College Tips – Advice For University Freshman Year

College tips and advice for university students wanting to make the most of freshman year.

You’re finally ready to attend college. What things should you know to be successful? I lived on campus throughout college and learned a lot about navigating university life. Here are my best college tips and advice:

TeamworkCOLLEGE TIP: COLLEGE SUCCESS IS GUARANTEED: Think about it . . . If you take all the classes specified by the university (and get acceptable grades) you will graduate with a degree! Few things in life come with such a guarantee. Graduating college is simply a matter of knowing what classes you need to take, then laying out a plan that ensures you have them all by the date you want to graduate.

COLLEGE TIP: GOOD GRADES COME FROM GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT: Gather all of your class syllabuses during the first week of each semester. On a calendar write down all the deadline dates for papers, projects and tests. Then “back time” each project (break the project down into 2-3 mini-deadlines). For instance, if a paper is due October 30th make a note on September 30th that it should be half complete. Many freshman make the mistake of not breaking their assignments into manageable chunks. They wait to the last minute, get buried and bomb the class.

COLLEGE TIP: ADDRESS CHALLENGES EARLY: College is loaded with safety nets to help you work through problems. Tutors, counselors, health professionals and peers are all there wanting to help… if you will let them. Many students are too proud to ask for help, wanting to do everything on their own. Many times they wait until a problem has grown into a crisis before seeking assistance. Don’t do this. At the first sign of a problem (academic, social, physical, technical) reach out for help.

COLLEGE TIP: DON’T BATTLE A BAD FIRST SEMESTER: It’s common for freshman to have “a little too much fun” during their first semester. They end up with a critically low GPA. The problem with a poor first year GPA is that it’s remarkably hard to raise it during sophomore and junior years (when grades count for staying in your major). All As and Bs later do little to raise the Cs and Ds of freshman year. Conversely, a solid GPA freshman year is easy to maintain and will give you confidence throughout college.

COLLEGE TIP: SIGN UP FOR THE PROFESSOR, NOT THE CLASS: Find out who the good professors are by checking online and with other students. Take the class when it’s taught be the best professor. This will greatly increase your learning and enjoyment of college.

COLLEGE TIP: ENGAGE YOUR PROFESSORS: Sit towards the front of the class. Make sure your professor knows your name. Go to your professor’s office hours to ask questions, get advice and socialize. Do extra credit assignments. A professor who knows you is more likely be generous when grading. They may also provide some great connections for internships, special programs/events and be willing to be one of your references when looking for your first professional job.

College violin.COLLEGE TIP: COLLEGE SUCCESS IS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO COLLEGE INVOLVEMENT: There are an overwhelming number of organizations of which to be part, but you only need one or two to make your school your home. You need an ecosystem in which to exist in college. It can be sports team, music program, academic club, fraternity/sorority, student government or religious organization. It doesn’t matter so much what organization you are part of, just so long as you are part of something. Having just a few friends is all we need. Finding those friends is a numbers game. You have to get out there and shake hundreds of hands before you find the right few. Be patient . . . it can take months before you finally find the right social group.

COLLEGE TIP: YOUR FRIENDS DETERMINE YOUR ALTITUDE: Friends either build you up or take you down. Find out where the good people are and make them your friends. Friends who study and make wise choices will encourage you to do the same. Good college friends can be a blessing for a lifetime.

COLLEGE TIP: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EXPERIENCES: The university campus is a smörgåsbord of diverse experiences. There will never be a season in life where you can try new things like you can in college. Read your university news and check bulletin boards for upcoming events. Take in plays at the drama department and concerts in the music department. Go to a political rally. Hear a famous speaker. Participate in a sports tournament. Check out exhibitions in the art depart. Take a class in something outside of your major, just for curiosity’s sake. Personally, I discovered that I like jazz in college . . . and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

COLLEGE TIP: LIVE ON CAMPUS: If you are able, live in the dorms during your first couple years. There will never be a time when you can live so many people your age and in your situation. Many life-long friendships are made in university residence halls.

COLLEGE TIP: ATTEND LIVE LECTURES FOR ONLINE CLASSES: Some online classes have recorded lectures. Email the professor and find out when they are recorded, then attend the live lecture. The professor will notice and you’ll better understand the material.

phone while studying COLLEGE TIP: MASTER YOUR PHONE, DON’T LET YOUR PHONE MASTER YOU: If phones distract from driving, they also distract from studying. Multitasking is a myth when it comes to studying. Get in a quiet place and have a singular focus. Turn off your phone and you will find your studying gets done much faster and more effectively.

COLLEGE TIP: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS A FACTOR IN COLLEGE LIFE: Many universities were founded on the premise that ideas should compete. University students were presented with a variety of viewpoints and challenged to think critically about them. The best ideas would rise to the top. This is why college professors received tenure . . . to protect them when they spoke a wide variety of ideas in an arena of competitive thought. However, a recent study shows that the majority of university students feel that they cannot explore their views if they are outside a politically correct norm.

Generally speaking, colleges take a more liberal and more politically correct stance than does the rest of the world. Expect this and don’t let it bother you. Continue to listen to all intelligent sides, think critically and evaluate ideas on their individual merit. You will find a more balanced and reasonable world after you graduate.

COLLEGE TIP: UNIVERSITIES THROW THEIR STUDENTS UNDER THE BUS: To most, a university simply looks like a school with teachers and students. In reality it is a complex machine competing for prestige and funding. It can prioritize research over teaching. It can be a battlefield for politically-minded administrators and ambitious faculty. Universities can have obscene levels of income and endowment. Athletics can compromise the school’s integrity. Monopolies in on-campus services can keep prices unfairly high.

In this dynamic environment many times it’s the students who come out on the short end. Are book prices fair? Should parking really cost that much? Why are so many assistants teaching classes of 500? Regrettably, getting thrown under the bus is common during the college experience. Be patient with the nonsense. It’s part of the cost of getting your degree . . . and a microcosm of the real world life that awaits after graduation.

COLLEGE TIP: WORK THE SYSTEM: Attending college means you have to crash classes, negotiate with professors, balance finances, make deadlines and deal with bureaucracy. While it’s a pain, these are valuable skills to learn. You are navigating the world. Part of your college degree says to employers, “This person knows how to make things happen despite adversity.”

COLLEGE TIP: MAKE A PRIORITY OF KEEPING YOUR FAITH: About 80% of students quit going to church between high school and college. Don’t let this season of life rob you of something valuable. When you first arrive at college, make a priority of finding a church with a good campus program. There are usually one or two churches in the area that specialize in reaching students at your school. You can also connect with groups like Cru, Intervarsity, Young Life College and Navigators. Seek out a Christian roommate. Additionally, expect there to be hostility towards religion. Some university professors/administrators are famous for their contempt of faith and for challenging their students’ beliefs. Don’t be intimidated or drawn into an argument. Simply live out your beliefs and gather people around you who share them.

Note that shady churches and cults know to prey on college freshman. Don’t just assume that just because someone is friendly and says they are a Christian means that they are safe. Check out the reputation and theology of any religious organization before joining.

College LonelinessCOLLEGE TIP: DON’T BE SURPRISED BY LONELINESS: You are going through a major shift in your life. There will be times when you feel lonely. It’s normal and it will pass.

COLLEGE TIP: CREDIT CARDS CAN BE A TRAP: Credit card companies actively market to college students. You will see their booths with giveaways and brochures offering easy acceptance. Credit companies know first time customers generally don’t read the fine print, check terms and ask tough questions. They know that students will keep their cards for years into the future… potentially giving the companies favorable terms for decades. Be extremely critical of credit cards offered on campus.

It’s better to get recommendations from family and friends . . . then to comparison shop terms on the Internet. College is a time when many people get themselves in financial trouble ($15,762 is the average debt for a household carrying a credit card balance). Approach credit card use with extreme caution. Do not have a credit card unless you can consistently pay it off in full each month. How to avoid college credit card mistakes.

COLLEGE TIP: CALL YOUR PARENTS WHILE WALKING TO CLASS: This is an efficient time to make contact. Call your folks a couple of times a week. You are going through an adjustment by starting college, but so are they (their nest is empty). These calls are a great time to start relating to your parents as an adult. It sets the stage for your relationship in the years ahead.

COLLEGE TIP: WILL SOMEONE MARRY YOUR STUDENT LOAN? Nothing compares to the good feeling of getting into your first choice university. Before you commit, have you considered the total cost of attending . . . particularly if it involves student loans? Loans seem like an easy solution to expensive tuition. However, student debt is now the number one form of indebtedness (well over $1 billion is owed by Americans, with 7 million of them in default). You pay tuition (loan principle) plus annual interest expense over many years (thus multiplying the original tuition cost).

Excessive student loans mean you are more likely to move back in with your parents after college and that you will be forced to take a first job for income (rather than one a lower-paying one for professional experience) thus limiting future professional potential. Getting married, purchasing a home and starting a family may be put off for several critical years. Student debt is the only kind of debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Your loans could be carried into a marriage.

Have you considered less costly schools or doing two years at community college before transferring to the big name school? Can you work for tuition dollars rather than borrowing them? What college programs is the military offering? While these options may be less attractive on the front end, graduating with little or no student debt is very attractive on back end.

COLLEGE TIP: HOW TO SURVIVE COLLEGE PARTIES: In high school, there can be a lot of peer pressure whether or not to drink. Everyone pays attention to your choice and it can be a big deal socially. In college it’s different . . . it’s more adult. Most people don’t really care whether you drink. You don’t have to drink to fit in at most college parties. Here’s how to do it:
> Show up early. Everyone will see that you are there. Plan to stay an hour or two.
> Get a cup in your hand. Fill it with water, soda, energy drink or coffee. Socialize. People will notice that you have a cup in your hand, you’re talking with everyone and that you aren’t hung up on what’s in their hand. If asked about what you’re drinking, simply say something like, “I’m just doing soda tonight.” No one will care.
> Leave the party midway . . . before the drunk stuff gets out of hand. If asked why you are leaving, simply say you have to be at work in the morning (or that you are working on a project, or have to be up early, etc.) People will be glad you came and they won’t care that you left early.

Many students are exposed to alcohol for the first time during college. Some know nothing about alcoholic drinks, which can be a personal safety problem. While I don’t suggest you drink in college, here are some tips that will help if you do:
>Always attend a party with a friend. You travel to- and from- the party with that person. Keep an eye on each other and do not allow the other to leave the party with someone else or do stuff you’ll regret.
> Eat before and during the party. Food evens out alcohol absorption.
> Always open a sealed drink yourself. Don’t allow others to get you any kind of drink (even water or a soda). This way you know that nothing has been added to your drink.
> Never drink the punch (there’s a reasonable chance someone has added too much alcohol to it.)
> Understand the differences in alcohol and how it is served. One drink is considered to be 1 ounce of hard liquor (a shot of vodka, rum, tequila, etc.), 4 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. Obviously it’s easier to control your night if you choose beer instead of shots.
> Alcohol dehydrates. Consume one glass of water between every drink you have.
> Generally speaking, one drink every two hours will keep most people below the drunk driving limit. This varies by state laws, body weight and the true alcohol content of the drinks consumed.
>Don’t leave the main party area. Going upstairs or out back means just what you think it means.
> Judgment/common sense decreases with each drink. Others know this and may try to take advantage of you if you’ve had several drinks. Upperclassmen consider drunk freshman easy prey.
> Commit to never driving if you have had any alcohol. Get home by campus transit, Uber, walking, public transit or with a designated driver. Use the university’s walking campus escort program. This is a great way to guard against regret.
> Alcohol intensifies the effect of medicine. Don’t take any medications (even over-the-counter) if you have been drinking.
> Some people have more addictive personalities than others. If alcoholism or other addictions run in your family, don’t awaken them in yourself during college.

COLLEGE TIP: DATE RAPE IS MORE PREVALENT THAN MOST THINK: Not to be too much of a downer here, but you are going into the real world. As mentioned above, upperclassman see freshman as naive and as easy prey. You may not hear too much about date rape because it’s under-reported, but it does happen. Students get assaulted when they either drink too much or are unknowingly slipped date rape drugs. While fear of drug-facilitated sexual assault shouldn’t keep you from going out, you owe it to yourself to be educated. Click here for specific information. Click here for one person’s first-hand account.

