Be Radical

“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. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

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What does it mean to be radical?

The dictionary.com provides several definitions.

  1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: “a radical difference.”
  2. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: “a radical change in the policy of a company.” a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.
  3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: “radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.” a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.
  4. forming a basis or foundation.
  5. existing inherently in a thing or person: “radical defects of character.”
  6. Mathematics/Chemistry. pertaining to or forming a root. denoting or pertaining to the radical sign. The set of elements of a ring, some power of which is contained in a given ideal. A quantity expressed as a root of another quantity.
  7. Grammar. of or pertaining to a root.

 

Like many words in the English language, it depends on the context of the subject matter. When I use the word radical, it typically means to focus on the root of the matter; the original intent, the foundational basis, the uncompromising position of basic beliefs that are fundamental to life and purpose as found in Jesus Christ.

To be radical in Christ is to adhere to the core teachings and purpose behind the Incarnate God. It is to be true to His Word, Purpose, and Intent. It is to be in an intimate, close relationship with Lord Jesus. It is to focus on life through the central eyes of Christ via the Holy Spirit’s influence. It is to eliminate all the additional pomp, rituals, and speculations and focus on the basic core meaning and purpose of Jesus Christ’s life as He lived and lives. It is to live life the way the Triune God created life to be. It is practical and livable, not religious and superstitious. It is to exercise the beliefs, values, and core principles of God’s original intent from the foundation of the world. It is to walk in agreement with God as He constructs His new creation. It is to walk in His redemptive plan of salvation as He restores creation to His original design.

To be radical in Christ is this and so much more. Each day we look through the window of faith and behold a world that all mankind wants but can’t bring it about until Jesus Christ returns. He will establish order and rule the Kingdom Way. For now, we are being prepared to lead and serve His way. This is my radical.

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.

 

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

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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.

Measureless Goals

“…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” Romans 3:22

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In business, we are trained to measure all important outcomes. In fact, the old adage is if it is not being measured, then it isn’t being managed. By measuring performance, we gather the necessary feedback to determine what changes or adjustments are necessary to improve the outcome. Yet aren’t there objectives that are more difficult to measure than others?

Take for example one of life’s undesirable outcomes: sin. The Bible defines sin in several different ways. John writes that sin is lawlessness (I Jn. 3:4). James writes that “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”( James 4:17). Paul in addition writes that whatever is not done in faith is sin (Romans 14:23). How does one measure the outcome of faith? Yes we can probably keep a journal log listing all behavior during the day and then record next to each on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is best) how faithful were we in that action. But would you give yourself a passing grade if you only scored a 2 out of 5? Would anything less than a 5 be labeled a sin?

How many of us want more faith? Yet didn’t Jesus say that if we had only “a very little amount of faith” we could accomplish great things (Luke 17:5-7)?

Don’t we typically measure sin by the outcome? If a person’s behavior doesn’t measure up to what “is Biblical” then we categorize it as sin. Yet Jesus came along and said that sin is even deeper than that; that sin is a matter of attitude and emotional heart. That we don’t have to follow through with behavioral response, but just the inner thought of doing or not doing something can be classified as sin.

Am I being hard on managing sin? Or are we just looking at the wrong side of the picture? Maybe instead of focusing on measuring sin which can become quite depressing, we need to focus on the opposite side. Maybe we need to focus on righteousness. Not our righteousness, but the Incarnate God’s righteousness. Maybe if we allowed more of His righteousness to abide in our life, we wouldn’t even have to write about sin.

For isn’t sin simply the absence of God’s perfect love? Isn’t sin simply the absence of trust in our Triune God? Isn’t lawlessness the absence of failing to mutually yield to the King of Kings in our lives? Isn’t God’s grace the answer to sin? Isn’t His divine love, faithfulness, and influence immeasurable? Instead of trying to manage the sins in our world, maybe we need to simply abide in the one who is measureless and secure in His love, faith, and obedience. Maybe there are some goals that don’t need to be measured, but simply covered with God’s grace. What do you think?

