GOAL SETTING AND POSITIVE THINKING
Reverend R. McCreight
Success or failure in the work of God, or any work, begins right here with having goals. Goal setting is a must in the work of God. AIM AT NOTHING AND YOU’LL “SUCCEED” Here is a simple formula for success: ROLE—GOAL + TOLL = SUCCESS
A. DEFINE YOUR ROLE
Then and then only, get set to establish your goal. When a man prays and finds the role God has for his life, then is the time to set goals. One must be prepared to pay the price in terms of time, money, energy, and credit-sharing, and you’ll succeed. Webster’s dictionary says that a goal is an object or end that one strives to attain; aim.
B. BE OBSESSED BY A VISION
Again, Mr, Webster says that a vision is a mental image, an imaginative contemplation. A vision is a mental picture or direction. The Bible is very plain on goal setting Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is NO VISION (or NO GOAL) the people perish.” Success or failure starts with goals. Set low goals, and achievements will be low. Your goal setting, perhaps more than any other factor in life, will determine whether or not you do the work God has for you.
C. DON’T BE A CAPTIVE OF THE PAST
Do not be held back by past failures. When the sun rises tomorrow, the light of the new day will illuminate an open door that beckons you to enter a new world called The Land of Beginning Again. Prepare for that fantastic experience by being ready to review, reevaluate, revise, and redesign your life’s goals. Goal Setting—That’s where success or failure begins.
II. CONSIDER WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU
As one begins in setting his goals, he must examine his God-given talents. Make a list of all the things you think you do well and then make a list of those things you would like to do well. Check both lists, Discover the unknown talents within you. Think realistically. They are there: Look for them and you will find them.
Jim Poppen was an underachiever in high school. No teacher would put any stock in his below average intelligence and talent.
I was not that he lacked talent-he only lacked motivation which was the result of an absence of challenging goals. His farmer father sent him to medical school. One night while home, his father heard sounds in the dark kitchen. He went in, flipped on a light, and saw his son sprawled on the floor, enmeshed in a network of ropes tied to legs of the old kitchen chairs. He told his dad to turn off the lights. “In school last month I discovered the human brain. I’m going to be a brain surgeon. So I’ve got to learn to tie knots in the dark.” Well, he did. Some years later when presidential candidate Robert Kennedy had been shot through the head, the Kennedy family summoned a world famous brain surgeon from Boston, Massachusetts, to fly to the West Coast—it was Dr. James Poppen.
Only God knows today what slumbering talents are waiting to be aroused within your undiscovered self. These talents are not being used simply because you have not set the right goals.
Setting the right goals is very important to the man of God. Therefore, it is important to the future of the work of God.
How many people are waiting to be saved?
How many churches are waiting to be built?
How many cities are waiting to be won for the Kingdom of God?
What are they waiting for?
They are waiting for the man of God to set a goal and reach for that goal.
III. A CLEARLY DEFINED GOAL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALENT
Whatever you do, always let future desires, never past defeats, set you goals for you! In setting your goals, you must remember this fact: there are more “talented” people who are failures than “untalented people” who are successes in the work of God,
A. A GOAL HELD STEADFAST IN OUR MINDS GIVES COURAGE
There is a man in our church in Lubbock who, years ago, the Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration declared to be disabled. They said that he would never be able to work due to leg and feet problems. So he set a goal in life. Today he is a very accomplished interior designer. He spends many hours on his feet–walks many a mile in a day. There were times when, instead of standing, he was on his knees. But because he set a goal, God brought him to this day. In our city, he is the most asked-for painter. Where would he be if it were not for a goal? Goals help us win or lose in this life and most certainly, in the life to come.
B. OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE BEGINS WITH A GOAL
When we desired to live for God, the first thing that came to us was a goal–receiving the Holy Ghost. You would never have received the Holy Ghost had there not been a goal. Again and again first prizes don’t go to the most talented man. The man who wins is the one who thinks he can!! A wonderful and powerful fact is this: A GREAT DRIVE, A POWERFUL DETERMINATION, A CONSUMING DESIRE WILL EASILY COMPENSATE FOR LITTLE OR LIMITED TALENT,
IV. MEN OF THE WORLD HAVE BEEN GUIDED TO SUCCESS BY A FIRMLY HELD GOAL
One of the stories that has meant a great deal to me is the story of Tom Demsey. He was the man who booted the longest field goal in the history of pro football. The pros said he was not professional material. He refused to accept that. Tom Demsey said that he had a goal, and he learned never to give up until he reached the goal that he had set. Born with only half a right foot and a deformed right arm and hand, he kept working until the pros accepted him. From the “back” to the “front”, because of a goal. Then came the day the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints were playing with two seconds left in the game. Detroit 17, New Orleans 16. Tom kicked the ball 63 yards for a field goal. Unbelievable? Not for a man with a goal!
A. HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD MINISTERS WHO MANAGE GOD’S WORK BE OBJECTIVE IN OUR PLANNING
Men of the world set goals and live by them for earthly rewards. Many a man will put his all into reaching his goal. How much more should the preacher put his all into reaching his God-given goal. Paul wrote these do it to obtain earthly prizes, but we a Heavenly prize.
Do you need help in setting personal goals? Consider the challenging spot you’re in right now.
INCH BY INCH, ANYTHING A CINCH!
V. WE MUST BEGIN WITH THE RIGHT BASE FOR PROPER GOAL SETTING
A. RIGHT ATTITUDE
Remember this: In setting your goals, bloom where you are planted. Your mental attitude toward the spot you’re in at any moment is all-important. If you think it’s impossible, then your biggest problem is YOU: If you “think possibilities”, you’ll realize that every difficulty is a call to some personal triumph. Every problem can become a personal triumph, making life a real adventure from beginning to end: If you never challenge personal problems, you’ll never be able to taste the exhilaration of a personal triumph!
REMEMBER: TRIUMPH IS MADE UP OF TWO WORDS – TRY + UMPH.
What is all-important in setting goals is to consider the value system you choose to live by. If money or material objects are your highest, then the questions are:
How much will it cost? (To the man of God the cost can’t be too great).
If Christ’s Spirit lives within you, then you’ll live by the Service Value System, which is placing enormous value on unselfishly serving your fellow man. Then in setting your goal, you will raise the following questions:
Will this help people who are hurting?
Will this make me into a more beautiful person?
Will this bring the best out of me–or the worst?
Will this be a chance to prove my faith in my big God?
MAN MAY NOT ALWAYS MAKE HIS GOALS, BUT HIS GOALS WILL ALWAYS MAKE THE MAN.
B. THINK OF GOD’S RESOURCES, NOT YOURS
When considering a goal to set, please consider the resources that are available in the Kingdom of God. Do not consider the resources you have on hand. Consider the resources that are available to you. Because you do not have the time, talent, money, brains, skill, energy, or organization is no excuse for not trying, if your cause is right.
C. THINK IN TERMS OF GROWTH AND SUCCESS FOR THE CHURCH
One thing that is important to remember is that most people fail only because they never really planned to succeed. Plan your future because you have to live there.
IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU ARE PLANNING TO FAIL. Your greatest danger will not be failure to reach your goal. The greatest danger is making it and stopping. You must first understand that goal setting is never-ending. Set one goal and reach it, then set another, Never be without a goal.
There is a life principle that is universal. It is when a person or institution stops growing, the seeds of decline, decay, and death are planted. How many of our churches through the years have had such experiences? How many preachers have been in such places? Oh God, don’t let this 1976 Church die. Let us see the need to grow, grow and never stop. All our churches must have a growth. We cannot just maintain ourselves. We must have a goal and grow or we will die. Minister, you personally must grow or you will die.
A. N. Whitehead, the great English philosopher taught, “Most great dreams of great dreamers are not fulfilled–they’re transcended.”
VI. ALL OF GOD’S GREAT MEN HAVE BEEN GOAL CONSCIOUS
As it was in one of my favorite chapters in the great Word of God, Hebrews 11: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham sojourned in the land with a goal, dwelling wherever they could. They looked for a city which had foundations, whose Builder and Maker was God.
THEY HAD A GOAL. Not only the preacher, but his wife.
These all died in faith not reaching the goal, but having seen them afar off, embraced them (goals), persuaded of them (goals).
