Monthly Archives: July 2017

Whether you impact an audience or impact one in an audience: mission accomplished!

The stage is not merely the meeting place of all
the arts,
but is also the return of art to life.
– Oscar Wilde

Whether art imitates life or life imitates art… it doesn’t matter much. The stage has always been a place where they both intersect.

Audience of oneAudience of One Productions, a community theater group at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon, Tennessee, has a mission of using the arts to honor the Lord.

On their logo, the production company has Colossians 3:23 which says: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. And that’s just what they do. All involved work with an open heart and a willing spirit.

With all of the talent in the area, founder and Director, Angie Dee, chose to double cast the current run of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. My daughter has spent the last two years with Angie and some of the best local, young talent entertaining the community. Beyond entertainment, gifts of singing, dancing, and acting are used to not only grow their passion in the arts, but their faith. I commend Angie for her vision and sharing her walk with the Lord with the precious kids who have had the privilege to work under her direction.

7 brides 7 brothers
Cast 1 of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Audience of One Productions

I would like to share a Facebook post, written by Bree Brown Reynolds, as a testament of how God heals in the most unusual of ways. This should be no surprise. God is not one for conventionality, but rather amazement. Many of His works are not through the expected, but the unforeseen. Please take the time to read this. I promise it’s worth it.

To the cast and crew of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers,

You changed someone’s life last night. 
You did.

I brought my friend’s mom with me. I had to convince her to go, by almost having to drag her with me. She’s visiting from California and doesn’t get out often.

But last night…

Last night changed her. It changed her outlook on life. She felt joy. She felt alive. She cried. She hooted. She hollered. She clapped along. She snort laughed.

She’s had to walk through a literal hell for the past three years of her life. She’s been living in an unending nightmare. Last night, she said, she “started waking up and felt joy again”.

The creative God of the universe and everything in it chose you guys to walk a woman out of hell, through song and dance and tears.

He chose cast 2 on a random Tuesday night to save a woman from drowning in a cesspool of feelings of loneliness and unfathomable pain.

She told me on the way back to her daughter’s house that she once played Scrooge in her school’s production of A Christmas Carol. She played him “because none of the boys in the fifth grade we’re good enough…so I had to do it!”

She was smitten by the theatre.

She was made fun of because she was a girl playing a boy.

She never wanted to do it again because she was embarrassed and her feelings were hurt.

Fast forward 65 years.

65 YEARS, guys. That’s six and a half DECADES later…

She says she wants to do it again! She’s ready to see if she still loves it. And if she can’t be IN a show, she’s going to go SEE as many shows as she can and support her local theatre at home.

She leaves Friday to go back to Cali.

She has a passion back for something that was shoved into the corner more than half a century ago.

She has joy back because she felt The Holy Spirit working through “a bunch of kids” who spread it.

She got to cry and grieve a love lost.

She got to clap her hands and tap her feet during the barn dance.

She was reactionary. She was responsive.

She was changed.

Because a bunch of kids, along with their fearless director, decided to obey a call that would change a life before they (and probably their parents) were even born.

This is so much bigger than the right mix of vocals, effortless choreo or a great show.

This was designed, scripted, orchestrated, and produced by the Creator of creative arts to change lives by giving life and hope.

All creation cries out for Him.

I literally watched it happen on a stage and in the seat to my right.

Bree said it best when she wrote: “This is so much bigger than the right mix of vocals, effortless choreo or a great show. This was designed, scripted, orchestrated, and produced by the Creator of creative arts to change lives by giving life and hope.”

Just like a play or musical, God has put together a life for us that has several acts and maybe a few unplanned intermissions on our part but the show must go on! Through Cast 2, a lady has received one of the greatest gifts of her life time – the ability to walk out of a nightmare and into the hope and joy that is the rest of her life.

cast 2
Audience of One Productions, Cast 2

A lot of times we don’t know why we do something or what will come of it… but God does. It circles back to Colossians 3:23. We can NEVER take for granted the impact of what it is we do when we do it to glorify God.

My hope is all the teens in both casts, the crew, the directors, choreographers, set designers, management at the Capitol Theatre, and anyone else who contributed to this musical realize how their love for the arts has renewed a love for life. Your real standing ovation is not the crowd at the end of the show, it’s the host of angels saluting your efforts.


