stuff available, but also, tons of people watching. Everyone registers for a bidding number and talks the “big talk”- what everything is worth and how many items they will leave with.  As consistently as ever,  people act like they know something about something, but when the bidding starts, the “faker” shows the rest of the world he is missing the courage of his previous convictions.  His or her number never comes up in the bidding war.

Chris puts a stark difference between the words of faker and poser, and more important, the titles given to people.  As God would have it, Brady’s talk also aligns with the new release of Oliver DeMille‘s talk “The Culture of Freedom and How to Spread It!” [LIFE 62]. Oliver talks of 5 traits required to turn a nation toward freedom.  One of these traits is “sensus plenior” which means multiple senses.  This is the characteristic of looking at questions, objects, situations, and written words with multiple meanings not just one.  With my want to define both “poser” and “faker” only as the same, Chris raised my eyebrow to something significant different.

Let’s dive into these two titles and see where it leads us.

I first wanted to see how the world defines them.  Wikipedia defines “faker” as a charlatan, someone who fakes, and/or a person who makes deceitful pretenses.  This is a tough title to say the least, but we all seem to know a “faker” when we are around one.  John Eldridge, author of Wild at Heart, gives some insight by stating that every man’s deepest fear is to be exposed, to be found out, or to be discovered as an impostor and not really a man.  This brings back the meaning to the old 80’s song line by Billy Joel, “When that old stranger comes along” .  Some have a mask/false self that allows them to fit in with the “norm”, and as Chris Brady declares in Rascal, the “committee of They” determines the norm.   The problem is that no one knows who “they” are.  Most don’t want to feel like they are outside of the crowd.  But as I researched the data,  it became abundantly clear that the one that is faking knows for sure that they are playing a false game.  The “faker” appears to be self-imposed.  John Owen claims this mind-set  is like a strong castle with a treacherous party residing inside (ready to betray at the first opportunity possible).  The castle cannot be kept safe from the outside   enemy because the real problem is within.   If we are “fake” to our self, we will be eaten from within.  The “faker” knows it and labels themselves as what they have become.  Dale Carnegie states “when dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity”.

In contrast, Wikipedia defines “poser” as one governed not by the clothes, music, or make-up you wear, but rather by the state of mind and the conformity to their own beliefs.  This is an individual whom is original and self-guided, but gets labeled by others because they cannot see the individual’s vision.  Orrin Woodward once said that a man with a clear vision of his goals looks like a greyhound running after the rabbit around the track.  The only problem is that the spectators cannot see the rabbit.  The “poser” sees the world as it will be, but keeps their feet in reality, in order to get traction to move forward.  Sounds like we need more “posers” and less “fakers”.

Let’s do our part to turn the table toward “posers”.  Posing requires a vision, the clear image of an expected tomorrow.  As Lou Holtz proclaims, “every victory is won before the game is played”  It is about setting the expectation and adding courage.  Vince Poscente in the ant and the Elephant, puts it this way, “Make a commitment to positive dominant thoughts. Shift beliefs, attitudes, and truths so they are aligned with your vision. Envision having the goal rather than merely wanting the goal”.  Now take that commitment and focus on forward.  This is all mixed with a powerful dose of imagination.

Now, each step you take is like practice for the future and will be like “a drop in the bucket”.  With each drop,  the bucket gets closer to full which is the fulfillment of the vision.  Every great athlete or team makes their practices feel, look, and sound like the real thing.  “The more you sweat in practice, the less in bleed on the field” Marcus Lattrel.   Take a lesson from my son, Sam.  No matter the object, he can make his finger, his hand, a piece of wood, a stone, or any toy into a “real” race car.  Is he faking it or just planning for the future through what Einstein called, “the preview of life’s coming attraction”?  In my mind, Sam is a “poser” and you may need his level of imagination to see the truth.

