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goal-setting-feature

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.

 

I, like many of you sat in my chair, watching the presidential election returns with hope for a better tomorrow. As the evening wore on it became more and more evident that things may not go the way I hoped they would,  yet I still held onto hope for a last minute miracle.

When Fox News called Ohio for President Obama I felt as though I had been kicked in the gut. The level of disappointment that washed over me is hard to put into words.

It was important for me that President Obama not win the election and for me it came down to Biblical values.  As far as I am concerned the Democratic Party and their leaders have completely forsaken the moral and Biblical values that they stood for years ago. My hope was that the majority of our nation would stand up for those values. They did not.

Take all the items that we differ on in this nation and boil them down, I believe that what you come up with is this: Those who voted Democratic want to live in a society where the government takes care of them and government assistance is more important to them than moral values.

Now as a Christian believer I have to face some realities and look for hope.

REALITY #1: God’s Word does not promise us a free and moral society without cost.

REALITY #2: It has and will continue to get more and more difficult to stand for Biblical values in this Nation. However there is still hope because with God, nothing is impossible.

So what do I do now? What is my response to an election that is a win for advocates of same sex marriage and the murder of un-born children supposed to be?

#1:  I must remember that my trust has to be in God and not in the moral fabric of my nation and not in my government.

#2:  I will continue to pray, daily for my nation. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

#3:  I will continue to pray for my President. Even though I do not agree with him and did not want him to be re-elected I will pray for him because that’s what I as a believer am supposed to do.  Who knows what could happen in response to prayer?

#4:  I will continue to stand for Biblical values in my nation.  Remember; those who will not stand for something will fall for anything.

#5:  I will continues to serve God, put Him First and give Him glory, all the days of my life.

#6:  I will pray for, hope for and do my best to elect morally conservative candidates in future elections.

#7:  I will look for the return of my Lord. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

 

 

I follow an individual on twitter who I believe to be a great man with a heart for God. He is a successful businessman, a published author and a sought after speaker in Christian circles.  Added to that he has over 27K followers on Twitter and that says a lot. In a recent Twitter post this individual said, “If churches serve their community w/o explaining how to receive Christ, we’re not much more than the Kiwanis Club.

I understand exactly what this gentleman (who used to be an atheist) is saying and I could agree but I don’t. I’m not mentioning his name because it’s not necessary. My intent in this post is not to call him out. My intent is to give a different view.

At the present I am leading my congregation into several community outreaches.  These outreaches do not include a planned presentation of the gospel in words.  I want to give you 4 reasons why I think these types of outreaches are necessary.

Before I do that I want to make something crystal clear. I believe that Christians should take every opportunity to share their faith and present the Gospel. When we do community service events we encourage our people to step in, they think the door is open and the individual receptive. Now to those reasons why community service outreaches are necessary.

1. To change the mindset of our community: It may be cultural but where I live, un-churched people are extremely cynical about The Church. Alabama is not only the “heart of Dixie,” It’s the heart of the “Bible Belt.”  I actually live near Florida and one of the nearby counties just across the boarder is known for having the most churches per capita of any place in the world.  In my small town there are churches on every corner. The radio airways are full of Christian music, Bible teachers and screaming preachers.  It’s not unusual to see people preaching on the street corners to passing cars. Bumper stickers that say things like “Turn or Burn,” or scriptures that speak only of Hell abound and they are usually on old, dirty vehicles.  People are cynical because they visit a church and enjoy everything but the time for the bringing of tithes and they leave saying, “all that church cares about is money.” Our community is small so our focus is to change the way people think of churches.

2.  Preparing the Soil: In the parable of the sower Jesus compared how the word of God, the seed is received on different types of soil.  He started with “some fell by the wayside.”  The wayside is the place where the ground is hard. It really doesn’t matter how much seed you throw there it’s not really going to have a chance to get into the soil and grow roots. So what we are doing with community service events is an attempt to soften the hearts of people so that they will be receptive to the gospel. They might even decide to attend church because an act of kindness made an impact on their lives.

3.  Because The Holy Spirit Uses It:  Because this post is longer than I like for mine to be all I want to say here is this. Because Holy Spirit helps us our community service events carry way more power than those of social organizations. A bottle of cold water with the working of Holy Spirit is powerful!

4.  Because Jesus said to do it:  Matthew 24:34-40 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Note: I would love for you to get a copy of my book, The Eye of a Needle. Please follow this link.  Thanks!

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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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.