Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One More Year

Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.' -- Luke 13:7-9

Last May I did something I've always planned to do but never got around to. I sat down and put my whole life on paper. I wrote down where I honestly thought I was in every important area of life. Some of that was encouraging, some was not.

Then with a lot of prayer and a few tears, I wrote down the plan to get from there to where I believed God would have me be. I wrote down my lifetime goals for family, ministry, finances, career and health. I then wrote down where I needed to be in each of these areas at the end of 2008. Then I broke it down even further with monthly goals and daily habits.

I have kept this in a folder in a standing file on my desk ever since then. I have looked at it about once a week. I have prayed and asked the Lord to help me accomplish every goal listed.

So how have I done?

Well, there are two ways to answer that question. Have I reached every 2008 goal? No. Am I a great deal further along in the pursuit of every goal than I would have been had I not written this all down? Definitely yes!

Looking back, I now see errors I made in some goals: some were not specific enough, some were too specific (although interestingly enough, I wrote down a specific target weight for 12/31/2008 and unless I fall off the wagon and eat a cow in the next couple of days I will beat it by seven pounds).

Overall it has been a great motivator. It has helped me live more of a God-honoring life the last half of 2008. Hopefully I have been a better Christ-follower, husband, dad, and pastor because of this.

So what now?

I am going to do it all again today. It will be a little easier this time and hopefully it will have an even bigger impact. I will do this with prayer (see my blog post from 12/27 to see why this is so important). I will take as much time as is needed. If you can do this in an hour, then either your life is very organized and focused or you didn't dissect things enough.

I spent some time this morning figuring out the format I will use. I am going to answer the lifetime goals question first (and really this will not have changed since last May). Then I am going to spend a lot of time answering eleven questions I've come up with. I expect I will have a page of possible actions for each question. Then I will be able to write down goals for 2009 and the steps and habits needed to accomplish them.

I challenge you to do this in the next few days. It really doesn't matter how young or old you are. If God gives any of us another year to live, then we should live it wisely.

Pastor Noel


Here is my format for this exercise this week...

My Lifetime Goals

If God Allows Me to Live through 2009…
· How can I be more of a blessing to my wife?
· How can I be a better father?
· How can I be more effective in my preaching ministry?
· How can I manage my money wiser?
· How can I improve my fitness routine?
· How can I have a closer walk with the Lord?
· How can I be closer to the people I pastor?
· How can I excel in my writing ministry?
· How can I be more strategic in my pastoral leadership?
· How can I foster more real friendships?
· How can I stay organized, focused, efficient, and productive through the year?

My 2009 Goals

My First Quarter of 2009 Goals

Daily Habits needed to reach Goals

Weekly Habits needed to reach Goals