Month: January 2015

Life Planning 生涯規劃ing

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As a church family, we are entering into a 21 Day Period of Fasting in order to focus ourselves entirely on what God has for us.  We’ve talked about 1) the grace of spiritual disciplines, 2) types of fasting, 3) types of prayer, and 4) the process of emptying ourselves in order that we might be ready for Him to fill us.  For the second half of the series on Prayer and Fasting, we will be focusing on prayer and fasting for our personal lives, our communities, the mission God has called us to, and the cultural and global transformation necessary to host God’s presence across the face of the Earth.

I believe strongly that God is going to give each person who endeavors to follow Him a clear path of personal, community, and missional growth.  So, I’ve created a simple guideline for how to outline the path and keep yourself focused on it.  Feel free to copy this and use it for yourself, and a special thanks to Curtis and Steven for helping to translate it into Chinese.

At The Aroma, we want to continue to hold each other accountable to personal growth, community growth, and missional growth.  To do this, we need to be honest with each other about God’s plans for our lives on a regular basis (Exodus 18, Nehemiah are examples).  This means that we need to begin by doing the following:


1)     Catch a Purpose (vision) for what God wants you to do with your life. 了解神給你的人生計劃(異象)是什麼.
2)     Set Priorities to accomplish that vision/purpose. 設定異象/目標完成的先後順序.
3)     Allow Time for those things. 留時間給異象和目標.
4)     Set specific, measurable Goals. 設定明確和可實現的目標.
5)     Take Action daily (3 D’s: Delight, Declarations, Duties) 每天都去行動 (欣喜、宣告、責任)

Example Life Plan

Then, meet often to review whether you are on track with your Life Plan.  The more often you can review the Life Plan and realign yourself with your God-given priorities, the better.  This is lining you up with with your destiny.


Weekly email/face to face.  Get someone in your life who you are challenging and who challenges you weekly.  Perhaps it can be done through email, Skype, or Face to Face, but hold each other to maintaining forward motion in each of these areas.


Some questions to consider when getting together:


P = Personal growth (個人成長)
C = Community growth (社群內成長)
M = Missional growth (使命認識)

Questions good for quantitative assessment of your current position.

  •   P: Rate your overall perception of your personal growth. 給你個人的成長打分數
  •   C: Rate your overall perception of your growth in community. 給自己在社群內的成長打分數
  •   M: Rate your overall perception of your growth in mission 給了解神給自己的使命程度打分數
  •   P: Rate your overall relationship with God. 給自己跟神的關係打分數
  •   P: Rate your experience and progress in the job where you work. 給工作經驗和進度打分數
  •   C: How are you doing at loving the people in your house? 給自己愛室友的程度打分數?
  •   C: Rate your relationships with your team members. 給自己跟團隊的關係打分數
  •   M: Rate your progress in your role at Aroma. 給自己在馨香堂扮演的角色的進展打分數

Questions good for discovering why you’re where you’re at. 供你了解自己最近情況的問題:

  •   Share a testimony about what happened recently in your personal life. 分享見證:最近你個人生活裡發生的事
  •   Share a testimony about what happened recently in your community life. 分享見證:最近你在社群裡發生的事
  •   Share a testimony about what happened in your missional life. 分享見證:最近在神給你的使命中發生的事
  •   What goals did you set the last time we met? Were they realistic? Why or Why not? 上次為自己設了哪些目標?目標現實了嗎? 為什麼成功或為什麼沒有?
  •   What have you done to learn and grow? 在學習和成長中,你是如何付出的?
  •   Who am I raising up as a leader?  How? 你在帶領誰來成為一個領袖?是如何帶領的?

Questions good for moving forward, challenging. 挑戰你能繼續成長的問題:

  •   What can you do to make forward progress in ____________? 能做些什麼讓自己的事工方向_________有進展?
  •   What can you do to learn and grow more? 如何讓自己成長?
  •   What do you need to stop doing? 需要停止做哪些事情?
  •   What is one thing you can do differently? 有哪件事是可以改善的嗎?
  •   What can Aroma do to make you more successful? 馨香堂可以在哪些地方幫助你成長?
  •   Is there something that can make your job easier or more efficient? 有哪些事可以讓你的工作更簡單或有效率嗎?
  •   What do you want to be doing in five years? What’s something you need to do this week to get started? 你再五年之後會做什麼呢?這禮拜有沒有你需要開始實行的目標呢?
  •   Why do you exist? 你為甚麼存在?
  •   What is most important right now? 現在對你來說什麼事是最重要的?

