Can you imagine having the influence to be able to remove a King? Or how about having an entire country mourn your death and show up at your funeral? Talk about a life of influence and impact. There is an incredible example of such an individual that lived a life of influence, leadership, and purpose. His name was Samuel. Samuel was so influential that the people of Israel sought his leadership and direction for their future. They needed help to retrieve the Ark of Covenant. They needed strategy against their enemy, the Philistines. They eventually sought his permission to crown a new king. His influence as a leader kept growing and growing. When King Saul failed in his leadership, Samuel removed him. Can you imagine having such influence that you alone are able to remove the reigning king! Samuel exhorted, he affirmed, he corrected, he prophesied, he reminded, and the taught the people. When he died, all of Israel gathered to mourn his loss. 

Samuel obviously lived an incredible live, and he was certainly an incredible leader. So how did Samuel live his life? What was his secret? How can we learn from Samuel to live that impacts others so dramatically?

There are four traits Samuel lived by that increased his influence, and his ability to impact. 

1. He lived a life SHEPHERDING others. Samuel was focused more on relationships than he was himself. The bible loves to describe God's leaders as shepherd. Even the LORD is described as a shepherd. A shepherd knows, loves, protects, and leads his sheep. Samuel focused his life on being a shepherd. He spoke out of relationship. He identified with the people and could be both tough and tender because of his relationships. People listened because his relationships to them. Samuel was special from his birth. He was given as an offering to God and God had a very specific plan and purpose for Samuel. Samuel was a prophet who had authority. Samuel's success as shepherd was because he spoke from the position of a shepherd and not a position of authority. The people responded this his shepherding before they responded to his authority. It was his shepherding that increased his authority. 

2. He lived a life of STEWARDSHIP. Samuel was responsible. As a steward he could be trusted to act on behalf of an owner, overseeing others and managing possessions. Stewards are accountable to the owner. Jesus taught this principle in Luke 12:42-48. Samuel lived this truth as he confronted kings and peasants, as he wept over this disobedience of Israel, and as he sought guidance for his nation. He remained faithful to his calling, accountable to God, and responsible to the people. That is why they listened to him...they trusted him. It was his stewardship that increased his trust. 

3. He lived a life as a SEER. Samuel possessed vision for the people of Israel and he communicated that vision and fresh direction often. Samuel brought the word of God to bear on contemporary issues. He spoke with divine conviction about past lessons, present situations, and future direction. The word of God was his compass...always leading in the right direction of God. Because of this, he moved from being merely a judge to becoming a prophet, speaking with skill as a visionary leader. People listen to him because of his revelation. 

Samuel was unique in that he wasn't afraid of the response to the word of God. So often we fear the response of the people to the word of God. I find this to be especially true when communicating with other "Christians." Samuel often led the people by correcting their course to realign with the word of God. To be an effective leader you can't fear biblical correction. So often we think people will think less of us because we might across a bible thumper know it all. Samuel used the word of God to create correction when it was needed to realign with God's vision for the people. As a result, the people would seek Samuel out because they trusted him as a seer to help them correct themselves. 

4. He lived a life as a SERVANT. What Samuel did was lived a life modeled after Jesus before Jesus was ever born. Samuel was a biblically informed leader who gave up his rights instead of gaining them. He often sacrificed for the good of the people he led. Samuel modeled this as he interceded for Israel, as he made sacrifices on the alter on their behalf, and as he wept for their welfare. Power did not motivate him...SERVICE did! People listen to him not because of his power, but because of his servant heart. 
When it comes to leadership there are two roads that must be traveled. Unfortunately, most leaders in life only ever travel one of the two. The road less traveled by leaders is the road inside of you. To be an effective leader for the long term you must travel on the inside before you can effectively travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one. The first person you lead is YOU...and you can't lead effectively without self-discipline. 

There is a period of preparation that needs to take place in all leaders. The issues is...that most leaders want what they want now. Why did a 2 week journey take 40 years with the Israelites? The real reason was they weren't prepared for the Promised Land. The people simply weren't ready for God's blessings until 40 years after they began their trip. 

Plato once said, "The first and best victory is to conquer self." The people and leadership of Israel lacked self discipline. As soon as Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, the people turned their backs and built a golden calf. They lacked the self discipline to wait for God and Moses.

