You can’t measure heart

In countries where corruption can be as rampant as the poverty, there are often things that go on behind closed doors that make you question if you really want to open that door.

I’ve opened these door many times – up to this point unafraid of what laid in waiting behind them. I have become all too familiar with the reality of the places I go in 1000 Tips 138 spoonful of hopesearch of those who need help for my company’s annual incentive trip’s service projects.

I’ve been asked before how I deal with it – especially with children involved. What I say to that is this: one spoonful of hope can feed a child for a lifetime. For me to expose myself to another’s misery may temporarily relieve them of that misery. It’s not what you do for the small amount of time – it’s the hope you offer. And hope is way more valuable than anything consumable. This will never make me or anyone else a hero. But perhaps a messenger of hope is something better.

The Holy Spirit has always led me where I need to be. He has always led me to those who have hearts of servants. It’s refreshing to know there is someone fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. Some of the areas I’ve been to do not always take care of their own. But, then some do.

One of those places is in Puerto Vallarta, Centro de Capacitacion y Convivencia para Silente. Translated, it means Center for Training and Coexistence for the Silent. We always called it the Center for the Deaf & Mute.

I first came to know of this organization in 2011, as it was one of our first corporate service projects. Since it is government-sponsored, high ranking officials and the local media covered our presence and what we were doing to help. Honestly, it was positive PR for the politicians, but, hey, that’s okay!

While there, I met Juan Carlos Pena Guitierrez. While setting up our service itinerary for 2017, I was able to revisit the center. Juan Carlos is still there! This time, I got his story.

deaf and mute 2011-2017
Juan Carlos and I reunited: in 2011 and again in 2017

He has a passion for the deaf in the community. In fact, so much so, he was fired from his position because he stood up for his principles. But then he was hired back a year later when his successor failed to be as successful. He refuses to let the children’s hearing disability define them and be used as a social crutch or excuse. He believes they need socialization with those who can hear in order to acclimate to society and be productive contributors. In fact, he has fought the notion of the center becoming a school because if that happened, the students would not be able to go to the local schools. Being a “center,” the students get additional tutorials in sign language and help with social skills and school work.

What makes Juan Carlos special beyond his leadership and love for helping those who are disadvantaged by their disability, is he gets it. When meeting with him, he could have asked for anything. He didn’t ask for money or a new building. He simply wants supplies to teach with. He wants the tools the school needs to maximize their impact with those who they have been given charge of, giving a few more cards than the hand they’ve been dealt.

And for that, I have the utmost respect. Juan Carlos is on the ground, building hope for those who can’t hear everyday. He is the hero because the hope he delivers can’t be measured by the spoonful. You can’t measure heart.

Trey Campbell,
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What it takes to break the rocks in your life

This past week, I spent hours and hours speaking one-on-one with college students from all over the states while at a key-persons meeting for Southwestern Advantage. I love this time together because I always feel like I learn more from them than they do from me, yet I still feel I make some sort of connection that makes an impact. It’s rewarding.

Each time though, I realize the reality of where they are in life. At any given moment we are at different levels in our lives because of many varying factors including past experiences. For young people, they are in their formative years where they are beginning to form habits and opinions that shape who they will be. Of course, these can change, but the foundation is being laid. Those habits and opinions happen to also be shaped by things both in and out of their control. Therefore, some of the habits and opinions they have are formed by past negative things that have been out of their control. These are the rocks in their lives they must remove because they are blocking progress. Enough rocks, you have a mountain. Enough mountains, you have a range.

With all of the stories, memories, testimonies, and laughs we shared, I was drawn back to something I had written in the past: The courage we muster is equal to or greater than the strength we possess. When confronting past demons, overcoming obstacles, or preparing for change, it seems like both our courage and strength are hiding under the rocks in our lives that need to be moved.

1000 Tips 85 courage we muster

These students possess great strength and courage. I’ve seen it firsthand with how they conquer their fears with their summer business. What they sometimes need is a push in the right direction for the courage part. While they are some of the most confident people you will find when it comes to running their business, there are other aspects of life they are seeking a cup full of courage to maximize their strengths.

Isn’t our faith like that? Don’t we often lack the courage to “move mountains” when all along we always had the strength to do so? Rather than move mountains, we get buried in a rock slide. Then we have even more rubble in our life to dig through.

Courage is a necessary first step to breaking the rocks in your way. I love when the college students find the courage they need to carry the next boulder life presents them. And I love having a front-row seat. Sometimes, you just have to encourage others in order to see courage develop in others. 