This one’s for you! 這張給你用! You can also download a PDF here.

Life Plan (blank)



When we start to understand

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I’m reading “The Furious Longing of God” a great book by Brennan Manning.  In it, he talks about when we learn to understand that we belong to God and He actually loves us.  This may possibly be one of the strongest verses in Scripture:

I belong to my beloved and his desire is for me.”  – Song 7:10

There’s a list from the book of a few amazing things that happen when we take this truth to heart.  My top 7 are listed below:

  • The drumbeats of doom in your heard will be replaced by a song in your heart, which could lead to a twinkle in your eye.
  • You will not be dependent on the company of others to ease your loneliness, for He is Emmanuel–God with us.
  • The praise of others will not send your spirit soaring, nor will their criticism plunge you into the pit.  Their rejection may make you sick, but it will not be a sickness unto death.
  • In a significant interior development, you will move from I should pray to I must pray.
  • You will live with an awareness that the Father not only loves you, but likes you.
  • You will stop comparing yourself with others…
  • Off and on throughout the day you will just know that you are being seen by Jesus with a gaze of infinite tenderness.

In another place in the book, Manning invites us to take a few moments each day to remember and recount to ourselves that we are His and His desire is for us. What a lovely idea!  I dare you to try today!


Administration, A Gift

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The ability to cast vision, lead and organize is a gift from God. Check out what that means.

I recently wrote “administration is a holy gift from God” in an email and someone asked me to explain.  Here’s what I wrote in response:

  • Administration” is defined as “the process or activity of running a business or organization.”  It can also be defined as “The management of public affairs; government.”  With that being said, here are a few Scriptural precedences for administration. The Greek found in Scripture is kubernesis, which refers to “steering a ship” “ruling” or “governing.”
  • It’s a good and useful thing, so it must be from God.  Just as James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect thing comes from above.”
  • It’s a theme on God’s heart throughout Scripture. God gives good gifts of all kinds.  Any form of leadership and management requires some kind of administration.  You can see examples of this starting in Genesis and going all the way through the New Testament.  Examples include Joseph’s wisdom in managing the food crisis in Genesis 46, Mosesleading and organizing millions of people to leave Egypt, Nehemiah organizing a rebuilding of the wall, Paul’s organization of churches all over Europe and Asia, the 12 organizing the people in Acts 6, and Jesus gathering the 12 and organizing them to basically dominate the world with the gospel after he went back to heaven.
  • It’s directly in the Bible.  Paul labels it as a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and actually, in this list, it comes before speaking in tongues.  Some Bibles translate it “administration” and others call it “government” which fits with our original definition quite nicely!
  • Here are some more resources to check out: Paul Manwaring at Bethel has written and spoken a ton on Administration.  He’s actually offering a class on it that Steven and I are taking.  We’ve got PDFs of his book (that he gives through the class) if you’re interested in learning about it more specifically.  Here’s a 7 Minute preview (it’s a video, watch it :-). One quote, “Administration without the supernatural will kill a move of God.  Supernatural without administration is unable to pass it on to the next generation.”
  • Here’s an overview of spiritual gifts in general. My point in this link is that while this is a list from Scripture, I don’t think spiritual gifts are just limited to these.  It’s a full circle to my first bullet point, every good and perfect thing comes from God.  There’s a podcast from Kris Valloton I can find if you’d like more info.

Essentially, the gift of administration is an important part of the church, or any organization, for that matter.  If you have that gift, you’re a blessing from God to your place of work and to your church.  Don’t let anyone look down on that. We need you.  Some of us (including me) who lack this gift, need you desperately.  Don’t give up on us because we’re disorganized. We need you.


Guidelines in Fasting

Most of what I’m going to share comes from IHOP‘s vast array of resources on prayer and fasting, including a page on Guidelines in Fasting. Feel free to go straight to the source.  Or you can read on for a more distilled version that The Aroma is going to use.

Before the Fast

  • Physically: eat healthy (fresh) and begin eating smaller meals
    • fruit and vegetable fast
    • water only
    • total fast
  • Spiritually: ask God for grace

During the Fast

  • Physically: be clear about what you’re going to do
    • drink LOTS of water
    • bowels, kidneys, lungs, and skin are going through detoxification processes. expect discomfort.
  • Spiritually: slow down
    • seek spiritual advice
    • don’t boast
    • fast with someone else
    • read the Word
    • expect to hear from Him
    • expect opposition

After the Fast

  • Physically: ease back into eating
  • Spiritually: thank God for grace