How do you define success?
Too many people today define success by how much money they have, their career, the things they have, their education, and lots of other externals.
Tim Winders, a strategic coach, author, and podcaster talked with me about what success is and what it is not.
Tim Winders and I met at Podcast conference in Spring of 2020, the week before the Covid pandemic shut down the country.
I asked him: What is redefining success all about?
Tim: The world defines success by what’s in your bank account, your job title, and that sort of thing. Redefining success is about busting up the Babylonian or worldly system of approaching life and business and how success is defined. And then asking “What does the kingdom of God success look like? That’s really the bottom line.”
Tim feels God used the 2008 financial crisis to bring him to a better place.
Tim has been thinking about the idea of brokenness lately. God comes to us in those times.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 NIV
Tim: We need to feel brokenness when we are absorbed in the worldly systems so we can break away from the things of the world.
A rare question
Me: What is success in the kingdom of heaven?
Tim points out that most people never ask this question. Tim spent three years studying the Bible to discover what the kingdom of heaven is. His search was inspired by
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
Tim points out that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is trying to get us to set our priorities straight. He tell us where to store our treasures and that we can’t serve two masters (Matthew 6:19-21, 24 see below). All this is to prepare us to seek the kingdom of God first.
Tim had two businesses worth over $1 million each as well as real estate investments of $15 million. But he lost it all as a result of the economic situation in 2008.
Tim realized what he did wrong was seeking the “things” and not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Tim: We need to figure out what the Kingdom of heaven is and our place in it.
What is your assignment?
Tim asks himself this question:
Am I walking in the assignment that God has for me in His kingdom? That is success. You can’t compare what your assignment is to someone else’s. We are each created for a purpose. It’s a daily thing too. What does God want me to do at this moment?
Me: How do you get a sense of what your assignment is. How do you start to get a sense of what your purpose is?
Tim: The best way is to do deep study of the Bible and see what speaks to you. For example, Matthew 25:35-40 (see below) tells some of what we should be doing. Jesus talks about those who inherit the kingdom and those who don’t.
Jesus said: I was thirsty and you fed me, etc. I was a stranger, etc.
Tim: If we don’t know what to do, we have our instructions right there, to care for those in need. Jesus showed us how we need to love and how to live our daily lives.
It’s not about knowing the Scriptures and go to Sunday but you’re a jerk five days of the week, and don’t love your neighbor, yell at your spouse, etc. That’s not what Jesus is looking for.
As a leader, how did Jesus communicate with people?
Tim: Jesus communicated differently with different types of people.
- Sheep, the masses
To the sheep, Jesus used “woman at the well” language, loving and caring.
To the disciples, he spent a lot of time teaching, explaining, coaching, so they could share the message with others.
To the Pharisees, his language was strong. He ripped them to shreds. They were taking advantage of the sheep and he was sent to bust that system up.
This is important to know because people in leadership roles get these roles and which type of language to use mixed up.
Too often leaders use Pharisee language when they’re talking to the sheep.
Look at the dialogue Jesus had with the woman at the well. It was gentle. It was the most loving and caring. They shouldn’t be even talking to her because of her background.
With most people we should use this kind of language.
“The opposite of love is not necessarily hate, to me it’s apathy.” Jesus responded with love to the woman at the well, whereas most people ignored her.
Showing versus preaching the gospel
Jesus didn’t preach to the woman at the well. He just showed her love.
Part of our challenge in the modern day structure we’ve created, and we use the name of Jesus and the Bible, we’ve created a preachy, condemning structure that really makes it hard to interact and communicate with people like the woman at the well.
We should show and live the gospel instead of preach it so much.
We need to show the gospel before we preach it.
Redefining the Sabbath
Jesus spent a lot of time with the disciples. One Sabbath they went through the fields and picked grain to eat. This was against the laws of the Sabbath, but Jesus used it as a teaching moment.
Me: I recently did a podcast episode on the importance of the Sabbath and a more spiritual approach to observing it: Episode 160, Why Does the Sabbath Still Matter Today?
Me: Your book Coach, talks about the Sabbath.
Tim: There are three main principles in the book, which just a story: love, faith, and peace.
A lot of people think of the Sabbath as a specific day to do or not do something. But Jesus busted up the religious mindset of how to obey the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is being at rest and peace with our righteousness, or our right standing, with our heavenly Father 24/7.
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth. He removed all barriers between us and God. We are connected to our heavenly Father and nothing can separate us from the peace that comes from that.
