Hello faithful readers. I hope you are still there even though I haven't been a very faithful writer this week. The reason is that I have been out of the office doing some planning. Every six months or so I have found it to be very beneficial if I leave town for a couple of days to plan message series ideas. Maybe you're thinking, "Cliff why can't you just do that at the office?" My answer to that is, "I don't know why I can't, but I wish I could." I would love to be able to walk into the office, turn off the phone, and be able to concentrate enough to map out nine months worth of messages, but my mind will not allow that to happen. You see, I'm kind of easily distracted. I always have been. It can be frustrating, especially when there is thinking work to be done, and most of what I do is thinking work. The strange part of this affliction is that the main struggle occurs when I try to concentrate on important things (i.e. - preparing a message, balancing the checkbook, remembering what Sherry asked me to get at Ingle's), it rarely is a problem when I'm watching football, listening to my ipod, or reading Sports Illustrated. Anyway, on Sunday evening I headed down to the beach where I stayed at a friend's place to pray, brainstorm, and plan for the direction the messages will be going at Freedom over the next several months. This is probably the sixth or seventh time I've tried this type of planning get away, and this was the most productive by far. In the past I had been unrealistic about how much I could accomplish in the time I was away. I had such wild expectations of how much I could read, write, and plan that the Apostle Paul couldn't have lived up to them. The result was that I would get some things done, but ultimately I would get bogged down in what wasn't getting finished, and I'd come home frustrated. This trip I took a handful of legal pads, a folder full of message ideas, and my Bible. I had one goal which was to get as many message series down on paper as possible. The result of focusing in on what really needed to get done was pretty amazing. When I got back home yesterday afternoon I had a folder full of enough message ideas to take us through next October. To say that I was happy with the results would be a huge understatement. Now it's time to get together with the team and put the ideas on the calendar and then begin the hard work of making them happen.
Here's a teaser for this Sunday: There's a neat change coming to Freedom, and if you are there Sunday you will be the first ones in on it. Also, you will want to sit close to the front!