View Post

A New Path Forward: Do Good. Do It Well. Do It Together.

In Announcement by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

(photo credit: Martin Smith via Flickr)

(photo credit: Martin Smith via Flickr)

Well, it’s time to dust off the ole blog. I know—blogging feels so old these days. Content is still king, though; folks want to consume. At least, I do; I’m always looking for fresh, powerful voices.

I’ve struggled to be frank with my own voice as a blogger. There are so many good things to write about, so many vital conversations to be had. I’ve been through a mental wrestling match trying to convince myself that I need to focus on this or that. Even when I’d determine a logical thing to say or do, I wouldn’t have peace to follow that pathway; it felt too restrictive.

So, I’ve finally landed on a clear vision—a way forward—that I hope will be helpful and will add value to you, the reader. I want to help you live a better, more fulfilled life. If that does not happen, then this blog is a waste of time.

Pathway One: Do Good

I spend my days building a tribe of amazing people; people who are brilliant, compassionate, and generous. The Help One Now tribe brings life to my soul, and I’m so humbled to be able to work and do life with all of you. My hope for this blog is to help you and others live a spectacular life so that doing good, loving your neighbor, and serving the least of these is core to who you are and why you live. (Tweet that!)

Love wins, love is better, love is needed. The world is broken–too broken, it seems, to even watch the nightly news. It’s just too overwhelming and heartbreaking.

So, the question I ask is this: what is going to change the world? The answer is simple: You.

Your small and big acts of kindness–the way you love, give, and go with us. You’ve already helped me help others; now, I want to play a small part of helping you do the same. Together, we can live an outward-focused life and create beauty in the midst of all the broken.

Pathway Two: Do it Well

Many of you are leading organizations, churches, and businesses that have a mission to give back, to make a difference, to literally change the world for good. I want to help you.

Many of you are also wrestling with doing good and doing it well as individuals. You’re looking to maximize your impact, connect with others, and live a life that matters and creates change–small or big. Again, I want to help.

I want this blog to be a resource for organizations and social innovators. I want to share about the failures and successes that I’ve experienced while leading Help One Now. My desire is for this blog to be a massive resource for those who need help and for those who are trying to build an organization that matters. Yet, these posts will also resonate with individuals as well.

Pathway Three: Do it Together

We need each other. We need to learn how to live in community, share wisdom, and help each other succeed. (Tweet that!) We need to understand data and trends, and we also must have tough conversations that will cause tension, for wisdom lives on the other side of that conflict. This will give us space to process the tough questions, find better solutions, and solve problems that matter.

My hope is to create powerful series of posts in each of these categories. Furthermore, I will start sending exclusive content every Friday. You be able to gain a little insight into books that I’m reading, links and articles that have challenged me and that will help you do good, do it well, and do it together. I’ll also include a quick nugget–maybe 200 words or less. Just a little something to make you think. So, if you’re not subscribed to my newsletter, do it now. It will add tons of value without creating more noise to your world. 

I’m excited to relaunch this blog, create value for each of you, and build a community of people who care for one another. My hope is that we will help each other live a life that matters, that creates impact, and that gets us excited to wake up each and every day to see how we can help the world become a brighter place — a place where we can do good, do it well, and do it together.

Struggle for Progress — Together we Build

Chris Marlow

View Post

Scratching the Surface

In Leadership by ChrisMarlow2 Comments

Haitiwindow

When you run a growing organization, there are moments when you sense that something has changed or is changing. You work hard for a season to accomplish certain outcomes, and they happen. You take a step back, pause, reflect and then, get back to work.

This is how you grow; this is how success comes to life. For Help One Now, we’ve had a few moments like this:

1) 2012 Legacy Project

2) Key individuals joining our board.

3) Love Hope Trip in 2014

4) The 2014 Foundation Gala in Northwest Arkansas.

5) The acquisition of another non-profit in 2014.

6) Vision trip with MLB players in 2015.

Each of these moments catapulted us to the next level.

This past week I was in Haiti, and one of our local leaders asked me to consider doing a project that would cost more than a million dollars. This project would be innovative and the impact would be beyond what I could have possibly imagined, when we launched in 2009.

