Archive for: October, 2011

One-Track Mind, Part II

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

By Roberto Ponce

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the importance of focusing, planning, and implementing. I referred to how multitasking is valued in our western society, yet few people can master several tasks at the same time. At some point, something has got to give. That is why focusing becomes very important. By no means am I suggesting we develop “tunnel vision.” We still need to pay attention to our surroundings. Rather, I am talking about focusing to accomplish what’s important in life.

 Prioritizing

 One time while we were having lunch, the psychologist of a major league soccer team told me that success was “achieving victory on a repeated basis, making it the norm.” His team got his message loud and clear, for the Columbus Crew won the national championship soon afterward. Each player played his position to the best. Each one focused on his position, and collectively they led their team to victory.

 So what does prioritizing involve? It usually involves time management. Prioritizing requires you to arrange your tasks and plan your time to accomplish those tasks in order of importance. Time management is simply managing your time wisely. In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul encourages us to be careful with our lives and to make the best use of our time. Let’s be productive and yet careful not to lose sight of what’s really important.

 Planning

 Planning is also crucial to accomplishing our projects. As I mentioned last week, in Genesis 41:34–36, Joseph’s suggestions about preparing for the Egyptian famine demonstrate how planning for the future is wise. Strategy gurus have come up with several key steps, but I usually take three easy steps for short tasks: Assess (your situation), set (your goals), and implement (your plan). In other words, I suggest answering these three questions: (1) What do you need to do? (2) Why do you need to do it? and (3) How are you going to do it? Then implement your task.

 Implementing

Planning and implementing are interrelated. Planning without implementing accomplishes nothing, nor does implementing without planning. Proverbs 21:5 warns against implementation without planning because it leads to poverty.

 In Global University’s chapel, Dr. George Wood, Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, preached a great sermon from the passage about the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:39–44). Dr. Wood’s insights into this passage led me to observe three leadership principles about the concept of planning:

1.   Plan and be strategic about your plans. Jesus directed the people and sat them down in groups before He proceeded with anything else (verse 39).

2.   Trust God with your plans. In verse 41, Jesus prayed and blessed the food.

3.   Implement and complete all the projects you start. When Jesus fed the crowd, “they all ate and were satisfied” (verse 42).

As we focus on God and trust Him with our projects, let’s prioritize what’s really important. If we learn to have a one-track mind, at least we’ll know we are on the right track.

Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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One-Track Mind

Oct 24 2011 Published by under Life

By Roberto Ponce

I was reading an article today in the life section of a national newspaper. The article described how Harry Belafonte fell asleep prior to a live television interview via satellite. Apparently, the 84-year-old singer then appeared on camera with his eyes closed and remained unresponsive. His publicist blamed the issue on the producers due to a “technical glitch.” At the end of the day, the singer was not able to conduct the interview. Ouch! It is hard to focus at times.

In today’s marketplace, one often hears the word multitasking. It’s a buzz word popular on resumes and corporate literature. Our western society values individuals that can take on several tasks at the same time. Although productivity should be encouraged, one must remain vigilant not to lose focus on things that are truly important.

 Focus

Sure, you can do a couple of things simultaneously with some kind of success. For example, you might drive your car and talk on the phone—not advisable, but possible. However, you are most likely to succeed when you focus on one specific goal and work toward accomplishing that goal. Sometimes having a one-track mind is perceived as a bad personal quality. Yet the Bible calls us to be focused. We are instructed to seek God’s kingdom first, and then all things will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).

 As we go about our daily lives, it is so easy to be distracted by mundane things. We all have bills to pay, lives to live, and jobs to do. Yet we are called to focus and seek the Kingdom first. We are also reminded to set our minds on things that are above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). By no means am I implying that we should ignore our responsibilities. I once heard someone question why he should get a job if Christ was coming soon anyway. Our spiritual worldview should never be taken out of context.

 Plan

Another popular term is strategic planning. Planning is crucial as we live our lives and accomplish our tasks. As Christians, we believe God is the master planner for our lives. Yet we still have to plan. Just because God is in control does not mean we don’t need to be good stewards with our lives. In Genesis 41:34–36, Joseph’s suggestions about preparing for the Egyptian famine demonstrate how planning for the future is wise. As we plan, let us remember to seek advice from others as well. Proverbs 15:22 tell us that “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

 Implement

Still, planning alone is not enough. Planning requires action to bring our projects to fruition. Planning without implementation is like trying to fly without wings—it takes us nowhere. It won’t happen. On the other hand, implementation without planning leads to failure and even poverty (Proverbs 21:5). We need a right and healthy balance of planning and implementation.

 In my next blog, I will expand a little more on key steps to help us with our planning and implementation strategies. Today, let’s focus on God and trust Him with our projects. In the end, it is better to have a one-track mind than to become a “train without a track.”

Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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Stability…where did it go?

Oct 17 2011 Published by under Life

By Roberto Ponce

I love to watch television spots. In fact, people laugh when my wife tells them I talk during TV programs, yet I expect those around me to be quiet during commercials. Advertising has always been one of my passions. I went to college for it, worked for ad agencies, and ran my own ad shop with my wife in Indianapolis before I transitioned into higher education marketing.

 Television commercials for cars, especially luxury cars, are among my favorites. Ad people for these companies have to be very creative to differentiate their products in a competitive market segment. One way they do it is by showcasing technologies that achieve stability on the road. That’s why you see these cars “flying” on curvy roads, snowy roads, and rainy roads, etc. Today, however, I am addressing the stability on the road of life.

 Now

 It seems that nothing is stable right now. The US and most First World economies are weak and unstable. The geopolitical world seems to be in a chaotic state, and the Indianapolis Colts are on a losing streak. On a more serious note, things don’t seem to be too promising.

 I was stunned to watch the huge violence that erupted overnight in Egypt. The television news showed military armored cars running over people. At least two dozens of citizens were killed. Egypt is in trouble. Yet instability is very present in many countries in the region. So many areas of the world are in conflict. Just take a look at what is happening just south of our US border.

 What about the stability on planet earth? Our planet hasn’t been too stable lately. So many hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are proof that the earth is a little restless. Recent earthquakes in Chile, Haiti, and Japan also remind us about events Jesus talked about (Matthew 24:7–13).

 Then

 So what’s next? As we quickly approach another electoral year in 2012, you and I will be exposed to thousands of campaign messages full of promises. Candidates will most likely tell you they have “the plan” to fix the US economy, create more jobs in America, stabilize the Middle East, secure our southern border, and provide you with a better future.

 Although as Christians we need to participate civically through voting, let us remember who has “the best plan” for our lives. God has promised us He has a plan for us. He said He wants to prosper us and not to harm us. He wants to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

 The Word of God also encourages us to look to God for shelter. If rain pours down and you are caught walking, you run for shelter. If you hear a tornado warning, you look for shelter. If there is a storm in your life, you look for shelter. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

 Although you may not have the best “road stability” controls that TV spots showcase, you can expect stability with Christ. Isn’t it great to have an ever-present help when we are in trouble? It’s reassuring to remember that even though the world seems out of control, we can find stability in Jesus who is our rock and cornerstone.

 Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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Just like a mist.

Oct 10 2011 Published by under Life

By Roberto Ponce

As I spent time with my two toddler girls this evening, I thought about the brevity of life. I was getting them ready for bed, and while I was enjoying their playfulness, I paused for a minute. I thought about the blessing I was enjoying at that particular moment. Just the fact of being around for them is a gift from God. Then I realized this particular moment was not going to come back … ever.

I got my girls ready for bed and then went to my computer to log in and catch up on the latest news. I found out Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., passed away at age 56 after a long battle with cancer. James 4:14 came to mind: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” I also thought that even with all his massive fortune, Steve Jobs could not add an hour to his life (Matthew 6:27).

Yesterday

 I confess that sometimes I catch myself thinking a little too much about the past. Whether it is about past professional achievements or past family events, we need to be mindful not to let it come between God and whatever He has for us to do today. Having memories is one thing, but living trapped in the past so you cannot move forward and start living today is another. Let the past be the past. Remembering yesterday’s memories, in a healthy way, is a gift. But trying to recreate the past is not productive. Let’s move forward and explore the things God has in store for us today.

Today

Whenever I heard people make the statement, “Life is short,” I used to think that 70 or 80 years is not a long time. Yet, as we read in James 4:14, even tomorrow is not promised to us. We have today and only today. We need to live this very moment God has given us and be thankful for every breath we take. Never cease saying “I love you” and never stop showing your love to others, especially those dear to you. Enjoy every moment as though it is your last. What do you really need to accomplish today? What is it God wants for you to do? It is not fun to think that at any given moment our life can be cut short, but it is a blast to enjoy the security of living forever with the Lord (John 10:28-29).

Tomorrow

Let’s start building tomorrow’s legacy today. I am saved because my mother introduced me to Christ. She taught me to depend on Him for everything. The biggest legacy she left to me was my Christian faith. What legacy do you want to leave for your kids? An education is a great gift. So is a life insurance policy. But the greatest gift of all is to encourage our children to have a personal walk with God. Let’s stop for a moment and imagine what our kids will say about us when we are gone. I pray that mine remember how much I loved them. Hopefully they will make the connection that if I, being an imperfect dad, loved them so much, how much greater is God’s love … a love that endures forever and is not as brief as a mist in this earthly life.

Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University go to http://think.globaluniversity.edu

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