Helmets, Seat Belts, Armor

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV

helmet 2

A strong defense wins championships.

This statement has been repeated constantly by sport teams over the years. Yet how does that apply to everyday life?

This past week, I had a bicycle accident. The bike tires hit what this northern transfer calls “rubber ice.” For those outside the state of Florida, rubber ice is a byproduct of rubber mats placed on sidewalk corners. Their purpose is to prevent people from slipping on the pavement. However, the problem occurs after a rain shower when the rubber mat becomes wet. When bicycling, one must approach these mats directly head-on or risk having the tires spin out of control.

The later is what happened when I quickly turned onto the sidewalk at an angle. The tires didn’t hold and the bike went into a slide. When everything stopped, I was a pretzel caught under the bike with my cheek rubbing the cement ground. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet which took most of the blow to the head. I was fortunate to walk away with only minor scrapes and bruises.

I recall in those early years once driving my auto on the service drive of a freeway when another car ran a stop sign and broadsided me. The impact knocked my car off the road toward the freeway which laid approximately 30 feet below. The impact knocked me from the driver side to an upside down position on the passenger side. When the car came to a stop, my head was on the passenger floor mat and my feet upright hitting the ceiling. My right hand though hung onto the steering wheel keeping the car from toppling off the service ramp into the traffic below.

Again, I was fortunate to walk away with bruises and minor cuts. This was before the law of the land required seat-belt usage. Anyway, after that ordeal wearing a seat belt became my standard before it was even a legal requirement.

Today, wisdom recognizes the safety importance of wearing helmets when cycling and seat belts when driving cars. One never knows when outside circumstances could cause a damaging accident with crippling human results.

The apostle Paul outlines in the book of Ephesians the defensive measures that a Christ-follower wears to prevent catastrophe against the devil’s ploy. He described it as the whole armor of God. It includes Truth, Righteousness, The Gospel, Faith, Salvation, Word of God, and Prayer.

If you want to have a strong defense, than it is recommended that one learns, understands, and integrates each of these tools into your life. The world’s circumstances will test you through unexpected battles. To survive and endure to the end requires putting on the defensive gear before an unplanned accident occurs. With the proper equipment, one has a better chance of walking away with only minor bruises and small cuts.

Those who aren’t wearing any protective gear though will experience the full impact of an accident’s fury. Whether bicycling, driving, or moving through life’s jungle, one needs to be prepared for the unexpected. The armor of God helps you to manage the risk of the unexpected.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, 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

Christian Crutches

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Romans 41:1 ESV
crutches 1

One of the most puzzling aspects of the Christian faith for unbelievers is the various denominations built around a specific interpretation of scripture. Somewhere I recently read that there are over 30,000 different denominations in the United States alone. These of course include non-denominational organizations which think of themselves not as one of the mainstream Christian bodies but really are a single-body denomination.

Whether these faith communities place unique emphasize on communion, baptism, prophecy, gospel message, healing, prosperity, etc., the vast majority truly believe that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. Therefore, according to Scripture, they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. The challenge is they have a strong preference and opinion. In some circles, they follow the formula that to be a Christian requires Jesus plus “x”. The emphasis placed on the “x” factor separates them from others.

What they may not see is that this “x” factor is really a spiritual crutch that they currently need until the Holy Spirit completes its transformation within the Believer. Since this crutch helps them in their walk with the Lord, they sincerely believe everyone else should have the same crutch.

Most transformational processes take considerable time. Yet upon completion, one only then recognizes the crutch of the matter.(sorry for the pun).

In Jesus’ time on earth, he kept correcting the religious leaders of his day. They would emphasize the importance of the crutch while Jesus was healing the person so they wouldn’t need the crutch any longer. It is not a shame to have a crutch. It is simply a means that allows us to continue walking with Christ until we are healed in that area of life. Until that day, we aspire for unity in all essentials beliefs (Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior), encourage liberty in beliefs which are gray or uncertain (interpretation of scripture, baptism, end-times, etc), but exercise love in all beliefs.

Remember, we all use crutches. We all will walk with a limp into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, let’s just recognize what is a crutch, continue to abide in Jesus Christ and allow God’s Spirit to transform the heart, mind, and soul for His glory and purpose, and mutually serve one another through the maturity growth process.

Crutch or no crutch, I for one am thankful that Jesus is the one we all have to answer too.

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.

 

Where is Church?