They could have stopped, but they did not. The goals they had kept them moving forward. They reached after the goal before them. Because they set a goal, they reached for it. Even though they didn’t reach it in this life, they did in the life after. For this reason the GOD of the whole world is NOT ASHAMED TO BE CALLED THEIR GOD. What more could be said to you, preacher, than for the great, wonderful Creator of this earth and heaven, sun, moon, and stars to be called your God. Don’t let God be ashamed of you. Set a goal–live by it–give all to make it” Then let God be called your God.
He will be proud of you, whether you reach your goal or not, if you have a goal and are reaching for it when you leave this world. You will reach it–He will help you, either in this world or the world to come.
SO SET EXCITING GOALS AND COME ALIVE!!! THE LOST ARE WAITING—–CAN YOU HEAR THEM??
VII. POSITIVE THINKING
A. POSITIVE THINKING IS A BIBLE BASED THEORY
The first idea of positive thinking did not come from Norman Vincent Peale, Napolean Hill, John Haggai, Calude M. Bristol, or Robert H. Schuller, although these are all great writers on the subject, but it came from the wonderful book called the Bible. In every part of life, the Bible is the source of strength and power and all positive ideas. Many things in life are so uncertain, but the Bible is so sure (positive).
It is the Word of God that came into our life at a time when everything was so shaky. The Word put us upon the Rock. It established our goings, gave us a sure way and a solid path. At a time when we were drifting down the road, the Word gave us something to hold to. Now our life is no longer maybe, hope so, but it is yea, verily, and amen.
The Word of God has spoken, “If my people which are called by my name will…I will…” “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened.” “Ye have not because ye ask not.” Each and every statement our Lord has made to His people is full of positive meat. As a matter of fact, there are no negative statements. It was our Lord that said that we shall become, Bro. J. T. Pugh preached a great message on the right to become. Not one thing can stop the process of the act of the positiveness or God.
VIII. POSITIVE MEN LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE
The positive men of God are like the hummingbird that looks for and finds honey, often in the most unlikely and unthinkable places. These people probe every problem, proposal and opportunity to discover the positive aspects present in almost every human situation.
Are there times when you have looked at these type of people and said that these are “super people”? They are not. They are people, just like you, who, when faced with a mountain, DO NOT QUIT. THEY MAKE NO EXCUSE WHY THEY CAN’T. They keep on striving until they climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath–or simply stay and turn their mountain into a gold mine.
A. TO BE EFFECTIVE IN THE WORK OF GOD, ONE MUST LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE. ONE MUST LEARN HOW TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
1. Overcome inferiority complexes and live confidently, trusting in God.
2. Listen to new ideas and evaluate them carefully, (DON’T STAY IN A RUT).
3. Spot opportunities and seize them courageously.
4. Welcome challenging problems and solve them creatively.
5. Face personal tragedies with equanimity and, if possible, use them constructively.
IX. GOD EXPECTS HIS PEOPLE TO EXCEL
God wants his men to be pace-setters–record breakers–confidence creators–hope boosters–faith builders–enthusiam generators–powerful believers–sanctified opportunists–dedicated dreamers–glorified gamblers.
A. WE ARE TO BE MEN OF ACTIVE FAITH
God wants His men to: turn dreams into exciting achievements–turn problems into profitable projects–turn tragedies into inspiring triumphs–turn opportunities into rich enterprises. It was in the life of Jesus that one of the greatest tragedies became the greatest triumphs–His death. The most wonderful thing is that He is with us–we are not alone. He said He would go with us even to the end of the world. To put it straight, there are some things you can do without in the work of God, but the subject we are on, one must have. The great Word of God says that without faith it is impossible to please God. This world does not want a God that will not be with them all the way. The world is looking for a positive way. We have it–let us use it fully. Great things can not begin happening for us until we use faith. Positive thinking is really only faith in action. Every promise in the book hinges on applying positive thinking.
