Category Archive: focus

Tunnel Vision Can Kill You!

Hey Friends,

It has been almost three weeks since I wrote a blog. I left the info about my upcoming book up so we could get the word out. I believe the new book, The Plan of Your Life: Managing What Matters Most, will add value to whoever reads it. The copies will be available the first weekend of December.

Let me give you an odd kind of thought today: Tunnel vision can kill you. Two weeks ago Josh Whitehead and I went to Austin, TX on a fact-finding mission. We met with leaders from Celebration Church and Austin Stone Church. It was very informative and helpful.

While at the airport I tried to play a game on my iPad. I am not a “gamer” so I did not do very well. The game was Flight Control. I challenged Josh to try to best my high score – not a very difficult feat. He did, so I have been trying to replace his score. The game is about attempting to land planes. While playing I noticed something the game does. As you focus on several planes landing on one portion of the screen, it will send another from a part of the screen you are not watching. If you have tunnel vision you will crash and the game is over.

In the real world this means focusing on several things to the exclusion of other things. As a leader, you might be focused on fixing a problem in one area while another pops up and you do not notice. With the game you just hit reset and then try again. In real life, leadership is not that easy. There is not a reset button for a crashed family or business.

Without much effort you can crash your family, ministry, small group, church, or business. We all see this from time to time. A leader is not paying attention and problems arise without being dealt with, and very soon…CRASH!

Are your eyes wide open and is your antenna up? Beware of tunnel focus. It is so easy to do. In the church world the enemy is waiting for an open door to attack! Be ready and live on full alert.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

How To Stay Focused

Hey Friends,

As many of you know, we have been rocking at Faith Promise. We have had record offerings and record attendance. Two weeks ago with our million dollar offering, the local news did a story on the weekend. Almost everyone here at the church was stoked! Many experienced miracles and the anticipation of God moving has never been higher. Yet, in the midst of this marvelous movement there are those who are angry. It is ALWAYS the case and as leaders we need to get used to it.

We announced after the 1.2 million dollar offering that we were going to fund an orphanage in Haiti. The church just about shouted the walls down in excitement. Yet in our chat room on our Internet Campus the “chat” was not as upbeat. People began to gripe about funding for Haiti orphans, saying we should give all the money here at home. Others were angry that we were going to expand our current Pellissippi campus, saying God did not care if the church grew. The list of whiners, gripers and complainers was not really that long, but if we are not careful we can allow them to get all of our attention.

As a leader, I have chosen to focus on the win and not the vocal armchair quarterbacks who think they know God’s Will for everybody else. My sweet wife, Michele, was extreamly bumbed by the few complaints and missed the glory of the miracles. That is exactly what the vocal minority wants –  to rob the joy of the Lord from us. Don’t let them take your focus off the wins, the team that is excited and all that God is doing. The enemy always wants to rob us of the victory and the joy of the Lord.

It really is your choice what you stay focused on! Focus on the glory of the Lord and the people who are with you. Nehemiah refused to come off the wall to deal with the naysayers. Follow his example and let’s advance forward for the King!

Just a thought,

Pastor Chris

 

Doesn’t The Cross Apply To Leaders?

Hey Friends,

One of the greatest issues holding back leaders today is their yesterday. I thought that on the cross Jesus paid for ALL of our sins and shortcomings! If you are going to reach your peak performance and potential you must put the past where it belongs: behind you! If you don’t let go then you’ll never go forward.

I love what Zig Ziglar used to say all the time: “Yesterday really did end last night and today really is a brand new day.” I couldn’t agree more and so does the Lord. You must let go of successes, failures, wins and losses and move into the future. “Forgetting what lies behind me I press on…”

John Maxwell said of the past-dwellers:“They spend too much of their lives recycling a junkyard of regret.”  The cross applies to you and your past just like it does to those you lead. If you continue to replay the past, that is all you’ll ever get out of life. Time to put on a new tape. This tape has not been recorded yet; it is your future and it is great. Focusing on yesterday pulls you farther away from the opportunities you have today. Today is what matters and where your focus must be.

