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Critic's Math

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Not long ago I had a chance to attend a leadership conference where I heard a gentleman named Jon Acuff speak on challenging ourselves to do the impossible.  He presented a concept that I’ve found to be resoundingly true.

He called it “Critic’s Math.”

It goes something like this:

1 insult + 1,000 compliments = 1 insult

It makes perfect sense, does it not?  We tend to be approval hogs.  We like consensus.  We crave support.  We care what other people think.  So when someone hurls a careless word at us or criticizes something we are doing, we tend to dwell on it.  We tend to ask “Why did they say that?”  If we allow it, it can paralyze us with fear and cause us to fall into the trap of inaction.


Here’s the second part of “Critic’s Math”:

The critics only get louder when you do something that matters.

Wherever you’re leading—your company, your classroom, your church, or your home—if you’re hearing the critics, you’re probably doing something worthwhile.

Take heart in this… one faced and overcame more critics than our Lord Jesus!

In the opening scenes of the Gospel account of John, Jesus faces his first critic.  No healings have occurred, no miracles have taken place, no Pharisees have put him on the spot—and yet he faces skepticism:

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.  (John 1: 45-46)

Yet despite his early critic, just a dozen verses later in John chapter 2, we see Jesus performing his first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana.

I’d say he got over it pretty quickly!

Let me present you with a new formula for when the critics come calling:

You + God = A MAJORITY

With the Creator of the Universe in your heart and by your side, nothing under Heaven will be able to derail your work for his Kingdom.  Therefore be courageous, stay strong, “stand firm”, and “let nothing move you.”

Today, serve God well, no matter the opposition you might face.  Trust fully in him and “know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

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Grateful Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6-7

Not long ago I read some startling statistics in an article about depression and anxiety:

-It’s estimated that over 330 million people world-wide suffer from depression

-According to the World Health Organization, depression is the number one cause

of employment disability cases

-The National Institute for Mental Health reports that 20 million Americans experience

depression each year

There isn’t much peace in our world today.

The Greek word for anxiety (mérimna) comes from another Greek word (merízō) which means literally “dividing or fracturing a person’s being into parts.”  Pretty fitting, especially when we consider that hospital patients with depression or anxiety issues, on the average, spend more time bed ridden than patients with diabetes, arthritis, back problems, lung problems, or gastrointestinal problems!

Worry, anxiety, and depression tears us apart.  Literally.

How do we reclaim peace in our lives?


I’ve probably read the words of Philippians 4: 6-7 a couple hundred times throughout my life.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

But for years I’ve continually missed the 2 key words of these famous verses….

“With Thanksgiving.”  Somehow I’ve missed that time, after time, after time.

Want God’s peace?  Pray, pray, pray!  Petition, Petition, Petition!  Present your requests, present your requests, present your requests!  Then you’ll find peace!

Not sure about you…..but I’ve tried that……and it hasn’t really worked for me.

Because I haven’t been grateful.

The more I pray, the more I petition, the more I request without being thankful….the more my racing mind dwells on and obsesses about the very thing I’m praying for, petitioning for, and requesting!  And the more my mind dwells on and obsesses about it…..

The more anxious—the more torn apart—I become!

No peace!

What are we to do?

Thank God.

Consider one of my favorite Bible verses, Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

In everything God is working for our good.  He is always working for what He knows is best for us.

What’s that got to do with peace?


The secret to finding God’s peace is praying, petitioning, and requesting, with thanksgiving—with thanksgiving beforeduring, and after our times of communication with our Heavenly Father.

With thanksgiving means we are able to say, “God, I praise you in advance for what you’re going to do.  You know I really want ___________, but no matter what you give me, I thank you because you always know what is best for me.”

I’ve heard it said that God answers prayers one of 3 ways—‘Yes’, ‘Not Yet’, or ‘I have something better in mind.’  And when we come to Him with thanksgiving from the promise of Romans 8:28, any of these three answers produces peace.

