Well Lived Life

Luke 2:52

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

What does a well lived life look like?

Is there someone in your life who you have as a role model? Someone who has lived a long life with successes and failures; someone who if you could only emulate 50% of their attitude and behavior, you would consider your life worth living?  Someone who could share their wisdom and life experiences to assist you on the road toward your promise land?

I was fortunate to have certain elders take an interest in me while growing up. But they came into my life in stages. In hindsight, God brought people into my world when I needed them most. For my early life wasn’t conducive for any type of success. Both my parents only had 8th grade educations; immigrated into this country after World War 2; didn’t speak the language; and came into this country without family nor friends.

In my rebellious teen years, I was ashamed of my parents because they were “old-fashion” and didn’t agree with the current fads of the day. Yet, today as an adult and parent, I marvel at their accomplishments and also salute them for instilling within their children healthy values, life examples, and acts of sacrifice for others.

When I turned eleven, I wanted to purchase a paper route. Mom objected because she said I was too young. Dad on the other hand blessed the opportunity. When he was eleven, his father died and being the only boy in the family, he took over the town blacksmith shop and farmed the fifty acres of land to support the family. If he wasn’t too young at eleven, neither was his son.

When I turned sixteen, I took a job working late nights at a drive-in theater. Though the people I would associate with weren’t the best role models, I was given responsibilities by the general manager to manage one of the two food concessions. In less than one year, I was managing the entire operation supervising college students. He gave me responsibility and the opportunity to learn and grow – skills that have shaped me for future business leadership roles.

My first accounting job at twenty with a manufacturing firm brought the HR manager into my life. He was in his mid-sixties, and previously an executive VP for the entire holding company. Rather than terminate him, the Company transferred him to this small shop out of respect to finish his career. He took a liking to me and showed me the important social and corporate skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.

I could go on and on and speak about the mentors from Church who gave me opportunities in my twenties to grow in public speaking, leading youth groups, organizing national single events, and showing me lives well lived. These were men who had successful work careers yet placed fatherhood as their most important role. Men who were authentic, diligently involved with family affairs, yet led successful businesses. And most importantly, men who acknowledged and praised God in their everyday routine. Whether at work, at home, or in the community, their faith was displayed. They were not perfect, made mistakes, but own them and worked hard to change into the image of Jesus Christ.

All we know about Jesus Christ between the age of 12 till 30 is summarized in the above Scripture. He increased in wisdom, stature, and favor before God and man. We are not told the details. We don’t know what or who came into his life while a teenager and young adult. But we witness the fruit of his investment of time and relationships. His intentional focus on gaining wisdom, being involved in the community, and having a positive influence with his friends and neighbors, all led to the writer summarizing this period of time in Jesus’ life with the words “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

So, if you are in your teens or twenties, and want to know where to start investing your time for a life that is well lived, Jesus is always a good role model to follow.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360!
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Knowledge

knowledge 1

Today we work in the age of the knowledge industry. History records the agricultural, industrial, and technological periods have come, are still with us, but are not the leading industry at this time. The industry that leads today is in the knowledge arena.

Those who know are paid for what they know, not what they actually do. Those who know how to best interpret the information at their disposal and make it applicable are the leaders of their industry.

As an apprentice of Jesus Christ, we are likewise to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Though most of us in the business arena understand the importance of gaining head knowledge of our industry and products, the truly successful entrepreneurs also realize the importance of growing in heart knowledge.

As Jesus’ apprentices, we are instructed to acquire knowledge that will transform our thinking and worldview (Romans 12:2). Likewise, as we abide in Christ, our hearts are being renovated into the image of our Chief Mentor (2 Corinthians 3:18). This basically comes via the Spirit as we walk through the challenges of life.

Most of us either have a bias to pursue one or the other. We either invest time to acquire head knowledge or emphasize heart knowledge. The fact is we need both. As the book of 2 Peter outlines, we are to grow in the grace & knowledge of Jesus Christ. Grace is a byproduct of experiencing the work of the Spirit in our life. Knowledge is coming to know Jesus Christ from a relational perspective which includes both the head and heart.

So no matter your natural preference, realize we need both. As we pursue both, we place ourselves in the position to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Founder & Executive Director
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

Fiat Character

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 3:3-5

 character 6

Wouldn’t it be great if our character could be molded and built overnight? Rather than having to discipline our thoughts, attitudes, and habits over years of practice, why couldn’t we take a pill and have instant Godly character?  We know that is not reality.  So if someone offers you such a “pill” or shortcut, beware. Only God’s love and grace is there for us to experience the downside of character building.

When God created man and women, He did so after his image and likeness (Gn. 1:26).  Of all of God’s creation, only humanity has the ability to reason, imagine, and create.  These characteristics are patterned after God’s likeness. Yet man also, because of the sin virus, is blacken with spiritual cancer. He needs healing. That healing comes to us via Jesus Christ. He sends the Holy Spirit into our lives to heal and restore our hearts and minds. Our participation involves building our Will through the choices we make. It requires obedience. Most often it requires obedience through the tough difficult times of life. Even Jesus learned through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

Paul writes that the purpose of life is for us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:24). When the Bible speaks about image it doesn’t mean that everyone looks like Him. What it means is that we resemble His character and spirit. That character and spirit comes through the trials and tests that life presents. It doesn’t come via a pill. It doesn’t come by taking a class. It doesn’t come by joining a church. It only comes when we allow His Spirit to lead us, transform us, and walk with us through the challenges of life.

So forget about fiat character. Instead, learn to walk with the Triune God as He restores creation back to His original intent. That includes you, me, and all of creation.

Perseverance.  Endurance. Faithfulness. They may not be glorious words in a self-esteemed society, yet they are the marathon characteristics of a “little Christ” in today’s world.

 

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.