Don’t Flinch!

God’s love is always looking for a way to express itself through us. Don’t flinch when you have the chance.

  • Maybe it’s a need you spot on your way home from work. You’re tired and you don’t want to be bothered. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe you’ve just got home and your child needs to talk about his terrible horrible day. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe your spouse needs you to understand something she’s been trying to tell you and wants you just to listen. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe it’s an overwhelming desire to pray for someone who is hurting. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe it’s an opportunity to be extravagantly generous to a person or cause. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe it’s a desire to start something new. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe it’s the opportunity to say you’re sorry. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe it’s the opportunity to help one person complete their dream. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe its a friend who needs you to pay them a visit. Don’t flinch.
  • Maybe you’re being asked to step into leadership in a new way. Don’t flinch.

Whenever you have the opportunity to express God’s love, DON’T FLINCH.

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15 Time Wasters

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything. –Warren Buffet.

Planting a church is going to require that you increase your bandwidth to get thing done. You should be aware of how you’re allocating your time and endeavor to invest it for maxim Kingdom impact. Here are some common time wasters.

  1. Not being able to say no.
  2. Television watching. You need to be very, very miserly with the amount of time you spend watching television.
  3. Internet surfing.
  4. Social media posting, reading, sharing.
  5. News reading! (This is mine.) It’s not necessary to know what’s going on everywhere 24 hours a day.
  6. Email. Reading and receiving the wrong emails is a waste of time. There are some email conversations you needn’t be part of.
  7. Meetings. Yes, you can die by meeting.
  8. Conferences, workshops and gatherings. While they’re wonderful you need to choose which ones you attend.
  9. Study. I want to be careful here. I love studying. But spending 25 hours a week on a 25 minute message you’re going to give Sunday isn’t exactly a good use of of time.
  10. Not prioritizing your tasks. You will end up doing busy work and not the right kind of work.
  11. Games on your phone. Come on!
  12. Not heeding wisdom.
  13. Worrying. Why not pray instead?
  14. Not planning.
  15. Inability to focus.

Now that you’re thinking about all the time you’re wasting, go ahead and change some things.

This is how you will have maxim impact.

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Why I am Reading Less of the Bible This Year

I am reading less of my Bible this year.

Let me explain.

It’s a new year and that means more resolutions. I like resolutions. The older I’ve grown the wiser I’ve become. I only make resolutions I might actually keep I know, that seems obvious, but it’s taken me time to figure it out.  Bibleotnt

Like many Christians I make reading through the Bible a new year resolution. I make this resolution even though reading the Bible isn’t a challenge for me. I love reading the Bible and try to make it the center of my life. 

But I have tended to make reading the Bible a project versus actually reading it to hear from God.

I tend to ‘study’ the Bible. I plow through the texts without reflecting on their significance in my life. I neglect my private devotional readings and instead read the Bible in order to teach or instruct on it. if you’re a church planter or pastor-teacher you know what talking about. At the end of last year, I realized that I was making the Bible into a project to be studied and prodded and finished, rather than treating it for what it is—the most important thing in my life.

So one of my new resolutions this year was to spend time reflecting on the Bible. Even if that meant reading less of it.

I looked for a reading plan to help me meet my goal. The plan needed to help me read systematically through the Bible AND give me plenty of time to do it.

This wasn’t so easy. See, I also bore easily. Not of the Bible–just the reading plans. I usually make it a month or so, grow bored and chuck the plan. Then feeling the pressure, I start reading the Bible straight through. This has happened several times over the past couple of years.

So I invested some time in December thinking, praying and looking for a plan to read less of the Bible and actually spend more time mediating on what I read…a plan I would stick with.

After much research, I decided that the best plan for me was to ‘hear’ the Bible, rather than read it.

I am on day 17 of reading along with the Daily Audio Bible. The Daily Audio Bible follows the One Year Bible Reading Plan that Tyndale (I believe) originally published. The plan provides daily readings in the Old and New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs. It takes about 15 minutes for me to listen to the narrator (Brian Hardin) and then another 15 minutes or so meditating on the text.

After 17 days of hearing the Bible, I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve been missing out. I mean I know my Bible because it’s what I am basing my life on. It’s just that with a ‘limited’ amount of text each day and hearing the words…well it’s quite wonderful. I am hearing from God in new ways. It’s literally changing my life—again. headphones

Here are some things I do to ensure I attend to my readings:

  • I usually make space for reading in the early AM before ANYTHING else.
  • I listen to the App on my iPhone with headphones.
  • I have a hardcopy of the One Year Bible that I read while hearing it.
  • I keep my journal open nearby and write down questions, reflections or the things that I think God is saying to me.

Look, I ain’t no saint.

I am just saying that if I am going to profess to follow Jesus then I need to carve space into my day to hear from God and be disciplined about it. And there is no better means of hearing from God than through his Word, even if that means I read less of it to spend more time reflecting on it.

What about you? Are you reading through the Bible this year? What’s that look like? 

Have you struggled to read for life versus read for study?

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How to Read More Books This Year

I’ll admit it: I am a New Year’s Resolution geek.

I enjoy pausing at the end of the calendar year to reflect on where I’ve been and where I am at. I then use the new year to examine where I want to go. I make a ton of resolutions but really only hold myself accountable to a few.

And one of those resolutions is reading books.  Every year I set a goal to read a certain number of books. Bookstacked

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved reading. I read widely and try to ensure that I challenge myself with books on a wide-range of topics.

I still tell my kids, 18, 14 and 10 that ‘readers are leaders.’ Because it’s true.

This year I set a goal to read 50 books. As a way of comparison, in 2013 I read 30ish books. (I am not sure how many I read as I lost track around June.) Bummer.

I am using the New Year as an opportunity to be disciplined about reading. To reach my goal, I’ll need to make time for reading. Because my schedule is already jammed, I will need to stop doing some things to create more space in my schedule for reading.

That’s why I am going to give-up watching television and the news. Well, not entirely.

See, I’ll watch movies and some sports (after all 2014 is a World Cup Year). I’ll also watch television shows but only on DVD or Netflix. (My wife and I borrow have been watching the AMC series Mad Men and the sooner I get through those the sooner I can get back to my life.) As for the news, I’ll get that online.

When I have free time, I want to be reading. I figure if I cut out TV I can free up at least another hour a day for reading.

If you you’re a ministry leader or church planter may I suggest that you MUST be disciplined about reading. There are so many great books on topics that can help us do great work for the Kingdom. Not making time for reading is simply inexcusable.

I am not trying to make you feel bad. I want to encourage you to read more books and get serious about making more time for them in your life. If you’re like me and want to read more books, you’ll need to set goals and stop doing other things to make time for reading.

Reading more books is going to require you to be disciplined about it.

So, how many books will you read this year? What are you going to STOP doing to make more time for reading?

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Self-Awareness In a Leader

Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself! —Soren Kierkegaard

Good leadership emerges from self-aware leaders. Leaders who are self-aware are clear about how they spend their time, what they devote their attention to, and what actions they take. selfaware

In other words, self-aware leaders are leader who have made it a point to learn to lead themselves well.

Some ways to become a more self-aware leader include:

  • Understand why do you do what you do. That is, you ought to understand your intentions and motivations.
  • Notice how you handle challenges.
  • What factors determine how you spend your time?
  • How do you find balance and rhythm in your life?
  • Do you invite others to help you grow as a leader?

Someone once said that all we get to control in this life is 100% of ourselves.

Best to learn how to do that well.

What about you? What are some ways you’ve become more self-aware as a leader?

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