COLLEGE TIP: BE GRATEFUL: While college is a lot of work, it is a very special season of life. It’s a time when you are investing only in yourself. It is a four year deferment from full adult responsibilities. Colleges provide adult experiences with a safety net. Not everyone gets to experience college life. Be grateful that you can.

John Maxwell likes to say, “Make good decisions early and maintain them.” Think through the things above before you get to school. Make good decisions in advance about your college experience, then simply live up to them each day.

I am so glad that you value education and are going to college. I hope that it will be a positive and life changing experience for you.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:





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Top 10 Leadership Quotes From #Outcomes16 – CLA Conference 2016

Here are the top leadership quotes from Outcomes 2016 – this year’s Christian Leadership Alliance national conference (from the #Outcomes16 Twitter feed):


#10. People don’t resist change… they resist being changed. – @CLALeader

#9. Could it be that you can’t learn because you won’t UNlearn something? – @CLALeader

#8. 40 is a significant number throughout Scripture. Where is God leading your ministry in the next 40 years? – @CLALeader

#7. A lot of us are waiting on God, yet God is waiting on us. It’s time to move! – @drtonyevans

#6. If we don’t step out and obey we may miss our life’s work. – @TimElmore

#5. If the penalty for disclosure is the same as getting caught, your people will hide from you. – Bruce McNicol

#4. Every organization is telling a story. What story are you telling? – @CLALeader

#3. If you’re not building in to younger leaders you are cheating your legacy. – @UYWILarry

#2. Are you more focused on virtues that show up on your resume, or those that will be celebrated in your eulogy? – @peterkgreer

#1. No one gets better, stronger or faster alone.” – @UYWILarry



Leaders must wait to hear from God before doing the work of God. – @ConniePadmore

We want to be following Jesus because there are people following us. – @ConniePadmore

Sometimes belief come before you pray, and sometimes it comes because you pray. – @ConniePradmore

God didn’t give the church a mission; God is using the church to accomplish HIS mission. – @ohfamily

Legacy is what you leave behind in the life of others. – @UYWILarry

I am calling you all out to jack yourself up and deal with your stuff so that we can finish well. – @UYWILarry

What determines the winner of 4×100 is the exchange. What would it look like if we smoothed out the exchange of leadership? – @CLALeader

If you’re not making disciples, you’re missing the assignment. – @UYWILarry

Does your competence for God mask itself for communion with God? – @TimElmore

Eschatology shouldn’t drive inertia.” – @drtonyevans

Stories make us lean in. Stories activate more of the brain than facts & figures. – Elizabeth West

What you do today, in obedience to God, will determine the extent He will empower you for future success. – @CLALeader

Change doesn’t happen because of more money. Change happens because of what happens in the heart. – @peterkgreer

When you are full of Grace you will do more than any job description. – @TimElmore

Your job enables you to be a consumer. But it is your work that enables you to contribute to something beyond you. – @TimElmore

Time & time again, God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary purpose. – @DougNuenke

People go to the web to solve a problem or answer a question. What questions are you answering? – @CLALeader

We are Christ’s ambassadors. – @RichStearns

Technology should follow corporate strategy – @CLALeader

God has called us not to build an institution, but create a revolution. – @RichStearns

God’s love does not change – on good days and bad days! – @ohfamily
We don’t ‘engage culture’, we are already in the culture. How do we shine light while we’re here? – @greg_thornbury
What is the best way to do mission? Don’t fall in love with what you do now. – @TimElmore

Leading well today means inviting chaos. – @TimElmore

Lord, help us to keep our eye on the hole, and not the drill bit. – @TimElmore

If I were to build a church, I would have desks, not pews. – @greg_thornbury

Click here for more information on the Christian Leadership Alliance annual Outcomes Conference.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:



Leadership Apps – Top Tools To Make You More Effective

Leadership apps (iPhone, iPad and Android) for organizing, time management, communicating and increasing productivity.

You’ve got a great phone in your pocket and a wonderful tablet in your bag. Ever wonder if you are getting the most out of them? Wayne Cordova calls himself “Geek Pastor” because he loves to help leaders find technology that helps them lead. Wayne recently shared his best leadership apps on Carey Nieuwhof’s podcast. Here’s an executive summary of Wayne’s best apps for leaders:


OneNote: A work space that allows you to capture what’s important, move ideas and stay on task.

Wunderlist: An easy organizational tool to help you get things done faster.

Things / Cultured Code: A task manager for easy organization.

Dropbox: Allows for easy sharing and access to files of all sizes.

Jotnot: Scan PDFs from documents, receipts, faxes, expenses and whiteboards. Great for financial organization and planning.

Overcast: A powerful, yet simple podcast player app for iPhone & iPad.

Gmail: A very basic, user-friendly email system that can be customized to meet your organization’s needs.

Airmail: An organizational e-mail app.

Instagram: A photo and video-sharing app that allows you to apply filters to capture the look and feel of a moment.



Dispatch: Helps you tame your inbox by letting you delete, defer, delegate, generate actions and even respond to your mails with ease.

Text Expander: Save time and keystrokes with customized shortcuts.

Phrase Express: Saves keystrokes by expanding text abbreviations into full text snippets.

If This Then That / IFTTT: an automation tool to create useful chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes”

Work Flow: Connects apps and actions together to automate things you do on your device.

Keyboard Maestro: Automate almost any repetitive task you do with an Apple device.

Launch Bar: An adaptive app launcher and document browser that allows you to access applications, documents, bookmarks by typing short abbreviations.

Hazel: Helps clean up your files by automatically organizing (Mac).



Google Apps: Suite of apps for email, cloud storage, collaboration tools and more.

Google Docs: Cloud-based documents to create, edit, and collaborate wherever you are.

Google Sheets: Cloud-based spreadsheets.

Google Forms: Collect and organize information, easily create surveys and sign-ups.

Google Drive: Cloud-based file storage that allows for easy sharing and access to files of all sizes.

Google Chrome: Fast, simple, powerful and secure web browser available on any device.

YouTube: Video-sharing site, great for finding tutorials on the tools above.

PicPlayPost: Amazingly simple graphic design software.

Word Swag: Text over pic editor, cool fonts, typography generator, creative quotes ($3.99).


leadership productivity appsCOLLABORATIVE APPS

Slack: Team communication tool for messaging and file sharing, fully searchable on all your devices. Michael Hyatt on how to best use Slack.

Trello: A visual way to organize anything with anyone.

Skype: Video and audio conferencing with messaging and recording.

Zoom: Cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and cross platform group chat.

Google Hangouts: Group communication with instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP.

Basecamp: Web-based project management and collaboration tool.

Todoist: Best online task management app and to-do list.



10 Great Apps Every Leader Needs

25 Smartphone Apps Every Leaders Should Know About

Best 15 iPhone Apps For Busy Leaders

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:


Cutting The Cord – Lessons Learned From Cancelling Cable TV

Have you ever dreamed of cutting the cord and canceling cable TV? What would you do with the money you save? Recently our family did what once seemed impossible . . . cut the cord. We ended our cable TV subscription. What’s life like without cable? Here are the top 10 things we learned:

Cutting The Cord Cable TV#10 Keeping cable is easy – by design: The cable company knows its customers and just how far it can push. Most people bundle TV and Internet service (plus perhaps phone and home security). The individual prices of these services are kept high, so that when you buy a bundle it looks like a deal. Then there are extra monthly charges for modems, WI-FI routers, HD signals DVRs and cable boxes. All of this technology added together is what causes your monthly bill to climb so high. However, when you try to save money by “un-bundling”, the high a la carte prices discourage you from doing so.

#9 Dropping cable will save money: Dropping cable TV with all of its bundled costs can save a meaningful amount of money. In our case it came to $100/month ($1,200/year or $6,000 over 5 years).

#8 Canceling cable TV is hard – because TV is technical: Cable TV originally started because local over-the-air broadcast stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.) can be hard to receive clearly. That is still true today. You will need a good antenna inside or outside your house (depending on where you live). Getting it to work properly can be done, but it might get a bit technical (and not all of us want to mess around with that). Still, with a little effort and few internet searches, everyone can receive local broadcast stations.

#7 You can still have a DVR: What a lot of people like about cable is the DVR. Time-shifting shows and pausing live TV is great. There are DVRs that record over-the-air TV (such as the Tivo Roamio OTA model). This means you can record any show on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or the CW and watch it later… just like with your cable DVR. Do a quick survey of your cable DVR… how many of the shows originated on one of the broadcast networks? If it’s a large number, you may be just has happy receiving the shows for free over-the-air.

#6 Cord cutting isn’t free: As mentioned above, you will need to buy an antenna ($50-$200) and perhaps a DVR ($100-$500 plus monthly service). You may also want a streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) at $8-$20 month. Then, of course, you will still need an internet connection ($25-$75/month).

#5 The decision to cut cable may be easy at first, but it gets harder as the big day draws near: Cable has been with us a long time. The closer the day gets to ending it, the more self doubt creeps in. Power through it. Cut the cord. You can always go back.

#4 Sports: Live sports is what keeps a lot of people tied to cable. Sling TV streams ESPN and a few other cable channels for $20/month.

#3 Dropping cable means you’re at the mercy of whatever is on over-the-air TV and the shows/movies on the streaming service you have.

Cutting The Cord Cable TV#2 The choice: Cutting the cable cord comes down to a choice. . . “Do I want everything, exactly when I want it?” (cable) or “Do I simply want something decent to watch on TV?” (over-the-air TV with a streaming service). Cable with a DVR and on-demand is fantastic. There’s almost nothing in the TV universe that you can’t have immediately. However, it’s expensive. If you don’t need to ‘have it all’, an adequate TV experience can be had for a lot less money.

#1 Cable, satellite and broadcast TV are obsolete delivery systems: Once you cut cable, you see that the only TV delivery system you need is streaming internet video. Nobody needs the 1,000′ broadcast tower, ugly home TV antenna/satellite dishes, or a house full of coax and 5 cable boxes. This is all antiquated technology, like the old copper phone lines still found in many homes. Any TV programming can now simply be streamed via the internet to your TV or mobile device.

Here are some other things we learned from dropping cable:

> Modern TV antennas can be smaller and more aesthetically pleasing than your grandparents old beast.

TV Antenna> Over the air HD broadcast channels can have more resolution (1080 lines) than the same station on cable (720 lines).

> A home antenna can pick up literally dozens of channels, but only a few are worth watching.

> You either receive a perfect HD signal over an antenna or nothing. There are no “fuzzy” signals to receive from distant TV stations.

> Installing an outdoor antenna can be scary. Unless you live downtown, most suburban locations will need an outdoor antenna. Being up on a ladder or on a roof is dangerous.

> Roku makes a simple and intuitive streaming box. Besides the major streaming services, it also gives you access to a lot of free minor streaming channels not offered elsewhere. More information on Roku.

> Many phone and tablet apps restrict wireless streaming TV shows and movies to your TV. A laptop connected to your TV via an HDMI cable allows you to stream almost anything to your TV.

> People may not respect your choice to cancel cable. Since cable is so ubiquitous, some people might think you are weird or cheap for getting rid of it. Remember when some people thought dropping your home phone line (and only using your cell phone) was strange?

> It appears that not many people are actually dropping cable. As I talk with people, I hear of a few that change from cable to satellite (or maybe to an alternative cable provider). I hear of very few people are actually canceling cable. What’s more, when I went to buy an over-the-air TV antenna, there were limited choices available locally (and very few people who could credibly help). If there is a massive rush to dump cable, it’s not easy to see.

> Paying for cable feels like buying food at a discount warehouse . . . you may need just one can of tomatoes, but you can only buy a 5 gallon bucket. Time magazine reports that the average cable subscriber receives 189 channels, but watches only 17 of them. Paying for only the channels you watch is better stewardship.

> One month’s cable bill buys a lot of movies: If you’re worried about not having something to watch, head down to the used video store and buy $100 worth of movies. You’ll always have something on hand.

So should you cancel cable? With so many streaming options, there has never been a better time to give it a try.



Cut Cable: Cord Cutting Guides

The True Cost Of Cancelling Cable TV

Estimate Cost Of Cutting The Cord: Streaming Services

How To Quit Cable For Online Streaming Video

Cable TV Alternatives: Which Is Best – Netflix, Hulu or Amazon?