We can get everything we need from our heavenly Father. That is very much the Sabbath, restful, at peace.
We should be at peace and in Sabbath every day of the week.
Why seek the kingdom of God?
Me: How do we seek the kingdom of God?
Tim tells of his experience going to a three year Bible school. During the second year he was talking to God and said he had been studying and talking about and listening to people about the Bible. He said to God: “Truthfully, I feel that you and I are not as connected as we once were.”
God said to him, “Well, we’re not. You’re going to a place and learning about me, and I just want you to have a relationship with me.”
Me: We don’t need more information about God. We need to practice what we already know. A recent podcast episode talks about this. It’s called Episode 142: Quit Learning about God.
Tim: What if you just talked about me for an hour on this podcast episode, but I wasn’t here and never said anything. There would be no relationship with you or the listeners during that time. It would just be information.
Your relationship with God
Me: What does having a relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit mean to you?
He shared this analogy where his bed in his RV, which has a hinge to fold up against the wall during the day had a broken part. He didn’t know how to fix it. He reached out to the manufacturer, the creator of the RV. And they knew exactly what the problem was and how to fix it very inexpensively.
Tim thought it would be thousands of dollars but it was about $150. The point of this story is that, when you can connect with your Creator, God, your life will be so much simpler and easier. We’re going to have struggles, but it will be easier the more we connect with the Creator.
Having a relationship with the Creator, our source, is so important.
Me: How do you develop your relationship with God?
Tim points out that’s why he wrote his novel, to address this very thing.
Tim: First, we need to admit the world is bigger than us. We need humility. It’s not all about you.
Next, do you believe the world is a mistake or is it a creation? Is it here by design?
You can’t get to know someone unless you spend some time together. And you spend time with someone when you feel like they have your best interests in mind.
If you know someone loves you, then that’s the sign of a healthy relationship.
The most important thing in this world today, as far as working on our relationship with God, is to just be still and quiet. We all need more of that. This idea comes in part from this well-loved verse
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NLT
Open up God’s Word, the Bible, and spend some time with Him. It’s that simple.
Me: Jesus felt the need to be alone early in the morning (See Mark 1:35 below). One time he stayed up all night to pray (See Luke 6:12 below).
Tim: Ask God questions, write in your journal. Because when you write you can’t multi-task. So it’s a time to focus on what God is telling you.
And even if you need to complain a little or write down the challenges.
Tim explains that when he has done that, he also writes down what God says in reply. For example, one time he was complaining about all the things going on in the world. God said to him, “You know, you’ve been asking this quite often, and I think I’ve told you, the Babylonian system is crumbling. And you know that. It always has been and it always will be. And so you’re just observing and seeing the Babylonian system crumble around you. That’s why you need to be dialed into my kingdom. Because My kingdom is everlasting. Babylon will fall.”
What is eternal life?
Tim asks: “Do you really think if we understood what eternal life meant, that we would be concerned about the things we are concerned about on this earth?”
Our time here on earth is really preparing our hearts for eternity. What God really wanted from people in the Old Testament is their hearts.
God wants our heart 24/7.
Me: Jesus says to pray for our daily bread. We don’t ask for a life’s worth of bread. This is a metaphor for how we learn incrementally about the kingdom of God and eternity.
Tim said he really appreciated Episode 155: Aramaic in the New Testament with Roy Gessford.
The Lord’s prayer is not about demanding things from God, but a letting.
Tim’s view of the kingdom of God is wherever God is allowed to rule and reign. If you deny God, you will reap the results of that.
Tim: We need to let God rule and reign in all areas of our life. Earlier in life Tim share how he compartmentalized his life. He let God be in control in his personal life, but Tim thought he could take care of his business without God’s help. He didn’t let God rule and reign in his business affairs. And he lost it all as a result.
Me: In thinking about all the divisiveness in the world today and in thinking about Jesus’s leadership, what are your thoughts about
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all. Isaiah 11:6 NLT
Tim: This verse refers to Jesus as Messiah. It also shows that the Kingdom of God doesn’t adhere to anything we think the world’s system would teach us about leadership or communication. Unless you submit yourself to the authority of the kingdom of God, you will not be a citizen in that kingdom.
A lot of leaders today, and even in churches, have adopted Babylonian systems and that’s why they’re in the state they’re in.
Jesus set the supreme example of leadership
Me: How Jesus-like can you and I get. How deep, how far can we go in following Christ?
