Book Review: The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett

Summary in a sentence: “Your half hours direct and shape your future.”

Tommy Barnett points out the incredible power of investing small amounts of time to get huge returns. Time is the “most significant nonrenewable resource” that we have. Each day that passes leaves us with less time. Time is a gift from God which He intends for us to invest carefully, intentionally, wisely, and productively.

“You will never get lost time back–and nobody can eliminate the results of time well-invested.”

The thirty short chapters in this book are grouped into categories that focus charting your life path, strengthening your faith, building your character, advancing your dreams, improving your relationships, and changing the world. Mr. Barnett shows how all of this can be accomplished thirty minutes at a time.

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The book offers some good, practical instruction. By no means does it exhaust each topic, but the point is to demonstrate the difference a small amount of time given regularly to any area of life needing improvement can make a big difference.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is striving for growth in any area of life. Especially if you ever feel overwhelmed by what seems to be insurmountable odds. Mr. Barnett will help you break down every obstacle and attack it strategically.

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Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith

Teach us to number our DAYS, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)

How old are you? I am 10, 307 today. Tomorrow I will be 10, 308. I’m not the oldest person alive, I’m simply changing how I measure the length of my life. We measure our lives in years but the Scriptures clearly teach the wisdom in numbering our days.

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This is the powerful practice that author Robert D. Smith conveys in 20,000 Days and CountingI have read many books on purpose, goal-setting, and time-management but the impact of this concise book was much deeper than others. It is written so that it will take the average person about an hour to read but you will want to read it twice and slow down to let every sentence sink in.

The chapter titled Motivation is a Myth (just one page) is worth the price of this book.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you find yourself in a rut. You will be encouraged to remember how short and fragile life is and how important it is to employ every day for the purpose God has intended for your life.

Today is a gift. Make sure you celebrate it by doing something important and worth-while.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

When God Writes Your Story

I’ve heard it said, and perhaps you have too, that we shouldn’t plan our lives because we will under plan them. Rather, in order to realize your full potential and fulfill your purpose, allow God to plan your life. This simply stated, not easily practiced principle, has proven true over and again in my life. There have been times that I have shot for the moon hoping to hit a star, not realizing that God wanted to give me the sun. I only had to wait for Him to write the story.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:(Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It’s not always easy to give up the pen and allow Him to write. I think I know what’s best for me. I need to know the plan. I don’t have time to wait. And I have found that when He is writing, I often don’t see much more than the next step of faith. When He is writing, there are often unexpected plot twists and turns in the road that leave me overwhelmed and saying, “I didn’t see that coming.” When He is writing, I’m not in control, I’m under His control. And I have to constantly fight the urge to take the pen from His hand and write in characters and scenes where I think they should be.

So I fight every fleshly urge to know the future, to be in control, to speed up the story, and I allow Him to write.

Because when He is writing and unfolding His masterpiece I find true peace. When He is writing I realize that I have every thing that I need. When He is writing I face and overcome all of my fears. When He is writing, everything in me that I am ashamed of rises to the surface and He takes it out. When He is writing, I become the man He wants me to be.

I am just learning to allow Him to write the story. And over the last few months He has written exciting adventures that I could have never planned and He has penned in beautiful people who have changed my world forever. He has filled my story with a love that exceeds every expectation that I ever had for human love and companionship. In doing so, He has answered prayer requests that I have prayed for years and given me my greatest earthly blessing.

And I can truly say, it was worth waiting for the story to unfold. I wouldn’t change a thing. And I am full of anticipation for the chapters ahead.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4).

The End Is Already Written

Studies in First Corinthians – XXVIII

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Complete and final victory is the promise of every child of God. Reading these last few verses of chapter fifteen is like reading the back of the book. They tell us just how this chapter of life on this earth will end for the Christian.

“Behold I show you a mystery” (15:51). A mystery is not something that cannot be explained, but something that you will never prove by intellect. It is something that you will never reason your way into by winning an argument. You can argue yourself out of a mystery, but never into it.

Here is the mystery Paul speaks of: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (15:51). The dead are “asleep” but notice that we shall not all sleep. There will be a generation which will not die. Rather, as life and time marches on in its predictable manner, a change will come and this generation will not taste of the darkness of death. There is no date given, but it could happen before the sun sets this day.

In the case of those who have died, corruptible flesh will put on incorruption, the body that is laid in the grave will be raised a new body. For those who are alive on that day, mortal shall put on immortality. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption; mortality cannot inherit immortality.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

We can take great comfort, knowing that we will have the final victory. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:55-57).

These words spoken to man’s most feared enemy echo with laughter. Paul stands confronting death and the grave. Death has lost its sting because the penalty of sin is cancelled by the blood of Christ. Therefore, death is no longer an enemy of the Christian, but an instrument of freedom from the reign of sin in his body.

If you are saved by God’s grace, then you know how this life will end. Instead of swallowing you up, death itself will be swallowed up! Instead of casting you into an eternal hell, death itself will go there (Revelation 20:14). The tables were turned at Calvary’s cross. The end is already written.

