Author: dave@restorefrankfort.com

Essentials of Personal Growth

Essentials of Personal Growth

I love this season when we intentionally take some time to focus on just how much we have been blessed. I look around and I am astounded by the depth of God’s goodness to me. I love looking back and seeing how far God has brought us.

This highlights the importance of personal growth. Nothing is more discouraging than stagnation, looking back and seeing yourself spinning your wheels with no progress. When you see growth, however, you get energized to move forward with passion and persistence. If you aren’t seeing the kind of growth you would like to see in your life, here are some steps to help you get started:

Get a Plan

We plan in all areas of our lives from what we are going to eat for lunch tomorrow to what we are going to wear. You may be involved with planning meetings at work and then come home to discuss your family plans for the week. We plan for almost everything, but when it comes to personal growth, we just expect it to happen without much thought.

If you want to see some substantial growth, make a plan to grow. Think through what kinds of things will stretch you and give you greater knowledge and greater application then make time for those things in your schedule. Our time can disappear quickly, so make sure to carve out space for the things that are important.

Get Great Resources

We live in a great time for growth. Information is available to us from so many avenues. Find things that will provide the spark for your intentional growth. There is an infinitely deep well of blogs, podcasts, videos, books, and sermons to quench your desire to gain wisdom. Find some good sources and add them into your routine. Find people of wisdom who challenge you toward a greater faith and action.

Get Back Up

Even the best plans fall apart from time to time. Busyness creeps in and we miss some of our growth goals. When that happens, don’t let it defeat you. Get right back onto your plan. Don’t get set back by setbacks. Each time you get back up, you propel yourself forward. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up.

 

What are some ways you can invest in your personal growth?

Refresh

Refresh

Busyness is an epidemic. Our culture encourages us to push ourselves beyond healthy limits to overachieve. The problem is that as we are striving to achieve, we actually drive down our quality of life and miss some great things in our personal relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in hard work. Working hard is good and I believe it is a way we praise God for the abilities He has given us. We need to give our best to the tasks we undertake, but we also need to set time for intentional refreshment. If we don’t get refreshment, we start to lose passion and endurance in life’s most significant areas. We need to develop habits that continually refresh us as we accomplish great things. Here are three habits to start developing this week:

Sabbath

Set aside some time each week for physical rest. Some people pride themselves on how many consecutive days they can work and brag about how much they get accomplished during that time. That is noble, but foolish. We are designed to require rest to function at our best. Getting a good night’s sleep each day is a great start, but we also need weekly refreshment. This is not only a benefit to you, it is also an acknowledgement to God’s design and plan for you. Do you trust that you will accomplish more if you give Him one day to rest and refresh?

Sanctuary

In addition to physical rest, we also need to be refreshed in our spirit. This kind of refreshment only comes from time spent with God. Don’t neglect your personal time with God. Read His word for nourishment and talk with Him through prayer to align your heart to His. This is more than just a mental exercise, it is a growth experience as God take our small investment and produces His character traits in our lives.

Saturation

There are so many negative messages consistently pushed at you. If we are not careful, we can begin to let those messages define the way we view the world around us. Once we begin to frame the conversation in negative terms, we have lost. Take some time to intentional refresh yourself mentally as well. Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and talk with wise people in your circle of influence. Saturate your mind with things that will enable growth. Choose a positive mindset and then feed that mindset. You will be encouraged by equipping your mind. This will enable you to make better choices and live more passionately about your purpose.

Develop habits now that continually refresh you as you work hard toward your God given goals.

Crafting a Better Lifestyle

Crafting a Better Lifestyle

Is there a fast track to success? I talk to a lot of people that would like to improve their situation in one way or another. They see an opportunity for growth in an area of their lives and they are looking for advice on how to get there. Commonly the questions revolve around how to overcome certain obstacles in order to get to the destination as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, these are the wrong questions. Success is just accomplishing a goal. The problem is that once we accomplish one goal, our brains move the goal posts and a new goal is formed. We will never find satisfaction in simply achieving “success.”

So how do we improve our lives and our situations?