So many leaders fail to travel on the inside. They private life doesn't match up with their public life. On the outside they look good and appear like they got their stuff together, while internally they struggle with self discipline. Let's take pastors for example... 

40% of pastors leave the ministry after only five years. 
89% of pastors have considered leaving their ministry at least once. 
90% of pastors have stated they are regularly fatigued.
57% of pastors would leave their current ministry if they felt like they had a better place to go. 
77% of pastors feel like they DO NOT have a good marriage.
72% of pastors only study the bible when they are preparing for a sermon. 
71% of pastors are in constant state of depression
38% of pastors are divorced.
30% of pastors maintain an ongoing affair. 
Only 26% of pastors spend time daily in devotion. 
Only 23% of pastors feel content with who they are in Christ. 
1500 pastors leave the ministry each month. 
50% of pastors marriages will end in divorce. 
80% of seminary students who graduate leave the ministry within 5 years.
63% of pastors have been fired from the pastorate position at least twice. 
78% of pastors have been forced to resign from the pastorate at least once. 
35% of pastors deal with sexual sin on a regular basis. 
51% of pastors struggle with porn addiction. 
(Study conducted by the Barna Research Group) 

The point is this...when you look at a pastor their position as a leader is very public. On the surface most people who look at their pastor as being the example of having their life together.  On the outside most pastors lead very well...but it's the leading of themselves internally where they fail. Like most leaders in life, the majority of their time is spent on the outside appearances and not the inside change. 

Here a Five Points To Self-Discipline. 

1. Develop and follow your PRIORITIES. All leaders are pressed for time, but the successful ones have a plan. If you can determine what's really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it will be much easier to follow through on what's important. 

2. Develop a DISCIPLINED lifestyle goal. To be successful, self-discipline can't be a one-time event. It has to become a lifestyle. One of the best ways to nurture such a lifestyle is to develop systems and routines...especially in critical areas of your life crucial to your long-term growth and success. Reading the bible daily verse just in church on sunday, Praying daily, Spending time along with God daily, all of these should be top priority in your life.  You don't have to let the world's priorities be your priorities. 

3. Challenge your EXCUSES. Challenge and eliminate any tendency you have to make excuses. If you can name several reasons why you can't be self-disciplined, realize that they are really just barriers to your success. All of your barriers must be challenged by you if you want to go to the next level. 

4. Remove rewards until you FINISH the job. This world preaches in everything to reward yourself because you deserve it!  By you just being deserve it! Rewarding yourself before the job is finished creates a false sense of security about the job. Do you stop a game in progress to reward the star player or do you wait until the game is finished and scores are in to see you actually won or not. If the game is lost was the reward deserved?  If you can't finish the job you don't deserve the reward. 

5. Stay focused on the RESULTS. Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results, you're likely to become discouraged. So many leaders burn out become because they become discouraged by the task. I know pastors who have become burned out, left the ministry because they were discouraged, blamed the congregation for their lack, and ultimately created a path of destruction, their churches closed down, and many of the people they had shepherded have not returned to church period.  Their burnout resulted because they became the focused on the difficulty of the work and not the blessings of the results. This doesn't just happen to pastors, it happens to parents also. They literally give up on parenting their child, and then wonder why their child turned out the way they did. 

The road less traveled is a difficult one, but if your desire to lead well and build a legacy it is a road you must travel no matter what. 

There are seven sacrifices in the bible that we can learn from and apply in our lives. Six of these sacrifices are in the old testament and one in the new testament. 

1. Burnt Offerings. The meaning behind the burnt offerings was to purge ourselves of sinful acts. We have Jesus for this today. He did this for us, however the application of the burnt offerings still applies to today. We are to live our lives pursing moral purity. The Apostle Paul talks in great detail about moral purity throughout his letters to the churches. Living a life of moral purity is your GPS to avoiding sin. 

2. Grain Offerings. The meaning behind the grain offerings was to give the best of your property. Today we can apply this in our lives by choosing to offer our very best effort and service for God. Think of this as your attitude towards God. Are you willing to do whatever it takes joyfully for the Lord? 

3. Peace Offerings. The meaning behind the peace offerings was to express praise to God and fellowship with others. Today we must be willing to commit to prioritizing our relationships. Have you ever noticed how some relationships add to your relationship with God while others seem to draw you away? God wants you to have the right relationships in life...ones that magnify him and his love. Who you choose to spend your time is a picture of your love for God. Are you more worried about hanging with friends or reaching the lost? 

