After 9/11 and hurricane Katrina occurred, the concept of emergency preparedness became a common household conversation. Then came the financial crisis of 2008. Remember how that started? Do you know what has changed since then? Opinions vary on the specific outcomes of the crisis and the response to it; but one thing is sure many people are not financially prepared for the future.
are you prepared handwritten on blackboard
How can I make such a bold statement? Here are some facts to consider:
Only half of all U.S. households are prepared for retirement.
70.7% of households have a mortgage
76% of people live paycheque to paycheque
99% of us are not in the top 1% of income earners
Everyone is scared According to Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller: 3 minute video
Most can relate to feeling challenged to be more financially prepared. Things are changing quickly. Where our parents may have been concerned about the future of their grandchildren, our generation is worried about its own financial wellness!But where do you turn to for information? What are we to do?
God has plenty to say to clarify our present day situation that is timeless and applicable giving us meaning, purpose and hope.
The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
We must live like the sons of Issachar, “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do”
I Chronicles 12:32
“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.
Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
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.
Sit with a toddler for more than a few minutes and you will discover a repeated question – “Why?” Curiosity, persistence and observation are a toddler’s key strengths. Then we “grow up” and stop asking “why” and focus on “what”. Most of us get drawn into the motions of life without thinking or inspiration. Reactive and missing a framework for understanding THE Story of life we don’t see how life matters or WHY? Where do you turn for inspiration, meaning and purpose?
For me, God provides illumination. The purpose of my life as a believer in Christ is to obey Jesus when He said,
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t imagine? Seriously, complicated or simple our lives can be influenced by what we imagine. Strategically we call this vision. Our vision, passion and purpose are of utmost importance. Most people’s biggest deathbed regrets could have been avoided if they’d thought about vision, passion and purpose.
But what if you are doing your best? Isn’t that good enough? NO! This isn’t about effort or intentions, it’s about your vision, purpose and passions coming together to guide your efforts.
Everyone ends up somewhere. Few people end up somewhere on purpose. Many people spend their days and even lead organizations with only a sense of plodding along and not working with vision, passion and purpose. Are you ready for a change?
God through King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived provides us with truth.
Where there is no vision the people perish
Proverbs 29:18 KJV
Some stereotypes are almost impossible to escape. Think of all the sales industries that try to come up with names for their employees that mask their true identity! Executive consultants, advisors, experience managers, development directors…..the list goes on. A tacky suit and a pushy approach are usually equated with sales and regardless of venue we all push back against the idea that we are being “sold” something.
In reality one in four of us are in sales or service industries. But so are the other three.
Whether we send email, sell something on eBay, pitch ideas to coworkers, are entrepreneurs enticing investors, or parents and teachers encouraging children to study, we spend up to forty percent of our days persuading others. Almost everyone is engaged in “non-sales selling.” As a result, we wrestle with the tension between selfish “selling” versus selflessly serving others.
Being a Christian I think there’s a basis for understanding this problem. Peter, who hung out with Jesus, provides illumination.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10
What does it look like on the surface to be rich? Ever upgrade a perfectly good computer, cell phone, car, or want a larger home? If you answered yes to any of these, then you might be rich and not know it or feel it. We often have a mistaken understanding of wealth. The richer we become the more our priorities separate from our needs. Our needs become relative to our wealth. The more we have the more we spend.
Are you somewhat uncomfortable making the statement that; you are rich? Maybe you don’t feel rich. That’s the other guy with more!
Go to www.globalrichlist.com and enter your salary to see where you rank. Then scroll down to gain perspective. How does it make you feel knowing that not only are you rich, but that you are one of the richest people in the history of the world?
Rich is having extra. Even enough to go to a movie! But you can be rich and not be aware of it. And that’s a problem. There’s a gap between being rich and being good at being rich. If we don’t figure this out we will go through life thinking money is all for us. Where do you turn to for insight and perspective?
Paul who had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus, acted as a mentor to a young guy named Timothy. He provides illumination.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17
If you are making a presentation to 5 or 500 – you are speaking in public. You have an audience and a message. What if your fear is crippling and hinders your success? You will fail to make an emotional connection with your audience and the important message you want to share will be lost.
Studies show people fear public speaking more than death. World class presenters like Nancy Duarte used a resource before her TED talk Uncovering Common Structures Of Greatest Communicators. The book version of this resource helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. I needed some new skills for the task of building up people instead of homes.
Recently when I was asked to rewrite half my speech the night before, told I wouldn’t have the comfort of a podium to rest my notes on and hide behind – these strategies made a big difference. Understand and use this approach and you will make a big difference!
Paul who used to hate Christians, until he had an encounter with the risen Jesus provides illumination about fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV