BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 2001

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

SQUASHING A NASTY LITTLE RUMOR+

Good Morning!

 There is a nasty little rumor circulating that says “business is a dirty enterprise, but somebody has to do it.”  Implied in this line of thinking is the idea that somewhere out there, there is a higher calling.  Like there is the “secular” and then there is the “spiritual”.  And somehow we can never quite get the two together.

 The fact is that God loves work and He loves us to work!  Let me give you six reasons why:

 #1  God is a worker –  Just take a gander at Genesis 1 and 2 in creation.  When God finished His creation, He saw that His own work was “good.”  (Check out Deut. 11:1-7; Psa. 111)

 #2  Before the fall God created us to be workers“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  (Gen. 2:8,15)  (See Gen.1:26-29)

 #3  Work enables us to meet our family and personal needs“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  (I Thess. 4:11, 12)

 #4  Work makes it possible  for us to give to others: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Eph. 4:28)

 #5 Work gives us pleasure and reward, thus easing life’s pain:  “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him–for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”  (Ecc. 5:18-20)

#6 Work affords us a platform for ministry“’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’”  (Matt. 4:19)

To catch fish, you have to go where they hang out.  Is there a better place to “fish” than where you spend 40 – 60 hours of your week?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

WHERE ARE THE MEN AND WOMEN?

Good Morning!

Recently I asked ten different people, “Do you know any  ‘Christian’ business or professional person whose profession of faith and practice in business are congruent with Biblical values?”

The response?  Pallid shock that I would venture such a crass inquiry.  Then silence.  Finally, a rather whimpish “No.”  And a change of subject.

 So let me ask you:  Living as we do in a society that is “slouching toward Gomorrah”,

Where are the men and women today who cannot be bought, bribed or coerced into compromising truth or sacrificing their honor?  (Psa. 15:2)

Where are the men and women today who are speaking out against our hedonistic indulgences; our exploitation of the less fortunate, and our vulgar materialism?   Even at the risk of being ostracized?  (Eph. 5:11)

Where are the men and women today who are assuming their Biblical roles as servant-leaders within the home, thus helping to insure a solid foundation for succeeding generations? (Col.3:19,21;Eph. 6:4)

Where are the men and women today who are outraged at our moral corruption; who are taking a stand in a culture where expressing strong opinions or taking resolute positions are often viewed as piggish (“politically incorrect”); where virtue and nobility are mistaken for weakness? (Matt. 21:12)

 Where are the men and women today who cannot be intimidated or coerced into conforming to society’s slogging mediocrity? (Phil. 4:8)

Where are the men and women today who have determined to live by eternal, rather than by temporal values? People who inspire us to stand taller?  People who choose to light the way for a frightened, confused world? People who can still fire within us the desire for greatness?  People who know the truth and speak it?  People who experience His love and share it?  (Rom. 13:14)

Where are the men and women today who understand that their highest calling in life is to know God their Savior, and who, by the power of their example (and word) are unashamedly making Him known in every arena of their lives.  (Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:28,29)

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”  (Ezek. 22:30)

 So, let me ask you:  Do you choose to be that man or woman?

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

FIVE ESSENTIALS A NEW BELIEVER NEEDS TO DEVELOP A LIFE OF DISCIPLESHIP:+

Good Morning!

#1   LOVE:  Paul was willing to give his very life for people, not because of what they could do for him, but simply because he loved them:         

 “…We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”  (I Thess. 2:7,8)

#2   PROTECTION:  The Apostle Paul protected his flock in five ways:

  • Prayer – Col. 1:9-13
  • Visits – Act. 15:36
  • Sending Others – I Cor. 4:15-17
  • Writing – I Cor. 2:9
  • Assuring Them of Victory in Christ – I Cor. 10:13

#3   FOOD:  Paul taught, fed, and urged his disciples to ingest and apply the word of God:

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  (Act. 20:32) (See II Tim. 4:2; I Pet. 2:2,3)

#4   FELLOWSHIP:  The writer to the Hebrews expressed concern that believers assemble together:

 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Heb. 10:24, 25) (See Act. 2: 42-47)

#5   TRAINING:  Paul did not just tell them what to do, or leave them on their own.  He showed them, and walked with them.

“…We instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living.  Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.”  (I Thess. 4:1) (See II Tim. 3:10,11)

 QUESTION:  If you are currently discipling someone, do you have in mind the fundamental knowledge, skills and values that you want built into his or her life?  Have you thought through how to go about it?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2001

THE KEY TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS SURRENDER

Good Morning!

Are you fearful about the future?  Apprehensive that the bottom might fall out?  Concerned at the prospect of some future calamity?  The only answer to quelling such fears is surrendering to our wise, all-knowing sovereign Father.

“…Those who listen to Me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Prov 1:33b)  (See Prov. 31:25; Jer. 17:7,8)

 Are you experiencing  a difficult relationship in the family or at work?  Perhaps you are perplexed by an association in which you feel misunderstood or mistreated.  Again, the answer to inner peace lies in surrender.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  (Col. 3:12, 13)

 Are you fearful that you might not be able to maintain control over your finances?  Concerned that they could slip away, or be diminished by a bad investment, or by an economic crisis beyond your control?  Again, surrender is the only hope for inner peace. 

“…Riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations…Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (Prov. 27:24; 23:5)  (See Psa. 25:12,13)

 Are you worried about your health?  Of getting cancer?  Or growing old?  Are you fearful that a family member might be stricken or die prematurely?  This side of eternity there certainly are no guarantees of a sublime, pain-free life.  So again, the answer lies in surrender to our wise and loving Shepherd.

 “…Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”  (Isa. 49:23b)

 But  surrendering our will to His does not come easily.  The reason? “We seek what one might call a relative omnipotence: The power to have everything we want, to enjoy every thing we desire, to demand that all our wishes be satisfied and that our will should never be frustrated or opposed.  It is the need to have everyone to bow to our judgment and accept our declarations as law.  It is the insatiable thirst for recognition of the excellence we so desperately need to find in ourselves to avoid despair…” (Thomas Merton)

 Humanly, it would seem that achieving inner peace would be dependant upon our ability to consummate and maintain control over our lives in every area. His condition for our peace, however, is based on our categorical, unconditional surrender to Him and His sovereign will.  Jesus demonstrated His surrender to the Father in praying, “Not as I will, but as You will.” (Matt. 26:39b)  Do you choose to do the same?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!