Decision Making

27Sep

Proverbs and Politics

Lately, it seems like we’ve bought into a lie that our words don’t matter, or at least that’s the only way I can explain how some of my friends, as well as myself, are acting on social media. Election season puts all of us in a bit of a frenzy but it seems like we’re furiously typing things on social media we would never have the courage to say/scream at someone’s face.

Below are 23 verses from Proverbs – a book all about wisdom in practical life. They’re broken up into 5 general categories – don’t miss the last one. It’s the most prevalent and possibly the most dangerous. 

See: How to Read Proverbs

I’m committing to read through all 23 verses before I post something on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Would you join me? Our words matter. Jesus says that what we saw reveals what’s in our heart. Remember, our first allegiance as Christians is to King Jesus. See: God Doesn’t Need America

 

On Putting Trust in Politics, a Party, and/or a Politician

“Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” – Prv. 1:19

“but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Prv. 1:33

“Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.” – Prv. 29:26

 

On Engaging Political Opponents

“Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” – Prv. 9:7-8

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” – Prv. 10:12

“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” – Prv. 14:7

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” – Prv. 15:18

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.: – Prv. 18:2

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.” – Prv. 24:17

 

On Thinking/Knowing You’re Right and Humility

“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” – Prv. 3:7

“Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” – Prv. 3:34

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Prv. 14:12

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” – Prv. 21:2

 

On the Power of Words

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” – Prv. 10:19

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Prv. 13:3

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Prv. 15:1

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” – Prv. 17:28

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” – Prv. 18:21

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” – Prv. 27:6

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.” – Prv. 29:20

 

On Lying 

This is by far the most pernicious. Think about it – every time you share an article that you’re not sure is really true but you like because it furthers your own opinion while pushing down your opponent, you’re lying. The Bible often calls that “bearing false witness” and it’s the 9th commandment.

See: Stop Breaking the Ninth Commandment on Facebook

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” – Prv. 6:16-19

“Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right” – Prv. 8:6

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.” – Prv. 19:9

 

What verse(s) would you add to this list?

27Dec

Do More Better

Most people are looking for ways to do more work that matters.

Disclaimer: I’m not talking about working more hours. I’m talking about becoming more efficient, learning what projects to say yes or no to, and doing stuff that matters.

If you fall into this category of people, allow me to recommend Do More Better: a Practical Guide to Productivity – a mercifully short book written by pastor/author Tim Challies. Challies is an active blogger at www.challies.com.

challies

Overall Pros:

  • Gospel Focus – One of my biggest pet peeves in current church culture is our obsession with labelling everything Gospel-cenetered ______. However when discussing productivity, it is easy to begin boasting in our own efficiency or criticizing others who are not as effective as we are, at least as we judge effectiveness. Challies does not allow the reader to stray from the Gospel truth that God saves the most efficient and most lazy of people – and our productivity does nothing to impress God or earn his love.
  • Brevity – this makes sense for a book about productivity, right? Challies gets right what most productivity writers get wrong. At 119 pages, Do More Better teaches you what you need to get to work and you can knock it out in one sitting.
  • Practical Action Steps – Challies does not waste pages overly discussing productivity theories or quoting other productivity authors, like many do. Within each short chapter he gives practical action steps to implement right away.

On why we work

You are already very good at doing things that benefit you. We all are. From your infancy you have become adept at expending effort toward your own comfort and survival. But when God saved you, he gave you a heart that longs to do good for others. Suddenly you long to do good to other people, even at great cost to yourself. After all, that is exactly what Christ did on the cross…and he calls on you to imitate him. – 13

One of the best sentences in the book is Challies’ definition of productivity.

Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.– 16

In Chapter two, Challies identifies three productivity thieves:

  1. laziness
  2. busyness
  3. the mean combination of thorns and thistles (as a result of the Fall, sin has complicated work, making it harder to produce than God originally intended. Notice: work is not a consequence of sin. Work being difficult is).

The bulk of Do More Better is focused on specific, practical tools. Challies outlines his own productivity system without insisting the reader adopt his own. He does clarify that this system has worked well for him and others.

Challies lays out main areas of responsibility and then clarifies roles and responsibilities with those areas. He then gives each main area a loosely binding mission statement so he has a parameter in which to remain focused on what matters most.