The result of a grateful prayer, petition, or request is peace.  God’s peace.  Do you know His peace today?

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Turning Point

When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no
strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
1 Samuel 30:3-6

A while back Forbes Magazine published a list of their “Top 10 Rags-to-Riches Billionaires.” It’s really a neat group of stories to read. Of these 10 influential billionaires:

-1 grew up an orphan
-1 was adopted
-1 was pregnant as a teenager
-1 spent extended time on welfare as an adult (while raising a child)
-2 lost parents in their childhood years
-4 were college drop-outs
-5 were high school or grade school drop-outs
-7 grew up in poverty

In every billionaire’s story, there is a common thread:

A turning point.

Though wildly different in their path to a common financial outcome, every story is the same:

Adversity—TURNING POINT—New Path

I can’t even count the number of zeros in one billion, let alone ever fathom accumulating that much wealth, but I do know this:

Your life’s story is the same as these 10 wealthy people (probably minus the billion dollars part):

Adversity—TURNING POINT—New Path

Life is a continual series of Adversities—Turning Points—New Paths. It’s a vicious, continual cycle.

Maybe you’re in the throes of adversity and you’re dying for a turning point. Maybe you’ve just experienced a turning point and are headed in a new direction. Maybe you’re on a great new path, but adversity is lurking. I’m not sure where you are right now on the continuum.

But I do know this:

There is a TURNING POINT available to us at any time.

There is a biblical character who was the king of turning points. Ironically, he was a king. King David.

David’s story is a perfect case study for the vicious cycle of adversity—turning point—new path. And before David could become a King—the ancient equivalent of being a billionaire—he needed a turning point.

David was on the cusp of becoming King…..but he didn’t know it yet. He found himself in exile and on the run from the evil King Saul. Exhausted from battle and being on the run, David returns to his temporary home of Ziklag to find it destroyed, burned, and ravaged. On top of this, the wives and children of all his men (including his own family) have been taken captive. And as if that weren’t enough, his men begin discussing mutiny—publicly sharing their thoughts of stoning David to death.

But then comes David’s turning point. Aturning point that is available to every single one of us, every single day.

“But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)

As you dwell on the Davidic psalms in the Bible, you’ll see a common thread everywhere—turning points. (Here are a few examples:Psalm 3 (verse 3 turning point), Psalm 41(verse 10 turning point), Psalm 56 (verse 3 turning point)) Adversity—turning point—new path. Sorrow—turning point—joy. Grief—turning point—celebration. Fear—turning point—confidence. Sin—turning point—forgiveness.

David knew the source of the ultimate turning point:

God Almighty.

Somewhere in all of our lives, we need a turning point. A new direction. A new path. A new perspective. A changed attitude. Forgiveness. Hope. New life. And it can only one place:

At the feet of our great God.

Today is the day. Today is your turning point! Come to the Father. Like David, find your“strength in the Lord”—the ultimate turning point.

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Sowing Seed

A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7b-8

What kind of seed are you sowing?

The CEO of a very successful corporation was beginning the process of succession planning and selecting the next leader of his firm.  But instead of forming an executive search committee or selecting the most senior Vice President to replace him, the CEO wanted to do something a bit unorthodox.

The CEO called a meeting of all the company’s Vice Presidents and Divisional Directors.  With all the leaders in the room, he announced the impending change.  “It’s time for a new leader to carry us into the next phase of growth,” he said.  “And it will be someone in this room.”  Glances and whispers were exchanged around the boardroom.  The CEO began to explain his unique selection plan.  He pulled a small bag from his suit pocket.

“In this bag are seeds.  I’m giving each of you a seed today.  Only one seed—a very special seed.  Over the next twelve months, your charge is to care for this seed.  You are to plant it, water it, and nurture it over the course of the year.  Exactly a year from now we’ll reconvene and each of you will present what you’ve done with your seed.  Then I will judge your plants and reveal who our next CEO is.”

