Don’t get to the starting gates exhausted

empty-gas-tank-hpWARNING: this is honest and vulnerable and you may think less of me after you read it but it may help someone, so I decided to post.

Too many times in my short ministry career I have ended up exhausted at the starting gates. I’ve shown up on Sundays tired from working all day Friday or Saturday because “NO ONE” else was gonna do it. Or I have led capital campaigns and building projects and worked unGodly hours because it “HAD TO BE DONE”. I even saw myself as a martyr, sacrificing for the cause of Christ. But at the end of the projects when I was supposed to be excited and ready to roll I wasn’t. I lacked joy and energy because of the pace that I picked and the methods that I chose. I robbed my wife of her husband, my kids of their dad, myself of joy but most of all I robbed God of the opportunity to grow my faith.

You see, I believed that what I was doing would lead people to an amazing God that would radically change their lives but I wasn’t allowing Him to radically change mine. I didn’t trust Him to take what I was doing in the natural and make it super natural. I didn’t believe that He could make up the difference between what I could give Him during reasonable work hours and make it come across as excellent. I made the decision on what “WE” needed to do every weekend or project instead of God defining that. I didn’t bring people with me and allow them to use their giftings, I just judged them for not taking initiative like me.

So in my ignorance and lack of faith I tried to do God’s part and totally disregarded His Word. I didn’t rest when He said rest. I tried to lead other families before I led my own. I didn’t equip the saints and If I can be really honest, it wasn’t that fun (rewarding absolutely, fun, not so much).

Which brings me to today. I can say with all honesty that for the first time in ministry, I am having fun and enjoying the ride. God is doing some amazing things in our church, in our city, in my family and I am loving it all. What’s the difference? John 3:30 Less of me and more of Him and Colossians 3:1-2 Seeing things from God’s perspective not my own.

I have realized that there will always be more ministry to do and I can’t get it all done everyday. I have realized that God doesn’t ever want your family, your health, your rest, your relationships to suffer because you are in ministry. I have realized that people are the most important thing to God so they should be to me as well. Projects and processes help us reach more people and are very important but they are never more important than the people, especially the people right in front of us.

Some good questions to ask God are:

  1. Are you pleased with my efforts today?
  2. What changes do I need to make?
  3. How do you see this situation?

Hope this helps someone!

How To Spot A Leader

The following is taken from Leaders At Levels by Ram Charan:

Many people who think they know how to recognize a leader focus on highly visible attributes and skills, such as analytical brilliance, charisma, the ability to make great presentations, and the drive to succeed. These are fine things to have, but they aren’t sure signs of leadership ability. Look instead for the actions, decisions, and behaviors that reveal true leadership potential:

  1. What is the person’s ambition? Is it clearly for a leadership role, or is it oriented more toward making an individual contribution?
  2. Do they take pride in accomplishing goals on the basis of their own ability, or do they talk about bringing together and motivating others to achieve those goals?
  3. Does the person seem curious about subjects outside their area of expertise?
  4. Do they have a grasp of the business (organization) and basics of success?
  5. Can the person articulate clearly the requirements for doing their bosses job? Their bosses, bosses job?
  6. How does the person ensure that she is continually learning?
  7. How well does the person deliver results, and what is extraordinary about the results?
  8. Does the person have an incessant drive to shape the external environment and make progress?
  9. Does the person like to work with divers, high-caliber people, or do they bring along with them to a new job the people they are comfortable with and who are loyal to them?
  10. How driven and passionate are they about leading? Is it just talk, or is it realistic?
  11. Is the person dealing with increasingly complex and uncertain situations and using the occasional failure as an opportunity to learn?
  12. Is there clear evidence that this person has a methodology to continue to build new skills and hone their personality traits to achieve their dream of what they want to become?

Daryl Fast

Goals worth having require sacrifice and hard work. Another John Maxwell quote that I love is that “You have to give up to go up”. In order to focus on achieving this years goals I am starting the year with a 40 day fast. The goal of the fast is to focus in on God and hopefully create some good habits towards my goals.

Here are the things that I will be doing without for the first 40 days of this year:

  • No computer at home for me.
  • No business emails outside of work hours.
  • No late nights. All bedtimes before 10pm (other than nights with bowl games :-).
  • No sleeping in (all days will start at 5am).
  • None of the following food or drinks:
  • Beef, lamb, pork, and fish.
  • Milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs (execept limited amounts of low fat cheese).
  • Sugar, raw sugar, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
  • All leavened bread.
  • All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
  • All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries.
  • All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
  • Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

There it is….The Daryl Fast….The next 40 days of my life. It isn’t designed to help me with all my goals but rather to focus me in on where God is leading me (to be healthier physically, spiritually, mentally). Don’t let me slack!!

The Law Of The Price Tag

The Law Of The Price Tag stats that “you fail to reach your potential when you fail to pay the price” -J. Maxwell.

