He’s the Greatest and He is with Us

The truth that we are deeply flawed humans is supremely overshadowed by the truth that we have a triumphant Savior and He has a plan. His presence and our acknowledgment and devotion to Him equips us to overcome every challenge we face as believers.  As stumbling creatures, we own nothing more empowering than this strong, never changing moniker of His love: “He is with us!”

In a just a few verses in Hebrews, we find every reason to believe that His presence is enough. Jesus is the greatest.

Jesus is the greatest owner.

“He (God, the Father) has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things.”

Hebrews1:2b

In this chapter the writer reminds us that Jesus owns it all.  This changes our perspective on the sufficiency of Jesus. If He owns it all then we truly are without want.  God lavished everything on the Son who gives to us all good things.

Everything we need, he has. Everything we toss His way is made ever more glorious and effective. In His presence we walk into the sanctuary of the divine and encounter the aroma of warm, holy bread. God’s word tells us that He is the giver of everything good.  What an amazing thought! If Jesus is the one who gives and He is our champion, how could we ever lose in this life or the life to come.

Jesus is the greatest artist and creator.

And through whom also he created all things. Hebrews 1:2c

Just think about this amazing creation.  There are 300 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. And the brightest astronomers will tell you that there are more than that many galaxies in the universe.  They can’t be counted, much less named. Your body has more than 50 trillion cells and the more we know about cells, the more we find that each cell is like a huge metropolis of activity and parts.

This was no accidental occurrence and in this verse we find who holds the keys to this macro and micro creation.

Jesus is the greatest resource.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 1:3

Man sustains his belongings, his career, and his activities by the sweat of his brow. God sustains the entire universe with His Word! And He’s asked us to trust Him as our resource. He owns the herd! This is how Christians through the years have given dangerously to him through tithes and offerings.  When we give, we are saying, “God, I trust you with my resources because I know that You own it all. It all belongs to you.” That’s what we are saying when we give. God promises that he will keep His end of the deal.

  • Do you trust Him to sustain you during financial turmoil?
  • Do you trust Him to sustain you when marriage become difficult and kids rebel?
  • Do you trust Him to sustain you when the grey clouds of adversity discourage you?

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.
John 6:35 (HCSB)

 

  1.  Jesus is the greatest authority.

…You crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.”

Hebrews 1:7b-8a

The writer of Hebrews uses this word picture to describe Jesus’ authority.  He is above it all. He wears the crown of authority and everything is under him.  

Still most people, including Christ-followers scrape and fight to get the upper hand in life.

Most people live their lives in calculated steps marching to their internal mental metronome. They measure their moments by pleasure and risk management. Most people in the church are prone to use worship as a guilt squelching, touchy feely, two dose shot in the arm. It’s just tragic. Most people are far too busy achieving to acknowledge who really holds the keys. They will end their life’s in greater regret of the smallness of lives hypnotic noises and the drone of the daily grind.

 And this one and only Jesus is our brother, father, provider, healer, friend, confidant, and redeemer.

(He is) the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.  Hebrews 2:11-12

We aren’t made holy by all of our good deeds, our prohibitions on vices, or ability to look holy.  Jesus makes people holy. He covers us in His righteousness and here’s the other amazing truth: He calls us his brothers and sisters. This is the mystery of grace.

  • What problem are you facing that’s too big for Jesus?
  • What need are you lacking that’s too great for Jesus to handle?
  • What leadership crisis in your life is too complex for Jesus?

Prayer:

I recognize you as my Source and my sustainer. Lord, I bow before you and trust you with everything that is within, beyond, around and beside me. Lord you have full access to my life. Possess me Lord, Renew me. Revitalize me. Change me. Transform me. Correct me. Equip me. Love me.

I acknowledge that above all you have full and complete authority. I speak against any power or earthly principality that seeks compromise me blood relationship with you.

 




50 Ways to Love Your Pastor

(With apologies to Paul Simon)

“The problem is all inside your head” he said to me.
The deacon in my life group who thought so logically
I’d like to help you to help him, supportively.
There must be 50 ways to love your pastor!

1. Shake his hand, Fran.
2. Tell him you loved his sermon, Herman.
3. Compliment his kids, Sid.
4. Send him a friendly email, Gail.
5. Pray for his spouse, Rouse.

