Personal Life

5 Steps for Achieving Goals

It’s a brand new year!   Happy New Year!

And by now, one month has almost passed for 2018.

You’ve had time to work on some goals, and opportunities to do something different this year over these past few weeks.  Hopefully, you have taken steps in the right direction towards the changes you want to see!

But if you haven’t, it’s okay.  We have all been there. But, we don’t have to stay there!

I have learned a secret:  if nothing changes, nothing changes.

In other words, if we do not intentionally change something we do daily or weekly, the results we are receiving will not change.  If we do not change our routines or habits that could aid in accomplishing our goals, we will be standing at the end of the year wondering where did the time go?

Here are some things to ponder:

·      Time is going to continue to press forward.

·      Being busy is not an excuse.

·      It is not going to happen overnight.

I have learned from my own personal experience that if I want to achieve my goals for the year, then I need to create actionable steps and habits in my weekly schedule to give me the results I want to see!

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

Here are 5 steps for you to accomplish your goals:

1.  Decide what you want.

I know it may sound simple, but this practice is to help bring some clarity to your own soul.  What is it that you want to accomplish this year?

·      Do you want to go back to school?

·      Do you want to buy a home?

·      Do you want to try a new career?

·      Do you want to read more books?

·      Do you want to get into the best physical shape of your life?

·      Do you want more of God in your life?

Give yourself a fair chance to win.  You cannot hit a target that has not been identified.

2.  Write it down.

Right?  Again, another simple practice, but lots of people never take the time down to write down what they want to accomplish.

Did you know that people who write down their goals on paper (or digital format) are more than likely to accomplish their goals?  It’s true!  Great men and women have practiced writing down thoughts and ideas for hundreds of years.

Even the books and letters of the Bible are here today because the authors WROTE IT DOWN!

“When you write things down, they sometimes take you places you hadn’t planned.” – Melanie Benjamin

Pull out a sheet of paper.  Buy a journal.  Open your laptop.  Use the notes feature on your iPhone.  

3.  Share it with someone.

Okay, I know this makes you a bit vulnerable to others.  You are sharing things with someone that might be a bit personal.  But, I would encourage you to share your goals with someone you trust and someone that believes in you.  Also, if it’s really private, then use discretion.

The goal here is not to spread TMI (too much information), but to create a healthy accountability for you.  When others know what we desire to do or should be doing, it helps us to strive for the prize.

As long as you keep it private, you may not feel the healthy “pressure” to make it happen.  And here’s the bonus:  it’s not for them, but it’s for YOU!

4.  Schedule it into your calendar.

Let’s say you desire to read more books this year.  Okay, what books specifically?  And when you have selected your books, which book will you read first?  And once you have your first book, what part of the day or which days will you schedule some reading time?

I know – not all are scheduled people.  But the point here is to say that if it’s not on the schedule, it doesn’t exist.  If we don’t create space to achieve the habit required to meet the goal, we will not reach the goal.  Plain and simple.

You are worth it.  

You may not feel like those small changes in your daily routine are making a difference, but trust me, they do!  Small changes daily are magnified over time.

5.  Review periodically.

Now, here is where discipline really comes in – at the end of the month or every quarter, review your progress.

Personally, I check my personal and professional goals every month.  I want to know how I am doing.

Just like we check the scoreboard at football games to know who is winning, your year needs a scoreboard to know if you are down or up.  If you are down, make adjustments.  If you are up, keep doing what you are doing.  

You can either make progress or make excuses, but you cannot do both.

Now, get out there and go win!

Define Your Vision with Values

In recent decades, we have seen the emergence of books, seminars and conferences that bring secular leadership principles to the church setting.  Additionally, more and more civic and business leaders are becoming active in their local churches, exerting a corporate influence on church leadership.  This has undoubtedly been a blessing to the kingdom of God.  It has fostered a spirit of excellence and professionalism in the body of Christ that represents the kingdom well.

While secular leadership and church leadership share many sound ideas, they flow out of starkly different visions.  The jargon of each idea highlights opposite purposes: “gains” vs. “grace”, “success” vs. “salvations”, “profits” vs. “praise”, “losses” vs. “longsuffering” – you get the idea.  So, before we talk about vision, we need to talk about values.  Vision is what we do.  Values are who we are.  No matter how great the vision is or how clear we can communicate it, if we don’t embrace the correct values, then we cannot expect God to prosper our work. Here are a few virtues that should define your vision. 

