One Ingredient All Healthy Relationships Must Have

sinHave you ever noticed that we like to classify sins? We typically classify sins into two categories: big ones and little ones.  “Little sins are the ones I do, big sins are the ones you do.”

It is important to note that the Bible makes no such distinction. Sins are like links in a chain, if any one, single link is broken, then the chain as a whole is broken. All sins are big sins.

The purpose of this blog is not to show the similarities between our sins and links in a chain. It is to point out that we should be as gentle with other’s faults as we are with our own. In other words, if we want to build winning relationships we must be more than willing to forgive.

Henri Nouwen says, “Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly.” Let’s be honest, we all love poorly. Therefore, we all need forgiveness. Let’s be as gentle with other’s faults as we are our own.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you” (NIV). When we stop and reflect on the immeasurable amount of forgiveness God has poured out on us, how can we not, in turn, pour out forgiveness on those we come in contact with on a regular basis? We all do stupid stuff. We all need forgiveness. This forgiveness is key in building winning relationships. A healthy relationship does not exist without genuine forgiveness from both sides.

Look at what Jesus had to say about being judgmental and forgiveness: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV). In other words, we are going to get back what we dish out. If we want other people to be gentle and forgiving of our faults, then we must be just as gentle and forgiving of their faults. This does not mean ignoring each other’s faults, but it means handling those faults in a non-judgmental, forgiving way.

sin4

Jesus goes on to say, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV). We cannot adequately deal with our own sins if we classify our sins as smaller than the sins of others. We must honestly deal with our sins before we can adequately help somebody else deal with theirs.

Then Jesus says something I think most people completely misunderstand, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6, NIV). Most people teach that Jesus is telling us here to not waste our time trying to lead people to him who are not willing to follow him. I do not believe that is what Jesus is teaching here at all.

sin5In the context of what Jesus had just said about not judging people and dealing with our own sins before we try to deal with the sins others, I believe Jesus is talking about not wasting our precious and valuable time and energy being a nit-picky Christian. A nit-picky Christian is someone who is always pointing out other people’s faults but never acknowledging their own. That’s right, they classify their own sins as little sins and other people’s (or at least the people they disagree with) as big sins.

If we want to build winning relationships with our co-workers, kids, and spouse we must be as gentle with their faults as we are our own. We all have faults and we all need forgiveness. The best relationships are NOT the ones with the fewest faults, they are the ones with the most forgiveness.


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

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Do You Want to be Happy?

happy 4Are you happy? Do you want to be happy? What are you doing to find real happiness? Most people want to be happy. I have never met anyone who said, “I want to be miserable.”  But we often look for happiness in the wrong places.

John Maxwell tells of the time an interviewer asked his wife, Margret, if John made her happy. John Maxwell smiled as he expected a positive answer to this question, but to his surprise, she said, “No.” He was shocked until she explained; “It is not up to John to make me happy. It is up to me to decide to be happy.” She went on to explain how expecting someone else to make you happy will almost always leave you feeling unhappy.

It is too big of a responsibility to be in charge of someone else’s happiness. That responsibility can only be placed on the individual. In other words, if you want to be happy you have to decide for yourself to be happy.

Thappy 6hat next relationship will not make you happy.
That next promotion or job will not make you happy.
The next move will not make you happy.
Having kids will not make you happy.
Your spouse will not make you happy.

No’thing’ will make you happy long term. You may experience temporary happiness, but eventually, all of these will let you down. If you decide to be happy and joyful then all of these other experiences will actually be a more joyful experience.

happy 9So, the decision is yours. Will you make the decision to be happy? Paul, in Acts 26:2, says; “I think myself happy” (NKJV). Do not expect other people and situations to make you happy, think yourself happy and everything else will be a happier experience.

Over the next four blogs, we will look at four easy steps to finding real happiness.


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

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Jesus, Communication, Purpose, and Sex – 4 Secrets to a Great Marriage Relationship

 

lowres0What is the secret to a great marriage relationship? My wife and I have had our ups and downs over almost 17 years of marriage. Through it all, we have learned some valuable lessons to having a great marriage. We have had a whole lot of help along the way from marriage coaches, counselors, and mentors. They have all helped us to greatly improve our marriage relationships not to mention the many books, conferences, seminars, and retreats that have helped us as well. Through seventeen years of learning, failing, learning from failing and eventually experiencing some successes, here are what I consider the top four most important secrets of a great marriage.

