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Posts tagged ‘New Year Resolution’

Your New Year’s Invitation to Say ‘Yes’.



Cheryl Boyd

I was going through the mail that had been addressed to me, yet sent to my parents’ home. This in and of itself brings out weird feelings. The movie title Failure to Launch seems suddenly to be flashing over my head.  I know it’s an over-reaction.

My sister just celebrated her 16th wedding anniversary and an occasional letter intended for her is misdirected to my parents’ house as well. That thought is enough to shoo the ridiculous insult in my imagination away. Am I trying to rationalize dysfunction, or am I really in a healthy place in my life? Like the junk mail in my lap I sort through a few quick comparisons with others I know, careful to choose areas of personal strength rather than competing in a category where I struggle. Those thoughts quickly buoy me up, and I continue sorting my mail.

I flipped the postcard over and saw exactly what I expected to see—an adorable picture of two lovebirds. One of the turtledoves is a dead ringer for my young friend. Another “Save the Date.” If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that I had a warmer feeling in my gut when I read the postcard with a photo of my dentist’s two, mournful-eyed mutts reminding me to reschedule an appointment than looking over the beautifully designed correspondence informing me that my friend wants me to join her in celebrating one of the most joyous occasions of her life. No offense to my dentist! He’s great, funny, skilled … and he also happens to be my uncle, but this ironic reaction revealed to me that there is something going on in my heart. In the sorting of my mail, I realize that I just received a different kind of invitation—one to invite my Lord to sit with me as I explore this root in my heart that has a twinge of bitterness mixed with insecurity.

I can’t understand why I tend to avoid these opportunities to till the hardened soil of my sometimes-frozen heart. As always, this provided a rich time of depth and intimacy as I was reminded of the power of giving thanks for God‘s abundant kindness and provision in my life. He reminds me of my true identity as a uniquely crafted masterpiece, his child and heir. Instead of becoming my own preposterous motivational speaker, engaging in ridiculous mind games, comparing my strengths with others’ weaknesses, or conversely taking the role of bully to myself which relegates me to a pile of pathetic shame as I compare my failures and shortcomings to shining accomplishments of others.

Neither of these remedies bear fruit in my heart. One leads to false confidence and reinforces the lie that my strength lies not in my weakness, not as a steward of talents, gifts and the story that God has graciously given me, but in my hard work, personal accomplishments and in the things I have that others admire or wish they had. This is an ugly place. On the other hand, my attempts at self-management, focusing on my flaws, shaming myself into a plan set on self-redemption, self-correction and self-discipline reeks of the same self-absorption as the first and nothing good comes of it, either.

I have come to the conclusion that the popular tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is actually a prescription of my own charlatan-efforts to peddle a self-remedy. The statistics show that a successfully maintained New Year’s resolution has more in common with the stuff of fairytales than real, effective discipline and growth. Evaluation, making adjustments and coming up with a personal development plan are all healthy practices when they are undertaken with a clear understanding of who I am and where the roots of my issues really lie.

If I take a shortcut, skating over the ice encrusting my cold, broken heart, then I will never benefit from any resolution. After a while the pride and the fear of shame cease to motivate. Even if I am still going to the gym or if I decide to follow the advice of well-meaning friends and put myself “out there” more intentionally with the hope of finding a mate, after the first month when I fail to see any sign of the longed-for results, I begin to taste the bitterness of disappointment once again. My efforts to solve my problems apart from honesty, truth and vulnerability are fruitless.

So what can I do to see real, abundant fruit that I long for in my life? It starts with accepting those divine invitations to explore the roots in my heart when prickly reactions pop up in response to everyday events. I have to remember my identity and choose to walk in it—by faith, not by feeling. Any plans for changing habits, developing new skills or achieving desired outcomes have to be motivated by love for Jesus and a surrender to his perfect will for my life. Attempting to take control of circumstances which are beyond my control are a form of idolatry where I become the grotesque, impotent statue sitting on the throne of my heart’s kingdom.