As we were talking, I realized that we’re simply just scratching the surface of what Help One Now can accomplish in the next decade. If we don’t screw it up, if we stay humble, if our hearts stay pure, what we can accomplish is beyond what I could have imagined six years ago when we started Help One Now.

I’m excited and a little scared–filled with both hope and fear. I will have to grow as a leader, and our team will have to grow as well, and I will have to keep reminding myself to work hard, stay committed, have fun and believe that God can do the impossible.

If you’re launching an organization, fight hard for these moments that create breakthroughs. Each breakthrough will make your life harder, but these are the moments that create the impact you need to grow and fulfill your mission. Then you will look back and realize that you too are just scratching the surface of what you can accomplish.

View Post

The Life-Giver, Self-Builder and Critic

In Simple Good by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

What Kind of Person Are You?

photo credit

In your daily life, there tends to be three types of people that you encounter:

1) The Self-Builders: They focus on building their own kingdom. They’re not really interested in what’s going on outside of their box. Their energy, dreams, cash, and time are focused on what they desire to do. These folks miss an opportunity to bring life to the world because they’re so fixated on their own life to care.

2) The Critics: These people are always putting others down, finding fault, looking to destroy. Critics can do this in subtle ways: “Oh ya, that person… they were successful because they got lucky.” Most critics are folks who can’t achieve the success they want, so they get angry at other who do.

Often, critics own the fact that they’re critical and they outright flame everyone and embrace the reputation of a critic. Usually, this person builds a platform on the backs of the mistakes of others. They’re always ready to pounce on what they perceive as inferior, when what they are really feeling is insecurity from their own lack of creativity.

3) The Life-Giver: This person is always encouraging people. They love when other people succeed, they don’t fall into the envy trap, they forgive, they deal with conflict in a healthy way, and they care for you more than they care for themselves. When they offer criticism, it’s with humility, grace, and love. They are the folks who change the world.

Traits of A Life Giver

1) They are a joy to be around

Life-givers are just a joy to be around. When they walk into the room, they bring hope. They’re more focused on others than on themselves. I intentionally surround myself with life-givers, because they make me better and they give me hope. I also want to be a life giver. I want to root for people. I want to help others succeed; I want to be their biggest cheerleader.

As for the critic?

I almost always stay away from the critic. They’re always whining. The critic is usually jealous, frustrated, and angry. They hate that other are successful, and they always focus on what’s going wrong in life, as opposed to all the amazing work that is going right. It’s true what they say: you can never please a critic. They may smile on the outside, but they will eventually tear you apart when the times comes.

I almost always ignore the critic. I don’t have time or mental energy to deal with their negativity.

2) You can disagree with them and still respect them

Signs of a true life-giver: they’re not perfect, and they have an opinion. Life-givers can be critical as well, but they have a different end-goal. They don’t want to destroy you or build their platform on your failures.

When you disagree with a life-giver, you can respect them and they still respect you. You stop and listen when they speak. You know their heart is right; they’re not trying to win a war. The critic wants to win. They don’t care about collateral damage. So, yes, you can disagree with a life-giver–you can even argue with a life-giver–but when it is all said and done, you know they care about you, respect you, and will honor you even in the midst of a disagreement.

In a social media driven world, where everyone has an opinion, this life-giving trait is critical.

3) They make the biggest impact

I’m convinced that life-givers make the biggest impact in the world. They’re positive and loving, and they usually focus on helping other people win. They’re not focused on building their kingdom; they are focused on helping you build your kingdom.

They give you their time, they offer their talents and gifts, they often open up their networks, and they always make you feel better about yourself.

When you succeed, they congratulate you. When you fail, they come, help pick you up and get you back on your feet. Meanwhile, the critic will blog about you, or in his or her heart, quietly be happy that you failed. The self-builders will ignore you; they just do not care about your failure or success. They are too consumed with themselves

Life-givers are a gift to the world. I work with them daily, for we partner with these kinds of people around the globe, and the people who serve on our board also reflect these traits.

So, the real question is this: who are you? Are you a life giver, a critic, or a self-builder?

