GRACE Gets Things Done

5 Steps to Getting Things Done for God's Glory

GRACE

“I don’t need to be productive, I need to be Godly.”  That is a constant refrain I get from church planters that I coach.  They want to read their bible, prepare sermons, and hang out in coffee shops.  There is nothing wrong with those things, but the work of church planting is SOOOO much more than that and requires productivity.  I try to remind them that the grace that saves and sanctifies us also works in us to be productive.

Remember 1 Corinthians 15:10:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 

 

God’s grace towards us causes us to be Godly and that includes being productive for God’s glory.

The Origin of My System

I became a Christian when I was 16, a week before my 17th birthday. I started a bible study at my high school. Through that I felt called into ministry.  I told my parents, they told me they disagreed. The next year, my senior year, we started the bible study again and saw 30 people cross the line of faith and connect to a church. I talked to my parents again about going to pursue a bible degree and they relented.  They said I had to go to an extraordinarily conservative Christian college. I didn’t know anything about the school, but was just excited to go.

When I showed up on campus for freshman orientation I was given a student handbook, no big deal. Every place has rules. Then I got the dorm handbook.  I thought sure there are extra rules it’s a Christian school. Then I got a society handbook, then we got a sports handbook then we got a chapel rules sheet then another rule book for student government.

Then I learned that I was accountable for all the rules before classes started. That’s when demerits would start. I asked what demerits were. They explained the what happened.

  • 75 Demerits = Socialed.  Essentially, no contact with the opposite sex on campus.
  • 100 Demerits = Campused.  Students at this level weren’t allowed off campus except for church or approved ministry.
  • 150 Demerits = Expelled.  If you got to 150 demerits in a semester you were out.

Time to Get Serious

That’s when I got serious. I needed to get out, but needed the degree.  I figured my shelf life there may be 4 years but more likely I’d blow up by then. So one Friday night I sold out to the idea: I must graduate in 3 years. I sat down with the course books, an outdated idea today, and started looking and working.  I went through multiple iterations, but by bed time (yes that was a real thing) I’d worked it out.

I started in the fall of 1999 and in June of 2002 I graduated with a BA in Bible and a double minor in Counseling and Computer Science without any debt. How?  I learned the importance of envisioning a goal and attacking it.  Since then I’ve developed a way to attack any problem.

Church planting is one giant cornucopia of problems to solve.  My system has gotten a workout over and over again as we planted our church.  It has been tested and we’ve found it to be a helpful tool as we deal with problem solving inside of CityView.

The Productive GRACE system for problem solving and planning

1) Get serious about the vision

  • Ask: What is the preferred reality?
  • Write out what it looks like. This doesn’t need to be complete, but what would it look like if the problem was solved. Frequently, the biggest issue with dealing with a problem is clearly seeing what it should look like.  We get caught up with 1000 “what if” scenarios and that is counterproductive.  Sit down and write out what the problem would look like if it were solved.

2) Required resources 

  • Ask: What resources do I need to accomplish this vision?
  • Assemble the named resources. Do you need leaders?  Do you need tools?  Do you need advice?  Who do you need advice from?  You want to get the resources together to solve the problem.

3) Author a plan

  • Ask: What does this look like specifically.
  • Write down a specific plan. This is taking the preferred reality and flushing it out. Put it down on paper or your digital note taking software.  If it is a large plan consider using milestones and due dates.  Make a timeline and begin to implement the plan.

4) Consistently execute the plan

  • Ask: What do I need to DO right now to make this plan move forward?
  • Keep asking this question repetitively. In church planting, problems are sometimes quick fixes, but are frequently long term and require consistently asking the question, what do I need to do today to make sure that the plan is being carried out.

5) Effectively adapt to changes

  • Ask: What are the changes that are taking place that could change my plan?
  • Things happen.  Change is going to be necessary along the way. As a church planter it feels like as soon as you have a plan down some dynamic changes.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a plan.  It just means that you figure out how to account for it.

 

I thought it might be helpful to share a problem that we were facing earlier this year and how we worked through it using this GRACE method.

 

The Problem: We were dealing with a lack of communication from our staff.  When we did communicate it would be through a massive group text message with 8 people on it.  This was a huge thread of gifs, emojis, real issues to deal with, and inside jokes. Further, we couldn’t keep track of answers, who was doing what, and when assignments were due.  The thread was entertaining, but painfully inefficient.

