This is a follow-up post to this one: “Targets We’re Aiming For.” During our recent time on “The Daniel Fast,” my wife, Leona and I sensed God giving us five “general impressions” that we are now working out with specific, measurable targets.
These targets are simple, small steps that are obvious in their purpose but profound in their implementation.
Here’s the first set:
1. General Impression: A call to spiritual vitality – Nurture and invest in your spiritual growth by cultivating simple spiritual disciplines.
I’ve been in ministry since 1984, and even with my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in ministry, it is amazing to me how difficult it can be to daily nurture and invest in my personal, spiritual growth. But daily spiritual vitality has a shelf life. It’s no accident that Jesus taught us to pray, ” Give us this DAY our DAILY bread,” rather than “our weekly, monthly or annual bread.” God wants us to be engaged and connected to him in each new day He gives us.
“Prayer” and “Reading the Bible” are two things that seem like the answer to every kid’s Sunday School question but the truth is, without them, our serving and our ministries become weak and thin. And they are very easy to “skip past” on any given day. Of course, spiritual growth and maturity are more than simple disciplines, but these are two areas in which we want to be specific and consistent.
No legalism, here. The true “target” for spiritual vitality is a fresh, daily connection with Christ. Prioritizing the following things provide a way for us to be intentional about that.
- Specific Target 1: Read through the Bible using “The Lookout” Bible reading plan. I love this plan because it has readings from the Old and New Testaments each day, including a reading from Psalms and the Gospels. I’ve been reading half of the day’s sections in the morning and the other half later in the day or evening. The YouVersion iPhone App for this plan is awesome.
- Specific Target 2: Make daily, focused prayer a planned priority. Leona and I are praying together in the mornings in the car on the way to work and in the evening at bedtime before we turn out the lights. If we want to read, check Facebook or anything else, it will happen after we pray. During the day, we’re setting specific times and/or “triggers” to remind us to pray specifically.
So this first one is a bit simple and obvious, but we’re determined to be intentional as we aim for these targets. I’ll give more details about our “General Impression number 2” in the next post.