Let’s end this with a great example from Gus Lee’s book, Courage.  –Major H. Norman Schwarzkopf was teaching a class at West Point during the author’s time as a cadet.  One day, the Major decided, “I will teach you the meaning of leadership and courage”.  The author knew that Major Schwarzkopf was a great man, and he was the academy’s most highly decorated combat veteran of the new controversial war in Vietnam.  He said ” Imagine that you and the troops for which you are responsible are on the international border. The enemy can cross it and strike at you without impunity.  But you can’t cross the border and  that order comes from the commander-in-chief.  Now every night, the enemy crosses the border to kill and wound your men, who are Vietnamese Airborne volunteers in your care.  And every night, you chase the enemy, but they escape at the border, where you stop, as you are ordered.  Here’s the question: when the enemy hits you again tonight, do you pursue them over the line?  Or do you follow orders and halt at the border?  The Major asked for questions.  Hands went up.  “If we cross it, will it start a new war?” No.  “If we cross the border, can we destroy the enemy?” Yes.  “If we cross it and get caught, are we in big trouble?” Absolutely. Your president will be very displeased. With you. Personally.  Gentlemen, [should you] STOP or GO?  The author and many others stated to “STOP” with the belief that one should ever disobey orders of the president.  A few wrote “GO” and the major smiled.  He said that there are two kinds of people in the world: leaders and careerists. Leaders have character. They act for what is right and would die for their men.  Careerists are self-centered, and self-absorbed.  They act out of selfishness and sacrifice their men for a promotion.  They save their skin instead of others’.  Careerists can’t lead.  Major finished by saying that leaders cross the border. Destroy the enemy to protect your men. Then they take the personal consequences to their career, knowing that they violated an order but acted for what is right. They feel pride in getting court-martialed and being reduced to private—

You choose–  Faker or Poser. Or as Major Schwarzkopf says, Careerist or Leader.

“Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every

man was such as you, and every life a life

like yours, this earth would be God’s paradise”

Phillips Brooks

God bless,  Aron

Steel the Mind and Tender the Heart.





The Mental Fitness Challenge

7 05 2012

Between the comments by multiple people in my life and two leaders in the world today- Chris Brady and Bill Lewis, I believe everyone should be striving with their family, friends, and co-workers to challenge each other with the Mental Fitness Challenge.

90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge

What a grand challenge!  For the last 10 years, I have been emersed in the self-improvement and leadership environment and as I go through the MFC, I find myself constantly being encouraged to be more.  In a world that believes that just by doing more will translate into a “win”, I feel through the 1st 8 days, I am called to be more.  In the 1st CD (MFC1 – 13 Resolutions for Life), Orrin Woodward talks about true involvement in any worthwhile endeavor requires mind, heart, and will.  He demostrates how the “soul can be schooled” through the improvements of each area.

In the 2nd CD (MFC2- Self-directed Education), Chris Brady coins the phrase “Refe-vival-ssance”  ( I apologize for the spelling. This is my guess of the correct spelling).  This is the concept of three needs in today’s world. 1) Reformation –  A return to the truth in all aspects. 2) Revival – An excitement of multiple generations and individuals talking and living the truth. 3) Renaissance – An appreciation of the beauty of art, music, and literature without the loss of truth.

I will not take away your joy 0f a true challenge of becoming who God meant you to be and being comfortable in your own skin. Grab the package and grab some friends.  I Dare you to take the  Challenge — The Mental Fitness Challenge!!

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.





I was born for the Storm….

17 01 2012

I hope you get a chance to read Bill Lewis’s recent blog, Are You Feeding Your Elephant? , and watch the short video.  What an amazing time of fun and celebration.  Just the thought of taking our buddies for a weekend to play and enjoy life is so exciting for Mary and I.  We build the LIFE business for these times.

Now I know that there may be one or two people out there that look at the adventure of driving cars and may say, “What a waste of time”.  But I would plead with you to continue reading.  Maybe no one else has ever felt like — It must be nice, or They are just showing me what they have and what I don’t have, or I’m not part of that group, or My situation will never allow me to have that.  Well I appreciate your sentiment because I have been there.  I want to give you a glimpse into what I have found.