Obedience. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Obedience is not solely our duty to Him, it is also our expression of love for Him.  We must be people of God before doing the work of God.  Google “obedience” and you’ll find this definition: submission to another’s authority. Don't ever forget that!  We are under His command.  “Dreaming is free” is a catchy phrase, but we are not free to dream our own dream.  Our vision should center on God’s – “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9)”.  Our pursuit is obedience, before results. 

Compassion.  In ministry, passion alone is not enough.  Visionaries see needs – and it compels them.  God pointed Moses to the captivity of Israel.  David came to an army overpowered by fear.  Esther saw a nation in exile.  Jesus paid the sins of a helpless humanity.  None of them were concerned with success or fame, it was compassion that drove them. 

Relationships.  Spiritual leadership requires more than solely responsibilities.  It requires relationships.  Jesus called the twelve, “disciples”, but eventually he called them “friends”.  In other words, you must love on the people you lead.  And those relationships should deepen over time.  Ministry doesn’t serve clients.  It serves God’s children.  

Authority.  Authority is not the same as power.  The Pharisees were inferior to Christ in power, yet they abused the little power they had.  Jesus on the other hand, had all the power in the world.  He could have demanded that people follow.  In fact, He could have forced them.  But what had people in awe of Christ was His authority.  “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.” Power usually gets results through fear.  Authority gets results through love.  In business, employees fear losing their jobs if they don’t submit to leadership.  In ministry, people love the benefits of following a godly leader.

How do you want to produce results?  Love overcomes fear.  The greatest commandment is love.  God is love.  Let your vision be defined by love.  Entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, Robert Clancy puts it this way, “Great leaders may be found at the top of the mountain looking back upon their challenges, but the greatest leaders are often found at the foot of the mountain still helping others reach the summit.”

- Pastor Chali 

Chali Martinez is passionate about spreading the transformational gospel of Jesus Christ.  His unique speaking style blends passion, humor, and clarity and has made Pastor Chali a highly solicited international speaker.  Having accepted the call to ministry at age 16, Chali now has over 20 years of ministerial experience having served as a singer, songwriter, evangelist, and youth pastor.  In 2013 Chali and his lovely wife Carla founded Vital Church in McAllen, Texas, now one of the fastest growing churches in South Texas and where they currently serve as lead pastors.  Chali and Carla are the proud parents of two young boys, Dante and Luca. 

What’s Your One?

I love the topics on self development & personal growth. When I say love them, it’s not just like an occasional hobby but a daily habit. Not ONE day goes by that I don't watch, listen, or read something that betters, teaches, or inspires me in some way. But it wasn’t always like that.

I was blessed to have parents and a mentor instruct me and model a life of self development and personal growth. At a very young age they taught me Dr. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid: Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. They taught me that learning was not just in a classroom. They taught me not to depend solely on anyone else for MY growth, but to go after it on my own and I am forever be grateful to them for that.

This blog is not necessarily for the person who already has their five year growth plan outlined or list of the next 20 books they want to read, but rather the person who knows they should be growing, wants to grow but doesn't know where to start. Honestly, it can be overwhelming with all the resources available today. I did some quick searches and here is what I found:

-There are 260,251 book titles on Amazon when I searched ‘self development’.

-There are 2,930,000 videos on YouTube when I search ‘personal growth’.

That’s not including podcasts, life coaches, conferences, leadership programs, etc…

I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m about to say. I’m all about having vision and goals for your life. When starting something new, it’s ok to start small and with one thing at a time. It’s like a person who never goes to the gym, all of a sudden they show up on January 1st expecting to lift a crazy heavy amount. It doesn't work like that. You grow into it.

If your the type of person that gets easily overwhelmed, I would like for you to consider the following: just focusing on one. That’s either one podcast, one chapter, one class, one goal, one hour, one day, one step forward.

When I started picking up the habit of reading books, honestly I set myself up to win. How? I picked books about my favorite subjects, by my favorite authors, and the shortest books I could find. Why? Just so I could finish one book. And then I would begin another and another.

Similarly, when I began keeping my personal planner, I did not plan out months in advance but often times one week or even one day. I was young, it was new, other than school and church, I didn’t have much going on. But I knew it wouldn't always be like that. So I would write down what I was going to do tomorrow or when I had an upcoming test. I included events we had coming up at church and then services I was invited to speak at. Next thing you know I’m planning and reading more and more.

What’s your one? What’s one thing you can start doing right now that will move you forward in the right direction?