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.

How We Draw Near To God?

 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

 

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How does one draw near to God? For many of us, we walk the Christian journey with only a few tools in our soul-box. We focus on prayer, bible study, and fellowship. These are important. Yet most Christ-followers seem to stop there. They just keep repeating the same three over and over again until it becomes so rote that the joy disappears and routine duty takes over. Want to have other tools that will reawaken the romance between you and our Lord?

A variety of Disciplines may be the spark that draws you nearer to God. For those who are unfamiliar with disciplines, let me explain. They are the practices that help us focus our minds and bodies toward God. Mr. Richard Foster wrote a book entitled “The Celebrations of Disciplines” which outlines many of the practices that saints have used throughout history to draw nearer to God. I would recommend that book for anyone who wants to add spice to their spiritual walk with the Lord.

These disciplines are the means of grace that allows us to imitate the mind and soul of God. Typically the best discipline to choose in your season of life is the one opposite of your natural disposition. For example, if you are very selfish with your possessions, you may want to practice the grace of giving to others. When you practice the scripture that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” you will find yourself slowly breaking down the chains that bind you. You will begin to experience the joy that the Lord shares in blessing others.

If money controls you, you can practice the discipline of tithing. By giving away a portion of your income to others like your local church or food pantries on a regular basis, you find again the chains of ownership breaking away and the spirit of stewardship taking over.

Again, these acts by themselves will not cure you. It is the Spirit working within you that renews your heart and mind as you practice these disciplines that draws you closer to God by emulating Him in everyday life. You begin to see life as He views life.

You also have to be careful that the discipline does not become more important than Jesus. We all have a tendency to find a discipline that drastically improves our walk with the Lord and we believe that everyone else should practice the same thing in their life. We forget that we are all wired differently, yet the same. The disciplines that I need to practice to draw nearer to God may be different than yours. Yet our purpose is the same. We both want to walk closer with our Lord in our journey through life. Now, if that is being radical in Christ, please give us immeasurably more.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lead People; Manage Systems

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,” Deuteronomy 30:19

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One problem I noticed over the years with new supervisors and managers is the tenancy to manipulate people. In most cases, they do not realize what they are doing. They simply act in a way to get the results that they seek.

We see this with parents raising children. When one has young children, it is easy for the parent to control the actions of the child. They can use fear and punishment to produce the results that they desire. However, as the child grows and becomes a teenager, the parent needs to learn to adjust their leadership skills. For then, the child begins to reason and think for themselves. They are not afraid of the same consequences of their earlier childhood. Now the parent needs to take the time to reason and debate with the young adult. If not, the child will quickly rebel, and the conflict becomes a war zone. Likewise, when the child becomes a full adult, the relationship again changes. The parent cannot use the same techniques from childhood with their adult child(in most cases). Now the relationship is less about control and more about freedom of choice. The consequences may be the same, but the means change.

The same is true in the business organization where adults work with adults. Novice supervisors confuse the management of systems with the leadership of people. When one focuses on trying to manage people like systems, conflict will arise. Systems are designed to measure and move through a process to accomplish a specific objective. People are led through engagement and expectations of consequences. Systems are logical, heartless, and predictable. People are emotional, soulful, and unpredictable. Systems can be quickly changed and modified for expected results with little feedback. People need time to grow and mature until full mastery of the workload is learned.

Don’t confuse systems and people. Each are necessary for an organization to fully realize its potential and service for others. Yet both require a different approach. God doesn’t work with people the same way he works with animals. Animals are born with instinct. People are born with learned behavior. The animal’s potential is limited. The person’s potential is unlimited. Lead your people with the realization that their potential is greater than yours. Manage your systems with the realization that they give you the process and feedback to make you unique in the business community. But don’t confuse the two when working with each. How would you like God to confuse you with the inertia of gravity? Hope that isn’t too radical 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.

