Another Decade! Here we come!

IMG_9445Until today (Christmas Eve), I haven’t given much thought to the end of another decade and the start of 2020. While running errands with my wife, we talked about the presumed events of the next ten years. Grandkids becoming teenagers. Continuing to progress in our ministry. Potential relocations for work. Lots of productivity. Perhaps even retirement!

If my sketchy math skills are correct, I am approximately 80% done with my vocational ministry work. I started right out of the gate in the early 80’s, which makes me ancient. 4 decades of uninterrupted, full time ministry! If God continues to grant His favor, I have about 8-10 years of public ministry left. Of course, I plan to minister until I die, but our current church culture isn’t friendly to older men who still have a fire burning in their gut. So I’ll work in the main stream until I’m retirement age, then I’ll go rogue!

Another decade. 4/5ths done with my professional ministry career. What does that mean to me?

It means it’s time to lay down all hindrances. Abandon security and comfort. Reject mediocrity and status quo. Take risks, be aggressive, embrace innovation.

In my last decade of professional ministry, I want to work like a fiend. I hope to benefit from everything I’ve learned over the last 40 years. I want to reduce mistakes, focus on the most important issues and be as productive as is humanly possible.

Over the next decade, I’ll passionately invest in those coming behind me. I want to exemplify grace, mercy and compassion, and I desperately want to finish strong.

2020-2030 should be epic!

How about you? What does the start of a new decade mean to you?

2020… here we come!

My Goals for 2018: Less

 

designLess excess.

Less idle time.

Less excuses for a lack of progress.

Less careless communication.

Less “me time.”

Less hurt caused by my decisions.

Less stress.

Less blaming.

Less junk food and sitting.

Less ignoring individuals I come across.

Less driving.

 

Less is more.

 

How to Have a New Beginning

designThe New Year is a great time for new beginnings. We know that God is a God of new beginnings. Throughout the Bible, people like Noah, Moses, Ruth and Paul experienced the thrill and joy of “starting over.” While sometimes a fresh start is nearly impossible, I believe that God is providing a new beginning for many of us. Please consider how God may be speaking to you about a new beginning in your life.

In order to experience a new beginning, we must:

  • Learn from the past but let go of the past. Those who live in the past are stuck there and can’t dream of a better future.
  • Be willing to take a risk. We do not know the specifics of how the future will turn out so it requires great faith to begin again.
  • Forgive yourself and others for past failures. Holding onto hurts prevents us from moving forward.
  • Pray and think creatively. God never runs out of fresh ideas for today and tomorrow. Seek His face for the future.
  • Be willing to change what needs to be changed. If we keep doing the same things we’ve always done, we will keep getting the same results we’ve always gotten.
  • Be assured that God is a God of new beginnings and He wants to help you to start fresh today!

2017 can be the best year of our lives. While the challenges are significant in regard to the details of everyday living, I believe that God has placed us where we are for this specific time. He doesn’t want us stuck in the past – He wants us moving confidently forward into the bright future that He has for us, all under the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the grace of God enable us to embrace the wonderful plans that He has for us and may we experience the joy of fulfilling those plans!

Rick

Leader’s Devotional

design[25]This morning, I was praying for my grandbabies for the New Year. I was asking God to keep them safe and trouble free. I never want to see them suffer for any reason. Then the thought struck me – how will they be strong; how will they be prepared for what God has ahead for them in the future if they never have to endure any trials? I (reluctantly) began to ask God for His will for them, that He would prepare them to do awesome things for Him in the future. Because I am not naïve, I realize that, if we never struggle in life, we will be weak. I don’t want that for my grandbabies or for anyone I love.

Phillips Brooks said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.“

Leaders – God has plans for you. They will require that you are strong and equal to the task. The only way to get strong is to endure difficulties, learn from them and grow.

Meditate on this verse: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” – 1 Peter.5:10

Don’t be discouraged by the difficult times you are enduring or the ones that are ahead. If you remain strong, learn from your environment and trust God – you will be ready for whatever comes your way in the future!

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.