When Life Is Overwhelming

In Missional Living by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

When Life Is Overwhelming

I often meet folks who want to lead something–a business, a church, a nonprofit, whatever. They are in the dream phase. Their plan makes sense on paper, but paper doesn’t always account for the risk. These individuals may not have the chops to fully execute their dreams.

They ask me questions about the “how”. They almost always hate my answer.

Q: How did you build Help One Now?

“I worked really hard for a really long time.”

Q: Um, ya, okay.. but what did you do? Show me the magic! Give me the code!

“I worked really hard for a really long time.”

It’s not talent, education, or cash flow. The foundation for success comes with fierce determination and a lot of hard, but very smart, work.

When Work Is Overwhelming

I’ve spent most of this morning working through travel (nightmare) logistics. It’s complicated. I don’t stress much, but travel logistics often boils my blood and knots my stomach.

If I had my way, I would cancel all the trips and stay home. I would love to spend more time in Raleigh and create rhythms. But–that is not my call.

Starting in mid-May and going until the end of June, I leave for Haiti, then I speak at a church in Charlotte, and then I’m off to Dallas to share at the City Sending Conference. Then I leave for 2.5 weeks to Japan and Thailand, with a little Burma and Laos mixed in. I mean, we need to spice stuff up, right?

Around the World Trip

Around the World Trip

Of course, I have three or four other domestic trips, as well as possible trips to the Dominican Republic in July and the Congo in August. Right now, those trips are still up in the air.

And, I’m working on this other side project–my book. I will need to do a complete rewrite of the book based on the feedback my editor will be giving to me before I leave on my Japan/Thailand trip.

Who Is Guiding You?

I’ve been very fortunate to be close with friends who live a much more hectic life than I do; they have been gracious and shared some road warrior pro tips with me. These tips have helped me manage the chaos and deal with the pressure.

The bottom line is this: if you’re going to make an impact and build something great and pursue your dreams, you will have seasons where collisions happen all over the place.
And those collisions can be overwhelming.

Crash and Burn or Hustle and Rest

The Help One Now team hustles. We run hard–week in and week out. We have learned that you cannot take anything for granted. One week, we’re on top of the world; the next week, we are fighting for our lives. Don’t get me wrong; we are not workaholics. 80% of the time, we demand our team to be done with work at 5:30PM.

Usually we work hard for months and then, we have breakthroughs. Those breakthroughs creates the momentum and impact we need as an organization to fulfill our mission and resource our leaders. But, here’s the thing: you can’t control the timing or size of each breakthrough.

In the last few months, God has been gracious and connected us with some massive opportunities with Major League Baseball players in the US and Japan. When I throw in some speaking gigs that I committed to months ago and the book deadline and some “oh my, that opportunity came out of nowhere,” the chaos really kicks into high gear.

This is not us saying “Yes” to everything, this is us affirming the very best opportunities so we can create the most significant impact possible.

I’m sure you can also relate to this. No doubt, you also face intense pressure in your life and often, the pressure seems so acute, so overwhelming.

So, how do we handle the pressure and deal with the chaos?

1) Perspective: I have to often pinch myself and remember when Help One Now was a “multi-hundred dollar” nonprofit. It helps me reframe the stress and remember the potential impact that these seasons in life will make.

2) Blessings: It’s such a blessing to travel to countries like Thailand and Japan. Yes, logistics are crazy and travel is exhausting. But I have take a step back and remember how fortunate I am. (Plus, on this trip, I will get to take my entire family!) This helps me focus on the positive, which far outweigh the negatives!

3) Seasons: This kind of travel and pressure are not sustainable long term. For six weeks, I will put my head down, knowing that I can see the finish line. This is not normal; before I know it, the season will have passed, the memories will have been made, and the impact will be living in the tangible. It is just a season; it’s not my entire life.

4) Mission: Study Scripture just for a moment and you see the hustle, the determination, the fight in all the key biblical players. Life is hard and has demands. Part of being a disciple is learning how to rely on God’s strength and wisdom in times where it seems as if we cannot make it.

