Tension 1: The Love for God and the pursuit of profit :
How do you balance the two? What are we to do with Matthew 6:24: ” No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money .” No one would deny the fact that the demands to succeed in business can sidetrack a Christian from his primary responsibility, the pursuit of God: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33a). The Matthew 6:19-33 passage does not condemn work itself, but is a warning that our focus on work and wealth must not become our first priority.
While Jesus had a great deal to say about poverty – “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk. 6:24) – (See Matt. 6:19), he supported resourcefulness and monetary stewardship, encouraging his followers to utilize their gifts and abilities. (See Matt. 25:14 – 30) Clearly, the Scriptures teach us to work, starting with God’s instructions to Adam: “ By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground” (Gen. 3:19a). (See 2 Thess. 3:14)
Here is how several top notch businessmen pondered this issue of the tension between the love for God and the pursuit of profit:
CONCLUSION : In interviewing numerous business leaders, Dr. Laura Nash, author of Believers in Business, found the primary ways in which these men resolved the tension between materialistic financial concerns and personal focus on God was by stewarding their resources to be a credible witness for Christ in the marketplace, exhibiting a genuine concern for employee welfare, job creation, and rendering quality products and service. The story of the good steward in Luke 12:42-48 was frequently cited as their motivating example. (See Matt. 25:40)
This week may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill1In this series, we will be drawing heavily from Dr. Laura Nash’s book, Believers in Business,”Thomas Nelson, Publishers 1982 – 2 Ordinary Christians in a High Tech World, 168– 3 Believers inBusiness, p 67 – 4 Christian Faith and Personal Holiness, 47, 48
#2 Learn to move at Gods pace, not yours
In Eugene Petersons translation of Matthew 11:2830 (The Message) he captures the tone of spiritual exhaustion many believers are experiencing today, and then wonderfully quotes Jesus solution: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with mewatch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
It is truly Gods intent that we move from a frazzled, ulcer-inducing life-style to a place spiritually where we are experiencing the unforced rhythms of grace that results in a life lived freely and lightly.
Both the Israelites en route from Egypt to the Promised Land, and the 12 Disciples under Jesus tutelage were, in a sense, forced to move at Gods pace. When the cloud or the pillar moved, the Israelites moved. It was move at His pace and live; or move at their own pace and put themselves in life-threatening peril. Jesus directive to the Twelve was to follow Him at His pace and priorities: Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be (Jn. 12:26a).
By moving with Jesus at His pace who in turn was moving at the pace and directives of the Father -you became recipients of His care, love and protection. (See Jn. 8:28)
The only way such a God-directed pace is remotely possible in our helter skelter world is by hearing the voice of God in those quiet times where we steal away to be with Him and to wait on Him. (See Psa. 37:7) Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest puts it this way, Enter into the secret place, and you will find that God was right in the middle of your every day circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and pray to your Father who is in the secret place, every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.1
CHALLENGE: Fundamentally, we must decide the quality of life we desire and whether we are willing to pay the price in altered priorities and lifestyle to experience it. Conformity to the worlds values and mode of living will ravage our souls. Choosing to live life on His terms promises us life…in abundance to the full, till it overflows (Jn. 10:10b – Amp). Are you up to the challenge?
This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.
R. Dwight Hill1My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers Publications, 1992; August 23;
Taking Jesus seriously by choosing to follow Him on His terms is not for the faint hearted. When you buy in with Him, buckle your seat belt because He will take you on a ride, the likes of which you could never have imagined. The ride is not for the thrill, but for the development of our faith and the transformation of our character into His. As our Sovereign, He reserves the right to test our faith to the bone. Like it or not, it is usually in the crucible of testing that His greatest work is accomplished in and through us. (See Jms. 1:2-4)
My bet is that you have at least one nail biting issue in your life right now that may be taking you to the brink. There are times when it gnaws into you like a broomstick thrust into the small of your back. Perhaps it is a cash flow problem, or perhaps your spouse or a child has cancer, or your business is sinking, or your marriage is stale or fractured. Could it be that you are immobilized by fear. Whatever it is, in your gut you may be asking, Where is Jesus in it all this? Why is He not delivering me?
