Friday, February 26, 2010

Don’t Skip THIS step!

I know, I know...I said on Monday that “tomorrow” I’d give you some thoughts on setting spiritual goals. But this week, I’ve been thinking. Setting direction, planning, and establishing goals are all part of effective living. Strategizing and then taking specific action is vital to accomplishing those goals. But the "why" is equally important as the "how."

In the excitement of moving forward, sometimes the motive of the heart often goes unchecked. In our minds we are easily convinced that our action plan is the right way - especially if things are going well. Yet an impure motive is never pleasing to the Lord. Asking the question, "Why am I doing this?" helps us remember that the ultimate measure of accomplishment comes from the Lord.

Are you trying to get in better shape so that you’ll be more effective in your life (to be nourished) or do you want the attention of others (to be noticed)? Is your goal vitality or vanity?

Do you want to grow spiritually to honor the Lord or to gain recognition? Will your spiritual training please the Lord or puff yourself up?
All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2

So today, let’s work on developing the reasons for change... Why do I want to go there?
Why do I want to make the change? What is the motive? What is the purpose?

We need to be living for a deeper motive, operating from our hearts, not just our heads! 

Smart businesses develop mission statements. Arriving at that statement is usually a process and that process begins with asking some heart questions. Questions like:

What is the purpose of this enterprise? What do we want to accomplish? What is the end-game? 

In business, if its just profits that drive the machine, then ethics, morals, and integrity will probably be negotiable. But when a business is centered around a deeper purpose... a desire to meet some need or provide some dedicate service, then profits will follow.

The same principles are true in our personal lives.

We need to develop a personal mission statement... We need to determine “why” we’re doing the things we’re doing. 

In health, if its just “to attract” others, then it’s a moving target and momentary at best! We’re all aging and the Bible even says this - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting...” Proverbs 31:30

But, if you determine that you want to be healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually for a deeper purpose... then you might just be on to greatness! When we explore the purpose for which God put us here and we develop into all that He intended, our lives, our relationships, our physical health with be greatly enhanced!

So what are some reasons for getting healthy physically and spiritually?

Maybe for your legacy? Maybe you need to stop today and say, “the choices today will impact my kids for years to come!” I want to be here when my girls are old enough to marry (when they’re 40 or so) ;-) I have an amazing picture in my mind of my children getting married, ONE DAY! I want to walk them down the aisle and celebrate with them! I don’t want to develop chronic problems that would take me out of that picture! I want to be healthy enough to enjoy playing with my grandkids. I want to be able to serve the Lord well into the future.

Spiritually, I want practice disciplines (prayer, Bible meditation and memorization, solitude, journaling, fasting, etc) to align myself with God’s purpose for me. I want to know Him and make Him known. I want to bring Him glory and honor. So, I begin to set spiritual goals... And I WILL tell you how I do that tomorrow!

For articles and resources on spiritual disciplines, check out

Assignment: Determine why you want to change some area of your life. Write it down! Write your top two or three reasons in each area that you want to work on: health, finances, spiritual development, relationships...

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for a mind that is capable to plan and strategize. Thank You for the energy to take action. Thank You for a heart that longs to serve You. Keep my motives pure so that my actions will bring glory to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, February 22, 2010

...taking first steps

I've told several friends lately, and even my small group, that I am burdened about my life. I know there are changes that need to take place. So here goes! When I think about taking a transformation journey, three words keep coming up.


These are the key words for my pursuit of a makeover. You might have others, but for me, these 3 will keep me on track. Later on, I’ll share with you how I am setting goals in each of these areas and how those specific goals will help guide me to the ultimate destination of health, happiness, and holiness, but first, here’s how I’ve described each of these areas. I will work to become:

HEALTHY - A state of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. 

HAPPY - When I think about being happy, I think about peace and contentment...deep-seated joy. Not a superficial, emotional feeling, but a state of fulfillment. I don’t want my happiness to be based on external things, but on being satisfied that I am in good relationships and I am fulfilling my purpose before God.

HOLY - Dedicated and consecrated to God. In the book, The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges says this about holiness:

For starters, it doesn't look anything like perfection. And it doesn't necessarily look like victory. Mostly, it consists of effort, prayer, grace, and obedience. "Scripture speaks of both a holiness we have in Christ before God, and a holiness we are to strive after”.


For real transformation to occur, we need to know some simple coordinates... Namely, we need to determine where we are and where we want to go. When I gave you my “rut” list, I was establishing the “where am I” coordinate. When I shared the “healthy, happy, holy” concept, I was establishing the “where I want to go” coordinate.

Without these two key coordinates it would be impossible to measure our progress and success. It also makes it difficult for others to support and help you along the way. But when you are clear about where you are and precisely where you're going, together, we’ll be able to know and understand what this climb is all about for you and we can help you get there.

Where am I now?

Look at various areas of your life... In business or in personal finance, it is important to look at the balance sheet (a simple summary of the balances - assets, liabilities, debt)

This week, you need to inventory your life (create a balance sheet in your marriage, your finances, your physical health) How do you do that?

