Rules, Principles, or Character

 

 

“…by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness…” 2 Peter 1:4-6 ESV

 

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After you acknowledge Jesus is Lord, what comes next?

The Bible outlines our journey into three phases: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is about Christ’s gift to humanity restoring our relationship with God. Glorification is packaged in the resurrection when our physical body is merged into a glorious state like our Lord’s. Sanctification is the time in between where we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in preparation for eternity while tasting Kingdom reality now.

Sanctification is the now time. Most disciples of his start this journey first focusing on “the rules found in the Bible.” The problem though soon hits them that life is not black and white. External, fixed rules are like the ABCs of grammar. You need to know them before you can really start communicating with others. But they don’t take you very far.

Then after becoming frustrated with rules, you realize you need greater flexibility. Therefore, you begin to exert more emphasis on living with principles. However, over time you learn that principles are like words. Words better express what you want communicated than just knowing the ABCs. Yet words unless formed into meaningful sentences, only expressed a tiny portion of what you want known. There has to be something better.

Enter character development. When you take sentences and make paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, and chapters into books, you have developed from the basic ABCs into creating work of art. You add you personality and experiences into the equation and share something you consider of value with others. The same goes with godly character.

When you allow God’s Spirit to enter you and lead you, you begin to set aside the rules and principles for a transformed life of virtue. Virtue is holiness in action. It doesn’t come overnight. It requires walking with our heavenly Triune God in all matters of life. It is the Spirit writing his love into our hearts. He leads us to express mercy and justice from God’s point of reference. It is more than head knowledge. It is eternal wisdom and understanding with godly attributes placed into action. The result is a life that flourishes for all.

So the next time to think life is black and white with rules and principles, think again. Instead, ask the Triune God what would He have you do at a moment like this? You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

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 is King

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelations 17:14.

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The theme of the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. When you read each book through its entirety, you quickly realize that the four gospel accounts emphasize Jesus’ triumphant victory over Satan, sin, and death. The story is about God becoming man and being crowned King of Heaven and Earth.

From the angel Gabriel’s visitation to Mary (Luke 1:32-33) and announcing that she was going to give birth to Jesus who was to become the King of all Israel forever, to the shepherds (Luke 2:11) and Magi (Matt. 2:2) at his birth who came to witness and worship the Messiah and King, Jesus’ birth, life, and death highlights his office as King, Messiah, and Lord.

Through the Epistles and ending in the Book of Revelations, we are also reminded that Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. He is King over all the earth and heaven.

I write this as a reminder. Like the parable that Jesus gave about the King coming and then leaving stewards to run his operations while he is temporarily away (Luke 19:11), we need to realize the same. The Kingdom of God is operating in today’s world. It is being managed by stewards appointed through the Holy Spirit. Those who recognize Jesus as the King of the earth live under His domain. Whether in business, government, education, or family affairs, His Kingdom is actively alive through his universal Church. Yes, there is conflict between His Kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. With dual citizenship between heaven and earth, many of us learn to take advantage of both domains. As subjects to the King, we have the freedom to choose whether we continue to serve our King first and foremost, or rebel and sell our soul to the dark side. Whenever the world’s government conforms to our Lord’s Kingdom, we faithfully serve accordingly. Whenever the world’s government rebels against our King’s mandate, we pray and seek solutions that will glorify our King.

Many of us in this county don’t understand the authority of a King. We place our individual rights based on law. However, when one realizes that a King is the law, then one learns about healthy fear. Thankfully, we serve a King who has proven himself through life and has a heart that properly balances justice with mercy.

I am thankful to serve Jesus Christ as my King. How about you?

 

We are also 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.

 

 

 

Speculation

 “…nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” I Timothy 1:4

truth 3

Several posts ago, I wrote under the assumption that Jesus was a carpenter prior to his public ministry. I apologize for the bold statement. The fact is nowhere in the Bible does it stipulate that Jesus was a carpenter. The Gospel per Matthew states that he was “the carpenter’s” son (Matt 13:55). We could assume that the eldest child of their parent would have learned the parent’s skill growing up.  But that would only be speculation on our part.

How often do we speculate on matters and discuss them like they were solid facts? A recent survey of the best known scripture resulted in “God helps those who help themselves.” Yet nowhere will you find that scripture in the Bible. Again, we only hear and quickly assume.

You know what happens when one assumes?

So lesson learned. We all are human and no one is perfect. Especially me. Let speculation be address as it is and not as reliable fact. That may not be radical, but it is the truth.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Jesus is Our Reference Point

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“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

Most people quote the above scripture to emphasize that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I like to quote this scripture to let people know that it is through Christ that we have a relationship with the living Creator of the universe. When we have Jesus as our reference point, life begins to make sense. When we focus on developing a relationship with the Triune God, salvation is the byproduct. When people focus on salvation before the relationship, then it becomes a contractual arrangement. That is how many people may first accept Christ, yet is it the way He mentored?

In today’s world, relationships are being torn apart. Whether we speak about marriage, friendships, business partnerships, or treaties between countries, the emphasis is on satisfying the self before others. The reference point becomes the self. This of course leads to a world without godly influence. Without a godly influence, the reference point becomes a moving target. This is what has happened in our so called secular world.

The secularization of the western world has developed a culture without a reference point for making wise decisions. The spread of relative morals has likewise produced a culture without a reference point for logical decision making. By throwing the Triune God away from the public arena, youth and adults begin to question the value of God through the reality of the world around them. Life becomes meaningless. They question what good is it to have a relationship with a living God.

When people don’t have a reference point to refer too, anything goes. History demonstrates over and over again what becomes of a people who forget God. When Jesus said He is the way, life, and truth, He quickly summarized what He brings to the table for humanity. To follow Him, one gains the real treasures of life and builds on the foundation of reality. When He becomes your reference point, your life becomes more purposeful and meaningful. When He becomes your reference point, your ideas, values, and decisions have a measuring stick to associate potential outcomes against. When He becomes your reference point, you have a mentor, hero, and teacher to show you how to succeed in relationships, business, and personal agendas.

When Jesus is your reference point, you read the Bible hungry and thirsty to learn everything you can about Him, His plans, and His method of operations. You want to fully understand His Kingdom, His Church, and His Work. Over time you learn to appreciate everything He has done, is doing, and will be doing. You realize it takes time to build a relationship to know Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him. You realize how blessed you are to have Him as your reference point. Whether or not heaven arrives, all you know is that heaven is now when you are fully engaged with life in Christ. So ask yourself, which way will you choose to live: superficially or radically in Christ?

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.