Pursuing the Pylon: Why Good Goals Start at 1st & 10

Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to set goals than it is to reach them? Why it’s less difficult making resolutions than being resolute about them?

If so, then congratulations; not only is self-improvement important to you but you understand the value in pursuing ‘next level’ goals as opposed to run-of-the-mill resolutions.

Granted, this doesn’t automatically simplify the walk-it-out process.

Yet, as discussed during last weekend’s LEGACYouth leadership retreat, when we talk about refining our aim, the hardest part isn’t so much listing our goals; it’s living them out in full together1. So how we grow as target-trainers and develop as goal-keepers in the context of community is worth discussion.

For starters, we must understand the difference and progression among plans, steps, and goals. In terms of pathway, before a goal can be achieved, it must be realized through a plan and executed by its steps (plans -> steps -> goals). A quick drill-down on Proverbs 16:9 confirms this: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Framing this in the context of goal-setting, we find…

  1. A goal without a plan is unachievable…
  2. A plan without steps is unbelievable …
  3. A step without the Lord’s establishment is inconceivable…
  4. Therefore, a goal cannot be fully accomplished if God is not allowed to do that which only he can do.

Fair enough. Still for many, while identifying goals comes naturally, it’s important we allow God establish his steps individually and corporately in every walk and pursuit of life.

‘Cause truth is: the biggest reason goals fail isn’t a matter of not trying, but of not relying.

As crazy as it sounds, God may not always give us clear game-plans; in fact, there will be times his strats2 seem incomplete as his grace keeps us in the dark; however, if we’re faithful to seek him at all costs, he will surely give us clear, complete, and concise understanding as to the next steps we’re to take (Job 32:8, 2 Timothy 2:7, Psalm 119:100, Psalm 119:130, James 1:5). All we have to do is journey in trust (i.e. depend on what he’s called us to and abide in it with joyful obedience) knowing to the extent we lean on God to that extent we’re supported in rest (see application of Hebrew word “shaan” in Genesis 18:4, 2 Chronicles 13:18, 2 Chronicles 14:11).

Will the road be tough at times? Absolutely. Will the light at the end of the tunnel seem dim on occasion? Of course. Again, I’m not saying leaning on God is always going to make sense; however, I am saying if we truly desire to hit the bullseye of our goals and for God to establish the bridge between them and our plans, relying on God is the best approach.

Think of this way: If living our goals is a game of football, then the process is like a quarterback advancing the ball down the field. For the offense, the ultimate goal is to score a touchdown; however, in the heat of the moment, the team isn’t as focused on six points as it is keeping the drive alive…in going for the first down. Can any one play produce a touchdown? Absolutely. But to the quarterback, the objective isn’t so much to score on one throw as it to anticipate the defense and execute on a play-to-play basis in hope to renew a fresh set of downs. So if we apply the goal pathway as mentioned above, we can see how…

  1. The goal is to score a touchdown.
  2. The plan is the offense scheme employed by the coach and driven by the quarterback.
  3. The steps are the single plays of the drive seeking to sustain momentum through the first down.

Thus, I submit if we want to mature our goal-setting into goal-keeping, better to go for the first down until the time comes to go for the touchdown. See the difference?

My encouragement to you, friends, is to remember since plans represent the steps needed to achieve the goals God has placed in your heart, they’re ultimately appointed to Christ. So whatever you commit to, stay ready to surrender, ask the Lord to fill you with his vision…to align his priorities within you, and then follow through by staying tethered to trust.

Cam out.


  • Or living them out in full together in a teaming context
  • Short abbreviation for “strategies”

Photo creds: GettyImages

Making H1s7tory: 3 Big Life Goals for 2017

This may sound passé, but I don’t get why New Year’s resolutions are as big a deal as they are. Yes, I’m all about life change and terminating undesired behavior; however, when it comes to one’s resolve to #levelup, I guess I’m a tad skeptical. Perhaps it’s the sugarcoated tradition we, as a culture, have placed on taking spiritual inventory or the ghost of New Year’s past reminding me of the times I missed targets once aimed for. Either way, I feel like a fish out of water writing about goals in a time when it’s so cliché.

Still, I can’t deny the wisdom in writing down the vision (Habakkuk 2:2) of Spirit-led aspirations. Thus, without further ado, here are my top three goals for 2017…

  1.  Make like a proton & stay positive.

Ok, so I know this sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating: positivity is a choice and a fruit of the voice. Granted, I’m not saying anything new; however, speaking from conviction, while I don’t struggle with hope, I do struggle in consistently guarding it with joy. As a result, my positivity can find itself restricted to change on the horizon as opposed to living fully in the moment. If you’re like me in the sense your positivity and present aren’t always aligned, I encourage you: consider how you want your life to speak and set your mind for positivity.

‘Cause truth is: you cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. You cannot use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, and your heart for love if you’re not consistently believing the best for you and those around you. Yeah, I know it’s easy to let the downers of life, whether people or circumstances, set the tone. Yet, when I consider how I want to grow in 2017, no question, I want to be more positive; hence, why I’m goin’ to make like a proton and stay positive no matter how ‘neutron’ or ‘electron’ life gets.


  1. Capitalize on opportunity.

It’s been said nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. In terms of cost, I agree. Certainly there’s a correlation between seizing the day and staying alert…between staying alert and challenging oneself.

The question is: How do we actually stay alert?

