Tag Archives: mondays

Today is a Good Day, If You Choose

Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once said hell is other people. You may agree to an extent, especially if you’re facing800px-Smiley.svg those kinds of people today at work, school, or wherever your day takes you. But I like what Christian philosopher Ravi Zacharias says: Heaven can be other people too, and we have the ability to bring a little of Heaven into people’s lives today (hat tip to Don Miller for this). We carry the presence of God within us. After all, Jesus said the Kingdom of God isn’t some ethereal place, it’s within us. This day we can bring a taste of Heaven to this world. What a way to begin the week!
Love is a response to His love, and happiness is a choice. Respond and choose well today, and let Pharrell get you in the mood with this:


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You Got All You Need

On Make It Happen Monday, we aim to bring meaning to the usually mundane, universally unloved first day of the week. Instead of just trying to get through the day, we look to make Monday matter — a day we do something that impacts our lives and those around us in positive way. What a way to start the week, right?

Today, we’re not going to focus so much on what to do, but rather on how we think. One of the most crucial values in my life is contentment. I find when I’m discontent, life is stressful, off kilter, and pretty much sucks.

I’ve also found that they key to discontentment is focusing on what I don’t have instead of what I have. So today, make sure your mind-set is right. Don’t focus on what you lack, what others have, or wishing it wasn’t Monday. Focus on the blessings you have, today.

And, in Make It Happen Monday fashion, chances are there is someone around you today who is a bit discontent. Encourage them by reminding them of what they have, and how it is enough.

Public Enemy, one of the greatest hip-hop groups ever, has always been revolutionary. Though they aren’t as popular nowadays (outside of Flava Flav’s reality show stints), they’re still making great music, going against the grain. Watch the above video, which reminds us that even though we don’t have everything, we got all we need. Enjoy.

By the way, look out for my article later this week on the Keys to Contentment, it’s a must-read. I would know, I was the first to read it.

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Kevin is the founder and editor of Transparency Magazine. Connect with him on twitter @kevbhowell or email him at kevin(at)transparencymag.com


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In Need of Encouragement

By Kevin HowellIn Need of encouragement

I need encouragement. It’s not something I like to admit, but I need it. I’m not dependent on a pat on the back or on others’ validation. I feel I’m self-sufficient. But from time to time, I need words of encouragement because they work wonders.

Chances are, you need encouragement, too. And if you need it, then the co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family you’ll see today need it as well.

You probably already have some New Year’s resolutions or One Word you’re planning to live by. But on Mondays, why not make it a habit to encourage someone.

A simple compliment or affirmation can literally make someone’s day.

A former co-worker of mine used to dye her hair different colors every month. I’m talking the whole ROYGBIV color spectrum: blue one month, pink the next, orange another  (yes, my workplace is more casual than formal). One time she dyed it red. Not Lindsey Lohan red, but Taylor Swift’s lipstick red… Ronald McDonald red. Strange enough, mixed with her natural brunette hair, it looked good. When I told her I loved her hair color, her face lit up with a smile I’d never seen before.

For the most part, complimenting others doesn’t come easily. I’m a bit hesitant because I don’t want to come off as insincere. Maybe it’s just my cynical side, but I  internally question encouragement I receive. It’s almost always sincere, but I’ve allowed the culture to harden my heart, and skew my perspective. Compliments are so rare today, especially on Monday, that we just can’t see them as genuine.

But that changes today. For me… for you.

This Monday, the first Monday of 2013, set the tone for the year. Be someone who encourages others around you. As author and counselor Debra Fileta said, encouraging words “nourish, strengthen, and grow relationships faster than many other things can.”

Someone you encounter today needs some encouragement. Why don’t you be the one to make their Monday meaningful.

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Newtown happened, Now We’re Responsible

By Kevin Howellnewtown

I had to turn off the TV…

I had to close the web page…

I logged off facebook…

I couldn’t look at the image on the front page of the paper.

I don’t know how to even label what happened in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 14, but I couldn’t read about, listen to, or look at any images of it any more. It was too much for my soul handle.

