The Bible and a Cell Phone

I find the truth of this post quite enlightening and wanted to share this and keep it as a reminder of my priorities:

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

  • What if we carried it around all day?
  • What if we flipped through it several times a day?
  • What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
  • What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
  • What if we searched through it to find useful information?
  • What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?
  • What if we talked about it with our friends and family?
  • What if we shared the discoveries we have made?
  • What if we told others about the helpful things it does?
  • What if we gave it to kids as a gift?
  • What if we used it when we traveled?
  • What if we used it in case of emergency?
  • What if we used it as a GPS to tell us where we are?
  • What if we used it for navigation to help us get to where we want to be?

This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible? Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Does this make you stop and think about priorities? And never a dropped call!

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Dreams, Visions and Goal Setting

Dreams are wishes that seldom happen. Life does not hand you your dreams. Dreams can only become a reality when they become a part of your vision. The leader must do something about his dreams and vision. You must also cast your vision to others if your vision is big enough. If there is no vision, the people scatter (Proverbs 29:18).

Helen Keller said the most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.

Vision that is ready to go to work is called a goal. A great Scripture on reaching your goal is 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25. Dave Ramsey says that opportunity knocks at your door wearing overalls.

From your vision and goals to have long-term positive impact, they must include goals for: Career, Financial, Spiritual, Family, Intellectual, Physical, and Social. Imagine each area as a piece of the pie. Ziglar calls it the wheel of life.

Gossip: talking to someone about something or someone who is not in a position to fix it.

Plan on problems: you are employed to solve problem, or you are not needed.

Goals are bite-sized visions: Goals convert vision into energy. You cannot be vague with your goals. Do the activity that brings the results (like a salesman making 30 calls a week is the base line). You cannot reach the goal if you do not do the work.

Goals work SMART if they are:

  1. Specific: create precise behaviors and outcomes, linked to rate and frequency. Each objective must have only one desired outcome.
  2. Measurable: too “improve” is far too vague, mention steps toward the desired outcome.
  3. Achievable, and yours (not someone else’s goals): stretch, but make it reasonable.
  4. Results oriented: and in writing
  5. Time bound: when will the results be expected?

Break everything down into smaller parts and time frames.

For your team to have goals, you must have goals. Sharing goals and selling goals is called casting a vision. Shared goals create communication and unity. A positional leader pushes you into goals (go make your quota), while a servant leader pulls you into goals. Goals for a team are shared when they are developed together. Individual team members cannot have goals dictated to them; instead, help people to develop their own goals.

Management by objectives: when team members set goals within general company guidelines. Coach Carter (the movie) said that if you have no vision to college, you cannot win a national championship. Napoleon said that leaders are brokers of hope. Ziglar said that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.

We can spend a ridiculous amount of time avoiding the things that are outside of our comfort zones. The movie, Castaway, shows us there is a sin of losing time. Steven Covey (the 7 Habits guy) has an interesting matrix on establishing priorities:

If you don’t do Q2, you will always move to Q1. Recognize that you are being productive when you are in Q2. Scott Peck said that “until you value yourself, you cannot value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything about it.” Good verses (Proverbs 16:9, Isaiah 30:1). If the leader must ask “where do I start?” you have not broken the goal into measurable action plans (like if I want to drive home, what do I do first?).

Bearing Fruit to More Fruit

The Secrets of the Vine: Bruce Wilkinson has an excellent study of disciples bearing fruit and what that really means.

  1. The Secrets of the Vine Introduction
  2. Authentic Disciples Bear Fruit
  3. From No Fruit to Bearing Fruit
  4. From Bearing Fruit to More Fruit
  5. From Bearing More Fruit to Much Fruit

The Secrets of the Vine (Bruce Wilkinson), teaches about every believer going from bearing fruit to bearing more fruit. John 15:1-3

The question must be asked, “Do you want all these leaves, or do you desire the fruit?”

Passage:

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. — John 15:1-3

“Every branch that bears fruit” describes a fruit-bearing believer. “He prunes” specifies the pruning-agent as God the Father. “Prune” is an act by the vinedresser to cut back to bear more. “Bear more fruit” reveals God’s goal as increasing good works.

  1. Pruning is the primary method to make branches productive.
  2. Pruning redirects the sap from the wood and leaves to the fruit.
  3. Pruning occurs numerous times throughout the season

Pitfall:

The more you live for God, the less pain you will experience.

Misconception: God brings pain into your life only because you have done wrong.

Truth: God brings pruning pain into your life because you are bearing fruit.

  1. Pruning can be confused with discipline as both are painful – Hebrews 12:11, 1 Peter 1:6 (They feel the same. Discipline is when I have done wrong, no fruit, remorse and repent; pruning is when I have done right, bearing fruit, relief and release).
  2. Pruning can lead people to become angry with God – confusion, misunderstanding.
  3. Pruning often causes sin in believers who are mature – Let me do more for You, anger causes avoidance and a hardened heart.

