The Red Letter Challenge Blog is designed for people that want to live as Jesus calls us to live. It is a blog by pastor and author Zach Zehnder as he attempts to live out the words of Jesus in his life. Each of the blog posts will feature a quote from Jesus (in the Bible’s that most of us read, his words are written in red) and will offer a devotional thought. Thank you in advance for reading, linking, tweeting, subscribing, and sharing it with others!
Luke 14:28: For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
These words from the mouth of Jesus tell us it’s important to plan out what our future is going to look like. I’ve made a decision with my life that I want to model Jesus as much as possible. That’s what the Red Letter Challenge is all about. I want to think, act, and speak like Jesus. I want to be like Him in all that I do. But that doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional. For me, being intentional means that I need to sit down and write out some goals for my life.
We are all wired differently, but I am extremely goal-driven. Last year I set 12 goals for 2017. I completed 5 of them perfectly, and the other 7 I made great progress but didn’t quite hit the goal that I had set. I completed 42% of my goals. Some would say that’s a failure in and of itself, but surprisingly, I found that I was far greater than the average. Jon Acuff, in his book Finish, says, “92% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Ever January, people start with hope and hype, believing that this will be the New Year that does indeed deliver a New You.”
Even the 58% that I didn’t quite get to, I still became a better version of me and closer to who Jesus wanted me to be. For instance, one of my goals that I didn’t hit was to finish the year at 185 pounds. I lost 22 pounds but I finished at 188, so while I didn’t complete the goal, you’d have to be crazy to say I’m not in a better place. Another one was to memorize 52 Bible verses with my family. Turns out it was closer to 35. Losing 22 pounds and memorizing 35 Bible verses didn’t get me to my goals that I had set, but it still is great improvement.
I have 18 goals for 2018, 10 of which I’ll share with you. When I make my goals I subscribe to the S.M.A.R.T. method, meaning that goals should be
To learn more about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals or for help in writing your own, check out this link.
Without further ado, here’s 10 of my goals this year:
- Take 4.5 Million Steps this year (I have a Fitbit that keeps track)
- Lose 18 pounds
- Do 18 pull-ups in one rep (I can do 9 now)
- Read 50 books (Yes, the Bible is one of them)
- Listen to 100 podcasts
- Listen/Watch 150 sermons
- Memorize 100 Bible verses with my family
- Take a 3-month Sabbatical (This has been approved by my church by the way!)
- Write 50 blogs (boom, already one in the books!)
- Go on 24 dates with my wife (church functions/parties don’t count)
Once you have set goals, find some accountability. Last year, I found a few workout partners that have incredibly helped and challenged me. In every one of the 10 goals above I have accountability built in, from workout partners to a weight scale to a group of dads that journal the Bible together.
As another way of accountability, I’m going to use this blog to hold me accountable to reading books, listening to podcasts/sermons and memorizing Bible verses. In fact, every month I’m going to post what I’m reading, who I’m listening to, etc. so as to not only hold me accountable, but also give you some great tools for your walk with Jesus. If I find anything that I believe is going to help you live out the words of Jesus greater, you’ll see it right here on this blog!
As we start the New Year, I’d love to hear what are some of your goals? Here’s to a Red Letter Year!