5) Rest: Often, we want to rest more than work. But, that makes no sense. True rest, deep rest, soul-fulfilling rest can only be experienced when the work has been accomplished. (Tweet This)

These moments of rest connect us to living a life that matters, to one that creates beauty.

I believe in rest now, more than ever. Slow down, speed up, slow down, speed up. This seems to be the ebbs and flow of a life well lived.

When life is overwhelming, just remember to take a step back, reassess, and try to understand the big picture.

View Post

I Hit Submit and Cried

In Writing by ChrisMarlow3 Comments

142831471248206

 

I Hit Submit and Cried

(Ok. I didn’t actually cry.)

It was 4:30 Tuesday afternoon and a gorgeous spring day in Raleigh. I left the office and headed to BREW, my usual third-place joint.

I opened my computer. Like most, it’s a Mac. Opening a Mac is like a sacred experience; you do it over and over and yet it always feels amazing. Design matters.

I had been writing and editing like a madman the week before. I worked 14-hour days for 5 days in a row. Over the weekend, Ken  did some key edits because my grammar and spelling is–well–not all that great. So, folks like Ken rescue me from myself, keep my agent from firing me and my editor from laughing at me.

I dragged my mouse across the screen, and double-clicked the Word doc. (And, for the record, when you write a book, you still have to use Word. It’s terrible.) I added the the document, with it’s 60,000 + words, to my email program and hit “send.”

I felt a sense of relief and terror. I have no clue if I wrote the best book in the world or the worst book ever. My biggest fear is that it is average.

What if the book is average? What if my editor hates it? So, far, I’ve collected feedback and it has been pretty positive.

Usually.

A few weeks ago, I took my youngest daughter to the library. It is one of her favorite places in the world.

I had printed out the book and was reading through it. She decided to start reading as well. She smiled and started laughing. I thought: “Oh, this is awesome; maybe I’m super funny.”

Who knows? Maybe a million middle schoolers will buy the book and it will help them change the world.

Of course, my hopes were dashed when she said: “Dad, you really got four F’s in 9th grade English?” I did make her laugh, but not because the book was funny. (Honestly, I can’t even…)

The book is not done–not even close. In theory, if it’s not the worst book ever written, my editor will suggest changes. She will rescue my stupidity. Of course, my job is to give her something good to rescue. Hopefully, I’ve done my job.

Now, I get a chance to step back, breathe, and allow the content to have its space. Then, I will tackle the next rewrite.

This June, it will be three years since Jen told me I needed to write a book in the security line at the Miami Airport, it will be two years since I started to talk to literary agents, and it will be eight months since we started to shop the proposal.

I have so much more respect for authors. Writing is like a battle. You battle with time, words, and confidence. You get lost in the process.

But, you also fall in love with writing and all of her challenges, because maybe–just maybe–a few (million) folks will read it, the words will matter, and the world will be better.

I’m clinging to that hope.

March Is For (Panic) Writing

In Writing by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

interactive_fiction

March Is For (Panic) Writing

Jen sends me this text last week: “How’s the writing coming along?”

Me: “Good, I think. I mean, how do you know? It may be the worst or best words ever penned.“

Jen: “You got this… trust me!

To a rookie, first-time author, that is like telling a person who is speaking in public for the first time, not to worry. “There’s no need to be nervous. What could happen?”

Well, everything could happen, duh!

  • You could forget to zip up your fly, so people will stare at you all awkwardly and you won’t know why, until AFTER you speak.
  • You could cry in front of lots of people. No biggie, I do it all the time.
  • You could freeze up and shake like a shivering dog who just got out of the bathtub.
  • You could stumble all over your own words–again and again and again!

Look, friends. Lots of stuff can go wrong.

Then, I have this lightbulb moment and realize that I basically have ONE MONTH until my April 1st deadline to turn in my manuscript.

(TOTAL FREAK OUT, PEOPLE!)

#breathe #breathe #signupforyoga #callmycounselor #idonthaveacounselor #doineedacounselor #icantaffordacounselor #willmypublisherpayforacounselor

Thoughts start rushing through my brain, faster than normal, which is hard, because my brain is always in rush mode. It was something like a highway full of speeding cars, but this new reality makes me feel like I’m on a bullet train and I’m just trying to catch my breath.

