Setting Biblical Goals for Your Vision
By Patrick G Howard
The March Focus of the Month is the third of the twelve-part series – Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet: Realizing God’s Plan for You. You can read the other parts of the series here:
In Part 2 of our series, we talked about creating a bold vision for your life. You may recall the quote from Hudson Taylor that I shared with you, “Dream a dream so big, that unless God intervenes it will fail.” Assuming that you have your grand vision in mind, it’s time to start taking steps toward realizing your bold dreams.
As an aside, you may wonder where the title – Creating Intrepid Steps comes from. Intrepid was the name of the Lunar Lander for the Apollo 12 mission.
Of course, we humans cannot go from bold dreams to reality without breaking the project into steps. We must set smaller interim goals to create plateaus from which to jump to the next bigger goal. As an example, I am reminded of one of the most audacious visions ever created in the history of mankind.
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.Pres. John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961
That may seem simple today, but you must remember that we were just learning how to crawl (figuratively) in outer space at the time. It was only a few weeks before Kennedy’s speech that Alan Shepard became the first American in space, when he piloted the Freedom 7 spacecraft on a 15-minute sub-orbital flight. Taking a trip to the Moon and back, in less than nine years, would require an effort unrivaled in the history of mankind.
Think about all of the things we had to learn how to do.
We had to learn how to build rockets that were powerful enough to take us to the Moon. Then, so we could gauge the impact of space on the human body, we had to put people into orbit, not for just a few minutes, but rather for several days. Then we had to see if they could survive outside of the spacecraft. Once we cracked that riddle, we had to find out if we could rendezvous two spacecraft in orbit. And once that milestone was accomplished, we set out on the riskiest part of the project – inserting a crew and craft into Lunar orbit, where one tiny error would doom the three astronauts of Apollo 8 to their demise in space.
All of these goals, each of them bold in their own right, led up to that one majestic moment on July 20, 1969, and those marvelous words that would that day change the world forever.
That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.Neal Armstrong
It was tradition for the astronauts to bring small items of a personal nature with them into space. What Buzz Aldrin brought to the moon that day was special. It wasn’t well known at the time, but the items that Buzz took were bread and wine that had been consecrated on Earth. After landing safely on the moon, he read scripture and consumed the consecrated host; and thus, completed the first Christian sacrament ever performed by a man on the moon – Holy Communion.
After hearing that, do you have any doubt that God was directing the steps of the 300,000 to 400,000 people that, for more than a decade, poured themselves into making this historical moment a reality?
We’ve come a long way to get here, but that brings me to our focus this month from the third chapter of Proverbs.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.Proverbs 3: 5-6
Can you imagine that there were times when the people working on the moon landing were frustrated? Do you think they ever wanted to quit? While sending a person to the moon and returning them safely is a magnificent feat, there were times along the way that were gut-wrenchingly discouraging.
Most of the first rockets blew up within a few feet of the ground. The ones that did make it off the ground, often found their way far off course. After splashdown of our first successful orbital space flight, the capsule sank, nearly killing pilot Gus Grissom. He wouldn’t be so fortunate a few years later, as he and astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee perished when they were trapped in their Apollo 1 spacecraft when it caught fire during testing on the ground. And who can forget the ill-fated Apollo 13 flight, that despite multiple system failures returned the crew safely home.
While these were failures of an epic scale, the people of NASA never gave up. They understood that to achieve something truly great, you must work through the setbacks along the way. It is the way we learn.
It is the same for us when we create and execute our own intrepid steps.
We will experience failures and setbacks along the way. That is the way we learn. But when that happens, if we lean on our own understanding, we get frustrated and discouraged, and are more likely to give up. It is during these times that we must trust that our Lord will show us the correct path to take.
So, as we create our goals and act toward achieving them, ask God for wisdom. Ask Him if the goals you are setting are aligned with His plan for you. We won’t always understand His plan for us. Many times we do understand, but simply don’t like His plan. Regardless, we must trust that His plan is perfect.
As you are creating your intrepid steps, remember our focus from the third chapter of Proverbs; Seek God’s will in all you do, and trust that He will show you the right path to take.
Creating your BOLD vision
By Patrick G Howard
The February Focus of the Month is the second of the twelve-part series – Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet: Realizing God’s Plan for You. You can read the other parts of the series here:
• January: Do a New Thing! (Isaiah 43:19) -> LINK
If you are a fan of Stephen Covey, you will likely recognize that the title of our focus this month is the same as the title of Chapter 2 of his excellent book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this chapter, he posits that all things are created twice – first in the imagination, and then in the physical world; and that if you don’t actively visualize how you want your life to look, you will, by default, allow your environment and circumstances to shape it for you.
