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Note: I’m late posting this article from Christmas Eve, but the message remains the same. I hope it helps you.

It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. Do you know what that means? It means that it’s almost January first!

I’m not a proponent of New Year’s Resolutions; not at all. Resolutions rarely work. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details, but there are actually physiological reasons for the failure of resolutions.

Resolutions rarely work because we stand up tall, square our shoulders, and declare to ourselves that we resolve that next year will be different because we resolve to accomplish something; and it’s usually the same something we declared last year. Then something happens. It’s called life. As life happens, those spoken resolutions fade into the blur of a fast-moving calendar and everything that comes with it. But for the most part, those resolutions are forgotten until December 31 of the next year.

I am a believer in having goals and that leading up to January is a good time to review, renew, and establish goals. What’s the difference? Honestly, I’m not totally sure; but hang in here with me.

I believe in establishing goals. Goals are life targets. However, there are problems with goals, too. Goals can be forgotten. I have an application on my devices called Evernote. The cool thing about Evernote is that you never lose anything you put into it. Word recognition makes it almost if not entirely impossible for anything to be lost. Scan a document in and it will recognize the words in that document. Simply type some words into the search bar and every note and document you have that includes that word will appear.

Recently in Evernote I typed “goals” into the search bar. Goals that I had typed into Evernote as far back as 2012 came to the surface. With those goals came some disappointment. I had typed them into a note and forgotten them. Why would I forget an important goal? Because life happened and, well, I forgot.

Why is it so easy to forget? Life! Looking back at my goals from 2012, I found one of my goals that I didn’t totally achieve but I didn’t forget it, either. I set a goal in 2012 to read fifty-two books. I do believe in reading, but fifty-two books is not a goal that I necessarily recommend. I didn’t forget that goal to read all of those books because it was always in front of me. Every day, my current book was there for me to pick up. On my desk there were always three or four books that were in the bullpen just waiting for their turn. As I started reading one book, I ordered another. I didn’t read fifty-two books in 2012, but I did read thirty-four, which is pretty good and most importantly, I never forgot the goal because it was in front of me.

Lately I’ve been thinking again about my goals and that 2012 goal to read fifty-two books. So, I’m approaching the year with a new, untested goal- tracking system. I bought myself a cheap journal. It’s one of the spiral bound type that almost looks like your typical high school composition book.

Here is the untested system.

First, I wrote my goals on the first two pages of the journal. Remember, some scientists say that the action of writing makes the information more concrete, mentally. Now every morning as I have my quiet time, I read from the Bible, pray, listen to a podcast, read a few pages from my current read, and I re-write my goals. That’s right! The plan is that everyday of this next year, I will rewrite my goals. I will also add notes such as, “goal completed” and “goal dropped”; or I may write a note to explain what I will do on that day to help myself achieve that goal. We’ll see how it goes.

W Clemet Stone said, “No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”

Finally, here are a few goal-setting pointers:
1. Write you goals down.
2. Read or rewrite your goals daily.
3. Be willing to edit your goal list. You may find that your priorities will change as the year goes by.
4. Act! Do something to make your goals a reality.


Follow This Link To Real Issues Podcast to listen.


Photo by Jeff Scurlock

Life as a believer is awesome. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God for anything. The joy, peace, assurance, victory, overcoming power, etc., etc., etc.,  It’s all phenomenal. There’s only one problem. We are human. We are human beings living in a world that has been flawed by sin. Because of sin and because of the battles we have with the flesh not all days include a victory march.

I know I’ll get some flack for writing this.  I guess I’m just not spiritual enough for some.  The truth is, in over thirty years of pastoral ministry I have learned that people need me to get down in the trenches with them and understand where they are.  There are so many preachers who are nothing more than glorified motivational speakers who refuse to acknowledge that as a believer I can find myself at rock bottom, emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically and more.  Or maybe they will acknowledge it but there answer is always the same. It’s either sin or Jeff you didn’t have enough faith. Ok, maybe I didn’t have enough faith but you telling me that is not what I need to hear.

What you may need to hear or read is that your not the first. Your not the first to have a bad week or a bad month. Your not the first to lock yourself into a room and cry into a pillow. Your not the first to feel like the world is caving in around you. Your not the first and you won’t be the last.

I think of three people right off hand when it comes to the subject of rock bottom

First: The author of Lamentations.  The book of Lamentations is the lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. Look at what this author says in chapter three.  “Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.”

Second is a young, rich boy named Joseph who found himself naked and in a pit because his brothers were jealous of him.

Third is the prodigal son who took an early inheritance from his father, spent it all and found himself eating with pigs.

These tree individuals were at rock bottom and they were all there for three completely different reason.  The first was there because life was just going terribly wrong. The second (Joseph) was there because his brothers hated him. The last was at rock bottom because of sin.