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” Acts 16:5 (ESV)

 church 1

In the New Testament the Greek word “ecclesia” and in the Old Testament the Hebrew word “kahal” both mean an “assembly.” The Greek word is typically translated “church” in the English language. Therefore the word Church as signified in the Bible is simply an assembly of people. Today we have various faith communities that meet in buildings who identify themselves as a church. This is typically how most of us learn and identify a church. Yet isn’t a church larger than this?

One of the most eye opening revelations for me was when I realized the church extends beyond the four walls of a faith community. Jesus made the comment that when two or three are gathered together in prayer, he is among them (Matt. 18:20). He didn’t limit meeting together in a specific location. In fact, in John 4:21-23 he even stated that location wasn’t important, but worshiping God in Spirit and Truth is the priority. So can’t we say that where two or more believers come together in Spirit and Truth that Church is in session?

Wouldn’t this mean that the Church is actively operating 24/7 non-stop around the globe? Isn’t it in session where two or more believers come together? Isn’t it in session where a husband and wife come together? Isn’t it in session where two employees of the same company come together? Isn’t it in session where two neighbors meet together? Couldn’t church take place when two or more come together at a golfing tournament? ballgame? party? grocery store? school? the beach?

What makes a Church? Is it the corporate legal structure? An organizational team? Or simply two or more coming together to share their faith, buildup one another, and glorify God in the process?

When one realizes that Church is simply an assembly of people who trust and worship Jesus Christ, doesn’t that open the door for a 24/7 church service? As a believer, don’t we walk in the presence of God all day and night? So when we sit through a one hour church service isn’t that just a continual process of doing church for the entire day? week? month? life?

Think about it.

We are rooting for you!

Yours 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.

 

 

 

Growth Involves Discomfort

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”  2 Corinthians 1:3

growing pains

 

Ever notice how much effort we spend as a society seeking comfort in all that we do?  We purchase comfortable clothes, drive comfortable cars, eat comfort food, sleep on comfortable beds, associate with friends who are comfortable, parade through the day following our comfortable routine, sit on our comfortable lazy chair, and eat comfortable ice cream.

If anything happens to disrupt our comfortable lifestyle, we become upset and possibly even traumatized. Yet when we strive to maintain comfort, doesn’t life have a way to interrupt our status quo? You think maybe life is designed to force us into situations that require us to expand our comfort zone?  Whether we intentionally choose our discomfort, or “meteors from outer space” force us to change our routine, isn’t it when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone and exert energy toward a favorable outcome that we actual grow from it?

When we (the physically challenged) start and complete an exercise routine that builds muscles, shapes our body, and improves our food intake which may be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes a routine, isn’t it very satisfying?  When we start a new job outside our natural gifting, it becomes challenging to do the simple routine at first; however over time, we eventually master it and grow from it. It may have been uncomfortable at first, but afterward we have grown by integrating the new into the old. Have you noticed that anything worth pursuing starts off at the uncomfortable level?

Paul wrote that entrance into the Kingdom of God is going to introduce tribulation into one’s life. To move from comfort to discomfort is the necessary prerequisite for entrance into God’s Kingdom. To grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ is naturally discomforting. Get use to it! Quit your complaining. Get on your knees and cry out to God. It is the way faith in God is built; it is the way we grow in the faith; it is the way of God to help us grow.

So when you find yourself discomforted, thank God. Roll up your sleeves, strengthen your praying arms, and cry out to God. It is the most successful way; it has been done since the dawn of life; and you are privileged too participate with the Holy Spirit in one of the God’s greatest projects at this time: the redemption of creation.  Besides, how else are we going to learn that He is our Comfort?

We are rooting for you!

 

Yours 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.

 

The Ultra-Lean Years

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

seasons 1

 

Ever notice that there is a purpose for every season of one’s life?

Joseph was sold into slavery, imprisoned, and forgotten for thirteen years. Then through a series of “consequences” he became the governor of Egypt second in command to the Pharaoh.

David was anointed King of Israel at seventeen and wasn’t crowned until thirty. For thirteen years he lived in the fields with a bounty on his head from the current king. His companions were the undesirables of his day. Yet he was being prepared to lead a country as he followed God.

Moses was raised as a prince in the Egyptian household. Fleeing for his life at forty for murdering a fellow Hebrew, he took up the occupation of a shepherd for his father-in-law. The lowest of jobs in his time. For forty years he worked in the desert countryside until the Lord had prepared him at the age of eighty to lead his people back to their own country.

Each person had a call in their life from God, but the preparation time were the dry years. We would classify them today as the ultra-lean years.

