The Full Focus Planner Changed My Life

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I am not the kind of person to talk about productivity, setting goals, being organized, and planning ahead. You’re more likely to hear me speak on things I’m an actual expert in: “how to poop your pants without anyone noticing.”

My friend Matt and I often talk about how whatever got you where you are now probably isn’t going to be what gets you to where you want to go next. In the church world what got you from 500 members to 1000 isn’t going to be what gets you from 1000 to 2000. There will need to be changes in your approach, communication, leadership structure, and more. If you want to be able to handle that growth you’ll need to change things around.

I’ve been really afraid of that in my life. I wanted to move on to “the next level” in my traveling and speaking but I wasn't doing anything differently to get there. I was still doing things exactly how I did them when I first started traveling full time.

That was a problem.

I needed to be willing to try something new. So I got Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner.

I feel ridiculous talking about it but it has legitimately changed my life. On my own I’m terrible at staying motivated and following through with goals. This thing has held my hand through the last few months and helped me stay on the path I’ve wanted to walk down for a long time. It always seemed impossible to walk it when I was on my own, but, man, Hyatt made the perfect guide.

Without this planner I wouldn’t have posted a blog every day for 90 days. I wouldn’t be writing a book. I wouldn’t be going to Disney World in September. I wouldn’t be as consistent as I am now with my Bible and prayer time.

It’s worth it.

P.S. I wasn’t, like, paid to write this. I know it sounds like a commercial but this is how I really feel. I WISH this was a commercial. I’d love to get paid to talk about the things I’m already doing. Pay me to talk about cookie cakes or naps.

This is where I write

 
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Actually, this isn’t really where I write. I moved the yellow chair to this side of the room because I thought it looked better for the photo. I usually have an IKEA rocking chair in that spot.

I just wanted a nice picture that made you assume my whole apartment was equally nice and put together. It’s not. If you saw my bedroom you’d be very disappointed in me, unless you’re my mom, then you wouldn’t be surprised at all by the mess.

How can you use a comedian at your church?

 
 

At the beginning of December I did a 3 night outreach event in Little Rock. Preaching, training, and a big fun comedy show.

There's all kinds of events we can do together in your community.

I redesigned my website last month and added a page with different types of events I’ve done in the past for churches. You can click each one and get more info.

What does it look if you have me do comedy for a banquet? It tells ya!

Can he preach on a Sunday morning? It tells you that too!

Will he perform comedy at the birth of my child? That’s not listed on the page, but as I’ve said before YES.

Learn more about events we can do together

90 Days of Daily Blogging

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I set a goal in my Full Focus Planner (I feel ridiculous recommending it but it really changed my life) to write a blog post every day for 90 days starting November 1st.

TODAY IS DAY 90!

In the planner you’re supposed to designate a specific reward for when you complete a goal. Well, I was running out of ideas so I said when I’d celebrate by eating a whole cookie cake. So that’s what I’m doing tonight.

Daily blogging has helped me so much

  • I feel like I’m becoming a better writer

  • It’s helped me with ideas for chapters in the book I’m writing

  • Now I know for a fact that I DO have time to write every day. No excuses!

I owe a lot to Austin Kleon. He’s championed daily blogging for a long time and I totally get it now.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling very sick because I just had cookie cake for dinner and I feel like I’m going to die.


Taking Notes in Church

I started carrying a pocket sized notebook with me to church for sermon notes. If I’m not writing or doodling to help me pay attention then there’s nothing stopping me from getting on my phone and zoning out. This has helped me out so much.

I know I have a terrible handwriting and my drawing skills aren’t that impressive but doing this every Sunday has really helped me stay engaged. Even tonight as I went back and looked at my notes I saw several things I wrote that I’m really glad I saved.

It’s cool that churches hand out bulletins with space on the back for notes but I don’t know anyone who keeps them. No one has given me a tour of their house and said “and here’s my filing cabinet full of every church bulletin in chronological order. I look at them often.”

Maybe everyone should have a church notebook.

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I just noticed that during this Christmas Eve service message I decided to ask the important question “What celebrity would not surprise you if you found out they were an alien?” Wow. Yes. Powerful.

Give yourself permission to get off topic or wrestle with what the pastor is saying. You can see (if you can actually read my handwriting) I do this several times. I don’t know if I even agree with some of my notes but it’s nice to see what I was thinking.

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Song for Introverts

This video came out right before Christmas and it’s still stuck in my head. I love being around people and hanging out with friends but some times I just don’t want to go to a party. I too can be “anti-social and lazy.”