The Joy of Business

Every person and every organization operates from a built-in structure of values. These values are typically built around an internal belief system. Studies have shown that many of the values we carry throughout life have been shaped within us and already formed by the time we reach the age of 8-9 years. Many of these same values and beliefs remain with us until an event or circumstance changes our perspective of life. Only then, we may consciously or unconsciously make a change.

In business, the founder typically sets the values and belief system of the organization. She or he sets the standards that others quickly learn to comply with if they want to be accepted within the business circle. As an organization grows, other leaders step up to influence their values into the operation. Eventually, team leaders learn to work with one another even though they may disagree with the other team member’s belief system and priority of values.

As a Believer in the marketplace, God has allowed us to partner with Him as He works out His plan of redemption while being the means to economically serve others as His hands and feet. As a servant in God’s government, we have new standards that we are learning. Yet we also have older values that need unlearning. God is creating a masterpiece via His Universal Church within the marketplace and is allowing us to participate with Him if we choose.

Why is this critical to understand? Because many of us enter the marketplace with a focus strictly on monetary reward. We strongly and incorrectly believe that the main purpose of business is to make money. So when we make business decisions, we measure the process with the end result solely for a financial remuneration; a return of investment; a monetary payback for our time and effort. Yet is that how God views business?
Without getting heavy into theology, didn’t God give mankind instructions to have dominion over the earth? To manage it and to sustain it? Where in the creation account did God say our economic primary purpose is to make a profit? Yet didn’t Jesus himself quote scripture that man needs bread and the Word of God to sustain himself? So what is the purpose of business?

Isn’t business a ministry that God ordained to provide for our fellow man? Like every ministry, isn’t the purpose to Glorify God and serve others with the talents and skills we have been blessed with? Is it not a joy to conduct business where God is glorified; all stakeholders benefit, and we receive an economic return so we can do it all over again?

As a young, shy man starting out in the business world, I went into the accounting field because I was good with numbers, logic, and able to bring order out of chaos; I didn’t really want to work directly with people. Likewise, I chose the real estate industry because one could work with buildings and tangible property rather than directly with people. A funny thing happened along the way. I discovered that accounting, real estate, and business is all about people. That if one wants to succeed in life, one needs to learn how to communicate, relate, influence, encourage, and lead people. I eventually learned that successful business is about developing long-term relationships with others for their highest benefit. When we were successful in providing for our customers, operated efficiently, the profit we earned was simply the cost for doing business. Our profit margins was the result of the emphasis of the value and service we provided.

Imagine if every business selected a product or service that would glorify God, honestly serve people, and made enough money to stay in business; and continue to do it over and over again; what a wonderful world it would be! When one reaches this point, than one can truly see the fruit of one’s service and product through the eyes of God. Most people would think that this is impossible in today’s world. Yet, is anything impossible with God? The problem is most people run business their way rather than yield and trust a living God who wants you to partner with Him in His mission for the marketplace. Didn’t Jesus say if we seek His Kingdom first, that all these other things will be added to us? Doesn’t that also include our business ventures? Yes there is joy in business when one learns to truly trust and rest in the living God. Or is that too radical for you?

OUR PRAYER

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Our Economic Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for creating a world that requires mankind’s participation to learn how to relate, cooperate, and serve one another. Thank you for teaching us that the greatest among us is the one who serves the most. Thank you for showing us that business is simply building relationships with others and helping others to attain their dreams to glorify you and serve their fellow man. Help us to yield our business ventures under your authority. Help us to learn to trust you in our business dealings. Help us to be successful in our business careers so we can be your hands and feet in serving others for your glory. Help us be true to you and others in all our business dealings. Help us work with you to redeem the marketplace for your glory and purpose.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, and Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute & Resource Center, Inc
Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God &
Be Radical…Follow Christ!

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

 

Oops: Too Far?