I realize:

  • I have one month to make this book the best possible book I can make it.
  • I have one month to rewrite every single word, edit it, rewrite it again, and edit.
  • I have one month that will determine if this book stinks, is good, or maybe… great!?
  • I have one month that will determine the possible impact this book can have on the leaders, kids, and communities we serve around the world.

No pressure.

One month will then become three weeks, then two weeks, then one week, then.. “oh my, I need an extension please.”  My editor just shed a tear (sorry Stephanie!)

Life in the Help One Now world has been amazing, but chaotic as of late. So far this year, I’ve only been home once for the entire week. And that week, we had the entire team, along with Charles and Ty, in-town for marketing and product development meetings.

We have a NEW opportunity that is one of those “too good to be true” kind of opportunities. Of course, that means TWO more trips in March.  Opportunities are always like that; they come quickly and you have to seize them or they move on to the next person.

And, writing on the road does not happen for me. I cannot write when I travel (unless anybody wants to pay for me to upgrade to 1st class?). The airline industry was obviously not considering writers when they decided to jam one billion seats into a flying tube. I have permeant elbow scars from all my travels.

So, I need your help friends!

1) Pray.

2) Pray harder.

3) Pray more, harder 🙂

4) And… if I don’t return an email, a call, or a text, consider this an apology. I’m going into a cave, a sea of coffee shops. I’ve rented a table at BREW. My little home office will become a prison. Distractions will be my number one enemy, an enemy that will make or break the possible impact.

So,

I’m stocking up on coffee.  (I just called my dealer)

Waking up early… and going to bed late. (see above)

Turning on the music. (Explosions in the Sky to the rescue)

Asking for the Holy Spirit to lead me forward. If not, I’m toast.

If Help One Now does anything wrong, in the next month, blame Jon, Lamar or Payton. 🙂

And…I’m going to do my best to write words that you will love to read. (if you don’t buy the book, just consider our friendship on permanent hold until we get to heaven. (I’m mostly kidding!)

Apparently some folks have hard time promoting their own books. This will not be the case for me. I apologize now, but I will be:

Filling up the trunk of my car. (hello, I’ve been doing that all my life)

My wife’s trunk too.

Do you want your trunk filled up? Let me know! I’m going to need your help.

My kids will be going door to door. I’m paying them, so no child labor issues.

I believe in this book. I believe it will make an impact in the world, and I believe it will make an impact on your life.

Now, I have one month to prove it. One month to turn pro and do work that matters!

Love you all–see you in April!

Egypt, Persecution and Love

In Current Affairs by ChrisMarlow

 

Egypt, Persecution and Love

For Christmas, my wife and I gifted my daughters a quick trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. As we were driving back yesterday, I saw the news of ISIS killing 21 Egyptian Christians. I spent a week with Egyptian church leaders in 2008, so this news is extremely personal to me.

I love the culture, history, and people of Egypt. They’re kind, humble warrior types. Egypt is unique in so many ways. It is considered a bridge to the West for the rest of the Middle East/North Africa countries, as they are a modern society. Rich and poor live together in a world that is always shifting.

The church is somewhat free, but not really. It’s not as if you can just go plant a church in Egypt. If memory serves me right, you need government permission and you have to go through a bunch of red tape to start a church.

Egyptian Christians are considered second class. It’s not illegal to be a Christian in Egypt, especially if you are born into a Christian family. But, you are treated differently in a culture that is 85/90% Muslim, most of which follow Sharia Law (according to Wikipedia).

Yet, Cairo is also very Western. Big malls, fashion, Starbucks, and entertainment are everywhere, but so is extreme poverty. I met a woman who sold her kidney to feed her family.

The blend of past history and future progress melts together to create a unique and beautiful culture—one that is full of beauty and pain!

As I spent time with Jesus followers, I heard the stories of persecution. The persecution was mostly subtle, but it was still significant. One day, we were praying for a sick pastor, and I opened my Bible to read a Scripture. I was told that what I did was informally illegal and could cause persecution in the form of harassment by the police, who monitor the movements of Christian clergy.

