Let Christ Lead

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 ESV

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One of the traditions on January 1st is to establish a new goal for the coming year.

If you are one that makes such a commitment, how about making a covenant to focus more attention on hearing the word of God. No, I’m not saying spend more time reading the Word (though that wouldn’t hurt), or listening to more preaching (that always helps), but to actually spend time listening for God’s influence in your life.

One reason we read the Bible is to acquire knowledge of God’s Word. But knowledge doesn’t build faith. Hearing the Word builds the faith we need.  Otherwise, if God speaks to us, how do we know it is Him?

By reading the Word, we acquire a basic understanding of who God is. We study the life and relationship between Jesus, His Father, and the Holy Spirit. We pray to communicate with our heavenly Father. Though we may not know what to say, we are assured that Jesus intercedes on our behalf with the appropriate request.

Have you always wondered how a sermon is preached centered around a specific topic but when asked the congregation what the message was, you receive a multitude of various answers? Isn’t it amazing how the Spirit is working through the words spoken by the minister making it personal for each of us.

Have you ever prayed seeking an answer from God and the answer came from the most unusual circumstances?  How often the answer you seek comes through a person at the checkout counter at the grocery store? Confirmed by the officer who pulled you over for speeding the same day? And reconfirmed by your child at the dinner table? God speaks to us in many different ways. However, it helps to know His Word, His Character, and His method of operations to be more aware of His influence in our life. For some it may be a word. For others in may be a nudge. For some it may be an inspiration. Others it may be like a rainbow in the sky. For each of us grasp information in different ways.  Doesn’t God know the best way to communicate with us?

How about this year focusing on one thing in regards to the Lord? How about listening to Jesus Christ who lives in you and allow Him to lead you in every avenue of your life? Forget the rules. Acquire knowledge of His Word and then listen for him to show you how it applies in your entire life. That includes your marriage, your parenting, your business, and your community service. Invite Him into everything you do. Let Him lead you. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

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.

 

 

 

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Why Read The Bible?

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

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When you want to learn about someone, what do you do? Don’t we search the Internet and see what we can find out. Don’t we ask people who may personally know the person? Maybe we may eventually schedule a visit and spend time with the person.

So why read the Bible? Here are some practical, everyday what-if questions that point to the Bible.

* What if you had the means to develop a more intimate relationship with the Living God finding out more about Him? His heart? His mind? His character?

* What if you could better understand the interrelationship between His work on earth and heaven?

* What if you could learn ways to unleash His authority to impact your world today?

* What if you could explore and truly integrate the impact of heavenly Virtue into your micro world?

* What if you could discover how to fully merge the spiritual treasurers of heaven into the physical realities of everyday life?

* What if you could stop making the same mistakes others have made? Isn’t it smarter to learn from the successes and failures of others?

* What if you had an avenue that allowed you to listen for the Holy Spirit to interpret God’s Will as it personally applies to you?

* What if you had a source that contains a storehouse of life-giving, energized knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for every season of life?

* What if you had your own personal guide written specifically for you to acquire practical knowledge of the best finance, marriage, family, and business practices proven over millenniums of time?

* What if you had a source that reveals how God interrelates with humanity and how you could better interrelate with Him?

* What if you could more easily identify the Truth and its implications within reality?

* What if you had a written script to help you better understand your purpose in life?

The Bible expresses the love, grace, and authority of Jesus Christ. If you want to serve the King of King, don’t you think if would help you to better understand what His plans, purpose, methods, and means are for you and for the sake of others? What if you spent a few more minutes each day discovering more about the Triune God? What difference do you think it would make in your world? It may not be a radical idea, but its implementation certainly is.

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.

 

Business is a Ministry

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ESV

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There are days when I sit in a church service the preacher seems to indicate that the only place God is working is in their church community. That God’s special blessing is only upon those who serve within their faith community. Somehow, what I do between Monday through Saturday is spoken like a lower-level necessity with the only real meaning to life lies between the four walls of the congregation. Now maybe it’s me, but after all these years I long for ministers whose pastoral is larger than their micro faith world. Somehow it seems we forget that God is attuned to the world and our faith community is only a microscope of a much larger picture.