AntennaWeb: See How Many Over-The-Air Channels You Can Receive

TV Fool: Help Tuning In Stations At Your Specific Location



Tips before you cut the cord from CNET:


The hidden cost of cutting the cable:


How to install an over-the-air antenna:

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:


Advice For Parents On Social Media

Advice for parents on social media use by children. Orange Blog Rob Cizek

The Orange Conference is this month. I’ll be Atlanta and hope to see you there. This year Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) is one of the speakers. He has remarkable advice for parents on social media use. Here are notes from his recent Orange session.

Technology is changing quickly right now. For 50 million people to get access to radio it took 30 years. For 50 million people to get access to TV it took 13 years. For 50 million people to get access to Instagram it took 18 months.

In our kids’ world, everything goes viral.

We need to redefine what social media means: Social media is any technology that lets you share something with someone else. This includes texting, comments on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Kids are growing up in technology. You don’t have to be as tech savvy as their kids. What should we tell parents about social media if we could only tell them a few things?

#1. TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE THEY USE IT. Sometimes we give the world a 15 year head start before we start to have the conversations. We have conversations earlier than We expect to have them.

Give them teachable moments along the way. Invite them into the conversation you’re having. One of the great things about Facebook is you can share photos with
Grandpa. Show them that what you share gets shared. When you post a photo online, it can never be deleted. It’s like getting a social tatoo; once you get it, it cannot be removed. It is public, it gets passed around. You need to be careful about it.

Even as an adult, there are restrictions. There are sites you cannot access at work or even home. Talk to them about Google. Google should be a family site. Never search for American Girl or Girl Doll.

The best time to talk to kids about social media is today. Start today, start appropriately. Adjust your conversation to their age. Don’t think that because they are tech
savvy, they are life savvy.

#2. BE CURIOUS. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be curious. Online life and real life are the same thing. Do not separate them! If your child was going to have a sleepover, you would want to meet them first, meet their parents and get to know them before you invite them into your house. You need to do the same thing with social media, get to know someone before you invite them into your digital house.

Build a real life filter by asking your child questions such as:

> What social sites are you using? (Snapchat and texting count too)

> What do your devices do? (Google what their devices do) It’s okay to let your kid be the expert in the conversation.

> What do your profiles do? (Can you write emails?) Don’t assume that everyone on a child site is a child.

> What devices do your friends have? Just because your child doesn’t have a certain device, doesn’t mean their friend won’t. You need to have that conversation as a family.

> Are you creating any content and where are you posting it?

> What are your friends posting?

Click here for more on how Jon Acuff asks these questions.

Social media keyboard.3. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ITS POTENTIAL GOOD. There is a lot of beauty available through social media and the internet, we need to see the good.

Social media is going to start making a difference in college applications. You can’t just change your name so you can’t be found by a college.

80% of job interviewers Google you before you come in for an interview now. Leave a good digital footprint. It matters for college and it matters for your job. What will we find about our kids in a Google search 15 years from now?

Help kids plug into what the church is doing. Text encouraging things to your small group. Evangelism is possible through social media.

Source for where a kid can practice their passion. (Like LEGO, photography, writing). If you want to connect with someone who does something you love, send them a short email asking one question. It takes longer to say no, than to just answer their question.

Find a Kickstarter campaign from someone in your church and help them out. Have a life that’s not just focused on you.

4. GO DARK AS A FAMILY. Don’t take a week off of Twitter and then get on and write 10 blog posts in a row about what that week was like.

The devices go to bed when we go to bed. No using them at night. No devises during meal times.

Go to a water park or some place they can’t use their phone and have to be present.

Social media children.5. REMEMBER WHAT’S AT STAKE. There is more at stake than technology. Adolescence is when you learn how to communicate with people, and they are learning how to be absent when they are present.

Where does it say that relationship is supposed to be efficient? We’re learning how to forget to communicate.

There is anxiety. Loneliness is at stake with our kids. Sometimes the kids that get left out will pretend they got the text too.

Self-esteem is at stake. They have a physical measurement (likes) that they use.

The internet is developing constantly.



6 Expert Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Media From Mashable

Social Networking Advice For Parents

What Parents Must Know About Social Media From WebMD


A special thank you to @CherylKneeland for her contributions to this post!

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:


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How To Have A Great Social Media Strategy – Tips From @JonAcuff

Practical social media strategy tips from Jon Acuff

Jon AcuffDo you want to get the most from your time on social media? One of the best people we can learn from is Jon Acuff. He’s timely, smart and funny. He knows how to develop a platform and bring value to those who follow him.

Jon spoke at the Orange Conference in Atlanta and shared his social media tips and tricks. Below you will find great notes from Jon’s session taken by my friend @CherylKneeland.

Orange Blog Rob CizekThis year’s Orange Conference will be held in Atlanta during the last week of April. This is the last week for registration. I’ll be there blogging the conference and would love to connect with you. Click here for more information on how to attend this year’s Orange Conference.



How do we engage in social media, navigate it? A few words underscore what Jon tries to do in all social media interactions:

Empathy: Understanding what someone needs and acting on it. As leaders we serve the community we live in.

Generosity: Giving more than what’s expected. People always remember your generosity and they never forget your greed. Be generous with time, content and re-tweeting others.

Stubbornness: You have to be stubborn, keep going. It never stops. Social Media will always be there, the exact platform may change a little, but the interactions on the internet are here to stay.


Figure out where to plant a flag. Go everywhere. Google+ seems like a ghost town to many social media experts; however, for some it’s working. Jon planted a flag there, to let him at least establish his name there. Go to as many places as you can. shows you instantly where your name is still available on various social media sites.

Recent college graduates have moved into Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook is old to them.

Get out of the way. It’s about starting the conversation, not owning the conversation. Maybe you create a private Facebook group. Jon created a group called dreamers and builders. Be careful not to own everything, the ego sets in. You want to create a space for people to connect with each other and share with each other, building relationships; do not make it so everyone can only respond directly to you or through you.

Be part of community. Pinterest is great for this. One out of every three women uses Pinterest. You can have shared boards. Let everyone be part of the community.

Don’t over-commit. Don’t do everything, just because it’s out there. He created a Tumblr account and realized he didn’t know much about it or have time to maintain it. It’s okay to ease into social media. He choose to stick to his blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

Use the accordion effect for promotions. This means you need to create content that’s helpful or funny, it’s just content; DO NOT do all promotional tweets/posts! A promo is promoting something specific. If you want to promo a lot you MUST start doing all the other posts a lot too. (Otherwise, you’ll be ignored or un-friended/deleted).

Don’t treat your social accounts like Las Vegas. What happens on social media does not stay on social media.

Why is it that people with the most grace filled bios on social media are the meanest? When you say things on social media that are rude or egotistical, people are watching and they will look into you, see who you are. Don’t be the Christian that types a nice bio and then acts like the biggest hypocrite.

We previously used social media to document moments that were created.  Now we create moments to use in social media.

Think multi-platform. When you have an idea, think of the other platforms to see if it would work somewhere else too. You can turn a tweet into an image and put it on Instragram and Pinterest. Often we waste an idea on one platform.

People’s attention spans are not getting longer. We want to fast forward everything.

Be honest. We have to be honest about what we are posting/tweeting/photographing. Are we doing it because we’re trying to serve the audience or because we are celebrating ourselves?

Learn the difference between satire and mockery: Satire is humor with a purpose. Mockery just causes a wound.

Write about issues, but not individuals. How am I an expert on someone I’ve never talked to, never seen live, never met? (I’m NOT).

Jon’s goal is to seed the clouds for ideas and conversations instead of chumming the water for sharks. You can write about controversy and get a lot of hits real fast, but it’s not worth it to be rude or mean.

Blogging: Never come up with categories before you write. The best way to figure out your voice is to write. Social Media is a great place to experiment because it’s not permanent, it’s not an encyclopedia.

Have some fun with it, experiment: Go slow, when you start a new blog, don’t post constantly or set high expectations to blog multiple times a day. Sometimes blogging sucks, you feel like you have a deadline. Jon posts 3-4 times a week.

You don’t control how people read your blog, you control how you write it: Sometimes people will interpret things differently, don’t try to control that. Share the things God puts on your heart.

Always use a picture on your post. Your audience wants a short idea and a picture.

Don’t end it with a question if you write something heavy or you don’t want to start a conversation about something (usually personal): Questions are a great tool if you want to start a conversation with people about a topic and watch them interact… you very well may get a new idea for a blog post from this.

Is this something that I really care about, that I need to say something about? Some topics are too big to put in a tweet or a blog, some topics are better for a face to face conversation.

Deep theological conversations are weird on a blog. It’s okay for some things to be taken off-line. Especially when it’s something that you and others will be really impassioned about.

Feel free to use old content.

Always test anything you hear on the internet with your community, sometimes it doesn’t fit where you are.

Treat your blog like a magazine, have a content calendar.

Guest post, but figure out what the blog is really about. Don’t repeat what they’ve already talked about or post something that is completely irrelevant to the blog.

Twitter: Think about your audience. What are they going through during that week? Tweet some funny things, but try to tweet some serious things too. Mix it up. Only tweet or post things that you would talk to your Senior Pastor about. Don’t be weird…”I don’t want to sound like a stalker, but your bushes are prickly.” Do not do a public announcement of unfollowing, it’s like the middle finger of tweeting. Jon doesn’t say “repost” if he’s repeating his own content. Make your profile complete. Pick a photo like actually looks like you, don’t keep the egg.

Public speaking: Change your tone, you have to have ups and down. Don’t be monotone online either. Always mellow or always loud is not so good.

Facebook: Millions of people are on there. Not everyone sees what you post. They limit who sees your content. Only 10-15% of followers will see what you post. They pick and choose who sees it. You may have to post over and over to get it out to more people. You have to over-communicate. Create private groups. Sometimes your group needs a little wall, it’s amazing what people will say because they know others aren’t there. It feels a little safer. Would a private group help? Do a poll on Facebook. Example: “Parents what are the things you are most concerned about going into this school year?” And let them add their own to the list. It’s okay to ask them what they want.

Instagram: Always credit your sources. Do visual countdowns; you can use picklab to add words and numbers to your photos. Use a photo of the event that’s coming each day up until in the event. (Example: Fall Family Fun Night 30 Days away! with photo of pumpkin… FFFN 25 days away w/photo of the event flyer… FFFN 20 days away w/photo of spaghetti…etc.) It’s all or nothing. You can’t follow only some of a person’s pictures… you get the all-access pass regardless of if it’s what you want to have. There is a balance of selfies. Don’t take a picture of every angle of your face. Make a diary or scrapbook if you want something private or all about you. Know that it’s a window not a mirror. Don’t be egotistical!

Pinterest: It’s not a dead-end. When you pin-it, it can lead them to something. You can attach a link. In general, the worst people online are the peopel that just got engaged because they post like they just invented love. You can follow just one board. If you create a church Pinterest page you don’t have to follow the whole church, you could follow just the age group of your child or a certain ministry area. It’s about your personality, your images. It’s about the content, not the content creator. You can co-manage it with others from your church.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:


Jon Acuff at Orange Atlanta with Jeff Foxworthy and Reggie Joiner.

Jon Acuff (right) at Orange Atlanta with Jeff Foxworthy (center) and Reggie Joiner (left).



Parenting: Empty Nest Syndrome – 7 Tips For When Your Kids Leave Home

Tips and advice for combating empty nest syndrome.

Orange Blog Rob CizekAs leaders, our responsibilities don’t stop when we leave work. We also lead our family. The “final exam” of our home leadership comes when our children move on . . . they day they no longer live under our roof.

As our kids left for college we began to experience empty nest syndrome. It’s a challenging time of transition for any family. Here are some of the things we learned:


It’s time: Your son/daughter may have really enjoyed high school. You may have liked attending sports, music or drama events to see your kids. But no matter how much you may wish it could all go on indefinitely, it can’t. It shouldn’t. By design, high school has a limited duration. Staying one extra day won’t add more value. Living at home also has a limited healthy duration. Lingering isn’t better . . . it just keeps everyone focused on the past (looking at the rear-view mirror). Instead, look out the windshield. The only way forward is to let go of what was and embrace what’s ahead (even if it comes with a difficult transition). Life has moved on. So should you. It’s the only way if you want your children to have a successful career, get married or give you grandkids.

