Leadership

Are you okay with mediocrity?

Some will lead a little life. And that’s fine, I guess.
Some will have a little fun, buy a little home, work a little job and enjoy little hobbies.

I know this can sound a little arrogant and even a bit judgmental, but instead of pulling back I think I’ll take this thought a little farther. Some people are simply wasting away their lives. A purposeless week, a pointless month, an empty year continually tolerated will inevitably lead to a wasted life.

Sure, you can enjoy a mediocre life. This life can be enjoyable to anyone who lives on this beautiful planet (Mt. 5:45). But is your enjoyment the chief end of your existence? Do you exist merely for the purpose of personal pleasure, or is there a better way to live?

1. Discover your Purpose
You are a perfectly designed creature, shaped by a master craftsman. God did not create you out of leftovers. God did not spend time designing you so that you could live a “normal” life. I believe in a personal God (Lk. 12:7) who knows you, loves you and has a wonderful plan for you. Think about it, if He has taken time to count the hairs of your head, doesn’t it make sense that He likely has a plan for your life? So, discover your purpose. Get to know your creator through His Word, His church, and his people this year. Read your Bible to see His thoughts on your life. Attend your church to hear from the minister God has given to you. Build relationships with other Christians who are on a similar journey and will be able to help you discover God’s purpose in your life.

2. Dream Big
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” – Jon Wolfgang von Goethe
I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks, not because it stars Tom Hanks and not because it’s about the production of Mary Poppins but because it features the story of one of America’s biggest dreamers, Walt Disney. I don’t think its fair to call me an Apple fanatic but I do love their products. I have an iPhone, iPad and a MacBook Pro. These incredible products were all the result of a big dreamer named Steve Jobs. For what are you reaching? For what are you working? For what grand design did God Himself mold you to accomplish? What amazing feat will you do in order to bring glory to Him? Mediocre lives begin and end with mediocre dreams.

3. Defend your Priorities
You’d better be okay with it! Get ready for it. It’s bound to happen. There will be those who question your priorities. They won’t understand why it is you put such an emphasis on what you do. They will question your motives, methods and results. Forget them and defend what is most important in your life. For me, my number one priority is my personal relationship with Jesus. I spend time with him daily in prayer and study. I worship Him in song, charitable giving and healthy living. I am led by His Spirit (Jn. 16:13) and seek to live by His example. My second priority is my family. My dear Heather, followed by my 3 children, are only placed second in comparison to God. They are more important to me than my ministerial calling, extended family and life’s legacy. In the truest sense they really are the essence of my ministerial calling and life’s legacy. Third on my list would be my pastoral calling. God made me to be a pastor in Las Vegas. There are billions of Christians, thousands of pastors but only a few hundred pastors in Las Vegas. I’ve been called to be one of those. Moreover, I’m the only lead pastor at Southern Hills, this I see as my third priority. There are currently 650 people who come every sunday to this local church. I study diligently in order to present helpful sermons. I pray much in order to intercede for them. I exercise and eat well in order to give them many years of service. What I do in my ministry, I do for them.

Though my dreams may get big, they will never go beyond the joyous boundaries of my priorities. For they direct me. They clarify my existence. They simplify my schedule. They remind me what is truly important. My priorities are what save me from living the mediocre life of the typical and forgettable modern “success” story.

4. Declare S.M.A.R.T. Goals
They say a goal without a plan is merely a wish. Jesus spoke of an architect who didn’t plan out his building project and a general who didn’t plan out his war in Luke 14:28-32. Here He condemns the individual who attempts to accomplish great things without planning ahead. Therefore I suggest that you set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2014. Using this plan has helped me tremendously and I want to share it with you.

Specific – Ask the question: What do I want to accomplish? This step provides clarity & simplicity in goal setting.
Measurable – Ask the question: What is the Next Step? This step provides practical direction.
Attainable – Ask the question: How do I accomplish this? This step is about scheduling. Put the next step in your calendar and don’t cancel it.
Relevant – Ask the question: Is this worthwhile? This step points back to your priorities. An accountant could have the goal to become Guild Master level 28 in WoW by March 1st, but is that a truly relevant goal to his priorities?
Time-Bound – Ask the question: When will this be accomplished? This step will give your goals a sense of urgency.

On Wednesday I will follow up this post with a Practical Resolution Check-List

What resolutions are you making for 2014? Comment Below:

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  • Reply
    Jimmy Gilbert
    December 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I am not ok with mediocrity! The time is now!

  • Reply
    damoxan
    December 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks Josh! Love reading your blog posts. Been thinking through this a lot lately as it’s easy to get stuck in the difficult seasons of life. Dreaming has been something I haven’t had much opportunity for, just surviving. Been working on stepping back a little and remembering some of my God given dreams. Have to look a little more at that S.M.A.R.T. idea and see about that. Planning never been my strongest gifting. Anyways keep posting it’s always good to hear what your thinking through!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 30, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks Damoxan! Stepping back for a minute and refocusing on what God has placed in you is soooo important. Life seems to want to suck the dreams right out of you. Don’t let it happen! DREAM BIG! Live for God! Do great things for Him. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing God’s best for you!