Bewilderment but also excitement filled the room as each leader received their seed and departed the meeting.  James received his seed with the others in the group, put it in his pocket, and took it home.

At home James got a pot, potting soil, and fertilizer.  He planted his seed, set it by the window, and watered it daily, watching each day for growth.

A month passed.  No growth.  James didn’t think too much of it, until he heard some of the other business leaders talking about how nicely their plants were growing.

Two months.  Nothing.  Three months.  No plant.  Six months.  Dirt in a pot.

James felt like an absolute failure.  He was certain he had killed the seed.  Perhaps he scorched it in the sun?  Or gave it too much fertilizer?  Or not enough water?  He wasn’t much of a gardener.

At the office, his colleagues kept chatting about their plant’s progress.  James kept quiet, knowing humiliation was surely on the horizon.

Finally the fateful day had come.  At first, James decided he couldn’t possibly bring an empty pot with a dead seed into the CEO’s selection meeting.  He lay awake wrestling with what he should do.  But finally he decided that he had to be honest about what happened.  He was certain it would be the most embarrassing moment of his life and career.

The boardroom was filled with amazing, beautiful, and exotic plants of all sizes and colors. Sheepishly, James held his empty pot.  The stares of his colleagues seemed to express both mockery and pity toward his bare soil.  His heart began to race as the CEO entered the room.

Scanning the room, the CEO began to speak.  “My, what great plants you’ve grown!”  He began to stroll the room, studying the array of botanical variety.

Then he spotted James.  Empty pot and all.

“James, what happened to your seed?”

He wanted to melt.  But instead he told the simple truth of his failure to grow the seed.  He prayed that he wouldn’t get fired.  The CEO paused.  Then he asked James to stand up.

“Ladies and gentlemen….please welcome your new Chief Executive Officer!

Puzzled looks and silence dominated the room.  James was floored.  The CEO began to explain.

“Twelve months ago I gave you all a seed to plant, water, care for, and to bring back.  But I gave you all boiled seeds.  They were all dead—it was impossible for them to grow.  James was the only one here with the courage and integrity to bring me a pot with the original seed in it. Therefore, he is the one I trust to lead our company.”

Galatians chapter 6 reminds us of a simple, yet profound, truth we often lose sight of:

“A man reaps what he sows.”

And the type of seed we sow matters greatly.

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Plant seeds of selfishness, and you will reap distrust.  Plant seeds of pride, and you will reap arrogance.  Plant seeds of ruthlessness, and you will reap pain.  Plant seeds of immorality, and you will reap ruin.

But plant seeds of dedication, and you will reap success.  Plant seeds of perseverance, and you will reap character.  Plant seeds of honesty, and you will reap trust.  Plant seeds of forgiveness, and you will reap unity.  Plant seeds of humility, and you will reap honor.

What kind of seed are you sowing?

Today, be cognizant to the type of seed you are sowing in the “fields” of your life—your family, your workplace, your community, your church, and more.  The type of seed we sow matters greatlyYou WILL see the fruit of the seeds you’re planting in the future—whether that’s on Earth or for all eternity!  Will you be pleased with what you’ve planted?

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Strive: The Book

In Strive, former collegiate and NFL quarterback Tim Hiller leads you on a year-long journey, taking small steps each week on the path to making your life matter, developing into the person God designed you to be.

Our lives are short. Together, let’s pursue what matters.


From his platform as a champion, Tim has a natural gift for connecting with a wide range of audiences—from schools, youth groups, and churches, to student-athletes and business leaders. Submit a speaking request to invite Tim to inspire your group, team, or organization.

Next Level Performance

Co-founded by Tim Hiller, Next Level Performance develops the total athlete through elite sports performance training, club teams, and Beyond The Game™ Conferences. NLP’s proprietary leadership development process helps student-athletes succeed, both now and in the future.

Tim Hiller Live