What Is Your Story?

(John)who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Revelations 1:2 ESV.

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We all have a story to tell. You and I, our parents and their parents, our friends and neighbors, all have a story worth sharing with others.

The apostle John also had his story to share with others. His story was a living witness to the word of God and about the life of Jesus Christ. It was his testimony of Jesus Christ that finally resulted in his exile to the remote island of Patmos. The legend is the authorities tried to execute him several different ways but failed. Therefore, they simply expelled him to an isolated island where he spent the remaining portion of his life.

John, like many others who have encountered Jesus Christ, couldn’t shut up but had the driving force within them to share the message with others. So do you and I.

The fact is when one encounters Jesus, one’s life is never the same. Whether we disregard Him or ignore Him, He will not allow Himself to be treated indifferently. One must choose.

Either he is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Savior of Saviors, or he is not. You may consider him a liar, a lunatic, or a loser, but you cannot come face-to-face with him and avoid an answer.

Whenever we tell something about our lives to others, doesn’t it include what Jesus has done for us? Isn’t He the reason we now live and breathe and have our hope? Isn’t He the central core of our life? How can we not share our story with others and not include Him?

In fact, isn’t that what evangelism is all about? One beggar sharing his story with another? So the next time someone wants to know something about you, how about including a portion of HIS story with YOUR story. Or in other words, how has Jesus Christ impacted your life?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Pray For What?

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Mt. 6:7 ESV.

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“The best prayers are short and to the point.” Those are the words from one of my early mentors. Somewhere between then and a few years later, that advice was forgotten. I came to the point where I would pray, and pray, and pray, and pray heaping empty phrases on top of one another. Then one day a revelation.

God knows what we need before I even made the request. So why do we think with many more words we can manipulate God to grant us our wishes?

Don’t even go there.

Instead, pray like Jesus did. Pray for the Father’s heart.

God can do more and better than you and I anyway. When we realize that Jesus is our intercessor (Heb. 7:25) and perfects our prayers to our Heavenly Father, why heap more and more empty words on top of the other. Instead, ask your Heavenly Father in your own simple words. Jesus will improve them. And the Holy Spirit will likewise share in the process to make them more effective.

Remember, it is not about you or me. It is about the Triune God. Pray seeking His heart in all matters. In the process you will come to know God more abundantly, and you will experience his Will; which is even better than what you asked in the first place.

So what to pray for? How about His Heart on the matter.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend need some Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Beaten, Busted, Broken

” For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Job: 3:25-26 ESV

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Life has a tendency to throw us lemons. Those who are positive thinkers, state that we need to transform the lemons into lemonade. Yet what about us who are not equipped to make it happen? Not everyone has the talent or character to pick up one self and rise up to the occasion. Or maybe this time the challenge is larger than anything we have faced before and we don’t know where to turn to. Now what?

At times like this I am comforted by God’s reply to Job’s challenge. Job was the wealthiest person in his neck of the woods. He had a large family and was known throughout the community for his philanthropic work. He was the picture of success. Even God claimed that He was blameless.

Yet bad things do happen to good people. In Job’s case, he was the pawn in a wager between God and Satan. God gave Satan authority to do whatever he wanted but spare his life. So with his walking papers, Satan destroyed Job’s business, family, and health. By the time Satan was done, Job was beaten, busted, and broken.

He was physically disabled with chronic pain. He was financially ruined. His wife deserted him. His immediate family taken away. He was left alone beaten, busted, and broken. Yet he never disowned His God. In fact, besides his three companions who tried to comfort him, but ended up throwing spiritual daggers into his side, he spent the time seeking answers from God. As the events unfolded, God finally granted him his day in court where Job eventually repented from his thinking and acknowledged God’s greatness and faithfulness.

God restored Job with more at the end of his crisis than before his broken, busted, and beaten state. What is it that I find encouraging about the entire ordeal?

Simply that God was always with him. Even when God wages a bet with others, he does so knowing that the final outcome is going to be better than if He did nothing. For most of us, we shall experience a Good Friday event in our life. Hopefully, if we hang in there long enough, we shall also experience a Resurrection Sunday.

God is good. He wants what is best for all of us. The immediate future may look bleak. But God in all his glory will carry us through the situation and bless us with character, virtue, and reward.

Yes we may be beaten, busted, and broken at this time. But it only allows us to place our trust in the hand of who will rise us up and restore us to a place for his glory. With Job, his story has become an inspiration for millions throughout history. For us, our story may likewise become a living testament for others on the grace of God.

