BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for November, 2000

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

LOOSING PERSPECTIVE THROUGH THE SEDUCTION OF POWER

Good Morning!

This morning over breakfast, Bill and I pondered over a passage in Colossians,

 “Set your hearts…and minds on things above…Put to death sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it, grabbing whatever attracts your fancy.” 1

Is it possible we wondered, to set our hearts and minds on the eternal when almost everything in our world pulls us in the direction of the temporal?  So easily we loose perspective.

 “From my first office in New York City, on the thirty seventh floor of a Fifth Avenue tower, I could look down on St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It looked like a child’s plaything, a toy cathedral that I could lift and carry somewhere. Something about this troubled me. Cathedrals, I felt, should be looked up to. 

“Later, when I visited England, I saw how cathedrals can dominate landscapes. Then I understood the new power balance of twentieth-century life. Lever House and the Seagram’s Building, I concluded, are our new cathedrals. The Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building our statements of value. Dwarfing the little church on Park avenue and Wall Street, they have created a new ethos. These buildings are proclamations of power…Is God with us in the Marketplace?” 2

Just why is it that we find the seduction of power in the Marketplace almost irresistible, as it wraps itself around our hearts and minds?    Possibly the answer lies in the fact “that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love.”  3 After all, isn’t it easier to:

–  “Be God than to love God?

–  Control people than to love people?

–  Own life than to love life…?”  3

Perhaps that is why we are often inclined to choose:

–  “Power over love,

–  Control over the cross,

–  Being a leader over being led…” 3

QUESTION:  In the end, which perspective will prevail: the temporal or the eternal? The answer will be determined by whether we allow our hearts and minds to be seduced by power, or possessed by love.

The choice of course is ours.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

SIEZING THE OPPORTUNITIES

Good Morning!

Yesterday as I stood outside a restaurant waiting for a friend to arrive for lunch, I noticed a “Rambo” type guy making his way from his truck toward the building. “Great looking truck ya got there…”  I commented.

“Yeah, just got it.  Pulls the 30 foot trailer,” he replied. 

 “Where you from?”  I inquired.

“Montana”. 

As we chatted, I was struck by the gentle manner that belied his appearance – A generous array of tattoos were speckled across the bulging mussels that protruded through his tank top. Uncut hair to the shoulders. 

“I noticed you were leaning to one side as you walked up here. Got a problem?”  I asked.

“Yeah.  Slipped disk. Need a doc. My wife ran off with a guy. Hijacked my kids.  An bribed the judge.”

What about you?  What do you do?”  He asked. So I explained my work, mentioning the fact that Christ had brought peace into my troubled life.

You mean “The Man’ is up there?” 

 “Yeah, He is. Are you aware that you can know Him?”

 “No, I wasn’t. I’d like that, ‘cause I pray to Him all the time. Didn’t know He was listening. I need Him!”

We then made our way into the restaurant, ordered something to drink, and continued to talk. With his interest perked, I shared a couple of Scriptures that explained how he could know “The Man.” Because I was between cities, I gave him the name of a local Christian friend, and suggested the name of a doctor.

Warmly grasping each other’s hands as we parted, I asked, “Dan, do you think that, just perhaps, ‘The Man’ arranged for us to meet?”   “Dwight, I know He did!”

QUESTION: How many Dan’s are we routinely missing because we are too rushed? Or because our antennas are not up? Or because we are out of touch spiritually?  Let’s resolve to change that!!

“…’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ But how are they to call on One in whom they have not believed…[or] heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim Him?… ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”  (Rom. 10:13-15 – NRSV)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

OUR PURPOSE IN DISCIPLING IS TO EQUIP PEOPLE TO DEMONSTRATE: +

Good Morning!

The love of Christ in their relationships

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (I Jn. 3:16,18)

QUESTION: How are you perceived by the most difficult and least among you?  As “stand-off-ish”? Intolerant?  Condescending?  Or as compassionate, caring, and involved?

 The justice of Christ in their negotiations

“Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire – they all conspire together…Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor…” (Micah. 7:3; Zeph. 8:16, 17a)

 QUESTION: Do you honor other’s rights to dignity and choice? Are you impartial and open in airing the facts before making decisions?

 The ethics of Christ in their decisions

“O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?  He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart…”  (Psa. 15:1,2)

QUESTION: Are you solid to the core? Or do you have a price?

 The attractiveness of Christ in their person

 “…We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  (2 Cor. 2:15)

QUESTION: Is the fragrance of Christ such in your life to the point that people are inquisitive as to its source?

The focus of Christ in their purpose

“And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”  (Col. 1:28, 29)

QUESTION: Is that what you are all about?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

“WHAT KIND OF MAN IS THIS”?

Good Morning!

Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” (Matt. 8:23-27)

At 2:30 P.M. I was on the phone with an attorney discussing a legal issue. At 6:30 P.M. his 12-year-old daughter was dead. Icy roads. An auto accident. 

Life’s storms, like the disciples who were caught in a vicious gale are often,

  • Without warning
  • Furious
  • Overwhelming – The waves “swept over the boat.”

 Jesus led the Twelve into the boat, and proceeded to fall asleep. An overpowering storm then arose. Surrounded as we are by life’s furious and unexpected storms, we often find ourselves crying out,

  • Did not Christ lead us (into the boat)? Do we not have the right to a storm-free journey?
  • Is He, or is He not sovereign over our lives?
  • Is God’s timetable different than ours in calming life’s storms?
  • When Jesus seems to be sleeping, what does it mean? He is indifferent?  Or is He stretching our faith?

How we answer these questions will depend upon the object of our focus:

  • The storm, which guarantees nail biting. Panic. Or,
  • Jesus, who will lead us to inner peace: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”   (Isa. 26:3)

Why does God allow furious, overwhelming storms “without warning”?  I don’t know. But I do know that “if God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped.”+ After Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples exclaimed, “What kind of man is this?”  And God’s answer?  The Sovereign God of our every circumstance.”

QUESTION:  Have you discovered  “what kind of man Jesus is?”  If you have, than your life will be distinguish by an inner peace…whatever your state of affairs.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

NINE CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR IN SELECTING PEOPLE TO DISCIPLE: +

Good Morning!

#1 He has adopted as his objective in life the same objective God sets forth in Scripture“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”  (Matt. 6:33)

#2 He is willing to pay any price to have the will of God fulfilled in his life“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”  (2 Tim. 2:3,4)

#3 He has a love for the Word of God“Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart…”  (Jer. 15:16a)

#4 He has a servant heart“…Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Matt. 20:26-28)

#5 He puts no confidence in the flesh:  “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”  (Rom. 7:18; see 2 Cor. 1:9)

#6 He does not have an independent spirit…[Paul] was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus; and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.”   (Act. 20:4)

#7 He has a love for people“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  (I Jn. 4:10)

#8 He does not allow himself to become trapped in bitterness“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”   (Heb. 12:15)

#9 He has learned to discipline his life:  “…Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things…I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”  (I Cor. 9:25a – 27)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!