Remember the story of Jesus and the sinking boat? One day Jesus said to his disciples, Lets cross to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and started out. 23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, Master, Master, were going to drown! When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! 25 Then he asked them, Where is your faith? The disciples were terrified and amazed. Who is this man? they asked each other. When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him! (Lk. 8:22-25 NLT)
Three observations from Luke 8:22 25:
1) Verses 22, 23: Gods clear leading may include severe testing of our faith, even to the point of life-threatening storms. (Consider Abraham and Hezekiahs severe testing in Genesis 22 and 2 Kings 19:1-19, 35,36. See also Psa. 44:23; 93:4; 107:23 30; Act. 9:19-25; 27:14-44)
2) Verse 24: Because Jesus is sovereign in the circumstances that He arranges in our lives, He will bring resolution and calm on His time table, not ours. (See Psa. 107:25-29; Lam. 3:54-58; 2 Cor. 1:8-10)
3) Verse 25: Amidst rigorous testing of our faith Jesus expects us to implicitly trust Him for the outcome. (See Matt. 14:22-33; Lk. 12:28; Heb. 10:38, 39; 11:6)
Prayer: Lord, help me remember that you are the potter and I am the clay. Therefore, I choose this day to rest in your sovereign love, trusting that you have my best interests at heart that will result in your glory and the furtherance of your kingdom. Amen.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
I am vexed, grieved, and angry over what is happening to us as a people in the area of sexual impurity. Just this morning I was recalling a few of the high profile public figures who in recent memory have fallen: One of our Presidents; a recent presidential contender; a public defender in one of our key States, a globally renowned athlete, and several high profile Christian leaders of global reach. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Almost daily I am working with sincere men who are fighting a life and death battle to live a sexually pure life in our sexually-obsessed society.
Following is the essence of a rather lengthy study on sexual purity and what one needs to know and do to experience victory.
MOTIVATIONS FOR VICTORY:
Comprehend Gods high calling on our lives:
To holiness: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph. 1:4a) (See I Cor. 6:13-20; Eph. 5:23 27; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 2:12-14; I Pet. 1:14-16; 2 Pet. 2:9-11, 16; 4:1,2)
To death over our sinful nature: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Rom. 6:6-8)
Recognize that is not Gods intention that we live in a defeated state: In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39) (See Jn. 8:31, 32; Rom. 5:21; 6:14, 15; Gal. 5:13, 15; Tit. 2:11-14)
Understand that Gods grace does not give us license to sin: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Rom. 6:1, 2) (See Rom. 6:15; Jud. 1:4)
Next week we will continue our Motivations for Victory
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
Here is why grace is so critical to our lives: Can you side with Peter who, hours before Jesus crucifixion boasted that he would lay down his life for the Master – only to miserably deny him? (Jn. 13:36-38; 18:15-18, 25-27) Man! I can! If so, have you observed the incomprehensible grace of Christ gently manifested to Peter after his failure as recorded in John 21? I dont know about you, but I, Dwight Hill desperately need that grace because I am the worst of offenders in hurting Jesus over these many years through my pride, rebellion, judgementalism, lack of faith, etc., etc. If it were not for a clear understanding of his grace, I would have despaired years ago. I am continually reminded of John 1;16: For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. (Amp. N. T.)
Perhaps you, like I can readily identify with Pauls disciple Timothy, a rather fragile soul whom Paul felt needed to grasp the concept of Gods grace for his life. Thus Paul enjoined him: You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 2:1) That is, be empowered by Jesus grace, appropriate it, and rest in it. Timothys need to experience Gods grace is understandable when you consider that Timothy was of mixed blood (Jewish and Greek), who doubtless experienced the prejudices people of mix blood often incur. He was raised by two women (2 Tim. 2:5); the father, it appears was out of the picture; he seems to have struggled with fear (2 Tim. 1:7), and the overwhelming task of running a church as a youthful pastor (1 Tim 4:12). He also battled ill health, Paul advising him to take wine to calm his stomach (1 Tim. 5:23). I, like Timothy, need to live in the grace of God if I am to make it victoriously to the end of my pilgrimage.
