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Tag Archives: Change

  • The Power of a Half Hour from Tommy Barnett

    Posted on January 21, 2014 by Family Christian

    Tommy

    My name is Tommy Barnett.

    I’m a pastor and have devoted my entire adult life to helping people connect with God and find better ways to live. I could fill up this book and more with all kinds of spiritual and practical ideas about what works in life and what doesn’t. I think it would be good stuff, but I have one practical idea that I know from my own experience rises far above all the others.

    I admit it’s not an overly unique concept, like the invention of the Internet, for example. However, it’s an idea that has helped me realize success and great satisfaction in all aspects of my personal and professional life. I mean everything—from personal goals and dreams to marriage to raising a family to relationships to work.

    I believe the idea can change your life, though, as it has changed mine.

    Most importantly, it has helped me serve God and others more effectively. Trust me, my idea is not rocket science; in fact, it’s so simple that anyone can understand and benefit from it.

    I believe the idea can change your life, though, as it has changed mine. I call it the power of a half hour.

    Many people think of a half hour as a minimal or meaningless gap in time, downtime to catch your breath between periods of major effort. But the truth is your half hours can determine the difference between success and failure. Your half hours direct and shape your future.

    You can literally change your world in thirty minutes. In the same way that your effect on the world is felt one life at a time, so is that effect delivered through the careful and thoughtful investment of your half hours. The beauty of this reality is that anyone can do it. You don’t need a PhD, and you don’t need a life coach to pull it off. All you need is to accept the idea, have a clear sense of your God-given purpose, examine your activity patterns, sensitize yourself to your time choices, and start taking advantage of the power of a half hour.

    Every half hour in your day is a power-loaded resource. Your choice of how to spend those minutes is the focus of this book, which I intend to make a practical conversation about a resource that we misunderstand, abuse, take for granted, and ignore.

    I want to help you become the person God intends you to be and accomplish His plans for your life. And in order to do that, you need to use your small increments of time wisely—not just the big slices of time that are devoted to both routine daily activities and major life events.

    I agree with Harvey Mackay who said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”

    I know that it’s not easy to find even a “free” hour in the world we live in. I also have learned that it’s difficult to accomplish a great deal in a quarter hour—especially if you need to communicate graciously and genuinely with another person within that time frame. But a half hour—it works!

    Claiming the Power of a Half Hour

    Here’s how we will approach turning your half hours into life-changing blocks of time. In the seven parts of this book, I will outline how seizing the power of a half hour can make such a difference in these major areas:

    • Impact
    • Purpose and goals
    • Faith
    • Character
    • Dreams
    • Relationships
    • Advancing God’s kingdom

    To help you remember key themes in this book, each chapter contains a Half-Hour Power Principle.

    By the way, researchers tell us that most people never finish reading the books they start. Because I think there’s too much helpful information in these pages for you to abandon the content before you get to the end, let me suggest that you do four simple but practical things as you read this book.

    First, read the book in half-hour spaces in your schedule. Each of the chapters in the book is short enough to read easily in a half hour. You might want to have more than one block during a day when you read the book, but start this practice as you engage with this book. In addition, at the back of this book you will find a Personal Power of a Half Hour Action Plan. This plan is set up to help you, over a thirty-day period, fully incorporate The Power of a Half Hour concepts into all major areas of your life. You have heard that it takes about a month to establish a new habit? I urge you to use this thirty-day plan to make the power of a half hour a habit you will never break!

    Second, if something strikes you as personally helpful, jot down notes about changes you need to make. Too often we are so intent on getting through a book that we forget some of the useful insights or challenges it provided.

    Third, pray that God will help you to implement the things you discover in these pages (or in your related reflections) that will improve your life experience. Fourth, and finally, express a commitment to someone you know and trust that you are going to integrate these simple changes into your lifestyle. Ask that person to check up on you once or twice a month to see how intentional you are being with your half hours. That simple act of accountability will help prevent the reading of this book from being just another helpful but forgotten task. (You may also wish to find mutual encouragement in learning the half-hour concepts by attending a small-group discussion. A guide for such a study is included at the end of the book.)