The question I had, which Challies quickly answered was, “What about tasks that don’t fit into those five or six main categories?”

Challies provides three possible solutions:

1. Drop them – so much of our productivity potential is wasted on things that don’t matter. I am a pastor so people matter most in my world. But, to spend the most time with people there are times I have to say no to other people. For example, I know I work best at the very beginning of each day. So I usually start with the door shut to my co-workers, some of whom work differently than I do. As the day progresses, I generally meet with people more after lunch as my productivity levels start to drain but my relational capacity is still high. I have to drop some things so I can do the things that matter most.

2. Delegate them to someone who can do them better – this is absolutely not dumping something you simply don’t wish to do on someone else. In my world, we recently upgraded our worship team equipment, which I know nothing about. Instead of me wasting hours and hours trying to learn and eventually making a bad decision, I asked a few of my friends who are much more knowledgeable than I am to help me make the best decision. They saved me time, money, and helped me focus more on my own strengths as they served me with theirs.

3. Do them – this is where Challies’ gospel focus is heard loudly. As a Christian trying to pattern my life after Jesus, there should be no task that is beneath me. The founding pastor of my church, one of the largest in town, can regularly be found with a broom or mop in his hand cleaning up and serving in ways no one else sees. He does what needs to be done and serves just as honestly and joyfully without an audience as he does when he is preaching on stage to a packed house.

Challies spends a chapter each on three productivity tools: tasks, calendar, and information. I found his chapter on systems to be particularly insightful, especially the system he uses to create to-do lists and beginning the day strong.

He also discusses systems to evaluate yourself and your work in review. The two bonus chapters in the back are especially helpful (6 tips for email and 20 general productivity tips).

If you are looking to increase productivity and do more that matters, this book is for you.

Disclaimer: I received a free, discounted, or advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3Dec

The Anti-Vax Mom was Right and Donald Trump was Wrong

Over the past few days I have said the following words/phrases in perfectly normal conversation:

  • ding-a-ling (a crazy person)
  • cattywampus (crooked, out of place)
  • yonder (over there a ways)
  • feeder road (a road to merge on the highway)

Some of these might make sense to and some might not. I use some of these terms more frequently than others but a few phrases that don’t come out of my mouth as much they should are:

  • I’m sorry.
  • I was wrong.
  • I made a mistake.

Those are usually tough things to say to someone because they always mean two things:

1. You’re about to be humbled.

(Notice: a lot of people speak about the value of pursuing humility but not as much about humility pursuing you). Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Sometimes humility finds you, whether you like it or not.

2. You messed up.

Nobody likes making a mistake, but you can tell a lot about a person by how they respond after making one.

What an Anti-Vax Mom Got Right

Earlier this year, the Washington Post ran a story about Canadian mom Tara Hills. Hills and her husband have seven children and were passionate anti-vaccine advocates until all seven of their children contracted pertussis, or whooping cough.

As Hills started to research further she learned how the study she was basing her skepticism on was in fact a debunked 1998 study that falsely linked the measles vaccine to autism. Both Canada and the U.S. have suffered large outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in recent years.

Her children were ordered to home confinement until their antibiotics were completed.

But that’s not why this mom’s story made the news. Plenty of other families feel the same way. It was her loud admission that she got it wrong that drew attention from people on both sides of this issue.

“I set out to prove that we were right,” Hills said, “and in the process found out how wrong we were.”

After years of getting it wrong, quite publicly in fact (Hills was a blogger in the anti-vax community) she boldly admitted what more of us need to: I got it wrong.

What Donald Trump Got Wrong

What the anti-vax mom got right, Donald Trump got wrong.

On November 22, 2015, presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Among topics of discussion was Trump’s November 21, 2015 assertion that he witnessed footage on television of large crowd of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11th attacks.

Trump claimed “I watched thousands and thousands of people cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Stephanopoulos told Trump that Jersey City police at the time were aware of the rumor and investigated it proving it false. The rumors of said celebrations were traced back to an Internet claim that was also proved false.

Trump doubled down on his original claim and insisted further the he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating.

A simple Internet fact check proves his claim was incorrect and thus, a lie.

At best, Trump suffered from an exaggerated memory that stems from deciding to react to a tragedy with confidence instead of fear. It’s a noble trait but one that often produces false memories.

