I am astonished to realize that 2013 is already 25% over! Apparently that means it’s time for me to give a report card on how my resolutions and goals have been progressing so this year, so here it is.
Resolution #1 – I Resolve to Listen More and Talk Less
To be honest I’d almost completely forgotten about this resolution so first of all this is a good reminder to pursue to goal. As I look back over the last three months I definitely think that this is an area that I’ve grown in, but I’m convinced that I have a lot further to go. I’m going to give myself a D+ on this one and hope to do a lot better by June.
Resolution #2 – I Resolve to Develop the Discipline of Dependent Prayer
This is one resolution that I have been very pleased to see myself grow in, especially since the beginning of March. God has placed a heavy conviction on my heart about the importance of prayer and by His grace I’ve seen much victory in this arena. I’m going to give myself a B+ on this one.
Resolution #3 – I Resolve to Say “Yes” to the Right Things…and “No” to Everything Else
This is another place where I’ve found great victory, especially since the Shepherds’ Conference in March. By God’s grace I’ve been able to say no to a lot of things and I’ve been much more intentional about turning off the phone and unplugging from my work life in order to spend more intentional time with the family. I do think that I have of growing to do here, but even so I’m going to give myself a B on this one.
Goal #1 – Lose 20 Pounds by June
Well…I’d rather not talk about this one right now . It looks like I’m going to have to get really serious in the next three months if I’m going to meet this goal.
Goal #2 – Build a Wood Shed by the End of the Summer
I just started putting some thought into this goal and I’ve realized that I’m going to need some outside help with the design elements, but I’m still convinced that I’ll be able to make it happen by the end of the summer.
Goal #3 – Finish Calvin’s Institutes
I’m right on track for this one. Hopefully I’ll be finished by the end of the summer.
Goal #4 – Begin Process of Becoming Ordained by EV Free
Technically this goal is already completed because I have already “begun” the process. It looks like the next step is going to be a lot of reading through EV Free’s materials. I’m hoping to use my Tuesday evenings in the summer to finish the reading and hopefully start working on the paper that I need to write.
All in all I’d say that I’m very pleased with my progress this year. I definitely have some things to work on, but I’m already seeing evidences of God’s grace in these areas. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the year out with straight A’s!
Seeing as it’s January 3rd, I guess I’m a little bit late in posting my New Years Resolutions. Fortunately, punctuality is not one of my resolutions this year .
For 2013 I’ve decided to change things up a bit when it comes to resolutions by making a distinction between resolutions and goals for the year. For me, a resolution is something that I’ve resolved to change about myself. Resolutions are mainly about character development. Goals, on the other hand, are more task oriented. They refer to something to be accomplished and marked off of the to-do list. It’s a small distinction, but I think it’s an important one for keeping track of my progress and growth over the course of the year.
So with all of that in mind here are my 2013 Resolutions and Goals:
Resolution #1: I Resolve to Listen More and to Talk Less. I’ve come to realize that I tend to talk a lot. Part of this is due to my personality and I’m sure that part of is due to my occupation, but the simple truth is that I use a lot of words in the course of a day. Using words isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but an even better thing is learning how to listen (especially to my family) and learning how to speak the right kind of words at the right time. I tend to think that using more words is more helpful, but what I’m realizing is that sometimes less truly is more, so over the course of 2013 I want to learn how to listen more and how to talk less.
Resolution #2: I Resolve to Develop the Discipline of Dependent Prayer. Prayer is all about dependence, especially the expression of dependence on God. Since I’ll be entering into my third year of ministry at Cool Community and I’ll be wrapping up my twelfth year of fulltime pastoral ministry in 2013, I believe that this is a great time for me to revisit my utter dependence upon God through the discipline of prayer. Like anything, there is a pattern to ministry and the longer you do it the more natural those rhythms become. I want to take 2013 to fight against the temptation to become lazy or self-reliant in ministry by developing the discipline of dependent prayer.
Resolution #3: I Resolve to Say “Yes” to the Right Things…and “No” to Everything Else. I’ve been freshly reminded lately that there is only so much of me. I only have so much time, I only have so much strength (emotional and physical), I only have so much…well you get the picture. One of the dangers of working in a small church is that you feel responsible for everything and in some ways you are, but if you are not careful to say “yes” to the right kinds of things, you’ll spend all of your time and energy working in areas that will not yield the greatest fruit. In 2013 I’m recommitting myself to saying “yes” to the right things, which will inevitably mean saying “no” to everything else.