Just listen to me…

6. Let him know that you’ve got his back, Jack.
7. Help him fix his sedan, Stan.
8. Give him your vacation condo key, Lee. (His family needs a week free.)
9. In business meeting, don’t try to discuss much.
10. Compliment his style, Miles.

He’ll think you’re the best!

11. Pay off the church bus, Gus.
12. Help him make peace with the WMU, Lou.
13. Give him a cost of living raise, Jay.
14. Volunteer at the kids event, Vince.
15. Pay his green fee, Tee.

Bonus Ideas:

16. Give him grace. He’s going to mess things up from time to time. Allow him to make mistakes.

17. Learn his allergies and feed him accordingly. By the way, 8 out of 10 pastors are Green-Bean-French-Onion-Mushroom-Soup-Casserole intolerant.

18. Don’t call him on his day off.

19. Check your own agenda at the door when discussing change.

20. Acknowledge that he usually works 50 hours a week and not five like some people think.

21. Offer to go with him when he visits the hospital. (And buy the ice cream!)

22. Send him a financial love offering after a funeral. (He’s the last one the grieving family needs to think of during their time of need. A gift coming from someone outside the family would mean a lot.)

23. Celebrate his staff, too! A good pastor always wants his wingmen (and women) celebrated. Chances are he gets great joy in this.

24. Pray strategically for him on Sunday night. He is probably mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. His face hurts from smiling. He’s probably had a few jabs from irregular people. His voice is weary, not only from preaching but from conversation, counseling and meetings. If he’s going to do or say something stupid, it’s probably between the hours of 9:30 Sunday night and 9 Monday morning. As one pastor once told me, “Don’t take Monday’s off as a pastor. Nobody wants to feel that cruddy on their day off.”

25. Send him a note on his anniversary with the church. Do not say in that note: I can’t believe you’re still here.

26. Unless the skies part and a booming audible Voice shakes the shingles from your house, don’t say, “I’ve got a word from the Lord for you.” There’s no easier way to mess with a pastor’s mind than to speak verbatim words allegedly spoken uniquely to him that might just possibly be kind of the Word of God. You know what? No. Don’t go there – unless the aforementioned weather conditions have taken place. If so, then go there, write a book and give the proceeds to Lottie Moon.

27. Avoid the temptation to make him a part of the Trinity. He is not your rescuer on the white horse, but he does know One who is.

28. Don’t just say, “Great Sermon.” Let him know what particular thing was most impactful for you. This will help him prepare next time.

29. Do not discuss his salary in an open forum. (I can’t believe I’m even writing that! Yuk!) It feels yucky for him. It feels yucky for his wife. And you can bet it feels yucky for his kids.

30. Don’t just help identify problems, help him fix them!

31. Let his kids be kids not extensions of his ministry or Christianity Today cover models.

32. Pay for wellness perks like a gym membership. This may save a hospital bill.

33. Realize that Sundays come around pretty regular-like. Don’t expect him to knock it out of the park every time. And when he doesn’t meet your standards.

34. Check your diva scale. It might be high.

35. Be a bouncer. If you know that your pastor is being worked over stupidly by an irregular person, run interference and learn some Spirit-filled bouncer moves.

36. Provide a cold bottle of water on his desk on Sunday morning. I had someone do this for me every Sunday and it was perhaps the coolest simple blessing ever. It was kind of like saying, “Sock it to them and stay hydrated. We love you and want you to be spot on today!”

37. Amazon gift cards. Only he knows exactly what he needs and he’s probably not going to tell you. An Amazon card is universally awesome.

38. Upgrade his computer. Most pastors wait way too long to get a new computer. How long has your pastor been waiting? Here’s a litmus test: if the front of his computer says: “Commodore” or he’s using WordPerfect 4.0, it’s probably time.

39. Celebrate his accomplishments.

40. Give him an extended sabbatical every five years or so. If he’s made it five years, he’s beaten the odds by a couple of years.

41. Give him a gift to give to his wife. Don’t take credit. Just say, “I saw this and thought, “Hey, I bet Pastor Waldo would give this kind of thing to his wife. So I bought it so you could give it to her from you because you are so thoughtful!” (Then wink.)

42. Keep the kids during worship. Some call it bed babies. Some call it extended session. But whatever you call it. It is a blessing not to have to worry that people are lined up to serve. Also a screaming baby versus a sermon in the same room? Who’s going to win that match? I think you know.