The problem was exacerbated because we only had a very small office and mostly volunteer or VERY part-time staff with limited time availability.  I wasn’t sure what our staff was doing day-to-day.  I didn’t want to micromanage, but I did want to make sure they were working and accomplishing their area of ministry.

We weren’t communicating effectively and our conversations weren’t logged in a way that we could go back and find our questions and answers well.

I broke it down like this:

  • The Preferred Reality:

    We needed a way to communicate and collaborate as a staff on a daily basis without having to be physically present with each other. We also needed a way to catalog the conversations we were having so we could find our decisions, assignments, and plans.  I’m a techie and had an inkling that the easiest way to solve this problem was through an app that might enable threaded communication.  The preferred reality was to find an app that solved our communication issues.

  • The Required Resources:

    I talked to our staff and shared the problem and got their input. I also talked to several other church planter friends who were in similar situations and found out what they were doing to overcome the problem.  Additionally, I did a google search to find apps that were collaborative communication tools.  One resource came up over and over again as useful tool, Slack.  I downloaded the app and did some YouTube training on it.

  • Author a Plan:

    The plan was simple. Everyone download the app and move all staff communications to Slack.  This meant setting up multiple channels for our staff communication.  We setup the channels that made sense to us: worship, groups, video production, finance, etc.  This was the only place where we wanted these conversations to take place.   The only people in those channels were those who were necessary to the conversation.

  • Consistently Execute the Plan:

    This was slightly more difficult. We had lived in the text world for 3 years.  That was what we were used to.  We still were texting on the thread.  I had to effectively shut that thread down.  Whenever anyone would text there about a church related issue I’d text back, “SLACK!”  Within about a month all of our church related conversations were moved.  Occasionally, people still revert to texting.  They still get the familiar “SLACK!” comment and I receive a notification in Slack with a tongue in cheek apology.

  • Effectively Adapt to Changes:

    As we used the app we saw a need for multiple conversations and for some to be hidden. Not everyone needed to know what was going on in each thread.  Some of them needed to be locked down.  We developed new channels and discovered the way to make certain channels private.  This change made private and sensitive communication possible for us.

 

Conclusion

This is just one example of a way that we have utilized the GRACE system to solve problems in our ministry.  I use the same system to create annual goals, address confusing situations, and stay focused on what’s next while working towards our vision.  Whether you are trying to wrap up a degree early, deal with a staff issue, or just address become more productive the GRACE system can work for you.

Hurricane Response – “We Are Better Together”

Better TogetherBetter Together

One of the most encouraging things I’ve seen over the past several days is the churches in our city working together to meet needs and love on people.

Here are a few of the amazing things I’ve seen:

  • In my city of Pearland the churches have procured a 200,000 sq ft warehouse to be a centralized hub for food, water, toiletry, and cleaning supply donation.  We’ve had an amazing pallet business in Florida donate 26 pallets stocked with food, water, toiletries, and cleaning supplies.  Many other churches have made similar donations.
  • Churches are working together to help the community with ZERO thought to who is getting the credit.  This is most easily seen as teams go house to house ripping out carpet and drywall.  If one church’s list is full then they ask another church to grab it and… THEY DO.
  • Our church meets in a school.  The schools are closed until at least Tuesday.  That would mean that we wouldn’t have a place to meet for two a second week in a row.  This could be very difficult for our young church both spiritually and financially.  A local church opened it’s doors to us meeting there this Sunday morning.
  • CityView Church got to buy supplies for several distribution centers that were in need of cleaning supplies and gift cards for gas and groceries.

We really are better together.  This is a wonderful picture of the gospel that we are seeing ministered in both deed and WORD.  Jesus is being made much of as people are seeing the church serving the devastated.

 

Keep Giving

The needs are great.  By the grace of God they are being met.  There is still a lot more to do though.  As we’ve been told many times recovery is a marathon and not a sprint.  Multiple groups are on the ground working.  Give towards those groups that are local and going to be there for the long haul, after the television cameras are gone.

