Friday, January 09, 2015

A Productive Life

In 2006, I had the opportunity to go to Saddleback Church in Southern California for two seminars in one week.  In the process I had the privilege of meeting Rick Warren and seeing, first hand, His heart and passion, as well as sense the heart and passion of the people who make up the Saddleback flock.

For these reasons I am interested in Rick's view on a number of issues.  In one of his recent blogs, he give "9 Actions You must take to Reach Your Biggest Goals."  There are worth sharing with the few who read my writings.  If nothing else, browse the main points.  I pray that God will use these words to stir you to the life He WANTS YOU TO HAVE.
Rick says"

1. Determine your present position.

You can’t figure out where you want to go until you know where you already are. You’ve got to know your present position, your current condition. You have to know where you are right now.
Where am I now financially? Where am I now emotionally? Where am I now in my career or ministry? Where am I now relationally? Where am I now spiritually? What’s my GPS right now?
Then you want to ask yourself the question, What would I like to change? As long as you’re alive, as long as you’re breathing, as long as your heart is pumping blood you need a dream.

2. Describe exactly what you want.

I suggest you actually write it down on paper. What do I want to accomplish in the next ten years? Don’t be vague. Vague goals are never accomplished. The more specific you are the better. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. And it needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. It needs to be compelling.
To do that you have to ask four questions:
  • Whom do I want to BE?
  • What do I want to DO?
  • What do I want to HAVE?
  • WHY do I want it?
At Saddleback, we’ve set enormous, huge goals for our church in every decade – in the eighties, in the nineties, in the two thousands and now in the two thousand tens. And every time we’ve set these enormous goals, we’ve had no idea how we were going to accomplish them. God has shown us the ‘how’ once we understood the ‘why.’
Never confuse decision making with problem solving. If you try to solve every problem first, you’ll never get ahead; you’ll never move forward.

3. Find a promise from God.

At this step you don’t focus on your problems. There will be problems in reaching your goal. You focus on the promises, not the problems. Otherwise you’re just filled with fear.
Dozens of times in Scripture, God says “I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you. I’m going to be with you everywhere you go.” You may not feel God’s presence but there is never a time in your life when God is not with you. You need to plug in to that power. You need to realize what is a reality, and the reality is you are never alone. God is already in the future. He already knows everything that’s going to happen. He’s already been there. He’s not surprised or shocked. God is with you every moment of your day. You’re just not tuned in.
The size of your God will determine the size of your goal. If you’ve got a puny (view of) God you’re going to have puny goals. If you’ve got a big God you’re going to have big goals. It’s not me putting faith in myself; it’s me putting my faith in God and his promises. And his promises say ask for anything!

4. Ask God for help.

Is it ok to pray for success? Obviously. What’s the alternative? “God, make me a failure.” Of course God wants you to be all he made you to be. Of course God wants you to develop the talents He’s given you. Of course God wants to bless you so you can be a blessing to other people. When your success helps others and when your success honors God, you’d better be praying for it!
The Bible says this in Hebrews 4, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. [in other words when we pray] There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us [remember ask God to help you] when we need it.” So you need to pray.
Are you praying about your goals? Are you praying about your dreams? Are you praying about your vision? Are you talking to God about them? Your prayer reveals two things. First, it reveals how serious you are about your dreams. If you’re not asking God for this to happen in your life, you don’t really care about it that much. It’s not a real deep desire. It’s just a whim. It also reveals how much you’re depending on God. If you never pray about it, you’re depending only on yourself.
In the second part of this article, I’m going to address the other five actions for reaching your goals, and it starts with sizing up the barriers.
Start thinking and praying through your goals now!

5. Identify the barriers.

Identify the barriers between you and your goal, between you and your vision, between you and your dream for the next year or two or ten years of your life. The question you want to ask is this: Why don’t I have it already?
There may be relational problems, financial barriers, or educational barriers. There may be emotional barriers that keep you from your dream. A lot of people sabotage their own success because they don’t feel they deserve it.
Faith says, yes I see the problem but I believe God is bigger than the problem. Faith doesn’t deny the problem, it just believes God is bigger than those roadblocks.

6. Create a step by step plan.

To reach your goals, you must plan it one step at a time. You need to think through a course of action. A plan has three parts.
  • A plan has steps.
  • A plan has deadlines.
  • A plan has a schedule.
A goal is worthless until you get it on your schedule because everything eventually deteriorates into work. Eventually you have to wake up from your dream and go to work. So you want to ask yourself two questions as you make a plan. Where do I want to be? And How am I going to get there?

7. Be patient and persistent.

The reason why you have to be patient and persistent is because it isn’t going to happen overnight. The bigger your goal, the longer it will take. The more significant your goal, the more time and energy will be involved.
Too many people set their goals too low and try to accomplish them too quickly. We overestimate what we can do in a year but we underestimate what we can do in ten. I suggest you set big goals and then take a long time to reach them.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. Successful people often do things they don’t feel like doing. Unsuccessful people always do what they feel.

8. Enlist a team for support.

You’re never going to reach your goal on your own. You’re never going to fulfill your vision by yourself. Success is never, never, never a one man show. It takes teamwork. It takes cooperation. If you want to go you’ve got to go with other people.
Why are other people so important to your goals? Because God wants to teach you how to love other people, which is more important than what you accomplish.

9. Pay the price.

There’s always a price tag for fulfilling a dream. There’s always a price tag, a cost for reaching every goal. Never desire the success of another person without first finding out what they gave up for it.
The only thing free in life is salvation, because Jesus paid for our sins to be forgiven when He died on the cross. All you have to do is accept that gift by faith. You can’t work for it, earn it, deserve it. You just say God, thank you for sending your Son to die for me on the cross to pay for all my sins. It’s already been paid for. It’s a free gift. It cost Jesus his life. But for everything else you want to accomplish, there’s a price tag.
Great goals require great sacrifice – of time, of money, of energy, of reputation. As you set goals and count the cost, you need to ask three big questions:
  • What will it cost me?
  • What am I willing to give?
  • Is the cause worth the cost?
Living life, especially living a life of faith, is NOT a solo event.  As difficult as it is for some to face up to, "We need each other."  This is our divine design.  There are no "Lone Rangers" in the work of God's Kingdom - and even if there were, every Lone Ranger needs a Tonto! 

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