But almost fifteen years later, Trump has all the information he needs to respond honestly yet he refuses. He won’t do what the anti-vax mom did, admit he’s wrong and apologize.

It’s easy to point out others successes and failures in this arena but what about your life? What about mine?

I’m still learning to say those phrases. They sting. Often, humility is still pursuing me instead of the other way around but I’m trying to learn from mistakes and get better each day.

I never thought I’d say this but…

I want to be more like the Canadian anti-vax mother.

2Dec

The One Regret You Never Have to Feel

It was 3 A.M. and he would not stop beating on my door.

I stumbled toward the door, simultaneously stubbing all my toes on the trappings of a college dorm room along the way, and flung it open.

His face was as red as his hair. He had  just sprinted all the way down the hall.

Our rooms could not be farther away and still be on the same wing  yet our friendship was closer than most.

We were in a group together, a small group of college boys trying to become the men we felt God calling us to be. That calling meant a lot of things to all of us but one thing was the same: our desire for purity.

We had all struggled with it as various levels. Some struggled with moving too fast with girlfriends. Others struggled with how fast you could see any type of girl you wanted on the Internet. All of us felt the longing to be better than we currently were and through several years of mostly failure we had collectively realized we needed one another.

We met once a week to encourage and pray for one another. As we ended our meeting each week in the cramped common room upstairs we reminded each other of one of the pillars of our group: If any one of us felt a temptation coming that we did not feel strong enough to resist on our own, we could always…always go to another person in the group and that person would stop whatever they were doing to be with the one fighting off temptation.

Over the years we met there were dates cut short, workouts missed, papers not completed. Whatever it took; it didn’t matter. We were there for one another. Anytime, day or nightt.

The whole concept was centered around four simple words:

“Flee from sexual immorality.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18

I love when the Bible’s simple. You don’t need to know Greek to know exactly what this verse means.

On this particular night, one of the guys was struggling with the temptation of pornography. His roommate had unexpectedly gone home for the weekend and he knew that temptation is magnified in isolation.

So at his greatest moment of need, he didn’t just try to resist for awhile and ask for forgiveness later. He literally (and I hate when people say that word but don’t actually mean it) literally ran down the hall and started beating down my door at 3 A.M.

I didn’t greet him with anger or a lecture. That wasn’t how the group worked. We supported one another with the gifts of time and presence, two things that are even more valuable to me now.

Nothing super spiritual happened except everything.

We didn’t have a Bible study on purity right then and there. That’s what we did to prepare to flee. I let my friend in and we made popcorn and watched the Sandlot until morning when we crashed.

My friend woke up after lunch the next day with…no regrets.

He didn’t care that he woke up half the hall, at least not enough to fall into sin. He didn’t care that his hallway dash was caught on the security cameras and the RA’s probably watched it back later laughing. He didn’t care about giving into a temptation only he would have ever know about.

He cared about becoming a man of God. He cared about purity. He cared about our future wives that we were already praying for but hadn’t met yet.

Nobody in the group was or is perfect and of course we all have regrets but none of us have ever regretted resisting temptation.

In a world that is bombarding us with the message that we should never say no to a new experience or a thrilling rush, our group helped each other do just that. The ethic of the kingdom of God, humble self-denial, flies in the face of the rampant “you deserve it” “treat yourself” culture that’s especially being marketed to millennials.

You might miss out on a thing or two but speaking from my experience, those things aren’t worth the baggage or pain they cause, if not immediately then soon there after.

What helps you resist temptation?

12Aug

3 Steps to Make $1,000 Before Your Next Paycheck

Who wouldn’t want $1,000?

Isn’t it funny how often unexpected expenses pop up that could be taken care of if you had $1,000 lying around? Funny’s the wrong word for that feeling but you get the point.

  • Plumbing issues
  • Plumbing issues caused by you trying to fix the previous plumbing issues
  • New brakes and tires for your car
  • A minor medical procedure
  • A dog runs through your bedroom window…twice.
  • The A/C unit needs repair

Every single unexpected event listed above happened to us within the last year.

Every time something happened we had a starter emergency fund of $1,000 set aside from our normal checking account so we never had to put it on a credit card. We dipped into the emergency fund, paid to fix the problem, and replenished it with our next paycheck.

In Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, Baby Step #1 is to save $1,000, a starter emergency fund.

You’re encouraged to do this as quickly as possible, even before your next paycheck. Dave says, “sell so much stuff the kids think they might be next.” His point was well taken in our lives…what’s the point of owning stuff if it actually owns you? Having debt meant we didn’t actually own this stuff anyway. We just OWED a lot of money to other folks. Plus, we can always just buy it again later in cash once we’re debt free.

But if you’re like 76% of Americans currently living paycheck-to-paycheck with little to no emergency savings you don’t even have that extra $1,000 laying around. So how do you get it?

 

3 Ways to Make $1,000 Before Your Next Paycheck

 

1. Create a budget…and stick to it!

This might seem ineffective but it’s exactly the opposite. Your first reaction when trying to save $1,000 as quickly as possible shouldn’t be to donate plasma or sell your neighbor’s TV when they’re at the grocery store.

If you’ll create a budget that cuts back on excessive spending and simply stick to it, you’ll be so surprised with the money you have left over. Additional side effects may include fits of white hot rage as you add up how much money you could have if you had started living on a budget a year ago.

  • Stop eating out (psst…that’s where all your money’s going! Think of how many PB & J’s you can make for the $12 you spent on fast food last night!)
  • Use cash – you’ll feel the pain of spending it more than the magical fake money of debit-credit cards.

2. Sell Your Stuff

This is where people have the most trouble, for a lot of reasons. There’s a reason your stuff is your stuff. You obviously like it! And maybe somebody else isn’t as attached to it as you are and won’t be willing to pay what you feel it’s worth. Who cares?!? You stopped being able to have that opinion when you had to put a $300 car repair bill on a credit card because you don’t have a starter emergency fund. Sell it! Remember, you can always just buy it again (the right way, with cash) once you’re out of debt.

  • Have a garage sale. Hundreds of $1 transactions means hundreds of DOLLARS.
  • Sell your clothes at a thrift shop or consignment store.
  • Sell DVDs (a personal favorite). There’s plenty of options on Netflix.
  • Cancel cable. Waste of time and money.
  • Sell equipment (bikes, kayaks, exercise machines, etc). You can always rent as you want to use them afterward.
  • Sell any kitchen appliances/glassware you haven’t used in the last year.

3. Work an Extra Job

  • If your job allows it, work as much overtime as possible. Remember this is all about making $1000 ASAP.
  • Clean someone’s house.
  • Mow yards (personal favorite).
  • If you work during the day, wait tables at night.
  • If you work at night, unload trucks or deliver the paper in the morning.
  • Walk someone’s dogs, preferably with their permission.
  • Find something you like doing already anyway. If you’re always hanging out in coffee shops, why not hang out on the other side of the counter as an employee?

What other ways could you make $1,000 FAST?

9Aug

I’m Praying I Get Fired for This

Nobody wants to get fired.

I’ve never had the experience and most of me hopes I never have to know what it’s like.

But there’s another part of me that earnestly prays to be fired one day over one word: capacity.

I sincerely hope and pray that God allows me to be a part of a movement of his grace so powerful that it fills our church with so many people with so many different experiences, problems, and triumphs that I am simply incapable of effectively carrying the leadership load of such a movement and a change in that position is necessary.

In short, I’m praying to see someone else work me out of my job.

I love my church so much and want to see God do something mighty within her, something far more abundantly than I even know how to ask. I want something to happen there that exceeds my current ability so quickly that a change has to be made to keep the Gospel movement spreading at a rapid pace.

Everyone has their own leadership limits. Knowing those limits isn’t weakness; it’s wisdom.

Of course I am also praying to continue to grow in ability so that I can see that movement happen from my current position, but I’m convinced far too many churches, organizations, and companies become stagnant because they hit the leadership capacity ceiling of whoever is in charge and instead of making a change to help propel them to the next level they stay put and settle into complacency.

I care too much about my church to allow that to happen.

I first started thinking about this concept of capacity almost a year ago now. I got to spend a weekend at the Village Church in Dallas, TX and in one of the breakout sessions, one of their three Lead Pastors, Josh Patterson, spoke about their hiring process. He mentioned he looks at four C’s when interviewing new applicants:

 

1. Competency – Can you actually do the job?

2. Compatability – Will you be a good fit within the greater organization?

3. Core values – Are you trustworthy? Do you have good work ethic? Can I trust that you’ll do what you say you’ll do?

belegit

The first 3 C’s made a lot of sense to me and I had heard them before. The fourth one initially caught me off guard.