A couple of years back, I heard a speaker say that she worked under the principle of — Have fun, Make money, and Make a Difference.  At least that is what she attempted to say.  The young lady misspoke and said, “Make funny..”   She quickly made the correction and moved on, but I am not so sure it was a slip of the tongue.  How many have heard that, “Life is fun”?  Some may say “Well, it ain’t fun, for sure!” But what if we could make the decision to Make funny — make our life fun.  Not pursue fun for fun sake, but find the humor in things without losing its importance.  Orrin Woodward– recipient of the 2011 IAB  Top Leader Award, exemplifies this attitude.  I picked him up at the airport a couple of days ago and he had a swagger about him that reminded me of a quote by President Andrew Jackson, “I was made for the Storm, the calm does not suit me”.  Not the steely-eyed conviction that grows with conflict like a General Patton, Maximus, or King Leonidas, which Orrin can produce if needed. But the attitude that whatever is going on, God planned it for good, so I am going to smile and enjoy the growth.  We can learn volumes from this.  What a pleasure to be around people like this.  They don’t make light of the situation, but bring light into the situation.   

What if we could take our moments and feed our elephant with fun?  What could change in our day if we didn’t take ourselves so seriously?  What if we woke up tomorrow and said that we were going to go out today and make someone smile?  What if in that process, you could discover their dreams and give them a picture of it?  Paying off a debt? Traveling to a warm island?  Driving that specific car?  Helping a loved one?  Spending time with a loved one?  Writing a check to a certain charity?

 I highly recommend listening to LLR 473  “Sprezzatura” by Chris Brady.   He illustrates this point so well.  Take time to enjoy and make fun part of your life.

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.





Attacking Goliath — Overcoming

14 12 2011

Bill Lewis recently published an incredible blog on facing one’s goliaths.

I would impress upon each one of you to take the time to read his blog.  I have been eye-witness to the characteristic of overcoming by Bill.  A lot of individuals in today’s world of ‘experts’ have great advice on how to make changes in your life, but there are few men who talk through action and mentor from experience.  The LIFE business that Bill co-founded has a stated purpose to change lives through information and association in the 8F’s (faith, family, finances, freedom, following, friends, fitness, and fun).  Change is only temporary if there is no paradigm shift as Stephen Covey states. Leaders like Bill make their life, a pursuit of their obstacles.  Chase them down and destroy them for those that follow.

The point I want to make is this.   Are you attacking the goliath’s in your life or are you cowering on the sidelines.  I am experienced on both sides.  It is not easy to face the goliath’s that we have in our lives but it is necessary for growth.  In leadership and life you are getting ripe or you are going rotten.  The second you stop facing goliath’s and growing from the experience you are beginning to rot.  It is even more of a tragedy if you have a mentor that can help you defeat goliath but you still choose to run circles.— Bill Lewis

Mark Batterson stated that we are imprisoned by what we know.  This profound statement is true for all people.  What we don’t know and what we do know keeps us put.  And ‘put’ is on our backside wishing there was another way.  As Bill stated, the rocks were right in front of David and likely all answers are just before us. Most answers are found through the use of faith.  Some come as new experiences but most come through the courage to ask someone who has gone through the minefield 1st.  “Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive” states Batterson.  Take the time to find a mentor in life. The benefits are far-reaching and life changing.  Then as we fight our ‘goliaths’, we have a wing-man to endure the fight.  Discover those goliaths and hunt them down!  Happy hunting!

I would also recommend you grab ahold of and listen to the audio CD’s “Facing your Goliath” and “Developing your David” by Orrin Woodward

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.





Grace and the AGO Series

4 12 2011

Recently the first instalment of the AGO series through LIFE featured the “Con of Man” by Chris Brady.

