What’s Your Strategy?

When it comes to life and getting things done, progress and growth generally aren’t organic. By that, I mean that if we do not have a strategy for success (a plan that we work), success probably won’t come. This is true on a corporate level as well as on an individual level. Too many people just live a day at a time with no forethought about what it will take in order to make things turn out right. They have a desired future in mind but no idea how to actually arrive at that desired future.

Let me say this: If your goal is to simply maintain, you have made the decision to start dying. “Just getting by” is a strategy for failure. Life will not let us slide with that kind of a cop out. More is required if we hope to accomplish something of significance.

People are born with a desire to thrive. Babies want to eat. Little children strive to learn and do more. Sadly, sometimes things happen that cause people to quit reaching for something more. Once a person stops dreaming, things go down hill. The Bible relates it this way: ”Without a vision the people perish.” We are made with the need to dream. When the dream dies, we die with it. But dreaming is one thing. Being willing to work your tail off to make the dream come true is another thing. As Bob Goff says, “No one is remembered for what they just planned to do?” What is your plan to make your dream happen?

You need a plan of strategy! Whether you are considering your marriage/family, your career, or your ministry, you need a plan. It should be concrete, easily communicated and vision-driven. Regarding the coming New Year, let me ask you specifically:

~What is your strategy for growth and success for next year?

~What steps will you take to see your dreams fulfilled?

~Where do you want to be in 12 months, and how will you get there?

Now is the time to start answering these questions.

So, what’s your plan? If you don’t have one, you’d better get to work! And don’t bother with some little passionless, no-risk ideas. Let’s dream big dreams and get to work fulfilling them! Your ideas are too important to allow them to fail simply because you didn’t have a strategy.

The Behavior of the Truly Grateful

Facebook is full of friends sharing their daily “I’m thankful for” posts. This late in the month, a few people are running out of things to list.

Let’s dig deeper. Thanksgiving is so much more than a day or a month of talking about the stuff we appreciate. Thanksgiving is a personality characteristic. It is a lifestyle. Genuinely grateful people stay there – they live thankfulness.

Here are a few observations about the behavior of truly grateful people:

They see what they have. Maybe because they haven’t always had it, maybe because they once had it and lost it. But they now recognize the gifts that they enjoy.

They savor what they have. They take their time and enjoy and really experience the blessing. No rushing through the motions. They make it last as long as possible.

They share what they have. Those who are really thankful enjoy their blessings so much that they don’t want to deprive others of the same thing. So they share. In fact, selfish people are the most ungrateful folks around.

What are you truly grateful for?

See it. Savor it. Share it.

The Best Things in Life are …

The best things in life are NOT free. I understand the inference of the old adage that says that they are: in essence, it means that you can’t buy happiness. That remains very much true. But I believe that some folks may misunderstand the concept.

As we are approaching Thanksgiving week, people will be waxing sentimental about the things for which they are grateful. Invariably, some will focus on the simple things in life; family, health, food, peace of mind and so on. The point of this post is this: these things, and all of the things we may categorize as simple, are not free. Rather, they are very expensive. A healthy family does not just happen, each individual invests a lot of themselves, or it will not be healthy. The food we enjoy is expensive – not just at the grocery store, but someone had to work hard to provide the food and put it on the table. Good health is many times, the result of healthy living. The best things in life will cost you.

Unfortunately, some are sitting idly by waiting for someone to give them the best things in life. They feel deprived when they can’t enjoy the nice things that others enjoy. They bemoan the fact that they do not have friends to spend time with. They may find it difficult to be thankful when so much of life is void of the “best things”. While compassion certainly is apropos for this season, so is personal responsibility.

I am thankful for the best things in life. These things cost many people a lot. The very best thing, my relationship with God, cost Jesus His life. Very expensive!

Give thanks to God for He is good, His mercy endures forever! Psalms 107:1

I Admit it, I’m an Alien

Spending most of our time with fellow Christ-followers can cause us to approach our lives as though we live in a bubble. One indicator is when our conversation centers on how shocked we are at the condition of the world and the depravity of the people around us. Christians are aghast that non-straight people want to get married.  We are stunned that some choose to end the life of a child while it is still in it’s mother’s womb. We are incredulous that everyone doesn’t agree with our political stance.

We have to stop expecting those who do not follow Christ to behave as though they do. Make no mistake: We are a minority and the majority is not impressed with our morals. They will continue to do as they do – regardless of how shocked we are or how much we complain about it.

Remember, we don’t belong here. I go back to 80’s Christian rock band, Petra, when they sang, “Not of This World”.  We are not at home here; we are citizens of another place. We are aliens. Not of the outer space variety but of the heavenly kingdom variety. Philippians 3:20 reminds us, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)  No wonder we don’t feel at home – we are not at home.

While we must share the Good News of Christ, we will never change our unChristian culture into a Christian culture. The quickest we can expect things to get perfect is the moment we make it home.

So behave yourself as a short-term visitor – an alien. That’s what I am, I admit it.