“Momentum for Life”

At the recent Bishop’s Retreat, with guest Mike Slaughter, I picked up Mike’s book, Momentum for Life: Biblical Practices for Sustaining Physical Health, Personal Integrity, and Strategic Focus. I love that the book sprinkles references to the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) throughout the book. And, using the acronym D.R.I.V.E., the book focuses on five basic life disciplines that create momentum for life, including …

  • Devotion to God
  • Readiness for lifelong learning
  • Investing in key relationships
  • Visioning for the future
  • Eating and Exercise for life

At first, I thought the five phrases were hard to remember, but now that I’ve been working with them a while, I can easily remember them.

A common refrain in the book is, “All leadership begins with self-leadership” (3). Mike says, “You can’t lead anyone farther than you’re leading yourself” (31).

Devotion to God

Devotion brings me back to my true center. My work is not the center of my journey, nor is ministry the center of my life; God is. My identity is that of a servant. (40)

In the early days of my spiritual journey, in college, I read biographies and journals of great spiritual leaders to learn more about their devotional practices. I learned early on, and was inspired by the fact, that great spiritual leaders were disciplined in their prayer lives!

A daily life practice of being fully present to God’s presence is the foundation of all other disciplines. (42)

Readiness for Lifelong Learning

Growth and fruitfulness go hand in hand. (47)

God is looking for people with flexible minds that can receive new ideas and for people who will let those ideas be manifested into physical reality. … The obstacle to forward momentum is old thinking. (51)

Investing in Key Relationships

Mike discusses the priority of family. He also talks about mentoring relationships.

We miss out on life and meaning if we are not making relationships a priority on any given day. (70) … Life is not about stuff we own or accumulate. It is not about personal accomplishment. Life is about people. We can replace stuff, but we can’t replace people. (71)

We get into trouble when we allow our work to fill the margins that are meant for our relationships. (72) … Each of us is responsible for our own schedule, for how we will order today. If I don’t prioritize how and with whom I spend my time, circumstances and other people will decide for me. (74)

The ultimate test of success is not what we accomplish or achieve but whom we develop. … You make an impact in the world by making a difference in the lives of other people. … Whatever your type of work, the priority is building people. (80)

Visioning for the Future

Vision is the natural result of living in the fulness of the Holy Spirit. … Through the Holy Spirit we have access to the mind of Christ, which enables us to have connection to the limitless ideas of God. (87)

Mike writes, “I take time every day to visualize God’s preferred future” (93). He admits, “If I am not taking time every day to envision a better reality, I will reach my picture and retire” (90).

God entrusts vision to those who will faithfully execute it, and the size of vision God gives us is dependent on our faithfulness in implementing strategic action. … God wants to do incredible things, but he will not give you a vision that exceeds the size of the faith-steps you are willing to take. (100) … God gives big visions to people who are willing to take big actions! (101)

Eating and Exercise for Life

The chapter on eating and exercise is based on the premise that “Life is a gift to be embraced and celebrated to the max” (107).

It is tempting for us to dissociate what we eat and whether we exercise from our commitments to God, but our bodies are not our own. We have been purchased, body-mind-spirit, with the redemptive work of God through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Eating healthy foods and making a disciplined commitment to exercise is not optional for the committed follower of Jesus. It is one of the essential daily life disciplines of discipleship. (109)

Mike contends, “Your time of death is not predetermined. It is affected by your life practices and choices” (110). He lists several factors that influence longevity …

  • Attitude
  • Relationships
  • Genes
  • Mental activity
  • Exercise
  • Diet

I do better in some of these areas than in others. The book was a challenging reminder to me that grow in each of these areas. The book is pretty practical. I didn’t expect a lot of new, earth-shattering stuff in the book, but Mike did a good job of being practical and building it on a biblical foundation. It was an encouraging read.

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