Take service for example. I get tired after forty some years of listening to preachers emphasize church service over any other type of service. It’s like “church service” is the only service that is approved by God. Whatever else one does outside of the “church” doesn’t compare. Again, maybe it is me, but the Bible doesn’t delineate service into sacred and secular. Humans do. I have witnessed and been included with people who serve to satisfy a personal ego within the faith community. Instead of having God’s Spirit fill the void, they seek status, power, prestige, money, or fulfillment in the name of service.

Within the religious world, we call it ministry. In the marketplace, we call it service. The goal is the same; to provide and care for the people who have needs that we can satisfy. However, “ministry” makes it sound holy; “customer service” makes it sound self-serving. Yet haven’t we seen people within the ministry glorify themselves in service to others? And again, in the marketplace, haven’t we seen the same? Yet within the ministry haven’t we also seen (more than the other) people who serve for the glory of God and for the sake of others? Likewise, haven’t we also met people within the marketplace who serve their constituents and customers for the glory of God and for the real sake of others?

Am I too bold to say that God also created business? That business is a ministry for the economic benefit of others? Jesus quoted that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In the church world we emphasize God’s Word. Outside of the church world, people emphasis the economic necessities. Is one more important than the other? Doesn’t it take both, the Spirit of God and the physical necessities of life to live a full, meaningful life? Maybe it’s time we stop segregating the world into us versus them. That we are more important than them. Maybe it is time we realize that the Triune God considers all labor and service important. That ministering the Word and ministering the food (clothing, shelter, transportation, entertainment, etc.) are both important and necessary. That one without the other leaves a person poor, hungry, and blind.

Therefore the next time someone asks if you want to participate in their ministry because you don’t seem to have one, let them know that you already are in a full time ministry: your business is a ministry for God’s glory and for the sake of others. Or is that just being too radical in Christ for you?

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.

 

Segmentation or Coherence?

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“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 ESV

In the apostle’s Paul’s world, there was a Jewish prayer that thanked God for not being a gentile, slave, or female. For being in any one of these categories was looked down upon by the traditional Jewish religious leaders. As was and still is the custom, humanity likes to categorize each other into certain groups. Usually our view is determined by our position in life. It was no different in Paul’s time. If one was Jewish, they were superior to the gentile. If one was a free person, they were superior to the slave. If one was a male, they were superior to a female. Yet Paul, in writing to the Galatians stated that one is not superior to the other; that superiority lies in Christ and we are all on even ground in our relationship with Him.

What does this mean to us in the twenty-first century?

If we are followers of Christ, then we know that He died for the whole world. That mankind has been forgiven before even asking to be forgiven. That God has re-opened the door for mankind to have a direct relationship with Him. Theology defines this as justification.

So what does this mean in practical terms?

Simply that no matter what your nationality, station in life, or sexual orientation, Christ died for you. In dying, he redeemed the entire human race. That includes you, me, and every person who is alive, died, and yet to be born. He makes us brothers and sisters one to another. He provides an even playing field for everyone. Whether we serve in churches, nonprofit organizations, educational institutes, medical, governmental, or the business industry, we know deep inside that the absolute final authority is Christ Himself. As representatives of His domain, we walk with Him working to redeem relationships, values, and structures. We are servants of the King, called to partner with Him in His work restoring creation to His original intent.

Segmentation is how this world’s system categorizes people, ideas, and events. Christ came so that we could focus first on Him. When we make Him the central core of life, we see how He breakdowns the walls that prevents us from loving each other, blessing each other, and serving each other. Over time, walking with Him in the Spirit, we come to the realization that universal coherence only comes by being fully engaged in Christ. Or is this simply just too radical for one to accept?

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.

