Your choice 1. Managing Your life

There is no doubt we live in demanding times. The greatest demand is on our time. We have so many things jumping up and down yelling for our attention. It’s like being the teacher in a preschool class where the kids have been eating candy and drinking soda all day. We feel like that old commercial “Calgon take me away!”

It can be absolutely overwhelming. The truth is though, we are in control. We don’t have to let life act on us we can act on it. Stephan Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says it’s not about planning our time, it’s about planning our priorities.

What is truly important to your life? If we were to get honest much of what we do is virtually unimportant.

How do we know what’s important?

1. Does it matter in the long run?

2. If I do it or don’t do it will it make any difference in my life or the life of my family?

3. Does it contribute to my personal purpose or vision?

4. Does it have real substantial value?

5. Is it life giving or life wasting?

If that’s how we judge the importance, how do we implement the process of planning priorities?

1. Learn to say no if it doesn’t meet the criteria. It’s ok to say no. You don’t need to, nor can you do everything.

2. Make tasks stand in line. Do not take things as they come, you tell them how you will take them. Tell your time where to go or you will end up in a hole.

3. Don’t procrastinate on the important things, by reactively doing the urgent things

4. Make a plan.

5. Get everyone on the same page

6. Realize life is a river not a compartment. Find your flow, your rhythm and get comfortable with it. Don’t force yourself to compete with yourself.

7. Your family is all on the same team. Play like a team. No one person should be carrying the load of the whole team. Everyone do your part.

If your going to make a difference in life, and your life is going to mean something it will be full, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s your choice and your decisions that create your focus.

My wife is a teacher, I’m a pastor I have a heavily involved senior in High School and a 5th grader. Sometimes it gets a little crazy but when we live the principles I’ve written about here our focus stays clear, we get it done we are happy and fulfilled and helping others.

Set, keep, and plan your priorities and your life will have peace and purpose.

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“Workisms”

A while back I was teaching our staff, and I invented a word. “Workisms” I gave our staff several “workisms” that I felt would make us more effective and efficient. Here they are maybe they will help you as well.

“Workisms”

1. While at work, work. (come to work ready to earn your pay, and work with purpose)

2. While at work, work on work related to work. (focus on what you are there to do, with today’s distractions we waste a lot of time, which causes stress and pressure in the long run)

3. Leave work at work when you go home from work (in many occupations like mine, its 24/7, but you have to have some time when you let your mind rest, and you definitely don’t have to submerge your family in your work)
Ministry is a bit different because you are not just doing a job but living for a cause.

4. Don’t interrupt another’s work with your work. (Think before you intrude on someone else and change the direction of their day, can you figure it out, have you researched all the options?)

5. Think through your work then work out your thoughts. (Learn be a problem solver and develop the skill of articulating the solution)

6. When you work, consider how your work effects the work of the workers around you. (You’re a team player, act like it).

7. Work in a way that releases those working over you and empower the workers under you and enhances the work of the workers next to you. (Have initiative, and be cooperative. Great team players raise the level of everyone’s game)

8. Work with a workable attitude where all workers can expect you to work with them. (Don’t be antagonistic)

9. Discipline your work, and work your discipline, so the worker over you does not have to work you over. (why make it hard on your boss? Your boss should be able to trust that if your on the project there are no worries).

10. When you work with excellence, excellence will be visable in your work. (You don’t have to be pretentious or try to impress, if you approach your work with excellence it will show up in your work and people will be impressed).

11. Plan your work and work your plan at work. (be prepared)

Don’t know if it helps you but it was fun for us.

So there you have Gadberry’s “workisms”

David

Excellence…

Excellence simply means to excel. To be distinguished. To stand out above the rest. I was recently looking at the life of Daniel, the Prophet the bible literally says he had an excellent spirit.

His peers and his leaders saw this in him. Excellence is visible. The single greatest way to move forward in any area of your life is to embrace excellence, in our thinking, living, and being.

Excellence is the antithesis of mediocrity. Yet everywhere we look we see mediocrity. We see things half way done, we see short cuts taken, we see people wanting excellent results with mediocre effort.

If I asked the question who would love to have a life of excellence, success in your family, relationships, job/career, even personally, hands go up everywhere. Everyone wants that. If I asked Who wants their life to amount to nothing. You want to accomplish nothing, get along with no one, succeed in no way. No one would raise their hand. No one truly wants their life to be mediocre.

The problem is not a desire for excellence but a desire to fulfill the requirements of excellence. We can’t have excellence from mediocre effort. It doesn’t work that way. Daniel lived several principles that I think show his excellence and in living these ourselves we will find excellence as a result. Excellence will open doors that nothing else can.

1. Daniel cared about doing things right and He cared about doing the right things.
If you read the story of his life you will find that he did his best with what he had, and he had the right priorities. Two of the greatest enemy’s of excellence are an “its good enough” attitude, and having our priorities out of whack. Getting caught up doing unimportant things, while those things which are important are left undone.
My dad taught me a very important lesson when I was growing up. He said, if you want privileges you must fulfill responsibility. Another way to say it is do what you should do before you do what you want to do. This principle will bring true excellence into your life.

2. Daniel lived with a higher purpose which is how excellence is produced.
Colossians 3:23 says, “whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto man.”
In other words do all we do with 100% effort as if we were working for God himself. Our lives will be excellent if we live them with a higher purpose. As unto God.

3. He faced the worst with His best.
Daniel didn’t allow his circumstances to dictate his decisions or actions. We miss excellence when we react to hard, difficult or unfair situations with anything less than a spirit of excellence. Daniel was faced with betrayal false accusation, Peer Jealousy and persecution, but he never became spiteful, he never lowered himself to allow people or things to dictate his actions are decision making. He made decisions and acted on the foundation of his faith. He was living for God and not man.

I highly recommend you take a look at the life of Daniel, and recommend that you practice these principles he was so adept at. Care about doing things right, and doing the right things. Live with a a higher purpose. Face the worst with your best.

Lets live a life of excellence and see how it changes not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.

God bless.

Relationship is the key

A blog i wrote while in Rwanda april of 2008 and never published….

Relationship is the Key….

We just wrapped up our three days pastors conference, it was phenomenal. Lives were changed. All of our team preached, and taught on many different leadership topics. It was life changing for the pastors and their teams and it was life changing for me and our team. We had right at one hundred pastors representing over 50 churches.

One of the things I taught them is a Jon Maxwell maxim, which is to say, “Leadership is influence, and influence comes through relationship. I have just read Pastor Kirk’s notes for this weekend’s services and that is basically what he is communicating. We can lead, “persuade,” “Influence” others without having relationship.

I love it when we are able to teach something and exhibit it all at that same time; it creates such an authenticity that everyone is impacted by it. I have made some great connections on this trip, and begun some great relationships. I have to say Rwandese people are the most resilient people I have every experienced personally. The team and I were discussing one night about the fact that sometimes we in America have something happen to us in life, and it shuts down our future we cease to be functional people, and here we are standing in front of young men and women, who have suffered the worst of travesty’s and they are praising God, they are testifying of His power. They’re not perfect and they have their issues like everyone else, but they just keep moving. Keep your eyes on Rwanda, God is starting something wonderful. I truly believe what is happening there will impact the world.

Like it does usually when you go to a third world country it brings things into perspective and it makes us realize how good we have it, and reprimands us for whining so much. What I am saying is not to de-legitimize real problems In your life or mine, but it is to say, take a look around, you don’t have to look very far to gain perspective.

I taught on relationship and how important it is, and God set me up with some great new friends. Friends that I will have for the rest of my life, young men and men my age who have a heart to change things. These men don’t think like the average person in Africa, they have a new way of thinking, it’s a new breed. Pastor Jackson, the man who worked as our point person for the Rwanda portion of the trip. He is a go getter by anyone’s standards. I say this without equivocation he would put a lot of pastors I know in the states to shame in vision, passion, faith, tenacity and plain old bull dog persistence.

