The last five days, I wrote of setting family goals, career goals, physical health goals, financial goals, and goals for your overall spiritual walk in 2014. I’ve consolidated these posts into one place. I hope you step-it-up in 2014!
1. Your Family
MEAL TIME: Eat meals together, at the dinner table, without the TV blaring. This doesn’t just mean dinner time . . . try to grab a bite together at breakfast on strategic days, too.
CAR TIME: You spend more time in the car than you probably realize. Instead of just numbing the kids’ opportunity of crying by putting-in a DVD (if you have a DVD player in the car) or busting music, plan strategic time of teaching and conversation several times a week where you are strategically using your car time.
BED TIME: Bed time is a time when you can strategically pray, play games, do family devotions, and develop some great memories as a family.
DEVOTION TIME: As I just said, bed time is a great time to do family devotions. I’m grateful our Kids’ Ministry is launching an initiative January 26th to help with family devotions to help men lead their families spiritually.
DATE NIGHT: The first Friday of every month, our church provides a Date Night to provide free childcare. Healthy marriages help lead to healthy churches. If you want your church to be healthy, you’ll have a consistent Date Night with your significant other. I have a goal of taking Charity on a date one night every week in 2014. 52 dates!
In order to have a healthy marriage, I encourage you to dialogue daily, date weekly, and depart quarterly.
TAKE VACATIONS: You might say, “I can’t afford to take a vacation.” You may be right. If at all possible, get away with your family and don’t stare at your phone the whole time you’re away. You’re reading a blog right now, so you’re at least somewhat techy. I was in Gatlinburg a few days ago and was blown away at how many people (kids, moms, dads, grandparents, et al) were staring at their phones and ignoring their loved-ones. Get away and spend time with your family.
2. Your Career
What career goals do you have for 2014 and beyond? My brother is an executive for one of the largest hiring firms in the world. His company hires masses of people. He has told me of some of the interesting resumes he has read over the years. It is obvious that most people don’t take the initiative to plan their careers accordingly.
Sure, I’m far from an expert in career planning as I’m a pastor. However, pastors need to plan accordingly for their career goals. No matter your field, what are your goals for 2014, and beyond? What can you do in the New Year to prepare for the years ahead for your career?
Here are nine questions from Chris Stephens[i] about your career:
1. What is your calling in life?
2. How do you see your future?
3. What is the game plan to get there?
4. What skills do you need to gain to live your plan?
5. What degree or degrees will you need?
6. What goals need to be set, short and long range, for you to live the dream?
7. Who would you enjoy working with? The people on your team are crucial to your achieving your dreams and goals. They will also help determine how much you enjoy your work.
8. Will your work help others? A life lived for others is a life lived well. Working to add value to others makes you feel good when the day is over.
9. How can you track your progress? Measure your goals.
The word “work” is in the Bible 564 times. The Bible thoroughly discusses how you spend your time working.
3. Your Body
Honestly, I am the last person who should be writing about setting goals for physical health as I am in the worst shape of my life. I am ashamed of it. In 2012, I lost 32 pounds, but gained all of it back and then some.
In 2014, I am going to lose weight. I have specific goals of how much weight I will lose.
1 Corinthians 6:20 says we are to glorify God with our bodies. I know I have failed in that area, and it has effected me spiritually. I know for my health spiritually and physically, I need to get my body in better shape.
I won’t go into detail about how to get your body in better shape, but know you can find that source via a combination of the simple math of burning more calories that you’re consuming. Eat less. Exercise more.
4. Your Finances
Some of you reading this, in fact, most of you reading this, are stealing from God right now by not tithing. How do you expect to receive God’s favor upon your life if you are taking His money and putting it among your own stuff (see Joshua 7:11)?
Many of you don’t tithe because you are in such bad debt. Dave Ramsey teaches that people should tithe even through their debt retirement time of setting goals. Why? Because its not your money; it is God’s.
Four years ago, my wife an I went thru Financial Peace University (FPU) by Dave Ramsey, and it revolutionized our lives. We are now very healthy financially, primarily due to applying what we learned in FPU. Our church is beginning FPU in just a few weeks.
As you develop your plan, determine your goals. Here are the steps my wife and I are following/have followed, from FPU, for the sake of our personal financial health:
1. Build a small emergency fund of $1,000.
2. Pay-off all of your debt, excluding your mortgage, using the debt snowball.
3. Build an emergency fund that would equate to 3–6 months of savings.
4. Invest 15% of your income into pre-tax retirement and ROTH IRAs.
5. Save for your kid(s) to be able to go to college.
6. Pay-off your house early.
7. Build wealth and give.
[i] Chris Stephens, The Plan of Your Life: Managing What Matters Most (Knoxville: DCS Publishing, 2011), 86–87.
5. Your Overall Spiritual Walk
Spiritual disciplines are so important. I don’t share this for the sake of legalism, but for the sake of helping you develop a pattern of spiritual disciplines that become a lifestyle.
How will you grow deeper in your faith through spiritual disciplines?
I hope you will read the entire Bible annually. Getting on a Bible reading plan is the simplest way to know what to read and when to read it. Click here to see my favorite Bible reading plan. Also, try-out the YouVersion Bible app for your mobile devices. There are a lot of reading plans on there.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Click here to read a great list of verses to memorize.
Here is how I memorize verses: I use 3×5 notecards and keep them in my car, on my bathroom mirror, and on my desk. When I’m at a red light or stuck in traffic, I look at the card. Sometimes, I have a verse taped underneath the visor in my car, so that when I’m trying to keep the sun out of my eyes, the son will be in my eyes.
My goal for 2014 is to memorize 52 verses. I hope you’ll join me in this goal.
Psalm 104:34 says, “May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.”
For people who are not extremely touchy feely, they may not understand this. I’m not touchy feely, and I have only recently been able to begin to grasp the importance of meditation. Basically, this means you purposely think about God and His beauty and wonder.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Imagine having a phone conversation, you pick up the phone, the person on the other end of the line talks for ten minutes, then they hang up, and you never even got to speak two words to the person on the phone. That is how I think God views many peoples’ prayer lives. They talk to God, but never allow God to talk to them, and this often happens through silence.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”
I’ve found journaling prayers to be one of my most effective ways to pray. It helps me to write down requests from people and to look back from months and years ago to see how God has already been answering the requests I’ve lifted to Him.
Matthew 6:16 says, “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Maybe you could begin fasting by starting with one meal, then working your way up over time. Then again, maybe you will fast from something other than food (TV, social networks, etc.).
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Develop a plan to strategically invite a certain number of people to church and/or to a personal relationship with Christ. At Church of the Highlands, we have four key dates of “Hitting the Streets” for door-to-door invitations of people to church in 2014 (1/25, 4/19, 8/16, 11/1).
Christian Books (in addition to the Bible)
Develop goals of how many books you want to read in 2014.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Will you serve in the church of which you are a part? Will you serve in your community?
List Areas of Need Improvement
Write down areas where you need to improve in your spiritual walk and grow in 2014.
Plan the work and work the plan. Achieve your goals for 2014!