Productivity Book – Do More Better (Toronto: Challies, 2015)

Productivity

The Premier Productivity Book

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to be more efficient and productive.  Do More Better by Tim Challies is practical, helpful, and short.  The system that Challies writes about is essentially the efficiency system that I’ve worked years to create for myself. I painstakingly worked and tweaked my system for the better part of a decade and then Tim Challies came along and made it simple.  This book shares a simple system to be productive everyday from a gospel-centered perspective. He shares several resources – get them all! I highly recommend this book.  If you apply this system for a few months you will become more productive. Get it on Amazon.

Write Your S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals: 8 Keys to Writing Life-Changing Goals

Goals

Write the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals of your life

You’ve got to get serious about your goals.    Achieving your goals is important.  You have to write them well otherwise a year of discouragement and disappointment is in store for you.  In a previous post I shared a different take on the famous SMART Goal System.  I use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. to explain how I write and attain goals.  Here is a little more depth and a few tips.

SPECIFIC

The goal needs to be clear and concrete.  Bad goal = “save more money”  Good goal = “Save $1000”.  Bad goal = “read more”  Good goal = ” Read 12 books in 2017″.  Do you see the difference?  Don’t say “more” or “get better”.  Be specific at what you are working towards.  READ MORE ABOUT SPECIFIC GOALS HERE

MEASURABLE

The goal needs to be measurable in some way or another.  The goal has to be measured against something.  “Lose 10lbs, Save $2500, Run 5 Miles a day”. This is typically a quantitative number.  You need to know whether or not you achieve the goal.  That means it needs to be measurable.  READ MORE ABOUT MEASURABLE GOALS HERE

ACHIEVABLE

The goal has to be attainable.  Don’t make the goal so easy that you can do it in a few minutes.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew and become demoralized by the size or scope of it.  What is achievable?  Lord, willing on January 15th I will complete a full marathon (26.2 Miles).  This was a goal I thought about trying to do 3 years ago.  3 years ago I couldn’t have done it.  At this point I have worked through a training plan and have done multiple long training runs. I am sure I am capable of making it.  3 years ago… not so much. READ MORE ABOUT ACHIEVABLE GOALS HERE.

RELEVANT

The goal needs to matter for you.  It needs to be something that means something for your growth and health.  It needs to be rooted in who you are and where you want to be.  READ MORE ABOUT RELEVANT GOALS HERE.

TIME BOUND

I need deadlines.  They make me work harder and focus hard.  I bet you are similar.  Set a deadline or a time limit. Sometimes I set mini-goals that are midway to annual goals.  For instance, “Run a 5k by June 30th  in order to prepare to run a 10k by December 31st”.  READ MORE ABOUT TIME BOUND GOALS HERE.

EVALUATE

I write my annual goals over a couple days then I set them aside for a couple days and come back and evaluate them again.  Sometimes you are feeling more optimistic while writing then you should.  Sometimes more pessimistic.  Take some time and look over them again.  READ MORE ABOUT EVALUATING GOALS HERE.

SHARE

Share your goals with a few others who are close to you.  Ask their opinion and receive their feedback.  Ask them to check up on you periodically as you pursue them.  Accountability and community are essential.  This aspect has been the single most important step in achieving goals.  READ MORE ABOUT SHARING GOALS HERE.

TAILOR

After you’ve evaluated your goals and asked for input from others rewrite them.  This isn’t cheating.  This is wise.  Tailor your goals to what makes sense after careful evaluation and sharing.  READ MORE ABOUT TAILORING GOALS HERE.

Quick Tip: It is a good idea to do the Evaluate, Share, and Tailor aspects quarterly to check on your progress and make sure your goals are still stretching you, but also realistic.

What are your goals for the year?  What are you hoping to achieve?  Do you think the SMARTEST Goals System could help you?  Do you have any goal setting tips to share?

