Saturday, December 10, 2005
As a professor I believe that I have the best students. Yesterday I hosted a Christmas party for those students in the program I am coordinator for. It was great. Even though a number of my students were away we had moments with over 20 people in my house. It was a lot of fun, and the end amazed me more. The students had gotten me a few Christmas gifts. Certainly they didn't need to do this, but it sure made me feel special. I hope the students know what an honour it is for me to be able to teach them. I am so happy to be working for a school where God is the focus, not just of the faculty, but also of the students. Being able to teach them business from a Christian point of view is a very special opportunity. Even though there are some times that I'm frustrated when they are not listening as well as they could, or if they don't live up to their potential, overall it is a great experience. I treasure my job and the opportunity to make a difference.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
In Psalm 24:1-2, David writes, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” Everything belongs to God. Everything we have, we have because God provided.
What is included in everything?
The answer should be obvious. There is nothing that does not fit in this category. All of your money, all of your possessions, all of your skills and all your businesses, ALL belong to God.
As such, we should leave everything in God's hands and work to steward them with the best of our abilities.
Monday, November 21, 2005
"Christians must not be seduced by the enticing notion that economic growth as such is self-evidently a prim good for humanity. We must probe the facts behind this glib assumption and ask questions about who and what is benefit or damaged by the actual economic growth that we are considering. About economic growth we should be asking at least three very testing questions (a) Does it benefit the poorest people? (b) Does it destroy the environment? (c) Does it destroy other (traditional) values which are at least as important as economic prosperity?......... Economic globalization as it has recently occurred and is currently occurring is surely blatently guilty of impovershing and vandalizing God's world." - P. 96
I look forward to hearing your comments on this quote. It is unfortunate how economic growth has recently missed the target. The poor keep getting poorer, the environment is being damaged and value systems are going by the wayside. Somehow, we need to focus on economic growth that avoids these "spillover" effects.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Over the past two and a half weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to witness a miracle. Three weeks ago one of my co-workers, Shantelle, was diagnosed with cancer. She had a tumor on her spine. Three days later she had two new tumors in her brain. Very dangerous. The cancer she has is obviously a very very agressive cancer. In fact by Wednesday night (two and a half weeks ago, only five days after initial diagnosis) the doctors were suggesting she likely would not make it through the night. The doctors had Shantelle and her family sign a Do Not Resusitate order, basically telling her there is no hope.
This is where I had the privilige of coming in. One of the VP's at our school came around late the Wednesday afternoon. He gathered a team to go into the hospital. Our goal was to pray, but primarily to be there for Shantelle's husband Joe. Upon arriving at the hospital you could tell that the mood was very grim. A number of people from their church, and the team from our school gathered around each other to pray. We prayed and we prayed. After about 5 hours of being there with the family - both visiting and praying, everything changed. I belive this was the start of the miracles that God has done in Shantelle's life. In this case God used a doctor. The doctor called in and asked for the the DNR order to be removed. The doctor had been communicating online with other doctors and had came up with an idea.
From there hope started to return. The saints returned to their prayers with renewed energy. Shantelle needed to fight hard to make it through the next couple of nights. It took the doctors another five days before they were ready, but Shantelle held on and eventually they were able to perform surgery on the tumors in her brain. Shantelle could not have held on for so long without God. God gave her continued strength to fight for those five days.
The surgery was another miracle. God allowed for a very successful surgery, and for a recovery from surgery that astounded all of the medical professionals. Shantelle has gotten stronger and stronger each day, and a week and a half after after surgery Shantelle was released from the hospital. Yesterday she even came back to work for a visit. Shantelle still has the cancer on her spine and also a tumor on her shoulder. She is waiting for treatment to start on this, but she will be starting with signficant strength, both physically and spiritually.
So yesterday I was priviliged to be with a group that had lunch with Shantelle. Two weeks and two days from when she was supposed to die. WOW! God is so good. The doctors said she would not make it through the night but through God's power we were able to celebrate. There is still much to pray for. Shantelle still has a fight ahead. We still need to pray. If you want to read more about this miracle from Shantelle's own words, feel free to visit her blog: http://spaces.msn.com/members/prairierascal/
Prasie to God!
Monday, November 14, 2005
I am teaming up with a great lady who is working hard to build her business. I have helped her enroll a couple of customer, and trained her on how to do her own presentation. She has also started to focus on building a business through a cold market. She is calling people that she doesn't know and who don't know her. I have trained her to do presentations over the phone to people thousands of miles a year. Well today she enrolled someone all on her own. It was someone she never knew, and a presentation by phone (which is much more difficult than in person).