Sound ridiculous? It is.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution I want you to accept a New Year’s invitation. It is an invitation to say, “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit when your own heart reveals a bitter root. Live out the reality of Jesus’ words: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). I hope you will say “yes.” This is what it means to abide in Christ. You won’t see the fruit you long for in your life any other way.

As for me, I have decided to respond. I am looking forward to the invitations that are coming my way. The “Save the Date” for my friend’s wedding is hanging prominently on my refrigerator. It serves as more than just a reminder for my calendar. It reminds me to check the soil of my heart for bitterness. If I can look at the lovebirds without a sense of joy and happiness for them, then there is a little more gardening that needs to be done. I am not abiding in my Vine and the fruit I expect to harvest in the days ahead won’t appear. I am reminded that gardening is a never-ending process. Any gardener will tell you that it takes patience, hard work, diligence, and then, the results are awe-inspiring and miraculous.

 My prayer is that we would not let our hearts stay hardened and that we would never forget that we are not our own gardener. There is a Gardener, there is a Vine, and we are the branches that get to see the fruit burst forth from us.

Cheryl Boyd is on staff with Cru where she currently serves in launching a new ministry among young professionals in cities across the country. For 12 years she called Russia home as she helped give national leadership to the campus ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @cheryloboyd

Setting Yourself Up For An Amazing Year.


 

Allison Vesterfelt

This blog post first appeared over at www.allisonvesterfelt.com – you can read more about Allison there! 

You never know how much stuff you have until you put it all in a box.

I say this (and write it) all the time, but it’s true. Most of us feel we’re packing pretty lightly, that our life doesn’t include a ton of excess, that we don’t own too much or buy too much or eat too much or socialize too much or criticize ourselves too much — until we see our life from an objective perspective.

Once we start pulling things out of the closet, once we begin organizing the drawers, once we try to pack it all into a cardboard box — that’s when we realize just how cluttered our life really is.

What we really need to do is take an inventory.

new-yearPhoto Credit: Amodiovalerio Verde , Creative Commons

If you’re like most people, this is the time of year when you start thinking about what you want next year to look like. You may have considered some New Year’s Resolutions, or you may be boycotting resolutions. Either way, I’m guessing you’ve spent at least a little time thinking about how you want 2014 to look differently from 2013.

The problem is, most of us spend a good portion of time thinking about what we want to add to our lives without first considered what already exists in them.

I thought about this recently while I was reflecting on the last year of my life.

The thought came to me accidentally, to tell you the truth. I was scrolling through my phone, looking at pictures, when all of a sudden I realized: the last 12 months of my life has been so full.

So much had happened, I realized. So much has changed.

I’ve published a book, moved to Nashville, been to Europe on vacation with my husband. I’ve made new friends, traveled through a dozen states (at least), turned 30 years old, raised $30,000 (with your help) to build a classroom in Uganda, spent time with family, visited Guatemala with Food for the Hungry, run a 10k, and watched people I love have babies and get married.

It’s been a full year; and I don’t say that to brag.

I say that because, my guess is, your year has been really full, too.

Something incredible happens when you just spend a little time taking inventory. You realize how much you had in the first place.
You never realize how much you have until you put it in a box.

There are a few reasons taking inventory is so valuable as we try to move forward into our next year.

First, we realize how “rich” we really are.

When I go through my closet to clear out old clothes, I realize the complaint that I have “nothing to wear” is really unfounded. I have so much to wear, I forget I have most of it.

The same is true for events and achievements in life. Next time you catch yourself thinking the last year of your life has been a waste, go through your Instagram profile. In the place we tend to record our most proud moments, chances are you’ll find memories of the most lovely, wonderful things that have happened to you in the past 12 months.

We are all more blessed than we realize. Our lives are really full.

Second, an honest inventory points to our priorities.