4. Sin (Guilt) Offerings. The meaning behind this offering was to atone for sin when restitution was impossible. The application to today is this...seeking forgiveness when wrong. Jesus forgave us of our sins...we were wrong in the eyes of God but now are made right by his blood. He petitioned on our behalf. When we wrong somebody we should be seeking their forgiveness not matter how difficult it may by for us. The bible tells us that our tithe and offerings are hindered before the Lord when we have outstanding forgiveness that has yet to be resolved. 

5. Trespass Offering. The meaning behind this offering was to atone for unintentional or lesser offenses. The application to today is that we must desire to maintain communication. When communications stops, offenses start. 

6. The Tithe Offering. The meaning behind this was to trust God. Today the Tithe still stands as Jesus himself taught extensively about money and trust. When we Tithe (10%) we are showing God that we not only trust him but that our love is focused on the source, not the resource. God doesn't need your money...what he needs is your love and commitment to seeing the resources he gave you used to reach the lost. 

7. The Jesus Offering. Jesus gave his life for ours to be set free. The meaning behind this is simple....LOVE! We must be willing to LOVE others no matter what the cost. This is also the hardest offering on our part with our lives. The amazing aspect of Jesus Love is that it holds no records of our wrongs. The Love we have others should be same. 
The one thing about leadership that most leaders fail to learn and which explains why so many leaders fail is this...Leadership demands constant sacrifice. Leadership is an ongoing process, not a one-time I made it to the top. The circumstances change from person to person, but the principle doesn't: The true meaning of leadership is sacrifice. 

We are all called to leadership in some capacity. For men, we are called to lead our families and love our wives as God loved the church. For women, you called to lead your house. But how effective are you really? Most men struggle leading their families and the divorce rate proves the lack of loving your wife as God loves the church. Most women strive to be a virtuous woman but like men fall short. So what is it that causes to fail in this area of effective leadership? I think we get so busy pursuing life that we never stop to evaluate what price we are willing to pay to become more effective. I know in my own life I went years pursuing a goal at work and although I desired to have a better family life, my family life suffered because I never stopped to consider that the price for a better family would mean sacrificing time from my work goals. I loved my family, but found myself growing bitter and resentful towards my family because in my mind I was leading...providing for my family by the fruit of my work. 

Like most of you I found myself in a tug-of-war contest between my job and my family. My wife wanted more time, my kids wanted more stuff (because that is what they were used to in replace of my time) and I wanted to be the best provider I could be. And this battle of between family and work caused a lot of heated arguments. You may be in this exact situation in your life. The good news is there is an answer...

A quick look at Moses' life shows how God molded him into an effective leader. Consider how Moses was able to give up so much and make such great sacrifices without growing bitter at God. Yes, without growing bitter at God. God is always the last you grow bitter at. First it's your spouse, then your family, then your employer, then yourself for allowing yourself to get into the situation, which ultimately leads to being bitter at God. What made Moses willing to return to Egypt as God's servant after he had enjoyed the best the country had to offer? His understanding of the law of sacrifice. Moses understood A Leader Must Give Up To Go Up. 

Here is four things about Moses understanding of the Law of Sacrifice. 

1. Moses understood as a leader he was not alone with God. Moses had an opportunity to spend 40 years of his life alone with God  when he was exiled in Midian.  Moses' time of reflection had enhanced his ability to hear and recognize God's voice. So when God appeared to him at the burning bush, he knew it was him. As a leader you have to take some alone time. You will never clearly hear God's voice if you are too busy listening to all the other voices crying for your attention. Don't force God to send you to the desert to get your attention. 

2. Moses was honest with God. By the time Moses met God at the burning bush, no trace of his cockiness remained. He knew his weaknesses and humbled himself before the Lord. It's easy to fall in to the arrogance of leadership...The look at me I am in charge attitude. It's this attitude that drives a wedge in the our ability to lead and creating an impact. Who wants to be follow arrogance? A clear understanding of your weaknesses and being humble is the only you can increase in your leadership. It is impossible to sacrifice without humility. 

3. Moses was hungry for God. God has to be first in our life. You will never effectively lead anybody if you are not first being led yourself. It took Moses four decades in the wilderness to desire knowing God. It is impossible to be self-reliant and hungry for God at the same time. 

