Favorite 2016 Posts

Book Reviews From 2016

4 Tips For Making Better Goals

1 Corinthians 10.31I have noticed a lot of similarities between the September back-to-school rush, and New Year’s Day. Except instead of resolutions, in the fall most people set new goals, or try to readjust their schedules to take advantage of a new season.

This is an excellent idea, and the perfect time to do it.

In a psalm written by Moses, he tells us to understand the value of our days, and be as wise as we can with what we do with each day God has given us (Psalm 90:12).

The Apostle Paul echoes these thoughts:

Be very careful, then, how do you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

One way for us to make the most of every day is to wisely set some goals. Here are four tips that I’ve discovered to help me.

(1) The fewer the goals, the better.

Craig Groeschel said, “To do more things, do less things better.” I totally agree. I would suggest limiting yourself to just 1-2 goals at a time. Then put these one or two goals on your calendar first. In other words: Don’t prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities.

(2) Don’t fall into the sacred/secular trap.

So many people—even Christians—think that there are spiritual goals and non-spiritual goals. But the Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every goal you set is a spiritual goal, because every goal should help you live your life wisely, in a way that honors and glorifies God.

(3) Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

You may have heard these before, but I really like to use them. Make your goals:

  • Specific—not “I want to eat better” but “I want to eat two servings of fruits or vegetables each day.”
  • Measurable—have a way to track your progress toward your goal. How many pages did you read? how many calories did you eat? how many minutes did you work out?
  • Achievable—don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day if you’ve only been a couch potato. Ramp your goals up little by little in a way that’s achievable for you.
  • Relevant—I like to ask a “so that?” question about each of my goals in make sure it’s moving me forward. “I want to exercise for 20 minute three times per week, so that my blood pressure comes down, so that I can live medicine-free, so that I can….” I think you get the idea. Keep going to make sure your goal is relevant for your life.
  • Time to review—set a date to revisit your goals and see if you need to adjust anything.

(4) Make a “stop doing” list.

You cannot do everything, so focus on the important, not the urgent. And remember not everything can stay on your calendar. For instance, if you want to read more in the evenings, you may have to eliminate some TV time; if you want to exercise in the mornings, you may have to eliminate that second cup of coffee.

Just a couple of verses after Moses challenges us to make the most of every day God has given us, he asks God for His helpMay the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for usyes, establish the work of our hands.

May God give you wisdom as you make new goals, and may He bless the work of your hands as you implement your new strategies.

The 10 Commandments Of Using Social Media

#strugglesI found a ton of great content in Craig Groeschel’s latest book #struggles. This book focuses on the proper balance between technology and personal relationships. Near the end of the book, Craig shared his 10 Commandments for Christians to use social media in a God-honoring way…

  1. Put God first in all you say and post.
  2. Love others as you want to be loved.
  3. Use social media to facilitate, not to replace, real relationships.
  4. Use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol.
  5. Turn your virtual other cheek to posts that offend you.
  6. Do not post out of emotion.
  7. Always reflect Jesus, loving God whether online or off.
  8. Do not use social media to fuel temptations.
  9. Form your own opinions; do not follow the crowd.
  10. Do not base your identity on what people think.

You can read my book review of #struggles by clicking here.

I also shared some quotes from #struggles here and here. I also shared a special set of quotes from this book directed at online gossip, which you can read here.

Craig Groeschel On Online Gossip

#strugglesI love technology! I love how social media and my iPhone can keep me in touch with family and friends. But one of the dark sides to this easy access to technology is the ease with which people can gossip—or even slander!—people publicly online. In his book #struggles, Craig Groeschel has some good counsel for avoiding gossip.

“God is crystal clear on how He feels about gossip. Solomon said, ‘There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him…a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community’ (Proverbs 6:16, 19). What a perfect way to describe a gossip: ‘A false witness who pours out lies,’ and someone who ‘stirs up conflict in the community.’ God hates that.”

“The people being gossiped about hate it, and God hates it. So before you post, comment, or link, consider three sets of questions to keep yourself gossip-free online.

  1. Is what I’m about to say helpful or hurtful? Will this build others up or tear them down? What’s my intention behind what I’m about to type? [Ephesians 4:29]
  2. Am I making private matters public? Am I about to share something that would be better handled privately? [Proverbs 11:12-13]
  3. Am I permitting—maybe even encouraging—others to gossip? It’s not only wrong to dish it out; it’s also wrong to eat it up. Notice that this verse [Proverbs 17:4] doesn’t say that only gossipers are wrongdoers. No, it says wrongdoers are also those who ‘listen to gossip.’ It’s not just wrong to spread gossip; it’s wrong to consume it. Why? Because what you permit, you promote.”

You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. I have also posted other quotes from this book here and here.

11 More Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel nailed the tension between technology and relationships in his timely book #struggles. He doesn’t advocate getting rid of technology, but he does make a great case for not allowing technology to diminish our flesh-and-blood relationships. You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are some more quotes that caught my eye from this book.