4. Capacity – Do you have the skill set to adapt and grow with the job as it gets more demanding?

 

Patterson said when they do annual staff evaluations, they can evaluate their staff’s performance very quickly with just a few questions, all centered around capacity.

  • Do you actually have the capacity for your job that you seemed to display when you were first hired?
  • Do you possess the capacity to continue in your current job as it has grown more demanding than when you first started?

Patterson later said that they have let people go almost every year of the church’s existence because of how they answered the latter question.

His reasoning is simple: Why let one person’ capacity, no matter how good or nice or beneficial that person is, limit the future of the organization as a whole? How much more true is this in a church where what’s at stake may not be numbers or member satisfaction but the very Gospel itself?

Although it would be hard to take, I sincerely hope to be fired one day because of capacity concerns. I will never stop learning or trying to lead to the best of my ability. However if that pink slip day comes, I can take great joy in knowing that God allowed me to be a part of something so much bigger than me, and by moving me aside it was able to continue advancing for the greater good.

I know my current leadership limits. While I am constantly working hard to expand my capacity, one person should never be a good enough reason to hold a good movement from continuing to advance further and further.

Whatever you’re most passionate about, it’s not all about you.

  • Some people are skilled enough to preach for 50 people but not 500. Some are skilled enough for 500 but not 5,000.
  • Some people are skilled enough to manage 10 clients, but not 100. Some are skilled enough for for 100, but not 1,000. You get my drift.

It doesn’t mean you’re less of a person, especially not in the eyes of the One who created you in His image. So rejoice in your weakness.

mostimportant

Seek to expand your capacity, but never try and be someone you’re not. God doesn’t need another version of someone else, which is why he made you YOU.

15Feb

Don’t Should on Me

I thought my pastor friend cussed at me.

We were having a perfectly pleasant conversation, at least so I thought, when all of a sudden she calmly said, “Don’t should on me.”

What?!?

Imagine if you heard that sentence instead of saw it written out.

My friend was halfway kidding but the truth she was conveying was powerful.

Thankfully, she was patient enough with me to explain this punchy little truism.

The conversation we had happened like most do when someone “should’s” on someone.

Person A: _______ that you did was really great. I really liked how you _______ and did ___________.

Person B: Thanks! It was a lot of hard work but I’m glad you thought it went well.

Person A: Yeah! It was good but you really should have __________________.

Person B punches Person A in the face and goes to jail. Friendship over.

“Should” falls well short of constructive criticism. It does not motivate someone to change or help someone see the good done in the midst of falling short.

Especially when used in past tense, should leaves no room to improve. In the scenario above, Person A is helpless to improve the situation Person B described (“you should have___”). Person A does not own a time machine!

“Should” is useless, paralyzing criticism that is most often given by those who eagerly point out problems yet just as eagerly refuse to be a part of creating solutions.

But what about when “should” comes from within? This might be the most harmful form.

Self-inflicted “shoulds” are just as unhelpful as when they come from others.

Whenever you feel a case of the “shoulds” coming on, ask yourself two questions to determine if the feeling really is something that you need to act on or if it’s just guilt you need to kick out of your life.

Guilt and Should are like ugly twins trying to keep you stuck in the past. See: Are You Living in the Past?

1. Is this something I really want to do? (Or am I just trying to please someone else?) 

2. Is it worth it? (You can have the desire to do many things, but what is most important? What one thing is necessary? [Luke 10:42])

Sometimes we do simply need to be told to pick it up a bit. Maybe laziness has set in. Maybe unhelpful patterns in decision-making have set in. See: Chop Wood & Carry Water

Whatever the reason, change for the better is always a good thing. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to create that change.  “Should” is not the right way.

Next time you hear “should” from someone else or from within, simply say,

Don’t should on me.

29Jan

Every Christian Needs a Budget

15 months ago we owed a mountain of it. Now we owe half a mountain of it.

It used to be the only thing we ever fought about.

Now it’s possibly what we’re in the most agreement about.