4. Moses was broken by God. God does not force his will on anybody. He didn't force his will on Moses and he won't with you. Like Moses God is waiting on your willingness to come to him. Brokenness involves two things. 1) Removing inappropriate pride and self-reliance and 2) building a healthy God-relaince. God taunted Moses's self reliance in the desert, but to create trust God had to break Moses's fears. God is trying to the same thing with you. 

You may be feeling like your in wilderness right now and it may be that God is trying to break of you fear. 

-Fears concerning Yourself. Doubting your value. 
-Fears concerning God. Fearing who God might be.
-Fears concerning Others. Fearing how others will respond to you. 
-Fears concerning Ability. Doubting yourself. 

It wasn't until Moses willfulness was broken, his fears overcome, and his purpose reaffirmed that Moses finally placed himself in the hands of God. Moses learned that life is filled with trade-offs - but you can trade up only if you have some to sacrifice.  If you desire to lead your family better... if you desire to lead yourself better...if you hope to find and fulfill the purpose for which God created you, then you must have to give.

Quality Leaders Are Prepared In The Wilderness

The Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness right after His baptism by John. Jesus's time in the wilderness was a necessary part of his preparation for ministry.  Quality leaders can almost always point to a wilderness experience as part of their leadership preparation. Why? What is so important about the time in the wilderness? Because being alone in the wilderness sucks! However, during this time, our motives get purified, our backbone solidifies, and our calling gets clarified.

So often we want our wilderness experience to be over with as soon as possible. For so many Christians they never move from Glory to Glory and Faith to Faith because they never embrace the necessary wilderness experience.  Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. The time spent in the wilderness is depended upon our capacity to face temptation. The devil tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness...the temptation by the enemy is a necessary screening process to see WHAT WE WILL GIVE UP and HOW WE WILL TRUST GOD TO PROVIDE.

There are three temptations you will face in the wilderness...each temptation strenghtens you for the next.

1. The temptation to be self-sufficient. (FAITH) Jesus didn't become controlling, even with his legitimate needs. He trusted God. The challenge is really getting past our own glory. When we are self sufficient we are our own GOD. We may recognize that GOD exists but because we are that good...we don't really need him until we face something our own glory can't handle. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that you can control everything. He wants to swell your head, when GOD wants to swell your heart. This temptation tests your commitment to your Faith.

2. The temptation to be spectacular. (GLORY)  Jesus refused to become a stunt man. He didn't perform in order to become a celebrity. This world bombards us the temptation to be a celebrity. The worlds joke is having your five minutes of fame. The world literally places celebrity status on a pedestal. Its the ultimate bar to achieve...according the standards of the world. You will never break thru this temptation until you realize that your not your own God (Temptation 1). Jesus focused on God being the celebrity and spectacular, not himself....because he knew that God provided for all his needs. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that the you deserve the spotlight. This temptation tests your response to Glory. Is your heart focued on God's Glory or is your head focused on your Glory.

3. The temptation to be powerful. (TRUST) Jesus wouldn't take a shortcut to gain power or worship. The power of the world was offered to Jesus on a silver plate and he refused. He trusted God and God's plan for his life. This final temptation is all about how you TRUST God. When the easy road is presented to you, will you take it.....or will trust God and the road he wants for you. Trust is the single hardest issue Christians faces when it comes to God. They can have faith and even want the name of God to be elevated...but when it comes to trusting God...they fall off the wagon. In your heart... do you really... really trust God with your life? Do you truely trust his will to be done? And that his will to be done is better than your will to be done.

The reason why so many are in the wilderness and never get because they never get past themselves. Their focus is all about them and not about God. Usually...God gets the blame for our wilderness expereince because we don't embrace the importance of our time in the wilderness. If you find yourself in the wilderness look for the temptations and how you can glorify God by how you respond. How you respond in faith, glory and trust will determine your next level of supernatural promotion.
The measuring stick of our commitment is not our lip service. It's our LIFE! You were born for a reason and with a purpose. If you want your life to add value to others, your actions in life must be based on your values, action is the guage, not mrere words or thoughts.

Here are six thoughts to help you add value to your life and others.

