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Affluent Christian Investor | September 21, 2017

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Stop-to-Do List

(Photo by Nichole Burrows) (CC BY) (Resized/Cropped)

(Photo by Nichole Burrows) (CC BY) (Resized/Cropped)

I have had a weekly one-hour radio show on a local AM Christian station called Wake Up to Purpose since September of 2012. It has been a joy to do, even though I had to get up at 5:30, get to the station and then drive cross town to teach a class. What’s more, I paid for the show, had many wonderful guests on the show who told their purpose stories, and got great feedback from listeners. Last Saturday, I announced that I will do my last show, number 172, on Saturday, December 26.

By the way, I have also decided to stop writing a daily devotional in the New Year as well.

Why would I stop doing something I love that seemed to be helping others? The decision was not financial. I am doing so because it is important not only to have a to-do list, but also a stop-to-do list. As you approach the start of 2016, perhaps you need to pay more attention to what you what you should stop doing as well as what you should do.


You and I have all the time in the world – 24 hours every day we are alive. You cannot get any more time, so you have to make decisions, sometimes difficult decisions, to stop doing something to create space for something new. The challenge is that often we don’t know what the new things will be, so we hold on to the old out of fear – fear that we won’t find the new, that the new won’t be as good as the old, or that the new will not work out. So we clutch and claw to hold on to the status quo, when truth be told, the status quo has become stale and outdated.

Here are some thoughts about the status quo:

  1. You may think maintaining your status quo is not a decision, but it is. When you are considering several change options and don’t choose any of them, it seems like you have not made a decision. You have, however, decided not to change.
  2. Choosing the status quo costs you something. You may have chosen the safety of what you know, but you lost all the possibilities of what the new can bring.
  3. The status quo isn’t all that good; it’s just safe. Ask yourself this question about the status quo: If you didn’t have this status quo, would you go out of your way again to create it? Would you apply again for your current job? Would you buy your current dwelling again? Would you have pursued this career if you had known back then what you know today?


It’s time for you to create some space for the new, even if you aren’t sure what all that new is. It’s time to make time to write because you want to write, but currently don’t have the time – or won’t allow yourself to find the time (because you are afraid). It’s time to give yourself time to breathe and think, and that means stopping the old so you can discover the new – or so the new can discover you.

A New Year is upon you once again. Did you do what you said you were going to do one year ago? Has this been an exhilarating year of new tastes and smells, or has it seemed like you are eating stale bread? I invite you to join me in creating space for the new by jettisoning some of the old cargo to which you are clinging for dear life. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I hope it’s not what 2015 brought, if 2015 is just more of the same that made you unhappy or unfulfilled.

I am attaching an article below I wrote entitled Stop-to-Do List if you want to give some more thought to this concept. Don’t be satisfied just to think about it, however, but be willing to create space for the new by letting for of the old. Thanks for reading, and have a great week making your stop-to-do list.

Download Stop To Do


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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