Look at specifics... I want you to list three objectively verifiable and measureable statements which reflect your condition and health right now. Today, we’ll focus on the physical.

Bill Phillips, author of Eating for Life and Body for Life says that scale weight, measurements, cholesterol, blood pressure, even a “before” picture might be a good way to get a picture of where you are.

Your 3 goals might look like this:

1) First A.M. scale weight: 217 lbs. mid-section measurement at the widest point: 42 inches. Bodyfat: 31%.
2) Cholesterol: 234 ng/ml. Blood pressure 142/87 as measured by my doctor.
3) I'm attaching my before picture taken from the front and another from the back.

You determine what they look like, but get an honest look at yourself.

I also want you to set a goal for where you want to be. Write them down! I am reaching out 12 weeks with my “end result”. I will reevaluate things then. But between now and then, I want to lost 2 pounds a week and I want to lower my cholesterol by 5%

You determine yours. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about some of the spiritual & relational dynamics that I plan on tackling!

Oh, and once we know where we are and where we want to go, then we can begin putting together the road map of how to get there! Happy Traveling. I’m praying for you!

I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. Psalm 119:59

Friday, February 19, 2010


Have you ever felt stuck? Bogged down? Spinning your wheels? Getting / Going nowhere?

If so, I want to invite you to join me on a journey! Over the past few months, I have started taking stock in where I am in life. Looking at my health, my relationships, my work, my purpose, etc...

In the coming weeks, I want to begin a journey toward transformation! Not just a “do-over” or a “do-better” or a “try-harder” I really want to look at life from a new perspective. God’s perspective! I want to look at some tough life questions and seek answers for those questions.

I guess I need to tell you where this journey started...You see, lately, I’ve been kinda restless. I recently turned 40 and I started noticing some changes in my life. First, I saw a little grey hair...actually, a little less hair, too! I noticed that some of my clothes have begun to shrink. Ok, ok, I know, I’ve gained some weight over the years, but it could be our dryer, right?

Let me put it this way: As I reflected on my life, I realized that almost every area of my life has been in neutral lately! Here’s what those areas look like one by one:

My PHYSICAL rut - Over the past several years, I’ve felt increasingly fatigued and I sensed lower and lower levels of energy. I knew I haven’t been taking care of myself like I should, but I’ve blamed it on busyness and scheduling. But more than these physical signs of aging, I also see that changes are going on in my inner-life. My spiritual development has been slowing down. I found myself on autopilot in so many ways. 

My SPIRITUAL rut - I started following Christ my freshman year of college and was on fire! I surrendered to ministry, went to Seminary and learned and grew a lot! Yet more and more, I caught myself relying on my memory of Bible studies past more than digging in daily for a fresh word. I found that my prayer life and devotional pursuits were lacking!

My MENTAL rut - I’ve always loved learning, but when I finished my doctoral studies two years ago, I rationalized that I deserved a break! Consequently, I haven’t had any major hills to climb on the academic or intellectual front!

My RELATIONAL rut - I’m happily married to a wonderful woman who is also my best friend and we have three amazing kids! Have you ever heard that familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes we take relationships for granted and don’t invest in them. That is precisely what was happening to me! My relationships with my wife, kids, and friends were ok...but just ok. Again, autopilot set in! I was going through motions without investing the time, effort, and care needed to cultivate deep relationships.

My MINISTRY rut - I was starting to see my work in ministry as a “profession” as much as a calling. I knew what details were important and dotting i’s and crossing t’s became a measure of success rather than encountering Christ and working to see lives changed.

Because of this evaluation time, I’ve started thinking about making some needed adjustments to the way I live my life. I’m not talking about major life changes or some mid-life crisis...I simply want to evaluate where I am, where I want to be and put a plan together to get me there!

I don’t know about you, but I want the rest of my life to count, big time! I want to know that I am fulfilling the purposes for which God put me here. I’m talking about an extreme makeover scott-edition! Maybe you need one, too. I say let’s tackle it together.

Each week, I am going to put some assignments together for us to work on. I am also going to use this blog page as a place for discussion! Hope that you’ll come along!

DISCLAIMER: Some of you that will read this will have no problem with me talking about faith. You know that I am a Christian, you know Christ and you have embraced His way. I also know that some you aren’t yet convinced that God is even real, or that He has any purpose or plan for your life... That’s ok. I want us to take an honest look at every area of our lives and move forward together! Regardless of your faith position, I think we can begin some healthy activities in our lives that will spark really cool dialogue and will challenge all of us to grow!

Let me know if you are in! I dare you to take a step!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hannah and Haley, our two oldest daughters were both born in New Orleans while I was in Seminary. Stephanie and I spent a great deal of our lives there! We love the food, the culture, the music, and the Saints! Our family has deep roots in that wonderful city!
Part of the lore of the community has always been that if the Saints ever won a Superbowl, it would be a very cold day... (you get the rest)...Anyway, we woke this morning to 7" of snow in North Mississippi! So here's our lil' tribute to the Black and Gold Superbowl!