A major life transition is thrust upon you: All the attention is on your child’s transition (as it should be). However, this can mask that you and your spouse are also going through a significant transition. Perhaps you are comfortable with how things have been. Maybe you thought most of your major life transitions were behind you (after all, you’ve already graduated, been married, moved and secured a job). This change may feel like an unwelcome surprise.

Loss of a focus: Think about it. You’ve spent a lot of time anticipating raising a family. Perhaps when you were a kid yourself you thought of getting married and someday having children. That means that you have been anticipating children and raising children for decades. Raising kids can be the source of our identity. It’s a valuable pursuit. For many, children are the biggest dream and focus of their lives. With the children leaving home, what dream or focus is now on your horizon?

Time and adult friendships: Having children means spending time at their events. It can also mean making friends with other parents at these events. We can get used to spending our time this way and having a social outlet. How will we spend our time and make new connections going forward?

Loss of contact: We like our kids and enjoy spending time with them. Over countless hours and experiences a wonderful relationship has been established. Losing this day-in, day-out contact can make us feel sad. We want what’s best for our kids (moving on), but selfishly, we don’t want to give up the time we enjoy with our kids.

Your child is a boomerang: You are mentally preparing to be without your child. You’re ready to reclaim their room, donate the old toys and reconfigure your home for a new era. But then junior comes home for breaks. He/she is gone, but not totally. You want them to have a place in your home, but they aren’t there very often to use it. This can make it feel difficult to cleanly transition to a new era.

Your mortality: Each year in the Pacific Northwest millions of salmon return home. They spawn the next generation and then die within a few weeks. Thankfully, that isn’t the case for humans. Still, empty nest syndrome can cause us to take stock. The years moved quickly with children at home and we’re a little older. Somehow we’re not in as good of shape as we used to be and we’re beginning to feel some of life’s mileage. We are reminded that life is finite and precious.


#1. Know that they are leaving home, not leaving us: The temptation is to equate our child’s physical absence with their absence from our lives. The truth is that our relationship with them continues. Our children still need us and love us.

#2. Electronic communication: Stay in touch with your kids electronically. Gone are the days of expensive phone calls. Social media, texts and video calls are free. Take advantage of them. If your child is away at college, suggest that they call you while walking to class (nothing else is competing for this time). Take an interest in their academic life (their friends probably don’t).

#3. Plan visits: Plan ahead so that you will always know the next time you will see your child. Time moves more quickly when you are looking forward to a visit.

#4. Dream: The dream of raising young children is now behind you. Don’t let there be a void. Dream some new dreams and set some new goals. Budget resources to help you achieve them. Chances are we are better skilled and better off financially than we were before kids. There will never be a better time in life to accomplish new things.

#5. Reconnect with your spouse: Years of raising children changed how you relate to your spouse. Use this opportunity to do the things you couldn’t after your children were born. If you used to enjoy doing something together, chances are you still will now that there aren’t kids in the house.

#6. Get a “kid fix” if you need it: If you find yourself missing simply being around kids, volunteer in your church’s Children’s Ministry or Student Ministry. There are plenty of kids that would benefit greatly from your time and attention.

#7. Celebrate the win: Your job as a parent is to work yourself out of a job. Congratulations, you’ve successfully equipped your child to leave home and live in the real world! If the day your baby comes home from the hospital is worth celebrating, so is the day your young adult leaves home. You’ve completed the “adult-child” stage of parenting and can now move on to the “adult-adult” stage. It’s quite an accomplishment.



4 Things They Never Tell You About Empty Nest Syndrome

What Are The Stages Of Empty Nest Syndrome?

How To Recover From Empty Nest Syndrome


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Can you answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Can you answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

I thought I could. Until March 22, 2014.

Mudslide makes the cover of The New York Times.

Mudslide makes the cover of The New York Times.

Here in the Northwest there is a call. It’s the siren song of our incredible mountains. Shear walls of rock thrust vertically thousands of feet in air. Snow collects all winter atop these monuments, only later to melt into crystal clear rivers that attract salmon and bald eagles.

In the warmth of summer, my wife and I followed this call. Our favorite spot is along a river called Stillaguamish. Locals lovingly call it the Stilly. We would pitch our chairs in the river near Oso, a tiny town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. There families gather to jump off railroad bridges into the cool water. There are rope swings, fishing poles and picnic baskets. It’s quite a place.

Larry and Sandy Miller

Larry and Sandy Miller

Larry and Sandy Miller heard the same call. For years they shared with us their dreams of building a home alongside the Stilly. They wanted a place to retire where they would never have to leave the salmon and the eagles and the snowmelt. It reminded Sandy of her days in Alaska. They even designed a separate riverside space for retreats. They wanted friends and families to experience the mountains they loved.

March 22, 2014 their dream came to an end.

After weeks of unusually heavy rain, a mile-wide section of mountain gave way. It was a catastrophic event, even by Northwest standards. Geologists say it may be the worst ever. The mountainside raced downhill at 170 miles an hour. It wiped cars off the highway. It choked the Stilly so quickly it sent a six-story tsunami upstream taking out homes and people.

In 3 seconds.

3 seconds.

Larry and Sandy Miller's dream home before the mudslide.

Larry and Sandy Miller’s dream home before the mudslide.

Larry and Sandy were at their brand new dream home the morning of the slide. They were making final preparations to move in and begin a well-earned retirement. They and their electrician are were killed.

They had spent years working to ensure their home was in a safe place. No expense was spared protecting the dream from a river flooding. But there was no protection from the unthinkable. The dream now sits under 20 feet of water and mud.

The loss of Larry and Sandy’s dream is nothing compared the world’s loss of Larry and Sandy. Larry was a businessman. He earned the respect needed to be boss by working his way up the ranks. He was the kind of guy upon which communities are built.

Larry Miller' sword.

Larry Miller’s sword.

My favorite “Larry moment” was the day he showed up to our church car show. Larry was a straight-talking leader who wanted to invite guys to be part of the Men’s Ministry he organized. Larry walked around the car show with an authentic three-foot sword (an Ephesians 6:17 reference to the Bible being our sword). Larry signed up 30 guys that day, the most successful sign up in church history.

Larry and Sandy Miller in love.

Larry and Sandy Miller in love.

Larry and Sandy loved their marriage. So much so they passionately wanted to help other couples with their marriages. For years they led our church marriage ministry, helping save weak marriages and strengthen good ones.

People like Larry and Sandy are the glue that hold us together. They are the non-squeaky wheels. They are the contributors and the doers and the helpers. They are the people you look forward to seeing. They make the room better just by walking in. They are the people you appreciate, even more so when they’re gone.

Why do bad things happen to good people? A week ago I could have given you the standard answer.

Now I’m not so sure.


Larry and Sandy Miller’s story in the media:

KING 5 News (video)

Everett Herald

New York Times

Seattle Times

NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams (video)

Front page coverage of the Oso landslide in The Seattle Times.

Front page coverage of the Oso landslide in The Seattle Times.


Photos courtesy Ron Hadley. Used with permission.



The Best Things To Do In Seattle

A list of the best things to do in Seattle. Tourist information, unusual attractions and sightseeing suggestions from a local.

“What to do in Seattle. . . the best things?” “What are the must see places when I visit Seattle?” As a local I am often asked for my Seattle trip ideas. . . the best restaurants, attractions, sightseeing and free things to do. Here are the places I share with my friends (and now my online friends!) Note that some of these are a little unusual. . . the stuff better known by locals than Seattle tourists. Also note that this is not a complete list. It’s just stuff I know people enjoy seeing when they come to town.


Ballard Locks repairsThe Ballard Locks (Free – Ballard Neighborhood): Unique place where boats are raised from the saltwater of Puget Sound to the fresh water of Lake Washington. Check out the beautiful gardens and visitor center. Don’t miss the fish ladder viewing room where you can see salmon migrate. For great water views of the Sound, check out Ray’s Boathouse restaurant nearby.   More information on the Hiram Chittenden Locks in Ballard.

Archie McPhee (Free – Wallingford Neighborhood): One-of-a-kind novelty shop. This collection of weird stuff will keep you entertained. More information on Archie McPhee Seattle.

Easy Street Records (Free – West Seattle): A classic vinyl store located in the heart of Seattle’s famous grunge music scene. More information on Easy Street Records Seattle.

Seattle Pan HDR--Over 20k ViewsAlki Beach (Free – West Seattle): Alki is the original location of Seattle (now considered West Seattle). It now has a long wide walking trail, a lighthouse and one of the best views of Seattle. Drive over or take the water taxi from downtown Seattle. It’s a great place for a stroll. Try fish and chips at Salty’s Alki. More information on Alki Beach Seattle.

Pike Place Market Gum Wall (Free – Downtown Seattle): Pike Place Market is where you go to see fish being thrown. After you have had your fill of flying salmon, visit the nearby Post Alley. The gum wall is quite gross. You can even add to the collection if you like. More information on the Pike Place Market Gum Wall Seattle.

Gas Works Park (Free – U District): Visit this rusting refinery on the north end of Lake Union. It has wonderful views of the city, the famous Lake Union houseboats and of the incoming float planes. More information on Gas Works Park Seattle.

Fremont Troll (Free – Fremont): The Troll Under the Bridge is a large public sculpture located under the Aurora Bridge. Look closely and you will see that the Aurora Avenue Troll is holding a Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand. A wonderfully weird attraction from the wonderfully offbeat folks in Fremont. The Troll is a great find. . . most Seattle tourists have no idea he is there! Address: 900 N. 36th Street, Seattle, WA 98103.   More information on the Fremont Troll Seattle.

Waiting For The Interurban (Free – Fremont): The Troll has some other sculpted friends nearby. They are six people and a dog waiting for a train (The Interurban) that quit running years ago. After the statue was placed in Fremont, locals thought it would be fun to decorate by giving the people clothes, signs, etc. The gag has run for years. Clothing changes frequently. You never know just how the people will be dressed until you get there. It’s also fun to window shop in the nearby stores. Address: 3400 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.   More information on Waiting For The Interurban Seattle.

Statue of Vladimir Lenin (Free – Fremont): Controversial cold war relic designed to make you think. Address: 3526 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103    More information on Seattle’s Lenin Statue.

The Needle & RainierSeattle’s Best View and Photo Op – Kerry Park (Free – Queen Anne Neighborhood): Nearly every Seattle skyline picture you see was taken from a small park (Kerry Park) atop Queen Anne hill, just north of downtown. Be sure to take a picture of yourself for the ultimate Seattle tourist souvenir. Address: 211 W Highland Dr. Seattle, WA 98119.   More information on the best view in Seattle from Kerry Park.

Burke-Gilman Trail (Free): This incredible paved trail winds from Ballard east to Lake Washington. You can walk, jog or bike it. I highly recommend it for bicycles from Ballard east through the U District (University of Washington campus). More information on the Burke-Gilman Trail Seattle.

Washington Park Arboretum (Free): A great stroll through beautiful gardens. To see even more, rent a canoe from the nearby University of Washington and paddle the Arboretum (one of Seattle’s best paddles). More information on Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum.

snoqualamie fallsSnoqualamie Falls (Free – 30 minutes east of Downtown Seattle): Beautiful waterfall made famous in the TV series Twin Peaks. Easy to access. Nearby check out the old trains on display (free), hike/bike a railroad trestle (free) or grab a meal at Twede’s Twin Peaks Diner (from the TV Show).   More information on Snoqualamie Falls Seattle.

Exotic Cars At Redmond Town Center (Most Saturdays – Free – 15 minutes east of Seattle): Want to see some of the rarest cars in the world for free? Ferraris and Lamborghinis are just the start. Exotics@RTC is the largest weekly car gathering north of Los Angeles. 9am-11am most Saturdays April-October, depending on weather. Updated information and schedule for Exotics@RTC.