I believe this is why many of us set goals this time of year and 365 days later we are scratching our heads wondering what happened.

The best thing about January 1st is that you get to start the new year with a blank page and the possibilities for this year are unlimited!! Maybe the difference for me and for you this year will be what we do with the Law Of The Price Tag. Will I and will you be willing to pay the price for our goals?

Here are my goals for 2010:

Health

  • Loose 60 pounds by July 2nd and keep it off Until Decemer 31st.
  • Workout 4 days a week.
  • Save money and get a Trikke 8 Air and ride it.
  • Make water my drink of choice.
  • Less red meat, sweets and coffee drinks.
  • Go to bed by 10pm 5 days a week.

Spiritual

  • More structured quite time this year (5-6AM daily)
  • Daily paper journaling.
  • Rely much more on the Holy Spirit and less on me.
  • Help my family take their next steps spiritually.

Home

  • 3 Date nights a month with Kelli.
  • Specific hang time with each kid (1 a week).
  • Pull more weight with household choirs (dishes and repairs I have been putting off).
  • Kick debt in the teeth (knock bottom 3 items off of debt list).

Work

  • Implement leadship pipeline principles throughout our organization.
  • Invest more time in people.
  • Play to strengths more (less plate spinning and more points scored).

Play

  • Get a hobby!!

With goals like these their is a hefty price tag. I will need a good plan, good accountability partners (you) and I will have to give up a lot of things. See my next post on Daryl Fast to see what I plan on giving up for the first 40days of the year in order to kick start this process.

Becareful What You Pray For

Several years ago Pastor Dino Rizzo told Jeff and I that if you take the people no one wants then God will give you the ones that everyone wants.

That statement affected us so much that when we started Lifepoint Church 3 years ago that was our prayer. “God, give us the ones that no one wants” .

Today as I reflect on one of our most powerful services to date and I read through prayer cards, I can’t help but thank God for answering our prayers. Now if you go to Lifepoint, don’t think that I am dissing you. The statement and the prayer are in reference to people that have been thrown under the bus, rejected, hurt, people with addictions, anger problems, social issues, etc. I would pretty much say that this list is a good description of Lifepoint Church.

The world may have given up on these people, their families may have given up on them and their friends may have given up on them but the truth is that God hasn’t and He is just getting started with these folks. That’s the beautiful part of the story. Our church is so full of potential and full of people that are truly being change by the love of Christ that it makes me crazy excited.

I can’t wait to see this group of Lifepointer’s fully engaged in God’s plan for their lives. It’s going to be awesome!

Wing Contest, Chili Eating, Men Connecting

We had a mens connection event last night for our men to get plugged into groups. It was a blast. We had about 12 different kinds of Chili, Wii Games, Cornhole, and a wing eating contest. I am embarassed that I finished last but I think that my pace would have smoked these guys if we would have went for five minutes. Plus my bones were completely clean, the other guys left enough meat to feed Leland.

Sunday Night Recap

Since Pastor Jeff is in Brazil here is my take on this Sunday at Lifepoint.

  • It was incredible!
  • The vibe at Lifepoint right now is awesome. God is doing something cool in peoples lives!
  • Our children’s director twittered this today- “I love that kids come up asking if there is anything they can do to help serve…never to young for that servants heart! Love it!” and she is right. There were kids from 6-10 years old breaking down chairs and pulling cases out. How awesome.
  • The band was off the hook. Patrick, Jeff, Becca and the gang brought it.
  • The message today was so stinking practical and you can sense that this group of Lifepointers are on the edge of something BIG in their walk with Christ and their lives.
  • We had Wayne Cordeiro in the house today via video and he brought it.
  • We had a church plant group in the house today that will be planting in Florida. Church planters excite me.
  • We have spotlighted the ARC (Association of Related Churches) all month as one of our strategic ministry partners. I cry every time I watch a video about people moving to cities where they know no one and have a heart to reach everybody there. I love the ARC.
  • We have invested a lot money and sweat into our sound system over the last month and it shows.
  • We missed Pastor Jeff and Drew this week, however the Dream Team didn’t let up or back down with them gone! BTW word is that Pastor Jeff and the Gospel For Brazil team are kicking tail for Jesus in Ubauna.
  • We bought 60 Unleash Conference tickets for our Dream Team and they’re all gone!!
  • If you didn’t hear the message this week, you need to listen to it online and then you need to go to lifejournal.cc and dive into your Bible like never before. For real!!
  • February 8th is coming and it is going to be awesome (3rd anniversary, newcomers and kids baptism).
  • We sent a bunch of chicks to Clayton tonight to experience Christine Cain. Can’t wait to hear all about it.
  • Pray for Pastor Jeff this week. He is speaking each night in Ubauna, Brazil.
  • That’s all for now.