Never Again Return to What Hasn’t Worked

Never Go Back: 10 Things You'll Never Do Again [BOOK REVIEW]

Depending on who you ask, success looks different and has many definitions.

Although some define it differently, successful people have common trains. According to Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again,

Successful people have certain realizations, or awakenings, that change the course of their lives forever in a positive way. These realizations are essential to a good life and are both scientifically and spiritually backed.

He describes ten of those awakenings in Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. The first awakening, Never Again Return to What Hasen’t Worked hit me like a ton of bricks.

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Never Again Return to What Hasn’t Worked

Make sure that if you ‘go back’ [to an old relationship, an old job, an old way of thinking] you’re not going back to the same thing . . . Remember there’s a reason it didn’t work. If you’re going back make very, very sure that reason is no longer there. . . Ask these questions: Am I different in some way that would make this work? Is the other person different in some way that would make this work? Is the situation fundamentally different in some way that would make this work? (pp. 17-18).

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most successful people out there. But, what successful people do better than others is recognize the patterns that are causing those mistakes and never repeat them again. In short, they learn from pain—their own and the pain of others.

I once heard someone say,

A good thing to remember is this: pain is unavoidable, but repeating the same pain twice, when we could choose to learn and do something different, is certainly avoidable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you agree or disagree?

What To Do When Facing Dark Days and Sleepless Nights

What happens when you combine trust, faith, and hope?  They produce grit.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.”

In light of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas Police Officers, I decided to tweak this definition to be the ability to keep going despite setbacks, even when your efforts are not rewarded.  Grit is what you need when facing dark days and sleepless nights.

Grit (1)

The Dark Side of Success

Beware of the Undisciplined Pursuit of More

There’s a dark side of success and many don’t like talking about it.

It can leave you feeling empty.  If you’re not careful, it can lure you into a false mindset that says, “since I’m so awesome, I can do anything.” The more successful you are, the more opportunities you’ll pursue. This mindset leads you down the path towards “the Undisciplined Pursuit of More,” according to Jim Collins.


The Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Past success lures you into pursuing “more ventures, more opportunities, more acclaim, and more of whatever you see as success,” says author Jim Collins. We behave as if we’re King Midas and believe everything we touch turns into gold. In turn, we lose sight of what we truly value and soon lose passion for these pursuits. It happened to King Solomon and it can happen to you too.

It’s What You Don’t See That Matters Most

3 Essential Traits Effective Leaders Possess

We’re all living and working in an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing world.

Succeeding and excelling in today’s world requires you to consider certain traits to be effective. In order to thrive in a fast-changing world, effective leaders make and implement decisions, possess agility, and include others in decision-making. Regardless of their respective industry, effective leaders make decisions and implement strategies to implement their decision.

Youth Decision Making Concept, Feet in Red Sneakers from Above Standing at Ground with Decisons Title Printed, Top View

Making and Implementing Decisions

The critical task of leadership is making decisions.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to know the outcome of the decisions we make. Effective Leaders must decide where they’re going and how to get there.

Deciding where to go could be considered the vision. Having the plan to get there is the strategy. Once a leader decides where they’re going and how to get there the next critical task of leadership is implementation.

Ask yourself: What decision am I making and what’s my strategy to implement it?

Pivot: How One Simple Word Can Change Your Life

Starting something new is much easier than transitioning something established.

Currently, I serve as lead pastor of the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago. I succeeded my father, the late Rev. Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. who served for thirty-six years. The church I inherited was a traditional African American Baptist Church rich with tradition.

After five years of praying, meeting, teaching, leading, and building supportive teams, we transitioned to a contemporary church. During the process, I almost quit, but decided to pivot and stick it out. It was the best decision of my life. In life, you’ll eventually come to a crossroad. When it happens, you must decide if you’ll stick with it, quit, or pivot. How do you know which choice is best? I chose to pivot.

In life, you’ll eventually come to a crossroad. When it happens, you must decide if you’ll stick with it, quit, or pivot. How do you know which choice is best? I chose to pivot.