I won’t try to put all of his stories in this blog, but I will put them in later blogs. They will encourage you and build your faith. I also, met a young man who interpreted for me, he is one of the best interpreters in the nation. He is a brilliant young man named Henry, he has stories as well that will make you want to stand up and shout. I also, began a relationship with a young man of 26 years of age who has a real heart for unity in the church and orphans, he is one. His Dad died in the war in Rwanda in 1990, and his mother died when he was born. He has real compassion on orphans. He has an organization called together as one.

I received the great privilege of speaking a special session just for them. I walked in and wanted them to speak to me. It reminded me of our church. They were all young adults and some teenagers, and they are absolutely passionate about making a change. They are renting an office building themselves and they have three goals. One is to evangelize, use their talents of dance, singing and preaching to impact the globe, many of them are orphans. Second, they are working on getting land and building a children’s home. Third they want to bring Christian Television to Rwanda, and with that host and coordinate big conferences. They have already invited me to bring our worship team and come back and speak in the big stadium which they believe they can fill 20,000 people.

They had such passion, such grace and humility, and they are serious about changing the world. I was so inspired! They are not talking about changing the world, they are changing the world. They aren’t victims they don’t think like that at all, they think it is their responsibility to do something and so they are.

My relationship with them, and theirs with our team and the relationship we built with the rest of the pastors, has given us influence with them, and affected them and us. Relationship is key, and if we are going to reach people, if we are going to lead people in a positive way, we must not be afraid, or threatened, or fear to take a risk to have a relationship.

David

Reality Check

Let’s face it. Most of us, well, all of us are subjective when it comes to evaluating ourselves. We can easily see and criticize the weaknesses in others, but not ourselves. We don’t usually say, “I need to change to make my marriage better.” It’s more like, “if my spouse would change our marriage would be better.” We don’t usually say “If I would manage my money better I wouldn’t have so much financial stress.” It’s more like, “if my boss would pay me more, I wouldn’t have the financial troubles I have.” A reality check is realizing that we need to take personal responsibility for our lives.

I think of King David, after he committed adultery and conspired to commit murder. He seared his conscience by doing what he wanted, not what God expected. He didn’t change until the prophet Nathan looked him in the eye and said, “You’re the man.” That is what you call a “reality check.” A truth that broadsides us back into reality.

A few years ago Pastor Kirk (my friend and mentor) did that for me. I had planted a church, with a group of friends whom I loved and still love very much, each of them are now doing some kind of ministry in church and several of them in full time ministry. No doubt, it was a great experience, but it just wasn’t working. In hind sight I can see I chose to plant a church for convenience, not that there’s anything convenient about it except, it was the only available opportunity that fit with what I thought I should do. Needless to say, and I won’t go into the whole story, we weren’t doing well.

When I was in the middle of this project, my wife, Janae kept saying to me, “you need to call Pastor Kirk.” To be honest the last person I wanted to speak with was Kirk Pankratz. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. I didn’t want to tell Pastor Kirk, “my church is not growing, I’m depressed, we’re broke, my wife is mad at me. So I just wouldn’t call him.

Out of the blue, Pastor Kirk calls me. He invites us to come up and hang out with his family. Hesitantly, (meaning I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough) I said yes. Now, the rest of this story is a divine reality check.

Kirk, asked me, “So, how’s it going?” I, the paragon of virtue that I am, begin to spill the truth. “Everything is great!” I said. I don’t even remember what else I said, but it was just more nonsense. Then, Pastor Kirk turned to Janae, as if I hadn’t said a word, he asked Janae, “how’s it really going?” She blurts out with no hesitation at all, “It’s horrible, and he is working himself to death. We are not growing, we are struggling financially, (code for Broke!) and he won’t stop!” all the while I am kicking her under the table.

There I am, in a heap, officially “reality checked.” I knew it was all true, and that my stubborn pride was hurting my destiny, my family, my team, and myself. Kirk and Nancy said something to me that was life changing. “…as long as you don’t give up on Gods plan for your life you’re not a failure.”

So here is a reality check for you. To change is not to admit you’re a failure but it is the true path to success. Don’t let pride and arrogance hold you back from your purpose in God. What ever needs to change, just admit your wrong, and change, and God will move quickly on your behalf. Consider yourself “Reality Checked.”

