Goals For 2014

I started stating my goals on this blog last year. I liked the motivation and accountability it gave me so I decided to do it again. I changed most of my goals this year. I feel it’s really important to have changing goals every year. If our goals don’t change, then we either aren’t reaching high enough or not trying hard enough. All of my goals last year are ones I will continue to do. These goals are more about building habits and long-term practices in my life, instead of just being things I do for only twelve months.

Learn people skills

This past year, I have realized that I’m quite a polarizing person. Most people either like me or hate me. Very few are in the middle, and they are usually drifting to one of those two sides. There are things I do that turn people off to me, and I don’t even notice it. It’s clear on their faces and in their body language, but I don’t see it. It’s time I learn those things and learn how to curb the negative polarizing side of me. My work leadership is taking the charge in this (per my request and their knowledge of it) since many of these things exist in my workplace. It will be a good testing floor for my progress. Since leadership is about buy-in, listening, trust, and team, I must learn these things and make them a natural part of my life. I’m sure there are many core things in my heart (like rejection issues from 20 years ago) that I will have to face, but God is good and sovereign. He will cause me to come out of this acting more like Christ.

Theological training

Las year, I wanted to grow theologically, meaning “knowledge”. I felt I didn’t do that well enough or at least not intentionally enough. This year I plan on starting actual ministry schooling through my church through the Global Church Learning Center. I’m excited to begin working on my BA-E. I’m sure it will be a lot of work but I’m grateful that I won’t be just learning knowledge, but also how to apply it and how to network.

I also desire to continue reading deeper theological books. I want to read my first systematic theology book this year. I really want to read Wanye Grudem’s Systematic Theology or the one written by John Frame.  I also want to read a longer and deep book on some theological point. Currently I’m looking at reading (the brand new) From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective.

I’m also excited to buy my first commentary next year. I’m looking forward to studying the Bible deeper than I ever have next year.

Write new songs

Last year was the first year that I didn’t have “write new songs” on my list of goals, and I didn’t write any (although I wrote parts of a few). I could go another year without writing. I’m not going to lie, writing songs for my church is one of the hardest things I do, yet one of the most rewarding. I decided that I wanted to focus on writing this year. I want there to be a set time every week that I write for a couple hours or so. I feel that is achievable with my busy schedule. However, I want to focus on what kind of songs I want to write.

  1. Congregational worship songs
    By the end of the year, I want to have written 2-3 songs that are melodic and memorable that my church loves to sing, while keeping the lyrical content fresh and highly theological and scriptural. I want to write songs that help people engage in worship but will also encourage them.
  2. Christmas songs
    It is my experience that most of our church members don’t fully engage in worship with traditional Christmas carols. I think that they may be too seasonal and familiar. I want to write songs this year for Advent 2014. Whether these songs are used in a Christmas production or just as worship songs during that season, I think it would help our church to have more Christmas songs that they can use to engage with God.

Currently, the worship ministry is planning on doing a songwriting workshop in the summer and also participating in the local (original song) music festival in November. I think these are going to be great helps and motivations for me to pursue songwriting with more focus and care than I have ever given it.

Lose weight

My wife will love this one. Thanks to some medical problems in 2013, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds, yet it will be easy to put it back on. After what I’m sure is years of my wife praying, I feel the Lord moving me to take better care of my body, so that I can do all He has called me to do with my family, work, and church.

Currently, I am planning on getting a few friends to join me and read/work through Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan. I have heard great things about it and I think it will be a good place to start. Thanks to the medical issues I’ve had, my diet has changed a good bit, but it needs to change more and I need to be more active. These are the two big things I look at changing early in the year.

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Review: Goals for 2013

As the year winds down, I like to look at the year that’s past and see how I did on the goals I made. I don’t know if anyone achieves their goals 100%, but I find the goal to be completed if I have made significant and lasting progress towards it.

Dig into theology

I felt I’ve handled this ok, but not well enough. Different beliefs (particularly those mentioned in the post) have solidified more since last year, but not because of ardent study on my part. That’s what I’m not happy about and I plan to change next year in a significant way.

Read

This is something I started this year that I’m really happy about. I have read quite a few books (fiction and theology) and they have been helpful to my life this year. Here are a few that I have read this year:

  • Gospel Coach
  • Creature of the Word
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • Divergent and Insurgent
  • The Giver
  • Doxology & Theology
  • Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars
  • Think

These are some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed. I’m in the middle of a few more now although I haven’t read that much in the last month or two. I need to take my own advice and read 10 minutes before going to bed.