Donate to CityView Church Disaster Relief

Donate to Southern Baptist of Texas Disaster Relief

 

Hurricane Harvey – “Survived to Serve”

survived to serve

“You Survived to Serve”

I have felt survivor guilt.  I’m finding that many people who have gone through Hurricane Harvey are feeling this.

GRATEFUL

On one hand I am so grateful, so thankful that we stayed dry, safe, and powered throughout the entirety of Harvey’s onslaught on Houston.  We are doing well on a personal and church level.  None of our members had any truly significant damage and all of our equipment was untouched by the flooding (this was a concern for us as we are a portable church and most of our equipment is located in a trailer parked in a significantly flooded area).

ACHING

On the other hand I hurt and ache for those who lost everything or will soon due to coming drainage floods (Worst Flooding Is In Front Of Us).  I see video of people being rescued.  Then there are the pictures of homes still underwater.  I watch stories on the news of families trying to escape the flooding waters still.  I read news articles of mandatory evacuations being ordered even last night.  And then the growing count of those who have lost their lives.

 

I feel guilty.  So guilty.  I’ve prayed and prayed.  The message I feel deep in my spirit and to the depth of my bones is this:

 

“YOU SURVIVED TO SERVE”

 

This has been the gist of my message to our church and those who have been personally unscathed by the the storm.  We have survived this IMMENSE devastation to serve others.  If we are still standing it is not because of our strong planning or excellent preparation, but by the grace of God.  We are here to demonstrate our Savior’s love.  We are here to serve others.

These words of Jesus have been ringing in my heart over these past few days:

[14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

 

Do good!  Serve others, not for your own fame, but for the good of people and ultimately for the glory of God.

I am thankful for a church that is doing this.  They have been serving from the moment they were able to get out of their homes.  They haven’t stopped.

Our church won’t stop.  This city is our home and we are in this thing for the long haul.  If you’d like to help us help our community YOU CAN DONATE HERE.  Every dollar is 100% tax deductible and is used to help victims of this catastrophe.

I’m also thankful for our denomination (Southern Baptist) that puts a priority on disaster relief.  Both state and national levels are on the ground already.  They are serving meals, organizing clean up crews, providing showers, and ministering the gospel to those who have lost so much.  If you’d like to donate to them you can do so here: Southern Baptist of Texas Disaster Relief.

 

Remember, we have survived to serve.  You can’t serve everyone, but everyone can serve someone.

 

Hurricane Harvey – “The Storm Is Gone!”

Storm Over

The Storm Is Over!

First, we are so thankful that the rain has stopped!  Harvey moved!  The Lord heard and answered prayer and moved the storm away from us.  Houstonians are so thankful.  Yesterday I wrote a post – “Can We See The Sun?”  The answer is YES! I am not ashamed to say that I teared up taking this picture.  We haven’t seen a sunrise in a while.

CityView Serves!

I am so proud of our church and what we’ve been able to do in the middle of the storm.

  • We sent 15 truck loads of supplies to area shelters.
  • We’ve provided meals for hundreds.
  • Purchased and delivered medicine to area shelters.
  • Nursed at area shelters.
  • Provided pastoral counseling for many at shelters.
  • Purchased and delivered immediately necessary supplies such as food, water, diapers, feminine hygiene products, and more.
  • Purchased and delivered socks and underwear to our first responders who have been on 24 hour duty for days.

 

 

This is made possible by so many donating to our church plant.  As of this morning we’ve raised $7450 and 100% of that will go to help with disaster relief.  We are a church on the ground caring for Pearland, Friendswood, and our surrounding area.  If you are looking for a way to donate to a local organization that is working hard in the city then help us help our area.

YOU CAN DONATE TO CITYVIEW DISASTER RELIEF HERE

 

Here are other groups we are PROUD to partner with:

 

Recovery Time

We bask in the sunlight and are thankful for the storm to move, but now recovery starts.  This is a process that will last not for days, weeks, or months.  This process is going to take years.  Here is what we’re going to have to recover from:

57 Inches of rain fell in one spot in Pearland… 57 Inches!  Rain fell everywhere.  This is the largest flooding disaster in the history of the United States.