Most car accidents happen because the drivers are not focusing on where they are going. As you drive, you glance in the rear view mirror and focus on the windshield of where you are heading or you will crash. Leaders must keep the organization going forward. Let it never be said that we stalled out the progress because we were focused on where we had been.

Where is your focus? Have you let the past loose and let yourself off the hook? Proclaim I John 1:9 and move ahead with the power of God.

Just a thought,

Pastor Chris

 

Some Rubber Bands Break!

Hey Friends,

Have you ever stretched a rubber band until it broke?  Most of us have, and those who have all know it hurts because we get smacked by the broken band. The same thing happens in the ministry all the time. We all live with tension in ministry. The tension exists between the tasks we have to do and the relationships that are so vital. To stretch one too far means it will break and someone will get hurt!!!

Typically we tend to focus on one or the other. The task side is much easier – just keep your head down at your desk and keep checking the boxes on your “to do” list. Others love the interaction with people. We can lean to the side of just hanging out all the time with the people we love. Many of  those people are the ones we work with on staff or at the office.

Which bent do you have? Tasks or people? Well Chris, I think I have the perfect balance. You’re one in a million. The rest of us have to keep working with the tension.

Have you ever noticed people do what they like and tend to put off the work they don’t like? Since this is human nature and most of us are still human, we all tend to lean to one side; and that is the side we like.

My bent is the task. I love most of my tasks, such as preparing to preach or lead. I love to study, read, write, pray and be alone with the Lord. So if I am not careful, the people I love get the short end of the stick. Last time I checked, the ministry was a people business! So I, and the rest of us, must tango with the tension.

Which side draws your attention?

Just a thought,

Pastor Chris

P.S. To miss this topic means you will get smacked by something that gets broken like the band.

 

What’s Growing Inside of Your Church or Ministry?

Hey Friends,

God gave me a cool thought last week while reading in my devotion time with Him. I was in 2 Kings and got to Chapter 11. There is a great story, rich with symbolism and meaning for us today. King Ahaziah died in battle and his mother, the Queen, killed all of his kids – all except the one she missed. Joash was taken and hidden in the Temple. The Queen didn’t even realize he was missed in the mass execution. For six years the priests hid him from the wicked queen. I guess they knew she wasn’t EVER going to the Temple! A whole different lesson altogether…

At the end of the sixth year the guards brought him out and proclaimed him King. They killed the Queen and made Joash the King. As I pondered on the passage a thought hit me: what are we growing in the House of God? Think about it. They were growing a king that made sweeping reforms for God.

What are we growing? Warriors? Scholars? Jesus Freaks? Christ-followers? An army for God? Saints? People sold out in deep love with God?

Take a look around your ministry, your group, church, family or friends. What are you helping to grow for God? We don’t usually look forward to where we are going so we don’t worry about the crop of Christians we are raising up. Do you think this is an important question? I do, and I am sure God cares because He has so much to say about this topic.

Would it be fair to say that in the last two or three generations we are not raising up warriors? It is easy to see we are losing this generation and we must accept some of the responsibility. So, what will we do about it? I challenge you to seriously consider my query and make a deliberate decision on what you want to be a part of raising up.

God wants to use you! Are you up to the challenge?

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Only Today Counts!

Hey Friends,

It is amazing that I am still writing blog posts from ideas I received while at an Equip Roundtable event. Some great leaders were there and it was mega-impactful for me. During a Q & A time, I asked John Maxwell a question: “How do you read a room and the activity of the Holy Spirit so well?” The question stumped him for a minute and I loved that.

Then John gave us all a great nugget: “I live in the moment!” Basically, he was saying that only today really counts. The Scripture is clear that none of us are promised tomorrow. “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.” “We are here today and gone tomorrow.” So live to the max right now!

One cool thing John said that he does is to prep for every day. He reviews his whole day’s schedule and then picks out what is most important – the place he feels he has to hit a home run. Since no one hits a home run at everything, he picks the most important part of each day and prepares for it and lives each day as if it were his last. Great advice!  

Today is Friday as I am writing this post. I am preparing for the upcoming weekend. What is the most important thing I will do this weekend? Preach five services. I need to prepare to hit a home run for and with Jesus.

Today, I am off and working at home. The most important thing I will do this day is go to dinner with my son, Zac. I want to hit a home run when I spend time with him. There is nothing more important I will do today.

