BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for July, 1995

Wednesday, July 26, 1995

JESUS CHRIST CALLED US TO FISH FOR MEN: “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Good Morning!

  • Fishermen are a unique breed. They’re not always understood by the nonfishing fraternity. More often than not, they are looked at kind of oddly. Likewise, fishers of men don’t lend themselves toward neat ecclesiastical job descriptions.
  • Fishermen are passionate. They are willing to rise at godforsaken hours to pursue their love. Likewise, fishers of men are passionate about their devotional life and are not deterred by their need for sleep.
  • Fishermen are people of knowledge and skill. They know the terrain of the stream and where fish like to hide out and what they like to feed on. Likewise, fishers of men know the world people live in and the things they’re being attracted to.
  • Fishermen are characterized by singleness of purpose. They are focused and concentrated on the task at hand, consumed by one simple overarching concern, catching fish. Likewise, fishers of men are highly singular, driven by one desire, to see people become mature disciples. That is, spending personal time daily with God, growing in prayer and understanding the Word (and as a result, living in profound dependence upon Christ), sharing Christ with others, and not only that, but going on to invest time and work in them until they too are reproducing those traits in others.
  • Fishermen are people of adventure. They are always looking for the next bend in the stream, never content with a fished-out hole but always on the lookout for the next productive place in the river. Likewise, fishers of men are never content with maintenance but are always on the lookout for the next opportune spot in the world.
  • Fishermen stick to the basics. Old fishermen aren’t particularly captivated by the latest fads and techniques. Likewise, fishers of men are not easily drawn away from the basics of discipleship, prayer, Scripture and evangelism.
  • Fishermen are eager to share their knowledge and skill with others. They are only too eager to share their passion with someone of like passion. Likewise, fishers of men know the great joy and exhilaration of catching men and are genuinely excited to share that joy with others.
  • Fishermen catch fish. True fishermen don’t use the line, “You should have seen the one that got away.” They, without commenting, just hold up their full stringer. Likewise, fishers of men don’t have any excuses or empty words, just a legacy of men who have been caught for Christ. No bull here. +

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 19, 1995

PERSONA NON GRATA

Good Morning!

The day after I retired I walked down the hall of the Company and I realized I was ‘persona non grata.'”  – Vice President of an international corporation.

The day will come when your status and influence in the business or professional community will diminish. You will suffer the loss of:

  • Position
  • Influence

And with that,  you run the risk of also suffering the loss of:

  • Identity
  • Confidence
  • Motivation  +

Not everyone handles these changes well.  Dr. Hube Mitchell made this sobering observation, As I observe the great men of God, few end well,”

The aging process is inescapable“…All our days have declined…we have finished our years like a sigh (or whisper).” (Psa. 90:9)

Yet, amidst this loss, it is God’s intention that we continue to live lives of significance…to be fruitful“The righteous man will flourish like a palm tree…They will still yield fruit in old age…” (Psa. 92:12a, 14a)

For this to occur, it is imperative that today we are finding our sense of identification and significance in Christ, and in Him alone:

 “As far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in God, through Christ…”  (Col. 3:3 – Phillips Translation)

“God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead thing to the world.” (Gal. 6:13, 14 – Phillips Translation)

Let us determine to prove Hube Mitchell wrong: By the grace of God, we will end well.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 12, 1995

ON LOVING THE WORLD

Good Morning!

“Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it…The whole world-system…(is) based on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think is splendid…”  (I Jn. 2:15, 16 – Phillips Translation)

But the glamour is alluring!  We can identify with St. Augustine’s cry, “Give me chastity, but not yet.”

If the truth were out, many of us would have to admit that the world’s glamorous are our closet heroes. We ogle their lifestyles which seem so smooth…leisurely, and in control.

Almost transcendent.

Perhaps they have mastered Lauren Hutton’s secret of success, “Never, ever let them see you sweat.”

Our lives, by contrast seem to muddle along amidst our rather tired and familiar surroundings of dirty laundry, unmoved lawns, and piles of unanswered mail.

James reminds us however, that “flirting with the glamour of this world” is akin to being “the world’s  lover,” an “unfaithful wife.” It is by our love of the world…by our spiritual adultery, that we become “an enemy of God.”   (Jms. 4:4 Phillips Translation)

Years ago I remember attending a Rotary Club meeting with the rich, the powerful and the beautiful  of our town.  These were the guys with the tailored pin stripe suits, Italian hand crafted shoes, and manicured nails.   Cool.  Polished.  Together.   Cultured.  Or so it seemed.

However, as the meal progressed I realized how many of these men I had privately counseled.  And in those sessions, they had wept, pouted, and agonized over disintegrating marriages, rebellious kids, severe financial problems, and self-doubt over their professional abilities.

It is vital for us to understand that true fulfillment is found in the daily struggle with loving, giving, and forgiving amidst piles of laundry, raucous kids and rushed schedules. It is here that the authentic beauty of Christ’s character is being forged.

And the “glamorous” world can never match that!

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 5, 1995

THE NAILS OF THE CROSS

Good Morning!

All of us carry the nails of the cross in our pocket,” wrote Martin Luther.

How easily we crucify Him!

  • By subtly moving Him to the peripheral of our conversation when it is embarrassing to be identified with Christ.
  • By compromising His principles in business when it is to our advantage to hedge the truth.
  • By smugly taking credit for accomplishments that would have been impossible without His help.

While enjoying a warm and secure evening with Christ and the other disciples the night before the cross Peter declares, “Lord, I will lay down my life for you.”+   In a matter of hours however, Peter distances himself  from any association with Christ:  Personal survival winning over telling and identifying with the Truth.

It is easy to promise Christ the moon when we are among His friends.  The true test comes amidst times of guerrilla warfare in hostile enemy territory

We would never physically crucify Christ. Of course.  But how often do we subtly abandon Him when identifying with Him would  jeopardize our peace, prosperity, or social standing?

Yes…we, like Peter “…carry the nails of the cross in our pocket.”

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”   (Matt. 10:32-33)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!