Posts Tagged ‘goals’

For those of us who experienced the 90’s, you probably remember this scene from the movie “City Slickers”. The premise behind the movie was basically that these men from NY had lost their identity, so they travel out west to a cattle ranch to sort of ‘find themselves’.  In one of the most pivotal scenes in the movie, Jack Palance’s character, “Curly” the trail boss, turns to one of the men & says, “Do you know what the secret to life is? It’s this.” (and he holds up 1 finger) “Just 1 thing.” The man says, “That’s great, but what is it?” To which Curly replied, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

It’s a great question for all of us in light of a brand new year: What is your ONE THING?

As I was thinking about this, I made a note of every THING that intersects with my life in a typical week. Like most adults with kids, my schedule is pretty crowded:

  • Serve at church
  • Spend time w family
  • Get kids to school
  • Work
  • Pay bills
  • Get kids to practice
  • Physical Fitness/ Exercise
  • Social Media
  • Do stuff around the house
  • repeat

There are so many THINGS that occupy our time that if we’re not careful, we’ll allow the URGENT to replace the IMPORTANT. We’ll unintentionally CROWD OUT the most important things. We’ll get bogged down with the LITTLE things and fail to pursue our BIG dreams and GRAND adventures. Not because we don’t want to do them. They just get ‘lost’ amidst all the other things we’re doing.

Perhaps most striking: I noticed in my weekly schedule, I was doing almost nothing to realize the larger goals I had for myself. My ROUTINE wasn’t getting me any closer to my DREAMS.

This is where the book, ONE THING has been revolutionary for me. It helped me to look at my life as a series of goals I can set for myself. It coached me on how to break my large goals down into smaller steps I can take each day, each hour, etc. Here’s an example of some of the goals I have set this year:

My Personal Goals 2016

Now, I structure my week with the goal of simply ‘moving the ball forward’ in each category every day, no matter how small the progress. For example, if my goal is to save $ for a family trip to Disneyland, I may go without my morning latte and deposit that into my envelope designated for that event. Or, if it’s to run a half marathon by the end of the year, maybe I start by going on a walk around our neighborhood. In each case, I’m making progress. If I want to memorize a book of the Bible in a year, I start by memorizing two verses a month.

This gives me a sense of accomplishment each day. This gives me a series of “wins” in almost every category. It builds my confidence. It makes me happy. It gives me purpose. It is my MOTIVATION.

Even the apostle Paul knew the importance of ONE THING (singular focus) when he was writing to the church in Philippi:

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)  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. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

OK, I know it’s a ‘loose’ fit, but the point is that Paul wrote to the church in Philippi so that they would be reminded of their PURPOSE. So that they would not lose sight of their GOAL. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I’ve got the most important part of my equation figured out. All the rest of my life’s pursuits come second to following Jesus. Now, the rest is fun.

Just finished another post. Just chalked up another ‘win’. Hope this has been helpful. 

My hope for you this year is for you to find your ONE THING.

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An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
”Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
”The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die”, she said.
”But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.” 
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves,
saying, “It made a difference for that one. The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.”  The Star Thrower; Loren C. Eiseley 1969.

In his book, the ONE Thing, Gary Keller asks the question, “What’s the ONE THING I can do this week, that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

If you really break it down: Life is a series of singular decisions. Some large. Some small.

You’ve heard the saying, “Yard by yard; life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.”

Don’t think of the many tasks you have to finish or the daunting goal you’ve set. Don’t think about the total amount of weight you have to lose or how many classes to pass before achieving your PhD. Start with one thing. One purpose. One direction. One focus.

One thing can make a difference.

Key Question: Are you doing TOO MANY THINGS?

See, the problem with multitasking is that it gives you MORE OPPORTUNITIES to FAIL QUICKER.  When we have several things spinning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel defeated.  But there’s a psychological advantage when you knock one thing down at a time. I call it call it the importance of “achieving wins”.  Winning is contagious. It starts healthy habits of success in your life. It’s time to start winning. What is one thing you can do to WIN right now?  In any category. Start with ONE thing. One step. One victory.

The power of ONE.

One deal you can close from your list of prospectives.

One bill you can pay against a debt.

One load of laundry you can finish against the pile.

One email you can close from your inbox.

One call you can return.

One person you can connect with.

One commitment you can make.

One uninterrupted block of time to spend with someone.

One intervention to have.

One conversation to start.

One goal you can set.

The Bible has a lot to say about this. Philippians 4:13,14 says, “Brothers, I don’t consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But ONE THING I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining for what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.” 

Paul told the church in Philippi, the ONE THING matters. If you’re ONE THING is motivated by a GOD THING, it is unstoppable. 

And Jesus says in Matthew, if your FIRST THING is a GOD THING, everything else FITS.  There’s POWER in PRIORITIES in life.

So, what is your ONE THING?

One cause you can join. 

One passage you can study.

One person you can invite.

One neighbor you can meet.

One attitude you can correct.

One addiction you can break.

One life you can change for all eternity.

