We must sharpen our focus to increase our effectiveness, but so many things vie for our attention. In this episode we are going to talk about achieving the FOCUS necessary for forward movement in our lives. 

continue reading for the episode notes…

2019: The Year of Focus… Sharpen Your Focus to Increase Your Effectiveness

I usually pick a theme for a new year, something I want to highlight, think about, take action upon, or even figure out. Last year my word was “Go.” I decided 2018 had to be the year of movement, of action, of moving on and moving forward. 

My mission statement is about a paragraph long but I’ve distilled it down into a three word slogan: Listen, Focus, Go. When I say those three words I remember the simplicity and the complexity of my mission. To listen to the heartbeat of God. To focus my attention on what God is saying and what he is asking of me. To take action on the direction and directives of God. 

This year I have chosen the word “FOCUS” as my word for 2019. 

First, we want to encourage you to take some time over the next few days and listen intently to the heartbeat of God regarding 2019. Is there something you’ve intended for a long time in which you feel prompted to gain some forward movement? A key emphasis for 2019, one that you really focus upon, might help you. Here’s a few things to keep in mind regarding key words, resolutions, themes, or intentions at the onset of a new year. 

  • There’s nothing magical about turning the page on a calendar. 
  • A key word, phrase, resolution, or emphasis isn’t going to help you unless it is important enough to engage with an action plan. 
  • I am of the conviction that a major intention ought to be solely rooted in the will and heart of God rather than just something you came up with on a whim. 
  • I believe that when we take the time to LISTEN with intention, a path and a plan will emerge. 

Second, we want to talk about our key word for 2019 on its own merit. FOCUS. 

A “FOCUS” is something that becomes the center of attention and activity. 

I’ve dubbed 2019 as the year of focus for several reasons.

  • My journal, the one I’m writing in right now, as of this word, has 327,923 words and 816 pages. I started this journal on January 1, 2018. That’s a lot of writing. I’m thinking that if I put a bit more FOCUS and intention on writing in a straight line, it could become significant. 
  • Our calling is lifting and developing transformational leaders in Africa. It is a tremendous need, it fits our skills and calling like a glove, the opportunity presented itself, but we are not independently wealthy. Before we can go, we have to put funding together to pay for the training, the initiatives, the travel, and the many other associated expenses. We are working with teams right now, but I’ve got to keep my FOCUS on funding the initiatives right now. If we get ahead of ourselves we will short out the impact we could have had. In 2019 we’ve got to FOCUS on raising the funding to transform Africa through raising up and training multiplying and transformational leaders and planting churches in the urban centers of Africa. 
  • As we grow older we want to stay in our zone. Envision a Venn diagram with three intersecting circles. Our zone is the intersection of our CALLING, our PASSION, and our SKILLS. Where those three things intersect, that’s our zone, and we’ve got to FOCUS on our Zone. 

Here’s some things we want YOU to consider about the FOCUS you need to bring into your life. Whether it’s your key word for 2019 or not, FOCUS is of great importance. What will you FOCUS upon over the next 12 months. 

Focus Requires the Courage to Say “No”

FOCUS requires the courage to NOT focus on some important things so you CAN focus on things more important. 

Remember, “FOCUS” is making something the center of attention or activity. To bring one thing into focus you must put a lot of other things out of focus. 

FOCUS is singular, it is selective. If you FOCUS on everything, then you really aren’t focusing on anything. 

Just as soon as you decide what you are going to FOCUS upon, don’t even start that journey until you’ve sat down and written out a list of things you are going to de-emphasize, things you are going to eliminate, things you are going to say “no” to. 

It takes courage to say “no” because we want others to like us. We want to value others and the things important to them. We can’t say “no” all the time, because many of the people asking things of us are important to us. It is difficult. But we must find the courage and the wisdom to eliminate the right things so we can FOCUS upon the things we MUST do. 


Discover your zone, and then focus on your zone. For me, this coming year, I am going to pick a few things imperative to move forward in 2019, and I am going to FOCUS. 

I am identifying a few things that deserve and demand my FOCUS in 2019… and I know what they are. 

I will FOCUS by dedicating the lions share of my schedule to those few things.

I will FOCUS by identifying the things necessary for forward movement in the things upon which I have focused. 

I will de-emphasize the things that dilute my FOCUS. 

I will redirect my FOCUS every single day, and do something every day to gain forward movement 

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