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)

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

Kingdom of God in the Marketplace

kingdom mp3
“And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-22 ASV

Where is God’s Kingdom in the Marketplace? For most of us we witness a taste of God’s Kingdom within the faith community of our church. For others, the Kingdom of God is found within the four walls of home. Again, for others it may be the one morning each week Bible study where the fellowship and sharing sparks enthusiasm for the rest of the week. Yet where is God’s Kingdom in the workplace?

The above scripture use to puzzle me. How could Jesus speaking with unconverted Pharisees tell them that the Kingdom of God is found within each of them? Isn’t the Kingdom of God the rule and reign of Christ? These Pharisees didn’t believe Jesus was who He claimed to be. He wasn’t their King. So how could they be under the authority of Christ?

There lied the problem. The Kingdom of God is the authoritative government of God ruled through the Spirit of God from the heart. It is the soul that submits to Christ’s authority that is a willing subject. All souls are under the authority of Christ. However, the soul that rebels against Christ is walking down a dangerous path. The connecting point is a matter of the heart. The heart that mutually submits one to another in service to the King of Kings is a servant of the Kingdom. The heart that rebels against the King of Kings is a lost and confuse child of God waiting to discover the riches of a meaningful relationship with the Triune God.

The Kingdom of God is found in the marketplace through the hearts of believers who are subject to the King. Wherever two or three are gathered, Christ is among them hearing their prayers (Matt. 18:20). The Kingdom of God is not limited behind the four walls of a faith community. The Kingdom of God is active within every organization, every business venture, and every marketplace transaction where two or three are gathered in His name. Where leadership and ownership profess and subject themselves to the King of Kings, the Kingdom of God is alive and growing. How about your marketplace? Is it too radical to allow God’s Kingdom an entrance into your workplace?

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

wow

 

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.

 

Making Decisions

Our personal decisions have a greater impact into other people’s lives than we may ever realize. When Eve decided to take the forbidden fruit that looked so attractive to her, did she consider the consequences of her decision? In a recent decision that you made last week, did you consider all the people who owned a part of the decision and its ramifications? Probably not. Most of us don’t unless we are reminded.

What the story of Adam and Eve demonstrates is that we all forego a better solution so we may immediately satisfy our personal desires. One effective technique I’ve learned over the years before making any decision is to list at a minimum three other parties that may be impacted by the outcome. From that list, I contact each one for their opinion of the impact of the decision in their world. From their answers, we do our best to develop a solution that will be best for all parties. Some may benefit slightly better than others, but all need to benefit in some way.

Imagine if Eve followed in such a manner. She would have taken the serpents’ statements and asked herself who else would be impacted by the decision. Her list of a minimum of three would include Adam, God, and the serpent. If she had spoken directly with God, He would have gladly given her the consequences of such an action. If she discussed it with Adam, he would have given his view of the situation. Likewise, even though the serpent is a deceiver, one could match his replies with God’s and Adam’s to determine the best course of action. Do you think if she followed such an approach that the world would be in a different place today?

It is a simple approach that has served well over the years for many leaders. The challenge is to always implement the same process each time. Otherwise, the time one fails to follow through is the one event causing one’s world to fall apart. Again just another simple approach to manage the multiple decisions that every leader needs to make. Or is that simply too radical for you?

OUR PRAYER

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Our heavenly Father, Lord, and Spirit: thank you for sharing your heart with us. Thank you for caring enough for us to help learn your values, truths, and purposes. Help us to seek counsel from others who may be impacted by the decisions we make. Help us to seek the answer not only from you, but all others who may be impacted by our decisions. Help us to be honest and caring for all the people and lives our decision impacts. Help us walk with you in the entire decision making process and open our eyes to see and ears to hear the truth and best solutions for all parties involved. Thank you Lord.

 

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.