23 episodes

Maybe everything you have ever believed doesn’t actually matter to what is truly real.

Renewed2win Michael Carroll

    • Religion & Spirituality

Maybe everything you have ever believed doesn’t actually matter to what is truly real.

    Episode 10: A Life of Gratitude- Happy Thanksgiving

    Episode 10: A Life of Gratitude- Happy Thanksgiving

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    The holiday season is fast approaching. Thanksgiving is today. Christmas is only 31 short days away. A week after that we celebrate New Years. This is a time of year when many people focus on all of the reasons they have to be thankful. This got me thinking about how many people live their lives for the big events and ignore the day to day. So is this it? Do we focus on gratitude for a couple of days out of the year and then go back to our selfish lives? It doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose to live a life of gratitude. All year- 365 days, 52 weeks. And yes, it is a choice.

    If you have ever been in touch with someone who is really in need and had that need met then you have seen the face of gratitude. In fact, I used to volunteer for an organization named Operation Christmas Child. It is an organization that packs shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts for kids and sends them all over the world. I have met several adults who actually received these boxes years earlier as kids. Their reaction was always the same: “those boxes changed my life.”

    So how do you live a life of gratitude? It’s really very simple.

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That’s it. Give thanks! In all circumstances!

    Let’s look a little closer. A measure of your spiritual and emotional maturity is the amount of gratitude you show in your life. If you are unsure of where you stand, take a look at the people you choose to spend your time with. Are your friends and acquaintances ungrateful? If so, then chances are that you are too.  Ever hear the saying “birds of a feather flock together?” It’s a popular saying because it is accurate. Look at who you surround yourself with.

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    When you make the simple decision to “give thanks in all circumstances,” your life changes. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to other people. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to God. 

    So, how can you learn to be more grateful?

    Focus on life’s blessings. Life is challenging. You will face difficulties. If you don’t then I would recommend checking your pulse to make sure you are alive. In fact, in John 16:33, Jesus tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Think about the good in your life. The words “think” and “thank'' come from the same root. Being thankful is directly related to how much time you spend focusing on the good in your life. So what is good in your life?

    Positive relationships- You have at least one. His name is God.

    Material blessing- You do have stuff- look around.

    Positive world events- Negative news sells but try to find the positive stories in the news.

    Health- Eating Right and exercising will change your life. If you're not doing them, then start.

    Success- What are you successful at? There's something.

    Avoid focusing on the bad. Bad things happen… It’s just part of life. Deal with the situation and move on; don’t dwell on the situation and become bitter. 

    Negative relationships- Some relationships are just a part of life but that doesn’t mean you need to be part of the negativity; be the light instead.

    People who don’t like you- Not everyone likes you. It’s none of your business what someone else thinks of you.

    People you don’t like- Let's be real. These people will always exist. You don't need to focus on them.

    Material lack- You're always going to want something. It’s human nature. Focus on what you do have instead.

    Sickness- We live in a world where people get sick, including you, choose to be positive anyway.

    Episode 9: Define Your Success

    Episode 9: Define Your Success

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    Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV) Many people take this to mean that if you ask God, he will supply everything you ask Him for. That is why there are so many disappointed and disillusioned Christians.They have learned to ask for things based on their own selfishness and greed. What the verse actually means is that if you seek after Him first then He will change the things you want and ask for to align with His will for you.

    I always thought that there was something wrong with me. Then one day, while I was praying, God began to open my eyes. He showed me that I was chasing the world’s concept of success. I was told what the world thought success was and I pursued it, not realizing that I didn’t even want it.  Being in charge of the world’s money supply and controlling all the people wasn’t in the cards for me. Thank God! It was in these moments that God began to show me His vision for my life.

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    It was at this point in my journey that  I began to realize how successful I was and that I had been for a very long time.  I stopped chasing an idea of success that wasn’t mine. I began to examine the ideas, beliefs and attitudes that I had learned in my childhood, were reinforced in my teenage years and pursued in my early adult years. I owned an idea of success for much of my life just because I was not aware of the truth.  

