My Goals for 2012

Last week I wrote a blog post sharing 5 keys to Making and Keeping your New Year Resolutions. This week it’s time to go public with my own resolutions.  I was inspired to really make progress towards getting physically fit this year by The Show Me Cajun. I don’t know that I’ll be posting my progress as much as he is, but I will be checking in on his blog every week for inspiration and encouragement.  So without further ado, here are my goals for 2012:

Targus Stylus and Pen (Amazon Affiliate Link)

1. Lose 75 Pounds (That’s about 1.5 lbs a week). I’ll be keeping up with my eating habits by tracking all of my calories through the lose it app on my iphone and working out at the gym 3 days a week and of course goal number two won’t hurt either. Of course I’m checking in with my Doctor and already have a check up scheduled for early January.

2. Walk/ Run 500 miles (that’s about 10 miles a week). Just four laps around my neighborhood is a 5k (3.2 miles). I plan on walking the neighborhood at least three times a week and plan to walk on the treadmill at the gym on the days that the weather prohibits me from walking outside. I also plan on using the from the couch to the 5k to get into running shape and be running the 5k each morning by May.

3. Write 200 pages on a book manuscript (that’s about than 4 pages a week.) I’ll be sharing my progress here in a similar fashion to what I did with my goal to read 100 books last year.  Though I won’t share the full manuscript initially, I will share excerpts and let you know where I am in the process.

4. Write 3 blog posts or more a week. My blogging has come in spurts. Some weeks I post every day, other times I’ve gone almost a full month between posts. I hope by setting a minimum number per week that I’ll have a goal and be more faithful.

How about you? What are your goals? Any advice on mine?

Far-Sighted Resolutions and Short-Sighted People

In 2011 I’m aiming to read 100 books (20,000 pages), memorize Philippians, and making my body say what my heart is saying (more on that another time).  I know that to the average reader that those are huge goals. Don’t worry, I’m not imposing them on you.  They are my personal goals.

I picked the book goal, because it seemed within reach.  I’ve spent the last decade reading large volumes of text and challenged myself to read books that were well beyond my comprehension so that I’m able to read and grasp information fairly quickly.  (I am not a speed reader and I do not have a photographic memory, but I read fast and remember a lot).

I picked the scripture memory goal, because I need to memorize scripture.  I have a thirst and desire to grasp God’s word and hide it in my mind where I can meditate on it, apply it, and benefit from it.  I was semi successful memorizing Ephesians a few years ago.  A friend of mine published a plan on his site to memorize Philippians and I signed up.  It was that simple.

I haven’t thought through how to best articulate the Body-spirit goal, so I’ll probably post on it later.

So, there are my goals, my resolutions if you will.  I’m not hiding them.  I’m publishing them.  I’m not cowering in the corner calling cheap shots at the resolutions of others.  I’m openly posting them.  I’m not cynically jaded about my own or any one else’s ability to fulfill their resolutions. I’m hopeful.

Oh there’s one other thing…. It’s not pride to post them. It’s passion.  I’ve seen enough short-sited comments on facebook, twitter and other places around the web concerning resolutions in general that it makes me sick.  When an individual commits to a far-sighted resolution it should challenge us, not provoke us to sarcasm and cynicism.  When you have to criticize people who are aiming high, you have to ask yourself, “What am I aiming for?”  Should I or anyone else aim for less than we are capable because a critic from the couch of mediocrity cries foul?  Should ambition be limited by those who are comfortable watching reruns while the world passes by?

I say get off the couch and make resolutions and evaluate the criticism based on where it comes from!  When another fat man tells me I’ll never be skinny, I know he’s given up the fight and his criticism isn’t a reflection of me as much as it is his own heart ache over his own failure with chocolate eclairs.  As a Pastor I’ve learned that the sins we accuse others of are the sins we struggle with the most ourselves.  Jesus shared some great insight on this.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:1-5)

I want to challenge you to live out your resolutions.  Stand strong against criticism.  If you fall off, get back up, renew your commitment and keep going.  And before you cast doubt in someone else’s direction, pause and check your motives for judging someone else’s motives or ability to complete the task.

What are your goals and resolutions for 2011?

Resolutions for a New Year

I have 3 main resolutions for this next year.  I actually have a LIFE plan with a lot more detail, but that’s for another blog post.  After having a brief conversation today with a stranger who is dreaming about one thing and doing another I decided that I should set in stone some serious goals for the next year.  Here are mine… What are yours?