I have always found it interesting how some people say, “I just don't have enough time.” As if some people get more hours in a day than others. Equally interesting, it’s funny how people have time for NETFLIX but not for their NEXT STEP. Nothing against Netflix, I enjoy a good tv show as well, but can you imagine what would happen if we took the time we spent on lesser important things and focused them on things that really did matter? Imagine how many books, courses, or videos we could have completed? Imagine how much further you would be in accomplishing your goal. Time management and productivity is another passion of mine. But here is the summary: Don’t be so focused on two or three years from now that you miss out on TODAY.

When I skim through the Bible I see the the theme of TODAY throughout the scriptures beginning from page one. Two examples: Creation happened day by day and in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray for our daily bread. Could God have created everything in one moment? Of course. Could He provide for our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread? Yes! I really believe that He is trying to teach us something, which is: Today matters. It’s ok to start with one. You can break this into smaller pieces. Things that last often were made or built over time.

Psalm 119:105 includes the statement: "...Your word is a LAMP to my feet," not a spotlight. The difference? The spotlight reaches and shows you the end and long distance. A lamp doesn’t. A lamp shows you only your next step.

Again if you already have a rhythm for self development and personal growth then keep at it. If you don’t and are ready to take responsibility for it, what’s your one? What one goal do you want to work on? What’s one podcast you can start listening to? What’s one speaker you would like to learn more from? What’s one subject that you would like to grow in? Start with one but don't stay there.

What happens as you make these small (one) wins? They begin to add up. One win plus another win plus another win is how momentum and forward movement is produced.

Don’t fear learning or attempting new things, fear being the same person you are today exactly one year from now. A long time ago, I committed to not allowing that to happen to me. I refuse to stay the same person when it comes to my knowledge and skill. To this day, although I love reading and taking in more information than ever before, I still catch myself at times focusing on my one. I read one chapter a day, I watch one video from youtube, I sign up for one webinar, etc…

So now it’s up to you. What’s your one?

 

Joey Salazar is a passionate and fervent minister of the Gospel. Called into ministry at a very young age, he has committed his life to passionately delivering God’s word to both youth and adults from various walks of life. With his ability to communicate in both English and Spanish, Joey challenges hearers with a creative, upfront, and anointed message. Joey has graduated from multiple ministry internships including: Impact Now and Ignite. He studied Bible Institute at Southeastern Spanish District, and has served in different roles in ministry including: Assistant Pastor, Media Director, Internship Assistant Director, Graphic Artist, Musician, Youth Pastor, and Evangelist. He currently serves as Executive Pastor at Journey Church under the leadership of Pastors JJ and Liz Vasquez. Journey's mission is simple: Jesus should be accessible to anyone. He also serves as Executive Director with Next Gen, a movement designed to mentor and coach the next generation of church leaders. Joey is currently writing his first book, which will be available in the Fall of 2017. Joey, along with his beautiful wife, Zerelys, and both children, Joely and Joziah, reside in Orlando, FL.

Among the Sirens

Take a step with me. Close your eyes it's Monday morning. You're sitting in traffic sipping your coffee and already begin to have the wheels in your head start to spin of what you need to do today. What you will eat, and how much sleep you'll get all while the radio plays and the phone rings? We develop that cycle of tunnel vision of what the week will bring without seeing what’s around us and the blessings of what is to come with every morning we wake of the week. All of a sudden, you hear in the distance the muffled sound of an ambulance coming towards you and the lights and sirens fly by as you swerve out of the way. In an instant you forget all those thoughts crowding your head of what is to come and be done on your schedule.

This is how I see God’s need to calm our storms. Leaders, in Zechariah 2:5 it states, "And I myself will be a fire around it and I declares the lord will be its glory within"

No matter how packed our schedules can be or the worries weighing down our shoulders, there is a God who will be a wall around you and protect you in whatever battles we face even when our mind is crowded.  We forget this sometimes, and that is when He will come and be the glory within. He will protect you like sirens that warn you of what is approaching your way.

When we find ourselves overwhelmed or unable to handle the tasks we face in “you name it” ministry, our careers, college, etc. and we need a reminder of the protection, we have of our lord we can look to. No matter the aches or routines of everyone around, just like the sirens that symbolize a fast approaching comfort to someone in need we have a God who is with us everyday and through every "To Do List." He will be the force of glory always approaching to bring comfort for you. Sometimes we need to look in that rear view mirror and hear the sounds God sends to say He is with us and is by our side.

Things that stick out to me from each level:

1. Your job title - this is when you initially get the promotion. You don't have the skills yet to lead. Your co-workers follow because they feel they have to.

This leads to you not getting the best of people.

