Monthly Archives: October 2017

Embrace Your Weaknesses

True strength is the innocence of not knowing the restraints of your weaknesses. Weaknesses are something to be embraced. Otherwise, how would we ever turn them into strengths?

1000 Tips 118 true strength restraint

Paul had it rough. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, he chronicles his hardships which included numerous arrests and whippings, 39 lashes no less than five times, three beatings with rods and a stoning. If that were not enough, he was shipwrecked three times, had been adrift at sea, faced wild rivers and wilder robbers, and even took on the elements in deserts, on the seas, and in dangerous towns. He was even bitten by a poisonous snake!

Paul had lots he could brag about – specifically his knack for survival. He had a story for every scar. But what he told the Corinthians prior to his third visit was to use their weaknesses. It’s through our weaknesses, we learn to be strong. We learn to endure.

After having a vision from God, Paul said he was given a “thorn in his flesh” to minimize his pride. He asked God three times to take it away. God chose not to.

9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

The pain of the thorn was not as sharp as God’s point. This was a valuable lesson for Paul, and should be to all of us as well. He was able to realize that sometimes, your weaknesses can be your strengths because that’s when God works through you more often than not. Paul even acknowledged he was unskilled as a speaker, though not lacking in knowledge (2 Corinthians 11:6). If Paul was a weak speaker, he developed it to be a strength – especially if his oratory skills were anything like his writing skills.

Look for how God is using you in ways that are simply not obvious. The things we consider weaknesses are often some of our greatest attributes. When we see character flaws in the mirror, God may be using the reflection as a tool to make us stronger. There is always something to be learned through our mistakes and weaknesses. It’s like the skinny girl who says she is fat – her perception of herself is not how others perceive her. Her perception is skewed by her weakness of insecurity and low self-worth.

This may be difficult, but think about it over time. You may want to talk to those who know you well. An outside view often becomes a new view. 

Here’s a to-do list when it comes to embracing weaknesses:

  1. Inventory your weaknesses
  2. Accept your weaknesses
  3. Ask God to work through your weaknesses
  4. Embrace your weaknesses
  5. Actively turn your weaknesses into your greatest strengths

Paul chose to embrace his weaknesses because he knew this is where God would work through him. Are you brave enough to do the same?

Dear Lord, I ask you to help me identify my weaknesses. Work within me to accept those weaknesses not in a way that leads to sin, but in a way that leads to being open to your dynamic power and grace. Paul said “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Make me strong. Make me a messenger of your will and an emissary of your eternal glory. Through you all things are possible, and through you, I will use my weaknesses to strengthen myself and others. Amen.

Personal inventory time: List three things you consider your biggest weaknesses that keep you from full-blown Spirit-filled leadership. 

What weaknesses in others have you seen turned into strengths? Think about how you can do the same in your life.

Trey Campbell,
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*This post is from an unpublished manuscript I have written titled Lead Like the Lamb: Spirit-filled Leadership.”


You are strong in life… but weak in faith: an open letter to anyone who this describes

This is a letter to the person I had a recent conversation with about living your faith. I write this because I love you too much to not write it and share it. I think there are others who need to hear this too. 

Dear __________________,

You are determined, fearless, and confident. You are positive, motivating, and a delight to spend time with. So that is why I say this with love and respect, but also out of necessity: you are strong in life… but weak in faith. The faith you have is strong in conviction, but weak in practice. This in no way changes how I feel about you or the love I send your way, in fact, it only increases it.

Please understand, you are either all in or not in at all. There is no in-between area. A true commitment to Christ comes with carrying out his commands. Being a citizen of his Kingdom is free to all, but we are asked to expand and extend it. If you are a squatter in the Kingdom, squatter’s rights do not apply, as your faith is in short supply.

Jesus shared with his disciples the Great Commission: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:18-20). This charge was very specific. Jesus did not follow it up with “that is, if you are comfortable with all of this.” He did however add, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He will never abandon us, so why would you deny others of knowing his amazing and endless love for them when he has such love for you?

Through tears you told me you were raised a “certain way” and that is how you live your life. You told me you do not openly profess your faith and encourage others through Christ because it makes you uncomfortable, that people can see you are “good” because you are a “good person.” You told me how good people get into heaven and how God is OK with that.

