My Motivation for 2018

You won’t find things like bringing a child into your family as your own, spending time with a lonely widow or homeless man, or visiting someone in prison on too many 2018 resolution or goal lists.

I don’t know many people who wake up in the morning saying, “Today, I am going to leave my comfort zone and hang out with someone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than I do”.

Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves just isn’t how we are hard-wired. Instead we think of ourselves and our own family and close friends.

We need a motivation that prompts us to do things outside of ourselves. For many that is a sense of justice. Maybe some do it out of obligation or guilt. For others it is for the recognition that it brings.

So what is my motivation for 2018?

I am like many of you, I set some business goals for my writing, blogging, podcasting, and a couple of new things for this year.

I also set a couple of personal goals too. They are quite simple. One is to avoid complaining and criticizing. I do this in my mind more than I vocalize it, except around home. The flip side to that is to use words of kindness and encouragement.

My wife is doing the happy dance about that goal.

The other is one that I know will impact every area of my life, especially when it comes to successfully living a life sent. It doesn’t have anything to do with the external motivations listed above.

My one other goal is to spend scheduled, intimate time with God.

On our property, down the hill from our house we have a large oak tree with two benches under it. I have spent a lot of time clearing cedar and brush on our property, and I will often take a break sitting on one of those benches. I find peace in the beauty, and it directs my thoughts and heart toward God.

But what happens far too often is that I don’t prioritize times to spend with God. Yes, I will read some scripture in the morning. Some days I will journal some thoughts or prayers.

So I decided that I will spend 2-3 mornings by going down the hill without my phone. Just my Bible, journal, and a pen. And spend time with God in what has become a sacred place for me.

Our church called us to a time of prayer and fasting this week. That is how I am beginning 2018. Praying and fasting as I seek God. He is who makes it a priority to place a child into a family, who cares for the widow and the one who doesn’t have a place to call home. God doesn’t forget the one who is in prison, and yes, He set the example of leaving His place of comfort, not just comfort, perfection, and entering our world.

As I spend time with Him…as we spend time with Him, His nature becomes our nature.

If that is the one and only goal that I accomplish this year, it will be the best year ever.

5 Sure Signs that You Have Forgotten Your Purpose

What happens to a tool or a piece of equipment when we no longer use it for its intended purpose?It begins to rust and decay. Or if we use the tool in a way contrary to its created purpose, we end up damaging it, sometimes beyond repair. However, when we keep using that tool or equipment the way the creator or manufacturer intended, it remains useful for many years.

Our lives have an intended purpose just like a manufactured tool. A Creator made us with a purpose in mind, and when we don’t fulfill that purpose, we too, just like a tool, become useless over time. Of course we don’t rust, but I guess decay is inevitable for us all. We can become damaged though if we don’t adhere to our original design and purpose. Here are 5 things that happen to me when I forget my purpose or mission:

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5 Ways Having A Purpose Gives You Confidence

Do you ever feel like you are aimlessly wandering through life? Do you struggle making decisions, both big and small? Odds are you do. A lot of people do.

I introduce my podcast episodes stating that everyone has a God-given mission or purpose. I really do believe that. Every single person created, whether they believe in God or not, has a purpose for being on this planet. It is a lie from the enemy of God that some people don’t have a reason for being alive.

So why is it so hard for us to know what that purpose or mission is?

The thing I learned about God is that He rarely forces His plan on us. Unless your name is Jonah getting swallowed by a giant fish, or Saul/Paul falling down blind on the road to Damascus, God patiently works with us, nudging us, sometimes waiting for us to be ready for His plan for our lives.

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A Mission that Transcends Home and Family. [Podcast 016]

Hard to believe I am already on episode 16! That is four months of podcasting already.

In today’s episode I share that a mission needs to be something that transcends your home and family. I picked up this thought from a study I am doing with a group of men. The study is a video series by John Eldredge on his book, Wild at Heart.