2. You will see the switch of them following because they want too.

Relationships are made and formed. This is the foundation of the bond you make with your co-workers. If you antagonize your co-workers, you can't influence them. You need to LISTEN WELL, OBSERVE, and LEARN THE ATTIUDES OF SERVANTHOOD. Start to grow beyond your title.

3. You will be an effective leader because you produce by example and show creditability. Always model what you want to see.

We will always attract workers who reflect who we are.

*Momentum is a leaders best friend.

4. This is a people development level. When you increase their capacity you increase yours.

A. Recruitment is the key

B. Bring the right people to the right spot. Successful leaders put people in the right spot

C. Equip well

5. They will follow you.

You earn respect for what you have accomplished. It takes time and will always be an on going process.

My name is Morgan Putbrese and I am twenty years old. I attend Cross Church (Mcallen campus). I have experience serving in the youth ministry. I am an EMT here in the Rio Grande Valley and I am currently going to school for my Paramedic certification. 

You Aren't Called to Be Average

When I look at society at large and those who lead it, there is one blaring question: Where are the Christians in places of prominence who are leading our society? Yes, there are certainly Christians in some positions of leadership in various arenas—but when it comes to leading, creating, and influencing culture, we are lagging behind the world. Which leads us to ask the question: why?

As Christians we are empowered by the grace of God, and God’s very Spirit resides inside of us—so why are we as a church often found imitating the world’s methods rather than leading?

Consider this account of Daniel:

Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. —Daniel 6:3 NIV

First things first—notice this is in the Old Testament, meaning Jesus had not yet made us clean and paved the way for the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our hearts. That means Daniel did this under an inferior covenant! That is astounding.

Next, notice it doesn’t say, “God distinguished Daniel.” Every major Bible translation says that it was Daniel who “distinguished himself.” The Message Bible states it this way:

But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom. —Daniel 6:3 MSG

How did Daniel do it? He had exceptional qualities because he was a man who was connected with God. It should be no different for anyone who has the Spirit of God living inside them. In fact, it should be better. He did all this under the old covenant, which we are no longer under. Hebrews 8:6 tells us that because of Jesus, “the new covenant is established on better promises.”

The New American Standard Bible says, “Daniel began distinguishing himself…because he possessed an extraordinary spirit.” The word extraordinary means “to go beyond the norm, to break out of the status quo, to exceed the common measure.”

As a people filled with God’s Spirit and empowered by His grace, under a new and better covenant than even Daniel had, we are called to rule in life. But don’t take my word for it. Look at Paul’s words to the Roman church. He says:

“All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.” —Romans 5:17 TEV

As a believer, you are not called to just get by. You are not called to blend into the crowd. Nothing of the sort. You are called to rule in life. God made you to be extraordinary—and He’s placed His Spirit inside you to set you apart!

If you are a teacher, empowered by God’s grace, you should inspire students in a way that makes others marvel and ask you what you are doing differently. If you are in business, you should be ahead of the market, at the cutting edge of innovation. If you are an artist, others should look to you for creative ideas, wanting to replicate the originality of your work. The same principle applies if you’re a musician, researcher, athlete, scientist, politician, police officer, flight attendant, or stay-at-home mom, or if you’re in the media, the military, or any other arena of life.

Again, remember the words of Paul in Romans—our mandate as Christians is to rule. Like Daniel, we are to distinguish ourselves by God’s empowering presence on our lives.

It’s time the world looked to the church for inspiration and not the other way around. It’s time we begin living our lives with such a degree of excellence that we move into positions of influence in every arena of society. Not only do I believe this is possible—I believe it is a part of our calling—it’s God’s mandate on us as His followers. May we recognize our God-given identity as sons and daughters, rely on His empowering grace, and in a world of average, begin to distinguish ourselves for God’s glory.

 

John Bevere and his wife Lisa are the founders of Messenger International. A minister and best-selling author, John delivers messages of uncompromising truth with boldness and passion. His desire is to support the local church and resource leaders regardless of location, language, or financial position. To this end, his resources have been translated into over 90 languages, and millions of copies have been given away to pastors and leaders worldwide. When he’s home, John tries to convince Lisa to take up golf and spends time with his four sons, daughter-in-law, and grandbabies.

Leader: Set The Atmosphere.

Shortly after I completed my ministerial internship I had the opportunity to serve on staff at Ignite Life Center in Gainesville, Florida. For a season there I was responsible for opening the church, turning on equipment, putting the batteries in the microphones, etc… And I was also responsible for turning on the air conditioner (or heater) in preparation for our services.