Set Life-Changing Goals – 3 Keys to Effective Goal Setting

Goal setting

I am a huge believer in goal setting. This is the way I work towards things throughout the year.  I’ve been a goal setter for many years and the early years in the last few years have really gotten a lot of traction in my goal setting.   I’m going to write about this a lot over the next several weeks, but want to throw down some thoughts now.

1) Run your goals from February – January.

Start your goals February 1st.  Do this rather than the traditional start time of January 1st. I started doing this a couple of years ago when I was training for a half marathon that was being run in January, but was a goal of mine for the previous year. I liked it a lot for a couple reasons:

  • Everyone was writing goals to start in January. There was energy around it. That energy gave me some energy to push through as I was finishing my final goal.
  • Most people quit on their goals by February. If you start your goals then (and finished them in January) then you have 1 month of achievement behind you and the energy to start new goals.

2) Assess where you’d like to be in one year.

You’ve got to figure out where you want to be in the future.  You may need to make a 3 year plan, 5 year plan, or even a 10 year plan.  One thing is for sure you need to get in your mind where you want to be in one year.

Ask these questions:

  • What do you exist for?  It’s always important to get this thing settled.  This is the reason why you setting goals.
  • Where do you want to be physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, financially in one year?
  • What would represent significant improvement?

3) Write The S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals of your life.

This is my own take on the famous SMART Goal system and the next evolution – SMARTER Goals.  I’m going to write more on writing the SMARTEST Goals of your life in days to come, but for now here is what the acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound, Evaluate, Share, and Tailor.

Leaders Steer Clear of Complaining: 3 Ways to Keep from Complaining

complaining

Does anyone like complaining?  Does anyone like hearing grumbling?  Do you like hanging out with chronic complainer?

The answer is, obviously, no.  Complaints discourage, frustrate and slow the growth of you and others.  That’s why Paul tells the Philippians believers, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” (Philippians 2:14).  Leaders especially need to keep themselves free from complaining in order to point the direction forward.  People don’t follow laments, they follow leaders.  So what can you do to keep yourself from becoming a chronically complaining leader?  So glad you asked.

3 Ways a leader can keep from complaining.

  1. Pray.  It isn’t trite and small, it is the biggest and best thing we can do in the middle of frustrating circumstances.  When we take the problem, person, or problem person to the Lord, more often than not our hearts change.  We see things differently.  Our frustrations settle and we see things better.
  2. Think. Rather than complain spend some time thinking about how you can fix the situation.  What is ONE thing you can do right now to fix the situation? What are steps you can take to deal with the issue? Sometimes, it is totally out of your hands, but there is typically something you can come up with to help immediately.
  3. Act. You can’t just make a plan as to how to deal with a situation.  YOU. MUST. ACT.  You have to follow through on the thing that would help.  You’ve got to deal with it.  This is one of the hardest aspects of leadership.  You don’t want to hurt someone, you don’t want to stir the pot more, or you’re afraid of some other outcome.  Leadership requires prayerful, thoughtful action.

Do you find yourself complaining frequently? Do you have any strategies for overcoming chronic complaints?  What are they?  Feel free to share in the comments section.

A Development In Our Relationship (Guest Post: Johnathan Sublet)

 

When figuring out how to help someone who contacts us or whom we are connected with our team tries to use this chart. We try not to treat a relief situation like a development situation because that is heartless. We try not to treat a development situation like a relief situation because that is toxic. This week we have seen the results of long-term relief.

Sublet Chart

It seems that we would have learned from our efforts to try and solve other social problems in the same way. Long-term relief that does not turn into development is often left lacking.

When it comes to racial unity within the body of Christ the response has often been held to that of relief. There has been an immediate response to catastrophe but little lasting development, deep relationship building. We have the stats and the eye test that tells us that we are not as unified as we should be but our answer continues to be post tragedy community worship services and prayer vigils. These are great relief efforts in reconciliation but not vital development opportunities.  Therefore, we find ourselves in the same spot. So what…

What is the most hurtful?

