The Compass of Life!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I look at my life through the metaphor of a compass.

In the centre of the compass is God. My relationship with him is the epi-centre of my life. God impacts my identity, character, ministry, finances, relationships, activities and everything in between. God is on the throne of my heart because out of my heart flow the springs of life.

True North on my compass is my Family. My family is always in my focus. Everything I am and do impacts on my family and I want to protect the integrity of my relationships with my closest loved ones. If it doesn’t work first at home, it simply doesn’t work.

East is my Health and Fitness. Apart from time, my health and well being is the most precious commodity I have. If my health goes, everything goes with it. Nutrition, Sleep and Training make up the core ingredients of this pillar.

South is my Ministry. From preaching to writing to studying a masters degree and mentoring others, my working life is super busy but I love the opportunity to be used by God to change someone’s life through my gifts.

East is Finance. This has come into greater focus for me the older I get. What you do with your money can make or break you in more ways than one. I think God cares more about this than many of us care to acknowledge. From savings to giving to investments to expenses, this is a must in my compass.

Does the compass metaphor work for you and if it does what would you include as your north, south, east and west?

Ministry Begins at Home!

DSCF0345_2‘He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church.’ (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

Family is a gift from God and yet it is the most often neglected and abused entrustment in our lives. I think God takes how we treat our families far more seriously than we even appreciate. We are often focusing on ambitions external to our family relationships and justify the pursuit of them at the expense of treating our loved ones with true sacrificial love and respect.

God’s wisdom for public ministry begins with private victory. This means you’re only as good in public as your family life is in private. It lacks integrity when you treat other people better than you treat your own spouse and kids. Could it be that God withholds blessing in the public arena because of the immaturity we react with in our private lives?

1 Peter 3:7 says, ‘Husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman… so that your prayers may not be hindered.’ 

God is looking at how we treat those whom he has entrusted us with. We will never rise any higher than our faithfulness in the matters of our household. My ministry begins at home. If it doesn’t work at home then why would I hop onto a platform and tell anyone else to pursue something I’m not totally pursuing myself?

I want to leave a legacy to my children’s children that is of the highest order. I want them to see the consistency of my faith, my love, my hope and integrity and ultimately grow up in the healthiest, God-centered environment that I can provide. I reckon if we gave as much energy to the cultivating of our family unit that we often give to lesser things, the world would most definitely be a better place.

Join me in building strong families and watch what God does in every other arena of your life. The scriptures challenge us, ‘He who neglects his family is worse than an unbeliever.’ Don’t neglect your primary ministry, your household!

The Oracle!

Connect your Vision to your Diary!

I define vision to be a clear and compelling God-given picture of the future (as per my Vision book 2006). I think it’s also more than that but we have to define it in some way.

I was speaking to Steve Addison last week and he feels that the word ‘vision’ has been over-used and that it doesn’t mean a whole lot  anymore. He prefers to use the word ‘Need’ and suggests that when God gets a hold of a leader, he re-defines their character with his character and opens their eyes to a particular need and gives that leader energy and ideas to resolve the need. Not bad at all, I like!

Whether you call it a need, or a big cause or the big idea, I don’t care. What I care about is that you connect your big vision to your daily schedule = Diary! If you don’t, you’ll be like me sometimes and get totally frustrated with feelings of not accomplishing what God put me here on the planet to do. Can you identify with this?

When I have felt frustrated for longer than a few days, I ask myself, why? Invariably, it generally comes down to a disconnection between the great cause God’s put in my heart and my own daily schedule. It’s really simple, if you want to see your vision come to pass and avoid feeling like you are wasting your time, then you need to know what jump starts your heart and you need to actively schedule the right activities in your diary around the big idea.

One of the best bits of advice from all the books on time management I’ve read is simply this, “Organize and Execute around your priorities”.

When I feel frustrated with vision output vs time spent I return to the prayer closet and ask God to speak to me about what he has called me to do and what his vision for my life’s work is. When I do this, he always, always, always says the same things but the whole process distills life into its rawest and simplest form. I’ve found that after 2-4 weeks of living post this encounter, life gets complicated in the minutia and demands and expectations of others. I have a real problem with people approval and I have OCD expectations of myself. This makes for an intense feeling of drivenness that I like when sanctified but I hate when not. We are to love people but worship God, not people. We are to love results but worship God, not results.

Your diary should reflect the vision you are seeking to fulfill. If it doesn’t, your kidding yourself. The big rock activities of your week should be spent on the big rocks of your vision. My vision for Activate Church is:

  • Disciple thousands of people
  • Transform the community we are apart of
  • Plant churches across the globe
  • Produce resources to help people grow in their ministry

While there are things I do that don’t fit into anyone of these big rock categories, If I don’t get intentional about aligning my diary with these goals, I get frustrated and my family feels like they’re living with a bear who has a sore head. You get the idea? Make it work.

Grace!