 

 

God’s Plan For You

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“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV

Every time I hear a message about God encouraging the nation Israel through Jeremiah with the above words, I cringe. Most of the time I hold my breath because someone most likely will extract a portion of this scripture to illustrate a point without fully expounding its ramifications. I have been taught to read scripture in context first, understand its cultural and historical significance in its time, and then expound its application into today’s world. Most of the time lately this scripture is used from the pulpit as a short cut to motivate people to trust in God with their future plans.

When read in context, one quickly recognizes that the Lord made a specific promise to Israel. After being disciplined through seventy years of exile, He will restore their nation. A specific prophecy for a specific nation for a specific time in history. What this scripture truly reveals is that the Lord’s purpose will always be accomplished.

What does this mean for you and me?
* God has a plan He started at the foundation of the universe that includes you.
* It is God’s plan, not yours or mine.
* Our plans most likely are not God’s plan.
* The earlier we learn to accept God’s plan and join him in it, the quicker we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.
* As we develop a deeper relationship with Him, the greater His Spirit lives in us, influences us, and empowers us to live life the way He originally created life too be.
* The brokenness of sin slowly dissipates from our lives and is replaced with the riches of His eternal glory.
* We don’t have to wait for heaven; heaven arrives now in Christ as He lives in us.

We do not have to take scripture out of context to make a point. God has a plan that includes you and me. His desire is for all humanity to join him within the Triune God circle. Today, we are heirs, children, and servants of the King of Kings. He joyously and lovingly invites us to now participate in His work to redeem all creation into His original intent (Romans 8:20-21).

So why misuse scriptures to make a point? Isn’t the truth already radical enough?

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.

 

Being Aware of Our Need for Jesus Christ

There are two categories that we can place everyone on the planet into: those who are aware of their need for Jesus Christ and those who are not aware of their need for Jesus Christ.  For many of us who have already made a rational decision to follow Jesus, we likewise may fall into either camp. For those who haven’t yet made a decision for Christ, you may also fall into either camp. For what separates a person from one camp or the other isn’t a “decision” but living a life that is solely “aware of our need” for Jesus Christ 24/7.

What do I mean by being aware of our need? And why Jesus Christ?

Most people view Christianity from the outside-in without any knowledge of its roots, core, or vision. They simply disavow its importance in their life. They are typically satisfied with their lot in life and feel they need nothing. They are like the people described in the Book of Revelations, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,”(Rev 3:17). They typically believe themselves to be self-sufficient and believe they have everything under control.  For those raised in a “Christian culture” their battle is simply being overly familiar with Christianity or maybe having a poor demonstration of an actual, practical living example of how the disciple truly lives. Whatever the situation, the real answer typically arises only when we are confronted with a personal problem that requires a “miracle.” That miracle many times leads us to become more fully aware of our need for Jesus Christ.

Typically only when a person comes to the end of themselves are they open to start seeking answers to life’s Big Bang questions. For some it may be survival (ever became lost at sea in the middle of a storm?); for others it may be financial loss (bank accounts empty and no source of income); for others it may be health issues ( cancer before age thirty typically starts one to ask questions of life); the death of a love one (facing mortality raises many questions); or a breakup of a close, meaningful relationship ( divorce or a trusted friend robbing you of your emotional investment). Somewhere life’s unpleasant, broken events stop us to ask those important questions: Is there a God? Who are you God? What do you want from me? Is this all that there is? What is the purpose of life? We begin to ask these questions as we realize that there is a hole within our inner being that needs to be satisfied and there seems to be nothing that we have found on this planet that fulfills it. Or we realize that life is much bigger than ourselves and we cannot control every facet of it. Could it be possible that we were designed to have our inner cup filled through a meaningful relationship with the Creator? Is it possible that we were designed not to control life’s situation but to participate in life with the one who is in Control?

Why Jesus Christ?

Like many writers, authors, marketplace leaders, husbands, fathers, and brothers before me, Jesus Christ and His gospel logically explains life’s most important questions. The answers are not always what we want to hear, but they are answers that explain history and reveal God’s purpose. Though many of the details are still a blank page, the overall plan and spiritual fruit demonstrates its authenticity in the home, marketplace, and community – when allowed to flourish.