The most hurtful thing is that sometimes African Americans have fallen victim to the gospel-plight. The gospel plight is that the majority of Christians who don’t share their faith will initially say that they don’t do so because they feel ill-equipped to speak on the matter. When in reality after more discussion more will tell you it is really a fear of rejection issue. When it comes to tragedies in the African American community often it seems that our Anglo brothers and sisters follow the same line of explanation.

That is a universal problem but where it turns into its deepest form of hurt is when African Americans see our Anglo brothers and sisters use their platforms to respond to the tragedies and injustices they see in other areas. We begin to view it as we are not worth the risk of rejection. Our unity becomes one of convenience. The silence brings us to tears.

Another issue is the comment of “just stop talking about race” or “I don’t see color”. The question is why is it considered beautiful in nature when complementary colors are placed together by God in a sunset and nature scenes but not in our relationships, churches, and etc? We do see color. Seeing color is not the problem. How we interpret that color is the problem.

What do we do?

  1. Form real relationships outside of programmed and structured time with people not like you.  Don’t take the sucker’s choice. When tragedy happens think of not only the joy of the messiah being born but also the hurt of all the mothers who had their young boys killed by Herod. Crying with the weeping mother does not mean you can’t rejoice at the birth of the Savior. Mourning at injustice with your African American brothers and sisters doesn’t mean that you can’t also mourn at the senseless killing of police officers.
  2. Use your platform for injustice near and far. Speak carefully but at least let it be known that you identify with the hurt. When you get more information have more informed conversations. Review your posts, likes, and shares. What perception do they give?
  3. Begin to see our cultures and backgrounds as enhancers instead of divisors. Our heart, passions, abilities, personalities, cultural backgrounds, and experiences make our team better. See diversity in background and culture the same way you see a beautiful Caribbean sunset bursting with color. Both should bring a tear of amazement and wonder to our eyes.
  4. I am saving the hardest for last. We need some multi-ethnic churches with leadership that reflects the make-up of our community. We need bodies of believers that model what it means to do life together. That will mean for some leaving the place where you are comfortable, moving into new communities, with new neighbors, and planting new churches that resemble the community God gives you a heart for.

Is it worth it?

Christ thought it was. He was utterly different from all mankind but He came and dwelled with us.

 

 

[Johnathan Sublet is a follower of Christ, a husband to Tricia, and a son to Diane. He has a deep love for the people and city of FREEPORT, Texas where he serves as the Servant Pastor of Crossover Community Church. He considers BBQ a love language.]

Mourn, Listen, Pray

alton-sterling-and-philando-castile

I have been struggling today to make sense of all the social media posts, news coverage and the like in the wake of the senseless tragedies in Louisiana and Minnesota.  Here’s what I’m doing right now.  Maybe it will help you.

Mourn. The bible instructs us to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12.15). There aren’t qualifiers here. It isn’t mourn with people you agree with. It isn’t mourn with people who you share ethnicity with. It is mourn with those who mourn. Men have died.  Their families are hurting.  There is mourning to be done now.  Recognize this for what it is: tragedy.  Weep and mourn.

Listen. Believers need to listen quickly, speak slowly, and anger slowly (James 1.19).  I talked to several African-American pastor friends today. I expressed my brokenness over all the recent news incidents. I’ve asked what should I do.  They all said essentially the same thing: listen.  Engage your black friends and do so without bringing your perceptions and conceptions. There is more going on then meets the eye. Listen. Ask questions. Listen some more. Learn hurts, feelings, and pains.

Pray. In all things pray (Philippians 4.6) . Not sure what to do? Pray. Not sure how to respond? Pray. Fearful? Pray. Worried? Pray. It’s the most you can do.  Here are some things that we need to pray for:

There is certainly more to do.  There is certainly more that needs to be done, for now though: mourn, listen, pray.