We could speak and read Scripture in a church service that was recognized by the government. I remember speaking in one church that had been bombed by Al Qaeda. Black soot covered the walls, and holes in the church building reminded all of us that following Jesus in Egypt was a dangerous proposition.

As I walked out of the church, after spending time with the pastor who was caring for over 75 widows, a car drove up to the church’s door and swept us away. Yes, this sounds dramatic, and it was. Apparently, this neighborhood was a stronghold for Al Qaeda. Many of the 9/11 hijackers had lived and prepared in this neighborhood; therefore, it was still active and dangerous and not friendly to outsiders or local Christians.

I spent time with the local Christian community, from the president of the Evangelical Christian Association of the Middle East, clergy who had been persecuted, Christian families, orphans and widows inside the trash city church, and also some the richest Christians in the entire Middle East/N. Africa region.

I also had dinner with a very wealthy Muslim family who had two sons who were studying in the States. Another guest that evening was a big shot in the Egyptian CIA. The day after we had dinner, this guy was negotiating peace talks between Israel and Palestine. When I picked up the paper in my hotel right in front of the Nile River, his face was on the front page. Yes, my mind was blown away!

With the exception of the gentleman from the Egyptian government, we had all become friends. I felt their pain, and I experienced their joy. They existed in a mixture of hope and oppression. They had faith that God was guiding them, but fear that at any given moment, they could face persecution and harassment or even death!

Then, the Arab Spring of 2010 started. I saw many of my friends, desperate for freedom and opportunity, protest and fight for a better future for their country.

When I left Egypt, I thought for sure I would return. I haven’t yet, which makes me sad. At the time, Help One Now had not even launched; our key connection in Egypt stopped working there for a season.

Yet, I’ve prayed for the people and country.

Yesterday, as I drove north on Highway 95, my heart hurt for those 21 Christians, who were put on display for the world to see what evil really looks like. They were fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins. They were men created in the image of God. Yet, evil descended on them, and their lives ended in tragedy.

As I type these words, I’m hopeful that they are celebrating a new life with no pain. But, for those of us on this side of heaven, we have an opportunity–an obligation– to stand up against the evil of this world.

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” — Amos

So please, join me in prayer for our brothers and sisters who face persecution for their faith. We can make a difference, we can be their voice, we can serve together.

The only way to stop hate and evil is to love more than those who hate. So today, let’s find a way to love. Love your neighbor, love the world. After all, good overcomes evil!

Photo Credit: Jason Bollinger

Why You Should Take Your Kids to See Selma

In Activism, Haiti by ChrisMarlow

                                                              Photo Credit

Why You Should Take Your Kids to See Selma 

I’ve been hearing people raving about Selma, so I decided to check out the trailer. Right away, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my eyes started to water. I immediately resonated with this quote:

“What happens when a man stands up and says “enough is enough?” We build the path as we came … rock by rock.”

At Help One Now, we always say in our internal conversations:

“Everyday, we struggle for progress and move the needle forward, inch by inch.”

Changing the world is hard work. But, it is necessary work. After I watched the trailer, I showed it to my 14 and 12 year old daughters and asked if they wanted to see it. They said a resounding “Yes.”

So, on a rainy Monday night, we pushed aside homework and made our way to the theatre.

Why was it so important to take my kids to Selma?

1) Brave Christianity

Christianity simply cannot be safe or clean to be effective or meaningful. I want my kids to understand that following Jesus means they deny themselves the assurance of living a risk-free, comfortable life.

I want them to count the cost and realize the following Jesus is beautiful, hard, and real. I don’t want them the be “cultural Christians” who see Jesus as one who comes to “bless them.” I want them to see Jesus as one who comes to partner with them and make the world a more “Jesus-like” world.

When I was a pastor, I told my church that I would rather them fail living on the frontlines of culture, than succeed by playing it safe and living in the Christian bubble.

Living a holy life in the Christian bubble is not actually holy. The bubble is a breeding ground for judgmental Christians who seem “against” everything, or it is a hiding place for Christians to just do life together and ignore real world issues.

