Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Some people don’t think of themselves as goal oriented but every person I’ve ever met and chatted to about their life has some sort of goal or desire for their lives lurking somewhere in their minds and hearts. One of the things I do daily is to look at and pray into my goals for my life. I’ve researched books and asked successful people what the best approach to goal setting is and basically, it all boils down to, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Too many goals become overwhelming to your mind and your schedule. Narrow your goals to no more than 10 and try to write and articulate those goals into the most concise and precise way possible. There should be no extra fluff in your wording. Make your goals concrete, defined and measurable. Then everyday I encourage you to read over your goals, declare them out loud and pray into them. If they are important to you, you should be thinking about them and asking God for help to fulfill them. As you repeat this process daily, your mind will be filled with strategies to help you accomplish your goals and you will find unusual favor come your way to help you fulfill those goals that are truly ordered by the Lord. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, as you feel led to. You’re not a slave to your goals, they are meant to serve you and help you get to where God has called you to go. So, what are your goals?
What you spend your money on is what your heart values the most. Consider where you have invested your finances recently. What does your investment say about what is most important to you? Lip service is fashionable in our culture but heart service is more concrete and a true reflection of what you truly value. What your heart loves, your will chooses. Money follows passion. Whatever you are passionate about will be resourced. What if we really took Jesus charge seriously, to invest our money in eternal matters, not simply the temporary? We would probably see a spiritual revolution take place. For this to become a reality, self needs to be crucified and Jesus needs to take centre stage of our hearts. Only then we will be surrendered enough to release into God’s hands what he has put into our hands!
What’s the 1 thing you’re passionate about more than anything else? Getting clarity on this is essential because it shapes your life more than you realize. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13 writes “But one thing I do..” Paul didn’t get distracted by 10 things, he just did one thing. What’s your one thing? My one thing is to excel in building up the church (1 Cor 14:12). This one passion drives how I use my time and energy in everyday life. Find out what your passion is and get focused on it. As you do, ideas will come, inspiration will flow and fruitfulness will follow. God designed you for one ultimate passion.
From reading it I’ve been challenged by these key ideas.
Clear away the distractions and focus on becoming exceptional at one big thing. Modern life is complex, overwhelming and distracting. A key recipe to emerging from the chaos surrounding you is to identify the one big thing you were born to be, do or accomplish. Doing this will narrow your focus and compel you to utilize your time more effectively for your core purpose.
Focusing on one big thing will ignite your passion. A person fully alive is the glory of God. You can’t be fully alive without passion. Passionate people produce extraordinary things and attract a following. People line up for those who are passionate and exceptional about their one big thing.
Think about whom you want to influence with your one big thing. Who you want to influence is a key to focusing your energies and efforts to maximise your one big thing. Your niche crowd could be mum’s, leaders, executives, average joe, athletes, aspiring actors or teenagers. No matter how life changing your one big thing is, without an audience, your message doesn’t matter.
Your one big thing is connected to what you’re actually good at, not what you want to be good at. Sometimes we get romantic notions about what we want to do but demonstrate no skill or grace in that area. Get brutally honest with yourself without putting yourself down because every one of us have something we can develop and excel at. Discover what it is and get working on it. The best way to get noticed for your work is to be incredible at one big thing.
We are all capable of being ok at many different things but I’m interested in what is the one big thing we can contribute to this world. Ignore the advice of the crowd and put all of your eggs in one basket. Master your craft.
There is much to be said for the need of believers everywhere to persevere in their faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people grow cold in their faith and passion for Jesus and slowly drift away from their commitment to Christ.
We are in a spiritual war zone and distractions abound. Temptation is relentless. Social media hounds us. Opportunities to compromise and become distracted from Jesus bombard us daily. How are we to persevere in our faith?
Firstly, note that your faith is a gift from God and it contains within it the capacity to persevere but you must tend to it and not neglect it. Romans 10:10 says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’ Hebrews 12:1-3 offers us much hope to fight the good fight of faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
- Remember, others have persevered before you. When we struggle we tend to get a microscopic view of the world around us and forget that there have been countless millions of people throughout history who have faced perilous challenges to their faith and have persevered.
- Get rid of excess weight and sin which will drag you down. Too many of us tolerate complexity and unnecessary weight in our lives and it needs to be identified, rooted out and cut off. Sin is an energy drainer and a soul destroyer. Don’t entertain it and seek God’s help to get free from it.
