Is Money The Answer?

“Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.”  Ecclesiastes 10:19 (ESV)

bread 1 wine 1

The first pages of the Bible that I every read was the Book of Ecclesiastes. As a seventeen year old seeker of God, I was stumped to understand the contents of the Book. What is so spiritual about physical pleasures? marriage? labor? Is all vanity? Yet the first scripture that I found excited as a young entrepreneur was the above. Living in a physical world which requires physical food, drink, and power to function, the above scripture makes more sense than just dollars. In fact, 40 years later the scripture has more meaning now than ever before.

For example, bread and wine are the dinner staples of Biblical times. Every dinner included the two. Jesus himself at the last supper took these two staples and transformed them into an everyday memorial. Whenever bread and wine are taken, we are reminded of Jesus and commemorate his death, resurrection, and future return. (Maybe that is where the custom of saying prayer before each meal came from?).

Also, isn’t bread shared between friends. It is a custom even as of today to invite people over for meals as a show of friendship and hospitality. Most often, where laughter and good conversation takes place, bread is usually a staple of the meal. Likewise, wine with its alcoholic contents, loosens the heart and helps ease the emotional pain. Been so since the beginning of time. A little wine loosens the tongue and makes one feel a little happier. (Too much wine though causes one to lose control of their ability to manage their emotions and mental faculties). Yet in Biblical times wine was the main drink at weddings, festivals, and dinner. Jesus’ first known miracle was changing water into wine.

Most people don’t have a problem understanding bread is made for laughter; a few less with wine gladden’s the heart; but money a solution to one’s problems? Yet money is the answer for most of the challenges that people face each day. With money, one is able to purchase happiness (not joy), freedom, and opportunities that others without money cannot know. Ask yourself with the many challenges you face each day, how would they be different if you had more money to throw at the problem?

In fact Jesus spoke about money more than many other topics. He didn’t avoid the issue. Instead, he met it head on. His concern is when we make it a priority rather than secondary in our life. Yet money makes this physical world go around. If given the choice, how many would rather be poor than rich? Not many I’m sure.

In this physical world, it takes money to operate. People need money to purchase the necessities of life; governments need it to operate; even churches need it to cover the cost of ministries. Money answers many of the problems that confront them.

Again, the problem lies when money becomes life’s priority and foundation instead of Jesus Christ. When one keeps their priorities in order, is radically in Christ, than the above scripture makes perfect sense. What do you think?

 

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.

 

 

Work

“But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” John 5:17 (ESV)

God works

Why work? Is it because we have too or because we want too?  Don’t people work for various reasons? For example:

Most people work for an income to cover their living expenses;

Yet some people work to express their God-given gifts;

Others work to enjoy the social interrelationships;

Some work to escape from internal problems;

Than some work because they have been asked to serve others in a specific capacity;

Others work to fulfill their obligations;

Many work to satisfy some driven-need;

Some work to earn a little extra income to help others;

Others work for a cause they believe in;

A few even work for the glory of God.

This is only a few of the reasons studies have shown why we work. Yet, the result of good work is the reason we have food, clothes, shelter, and transportation for the masses. It is the reason we have schools, hospitals, churches, and factories. It is the fruit of labor for the common good of all.

How about you? Is work a spiritual discipline that allows you to move with God in the arena of life? Or is work some kind of drudgery that is required while you serve your prison time on earth?

Jesus’ stated that His Father God is working even as he spoke. That God didn’t complete the creation of the world and then retired into His heavenly home. Likewise, Jesus was purposely working instead of enjoying life on easy street. Jesus came to serve; and service requires work.

Work became difficult when Adam left the garden of Eden rebelling against Almighty God. God allowed mankind to taste what life is like apart from Him.  Since the arrival of the incarnated Jesus Christ and the reconciliation of man with God, work is the means of grace that allows us to experience the fruit of God Himself. Even today, God is at work; and with Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit we can partner with Him in His work that includes the redemption of all creation. Believe it or not, that includes the work you do today. Ask yourself, how many ways can you glorify God today through your work? What if you took one way today and worship Him through your work. How radical would that be?

 

Remember, we are rooting for you in Christ!

 

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.

 

 

Growth Involves Discomfort

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”  2 Corinthians 1:3

growing pains

 

Ever notice how much effort we spend as a society seeking comfort in all that we do?  We purchase comfortable clothes, drive comfortable cars, eat comfort food, sleep on comfortable beds, associate with friends who are comfortable, parade through the day following our comfortable routine, sit on our comfortable lazy chair, and eat comfortable ice cream.

If anything happens to disrupt our comfortable lifestyle, we become upset and possibly even traumatized. Yet when we strive to maintain comfort, doesn’t life have a way to interrupt our status quo? You think maybe life is designed to force us into situations that require us to expand our comfort zone?  Whether we intentionally choose our discomfort, or “meteors from outer space” force us to change our routine, isn’t it when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone and exert energy toward a favorable outcome that we actual grow from it?

