Earlier this week I was reading Luke 18:35-42. It was a familiar pattern. Jesus is traveling, person calls out to Jesus and Jesus starts doing cool stuff.
New Living Translation (NLT)
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
This is actually just one of several stories of people calling out, pursuing and nearly nagging Jesus.
As I was reading this passage this week I noticed a few things that stuck out. The beggar was calling Jesus by different names; “Son of David” and “the Nazarene”. Both of these struck me as a little out of the ordinary. Not totally odd-but not the usual. I think both of them are recognition tactics and we can find out about what these characters (the crowd and the beggar) think about Jesus because of them.
The crowd is simply identifying Jesus via location. Not something that odd, but when it is held in conjunction of the beggar’s “Son of David” it makes you think a little. I think about motivation, power and who these people believed Jesus to be (and what he could do).
The beggar was persistent. Calling out twice. The tone of Jesus’ response is almost a little aggressive. Jesus noticed this man and his persistence and is responding to it. We read in the previous passage about Jesus making his final journey to Jerusalem, Jericho was simply on the way.
After the healing, the beggar “followed Jesus”. We don’t know for how long. It might just be a statement of intellectual following or it might have been physical.
What is this story is a picture of what we should be doing?
Calling out by talking about who we believe him to be. Realizing what the crowd around me is recognizing him to be (or most likely not recognizing) and instead engaging and expecting to experience Jesus.
I asked myself these questions after I read the text. I encourage you to as well. Take just a moment to reflect.
1. How am I chasing Jesus?
2, How am I hollering at him over the crowds?
3. Am I willing for Jesus to heal the thing that stops me the most? Am I prepared for that kind of freedom?
On this episode of The Productive Pastor I interview Rich Birch, of Unseminary.com and Liquid Church. Rich is a great pastor, leader and project manager.
Your Not Going Fast Enough:
Do you ever feel like you aren’t working, pastoring or leading as good as you can? Perhaps the problem is your speed.
How to Be an Effective Road Warrior
I work almost exclusively mobile. It’s part of my strategic ministry. What’s rough is learning to work when you are on the road and out of town. In either situation, the blog post gives some great tips.
Tomorrow Tonight: The Importance of Pre-Planning
How do you prepare for tomorrow? Is it when you get to the office? That my friend is a recipe for disaster. I wrote about the same issue earlier this week here.
Rich Birch on Project Management
Rich and I talk about project management and what it looks like for church leadership to learn about project management and why it is vital to ministry. Our conversation focuses around 3 questions.
1. What is your organizational sweet spot?
2. What do ministry leaders need to not just understand, but rock project management?
3. How can a leader get their feet wet with project management?
We talked about these books to help people begin to rock project management.
Getting Things Done: David Allen
The Four Hour Work Week: Tim Ferris
The E-Myth: Michael Gerber
Rich also shares about his passion for excellent announcements in worship and offers the Productive Pastor community a great free resource. You can grab it at unseminary.com/chad Check out Rich at unseminary.com and follow him on twitter @richbirch. Make sure to listen to his podcast. It consistently is one of my ministry favorites.
Over the last few weeks you might have missed the Productive Pastor Podcast (at least I hope you did). Last week I shared this email with the folks signed up for the insider list. What I realized is I had lost my motivation, the “why”, of why this podcast matters tremendously to me. As I was contemplating this I read a blog post entitled “How I Went from Mad to Motivated“. The quote that stuck out the most to me was this… “Once I woke up from that false perspective – the perspective that the other stuff was more of a distraction at the time than anything else – I got mad at myself. Then I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to get back on the horse – the right horse. I was motivated.” So I did what I normally do. I made a list. I made a list of why many different things mattered to me. I realized many things I really care about had dropped off the map. So the podcast will be back. In January. With amazing new stuff and a great interview to kick off the new season. In the interim I will be producing some great new additions to the Productive Pastor community.
Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.
I remember in both College and Seminary trying to register for classes in which I didn’t have the necessary prerequisites. Sometimes I could get them waived, other times I couldn’t. Even though the situations are frustrating, there are reasons for prerequisites. Everything in life is progressive. We learn things and grasp concepts in order to move towards a bigger understanding of something.
They are also part of life emotionally. Imagine if you had to go through adulthood without adolescence. How might that seriously change the decisions you make? The steps we take in life are preparing us to deal with the future.
The most basic definition of a prerequisite is a required prior condition. They are part of education, our daily work life, legal status and civil engineering. We deal with prerequisites daily and if we miss or overlook them, it can train wreck any project.
Prerequisites and productivity go hand in hand.
One of the big missteps in building a to-do list is forgetting the prerequisites.
Let’s talk about what usually happens (at least in my world) when I make a to-do list.
1. I scratch down everything I need to do.
2. I keep the list with me and consistently add to it.
3. I get overwhelmed with my list (check out episode 22: How To Destroy)
4. I check things off from top to bottom.
5. Invariably, I end up missing things or having to put something off because I missed a step.
Remember why prerequisites matter
Prerequisites make sure you know the information, theories and have the abilities to execute a task. Learning to clearly articulate them and plan out your projects or just daily life will not only make things easier-but it will put you ahead of the pack. You will gain time back because you are no longer crawfishing around (Louisiana speak for walking backwards). For some of this it might just mean not making another trip home. Sometimes it might be the difference between something hugely successful or barely put together.
Here is what we should be doing with our to-do list.
1. Write down everything.
Still process your tasks through an inbox or dumping ground system. Use whatever system helps you remember and also organizes tasks together.
2. Start ordering the tasks according to importance.
Just doing this exercise will be huge. You will be blown away how it helps you to concentrate better and be more strategically efficient. In episode 22 of the Productive Pastor
I shared about the eisenhower method. It can be extremely helpful in gaining clarity about priority.
3. Start making a list of what has to happen first.
Find your prerequisites. How do all of these steps relate together as part of a larger project? Are there any recurring tasks happening every week? Throw them into a weekly template
Each evening I sit down to plan out what I need to have done for the next day. I actually start working on this list during the day using the “looking ahead” slot on my day sheet (download it for free here
). I work from a mobile office (yay church planting) and I am terrible at forgetting to grab things from the house that I need later in the day. During this time I build out my prerequisites for the next day.
Ordering my tasks helps me make sure I don’t get into a situation where I am not prepared. It’s about working smarter…not harder.
So pull out your phone, open Evernote or get a piece of paper. Write down what you need to accomplish first. Then share below how this exercise helped you.