Summary: A sermon on how to achieve great things.

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How To Achieve Great Things


I. Introduction

NBC’s hit reality show, The Apprentice, entered its second season last week. Eighteen candidates were selected from all walks of life to compete for the prize of becoming Donald Trump’s apprentice.

Each week, these candidates will endure rigorous business tasks while living together in a hip Manhattan loft apartment. Prominent Fortune 500 companies were enlisted to participate in many of the tasks. The tasks will test their intelligence, nerve and street-smarts. They will face the challenges of living in close quarters and must complete sometimes humorous, but always difficult, job assignments and will be forced to think outside the box in order to outshine each other to get to the top.

How many of you guys have seen The Apprentice’s first season?

Well, if you’ve seen the show, then you know that these contestants have to do some pretty challenging things. And so, tonight, I want to inspire you to achieve great things and show you some principles that I believe will help you do just that.

The first thing that happens each week on The Apprentice is that a Project Manager or leader is selected to lead each team. In your life, you’re that guy or gal; you’re the leader; you’re the PM. After that, the teams are given a task to complete or a job to do. Last week, their task was to create a new toy for Mattel. In your life, you’ll always have things you need to do. Some may be dull, routine, or commonplace. Others may be extraordinary or challenging. But no matter what it is that you’re doing, you have the ability to do it with excellence and to be a success. The first thing you need to do to avoid the Cobra and be a success is get a plan.

II. Get A Plan

Each week, after the tasks are given, the teams meet together and devise a plan of action. There’s an old proverb that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and it’s very true.

A number of years ago, my dad was in the market for a Jet Ski, and he was looking at one that we thought we’d buy, and so of course, he wants to take it for a test spin out on the lake before we purchase it. So we decide just to make a day out of it and we invited some friends of ours that had a boat to go out on the lake with us over the weekend. We get to the lake and help our dad unload the jet ski from the trailer into the water. Dad cranks it up and he’s getting ready to take off when I say, “Hey Dad, let me go first.” And dad, being the good father that he was, hopped off and helped me on. I was pumped. So I revved up the engine and took off across the lake. I was having the time of my life until I tried to do some fancy spin-out trick and sent myself flying through the air into the water. I tried to get back on, but this particular jet ski was built for racing and therefore had a thinner body, which meant it was harder to balance on. Well, after trying to get back on unsuccessfully for about 5 minutes, I noticed that the jet ski had gotten deeper in the water than it was before. And within another 30 seconds, it was even deeper. And I thought, “This is NOT good.” And so I’m trying to hold the jet ski up and keep it from sinking and like a true captain, I was prepared to go down with the ship. Now, I’m out here in the middle of the lake, all alone, with a sinking jet ski, so I had to get together a plan because the whole “trying to hold the sinking jet ski up by my lifejacket” wasn’t working. So I did the thing that came most naturally to me at the moment, and I yelled, “HELP!” When only the nose of the jet ski was sticking up out of the water, my friends had just gotten their boat in the water and drove over to me and tossed me a line that I hooked to the jet ski and they pulled it in and saved it and me. Well, what had happened was, there’s a plug that keeps the water from coming into a watercraft, and apparently it was missing. But the point is, we didn’t have a plan for what we were going to do when we got to the lake, I just took off and went. And it could have cost me my life, not to mention a very sporty jet ski.

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