Chris has an incredible way of utilizing the Scripture to explain the ‘3C’s of Heaven and Hell’.  I would highly recommend you request to borrow or purchase this audio.  Whether you are one who considers yourself on a strong foundation or one confused on what is meant by a ‘foundation’, I believe this talk will enrich your life.  From the “foolishness of preaching’ wisdom is found.  Now I may lose my large following of readers at this point(likely it is now 1 – my wife, Mary) secondary to the thought of “here we go again. Another person who is going to preach to me”.  Just hold on.  Maybe even hold on tight.  I will at least give you something to comment on.

A couple of days ago, a friend of my father’s called me to tell me a story of his father.  I will do my best to retell the story. 

Several years ago, Fred’s father was approached by an oil drilling company in regards to drilling on their property.  The father was told that their was a large deposit of petroleum and that they would receive revenue checks for many years with the drilling.  The prospect came true and several checks began to flow in(no pun intended).  During this same time, Fred’s father was going through some strife with the grandmother.  To make the story short, the father ended up in a shouting match and cursed the existence of the oil well.  Fred happened to be there on this day, and thought in his heart when the great blessing of the revenue checks would literally dry up.  Sure enough, 6 weeks later, two representatives of the oil company knocked on the father’s house to tell him they were going to stop the pumping because the well was found unprofitable.  The pump was pulled. The well was capped, and the land returned to a corn field. [now hold on…   You may be one of those people, like I once was. “These two events are related?  For real?  Let’s get down to earth here!”  Just hold on and read on]

20 years go by…   Fred is now helping his father with some tree trimming.  Conversation breaks out with the father stating that another oil company came by a couple of days earlier to ask to drill on the former site again.  Apparently, the deposit is still there.  The father told the company with some excitement to begin drilling!  Fred hears this story and is amazed.  He asks his father to sit down and tells him the story(unknown to the dad) of being in the house the day of the argument and then the ensuing termination of the pumping well.  Fred expresses to his father about the need to follow God’s law and God’s rich grace and mercy to us.  His blessings to us without the deserving and His rich forgiveness through His Son. “God so loved the world…” John 3:16.   He stated to his father that God was giving the well back as a great gesture of mercy.  He stressed to his dad to watch his thoughts and words and know that this is God’s work.  Fred’s father dismissed the conversation as nothing of importance and within 2 hours, the father was back to his old ways of cursing and blaspheme.  Fred had remembered a story in the Old Testament very similiar where a captain mocked God and was killed within sight of a reward.  Fred’s dad observed the rich blessing of the oil well but died 22 days before the revenue checks returned again to his house. 

Fred told me that he remembered 2 Kings 6:24-7-20; known as the siege of Samaria. I encourage each and everyone to read this story.  The impact of the King, the Captain, and Elisha are far-reaching and impactful.  Whether you treat the Bible as a book of fables or as the Word of God, you know that the something can be gained from truth.  As I read through this passage, one comes to an understanding that there are powers at work that work for the good of His people and the glory of God. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…” Romans 1:20.  The King finds the truth in asking of God for help.  Elisha, a man of great wisdom, is there to expound on the Truth seeing what others don’t believe.  While the Captain, sees the blessings of God, but never gets to experience the blessings secondary to his mockery of God.  Now I am not one of the “Health and Wealth gospel” thinking. This states that good comes to those that are good and bad to those whom are bad.  So if you are only getting bad right now, you need to change something to experience God’s blessings. Read the story of Job and your thoughts will stray away from this.  But, I do believe God does want to bless His people and there is a lot of people out their that mock this Truth.  He asks for full submission in the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the Cross. 

As Fred told me this story and encouraged me to read this passage from the Old Testament, I felt the deep concern God has for His children.  I have a deep interest in my children and only want what is needed for their well-being.  God reflects this and is concerned about you.  Look to Him in prayer and seek out someone in your path to help you with God’s great message of good news.  My prayer is for all you to have a personal relationship with your Savior.  As leaders, we need a rock to be our foundation.  Many are counting on us.  Look to the Truth.    And may I suggest looking into the AGO series from LIFE at www.the-life-business.com

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.