43. Express your confidence in him. This can simply be done by saying, “You da man!!”

44. Give him books. Chances are, he loves books. BUT DO NOT ASK HIM IF HE READ IT. When you do that, you have not given him a gift, you’ve given him a task.

45. Write a note to their kids and state the obvious: “Being a preacher’s kid is tough. We love you so much for putting up with stuff.”

46. When he and the family go out of town. Mow their grass.

47. Give him tickets to the big game. (In other words, not State vs. Northern Illinois Community Career College.)

48. Compare him with a Bible character, say, “You remind me of Stephen- boldly speaking the truth.” Just make sure you don’t compare him to Ahab, Jonah, Samson, or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

49. Don’t exclude him or his wife from parties. Chances are he won’t turn it into a funeral. In fact he might be more fun than you ever imagined he’d be. When at this well-fortified festive event, don’t talk church with him. Unstick his brain from the task for a little while. Also don’t be offended if he says no.

50. Buy him some waders. He doesn’t walk on water.




An Awkward Rite of Passage

Every stage of life has its milestones and ceremonial rites. At 20, it’s a party surrounded by eligible bachelorettes. Turning 30, it’s a birthday lunch with business associates and a rare evening out without changing a diaper.  At 40, it’s a surprise birthday party orchestrated by your kids. In your 50s, it’s “Strap on this hospital gown, we need to see what’s going on down there.”

If you haven’t had a colonoscopy, I want to tell you that it’s really not that big of a deal. It starts with two delicious gallon-sized beverages that taste like a very heavy 7-Up that initiates all-out civil war in your stomach. I thought an alien would bust out of my midsection at any moment. But yea and verily, this lasts only for a season. Just stay close to the bathroom, invite no dignitaries over, and turn the music up loud throughout the house. The rumbling and ruckus will sporadically turn embarrassing.

After a day comprised of sugar-free lime Jello cups and enough broth tostrike fear in the hearts of chickens everywhere, we made our way to the diagnostic clinic. When we got there they informed me that the worst was over, and truly it was. They also informed me that I’d be getting the Michael Jackson drug.

“And you’re telling me this because…”

But I survived the propofol, the rear slit of the hospital gown, the long wait, the paperwork, the Miralax (AKA: InstaColonQuake), the paranoia about what they did to me while I slept, the embarrassing things you say after you wake up, and I was polyp free! Yes!

Shout out to the doctor, my wife, and the nurse that I thought was Mother Mary. I’m not even Catholic.

Guys, if it’s time, please get this screening. It’s no big deal. Just don’t go for pizza right after the procedure. Just trust me on that one.




The Peculiar Relationship of C.S. Lewis and Ms. Moore

One of the most peculiar backstories of writer and theologian C.S. Lewis is the unusual 30 year motherly relationship he had with Mrs. Janie Moore. When C.S. Lewis served in World War I, he fought alongside Paddy Moore. Lewis returned wounded and Paddy was killed in action. While in the hospital recovering, C.S. Lewis notified his father who promptly replied that he was too busy to see him. However Paddy’s mother, some 30 years older than Lewis did visit. Later Lewis stayed in her home and, according to C.S. Lewis’ brother, it reached the point of almost slavery, where C.S. Lewis attended to her and Moore became increasingly demanding in her old age.

As I read this story, I wondered how Lewis’ life would have been different if his dad had left the office and attended to the needs of his wounded son. I’m sure the story would have been much different. The rejection of a father caused an unhealthy attachment to a woman who found him to be easy prey for her own selfishness. As fathers, this story reminds us that if we don’t step up to the bat in our kids’ lives, they will seek a replacement for the love and presence we are withholding. Often those replacements are cheap substitutes for the blessing and attentiveness of a father. Our lack of concern could set our kids back for years.

What does it means to exasperate your children? Perhaps it begins by simply ignoring them. To seem invisible is often the worst feeling a child could ever experience.




