On Tuesday I wrote about something Pete Wilson said that rocked my world. As a result I wanted to make more of an effort in 2011 to be connected to God. For that to happen I have to be more disconnected to other things. Here’s what I’ve done:
1. No internet at home – Denise (my wife) and I made the decision to drop the DLS service coming into our home. There were nights we’d spend hours “cruising the net” or I’d go back online to work on church stuff….neither one is healthy. There is a place within walking distance that has wi-fi or my 3g iPhone if we really need it…but for the most part it hasn’t been that tough living without internet. The greatest thing about this…I leave work at work.
2. No television at home – We cut our dish service…and haven’t hooked up the antennae. We use Netflix and Redbox on occasion…but having no television has been AMAZING!!! You can’t imagine how much “couple time” and time for devotions we have now that we aren’t chained to network television. By the way, I don’t have television at the office…but occasionally will watch ESPN or CNN online during my lunch break.
3. Closing my office door – When I do not want to be disturbed at the office I close my door. I love people and I love the Compass Point staff…but I close my office door more now. I’m trying to spend more time praying for our church and the people that we are reaching…I can’t do that and be available for every “pick up” meeting taking place around the office.
4. Going to bed earlier – I’m a night owl by nature. Not anymore. I’m trying to get up earlier so I’m making efforts to go to bed earlier. Most nights I’m in bed by 10:00 p.m. and read until about 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. I also get everything ready for the next day before I go to bed…gives me extra time for my morning devotional.
5. Getting up earlier – It’s quiet in the house before 6:00 a.m. so I’ve been slowly setting me alarm back in 5-minute increments to get up earlier for prayer and Bible study. We also set up a little area separated from everything else on our sun porch specifically for my devotional time.
6. Getting a Kindle – I didn’t want the iPad…too much temptation to play Angry Birds instead of reading God’s Word…so I bought a Kindle DX. I carry my commentaries, multiple study Bibles and several devotionals in a thing the size of a magazine. I love the Kindle…it has really boosted my desire and enjoyment for reading.
7. Change the view – I love being in the office at Compass Point…but somedays it can get very confining. We have adopted an “open office’ policy at Compass Point that allows the staff to work from mobile locations a day or two a week. This gives me…and our other pastors…a chance to change the scenery for creativity, reflection and devotion.
8. More vacations – One of the best thing I did for my relationship with God…and my wife…was to go on a cruise to Alaska. Seeing that part of the country just blew me away about how awesome God and His creation is. It really sparked more desire in me to be closer to Him. Buying things has never brought me much satisfaction…or closer to God. Going on vacation…experiencing a different world…did.
9. Saying “no” – I really suck at this. I want people to be happy with me and like me…I’m an approval whore. The problem has been that almost every time I was saying “yes” to something or somebody…it meant saying “no” to ample time with God.
10. – Killed Facebook – Facebook is not a healthy social network…it is a time killer. The constant inflow of messages from people I barely knew was consuming a HUGE chunk of my time. I had already tamed Twitter pretty well by following only a few close friends…but Facebook was a monkey on my back. Right before Christmas I killed my main Facebook site and set up a joint account with my wife. We are only befriending relatives and extremely close friends on it. I did set up a Facebook business page so people could still follow my updates from Twitter. About once a week I respond to comments there…but no more than that.
The result of these changes is that I’m spending an hour or more a day in prayer…quality prayer time…intentional prayer time. I’m also able to spend two to three hours a day in Bible study. Some is for sermon or speaking prep, but most is for guidance and knowledge. I’m also able to spend one to two hours a day reading, listening to or watching resources that furthering my walk with God and abilities as the Senior Pastor of Compass Point.