B. WE EXCEL BY PUTTING ASIDE THE NEGATIVE AND CLOTHING OURSELVES WITH THE POSITIVE
It was that wonderful positive thinker, Paul, who said, I die daily. What I feel he was saying was that he killed everything that was unlike God every morning. The way we kill something of the Devil is to resist or override it with something from God. I feel that Paul began each day with a positive thought seed and held it there all day long. We should dress our mind just as we dress our body. No good man would go into the world half-dressed. Before you begin your day, you should make a habit of collecting “shields for the spirit” that can fortify your minds as you move into the day.
Try these shields:
Mark 14:36 – “Father, all things are possible.”
Luke 18:27 – “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Matthew 17:20 – “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to this mountain move, and nothing shall be impossible.”
Mark 9:23 – “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Mark 10:27 – “For with God all things are possible.”
Luke 1:37 – “With God nothing shall be impossible.”
Mark 10:27 – “With men it is impossible, but not with God.”
Matthew 17:26 – “But with God all things are possible.”
C. USE POWERFUL AFFIRMATIONS
1. I can do great things.
2. I have great possibilities deep inside me.
3. I have possibilities that haven’t been born yet.
4. I’m really a wonderful person when Christ lives in me.
5, I’ve been my own worst enemy because I have limited the power of God in me.
6. I’m a child of God. God loves me.
7. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Everyday we must use Prayer Power. God weighs our prayers, He doesn’t count them. Norman Grubb prayed this prayer, “Good morning, Christ. I love you: What are you up to today? I want to be part of it! Thank you, God. Amen:”
Somewhere along the way one must dream of what he should be. Have faith that he can be that. Then he must get into action. J. C. Penney once said, “The hardest part of any job is getting started.”
X. TRIAL AND DIFFICULTY IS A PART OF LIFE
There is some difficulty in all of life, but we must always remember “If God be for us WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?” There was a great man, Thomas A, Edison, who was a tough, positive thinker. On the night of December 9, 1914, Edison Industries were practically destroyed by fire. Mr. Edison lost two million dollars and much of his life’s work went up in flames. He was sixty-seven at the time. Most men would have given up–not Edison. The next morning, walking about the charred embers of all his hopes and dreams, Thomas A. Edison said “There is great value in disaster.” “All our mistakes are burned up! Thank God we can start anew.” And three weeks later, just twenty-one days after that disastrous fire, his firm delivered the first phonograph.
A. TEN GOOD IDEAS TO PRACTICE IN HANDLING ANY DIFFICULTY YOU MAY ENCOUNTER
1. Thank God you have difficulties. It’s a sign you are alive,
2. Learn to stand back from your troubles and take a calm survey of them. The best way to do this is through the practice of quietness. In quietness and peace, take a level look at your problems.
3. Use your full mind power to analyze your difficulty. Then systematically chip away at it, bit by bit.
4. Think positively about your difficulty. Believe that you can overcome it. Do this and you are already well on the way to victory.
5. Learn the spiritual-practical method for handling a difficulty.
6. Let persistence work for you. Keep everlastingly at it, and you eventually will be victorious.
7. Grow to the high point where you can look down on your problem, and then use your problem to help you grow.
8. Calmly take life as it comes. Deal with your difficulties with controlled emotion and steadily keep on working for victory,
9. Never build a case against yourself.
10. Make use of the available power of the Almighty. Troubles will defeat you without God, but with His help you can handle any difficulty.
XI. YOU MUST BECOME STRONGEST IN YOUR WEAKEST PLACE
You can become altogether different–strong where you are weak, right where you are wrong. Look upon your weak spots as challenging opportunities. The process is similar to that of welding. When a piece of metal breaks and is welded back together, the metal flows together, making the weld stronger than the metal that surrounds it. A cabinet maker once said that if two pieces of wood are reversed and glued together under heat, the wood will crack somewhere else before it will break at the glued point.
A. A SIX POINT FORMULA FOR STRENGTHENING OUR WEAKNESS
1. Isolate your weakness; then study and know it thoroughly. Plan a real campaign against it.
2. Precisely specify the strength results you wish to attain.
3. Picture or visualize yourself as becoming strongest at your weakest point.
4. Immediately start becoming the strong person you wish to be.
5. Act as though you are strongest where you have been weakest.
6. Ask God to help you and believe that He does.
B. GOD SOMETIMES CAUSES A GREAT DEFEAT; A TREMENDOUS SHOCK TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN US
A recent issue of Reader’s Digest carried the story of young Ron Gillis, who operated a “chipping” machine at a sawmill in east-central Oregon. Like many young men, he was not able to decide what he wanted to do with his life. He had dropped out of college, tried several jobs, but was satisfied with nothing. The only reason he stayed with this job was because the mill owner had agreed to switch him to a better position the following week.