Seattle ferrySeattle Ferry (Downtown Seattle Waterfront): This is the best low-cost tourist attraction in Seattle (though some never think of it that way because its public transportation). Nearly every movie featuring Seattle contains this ferry scene. Park in downtown Seattle and walk-on the ferry to Bainbridge Island (walk-on ferry tickets are inexpensive). The 35 minute cruise will give you great views of the skyline and Alki Beach. Once at Bainbridge, take the waterfront trail through Eagle Harbor to the shops on Winslow Way. Enjoy window shopping and grab a snack/meal. Then walk back to the ferry and return to Seattle. More on the Seattle Ferry and walk on Bainbridge.

Seattle CityPASS: The best Seattle discount pass is the Seattle City Pass. CityPASS allows you to visit several major attractions at a deep discount. More information on CityPASS, the Seattle visitor pass.

The First Starbucks (Pike Place Market – Downtown Seattle): The very first Starbucks store is located across from Pike Place Market. It’s worth stopping by to say that you did it. TIP: Starbucks sells a coffee mug in this store that is not available anywhere else in the world (not even online). It’s a great Seattle souvenir for you or a coffee lover you know. More information about the 1st Starbucks in Seattle.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room (Capitol Hill – Downtown Seattle): Coffee fans… your Seattle Starbucks pilgrimage wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the */R Roastery. It’s located in the Capitol Hill area, just 9 blocks from the first Starbucks (above). Starbucks likes to call this one-of-a-kind location the “Willy Wonka of Coffee.” It’s a working roastery attached to a cafe. More information the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle.

Space Needle with skyline and Mount Rainier at sunset, 2000Space Needle (Queen Anne): Seattle’s most famous structure is worth a visit. Ride an elevator to the top for great views on a sunny day. If you are only in town for a short time, consider a meal atop the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant. It’s a memorable experience. Prices for the observation level may seem a little high. Prices for the restaurant may be more affordable than you think.  More information on visiting Space Needle Seattle.

Chihuly Garden and Glass (at the Space Needle, Queen Anne): Right under the Space Needle is the Chihuly Museum. It has stunning displays of blown glass. It may not sound that cool, but it is. More information on Dale Chihuly Glass Seattle.

Ride The Ducks (at the Space Needle, Queen Anne): Ride the Ducks offers a great overview tour of Seattle from both the streets and waterways. They use World War 2-era amphibious vehicles that are unusually fun. The tour guides are wacky. This tour is worth the somewhat steep price. More information on Seattle Ride the Ducks.

REI Flagship Store and Climbing Wall: Seattle-based outdoor equipment company REI has its flagship store in downtown Seattle. It is like Disneyland for outdoor people. The most remarkable part of the store is a 6-story-tall climbing wall. Brave adults and children can climb it. It’s a great place to create a memory. Call ahead for a reservation. You have to see it to believe it. A couple blocks from REI is a great informal restaurant called Lunchbox Laboratory. USA Today says it is amongst the top 5 places for milkshakes in the country. More information on the REI Climbing Wall Seattle.

Underground Seattle Tour (Downtown Seattle – Pioneer Square): Seattle’s colorful history is revealed in this walking tour. It takes you to the “secret” underground passageways created when Seattle was reconstructed. While in Pioneer Square at lunchtime, Salumni is a great place to get a sandwich. More information on Bill Speidle’s Underground Tour Seattle.

Seattle Pinball Museum (International District): If you love pinball, this place has machines from a variety of decades. One price for unlimited play. Good fun! More information on the Seattle Pinball Museum.

Rent Kayaks On Lake Union (Downtown Seattle): Lake Union is a freshwater lake on Seattle’s north end. It has calm water, float planes and wonderful views of downtown. Rent kayaks or standup paddle boards from Northwest Outdoor Center. More information on kayaking Lake Union in Seattle.

Cruise To Tillicum Village And Salmon Buffet (Seattle Waterfront Pier 55): Four-hour tour features narrated cruise to Blake Island, salmon buffet, Coast Salish Tribe-inspired program of storytelling and dances, exploration of island. More information on Tillicum Village.

barricasWashington Wineries (20 Minutes Northeast of Seattle): Most people are surprised to learn that only California produces more wine than Washington. Washington grapes are grown in the wonderful climate east of the Cascades, but most of the actual wineries are located in Woodinville, an easy 20 minute highway drive from Seattle. Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Winery and Januik Winery are among local favorites. More information on Seattle Wineries in Woodinville. A great place to eat while wine tasting is the Barking Frog at the centrally located Willows Lodge.

The Museum of Flight (Boeing Field, 15 minutes south of Downtown Seattle): A world-class museum featuring a Concorde, the first 737 and first 747. More on Seattle’s airplane museum, The Museum of Flight.

The Future of Flight (Paine Field in Everett, 30 minutes north of Seattle): Tours of Boeing’s massive Everett plant where its largest passenger jets are built. More on The Future of Flight museum and Seattle Boeing Plant Tour.

The Museum of Flight Restoration Center (Paine Field in Everett, 30 minutes north of Seattle): Hanger where all of the restoration work is done for the Museum of Flight. The public can watch. It’s more of a “locals only” kind of place, but very interesting for airplane nuts. More on the Museum of Flight Restoration Center Seattle.


Many of these are long time casual Seattle favorites.


Dick's Hamburgers SeattleDick’s (Various locations around Seattle): Authentic greasy burgers and fries. A Seattle favorite for decades. Similar to California’s In-N-Out Burger, but less “chain.” More information about Seattle Dick’s Drive In restaurants.

Ivar’s (Various locations around Seattle): Seafood. Another longtime Seattle favorite. The clam chowder is must have, as are the fish and chips. More information on Ivar’s Seattle.

Top Pot Doughnuts (Various locations around Seattle): High quality Seattle-grown donuts. More information on Top Pot Donuts locations Seattle.



Great Seattle View – Salty’s on Alki Beach: If you’re just looking for a sit down place with a memorable view of Seattle, you can’t beat Salty’s. More on Salty’s Alki.

Salumni (Pioneer Square): One of the best Seattle sandwich places. Go early, they sell out. More on Salumni Seattle in Pioneer Square.

Paseo (Fremont neighborhood, just north of Downtown Seattle): Outstanding sandwiches with few places to sit. The #2 Caribbean, Cuban Roast and Midnight Cuban sandwiches are what many people choose. More on Paseo Seattle.

Northlake Pizza (University District, Seattle): Perhaps the best pizza I had in my life. This is a tavern, so kids aren’t allowed. What’s missing in polish it makes up for in delicious food. More information on Seattle’s Northlake Tavern and Pizza House.

Sound Coffee and Morsel (University District): Wonderful breakfast biscuits. More information of Morsel, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Quinn’s Pub (Capitol Hill): Known for burgers and their Wild Boar Sloppy Joe. More on Quinns Pub Seattle.

The Walrus and the Carpenter (Ballard): Go for oysters. More on The Walrus and the Carpenter Seattle.

Shorty’s (Belltown): Pinball and pub grub. More on Shorty’s Seattle.

Tillicum Place (Belltown): A favorite for breakfast. More on Tillicum Place Seattle.

Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie (Downtown): Famous breakfast biscuits. More on Seatown Seattle

Canlis: Dress up and get your ‘foodie’ on! More on Canlis Seattle.

Palisade (Magnolia): Great views, seafood and steak. Ask about early dinner specials. More on Palisade Seattle.

Roux (Fremont): New Orleans cajun food. Restaurant Roux started as a popular food truck. More information about Roux restaurant in Fremont – Seattle.

Din Tai Fung (U District): Great dim sum and dumplings. Many times there is a wait. There is another Din Tai Fung location in Bellevue at Lincoln Square. More information on Din Tai Fung Seattle.



Maltby Cafe (Maltby, 25 minutes from Downtown Seattle): A local favorite for breakfast with a country attitude. More on The Maltby Cafe, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Patty’s Egg Nest (various locations north of Seattle): Another local favorite for breakfast. More on Patty’s Egg Nest, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Barking Frog (Woodinville): An elegant, informal bistro located in the wonderful Willows Lodge. Perfect place to eat while wine tasting at the Woodinville wineries. More information about the Barking Frog restaurant in Woodinville – Seattle Washington.

Saw Mill Cafe (Mill Creek): Best known for a great breakfast. More on Saw Mill Cafe Mill Creek.

Brown Bag Cafe (Kirkland): Wins local awards for its breakfast: More on The Original Brown Bag Cafes.

Terracotta Red (Everett): Located 30 minutes north of Seattle, this Asian Fusion restaurant has some wonderfully seasoned and prepared meals. I highly recommend the Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup and the Crispy Drunken Chicken. The Terra Salad is also quite good as a house salad. More information on Terracotta Red restaurant in Everett.

Pasteur Noodle Soup (South Everett): Incredible Pho (Vietnamese soup), amongst the best anywhere: More on Pasteur Noodle Soup.

Raliberto’s Taco Shop (South Everett): Best “hole in the wall” Mexican food I know outside of San Diego. More on Raliberto’s Taco Shop.

Memo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (South Everett and Seattle U-District): Another decent “hole in the wall” type Mexican restaurant. Great breakfast burritos. More on Memos Mexican Food Restaurant.



cascadesNorth Cascades Highway: Unforgettable drive. More information on the Cascade Loop – North Cascades Highway Seattle. Don’t miss the Gorge Power Station in Newhalem. It has wonderful waterfalls and gardens.

Iron Horse Trail and Tunnel: Want to walk/bike for 2+ miles underground? More information on the Iron Horse Trail and Snoqualmie Tunnel.

Skagit Valley Tulips: The daffodils and tulips are a memorable experience if you are here in March or April. It’s beautiful drive through the Skagit Valley farmlands at all other times of the year. Check out Roozengaarde and Tulip Town. Be sure to stop by Snow Goose Produce for one of their “immodest” ice cream cones. It’s a destination in itself!  More information on Skagit Valley Tulips.

Mount Rainer: The trip can be done in one long day from Seattle. Rainer is open during the summer months only. Stop at the Paradise Visitor’s Center and take the steep hike to the alpine meadows. It is one of the most beautiful and memorable places on earth.

Mount St. Helens: Another long day trip from Seatle. The visitors center is a great place to experience this infamous volcano.



1968 Dodge Charger R/T Avatar - Perspective IIIExotics At Redmond Town Center (Most Saturdays – 15 minutes east of Seattle): Do you want to see some of the rarest cars in the world? Ferraris and Lamborghinis are just the start. Exotics@RTC is the largest weekly car gathering north of Los Angeles. 9am-11am most Saturdays April-October, depending on weather. The better the weather, the better the cars. Free. Updated information and schedule for Exotics@RTC.


XXX Rootbeer Drive In (Issaquah – 20 minutes east of Seattle): Historic drive-in that has a different car show every Sunday April-September. Free. More information on Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In Car Shows Seattle.

Park Place (Bellevue – 15 minutes east of Seattle): This unique dealership is like a constantly changing car show featuring classic and exotic vehicles. What’s more is that there are other, high end dealerships next door and across the street. If you like cars, this a great area to spend an hour or two. Free. More information on Park Place in Bellevue.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum (Tacoma, 30 minutes south of Seattle): Largest car collection in the US. More information on LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

LeMay Family Collection At Marymount (Tacoma area, 45 minutes south of Seattle): Hundreds more cars from the LeMay collection, displayed in various buildings around a former school campus. More information on The LaMay Family Collection at Marymount.

Griot’s Garage Flagship Store (Tacoma area, 30 minutes south of Seattle): Headquarters for nationally recognized car care specialist.  More information on Griot’s Garage headquarters in Tacoma.



Seattle Travel Guide Video from Expedia


Seattle Must See Attractions – Emerald City Travel Guide Video


100 Things To Do In Seattle Before You Die – KING-TV Video


Seattle, Washington Video Travel Guide





Guide to Living in Seattle Part 2


Guide to Living in Seattle Part 3


Guide to Living in Seattle Part 4



 Seattle 1 Day Itinerary – One Day Tour

Seattle 2 Day Itinerary – Two Day Tour

Best Coffee In Seattle

 25 Best Things To Do In Seattle

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Where Do You Stand On Patriotism (1-10 Scale)?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your patriotism? 10 is completely sold out for your country, 1 is 100% cynicism about the USA.

Over your lifetime, has your level of patriotism varied?

StatehouseI ask you these questions because of an unexpected and enlightening experience. Recently my son participated in a mock legislature program called Boys State. It’s put on by the American Legion. A group of 225 young men were selected from high schools around our state. They run for elected office, create bills and even sue each other during the week-long program.