See it and Weep

Nehemiah heard the news of Jerusalem. Wars, disaster, fires made the city a disaster. The people in the city were in real and daily danger. The news struck him to the core of his soul and he mourned.  When is the last time you’ve been wrecked by the state of your world? Have you felt the sting of a friend walking away from the faith? Have you sent the poverty of the third world country where young women walk for miles to bring dirty water to their waterless town? What wrecks you today? Whatever it is that has your attention, there’s a very good chance that, like Nehemiah, God is calling you to take action. Not everyone weeps about the same thing. Nobody can possibly weep over every injustice in the world, but we all can do, and are called to do at least one thing. For Nehemiah it was a wall and a culture to reform. For you, it might be something as huge as a foster child, or as small as leaky faucet in a community center. Whatever it is, God is waiting for men to weep and then act. For Nehemiah, it was a long journey, a number of years, a lots of struggle before the dream of a righted Jerusalem was realized, but if he could speak to us today, I’m sure he’d say that he lived without regrets. And he’d say to us that we can do this.

Atheism, disillusionment, detachment, terror, and fear saturate our world in darkness. This is where e come in. Martin Luther King Jr. was right: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We are God’s first option to change the world. And in case you were wondering there is no second option.




5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

It had been an especially difficult year for our church. A number of key long-standing members abruptly left our church in protest to the changes we had incorporated in our schedule in the hopes of reaching new people. At our monthly leadership meeting, we were discussing the issue when Carl stood up, grabbed his coat and surrendered with a shocking declaration.  “I’m out. I’ve had enough of all this!”

As his pastor, no one was more surprised that I was. What had led him to this sudden outburst? After the meeting I called and asked him to meet me at a coffee shop nearby. Well into the night, I listened to him share his story. Carl had bottomed out and had nothing more to give. The demands of a new baby, a wife with postpartum depression, teaching a small group, coaching his son’s soccer team and the constant care of his father in the late stages of Alzheimer’s had so wearied him that his despair was unmanageable. I wept with him and realized that I had completely failed to put the pieces of his story together. It was a stern reminder to me that we are all strugglers. The storms of circumstance and over-commitment can send the best of us to the brink.

None of us are immune to the ravages of adversity. We all have stories of troubles that come in bunches mixed with the trap of over-commitment. This includes pastors, wives and all leaders. The choices we make will ultimately determine our success in surviving and thriving in the midst of a perfect storm.

By the way, if you are in one of those seasons where everything is manageable, you might want to bookmark this.  Chances are, you’re going to need it in the future.

These following five choices are lifesavers that you’ll need to have on board when you feel overwhelmed and overextended.

  • Connect

As believers, we often want to be that lone silent warrior holding everything together singlehandedly. Read this slowly: This is not biblical. There was a reason God created the church. The Bible implores us to connect and collaborate in a shared journey of discipleship. If you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed, tell someone. Phone a friend. Yes, pray. But pray with other men who will have your back and walk you through the fire. David, find your Jonathan. Moses, find your Aaron. Shadrach, find your Meshach and Abednego. Connect biblically, or you may be Samson looking for his Delilah and we know how that turned out!

  • Condition

In other words, get moving. Make physical conditioning a part of your daily routine. Hit the gym. Take a walk. You might not feel like it when you are overwhelmed. If you get to the place where you are saying, “I just don’t have time to exercise,”then you probably need to more than ever. Keep the body working even when life isn’t working. Drink lots of water. Stay away from food that’s handed to you through your car window. Fast food will send you on the fast track to burnout.

  • Clear

Prioritize the important responsibilities you have on your plate and clear the rest of it off your plate. I grew up believing that God was most pleased with me if I had more things to do than anyone else. In my forties, I had to create new nuero-pathways in my brain to fully accept that busyness is not next to godliness.

The following is NOT in the Bible.

Thus Jesus hurriedly got up realizing what an important day this was going to be. He ran to Galilee and there He created 13 lesson parchments, visited 15 lepers in one night. Exhausted, the disciples verily tried to keep up with the Son of God but nay, they could not. They marveled at his time management skills and his strength in persuasive skills. People flocked to him and stayed with him for they knew that if He could accomplish such management tasks with great haste, effort and fluidity that he knew the habits for being an effective person.

Nope. It never happened.

For me, living a clear life means spending some time clearing off my desk so that I can think. It also means that I need to look critically at my calendar and begin to say the most difficult two letter word in the English language. “No”. I confess. I don’t like the way it sounds when it comes out of my mouth. Especially when I have to say it to someone I love and admire.

Clear your schedule, clear your desk, and clear your mind. It’s truly amazing how simpler life becomes when your clear it up.

