4 Keys to a Successful Devotional Time

Ok, let’s begin by defining ‘Successful.’

For the purpose of this blog post, a ‘Successful’ devotional time is one that actually happens and is intentional. It also lays the foundation for us to more easily experience something God has for us that day.

Here we go…

Eliminate distractions | I’m a little ADD, so it doesn’t take much for my attention to get notifs offhijacked. If you can relate, you might want to try some things that have worked for me. Listen to instrumental music using headphones. Use a room or space where others are not present. Mute your phone and set it face down. Or if you use your phone for your devotion time, turn all of your notifications off. Set it to ‘Do Not Disturb.’ If you’re using a laptop, close all tabs for things like email and Facebook. They alert you when a new message arrives.

 

Make a plan | Treat this like an appointment. Set a time and stick to it. I’ve even placed calendarit on my calendar before.  And if you plan to journal, will it be paper or online? What will you journal? Planning ahead before your devotional time helps it to occur more smoothly.

 

Come prepared | Determine in advance what scriptures you will be biblereading. What Bible translation will you use? Do you prefer using a physical Bible, or an App like Youversion? Any devotional books or podcasts? Oh, and don’t forget your favorite coffee!

 

 

 

Include prayer | Woman with bibleThis may sound unambivalent, but I’ve found this piece to be something that can be easily overlooked. I almost always try to open my devotional time with God in prayer. Asking him to speak clearly to me through the passages I’ll be reading and for his Spirit to guide me to the areas of scripture I need to reflect on that day. Doing this also helps me to focus my attention on the things of God and away from the issues, errands, and concerns I’ll be facing later.

All 4 of these keys have the makings for a strong, successful daily habit of spending some valuable time with God. Now, this list is obviously not comprehensive, it won’t guarantee your salvation, and it’s not going to ensure a euphoric connection with God every day!

But here’s what it does do! It provides a basic foundation for us to grow in our relationship with Jesus that otherwise becomes virtually impossible.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. – Psalm 119:15

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. – Romans 8:5

What KEYS would you add? Has this been helpful to you? Feel free to leave a comment or DM me.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

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Discover Just One Word To Give You Focus In 2019

(updated for 2019)

Below is the same post I wrote a year ago. Why? Because as I was praying/pondering what my ONE WORD might be for the New Year I quickly realized that my word for 2018 needs a second year to run strong. So, I’ve modified this post for 2019. I hope it inspires you to discover your word.

During the time of the New Year, many of us ponder things we would like to BEGIN doing versus those things we desperately want to STOP. Those things have historically been referred to as resolutions.

The problem with resolutions, as you know, is they tend to only last a few short weeks or months before we fail and ultimately forget them for the remainder of the year.

For this reason I gave up completely on New Year resolutions. About seven years ago I discovered a much better replacement.

OneWord365

OneWord365 is both a CONCEPT and COMMUNITY. It is simple and powerful. The idea is to come up with just one single word that will ultimately be your theme for the entire next year. One word to focus on, to offer regular direction and reflection for your priorities. And there is an ever-growing Facebook Community where you can share your struggles, victories, and dreams around your one word.

That said, I’d like to expand on MY one word for 2019.

Moments graphic.PNG

Yep, MOMENTS! Not allowing those seemingly insignificant daily interactions and experiences to pass by unnoticed. Things like taking note of special, quiet moments with Jesus. Fully being in the ‘moment’ when with my family.

When I’m at the gym I’m focused on exercise. I’m not taking phone calls or replying to texts or emails.

I listen to music through my earbuds when having my quiet time. Our home often has a lot going on. Putting my earbuds in accomplishes two things. 1) It keeps me from being distracted by all that is going on around me, and 2) It is also a subtle way of letting my family know that I don’t want to be disturbed.

So, I simply want to be dedicated in the MOMENT of whatever I’m doing. In the past, I’ve learned that being too busy creates distractions. At the end of the day I could think back over my day and literally have no memory of 40 – 60 percent of what I actually did!

