Tag Archives: planning

Don’t forget the pigs

3-little-pigs

Today is an investment for tomorrow. If you goof off, you lose out. America is saturated with the financial future message, but what about the spiritual message?

The first pig lived carefree. He didn’t want to invest time into a costly and time-consuming construction. Preferring the party, he built a house of hay.

The second pig was middle of the road. He wasn’t as reckless as the first pig nor as much as a bore as the third pig. He built a better house, one of sticks.

The third pig invested time, effort and money to safeguard against tomorrow. Sure enough, it paid off. The first pigs were eaten by the wold (in Grimm’s version), and the third survived the onslaught.

three-little-pig-houses-at-pig-crash-sceneIt’s funny that people who take pains to assure their financial future are so careless with their eternal future. You would think that they would understand based on the same principle. Even more, since eternity makes this life pale in comparison, you would think they would work harder to build their heavenly mansion.

The wolf is coming. He will blow your construction down, if he can, and eat you up.

This applies to marriage as well. How much are you investing in your spouse? Are you still wooing her like you did when you were dating? A lot of people these days are saying that a marriage of sticks or hay (not bothering to formalize their live-together union) is just as good. Pay attention to the pigs.

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The importance of schmoozing

fellowship Being the American that I am, I believed fervently in work-aholism. If you want to get things done, work 17 hours a day.

The lackluster church growth prompted heart searching and method revision. I discovered the power of not working (and praying). I also discovered the incomparable value of socializing. The latter upended my idea that useless chatter was a waste of time.

imagesIt turns out that socializing inspires people. If you want people to do things for you, then show them how important they are by talking to them. Here’s how it works: two or three people can always get more done than one. So if I’m the leader, I multiply my impact by delegating to followers. And I motivate followers to work by just taking the time out of my busy schedule to talk to them.

It wasn’t a sermon full of conviction that brought Zacheus to repentance. It was sharing a meal. Jesus took time out of his busy schedule to schmooze. That human connection made friends into followers, socialites into servants — for entire lifetimes.

socializing

from google images

Learn the importance of social activities.

*All the images are from Google. I don’t own the rights to any of them, and I’m not making any money on them. I applaud the photographers’ genius.

Strategic planning and the unexpected

The strategic planning classes in seminary were the most useful and useless I took. “Useful” because they helped me to understand business planning applied to the church. That avoids the church-adrift syndrome.

“Useless” because you can’t plan God. You cannot anticipate what He is going to do, or what he is NOT going to do. You cannot tell Him what your plan is and expect Him to fulfill it. And it’s darn hard to hear what His strategic planning is. Generally, God does whatever He darn well pleases and brings the growth He wants.

So we see Paul trying to go to Asia, but he can’t. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, HAVING BEEN KEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM PREACHING IN ASIA — Acts. 16:6 NIV (caps mine). In the strategic planning meeting with his buddies, Paul PLANS to go to Asia. But God has another plan that even Paul could not anticipate.

Hence, the Christian life is both exciting and difficult. It is exciting because God is always pulling out surprises. It is difficult for the people who want to control the future.

Prayer is expecting the unexpected. God comes through always but almost never in the way we expect. So don’t try to figure out what God should do. If you have a church, don’t flout strategic planning. If you plan, don’t try to twist God’s arm to do your plan.

After taking the seminary class, I remember laying down on paper an ambitious five-year plan. Then God did things completely different. The goals I put as attainable, were not. The goals I didn’t try to attain were the ones He did. In a way, it was funny. Prayer, then, is fun and funny.