Here is are some verses to turn to when you need courage to smash rocks and move the rubble out of your life:

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.
– Psalm 27:1-3

Trey Campbell,




No such thing as an integrity thief

Integrity is one of those words most people know what it means, but may struggle to describe it. One word often used to describe integrity is moral. You may have heard of having a good “moral compass?” This means you are leading an honorable, just, and ethical life, one of principles. The question here is, whose principles? Yours or God’s?

Another definition of integrity is the state of being undivided. If you are undivided in1000 Tips 150 self driven God given your principles, you are deemed a person of integrity. Again, are these your principles, or Biblical principles? There’s a distinct difference. God’s principles are given to us through His Word. Our principles are often self-driven rather than God-given, selfishly desired rather than divinely inspired.

Getting through the day with our integrity intact is a challenge for all of us. It’s hard enough working against ourselves with our flaws and sinful nature, but we must also work against the dark powers around us. The enemy mounts a constant assault against us. He knows if our integrity is compromised, he has breached our spiritual armor. We choose whether this happens or not.

Integrity is one thing that no one can take away from you
but you can take it away from yourself.

1000 Tips 140 integrityIntegrity is focusing on what lies ahead, approaching anything that shows up along your path with a sincere and authentic desire to do the right thing. Look ahead to see what’s coming your way and be prepared to defend yourself against our enemy’s plans.

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 
Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 
Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
– Proverbs 4:25-27

Trey Campbell,
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Lies Satan Tells Vol. 1: “You Are Useless”

Recently, my Life Group enjoyed some extended, shared prayer time. Just prior, my friend made a comment for which I took note. He said Satan was feeding him a lie, and in his ravenous hunger, he was eating it up. Satan is a liar. A good one at that. Over the useless watercourse of time, I want to break apart the lies he is telling those in my life I care about. I have a feeling many of you reading this will be able to relate too. I know I do.

I thought about this because Satan is always force feeding us lies. In fact, the devil’s lies are one of his greatest weapons against humanity. Why? Because we’re buyers. We buy what he is selling. We fall for all the lies because he and his hoard of demon lackeys are experts in penetrating our soul through our insecurities, vulnerabilities, and desires.

This particular lie was: “You are useless.”

When you hear this, how does it make you feel? Being told you are useless is a big-time slam. It’s being told you are good for nothing. You have no abilities to make anything worthwhile happen. You are weak. You are worthless. You are a pimple on the butt of society. Well… that’s a little harsh, but nonetheless it’s how you perceive being told you are useless. This is a statement that cuts to the core of our insecurities – if we begin to believe it.

Paul had a take on this. God gave him something: “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” This was a weakness Paul said he was proud to boast about. He was told by God how grace is all he needed because His power works best in weaknesses.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– 2 Corinthians 12:10

Get it straight: You are strong in your weaknesses! This is when God works his wonders. And hear this: don’t associate weaknesses with uselessness. No one is useless. Each person is important in God’s eyes and was created with purpose. He loves every hair on 1000 Tips 149 Gods eyesyour head and cell in your body. You are strong in God’s eyes even if you are not in yours. Let your weaknesses turn into strengths that make you useful rather than useless!

Useless is one sock. Useless is the white crayon. Useless are shoes for a snowman. Useless are male nipples, or your tonsils. Useless is talking to your cable company’s customer service. What is not useless: you. You have a mind to think, a voice to be heard, and hands and feet to be productive. You may not control the messaging of Satan or others who try bring you down, but you do control whether you accept it or not.

Trey Campbell,
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Should you choose to accept it: the 7 day service challenge

I’m issuing a challenge to anyone who thinks they have a heart big enough to accept it:

For seven days in a row, I challenge you to do
at least one act of service for someone else.

Here’s the rules:
1) There are none – other than performing this intentional act at least once a day.
2) There will be no regulation of how big or small your act of service can be.
3) There will also be no prize or recognition. An act of service is a benefit to someone else and has no strings attached.

It doesn’t have to be something that will make headlines… it can be something simple because all the simple things add up to something really big! Greatness is not made up of one great big thing, it’s a combination of many great little things. Tom Brady is not the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) because of one game. It’s the preparation and practice that leads to the precision of execution that makes him great. And so it is with having a servant’s heart.