For starters, we must stand firm in prayer and faith (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). In my experience, I’ve found it easier to desire a challenge than what sets us up to overcome it. We want the thrill, we want the strength, just not the silence or the persistence. Yet, while wanting to better steward the assignments of God is entirely good, we can only get there if we allow our prayer life to be more purposeful and perpetual. After all, given prayer is a cyclical process, we can’t hear if we don’t listen and we can’t be more sensitive if we’re not intentional.

I believe for many of us, 2017 is going to be a year when our minds are renewed through the refreshing of our listening…a season in which we’ll hear God’s voice more clearly through deliberate prayer and furthermore by the divine appointments he arranges.

My advice: If you’re faithful in the quiet spaces (seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness), God will ensure his confidence and influence through you in the public places…as you serve in love (and all these things will be given to you; (Psalm 118:5; Matthew 6:33).


  1. Pursue freedom.

Freedom can be a tricky word in our spiritual vocabulary. On one hand, we know it’s for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17); on the other, we might think: “If I’ve been purchased at a price, why do I still feel anything but free?

Honestly, I think part of the reason is our tendency to equate freedom with victory. Yes, Jesus took away our chains at Calvary. Yet, while victory was attained at the cross, we still have the choice (free will) to walk in the freedom that victory produced. So while some may view freedom through a ‘have it or you don’t’ mentality, I contend it’s grace in motion…a pursuable, tangible reality we can know AND walk in.

Interestingly, if we dig a little deeper,  we find freedom, as described by Paul’s  verb selection in his letters, as obtainable in the desert places and fillable in the empty places. Therefore, I submit: if we’re struggling with shame yet are aiming for freedom, we shouldn’t be afraid to lay it all on the altar before God considering a) his compassion…his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and b) his freedom is always on the move.

As Davey Blackburn once stated: “God wants to use [us] in [our] weakness far better than [we] can use [our] talent.” So why not allow the freeing work of God in Christ through his Spirit consume places where sin and its rubble once dwelt as we humbly boast in God’s ability to use our weakness as opposed to exalting it ourselves?



Photo creds: staastao.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Year in Review: A Look Back at 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, Lyssah & I sit down and reflect on the year that was…

When you think back on 2016, what immediately comes to mind?

CF: There are two answers to this question: The first and most obvious is Caeden. His arrival into the world was by far the greatest moment of the year. The second and not as obvious is the word, ‘horizon’, as in there’s much change on the horizon. In short, I believe the events of 2016 were foundation-laying for the season to come.

LF: The first thing I think about is Caeden being born. That moment set the stage for 2016 as a whole given the year of laboring it’s been. In previous years, certain things came easy. This year everything has had a learning curve. Everything from pushing through the pain and discomfort of labor to pushing through my work when I really wanted to be home with Caeden, pushing through and learning new skills that have enabled me to be start my own side business, pushing through church/bivocational challenges, etc. Basically, there’s been a whole lot of pushing this year.


What were some of the highlights/defining moments?

CF: When I consider the year’s defining moments, I can’t help but think 2016 was really two years in one. As mentioned, the highlight of all ‘Fry-lights’ (sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 was January 7 when Caeden was born. Progressing chronologically, I’d say Winter Storm Jonas (January 22), moving into our new home (February 27), the Messenger Fellowship Summit in Orlando (March 14-16), the #LoveAkron Tour (June 22-26), #LoveMexico (July 15-24), our west coast adventures (September 10-17), and completing my first devotional all rank up there. After a grounded 2015, we definitely got away a lot more this year. Pretty remarkable considering we became new parents only a week into the new year…

LF: Not to sound like a broken record, but our son being born…and finding out I’m stronger than I once thought through the labor process. I feel like I definitely reached the end of myself in August and the Lord was very faithful to give me greater strength to keep going. I feel like landing my first virtual assistant client was pretty defining as well…not to mention reaching the three and five year marks in our marriage and ministry together respectively. I guess a lot of things hit a culmination point this year.


How would you compare this year of marriage to the first few?

CF: I definitely think major life changes have compelled us to be more proactive in being on the same page emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. While I was tempted to post this under ‘highlights’, I’d say the relational high point of 2016 was the overall sense of struggling and thriving together. As amplified as 2015 was, 2016 was even more challenging in the sense the highs felt higher and the lows felt lower. Yet, all in all, what we experienced this year was in large part a continuation of what we experienced in 2015 with God tightening us together through stretching.

LF: I think some stuff has been easier and some stuff has been harder because now there’s a whole new dynamic. We’re not just married; we’re married parents. So we’ve had to be much more intentional staying connected.


What lesson from 2016 are you eager to apply in 2017?

CF: A couple lessons stand out. First off, even in the darkest trials, God’s voice is just as clear if we choose to press into him. Second, God’s grace is often the change he initiates outside our control. Thirdly, success isn’t a measurable concept. As Winston Churchill once said, “success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” And it’s this courage when applied to prayer that enables us to persevere to the next level.

LF: I’d say not trying to be the one to take care of everything. I have a natural proclivity to independence and trying to take care of myself. But now as a wife and mom, I’ve learned I need to lay that burden down since there’s so much outside my control. I have to allow myself be free from feeling like I’m responsible for everybody and everything.


What do you hope you’ll be saying at this time next year?

CF: For some reason, that’s a hard one this go-around. I imagine some derivative of: “We made it through and we didn’t quit.”

LF: “We’ve made it! We’re debt-free! I’m home with my son and able to support my husband the way I Want to. We’re free!”