Start now. You can do this.  Refuse to see the vastness of the task in front of you. Just pick up a starfish and start slinging.  Decide to make a difference for that one. Your action will be contagious. Soon others will join. Goals will be realized. Results will be achieved. Movements will be started. Lives will be changed. Causes will be ignited.

Never underestimate the power of one.

Do you have a mission statement?  I do. I know why I get up every morning.  This is what drives me.  This is what I’ve devoted my life to:

Romans 10:13-15 (NIV) 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I found this verse when I was in junior high, but never really took it seriously until I was in high school.

The truth is, it’s bothered me since that time. Not “bothered” like a fly you want to shoo away. Not “bothered” like the kid on the plane that makes you shift in your seat.  Not “bothered” like the hair in your mouth you find annoying.  I mean, “bothered” in a way that it haunts me.  It altered my life course.  It caused me to ACT.

First, I noticed the progression.  It starts with the result of someone being saved. But they can’t be saved unless they believe in Jesus. They can’t believe in him if they’ve never heard about him. They can’t hear unless someone preaches to them.  And if no one goes, how will they hear?  I knew early on that I wanted to be a “bringer of Good News”.  How many people fail to deliver the message?  How many people stay silent?  How many people never go?

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV) 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Second, I noticed the power.  When the good news of Jesus Christ takes root in someone’s life, the result is transformational.  It turns wimps into warriors.   It changes criminals into crusaders.  In fact, did you know that most of the Bible was written by murderers, whose lives had been transformed by God? (Abraham, David, Paul) God is in the life-changing business!  In fact, Paul (ex-murderer) put it this way when he wrote to the church in Corinth:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

He knew what he was talking about!  I am excited to be a part of an organization dedicated to creatively communicating the Good News!  I am proud to live it out loud as a Christ-follower.  In fact I hope that my life alone is able to speak loud enough.  St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach at all times. If necessary, use words.”

A little commercial break…

Interestingly enough, the word “Gospel”, in the greek (Go-spel) means “Good News”.  That’s why the first 4 books in the New Testament are called “Gospels”. [The gospel of Matthew, Mark, etc.]  These are 4 different eyewitness reports of Jesus’ arrival, life and teachings.  Here’s how one historian Luke (a physician) starts his account:

Luke 2:8-12 (NIV) 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The angel was announcing the good news was that Jesus, the Messiah (Savior) had come.  God came to dwell among his people!  Coincidentally, the word given to describe one who shares the good news with others is the word evangelist = comes from the greek words “eu” = good; and “angel” = messenger.  Which means, when we share the good news of Jesus Christ, we are “good messengers”. We join in the same mission and carry the same message as the angels.  That rocks!

Finally, be careful when using this verse!  

a. It has radically altered my life course. I originally set out to be an English teacher and coach soccer at a high school.  Now, I pastor a small church in one of the wealthiest areas in America!  I’ve been offered management positions in corporate America from time to time, but I feel that God has me where He wants me.  Where will this verse lead you?  It’s led people out of the business world into vocational ministry. It’s led students to start a Bible study on their campus.  It’s caused a man to start an Accountability Group in hopes of reaching his whole Firehouse.  It’s caused a mom to rejoin the workforce as a nurse because she felt God calling her to reach that profession.  It’s caused an office manager to leave the US and start an orphanage in Peru with her husband.  It’s caused a mom to leave the workplace to spend more time with her kids. No matter where it leads your life, stay on course!

b. It will cause unorthodox practices.   I have two tattoos:  A Cross on my right ankle and an Icthus on my left ankle.  I’ve had these since college when I accepted God’s call to go into full-time ministry.  I know in the Christian community, there is some ‘controversy’ over the issue of tattoos, but before you’re quick to judge, I’ll tell you why I got them:  1. It reminds me of my God-given ability to excel in athletics.  I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the ability to run. I was a 3-year letter winner in track and cross-country in high school.  I won a National Championship in collegiate soccer, starting all 4 years at midfield.  I was blessed with speed and endurance. Many people are disabled, so I want to make sure I never take walking, running, playing sports for granted. I will always give Him credit for my success on and off the field.  2. It reminds me of my mission: to carry the Good News with me wherever I go.  “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

c. It will make your faith come alive.  Did you know that’s a guarantee from Scripture?  If you’re a Christ-follower and you’re NOT sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in some way, you are MISSING OUT.

Philemon 1:6 (NIV) 6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

d. It requires a team effort.  You DON’T have to be a preacher or work on a church staff to be an EVANGELIST.  You don’t have to be outspoken to ADVANCE the GOSPEL.  God can use you just the way you are, right where you’re at to MAKE A DIFFERENCE and to share the GOOD NEWS.  Will you go?  How can they hear?

Statistics:  (according to Street Level Evangelism by Michael Parrott)

            99% agree that Jesus Christ commanded all Christians to advance the Good News.

Yet 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ.

And 80% of all Christians fail to live a consistent witness.

            85% of unchurched people would go to church at least once if someone they know invited them.

Yet only 2% have invited someone to church in the past year.

 

I invite you to join me in bringing the good news.  Sharing the good news.  Being the good news.