Jim Johnston vehicleWhy a service challenge?
Let me start from the beginning. I was inspired recently by one of those simple, little things someone else does while putting others first. Each Sunday as I drive up a hill, around a curve through one of the entrances to my church, I see a lone vehicle. You see, Executive Pastor Jim Johnston parks in the parking space farthest away from the building. It’s not because he enjoys the walk, but rather he enjoys serving others.  Though on nice days, I’m sure the walk is not bad either.

This is a small way in which Jim serves others – he selflessly gives up a closer parking space so others may benefit from not having to walk in the heat or inclement weather. He didn’t do this for recognition or so someone would write a blog about it. He did it because he has a servant’s heart.

Another example that caught my attention was that of one of the college students I workAlex Szymanski post card with and invest in, Alex Szymanski, a student at the University of Central Florida. When I met with him in August, he gave me a post card addressed to my wife. Through his words, he shared the impact I have made on his life. He didn’t just share this with me, he went the extra mile and shared it with someone important in my own life. He didn’t have to do that, but it was because he realizes the value of making others feel special. (And I don’t include this to brag… I just think this was a thoughtful gesture from a college student that goes beyond a plain thank you).

For me personally, I have a self-imposed service challenge of 30 days. My personal service efforts have ranged from the small and seemingly insignificant to bigger things that take lots more time and effort. All in all though – they are each as important as the one the day before. 

Examples have included:

  • Taking letters to the post office for someone short on time
  • Donating clothing for a clothing drive
  • Helping a stranger unload a refrigerator at the dump
  • Taking the kids to school so my wife could sleep in
  • Participating in a county-wide service day with my church: painting, cleaning, weeding at a local school
  • Donating to the Texas flood relief
  • Helping a friend move furniture
  • And the all-important gesture of love: Giving my daughter my last Chick-fil-A fry

I encourage anyone who reads this to do a little self-reflection and think about all the ways you can serve others for the glory of God rather than the glory of self. I have found my attitude and heart change significantly when service is at the center of the love I show others. We are all God’s people. Show His compassion. Share His love. You will be amazed what comes out of your efforts.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
– Hebrews 6:10

Trey Campbell,
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Carrying out your ministry (we all have one)

We all have a ministry. The secret is knowing it when you find it. Don’t let this intimidate you. God doesn’t call everyone to be Mother Teresa or move overseas – though He does some of us. It may be something as simple as taking care of your aging parents. Or 1000 Tips 147 back seatvolunteering with children. Or serving your community.

But from time to time, we can get a little off track. We lose our focus. We look inward to please our self rather than outward to serve others. We just quit listening to what we know is right and seek that which we want to hear. Our ministry takes a back seat to our desires. You can’t drive from the back seat. As such, your ministry will be off course.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound
and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires
and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their
itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth
and chase after myths.
– 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Reading these two verses above, what do you think? Do you think this time is here? Do you think it is near? With a drop in church attendance nationwide and the millennial population not terribly engaged, there is a concern this generation is following their own desires and listening to where their itching ears lead them. It could be said their ministry has strayed off course.

Pew Research Center analysis from research in 2015* noted: “The falloff in traditional religious beliefs and practices coincides with changes in the religious composition of the U.S. public.” Their research showed a drop off in that religious composition. Does this mean people are following their own desires only to further reject truth and chase myths? And it’s not just millennials.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid
of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News,
and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
– 2 Timothy 4:5

Yes, there are those who live for themselves rather than for God. Keep in mind when given a choice in a damaged, defective world… there will always be those who choose a path of destruction. History tells us this is the way it’s always been. Adam listened to Eve. Cain slaughtered his brother. Pharaoh was stubborn and brought plague after plague to his nation. Everyone was messed up but Noah. Towns were destroyed because of those who lived a lifestyle of the flesh. I could go on and on.

But what are we told in verse 5? Keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering. For who? The Lord. Tell others the Good News. And carry out the ministry God has given you. That last part can easily be overlooked.

Don’t miss this. God has given us each a ministry. If you don’t seek it out and carry it out, you’re chasing wind, my friend. Seek your purpose so you may fulfill it!

That’s what I am working toward now. My mission and my ministry are on a collision course to collide. And I can’t wait. #leadmeforward #staytuned #moretocome #12Jars

Trey Campbell,
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You can’t go wrong with these 3 affirmations

Do you affirm yourself? Do you affirm others? I ask these two questions because the power of self-talk can’t be denied. Positive affirmations can help remind you of your end goal or who you want to be. They can be repetitive assertions that get you through challenging times or change your attitude. Just as important as it is to positively affirm yourself, it is just as important to affirm others.

