God has actively worked in my life this year. He has been faithful to lead and guide me, and to give me the exact resources I have needed to grow in the areas that he has wanted. Those resources are almost always people, part of His body, that he uses to accomplish his purposes.
I saw a suggestion recently that I should send a thank you note to the five people who have had the greatest influence on my life this year. I did that. It was a real blessing for me to do so. I hope it blessed them too!
Here are the top five people that have influenced my life this year. The trouble with a list of five is that there is also person #6 and #7 and the list goes on and on, for God has used many, many other people in my life this year. I am humbled to think of how long that list is. So if you are not on this top-five list, please don’t feel bad or think that I don’t appreciate and respect you.
So, here goes:
Sharon, my beloved wife and best friend
- The biggest thing I am trying to learn this year is to enjoy being and not just enjoy doing. She has been a huge influence in modeling this and giving me feedback when I am out of balance.
- My second priority of personal growth is to be more relational, enjoying people as an end, not a means. She has been a huge influenced me in this area.
- We have been on a journey of emotional healing together, supporting each other, growing individually and together.
- We have lead the Restarting class together (a class on emotionally healthy spirituality), coached people together, done Immanuel Prayer with people together—all really cool things where we get a front row seat to see people hear from and experience God.
- She has supported me in growing thriving financial services and life coaching practices, which I greatly appreciate.
Maritza Khouri, our life coach
- She is the one to reminds us to keep the main thing the main thing.
- She helps us to center on being relational with God and other people.
- She helps us to apply and teach the material we are learning through Restarting. (Her husband Ed is the one who teaches and wrote the Restarting curriculum.)
- She affirms and encourages us, which means the world to us.
Pat Street, Pastor at Vineyard Church of Davenport, our church
- The longer I am around, the more I see how difficult it is to pastor a church over the long run, thereby increasing my respect for him.
- He heads up our spiritual family; belonging to this community is hugely important to us. It has given a common context for relationships with others.
- Through the church, we have our avenue for our ministry, which this year has been Restarting and leading a Life Group. This has enriched our lives and been very fulfilling
- He is focused on being outward and reaching the lost and the unchurched. I respect him greatly for that; both because it is God’s heart and it is really hard to do.
Jim Wilder, founder of Shepherd’s House
- Jim is a man who has experienced more physical and emotional pain then most people in the world. Yet he has experienced God’s redemptive purposes more than most other people, which is a huge inspiration. He is passing on what he has learned as part of his life’s legacy.
- Jim is spiritual father to Chris Coursey, who helped Sharon and I deal with root issues in our marriage, when no one else could.
- Jim was influential in connecting with and encouraging Karl and Charlotte Lehman and Ed and Maritza Khouri to develop their ministries, which have been life-transforming for us.
- Jim helped develop the Life Model and the Immanuel Prayer retreat. Jim, Chris, Karl and others lead the retreat in April of this year, which was life-changing for us. This retreat lit a fire under us where we have experienced an anointing from God and have enjoyed the presence of God unlike any time in our lives.
- A bit less than 5 years ago, I heard Brian Moran talk about making an audacious six-year goal and then how to achieve it. I took what he said to heart, prayed about it, and I believe I received what God wanted me to have as my goal. This goal was completely above and beyond what I had experienced thus far in my life. 4 ¼ years later, last April, by God’s grace I achieved that goal.
- Brian also taught me much about implementation. The tagline for his business is “The Execution Company.” His favorite quote is, “Great ideas are worthless unless they are implemented – it’s all about execution.”
- Brian has taught me more about vision and execution than anyone else. He also does this with a faith perspective, which I really appreciate.
- Brian’s goal is to influence a million people each year; his audacious goal is an inspiration to me. If I can do 1% of that over a lifetime, I would be thrilled.
So there you have it. Brian taught me a lot about doing; I have been focusing on doing for the last five years. While doing has been good, in the last couple of years, God has personally been leading me on a journey to learn about being, about the joy of being his son, about enjoying my relationship with Him, with Sharon, with others. That is why the first four out of the five people on my list are resources that God has provided to help me to “be.” 2011 has been the best year of my life. How many people can say that?
Here are some questions for you to noodle on:
- Who are the five people who have influenced you the most in 2011? Why?
- Would it be a good idea to send a note to those five people and thank them for how your life has been blessed through them?
- How many people would include you on their top-five list this year?
- Who does God want you to be intentional about influencing in a positive and significant way?
- What would God have you do in 2012 to get on more peoples’ top-five list?