When I spend time to determine where I’ve invested my time, money and energy, I discover what matters to me most. Not what I say matters, but what really matters. I might not like what I find there, but if I’m willing to be honest about it, the information can be incredibly valuable.

Am I spending my time, energy or money on things that really matter?

Is there a disconnect between what I say matters to me; and what really does?

When we take an honest inventory of our lives, we’re able to see how we want to move ahead differently in the future. For example, in my own honest inventory, I realize I spent way too much time, energy and stress over my e-mail inbox. What a waste. I’m not going to do that again next year.

What would it look like for you to take an honest inventory of your last 12 months?

What’s God’s Purpose for You in 2014?.


What are your life goals for the New Year?
What are your life goals for the New Year? (IStock photo)

New Year’s Day is a good time to do something most of us never do—set some goals. Most of the time we call them “New Year’s Resolutions” and we abandon them within a few weeks. Yet I believe God wants us to do more than that. We must determine God’s purpose for our life and for this New Year.

I’ve done this for nearly four decades by setting long-range and short-range goals. Maybe you can learn from my experience in writing goals and letting God use that to set priorities and to accomplish more than you would without them.

Most people spend more time planning their annual vacations than they do planning their lives. My observation is that even most believers drift along in life with no clear direction. It’s been documented that the people who actually write down and work on the goals they set are the most successful in life. I believe they are usually the happiest too, because they have a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Myles Munroe believes that God wants us to become people who have plans. He believes that plans are documented imagination. If we can document an imagination, we’ve developed a plan for action.

“If you are having real problems in your life, you probably don’t have a piece of paper on which you have documented your plans for the next five years,” he says. “You’re just living from day to day in the absence of a concrete, documented plan. You’ve been dealing with the same issues and habits and struggles for years. You slide forward a little only to slide backward again. Whenever things get hard, you start reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and fall back into habits you had conquered. Progress requires a plan of action. Ideas must be put down if they are to influence the way you live.”

It’s important to know how to set goals.

Are your goals written down? Do other people know about them? Does your spouse? Do your friends?

Begin with general goals. I set written goals every week. In the “notes” portion of my iPhone, I have goals for the year—spiritual, family, physical, professional.

Break your general goals down into specific daily tasks. Mine are written in my iPhone so that I have them with me wherever I go. Each month I make the general goals specific and break them down to daily tasks. I probably only finish 80 percent of them because as I complete them, I set more.

The times I get away from fulfilling my goals are the times when I drift. Goals give me a sense of direction, boundaries and priorities.

Set some life goals. I like to talk with people about theirs. One of my favorite ways to relax is to get a bite to eat with a friend and ask them about their goals. I might ask how much money they want to make in five years, or what career path they want to take. I’ll ask what they want people to say in their obituary.

Most people have an opinion about these things, but few actually have a plan.

Establish a personal mission statement. Many people go through a difficult mid-life period, which may rob them of goals or make them feel as if what they have achieved is ephemeral. Patrick Morley, author ofThe Man in the Mirror, says that midlife is like a lake.

“Early in our lives we run swift like a river, but shallow. As we put years behind us, though, we deepen. Then one day, we enter the opened jaws of midlife,” Morley says.  “Where once we felt direction and velocity, suddenly we find ourselves swirling about, sometimes aimlessly, or so it seems. Each of us, like individual droplets of water, will take a different path through this part of the journey. For some of us it will only be a slowdown. Others will feel forgotten and abandoned by the father of the river. Some, unable to see where the waters converge and on again grow strong, will despair.”

Morley’s crisis started at 36. He says that it can occur well into your mid-50s.  (Remember, in our diverse culture there is no singular mid-life experience anymore).  “You come to a point that you feel somehow imbalanced—like something is missing,” he says, “like it’s not enough. All the years of pressure deadlines have taken a toll. You have discovered a vacuum in your soul for meaning, beauty, and quiet.”