    When I began to look around at my life, I saw that I had a strong relationship with my Creator. I had the abilities and gifts that He gave me. I had the love, friendship and trust of many people.  I had the respect and love of my kids.  I had my health and intelligence. I had so many positives in my life, even though I faced difficulties all around me but I was deceived into thinking that I wasn’t worth very much. I now know that I am successful not only because I have all of the things that were mentioned above, but also because of the value and worth I bring to others lives. I don’t mean monetary value but the positive comment in the midst of a negative atmosphere. They are words of encouragement to someone who is feeling down or left out. It’s having the conviction to stand my ground on what is true or right no matter what the consequences. It’s having the courage to learn from my biggest failures, disappointments and pain so that I may share the lessons with others in need.  Maybe yes, I have been successful for most of my life.

    It’s time for you to take a look at your own life. Who defines whether you are successful or not?  We all are created to have relationships with others which makes social interaction an important part of life. We all strive at some level to be accepted by those around us. That feeling of acceptance is what many people seek as their measure of success. If people around us are praising us then we must be doing well or so we think! So at this point you need to be honest with yourself. Up to this point who has determined whether you feel successful? Friends, family, co-workers or business partners and the expectations of society have determined success in general for most people.  It’s hard to admit, but it’s true, if you examine the things you have been striving for, you are sure to find that many of the people who fall into the groups mentioned above have shaped you and your definition of success.  

    But who should define success in your life?

    I am going to go out on a limb here; I am suggesting that success should be defined by God and by your relationship with Him. I know that I turned some people off with that statement but I ask you to approach this with an open mind. Besides, if you're like most people then the results you have been getting from the common way of defining success has been very disappointing.

    Episode 8: Out of Comfort

    Episode 8: Out of Comfort

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    Neale Donald Walsch said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” That statement seems to be more true today than at any other time in human history. With our faces buried in our phones, consuming a mental diet of electronic brainwashing and manipulation, we can get quite comfortable with our little spot in the world. After all, there isn’t much thinking needed to live a comfortable life. We are told what to think, what to watch, what’s “trending”, even what to eat.

    We have come to expect a certain level of comfort in our lives. After all, that’s exactly what our hand-held masters have told us to desire and embrace. As long as we receive this morphine-like slow drip of the known, we stay comfortable and therefore paralyzed… unwilling or unable to life life to the fullest.

    The end of your comfort zone, though, that’s a whole different form of living. It is the place where we go from the known predictable patterns of life into the unknown and unpredictable. When we choose to step over that line into the difficult and uncomfortable, well that’s where the living and winning is done.

    So today I'm going to ask you some questions. Be honest with your resposes, Maybe even write them down and contemplate the answers over the coming days. Where are you living in relation to your comfort zone?

    Do you enjoy a life where nothing changes? Or Do you wonder if you could live a life of adventure?

    Do you prefer being told how to live? Or Do you prefer making your own decisions?

    Do you hire an “expert” when something needs fixing? or Do you want to test the limits of what you know?

    Do you believe you are ordinary? Or Do you know God created you to be extraordinary?

    Most people choose to live in their comfort zone. They never seem to venture out beyond what seems certain. Maybe they don’t know that they can. They get comfortable and stop pushing on the limits of their dreams. The predictable comforts of modern life nave put their God given purpose to sleep. They are robbed of that vision God planted in their hearts as a child. They are told not to demand more of life. To just keep their eyes on their device.

    Even in the spiritual unconsciousness we seem to live our lives, there is a hidden desire for more. More of the goodness of life; more of God. Inside all of us is a desire to get more from life. It has become buried under layers of complexity we should reject. Many of us are just afraid to do it. This is where some of us chose to live.

    But for God’s chosen and awoken there is something different. It’s a deliberate attempt to run away from the spiritual jail cells that surround us. We get up every day trying to get away from the ordinary. We run from the comfort zones erected all around us; fighting with every essence of our being not only to keep ourselves free but to open the eyes of the lost and help them to their spiritual feet so that they too can join the fight. We enjoy the challenge of growing and getting better everyday. We trust that the fight and the struggle will make us stronger. We move with purpose towards the end of our comfort zone. This is where our senses are alive; where we live life to the full. This is where we are in the will of our Creator and Savior.

    Where are you? Where do you want to be? Where are you heading? These are questions each of us must ask and answer for ourselves each and every day. We must contemplate these questions without the outside influence of the electronics all around us.

    Learning to live a life beyond the everyday societal trappings of TV, internet, junk food, social media, and other influences that keep you down, is a life planned just for you; a life beyond your wildest dreams. Its a life of accomplishment, success and fulfillment. It is a life that isn't always easy,

    Episode 7:What Exactly Is This?

    Episode 7:What Exactly Is This?

    The simple answer is: I don't know! And just as importantly, I don’t need to know!