I wish I could tell you that I carried out my responsibilities perfectly every weekend, but I didn’t. For different reasons there were times I forgot to recharge the batteries through out the week and now didn’t have batteries for Sunday, or I overlooked turning on one piece of equipment and it would affect the sound, but the worse thing was when I would either forgot to or get to church late and not turn on the AC/ heater. Let me tell you, the few times that happened people noticed. 

Now I don’t know if you have thanked God recently for your AC/heater but you should. lol just kidding (no but really) Just this past week our central air here at our house stopped working for like only 3 hours and dude I thought I was going to die. I seriously thought about siting in my car with the AC on until the AC repairman arrived; no lie. lol

Why? Because you feel it. If it’s winter and you don’t turn on the heater in time, you feel the cold. If it’s summer and you forget to turn on the AC, you feel the heat (especially here in south Texas).

And when I would accidently turn on the AC/heater late on a Sunday mornings back in Gainesville, people felt it. And there was nothing I could do to change that. And sure we would still have service, but it was different.

Today as I look back at those experiences, under the lens of leadership, I submit to you that we as leaders set the atmosphere for what happens in our services. Yes God is God and He can and will do whatever He wants. But what we do as leaders before services kicks off also matters. And now I’m talking about much more than your AC/heater being on, I’m referring to your spiritual life and service preparation.  

How you pray throughout the week, how you develop your sermon/ lesson, how you practice your instrument, how you live and treat others, how you plan your services and get things ready & so much more.

I believe our God deserves the best, and not only Him but the people we serve on a weekly basis.

Leader, commit to setting an atmosphere in your local church, where the presence of God can reach, touch, and transform people’s lives. For it is for that reason that you and I have been called.

Thank you for serving how you do!

Joey Salazar

www.joeysalazar.org

 

6 Things I have Learned About Faithfulness

Since I was first called to ministry, one thing I knew I could do from the start was to be faithful.

For starters, I really didn’t know how to preach.  Public speaking was not on my radar in high school.  The Bible and “theology” were a bit foreign to me.  I really only knew of the Bible stories I learned in Sunday school as a child.  Secondly, I didn’t come from a ministry background or a distinct pedigree of preachers.  Thirdly, I didn’t know how “church” really worked when it came to strategy.  Lastly, leadership and its laws were new to me.  Simply put – I was a novice. 

Yet, what I lacked in EXPERIENCE, I tried my best to make up for it by EXAMPLE.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t have it down when it comes to your calling or ministry.  One thing we can all do is to just be faithful. 

Here are 6 Things I have Learned:

1.  There are doors of opportunity that only years of FAITHFULNESS can open.  While looking towards your NEXT, make sure you take care of your NOW.  God has you where you are for preparation and purpose.  Let it be said of you - “for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many” - Nehemiah 7:2.

2.  FAITHFULNESS is favorable.  In other words, just keep showing up.  Be willing to go through the process.  Let your record be one that is saturated with consistency and faithfulness.

3.  FAITHFULNESS can be challenging.  Yes, it is true.  Writing about faithfulness is easy.  Teaching on this topic isn’t that difficult either.  The challenge:  actually living it out.  Faithfulness is a spiritual discipline.  Your personal ambitions?  Challenged.  Your ego and flesh?  Yup, that too.  Remember, Heaven is not looking for one to be found glamorous, but for one to be found faithful.

4.  A fruit of the Spirit is FAITHFULNESS.  See Galatians 5:22.  When someone is not being faithful, it could be that they are not spending enough time with Jesus.  Faithfulness is a by-product of our personal relationship with Him.

5.  FAITHFULNESS builds trust.  2 Kings 22:7 states, “However there need to be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand, because they deal faithfully.”  What trust King Josiah placed into his appointed people!  Let your faithfulness be your credit.  Joseph was entrusted with the whole house and empire of Pharaoh.  You can be trusted more when you show continued faithfulness.

6.  UNFAITHFULNESS can destroy you.  We have seen this happen time and time again.  King Saul was recorded as dying for “his unfaithfulness” to the Lord.  Remain faithful.  This is a very long race. 

- Pastor Abram Gomez

Abram Gomez is the Executive Pastor at Valley International Christian Center in San Benito, TX. He serves under the leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya and helps in leading the 2000 member congregation.   Abram is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Church Ministries.  Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Human Services with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Liberty University.  Abram has served in various roles such a Church Planting, Life Groups Director, Youth Pastor, and Administrator to name a few.  He is also a contributing writer to Valley Christian Magazine, which reaches out to the entire region of the Rio Grande Valley.  He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Harlingen along with their daughter Isabella.