If only it worked that way. But it doesn’t. That is not what I have read in the Bible. Let me be honest and upfront. The thought process behind this is a disservice to anyone who is not saved because it gives them a false understanding of what it means to follow Christ and be saved. You can’t call yourself a Christian and bear no fruit. That seems to be an oxymoron. Among mankind, you are either a good tree or a bad tree. We are told in Matthew 7:17-20: A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” 

Just prior, Matthew 7:15 refers to false prophets who come dressed as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” Is not a false prophet also someone who professes to be something they do not live out? You can believe in Santa Claus too, but that doesn’t make him real. Jesus is real and it’s your faith that makes him alive in you through the Holy Spirit. How little your faith must be if you choose to not share your claimed Savior to others!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in
me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
– John 15:5

Jesus said, apart from him, you can do nothing. The fruit you bear is directly proportional to your connection with him (the whole vine and branches thing). He also has a distinct disdain for lukewarm Christians. His words for the Church in Laodicea stung worse than 39 lashes: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16). Jesus is saying if you are riding the fence on faith, he will spit you out. Is this how you want to be, lukewarm and complacent so as to have Jesus discard you by the equivalent of throwing up?

What I challenge you with is this: jump out of the boat, into the water, and walk with Jesus. Just like Peter did, but unlike him, don’t be so quick as to lose your faith and sink. To truly be a Christ-follower, we are asked to be active in your faith and love for others. Jesus told the rich man to sell all his belongings and give them to the poor, then come follow him to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17-31). The man’s face fell as he heard this because he was not willing to act on his faith. He wanted in based on being a good person. Your comfort zone has become your settlement – the place where you have settled your faith. 

In his best-seller Crazy Love, Francis Chan wrote “I fully believe that we are saved by grace, through faith, by the gift of God, and that true faith manifests itself through our actions. As James writes, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (2:17). The lives of many people who call themselves “Christians” in America lack manifestations of a vital and active faith.”

Out of the sincerest love, I ask you to no longer lack the vitality, opportunity, and activity your faith requires of you and gives you. You are not alone in this journey. Christ is community, and we are all in this together. Let your faith show through in your words and actions. Stand strong in your faith as you live through Christ who lives in you.

Your brother in Christ,

Trey Campbell,
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When will enough be enough? A social rant from a Biblical perspective.

If a fly bothers you, you swat it.
If the room temperature is too hot or cold, you adjust it.
If you run low on gas, you fill-up.
If the dog is doing a peepee dance at the door, you let it out.

When common situations dictate change, we usher them in without much thought. These examples find modification without hesitation because they will quickly fall into our personal levels of desired comfort.

In the Book of James, we are told how faith without good deeds is dead. “What good is it if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” Where are the actions of the faithful?

1000 Tips 157 world Word viewWith this being a faith-based leadership blog, what I’m about to say comes from a Biblical perspective. This post is not meant to be a political statement or start a debate, as everyone has their own opinions. But maybe that’s the issue at hand… everyone has developed a personal opinion, but not everyone has developed a personal world view that falls in line with God’s Word view. The world’s view is often a warped view. And there’s a reason for that. It’s a fallen world full of sin – sinful people with sinful hearts. And it always has been since that fateful bite of forbidden fruit.

As I watch the news and get alerts on my phone, I find myself asking these questions: When will enough be enough? What does is take for us to collectively, as Christians, say ‘This is not right?’ Why do we turn our head to bad behavior until it’s so far over the line that it can finally no longer be ignored?

State of our nation:

The obvious low hanging fruit of late is the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Hollywood has turned a blind eye to sexual harassment, abuse of power, rape, and any other number of seedy behaviors for generations. It’s not just Weinstein. Don’t be naive. Hollywood has bred this behavior because the draw of fortune and fame is greater to some than the draw of faith and forgiveness. While a few have stood for what is right, they faced great pressures, career suicide, and exclusion. Some choose silence over self-destruction. After all, if you watch the stones being thrown, are you not as guilty as the stone-throwers? This is not an indictment of violated victims, but rather a wake up call for the violators who dishonor God by dishonoring their bodies for forced, filthy pleasures.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And then you have the anthem controversy – a hot button issue that was made hotter when the POTUS made his opinion known. What started as a means to protest police 1000 Tips 155 nation on backbrutality and bring about attention to inequalities, has turned a nation divided. It has some questioning patriotism, some protesting the NFL, and everyone taking a side. It makes you wonder if the Russians were behind this too, as more intel uncovers the lengths they went to in order to influence the American people during the election. What I can tell you is this: a nation that turns its back on God today will be on its back tomorrow. Read the Old Testament. It’s a path I would rather skip.

What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord,
whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.
– Psalm 33:12

And then you have the President. Some say Donald Trump tweets purposefully and there is a plan to his social media madness. Is it madness or genius? Well, it seems to just make many people mad and create controversy. A tweet makes noise, it’s not active. Run the1000 Tips opinions results country, not your mouth. When a bully has the pulpit, someone will inevitably knock them off. There’s a whole lot of good that needs to be done in this world that does not involve 140 characters (soon to be 280). I’m not talking politics, the left or right, elephant or donkey. I’m simply talking about getting to work. Opinions are for those who think they can. Results are for those who find out they could.

Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinion.

– Proverbs 18:2

I partially titled this post: “When will enough be enough?” I honestly usually try and stay under the radar with my own thoughts about politics and events of the nation. The fact is, I guess I really don’t care to promote my own opinions much, but I do listen to others. I figure when end times get here, there’s nothing stopping it. I can’t say when the end of times will be, but I will say: to get to rock bottom, you must go downhill at some point. But when will enough be enough? When will we demand change that goes beyond our desired comfort level?  Modification without hesitation is harder when there is something on the line, something hanging in the balance, or something to lose.

What’s more on the line than people hurting, inequality, countless women posting #metoo, and expectations of the leader of the free world to act like a leader? What would Jesus think if he were walking the earth in the 21st century? Would the Hollywood elite and political leaders be the new “Pharisees?” It’s a sad state when fame, wealth, and politics are today’s power versus our faith leaders. When the bottom drops, we all fall – because we let it happen. Again, where are the actions of the faithful?

Trey Campbell,
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God’s exact science and plan is “wonderfully complex’

Have you ever wondered just how precise God’s planning and design is? I mean, just think about your own body.

“The raw material, the basic chemicals in our body, can be found in the ‘dust of the ground’. However, these chemicals cannot arrange themselves into cell tissues, organs and systems. This can only happen with an input of intelligence,” wrote Joseph Paturi in a past article in Creation magazine.

Here are some other things to think about:

  • Your DNA: it programs and informs cells. It’s like computer code. There are three billion of four chemicals in each cell. Three billion!
  • Your brain: It can process more than a million messages per second. It filters the data and sorts by importance. It has the ability to reason, elicit emotions, dream, make decisions, translate your senses, and communicate to all other organs among so many other things.
  • Your eyes: They can make sense of around seven million colors. They have a constant auto-focus setting! (Insert bad pun: You see where I’m going with this?)

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.
– Psalm 139:14

Here’s why I bring this up.


This past weekend I was hiking and camping at Virgin Falls in Tennessee. I was in awe of the amazing creation I was walking through: the changing leaves marking the change of the season, the leaves raining down on me with every burst of wind, the sunlight sneaking through the trees, the sounds of the river and woods, the outcropping of boulders in the hills, the dark caves and spilling waterfalls, the hidden underground rivers, and… a stick.

Yes, that last one was the thing that kept my mind on what an awesome Creator we have. As I hiked the trail that was labeled “a strenuous trail” on the sign at the trail head, I kept balance and stride with a simple stick. My overarching thought was this: “Was the tree this stick came from made with the plan that a branch from it would one day help me get through the rigors of this “strenuous trail?”

It’s not a question really meant to be answered, just to be contemplated. Even though a sample of brain tissue the size of a single piece of sand contains 100,000 neurons and one billion synapses, which by the way all communicate with each other, the stick question is of no consequence. With a God who clearly intelligently designed intelligence, His design is not just science, it’s exact science. 

Trey Campbell,
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Finding 3 positives can change any attitude

Have you ever had a moment when you let emotion overcome you? Or have you ever felt you were a mixed bag of emotions – like you could pull any one of several out and it would suit the particular situation? Or what about this: have you been in a situation where you didn’t know if you should laugh or cry?

We all have. Lots of times. It’s funny because, for me, I have some emotions that will roll off me like slime off off a snail, and others I succumb to like a nerd in a library. I know, those were both weird examples. So I’ll quickly move on.

I’m tend to be very patient in difficult situations – mainly with people. I hold my emotions until the right time, but I try not to show my true emotion in the heat of the moment. I’ve learned these skills by handling thousands of situations in which people were the problem. Having a career in PR is like having an PhD in managing difficult people. In addition, I serve as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator which allows me to help disputing parties work through their emotions and get to the heart of their conflict to seek possible resolution. Through what I do for living, I get an insider’s glimpse into real, raw human emotions on a daily basis. We all have these emotions from time to time.

Maybe that’s why I’m hard on myself in this regard. Recently, I really messed up. I was backing out of my garage in my Toyota Tacoma. Being a truck, I must pay attention to the Accordside mirrors so I don’t hit the side opening of the garage when backing out. What I didn’t do was pay attention to my daughter’s car in the driveway behind me. Yep. I backed straight into it. My emotions grabbed a hold of me like a snake choking it’s prey. I was upset for a few minutes. Not at the situation, but at myself because I should have caught it. I went in the house boldly (maybe huffing and stomping a little like a child) and loudly announced how I was the first to wreck the Honda Accord. I kind of thought my daughter would be the one to damage it first because she just turned 16 and this was my hand-me-down car. For 11 years, I managed to take care of that car!

