Nate asked me an important question this weekend. He asked, “When and how did you become disciplined in spiritual growth?” That’s a great question. I wish I could say I was most excellently disciplined, but I’m not…just disciplined. I wonder though if some of you may be equal curious as to the answers to this question.
I first got serious about becoming a student of God’s Word and having daily time with Christ in my mid-twenties. I wish it had happened earlier. I grew up in church, but it wasn’t until then that I really took my walk more serious than a Sunday routine.
As to how I disciplined myself, which may be the more important answer, that really has a two-part answer.
- I developed a passion for spiritual growth. The bottom line for most of us is that we are only going to do those things we want to do. For me, thanks to the encouragement of a pastor at the time, I gained a sincere desire to know Christ more; serious enough that I was willing to discipline myself to do it.
- I found a system that worked for me. At first, I didn’t remember to tell Nate about this one, but it was an equally important part I believe in me becoming a self-learner. Many people have a desire, but they never come up with the system that will accomplish the desire. I found a system that fueled my passion, but also kept me disciplined enough to follow through each day. I haven’t kept the same system I had then continually, but I know even today that without one I’m less likely to be disciplined in spiritual growth. (I once wrote about that system HERE.)
There’s my answer to when and how I became disciplined in spiritual growth. What’s your answer…or is this a question for which you still need to work on finding an answer?
I encourage you to start today!
I write mostly about leadership, family, and having a personal walk with God. I continue to be honored that people would choose to read what I write. This week alone I received over a dozen emails from church leaders looking for help with a leadership situation they are facing and/or from believers who need guidance for life.
I don’t share that to brag, but simply to help illustrate two points. First, the power of the Internet to network and connect people; and, second, it’s the reason I continue to market my blog. If something isn’t making a positive difference, I don’t want to waste my time with it. If it is working, I want to use all of my abilities to make it better.
I see this blog as one of the vehicles through which the ministry God has called me to do is accomplished. It’s often a front door for me to be able to help people grow in their leadership, family life, or their personal walk with God.
With that in mind, today I’m making a shameless plug asking my readers for your help to promote this blog.
If you appreciate what I write, would you consider any of these options:
1. Add my blog to your Google or RSS reader (to receive it by email). You can do that HERE.
2. Link to my blog from your blog.
3. Suggest my blog to your friends.
Thanks so much for your continued support of my writings. As long as you keep reading and God allows, I’ll keep writing!
Are you enjoying my posts?
Thanks in advance for your support!
Here is a principle that works in many areas of life. You’ll find it helpful in businesses, in organizations, in churches, in relationships and in your personal life. Here’s the principle:
Don’t confuse activity with success.
I once wrote that growth covers over a multitude of problems. (Read that post HERE.) I know many organizations and people that mistakenly believe for a time (before it catches up with them) that busyness means things are moving in the right direction. That may or may not be true, but long-term success always depends more on the quality of activity than on the quantity of activity. In the short-term, you can mask success with an abundance of action, but substandard performance will be discovered in time. (For more on this thought process, read my previous post, The Tortoise and the Hare Principle of Organizational Growth.)
If you want to ensure success, consider the goals and objectives trying to be attained, determine whether they are currently being achieved, and, depending on your findings, be willing to adjust activity accordingly to achieve better results.
Have you been guilty of being busy rather than being successful? In what areas of your life are you more likely to allow that to occur?
Here’s a quick message to my two boys. Jeremy and Nate are 21 and 18 years old. (This picture is a few years old, but it’s one of my favorites.) Jeremy just graduated from college last week. Nate finishes his first year of college next week. They are tremendous young men, but I realize they have some incredible opportunities ahead and I don’t want them to miss anything God has for them, especially not because they were unprepared. I wish someone had given me this advice when I was their age. (Perhaps you need to hear it as well.)
I’ve messed up many times in life…
Please learn from my mistakes…
I’m not perfect now, but at least I’m headed in the right direction…
I wish I had started this path earlier in life…
Don’t wait to build your character, discover your life purpose, and chase your dreams…
Head your life early in the direction you want your life to eventually end…
Do you need that encouragement today?
I’m curious: At what age did you start heading your life in the direction you ultimately want to go?
Read a letter I wrote to each of my boys HERE and HERE.
There is a sobering story in Numbers 32:1-5…
The tribe of Reuben wanted to bail on the rest of the Israelites. Read the story for yourself.
- They wanted to take the easy way out…
- They wanted to rest on their current success…
- The journey ahead seemed too much for them…
Perhaps that’s your story today. The journey has gotten much harder than you expected and the days ahead seem unbearable. Some days you would just rather quit trying.
- Are you tired of pushing forward?
