Archives For Faith

A selection of worship music, including Give Us Clean Hands, Unashamed Love, God of Wonders and Agnus Dei, A New Hallelujah, and He Reigns.

Continue Reading...

Setting Goals

By Nate LaClaire —  August 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

Goals. So many of us have some hazy ideas that we refer to as goals, but how many of us accomplish them? How many of us even go so far as to turn them into something solid and truly commit to them? We say things like, “my goal is to lose weight,” or, “my goal is to visit Rome,” but somehow we never make it. Why? In some cases, we are afraid. At least that’s been my experience. The thought of reaching our goals scares us, whether because of the unknown “what comes next” or simply because as awesome as the goal sounds, it’s something new and frightening. In other cases, we just don’t do what is needed to accomplish the goal, including solidifying what exactly our goal is.

Michael Hyatt has covered the topic of goal writing from various angles. He says that goals should be S. M. A. R. T.:

  • Specific – define exactly what you want to accomplish with as much specificity as possible
  • Measurable – for example, “lose 20 pounds” not “lose some weight”
  • Actionable – start it with a verb
  • Realistic – yes, you want to push yourself, but don’t set the bar so high that you can’t possibly achieve it
  • Time-bound – give yourself a deadline

Michael also says that goals should be written down and made public. This gives you accountability. Maybe you share your goals with an accountability partner, your spouse, your family, or maybe with the whole world, but publicize them somehow.

I’m terrible at setting goals and worse at accomplishing the ones that I do set. I could leave it at that and continue “spinning my wheels” and never accomplish anything. After all, I’m bad at it. It’s just the way I am.

I’ve chosen to not do that, though. Goal #1: prepare a list of goals for the next year and revise my “contract with myself” by August 1 (I created this goal on 7/18). The list of goals should prepare me for the undertaking I’ve recently committed myself to and for future success. Goal accomplished!

I will be announcing here more about that undertaking in the next few of weeks. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’ve decided that I’m not going to allow it to become one of those things that I “never got around to.”

I’ll also be detailing at least some of my goals and discussing portions of my contract on my blog in the near future. The focus of my blog going forward (Faith, Life, Intentional Living) is directly related to my contract and my goals. Some of the goals and portions of my contract are between me, God, and my accountability partner, but the rest will be public. I’ll need your help staying on track.

By the way, I’ve set another goal: lose 6 pounds by August 20, 2012 (my 31st birthday), by using the Lose It app to ensure that my caloric intake stays within a daily budget and exercising at least 30 minutes daily. It’s specific (what and how), measurable (an exact quantity), actionable (lose), realistic (2 pounds per week, based on my current weight, is easily accomplishable), and time-bound (August 20). That’s step one in a larger health-related goal, but we’ll talk about that later.

What about you? Please share your experience with goal setting and/or a S. M. A. R. T. goal that you have set.

The Heart of Worship – Matt Redman

You Raise Me Up – Selah

In Christ Alone – Travis Cottrel

Here I Am to Worship – Michael W. Smith

Shout to the Lord – Darlene Zschech

I Give You My Heart – Hillsong (Featuring Holly Dawson)

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – Michael W. Smith

This week’s Sunday Morning Worship consists of the music we are singing at my church this morning.

Come, Now is the Time to Worship – Phillips, Craig & Dean

You are Holy (Prince of Peace) – Michael W. Smith

Ancient of Days – Ron Kenoly

Above All – Michael W. Smith

Your Grace Still Amazes Me – Phillips, Craig and Dean

For this week’s Sunday Morning Worship, I’ve selected seven songs that have been on my mind this week. May you be blessed as I have been.

Saved the Day (by Phillips, Craig & Dean)

Revelation Song (by Kari Jobe)

Your Grace Still Amazes Me (by Phillips, Craig & Dean)

By His Wounds (by Mac Powell and company)

Mercy Came Running (by Phillips, Craig & Dean)

The More I Seek You (by Kari Jobe)

Midnight Cry (by All Star Choir)

PS Sorry that this week’s selections are skewed toward two artists.

Good morning! Today I’m launching a new weekly feature for my blog, Sunday Morning Worship. Each week I will choose a handful of worship-centered songs, find YouTube videos, and include them in a blog post. Below are the songs that are speaking to me this week.