When one studies the life of Jesus Christ and His message, one either accepts His claim or denies it. There is no middle ground. Either Jesus is the divine being who help create the universe, chose himself to become human, died and was resurrected to fulfill scripture, and plans on returning as King of Kings, or he is either a liar or a lunatic as C.S. Lewis explained.  Either He is the mediator between heaven and earth, the one person both the Old and New Testaments point too, and the core reason why everything was created, ordered, and glorified for His namesake, or again, he is either a liar or a lunatic.  When one realizes who He is, one cannot accept anything less but realize how far we fall short of his Magnificence and acknowledge His authority, reign, and purpose in our lives. With the Holy Spirit given to us as assurance, we grow and become a trusted believer that eventually acknowledges that Jesus Christ is neither a liar nor a lunatic. He is who He claims to Be.

How aware are you of your need for Jesus Christ in your life?

OUR PRAYER

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Magnificence Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Word and via your Spirit. Help us to become totally aware of our need for you. Help us to live our life resting in you. Help us to live our life glorifying you. Help us to live our life witnesses to others about you. You are with me each and every day. Help us live this life faithfully for you and totally aware of our need for you. You are our savior, king, teacher, brother, hero, and friend.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

 

Thievery Against Marriage

Marriage has been under attack from day one. Since Adam & Eve, when Eve began to spend more time listening to the serpent rather than commune with Adam and the Lord, the temptation of grabbing the non-compliant fruit eventually turned into a path of alienation from God and a broken life.

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Jesus himself stated that in the beginning, God created the marriage relationship: one man with one woman (Mark 10:6-9). Yet mankind with his stony heart couldn’t understand and comply with God’s intent for the marriage relationship. So through the Bible He reveals how mankind is to behave toward Himself and others for our own sake.

The marriage relationship itself pictures the relationship between the church (you and me) and Christ. In addition, the marriage relationship bonded by love, mutual submission, and a lifelong commitment of faithfulness pictures the same relationship that Father God, Son, and Holy Spirit have with one another.

In many ways, the marriage institution provides a safe haven for two people to experience the abundant relational life that God Himself enjoys. However, if two people are simply in a contractual arrangement, than marriage becomes nothing more but a business enterprise; two people satisfying each other needs in exchange for services rendered. Which type of marriage relationship do you want?

God reveals the type of behavior and attitude that leads to a prosperous marriage relationship. His Word highlights what builds-up and what breakdowns the marriage relationship. They include external and internal factors.

Some external factors that break down the marriage institution includes: adultery, incest, same-sex relationships, pornography, and fornication. Internal factors includes non-submissiveness, selfishness, and ungodliness. All these factors are thieves of marriage blissfulness. The main text in the Bible that highlight marriage responsibilities and relationship builders include: Ephesians 5; 1 Corinthians 7; and Hebrews 13:4.

Marriage is the ideal place for two people joined together to experience the same relationship that the Triune God enjoys. Yet, as always, mankind wants to take shortcuts that benefit individuals at the expense of the community. God’s way may hurt a few upfront in the beginning of the process, but eventually leads to long term success and riches for the majority as well as the few.

It takes trust to know that the eternal values of God always leads to the best outcome in the long run. Marriage is no different. So if we want to enjoy a rich relationship that marriage brings, than let us begin by personally standing up as a committee of one and voice our disapproval whenever we notice thievery against marriage.  How? By simply witnessing what marriage pictures in our daily lives and if necessary, use words.

OUR PRAYER

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Holy Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for marriage and its solid foundation for a society. Thank you for your Word that explains how to make marriage a copy of your relationship with humanity and yourself. Thank you for your grace and mercy when we fall short of the ideal. Enrich us with your character, your attitude, and your heart in our marriages. Help us live and experience your life through our marriage. Thank you for everything.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.