Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 2000

Wednesday, June 28, 2000


Good Morning!

Paul admonished the Corinthians,  “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!”  (2 Cor. 13:5)  Why not take some time and respond to the following personal assesment of your life:+ 

What are the key Scriptural passages that God has used in my life and ministry? Do they continue to carry their original influence?

Focusing on my relationship with Christ:

  • Do I know Christ more intimately now then I did a year ago? In what ways?  How did this happen?
  • What am I praying about? What should I be praying about?
  • How much influence do the Scriptures have over my mind? Over my decisions?
  • How would I describe my relationship with the Holy Spirit?

Assessing my character:

  • In what areas have I seen the most growth in my character?
  • In what ways is my relationship with Christ reflected in my relationships with people: spouse, children, family, colleagues, neighbors, friends and others?
  • Is my conscience clear in matters of personal desires: g., use of time, money, position, influence, sex, food?
  • What is the greatest inconsistency in my life?
  • What positive and negative motives drive me?
  • Am I struggling with negative attitudes such as anger, pride, resentments, fear? What should be done about them?

Assessing my personal growth and continuing development:

  • What personal growth and development happened this past year? What have I learned about my strengths, my design, my gifts and contributions?
  • Am I learning? What questions am I asking?
  • How is my relationship with others in the Body? Am I a part of an enabling community?
  • To whom am I accountable? how has this influenced me?

Where do I go from here?

  • Record personal goals and aspirations


My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 21, 2000


Good Morning!

In a day when worthy role models are in scarce supply, and public spiritual leaders are suspect, Billy Graham looms as a man of God. Probably no individual has so influenced the direction of conservative Christianity in the 20th Century. Recently I completed two books on his life, and five impressions stand out:

#1  He sees the big picture while keeping the vision and approach simple –  Graham has always pushed out the walls in asking,  “How can  we reach more people?”  “Is there a better way to do it?” He refuses to get bogged down in the details at the expense of the larger picture.  

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest….” (Pro. 29:18a – KJV ; Jn. 4:35;)

#2  He refuses to get enmeshed in petty religious factions  – When Graham came on the scene in the 1940’s, conservative Christianity was embroiled in doctrinal factions and in fierce skirmishes with liberals. Graham has avoided these entanglements by staying focused on the larger issue of winning the lost.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?  For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men?” (I Cor.  2:2,3)

#3  He refuses to criticize others or defend himself –  He has been the object of fierce criticism by ultra-conservatives who take exception to involving “liberals” in his crusades. In reading about Graham, I was repeatedly struck by his gracious response to their vitriol.

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”  (I Pet. 2:23)

#4 He exhibits integrity in the use of money – He takes steps to insure that his books are regularly audited by a public accounting firm and that the results are published for public perusal. The money he has made from his 16 books has been given away to charity and related causes.   His home, salary and personal lifestyle are modest.

 “…If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?   (Lk. 16:11,12)

#5  He refuses to take any credit for how God is using Him – In fact he has often stated, “When I get to heaven, the first question I am going to ask God is, ‘Why did you choose to use a farm boy like me?’”

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” (Pro. 27:2)


My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 14, 2000


Good Morning!

INTEGRITY+ – Upright. Honest. Unimpaired. Sound. Undivided. Forthright. Impeccable. Scrupulous. Stainless. Pure. Candid. Just. Free from improper influence. Unsullied. Blameless. 

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is crooked though he be rich.” (Pro. 28:6)

 FAIRNESSImpartial. Upright. Plays according to the rules and principles. Plausible. Non-discriminatory. Candid. Unbiased. Equitable.  Unprejudiced. Balanced. Objective. Non-partisan.

 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is… pure…courteous,  allows discussion and is willing to yield to others…full of mercy…straightforward and sincere.” (Jms. 3:17 – Living)

COMPASSIONExpresses pity, grief, or pain for the suffering or distress of another. Merciful. Sympathetic. Empathetic. Shows clemency and grace. Tender. Kindhearted. Responsive. Warm.

“…Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col. 3:12b)

HONESTY – Upright. Uncompromising. Sincere. Fair. Virtuous. No intent to lie, cheat, steal, or mislead. Unswerving. Genuine. Real. Reliable. Honorable.  Scrupulous.  Open.  

 “A little gained honestly is better than great wealth gotten by dishonest means.”  (Pro. 16:8) 

PROMISE KEEPING – To keep one’s word of honor, pledge, vow, promise, or covenant. Reliable. Dependable. Inviolable. 

 “Lord, who may go and find refuge and shelter in your tabernacle up on your holy hill?  [He who] keeps a promise even if it ruins him…”(Psa. 15:1a,4c – Living)

 RESPECT FOR OTHERS – To treat others with propriety or consideration. To avoid intruding upon another. To admire, appreciate, honor or esteem.  Courteous.  Attentive.

 “…Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other…” (Eph. 4:32)

 QUESTION: I wonder what would happen to our marriage if these values were also applied there?


My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 7, 2000


Good Morning!

 Yesterday while enplaning, I spotted a young Christian businessman whom I had attempted to influence a couple of years ago toward growing spiritually. At that time, he gently nudged me aside, explaining that the pressing demands of his newly formed consulting firm left little room for spiritual matters.

An hour later, as we deplaned, he commented on the current economic crisis in Asia and the extreme stress he was under. As we waited to go through immigration, I asked him if he was spending regular time with God. The answer was no. 

Within minutes after clearing immigration, George, a friend who heads a mid-sized firm, picked me up. For some time now, he and I have been working together on developing his consistent walk with God.  As we headed for the city the subject of the severe state of the economy again came up. Immediately I was struck, by way of contrast, with his calm response to the grave situation. God, he assured, would give wisdom in seeing him and his company through the downturn.

It was apparent to me that because he had been hiding the Scriptures in his heart during his daily times of prayer and meditation, he was indeed prepared to trust God through the current period of financial stress. 

 As George was sharing, several passages came to mind from my own time with God that very morning,

 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears…”

 “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles…”

 “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing…”

 “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all…”

 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psa. 34:4,6,9,19; 37:25 )

 QUESTION: So, what do you do when everything in the economic picture seems to turn sour? Tighten your stomach muscles and power through it?  Invent new schemes for survival? Peddle faster? Panic? 

 Or restTrustWaitAnd quietly seek His direction?

I guess the answer all depends upon whom you have been looking to to supply your daily needs: Yourself or God. If it is you, then you ought to be in a state of panic, because I doubt if any of us are that good!


My prayer is that you are having a great week!