My son was fortunate to have been elected governor. That came with an unexpected privilege. Boys State asked our family to attend the closing night program. We were the only parents to experience it. We found ourselves in a world very few civilian adults get to see.

Wow. What a message the American Legion had for our impressionable young adults. There were peer speeches on the U.S. Constitution as a living document. There was an empty chair in memory of our country’s prisoners of war and those missing in action. There was the pledge of allegiance. There was proper respect shown for our flag. There were reenactments of the greatest presidential speeches in history.

American FlagAnd then there was the show stopper. It was a 20 minute video of music and images from throughout U.S. history. The images spoke for themselves. The United States is a country that has truly struggled with incredible challenges. It has had some remarkable moments of leadership. It has had imperfect leaders with incredible courage and character. America is as much an idea as it is a place.

My reaction to this incredible display caught me off guard. I suddenly found myself asking the question above. . . ‘Where do I stand on the subject of patriotism?’ The more I thought, the more I wondered. Have I changed? Have I grown skeptical? What about those around me?

I used to be a television news director. Questioning those in power is part of being a good journalist and a good citizen. But has a healthy skepticism turned to unhealthy cynicism? Our country has a lot of serious problems facing it. How does someone stay patriotic without being a patsy for political spin and partisanship?

I suspect that the answer lies in this inescapable truth: If we don’t love our country, no one else will. Our relationship to our country is no different than that to our friends and family members. They may have big problems, but we love them anyway. Patriotism is about being on-board despite imperfections.

United State of ArtAmerica’s current problems seem insurmountable. Incredible indebtedness, runaway health care/educational costs and employment/economic challenges make it easy to be sour.  But it’s wise to consider these things in light of our past problems. The US has overcome separation from England, being split in two (The Civil War), two World Wars and the nearly-apocalyptic Cold War. We’ve overcome many hugely-difficult social and economic challenges. Many times we’ve been able to solve our problems honorably and intelligently. If the only decent way to predict the future is the past, we’re going to solve our current problems too.

Don’t let patriotism become the space of cheesy politicians, Madison Avenue and partisan news outlets. Know the real story of our country and its grand experiment in freedom for humanity. Warts and all, we are citizens of one of the most remarkable countries in world history. As patriots, let’s love America, make it better, more caring, more intelligent and more honorable.

No one else will.


I highly recommend the Boys State and Girls State programs mentioned earlier. The programs are held throughout the country each summer for students entering their senior year of high school. Encourage students you know to participate. Click here for the introductory video. Click here for more information.

A special thank you to Evergreen Boys State for the experiences they provided to my son and our family.


Discipleshift: Key Take-Aways From Jim Putman’s Relational Discipleship Book

For churches that sincerely want to retrain and grow their members, creating a culture of discipleship is the best choice. Jim Putman is the person I know who does this best.

Discipleshift 1Jim, along with Bobby Harrington and Robert E. Coleman (“The Master Plan of Evangelism”), have a great new book Discipleshift. It outlines the steps successful churches use to grow their people spiritually (with the happy side-effects of closing the back door and growing numerically). Here are the key take-aways from Discipleshift:


> Most churches today operate with an educational, attractional, missional or organic methodology. Each is one-dimensional and can be helped with a focus on biblical discipleship done in relational environments (small groups where a leader intentionally develops members spiritually).

> Discipleship is not quick and it is not a church growth program. It doesn’t have “5 easy steps to greater church health”. Discipleship is a lifestyle. It requires a slow and deliberate course of organizational and personal change.

There are five shifts that churches must make. These shifts focus a church on growing their people spiritually.


> It’s critical that church leadership have a common understanding of (definition) what constitutes a disciple.

> When we study scripture, we learn that a disciple is defined as someone who is following Christ, is being changed by Christ and is committed to the mission of Christ (Matthew 4:19).

> The process starts when we identify the stage someone is at in their spiritual development. This must be done in a spirit of love, not judgment. Knowing where someone is spiritually helps us be intentional about growing them to the next level. We can assess where people are spiritually by listening to how they speak.

> The stages of spiritual growth are spiritually dead (unsaved), infant, child, young adult and spiritual parent.

> Spiritual growth is not simply the responsibility of the disciple-maker. The other person has their part, God has His part and we have our part in the process.

> There are four spheres in which we grow: in relationship to God, in relationship to the church, at home and in relationship to the world. We shouldn’t just be biblically educated in these areas, but in each submitting to God authority, being transformed by Jesus and joining in Jesus’ mission.

> Someone who is making disciples gets the enemy’s attention. Spiritual warfare should be expected.

> People grow spiritually at different rates.


> Jim Putman’s struggles with substance addiction showed him the power of a sponsor (close relationship) in recovery. In relating this to church, he saw the opportunity to focus not on information but transformation through relationship with each other.

> Jesus modeled the discipling relationship in different ways. He had the three (Peter, James, and John) in whom he invested his highest quality time. There were the twelve disciples who received a good quantity of quality time with Jesus. Jesus also spent time with a large group of 72 people and large crowds for his public teaching.

> We are to begin discipling with ourselves (modeling), making sure we are living out the life we want to model for others. We are then to disciple at the small group level, eventually working our way to the crowds.

> The pastor’s role is to equip people so that everyone reaches spiritual maturity. The pastor develops leaders and creates systems where discipleship happens broadly (and not trying to disciple everyone on their own).


> Disciples can’t be made in large gatherings alone. Following Christ’s example we need to meet in relational small groups.

> Spiritual maturity happens through the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God.

> A leader must both be a in a discipleship group himself and create church-wide systems where everybody has the same opportunity to do so.

> When studying how Jesus worked, ask yourself the following questions:

What did Jesus do?
What do I do now in my own life as a church leader?
What do I teach others to do?
What does real teaching look like (not just transferring information)?

> Jesus’ ministry was based on SHARING life and the Gospel with others, plus CONNECTING new believers to God and other believers. Jesus was also MINISTERING to believers by helping them grow spiritually, finally releasing them so they can be DISCIPLING other believers.


> Each ministry in our church should be aligned in a way that leads to discipleship. This is difficult because there are so many good things we can be doing.

> Each minsitry should have:

Discipleship as a clear goal.
A leader who is intentional about making disciples.
A relational enviornment centered around the Bible.
A reproducable process that makes more disciples.
A view of the church that sees it as an overarching structure to support and communicate about discipleship, plus protect the church from competing views.

> Relational small groups are the backbone of discipleship. They allow people to be reached and grown one person at a time.

> Discipleship-focused small groups aren’t just for fellowship. They are led by an intentional leader who ensures that shepherding, real teaching, modeling, authenticity and accountabiliy are taking place.


> A church should move from being about attracting and gathering people to developing and releasing them.

> A church should evaluate itself not only with traditional metrics, but those related to discipleship.

> The ultimate evaluation is whether your people are equipped and motivated to minister wherever in whatever location and life stage they are in.

> Real Life Ministries intentinonally does not provide “one size fits all” steps to discipleship. It believes each church must wrestle through the process itself. However, if you want your church to be effective in discipling it encourages us to consider the following:

Develop a biblical vision.
Agree upon common terms you will use in your discipleship process.
Create your disciple-making system.
Live out your vision.
Assess where you are, course correct and celebrate wins with your team.

IMG_7506Our church is currently in the process of moving from simply being attractional to having a focus on relationship discipleship. We have established a networking group of Seattle area churches that are also implementing discipleship. If there is anyway we can help you or your church, please be in touch ( or 425-322-2304).

Real Life Ministries offers an excellent program to help churches organize around discipleship. It’s called (remarkably enough!) Discipleshift. More information here:

Jim Putman also wrote these excellent books:

Church is a Team Sport
Real Life Discipleship
Real Life Discipleship Training Manual

NEXT: Click here to read the top quotes from the Exponential Conference where Discipleshift debuted.



Quotes From The Catalyst Dallas Leadership Conference 2013


The Catalyst Dallas leadership conference was held at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship this year. Here are some great quotes and resources from the conference’s Twitter feed:


@ryneisaac: “What is the future you’re creating right now?” -Erwin McManus

@PastorGad: “A model is a small imitation of the real thing” @erwinmcmanus.  Are you looking 4 a model to follow, or the real thing?

@Heath_Lewis: “Those who create the future are friends of failure.” Erwin McManus

@raquelrussell: Creators understand that their greatest gift is their imagination @erwinmcmanus

@fwatsondesigns: Whoa. “We are the materialization of that which God imagined, the “seen” which was created out of the unseen.” @erwinmcmanus

@dkrichards: RT @sl_richards: We were imagined by imagination and imagination is the playground of God. @erwinmcmanus

@kevin_bryant: A future based on what you know will look like the past. A future based on what you don’t know will change history. @erwinmcmanus

@CatalystLeader: God created us in His image to MAKE the invisible, visible. via @erwinmcmanus

@CatalystLeader: If God imagined you at birth, what makes you think He’s stopped imagining you now. via @erwinmcmanus

@dustin_mclean: Materialize the invisible @erwinmcmanus

@philipjoh: “You are the material of God’s imagination.” @erwinmcmanus #MindBlown

@KellyJoArtist: It is time we stop protecting what God did and start creating what God is doing. @erwinmcmanus

@MiamiAsh: What is wrong with us when we want to do the past better than the future @erwinmcmanus

@letsgocubs1908: “You are more than a maker of fire; You usher eternity into time” @erwinmcmanus

@christina_hite: “Lions do what lions do. Gazelles do what gazelles do. But humans do what they can imagine.” @erwinmcmanus

@kevin_bryant: We are stewards of the future. @erwinmcmanus #makehistory

@sl_richards: God is always doing a new thing. All God DOES is make the NEW. @erwinmcmanus

@ErichRobinson: “Someone imagined it and that is why we have it!” @erwinmcmanus

@kevin_bryant: Those who create the future are the friends of failures and imperfections. @erwinmcmanus

@fwatsondesigns: A life of faithfulness is not a life of faith. There’s a heroic narrative that calls us to step out in faith. @erwinmcmanus

@AdamJBennett1: I AM MADE TO MAKE!  – @erwinmcmanus

@AlexanderMcMath: @erwinmcmanus “I’m so happy at 54 that all my brain can do is dream

@julie_pierce: @CatalystLeader  3 questions for debriefing your conference experience:

@blainec24: For some reason I love that Driscoll is speaking right after a talk on vulnerability. #snarky

@BertAlcorn: Pumped to be watching @PastorMark at #catalyst Dallas. Can’t wait for him to yell at me.

@PastorMark: Ready to take the stage. Kicking it off with a skinny jeans joke.

@stevebullard: I’ve seen some of you guys with your top button buttoned. How is that? Enjoyable? -Mark Driscoll

@WBD_1023: “Why does this photo make me look fat? Uhh, cause it’s a good camera.” @PastorMark

@alanmarmstrong: “Trucks. Guns. Heterosexuality.  This ain’t Seattle.” – @PastorMark #catalyst dude is on a roll talking about our IDENTITY!

@schmidt_zak: I know who made the environment and one day he is coming back to burn it down & make it new anyways. That’s why I drive my truck

@MaryDeMuth: And then you have children and you’re identity is gone. @PastorMark #tongueincheek

@robgreene: “It makes a guy a miniMANto drive a miniVAN” a little standup from @PastorMark at #catalyst

@wwwdotPearl: Who I think I am determines what I do. @PastorMark

@nancyneves: Who you think you are is what compels you to do what you do!  #markdriscoll

@jeffreydaguilar: Who you are determines what you do. Not the other way around. @PastorMark

@martyburroughs: Things may explain who you are but they don’t define you @PastorMark

@pchedgecock: Our identity is not achieved its received (Jesus) @PastorMark

@MaryDeMuth: Don’t let your ministry become idolatry. @PastorMark

@jeffreydaguilar: Humility means “know your place.” @PastorMark

@jeffreydaguilar: If you know your identity you’ll know what to do. @PastorMark

@jeffreydaguilar: You are not what you do. You are what Christ has done for you. @PastorMark

@DigitalMolly: I don’t need to be perfect because Jesus is my perfection. @PastorMark

@jlgerhardt: Mark Driscoll is yelling at me RIGHT NOW. #notsurprised

@jeffreydaguilar: Working for yourself instead of from yourself you will destroy yourself. @PastorMark

@robgreene: “Only faithful followers make fruitful leaders.” @PastorMark

@SGeoThomas: “We need to think biblically before we act practically; thinking biblically gives us the wisdom to act practically” (@PastorMark)

@brianvbradford: When people fail u, remember that Jesus never will. @PastorMark

@stefanieybrown: “We’re not just leaders. We’re also followers.” @pastormark

@etgarland: Mark Driscoll at #catalyst… Love him or hate him… He is a game changer.

