As more people come to me for advice on productivity, the most common issue I’m asked about is this:
“urgent things keep intruding on important things” a.k.a., “distractions & interruptions”
My best response is God’s response:
“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. (Prov. 27:23a)”
Not the answer you were looking for? I’ll elaborate…
Meet Your Sheep
You’ve got stuff to do… That’s your flock.
You may not have actual sheep like Solomon’s audience 2,500 years ago. But, you do have a flock of “P.R.I.O.R.” commitments: Projects, Responsibilities, Ideas, Opportunities, and Relationships. For these God will hold you accountable and reward you (2 Cor. 5:10). Therefore, “knowing the condition of your flocks and giving careful attention to your herds” is of critical importance to you.
Some translations even render this phrase “be diligent to know the state of your flocks”. So…
On a scale of 1 to 10, how diligent are you right now in knowing your state of flock?
After New Year and Back to School season, summer is the most popular “reset” time of year. Who wants to be out of shape, behind the curve, or overwhelmed when “beach” is such a viable option? Heck, the words “summer” and “reading” practically go hand in hand, right? Summer is the perfect time to course correct on a few squandered New Year’s resolutions, especially catching up on lost bible reading or sharpening some otherwise dull iron!
I sent emails, texts and phone calls out to leaders all across the country. A good number have yet to get back to me, but the fastest to their phones were Boyd Bailey, John Woodall, and Joel Thomas. For this reason, I’ll let them go first with their top current reads and recommendations.
Boyd Bailey – Founder, Ministry Ventures; President, Georgia National Christian Foundation; Founder & Author, Wisdom Hunters
The Power of the Other – Henry Cloud (Subtitle: “The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it.”)
John Woodall & his wife, Deborah John is director of Groups for North Point Community Church and like me, a member of the “I Married UP” club. Much love, John
Note: Today, I wanted to pass on a note from John Woodall to the men who often gather at the Cabernet Restaurant on Friday mornings from 7AM to 7:55. If you’ve never attended ONE TH1NG, this would be a great week to check in. It’s a come-as-you-are-when-you-can-we’ll-fill-you-in-as-we-go kind of conversational environment designed to spur men on to walk with God.
If there’s a guy out there who knows a thing or two about walking with God (and walking with men who walk with God), John Woodall is that guy. Everytime John and I connect, he throws out a question that challenges me as a man and always makes me think, pray, and search the scriptures. That’s the kind of guy every man needs in his life, wouldn’t you agree?
Get up, get out, and get there this Friday.
We can’t ignore it, so we go on a quest to remove it …or at least try to fix it.
Men try many different things to numb, deny,run from and cope with the Ache…as if it is a problem to be solved.
This “Ache” is in the soul of man and shows up in different times and seasons.
Last week we looked at a number of seasons:
0-10 there is the ache of Unmet Needs
In our teens there is the ache of Rejection
In our 20’s, men ask, “What ache?”
30’s bring the ache of Disappointments
The 40’s is a season of Disillusionments
50-60’s men experience Dissatisfaction and
In our 70-80’s men just ache.
I have been on a 58-year quest to remove this ache only to discover a very important insight…
What we really need is a Direction Correction.
Join us Friday morning as we unpack well-grounded strategies to deal with the aches in every season of life.
Make an extra effort to invite or pick up and bring another man…. I guarantee some very lively conversations and direction based on truth.
What’s Got Your Eye? This year, as our church-wide fast began, I felt compelled to dig into Psalm 119. Glad I did.
“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things;preserve my life according to your word. (Psalm 119:34-37)” It’s All About Value Free Chapel embarks on a corporate, 3-day “water only” followed by 18 days of “Daniel Fast“. I never truly realize how valuable something is to me until I don’t have it. You? Yeah, I value water. MAN, I value food! Unfortunately, I have an addiction – refined sugar. That’s one food I value above all others. I’ll eat refined sugar products – desserts, cereals, candy, desserts to a gluttonous level – often to control my mood rather than for my stomach. Sugar is nowhere on the Ten Commandments, but abuse of any substance is idolatry and begs the question: “why would anyone want to delight in anything less than Jesus?” For me, it’s a rival god, it’s nutritionally worthless and it’s killing me and my potential with my own fork/spoon/hand.
Not everyone struggles with food addictions, but we all struggle with something. In the past, I’ve tried to manage my refined sugar addiction by behavior modification: “don’t”, much like I used to try to manage my addiction to pornography. Knowing that, Lord willing, this year I will celebrate 12 years clean from pornography, I understand that defeating that demon wasn’t about behavior modification, it was about hating the sin and surrender to Christ… oh, and a supernatural act of the Spirit, no?
When we come into alignment with what God values, we begin to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Selfish ambition is gradually replaced with God-ambition. When it comes to food, I need a double dose of love for God and a dose of hate for what is worthless. What’s your rival god? What are you using to fill that familiar empty feeling? What do you occasionally value more than God and His plan for your life? Filling in the Blank
John Woodall will kick off a transformational conversation at ONE TH1NG this Friday.
We all have a blank spot in us, an ache, a God-sized hole in our hearts that we try to fill in with lesser solutions: accomplishment, material gain(s), sex, drugs, etc, things that at the judgment seat of Christ will be exposed for their true value – worthless. Side note: If you’re a man in the Alpharetta/Cumming area, you don’t want to miss John Woodall at ONE TH1NG this Friday morning at the Cabernet Restaurant at 7AM. He’ll be talking about the ache – an ache that in a Genesis 3 world, refuses to be healed until Christ returns.
In the meantime, the Psalmist points out the relationship between life and things: it is the nature of worthless things to suck the life out of us rather than to preserve our life. And yet, we chase after this stuff, often to the exclusion of the life giving plan that the life giving God has for us. Selfish ambition always finds us knocking on the door of stuff that is utterly worthless in God’s eyes. “Can you please fill in my blank?” In fasting, I am constantly reminded that I am blessed with opportunities to clean out the clutter that clogs my heart – literally and figuratively. The challenge is keeping it out. Behavior mod is a short road leading back to square one. Only a transformed mind and surrendered heart will do.
Experience True Life Today, I encourage you to give up food or something incredibly valuable for more than 48 hours. You know your idols and rival gods. Pick one, but try food first. Then, pray as the psalmist did that God will help you keep your eyes and heart delighted in Him and away from things that are ultimately worthless in His economy. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you, sanctify you, and transform you into the image of Christ you were designed to be from the start. in Christ,