  1. The first secret to a great marriage relationship is for both people to keep their eyes on Jesus. Jesus must be the focus. He is the most important factor of any great relationship.
  1. Good Communication. Open and honest communication going both ways. The better the communication, the better the relationship.4 sec

My wife and I attended a retreat in 2014, that dramatically helped us in both areas. We pray not only with each other every night (even nights when one of us is away) but for each other every night. We also learned a communication tool called “dialogue” (I describe this practice here) that has greatly improved our communication. Our prayer time and our “dialogue” has not only kept us focused on Jesus and communication it has helped us continue to grow and improve in both of those areas. Jesus and communication would defiantly be my top two most important aspects of a great marriage relationship.

  1. Having a shared purpose, values, and goals. This is another area where my wife and I have dramatically grown over the course of seventeen years. We have discovered that when we dream together we grow together.
  1. In my opinion, there is one more important secret to a great marriage…an extremely hot sex life! There, I said it. I know many of you were thinking it, so, I just went ahead and said it.4 secrets

Each couple may define a “hot sex life” differently. This may depend on what stage of your life or marriage you are in or even your health and many other factors. That is OK, as long as you and your spouse define it together. Keep in mind that “hot” is not necessarily determined by frequency. It is more determined by the love, passion, and even spirituality that is shared through the sexual relationship. Regardless of how you define it, an extremely hot sex life frequently makes for a great marriage relationship.

What are your secrets for a great marriage relationship?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

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What Makes You Feel Truly Alive?

 

What makes you truly alive? What is it that keeps you up at night and gets you going in the morning? I am not talking about just having your heart pump blood through your veins, I am talking about an aliveness that goes beyond just continuing to breathe.

These are good questions for all of us to ask ourselves from time to time. It is too easy to fall into the trap of just existing from day to day. Let’s be totally alive!

Here are three things (plus one) that make me feel totally alive:

  • Jesus! Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV). The closer I am to Jesus the more alive I become.
  • lowres0My wife! When my relationship with my wife is good I am fully alive. When it is not, I feel like I am going to die. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with my wife. This has not always been the case, but we have been intentional about growing our marriage and that intentionality has paid off. (For more information on how we became intentional about our marriage, get in touch with me through the form below.)
  • Moving forward! Following my God-given dreams, growing and becoming more of what God created me to be.

When I combine those three together I am truly alive. When my relationship with my wife is good, with both of us focused on Jesus while we follow our God-given dreams well, that is an ecstatic level of aliveness!

Bonus: I almost forgot….. Getting to fulfill my God-given purpose makes me feel alive as well. When I get to make a difference in people’s lives, when I bring more life to someone else it makes me more alive.


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

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Three Things That Make Me Feel Totally Alive

aliveFirst and foremost, my relationship with Jesus makes me feel totally alive. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV). That has definitely been my experience.

Everything else in my life that makes me feel alive flows from my relationship with Jesus. Meaning, all the other stuff that makes me feel alive would not be enough on their own. It is only in connection with my relationship with Jesus that those other factors matter. It is what gives everything else meaning.

Secondly, living out my God-given purpose also makes me feel totally alive. Knowing that I exist to turn the world upside down by meeting people’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs and then doing my best to fulfill that is what brings aliveness to my life. My purpose guides my life. It helps me to know what I am supposed to do every day I am here on this earth. It helps me to be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality.

dreamMy God-given life purpose gives me direction so I do not have to waste time wondering about what I’m supposed to do or what direction I’m supposed to go. This is already predetermined. One of the most freeing aspects of my life is that I know specifically why I am here on this earth.

Thirdly, climbing toward my God-given potential makes me feel totally alive. It’s exhilarating knowing there are no limits to what God can do in my life if I am just willing to follow his lead. If I just open myself up to allow God to do with me whatever he wants to do.

Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV). God will continue to work with you to reach your fullest potential. Are you willing to work with him?

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV). We have no idea what our true potential may be. It is more than all we could ask or imagine! That has got to make you feel alive!!

What makes you feel totally alive?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

Check Tommy’s availability:

 

This Tool Transformed Our Relationship

 

I was recently asked, “What is the secret to a great relationship?” My immediate answer, “Communication!” This may not be the only secret to a good relationship but it is arguably the most important.communication
This is especially true in a marriage relationship. My wife, Tammy, and I went through what we call our “marriage conversion” a few years ago and we learned this one communication tool that has transformed our marriage! Maybe this tool can be helpful in your marriage as well.

