Archive for October, 2013

The Power of a Half Hour

October 29, 2013

I recently agreed to write a review of a book by Tommy Barnett entitled The Power of a Half Hour. (Waterbrook Press: 2013) Barnett lays out the case that we can take back our life thirty minutes at a time. He tells his readers to divide their days into thirty minute segments and make the most of each segment, thus creating an intentional path each day toward one’s life purpose or goals.

Recently I adapted this pattern of thirty minute segments to start my day and make sure I did two major goals I had for each day. I start each day with a minimum block of 30 minutes for reading scripture, prayer and writing in my journal. This has grown to about 45 minutes a day yet I had to start with a 30 minute segment and grow into a larger time commitment. I set my iPhone to chime each morning at 6:00 a.m. to remind me to get up and start the day right. Then I immediately have a 30 minutes segment set aside for exercise. I find these two segments lead to a more productive, energetic and joyous day.

Barrett reminds us that time is “the most significant nonrenewable resource at our disposal.” (p. 9) Most of us lament that we never have enough time to do the important things in life: pray, exercise, rest, call a friend, start a great project, finish that project, share faith with a friend, fix the leaking faucet, etc…Only the people that plan their day and hours ever accomplish great things.

Try the 30 minute window with your spouse and kids. Allocate everyone in your house 30 minutes of your time each day. This could revolutionize your marriage and your parenting. Let them know it’s their 30 minutes. They get your uninterrupted, focused attention for this block of time every day! Most people never give this quality time and then they wonder why these key relationships are shallow or not growing.

In chapter 27, Barrett explains that God gives each of us “divine appointments” every day. He tells us to look out for these God-given encounters whether it is in the shopping line, the school meeting, while exercising at the gym or walking on the neighborhood track. Thirty minutes of sharing faith with a person needing hope can change their life. Thirty minutes is all it takes to help a child feel loved, to share food with a hungry man or lead a person to trust in Christ for salvation.

I recommend you check out this good book. It’s much more than another lesson in time management! 

 

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Is Partial Obedience Enough?

October 28, 2013

I remember as a child my mom sending me to my room to clean it up. I would often just shove the toys and books under my bed or into the closet. Then I would hurry back to the TV or the game I was playing. It was just “partial obedience” and I knew it. Last spring God gave me an opportunity to go to the Congo and teach pastors. At first I told him I would rather go to Europe or South America, not the heart of Africa! Yet I realized God was calling me and that God wanted me to go and teach my fellow pastors there, regardless of any inconveniences or hardships I might face.

In I Samuel 15 we read that God gave specific instructions to King Saul. God was precise and clear in his instructions yet Saul was only partially obedient. He reinterpreted God’s commands to suit his own agenda and greed. So God withdrew his blessing from Saul’s kingship and he fell out of favor with God. The truth is partial obedience is still disobedience.

We can be tempted to partial obedience in many areas of our lives. In our marriage, we can be tempted to only be partially faithful to our vows and this leads to broken relationships. In our walk with God, we are tempted to hoard and not give the tithe as the Bible instructs all believers. This leads to disobedience and a lack of joy and contentment in our giving.  When God calls us to go and serve, we can be tempted to take the easy way out or only partially surrender to God’s will.

Saul paid a heavy price for his partial obedience which was disobedience. This week I travel to the Congo. After much prayer and many open doors that God has provided, I am content in this steady walk of total obedience. “What would be lost if you allowed FEAR to keep you from God’s call upon your life?” I think I will see the answer to this question as I go in faith to the other side of the globe. Keep me and the pastor’s conference in your prayers.