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.

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.

 

 

Jesus Wows Me Again

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It seems most of the time when I study the scriptures into the life of Jesus, another Instagram moment hits me.  Ever notice whenever Jesus meets someone who exercises faith in God, He affirms the moment with words of praise and encouragement?

Take for instance:
The Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30;
The centurion in Luke 7:1-10;
The prostitute in Luke 7:44-50;
The hemorrhaging woman in Luke 8:40-48.

In each of these moments He recognized the person’s faith in Him; not a blind faith in something out in the universe. He not only recognizes it, but uses it as a teaching moment. Like a sales meeting acknowledging someone’s achievement for the week, He praises the act and the person’s belief and trust in Him. Whatever the situation, He would recognize God’s influential impact at the moment and express it for the sake of others.

How about us? Do we acknowledge the theophanies (God’s manifestation in our journey) with people we meet and associate with each day? Marketplace Bible Institute & Resource Center has just started a comment page for people to share what God is doing in their workplace. Why not take a moment and share your experience with others? You may enter the blog from here. What better way to share your faith with others? Just another way to be radical in Christ for God’s glory and the sake of others.

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.

 

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

PRAYER 1

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.

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

PRAY 9

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

A Mirror Image of Jesus

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In Jesus’ time, people knew you were a Jew because you kept the law.  A visible part of that law was the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath.  As a Christ-follower, our sign to the world is not how well we keep the law but how well is Christ formed in us.  What advertises us to the world is a way of life rooted and built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and expressed through the power and love of the Holy Spirit.  When people see something different in us, that difference is the heart, mind, and soul of God.  In our relationship with our Heavenly Dad, iron sharpens iron.  Our Triune God’s influence in our life is changing us to reflect His glory, love, and nature before others.  If we are an authentic disciple of Jesus, than isn’t Jesus living in us and expressing Himself through us?

When Jesus sees us, isn’t our hope and vision that He sees a mirror image of Himself?  Though most of us would have to admit that is not always true of us.  Aren’t there many times a day when the mirror becomes gray, cloudy, and difficult to see?  Like many of the saints before us, isn’t it a daily discipline to keep the mirror clean?  What we find though that works best for many of us is simply to keep our focus on strengthening the relationship between the Triune God and ourselves.

One of the best analogies is the relationship with our spouse.  From the day we were infatuated with her to the day we married, and from the day we married till today, our love has grown deeper and our relationship stronger.  It didn’t happen via fiat.  It has happen because we both focused on exercising the necessary disciplines in our relationship to make it happen.  It is important for us and we therefore invest the time in nurturing and enjoying one another’s companionship.

Isn’t it likewise with God?  Ever since our Heavenly Dad grabbed our attention, led us to our Lord Jesus, and introduced us to the Holy Spirit, life has been one infatuated, passionate journey of discovery and relationship-building.  Just like we will not do anything deliberately to harm our relationship with our spouse, don’t we likewise not want to harm the relationship that has been built with our Eternal Partners?  In fact, just like we work to strengthen our marriage relationship, don’t we likewise work to improve our relationship with our Eternal Partners?  Just like it takes time and priority to build a strong marriage, it likewise takes time and priority (even more so) to build a strong relationship with our Invisible God.

Our daily goal is that nothing comes before or between our relationship with each other. When Jesus returns, doesn’t our heart, mind, and ears deeply desire to hear His words, “Well done my faithful servant?”  Until then, we gladly lift our banner as high as we are capable each and every day.  For our banner is Jesus Christ fully expressing Himself in us each and every day.  Like Paul wrote in the book of Galatians, ”I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  And with that we say Amen.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Our Heavenly, Awesome Dad,  thank you for everything you are and everything you represent and everything you do for us.

Now we only ask that you continue to create and complete within us your divine nature.  That you bestow upon us your great favor and compassion.  That you always shower upon us your mercy and love.  In return, help us to live a life that glorifies you.

We have tried everything that this life has to offer.  You know our heart.  The only passion that we have left is living the spirit led life rooted in Jesus for your glory.

Help us to live it with your honor and glory always first.  Thank you for making everything possible.  Thank you, Jesus. As we always pray in your name and authority. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, and Encourager

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

Are We Not His Masterpiece?

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In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees believed they were the righteous people known by God and everyone else rejected by God.  Jesus would illustrate many a parable to them drawing comparisons from everyday life contrary to their opinion.  In addition He would even illustrate where people performed miracles and works in His name but He didn’t even know them.

Can you confidently say to yourself that Jesus will have no problem recognizing you as His brother or sister when He returns?  Or is there some hesitancy?  Paul warned of being overconfident in our relationship with God.  He stated (1 Cor. 10:12) that we should be careful unless we likewise fall from His Grace.

Frankly, isn’t our hope that He recognizes us not because of our accomplishments or works, not because of our yielding attitude and trustworthy relationship built over time, but because of who He is.  If He is looking for us because of our accomplishments, then most of us may as well forget eternity.  Our best efforts probably haven’t generated much of a return.  Even in our relationship we may question our honesty and faithfulness.  How many times have we failed Him?  Like Peter during Jesus’ ministry, we may jump into activities with great faith only to have Him pull us to dry land.  Or we deny Him with our actions even when we know better.  Oh, how great is His Grace!

What we hope He sees in us is a reflection of Himself and our Dad.  We hope that He sees the spiritual masterpiece that He is creating and not what we have thrown together.  As we mature, it doesn’t become any easier for us to deny our self and allow Jesus through the Holy Spirit to have full access into our inner sanctuary.  Yet, isn’t it our heart, attitude, and soul that He is changing?  Oh saturate us Holy Spirit and change our heart to conform to Your will!

As a disciple of His we long to become like our Lord & King.  We may have an image of what that is, but over time doesn’t it change?  The Jesus that we knew yesterday is not the same Jesus we know today.  Isn’t He even greater?  Likewise, the Jesus that we know tomorrow, will he be more than the Jesus we know today?  Isn’t it an everyday process of search and discovery.  But isn’t this the one process that we are committed to living each and every day?  What else is more fulfilling than living a spirit led life rooted in Jesus Christ for the glory of God?  Can we agree like many others before us, that we have tried it all and nothing compares with it?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our loving Dad, thank you for starting the task of producing a new creation within us.  Thank you for not allowing us to quit when we felt like quitting.  Thank you for being committed to our success.  Thank you for revealing to us what real success is all about.

Help us always to focus on your plans and work.  Let us not measure our success with our neighbors.  Instead, let us be thankful that you have uniquely designed us, gifted us, and disciplined us for your sake, for others, and for our self.  That you are preparing us for eternity for a special assignment that only you know for sure.  Help us always to trust you no matter what the circumstances or situation.  Let your faith, love, and hope always precede us.  We thank you Jesus and ask all this in your name.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant,Coach, and Encourager

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