@CampMullican: When we armor up against vulnerability we armor up against connection.  Dr. Brene Brown

@yp_caleb: Vulnerability is scary. But it is not as scary as getting to the end of your life and never haven’t shown up. @BreneBrown

@raquelrussell: As a leader, you’re going to get your a$$ kicked. It’s just going to happen. You’re gonna get hurt. @BreneBrown

@staciezellmer: @brenebrown “if you’re not in the arena every once in a while getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” LEAD

@wwwdotPearl: Folks who judge what I do from an anonymous or non-engaged position are sitting in cheap seats and are irrelevant.

@CatalystLeader: Leadership – vulnerability = disengagement via @BreneBrown

@JLee1611: “Leadership who just motivates & manages actually manipulates. Leadership is about inspiring people.” – @brenebrown

@jdvoss: Your vulnerability is the first thing I look for and mine is the last thing I want you to see. @BreneBrown

@KellyJoArtist: In the absence of love and belonging is always suffering @brenebrown

@blainec24: “Vulnerability is going on a first date after a divorce.” @BreneBrown Thankful my wife was vulnerable!

@MiamiAsh: If you are going to be brave you are going to get hurt. @brenebrown

@CatalystLeader: Vulnerability is the birthplace of faith. via @BreneBrown

@CatalystLeader: As a leader you can chose comfort or you can chose courage, but you can’t have both. via @BreneBrown

@212_Pastor: “I refuse to believe girls only like the guys who are running the other direction.” – A random dude talking to Brene Brown at #catalyst

@MarshallSimpson: This is one of the greatest moments in my life as a Dallas Cowboys fan. Emmitt Smith is at #Catalyst!!! #childhooddreams

@CatalystLeader: RT @pastoradam: You may be talented, but you better work on your talent or it could leave you. @EmmittSmith22

@MindyColvin: Paraphrasing Emmitt Smith: If you’re not interested in growing as a person, you’re not going to be a valuable part of any team.

@bjasonb: You may be talented, gifted, etc. but if you don’t work at it you won’t be as great as you can be. Emmitt Smith

@MiamiAsh: Never become satisfied with anything. You always have room to grow. Keep living! @emmittsmith

@JustinTheViking: “What I did yesterday was yesterday’s news, I need to make some new news today… Stay humble and stay focused
-Emmit Smith

@rustygreer01: It was not my skill that made me a great running back, it was my heart and passion for the game. Emmitt Smith

@rafmnk: Know your play book, understand your assignment become better -emmit smith

@pammajors: ” Be open to learn more. You can always be better at whatever it is you do.” Emmitt Smith

@blainec24: “My wedding ring is my super bowl ring of life” @emmittsmith

@j3hooper: Offense sell tickets… Defense wins championships – that’s for the Cowboys and for me. Loving @EmmittSmith22

@rustygreer01: I learned more from my failures than. from my successes. Emmitt Smith

@markleenerts: Your attitude determines your aptitude! – Emmitt Smith

@AllysonLFoster: “@CatalystLeader: Health is a tremendous attribute for pursuing your dreams. via @EmmittSmith22

@carriebourne: Never become satisfied. The day you become satisfied is the day you stop growing. #emmittsmith

@chavis_t: If you’re in it, be in it to win it. via Emmit Smith

@Brian_Galbraith: The key to winning is evaluation. We all tend to evaluate when we lose, but winners evaluate everything. @emmittsmith

@_JenniferB_: “To whom much is given, much is required.” -EmmittSmith22

@aw_b: Those things you let slide will catch up to you at an inopportune moment. @EmmittSmith22

@Brian_tumc_ym: Emit Smith was just asked, ‘Who hit you the hardest?’ his answer ‘You wouldn’t know her. It was my mom. I deserved it’ Ha

@danitowner: “As God unfolds the possibilities and opportunities sitting at our fingertips, may we not just lead now, but lead well.”

@myhealthychurch: RT @philipjoh: “You can’t take someone where you haven’t been. You can’t give someone something you don’t have.” @scottwilson7

@pastoradam: No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. -Margaret Thatcher via @DaveRamsey

@tapkenchris: Critical question most can’t answer: what have you DONE in your life

@joshuaconner: “Broke people can’t feed people.” @DaveRamsey

@pchedgecock: Handle God’s money for God’s Kingdom in God’s way! @DaveRamsey

@e_sayi: Three spirits surrounding wealth: Martha (pride), Judas (it comes from the devil), and Mary (gratitude). ~ @DaveRamsey

@leonm78207: Just because you can tweet, doesn’t mean your opinion is valid.

@SalazarTim: The more grateful I am, the more excellent I will be at managing God’s money @DaveRamsey

@tidoramon: “David left over $21 billion dollars to Solomon to build God’s kingdom, by our standards.” @DaveRamsey

@BTylerEllis: “Wealth comes FROM hard work but not BECAUSE of hard work. Wealth comes because of God. Everything is His” @DaveRamsey

@blainec24: “You don’t have to be the poorest in the neighborhood to prove that you are a Christian.” @DaveRamsey

@blainec24: “A lot of us are conservative politically and not biblically correct enough.” @DaveRamsey

@leonm78207: Just because you can tweet, doesn’t mean your opinion is valid.

@hlanderson: “Wimpified culture we live in where everyone is self-important” @DaveRamsey

@coachgoodenough: “Just because you can get on the Internet does not mean that your opinion is valid.” Dave Ramsey

@MaryDeMuth: No farmer ever grew the corn and took credit for the sun that grew it. @DaveRamsey

@RockinRandy: @DaveRamsey at #Catalyst said, “It’s not when u were born & die that matters on ur tombstone. It’s what you do with the “-” in the middle

@jeff_r_ward: @DaveRamsey danger is that folks think if I can afford it & pay cash for it, I’m good to buy it. That’s not a stewardship mindset.

@jeffreydaguilar: Money is not a pleasure, it is a responsibility. @DaveRamsey

@CatalystLeader: Money is a tool to be used for the kingdom. via @DaveRamsey

@MaryDeMuth: Wealth comes from God, and God still owns it all. @DaveRamsey

@CatalystLeader: You are not an owner. You are a manager. via @DaveRamsey

@ACUSeth: Wow! @DaveRamsey just made many people at #catalyst angry, and it was awesome! Wealth isn’t evil if we know its God’s money. #spoketruth

@TheJakeTurner: In a world full a famous speakers, there are few I could listen to all day. @DaveRamsey is one of the few.

@jacobfam4: Just saw a fake proposal at Catalyst. What people will do for an iPod! I so would have, too!

@jlgerhardt: Don’t just listen to other people’s stories. Look for God and you’ll find your own.

@joeybcook: Leaders: You’re message starts in the parking lot, not the pulpit. @AndyStanley

@josueMacK: You set a goal… You celebrate a win. There is a difference. – @AndyStanley

@ryanleak: It is much easier to educate a Doer than to activate a Thinker. -@AndyStanley

@Stuart_Large: “Clarify the win. Who we are, what we’re doing, and how we do it here.”

@MaryDeMuth: Performance oriented people like to win. Define the win. @AndyStanley

@Stuart_Large: “Performance-oriented people are too busy doing to complain.” -Andy Stanley

@christophobu: if there is no interdependency within a church or team there is no way for them to produce high performance results @AndyStanley

@fwatsondesigns: Put your best doers on your best opportunity. Don’t put a lid on your ministry because you’re afraid of hurting some feelings.

@jeffreydaguilar: High performance teams require high performance people. @AndyStanley

@paulcrowson: if you spend all your time trying to teach a fish to climb a tree it will spend it’s whole life thinking it’s stupid! @AndyStanley

@LukeAPerkins: “Paul wasn’t a guy who sat around and thought about it, he got on a boat and got things done.” -@AndyStanley

@TableforOneMin: Paul was a doer and a single adult!  Singles can be our best doers!

@geoffmclarty: Rent thinkers, hire do-ers!

@Kalebmoore: If you don’t know how something works when it’s working, you won’t know how to fix it when it breaks. – @AndyStanley

@jeremypeterson: We are great at evaluating problems and not so good at evaluating excellence – @AndyStanley

@CatalystLeader: The greatest agent of change in your organization is a crystal clear vision. via @AndyStanley

@jeremypeterson: If there is no interdependency within a church there is no way for them to produce high performance results – via @AndyStanley

@aw_b: Put your best people in the best places for them. The org chart is not your friend. @AndyStanley

@ErichRobinson: Leaders on a team can’t stand sideways energy. @AndyStanley

@willmancini: Church Unique Snapshot: How Andy Stanley Uses Five Faith Catalysts as Mission Measures

@clarkfrailey: If you put a lid on your organization because you’re trying to be nice, you’re a bad leader. -Andy Stanley

@FastChurch: When you clarify the win (@andystanley) beware of 3 kinds of weak vision #catalyst

@sjcolquitt: “I am not the artist; I am the canvas.” @prophiphop

@mattmikalatos: Great interview with #Catalyst leader @Bradlomenick!

@BienRyan: “Some of you grown ups make being grown up look sad.” Funny stuff from Kid President!

@cRoD9583: “Insert very profound quote I heard at catalyst here

@calebjobe: There are two Christian men styles… Bald with beard, or comb-over with glasses…

@Buster_86: Not sure I own enough skinny jeans to be in church leadership.


@chavis_t: Sometimes God does not provide the details because he knows we can’t handle the details. via @CraigGroeschel

@brandonbrister: Spend more time being interested than trying to be interesting.  @AndyStanley

@joshdhall: “Healthy people & healthy organizations are far more open to change than unhealthy people & unhealthy orgs are!”  @AndyStanley

@joshdhall: “Healthy people & healthy cultures have their backs to one another & their eyes focused outwardly on others.” @AndyStanley

@chavis_t: Our reactions determine our reach. If we are going to have better relationships, we must have better reactions. ~ @LysaTerKeurst

@Heath_Lewis: “Jesus does not ask us to care for the less fortunate. He demands it.” @katieinuganda

@CampMullican: The intersection of our greatest strength and passion is our sweet spot.

@lucas_avail: If you don’t know your purpose you might feel worthless.- Propoganda

@preacherrich: You can never feel forgiven except by one who knows what you did. -Reggie Joiner

@sl_richards: You will only be remembered by the people who know you now. @reggiejoiner

@sl_richards: Parents: what you do with your kids over time MATTERS. @reggiejoiner

@CatalystLeader: If you are not investing in a kid, teenager or college student you should be! @ReggieJoiner

@CatalystLeader: There’s a difference between legacy and fame. We’re not called to be famous, we’re called to leave a legacy. @reggiejoiner

@wwwdotPearl: I need to intentionally make what matters, matter more.