I think in order to answer this, we need to start thinking like artists who are crafting our lives every moment of the day. To get more out of each day, think like a craftsman:

Craftsmen Enjoy the Process

When I lived in upstate New York, I had the opportunity to see some amazing craftsmen creating blown glass. It was so interesting to see them move the art from the fire and manipulate it and the repeat the process. Slowly a blob of raw materials became an incredible work of art. The finished work of a skilled craftsman is a beautiful thing.

Craftsman create because they enjoy the process of creating. They love the making of the art, just as much as the final product. If you want to find more success and enjoyment, you must find joy in the things that build your life. Things like Bible study and prayer are much more than a means to an end, they are the adventure itself. Dinner conversations can become much more meaningful when they are part of your craft. Every time you go to work and put your all into what you do, you are an artist. Find the joy in the process of becoming who God wants you to be and take pleasure in the things that form you.

Craftsmen create something of value

I love things that are hand crafted. Judging by the amount of DIY stuff on Pinterest, you do too. There is something great about creating something of worth. When deciding how to spend the limited amount of time you possess, choose things that create value. As you craft a better lifestyle, be wise and invest in things that really matter.

Craftsmen don’t take shortcuts

There is not a shortcut to a well-crafted life. It takes time and investment. If you take joy in the elements that create the kind of life you desire and continually do things that have value, there is no need for a quick route to the end. One day, you simply look back and see how far God has brought you and you give thanks.

Enjoy the creative process as you craft something valuable in your life.

2 Understandings to Grow Your Faith

2 Understandings to Grow Your Faith

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I’ve never had anyone say to me “I wish I had just a little less faith.” The fact is that most of us, when we think about it, want to exercise more faith in our lives. I believe we would all like to see the kind of faith that drives our lives into greater significance and purpose. God makes some outrageous promises in His Word and then asks us to simply trust Him. Knowing that without faith it is impossible to please God makes it even more imperative that we progress in our journey. So how does it grow? How can we place more trust in God today than we ever have before? Here are two things that we must understand in order for us to see substantial progress in our faith journey:

Faith grows when we begin to understand God’s character

God is always good. When He guides and directs, it is always in our best interest. It is hard for us to step back and see things from that perspective, especially when our circumstances seem bleak.  The more we immerse ourselves in the character of God, the more we are able to trust Him in the big and the small. As we wrap our heads around the concepts of Holiness, Goodness, Patience, and Love, our faith begins to meet us within our context. Once our trust matures, we can then become bold in our actions and attempt great things for God.

Faith grows when we begin to understand God’s authority

God is the supreme authority and nothing is greater. Health issues, world politics, and even life and death are all subject to Him. Everything that comes your way has already been filtered through the authority, love, and compassion of God. He can take all things and make something good out of them. When you go through your toughest times, faith says that the best is yet to come. Trust God even when it doesn’t make sense. At some point you will see how He takes broken things and makes greatness from the pieces. He never loses control. He is always faithful.

Keep moving forward and let your faith blossom as you continue to understand God’s character and authority.

Making Sense of Tragedy

Making Sense of Tragedy

Why?  

Finding the why in life is a vast undertaking. This is especially true in times of great tragedy. Yesterday afternoon we got word that a student in my children’s school district had passed away. An unknown sudden illness took control and in just a few weeks a healthy, vibrant teenager deteriorated into an unrecoverable state.

It was amazing to see the community rally together around this family. Rival schools and friends alike attended prayer vigils and fundraisers with an incredible show of support. Today, all of the schools in our area have donned our school colors as a tribute to this young man.

Late night conversations

Last night, after all the activities of the day had passed, I had a conversation with my son. He is several years younger than the student who passed and only knew him from a distance. He had heard the news and I wanted to be a support to him as he processed this loss. I asked him how he was feeling about what he had heard.

“Actually, I’m pretty angry about it.” he said. That was not the response I was expecting.

I asked him why and he said “I don’t understand. We did everything right. We got together and prayed for him. We did events and he still died.”

As a dad, these are the times where your heart breaks. I hurt when my kids hurt. The question of why was hanging over the whole situation. Why does God provide miraculous recovery for some, but not for others? Why does something so tragic happen to someone with so much potential?

I asked my son “why do you think bad things happen to good people?” He responded the way most of us do to that question – a very tentative “I don’t know.”

How can we make sense of it all?