So many things can cause life to take such a turn. Sometimes it just life. Life happens and sometimes it’s not good. You may find yourself shrouded in hopelessness. Proverbs says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  You fight for a thing, believed for it, spoke it, got weary and quit. You may be disappointed. Disappointed because you thought things would be different.  Sometimes our low places are because of the actions of others or wine there is sin in our life or we made a bad decision.  It happens!

There are three simple things that I want you to remember when your at the bottom.

1.  You may be exactly where God wants you.  God used the pit in Joseph’s life as part of his journey to the palace.

2.  When your at the bottom the good news is you can only go up from here.

3.  When your at the bottom, God is with you there.

What did our three examples do when they were at rock bottom?

1.  The writer of Lamentations said in verse 55 that “he called on the Lord.” Don’t underestimate the power of calling on God.

2.  Joseph couldn’t do much but wait for what was next. A pastor fiend of mine says often. “When your in trouble just get you two handfuls and            hang on.”  Get you two handfuls of God and hang on.

3.  The prodigal son repented.  Do you have sin in your life?  Are your troubles the result of you living apart from God’s plan for your life? If so tell God your sorry and repent (change directions).  Begin your climb out of the low places right now.


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Follow this link to find my book, The Eye of A Needle. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format.

My Take On Goals

Jeff Scurlock —  December 31, 2013 — Leave a comment


Photo Copy Write Jeff Scurlock


Its 10:05pm, Tuesday December 31, New Years Eve.  I’m sitting in a recliner in our den, feet up watching Texas A&M play Duke in the Chick-fil-a bowl with my computer in my lap.  A new year begins in under two hours and I sit here deep in thought as I wonder what will this next year bring?

There is one thing for sure. If you and I don’t have any targets (goals) for the months to come chances are good that those months will not be as productive as they could have been.

I’m a proponent of setting goals. I believe that life should have short term and long-term goals.  The transition of one year into another one on the calendar is a great time for some introspective inventory.  It’s a perfect time to review the goals in our life.

In the beginning of 2012 I set what for me were some pretty lofty goals for the year. Those goals included, reading fifth-two books, reading the Bible through, writing a book and the loss of some weight. I didn’t read fifty-two books,  I only read thirty-seven. I read my Bible. I also wrote a book and did manage to loose about sixty pounds.  During that same year my first grand-child was born, my second daughter was married and I took Felicia on our first cruise.  All in all I’d say that 2012 was pretty productive for me on a personal level.

When 2013 was approaching I failed to set any new goals for the new-year.  2013 was a good year. However, I can’t give you a list of personal accomplishment of goals because I didn’t have any.  I learned my less.

I learned my lesson so I’ve already sat down and written my goals for 2014.  Let me give you some guidelines for goal setting that I got from one of my favorite bloggers. Michael Hyatt.


1.  Keep short term goals few in number. Don’t ove do it.

2.  Make them short and easy to remember.

3.  Keep them SMART.



Actionable: Begin every goal with an action verb.

Make them REALISTIC.


4. Make them TIME BOUND.

5. Write your goals down.

6. Share them selectively.


And I want to add one to Michael’s list and this one should be first. Pray about it.

Now, go write down some goals.


 Click this link to find my book – The Eye of a Needle

God will never torment you with the truth.

Jeff Scurlock


Recently I heard a highly respected pastor talking about replacement theology. This pastor is well know among Pentecostal ranks and pastors a very large church. I have an enormous amount of respect for this man and that has not changed.

First of all in case you don’t know let me give you a quick, simple definition of replacement theology.  Simply put, some have taught that the New Testament church has replaced the Jewish people and the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people.  Not so!

In his attempt to explain replacement theology this is what the pastor I am referring to said. “For example, we hear pastors preaching that II Chronicles 7:14 is a promise to American. It’s not, it’s a promise to Israel.”

This is where I have a problem.  I do agree that the promise of II Chronicles 7:14 was and is for the nation of Israel and not for the United States. However I would take it a step further and say it is a promise for the church in the United States, a promise for those who have accepted Christ.

Note the words of the apostle Paul recorded in Galatians 3:26-29.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.



The title of this blog is Real Issues. I named it that because my plan was to write a lot about just that, the real issues of life. Now I need your help.  I need you to give me subject matter. If you will help me what I plan to do is use your suggestions for this site and for chapters in a future book.

So, what are the real issues that you deal with, that you would like for me to address?

  • The Real Hard Issues
  • The Real Discouraging Issues
  • The Real Family Issues
  • The Real Financial Issues
  • The Real Christian Life Issues
  • The Real Child Raising Isses

I think you get the idea. I’m not looking for deep theological subjects. I can use those for another project. This is just the stuff that you deal with day to day.

You can respond in a couple of ways.