“The highest percentage of consumers of pornography our children aged twelve to seventeen.”

“We have access to many opportunities online that—without accountability—can turn technological blessings into curses.”

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe. According to one study, ‘Roughly two-thirds (67 percent) of young adult men and one-half (49 percent) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable.’ … Times have changed. But that doesn’t mean morality should.” 

“If you want to live in a way that honors our Savior—if you want to follow Jesus in a sin-saturated, selfie-centered world—then you will have to be different. … Our convictions must be guided by God’s timeless principles, not by the ever-eroding popular opinion on whatever happens to be acceptable now.”

“Most people I know you don’t plan to ruin their lives. I don’t know anyone who thinks, ‘If I can connect with an old boyfriend on Facebook, I can totally wreck my life. I can almost guarantee an ugly divorce full of expensive lawyers helping us fight over custody rights for the kids. I can devastate my husband and drop a nuclear bomb of pain into my kids’ lives. And I can spend the next years of my life trying to forgive myself, rebuild my life, and regain my name.’ No one plans like that, but these things happen every day. Same with pornography. I don’t know a single man who wanted to crush the wife he loves when she discovered his ‘little secret.’ But one glance followed by another click often leads to an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.”

“When you think about it, no one stumbles into righteousness. People fall into sin and every day. But no one just falls into holiness. It requires making deliberate, prayerful choices and walking an intentional path.”

“Here’s what many people miss: when we misuse technology, we’re robbing ourselves of the peace we so desperately crave, because even the momentary escape is followed by waves of intense guilt. We want to numb the pain, but on the other side of our binge, the pain is still there, only worse. We love the momentary distraction, but then reality screams at us and our responsibilities pile up. We love the thrill of the lust, but the fear of getting caught haunts us and robs us of sleep and peace. Like a person dying of thirst who gulps salt water, that which is supposed to satisfy only intensifies our need. So life goes on as usual. More stress. More anxiety. More worries. And less peace.”

“Now is a great time to be brutally honest. Are you addicted to something online? Looking lustfully? Spending uncontrollably? Surfing endlessly? Playing continually? Gambling consistently? Scrolling incessantly?”

“If you are checking multiple times a day to see what people are saying about you, let’s call that what it is: idolatry. If your identity comes more from who follows you, who Likes you, what they say and what they think about you rather than who God says you are, it’s time to take this issue to God.”

“When our minds are idle, we’re not thinking about anything meaningful, and when we’re not intentionally living, it can be so easy to shift into neutral. When we don’t have a specific destination in mind, any road will do. And if our time and our resources aren’t precious, if we’re not doing anything important, it can be so easy to just pick up our phone, unlock the screen, and wonder aimlessly through cyberspace, wasting our time and our thoughts.”

“Maybe it’s time to power down and take a cyber Sabbath. Maybe it’s time to remember what life is like without your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe it’s time for your soul to rest.”

You can check out the other quotes I shared from #struggles by clicking here.

10 Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel has given us a great reminder to keep technology in its proper place. Check out my book review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention.

“We were created not for earth but for eternity. We were created not to be Liked but to show love. We were created not to draw attention to ourselves but to give glory to God. We were created not to collect followers but to follow Christ.”

“Make the time to love people face to face, not just keyboard to keyboard.”

“Make sure that the person you’re with is the most important person in the world when you’re together.”

“Pictures aren’t the only thing we’re becoming used to controlling, thanks to technology and social media. We have the luxury of sending an article, text, tweet, or email to virtually anyone we want to communicate with. And we can edit and revise as much as we want before we hit send. The problem, however, is that many of us have filtered our messages so much that we are no longer comfortable with the real, unscripted, spontaneous conversation. We’ve become so used to the luxury of being able to edit the things we say that some of us really struggle when we have to have normal, everyday conversations with and in front of real, live human beings. Technology has given us tools that are unprecedented in human history, but an entire generation is growing up uncomfortable in conversations they cannot control.”

“Many of us are making life choices just to create a string of social media moments, and all because we want to show some imaginary life that we think people want to see.”

“Being authentic is not about being brutally honest and confrontational about everything on your mind. But by all means—at the right time, with the right people, and when you’re face-to-face—drop the veil completely. If you don’t, you’ll always be longing for something more. When you put on the veil and post something hoping for Likes, hoping for affirmation, even if you receive it, you’re still going to feel empty because you’re not being real with people about yourself. But the place to be vulnerable is where God wants you to be vulnerable: in the context of private, life-giving, healthy, God-honoring relationships.”

“We want so badly to connect with others, and we think the best way to do so is by showing off our strengths. But it doesn’t work that way. Here’s why: we actually connect with people through our weaknesses. We may impress them with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses.”

“Social media encourages us—I say it even trains us—to become more narcissistic, more full of ourselves.”

“Compassion is not just an emotion, not just some feeling you have that eventually passes. True compassion demands action.”

“Clicking doesn’t change anything. Caring is not Liking a post; it’s loving a person.”

More quotes from #struggles coming soon…

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