Rhythm of Life

Looking over the few posts that I have made has brought me to a discovery; I am great in short bursts, but finding a steady rhythm is something I continually struggle with.  Anybody out there who can relate?  It reminds me of a roller coaster, some days are high and extremely productive while others are low and unfulfilling.

It is not so different with our faith.  We have seasons in which we are thriving and continuing to journey forward, and those winter seasons in which we are cold and indifferent.  I read other blogs, I read books and listen to podcasts so I know there are people out there who have found keys to consistency in all areas of life.  Even though I am a man of God, tenured in ministry, and raising a family I still struggle to avoid the dreaded “peaks and valleys” that tend to stifle productivity and reaching my full spiritual potential.

Refusing to stay the same I have decided to be intentional about changing my mind first; then rearranging my habits and behavior to see that I live in a level of consistency both in my physical production and my spiritual plane.

Here are 4 habits that I am implementing to see growth and sustainability.

  1.  Morning Prayer/ I know that we should live in an attitude of prayer, but for me it has to be on the schedule.  8:30 am before my daughter heads for school is the perfect time for myself and my family.
  2. Accountability/ I am making it a part of my weekly schedule to check in with a peer on Spiritual issues as well as topics of life in ministry.
  3.  Intentional Reading/ Instead of grabbing a copy of my favorite book when the notion hits I am determining specific times to read materials to help me grow in my faith (Bible) and in my development as a leader
  4. Friending “Up”/ When the “normal” guy is seen with the gorgeous woman they say “He married up.” It simply means that she is out of his league.  I am trying to surround myself with people who are stronger and more experienced in fields that I am passionate about.

-What are you doing for Spiritual/Leadership growth that is a part of your daily/weekly routine?  What are some intentional steps you could take to experience a greater level of consistency?

The Ex Qualities

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Over the last several months I have taking personal inventory of the areas of my life that are in need of upgrades.  I have discovered that there are many qualities that I want to cultivate and that there are many traits that I simply need to let go of and allow God to change.  We are our own worst critics, so I am certain that you have had moments where your personal checklist needed an overhaul as well.

That desire to grow and continue learning is powerful.  Truly progressive people are constantly pursuing growth whether it be in leadership, in education, or in their careers.  What I have learned through my journey of personal transformation is that to grow in stature as a man of God I could learn plenty from the stereotypical ex-girlfriend (Who will remain nameless) or boyfriend for all of the ladies out there.

1.) I must be needy… If what I am doing on my own can be accomplished without divine intervention then it is doomed for mediocrity.

2.) I must be clingy…   Psalm 119:114  You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.  We have to stay in his presence and hide his word in our hearts.

3.) I must be over-sensitive… There are moments when toughness and discipline are in order, there are also times when we need to see through eyes of compassion and be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 8:5)

4.) I must say I am sorry way too much… For us to advance there has to be a “turning from” the things that bind and shackle. That is the definition of repentance; God help us to stay near to your heart and close to the cross.

5.) I must refuse to let go… Psalm 130:5 I am counting on the Lord yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.  I know that things aren’t always going to go according to script, but we have    undying hope because of our God and the cross of Jesus Christ.

I want to learn, I want to move forward, and I want to see progress in all areas of my life.  You probably have the same passion to continue your growth as a leader and a man/woman of God.  Read books, listen to Podcasts, go to conferences, but remember what Paul wrote to the Colossians in chapter 1; 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.  Everything we could ever need to lead, to minister, to parent, to change the world lives in us.

 

What are the resources you are currently using for personal/spiritual growth?  How have you engaged others to advance in their own lives?

Going for Gold

Olympians will have free access to over 150 thousand condoms at the 2012 games in London.  Many of you are taking this moment to make certain that you read that correctly.  It was as stunning to me as waking up with an extra arm or having a conversation with my puppy over breakfast.  I was naive and simply believed that the athletes were there to compete for their countries and to go for gold medals.  There are tons of opinions concerning this practice; some people think it promotes safe sex and should be applauded, some feel that it speaks to how far removed we are from our moral roots, some simply don’t care one way or the other.  As a father of a nine year old and the youth pastor of a local church I have to admit I was terrified

“(Sex) is all part of the Olympic spirit. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wouldn’t say that, but it is, you can’t shy away from it. Why do you think they give away so many condoms?”  This quote which can be found on CNN.com in the article “Sex, games, and olympic village life” sums up what seems to be a general flippant attitude toward this practice.  Reading many articles from former and current olympic athletes this is customary and just goes with the territory.  As for me; it speaks to a cultural identity crisis.  Even though these are the greatest athletes, the young and the beautiful, and the focus of the world for 17 days many of these athletes are still looking to find acceptance and approval in any way possible.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Paul’s simple message to the Corinthians provides a prognosis; we are nearsighted.  As parents, as teachers, and coaches we are training our kids to gain a prize that is here today and gone tomorrow.  Our students are known by their jersey number and not by their character.  We have made investments over and over that will not stand the test of time.  As leaders and teachers we may not have the ability to change olympic village but we do have the authority to change our personal sphere of influence.  We can instill principles with clear purpose and vision, and we can train our young people to compete for an “eternal prize.”

Here are 4 training tips to prepare the next generation for greatness…

1.) Train for the long term.. Kids are focused on what is directly in front of them.  We must turn their attention to what will last forever.

2.) Love unconditionally.. Just like us, leaders, those who we lead are not always going to get it right.

3.) Practice what you preach.. If you want to make a lasting impact you must do what you are asking your followers to do.

4.) Constantly reinforce.. Life brings labels; remind them of who they are in the eyes of God.

Who are you currently influencing?  What are the key principles you want to deposit in that circle of influence?

On Your Mark, Get Set, BLOG

This is day one of my pursuit of blogging greatness.  I have spent countless hours attempting to discover what I am passionate about when it comes to putting thoughts down in writing and I have sensed a common theme in all of my exploration; growth.  I want to grow in leadership, I want to grow as a husband and a father, I want to grow in ministry, and I want to grow as a man of God.

It turns out that growing doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes commitment, consistency, and courage to move forward.  That is the driving force of starting this journey; developing in all areas of my life and bringing you along for the ride.

Are you passionate about personal growth?  Do you want to be better in every way?  We would all answer with a resounding yes.  It is time to stop daydreaming about “a better you” and intentionally focus on the blueprint for your betterment.  Our plans won’t be exactly the same but let me share 3 ways that I am being intentional about personal growth.

1.) Reading…  Sure it sounds simple, but there are millions of resources online, through other blogs, and at our local libraries.  We have no excuses to remain uninformed.

2.) Personal Contacts… I am focused on surrounding myself with leaders who have more experience and maturity in areas I am aspiring to grow in.

3.) Prayer… God created us with plans and purpose in mind.  Staying near to his heart allows us to walk in tune with his design.

In what areas are you pursuing personal growth and development?  What are your strategies to reach those personal goals?