Notice how some of us love to take things to the far edge? When driving the car, we speed along approximately 9.9 miles above the speed limit because we know that is the limit police radars are set. (Unless we drive through Ohio, in which case we set our speed control at .1 above the speed limit.) Or, since we know 3 beers is our limit before we begin to get tipsy, we stop ourselves at 2 3/4 bottles. We watch movies with violence because we know it is all make believe, yet we twitch in pain when the scenes are so graphic that our stomach turns somersaults. Yet do we ever ask ourselves how much violence is ok for the heart to absorb before it becomes numb?

My mother had a very low tolerance for risk in her children’s lives. She didn’t want us to get burn with our hand on the stove, so she would tell us not to get close to the stove. But how far is to close? four feet? two feet? six inches? The closer we came to the stove and nothing happened, the closer we came the next time until that one day when we realized it wasn’t how close, but how close without touching it. However, one day when I realized mother’s instructions weren’t true, that one could get close to the stove without any harm, I began to question her instructions of not touching it. If she lied about being harmed by getting to close to it, maybe she is also lying about touching it. So there was only one way to find out: I touched it. Truth behold, nothing happened. Was everything my mother told me a lie? So everyday thereafter I started each day with the habit of touching the stove. I was invincible. No stove could hurt me. Then one day, I skipped through the kitchen and reached out to touch the top of the stove. However, this time what I didn’t realize was the stove top was turned on. Of course, by this time I didn’t just touch the top of the stove with a finger or two; I would slap my entire hand on the circular outlines. I will spare everyone the emergency details, but it is safe to say I didn’t intentional ever do that again.

Yet isn’t that how we operate within our relationships, business transactions, and life’s decisions? We know life is a bell shape curve with the two extreme ends easily discerning what is good behavior and what is not good behavior. It is the middle 80% that is gray and subject to personal interpretation. It is in the gray areas that we push the limits or simply accept the results in gratitude as a gift from God.

Studying God’s Word though opens the door for us to obtain understanding and wisdom from His perspective. His perspective is an eternal one. We generally view life like a four-year old that must stand on his toes and reach over his head to touch the top of a stove. We don’t see what is up there, but must rely on someone we can trust. Most of the time we learn it is our misunderstanding through poor communications that leads us into trouble.

When the serpent tempted Eve by questioning God’s instructions (Gn.3:1-6), Eve could have taken the issue directly up to God. Instead of dealing with conflicting testimony by bring both parties together to find the truth, Eve made a decision apart from having the total picture. She took it upon herself, having only half the story, to divorce God. In management we call that a poor process of determining the best outcome. In counseling, we call that poor communications. In the Book of Proverbs (18:17) it states that one side seems right until the matter is heard from the other side.

Could Eve have been hanging out more with the serpent than with the Lord or Adam? How far is too far before one slides over the edge within a relationship? How close did she travel by the tree on her daily walks? How far do we push the limits before we go over the edge? Where is the edge? Are we absolutely sure or just guessing? What happens when we lose our balance near the edge? Do we have enough rope in place to pull us to safety? Tough questions that only you can determine the answer. We all have different levels of tolerance for risk in our life. My recommendation though is seek wise counsel from all sides before leaning too far near the edge. Also always remember, when Jesus is the center of our world, it is rare that we say oops: too far. For He keeps us balanced between the edges. That is why the relationship is more important than the rules. Rules will fail us; but He did not, does not, and will not.

OUR PRAYER

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Our Heavenly Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for your Word. For sharing yourself with us. For opening our eyes to see our spiritual poverty and your riches. Help us to keep you always the center of our lives. Help us to walk with you. Help us to become more like you each and every day. Lead us away from temptation and risks that cause harm to others. Lead us to glorify you always. You are what we want to become like. Deliver us from our stupidity, temporary brain damage decisions, and insane risks that we take with your truth. Help us to desist and you to increase in our life.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

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

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