The amount of rain that fell just in Houston would:

  • Fill The Great Salt Lake in Utah… TWICE
  • Fill The Empire State Building 33,906 times
  • Cover the entire lower 48 states with .17″ of rain.
Lots of numbers are out there, they vary, but even the most conservative are unbelievable.  Here is a picture of what we’re dealing with – Houston Rain Fall By The Numbers

Material Needs

 

Here are things that we are going to need in upcoming days

  • Shop vacs (wet)
  • 5 Gallon Buckets
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Shovels
  • Tarps
  • Push brooms
  • Mops
  • Fans
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby and Kids Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Contact Solution

If you are looking for ways to help then start collecting these things and in days/weeks/months ahead start bringing them down and help with disaster relief.

Our Prayer

These are verses I found last night and have been thinking about this morning.

[25] From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

[26] The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!

[27] All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

Psalm 22:25-27

We are praying that the afflicted will literally eat and be satisfied and that the whole earth will remember and turn to the Lord.  Pray with us.

Hurricane Harvey in Houston – “Can We See The Sun?”

Can we see the sun?

 

This morning my youngest son came downstairs, sat in my lap, and asked, “dad, can we PLEASE see the sun today?”

I didn’t realize until then how long it had been since we had seen the sun.  We are going on our fifth day of Hurricane Harvey.  There has been A LOT of rain, 9 trillion gallons as of yesterday morning, and it rained ALL day and night again.  The flooding is unbelievable.

There have been mandatory evacuations throughout Houston.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.  Yesterday one of our church members tried for several hours to get his parents to his house, they had been evacuated from their home.  This is normally 15 minute trip… and we are in a good, relatively dry area.  I say relatively because there aren’t really any dry places.

One of our church’s founding families had to be rescued from their home yesterday.  That’s them on the boat being rescued from their home.  They are safe with their sweet baby.  We are praying their home stays safe as well.

 

GOOD NEWS

It looks like we will have to endure another full day of rain, heavy rain with all the flooding that it produces.

The good news is that the storm appears to be moving away from Houston.  It is pushing East.  Sometime today we should be on the “clean” side of the storm.

 

BETTER NEWS

The better news is that people from all over are helping each other.  It is inspiring to see people care for one another in the midst of devastation.  Seeing believers in Jesus take the lead in these instances is deeply encouraging.  I’m so thankful the people at CityView have been at the center of this in our community.  We’ve rallied truckloads of material donations to shelters, nursing mothers, and help with immediate home repairs.  Due to the generosity of many outside of Houston we have been able to purchase much needed supplies and go help those in need.  YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DONATE HERE.  (100% of donations go to disaster relief here in Houston.)

 

BEST NEWS

The best news is that the Lord has been faithful to us in the middle of all of this.  All day these verses were running through my head.

[1] Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;

[2] from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,

[3] for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. (Psalm 61:1-3)

Everyone in Houston feels faint.  We are physically tired, mentally drained, and emotionally exhausted.  We are truly faint and we are looking for higher ground.  We’re looking for a rock that is higher than we are (both literally and figuratively).  The good news is there is One.  He is a refuge and strong tower.  He brings encouragement to discouraged hearts.  He never leaves and He never forsakes.  He is with us.

 

The physical sun will come out soon, but the eternal Son has never been hidden.

Keep praying.

Keep helping.

Keep giving.

HOUSTON FLOODING UPDATE – “Long Way To Go”

A LONG WAY TO GO

A LONG WAY TO GO

The rain has been nonstop in Houston for the last several days.  There has been a lot of flooding.  9 Trillion Gallons of Rain have fallen.  There has been a lot of hurt and need.  There have been a lot of rescues.  Highways are rivers.  There will be at least 30,000 people in shelters by the end of the day.  Rivers are rising and cresting in the next day or two.  This will cause more problems in days ahead.

The rain hasn’t stopped

Neither has the support

I’m happy to say the support from outside of Houston hasn’t stopped either.  We are so thankful.  Please realize this is an historic event and there has NEVER been anything like it before in Houston.  There is no way to have known it would look like this.  There has been some finger pointing at those who stayed, government officials, etc.  THIS IS NOT HELPFUL.  We are trying to concentrate on helping those who are hurt and displaced.  There are THOUSANDS displaced who have lost everything.  Let this be our focus.  Think about helping.  Think about giving.  Keep praying.

 

Last night we were able to deliver some supplies and food to two different shelters.  One shelter we attempted to help is only accessible by boat!  We need to continue to get supplies to these places.  We did get into one shelter with 200ish people.

