2013 here we go

By January 1, 2013Church, Leadership

On this first day of 2013, let me encourage you to live each day of this new year with intention and decisiveness.  Choose to not be one of those people who drift through life like a pinball in a pinball machine — bouncing from bumper to bumper, at the mercy of circumstances.

One of my favorite Bible verses that describes living with purpose is Acts 13:36.  The Apostle Paul is speaking in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch.  As he is building his case for the authenticity of Jesus as Messiah, he drops in this commentary regarding King David:

“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.”

I love that verse!

You only have one life in which to serve God’s purpose — and that is the life you are living now.  We can build on the generations that preceded us; we can pave the way for future generations.  But we can only serve God (in real-time) in this generation.  Today.  Not tomorrow.  Now.

But there is a chance you may not have a good sense of your purpose.  Maybe you see shades of it, but it’s not in focus.  Maybe you’ve never considered the fact that God has a purpose for your life.  Or, perhaps you have a good idea, but it has been put on the back-burner as you’ve pursued other things.

Don’t wait until 2014 to figure it out.

One of the best prayers I’ve ever prayed was taught to me by John Maxwell.  Well, not in person.  It was on a cassette tape (here’s a link for those of you who do not know what a cassette tape is) from Injoy, a ministry Maxwell started to help train pastors.  The year was 2001.  The location was the San Damiano retreat center in Danville, CA.

The prayer goes like this:

“God, please reveal to me the three things that when I get to the end of my life you will say, ‘Ken, I’m glad you did those three things.'”

In other words, what are the three major narratives that will shape your life?  What will be your three major pursuits?  As Maxwell encouraged, take off the table to be a good husband/wife, father/mother, or just all-around good person.  Those are givens.

The answer God gave to that prayer has shaped the last twelves years of my life.  Lord willing, these three things will continue to shape the remainder of time that God grants me to live.  They were:

  1. Be a part of a church that starts new churches.
  2. Help my generation find their way back to God.
  3. Train the next generation of church leaders.

It is hard to describe the extent to which this prayer has transformed my thinking, my priorities, and my decisions.  We have switched church traditions, moved across the country, and learned tremendous lessons of faith along the way.

On the one hand, this answered prayer has served as a filter, enabling me to say “no” to good ideas because they were not in alignment with my life’s mission.

It has also served as a fire, a spiritual biological clock that ticks louder and louder with the passing of time.  I am more conscious than ever of being a good steward of my life.

Take a day-off from work, find a quiet place, and pray Maxwell’s prayer.  The answer may come that day — or, more likely, it may take a few dedicated sessions to hear from God. But you will hear from God.  He wants you to live in alignment with his purpose for you.

And then get moving.  Get intentional.  You’ll never regret it.

—– DIG DEEPER —–

Becoming a Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy. This is a great resource for how to develop a life plan for yourself and then to help others do the same.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Think of this as a spiritual 2×4.