Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for August, 1999

Wednesday, August 25, 1999


Good Morning!

Remember as kids how we played,  “King of the Mountain?” The toughest guy would bully his way to the top of the hill, and maintain his exalted position through intimidation, pushing and shoving.

Little did we realize the game was a portent of things to come. Adults, it turns out, also play “King of the Mountain”. For keeps. The game is usually played subtly through manipulation, applying financial pressure, maligning others’ reputations, mentally pigeon-holing people, pouting, withholding love, intimidation, etc.

The disciples also liked to play “King of the Mountain.” When Jesus informed them that He would soon be beaten up, openly mocked and murdered, their first thought was not of their great loss, but who among them would rise to become “King of the Mountain:”

After giving them the bleak news of his impending death, the Master inquired of them,

Jesus:  “‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” (Mk. 9:33b,34) 

Later, Christ again tells them he is to be betrayed, mocked and condemned. Their response? Two of them plead with him to help them become  “Kings of the Mountain:”

“Then James and John…came to him. ‘Teacher…We want you to do for us whatever we ask…Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.’” (Mk. 10:35,37)

Jesus however, gave them no guarantee of such future glory,

“…You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with.” (That is, you too will experience a cross in your life.)   (Mk. 10:39)

Christ’s answer to the self-serving disciples does not go down easily for most of us. Surrounded as we are by strutting peacocks who are impressed by the sound of their own vacuous vapor, choosing to serve, rather than claw our way to “King of the Mountain” goes against every human inclination. 

It just happens to be His way. The way of the cross.

“Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…”  (Jer. 45:5a;Gal. 2:20a)

 QUESTION: Judging by your attitudes and actions, are you jockeying to become, or to maintain your position as “King of the Mountain”? Or are you seeking  to live out the life of the cross?



My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

CHOICES: By the time you notice this communiqué, you are already screaming through your day.+

Good Morning!

Pressure. The incessant telephone. Deadlines. Unsolvable issues. Perhaps a temptation or two. Today, as His follower, you and I are faced with choices on how we will respond to the pounding pace and pressure. The demand for decisions. And so I will choose:


No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose to love. Today I will love God and what God loves.(I Cor. 16:14)


I will invite God to be the God of my circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical, the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.  (I Pet. 1:8)


I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live. (Col. 3:12-14)


I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.  (Ecc. 7:8,9)


I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God treated me. (Eph. 4:32)


Today, I will keep my promises.My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. My children will never fear that their father will not come home. (I Cor.15:58)


Nothing is won by force; I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.  (Tit. 3:1,2)


I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.  (Tit. 1:8)


My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 11, 1999


Good Morning!

“…How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him….” (I King. 18:21b) 

When we begin to tolerate in ourselves  the world’s godless values based as they are on lust and pride, we inevitably begin sliding toward,+

A chronically restless desire for more of whatever we think will bring satisfaction to our unsettled and nervous lives.

An insistence on moral autonomy that resists any pressure toward restraint or accountability.

An appetite for power and recognition that seeks to control or manipulate others.

Christ however. calls us to a radically changed set of values:

Contentment, which is giving our work our best effort and then resting the results in God’s sovereign hands. The alternative is a nervous, complaining spirit, which is displeasing to Him. (I Cor.  10:10; I Tim. 6:6)

 Purity, which is choosing to live a life unsullied by the world’s filth and corruption. Paul instructed young Timothy, “Do not participate in the sins of  others, keep yourself pure.” (I Tim. 5:22)

Simplicity, which is “ freedom,…[bringing] joy and balance. [But] because we lack a divine Center, our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things….”++

Frugality, which is the product of a disciplined mind and inner self-control. By practicing thrift, we prudently choose to put boundaries on our appetites and inclination toward self-indulgence. Character is being forged. “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Do without.” 

Modesty, which is demonstrated in the fact that the incarnate God chose to be born in a cattle shed, and grow into manhood  in the out-of-the-way village of Nazareth. No evidence here of ostentatious abuse of power or position. Rather, moderation and humility.

QUESTION:  Of the two sets of values, which are you embracing? Why?



My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 4, 1999


Good Morning!

The Marlboro Man is a myth. All of us need self-examination and group accountability.+                                                   

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…”  (2 Cor. 13:5; Jms. 5:16a)


  1. Are you satisfied with the time you spent with the Lord this week? (Lk. 10:41,42)
  2. Have you shared your faith this week? How? (Col. 1:28, 29)
  3. Men: Did you put yourself in an awkward situation with a woman?  (Gen. 39:4-20a)
  4. At any time did you compromise your integrity? (Job 27:3-5)
  5. What one sin plagued your walk with God this week? (Rom. 7:15- 8:4)
  6. Did you accomplish your spiritual goals this week? (Eph. 5:14-17)
  7. Are you giving generously to the Lord’s work? (2 Cor. 9:6-8)
  8. How have you recently demonstrated a servant’s heart? (Mk. 10:-42-45)
  9. Did you treat your peers and coworkers as people loved by God? (I Jn. 4:19-21)
  10. What significant thing did you do for your family this week? (1Tim.  5:8; Prov.3:10-31)
  11. Women: Did you dress in a modest, discreet manner this week? (I Pet. 3:3,4)
  12. Did you expose yourself to any inappropriate material this week? (Phil. 4:8)
  13. What do you see as your number one need for next week? (Gal. 6:4)
  14. Did you take time to show compassion for others in need? (Matt. 9:12, 13)
  15. Did you control your tongue this week? (Prov. 17:27, 28)
  16. What did you do to enhance your relationship with your spouse? (1 Pet. 3:8-11)
  17. Did you forgive those who offended you this week? (Eph. 4:32)            
  18. In what ways have you launched out in faith in recent days? (Heb. 10:38,39)
  19. Has your focus this week been primarily on the temporal or the eternal? (Col. 3:1-3)
  20. Men: Did you look at a woman in the wrong way this week? (Matt. 5:27-29)
  21. How have you been tempted this week? How did you respond?  (Jms. 1:13-15)
  22. How has your relationship with Christ been changing? (Phil. 3:17-21)
  23. Did you worship in church this week? (Heb. 11:24, 25)
  24. Women: Did you conduct yourself in a discrete manner toward men?  (I Thes.4:3-7)
  25. Have you invested your life in another person this week? How?  (I Jn. 3:16-18)
  26. What are you wrestling with in your thought life?  (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
  27. What have you done for someone else this week? (Phil. 2:3,4)
  28. What have you done recently to honor your parents?  (Eph. 6:2)
  29. Did you invest quantity and quality time with each of your kids this week? (1Thes.2:7,11)
  30. Are the “visible” you and Is the “real” you consistent(Psa. 51:6)


My prayer is that you are having a great week!