1. Selfish motives prevents a servan'ts minstry. So many people serve for the simple of fact of being acknowledged. Their service to others is all about themselves. They want to look good to booster the EGO. Service so often becomes an I GO, and you didn't. I DO and YOU DON"T. To truly serve is to serve with a humble heart... Not a PROUD one. God is not upstairs looking down on you and saying man...thank GOD you're serving because if you didn't the whole world would stop. My whole plans for the world would come to a grinding halt, if it weren't for you...newsflash....when you serve with a proud heart...God is NOT IMPRESSED! At the end of the day it's not about's about HIM. A proud heart is you focused, a humble heart is him focused.

2. Following rules cannot save us, but following JESUS can. So many people fail to add value to their life and others because they feel like they can't follow the rules. I have to look a certain way, act a certain way, do certain things...because the church says that is only way for me to have impact. If you want to have impact try following JESUS and not the rules. A legalistic heart is again a proud heart until you realize that you can no longer keep up with the rules...then it just produces shame. You were made for more than following rules, you were made to love JESUS. Keep in mind that Jesus broke all the rules and because of him the world was forever impacted.

3. A lifestyle that costs nothing is worth nothing! Say what you mean and do waht you say. So many Christians become hypocrites. They will act one way Monday-Saturday and then a totally different way on Sunday! How can you impact anybody when all they see is a flip flopper.

4. A FAITH that is only in my head is dead! If you are not living what you believe and sharing what you you really believe?  Your faith has two parts...doing and sharing.

5. Faith JUSTIFIES the leader and, the leaders WORKS justfiy the faith. Faith without works is dead! How you work at your faith validates your faith. What are you doing...if anything to justify what you believe? It is not enough to slip in and slip out of church un-noticed.

6. A worthless past is resolved by a present that works. Are you always more than the sum of your past mistakes. The only person keeping you in prisioned to your past is you!  If you are still alive it is because GOD is not done with you yet. You still have a purpose and it is never too late to start working on it.
DOES THE PRIVATE life of a leader truly impact his or her public life? No question about it! How you deal with the circumstances of life tells the world many things about your character. Crisis doesn't necessarily make character, but it certainly REVEALS IT!  Adversity makes a person choose one of two paths...character or compromise. Every time a leader chooses character he grows stronger. LIkewise, every time a leader chooses compromise he grows weaker.

Character is the foundation on which you build your life. It all begins with character, because leadership operates on the basis of trust. Your trust in God reveals your character towards God.

People will follow a leader only so far as they you. Your character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust. Here are 4  things about character every leader must know:

1. Character is more than talk. Anyone can say that he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are and what you do. Do you say you trust God? Does your actions prove what you say to be true? That's why you can never seperate a leader's character from their actions. If yoru actions and intentions continually work against each other, look to your character to find out why.

2. Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. We have no control over a lot of things in life. We don't get to choose our parents or the circumstances of our birth and upbringinig. But we DO CHOOSE our character. We create it each time we make choices.

3. Character brings lasting success with people. True leadership always involves others. Followers do not trust leaders who character they know to be flawed, and they will not contine to follow them. Often times we want our family to follow us, and they want to...but they feel like they can't because they don't trust your character and leadership. It's not that they don't love you...but if you can't be trusted with the small things how can they truly trust you to leader with the major things.

4. Leaders rise above the limitations of their character. Character will either limit or support a leader, depending on it's strength. It will always determine wheather a leader finishes well.

As you resolove what to do this year, consider resolving who to be!

A leader's relationship with God shapes his perspective. King David's dynamic and intimate relationship with God shaped his perspectives on life. He was the King of Israel and knew that he wasn't alone in life. He rejoiced that he could draw upon God's infinite wisdom...that he could never out run God...that he could count on God's power whenever he NEEDED IT. The King and Leader of Israel had a leader himself...GOD! 

This is what I find happens in so many people's lives...they believe God exists but not for them in the everyday sense. They believe but their perspective about God is jacked up. Majority of the time...shame is what shapes our perspective about God...not the relationship with God.  

Here are 6 points to help you strengthen your relationship with God and change your perspective about God. 

1. God knows our every thought, every word, every move. There is nothing you can think, say, or do that God isn't already aware of...and here's the deal...we believe that because we have certain thoughts, or say certain things, or act a certain way that God has some how stopped loving us. We literally believe that we somehow have the power to cancel out the act of LOVE that God did by sending his son to die on the cross. We believe that somehow our shame we feel because of our thoughts, words and actions...disqualify us from the redeeming power of the cross. When in fact, we are the very reason for the cross.  

