Dr. Brian Bennett
I often post on my social media #livelovelead. Over the past few years, this simple phrase has become a core part of who I am. Let me give you a little history that led to this hashtag. In 2005, I was a young pastor who was bi-vocational, in seminary (part-time), and starting a family. It was an incredibly busy time that was filled with fruit and frustration as well. I never seemed to have enough time for all the things on my plate and I had a real challenge figuring out my priorities. I was drowning daily in all of it and God rescued me in an unusual way. God didn’t remove everything from plate, He instead used a seminary professor to help me clarify my life purpose and priorities.
Dr. Robert Clinton challenged his students to write an epithet for our “tombstone” and to consider it a life purpose statement. By beginning with the end in mind, we would then be able to better understand how we desired to live and lead today. It was a brilliant exercise that led me to write the following for my tombstone in 2005: “to passionately follow Jesus, joyfully serves others, and help others do the same”. As I clarified what I wanted my legacy to be, I was able to begin the process of reprioritizing my current reality. God has used this ever since to keep me focused on living, loving, and leading with the life He has given me. This deep desire was summed up really well by the Apostle Paul who said in Philippians 1:19-26:
“Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
May this encourage you today to get with God and begin to write your own “tombstone” and clarify what you want your life to be remembered for. Here are a few steps to consider in the process:
1. Pray and ask God for help.
2. Write down any key verses or phrases that mean a lot to you.
3. Write down character traits and attributes you hope to be remembered for.
4. Spend time review, reflecting, and rewriting 2-3 into a simple statement.
5. Share it with family and friends for input.
Enjoy the journey and may you discover more of the life God has for you through this process!
I was thinking about how great it is when somebody encourages me. Then I thought about how great it is when I encourage someone else. And how I need to do it more!
Everyone needs encouragement. The times we are living in right now can be enough to make someone want to give up or tap out.
But remember the words of encouragement from Jesus when He tells us in John 16:33 “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”
The word encourage is made up from two words:
En- to cause (a person or thing) to be in and Courage-the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
David was encouraged by Jonathan. Joshua was encouraged by God to be strong and courageous.
Mary was encouraged by God to not be afraid. Paul encouraged Timothy. And the words Paul wrote to us still encourage us to this day.
1 Thessalonians 5:9
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
So…Be encouraged! And go encourage someone else today!