When you look at the life of others throughout history, the down years were the building blocks for the next season of life. During these years, one learns to cry-out and trust their Maker. One also learns humility and living graciously in preparation for greater service. Though greater service may never come, one becomes available for more opportunities as one is being prepared.

In business, the lean years allows oneself to streamline operations, upgrade systems, and enhance the customer experience through more personal contact with less monetary costs. For those businesses that survive, they come out stronger and more committed in serving their customers and stakeholders. If they didn’t survive, maybe it was time to try something else. One never knows what good is going to come out of a bad situation until it is written in history many years down the road. Until then, we learn to trust our Lord and we walk with Him with our business and personal challenges.

In my own case, the best of times and the worst of times was in-between companies. It is during this time when cash flow dwindles, but the walk with God intensifies. At the end of day, when doors open again for the next opportunity, I always find myself stronger in my walk with our Lord and prepared to serve another employer with God’s gifts and love.

So remember, when you find yourself thinking you are forgotten by God, lean heavier. He is always there. He is simply preparing you for the next season of life.

Remember, we are always rooting for you!

 

Yours 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Undesirables of Jesus

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 7:34 (ESV)

 Undesirable people 1

 

How many of us would condemn a person who spent their time partying with the low-life of humanity? (There is no low-life in God’s eyes; but from mankind’s perspective, there is).

You would of course need to define low-life. In Jesus’ time, if you were not living the high-life, then you must have been considered the other.  The high-life would be the people who had all the material aspects that life makes available. They would be seen high on the social ladder. They would be formally educated and successful in what they did. They would be recognized throughout the community. They may even be highly respected in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the low-life would be the undesirables of their day. In Jesus’ time, that would include women, children, and the elderly. It would include slaves, the physically challenged, and the religiously inept. One doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a low-life; life happens. The result generally is a life without great purpose, meaning, or self-sustenance.  One has to rely on stealing, prostituting oneself, or obtaining help from others just for the basic necessities of life.

Yet Jesus not only conversed with the undesirables of his time, He loved them. He enjoyed spending time with them and was accused of being a “glutton and drunkard.” His circle of friends and acquaintances included tax collectors, prostitutes, adulteress’, criminals, and the working class. His greatest supporters were women who provided for Him from their means. In Jesus’ day, most women had no rights, couldn’t own property, and were treated as collateral on the household books. Yet Jesus loved spending time with them.

He didn’t spend time with them for a few moments as a political campaign video. He ate with them, drank with them, and conversed with them as a friend and teacher.  He healed them. He fed them. He cared for them. He shared stories, laughter, and tears for them. He demonstrated the love of God, the service of God, and the heart of God with everyone He met. He treated others with respect and dignity. Wherever and whenever He could, he changed their world for the better.

How about you and me? Who are the undesirables in your world? What can you do today to impact the life of another that you wouldn’t normally associated with in your daily walk?  What if the next time you drove to work or went out for lunch, you took a closer look at the people you came into contact with. Maybe you can ask God right then and there how you can participate with Him in the life of another. Just be ready for another adventure.

We are always rooting for you!

 

Yours 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD WORK

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

good work 1

What is good work?

We all can recognize it in our field of specialty. But to explain it to an “outsider” becomes another story.

In carpentry, it is where the corners and measurements are precise and the look is picturesque. In parenting, it is having grown children that are mature, responsible, and accountable in the eyes of God and mankind. In business, it is providing a service or product that benefits others while maintaining a profitable operating model. In whatever occupation or vocation, good work is recognized by those who are involved in the same challenges each and every day.

However, does good work guarantee a productive outcome? The simple answer is no. You can have developed the best “widget” on the planet, but if there is no demand for widgets, no one is going to purchase the item. Even if there is a demand for the item, if no one is aware of your widget, no one again is going to purchase the item.

Your peers may marvel at it; the product may be the best ever, and it may truly represent the genius and godly character expressed through you. But no demand, no awareness, leads to no sales, and therefore no profits. But good work!

Good work is only the reflection of the person or persons involved in the project. It is a reflection of the inner character and mind of the person expressing themselves through their actions. It is what each of us can control, change, and improve upon. The final outcome though involves others. It takes others to participate in sharing their good work that may lead to a more favorable outcome.

God wants us to follow His example and do good work. The outcome though involves more than our contribution. It involves others. God created the world which is a reflection of His good work. The outcome of its care though He has placed into the hands of others: humans. Isn’t that the same thing we need to learn?

We are rooting for you!

Yours 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.