  • Reply
    Alan
    December 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I guess before I even knew what mediocrity really mint, God blessed me anyway, When I was a Privet PD. in Indiana It seamed that God watched over me when I was lost with out hope, When I trusted Christ, his blessings were working around me when at times I did not know it. When Satan’s attics came upon me even though I was week He was there standing strong working miracles in my life that I never dreamed would happen. I have more then I deserve. God is my provider, I passed test that most collage students could not pass on such a short notice, one time my teacher pulled me and another person out that went to collage, after a test we took and told us that we had the highest score that was ever given on that test. I understood how the other person score so high but me who could not spell read are wright when I got out of the Army, The Army would take anybody back then. I worked high paying jobs most of my life. I have many trades behind me. God has been good. I learned how to read by the Bible, My spelling is still bad but thank God for spell check and a good dictionary. I never knew what exactly God wonted of me, but I know to renew my self daily in the Lord.
    For Gods work has never been about me but others along life’s way. Thank you Lord Jesus for letting me be there even though I stumble along the way only because of my incompetence not yours Lord but that you can even use the foolish like me. isn’t God grate.

    i

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Alan, Life is a journey and God isn’t through with any of us! Keep dreaming and keep pursuing great things for God! You inspire me!

  • Reply
    Ashli Bontrager
    December 31, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Josh,
    My husband and I love your blog. Let me say that again: Love It. Wish we could meet your sweet family.
    Anyway, one of my new year’s resolutions is to verbally encourage people around me. Sometimes it’s so easy to say the negative about something but hard to give a well deserved compliment. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. I want to give some life in the new year. Words fitly spoken!
    Keep blogging!
    Ashli (Rogers) Bontrager

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Ashli, Glad you guys like the blog!

      I completely agree with you about the tongue thing. Negative thoughts and words are usually the first things that I turn to as well since I seem to struggle with carnality. Retraining your mind to think and speak positively is difficult be a worthwhile goal for certain. Starting in February I’m preaching an entire sermon series on this subject. The series will be called: Perspective: It’s the Way you Look at Things

  • Reply
    Francis Keaton
    December 31, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Someone once said you can’t fix everything at once. If there are areas in your life that you should work on, pick one at a time. I look at the poor excuse for a human being I felt I was about seven years ago. There were no goals, no ambitions. I felt I was just putting one foot in front of the other. I had been running from God for about 30 years. Then one day, I happened to visit Southern Hills Baptist Church with no goal in mind for going there. The pastor’s message that day hit me like a ton of bricks. After about 20 minutes into Pastor Josh’s message, God showed me that the sermon was for me and what a fool I had been for a long time.
    Now I don’t claim to have done anything noteworthy since that day except reconnecting with God and worshiping and having fellowship with Godly people. I see such major improvements in every area of my life. I am involved in ambitious things despite my advancing years. I have no interest in comparing myself with those who do great things. I DO have an interest in comparing myself with who I was and who I am going to be. That’s amazing enough for me.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 31, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Francis – That was beautifully written. YOur words are filled with humility and strength. I especially like your admonishment to “pick one” thing at a time to work on. That is so wise.

      You have been an inspiration to me over the last several years and I am thankful to have you as a leading man in our church

  • Reply
    Tracy Bradford
    January 1, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Josh:
    Amen and Amen again to all the above.
    Further to the drift – may we also note: Any way one looks at it, mediocrity is just too much stinkin’ work.
    It wastes effort repairing or “living with” the outcome. It consumes excessive resource of material, time and talent. It diminishes not the power, but the experience of blessings and gifts.
    Curiously, (consequently?) it is something a person can never be good at.
    Which is one facet of the wonder I see in God’s family – that done right, the aggregate sum can be greatness.
    Happy New Year Y’All……

  • Reply
    James Pfeiffer
    January 1, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Great article Pastor – it certainly hits home for me…

    It’s interesting to think about how my perspective has changed over the years. Had you asked me that question at any time in my life I’d answer “Absolutely not!” I’d still answer that way today but the difference is in what I had focused my energy and attention towards. I’ve been a christian for a long time but up until just a few years ago I’d placed my primary focus on all of the wrong things: school, career, money, pleasure, etc. My walk with God was pretty pathetic and just something I worked on when convenient for me or when I needed Him to bail be out of a sticky situation. I remember praying to God for help in finding time to read my bible and pray to Him regularly! I still wasn’t getting the fact that all I needed to do was to put Him first!

    Once I finally did that, I found myself scheduling my life around God rather than trying to squeeze Him in! For me, Sunday is for the Lord and every morning from 6:00am to 7:00am is for prayer/bible study. It’s amazing and I’ve seen marked improvements in all areas of my life; most notably I believe in the peace that I have now. That being said, I’m certainly not trying to say I’ve “arrived” or am some great super-christian to model after. Rather, it’s just that I can see the difference simply shifting my priorties has made in my life and the growth I’ve seen just in the last year. I feel like I’ve come a long way and am excited about going forward even farther!

    I thank God every day for his love, mercy and patience with this silly sheep 🙂

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      January 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      James, Buddy… what an amazing testimony of the grace of God in your life! I love how you compare the worldly ambition you had just a few years ago with the heavenly ambition you have today. This was well written and I think terribly important for others to read. You are a great example of what the grace of God can do in the life of an individual who is willing to have faith in and follow diligently our Lord Jesus. Glad you are growing into a leader at Southern Hills. I’m thankful to be your pastor!

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