@russellpage: “The Bible does not say ‘CHANGE your neighbor as yourself’; it says ‘LOVE your neighbor as yourself’.” @reggiejoiner

@raquelrussell: When all else fails generosity wins. Generosity always wins. @DaveRamsey

@jeffreydaguilar: You won’t ever lose by being generous. @DaveRamsey

@CatalystLeader: Your reactions will impact the reach of your influence. via @LysaTerKeurst

@Vyrso: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker: an interview with @bradlomenick

@shelleygiglio: your responsibilities might increase but your purpose never will be any bigger than to serve @louiegiglio

@BTylerEllis: “We’re not here to make a name. We’re here to make a difference” @craiggroeschel

@blainec24: “Don’t build your ministry on what you are against, build it on what you are FOR” @craiggroeschel

@jlmdad: If you knew how it was going to get done, then God wouldn’t get the glory when it gets done. @craiggroeschel

@SirJacobWhite: Making a spiritual leader: spiritual prompting, certain uncertainty, predictable resistance, uncommon clarity. -@craiggroeschel

@wwwdotPearl: To step towards my destiny, I have to step away from my security. @craiggroeschel

@Heath_Lewis: “Don’t worry when you face resistance. Worry when you don’t.” @craiggroeschel

@yp_caleb: If people don’t occasionally think your a cult, it means your not doing squat. @craiggroeschel

@BTylerEllis: “If you blame yourself for the declines, you’ll take credit for the increases” @craiggroeschel

@tjwardNC: RT @CatalystLeader: If you aren’t willing to face opposition, you aren’t ready or willing to be used by God. @craiggroeschel

@jeff_r_ward: In failure, God will use it to do something IN you to prepare to do something THROUGH you. @craiggroeschel

@SGeoThomas: “Here’s the truth: God will never be handcuffed by your failures or unleashed by your successes.” (@jonacuff)

@franknichols: You will never be ready for that moment when you can change the world, but that’s okay because we serve a God who is! – @JonAcuff t

@KyleRoseberry: “Today is the only day we have. Today is fact, tomorrow is fiction” Jon Acuff

@Msnellings: Fear is schizophrenic, it argues both sides of the coin. – Acuff

@jeremypeterson: God’s not dependent on your platform, your platform is dependent on God – via @JonAcuff

@wwwdotPearl: Fear will give me every excuse that I will ever need to never be what I was created to become.

@rickmeistergolf: “Enough” is a toxic word @johnacuff

@Zech846: When God launched the rescue mission called Jesus, He didn’t do it so we could be ordinary. @JonAcuff

@hughbreland: “It’s not about when you were born, it’s about when you decide to live” @JonAcuff

@jdvoss: RT @blainec24: “What do you do when all the excuses to chase your dreams are gone?” @JonAcuff

@georgecarballo: “You don’t have to be READY, because we have a READY God!! You’ll never out-dream or out-make God!!” @JonAcuff

@sl_richards: You can’t out-dream God. @jonacuff

@CatalystLeader: The only line you can control is the starting line, you can’t control the finish line. @JonAcuff

@ksraines: In today’s culture, hope is boss. ~ Jon Acuff

@Rijken: “Retirement is dead.” – @JonAcuff

@ncostello88: Life moves quickly. Don’t let it pass you by. @JonAcuff

@BTylerEllis: “To have the thumbprint of God means you’re not average” @JonAcuff

@ncostello88: If you start investing when you’re a fetus, you could be a millionaire by 32. @JonAcuf

@ryneisaac: The Internet is not done swallowing industries. @JonAcuff

@joshkimbrell: Forgot to pack my skinny jeans, plaid shirt, and non prescription black rimmed glasses. #unhip

@blainec24: I’ve seen just as many hipsters as I have cowboys at the Dallas #catalyst. What is this the PacNW!?

@LilMamaRed: Men are actually standing guard in front of the EMPTY women’s restroom so men can use it! Long line for the men’s!

@mikedmurray: God may choose to make you through an unexpected opportunity you feel totally unprepared for. @AndyStanley

@Mr_Silvertooth: It’s not the opportunity that God gives you that will mark you. It’s your response to that opportunity! – @AndyStanley

@chuckandcindy: Actions don’t only speak louder than words sometimes they echo over into the next generation. @AndyStanley

@loreferguson: “Pay attention to the tension.” Andy Stanley

@ZachWLambert: “It’s better to make a difference than to make a point.” Andy Stanley

@wwwdotPearl: There is a distinct difference between position and influence. @AndyStanley

@RobelOGmike: Burdens birth vision -Andy Stanley

@livinglocurto: Leaders seize the opportunities that others are afraid to do. Via @AndyStanley

@TraciTakesTea: We must be doers, not hearers only! @MaryDeMuth: Information and insight alone do not a leader make. @AndyStanley

@MaryDeMuth: We learn almost nothing when we win. @AndyStanley

@joeybcook: Leaders are made one response at a time.

@CameronWhaley: God gets more done in the desperate times than in the wrinkle free days – @AndyStanley

@sjcolquitt: Obey God and trust Him with the consequences. – Andy Stanley

@ncostello88: The leader is not always the first to see an opportunity, they are the first to seize it. @AndyStanley

@Msnellings: “Insight & information do not a leader make.” Andy Stanley

@tobannion: “Don’t spend your ministry lobbing truth grenades into culture.” –  Andy Stanley

@lucas_avail: God isn’t in the process of making us (future tense) but in the process of making us now!!! – Andy Stanley

@Msnellings: “God has a plan for your life & you don’t want to miss it.” Charles Stanley

@Kelly__Clark: God created us to #MAKE,  culture convinces us to consume. Who do you listen to?

@swedishbaldguy: “The most important thing you do for the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise” – Andy Stanley

@blainec24: Your current response to unexpected opportunity, unavoidable adversity, & unquestionable calling is making you currently. -Stanley

@wwwdotPearl: Do I pray out of discipline or our of desperation?

@Kelly__Clark: God created us to #MAKE,  culture convinces us to consume. Who do you listen to?

DJ Opdiggy

DJ Opdiggy warms up the crowd.

@DustinSlaton: Really glad the white people at #Catalyst stayed in their seats during @opdiggy’s awesome DJ set. It could have got ugly real quick

@josiahjehu: I like cats. I just can’t eat a whole one by myself though. @craiggroeschel

@BertAlcorn: Do you live in the Texas? Did your hipster go missing? Come and find them at #catalyst Dallas


@IamRobbyGordon: As a missional leader you should help your people love their savior first and their mission second via Matt Carter

@brockstamps: 18-34yr olds want to START something. This is a “6 lane freeway” opportunity for the Church. @davidkinnaman

@SimmonsEvan: “This generation is looking for a bigger story … than the norm of our culture of consumption.” @davidkinnaman

@Msnellings: “Daniel had two types of courage. The courage to be pure & proximate.” David Kinnaman

@lairdgirl: RT Stasi Eldredge: “God is the only one who can tell u who u are.” #catalyst

@lbjloren: “Know Christ, make Him know…the vehicle doesn’t matter.” @prophiphop #catalyst

@CatalystLeader: It is in our weakness and in our trembling that God will be great. via @JennieAllen

@Mabry2Ashley: Take away the spiritual aspect of worship songs and it is just minor chords. Hahahahahaha sooooo true

@IamRobbyGordon: As a missional leader you are a person who leads your people to understand the urgency of the mission @_Matt_Carter

@BTylerEllis: “The purpose of creativity is to bring people closer to the face of Jesus Christ” @loswhit

@LiveInFreedom: “Many believers r more influenced by conserv talk radio than by the Bible. We don’t know how 2 live n Babylon.” @davidkinnaman

@IamRobbyGordon: Is your church against the city, in the city, with the city or FOR the city? @_Matt_Carter

@staciezellmer: @davidkinnaman we’re at an interesting time in history, where all the greatest inventions of history are available in our pocket.

@Criesto: Creativity is natural. Discipline is not. But you need discipline to amplify creativity. -Jim Collins

@ljallen20: “Just show up each day and bring your little bit of willingness and let God take it” Lysa TerKeurst

@SimmonsEvan: “God meets us at our point of impossibility. God just wants us to show up.” @lysaterkeurst

@ksraines: Facing a wall of impossibility? Show up and bring your little bit of willingness. God will meet you there. Lysa Terkhurst

@LiveInFreedom: “If we’re going to be people of faith, then we have to be willing to live a life that requires faith.” @LysaTerKeurst

@Charleski: Will I allow God’s extraordinary presence to invade my ordinary life – to do whatever HE wants in the impossible! @LysaTerKeurst

@Heath_Lewis: “If all other blessings of this life were stripped away, would my Jesus still be enough?” @LysaTerKeurst

@johnpaine: “Visionaries manage stories” @charlestlee

@darvelmckinney: @herbertcooper People can’t distinguish between the God factor and the human factor

@Msnellings: “Vision creates culture.” Charles Lee

@brockstamps: Think BIG. Start small. Keep moving. @charlestlee

@LesleyHemphill: “You have to BE the community you wish you had.” @JonAcuff

@abfchurch: The God that we serve is bigger than any Giant that we face.

@tommycavalier: “Small doors open the BIG things.” @herbertcooper

@russknight: Discipleship = information + imitation + innovation.

@ksraines: Missional living needs to be small enough to care, big enough to dare.~Jo Saxton

@brockstamps: Over promising and under delivering will chip away at your credibility. FOLLOW THROUGH. @charlestlee

@michaelcriner: “You can’t teach missional living if you aren’t living on mission.” @josaxton

@blainec24: “This is the 1st generation that doesn’t need adults for information. They need them for interpretation.” -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: “Parents need to stop treating their children like their trophies. Living out their lives through their children.” -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: “The average teen is only ‘disconnected’ from technology for 1 hour a day!” – Tim Elmore

@blainec24: Generation of Paradox…1. They are sheltered…yet pressured. -Tim Elmores

@blainec24: Generation of Paradox…2. They are self-absorbed…yet generous. -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: @blainec24: Generation of Paradox…3. They are social…yet isolated by technology. -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: @blainec24: Generation of Paradox…4. They are adventuresome…yet protected. -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: @blainec24: Generation of Paradox…5. They are team oriented…yet diverse. -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: Generation of Paradox…6. They are visionary…yet vacillating. -Tim Elmore #catalyst #labs

@blainec24: Generation of Paradox…7. Orientation is high achievement…yet high maintenance. -Tim Elmore

@blainec24: Generation of Paradox…8. They are growing up too fast…and too slow at the same time. -Tim Elmore

@Brian_tumc_ym: 26 is the new 18 @timelmore Culture asking youth to grow up too quickly & too slowly at the same time.

@CatalystLeader: People are looking at Jesus and our lives and wondering if its really true. via @bobgoff

@JohannaInwood: The smallest act of love answers the question of if we really love the way we say we will. @bobgoff

@SimmonsEvan: “Surround yourself with prompts that remind you of Christ.” @bobgoff

@IamRobbyGordon: “We don’t own the gospel, we’re just the caretakers of it.” Love does @bobgoff

@CatalystLeader: Love God. Love people. Do stuff! via @bobgoff

@petebriscoe: “I give myself two epic fails a year“. @bobgoff #benotafraid

@MaryDeMuth: There’s a big difference between being invited versus being welcomed. @bobgoff

@IamRobbyGordon: When you start loving like Jesus does, it gets on you. But it’t ok because it looks good on you @bobgoff

@brockstamps: Jesus didn’t go around holding everyone accountable…he held them close. @bobgoff

@bre53: Biggest takeaway from @bobgoff: “Be picky about what you say.” Also, don’t just agree w/the Gospel, DO IT.

@raquelrussell: Christ was a leader who always had time for a ‘tug on his robe’ and the children. Leaders r humble. @JonAcuff

@staciezellmer: @stacey_spenser “Get” the importance of excellence in customer exp at church. Churches have customers? Yes. Members have options!

@DanielWindsor: “Failure is apart of the journey. Let them learn, let them fail.” -Tim Elmore

@tylerrudek: “Promoting your gift makes you look like an expert. Practicing your gift makes you an expert.” @JonAcuff

@MattFerg03: “Practicing, not promoting, will make you an expert in your craft.” – @JonAcuff

@PROMISETANGEMAN: “You have to be FIRST! You have to BE the community you wish you had” -@JonAcuff

@ljallen20: “Uncertainty is the reason leaders have a job”. Don’t let problems discourage u!

@michaelcriner: “Celebrity is the worst drug in Christianity.” @JonAcuff

@MeghanGatewood: Take time to create and design to create @shinabarger

@raquelrussell: Keys to leading: help others win, speak their language, extend grace @JonAcuff

@petebriscoe: “Scarcity demands innovation.” So true! @bradlomenick

Catalyst Stage

The main stage at Catalyst Dallas just prior to the opening session.

@motmob: What’s your end goal? See it and live so you reach it. @herbertcooper

@Stacie_Hubb: There are a lot if things you “can” do but only a few things you were “made” to do.

@BTylerEllis: “Once you realize all you have is a gift from God, it’s easier to be humble” @RachelCruze

Catalyst offers resources for leaders and several conferences for leaders throughout the year. More information: Photos courtesy Blaine Christenson.