-David Gadberry

Wide Awake…and back on this side of the world

Well its 3:30 a.m. here in Oklahoma, and i’m wide awake.  I guess my clock is still on Africa time, the places i was it would be 11:30 a.m. almost lunch time, I hope I don’t get hungry too.  Thats all I need to start eating at 3 in the morning.

So, while I’m up anyway I thought I would share with you a lesson I learned in Rwanda.  After a great Pastors and believers conference, we were milling around and a lot of different people wanted to talk, you know, tell me what they had learned or received from the conference, thanking us for coming, etc.  One of my interpreters came to me and said there is a little mother who would like to speak with you before you leave.  I said ok, she waited for a long time, and finally we walked over to her, and I hugged her and said hello.  She begin to tell us that she had heard me talk about what we were doing for orphans, and she would like to tell me her story and see if I could help her.  She told me that her husband had died two months previous, and he didn’t leave the family prepared.  She has eight children, not uncommon for this culture and they were making it fine when dad was alive but now he was dead, and she had recently lost her job.  She told me that if something didn’t happen, she would not be able to feed her family or pay their rent.  She asked if I would help.  I wave of irritation came over me, because there was really nothing I could do, I thought.

I had the interpreter tell her that I wish i could do something, but the budget we have is very specific and I can’t take monies that are already committed and give to her, because they would be breaking my word to people I promised I would help.  I said, but i will do the most powerful thing I can do, I will pray with you.  by the way I do believe that is the most powerful thing I can do, however sometimes in a moment like this it makes you feel completely impotent, thinking of a need that is so immediate.  So I prayed with her, She cried, and I cried, I hugged her, told her I loved her, and walked away feeling like a hypacrite.  I was thinking, you love her?  then why didn’t you help her, I said to God, this is not right,  i know that my prayer avails much, but please don’t ask me to come to a place that has such need without enough resource to meet the needs I can, I broke my heart, I have to say it made me mad.  I walked back to my room, very frustrated, very angry, this little mother, has not options.

I asked her during the process can you go to your pastor and can help you?  She told me a story that is indicitive of Rwanda right now.  They do not want churches putting up temporary facilities because they are trying to set building standards.  If you don’t have the money to build a permanent facility and you don’t have the money to rent a hall you literally have to disband your church and meet in homes, so many of them are doing cells in homes, but many of them see this as to difficult and are disbanding.  Her pastor disband his church so right now she is without a church home.  So i recommended a church she should try, and then prayed and walked off.

As I was changing clothes, and getting ready to go eat, which felt like an indictment in itself.  I just failed to help a lady who was about to go in to a very difficult time and not be able to feed her family and here I am about to take my team to a restaurant and Eat together, and the cost of it would sustain this lady for a month or more.

As i’m changing, I’m asking, “why couldn’t I help this lady,”  and I believe God impressed on my heart, “why couldn’t you?”  My answer was the same I gave her.  “I don’t have it in the budget,”  The impression grew stronger, “who cares about the budget what do you have in your pocket?”  It dawned on me, the money I had in my pocket would go along way to helping her.  I only had what would equal about 20 or 30 american dollars, but I got inspired.

I finished changing, got my bag, and headed to the bus.  When I got on, I told the bus driver “find that lady, she is walking home, find her.”  No one accept my interpreter and the bus driver new what was going on, and I didn’t have time to explain, but I asked, who will give me, I cant remember what their money is called, but it was the equivalent of 9 or 10 dollars.  I said who will give 10 dollars, I didn’t say why, I didn’t say what it was for, No one cared.  I heard I give it, another Ill give it, and from the back of the bust to the front, people started handing me money.  American’s rwandans everyone.  Finally we rolled up on this woman, I said let me off this bus, and I ran out and met with her, and I apalogized and said there is something I can do, I can give you this.  I handed her this roll of money, I don’t know how much it was, but in her life it was a lot.  She cried and was so thankful, I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I could sense her gratitude and her love.