Filled With Your Glory

Be Thou Near to Me

Great Light of the World

Mighty to Save

Never Been Unloved

Testify to Love

Bless the Broken Road

Not a worship song? I beg to differ.

In Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You, pastor Andy Stanley calls readers to break free from the destructive power of guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. These four forces, says Stanley, have the power to destroy your home, career, and friendships if left unchallenged. They take over your life, destroy your relationships, and leave you and those around you hurting. In this book, Stanley provides practical advice, straight from the Bible, to help you take back control and restore your relationships.

Enemies of the Heart is exactly what I needed. It is both convicting and refreshing. The author uses a thoroughly enjoyable writing style with fun anecdotes to unwrap, dissect, and bring light to the sources of our problems. The book is nothing if not direct – no skirting around the issues here – and yet unlike with many similar books I never felt as if the author were being self-righteous or accusatory. After describing the problems and helping us to see the problems in our own lives, Stanley provides powerful insight into how to free ourselves from the bondage found in these four emotions.

Please do yourself and those around you a favor and buy this book, but don’t stop there. Devour it. Live it. Use it to change your life.

In Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, pastor Tom Nelson offers a new perspective on work, providing a look at God’s purposes for work in a way that is both practical and theologically based. He helps readers to make the most of their God-given vocations and to treat their work as God intended, as acts of worship.

I really enjoyed this book and was truly blessed by it. Nelson gives a look at this important topic that is both refreshing and convicting. He is not afraid to debunk common myths nor to reveal his own shortcomings and he uses biblical accounts as well as modern-day stories to deliver his message. He covers topics such as why work is more important than we commonly believe and how to make the most of our “mundane” work and many, many more.

If you would like a fresh perspective on a healthy work ethic and theology of work for Christians, I highly recommend this book.

Review: Lit! by Tony Reinke

By Nate LaClaire —  November 8, 2011 — 2 Comments

In Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books, former journalist Tony Reinke offers a theology for reading as well as practical suggestions for reading. Using scripture and a great deal of additional research, Reinke provides Christians with a deep, multifaceted look at the topic of reading.

Pastor C. J. Mahaney’s foreword does a thorough job at setting up the book by describing the important part that reading has played in his life and Christian walk. Reinke then begins the book by explaining what the title of the book (Lit!) represents: while short for “literature,” it also reminds us that “the glow of God’s creative power is all around us” (pg. 16) and, most importantly, emphasizes the fact that Christian readers are illuminated by the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Therefore, says Reinke, we see God’s truth in all literature. The author then dives into the topic, covering everything from the biblical foundation for reading, to the benefits of reading non-Christian books, to Reinke’s own formula for determining what he reads, to finding time to read. He ends the book with a look at the five marks of a healthy reader.

If you’ve read my blog before, you probably have already determined that this book covers a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I love to read, although I go through periods where I fail to set aside proper time to do so. I found the theological portion of the book enlightening. Reinke makes many excellent points for why to read a wide variety of literature and how our faith relates to our reading. I also found the practical portion of the book incredibly helpful. His tips on reading fiction, reading non-fiction, choosing books, setting aside time to read, taking notes, and many other topics are very useful.

I urge you to read this book whether you enjoy reading or not. If you don’t enjoy reading, perhaps it will help you to find enjoyment in the practice and to grow in your faith as a result of it. If you already enjoy reading, I think you’ll walk away from the experience ready to grow your love of reading and with a new appreciation for the importance of it. I know I did.

In Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe, Johnnie Moore, vice president and campus pastor of Liberty University, challenges readers to live an authentic Christian life. He argues that one of the chief problems with Christians, particularly those in the US and other developed countries, is that we have become hypocrites, whether intentionally or otherwise. We need to start living what we say we believe.

I found this book to be inspiring. Through a variety of stories and musings, Moore unpacks what authenticity looks like and what we need to do to have an impact on our world. One of my favorite things about this book is the author’s own authenticity. Moore goes to great lengths to be honest with readers about his own shortcomings and struggles. That combined with his conversational writing style yields a book that is big on conviction and inspiration without feeling preachy.

This book seems targeted at millennials, the author’s own generation, but is well-suited for people of all ages. I feel transformed and convicted after reading this book and I urge you to read it as well.