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How do your goals score?

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Each year I encourage you to set a few spiritual goals for 2017. I’ve found that setting specific goals for myself each year, beyond just wanting to read the Bible and pray daily, help me stay on track with my desire to be connected to God.

If your goals are simply to "pray more" or "read the Bible more often," you're going to have a hard time knowing if you're making progress and  staying motivated throughout the year. Setting specific goals can help you if you have struggled in the past to be consistent or if you are looking for a way to deepen your connection from year to year. 

Here are 3 tips for making good goals that will succeed in growing you closer to God (and growing in other areas of your life, too!).



You are more likely to be successful in achieving your goals if you don’t set too many. I recommend just three or four.





Prayerfully spend some time thinking through your goals for this year and then score them using the worksheet.

Good goals are:

1. Measurable - How will you track your progress and know if you've been successful?

2. Dated  - Give yourself a deadline and maybe some progress checkpoints along the way.

3. Worthwhile  - It may seem obvious, but really consider if your goal is worth putting forth all the effort and discipline required. Will you be a better spouse, friend, parent, Christian, employee, etc. in the end?

4.  Desirable  - Again, this may seem obvious, but it's actually not always a characteristic of goals people set. We have all sorts of motivations for our goals (what we think our spouse wants from us, what we think God is expecting of us), but if you don't really want the outcome, you're sure to fail when the going gets tough.  One indication of a good goal is that you look forward to implementing it. 

5.  Reachable  - Make sure your goal is something you can attain in a reasonable amount of time. Don't set goals that are too lofty or next to impossible to achieve.  If your goal seems too big, break it down into baby steps and make step 1 this year's goal.

6.   Controllable - What is required to achieve your goal? Are those action steps within your control or up to others or outside forces? Make adjustments to your goal to focus on what you have the ability to change.


How do your goals score?




Don't just set goals here in January and never think about them again until December. Evaluate your progress from time to time. Are your goals helping you connect to God or deepen your connection to Him?

When we are close to God, it is a pleasure to do things for Him and to spend time with Him. It is a pleasure to give to Him. But when we are not especially close to God, spending time with Him and doing things for Him become a duty. The longer the status is duty the more those tasks are agony rather than pleasure. Make your goals work for you as you seek to connect to God, but don’t let your goals become a slave master.

Often, even seasoned goal setters over- or under-reach when they set their goals. You are always free to adjust goals during the year and should do so without guilt. But it is also important that you exercise self-discipline when you find it a little harder to achieve them than you expected. Your goals should be reachable, but they should also stretch you.

Set aside time to prayerfully evaluate your goals at the end of each month.


God bless you as you set goals for the coming year and diligently work towards them. May you see your connection to God deepen this year because of them.


Your pastor,



This blog post is adapted from the 2017 Connection Guide, which includes an annual Bible reading plan. 




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What are you hoping in?

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I hear a fair amount about the  presidential campaign and all its shortcomings.  I’ve talked about it a good bit myself...more than I wish I had. 

The other day I was talking with a friend who is heavily involved in politics,  and as I complained about the campaign,  he said, “Let me tell you a story,” and he told me the following about a local leader:  

Upon the election of Harry Truman in 1948 this leader took to his bed, pulled the covers up, and stayed there for a week.  When asked about it he said, "We’ve just elected a second-rate haberdasher from Missouri to be our President.  I can’t stand it.  I can’t live with it." After a week he decided it wasn’t the worst ever and that he had a life to live and it was time to get out of bed.  The truth is today most people see Harry Truman as kind of an "every man" folk hero who made a lot of hard decisions and did well with the presidency he may not have expected to get. 

One thing we all need to remember this election season is that God is in control of history and He is in control of this world. 


"One thing we all need to remember this election season is that God is in control of history and He is in control of this world. "

Tweet: One thing we need to remember this #election season is that God is in control of history & He is in control of this world. @dicklincolnTweet 


We also need to remember that it’s a lot harder to see forward through the windshield than it is to look backward through the rear view mirror.  As Christians, we have a great advantage because we have the longest look into history through the rear view mirror anybody ever had.  Ours is an eternal rear view mirror.  That mirror goes back to the founding of the universe and through all of human history.  Looking back reminds us that there have been rulers and clergy who were really bad people--much worse, in fact, than anybody we see on the landscape today.  They came and went.  But the Kingdom marched on, and God was and continues to be in control. 

So whatever your point of view about this year’s campaign, let’s not ever let our hope be primarily in an election or a candidate.  Let’s keep our hope in the living and eternal God who is working now and still will be long after these candidates are completely forgotten.  This is a challenge to myself as much as it is to you. Please pray for me that I will  do what I’m urging you to.

As always, I love being your pastor!

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