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?

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.

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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Worship that Costs Something

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:3

In Mary’s heart, Jesus was worth it.

Her heart of love and worship for the Savior flowed out in an expression of expensive giving and humble service.

She loved Him so much, she could not help but break open the expensive perfume so she could anoint His feet.

Do our lives reflect this kind of loving worship for the Savior? Do our songs flow from hearts that are overwhelmed by His worth?

Lord Jesus, deepen my love for You.

In preparation for Sunday worship (and more importantly, a life of worship), spend some time “at Jesus’ feet” and “hear His word,” as Mary had done (Luke 10:39).  Read His Word, and allow Him to transform your heart into one of intense love for Him.  See Him as He is and value Him for what He is worth.

What does costly worship look like in our lives?

Why He Waits

Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  John 11:14

Why didn’t he come sooner?

Martha asked it.

Mary asked it.

Those watching asked it.

Jesus didn’t go right away when He heard the news that Lazarus was sick.  He waited.  

By the time He started to go to Jerusalem, He knew that Lazarus was already dead.

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Simple Steps for Unclogging Your Workflow

glad my basement wasn’t this bad! (image courtesy of Zdenek | Dreamstime.com)

Has your basement ever flooded?   It’s no fun.  The worst part is listening to the rain hit the roof, wondering if, this time, it’s going to come inside!

Whenever my basement has flooded, it has been because the water flowing from the surrounding areas gets stuck behind my house, puddles, then comes in through the cement wall.

The water needs an outlet.  I’ve had to knock some holes in the retaining wall, unclog downspouts, and dig some trenches for a temporary fix to let the water out.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes your work flow resembles my house.  Tasks and projects get lodged in your system, not flowing through your hands and getting accomplished.

As these projects and tasks build up, they present the potential of flooding your life with negative results.

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