2. God directs us no matter where we go.  God is ALWAYS WITH YOU! He never leaves you! It is amazing to me about how quick we are to think that God has somehow abandoned us when we screw up. I fight this thought everyday...because I screw up everyday! The thought I have to always fight is that because I screwed up God has stopped loving me and that he is no longer with me. Here is something to keep in mind...if God is only with us when we are "GOOD" then the focus becomes always about us and what we do...and not GOD and what HE DID! Do you think any father that loved the world so much to send his son on the cross to die really wants all the focus to be about you and what your able to do....or....about his act of LOVE! God is always with you...when it seems like he isn't, the problem isn't that he left's that you LEFT HIM! 

3. God knows hopeless or helpless situations. Your life is not hopeless or helpless or without purpose. You don't randomly exist! There will be...guaranteed....times in your life where you feel hopeless and helpless and it seems like the whole world is caving in on you.  Can I tell you...that majority of the are the one that caused the situations in your life to happen. If your marriage is on the rocks...God didn't cause it! If your broke...God didn't cause it...stupid spending habits did! However, regardless of the cause... God is there and can use a hopeless, helpless situation to bring Glory to himself through you. You face nothing in life alone unless YOU CHOOSE TOO! 

4. God formed every complex detail of our bodies, minds, and spirits. You were created. Period. You didn't evolve over time and certainly aren't you because random luck. Every detail about who you are serves a purpose in this life, and that purpose will always bring Glory to God to show that he can use anybody no matter their difference. 

5. God constantly thinks of us and is concerned with the details of our lives. The reason God cares about the details of your life is because you are part of the details of his life and his plan. You matter. You are part of the large picture and the small picture. You may not feel like God care about you, but feelings are like a roller coaster. One day your feeling good, the other bad. Your feelings can change a moments notice. God is not concerned with your feelings, he cares about your joy. He wants you to have joy centered on him, not centered on your circumstances. Often times your circumstances you created are used by him to bring you closer to just seems like it takes forever because our first reaction is to RUN FROM AND BLAME HIM...why, because it...It's much harder to blame ourselves and then turn to him. 

6. God searches our hearts and purifies our motives. Have you ever done something that started out for the purpose of helping yourself but then it turned in to helping someone else and you found joy in that? Amazing how that happens.The only motive God demands from you is love. He looks for opportunities in our lives that can be used for our benefit, for us to experience true love. The more we experience true love the more we experience God. 
FOCENSITY? What is it...A made up word...kind of. I have a friend of mine who makes commercials and in one of the commercials for a bar, one of the bar tenders jokes about his FOCENSITY being 111%. While in the background, he is ignoring all the activities of the customers trying to get his attention at the bar. So what does FOCENSITY have to do with anything....the answer is simple...EVERYTHING!

As you start this new year with your list of resolutions..,if you were to pinpoint the one reason why you still have the same resolutions from last year and the year guess the one reason would be that you lost your FOCENSITY.

It is amazing how in life what is in front us keeps our attention. Since the reason for not following thru with resolutions boils down to losing your focus...what do you have to do to keep you focus?

The Apostle Paul openly communicated his priorites. He talked about them all the time, and the accomplishments and glory from the past he counted as rubbish. Now that word the orginial lanugage is SKUBALA. The real translation of that world is S#@!.. Garbage... Crap...the point is... it counted for nothing moving forward. Paul wanted to know Christ, experience his power, share in and complete his suffering, and ultimtely be conformed to his death. This was his RESOLUTION! He wasn't trying to loose weight, gain more stuff, payoff debt, focus more on himself or anything else. His RESOLUTION was to know and experince Christ in completeness.  Paul was a man on a mission, and he narrowed his wedge and his focus to the essentials. He was successfull by all accounts. So what was his secret that we can learn to apply to our FOCENSITY?

There were three things that helped the Apostle Paul keep his FOCENSITY...