He recommends writing a life mission statement that includes four elements:

1.  A life purpose: Why you exist

2.  A calling: What you do

3.  A vision or mental picture of what you want to happen

4.  A mission:  How you will go about it

Morley takes us full cycle through the birth of one vision, the implementing of that vision, the setting of goals to attain it, the commitment to a personal mission statement and on to the birth of a new vision that is greater than the first.

“A new vision must spring up from a foundation of gratitude for what God has already done to use us and make us useful,” Morley says. “The motivation cannot merely be wanderlust; not more for the sake of more. Rather, one chapter has closed and another beckons to be opened. A vision is a goal—a big one. Visions are not the work of today or tomorrow or even next month. Rather, a vision has a longer term.”

He reminds us that visions rarely turn out exactly as planned. The apostle Paul had the vision of going to Jerusalem and then to Rome. He didn’t consider that he would make those visits as a prisoner, but that’s how it came about. Often, God must delay the fulfilling of a vision or desire until He has prepared us to be people who can handle it with grace and humility. It is not God’s nature to give us greater visions and accomplishments if they work to our destruction. Instead, God allows us to be hammered into the shape of a vessel that can gracefully contain the vision.

What God-inspired goals do you have for your life? Are you a scientist or doctor who can set a goal of finding a cure for a disease? Are you an entrepreneur who can pledge to give several million dollars to a credible missions organization? Are you a board member or pastor who can start a program for the poor in your city, or network churches to meet the need?

What would do you if there were no boundaries on your imagination or budget?

If you haven’t had big goals and dreams before now, I pray you will learn to set goals for 2014 and give them deadlines. Keep in mind that when you stand before the Lord, He will hold you accountable for the talents, resources and dreams He bestowed upon you. You stand to lose nothing by going for God’s highest plan for you. On the day when He says to you, “Well done, you good and faithful servant,” you will know that you attempted and accomplished much for your Savior.

Please leave your comments. Do you agree with me? Did I motivate you to set some goals? What is a goal you achieved because you wrote it down? What are the biggest things you hope to accomplish in 2014?.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook(stephenestrang).

How to Excel in the New Year!


Philippians 3:13-14

Attention: I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, the year 2011. Are you excited about the possibilities of this upcoming year? God has great things planned for you, and your family, and our church here at Grace Baptist! But He will do His part if we will do our part!

We must pray like it all depends upon God, and we must work like we believe that God wants us to work. Maybe you had a rough year during this past year! It could have been family problems, or sickness, or job difficulties, or emotional struggles. Maybe you were laid off from your job, or your children or grandchildren went away from the Lord.

Maybe you lost a loved one during this past year, and there is an empty place in your heart this morning! Maybe your financial situation took a turn for the worst! I am sure that we could all say that there were some good days in this past years, and there were some trying, testing days as well. The good news for you this morning is that you have a brand new start in life!

This is the first Sunday of a brand new year, and there is always freshness in the air for new plans and goals around new years celebration. Some make New Years resolutions, and the number 1 resolution is to loose weight! That is a good resolution but the problem is that most people go off of that one about the second week of January! Wanda wanted some money to pick up some groceries the other day and asked me for some money.

I said, “Where did all the groceries go that you just bought the other day?” She said, “Turn sideways and look in the mirror.” Ouch! Are your clothes a little tighter this morning? There is something about the Christmas holidays that always seems to make my clothes shrink! Maybe the darkness in the closet finally shrinks them!

Someone has said, “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.”

For example, we begin a New Year by saying, “I’m going loose weight,” yet March rolls around and thediet books are sitting on the shelf unread and we are ten pounds heavier.

We say, “I’m going to start exercising” and by May, the stair stepper and NordicTrack is in the closet gathering dust.” We say we are going to reduce debt, but by June we are worried about how we are going to pay for the diet books and exercise machines we bought on our credit cards.

Many decide to quit drinking or smoking as a New Years Resolution.

I read about a pastor, the other day, who was winding up his temperance sermon with great favor. He said, “If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.” And the congregation cried, “Amen!”

