🙏 I pray you are walking with the Lord this week and experiencing the fruit of "the peace that surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).
☀️ So we launched the POWER Mornings course last week.
It's been my prayer throughout creating and launching that course that it would be a practical tool to help believers foster a more consistent time with God, execute on their priorities, and enjoy the peace that comes from leading a proactive life focused on the glory of God.
So check out POWER Mornings, if you haven't already.
😅 I'll try not to harass you too much about it in the coming weeks. But some of you might receive some salesy emails from me about it.
Please, don't begrudge me for them, this is my job now! And feel free to unsubscribe from those emails, doing so won't unsubscribe you from this newsletter, and I won't even hold it against you! 😊
Alrighty! Let's get into this week's roundup, shall we?
The Peace that Drives Productivity
Many years ago, I was leading a group of college students on an evangelistic Spring Break trip to Florida in conjunction with a large campus ministry.
A Spring Break evangelistic trip probably sounds like a joke if you aren't familiar with such trips. But believe me they are real, and in my experience, remarkably fruitful.
Basically, you go to a Spring Break party hotspot and you share Christ with college students on the beaches who are in various stages of drunkenness. But as the week progresses they also tend to be in various stages of despair, as some of them are coming to terms with the emptiness of their lives.
I had led or been a part of trips like this for several years, but one particular year was basically just a series of disasters.
The car we had borrowed to make the trek from from Michigan to Florida broke down multiple times, there was constant drama and in-fighting among the students I was leading, and at the same time I was dealing with some major questions about my future. The last bit involved frequent, tense phones multiple times per day. And on top of all of that, I had to go out and be repeatedly rejected and mocked by the drunken college students we were trying evangelize.
But the weird thing was, I didn't feel stressed by it all.
Even though it was such a chaotic time. Daily, I was waking up early, reading the Word, and praying for help. Then, I spent long days serving the students and proclaiming the gospel on the beaches.
I should have been drained, exhausted, and despairing, but all I felt was peace.
The verse that kept ringing in my ear was Isaiah 40:31
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
It's an amazing thing how when we have peace with God, He strengthens us and encourages us to keep going.
There is a productive power to having peace with God.
These days, I'm experiencing that same combo of stressed yet peaceful as I pour myself into Redeeming Productivity every day. I'm not sure I've ever had so much riding on my shoulders, and yet (I suppose by necessity) I am walking closer with the Lord than I have in years. And I have a profound sense of peace in all of it.
I suppose the lesson is this: When we do God's work, God's way, and in God's power, He protects us from being eaten up by anxiety and despair.
But I guess that's just walking by faith, isn't it?
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)
🗓 This Week on Redeeming Productivity
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about how morning routines are the key to building lasting habits, and a course to help you build your own routine.
🧑💻 What's Happening on the Web
Now for some links from around the web that I think will be helpful in your journey to become a more productive Christian.
I read this Spurgeon sermon this morning and, I gotta tell you, it put a pep in my step.
There's nothing quite like reflecting on the brevity of life and the greatness of the work before me to get me off the couch and into action.
I especially appreciated this bit about focus:
Let this also admonish us, brethren, to singleness of purpose. We must have only one aim. Had we plenty of time, we might try two or three schemes at once, though even then we should most probably fail for want of concentrating our energies; but as we have very little time, we had better economize it by attending to one thing. The man who devotes all his thought and strength to the accomplishment of one reasonable object is generally successful.
I don’t know about you, but I often end my days having worked a lot but not quite sure about what exactly I got done. And I think part of the problem is that I’m always living in the future, always thinking about the next to-do and forgetting about the got-done.
There’s definitely wisdom in forgetting what’s behind and straining toward what is ahead (boy, that sounds familiar). But it’s wise to pause once and while and reflect on the wins so we don’t get discouraged.
The following from the linked article seems like good advice:
How to Start a ‘Got-Done List’
- Step 1: Each morning, think of just one important thing you must do that day.
- Step 2: Look at your calendar. Note what you have scheduled and figure out when you can complete that most important task.
- Step 3: Identify and note other things you need to achieve, but keep your to-do short and reasonable.
- Step 4: As you go about your day, tick off your assignments as you complete them. If you find yourself doing things you did not schedule, write them down and then check them off.
- Step 5: Every evening, take a moment to add in anything you missed. Relish your small wins.
Some excellent advice from Randy Alcon,
“How do we resist the devil, particularly in the area of sexual temptation? We all have to learn the skills of resisting temptation, because we’re not naturally good at it. I’ve seen a lot of Christians, younger and middle aged and older, end up in sexual immorality. I’ve seen marriages and lives destroyed.”
It’s easy to always talk about how we will do x, y, or z once “things get back to normal.” But life is full of turmoil. There will never be a perfect time to do that thing you want or should do.
C.S. Lewis said this in the midst of World War II:
“If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”
The article linked also has an amusing story about Teddy Roosevelt making time for Russian literature even while chasing down fugitives on an icy river.
There is never a right time, only the time that we make.
Major life changes have a way of absolutely vaporizing even long-held habits. And for some reason babies seem to have, like, almost zero respect for our priorities.
There's some good advice and encouragement here for young moms who are struggling to be consistent in daily devotions.
✍️ Quote of the Week
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