I don’t have all the answers, but I talked to my son last night about perspective. We can’t make sense of all the hurt and pain that accompanies this life from our point of view. The only way we can have hope in the middle of the tragedy is to see our existence from an eternal perspective.

If this life is the best there is, then this is the saddest of days. I believe, however, that the bible gives us the hope that the best part of our existence is on the other side of this life and that we will spend far more of our existence on that side. We will feel the loss and the loss hurts, but there is hope In Christ.

This is my “Why”

This is why I continue to write and speak. This is the “why” that drives my life. I want others to know and experience the hope that Christ provides, the hope that death is not final, the hope that the best is yet to come.

What is your “why”? Live today like everything you do matters because it does. Do things that have eternal value and cherish every moment that you have.

3 Things Your Soul Desperately Needs

3 Things Your Soul Desperately Needs

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Prayer is an amazing thing. Most people believe to some extent in the power of prayer but, as a follower of Christ, it is much more than just a cry out into the dark. The Bible shows us that prayer not a religious exercise, but a relational tool.  God desires to be connected to His kids and gave us the way for us to hear from Him (His Word) and for us to respond back to Him (through prayer.) I believe that we are intentionally designed with this relationship in mind so that we can only find true satisfaction in our connection to God. Our souls crave things that can only be produced in our lives by prayer. Here are 3 things that you soul desperately needs:

Alignment

Have you ever spent so much time with someone that you begin to pick up their mannerisms and phrases? This happens as we spend time in prayer. As you pray, you enter into the presence of an infinite God. The more time you spend with Him, the more His character rubs off on you. It is during this time that our heart begin to become aligned with His heart. We begin to see the World through the lens of His love, mercy, and grace.

Direction

There are times in our lives where we have decisions to make that are not just the choice between bad and good. Hopefully, you have already resolved to choose good in that scenario every time. Sometimes, however, you have choices between two good things and you are trying to determine which direction to take. God gives His wisdom extravagantly. James tells us that when we don’t have the wisdom that we need, we must ask for it and God will supply. As my kids get older, their questions get tougher. I love it when they ask my opinion on something and I have something valuable to share with them from my experience. God interacts with us as a father with his children. He has all of the answers. He has valuable wisdom for our circumstances and He wants us to ask. God wants His kids to thrive, specifically in their relationship to Him.

Hope

Sometimes we look at our situations and there is nothing left for us to do. Sometimes circumstances are completely out of our control. The good news is that they are never out of God’s control. Prayer is a divine connection to an all-powerful God. There are times where He can intervene when no one else can. Because of this, there is always hope. For the follower of Christ, even death itself is full of hope. On the other side of this life is the prize – an eternity with the same God who loved you enough to provide an open door. So when it seems darkest in your life, prayer show us that daybreak is just on the horizon.

Reach out to God today. Make time for a conversation that has the potential to change you and the World.

3 Things that will Destroy Your Joy

3 Things that will Destroy Your Joy

Do you find yourself with a look on your face like you’ve been sucking on lemons all day? Do you hear yourself say really positive things, but in an almost Eeyore-like voice? I find myself here sometimes. How do we break out of the doldrums and embrace the joy that God provides in our lives?

Here’s the good news. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit working in your life. So, as God works in you, joy is cultivated. There are things that can hinder that growth and, like a good gardener, we must weed out these things that suffocate our joy. Here are 3 weeds we can get rid of today:

Comparison

When we compare ourselves to others, we have already lost. When we think of ourselves as better than others, pride creeps in. When we think of ourselves as less than, envy creeps in. Both are natural enemies of joy. Each person in unique to God and He has an individual plan for them. When we look into someone’s life from the outside, we don’t see all of the formative events that got them to this point and we don’t see the future that God has planned for them. So, it is impossible for us to make a comparison of our life to theirs. God is amazingly creative and He is doing something in your life that doesn’t fit into a formula.

Isolation

Instead of comparing, we need to collaborate. We are not designed to live life in isolation. Culture tells us that true strength comes from within. The reality is that true strength come from dependence on God and in the context of community. In Philippians 2, Paul finds joy in his influence and connection to fellow believers. When we are isolated, only our success matters. When we are connected, we get to celebrate when others win.  When we are isolated, our trouble is all-consuming. When we are connected, our troubles are divided and picked up by those who care about us.