- The race of faith is a marathon, not a sprint. As a former competitive athlete and personal trainer I know the difference in muscle fibers, training and mindset required for both events. A marathon runner needs a stronger mind than a sprinter, whereas a sprinter needs a stronger body. We need endurance to fight and finish the race of faith till the end of our earthly lives. Endurance requires you to repeat the same movements over and over again without stopping. The same is to be said for tending to our relationship with God and the basic activities he calls us to engage in on a daily basis.
- Who you have your eyes focused on really does matter. Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith and he needs to be the object of our desire and fascination. Focusing on yourself or some other earthly entity above Christ will only lead to disillusionment and pain. Jesus founded our faith and he knows how to perfect our faith.
- Let Jesus’ example give you perspective. Jesus set all of us an incredible example in how to respond to opposition to him and his cause. He loved, he sacrificed, he served and he endured and as a result, he ultimately won.
Are you thinking of walking away from your church, your family, your ministry? Have you grown cold in your passion for God and his kingdom? Are you disillusioned by your circumstances and discouraged by your relationships?
It’s time to get your eyes back onto Jesus and your relationship with him. It’s time to remember those who have gone before you, cut off excess weight in your life, repeat the fundamentals over and over again like a marathon runner, focus on Jesus and get perspective on your life by considering Jesus example.
Prophecy is a revelation of God’s heart and mind. The OT prophets became the message before they delivered the message. On the revelation of the OT prophets and the Law depends the greatest revelation God could ever give to us.
We often hear about how much God loves us and for good reason. Our flesh and the enemy of our souls tries to pull us away from this profound and central truth but there is no greater revelation and commandment than God’s call to us to love him with all of our heart, soul and mind.
The sort of love God is calling us to is characterised by sacrifice. Jesus said, ‘Whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life will save it.’ True love is demonstrated by what you are willing to give up for it. Every time God’s called me to embrace something, he’s asked me to let go of something else. You can’t go up in God, if you don’t give up something.
The greatest act of love is what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus left heaven. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus lived a sinless life. He was persecuted even though he was innocent and he was ultimately killed for his obedience to his Father.
The tragedy is in the last days the love of many will grow cold. Our affections have become more for this temporary world than for eternal things. The western church says, ‘What’s the least I can do and still follow Jesus?’ It doesn’t work like that. That’s an oxymoron.
Following Jesus requires everything. Empowerment comes from dependence upon him. Dependance comes from attempting that which only the Holy Spirit can achieve. The more out of depth you are, the more dependant you are and the more dependant you are, the more empowered you are.
You can’t clock on and clock off with God. You’re either all in or you are taking up space. God wants to be God alone in your life. It’s not God and my career or God and my hobbies or God and my house. It’s just God.. period. He’s a jealous God and he wants you and the affections of your heart.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on this one primary thing = Love God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. This speaks of whole-hearted devotion. How much we love God will be determined by our level of sacrifice, the affections of our heart, the passion of our soul and the content of our thinking.
I planted Activate Church in April 2006 with a core group of young, passionate and visionary young people. We had energy and drive but very little material resources. We had passion and vision but only a little wisdom. We had faith and were willing to sacrifice but we lacked the seasoned perspective of more experienced campaigners around us.
We grew quite quickly, by God’s grace but we also expended a ton of energy. Sometimes, we discussed things and wrestled with issues that really were more of a distraction, than it was a help. Since then, I’ve become very focused on making sure that my energy and the energy of the team around me is directed to what’s most important. It’s the leader’s job to work out what’s most important, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Growing up a pastors kid and spending several years on staff at a number of churches, I thought I had the goods to get the job done but little did I know there is a big difference between being a member of a team and being the point leader of the team. There is a drafting effect when you are working in the slipstream of a point leader that does make it easier, but the moment you take the lead position, the weight and wind resistance increases exponentially. There was a definite weight-shift that took place when I took the lead pastor role and it only compounds the further you go and grow.
Youthful enthusiasm brings energy and momentum to any organization, especially a church. At Activate we have a 6pm service Sunday nights that has more than doubled in the last 12 months and with it has come new Christians hungry for the word and passionate in their worship of Jesus. I value youthful enthusiasm but I have come to appreciate the wise sages around me who have given very helpful advice at much-needed times.
I’ve come to learn that wisdom trumps enthusiasm. Passion, energy, drive and enthusiasm needs the focus of wisdom to direct it to the right target. Not only do we need to bring wise and experienced campaigners around us but we also need to grow in wisdom ourselves. Wisdom comes from 3 primary sources:
- Fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) – Until you fear God and weigh most heavily in your life, you will remain an undisciplined fool.
