The Year Ahead

Over the last few years I have made it a priority to try and develop a ‘personal growth plan’ at the start of each year.

I use that phrase because I see it as more than simple goal setting. (Interestingly it is a phrase I picked up from John Maxwell!)

For me it is about spending time with God, listening and trying to sense priorities for the year ahead – major life areas that I need to focus on and grow in. When I have a sense of what these are it does then entail setting some goals or establishing markers to head towards.

Normally I seek to grow in three main areas – character, ministry and lifestyle.

Character involves personal development, spiritual formation and the like and normally I only seek one or two growth areas here (usually that’s enough) Previously areas I have focussed on were things like servanthood and competitiveness.

Ministry and ‘work’ overlap for me – (as they ought to for most of us – whether we are in ‘paid ministry’ or not.) Normally I choose some key areas of ministry that need developing and make them primary focal points for the year.

Lifestyle relates to health and diet and exercise and relationships. My intention this year (injuries permitting) is to be able to run again regularly and to shed the 5 kilos that I have lugged around during this last twelve months.

You could look at that and say I have missed stuff. I don’t think it really matter though!

At the end of the day its not about getting the categories right. Its more about the time spent with God listening to him and hearing his direction and calling for me.

You may ask ‘why write it down?’ or ‘why record this as a plan?’

Pretty simple really. It increases intentionality and increase the chances of actually doing something. Most people I know who are intentional in their lives develop more and accomplish more than those who go with the flow.

There have been times in the past where this has been a fairly ‘binding’ thing for me whereas the last 5 or 6 years have been more relaxed. I don’t think its healthy not to plan ahead, nor is it healthy to be anal about it either. As with most things the balance lies somewhere in between.

I’m interested in what others do in this area.

It seems that any kind of ‘goal setting’ has acquired a bad rep in em church settings often because it has been equated with a modernistic ‘pure achievement’ oriented worldview. I’m not sure those who critique it like that have shown me a healthier way to go.

Any ideas?


1. Yesterday I called HP for help on my computer. I spoke to a foreign voice – Indian sounding? After half an hour he had given me some solutions.

They didn’t work so I called back. Again an Indian sounding voice but a woman. She began to talk me thru some possible solutions one of which involved re-booting. As we were waiting for start up she began a conversation with me.

Turns out the reason they sounded Indian is because they are living in India. HP’s 1300 service number transfers you thru to their Bangalore office… We discussed how her Christmas was, the current weather in Bangalore, what she was doing today, and of course I couldn’t resist asking why a Hindu was celebrating Christmas !

Why India of all places?!

After an hour of trial and error software fixes (which I knew wouldn’t work) with these ‘help’ desk people I called the Aussie service centre whose number I got from her and spoke to Bruce.

“Sounds like a sticky keyboard mate – bring er in and we’ll fix er…”

Now that sounds right…

2. Just recieved an email from Danelle – in the family room! “Can you send those pics of Christmas thru?” I decided to put them on disk and actually (physically…bodily…unlazily…) walk the 16 meters to the other end of the house! A few minutes later another email arrives “They aren’t on there”.

This time I emailed… oh dear.

3. I was retelling the Christmas story to Ellie again last night. Often I tell the story and let her fill in the gaps.

I was telling her about the shepherds who saw an … ‘angel’ she crows. Who told them that a little… ‘baby’ she adds, is born – a very special baby and his name is…. ‘plonker’.

I don’t know where she got that from. Glad Jesus has a sense of humour!download cats dogs movie

Guy Sebastian for World Idol???

Despite my best intentions (of going out to see a movie with Danelle) I sat at home and watched World Idol. Actually I am watching it as I write this”

Having succumbed, I must admit that Guy Sebastian was pretty awesome. We all agreed that he needed to sing something funky and he really was up there with the best. I am a fan of people who ‘move’ rather than those who stand still – singers or preachers. Movement engages people and speaks of confidence. Guy certainly exuded a fair bit of charisma and it came thru as he did his thing.

I guess everybody wants their local to win – most days I don’t care, but today I’d like to see him do it.

If Guy doesn’t win I’d like to see Kurt from Norway pull it off. I’d also like to see some of those judges bite themselves. Maybe they are paid to be obnoxious, but it must be tough for those guys to hear that they are ‘ugly’, ‘useless’ etc.

If we want to see the final we’ll have to get up at 3.30am on Jan 2nd. Chances of that happening?… Yeh” that’s right!

Well” Danelle is voting for Kurt (the hobbit) as I write” Go Norway!

Dodgy Puter

For the last few days my laptop has been playing up. It’s mainly the backspace key that either stops working, or sometimes goes psycho deleting everything I type. It is also running slow and doing weird stuff. Apparently its not a virus.Thankfully we are off on holidays on Jan 3rd so I can drop it in to HP and hopefully see it again before the middle of the year!