Do you need to make a new start? Sometimes we feel as if we need to start over, to allow God to do a “hard reset” of our lives. It is possible to return to God and reclaim your relationship with Him. In Reset Your Life: Make a New Start, Joseph W. Walker III uses eight “R’s” (Reset, Return, Review and Recalculate, Reclaim, Redirect, Reinvigorate and Revive, Reinvest, and Reinvent) to teach how you can have a new beginning through faith in God.
- The eight “R’s” to a making a new start through faith in God
- End-of-chapter questions for individual thought or group discussion
About the Author
Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III, D.Min. is Senior Pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee; and Presiding Bishop-elect of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International. Bishop Walker received a B.A. from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a M. Div.from Vanderbilt University; and a D. Min. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds two honorary doctorates from Meharry Medical College and Southern University, respectively. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity.
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Reset Your Life
Make A New Start
By Joseph W. Walker III
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Joseph W. Walker III
All rights reserved.
Getting the Most from this Book
Any book worth reading is a dialogue. It is a place where author and reader meet, where words on a page or screen invite reaction — thought, contemplation, imagination, emotion, and, ultimately, action. What's more, if a book has a spiritual aim, as this one does, there is a third party in the conversation. God is part of the equation, for where two or more meet in his name, he is there (Matt. 18:20).
This book is an outgrowth of my ministry and that of my church. It aims to engage you in the process and possibilities of being reset. I hope you will allow the three-way conversation about to take place between you, me, and the Spirit of God to serve as the doorway to rejuvenation and renewal. Let this be your opportunity to go back to that place where, as a new Christian, you were on fire for the things of the Lord, where prayer and love and service excited every cell in your body. I see such renewals happen every Sunday in my churches in Nashville, and I want to extend that possibility to everyone who reads this book.
To get the most from this book, ask the Holy Spirit to be part of the process. Wherever you are reading this — in your quiet place at home, on your lunch break from work, in an airplane, or on the beach:
Pause for a moment and prepare yourself mentally to engage with what you are about to read.
Put yourself in the stories as you read them, looking for phrases and situations that speak to you.
React! Let the stories and text excite you, let them make you think, let them press your buttons!
Then ask yourself, "Why is this story having such an effect on me?"
Finally, and most importantly, ask, "How can I apply this in my life?"
Our dialogue will be facilitated by discussion points at the end of every chapter designed to get you thinking and to allow you to draw on your knowledge, experience, failures and successes, disappointments, and dreams, for it is only when you're fully engaged that this three-way conversation can carry you forward.
Where are we headed? We are aiming for reset. We're looking for that place where you slough off your old skin and walk, fresh and invigorated, into the joys and challenges ahead.
I hope all of that sounds inspirational, but I hope even more that it sounds eminently practical because that's what I have in mind. This is not a theological text. It's not an academic treatise. This is a book about the Christian life and how to live it successfully, drawing lessons from the people whose stories inhabit the Bible. These were people who sometimes found that the new had worn off. They sometimes lost their edge. They resisted their calling. They were willing to settle. In other words, they were men and women just like you and me. At some point, though, they heard the Spirit of God calling them to renew. When they said yes, they were changed, just as you can be.
That doesn't mean it was instantly easy for them, or that it will be easy for you. But you will see, time after time, how heeding the call to renew can make you into someone capable of miracles, someone for whom the extraordinary, the awe-inspiring, can be not just possible but a way of life.
So how can you approach this book on a practical level? What can you hope to gain from it that will change your life and how you live it? Let's start with what you're facing right now. What are the stumbling blocks in your life? What are the questions you find difficult to answer? Here are some of the questions people commonly face as they grapple with life:
Did I choose the right major?
Should I stay in this job?
Is it too late to change careers?
Why is it so hard to find and keep a good relationship?
Why is this marriage so difficult?
I feel like I'm always pouring myself into other people and their problems. When will it be my time?
What could I do with my leisure time that would make me feel useful to my neighborhood, my city, the world?
Why do I feel so stale spiritually?
Why don't I take more responsibility for my own health and well-being?
What is my purpose here on earth?
Once you know what the questions are, you can start looking for answers. Remember, we can't fix what we won't face. Once you can put a name on it, you can start to apply the principles in this book to it, and once you do that, you can start walking with God toward a better life.
So as you read, underline. Highlight. Take notes. Write in the margins. Read this book with a friend, your spouse, your book club, or a small group at church. Look for ways to bring the principles here alive in your own life.
And prepare to reset.