Fields of Witness

Studies in First Corinthians – XXVII

1 Corinthians 15: 35-38

The purpose for writing this chapter was to address the question we have in verse twelve: “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Paul has answered this question with overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resulting implications. However, there are still some people who are not satisfied. Paul anticipates their questions:

“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” (15:35).

From the outside looking in, it is easy for us to look down on the skeptic, but his question is a natural one. We all have witnessed death and decay. We have witnessed the dramatic change that takes place in a body void of life and personality. How ARE the dead raised up?

Paul’s response doesn’t seem very polite, “Thou fool” (15:36). He has no doubt about this question. He gives a simple illustration of a death as an example (15:36-38).

But if the dead are raised up, if a man must, in the flesh, see God, if there is an appointment with Him awaiting every one of us, then our preparation for that day is important. -Redpath

The illustration Paul gives is that of a simple grain of wheat. He invites us to give it a proper burial in the ground. It is dead. But soon you will see, pushing through the black soil, a green shoot rising, full of life. By some amazing miracle, a new plant has come out of the dead grain that you put into the ground.

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).

That is Paul’s answer. The mystery of the resurrection of the body is no greater than that. If you say that because you cannot understand, you will not believe in the resurrection of the body, then logically you have to say that you don’t believe in harvest because you don’t understand the process.

You can only understand the miracle of each if you put God behind them. All the harvest fields of the world are witness to the work of God who takes death, brings it to life, gives it a new body, and produces the harvest. As Paul says, it is no more difficult to believe in the resurrection than it is to believe in the harvest.

If you are looking for hope beyond this life, look to the fields. Observe how He brings life out of death. Notice them, the fields of witness.

A Man With A Plan: Reviewing Michael Hyatt’s “Creating Your Personal Life Plan”

I recently tweeted that I had downloaded Michael Hyatt’s first e-book, Creating Your Person Life Plan. A good friend of mine responded by asking my opinion of the book, asking if I thought Mr. Hyatt’s approach was Biblical. I’ve had other friends who suggested that goal-setting and life-planning of any kind were directly opposed to God’s Word.

I can understand the concern. After reading through Mr. Hyatt’s book, I must confess that I am not comfortable with all of the verbiage that he uses. For example, the subtitle of the book is “A Step-by-Step Guide for Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted.” If I am responsible for designing my life, I’m afraid it will fall incredibly short of what it could be if I allow God to design it.

Also, Mr. Hyatt prioritizes his “life accounts,” stressing the importance of taking care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. His list looks like this:

1. God
2. Self
3. Gail (Spouse)
4. Children
5. Friends
6. Career
7. Finances
8. Ministry

Others would argue that “self” should come after others as we are called to be servants to all. The problem is in trying to list these accounts in order of importance. Rather than a list, I suggest we put our relationship with God at the center of our life. When our relationship with Him is correct, the other accounts are a natural outflow of this relationship.

That being said, Let me tell you why I love Mr. Hyatt’s book and how I have been using these ideas and resources for the past year.

If you know me well at all, you know that I am task oriented. I am a planner. I set goals and strive to meet those goals. I have been using the Life Plan format and the Weekly Review and Quarterly Review for the past year and I can honestly say that it has increased my focus and productivity by leaps and bounds.

The key is in how you use tools like these. Planning and goal setting can be dangerous or it can be beneficial depending upon your starting point. When I set goals, they are based on the vision and purpose that God has already revealed to me concerning His will for my life. I don’t use a Life Plan to design my life. Rather, I use it to move me forward in God’s revealed plan for my life.

And that has made all the difference.

Download a copy of Michael Hyatt’s e-book here.

The ‘How’ and the ‘Why’

I was intrigued by this poem today.  It may provide some inspiration for those of you who are reviewing 2010 and praying, planning, and preparing for 2011.

Photo by h.koppdelaney

I am any man’s suitor, If any will be my tutor: Some say this life is pleasant, Some think it speedeth fast: In time there is no present, In eternity no future, In eternity no past. We laugh, we cry, we are born, we die, Who will riddle me the how and the why?

The bulrush nods unto his brother The wheatears whisper to each other: What is it they say? What do they there? Why two and two make four? Why round is not square? Why the rocks stand still, and the light clouds fly? Why the heavy oak groans, and the white willows sigh? Why deep is not high, and high is not deep? Whether we wake or whether we sleep? Whether we sleep or whether we die? How you are you? Why I am I? Who will riddle me the how and the why?

The world is somewhat; it goes on somehow; But what is the meaning of then and now! I feel there is something; but how and what? I know there is somewhat; but what and why! I cannot tell if that somewhat be I.

The little bird pipeth ‘why! why!’ In the summerwoods when the sun falls low, And the great bird sits on the opposite bough, And stares in his face and shouts ‘how? how?’ And the black owl scuds down the mellow twilight, And chaunts ‘how? how?’ the whole of the night.

Why the life goes when the blood is spilt? What the life is? Where the soul may lie? Why a church is with a steeple built; And a house with a chimney-pot? Who will riddle me the how and the what? Who will riddle me the what and the why?

– Alfred Lord Tennyson (The Suppressed Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson)

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