Operative Key Words

Operative Key Words

At a KINEO Church planning session last night, repeatedly, key words rattled through my brain as we listened to the challenge for the day. Words I’ve heard and used before, but there was a difference. This time, a rhetorical question was asked of me along the lines of,

  • “What would you do if you knew you only had 1 year left to pastor? What would your focus be? What would you pursue? What would you find necessary to teach? Preach? How would you lead differently than you have done to date?”

Rhetorical, yes, but a deeply impactful question that woke me at 3am, unable to sleep any longer. Awake for an hour or so as I thought it through.

Last night my aunt passed away and I found out as I was leaving the meeting. My grandmother’s sister. Eloise. There was about 21 years separating her from Grandmother, who would have been 113 this next May 11… Aunt Eloise would have been 92 this September. Age, and all the other health issues that comes from a life long lived, and that seemingly dreaded “C” word that affects so many as we enter the last years of our life. We sat with her about an hour on the first of March, just last month, and enjoyed connecting, but all of us knew that time was probably short. Some time in prayer. And then on to our next stop.

What do you do when you know your time is short?

I’m sure we never get to the ending of our time and wish we had spent more time at work. But this was exactly the question I felt around 3am. My work is not my job, it’s my calling and I’m sure I will always have this burden to the call that can not be silenced by age, or retirement, or health.

The key words last night were familiar words. Words I have regularly used whether talking church, work, or life.

Mission. Vision. Objectives. Goals. Planning. Plan. Strategic. Intentional. Purposed. Targeted. Focus.

As we prepare for those retiring years, my bride and I have met with professionals who understand what those years look like and have helped us take financial steps to prepare for non-earning years. But how do you plan for an uncertain future?

My process is often simple. I write everything down. Document the present. Consider intermediate steps that position us for the future… Then plan like crazy for the options of the future! Plan. Document. Think. Pray. Talk. Consider. Key words to think about as you plan for a possible uncertain time 20+ years from now. This truly means you have to focus some brainpower, willpower, and prayer power to get you successfully from the present, and to the future. What will it look like in regards to insurance, health, finance, politics, family… You know. More key words that represent all those important things that can impact your choices.

A familiar scripture was quoted last night, and another popped into my mind instantaneously, and then the thread of thought went deep, wide, and far.

  • “Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.” ~Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV
  • “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” ~Proverbs 29:18 KJV

Last night, three truths were presented, and I hope I wrote them down correctly.

  1. If not written down, you do not have a plan.
  2. If not written down, you will not stick to it.
  3. All written plans will experience opposition.

How true this is. There is no plan that is not simply recorded in a place that you can read, and re-read it. Plainly written. No plan in the mind only will be accomplished. It’s like going to the grocery store without a list…you get everything but what you needed. But anything this is written will face immediate opposition by those who think of all the reasons why something cannot be done.

Resist the Resistor!
 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” ~James 4:7 NKJV

Why do we not plan? Lazy? Unsure? Uncertain on how to do it? Don’t find it important? Maybe. It could be we have no examples in our lives of others planning, or no mentors speaking into our choices, or we have simply lost our ability to focus on the future.

Abraham Lincoln said it like this: “The reason men fail is broken focus.”  A broken focus. Never seeing the ending from the beginning. Living life without a plan for getting from point A to point B.

It’s like teaching, or even preaching. You need to know where you are going with what you are presenting. A lesson plan without an objective or goal is probably a rambling experience for the hearers.

Here’s one last thought. Another key word. “Filter.” You will have no focus on your life if you have a broken filter. When you grant anything an audience to your attention, then you will become wildly unfocused.

Focus your intentional life through Filters
Filters that keep the Key Words blocking all attempts to water down you will.


2 thoughts on “Operative Key Words

  1. I have never had a leader or family member or friend that did this (that I know of) or encouraged me to do this, even though every successful person, I know, wrote one or more.


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