We are sent into the world to make a difference!

2) A Clear Picture of Evil

The movie begins with a clip of four kids walking down a church stairway. I knew my history, so I knew what was going to happen; it did–violent and brutal.

My kids froze. Jaws dropped, eyed widened, tears flowed.

Why do we fight evil? Because evil is real and we need to own that “realness.” It may hurt, and that is okay. I asked my kids how they felt about the movie. Their response? Angry.

Yet, they saw Martin Luther King, Jr and his people fight, even though they suffered. I knew that would have an impact on their souls. They need to see courage lived out; it has to be tangible.

I want my kids to fight for their neighbor. I want them to fight for those who are suffering. I know they need to do this because they choose to live this kind of life, not because their dad does this.

They have to own the mission that God has called them to live out.

3) White Privilege Is Real

I know so many of my friends get ANGRY when I talk about this subject. It kind of baffles me. It’s because of white privilege that slavery existed in the first place. It’s because of white privilege that civil rights movement had to take place. I see white privilege all over Haiti and Africa as well.

Some of the meanest people I have ever met are white missionaries who treat their staff like servants and slaves, not people who are created in the image of God.

I absolutely believe we have made progress, but we still have a long way to go. I want them to be able to recognize when white privilege is rearing its ugly head in their own lives and the lives of people around them.

4) Leadership Is Essential For Progress

I have only prayed a few prayers for my daughters, but they have been the same key prayers since they were little babies.

I pray daily for their safety, their future husbands, and that they would be a voice for God in their generation.

I want them to see leadership in action, to see everyday heroes who choose a more difficult pathway so they can love their neighbor and even their enemies.

I also have a desire to connect the passions of my daughters to mission. One of my daughters loves music. So, I tell her that music can create change and make a differnece and show her examples.

My other daughter loves to paint; she also wants to be an engineer or scientist.(left & right brian)

So, I tell her that scientists and painters are world- changers and show her examples. Doing good can be simple and natural, but it always has to be intentional.

5) They Can Change the World.

As they get older, they see the harsh world and how evil runs rampant and causes chaos. I would rather them see it now, so I can help them make sense of it. If they do not see it until they are older, they could be shocked and lose hope.

As they become more aware, they can respond in a few ways:

1) Ignore it.
2) Become hardened by it.
3) Fight against it.

I want them to see tangible leaders who fought hard to create a better future. I remind them that they can live shallow lives or they can live different, more meaningful lives.

They can serve people, love people, empower people with dignity and tools, and do it with humility. Selma was a tool, a story, that I hope will shape their thinking as they grow older and become more responsible and aware.

Tools for 2015

In Productivity by ChrisMarlow

Tools I’m Using for 2015.

The Muse

 

I’m a super fan of being productive. When much is given, much is required. I feel like one of my responsibilities in life is to manage my time well and utilize key tools that will help me fight to make the world better.

I don’t go overboard and buy all the new shiny toys each year, I rarely buy apps, and I have a system that helps me control the cost (buy, sell, buy, sell).

But, if I do need to spend cash, I will in order to be productive. Some of these tools are personal and others are team related. Some are new, but most are things I’ve been using for years.

Here are my top ten tools (plus a couple bonus tools):

1) Macbook Pro 13” Retina: I LOVED my MBA 11”. But, the older I get, the harder it is to see (so sad, right). So, I upgraded screen size and resolution and I love it. It’s so much easier on the eyes. Plus, I can store movies and music for long flights. I now have space to organize my files. I always ran out of room with my MBA and I stink at backing up my files.

2) iPhone 6: I love the bigger screen and iOS8. As a matter of fact, I kind of wish I would gone with a 6+. I spend so much time on my phone that I think the bigger screen size would be worth it.

3) Kinde Paperwhite: This kindle is awesome; it is easy to read and super small. I love how my highlights all go to my Amazon page for easy access.

4) Asana: My team has moved away from Basecamp to Asana for all project management. We’re hoping this improves our productivity. Basecamp started to seem stale to me and I’m hoping Asana will help us get more work done.

