Thursday, September 01, 2005

'Too Dang Busy' -- A Bible Study on Time Management for Rising Leaders

'It's 7:30, time to go!'
Our 2 year old son had heard that so many mornings as we were trying to herd our kids out the door to go to school that it became one of his favorite things to say any time he saw a clock. No matter what time it really was, in his brain it was 7:30 and it was time to go!

For a Rising Leader the reality is that it's almost always time to go somewhere to do something for somebody for some really good reason. As a matter of fact one of the greatest challenges to long term results for a leader is the proper use of time. Some call it time management, other event control or personal leadership.

I prefer to think of 'time management' as 'Personal Leadership' because when a leader 'leads' themselves then the events (time) in his / her life works out properly and she/he impacts his target zone properly. When a wannabe leader squanders time or uses it frivilously she may also fritter away the chance to have the impact that God has in mind.

Jesus took time seriously and no question had the most prolific life of real time results AND sustained strategic movement of any person in history, so it makes sense to pay attention to how He led himself.

I was amazed about how much the Bible has to say about the proper use of time and about the more central idea of leading ourselves so that we can maximize our impact. Since I just built a talk for the students at Crestwood Baptist Church called 'Too Dang Busy' I thought I'd pour out some of the concepts I shared with you. Please let me know how this hits you and what else you might want to know about personal leadership to become the leader God is calling you to be.

Too Dang Busy -- A Bible Study on Time Management for Rising Leaders
Key idea: Time is a sacred trust and how we use it determines the quality and impact of our lives. Time well invested brings a great kingdom return while time wasted leads to ruin, poverty, lost opportunity and minimized Kingdom influence flowing through you.

The Time/Life Pressure Teens Face in America:
Demands and expectations of others on their lives:
Parents’ out of control ego needs
Parents’ expectations that you get a full ride scholarship
Teachers’ expectations that the homework that they give is the most
important homework in the universe and should be done first and best.
Coaches’ expectations that you work on the sport that they coach YEAR-
Our Youth Ministries expectation that you give this 110%--let me stop and apologize for this on one hand. I promise you that I work hard to keep my ego in check so that when I’m asking something of you it’s to bring you into a more vital relationship with God and to prepare you for what God wants you to do and be. But, let me be very clear – I do believe that spiritual growth is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE—THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD IS THE MOST VITAL COMPONENT OF YOUR LIFE. IT’S WHAT YOU WERE MEANT FOR AND DESIGNED FOR. So, my commitment to you is that I will continue to seek God so that we’re not putting our ‘ego needs’ on your shoulders to carry around, however you must know that I do believe that your spiritual life is way more important than anything else you can do with your time and energy.

Being busy does not wear us out – in fact if we’re doing what we’re ‘wired to do’ it charges us up. We almost can’t get enough. Being busy wears us out when we are not taking action on what matters most to us. When what we’re involved in doesn’t line up with what matters most to us or fit God's design in our lives then we get worn out and fatigued easily. We can do superhuman things when our efforts line up with what matters most to us and when what matters most to us fits God’s agenda for our lives.

Hyrum Smith has this to say on page 3 of “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management” …the focus of this book, then, is not exclusively on time management but on achieving inner peace—the transcendent feeling of fulfillment and well-being we all seek. Time management is only a set of skills and tools to help us more efficiently control the events of our lives. But efficient use of time management alone will never give us inner peace.
The secret to achieving inner peace lies in understanding our inner core values—those things in our lives that are most important to us—and then seeing that they are reflected in the daily events of our lives. In other words, doing a better job of managing our time is meaningless unless we are managing it to accomplish those things that are of greatest importance in our lives. That critical difference between simply managing our time and finding the fulfillment that comes from being in control of our lives is what this book is all about. And this simple concept – of making sure that our daily activities reflect our deepest core values – is the concept that has made all the difference in my own life.

Scriptures to study and apply regarding personal leadership & time management:

Proverbs 3:1-10 NLT (New Living Translation)
What’s the big idea from this passage?

What are the key principles from this passage?

What are the promises from this passage?

What if we approached our time with a sense of stewardship and gave to God the very best of our time as if it were a ‘tithe’ of the best of our crops?

Romans 12:1-2 Don’t be squeezed into the pattern of this world.
Where is the world squeezing in on you?

Who is the most Godly and Influential Leader you know and how do they use
their time?

When you compare how they value, manage, and leverage time to how you do
those things what do you see?

Jesus is our ‘pacesetter’ as a Rising Leader and we’d do well to follow his example as opposed to the world’s or even other great leader’s, so as we move along in this study watch for how Jesus lived these principles out.

I Timothy 4:7-8
Being physically and academically fit are valued by our world as the ultimate in readiness. Parents and teachers and coaches push teens to the breaking point in order to create a scholarship magnet and state champions. The intention is noble until it collides with a bigger reality and an eternal Kingdom where we gain a true sense that God’s ideas are way different than ours about what matters.

Read that passage 3 times and let it really sink in. After you’ve done that write down 3 things that you notice in that passage:

What’s one thing that you may need to adjust in your life to shift toward valuing spiritual training even more than your physical and academic training?

The ‘Jesus Pattern’ of Time Management

Mark 1:35 Jesus goes out before daybreak
Luke 5:12-16
Write out the basic ‘timeline of what happens in this passage’ in a simple chronological order:

How busy was Jesus getting to be?

Have you ever been that busy?

What does Jesus do that allows Him to remain effective in the midst of busy-ness and throngs of people all wanting something from Him?

How can you better follow the “Jesus Pattern”?