Trey Campbell,
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The good thing about silence is it can’t be misquoted

“The good thing about silence is it can’t be misquoted.” This quote is commonly attributed to Calvin Coolidge. I think Mr. Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, was very wise in what he said. After all, a politician would know a thing or two about being misquoted. One of his nicknames was “Silent Cal” for his quiet and steadfast nature. It’s a wise person who knows the importance of being silent sometimes over the importance of speaking up all the time.

“The louder the silence, the clearer God’s voice.” Adding my own twist to the importance of silence, I believe silence can be more deafening that noise. Not in a measure of decibels, but rather in the opportunity to hear what God is telling us. Quiet time can be just what we need to wipe out the distractions that block us from knowing God’s will for our lives.

1000 Tips 90 silence clear voice

Have you ever felt like the noise in your life was so deafening you couldn’t break free from the distraction? It helps to sometimes just find a quiet place to gather your thoughts and regroup. But for many of us, the noise continues… even with the silence.

How could this be you ask? It’s the buzz in your head. It’s the roar of your inner thoughts. It’s the banging and booming, the clanging and clattering of your inner monologue. While you may be surrounded in silence, you are never really voiceless in your head. You are never truly in a free, mental state of quiet when awake.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true. The times you have found peace and quiet are often the times you need to listen the hardest. You never know, this may be one of the ways God speaks to you.

So yes, our personal silence can be loud. But it doesn’t mean it’s a terrible thing. We all want our silence to be our utopia, our bliss, a little piece of heaven – to get away from it all. But maybe we don’t need to get away from everything. Maybe, instead, we need to hear the truths God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit in our stillest moments.

Who knows? The louder your silence, the more you may hear spoken truths. Are you listening in your silence. Trust me, it won’t be misquoted.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
– Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

Trey Campbell,
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Control the Controllables – Vol. 1

Today’s blog is the first in a three-part series about control.

This installment is a condensed version of what I like to call one of the Godcentric Principles of Spirit-filled Leadership. It’s about controlling the things within your control.

keepcalmcontrolthecontrollables“Control the Controllables” is a phrase we use all the time at Southwestern Advantage and something I take to heart. For many who read this blog not associated with Southwestern Advantage, you may not be familiar with this phrase. This may be new to you. It’s basically a fundamentally sound concept in which you focus on controlling what you can, rather than pouring your energy in trying to control the things you can not. 

Think about all the time wasted trying to control things you just have no power over. Things like when your favorite TV show is interrupted for weather alerts, or Baskin Robbins is out of your favorite ice cream therefore only having 30 flavors that day, or like the times you have to get your oil changed so the annoying dash light can be reset. While those are silly examples you have no control over, but can be frustrating, you never had control of the situation in the first place.

In a spiritual context, God allows us to choose, but ultimately, He is always in control. A verse in Proverbs pretty much sums that up:

We may throw the dice,
but the Lord determines
how they fall.
Proverbs 16:33

This is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible! Proverbs 16:33 is all about control. But really, we could also say it’s about lack of control. Okay, it’s both. When I read this verse, I always come to the same realization: “Who’s in control?…It ain’t me.” No matter how much I think I am or want to be, the Lord always has a way of putting me in my place and setting me on a straighter, narrower path. And I’m okay with that. I accept it. God is, and always will be, in control. I know this because I have experienced this first-hand time and time again.

Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
Ephesians 1:11

I believe God is the Creator of all. Since He created everything, He controls everything. For all the things on this earth we are unable to control, we would be better not to waste our time with futile efforts of defiance.

Good leaders concentrate on the things they can control and influence. Good Spirit-filled leaders concentrate on letting God control things out of their control and influence.

By accepting the things God controls and not worrying about it, there is a greater allocation of attention to other things deserving of greater attention such as acts of service, leading, and loving others. Our little human minds have a hard time comprehending this because the devil fuels us with a need to be in control.

It’s okay to want to control the situation, but you have to equally be able to lose control of it (or give it away) when the time comes in order to let God do His thing.

So let God control the uncontrollables in your life. Focus on this Psalm if you have trouble letting God sit in the driver’s seat:

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psalm 131:1-2

Remember, control the things in your control. If you try to control the things out of your control, failure is imminent.