How To Read The Bible For Reset
We don't have to fly blind when it comes to the process of being reset. We don't need to reinvent the wheel. Countless men and women have been on the path before us. This book draws on the experience and wisdom of so many people I have known through the years — those who did it right and those who did it wrong — as well as many people who were reset in the pages of Scripture. I have taken their lessons and tried to present them in a way that gives you a clear picture of the path to reset, the process of reset, and the results of reset.
As we prepare, there are specifics I can share that may help light your way. Allow me to distill some of the mindsets and techniques that you might find helpful.
Let's start with Scripture. Reading the Bible is an art and a science. It is where we interact with the living God. The Word is such that each of us can glean from it the les- sons and principles we need. God sometimes states rules, but the Bible consists largely of stories, because God knows that is how we as human beings learn best. We will be visiting a number of people in the Old and New Testaments, interacting with them and with their stories as presented by writers indwelt with God's Holy Spirit.
For instance, we will be reading about Saul, whose reset turned a violent enemy of the Way, as early Christianity was called in his day, into the man who would write most of the letters found in the New Testament, teaching us how to walk the path Jesus laid out for us.
Throughout this book you will find citations for verses written by Paul that relate his story. These passages may consist of just two or three verses. It is often helpful to read more, to see these verses in context by reading the entire chapter from the Bible before you proceed.
In preparing to read Scripture, be ready to concentrate. Reread as necessary. Try to picture the action and hear the dialogue. These are not just words. They are depictions of events important enough to be included in the Bible. God wants us to be familiar with them. Then once you've read a section with your full attention, relax for a moment and let the scene permeate you. Let it seep into your heart as well as your mind.
Now let's look at what God is saying — to you. Let's look at Acts 9, where Saul encounters the Lord on the road to Damascus:
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (vv. 1–2)
As you read it over, make sure you understand the situation. Try to picture the conversation and the room in which it takes place, letting the scene play in your head. Then, when you have taken it into your head and heart, turn inward. How are you like Saul? Most of us can vouch that we've not breathed murderous threats against Christians, although some of us come from backgrounds violent enough that we can identify.
Look honestly at your life. If your disagreements with or dislike of people have been strong enough to lead to threats or actual violence, look at whether those days are truly behind you. If they are, thank God for your deliverance from them and vow to stay on the path of good relations with others. If you are still involved in that kind of destructive behavior, pray for the willingness and ability to overcome and be free of your darker nature — pray for reset.
And if you honestly say those kinds of threats and violence are no longer part of you, look for how this scripture might apply anyway. No Bible verse stands completely alone. We read it in the context of the entire Bible. Remember that Jesus said,
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." (Matt. 5:21–22)
We are called to a higher standard. We are not expected simply not to kill, not to steal, not to commit adultery. Jesus made clear that we are not to remain angry, not to covet another's possessions, not to lust in our hearts. So these verses apply to us if we harbor grudges, if we judge others harshly, if we look down on those around us. If we truly want to follow Christ, we are as liable for reset when it comes to anger as we are when it comes to murder, for lust as much as for adultery. We let the verses speak to us and convict us, and we pray for the strength to move forward.
Let's look at one more verse from Acts chapter 9:
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (vv. 3–4)
Again, most of us don't get knocked to the ground by lights and voices, but once we've pictured the scene, the question becomes, "How does the Lord speak to me?" For most of us, we hear that still, small voice, often drowned out yet there and unmistakable. It's the tug of our conscience. Often it's supplemented by Bible verses that speak to us, by things people say that ring true with us or convict us, by sermons, by song lyrics. So ask yourself, "What is the voice of God calling me to do?" The answer is personal to each individual, but each of us is indwelt with the voice of God, calling us to God's will. And each of us is given the ability to respond to that call.
How To Pray For Reset
Now, about prayer. Remember, our goal is to seek God's will and align with it, before, during, and after reset.
Before reset — we hear the call. It may be faint, but our spirits are finely tuned to God's Spirit. It is the world that drowns out that voice. Even if we are not there yet, if sin still has us, if our vices still control us, we can recognize the voice. Once we know that we are being called to change, to reset, we have the opportunity to ask God to lead us. Prayer can be simple: "Oh, God, lead me to reset. Let your call awaken me. Let your voice reach my ears and my spirit. Let your presence continue to grow inside me."
During reset — we see the process of resetting involves every aspect of our lives. Our prayer as we are being reset might be, "Lord, reset my mind, my heart, my spirit. Let every aspect of me awaken to a new awareness of you and your mission for me."
After reset — we look for the strength to carry out our mission. "Lord, I feel your power flowing through me. Please help me to stay focused on doing what I know you would have me to do."
