Accelerate your life by following God’s priority plan

Priorities

Back in my years as a pastor I used to love introducing people to the content of John Maxwell. Even though we were a small church with not a big budget I bought a video series called Priorities to share at a leadership day. I find that it is easy in life to get off track in our priorities and miss out on all that is possible with God.

There is a story found in a small little book in the Old Testament that reminds us of this important lesson. Although Haggai is only two chapters it contains a powerful punch and could have been written to an audience today.

The story is pretty simple. The people of Israel had left captivity and gone to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. But as can happen with any project that takes a while they got discouraged and stopped working on the temple. God sends a couple of prophets to get them back on track. Haggai asks them to think about their priorities.

His message went like this:  Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?  Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” (1:4-6 ESV) He encouraged them to get back to work and that is what they did.

He gives three principles that I can use for my own life and you can use for yours.

  1. Take time to consider your priorities. It is easy in our world to get so busy that we don’t even take time to think about what is most important. We run with a frenzy pace that doesn’t allow for us to hear from God or even hear ourselves think. Haggai encourages them and us to take the time to think.
  2. Evaluate how things are working. Haggai points out that although they are working hard on things they are not getting the result they want because God’s work has gone down the list. This is not about guilt this is about being effective. When we put God’s plan first He helps us with our work.
  3. Make the adjustments that need to be made. This story has a great ending because they actually made the change that needed to be made. It is one thing to take time and think about having the right priorities and to evaluate what is working and what is not, but it is another thing to actually do something about it. They did something about it. Will you and I?

This is not the most complicated thought but it is important to remind ourselves what is important. It is easy for drift to happen in our priorities if we are not careful. Jesus put it this way: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Encouragement for my faith that I got from a kids book.

prince

My wife, daughter and I were at one of our daughter’s 5th grade conferences for school and the teacher told us about this 40 book challenge that they would be doing for the rest of the school year. The challenge was to read a certain amount from different genres to help expand the student’s reading. In order to have fun with our only daughter my wife and I decided to do the challenge as well.

This is going to be interesting for me since I so rarely read any fiction. I got a recommendation of an audio book that I am now in the middle of listening. The premise of the book is about a medieval regent who takes some orphan boys and attempts to teach them to act like a missing prince in order to steal the throne. I haven’t finished the book yet but it got me thinking about a challenge they had. It was hard for them to act like a prince when they were orphans in their mind.

This reminded me of one of my favorite verses. 1 John 3:1 –See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (ESV) Thinking about this story there is an important truth for us: we are not pretending to be children of God if we have given ourselves to Jesus. We really are children of God. This truth has some powerful impacts for us.

We don’t have to live bound by sin.

It is too easy to get in the mindset of orphans and feel like our identity is to be captive to wherever sin holds us back. One of the big lies of our day the devil is using is by questioning people’s identity. It is also true that Christians fall to the lies of identity as well. “Well that is a sin I am just not able to overcome.” “That is just the way that I have always been.” As a follower of Jesus that no longer needs to be your identity because you are a child of God.

We are free to love.

After John challenges them to leave their sin because of who they are he also reminds them of the command to love each other.  He even challenges them to be loving with their material possessions. Expressing your love to others in actions and truth comes as we understand that we are children of God and orphans no longer.

Remain in your source of power.

These two things can feel challenging. But there is hope. For David in the Old Testament he was anointed king but had years before he was seated on the throne. He still acted kingly because he remembered his anointing. In 1 John 2:27 he reminds his readers of the anointing that Jesus gave us (the power of the Holy Spirit.) If we are to truly live in freedom from sin and in the power of love we are encouraged to remain in that anointing.

Will you live today as a child of God and not as an orphan any longer?

Not Just For Super Christians “Kickstarter” Style Event

Spiderman

I am excited because in the next few months we will be launching my third book-Not Just For Super Christians: A 30 day adventure with Jesus. It is designed to help people take their faith to a whole new level in 30 days with a very practical plan. We believe this also has the potential to help whole churches as they work through this book together.

As I travel around to churches of all shapes and sizes to many people are too intimidated to live out their faith and so they do not do simple things that all of us can do. This book was written from my heart to help people know the exhilaration of saying “yes” to following Jesus like never before.

What would it be like if individuals felt a new level of confidence to live out their faith in practical ways? How exiting could it be to have a church experience heart pounding adventure as they take a jump together into all that God has for them?

This book is not designed to be a run of the mill devotional but as an interactive experience to change your life. And yes, we have a time machine!

In order for us to get this book out into the world to make a difference in lives I wanted to launch a “kickstarter” style event. This will help us get copies of books into the hands of key leaders among other parts of our strategic plan. To make this a fun we have created levels and different “thank you”s to go with them. What level will you do?

Iron Man Level: $25 donation. At this level I will mail you an autographed copy of the book when it is released. Fly to this level (*)

Spiderman Level: $50 donation. At this level I will mail you autographed copies of each of my first three books the the newest one is released. Swing up to this level (*)

Batman Level: $250 donation. At this level you get everything in the Spiderman level plus a thank you on social media. (This would be a great way for a company to get in front of our 200,000 in social media.) To the Batmobile to help

Superman Level: $500 donation. At this level you get everything in the Batman level and a thank you in the credits of the book. Up up and away

Thanks for being a part of this fun event.

(*) Please considering adding $10 for postage if you live outside the United States. Thanks