Everyone wants a piece of the gift giving season, and are you searching for the perfect gift? You may not know what to give those who are closest to you, and yet you have a unique opportunity. God’s amazing gift of life changing eternal grace is very poorly imitated by our efforts to give others a gift for Christmas. But, you can certainly step up your gifts from the usual trinkets and items that end up in the landfill!
In reality, we are often unable to give the gift that most people need. The number two problem people face is MONEY. There is the minority, who have too much and it distracts them from their purpose on this earth, or the majority who have too little and they cannot make ends meet. Did you know that money conflict is the number one reason for divorce? You’re likely aware that most people also live pay-cheque to pay-cheque with little or no plan in place for their finances.
Just like your physical heart has four chambers Andy Stanley wants you to see that your immaterial heart has four enemies. Your immaterial heart is the core of your identity. It directs your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, your consciousness and your will. Your heart is the essence of you that can work for evil or for good.
Relationship problems. Financial problems. Health problems: they all come from your heart. And if your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else – your family, friends, finances, career – everything. How do you keep your heart on track?
When the wisest man in the history of the world, King Solomon, summing up all he had learned for his son to know; he said…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Invest in learning how to think and not just what to think. Consider new ideas and change your future prospects. That’s what millionaires do, they share an approach to the future that highlights possibilities and outcomes that others ignore.
How many young people do you know that are at the stage of making a career choice? One very important factor in vocation is compensation.
“After studying millionaires for more than 20 years, I have concluded that if you make one major decision correctly, you can become economically productive. If you are creative enough to select the ideal vocation you can win, win big time. The really brilliant millionaires are those who selected a vocation that they love – one that has few competitors and generates high profits.”
90% of deca millionaires graduated from college, but view themselves as average academically; however, vocational choice made the biggest difference for most of them!
Have you hung up on one of THOSE phone calls lately? You know the kind I mean, the ones that ring at exactly the moment you are sitting down for dinner. Regardless of the organization, these calls are all in the same category; SALES. But did you know you are not that far off being one of THOSE callers.
Author and trend identifier, Daniel Pink notes in his book To Sell Is Human,
“Like it or not we are all in sales now.”
Your platform may be the boardroom, a pulpit or even sitting around the kitchen table. Communicating with clarity and making a difference are your goals. We all know lives can be transformed by our ability to communicate. But where do you learn this skill? If you don’t learn at home or in school, where do you learn to overcome the fear of public speaking? How do you gain confidence to communicate ideas and faith?
The Bible contains an important principle on this topic:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15
Plenty of research shows that curiosity and learning have health and social benefits throughout your lifetime. Learning is not isolated to age groups,educational institutions, classrooms and libraries.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Our economy has shifted from an agricultural economy, to an industrial economy to an ideas-driven economy. Great business guru, Peter Drucker, calls our generation the “knowledge economy”. Since most of us are visual learners and will spark our curiosity by learning something new through a visual medium; TED Talks are an outstanding resource for business and personal growth.
Curiosity sparks ideas! Ideas worth spreading – that’s the slogan for the TED Conference – one of the world’s most admired conferences. TED (Technology, Education, and Design) ideas are the currency of the modern knowledge worker. TED’s free 18-minute online TED Talks have over one billion views.
“What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know.…The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do…. to find the idea for which I can live and die.”
Working for success often does not bring us the fulfillment and sense of an idea worth living for, rather it leaves us wanting more. Discovering our strengths and using them to help make a difference that changes the world; that is the idea that Kierkegaard struggled to define. Where do you start to make such a big difference and capture an inner heartbeat that sets the timing for your life?
In most of the western world people have “two lives”. Our first life is the typical work life from 20 to 60 years old. Our second is the 20 to 30 extra years of life. In the developing world like Kenya, where I’ve just returned from, the average life expectancy is 45 years old. Like generations before us, they don’t have the benefit of this second stage of life.
“The 20th century is the first in which substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have real choices about how they will invest their time and talent. . . . Most people are totally unprepared for it.”
Peter Drucker, Renowned Business Expert
If we have no historical framework to base this extra time on what are we to do? How are we to find that one idea we can live and die for? With 5,000 advertising messages high jacking our attention, how are we to know if we are being effective and doing the right things?
God provides illumination, meaning, purpose and hope in his word the Bible.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Are there inefficiencies in life that frustrate you? How do you feel when you are waiting in the drive through for your morning coffee? Some people and situations make us think about productivity, primarily when it causes any inconvenience to us and when we think there must be a better way! Productive doesn’t always translate to effective and when we think about our lives, it makes the tension between these two measures even more compelling. How do I spend my time for the greatest effectiveness? I often struggle with using my time productively and effectively.
We all want our life to count but in this day of information overload it’s easy to get distracted. Emails and texts constantly fill my phone. Blogs need to be read. One web search leads to another, leading to lots of wasted time. We all suffer from CPA: continuous partial attention. So how do we get more of the right things done without confusing our activity for productivity and effectiveness?
God, through the apostle Paul, gives us the fundamental passage on time management.
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
At 25 years old I was a young entrepreneur with my own company . At 36 I, thought I’d arrived at the pinnacle of success. After all, the company had won lots of awards locally, provincially and eventually we even won Americas best Builder in the U.S.
Pinnacles have a way of bringing you to a perspective that can make or break you – giving you perspective on life and reality! The truth was I was spiritually empty. I started searching for something bigger than success, more important than money and more lasting than homes. I’d vowed never to argue over money like my alcoholic parents so success in business was my life’s pursuit. But achievement was a lonely companion.
In my heart I knew there was a gap. A gap between what fulfillment I expected and what I was experiencing. At 36 years old, I had not accepted responsibility for my own personal and spiritual development. My commitment to Jesus as a teenager hadn’t matured. We started attending church, which certainly helped but I knew there was more.
I was afraid of my next step: reading the Bible. Falling into the trap of thinking…..
“You can’t read the Bible. It’s like a marathon. It’s too big. It’s for pastors and intellectuals, or retired people with too much time on their hands. It’s intimidating. It’s too challenging. You’ll never understand it.”