  • Cool Down

Take time to recover from a difficult meeting, hospital visit or funeral. Don’t put tape over the dummy lights on your dashboard. If the pace of your life is overheating, take time to cool down. Start turning stuff off. Put your phone on silent mode and become mindful of what your body is saying to you. If you are overheating, you’ll get nowhere fast. 

  • Confess

I’m not referring to making a confession of your sins, although that’s a good thing we should constantly do. By confessing, I mean turning to God and confessing that you are weak. I used to believe the following statement was scripture:

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

It’s not in there and it’s not true. God will often give us more than we can handle for the expressed purpose of showing us that we must confess our weakness. However, God will never give us more than He can handle. And that’s good news.

So what happened with my deacon friend, Carl? Our amazing group of deacons rallied around him, and stood in the gap as he navigated through the storms and recalibrated his life. He learned that he didn’t have to do everything. He’s still serving today but this time with more focus and support. His prefect storm served as a reminder of God’s grace in our times of weakness and over-commitment.

 


 




The Gift of Hiddenness

One of the greatest, most unappreciated gifts God gives us is hiddenness. Few even recognize it as an actual word. But it’s desperately needed in the evangelical lexicon. Everything in our culture works feverishly against it. So many, (including myself) have felt unseen without truly enjoying the power of this great gift. But it is throughout the Bible.

The psalmist sings, “You are my hiding place.” John the Baptist declares it. “He must increase and I must decrease.” Moses is hidden between the rocks when God’s glory slowly passed by him in a mysterious place of meeting. The hiddenness of a Man named Mordecai almost cost him his life until God intervened.

The legends of our faith knew the value of hiddenness.  But everything in our flesh would hope that somehow we would be seen. This is especially true for writers, performers, artists and many preachers.  There is a gnawing sense of discontent when the art, the poetry, the messages are in the shadows rather than syndicated to the masses. We crave a bigger platform, a larger readership, a growing subscriber base, a mention on Facebook, a retweet, and to keep our name valuable in the currency of the collective conversations we share. Jesus valued none of this. 

Do we need more books, more roles, more opinions, more editorials, more decorative doves and theological theories? Do we need more blog posts like this one?

No.

We need more mystics, monks, servants and seers.

When we are hidden, when credit is not given, when the awards are not received, this, for the believer is the real nectar and bliss of Gospel living.

This truth frightens me:  Lucifer fell from the heights of heaven after rejecting the virtue of hiddenness in the Father. 

Can you make a habit out of rejoicing when you are not acknowledged or affirmed?

Can you enjoy the pleasure of giving generously, but secretly?

Are you praying more in the closet than you do in the public arena?

The duality of this post is that I am writing about the very thing that I am NOT doing as I am writing! As I write I hope that people will read it. Perhaps I’m a hypocrite. I don’t really know.

I will actually post this somewhere out in the open air of the illustrious and vulgar marketplace of ideas. It will be no longer hidden. If I’m lucky more than three other people will read it.  But I am trying to adjust my posture about the words I write. Living more for Him. Trying, failing, stumbling, repenting as I decrease. Hopefully by the end of my life Jesus will be more visible than I make Him today and I will almost disappear completely. Maybe at the end of my journey those closest to me will stand around my bed and whisper, “God took him and he was no more.”

How does one speak out and enjoy the hiddenness of the inner sanctum?

(I’m still wrestling with that one.)

It’s a tension we all must manage because there is a very fine line between godly hiddenness and false humility. The artist, writer, minister has been commissioned but for Whose legacy? Who gets admired in the process? Do we say, “What a great song!” or do we say, “What a great God!”

This I do know. I know what hiddenness is. (Desiring it is quite another thing all together.)

It is stopping when I begin to promote myself. It is valuing Sabbath when I feel the urge to leap past rest and into a mad dash of activity and responsibility. Hiddenness is willing to stop and give secretly, generously because that is what love does. Hiddenness is enjoying being out of the spotlight and admiring the successes of others. Hiddenness is enjoying the slow decline of your notoriety and the advent of your anonymity. 

Hiddenness is when your head hits the pillow and  you thank God extravagantly for keeping you hidden for another day.

 

 

 




John the Speediest

For some men, it’s all about the race. Just stay on the interstate for any length of time and you’ll see lots of guys who seem to be fanatical about getting to their destinations before you do. At gas stations, I see them hurrying their wives and kids along as they watch cars whizzing down the road as they’re returning the gas nozzle to the pump. All the while they’re thinking to themselves subconsciously, Look at that! They’re beating us!