Those places need food, water, diapers, baby formula, toiletries, etc.  The easiest way for us to get this stuff to them is to purchase.  CityView is committed to helping our area recover.  PLEASE DONATE SO WE CAN HELP.

Also please consider giving to Disaster Relief that will be going on throughout Houston.  The SBTC Disaster Relief team is already here and serving in the name of Jesus.  YOU CAN DONATE TO SBTC DISASTER RELIEVE HERE. 

 

Our God Hasn’t Stopped

Last night my wife and I prayed until our eyes couldn’t stay open.  We asked for the storm to move.  We asked for the storm to break up.  We asked for God to open hearts of people to serve those who are hurting and displaced.  We prayed that God would get glory from the way His people trust Him and serve others.  Please join us in this prayer.  

We went to sleep praying this verse.

8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

 

We woke up thanking God with these verses.

6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” 
7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. – Psalm 4.6-7

 

He moved the harsh bands of Harvey North some and we had good relief.

God is faithful.

God is good.

Keep praying. We’ve got a long way to go.

Houston Is Flooded! “What Can We Do?”

WHAT CAN WE DO?

I’ve been asked at least a hundred times by people outside of Houston, “what can we do?”  My response is PRAY for the rain to stop.  Pray for our drainage systems to get a chance to work.  Pray for those displaced.  Pray for the poor.  We are so thankful for all of the prayer.  Right now (and always) that is really the most you can do.

I can guarantee you that this is not sensationalized on the news.  

Houston is in the middle of a sensational disaster.

The Houston MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) is home to almost 6.8 million people.  EVERYONE IN THIS AREA IS EFFECTED BY THE FLOODING.  Not everyone is flooded, but everyone is effected.  If you are wondering what you can do right now (aside from pray) for the Houston area here are a few suggestions. We will likely reach 50 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

1) Give

  • CityView Church (our church in Pearland) is accepting donations to help with issues in Pearland, Manvel, and Alvin. We stand ready to help our community.  I expect our funds designated for this to be fully utilized quickly.  Any help is fully tax deductible.   DONATE TO CITYVIEW HERE.  Select **Disaster Relief
  • Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is on the ground already in some areas.  The SBC does a great job getting into areas to help.  DONATE TO THE SBTC DISASTER RELIEF HERE.
  • Red Cross.  The entire Texas Gulf Coast has been devastated.  The Red Cross is an organization that will be all over the area.  DONATE TO THE RED CROSS HERE.

2) Mobilize

We are going to need hands.  Consider coming to Houston once the storms pass and the water starts to recede.  Mobilize your churches and volunteer groups to get here to help.

3) Keep Praying!  We’ll take every bit that we can

Pray for Houston – “For The First Time Ever”

Pray

“For the first time ever”

That’s not a meaningless phrase.  That’s the phrase being used by the National Weather Service to describe our Flash Flood Emergency here in Houston.  There have been more than 1000 water rescues over night.  As of this morning there have been 5 people die due to flooding.  There have been between 20-30 inches of rain fall overnight.  Flooding is rampant and the rain from Hurricane Harvey keeps coming.  People in the 500 year floodplain are getting dangerously close to flooding.  Please pray for Houston.

Here is some Scripture I’ve been praying this morning:

28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! – Psalm 107:28-31

We love this city.  Here are some specifics to pray for:

  • Pray for the path of Hurricane Harvey to move.
  • Pray for the rain to stop so we can drain.
  • Pray for first responders, doctors, and nurses as they minister.
  • Pray for the poor in our area.  Most are sheltered, but there is much to deal with after this.
  • Pray for the city and surrounding areas.

Our church, CityView Church, is taking donations to help deal with immediate issues in our area.

You can donate here.

 

Before Attacking Problems: Pray – 3 Reasons Among Many

Pray First

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I wrote earlier this week on my Productive GRACE system.

  1. Get serious about the vision
  2. Required resources
  3. Author a plan
  4. Consistently execute the plan
  5. Effectively adapt to changes

This is the way that I attack problems in everyday life.  The system is scalable and works for long term goals and short term goals alike.  I’m following it up with a few posts that dive in more specifically.  However, there is a pre-step.  The pre-step is prayer.  Pray First!  Prayer is a great gift that believers in Jesus don’t fall on enough.  It almost seems silly to write a list of reasons why we should pray about problems, but I think sometimes we all need reminders and at the very least I need the reminder (and this is my blog).