- Are you burned out…satisfied…comfortable…afraid…confused?
- Are you ready to quit?
If you know the job you’ve been called to do isn’t finished yet…
Find the courage, recharge your batteries, raise up some other leaders…
…But whatever it takes…move forward…
Is that your story? Are you tempted to give up? Leave a comment and others and I will pray for you…
If you follow my blog regularly, then you know that I’m trying to spur people to dream bigger dreams. Not only do I believe dreaming is a healthy practice, I believe we need your dreams. Obviously we cannot live in dream world all the time, and I spend far more energy on this blog writing about accomplishing dreams than dreaming dreams, but I believe the world needs some more dreamers. I believe God encourages this process. Read my first post on this issue HERE.
Therefore, since it’s Saturday again, I hope you will play along and share in another dream stretch.
Today’s dream stretch is:
If you could have any career position, what would it be? If you could do anything and earn a living doing it, what would you do?
(Remember, there are no restrictions in our dreams. Dream big. Also, rather than answering on Facebook or Twitter, if that’s how you came to this post, please answer here as a comment, so everyone can be encouraged by your dreams.)
The older I get (and that’s happening faster it seems that it once did) the more I’m beginning to assess my life and what the experiences of life have taught me. On my laptop I keep a file where I simply type principles/ideas/nuggets of wisdom as they occur to me. Sometimes these originate as a Twitter post, sometimes they are a line from a Sunday message, but often they just go in this file. I figure when there are 10 of them, it is time for another blog post… (I have written similar posts before, such as HERE)
So, with that explanation, here are 10 life principles I have learned from experience:
- Having wisdom doesn’t mean you made all the right choices…it just means you learned from the choices you made…
- Just because your momma laughs, doesn’t mean it’s funny…
- Never waste an idea…always have something nearby to write it down…
- You can’t ignore one life principle trying to live another…
- This sweater may be old and ugly now, but one day everyone will want one just like it…
- Often one’s perception is determined by his or her experiences…good or bad…
- You can have tons of “friends” until there is trouble in your life…then you’ll have some real friends…
- Big dreams rarely make it past our mind unless someone risks the chance that they could fail…
- The little things we do often have more value than the big things.
- Character is shaped by how we respond to life’s difficulties and life’s victories.
Do any of these apply to your life?
Have you learned any of these principles from experience?
Which of these do you need to learn?
This is Josh and his son Luke. Josh and his wife Shana are in our community group. I love these pictures. (Pay special attention to the one of Luke…he’s busy!) Cheryl at first said I couldn’t post it on the Internet, but I couldn’t resist breaking a rule. I think the two pictures are hilarious. Like father like son…
I love investing in young fathers…
Our community group is full of great ones…
Recently Josh had a career decision to make. He wanted to wrestle through it with me. He actually took my advice. He honored me greatly, not by taking my advice, but with a text he sent me later, which said, “You are my new mentor!” He probably was joking, but he doesn’t know how much that comment resonates with me.
Years ago I solicited a mentor. He agreed to mentor me on one condition; that I would in turn mentor others. I’ve been attempting to obey that commitment I made to my mentor ever since. I cannot tell you how those times have blessed my life!
Do you have a mentor?
Who are you investing in? Who is investing in you?
What have you learned from the process of mentoring?
Next time you question your abilities to pursue your God-given vision , consider the story of Moses:
Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Exodus 4:10-13
Moses was used of God to do incredible things for God’s glory, yet Moses, more than many leaders I know, questioned his own abilities. He lacked confidence and would have probably never volunteered for the job. His reasons might have been:
- Past failure
- The task was overwhelming
- He was intimidated by the Asker
- He felt unqualified
What’s your excuse for not obeying the vision God has placed in your heart? Is it really a valid reason?
Perhaps you need to do as Moses did…walk by faith, not by sight.
I talk with people consistently that are looking for some sense of normality in their life. Often they express that sentiment by saying something such as, “I just wish life could be normal for me sometime.” Have you ever said that statement?
What I have come to understand from experience is that life never rests long before some new highs or lows appear. The problem with desiring normal is that normal seldom looks like we expect normal to look. I’m wondering if normal may be more our reaction to life, than the circumstances we experience in life.
Perhaps the better goal is to learn to balance our lives amidst difficulties, good and bad times, triumph and tragedy, and the feast or famine the world in which we live tends to experience. In fact, I wonder if learning how to balance our emotions between the extremes isn’t the normality we are seeking, rather than periods where everything is calm. When we learn to live in the joy of every moment, normal may seem more attainable. (Consider what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13)
What has your experience taught you? How would you define the “normal” life? Is your life “normal”?