Are you ready? This is the question we face when a new season is upon us. I will never forget training for the Marine Corps marathon back in 2011. Hundreds upon hundreds of miles logged, fighting through a foot injury, planning my travel, visualizing race day, and eating all the right foods. It was one of the most intense physical preparation phases I have ever been through in my life. But one thing is for sure, when race day was upon me, whether I was ready or not, it was time to run. Run I did, my best marathon time of my life to this day.
My brother and Adam and I, proudly with medals post marathon and a little sore.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
The last 3 miles of that race were the most pain I had been in, in my life. I’ll never forget what happened that day I crossed the finish line. The marine standing at the finish line placed the medal around my neck and I fell to the ground, out of joy, accomplishment, and at the same time overwhelmed with emotion. I wept. I ran that race with my Father in mind the whole race. He was a Marine who fought in the vietnam war. In a strange way while I was running, I felt connected to all the men and women who had struggled to stay alive in the midst of war. Some made it many did not, but they all put it all on the line. They trained endless hours, disciplined themselves at the highest level and lived and died with a purpose. They prepared like their lives depended on it. We MUST do the same!
The apostle Paul wrote the scripture above at the end of his life. He had given his whole life to the Gospel and was in constant preparation. His personal account of his life to Timothy was that he had completed his part of this race with every ounce of spiritual energy in him. Are You Ready? I mean, are you preparing for what God has for you next? Life happens in seasons and no matter what season you are going into, here are some keys to preparing well for the next phase.
How To Prepare Well…
#1 Desperately Pray – Prayer is the primary work of preparation. This is a HUGE blind spot for most of us. If you are going to pray you will need to plan your prayer time as well as be in constant prayer. Whatever you are pursuing, right now, go to your calendar and plan an extra prayer time every week in order to ensure you are listening to God. Pray when its on the calendar, when its not on the calendar and whenever you think of it. prayer is a constant conversation.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 #Prepare
#2 Diligently Plan – Planning refines the strategy God gives you. Preparation time allowed me to develop a great strategy of how I was going to train and how I was going to run the marathon. As I was in training, I even adjusted my plan. In our church plant six years ago, prior planning allowed me to see things I have never seen before as 217church was prepared meticulously way before we ever held a public worship service or held our first 217group. The “lag time” allowed me valuable time to hone the gifts, strategy, philosophy and timing of what we needed as we started the church. Also, I wasn’t ready. In that time, God wanted to give us a gift named Lydia, our third child! Planting a church with a pregnant wife would have been, well, CRAZY! By the time we launched, our plan was so well prepared, we just needed God to show UP!
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 #Prepare
#3 Discipline Yourself – Discipline teaches you to live beyond today. There, I just said it. I know, the word you probably did not want to here. The dreaded D word! Truth of the matter is, we must always be diligently preparing ourselves for what is next. This means discipline. We must always be rigorously choosing to take necessary steps in order to perform and be used for a higher purpose at a later date. The reason many of us have problem with discipline is we don’t see immediate results. If you don’t discipline yourself, the vision WILL pass you by. Get a schedule, live with a plan, measure your hours, measure your life, make a difference. It’s going to take discipline. Need more proof?
1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” #Prepare
#4 Depend On Others – With others you can go further faster. As you are preparing you will need to prioritize constantly. As you are prioritizing, no doubt you will need to delegate certain things. You need a team to delegate to, full of diverse people who have different strengths, in order that you can reach the final goal. A variety of people will also help you to be able to point out blind spots in the vision and allow you to side step possible pitfalls. Find someone who will prepare with you.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 #Prepare
Our church is in a season of Preparation – on February 7th We start our new #Relaunch series. It’s hard to believe, but we enter into year seven of 217church this Spring! We are calling this the “RELAUNCH” of 217church. This means developing a relaunch team. I want you to be on our relaunch team. I want you to prepare with us for a new season of incredible impact through the local church. We are doing this through a 40 day spiritual growth emphasis. Here are some ways to be involved in this historic moment: Join one of these Relaunch teams:
- Small group team – making disciples that make disciples
- Weekend team – making our church the most hospitable place in Central New Jersey
- Worship team – leading the church into the presence of God
- Prayer team – interceding for the church
- Administrative team – ensuring excellence in communication
- Ministry fair team – helping people find their place and ultimate contribution
- Youth & Kids team – investing in the next generation
E-MAIL DOUG@217church.com to join one of these teams
What are you preparing for? Comment below as I would love to partner with you in prayer
We are officially #Relaunching @217church after 6 full years of ministry. Our first Sunday services will be Sunday February 7, 2016 Don’t worry, we have regular weekend services leading up to this historic day for us as we prepare and build our teams! Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us. Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here