That’s a problem.

Here’s to a 2019 with focus that is also memorable.  How about you?

Comments and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

 

 

Pause, Priorities, & Purpose

Do you ever feel like the picture below?  Too many things (projects, ideas, tasks, relationships) going on at once?

balance

Me too!  There are seasons in all of our lives when we need to work really hard and multitask through it all to accomplish something.  But, there are also other seasons in which we need to PAUSE enough to evaluate our current PRIORITIES to make sure we are still on course with our PURPOSE in life.

Sometimes this means temporarily giving up things we enjoy to put more focus on the most important things.  For most of us, this moment becomes pretty obvious once we take on one more thing that threatens the balance of all of it.

Recently, my wife and I decided to take a huge step of faith and co-write our first book!  It will be about living a life of faith and healthy service in the Church while continuing to nourish a thriving marriage and home life.   Personally, I am also working, finishing up my Sociology degree online, and starting a church leadership consulting ministry.

Unfortunately, this means I need to take a break from blogging for a while.  This blog is more for me than anyone else.  It’s been like a journal.  But for those who read it, I do encourage you to stay connected with me on social media.  I’m much more active in these places anyway.   The book is scheduled to be complete by the first part of 2017.

Follow me at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Enough about me.  What about you?  Is your current balancing act going well, or are there ‘plates‘ as risk of crashing to the ground?

Please comment below or interact where you saw it posted.

 

photo credit: http://www.lcius.com 

 

 

Keep It Stupid Simple

You and I tend to overcomplicate our purpose…calling…life mission…and our OneWord365 of focus for the year.  Do you agree?

I blogged about my OneWord for 2016 back at the end of December.  Here it is:

CALLED…

That’s my OneWord.  And for me it’s a reminder of the specific journey God has planned for me to embark on.  I said ‘YES’ to him years ago, but recently I have found myself having to recommit.  Having to make a cognitive choice to speak the word ‘YES’ yet again to him.  Why?

I have been in vocational ministry and leadership for the past 15 years.  Though I am 100% confident I am still in his will, I have recently transitioned to working as a Barista and rebranding myself as a life coach and social media manager.  Folks, that a big change!  And if I’m going to be gut-level authentic with you, December and January were dark months containing very little joy and hope.  Thankfully, I realized that I had lost sight of my calling and taken my attention off of my OneWord.

“Self-awareness is a gift of wisdom”

simplestupid.001

Here are 3 tips for keeping YOUR OneWord ‘stupid simple’ in 2016:

  1. Stay active in the OneWord365 Facebook community | I’ve dropped the ball here too.  Set daily or weekly reminders on your mobile device if you have to.  But visit the group regularly.  Leave comments.  Read about the journeys of others.  The successes and rough spots of others can offer powerful encouragement and even new ideas.
  2. Keep your OneWord in front of you | Create a word picture or graphic of your OneWord.  Make it a screen saver on your laptop, phone, and tablet.  Write it on your vanity mirror with a dry erase marker or wet chalk pen.
  3. Record your journey | Writing down our thoughts and emotions can be so empowering.  Personally, writing on my blog is my canvas.  Buy a physical journal or diary, use Evernote.  Here’s an idea for you creatives who don’t like writing.  Start a podcast!  Or how about broadcasting on Periscope?

Whatever you do, set yourself up for success and keep it simple.  Start small.

How about you?  Have you overcomplicated your OneWord?  Leave a comment below.  In what ways can you take steps to overSIMPLIFY it this week.  Seriously, let’s do this together.

My One Word For 2016 Is…

…CALLED…

As I was praying and thinking about this next year, words like accomplish, persist, achieve, optimism, and consistency made their way to my notepad.  Then, ‘Purpose’ popped up.  Next, a very familiar piece of scripture came through my quiet time.  Maybe you’re familiar with it as well?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are CALLED according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Called OneWord365

That word, CALLED, seemed to jump right out and hit me between the eyes.  And that’s exactly what our One Word should do.