    I’ve been practicing these principles so long that I can now say I am a product of my half hours. I don’t always get it right, but I’m very much aware of the gift of life and the value of time. My half hours—the ones I carefully plan, as well as the unplanned ones I discover—are committed to doing His will in my life because I want to serve our God and others.

    I’ve been practicing these principles so long that I can now say I am a product of my half hours.

    If you get your half hours right, God will not only change your life but also use you to alter the lives of the people and organizations you influence. I sincerely believe the future is not going to be defined by those who rely on their intelligence, their talent, or their good looks. Instead, the future is dependent on the choices made by God’s people in the time that He has placed at our disposal.


    Excerpted from The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett Copyright © 2013 by Tommy Barnett. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • When Change is Hard

    Posted on September 13, 2013 by Lisa Allen

    Lisa

    "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time." Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NLT)

    There's a cluster of photos in my living room that I love. They've been there for almost 20 years and tell our family's story: pictures of my kids' first steps, vacations, and graduations. The other day as I was dusting, our son's baby photo caught my eye. Well, not so much the picture, but the old frame around it.

    Though our furniture and décor tastes have changed in 20 years, our picture frames haven't. So I decided to give my photos a facelift by swapping the old frames with up-to-date ones.

    When I placed the almost 20-year-old photo in the new frame, the picture took on a whole new look. Though the photo didn't change, the reframing altered how I viewed it.

    Redecorating brought to mind a season in which God did some serious work in my own life. Life changes caused me to put a "new frame" around my calling, so I could view this time with God's perspective, not mine.

    You see, I had felt sure God called me to minister to women. Whenever I had the opportunity to do so, my heart overflowed. Though my days were often long and complicated, I somehow felt more energized by serving in my calling.

    Over time, however, doors in women's ministry at my church were closing. These transitions were healthy and good for the church, but they left me feeling like part of my dream and calling had died.

    I prayed for God to show me His will and sensed He had something on the horizon, but I couldn't see any tangible open doors to serve with women at my church. It turned out, He had other plans for me. Plans that helped me see this season, not as one of letting go and sadness, but of exciting new opportunities and joy.

    God stretched me beyond my comfort zone. Instead of serving women locally, He called me to serve globally in Burundi, Africa. Though this wasn't my "sweet spot" in ministry, my leadership abilities grew by leaps and bounds. Not only that, but with my free time, I took classes in a totally new profession which allowed me to help women in a fresh way. I learned and absorbed everything I could.

    Perhaps you are facing a season of change and would be encouraged by some "reframing" and a fresh perspective. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has made everything beautiful "for its own time." God has designed our lives into beautiful seasons, but there is a time limit on each one.

    Some seasons are wide-open doors for our passions and calling … and some seasons are closed doors when God asks us to grow spiritually, professionally, relationally, or maybe emotionally.

    A question that helped me in the season of waiting for my dream of working with women was, what does this time make possible? For every season, God has a purpose for us. During mine, closed doors made continuing education possible. Closed doors allowed me to travel to Africa twice. Closed doors helped me grow by ministering in a different culture.

    What about you? Do you feel like you are in a closed-door season? Ask God what this new time makes possible for you. Join a Bible study. Serve at a school. Mentor a young person. Pursue a dream. Take a class to help you develop professionally. These are all new frames you can put around this season of change.

    Father, thank You for the rhythm You have woven into our lives. I am grateful for this past season and recognize that You have made it beautiful in Your time. I am grateful for the upcoming season and ask You to give me a confident expectation. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there anything in this season causing you fear or anxiety over the transition? Write a Bible verse on a note card and tuck it in your car, on your windowsill or your clothes dryer to remind you about God's perspective on this new season.

    Ask God what this new season makes possible for you, and then take action!

    Power Verses:
    Daniel 2:21, "He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." (ESV)

    Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Lisa Allen. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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