Luke 6:12
Read this verse and then back up and read from chapter 6 verse 1 up to 12 and see what’s going on in Jesus life and then see how he responds to what’s going on. What seems to be part of the ‘Jesus Pattern’ of Personal Leadership?

John 14:10
What do you see in that verse about Jesus’ connection to God?

Key principle from Jesus’ life – "I do what I sense God is doing." Jesus took his cues from God directly.

Jesus’ sense of timing was remarkable. A great comedian has a remarkable sense of timing about the precise moment to deliver the punch line and it makes all the difference. A leader’s sense of timing can lead to phenomenal results or run the enterprise into the ground. Jesus moved on God’s cue and because of that He never missed an assignment and he never failed to execute that assignment perfectly.

On Jesus’ sense of timing:
John 2:4 – my time has not yet come (yet he submitted to his mother’s request)
John 7:6 – you go, but I’m staying here b/c my time isn’t come yet.
John 11:1-6 – he gets word on Lazarus illness and then stays put for two days…
John 12:23 my time has come
John 13:1 Jesus knew that his time had come
John 17:1 Father, the time has come…

Here’s the big idea on the ‘Jesus Pattern’: Intimacy with God is THE mainspring of a life lived well with Kingdom Impact for a Rising Leader.

The ‘Jesus Pattern’ of Self Leadership:
1. Take Time to be intimately connected to God.
2. Accept God’s Agenda for your life by adjusting to and acting on His plan.

Other Scriptures for you to consider as you hammer out a pattern for how you’ll lead yourself and therefore make better use of the time that God has given you.

Psalm 90:12 – number our days – make the most of time

Ephesians 5:15-20 Make the most of every opp. Know what time it is.

Closing Ideas:
When you compare the way manage your time how do you stack up to the ‘Jesus Pattern’?
Where are you similar?
Where are you way off the mark?
What is one thing that you can and WILL do beginning right now to better follow the Jesus Pattern?

The Wrap Up: 3 Steps YOU must take when you’re too dang busy.
1. Know your ultimate purpose in life is to Know and Enjoy God forever and move towards that. Begin with that end in mind.
What do you sense is HIS will for your life right now?
What gifts and assets has He given you to do the next thing He’s called you to? Based on how you’re wired what role are you supposed to play?
Accept God’s Agenda for your life.
Cultivate a ‘YES LORD…’ mindset.

2. Take more time to meet with HIM about what’s going on – not less. Embrace the irony that more time spent with Him will make the time you have left more powerful.

3. Put the BIG ROCKS IN FIRST – Select / Reject / Prioritize by scheduling appointments in your coming week for the most important things like quality time alone with God to hear and accept HIS agenda for your life. Effective leaders usually work by appointments and I’ve found that when I put an appointment in my schedule to meet with God for significant time that it rarely gets challenged because when someone else wants that block of time I find no resistance when I tell them that I already have an appointment for that time, because I do. By the way, if I ‘skip’ that appointment with God my effectiveness will grind to a painful stop in a very short time.

After you schedule in the ‘big rocks’ then decide what you won’t do. Maybe even go so far as to build a ‘not to do’ list of things that you’re rejecting. These may even be things that were a priority for you just yesterday. Life changes and if we’re going to accomplish His purpose for our lives we’ll have to say ‘good-bye’ to some things that just aren’t productive.

If you’re life is still too jam packed to be effective you’ll have to prioritize your appointments being sure to give high leverage appointments the #1 slice of your life and make all the other ‘stuff’ fit around that or toss it out of your schedule altogether.

To learn more about living life on purpose and leading yourself more effectively check out these blog posts:
Doing Your Life Mission
Great Quotes on Doing the Life You Love

Wanna learn even more about Time Management? I’d highly recommend that you read and study the following books:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management by Hyrum W. Smith

If you buy these books through Barnes and Noble at following link we'll get a small percentage of the proceeds and that will help us advance the work we're endeavoring to do with Rising Leaders all over the world. So, thanks in advance, for clicking this link to order these books!

Barnes &

p.s. If you are a 'rising leader' who's excited about advancing the Kingdom of God, then you need to RUN to
Rising Leader and splash around a lot! Join the community, sign up for FUEL, grab some cool tools, maybe even post your story so that other leaders will be inspired by what God is doing in your life!

p.p.s. If you lead an organization that could use an ENERGY INJECTION then consider bringing me in to do a Custom Crafted Training Experience for you. I'm launching some very cool Adventure Training and Action Learning Experiences that you and your team could benefit from. Drop an email to me and we can talk more.

p.p.p.s. Host a Daddy Power (tm) Event at your church to encourage the Dads in your congregation to excel at their most important task -- being 'DADDY'. Drop me a email to learn more.

p.p.p.p.s. Okay last one! Feel FREE to distribute this content as long as you pass it along in it's entirety with all links in place pointing to original urls. Give credit where credit is due and use this to build other people up. Thanks for playing and thanks for passing this along. Jeff Fuson


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff. I think that you might find my site ( interesting. I tell the story of the Journey of Jesus from a chronological and geographical perspective. DAB

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jesse Watkins said...

This is exactly the Bible study I was looking for. And being a user of the 7 habits planner, I am familiar with putting big rocks first. Thanks for putting together this study!

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is excellent information! Last year, I taught a 12-week study on time and money management to a group of 30+ ladies. I have been asked to teach a class on "Life Management" on Wednesday nights at my church. I will definitely be using your information, Bible passages, etc. Thank you for sharing!

8:59 PM  

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