Time To Say No

My hope and dream is to help you craft a focus, sustainable life and ministry, and I’m trying to do that myself and stay in that stage of sustainability.

I just recently did some inventory of the months ahead, looking at all of the different tasks and potential commitments and options. I came to the conclusion, in consultation with my lovely wife, that I was drifting into a non-sustainable pace of life and ministry. 

It’s an interesting stage for us because we’re in this transitional role. We’re six months into what I guesstimate will be an 18 month assignment. We have another six months to go of working on some issues in the life of the church and moving towards health, and then we’ll move into the search process, and Lord willing within a few months, we will be able to have a lead pastor pinned down in this location. That role is currently just 28 hours a week. 

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Don’t Shoot For The Moon

I came across a little quote recently from a fellow named James Friel who is a high end internet marketer and consultant. He gets a lot done; a very productive person. But he made the following observation. “For a long time I heard that we should all shoot for the moon and have big, hairy, audacious goals. Goals that make people laugh at us. I subscribed to this train of thought for a long time until I heard about research that clearly states that in timeframes of less than three years, if your goals feel scary or possibly unattainable, it will actually be counter productive.” Interesting thought. 

You know, there’s this principle that you can get far less done in a year than you think, but far more in a decade than you can imagine. We get momentum in our day to day and week-to-week life from actually finishing things. Not just working on things, but actually finishing things. That’s why the Pomodoro Technique of time management is effective. 

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An Observation About Stress

How do we deal with stress? 

If we’re honest, we need to recognize that stress is actually about what’s going on in the inside, not what’s going on in the outside. Certainly there are things on the outside, external issues, challenges, problems at work and family that cause or generate stress. But the stress actually happens inside us. 

I discovered in a time of reflection last week that some internal stress is caused because we think we can control those externals. We think control is how it ought to be and we should be able to fix everything that needs fixing and control what needs controlling. 

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The Power of Simplicity

When I left full-time vocational ministry about 10 years ago, I left probably more than half of the books on my shelf in the office. When I thought about what I wanted to keep and what I really didn’t need, it was pretty easy to jettison 50% of the books I’d been hauling around. Most I hadn’t cracked and didn’t foresee any need to ever use them as they were either getting dated or were by authors I’d come to not trust or not really care what they thought anymore. So I brought some books with me and left others behind.

Currently we’re in a transitional situation where we’re in a rental suite in a community that is not our home and in our regular home, there are mountains of books still left behind. In these last few transitions, I’ve just brought a few boxes of books with me. Every now and then I discover a book that I wish I had and realize it’s not on my shelf here. For the most part, the books I have are the ones that I need. There’s not hundreds and hundreds, but it’s just comes down to dozens that I have with me.

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Follow…or Not

In John Chapter 6, Jesus gives some teaching that is described by many of his disciples as a hard teaching and his disciples started grumbling. By disciples I’m not talking about the Twelve, but about the larger masses. It said that at this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

So we have a situation in Jesus’ ministry where, because of his teaching, people were leaving. Just think about that for a second. Even Jesus had people leave because of his leadership because of his teaching. 

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