Trey Campbell,
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Both the wise and fools affect who we will one day be

“It was the best of people,
it was the worst of people.”

This take on the classic first 12 words of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens describes in a nutshell what others can show us about who we want to be. I always find it fascinating how you can learn as much about who you want to be as you can about who you don’t want to be through both direct and indirect interactions with others.

The fact is, we can always learn something from others. The Bible has a whole lot to say about the wise and fools. These are some of my favorite verses – especially the ones that come out of Proverbs. Here is but a sampling:

Honor is no more associated with fools than snow
with summer and rain with harvest. – Proverbs 26:1

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. – Proverbs 12:15

Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions. – Proverbs 18:2

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. – Proverbs 17:28

And one of my favorites:
As a dog returns to vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. – Proverbs 26:11

In the summer of 2000, I asked to gain the skill set of  my company’s craft by the learning-by-doing method. Southwestern Advantage is like the Navy SEALs of sales. As the company’s representative to the outside world, I felt I needed to gain the EXPERIENCE we offer college students in running a business in order to have credibility with both internal and external audiences. What I came out of it with was so much more valuable.

After spending several weeks meeting with families through cold-calls and referrals, I was astounded at how much I learned from those I met. I’m not kidding when I say this… but I learned more about myself and human nature than I did in five years of college. It was an experiential education – meaning this was stuff you would never learn in a classroom. I learned through experiencing it first-hand.

1000 Tips 123 best and worstOne of the many things I saw was the best in people and the worst in people. This was very important for me. By interacting with others directly and observing them indirectly, I was able to discern the person I wanted to become. Sometimes it was positive, as I saw something great in someone: their attitude, how they interacted with their kids or spouse, the cleanliness of their home or appearance, their tone of voice and choice of language, or simply a smile. But on the other hand, I would experience the absolute worst in people: how they talked to and treated others, their deplorable living conditions, addictions, unrestrained anger or resentment, broken relationships, and the results of a life of regrets and poor choices.

This is not an indictment of those I interacted with necessarily, but it is an indictment of human nature. No matter the time or place, we can learn from others often more than we can have them learn from us. And… the future you appreciates the past you soaking it all in.

Trey Campbell, 
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What to ask yourself when stuck in a rut

Are you stuck in a rut, or is a rut stuck in you? This may seem like a silly question… but you CAN get a rut stuck in you. This is not like a fish bone in your throat or strawberry seed in your teeth. The difference between the two is the source.

stuckWhen you’re stuck in a rut, you’re in some kind of negative groove you must struggle to get out of. It may be a mood, an attitude, a sense of helplessness, or constant and continued mediocrity on your part. It could be brought on by depression, anxiety, fear, or any type of catalyst holding you back. It could be mental, emotional, or physical. Being stuck in a rut may or may not not be something the stuckee typically chooses, but it is something you can climb out of – even if it’s one of those giant ruts left in the mud by a monster truck. The deeper the rut, the bigger the challenge!

When you have a rut stuck in you, this is definitely not of your own choosing. At Southwestern Advantage, we have a saying that’s spanned generations: “Control the controllables.” This means placing your focus on the things within your control. There’s no need to worry about the things outside of your control because it’s like King Solomon says, it’s like “chasing the wind.” Therefore, having a rut stuck in you is like having an annoying splinter that you can only get half-way out. You do what you can, but it’s still deep in your flesh. Once you’ve exhausted your control, it’s there to stay until it works it’s way out.

Either way, when a rut is involved, you need to do anything and everything you can to break free. A lot of it has to do with self-accountability. Here are four questions to consider when a rut has engulfed you:

1. What is the reality of your situation? Ask yourself this question and write down the1000 Tips 121 problem opportunity answers. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not honest, you will be fooling yourself and seek solutions that won’t be helpful. Sometimes you have to look at the problem to see the solution. A problem is simply an opportunity to change either a situation or yourself.

2. Why are you resistance to change? Is there something holding you back or blocking you from scaling the walls of your mental cage? Make a list of the things that would have to change or you would like to see changed in order to find yourself in a different situation. Then make a sub-list of the things to do in order for each of the things on your first list to happen. When you determine the reason for your resistance, you will be half-way to your desired result.