Again, being beaten, busted, and broken isn’t bad unless we neglect to lean on Him. Then pity on us. I choose to trust Him who raises the dead, walks on water, and turns water into wine.

There is a purpose and meaning behind the BBB of life. As we learn from it, grow from it, and glorify God through it, in hindsight, we may have a better understanding of why we went through it. But for today, let’s just be pleasantly surprised on how He will intervene and save us from ourselves, for the sake of others, and for His glory.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Living in God’s Presence

“…And behold, I (Jesus) am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 ESV

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Want to participate in the greatest adventure of life?
Want an accountability partner that understands you?
Want to be held by a higher standard?
Is so, live in the presence of God.

The other day, the worship leader invited God into the church service. My thought was “isn’t He here already?”

The preacher standing on the street corner with his sign predicting the end of the world shouted, “God wants nothing to do with you until you repent.” Which begs the question: doesn’t God gracefully provide rain and sunshine to the just and unjust?

The business owner after a very profitable year asks the pastor “how much do I need to donate to the church to keep receiving God’s blessings?” Which leads to another question: Is our relationship with God built on a contractual arrangement or a grace-filled, loving Father?

When one begins to understand the good news of Jesus Christ, one relishes the joy of living in His Presence. When the self is denied, the personal cross is carried, and we follow Jesus wherever He leads us, the world begins to look differently.

When we realize that every person we meet has been reconciled and included by Jesus Christ at the cross, Kingdom values take over. As we meet people, we prayerfully seek to discover how the Spirit is working with the person. We seek ways to love the person as Christ loves us; through service. Our objective is to witness Jesus to the person without words. To allow the Spirit to convict and introduce the person to the savior of the world.

As we enter the marketplace, we seek to participate with Jesus in the work we do. We strive to balance excellence with love as a witness of God’s Kingdom economy. In everything we do, we acknowledge Him. We prayerfully ask, seek, and knock for solutions in business and relationships. We judge no one; not even ourselves. We live fully accountable to Jesus.

When wrong, he will discipline us. When right, he will help us to keep humble as we know it all comes from Him. Where we lack faith, we will rely on his. When love flickers, we ask Him to intercede. When walking, bicycling, or driving, we communicate with Him. We seek ways to bring glory to Him. As we place our trust in Him, he reveals Himself through the people and means that come our way. We become more aware of His work in the world. We seek ways to participate with His purposes. Wherever we fail, he is there to carry us through to the very end.

He is always with us. He is always available and nearer to you than you and I even realize. Be glad to live in His presence each and every day.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Preach What?

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“But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12 ESV

 

The other day a pastor on TV emphasized that He preaches the Bible. Another preacher on the other station states that he preaches Jesus Christ. It raised the question. Which is the message of the Kingdom? The Bible or Jesus Christ?

Whenever one elevates the Bible or equates the written word with the personal Word, my historical journey is recalled and danger flags are now waved. It begs the question, how do you interpret the Bible? What is the basis of your preaching? Is the main thing the Bible or who the Bible points to?

When a person preaches Jesus Christ as Savior, Messiah, and Lord, the focus in on the main thing – Jesus. The Bible introduces the reader to Jesus. The Incarnate Jesus reveals God to us. As we read and study the life, work, and heart of Jesus, we learn more about God. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we learn to follow in his steps. As we study the Bible through a Jesus-centered Triune God worldview, we have a more solid basis of interpreting scripture.

Our focus is to build a stronger relationship with the eternal God. The Bible is simply a means to this end.

Our partnership and participation is with Jesus; not the Bible. He is redeeming humanity; not the Bible. Our job is to abide and follow Him. To listen to His word as He communicates to us. The Bible serves as a means for God to communicate to us through His Spirit. As we read and study the inspired word, we are open to hear his voice. As we learn to hear his voice through scripture, we are more attuned to recognize Him during the activities of the day. It is His Spirit that inspires us, encourages us, and opens us up to serve those around us.

Again, the Bible is the means, not the message. The message is Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His Domain. Secondary, but including in that message is how we participate with Him through the sanctification phase.

Jesus is the reason we have the Bible. Therefore, if the preaching is not centered around Jesus Christ, be careful. If the message doesn’t explain how Jesus is the foundation of your growth, service, and faith, be on guard. If the emphasis is on what you need to do and not what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do, be suspect. Remember, Jesus came with good news; not more burdens, yokes, and hurdles for you to climb.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

“You Are Invited”

 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said,.. Mark 1:7 NIV

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It all begins with God. He created the world which included humanity. He not only planned, designed, and executed a God-size strategy, but He also opened the door for His creation to join Him in His journey.

