Month: December 2014

Making Life (Plan) Goals, Happy New Year!

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I recently finished a great book, called Circle Maker, which inspired me to re-examine life goals.  One of my favorite quotes from the book was “We overestimate what we can accomplish in two years and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten” (p. 136).  In effort to life a life of vision, I’m going through a process of re-examining my life goals in the context of a life plan.  Perhaps, something similar to this could be of value you to in 2015 and beyond.

Batterson’s advice on life goals is awesome.  I highly recommend his book.  Here are 10 things to help you write out a life goals list (p. 178ff)

  1. Start with prayer
  2. Check your motives
  3. Think in categories
  4. Be specific
  5. Write it down
  6. Include others
  7. Celebrate along the way
  8. Dream big
  9. Think long
  10. Pray hard

Setting goals is tough.  But totally worth it.

Here’s a format that has helped me and a bunch of other people to begin to set goals and work toward their completion in a less frightening manner:

Life Plan (blank)















Look at your life and dream with God about where you want to be in 5 years in any particular area.  At Aroma, we spend a lot of time talking about personal growth, community growth and missional growth.  Personal growth is your relationship with Jesus and your personal development.  This could be learning a language or going back to school.  Community growth is your capacity to love and care for people around you.  Missional growth is responding to the God’s mission in your life.

Take a long-term goal and break it down into steps.  Then, break those steps into steps.  Then, break those steps into steps.  Keep breaking down until you know that you’ve got a task you could accomplish this week.  Then, DO IT!

My hope for you is that 2015 is filled with hope and accomplishment.


The Gift of Self Control

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I recently re-stumbled upon something called the Marshmallow Test in which kids are given 1 marshmallow in a room all by themselves, but told that if they are willing to wait until the adult comes back, they’ll get a 2nd marshmallow. Dr. Mischell of Stanford, who started the test in the 1960s, concluded that self-control plays an important factor in this test and for the rest of their lives.  Of the 500 children examined, 94 were tracked down years later and shown to be more successful in life when they were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow right away.

Which got me thinking, everyone is looking for this capacity to make difficult decisions and hold strong in tough situations.  The truth is, we aren’t just looking to do whatever we want. The world knows that if you do whatever you want, for real, you’ll just die.  We all have an inner desire to persevere.  I blame that on God creating us with desires that this world cannot fulfill :-).  We are meant for heaven.

The amazing thing is that this character trait, self-control, is a gift from God. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  I welcome you, in whatever endeavor you are seeking to fulfill in life, to ask God for more of His precious gift of self-control.  You’ll see that it’s totally worth it to live from heaven’s perspective (2 Corinthians 4:18).

For further reading, check out this blog, this interview with the man who coined the Marshmallow Test, this TED Talk, this document from the APA, this article from James Clear, or this super-cute YouTube video.

Aroma DNA: His Will Be Done

Our final point in the “Aroma DNA Series” is about seeing God’s Kingdom advanced all over the world.

His Kingdom Come

I have been thinking a lot about Aroma’s past, present and future these last few weeks.  An overwhelming them has ben restoring and growing deeper in our intimacy with Him.  Prayer has just taken over.  I might share some stories from the past few weeks. So, I believe it’s fitting that our last day of Aroma DNA series, when we think about Aroma’s future, that it become a day about prayer.

One of the most famous prayers of the Bible is found in Matthew 6.  Here are some quotes from When Heaven Invades Earth on the topic of the Lord’s Prayer.

  • Our Father In Heaven, Hallowed Be Your Name
    • “our Father” is enough to start worshipping
    • miracles happen when we worship
  • Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven
    • “It’s the praying Christian who looses heaven’s expression here on Earth.”
    • The will of God is seen in the ruling presence of God, for “where the  Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  9 Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is  demonstrating the Lordship of Jesus, liberty is the result. Yet another way to  say it is that when the King of kings manifests His dominion, the fruit of that  dominion is LIBERTY. That is the realm called The Kingdom of God. God, in  response to our cries, brings His world into ours.
  • Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
    • “Is anyone starving in heaven? No!”
  • And forgive us our debtors
    • healed and whole relationships
    • forgiveness
  • lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
    • realign ourselves with our need to depend on God in everything.
  • For yours is the Kingdom
    • only He can give it to us
    • declarations of praise
  • Once again, this prayer has two main objectives: (1) Minister to God out  of an intimate personal relationship; and (2) bring the reality of His rulership  (the Kingdom) to earth.  An outline of this Matthew 6:9-13 gives us the Kingdom approach to  prayer:
    • 5. Praise and worship
    • 6. Praying for heaven on earth
    • 7. Heaven’s effect on material needs
    • 8. Heaven’s effect on personal relationships
    • 9. Heaven’s effect on our relationship to evil
    • 10.Praise and worship
  • When we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are asking Him to  superimpose the rules, order, and benefits of His world over this one until  this one looks like His. That’s what happens when the sick are healed or the  demonized are set free. His world collides with the world of darkness, and  His world always wins. Our battle is always a battle for dominion—a  conflict of kingdoms.