Dialogue

This is an invaluable tool my wife and I learned at a marriage retreat a few years ago. This is how it works:

  1. Question – Agree on a question to answer. I will give a list of questions at the bottom of this blog to help you get started. Both of you answer the same question.
  1. Write – Both of you will separately take 10 minutes (timed with a timer) to write a love letter to your spouse answering the question that both of you agreed upon ahead of time. Write the letter specifically to your spouse. Open with Dear _____, and close it with a typical love letter closing. Hence, it is a love letter and not an opportunity to
    “let your spouse have it”. Be honest and also be loving in your letter.
  1. Together – The two of you will agree on a time to come together to share and discuss each other’s letters.
  1. Read – Set the timer for 10 minutes and then exchange letters. Read through the letter twice. Once with your mind and once with your heart.
  1. Discuss – When you are both finished reading each other’s letter, take the remainder of the 10 minutes to discuss the contents with each other. Again, this is a time to be both honest and loving.
  1. Next question – Go ahead and agree on the next day’s question before you finish. My wife and I usually have a list of several questions so we just go straight down the list with a new question each day.

Hope through relationshipsWe have done this little exercise six days a week for the past two and a half years (we take one day a week as a break). It has transformed our communication which has, in turn, transformed our marriage. I believe it can have a similar effect in your marriage.

Here are ten questions to help you get started over the next eleven days (remember, you may want to take a break one day per week). If you would like some additional questions please email me: TommyLanham@TommyLanham.com

  1. What was your first impression when you met your mate for the first time?
  2. What is your definition of a good marriage?
  3. When is your relationship the happiest?
  4. What quality do you like best in your mate?
  5. What is your idea of a great vacation?
  6. What are your goals in your marriage?
  7. Express appreciation to your mate for something that he/she did recently?
  8. What do you enjoy doing as a couple?
  9. What one thing do I want to change about myself that I think would please you?
  10. What do I love most about you today?

Resources for Questions
The Ungame: Couples Version
101 Conversation Starters for Couples. Gary Chapman & Ramon Presson
You can also Google: questions for couples


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

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The Shack: A Study in Theology Pleasantly Disguised as a Movie

ShackoverSeveral years ago I read “The Shack” (actually, I listened to it on CD) and recently I watched the movie. I have come to a similar conclusion about the movie as I did the book. It is a study in Theology pleasantly disguised as a novel or a movie.

It gives us a study of the Trinity, redemption, forgiveness, judgment, the relationship between God and humans, etc. I am not saying I fully agree with everything the movie may have taught about these subjects. To be honest, I do not agree with everything I hear taught in a typical church Bible study about these subjects, either.

The movie did seem to hint at universalism (the belief that everybody goes to heaven). I say it seemed to hint at it because it did not directly teach universalism. There are some aspects of the movie that could be taken that way. I do not know if that was the intent of the movie producers. They left this unclear. (Just for the record I do not believe in universalism).

shack_0I enjoyed the movie. It touched me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I would recommend this movie to a believer or an unbeliever.

Is it perfect Bible teaching? No. But neither is all of the Bible teaching in our churches. Do not get me wrong, I believe the Bible is the perfect Word of God. However, those of us who teach it are very imperfect, even in our understanding of the Bible. (Yes, I do include myself in this.)

Rich Mullins once said, “I think if we were given the Scriptures it was not so that we could prove that we were right about everything. If we were given the scriptures it was to humble us into realizing that God is right and the rest of us are just guessing.” We all have a messed up view of the Bible in some way. If we did not, then we would not need the Holy Spirit’s involvement. Let us speak the truth in love and hopefully, where we are clueless about the truth love will overcome.

So, if you do not want to watch “The Shack” then do not watch it. If you do want to watch it then do so. Come to your own conclusion.

The Bible is truth. I am sold on that. “The Shack” is a good movie that goes much deeper into some of those biblical truths than most other movies (even other Christian movies). Maybe it will drive you to get deeper into the Bible for yourself. A Bible study curriculum could very easily be set up around this movie.

If you like emotional movies with a strong intellectual and spiritual component you will probably enjoy this movie. If you do not, well, you probably won’t.

For those of you who have read the book or seen the movie, what say you?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

Check Tommy’s availability: