Everyone wants a piece of the gift giving season, and are you searching for the perfect gift? You may not know what to give those who are closest to you, and yet you have a unique opportunity. God’s amazing gift of life changing eternal grace is very poorly imitated by our efforts to give others a gift for Christmas. But, you can certainly step up your gifts from the usual trinkets and items that end up in the landfill!
In reality, we are often unable to give the gift that most people need. The number two problem people face is MONEY. There is the minority, who have too much and it distracts them from their purpose on this earth, or the majority who have too little and they cannot make ends meet. Did you know that money conflict is the number one reason for divorce? You’re likely aware that most people also live pay-cheque to pay-cheque with little or no plan in place for their finances.
Just like your physical heart has four chambers Andy Stanley wants you to see that your immaterial heart has four enemies. Your immaterial heart is the core of your identity. It directs your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, your consciousness and your will. Your heart is the essence of you that can work for evil or for good.
Relationship problems. Financial problems. Health problems: they all come from your heart. And if your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else – your family, friends, finances, career – everything. How do you keep your heart on track?
When the wisest man in the history of the world, King Solomon, summing up all he had learned for his son to know; he said…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
When something big happens in your life – people notice and ask a lot of questions. Some questions are from curious onlookers who simply want to know the facts. Other questions come from people who are following behind you and want to know the path you have taken. Stepping away from paid employment is a BIG thing – and now that I have done it – people want to chat about life and work. Unemployment is also a form of retirement. So, sharing ideas and information has enabled me to help others. Not through my particularly clever mind – rather I am a “noticer” and collector of great ideas! These ideas are gathered from people, books, ministries and events that have helped change my thinking and life.
Maybe stepping away from paid employment isn’t the path for you. Or can’t be your reality – so what about work? Do you want to find meaning in your work and joy in your vocation? Whether you are unemployed, underemployed or looking for more significance in your work there is hope.
We are created to work and our work can honor God, satisfy our souls, and change the lives of people around us. Does that sound too good to be true?
If you have ever witnessed a child at play, you know that there are moments when their gifts and talents are demonstrated spontaneously. These God-given passions, talents, and abilities often lead to our work. But how do you find work that satisfies?
God’s word provides enlightenment in the Old Testament from the wisest man who ever lived: King Solomon.
That every man finds pleasure in his work- This is a gift from God.
As well, Paul who had an encounter with Jesus shares:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Invest in learning how to think and not just what to think. Consider new ideas and change your future prospects. That’s what millionaires do, they share an approach to the future that highlights possibilities and outcomes that others ignore.
How many young people do you know that are at the stage of making a career choice? One very important factor in vocation is compensation.
“After studying millionaires for more than 20 years, I have concluded that if you make one major decision correctly, you can become economically productive. If you are creative enough to select the ideal vocation you can win, win big time. The really brilliant millionaires are those who selected a vocation that they love – one that has few competitors and generates high profits.”
90% of deca millionaires graduated from college, but view themselves as average academically; however, vocational choice made the biggest difference for most of them!
Have you hung up on one of THOSE phone calls lately? You know the kind I mean, the ones that ring at exactly the moment you are sitting down for dinner. Regardless of the organization, these calls are all in the same category; SALES. But did you know you are not that far off being one of THOSE callers.
Author and trend identifier, Daniel Pink notes in his book To Sell Is Human,
“Like it or not we are all in sales now.”
Your platform may be the boardroom, a pulpit or even sitting around the kitchen table. Communicating with clarity and making a difference are your goals. We all know lives can be transformed by our ability to communicate. But where do you learn this skill? If you don’t learn at home or in school, where do you learn to overcome the fear of public speaking? How do you gain confidence to communicate ideas and faith?
The Bible contains an important principle on this topic:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15
Plenty of research shows that curiosity and learning have health and social benefits throughout your lifetime. Learning is not isolated to age groups,educational institutions, classrooms and libraries.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Our economy has shifted from an agricultural economy, to an industrial economy to an ideas-driven economy. Great business guru, Peter Drucker, calls our generation the “knowledge economy”. Since most of us are visual learners and will spark our curiosity by learning something new through a visual medium; TED Talks are an outstanding resource for business and personal growth.