On Friday, Ron’s last day on the chipper, it was getting close to quitting time, when suddenly the chip conveyor stopped. A knot of wood, has stalled the belt. Pushing the buttons that turned off the power to the chip belt and conveyor, he saw no need to turn off the chipper itself. Stepping upon the timber trough, he checked several electrical connections, which seemed to be in order. He then pressed a button he thought started and stopped the conveyor belt. It was not. The belt on which he stood instantly jerked into motion, flinging him onto his back. Only eight feet, possibly two seconds of time separated him from the whirling razor-sharp blades. Grabbing the sides of the steel guards, he threw his legs up and saw that the spinning blades were only three inches from the seat of his pants. After lying there several minutes, he decided to attempt to throw his legs over the side and roll to safety. Carefully, he pressed his toe against the metal. What happened next is
not clear. But he remembers no sensation of pain, only the lashing of bones and tissue and the blinding of his own blood.
Continuing to struggle, he never slipped from full consciousness. Rolling over and pulling himself up, he tried to push himself erect, but he couldn’t get his legs to work. He looked down. He had no legs–only stumps. It was apparent the machine had won; it had taken his legs. For a moment, Ron considered falling backward and letting the blade finish its destruction. Then suddenly he felt a rage–no, he would not let the machine win. He had gotten free of it and he was going to live.
Ron retained his consciousness all the way to the hospital, where he underwent surgery to close his stumps. During the next nine months he was fitted with artificial limbs and trained to walk on crutches. Ron says now, “Before the accident I had no particular goal in life. Now I want to work with people, to become a vocational counselor working with the handicapped. The accident knocked me out of my old world and forced me to look at a world that had never interested me. I think I can make something of myself in that new world.” What a beautiful example of a young man taking tragedy and making something useful of it. This was made possible only by his determination and optimism.
C. STEPS IN PERSISTENCE
Here are four necessary steps that lead to the habit of persistence. They call for little more than time and effort.
1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.
These four steps are essential for success in all walks of life. One must make these four steps a matter of HABIT.
These are the steps by which one may control one’s economic destiny.
They are the steps that lead to freedom and independence of thought.
They are the steps that lead to riches, in small or great quantities.
They lead the way to power, fame, and worldly recognition.
They are the four steps which guarantee favorable “breaks”.
They are the steps that convert dreams into physical realities.
They lead, also, to the mastery of fear, discouragement, indifference.
Thomas A. Edison, with less than three months of schooling, became the world’s leading inventor, converting his persistence into the talking machine, the moving picture machine and the incandescent light, plus fifty other useful inventions. Upon close examination of this man, one finds nothing that even remotely suggests the source of his tremendous achievements except persistence.
XII. TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR POSSIBILITY THINKING
There are ten rules you must follow in order to effectively apply positive thinking and determination:
A. You will never vote no to any idea because “It’s impossible.”
B. You will never block a helpful thought because it entails problems, or wait to begin until you find a solution to every problem.
C. You will never oppose a possibility because you’ve never done it and can’t imagine how it could be done.
D. You will never obstruct a plan because it runs a risk of failure.
E. You will never cooperate in defeating a potentially good suggestion because you can see something wrong with it.
F. You will never squelch a creative idea because no one else has ever succeeded in perfecting it.
G. You will never declare any constructive concept to be impossible because you lack the time, money, brains, energy, talent, or skill to exploit it.
H. You will never discard & plan or a project just because it’s imperfect.
I. You will never resist a proposal because you didn’t think of it, you won’t get the credit, you won’t personally benefit from it, or you may not live to see and enjoy it.
J. You will never quit because you’ve reached the end of the rope. Tie a knot and hang on.
Now you can start dreaming: And be sure you make your dreams big enough for God to fit in!