I'm very happy for her, and it makes me feel very good about my activity. Helping someone build a business, allows them to gain skills they can use for years to come, and earn a residual income that will pay them for years to come. I guess this is a reminder of how great it is to work hard in helping people to build their own home business. It is very worth it.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
This is something I have been wondering about for some time now. There are few things I am certain of, and much that I am uncertain of. A Christian economic system is not a system of capitalism. Capitalist's foundations are not Biblical. They are based on 'rational self interest'. This statement doesn't sound bad, but rational self-interest is manifested in greed. It is seen as people want more and more and are never satisfied. Capitalism is based on "unlimited economic wants and limited resources." Unlimited wants are not following the Jesus-model where he calls a rich young ruler to "sell your possessions and give to the poor (Matthew 19:21)". A Christian economic system would not have unlimited economic wants. They would be limited, and equal amongst all groups of people.
I'm not even sure if "limited resources" would adequately reflect a Christian understanding. After all Jesus is able to turn water into wine, and feed thousands with only a few fish and a few loaves of bread. God is able to do all things and provide for all of our needs.
I am also certain that A Christian economic system is not socialism. Socialism does sound Biblical. It sounds, in theory, very much like Acts 2:44-45: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." In practice however socialism is very different. Corruption becomes quickly prevalent as the leaders are able to grab hold of significant power. Further, amongst the people laziness takes over. People know their needs will be provided for, and as such they don't put in the effort they need. Innovation and growth are slowed and everyone falls further and further behind together. This kind of idleness is warned against in the Bible. Paul writes, "we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according the the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we should not be a burden to anyone of you." (2 Thessalonians 3:6-8)
So a Christian economic system is something different. I don't fully know what this looks like yet, but I know it is radical. It involves limiting our wants, a deep caring for others, and sharing what we have with others. It also involves work. God created work. Work honors God. Another purpose for work is giving to the needy: "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." (Ephesians 4:28)
A Christian economic system also removes the concept of status. God made it a habit of choosing the least over the most to illustrate the need to break down these status barriers: "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one may boast in the presence of God." (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) In his book, "Bible and Mission", Richard Bauckham talks of this, saying, "The God who chose the first Corinthian converts is the God who chose the least significant of all the peoples (Israel) for his own (Deuteronomy 7:7)...... This is the God who chose the youngest of Jesse's sons, David, the one no one had even thought to summon (1 Samuel 16:6-13). This is the God who habitually overturns status, not in order to make the non-elite a new elite, but in order to abolish status, to establish his kingdom in which none can claim privilege over others and all gladly surrender privilege for the good of others.
So, while I do not have the answers to all of the questions about what makes an Christian economic system, we have a start. It is up to us to start living our lives in ways in which give examples to these factors. We are to live our lives in ways which demonstrate limiting our wants, giving to the poor, sharing with others, and rejecting the arbitrary differences that come from status.
Lets keep thinking about this topic!
Monday, September 12, 2005
I know it has been a while since I have written. I have just made it through our first full day of classes of our new school year. My classes today went very well, it is fun to see the life and excitement in the eyes of the students.
I wonder if we should from time to time think back to something fresh and new. Think back to your first day of university or your first day on a new job. What did it feel like? Visualize how you acted during this time. Chances are you had some nerves, but mostly you were excited to get started. You wanted to see how things would turn out. This excitement likely gave you a lot of extra energy. I know that at our students many students in the dorms have stayed up way too late for many days as they have so much energy from the start of their new adventure.
Can you capture some of this energy? Imagine you are new at your business. Try to capture some of that energy and use it today. Use that new energy to propel your business forward. Combine the knowledge and the experience you have gained plus recapture the energy of being new. You will see great things happen.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I wanted to share a quote with you. It is actually a few seperate passage from a book I am reading, called "Renovation of the Heart" by Dallas Willard. I think it is important as we think about the role of the church today.
"A fundamental mistake of the conservative side of the American church today, and much of the Western church, is that it takes as its basic goal to get as many people as possible ready to die and go to heaven. It aims to get people into heaven rather than to get heaven into people.....
It implodes upon itself because it creates groups of people who may be ready to die, but clearly are not ready to live. They rarely can get along with one another, much less those 'outside.'.....
As a result they actually fall short of getting as many people as possible ready to die, because the lives of the 'converted' testify against the relaity......