He invited Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to join Him. He invited the entire nation of Israel to join Him. Through Jesus, he invited the entire remaining human race to join Him.

He doesn’t force, coerce, or manipulate you to join Him. He doesn’t threaten you, remove His common grace, or strike you with lighting if you don’t join Him.

He has given you the free choice to follow Him or not. He respects you as a person. He doesn’t interfere with your plans unless he is invited. This is why I appreciate the prayers of my parents, family members, friends, and fellow saints on my behalf. Their prayers invites God to intervene in my life to the point where I am able to willingly and joyfully accept His invitation into my personal space.

Isn’t it interested how the mature invites the immature to participate in something that they will benefit in the long run? The mentor who invites the mentee to learn from her. The trader who invites others to join him and learn how to trade the markets more successfully. The teacher who invites the student into a specific field of study that builds upon their strengths and desires. The carpenter who hires an apprentice to learn the business more effectively. We see it all around us.

Isn’t evangelism simply inviting others into a relationship with the living God?  They can choose to join or not. It is their choice. The best we can do is invite them, pray for them, and love them on behalf of Jesus Christ. He invites us into a personal relationship with Him. Can’t we do the same for others?

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

 

People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World

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What would your life be like without being involved with other people? As a child, how would it be like without having parents to deal with on a daily basis? As a sibling, what would life really be like with no brother or sister to argue with over petty differences? As a parent with married adult children, and no grandchildren to spoil on those special occasion? As a friend without companions to share those high moments of life? No close intimate relationship with someone that cares for you and you care for them?

Someone once wrote that no man is an island. That whatever success, comfort, or luxury we part take in this life is the by­product of someone’s labor. From the day we are born, until the day we die, our life is molded, shaped, and influenced by other people. Whether we like to admit it or not, isn’t that a fact?

Or do we think all we need is God? That people are a pain to live with and deal with on a regular basis. We all probably felt that way at times until we came to the realization that our concept of God is mostly shaped by relationships with other people. For example, as children don’t we picture God to be like our father or mother, or a grandparent, or maybe even just the opposite?  As a youth, didn’t some of us believe that family slowed us down from accomplishing our hearts desires? But as we mature and see the fruits of a healthy family, don’t our views change? As we age, doesn’t family become very important to our concept of self and of God? In most healthy families, don’t we support, encourage, and provide for the need of the other? Don’t we work to build up our relationships and not destroy them? Don’t we accomplish much together and likewise share in life’s joys and sorrows together? Don’t we anchor one another and hold a candle for each other? Isn’t our success now measured individually and collectively?. Don’t we sacrifice for our family and the family sacrifices for us? Don’t we learn what teamwork means and how cooperation produces greater results than individual selfish efforts?

Isn’t the Christian life a familial relationship where walking the journey alone is almost impossible? Doesn’t our faith require us to reach out and care for others? Isn’t it a selfless way of life?.A way of life that gives? And don’t we need recipients to receive what we give? Doesn’t that means then that there needs to be other people involved in our life?

God did not intend man to live alone; otherwise why create Eve? If there was no Eve, then to this day there would only be one person still on the earth, Adam (if God would allow one person to live that long all alone). But God doesn’t live in a vacuum. He enjoys sharing life with others. He created animals. He created angels. He also created us. We can choose to have a relationship with Him or choose otherwise. The choice is ours to make.

Remember Jesus Himself didn’t have a people-less ministry. He spent time with people. He surrounded Himself with others. His vision was that others continue to reach out. That the cycle will continue until He returns. Isn’t Jesus Himself only a part of the church? Yes, He is the cornerstone, the head of the body, our Chief. Yet, isn’t He only one of many? We each have been called and assigned a part in the family of God for the sake of others. Doesn’t our elder Brother want all of us to be a part of something larger than just ourselves? He has made it possible. We only have to choose. For truly, as that old melody slightly revised states “People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World.

OUR PRAYER

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Our Heavenly Dad, we thank you for your love and concern for us each and every day. We thank you for giving us the gift of life and to share that gift with others. We especially thank you for the people in our life. Help us to appreciate them for who they are; your children. And more so, help us to serve them as you serve us. Help us to buildup each person in the Body of Christ. To be available always to lend a helping hand for a brother or sister in need. We thank you for the privilege of your calling and coming to know you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant,Coach, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com