Getting in the Christmas spirit
Scotty Smith writes some amazing prayers. Here is an excerpt from a prayer during the Monday of Thanksgiving week:
Father, first and foremost, we praise you for the lavish, steadfast, and enduring love you have given us in Jesus. The riches of the gospel, and our standing in grace, are more than enough for us to live this week “palms up,”—overflowing with gratitude, compelled to worship you.
But also, Father, we want to give you praise “in all circumstances” and “for everything.” For some of us, this will be a week of anxiety-producing storylines. It’s not always easy to “go home”—especially when there’s relational brokenness. Grant us grace, peace and your presence. Help us to love others as Jesus loves us.
For those of us with other stressors—health issues, financial uncertainty, loneliness, spiritual confusion, the pain of grief, Father, may this be a week of giving thanks for the fact that we don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. You meet us, and love us, right where we are.
Lastly, Father, quicken our sensibilities to be grateful for all the things for which we presume the right, or simply take for granted. For air to breath and a bed to sleep in; for friendship and clean drinking water; for sights of beauty and the sound of laughter, and a bazillion more things.
For the presence of the unseen kingdom and the promise of a most certain heaven; for your pledge of sufficient grace and commitment to complete the Story, in and for, all these things, we give you heart-full thanks and everlasting praise. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ great and gracious name.
Email is such a phenomenal innovation in communication. Yet, like any good thing, it has it’s drawbacks. Here are some more lessons I have learned.
- Appropriateness. Discern whether what you need to communicate is best done through face to face communication or electronic means. All of us have heard of the unpleasant text message break-ups. there are certain things that can only be communicated in an environment where the words are matched by expressions and where there is the opportunity of feedback. Other times, e-mail really is best – factual and un-emotive. The key is evaluating beforehand and anticipating the desired impact.
- Mobile email can be a blessing – in emergency cases or as you’re expecting a very important news. But i think – at least in my case – that is the exception rather than the norm. Over-checking email, while on the go can be at best distracting and at worst dangerous. If you’re not expecting something vital – learn to check and reply to email only as a way to redeem time, if stuck waiting somewhere.
- RSVP – this can be one of the perils of checking on the go and then forgetting about it. Learn to reply as soon as you can as this will avoid your inbox looking bloated and therefore encourage panic-stricken procrastination. If you don’t know what to say – say so. If you need more time to gather data or think – say so. Just, reply. Soon. This will add ‘zing’ to your electronic communication like you never thought…
- Drafting – related to the point above – if you have something to say but it’s incomplete, write what you know/feel and draft it. Gmail does it automatically for you. Then you can come back to it and continue. this works brilliantly for reports. You enter data as it happens, draft it, and then add further developments and then – bingo – it’s ready to be sent. That way you work on the go.
- CC-ing – always ask yourself the question ‘who else needs to know about this’. Most of the time we ‘under-communicate’ and that’s the root of misunderstandings, confusion and other perils. Include anyone in your team that would benefit from being ‘in the loop’. That will not just avoid hassle but will often redeem precious time in meetings as everyone is on the same page.
I have to confess that I am a ‘sucker’ for anything related to productivity. Probably most of my apps are productivity related.
It might be true for most of ‘my kind’ that we simply love organisation because we might be intrinsically lazy otherwise. There is a huge amount of satisfaction to getting things done. Effectively. With excellence.
Yet as much as I notice an abundance of tools – they can easily become a distraction rather than a solution. I intend to explore – through my own personal lens – the pluses and perils of contemporary productivity.
I work cross-platform – so I’m not a devotee of one system and that adds to the challenge. Here are some lessons/suggestions that I have found helpful.
Let’s start with email.
- Work from separate email accounts. Split work and personal or even having a third account for newsletters and shopping. That way you can really enjoy your day off and arrange things in a more logical order.
- Chose a good email provider. I have never used a client like Outlook or Thunderbird and settled for Gmail, simply because the amount of spam i was getting in Hotmail was terrible -even with all settings right. Also since their latest version of livemail – it’s struggling to upload properly.
- Dedicate a specific time for e-mail work – if this is part of your job. Set a specific time at the best time of the day and work at them. Probably first thing in the morning and any other time you are less likely to be at your creative/relational peak.
- Don’t procrastinate. It will catch up with you. Even if you can’t go into an in depth reply – acknowledge and make sure that you get back to the person
- File well. Find a folder system that works for you and file, file, file. this is the equivalent of having a place you keep your passport, keys, etc. It will save you no end of hassle, even with a brilliant search facility.
In the next post(s) I will continue by looking at
- emailing via mobile devices
- written words vs. spoken words
I have never been mentored in a formal manner, neither have I mentored anyone myself in a formal manner. Still, I believe that mentoring is a very healthy way to grow as disciples and develop as leaders. Here are some questions I would find useful – as part of this process:
- How do you see Christ right now?
- Is grace still amazing?
- Are you set apart for Him?
- What has Bible been talking to you about recently?
- Are you a servant?
- Do you need to forgive?
- What burdens your soul?
- Have you been a witness? How?
- Are you empty or full?
- Is Christ evident in you at work?
- Are you working ‘as unto The Lord’?
- Is your gift your security?
- What have you learned?
- Who have you watched?
- What have you read?
- What have you listened to?