3. Is there a refusal to make a change? Do you relish misery? Is there a reason you are in the state you are in or why you have dug the hole? There could certainly be something deeper here that may require some outside perspective and help. For any situation, you have to WANT to make a change. Many of us refuse to do this because we get comfortable in our discomfort. This happens all too often.

4. Can I pray my way out of this? This is a question you can ask each time you find yourself in a rut, but the answer will always be the same. YES! Prayer is a two-way, open communication, or conversation, if you will, between you and God. He always hears our prayers but He does not always answer them as we would like. Whether it’s not our preferred timing or a solid “no,” prayers are an important process in working our way out. How can we expect answers if we are not asking questions and seeking resolutions? Act and you shall be moved, speak and you shall be heard.

In the New Testament letter from Paul and Timothy to the Philippians, they alluded to the many ruts they found themselves in as messengers of the Good News.

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.
– Philippians 4:12-13

You too can do all through Him who gives you strength!

Trey Campbell,
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Close the doors in your life that are better shut in order to open new ones

Have you ever felt you had to take a step back in order to move forward? Over time, that’s what life is like. “One step forward, two steps back,” right?

1000 Tips 115 where want to beYou sometimes have to stop and take note of where you are so you can make plans for where you want to be. In many cases, this means a change of trajectory. That direction may be any number of ways. You see, there’s often more than one right way to get somewhere. There’s also lots of wrong ways that get you nowhere.

Visual imagery time: Think of a wall blocking your path which represents obstacles, regrets, a broken heart, poor choices, and any other pain points you have. There are many ways to get past a wall. You can go over it. Under it. Around it. Through it. Or just alter your path and take a detour to a new path that has no wall that will take you to the place you want to go. All of the ways or paths to get past the roadblock of a wall represent change.

Change isn’t a bad thing. But it’s something many people fear. I fear change when I don’t know what the outcome may be (which I bet is the most common reason people fear it). However, what I’ve come to realize is change can be a great thing for revitalizing a tired routine or refreshing a stale or negative attitude. It can also be good for breaking through the walls in your life.

Another visual example is the theme used as the title of this blog post: you sometimes must close doors inthree door order to open others. This illustration represents closure. There are times you will need to shut the door on the garbage in your life in order to open new doors that allow you to walk into opportunity. This includes toxic relationships, dead-end jobs, decisions you are putting off, and resistance to positive life hacks.

I’ve had to do this before. I’ve closed the door, in fact, SLAMMED it, so I could run to another. Nearly two decades ago, I resigned from my first real “career” job out of college in another state so I could rejoin my wife and build a life for us back in Tennessee. While I gained lots of experience, I was being held back. But God had my back. Three days after moving back, I walked through the doors at Southwestern Advantage. After being hired six weeks later, I’ve never looked back. What was a good first-time opportunity in order to get experience in Maryland led to me shutting that door so I could open one that allowed me to grow, build, and fly to new heights – both personally and professionally.

There’s no shortage of doors to be opened. The doors you close will likely force you to open others. And, in time, you may close those too – or they maybe closed for you. The disciples found new opportunities when they needed to. If a town was unwilling to hear about Jesus and the Good News or ran them out of town, then they went to the next one to proclaim it. At Southwestern Advantage, we have a saying: “The answer lies behind the next door.” It always does, just sometimes it’s a “no,” and that door stays closed. You see, you have to have the “nos” in order to get to the “yeses.”

A note about closed doors: Once you close a door, I encourage you to make the decision to never open it again if it hides a past you would just prefer to move on from. That door might just be a closet door that holds your skeletons. Move on from this. You are a person who has a mind to think, a heart to beat, and a soul to love. Make the most of the rest of your life… starting now. Close the doors that need to be shut and look for others that need to be opened. GO!!!!!

Trey Campbell,
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The waves of your unintentional influence wash over others

The result of unintentional influence:

You never know how your waves
wash over someone else. 

Have you ever thought about your influence? How about your circle of influence? We all have influence over others to varying degrees. Your influence is the essentially the effect 1000 Tips 94 waves washyou have on someone’s character, development, or behavior. It’s something that causes them to think or act in a specific manner.

