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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for December, 1994

Monday, December 26, 1994

HOW BIG IS YOUR VISION?

Good Morning!

“The real qualities of leadership are to be found in those who are willing to suffer for the sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience.”+

A friend of mine who consults CEO’s of small companies tells me that over 90% of these firms operate on a re-active rather than a pro-active basis.  In other words, they simply respond in a knee jerk fashion to market conditions: No great vision.  Just daily…grinding…survival.

Aim at nothing and you are sure to hit it.

Many people circumscribe their lives to the same aimless, reactive, blandness:   Putting out fires.  Solving problems.  Oiling the wheel that squeaks the loudest.  Oppressive…boring…survival.

Bound by the tyranny of the urgent.

Perhaps our problem is that our vision is so small that it only merits a mediocre response.

One impassioned writer cried out against this mind numbing, visionless level of subsistence:

“Give me men to match my mountains,

Give me men to match my plains,

Men with empires in their purpose,

Men with eras in their brains.”*

Christ had an objective great enough to demand His wholehearted obedience:  Your salvation.

“…Jesus…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”     (Heb.12:2)

The “joy set before Himwas His vision of your redemption…Which resulted in  His wholehearted obedience to the Father’s will:  The cross.

Tell me, do you have an objective in your life that is “great enough to demand your wholehearted obedience?    If not, life must be pretty stale stuff.

May I suggest that unless you have a vision – a dream – an objective that (1) Is bigger than your life, (2) Is linked to God’s eternal purposes, and (3) Demands faith and sacrifice, you are already dead

They just haven’t set the date for the funeral.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, December 19, 1994

“YOU ARE TO CLING TO THE LORD YOUR GOD” – These were Joshua’s parting words to wayward Israel, just before his death. (Jos. 23:8)

Good Morning!

CLING :

  • To hold fast to something, as by grasping, sticking, embracing, or winding around”.

–  As a wet raincoat would CLING to your back.

–  As a person on the verge of death would CLING to life.

  • To remain attached in thought or practice.
  • To follow close after, pursue hard; to resist separation”.

Jesus put it this way:  “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself… and keep close behind me.” (Lk. 9:23a – Phillips)

CLINGING conveys the sense of desperation:  That there is no other viable option.

QUESTION:  ARE YOU CLINGING TO CHRIST?  Or to:

  • Your bank account?
  • Your reputation?
  • Your capabilities?

SELF SUFFICIENCY is the arrogant assumption that I can go it alone…without God.

CLINGING is the humble acknowledgment that I must be intimately connected to God for life to make sense and to be worth living.

In Joshua’s admonition to CLING to God he gives this warning:

“…If you ever go back and CLING to the rest of these nations (i.e. the world and its values)…(they) shall be to you as

A snare and a trap…A whip on your sides…Thorns in your eyes…until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”  (Jos. 23:12)

QUESTIONAre you CLINGING to Christ Or do you have it so together that you can go it alone?  If so, are you willing to pay the price of independence

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, December 12, 1994

NEVER GIVE UP ON ANOTHER PERSON!

Good Morning!

How easy it is to write people off who fail to live up to our expectations:

John Mark, a youthful recruit of Paul and Barnabas, walked out on the team in the middle of a missionary journey.  A “deserter.”  (Act. 12:25; 13:13).

Three years later Paul and Barnabas sharply disagree over this quitter…this “deserter.”  Barnabas wants to take him on yet another missionary journey, and Paul adamantly says no. (Act. 15:37 – 39)

John Mark:  The quitter. The deserter.  The cause of sharp dissension among Christian leaders.  A looser.

NOT QUITE:

  • Years after John Mark’s failure, Paul writes from a prison cell asking Timothy to “Pick up Mark and bring him with you for he is useful to me.”  (II Tim. 4:11)

John Mark, the “deserter” had become “useful” to hard-nosed Paul.

  • Of John Mark, F. F. Bruce writes:

He “was to play an important part in Christian history over the next 30 years“+:

 –  Acted as Peter’s interpreter in Rome

–  Reproduced Peter’s preaching in  the Gospel of Mar

–  Founded the church in Alexandria, Egypt

–  Probably served as Dr. Luke’s informant in the early accounts of Acts

Tough-minded Paul wrote John Mark off as a deserter…a looser.

Battle “softened” Barnabas believed in John Mark and reinstated him to the cause.

And John Mark rose to become a significant force in the founding of the early church!

So…NEVER GIVE UP ON ANOTHER PERSON! Only God knows what they may become!

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, December 5, 1994

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BUILDING DISCIPLINE AND CONVICTION INTO ANOTHER PERSON’ S LIFE here are five steps that may prove helpful:+

Good Morning!

Let’s say for example that you want to build the habit of Scripture memory into their life:

I.  Tell them why – Motivation:

“George, I have found that meditation upon God’s word helps me to think like Christ and also gives me victory over sin.  Memorizing Scripture greatly facilitates the process of meditation.”

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within,…Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee”  (Rom. 12:2 – Phillips Translation; Psa. 119:11)

II.  Show them how – Demonstration:

“George, here is how to memorize this Scripture:  Carry the packet with you and during those free moments of the day, read your verse over, including the reference.  By the end of the week you’ll have it!  Here, let’s take a few minutes and work on it together.”

III.  Get them started – Inertia

“George, why don’t you have this first verse memorized by the time we have lunch next week.  We can check each other out on our verses.  OK?”

IV  Keep them going – Perseverance

A week or two later, check up on him and see how he is doing.  If he is loosing altitude, give him a nudge and stay with him until the discipline of Scripture memory (or prayer, ethics, purity, etc.) becomes part of his life.

 Pass it on   – Multiplication:

When George begins to get others to memorize Scripture you know you have succeeded.  Memorization is now a discipline that is built into his life.  He now has strong convictions about its importance for spiritual growth and maturity.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!