The way to get as amny people into heaven as you can is to get heaven into as many people as you can - that is, to follow the path of genuine spiritual transformation or full-throttle discipleship of Jesus Christ. When we are counting up results we also need to keep in mind the multitudes of people (surrounded by churches) who will not be in heaven because they have never , to their knowledge, seen the reality of Christ in a living human being." P. 238-239
I think there are some good points here. It teaches us that the church needs to focus on true spiritual development of its people. This will naturally lead to evangelism, and much more effective evangelism. It moves us a way from a focus on NUMBERS and turns us to a focus on QUALITY. This increase in QUALITY then naturally leads to more NUMBERS.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
“Understanding the Old Testament origins of the tithe, a growing number of New Testament scholars tell us that there is no basis for ten-percent stewardship in the New Testament. The call to follow Christ in the New Testament is a whole-life proposition.
Dualistic Christianity typically teaches that after you bring your tithe (or some part of your tithe) into the storehouse, you can pretty much do what you want with the rest. You can buy whatever toys you want and live as lavishly as you want, as long as you don’t get a materialistic hang-up with all of your things. It is amazing how many American Christians seem to be able to live palatially without ever getting hung up with materialism. Too often our Christian leaders in the United States are the pacesetters for this upscaling…..
There is something profoundly wrong when some of us live lavishly and other Christians in our world can’t keep their kids fed.” P. 202
What are some things we can do to keep this kind of whole-life giving?
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
What do you think? Should we measure success by economic growth? If not, what else?
Friday, June 24, 2005
“The architects of McWorld define the ultimate in terms of economic growth and economic efficiency and would have us believe that ultimate satisfaction will come form our increasing consumption of things. The mustard seed movement defines the ultimate in terms of God’s kingdom breaking into the world to redeem a new global community from every tongue, tribe, and nation. And Jesus tells us that we will find our ultimate satisfaction not in seeking life but in losing it in service to others.” P. 22 - from Tom Sine in "Mustard Seed versus McWorld."
I don't really think I need to add anything to this quote. It tells the whole story. God's plan is ultimate joy and satisfaction based on what we give and how we serve, not on what we have.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
"Between 1990 and 1998, when the nation's murder rate declined by 20%, the number of murder stories on the network newcasts increased by 600%" - Kevin Miller - Surviving Information Overload.
It is just not healthy to your mental imaging and attitude. A more effective way of keeping up with the news is picking one or two websites that you visit once a day. That way you can quickly see all the headlines, and choose to read only the headlines that are important to you.
Besides your attitude, this method will save you lots of time. In fact, the weather and the commercials take up 1/2 of the news cast (Miller, Surviving Information Overload).
Friday, May 27, 2005
What possesses people to act that way? Do they think that just because I am talking to them on the phone from far away that they can be rude to me? Or, are these just people who would be rude in the rest of their lives as well and simply not care, or not realize it?
When I spend a significant amount of time with someone like that on the phone, I'm not requiring that they say yes and join my business. Thankfully, most of them do, making it well worth my while. However, what I at least expect is the common courtesy to discuss what about the business interested her and what didn't. People can make their own decision and decide this isn't for them, but they don't need to be rude and disrespectful when doing it.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I found a great quote in a book I'm reading. The book is "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin. It's a great marketing book.
The quote is:
“Being safe is risky”
What does this mean to you? To me, it means that staying in the same place will often mean you will be left behind. Too often people find something in their lives that is comfrotable, and then they stay right there in their comfort zone - being safe. In the end, this is a risky choice, as the rest of the world will pass them buy. Also, time will still move forward, leaving your goals as only distance memories.
I look forward to your comments,
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
One of the things I focus on, in all areas of my life, is how the business world can be your ministry. How can it be a place for Christians to impact the lives of others, to address their physical needs, emotional needs, social needs, and of course spiritual needs.
I am currently reading a book called "UnLearning Church" by Michael Slaughter. This book focuses on the changes that we need to make to the way church has been done in the past to impact the next generation. It also effectively teaches of the importance of serving others with our complete lives.
The following quote provided a powerful demonstration of how serving others can be a great form of ministry, and how Christians can use their involvement in the world of business to impact those around them:
"A few years ago, Ross thought the Lord wanted him to start something at the car dealership where he works. As he explains, 'We started a Bible study there, and I kept inviting the guys to come, but the only ones showing up were those who were already Christians, and there weren't many of them! So we changed the format a little and decided to have a men's breakfast in the conference room of the dealership. Now, once a month, we bring in a Christian speaker who shares a personal story or a message. My wife cooks the breakfast, and the salesmen show up.' " P. 199 - UnLearning Church - Michael Slaughter.
Having previously worked in a retail store I found myself thinking of how this kind of ministry would have been so effective. Our churches need to support the business people by helping them provide these kinds of opportunities to reach others. Christian business people need to look for more creative ways like this that we can show others the love of Christ.