When we (the physically challenged) start and complete an exercise routine that builds muscles, shapes our body, and improves our food intake which may be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes a routine, isn’t it very satisfying?  When we start a new job outside our natural gifting, it becomes challenging to do the simple routine at first; however over time, we eventually master it and grow from it. It may have been uncomfortable at first, but afterward we have grown by integrating the new into the old. Have you noticed that anything worth pursuing starts off at the uncomfortable level?

Paul wrote that entrance into the Kingdom of God is going to introduce tribulation into one’s life. To move from comfort to discomfort is the necessary prerequisite for entrance into God’s Kingdom. To grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ is naturally discomforting. Get use to it! Quit your complaining. Get on your knees and cry out to God. It is the way faith in God is built; it is the way we grow in the faith; it is the way of God to help us grow.

So when you find yourself discomforted, thank God. Roll up your sleeves, strengthen your praying arms, and cry out to God. It is the most successful way; it has been done since the dawn of life; and you are privileged too participate with the Holy Spirit in one of the God’s greatest projects at this time: the redemption of creation.  Besides, how else are we going to learn that He is our Comfort?

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 Ultra-Lean Years

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

seasons 1

 

Ever notice that there is a purpose for every season of one’s life?

Joseph was sold into slavery, imprisoned, and forgotten for thirteen years. Then through a series of “consequences” he became the governor of Egypt second in command to the Pharaoh.

David was anointed King of Israel at seventeen and wasn’t crowned until thirty. For thirteen years he lived in the fields with a bounty on his head from the current king. His companions were the undesirables of his day. Yet he was being prepared to lead a country as he followed God.

Moses was raised as a prince in the Egyptian household. Fleeing for his life at forty for murdering a fellow Hebrew, he took up the occupation of a shepherd for his father-in-law. The lowest of jobs in his time. For forty years he worked in the desert countryside until the Lord had prepared him at the age of eighty to lead his people back to their own country.

Each person had a call in their life from God, but the preparation time were the dry years. We would classify them today as the ultra-lean years.

When you look at the life of others throughout history, the down years were the building blocks for the next season of life. During these years, one learns to cry-out and trust their Maker. One also learns humility and living graciously in preparation for greater service. Though greater service may never come, one becomes available for more opportunities as one is being prepared.

In business, the lean years allows oneself to streamline operations, upgrade systems, and enhance the customer experience through more personal contact with less monetary costs. For those businesses that survive, they come out stronger and more committed in serving their customers and stakeholders. If they didn’t survive, maybe it was time to try something else. One never knows what good is going to come out of a bad situation until it is written in history many years down the road. Until then, we learn to trust our Lord and we walk with Him with our business and personal challenges.

In my own case, the best of times and the worst of times was in-between companies. It is during this time when cash flow dwindles, but the walk with God intensifies. At the end of day, when doors open again for the next opportunity, I always find myself stronger in my walk with our Lord and prepared to serve another employer with God’s gifts and love.

So remember, when you find yourself thinking you are forgotten by God, lean heavier. He is always there. He is simply preparing you for the next season of life.

Remember, 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

radical 1

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

good work 1

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.

Who Jesus?

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Matthew 16:13 ESV

worldview 1

Whenever you want to gather information on a person’s worldview, you can start the conversation with the simple question, “What is your opinion of Jesus Christ?” Be ready though for anything. The person’s reply may range anywhere from very friendly to strong animosity. However, depending on how you reply, you may have the best twenty minute discussion with a believer or non-believer than you would have every expected.

I like to throw the question out in the most unlikely places just to see people’s reaction. Whether they are comfortable in discussing their relationship with Jesus, or keep their faith low keyed, the conversation is always very revealing. On the other side, if they are agnostic or spiritually minded, it opens the door for further discussion. For I find that more and more people want to discuss questions about life because most people shy away from the big three: Religion, Politics, or Money. Yet each one is critical and important to discover one’s purpose and freedom for living.

I am not being judgmental; nor am I seeking to evangelize. My goal is simply to seek-out a starting point of reference. From that reference point, we begin a conversation that is personal and meaningful for the other person. In other words, we begin from their point of view rather than mine. And since everything begins and ends with God, why not start with Him?
Over the years, I have always been pleasantly surprised by some of the answers. Sometimes, I even found myself speechless; which according to my wife is one of the most rare activities found under heaven. Yet, I have become more comfortable over the years to meet total strangers and even extended family members to start off with the question: “Who Jesus?”

So if you find yourself bored and seeking some excitement in your life, then become a little more daring and begin to ask others, “Who Jesus?” Just be ready for anything.

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.