Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

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“Another Year” – Jan. 1

January 1, 2019

“And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.”  Genesis 1:3

Another year has passed.  Another year is upon us.  The flow of time creates natural opportunities for retrospection and planning.  The first day of a new year seems like just a division, natural or otherwise, to review the year that has been and plan for the one to come.

I enjoy the optimism of considering what I want to do and become in the coming year and then creating the goals to make that happen.  All things seem possible on January 1st even though I know that they are not.  My lists of goals are too long.  I can’t possibly achieve all that I want to accomplish within a year.  There will be some goal that have to be sacrificed.  Therefore, I have to prioritize my goals.  I have to determine what comes first.

Prioritizing goals is a wonderful sieve of desires.  What can I live without?

I live a life of abundance.  My problems are only problems in my world.  The inhabitants of the vast majority of the world will view my problems as blessings. So, I sieve.  I sieve my hopes and dreams through the screen of “what I can live without”.

This process quickly reveals the gems of my life.  It also reveals that we are not that far removed from the low tiers of a hierarchy closely resembling the construct of Abraham Maslow.  I can get a little apocalyptic when taking my thought experiment to the extreme.

However, have you ever considered what your basic physiological needs, safety, food, water, shelter, etc., are?  As in any good apocalypse movie (other than the Matrix), mankind can be very resilient until you block out the sun.  Light is a basic physiological need.  The sun might be our essential physiological need.  Without the sun, we will have no food.  Without food, we will die.

My little thought experiment brought me back to my January 1st tradition of starting a new Bible reading plan.  As with any good Bible reading plan, it starts with Genesis 1 on January 1; “In the beginning…”

backlit clouds dawn dusk

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Consider what God did first in his order of creation.  He created the heavens and the earth.  God then created light.  God created the essences of life – light.  However, I don’t think that it was by accident that light was created before the sun and the moon.  God created light from himself.  He is the source of light and therefore the sustainer of life.  You can take  away the sun and the moon but that does not remove the light originating from God.  By the very order of creation, God holds all the essentials of our life including light.

Therefore, I can apply the most brutal of apocalyptic sieves, even the blotting out of the sun, and the final gem revealed is God.  I cannot live without God.

I believe the sweetest aspect of the New Year is the opportunity it avails us to evaluate all the blessings we have, even to the elemental levels of light, remembering how essential God is to our very existence.

He is the one  we cannot live without.

 

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for another year.  Thank you for all the blessings  you have shown me.  Forgive me for the poor priorities of last year.  Forgive me for forgetting to recognize my reliance upon you in all things.  I cannot live without you.  Lord, remind me of my need for you through this coming year.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“2014 Resolutions” – Dec 29

December 29, 2013

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”  1 Corinthians 13:13-14:1

A year is an effective measurement of time.  It is long enough to accomplish difficult tasks and make marked improvements.  Yet, it is short enough that you can actually remember its beginning.  This makes a year the perfect period of time for resolution making.

Goal setting has become a necessity for me.  I am not a free-spirit.  I can’t afford to be a free-spirit.  I am not naturally talented; I have never been the bright student; nor have people whispered of my gifts while watching me.  Very few things, other than lethargy, have ever come easy for me.

I am a grinder.  I have been blessed with some tenacity.  I have learned that I can accomplish most goals once I incorporate that objective into my routine.  However, no goal will ever be accomplished if you don’t have a reasonable and rational strategy to achieve it.  I have found that if you have enough time, a goal is achievable, and you have a good strategy, then you can usually accomplish it if you are willing to grind away.  This video sums up my approach to the difficult things I hope to accomplish.

Welcome to the Grind

Here are my goals and strategies for 2014:

 BOOKS
(I did not read the books that I had hoped to read this last year.  There are few things more edifying to me than reading so I want to be intentional about making time to read.)

Bible

Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Extravagant Grace – Barbara Duguid
Religious Affections – Jonathan Edwards
Think – John Piper
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
Hole in our Holiness – Kevin DeYoung
The Cross of Christ – John Stott
Business for the Glory of God – Wayne Grudem
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1 – John Calvin
No Argument for God – John Wilkinson
(My goal is to read the works of one dead author for every live one.)

The Greater Journey – David McCullough
Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley
Jean Jacques Rousseau – Leo Damrosch

Robert Frost – Selected Poems

The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
The Nutmeg of Consolation – Patrick O’Brian
Renegade – Ted Dekker
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Strategy:
Read my Bible every day – stay on my reading plan; all other reading will be suspended until I am caught up.
Make book time greater than TV time.
Read some portion of a book daily.
Read a poem every other day.

MEMORIZATION
(I wanted to memorize Romans 8 last year; I blogged about in “Will You Train with Me”.   I struggled when I got up to 23 verses and then gave up.  So, I want to give it another run this year.)

Goal – Memorize all of Romans 8

Memorization Strategy:
Recite the passage on the way to work.
Recite the passage on the way home from work.
Use ScriptureTyper.  (Kindly recommended by Shawn Martin at Shawn’s Journal )

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE
(I feel like the most lacking area of my spiritual life is prayer.  Therefore, I want to take a year and focus on communing with God.  I want prayer to constant and as natural as breathing.)

Goal – Be a man of prayer.