Influence is a funny thing. You just never know what may or may not be the spark that lights someone else’s fire. And something else… you may not always realize it, but your influence can have a much greater sprawl than your intention – in either a positive or negative way. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of how the things you do and say are received. Remember, it’s your responsibility to be responsible in this regard.

The ramifications of unintentional influence can be far-reaching. Unintentional influence is when there is an unplanned cause and effect. Cause and effect is a relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other. This is a combination of action and reaction.

This has been on my mind recently as I’ve been thinking about how I need to build a bigger platform from which to reach a few of my goals. These include building an audience for my upcoming book and speaking engagements related to the content. For me, it’s about the impact I can have through my message. This impact is spread through influence created by importance. It’s like this in all situations. If someone feels you have given them something important, they are influenced by your impact.

Unintended influence is a two-way street. You can have a positive reach when you didn’t necessarily mean to or you can have an adverse effect by having an impact stir about the unfavorable.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
– Proverbs 13:20

Proverbs 13:20 tells us if you are with the wise, you become wise, but if you are surrounding yourself with idiots, you will suffer such idiocy through proximity. You see, we influence each other. Whoever crosses your path and whoever’s path you cross – the opportunity is there to influence the other. Therein lies the power of obligation that says you should do your best to be a positive influence. Why? Because you just don’t know what someone will take from you and apply to their life. Your waves wash over others. It may be a faint drizzle, but it could be a full-blown tsunami. You never know what little thing may strike a chord with someone else.

I’ve been told years later how one itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, seemingly insignificant thing I said to someone had a profound impact on their life. In fact, it changed their trajectory and helped lead them to being a Christ-follower. I share this not to boast, but to show how one little, tiny suggestion made a world of difference to a young lady who had been lost because of her upbringing. I’m also sure I’ve said other things that have had the opposite effect. Those are the things I’ve tried to strike from coming out of my mouth. I want to be a person of impact for others, a builder. It’s easy to say things that tear down others or change their way of thinking. Too easy. And we do it all the time… unintentionally.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What would the world look like if we were more conscious about what we said and how we said it? 
  • What would your life look like it you spent more time with the wise and less with fools?
  • What would your impact be if you were less foolish yourself and a little more wise? 

Trey Campbell,
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Is it in you?

No, this is not a blog about Gatorade. Though the company’s popular slogan, commercials and ads with visual gatoradeeffects, and famous athletes sweating Gatorade does conjure up thoughts of a thirst being quenched. Gatorade has made a lasting and effective ad campaign out of asking if it’s in you to enhance performance and replace electrolytes… and sell more product. As you read on, you will see where I’m going with this… but for now, consider this question:

Have you ever loved someone so much you
would give your life for them?

This was a question I asked a group of college students with Southwestern Advantage while at a meeting in New Orleans. The point wasn’t to think about who you would take a bullet for, but who do you love enough to lay down your life for? There’s a distinct difference. Who do you love enough to pour into, to invest in, to serve? In other words, do you love others unconditionally – so much so that you would put your life on hold for them? Would you give up what you have for them?

Someone did this for you in each of those ways. Jesus not only gave his life away to those he inspired, led, healed, taught, scolded, outwitted, told parables to, befriended, and forgave, but he also gave his life away by dying for you. But that’s not the end of the story – he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father. He did this so his sacrifice would wash away our sins. This is our ticket. Our ticket out of hell. This is an ultimate, unconditional love we all have in common.

With the example set forth by Jesus – a precedence like no other before or since – why would we hesitate to do anything in his name if ever called to do so? While we will likely not be in a situation to have to die for our faith (though many are around the world), what we can do is give our life away to others through our faith. After all, we know what real love is.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
– 1 John 3:16

The above verse is followed up with this:

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a
brother or sister in need but shows no compassion
– how can God’s love be in that person?
– 1 John 3:17

Here’s the follow-up question (and Gatorade tie-in) from the one we started with at the top: Is God’s love in you? When you love someone enough to sacrifice for them, it’s not about giving up power, it’s about submitting to it. That power is love and the love in you that you share with others is powerful. It’s unconditional and compassionate. Through love for others, you can share wisdom, talent, time, money, laughter, friendship, and resources. You can share you. Give your life away through love. Is it in you?

Trey Campbell,
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