5 things to start the new year

As school is getting back into the full swing, I wanted to share five things to help us all look at the school year afresh. Even though I have students in mind, these things can apply to anyone, anywhere.

1) Start with God. I know it seems like a given but there’s no doubt that as time, busyness and complacency set in, starting each day with God may become a challenge. It’s important to not only be disciplined in having time with God but also to be directed. What does that mean? It means having a plan. Decide when and what you are going to read and study. Make it part of your homework routine. Use the Youversion Bible app for reading plans and then use a journal to record your thoughts and prayers. You’ll be amazed at how different your days will be!

2) Start praying for your classmates and friends. Inevitably there are people in your classes and friends on your bus…people that you work with who need your prayers. You don’t have to blatantly ask for prayer requests…just listen for needs that you overhear and pray silently about what God wants you to do. He may want you to speak up to help meet the need or He may simply want you to seek Him in prayer over a period of time. Praying for the people around you is a great way to see and be part of what God is doing.

3) Start seeing yourself as an agent of change. Regardless of where you are or how much you like being there, God can and does want to use you to bring about godly and lasting change. He can use you to demonstrate His mercy, grace, kindness, and love if you are willing to be that vessel for Him to pour it through. God isn’t limited by our inabilities but our unavailability. Will you be available to Him to bring lasting and effective change?

4) Start looking for ways you can be involved. As a servant of Jesus, you have to take a position of service. In what way can you help another? How can you serve your school or job better? How about the community? How can you give back? One of the greatest ways God uses us is by being involved in acts of service to those around us. Look for a way to be involved today.

5) Start giving your best. No matter what, you can always give your best to the situation. Remember you are not responsible for what someone else does but you are responsible for you. You can always rise above the gossip, crude jokes, meaningless banter and give the best version of yourself to others and to the Lord. Don’t withhold the good that is in you for fear of standing out. Be all that you can and were created to be and that will bring God glory. Use your brain, your gifts, your talents and your time wisely and give all you have to achieve the greatest good you can. Don’t compare your best with someone else. You’re not in a competition. You only have to answer for you and you and God know what your best is. So start giving your best to everything you do and you will most certainly bring the change God desires and the glory God deserves.

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2015 Resolutions: Make Up Your Mind And Your List

make up your mind and your list

How will this year be different than any other? Here’s a thought for you as you get your first week under your belt: Make up your mind, along with your list. What do I mean? Let me explain.

Year after year in America and around the world, people make lists of resolutions concerning how they want to change or be different in the new year. But slowly, little by little, the excitement wears off and life slides back into old patterns. Life will not give you what you want or dream of. Instead it will give you what you are willing to take and settle for. What will it really take for this year to be different? May I make a few suggestions?make up your mind and your list (6)

List

Make a list of things you really want to do/become in 2015 but keep it simple/memorable.

To be honest, one of the reasons we do not keep our commitments is because we simply forget what we want. If your list is short and memorable, you are less likely to forget. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a lot of things that need to change. Take a couple things at a time and work on those and then with success, move onto something else.

Write it down and post it where it counts. 

Put your list in front of yourself often. That means on a mirror or fridge might be the best place, since most of us visit those places at least once-a-day. Writing it down and seeing it in your own handwriting is a great reminder and accountability practice.

Give yourself achievable assignments and goals.

Set milestones, landmarks and deadlines. Celebrate each benchmark with zeal and evaluate each setback with honesty. Whatever happens, don’t stop until you reach your goal, no matter how great the struggle. Don’t make your goals so hard and impossible that you could never reach them…instead but realistic and celebrate the progress.make up your mind and your list (2) Be committed to progress not just success.

Mind

Make up your mind that no matter what, you will not quit. 

To allow room for quitting, opens the door for the possibility. Set your mind each day to accomplish the goals set before you. Take each step seriously, if you don’t you won’t make it. But don’t be so serious that you forget to celebrate the small steps along the way.

make up your mind and your list (4)Remember that the right attitude is “can” not “cannot”.

There are certain words and attitudes that must be eliminated from your vocabulary if you want to achieve your maximum potential: “can’t” is one of those words. Make your list of negative words and get them out of your mind and heart and then press on. Also realize that there are going be many things that will serve as justifiable “excuses”…don’t settle for or accept anything that will prevent you from your overall goal. Inevitably some things will pop up and demand your attention so be creative in how you adjust.make up your mind and your list (3) Flexibility and creativity need to be your greatest assets.