Never forget: INTROVERT DOESN’T MEAN SHY

Here’s Susan Cain, author of Quiet, making the difference between the two clear in her very famous TED Talk:

 

[Being an introvert] is different from being shy. Shyness is about fear of social judgement. Introversion is about how you respond to stimulation.

 

I’m so grateful I’ve grown over the years and better understand what’s going on inside of me. I used to force myself to hang out with people all the time because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I’d always end up so drained from being overstimulated. I felt obligated to be out with people but I wasn’t having fun and I’m sure I wasn’t very fun to be around.

I’m also grateful for friends who understand me too. We can be hanging out and I can say “I need to go for a walk” and no one is going to try to guilt me into staying. They get it. First they check if I’m ok and then they let me get alone and recharge.

It’s ok to not go to the party some times.

Check out more of Dodie’s music

School Assemblies are exhausting

 
 

School assemblies are so much work. Last Wednesday we were at the first school at 7:45 am. We set up and tore down our equipment 4 times that day at 3 different schools (we came back to the first school for the night service).

I’m always so tired and drained by the time we’re packed up and heading home at night. But it’s so worth. Every time we do a night service at a school I end up getting to have at least one incredible conversation with a student. It’s different every time but they’re all so beautiful. Some times they want to accept Christ, other times they need to talk about a struggle they’ve been afraid to open up about. This last week I had one that was totally different from any I’ve had before.

I’m going to tell that story on a special livestream I’m hosting Thursday night for my Patreon supporters. If you want to hear it, sign up at the lowest level and you can join us!

Cultural Christianity

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My favorite quote from this sermon I heard earlier this month at Waypoint Church in O’Fallon, Missouri:

 

“Cultural Christianity says that God is useful.”

 

It reminds me of a couple of years ago when I used to meet with mormon missionaries. They’d come over to my apartment, teach me their lessons about mormonism, and then we’d have conversations about religion and the Bible.

One of the first odd things that struck me about how they talked about their religion was that they made it sound like just a nice thing you should add to your life. There are a lot of benefits. It’ll improve your life. It sounded like they were selling me a diet or fitness plan. They made God sound useful.

I’m not trying to say mormons are the only ones guilty of this. We can ALL do this if we’re not careful.

The gospel doesn’t exist to improve your life. If you accept the gospel, it’s going to ruin your life. The Bible says that the old you is dead and Christ will give you a new life and new identity.

It changes EVERYTHING!

In that sermon the pastor makes the point that God is not useful, He's beautiful. That should be our perspective. That should influence our expectations and how we approach Him. He is to be known and enjoyed and revered. He’s not your life’s most effective plunger who sits in the closet until you clog things up.

If you spend time with Him your eyes will be opened to the WONDER and BEAUTY. It will inspire AWE and AMAZEMENT. He will blow your freaking mind.

Some people leave the church because they came to God during a tough time thinking God was merely useful. Then when they felt like things got better they didn’t need Him anymore. They added Him to their lives so they could subtract Him just as easily.

Like your life is a dining room table and God was a nice flowery display added to in the middle to make it look nicer. Then when the dinner is over, you can get rid of the decorations until you need them again. In reality Christianity is not just about decorating the table. It’s not even about replacing the table with a nicer one. You’re moving into a whole new house.

Where's Mister Rogers' Oscar?!

Folks, the Mister Rogers documentary, Won’t You be My Neighbor, didn’t get nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar. That’s outrageous. I’m ready to riot.

I know I’m a little biased. Mister Rogers has become so important to me over the last several years. He is the greatest example of what the fruit of the Spirit look like in action in the modern world. It’s easy to read about Jesus and think that we don’t have to as extreme in our love and generosity because that’s just not how the world works now. But the life of Mister Rogers shows just how far love is willing to go.

My friend Matt and I have talked a lot about what pastors can learn from Mister Rogers. This documentary isn’t just a biography, looking at his life from beginning to end. It focuses on what he saw his mission in life to be. Why did he do what he did?

Did I cry when I saw this documentary in theatres? Yes. Obviously. Nonstop for the whole film. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to bring my girlfriend with me when I saw it because I didn’t know if I was ready for her to see me weep for 2 hours.

I can’t believe it didn’t get nominated. It’s wild. The world needs people like Mister Rogers, now more than ever.

You should watch the film. I’d love to talk to you about it. Email me what you think.

Rent it on Amazon

I’ve talked about Mister Rogers a lot in my blog. You can all my posts about him here.