This book will walk you through everything you need to know about the process of being reset in God. It will offer background, examples, and practical tips designed to get you back in the game of life. As you read this book, I pray you are inspired, challenged, and empowered to reset your life. The world is waiting on you.
Make your own list of the questions life has raised within your spirit. Be sure to include the things that are troubling you.
Write your own prayer, one that asks God to prepare you for the task of being reset.CHAPTER 2
Reset: The Choice Is Now
The modern smartphone is a wondrous device. It would take pages to list all the things it can do, but a small list should paint the picture: it's a camera, stopwatch, photo album, video screen, song library, GPS-enabled navigator, texting device, compass, weather report, alarm clock, address book, search engine, and voice-activated personal assistant. It'll even let you make phone calls!
Need it to do more? It's also a store, with access to software that lets you do anything from identify the constellations to sell your home. They aren't kidding when they say, "There's an app for that."
It's pretty impressive and, like it or not, we depend on it. So you can imagine what it felt like when my smartphone went bad. Oh, it still worked, sort of, but the reception was spotty, and it would drop calls and sometimes lock up on me altogether. I'd have to turn it off and restart it to get it working again.
I'm not a techie — I don't know a thing about malware or spybots or viruses. I just know my smartphone was no longer as smart as I needed it to be. So I went back to where I'd bought it and talked to someone who was a techie. I told him what was happening and he took a look at the phone.
"You're going to need a reset," he said. "But I've reset it," I said.
"No," he said, "you've rebooted it. That may help with your immediate lockup, but it doesn't do a thing to deal with the built-up problems your phone has accumulated."
"So what are we talking about?'
"A hard reset," he said. "It's also called a factory reset. It strips the phone of all the applications and settings you've added and everything that's been slipped into it by hackers and restores it to the state it was in when it left the factory."
I was still back on the "strips the phone" part. "You mean I'm going to lose all my data?" I said.
"Just what isn't backed up," he said. "But let me ask you, are you willing to go through life with a phone that's this unpredictable, that's running this badly?"
"No," I said.
"Well, are you willing to lose a few things to get it back?" "I guess I am," I said. I thought it through for a minute and then said, "On second thought, I'm absolutely willing to do what it takes."
"Then let's do the reset. And I can guarantee you'll like having a phone that feels brand-new again."
He was right. I walked out of there with a phone I could get excited about.
You Are Created for Wonderful things
You are so much more valuable than any smartphone or computer. As marvelous as they are, both pale in comparison with the riches inside your mind and heart. You were created by God for wonderful things. You are capable of love and friendship, of productivity and creativity. You can launch a career, start a family, improve the community, make this a better world. And, ultimately, you have been chosen to participate in eternal life with its Author.
But all of us get stale. All of us at one time or another find ourselves operating at less-than-peak capacity. Your mind is crammed with a lifetime of input — information and experiences — and it is important that it be not just updated but reset periodically. Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Unbeknownst to you, some of the information in your mind and heart has been corrupted. You've misremembered and misrepresented, you've mislabeled and mistranslated, you've misapplied and mismanaged. You've taken shortcuts and cut corners. You've assigned blame and held grudges. You've done things you shouldn't have and avoided things you should have done. Like the rest of us, you have not only allowed but often welcomed the imperfections that have made operating at full capacity all but impossible.
Nothing but a hard reset will realign and recalibrate your data so that you once again possess the ability to determine the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Without a reset, your judgment will remain cloudy, and you'll find it difficult to distinguish between good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, perfect and imperfect.
There are levels of imperfection, degrees of disconnected- ness from God. Maybe you're just not as productive as you should be. Or maybe your life is in complete disarray.
So many people go through this life seemingly empty, devoid of passion and purpose. It's not that those things don't exist within them. It's just that sometimes they need to be reignited. So many men and women feel that they're simply bystanders, sitting on the sidelines, passively watch- ing the action on the court. Maybe you've fouled out, maybe you've been injured. Perhaps you've taken too many elbows or maybe you've just given up.
Excerpted from Reset Your Life by Joseph W. Walker III. Copyright © 2015 Joseph W. Walker III. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1: Getting the Most from This Book, 1,
Chapter 2: Reset: The Choice Is Now, 11,
Chapter 3: Recognize the Call, 37,
Chapter 4: Reassess and Recalibrate, 61,
Chapter 5: Reclaim and Rededicate, 85,
Chapter 6: Let God Reinvent You and Your World, 107,
Chapter 7: Resurrection: The Great Reset, 139,
About the Author, 163,
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