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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: time with God

I Are A Good Student, Is You?

Joseph Castaneda



Growing up in the 80s and 90s, there were a few slogans that permeated my childhood education, maybe you remember some of these? "DARE to resist drugs" or "This is your brain..." or "Avoid the Noid" (ok, that one might be a stretch but here's a commercial to jog your memory!) or "True Love Waits" or...what are some of your favorite schoolisms?

Another one that became part of my educational DNA I learned in high school: "Leaders are learners." Good leaders are people who keep growing in knowledge, they read, they watch documentaries, they take notes during Ted Talks and they surround themselves with people who are wiser and smarter than themselves. These types of leaders ask questions, learn from their mistakes and know to whom they should listen.

I love Isaiah's words here in chapter 48, as the Lord reminds him that God is the greatest teacher. There is no doubt Isaiah was a tremendous leader in his time, and he was a man, a prophet, who was a great learner; learning from the Great Teacher.

Are you spending time learning with Isaiah's teacher? He knows what you need, He knows what you need to learn and "the way you should go," and He knows that when you learn it, the benefit will be yours.

I want to lead to the best of my ability, and I know that means I need to learn much from the Great Teacher. How about you? Are you spending time with Him? Are you learning, each day, from His book and His Spirit?

There is great comfort in knowing that the Lord is God, He teaches us and does so for our benefit, to lead us in the way we should go. Learn from Jesus.

I started a club!


I hate waking up early. I have never been one of those guys who embraces the early morning hours of any given day.

Honestly, I have always been jealous of “those guys” who can get up 7 hours before the sun rises and have time to read their Bibles, pray, plan their weeks, solve world hunger, make breakfast for their wives and children and groom their pets. Of course, I hate having a breakfast meeting with them, as I show up 9 minutes late with my disheveled hair under a baseball cap and my super sexy morning voice while they have that fresh-from-the-salon look, already having accomplished more by 7:30am then I might accomplish all day.

Over the past few years, I’ve had good reason for not being a morning guy. How many youth pastors do you know that are morning guys? (In fact, I’ll say what few others are bold enough to say in such a public forum: never trust a youth pastor who is a morning guy!) Youth ministry often runs late, I’ve always worked well late at night, and my wife and I have, together, found evenings to be a good space for productivity.

However, in prep for 2016, I’ve been reading several books on pursuing God-sized dreams and goals, as well as material written about time and talent management. They all have the same advice when it comes to mornings: those who tackle the biggest goals and achieve the greatest success in their fields, almost universally, embrace the early hours of each day.

I’ve had moments in my life where I tried to make friends with the predawn hours, but I’ve never kept a lasting relationship with them. You know, it’s not’s me.

2016 is different though, and the season of life we’re in, and the situation we find our marriage/family/ministry in, is unique; clearly God has given us an opportunity to chase something, full steam ahead! I don’t want to miss what’s in front of us, so I’ve committed myself to learning more -- both knowledge and skill -- and making the necessary personal changes to embrace this future.

So dreaded thoughts of dreaded thoughts, I’m learning to accept mornings as part of the pathway to watching God unveil His plans in our lives. There...I said it.

Of course, if you’ve ever tried something new, “hating it” doesn’t help you embrace it. If you want to change your diet, hating the option that will bring you the changes you want, is not the key to success. In fact, quite the opposite, it’s a formula for disaster. So what do you do when you hate the change you most need in your life?

You create a club. Because clubs are fun, right?

Phone alarmSo now, every night before I lay my 7 3/4” cranium down for sleep, I set the alarm to make sure I’m up in time for Club 555. That’s right, 555 is my new club and already it’s paying dividends. My productivity is up, beginning with more time each day in the Bible and in prayer. My focus on important tasks is more refined and I feel like the big picture items are becoming clearer.

Some of you are mocking me for getting up at 5:55 because you already do 3am. Cut me some slack, because embracing this is new to me! And embracing it as something that’s more than just a short-term fix is even harder. At four weeks in, I think it’s starting to stick, but being a club owner is no easy task. I’ll keep you posted a few weeks from now and let you know how things look at the end of another month.

As you pursue the Overboard Life, what change do you need to embrace? I’m not talking about making a change that becomes a strong habit, I’m talking about making a change that you embrace so that it becomes a strong habit you love. Maybe it’s time for you to start a club? Maybe it’s time for you to join me in my club? Can’t say I love the early morning hours yet, but I don’t hate them any more. At least I know I’m on the right path.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life -- including your club! -- is always better on the water.