Artwork Credit: ineedtostopsoon.com
Every Eagle Leader knows the need to continue to grow if they are to make an impact for Christ. In our early ministry there is plenty to learn and we always know we are in deeper than our experience. However, over the years there is a tendency to feel like we “have arrived” spiritually.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we age in the ministry, we find our sword dulling from use. It is essential to stay sharp in order to be most effective for Christ. I have found the following disciplines most helpful at this time in my life and service to the Lord and His Church.
- Prayer and Bible Reading – My habit of reading the Bible and prayer has been a source of great strength and understanding when it comes to leadership development. I read the Bible at least once per year cover-to-cover. I enjoy an intimate, spiritual walk with God, enjoying hundreds of answers to prayer every quarter, and hundreds of new insights monthly from God’s Word (having read it cover-to-cover some 28 times since 1993). It is my habit to label and file each insight topically for future retrieval for messages. Currently I have some 15,000+ topical observations from the Bible that are a direct result of God’s intimate work during my devotional time.
- Fasting – Currently I fast three days a week, Tuesday starting after lunch until Friday lunchtime. The purpose of fasting at this level at this time is to discern God’s will and direction for our lives. I have been doing this for the past four months consistently. My usual plan for fasting is two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday. These times of fasting allow me to focus on Jesus and listen to the Spirit so that I am walking in step with him.
- Exercise – I jog 4 miles a day on an aerobic course throughout the neighborhood. This allows me to get to know people, and witness as opportunities afford themselves. Recently I was given a bike and I am looking forward to once again starting up with it.
- Physical Health – I started with The Daniel Plan (danielplan.com) through Saddleback on January 1 of this year. This plan is an entire lifestyle change including what we eat, from which we have received a number of great benefits. As of this date, I have lost 37 pounds on the plan.
- Date Day – Melodee and I take an entire day for each other. I shut off my cell phone and we go away for a day of exploration and time alone. This continues to allow us to coordinate our calendars and our hearts, share our hopes and dreams, and care for each other in immeasurable ways.
- Family Day – Throughout our days as a family, we would place a day with the family on the calendar every week. We have started to restore this as our oldest has moved back in with us as a result of being unemployed. This brings unity to our family and allows us to demonstrate our love for one another.
- Weekly / Monthly Calendar Scheduling – With all that God calls us to do, I have found it invaluable to set aside time, usually Sunday night to schedule the week ahead with priorities and free spaces for God’s unannounced appointments. Taking a half-day each month to line out the weeks and the quarter ahead keeps the vision and mission in focus.
- Quarterly Day Alone With God – I love to get away and spend a day alone with God each quarter, something I love teaching others to do. Hearing the voice of God and discerning God’s love and pleasure in us (Psalm 16.11) is one of the most de-stressing activities on my calendar. I haven’t done this enough in the last year or so, and have made it a priority again in 2011.
Each of these personal disciplines helps bring focus and purpose back into my hectic and harried life. Mission drift is removed because I am able to retarget those things that are essential, thus avoiding those things that are constantly urgent due to my neglect. The physical disciplines help provide the strength I need to accomplish the mission God has called me to.
Well, that’s my list. I would love to hear what disciplines you find to be most helpful? Feel free to post your thoughts below.