This story made me realize that we as americans, we do care, we do want to help, but many times we think if we can’t solve the whole problem then there is nothing we can do.  I don’t know why I thought like that, I don’t know why I thought I have nothing to give, when I clearly did.  We must make it personal, we must realize, no we may not be able to fix it all but there is something we can do.  I am reminded of Moses, God said, “use what you have in your hand.”  I’m reminded of Gideon, “use your pitchers and trumpets, ‘what you have.'”  I’m reminded of Joseph, he used his gift of administration.”  I’m reminded of the new testament church, they used what they had.  Their homes, their love, their friendship, their money, just what they had.  Its amazing what God can do, and what He will make up for if we will just use what we have, and do something.

I really learned something that day, and I will carry it into my day to day activities in my world, because this means everyday, i can do something significant to help someone who needs my help.  Everyday, think about it……Every Day!

I love Jesus

David

Clear the Clutter…

 

Have you ever moved?  If you’re like me you would rather get poked in the eye with a tire iron, than to pack everything up and move it.  The one thing I’ve noticed about moving is, each time we’ve done it we have more stuff than the last time. 

       Some of this “stuff” is no doubt excellent and has great purpose, but when you look around, you realize, a lot of it is useless junk.  Toys your kids haven’t played with in years.  Things that you bought, and said, “I have to have this!” then hardly used it. 

The question is how does all this accumulation affect us?  One effect is, it clutters our homes.  Have you ever felt like you’re cleaning and picking up constantly?  It feels like the job’s never done. 

Another effect is a lack of space.  Have you ever wanted to put your car in the garage, but there was no room?  The garage is made to keep your car out of the weather, and give you easy access to your home, but if you have needless accumulation the car stays outside and you walk in the winter weather to get to the front door and your stuff is packed neatly and “warmly” I might add, in the garage.

Our lives at times look like this type of house.  They are filled will accumulated trinkets of one kind or another. The thing about clutter is, it doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, if there’s not room for it in the house it throws everything out of order.  Hebrews 12:1 says “therefore we also, since we are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin….”  You know, it’s not always sinful and bad things that complicate our lives, sometimes it can be things that are moral and positive but because there is no room for them in our lives they become a weight.  

       Life’s accumulations are just like the clutter in our house, they create an environment where we are constantly picking up after ourselves but don’t seem to be making any progress.  Just like the garage not being used appropriately, our lives many times get out of order because of all the extra accumulation.  When we should be spending time in prayer, or with our families, or working on our marriage, those things which are true priority, we are running around, trying to be seen with the right people, to have the right stuff, and be involved in the right extra curricula’s, yeah, “walking in the cold to the front door, instead of parking in the safety of the garage with easy access to the house.” 

        Another thing accumulation causes is indecisiveness.  We are worried about finances, and relationships, about acceptance and lack of time.  Our mind is so full, going in so many directions that we can’t decide what needs to be done.  We become double minded. 

I know its winter, but it’s time for a good spring cleaning.  Sweep out the clutter; get rid of things that are not truly priority.  Matthew 6:31 (msg) says What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. 32People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.”

How do we de-clutter our lives? How do we measure what’s necessary and what’s not?  How do we know when something that is not wrong has become unnecessary accumulation?

       What do we do when our house gets cluttered?  We clean house.  We put things in order. 

Cleaning house takes the renewal of some things and the removal of others.  We have to renew our priorities.  Those things that God says are most important, and then remove the things that steal time and devotion from them.    

       Sometimes we create worry and anxiety in our lives, being frustrated over all the clutter.  We say, “I am so tired of this clutter.” “I am so busy; I don’t have time to clean up.”  The problem with this mind set is nothing changes, as a matter of fact it gets worse and we become more anxious.  Let’s just do what Jesus said, and relax.  Quit fretting and worrying, and clean up.  Matthew 6:33(NKJ) says “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

       By doing this we are renewing our focus, we are removing distractions.  We are setting our lives in order to fulfill their true purpose, and to achieve true happiness and fulfillment.

       So, gather your family around, get your broom, and start sweeping.  And before you know it, you’ll be parking in the garage again.  Have a great Christ Centered day.

      

 

-David Gadberry