Goal #1: Lose 20 Pounds by June. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I’m making it a specific goal to lose 20 pounds by the beginning of June. This will take me down to a really good weight for me and should help with my overall energy level.
Goal #2: Build a wood shed by the end of the summer. This seems a little random, but I love doing projects around the house and with my new-found skills as a handy-man I’ve decided to pick up a bigger than usual project by building a wood shed in the back yard to help keep the wood dry for next winter.
Goal #3: Finish Calvin’s Institutes. This is kind of a carry over from last year, but if I stick my reading plan I should have the rest of volume two of Calvin’s Institutes completed by the end of 2013.
Goal #4: Begin Process of Becoming Ordained by EV Free. This goal is a little bit strange, because I am already an ordained pastor with the Baptist General Conference. However, Cool Community is part of the EV Free Denomination and since I really like what EV Free is doing, I figure it would be a good idea for me to become more formally associated with them by pursuing ordination. I actually have no idea what all this entails, so this goal is only to begin the process of becoming ordained with EV Free although if I end up going through the whole process this year, I’ll consider myself blessed.
Well, that’s it for my New Years Resolutions and Goals. I’ll be checking back in every three months to give an update on how these are going. What are some of your New Years Resolutions and Goals?
I’m still at a loss about where 2012 went, but seeing as December is now over it must be time for my final report card on my 2012 Resolutions.
Overall, I’m actually very pleased with my progress this year. All things considered, I’m going to give myself a B+ for my 2012 Resolutions, here’s why:
1) My first resolution for 2012 was to do a lot more blogging. While I did have a pretty big break in October and November, overall I feel like I’ve been much more faithful to the blog than in years past especially so these last couple of months.
2) My second resolution for 2012 was to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. This is probably the resolution that I’m the most proud of and has contributed the most to my overall quality of life. Before making this resolution I would usually work through lunch thinking that I would get more things done with the extra time. What I didn’t realize was that I was actually making myself more tired by not allowing my brain to rest and my body to get some activity. Exercising for 30 minutes on my lunch break has made me much more productive and healthier at the same time.
3) My third resolution for 2012 was to eat healthier. Well..what can I say? There’s always 2013
4) My fourth resolution for 2012 was to finish Calvin’s Institutes. While I didn’t finish Calvin’s Institutes this year, I did make significant progress on them and I’m on track to finish both volumes by mid 2013.
5) My fifth resolution for 2012 was to keep up on my journaling. This resolution has kind of morphed into the blogging resolution. I think what I’ve realized is that journaling just isn’t for me, but blogging is something that I can do and that I really enjoy doing.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting my resolutions and my goals for 2013
One of the things that I’ve struggled with in ministry is how to balance out what I really want to do (shepherding, preaching, teaching, etc.) with some of the things that I really need to do (i.e. administration, facility management, etc.).
On the one side, some guys will just ignore the facilities or neglect administration in the name of being “spiritual” and “shepherding”. They say things like, “I will not wait on tables, because I must give myself to the word and to prayer.” The problem is that part of shepherding is leadership and part of leadership is taking responsibility for the oversight of the whole operation, regardless of whether it seems “spiritual” or not. Ultimately, if you don’t make arrangements to have the septic tank pumped…church life is going to stink.
On the other side are those guys who would much rather work a spreadsheet than visit someone in the hospital. They pride themselves on being “ranchers” rather than “shepherds.” The problem here is that ministry is nothing if it isn’t personal and to the degree that you remove yourself from the day to day care of the sheep, you remove yourself from the very definition of what it means to be a pastor.
I believe that the resolution to this tension between shepherding and administration is to realize that there really is no tension at all. Both of these responsibilities fall under the umbrella of oversight. Whether I am visiting someone in the hospital or pulling the lids off of our septic tanks, I am doing so for the sake of God’s people who happen to be in the hospital or in need of a working septic system . In other words, all of the work of ministry is done to the glory of God for the good of God’s people. There will be seasons where that work will focus more heavily on shepherding and there will be seasons when that work will focus more heavily on the administrative side of things, but regardless of what season you find yourself in all of the work of ministry is to be done to the glory of God and for the good of God’s people.
Technically, this blog post should have happened at the end of September which is just further evidence of how far behind I am right now . The last 3 1/2 months have been some of the busiest months that I can remember and some of the most productive (although, not necessarily on the resolution front). God has allowed our church to start and complete a number of facility projects that were badly needed, we’ve begun to cast a new vision for our church (more on that in a later post), and we’ve begun a fund-raising campaign to complete three more facility projects (more to come on that as well).