Know that ideas don’t change people but practice does.

make up your mind and your list (7)Just get started…move the idea from out of your head and into your life. Adapt and adopt the change. Start practicing what you want and it will come…eventually. Far too many people have great dreams and ideas and hopes for their lives but that’s as far as it gets. Why not determine that 2015 will be the year that you actually move those ideas into reality?

 

George Profile

 

 

 

 

 

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and the Creative/Mission Pastor with New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA.

 

 

 

 

3 Disciplines For A Fruitful Ministry In 2015

fruitful header fixed

There’s no question that if I were to ask: “who wants to be successful in 2015”, everyone would raise their hands. In fact, no one sets out to be a failure at any time in their lives. Even though there are no surefire ways to promise success in 2015, there are certain things one can do to make the year fruitful. Here are a few suggestions to consider as you move into a new year.

Cultivate Your Heart.

Moving into a new year is exciting and fresh…it’s a way to “start over”, if you will. But that’s the question, isn’t it: will you? Will you make a fresh and clean start? It all begins with your own heart. If you want to be fruitful in 2015, you have to begin with yourself. You have to deal with some serious questions about your direction, your attitude, and your heart. If the new year is going to be new, you have to properly deal with the past.  This may require approaching others and dealing with issues that have been put off or unresolved. Regardless of the situation, good fruit requires good roots and good roots require good soil.

Plant The Right Seeds.

We all plant seeds in life. Some of those seeds are going to bear good fruit while others may seem to not bear anything. But here’s one fact that is sure; you will only reap what you plant. If you want to reap peace in 2015, you have to plant seeds of peace. If you want to reap new and deeper friends, then you have to plant some seeds of kindness and sincerity. Planting the right seeds doesn’t always ensure a great harvest but it’s going to give you a much better chance.

Nourish And Nurture Relationships.

Looking back on 2014, there are probably some relationships that didn’t go the way you would have liked. There are probably some things that drained or even killed a relationship. It’s important to look at why these things happened and seek to understand how you can better nurture the friendships that really mean something to you in 2015. As you know, relationships, just like fruit takes a while and perhaps even years to develop and grow. If you desire to have lasting and meaningful relationships it’s important to start nourishing and nurturing those now. Much like success, fruitfulness takes great time, patience and resolve to realize. If you start investing today in relationships and people, loving them through Christ, your life will be richer, more meaningful and certainly more fruitful at the end of 2015.

So, those are a few thoughts for fruitfulness this year, what would you suggest?

P.L.A.N. For 2013 pt.3

Now that you have seen how important prayer and learning can be, let me announce what “A” is for: Advance. As simple as it seems, advancing is not as easy as it may sound. When I say advance I mean being able to move beyond the past. Far too often people bring the past into the present and it inhibits the future. I can assure you God is not moving backwards. His kingdom is advancing and He is inviting you to join Him.

In Philippians 3:12-16, Paul deals with this idea of moving forward. If there were ever anyone who could have brought his past with him, it was Paul. Yet Paul says that he had to forget the past and focus on the future in order to advance. Believe me, Satan will seek to get you to focus on past failures and mistakes because when he does, he keeps you from seeing Christ. Notice in Philippians 3:13 that he says he is “straining forward”. This means that he is doing whatever it takes to advance. As Satan approaches you to remind you of your past, remember that Christ has called you to advance, and God will empower you to do it. Look at what Victor Kiam said:

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” 

Too much of our energies are focused on the wrong things. We invest time, resources, and life looking backward instead of looking forward. Just a quick question: What are you looking forward to in 2013? Knowing the answer to that question will help you advance.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. 

Denis Waitley

Psalm 24:16 is a verse encouraging us to move forward.

“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”

How amazing is it to know that through the power of God we are able to rise again? Every time we fall, God encourages us to rise again! This is Gd’s plan is it not? God wants us to move forward, and upward!

May I offer a few truths about advancing so that you can have a clear picture of it.

1) Sometimes moving forward means moving through.

What this means is that there are no shortcuts. We can’t circumvent God. Just as God took the children of Israel “through” the Red Sea, He will bring us through some things for us to advance.

2)Advancing is sometimes painful.

None of use like pain. However pain is a powerful tool in bringing us to the future. You have probably heard the phrase “No pain. No gain.” Anyone who wants to advance in their strength must be willing to suffer through some pain first. Then they become stronger. This is no different spiritually. If we are to be stronger, let’s grow forward.

3) Go somewhere on purpose.

You may want to go somewhere but many people do! The fact is that many people have no idea where they want to eventually end up and therefore just wander through life. This is not God’s ideal for anyone.God has a specific plan, agenda and mission for you to accomplish. The best way for this mission to succeed is to for you to know where you want be in and in how much time you desire to reach that goal.