Money

 

The turning point for us was not adding up the total carnage our student loans (a necessary evil) had caused. It was also not the months and months of not really knowing where our money was going because we always seemed to have what we needed.

The turning point for us came when we realized that managing our money was not primarily a financial issue but a discipleship issue.

In our journey through Dave Ramsey‘s Financial Peace University (which my wife now teaches at our church, like a boss) we realize that we were doing an okay job of honoring God in every part of our lives…except our finances. (Click here to find out where FPU is offered in your area).

We were being selfish, ungrateful, poor stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

The Bible has a lot to say about money, but this one passage has been burned in my memory since the day God started convicting us about the way we were failing in this area. We were sitting at our kitchen table and it hit me like a ton of bricks:

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? – Proverbs 27:23-24

My mom has sheep in her backyard. Like…actual sheep. Every couple of months she has some new lambs born and she bottle feeds them until they can take milk from their mom.

I, unlike my mother, am not a shepherd. I do not have flocks and herds but I do have debt and income that at times feels like it’s burning a hole in my pocket.

As we looked at the numbers that were looking rather menacingly back at us, I realized I did not “know well the condition of our flocks.”

We didn’t have a budget. I wasn’t “giving attention to our herds.” When we wanted something, we just bought it. We didn’t have extravagant tastes and we didn’t shop a ton, but a bit too much is still…too much.

So we got on a budget. A strict one.

But we didn’t get on a budget because it was the wise thing to do. We didn’t get on a budget because we needed structure. We didn’t even get on a budget because Dave Ramsey told us too.

We got on a budget because we are Christians.

We got a budget because we started living what we said we believed, and what the Bible says is true:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24:1

We both make more money now than we did the day we first discovered we needed a budget. We both plan to continue to make more money as we gain more experience and skill in our respective careers.

However, we will never make enough money to not need a budget because we will never stop being borrowers of that which God is eternal owner.

Even if you make truckloads of money, you will one day be held accountable for how you managed it. You and I don’t really own anything as long as God owns everything. We’re managers at best.

It’s been said before, but can you imagine what the world would be like if the Church was debt-free and lived on a budget?

Think of the problems that could be eliminated as a direct result of the way Christians lived in the world, refusing to stockpile treasures in this world.

Nobody in the world would be hungry. No orphan would go neglected and unloved. Churches would not need to have capital campaigns to pay off buildings they can’t afford because they would be filled with people who were more concerned with loving people and furthering the kingdom of God than building bigger barns and fancier buildings.

We all (especially me!) need budgets so we can best manage that which God has entrusted to us.

budgetquote

You can click here for the zero-based monthly cash flow budget template we use every month.

Question: Do you use a budget? If so, how has your experience been? If not, are you pleased with the current state of your finances?

20Nov

Biblical Decision Making

Earlier this week I wrote about my favorite word in the Old Testament, steadfast.

But the steadfast love of God is a really church-y thing to like about the Bible.

I have made a concerted effort this year to read and learn more about decision making. I’ve purchased books I would not normally read, followed blogs I am not naturally interested in, and thought about leadership in ways I had not done previously.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned about decision making did not come from a business book or a leadership blog, although those things have been of some help to me.

Instead, the best key I’ve discovered for great decision making comes from the pages of Scripture:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

The right decision is almost never what will bring immediate satisfaction.

Notice when the results (harvest) comes, “at the proper time.” It does not always come when I want or desire.

I’ve had many chances over the last few months to remind some good people of this great verse. They’ve all been in a hard spot, doing the right thing but not seeing good results.

  • Some of them are healing from a broken relationship.
  • Some of them are trying to get businesses off the ground.
  • Some of them are trying to help someone who does not seem to want to be helped.

All of them are living out this biblical key to decision making. All of them realize that what will bring them immediate satisfaction is not best.

  • The one whose relationship has been broken knows it is not best to immediately jump into another one, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.
  • The one who is trying to get a business off the ground knows it is not best to bypass integrity to get ahead, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.
  • The one who is trying to help someone who does not want to be helped knows it is not best to give up on a friend in need, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.

Immediate gratification is often the enemy of successful decision making.

I do not know what decisions you have to make today, but I can tell you that this one key is probably true for you.

The right decision is almost never what will bring immediate satisfaction.

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