We all have 168 hours that God has blessed us with this week. How will you use these hours? Look at the list below and write in how many hours will be needed this week for the following:
Sleep - ________
Exercise - ________
Family Time - _______
God Time - ______
Work - _______
Friend/Networking - ______
Prayer - ______
Child Sports - ______
Well, that's all, right? Or did I forget:
Netflix - ______
Social Media - ______
Video Game - ______
Fantasy Sports - ______
Shopping - ______
I could continue, but I'll stop there. With all of the options we face each day, how do we manage our time? Paul writes to the church at Corinth: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -- First Corinthians 10:31
Here are a few tips on managing the time God has blessed us with for His Glory.
Isaiah writes in Isaiah 55:8-9, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher then your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
We can rely on God's Wisdom by taking time at the beginning of each week and the beginning of each day asking Him to direct our steps and to grant wisdom to us in using the time He's given.
So, as we seek God's wisdom in how to use time, ask Him to remind us that time is a precious gift from Him.
Google Calendar - www.google.com/calendar
Asana - www.asana.com
Trello - www.trello.com
Wunderlist - https://www.wunderlist.com/
RescueTime - www.rescuetime.com
Do you struggle with time management? How are you currently working on managing your 168 hours?
My goal is to learn more about leadership daily. Here are a few of the principles I've learned over the past five years along with a few people I've been learning from recently:
1.. Be a Follower - In order to be a leader, I must first learn how to follow. Here are some people I currently learn from (a distance):
3. Be a Thinker - This is very new to me in the area of leadership. I enjoy thinking, but I often become so focused on 'tasks' that I fail to stop and think. So, I have learned to schedule blocks of time to think. Here are a few areas I am seeking to grow:
When I think - I take time to think in the mornings, before anyone else is awake in my home. I spend time reading, in prayer, reflecting on God's Kindness, then I simply think. There's nothing specific I think about, but I just let my thoughts begin and then apply Second Corinthians 10:5 and make sure my thoughts are in obedience to Christ.
Think Big - This one is a struggle for me, but I'm trying to learn this principle. In all areas that I lead, whether it's in ministry, home or the community, I am trying to think 'Big' in all things. Again, I am still learning with this principle. Do you have any thoughts on thinking big in leadership?
I'd love to hear what you have been learning about leadership. Comment below.
Jesus said in John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me."
The Jews were trying to kill Jesus because He was breaking their Sabbath laws and also calling God His own Father. Jesus begins to tell them about the many different witnesses to the truth of who He is. The witness of John, the witness of His works, the witness of the Father, and here, the witness of the Scriptures.
When talking about the Scriptures, Jesus is talking about the Old Testament. Instead of seeking life in the rules and regulations the Jews had added to the Law of God, Jesus tells them the Law points the people to Himself. True life is found in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures should direct us toward Him.
As I read through the Bible, I ask myself these three questions:
1. What does this passage tell me about God?
2. How does this passage show me Jesus?
3. How can I now live for the glory of God because of this passage?
If the Scriptures testify about Christ, then I need to read the Scriptures with this in mind. As I grow in knowledge of God and knowing Him through Christ, then this same message must go forth to those God has called me to lead and teach.
Do you have a specific Bible reading method you use?
One of my favorite aspects of pastoral ministry is the preparation of the lesson or sermon. Depending on the week, there could be three to four lessons per week that need to be prepared. However, there's always the 'growing' to-do list. Here's a small sample of what my to-do list could look like after a typical Sunday morning:
Not only will I have four lessons to prepare for for the upcoming week, now I have an additional five things (on an easy Sunday). However, I often noticed that my list grows with each day of the week. Action items pile up and the next thing I know, I'm late with the annual review; I failed to call the key volunteer; I didn't make the 25 copies the first grade class needed; we go another Sunday without coffee during our Leadership Team prayer time; and the new Leadership Coach still doesn't have a job description.
After a few years of a growing to-do list and items not being completed, one of the ways I've found effective is to actually schedule my to-do list on an online calendar. Here's how it works:
1. Create an online calendar - I personally use Google Calendar. I have downloaded the app on my phone so I can see my calendar on my phone and also on a desktop computer.