Think about it for a moment.
You wouldn’t build a building if you didn’t have a vision about what it should look like. You wouldn’t write a book if you didn’t have an idea about how it should end. You wouldn’t start baking a cake if you couldn’t imagine how it would taste when you eat it. So, why would you wander aimlessly through life with no real notion of where you wanted it to go?
When it comes to creating a vision, we should take a lesson from God. Therefore, our focus this month is the first verse of the bible.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1
We all know that God created the heavens and the earth, but did you ever stop to think that he must have had an incredibly marvelous vision for what His universe would look like?
I suppose this is when the heated discussion usually starts. You know what I’m talking about – the whole “Big Bang Theory vs Creation” argument. I honestly don’t see the two as being incongruous, and I’m not going to engage in that quarrel. To me, it’s a silly discussion.
To me, this discussion is a little like two people standing on a street corner. One says to the other, “Hey, did you see that wreck?” The other one replies, “There was no wreck. That dude ran a red light.” The discussion is pointless, because one is describing what happened, while the other is describing how it happened.
So, does the Big Bang Theory explain the creation of the universe? I don’t know. I’ll have to ask when I get to heaven. For the moment, though, let’s say it does.
That said, I like to imagine how God would have created our universe.
I can imagine that, one day, He was sipping on a glass of iced tea and pondering what His magnificent universe would be like. He considered what the brilliant stars in the sky should look like. He painstakingly calculated how all the celestial bodies would interact with each other – the galaxies, the stars and nebulae, the planets and moons, the meteors and comets. He imagined how matter and energy would relate to each other to provide order to the chaos. And then he contemplated how he could bring these things together into one singularity to create you. Then once God had this perfect vision of the perfect universe, He said, “Watch this!”
And, the universe was so.
Of course, we mortals can never come close to God’s marvelous vision for our universe; but that doesn’t mean we should not create a vision for our own lives. And while you’re at it, you might as well make your vision bold. I saw a quote the other day that emphasizes this point, and I think it is great advice. Hudson Taylor said, “Dream a dream so big, that unless God intervenes it will fail.”
“Dream a dream so big, that unless God intervenes it will fail.”Hudson Taylor
And then, when your dream happens, be sure to give God the glory.
Will you accomplish your vision? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it doesn’t matter; because when your vision is bold, you will likely achieve something great along the way. So, when you create your personal vision, make it bold. As you are thinking about what your vision should be, remember our focus, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And then dream about what you can create in His universe.
Then watch what happens
By Patrick G Howard
The January Focus of the Month is the first of the twelve-part series – Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet: Realizing God’s Plan for You.
I must admit that I’m experiencing major writer’s block right now.
It’s January. It’s a new year. The world is full of possibilities. Resolutions are fresh and still unbroken. (Well, some of them are.) We’re ready to make 2019 the best year ever. In January, I frequently write about new beginnings and new possibilities, but this year seems different.
What can I say that you haven’t already heard?
I don’t need to tell you how to create goals. You already know what bad habits you want to kick to the curb this year. Our focus on the Lesson of the Talents is just a few months old, so I’m sure you’re still developing your untapped spiritual gift. (You are, aren’t you?)
Sometimes when I have writer’s block, it’s because I want to write about one thing, and God wants me to write about something else. You see, there is a verse that has been nudging me for the past several weeks; and I think that God wants me to share it with you.
You know that I rarely take anything out of context to make a point. (At least not intentionally.) There is a danger in cherry picking verses to say what you want, because that is how the bible becomes misunderstood. However, I think that there are times when God will use a single verse, even when it is out of context, to send a message that I need to hear.
This is one of those times.
Our focus this month comes from Isaiah 43:19. The Lord said:
Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?Isaiah 43:19
You may recall that this verse is part of God’s promise to deliver victory to Israel over the Babylonian army. And while we (hopefully) won’t be going into battle in the literal sense, we all have struggles that we need God’s help to defeat. All we need to do is ask.
Do you need help with a habit? Ask.
Do you need help with a business decision? Ask.
Do you need to be courageous? Ask.
Do you need help with writer’s block? Ask.
Ask God for what you need and watch how He works in your life. And by the way, His plan for you is often different than your plan for you; so don’t stand in His way while He’s working.
The next time you’re struggling with something, no matter how big or small, focus on the words of Isaiah 43:19 – Behold, I am doing a new thing.
Then ask for God’s help and watch as He does a new thing in your life.