Even though I’m quite overdue on this report card and on blogging in general, here’s how I’m going to grade myself for the third quarter of 2012.
1) My first resolution for 2012 was to do a lot more blogging. While the first six months 8 months of 2012 were pretty successful in this category, I’m going to have to give myself a “D” for the third quarter. I haven’t posted anything on my blog since September. I’m so ashamed, but hopefully this will motivate me to get back to it.
2) My second resolution was to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I continue to do well in this area, but I think there’s definitely room for improvement here. I’ve had way too many lunches during the week, which means less walking time. I’m going to give myself a “B-“ for this one.
3) My third resolution for 2012 was to eat healthier. Despite my best intentions, this continues to be a thorn in my side. With the Holidays coming up, I don’t hold out much hope for a passing grade on this one in 2012. On the brighter side, I haven’t gained any weight which I’m thinking as to count for something
4) My fourth resolution was to finish reading through Calvin’s Institutes this year. I continue to make significant progress on this resolution. I don’t believe that I’ll finish the whole thing by the end of 2012, but I have finished volume one and I’m well on my way to finishing volume two sometime in 2013.
5) My fifth resolution was to keep up on my journaling. I think I just need to give up on this one. For some reason I just can’t seem to make journaling stick in my spiritual life. I even bought a brand new journal and a nice shiny pen to get me motivated, but alas they just sit on my desk collecting dust. I’ve been toying with the idea of utilizing the blog as something of a public journal…we’ll see how that turns out.
Despite some of my poorer grades, I’m still going to give myself a “C” if for no other reason than that my self-esteem won’t be able to handle a lower grade .
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting this month approved a resolution calling for “an end to the practice of corporal punishment in homes, schools and child care facilities.” Fifty-one percent of the church leaders meeting in Pittsburgh voted for the measure, while 47 percent opposed it. The General Assembly also affirmed and expanded the PCUSA’s support of abortion…This year, it said the church supports “full access to reproductive health care for both women and men in both private and public health plans.”
For those of you who don’t know when an organization promotes “full access to reproductive health” that is a code word for abortion on demand.
I can’t believe that 2012 is already half way over. Amy was just telling me that the stores are already stocking sweatshirts and apparently Hobby Lobby already has its Christmas stuff out! It’s been about 3 months since my last resolutions report card, so I thought this might be a good time to check back in on my New Years resolutions to see how I’ve been doing.
1) My first resolution for 2012 was to do a lot more blogging. I’m happy to report that I’m doing much better in this category. The first few months of the year were kind of stop and go for me and blogging, but I finally feel like I’m getting back into a rhythm, which is a good thing for me. I’d say this resolution deserves a B+.
2) My second resolution was to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. This is one that I’ve been very faithful to all year and I’ve definitely been reaping the benefits of it. Something about a 30 minute walk just before lunch tends to clear my mind and get me ready for the next part of the day. I’ve even started doing this twice a day when it isn’t too hot to go for a walk with the family after dinner. I’ll give this category an A.
3) My third resolution for 2012 was to eat healthier. Since I’m drinking a large McFrappe as I write this, I’m going to give this resolution a D for right now. This would probably be a really good area for me to focus on in the next 3 months .
4) My fourth resolution was to finish reading through Calvin’s Institutes this year. While I’m sure that I won’t finish reading both volumes of The Institutes this year, I am happy to report that I’m almost done with volume 1 and I plan on getting started on volume 2 sometime this month. I’m sure that I won’t be able to finish volume 2 this year, but I think that I might make it a resolution for 2013. I’m going to give myself an A with the qualification that this is a modified resolution.
5) My fifth resolution was to keep up on my journaling. If there’s one area that I think I’m a dismal failure, it’s journaling. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to get into this habit. I even tried switching to a ministry journal format, but alas even that has not saved me. This area deserves a F right now .
Without getting too technical, I’d give myself an overall C+ on my resolutions this year. Hopefully, I can pull it up to a B+ by working on my diet these next three months. At this point, I think all hope is gone for journaling but you never know what might happen.
Well, we’re over 25% done with 2012 so I thought it might be interesting to take a brief look at my resolutions from the beginning of the year and give myself a grade on how I’m doing so far.