He shouted, “And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and throw it in the river.” And the congregation cried, …

By Marvin Patterson

Look Forward to a New Year of Possibilities.


I love New Year‘s.

It’s not because of the New Year’s Eve celebration; it’s not because the busyness of the holidays is over; it’s not even because of the numerous college football games on television.

I love New Year’s because it signifies the end of a chapter, one that probably didn’t reach my highest expectations yet holds the hopes, the dreams, and the possibilities of a whole new year.

Even though a new year almost seems “artificial” in some ways — only minutes from one to the next — I see it as a brand new start, a start that I need every year to help me get past the past.

Surprises

No matter how hard we try to plan and maintain a handle on (or control of) our own lives, each year all of us are faced with situations and circumstances that are completely out of our control.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the post office picking up my mail and a young boy about 7 years old was opening a letter that his mother had given him.

He let out a scream: “20 dollars!  I’ve got 20 dollars!” Just then his older sister, about 10 years old, said “I’ve got 60 dollars!”

I remarked to them, “Wow, I hope I find money in my mail!”

Their mother turned to me and said, “20 and 60 dollars isn’t much coming from their father who left us, and he could do more instead of spending it on a 26-year-old.”

Many families enter this New Year very differently from what they were a year ago.

Besides relational disappointment, I know many families, including my brother’s, are faced with a loss of work or some other financial struggle.

Others still face the New Year fighting an illness, missing a loved one or without a home in the face of many disasters.

At times like these, Jesus speaks to us just as he did to a father named Jairus when he found out his daughter had just died: “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36, NLT).

Moving Forward

Looking back upon the last couple of years, I see disappointments in relationships, I see missed opportunities in business, I see friends who have passed away, and I see poor decisions in how I reacted to situations and how people reacted to me.

But in order for me to move forward, to continue growing, to continue reaching for higher standards, I need to put aside what people have done to me, how people have treated me, poor decisions I’ve made, and past disappointments.

Paul says: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.

We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit.

We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.

We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going … for our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long.

  Yet they produce for us an immeasurable great glory that will last forever! 

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen.

For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18, NLT).

Maybe you’re like me, a “mature” single, never been married (with no immediate prospects), or like the woman in the post office, a single parent making the best for yourself and your family with the scars of a relationship gone astray.

In either case, we can approach the New Year in the same way. But how?

Setting Goals

I just heard a question asked of rapper 50 Cent, who is one of the best-selling artists of the past year: “You have all of the money that you could want; what makes you happy now?”

His answer: “To make goals and to achieve them.”

Maybe not from the best of role models, but that’s not bad advice for all of us.

Each year I try to have some simple goals (ones that can be reached in a day or a week), some mid-range goals (ones that can be obtained in a month to a year) and some long-range goals (ones that may take years or longer to reach).

Whether they are spiritual, emotional, financial, physical, or relational goals, they all have some common denominators:

  • They have to be clear — if you can’t understand your goal, you’ll never reach it.
  • They have to be reachable — if you can’t obtain the goal, what’s the use having them?
  • They have to be communicated — you have to stay accountable to others, and be encouraged by others.
  • They have to be written down — you need to have your goals constantly in your mind in order to reach them.

There were many things that I was able to accomplish this past year, some things that I have put off for another year, and other things with which I have failed miserably.

If I dwell on the negative and hang onto the past too much, I will miss new opportunities, new relationships and new possibilities.

Look forward to what you have not seen.

Don’t regret another year gone by; make this year one where you leave the past in the past.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books). An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com.

By Cliff Young.

A Great New Year.


It’s called, “the law of first mention.”

 

 It’s what January is to the calendar. It’s the “A” of the alphabet. It’s the germinating seed from which a Bible doctrine grows. From its first usage, a particular word leads us through a verbal safari of twists, bumps and surprises.

 

For example, although Adam and Eve were the world’s first sinners, the word “sin” is first found in connection with Cain‘s murder of his brother Abel.