An affirmation is defined as “emotional support or encouragement.” It’s generally a word or phrase that serves as a catalyst for self-improvement. While you may have your own specific affirmations that play on autopilot in your mind, what about how you verbally affirm others? How do you support and encourage someone else so they will believe in themselves enough to experience success and gain a sense of self-worth?

It’s a balancing act. To be fruitful, you have to not only affirm them in the form of giving them hope and belief, but you must also build confidence. When you affirm someone, they feel better about themselves and their actions. After this happens several times, your belief in them begins to transfer to a belief in themselves. Congratulations! You have successfully passed the torch of affirmation and graduated to confirmation. You confirm that their behavior, actions, words, or choices are deemed worthy of your praise and approval.

I want to share three affirmations that have made all the difference in how I approach two of the most important roles I have – that of a father and that of a role model. Working with college students can be a challenge. While some have found their confidence, others are seeking who they are. And some are over-confident, to the point of arrogance. Where ever they land on the spectrum of confidence or belief, it’s important they hear one of more of these simple phrases:

1000 Tips 146 3 affirmations

“I believe in you” 
This phrase of affirmation shows the recipient you not only acknowledge them, but are of the opinion what they are doing is going to lead to the realization of accomplishment. It boosts confidence and let’s them know you are supportive.

“I’m proud of you” 
This is an affirmational phrase of approval. It serves as an acknowledgement that what they have done meets your general approval.

“I appreciate you”
This goes one step further than being “proud.” It is a statement beyond approval. It says you care. 

There is one more important phrase that goes along with these three affirmations. I always use the phrase “thank you.” Find a way to thank someone so they know you recognize them in a way that is special to them.

Affirming others is an important tool to building relationships and leadership. To lead, love, and serve, you must humble yourself to the point where you seek genuine interest in others.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

– Philippians 2:3

Trey Campbell,

One Day or Day One? You decide.

One day day one

I saw this on a church marquee a few days ago. AND I LOVE IT! Why? Because it’s a challenge and statement of fact all in one!

It also makes you think. At first, it may be a bit confusing. But upon reflection, the light bulb above your head begins to blink a little before shining bright as you realize what the message behind it is.

Simply put, you have a decision to make.

Will it be one day or day one? Will you put off what needs to be done to one day or will this be day one of getting it done?

This matters for the following reasons:

  • The last part is the most important: You decide. It’s a choice. You can sit on an egg until it hatches or you can crack that sucker and make scrambled eggs. What’s it going to be? If you’re hungry, make the eggs! What holds you back keeps you from moving forward. When it’s your decision and you never get around to it, you are your own problem. One day or day one?
  • About one day. When you postpone, one day turns into some day. Some day turns into some time. Some time turns into never. My spin on the popular quote: Don’t put off today what you will still not do tomorrow. Do it now.
  • About day one. Day one is the first day of the rest of your life. Get the things done you need to get done so you can do the things God wants you to do.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
– Proverbs 13:4

Putting things off is a turn off. Make every day day one!

Trey Campbell,
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Feed your mind with books as you would your belly with food

It hurts my heart when a young person tells me they don’t read books. Why? Because feeding your mind is secondary to feeding your body. You need to work your brain just like you need to fill your belly. Investing in knowledge is long-term, where as investing in a meal is short-term.

Reading is so important, we have it as one of the five schedules of the summer for the1000 Tips 141 Reading 149-year-old Southwestern Advantage entrepreneurial program. It’s a habit that once started, can open up your imagination and allow you to communicate your own story much more effectively.

A great friend of Southwestern Advantage, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones would say, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Reading is a way to escape from your current situation and delve into a mystery or adventure that takes you as far as your mind dares. Or you can read something motivational that prompts you to self-improvement and reaching a goal. Or you can read something mindlessly entertaining that makes you smile when you think about it. The great thing about books are they are portable devices for imaginative and soul-changing gratification. Books truly are food for the mind, sustenance for the soul.

I was reminded of this recently by a Facebook post from Loyd Elmore* asking what your favorite book is, and then further reminded by looking through some books in my closet. While I’ve read plenty and underlined and highlighted for miles, there were two books I pulled aside where the words have not been marred by ink or spoken by my internal monologue. If you want to know why, it’s because they are in Spanish.

It was two books from a service project trip in the Dominican Republic in 2016. One was a Bible given to me from Magdalena Rafael Arias, the founder and Director of a school we added four classrooms to. She has since called us her angels because we swooped in and provided a need to educate 150 more children and get them off the streets.