Top View of Business Shoes on the floor with the text: New Life - Old Life

So What Does it Mean to Pivot

I love sports, and when I hear the word pivot, immediately basketball comes to mind. When basketball players stop dribbling the ball, they must decide which foot is their pivot foot. Upon deciding, they can’t switch feet. Pivoting is the term used to define both the act of keeping one foot in place while moving the other and the actual foot which remains on the ground.

Keeping one foot in place is necessary when a player stops dribbling the ball but wishes to reposition himself for a pass or shot. A player may rotate and move around as long as one foot remains in place, on the floor. The foot chosen is known as the “pivot”, or “pivot foot”, and if it comes off the ground, or otherwise shifts position away from its original spot on the floor, a travelling violation will be called.

The Real Reason Why Every Moment Matters

Successful People are Great Editors

Every so often something or someone comes along and changes your life forever. It happened to me.

I’m learning that all successful people live by this principle: Edit as you go. Remember, life is about seizing opportunities and moments. And if you never make changes, you’re always living in that would-have-could-have-should-have world.

Have You Experienced Our OnDemand Worship Services?

If Netflix, Comcast, and Apple TV can offer programs, why can’t the church do likewise?

Our journey to live streaming began with the aforementioned question.  Offering OnDemand Worship Experiences allows busy adults to come together to worship and learn God’s word. We think of it as a strategy for busy adults to grow spiritually.  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW.

I Had These Friends

What’s your story when it comes to relationships? Who are your friends? Whether you’re 2 or 72, it’s all about who is influencing your life.

So often, when someone’s life heads down the wrong path, they can look back to where it started to go wrong and say, “I had these friends…” God wants us all to move from “I had these friends…” to “I have these friends…”

The right friends in life take us to the right places. And they help our lives down the right path. Where do you find “I have these friends…” kind of friends?

I Had These Friends

You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

Let’s Light It Up

To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. A light is meant to shine and give direction. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (a clay container for measuring grain) would be useless.

Let's Light It Up

We are called to light up the world! Light, by nature, penetrates darkness.

Are you ready to ‪#‎LightItUp‬?  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

‪#‎Invite‬

‪#‎Share‬

‪#‎digitaldisciples‬

Pause, Stop, and Refresh

“The best leaders understand the difference between a tension you manage versus a tension you resolve,” according to Andy Stanley.


Leadership isn’t easy. Every decision you make earns the favor of some and the disfavor of others. Some are happy and others are not. Most leaders end up avoiding tense situations and allow them to grow into full blown conflicts.

Your ability to discern the difference between tensions you manage verses tensions you resolve “may determine the level of success a leader can sustain,” according to Ron Edmondson. Do yourself a favor and check out Ron Edmondson’s post, “7 everyday tensions of every leader must manage.”

  1. Displaying confidence without being arrogant.
  2. Making bold decisions while building collaboration.
  3. Showing strength while displaying compassion.
  4. Controlling energy towards a vision but allowing individuals to chart their path.
  5. Celebrating victory while not resting on current success.
  6. Learning from other leaders but being who you were uniquely wired to be.
  7. Spending time with people versus completing tasks.

As a leader, what tension do you face, and how do you manage or resolve it?

How To Livestream Using Facebook Live in 10 Minutes or Less

I have a confession: I’m a certified geek pastor and make no apologies.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy when Facebook made live streaming available to celebrities and those with verified pages (pages with those little round, blue checkmarks right next to their names). Immediately, I Googled every possible phrase to find an alternative and found nothing except Periscope.

Recently, Facebook added the ability to live stream on Facebook Profiles, in Groups, and on Pages. So what does all this mean for churches, pastors, and church leaders who rely on Facebook to communicate with their Facebook communities?  A lot!

How To Stream Live

I use Facebook live to make the sermon stick past Sunday. You can read more about why I chose this format to engage our congregation beyond Sunday HERE.  Find a quiet place and take copious notes while I explain how to live stream using Facebook Live.