My wife and daughter went outside to survey the damage. Kim was calm and said it was okay because it was an older car. Madison was even calmer, despite it being her car. I was the one who was not calm. The thing that made me upset was I had just damaged not one… but two cars I own.

But, here’s the deal: it was really no big deal. Emotions are controllable. I chose whether I was going to have a bad rest of the day or not. And I didn’t. I quickly got over my initial anger at myself, surveyed the situation, and did what we so often do at Southwestern Advantage when bad things happen: look for three positives.

  1. No one was hurt.
  2. I backed into the oldest car we have and not my wife’s car.
  3. Other people have bigger problems.

What I did was internally reason to change my perspective, which, in turn, changed my attitude. It’s not our emotions that get us into trouble. It’s how we let those emotions control our reactions and words that get us into trouble. 

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
– Proverbs 29:11

The next time life challenges you, remember the rule of three: find three positives in every situation.

Trey Campbell,
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Whether you are wise or an idiot… well, that depends on you

Look around and notice who you spend most of your time with. Generally, you will find four categories:

  1. Individuals who are generally wise and serve as a positive influence.
  2. Individuals who are total idiots and serve as a negative influence.
  3. Individuals who are borderline on the wisdom and idiocy, but more wisdom.
  4. Individuals who are borderline on the idiocy and wisdom, but more idiocy.

1000 Tips 134 idiots

Clearly, over time, you begin to get a pretty good read on the people you spend the most time with, the people you are closest to. And, there’s a plethora of reasons why you spend time with them – though some of them cross the line from a reason to an excuse.

Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble.
– Proverbs 13:20

Proverbs 13:20 is succinct but powerful in its message. You want to fly with eagles? Don’t hang out with the crows. You want to hunt with the predators? Don’t mix with the prey. The people you associate with will make or break you. They will also define you by association.

If you have to pick and choose, try 1, 3, 4, 2 from the order above from best scenario to worst. Realize which one is your current situation and change it if you need to. Seek counsel and company from the wise – or at least the best your circle has to offer. If there is not much wisdom to be had in that circle, find another that builds you. Soon, a one- dimensional circle will become a three-dimensional sphere.

You can never underestimate the power of those who influence you through proximity and reach. If iron sharpens iron, don’t be a butter knife. Sharpen others as they sharpen you. Just like the title said: you decide if you are wise or foolish by the company you keep.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
– Proverbs 27:17

*Note: for the purposes of this blog, the word “idiot” is used similar to how “fool” is used in the Bible.

Trey Campbell,
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Lies Satan Tells Vol. 2: “You Are Worthless”

How you see your self-worth falls in one of two categories: worth it or worthless

I’ve seen this over and over in all of the capacities I work with people – from leading youth groups to life groups, in mediations and arbitrations, from college students to my own kids, from my friends to my own reflection. The truth is, how we see ourselves is ultimately determined by us, not others. The tough part is self-confidence plays a large part in our self-worth. Our confidence can be eroded over time by others who tear us down, make rude comments, bully, or are negative towards us as they try to make themselves feel better by putting others down.

1000 Tips 78 worth it or worthless

In reality, when we look at the reflection staring back at us in the mirror, we may not always like what we see. Do not let the flaws you’ve been led to believe you have by others lead to faulty self-worth. You are beautiful inside and out. One’s worth is not determined by what others believe or say. That is their opinion. And you know what they say about opinions… everyone’s got one, but it doesn’t mean it is backed up with intelligence! Plato said, “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

This is another arrow in Satan’s quiver. Making us feel worthless makes us vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we are susceptible. When susceptible, we are weak. And this is just where he wants us. And through our need to have the approval of others, we feed in to his lies. We’re fat on the words of others. Yet our strengths lie in the words we tell ourselves. This is a double-edged sword, as our weaknesses also lie in the words we tell ourselves. Leonardo da Vinci said, “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” 

Rajneesh said, “The greatest fear in the world is the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” If you haven’t heard that roar of freedom in your heart before or in a long time, you are missing something special. Don’t let the devil deny you that freedom.

The opinions that lead to your self-worth may be planted by the very things Plato, da Vinci, and Rajneesh spoke of: ignorance, deception, and fear. Satan is the gardener in this case and these are his seeds of self-destruction. Be aware so you can build your true net worth. God gave you life, so make it worthwhile. After all, you ARE worth it!


Trey Campbell,
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