Jesus said: I didn’t come to teach my own doctrine (See John 7:16 below), to do my own will (John 5:30), or to glorify myself (john 8:50). I don’t say anything unless the Father tells me to (John 12:49). I don’t do anything unless I see the Father doing it first (John 5:19). We try to follow Jesus, but he’s trying to get us to follow the Father.
Tim: This is Leadership 101. Don’t think it’s all about you. But it’s hard to take on a leadership role and remain humble. Jesus never took on a celebrity status. He always turned us back to God.
Servant or steward leader?
What do you think of the phrase: servant leader?
Tim: It begins to describe the situation. But some leaders use this phrase to manipulate people, to keep them quiet.
Tim prefers the phrase: steward leadership. That means everyone has leadership over something, being a caretaker, a steward over the people, places, and things, God has given you.
Tim: If you’re a janitor at an elementary school, then you need to do the very best you can with your job and what is yours to do. Or if you’re the head of a $3 billion corporation with 500 employees, and multiple facilities, you need to be a steward of that. You need to act like it doesn’t belong to you, that you don’t own it, even it you do technically.
A steward doesn’t own anything. He only has use of something for a season. And when a steward gives it back they are commanded to, and should, give it back better than they received it.
That’s the challenge for most leaders. They think they own it. Many pastors think it’s their church.
We talked about Tim’s podcast: Seek Go Create
In 2018 a friend of his had a podcast. Someone told Tim he should start a podcast. God gave him the green light. Tim knew a lot of business people who would be great to interview, but God told him to share his story of business failure first. Now he talks about business, leadership, and ministry.
He helps people figure out how to operate and function in the Babylonian system while being citizens in the kingdom of God.
We talked about his book: Coach
It’s a modern day parable. God gave him the idea for a book based on a story based on something he had read in the Bible. It’s an inspirational novel. But it has basic spiritual principles.
Me: In the title of your podcast, which of the three words is more important to you seek, go, or create?
Tim: Seek is it. It keeps me doing what I need to do.
The 3 final questions:
Me: I always ask my guests three final questions
1 – If you could talk to any Bible character other than Jesus, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Tim said he would like to talk to someone who spent a lot of time with Jesus. It is between John and Matthew. Matthew pays attention to details and could probably give me some more information about Jesus that we don’t know.
2 – Is there any Bible character you especially identify with?
Tim: Joseph from the Old Testament and Paul is fascinating to me because of his experiences.
But I’ve more recently been appreciating John the Baptist, because he was a voice in the wilderness. He like to push people to think differently and bust up paradigms, and that’s what John the Baptist did so powerfully. And he relates to him for that reason.
3 – This podcast is about getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus. How would you describe Jesus’s original message of how he wanted us to live our lives?
Tim: The way we embody what Jesus said and did is to follow his example of his relationship with the Father. We have to know Jesus and have some understanding of him. We need a relationship with him in order to really do what he wants us to.
Jesus was never rushed. He was quiet and still. “My desire is to be more a quiet and still so that I can hear what the Father says and do what the Father says for me to do.”
Detail of a painting by Polly Castor
Tim Winders is a strategic coach, author, and host of SeekGoCreate, a podcast and YouTube interview show. He has worked in the areas of leadership, business, and ministry for almost 40 years. Tim was the guy that looked like he had it all: the big house in a Country Club resort, two businesses valued at over a million dollars each, plus over $15 million in real estate. But, in 2008, the real estate markets crashed. After a slow and painful erosion of his companies, he and his wife were bankrupt and homeless living out of their Honda van by 2013.
Fast forward to today. Tim and his wife Glori are still homeless, but they consider themselves essential nomads. They live, travel, and work in their 39-foot motorhome while enjoying the best locations North America has to offer. Through this journey, he is convinced that we must redefine success in order to live our best life. This topic is what he has explored with his guests on the SeekGoCreate podcast since 2019. His inspirational novel titled, Coach: A Story of Success Redefined released in May 2022.
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:19-21, 24 NLT
19 Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
24 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 25:35-40 NLT
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?
39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Psalm 46:10 NLT
10 Be still, and know that I am God.
Mark 1:35 KJV
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Luke 6:12 KJV
12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Isaiah 11:6 NLT
6 In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
John 7:16 KJV
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
John 5:30 KJV
30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 8:50 KJV
50 And I seek not mine own glory:
John 12:49 KJV
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
John 5:19 KJV
19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.