Some of my most precious memories are of my children running down the stairs on Christmas morning to find their gifts under the tree. They exuded an innocence and joy that made the packed stores and long lines worthwhile. The time Lisa and I spent with them while they un-wrapped each box and discovered what was inside remains priceless to me. And as they grow closer to adulthood, I pray I can continue to help them discover the gifts they already possess.The enthusiasm of new toys with the disappointment of socks and other everyday essentials was fleeting, a moment in time. Un-wrapping them was easy; building a new model plane or Barbie playhouse while maintaining patience throughout was the hard part for them.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ and the amazing gift God gave in His Son, I feel that God is pleased when we unwrap the gifts He has given each of us (Ephesians 2:10). They could be new gifts, gifts long forgotten, discarded or stored away. They could be something we thought were of no value or we simply did not know what to do with (like a sweater your Aunt Doris knitted for you with orange, yellow and lime green yarn).

God gave every single one of us a unique set of gifts and abilities. We just have to unwrap (or rediscover) them and put them to good use. Sometimes we read the instructions that come with our gifts and get overwhelmed because we don’t know how to assemble or use them. But we shouldn’t over think it.

Sandy Griffith uses her time to rock babies in a tough Houston hospital. She has impacted patients, parents and caregivers alike with her love and prayer “for the least of these”.

Kemmons Wilson of Memphis uses his talent to help launch and care for dozens of organizations that serve those in need.

Bob Muzikowski invested his own treasure to start the K-12 Chicago Hope Academy in a rough Chicago neighborhood to catapult much needed change in that city.

In this Christmas season, what gifts can you unwrap to help you find more joy and balance? What gifts of yours could make a lasting impact in the Kingdom?  What have you discarded because you thought they were of no value?

I think the greatest birthday gift we could give the Lord is to live out our second half exactly as He intended.  Our team is here to help you unwrap your gifts… let us know if we can help.

Merry Christmas,

Dean Niewolny
Halftime CEO

Dean Niewolny
Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for Halftime to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined Halftime as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer.

Dean speaks all over the world to marketplace leaders who desire to use their gifts and talents to serve others. His passion is to encourage business leaders to channel first-half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance. His first book, Trade Up: How to Move From Making Money to Making A Difference, was published by Baker Publishing and released in July 2017. Click here to buy Trade Up.

Having grown up playing sports—eventually in college and semi-professional baseball—Dean still enjoys coaching youth sports, especially his son’s little league teams. He and Lisa have two children and live in Southlake, Texas.