Let me flesh this out a bit (more for me than anyone else).

Romans 8 reminds me that I am CALLED according to His purpose.  I am CALLED by God, and His purposes are my calling.  As I meditated through this today the Lord lovingly reminded me that my present situation is indeed still within His calling for me.

I am CALLED… to constantly abide in him.

I am CALLED…to reflect the love and character of God at all times.

I am CALLED…to be the spiritual leader of my wife and kids.

I am CALLED…to teach, equip, and encourage church leadership (whatever that might look like).

I am CALLED…to obedience.

Now it’s your turn.  What’s your One Word for the coming year?  How do you plan to focus your efforts for maximum growth?

Visit my previous post for help/tips on isolating your One Word.  I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog.  We can stay connected through the year regarding our commitment to our One Word, and I’ll send you my first eBook on accomplishing your goals!

Comments are always welcome.  God bless and have an incredible 2016.

3 Things To Always And Never Do In Leadership

“I will NEVER be that kind of leader.”

“I will ALWAYS lead with the utmost integrity in my church.”

We’ve all heard it said, “Never say ALWAYS or NEVER.”  And I think there is some wisdom in that.  These words can easily set us up for major failure.

Never and Always.001

In the right context, however, ALWAYS and NEVER can be incredibly useful for staying focused and intentional with who we desire to become and what we hope to accomplish in the future.

Here are 3 things I suggest we ALWAYS and NEVER do in leadership:

1. ALWAYS do your best | Our work effort should be high and directed toward God (Col. 3:23).  This also creates solid character.

2. ALWAYS forgive yourself when you fail | You and I are going to fail.  It’s inevitable.  But if we don’t learn from our mistakes, give ourselves grace and move on…we will end up self-destructing.  Give each new day a clean slate (Lam. 3:22-23).

3. ALWAYS look for the good in everyone | Noticing the positive traits in others (and acknowledging them) encourages and builds others up.  Who doesn’t need more of that?  This also changes the way we view people for the better.


1. NEVER Give up | You and I lose sight of our goals, hopes, dreams, and reason for living when we give up (1 Cor. 9:24).  When you feel like giving up, seek a mentor immediately.  Work through it with someone.

2. NEVER neglect your priorities | Relationship with Jesus, family, personal health, rest, and growth.  These are some of examples.  Whatever yours are, keep them in front of you at all times (Luke 12:34).  Examine them to see how you are doing.

3. NEVER lose sight of your calling | This one helps us to avoid giving up.  Whatever God has called you to, do it well (Eph. 4:1).  He believes in you.

What would you add to this list?

Join the discussion and leave a comment below.

God says, “Quit!”

macIn Mac language we could even say, ‘Force Quit.’  Why?  Because this subject is not easy.  It takes determination and a thought out plan.
Here are some practical reasons for having a day of rest (a Sabbath).

1.  God did it.

His example should be good enough for us.  Period!

2.  God asks tells us to.

Its a simple question of obedience.  As followers, we don’t get to pick and choose when we listen to Him.  God’s not an egotistical power-monger.  He always has reasons behind what He tells us…and we need to be OK with not always understanding those reasons.

3.  We are not God…we need the rest.

Whether you work the ticket booth at the local cinema or you’re the CEO of a major corporation…you CAN take one day a week to NOT work.  Screen your calls, mute your smart phone, don’t check emails, stay away from the office.  Failure to do this WILL cause problems for you down the road.

4.  It says a lot about our priorities when we observe a real day of rest.

 Taking a weekly Sabbath day demonstrates commitment to God, our family, and our own spiritual health.  And if you’re a pastor, it models a good example to your staff and church body.
Now, make a list of all the reasons that are keeping you from having a day of rest, rejuvenation, and awareness of God’s blessings  in your life.  Take that list to God in prayer and devise a plan to work past them.
What could you benefit from setting aside one complete day for this kind of rest?
Leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you.