Baby steps

But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.  -Isaiah 32:8

How's your ACTion plan coming along? Maybe you're like me - I've had some vague ideas about it, but I haven't yet given myself a block of dedicated time to cogitate on it or write anything down. There are probably a couple reasons for that. One, it's not easy - I haven't had much practice or success in setting spiritual goals and I never want to return to the mentality that measuring my spiritual growth consists of completing a to-do list. Two, if I write it down, it becomes real - I become accountable, even if it's only to myself, because there are identified, tangible steps toward my Christian maturity that I have left undone.

Here's the thing: If I don't plan it, it probably won't get done, at least not well and not consistently. I'll wake up six months (or six years) from now and wonder why I still struggle with the same old junk in my walk with Christ. This seems important enough to deserve a plan, doesn't it? That's why I like the idea of baby steps. I don't have to have it all figured out and my plan doesn't need to be some grandiose agenda that I'm not ready for. I just have to start where I am and take a baby step.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  -Proverbs 16:3

My foxhole was talking about it, and it occurred to us that Convoying God's people in our lives doesn't make much sense unless I'm learning to Abide in Him. And Transferring my faith to others can feel like an awkward sales call if I'm not committed to coming alongside to Convoy them on some level. But even though there's a dependency there, the relationship is not linear - I don't master Abiding, then move on to Convoying, get that wrapped up, then start Transferring. We decided it was more like "swim lanes", where the three make progress in parallel, with the Abiding (a spiritual Michael Phelps, as it were) setting the pace for the other two.

So the challenge in the coming days is to make the investment. Think about, pray about, write about your ACTion plan for 2019. Talk about it with your guys. What parts are starting to become more clear? Which of your swim lanes is falling behind? How can you encourage one another? Lean in. If your first cut at an ACTion plan is to commit to pray every day and ask God to teach you what in the world it even means to Abide, Convoy, and Transfer, then start there. Baby steps.

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  -Psalm 20:4

If you're still wondering whether these things are real and whether they make a difference, let me tell you about a birthday text that one of our guys got from his adult son. Safe to say, this man didn't always take his Christianity seriously - there was a time as recently as four or five years ago when you might have described him as a "good ol' boy, but not good for much". That was before the Lord got hold of him. In the birthday text, woven into some good wishes for the day, the son told the dad he was grateful for the changes and the spiritual growth that had occurred in his dad's life in the last couple years. That he was proud of him. That he wanted to follow his dad's example in humility, leadership, and godliness. I'll tell you what - a man can run a while on words like that.

Heads up, eyes open, men!

Scott Thompson