 

“Love” is first listed about 2,000 years after the creation when God spoke to Abraham of sacrificing Isaac.

 

 The word “salvation” is first directed to the tribe of Dan who popularized idolatry.

 

 The word “forgive” is first used in a lie. The first use of “grace” is after sixty-five uses of “guilt.”

 

The first “righteous man” predates “wicked men” by hundreds of years. God coined the words “pray,” “humble,” and “serve.” While man dreamed up “hate,” “anger,” and “steal.”

 

 The Bible is full of beginnings.

I can still remember the first time I told Susan I loved her. It didn’t go over too well. I was so nervous. The sentence contained the words “zoo,” “kiss,” “bridge,” and “feet.” I also remember the first time she said she loved me. It was a symphony. To this day I never grow tired of hearing it.

I’ll never forget the first time I led a person to Christ. It was an eager kid at camp. He wanted to pray, but I had another 200 points to cover. He was hooked. But instead of reeling him in, I just dragged him along.

I still have the notes from my first sermon. It was utter disaster. I titled it, “PAUL GOES TO JAIL, AND DOES NOT COLLECT $200.” It was the longest fourteen minutes of my life. I’m sure my audience was in just as much pain as I was. Although I’ve taught that passage many times since, I’ve never used those notes or approach again. Thankfully, ministry too is full of new beginnings.

I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions. Oh sure, I’ve set certain personal and professional goals. But, typically as each new year comes by, I climb aboard, let out the sails, hold on to the rudder, and fix my gaze on the horizon. Each new year brings uncharted waters and unscheduled hazards; but it’s a great journey.

Don’t get me wrong. I wonder about the new year. The decisions and challenges. The successes and failures. But some things just don’t bother me. Like the grocery store tabloids which predict next year’s headlines, “Elvis is found alive.” Or “Hubble Telescope finds two-headed alien world.” And my personal favorite, “Frankenstein is for real as first brain transplant succeeds.”

I’ve got to change grocery stores.

But the best beginning of all is what David prayed as he began a new year. “I will extol Thee, my God, O King, and I will bless Thy name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Oh the glorious splendor of Thy majesty, and on Thy wonderful works, I will meditate, and I will tell of Thy greatness.”

Now, that has the sound of a great new year.

Ron Walters
Vice President of Church Relations

© Copyright 2008 by Ron Walters .

 

By Ron Walters.

 

New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Church.


It’s that time of year again.

We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future and spend more time with family.

We make resolutions because we want to bring change to bear on our circumstances.

  We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. 

And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three poles: money, health and family.

But what would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?

Though many more could be added, here are 15 to consider:

1.         Pray more.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD … ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6, NIV).

2.         Invest in my spiritual gift(s). 

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress (I Timothy 4:14-15, NIV).

3.         Get more intentional about evangelism.

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some (I Corinthians 9:22, NIV).

4.         Care for myself spiritually.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12, NIV).

5.         Make the tough decisions I know are best.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.

 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.

 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:22-24, NIV).

6.         Confront debilitating patterns of sin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).

7.         Do the hard work needed to build community.

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over (Matthew 18:15, NIV).

8.         Keep in touch with contemporary culture.

From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders. … All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take (I Chronicles 12:32, NLT).

9.         Quit comparing myself to other Christians, other leaders and other churches.

Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind.  When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”

Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You — follow me.”

That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die.

But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Msg)

10.        Read more.

Timothy, please come as soon as you can. … When you come, be sure to … bring my books … (II Timothy 4:9,13 NLT)

11.        Prioritize my family.

A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, … attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:2-5, Msg)

12.        Refuse to use ministry to satisfy my personal ambition.

Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not (Jeremiah 45:5, NIV).

13.        Love people, not just crowds.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love (I Corinthians 13:1-3, Msg).

14.        Be more open to change.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

15.        Stay focused on the vision.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 

Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.

 They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47, NIV).

By Dr. James Emery White.

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