In my studies on grace over these many years, several truths have stood out:
1) Gods grace does not give us a license to live in sin: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Rom. 6:1,2; Jud. 1:4). (See Rom. 6:15; I Pet. 1:14-16; 2:24; 1 Jn. 2:3-5)
2) Gods grace does not absolve us of our calling to live a cross-focused life: If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it (Lk. 9:23, 24 Phillips Trans.). (See Matt. 10:38,39; 1 Cor 15:31; Gal. 2:20)
3) As recipients of Gods grace, we carry the responsibility of taking the message of Christ to the lost For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others[God] gave us this wonderful message of reconciliationWe are therefore Christs ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:10, 11a,19b, 20a NLT). (See Rom. 10:14, 15; 2 Cor. 6:1; Eph. 6:20)
4) The grace-centered disciple gives it 100% to become all that God intends: Whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on meand not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace (I Cor. 15:10 NLT). (See 2 Cor. 3:5; Philip. 3:10-14)
CONCLUSION: In the final analysis, it is only in our weakness and brokenness that we truly experience the life-giving grace (and power) of God: [Jesus] said My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9, 10).
QUESTION: Are you learning to live daily in the dead center of Gods grace? If not, why dont you start on that path today?
The first servant leader in Scriptures was Moses who was described as, more humble than any other person on earth. (Num 12:3) (See Exo. 32:11-14, 30-35)
In the New Testament, Jesus summarized the idea of servant-leadership in stating, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. (Mk. 10:42-44)
Christ personally demonstrated servant-leadership by: (1) Selflessly relinquishing his rights as God and dying the death of a common criminal for us (Phil. 2:5-8), and (2) Selflessly serving the needs of others. (Mt. 20:24-34; Jn. 13:1-17)
The self-serving leader and the servant-leader can be contrasted as follows: 1
Self-serving leadership Servant Leadership
The leaders objective is to be served. The leaders object is to serve.
Seeks first to be understood, then to understand. Seeks first to understand, then to be understood.
Considers self-image, advancement, entitlements Values followers potential and achievement and pro-
of his own position primary. motes them before self.
Sees and treats co-workers as inferiors who do Sees and treats co-workers with respect as a team that
not usually participate in decision-making, nor works together to accomplish a task and make decisions are offered important information. with shared information.
Creates an atmosphere of dependence, using Creates an atmosphere in which others are encouraged and
power of position to manipulate and direct. power is used to serve others.
Rejects constructive criticism and takes credit Encourages input and feedback and shares credit for results.
Uses expediency as the main criteria; makes Uses biblical and moral principles as the main criteria;
decisions in secret from ones own view of truth makes decision openly and in consultation.
Is accountable only to superiors and shuns Is accountable to God and others and welcomes personal
personal evaluations as interference. evaluations as a means to improve performance.
Clings to power and position. Is willing to step aside for someone more qualified.
In summary, servant-leaders aspire to be great only in their service to others. They are committed to serving others with integrity; humility; sincere concern; a generous, forgiving and giving heart; and self-discipline. They relate to others by investing, empowering, caring for, and consulting others. They are willing to sacrifice personally for the well being of others. 1
QUESTION Which type of leader are you: A self-serving leader? Or a servant-leader?
1 Trinity Western University Core Values Statement No. 3 (February 5, 2000)
Mr. and Mrs. R. Dwight Hill have invested the past 45 years of their lives in discipling men and women to follow Jesus Christ, and apply Biblical principles to daily living. Their primary focus has been to equip lay people to multiply their lives spiritually, thus helping to fulfill
Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20) For the past 25 years the Hill’s have concentrated their discipling efforts on leaders in the business and professional community, in the United States, Asia and Europe.
Mr. Hill grew up in Hong Kong, as his father was the director of a shipping company headquartered there. Mr. Hill is a graduate of Pepperdine University in Southern California, U. S. A., and Mrs. Hill is a graduate of Gordon College in Boston, Mass., U. S. A. The Hills have two children, Wes and Julie who were born in the Philippines. Their children and their spouses are also serious followers of Christ. The Hills enjoy five grandchildren.
Mr. Hill is the author of four books that focus on helping business and professionals relate Christ to the marketplace. Mr. Hill is the author of the weekly electronic newsletter, “The Facts of the Matter” for business and professionals, which enjoys a worldwide audience.
On April 2014 Mr. Hill passed away from an inoperable brain tumor on his 78th birthday. His time on earth serves as an example of a life well lived to the glory of God.