Biblical Prayer, Radical Obedience

At Aroma, our practical opportunity is found in our “Action for Jesus” ministry. We invite you to participate :-).

Aroma DNA: Grow on Mission

Our fourth spot in our Aroma DNA series is entitled “The Aroma to Those Who Are Perishing.”  It’s about growing on mission – steadily, stubbornly growing towards the greater mission in life God has given you.

Grow on Mission at The Aroma


Recently, a story of Enoch connected well.  My boy woke up early one morning and helped me make coffee.  He was there because he was my son.  He had the tools.  He had the desire to help.  He saw the opportunity before him.  My son followed this four step process to knowing His mission:

  • Identity: 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, Exodus 33.  We must first understand who we are: sons and daughters of God. When we understand who He is and what He’s done for us, we are free to operate in the realm He created us for.  Everything flows from identity.
  • Gifts: Matthew 10:8, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:7-14.  We must look at what God has given us.  The Bible is full of promises about what God has given us. The purpose of the power He’s given you is to live out the Jesus life.  It’s about living out Heaven on Earth.  Miracles are common place.  When we started to love without expectations and give out of what He’s given us, we realize that there’s a limitless power that dwells within us.
  • Calling: Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1.  Our hope is that you would discover the holy burden of God. There has to be something that you’re desperate to see changed.  Learn, embrace and initiate change (Taguchi).  Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God.
  • Anointing/Presence: Luke 4:18, Luke 5:17, John 4:35, Exodus 12:31, 1 Corinthians 4:20.  Our final step is learn to follow what God is doing in the moment, learning to partner with Him.

The coffee Enoch made was delicious!

Practically speaking, this works out in the context of ministries at Aroma.  You can get involved in business, church and missions here at Aroma.  You can even do all three :-).  There are even some of you who will be called outside of Aroma to go somewhere else and follow God’s leading in your life.  We commend that! No matter what you do, don’t forget who you are, what you’ve been given, how He’s calling you, and where the anointing is.

Aroma DNA: Grow in Community

Growing in community is about learning to love those around us. Here are some notes from our sharing time in the “Aroma DNA series” at The Aroma Church.

God is building a temple of His people together in Christ's love for himself

God is building a temple of His people together in Christ’s love for himself

Many people struggle with a deadly disease called “isolationitus” (Stanley, Creating Community). Symptoms include lost perspective, fear of intimacy, selfishness and poor health.  But God gives us a clear and simple antidote: Christ-centered Community: Together in Love.

  • Together: Acts 2:42-47 gives us a brief outline of what it looks like to be together.  They were devoted. They saw wonders and signs.  They shared. They lived generously.  They were thankful.  New friends joined them everyday.
  • In Love: Ephesians 2:14-22 shows us a picture of what “in love” looks like.  We  have peace.  Christ has reconciled us.  We all have access to the Father through the Spirit.  Jesus tore down the walls. We are members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus is the cornerstone. We are together being built into a temple, dwelling place of God by the Spirit.  We walk in love (5:2).  This is where intentionality happens. It must be Christ-focused. It must be turning our eyes to Jesus in every situation.

Practically speaking, this is about developing a culture of honor in our everyday and loving and serving each other through opportunities like small groups. We must learn, love, and lead well.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and others:

  • What would it look like to have a truly Christ-focused community?
  • When was the last time you asked someone how you could pray for them?
  • When was the last time you asked someone what was going on in their life, really?
  • What’s God been saying to you these days?
  • Share a testimony about something that has happened recently.
  • Or maybe there’s someone you need to say sorry to. Or someone you need to forgive. That’s intentional living. Let’s take a moment and examine our lives.