2. Action Items - When an action item arises, I immediately find a time to plug it into my calendar. If I'm away from the office, I immediately take my phone, open the Google Calendar app and enter the task. If someone has asked me to do something for them, I ask them to stay with me while I enter the task into my phone/computer. If not, I can easily be tempted to do something else and forget to even enter the requested task on my calendar.
3. Priorities - Because I've already entered in the items that I feel are most important (at the end of the previous week), I am able to make sure that the to-do list doesn't take over my calendar. See www.drakecaudill.com/blogs/leadership-set-your-schedule
4, List - I still have a to-do list. But it's for long term items like long term ministry planning, programs and events. But for items that need immediate action, they are scheduled on my calendar.
For this season of life and ministry, this has been effective for me. What are some ways you deal with your to-do lists to make sure each item is completed?
First Peter 5:2 reads, "shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness..."
Over the past few months, I've been studying the letters by Peter. Here's a wonderful passage that I would like to take the next few weeks and walk through the passage and explore each word and/or phrase.
Here's the outline that will be used as we explore:
2. Dig Deeper
I'll tend to follow the example of John Calvin when writing about Scripture. As Bingham wrote, "When expounding Scripture, Calvin was remarkably straightforward and to the point. He did not launch his message with a captivating story, a compelling quote or a personal anecdote." www.ligonier.org/blog/10-distinguishing-marks-john-calvins-preaching/. Let's jump in.
Peter continues next by saying who they are shepherding, "The Flock of God". That's the passage we'll take a look at next time.
Do you have any thoughts about the shepherd?
God has called me to remind people of their chief end: To glorify God and enjoy Him. But in order to do this effectively, I have found that I need a plan - schedule. Here's how I set my weekly schedule:
1. Look ahead - I end each Thursday by looking ahead to the upcoming week. I look to see what's coming up with my family, personal and ministry calendar.
2. Priorities - If I'm not careful, I'll place my work ahead of my family and myself (sleep less, stress, etc.). So I begin placing what I consider are my most important items on my calendar. I understand that within ministry, emergencies will arise. So I am aware that my schedule can be changed. However, on a typical day/week, here's what I consider most important:
Over the years, taking time at the end of the week to plan the upcoming week actually frees me to do the work of the ministry. Yes, emergencies arise and I adjust for the sake of ministering to others. But it's then that I am blessed to remind others of our chief end. Not weekly agendas or a perfectly planned week, but our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him.
How do you plan your day/week?
Matthew 12:8, "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
"Rest" in society today seems to be absent from the vocabulary of many American's today. I often hear, "Rest? What is that?" or "I don't have time for rest!" Whether it is sports, continuing education, two/three sometimes four jobs, or volunteering, our schedules are so full of demands and tasks that rest is pushed aside. Even vacation schedules are so full that when families return, they often say "I need a vacation from my vacation!" Tablets and smart phones are beneficial, but they often cause distractions during scheduled rest breaks.
With all of the demands and distractions of our schedules, how can Christians rest? Is rest an Old Testament concept only? With that question in mind, let's turn our attention to what God says in the Bible.
1. Rest gives God glory: Exodus 20:8 states, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall work, but the seventh is a Sabbath unto the LORD your God. On it, you shall not do any work. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." The purpose of the Sabbath was a sign pointing to God and His work. The word 'Sabbath' means to cease or the stop. According to this verse, when we take the time to 'cease' from our work and rest, it is a reflection of our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.
Did God just run out of things to do, then took time to rest? No! This was part of His plan. God was pointing ahead to Christ and where true Rest is found. If God purposed time to rest, so should you and I. Plan time to stop/cease from your work with an understanding that your rest gives God glory. Obviously with an improper view of rest, we can take advantage of rest and become lazy and unproductive. But with a proper understanding of rest, we can rejoice knowing our rest isn't in vain, but a wonderful reminder of our Creator.
2. Jesus is Greater than the Sabbath: In the New Testament, the religious leaders had made the Sabbath more of a burden rather than a day of rest. When Jesus arrived, He declared that true rest is found in Him. Matthew 11:28 records Jesus as saying, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." A few verses later Jesus stated, "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." Here, Jesus is saying that true rest is found in Him. No longer should people try to enter God's rest with rules and regulations. But when we believe in Jesus Christ, we enter true rest.