Wherever you are, be there fully. Live today like it is your last and squeeze every drop out of it.

Where do you need to hit a home run today?

Here for you,

Pastor Chris

 

Wow, I Wish I Had…

Hey Friends,

As leaders of others in some sort of ministry position, we all need more than we have. How many times have you said, “I wish I had…?” We have all said it. I have gone to conferences and watched talent, technology and other teams and wished I had something I didn’t have at the moment. Why is it we always seem to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we have? Strange isn’t it?

If our focus is on what we don’t have, then we have a good excuse not to do anything. Moses argues with God about his going back to Egypt to rescue the slaves. It didn’t work too well the first time for Moses. His list of “reasons” showed pretty good thinking. Moses tells God they won’t believe him. “What do you have in your hand?” A staff! “Throw it on the ground!” And it becomes a big honking snake. I’m impressed. “Pick it up!” (Moses is the man) And it becomes a staff again. Do that and use what you have.

Jesus does the same thing with the feeding of the 5000. “What do you have?” God will use what you have and we are worried about what we don’t have. A problem, wouldn’t you agree? The bottom line is that if God can part the Red Sea with a stick and feed 5000 with a happy meal, He can use what you have!

You have all you need today to do what He has called you to do today. I know all the things you need: money, space,  technology, advertising, core group, staff…  The list can go on for days. Remember the Disciples? What did they have? They rocked the world and so can you. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is alive in you!

Have a prayer list of the things you would like to have or feel you need in order to reach more people, but keep your focus on what you already have and use it for His glory. He doesn’t really take too kindly to excuses.

Just a thought,

Pastor Chris

 

2009 – Almost Gone!

Hey Friends,

The year 2009 is almost history! For some of you that is good news because this wasn’t your best year. For others, ’09 was great. No matter what camp you are in, it is quickly coming to a close. I want  to challenge us all to get ready for what God has planned in 2010. This is going to require us to listen and to focus. Both of these two disciplines are growing obsolete.

Since we live in the land of multi-tasking, we have lost the ability to focus. It is hard to hear the Voice of God when we are checking our e-mails, texts, and tweets during devotions. We have lost the ability to hear the “still small Voice of God.” During the next few days, spend some time listening so you know His plan for the new decade.

Listening can be a problem since we find it hard to unplug. I want to challenge you to “cut off the stuff!”  And you know what it is! Maybe it’s this blog, tweets, texts, e-mails and the like. The only way to real intimacy is for you to unplug. Jesus did it. No, He did not have an Internet connection, but He was wired into His Heavenly Father. Intimacy involves unplugging. Will you?

As you listen over these last few days of this year, write down your thoughts and plans for the new year and decade. Write down your spiritual growth plan. I would also challenge you to help your family develop a plan for the year.

This is the time to get with God. I believe He is waiting to hear from you.

Stop! Slow down! Be still!

Love,

Your Pastor

 

Distracted

Hey Friends,

I thought yesterday’s blog would be a hit, and it had the all-time most hits for one day. I think we hit a nerve. I love disciplines like we did yesterday because they help us clarify our priorities. Why can’t we just live them out daily? You enjoy life more when you live out your priorities. What’s our problem? I think I have discovered at least part of it.

We live in a world of distractions. We all love to watch a good magician – he can distract us while he does the illusion. The world around us has been set up by the Devil to distract us from what is important. If you already are a Christ-follower then the Devil can’t change that, but he can get us off track. He will take any win he can get, no matter how small.  As you read my last words letter, many of you realized what was most important in your own life. If you did the exercise then it helped you even more. We know what things are most important, yet they are not where we spend our time and effort. We keep getting distracted with lesser things and priorities. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Fix your eyes on Jesus…” We must keep our eyes on the prize or we will miss it.

Remember the Devil is the master of  distraction. He has ruined the lives and testimonies of so many Christ-followers by getting them off track and down the wrong road. If you did not write the letter we discussed yesterday then get cracking! Let’s pray for each other that we do not lose focus and miss the mark. God has big plans for us and we must stay focused on what is most important.

Faith, family, then all else comes afterward.

Yours to count on.

Pastor