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    First things first... a little background about me. Not too long ago, I had a job that I loved more than anything. I think that was part of the reason I stood there four and a half years ago confused and baffled… devastated. It was more than a job. It was a calling; a mission. I was good at it! People loved me! I was a kids and youth pastor for 12 years. I didn’t know then but I do know now, I put that ministry before everything, even God himself! All in an attempt to feed my ego.

    I took a church with a failing kids and youth program and turned it around. Over a period of 12 years I saw hundreds of kids and teenagers grow into young adults with families of their own. Some of them even went into ministry themselves because of me! I know now that I wasn't the reason but my ego was BIG!

    Fast forward... to early 2018.  The senior pastor's son graduated from bible college and wanted to be a kids and youth pastor. He also wanted to serve his dad in ministry. So guess where I ended up? That's right... unemployed. The funny thing is, he moved away again one year after serving at his dad's church.. I know now that God used that situation to move me out of that ministry and into the unknown. Am I mad about how I was treated? I was,.. but the bigger picture is unfolding and it's going to be better than I ever dreamed. It's no longer about me. It's about my Savior; yes it's about Jesus!

    I can't say I would have done anything any different if I was in charge and my son or daughter came and told me that they wanted to serve alongside me in ministry. I would be honored if that happened. Besides, I needed a major spiritual overhauling.

    I spent months after that wrestling with God. I was trying to bargain with Him.  I was praying for His will but doing my own thing. He knew what I needed. He broke me... in a way I have never been broken. It hurt. I cried... a lot. (If you're wondering: Real men do cry). I spent months in the wilderness, alone or so I thought. I know now that my loving Heavenly Father was with me the entire time.

    Family with whom I thought I had an unbreakable bond said and did things to me that crushed my spirit. Friends I thought I had were nowhere to be found. I was hurt and alone. I got myself involved in some serious 12 step work. It broke me even more. I surrendered... things continued to get worse. I realize now the first attempt at surrender was me trying to trick God. Like an all powerful, all knowing  and all present God wouldn't see through my attempts at deception.

    I prayed harder and hurt more. I kept pressing in… even when my old life was crumbling all around me. Somewhere along the way His love changed me. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a very gradual process. I survived. If you find yourself in a similar season of life, you will survive too. But you need God. You really do!

    So, here I am today. Rebuilt and committed to following Jesus. Yes, sometimes into very painful places and complete darkness but sometimes into places of joy and blessing. I have taken the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:10-13  and have learned “to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” He keeps leading me, I keep doing the next right thing, miracles keep happening! It's just like that for me now.

    Over 4 years later He has my attention. I feel Him, guiding me, leading me; very carefully, back into ministry. This is my ministry and what it will become is His plan, not mine. For now he has me on a need to know basis. Quite honestly, I'm good with that! I trust Him, even when I cant see.

    Episode 6: The Screwdriver

    Episode 6: The Screwdriver

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    As I glance at the clock in front of me, I see the seconds ticking by. It seems insignificant in the moment. What’s a few seconds? And in the grand plan of life, a few seconds will not change the course of a life. But string together a few seconds and then a few more and then a few more. If you expand this out and follow it logically, you will see that the seconds become minutes; the minutes become hours; hours become days… well I think you get where I'm going with this. If wasting seconds is a constant practice in your life then what eventually happens is that years of life get wasted. Time doesn’t stop. It continues to creep forward no matter what you do or fail to do. It is an impersonal reality that you can either master or serve. Remember this though: The choice is yours!

    Are you moving with time or are you stuck? Are you stuck in the past with regrets of mistakes or things left undone? Maybe you're stuck in the future, paralyzed by the “what ifs.' Is the time that you should be working consumed with fear? Are you stuck in the present without clear direction?  Are you afraid to make a mistake because that biting criticism from the past is still lurking under the surface, waiting to take you down again?.

    Make a choice: GET UNSTUCK!. Now! Stop allowing the time to aimlessly drift by while your goals and dreams fade into the sunset of this beautiful life you have been given. You were created to do and be more. Take hold of that truth. Embrace it and learn to recognize the wasted time. And most importantly, Do something about it.

    A life of self-sufficient living requires you to become the master of your time. Sometimes it’s good to let the seconds drift by. In fact you should have a time every day where you do absolutely nothing. That is good… and healthy. Remember though what your objective is. You are trying to break free from the chains of a lost and dying world. You are learning to set yourself apart from the masses… those who aimlessly move through life, seeking comfort and pleasure. You are seeking to dismiss society as your source of dependence and turn towards God. The only way to do that is to become an efficient user of the hours in front of you. Get unstuck: Do something now!

