Jan. 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM ET
In "The Power of a Half Hour," Tommy Barnett boils down a basic formula to finding a clearer path to a better life through faith. Here's an excerpt.
The Power of a Half Hour
My name is Tommy Barnett.
I’m a pastor and have devoted my entire adult life to helping people connect with God and find better ways to live. I could fill up this book and more with all kinds of spiritual and practical ideas about what works in life and what doesn’t. I think it would be good stuff, but I have one practical idea that I know from my own experience rises far above all the others.
I admit it’s not an overly unique concept, like the invention of the Internet, for example. However, it’s an idea that has helped me realize success and great satisfaction in all aspects of my personal and professional life. I mean everything—from personal goals and dreams to marriage to raising a family to relationships to work.
Most importantly, it has helped me serve God and others more effectively.
Trust me, my idea is not rocket science; in fact, it’s so simple that anyone can understand and benefit from it.
I believe the idea can change your life, though, as it has changed mine.
I call it the power of a half hour.
Many people think of a half hour as a minimal or meaningless gap in time, downtime to catch your breath between periods of major effort. But the truth is your half hours can determine the difference between success and failure. Your half hours direct and shape your future.
You can literally change your world in thirty minutes. In the same way that your effect on the world is felt one life at a time, so is that effect delivered through the careful and thoughtful investment of your half hours. The beauty of this reality is that anyone can do it. You don’t need a PhD, and you don’t need a life coach to pull it off. All you need is to accept the idea, have a clear sense of your God-given purpose, examine your activity patterns, sensitize yourself to your time choices, and start taking advantage of the power of a half hour.
Every half hour in your day is a power-loaded resource. Your choice of how to spend those minutes is the focus of this book, which I intend to make a practical conversation about a resource that we misunderstand, abuse, take for granted, and ignore.
I want to help you become the person God intends you to be and accomplish His plans for your life. And in order to do that, you need to use your small increments of time wisely—not just the big slices of time that are devoted to both routine daily activities and major life events. I agree with Harvey Mackay who said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”1
I know that it’s not easy to find even a “free” hour in the world we live in. I also have learned that it’s difficult to accomplish a great deal in a quarter hour— especially if you need to communicate graciously and genuinely with another person within that time frame. But a half hour—it works!
Claiming the Power of a Half Hour
Here’s how we will approach turning your half hours into life-changing blocks of time. In the seven parts of this book, I will outline how seizing the power of a half hour can make such a difference in these major areas:
• Purpose and goals
• Advancing God’s kingdom
To help you remember key themes in this book, each chapter contains a Half-Hour Power Principle.
By the way, researchers tell us that most people never finish reading the books they start. Because I think there’s too much helpful information in these pages for you to abandon the content before you get to the end, let me suggest that you do a few simple but practical things as you read this book.
First, read the book in half-hour spaces in your schedule. Each of the chapters in the book is short enough to read easily in a half hour. You might want to have more than one block during a day when you read the book, but start this practice as you engage with this book. In addition, at the back of this book you will find a Personal Power of a Half Hour Action Plan. This plan is set up to help you, over a thirty-day period, fully incorporate The Power of a Half Hour concepts into all major areas of your life. You have heard that it takes about a month to establish a new habit? I urge you to use this thirty-day plan to make the power of a half hour a habit you will never break!
Second, if something strikes you as personally helpful, jot down notes about changes you need to make. Too often we are so intent on getting through a book that we forget some of the useful insights or challenges it provided.
Finally, express a commitment to someone you know and trust that you are going to integrate these simple changes into your lifestyle. Ask that person to check up on you once or twice a month to see how intentional you are being with your half hours. That simple act of accountability will help prevent the reading of this book from being just another helpful but forgotten task. (You may also wish to find mutual encouragement in learning the half-hour concepts by attending a small-group discussion. A guide for such a study is included at the end of the book.)
I’ve been practicing these principles so long that I can now say I am a product of my half hours. I don’t always get it right, but I’m very much aware of the gift of life and the value of time. My half hours—the ones I carefully plan, as well as the unplanned ones I discover—are committed to doing His will in my life because I want to serve our God and others.
1. Building Personal Strength Blog, “The Best of Harvey Mackay—17 Great Quotes,” July 15, 2011, www.buildingpersonalstrength.com/2011/07/best-of -harvey-mackay-17-great-quotes.html.
Adapted from The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett Copyright © 2013 by Tommy Barnett. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tommy Barnett is the senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God, one of the fastest growing churches in America and home base for more than 260 outreach ministries He also serves as chancellor of Southeastern University and founded the original Dream Center in Los Angeles.