  1. As a comment right here on this post. It’s simple. Just click on the Leave A Comment Link at the top then on the page that you are taken to  there is a box close to the bottom for your comment.
  2. The second way is to email me at This Link.
If possible I would like to use your name and city so please give me that information. If you would rather that I not use your name just let me know and I won’t.
Your help will be greatly appreciated.



Here are some great Christmas shopping ideas. 

Here are some awesome books that readers in your life would enjoy getting for Christmas.


Today during my early morning quite time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection I was thinking about a hard reality of life and especially leadership and even more especially church leadership.

The thing about church is that we’re supposed to love each other. That’s what the Bible says. Being a Christian means loving people. Not liking or agreeing with everything they do but being patient, loving, forgiving and trying to understand.

I must confess on the outset that  I have not always been patient. As a matter of fact, honestly, I’m the most inpatient person I know. Now is not the time to lament why I struggle with being patient with Christians. I just need to admit it.

We want everyone to like us, even love us. It’s human nature and leaders are no different. The truth of the matter is they won’t. Not everyone is going to like you, your personality, your leadership style, your decisions or the stands that you take as a leader. It’s not going to happen.


What has amazed me through the years is not the fact that people don’t like something I did but the hatred that I feel or even experience from people who claim to be Christians. Not dislike, hatred! I did something they didn’t like or, yes it happens there is a personality conflict.

In politics you expect that people are going to hate you. The corporate world is cutthroat and people will hate you. It’s to be expected.  In Christians circles hatred never ceases to surprise.

I’ve been involved in church ministry since I was about 16 years old. I have been in church leadership for twenty-seven years. I’ve been around the block a few times and I have some knowledge about leadership. It doesn’t matter what you do… someone is not going to like it and someone may even hate you for it.

Sometimes for me I think it’s because of my personality.  I’m not the most outgoing, warm person I know. But then I think of a really close friend of mine who is the nicest, warmest, friendliest guy I know. I’m serious, I’ve never seen, know of or even heard a rumor of this man being anything but gracious, loving and kind. What he is, is a leader. I’ve witnessed he and his family going through hell on earth because someone didn’t like the way he led and yes, he is a pastor.

So what do you do when someone hates you?

Understand that what matters is not what someone who does not know you thinks about you. The only thing that matters is if God is pleased and what those who really know you think.

Does you spouse respect you? Do your children love and respect you? Are you seeking to please God? If the answer to those three questions is yes, that’s all that matters.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the opinion of those who don’t know you.

On the other hand if people who don’t really know you think your great but God is not pleased and your family doesn’t respect you, you’ve got work to do.


Reading and Writing

jeffscurlock —  February 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

I set some goals (not resolutions) for 2012 to stretch myself a little.  My goals had much to do with reading.  I’ve liked to read since the eighth grade when I read my first book cover to cover. The name of the book was “Pilot Jack Knight”.  I loved it. Since then I have loved reading.

Reading is something that takes discipline in today’s busy lifestyles.  My life is as busy as anyone’s I would think.

I pastor a church and that is a full time job. I’m a husband to my beautiful wife of thirty-two years. I’m the father of three grown children, two of which are still at home. I like to play golf, which I’m doing less and less. And, I have all the other task of the normal American male.  Since Felicia has decided to go into the work force I now do the cooking at least three days a week and sometimes more, sometimes less (not often).

My reading goal for this year is to read fifty-two books, one per week and to read the Bible through. So far this year (as of February 15) I’ve read thirteen books with a total page count of 2,958.

Here is the list of books that I’ve read so far, in order.

Killing Lincoln, Bill O’rielly

The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson

Fasting, Jentzen Franklin

The Fasting Edge, Jentzen Franklin

Change, Count on It, Bill McDonald

Weird, Craig Groeschel

Radical, David Platt

Soul Print, Mark Batterson

Crazy Love, Francis Chan

Think, John Piper

Beyond Justice, Joshua Graham

Primal, Mark Batterson

Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson

I am up to date on my Bible reading as well. In addition to reading I’ve had an experience I didn’t expect when I set my goals. I’ve written a book. It’s over 40,000 words and now I’m going back over the book reviewing the notes and suggestions from the dear lady who is editing the book.  To say it’s been a busy month and a half would be an understatement.

I’ve only played gold once this year and the television is rarely turned on. Taking care of the yard and the pool has suffered. I’m going to have to do something about that soon.

I love to read and now I’ve discovered that I love to write.  I have seldom felt the satisfaction that I’ve experienced in the writing of “The Eye of A Needle” my upcoming book. Satisfaction and fear I must add.  When you write a book the fear is that if someone does read it that it won’t make sense or they will think that it’s poorly written. I have thought of what it would feel like to go to the book at and read all negative reviews. I don’t think that’s going to happen but it does cross the mind.

“Eye of a Needle” will be available soon via has a hard copy or a Kindle version.  I hope that you will plan to read it when it’s available.  Oh by the way. I’m already thinking about my next book.