30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 16: Create a Memory and Visit it Often

Intentional Living Day 16

In the mid-90’s, I led a youth missions trip to Arizona.  Our group of 14 teens and 3 youth leaders boarded an airplane to fly from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Phoenix, Arizona.  After a long flight, we relaxed in a hotel.  Then, we boarded a bus the next morning for a 4 hour drive to our work location at a school in the desert.

There was nothing remarkable about the trip out or back, or the work that we did in the 100 degree plus temperatures.  As a matter of fact, until sitting down to write this post, I hadn’t thought about the actual details of the trip for quite some time.  We did the usual things…paint, clean, lay tile, play basketball, etc.

But, there is one story from that trip that we still talk about today, over two decades later.  It’s the story of two van loads of teens and youth workers driving through the desert in Navajo Nation enjoying the beautiful scenery.  It’s the story of coming across two Navajo women in an overheated truck stranded alongside the road.  We filled their radiator with a tube of “stop-leak,” a gallon of spring water, and a lot of prayer.  We followed them on their journey to make certain that they arrived home safely.

What was unique about that encounter was the fact that there was no scientific reason that water and stop-leak should have gotten them very far in the heat of the desert sun.  Yet, we followed them for miles while they took time to stop and show us the beautiful scenery from their viewpoint.  We learned that the beautiful mountain range we had been enjoying was actually called “Indian chief praying.”  Our eyes were opened to the beauty of those mountains as we began to see an Indian chief laying on his back looking to the heavens with hands folded in prayer.

You see, we still look back on that trip and talk about it from time to time.  The main lesson that we learned was that God would listen to the prayers of a group of high school students who only asked that He keep the truck running until the two ladies got home.  We saw God work a miracle that day right in front of our eyes.  We also had the opportunity to share with their families about God’s love and point them toward a church they could attend right down the road.

I don’t know whatever happened to those families after we left and headed back to our school to finish our work week.  But, one thing I do know, we created a memory that will last a lifetime in the hearts and minds of those teens and youth leaders.

John’s point for today was to intentionally create memories.  You have to be intentional to create a memory!  He asked two questions of his children during every trip they took as a family.  They were:  What did you love?  What did you learn?  Everything we do can become a memory of what we loved and share together, if we take time to learn from that situation or memory.

When you create good memories with others, you become bonded.  When difficulties come, you revisit those memories and it keeps you focused.  

To this day, I look back on that experience in the desert in Arizona as a time when I witnessed a miracle of God happening right in front of my eyes.  If I ever have an occasion to doubt God’s faithfulness, I only need to revisit that, and many other memories, that I’ve made over the years – and it brings my life back into focus!

ACTION POINT:  Make a list of memories that you need to revisit.  If you’re list is short, make an intentional plan right now to begin making memories with your family, your employees, your friends, your staff members, or anyone else you interact with on a regular basis.  Then, revisit those memories.  They will serve as an anchor point for keeping you focused in life.

The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 2

Strategic Church Leadership

In The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 1, I discussed the first two steps of the process:  Clarify the Culture, and Identify the Values.  Once the culture of your church has been clarified and the values identified, you can then move on to setting the goals necessary to accomplishing the vision that God has given you for your church.

Step Three:  PLAN THE GOALS

Developing good goals within the church setting is a difficult process.  The exception to this is when your leadership team is comprised of business leaders and executives who have been exposed to the goal setting process.  However, taking the time to help your leadership understand how to develop good goals is crucial to achieving your unique vision.  In this step, you begin to develop a list of goals that the church needs to accomplish in order to make the vision a reality.  In goal setting, it is vitally important to understand the many varied aspects that go into planning the goals for the church.  I will list a few of the major aspects here.

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