Recognizing Your Soul’s Thirst

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psalm 42:1

My soul thirsts.  Your soul thirsts.  But often we misunderstand what it is thirsting for.

We feel the uneasiness in our souls and look to entertainment to ease the discomfort.

We experience the nag of conscience and try to mask it with the security of friendship.

We sense that our money is slipping through our fingers, so we work even harder to ensure that there is more in the bank.

But each of these is not what the soul is thirsting for.

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The Paradox of Christian Productivity

We think we have to do more.  God says, “Ask, and it shall be given.” (Matt. 7:7)

Our world tells us that the one who works harder than the next guy wins.  God says, “Call Unto me, and I will answer thee.”  (Jer. 33:3)

The powers of evil give us more opportunities to stay busy.  God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10)

We fill our schedules, write our next action lists, and draft our calendars. But there’s something more to ministry than activity.

The Christian ministry requires a power that cannot be given by more human effort.  It requires God to work.

The paradox: To do more as a Christian, you sometimes have to do less, so you can pray.

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Cutting Back your Unnecessary Incoming E-mails

image by Alexander Novikov | Dreamstime.com

Almost a month ago, my wife, the kids and I went to visit her family for a week.  Before leaving, I made preparations to be less connected to the internet. I have a tendency to be distracted from family by e-mail, etc., so I took Michael Hyatt’s advice and was intentional going into the week about e-mail.

As his post explains, I set up the account to send to the archives every message that didn’t have the word “urgent” in it so that only pressing matters came through.  I then set up a response e-mail that explained to put the word urgent in the e-mail if it needed to get through to me.

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On the Ease of Neglecting Priorities

The following quote impacted me as I read it last year.  I have been reminded of it recently.  It is easy to neglect the most important things.  I mentioned this lesson in a previous post.

“It occurred to me one day that my most important time allocations had something in common.  They never screamed out immediately when ignored.  I could neglect my spiritual disciplines, for example, and God did not seem to shout loudly about it.  I could make it just fine for a while.  And when I did not allocate time for the family, Gail and the children were generally understanding and forgiving…And when I set study aside as a priority, I could get away with it for a while.  These things could be ignored for a while without adverse consequences.  And that is why they were so often crowded out when I did not budget for them in advance.  Other less important issues had a way of wedging them aside week after week.  Tragically, if they are neglected too long, when family, rest, and spiritual disciplines are finally noticed it is often too late for adverse consequences to be avoided.” Gordon MacDonald. Ordering Your Private World. p. 98-99. emphasis mine.

Have you found it hardest to plan time for the most important things? How have you guarded time for your priorities?

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A Prayer for Twenty-Somethings

image courtesy of Sergey Kravtsov | Dreamstime.com

I am a twenty-something.  Psychologists are wanting to make a “new stage” (life stage) for me.  Society is wanting to redefine what it means for me to be a person in my twenties.

Many people in my age bracket are not deciding on a life focus, life mate, or life purpose.  We are known for being floaters and nomads.

The problem with this “phenomenon” is that life comes to us just once.  Once this decade of life is passed, it can’t be reclaimed.

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The Reason for Our Fruitlessness

image courtesy of Andy Heyward | Dreamstime.com

Have you ever been discouraged that it seemed like your life lacked the fruitfulness you imagined?  Have you ever worked hard to serve others, only to feel a frustration of pointlessness?

Could it be that at times we have it backwards?  Are we focused more on the work than on Christ who produces the work?

I’ve been reading through the book of John with our Bible study group on Monday nights.  It has been refreshing as we’ve seen this gospel’s awesome presentation of Jesus.

What is striking to me is the simple yet profound nature of the book.  

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Good ol’ Bluegrass

A friend of mine posted this video the other day, and I wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy this video of some talented brothers who play bluegrass music.  The boy on the banjo is 8, the fiddler is 12, and the guitar player is 13.

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How to Confidently Accomplish the Repetitive Tasks, Part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about the value of a weekly checklist.  This post is about how to put that list together.

But first, let me acknowledge two principles I picked up from David Allen in Getting Things Done:

  1. The need to write it down. He emphasizes this principle.  Get it out of your head and onto paper (or in your device).
  2. The difference between tasks and projects.  A task is one action.  A project is anything with more than one action. (This distinction is important as you list steps.)

[Disclaimer: What I will describe below is not a full following of the GTD system, although I use GTD for many non-repetitive tasks.]

Let me also explain that I personally prefer paper.  I use the computer for many things, including my calendar. But for task lists, there’s something helpful to me about a piece of paper that actually takes up space on my desk and that can get checked/scratched off.  You may prefer to implement this in a program/app if that works better for you.

This could seem like an easy process, but several challenges stand in the way.

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How to Confidently Accomplish the Repetitive Tasks

image courtesy of Tatianatatiana | Dreamstime.com

Most people who work in a church setting wear several different “hats.”  Many of these hats require duties that are repeated weekly.  The more efficient we can be with these tasks, the more we can move forward to other priorities.

It may be preparing the order of service for Sunday’s music or looking through your Sunday school roster to see who you’ve missed.  It may be varied “to-do’s” over a range of several different ministry areas.  But sometimes, the thousands of necessary tasks can overwhelm us.

For instance, at my church, I oversee some office work, the music ministry, and the college and career ministry.  I love what I do!

There are parts of my responsibilities that change from week to week, but other parts that are a part of every week.

For the first years in my office duties, I tried to either accomplish my weekly tasks from memory or sporadically write them down for that day or the rest of the week.

The problem with that was:

  1. My memory is faulty
  2. This method provides no consistency.

It finally occurred to me that I could be more efficient.

What did I use to solve this problem?

Drumroll please………..

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