Principles of Pruning:

  1. Pruning Principle # 1– Pruning puts pressure on you to change your major priorities
    1. Pruning releases you from using your weaknesses to using your strengths – from good to better.
    2. Pruning leverages your life by focusing you on the strategic
    3. Pruning stimulates you to reallocate your primary resources
      1. Reprioritizing the way to invest your time – Ephesians 5:15-16
      2. Reprioritizing the way to invest your talents – Matthew 25:20-21
      3. Reprioritizing the way to invest your treasure – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (the heart will follow the activity).
  2. Pruning Principle # 2– Pruning increases your productivity by clarifying your life purpose – “no fruit” people have no clue to their purpose.
    1. Pruning seeks to discover why God laid hold of you – God laid hold of me so I can lay hold of the fruit (Philippians 3:12-13)
    2. Pruning forgets the past failures to focus on the future
    3. Pruning causes you to focus upon your lasting legacy
  3. Pruning Principle # 3– Pruning transforms and intensifies your heart passion – Titus 2:14
    1. Pruning lessens the pleasure you experience from unfruitful activities.
    2. Pruning intensifies your passion by requiring personal sacrifice – Philippians 3:7-8
    3. Pruning increases your desire to bring great joy to God’s heart.

The Pruning Process:

  1. Pruning Process # 1– The Lord’s Universal Pruning System
    1. Do you believe God prunes you at the perfect moment?
      1. Does He start pruning you at the perfect time?
      2. Does He prune you for the perfect length of time?
      3. Does He prune you to the perfect depth?
      4. Does He prune you at the perfect breadth?
    2. Do you believe that God prunes you with the perfect method? – Romans 8:28
      1. Does He carefully select the absolute best pruning tools?
      2. Does He watch out for you by limiting unnecessary pain?
      3. Does He stay intimately involved as your pruning coach?
    3. Do you believe God prunes you with the perfect motive? – Romans 8:31-32
      1. Does He truly have your best interest in mind at all times?
      2. Does He ever use you and then discard you when He is finished?
      3. Does He ever forsake you when you fail His pruning?
  2. Pruning Process # 2– The Lord’s Seven Pruning Tools
    1. Pruning Tool # 1 – possessions (money house, furniture, jewelry, clothing, retirement, recreation) – Genesis 37:23
    2. Pruning Tool # 2 – position (position in the family, church, organization, community, business) – Genesis 37:20, 36
    3. Pruning Tool # 3 – physical (sickness, weakness, discomfort, exhaustion, aging, blind, deaf) – Genesis 37:24
    4. Pruning Tool # 4 – people – injustice (family, friends, employer, employees, co-workers, strangers) – Genesis 39:11-14
    5. Pruning Tool # 5 – profession – more work (job title, responsibilities, demotion/promotion, success/failure) – Genesis 39:4, 19-20a
    6. Pruning Tool # 6 – place (location of home, employment, transfer, desk location, church move) – Genesis 39:20
    7. Pruning Tool # 7 – plan – my plan is God’s plan (plans for wife, children, education, finances, retirement) – Genesis 40:14-15, 23; 41:1a
  3. Pruning Process # 3– The Lord’s Pruning Cycle of preparation
    1. Pruning prepares you to step into more significant roles
      1. Cycle 1 – Youngest son
      2. Cycle 2 – Overseer at Potiphar’s house
      3. Cycle 3 – Overseer in the prison
      4. Cycle 4 – Leader over the nation
    2. Pruning prepares you to handle more extensive responsibilities
      1. Cycle 1 – Menial tasks, sheep
      2. Cycle 2 – Manage home/business affairs
      3. Cycle 3 – Manage large affairs
      4. Cycle 4 – Manage the economy/policy
    3. Pruning prepares you to handle major tests with godly responses
      1. Cycle 1 – Betrayal and slavery
      2. Cycle 2 – Accusation and prison
      3. Cycle 3 – Forgotten in prison
      4. Cycle 4 – Brothers

The main understanding is that pruning comes first, the fruit comes later.

Precept:

God prunes all fruit-bearing believers by various methods throughout their lifetime in order to maximize the quality and quality of their fruit.

Conclusion: you can choose to actively rebel and reject, passively resist and remain reluctant, or proactively rest and rejoice.

  1. 1. God wants you to know if He is disciplining or pruning.
  2. 2. Ask yourself if there is any known major sin.
    1. If unclear, ask God to reveal sin in one week – (a reason for the discipline).
    2. You may be in pruning if no sin is revealed
  3. God disciplines His children and desires you to repent.
  4. God prunes His children and desires you to relax and release.