DR Books 4

The other was the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Only this one is titled Loco Amor (because of the Spanish thing). It was given to me by an English teacher, Ramon, at a school we helped who didn’t really know much English (being always helpful, I did secure him Rosetta Stone to learn English so he could be more effective as the English teacher). He had tears in his eyes when he gave the book to me and kept calling me his “new friend.”

These books are gifts I will always treasure for two reasons: 1) These two people with little means gave me a gift out of love, not obligation. 2) Both were a book that meant something to them. They put thought into the type of book they gave me. In addition, they wrote a note in the front cover. I love books that are given out of special intention. Theses books were graciously accepted and are appreciated because of the pride the giver had in picking them out and ceremoniously presenting them. Ah, what we Americans could and should learn from other cultures…

In the past month, my youngest daughter, Megan, suddenly gave up an an obsession with the screens of video games and technology for the paper pages of books. This makes me proud and lets me know all is not lost on the up-and-coming generation – not that it really ever is. This is something older generations say because of either fear or a lack of understanding and acceptance of the differences between the generations. Here’s something that spans all generations: leaders are readers… and if this is true, books and leadership will continue to go hand-in-hand. The chapters of our lives are enriched by the chapters of books.

So, what are you reading?

Trey Campbell
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*Loyd Elmore is a fellow writer that has a blog for the purpose of helping him deal with depression (and he always has interesting topics and thoughts…). Writing is his form of therapy. “It might not help anybody else but it might help me.” Check it out: 




Prayer: the difference between “with someone” and “for someone”

As I attended a church service packed wall to wall that would make any Fire Marshall uncomfortable (this is a good thing), I looked around and marveled at how many people had come to one place at one time for one reason.

The reason for the cramped quarters was because the youth of the church had returned TBF Youthfrom a week-long camp. All their family and friends who attended the service dedicated to them fed off their energy. It was truly an amazing sight for these eyes. Unlike many others who worry about the future of this generation, I do not. I think it’s in good hands.

During the service, something our Lead Pastor, Phil Wilson, said caught my attention. Truth tends to do that. He said, “There’s a difference between praying with someone and for someone.”

This was directed to the youth in order to prompt active prayer with someone rather than always the usual private or internal prayer for someone.  If you pray for someone, they may never know about it. If they don’t know about it, an opportunity to witness or change their life can be minimized. How would they then be a part of it? How will they feel special because someone reached out and cared? Don’t minimize the power you have to impact others.

Upon personal reflection, I know so well the power of both one-on-one and group prayer. Praying with someone does several things:

  1. It shows them two people care and they are loved: you and God. By loving someone enough to pray with them, this is one of the most intimate things you can do with another. It’s not physical, it’s spiritual.
  2. It opens up the prospect of a deeper relationship. Praying with someone builds a trust that’s just not the same as with conversation. There’s an intimacy that comes with prayer because you are speaking into a person’s heart, soul, and spirit. You are reaching things that are guarded. Prayer breaks down the toughest of walls.
  3. There’s Christ in community and community in Christ. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Praying together is a powerful thing. To have an audience consisting of Jesus is a big deal. Our faith in not built on solitude. When we break bread together and join in prayer, we are coming together in unison for a common cause. There is strength in numbers. The triple braided cord is stronger than a single cord.

When praying with others, I have had the wonderful opportunity to simply share my heart and touch theirs. This is not done for any kind of recognition, credit, or any other selfish or impure motive. There’s no such thing as “heaven points” that are to be gained through this. The reward is knowing you have done what you are called to do. Faith is an active thing. To hear someone tell you through tears that no one has ever prayed with them before or the hug that comes afterwards because of the overwhelming feeling of a warm heart and cleansed soul is reward enough.

Encouraging our youth to do this builds a strong foundation for not only our future church leaders, but our future faith leaders. Hearing stories of my teenage daughter praying with her friends or helping those with real issues such as cutting and suicidal tendencies brings tears. This generation does care. They need our guidance and leadership now so they can have the confidence to be who they were made to be through Christ.

Prayer in Friusa
A prayer circle with Southwestern Advantage college students in Friusa, Dominican Republic put together by the students.

Prayer is a means of connection. Be fearless in your faith and bold in your prayers. Many find it hard enough to pray alone, much less do it with someone else. If you are in this category, that’s okay. Ask someone who you know will pray with you to do so. Don’t wait. If you don’t ask, you will never know the warmth that comes with the Spirit washing over you.

Trey Campbell,
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