Personal Growth

Wrap Up And Ramp Up


Wrap Up 2010 And Ramp Up To 2011

One of my favorite weeks of the year is the one between Christmas and New Year’s Day. A lot of people think of this week as just the “space between” one holiday and the next. But for several years now I have used it as a week to look back over the past year and look forward to the next. I use it to evaluate my life by looking back at what I’ve accomplished (and where I have fallen short too) and then I set goals and challenges for the upcoming year. This blog post is about giving you a list of questions that I am using this year to help me “wrap up” 2010 and “ramp up” to 2011. I hope they are helpful in your life.

I think of my life in seven categories: Emotional, Spiritual, Marital, Physical, Financial, Intellectual, and my Calling. Then I ask reflective and measurable questions. Here are some of the more important questions I’m asking myself and I have given some explanation for how to think them through.

**Emotional**
1. Is there anyone’s forgiveness I need to seek? If you’ve hurt someone this year you need to go to that persona and say, “I’m sorry.” I would say this doesn’t just apply to 2010. Maybe you’ve hurt someone in the distant past and you’re still carrying around the guilt of that, if at all possible, go to that person and make it right. Don’t carry that burden into yet another year.

2. Is there anyone I need to forgive? Keep a couple things in mind here. First, it may be impossible or even dangerous to go to someone and give forgiveness. For example, maybe you were in an abusive marriage and you need to forgive that person (for your sake if not for theirs), it may not be physically safe to go to them. But at least in your heart, decide to let go of that hurt. And second, giving someone forgiveness is not just for that person, it is mostly for you. YOU need to forgive that person (a father, mother, brother, sister, friend, etc.) for your own good. You know what I’ve realized over the years? Most of the time we carry hurt that someone has caused us and they don’t even know it. So by carrying that unforgiveness in your heart you are only hurting yourself. Decide this year to let go of the bitterness and hurt.

3. Where’s the clutter in my life? Literally, is there a closet or a garage or a room in my home that needs to be cleaned out? Cluttered space makes for cluttered emotions. What do I need to give away or throw out? Don’t underestimate the power of getting rid of the clutter in your life.

If you need some help organizing you closets, you should give Mike Collins at The Closet Company a call. Here’s Mike’s contact info: The Closet Company // 704 454-7700 office // 980 721-5900 mobile // www.closet-company.com // mike@closet-company.com

**Spiritual**
1. Am I closer to God today than on January 1st? Spend some time reflecting on this one. This is very important.

2. What’s my spiritual growth plan for 2011? In other words, what are you going to do to grow closer to God in the next year? “Hoping” to grow closer to him won’t get it done. You need a plan.

Let me give you a few things to consider as next steps:
-Read through the Bible. Reading the Bible every day is essential to growing your relationship with Christ. Bible Gateway has some great Bible reading plans and they are FREE. Here’s the link http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/readingplans/
-Begin and end each day with prayer.
-Begin moving around the bases on our Grow Track at Rocky River Church (Church 101, Essentials 201, Discovery 301, and Missions 401).
-Honor God with your body.
-Schedule Sabbath days (one day of rest each week). Most people are stressed to the MAX in life because they won’t (not can’t) follow God’s model of working six days and resting one day.

**Marital**
1. Would your spouse (and you need to bring him or her in on this one) rate your marriage a 10? Let him or her answer honestly without you interrupting.

2. Now, what would it take to make your marriage a 10 in 2011?

3. Have you scheduled your date nights in January? In 2011 you and your spouse should have a minimum of 40 date nights. And be intentional enough to put them on the calendar. Your spouse should be important enough to get him or her on your calendar.

**Physical**
1. How much do I weigh? You’d be surprised to know how many people don’t know how much they weigh.

2. When was the last time you had a complete physical? Do you know what your cholesterol numbers are? Do you know what your blood sugar level is? Can you schedule a complete physical before March 31? Do it for yourself and the people who love and depend on you.

3. What are my physical goals for this year? For example, I have a goal of running a 5K. So, I’m working on moving from walking a couple miles a day to jogging. Also, I have a goal of strength training for at least 45 minutes 3-4 times per week. AND, I am going to begin working with a martial arts expert this year. I have a five year goal of becoming a black belt in martial arts. HA! The point is, set some goals. If you have nothing to shoot for you’ll hit it (nothing) every time.

**Financial**
1. Are your finances in order? How much do I owe, own, earn and spend? If you don’t know the answer to that question then your finances are NOT in order. Let me recommend the book “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. Also, read anything by David Bach. Specifically I would recommend “Smart Couples Finish Rich” (this book is not what you might think) and “Debt Free For Life.” ALSO, read “I Was Broke, Now I’m Not” by Joseph Sangle. You can also find some great resources on his website at http://www.josephsangl.com/.

