Effectiveness Principles Learned from the Early Church

As we grow older, things tend to get added to our plate. We tend to pick up more responsibilities, more influence, more opportunities – and it can easily get overwhelming.

In the middle of this busyness, there are a lot of pitfalls that we need to avoid. Navigating the situation takes wisdom and courage.

That’s why I’m so thankful for the wonderful example of the apostles as they skillfully led the early church. Here are four lessons we can learn from these masters of effectiveness – lessons that will help us address areas in our lives where obligation upon obligation has left us feeling overwhelmed. Continue Reading…

Guest Post on TentBlogger: Writing Process

I’m very excited to have a guest post over at tentblogger.com today! TentBlogger is an awesome blog run by professional blogger and committed Christian, John Saddington.

In the guest post, I talk about my struggles with writing Life of a Steward, particularly the surprising amount of time that it takes me to write posts. Well, surprising to me as a fledgling blogger, at least.

I read just about every book, ebook, and resource I could get my hands on about writing more quickly. I’ve developed a process that, I believe, helps me write faster and write better.

For those of you who are bloggers – or those who write in any format regularly – check it out! And subscribe to TentBlogger for tons of great information.

Discouragement: Why It Matters and How to Fight It

I had a really hard time getting going this morning. I took a few sips from my morning coffee and read my Bible, but I just felt like going back and taking a nap.

I have no clue why, but I was just feeling down in the dumps. And I struggle with this often.

It may seem strange to talk about discouragement on a blog about time stewardship, but nothing zaps my productivity quicker than losing my motivation. A deep, sinking feeling compels me to sit around and mope.
Continue Reading…

The Good, The Better, and the Best Way to Eliminate Distractions

Some days I just seem to get so much done. I’ll fly through eight hours’ worth of work in just five hours.

Then on other days, I feel like I just can’t get anything accomplished. What should take me eight hours ends up taking more than ten.

The crucial factor for me, and I’d imagine for you too, is focus. When I buckle down, concentrate, and ignore distractions, then I can really blast through what I’m doing.

I know people who have transitioned to working from home. When they were away from the distractions of the office, they got their work done in five hours instead of eight. I know when faced with a deadline, I’m often incredibly productive: the pressure forces me to focus.

So focus is important – but how do we get it and keep it?
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A Bibilical View of Time: Shifting from Chronos to Kairos

Being reactive is often despised. We’re told that being proactive is the best course of action.

But which is a better model for effective time stewardship? The horse with blinders who plows the ground for hours and hours every day? Or the hawk whose sharp senses are scanning the area?

Ephesians 5:15-16
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

In our zeal to be good stewards of our time, we can miss the wisdom of the Bible. We end up running headlong down a path that we think is correct, but we just get further away from where we should be.

Such is the case with chronos and kairos. Both are Greek words which mean time, but they imply different things.
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Don’t Miss the Hidden Blessing of Busyness

Refiner's Fire
We don’t like pain, and we dread it coming into our lives.

But God uses our pain and trials for our own good. He uses affliction and suffering to mold us into the image of Christ, refining us in the fire and burning away impurities.

Isaiah 48:10
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

No one ever asks for tragedy or pain, but we often look back and are thankful for the ways that God uses those situations to shape us. The patience, perspective, and inner strength we receive are blessings that come from the Father through even our worst times.

But this molding doesn’t have to be restricted to health problems, financial issues, or family emergencies. The refiner uses many different kinds of fire and many different levels of heat.

We serve a God who can use our greatest tragedies as tools in his hands. He can use minor discomforts. He can even use painful situations that arise as a result of our sins.

Perhaps there’s a hidden blessing in our busyness. Perhaps God can use our hectic schedules and high stress levels as a way of refining us.
Continue Reading…

The Gospel is the Cure for Do-It-My-Way Procrastination

A few days ago, I posted The Gospel is the Cure for Dream-Killing Procrastination. In it, I talked about how there are many different types of procrastination – each with its own motivation, characteristics, and effect.

But the glorious good news of the gospel, I believe, is the cure for them all. I can’t wait to talk more about this – and other forms of procrastination – in the future.

After writing about the type of procrastination that’s based on the fear of failure, I was contacted by Dave from Armchair Theology. He was eager to share his struggles with a particular form of procrastination based on his pride.
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One Simple Trick to Increase Productivity and Eliminate Frivolous Breaks: The Prayer Test

The Prayer TestPutting theory into practice is always a little hairy. We may have great intentions and try to follow the advice of the experts, but our implementation often falls short.

That’s how I was with taking breaks: I knew it was something I needed to do to stay effective, but it was a major stumbling block for me.

That is, until I started using one simple trick which skyrocketed my productivity.
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What the Celebrity Apprentice Can Teach Us about Church Productivity

I recently had the privilege of guest posting on What’s Best Next on the subject of organizational versus individual effectiveness in the church. As I’ve thought about this mindset shift, one metaphor kept popping into my mind. I omitted it in the guest post for brevity’s sake, but I wanted to share it here.

I like to illustrate organizational effectiveness with one of the most oddly hilarious shows on television: the Celebrity Apprentice. It’s a garish, over-the-top, drama-filled masterpiece of out-of-context editing – but it’s also a great way to talk about church productivity.
Continue Reading…

The Gospel is the Cure for Dream-Killing Procrastination

Procrastination takes many forms.

Sometimes it’s surfing the internet to avoid an unpleasant task. Sometimes it’s taking care of a bunch of unimportant things to delay a difficult one.

But there’s a particularly insidious type of procrastination – one that keeps us treading water in the status quo instead of being ambitious with our lives. Rather than tackling projects for the glory of God, we delay action and merely daydream about the way things could be.

God-given dreams planted in our hearts aren’t nourished. Ministries aren’t established. Businesses don’t get started.

And amazingly, remembering the gospel is the cure.
Continue Reading…

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