Starting with Columbine, I’ve seen too much of this in my lifetime. Each incident just seems worse than the previous one. How do we, as a nation, as a community, as people of God respond to this?

We can talk about gun-control legislation and beefed-up security at schools, but that won’t solve the issue. It may prevent some incidents, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.

Before any person gets to the state of being able to commit such a heinous act, he is just a kid who desperately needs love, needs attention, and needs someone to care about him.

I know there may be serious mental and psychological issues involved in cases like these, but I believe those are just contributing factors to the larger problem.

We need love.

Today, there are people around us who may show no signs of depression, disturbance, or instability, but they may be battling demons within. They could be pushed to the edge and commit evil acts. We’re not detectives, so we can’t probe to see who’s a potential threat. But we can do something. We can simply love.

In fact, it is our responsibility to love. It is our responsibility to care about those around us. Our neighbors, our co-workers, those we run into while shopping, and particularly, the teens and young adults we encounter. We MUST show them that they matter. We MUST show them that someone cares. We MUST show them they are worth our time and attention.

If we are truly fed up with these mass shootings. If we are truly heartbroken by the latest tragedy in Newtown. And if we truly want to see a change in our society, then we wouldn’t just post our disdain on our facebook timelines and twitter feeds, but we would actually take responsibility upon ourselves. We’d take the time, effort, and affection to reach out to love and care about everyone we encounter.

We can’t prevent these tragedies with gun laws, security,  or even “bringing back prayer to schools.” But we can go a long way in sparing lives if we each just do our part in loving our community. We’re responsible.

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The Key to Love

By Kevin Howellfriends

One of the cool things about Mondays (yes, there are cool things about Monday) is they represent a fresh start. It’s a new week teeming with opportunity. Opportunity to be better than you were last week at work, at school, at home — at life. Opportunity to do something you’ve been putting off since September. Opportunity to make an impact in your world.

Each week we are presented with opportunities to do little things that make a significant difference in someone’s life. And if we act on them, we go a long way in displaying the character of Jesus.

This week, we have the opportunity to love our fellow man in a way that won’t go unnoticed. We have the chance to do something Jesus did regularly in displaying love. We have the chance to sacrifice.

I know, sacrifice isn’t a term we embrace much because it involves giving up something, but it is an essential element of love. Jesus, our example, didn’t just sacrifice His life on the cross, His entire life was a sacrifice. Every day He gave up His comfort, convenience, rights, and privileges to enrich someone else.

One of the most touching illustrations of Jesus’ sacrificial love is in Matthew 14 when Jesus learns of John the Baptist’s death. Obviously in deep grief — since John was probably the only person on earth who could relate to Christ — Jesus went to a secluded place to mourn. But soon, crowds of people found Him. In the midst of His grief, in the midst of personal pain and anguish, Jesus “was moved with compassion” for the people. So He put aside His own needs to serve the people.

That’s sacrifice.

You probably won’t have to heal the masses while grieving the death of a relative this week, but you’ll have the opportunity to sacrifice a comfort or a convenience in order to benefit someone else. Ever since God impressed the significance of sacrifice on my heart a couple months ago, I have noticed opportunity after opportunity to act on this principle of love. And every time, it’s been a challenge.

Whether it’s interrupting my schedule to do a favor for someone or letting someone go ahead of me in a line, I’ve had the chance to sacrifice. To do something I truly didn’t want to do in order to aid someone else. And the interesting thing about sacrifice is there’s no tangible reward. You don’t always get a sense of gratification, a hand clap, an embrace or gold star. There’s really not much you feel. But the people you sacrifice for? There’s always smiles on their faces, their spirits are lifted, and you can sense gratitude in their hearts.

Your reward won’t be anything that benefits you. The reward is you made someone else’s day. You made their life just little more comfortable and convenient at your own expense. And by doing so, you displayed the character of Christ.

Today and this week, look for opportunities to sacrifice for someone else. It won’t be convenient. It won’t be comfortable. But it will make someone else happy, so it’s worth it.

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