2. Do you have debt beyond your mortgage?

Challenges: (1) Get out of debt. Dave Ramsey and David Bach can help you with a strategy for this. (2) Give a sacrificial gift to the LORD through your local church. (3) Start tithing to your local church. In fact, I would like to give you the Tithe Challenge. Begin tithing regularly in 2011. You will never get your financial life in order until you put God first in your finances.

**Intellectual**
1. What are my reading goals for 2011? And don’t be afraid to push yourself on this. For example, for the last several years I have had a goal to read a book a week. But this year I have set a goal to read 100 books. This is important for everyone but especially leaders. If you’re not reading, you’re not leading - PERIOD. And just in case you’re wondering, my Bible reading goal is to read it through at least every 90 days.

**Calling**
You might think of this in terms of your profession. I’m a pastor so my profession - or calling - is to be a pastor.

1. Is there anything I did in 2010 that I shouldn’t be involved in during the next calendar year? Most of us only think about a “to-do” list. This year you should consider a “stop doing” list.

2. What do I do best? Successful people focus on their strengths. Do more of what you do best in 2011!

3. Who will I invest in next year? Who needs me to come along side of him or her? Who can I mentor?

4. What am I pretending not to know? What am I putting off that I know needs to be done - and done now?

Anyway, I know this is a long post but I hope it has been helpful. If so, pass it along to friends and family. God bless you in 2011! My prayer is that your life would be all that God has planned it to be. But that won’t just happen, you have to do the hard work too.

Happy New Year!
Jimmy

Jimmy Britt, Lead Pastor
www.RockyRiverChurch.com

Blogs, Articles and Tools


Blogs and articles you might be interested in reading....

“Six Essential Commitments for Leadership”
Rick Warren
http://legacy.pastors.com/RWMT/default.asp?id=365&artid=11483&expand=1
Topic: Leadership development

“Altar Call” by Travis Johnson – Guest Blogger
http://nelsonsearcy.com/
Note: Go to “Q&A – Altar Call”
-Topics: Altar call, skills development (preacher)

“They Devoted Themselves” by Steven Furtick
http://www.stevenfurtick.com/uncategorized/they-devoted-themselves/
Topic: Be devoted, consecrated, Christian living

“Submission Equals Sacrifice” by Perry Noble
http://www.perrynoble.com/2009/05/05/submission-equals-sacrifice/
Topic: Sacrifice, submission

“The Waiting Game” by Gary Lamb
http://www.garylamb.org/2009/05/01/the-waiting-game/
Topic: Waiting on God, preparation

“Inspirations” by Matt Chandler
http://theresurgence.com/Inspirations
Topic: Inspiration, holiness

“Leaders Are Not Normal” by Tony Morgan
http://tonymorganlive.com/2009/05/01/leaders-are-not-normal/
Topic: Leadership

“How To Escape Mundanity” by Guy Kawasaki
http://blogs.openforum.com/2009/05/03/how-to-escape-mundanity/
Topic: Work, growth, leadership, entrepreneur

“Pastoral Care is out the Window” by Bill Esaum
http://churchconsultations.com/index.php?id=2915
Topic: Pastoral care in the 21st Century

“Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries of the Twentieth Century Relating to the Biblical World” by Keith Schoville
http://biblicalstudies.info/top10/schoville.htm
Topic: Biblical archaeology

Financial Tools


Last Sunday I told our congregation that I would put some resources that Karen and I have used to help us get our finances under control. Specifically, these are resources that have helped us get our unsecured debt in check. Here they are. I hope they help! Good luck!
__________________
Books:
“The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. This book really helped us understand the issue and problem of debt. This is where you have to start!

“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley. This is a book that will show how people with “real” money really live.

__________________
Audio/mp3:
“Debt Free Pastor” by Nelson Searcy. If you are a pastor/church planter you have got to pick this up!
Link: http://www.churchleaderinsights.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=13

__________________
Websites:
http://www.josephsangl.com/
This guy could change your life. Be sure to go to “Tools” under the menu for free budgets and all sorts of helpful downloads. This is a great site!

http://www.journeymetro.com/midtown/resources/financial_tools
This is a church that offers some great resources for personal finances. Also a great site for free downloads.

Anyway, I hope this helps you!

Just Got Back...


I just got back from our Rocky River Men's Retreat in Myrtle Beach. IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE! This is the first time we've ever done anything like this before at R2C2 - it's the first time I've ever done anything like this with a group of guys, period. We ate some good food, played 36 holes at World Tour (as fine a golf course as you'll play anywhere). We weren't sure how everything was going to turn out as far as the weather. And even though we had some rain - a lot of rain on Thursday - it cleared up and we really did everything we had planned to do.

We ate good food, laughed and talked smack for hours, grew spiritually and just had a great time. Here's a breakdown of the golf and fishing.

Thursday golf winners: Brian Bush, James Britt (my dad), Bob Givens (my dads golf partner) and Jimmy Britt. We broke Brandon, Travis, Greg and Brian Honeycutt's hearts on the last hole on the Open side at World Tour. Sorry guys :).