Inside the story of the resurrection, we get a little glimpse of man’s deep desire to be first-man-there.

John is telling the story of Jesus’ glorious resurrection and in John 20:4. He records the triumph of the empty tomb and as a side note he also remarks about who got there first. It seems worthy of a sports announcer like Darrell Waltrip. “In the inside lane—Simon Peter in the sandals and beard. On the outside lane, John the Beloved, AKA the other disciple also in sandals and a beard.  Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy!”

John records the results for all eternity in verse 4: “The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first.”  But that’s not quite enough. John underscores who came in first and second time in verse 6: “Then, following him, Simon Peter also came.”

We get who got there first and it was not Simon Peter. But John continues to make sure you understood in verse 8: “The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first…”

So John the Beloved is also John the Speediest. I can just imagine Peter reading the Gospel delivered straight from Patmos where John had been exiled. As Peter thought of the incredible world-changing resurrection, he must have smiled at the tiny subplot of the Jerusalem 1200 meter dash and the much, self-heralded triumph of John the Speediest.  Somehow John managed to get the bragging rights in his permanent record.




Grace on a Family Tree

One of my friends loves Jesus. That sounds commonplace doesn’t it? It becomes less pedestrian when I tell you that his Mom died a drug addict and his father was a devout atheist. My friend was gloriously saved at the age of 10 at a Vacation Bible School event and never looked back. This. Makes. No. Sense. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but this apple fell off the tree rolled down the hill, was picked up by a pilot and flew across the ocean! (Figuratively speaking, of course.) And believe me, I don’t have the enough white space here to chronicle the entire sordid tale.  His story is a monument to the fact that God can save anybody He wants to save, no matter how messed up the family tree.

The New Testament begins with a family tree that had a number of ugly branches. Matthew 1 tells us that in Jesus’ lineage are a number shady characters including a prostitute, daughter of incest, an adulterer, a lying brother, lots of cautionary tales and ultimately an scandalous unwed pregnancy. It’s almost like God wanted to say from the start that this Gospel is all about grace and not about our upbringing. God isn’t as interested in your family history. He’s interested in what happens next. And when it comes to transformation, what happens next is glorious. He flips the script with grace. It’s His specialty. Never count yourself or your family out because of what happened yesterday. It’s an insult to the power of God when you do.




Stick with the Plan. Keep it Simple Somehow

The high school football coach was being heckled mercilessly in the first quarter by all the player’s dads. He just kept calling the same running plays over and over again. The coach, who happened to be a member of my small group, told me his plan the night before. He was going to run the ball, over and over again because he knew the front four of the opponents team was strong but they didn’t have the conditioning that his offensive line had. He said, “It’s just a matter of time.”  The crowd harassed the coach relentlessly as the running backs eked out a ground game in the first quarter two or three yards at a time.  No passes. All rushes.  But by the 3rd quarter, the defensive line had their hands on their hips. They were gassed! And the two-yard gains became 20-yard gains in the fourth quarter as they rolled to victory easily.

Whether it is growing our retirement plan, growing a Small group, or devising a strategy to lose weight, we must plan. Often the plans are not exciting. They drone on respectively and require consistency, patience and a relentless nature of doing things (or not doing things) day after day after day. It’s not thrilling. It’s doesn’t make your heart beat faster like a reckless short-term plan often does, but it works. The writer of Proverbs reminds us that diligence always trumps recklessness. Let’s make sure that we’re consistent with our plan so that the 4thquarter and the victory celebration will be that much sweeter.

What’s your game plan?  Allow me to share mine.  It’s such an easy plan. I still have to look at it every day or I’ll forget it. (And yes, I often do.)

Stick with the plan:

    1. Give at least ten percent.
    2. Save at least ten percent.
    3. Always take one day a week to rest.
    4. Continue to date your wife.
    5. Don’t talk about people behind their backs.
    6. Work out 6 days a week.
    7. Journal at least one day a week– even if it’s just a few sentences.
    8. Meet with an accountability partner.
    9. As much as you can, eat unprocessed food.
    10. Meet God daily. Find a place, read the Word, work your prayer list.
    I know it is pretty basic, but I’m a basic guy. It’s not a complicated playbook, but the more I keep running it, the more I frustrate the opponent. If I’m faithful to it, I will need no Hail Marys.