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My Top 5 Places to Know and Grow

 (This is a post I transferred from my old website neatfreaker.com, posted in 2019) This post will show you the top 5 places I use to know and grow and are my personal choices. Of course, you may have a very different list, and I would love to hear your opinions and preferences, so please take the time to share them in the comments section below.

#1- The Owners Manual 

Life has No Instruction Book? Are you sure?

I have often heard people say that life does not come with an instruction book. We know that when we purchase a new product, a car, a phone, a home, and just about anything, we get an owner’s manual along with it. These owner’s manuals that many of us ignore and throw away, never even looking at them, are valuable because they are the manufacturer’s instructions. You and I may think we know it all, but we do not know more about the product than those who created it. We will know and grow more by spending time reading God`s manual than with anything else. Regardless of why we ignore these manuals, our laziness, arrogance, or ignorance, it is good to change this habit and take the time to read these when we purchase something. I will be the first to admit that I qualified for all three of those excuses for most of my life as to why I did not take the time to read the instructions.

But What About People?

For the sake of argument, let us say that we all agree that taking the time to read through the owner’s manual when we purchase something is a good idea and can help us all to use the products we buy in the correct ways. That still doesn’t answer the question of humans and how we are supposed to know how to live this life we have on earth. The good news is that there is such a manual and it was written by the Manufacturer Himself. Sixty-six books all placed together and sitting idle in a hotel nightstand near you. Perhaps it is for the same reasons we do not read other manuals that we fail to understand the most important one of all.

One in Ten Professing Christians Have Read the Entire Bible

A startling statistic shows that less than 10% of professing Christians have even read it all, yet just about everyone on the planet knows it exists and has formed strong opinions and beliefs about what is in it. Second and third-hand information funneled through the opinions and views of others is not the ideal way to get information accurately or entirely. For me, to tell you what the bible teaches us is one thing. But, for you to pick it up and read it for yourself is quite another. So, without getting all preachy and giving a sermon, my number one place in my top 5 sources in life that I use is the Holy Bible. Man’s instruction manual from the Manufacturer of life.  One last thing I would add here. It is ultimately the relationship with Jesus that I find. He is the Living Word. Suppose you are looking for solid biblical teaching. I recommend Grace to You. They have a webpage where you can download all of John MacArthur sermons for free. They also have YouTube channels representing the Master’s Seminary, and you can view entire courses in the bible.

Grace to You website

The Master`s University

GTY YouTube Channel

#2 - Books

Not to be confused with “The Book,” referred to as my number one place on this list. Readers are leaders, and if we want to know and grow, we need to make time to read and learn. Books on many different topics and interests have proven to be an incredible source of knowledge, learning, and personal development for me. It is unfortunate for many of us who were forced in school to read books that we disliked, were boring, and were a waste of our time to read in the massive scheme of things. Many of these books did more harm than good as they created a dislike for reading in many students.

Read The Right Books

And that is unfortunate. Books are awesome when we read the right ones. You probably have tasted food that you like and the food you hate. If all you ever ate were the food you hated, eating would probably be something you only did when necessary. You would only eat the amounts required to stay alive. For most boys in school, reading the book “to kill a mockingbird” was like listening to someone run their fingernails across a chalkboard over and over again.

It seemed as though we spent an entire semester in this book, and I developed a strong dislike for reading because of it. If it were the only book we had to read like this, perhaps I could have overcome it. But the reading requirements never changed, and neither did my dislike for reading. Several years after high school, when tragedy struck, my dear late grandmother sent me a book in the mail. “God still moves stones,” by Max Lucado.

I could not put it down and read it from cover to cover. The words jumped off of the page and hit right in the heart of what I was dealing with at the time. It forever changed my view of books and how big a role they can play when I want to know and grow.

#3 - Family


No one plays a more significant role in our early years than our families do, positive or negative. Even if we grow up in a dysfunctional family or have little to no family, the impact family has on us lasts a lifetime.

Different but the Same

We are all similar yet unique and see things differently at times. In addition, we have different personalities and experiences that form our views and values early on in life. Even two boys who grew up in the same home can be as different as night and day. While there are differences, no one knows us like our own families. And no one accepts us or cares about us as much as our close family members do. Until you have your children, sometimes this does not sink in as it should. And through the years, we may grow distant with some and closer to others. That is just part of life.

We can all think of someone we go to when the heat is up or down, and those people are irreplaceable. My late mother was like a rock, she never disappointed me. She seemed to care when no one else did and loved me for me. And I will forever be grateful for the time I had her beautiful soul in my life. God bless her.

#4- Friends

Sometimes this can be the best source of learning and support, making decisions, or just having someone tell you like it is. Much of what we know and how we grow can be traced back to our close friendships. It can also be the worst place to go as friends can limit us based on their own beliefs or experiences.

Either way, a good friend is something to be profoundly grateful for and can be a person with whom we grow and learn throughout our lifetime. As teenagers, our friends mean the most, and parents usually take a back seat for a while. When we marry, we “forsake all others,” and our spouse becomes our closest and most important companion in life.

Our Choices in Friends Are Important ones.

This choice is always better when choosing friends to be with who are headed in the same direction. Are you ambitious and have your sights set on becoming more disciplined with your time and how you spend it? Then, choosing like-minded friends make sense to get the most out of your life.

On the other hand, hanging around friends who only want to sit and play X-Box night and day might not be the best idea. It may be fun, but it offers little support or advice with your plans if done excessively. A friend should make you a better person. Not drag you down, destroy your ambitious dreams or goals, or have a life that you would never want to have. Ideally, having friends who are already where you want to go or those you look up to will be the kind of friends who help you grow into the person you want to be. Someone who has no desire to improve or change for the better will not stay the same. We are growing or fading. We use it or lose it, which is just the way life is.

#5 - YouTube

I know you probably laughed when you saw this one, and I understand completely. But when I want to know and grow, this platform has provided access to good sources.

However, I am telling you that this platform has dramatically changed my life for the better.

How? Well, for one, it is free to use. But the main reason is that it has given me access to some of the best speakers, teachers, audiobooks, and how-to videos.

I sometimes wonder if this has not become my number one place to go.

When Youtube began accumulating countless songs, I discovered that buying records made little sense.

I could create playlists and go back and listen to songs anytime I wanted from my cell phone. Amazing!

Youtube Offers More than Music

How-to videos are a major part of Youtube. With experts in all fields taking advantage of the opportunity to make money from their videos.

But by far, the biggest bonus and use for this fantastic platform for me have been discovering the teachers, preachers, lecturers, training. There is a wealth of knowledge available 24-7.

I continue to listen to lectures, sermons, courses, and anything else that helps me in my goals.

If you have never taken full advantage of the audiobooks and programs available, I will encourage you to do some searching. There is a mountain of free reading and learning available in every subject under the sun.

I now have the paid version because the ads were causing me to lose my mind. They were too frequent and annoying. Constant interruptions are disrespectful but effective. It is more than worth the cost to remove these from my life and experience on Youtube.

There are Alternatives

In all honestly, in light of the social networks censoring any opposition to their agenda, I am looking forward to new social platforms.

In time these will replace sites like Youtube who continues to demonetize and censor anyone they disagree with

Youtube is the only social network that is part of the censorship crowd that I still use.

I still have pages that connect to my websites, but I do not have the time to spend on social media.

They still have much conservative, Christian, and fact-based information on their platform. (At least for now)

I quit watching t.v. Years ago, and have never regretted my decision. I now choose what and who I allow to influence my life.


15 “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 redeeming the time because the days are evil.”

(Ephesians 5:15-16)

Read more at Speakuptm.com.

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