1. Relate better as Husband and Father

Not that I think I’m doing a terrible job, but I’ve seen too many husbands and fathers drift from their duties over time.  It is really easy to imagine a loving relationship with my wife 5, 10, and 20 years from now, but the truth is that dreams don’t always create reality.  Having a good relationship with my wife and children will take time, intention, and discipline.  I have a strategy in my Life Plan, but its a little personal to share here.

2. Get into God’s word more (both personally and as a family)

Our pastor keeps a blog and comments on a chapter of scripture each day.  I usually keep up with that and read a few other passages each day.  I am also looking at creative ways to be in God’s word more as a family.  My wife and I used to read a chapter of scripture each day together.  When our daughter came along it was a little more difficult to keep her involved and so we shortened it to a few versus during family devotion time.  Now that she is almost 4 we are going to pick up something similar using a new tool for devotions.  My daughter is also old enough to start each day spending some time in God’s word.  Though she isn’t able to read yet I was thinking of moving her nightly Bible reading with me to the morning time (we have been working our way through a picture bible of the New Testament).

3. Live Healthier

This involves changing eating habits and making physical exercise a priority.  It also involves creating a better schedule and sticking too it.  I’ve learned that with planning and intention I can do more in my life with the time I have (this also involves planning for interruption).  We’ll see how it goes.  In my LIFE plan I check up weekly to see how I am living.  I’ll share more about that later… but how about you?  What resolutions do you have for this next year?

A Few Tips on How to Read the Bible

When I was little I knew that it was important to read the Bible, but I didn’t know how.  I used to flip open my Bible and what ever passage it opened to I would read.  I heard a preacher tell a story about a man who was looking for God’s will like that.  He flipped open his Bible and placed his finger on a verse and it said, “Judas went out and hung himself.”  He thought, “that can’t be God’s will for my life.  I need to try again.”  He did it again and this time it came up, “Go thou and do likewise.” We know God would never tell us to go hang ourselves, this man’s idea about how to hear from God was a little flawed.

My bible at Whirled Cup Cafe

Needless to say you don’t normally get a lot from reading the Bible like that.  You can’t get a lot from any book by doing that, especially God’s word.  When it comes to God’s word there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

1.) The Bible is a collection of books. The Bible is collection of books and those books were meant to be read just like any other book, from beginning to end.  That is how we can make the most sense of other books.  That is how we can make the most sense out of God’s word.

2.)  We call the Bible God’s word because it is what God has told us about Himself. It is a record of how God has dealt with mankind through the centuries.  Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us,”God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His son.” The Bible is the recorded word of God and so when we read it, whether we are reading about Noah and the Flood, or Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we can rest assured that God has given us His word in order to reveal Himself.  So as we study the Bible we need to ask, “What is God saying about Himself ?”  The story of Noah and the ark isn’t about a floating zoo, its about God’s grace in saving Noah, God’s intolerance of sin, and so much more!  We read God’s word to learn about God.

3.)  But we don’t stop there, we also need to apply it to our lives and so we should ask a second question, “What should my response be to what I have just learned to be true about God?”  We want to be a responsive people.  Think about it.  Why did God give you His word?  He shows you who He is through His word and so as our understanding of God changes our response to God changes.  We can not be the same people.

These two questions help me to develop resolutions or what I like to call action steps. Action steps are tangible things that I can do in my life that day to put into practice what I have learned to be true about Jesus.  They can be as simple and general as “I’m going to call out to Jesus every time I am tempted today because he knows what it was like to be tempted and was yet without sin” (Matthew 4).  Or they can be as specific and complex as, “I am going to ask my mother to forgive me because I was a jerk to her last night because Jesus commands his followers to live in a right relationship with others” (Matthew 5:24).

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Just to recap, here are the highlights.

1. Read a book of the bible in the order it was written (don’t randomly flip open the bible and throw your finger down in the middle).

2. Ask two important questions….

  • What does this say about God?
  • How should I respond to God?

3. Use those questions to help you formulate resolutions or action steps

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Looking for a place to start?

If you are new to this bible reading thing or haven’t done it in a while and you are looking for a place to start, I encourage you to check out the blog of my friend (and pastor) Chris Aiken.  Each morning he reads a proverb and a chapter from another book of the Bible.  He then makes a blog post commenting on the chapter of scripture he read.  What is really neat about the blog format is that you can post questions or responses to each daily reading.  You can find his blog at http://www.chrisaiken.wordpress.com