Big Secret #1

As a leader, pastor, dad and husband, I want to know all that I can to make me better at what I do.  I also want to experience all I can to make me a more effective minister of the gospel, a more faithful friend, and a more dedicated disciple of Jesus.  So when I see someone who has gone further than me or been faithful longer than me, I make it a point to ask them about lessons they've learned and mistakes they've made in hopes that I can glean this knowledge from them in a more streamlined fashion than having to go through a lengthy process myself.

In other words, I would rather learn from someone else's mistakes than to make them myself.

So if there are any "secrets" to being a great dad or a faithful husband or an effective leader or a Godly minister, I want to know them.

Truth be told, there really are no "secrets" if by "secrets" you actually mean "shortcuts."  And for many of us, that is exactly what we want; a shortcut to success.

In another sense, however, there are some nuggets of wisdom that, if applied consistently, will enhance your potential to finish the race that God has called you to run.

After 29 years in ministry, I am no expert by any means.  But I do have TWO BIG SECRETS and I want to share them with you, because I know that if you apply them, they will greatly increase your chances of being a lifelong, faithful follower of Jesus Christ.  Here is the first one.

BIG SECRET #1

Prepare yourself.  This may come as a surprise.  You may think it's a joke.  I assure you, it is not.  It is the single most practical thing I do that allows me to be an effective minister, faithful father, loving husband, and dedicated disciple, and it is so easy that anyone can do it.  And it is free.  Are you ready?

GET UP EARLY.

That's it.  Hands down, the greatest and most practical thing I can share with those who ask me questions like...

How do you prepare so many new messages?  I get up early.

When did you have time to write books?  I get up early.

How do you handle traveling, preaching, leading, and personally discipling someone?  I get up early.

How in the world can you homeschool your kids, write a blog, and have personal time with God?  I get up early.

My father modeled this for me and instilled it in me from the time I was a young boy.  It allows me to begin my day before things get cluttered and busy.  I don't feel rushed when I wake up and I have time to pray and read the Bible.  I can make a list of the things I need to do that day, and by the time the rest of the world wakes up, I am already done with half my list.  Getting up early gives me margin, space, breathing room, and affords me unhurried time to think and reflect.  I can write a new blog or work on a chapter for my new book, or pray for my friends in ministry.

But getting up early is not easy.  It is hard work and it requires discipline, but if you do it for a few months, every single day, you will train your body by forming a new habit, and then it will happen naturally wthout any effort.  I can't remember the last time an alarm clock woke me up.

The next post will be my other big secret, but until then, you may want to consider beginning a new regiment where you get up before the sun rises.  You will not notice immediate results, but you will be changing up your body chemistry and training your mind to get ahead of the day and all the distractions it will throw at you.  It makes all the difference and may be the very thing that you need to do to change things up if you feel stuck in a rut or stagnant in your walk with Jesus.

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