3 Reasons to Pray First

 

1) We are commanded to pray

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4.6)

When we are anxious, which is what I am when a problem arises, we are told to pray.  I’ve often heard this verse summarized in this way, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything”.  Pray about the thing that is on your mind and heart.  A loving father wants to hear from his children and specifically about those things that are making their hearts worry.  Pray.

2) Prayer brings peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Talking to my loving Father who also is the Sovereign God of all creation brings peace.  This peace goes beyond our mental capacities to understand, but it is truly there.  The next time you are anxious about some problem or goal, pray about it.

3) Prayer puts things in perspective

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

When we pray about our anxious moments we are reminded that there is something greater than our worries or goals.  There is God’s Kingdom.  Those goals and worries shouldn’t be our first priority.  God’s Kingdom coming is the thing that matters most.  We need to capture perspective.

 

Next we’ll deal with what to do when there are problems.  However, before we talk about attacking problems why don’t you spend some significant time praying about those problems.  Let me point you to Philippians 4:4-7 and Matthew 6:25-34 for some further reading and study.

Productive Grace: 5 Steps To Attack Any Problem

Productive Grace

The grace that saves us also sanctifies us.  That grace also makes us productive.  Remember 1 Corinthians 15:10:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 

Over the next several blog posts, I’m going to share my scalable system to frame up and attack any problem.  It is just as applicable to long range, multi-year goals as it is to attacking daily scheduling issues.

 

The Origin of My System

I became a Christian when I was 16, a week before my 17th birthday. I started a bible study at my high school. Through that I felt called into ministry.  I told my parents, they told me they disagreed. The next year, my senior year, we started the bible study again and saw 30 people cross the line of faith and connect to a church. I talked to my parents again about going to pursue a bible degree and they relented.  They said I had to go to Bob Jones University. I didn’t know anything about the school, but was just excited to go.

When I showed up on campus for freshman orientation I was given a student handbook, no big deal. Every place has rules. Then I got the dorm handbook.  I thought sure there are extra rules it’s a Christian school. Then I got a society handbook, then we got a sports handbook then we got a chapel rules sheet then another rule book for student government.

Then I learned that I was accountable for all the rules before classes started. That’s when demerits would start. I asked what demerits were. They explained the what happened.

  • 75 Demerits = Socialed.  Essentially, no contact with the opposite sex on campus.
  • 100 Demerits = Campused.  Students at this level weren’t allowed off campus except for church or approved ministry.
  • 150 Demerits = Expelled.  If you got to 150 demerits in a semester you were out.

 

Time to Get Serious

That’s when I got serious. I needed to get out, but needed the degree.  I figured my shelf life there may be 4 years but more likely I’d blow up by then. So one Friday night I sold out to the idea: I must graduate in 3 years. I sat down with the course books, an outdated idea today, and started looking and working.  I went through multiple iterations, but by bed time (yes that was a real thing) I’d worked it out.

I started in the fall of 1999 and in June of 2002 I graduated with a BA in Bible na double minor in Counseling and Computer Science without any debt. How?  I learned the importance of envisioning a goal and attacking it.  Since then I’ve developed a way to attack any problem.

 

The Productive GRACE system for problem solving and planning

The grace that saves us also sanctifies us.  That grace also makes us productive.  Remember 1 Corinthians 15:10:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 

1) Get serious about the vision

  • Ask: What is the preferred reality?
  • Write out what it looks like.

2) Required resources 

  • Ask: What resources do I need to accomplish this vision.
  • Assemble the named resources.

3) Author a plan

  • Ask: What does this look like specifically.
  • Write down a specific plan.

4) Consistently execute the plan

  • Ask: What do I need to DO right now to make this plan move forward?
  • Keep asking this question repetitively.

5) Effectively adapt to changes

  • Ask: What are the changes that are taking place that could change my plan?
  • Things happen.  Change is going to be necessary along the way.

 

Over the next few posts I’m going to break down each of these pieces to look long range and also short term.  Check it out frequently.