- Wise Counsel (Proverbs 15:22) – Point leaders need the right information from the right people at the right time. Your job is to build a team of the right people around you, who can not only do their jobs but give you the counsel you need, when you need it.
- Applied Experience – It isn’t enough to just have an experience, you need to apply it to your life by reflecting and possibly journaling on what you have learnt from the pain or success of the experience. Some people live the same experience 50 years in a row and never learn from it. Don’t be that person. Learn, don’t make the same mistake twice and grow.
The curse of youthfulness is impetuosity and to be honest I had buckets full of it. On the one hand, I had an action orientation that lends itself towards quick results but sometimes, only temporary results. Our generation wants everything done yesterday. In fact I don’t know any leader who doesn’t want things moving more quickly. However, wisdom gives you the needed discernment and perspective to help make the best use of the opportunity that’s presented before you.
Impetuosity moves quickly but spends energy unnecessarily. Leader, you aren’t just called to make any old thing happen, you’re called to make a specific thing happen and to steward what God has entrusted to you. This requires both capacity and wisdom.
We must obey the biblical exhortation to proclaim to the coming generation the glory of God (Psalm 78) but we must also exercise wisdom in how we lead ourselves and the young people around us into God’s purposes for the future well-being of the church.
Proverbs 29:11 Without vision people perish.
Vision is a clear and compelling picture of the future. Your future is largely a product of the vision, or lack of, that you have in your life. Rick Joyner once said, “Almost all human advancement is the result of someone having a vision.”
One of the ways God communicates to us is through visions and dreams.
Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
Throughout Scripture we read example after example of God speaking to his people through visions and dreams. Some of these people include, Joseph, Daniel and the Apostle Peter in Acts 10 (Pivotal shift in the early church).
Unfortunately, too many of us only have a vision for a house, a car, a job and holidays. God’s vision for us is bigger than the practical elements of life. God challenges us to give up our small ambitions and join him in changing the world. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that, “He can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ever ask, think or imagine, according to the power at work within us.”
4 gifts are given to us when God births vision in our hearts:
- Focus – Vision helps you to focus on what’s most important and helps you stay away from distractions.
- Endurance – Resistance in life will come but a vision kept before us will enable us to endure though tough times.
- Peace – With vision, you can wake up everyday with a security about who you are and why you’re here.
- Passion – Vision fires you up and motivates you to live out your passion.
Living on purpose and living with passion go hand in hand because passion is connected to your holy discontent. In John 2:13-17 Jesus found people using God’s house for something it shouldn’t have been used for = commercial trade instead of relationship with God. Holy discontent rose up in Jesus heart and he became passionate about restoring the house of God to its original purpose.
A lack of passion in your life might suggest a disconnection from calling. I think ‘The Passion’ is a fitting title for Jesus death on the cross because it represents a fulfillment of calling for Jesus in seeking and saving the lost. When you connect to your calling, you will have your own ‘passion’ moment because it will be a natural byproduct of you walking in your purpose.
Passion will inspire you to get creative to resolve your holy discontent. Jesus saw the state of God’s house and he got intentional about changing it. The text says, ‘He made a whip of cords and drove out the money changers’. Passion inspires creativity within you to bring about change. Passion enables you to attempt things you would never have attempted on your own. Passion inspires you to pioneer new ministries, write books and songs and go where others haven’t gone before.
Passion isn’t insecure about what other people think. Jesus told the money changers where to go with their pigeons and business. Jesus knew what the call of God on the Father’s house was and he wasn’t going to let anyone bring a distraction to it. When you get a revelation of what God’s call on the House is, you will get passionate about protecting it. You can’t be passionate about God’s house and be worried about what people think of you. I can’t preach God’s word and be insecure about whether or not people approve of my preaching. I can’t build a church and be constantly checking with everyone, if they are OK with what we are building.
Passion is a God thing, not a personality thing. Never make passion about your personality. I’ve seen some of the most introverted people be extremely passionate when it comes to their call. Never let your wiring get in the way of your passion for God and his House. Don’t wait for the preacher or pastor or someone else to stir your passion. You stir up your own passion. Paul said, ‘Stir up the gift within you.’
Our best passion must be reserved for God’s House. Jesus saw Jesus’ passion in the temple and remembered the words of Psalm 69:9 “Zeal for your house will consume me.” God and his house deserves our best passion and energy. Passion is contagious and whatever you are most passionate about will be passed onto others. Connect to your purpose and passion will follow.