In Hebrews, chapters three and four, a wonderful explanation of what this rest looks like is given. When we believe in the work of Christ, we enter in God's rest. Many of the Israelites did not enter God's rest because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:19). However, we still have the promise of entering God's rest through believing in Christ. When we enter God's rest, we cease from our own works (salvation by works). And the writer of Hebrews finishes by reminding us there remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).
So much more can be said about this rest. If you do not believe in Christ and you are reading this, it is important for you as well to rest from your work as well. Taking time to rest refreshes your body and reenergizes your mind. However, this will only last for a short time. For our body and mind is only temporary. True rest can be found by believing in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Father, those who believe in Your Son, Jesus, enter the rest that is only found in You. My prayer on this day is that those who read these words will see only You and will turn to You for their rest. For He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in You.
The Epistle To Diognetus
Possibly written around 150 A.D., this letter was written to explain the Christian faith in the second century. The letter explains the vanity of idols, Jewish superstitions, and other topics during this time period. The quote below is taken from chapter five titled, "The Manners of the Christians".
"The dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed, They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonored are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened to life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred."
Philippians 3:20, "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Be encouraged today that we are 'sojourners' in this world and that one day, we will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I continue to journey through Romans, I came across Romans 1:22-23. It reads, "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the Immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."
The 'glory of Immortal God' is what is rejected in this verse. What does the Bible say about the 'glory of the Immortal God'? Here are just a few references: Exodus 15:11, Psalm 19:1, Psalm 72:19, Isaiah 6:3, Isaiah 48:11 and Revelation 21:23. Each of these verses speak of the glory of God as awesome, light and filling the earth.
The word 'glory' is defined as splendor or bright. Those who reject God are rejecting His beauty and majesty and worshiping images. I look at this verse and think of the ocean. One of my favorite vacation destinations is anywhere ending with the word 'beach' (Myrtle Beach, Daytona Beach, Virginia Beach, etc.). How silly would it be for me to take one week off from work, drive to Florida, sit in a hotel with a picture (image) of the ocean hanging on the wall and never actually place one foot on the sandy shores? Yes, it would be silly.
When we enjoy the pleasures of sin, we are ultimately rejecting the source of Life. We do not simply reject the joys of our Creator, but we are rejecting our Creator Himself. We are saying 'No' to the One who created us and gave His Son so we could know know Him. We are also rejecting His Son, Christ Jesus who 'is the radiance of His glory'
-- Hebrews 1:3 -- and seek pleasure from images.
On the other hand, when we through the power of the Holy Spirit, reject sin and seek the 'glory of the Immortal God', we are filled with His presence. Our Father is with us and will never leave us or forsake us. Psalm 16:11 says, "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand."
Do you find yourself regularly seeking pleasure apart from God? Colossians 3:1, "Since, then, you have been raise with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." As believers, we can enjoy the 'glory of the Immortal God', the True Source of joy.
"What Are We Aiming For?"
Thomas Watson was a Puritan preacher who lived from 1620 to1686. He studied at Emmanuel College and was a pastor at St. Stephen's for sixteen years. Below is an excerpt from a sermon he preached titled "Man's Chief End is to Glorify God". For additional reading, follow the link posted below the article.
"Question: In how many ways may we glorify God?
Answer: One. It is glorifying God when we aim purely at his glory. It is one thing to advance God's glory, another thing to aim at it. God must be theTerminus ad quem, the ultimate end of all actions. Thus Christ, John 8:50, "I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him that sent me." A hypocrite has a crooked eye, for he looks more to his own glory than God's. Our Saviour deciphers such, and gives a caveat against them in Matthew 6:2, "when thou givest alms, do not sound a trumpet." A stranger would ask, "What means the noise of this trumpet?" It was answered, "They are going to give to the poor." And so they did not give alms, but sold them for honour and applause, that they might have glory of men; the breath of men was the wind that blew the sails of their charity; "verily they have their reward." The hypocrite may make his acquittance and write, "received in full payment." Chrysostom calls vainglory one of the devil's great nets to catch men. And Cyprian says, "whom Satan cannot prevail against by intemperance, those he prevails against by pride and vainglory." Oh let us take heed of self-worshipping! Aim purely at God's glory."
His conclusion to this sermon point is my prayer today, "Aim purely at God's glory."