Spiritual Discipline Strategy:
Set aside time every day for a minimum of 15 minutes in prayer.
Have my prayer journal by my bedside.
Ask for prayer requests from my family.
Intentionally slow my decision making to allow for prayer.

WRITING
(Writing has become a blessing beyond my expectation.  I am humbled that after a door of ministry as a pastor was closed that an avenue in blogging would open.  I am so very thankful to all who have shown the kindness to read my writing.)

Blog
Write 325 blog posts (currently at 420 posts);
Increase to 3,000 followers (currently at 2,127)

Book
I would like to write a book… but not ready to make that a goal.  I keep it as a dream for now.

Writing Strategy:
Write concisely; keep blog posts between 800-900.
Write a devotional blog every two days.
Respond within three days to comments.
Read WordPress blogs daily.
Follow the advice of C.S. Lewis:  “In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.””  C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Children

WEIGHT
(I really don’t want to pack 14 extra pounds around the Boise Ironman course or up the second summit of the 4 Summit Challenge.)

Goal – 186 lbs by June; currently 200 lbs

Weight Strategy:
Ordered P90X3
Continue triathlon training
Eat less than 2,000 calories a day; loaded app to track food consumption.

 ATHLETIC

Tour of Ontario Cycling – March
2014 Time Trial Goal – Age group top 10
2014 Road Race Goal – Age group top 20

Camel’s Back Duathlon (Long Course: 5K- 30K-5K) – May
2014 Goal – 1 hours 50 minutes; Age group top 3

Ironman 70.3 Boise – June 7
2014 Goal:  5 hours 30 minutes; Age group top 20

Spudman Triathlon Boise (Olympic) – July
2013 Finish – 2 hours 51 minutes 37 seconds
2014 Goal – 2 hours 45 minutes; Age group top 3

4 Summit Challenge – July 26
2014 Goal – 6 mph up second summit

Emmett’s Most Excellent Triathlon (Olympic)– August 9
2013 Finish – 2 hours 42 minutes 10 seconds
2014 Goal – 2 hours 35 minutes; Age group podium

Pedal for Patients (Century Ride) – August 23
2014 Goal – 20 mph average

Ontario Aquatic Triathlon (Sprint) – September
2013 Finish – 1 hour 7 minutes 3 seconds
2014 Goal – 59 minutes 59 seconds

Run for the Hills Half Marathon – October
Goal – 1 hour 58 minutes; Age group top 15

Athletic Strategy:
Follow training plan at 18 Week Half Ironman
Ride once a week with local cycling club.
Run once a week with Meet Me on Monday club.

The above list is what I came up with for 2014 and then I read Jon Bloom’s excellent blog on Desiring God entitled Your Most Courageous Resolution for 2014 .  I felt his challenge to “make 2014 a year where we pursue love with more intentionality than we ever have before”.  I looked at the above list of goals and strategies and realized that it was lacking a key category.

I have goals and strategies that I believe with help me pursue a love of God with intentionality.  However, I did not have goals or strategies to help me pursue a love of my neighbor.  I know how important loving my neighbor is.  Jon Bloom helped me to remember that I need to be intentional about the second greatest commandment.

I considered many possible goals to help me pursue a love for my neighbor.  In all honesty, I do not want to do any of them.  Most of the goals that come to mind also turn my stomach.  The above list of goals and strategies are all things I want to do.  In fact, I have already started in on all of them because I find enjoyment in every category.  Many of the goals in the “love your neighbor” category, represent sheer obligation.

I found myself questioning my obedience and asking God to change my personality.  I then remembered something that I had written… it is always odd when a past post  preaches to the present you.  I was reminded that I am who God created.  Allow me to introduce myself once again, “Hello my name is JD and I’m an introvert.”

God loves a cheerful giver.  That means that we need to be obedient to God’s commandments with a joyful heart and not out of sheer obligation.  I can grind out in obedience the actions of love for my neighbor but that will not be a pleasant smelling offering – to my neighbor or God.

God could change me into an extrovert but until then I am going to follow a reasonable and rational strategy to pursue a love for my neighbor that glorifies God.

LOVE MY NEIGHBOR

Goal – That those who are in my life will experience the love of God.

Love Strategy:
Write; share with others what God has shown me in His word.
Encourage; write at least one note of encouragement per week.
Start a home Bible Study in January – actually invite people to it.

I conclude this list with advice from Julie Gillies in her blog How to Pray When You’re Setting Goals.  (Thanks to Julie Garro for posting the link on her Follow the Light blog)

“…goals that aren’t infused with and a result of prayer can lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment…
My goals must = God’s goals.”

PRAYER: O Lord, not my will but your will be done.  Father, examine and transform my thoughts so that they align with your thoughts, make my desires to be your desires and cause my goals to come from a heart eager to do your will.  Make the goals that are pleasing to you succeed and remove that which does not glorify your name.  Give me wisdom to recognize the plans that I need to relinquish and those I need to change.  I pray for this coming year that your name will be hallowed; that your kingdom will come and your will be done; I pray that you will provide for all my needs.  Father, help me to forgive and keep me from temptation.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

NOTE:  Sorry for the length of this post. I realize that I am not off to a good start with my strategy of shorter posts:)

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