Friday golf winners: Greg Kesterson, Brian Honeycutt, James Britt (who played from the Senior tees because technically he is a senior) and Bob Givens (who is also old). They had a combined score of -9.

Friday golf, 2nd place: Brian Bush, Jimmy Britt, Rich Straight and Tim Gromis. We had a combined score of -7.

Friday golf, 3rd place: Brandon Whedbee, Travis Bush and Brian Walters. (They rotated shots to compensate for the 4th man). They had a combined score of -3.

Friday fishing highlights: Wilton Pait, Steve Hatcher and Joe Bagley slept late, fished for about 2 hours and drove from Surfside Beach to North Myrtle Beach to eat at Hamburger Joes. Then they took a nap. :)

Friday water volleyball match (5 games). Winning team: Brandon "smiling at you while I'm whoopin' you" Whedbee, Travis "the Hit Man" Bush, Steve "the Hatch" Hatcher, Greg "aging like a fine wine" Kesterson and Rich "pretty boy" Straight.

Runners up: Brian Honeycutt, Brian Walters, Brian Bush, Tim Gromis, and Jimmy Britt. We played like champions. :)

BTW, let me give honorable mention to Wilton "the Cooter" Pait and Joe "point me to a cot" Bagley for cheering us on...

Just in case our wives are reading this, we did devotions every night, we prayed together for our families and the spiritually lost in our community. We had some very powerful moments together. It was indescribable. I can hardly wait to do it again next year. Heck, we may do it in the Spring.

Tim, Greg, Brian H., Brian W., Brian B., Wilton, Joe, Steve, Brandon, and Travis... thank you for a couple days with men - men of God - that I will never forget. Thank you for letting me be myself and for having the courtesy of doing the same.

Learning To Listen to God


Man. We have some big stuff coming up at Rocky River Community Church. On July 29 we are going to make a couple of really big and important announcements. To say the least, God is moving in our church. And here’s the thing: When God is moving then He is also speaking. I’m not sure if He moves then speaks or speaks and then moves. What I do know is that it is extremely important to listen to God speak. If you are a leader – church planters listen up – there is NO SUBSTITUE FOR LISTENING TO GOD SPEAK – clearly.

Today I am going to kick off a three part blog-series on how to listen to God.

The FIRST thing you have to do to hear God is…
1. Get rid of the distractions. Bill Hybels (www.willowcreek.org) says that when God spoke to Moses He didn’t need to use a “burning bush.” He simply used the burning bush to get Moses’ attention. God was basically saying to him, “Moses, slow down. STOP and LISTEN! Take a rest from your busy schedule. I have something I want to say to you.” Moses did and the rest is history.

Moses was no different than the rest of us in that he was busy. He had the same kinds of noises and distractions in his life as we do. He was worried about his job; he had a wife and kids to take care of. He had a full calendar of activities. He had people to please. He was running in a million different directions. Those things, that stuff, important as they are, were distractions that kept him from hearing from God. So God used the burning bush to make him slow down, step away from the noise and distractions of life, so he could listen to Him.

See, talking with you, helping you understand your purpose and your reason for existing, is very important to God. It’s important to you. But sometimes we let everyday life, and the noise of everyday life, drown out God’s voice. So, sometimes God has to reach out and grab your attention.

Question: Is God trying to speak to you today? What are you missing by not listening to Him? What is it going to take for Him to get your attention?

[How to Listen to God, Part 1]

Something hit me today on the golf course...


Today is my day off (I'm supposed to take Fridays off every week - sometimes I do sometimes I don't). I’ve been preaching lately about the importance of rest and a day off so today I played golf with Brandon, Travis and Myrick (Myrick is a friend of Brandon’s). We played a pretty nice course in Huntersville called Birkdale Country Club. I didn’t play worth a hoot but it was a great day – HOT – but great. It was a very tough course with small greens. We played behind a group that included Chad Knaus (Jimmy Johnson’s crew chief).

On the first hole Travis smoked a drive right up the fairway. But on his second shot he hit a power line that was hanging over the fairway and the corner of the green. When I say “power line” I’m talking about the big, huge steel ones with about six big lines hanging on it. These things actually sneaked throughout the course. When you’re under them you can actually hear the voltage running through them. It was amazing to think of the power in them, and a little nerve-wracking at the same time.

Pastor SINS!


Sounds like a headline doesn't it?! It should be the headline of my life. I'm going to talk about my sins (one sin in particular) on Sunday. I am a repeat violator of the 4th commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) - "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." This Sunday at Rocky River Community Church I am going to talk about what the Sabbath is, why God wants us to remember it, and how we are supposed to remember it. Specifically, I'm going to talk about the importance of taking a day off (1 in every 7) for rest. Ironically, I'm blogging this from my office - ON MY DAY OFF! :)

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you Sunday for this IMPORTANT LifeTalk. Be sure to bring your friends with you...!