Position

The only position that provides joy is a position that faces God. When we turn inward and face ourselves, our issues take center stage and the spotlight prevents us from seeing what is going on around us. We are designed with eternity in mind so that our temporary successes do not produce the kind of long-term joy that we crave. As we position ourselves to face God, we begin to see things from His perspective. Troubles appear temporary. Our actions take on a whole new significance as God includes us in His plan to redeem mankind.

These three things can destroy the joy that is ready to grow in your life. Start with a vibrant time with God and expand out into meaningful relationships that are constructive to your faith.

Pull some weeds today, and watch joy bloom!

Your Faith at Work

Your Faith at Work

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Following Christ needs to be a consuming endeavor. It is easy for us to compartmentalize our lives. We have our church selves, our home selves, and our work selves and if we are not careful, we can develop different habits and actions in each environment. In this paradigm it is easy to confine God into a small portion of your life. This become really apparent in how we approach our workplaces. God shouldn’t be a side dish at the buffet of life’s choices. Instead, He wants to be the foundational rock that our identity is built upon, then we can become the person God wants us to be regardless of the circumstances. It is easy to get so caught up in all the negatives that go along with a work environment that we forget to be the influencers. Here’s a few ways to be the right person while at work:

Be Your Best

Work hard and do a good job no matter what. Work with all the fervor and intensity that you would if God was right with you (which in a very real sense, He is.) Strive to always do your best and have a process for continually improving your abilities. Think of your actions as either pushing people away from or inviting them into a relationship with God. In that view, everything we do has eternal value and significance.

Be Trustworthy

The most sought after qualities of employees and employer alike are honesty and integrity. Others around you need to be confident that you will do the right thing even if it isn’t easy. Combine this with a habit of following through on commitments and you will become a person that others can trust. Trust is a social currency that is hard to acquire, but incredibly easy to lose. Build trust by saying what you mean and following through with commitments.

Be the Positive Influence

Gossip, complaints, and negativity are on-the-job hazards. It is really hard to break out of the downward spiral of negativity. You have an amazing potential to be the catalyst for change in your workplace. As you develop a vital relationship with God that begins to consume each compartment of your life, you will have the strength to remain positive even when your surroundings are not. Sometimes a simple encouraging thought or phrase can make all the difference in someone’s day.

Put your heart and soul into your work, so that others can see your heart and soul.

4 Things You Need to do With Your Family Every Day

4 Things You Need to do With Your Family Every Day

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Having a great family life looks effortless from the outside, but it takes a lot of effort to create an environment where your family thrives. A lot of times we get it backward and try to impress others at the expense of those closest to us. Instead, let’s be mindful of the incredible trust that has been given to us. Here are four things you should start doing today:

Engage

There is no replacement for time spent with your family. Each day we need to engage with our family as a whole and then make it a habit of connecting with each member individually. Be as creative as you want to be in making this happen. You might have meaningful conversations over dinner, or play a family game, or just walk around your neighborhood. The key is that we are willing to give our most precious resource, time, to invest in those that matter most to us. Use these encounters to connect and create intimacy.

Enrich

Use your words and actions to intentional build up your family. Teach your kids how to handle conflict with grace and how to experience the good things in life without pride. Make your home a safe place where your family is loved and accepted and relational walls are not needed. Add value to your home and focus on meeting the needs of your spouse and children. You will find that there is so much more joy in investing than there is in pursuing self.

Expand

Grow together. Find an avenue that each member of the family can relate to and make time to develop a relationship with God. When we put God in the center of our homes, we draw closer together as we get closer to Him. There are so many great resources to get you started. Find a good bible study, podcast or book and launch some real discussions that cause you and your family to build faith.

Enjoy

Love your family and have some fun. Don’t limit this to just a week’s vacation each year. That leaves 51 weeks of boring.  Find ways to make even the most mundane tasks fun. Have inside jokes, laugh together, and enjoy the time you have with the ones you love. We don’t realize how short that time is.

My prayer is that each of you has an amazing home that honors God and is an awesome sign of what He can do in the lives of those who trust Him.