Good Idea Vs. God Idea


It’s Here! The first Monday of the 2012! Can you believe it? So, tell me, have you made any resolutions or goals for 2012? I did. I prayerfully wrote down a eight specific goals I am working to accomplish in 2012. Resolutions and goals, if you boil them down, are really all about prioritizing what you spend your time on, right? If my goal is to be a better father or to loose 20 pounds, then I have to spend more time on the tread mill or with my children.  And, if I am spending time doing those things, that means that I am spending LESS time doing something else—like sitting on the couch.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret!

I am now 41 years old. Do you want to know something that has taken me almost the entire 41 years of my life to learn. Here it comes, are you ready?

I can’t do it all!

I can’t do it all! Groundbreaking, I know, right? I don’t know about you, but I am an idea—vision person. I am a dreamer—in both the good and the bad sense.

The good: I’m a creative person and can perceive new ideas, perspectives and solutions in creative and unique ways.

The bad: It’s not my strong suit to think through all of the implementable realities associated with new ideas and the affect those ideas have on other people.

The truth—I come up with more than a few new ideas every week on varied topics. For example, I may want to start a new outreach program, at church, aimed at kids without parents at home immediately after-school.  Or, I may want to start a new web site that will help churches train paid and volunteer leaders on how to prevent abuse in the church (I really am interested in this one. Please, let me know if you want to help me.) Both of these ideas are good, but lets say I don’t have the resources to accomplish both of them. So, I need a set of questions that I ask myself, a paradigm, to help me honestly determine what I am “called” to do with the limited resources I have today, this week, this month, this year, and this season of my life.

How do I differentiate the “good ideas” from the “God Ideas?” How can I separate, or determine, if an idea is merely a general “good idea” from an idea that God may be leading me towards—”for such a time as this.”

This is not an easy topic and this is not a simple checklist to determine God’s will. No, these are three simple steps that help me, in my relationship with God, determine where God may be leading me to invest my time, treasure and talent.

#1. Spend time with God. I have a regular time with God where I ask him to make my path clear?  I ask Him to be a real presence in my life.  I ask Him to help me sense his presence in important matters. I spend time in the word of God, in prayer, and in silence? Every day I acknowledge that God loves me more than I can even ask or imagine, and that he demonstrated that love through the cross.

#2. I seek the counsel of godly men and women in my life. I have a few people in my life, that I have known for a long time, that will flat out tell me, in love, “No, that’s NOT a good idea right now.”(—you pin head.)

#3. The opening and closing of doors. When ever I am faced with a new opportunity I will often ask God to make my path clear by opening and closing the “doors of details” to help me determine what I should be spending my time on. For instance, If I have a great idea for an after school program but have no funding or volunteers then God may be telling me, “Not now, keep praying.”

Ideally, I like to have all of these factors working together at the same time in order to launch into a big new project. Just because someone wrote me a check for an idea, or because a friend said it was a good idea, doesn’t mean it gets the green light.  Sometimes these results happen quickly and other times it takes a very long time.

How do you determine what you invest your time in? Do you subscribe to the Good Idea Vs. God Idea theory? Please, don’t forget to subscribe to The Ordained Barista through an RSS feeder, click the big mug at the top of the page, or get each post conveniently delivered to your inbox.

Thank you!



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  • Matthew Kim

    Wow…what a coincidence!! Thanks for asking hard questions! Gotta meditate :]

  • Barry Hill

    I know, right? You were emailing me and I was posting this… good stuff!

  • Eric

    Well Barry you and I are one of the same. Visionaries!!! I come up with ideas every week as you know because I leave messages on your voicemail; but to ask the real question, “good idea or God idea?” is very tough for me to answer right now. I don’t want to disappoint the Lord nor be disobedient; but many of times I think my ideas that are not sinful in nature can change me into a purposeful sinner to achieve them. I read and have reread a great book by Charles Stanley called, How To Listen To God. I encourage you or anyone who is seeking to hear the Lord to invest in this book. Love the blog posts!!!

  • Loren Pinilis

    I think there are few things that help:
    First, strive for efficiency and focus. Before slashing major initiatives off of my schedule, could I fit it in if I just simply worked smarter?
    Second, it’s a constant process of confronting reality and renegotiating. We need to understand our schedules so that we can make educated decisions, and then we need to be honest with ourselves about what we can and can’t do.

    I think it’s also worthwhile to look at our strengths and gifts. They can help point us to areas where we may be most effective for the Kingdom.

  • Anonymous

    Knowing you can’t do it all is so important to know and remember. It’s only through God’s power and the help of others that great things happen. Great post.

  • Barry Hill

    Yeah, I am with you, and I just wrote on that exact topic myself. The older I get the better I understand my limitations and that I can’t do it all! Thanks, Dan!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. Looking forward to learning from each other.