    Don’t let the next hour pass without you doing something to move you closer to your objective of freedom and independence. Do something no matter how small or unimportant it may seem in the moment. It will help you move in the right direction. I recently had a great experience with this concept and I want to share it with you. I have had trouble in the last few years keeping my garage organized.  I always intend to get it picked up and in order but I never did. I watched the clock tick by, unwilling to take action. I carried this seemingly unimportant burden with me, not realizing what It was doing to my God given destiny. I was very frustrated with my inability to take action.

    Then, after listening to a podcast about a relevant topic, I decided to go out to the garage and put a screwdriver away. It felt good. I began to pick two things that I could do in the garage each day to move me closer to the objective. I began to develop momentum and over the course of about two weeks, the garage was organized. That momentum carried over to every single area of my life. All because I decided to stop watching the moments tic by and do something. You can do the same thing.

    What will you commit to right now?

    Now will be gone before you know it. Your chance to do something will fade into the past: What’s your something? What’s your screwdriver?

    Time will continue to creep forward no matter what you do or fail to do. It is an impersonal reality that you can either master or serve. Remember this though: The Choice Is Yours!

    Don’t let time pass without you doing something to mov...

    Episode 5: Success

    Episode 5: Success

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    We learn to walk by the time we are one; we learn to ride a bike by the time we’re six, about the same time, we are starting school. We learn to drive by the time we are sixteen.  We get married, have kids and then retire.  We do this, most of us anyway, without learning about success.  I’m talking about real success. Most of us have learned society’s version of success and that is precisely why we are unhappy and unfulfilled.  Of true success, we know very little or even nothing at all.  Many of us never learn what success is and what it isn’t.  We don’t understand what failure is or what it isn’t. 

    If you look around at the world today you will see many people leading unfulfilled, unhappy and unproductive lives.  No one ever taught us about success.  There are no high school courses on the subject and I have yet to see a college course that teaches life-long principles that, if lived by, will set your destiny in a new trajectory.  It’s a concept most people will never grasp. Well, that’s what renewed2win is about.  By reading, watching or listening to these mini lessons you will begin to uncover the life that was meant for you.  You will realize your uniqueness and finally realize that we are not living in a one-size-fits-all world.  You will find true happiness as you begin to realize success. 

    As we begin our journey, I would like to share with you my personal experiences with success as the world and popular society defines it and what I have come to know as true, lasting and real success.  My journey began, like everyone else, as a child.  It’s when we are young and impressionable that our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors are formed.  They affect the rest of our lives, and for many people, it is never realized that they may develop these characteristics in an atmosphere that isn’t or wasn’t supportive of real success. 

    My first experiences with worldly success revolved around sports and money.  These two areas were given major emphasis.  As I remember I was strongly persuaded to practice baseball every day and I also had a paper route. Two things that I didn’t enjoy but was told would be stepping stones to future success.  I remember hearing from people who had an influence on my life that I could do anything and have as much money as I wanted.  Wow, what’s wrong with that?  So, the race was on.  Like many young people, my ambitions began to revolve around power, importance, prestige and money.  The cues from society, in general, were the same.  I should want “stuff” and I should do whatever it takes to get that “stuff.”  That was success! 

    I took a job as an insurance and investment broker out of college, after seeing the movie “Wall Street.”  I felt important and there was some feeling of power.  After all, I was helping people with their money. There was some feeling of prestige, especially among friends and people who didn’t know the industry that well.  I didn’t make much money though and found out later why.  It was not what I was supposed to do.  In an industry where they hire almost anybody who walks through the door, I wasn’t making the money I thought I deserved.  I came to realize years later, that I wasn’t working nearly as intelligently or efficiently as I needed to in order to make that money.  I would work twelve to sixteen hours a day; I realize now that I was sitting at a desk for twelve to sixteen hours a day, but not really working. 

    I remember telling people with an absolute degree of certainty that I was going to be the richest man in the world; I was going to be successful.  I don’t know if anyone bought into that or not. So off I went chasing success.  After some time of this I figured out what I thought the real problem was, it was the insurance and investment industry.  So, I quit my job and took other sales jobs, working equally tiring hours; driving myself and everyone

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