1. HE DISCERNED WHAT HINDERED HIM! Paul had to let go of all the things he once cherished, considering them distractions. He basically added more MARGIN to his life. MARGIN is the space between our load in life and our limits in life. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for continegncies and unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion...the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

2. HE DISCOVERD WHAT HE WANTED! Paul wanted God's righteousness, not his own. Christ became his solitary pursuit. One the biggest obstacles to focus is truly deciding what you want. When you really know what you want, when something else comes along, it won't grab your attention. If really really want to lose weight and get in shape the donut shouldn't be able to take me away from that resolution.

3. HE DETERMINED HOW TO GET IT! With single-minded PASSION, Paul forgot the past and pursued the prize of his call. You have have plan and then work your plan. It is not enough to simply want...As my mom used to say people in hell want ice water but they don't always get it! Every house that is ever built starts with a set of blue-prints. The end is determined first, which determines where to start. Until you have a blue print for your resolution you won't be successfull because you won't have a starting point, and definitely not an ending point.

How about you? Have you narrowed your FOCENSITY? Can you list your priorities on one hand? What are you pursuing?
Happy new year! I figure today is probably the official first real day of the new year for most of you... as some of  you might have been recovering from a hangover yesterday. So today is the real day one of your New Year's resolutions. The thing with resolutions... is we're super excited in the very beginning and then we fizzle out.  Now, some of us fizzle out a lot sooner than others, but it's inevitable. If you look back at the end of the year 9 out of 10 people never finish the year strong. They never complete the resolutions that they had when the year started. And thus every year you find yourself re-resolving your prior year resolutions. This is the year that is going to change, we tell ourselves. Then come the end of the year, we reflect and can see how much we got off course.

I believe the reason why this happens is because of a lack of focus. See… life ends up getting in the way and it takes our focus off of our resolutions. I have come to learn this in my life… that I focus on what is in front of me. This also explains why our resolutions that we made but didn't keep become so clear at the end of the year...Because our focus is on them at that moment of reflection. So there has got to be a better way to keep your resolutions, because the reality is...if your gonna make them and not keep them, by bother at all! 

None of us ever start the year with the attitude of wasting time in mind. No we start the year off we a fresh attitutde, and a new outlook. So what is it going to take for you to k your focus on your resolutions. My suggestion....A LIFE PLAN!  To be success you at your resolutions you have to always know what they are and where you stand. It is critical to keep your resolutions always in front of you. So today's post is going to be more of a how to post to help you keep your resolutions for the year.

Here is what I do to help me keep my focus on my resolutions for the year. I write out a simple one-page life plan for the year. There are few categories that I specifically focus on my life plan. The categories are spiritual, personal, marriage, financial, professional, and books to read for the year. In each category I put three or four goals or resolutions that I have. I also try to put a timeline with the resolution. For example if one of my personal goals is to work out more for the year and to lose 30 pounds.… Then I will put a timeframe for that goal I will say I want to lose 10 pounds per quarter of the year. This also builds in margin for when you fall of the wagon...because it is going to happen.

In addition to resolutions in the categories, and the time line, let me also suggest adding in your life plan how you plan to celebrate each victory. When you loose the first 10lbs how are you going to celebrate that? You need to have victory parties, it helps you keep your vision clear, and when your vision is clear....your motivation  clear.

Now… I know some of you are not avid readers, and so books to read for the year may not make your life plan. I want to encourage you, that if you are not an avid reader to consider making 2012 a year that you read more. Here are some stats about reading… Reading a book a week about a specific topic for 12 months is the equivalent of a bachelor's degree education in that topic. If you are a man and a leader, learning and reading leadership lessons from other leaders is a must. You literally can change your entire thought process and focus… just by reading.

Here is a thought from King Solomon (the wisest person to ever live!) Wisdom makes the difference. Leadership begins with our thoughts even before our actions when our mind and our attitudes are right, we position ourselves to lead well.  Wisdom desires to be the best friend of any leader. Wise leaders also have discernment in relationships,  hatred for what is wrong, and influence... a wise leader reads! (Proverbs 8:15,16)

I want to encourage you with your life plan to put a copy of it everywhere you spend time. But copy of it in your wallet that way every time you open your wallet you're reminded of your life plan. Put a copy on your dresser, put copy in your bathroom, put copy where ever you need to for it to be in front of you so it keeps your focus.

Your life plan is not meant to be a complex document. It's not something that that needs to be professional.  It just needs to be some of your resolutions on paper in front of you with goals and make them realistic!

I know that this year is a year of change and a year of completion.