Friday, January 2, 2009

New Reading Material for a New Year

Here's a look of some of the best leadership books to be released in January.

- The Soul of a Leader: Character, Conviction, and Ten Lessons in Political Greatness by Waller R. Newell

- Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

- The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity by Matt Miller

- The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica

- You Can't Order Change: Lessons From the Turnaround at Boeing by Peter S. Cohan

[from Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog @ LeadershipNow by Michael McKinney]

I know you've already seen it. But, ...

What Are Your New Year's Resolutions?

Here are some things you may wish to do in the new year.

- Read the Bible Using a Plan. Justin Taylor offers various ways of going through the Bible in a year.
- Commit to Fasting. John Piper gives advice on how to fast and offers six good reasons to commit to doing it in 2009.
- Pray. Piper dives into the Desiring God archives and offers up good suggestions on how to pray for other people (this year or any year).
- Look Back and Look Forward. Ray Ortlund models this in a reflective blog post.
- Make Resolutions. The Point blog quotes David Jeremiah and gives seven great resolutions you could make for 2009.
- Keep Your Resolutions. Matt Perman gives advice on actually keeping your resolutions.

[from "Culture Shift" by Dr. Albert Mohler]

Questions For The New Year

For the last several years I have used the last week of the year and the first week of the new year to evaluate who I am; who does God want me to be and how I am doing. The process has continued to evolve over the years, but much of it revolves around prayerfully working through six questions. These six questions help me discern the God-given possibilities for my life.

There is just something powerful about writing down (or typing on your computer) your goals and having an intention about who you want to become! I can now look back and remember writing down that I wanted to plant a church; write a book and start a church planting network. Would those things have happened if I had not written them down? I don't know for sure. I do know that writing these down and reviewing them periodically keeps me moving in the direction that I feel God is calling me. I personally think everyone should do it.

So, I would encourage you to get some time alone and prayerfully work through these six questions:

1. What is my PURPOSE? It starts with a purpose statement. Just write something down. Don't let this question intimidate you. You can always edit your answer later. Here is how I answer that question now: "To be a Spirit-led leader at home, church, and in new ventures resulting in a movement of people finding their way back to God." It has taken me a few years of revisions to get that down. It's a little long, but it includes everything that it is important to me. So take a shot and write down a purpose statement for your life.

2. What is my PASSION? Next you should list the things about which you are passionate. There are four things about which I'm passionate: Jesus, family, church and new ventures. So, what are you passionate about? List them.

3. What are the POSITIONS I hold? Next I list all the positions I hold in relationship to the things about which I'm passionate. For example, in relationship to my family I have two positions: husband and father. Another example, in relationship to to my church I have at least four positions: visionary, Lead Pastor, teacher/motivator and intercessor. List all the positions you hold in relationship to the things about which you are passionate. You get the idea.

4. What are the POSSIBILITIES for my future? This is my favorite part - dreaming with God about who He wants me to be in the positions He has put me in. This is where I begin to dream about all the possibilities for my life. This is the long view and it answers the question of who I will have been after I have lived on this planet for 75 years. (I'm planning on living to 75 and if I get more time that will be bonus!)

5. What is the PATH for making that future possible? Now that you have a list of all the possibilities for your life you need to figure out the path to get you there. I have a path that I break into 5 years chunks of time. There are markers that I need to meet every five years if I am going to see those possibilities for my life ever happen. So take a look at your list of God-given possibilities and create a path with markers along the way that show you are progressing towards those possibilities.

6. What is my PLAN for this coming year? The last question you will want to answer has to do with 2009. This year is the next step on the path to your future. So, write down your plan for this year and make sure that it is taking you towards the next markers on your path to your God-given possibilities.

[from by Dave Ferguson]

21 Day Fast; January 1-21

Corporately fasting in January is much the same precept as praying in the morning to establish the will of God for the entire day. I believe that, if we will pray and seek God and give Him our best at the first of the year, He will bless our ENTIRE year!

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

Today's Prayer

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

O dear Father, you know the tribulations I have faced and will face. Thank you for giving me hope in the face of these trials and temptations!

Please bring this Scripture to my mind whenever I am feeling down due to whatever may come. I am so happy and thankful that you have overcome the world and given me hope and a future. Because of your power and love and sacrifice, I too can overcome the world!

You give me joy and cheer and initiative to keep moving forward. You are my greatest inspiration and encouragement, and I love you.

In Jesus' name I come to you, amen.