My first resolution for 2012 was to do a lot more blogging. I think, on the whole, I’m doing pretty good at this but I have been feeling very convicted lately that I need to do even better. Hopefully, you’ll be seeing even more content here at Shepherds Notes in the near future.
My second resolution was to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. This is the one resolution that I can give myself an A+ on. I have been extremely faithful and I can testify that it has made a huge difference in my energy level, my enthusiasm and my overall health.
My third resolution for 2012 was to eat healthier. I’d have to give myself a C- on this one so far. I have lost some weight (mainly due to the walking I’m sure), but I would like to see myself do a whole lot better.
My fourth resolution was to finish reading through Calvin’s Institutes this year. Alas, I do not think this one is going to be possible. My reading list has just grown to a ridiculous scale lately. I think I’m going to have to modify this resolution down to finishing the first volume of Calvin’s institutes and then I can work on volume 2 in 2013 and 2014.
My fifth resolution was to keep on my journaling. Alas, this one has fallen off entirely as well. I think I may give it another go though and try journaling once a week, recapping the week instead of each individual day.
So, I guess if I grade myself on a curve I might end up with a C on my resolutions. Maybe by the end of the year I can raise it up to a C+ or a B .
Making New Years resolutions can be a dangerous thing. On the one hand, you don’t want to get into the habit of making resolutions and breaking them because doing so is like applying acid to your willpower. On the other hand, if you don’t break your resolutions you actually have to keep them .
Fully aware of both of these dangers I still feel compelled to offer up my 2012 New Years Resolutions with the intention of reviewing them at the end of the year as an integrity check to see how I did.
I. Resolved to Write a Lot More on the Blog in 2012
The last couple of months have been very quiet here at Shepherd’s Notes. I could give all kinds of reasons why that is so, but one way or another it all comes down to me not taking the time to write.
This is especially bad for me because for me writing is thinking, so in effect when I stop writing I stop thinking. Add to this the fact that I’ve stopped manuscripting my sermons and you’ll see that my writing/thinking is at an all time low.
So, in order to combat any further atrophying of my mind, I resolve myself to write much more frequently here at the blog. I can’t necessarily vouch for the quality of my writing, but I know that the only way to become a great writer is to become a prolific writer.
II. Resolved to Exercise at Least 30 minutes a Day in 2012
These next two resolutions are pretty much business standard for New Years Resolutions, but I have been recently convicted of my lack of stewardship with my body. To that end, I am resolving myself to exercising for 30 minutes a day. The video below was really instrumental in bringing me to this resolution.
III. Resolved to Eat Healthier in 2012
This is really just an extension of the resolution to exercise more, but several years ago I lost a lot of weight doing Weight Watchers and yet through a massive lack of discipline I’ve gained a good bit of it back. My hope is that through some basic diet and exercise I’ll be able to live a much healthier and energetic lifestyle.
IV. Resolved to Finish Calvin’s Institutes in 2012
I started reading The Institutes about 3 years ago and have made some progress through them, but it’s been very slow going with a lot of big breaks (like 9 months or more) in between. I’m about half way through now, so this is a very achievable goal for me this year.
V. Resolvedto Keep up on my Journal
I’ve been trying to keep up on journaling for at least 10 years with a lot of starts and stops, but this year I hope to finally master the discipline. One of my primary motivations for this is that writing helps me to think, so writing about my day (journaling) helps me to process the day, think about what’s happened, and hopefully live a more thoughtful life.
Well, that’s about it for my 2012 resolutions. You should be seeing a lot more posts around here and hopefully a lot more improvement in my writing style.
Randy Alcorn has some excellent suggestions for pursuing sexual purity in marriage. Here are a few of the highlights:
1. Regularly evaluate your relationship with your spouse. Beware of poor communication, inadequate conflict resolution, poor sexual relationship, discontent, and other red flags. Keep your fingers on the pulse of your marriage!
2. Spend regular uninterrupted time together to communicate on all levels: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically. (Date your spouse. If it’s not happening, put it in your schedule!)
3. Share openly with each other—don’t harbor secrets or withhold personal struggles. (Every adultery begins with a secret.)
7. Be fiercely loyal to your spouse; speak highly of her/him and never downgrade her to anyone.
12. Anticipate, and then act to prevent, avoid and resist sexual temptation.
17. Take care of your physical health; be as attractive to your mate as you can.
18. Be modest with others in public, and sexy with your spouse in private—not the opposite!
20. Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of immorality and a broken marriage. Count the cost of neglect and unfaithfulness!