Curiosity sparks ideas! Ideas worth spreading – that’s the slogan for the TED Conference – one of the world’s most admired conferences. TED (Technology, Education, and Design) ideas are the currency of the modern knowledge worker. TED’s free 18-minute online TED Talks have over one billion views.
After 9/11 and hurricane Katrina occurred, the concept of emergency preparedness became a common household conversation. Then came the financial crisis of 2008. Remember how that started? Do you know what has changed since then? Opinions vary on the specific outcomes of the crisis and the response to it; but one thing is sure many people are not financially prepared for the future.
are you prepared handwritten on blackboard
How can I make such a bold statement? Here are some facts to consider:
Only half of all U.S. households are prepared for retirement.
70.7% of households have a mortgage
76% of people live paycheque to paycheque
99% of us are not in the top 1% of income earners
Everyone is scared According to Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller: 3 minute video
Most can relate to feeling challenged to be more financially prepared. Things are changing quickly. Where our parents may have been concerned about the future of their grandchildren, our generation is worried about its own financial wellness!But where do you turn to for information? What are we to do?
God has plenty to say to clarify our present day situation that is timeless and applicable giving us meaning, purpose and hope.
The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
We must live like the sons of Issachar, “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do”
I Chronicles 12:32
“What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know.…The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do…. to find the idea for which I can live and die.”
Working for success often does not bring us the fulfillment and sense of an idea worth living for, rather it leaves us wanting more. Discovering our strengths and using them to help make a difference that changes the world; that is the idea that Kierkegaard struggled to define. Where do you start to make such a big difference and capture an inner heartbeat that sets the timing for your life?
In most of the western world people have “two lives”. Our first life is the typical work life from 20 to 60 years old. Our second is the 20 to 30 extra years of life. In the developing world like Kenya, where I’ve just returned from, the average life expectancy is 45 years old. Like generations before us, they don’t have the benefit of this second stage of life.
“The 20th century is the first in which substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have real choices about how they will invest their time and talent. . . . Most people are totally unprepared for it.”
Peter Drucker, Renowned Business Expert
If we have no historical framework to base this extra time on what are we to do? How are we to find that one idea we can live and die for? With 5,000 advertising messages high jacking our attention, how are we to know if we are being effective and doing the right things?
God provides illumination, meaning, purpose and hope in his word the Bible.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We all experience conflict in our relationships. We all behave in self serving ways that are intended for others but the motivations can often be “self”. Managers and employees, husbands and wives, children and parents all of us experience reactions between each other that result in conflict and disappointment. Desiring to respond as a caring and thoughtful husband, father, and friend I often disappoint me and others. How can this change?
I imagine you’ve found yourself in situations where you weren’t sure how to respond either. This is a tension we all face. We all experience situations where our reactions are incongruent with our intentions. There simply aren’t enough rules and guidelines to avoid every conflict.
But, could any author of the more than 66 different books in the Bible, boil it all down to one overarching principle that would make it easier to respond? Breaking something down to the bare essentials makes it easier for us to remember a core idea. Could the Bible have anything to say that would be inspiring, motivating, or helpful in responding to situations in life?
Are there inefficiencies in life that frustrate you? How do you feel when you are waiting in the drive through for your morning coffee? Some people and situations make us think about productivity, primarily when it causes any inconvenience to us and when we think there must be a better way! Productive doesn’t always translate to effective and when we think about our lives, it makes the tension between these two measures even more compelling. How do I spend my time for the greatest effectiveness? I often struggle with using my time productively and effectively.
We all want our life to count but in this day of information overload it’s easy to get distracted. Emails and texts constantly fill my phone. Blogs need to be read. One web search leads to another, leading to lots of wasted time. We all suffer from CPA: continuous partial attention. So how do we get more of the right things done without confusing our activity for productivity and effectiveness?
God, through the apostle Paul, gives us the fundamental passage on time management.