In the show notes below, you can see what else is in the podcast episode.

Show Notes

  • Why it is important to have a mission or purpose that transcends our home and family. (from Wild at Heart)
  • Upcoming release of the print version of Foster and Adoptive Parenting.
  • Information about the A Future and A Hope conference.
  • What is happening through the Travis County Collaborative on foster care.

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5 Mistakes We Make When We “Help” The Poor

You volunteer along with many others to help make some repairs at a family’s home one Saturday. You end up sitting on the front porch listening to the mother’s story. She shares her stress over mounting medical bills that keeps her awake at night.

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You decide to spend several hundred dollars to fly to the other side of the world to spend a week working with a mission organization. You get to know a few of the local people who work along the missionaries. At a meal, you sit by one local who shares with you their passion for the work they are doing among their own people. Within the conversation you learn that they need more financial support.

You have a compassionate heart. That is why you invest your time, money and energy into helping others. And their stories tug at your heart-strings. We look at our financial means, and we want to help. We “know” we can help out of our abundance.

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His Hands. His Feet.

Sent to the fatherless, the brokenhearted, and those far from Him

You not only notice the person standing on the street corner holding a sign asking for help, you have compassion for them. You are the person who brings the child of another person into your home and treats them as if they were your own flesh and blood. You use your resources, like time and money, to invest in people who are in need.

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You engage with people who are hurting and broken knowing that it is going to get messy. You are the one who uses your vacation time to travel to places so you can share Jesus with people who might otherwise never hear about Him.

Even though you are that person, you don’t always know what to do. Some days you need encouragement. Other times you look for inspiration.

Why do you live life like this?

You understand that you are His ambassadors. He didn’t create you, then redeem you so that you could live your life the way you want. You know you are sent.

You are His Hands. His Feet.

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It Is Easier To Serve God Without A Call

Do you think God calls us to His work? Do you think He has a specific vision for your life? Do you give that thought any consideration or would you rather He just leave you alone?

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If you do want to serve God wouldn’t it be easier to serve Him on your terms?

It is easier to Serve God Without a Call or Vision.

Here is what that would look like:

  • We decide what kind of time and effort we give to God’s work.
  • We choose what we do for God.
  • We use our judgement to guide us to where we should go and how we can be the most useful.

What is wrong with that you ask? Or maybe that just convicted you, because you, like me, recognize that is how we far too often approach our service to God.

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How To Make Your Life Less Complicated

6 Ways We Complicate Life

If you want to know what God’s purpose is for your life, yet you struggle with hearing His voice, join the club. Even if we are disciplined enough to turn off the TV, put down our mobile devices, slow our schedules, and be still for a few moments, life still seems to be a blur.

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Do you wake up some days realizing that you have too much to do and have too much stuff cluttering your home? So you apologetically step out of commitments. You make a trip to Goodwill after cleaning out your closet and garage only to repeat the cycle again.

Do any of these things complicate your life?

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Why I Am Launching a Podcast

I admit, I have tried to take on too much the past several months. From ankle surgery in September to buying a new home in December and moving in January, to getting our former house  ready to rent, to joining a new nonprofit board also in January, no wonder I feel overwhelmed.

Just around the new house I constantly have about five projects going at the same time.

To keep in line with all that, I decided last fall to update my website which I thought I would have released by January. Yeah. Not quite. But I am still working on it along with the following:

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Is Your Need to Fit In Keeping You from Living a Life on Mission?

Most people want to fit in. Most are trend followers, not trend setters. We wear the same clothes, drive similar looking vehicles, even style our hair the same ways…well those who have hair.

Throughout my life I have tried to fit in. I always have. I am also an introvert. I don’t care for attention. I often deflect the attention to the extroverts around me, and I am more than okay with that.

But the more I pursue God’s mission in my life, I find that I “fit in” less and less.

From my experience, if you live out God’s mission for your life—You will be different!

The question is will “not fitting in” keep you from living a life on mission?

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