5) Wunderlist: I use this free app for all my personal to-do’s and projects. It’s simple, efficient, and syncs with all devices. Yet, it also has some depth to it with subtasks, comments, etc.

6) Scrivener: I bought this app AGES ago. But, I hate learning complex apps; I just don’t have the patience. Then, I saw Jeff’s post and Mike’s post, which got me to purchase Scrivener coaching. Now, I do ALL my writing (books/blogs) in Scrivener. It’s truly amazing. When I open this app, my mind is triggered to work.

If you write a lot, this is a great invementent. My entire book project is stored here–drafts, images, ideas, research, and more. It’s all in ONE place!

7) Evernote: Superfan. I use this app to collect everything. This year, I’m going to organize it better than years past. I want Evernote to literally be my digital filing cabinet. The key is using it everyday and making sure you keep it organized with folders, tags, etc.

8) Slack HQ: We just switched from HipChat to SlackHQ and our team loves it. We live in this little app. The mobile version is superior to HipChat as well. I hardly ever have to email anyone on my team any more.

9) Textexpander: This program is so amazing if used well. If you love to automate your workflow, then use this app. If you do the proper work ahead of time, then this app will help you ship that work over and over in just a few clicks of the keyboard.

10) Headphones: Bose 20i. Okay, there are some purchases that cause me to pause. I get nervous when I take out the credit card and swipe. THIS is the one purchase that made me do that in 2014. I spend a lot of time on airplanes and airports and in busy coffee shops. I prefer to work in third places over an office.

So, I had been searching for some headphones that would drown out the noise around me. I bought three pairs and sent them all back. Most were the large clunky ones, which I did not want as I love to travel light. When these came out, I knew they would be perfect. They got rave reviews, and somehow, I got them on sale for a 30% discount at Target.

These little headphones literally changed the way I work. When I click the little button, all sound disappears and I can focus. When I do those 17 hour flights to Africa, it’s like a little bit of heaven! 🙂

11) I finally purchased some new luggage in 2014:

* For travel (domestic & overseas): This is by far, my favorite carry on luggage (I hardly EVER check a bag). It has so much space. I can take this on a 12 days trip and be fine.
* The reason I can do a 12 day trip with just a carry on is because of this bag. I can store a ton of clothes and all my tech gear and have plenty of room for 12/14 day trip. Also, this is now what I take if I do quick 2 day domestic trips.
* This is my day to day bag. I LOVE it. It has lots of space, it is well organized, and it is still small enough to not feel like I’m carry a large bag everywhere.

12) I also use Dropbox for personal files and Sharefile for all business files for Help One Now, Google Docs for all things collaborative, such as video chat, document creations, Salesforce for CRM, and I LOVE Tripit for all my travel.

I plan to fight a lot in 2015, and like any fighter, these are the tools that I will use.

What tools do you use? I would love to know about them!

View Post

It’s Time to Fight

In Announcement by ChrisMarlow

Fight.

I’ve decided that this will be my one word for 2015.

 

There are so many things to fight for. For some, I know the word “fight” may even be a little too violent–maybe even a bit unspiritual.

For me, it’s the essence of what I do. I fight to be a good husband and dad. I fight to build an organization that fights to break the chains of extreme poverty. I know in 2015, I’m going to have to fight to write a book. I’m also going to have to fight to be healthy, rest well, and enjoy the journey.

Fighters change the world. But, as Mike Tyson remind us: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Iron MIke is right. I’ve been punched in the mouth so many times these past few years. As a matter of fact, your calling becomes clear when you get punched in the mouth and you don’t run away; instead, you fight back.

My hope is not that I want 2015 to be my “best year ever.” Improper expectations tend to crush the soul when they’re not met. Instead, I’m seeking the wisdom to lead well, the courage to take each day at a time, the energy to move the needle forward, inch by inch, and the commitment to do life with a group of people who feel the same way!

Together, we will fight for a better, more peaceful world, filled with more love and joy and grace.

We know that our fight is not against flesh and blood. You see, we’re all fighters. We just have to choose to accept that fact and get in the ring and fight.

What are you fighting for? Leave a comment and let me know. We can root for one another in 2015.