Blog better

If I wrote no other post than Jeremiah & Judgment I would have been happy this year. I also started a new series called Rethink that has been received favorably. I haven’t written too much but I’m happy with what I have written this year. I’m also super excited that my wife started writing this year!

Learn leadership

This is a hard one for me to evaluate but I feel like I have significantly grown as a leader, even though the beginning of the year was rough. Yet, because of these experiences, books I’ve read, and situations that I’ve dealt with, I been able to grow more into the leader that I see in the Sermon on the Mount. Due to some issues, I wasn’t able to take the leadership course at work this year (though in hindsight, I count this as a blessing). This year has been extremely taxing on our little family, but I thank God that He has helped me lead us through it well enough so far.

I have much more ground to cover on this one, and I look forward to what is to come this next year.

Goals for 2013

Dig deeper into theology

When I say “theology”, I mean “studying and knowing God”. I’m not talking about memorizing more facts or studying university books. I want to have the view of God that the Bible holds. Therefore, I want to study the Bible ruthlessly to know Him better and more rightly than I do now. There are a million different things I could focus on, but this year I have chosen three.

Here is what each one means:

  • Charismatic
    There are many who would strip the power and Spirit out of the Bible, explaining it away as something reserved for biblical times and not for the present age we live in. I wholeheartily reject that notion. The life of a believer is a supernatural one full of things that our minds can’t explain (although we ought to attempt to in a biblical way). Sadly, many of the great Bible teachers today are missing this piece. Their theology of God is sound and biblical, but when it comes to the Spirit’s empowerment, it becomes too much for their mind to rationalize. I yearn to find the balance.
  • Calvinistic
    While I am not a 5-point Calvinist neither am I an Arminian. As I have been studying and meditating on the Bible, I realized that a good part of the Calvinist viewpoint is highly credible and worth digging into.  I want to see God as sovereign over all things, good or bad. There are some hard questions to ask and harder answers to hear. There are tough arguments on both sides and neither are perfect in and of themselves. Again, I yearn to find the balance.
  • Complementarian
    I have realized this year that gender and their roles, whether in a sexual sense or a spiritual sense, is becoming a big issue and will continue to be a big issue in 2013. My focus on it though is for personal reasons. If I truly believe that men and women are equal but created different for different purposes then it is in my best interest to study these things to know how I ought to live and serve.

Read

I waste much time watching TV; time that could be used reading the Bible and other books. I have no excuse. I have realized this past year that I can’t have a desire for that much TV and reading. I have to choose. Currently, I have no passion to read. None. That needs to change. For the most part, TV gives me nothing substanially good for all the time I invest in it. Reading books though can. While I plan on reading multiple books this year, here are a few that I have at the top of my list.

Blog better

I don’t mean more. If I only write 3-5 posts in the next year, I will consider it a success if they are:

  • Well written
  • Incredibly biblical and Jesus-centric
  • Needed and well timed
  • Provoking
  • Passionate

For reasons I’ve already written about, blogging continues to help me master the art of communication through text.

Become a better leader

This upcoming year will be a big leadership training year for me, both in my work, church, and personal life. I give updates on what’s going on in my life periodically, so I’ll do that here.

  • Work
    This year I’ve been accepted into a leadership training program that my workplace holds every year. Only 9 to 11 people are picked each year and I was blessed to have been chosen. I highly look up to my workplace leaders and think they do an excellent job leading. I’m excited to learn the the foundational elements of leadership that they know.
  • Church
    This past year has been a drastic change in my church life. I started teaching a high school Sunday School class (which I love) and I help lead the worship ministry with a handful of close friends. While I’ve always helped and led in some capacity, now I am responsible for leaders and other volunteers. Gone are the days of serving however hard I wanted to at the time. Now there are people and projects that rely on my fellow leaders and me. We have a great church staff who is helping us and we are learning how to lead and direct like Jesus would. We have far to go but I’m happy to see how far we’ve already come.
  • Personal
    This past year has been crazy. We had our first child, Lily, and life hasn’t been the same. It’s been great, maddening, frustrating, joyful, tiring, memorable, faith-filled, and full of love. That said, we are welcoming our second baby girl, Anastasia, in a few months. We know that, while it’s going to be tough, it will be rewarding, so we are looking forward to her birth. I have always dreamed about having a wife and a few kids and building a family altar in our home complete with devotions and family prayer time. Alas, due to my own spiritual laziness, these things are not a part of our house. This must and will change this year. More than work and church, I must become a better leader of my home.